My experiences as a totally blind and hard-of-hearing person, part 1

One thing I have struggled with as a person with both total blindness and progressive hearing loss was which community to identify. I hope this part will not sound too condescending by any means. I have challenged blind people to think about how they would function if they lost their hearing one morning, and, to be honest, a lot of them would be devastated to the point they would want to kill themselves. This was usually the result of when someone asked the usual question of if you’ve been told that you could’ve gotten surgery to restore your eyesight, would you go for it? Many blind people would never do it. Yes, some people would be devastated if they became deaf, but just like how they like being blind and consider that to be a part of their identity, they would respect that I could love being deaf blind, and that it is a part of my identity. Still, many blind people use their hearing a lot, though, and have echolocation.
Most people say it is easier to be deaf than it is to be blind, but when you are already blind, you cannot see yourself as being deaf. No two disabilities are superior to one another. There is a lot of cruelty and internallised ableism towards deaf-blind individuals by some blind people, but I know that not all blind people are like that. I mean, a lot of blind people hate being asked how they use a computer if they cannot see. Likewise, those same blind people who hated being asked that asked me, how do you do music if you have trouble hearing it? It is because they view their hearing as everything; they would just simply collapse and feel like they can never get up again. That is why I remind them to be more open and inclusive towards our siblings with combined disabilities that have blindness in addition to the mix. Some people I’ve talked to agree that deaf-blind people are always left out of accessibility initiatives. Still, people in the blind community continue to refer to this blind gentleman named Kennith Jernigan whenever they argue about codependence, interdependence, independence and dependence, and he wrote the well-known banquet address called The Nature of Independence in the nineties. However, I would argue that The Nature of Independence was written from the point of view of someone who was only blind and married. It was not written by someone who was deaf-blind. It was not written by someone who was blind and in a wheelchair. It was not written by someone who was blind and had a severe chronic illness. It was not written by someone who was blind and had autism, Down’s Syndrome, or any other kind of learning, intellectual or developmental disability. Still, it seems that a lot of blind people, particularly those who are proud of their accomplishments, are overly ambicious and would consider relying on sighted or blind assistance as a sign of weakness or being inadequate. This is where the cultural aspect comes in, because in south America, people are more likely to offer you assistance, whereas here in the US, people tend to be hands-off. A lot of members misquote it. It probably did result in people believing that they are better than I for not pre-boarding an aeroplane and things like that, but I don’t think those people actually read it.
Whatever happened to the concept of work together, help others, and all those things we learned growing up? Besides, it is not a crime to ask for help, and sighted people use assistance all the time, so why should blind people be an exception to the rule? They are so anxious to show society that they can do anything. Besides, Kennith Jernigan did use assistance at conventions, and other members criticised him for going guided travel. Oh, and how can we make talking ATMs more accessible to deaf-blind people? How about movies with audio descriptions? Seriously, deaf-blind people are being left behind it is not even funny. I definitely also went deaf blind people to be included in making appliances more accessible. I have noticed that a lot of things talk now, but if you are deaf-blind, that doesn’t help. So many blind people say they want to make things accessible, but what they really mean is that they want those things to be accessible for only themselves in the current moment. That is because they are not following universal design. Not all deaf-blind people can read Braille due to barriers related to a learning, intellectual or developmental disability. Deaf people who do not develop oral language skills almost never develop reading comprehension beyond the sixth grade anyway, but still. I would imagine that deaf people are the same where they only think of and include deaf people who meet societal expectations in every other way.
Europe uses spinning cones to tell deaf-blind people when it is safe to cross streets. Australia uses relays that vibrate and give tactile feedback. Japan uses Braille signage that is printed directly on railings where they would be extremely conspicuous to anyone using them. I do not enjoy being independent as a totally blind and hard-of-hearing person. But I truly believe we are all interdependent. I have written very cogent remarks here. Perhaps the most important part about being independent is knowing when and when not to need assistance, as well as being extremely self-reliant. Be lucky that you have what you have, and use it to the fullest. Do not depend on anything too much as everything has its time and purpose.
