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I'm a bit taken aback by the suggestions to wear sunglasses, to be honest. Isn't that a pervasive stereotype about blindness--that we walk around wearing sunglasses all the time, and that doesn't make us look good? I'm just going by what I've always heard, and admonitions I've gotten for wearing them myself. I happen to be very sensitive to light, so whenever I go outside, I wear sunglasses that are dark so that I don't have to squint and get headaches. But I've been criticized for this before. People have told me that I "look blind that way" and that, if I want to be normal, I need to ditch them. So what's the real story?
Another thing is that my dad told me that it's very disconcerting to not be able to look a person in the eye. he says that eyes are the windows to the soul, and that one's trustworthiness can be determined by the look in their eyes. If a person is avoiding eye contact for whatever reason, they obviously have something to hide. Needless to say, I've internalized that. I was taught to look at a person when they're speaking, and I have enough vision to generally train my gaze on a person's face, but I've always worried quite a bit that I wasn't making direct eye contact, and was therefore perceived as shady and untrustworthy.

The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.

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I don't think wearing sunglasses seems so stereotypical per se. It depends on what kind of sunglasses you wear; so that goes along with what Chandu has mentioned. If they are purposefully stylish instead of only serving the purpose to shield your eyes then it can alleviate any risk of looking strange or stereotypical. I'm sorry that your dad said that about eye contact. That is different from culture to culture and I would not want to deal with someone who couldn't understand that a blind person would have trouble giving direct eye contact when speaking. Don't stop wearing sunglasses at the risk of getting headaches. Should people who rely on canes ditch those to look normal? I'm sorry for being so smug but I am a bit flustered that people actually said that to you. If you want people who are trustworthy talking to you, maybe you should find a pair of reflective sunglasses that act as mirrors so people can make eye contact with themselves when talking to you. Studies show that people are less likely to so shady things like steal or vandalize when they see a reflection of themselves.

-Jo

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@turtlepower, the glasses thing seems pretty ridiculous to me; if they're comfortable then by all means wear them. If you're not being noticed or talked to much to begin with, it can't hurt, and I'm pretty sure a person who's not used to talking to blind people will probably go on something other than eye contact to make an internal judgement of trustworthiness. Seems kind of like the opposite of what the NFB does: hiding folding canes because apparently it's "respectable" to be blind... absolutely ridiculous. I am not proud of my blindness; seems like a pretty stupid thing to be proud of, nor am I ashamed of it, and I'd hate to have people come up to me not knowing I'm blind, would probably make things a bit awkward for them. @Jo, welcome to the forum, and no, you're not being offensive at all; I think it'd be a lot harder to come across as offensive here than not, you'd really have to work at it. I, and I know some others on here as well, hate it when people attempt to be super politically correct around us, example when talking about movies, constantly asking whether I've "listened" to it instead of watched, making a point not to use the word "see" and such. I'm sort of new here myself; I've been a lurker since 2011 or so and registered about 2 years ago, but have only recently really started posting. Feel free to ask any questions or start topics, everyone's pretty cool here. Anyway, those are all good tips, I should probably find some tool or opeth shirts (two bands I like) and wear them more, only ones I've seen online though are pretty expensive. As for talking to people, it's normal not to know what to say at first, so don't feel too bad about it. For myself, as I've said earlier, it's mutual with people my own age, not because of the fact that they can see, but simply because I have almost nothing in common with most teenagers, and with there constant fast-paced socializing among each other, talking to someone at school can be a bit like trying to talk to an alien. @everyone, Yesterday I had an actual conversation with someone in class about music, so looks like I may be getting somewhere.

We move in circles, balanced all the while on a gleaming razor's edge
A perfect sphere, colliding with our fate...this story ends where it began.

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At nsomniartCrew: Most blind people I've encountered don't seem to get offended when you ask about these things. I'm sure there must be some that do, but honestly... I'd say the biggest turning point for me in college was, in my *fourth* semester, when someone just bluntly asked me about my vision... then, after I went on for a while, said that it had turned out to be boring, and went on to other topics.. ... and that ... sounds bad, when I say it like that. No, actually, that was awesome. It actually started something, went somewhere, and didn't just awkwardly fiz out like most conversations.

