What do I remember about 9/11/01? I was at home by myself. I was still living with my parents at the time, and they were both still working. On that particular Tuesday morning they left early for work, as they always did. My brother was living here in Chicago, and most of my sisters had left for the day. One sister was in the hospital having a procedure done, but she's fine. I woke up, got out of bed, and headed for the shower. After showering, I brushed my teeth and got dressed. I then headed downstairs to the kitchen, where my mom had set out breakfast for me. The kitchen radio was on and tuned to Chicago's public-radio station, as was and still is customary for my parents. I don't recall exactly what time of day I had arrived in the kitchen, but I do remember that it was shortly after the first hijacked airplane hit the Twin Towers. The radio was playing snippets of that, interspersed with a ton of commentary. Then not long after that the second hijacked plane hit, and there was even more commentary with sound bytes. I remember calling my mom at work to see if she and the students were okay, and her colleagues. Then I think I called my dad, or perhaps he called me. Fortunately everybody with whom I was in contact that day was safe and sound. Then I just went about my business. My sister and brother-in-law were not married yet but were still dating. He was actually deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Fortunately I didn't lose any family or friends in the attacks of that dreadful day. But my heart goes out to those who did lose loved ones.
This is just a quick update to let all my dear readers know that I watched my first movie on here yesterday in iTunes. I had previously read a post on #AppleVis with instructions on toggling on/off audio descriptions on the Mac. I always wondered what that setting was exactly for anyway. So I checked the box to turn on these descriptions, and sure enough they came through loud and clear yesterday in the movie. The movie I chose to watch was "The Peanuts Movie," since that was in my iTunes wish list for a little while. Then this morning I discovered that QuickTime Player is another good and accessible option for watching these movies.

I can't agree more with those who assert that now is a good time to be blind/visually impaired. I for one--having been a proud Mac user now for just under 3 years--am so excited to see what Tim Cook and friends come up with next.
Hi everyone. The book which I'm reviewing today wasn't actually recommended to me by anybody. Back in the days when the news was much better and much more upbeat than it has been in recent years, I was a big National Public Radio (NPR) fan. More specifically, I frequently listened to Chicago's NPR member station 91.5 FM WBEZ. This was partly because I tuned in often in my bedroom, but mainly because my parents always had that station on in the kitchen. They still do to this day. I still listen to WBEZ off and on, mainly for the great cultural programming which they offer. So when I saw that this book was available from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, I immediately downloaded and read it. The narrator did a great job with the book.

This one was written by Lisa A. Phillips, and published in 2006 by CDs Books. Ms. Phillips interviewed several public-radio personalities. Those curious about National Public Radio--including how it all started--will certainly want to put this one on your book list. I for one have always enjoyed putting names with voices and vice versa, so I enjoyed this book very much.
Editor's Note: The first part of this entry is not totally accurate. I did that on purpose. Not all of the heARTwords writings are factual, even other people's writings. But the second part of this entry is true.

If I found myself in a situation where I was being discriminated against because of my disability, what would I do? I have actually never before faced any disability discrimination. But if someone or a group of people were to do this to me, I'd first try to tell them that discrimination against anybody is illegal and to please stop it. I would be nice about it, but firm. If they still didn't stop, I'd threaten to contact an advocacy organization and get them involved. Then if they stopped I wouldn't even contact an organization, but if the discrimination still continued I would have no choice but to involve the organization.

What do I think is the biggest misconception about people with disabilities? I think the biggest misconception facing those of us with disabilities is that we're not real people, or if we are then we're all exactly alike. Well, the truth is that we are all people but we're not all exactly alike. In other words, one size does not fit all. To borrow from some Disability Awareness trainings, "if you've met one person with a disability you've met *one* person with a disability. No 2 people with disabilities are exactly alike, just as no 2 people are exactly alike." Period, end of story.
Hey everybody. Back here I am with my next book review. This one was authored by Coach K himself and Jamie K. Spatola, who happens to be one of his daughters. This was actually a recording made by Hachette Audio, and then converted into digital format by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Coach K narrated it himself, and did a wonderful job. I was never that much into sports for obvious reasons, but that has started to change. Regardless of whether or not you are a Duke fan, I highly recommend this book. Coach K is very sincere in the book. He talks not only about teamwork on the basketball court, but he also emphasizes leadership skills.
Things that make me angry include the following:

Bullying. I've never been bullied in the true sense, but somebody called me one time and chewed me out over the phone. It was actually 2 people, but that's a story for later. If anyone wants to hear this story, I will be happy to tell you. Just let me know in the comments. I do not like it when people are bullied, because it's mean. I've actually heard of friends with disabilities being bullied before, and that really bothers me. Nobody can help it that they have disabilities. I wish I could've done something about it, but I was never there when the bullying took place. I didn't even know a few of these friends yet, or perhaps I did and like I said I wasn't present when they were bullied.