Older people might say that I’m not as independent as they are because I rely on my phone too much. I think that a lot of people just get stuck in the rebellious independence stage discussed in the speech. Other blind people have told me I wasn’t as independent because I used audio descriptions at the theatre, and while I don’t use a guide dog, they would’ve probably criticised me for it, as well. I am not perfect by any means. Yes, people do not want you to use guided travel at training centres because you are there to learn and develop new skills, but even when you are out of it, they act like you should be at the centre forever. Kennith Jernigan agreed that the way we do things while we are in training is not the same way that we would do it in everyday life. For example, if I took a college math class where calculators were not allowed, I would have to learn how to do everything by hand so as to master new techniques. But, when I am out in the field, it would be ridiculous for me to continue doing it this way when I can have a computer do that for me in the blink of an eye; the skills are simply an adjunct. Likewise, it would be foolish of me to criticise others for using calculators and accusing them of taking shortcuts. They would have every right to say that I was being altogether arrogant in that regard. Of course, one could argue that if the power went out, or the batteries stopped working, then your math skills would definitely be of service. They would say the same about blind people relying on their devices that could fail one day, and since the brain almost never fails, they should always rely on that. I am really good at technology, and I notice myself almost never using a reader to do things such as manage my finances and read my mail when other blind people say that they use a reader for these things all the time. I don’t think of myself as more independent than they. It is just easier for me not to have to rely on a reader most of the time. I might decide that I’m not going to follow this person, or I’m not going to go cited guide because I really want to learn about this area, and I really want to develop some new skills. Sometimes it’s also about priority. For instance, if you need to be somewhere as fast as possible whilst having a conversation, it might be perfectly fine to go guided travel because you probably already know the layout of the environment. Even sighted people do things differently depending on what their priorities are and how they want to do it.
I believe the problem is that a lot of blind people act like they want everyone there to be blind. Well, that is exactly like me saying that everyone who is only blind should be deaf-blind. The problem is that when many people in the NFB, as well as many people out of it, say blind people, they only think of and refer to people who are just blind and have everything else that meet societal expectations. They sometimes forget how diverse the blind population can be. If I said a sighted person, I could be referring to a sighted person with autism, a sighted deaf person, a sighted wheelchair user, etc. The same should apply if I said a blind person. Some blind people want other blind people to experience what they could never have. Actually, some people have started thinking about this because it is common for hearing loss to deteriorate with age. Also, some people lose their ability to know in which directions sounds are coming from, whether due to allergies, migraines, or what have you….
That is why I value Helen Keler’s philosophy more, because she knew what it was like from the inside. I was not allowed to have an SSP at several NFB-sponsored activities, and whenever I attempted to use guided travel, someone would come up, I do not know who, and, gently but firmly, separate me. I got lost numerous times because of that, plus I could not hear the crowd in a noisy environment, or I might hear them, but it would later turn out that I would be following the wrong one. I didn’t have a cell phone back then, so I had no way to call someone for help. Some might say I was lazy and did not want to try hard enough, but as I grew older I was able to justify my need for additional accommodations on the basis of having severe hearing loss, especially around 2013 and on. When I discovered HKNC, it was like a whole new world has sprung up before me with a number of countless possibilities. I know that the NFB has been changing in the last ten years, and that the Deaf-Blind Division has been created, but frankly, I would not deal with them until they can prove to me that they really want to accommodate me; not only for the blindness, but for the severe hearing loss I have, as well. It is not just about me. It is about my fellow deaf-blind friends, too.
I don’t know if I can ever have completely positive relationships with other sighted people, or even blind people, but I want that for other blind and deaf-blind people. I want them to be integrated in ways I might never be able to have. I want them to be able to meet sighted people who believe that blind and or deaf-blind people could never have a job, and then have a meaningful and equal relationship with that person even though I can’t do it. My emotional feelings toward sighted people in general, as well as some blind people, and toward the whole situation basically make that impossible, but I’m glad that other people don’t share those feelings, and I don’t think they should. Logically, my feelings aren’t what I think.
Sometimes, blind people do need to be reminded that Deafness and other disabilities affect how you do things, but I think the key point they are making is that BLINDNESS itself does not create dependence. And yes, sometimes that can come off as a little tone-deaf when they are dealing with people with other disabilities. But it is all attitude and all problem-solving to figure out what will work for you. You can try different things, be open to new ideas and be a CAN do person, or you can make excuses, say no to everything and be a CANNOT do person. Not everyone is going to be able to do everything by themselves all the time, and I do not think anyone expects that, but I think they wants you to at least entertain the possibility, play around and experiment with it, and see how far you can go.
