Life's Little Surprises

Any interesting stuff that happens to me on a daily basis

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Addendum To Jan. 13, Article
In a follow-up to an article I wrote on January 13 regarding people with disabilities and their access to court, it seems that, remarkably the Supreme Court actually ruled in favor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Justices ruled 5-4, only stating that the courts must provide access to persons with a Disability. This case resulted from a Tennessee man’s claim that he was discriminated against when he could not gain entry into the courtroom for a hearing and was thus jailed for contempt. He sued the state, and the case slowly made it to the national level, where it continued to gain attention and galvanize the disabled community.
Despite the still apparent ambiguity of what is protected under this act, particularly in the areas of employment and schooling, the decision is welcome in a climate, which has resulted in many provisions of the ADA being simply ignored. It is hoped that this decision will at least be a call to action and will let others who feel they are being excluded from all the things that society has to offer, know that they have a chance at achieving a happy, normal life.
On a personal note, I must say that I am delighted with the decision. It is and has been very discouraging to go into the job market and constantly be told what I can and can’t do, and to not even be given a chance simply as a result of my blindness. It is sometimes difficult for me to understand how people in a free and modern civilization could still be under the impression that, due to some physical defect, one might not be able to carry out the basic functions of whatever area he or she tries to enter. I believe that each individual should be allowed to decide what he or she can do, and given the chance to prove him or herself capable. With technology constantly advancing, there aren’t many doors that should be closed to us, but the ones that remain now are those placed in front of us by the communities, the states and the country at large.

posted by John  # 9:52 PM

Monday, May 17, 2004

Good News!
Hello, I am thrilled to report that today has been an excellent day in regards to my attempts to get back into school. All the people I’ve e-mailed got back to me, with a person from Arizona State University even sending me a message detailing what I must do to get into their Journalism program. It seems that I can do it without going to undergraduate school, that’s a relief as I’ve already wasted five and a half years there in my former life.
I sometimes find it difficult to deal with people when they come across as not wanting to do something. The second guy in the e-mail forward at Arizona State University asked the third individual, “Would you just give this guy the standard response?” I suppose that’s normal practice, but I’ve always had difficulty, mainly because I don’t like to feel as if I’m bothering people. I simply want to have a shot at achieving my dream, and I find it somewhat sad that people must act that way. As my friends and family, all of whom are very supportive of me, had said, I must just learn to deal with it and remain persistent until I get the information I seek. I suppose its good enough that they e-mailed me that rapidly. I think I’m going to write an opinion post right behind this one for practice purposes. If you read it, drop by my site and let me know what you think!

posted by John  # 11:15 PM

Sunday, May 16, 2004

My Quest to Become A Journalist Officially Begins
Hello, today I took my first baby steps toward realizing my dream of becoming a journalist, and I want to document everything that happens from now until I am a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times!
I visited a great all-in-one site called journalism.org, which seems to be a project for purifying the area and making clear what the goals of a good journalist are. There, they had links to many other sites, including tools that one could use to improve writing, suggestions on what actions to take in order to become a journalist and, most important to me, links to many schools’ journalism programs. I e-mailed a professor from the Walter Cronkite school of Journalism at Arizona State University, and someone from the University of Florida as well. The person at ASU that I e-mailed was the interim director of the school, but he informed me that he would forward the message on to the person in the department who handles those kinds of questions. I still haven’t heard from the individual at UFL, but I’ll keep you posted! That’s pretty much all for now.

