Saturday, December 31, 2016

Most Popular Posts of 2016

As Christmas passes and the New Year is just around the corner it seems like a good time to look back at some of the most read posts on this blog and maybe thosee of you who follow this blog regularly might like to share this post to friends.

! The amazon Echo Dot Review:

 2. Second Service Dog Attack

   told how Leif my Guide Dog was attacked at a local Starbuck's by a "service dog". I believe the other dog was merely a fake service dog. This post was actually very popular with readers back in August. It went viral with several thousand views in just one week.  Leif has recovered and is back to working and we still visit this Starbucks location weekly.

So here are two of the most popular posts of the year. I hope that you might share them with friends or maybe even comment on them.

What posts do you like to see most on this blog?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Cracker

Here we are. Almost at years end. 2016 has been a busy year for me. I hope it has been a good year for all of you.

So as Christmas arrives on our doorstep. Let's have some fun and pull a Christmas Caracker.

A bright Christmas Cracker decorated with holly and candy canes set against a red background.
A Christmas Cracker

Every year the British pull millions of crackers at Christmas. Famed for silly paper hats, and inexpensive trinkets.

Every cracker must have a bad joke so here is our cracker of a joke.

Santa sits in his red suit trimmed with white fur, beside him is guide dog Leif, a black Labrador, behind them we see a winter scne of snow flakes and houses.
Santa and Guide Dog Leif

Question:   How do you know Santa goes out wearing no underwear?

Answer: Because he is Saint Knicker-less!

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Why not share this blog with your friends  today?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Blindside Fresno Explains the Guide Dog Application Process

For the first program of 2017. I decided to take Blindside Fresno behind the scenes of an application for a guide dog with Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California.

The crew take a break for a photo on the set of Blindside Fresno. Standing at back, Left to Right Rene Gomez, 'Ace Manelski, Steve Manelski and Darcie Elliott: seated and at front Left to right, Guide Dog Leif and William Elliott
Full Crew of Blindside Fresno program 7 Back Left to right: Rene Gomez; 'Ace Manelski; Steve Manelski ; Darcie Elliott, front and seated: Guide Dog Leif and William Elliott

I did talk about my application experieence as it occurred back in 2012-3 on this blog. Those posts are still available to read, just search the blog for guide dog.

This 'Blindside Fresno' will be program number seven. We have gone back to the one on one chat, Darcie Elliott ( a.k.a. my wife ) hosts the show. I also had a good crew, Rene Gomez and Steve Manelski on cameras and Steve's son "Ace" in control room as an amazing 3 in 1 Director; Technical Director and Audio Engineer

Applying for a guide dog can be a long process, for me it took a year. So in this program I decided to just concentrate on the application process, what you need to consider when applying, what materials, paperwork you need to have at hand to complete your application.

We also talk a little about what preparations you should consider making. One of my main goals was to increase my general fitness for walking. You do have a lot of walking to do in those couple of weeks training.

Then we talk a little about the preparation that the dog has gone through to get to be offered as your partner. We will do another program from the point of view of puppy raisers later in the year.

This was a fun show to create. I would like to thank Steve and his son "Ace" for taking their time to help out on Blindside Fresno. They produce and introduce the program  Valley Veterans Forum  follow the link to see their program page at CMAC.

I also want to thank Rene Gomez producer of  The Luiz Gomez Show for his help with the program. Just follow the link to see his producer page at CMAC

Support this blog by taking a look at our Amazon Store

Friday, December 16, 2016

Glitz, Glamour and A TV Award Nomination?

Well you could have knocked me down with a feather yesterday afternoon. I had a very surprising telephone call fromCommunity Media Access Collaborative (CMAC). For those of you who don't 'Blindside Fresno.' A.K.A. my television program.
Nathan Romo and Darcie Elliott (right) sit and chat before recording Blindside Fresno starts. The backdrop is a white curtain lighted with blue light, there is a desk and a vase of flowers in the foreground.
Lights, Camera, Action. Set of 'Blindside Fresno'
know they are the local public media center which broadcasts

They called me to ask a quick question.

"Have you submitted 'Blindside Fresno' for the W.A.V.E. Awards?"

The W.A.V.E. Awards are a television award for individual productions across a wide range of categories but which are produced for public access television groups across the Western United States. CMAC is one of the organizations which is able to submit programs from their catalogue to award groups such as WAVE.

My reply was simple, no I hadn't because I thought that the WAVE awards were for documentaries or short films. 'Blindside Fresno' didn't seem to fit those categories. Imagine my surprise when I was told that there is a category for programs which raise awareness about disabled issues and CMAC felt it would be a good idea to enter an edition of 'Blindside Fresno'.

So there it was. I got a nomination for a pretty prestigious award. I had a couple of programs to choose from since there are elligibility dates and I chose An Interview with Nathan Romo" The second of our 'Blindside Fresno' programs.

The awards are pretty special. They take programs from six States of the Western United States. The category  my program will be in is for Producers who are not professionally trained and it is also in the disabillity awareness category. I wonder are there many blind or visually impaired community TV producers out there?

The awards will even be held here in Fresno, California next year. They will be downtown between March 8 - 10, 2017. So I will probably look at going to the seminars and such to see what is going on in the public access television community and to learn a few more things.

So there it is. As we approach Chtristmas. I am already dreaming of the glitz and glamour of the awards season. Not an Oscar, or an EMI or a Tony. But a nomination for a WAVE.  WOW!


A link to the Nominated Program

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

'Blindside Fresno': Adaptive Technology Gifts

For several months, Nathan Romo, Tom Randall and I had been talking about creating a workshop where we introduced people to various items of adaptive technology.
Guests from left to right; Tom Randall, William Elliott, Nathan Romo, sit behind a desk topped by a blue table cloth. Darcie Elliott Host sits to far right on this sixth edition of Blindside Fresno
Blindside Fresno: Left to Right; Tom Randall, William Elliott, Nathan Romo and Darcie Elliott (Host)

As you all probably know most adaptive  technology is pretty expensive. You often can't open your wallet for under $1,000. But we aimed to open ou wallets for less than that. We eventually came up with a price framework of $50 or less, $ 150 or less and over $150.

We didn't ever manage to create the talk for somewhere like our local libraries, but we did put the idea into practice for program 6 of 'Blindside Fresno' Adaptive Technology Giftts for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

We looked at a range of items varying in price from just a few dollars for a Liquid Level Alarm  through Safe earphones   that allow you to use your phone safely in traffic to  hot air fryers   and Talking Barcode Readers

So take a look at our Gadgets for the blind and visually impaired by following this link to YouTube.