This is a very interesting perspective of blindness. When someone is blind, it does not make basic tasks impressive, when someone is deaf, it does not make basic tasks impressive, but because I do not understand what it is like to be both, it makes me think basic tasks are impressive, even know it is just combining 2 things that are not impressive. That is very strange. The lack of having experience is definitely a the leading factor for different mindsets. I know you performing basic tasks is not impressive, but the lack of experience makes it hard to think outside the box. If I could not do basic tasks extremely well, I would not have been able to go on the internet and share my story, so it is very hard to think about what someone has done and then use that to say, oh, well because they did this, then everything else before that must be easy to them. Instead of using what we have seen you do, we use the lack of our own experience to determine what is and is not impressive or easy for you.
So, to drive my point home, I might blow the whistle by recording what goes on at these training centres and take a vow of silence and only communicate in sign language. Or, I might just do an expose on them. How, I know not, but I swear I will do it some day.

An open letter to friends and family who are shocked to discover I’m a liberal… [reshare]

Not my words! Before I share this with you all, I wanted to let you know that I added some comments to better illustrate how liberals can agree on the same thing but from different angles.

I’ve always been a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does.
Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

You got that right! So, what exactly does liberal mean? The dictionary defines it, as well as its origin, to be free from restraint, liberation, and progression. It is believed that the more one is informed about the advances of science, the more progressive one will be. Being conservative basically means keeping onto things like traditions and customs, conserving moral values, and often not keeping up with the sciences.

  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilised when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as ‘I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.’ This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes ‘let people die because they can’t afford healthcare a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen. *Canada and the UK seem to have little problem with this. Why?*
  3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt. *Many countries let you study core classes that pertain to your field. This is much like how homeschooled children would be taught. Teachers need to teach because they really want to teach, not because they want to collect a paycheque.*
  4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, get access to universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist. *I believe in a classless society where truly disabled people can get the help they need, while those with manageable disabilities or inconveniences can get the support needed to be successful. It’s like a scale; if you’ve got too much on one side, you can simply remove some of the weight until it was balanced. Then again, perhaps hierarchising disabilities might not be the best approach by all means.*
  5. I don’t throw around ‘I’m willing to pay higher taxes’ lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare… *or feeding our inmates who might as well be given the death penalty. We seriously need to get our government out of debt, or make it file for bankruptcy and start anew.*
  6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live. *In order for that to happen, though, we need to fix our economy.*
  7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. By the way, prayer in school is NOT illegal; compulsory prayer in school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognise my right to live according to my beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not ‘offended by Christianity’ — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine. Just like it is illegal to sacrifice a person, it should also be illegal to impose restrictions that would be detrimental to human civilisation. *That obviously includes making so-called laws and policies that are unfavourable towards a minority group because of your religious upbringing.*
  8. I don’t believe that LGBTQ2SIA+ people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the same rights as you. *The same applies to all other minorities; that’s why I believe in the #AllLivesMatter movement.*
  9. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re ‘stealing’ your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I’m not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc). *There are certain Green Card eligibilities that pertain to skills in the science and art, as well as those seeking immediate refuge under the Violence Against Minorities Act. Besides, what would be the point of building a massive wall across the Southern border? It not only shows that you are discriminating against Mexicans, but it’s a largely flawed idea. Determined people would find ways over, under, and around it.*
  10. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products, practices, etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation. We are actually doing much worse than we are for future generations if we continue destroying this planet. *But, George Carlin said that this planet has been through times much worst than we have. If you watch Legally Blonde II, or as I call it, Politically Blonde, you can get a good taste of how strong corporations are, and what could happen if we made animal testing illegal unless they were ethical, or what could happen to the economy if we outlawed cigarettes. It’s a wonder why we make so many laws that are favourable to corporations, but not so much for the consumer. Just look at net neutrality! That’s why we need to come up with alternative practices that are moral and ethical, and obviously something that will benefit everyone.*
  11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past. *My question then is, why do some people still believe in the confederate flag? What would happen if we had a dictator who was extremely smart and ethical?*
  12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, cisgender male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalised. WE must also have a fighting force that is open to everyone. *That includes making compulsary military service the same as jury duty–no one person should be given preferential treatment because of their assigned sex or gender. Similarly, if anybody tells you that they don’t like white Africans (those who talk ghetto), well, I’ve got news for you, buddy. All of us, our entire species, actually originated in Africa, at least by evidentiary record kept by scientists. So, whether you are white, Asian, or anything like that, then you are still an African, and so am I, because we are Africans by origin; we just moved around every few generations.*
