Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

What would be the absolute worst name you could give your child?

My answer:

Well, it depends on so many things, in my opinion. It depends on whether we are talking objectively what is the worst (most harmful) way of naming a baby, or rather the worst way of choosing a name for your baby, or subjectively which name I dislike the most. If we’re talking about the latter, just as I know lots of beautiful names that I love and could give my children, I’ve also learnt about lots of names from all sorts of cultures that I intensely dislike and it’s hard to pick just one that I would dislike the most and think that it’s the absolute worst. If we’re talking about the former, I think there are lots of ways to do it wrong, but then even when we’d try to look at it objectively everyone has so different values and opinions when it comes to ochoosing a name. And there are so many names out there that I’ve heard about over the years and would have never thought in the past that anyone coould ever use, yet people do use them. Shooter, Lucifer, Legia (as in Polish football team Legia-Warsaw, or at least I’ve heard about a daddy wanting to call her daughter this, but I don’t know if he succeeded with our back then quite strict naming laws), Google, Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 pronounced as Albin, or A, also pronounced as Albin (an “artistic” creation of Swedish parents Lasse Diding and Elisabeth Hallin, though the boy didn’t get named either in the end, but was nameless for some six years instead), or some eccentric Puritan names like Silence, which are all quite extreme examples of really bad ways of naming your child. But it’s hard to pick the worst, really. Then there are people like my Mum who flinch at every normal name they’d never heard onn a real person when they first hear of it being used on a baby. Recently our distant relatives called their baby boy Noe (Noah in English) and while Noah is very popular in the US, Noe is not so much in Poland, even though the N as a first letter is quite a trendy theme at the moment in my view, although a bit more for the girls, and Biblical boy names have been ruling for a while, and short names have been getting a lot of attention as well. The reason for Noe not being in favour is probably that it ends in -e, while it’s rather uncommon (and may feel unnatural for many people) for a masculine Polish name to end with a vowel other than -i or -y. I don’t know any guys called Noe personally. Anyways, my Mum told me that in a very horrified, indignant voice, and when I said “So what? Noe isn’t a usual name, but I don’t see anything wrong with it if they like it so much”, she was even more horrified and like: “But how will they call him, in normal life, every day?! Ark? There’s no nickname for Noe!”. Oh yes, that’s such a dilemma! But Poles like their nicknames. My Mum’s name is Anna, short enough, right? But no one calls her Anna, just as hardly any other Annas are just Annas. A Polish Anna usually automatically goes by Ania, unless she’s prepared for a life-long battle of correcting everyone. I love the name Anna so much but Ania is so superficial and bland. So I said that nicknames are only a matter of creativity, at least in our language, you have pretty much endless possibilities, and after all there are no rules that one nickname works with only one name, no one said at all that your nickname has to be related to your birth name. So if he likes to go by Ark indeed, why the heck can’t he? I’m sure it’s better to be the only Noe in school than the 30th Jakub, especially that the name is – like most Polish names – very straightforward in spelling, declination and what not, so should not be overly stigmatising or burdening unless he keeps bumping into such strange judgy people like my Mum. πŸ˜€ Or yesterday Sofi told us that there’s a boy called Michael in her school. The Polish version of Michael is MichaΕ‚, and Michael on a Polish person certainly would feel a tad pretentious to most Polish people (including myself) because the spelling is not in-line with our phonetics, because we have our own native form of the name and despite it’s now legal to use names from foreign cultures with non-phonetical spellings, it’s still a new thing and generally it tends to be a bit of an informal naming rule for most people still not to use names from different cultures if we have a native equivalent or if that foreign name doesn’t adapt well to the language. And the boy doesn’t seem to have foreign roots or anything. So my Mum rolled her eyes and was like: “Really…? He’s Michael! I thought they were such normal people!”. πŸ˜€ So, as you see, it often doesn’t take much to shock people, even though I personally think that, while I would never call my child Michael in Poland and while it is a bit pretentious, it’s not harmful or somehow really stigmatising in a major way.

