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