Day 162: Yes, I really am talking to my computer, or writing a blog post with speech recognition software

Dragon NaturallySpeaking running in a VM!
Dragon NaturallySpeaking running in a VM! (Photo credit: Arthur H.)

I can manually type. Compared to most peoples typing speed is terribly slow and painstaking, though it has gotten much faster since I was in elementary school. Shortly before I went to college I was introduced to a program which has been of immense help to me and immense confusion to others. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is probably the best speech recognition software out on the market to date and I’m sure my English courses would  have suffered greatly had I not been able to utilize it. I have lost count how many people have walked into my computer room and asked me if I was indeed talking to my computer, to which my answer usually is, yes I am, and it only answers back when I ask it to. The bewildered expression on their faces inevitably lead to an impromptu demonstration. One of the more annoying aspects of typing via voice control is that people often inadvertently mess your writing by speaking too loudly too close to the microphone. As a matter of fact when I was a freshman in college I had someone take perverse joy in deliberately messing up one of my freshman composition papers after I had explained to him that he would have to speak quietly or else the microphone would pick up when he said and alter my voice pattern file. Of course he then proceeded to speak so loudly that the program typed at least a page and a half of complete gibberish and it took me three days to retrain the voice file and finish the paper correctly. Because of similar incidents (though thankfully none quite as frustrating as the first) I seriously considered setting up one of those red lights that photographers have outside of their darkrooms as a signal for people to stay out lest they ruin the film. Or maybe just a sign that says “shhh, blogging/writing in progress to hang outside my door.I still think the photographer’s light would be cool though.


Day 161: Sally Ride is dead too, did you know?

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neil Armstrong died this week. It was mentioned in news and repeated in a myriad of status updates on Facebook. While reading something totally unrelated on one of my blog sites I discovered that Sally Ride, first woman in space had died at the age of 61 from pancreatic cancer… Last month. In addition to being the first woman to travel into space she has a PhD in physics from Stanford University and headed the committee that investigated the Challenger tragedy, which resulted in major change in the safety regulations surrounding space flight. She started math and science summer camps for girls and was a major influence for a whole generation of scientifically minded women. Although her contributions to space travel are just as important as those of Neil Armstrong (in some ways more important I think) it seems that her death was less widely noted. I have been told that it was in the news but as far as I can tell it didn’t cause very much of a ripple in our collective awareness. I for one am deeply saddened and apologetic.

Day159: A Rare Glilmpse of Pride

[World Series 1912, 4th game, Polo Grounds, NY...
[World Series 1912, 4th game, Polo Grounds, NY (baseball)] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)
I don’t like sports much. I also usually don’t have much pride in my hometown. There are however exceptions to every situation. The Goodlettsville All Stars, our local Little League team are as of this post 3-3 in the Little League World Series  Of all the kids who play every year only 11 teams get the chance to play in the World Series.  As adults we sometimes forget that childhood dreams are worth chasing. Come on guys, you can do it, bring home that pennant!

Day 158: Ivory and Crimson…Blood and Chess

Ivory Chess Piece in the Form of a Knight
Ivory Chess Piece in the Form of a Knight (Photo credit: peterjr1961)

I have no blood brothers. The men I call my brothers have never failed to encourage and support   me in being the best version of myself I can be. Somewhere along the way we all grew up…don’t ask me when that happened….I still don’t know.  I know we all have our faults and no one is perfect by any means but we love each other anyway. I couldn’t imagine having blood  brothers more awesome. To my white knights with feet of clay:I love you now, forever,and always. Against all foes, be they personal demon.ghost, or even spider bite….i am with you always.

Day 157: This is REALLY going to hurt


Dutch pea soup
Dutch pea soup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’re probably going to throw up.

That was the first thing the physical therapist said at my first out of bed therapy session in 2 weeks. I knew that this was probably going to hurt worse then anything in my life had before. I was 14 years old and had just had spinal surgery a few weeks before. In my experience therapists seem to take a different view of pain then their patients. Especially right after surgery they will often push you past the point that you want to say enough. So when that was the sentence I  heard before anything happened I was daunted, and a little worried. My knee jerk reaction to heavy pain since the age of 12 or 13 has been to swear instead of cry.  If a therapist said I’d probably be in enough pain to throw up I would probably  swear too. In a children’s hospital. Bad. In front of my grandma,who was staying with me that week. Worse. She takes a very dim of swearing and large amounts  of pain are no excuse. There was no getting out of it, I tried in hopes that I could postpone a week until my mom was there,she didn’t mind swearing from pain. No dice. I put my game face on.They strapped  chest,knees, and ankles, to table that would slowly go from horizontal to vertical, effectively standing me up.. About halfway up my knees tried to draw into my chest but were blocked by the strap. It was then that I learned that your legs ARE connected to your spine, imagine that.   I threw up and swore under my breath.The best part was that even though I was mess my grandma got an equal share in my impromptu imitation of Linda Blair. I took the lecture I later got almost cheerfully.

