Archive for July, 2009

Performance Enhancing Drugs for Guide Dogs!

July 31, 2009

With all these baseball players names being leaked about testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, it got me thinking, do they make performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) for Guide Dogs, and if so, what do they do? Would they make Nash walk faster, would they increase his speed crossing intersections, would they allow him to take himself out to the bathroom, and then let himself back into the apartment? Would they allow him to give himself a belly rub while I am trying to watch a movie? Would they allow him to put his harness and leash on before we leave? I know some of these sound pretty good, but like baseball, I am a purist, and until they legalize performance enhancing drugs for guide dogs, I will stick to the old school rules, so the playing field for all guide dog handlers have a level playing field. What can I say, I am in a silly mood. What a shocker to, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez used PEDs. No, you mean it just wasn’t Yankees doing it? I told my friends back when all the Yankees were being dragged through the mud, if you want the truth behing this, and Congress is going to be involved, then they should subponea every trainer for every team. And what the hell is Congress doing investigating baseball anyway? I mean, do they not have anything more important to spend their time on, and more importantly, our tax dollars on? Glad to see Congress had all that money to waste. At least someone has some dispensible income.

Just got done with a photo shoot for an article that will be appearing in the Daily News about Nash, me, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and the Animal Medical Center. Not to worry, no speedo shots of me. I did an interview yesterday, and if you have been reading this blog, then you know about Nash and me. You should know about Guiding Eyes for the Blind, as they were the amazing Guide Dog School that connected Nash and me. Their trainers, staff, and volunteers, are some of the most dedicated and kindest people that I have ever met, and I have met a lot of people. Maybe one slow day I will do a list of the top assholes I have met, the list would be long. HA! The Animal Medical Center is another very impressive organization, as they treat guide dogs for free. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of going to see a vet, let me just tell you that the animals medical care is better than people’s. First off, you can tell how much the vet cares about each animal. You definitely can’t say that for every doctor. Second, they get you in and out early, or on time. Lately, my doctor has been better, and maybe I can’t really compare these as we people do have some weird stuff that happens to us and can cause massive dealys at the doc’s office. Finally, they treat guide dogs for free at the AMC in NYC. It is pretty amazing that Nash has better and cheaper medical care than I have. Then again, he seems more likeable than me, and definitely not as tempermental.

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Today Show Segment postponed! When it rains it pours

July 29, 2009

The Today Show Segment about Guiding Eyes for the Blind set to air 7/30 has been postponed, and I do not know why, not sure if some celeb died or another Governor has gone missing, but when it rains it pours. I should have known better, as I have worked in several different capacities of the entertainment biz for years, and have always told everyone, with the entertainment biz, don’t get excited until it is over, as I have spent a lifetime of getting excited about things, only to be disappointed, as they have either been canceled, postponed, or fallen through. Now, I am not even a hundred percent sure that I was even in the segment, and if I am/was if it would even help my stand up career, but any kind of publicity helps, and I am still trying to get my career to the next level. I had a ton of close but no cigar with my screenwriting, a ton of we love it, but… A documentary that was being made about my blindness and the stand up comedy that ran out of funding, only to have a ton of people say they loved the idea, and want to finance the rest of it, and guess what. No one came through. One can only take so much, and I am beginning to think the hell with this whole entertainment biz. One can only take so much rejection and disappointment in one lifetime. I am telling myself to just have the pity party today, and get back to the grind tomorrow, but it is a pain in the ass how many people I had to email about the postponement, and I know the friends and family understand, but it annoys me about the industry people. This was obviously completely out of my hands, but it will be interesting to see what airs on The Today Show in the 830 to 9am time slot, as that is where the segment was supposed to air.

Maybe Nash knew something was up because he was coughing this morning, which he never does. He seems to have stopped, but it is something I need to keep an eye on, and of course, this afternoon when we went out for his walk, it was monsooning. The worst rain storm I have had to walk him in yet, so if he is getting sick, I am sure that did not help. Like I said, when it rains, it pours. Well, tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully we will find out the segment is rescheduled for next week.

John Oliver of The Daily Show joins Laugh For Sight 4!