Discrimination. Discrimination against anybody is illegal and should not be carried out. I wish all the discrimination that is still going on would just stop immediately. I've often read and heard that those of us with disabilities currently experience the most discrimination of anybody, but I'm no legal expert. I have personally experienced a little bit of discrimination, but not that much. But regardless of how much of this one has experienced in their lifetime, it should cease immediately because it is illegal.

Lying. It is never a good idea to lie to someone. I admit I've lied to a few people in the past, including my parents. So yes I am guilty of this too. But I have since learned my lesson well, and have stopped lying. If people constantly tell lies, they cannot be trusted. Please see below for more on this. The only kind of lying that should be done is lying down: either on a pillow or perhaps in the grass.

Politics. Politics makes me angry. It wasn't always like this, but over the past several years events have taken place which really made me mad. I honestly feel that the whole electoral process as we know it should be done away with. It seems that most politicians are good for one thing and one thing only: telling lie after lie after lie, just so that they can look good. But there are some politicians who are not like that. It seems these few are not given enough power though.

Violence. Violence of any kind is not my friend, most especially physical violence. But in addition, violence and hatred needs to be done away with altogether. Guns need to be used responsibly, if not disposed of for good.
Hey everyone. This is just to let y'all know that my MarsEdit trial period expired, and I purchased the full version last weekend. I've been rather busy this week so haven't had much time with it, but this little program seems to be quite good. I'd like to say a big thank you to the developer for getting right back with me regarding the issue about which I contacted him not long ago. I mostly figured out what was going on. Not to get too technical because I don't even know many of the details here, but basically the 2 blogs that I was trying to connect to aren't supported in MarsEdit due to the way in which they are configured. But Dreamwidth seems to work flawlessly with MarsEdit. My thanks go out to the awesome folks over at Dreamwidth Studios, LLC for that. Those who are looking for an accessible blogging/journaling platform, I cannot recommend them highly enough. Their platform works well for people without disabilities too.
Honesty is indeed the best policy. It is not good to lie to people. The more you lie to people, the greater the chances are that they won't believe and trust you. The only time one should lie is on their pillow, or down on a bed of roses. I believe everybody should always be honest. One or 2 lies as a kid is okay, but beyond that they're not good at all.
I'm back with another book review. Today I'm reviewing "Electro Shock!: Ground Breakers of Synth Music," written by Greg Rule and published in 1999 by Miller Freeman Books. I also downloaded this one in audio from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and the narrator did a wonderful job. I really enjoy music of all genres, and thought I'd give this book a listen. I'm so glad I did.

The book is basically a survey of keyboard music by different groups. Musician interviews are included too. The only down side for me was that there were no songs included on the recording. But I was nevertheless captivated by all that these musicians had to say about their respective music and about music in general.
Howdy folks! I'm back with my 3rd book review. This time, it's a poetry book. The book I'm reviewing this evening is "The Collected Poems of Maya Angelou," published in 1994 by Random House. I read Angelou's book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" back in high school and loved it. Fast-forward to when Bill Clinton first got elected President. It was then that I heard a lovely poem written and narrated by Maya Angelou. I guess I'm showing my true political colors, lol! Actually I was never that much into politics, and nowadays I pretty much dislike it altogether given the nasty shit that's been going on in the world. But back to the book. Then a couple years ago I saw that one of her poetry books was available in audio from the Library of Congress, so I jumped at the chance.

I'm glad I read the book. I like poetry, and these poems are no exception. Ms. Angelou definitely has a gift for writing, and a wonderful voice. The narrator did a nice job. She even did the same accent. So if you are a Maya Angelou fan and haven't read this book, it is definitely one you'll want to put on your reading list. I for one am so glad I did. I'm not going to bother summarizing these poems, because Angelou pretty much covered a wide array of topics in this collection. I hope to find "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in audio, and re-read that one too.
Hello everyone. This is a review of a concert recording that I listened to. This will be a bit short but I trust that you will enjoy reading my review of the concert, just as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you.

This was a concert featuring jazz pianist Bess Bonnier, whom I hadn't heard of before but I like a variety of music so I downloaded and listened to this one. The concert was actually performed back on May 18 of 2006, but it was archived and digitized for everybody's listening pleasure. I hadn't heard many of the pieces which Bess Bonnier performed, but it was an excellent concert. I'm happy to report that the sound quality was in no way diminished either. Judging from the sound of the applause, I could tell that a lot of people were in attendance and that they all enjoyed themselves very much.