Or Take a look at our Amazon Store

Monday, December 5, 2016

In The Studio: Members Only'

One of the regular features of Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) is a monthly program called 'Members Only.'
William Elliott looks into the camera on far left of image over his left shoulder we can see a studio set both in the back ground and in the television camera viewfinder. On set 'Members Only' at CMAC Frsno California.
As a Camera operator on 'Members Only' November 2015

This program is recorded by each class as they finish their studio training. One year ago I completed my studio training and worked on Episode 10 of 'Members Only' as a camera operator.

Last week on November 30 I was at the studio to record another episode of 'Members Only' this time as one of the guest producers.

The show was great fun. I was the second guest on the show. In some ways this is the easiest guest to be. All the initial nerves of the crew are easing. They know what to do. The host has warmed up and you have had some time to think about possible answers to the questions asked of the fguests.

I spent the first part of the show sat off camera to oneside. This allowed me to be miked up and ready to slip into the guests chair at the interval.

My heart was racing pretty fast when I heard Johnny Pessina, the host, draw the first interview to a close and the two minute call went up for the commercial break.

That was my cue to walk over to the guest chair. Knees a tremble  and take my place  beside Johnny.

Then there was a final check of the microphone, no loose leads, battery lights good, a few brief words with Johnny, then the music from the public service announcements faded and Johnny began his introduction for my shows; 'Blindside Fresno' an 'Remember, Remember'

Off we go.

Take a look at Episode 21 of 'Members Only' by following the link below.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

This Thanksgiving is a pretty tough one.

Caduseus staff, a winged staff wrapped with two serpents.
Caduseus: Symbol of the Medical Profession

I have Bronchitis. Since last Saturday afternoon when I started with a burning in my lungs as I breathed, and progressed to a cough all night Sunday and about twenty hours of sleep on Monday afternoon until Tuesday lunchtime.

Now my breathing has eased a lot. My ribs feel raw though and I did not get to do all the work that I had planned for this week already.

One bad thing about being self employed is having to do the work as and when planned. Whether or not you feel  well enough to do it. Well this week the work did not get done and I feel pretty bad about that today. Having missed my deadlines I am out of my comfort zone. I had planned a few things that could only really go out this week. Now those items are not really worth working on.

I never like feeling sick at the  best of times but this week I just didn't need to feel as sick as I did.

Talk about frustration.

One thing I am glad about though is I couldn't get in to see my doctor. Of course being Thanksgiving he was fully booked and the earliest I could see him with a scheduled appointment was December 5.

I was happy enough to say to myself that I will be ok by then and going by how much happier I am today I think that will work out fine. He would of course would have prescribed anti-biotics, those would have worked on the cough and I would have not had a cough. But then I could be open for a host of other malardy's this season. After all I will be going into crowds of people. As stores fill and the Christmas crush begins in it's fullest fury.

All those people wanting to push past me, pet my dog, or just sneeze all over me, to spread the joy of their colds.

Going into this season with no defences after taking a dose of anti-biotics is no dream of mine. So now. My body is fully armed with bacteria killing anti-bodies, I am naturally recovered from a bad cold and ready to get back to work for myself again.

That is something that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Grand Tour - Review of the Amazon TV Program

Do you like cars, trucks, boats or middle aged men being allowed to play with great toys? Well I do. Yes I know that I am blind and don't have a hope in hell of getting to play with all this great stuff. But that doesn't stop me loving Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard "Hamster" Hammond getting to play on my TV.
A bright red sports car, lit from above with shadow beneath and the words 'The Grand Tour' Program review.
'The Grand Tour' on amazon

For those of you who may not know, Clarkson, May and Hammond were the front men on the BBC car program 'Top Gear' until early 2015 when Clarkson was dismissed by the BBC and Hammond and May left the program too. 'Top Gear' still continues on the BBC but has less sparkle without these three. Instead Clarkson and the others fell into the company of amazon, who were looking to fill a slot with a proven team of  "entertainers" The result is "The Grand Tour."

'The Grand Tour' has been eagerly awaited by old fans of 'Top Gear'. The fans loved the quirky antics of Clarkson, May and Hammond. Clarkson a tall, loud and very opinionated man, May, also known as 'Captain Slow' is more refined, knowledgeable and cautious and Hammond, game for anything, feisty and excitable. Together they provide great chemistry, it is almost too easy for them, they gget to drive fast cars around fast race tracks, they drive in some of the most exotic locations around the world and just for good measure they blow things up!

This first program took us from the High California Desert to a race track in Portugal to a test track in England. We saw Porches, McLaren Ferrari's race and a BMW put through it's paces. All the time with the under tow of English public (that is private school to my American readers) school humour.

These men are never too proud to let their inner nine year old to show. Except for one moment when Jeremy Clarkson pressed the wrong button in his McLaren and almost lost control at over 200 miles per hour. As he said "The pooh came out."  Fun, childish pranks, race fixing and explosions are bound to come throughout the season.

The program is sure to be a great success. My wife and I loved it. My wife is not so much interested in the cars as in the antics of these three. She grew to love them as aviewer of the old 'Top Gear' for over a decade. Now both of us look forward to this first season of 'The Grand Tour'.

To read more about 'The Grand Tour' CLICK HERE.

Here are some more links to Jeremy Clarkson.




Thursday, November 17, 2016

Frustration at Department of Rehabilitation

I have a love hate relationship with the California Department of Rehabilitation. Well actually I just really love to hate them.
A red explosion graphic with the word Bang in gold across its center.
BANGLove Hate Relationship With the Department of Rehabilitation

I had my first dealings with the Department of Rehabilitation back in 2009. Not a good year to start dealings with an organization like the DOR. California was on the way into a financial tailspin and I did get the promise of a cane. A white cane costing $25 took over 18 months to obtain from the DOR. I had bought my own in four days from amazon. com.

They had allowed me to have five hours of training with a cane. Thank God for such generosity. Then after a few months of being told  that I could not have lessons in using other adaptive technology they  genorously  closed my file.

After several attempts to re-open my file I reapplied to the DOR for help. I knew that I was planning to move home, now to be closer to medical resources and possible training. Maybe they would help. They did. They told me I couldn't move home. Well for that part it wasn't just my say, my wife had the offer of a new and better job and I would have been left to live alone in a small town, seventy miles away from all my doctors and that was only accesible by one bus per day in each direction.