... But if it bothers you that much, I do have a recording of me brutally destroying him in a mock swordfight two years later. I think someone might even have a video of the ending, I dunno. And, no, he was not just playing along. He... ah... does not usually get mentioned when legendary partakers in those particular activities come up. Unless as the guy that made the first gladiators show happen, but I digress.

Anyway, blind people can get offended just as easily as sighted people; it's just usually over the same sorts of things (Politics, religion, opinions about operating systems), in my experience.
And people like being righteously indignant more than being ignored, too! So even if you find one of the people who gets offended when you acknowledge that the only obvious thing to start with is their disability, there's a chance they'll be angry rather than depressed (and if they get depressed by it, they were probably heading that way already?). Angry sucks, and upsetting people sucks, but isolation really, really sucks. Besides, a conversation about the surface things can lead to conversations about more personal things for both participants, and that's how friendship happens. So the weight is on the side of it being worth it.

Some of my games
Keep up to date by following @Jeqofire on twitter!
Ear Ninja?

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Precisely, I'd rather someone ask something about blindness, even if it's rude or awkward, than ignore me, since I guess most of the time it still can make a conversation starter. though I got asked by some girl the other day how I watched youtube videos, was pretty hard not to laugh at her. Btw, linux is infinitely better than windows even though the screen reader can suck, and microsoft sucks, imho.

We move in circles, balanced all the while on a gleaming razor's edge
A perfect sphere, colliding with our fate...this story ends where it began.

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Hi, I think being offended by questions about blindness is kind of stupid. Because you're created like that, you will live like that. Nothing will change if you talk about those subjects or not. You're just blind. That's my opinion.

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@wanderer: That offends me deeply!  The correct terminology when referring to the Windows operating system is functionality impaired, or differently usable.  LOL JK

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The glasses thing is a load of ass.  Anyone put off by whatever they see with you not wearing glasses has a very high likelihood of not being worth while.  I had to gently read a former boss the Riot Act when she sought to force me to wear sunglasses by asking her if she would be wearing miniskirts to work so as to conform to male stereotypes?  I would probably do it differently today being twenty years older, but it's still a load of ass.  Which is entirely different of course from wearing sunglasses due to light sensitivity issues.  That's medical, as opposed to attempting to pass for something you're not.

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Yeah, the sunglasses I wear are prescription strength, so I probably don't have too many options when it comes to what type I wear. Which, honestly, is fine by me, because the alternative is a lot worse.
If you'd asked me what I would have done 10 years ago, though, that's a whole other story. I think I would have rather suffered every day than stand out. When I went to public school, people would always make a point of deliberately stepping into my path so that I would hit them accidentally with my cane, just so they could either threaten me or tell a teacher about how I purposely whacked them a lot harder than what really happened so I would get in trouble. Of course, the teachers always believed other students; no one wanted to stick up for a blind kid. Besides that, the only other blind person in my school district also happened to have Asperger's, and he was prone to violence and rage. I think that some of the teachers compared the two of us, and that's also why they believed what those kids were saying. Alternatively, large groups of people would congregate either in the doorways or on the sidewalks at the beginning or end of the day, and they would be so engrossed in talking to each other that I would, inevitably, manage to tap someone while trying to navigate around them. The girls would usually squeal when this happened, and I would get some kind of nasty comment about how I would get what I deserved for hitting someone's friend. Well, I knew I needed the cane; I was never someone who denied that. I have shadow perception, but honestly, I know that I can't walk around in unfamiliar or crowded environments without using a cane. So what I would try to do to compensate during that time was to draw it in as close to me as I could, even when not in a crowd, which caused me to run into stuff and my mobility instructors would always criticize me, saying, "you look a lot worse when you run into things than you do when you accidentally hit someone with your cane." One teacher actually told me that I couldn't expect to make friends if I was constantly bumping into things! I looked like a liability that way, apparently, not a potential friend. I suppose it makes sense now, looking back on it, but surely she could have found a more delicate way of putting it.
My only true regret about my appearance that was directly caused by being afraid of what people would think of me is that, even though I very much needed them, I refused to get braces when I was a kid. My parents tried everything--belittling me, having the dentist talk to me, grounding me, you name it, they tried it. But I stood firm, thinking that, if I had braces, the bullying would only get worse. I wish now that I hadn't been so stubborn about that fact, though, because, well, an adult with crooked teeth is a hell of a lot less respected than a kid with braces. If only I'd known that. Although they haven't said it lately, my parents have been known to bring up that fact and tell me how I brought it on myself. It's not even like I could do anything about it now--no insurance company is going to pay for an adult to get braces, particularly since I would want the invisible ones, because, well, adults don't get braces, either.

