US election 2016: my voting experience with the accessible terminal

Today, along with many of my fellow Americans, I went to my local precinct to cast my ballot for president, Senate, House races, and several other positions and bond issues. Don’t worry… This post isn’t going to be about who to vote for or who to not vote for… You will see enough of that on social media and on the news.

Though I’ve been eligible to vote, and have voted, for the past 20 years, and though this is my sixth presidential election, this was the first election in which I was able to vote mostly independently, without Sighted assistance. When I lived in Arizona and Washington, generally, I had to have someone assist me in filling out the ballot… Usually a relative or trusted friend. In Arizona, all we had were the paper ballots. There were no accessible voting terminals when I became eligible to vote in 1996, until my departure at the end of 1999. In Washington, we had a mix of in person voting and mail in voting. Accessible voting machines were introduced during my time in Washington. However, gaining access to one was often inconvenient. You either had to attend a meeting of ACB or NFB… Or you had to go to one specific polling place in order to use them. So, I continued using paper ballots, and having someone I trusted help me in the privacy of my home and mailing the ballot in after I was finished.

Now, I live in Ohio. I knew, from visiting a polling precinct in Springfield last year, that accessible voting terminals were much more readily available here than I had ever experienced in Washington state. However, due to when I arrived in the state and registered to vote, I had not registered in time to vote in the contest last November. With that said, today, I was looking forward to trying The machines… Don’t get me wrong. I trust my fiancé completely, and if I had needed to have her assist in filling out a ballot, I know I could count on her to do it, and to cast the vote for the candidates and positions as I dictated them to her. But, having that freedom to do it myself is truly awesome.

I reported to my precinct, which is housed in the gymnasium of the school portion of the church I currently attend. At first, I wasn’t sure how things would go… When we asked the poll workers about speech and or braille, none of them were quite sure as to what would be available. After some difficulties, we found a worker who knew how the machines function. It turns out that all of the machines have an audio option… They have headphones available if you need them, or you can do as I did and use your own earbuds or headphones. The buttons are clearly marked in braille. Once they had the machine set up, I was able to go through the entire Ballot without issues. Yes, it may have taken me quite a bit longer because the audio is much slower than I’m used to listening… But, I was afforded the same right to privacy and secrecy of my vote as my Sighted counterparts.

No matter who wins the top job, no matter how the races turn out… For the first time, I truly know how my ballot was cast. The machine spoke very clearly, letting me know who or what I was selecting, and even went over my selections at the end, allowing me an opportunity to make changes if necessary. Like I said, I’m thankful to those who have assisted me with voting in the past, even if my vote differed from theirs… But having the freedom to cast my vote and take my time is A truly awesome feeling.

If I could change anything about the process, I would suggest that poll workers need to be better trained… Even if you don’t show every worker every function of the machine, they should at least know what is available for their blind voters, as well as those with any other disabilities requiring assistance. Other than that, I must say, I was very pleased with my experience.

Wes’s Musical Meltdown: Equipment Test 06/16/2016

Today’s show wasn’t really a full-on return to the airwaves, jjust a test of new equipment and new settings. That said, it felt good to take over the XTFM airwaves for a bit, play a few songs, and test the new microphone. Enjoy!

As always, if you like what you hear, consider making an Amazon purchase through me.

Playlist

  1. Lee Brice, Drinking Class
  2. Chris Stapleton, Fire Away
  3. Merle Haggard, Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish A Buck Was Still Silver)
  4. George Jones & Merle Haggard, Yesterday’s Wine
  5. E-40, Choices (Yup)
  6. Rico Richie, Poppin
  7. Old Dominion, Break Up With Him
  8. A Thousand Horses, Smoke
  9. Florida Georgia Line, Sun Daze
  10. Thomas Rhett, Crash And Burn
  11. Southern Pacific, A Girl Like Emmylou
  12. Kevin Bloody Wilson, Kev’s Courtin’ Song
  13. Yngwie Malmsteen, I’ll See The Light, Tonight
  14. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Heaven Tonight
  15. Guardian, Never Say Goodbye


Play

Updates From My World: The Good, The Bad, and Everything In Between

It’s been a while since I’ve updated here…Those who follow me on Twitter and Facebook probably know a lot of this, but…As I haven’t posted to the website in a while, figured I’d give my readers an update on what’s going on with me.

