Category Archives: Rants

My Sister’sKeeper, Hollywood Can Keep It

My Sister’sKeeper, Hollywood Can Keep It

When I first heard that “My Sister’s Keeper” would be adapted into a movie I was fairly excited. I thought the book was an excellent read and it was one I had a hard time putting down. After seeing what they did with it, I want my money back.

I’m going to try not to spoil this too much, but be forewarned something might slip out.

The premise of the story surrounds the fitsgerrald family, who’s middle child Kate, suffers from Acute Prosilometic Lukemia (APL). After undergoing a series of tests, and checking the family to see if anyone is a potential limphasite donor, it is suggested that the family consider having a child who would be a perfect match for Kate. Andromeda, Anna, is conceived and genetically manipulated to have the right biological trates that will make her the perfect donor.

After several years and multiple medical procedures, Kate finally needs a kidney. At this point, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation.

The story continues from this point explaining the court proceedings, the medical issues, and examining how different family members feel about what is now happening, and what has happened in the past.

My major problem with the film is the lack of character development and human interest. THe book explores aspects of why people react to what is happening, and you get a greater sense of why they do the things they do. Many of the subplots which offer the opportunity for redemption of certain characters are eliminated or drastically reduced.

As an example, the presence of Camble Alexander’s, Anna’s lawyer, service dog and it’s actions during one scene makemuch less sense in the film and possibly could have been eliminated.

Perhaps some of this missing character development was present in the purely visual scenes of the film, but I didn’t really get that impression.

my biggest disappointment was the change in the ending. I don’t mean a minor change either. The entire ending was rewritten a and i believe it removed a lot from the final product. The original ending grabs you, tosses you to the ground, sits on your chest and says, “Ha, nothing is what you thought it was.” The ending of the film however, is predictable and took away from the power of the original. The book’s ending might not have been something that happens every day, but metaphorically, it demonstrates that life is rarely what it pretends to be and things are rarely what they seem. It was just a much more powerful statement and added a lot to the story.

Some of you saw this film, some of you even cried during it, but I was just disappointed in the entire thing. Feel free to tell me what I missed in the comments (potential spoilers are fine, so those of you who don’t want to know things, don’t read).

Blindness (the Film)

Blindness (the Film)

On Friday the film Blindness will be released to general audiences. This film, which is an adaptation of the 1995 Jose Saramago novel of the same name. This film portrays a society afflicted by a sudden onset of blindness that instantly turns the residence into helpless animals. The National Federation of the Blind has released the following information in an attempt to clarify the alarming misconceptions this film may ingender in viewers. Please take a moment to read and consider this information before watching this… thing.

Read the NFB’s FAQ About the Movie

Wednesday Wackiness

Wednesday Wackiness

I don’t care if today is one day closer to the weekend. I am declaring shenanigans and demanding a do over, or better yet fast forward.

Last night I got home at about 21:30 after working an extra few hours showing products at a technology fair in Columbia. The show was really well attended and we showed off the new KNFB Reader Mobile and a couple of other new products.

Having agreed to go to a congressional hearing today it was necessary to be at the office at 07:00. We loaded up the vans, drove to DC, and spent an hour standing around because the hearing room was locked. No big deal I got the chance to catch up with one of the summer interns who I hadn’t seen in a while and eavsedrop on the US Capitol Police radio traffic. We were let into the room at 09:55 after being informed the hearing would start 20 minutes late.

Our representative was first on the agenda. I expected his testamony to take some time and be followed up by questioning from the committee. You know what I sat through? His 5 minute statement and 3 or 4 minutes of the committee chair saying our issue was basically not important and that we shouldn’t challenge the Librarian of Congress on his assertion that it was acceptable to phase the talking book program from cassette tape to digital books over 6 years instead of 4. Couple of quick facts here before I go on.

Seventeen thousand public libraries exist for sighted readers to obtain books from. Countless numbers of bookstores and websites exist for the same reason. Do you know how many libraries there are for the blind in this country? One. The National Library Service for the Blind. It serves 800,000 patrons throughout the entire country, producing talking and Braille books. Care to take a stab at how many recorded books are made available each year?

One percent.

Yes, a mere one percent of the available print material is made available to blind citizens. In a world where access to information and knowledge is a critical component of becoming educated and getting a job is it a wonder that 70 percent of working age blind adults are unemployed?

