Friday, May 20, 2016

Star Trek turns 50!

Random Meditations in appreciation of the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek, dating simultaneously 400 years in the future and from the hoary mists of history BT, Before Television, at least in the RantFamily household.

Insignias for Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Dr. McCoy

These are the voyages of the Star Ship Enterprise. Its five-year mission is to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Or woman?
RantWoman never did understand why Lt. Uhura had to wear that miniskirt, but being underdressed never seemed to get in the way of her duties.

Yep. The 24th century was colored Black and White at the RantFamily household, just like previous centuries

Wikipedia on Star Trek the Original Series

Star Trek the Original Series

RantWoman peculiarly neither wants to travel 50 years back in time nor hundreds of years forward on the Star Trek story line; RantWoman simply wants to mark this anniversary.

ORCA, Confessions, Fine.

RantWoman confessions:

RantWoman's ORCA card has gotten sort of finicky: sometimes ORCA card readers read it; sometimes they do not. RantWoman has heard the suggestion that ORCA cards wear out and maybe she should take herself to the downtown METRO offices to get a new ORCA card. So far RantWoman has not done that.

RantWoman is also a little scatter-brained. SOMETIMES RantWoman will tap her card twice in the same link station. RantWoman will tap it once the first time she finds a card reader or as she enters the station and then forget she has tapped it when presented with another ORCA card reader near the tracks. Apparently somewhere in RantWoman's travels yesterday she did this.

How much would it cost to fix this accessibility problem?
Typical ORCA card reader

RantWoman has no clue she has done this. The tone is the same when one taps on and when one taps off. The green light is the same when one taps on as when one taps off. Apparently, though, something appears in the teeny tiny backlit, dim no-contrast visual screen that is different when one taps on than when on taps off. And people would expect RantWoman to figure this out why????

RantWoman learned this yesterday aboard Link when a fare inspector was wondering what she was doing riding the train after she had just tapped off. RantWoman presented her ID as requested. RantWoman listened to the fare inspector's lecture about procedures until he got to the part something like "it says in..."

At that point, the ill-behaved white cane had been curled up lounging indolently on RantWoman's bag and slacking off on his ambassadorial duties. RantWoman had to direct the fare inspector to look: "which part of this white cane do you not see?"

(RantWoman was also thinking to herself, well if anyone is going to DO anything with ORCA data, dealing with the out of balance tap pairs falls in the area of data cleaning, not something she currently gets paid to think about, but...)

Okayyyy, but next time you might get a $124 fine.

(Link fare inspectors not known for sense of humor; Fine. Do that, and RantWoman will consider sending a $124 bill for free usability and / or data ETL consulting. Okay, RantWoman, CHILL out! Just CHILL out!)

Five Councilwomen Vote No! | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS

RantWoman is unbelievably proud of the five Seattle City Council members  (women) who recently voted NOT to roll over for someone who wants Seattle to build him a new sports complex in order to bring  an NBA team back to town. RantWoman appreciates this account for its conciseness and also unfortunately its piquantness. RantWoman recommends checking local media for next phases of evolution.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Electric Dylan 50 years on, with ukulele? and Pinball?

One of RantWoman's info streams informs RantWoman that today is the 50th anniversary of the performance where Bob Dylan shocked, shocked the world and his fan base by....playing half of his show with an electric backup band.

In honor of this occasion, an item about an upcoming Seattle area show, minus blindness tourism about whether photos are tagged and other meditations about how the news looks to people who use screen readers:
Dylan to play at Chateau Ste. Michel in June 2016

Understand, at the time of Dylan's most famous electric performance,  RantWoman was not yet 5. RantWoman and RantBrother had probably already broken each other in but RantWoman was probably still getting used to Little Sister toddlerhood. The Rant Family with  our RantFamily eye problem heritage was still living, 3 kids , 2 parents, and a lot of the time one or another aunt as well in a two-bedroom apartment. In other words, things were a little tight though the Rant Family was on the verge of moving into a Real House.

This also was an era when RantMom regarded television as a vast mind-rotting cultural wasteland and did not permit it in her household. In other words this pivotal moment in US cultural pantheon passed the Rant Family by completely, only to be velcroed into the timeline long after the fact.

That would be one problem.

Another problem would be that RantWoman wants to celebrate this anniversary in a highly eccentric way.

First, a link that might or might not take one to some actual Dylan tracks though not necessarily Dylan doing Born to be Wild.

A streaming option that may or may not yield Born to be Wild
The blindness tourism element of posting this link: RantWoman is tired. RantWoman is the sort of cultural relic who still thinks music should come out of phonographs or cassette players and who has not worked very hard to wrap her brain around this streaming stuff. So RantWoman has done only cursory checking of this site to see about accessibility. It showed up in a search engine. The home page did not send RantWoman's screen reader into a tailspin. RantWoman is not saying anything beyond that.

How, thanks to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, a cultural phenomenon having almost NOTHING to do with Dylan, we walk back from Born to be Wild arranged for Ukulele orchestra to "Sure Plays a Mean Pinball!"

Whoa, whoa wait. WHY the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain? And why PINBALL?

Forget about the Ukuleles and for that matter the Brits too. They are an artifact of a different mental excursion. The pinball wizard is more on point, on point as in:

One of RantWoman's college roommates was blind.

Blind Roommate was REALLY into Bob Dylan, so into Dylan that at the time she won, she was the first woman ever to win a Bob Dylan sound-alike contest at Folk City in NY city.

Blind Roommate also regularly beat RantWoman at pinball.

RantWoman thinks summers doing programs at the NJ school for the blind were part of
what gave Blind Roommate the skills of blindness and guts to go to our shared alma mater. We do not know where Blind Roommate's  capacity to beat RantWoman at pinball came from. We humbly honor the point even though RantWoman could officially see, if one does not count double vision, spherical  aberration from thick glasses, and negligible hand-eye coordination.

