Archive for January 30, 2016

I nearly forgot, you must close your eyes, otherwise…. You won’t see anything.

I love films and tv, but my days of ‘properly watching’ them are far behind me now.  Thankfully the use of audio description has increased while my ability to see has decreased.

Netflix made history last year by airing the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil Series with audio descript, followed by Gotham.

AD enables me to understand all the visual elements on the screen by having a voice over describe it, the voice over only speaks when there is a gap or natural break in dialog, they do not talk over the programme.

So, now I have explained the theory of AD, I shall now explain my current conundrum.

Have you ever watched or heard the voice of an actor and instantly thought of an iconic character they have played?

For example, hearing Alan Rickman, I instantly think of The Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

For me, the person who is voicing the audio description can do the exact same thing.

This evening when ‘watching’ the 2010 Tim Burton adaptation of Alice and Wonderland, this very thing occurred.

The voice of James O’Hara, the man from Deluxe (the company that provides sub-titles and audio descript for many forms of entertainment) has a very particular tone, articulated and even sarcastic at times, it is easily recognisable.

However, this time hearing his tones give a completely different and more sinister twist on this already obscure story, as always he is very good in his descriptions, explaining in detail parts of the film that have been deliberately visualised to show the cross over between Wonderland and the ‘real’ world.

James is however, the regular discriber for the Stan Lee, Marvel movies.  

Now, do you see my predicament? 

He is the voice that explains how Tony Stark builds the first Iron Man suit; to escape from his captors.  The voice that describes Thor fighting with the Hulk, in the Avengers and He is the voice that explains how Captian America is transformed from the asthmatic, skinny, failing cadet.

It would be like hearing the cockney Englishman Jason Statham (from films such as; The Bank Job and The Transporter franchise) performing Shakespeare.

I found myself waiting for an agent from S.H.E.I.L.D. to arrive.
Yes I do understand the choice, he is able to explain the fantasy, the surreal and the magical.  He was the perfect choice; just as no one else could now ever play Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible other than Tom Cruise.

Oh the things you think of when your imagination fills the blanks between seeing and hearing.

So, to quote The Cheshire Cat;


“I’m not crazy, my reality is just different to yours”

Feeling lazy as I can’t cross the road.

I am not a car driver (for obvious reasons) nor have I ever been a driver, so please bere with me here.

I have recently found myself taking a bus for a short route I was happy to walk in the past.  Literally for just 2 stops.

Why? I hear you ask.

Simply because of ‘Kind’ drivers.

I attend a meeting every Thursday at a church hall, the road by the church is quite a major route, but a relitively easy road to cross, or rather it was until recently.

The place I cross is a good distance from the junction, the reason for this is so that I can hear the traffic on my road clearer without confusion from the road beside it.

Mizz Fizz takes me to the same spot on the curb and sits awaiting my instruction to go on.

When she sits, I take a step back with my right foot, which not only makes it easier for me to step forward when it is clear to do so, but also to enable road users to see Fizz.

As the traffic starts to slow for the junction I find that many drivers will stop early to allow me to cross.

I can hear that they have stopped.

I can’t see them waving at me, nor can I see it if they flash their headlights. 

I stay put.

Without being on a designated crossing Fizz will not cross and nor will I allow her to.

The car engine sitting so close can be of real danger, it can distract from a car coming in the opposite direction, from a cyclist coming up the inside of the car.  And even, as I have heard of, a car from overtaking those who were kind enough to stop.

If my hands are free I will wave my hand to move the car on, giving a thumbs up as they move.  If not I will jerk my head to indicate they should move on.  And mouth ‘Thank You’ as they go on their way.

Thank you to all the cars that stop,  for all the acts of kindness, but please do not feel I or any other person with a guide dog or a long cane are being rude.  We simply need to ensure we stay safe.

When I cross the road, it is for me to tell Fizz when it is safe to go, not for her to tell me.

So, why get the bus?

Because by getting the bus I can save myself over 15 minutes on average.  The bus saves me from having to cross the road, as not only is it one car stopping, but several.

And each time a car stops it slows the traffic flow, meaning that in turn there are less ‘natural breaks’ in the traffic that are safe enough for us to cross safely.