No, the NLS isn’t the *only* method for accessing books in alternative format, but it is the primary source for most of America’s blind. Services such as Audible and Bookshare do exist, and are good for what they offer (I use Bookshare heavily and Audible occasionally), but many blind citizens don’t have the funds, skills, or technology to utilize these services.

If the United States Congress does not make the 19.1 million dollar appropriation we are seeking it may be 3 years before some blind Americans have access to new books. That’s three fourths of a teenager’s highschool career. Imagine you walk into your local library or bookstore and see that their once massive collection has been reduced to one percent of what it was. Further imagine the librarian or store manager informs you that no new books will be coming in for another three years. How well would that go over?

Wow. That descended into a diatribe I wasn’t originally planning on writing, but I think I finally put my finger on why I was so annoyed today. It wasn’t that half my day was consumed with an eight minute meeting, or the fact that my sandwich vomited mustard all over my shirt and pants, nor the fact that my stomach almost rebelled on the way back to work from something I ate (TMI? Sorry.), or even the fact that I really can’t get any work done now because the Internets are broken. Really, what’s got me annoyed is the Committee chair acting as if we aren’t important. She commented that the blind are “not being left out.” and that a substantial portion of the budget being considered was going to programs that benefit blind Americans. That’s all well and good, but we are merely asking for a chance at accessing something many people take for granted.

Grrr!

Like I said. Shenanigans.

Oh, and I am now on hold with AT&T because they have, once again, deleted my voicemail account. This is still a holdover problem from the night the one support rep hosed one, and consequently the other, of our SIM cards. Cost me a $25 cab ride and two and a half hours on the phone with tech support to get new SIMs too. Yeah, I’m quite thrilled with them right now.

ooh, goodie. Voicemail is back, but I have to recreate my mailbox. Hope noone left me messages I will not get now.

Animals

Animals

I am emerging from my blogging hideyhole because I have absolutely had it with this Sarah McGlauclin give us money to sponsor an animal or whatever commercial that runs at least twice every commercial break on Nickelodeon and, more realistically because I feel guilty for not conversating with you awesome people. Before the men from PETA and the SPCA jump out from behind the plants and beat me with pipes, or tree branches, or something allow me to say that I am completely against animal abuse.

I am also against the abuse of my senses. I’m not kidding people. That thing runs all the time. Furthermore Angel gets stuck in my head. Really now. I can tollerate that song as much as the next person, but sheesh, I need a break.

In other news we got seriously lost on the way to work today.

Last night, we went to Baskin-Robbins to participate in their $0.31 a scoop fundraiser for firefighters. We caught a cab from Penn Station and met a guy who seemed nice enough and who we though we might try to use as a regular driver in the morning. I called him this morning, he picked us up. I told him the route I would prefer to take to work (since the route most drivers take takes longer, costs more, and goes right through the heart of downtown traffic). Since his MDT and GPS were down, he proceeded to try and read a map while driving down the road at 55 MPH. Unfortunately for me the seatbelt on my side of the back seat was jammed.

By getting onto I-95, when that was nowhere near necessary, having to turn around, get off near the Inner Harbor, missing the turn onto the southbound street we needed, and getting annoyed when neither of us absolved him of his guilt for making us late, he managed to turn a 20 minute tops trip into 45 minutes. To top it all off I think I accidentally said we would use him every morning when he asked what time we would be ready. GRRR. Well, I give him one more shot. If he can’t get to work in a reasonable time tomorrow I’m telling him we will not be needing his services as I intend to spend the weekend building a matter teleportation system.

I am no longer promising new posts. As much as I would like to blog with something approaching regularity and as many times as I promise posts, I think you’ve all got me figured out. I’m just a big giant liar. I’ll blog when I blog and you, well, if you’re still here I figure it’s because I’ve glommed onto your RSS reader and you’re stuck with me. 🙂

Work is still rocking. I was in Kansas City, MO for all of 26 hours for meetings this week. They went really well and I think some good stuff is going to come out of them.

I’m ducking back into my hole now.

Love me!

It’s A Good News, Bad News Kind Of Thing

It’s A Good News, Bad News Kind Of Thing

Hmmm. Has it ever been a week.

