Archive for May, 2009

Who needs to join a gym

May 31, 2009

Guiding Eyes for the Blind was very kind to give us 8 pounds of dog food when we left. Well, Nash has gone through it pretty quickly, as he gets three cups a day, down from 3 1.2 when we were at the school.

They just aired that commercial for Continental where the morons are actuing like the plane is a newborn. If you haven’t seen it, they tell their friends that their plane is 14,000 pounds, and the friends gush like the plane  is a baby. I hope the ad exec that came up with that one is on the unemployment line. It isn’t cute, and it isn’t funny. The only dumber commercial is the one for Pizza Hut, where they blindfold a couple, pretend they are taking them to a nice restaurant, and actually serve them Pizza Hut in their own kitchen, and they have no clue that they are eating Pizza Hut in their own kitchen. First off Pizza Hut sucks. Second, what kind of idiot’s can’t tell the difference betwen a home and a restaurant? Spealomg on hehalf of the blind, we are not stupid, just visually challenged. I have never bought a product because of a commercial that I have seen, but have avoided products because a commercial pissed me off. I think that it is safe to say, that I will not be flying Continental, or eating Pizza Hut.

So, Nash and I headed off to Pizza Hut, I mean, the petstore yesterday. This was a new route to us, and Nash did seem a little distracted. It could have been because there were a ton of people out, as it was a gorgeous day. We got to the petstore, and of course as soon as we walk in, a dog starts barking at Nash. Nash did move a little torwards the dog, but did not bark at all. I stood off to the side with Nash until the other dog left the store. We got Nash ten pounds of lamb and rice, and began the trek back to my apartment. I am working with Nash in my left hand, and carrying the dog food in my right, the hand that I use to give Nash directions, and leash corrections. It got me to thinking, how does a one armed blind guy shop? Or how does a one armed blind guy give the dog signals? I should have asked that one when I was in class. I guess that I am lucky to be a two armed blind guy. Well, the walk home was pretty difficult, as we weaved in and out of all the pedestrians. I guess my right arm is going to get a lot stronger. I should get a dumbell to keep in the apartment to work out the left arm, and no, I am not talking about the ad exex of the Continetal commercial!

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The Universe is aligned

May 30, 2009

Well, at least for one day, as the Yankees are in first place, where they belong. Went to the Broadway Comedy Club with Nash last night. I was not performing, but I wanted to see how Nash would handle the comedy club atmosphere. I was just at the downstairs bar area where my buddy Troy bartends, and Nash was very well behaved. He laid on my feet for a little, and when he was on them, he was right in front of them. I had Nash on the long leash, so as my hands were resting on the bar, I wasn’t accidentatly giving him a leash correction. The only problem was a lot of people wanted to pet him. Troy actually had to tell people not to pet him as he is a guide dog. I don’t know what people think the harness is, or I guess they don’t think, as their first instinct is to come up and pet him. The entire staff knew not to pet him, but the customer’s did not realize that Nash is a working dog. Nash was a huge hit with the staff at the Broadway Comedy Club, as they were used to seeing me walk with a cane. One of the waitress’es, Christy. has a five year old son who is visually impaired. I believe he walks with a cane, and I do not recall what disease he has. She just got involved with the American Federation of the Blind, and seems to be pretty happy with them. It is truly amazing how many different diseases there are that can cause blindness, and how many organization’s there are raising money for research.

The next step will be taking Nash to a club when I am performing. I will probably do my first show in a week, and I need to get cranking on some new material. No construction today, so I am enjoying being in my apartment. Got Nash’s first vet visit set up for Wednesday. It is on the other side of the city from me at the Animal Medical Center, but they do treat guide dogs for free. This is just a wellness intro, so the vet will see Nash when he is healthy, and for me to get to know them. No big plans for the rest of the weekend. Just some route work, and still catching up on all my shows that I missed  and have on tivo.

Please forward my mail to Starbucks

May 29, 2009

Nash and I left my building for our afternoon walk, as I was leaving the narrow passageway that used to be my lobby, a guy behind me said in an annoyed tone, “Hello, there’s someone behind you!” I said, “Hello, I’m blind and walking with a guide dog, asshole!” Between the construction guys this morning, and this guy, I guess JoAnn from my Guide Dog class was right, as she would say, “isn’t it amazing that there are more assholes than ass’es in the world!” What an unbelievably true statement, especially today.

