Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Happy Birthday to Leif, My Guide Dog.

View more Yolo T-Shirts
Today is a very special day. It is March 30 2013 and it is Leif, my guide dogs fourth birthday.

So Happy Birthday puppy.

I know at four years old he is not a puppy, but as we walk along I often call him pup. It's just one of those little habits I have grown into over the past couple of years.

Today he will work with me again. We have an appointment downtown later. Then he will come home with my wife and I will go to work in the television studio again tonight. I won't be home till almost 9pm so Leif will have had his dinner by then. Not that he won't mind an extra treat before he goes to bed. Well it is only once a year.

Guide Dog Leif is sitting on a bus, Sunlight streams in through a window making his black coat glisten silver.
Guide Dog Leif Between Seats on a Bus.

He has spent the morning sitting beside me here at my computer. Occassionally wandering outside to sunbathe. He usually sits quietly beside me.  He is just that sort of a dog.

He is so quiet and steady  that the other day I had not clipped his leash to his collar properly. As I put on his harness the leash must have pulled off the collar. I stepped outside the front door with Leif in harness beside me, I put down his harness to lock the door and he wandered about six feet away to sit and look back at me.

Only then did I realise that we were not connected by a leash. He just sat calmly as I flustered and found the end of the leash to link it back to his collar.

That is one reason why I just love this big black Labrador named Leif.

Happy Birthday pup.

Here are some good books  about the lives of Guide Dogs

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Design Your Own Chocolate Bar

Have you ever wanted to design your own chocolate bar? Are you tired of never being able to surprise a loved one because you have to take them shopping with you?

This may be your answer.

If you have wondered about  creating your own delicious chocolate bar and would like to give a special chocolate gift, for a birthday, Mother's Day or Christmas or just declare yourself a chocolatier then Chocomize give you the opportunity to create your own chocolate delight on zazzle.

Using the unique customize designer tool on zazzle Chocomize allow you to add a selection of favorite fruits to their chocolate, so for instance you may love strawberries but not want cranberries. Just add the strawberries to your mix and leave out the cranberries  in this dried fruit selection chocolate bar.

Chocomize will make the bar to your specific order, and dispatch it to your home in a few hours for you to enjoy and share.

I love using this service because it is easy to create a simple gift for my wife, in secret.

No more trying to distract her to take me to a store and go away from me while I try to find a store assistant who can help me find the product, and then try to sneak to the checkout before my wife comes back to see her surprise long befor I was able to hide it from her.

Now I can create a gift that she will love, order it simply and in a few days it is at our door.

Secrecy is not compromized, delight is assured and happiness abounds.

Try it for yourself. Click the link above to try the dried fruit selection.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

TGIF T-Shirt

Last week I was busy in designer  mode. Icreated a new series of T-Shirts and cards.

These were created using a new technique which my wife taught me using Microsoft Office Word and Paint.

Initially getting things just right was not easy, but things are never easy when  you don't see too well are they? So with some perseverance over a couple of weeks I have a working strategy to create all sorts of things.

Here is my TGIF T-shirt, the style shown here is for women but the design is available for men and children or babies too. You can find those sizes and styles through this link and then clicking on the right side of the page which comes up where you find "See on All Number of Styles"

Here it is take a look and let me know what you think or share a link if you really like it.

TGIF T-SHIRT by Bretsuki
Browse William elliott T-Shirts online at

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Creating Employment for the Blind and Visually Impaired By Supporting 'Blindside Fresno'

I am looking for some supporters to help me complete my pilot "Blindside Fresno" program and help create a seed fund for the series as a whole.

Producing a television series even with  volunteers is expensive, the crew needs feeding at recordings, there is the purchase of SD cards to record the programs on and then there is the cost of travel too and from the studio.

I have created a T-Shirt or Hoodie which costs from $16.99 plus processing. The shirts and Hoodies are available through Teespring for the next few days.

I would like to ask you to support me in this project. With your help we can create a useful resource for the blind and visually impaired community. and help create employment for members of the blind and visually impaired community in the Fresno-Clovis area of California.

Hug Me Penguin "Blindside Fresno Supporters Club.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Resources For Independence Community Leadership Course

William Elliott and Guide  Dog Leif after graduating Resources for Independence Central Valley Community Leadership Course.
William Elliott stands with Guide Dog Leif
On March 16, 2016. The eleventh cohort of the Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV) Community Leadership class graduated from the six week long course.

I was there as one of those graduates and it was a great class.

The aim of the class which is being taught in several states and around the world, aims to train people how to be proficient members of Community Brenefit Organizations (CBO's) what many people still call Non-Profit Organizations.

Graduates of this course have learned fundamentals of accounting, the structures of various boards, the importance of accountability and operation of normal and special board meetings both in the public and private sectors.

Over the six weeks we heard presentations from several speakers, including local government administrators, members of Community Business Organizations and also legislative representatives. We also put our new found knowledge into practice, creating our own informal board meetings to practice the themes taken from Robert's Rules of Order.

Graduation was a fun ending to the class, not only did we receive a certificate of completion from RICV but also commendations from local representatives at city, State and Federal Levels. It was a great afternoon for networking too, handing around business cards, discussing where we where going next with this new knowledge was top of most peoples lists as was asking for help with some projects.

Keep an eye out in your own areas, this cclass may be coming to an area near you soon. It is well worth the time to take part if it does.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why Puppy Raisers Do What They Do

I want to share a post by a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser friend. I hope her view of the statement, "I could never do that." will touch your heart as much as it does mine.