So, let’s just talk about what I would try to do or avoid doing when naming my potential baby, some rules that I would stick to, not necessarily about my personal style as such but more like to simply make sure that my child’s name will be at least bearable to them to live with for their entire life.

I would avoid names that feel dated and not ready for a comeback yet, so names that are typical for either my generation or the generation of my parents, because by the time my child would go to school or something, it’s likely that the name would feel cringey to their peers if it was massively popular in, say, the 90’s and then has become much less popular so that it’s associated with the 90’s very strongly and is more common among the mums or dads. I’d also try to avoid names that would seem “seasonal” to me. Ones that get a lot of usage in a short while and then quickly fall downwards in popularity to never come back again.

Unless the child would have some foreign heritage in close family, I would not use a name that could be difficult to spell here, because Polish is a phonetic language and almost everything is spelled as it’s said. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be a known Polish name though, for example my long-time favourite for a potential baby girl is Saskia. And I’ve just looked through the popularity list for the whole Polish population and couldn’t find the name Saskia there at all, so if there are any Saskias here there is less than 100 of them. yet still it ends with an -a, as a proper, traditional Polish feminine noun should, and poses no pronunciation or spelling dilemmas. I think, like most people, I’d be in that category of parents who want something unique but not too qree8tyv.

I have nothing against people using unisex names, but it’s not a thing here, and that’s probably part of why I am not a big enthusiast of them myself, with some exceptions. But I would definitely try to avoid unisex names, or at least those that are rather similarly often used for both genders, I would mind much less names like Evelyn (which is an adorable name) which use on males is pretty much historical from what i know. If I’d want to use a word name, in Polish I’d probably never do it at all because there are only few traditionally used word names and the idea is still very new. If I were to use an English word name, I’d likely use it for a middle, especially if it’s a frequently used word, or has some very specific associations. Though the word names category is very broad, I guess even Jack could count, and I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using names like that as they’re well known as names and very normal. My long-time word name favourite is Hyacinth, and I’d be also happy to use that, and surprisingly, on either gender. But that would only be if I lived in an English-speaking country.

Because I believe in that name & personality thing as you probably know, and I would really hate to give my child a name that wouldn’t miss their personality, I would be careful with using family/honour names. Of course honouring someone is a great thing, but I want my child to have an identity of his own, so I would never give him a first and middle name of his grandad, rather, I’d use first name of his one grandad and second of the other. And I’d never do things like promising someone ahead of time, before seeing my baby, that I’ll name my baby after them for sure. Generally I think I would want to have some names prepared before the child’s arrival but I would not make a definite decision before seeing the child and spending some time with them, I must get a feel of them, I don’t want them to be conflicted internally. If there was a tradition in my family of using family names from generation to generation (which there sort of is because me and my siblings, my Dad and all his siblings all have middle names after our parents), I’d break this tradition if I thought that the name would clash with my kid.

What would be the worst name/way of naming for you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Are there any food combinations you hate?

My answer:

I think quite a few, but what comes to my mind right now is that I hate the combination of spicy with sweet. I love love love spicy food, spicy condiments etc. and I love a lot of sweet things as well, but together they taste gross. I hate things like chocolate with chilli, or sauces that are kind of both sweet and a little spicy, or some crisps are like that too, spicy with a bit of sweet-ish flavour, it’s yucky. If something is spicy, then I want it to be really spicy, and not something in-between. Similarly, there are probably even more things that are both spicy and sour/vinegary, especially crisps or sauces/ketchups. I really like things that are really really spicy, and when for example I want to buy a hot sauce for something, I know a couple that I know are really good, but when I buy something new that I haven’t tested before, chances are quite high that, instead of being spicy it’ll only be spicy-sour or spicy-sweet. My Mum dislikes spicy-vinegary things as well, generally some people say though that I’m weird, because lots of things aren’t spicy enough for me, even if they don’t contain any taste combinations like that, haha, so perhaps indeed my perception is different or something.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Which pet made the most impact on your life?