Nash and I jeaded up Broadway, and he was doing pretty good, although he did walk me through a giant puddle, and I felt at times, he was a little distracted, so we stopped for some puppy pushups. Nash became more focused, and we headed on our way, this time crossing 57th, heading torwards Central Park. I met a woman who is a puppy raiser here in NYC. While she does not work with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, we had a very nice conversation. I asked her about places to PARK Nash, and she started to tell me about a place where I might be able to let him off the leash and run around a little.  I assumed when you asked someone about PARKING your dog in the guide dog world, that it meant letting them go to the bathroom, not a place for them to run around. I then asked if she knew of a good place where I live to let Nash go to the bathroom, and she said because of all the construction in the area, there are actually very few places. Foiled again!

Nash sat calmly by my side for the entrie 30 minutes we talked, and then we proceeded on our way. We were off to my new daytime home, Starbucks. Since my apartment is unlivable during the day, I decided to turn to the evil empire. I got my coffee, and sat down, preparing to work on some new ideas, and read through the rest of the take home guide.

A gentleman sat down at my table, and was paying Nash a lot of compliments, but then things started to get weird. He told me how he was involved with brining down Bush, and that he was involved with Al Gore, that Bush was responsible for 9/11, and that the Muslims had nothing to do with it, and that he had run for Congress in Florida. The whole time, I am just nodding my head saying, “uhuh, yeah, uhuh, yeah.” and thinking what is such an important man doing wasting his time in Starbucks talking to me. Then it got even stranger, as he started asking about my eyes. I told him that I have retinitis pigmentosa, and of course he started on a diatribe about how the government has the technology to cure my eyes. Funny, but I think I will take the advice of my doctor of 22 years who is one of the leading scientist’s in gene therapy, over some loon that I just met in Starbucks. I was wearing a Florida Gators t-shirt, and I guess he supposedly ran for office in Florida, then he mentioned that he could have played in the NFL. Wow, this guy has been involved with everything. I was waiting for him to tell me that he was the second shooter on the grassy knoll in Dallas. Sorry buddy, but I don’t believe anything I hear, especially not in the middle of the day at a Starbucks.

After Mr. Everywhere and Everything left, two elderly women asked if they could sit down, and I said sure, and we began to talk about all the construction in the city, technology, the economy, local shops, and of course Nash. Before I knew it, it was time to go home, and  had not gotten any of the work done that I had planned to. I enjoyed speaking with the women, just wish they would have been in my age bracket. Well, I guess I will be back at Starbucks on Monday, as I only have six more month’s left of the loud lobby construction. I might head over to the Broadway Comedy Club tonight to see what’s going on, and introduce some of my friend’s over there to Nash.

Things you take for granted

May 29, 2009

I just spent the better part of my morning trying to plug my desk lamp into a power strip that is pretty full. I am not sure people with sight even think about something like this. A fairly menial task which would taken even the biggest dimwit twenty seconds, took me a good while. Here’s something you can try at home on a rainy day. Blindfold yourself, then try putting a desk lamp together, passing the cord through the opening on the top of the desk, finding it under all the computer and other wires underneath the desk, then make sure it has enough wire to reach, find the power strip that you have no clue if it has any openings, and then try and plug it in, not knowing which way it needs to be plugged in. You sightees have no idea how eay you have it. Oh yeah, the whole while you need to have constuction drilling underneath your floor and shaking the entire apartment. And here’s the best part. While, I am grateful for the Lighthouse giving me a desk lamp that may help me see a little better, they gave me a lamp with no bulb, and no instructions, so I have no clue what kind of bulb the lamp takes. I called over to the Lighthouse store to inquire about the lamp, and here’s the best part, they don’t even sell this lamp anymore. They suggested a 60 watt bulb, so we shall see what happens.

I like most people am have asleep before two cups of coffee.In the morning, I wake up, park myself, feed Nash, and then take him out to park. So this morning, I get to his usual spot, and there are two huge construction trucks sitting in the road where he normally goes. There was enough room between them for him to go. I get the harness off, and let Nash get into the street, and then a bunch of construction guys start yelling at me. I’m like, he has to go to the bathroom, and one of them says, “you have to go to the bathroom?” I said, “no the dog.” Well, the idiot in the second truck gets a guy to tell me to move, and all he does is inch up to the spot Nash was in? What the hell was the point of moving 5 inches? You couldn’t either let the dog just do his business, or wait a minute? They were told assholes, and I thought that they would at least be happy to have a job. Go figure.

