Trying to getNBC’s reality show “Starting Over” online

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a  long long time since I’ve been on here!  I don’t really know if people read this or not, so have been concintrating more on making videos.

However, I thought I’d put something on here about this project I’m doing to see if anyone has  thoughts or ways they could help.

The producers of the real world  did a show that ran from 2003 to 2006called “Starting Over” It featured six women living together in a house working on life goals with the help of   coaches Rhonda Britten, Iyanla Van Zant, and Stan Katz a psychologist. It showed the ups and downs of the women’s  progress in the house,  both on  their individual goals and also issues within the group. The issues dealt from ranged from working on finding better romantic relationships, to redefining  identity, to learning to  “grow up”, to addressing child abuse ETC. I believe that anyone who watched the show could  probably see themselves in the people on  there or in their issues. I only watched part of the third and last season, but I looked forward to it and really enjoyed it. It’s especially enjoyable for me as  someone who’s blind and apreciates shows with a lot of dialogue. As a side note, I was reading somewhere yesterday that there was a graduate on there who was legally blind, though I don’t know much about that but want to find out!

The show was canceled in 2006 for unknown reasons. Because it ran an hour everyday it wouldn’t be practical to put it on DVD. However, I don’t see any reason why it can’t be slowly over time uploaded to a site such as youtube or netflicks so that people could watch it. I feel it could continue to inspire people and give them tools and support/ hope as they see the women overcome challenges, as well as maybe even be a good audience to attract people to the life coaches/ therapists on the show if they’ve never seen their work.

I am having a major problem though finding anyone who has any recordings of the show. I wrote a graduate who told me they weren’t given copies. She would like to see the show as much as the fans would as no one she knows tapped it. I wrote a therapist who was  featured on the show and had a couple clips on her website. I thought she might have more of it. She said that the two five minute clips were all she was given after leaving. I honestly don’t know who else to write,  besides keep writing graduates to see if they know anything.

This wasn’t just a show that totally failed or something. It won several Emmy awards, and was loved by so so  many people! It was actually a helpful show that  did good things for people, rather than some of the stupid reality shows that are out there now that seem to be so easily available on DVD. Now that there seems to be this big mystery involved I’m more determined than ever to at least figure out what the big secret is around this show! The therapist  I wrote told me that one of the main  producers passed away a few years ago, which is very sad. But she couldn’t have been the only one  with access to any of this show. People will put up clips of it sometimes, particularly if someone like a therapist media consultant ETC was  featured there,  and under every clip there are so many comments wanting more. I just would really like to know where this show is hiding! And it would be awesome if we could get even some of it uploaded somewhere to watch.

If anyone knows anything about this or has ideas please comment. Thanks so much.

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Sam’s on Youtube

Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to let  you all know that I have my own youtube chanil. I figured out how to use my webcam. I hope everything looks all right as I can’t see what I’m doing, but love it anyway.  I have two videos up and more to come!

Here’s  the link to my chanil. You’ll also find it in the links section.

Enjoy and  I’d love feedback!

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Finding Alice Book Review

An interesting book that I’ve read lately is Finding  Alice by Melody Carloson.

Alice is a college student who grew up in a very fundamentalist Christian family. She goes off to college and at first is so happy to be on her own and even  with a boyfriend. However, by the end of her first semester her boyfriend  breaks up with her. After this, she slowly starts to slip out of reality. She believes  that her neighbors want to poison her with food they bring, and other paranoid things. She also meets an “imaginary friend”  Amelia, who  sometimes can be supportive and comforting and other times verbally abuses Alice along with a growing chorus of voices that come to inhabit her head.

Eventually her mother hears about this and takes her home,  to be “treated” by  their  conservative  church,  where the pastor and others are convinced that her  illness is “the work of a devel” that needs to be removed from Alice  through prayer. This, as one might imagine, doesn’t really work  very well and makes Alice feel worse.

Eventually   her  symptoms become too  much for her mother and church to manage and she is brought to a very traditionally minded  psychiatric  hospital. There the only treatment seems to be high doses of antipsychotics,all the control for care being in the doctor’s hands, and the use of restraints and  isolation. Very little information is given to Alice about what it is the doctors are treating her with, for example, why she needs to have blood drawn so much, and this understandably makes her even more paranoid. I think if I went to that hospital I’d be paranoid too, and I don’t even have schizophrenia.

So as you can imagine Alice escapes the first chance she gets. And then starts an undetermined length of time for her on the streets, where she runs into all sorts of  characters. Eventually she finds a stray and ill cat, which she names Chishire (like in the book Alice and Wonderland) and is lead to Faye, the “cat lady.” Faye takes both the cat and Alice in, and here starts Alice’s turn towards recovery. In the book, the character I like the best is probably Faye. She’s such a loving older lady, who truly accepts Alice for who she is, and doesn’t judge her for her illness. Alice soon meets  Faye’s nephew Simon, who just so happens to work at  the Goldin Home, a very progressive treatment center for people with mental health issues. Here the model is the exact opposite of the psychiatric hospital. Medication is given but at a reasonable  dose, and is by no means the only form of  treatment.  A  variety of  therapies and activities are encouraged, and treatment is very holistic.  Alice spends a little over a year there, and slowly recovers with the right support.

I highly recommend this book. It  has many referen

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Sam’s place at Friedman Place, or about my Awesome apartment!

Hi Everyone,

So  let’s discuss Sam’s awesome new  apartment. Ok.  I moved in here last monday. I only saw really one apartment when I visited a few months ago, and that one was really nice and big. Mine is about the same size. (if someone in my family e-mails me pictures I’ll post here)

 My family and I didn’t have to  buy any furniture at all. I h have a bed and  nightstand, a nice big dresser with lots of drawers and plenty of room to put stuff on top, and a table for my computer   and scanner.

