Should a Social Justice Oriented Choir be Required to Follow the Law?

Dear readers,

Recently, the Denver Women’s Chorus went through a few shakeups in membership. A few of my close friends, meaning geographically close ones, left the choir temporarily. The choir is now full of members who don’t live too close to me, and don’t hang out with me as much as they should. Now, I can’t get a ride to regular practices like I should, and have to use Metro Taxi to get back and forth, but it seems they don’t even want anything to do with me at all. I am first of all blind, and second of all, because of the blindness and people’s views of it, isolated. It has nothing to do with me being anything sexist or anything people have called me in the past, it has everything to do with the sighted community refusing to do anything. And in my view, this is laziness. The sighted community has long held that blindness is a disease among other things, and blindness is, in most parts of the world, considered a curse. Because of the sighted view of blindness, in most countries like Tibet, Somalia, and parts of Eastern Europe, blind people cannot get an education, get jobs, and moreover, have a piece of land to farm on in some of the more agrarian parts of the world. The families of blind people often have to make a choice for their lives or the lives of the blind family member. Does the DWC realize this? I think it’s hypocritical if they don’t.

As a blind woman, I am subjected to “slut” and “whore” shaming by the blind people I’m supposed to get help or help myself. This causes incoherence in the entire United States blind community, but imagine what it’s like in places where agrarian practices like farming are common. Blind girls are oftentimes subject to rape, killed, or abused all because they are blind. I’m not naming any ethnic groups that practice agrarian lifestyles, but the lifestyle of people in these parts of the world are something that every choir member should be aware of.

As for the taxis, I have standards for my drivers. First and foremost, the driver should be fluent 100% in English either British or American, I don’t care about which. However, English fluency is required if God forbid the car was involved in an accident with airbag deployment, and the driver had to if possible call 911. I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to bear the responsibility the driver has to bear, calling 911 and pinpointing a location I don’t know where we are and such like. The driver cannot have speeding or DUI charges on his or her or their record. It is highly important that any driver attempting to get this job or volunteer opportunity abide by these rules, especially the DUI and speeding rules because I can’t afford drunk drivers, and so many others probably don’t get it. Drunk driving kills many people, and I’ve seen the results of drunk driving. There was a woman at LaAmistad, a rehabilitative facility in Winter Park, and she had an ankle bracelet on. She’d been on probation and was required to do residential treatment for alcoholism. Most of the residential treatment people were either AA or NA people, and that was also a requirement. All the drug users had to go to chemical recovery twelve step programs, but I was exempt from that requirement because I was not a substance user. What I do know is that my friend Liz who was in the AA program had to pee in a cup before she could proceed after coming back from a pass. The nurses and such like wanted to track her progress, which is all well and good. But trust me, if Liz and the other lady hadn’t gotten their treatment, who knew what those women might have done on the road?

My friend Katherine, a lady who picks me up for Soar practice is trying to find volunteer driver orgs, but with no luck. They would have to work on Sundays, and Sunday nights are a boon. Access a Ride wouldn’t work because Montview Presbyterian is not located on a fixed route bus stop, but even still, the bus stops running after six. Even after seven on weekdays. But this is
Sunday.

I’d like to thank a friend who stayed over with me when this apartment was better about things, and they offered to email a director or something like that. The friend is coming up with solutions. Solutions I may come with later might include a buddy system, checking in with chorus members who need a check in, and all of us need to be accountable for ourselves but most of all, for each other. I should also point out that the use of the word “liability” is in and of itself unethical, and unethical behavior should include exclusion of persons with disabilities. The reason is that persons with disabilities who cannot drive cannot often afford transport without having to buy food, laundering supplies, and soap. The insecurity is big here. I only get under $800 a month and I’m supposed to pay for retreat and costumes, dues, and other crap? This fully excludes those on SSI benefits, and I’d like to volunteer and such but how are people going to believe I have any skills at all? I eventually want to arrange music with garage band, but will the choir believe me? I don’t think so.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 as revised says that blind people are entitled to auxiliary aids, so says my friend Clayton, but I don’t know where to go from there. I hope my friend Ulysses and I can arrange something, something that would tell people how much inclusion needs to be done in order for more blind and visually impaired people to join any choir, anywhere.

Beth

iOS 13 Bricked A Friend’s Phone and Other Technology Matters of the Day

Dear Readers,

I got a very disquieting email but it began thankfully with birthday wishes. A friend told me, of all the things that I am encountering with iOS 13, that his phone was bricked. Voiceover refuses to turn on and won’t turn on with shortcuts or Siri. For whatever reason, he can’t see the setup screen and can’t get through the Two Factor authentication crap. So let this be a lesson to Apple. Be careful with releasing updates with major bugs, and this bug is not a good fit for certain phones. This guy emails me saying your OS on his phone bricked the phone, and Voiceover, which he heavily relies on, cannot be used? As John Prosser from Front Page Tech would say, “Timmy, Timmy, what are you doing here?” Mr. Prosser would have a big problem with this if he only knew how awful iOS 13 was treating my friend. So if other blind people have problems, here’s what you do:

  1. Write down on an alternate device the steps you took to simulate the problem for the rep. This is to be done on something other than an iOS device obviously.
  2. Take the phone to the store, and before you do this, email accessibility@apple.com and report this sort of thing you encounter to Apple. They should be wary of blind people having to face such serious VO bugs in the future.
  3. When you get to the store, have the rep factory reset your phone, and if needed, give them passwords and codes so you can set it up later. Of course, you’ll need to make sure VO works and does not mess up when you’re doing your thing.

