Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I actually LIKED the Saturday Night Live ASL skit

I think there is a world of difference between what was done by Chelsea Lately and SNL.

Chelsea made fun of something she was entirely ignorant about, thus truly insulting Deaf and our language.  I think she got what she deserved when people erupted against her.  I think she owes an apology for being rude.

SNL, on the other hand, showed a very playful nature, and I think they did a parody in good humor and with a fair amount of knowledge.  I found the ASL part pretty funny, the Italian party absolutely hilarious, and the Spanish part really funny too.  It's just my opinion, but I think if you're offended by the SNL skit, you may want to grow thicker skin and laugh along.

I'm open to comments as to why it was insulting.  Marlee's opinion carried no weight with me, though.

Friday, August 31, 2012

World got even quieter...

Well I guess it's time to get back in for an adjustment.  I graphed my audiograms over the years.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Regal Captioned Movies via Sony Glasses - Followup

I went to see Dark Knight Rises tonight, so I got to use the caption glasses again.  This time armed with the information from my last post, I adjusted them and got even better performance from them.

The little box thing that the glasses plug into has three buttons:  the middle button is "menu" and then a + and - button.  I pressed menu and adjusted the brightness of the captions to where I wanted them.  Then I pressed menu again and was able to adjust the captions "near", "mid", or "far".  This was really wonderful and solved my major complaint from last time.  My vision is normal, but setting the captions to "far" meant that the captions were much closer to the screen in terms of focusing my eyes to see the movie or the captions  (set to near, it feels more like changing focus from he movie screen to a mobile phone in your hand, which caused me fatigue my first time).

The only remaining complaint focuses around the weight of the glasses.  They aren't particularly heavy, but towards the end of the movies, my nose has been quite sore.  I wear glass sunglasses and they don't bother me over long periods, so it's not just me.

I did ask the ticket seller how many glasses they had.  He said about 4 pairs.  So unfortunately big groups of Deafies won't be going together, which kind of sucks.  Hopefully the theaters get more, but still most theaters don't have any, and Regal has committed to all theaters nationwide.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5 years of ASL classes - DONE!

I simply cannot believe that five years has blown by like a freight train.  It seems like yesterday I walked into that beginning class and took like 2 minutes to finger spell my 5-letter name.

It has been a wonderful experience, and I have met some people I hope to know the rest of my life.  Even after five years, I still feel like somewhat of a noob.  I guess I have to keep remembering that many of the people I meet have been signing all or most of their lives.  Nonetheless, I am ultimately thankful for my new ability to successfully use an interpreter!

I hope I can attend, or even help set up some more local casual events.  There don't seem to be many right now, and it would be great to use my ASL more with fluent signers.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Regal Captions All Movies With Special Glasses - A Review

Regal has been busy working on equal access to movies!  I have heard it is their plan to roll closed-captioning for every showtime of every movie to all of their theaters.  My local theaters already have this functionality, so I decided to test drive it and go see Avengers.

Upon arrival, you will need to stand in line with the rest of the world, since the ticket kiosks cannot distribute the glasses.  I exchanged my driver license for some fancy Sony glasses.


So first things first.  The glasses really work!  Captions are clear, and I discovered halfway through the movie that I could adjust the position of the captions vertically (I initially needed to wear the glasses way down on my nose to get them where I wanted them).

When looking at the screen, the captions are bright green and pretty clear.  They aren't too big or too small.  It's kind of a weird feeling, if you're used to captions, because the captions move with your head.  For example, I could face the side wall of the theater and still have captions.  I removed the glasses during the movie and looked at them from all angles, and I was unable to detect any light sources, so these aren't going to bother other movie-goers.

Now for the areas they could be improved.  They definitely feel bulky, and even at only 3 ounces, they felt very heavy by the end of the movie!  Sony claims that a removable attachment makes them 3D capable, but Regal doesn't have any 3D movies captioned yet, no sure why.  Finally, since these are almost guaranteed NOT to fit over a normal pair of glasses, I don't see how they could be used by someone with vision problems bad enough to not be able to watch a movie without their glasses.