My answer:

That surely has to be Misha. My family used to live in the country throughout my whole childhood, so whenever I was at home I was surrounded by animals, we’d always had a dog there and lots of cats around the backyard, some more, some less wild, and we’ve had aquarium fish since I can remember, and I also had a hamster for a brief moment, and when I was a bit older we also had a cat called Kiki. And now, except for Misha, we also have our dog Jocky. But I’ve never bonded with any animal as much as with Misha. That’s probably partly because I am not as much a dog person as I am a cat person, which isn’t to say I don’t like dogs, I do like most if they’re not overly intrusive and exuberant towards me when barely knowing me, but I just get along better with cats. And partly it’s also probably because I simply didn’t really spend that much time with those pets, as I was at the boarding school most of the time. I even hardly remember our cat Kiki, even though it wasn’t that very long ago that he was with us, I didn’t feel particularly emotional about him, even though i liked him. The only bit I remember more vividly is when I accidentally closed him on the terrace in the middle of a snowy, windy, winter night, and no one in the family could figure out how he managed to not only get on the terrace but also close himself there – long story and i’m pretty sure I’ve talked about it in some earlier post. – Also as I’ve said many times before, we are really very much like brainmates with Misha, and even though one may easily think that in some respects we are a really badly and absurdly paired couple, at the same time we have an awful load of things in common so we can simply get along somehow, I like to think that we do really well, even though it’s hard sometimes even just because you can get most information from him via eye contact and he’s extremely hypersensitive to touch. Misha has been a huge emotional support for me, which I can’t say at all about other pets that we’ve had, and I have a personal relationship with him, which I also didn’t have with the other ones and don’t really have a very strong one with Jocky even though I like him and he seems to like me crazily for some reason and we like to play.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hey guys. πŸ™‚

What, if anything, have you ever re-gifted?

My answer:

I’m sure I’ve re-gifted lots of things, though I don’t remember anything particularly specific. When I was a kid my more extended family often felt pressured to give me some presents for birthdays or such, while they didn’t really know me well, so I often got lots of jewellery or cosmetics that were totally not my style, I’ve even got three pair of earrings from my grandma even though I don’t have pierced ears, so I think it would be mostly those kinds of things that I’ve re-gifted.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi! πŸ™‚

What’s one pet peeve you wish you could get rid of, because it hammers your enjoyment of life?

My answer:

