Question of the day.

What “old person” things do you do?

My answer:

Sofi says I’m awfully vintage! 😀 Is that seriously true I have no idea, but also I’ve heard that I’m an old soul so possibly yes, though I’m not sure I myself would put it exactly this way either that I have an old soul, I have that Bibiel part of me and she’s anything but old, and probably that’s why some yet other people, especially those who know me more closely, say I’m childish. Well but I have a bit vintage taste in some things, like baby names for example, though I like a lot of modern names as well and hate a lot of vintage names so I can’t say I’m really a vintage names lover. I like archaic words that are no longer or hardly ever used, I like folklore, and would most happily live some time before 20th century, although the only tricky thing would be that there would be no power, no Internet or anything so I couldn’t read books etc. 😀 But I’m not sure if that is really “old person” things, I guess not really. I’m sure there are such things that I do, probably even a lot of them, maybe more than I realise, but I can’t think of anything… Yay! I remember something now! I don’t have a smartphone, still! 😀 How absolutely indignant for a blind person! This may change, and most likely will sooner or later, it’s hard to imagine it not to change, though we’ll see what the results will be. For now, I am happy with my other electronic stuff, and my good old Nokia with Symbian OS which is like 10 years old. I always say that I stick to it because of my loyalty towards Finland (Nokia is Finnish, there’s a place called Nokia in Finland and I believe the company originates from there). 😀 It has only survived such a long time because really in recent years I hardly use a phone. I had this phone with me at school and kept in touch with my family, and back then it went through lots of weird things, but these days I live with my family, I hardly ever call anyone and hardly anyone calls me, because I hate making phone calls and those who know me well know that it’s faster to reach me via email or something like that and that I much prefer writing. If I need to do something that you can only do from a smartphone, I can do it from my Mum’s Samsung with her help if it’s nothing private. I’ve been really wary of touchscreens because my spatial imagination and orientation are rather poor, whether it’s a large or a small space, and so it’s sort of hard for me to imagine that I would be able to figure out something as abstractive as a touchscreen, and my manual skills and coordination aren’t impressive either. But I’m thinking more and more about getting an Iphone because as I said I’ll most likely have to do it at some point anyway, as it can be difficult for a blind person without a smartphone these days, and Iphone and phones with Android (most phones with Android I guess) are the only ones that have screenreaders that you can use with. Then we will see if I can figure that out and to what degree, and in case if not, I’ll have to think about some alternative then, though it’s hard for me to think what it would be, perhaps getting a used Nokia from someone, the same model as mine, and going next 10 years with it haha.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (29th April).

What personality trait has been the most useful to you?

My answer:

I think I could say that my distance to myself and situations in my life, other people and the world in general. What I mean by it, is that I am able to usually laugh at things that are happening, at myself, at things people do, approach them with some sense of humour, usually either a bit dark or cynnical but not necessarily, even if things aren’t easy, and even though, because of my overactive inner self-critic called Maggie and the AVPD thing, when it comes to myself, I can also be quite sensitive to criticism at the same time. It may be a bit paradoxical and I guess it is, but I think it’s completely possible to have both some distance to yourself and be able to laugh at yourself and things you do and things people say to you, and at the same time be very critical of yourself, sensitive to criticism or even things like self-loathing, I know other people who are like that and don’t have the best self-esteem yet are able to have a distance, at least outwardly. I think for such people it’s actually even more important to keep some distance from themselves. It has helped me to keep possibly sane in lots of situations throughout my life, and it is also a very good coping skill and a protective mechanism in my opinion, and makes engaging with people slightly easier for both sides.

You? 🙂

Question of the day (28th April).

Hey people! 🙂

Do you use a skincare routine consistently? Why or why not?

My answer:

