Ugh

So I wasn’t even planning on posting today because I’m freaking exhausted from all the crap I had to do dealing with posting on soundrop for the very first time.  Soundrop is a music distribution site, that was formed from CD Baby and Loudr and I honestly wish it had stayed Loudr because it took like four people for me to get my freaking track uploaded and then after all of that it charged my credit card with the cover licensing fee when I didn’t click on it (the page froze and I closed it, opened email and saw a receet).  I already emailed them asking them how the heck to upload my track because they have some dumb thing where you can choose to upload a track or upload an album and if you upload a track you can’t go through the steps to release it.  Did anywhere on soundrop say that?  Nope.  Nothing in the FAQ, no step by step guide and I should have just waited until tomorrow to finish up because I did the stupid section where you had to pay late at night and this day has been annoying.

 

Like I said, their sites interface sucks for a screen reader.  There’s nothing telling you how to upload so for the first time you’re just kind of…stuck figuring it out yourself.  I’ve seen major complaints about Soundrop not paying and stuff, but it’s basically the only inexpensive  music distribution site so you’re stuck with it if you want to sell on iTunes, Amazon etc etc.

Oh and did I mention?  I have no clue if the first time I did the distributing took, and it’s just going to send  my track to iTunes or if it’s going to send to every distributor like I did the second go.  Not sure what the price will be either (but it had defaults, where it said 1 track was 99 cents so fingers crossed it’s that) but also fingers crossed they get back to me so we can sort this all out.

 

I’m going to use Soundrop again, but not because I want to:  because it’s the only cheap option and it pisses me off hardcore.  I’ll have an easier time uploading next time, so that’s something but…ugh, so annoyed.  I’m off the relax.

 

Sorry for this negative post, I’ll be in a better mood on Tuesday!

My Laptop Cord is Dead!

Or at least, I think it is.  I honestly have no clue why, or how it happened:  It literally was working perfectly on Saturday, then on Sunday I heard it disconnect while it was still plugged in, but just unplugged then plugged it back in again.  Took my computer out into the living room to read a recipe while baking, then when I’m done need to plug it in.  So get my cord:  It disconnects, but I can wibble wobble the cord into really specific positions and have it stay on.  Have it charge for about four hours, so unplug it.  Go to plug it back in, and nothing happens!

 

We were having crazy winds, and a bit of a storm going on last night, so I figured it was just the power wonking in and out.  But, my heater which takes up more electricity was fine, so I got a little worried.  Instead of leaving my computer on, and listening to music to go to sleep (which I did for a while then thought better) I turned off my computer for the night, only turning it on to check the time.  Figured it would fix itself in the morning.

 

Morning comes, and nope!  It’s still not charged at all, but it held it’s charge overnight.  I figured it was going to die anyways but I wanted to save energy, so did some minor things like watch small videos on YouTube, read my blogs, check Facebook.  But, I get super bored just lying in bed doing nothing, so went out into the living room earlier than usual.  Tell my Mom what’s going on (I had also told her last night) and she says that her computer of the same brand did that to her too, and just as abruptly.  I was super upset!  I had just started working on some songs this weekend, was going to mix them this week. I had a blog post for my other blog ready, and needed to post it still, so was freaking out.  Until we came up with this solution:

 

My Mom has an extra computer that she uses for her business, that she’s letting me use as my primary computer until we get a replacement cord.  With only 20 percent left on my computer, I transferred over all the necessary files from my computer onto my flash drive I needed (doing all of my music projects, and my blog folders first).  I already have a profile on this computer, because this computer was a computer I used a few years ago, once again, because my last computer was on the fritz.  Have been using this computer all day to do my stuff, and will continue to do so until we figure out how to fix my laptop – just didn’t want to have to figure all of that out during the holidays.

 

I got everything I wanted switched over for the most part.  Didn’t get all of my music, which is a bummer:  I have a really tiny music folder over on this computer’s profile, but I do have my sleep playlist on this computer, so that’s a good thing.