I have a lot of pet peeves, though I’m not sure there are any that affect my enjoyment of life overall on a consistent basis. But one thing that I put way more attention to than I would like is the way people speak. I mean, I love language, so in a way it’s completely normal, but it can really be annoying to me when someone uses a word not knowing its actual meaning, or their grammar is bad or something and they’re not doing it on purpose but clearly out of not knowing that they’re making a mistake. I often wonder how can people not know such basic things, and when someone’s language skills are particularly poor (like my gran for example) then it’s hard for me to communicate with such people, because I’ll either have to hold back bad fits of giggles at how ridiculously they speak, or will be meticulously registering every word they say wrong and feel annoyed at their linguistic ignorance, and I then might not be able to focus enough to actually follow what they’re saying as a whole. And I am not a language purist overall, I don’t think so anyway, when I speak or write in Polish I use lots of colloquialisms together with very sophisticated words, archaisms, sometimes don’t care about grammar rules because I feel like something sounds better another way than it’s usually said or better fits what I’m saying, and after all I don’t always know everything about it either, even though I do know a lot and have some sort of a language intuition I guess so people often ask me about some language things, how to say or spell something and I usually get it right even if I haven’t used the word ever before, but just as I said, not always, no one’s infallible. So it’s a bit like my own pet peeve irritates me, lol. πŸ˜€ Sometimes it gets even worse because I’ve found myself correcting people pretty much automatically, and while I don’t think anyone of those people felt hurt or pissed off or anything, or some luckily didn’t hear me doing that or seemed like they didn’t understand what I was actually alluding to, haha, I think it’s generally quite a rude thing to do, even though that’s not my intention. But my Dad for example does like when I correct his language mistakes, and it’s him who makes them most often of all the people I talk to regularly, the rest of my immediate family is quite language-conscious and my Mum is a bit like me, so maybe that’s also why I have that habit of correcting people. It’s strange because normally my Dad hates being told that he’s made any mistakes or that anything is his fault and has real trouble admitting it or apologising, yet as I said he does like me to correct his language mistakes. Then again, usually he does the same ones over and over so it does little in practice, and always says “not in the least/not at all” instead of “at least” (the former is “bynajmniej” in Polish, and the latter is “przynajmniej”, LOTS of people confuse that). Of course that applies mainly to Polish, because I’m not good enough myself with other languages to spot such things, though sometimes when I do know that someone said something wrong for sure in English it also makes me flinch, like pronouncing niche as nitch, ew how gross! But I myself used to pronounce niche even worse some years ago, that was really funny. I used to think that if there’s clichΓ© and it’s pronounced like CLEE-shay, then niche should be NEE-shay, or actually, because I was more familiar with the word clichΓ© in Swedish, where it is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, my English pronunciation of the word was also more like nee-SHay! πŸ˜€ Isn’t that so absolutely fanciful and snobbish and over the top? I was really surprised to learn that it’s NEESH, and quite happy, because then it sounds almost just like Mish, just like the Polish word for niche (nisza) sounds almost like Misha. It’s certainly better than nee-SHAY, in any case.

But yeah, it wouldn’t be bad if I didn’t have this pet peeve as strong as I do.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What “old person” things do you do?

My answer:

Sofi says I’m awfully vintage! πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€ 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! πŸ˜€ 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). πŸ˜€ 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? πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (28th April).

Hey people! πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

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?

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€

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! πŸ˜€ 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? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™ƒ 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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

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? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Yesterday we talked about our personalities, and today my question is:

What physical traits do you share with your relatives/children?

My answer:

Both my parents are generally considered tall people. I have hypopituitarism and was born with growth hormone deficiency, so I had to have it injected daily as a child, if I was to grow on my own I’d be around 140 cm so definitely not much. As it is, after the growth hormone treatment I am 168 cm. I don’t consider myself tall and neither does my family, in fact I’m the smallest person in our family, even Zofijka is now taller than me. But a lot of other people for some reason do say that I am tall. Is it just autosuggestion because they know that my parents are tall and that my brother is almost 2 metres, or because I am skinny so perhaps I look taller than I am, no idea. But really lots of people say I’m tall.

I mostly look like my Dad and his family rather than my Mum and her family. My Dad’s family all look rather northern European and have blue eyes, and so do I, but my hair is a bit darker than my Dad, like he’s is light blond or something like that I believe, while my hair is kind of mousey these days though when I was younger it was more light like his. His skin is quite light, but mine is even lighter. I have his fingers as well. He used to have long and slim, shapely fingers, sadly that changed quite early on for him because as a teenager he got his hand into a machine that was grinding food for ducks and that resulted in a lot of destruction, he had 30 something stitches and it’s a bit of a miracle apparently that he can use this hand at all, let alone that he still is as manually skilled and dexterous as he is. So now some of his fingers are a bit crooked. Still, I really like his fingers anyway and I often say that they are very shapely, because I genuinely think so, just shapely in a different way than most people, but he always laughs at that and thinks I’m being sarcastic. Despite I have similar fingers like he did before the accident, I don’t have his manual skills, haha. All of us have also inherited his quite typically ectomorphic physique and quick metabolism, although I looked different as a small kid and was rather plump to begin with and only after some time I suddenly have become skinny, about the time I went to primary I guess, which I think was when I started taking the growth hormone so it makes perfect sense. I’ve also got scoliosis after him and loads of people in his family have it, some to a quite bad degree, his is rather bad too.

