This Should Be Funny, But I’m Crying

Because it’s still New Year’s Day, I thought I’d make fun of myself because there are certain Christmas comedy bits that no matter how many times I hear them, they still make me cry. Not laugh until I cry, just straight up cry. Here they are, in no particular order.

First, there’s what would happen if you got all the stuff from the 12 days of Christmas. Yup. I didn’t cry as much, but there’s still a tear. I don’t know if that one is because he’s crying, but it doesn’t matter how many times I hear it. It still happens. I almost made it…almost.

Next is this Sean Morey song

All it takes is “I want a stick to burn for heat.” and I’m gone.

This one might not be as reliable. It’s called “We’re Shopping at the Mall” and I think I might have heard it for the first time in the pandemic when I was easier to make cry.
This one isn’t getting me as bad as it did the first time. Oh wait. It’s getting worse. It might have made me a little sad, but I wasn’t a blubbering mess.

Here’s the last one on my list. It’s called “You Ain’t Getting Shit for Christmas”.

This one doesn’t make me cry, so much as make me feel all empty and hollow, and not want to laugh at all.

But here’s where I don’t make any sense. This John Lajoie tune disturbs me, but has never made me cry once. What the heck?

Was it because the title made me think I should brace myself for all the terrible that was coming? But if that’s the case, “You ain’t gettin’ shit for Christmas” should have been a good clue. I always go “Oh no! Oh gees! Wow!” a whole bunch of times, but I never end up crying.

So yeah. I’m weird. The question is am I alone in this?

Here Comes 2024

Hi there. It’s me, the biggest absentee blogger in history. Since I started going back to the office, even though I have more energy thanks to ol’ Santa the CPAP machine, I can’t seem to find the time to write, even though I have a great heap of ideas.

So…um…it’s 2024. I say this every year, but the years go faster and faster. I feel like we were just doing this, and here we are again.

What can I say about 2023. It definitely was a mixed bag, but I guess that’s the way life goes. On the positive side, I got Domino. Yeah, about that! I have to write one of my doggy deluges to catch you up on how he’s doing. It’ll probably take several posts. I also have been going back to the office, which has been doing me a lot of good because I’m actually seeing more people. It’s not as good as I had hoped because you never know who will be there each day, but it definitely is getting me out and bopping around, which is rebuilding my confidence.

On the less awesome side, Dad has been having lots of health struggles. Thankfully he got through his cancer scare, but cancer is kind of like that evil doll from the horror movies. You just think you’ve gotten rid of it when it shows up again, and you never know when that will happen. I’m trying not to think like that, but it’s hard.

Even without his cancer, he keeps having health problems. It’s scary to watch your parents get older and be less rock-solid. It’s the natural order of things, but it’s not fun.

I also had it brought home that you never know when you’ll lose someone. I went to the CSUN Assistive Technology conference last March for the first time since 2019. It was nerve-wracking, but lots of fun. But I found out that Joseph O’Connor who I met at CSUN years ago had passed away back in 2020 and I had no idea. There was an early morning session that I didn’t attend, going over people who had been there through the years, and I guess his death was mentioned. Then I went to lunch with a colleague and said “I wonder if Joe O’Connor is here!” My colleague had gone to the session, and had to tell me he had passed away. He always was so kind and passionate about WordPress accessibility, and of course, he was a big part of the ‘Woman! Turn around!’ story. He celebrated the solstace, so I will always think about him on that day. But the point is he had been gone for 3 whole years and I had no idea.

I guess he had proposed a presentation idea about making your funeral services and grave site accessible, and it was rejected, even though I thought it was something that should be talked about. You can tell he knew the end was near and really wanted to make things as easy as possible for his daughter. It was so much more than some dry presentation about theories about how to make things accessible. He had examples that made the whole thing very real.

I didn’t talk to him as much as I wanted to, and I will always regret that. It just reminds me that I never know when I will lose someone.

I’m happy I went to CSUN, but I really hate airports. They bring out the absolute worst in me. People are so focused on trying to get to their gate that they’d bowl you over on their way through. Even the people pushing people in wheelchairs would just run you over instead of watching where they’re going. The employees see a blind person and lose their mind. They either treat us like cargo, or panic that they might have to do more than point and mime what they want. One flight attendant pleaded with colleagues of mine to switch seats so my colleagues would be right with me in case there was an emergency. And what would they do if I was flying alone? The airports are more short staffed, so they have kiosks that aren’t designed accessibly, and we’re expected to use them. And this is all happening while we’re trying to get somewhere. It’s gotten so bad that if I’m travelling with people, I warn them in advance that I might get surly in the airport. I try my best not to, but inevitably something pisses me off.

