Random Facts and Two Catastrophes

Last summer, I made the decision to fold my personal blog and my audiobook blog into one website. You can read more about that by clicking here. I uploaded all of my Audiobook reviews from that site but did not upload the news posts. I saved my personal blog to a file thinking I might upload it eventually but I never did so.
The benefit to not uploading those old posts are that I can revisit some of them and they will essentially be new content. Today’s post is an example of one that I have done previously but thought I would bring back now. I thought now would be a good time because I’ve picked up a few new readers since the year started and this exercise is one in which the reader will get to know me better and for me it is good to think about interesting tidbits about myself that I can share with others.

The inspiration came from a Facebook meme where you listed 25 random facts about yourself. I decided I would do that and post it on my website (I’ve always been a bit of a whore for traffic) and so that’s what I did. I didn’t limit it to 25 facts, however. We’ll see how many random facts this post ultimately contains by the time I’m done.

I was born visually impaired

I don’t exactly know the medical terminology for my condition but here is the important part. I was born without a right eye, it never formed. My left eye only formed partially. So I’ve never been able to see out of my right eye. I’ve had vision in my left but it has decreased over time.
When people ask me what I can see now, for practical purposes I say nothing. This isn’t exactly true but close enough. I find that if I try and explain it they just end up asking a lot more questions and being pretty confused in the end.

I Started school at the age of 1.5 years

Obviously, I don’t remember back to my first day of school but being born with a visual impairment they wanted me in the pre-school program pretty young.

One of my earliest memories involves the band ‘CCR’

I had this one confirmed for me when I graduated High School. When I was in pre-school, the teacher got annoyed with me one day because rather than ‘Itzie Bitzie Spider’, I wanted her to teach us how to sing ‘Bad Moon Rising’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival. She took my tape and still had it when I graduated High School in 1999. She didn’t give it back to me then, either.
‘Bad Moon Rising’ is still one of my favorite songs to this day.

I started speaking in public in first grade

It is possible that I started younger than this but first grade is the first time I can remember. I used to do presentations for local Lions Clubs and other groups about being blind. When I was in 5th grade, I went to all of the other schools and spoke to their fifth grade classes because these would be my new classmates in middle school.
The strangest question I was ever asked was when I was a senior in High School and a kid asked me how I brushed my teeth. Another interesting moment came when I was in college. I’d just spoken to a group of student’s visiting the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually impaired when one of them came up to me and offered to heel me.
Also when I was in college and trying to explain to my friend Kara how much I could see, she asked me what green looked like. This is an impossible question for anyone to answer with or without vision. If someone who had never seen green asked you to describe green to them, you could not do it. You could identify for them objects that are green but that tells them nothing of what it means that something is green. It took more than a couple people to try and explain to her the flaw in her question.

The best thing I ever did in school was take debate

Obviously, being visually impaired meant that varsity athletics were out of the question. I liked drama class well enough but never went with it beyond freshman year, perhaps I should have?
Debate was another matter, however. I think my years of public speaking helped me out in this activity quite a bit. I had a good career as a debater but if I had practiced more as a Sophomore and Junior I could have had a much better one. My work ethic didn’t pick up until I was a Senior. That in and of itself was a valuable enough life lesson to make the whole thing worthwhile.
I have my fair share of debate trophies and trophies from other activities I participated in during my life. However, none of them are in my possession. My parents have them all. I don’t need to look at plaques or trophies to bring back fond memories. Nor do I feel particularly compelled to show off past accomplishments to others.

I made school officials nervous simply by walking home

When I was in school, I took the bus. In fact, unlike with most kids in my case the bus stopped at my house instead of at a bus stop. My brothers still had to go to the bus stop but they’d pick me up at home. Go figure, although that eventually stopped being true as my sister got on the bus at home when I did.
Anyway, my elementary school was not too far away from where I’d live so every once in awhile I would just walk home. For all the concern it caused you would have thought that I were planning to burn the school down. I remember once that the school secretary called my house to make sure I had gotten home safely.
I don’t see why they were so alarmed. Especially when you consider the fact that many times I would ride the bus home, eat something and then either walk or ride back to the school and join my friends back on the playground. Yes, I rode bike quite a bit as a child using only the vision in my left eye.