We all have very thick hair after our Mum’s family, which is fun on one hand because it just looks better than having thin hair but on the other it’s a lot of hassle when you’re doing something with your hair, haha. People have also told me that I have my Mum’s facial features and long eyelashes like her. We have very similar skin, not in terms of colour but rather things like that for example we both have rather dry skin, have never had bad acne or other such annoying stuff, but have a tendency for a lot of moles instead. We both have always low blood pressure and often low energy and I’ve got mild asthma and loads of mucus after her, ew yuck!

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What personality traits do you share with your relatives/children?

My answer:

I have a tendency to be very suspicious of people just like my Dad, well, actually for him at this point it looks more like paranoia and I can clearly see that he’s getting worse with age so hope that I will not end up like that because it quite bites both for such person as well as perhaps even more so for everyone around. I am also a pessimist like him and generally our worldview is pretty similar, although my pessimism is more defensive than just plain grumpy. I think my sense of humour is also similar to his. We are both introverts and get overwhelmed with things quickly though each of us manifests it in vastly different ways. If the four temperaments theory makes sense, and I think it may, I seem to be something like a rather even mix of melancholic and phlegmatic, and I’ve got the phlegmatic part definitely after my Dad. I think I’ve also got my rational brain after him, like that despite I am generally rather dreamy and imaginative, I can be very down to Earth and sensible when need be, so that my imaginativeness can’t turn into insipid sentimentality and I always keep some distance to things. Although our types of intelligence are rather very different despite that. Ah yeah and I hate changes just like him and neither of us is particularly spontaneous, and we tend to have rather very consistent views on everything that we have views on. We both have some sort of anger issues but each of us of a completely different nature, because while I turn it mostly inwards unless there’s no room, he gets it all out on other people and has meltdowns like a baby, which also get worse with age and due to other factors as well.

Me and my Mum are both deep thinkers, are sensitive and emotional and very empathetic and caring, think way too much, like things that most people either don’t know or don’t like or don’t/can’t appreciate, are individualists, overly self-critical, good listeners, like our own company, though my Mum is generally an extrovert, she likes to share her emotions with other people and is very chatty and exuberant, but still at the same time she feels the need for being just with herself sometimes, is not dependent on others and calls herself wild, used to be very shy and doesn’t have many friends outside of family. We both have our passions that we are enthusiastic about, we are very intuitive and introspective, and I’ve got the melancholic part of my brain after her, as she’s sanguine-melancholic.

And I can be quite a catastrophist after my grandma, though she is much worse and her catastrophism is much more contagious I think.

My Mum also says I have a lot of traits after my grandad, and while we get along very well and he’s the only person who has always stood by me no matter what and he often seems to get me better than other people in my family, I don’t personally feel that we have much more in common in terms of personality than that we are both veeery introverted and nerdy loners, as my grandad has very high ego, and despite he’s always been amazing to me, throughout his life it’s been clear that he doesn’t have high empathy levels and has to be the best at everything and even when he is not, he still is. Oh yeah and I’ve got sleep paralysis after him which is not a personality trait but because of its severity and that it’s stuck to my brain since forever until now it has had some influence on who I am. πŸ˜€

Oh yeah, and my Dad says that I am as smart as my Godmother, which is not necessarily a compliment, not because my Godmother isn’t smart, she is very much, but because I am smarter than him and authoritarian folks don’t like that. I think we do think a bit similarly with my Godmother, because we both tend to overanalyse a lot of things and sometimes take them a bit too literally, but overall I don’t get along with her that well and find her slightly intimidating.

What does that look for you and your family? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (17th April).

Have you ever really disliked someone and then changed your mind?