Well after I left my job and moved home. The DOR did relent a little. They did agree that I could have some access to training on adaptive technology and typing training. Plus I would have an advisor who would put me in touch with employers.

Well things were definitely looking brighter back then. In eighteen months though I have come to learn that the promises of the DOR are nothing short of lies.

The classes eventually stopped at the end of 2015.  The person who advises on jobs went on a little longer. I didn't mind writing an e-mail every week about my job search. Listing all the applications and a detailed description of what each job was, but something told me that she did not particularly understand that finding  jobs for a blind person is fraught with some difficulties. I don't know what it was, whether the job application she sent me for a truck driver, the application to spend the Summer working on  an Alaskan crab boat, or maybe it was the telling me at ten in the morning that I had a chance of an interview that very afternoon if I could get to a place just out of town, by two o'clock.  Sadly for me at one o'clock I had my monthly eye doctor appointment to atten to and with no cash to pay for Uber, nor having a friend or relative available to drop everything and get me to the place to work everyday, I felt it more prudent to decline.

Back in May I had also told them of my ideas to spend more time working on  my blogs   and my amazon FBA business   So I did begin working more than full-time hours on those things as well as continuing to look for other work, of course avoiding long distance truck driving, being an airline pilot or deep sea fisherman.

Well just over a month ago I received a call from the DOR. They  wanted to check on my case. I told them of all the things that I have been doing, my businesses, producing TV programs, as well as doing presentations to school children on working with Guide Dogs.

Well for the DOR this is not looking for work. I am earning some money, it is an income that has grown throughout the past six months. I have the support from my wife for doing what I am doing, but I do not have the support of my case workers at the DOR.

They describe me as "not ready to participate in the workforce." Which I take to be government gobbledigook for not willing to play their game.

The vast majority of the blind and visually impaired community is unemployed, employers will not employ the blind, they see us as a liabillity. Because of employment regulations it is more difficult to fire a disabled person. They see the blind as a risk of filing a suit for injury from falling or they see the blind as lacking in motivation to do a days work. The blind are of course  not more likely to take time off, nor are they more likely to sue an employer. But that is the reality of being blind, if you are blind and want to work you are pretty much screwed.

So I took an option, work for myself, and work hard. True at the moment I don't earn a lot of money, but with every box of books I ship to amazon to resell, with every blog post I make, with every design I submit to my zazzle stor the potential grows.

But my case workers at the California Department of Rehabilitation don't want to see that. They want me to fail, to be unemployed for life, to discourage me at every turn. My success at making work for myself is a step closer to failure for them. Because if I don't need them, then what is their purpose. If every disabled person who can created their own life, did what they can to the best of their abillities then only the truly needy would need the DOR. But the truly needy would mean that case worker's would need to work on cases.

My view is, the DOR seek merely to procrastinate, frustrate and disenfranchise the majority of otherwise able bodied people, merely to create a need which allows them to exist. They need to let those of us who want to help themselves do so. Allow us to live as we wish. Not to pose as assistants who are out to help, when they merely hamper. Nor should the tax payers of California be cheated by this body of incompetants living off the public purse, enjoying benefits and pensions which the ordinary taxpayer can only dream of.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blindside Fresno: Blind Mom Part 2

This is the second part of the program talking to blind moms, Debbie Flowers and Sarah Harris.

Both Debbie and Sarah talk about raising their children while losing vision in Debbie's case and after suddenly losing her vision in a road traffic accident  in Sarah's case.

Both Debbie and Sarah are happy to share some of the funny situations that they have found themselves in and also talk about how sighted people often react to them as blind parents.

Friday, November 4, 2016

In the Studio: Remember, Remember

A few weeks ago I was in the studio at CMAC, to read the article that I posted back then read I am on Green Screen in the Studio.
Uploading Remember, Remember to YouTube left the play button looking like a bright red nose on my title guy fawkes mask.
An Unfortunate Guy

That was just one month ago. After about twenty hours in post production, editing and adding of graphics the completed program was scheduled to show on CMAC's channels last night and is now available on my YouTube channel.

The program' Remember, Remember'  follows the story of the "Gunpoder Plot" from May 1604 until the execution of Guy Fawkes and six other conspirators in January 1606.

Why Choose the Gunpowder Plot?

Well the answer to that is simple. It is November 5 tomorrow.
 and many people outside Britain don't know that for one night of the year, regular as clockwork since 1606 the British have celebrated the failure of the plot to murder the King and all of the political executive. That mass assination was to have taken place on November 5, 1605.

So visitors to Britain are often quite amazed to arrive in the country which explodes into smoke and flames with all sorts of fireworks and parties at this time of the year.

I also love history. I do have a B.A. in History after all and so love to share items of interest from history. So why not bring together talking about the customs of my homeland and adding some of the brutal history of Britain too.

One of my wife's most enduring memories of her time living in England after we married is going with me to a viewpoint high over the River Mersey, the road was crowded with hundreds of people and we all watched fireworks bursting and bonfires burning for about twenty miles around us. From the towns along the Dee Estuary to the South -West, across the Wirral Peninsula and Liverpool to the West. As far as the old mill towns of Lancashire and Manchester to the North and East. It was spectacular and went on for two or three hours on a clear, crisp November evening in 2005.

Take a look at 'Remember, Remember' here on my YouTube Channel.

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Congratulations To The Chicago Cubs

Baseball is a strange game to me. I just don't understand the game. I have seen a few real life games, going down to my local teams ballpark. But on the whole I prefer football. My team is the Chicago Bears.
Chicago Cubs 2016 Topps baseball card pack factory sealed
Chicago Cubs 2016 Topps Baseball Card Pack

As a Bears fan I know real pain. I know what it is to hope for a win, and the seeming promise of "next year." So it was with great surprise a few weeks ago that I learned of the coming World Series teams histories.

I even included a "What do you mean the Cubs are in the World Series?" "No you can't be right the Cubs, don't do the World Series!"

The Cubs it seems do as well with big games as their neighbors, the Bears.  We both share a pain.

So last Sunday with my in laws visiting I sat down to watch the "Indians" win the World Series. They were in the lead  just one win and they would send more pain towards Chicago. All they needed was a win to take the series four games to one.

But then the Cubs, did something. Well, surprising. They won at Wrigley Field! They would live to take the game back to  Indian Territory. To lose on Tuesday, but at least the fans would have the memory of a glorious victory to remember for next year.

