Traveling, Sleeping, Then Waking Up…

I was inspired by a couple Tweets by YouTuber Rikki Poynter, who advocates for the deaf and disabled. In those Tweets, Rikki said that the one thing that she dreaded the most about traveling is having to bring her Sonic Alarm Clock with her on her travels, and then have to go through the button pushing to get to the right minute.

“And then, one little slip screws the whole thing up and you gotta start over,” she said.

A Sonic Boom clock is an alarm clock that is connected to a bed shaker. The bed shaker is then put between the mattress and box spring. At the appointed time, the clock goes off and activates the bed shaker, waking up the sleeping person by shaking the bed.

You can see a variety of Sonic Boom clocks and bed shakers on this page. I have the Sonic Bomb and it can clearly wake up the dead. It’s that powerful. I could be in a deep sleep and still be woken up at the appointed time.

However, when traveling, it’s not really feasible to drag around a clock and bed shaker and have to set it each time you go to a hotel or wherever you are staying at.

This is where having a smart watch comes in handy. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy S20 and my watch is a Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Watch. They work very well together and the watch itself has a great vibrating motor. I rarely miss any calls, texts, or any alerts that come from my phone to my watch and I especially don’t miss the alarms on my watch. It vibrates that well.

All I have to do is use the standard clock app on my phone, set an alarm, and forget it. I keep my watch on my wrist when I go to bed and at the appointed time, the phone will tell my watch to wake me up. The watch app also has the option for “Do Not Disturb” so I am not bothered by calls or texts when I’m sleeping though if I’m expecting a call while I’m sleeping, I do turn off the “Do Not Disturb” option.

Rikki has said in her Tweet that she was once late for a meeting because her watch wouldn’t wake her up. In that case, there are a few travel clocks for the deaf on this page. I’ve bought several devices from Diglo (formerly Harris Communications) in the past and not once have I ever been disappointed with a purchase. However, I do read product reviews before buying something, so make sure you do that before buying something. Every deaf person is different and what may work for one person may not work for another.

Much thanks to Rikki for the inspiration for this post. Go check out her Youtube videos and give her a big thumbs up for her well informative videos, advocating for the deaf and disabled.

And much thanks to Twitter user Ratlennon for her original Tweet that began this discussion in the first place. She tweeted “If I had a dollar for every minute I have ever spent setting up a Sonic Bomb alarm clock, I would have enough money to design a new one that is way fucking better.”

I know the feeling, girl. Especially at the time of the year when we change our clocks from Daylight Saving Time to Standard time. With how the Sonic Boom is set up, you press one button and hold it to begin setting the time, then you press another button that only advances the hours and minutes forward only. It doesn’t go backwards. So with having to change the clock from Daylight Saving Time to Standard time, I had to set the clock 23 hours forward, not one hour back. If I go too fast and pass my current time, I have to do it again. This was the point Rikki was trying to make in her tweet.

Feel free to comment below or Tweet me @RealToddFonder. Stay tuned as I continue to work on the appearance of this blog as well as writing another article that I hope to post this weekend.

Cheers.

New Hearing Aid

All right. I’m still undecided what to do with a theme for this site. But in the meantime, I thought I’d write about the purchase of my new hearing aid.

I got the hearing aid back in July. It is a Phonak Naida Paradise. I have the P-UP model as I have severe to profound hearing loss. I’m totally deaf in my left ear, but wear the hearing aid in my right ear.

Before getting the Paradise, I tried out a couple other hearing aids. One was the Sonic Link and the other was a Signia. However, both of them were Made for Iphones, meaning Android support is limited and I have a Samsung Galaxy S20 phone. The Naida Paradise has full support for both iOS and Android devices.

In addition to that, my previous hearing aid was also a Phonak. Both the Sonic Link and the Signia sounded weird to me. But the Phonak Naida Paradise sounded just perfect. Every hearing aid model processes sounds differently and I’ve had a Phonak for so long that it was natural for me to continue using one.

From day one since getting the hearing aid in early July, I was hearing sounds that I never heard before or at least, I didn’t hear as well before. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Cars on the street – I would only hear cars on the street if I was outside, not from inside my house, when I had my old hearing aid. But I was surprised to hear them from inside the house as well though it had to be quiet inside the house for that or if I’m in a room facing the street.
  • The refrigerator humming – I never hear my fridge hum unless I’m standing next to it. But first day wearing the hearing aid, I heard it from my living room while watching TV. It took me several weeks to get used to it and not notice it. Same with the car sounds though I still hear both if I’m paying attention.