Even a one night thing can have repercussions folks

A Girl Named Clay

Weep for humanity that this all still needs to be said.

1.) I’m Kinky. You’re Kinky.And That’s Not The End of The story.
Assuming unspoken consent and cohesiveness between our kinks is going to be like throwing two pissed-off fighting cocks in a circle and thinking there’s going to be a tea party – they’re the same species, after all.
So we gotta talk it out first, and see where our wants and needs intersect, and which areas to steer clear of. Otherwise, one of us is going to end up hog-tied upside-down and gagged, and not all together pleased about it.

2.) Consent is a Before-Hand Thing.
I ‘preciate you asking whilst or after the fact. But the sad fact of the matter is that, as far as we experience it, time is linear, and so unless you ask me if I want something BEFORE you actually dive…

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The US has A LOT of catching up to do.


Just over a week ago I blogged about Royal Mail choosing to produce an individual stamp celebrating each gold-winning Olympian, and the fact that they were not extending this recognition to Paralympians, choosing instead to opt for cheaper, less glorified group shots. The post is here (if you pardon the pun). It had been a hot topic on Twitter that day, and continued to be all week, with many more high-profile and important people than me joining in the debate. (Including other bloggers: John Kingdon and Steve Allman posting on it)

The story was quickly picked up in the national UK press, and repeated internationally, including segments on Channel 4 News, and articles on the BBC website, as well as in the Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph and The New Statesman.

The great news is that today, Royal Mail announced a policy u-turn. It is the…

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Day 154: To The Bat Cave or How to Start Your Own Crusade

The Bat-Signal as seen at the end of Batman
The Bat-Signal as seen at the end of Batman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe it was Gandhi who said:

Be the change you seek in the world.

Last night I created a petition to get CBS to provide coverage of the next Paralympic Games. I mean, if countries like Iran televise it (and they do) we really have no excuse. My goal is 1000 signatures.  Once that goal is reached I will print off the petition and mail it to the CEO of CBS , its director of programming and the company’s board of directors. I will continue to send similar petitions every year until CBS agrees to cover them I would also like to thank Sarah/Tempest at Fanbloomingtastic for the list of countries which will provide media coverage of the Paralympics.My petition to CBS can be found here. Please sign and spread the word to many people as you can. This is how the world is changed, one person at a time.

Day 153: Why I Didn’t Watch the Olympics At All

Paralympic Games
Paralympic Games (Photo credit: Martin Deutsch)

I tried at first I really did. My household has recently decided to do away with cable-television because you can watch most TV on the Internet now anyway. However it is not that easy to watch the Olympics apparently. Somewhere along the way I chose to stop trying to find a way to see them. If you regularly read my blog you know that I am disabled. What you may not be aware of is that the Paralympics takes place roughly 2 weeks after the Olympic closing ceremonies in the same city. If you weren’t aware of this you are not alone. I didn’t even know the Paralympics existed until I was 14 years old. Television networks cover the Olympics every four years without fail, not so the Paralympics. At best I have seen it relegated to a secondary ESPN channel in the United States. I have only seen that once, usually no one even mentions the existence of the Paralympic games at all, not even enough to say that it can be watched online. In an age where hiding those with disabilities away in medical institutions is frowned upon as politically incorrect the United States appears to have found an alternative method of doing essentially that Why do we need to publicly endorse and televise disabled athletes… Of course everyone knows that the Paralympics exist! That should be the case but it isn’t. The United States Postal Service is well known for its series of stamps celebrating the Olympic Games but when I looked up the Paralympics on their official website the only references I found was an article explaining how to send mail to someone there. There was no stamp series to be found anywhere, and to the best of my knowledge there never has been.  Great Britain’s Royal Mail is coming under serious fire for the statement that they only print group shots of Great Britain’s Paralympic gold molests and not individual stamps. While I disagree with that decision at least they are printing stamps to honor the team in the first place, that is definitely more than United States is doing. With as many injured servicemen and women returning from various places all over the globe you would think that somebody would see the value of the Paralympics becoming at least a little more mainstream than it is currently. I can’t see how showing someone that they can still accomplish great and awesome things in spite of an amputation, spinal cord injury etc. can have anything but a positive influence, but maybe that’s just me.