Archive for May, 2008

For My Readers Out There

May 31, 2008

For my book-loving readers out there, I thought I would share some great materials that I have read recently.

If you are looking for great books on Deaf/deaf people, then have I got the books for you! In “No Walls of Stone: An Anthology of Literature by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers,” I read the most awesome story called “Deafness.” It was written by David Wright and is an excerpt from his book titled “Deafness: A Personal Account.” What I found so remarkable about this book was that he explains so vividly how deaf people “see sound” and what sound means to deaf people.

People always ask me if it is quiet when I am with my Deaf and hard of hearing friends and I always struggle with an answer because, on the one hand, it is quiet in the sense of actually “hearing” conversation and what-not, but it also just as loud as being with hearing people. I had no idea how to express this until I read his book. David Wright explains it this way: he says that, for a deaf person, “quiet” means stillness–no movement–like trees standing erect without wind. “Loudness” means movement and more movement means “louder.” If the wind is blowing and the trees are swaying and the leaves are swirling, then “noise” is filling the senses. Of course, David Wright says it much better than I can, so read his book!

I know that I have already mentioned this book before, but, I cannot help it. It is a great book that gives incredible insight into the Deaf community and Deaf values. Besides, it is hilarious. Who does not like a funny book? ”Bug: Deaf Identity and Internal Revolution” by Christopher Jon Heuer is amazing. If you want an example of what I am talking about, read my blog “A Cookie-Cutter Image.”

“Deaf World: A Historical Reader and Primary Sourcebook” edited by Lois Bragg is a great resource, too. It is a compilation of many, many books, articles, and other such materials that gives a well-rounded education of the Deaf-World.

Lastly, I must recommend the very first book I ever read about the Deaf: “A Journey into the Deaf-World” by Lane, Hoffmeister, and Bahan. It is a great book that explains all you would ever want to know about deafness, sign language, Deaf culture, cochlear implants, and the list goes on! This book, along with several other books by Ben Bahan, are what gave me my first glimpses into the Deaf-World and Deaf culture. As I said before, when I was first learning ASL, I had little to no contact with Deaf people, so I read and read and read. This is one of those books I happened to pick up, and I am so glad I did, too.

I hope this list helps! At least it would make for an incredible summer reading experience!

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Another one bites the dust*

May 30, 2008

Today, after almost a month, I FINALLY got the new sidekick… the third one, thank you. My sidekick acted up a month or so ago just as I was getting ready to go home. The problem: the motherboard. The battery wouldn’t hold a charge and it kept shutting down on me and making this noise of motor running, so I was supremely frustrated… then, it shut down on me RIGHT BEFORE I was to go to the airport. Imagine my anger, my shock, mt frustration. I had to go home and my sidekick would be no help to me in contacting my parents – who are hearing and require a phone call in order to let them know I reached the windy city (aka Chicago) fine and needed a pick-up.

So, this little title and clip is a homage to my old sidekick – little sidekick jr., and a welcoming of a new one. Plus, the whole point of this post is to look at sidekick. I don’t get why we MUST have the sidekick. After all, they can be so bad at time. My friend’s friend has a sidekick and she once marveled at it and he told her that this was his fourth sidekick THAT YEAR. Sometimes I wonder why we have an obsession with the sidekick.. and then i wonder why the sidekick isn’t that amazing. Perhaps because tmobile doesn’t have any real competition with any other phone from the other companies… I mean, blackberry are also made by tmobile, etc etc.

Things are going absolutely fantastic here. I have turned in an application for a job at the Dollar Store yesterday, I found out news about my summer job and summer pay for it a few weeks ago (FINALLY!! After three years as a one-on-one aide/jr counselor (two years ago), I’m FINALLY a counselor!). Then, on top of it all, I only have one more week before I can move into my room. Ah! Yes! Okay, I’m clearly just pointing out fantastic things happening lately because right now, I must conserve money since I have less than one hundred dollars in my account and my savings has been drained by summer school. (curse you, summer school!!)

Oh, I believe Queen’s “We Will Rock You” is calling me. I shall bid you fond farewell for now.

*”Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen.

How Do Vloggers Do It?

May 30, 2008

I wanted to make a vlog in response to some discussion on a forum. I feel that the “Open the Directory” petition website has out-of-date information that is hurtful to Sorenson, other VRS providers, and deaf users of VRS services. The information should be updated, and I was going to explain in a vlog why it needs to be changed.

