Laugh For Sight NYC Postponed due to that Bitch Sandy!

October 29, 2012

Well, I should be on my way to LAugh For Sight NYC but that bitch Sandy had different plans. Our yearly New York City Benefit scheduled for tonight at Gotham Comedy Club has been postponed due to the hurricane. Unreal, as I ask for nice weather one day a year, and the weather out there is anything but nice. We had such a solid lineup for this year’s benefit with Celebrity Host Bonnie Bernstein from ESPN, Legendary Comedian Robert Klein, Eddie Brill, Bonnie McFarlane, Paul Mecurio, Jim Norton, Colin Quinn, Rich Vos, and of course Nash and me. Oh well, six months of work down the drain.

We are looking to reschedule this year’s LAugh For Sight NYC for some time in the next six weeks. We will have to rebook the entire lineup and re-promote the entire benefit, but we will do it again. For the latest information on Laugh For Sight follow us on Twitter @LaughForSight and everyone getting hammered by this storm, please stay safe.

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Laugh For Sight 10/29 Gotham Comedy Club with Celebrity Host Bonnie Bernstein, and much much more Tickets on Sale!

October 20, 2012

I am very excited to announce that tickets are now on sale for Laugh For Sight NYC on Monday, October 29th at the World Famous Gotham Comedy Club. We are thrilled to announce that this year’s Celebrity Host will be Bonnie Bernstein from ESPN. She will be joined by the biggest names in comedy, including Legendary Comedian, Robert Klein (Emmy and Tony Award Nominee, Over 90 appearances on The Tonight Show), Eddie Brill (Audience Warm-Up at The Late Show with David Letterman), Bonnie McFarlane (Last Comic Standing, Women Aren’t Funny), Paul Mecurio (Emmy Award Winner, Former Writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Jim Norton (Opie and Anthony), Colin Quinn (Saturday Night Live and Host of Tough Crowd with Colin quinn), Rich Vos (Last Comic Standing, Women Aren’t Funny), and of course Nash and me.

This year’s Silent Auction will begin at 7pm with donations from the NY Yankees, Comedy Central, Eli Manning, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, The Jimmy Fallon Show, Exhale Spa, Felix Rey, Jackie Mason, Susan Michel Limited, and much more. The Comedy Show will start at 830PM. Tickets are $35 for General Admission and $75 for VIP Reserved Seating. To purchase tickets please go to http://www.gothamcomedyclub.com, call 212-367-9000, or click directly on this link http://gothamcomedyclub.com/show.cfm?id=191886&cart

For the latest updates please make sure to Follow Laugh For Sight on Twitter at @LaughForSight and do make sure to follow all of the very generous performers who are donating their time. On Twitter @BonnieBernstein, @BonnieMcFarlane, @JimNorton, @PaulMecurio, @IAmColinQuinn, @RichVos, @blindgator.

We hope to see you there!

Laugh For Sight NYC 2012 Announced!!

September 20, 2012

We are very excited to announce that Laugh For Sight 2012 will be Monday, October 29, 2012, once again at the World Famous Gotham Comedy Club. Legendary Comedian, Robert Klein will be returning for a sixth year, and joined by Janeane Garofalo, Paul Mecurio, and of course, Brian Fischler and Nash. We will be announcing more of the details very very soon.

The Silent Auction will start at 7pm with the Comedy Show to follow at 830pm. Tickets have not gone on sale yet, but they will soon. Make sure to Follow @LaughForSight on Twitter for the latest announcements.