  13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s, life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. (Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine). *I am thinking of requiring tests the way driving and ham radio do, but owning a gun is currently seen as a right, not a privilege, so having guns out in public would put others at risk. However, that is not to say that you have the right to use your gun in public irresponsibly without some training. I also proposed the idea of having smart guns with advanced sights and tracking, but many people have strong oppositions to the government spying and encroaching on their privacy, not to mention that they are supersticious about the mark of the beast because I suggested we use biometric sensors.*
  14. I believe in so-called political correctness *and euphemisms.* I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate or less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? *Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, take a moment to feel it from another person’s perspective.* How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person? *I always like transparency. I do not want to use words that are vague or misleading, or that tend to screen out a particular group of individuals, which is why I will explain why you should say this instead of that. I know what some people will say..stick and stones will break my bones. Not always true! Also, I am extremely opposed to using gender exclusive language and will do whatever it takes to eradicate it, even if I have to make sacrifices for the way I approach the issue. This means that you cannot say things like he or she, he/she, s/he, etc. unless you also included a gender-inclusive pronoun. You will also not say men and women, women and men, unless you also said and those in between. So, beware, you have been warned!*
  15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else. *Yeah, why don’t you do us a big favour and get an amateur radio licence, so you can just learn how to build your own self-containing life support system? As a matter of fact, that’s what the International Space Station is using for their power source, plumbing, food, and air supply. Go here for the perfect example.*
  16. I believe that women (cisgender and transgender) should not be treated as a separate class of humans. They should be paid the same as everyone else and who do the same work, should have the same rights as everyone else and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be? *What about including our nonbinary folks, i.e. those who identify as neither male or female? We should also be using more harmony-based vocabulary, like saying reproductive choices instead of abortion, as Pete Buttigieg once said. I’m sure he said this because some trans-men may not like the term abortion, and because abortion generally has unwanted connotations. Also, don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t want anything having to do with feminism. I personally find that term as arrogant as the #BlackLivesMatter. If you really want true equality, consider using the term egalitarianism or equalism.*
  17. *And, speaking of abortion, I have my own outside-the-box views on the matter. I think we need to consider medical abortions, i.e. abortions that are medically necessary as a human right, which would therefore make non-medical abortions a privilege. I also believe that as artificial wombs are further developed, we could transplant the foetus without killing it. If the government only funded medical abortions, then it would be your responsibility to cover a non-medical abortion. If you can’t afford it, too bad! Consider adoption, instead. Yes, I know that some people used to end pregnancies using coat hangers, but I would strongly discourage such practice. Also, think about it this way. If you let yourself get knocked up at a party without protection, you have made an irresponsible decision that will irreversibly change your life forever. The baby didn’t ask to be brought into this world or give consent, it was your own carelessness that did it! So, you might as well enjoy your work, or consider adoption. Now, if you were raped in the legal sense, you might have a different story to tell. Bottom line is. I believe in pro-choice, not pro-life or pro-birth or whatever.*

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.
So, I’m a liberal.

Some thought-provoking thoughts on our political system

Hello, my faithful readers.
Today I thought I’d give you all a quick reality check regarding our current political dilemma by sharing something I saw on Facebook a couple months back. After you read this, feel free to watch the supplemental video.

Civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, ADA, social security, it’s all a hustle. They happened because lawyers insisted the LETTER OF THE LAW be followed, and judges and congress went along. 
Word, the constitution, bill of rights, and the declaration our republic was founded on were not built for all y’all. The words written were of, by, and for the people who wrote them. They were the elite white, Christian cisgender heterosexual males with money, status, and power. They looked around the room at all the other household names, people with servants and concubines, people who could sign for anything they wanted, people with so much land they’d likely never seen it all in some cases, and they built a country for themselves. 
That they ended up hoisted by their own petard, their descendants forced to share a little of the great bounty of a continent was not what they expected.  It was a clever game taking advantage of the rule of law. 
They didn’t build it for us. They built it for themselves, and their natural heirs, names you know, people with jets and metric shit tons of money.  Insisting on equality against such a backdrop  is as foolish as the child who insists on having their own money. They pat ’em on the head and give them a quarter to make their bed, something they made them do anyway, then charge them thirty cents for lunch. 
Until and unless we confront the very nature of the republic, we are still playing a game, running a con, hustling the hustlers who set the whole thing up. 
If we are to have equality of opportunity and equitable allocation of resources, we must first call the game what it is, then rewrite the rules. Otherwise we make our beds and go in debt for lunch, and the adults snicker behind our backs and pat us on the head.