One slightly annoying characteristic, is that the captions are not on the same focal plane as the movie.  What I mean by this, is that unlike normal captions/subtitles that appear ON the screen, these float in space much "closer" to your face than the screen.  So you have to switch focus quickly and often.  Imagine holding your hand one foot from your face, and switching focus from your hand to the screen for every sentence.  Eye fatigue!

Overall, a great success brought to you by the folks at Sony and Regal.  I can't wait to see the future products that will b made possible by refining this technology, or finding a better way!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

First time using an ASL interpreter = WOW! (late-deaf)

I had an important meeting this week.  The meeting room is huge, and what sound doesn't "disappear" turns into echoes.  To make matters worse, I knew for a fact there would be soft-spoken people present, as well as people with strong foreign accents.  So I decided to bite the bullet and use an interpreter for my first time ever.

I have to admit, I was a bit anxious about this whole ordeal.  Probably more of a "fear of the unknown" thing, but nonetheless not an easy thing to come to grips with.  I worried about my ASL proficiency not being quite good enough.  I worried about being able to pay attention both to the faces/emotions of the people speaking as well as the interpreter.  Overall, I must say that my fears in this case were completely unfounded.  It was wonderful to sit through a meeting and not wonder what I missed when "that person" was talking and I couldn't hear and/or understand them.

I hope all future interpreter situations are as easy as this one!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rexton Cobalt 16 hearing aids - 3 year update


So, after having this set of hearing aids for three years now, I can say that I am still quite happy with them.

The bluetooth streaming has proven to be an absolute life-saver for watching movies at home, and being able to hear at church.  The longevity of the aids seems good, since I haven't had to send them in for repair yet.  I have replaced the receivers a couple times, but the first time or two was covered by the warranty, and they are only about $100 and do not require sending them in for repair, and thus being screwed for a couple weeks.  I managed to break my bluetooth remote once, but that was my fault, and I had to pay like $350 out of pocket to get a new one, ouch.

Overall, I would highly recommend these aids, especially to younger or more tech-savvy people.  Once the tuning was tweaked a few times to my liking, they are really nice.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So I chose ZVRS

A few ZVRS people came and gave a great presentation at Deaf Family Night several days ago.  Impressive stuff, and it appears overall to be the best choice for me right now.

I'm getting the Z-340, and I will use the Z4 software on my Mac and iPhone also.  Now just waiting for my hardware to arrive!  I'm still kind of sad I couldn't get the Z20 for free, since I don't have a competitive VP to trade, but the Z340 looks pretty nice, and I like that I can take it on trips with me.

Switched at Birth - bold writing choices last night!

I was really impressed with the bold choices made last night, exposing some pretty edgy topics in Deaf culture.

The new character Travis is first shown as a strong Deaf militant, intolerant of Hearing people, intolerant of Daphne's intermixing with Hearing and Deaf, and just bitter.  Then the writers connected that behavior with another controversial topic:  Deaf kids in Hearing families who don't learn sign.

I really like that this episode exposed two controversial topics to the masses, who may otherwise be ignorant of their very existence!  Handwaves!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Teaching Deaf kids ASL - fingerspelling?

So my 3-year-old son is rapidly learning ASL from me.  It's nothing short of amazing how he is accelerating.  One thing I haven't done much around him though is fingerspelling.  As he learns more, it becomes more difficult for me since I don't know signs for everything under the sun.

There are only two cases, though.  Some thing have no signs, and must be finger-spelled, and some things have a sign and I don't know the sign.  How do I deal with this??

Let's take an example:  Octopus.  Clearly this is much to complicated for him to finger spell--if I finger spell this to him he relays back to me "garbage" trying to mimic my hand.

Can someone please help me here to understand how kids learn fingerspelling?  Thanks in advance!!

Switched at Birth - lazy signing?

I watched the premiere of Switched at Birth last night, and although people on the show are improving on their signing skill, it seems like even the Deaf characters are using some lazy signing (but mostly the Hearing characters).  Unlike most newbie signers, the Hearing characters have a really decent "flow", but still, I see a lot of lazy signing all around.

Obviously, if the show were realistic, we would be seeing choppy, malformed signing for years, which doesn't make for good TV.  What do you all think?