Thursday, June 30, 2016

Frustration With the Department of Rehabilitation

There is a time in any relationship when you have to ask yourself, "Why the hell do I want to be with you?" You know the initial excitement has fizzled to contempt; the promises the other person made have never come to pass and then the other person seems more ignorant of you than supportive. I have long wondered at my relationship with the California Department of Rehabilitation in this way.

A case worker once told me to "Just go back home to England, we don't need you here."  The same case worker told me about training, had me apply then when I was accepted made all kinds of excuses as to why the State of California could not afford to send me for the ttraining.

The other day I received notice to go to a job fair at my local employment office. The purpose to find work with Comcast; as an installation technician.

Flyer received with notice to attend for interview for an installation technician.
Comcast Job Opportunity Flyer
I noticed that a word prominent in the instruction to attend was  "Install." So my brain started working on this. Are these jobs only for installation technicians? or Are there vacancies for other posts? I could do customer service jobs, work in a call center or something. But just to make sure I decided to call.

The call was answered by a person, who was friendly but then didn't know of any other job areas being recruited for. The job fair was only for installers. Knowing the answer already I asked, "Does this mean that I would need to drive a vehicle?"  "Of course ." Came the reply. "Bring your driving licence with you to the job fair."

"Ah. There is a problem with that ,"I said. "I am blind."

At this point the other man's composure shattered. After all he could not tell me that a blind person need not apply. But a driving licence and eyesight might be neccessary for this job.
He asked, Who had told me about the job fair, I said my case worker at the Department of Rehabilitation.  He was now clearly feeling very embarrsed by the whole conversation. I let him go.

For me this act of total ignorance is no surprise. It is at least the third driving job I have been told to go for in the past year. One was to drive a fork lift truck in a warehouse, a second was to drive tractors on local vineyards during the raisin harvest.

The person who sent me the order to apply for this job doesn't even have the excuse that they sent the job to the wrong e-mail list of cases. They only have blind people on their case load. Theyeven have a Masters degree  from some school or other. I a mere Bachelors degree am able to see the stupidity of the situation, but they from their lofty high tower seem only to see that there job is to send out notices of jobs. No matter how unsuitable to blind people.

If you are blind, the Department of Rehabilitation in California, in my experience, will not seek to aid and support you in achieving independence. Instead you will become mired in their inneptitude, stiffled and strangled by their red tape and left to struggle, while they in their ivory towers will plead with self pity of high workloads, a desperate need to help the poor impoverished blind. All the while loading their own pockets with tax-payers dollars in wages, benefits and pensions and spending the work week in training junkets.

Do you have similar experiences with your local Department of Rehabilitation?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blindside Fresno: The Final Countdown

The saga of the pilot edition of my new television program, is now drawing to a close.

A few days ago I received a copy of my editors final cut of the program. I have to say at this point that it looks great.

The logo is white on a black background, the words Blindside Fresno take the center while to the right is an outline image of an eye complete with eyelids looking off to the right.
The Opening Title LOGo of "Blindside Fresno"
To the left is the logo which will appear in the programs title. I was very pleased with this design created by my editor Kiko Romero.

In other parts he has edited down the time of the program to just about 30 minutes.

He also added captions for names, the technical terms for these graphics are "Lower Thirds" since they usually appear in the lower third of the screen during the program.

We also found some light music with which to liven up the titles, which apart from the logo contain images from my own collection. Guide Dogs, images of downtown Fresno. In all the work put in has been tremendous and I am very happy with the results.

The next step will be to submit the program for broadcast. This involves some paperwork and giving CMAC a copy of the program to upload and transmit.

The station plans its schedule about two weeks in advance so as I will be submitting tomorrow we will be lookingg at a broadcast date at least around July 14.

I will post more details of the broadcast date and time. Anyone can then view the program in the Fresno-Clovis areas on Comcast or AT&T Uverse channels or anyone with a good internet connection will be able to view it at the time of broadcast on CMAC's own website CMAC Website

Following the first broadcast by CMAC the program will be available onMy YouTube Channel.

So keep a look out over the next few days for the latest news about my new television program, 'Blindside Fresno'.

Friday, June 17, 2016

ACB "Spotlight On ..." A Described Video

For many blind or visually impaired people the road to the workplace is guarded by a persistantly Red stoplight.
The Stoplight of Blind Unemployment
or many blind and visually impaired people, long term unemployment or under employment is a reality.

Rates of unemployment are extremely high, and this is not just because of any economic downturn or lack of motivation on the art of the blind and visually impaired. 70% of visually impaired and blind are unemployed in good or bad economic times.

This is not because we as a group are unemployable, we can do many things a sighted person can do. We just do things differently.

