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Blog - November 2013

National Network for Equitable Library Services and You

Our national library network is very important. In Saskatchewan we have partnered with National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS). I have copied and pasted information on NNELS (as published by Saskatchewan Libraries) below. You may want to ask your provincial or municipal libraries to consider this alternative for resources.

You may also want to ask your MLA or MPP or even your MP and, of course, you may want to ask your local CNIB or CNIB library why they are not part of this growing network. the Association for the Blind of Western Australia is a member so why not Canada’s CNIB or maybe they are but I do not see them in the partner list. (smile)

We do not need several systems in this country and this system is well under way. Check it out.

Robin East

White cane, black canes -- what's in a colour?

I currently use a black cane as I am between guide dogs. I will not have a new dog guide for about two years due to the waiting list. As such I am tip tapping it. So, I have elected to use the black cane.

I got my first black cane a few years ago and travelled with it. I found that that no matter where I went folks could figure out that I was blind, the cane worked exactly like the white one but I did not get the pity party. Nor did I get any nonsense from folks as I tip tapped by them.

As a person with no sight I do not need the public to distract me when I am concentrating on my surroundings and traversing from one place to another.

Solo-DX: Audio description for TV and theatre via your smartphone

The following message was forwarded to me, announcing the release of a new app (currently available on the Apple platform and soon to be available on Android) that is intended to make audio description available in movie theatres that are not directly equipped to provide description. In effect, it is an app that will "listen" to the movie soundtrack and synchronize its own descriptive track for the listener.

It appears that only one upcoming movie is currently supported by this app, but perhaps more will be forthcoming. This seems like it is intended to work not only in theatres but also for regular TV shows. The actual descriptive tracks appear to be produced independently from the movies themselves, though.

Your mileage may vary.

A lovely second date

November 9th turned out to be a lovely Saturday. A gentleman I have already met asked to take me on a unique art tour. He told me it was not the typical art tour, it was a tactile art tour. London has 50+ chainsaw sculptures scattered throughout the city. Many are in front of businesses, libraries, schools or parks and are completely accessible. This gentleman researched all the sculptures and selected the top 10 according to ease of me reaching them, accessibility and variety. He described each of the ten and placed my hands on each and showed me all the intricacies of the carvings. It was absolutely amazing, and very thoughtful of him to organize a tour that I could thoroughly enjoy and experience.

This was a “second date”. Our first date was lunch at my local pub.

Fighting for more accessible elections

I am currently involved in a human rights complaint that is now going to Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Safety and accessibility at sea: Concerns from the BC Coastal Transportation Society

I received the following message from Captain William Cursiter, President of the British Columbia Coastal Transportation Society. In it, he raises concerns about the safety protocols used aboard ferries (in BC and elsewhere) and the potential problems that this presents for people with disabilities in an emergency situation.

We're accustomed to worrying about accessibility on busses; on trains; on planes; and on the road, but let's not forget that there are also thousands of people who rely on ferries (in one form or another) to get around, too.

President's Report - November 2013

Hello, AEBC!

I want to ask each and every one of you a question, and I want each and every one of you to reply to this message and, if you say nothing else, at least answer this. My question is simple. Can you name one thing, just one thing, that you did, or were involved in doing, in the past two months, that you believe improved or could potentially improve the lives of blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted Canadians? Did you explain low vision to a clerk in a supermarket? Did you ask a restaurant whether they had a braille menu for you? Did you file a human rights complaint? We all must have done something. What did you do? More importantly, what are you going to do in the next month? How about simply donating $5 to a worthy cause? I think we can come up with a few.

The Dating Pool

I have done a completely unscientific poll among my friends about responses to dating a blind woman. Most of my “first dates” in this new life have been set up through friends. This allows me a certain degree of comfort - if a friend recommends I meet someone, I am reasonably safe assuming that person is is not an escaped felon, a paranoid schizophrenic, a 75 year old masquerading as a 50 year old, a habitual drug user or a full body art enthusiast. I do not discriminate against any person who may chose or may be chosen to live with any of those lifestyles. It is simply not my livestyle. That being said, if a friend recommends I see someone, I will probably make arrangements to meet that person.

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