 

I’m glad we figured out a solution, but I’m majorly pissed!  I’ve only had my Acer for 2 years, exactly for 2 years on December 9th, and the cord starts crapping out on me?  I’m really hoping it’s just the cord, and not something I’m going to have to have repaired internally because I’m so afraid that some computer tech guy will randomly wipe my drive or something.  I have about 50 GB worth of sound effects on my computer that I couldn’t move over because my flash drive was too small, and that’s what I’m most worried about:  I downloaded a free sound pack I love so much that was being done as a promotion, and if I lost that I would be crushed.  Luckily the rest of the sound effects are freebies, as is my royalty free music, and I have all of my covers and recipes and writing transferred over here (thank God for the small size of word docs) but yeah, I just really want this to be resolved/fixed soon.  Cross ayour fingers that this isn’t going to be more than a cord replacement, because I sure will be!

What Does “Looking Blind” Even Mean?

I am going to preface this post with a few things before I go on my mini tirade/rant/whatever you want to call what is about to occur.

 

This isn’t a fact that I really hide or anything, it’s just not something that I feel the urge to mention every day, or every post, or anywhere I frequent on the internet.  Simply because it’s something I deal with every day, and it’s not even remotely a big deal to me.  When the need arises, or when I feel like I know someone well enough to want them to know this fact about me, I tell them and have gotten mixed reactions.  Reactions from “Wow, that’s amazing/so cool!” to “You’re lying” to “Wow, you don’t look blind at all!”.  I’ve posted about accessibility problems I’ve had and the like, but have never just come out and said I’m blind on this blog (I don’t think?  Maybe I’m mistaken) but I am going to mention it at the beginning of this post, because it’s important to what this post is going to be about.

 

So yeah, I’m blind.  Which to most people, they honestly don’t really care because you know, I’m a person who just happens to be blind.  I still have the same interests, likes, and dislikes as someone with sight could or couldn’t have, and just have to approach certain activities that may need vision primarily to do differently.  I’ve been blind for about 20 years now, having lost the majority of my vision when I was 10, due to an eye condition known as RP.  So, I still have a teeny teeny bit of vision, but it isn’t’ high functioning at all:  I can tell if a light is on or off, or how bright/dark it is in a room, and can sometimes see colors, and shapes only if something is very, very close to my face – and even then, colors blur together (I can’t tell different shades of reds and blue from each other, but I can tell if a color is lighter or darker and I use the memory of seeing color when I was a kid to try and connect the dots).  For these reasons, this is why I just tell people I’m blind:  Not visually impaired, not legally blind, but blind.  And, to be honest, I shouldn’t’ have to justify my vision, or lack thereof,  to anyone.

 

But that’s exactly what I’ve recently found myself having to do in some YouTube comments sections.  I mention I’m blind, because my comment wouldn’t make sense to the video creator if I didn’t, and in come the people who say I have to be lying about it, because I can type, and use a computer, and post covers from video games I enjoy.  Because, to their narrow minded viewpoint, a blind person can’t play video games, because you have to see to do that!  Forget the fact that sound is a major factor in gaming as well, and with the audio engineering the way it is in modern games, you can tell where you are with panning, and how 3-dimensional the sound scape is in game.  I understand that people possibly can’t comprehend that someone without sight would want to play a more visual medium of entertainment, but don’t act like they are liars, or aggressively, rudely attack them so they have to defend themselves on the subject, if you simply do not know how a blind person would play games.  Easier to catch flies with honey, as the old saying goes.  This is a major tangent I went on, so sorry about that.  But let me get to what I intentionally wrote this post for.

 

What is “Looking blind” exactly?  I legitimately want to know.  I’m just a person, another human being who looks like people do.  Do people who say this specific comment, think that it’s a compliment?  Think that I should not be out and about, and look like a functioning adult?  What does looking blind in their heads look like, because when I hear someone say that to me, this is what my perceived connotation is:

 

“You don’t look blind!  Because a blind person would be stumbling all over the place barely able to cross the street.  Oh, and they’d have miss matched socks, two different shoes on and really ugly clothing that doesn’t match at all.  They’d also never, ever come outside, because they can’t see!”
Seriously, it’s 2016.  People are so aware of so many issues.  There are technological strides that are helping everyone, in every disability spectrum do more things independently.  It shocks me that blindness isn’t’ something people know, or care to know more about:  And, if you run across someone who is blind, you don’t ask them questions in an offensive accusatory way.  “You don’t look blind” is an instant way to put someone on the defensive, because “Looking blind” isn’t a thing.  Asking “How can you type?” is equally offensive, because who the heck even looks at the keyboard to type anymore?  Do people look at the keyboard to type?  Am I missing something?

