Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic

A facebook contact joked, "How awful it must be to be blind and dyslexic at the same time."

So, without giving up my day job and completely divesting what little time into auditions, workshops and low paying entry gigs into the world of voice acting, I've instead decided to volunteer to read for the blind.

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic is a non profit, nation wide organization dedicated to making written material available to the visually impaired and cognitively challenged. It started over sixty years ago when a woman named Anne T. Macdonald began reading to veterans of WWII who had returned without their sight, having lost it do to injury or illness while in the service. It eventually became more than the New York Library's Women's Auxiliary could do alone and soon it became a nation wide organization.

I drive by the school of the blind often enough to see the sign for the studios (there's also a state run organization) and I hear about volunteer opportunities on the local NPR affiliate KUT quite a bit. I decided to go.

This is going to be rad.

Coming from a theater background, I have a bit of an ego-centrism issue; I like hearing the sound of my own voice. It's probably more than just wanting to talk, I actually like reading aloud. For a while I'd read to Ms. A so she could go to sleep. I'm sure it was a combination of someone's voice and the science fiction or science material that put her out, but I enjoyed it and would read till I went hoarse. I love reading to the kids and if I didn't have this, I might have tried to get in on the story time events book stores do (except those are always on a Wednesday at like 9am.)

The added benefit is the material I'd be reading is all educational. There are requests for fiction, but for the most part the RFBD focuses on text books. It's their mission to provide educational materials, so there will be a lot of reading of history, chemistry, sociology and a lot of foreign language. Sitting in with a couple people last night, I listened to a recap of most of the political events of the late 1960's.

The studio on 45th and Burnet is quite nice too. It's small and cozy with 7 or so recording booths, some offices and a lot of reference and training material. I've only gone in twice, but the staff is very friendly and the two volunteers I worked with last night were equally as amicable.

I'm really excited.

This is also the time where I say that if you're looking to volunteer, RFBD is always looking for more volunteers. If you can't but know someone who might like it, tell them about it.

Carry on.



Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Last weekend we visited my cousin in Houston. The trip was timed with my mom and aunt's visit so we could all spend the weekend. Technically I wanted to leave early Friday but a problem at work kept me there till late which means we got to Houston (or the Cy-Fair area of North West Houston) by 9pm.

Also, it was a short trip because we had originally planned to go to the TXRD championship bout on Saturday night, but we ended up not being able to get tickets in time and the prevalent thinking is that the kids don't do well at bouts so we skipped it. Tiger Lilly came along and got to meet a small fraction of my family.

By the way, Ms. A is officially a Texas Roller Derby skater. Her skate name is Fishnet Stalker. She'd gone through a few names but ended up choosing this one because it more accurately reflected her propensity to stalk people online and off. I warned her people might call her Fishy but she was ok with that.

School is going ok for the kids. They missed a chunk with the flu but LMA's grades are all A's thus far this semester. As far as we've heard, she hasn't beaten anyone down recently. Maybe derby brats is teaching her something or just giving her an outlet. She still a few weeks left of this season and I can perfectly envision her picking it up again. She genuinely seems to enjoy it despite the requirement that you have to practice.

I've been trying to do more drawing and actually do something with all those interlocking piece of plastic hanging around my room, but work has been really busy and lately when I'm home I'm either working more, doing some chores or sleeping. I've got four shows to write for at TVZ and half the time I don't have time to watch them.

I was able to record and watch the the Discovery Channel's "Discovering Ardi" which was terribly exciting. If you don't know anything about evolution or human paleontology, you may at least know about Lucy. Lucy was the, up until about 1992, the oldest known skeleton (or partial skeleton) scientists have discovered. Australopithecus afarensis, a 3.2 million year old species, Lucy was thought to have been somewhat of a missing link back in the 1970's. It was an upright walking ape, but was more human than monkey. Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus) predates Lucy by more than a million years, to roughly 4.2 million years ago. Ardi was another hominid but with some striking features. Foremost was that of a grasping foot.