Nash Got To Enjoy A Weekend With His Grandparents

August 20, 2012

So I found a way that Queens isn’t all bad. Have your parents who can see and have a car with them stay with you. That’s right Queens and getting around isn’t terrible if you have a car, now I just have to figure out the blind thing, and get a car. Some of you might have heard about a Google Self Driving Car which is being tested out on highways in Nevada and California. This is a very exciting development. Of course me being a cynic, I have to assume that even if this Google Self Driving Car becomes a reality for blind people, the government won’t put a disclaimer at the bottom, only for legally licensed drivers, as we know the government will still want to have some kind of control over who is on the roads. Additionally, considering how inaccessible Google Docs, Google Plus, Google Groups, and many other aspects of Google are, can I really trust them putting me a blind guy behind the wheel? You would think they would first want to get a track record with something as simple as properly designing something accessible that you can use in the comfort of your own home when you are not going 65 miles an hour! Here is a link to the Google Self Driving Car, http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/google-self-driving-car-logs-300-000-miles-014608510.html

Another innovation in the blind community currently is something called Google Glass. From what I understand this is a pair of glasses you would wear and they would have a chip in it that would tell you everything around you. Rumor has it that these glasses are currently being tested, and might be available to the consumer as early as 2014. Again, I am sorry, but Nash has a much better track record than Google when it comes to leading me around, but these glasses could be a nice add on to walking around with your guide dog. Not sure if you will need to be connected to Wifi for these glasses to work, but I know Nash doesn’t need any kind of fancy technology to get me near my destination. Here is a link to the story on Google Glass http://www.techradar.com/us/news/video/project-glass-what-you-need-to-know-1078114

Got to love how I intended to write a blog about the nice weekend that Nash and I got to spend with my parents, and of course I turn it into a technology focused story. So for my Nash fans, here goes. My parents drove up from Florida, and arrived on Friday. We went over to Austin Street in I believe Rego Park. It is actually a very nice area of Queens, and would be a much more ideal area for me to live in as there are a ton of restaurants and stores. The area actually felt like New York City. Those of you who are not familiar with Queens are probably thinking, well can’t you just take public transportation there? Not exactly, as I would first need to figure out where both bus stops are to get there, and then here is the kicker, when I get off the bus near Austin Street, Nash and I would have to cross Queens Boulevard. That doesn’t sound so difficult. Well, Queens Boulevard is ten lanes, and I just found out today from a friend that Queens Boulevard has a nickname, The Boulevard of Death. No thanks, as I have said before, the one thing about living out here is I definitely don’t want to die in Queens. We had a real nice dinner. On Saturday, I put my parents to work, as we got tons of laundry done, and than ran plenty of errands. Nice to have access to that car. Nash also got his new bone that my parents bought for him. He was in heaven and really loved it. I think Nash enjoyed getting up in the morning, and my Mom taking him out for a walk. I am normally still half asleep when I wake up, so we just go out for a quick jaunt for him to do his business, than I have to drink a pot of coffee to wake up and get going. Sunday we got more things done, and as the weekend was coming to a close, and it was time for the parents to leave and head off to New Jersey to see the Grand Kids, I think Nash was really sad to see them go. Not to worry though, we are off to New Jersey next weekend for my nieces birthday, and Nash will get to see his Grand parents again.

Where Nash and I Can Be Found Now

August 1, 2012

Greetings all,

It amazes me that I have been writing about Nash and my adventures for over three years now. I know the daily adventures have turned more in to the weekly and monthly adventures, as it does become harder and harder to stay interesting and fresh, as I don’t want to just write about the same thing over and over again.

I think Nash and I are entering a new chapter in our life, as we do have to eat, and I have never been paid to write this blog, but do enjoy bringing it to you. I am excited to announce that I have been recently hired as a freelancer to contribute content to The Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan’s website which can be found at http://www.cesarsway.com. So what does this mean for my personal blog Blindgator’s Boastings? It means that most of my ideas about Nash, being a guide dog handlers, and our fluffy four legged friends will first be pitched to my editors at Cesar Milan’s site, as like I said Nash and I have to eat to. Not to worry though, as I still plan to write here to, as not all of my ideas and adventures with Nash are appropriate for the Dog Whisperer. So for my loyal readers, you will now have to check two sites, here at http://www.blindgator.wordpress.com and over there at http://www.cesarsway.com. I will continue to blog here about Laugh For Sight which we will be announcing the next NYC date very soon, and additionally about the new podcast I am launching with Gotham Comedy Club called Gotham Comedy Radio which you will be able to download for free from iTunes. We just recorded the pilot episode interview, and it will be launching in a few weeks.

