as expected

i started lesson two yesterday, reminding myself of the bane that got me the last time around: hyphenating. see, there’s a finite amount of space, and brailling takes up a lot of it. so if you can fit a syllable and a hyphen on the line before starting a new one, you have to. but there are all these rules around when and if and how and what. and i could never keep them all straight.
hopefully, this time will be different.
also, i just made a braille cheat-sheet to fit in a pocket-sized moleskine.


i forgot about the sheer volume of documentation required to learn braille. i’ve got all the manuals and codes and instruction book printed out and bound. now i just have to start.
i imagine, soon, i’ll begin dreaming in braille. that always happens to me when i start something new.
i’m excited to begin!

application: check.

after some emails with my old braille instructor, and reading through the course description, i went ahead and submitted the application to participate in the literary braille transcription course.
apparently, the instructor i had now works for the madison school district as a full-time braillist! how cool is that? summers off…


this time, for being so chatty! i no sooner claim lameness then start barraging you with updates and whatnots.
this particular one is in regards to an event taking place downtown this weekend, called ride the drive. essentially, blocking off the middle of the isthmus to motorized vehicles and only allowing bicyclists and pedestrians.
when people and their “movements” happen all at once, or in a prescribed timeframe; it makes people who do not participate want to hurt them. i use my bike for most everything other than driving to work (because i am not committed to waking up earlier than i have to). and i don’t think it’s a benefit to inexperienced bikers to allow them to “take over” such an area and possibly glean false self-importance that won’t exist the next time they want to bike around the outer square.
also, this likely means i won’t be able to eat at the old fashioned for sunday brunch because getting there will suck.

doing something

i think i will, anyway… back in 2000 (or was it ’99?), i took a braille class to become a certified braillist through the national library service for the blind and physically handicapped, under the library of congress. the class was fun, the rules were difficult, the braille-making machine was heavy.
at the end, we were required to transcribe 50 braille pages with no more than 10 errors total. i chose the jaunt by stephen king, it is one of my favorite short stories of his and if they ever make it into a movie, i will refuse to view it.
anyway, i had eleven errors and could not, for the life of me, nose any of them out in order to qualify for certification. lame, i know. i still have all 50 pages printed out in a folder with coffee stains and smudged ink (the computer software simply prints dots as if they were raised; i can read braille with my eyes, i don’t need to use my fingers).
so, yesterday, i sent an email to the volunteer braillists and tapists, where i took the class almost 10 years ago, to see if they could give me more information about how their certification works now; apparently it’s all done by correspondence, hopefully the electronic kind.


so i got my standard veggie sub and bag of chips from subway today… and as the fellas were chatting about viruses and people and dna, i decided to read the ingredients list on the bag of spicy chipotle sun chips. it’s too long of a list already for chips that are “good for you”. i won’t even go into the use of artificial color… but imagine my horror when i read the words “Beef Fat.”
wtf?! really?! so, their customer service department is receiving the following:

i find it quite silly that you’d use beef fat in a product that you claim to be healthy. i’m a fairly strict pescetarian, and was appalled to discover that i had just eaten a bag of chips containing beef fat. i’m sorely disappointed; and think that even tho there is no FDA mandate or precedent, your customers would benefit from the knowledge that you have added an unnecessary ingredient to your line of chips, maybe a dead cow next to those chipotle peppers on the bag.
it is because of this oversight on your part that i will discontinue consumption of any of your lines of product.

this means i will no longer partake in sun chips (now referred to as “beef chips”), baked lays (who needs the calories?), in addition to not having had fritos or cheetos for a number of years i can’t count on two hands, as well as doritos, and tostitos. unfortunately, those are just the featured brands. their full list is much larger; however, the contents of that list already do not make it to my shopping basket.
i got a response… the contents are pretty much what i expected.

Thank you for writing to us. Your comments are important, and we’re glad you got in touch with us. Feedback like yours is greatly appreciated and will be shared with the appropriate teams within our company.
This is one of the few snacks that has a animal flavoring in the seasoning. The good news is that if a seasoning does contain this ingredient, it will be listed on the ingredient statement and not “hidden” under “natural flavors.” This way you can always know if the snack is something you’d be able to eat.
I sincerely apologize for the bad experience you had with this snack. A replacement coupon is being sent to you and should arrive in about a week.
We consider you a valued consumer and hope you will continue to enjoy snacks from Frito-Lay.
Best regards,

the problem is that she’s right. companies hide beef and chicken under “natural flavors” because they can. there is no fda regulation that states the use of animal products need to be specified because no one will die if they eat it (unlike the potential with peanuts, wheat, and soy). plus, corporations know that if (savvy) shoppers were aware of each and every single ingredient, we’d opt for brands that still make chips out of plain ol’ corn.

how boring!

stupid facebook and twitter. they’ve been blamed for killing blogs. thoughts and opines have been reduced to 140 characters (tho not a limitation on facebook, it seems the practice has been adopted). maybe another blog killer is that there isn’t a whole lot going on that’s worth talking about…
i’ve been working on two pretty big projects at work, but i can’t share them with you, gentle reader, until they go live (both in september); but i don’t tend to talk about work, specifically.
i hope to get the bathroom painted before winter. that will complete our necessary painting until i tackle the stairs. they’re kinda shoddy and blue and really out of place. i want to paint them brown.
here’s a photo of jones putting up with katrina:

my back

guess i’m getting old. my back’s really been bothering me this summer. what’s worse is that it’s only apparent while at work; as soon as i get in my car to go home, i feel instantly better.
that’s somewhat telling, isn’t it.


been kinda low on energy lately. as is evident in my sad-looking garden… the cukes didn’t make it due to my lack of watering/nature’s lack of rain. the tomatoes, on the other hand, are flourishing. must be some sort of yin-yang thing.
i finally got around to mowing the lawn yesterday while it sprinkled. i’m not sure if it’s dangerous to mow during a sprinkle with an electric mower (common sense would say that it is); but i survived.
we took another trip to see kurt’s mom on saturday. she’s doing a little better. she has more energy than last week. that will probably change when she starts chemo later this month. kurt’s sister is back from her round-the-world trip after the beginning of next month, so she’ll probably arrange for some hospice or something.


a dream woke me up at 5 this am, then i let the dogs out, then the cat snuck out while letting them back in; i couldn’t fall back asleep until i knew she was back in the house, which was an hour later. so i finally decided just to get up at 6:22. that, in itself, isn’t too early, but i really was wide awake at 5.
as i was getting my daily snack routine all bagged up, i decided to make my lunch! it’s been quite some time since i’ve done that. i used my laptop lunch and made a bologno and provolone sandwich, some olive salad from fraboni’s (which i should just start making and quit buying), collage cheese and cherry tomatoes, and some grapes!
the drive to work was quite pleasant, aside from the jerk who sped up and got over without using his signal on cty rd m. i long for the day when i can bike to work.