Then again on Tuesday, now I was glued to my television set from the National anthem to the last ball. What the Indians lost. Well of course the game plan must be get the fans to pay more for those seventh game tickets tomorrow night. The Indians can't lose three in a row, not against the Cubs.

Well the seventh game came around. Wednesday night. Within minutes I was on the phone to my wife. The Cubs are up and just got a Home run! I screamed down the phone.

It was minutes into a game that would have me on a rollercoaster ride of emotion. The Cubs shut out the Indians, got a few more runs. The Indians hit back, hard nearly tied the game by the fourth inning. Then the Cubs pulled away again.

"Oh God! The Cubs are going to do a Bears on us. Drag defeat from the jaws of victory."

Factory sealed Topps Cleveland Indians baseball card pack. Factory sealed.
2016Topps Cleveland Indians Baseball Card Collection
The Indians hit back again, scores level. One inning left.

The Cubs are all out! The Indians are going to win. "No! Please?"

"They're out "How can they do  this to me?"

"What's happening on the Field?" "What do you mean it has been raining a while and there is a belt of heavvy rain coming?" "You didn't tell me about any rain!"

They're back. "Please, Please. God I will do anything. Let the Cubs get a Run, or load the bases and get a home run would be even better!"

They got one! They got Two!

Out No!

"Oh God. Don't let the Indians come back. " One out.  Two out.

No. They just got first!" "Please God! Just one more OUT!"

Yes. Oh thank you God. The Cubs Won. They won. This is next year. It is time.

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs. I didn't see you win with my eyes. I am not even a fan, but you took me from pain to ecstacy in just a few minutes this week.

Thank you and congratulations on winning the World Series 2016.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How to Make Shepherd's Pie

I have recently completed another program in my Low Vision Kitchen series, this program is entitled 'Shepherd's Pie.'
a golden brown potato topped shepherd's pie is one of the worlds greatest comfort foods.
The Finished Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is very easy to make it is a meat and vegetable filling topped with mashed potato. Traditionally in England Shepherd's Pie is made with Lamb, if the meat in the pie is beef then the pie is known as 'Cottage Pie.' But in the United States any pie topped with mashed potato is generally known as Shepherd's Pie.

My ingredients for this pie was"

1 Large Onion

One Pound of Minced Beef 80/20

Mixed Vegetable I used a mixture of frozen peas and carrots. You may use any vegetables that you prefer.


Teaspoon of Worcestershire  Sauce

Minced Garlic (Optional)

Two packets of dried mashed potato.

This Video describes the method to prepare your Shepherd's Pie in detail.

Pre-Heat an oven to 350 degrees F Gas Mark 4.

First chop the onions and cook them gently in oil to soften but not fry them.

Add minced meat to the onions and brown the meat while stirring the mixture. Add salt pepper and other seasonings.

Allow the meat to cook through while preparing the vegetables

Prepare mashed potatoes to your liking.

Put meat mixture and vegetables in a heat proof dish.

Top with potatoes.

Place dish in the pre-heated oven for between 20 and 45 minutes to allow vegetables to cook through.

Serve hot, you may add a salad if you wish.


T-Shirt Worn in Video 

This shirt design red letters on white shirt worn in the video is available from zazzle the link is in the caption below.
Blind Not Deaf Shirt Available from Zazzle

Friday, October 28, 2016

Amazon Echo Dot: Review

This week I have been working with the new amazon Echo second generation oalso known as "The Dot."

I first saw the amazon Echo in use last year at the California Council of the Blind convention in Forest Hills, Los Angeles. A team of amazon tech experts were putting the Echo and the voice activated and resposne system known as Alexa through her paces. I was very impressed with the product, but was put off by the high price tag, at that time the Echo was in the region of $200, it has since come down in price but is still over $100.
my amazon echo dot on side table,  top blue ring light is illuminated showing that Alexa is working on a question.
Amazon Echo Dot

To read about  amazon Echo first generation click here.

A few months ago amazon announced the release of the second generation Echo Dot. This device would be smaller since it doesn't contain a lower frequency speaker  which fills most of the first generations case. To compensate you can link the Echo Dot to an existing sound system or use bluetooth to link to Bluetooth speakers or use   Bluetooth Headphones.

Since the new amazon Echo Dot costs less than $50 I decided to try it out.

When my Dot arrived I was surprised how small it is. The Dot is about the same diameter as a can of soup and a little over one inch high. It comes complete with a power cord in the box.

Set up was straight forward. Plug the power chord into the Dot and the other end into a power socket. The Dot lights up blue then orange or powering up. You then need to upload an app to your smart phone.  I had some trouble as  the app store on my iPhone 6 said that the app was compatable only with Android devices, so I went to and uploaded the iPhone version of the app from there.

Once you link your Dot to your phone via the app, you can then add your wi-fi settings to the Dot. Enter your wi-fi details by selecting from a drop down menu which appears on your phone and then enter your wi-fi security password on the app. Alexa will powerdown and restrt. You can then begin asking Alexa; amazon's equivalent of Siri, any questions you like.

The Dott does have it's own built in speaker which for me is very good at doing it's job.  I like to listen to the radio as I work so that is my main purpose for buying the Dot. The Dot will stream most services like, spotify, I heart Radio and NPR in the United States. I love to listen to the BBC Radio stations during the day and the Dot has streamed both spoken and music stations very well, even when my internet radio has sometimes dropped a signal, the Dot is still there.

You can also use the Dot to listen to books such as those available on Audible and since the Dot is linked to your amazon account you can also listen to any Kindle books in your library as long as they have " Text to Speech" enabled, which most books do these days.

You can program  your Dot to find stock prices, create personalized news reports, check the weather, prepare shopping lists and also turn on a thermostat or turn lights on and off, even at a long distance using the app on your phone.

As yet I have only scratched the surface of what the Dot and Alexa can do. To read more amazon Echo Dot reviews click here

amazon echo dot second generation with alexa
Amazon Echo Dot

Is the amazon Echo Dot Worth the money?

For me the answer to this question is a very definite yes. It fulfils a need for me as it stands. For less than $50 I have a great sounding internet radio. I can talk to Alexa and find out news sttories that are important to me. I can read my kindle and audible books easily at the command of my voice. No more trying to find a book on a book list croded screen. It can add other bits of hardware to my home to allow me to control lights and heating or cooling. I can do a lot more this week than I could last. That means a big thumbs up for the best $50 I have spent this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

'Blindside Fresno': Being a Blind Mom

The latest edition of 'Blindside Fresno' is now available on YouTube.