And it’s not just the airport. The airport is a special kind of hell, but I’m finding more and more that people everywhere are getting less communicative. Throughout the pandemic, people talked about how we missed social connection. It sure doesn’t look like anybody misses it by the way they all have headphones on and have their heads buried in their phones. If I try to speak to most people on the street, I get silence in return. Sometimes I want to bonk into one of them accidentally on purpose and then remind them that I had said hello to them 3 times and most people actually answer back. I sometimes wonder if there’s a language barrier, but it’s just as likely to be an English-speaking person as someone who speaks English as a second language. When I go into stores, there’s no one around to ask for help, and if there is, they just sit there and stare at me, hoping that maybe I will spawn some eyeballs and know that they’re there, or they expect me to make eye contact. If people want me to move, instead of saying “Can you move to the left?” they grumble indecipherable noises behind me. I can tell they’re discontented, but I have no idea why or at whom. This is the world in which I find myself, and it makes me sad and on edge all the time. I want something that resembles what we used to have. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a damn sight better than what it is now.

Gaaa! I sound like an old lady! I guess I am one. But there’s still lots of fun to be had. Our nephews always make us laugh. Seppa is always amazing us with his skills with math, or maff as he puts it. He even kind of knows what prime numbers are! He’s always asking us for the definitions of words, and surprisingly hard questions that don’t seem hard at first. The other day, I was trying and failing to explain time zones to him. And…and…we are reaching the end of an era! Soon he will no longer call me Aunt Carrot! He’s figuring it out! Sukie is smart as ever, and is into Harry Potter. That kid can read like a fiend! And I realize that I’ve never given the other nephews nicknames up here. Let’s call them Kliks and Bricks. Kliks was actually the first nephew, but I just called him the nephew. Then Seppa came along, and then Sukie, but I didn’t see Kliks as much so I couldn’t come up with a nickname for him. Then his little brother, let’s call him Bricks, came along. So what can I say about Kliks and Bricks? Klicks is amazed by Steve’s ability to chase him around even though he tries not to make a sound. He always hopes that I’ll bring “Um…what’s his name? Uncle Steve! Yeah!” whenever I come home for holidays. I don’t think he thinks I’m nearly as cool. Bricks is the smallest of the nephews, and I think he struggles to fit in, but he tries his best. He loves animals and even though he’s quiet, he’s always thinking.

So here comes 2024, for better or for worse. I hope we all have a great year full of all the good things we can wring out of it.

All I Want For Christmas Is Words, Goats And A Chicken

I’ll be honest here. The last little while, I’ve been having a hell of a time with the part of my brain that comes up with thoughts and words and then turns them into blog posts. I don’t exactly know why and I doubt I ever will, but it’s happening and it’s frustrating. Perhaps the last few years of waiting for the next garbage thing to happen has finally started to wear on me. That’s as good a guess as any, and probably as close to a right one as I’m going to get.

But I do want too use whatever words I do have at the moment to wish you all a happy holiday.

If you’ve got Christmas shopping to do, you have my sympathies. Christ, it was hard this year. Carin and I got ours done, but it came way closer to the wire than we’re used to. Nobody knew what they wanted this year, and we had just as many ideas. When even the kids on your list are difficult, you know it’s a tough year.

We’re doing Christmas with my family this year, which means four gatherings in five days. My favourite! But like I always say when I’m talking myself out of being annoyed by that, at least I’ve got people to gather with. Hopefully you all do too if that’s your thing and I hope you have a lovely time with them.

And now I will leave you with a couple of things you can listen to during those gatherings.

“O Holy Night,” sung by a bunch of goats. I like to think that the screaming one is screaming because he is also creeped out by the sound of goats.

And a much more pleasant version of “All I Want for Christmas Is you” than the one to which we are generally subjected.

You’re welcome, and merry Christmas!

Almost Renewing Online With ServiceOntario Is An Almost Great Experience

I had to renew my health card and Ontario Photo Card this week. Since you can renew a lot of these things online now if you don’t need a new photo (thanks, Covid), I thought I’d give it a try. I had a picture taken last time I was in and I haven’t moved or done anything else that might cause a problem, so I figured I’d be golden.

I was almost right.

Renewing the photo card couldn’t have gone smoother. You enter the numbers from your current card, answer a couple of questions, pay the fee and you’re off to the races. Other than the extra required blind guy time it takes to do things like get the numbers into a readable state, I had that done in maybe five minutes.

the health card started off similarly. Answered some questions, typed in some numbers, hit the button…”beginning of error messages,” it said.

Error messages? What did I do wrong? Everything here looks correct.

The site, which had up to this point been surprisingly pleasant to use, was no help whatsoever in answering that question.

Above the info I had entered, it said that perhaps the card numbers or my postal code were incorrect. Didn’t bother telling me which one, just that they might be. I checked several times. They were not. Below it, it said that what I had entered did not match the information on file. Well duh, my friend. If you think it’s wrong, of course it’s not going to match.