 

I’m blind.  I’m also a singer, who likes anime, and video games, and nerd culture, and being blind isn’t’ going to stop me from liking anything visual that I like to do.  What being blind does, is makes me find alternatives to playing and experiencing video games, and anime, and cooking, and making jewelry.  Before you ask a blind person a question just please, please, please make sure it doesn’t come off as offensive.  Be genuine, be curious, and be inviting.  There’s nothing worse than an aggressive encounter, when you really just wanted to get to know someone better by asking a question.
I like to keep this blog more on the positive side, but this has just been nagging at me for the past few days so I wanted to write a post about it.  It does make me sort of want to write more about different blind issues in more detail, because honestly this was a very cathartic post lol.  If you got to the end of this post, then you get a virtual cookie for sitting through my venting!  XD

The Importance of Taking a Leap, Plus some Venting

Murphey’s Law kicked into high gear for me at the beginning of the month.  My Mom went to pick up my packages at our PO box, and the one full of the charms came (they’re gorgeous, by the way) but the one with my silk and cotton cording, as well as the fairy cabs I was looking forward to using, got lost somewhere along the way of her travelling from the PO Box to home.  And, the wire I ordered got there a day later because of stupid Labor Day, so I didn’t even get any more wire so…I’m stuck working with only 28 and 26 gauge wire for who knows how long.  Maximum amount of time is six months, which totally sucks because it takes a while to get to the PO Box, and I’m super annoyed with myself for not just ordering my wire on Friday instead of Saturday, like I had planned because it would have gotten there on time then grrr.  I’m hoping we can get to the Box sooner than…six months, but I highly doubt it and I don’t want to risk not ordering any wire and it just sitting there and possibly losing it again, so I’ll just be ordering some more wire closer to the date because those packages that are just sitting there for months seem to vanish on me T_T

 

I was really angry for like, the past week, and debated a ton of options that probably aren’t the wisest decisions.  So, I decided to just work with what I have, and hope that my Mom goes to the PO box sooner than expected so I can get some more supplies.  It’s really hard to do things just with such thin gauges of wire, but I also have some memory wire I may be able to work with, and some ribbon around the house I think so…we’ll see what happens with that.  I kept on getting frustrated, and major bouts of like, pointless anger at a situation I should have planned a bit better, until finally I just realized:  I was planning to focus on music at the end of October, anyway, so why not just do it now?  And I also figured that given how much wire I bought, and how fast I went through it before, I would not be able to make things for about four months anyways if I didn’t go to my PO box because my thicker gauge wire lasted approx. 2 months.  So really, I just am not making jewelry a bit sooner (which not really that either because I can still make stuff).

 

I went through all of that to say, I was looking at things in such a negative light, it was a bit disgusting.  Like I said, I wanted to focus on my music more for the last few months of the year anyways, so I’ll just start that sooner and make jewelry with what I have.  After releasing Terris Magic Episode 5, I got a major creative wind, and have started writing more of  another series that I started writing like, a year ago because I guess the fact that Terris Magic had stopped production for so long clogged my creative flow, unbeknownst to me.  That, and I found a really cool site where you can buy lessons for learning how to play instruments blind!  I had found this website before, but for some reason I just never had bought a course before – which considering how affordable the classes are, and the fact that I’ve literally just had a guitar laying around not being played since 2012, I think I will actually try to learn playing a guitar seriously with these courses.  I say I tried to play guitar before, but really I didn’t at all.  I strummed for an hour, gave up because I’m left handed, and it’s a right handed guitar and said “Welp thems the breaks” but after asking another YouTuber who said they were left handed playing right handed, I got the drive to want to learn again.  So instead of focusing so much on jewelry, I’ll focus on covering things, and learning the guitar and see where things take me.