In this program, program 4, and in program 5 broadcast next  month. Two moms; Debbie Flowers, a High School Teacher and Sarah Harris,  talk about their individual experiences losing their vision. One having a degenerative eye disorder since being a child, the other losing her sight in a motor vehicle accident.

Facing blindness is hard, but being a parent is even harder especially when faced with the prospect of caring for a child which you cannot see. How do you know what food you are giving them? How do you cope when they are sick? How do you  push a stroller while wielding a long white cane?

Debbie talk about these things as well as talking with humor about the funny side of blind motherhood, such as why did the grocery store visit suddenly become more expensive? What can a child possibly do to disappear when it is wearing bells?

Some of the answers are here in this program, for the  rest you will have to wait until part two is broadcast next month.

Link to Blindside Fresno: Being a Blind Mom

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Low Vision Kitchen: Finger Guard Review

One of my biggest fears in the kitchen is using knives. I have in the past added a little nail to my celery,, a touch of finger tip to a diced onion and sliced into a finger knuckle instead of a tomato. So it came as a relief recently when my wife bought me a Buy In House Finger Guard

the buy in house finger guard amazon affiliate link, picture shows fingers safely inside the finger guard as vegetables are chopped with a knife
Buy In House Finger Guard
The finger guard at first seemed a little flimsy. But here we will be sliding the knife down the surface of the finger guard and not chopping with a cleaver or stabbing at our  fruit, vegetable or meats as we prepare them.

My fingers are also on the large size and the metal is maliable enough to accommodate my fingers in the guard for the time it takes me to chop my ingredients.. If I needed to use this guard for several hours on end in a professional kitchen it would not be comfortable but for the five or ten minutes it may take me to prepare a meal then this finger guard is  good enough.

 Holding most items like onions and vegetables is easy, I have found the finger guard doesn't really interfere with my ability to control the items which I am chopping. In fact I am now able to cut softer items such as tomatoes more easily as I hold the tomato much closer to where the knife blade is cutting preventing the squashing effect of the blade.

The Buy In House Finger Guard is easy to clean as there are no hidden places where food particles can clog into and it is also easy to keep clean while you work. You can quickly chop an onion was the finger guard and then chop an egg without having the onion flavor transfer to your egg.

This finger guard is less expensive than most similar products which are often made from a heavier gauge of steel or even chain mail gloves which also protect the whole hand.

To read reviews of the Buy In House Finger Guard click here.

The Buy In House Finger Guard  could also make a great gift for anyone who is not happy using a knife to chop vegetables in the kitchen or would be great for children who are learning to cook.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Blindside Fresno: Blind Parenting

The next 'Blindside Fresno' program will air next Tuesday on Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC). The scheduled airtime is 7pm PDT on Tuesday October 18, 2016.

Interviewees: Debbie Flowers; Sarah Harris and Hostess Darcie Elliott on Right sit beside a table covered in a rich blue cloth, behind them a blue backdrop and in front of the table is a vase of white flowers. A screenshot of the recording of blindside fresno.
Blindside Fresno Program 4 Left to Right Debbie, Sarah, Darcie

The program is the first part of a two part show about being a mom coping with vision loss and raising children. Our guests Debbie Flowers and Sarah Harris are both experienced moms.

Debbie has three children, she has a degenerative eye condition that though she could see as a child meant increasing vision loss as she grew up. Her vision deteriorated rapidly at the same time as she was raising her children.
Sarah on the other hand lost her sight suddenly in a motor vehicle accident. A few months after the accident she learned she was pregnant with her now twelve year old daughter.

So both women have a different experience in raising children while coping with blindness. They talk frankly about family attitudes to their having children and also the reaction of others in society. While raising children is hard work, they also discuss the funny side of parenting sighted children.

One question answered in these two programs is how can grocery shopping suddenly become so much more expensive when a blind mom takes her sighted child to the grocery store?

The scope of this program was so broad that I decided that we had enough material for two complete programs. This program is the first half, the second program will be shown in November.

As always CMAC will air the show first then the show will be available on my YouTube Channel  or  Blindside Fresno Playlist

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pressure Growing to Allow Blind Drivers to Use Self-Driving Cars Alone

A few weeks ago I posted that Ford were to begin production of autonomous vehicles also called "Google Cars". The initial vehicles were to be built for fleet services, possibly Uber type ride share services. If you would like to read that earlier blog go to  Ford Motor Company Looks Toward Autonomous Motor Vehicle Fleets by 2021.

A white car parked in a driveway infront of a house and surrounded by trees and well kept shrubs and trees.
Possible Ford Autonomous  Vehicle
 In recent  months there have been a flurry of test services put out on the streets where the autonomous vehicles along with a technician and a human driver have operated in several cities around the world. As yet though these autonomouss vehicles have not been licensed to work alone and still require a sighted driver to take over if things go wrong.

To add to complications even when autonomous vehicles do become legal on the road and operate without any controls in the cabin, no gas pedal, no brake pedal and no steering wheel they will still require a sighted "driver" to accompany any blind person.

Recently, Elizabeth Woycke wrote an article  The Blind Have High Hopes For Self Driving Cars published in MIT Technology Review on October 12, 2016.

In August 2016, Perkins School for the Blind, began inviting tech companies from  a wide variety of regions to  co-operate in studies that would allow the new self-driving vehicles to have the ability to be operated by the blind. The problem at the moment being vehicle designers are just designing with sighted operators in mind. The Perkins School want to encourage a wider commitment from manufacturers to see the blind community as consumers of this new technology from the start. Building interfaces that would operate in a similar way to our smart phone apps with possible text to speech and haptic (vibrating ) feedback.

Organizations such as National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and American Council of the Blind (ACB) are also moving on legislators. They are looking for changes in current laws that fail to allow blind and visually impaired individuals to operate autonomous vehicles themselves. A recent legislation change in Nevada was blocked as being discriminatory as it allowed only sighted drivers to operate ALL types of self-driving vehicles under all circumstances.

The maintainance of laws which allow the blind and visually impaired to only use self-driving vehicles operated in the presence of a sighted operator leave us in the same position we are now. Today if I want to travel any long distance, I must rely on my wife, a friend or other relative, or a Taxi driver to take me. I have to wait upon them. I cannot use para-transit to take me somewhere because to use para-transit I must book 24 or 48 hours in advance. Neither of which allow me total independence.  I do have an option of using public transport such as buses and trains, but I am lucky in that  live in a city that has reasonable public transport systems in place. Two  years ago I lived in a sma rural town with little public transport out of town a simple journey took several hours and left me still requiring a relative or friend to drive me around town after the bus had left me at its stop.