For starters, I’m no longer in Springfield. I’d been out of town, visiting my girlfriend, and came home to find my place had been burglarized. I don’t want to get into a lot of details as there is still an active police investigation, but, it was enough to get me out of town. Top it off with the landlord being completely unresponsive when notified about the break-in…Sorry, but a dirtbag like that doesn’t deserve another red cent from me. That said, I did recover my laptop minus all cords/cables, and my iPad minus the charging cable. Still missing a modem, stereo, the first XM unit I ever bought, and…No joke…A case of Yuengling, one of my favorite beers out of Pennsylvania. At least the thief had decent taste in beer, I suppose. Next time, buy your own. I did. LOL

I met some wonderful people in Springfield, but the burglary was sort of the last straw. After recent events, including housemates who free-loaded off me and still owe me nearly $1300 in back rent and other incidentals, very happy to leave that town behind. Heard the ex-housemates are in Georgia now. Good riddance. Hopefully, they’ve learned their lesson and won’t cheat the next person they rent from. But, I digress…Back to Springfield…I’ll still come back to visit friends, many of whom have become like family to me…But I don’t foresee myself living in such a ghetto place again.

In happier news, I’m now in Columbus, seeing an absolutely wonderful woman. We’re keeping things mostly quiet and spending as much time together to build the relationship as possible. We click on just about every level, which is an amazing feeling. I feel like I’ve finally found my equal…A relationship that can be a true 50-50, or as close to it as possible.

At work, i’ve moved up to a new position. I had been working as a reservations agent; I’m now a team member in our rewards department and loving it. The pay is better, and the work is a bit more challenging. And hey…My worst day here is still better than most days were dealing with callers at the IRS. LOL. In all seriousness, loving the company I currently work for, and can see myself staying with them for a long time.

As many know, I’ve been off-air with regards to the radio show since March due to someone inadvertently knocking over my hard drive. Working on rebuilding the music collection bit by bit, and I’m hoping to return to the airwaves on XTFM soon.

Awaiting word from work, but if all goes well, I should be travelling to Arizona to see family and friends just bbefore Christmas. Stay tuned to this spacce and social media to learn more.

For those who don’t know, I’ve recently become a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant. Unfortunately, due to life’s constant roller coaster, I haven’t been able to do much with the business yet…But now that things are settling down, I hope to do parties, virtual or in person…And would love for any of you reading this to check out the site and purchase anything you like. You can also like the Facebook Page!

Of course, I’m still your One-Stop Shop for Amazon Products!

Hey…Had to promote the business stuff. First, I do want to grow the Pampered Chef business…And hey, everyone pretty much shops Amazon…Why not help out a friend? And yes, I do reciprocate.

In closing, though there have been some bumps in the road since moving to Ohio, there’s been a lot of good. New friends, awesome lady, great job, and the opportunity to work full-time from home. Who knows…If I play my cards right, I may very well be able to take this job and keep it and move back to Arizona in time. Life is full of possibilities.

Updated Radio Schedule for The Week! Please Read!

Just a quick heads-up to my listeners. There are some changes to my broadcasting schedule this week, and in weeks to come. So, let’s get to it.