I hear you.  The more I peel this onion, the more I realize it is, like an onion, the same all the way to the core. 
Western and middle eastern cultures, those based on abrahamic traditions, are sorting systems through and through. I don’t know enough about eastern religion to comment too much on those. 
When your culture is based on a sorting of “us vs them”, damned vs saved, when that is a basic tenet, you’re pretty screwed to build an inclusive society in anything more than name only. 
I’m kinda an oddball. I was 11 years old when I questioned the catholic dogma of salvation through baptism and confession. It was 1967, and I’d seen the iconic photographs of Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire in protest of the war. I asked how it was that obvious martyrs very like those I’d learned about in my catholic school were not going to heaven because they were not catholic. That seemed so arbitrary and immoral to my 11 year old self I couldn’t accept it. I
Left the church soon after, convinced that arbitrary sorting based on the luck of birthplace and what church your parents take you to was nothing I could honor. 
Though a working class kid, first in a small town then out in farm country, I learned the redneck code, and the ethnic sorting of the mill town, where Italians and polish  and Puerto Rican’s and blacks had their own neighborhoods, yet a half Irish, half French Canadian and Mohawk kid didn’t really belong in any of them. In the rural area I learned the Methodist and baptist churches looked down on one another, and both derided Catholics. They only all agreed on one thing, those who were not members in good standing of one of the above were “lowlifes”, to be avoided. Hello, present and accounted for. Now watch me dust your asses on the regents exam. But I didn’t get many party invites, don’t ya know. 
Military service and college and living in different parts of the country and later in the Caribbean, exposure to cultures from around the world, working in industries as varied as teaching “educable retarded” to running a literacy agency, to my own shooting sports accessories business, to working as a contractor, I’ve worn all the shirts and hats, spoken the lingo, and followed the party lines, all the while aware that I was an imposter, a chameleon, the devil walking among them. 
In my quiet times I wrote a fair bit, never too deep, lest I blow through the veneer. 
What I learned is this. If you’re looking for GOOD people, there is no magic formula. You can get stabbed in the back in a sanctuary or university conference room as easily as in an alley. They just use different tools. 
I’ve learned to live my life loyal only to one race, the human race, without regard to anybody’s version of who the cool kids are. I’ve been treated well and badly by about every stripe of people you can pigeonhole. If they’re consuming energy and oxygen, they’re somebody, and have value. Some do terrible things they get locked up for. Some get to live in houses on top of hills after committing atrocities. Good people are where you find them. Any effort to stratify and exclude based on unearned characteristics is bullshit, only works for the chosen as long as they can keep it, and is unfair on its face.
For those of us by definition less able than the fully fit, understanding  where we fit in the mindsets of the dominant culture is a survival skill. If you don’t know what they’re thinking, how they allocate resources when it gets tight, you better be good looking, talented, and lucky.
Words are stunningly versatile things.
They have the ability either to create or to destroy, to lift us or to level us, to give us wings to crush us beneath their weight, to inspire us to reach
the loftiness parts of our nature or to drive us to the depths of our blackest darkness.
We know this from the way other’s voices have shaped us in both redemptive and debilitating ways.
The words of others can become for us the language for all we harbour unspoken in our hearts; every unfulfilled longing, each unhealed wound, every beautiful
aspiration, all the catalogued defeats, each perceived wrongdoing.
And the words of powerful people become catalysts for revolutions; hubs around which multitudes gather in tribes of affinity to create the world they dream
of, whether hopeful or horrific. Religious prophets and pop stars and political leaders all tap into the hearts of people in order to move those people’s
convictions from heart to hand—to move them.
Cesar Sayoc is the logical manifestation of the language of this President.
He is the sum total of his every reckless insult, irresponsible untruth, and calculated attack; the disfigured Frankensteined monster, made from every
factless conspiracy theory and incendiary rally rant, each corrosive verbal attack on people of color and immigrants and women (cisgender and transgender) and the media.
Cesar Sayoc is the clear accumulation of a seemingly endless Presidential Twitter feed, filled with nonsensical ramblings, spewed from the head of a man
who feels no accountability for the collateral damage of his words—either on those who are his targets—or those weaponised by him against them.
The words of a President weigh more than perhaps anyone else’s. There is a gravity to the voices of our leaders that corporately shape us in ways few things
do. They have always determined the trajectory of our nation, carried us through unthinkable tragedy, clarified who we are as a people, driven us to reach
for dreams that we believed were beyond us.