I have always felt older than my age

From a mental maturity standpoint I was always older than my age. When I was in Junior High, 8th grade to be more specific, I spent more time in conversation with teachers than I did with kids my own age. I have always gravitated towards people older than me.
My parents let me stay home alone starting at around the age of 8. My dad was pretty sure that I’d get into less trouble than my older brothers.
This might also explain why I was listening to classic rock at the age of three.

I was bullied quite a bit as a child back before it was a big deal

I’m glad that schools in particular pay more attention to bullying now than they used to even if I’m not entirely convinced that their efforts are successful. Still because I was visually impaired and looked different I was picked on quite a bit.
Girls were worse than guys, sorry ladies but it is true. At least with guys there was a chance I could physically defend myself if necessary. A couple girls seemed to take sedistic pleasure in taunting me. It didn’t really stop until I went to college. It seems that everyone grew up when they started college…or at least if they made fun of me they did a better job of ensuring that I never heard it.

I started to lose my vision in 7th grade

When I was in 6th grade I would often run between classes, bounce down the stairs and moved around quite well. In 7th grade, I started to move with a lot more caution. By 8th grade, they started to insist I use a cane and I couldn’t really argue with them. They being school administrators and my parents.

I am pretty shy especially around women

This is no doubt connected to my bullying experiences. In High School there were a few girls I wanted to ask out at various times but I never ever did it. I did not go to any High School dance, I did not date at all in High School.
I have in the past couple of years forced myself to be more outgoing, especially with women and things are better now. Still, I can be quiet until you are in my circle at which point I take a leadership role. It can take awhile for me to be comfortable with someone (it can also happen quickly, it just depends on the person) but once I am I tend to be pretty open.

I have dated two girls that shared identical first and middle names and I dated them one after the other.

My first serious girlfriend was named Amanda and her middle name was Rose. It actually still is because we’re friends to this day. Anyway, after we broke up I dated another girl named Amanda whom I had known since I was a child. I was floored when she told me her middle name, however.
In a related bit of trivia, 4 of the 5 women whom I can say I have dated had names that started with the letter A. Two Amandas, an Amber and an Ann. The one hold out is a Jessica.

I’ve never dated someone older than me but think it would suit me very well.

Okay, fine, this is not an actual fact only conjecture on my part. Still, I think this is fair conjecture. I said earlier that I matured quickly and was always more comfortable around people older than I. My best friend is 5 years older than me and even in my small circle of friends more often than not I was the youngest although the margins were closer. So I don’t think being a few years younger than a significant other would phase me, it might even be the best thing for me.

Most of my relationships have been long distance

Outside of the last woman I’ve dated all of my previous relationships have involved some distance. Sometimes it was a small difference in miles apart and other times, the gulf was vast. I find that long distance relationships are filled with both blessings and curses.
It is hard to be apart from someone you really want to be with and you can’t just plan to go to the movies on Friday especially when the distance between you is wide enough that an airplane is the best mode of transportation. However, being apart allows you to get to know each other better if you talk often enough. If all you can do is talk you can get to know someone a lot better before things get physical and I think there is a benefit to that.
I used to say I’d never do another long distance relationship again, I have softened my stance on that in the last year or so. With the right person I would definitely consider another one.

A person, man or woman, really isn’t real to me until I’ve heard their voice

Okay, if I ask you as the reader to describe yourself to me, you can give me a lot of helpful information. Because I have had vision in the past, when someone tells me that they are a blonde with a dark complection that is about 5’7 that does help me form an impression of them in my head.
However, it is to the point where I associate more with voices so even if I have a clear description of someone I can’t really put it all together in my mind until I have the voice. Without the voice, people are abstract in my head. They may as well be giant blobs.

I hate the sound of my own voice

Yeah, I know, people say that all the time. They don’t think they sound natural on tape or whatever. I hate the sound of my voice so much that when I was in High School and did a video project for German class, I had to leave the room when the class watched it because I just could not handle hearing my own voice.
I taped hours of podcasts with Euan, Art and those guys. I listened to none of them after the fact for the same reason. I just couldn’t handle it. I want to podcast in the future but if I do, you can be assured that I won’t listen to my own work.
People always tell me I have a nice voice but I just don’t agree with them. I guess much like visual beauty is in the eye of the beholder, audio beauty is in the ear of the listener.