This afternoon, I plan to take Nash up to the park, probably will not go into the park, but want to get him going on a nice long walk. Will be nice to be out of the shaking apartment. They better not be doing the construction on the weekend. I did go up to higher floors to see if the noise was less up there, but it is still pretty loud. This lobby better look like the Sisteen Chapel. Oh wait, why do I care, I am blind!

Nash is singing in the rain

May 29, 2009

Well, maybe not singing, but hopefully was peeing. Had our first walk in the rain this evening. At least it is not winter, as pre-Nash during the winter, if it was raining, I did not go outside. I guess that will change this winter. It’s funny because every time Nash wakes up, he shakes his entire body, and you can hear his chain rattling. I call it a “Brumsky”. They are really cute. Well, as soon as we got in from the rain, in my lobby, he gave himself a brumsky. IF there would have been anyone standing by, they would have been wet. I did have a woman ask to pet him when I was in the lobby, so  let Nash off duty, had him sit, and told her it was ok. So many people ask throughout the course of the day if they can pet him. I guess that’s what you have to expect with such a cute fella as Nash. He is making me jealous, as no one ever asks to pet me? Maybe in the future, I should say sure, but you have to pet me first.

A few years ago, a production company was making a documentary about my stand up comedy, and dealing with going blind from retinitis pigmentosa. They just loaded the three minute trailer up on facebook, and you can view it here http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=92188382582

Has anyone ever gone crazy from construction?

May 28, 2009

I have no idea how I am going to live through this for the rest of the year. The noise of the frilling in the lobby causes the apartment to shake, and is so unbelievably loud. I hope that it is not having a negative effect on Nash, as I know that dog’s have excellent hearing. If it is to loud for me to take, what about him? They also have 1/2 or 2/3 of the lobby blocked off by a wall, so it seems almost impossible for people walking in opposited directions to pass each other. I got really angry when we came in from Nash’s last park time, as he seemed really confused by all the noise and construction, and of course, people did not let me know they were standing in my way, so we just kind of plowed right through them. I am not going to live in a building where I have to apologize to people every time I leave and enter the building. It just doesn’t seem fair, and oh yeah, I am getting to pay NYC rent to have this priviledge, all so the lobby can look nicer. You’re in the lobby at the most a few minutes a day, so considering all the headaches this is causing, i really do not see the point to it. How many people have ever rented an apartment because they really liked the way the lobby looked? It would be one thing if this construction was necessary to fix something, but this is just vanity. I guess when you charge so much for rent, you have all that extra money lying around. I can only sit in Starbucks across the street for so long, so I am not sure what I am going to do during the day, and I have stuff that I need to get done, you know be productive, but it is very hard to concentrate with all the racket. Any suggestions are welcomed, and no, I can’t just move, I am tied into a lease, and if you do not live in NYC, it ain’t easy to find an apartment, and oh yeah, find one that you can afford. Oh yeah, and moving when you are blind isn’t a ton of fun.

Nash and I met my friend Lis today who also has retinitis pigmentosa. Lis has helped out with the past few Laugh For Sight’s, and she seems to be doing well. It was the first time that Nash has met a friend in the city. Maybe, I don’t have to worry about him and the construction, as he just started snoring. Lucky him. I could never sleep in all of this. Lis and I met at where else, but Starbucks. I always wondered how people could sit in Starbucks all day, and now I know why, they must work nights like me, and their apartment buildings are under construction, Nash was really well behaved, as he laid by my feet. He did drool on the floor, and I think he likes to leave a puddle behind. Luckily, it did not come out of the other end.

I spoke to a friend who went kayaking over Memorial Day. I am not really a big outdoorsman, but I thought I had some great advice to her, which I should share with everyone. I told her, careful, “don’t tip your kayak, you’ll spill your drink!” Well, she tipped it anyway. I think she was teaching her dog to be in the kayak.

Daytripper

May 27, 2009

The construction on my building began today. You got to love working from home, and feeling like someone is jack hammering at your feet. The lobby of the building is a complete mess, and I feel like Nash and I should be wearing hard hats when we enter. It’s good to see that New York Landlords are not effected by the economy. I question the motivation and reasoning to begin a six month renovation during the worst recession of our life time.

Nash and I headed off to the Lighthouse this morning. Yippee, my new glasses are in. Along with being legally blind, I am farsighted. So, yes, I am a blind guy that wears prescription glasses. People often ask, wouldn’t it just make your life easier to not weat the glasses? I say, “well, without them, everything is a blurry, and with them, I can see a little, so wouldn’t you want to see as much as you can?” The Lighthouse was also giving me a desk lamp they feel is good for me, and a hand held magnifyer to help with reading the bills.