It takes courage and insight, forgive the pun, for an employer to see beyond our blindness. Sadly it is all to easy to dismiss a blind or visually impaired person as incapable.

This ACB video talks about the problem.

Please share this video maybe you could help an employer see that blindness is merely a inconvenience and not a reason to throw us on a scrap heap.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Meanwhile: Back in the Television Newsroom

Regular readers of this blog may remember that at the end of 2015 I took classes in Television production at a local public service television studio and in March I produced and recorded a pilot for a series called "Blindside Fresno". To read the post about that day in the studio go to this page "Blindside Fresno" in the studio.

We see banks of monitors and the Director's desks as "Blindside Fresno" is recorded in the television studio
In the "blindside Fresno" Control Room

Well you may be wondering what has happened to the show?

Has it got lost?

Did it air?

Well the production is still going ahead.

I had a meeting with the editor and he is working on some items to finish off.  I was sad to find that he had only just got around to balancing sound levels on the recording, no titles had been added to the program and no credits at the end either. He cited being busy, but at three months and counting I was not happy.

Working with volunteers is hard, there is little leverage for me to bring to bear, after all I cannot fine him for late delivery, I cannot do much other than to take the project away, but then I am cutting off my nose to spite my face. Time lost already cannot be made up. So we agreed another week for him to bring me something.

Meanwhile I can use this time to find someone else to work on future projects.

I am looking at returning to the studio in the next few weeks to work on further editions of "Blindside Fresno".  This will give us some extra programs in readiness to go once the initial pilot is prepared.

Life as a television producer is not easy. But I must say it is lots of fun. Coming up with ideas, building a team then seeing a project through is very much what I enjoy. Even when things don't exactly go to plan.

But in the meantime, here is an edition of CMAC 'n' Live which I worked on as a camera operator a few weeks ago.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Primaries Are Here

William Elliott delivers a speech from behind the Presidential Podium at the Ronald Reagan Museum in California.
William Elliott Behind the Presidents Podium.

Well  today, Tuesday June 7, 2016 is a big day for me.

No I am not running for President, nor am I President of anything, though the photo left may suggest otherwise.

Today the Primaries come to California, and several other states too.

But today is the first time I actually get to vote in a Primary. I am so excited. Though I have voted in a Presidential Election before in 2012, I didn't get a vote in a primary because there was no Primary for either party that year all candidates being knocked out of the running in the previous months.

This year however I get a primary to vote in. Yipppeee.

There are also lots of local positions up for election too. County supervisors, city mayor, a new senator to choose for the November race and a local council spot.

Coming from Britain where voting is pretty simple, pick your candidate and vote for them and forget. Voting in the United States is not for the faint hearted, there are numerous motions on a ballot, lots of positions are sorted by election and then an election may not decide a winner this tern just move a candidate forward for an election later in the year. Plus the biggest difference you can write in the name of any person who you  feel may be a good candidate, and if enough people write in the same person, Mickey Mouse need not apply, then they may be elected to that post.

The choices are mind boggling but in the end it all works out.

I already have my shopping list of candidates ready.

So off to the polls with me.

If you have the ability to vote in any election. I strongly urge you to use your vote. A vote is only wasted if you don't use it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I Am Back: and The Redneck Amplifier

Hello again everyone.

I am sorry for the recent interruption in blog posts. The reason for the break since mid-April has been quite simple really, I have been in hospital a few times. First with a heart attack which required some surgery and recouperation and then with peritonitis, caused by an infection possibly from the earlier surgery.

Now thankfully all those problems are over and I can sit at my desk comfortably again. Comfortably enough to write posts and such.

The Redneck Amp.

The redneck amplifier is a simple measuring jug or circular bowl. Place your phone or iPod player into the bowl or measuring jug increasing the volume to fill the room with easy to hear sound.
The Redneck Amplifier
During my time recovering from the recent surgery and infections I have spent a lot of time listening to podcasts and the radio over my iPhone. Holding a cell pphone for a long time close enough to hear clearly can be uncomfortable and wearing a bluetooth headset or ear buds can be tiring too.

So looking back to my old physics books, I decided to make a simple amplifier. The Amplifier which I call the "Redneck Amp."

The principle is simple. Increase the area of the speaker in order to increase the volume of the output from the original speaker.

I simply turned up the volume on my cell phone to full, placing the cell phone into a round mixing bowl or in the case of this photograph a conical measuring jug causes the bowl or measuring jug to vibrate in response to the sound output of the phone and the increased surface area and the cone or hemisphere shape of the amplifier causes the sound to be clearly audible around a quite large room. I can hear a podcast from my phone across a twenty foot long living room.

As long as you make sure the bowl or measuring jug is dry and not required for a while it is a cheap but effective way of amplifying the output of your cell phone. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments.

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