I love meeting people online

If you exclude my family from the equation, if The Internet did not exist I would probably have two friends with whom I spoke regularly. The Internet has helped me keep track of some people I might have otherwise lost contact with but it has also helped me meet a lot of cool people and Ric Gillespie.
It is hard to imagine my life without Euan, Art, Karl, Danger, Dave, Kelly, Mia, Melissa and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. I have hopes that I’m even now making a new friend. I’ll even be nice and give another shoutout to Ric Gillespie.
So feel free to friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter or join me on Skype (my username is old.country.caretaker). If I can figure out that you’re not spam, I’m always happy to add new people to my list.

As a child, I did not read much.

When you consider how much I blog about audiobooks, you’d probably think I’m a life-long or at least passionate reader. This is not true. I didn’t really become much of a reader until a couple of years ago.
I never liked reading as a child because reading usually meant book reports. I think book reports are the dumbest thing ever if your goal is to try and get kids to love reading. But being visually impaired meant that I couldn’t just go to the library and pick out a book. At best I could only read large print back then.
So I needed either braille or a book on tape. This often meant that reading material had to be picked in advance and if I didn’t like the book I was pretty much stuck. It would be unfair to say I hated reading because as I said the other day I did find books that I liked. But The Internet and digital content plus the booming popularity of Audiobooks has made a big difference in my life.

I didn’t see Star Wars until I was in college

Again, Star Wars is a topic that comes up from time to time on this blog. Again, you might think I’ve been a fan for quite some time but only about a dozen years in actuality. I actually first got interested in the franchise towards the end of my senior year in High School. Everyone in my debate class was excited for ‘The Phantom Menace’ and I was kind of frozen out because I knew very little about the series.
However, it is worth pointing out that I didn’t watch movies very often growing up. I rented tapes from the video store all the time but they were mostly Wrestling. I also went long stretches of time without going to the movie theater. I was more of a TV person.

My brother once said I was born 30 years too late.

Some people are ahead of their time but it seems that I was behind mine. My brother said this to me one day because I was watching Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. I love old sitcoms like The Andy Griffith Show, Sanford and Son, M*A*S*H and many others. I gravitate towards music from the 1950s-1970s above all else…you know because back then it didn’t completely suck.
I am not one of those people who think that entertainment gets better as time passes. I don’t think all of the greatest TV shows of all time are from the last decade or so.

I don’t like to have my picture taken.

Perhaps it is because of my eyes but I’ve never been fully comfortable having my picture taken. If friends are going to take pictures of me, they’re better off doing it without telling me. This is why my Facebook page does not contain a lot of photos. It is also why this blog is mostly text entries.
Unfortunately, this means that there are fewer pictures of Ginny than I would have liked. But here are a couple.

Ginny wants down

Ginny and I sitting on my bed, she doesn’t want to be there and bolted right after the picture was taken

Ginny's favorite thing that wasn't food

This is Ginny in her favorite spot on my couch…okay, her couch.

When I was 19, I jumped off a slide at the park and broke my heel. This is my only broken bone ever.

It was May 12, 2000 to be exact. My first year of college ended the previous week. I was hanging out with friends at the park when I made my fateful jump. Most of my romantic relationships took place after this event but the really serious ones involved me taking the girl to see where my heel met its doom. Both girls threatened me with bodily harm if I jumped again to which I thought…duh.

Since most of you reading this will never visit Huron, here are some more pics.

This slide is not that dangerous...unless you're an idiot like me

I’m standing in front of the slide off of which I jumped and broke my heel, pretty close to where I actually landed.

The slide wasn't the problem, gravity was the issue

I’m standing on the top of the slide facing the same direction I was when I jumped. It is about an 8 foot drop…which was enough.

But the park wasn’t all bad, I did get to play on this as a child. Okay, I also play on it from time to time as an adult.

I was never injured on this slide...that you know of

I’m standing on the bridge of the rocket slide

When taking my picture, the further away the better

A different shot of me on the rocket slide bridge

This slide is huge

I’m standing in front of the slide where I’m relatively safe from accidentally injuring myself

One last shot of the slide

Sorry about the close-up shot of me when you really just want to see the slide

I built a Monopoly Game out of oak

Picture it if you can, the far off year of 2012. I am in Sioux Falls receiving some independent living training. One of my classes is shop, I need a project. In another class I had decided to make a home made braille monopoly game because buying a Braille monopoly game would have cost $50 and this could be done for much less. That was what I was told before I made my decision to make my own. All went well until the question of how to store this thing came up…enter the shop teacher.