So, next time you see someone waiting to cross the road, don’t feel you are being rude by continuing to drive.  You are helping to keep both them and you safe.

Funny ….. Most Definately NOT !!

Me and Mizz Fizz have some amazing journeys together, she is my independance, she is my world, just as Vicky was before her.  And I will do all I can to protect her, as she protects me.

Several weeks ago on one of our walks we ‘only just’ missed the green man to cross the road.  Not an issue though, it just meant we both knew we were in for a bit of a long wait.  As the lights in question run in a sequence for the traffic as well as for pedestrians.

So, to save my arm and to help Fizz feel more comfortable I let her handled drop (not literally, a term to explain it sitting against her back).  Several people came and stood awaiting the lights to change.  A small group of college girls were amongst them.  They politely asked if they could stoke the dog, I said they could, until I took hold of the harness.

They only quickly stroked her and then crossed the road, they crossed when there was a gap in the traffic, rather than waiting for the green man.

As they crossed they were laughing with each other.  I thought nothing of it and less than a moment later, the lights changed and it was time for us to cross.

I picked up the harness and gave Fizz the command to go…… That’s when it happened.

Fizz took a step forward and I followed, but on the next step I lost the tension on the harness and found myself infront of Fizz while crossing the road.

I felt panicked, why wasn’t she walking?  I focused down and that was when I found out.

We had been the subject of the girls joke.  While stroking her, it appears that one of them had Unclipped her harness.

Which when I walked forward had moved off her.

Thankfully her lead was still attached and I still had control of her.  I quickly moved us off of the road.

Once on the safety of the path, I checked her harness, no break, no damage.  I clipped it back together and checked, it wasn’t loose, it didn’t even wiggle when I moved it.  It was clear that it had been Unclipped.

Mizz Fizz and myself were safe, Fizz was no worse for her ordeal, but I was still quite shaken.

I couldn’t believe that someone would think of doing something like that, let alone ACTUALLY do it as a joke.

Thankfully they didn’t undo her lead too.  I really don’t know or want to think about what could have happened.

Fizz has a lock button on her collar to stop it being Unclipped, since this incident I have made sure that not only is this locked, but that the catch on her collar sits on her neck underneath her mouth (so that it is harder to reach)

I find myself feeling nervous When groups are near us at crossings and will not allow anyone to stroke Fizz now.

Blind doesn’t mean I can’t see

A blurred image of a woman's eyes and the bridge of her nose.

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Not following the rules

Rule 1 of working with a guide dog: TRUST.  So, when your faithful guide tries to turn you around because there is something blocking your path, you go with her, right?  ………  WRONG! 

In this instance a MoP explained that the cycle path had a puddle covering it, it  wasn’t deep, (she had just walked through it) but to Mizz Fizz, this is an obstacle, so when she turned me around, I turned her back I wouldn’t allow her to turn me around again, she sat down and refused to move!

Arguing with your guide dog gets you no where (apparently) and they don’t understand sarcasm. (which is utter rubbish)

So, handle down and I took the lead, yes the ‘blind one’ was guiding the guide dog through the puddle …. I say guiding, is was more of a drag, resulting in her getting much wetter than if she had just walked though.  With several laughs from passing cyclist who had stopped to watch the performance!  Madam was clearly showing me her Stubborn Retriever side today.
The ridiculous thing is, had she not been in her work uniform (lead and harness). She would have had no issues running through said puddle.  Probably even laying down to roll around and splash about.

(MoP is an abbrievieation for Member of the Public)

A simple cold can bring the world down

It’s early January, the weather has beensuprisingly warm and wet, so having a cold is not something of a shock to me.  Its that time of year, it would be more suprising not to get one.

But this is different, this time this is making it a real struggle to get on…… I have plenty of tissues, Vick’s, hot blackcurrant and black tea to keep me going.

This time, the difference isn’t actually the cold, it is how it has affected my hearing, which in turn has made my world incrediby difficult to navigate within.

And if I am being totally honest, it is scaring the …. out of me.  My hearing is my indeoendance, my hearing is my way of ‘seeing’ the world.  My hearing is my escapism over a coffee, I am not currently able to pick up the conversations of strangers, I am struggling enough to pick up the conversation of anyone I am with!

I am feeling pretty lost.

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