The best feature of the Naida Paradise, for me anyways, is its Bluetooth capability. It can connect to many devices that broadcasts audio such as my phone, iPod and laptop. I can watch videos on my laptop or phone without bothering other people and I can listen to music on my phone or iPod as well. No longer do I need a neck loop to do that. With my old hearing aid, I had a neck loop that acted as an intermediary between the audio device and my hearing aid. That neck loop is obsolete now.

I’ll tell a story on how the Bluetooth capability came into play in a real life situation. I was at work and had a technical issue and needed to call tech support for that. While I could hear on the phone, I still couldn’t understand people on the phone, so I use a phone captioning app called Innocaption to caption my phone calls.

I rarely, if ever, use the app to make calls unless I absolutely have to. Texting is still my preferred means of communication. But in this case, I had to make the phone call. So I dialed the number and reached a voice menu. I heard the voice menu clearly in my hearing aid while reading the menu on the phone. I did the typical key presses on the phone to access the options I wanted before finally hitting the option for a live representative. As it turns out, the computer operator said I was 6th in line on the queue and the wait would be about a half an hour. So you know what I did?

I set down my phone near me and let the hold music play in my hearing aid while I did my work at my job. I didn’t want to waste any time while being on hold. I got my work done while getting regular updates like “You’re now 4th in line. You’re now 3rd in line.” etc.

When I finally heard a live actual human voice come on the line, I picked up the phone and started talking to the representative. Now the thing about InnoCaption, there is about a 2 second delay between the spoken words and what I read on the phone. But the representative on the other end spoke very clearly that I actually understood him at times and didn’t need to wait for the InnoCaption to transcribe everything the rep said. I would respond almost immediately after the rep stopped speaking. The hearing aid did very well in processing the live representative’s voice that I understood him for the most part and the InnoCaption app basically filled in the blanks for me.

The technical issue was resolved after about a 10 minute conversation and I hung up. I was impressed with both the InnoCaption app as well as my Naida Paradise in this situation.

The Naida Paradise is the best purchase I’ve ever made in my life and wished I had done it sooner, but then again, technology is evolving every day and chances are, if I had made the decision to get a new hearing aid sooner than later, it would not have been as good as the Naida Paradise.

I’m not done with improving the quality of life with this hearing aid. There are things like the Roger Pen that allows me to hear someone from a distance away like in a meeting room or class room. Then there is a TV connector that allows me to listen to my TV in private via Bluetooth as my current TV doesn’t have Bluetooth though somewhere down the road, I may just upgrade to a new TV that does have Bluetooth and I won’t need the TV connector.

Before I close out this post, I just wanted to give a big shout out to InnoCaption for the phone captioning app. Very well done and I definitely will be using it more often. And another shout out to Phonak for the Naida Paradise and their other devices that work with it.

I hope to write another post within the week. Stay tuned.

Return of the Deaf Geeky Guy

I was hacked a couple years ago, then was unmotivated to get the site back online.

Recently, I made the decision to get this site back online and start writing again. It’s been a while since I used Word Press, so bear with me as I figure it out. I plan on putting out a new theme, links, stuff like that.

Bear with me as I slowly get this site back online.

Website Update

I’ll be working on this website to make it more mobile friendly. It seems like more people are on mobile than they are on desktops or laptops. I also need to get the Deaf Geeky Guy banner up above that I have on my Facebook page.

So bear with me as I try a few different themes and layouts over the next few days as I try and figure out what works and doesn’t work. If anyone is familiar with WordPress and would like to offer suggestions to make it more mobile friendly, please feel free to comment below.

Stay tuned as I work on this. Thank you πŸ™‚

Invisible Disability Awareness

[Image Description:] A drawing of a girl standing and looking at the “camera”. She is smiling.
Artwork credit to the awesome Destiny Slater

 

Take a look at the image above. Try and guess what disability the person in the drawing has.

You can’t guess, can’t you? That’s the point of this drawing created by Destiny Slater. In this drawing, the girl has an invisible disability, which is something that we cannot see on the outside like we would if we saw a person in a wheelchair or perhaps a blind man with his walking cane.

