>I Don’t Know…Stuff!

>I’ve been meaning to write this thought pile down for a while, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get started. Even now, it isn’t flowing like it usually does. Oh well, hopefully it will pick up before it’s done.

I can’t believe I’m halfway through that French class I joined. Things are going very well. I really like my classmates. They’re a lot of fun. I’m hoping that we can exchange info and meet up afterwards to informally keep our French alive. I don’t want to keep paying for courses if we can just go to the park and have a chat or something.

The teacher is really cool. She says she’s happy that I’m in her class. She’s so thrilled with me that she told her night class about me! One of the students recognized me when I walked into the store where she works. It’s weird to be standing in line and then the cashier says, “Are you taking a French class?” Uh, yeah.

The teacher even says she’s happy that I didn’t let her know in advance because that would have given her time to get herself all worked into a frazzle. How often do you get thanked for not warning someone about something? She’s a cool lady. I’m glad I could show her that having a blind student isn’t the end of the world.

Remember back when I mentioned getting Pacman Talks? Well, my scores have gotten a hell of a lot better, and I’ve been able to turn off training mode! Someone halfway good at this game could still probably clean my clock, but at least the scores are respectable, and I have to actually do some work to get into my own top 10. God I’m so addicted to that game it’s not funny.

Sometimes, when I’m not playing it, I’ll imagine certain things as ghosts. I was eating a sandwich, and the jam was trying to leak out the bottom, and instead of my brain thinking that I should make sure I don’t spill jam on myself, in my head I heard the sound in the game that means a ghost is coming. Oh dear. I’m a sad case.

What is it with me thinking about old technology a lot lately? In any case, Steve and I got talking, and he was trying to tell me about an even older piece of software than I ever laid eyes on. It was called Braille Edit. Let’s go back a bit. Back in the 80’s, I used an Apple IIe with a program on it called Bex to do all my school stuff. The way it was set up was kind of like HTML code junior, in the sense that you had to write out codes in your text if you wanted certain formatting. But BEX could also do braille and interface with all manner of blinky portable technologies. I loved watching it make the Versabraille display dance when you sent text to it. I loved it at the time, but anyone who even used WP51 would cringe at the site of this.

Scarily enough, there was an even older version of this program. You see, BEX stands for Braille Edit Express. Before BEX, there was just Braille Edit, and apparently it was a very clunky piece of software to use. I tried to google it to get an idea of what it was like, but I’m finding it’s slowly disappearing from even the internet. Does anyone remember using this archaic piece of software? What was it like? I can’t imagine something clunkier than BEX.

Steve also mentioned the weirdest braille printer ever. He can’t remember what it was called, but apparently, you had to roll paper into it sheet by sheet, and it had a braille keyboard attached to it and something that resembled the carriage that you pull across on a brailler, only this carriage moved on its own. You apparently had to push a whole bunch of key combinations to get it to go, and at the end of each sheet, you had to hurry up and put the next sheet in or the whole process would time out and you had to start over. No no no, we didn’t know how to resume print jobs in those days. You had to be thankful that you could print at all! So what is this museum exhibit called? Does anybody know? I’m deadly curious.

On the newer technology front, my Book Port problem is fixed! They upgraded the transfer software, and now the daisy book works! Yea! Woo! I love my Book Port!

My pedometer arrived! Now, I feel like the biggest idiot on the planet. Why? I can set the time, I can set my stride length. I just can’t figure out how to get it to count steps! That’s kinda its most important function. Wow! I am a huge moron! In case anyone can help out a toolchest like me, here’s the one I bought. Ah hell, here’s a picture too. Picture of talking pedometer clock

When I read the story about the fake drug enforcement agent, something jumped out at me, besides the ridiculousness of the story itself. The town had a dogcatcher! This made me think about being a kid, and how many kids’ stories had dogcatchers in them. These were usually evil men who you didn’t want catching your dog. What’s up with that? Did dogcatchers used to be evil people who you had to pay off to get your dog back? Did they steal dogs? What’s the history of the dogcatcher?

I experienced a new twist on people wanting to give themselves a big pat on the back for helping me out, only this pat on the back makes me look like an even bigger fool than I already feel. I was downtown, and for some reason, I always have trouble getting back across the street from this one store. Once again I tried, and once again I failed, and ended up right next to a tree in a parking lot. Feeling pretty stupid, I hoped someone came along. Someone did, and asked me where I was trying to go. I told her, and she helped me. That’s great. She decided to walk me all the way to my destination. She didn’t have to do that, but I didn’t mind. But when we got to the destination, she really didn’t have to do what she did next. I walked in and walked up to the counter, at which point she said in a loud voice, “Excuse me, can someone help this lady? She got lost on her way here, so I brought her here.”

Um, was that necessary? Did she have to announce to the world that I got a little screwed up? People already think we can’t do anything without help, thanks for perhaps furthering that assumption for anyone in that store. People probably think I’m overreacting, but let me put it this way. If you gave someone directions, would you then yell at everyone around you, “Aren’t I great? I just helped her find the mall!” No, you wouldn’t! You’d just help the person out and go on your way.

I don’t know why some people have to make a big production out of helping someone. Can’t the act of helping be enough? Can’t they realize that the person they’re helping would like to preserve some of their dignity?

And that’s about it for now. Wasn’t that the most random pile of uncoordinated thoughts? Oh well, that’s nothing new I guess.

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