But then I had to edit my vlog. It was about 20 minutes long, and nobody wants to watch me that long! So I was editing it, and I kept staring at myself, watching myself, seeing my words in front of me over and over. And I’ve given up. I am going to keep my thoughts to myself, for the simple reason that I hate looking at myself on video. So I want to know…how do vloggers do it? There are lots of great deaf vloggers, and not everybody is a beautiful movie star who reads a script in front of a camera! I am comfortable expressing myself in ASL, that’s not the problem…it’s seeing myself on video.

Yes, I am a fat chick…I’m working on it! And I look really super pale on video. So when I am editing a video of myself, I see a bright white whale in front of me, and I hate it! But surely other people have this problem too? How do they manage to edit their videos? How do they produce so many great vlogs? I just absolutely hate watching myself on camera! (I always keep the “self-view” on VPs turned off because I don’t want to see that either.)

By the way, this is an issue for Gallaudet students too. Many classes are requiring assignments to be submitted in ASL now; GSR 103 students are given webcams to help them with this, and there’s video editing suites in multiple places on campus. When I had to do it for classes, I just swallowed my pride and hoped that only the teacher would see me. But it was still tough, knowing that I had to film myself for class. So that’s something for potential students to think about.

I Think I Have It Figured Out…

May 30, 2008

Okay, so I think I have it figured out. When we switched to the new blog site, I thought I was supposed to blog on my own domain, http://gucasey.wordpress.com/, but I began to realize that while I was posting on THAT site, everyone else was posting on https://gallaudetblog.wordpress.com/. So, because I am an independent person and have enjoyed my freedom to pick out various backgrounds and styles and such for my blog site, I think I will continue bloging from http://gucasey.wordpress.com/(where you can read my newest blogs) instead of the Gallaudet blog site. I hope you can access it alright, if not, let me know, and I will gladly give up this small part of my independence for the benefit of the majority. Happy reading! 🙂

Its Official!

May 29, 2008

I am now an official Ebayer. It was a long, hard journey to get to this new-found status, but I think it will be worth the effort in the end. Until this past semester, I had never bought or sold anything online. That changed though when I was only able to find two out-of-print books that I needed for the Spring on the Internet. Then, when I came home on Mother’s Day for summer break, my mom asked me if I would be interested in selling her homeschool materials and other books and such on Ebay. She even offered to give me a percentage of my sales, so of course, I agreed. Here I am, many hours and several applications later to tell you that I survived–barely.

I found it quite frustrating that after I had finally completed the applications required to become an Ebayer and a PayPal account holder and had entered in all the necessary information about my first item, that my Internet connection failed and I lost all my hard work. Well, I suppose I was stupid enough to fall for this trick several times before I caught on to what was going on. With this in mind, I had a new sense of pride in myself for outsmarting my computer as I avoided the failing Internet connection and pushed the “submit your item” button–only to lose everything again. “Why me?!?!?” I felt like screaming aloud. Again, I inhaled and exhaled deeply, trying to calm my shaking nerves, and entered everything as it was before and lost it just the same. At my wits end, I contacted the Live Help for, well, some help, which they cheerfully gave. Come to find out, it was a glitch in the system. A bug. Something that I could have spent the entire night fighting in vain had I not asked for assistance. Oh, when will I ever learn?

Wait, don’t answer that question.

So, as I said, I am now an Ebayer–an official Ebayer. I sold my first item yesterday. I just hope I learned something from this experience like “pride goes before a fall,” “don’t be afraid to ask for help,” or “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Those would all be good lessons to take from this experience, I think.

A Change of Plans

May 29, 2008

Before, I said that my summer plans were to study for the ASLPI, get in shape for soccer, and teach an ASL class at a private school. Well, plans change, and I suppose God has a purpose for the change in my summer plans. I should have know though, you see, because James says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15, NIV).

Instead of trusting God with my future and asking Him what He wanted me to do for the summer, I trusted in myself and in the four-page application I sent to the private school. Well, you can guess what happened. The head of the program called me yesterday and told me that my class did not make it–it fell short of the quota by only 1 or 2 students. I was disappointed, yes. I was frustrated, of course. However, I knew it happened for a reason–a reason that I do not know of at this point. Perhaps God has something better for me to do these few short summer months that I am home. I do not know, but I do know that God knows the plans He has for me, “plans to prosper and not to harm,” plans to give “a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

So, with this in mind, I think I will start looking for some other summer job and pray about it, asking God if it is where He wants me, BEFORE I commit. Even then, I should be careful not to trust in the mode that God provides for me, only in my Provider, who blessed me with “the mode” (i.e. job) in the first place.