July 29, 2009

Nash and I went to Greenwich Village last night. Normally it takes 15 minutes at most to get to West 4th Street. I was so happy when we entered the subway stop, and the subway was sitting right there. It has finally gotten humid in NYC, and standing in a subway stop waiting for a train to arrive is not a lot of fun. Nash and I get on the subway, and wow, a seat is even open. This is really going to be my evening. Twenty minutes later, we are still sitting and sweating in the subway car at 50th street. I always thought these trains moved, and took you from stop to stop. Ends up there was a fire all the way down town, and the subway was all backed up. It took us an hour to get to West 14rh, basically 20 minutes to go from stop to stop. Finally after sitting around West 14th. I said the hell with it, this guide dog is meant for walking. We got out of the subway, and I figured I would just walk down town. Well, I did not realize that a bunch of streets intersect at 14th street, and I had no idea which way to go. NYC is a grid, and very easy to get around except when you get South of 14th street, and head to the Village. Then for some reason the streets are all named and not numbered. I don’t know why they couldn’t just go with negative one, negative two street and so on. It would make everything a lot easier. So Nash and I were on 14th, and somehow we end up on an island in the middle of the street. Thankfully, someone was really nice, and got me turned in the right direction, and since the subway caused me to be running late to the show that I was going to, the stranger was kind enough to hail me a cab. Nash and I finally got to the Cornelia Street Cafe, and my friend John who produces the show was outside, as he kept looking for me. John Oliver from the Daily Show was performing on the show, and I was going to catch his set, and then get introduced to him after. Luckily, I got to the show before John was going up. My friend John ushered Nash and me in, and got us a good seat at the back of the room. Now, John Oliver is very funny on The Daily Show, but his stand up act is hilarious. I was thrilled to meet him after the show, and what an amazingly talented, nice, and down to Earth guy. And the best part is, that John Oliver from The Daily Show will be joining Laugh For Sight 4!

John Oliver from The Daily Show

John Oliver from The Daily Show

After meeting with John, Nash and I headed over to the Comedy Cellar, as Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock was performing. I have done a few shows with Judah over the years, and we actually did a show together about four years ago at the Melrose Improv in Los Angeles, and I talked to him about performing at Laugh For Sight. He was interested, but it depended on what happened with a pilot he was shooting. Ends up the pilot was 30 Rock. It was good to see that he remembered me, and he did remember meeting at the Melrose Improv. Well, depending on 30 Rock’s shooting schedule which he will not know for a few weeks, we may land Judah to perform on this year’s benefit. So keep your fingers crossed that he will not be needed for shooting on 11/16/09.

Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock

Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock

Laugh For Sight 4 is shaping up to be the biggest and best benefit yet!

Today, I had a college buddy, Keith, and his wife in the city. It was great to see them, as it has been over ten years. We had a real nice lunch together, and they looked like they hadn’t aged a day, hey, every looks great to a blind guy. I don’t know if telling someone they look great is a compliment or an insult!

Nash of Greenwich Village

July 27, 2009

Nash and I are heading down to Greenwich Village tonight to meet with a few people. It will be his first trip there, as I have not been down to Greenwich Village since before I got Nash. I guess, as long as they don’t take his paws, we will be fine. For those of you who don’t get the reference, see Eric Roberts, Pope of Greenwich Village. It is thundering again. Yesterday we had a lot of thunder, and it amazes me that none of it fazes Nash, he is sleeping below me right now, and yesterday, he slept thorough most of it, and his bed is pretty close to the window. Some of it even scared me a little. Hey, it is loud, and startling. Hopefully it will not rain too much tonight, as I have yet to go somewhere with Nash in the pouring rain. We have had so much rain, but so far we have only been drenched on either walks to get Nash exercise or his bathroom runs. Nash loves to try and shake himself dry, which does not work, as I have to run a towel over him, which of course, he thinks is playtime, and he acts like a bull running through the towel. I am not sure how cute Nash would come across if we are in a comedy club, and he shakes himself dry getting everyone around him wet. I don’t know how to control it either, as I have tried. Hey New York City, enough with the rain already.