The words of a President, when wielded responsibly and with decency, help us to tap into our shared humanity; to remind us of our interdependence, of our
commonalities, of the responsibility we have toward one another.
But when tossed around carelessly, the words of a President (like this President), ratify people’s phobias, stoke the fires of their bitterness, sanction
the violence they cultivate in their heads, legitimise their irrational bigotry toward their neighbours.
Cesar Sayoc isn’t a surprise.
He may be an terrifyingly extreme extension of this President’s words, but he finds himself on a long and growing continuum of millions of angry, scared,
unloved, people who believe the world has wronged them—and now have someone (the most powerful someone), to tell them that they are right.
Whether it’s in racial epithets screamed at strangers in traffic, xenophobic signs posted near voting booths, venomous racists social media diatribes from
grandmothers, xenophobic outbursts at holiday meals, or vans plastered with anti-media propaganda—monsters are being made by this President’s words.
Yes, words make things and they kill things.
Cesar Sayoc is the kind of monster this President has helped create in unhinged campaign rants and social media tantrums and “lock her up” chants” and
dehumanising rhetoric—and the worst of it all, is that he seems oblivious to his culpability, defiant in his outrage, and determined to double down, no
matter how many people he places in harm’s way.
He refuses to use his words for anything but division and injury and enmity, and so those so desiring war, those seeking consent, those who share his heart—find
licence to be horrible.
 This President is a monster-maker.
It’s time we admitted it.

For the Young at Heart

As one who has researched and worked with children for a while, I often took notes about the way people behaved and why they behaved the way they did. I volunteered a little bit with the Children’s club in 2014, and I’d also like to self-reflect a little on consciousness when I was but an infant.
So, to start this out, I’d like to introduce you to the idea that babies can probably talk in their minds before their hyroid bone is lowered. Because of that, I thought it pretty interesting when I read how Louis Sachar described how the substitute with the third ear attempted to hear what was coursing through the baby’s mind. Since the baby had no organised language, they could only think in terms of sensations, much like how my brother would. He can’t see or hear, but he can still form thoughts and ideas with his other senses. But since Sharon M. Draper said in Out of My Mind, you need thoughts to have words, and you need a voice to express those thoughts, obviously my brother’s only voice is his behaviour.
As an example, a child may not have the necessary information to express their true feelings about what they really want. It’s common in many parent and child relationships. Neither the parent nor the child is able to establish a clear understanding for one another when one or both of them lack the vocabulary needed to express a certain emotion. That is exactly what happened in that book, so I highly recommend you read it, and look at the first scene when the protagonist is at the toy store, and again when she is trying to warn her mother towards the end.
Another thing I found fascinating was what would happen if we didn’t learn the things we took for granted. Here’s another example about my brother. Since he’s never learned any kind of abstract concept like time, how does he perceive time in his mind? What if we decided that we would teach our future children everything but a certain item? Let’s say that in a hypothetical situation, we had many groups ready to start raising children. One group focuses on eliminating colour, another group removes time, and another removes sound and music (which already exists in Deaf culture). How would these children act when someone outside their group exposed them to the concept they never learned growing up? I probably mentioned this when I was talking about how Jonas didn’t know what colour was in the Giver, by Lois Lowry.
So, if you have a child(ren), and you are at your wits end, I’d suggest that you find out when your child is misbehaving, what prompts them to misbehave, where they are doing this, why they are doing it, who is it that they are targetting, if applicable, and how to solve the issue once it has been found, possibly by redirecting the behaviour instead of spanking. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/02/parenting/child-discipline.html As someone who has worked with a behaviour technician to develop a behaviour support plan for my brother, these things are very intriguing, especially since not a lot of people have experience working with deaf-blind individuals who do not communicate with words.
If a child is having problems at a strange place like a day care centre, perhaps it is the way that they are being treated, and maybe it is affecting their overall development by giving them false information that leads them to make assumptions. I think one of the best ways to intervene is to give the child something they enjoy doing, or provide extra stimulation for something they don’t like doing. For example, most children don’t like to do chores, yet they must grow up learning how to do them. This is called the Premak Principle. It simply states that you must do an unfavourable task first if you want to earn a favourable reward. I have found through my own experience that providing extra stimulation, such as listening to music or reading an audiobook can help surpass the time.