We need to encourage our legislators to not se this new technology as just a car that can only be operated by the sighted. After all if the technology works perfectly, whether the driver is sighted or not will not be a factor. The driver of the future is really a passenger, doing other things while the vehicle takes care of the driving. They will work on daily tasks, read a book and even sleep. Never watching the road. Blind people do just that today. So why do we have to be second class citizens when this new technology would and should allow us parity with the sighted people around us.

Any Comments?  Leave a comment on this subject below

A steel travel mug with concept car designs available from
Concept Car Travel Mug

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I Am On Screen In The Studio

Last night at the CMAC studio I was talking explosives. Big bangs, fireworks, pyrotechnics, black powder whatever you want to call it, to many of us British  it will soon be November 5, and that means Bonfire Night. The day we sort of celebrate not having our Parliament blown up by  poor old Guy Fawkes.

The CMAC control room monitors show the studio camera views as William Elliott, producer and host talks about Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot in the green screen studio while recording 'Remember, Remember'
William Elliott as viewed from the Control Room making 'Remember, Remember'

The project called "Remember, Remember,' was made with a green screen back drop. This is called Chroma-Key and it allows you to mix multiple video sources, so in this instance in the picture on this page you see me against a green background when the program is completed in the editing room that green area will be a bonfire. If I was visiting a tropical island it could be a white sandy beach lined with fluttering palm trees or  I could be shrunk to the size of a mouse and be climbing out of a hole in the wall.

Chroma Key or green screen is what makes television magical, the only limit to its use is the producers or directors imagination.

Last night I worked with a very good crew; Darcie, my wife and the usual host of 'Blindside Fresno'  and Mary Bell who has produced several programs at CMAC , take a look at Mary Bell's Producer page,were working in the control room as directors with Steve and Ace Manelski, who produce Valley Veterans Forum. with me in the studio.

This program began back at the end of July when I came up with the idea of producing and introducing a show about Guy Fawkes and Bonfire night. I submitted an initial proposal for the idea in August and when that was approved I began more detailed work. I contacted one of the members of CMAC 'Kiko' Romero  who specialises in editing but had helped me a great deal in the initial production of 'Blindside Fresno,' on this occasion I wanted a particular look to the title sequence. He took on the project to create some really great titles from my ideas.

Then I also began the work of in depth research for the program. One problem with history as any history major can testify is setting a beginning and end date for your story. You need specific dates on which to anchor a program, or essay. If you don't anchor a project with dates you cannot define a story. So while I did touch on some wider British and European history, most of the events for my project took place between May 1604 and January 1606. The dates when Fawkes met the main plotters for the first time and Fawkes execution.

Being blind also makes taking on such a project difficult in the TV studio. Many  might think of using a teleprompter or autocue. Just upload a script and read it to camera. Not reaally possible when you can't even see the camera. So I had to set to memory all the key names and dates of events.

Along the way since I have never worked in a green screen studio before I had to learn what green screen can do, and more importantly what it can't. For this I arranged meetings with members of CMAC's regular staff. They are very important in my view. They want a project to work and they are always willing to help out and answer questions like; How do ...? or "What can I do with ...?"



For instance I imagined my program with the graphics added as I spoke, but I was advised because the program will be full of graphics that it would save time and be more accurate to place the graphics in later and just record against a green screen.

So that is just what we did.

The program itself will run for just thirty minutes when finished. We recorded nearly one hours worth of video, in that there are mistakes, places that I forgot some piece of information and also where I was not happy with how I had said something. Most of that will be edited out and  made to look better in the final product.

I am looking to have the program aired on CMAC in time for November 5. That gives us two weeks in post production editing and a two week submission process. That seems a lot of time, but I now know from experience it is no time at all.

This project was a great deal of fun. I learned some new things in the studio, got some insight in appearing before a full on studio camera, plus the funny part. Having my wife put me in make-up. It appears I have a very shiney head for TV.

Funny I didn't realise that I am as bald as I am. Chalk up another positive for not being able to look in a mirror.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Abused by, Struck by and Hurt by Old People in Electric Wheelchairs

One of the things that annoys me the most when using public transport is the wheel chair or scooter user who insists they can race onto the bus at high speed and drive all over my guide dogs paws.
A man wearing a t shirt with yellow writing sits in his electric scooter on a bus.
The  Man in the Scooter on the Bus

It hurts my dog. I know it does, I hear the squeeky intake of breath he makes.

This morning I had to go downtown to take my latest edition of 'Blindside Fresno' into the CMAC office. A lovely morning, some would say chilly. There was a hazy sun, the temperatures were in the mid fifties and Leif, my black lab guide dog was working hard at being a good guide. Such mornings are great. I love them. It could almost be called a pleasure to be blind and living in the Central Valley of California.

I got on the bus and until we reached the end of the line we sat on the seats at the front that are removable for  wheelchairs. Then because it is a decent length of a break at the end of the line, Leif and I moved to the front seats behind the panel which seperates the wheelchair area from the rest of the bus.

This is normal for me to do. Usually one or two wheelchair users get onto the bus heading downtown and as Leif and I can move why shouldn't we sit in an ordinary seat. I sometimes feel a little sick if I travel too far sideways too.

The buses don't always have a lot of space for a guide dog between the seat and the safety panel though, that was the case today. In fact  there was not enough room  for me to sit facing to the front I had to sit a little side saddle because my knees were pressed hard into the panel.

About half way downtown, I heard the bleeps of the wheelchair ramps go down and a whizz of an electric motor. A scooter type wheelchair raced onto the bus. He couldn't steer into the space left after the driver lifted the seats because the man in the scooter insisted in doing everything in the highest speed setting. Back and forth he went. on about the fourth forward I heard a squeel and felt Leif rise under my seat. A woman shouted, "Hey! You just drove over that dogs paws!"

The man an old man, just said, "F%#@ OFF!" Eventually getting into the space and being strapped in by the driver.

Leif is a good dog. I feel hurt when someone hurts him. But this man's attitude stunk. To behave in such a manner is however such a daily occurance these days. I feel like it is one section of the wheelchair crowd, older less secure people who feel somehow that their being wheelchair users is some excuse for bad behaviour. It doesn't.

We all have bad days. But don't take your bad day out on my guide dog. He did nothing to cause your problem and he saves me from problems that you'll never know.