posted by John  # 11:51 PM

Monday, May 10, 2004

My Post Mother’s Day Post
In honor of my Spanish woman, I greet all by saying Hola! I intended to write yesterday, but as one might guess, I became rather busy with all the festivities that go along with the day we devote to thanking Mom /and letting her know how much she means to us. It went rather well, but almost got off to a bad start for my cousin and me.
The day began slowly enough, I got up to check e-mail and see who might have dropped me a line the previous night, then I read some articles from The Charlotte Observer. My cousin Calvin was out talking to our live in room mate, Eliot, and I think they may have been engaged in a couple of other activities which I shall not name here because of their nature. I finally aroused myself and went to have a bowl of cereal, and then I was going to come back and lie down as my cousin and I were going to attempt to escape having to go to church. However, as he, being the incredibly intelligent person that he is, left the door open, it was only a matter of seconds before my youngest sister Sheena and my cousin Hazel showed up to requisition us and force us out of hiding. I managed to shower, dress and scramble to church all within a fifteen-minute period.
Once there, the service wasn’t so bad after all, although I did have trouble staying awake. It had been nearly four months since my last service, and this combined with the fact that I had stayed awake very late the previous night to make staying focused rather difficult. The Pastor talked of how women often turn to other women before they turn to male companions, be they father figures, spouses or any other type. It was a good sermon and it only lasted a surprising hour and a half.
Once the service was over, we all piled into cars to head over to my Aunt’s house for some delicious home cooking! While the food was being prepared, everyone lounged around and my Aunt snapped a few pictures of pretty much every member of the family. I talked to my step dad Mike and Calvin about sports some, and everybody asked me thousands of questions about my Spanish woman. I enjoyed it all though, particularly because these days our family tends to get together only once a year. Then after a prayer said by my cousin Billy, my uncle Bill JR. and Bill SR., we finally dove into the meal. I devoured some cabbage and sausage, ham, collard greens, corn on the cod and my all-time favorite, banana pudding! I was of course full and happy, and I along with many of the other guys and my oldest sister Mandie retreated to the upstairs den to watch the Los Angeles Lakers pound the San Antonio Spurs. That was basically all that happened on that Mother’s Day.
I try to let my mom know that I love and care about her very deeply, but I guess due I large part to the way that I have been treated by my family, it is often difficult for me to even pick up the phone and call. I mean, they always joke around with me whenever they do hear from me, and while I know it’s all in good fun, it just makes it kinda difficult for me to truly feel comfortable doing it. I do however believe that we as a society should not just wait for one highly commercialized day to let our mothers know that we love them. I’m gonna make an effort to get better, although I don’t know how many times I’ve said that. Everybody hold me to it!

posted by John  # 11:19 PM

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Hello, I am back! It has been almost a month and a half since I’ve posted an entry here, but it is now time for me to begin writing again as I am about to attempt my dream, journalism! Much has happened since I last wrote, the most important being that the weather has finally warmed and I am now pulling in some money.
At this point, I feel that I am at a critical crossroads in my life, perhaps finally headed in the right direction while desperately trying to keep things going that way. The hardest thing has been disciplining myself to go to sleep at a decent hour and drag myself out of bed at 5 everyday from Monday till Thursday, especially when much of the money I make immediately gets sucked into paying bills. I must admit though that I’ve done a great job thus far, only missing one day due to a horrible cold.
As many who read this would also probably know, I am involved in a relationship with the girl from Spain that I’ve made reference to earlier. It has been great so far, although it does get hard being so far apart all the time. She’s a wonderful person though, and has really been a catalyst in this turnaround that I am experiencing. Its funny too, because when my cousin Wali began dating a girl from England, I thought there was no way I could do such a thing, but I just believe that she’s one of the best people I could have possibly found, so we’ll have to see how things all work out.
Not much else exciting going on, but I’ll probably start making regular postings again as my life action heats up, literally. At least those long, cold winter days are finally over! Now it’s on to summertime!