Whatever your beliefs are, you have to admit that finding a hominid skeleton that walked upright but had a grasping foot is pretty cool. There's really no comparison in the animal world. The find makes Lucy look positively Cro-Magnon. Scientists were able to determine that not only was A. ramidus bipedal, but also that they were changing in terms of social and sexual traits as well. They were still instinctual, but the instincts were becoming refined.

Anyway, Tiger Lilly and I watched the show on Sunday, absolutely fascinated. We're nerdy like that. Miss LA continues to be sick but was able get someone to fill in for her at work and get some much needed rest. Ms. A is still going to class though she missed a few days when she and the kids were sick. Life still rolls on here.

Carry on.



Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Aside from the threat of pandemic, this weekend was quite lovely.

First thing's first: Yes, little G-man got sick on Saturday. My dad came to visit the grandkids for the weekend but all outdoor festivities and external or traveling plans were squashed by a combination of rain and illness. But it wasn't all gloom and iron-lungs at the BGF. We still had plenty of fun.

Lil' Miss Austin has been religiously attending her Derby Brats practices and this coming week is her big bout. It's more a scrimmage with the other girls, but it'll be a lot of fun regardless. Her speed skating practice is at Playland Skate in N. Austin and we usually stay after and skate for a couple hours. Grandpa was there to hang out with G-man (who doesn't like skating much) which left me and LMA and Grace (who will be nicknamed Tiger Lily for this blog) to skate for a while. LMA is becoming a really skilled skater and more often than not she was outpacing me.

And speaking of skating (which is what we all do lately) Ms. Austin's final practice for TXRD was Saturday. We don't know if she's been picked to be on one of the five teams, but she felt she nailed the evaluation practice. She'll likely find out today or tomorrow; I'll keep you posted.

So we watched movies and TV a lot. G-man had a fever most of the weekend but when I took him to the clinic on Friday, the doctor said that because he had an appetite, no coughing or congestion and just a fever and headache, it was likely not the media darling H1N1 (aka Swine Flu.) By the way, we call it the Heinie Flu because of the spelling. Which actually sounds just as bad as Swine Flu.

So G-man and I roll up into the clinic and are met by a line of 20 people just to check in. There area lot of kids. I pull G closer to me as though I emit a force field that protects him from contracting even more germs. Yes, my logic is sound. We check in and go to the waiting room where I kid you not there was no where to sit except the floor. There were easily 25 families in there, some with two or three kids. About half the people in there were wearing masks.

Madagascar's ports were all closed.

But the doctor didn't do a swab test. The presenting symptoms were not indicative of flu, just a common virus, so he sent us on our way. Which is fine because frankly I don't have $300 to spend on Tamaflu anyway. Rest and fluids for you kiddo. G spend most of Saturday and Sunday sleeping on the couch, being adorable and just a little warmer than normal. Today he woke up with me as I was leaving for work and was bright eyed and bushy tailed.

LMA is having attention pains. It's hard to say if she's actually not feeling well, but she is a little warm. Her friend and skate partner was actually diagnosed with H1N1 and that's where we think it all started. Which is really sad. The girl's mom and Ms. A are New Girls in Derby and she's a really rad lady but is having a rough time currently and now a sick kid. We want to be the good people and make sure they're both ok but it's hard to want to take care of sick people knowing you'd be compromising your own family.

For Sunday I was able to talk Miss LA to make some gumbo. My dad said he's never had it, so it was a treat for everyone. Miss LA makes some mean gumbo and it's always nice to have a house full of people and good smells from the kitchen. You know it's fall around our house when there's gumbo, wassail, football and Rock Band. Her sister helped her, a couple friends came by to watch the Cowboys and Broncos game and we all drank beer.

As I type this, though, I have a sore throat and a headache. I'm congested, which isn't saying much considering how much it's been raining, and I'm a bit worn out. I don't want to get sick, but I think considering how much time I spent around G man, it's inevitable. I'm hoping it's allergies and lack of decent sleep.

Still, it was a good weekend. How was yours?

(PS, I have four reviews to write, but my weekend was a bit tied up. They will be up soon.)