Not really. The only thing I try to do consistently, at least in the winter months when my skin gets really dry, is using some oil, like coconut oil most of the time, on it, and I have a peeling once in a blue moon, but it’s a very minimalistic and natural peeling, I don’t use any ready-made exfoliators. I seriously don’t feel the need for anything more, I’m not someone who would interact with lots of people in a professional setting or anything like that so I don’t think I have to look perfectly, and doing it for myself doesn’t really sound convincing because I’ve always found these kind of beauty self-care things quite uninteresting. On one hand I think my skin isn’t that bad at all that I’d need some fancy skincare routine, I have no big problems with it apart from being a bit too dry at some times, and on the other hand, I don’t know how to put it but it’s like, I don’t have the drive for such things because my self-esteem is too messed up, so I just don’t see the point in bothering, it’s not something pleasurable to me like it is for some people and it doesn’t really affect the way I feel about myself. I’m sure the fact that I’m blind plays some role in it too though I know some blind girls and women who are way more image-conscious than a lot of sighted people I know. And, while my Mum is someone who definitely likes to look good and take care of her appearance, and even is a trained beautician, by the time I was about the age when girls usually learn about those things, her views on skincare shifted dramatically, she’s always inclined to live healthily, but it’s become much more of a passion and a discovery journey for her and she’s started living much more naturally, she used to use tons of things for her skin and now she doesn’t use any shop-bought beauty products at all and relies much more on sport and diet. So the message I was receiving at that time was that it’s actually good that I’m not interested in putting too much shit of unknown origin on my skin, because skin will not absorb all that, so usually a skin product will only have an effect as long as you don’t wash it off, and what will get through the skin may be actually harmful, and it’s illogical to expect for example a cream, especially a cheap one, to make your skin look considerably better, and that it’s better to use natural oils from plants for example, we even use a homemade deodourant. Most of that made a lot of sense to me and still does, so that’s how I am trying to live though I am not nearly as much of a lifestyle freak as my Mum, rather than doing everything to stay healthy or something like that I just do what I like, and if it happens to be good for my health, then it’s a great bonus. She has it much more difficult these days with Sofi because she is much more image-conscious, she’s very pretty and knows about it and wants to fit in, watches loads of YouTube videos and observes her school mates and while she rationally understands Mum’s point of view, she really wants to do make-up, manicure etc. though she’s rarely allowed, but when she is allowed she is very creative, and she does have a very fancy skincare routine.

What about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hi guys! 🙂

Considering some items are difficult to come by these days, what would you trade me for half a dozen eggs?

My answer:

Well, if it were you who gave me half a dozen eggs, I could trade you for a jar of gooseberry jam, for example. We have lots of home-made jams, and, while we like them, we don’t keep up with eating them, haha. Or I could give you some cucumbers if you like. And we do have a lot of toilet paper in case you would be suffering because of a lack thereof. Not like really a lot, but I’m sure it would be enough to share with someone in a desperate need, haha.

What about you?

Aimée – “Break Me”.

Hey people! 🙂

A song I have for you today is by Irish singer called Aimée. I often decide to show you acoustic versions of songs because I think they often just sound better and are more expressive, especially when it comes to just normal pop, but this time I think the original album version sounds better and conveys more emotion, I just like it more. Though what i like it mostly for is the lyrics. Aime is quite a new artist to me, but I think I’m going to like more of her music.

Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

Here’s my question for you today:

In which way have you surprised yourself this week?

My answer:

Well, that wasn’t a very big surprise maybe, but I couldn’t think of anything else. It surprised me that, the night before last, I was crying in my sleep, because I am generally not a big cryer, or at least definitely not in such situations when I’m just plain sad, even when it’s very sad, or moved by something either positive or negative. My Mum and grandma both have eyes on a very wet spot and can cry about anything that moves them, but I usually only cry when really angry or overloaded and just pretty much physically can’t keep any more feelings inside. I had a dream about my grandma (yes, that same who cries so much) that she was dying. In the morning Mum asked me if it was corona that she was dying of, and that wasn’t clear to me what it was, but it’s possible because she had real trouble breathing. She was lying in her bed and there were loads of people in her bedroom – us, all my Mum’s siblings with their families, all my grandma’s siblings with their families, I guess even my grandad’s family. – She was praying, and we were praying with her. I am often more like an observer than participant in my dreams and see things in a kind of neutral, emotionally detached way, often either from the point of view of someone else, everyone involved or just an observer, rather than just myself. And so it didn’t feel like I was sitting there with them, I was sort of looking down on themm and hearing what they were saying and I was separate from them, I don’t think they could even see me.

My grandma is generally a very melancholic person, a huge worrier and catastrophist and I call her Fillyjonk – like Fillyjonk from the Moomins – but in my dream she was happy – just in a calm, peaceful, quietly satisfied way like I’ve never seen her in real life – usually when she’s happy in real life it’s because she’s moved by something, and then she cries anyway so it’s kind of bittersweet, or at least so it looks to me. At some point though, she started worrying and talking about someone, I don’t remember why, or maybe I couldn’t even fully understand it in the dream, but I know she was worrying about one of her grandchildren and her worries had something to do with school, so I think it could be my cousin who is currently experiencing some school troubles and to whom she’s very close because she’s actually bringing him up no less than his parents as they live very close. So she grew very nervous and worried what will happen after she died, people tried to calm her down, and the more she was nervous, the more she couldn’t breathe, and then she just died.

Then my point of view shifted so that I was more participating in the dream and only then it hit me what happened. The whole room was quiet, everyone was so shocked, and I suddenly started crying like I think I never did in my real life. It was as much strange that, while I do like my grandma and she is a really lovely person, I don’t have that much of a personal connection with her, same as with most of my family, so it was a really strange reaction and I was really surprised even in the dream.