The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.

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TurtlePower: yes, the shades will look stereotypical if you don't bother to get a pair that fit your face and over all style. I also agree with you that people who are put off talking to you because of something superficial like lack of eye contact probably aren't worth your time. However, part of living in this fast paced world and maximizing your networking potential is talking with lots of seemingly worthless people. I once turned a chance encounter on the subway into a lucrative contract, and it all started with a random stranger coming out of their shell enough to ask some blunt blindness related questions. TheMadViolinist: My shades are an integral part of my wardrobe and nobody, family included has said anything about them. As I said in a previous post, I found based on many hours of experimentation that people as a whole are less awkward around me with the shades than without them. Lol, it probably helps that I'm always wearing leather jackets and an ear bug which, I'm told, make me look like an agent Smith like character. Sure a blind person wearing shades is stereotypical, but that shouldn't have any negative connotations. If so many people are doing it, there's clearly a good reason. smile

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Hi.
Jo: welcome to the forum! Awesome to see comments from a sighted persons point of view. big_smile

Regarding the clothes you're wearing, that makes a huge difference. It's not a matter of wearing the smartest clothes ever, but wearing clothes which doesn't look good regarding to your body size, your style or whatever, that'll make a bad impression on you.
I have a lot of examples, even from the blind orginasation here in my country, where visually impaired people who have some vission are getting bad impressions of people who are wearing clothes which doesn't fit there boddy well. A girl who have some vission told me some years ago, that a mann who was at the 20's was wearing some clothes that didn't fit his boddy well. He wasn't a small mann, not fat but pretty big. The clothes he was wearing was too small, and he looked like a kid who was wearing the same old clothes like if his life hasn't went on from he was a kid. The clothes was too small and I think you easily could imagine what that looked like. The clothes would fit a 14 years old boy, but not a mann in the 20's...

There are many reasons for wearing sun glasses. I know people who are doing it because of the light, some people are just doing it to show people they are blind and others are doing it to hide their eyes. I know someone who got his eyes damaged so badly, so people would be scared of him if they see his eyes. So he's wearing sun glasses to hide his eyes...

I don't know if eye contact is a culture based thing or not. My experiences tells me that it's not the direct eye contact which makes the big difference. The important thing is looking at peoples faces, not their eyes.
us who are born blind and never have used our eyes for any important stuff are normally having a huge difficulty when it comes to controll the eyes. You have to be used to controll your eyes to be able to get eye contact with people. If you can't controll your eyes, you can't make sure that you're looking at peoples eyes. What I'm doing is looking at peoples faces, and then it's up to them if they wanna look into my eyes or not. That doesn't make any difference for me. smile I'm not wearing sun glasses which means they can see my eyes, but I can't controll my eyes, so people find it difficult to look into my eyes. smile
I have never experienced any difficulty regarding to communication because I can't get eye contact with people. People even know who I'm talking to when looking at their faces when talking to them, even if it's strangers I've never met before and don't know their names. That's very useful when I need to talk to people at train stations or buss stations if I need any help. I'm not sure, but that might make a difference when wearing sun glasses when it comes to talk to strangers, if they aren't sure on who you are talking to. any comments regarding to that would be interesting. smile

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... :D

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Based on what I've read of the last few posts I really think people are making too much of their personal appearance. Yes, personal appearance does matter when going out in public, but seriously its not that complicated. All that really matters is that you appear presentable such as performing basic personal hygiene combing your hair, brushing your teeth,  keeping your nails trimmed, and dressing casually. If you do those things you won't look too out of place in most cases.

