accessibility

eating nyc 2.2: my first visit to the bronx


Created with flickr slideshow.

I know very little about the Bronx. Actually, I’ve never been outside Manhattan to any of the surrounding boroughs, with the exception of getting to and from LaGuardia airport and a couple of trips to Brooklyn. I only knew three things about the Bronx: (1) it had a zoo, (2) the Yankees play there, and (3) J. Lo is from the Bronx.

From what I’ve gathered from media over the years, I pictured the Bronx as home to the blue-collared working class. Tell me I’m not that far off…?

The thing about the working class is they are a no-bullsh*t type of people, which means their food is usually unpretentious, inexpensive, and flavorful.

Eating was, however, the secondary reason as to why I came to the Bronx in June. Danielle, founder of Global Pop-Up, asked me to visit the Lavelle School for the Blind to inspire the kids with a little talk and cooking demo. I’ve been so fortunate to be placed in such a position—to be able to inspire others towards unbound heights—so I accepted the invitation since I was in NYC already for the AFB 2014 HKAAs.
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behind the voice of siri

At the end of July, I released Episode 4: How the Blind Email, Tweet, and Blog (or “Yes, That’s Really Me on Facebook!”) of my Blind Life YouTube series. It was my response to all the questions about how those with vision loss use technology.

Yes, I use my iPhone every day, and without it, I’d be bored, disconnected, and lost. The hubs had showed me this video a long time ago about how Siri’s voice was created, and it’s so weird to hear “Siri” speak about anything other than telling me my message is sent, my reminder is set, or that she is searching the web for “‘House of Cards’ plot synopsis.”

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chromecast: how i get my tv on

Growing up, summer breaks were equated to a ton of TV time. I had no siblings, so my summer companions were LeVar Burton at ”Reading Rainbow” at 9 AM, Jon Baker and the Ponch from ”CHiPs” at 10 AM, and Woody Woodpecker and Looney Tunes in the afternoon. (Mid-day TV always sucked, as soap operas and “People’s Court” didn’t appeal to my nine-year-old self.)

As an adult, the summer break is a sentimental thing of the past (unless, of course, you’re a teacher, which I am not). But that doesn’t mean I don’t get my TV on.

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blind life episode 4: how the blind email, tweet, and blog

The next webisode of my Blind Life YouTube series is released!

This time, I answer a question so many sighted people have had since the dawn of my television existence: “Christine, how do you use Facebook and Instagram if you’re blind? Is that really you tweeting? I hope someone reads this to you some day…”

Well, finally, here’s the answer to those perpetual questions. If this webisode spawns even more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments; I’m happy to dispel the myth of blind incapability. Happy watching!

my cookbook is now accessible for those with vision loss

Whether at events, conferences, online, or via Facebook or Twitter, a question I often get is, “Will your cookbook be accessible for the blind?”

“Well, uh, that’s a good question…”

And then I’ll spiel into how my cookbook being accessible was a top priority (it was, and still is); how the editor and publisher agreed (they did); but that in the end, the economics just didn’t make sense—the cost of printing my cookbook in Braille would be too high, and the publisher would have no choice but to pass along that cost to the consumer. And we all know my cookbook may have been a NYT best seller, but who are we kidding? Nobody’s going to buy it for $200!

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being blind doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable

In my last blog post, I wrote about how I as a vision impaired woman apply makeup. I even created Blind Life episode 3: How the Blind Put on Makeup because so many people had wondered how I managed to make myself presentable in public.

This week, along the same lines, I’m going to talk about one of my (and many women’s) favorite pastimes: shopping.

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igrill makes grilling easier for the blind (and sighted) chef

With Memorial Day a couple of weeks away, summer is lurking right around the corner. I can’t believe how quickly time flies. It felt like just yesterday, I was ringing in 2014 with my grad school friends, and just the other week, I was in diapers.

Okay, but really. I have a theory as to why time seems to pass by quicker as we get older. One year when you’re, say, four years old, is 25% of your life. But one year when you’re 35 years old is 0.02857142857143% of your total life. So by percentage, time becomes a smaller fraction of your entire lifetime, making it appear to happen quicker. I know I’m not the first person to think of this. Nor am I a metaphysicist. So let’s just get back to what I am an expert in: cooking and blindness.

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the afb 2014 helen keller achievement awards

I’ve been sitting on this exciting news for a while, but I didn’t want to announce it until the dust started settling. There are a lot of moving parts to an event of this caliber, you know.

I chuckle when I think back to a particular challenge on my season of “MasterChef”: it was when there were six of us left, and we were divided into two teams and commissioned to run the back of the house for dinner service at one of L.A.’S Michelin-rated restaurants, Hatfield’s. It was the boys versus the girls, and I was on the team with Becky and Monti. Becky was team captain over vision impaired me and hard-of-hearing Monti. In between footage of us scrambling in the hot commercial kitchen putting together branzini and venison chops, the camera splices to me in my confessional, laughing: “Poor Becky’s got Team Helen Keller on her hands” (or something to that effect).

When this episode aired, I got a handful of hater comments on Facebook and Twitter, people aghast at my blasphemy. “I’ve lost all respect for Christine. Helen Keller was a magnificent role model.” “How dare you, Christine! Helen Keller should be respected.”

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the sochi 2014 paralympic winter games

The Paralympics always take place a week after the Olympics in the same town. The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the eleventh of its kind, just saw their closing ceremony Sunday. Forty-five countries participated in 72 medal events in five sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, and wheelchair curling. 2014 also marked the debut of my favorite winter sport, snowboarding. The USA sent 74 Paralympic athletes, and it was the first Paralympic Winter Games for Brazil, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

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how to guide the blind

Last week, I discussed some of the things I’ve been doing to get in better shape and my dislike for blind running. The AFB offers some good tips on how to guide a blind runner, and to follow up on the matter, I found the YouTube video above about Paralympics track and field.

But guiding someone who is visually impaired extends way beyond the jogging trail. It’s part of the daily routines of my family, my friends, and mine. When my eyesight decreased to the level it’s at now, the boyfriend-turned-hubster had to learn how to guide me when walking around. He was never one to make me feel handicapped, so he was not super attentive when guiding me–”tough love,” he calls it. My friends have also since learned how to guide me, and most of them are very good. Some are more attentive than others, often holding both of my hands and walking backwards through a crowd, while others are easygoing and merely mention a change in terrain when they deem it absolutely necessary. I myself prefer a middle ground.

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