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Re: Where Are You? Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I love this place with all my heart.
September 19, 2015, 04:37:10 PM
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Re: FFBB: Favourite Series - Round of 16 - Harry Potter vs Discworld I read the entire series when I was 9. Look at it this way. The story gets more serious as it goes along. The reading level goes up. So, if you think about it like a video game, each book is preparing you to take on the next. That's how it worked for me anyway. The changes are so subtle, it's only reflecting back that made me realize this.
September 19, 2015, 04:52:06 PM
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Re: Was Slytherin Evil? New theory. The sorting Hat was all a conspiracy.
That's right kids. You thought the hat had a mind of its own? Nah. There was a wizard behind it, casting his voice into the hat with a spell. He was friends with the Weasleys, so they all got into Griffindor. He knew about theprophecy between Harry and Nevel, so he put Mister Longbottom in Griffindor hoping he would shape up. And because he knew Hermione was smart, he put her with the brave kids, since they might need someone on their side.
Now, the question remains. Who was this wizard behind the sorting hat? Who controled what students thought of themselves and where they should go in life? Well, there are two answers. The first is Dumbledore. He was obviously a smart man. He knew about Tom Riddle and all the mayhem he could potentially cause. He had to make sure everyone teamed up. Or, and this one's a shocker, J. K. Rowling is a witch. That's right folks. How else did she know so much about the story? She must've become good friends with all of the moving portraits, who would overhear conversations. And, when they were outside of the school, she transformed herself into a really strong ant and stuffed herself into Hermione's huge bag.
So, there you have it. Hopefully your questions have been answered. :P

September 22, 2015, 10:02:26 PM
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Re: Re-Reading Favourites - Pleasure or Pain? I don't reread much. I will read the last two books in a series when a new one comes out, and reread the entire thing when the final book comes out. Other than that, I've only reread a couple things for the pleasure of it.
I got sick once, and wasn't feeling well enough to read braille. So I picked up Night Angel by Brent Weeks again. With that series in particular it was awesome, because so many things are discretely foreshadowed. At one point, he tells you in one book the plot twist of another book, but its so subtle, and it makes sense out of context, that I missed it. Another series I was rereading while I fell asleep at night was the Demon Wars Saga. I had forgotten lots of what had happened, so it was still enjoyable. I've also reread the Light Bringer Saga by Brent Weeks with friends. Not only do I love that series to death, but I had to get them to read it somehow and that was the cost. Even though I remembered mostly everything, I still loved it. Nothing though can replace that first taste,when everything is a mystery and you're held captive by the writing.

October 23, 2015, 12:54:39 PM
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Re: Where's the Wow Factor in Books Gone? It's hard to find wow books, but just think about it. If it were easy, then they wouldn't be so wowy anymore. Wowy? Can I use that? :P
Two series that have made my mouth drop. Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, and the Light Bringer Saga by Brent Weeks. Just note with the latter that it doesn't get wow until the second book. The first one is still awesome though.
I am continuing my quest to read the "latest and greatest" fantasy. I just started Gentlemen Bastards, a series that everyone loves to rave about. I'm hoping I will do the same.

November 01, 2015, 04:12:21 PM
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Re: Where's the Wow Factor in Books Gone? It definitely was slower, but the plus side of that was when the action started up, things got real, really fast. And epic. Every action scene was made to count.
November 02, 2015, 12:52:27 PM
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Re: Creating outstanding characters So, first things first. I'm not an experienced writer. I may write the shortstory from time to time, but I don't do it daily. But I'll give my two cents worth.
I don't think there's a formula to making an outstanding character.
I find it hard to believe that authors make characters with the intent of them being memorable. I'm excluding movies and TV shows from this. The film industry makes it their job.
Making a character likable and/or relatable  is one thing. But if you go into a story thinking about how to make your character stand out, I think you'll fail. In my limited experience, the characters take shape and do their own thing. I doubt any of them stand out, but I'm my own worst critic. When I go into a story, I know the character and what he will do. I know how he'll handle a situation, and what he'll say. All I have to do is decide what events should take place, and then set him loose and watch whatever he does. I have an idea of what he might do, but he tells me and shows me as I write him.
There is no formula. What makes a character stand out is entirely dependent on the reader. Sure, you can guess, but the more important question is not what makes he or she stand out to the reader, but why they're story is the one you want to tell. If you can't think of a reason, then you need a different type of character for your story. If it's not interesting to you, it sure as hell won't be for anyone else. If you try, they'll most likely become a stereotype. So stay true to the character. You know them best.