There are too numerous invisible disabilities out there for me to list here, but I’ll summarize a few as follows:

Developmental disabilities such as autism – There are many types of developmental disabilities in which the person may appear normal on the outside, but in the inside, the person may have autism, Asperger’s or other types of developmental disabilities.

Mental Illness – Again, on the outside, the person may look normal, but on the inside, the person could be dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, and many other types of mental illnesses.

Chronic Illness – Some people have some sort of chronic illness such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, etc. in which they may appear normal on the outside, but are battling their illness on the inside. For example, the girl above in the drawing could very well be undergoing treatment for cancer. You just don’t know it because she could be wearing a wig. Or she could have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in which she gets tired easily and needs a mobile scooter to get around.

Those are some examples, but there are lots more invisible disabilities out there. So when you see what appears to be an able bodied person get out of her car legally parked in a handicapped space, please do not be so quick to judge her as she could very well have CFS.

And with that said and with Halloween coming up, I would like to end this article with this public service announcement.

[Image description:] A drawing of a pumpkin with the following words written on it:

With Halloween fast approaching. please keep this in mind:
The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy
may have poor fine motor skills. The child who takes forever to
pick out one piece of candy may have motor planning issues.
The child who does not say “Trick or Treat” or “Thank You” may be
non-verbal. The child who looks disappointed when they see
your bowl of candy may have a food allergy. The child who is
not wearing a costume at all may have sensory processing
issues or autism.

Be kind. Be patient. It’s everyone’s Halloween.

Thank You To My Readers

The Deaf Geeky Guy is slowly coming along. It’s only October 17, but according to my website statistics, it has already exceeded the amount of monthly visits that it did in September.

Thank you, everyone, for getting the word out and sharing my site and social media accounts.

Also a big thank you to Rikki Poynter for re-tweeting my blog about the No More Craptions. A lot of my October visits were due to that retweet because of her 5,500 followers on her Twitter account.

Keep spreading the word as I continue to advocate for the deaf & hard of hearing on Deaf Geeky Guy. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @realtoddfonder and keep spreading the word.

Tomorrow, I’ll be in Madison for the Here to Hear Tour featuring comedian DJ Demers. I hope to live tweet from there.

Until then, stay tuned. πŸ™‚

Do I Want My Hearing Back?

Jessica Flores and Rikki Poynter, both deaf YouTubers, each posted a video about the subject of wanting their hearing back. Being deaf myself, I’ve been asked this question myself and I’ll come right out and say it – the answer is a resounding no.

A bit about myself – I’m a 50 year old who has been deaf since age 2 when, long story short, I had a nasty ear infection. I have a 90% hearing loss in my left ear. I don’t wearing a hearing aid there. I have a 75% loss in my right ear, which has a hearing aid. I can hear most things with that ear, though I still cannot hear high pitched sounds such a smoke alarm. I could be standing next to the smoke alarm and still not hear it. Though I can hear a phone ring from across my house if the phone ringer has a low enough pitch. I can also “talk well for a deaf person” – more on that in a future article.

Back on topic, you hearing people must think I’m nuts for not wanting my hearing back, but I’ll tell ya, if there was a genie that could grant me only one wish, it wouldn’t be to get my hearing back. There are other things in the world to worry about, but that’s a topic for another discussion.

Yes, I realize I’m missing out on things if I was a hearing person. I do have some limitations at my job such as not being able to take phone calls. I cannot follow a group discussion between my hearing friends. But for all the disadvantages of being deaf that I’m going through, I actually prefer being deaf due to its benefits of being deaf.

In addition to that, if I was hearing, I wouldn’t be able to advocate for the deaf & hard of hearing, right? I mean, I can’t think of a hearing person that advocates for the deaf off the top of my head. Which means, I don’t know of one that does it. So I do it. I probably would not be likely to advocate for the deaf if I was hearing.

To sum it up, I accept myself for who I am and would not change it for anything.

I hope that answers your question.

Stay tuned – I hope to post a new article each day. Follow me on my Facebook page for updates.

Facebook Page Created

I added a new Facebook page for the general public to complement this blog. That page will also have updates whenever I update on Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter.