While I do appreciate and love all of my loyal readers and commentors all four of you, writing for Cesar Milan give me a chance to reach a wider readership. I guess Cesar is a little better known than the blind comedian and Nash. Great news for all of you as my first article is live over at Cesar’s and here is a direct link to it, please feel free to read and comment http://www.cesarsway.com/news-and-events/entertainment-news/Is-Your-Dog-Stalking-You

Lou Gehrig May Have Been the Luckiest Man On the Face Of the Earth, but I met the Dumbest Man On the Face Of the Earth!

July 10, 2012

Nash and I headed in to the city today, and what a relief as it was not for a doctor appointment or a hospital visit. We did start out going to the Animal Medical Center, but not for a Nash check up. We had to pick up his allergy meds. Unfortunately, they weren’t going to be able to fit him in to get his nails clipped. When we got to the dispensary only one set of Nash’s pills were there. Yup he is on two kinds of allergy pills. Poor little guy. They paged his vet, and she came out, and I snuck in a by the way, any chance you might be able to clip his nails? Of course, how could anyone resist the Nashee, and she was very kind to fit him in. His nails had gotten real long which was a problem, because when I would lay down with him within two hours of his feeding time Nash smacks me I assume telling me not to fall asleep as it is in the two hour window of his dinner time. I don’t mind the playful smacking, but the nails had gotten a little painful.

After our visit to the Animal Medical Center we headed over to the cross town bus. It really must have been our day because the bus pulled up immediately. Now Nash is trained to go to the door when I tell him the door, and like a good guide dog he went to the bus door, the only problem it was the rear door on the bus. I realized it and told him sorry pal unlike you, I actually have to pay to ride the bus, so we have to go to the front door. We were greeted by the bus driver, and he said, haven’t seen you in awhile. I said, ugh yeah we had to move to Queens. The people on the bus were so nice to move over and make room for Nash and me at the front of the bus. Wow, three things in a row going my way. As soon as we sat down, Nash let out a big sneeze, one passenger chuckled politely and said I’ve never seen a dog sneeze. Hey, he has allergies.

We took the cross town bus over to the Apple Store. My iPhone has been having a few problems, and I finally had some time to get over to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. I decided to test out a new app called Blind Square, it is another GPS specifically designed for blind people. I found the Apple Store on it, and set the tracking on to see how it worked. The cool thing about the app is even while we were on the bus it was telling me stores and restaurants we were passing, but I am not sure of how accurate the accuracy is, but it is nice to know what sores are around you. I had a blue tooth earpiece in, so I could hear what Blind Square was announcing. We got off the bus on 57th and Fifth Ave. I wasn’t sure what side of the treat the Apple Store was on as I had never been to this one. I have always heard that this particular Apple Store was an absolute mad house, so I have always avoided it. Another cool thing about Blind Square is the app will tell you the direction of the store you are tracking according to the hands on a clock. We were heading North towards twelve o’clock so when the app told me the Apple Store was at two and than three o’clock I was able to tell it was on the East side of the street. The only thing that didn’t work well, is it kept jumping between 200 and four feet sometimes telling me the latter number as I was getting closer to the store. When I was right outside the Apple Store the app still told me I was 60 feet away from the store. I have traded tweets with the developer of the app and this is something that is supposed to be fixed in the next update to the app. The app definitely has a lot of potential.