  • For XTFM, instead of being on Tuesday night at 9:00 PM East as normal, moving the show to Wednesday at 8:00 PM East, right after Gina’s Organized Chaos. This is a one-time move so that I can catch the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening at 9:00 East, as well as the Republican response. This way, we will be able to discuss it amidst all the music.
  • On The VIP Lounge, I’ll be taking on some extra shifts. Starting this Wednesday, January 13, I’ll be heard Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM Eastern, 2:00PM-6:00 PM UK Time. I haven’t given the show a name, but as always, the musical format will be anything goes. This starts this week, and will go for the next few weeks, until we find more presenters who are able to fill the slot, or until I begin a new job, which will of course take priority. Remember, to listen to the VIP Lounge, as the website is still under construction, paste http://theviploungeradio.com:8000 into your media player of choice, or search The VIP Lounge on the TuneIn Radio app for most mobile devices.

Of course, stay tuned to my Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute changes. Also, feel free to Start getting those Requests in for Wednesday Morning’s Show!

As always, Feel free to use my Amazon Link for shopping!

See you on the radio.

Radio Updates: Moved Request Page, Added A New Station, and New Show Name!

Friends! Looking forward to tomorrow as I begin a new radio adventure. Yes, I’m still on XTFM every Tuesday night starting at 9:00 PM East. However, I’ve added a new show and station to the arsenal. XTFM is still my top radio priority. Tomorrow, however, I launch Wes’s Wild Weekend Party on The VIP Lounge Radio. Click the Radio link, and then choose the web player or one of the other listening options. There is a Winamp option, and for those who prefer to use a mobile player such as TuneIn Radio, you can paste the Winamp URL into your Custom URL box on the “Profile” tab of TuneIn Radio’s iPhone app…I assume the same is true for Android.

The new show will be much like The Meltdown. Megan was the one to suggest a name change since I’m going to be doing the show on a different station from what people are used to. At first, I was hesitant, as I’ve used Wes’s Musical Meltdown now for over five years…But, after some reflection, I like the idea. New show, new station, new name.

Also note that the request page has moved. It can still be used for both shows. Find it here!

Also, the request-a-thon for Shelly will be rescheduled, probably for some time in the Spring or Summer. Unfortunately, we received no requests, so could not put on a proper request-a-thon. Having done these before, I’m thinking the Spring and Summer seem to be more fruitful for such things. We will work it out for a later date.

That’s it from here on the radio front. There may be a personal update coming soon.

And of course, Remember to Shop Amazon Through Me!

An Exciting Week for Wes’s Musical Meltdown! Lots Coming Up!

Friends, it’s been a long time since I’ve had such an action-packed radio week coming up. I’m going to be all over the place, and it’ll be wonderful! Hoping you’ll join me on my adventures.

We start the week on Monday. I’ll be doing a test transmission for a new station that’s not quite launched yet. I want to invite you all to check me out on The VIP Lounge at 2:00 PM US Eastern, 19:00 UK time. Wes’s Musical Meltdown is adding a second station to the line-up! Get requests in for this broadcast via The Request Page. If all goes as planned, I’ll be taking over the 4:00-7:00 PM Eastnern slot on Saturdays for the station, expanding the Meltdown to a whole new audience.

Of course, on Tuesday, I have the Meltdown at 10:00 PM US Eastern on what will always be my home station, XTFM. This week, I’ll have Bob, who you can hear at 11:59 PM Eastern on Mondays, as one of my co-hosts, and possibly Gina, who you can hear at 8:00 PM East on Wednesdays as well! It should be a wonderful show. The request page will open for that show after 5:00 PM Eastern Monday, November 23, once the show on The VIP Lounge ends.

Friday night, at 7:00 PM East, join myself and DJ Faithhful on XTFM for a Christmas special. This show will range from Christian favorites, to secular classics, to novelty records, to modern rock and country Christmas tunes. Got a favorite Christmas song you want me to play? Let me know By Friday morning, 10:00 AM East.

Of course, you all know I’ll be promoting the upcoming shows via Twitter and Facebook. I look forward to having you all join me on any and all of these shows. Of course, once completed, they’ll all be found here on the website!