On a non-Nash note, I have been trying to figure out why it is ok for ABC to produce a crappy reality showed called Blind Date. I don’t hear of any shows called Deaf Date or Paralyzed Date? I am not politically correct, in fact, I am the farthest thing from it, but it does piss me off, that blindness is the one disease that it seems to be ok to constantly poke fun at. Name one rock band that does not have a lyric involving blindness, or one tv show where they haven’t said, what are you blind, or even a blind man could see that.  I could go on, but you get my point. Considering blindness is the number fear in the world, more than getting cancer or aids, which I never understood, you would think that we would have a stronger lobby.

Do Dogs have OCD?

July 26, 2009

Every time Nash and I head out for a walk, he has to do a complete lap around the kitchen before settling at the door for me to attach his leash and his harness. Which got me to thinking, do dogs have OCD? And I’m not talking about organized crime division. I’m talking about obsessive compulsive disorder. Props to the movie Analyze this for a similar line. It is an odd behavior, but Nash does this lap everytime we leave the apartment. Most of the time it is cute, but other times when I want to really leave, it is a tad annoying. Especially since we are normally right by the door when I break the leash and harness out, and then Nash turns away from the front door, and does his lap, ending up right back by the door. Definitely a little odd.

We didn’t do a whole lot this weekend, as we have a big week coming up. Tomorrow night, we are going to see John Oliver from the Daily Show, and be introduced to him, so hopefully we can get him to commit to Laugh For Sight. We also have a lot of contract work to go over for Laugh For Sight this week now that we have a date set.I will have to do most of the work, but maybe Nash will lend a paw. We may hire a PR Firm to work on Laugh For Sight this week. Tuesday, I have a college buddy in the city with his wife and kids. I have not seen him in ten years, and we are all getting together for lunch, so it should be a lot of fun. Wednesday, I have a potential cleaning lady coming to my apartment, so we shall see if I hire her. She speaks English, and knows that I am visually impaired. The problem with my previous cleaning ladies is that they did not speak great English, which normally would not be a problem, except for the whole visual impairment, as they would all rearrange things in my apartment, and I would continuously knock things over, and not be able to find things. Very frustrating. Almost as frustrating as the 45 minutes I spent the other night on my hands and knees looking for an ambien I dropped on the floor. Thank God Nash was on the tie down, as I imagine him slurping up an ambien would not be a good thing. Isn’t it amazing how when you drop something it is not right at your feet, yet a little pill, like an ambien can bounce out of the bathroom and into the hallway. Then today, I was looking for Nash’s big toy ball which had been sitting out in the apartment, so we could play with it. I kept telling Nash, “Ball, buddy, get your ball,” but he kept coming over to me and licking me. So, again I am on my hands and knees feeling all around, please ignore all the sexual overtones to this blog, as there are none meant. So, I am on my hands and knees feeling every corner, and underneath the bed, and desks, and for the life of me, I cannot find his ball. Amazing how much dog hair I cleaned up while feeling around for the ball. Nash’s hair seems to go into corners that he can’t even fit in! So, after 45 minutes, I finally find the ball sitting right next to the book case. Not sure why finding everything takes me 45 minutes, but the next time I drop something, or I am looking for one of Nash’s toy, I am just going to set a time, sit around, and get up when it goes off at 45 minutes. You think that might work?

Nash is a blanket hog!

July 25, 2009

With the weather being so fantastic this summer, my apartment has not been the typical summer inferno. I like it nice and cool, and have had the windows open a lot, and got two new fans to keep Nash and me nice and cool. So much so, that I have been able to lay on the couch with my blanket, and be nice and comfortable. Well, my big blanket seems to rest over the side of the couch, and Nash has grown accustomed to curling up in the part of the blanket that hangs over the side of the couch. Certain times, I try and adjust the blanket, but cannot move it because Nash is laying on it. I have thought about trying the old kitchen table cloth and dishes magic trick where you pull the table cloth out from underneath the dishes without the dishes crashing to the floor. I have thought about trying this with the dog, but Nash just looks too cute and comfy, so I have yet to try it, as I am not sure he would like it. I guess Nash does not know that you should never mess with another man’s woobie!