Regarding wearing sunglasses/shades if a person has a sensitivity to light by all means wear them. That would be a bit foolish not to. People who know you aren't going to make a big deal of you wearing shades outside on a sunny day because chances are there are bound to be sighted people outside wearing shades of their own on a sunny day. Inside is a slightly different matter because sighted people don't generally wear sunglasses inside such as at a store, restaurant, school, etc and if you want to fit in with the sighted crowd and look the part all you have to do is take them off and slide them in your jacket pocket etc while indoors.

As far as making eye contact I don't think it makes much of a difference if you have shades on or off when talking to someone. Having been sighted before I always attempt to make eye contact with the person speaking which is due to years of habit. However, even if someone has been born blind,doesn't have that instinct, the main thing to do is turn and face the person speaking and they will attempt to make eye contact with you which means you don't have to do all the work. As long as you don't look in another direction, lower your head to look at the floor, or stair up towards the ceiling you can make sighted people comfortable talking to you by trying to face the sound of their voice.

Finally, as for dressing properly it really isn't a big deal. At least not to me personally. If a person knows what colors are "color safe" dressing casually really isn't a big deal. I assume or at least hope that even if a person was born blind that the parents of said person explained the basics of matching colors so they can dress themselves properly. If not then here is a few simple rules to follow.

The color blue is one of the safest colors to wear because it goes well with just about anything. So if someone starts with a nice denim pair of blue jeans, skirt, or shorts they have a lot of options in terms of what kinds of socks and shirt will go well with that clothing.

White is a neutral color and also goes well with just about anything. So a white pair of crew socks will look fine with a denim pair of blue jeans, skirt, or shorts.

Once you got that far just about any shirt or top will go well with the pants and socks because blue and white are neutral colors. Its hard to go wrong matching a shirt with the socks and pants since we have two color safe colors in our outfit already.

The point being with a little knowledge how to mix and match colors like that it is fairly easy to come up with a casual outfit that will look completely normal at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, school, or wherever. One doesn't have to dress stylish or wear the latest fashions to look normal. So I don't think we need to make a big deal about how we look to sighted people unless we are doing something truly outrageous like wearing clothing that doesn't match or have hair sticking up like you just got zapped by an electrical socket. That will certainly draw negative attention, but I don't seriously think any of us do that.

Sincerely,
Thomas Ward
USA Games Interactive
http://www.usagamesinteractive.com

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Tom: I totally agree. big_smile

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... :D

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@tward I agree, which is why I don't worry about clothes that much. I'm self-conscious enough in public without constantly having to think about clothes and style as well. I  think as long as things fit, are comfortable, and match (if you care, I don't all that much) then whatever you feel like wearing is fine. As I said before I've never noticed people acting differently round me according to how I dress, nor the few times I've worn sunglasses.

We move in circles, balanced all the while on a gleaming razor's edge
A perfect sphere, colliding with our fate...this story ends where it began.

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Thanks Tward, I agree with your post, and is very useful your hint about color. I am blind from the Birth, so any hint in this sense is cool.

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At Jo, welcome to the forum. It's nice to have a sighted perspective on these things. Regarding being offensive, you were not in the least bit. I firmly believe that the only stupid question is no question at all, so ask away. Somehow I knew that the NFB's belief about collapsible cane versus non-collapsible cane, was going to come up here. I had heard that one before about them, and I think it's a load of crap. I happen to have not one, but two folding canes and I am very comfortable with my blindness itself. I got both of these canes with a neighbor friend who was covering for my life-skills tutor a couple years ago. My previous folding cane broke all of a sudden when I was coming out of the rec room in my building. I knew my neighbor was coming later that day for a tutoring session with me, so I told him I needed a new cane. We took the train into downtown Chicago, and walked to Second Sense and purchased 2 folding canes. I also have a non-collapsible cane that belonged to my late former roommate, and I have used it on occasion. It's a bit shorter than the other ones I currently have.