 

This post has been rambly, but it’s all a lot of stuff I just had to get off of my chest lol.  I’m glad I am starting to dig myself out of my negative glass half empty hole, and even though what I am about to work on is really anxiety-inducing, it’s also going to be interesting to see where all of these paths take me.  I may get into some negative thought slumps here and there, but I’m going to do my best to get myself out of them and work on all of my creative loves.

 

Also:  If you have any good tips on making jewelry with only 26 or 28 gauge wire, please let me know!  I already Viking knit, and knit wire, but I want to see if there’s anything else out there I can do with such thin gauges that I could also enjoy making.

The Top Four Things You Don’t Want to Hear When You’re Troubleshooting an Installed Computer Program

You know them, you’ve heard them anytime you’ve ever been troubleshooting a computer program you’ve recently installed, or that you’ve had installed but isn’t working. Heck, you’ve probably even said these things at one point in your life. Are they helpful? Nope! They are just really, really annoying to hear, because they are common sense to anyone who has ever owned a computer. And yet, the human species feels it is very important to tell you to do these four things when you’ve asked for a specific troubleshooting question. What are they?

1. “Did you try restarting your computer?”

Of course I did! That’s the first thing I did after installing this thing. In fact, the program told me to restart right after it was installed, so yes, yes I restarted the stupid computer!

2. “Did you check to see if your drivers are up to date?”

Ok, this one isn’t as annoying because it is something that may slip your mind. But still, the installed program usually checks to see if your drivers are up to date, and will tell you if something isn’t when you are trying to run it. Or, your computer will be updated just because it likes to do that stupid shutting off when you are in the middle of doing something important thing.

3. “Call support, or live chat, or google the answer!”

Yeah, cuz I didn’t try that before I asked my social networks for help? Because I didn’t say “I tried to Google the answer and found nothing” in my post? Of course I Googled! If I’m coming to my Facebook, or Twitter, for help, it’s because I’ve been looking for an answer I can’t find and am trying to ask someone who could help me with more streamlined info than google, or some live chat support person will give me. And with my experience with live chat, the IT customer service will be giving me the same, annoying answers you are giving me!

4. “Maybe your sound card is messing up? Maybe your graphics card is messing up? Try updating it!”

Siiiigh. I use my sound card all day, every day. I’d know if it wasn’t working. I’m sure a sighted person would be just as annoyed with a graphics card question: You notice pretty quickly if these things are amiss on your computer!

This rant is brought to you by Pro Tools First! I was working on installing it this weekend, took 3 hours to just download the installer, and after I downloaded the installer had to have my Mom read everything to just install it. After that, the program didn’t even open and said I need to pick another sound driver, and still haven’t found how to do that. After help from an actual uh, helpful person, still no go. I am not surprised, but very bummed that Pro Tools still isn’t accessible on a PC. On Macs, it has Voice over support, but I don’t have a Mac, and won’t anytime soon. I mean, is it hard for you to make it accessible on PC too? Work with the NVDA developers maybe, because it’s donateware? Ugh. I have been looking forward to Pro Tools First all year, and I guess I shouldn’t have kept my hopes up with it even being remotely accessible on PC. I have an audio friend who says that it’s hard to use on their PC too, so like…why even offer it on PC if you don’t want it (or make it very difficult to use) on a Windows OS? Splaaaarg!

I plan to get a Mac, so I am just trying to be positive and tell myself “Well at least when I get a Macbook, I will have a free version of Pro Tools to work with” But like…aruuuug nevertheless XD I am curious to see if Pro Tools First is accessible on Voice over, however, so will be looking that up!

That felt good to get off my chest XDD Have you ever had any installer issues, and been annoyed at your friends who mean well with these Troubleshooting tips?