Then I woke up and realised that my eyes were actually wet and that I must have seriously cried in my sleep, and as it was about Misha’s waking time – 4 AM – he was wide awake and curiously peaking out of his bed and had his paw on my cheek. 😀

That was really quite a strange dream, but strange dreams are intriguing, and I don’t mind them if they’re not sleep paralysis, even if their topic is negative. I think it happens to me more than most people I know that I cry in my sleep, but I think that night was probably the most emotional in that respect, and I was wondering about the whole sleep crying thing – since I often find it difficult to cry even when I want to, maybe it’s some sort of release of actual emotions for my brain, and that’s how it’s coping with some shit that I am at the moment unable to get rid of while being conscious and in control. – In any case, I think brain is absolutely fascinating, but sleep is probably even more in a way.

On a slightly different note, today I also had a dream involving death and quite emotional, but no crying. I dreamt that I met some friends online that I was getting along really well with – it was actually a whole family, parents and children, though I’m pretty sure all of their children were grown up already or maybe one of themm was a teenager, but they lived all together somewhere in the countryside, I have a vague feeling that it might have been somewhere in England, because some parts of my dream were in English, also the mummy had a bit of a Scouse accent and I think England was mentioned somewhere in that dream. – And for some reason I moved to them and lived with them permanently. They were really such cool people, I had something in common with each of them, I remember they had a huge house with a huge garden, what I know for sure is that they had loads of apples in there haha and they had a horse, we spent a lot of time together just because we genuinely wanted it, we read books together, actually I think one of the girls was a writer. One guy was called… yes! you guessed it! Jack and he was so funny. I also remember the mother particularly well, she was really smart and sweet. I bonded with them all really strongly and closely.

And suddenly they all got sick with something on the same day, were all really ill, and finally all died pretty much at once so I was absolutely devastated and so sad and missed them terribly. I woke up soon after that and couldn’t shake off that sad, longing feeling, I guess I could actually say hiraeth as they call it in Welsh, which is longing for something that has never truly existed, it usually refers to a place but i think it describes what I felt really well. And for a while I couldn’t figure out why I felt like that either. As it happened, there was also some really sad piece of music playing on my Spotify as I woke up, nothing better than having a soundtrack to your dreams! 😀 Of course I got over it when I realised that it was a dream, but I found it really sad, and when I recall the whole thing I still feel strangely sad as I seriously knew those people, and I kind of miss them. But I really enjoyed the part of the dream when I was with them. Maybe I’ll add them to my Brainworld or something so that they’d feel a bit more realistic haha.

So, how about you guys? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hey people! 🙂

What do you have this week that you didn’t have last week?

My answer:

The most striking difference between my last week and this week is that this week i have a broken SAPI5, instead of a functioning SAPI5. Well, it has broken last Saturday so technically last week, but only at the end of it and as I said, it’s the most striking difference between what I didn’t have/had last week and what I have this week. Plus I want to fill you in on what’s been recently going on in my life and need to rant a bit.

Do you know what SAPI5 is? Probably not, and that’s too bad, unless you have Mac OS or Linux, then you’re justified. But it’s too bad if you have Windows XP or later, because most likely, regardless of whether you use it or not, you do have something called SAPI5 on your computer. But even many technicians and IT people donn’t know what SAPI5, or SAPI in general, is, and that’s part of why it’s so frustrating when it breaks. I am not an expert in that either but I’ll try to explain it to you the way I understand it. SAPI is an interface developed by Microsoft that allows most modern speech synthesisers to speak in the system and all the apps on PC that use speech synthesis. Most people have SAPI5 on their computers as far as I know because most computers have at least one voice developed by Microsoft installed by default, and some people use apps that convert text to speech so that they can read books with speech synthesis, even though they aren’t blind or anything, so I guess SAPI doesn’t even really count as assistive technology though I may be wrong. How has it broken for me?

You may know that I’ve been fighting for a while now to regain some of my speech synthesisers that I really need and that I couldn’t, for this or that reason, get working on my new computer easily. I couldn’t activate my Swedish speech synthesiser, for example, because the company that used to produce it no longer exists, and it seems like now my activation key for that voice, and most of their voices, but strangely not all of them, doesn’t work. I do need some Swedish speech synthesis really badly though, so I decided to get some Swedish voices from another company, which in a way I thought could even be better, because that company is part Swedish and they have even some voices speaking with specific dialects, which can be useful for a learner. I’ve already been using speech synthesis in some other languages produced by that company, but to be able to use their Scandinavian voices, you have to upgrade to Nordic license, which is quite expensive but I felt like that was the best option for me so I went ahead with it. Finally, I got those Swedish voices, but then had some problem activating the licence so had to ask their support people to help remotely. They fixed my licence so that it worked right, but then when I was reinstalling their app containing all their voices that I own to get the access to the Swedish ones as well, I must have made some mistake along the way or something else went wrong, I’m not sure, anyway it wouldn’t start up properly after the reinstallation. I reinstalled it yet again and this time it did start up properly but there was some other error along the way, so again the support guy fixed that for me.