Expelled…A Continuation

May 28, 2008

First, let me correct and clarify a few points from my last blog. Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. What I should have said so that you would know who I was talking about is that Henry Ford was the man who helped establish the Ford Motor Company. Also, let me say that when I wrote the question “if we descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys hanging around,” I wrote it from personal experience. I know that the theory states that chimpanzees supposedly split into two different species–more chimps and humans. A fellow student asked this question in class one day and the professor replied, “That is too complicated for me to answer right now. That is a discussion for another day.” She avoided the question. That was my point. We are losing our freedom to ask such questions and scientists, scholars, and inquisitors are losing their freedom to explore the answer to that question as well as other questions.

Second, I wanted to add something to my blog. In biology, like I said, we learned how every living thing originated from the same common ancestor. This is called macroevolution. However, these same teachers and books that were teaching us that every different species that lives on earth today originated from one species a long time ago (whether that means billions of years ago or 7000 years ago does not matter) also said “chemical reactions do not create or destroy matter; they only rearrange it in various ways” (page 29, Biology: Concepts and Connections, 5th Ed. by Campbell, Reece, Taylor, etc.) and “The ability of organisms to reproduce their own kind is the one characteristic that best distinguishes living things from nonliving matter. Only amoebas produce more amoebas, only people make more people, and only maple trees produce more maple trees. These simple facts of life have been recognized for thousands of years and are summarized by the age-old saying ‘like begets like” (page 126 of the same textbook above).

In other words, they contradict themselves.

Forbid it that anyone should question them though or do more experiments to test those theories. I just find it hard to believe people who contradict themselves, you know? If a prokaryotic cell could produce only its same kind of prokaryotic cell and still, after enough time, morph into a human being, then I might find this theory a little more believable. But, according to what my professor said, this is not possible, but it is possible, but it isn’t, but it is (Ahhh!!! See what I mean?).

At any rate, this is not my point. My point is that we are losing our freedom to believe what we want, question what others say is fact (or theory), study other methods, learn about other ideas, test other hypothesis, read other material, debate, talk about these discrepancies (in this theory or any other for that matter), and many other things. I simply want others to be aware of this issue and to be willing to stand up for the right of ideas (both your ideas and the ideas of others) to flow freely in our country. Only then, can we actually move forward and learn more about ourselves and the world in which we live. Thank goodness we live in America where we can pursue such a goal!

Expelled

May 27, 2008

I do not mean to mislead you when I title my blog “Expelled.” No, I was not expelled from school and this blog is not necessarily about expulsion from school. This blog is about a movie–”Expelled.” For those of you who haven’t seen it, I will attempt to summarize a few key points, but I strongly encourage you to see it for yourself. Besides, who does not like Ben Stein? Well, maybe a lot of people after this movie. We will see how that goes.

Has anyone heard of “The God Delusion,” evolution, Charles Darwin, Intelligent Design, the holocaust, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness? This movie discusses all of those issues and how they are interrelated. After what I studied in my biology and history class this past semester, I began to become aware of this connection, but my ideas did not fully come together until I saw this movie.

In my biology class this past semester, we learned quite a bit about evolution–how we are nothing more than animals ourselves since we are simply descendants of some sort of monkey-ape that descended from another common ancestor that descended from some common goo in a pit somewhere (feel special yet? I sure do. I have always wanted to come from goo. It makes me feel intelligent). We also learned about gene therapy–the process by which doctors can alter the genes of a person to make them have certain characteristics (or lack thereof) (some people just are not good enough, you know? We need to make everyone perfect and without flaw and just like everyone else). We studied the different pre-natal tests that can be done so that the mother of the baby can decide if she wants to abort her baby or not, depending on certain characteristics of the baby (Oh, the baby’s deaf? I don’t want it then). We recently discussed whether we had reached our Carrying Capacity (meaning that there are too many humans populating the earth) (According to some, let’s pull out our troops from protecting aid workers in third world countries so that everyone will either starve to death or kill each other off, trying to get food. Then, we will solve this problem of “carrying capacity” since there will be fewer people). Along with this, we discussed our Ecological Footprint (how much of an impact we are making on the resources of earth) and global warming (So, why did it snow on Easter last year in TEXAS? It must be global warming).