YouTube Comment Inaccessibility Rant

Aka a rant about using YouTube’s new commenting system with a screen reader – access technology that I use to use the computer. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to be blogging right now! It’s legit a necessity for me, and all blind computer users. There are 2 for Windows that are used – JAWS, the screen reader I used to use that is the price of a computer, and NVDA – a freeware screen reader that works the same (and sometimes better) than JAWS. I switched to NVDA a few months back after buying a new computer, and am a full-fledged convert! It’s so awesome to use, and has all the things JAWS had. And the best part? It’s free! I was on a really old version of JAWS that didn’t have all of the features that the newest version of JAWS had. When Windows updates, JAWS has to also because new hardware and software specifications usually equal new inaccessible sections of the OS. But NVDA? It just tells you when there’s an update, you download it and get all the nice new features. Bless the blind programmers that took their time to make this for a viable option as a screen reader for those of us who can’t afford JAWS, or Mac computers!

But my gushing aside, there is one thing that has been bugging me to no end. I’ve been becoming more active on YouTube – not just watching videos, but I’ve been wanting to comment on videos to become active in the community. Looks easy enough, right? Just click ‘Share your Thoughts’, the typing window opens, type and hit post! Right? Sounds so simple? Haaaa! Not for me!

It’s so frustrating: The way that YouTube has ‘Share Your Thoughts’ displayed isn’t like, as a link that would be easy to click. It’s some sort of imbedded text I can only assume? All I know is it’s the kind of text that my reader says is “clickable” then when I click it, nothing happens. Have to scroll up or down, because it likes to just turn into average text. Ok, I can deal with that. So I scroll up or down to get it to show as clickable, and…nothing! Maybe I’m not on the right section of the link…text…thing? So I move to the right so I’m somewhere in the sentence “Share your thoughts” and see if that works.

Haaaa!

YouTube won’t give me that, not at all! I have to mash my enter key, tab away from the window, and mess around with the stupid ‘Share your thoughts’ area for like twenty minutes before I can comment on a video! After I do it the first time, it seems to work with just one click after everything, but seriously YouTube? Why is it so hard for me to make commenting work? I just want to leave feedback on peoples videos!

I miss the good old days where the edit field for comments was just there along with the post button underneath. You got to go into the edit field, type your comment, and bam you were done! Why do you have to make everything look so “snazzy” at the cost of easy access for EVERYONE Google? You tend to do that, a lot! It’s sooo frustrating! I just want to comment in peace, is that so much to ask?

Ugh I can go on so many inaccessible technology rants. Don’t get me started on audio mixing, and composing software – some of the worst culprits’ of inaccessibility for the sake of a nice looking visual design. We’re lucky to have companies like Apple, Pro Tools and Amazon who keeps everything accessible for us blind users. But companies like Google, Adobe (the worst company with this in my opinion) and sooo many others need to get it together for this sector of the market that gets so frustrated with having to download software, see if it works and if (or usually when) it doesn’t work, uninstalling and going back to the drawing board.

That went into more than just YouTube comments XD but this has been bugging me for a while now and just had to get it out there! Do any blind users have any tips for YouTube commenting? I’d love to get any help with this – it’s been driving me crazy!

The Horrible Truth

Epiphany time…

It’s a horrible horrible truth to bare…but…

I have realized I can’t do anything without scheduling WHYYYY.

Like I procrastinate so much unless I put in my mind “Thursday I need to do ___ at 5 PM” or “Every day at 2 PM I will practice for 20 minutes” and I wish I wasn’t that way but it’s the only way I get things done without putting them off. If I have a schedule, I feel guilty for not following it and then just do whatever I had planned for the day. I feel like this isn’t exactly healthy…but it works!

I’m one of those vague schedulers though. Some things I can say “Practice singing at 2 PM for 20 minutes” but most other things I just have to say I’ll do it sometime in the day and it gets done. The two things that are the hardest for me to do on a consistent basis are recording, may it be voice over auditions, songs or lines for projects I’m in, or writing, may it be blog posts, scripts, or novel fiction. Those are the two things I’m struggling with working in right now. So I’m thinking pick one day for one of those things, and one for the other? But it’s hard for me to pick which day to do what activity hrmm. And that isn’t even including other stuff I like to do…

I’m really at a loss as to what to do here, guys. If you have any ideas please post in the comments! Should I just stop thinking so hard about this and do the things I’ve been putting off? Pick certain days to do said things? Stop asking so many questions?