Click the Facebook icon on the upper right of this blog if on a desktop computer. If you’re on a mobile device or tablet, the icons are at the bottom of this blog. I’m working on a new theme that will place the icons on the top of the page instead of the bottom for mobile devixces, so bear with me on that.

You can also visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/deafgeekyguy

Today, I was supposed to write about my hike at Will Rogers State Park, but that will be put on hold for right now. A couple topics came to light recently that I wanted to write about. I hope to get both articles posted later today.

Stay tuned for further updates. I’ll post on my Facebook page when the articles are posted. Thank you πŸ™‚

Los Angeles Vacation – Visiting My Family

This post is waaaay overdue, I know.Β  But as I explained a couple posts back, Blogger was giving me so many problems to the point that I didn’t want to write on Blogger anymore. Now that I have WordPress, which is a lot easier to write on, I can finally finish writing this.

Today, I’ll write about meeting my dad and sister. First, I’ll talk about meeting my dad. He picked me up from the airport on Monday July 17 as I wrote about in a previous post. After we left the airport, he took me around to see some sights. We went through a town whose name escapes me at the moment. But pretty much every house in the neighborhood had roofs like you see in this photo, which is a stock photo from the Internet. I do not claim any credit for it. I thought that was pretty cool and I felt like I was in Mexico – LOL.

We ended up going to a place called Hennessey’s Tavern, located over in Hermosa Beach. It is an Irish style pub that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We went to an outdoor patio located on the second floor overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was an awesome view. There were several volleyball courts near the tavern and a lot of them had some 2 on 2 action going on.Β  I didn’t take any pictures there because of my no-phone policy when I’m meeting someone one on one in a sitdown place. I’ll talk about my no-phone policy in a future post, but anyways, it was about 11am Pacific time. My body was still on Central time, which would make it 1pm for me, but I decided to have breakfast anyways. I ended up having scrambled eggs with toast and breakfast potatoes. It was a very delicious breakfast and the breakfast potatoes were especially very good. In fact, the best breakfast potatoes that I ever had. I just now made a mental note to post a good review on Hennessey’s Tavern on a few of the review sites like Facebook and Yelp. But I’ll say this right here – if you are ever in LA in the Hermosa Beach area, go to Hennessey’s Tavern. You will not be disappointed πŸ™‚

My dad talked to a customer sitting at a table next to us and asked if she could take a picture of us and she did as shown below.

After we ate, we decided to take a walk by the beach. We had some time left on the parking meter anyways. I took a coupleΒ  pictures at the beach. The first one is of the pier. Lots of people around that day.

And the next picture is of the beach itself, looking north of the pier.

According to a nearby lifeguard station, the water temperature was in the mid 70’s. Near the beach, a temporary arena was being built for an upcoming beach volleyball tournament. There was enough seating to hold a few hundred people if not more. I thought that was cool.

We then left and went to Palos Verdes. There, we stopped at a museum called the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. The following is a quote from the website that I just linked.

This beautiful park, located adjacent to the Point Vicente Lighthouse, offers recreational and educational opportunities to the public.

The Interpretive Center opened in 1984 with a mission to present and interpret the unique features and history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The almost 10,000 square foot newly expanded Interpretive Center, re-opened on July 15, 2006, features exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the Peninsula, with a special emphasis on the Pacific gray whale. This premier whale watch site provides spectacular opportunities to view the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale, from December through April.

It was indeed a beautiful area. IΒ  learned a little about whale watching. Unfortunately, the whales weren’t out at this time, but I do have plans to return to LA in the near future so I can see them. We also went to see a huge battleship called the USS Iowa, I believe. I forgot to upload the picture of the battleship from my phone, which is currently charging at the moment, but I’ll post the picture of the battleship in the near future.

He took me back to my hotel after that as it was a long day for me. We made plans to get together on Wednesday (this was on a Monday) as he lives over in Orange County, or the OC as the locals call it.

Tuesday night, I met with my sister Kate for the first time since she was a little girl about 25 years ago. We went to an Italian restaurant called Fritto Misto, located over in Santa Monica. It was small, but busy. We didn’t have to wait long for a table though. I just had a simple spaghetti plate with marinara sauce. My god, it was one of the spaghetti dinners that I ever had, if not the best. In fact, nothing around in my hometown could even compare to this. Just no contest. This place was awesome and I still have to make a review for them as well on Facebook and Yelp.