Wholly tornado of people Batman. It was packed Disney World style with people in the Apple Store. Of course, the Apple Store staff was very helpful and took us right over to the Genius Bar, but I was able to tell that it was an absolute zoo in there. The Apple Store reinstalled the latest version of IOS so hopefully that will fix the battery life, Siri, and speaker phone issues I have been having. Only time will tell. It is amazing how much you can sense going around you. I asked the man helping me if he knew how much all the Apple products in the store were valued at? He said, he couldn’t tell me. I said you don’t know or you can’t say? He said he wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I than said, so how’s your security? If that Apple store gets robbed tonight, I might be in a little trouble.

Nash and I then headed over to the Lighthouse on 59th Street. It was so great to walk all over the city today. When you get banished to Queens you really enjoy all the energy of the city when you are there. We got to the Lighthouse front desk and the man sitting there asked where we were going. I told him to the Light Expo. Of course he had no clue what I was talking about. I told him the exhibit going on here today. Still no clue. Then the dimly lit lightbulb in his head went off and must have told him the thing on the second floor that all the people are going to. He told me it was on the second floor, and said take the elevator. Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it. He than actually said while working at the front desk of the Lighthouse an organization where blind people are coming through all hours of the day, and me who is standing there with dark sunglasses and a guide dog, he says, go where I am pointing! I said what, he says where I am pointing. The only thing that could come out of my mouth was you could be the stupidest man on the face of the earth! I know the Lighthouse isn’t going to shell out the big bucks for the people who work at the front of the desk, but are you kidding me, Go where I am pointing. And they say there are no jobs out there, well fire this moron and than there will be one job available.

21st Century Communications and video Accessibility Act

July 3, 2012

I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore. On July 1, 2012 the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act finally took effect. This act requires the Networks and a few of the top cable channels to provide about 40 hours a quarter of descriptive video programming, roughly about 4 hours a week in the Top 25 television markets. This is something that is long over due, consider how long television has offered close captioning for the hearing impaired, so why have the blind been ignored for so long?

I have been counting down the days until the act went in to place, and it is finally here. I began researching how to receive the programming with the descriptive video. You basically have to set your television to receive the SAP signal, no that’s not just for Spanish programming. There is a setting to receive the secondary English audio programming which I assume is an audio feed that has the audio described programming. So why am I mad as hell now that July 1 has come and gone?

Because I am not receiving the secondary audio programming. My anger is directed at a few companies and organizations. You would think that this law which had to be voted on by Congress to take effect would be a big deal, but it’s not! In my research, I discovered that freakin Canada has been providing audio described programming for over ten years to there blind citizens! England and Australia have also been providing described video for their blind citizens for many years. So why does a country that prides itself on always being there for other people and thinking we help the world care less about its own people with disabilities? So yeah, I am angry at the United States for taking so long to get this act passed.

My anger isn’t solely directed at Congress, as I mentioned I haven’t begun to receive the audio feed. I am a Time Warner Cable subscriber, so I had the fun task of calling the cable company today to find out what I had to do to get the described video. And we all know how much fun it is to call the cable company. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the customer service rep I was speaking with had at least heard of descriptive video. She told me they mentioned it briefly to them, but that was it. Are you kidding me, what did the meeting go like this. Ok everyone Congress is forcing us to provide descriptive video for those blind people out there, so you may get some phone calls about it, but we’re not going to tell you how to instruct those blind people to actually receive the audio described programming or what television shows will be described. Fantastic. That’s right, after holding for awhile, I was told they knew nothing about it, and with the holiday they will have to call me back on Friday. I’m not holding my breath for a call back from the cable company. It gets even better, as minutes after hanging up with Time Warner I received an automatic call from them to rate the service I received. I started to do the survey, and there was no way for me to express my displeasure as there were just options to press and no comments to make.So this is how much juice Congress has? They can pass a law but getting it implemented is a whole different issue. Speaking of which I recall about ten years ago the Supreme Court ruled that the United States had to make money accessible to people with disabilities. How’s that coming along? I also recall either a Supreme Court ruling or another useless ruling by Congress that all future technologies meaning future designs of TV’s, microwaves, DVD Players, etc had to be accessible to the blind. What the hell ever happened to that? I’m pretty sure that in the last five years the equipment manufacturers have produced a new model or two. And guess what none of them are more accessible to the blind. Yet in England and Australia they now have talking set top boxes and in England they have TVs that read the menus to the blind. What the fuck Congress could you be any more useless. Just passing a law and not enforcing it doesn’t change a thing. So yeah I am angry at Congress and the cable companies, but it doesn’t end there.