Puzzling over this for a moment, Carin wondered, quite logically, whether I had perhaps done things in the wrong order. You need your photo card to renew your health card, so since you renewed that first, maybe it invalidated it.

Well crap. Maybe it did.

So it was off to ServiceOntario with me.

If I’ve never said it, I’ll say right here that as much as one can love a government office, I love the Service Ontario on Manitou Drive in Kitchener. Every time I have to deal with them, they’re always friendly and helpful. I mean that in the usual explaining everything sense, but also from a blind person who might need a little extra help perspective. And man, that place can move! Whether there are three people waiting or we’re lined up out the door, I’m always in and out of there in no time at all. Give those people all of the money at pay raise time, Doug.

This time was no different. There was no line, so I was able to walk in and talk with somebody right away. I explained to him what happened and he said that the website is “notorious for doing this to people.” I handed over my health card and my photo card. Not even the temporary printout you have to carry between the time when you renew and when your new one comes in the mail, just the current card. That put to rest any thoughts of my having gotten the order of operations wrong. And any further worries I had that maybe I really did enter something incorrectly were also quickly torpedoed when he came back a few seconds later and said “I found your problem. You need a photo.”

A photo? Really? The very thing the website told me would stop an online renewal in its tracks, and it couldn’t tell me that? Brutal! That’s day one, basic, must have upon rollout functionality, guys! And it not being there ruined what was an otherwise very good user experience.

I’ll definitely use the online system again, even though I’m worried that I’m going to need a new frigging picture every time. They say you need one every 10 years, but I was under the impression that they were going to start using the same photo for both cards. The way my timing worked out, I was absolutely due for a new health card photo, but I got one taken for the Ontario Photo Card five years ago that I thought would be valid for this. Apparently not. I guess I’ll see what happens in 2028.

Use The Back Entrance

I was starting to worry that I had run out of good misheard lyrics stories, especially now that I don’t listen to a lot of music with dad anymore. But that fear, apparently, was misplaced.

I have tears in my eyes right now as I hear from my brother about a conversation he had yesterday.

Person: “So if they’re trying to ban “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” because it’s about rape or whatever, why do they allow all these other songs to stay?”
Bro: “Like which songs?”
Person: “What about the one about those gay guys building things? I heard it on the radio when I was looking for a station.”
Bro: “Not sure I know that one.”
Person: “It’s some old song. It literally says “a gay pair of guys put up a parking lot!” I have no problem with it, but how did society not get that banned!?”

Upon his recovery, the poor guy did his best to explain that while there may have been gays involved in the construction of said parking lot, that they are not explicitly mentioned in the vocal retelling of the story. Better yet, he tells me he isn’t sure that she’s convinced. Dear god.

Here are the real, gay-free lyrics, complete with the part about how “They paved paradise And put up a parking lot”.

In Other Burrito News…

While writing up that last post, I decided to run a search for “burrito” in the big archive O stuff that Carin and I affectionately call Mini Google just to see if I was hanging on to anything that might be helpful. I wasn’t, but I did find a couple of things from earlier this year that are relevant to our interests, so let’s knock those out now, why don’t we?

  1. We’ve established that throwing burritos is a wrong thing to do. But if you absolutely must, at least hit the right person.

    Investigators were called Wednesday evening to Rick’s Reef, a St. Pete Beach eatery, due to a “female subject yelling at customers.”
    The woman in question was Sarah Anne Kochera, 46, who lives with her boyfriend at his condo just down Gulf Boulevard from Rick’s.
    A witness told police that Kochera “was in a verbal dispute” with a man not identified in an arrest affidavit. At one point, Kochera “threw a burrito at this subject.”
    But the airborne burrito did not strike the man with whom Kochera quarreled. Instead, the Mexican delicacy “hit the victim in the face.” The affidavit does not indicate whether the victim was injured by the burrito.
    Kochera departed the restaurant before cops arrived. But she “remained nearby and was not cooperative with deputies.”

    Anybody else hear a name like Sarah Kochera and immediately break into song?

  2. Good: Offering an upset customer some free food because the soda machine isn’t working.
    Bad: Filling it with poison …allegedly.

    Deputies found that there was a heated exchange between a customer and employees due to the soda machine not working. The customer was eventually given an extra burrito and went home, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
    Several hours later, around 7:50 p.m., a hospital contacted the Sheriff’s Office and reported that they were caring for a patient who had eaten at Taco Bell and ingested rat poison. The hospital confirmed there was indeed rat poison in the burrito, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
    Investigators determined that the sick individual was the same person involved in the earlier disturbance. Deputies responded to his home, the hospital and the Taco Bell to begin an investigation.

    “How could he tell the difference between the rat poison and Taco Bell’s usual ingredients?” asked someone looking for a way to end a post.