Darius Goes West – “Pimp My Wheelchair”

Garden Time!

I have recently had lots of interest in having my own garden. I decided to start a butterfly garden. I have always liked butterflies and would like to have more in my yard. Since it is still too early to plant flowers outside. I bought a seed starter Kit,to get a head start on my garden. Some of the flowers that I have started :

Bee Balm

Milkweed

Aster

Zinnia

Seed Starter

North Carolina Trip

Here are some pictures from my recent trip to North Carolina.I went to the Outer Banks.

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Niagara Falls Helicopter Ride

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I just went on a summer trip to Niagara Falls.  One of things that I always wanted to do was ride a helicopter. So when I was in Canada I saw a company advertising flights over the falls so I got a crazy idea to try it.  I was nervous in How I would transfer to the helicopter but the staff was trained in how to assist in transferring.  It was definitely exciting and scary at the same time.

Disney Cruise

I finally got around to updating my blog here are some of the things that I was have been doing this winter. The first thing I like to talk about is my recent cruise. In a future blog I will discuss my adventures in Florida.

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This winter I went on a cruise to the Western Caribbean aboard the Disney Magic. The ports of call were Key West Florida,Cozumel Mexico, Grand Cayman,and Disney’s private island. The rooms are very large which is great for a wheelchair. The rooms on Disney cruise ships are larger than most other cruise ships. There are not that many rooms that are wheelchair accessible so it is important to book early I got one of the last rooms available.

The first place that we went to was Key West Florida. The ship lets you off right in Mallory Square which is easy to get around, I didn’t spend very much time here because it was a very windy day. We decided to try to walk down Duval Street. Getting there was not as easy as I thought; some of the curb cuts are not very good. On the way walking to Duval Street we saw that Key West was having an art festival and they closed the road which made it easier because I could walk on the road. The art festival, which is held the last weekend in January, was very nice; I would highly recommend it. When we finally made it to Duval Street it was very crowded and many stores have steps. On the way back to the ship we decided to take a tour of the Island. The next day we arrived in Cozumel, Mexico.

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Donkey on Street 

The streets in Cozumel can be very crowded and the sidewalks are narrow in some places. But in my opinion it was still worth going down some of the streets to get the feel of what Mexico is like. When getting off the ship you are very close to an outside shopping mall which is very easy to get around and I would definitely recommend looking at some of the stores. The prices are probably higher here but it’s much easier than going to some of the stores if you have a very low endurance level.Cozumel is a very pretty place. I wish I could have seen more of it.I was unable to find an accessible van to travel to other parts of Cozumel.The next day the ship went to Grand Cayman. I decided to stay on the ship and relax that day since you have to use a tender in order to get to the island. The final destination that we went to was Disney’s private island Castaway Cay which does not require a tender. There are paved walkways which make it easy for a wheelchair to get around. They have sand wheelchairs which allow you to go on the beach. They don’t have headrests which are very important for someone with limited neck strength. They serve a great lunch on the island and you can enjoy a fabulous day there.

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Castaway Cay Island

Castaway Cay is a highlight of the Disney Cruise. Going back to the ship, we stopped at the Post Office and mailed some postcards to friends with the beautiful Bahama stamps.

The Disney Cruise ship is fantastic. There are many dining options, including room service. The staff is more than willing to help you. The food is good and the portions are huge; the desserts are absolutely delicious! The shows have Disney themes and are great. All in all, there is always something to do – a great vacation experience!

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

I recently rode the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. I always heard it was wheelchair accessible, but I never gave it a try . I was very surprised how accessible the train was for wheelchairs. The train has one car that is accessible and it has two wheelchair lifts so that you can exit on either side of the train depending on what side the station is located. The seats can fold up to make space for wheelchairs. In order to ride the train in a wheelchair you will need to make reservations with the railroad. We went on the scenic limited trip which is a 1 and 3/4 hour trip that goes through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You get off from where you started.

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Good microphone for speech recognition

Are you looking for a good microphone for speech recognition I would recommend the

Plantronics DSP-400.

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Free on-screen keyboard

Many people have trouble using a keyboard or cannot use a keyboard at all. So one way to type is to use a on-screen keyboard. Windows includes an on-screen keyboard but lacks many features. In my search for a better on-screen keyboard I found one called Click-N-Type.

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It adds more features than the one that is included with Windows. Some of the features are word completion, macros, auto click, keyboard customization, and many other features. If you want to see a full list of all the features please go to this webpage. The best part is that it is free. Many other on-screen keyboards with the same features costs hundreds of dollars. Why spend all this money when you can find a great free on-screen keyboard like Click-N-Type.

Voice-recognition with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9.

I have tried using voice recognition in the past. it never seem to work quite right for me, I had tried using NaturallySpeaking in the past. I was at target today and I saw the new version. It was only $39, so I decided to give it a try.I installed the new version for Microsoft Windows Vista. I was surprised how well it worked with very little training. It claims to require no training.It worked so much better than any past version that I have used. Nuance claims that the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 speech engine is up to 20% more accurate than version 8. I think they might be correct.