I can’t tell you how many times a week I receive an email from one of the blind organizations asking me to donate money. A lot of these organizations like The Foundation Fighting Blindness, American Federation For the Blind, National Federation of the Blind, etc do a lot of good work. But they also drop the ball a lot. These organizations are supposed to be looking out for the blind more than anyone. You would think with a historic act like the 21st Communications and Video Accessibility Act going in to place there would be a lot of press releases and news put out there instructing blind people how to receive the content. But of course there is nothing. You know what comes up when google Audio Descriptive Video? Definitions of what it is, Wikipedia on the history of, and resources for companies selling their services to describe videos. Not a thing on how a blind person can receive the descriptive video or what programs are being described. So yeah, my anger is also directed towards the blind organizations, as they should be at the front of a media storm getting this information out there. I guess they are just to busy putting together the next email I will receive asking for more money. Thanks for looking out for me. That last sentence was sarcasm.

On A Really Hot Day Give A Dog A Bone and Kick Back and Watch the Yankees Game

July 2, 2012

It’s definitely summer as a really bad heat wave hit New York this past weekend. How hot was it you ask? All I could think of was that really annoying Buster Pointdexter song Hot, Hot, Hot continuously going through my head, and you know that is not a pleasant song to have stuck in your head. If you are a regular reader of my blog, than you know how much Nash loves his bones. If you are not a regular reader what’s wrong with you? I had picked up a new bone for Nash, as you have to do so every so often. I gave Nash his new toy this weekend, he was so excited that I probably could have given him the bone with the plastic still on, as he couldn’t wait to get his paws on it.

If WordPress actually successfully uploaded the video, than you can click on it to watch Nash playing with his new bone. Unfortunately, WordPress is not completely accessible even though they claim to be, so I have no idea if the video successfully uploaded to this blog. If it has than you can see that my days of being a film maker are over. Hey this is a blind guy attempting to take video of Nash playing with his new bone. And what you hear in the beginning is me trying to get to the stop button on the phone, yes, that is Voiceover working. Not sure why they would think you might want to hear the VO being read in the video you are taking, so I doubt this video will go viral, but for those of you who know Nash, it will be nice for you to see him

On a cuteness scale, Nash would have shattered it this Saturday night. As it was around midnight, Nash was asleep in my bed as he usually is, and I was watching TV. Out of nowhere I heard Nash shake himself awake, than the leap from the bed to the floor, followed by the pitter patter of his paws as he entered the living room. I said, uh oh, here comes trouble. Kidding of course, as I thought Nash was coming out to play a little past doggy bedtime. Ends up Nash walked right past me and around the ottoman to where I keep his bones. I put them all there, as he does have access to them and that way I don’t step on them and slide across the floor. He has about five bones in the pile. Hey a guide dog has got to have choices. Nash went over to the pile, picked up his brand new bone, walked back past me and all the way back to the bedroom. He went around my bed to his bed the whole time with his new bone in his mouth. Than I heard him plop down and begin playing with his new bone. To cute and funny. He knew that he had a new bone, wanted to play with it, and even more impressively knew that he is not allowed to play with his bones in my bed. He did that once, and his chewing on the bone left a big wet area in the bed, not to pleasant to get in to. I kept expecting him to eventually try and take the new bone in to my bed, but he didn’t. He played with the bone for about an hour, so I am guessing he really loves the new bone. At the writing of this blog, the new bones whereabouts are unknown. Will have to go and try and find it for him, as sometimes he likes to knock it under the bed where he can’t get to it..