Now, the biggest tech thing I want to truly write about is killer robots, not this.

Beth

Thoughts On Where the Blind Community Sits

Trigger warning, content warning, talk of serious trauma issues/mental illness.

 

Dear Readers,

Recently, I vented my frustration, wanting not to put this on my choir’s Facebook page for the Denver Women’s Chorus, but ended up receiving a nasty and vulgar comment from someone I’ve known for years. It’s times like these you find out who your friends are, and let me explain how I figure things out.

  1. The commenter said I was entitled and whining. Goddamn, that is not the truth. Entitlement award should really go to Donald Trump, who fires people he doesn’t like, discriminates against black and brown people, and doesn’t give a fuck about people’s illness and cancers, and if that was me in the White House, none of this would happen. Ever. Because Mr. Trump is inhumane toward everybody but his little buddies in Congress. And by the way, the entitlement thing should really be reserved for criminals and sexual predators, predators like my exes.
  2. Disgusting post? Bullshit, do I have a right to vent my frustration? Yes, and I do anywhere I want. Without being hanged or whipped, I can write that the prophet Muhammad is a child molester, and I can subvert anything I want. This is America, and you accuse me of being entitled or whatever and being the kind who throws a pity party? Beware, the words are dangerous, and calling out people for being entitled is absolutely disgusting in itself.
  3. Do you guys have any clue what happened to me at seventeen? I think not. I’ve been given a very bad hand of cards, and that hand included a fifteen year stint in Guardianship Hell. This included not being able to choose and dream, to collect myself, to go to college, not without a guardian hovering over all the papers. I will never go to university again, never read another college textbook, and not without the support of people who actually believe in me. I’m done with people who have jobs looking down on me and saying you’re an entitled brat. I’m done with people subverting my freedom to blaspheme God, putting checks on everything, saying inappropriately hurtful things about me. That’s why I got someone with a football prank, thank God he caught it but he was fucked majorly. I’m not going to tell you the last of it. I have a story to tell here in the blog.

I was on the bus in 2011, going to a vocational rehab required test by a psychologist, Dr. David Benson, who used an office in the Anthem Building as part of the practice he kept. I walked into this intimidating but huge building, sat down and was greeted with “Okay, we are going to administer some verbal and numeric tests.” I was put through a battery of memory tests, IQ bullshit, and other things I could name that are extremely grueling. But then the doc walked in, and I walked into the office. With hijab and all, the doc accused me of flatly pretending to be Arab, but the truth was I had been studying Islam, and in my studies wanted to wear hijab, but the doctor’s reaction was adverse. At best, compounding the guardianship and the fact that I would probably lose my then boyfriend, Deq Ahmed, this adverse reaction and adverse statement which is, simply put, racist and antimuslim, Islamophobic, was not welcome. I could not get a job after this statement was read. I never pretended to be any ethnic group. So to those blinds who think it’s okay to say this, stop it. The ethnic diversity of Denver will teach you all to mind the Muslims and other people who live here. I’ve had enough of people saying that I should “get off my ass” and get a job. There are traumas in life that simply cannot be resolved without punishment of the perpetrators. These traumas include rape, rape and impregnation, ID theft, death of a loved one, and above all, the guardianship that made me unable to make decisions about my life. I want to marry Trenton, but who’s going to support it because of race, money, and the fact that his choice of bride is questionable? I’m done being disliked, disinvited, and disunited with people who should be a coherent community, getting things done. It’s you all that make the civil rights of people like me impossible to have. It’s the idiots on radio, television, and book media who make it impossible for people to view me as a person. The inhuman ways you’ve all talked to me, behind my back, think that committing a mentally ill person is entertainment, etc. Guess what? You’ve lost something precious, a jewel. I hope you all fall down and don’t talk to people as much after you do, and stop talking whatever you do unless it’s something positive or nice or uplifting. There are times people think it’s okay to talk entitlement with me, and that is a dangerous and awful … what I call “fighting word.” Fighting words are protected free speech in some but not all circumstances. The blind community uses these awful fighting words as a weapon, a way to threaten and destabilize the community that desperately needs a 07% unemployment rate instead of that 70% unemployment rate that people often talk about. I am going to be honest, these fighting words, the entitlement, this all has to stop. Just stop it. You all are digging a big hole in the world, and I certainly don’t want to end up in the center of the Earth, so you all can go in there and watch the molten core float about in the lava mantel. If you want to reach China with that same hole you’re digging, you won’t. Not without burning up.