 I also decided to get   a landline, after much debate, since it’s nice to be able to call residents  and staff within the building. And it’s good to have a chicago number for all the new  Chicago friends I’ll hopefully be meeting.

 Oh, I forgot. The  apartment also came with an awesome couch that reclines, yay! TV is free here too, and I’ll be getting one soon.

 The apartment also has very nice windows that let the sunshine in. I also like the windowsills that are nice and big. I  picture Lucky sitting in the window, or Simon. So sad, no cats!

 Then there’s the kitchin. I h have a nice fridge, and microwave with braille on it. I also have a sink with  cupboards above it where I can put my snacks.

 I love the bathroom I have that’s so nice and spacious. There are plenty of  places to hang  towels and put stuff. I had issues with getting hot water in the shower, but now that’s fixed. It’s still not as hot as at college or my parent’s house, because I guess there’s some stupid rule that in a facility you can’t have water over 100 degrees or else it could burn someone. But the shower seat is nice as a plus, good for sitting and shaving.

 I honestly just walk around this place everyday touching stuff and saying to myself or out loud,”I can’t believe this  is all mine!” And it is. I signed a lease and payed rent on Wednesday.

 So yeah, I’m very pleased with my little set up. And really can’t ask for anything more. Except for a cat of course!

 But seriously. My family and I never thought I’d ever have my own place. And now thanks to this community I can. That means more than anyone  could ever imagine.

 So yeah, all that’s missing is the party!  Or at least a couple visitors.

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New computer versus old computer

Hi Everyone,

So I have two laptops with me now, yay! Now I don’t have to worry about  ever being without a computer again, as  long as I take care of them both.

 Anyway, over the past couple weeks I got the new windows 7 computer up and running, well, sort of.

 I found that using JAWS (my screen reading software) on it is actually easier than I thought. Which is probably the best news out of all of this.

 Everything else is pritty annoying. I use Kirzwile scanning software, and an epsin scanner. We installed all of this, and then found out that there are compatibility issues with windows 7 for both. It costs $400 for a  Kirzwile  upgrade! I hate how  expensive this stuff is! (topic for a  later post, don’t get me started now!)

 Anyway, I figure I’ll wait  on fixing that until I get hooked up with blind services in Chicago, make them pay for it, which they will since I’m new and haven’t asked for anything  yet. So I got my scanning stuff up and running on the old computer, which it can handle now that I deleted all my junk from school and ten thousand e-mails!

 But it’s not just the software compatibility stuff that’s annoying. The new computer is just so touchy! It seems like every five minutes some security alert is coming up, or a new software update or something. And for some reason, even though my room here is close to the  wireless router, it has a terrible time staying connected to the internet. My IBM is pritty reliable about this. The internet access here isn’t the best, and on the IBM that I’m on now it does go in and out. But the windows 7 one is rediculous. I’ll just get online and start doing something and it’ll crash. There’s stuff I know how to do to get it back up again, usually re-starting the computer does it, but  sometimes that doesn’t even work. It only works when it wants to.

  Even my sister, who is better at computers than I am (she’s 16 after all!) was ready to hurt it very badly  after working with it for about a half an hour. She had wanted to set up skipe for me, and by the end of trying to work with it she said,”I’m ready to throw a whole bottle of water on this computer!” Not that this would have done much good, but still.

 So sad that I have this shiney new computer that has so many issues. It’s good for writing in my journal with, I know that works. Hopefully I’ll get used to it. When the blind services people come around I’m going to hide old reliable over here, and pretend  that the new one is the only one I have. Otherwise I know they won’t help me.

 It kind of reminds me of when I changed phones. I had my first  cell for like six or  seven years and took great care of it. But a couple years ago it really started having problems with the battery and stuff, so I got a new one. The voice recognition on the old one was awesome.  I could ask it the time and it would tell me right away, I could handle my contacts pritty well with it, and it accurately made calls for me.

 I’ve had this new one for about two years, and from the beginning the voice recognition has sucked! It doesn’t understand what I’m saying half the time and it’s so frustrating. You would think when you get something new it would work better than what you had before, not cause more problems.

 Anyway, hopefully I’ll get used to my new computer soon.

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New favorite website: psych central

Hi Everyone,

I just recently found a new great website for anything psychology related. It’s called Psych central.

The link is:

I don’t even remember how I found it. Probably from googling something since it’s pritty popular. They have everything. Quizzes, forums where you can connect with those with similar interests/ issues, nine pages of social groups to  joen, and a therapist directory. Although in my oppinion, psychology today has a better directory.

Still I’m very excited to have this site to play with when I want to meet new people online, (with caution of course) or when I’m bored. I encourage you to check it out.

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Sam’s new computer!

Hi everyone,

I have great news! I  bought a new computer last night, thank you my Gramma. That was her graduation present to me, and it’s the best. It’s this toshiba laptop that’s really light weight, with lots of hard drive space to put all my programs. It even has a webcam (well I guess they all do now) and if I can learn to use it I can webcam people or   whatever it’s called.

I’m beyond excited to have a brand new computer, and to get it without having to wait ten years for the comission for the blind to decide whether  or not I deserve one.

Anyway, I’m not using it yet because my mom has to install all my programs. But the other good thing too is that I get to keep this laptop that I’ve been using from my Dad’s work as a back up computer. I’ve never had a backup and I’m so happy about it.


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