Looking forward to seeing you all during the shows, and thanks for your support so far over this amazing internet radio journey!

Of course, with the holidays coming, please feel free to Shop Amazon Through Me.

Say What You Mean, Especially If You Want to Retain Donors, CSL Plasma

I donate plasma at CSL Plasma here in Springfield, Ohio. Normally, I think they’re an awesome company, and I’m proud to be a donor. However, this post is about something that happend on Monday, September 21, 2015. I don’t generally like throwing companies under the bus when I’m over-all pleased with them, but…This deserves a post.

Myself and my fiancee, Megan, went in to donate today. When donating plasma, you’re not only helping others, but you do receive some financial compensation, which is a nice bonus. Also, you’re allowed to donate twice a week…Unlike blood donation, where you can only do it once every 8 weeks. Every 16 if you donate a double unit of red cells.

As those who know us know, Megan wennt to the local emergency room Thursday. She wasn’t feeling well, and due to her insurance, the ER was a better option than an urgent care. She was treated and released, with no complications found other than low potassium. As ER’s and any other doctor’s offices do, they did blood tests. When we went to donate, the floor staff spotted a bruise that was too small for Megan, or any of our sighted family members to see. Because of this, they sent her to see a nurse. In this case, the nurse was Maggie. I only mention the nurse’s name because she’s a source of trouble later in the story, and, as I learned, a prior source of trouble for Megan.

Maggie deferred her, stating she needed to get a note from the hospital that she’d had blood work done. I understand this, as there are concerns about needle drug use, which neither of us are fans of. I have had no personal experience with this nurse, so have no personal bias against her. Apparently, this same nurse had deferred Megan years ago because she was seeking treatment from a mental health professional, which CSL was aware of. Megan had donated plasma several times after making CSL aware of her involvement with mental health counselors, but for whatever reason, Maggie decided she needed deferment based on her mental health, and wanted a note stating she’s mentally stable enough to donate. So, I’m beginning to think Maggie has something against Megan personally, or those who aren’t as perfect as her.

So, we went to the hospital, and got a note, signed by the on-duty nurse, that Megan had indeed had blood work done. We returned to the Springfield location of CSL with said note, and Megan went in. Unfortunately, she again dealt with Maggie. I say “unfortunately” because Maggie can’t recall what she said before, or just likes to screw around with the donors. Upon arriving, Megan presented the note, which is what Nurse Maggie requested. At this point, Maggie informed her CSL would need her discharge papers.

Here’s where I take issue with things, and why I’m writing this post and putting Maggie and CSL, whom I’m otherwise pleased with, on blast. First, if you want discharge papers, and not just a note saying blood work was done, say so. It’s not that hard…Is it?

Next, as Megan’s diagnosis, though technnically referred to as chest pain, had nothing to do with heart trouble or anything else in the high-risk categories, her medical records and discharge papers are none of CSL Plasma’s business.

We’ve left a voice mail with the manager of the plasma center, and await her response. I’ve advised Megan to return with the notice, and the discharge papers…To request a nurse other than Maggie, and to explain what was requested. IF they require the discharge papers, then I expect the manager to allow Megan to explain things, and to continue to allow her to donate as she’s not in one of the high-risk categories according to the doctor, the physician’s assistant, nurse, and all others who worked with her.

When I first donated a couple weeks ago, I was told plasma donation gets a bad rap. Well, if you have nurses like Maggie, making it difficult for willing and able donors to donate, you’re going to continue to have a bad wrap. Personally, I like donating. yes, the compensation is great…But, I do it because I love the fact I can donate more frequently than I can with straight blood, and the plasma has uses for people in multiple ways. It’s a good feeling to know I’m helping out. But, if you push out someone I care about just because one of your nurses can’t communicate properly, you’ll lose her, me, and anyone else I can convince not to donate to your company.

Updates will be coming soon as to what happens with this issue. Watch this post.