My answer:

Hm, not that I can recall. I can sometimes be quite judgmental towards people often without even realising it, although I am not quite as much since I have figured this out and made some effort not to be, but generally I tend to rely a lot on my “x-ray” – as my grandad calls themm – abilities, and I trust my talent for understanding and figuring out people’s characters. I am often right, but sometimes I don’t take it into account that I may be wrong, and judging someone incorrectly or unfairly. Still, if I realise that I had been wrong, I usually have no problem with abandoning my prejudices and looking at someone from a different angle. But despite all that, I don’t think I’ve ever had it so that I would start out disliking someone very much and then change my mind in a significant way.

How is it with you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (15th April).

What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?

My answer:

I don’t have very high demands as for that. Any weekend that’s not too anxiety-filled for me is a good weekend. I like to to be with Misha, listen to my favourite music, read something interesting, blog, spend time with my family etc.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Are you a light packer, or do you usually have an overstuffed suitcase?

My answer:

I like to pack a lot of things just in case, or such that make me feel more cosy at a strange place if I’m going to sleep there, so it often happens to be overstuffed I think. I always have a lot of chargers with me, and generally quite a lot of things that not everyone would consider necessary when going for a trip, but I definitely do. It’s not like I am petty though, I just like to have things that I’m used to with me especially when it comes to sleep, often I’ll even pack my little pillow ’cause you never know if I’ll like the pillows at the place where I’m going to sleep, or maybe I’ll still need one more pillow, haha.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (7th April).

Hey people! πŸ™‚

DO you usually drive or fly when going on a holiday?

My answer:

I’ve never flew by plane in my whole life, and we usually go on holidays in the country so we drive most of the time. I am quite scared of the prospect of flying, mostly because I have balance issues because of something being wrong with my vestibular system, I don’t really know what exactly is wrong with it and why, I can only suspect that it could be somehow vaguely related to my blindness but then not all blind people have vestibular system issues, and diagnosis and labyrinth examination in the blind seems rather tricky. Anyway, some of the things I deal with because of it are quite odd and I can feel unwell just riding in the car, which is not just being car sick – although that’s how I usually compare that to people and how I refer to it when talking to other people who are unfamiliar and unlikely to get it for lack of a better, official and descriptive word, though I do get normal motion sickness sometimes too but it’s not quite as often and not quite as bad at all –
it’s like when a road is particularly bumpy, or very winding, or there is a hill, or someone is driving really fast, or I just have a bad day balance wise, because some days are definitely better and some are definitely worse, and it also seems to depend quite a bit on a kind of vehicle I’m riding, but in the wrong circumstances I can get all dizzy and feel generally strange sensations in my body and it’s also just plain scary. I have no idea if it would be the same on the plane or not, but trying it out feels quite creepy to me since I wouldn’t be able to just stop or go back or anything. When going to Sweden a while ago, we travelled by ferry to Karlskrona, and that was quite an exception from our normal, I was really determined to do it, but the travel was really difficult for me.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

When was the last time you went on a family holiday? Was it good? Bad? Ugly?

My answer:

We don’t go on holidays that very often. The last proper family holiday we had, I mean a really long and faraway one, was the trip to Stockholm a few years ago and that was terrific albeit exhausting. If you can call something much smaller a family holiday as well, I’d say that my last one was last July. We went to Masuria – me and my parents –
quite spontaneously, it was my Dad’s idea. Due to many things, including poor planning and that my Dad is a really bad travel companion, and my Mum and me feel just as well, if not better, at home, this trip was ultra short and most of it was spent in the car, going back and forth, and then Dad looking around for a battery for his camera, which he never used in the end. πŸ˜€ He was also super irritable and irritating all that time. Oh well! I don’t feel the need to go for a holiday every year, I don’t think I lack anything particularly much where I am, and those things I do feel lack of in my life, I won’t suddenly get just because of the change of location most likely.

You? πŸ™‚