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Jo, welcome to the party! smile
I agree that you were not the least bit offencive, and, also with the "Joking" part.
Thomas, that was a good "matching skeem" big_smile for a start, and I've been told almost the same things. while I could never understand the logic behind color matching as I was born blind, I always followed it for the sake of propriety.

for some reason,(probably because I had somebody such as a friend walking with me), I never used a cane, and while it has made me more dependent on others(a fact I don't enjoy and intent to change soon), it seems to have avoided a bit of the sticma that does come with it.

friends:
come and join my
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I have lirked on this thread and have a few things to say:
Joe: Welcome to the forum, I agree completely with all of your advice. I joked like that all the time in school and class and kids were a bit more comfortible talking to me because of it. I made several friends that way.
As for the OP: Not having passion in in life, even about something, is a sad state to be in. I used to be there, but since I've started playing music and put myself out there so to speak, I'm much happier. As of last Spring break, it'll be a full year for me playing the mandolin. I also recently have picked up the card-game Magic: the Gathering. Finding passion in life can be hard, especially for somebody who suffers from depression. I can offer this advice, though: don't close yourself off towards experiences and new things. If you like music, consider picking up an instrument (It doesn't matter what kind of instrument), if you like books or music, by all means, try out new things you normally wouldn't.
I'll relate my own sob-story now:
Throughout my High School, I always had people more curious about blindness. There were some people who tip-toed around it, but I just talked to them and they were more comfortable after I told them I didn't care. I never had really "close" friends. I had some friends, and then I had aquantances that I would run into in the hallways. I didn't start dating until my senior year of high school and wound up in a 7 month relationship that ended shortly after my prom and grad night after my X basically said "you asking questions pisses me off and then I feel guilty, I can't do this anymore"
So, that ended, queue long period where I was moping about and kind of sad. I wound up connecting my skype to my facebook and talking to friends on the internet a lot. A friend and I formed a band and recorded something. Shortly after I got a friend request (which I normally never accept, but I accepted this one). It was a girl from the archery club at my school and she had seen our video and wanted to add me. Several months later we started dating. Fast-forward eight months and life is really great. I still am reading, playing music and such at home, but I have that option now to get out more and see people. For those of you who hesitate to ask your parents if they will drive you places, please, don't hesitate as much, it can never hurt to ask. Maybe if you have an interest in like, trading card games, or tabletop roleplaying or music, you could ask your parents to help you get started on that. The people you will meet while persuing a hobby are usually people who are more understanding and nice.
I recently went to a casual magic tournament and the people there thought it was pretty amazing that my cards were brailled. For some of my cards, I didn't even need sighted help to read all of them: my GF put them in a specific order and I brailled offof the deck list on the website.
Just, hang in there and explore the world, explore hobbys and try not to be so nervous around people, crack jokes, not all is dark and gloomy in life. You only will have these high school experiences as long as you are in high school, or college, enjoy them, don't be afraid to joke and be yourself. Wear clothes that express ideas and likes in music. I've got an Iron Maiden T-shirt that I wear sometimes. An Old Lady I know came up to me and started talking to me about how she had an Ironing company called "Ironing Maiden"
If anything, they can help spark conversation.

Master Rahl guide us. Master Rahl teach us. Master Rahl protect us. In your light we thrive. In your mercy we are sheltered. In your wisdom we are hummbled. We live only to serve. Our lives are yours.

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I've been trying to pick up piano off and on for a while now, but keep getting confused over some of the concepts they try and describe, like half and wholesteps. I think I may end up looking to take actual lessons if I don't find something that works soon. Most of the youtube videos I've found on beginning piano focus on simple chords for accompanyment, which isn't really what I'm looking for. I haven't gotten involved in anything done by my school since I've been here, I might try for something next year, which will be my senior year. Speaking of which, I'm trying to figure if I should go to my prom coming up in about 2 weeks. I guess the junior and senior proms are supposed to be those classic high school experiences, to make memories and whatever, but it's assumed you have some friends to experience it with, which I do not. I'd probably just end up standing around doing nothing the whole time, and the crowds of hundreds of people really wouldn't help, as I'd hardly be able to hear anything, and I cannot dance at all, assuming anyone would want to dance with me. Ah well, probably won't have anything better to do that day, may as well. Oh and btw on the appearance thing, I mostly keep my hair short so I don't have to worry about it sticking up.