I was using my Swedish synths for just about a day, and was quite happy with them and really glad that finally that one thing is dealt with for good and I don’t have to read Swedish stuff with a Polish, or even worse, an English synth anymore. Then the next day – which was last Saturday – my antivirus went paranoid and detected some malware on my computer, which I think was very likely some false alarm because I’ve noticed a pattern to its paranoid behaviour earlier and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any real threats. Anyway, it wanted to make a full scan, so I let it do its thing. After that, my computer rebooted and my screenreader spoke to me with a completely different synth than the one I had been using. Well, that happens sometimes, so I was only slightly surprised. I wanted to change it back to the one I was using prior to the scan, but, to my now huge surprise and dread, I only got a message “Couldn’t load SAPI5 synthesiser”. All those Swedish voices, and all the other voices from that company from whom I got the Swedish voices very recently, and a few other synths that I use on a regular basis use SAPI5, so now I don’t have access to them. Now I only have a couple Polish voices that aren’t on SAPI5.

Other than that, when I tried to open the app with those Swedish voices and others from that company, it would never start up, it looked like it was constantly loading, and when I finally gave up and close it, it exploded with strange error messages.

It could be that I got something wrong with that reinstallation, but I feel like if that was the case, it would crash much earlier, not after the scan. Therefore I think it’s my antivirus that is to blame. It is apparently the only third-party antivirus these days that is (somewhat) accessible for screen-readers, so that’s why I’m using this one, but I’ve heard that actually the built-in Windows Defender is quite good these days, and apparently also accessible, so I’m seriously considering a change in that respect.

I had experienced a SAPI crash once before, many years ago, and that was absolutely dreadful!!! The technician that frequently helped me with things back then was clueless. I called him and just told him that my SAPI was broken, but he was utterly confused and like “Ummm, and what is SAPI?????”. I do know some things about assistive technology and generally about tech stuff because naturally you sort of have to know more when you’re blind if you want to survive and not be completely cut out from the world, I’d say an average blind person has to know a bit more about tech things than an average sighted person. But I’m far from being techy, and I don’t think I have to be, so if I had to explain really well what is SAPI like in theory, how it works and all, I don’t think I’d be able to do it well, all I know about it I have already told you, it’s only from a user’s perspective, and it’s entirely possible I got something wrong. Unfortunately I’ve had a couple technicians that have helped me with this or that, whom I had to educate on what is a screenreader, how does it work, what does it not do etc. etc. And it’s not like they are stupid jerks who don’t want to learn or don’t care or anything like that. They were really interested in all that and always asked me tons of questions. They just never got a chance to learn about it. I know a fair bit from user’s perspective, though not as much as a lot of people I know, and the inner workings of those things in theory aren’t something I’m particularly knowledgeable in.

In the end, with that previous SAPI failure, I had to send my computer to a company I know quite well who distribute specialised equipment for the visually impaired, the same people who helped me to choose a computer for me and then set it up, and they do similar things and they kindly fixed SAPI for me back then, but the whole thing dragged on for over half a year as far as I remember.

So this time round I was absolutely gutted when that happened and still am, and not really sure what to do, I would really not like to risk trying to fix it myself, I have no idea how to do that. Straight away after that happened, I wrote the support guy from that speech synth company from which I got the Swedish synths, that was what my Mum advised me to do, although I doubted they would be up to helping me this time since the problem didn’t have directly to do with their product, or not only with it. I thought he’d at least write that “No, sorry, we can’t help you with that”, but so far he hasn’t even written back to me. Maybe he doesn’t know what is SAPI either? 🙃 I will wait a couple more days for his response, but if he won’t get back to me, i’ll have to try our current technician who usually helps our family with tech issues and test his knowledge about SAPI, and he’ll be able to learn something new, hopefully without devastating my computer further. If that won’t work, I’ll have to ship it to that visually impaired company on the other end of the country and let’s pray that my fan won’t break yet again in the process. 😀 Or that they can do it remotely. Though if I’m honest, for some reason i have a gut feeling that it’s not a good idea to ask them to do that, despite it were them who did it the last time. Maybe it’s because of all that bad luck with my computer when they were setting it up for me. Anyway, in the end I may not have a choice. I’ve always had a more or less mild tech issues phobia, but lately those things are scaring the shit out of me and if that won’t stop, I don’t see how it could improve.

So yeah, I’ve become the owner of a broken SAPI5 this week, such a positive news of the day for my readers. 😀

How about you? Do you have some more positive news, or have you also become in possession of something you really don’t like having? 🙂