I got to know Kate as well as more about my dad’s side of the family. I also got to meet Kate’s 4 year old son, RJ, who is an awesome little kid. After we ate, she took me through Santa Monica for a little sight seeing and we even visited the famed Gold’s Gym on Venice Beach for a photo op. That photo is on my Facebook profile for my family and friends only. After that, I went back to my hotel to rest up for the next day.

On Wednesday, I met with my dad with plans to go to the Griffith Observatory. We parked about a mile away from the observatory so we can hike up there. Hiking is what I enjoy doing. I forgot to load my GPS unit with geocaches for this particular area so I didn’t get a chance to geocache on this trail. I will next time I visit.

Anyways, the trail was steep at times and we both had to pause for breaks a few times during the hike. Follows are a couple pictures of the observatory, taken from the trail. We still had about a half mile to go from the point of this picture.

And the next picture, we were still a quarter mile away from the observatory.

And yes, for those of you who have played the video game Grand Theft Auto V, that is the same observatory where the Galileo Observatory is in the game, right down to the last detail. When I finally reached the observatory, I felt like I was in the game itself – LOL.

Once at the top, we visited the observatory inside and also explored the grounds. We even went to the roof, where I took a selfie of myself with the famed Hollywood sign way back in the distance behind me. The sign is to my right. You can barely see it, but it’s there.

We thought about hiking closer to it as there was another trail that leads to it, but we both were tired after the hike and decided to hike back to his vehicle. The hike down the hill was easier than the hike up, but we still had to be careful as it was steep at times and me with two bad knees that tend to buckle at times if going down a hill. The knees held up well and didn’t buckle once. Props to my doctor for a job well done doing surgery on one of my knees when I tore an ACL 10 years ago.

After we left Griffith Park, we went to a place called In and Out Burger. I never had their burgers, but my dad said they have the best burgers ever, so we went to the location near the LAX airport. The place was super busy. Imagine a new fast food place that just opened up for business and customers flock to it to try the new place. But I was told this place was busy like that every – single – day. I was shocked. They even had a security guard at the door to help maintain order.

The menu was simple – just hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and fries along with beverages. We waited about 15 minutes or so for our food, then we ate outside to watch the planes land and take off since we were next to the airport.Β  While we were eating, a massive C-130 military plane made a landing. The plane was fucking huge! I’ve never seen anything like it and both my dad and I were like, “Holy Shit!”. We both marked out over that plane.

After we ate, I took a couple videos of a commercial plane landing and a commercial plane taking off. I still have to edit the videos and upload them. When I get those videos done, I’ll post them here. And as for the cheeseburgers that I ate, I’ll say this – best cheeseburgers that I ever had. Even better than Mickey Lu’s, located here in Marinette, so says my dad – LOL.

He took me back to my hotel, where we said our goodbyes since I fly back home the next morning. I had a great time getting to know my dad and hope to see him again next year.

Thursday morning, I met with my sister Kate again for a quick breakfast before I have to go to the airport. We talked a bit more, I got to know a bit more about her family, then it was time for her to go to work and me to the airport. I had a great time with Kate as well even though I didn’t see her as much. I hope to see her again in the near future. I had a great time in Los Angeles and will definitely return.

On my next post, I’ll write about my solo hike at Will Rogers State Park in more detail.

Stay tuned πŸ™‚

Work in Progress

Looks like I’ll go with this current layout for now. It seems to be more mobile friendly than the previous dark blue layout that I once had, which was not mobile friendly.

Tomorrow, I’ll put in a custom header banner, but for now, the gray banner on the top will suffice.

Coming up on Monday – I’ll finally finish writing about my trip to Los Angeles that I took last month. Now that’s procrastination πŸ™‚

Upcoming in the near future – In addition to writing on here, I will do videos as well. I’ll do them on my YouTube account and link them here. Just a matter of doing some practice videos first to make myself comfortable, then when I feel I’m ready, I’ll do the video blogs in addition to writing on here. This will be a bigger project and might take a few weeks at the minimum. I already have the video editing software and know how to use it. I also have a video camera and a tripod. It’s just a matter of being able to present myself on camera, which I’ve never done before.

Stay tuned πŸ™‚