World’s Funniest Legally Blind Comic

June 30, 2012

Never in a million years did I think I would have to defend myself for calling my website “The World’s Funniest Legally Blind Comic!” Over the years, I have received random emails through my blog or my website http://www.brianfischler.com, some of an attacking nature some just pointing out that there are other legally blind comedians out there. So now, I am officially going on the record, there never was a vote that I was the World’s Funniest Legally Blind Comic! That’s right America, I self appointed myself that title. I didn’t even win it on a reality TV show, it was all my doing. I guess King James and I have a lot in common, as King James was really never appointed a King, in high school he just decided to start calling himself King James. It’s called a brand name and marketing yourself. My buddy Judah Friedlander is known as The World Champ, and guess what, he really isn’t the World Champ, although I think he is. When you work in an unbelievably competitive industry like comedy, you have to do what ever it takes to separate yourself from the billion other comic’s out there, and yes, that does include all the other blind comedians out there. I am well aware of at least six other blind comedians out there, and I am sure there are a lot more than that. I am even friends with a couple of them, and I bet ya they think they are the world’s funniest legally blind comics! I will even go one further, since I started on this endeavor in comedy my vision has severely deteriorated, and I wouldn’t even be classified as legally blind anymore, just blind! So my website is now false advertising, but thanks to there not being a web design program that works with Apple’s Voiceover for us non HTML coding experts, I have no way of updating my website. That’s right, my website hasn’t even been updated in about two years.

It just blows me away that people will actually take the time to send me an email attacking my website and my self anointing as the World’s Funniest Legally Blind Comic. People get a life, and do something constructive with your time. May be offer your services to blind people to help them edit their websites.

Taking the Alpha Back From Your Dog

June 28, 2012

We all love our dogs. In fact most of us like them better than people. I even share my bed with Nash, well actually I think he has commandeered it as his own bed. During the day as I am on the computer he can be found in my bed if he isn’t underneath my desk on my feet. Some times I will go in and see if he wants to play. And it is funny, as at times he will let out a groan telling me that he wants to sleep. I don’t mind Nash sharing my bed. I do mind when he drools in it. Yes, Nash is a big drooler. My question is what do you do when your guide dog think your bed is his bed?

I go to sleep pretty late these days, so after our night walk, Nash will come by my desk expecting a treat because that is a habit we seem to have gotten in to at the end of the day. He will sit by my desk until he gets his treat. Then I have to tell him sorry buddy that is it for tonight. Some nights he will join me at my desk and sit on my feet until I tell him it past doggy bed time. Other nights when I tell him sorry buddy that is it for tonight, he then pitter patters off to the bedroom, and I can hear him make the leap in to my bed.

Nash has gotten pretty understanding that late at night when I come in to the bedroom that it is his cue to go down to his bed, as unfortunately my bed really isn’t big enough for both of us because we both like to spread out. One thing I have noticed is that Nash really likes to fall asleep right in the middle of the bed either at the head or the foot, but directly in the middle. This makes it pretty hard for me to get in to my bed comfortably. Every now and then Nash must be pretty zonked out because he doesn’t go down to his bed and will barely move. I have to attempt to slide in to the bed and maneuver the sheets. It is pretty funny.

The other night I got up in the middle of the night because I must be at that age where you have to get up to go to the bathroom. I came back in to my bedroom half asleep and plopped down in to my formally empty bed. Only to land on Nash who had settled in the middle of the bed at the head and he had even stolen my pillows. He wouldn’t move. I gave it a few minutes but Nash wasn’t going anywhere. He was pretty content with sleeping in my bed. I had one little area on the bed, and I think we were trying to determine who the alpha male of the house is. I eventually fell asleep next to Nash, but it does make me wonder does your dog ever try and tell you that he is the boss? If so, how do I take the alpha back?