If you dare to read this, realize you’re no more closer to becoming a supporter than becoming the last person in line. I’ve had it with people saying I’m a whiner, let them go to a place where they don’t let you speak my name.

Beth

Amazon original content and Other Strange Matters

Dear Readers,

I’m happy to say that promoting this blog has gotten me some traffic, so keep it up yall. I want to point to several things. First, the Amazon original show Good Omens rocks. Why oh why do Christians have to take their sensitivities to satirical media so seriously? And they also got the show’s platform wrong when they attempted a Change petition so that Amazon or in the case of Netflix, whatever it was, the petition called for the cancelation of Good Omens based on Christian sensitivities. I’m not firmly attacking Christians altogether, but let it be known that real mainline Christians should take satire for what it is, satire. Amazon did a really cool thing with Good Omens because they made fun of Christians for what they’ve been and where they might be going. Think about the Hulu show and the book the handmaid’s Tale. That is a super dark satire about a United States called Gilead. Gilead is a dire warning, so how do repressive regimes fall? You’ll find out in the new book the Testaments. Yes, the Handmaid’s Tale is dramatic in its portrayal of the Gilead commanders, but it isn’t as bad as 1984, which has obvious players it makes fun of. Big Brother might be likened to Joseph Stalin, for instance, thanks in part to the mustachio he has on his face. The mustachioed figure in every single hall of Victory Mansions is today perhaps likened to the Kims of North Korea, but in that time, that place, it’s a satirical affront to Stalin. Then you have Winston, who tries to do something about it, but can’t. O’Brien is an interesting character. I wonder who he might present as in the time the book was written.

Animal Farm is a definite weird satire, and Orwell was making fun of Communism. Obviously, Karl Marx and the wise old boar are the same character. Then, you have the pigs, or the Gosplan or the high dictators. Napoleon and Snowball are two different important characters in the Communist party of Russia obviously. What Orwell did to both Animal Farm and 1984 was called satire, same with Amazon’s Good Omens. The Handmaid’s Tale is a satirical but dire warning. Dark satire can be found in Ralph Nader’s the safe Car You Can’t Buy as well. I wrote several darkly portrayed satires on violent video game sales. I basically said something about Microsoft and Sony sued for violent video game creations that portray Jesus’s crucifixion and other deadly things that people would find appealing to play. What I was getting at with those satires was that video games and other console related work are not to blame for violence, but people over exaggerate the mental health versus violent video game argument. Imagine, for a moment, just once, that we did not scapegoat mental illness for gun violence. What we need to understand is that Swedish soldiers use video games to learn diplomacy and what they call “soft skills.” That’s great, but training through video game simulation doesn’t predict everything.

Before I get too far into one topic or another, let me just say that Carnival Row is awesome. I love it because it’s got fairies and such, but I think there are some things that Amazon, Netflix, or Hulu could try.

I miss the Mystic Knights of Chernanom. What ever that was called. There’s a badass princess in there, and the other knights do battle with very weird creatures, and then there’s this dragon, Fire. He’s Rowan’s pet, and this queen who’s evil wants to use the baby dragon for bad purposes. Things like the Mystic Knights should come back on Amazon or Hulu or something because I know how much people might miss it. I hope it’s lurking about somewhere.

Power Rangers are on Netflix, but oh no it’s not described. Only the movie with Elizabeth Banks is. But I do miss the Turbo adventure, but Queen Eve is weird. It’s just weird.

In any case, I think Disney should consider doing less weird animation, but they messed up the Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, and Snow White. I’ve read the original Grimm stories so there you go.

I love how Dreamworks made fun of Disney. I must say satire is very important in our lives as literary lions of the human race. But face it. Good Omens should not be canceled, rest assured Amazon has its way. So if you don’t like satirical work, seriously lighten up.

Beth

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 First Impressions

Dear readers,

While I was excited to see the next season of the Handmaids Tale come to fruition on AudioVault, I want to give some first impressions. One, Aunt Lydia is a sick as all sinner, and there are more. I thought I liked Joseph Lawrence, but turns out, according to ofJoseph, or June rather, he’s a psychopath. Of course, Moira and Luke found themselves in Little America, and Emily went to Canada. Spoiler alert is in effect for those who haven’t seen the first two seasons. Serena Joy Waterford is really sick, but let me say I hope the whole Gilead society falls. Why? Because it absolutely will. The girls will go to domestic school if the society doesn’t fall, and they might end up all devoted wives or handmaids. Not good. Aunt Lydia I want to see on trial for the atrocities made against the whole U.S.A. But in real life, what are we doing?

I hope the government gets better here in real life, but in truth, forcing a woman to carry another’s baby is awful. Just awful.

We must also beware the misogynists and sexist bullshit that comes with being part of the current administration. I would hope those of us who think it’s cool to dance to the tune of Make America Great Again will soon stop doing that.