Where am I? What is this place?
Gentle Wit is my personal weblog, which takes its name from a wonderful critique of my writing by HopefulNebula. It’s basically a place where I babble about whatever pops into my mind. There are no set things upon which I post; I tend to jump around often in what is blogged as my interests are many and varied. For the most part you can expect snippets of my daily life in the form of work, school, and my experiences as a guide dog handler. Often you may find reviews of various books, movies or television shows with the occasional commentary on certain news items. (Please note: For a variety of boring reasons, posts made prior to December 2007 are no longer publicly accessible.)

Who are you? And what’s with the FAQ format?
I’m Cyndy, though you might know me from other Internet haunts as either “ceo” or “Bleu.” I decided to answer typical questions here because I wanted to do something a bit different from the traditional “about me” page. I can never think of what should go into those biography sections anyway.

Headshot of me on a brown backgroundWhat do you look like?
Along with the picture to the right, there are a bunch of photos of me scattered throughout this site. The hair color is subject to change, but for the record my natural color is a very dark brown, almost black.

Where were you born? Where do you live?
I was born in Seoul, South Korea. Being part of a military family, I was soon after whisked away to merry ole England and several years later came to reside in New York State. Since then I have lived all throughout the state and now call the Capital District home.

Who’s Uschi?
The seventy-five pounds of adorable and excitable German shepherd is my third guide dog. She is from Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, which is unique among guide dog schools as they solely train GSDs and all of their instruction is done “in-community” – often called home training. She is the second shepherd I have had as a guide dog. She’s proving to be an incredibly competent, calm and proficient guide. Out of harness she’s about as different as you could possibly get from those traits. Basically, she’s your typical young shepherd. As my constant companion, she is a very frequent subject on my blog and my very amateur photography. There’s also a separate FAQ that’s pretty much all about her.

Third!? So you’ve had guide dogs before?
Indeed. My first guide was a little female black Labrador retriever from Guiding Eyes for the Blind named Dolly. She passed away in May 2010. Yara, a female sable German shepherd, was my second guide dog. She was diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in November 2008 and as of January 2011 is enjoying retirement as my father’s pet.

What’s a guide dog?
A guide dog is a type of assistance dog that is trained to aid a blind person in safe, independent travel. If you want to learn more about guide dogs, feel free to read through this tag or you can ask me directly. And, of course, there’s always a trusty internet search.

Wait! You’re blind?!
Yup. I was born with a retinal condition called achromatopsia.

How do you use a computer?
Depending on the lighting situation I have enough vision to use my computer just like anyone else who isn’t legally blind. I use a very large monitor (currently, a 27″ iMac) coupled with Apple’s VoiceOver screen-reading software when necessary.

How do you use a camera?
Pretty much like anyone else, but much of the time I can’t really see what I’m trying to capture in a photo. This is why I very much like digital photography because I can upload the images onto my computer and weed out the poor ones. Plus, I don’t waste valuable film, which can be very expensive.

How do you play video games?
Honestly, if I hadn’t grown up playing games on the NES with my dad, I probably wouldn’t still be interested in them now because I’m a pretty poor gamer. Obviously, vision is a major component in playing video games and even when I’m sitting practically on top of the television there is a lot I miss visually. In general, I find I can usually manage to play any game so long as it does not rely on colors to complete tasks. (Seriously, you’d be amazed at how often that is a mechanic in gaming. It’s incredibly frustrating.)

What’s with all the cupcakes?
My friend Raechel got me started on cupcake decorating after we made these penguins. I’ve always enjoyed baking, but I’ve never been fond of sweets (and I absolutely detest frosting) so no one was more surprised than me that it became a hobby. Now I’m usually a couple dozen cupcakes behind in what I want to make and constantly adding to my stockpile of new designs to try out.

I read somewhere that you fold origami. Is that true? How did you get into that hobby?
I started folding sometime in elementary school. My mother, who is a very talented artist, experimented with the art form and I was instantly in love with it. Between lack of time and issues with pain/stiffness in my hands I don’t fold nearly as much as I would like to these days, but I do keep my eyes open for new designs and unique paper.

Didn’t you used to design websites? Will you make me a website?
I did, rather obsessively at that. I still freelance when time allows. If you’re interested in my services, feel free to contact me and we can discuss the details.

Isn’t there anything more about yourself you can share?
Probably. Feel free to ask me whatever you wish.