posted by John  # 11:45 PM

Monday, March 29, 2004

Howdy folks!
All right, I have finally, finally! Reentered the workforce! Oh its gonna be nice picking up that check every two weeks, starting the 16, and no I won’t be giving out any money! Anyhow I went back to Lyons Services today and I wanted to document that experience.
I had to wake up at the extremely early hour of 5:00 in the morning, and then drag myself through showering, dressing and preparing my lunch. Now as it would turn out, our Special Transportation got confused, (sound familiar?), and they showed up initially to pick only me up. I had told them to just put me onto the same ride as my cousin, as he was already going to work there on a daily basis, but nothing’s that simple with them! Anyway, they eventually cleared it all up and took us on in.
When we got to the plant, there weren’t any tables out in the break area, so Calvin and I just milled around on the walls until about 6:15, when the people started coming in. Clock-in time was 7:30, and I had to wait for the boss to come and officially recognize me as there. He put me on what is called the Tape Line, infamous because you have to use a knife to remove the core from tape over and over again, and he had already told me that my stint there would probably not be long. So, I just continued to work until first our mobility instructor showed up to familiarize me with my new surroundings, then someone finally came to pluck me off that line. While there though, I managed to cut myself at least once, and I kinda messed up my hand, it went numb for like 2 hours.
A guy named Dave then moved me to an area where I was to wrap what are called Cheesecloths into paper, in a way similar to wrapping gifts. This was a lot easier and more doable for me, excepting the fact that I managed to get glue all over my hands and my shirt as it shot out onto the tape that I had to use to seal the package. I was sitting in a big, comfortable chair though so I loved it! It was also a lot quieter over there, which afforded me much time to concentrate on my thoughts. All of this happened before 11.
Finally, lunchtime came at 11:30, and during that period I ate a baloney and cheese sandwich, some barbecue chips and some chips ahoy cookies. I was ravenously hungry; I suppose that’s what hard work will do for ya!
After lunch, I began to get a little tired but I kept working diligently, folding paper over the cloth bundle, wrapping, sealing, and then stacking it into a box. If there’s anything about that job that might make me a bit nutty, it’s the endless routine! Then we had another break at about 2, and I went outside with Kimeshya and Thomas to revel in the wonderful weather and chat a bit.
The final part of the day wasn’t that difficult for me, I think I actually got faster the closer to the end of the clock I got. I probably made most of my mistakes while I felt people were watching me; I’m not particularly adept at handling that kind of pressure. But overall, I believe I did a fantastic job.
Then on the special transportation bus home, Calvin and I just joked around with people onboard whom we worked with. This guy named Johnny Lathon has apparently been working the tapeline for five years, probably due to a lack of ambition. Also, we talked to someone named Rufus, and he mused that anyone who leaves Lyons Services will ultimately come back.
That’s basically all the good stuff that happened today, though I am quite tired and will be rather sore, I have no regrets. I am just glad to finally be able to feel as if I am a productive member of society again! I also think the people at LS are just wonderful, everybody seemed willing to help whenever I encountered a problem of any kind. I think I can manage it there until I figure out something better to do with my otherwise pointless existence. Thanks, thanks and thanks again to all of you for your unwavering support, I, no we have finally made it!

posted by John  # 10:28 PM

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Howdy folks! Well I’ve been meaning to write in here for a while now, but this week has been so full of action that I am only now getting the time. Where on earth do I start!
Ana, my Spanish friend, has actually come to see me and its been loads of fun! I would say that she’s been far more exciting than I could have possibly predicted and I’ve really enjoyed it. She has cooked for us a couple of times, plus we went out by bus to go to the mall on Tuesday and to stroll around uptown on Thursday, and we ate at Shomars on Wednesday. It was kind of cold and rainy on Thursday, but good walking weather I suppose. She’s going to leave me on Monday though and I’m really going to miss her! Oh well, I guess I’ll be ok, and if she had at least half as much fun as I did, I’m satisfied.
I also finally got hired back at Lyons Services, this time more certainly. Bob Hughes, a man who works with us on mobility in the city, went to Mr. Cranford and asked that he give my job back, assuring him that I would be able to get to work on a regular basis. I pretty much figured this would be the only way that I could get back to work, but I couldn’t get him to do that until recently. Anyhow, I’m finally slated to start again on March 29, so I guess we’ll see how it goes!
And finally, the Charlotte Bobcats called us and said we would be able to audition to sing the national anthem, as I had applied my group Off Da Top to do so, I was surprised that I managed to get the e-mail in in time, because they said they would be offering an opportunity to only the first 100 applicants. Only problem is that the auditions take place on the 30th, and I’ll need to check if we can do them after I get off work. Hopefully that’ll be the case and our group can get some national exposure!
Well that’s all the good stuff happening here, I hope to have more madness to report on real soon.

posted by John  # 12:39 AM


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