First of all, for the past 2 days I have been doing new system deployments for a client. That went really well actually. You know it’s a good deployment when the biggest problem is that “It doesn’t look like it used to,” and, “I need my favorites.” Both were easily fixed and everyone is happy… for now 🙂 I told the customer to basque in the satisfaction from his employees enjoying their brand new machines, for the 5 minutes it will last until something brakes :-).

Also. A message to the UPS WorldShip Customer Service line. If you’re going to read from cuecards please, for the love of spam, at least read from the right set. If I tell you I have version 9 and you give me version 8 instructions it’s almost a sure bet we’re going to have a communication breakdown somewhere along the line. Nevertheless, 90 minutes, and 3 calls to tech support, later the software was running and the data was where it should be.

Today I got news about both jobs I’ve applied for.

The good news. I have moved on to phase 2 of the testing process for Kenosha. April 28th is the day of the written test which, “will begin promptly at 9:30 […] and may take up to two and one-half hours to complete.” Uh… Exactly what are they going to be testing on? I think just to be safe I’ll find some sort of condensed, Reader’s Digest, index of all human knowledge and memorize it.

And now… onto the news that makes my blood boil with indignation.

I won’t be getting the other job and it’s because of the reason I was afraid of. The guy actually admitted to a friend of mine that he didn’t interview me because I am blind. He also indicated the agency’s lawyer said that was acceptable and legal to do. I am so beyond pissed right now and it’s been like 2 hours since I got the information.

Whatever happened to judging a candidate on their qualifications and not your preconceived notions of how you could or couldn’t do the job if you had the same characteristic? And yes, I do use characteristic and not disability because I consider my blindness to be one. All be it annoying at times, but a characteristic nonetheless.

I can understand how a potential employer, colleague, or whatever wouldn’t know how a blind person could do the job. A lot of people I talk to don’t know how we do things as blind people. That’s fine, they don’t usually have to think about it. I have. I thought this through long and hard before considering it. (since I was like 16.) I just want a fair shot. A chance to convince them I’m qualified… that I’d be good at it. They can ask questions to learn how I’d do the job. I’d be happy to explain what accomodations I would need, and that the state vocational rehabilitation agency and not the employer is responsible for the costs of those accomodations. We tried the computer program that talks to me with the CAD software. It works. A light probe would tell me what nonemergency line is ringing (the 9-1-1 line has a pretty distinct ring so that’s easy enough to figure out). Braille labels on the paging console would take care of knowing which buttons drop which tones. My handheld reader can read anything that is typewritten that might come through on FAX or be handed to me or whatever. Am I missing something? Is it just too out of the realm of possibility to expect someone give me a chance? Is it really that much riskier to train me than anyone else? Just because you can’t see yourself doing the job as a blind person, does that mean I should be denied the opportunity to try?

ARGGGHHHHH!!!!!

I’m just so annoyed right now. I can’t see straight…

Shush! You know what I mean :-).

I guess it makes me even question the Kenosha thing. How do I know they aren’t just going through the motions because they know it’s illegal to disqualify someone based on a disability? Maybe they’re just jerking me around and have no intention of giving me serious consideration. Maybe I’m just being uber paranoid, but I can’t help thinking that way.

I know God has a plan. I just wish I could see it a little more clearly. I wish I wasn’t so furious and unsure of what to do. I wish they had just given me the opportunity to interview and asked their questions (okay, well they can’t unless I bring blindness up first, but I would have. I wanted this job enough that I would have convinced them I could do it.)

Okay… calming down now… sort of.

If I’m really nutso and/or just plain crazy someone please tell me.

In the meantime, I’m going to sleep.

Thanks for reading… sorry it wasn’t more interesting.

Snow, You Suck

Snow, You Suck

Dear Snow,

In the future please endeavour to fall only on the portions of the earth normally covered by grass. This would enable me to continue being my normal jovial pedestrian self without falling on a snowbank and severely twisting my ankle.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
In Pain in Richmond

P.S. This sounds incredibly familiar. I believe we had this same discussion last year. If your aggressive behavior continues, I will be forced to seek legal counsel.

Amber Alert and the Media

Amber Alert and the Media

Earlier this afternoon the Elkhart Indiana police department issued an Amber Alert for 4 children who had been abducted along with their mother by a guy who shot someone before taking off with them. I thought I would turn on the news at 18:00 and see if there was any information on what had happened.

What was the *only* story getting any attention?