I’ve once thought of implementing a GPS system on bus routes that would be available on an iOS or Android app, or even a Windows phone app. It would work on the same principle that Uber and Lyft uses. Since today’s kids are attached to their MIDs, which I like to call the iWorld, I thought it would be great if they could get realtime updates of when their bus was coming and track its progress on a map. However, some opponents of this would say that if we did htis, kids would depend on their phones rather than their own self-reliable resources and learn responsibility. I mean, what if your phone died?
For many blind kids, where walking around is not permissible in a private daycare home, or even when visiting parent’s friends, one has to be stimulated in other ways because of the lack of sight. Based on my experience, I found that whenever I visited other blind people, the children there were treated as family instead of strangers, and they understood the need for extra stimulation that they could not otherwise obtain just by seeing. So as long as they behaved they were free to walk around and feel what was around them. When I was little, my mother used to take my brother and me to my paternal aunt’s house so she could work. Similarly, she always dragged me to her friend’s houses. Sometimes I’d stay in the car while she did whatever it was she needed to do. However, my aunt made me sit all day, every day, without anything to do. I couldn’t simply look around me and observe the action. I could’ve used the time to write in my diary, as my writing was exceptionally good in sixth grade because I’ve read a lot of classic literature during that time. However, I didn’t have a computer until a year later, and it was but a desktop. I didn’t get my first netbook until I was beyond old enough to stay at home alone, so it was already too late. If any of these apps were available at the time, like title=”Aira Homepage”>Aira, which tells people what’s happening around them through a trained agent, or Be My Eyes, which is solely based on volunteers, perhaps my life might have been more enriched.
Here’s an interesting experience I had when I was four years old. I remember living at a house that was a two-three storey building. I cannot remember which one it was. I remember exploring a vacuum cleaner, feeling a closet, and things like that. One day, I happened to be outside, and I climbed two fences that was out on the second deck. I was walking until I felt the floor disappear, and I plunged down-down-down. I do not remember feeling any pain except for a big jolt on my bottom half, but I remember crying pretty hard until I was eventually found. Someone must have seen me fall off the side of the house. I probably fell asleep or fainted, because it all felt like I was in a dream or haze. It was a miracle I could not feel pain because I was so distant, not to mention it was a long fall, yet I am still able to recall almost everything that happened to me. It was as if I were on sedatives 24/7! So, what do babies really remember? My mother told me a story about a time I was in Mexico when I was running down five steps. It is queer how I figured it out because I never recall. What happened was that I ran, and fell over the first step. I stood up and tried again. On the second step, I also fell, and so for the third, and fourth. However, when I got to the fifth, I did not fall. I slowly put my right foot out and noticed that the ground changed and so I did not fall this time.
Now, here’s something else I learned. According to some hypotheses I’ve read, children who grow up listening to intricate forms of music stimulate deep parts of their brain, which helps improve their personality (emotions, cognition, and identity). At this point in time, most children go with the flow. It won’t be for a few more years when they will have enough schemas to think for themselves. I would take this moment to approach this situation in a rational and logical manner, and briefly set your emotions aside to allow you to think more clearly. Some children sometimes like to test the limits to see how much attention they can get, because that also provides a sort of stimulation as well, even if that might be a bad form of stimulation. It’s all based on the reward and pleasure centres in the brain. Some people with ADD or ADHD respond better to punishment and intimidation instead of reward. Others are the opposite. Being swamped with several projects, though, I can wholeheartedly understand the pressure being added to meet everyone’s expectations in very little time. I’m sure there are some ways one can do to lessen the workload. People seem to be too fast-pace nowadays, so we do not have time for any family get-together traditions. That needs to come back.

My Fascinations with Digital Telecommunication Systems

Ever since I was about seven or eight years old, I learnt how to distinguish the sound of each note, hence how I developed my absolute pitch. At the time, I didn’t know that there were others like me, such as Joybubbles, a famous telephone phreak or phreak known for whistling into the telephone to make long-distance calls for free. However, I discovered that I could apply this perfect pitch to understand not only musical notes, but also use it for learning to dial the telephone, or recognise certain textures of sound pertaining to several digital modes such as fax machines or dial-up systems. At the time, I knew that these were tones that a person could associate with these things. When I started getting more technical in later years, I learned that computers used tones in various forms of frequencies and waveforms to communicate to each other audibly and mathematically through long distances. These tones also included different types of noise as well. That brings me to something I just discovered. Up to this point, I did not know that the emergency alert systems found on television and radio used tones to send encoded messages across the network, yet when I heard the tones I associated them with an emergency message, which actually turns out to be an added benefit because it sounds like an alarm. I did a bit of research and learnt that the series of tones I was hearing was called the specific area message encoding, or SAME. It is used by software-defined radios, so if you have an NOAA weather radio, you might see the text of the message on your screen. The mode that amateur radio operators would use is called AFSK, or audio frequency shift keying.