November 06, 2015, 03:13:48 PM
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Re: The King's Paws
Oh, @ultamentkiller I didn't know you couldn't see. Do you have horrible eyesight, or complete blindness?
It sure must have changed the world to be able to get real quality audio books. Not the computer reading the text with Stephen Hawkin's voice, but actual voice professionals.

Honestly though, I think if I had a blind fan showing up with a hard cover book, I'd offer to wreck it!  ;D
Just make my signature by pressing hell-hard into the cover. Makes for a good use of a hard cover book if you can't use it for anything else than a token memory of meeting with your fav author!
I was born with only light perception, which basically means I can only see light. For the most part, I don't do audio books, unless it's Graphic Audio. We're really divided in the blind community about our prefered reading method. Some people, like me, prefer using a braille display. It's basically a device that translates whatever is on the screen into braille. It comes up one line at a time. If I had a picture I would show you what mind looks like. I only use it for reading books though. When I'm using my computer, I use a screenreader, which speaks any text on the screen. I wish it could describe pictures. anyway, lots of blind people like to read books with these programs, since they can increase the speech rate, and don't have to worry about bad narrators. Most tech savi blind people listen to things at about 400 words a minute. I'm not exactly sure how fast my speech is. I could record it some time if anyone's extremely curious what it sounds like. And of course, the third option is standard audio books.
So why do I read braille instead of taking the easy way? Because I don't like being read to. I want my own voices. I don't want just one. Many blind people don't like reading braille because they're reading speed sucks. The average blind person reads 60 words per minute. This is largely due to teachers encouraging audio over braille, which really, really frustrates me. I'm not the fastest reader myself, but I'm fast enough. I read about 180 wpm. The average sighted person reads around 250, so I'm getting there. I understand that the only way to improve is to keep reading, and I gladly accept the challenge. I'm not a quitter.
Of course, it's not the blind person's fault that they gave up. Not entirely. I blame teachers and parents who don't know any better. Because even among them, there's disagreement. Groups like the National Federation of the Blind, a group I'm apart of, try to get people to compare it to having their child illiterate or not reading well. Some get it, and some don't.
Of course, if we all agreed on everything, I would be scared and run far, far away.