We move in circles, balanced all the while on a gleaming razor's edge
A perfect sphere, colliding with our fate...this story ends where it began.

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Wanderer, you make perfect sence. As a high school student I am currently going through the same problems. I learn names easily enough, but it's rather difficult to actually "talk" to anyone, let alone know if they're talking to someone else. I will bbe a senior next year, and I am so close to graduating high school that It isn't funny. Unless I know how to meet new people, I will have no "Real" friends. I also seem to have no passion in life, So I know where you're coming from.

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16

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Re: music. I didn't really pick up much from it being taught via terms. I kinda had to just learn how to play, then the terms made sense when I found what they were needed for.

Some of my games
Keep up to date by following @Jeqofire on twitter!
Ear Ninja?

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wanderer:
Have you considered contacting professionel people and organisations regarding your hearing loss as I suggested previously? I think it'll help you a lot to get a great network of people who are also blind and have a hearing loss.

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... :D

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@slj no, my hearing loss is just bad enough to be a huge nuisance, but isn't too bad, as long as I have hearing aids in. Most of the blind people I knew when I attended my state blind school are people I don't really care to associate with, and I am not going to reach out to people simply because they happen to be blind or have a hearing loss, I'd much rather find people I have something in common with as an individual, like enjoying a certain type of music or book or something. @Cae so, did you just learn by playing by ear? I can do that up to a point, but not very well with chords and harmonies and such. I'm never going to be a pianist, but it's a nice hobby and it'd be awesome if I could learn to play something like this, for example.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJpAIOFN5WQ
@everyone I also agree that humor is critical. I participate pretty actively in classes, and joke around about blindness a bit; on a few occasions I've actually had one or two people come up and talk to me after saying something that made people laugh. The other day I did a really short presentation on building a desktop computer, and I'm told that people were actively looking at and making eye contact with me, so I'm probably not too bad in that regard.

We move in circles, balanced all the while on a gleaming razor's edge
A perfect sphere, colliding with our fate...this story ends where it began.

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74 (edited by jjgeek 2015-03-17 19:33:14)

I've often felt that music is a good thing. I previously took piano, cello, and guitar lessons but stopped for various reasons. But I have a Yamaha keyboard here in my apartment. I had an analog one when I still lived with my parents, but that one had some broken keys. So my parents got me this one a few years back as a Christmas present. It is digital and the display things aren't accessible, but I still enjoy playing it. I was in a mini-band with some former neighbors. But they have since moved out of my building, and we have disbanded. Pun intended. But music is awesome.

wanderer wrote:

I've been trying to pick up piano off and on for a while now, but keep getting confused over some of the concepts they try and describe, like half and wholesteps. I think I may end up looking to take actual lessons if I don't find something that works soon. Most of the youtube videos I've found on beginning piano focus on simple chords for accompanyment, which isn't really what I'm looking for. I haven't gotten involved in anything done by my school since I've been here, I might try for something next year, which will be my senior year. Speaking of which, I'm trying to figure if I should go to my prom coming up in about 2 weeks. I guess the junior and senior proms are supposed to be those classic high school experiences, to make memories and whatever, but it's assumed you have some friends to experience it with, which I do not. I'd probably just end up standing around doing nothing the whole time, and the crowds of hundreds of people really wouldn't help, as I'd hardly be able to hear anything, and I cannot dance at all, assuming anyone would want to dance with me. Ah well, probably won't have anything better to do that day, may as well. Oh and btw on the appearance thing, I mostly keep my hair short so I don't have to worry about it sticking up.

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Wanderer, if you would like, you can add me on skype and I can explain some of the musical terms to you some day and offer advice and the small bits of information I've gotten over the years. I can't help you with piano-specific things, but, I can give you a general idea of theory smile

Master Rahl guide us. Master Rahl teach us. Master Rahl protect us. In your light we thrive. In your mercy we are sheltered. In your wisdom we are hummbled. We live only to serve. Our lives are yours.

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