As blind people, and maybe some deaf-blind people, we tend to be more aware of our surroundings with our third or mind’s eye or ears. We are able to see and hear beyond, like in ‘The Giver’. This doesn’t mean that we cannot see and or hear physically, but it just means we are able to view the world differently. Perhaps that is why the ham radio community treats people with disabilities as VIP’s. I have been able to recognise speech synthesisers that you would normally find in screen readers on places like the public city bus, in movies, the ATM, and other keosks. Of course, this doesn’t mean that blind people are the only ones who know about it, for certainly there must be a number of abled people who know about these things, only the majority of them are not recognised by the general public. I know a number of amateur radio operators, and as mentioned in my post, blind people seem to develop their own culture that is devoted to the mannerism associated with radio communications. This leaves outsiders who cannot conform to the culture to be overwhelmed because we cannot understand their close-mindedness. I didn’t think I’d join them several years later, but I did, and I plan to help anyone else who might need it. I certainly don’t believe in the whole brogrammer thing.
I looked into the phantom flute phenomenon where, if you play two flutes in the high ranges, you will often hear a third flute that is not present. This is due to the resultant (sum or difference of two frequencies) that I was picking up. As a prospective piano tuner, I had to know what these were, and how they would get in the way when I was tuning really high strings. The same applies for dual-tone multi-frequency or DTMF tones. When you dial a number or letter, two given frequencies that are predetermine create a unique texture that allows a person to know what is being dialed. In FBI and other forms of criminal investigation, people like us who enjoy tinkering with data transmissions can listen to numbers being dialed so we can track the numbers of the party the person is calling. This same principle applies to people who are incapable of measuring heart and breathing rate save for the equipment they are using. Since I am pretty good at estimating beats per minute, I don’t think I’d really need something to tell me what it was. The same goes for counting drops in an IV line. When I learned how to differentiate beatings, I also learnt how to calculate frequencies that humans cannot hear based on how they feel. I could mention in a job interview that I can calculate a person’s heart rate, or a tremor based on my knowledge and muscle memory. I can calculate how fast a fly’s wing is buzzing while scientists had to use expensive equipment to do that. It’s a shame, because they could have matched the tones using a free programme like audacity and the recording of the insect’s wings.
While making these discoveries, I knew I wanted to try out a facsimile machine, and use dialup, despite the fact that people said those things were going out of date and that dialup was slow. It wasn’t because of the obvious that I wanted to use these systems, but it was because I was fascinated by the sounds it made when it communicated across the telephone line. Amateur radio operators have successfully connected to the internet using only their radios. So, if I wanted to send an E-mail whilst out in the wilderness, I could easily do that with the right equipment. I was wondering if, some day in the future, transhumans could decode various digital protocols the way we can already understand Morse code , without using implanted devices. CW, or continuous wave, is considered to be a form of digital data. I got inspired by this idea when someone told me that scientists would be able to upload brain waves that escaped from your ears into a database. They would burn those brain waves onto a CD, which would hold some form of music. Let’s say you are dancing. They would be able to record how your brain behaves when you dance. If they could copy that into a computer and replay it back in a room full of people, then everyone would start dancing because their brains would be decoding the brain waves, unless there were genetic markers that would only make it so you were the one to dance.
Update: I got my ham radio licence on 11 March 2019, though I took the test on 2 March. Part of the reason I’ve been wanting to get my licence for a long time was because I read a book by Victor Appleton, or whoever the real writer was, and one of the books was called Tom Swift and his Wireless Message, or, the Castaways of Earthquake Island. There, I learned about how some people built a wireless station to call for help, and how they were rescued in the nick of time before the island sank.
So, I have met other blind people who shared this same passion of mine, and we believe that if more people were interested in a certain way, not to the point where we know all about it, but to a certain extent, we could change the world in getting more people to pay attention more closely. What do you all think? I think we can learn how to be more aware of our surroundings if we just stopped retreating into our iWorld environment and get out into the real world, because the iWorld is for people who are close-minded and selfish and the real world is for people who really care. We need to keep onto empathy and compassion.