We started out today, and came to an intersection that had a massive traffic jam. A woman, said, “it’s ok to cross,” so I began to cross through the parked traffic, but Nash did get a little confused, and there was no walkway for him. I felt him looking left and right, to decide which way to go, and then the woman grabbed me, and said, “let me help you.” You should actually never grab a blind person working with a guide dog, as we have to let the harness go, and work the dog on the leash which means he is not guiding you, you are going by sighted guide. It is ok to help a blind person with a guide dog, if they ask for assistance. Just a little lesson for all of you. Well, I wan’t going to go into all of this with a complete stranger on the streets of NYC, so I dropped the harness, and let her lead me across. I said. “thank you,” and she responded with, wait for it, wait for it..”Love you!” That’s a new one. I have gotten your welcome, and several other variations, but never, Love you. Maybe the hippies are making a comeback. I guess in this economy, people will try anything.

After my free love exchange, Nash and I headed the rest of the way to the busstop. I was a little nervous, as this would be Nash and my first bus ride in the city, and first bus ride without a trainer. The seat behind the bus driver was open, and I got seated quickly, and got Nash to sit in between my legs with his head out, so he could see people walking by. This is the appropriate way to have your guide dog sit when traveling on a bus or subway. Nash was very well behaved, although I do think he sniffed a few people who walked by. Hey, there are some funky smells in NYC, so can you blame him? Overall though, I was very happy with our first bus trip.

We got off at Madison and 57th, and headed up to the Lighthouse. For those of you not familiar with the Lighthouse, no, I was not heading to a giant Lighthouse in the middle of NYC. The Lighthouse is an organization that supplies visually impaired people with services, products, and support. I used to buy my canes there. Nash and I calmly waited for us to be called. I bet he was more patient than me. Actually, they called me very quickly, and early. Love that. We were there for 45 mintues, and in a few different offices. The doctor commented how well Nash and I were together, and that he really listens to me. This meant a lot, as I imagine they see an awful lot of guide dogs. We got my glasses, and they gave me the lamp. I had brought a backpack to put everything in, as Guiding Eyes suggested taking a backpack with me when I shop, so that way you have your hands free to give your dog signs and leash corrections. Damn, foiled again. The lamp was to big for my backpack. Uh oh, how the hell am I going to get home with Nash, a backpack, and a large bag?

I figured taking public transportation was out with everything I had to carry, and I hate cabs, as I have more time than money. Well, I guess we better hoof it. Only problem, with the big bag in my right hand, I can’t give Nash any signs or leash corrections. The first half block was a nightmare, as Nash stopped to sniff a few times, and seemed to not be focused. I may actually have to break down and pop into a cab.

Then all of the sudden, Nash kicked it into Guide Dog Gear. I may patent that one. He became very focused at the task at hand, get us home. It felt like the movie the Warriors. We have to get all the way across the city, but instead of all the gangs, we had limited commands. I could go on forever about the trip home. Nash was amazing. Almost all perfect curb approaches, very limited sniffing, a great pace, and most importantly, we did not run into anything. He was truly amazing navigating from 59th and Lexington to 8th Avenue. We definitely both got our exercise in for today.

And then, we got home. Home Sweet Home, I mean jack hammering, and more jack hammering. Nash is actually sleeping, I wish I could sleep with all this racket!

Clean up Aisle 4!

May 26, 2009

The weather is absolutely beautiful in NYC. Nash and I went for our afternoon walk, doing the same route we have done a few times, and I am not sure if it was the brisk weather, or if it is because he was used to the route, but he was a rockstart. It was the best route that we have had since being back in NYC. I don’t even think we grazed up against anyone which is rare for NYC, and it was a lot more crowded out today than it was yesterday. With there no longer being cars allowed further down on Broadway, there is not as much traffic up near me in the 50’s, so you really do need to listen closely for traffic. Listening for the traffic is new to me, as I was able to see the crossing lights a few months ago. So much for listening to the ipod in one ear when I walk. I always imagined that was a pretty funny sight. A blind guy walking with a cane, and the ipod ear bud in one ear, and the other ear free to listen.