Why is it these people, get to go out, in a heavy, physically dangerous vehicle. Drive along sidewalks at high speed, get on public transport erunning over peoples feet and failing to use reasonable control with no training? I had to go to school for two weeks to learn to work with my guide dog. I had to pass a test to use my guide dog.  I cannot be reckless with my guide dog, maybe we should look on these motor scooters like a real motor vehicle and make their users responsible for injuries and pain that they cause.

Maybe they should take a look at Driving Tips For Electric Wheelchair Users

Cicero, the Roman orator once lamented O! Tempora. O! Mores. when fellow citizens berated the youth of Rome for their lack of manners and poor attitudes. Cicero's statement was said in a manner to suggest the differing values of the old and young. Now I consider myself as older, I look at the manners of the old and lament the poor values they show.  Young people on the other hand are much less dismissive. One young man last week even just seconds after nearly hiiting me on a sidewalk, called me "Sir." and couldn't apologize enough for not looking where he was going.

O! Tempora. O! Mores.

Friday, September 30, 2016

September- Fun, football and Food

We are here, at the end of another September. I have had a great month really, despite the getting lost
A photograph rendered to artwork by the prisma iphone app.
William in Chicago Bears ShirtPhoto rendered by Prisma App
In roadworks, getting a year older  and well, what is there to say about "Da Bears."

This month I did a few exciting things, I created a website for 'Blindside Fresno' The site will give news updates for the television program, provide links to the individual shows and also look to raise money to enable me to keep working on the program. Take a look at the site at Blindside Fresno

Also very exciting news for this blog; it passed the 40,000 views mark in the first couple of days of the month. Now it stands at the 43,000 views mark. WOW!  This means that September 2016 is the most viewed month since this blog was created way back in 2011. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. You the readers, likers and subscribers to this blog.  Without you this blog would not exist.

It would be nice though if you would get involved, add a comment or two. Tell me the posts that you enjoy, share some of your experiences.

Another birthday has passed, in this case my fifty-fifth.  It seems no time ago when I was sitting in school listening to a careers teacher telling me all the things I couldn't do. Work with computers, work in television, write. How I had to prepare for a life of work in a chemical factory, like every other pupil at the school. Now looking back I have done most of the things I wanted to do at some time or other. I think though being a jet fighter pilot might be a little beyond me today. But you never know!

Football season began here four weeks ago, another thing I don't understand. Years seem to pass between February and September then football season starts and we are already one quarter of the season down, and I hardly blinked! What is it with that? Well talking about down, my Bears. The Chicago Bears, at week three and half the team are wounded and looking more like the dogs of the NFL. Come On, Bears it is thirty years since you won the Superbowl, half a dozen years since you won a play-off spot. Time to give us fans a break and just win a game. Though the win against San Francisco in their nice new shiney stadium last season, was precious. Wasn't that the Bears last win? Maybe or maybe not, it just seems like it was.

With the end of September comes the time of more exciting food. There is a chill in the air, even here in California. That means few days of salad type foods, less cold meat sandwiches. A return to hot soups, roasted meats and stews.

This time of year brings me my favorite foods, and starting with the king of sweet pies, the Costco Pumpkin Pie. I had never tried pumpkin pie until 2002. The last night of my journey around the United States was spent at SeaTac airport. On the menu was pumpkin pie. I asked the waitress what it was like and she was at a loss to describe it. I guess like many of us we think our common place is the same for everyone. She ate pumpkin pie and so must everyone else. So I ordered some, thinking it may be the only time I would get to eat it. Little did I know then that only a few days earlier I had met my future wife, and America would become my home.

Well that first bite, the sweet cinnamon taste, the soft pastry that crumbled in my mouth took me back to sneaking a bite of my grandmother's custard pies as a child. I had loved those custard pies and this pumpkin pie was just a custard pie in  another guise.

Now the season of good food begins, Pumpkin Pies are in Costco, my wife is talking about making soup and Turkey is sounding good on a plate instead of a sandwich.

It is good to be at the end of another September. Go Bears! Please?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How Long Does It Take A Blind Man To Cross A Street?

Some days you just have to laugh at yourself. Amid a confusion of traffic and roadworks, bus routes and traffic cones. The is a blind man and his dog. Wandering hither and thither. With only a determination to get home and a desire not to be some motorisits hood ornament.

 Devil Thumbing His Nose Hood Ornament

Today was one such day. How Long did it take this Blind Man to cross the road? Two hours, two whole hours of muddle and frustration. The  reason, roadworks and a moved bus stop.

Well first a little background, this morning I had to go to see one of my eye doctors. Getting there is pretty easy, I cross the eight lane highway using a bus, I simply take my bus around the cornerr, down the highway and then off at the first stop over the highway. From there I double back a little and walk a few hundred yards to the doctor's office. I could walk the whole distance in about twenty five minutes, if it weren't for that eight lane highway, it's 50 mile per hour traffic and a myriad of turning lanes in the way.

So I got my bus, to the sttop, crossed the street, booked into my eye doctor's and saw the doctor, having my eyes dilated of course. Why they insist on that I don't know, but my vision of course goes from pretty bad to I can't see a damn thing through these eyeballs.

Well all well and good, make an appointment to see this doctor again in nine months. This is not my retinologist by the way. So after making the appointment, wishing the receptionist a happy Christmas and New Year. I leave.

Well at this point Leif my guide dog and I have a little chat, he wants to take me back the way we came, but I want to go a quietwer route. We are only half way between bus stops and my way means we get a nuice quiet street crossing rather than the route we came with traffic turning in several directions and me unable to see anything.

So Leif, turns his paws in the direction I want and we head up the street. After a few minutes walking, I can smell the unmistakable odour of bitumen. Plus a high pitched bleep bleep, bleep.

Er! Are we going into roadworks? I ask Leif and myself. Leif doesn't say anything at this point. But I get a little nervous. The bus  bustop is across this street and now there are roadworks. How far do the roadworks go? Will the bus still stop there. Has it changed its route for the  day?  I pull out my phone.

I call the bus company. "Will the bus be stopping at Spruce and Millbrook? I ask. " There seems to be lots of construction and congestion.

"Sure." Says a cheerful voice, we have no notice of changes on that route today.

""Er well it seems awful busy around  here." I say.

"The bus is due in seven minutes." The voice answers.

OK I cross nervously, my quiet sidestreet is now a boiling mass of tar layers, cars and trucks pushing through closed lanes, cones and a rather reluctant guide dog watching traffic coming from four directions at once.