Here RantWoman is going to leave a further giant long literary ellipsis under all the other forthright and challenging reasons the 50th anniversary of Dylan going Electric summoned the Pinball Wizard. Instead, Happy Fiftieth Electric Anniversary. Now play us out, Mr. tambourine Man.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Saturday wayfinding

Saturday Wayfinding 1: RantWoman's building to University Village for lunch.

Up Inaccessible to manual wheelchair users hill to stop for SB 8. Bus pulling up just as RantWoman arrives. Sweet except for the less exercise part.

Mt. Baker Transit center. Digression to the bank for monthly laundry quarters.

#Ulink2016  to Husky Stadium.

Elevator to street level.

Is there a walking path N to U Village and if so, will RantWoman find it?

Never mind. RantWoman found the new stop for the Rt 65.

15-minute headway; ride one stop. Serious tree root vs asphalt topography underfoot but follow the bobbling crowds to the underpass. Yes! Find the Underpass.

Fog vigorously around University Village.
It has been a long time since RantWoman visited. A LOT has changed. The no curbs thing is, um, interesting. RantWoman would LOVE some yellow domes to warn her when she is about to cross a place where there might be cars.
Finally ask directions to the restaurant. Could RantWoman give directions a totally blind person could follow? Not so much. Never mind. They all come by ACCESS.

Restaurant is not crowded . #OpeningDay2016 is a ways away afterall.

Meal and chatting over. Time to reverse the route.

Fog and Fog, generally South. Oh good. Path that looks like it will go to the underpass.

Out of underpass just as bus pulls up.

Ride 3-4 stops through campus, long enough to figure out if the goal is cat litter according to Queen of Spades standards, just ride Link to Broadway and walk.

Wayfinding, part 2. Canned cat food and home, without falling into pits adjacent to crosswalks.

Rt 11 up the hill from Broadway and Pine.

Off at 17th and Madison.

Cross Madison.

Cross 17th Ave. Don't fall into the hole around the storm drain! RantWoman already did #Finditfixit once.

Shop for cat food, sundry RantWoman incidentals. Pay.

Homeward Bound. Rt 2 to MLK and then 8 home? or hoof it up 17th and get the 8. Hoof it up 17th Ave? There is construction at MLK and Union and last time RantWoman went to Grocery Outlet, the potholes in the pavement along the painted crosswalk were still there. rantWoman assumes they will still be there for awhile; RantWoman herself probably would not try to fix until the construction is done. So for now, RantWoamn will walk up and ride the #8 back to the same bus stop where she started.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Puerto Rico (HBO)

RantWoman admits it is tasteless to find mirth in stories of a US commonwealth's fiascal crisis. This IS RantWoman, though.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Give Big!

RantWoman is on a roll.

Recently for two fundraising moments in her faith community, RantWoman has offered contributions in the form of pointed email saying:

1. RantWoman does not have a lot of money to contribute

2. In lieu of financial contributions here is some free advice.

Could this sort of pointed email POSSIBLY have anything to do with general vexation in the realm of RantWoman and her faith community. Never mind.
GiveBig Seattle Foundation logo

Today RantWoman offers the same gesture in honor of the Seattle Foundation #GiveBig campaign.      #giveBig through the Seattle Foundation

RantWoman's free advice is based on Twitter, her favorite communication stream for those with short attention span.

The free advice: please try to avoid making RantWoman gripe.

--If you are going to tweet your appeal, you need to grab RantWoman's attention in the tweet and back it up or expand what you say with a link. Clearly tell RantWoman something about what your organization does.

--In one case, an organization where perhaps the person doing the tweeting might be less experienced than staff at other organizations the tweet not only flubbed the clear hook in the Tweet test, it also sent RantWoman straight to the donations page and nowhere could RantWoman find any description either of that project or, should RantWoman's attention wander, any of the other projects. RantWoman has since looked again and knows that there is a select box so someone moved by a Tweet could look for the organization mentioned in the tweet OR one could review the whole list of organizations and choose others as well.

--Accessibility counts: RantWoman interacted with one text in graphic tweet. Besides the text in graphic point, the contrast in the graphic was so poor that RantWoman could barely pick text out of the box. No, Of Course no one expects RantWoman to be able to read anything. She is legally blind after all, but RantWoman assumes that the tweet is also intended to reach sighted people. They are more likely than RantWoman to have money, money they are less likely to donate if they cannot read the graphic. Word!

A GiveBig Graphic just to show that it was successfully downloaded and unzipped

--Do not overdo the gratitude: on Twitter clicking Like is easier for RantWoman than having to read a thank you Tweet and click Like on it!

Here RantWoman must acknowledge an eccentric RantWoman mental hiccup. RantWoman understands the point of doing one's organizational campaign in order to earn matching funds. RantWoman knows the Seattle Foundation is a big and worthy force in the world of Seattle Philanthropy. And RantWoman's mental hiccup is STILL that she might not automatically want to share a donor list with the Seattle Foundation in order to collect match.

RantWoman has noted that mental hiccup and has not actually consulted the Seattle Foundation to see what is promised or not as far as the donor list.

And RantWoman had another mental hiccup: RantWoman walks in many circles. RantWoman walks in circles where people definitely do not all think the same way about many topics, even topics near and dear to RantWoman. RantWoman, if she had money would want to support several #GiveBig campaigns. More to the point, rantWoman would be glad for SOMEONE to get that for instance blind people support all kinds of organizations and so do people who care about homeless and the environment and transportation!

Mostly RantWoman just encourages her readers to #GiveBig to the causes of choice!
And furthermore...RantWoman DID go look at the site and WILL aim to interact earlier int eh process next year.