This braille monopoly game needed a nice box. It needed an oak box because who has a monopoly game box made out of oak? Who has a braille monopoly game made out of oak? Nobody, that’s who. It turns out that nobody had one of these things for a good reason. This was quite difficult.

I’ll share the full story in more detail eventually. However, I again have photographic proof.

The game is real, so are the nightmares

This photo shows the braille monopoly board sitting upright in the box which also serves as a playing surface.

This thing is not as portable as it might seem

This Photo is what the monopoly box looks like when it is not being played or is getting ready to be transported elsewhere

This project took a long time to complete. There were the hours spent Brailling the labels for all of the cards and squared on the board. There was a lot of gluing the little wood sticks to the board, not done by me. Then there was all of the trouble and falls to the dark side of the force caused by that damn box. All that effort to produce a game that has never been played.
I thought I’d play this game right away with my friends but that never happened. Now it has been nearly 4 years. I think what I’m going to do is reserve the first game for my future wife and I as well as other friends. This way it will be a very special first game amd if I never get married, the game never gets played. And yes, since this is a regular monopoly board you can buy at the store, sighted people can still play even with all the braille.

The box sits under my bed as of right now because where the hell else are you gonna put a monopoly game made out of Oak?

I think that is enough random facts for now. I’ll do this again in the future if I think of others to share and if you guys like reading this one. I’m going to close this post out with a song. I came up with this idea last night and am going to end my posts with a song when I can. It might be a song related to the post, it might be something I’ve been playing a lot lately or just something that I like and want to share. It might even be related to my mood at the time of writing. Anyway, today’s song is fairly obvious.

Casey’s Song of the Day

What, did you think I was going to pick ‘Itzie Bitzie Spider’?

13 thoughts on “Random Facts and Two Catastrophes

  1. I absolutely LOVE this post! Once again, your honesty has surpassed expectation, and you still managed to make me laugh more than a few times! πŸ˜‰
    This post actually needs a lengthy response, because there is just so much to respond to. But my lengthy comment may be boring for many, so I’ll try and keep it short πŸ˜‰

    The most important response to this is : I am honored to be considered as ‘a new friend’. Thank you for that! And since apparently ‘nothing is official until it’s on Facebook’, I shall add you as a friend on there later today, when I make my way on to that site πŸ™‚

    In reading this post, I just see so much of a ‘brave soul’. I could definitely learn a thing or two from you, although sometimes I learn best when I experience things for myself – I won’t be jumping off any slides though, I think I’ll definitely accept your lesson there!
    As for ‘being older than your age’ – you’re not alone. My circle of friends have always been a lot older than me – sometimes quite a bit younger, but that’s because I am such a nurturer and am happy to mommy them πŸ˜› The ‘being older’ has never been a problem for me…until I actually started to get older. Now I’m 37 going on about 55 πŸ˜› (One of my closest friends who lives twenty minutes away from me is 55. If I am going to ‘social’, it’s usually with her and her husband. Her daughter is my ‘little sister’ – 22 now, but I’ve known her since she was 5!)
    I actually married a man a lot older than me, but stupidly it was for love and not for money. It got me nowhere. There is no truth to the saying, “Better to be an old man’s darling than a young man’s slave”. In fact, in my personal experience, it was quite the opposite. This did not end well, so we’ll leave it at that.
    I’ve had a long distance relationship before, and it worked well – until he met someone near by that he could actually be with. I don’t begrudge him that – he had so much love to give, and was deserving of having it returned not only emotionally, but physically too. His wife, he and I are long distance friends.
    My very best friend/sister in Kansas? We’ve never met. We will, one day, and I look forward to it! But we talk daily via email, and until recently we had Facebook and Twitter too. She has since left Facebook. We also use Whatsapp for ’emergency situations’ – or to share a couple of pics of projects we’re working on, or stupid things we’ve done (like the burnt chocolate muffins from the other day because I forgot about them and went to fetch my daughter from school). In ’emergency’ situations we often voice message on there. We also try and Skype once a month – the time difference doesn’t help our busy schedules and co-ordination much.
    So the point of my friend/sister is this : she knows me better than most of the people who get to see me regularly, because there is just so much more communication between her and I. Which is sad, when you really think about it. And because we have spoken at great lengths and I know the sound of her voice, it almost feels like we HAVE met.
    My voice is always a ‘bone of contention’ for me, because I have been told that it’s lovely, and was even asked to read a book for ‘audio book recording purposes’, but I disagree – and I didn’t.
    I don’t like pictures of myself either. The profile pic on here is one of five that I did for a modelling shoot three years ago – it was to build up someone’s portfolio (I’ve just realized that there may be a blog post in that πŸ˜› ). So this picture is a ‘professional’ one, as opposed to the way they usually come out. I’ve been told that I am photogenic, but also that I am better in person because I have such an expressive face. Of course, this is what my close friends tell me, and they’re biased…. πŸ˜‰ I like to think that I am a relatively attractive person on the outside…but I am a big advocate for inner beauty, and stress it to my children constantly. So sometimes I look in the mirror and just see ‘ugly’ – that’s usually at the times where I have done or said something that I am not proud of.
    Monopoly happens to be one of the only games that I can actually convince the children to play with me. It brings back great memories from childhood for me – although I mostly played it alone. But it warms my heart now to actually have my ten-year-old and seventeen-year-old sitting at the same table, having fun. At least until the oldest starts winning – then I have to do damage control and beat them both…at the game!!!! πŸ˜‰