So we make it to our bus stop. Good, soon be home I tell Leif, who slumps with a grunt to the ground. We wait, we, wait, we wait. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty minutes.

OK Leif something is up I say. Let's go back to where you wanted to take me first. So we make our way back through the cones, through the smoke and fumes of the tar, through a scramble of cars and trucks.

Part way back Leif decides it is now time to give me something else to do. "You can carry my poop too!" he protests. I dutifully pick out a poop bag, pick up his gift and we make our way back to the stop where the bus had left us a little over an hour earlier.

We find the crossing and apart from on motorist trying to cut around us as they rushed a red light we crossed safely.

I decided to call the bus company again. I repeated my question about if there was any change in my bus route, to be told there was no change. But of course now  I was wary of such cheerfulness.

In a few moments our bus arrived. I got on showing my ticket, and in passing I asked the driver if there is a change in the route up ahead. "Oh yes." He said, " "There are roadworks so we are not going through Millbrook"

OK Good to know I thought,  pity no-one tells your folk back at the office.

So a journey, which should have taken me forty minutes at most, took over two hours.

My apologies for all typos in this post. My eyes are still pretty dilated and it's hard to type.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Magnificent Seven - Movie Review

I have just spent an evening at the movies. I have to be honest in saying that I was not looking forward to seeing "Magnificent Seven". Mainly because it is a remake and having recently suffered through the remake of "Ben Hur" this was looking to me like it would be one remake too amny.
Cinema poster for the magnificent seven released September 23 2016
'Magnificent Seven' Movie Poster IMDB

Having said that, I will now say that I was wrong. I really enjoyed this movie. The action has moved from the original classic from a small Mexican town to a town supposedly three days ride from Sacramento, I am guessing California unless you know of another Sacramento. Well I know California can be hot and desert, but this hot desert is not three days horse ride from Sacramento. This  place is serious desert. But allowing for that. The story somewhat follows the classics line. A small town threatened by a thug, who causes the towns people to look for safety  by hiring  a band of gunfighters, this time led by Denzel Washington as Sam Chisum.

This movie does have a huge body count. Mainly due to the bad guys falling right and left. Plus there are long action scenes at the end where the villain tries to force entry to the town.

I was sad that the cinema where I watched this movie had no audio description available, for some reason it was down, and they didn't bother to tell me. So my wife had to return to her old role as audio commentator for me.

Throughout the movie there are little tips of the Stetson to the 1960's classic. Often the soundtrack will almost trip into the familiar strains of the original movies soundtrack and the audience is finally rewarded as the end credits begin to roll with Elmer Bernstein's original title score. A nice touch.

The characters in this version are a little less well developed than in the original. They are not so much gunfighters facing a world that no longer wants their kind. In this movie we learn one or two of the characters back stories from their conversations but most are little more than bodies on the screen.

Where this movie loses on depth of story it makes up with bangs, and there are lots of loud bangs in this movie.

I enjoyed it, it was fun, it was loud and I came out  fully satisfied with my evenings entertainment.

See The Magnificent Seven (1960) on amazon streaming service.

Listen to Elmer Bernstein's Magnificent Seven Film Score

Amazon Search

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Three Wishes Answered

In April 2014,  I wrote a post called Three Wishes. In that post I imagined that I had "Three Wishes", one to have a supply of Cumberland Sausage, the second to show people how I see, and third to be able to draw.
Wish number 1 granted, I made my own Cumberland sausage
Wish 1: Cumberland Sausage

Well within a few weeks of putting that post up online, my first wish came true. If you can't go to the store and buy ready made Cumberland sausage, you can buy pork, sausage skins, spices and if you have access to a sausage making machine and willing helpers, in that case my wife's parents you can make as much Cumberland Sausage as you like. The outcome of that wish was blogged in May 2014 in the post  How To Make Cumberland Sausage.

That was fun but one wish out of three? That is just silly, I could have made the decision to make the sausages at any time couldn't I. Maybe just putting it in writing allowed my wife to see how much I missed food from home.

Well let's just say Wish Number One was granted.

Wish number 2: Letting people know how I see. I am going to be very broad with this one. Some people who have followed my blog for some time might have an idea of what I actually see. For those here for the first time, my left eye has barely any light perception, I can see a dim shadow of a hand move in front of a light. For the right I have no central vision, a grey fog fades from the left by
In the TV studio besides a camera, headset on head with the set in view through the camera viewfinder.
Becoming a TV Producer,
my nose to the right where I do have some peripheral vision. But here I would also add, I don't see myself as incapacitated, incapable of productive effort nor do I accept that I should retire to never set foot outside my front door again. That is just not me.

So which way is this going? I cannot show you my visual world, you might be visually impaired yourself, so what purpose would you knowing what I see be? You may just not have a large screen, maybe just a cell phone to look at this blog on in that case you don't have enough viewing screen to see what I see.

So here we will take the second idea of seeing. Seeing blind and visually impaired people as capable individuals who can contribute.

Well in joining CMAC, the television collaborative, producing 'Blindside Fresno' supporting others work. There I feel that I am allowing people to see things my way, and people have commented that their perception of blindness is changed because of my perseverance.

Something that I am pleased about. And shall we say Wish number two has come true? I will say so.

OK, so two wishes, fulfilled in a sort of way. But Three. Even blindness and low vision could not make me a expert drawer.
Using the prisma app I converted a photo of Leif my guide dog into a reasonable drawing.
After processing through Prisma app I have a drawing

Well no, I cannot draw very well, I can draw the occasional cartoon face, I used to be able to draw birds , trees and flowers pretty well. But I was always a better photographer. So we'll take photographs yes? I can do that, there is often enough contrast on my cell phone screen to allow me with the help of Siri to get a good picture. Photograph means to draw with light doesn't it

Then a few weeks ago I was listening to a podcast on my phone in which they talked about an app  called 'Prisma'. The app is available for both IOS and Android devices I believe. I downloaded it and even with poor vision, I can choose a photo, press the selected artistic style, ranging from comic book to detailed pencil sketches, even artists like Van Gogh or Piet Mondrian are included. In moments my selected photograph can be a wonderful sketch.

The thing is I now see these wishes come true. Maybe not in an intended way, no I can't buy the sausages at the store, no people don't see exactly what I see through my eyes, but they do see my attitude to my vision loss and so an app on my phone means I can now draw anything better than I ever could.

I am happy.

So do you have three wishes? Leave a a wish list in the comments below.

They say writing down wishes can make them come true. It worked for me.



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