I would like to share these words of a puppy raiser. We puppies enter your lives. You teach us good things, you never...
Posted by Guide Dog Leif on Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

In the TV Studio for My Own Production

Thursday saw me in the television studio again. But this time I was working on my own project. A show called "Blindside Fresno"

The show is about blindness issues, news and information. Thursdays program was a pilot, just to try out a basic formula, possibly build a crew and a practice for me to get the planning portion correct.

Possibly the most basic of all television formats is the two person interview. A host who introduces a guest and then leads the guest through the program, asking questions, giving responces and giving feedback to the guest.

As I have mentioned previously, this program has been in my mind since my initial studio training last November.. To read about my initial studio training Read my post here.

As my plans condensed I had decided the first program should be an interview with my retinologist, Dr. Vivian Kim of Advance Retina Care in Fresno. I have been her patient since early 2007 so I have come to respect her a great deal as she is very knowledgeable about her field.

Doctor Kim (Left) describes the anatomy of the eye using a medical model as host Darcie Elliott (Right) listens during the recording of 'Blindside Fresno'
Dr. Kim on Left describes the anatomy of the eye as my host Darcie Elliott conducts the interview.

Over the first few weeks of pre-production things were a little slow moving. Studio time had to be arranged at mutually convenient times, proposals were written to the television company, Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC)  Scripts were prepared and checked for accuracy, then rewritten.

By mid February with dates and times set my job as producer really began to build rapidly. I needed to find a crew by advertising for volunteers and going over the volunteer list. I also needed to find a musical theme so I looked to a blind friend and musician for that.

With one week to go I had several volunteers ready to help and the music was ready to record. Then of course the gremlins started to step into the mix.

First the only recording of the theme music was somehow scrambled at another facility. My crew began to dwindle rapidly as life events came into their lives. This is the sort of thing that a producer really needs to prepare for. Completing a program is a large team effort.

At the last minute the original host dropped out too. So my wife bravely stepped up to be host for this pilot. I admit that I breathed a little sigh of relief at that because I was worried about how my originally planned host would work with the entire subject of vision loss. But Darcie did an excellent job.

Thankfully I had two of my original crew arrive for the crew call.  Ricky and Ben did an excellent job. We created the set, put up cameras and left them on standard settings for the recording. One camera each on guest and host, the third left to cover a wide shot of both.

We did not have the luxury of having any camera operators. Both Ricky and Ben were already going to have to cover two control room positions each. Ricky on Tri-caster and audio and Ben calling the camera shots working the autoque machine and planning what shots to prepare.

I was also in the control room asking Ben for some particular shots  or technical features such fade ins and outs to help with the editing later.

All the time we were also helped by many of the staff at CMAC who gave us a brief revision of operating the control room and preparation.

Finally the show recorded in just under thirty minutes. We had started a little late due to the amount of work put on us by having such a small crew. But both my crew did very well and it looks as we now move into the post production phase, editing. That we have an interesting program on record.

Inside the control room of 'Blindside Fresno' Director Ben sits to the right as Technical Director Ricky works at the Tri-caster, vision mixer on left. On the wall in front of them is a monitor which shows the view of all three cameras the large image on upper right shows the currently recorded image.
In the Control Room During the Recording of 'Blindside Fresno'
So now it is time to move on to post production. I have learned a lot of things that should have been done by now. I should have planned to allow for the loss of my theme music, I should have created some of the graphics already. But now we are this far into the project I am very pleased.

Watch out for the next instalment of this adventure into the world of television production.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How the Blind Know What Coins they have.

Today I pass my Thirty-Four thousand views mark. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts over the years. I appreciate the time that you have taken to read my posts.

Now for today's post.

How do blind people know what coins they have?

In the United States we only have four coins, thankfully all different sizes but also all round discs. So I created this video to help show you how a blind person in the U.S. whether resident or just visiting can identify the four coins in general circulation.

This is a great skill for anyone to learn, sighted or visually impaired. You can learn the coins from any nation quickly  testing shape, finding a smooth edge or milled (rough ) edge. Just picture yourself in a dark parking lot at night, poor lighting and a hungry meter to fill. Slip a hand into a pocket or purse and find the coins safely in there. Pull out the coin you need rather than risking spilling handfuls over the floor.

I used to find coins all over parking lots where people had dropped coins from pockets in England, one year I totalled my records of places to find coins, my best was parking lot ticket machines collecting over one hundred British pounds in one year from just the ground around two machines, even at todays exchange rate that is over $140 U.S. dropped coins.

If you found this video useful please feel free to share it with your friends .

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lottery Win! Yipppeeeee

A Powerball ticket
A Powerball Ticket
You may remember back in January I mused on the idea of having a large lottery win.

Well I did not win the Billion dollars in that drawing, though it was someone else from California who did. I am glad of that.

I had left the ticket to run through its course, you see I buy my tickets for multiple draws, usually ten  them. That means a tcket runs for about five weeks. There are two Powerball draws per week. This week I forgot to take my old ticket to check at the local lottery sales counter in Save Mart Supermarkets.

Well today I had to go and buy some more  groceries and took my old ticket along with me. I took it to the customer service counter and asked them to check it for me.

Imagine my surprise when they told me that I had won!

I had actually won something. It was a very nice surprise. My winnings were only $20 but that is still a win. My initial investment was returned and it paid for some of the groceries which will feed me for part of this week.

Of course  you may say that it was a waste of money to buy the ticket in the first place. You may be right if that is your opinion. But in return I also get the fun of pondering the what if ...?  question. The very same question which I addressed in my earlier post.

If you want to read the original What would you do with a Billion Dollar Lottery win? Click here