The AFC Championship game which will be taking place tomorrow.

Maybe I missed it. Perhaps they lead with that story in the minute before I turned the channel on.

Somehow I doubt it.

I really hope they at least had a crawl on the bottome of the screen. If not, it’s just criminal that a football game is of greater significance than 4 children and their mother who have been abducted and who are believed to be in extreme danger.

The word is still getting out. The state police is putting it out every 20-30 minutes on the statewide frequency, but most people don’t monitor a scanner the way we do. I think the media, print, radio, and television, has a responsibility to be plastering the information about these children everywhere. It has been 12 hours since the incident and time is critical now.

It just makes me angry. I can’t believe football is that important.

No, it wasn’t just one channel either. I checked all 4 from Indianapolis that we could get. By that time, they could have been anywhere. Every station from Chicago to Louisville should have at least disceminated that information.

Just Pay the $6 Already

Just Pay the $6 Already

Ironically, given that this post is about local politics, the tagline that greets me, incase it has changed by the time you read this, is “the price of living in a democracy is that any moron can vote, say what they want, and procreate at will.”

An article our local paper Tuesday morning discussed Monday night’s special meeting of the Richmond Common Council to discuss a $6 increase in monthly sewer bills in order to help pay for capital improvements to our sewer system.

The problem is that the federal government has ordered cities to improve the quality of water it allows to drain into area rivers. Cities can do so by regulating
the amount and quality of water that runs from the city to streams.

When you take into account that this water is absorbed by the atmosphere, redistributed in the form of rain, and eventually drunk, bathed in, or used to wash food this doesn’t seem to be a bad deal.

In addition, the southwest part of the city has been plagued by flooding. The city has tried to solve that problem by installing a holding tank near the affected homes. Unfortunately, according to someone I’ve spoken with in the Sanitation department, this will only hold water for 15 seconds in heavy rain. The improvements to the sewer system are needed to help solve this problem as well.

Some landlords, who own rental property in the city, are upset because the fee may be charged on a per-unit basis. They’ll just
pass that cost along to their tennants the next time the lease is up so I don’t see what they have to be angry about.

The article quotes Councilman Bing Welch as saying, “”In 2004 we gave you an increase in user fees. Now you’re asking to hit us again. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the numbers you’ve given me.” Granted I wasn’t here in 2004 and I’m certainly no expert on sewage systems or City policies, but I’m guessing that “increase in user fees” can be explained by a basic principle of economics, something they taught all of us in high school is a guarantee, INFLATION. Prices go up, and if there’s no way to pay for that increase, services decline or even stop.

I hear people wining all the time about how, “things are too expensive,” and, “it didn’t used to cost this much.” That’s true, but I don’t think there’s any way of stopping it. Milk isn’t 50 cents a galon, you can’t get a burger and fries for 45 cents and you can’t buy a car for much under 10 grand. Guess what, at least as far as the car goes, you’re paying for better safety, more features, and reliability.

This $6 charge is one meal at McDonalds, a 24 pack of pop, and just barely gets you into the movies. If it were your, thos who are complaining, basement that was filling up with water because of an aging wastewater system you would be screaming bloody murder until things changed. In an era where people are screaming about too much government and asking, “What is my money being spent on?” here’s a darn good answer. It’s being spent to improve a city who needs imrpoving.

If Richmond wants to become an economically viable city and attract new economic development opportunities we will need to improve not only the way the place looks, but also the way it functions. The things you don’t see, like what happens when you flush your toilet, are just as viable to building and maintaing interest in living here as how good the park looks and where you can go eat dinner.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the city is going to misspend the 1.5 million a year they have the potential to collect with this fee, but I don’t think so. The Sanitation department has already identified 16 major projects this money will be earmarked for. I’m as fiscally conservative as the next guy, but when we have the 5th largest unemployment rate, as a county, in the state I think anything we can do to improve the marketability of our city is crucial. It’s not glamorous, it isn’t exciting, but it is a necessity.

Taxis

Taxis

If any of you want to make some money by driving me and/or Treva around, let’s talk. I’m willing to pay at least as much as I do for a cab.

Seriously. Let’s talk. Cuz waiting an hour when you’re told 35 minutes, consistantly, is annoying.

Oh, and Mr. Cabdriverman, I hope you don’t get pulled over with that illegal scanner you’re running around with.