J. Alexander (johnmill79) wrote,
J. Alexander

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Enter Bookadise

And I should start by noting that my gains are small potatoes to most blind people. I'm aware of that, and will indeed upgrade my equipment soon enough. In the meantime, what I've done represents real opportunity for me. I have now completed registration to the three major book providers for the blind: BookShare, Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), and Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). I should imagine that this would make nearly any text I require easy to locate. And what's even better is I now have the NLS player, which while kind of sizable and lacking text-to-speech capability does give me some portability. Getting the package it came in was an adventure, but we'll get to that later.

I started this very long day at 7 AM. Since I'd already agreed to meet my academic advisor at 10 to discuss the direction my program would be taking, I knew I'd have to force myself out of bed against my will. I had a bowl of cereal, but sadly I think that's the last time I can use what remains of that gallon of milk. Whomever creates milk that doesn't spoil will get a whole lot of money from me!

I got the 8:50 bus to campus, then I sat outside for a while to get some of the surprising sunrays. I'd heard it would rain all day. I finally trundled my way up to the department on the second floor, and as soon as I entered the office my advisor saw me. He reported that all the faculty have said they see marked improvement in my performance thus far. He also referred me to the director of Minority Retention, whom I am hoping will help me find the money to continue should the Division of Services for the Blind withdraw services. The track we are now considering slightly counters the one DSB wants me to take, so other financial options must therefore be considered. I have to do what's best for me. I then met one of this semester's professors with whom I have a major presentation coming up in the middle of April. I informed her of the efforts I am making to master powerpoint, and she said "well you've got a month. I have faith in you!" Right. I'm sure she'll still put a big, fat F on that bad boy should I come up short in my efforts. Ah the pressure.

So after that, my next venture was to try and locate this package containing my NLS player. On the bus back to my place, I met a woman who said she was a Senior Nutrition major originally from the Chapel Hill area. Both of her parents were from Ireland, however. This of course led me to ask her about her St. Patrick's day celebrations. "I just went home," she said: "I had way too much work to do!" She said that upon graduation, she plans to enter the Peace Corps and spend a significant amount of time in Africa. Interesting.

So I got home, placed a call to the Post Office and determined that they were indeed still holding my package. They claimed that someone had already tried to deliver it, and thus I had to go and get it myself. So I tried to figure out how to do this on the bus.

I actually did decently. I had to transfer once, and the driver called ahead to make sure that the other person would be looking out for me even though I assured her this wouldn't be necessary. Once at the correct stop, I wasn't entirely sure how to navigate to the actual building. I found a sidewalk and started walking straight. I was basically headed the right direction, but a woman who said she was from Sierra Leone came over and offered assistance. "Would you like a ride back when you're done?" she asked? Of course I was greatful for this, especially given that the office was only 5 minutes or so from my apartment but takes almost an hour to access by bus. And yes I know about the paratransit service here, but well I'm just procrastinating on signing up. And besides, I've heard it isn't all that usable anyway. Anyway, box in hand, I managed to give her directions to my place. She was nervous about getting lost, but she didn't. She said she's training to be a nursing assistant and has been in the U.S. since 2002. She was kind.

And I've spent the better part of the day downloading text and reading books onto my flash drive and figuring out how to get them to play in this digital player. It sounds great; can get a good amount of volume and bass through the speakers, which is good for this deaf man. Something that wasn't good for this deaf man was trying to work out the spoken serial number so that I could register the thing. I kept getting it wrong! It felt like attempting one of those evil audio captcha devices. I'm surprised they couldn't just put the number in Braille somewhere on the unit. Ah well, it ended up being only a minor annoyance as I eventually worked it out.

And now I'm off to sleep or something. I have a paper that is somewhere between hopeless and not finished, and I'm starting to get a little concerned that I might not have the juice to complete it. If I do though, I may post it here as it would kind of compose the autobiography I've said repeatedly that I planned to write. I'm still uncertain as to how this all will turn out, but as always you'll know when I do. Night.
Tags: books, grad school, hearing/lack of, independence, technology
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