Nash and I went to our new neighborhood bar last night, Matt’s Grill to watch the Yanks game. I really like Matt’s Grill, as the entire staff loves Nash, and tolerates me. Kidding, they like me, but really love Nash, and they always make room for him at the bar. We went there to watch the Yanks game, and the only problem is everyone wants to pet Nash, and Nash loves it, so as long as I am not walking around with him and working him in the harness, I let them pet him. Nash loves all the attention he gets. One thing I did notice is I used to be able to see the tv fine and follow the game, but last night, even with my glasses on, I had a lot of difficulty seeing the game. Someone had to tell me what was happening, so it was quite frustrating, as I am not sure if my vision is getting worse, or if I was just having a bad day. My eyesight is not good on days when I do not get enough sleep, or if I am really tired, and I did not sleep well the previous night. Strange how retinitis pigmentosa affects people, and how it is different in every case. There is no constant, and can be quite frustrating on the days when you can’t see as well. What really sucks is they have begun the human testing of gene therapy, and even though my blood has been all around the world for genetyping, and they still have not been able to detect what gene is defective in me. Frustrating stuff.

Laugh For Sight 4 date announced!! 11/16/09

July 23, 2009

Laugh For Sight 4 will be held Monday, November 16th at the World Famous Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. Legendary Comedian, Robert Klein will be performing along with a host of other All Star Comedians who will be announced soon. We are still looking for help with corporate sponsorships, and donations for the silent auction held prior to the comedy show. If you are interested in helping out, you can email us at comediansuniteforsight@gmail.com. Look for more information to be announced soon!

Nash is free at last, free at last

July 23, 2009

Last night was the first night that I let Nash sleep without being on the tie down. I didn’t wait so long because I was afraid he would go all cujo on me in his sleep or anything, it was more of a selfish reason. I was worried that he would start licking me in the middle of the night, and want to play. Yes, he is that friendly. If a burglar ever entered my apartment, Nash would lick him to death before biting him. With me needing my beauty sleep, and sleeping later than most people, hey I do go to sleep later than most people, so I got to make it up somewhere. I don’t know why I can’t ever fall asleep, it’s not like I think the world is going to end the next day, or that I am going to die in my sleep, i just cannot fall asleep. As soon as I lay down, my mind begins racing through the Matrix. Half the time I have to get up because I think of something for a bit, or remember something I have to do the next day, and if I don’t write it down, I will forget about it. I don’t even smoke pot, so what’s with the short term memory loss? Well, it was a successful night of Nash not walking around the apartment in the middle of the night, and at least on the firs tnight, he did not start licking me in the middle of the night. I also didn’t know if Nash would be like me, and have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I figured as long as he is on the tie down and in his bed, he would hold, but if he has free range of the entire apartment, what’s to stop him from walking across the apartment, taking a whiz by the door, and going back to bed. Well, no funky smells this morning, and hopefully the experiment last night will continue to be a good one. This was the one thing that I probably held on to too long, so for now, at night, Nash will finally be freee at last, free at last.

I groom Nash twice daybecause he seems to be going for the Guiness Book of World Records with all of his shedding. The grooming is me running his comb and brush through him a few times, and you would be amazed at the amounts of hair that this produces. I am actually surprised that I do not have a completely bald dog by now. Well, today, Nash was like a little kid during the grooming, as I left one of his toy balls out, and as I was grooming him, he got his toy ball, and wanted to play. He had it in his mouth the whole time I was grooming him, and he made me think of when I was a little kid at the barber’s, as I think my Mom used to give me a toy to play with so the barber could actually cut my hair, and I would sit still. Nash didn’t exactly sit still, but he was pretty good, and he must have been enjoying it because he kept hitting me with a wagging tail!

Ever wonder why traffic is so far backed up in NYC?

July 22, 2009

Nash and I headed out for his afternoon bathroom run, and I took him off the harness, and let him into the street where he does his business. Nash went number one, then he started doing that lab dance back and forth, which usually means they are getting ready to poop. Since it was a very overcast and rainy day, I could see a little, and all of the sudden, I noticed that there was a street cleaner that must have been coming up the street soon after Nash went into the street. It was just sitting there waiting for Nash to do his thing, but then all of the sudden, I hear a lot of cars honking. Nash kept doing the lab dance going back and forth, trying to find that perfect spot, and thankfully, the street cleaner just sat there, and let all the cars behind him continue to honk. Hey, I would rather the streets of NYC be backed up, then for Nash to be backed up. So the next time you are sitting in traffic, think before you honk, because there could be a blind guy up ahead letting his guide dog go to the bathroom.

