Anyway, Detroit was a confusing combination of awesome and frustration all wrapped up in a tiny little ball of mixed emotions. I really enjoyed getting to see my friends and I enjoyed randomly getting to know random strangers everywhere I went. I also saw lots of interesting speeches and learned about some cool new gadgets. But on the other hand, the convention was held in the world's most confusing hotel and the crowds were almost too much to deal with at times. There were about 2,800 people registered for the convention and I spent a lot of my time bumping into people, waiting for elevators, getting completely squashed in packed elevators and being ridicuously lost. There were times when I questioned my sanity for subjecting myself and my dog to such madness. But, overall, it was a very positive experience and it was good for me and Cinnabar. Cinnabar rose to the challenge and worked her ass off during convention. Her guidework was amazing and I am so proud of her for being tough as nails and never getting freaked out by the chaos. My pup is awesome.
A recurring topic at this year's convention was the importance of Braille literacy. The discussions about Braille made a very strong impression on me. In fact, I was so impressed by the presentations that I have finally been forced to admit to myself that although I took the time to learn the Braille code, I really have no business calling myself a Braille reader. The problem is that I am too painfully slow at reading Braille for it to be any use to me. Because self improvement is always a good thing, I have challenged myself to improve my Braille skills. I know the code. I just need practice to build up my speed. In order to achieve my goal, I have purchased a Braille copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone and have been making myself read at least an hour a day. I have missed a few days here and there, but I have been doing pretty good. When I started, it was taking me about 30 minutes to read a page. Now I can read a page in about 12 minutes. Still slow, I know, but the improvement is encouraging. I'm about 85 pages into the book now. I figure by the time I get through the whole series, I ought to be a decent Braille reader. It has been a fun project and I am enjoying the process. Although I can read audio books much faster, I am discovering that it is a more satisfying experience to read rather than listen.
I decided on the Harry Potter series because I figured it would be helpful to read something familiar as I try to refresh my memory about some of the Braille contractions that I have trouble remembering. Since I have red the whole series 3 times just since February, I think it's safe to say that I am familiar with it and I have no doubt that it will hold my attention a 4th time through. Also, it will be fun to have a complete Braille copy for my personal library because Harry Potter is da bomb! I resisted reading the series for years because I have an aversion to popular phenomena but my curiosity got the best of me and of course I couldn't pull myself away from it. The first time through, I read the whole series in 10 days. I was obsessed. And of course I have now seen all the movies. I just saw Half Blood Prince for the second time. I was kind of pissed the first time through because the movie strayed from the book so much, but the second time through I knew what to expect and was able to watch without nitpicking and enjoyed the movie more. I am also somewhat obsessed with Alan Rickman, the actor who plays Professor Snape in the movies. Firstly because he is just dead on perfect in his portrayal of Snape and secondly because he has the greatest voice ever! I think I love his voice even more than James Earl Jones, Gregory Peck and Morgan Freeman. It's just hella-awesome. Yes, I know I am a gigantic nerd. Let's just move on.
In other more recent news, I went to a totally bad ass concert last weekend. One of the greatest ska bands of all time, The English Beat, came to Oklahoma City and played at some joint I'd never heard of before. The place was called the Rock Theater and it is in a renovated movie theater. I was expecting the place to be a dump, but it was really nice. I'd say the place could probably hold 1,000 people or so, but on this particular night, there were only about 75 people there. The band was kind of pissed off about the small turnout and decided to put on a kick ass show to reward the people who were there. They put on a hell of a show. They played for 2 hours and played 11 of the 14 songs off their best album "I Just Gan't Stop It". They also played several songs by General Public which was formed by some of the members of The English Beat after they originally broke up. I really can't find words to describe how great this show was. Other than the first time I saw Flogging Molly and Cake, I'd say this was the most fun I'd ever had at a concert. It was just incredible. I'm so glad I went. I almost wimped out because I had been up since 4 in the morning for an 80 mile bike ride and I wasn't sure I'd have the energy for a concert. I was a little tired, but once the show started , I perked right up. You couldn't help being energized by this band. I was so pumped up after the concert that I actually had trouble getting to sleep. It was amazing.
The cycling is going well. The farthest we've gone is 90 miles. We've been 80 seveeral times too. We're still kicking ass. Dad is riding the Hotter Than Hell 100 in 2 weeks and is ready to go. We're ahead of schedule to be ready for the race we're doing in October.
Oh yeah! I saw a no hitter at the Redhawks Friday night. Redhawks pitcher Luis Mendoza threw a complete game no hitter for the first no hitter by an Oklahoma City player since the team changed its name to Redhawks and moved to the Bricktown Ballpark in 1998. I have now seen 3 no hitters, 1 of which was a perfect game by Rick Helling when the team was still called the '89ers. I also saw a no hitter at the Brick thrown against the Redhawks by Brett Tomko while he was with Tacoma. It's pretty exciting to be in the stands for a no hitter.
That's about all the interesting crap that's been going on lately. I'm just chillin' and trying to keep myself calm as I await the official start of football season. I love football! I can't wait for the season to begin.
And on a completely pointless and random note, Cinnabar is now on Twitter! Yes, I know it's ridiculous. I tried to tell her that dogs don't use Twitter but she won't listen to me. She's a very stubborn dog. She gets an idea in her head and can't be reasoned with. It's very frustrating. So check her out if you like. Her user name is @cinnabar924 and you can follow her here.
OK, I think that's all I've got. I know I kind of glossed over Detroit, but so much time has passed and it would take forever to go into the whole thing. Maybe I'll tell some stories later. For now, I'm too tired so you'll have to deal with what I give you. Toodles for now.