And then we came to the Duane Reade. We were navigating pretty well, until I turned down one aisle, and Nash cleared the display, but the handle of the harness didn’t. And crash, I think they were chips of some kind, as I was in the soda aisle, but it did make a loud noise, and my first reaction. I actually shouted out, “Clean up aisle 4.” It made me laugh, besides what else am I going to say. “Sorry, but if Duane Reade didn’t find it necessary to put a display in every bit of free walking space, these things wouldn’t happen/” I am betting that I am not the first blind person to ever go into a Duane Reade, and probably not the first blind person with a guide dog to go into a Duane Reade. What the hell does Duane Reade do when someone in a wheel chair comes into the store? The pharmacy is in the back of the store. Do they have to go to every aisle, and maybe actually find one that you don’t have to squeeze through? I do not believe knocking over part of the display was Nash’s fault. I chock that one up to Duane Reade. If I ever meet someone named Duane Reade, I may have to be restrained from punching them.

And now, back to being completely cursed, and screwed in this life. I get back to my building, and they just started a complete renovation of the lobby. That’s right, there will be a giant erector set in the lobby that will be moving around all the time for the next six months. Un “Fucking” believable. I was home 3 days with Nash, and they start this today. Nash seemed like all the people and construction really confused him. It’s a good thing that I only have to go through it every time I enter or leave the building. Are you kidding me. If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all. Well, I got a month’s worth of mail to go through.

Why go on a diet, just get a dog

May 26, 2009

Every morning, I wake up, feed Nash, take him for a walk so he can do his business. I get home, drink some coffee, check the all important fantasy baseball teams, and try to eat my breakfast at my computer. Of course, Nash usually goes to his bed after getting back, and lays down. Then I will go and get my breakfast, a breakfast bar, or low fat muffin from Nutrisystem, and sit back down at my computer. Hey, i got a lot of fantasy baseball teams, and email to get to. As soon as I break the breakfast out, I hear the clippy clop, and Nash is sitting right in front of me. I can see a little, and he is giving me those puppy eyes as if he has never eaten before! I have to tell him no Nash, you already ate, this is human food. He will sit at my feet and stare right at me for a few minutes. I feel like I have to wolf my food down, so that he does not get jealous. I tell him, “well, maybe if you didn’t wolf your food down, you wouldn’t be hungary.” I never feed Nash from the table, or in this case, the desk, but those puppy eyes are getting harder and harder to ignore. And this is just a small breakfast. During dinner, I have to put him on tie down, not as a punishment, just so I can eat my dinner in peace. Of course, the attention junkie Nash sits there all perked up, and will some times whine a little. Lets just say, I think I am eating less since I got Nash, and its not because I am feeding him my food, that is a major no no. He makes me feel guilty about eating. Hopefully at this pace, I will lose some weight!

Not much on the schedule for today. Reading over the take hom material, doing a route, may do the same route, or go a few blocks longer. Tomorrow should be interesting, as I just found out that my glasses are ready, so I will be taking the bus over to the East side to the Lighthouse to get my glasses. I think they may also be givcing me a desk lamp, if the Commission For the Blind, a state agency, agrees to pay for it. I will have to remember to take my backpack, as I am hoping that I will be getting to much stuff to carry, and walk the dog. We are also beginning to put some feelers out to see if we should hold a Laugh For Sight 4 this year. If we do hold it, we would like to have a PR firm handle a lot of the work. The economy may prevent us from doing the benefit this year. If we do have the event, it will be in the beginning of November.

Nash is a lion

May 25, 2009

It looks like Nash got his courage back, and has gotten over his fear of the rolling desk chair, as he is back to sitting on my feet, and gave me a two feeter this morning (Head on left foot, rump on the right), He seems to really be at ease in the apartment, and follows me around a lot. He still follows me into the bathroom, and I hope he will eventually get over his abandonment issues. His favorite spots seem to be his bed by the window, in between my bed and the entryway to the bathroom, which is fully shaded, and lying next to the ottoman, and up against the couch when I am lying on it.

Thought you might enjoy some pictures.

Nash aka The Toyminator

Nash aka The Toyminator

A futuristic dog sent back through time to save all humanity, I guess from toys!

Nash and Grandma

Nash and Grandma

Who is this woman who is spoiling me with toys?

Nash, Puppy Raisers Lorraine and Richard, and me

Nash, Puppy Raisers Lorraine and Richard, and me

Hey, where have you guys been? At least this new guy who is feeding me isn’t bad, but I do beat him all the time at tug!

Not a lot on the schedule this Memorial Day, just some obedience which is exercise for Nash, grooming, walking a route, and reading through some more of the going home pack. It is in large print, and Guiding Eyes did email it to me, so I can read it. Well, Nash is mesmerized by the computer, so I am going to go, as I think all these pictures may be confusing him. Will post some more pics in future posts.