Nash was back on stage with me tonight, and I usually like to hold the mic, as I would have one hand on the cane, and one hand on the mic, as I like to move around while I am doing my stand up, and some of my material does require a lot of movement, not to be confused with the Nash kind of movement, we call it an act out. Well, since I have been going on with Nash, and no cane, and Nash has been walking all around the stage at times, taking the audience’s attention away ,I tried something new tonight. I just stood with the mic in the stand, and had Nash sitting right next to me. Nash was perfect, as he just sat there through my entire set, instead of walking around. So, it looks like at least for the immediate future, I may have to become a stationary comic, will have to see how that will affect the material that requires a big act out, as if I do not hold on to the mic stand, I could end up not knowing where it is, and that would definitely disrupt the act, but it would be better than what happened one time, as I was walking around, Nash just kind of plumped down and started yawning. Of course, I did not know about the yawning until after my set, and a few ot the other comic’s told me. Hey, if your guide dog doesn’t look interested in your act, then why should the audience pay attention? Of course, Nash has already heard the material several times, as I do practice it out loud at home, so mayne he is just tired of hearing it. You know, this whole thing would be a lot simpler without the damn blindness.

Crouching Brian, Hidden Nash

July 20, 2009

I took my first yoga class in years, as the last time I tried yoga, it almost killed me. The last time I tried it, the yoga was supposed to help me relaz, and with stress, and I think it did everything, but that. This time, my friend Meredith, who is also legally blind is working on becoming a certified yoga instructor, and plans to teach yoga to the blind, so I am kind of like the guinea pig. The yoga class was at a really nice spa on Madison Ave. Nash and I had to take the subway to a bus to get there, and we were in perfect stride. Bow the toughest part is just finding where the busstop is the first time we go somewhere, or making sure we exit the right subway exit, because even those sighted folks can get turned around when exiting the subway. We got to the spa pretty quickly, and wow, even though I can’t see that much, if at all, I could tell that it was nice. Pre-Nash , I wasn’t even allowed on Madison Avenue. Not because of any bad behavior, but because I don’t spend enough money shopping. Hey, I got more time than money, unless of course, my breathing doesn’t get back to normal, than that could be reversed.

We get to the spa, and they take Nash into one of the offices, as I knew he wouldn’t sit still while I was in class. I have been doing crunches at home, and a lot of the time, Nash starts licking me, and looking at me like hey, are you trying to hurt yourself? The class was an hour and fifthteen minutes, and I realized that is the longest that Nash and I have been apart since we were introduced at Guiding Eyes. My friend Meredith was not teaching the class, but she wanted me to take a class to see what it was like before she tries to guinea pig, I mean teach me. It was tough, as I had no idea what half the poses were. These yogies take yoga pretty serious, and at the price of this place, they should. We were instructed to do poses like dog, cow, warrior, and a ton of other stuff which I had never heard of, but the instructor did give a lot of explanation, but I still felt lost, and it’s not like I can just look at the person next to me and see how they are standing or posed. Back to the seriousness, it is very tough for me to be serious, which most of the time is a good thing, but we went into some kind of dog pose, and put are head to the ground in a motion, and I started softly chuckling, as it reminded me of something that Nash does often, as he has his head upside down and is rubbing it up against me.  Nash’s version is much cuter than mine during yoga. Then we had to lay on our back, and us beginner’s had our legs up the wall, and I almost start laughing again, because I immediately thought of Mork and Mindy, and how Robin Williams sat upside down on the show. Hey, I was dropped on my head as a kid, and this is my thought process. Than the other thing was I guess you become really relaxed during yoga. and I came close, but thank God didn’t break wind. Hey, I was relaxed, and flexing muscles. During the entire class, Nash was off in a room, so for those of you who don’t get the title of the blog, there was a crappy movie made a few years ago, that was nominated for a few Oscar’s called Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. At the end of the class, we lay on our backs and do some deep breathing which I was hoping would help me with my breathing issues, but as of right now, I am not noticing a difference. So, we are doing the deep breathing, and all of the sudden, I start hear the jingling of some chains at the door. I knew it was Nash. Ends up, they thought he looked really sad in the office, and missed me, so they brough him to the class. At the end of class, Nash ran in, and right up to me, and he kept rubbing up against me, and wagging his tail, so I guess the bonding process is complete.