    I may have possibly left out a few comments, but when I see the length of this reply, I suppose I need to apologize to your readers if they stumble upon it!

    Thank you for this entertaining and interesting blog post! Well worth waiting for! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like you more and more with each passing comment, I swear. I think you understand me pretty well which is a little scary because I don’t think most people understand me at all. πŸ˜‰

      I obviously like monopoly enough to have built a game. I enjoy lots of games but don’t ever really get to play.

      No need to apologize for a long comment, especially when it is a good one and yours was definitely a good one.

      Obviously, being unable to see anything really, inner-beauty is very important to me. Also because physical beauty doesn’t last forever. Sure, some diseases attack the mind and change a person’s personality but even that usually happens long after physical appearances have changed dramatically.

      I’ve gleaned a little bit about your history from reading you blog, thanks for sharing though. Call it a hunch but I did guess about 37 for your age despite being unable to distinguish anything from a photo…it was just a hunch. πŸ˜‰

      The funny thing about breaking my heel was when the doctor told me that’s what I had done, he said that a person has to work hard to break a heel. I didn’t think it was hard at all. πŸ™‚

      Here’s to many fun and interesting chats in the future. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • It may not have been hard to break your heel….although the ground must have been πŸ˜‰
        Commenting is easy – it allows me time to think about, and edit, exactly what it is that I want to say. Proper conversation with me is not quite as scintillating – well, that’s what I think, anyway πŸ˜‰
        I am glad that you feel that I understand you – it’s important in a friendship….but more important to at least TRY to understand another person, which seems to be lacking in today’s society. I do make a little more effort than most to try and ‘see beyond’ with people, because of past experiences and how I was made to feel in certain situations. I also try as much as possible to be an open book so that it’s a little easier for people to understand me. That said, I am still a bit difficult ‘to get’ at times πŸ˜›
        This reply has taken a while, and is not as lengthy or interesting – but in my defense, I received a call from my Dad in the UK and we were discussing his travels plans πŸ˜‰
        My next blog is ‘for you’ – and it should be done in the next half hour or so….depending how many other things happen between now and then πŸ™‚


      • I’ll be the judge of how interesting you are to talk to without the ability to edit. πŸ™‚ Fortunately for you I’m not hard to entertain.

        I look forward to your blog. I’ve settled on my entry for tomorrow and it, more than this one, is for you. πŸ˜‰

        Not all comments can be books, especially when life must be addressed. I’m just sitting here watching Netflix and thanks to something you said earlier, smiling broadly. First big smile in awhile. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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  3. I’m also quite easy to entertain, and easily amused πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰
    My blog is up – it’s short, and sort of sweet… πŸ˜›
    I am glad I have managed to make you smile – it’s important to me that I have a positive effect on people….some days this is only achieved when I leave πŸ˜›
    Would you believe that we only got permission to experience the wonderful world of Netflix in my country the last couple of weeks? I have yet to venture there πŸ˜‰


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  5. I’m a lot more private on Facebook – my family is watching, and sometimes it feels like they’re the mafia…but they’re not. πŸ˜› We have a strange dynamic – and they know nothing of my blog. I have no desire to share it with them either. It’s a long story. One day I’ll tell it πŸ˜‰


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