November 06, 2015, 03:28:22 PM
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Re: The King's Paws Wow. Okay, I'll try to go in order. Love the questions though! :)
First, I want to address the not wanting to rely on anything else. That's a huge problem in the  blind community. It all starts in elementary school, when in upper grades, everyone wants to fit in. Why would the kid want to use a cane when none of his friends use it? Why read braille when it's hard because no one taught it to he or she early on--which is an entire problem of its own-- when you can shove your nose in a book and read it that way? Now, from an outside perspective, you might think, doesn't it look weirder with your nose almost literally pressed against the paper? Apparently the students don't think so.
There's an idea that being called blind, or using anything that identifies you as such, makes you a weaker person. It makes you disabled. So, people decide not to. Seems odd when there's something out there to help them live more comfortably and be successful. But society views blindness with pity, for the most part. So, you get expressions like, I'm not blind, I'm visually impaired.
I think it's pretty obvious where I stand on the matter, but what do I know? I was born this way. I have no choice but to accept my fate and keep going. From the outside, that's how it's seen. But in my eyes, no. I don't go through life dealing with my existence in a depressed state. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love who I am, and I know that if I had sight, I would be a completely different person. Are there challenges? Sure. Do I get frustrated with the world? Most definitely. But I know I can come out on the other end and improve the situation for other blind people through my own efforts to improve it for me.
Now that I'm done ranting about that part, I'll answer the actual questions. :P I'm not sure what voice on your mac you're talking about. But try hitting command+f5. To turn it off just hit it again by the way. I would hate for you to get stuck with it. Anyways the voice that comes up--his name is Alex as a fun fact--is one of the better ones. Alex kind of creeps me out. He actually breathes. Shudders. The one on my windows computer is very different. There really is no way to describe it, but it has the capability to speak much faster. I'll probably post a link to a recording when I get the time. It wouldn't be too hard.
So, why do some blind people prefer programs? A narrator can be distracting for the exact same reasons that he's good. His voice changes. With a program, it's the same type of dialogue. Other people have told me that they can tune the voice out easier, and focus on the actual words. I don't quite understand this myself, not fully. The human brain does tune out certain weird qualities of sound after they're played for a while. But still, I want my braille.
As far as typing goes, I don't dictate. when you type, you're not supposed to look at the keyboard, so no problems there. :P
Dreams. Try to imagine it like this. Your brain can only understand what it's seen before. Mine understands light, so I have light perception in my dreams. However, I'm not walking around blind. It's my dream. My mind has created it. So, if I'm standing in the middle of the road and a car is coming straight for me, not only do I hear the car--unless its one of those terrible, awfully quiet, electric blind assassins--my brain knows it's coming. I created the situation.
I'll give an example. Two actually. Once, I fell asleep while reading Night Angel. These two sorcerers were chasing me up this tower. I got to the rooftop and, upon reaching the edge, simply jumped off, drawing my sword in mid-air. And when I landed, I went to war. Awesome dream! In the second, I was driving a car. That one still confuses me. Anyway, some guys had pulled us over and drawn guns. They forced us out. My friend and his family were being held at gunpoint. So, after being lead to a room, I summoned my shardblade and started running along the walls, slashing their throats. You have no idea how mad I was when I woke up.
Now, in those dreams, I never saw anyone's face. I just... Knew things. My mind had created it. I knew that guns were being held to my friends heads. When I was driving, my mind new the road. I never saw a stopsign, never saw a turn up ahead, I just... Knew. If I had been born with more sight, I would dream with that sight still in tact, because my brain would know what things used to look like.
I hope I did a decent job answering those questions, and if there's any more, please feel free to ask. I do not feel insulted. I would rather people ask and be willing to learn than ignorance. The way I see it is this. There's not many blind people in the world, especially ones without multiple disabilities. I may be the only blind person you guys ever hear from in your entire life. So, better for me to answer questions and inform everyone that wants to know, so that people know, and don't treat us like we're inhuman and outcasts. So, ask away. If you don't want to spam a thread, pm me. And of course, no question is a stupid question. I've gotten ones before like how do you shower and how do you eat and how do you dress yourself. I gave the best answer I could. Also, another important thing to keep in mind. I don't represent the entire community. Different blind people have different ways of doing things. All I can do is tell you mine and others I know about. The more of us you meet and talk to, the more you will learn every day.
I decided to make a recording. It has me talking and explaining what I'm doing, but the main focus is what my screenreader sounds like. Hope this interests you guys.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5673446/Speech%20Demonstration.wav

November 07, 2015, 06:31:29 AM
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Re: The King's Paws I don't even know what to say right now. I didn't expect to get such a response to all that. I think you guys are the amazing ones honestly. To take the time to read and listen to all this... That's just pretty awesome.
Two answers. @ScarletBea, there's an add-on to the program I use that has a list of different symbols inside of it. It translates those into words. Some of the descriptions can be a bit vague, so I've had to ask questions. Of course, different people have different perceptions, so it can get a bit tricky. I'm limited with this program though. It certainly doesn't have everything. Apple's screenreader, called Voiceover, has every single one of their emotes descried. I love them!
@Jmack, to answer your question, there's settings for that as well. I think I have my level set on some. My blind programmer friends have to toggle this feature more than I do. Even when they're reading stuff that isn't code they still keep it on most. It annoys the hell out of me. I don't need to know there's a semicolon there. It doesn't change my life at all. Also, when I first got really involved with the blind community, I was shocked. Before this, I had heard blind people could do all these things, but when you meet two blind grandparents, a blind scientist who works for Nasa, people who run their own successful businesses... That day really solidified my belief that I will be successful in whatever path I follow.

November 07, 2015, 04:46:25 PM
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