Prior to the concert, a few remarks were given by National Federation of the Blind President Emeritus Dr. Marc Maurer. I must admit I'm not a huge fan of the NFB. They have done some good things here and there, but I generally have found myself in disagreement with their views. That said, Dr. Maurer's remarks were very honest and sincere.
Hi everybody. A few friends have asked me to start doing book reviews here on my journal, and I love that idea so here is my first one. Before proceeding any further though I need to mention for those who don't know, that since I am blind with only light perception I read books and magazines in audio format. I also read Braille books and magazines growing up, but my honest opinion is that Braille takes up too much space these days. Sure there are refreshable displays, but those cost a lot and not everybody can afford one of them. Don't get me wrong: I love Braille and I think this Braille crisis is truly sad. However, Braille is not the only means of reading and writing for those of us with low or no vision. Nor will it ever be. Others will certainly disagree with me, and that's all cool so long as there are no personal attacks. So without further adieu, here is my first book review.

In the summer of 2014 I read a book entitled "Out of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliation." This book was written by Sue Wiygul Martin, who has her own website at http://www.suewmartin.com . This book was published in 2013 by the Working Writer Discovery Group. The book is about her adjustment to blindness as a result of attempting suicide. Before proceeding any further, I want to mention that the suicide attempt had nothing whatsoever to do with me choosing to read this book. I've never been suicidal in the least bit, nor am I suicidal now. I chose her book simply because I was curious to know about the whole adjustment process from someone who went blind later in life. I had a roommate who went blind as a young adult, but he was often quite bitter and never really discussed it openly with anybody. But anyway, I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about the adjustment process for someone who is blind either from birth or later in life. I also know a few so-called vocational rehabilitation professionals who would do well to read it. They probably won't, but that's their problem and not mine.

Anyway, the author begins with a brief discussion of her life prior to the event which resulted in her blindness. She also discusses the reactions of family and friends to her sudden onset of blindness. Then she goes on to talk about her adjustment period, and the many years of vocational rehabilitation which followed. This included learning to read and write Braille, learning to cook again, and learning to travel with a cane and then guide dogs.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I thought the author did an outstanding job. She was very honest, and she sprinkled humor throughout her story which is always good. I could relate to pretty much everything which she discussed, with the exception of the guide dogs. I've never worked one before, and I highly doubt at this point whether I'll ever do so. However, I am going to read another book about the whole process of getting a guide dog. So please stay tuned for that review, coming up later on. I downloaded this book in audio format from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and the narrator did an awesome job.
What is my wonder land? My wonder land is a place with unending sweets and beverages. There would be cookies, candy, and all things unhealthy. I would invite the whole wide world to my wonder land. I would call this Sweetland, kind of like the Candyland of that famous song. There would be absolutely no limit put on the amount of consumption. Those with dietary restrictions would be welcome here too, and highly encouraged to partake in everything. I would have glutin-free stuff, and whatever else people requested for their dietary needs. This includes the beverages. I'd stock alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for everybody. I'd put a big sign out front and one out back. Both of these would welcome people with disabilities, and they would have big arrows pointing to all the access features. Sweetland would be universally accessible. Nobody should be left out of anything. People would be allowed to stay there as long as they wanted, because this would be open 24-7, 366 days a year. If and when people wanted to go work out, they'd just have to fend for themselves.
I was born in St. Louis, Mo. I've been back there a few times, and have some relatives still living in Alton, Illinois which is not far from St. Louis.



On Monday, May 16 I flew out to Santa Barbara, California with some coworkers from JJ’s List. The purpose of this trip was to train several employees from Toad & Co., a clothing retailer. We flew out on United Airlines, and the accommodations provided by all airport and airline staff were very helpful.


First off, immediately upon our arrival at the security line when departing Chicago, we were greeted by a nice employee who had a wheelchair for me. I am able to walk just fine with my white cane, but the purpose of my ride in the wheelchair was to get through the security line quickly. The last thing I wanted to do was miss our flight; therefore, causing everybody else to miss the flight. I sat in an aisle seat on the airplane, which worked out very well. The flight was enjoyable despite some turbulence. Immediately upon our arrival at LAX, a wheelchair was ready for me. I rode in it out to the Enterprise Rent-a-Car area, where my group leaders picked up 2 vehicles.


The hotel in which my group and I stayed was very nice. I had one of the accessible rooms all to myself. I am not a wheelchair user, but I very much appreciated having an accessible room. I slept well, and the accessible bathroom was nice.


The training went great, and several Toad & Co. employees came up and told me how much they benefitted from it.  After the training we took a group picture with everybody. Then it was time to say goodbye, and we were on our way back to LAX for our return flight to Chicago.


This trip was rather short but fun. Thank you to everybody—including our fearless group leaders—for making this trip a big success. I really enjoy these Disability Awareness Trainings, because people learn a lot about interactions with someone who has a disability. I've often wondered if these trainings would make an iota of a difference at the state/government level, especially for states like Illinois where we have had a major budget crisis.

This is just a test entry with MarsEdit's HTML editor. Please do not attempt to leave any comments as they will be turned off.


Jun. 19th, 2016 08:35 pm
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Happy Dad's Day to all of the wonderful dads out there, including mine. New beta page working well with Chromevox too.

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