In my American history class, we studied everything from after the Civil War to now. I learned more about the holocaust (mostly from the movie “The Pianist” and visiting the Holocaust museum in DC than from class) and about eugenics (the belief that the human race can be improved through less reproduction of “undesirable” people–i.e. forced or voluntary sterilization or murder [think about the holocaust]–and more reproduction from “desirable” people) and its supporters (Ford–the man who invented the Ford automobile, Margaret Sanger–the founder of Planned Parenthood, and, of course, Hitler all supported some form of eugenics).

From my personal viewpoint, it seems as though most people from the Civil War to the 1960’s were supporters of eugenics, even if they did not publicly announce it. In fact, most people today are probably supporters of it, but they do not realize it because it has a different name now. Its called abortion, euthanasia, evolution, gene therapy, global warming, carrying capacity, Darwinism, social Darwinism, civil rights, women’s rights, and many other names.

Now, before I go on, please understand that I am not against freedom and rights. If you do not have the freedom to believe what you want, then I sure do not have the right to believe what I want. People have the right (and the ability) to decide if they want to abort their baby, believe in evolution, support the global warming theory, etc. But, just because you have the right to believe these things does not mean that I do not have the right to NOT believe these things. This is what leads to my next point.

In the movie, “Expelled,” Ben Stein comes to the realization that we are losing our freedom–our freedom to debate, question, and disagree with the mainstream ideas, beliefs, and theories. Think about it. When was the last time kids in the classroom were encouraged to question what they were being taught and told to test the theories they learned to see if those theories held up when under pressure? While I was in my biology class, I looked at all my classmates when the professor said that evolution was the only answer to our existence, and every single head nodded in agreement. They were not even considering any other theories. They just blindly accepted what our professor said without questioning. Can we no longer think for ourselves?

“Expelled” showed me how we are losing our freedom of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are losing the freedom to life through abortion, euthanasia, social Darwinism, and eugenics. We are losing our freedom to liberty through loss of the freedom of speech (I am ridiculed when I say what I believe in class), the press (I either cannot write what I believe or I can write it, but then I am ridiculed for it or told that my opinion is wrong even if the professor ASKED for my opinion), and religion (everyone in my class was allowed to talk about their religion except for Christians who talked about God).

We are not allowed to ask questions or disagree with our professors. Of course, they do not tell you this. In fact, they say that they encourage “group discussions” or “questions.” But have you ever tried asking questions like “if we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys hanging around?” Or, “if the first cell originated on the backs of crystals, where did THAT cell come from and where did the crystals come from?” Or, how about this: “if evolution is just a theory, then why don’t we study other theories?”

Do you know what kind of an answer you will get for going against the status quo? Something like: “you would not understand; its too complex.” Or, “no one knows for sure” (that is a real educated answer, right?). Or, “that is another discussion for another day” (boy, does THAT sound like a cop-out). I can guarantee you that you will never get a straightforward answer. If you do, it will be something along the lines of: “we came from goo,” “we were seeded by aliens,” “we came from crystals,” or “no one knows.” Those replies sound like a lot of proven research is backing them up, huh? I guess scientists are not as sure as they thought they were. But they would never say that. In fact, you will most likely get in trouble for asking in the first place.

So, how is it that we are losing our freedom? Well, if we just originated from a bunch of unintelligent goo, then life is pretty worthless. So, in that case, what is the life of a fetus, or a “misfit,” or a “rebel,” or the disabled, or anyone for that matter? We are not human beings, but animals, right? It is just the “survival of the fittest.”

Well, Hitler believed that, too.

So, what happened during the holocaust? When the Berlin wall was erected? There was a loss of ideas. Some ideas were kept inside, others were shut out. For those inside who dared to have ideas apart from the status quo, they were either killed or thrown in concentration camps. For those who had differing beliefs from the mainstream, they were treated the same. “Misfits” and “undesirables” (i.e. disabled, deaf, blind, sick, elderly, etc.) were also killed or thrown into concentration camps. This idea of eugenics still lives on today, but with a different names just like I said before.

So, don’t rock the boat. Don’t ask questions. Don’t question whether what you are hearing or reading or learning is true. Don’t go against the status quo. Don’t fight for your freedom. Don’t fight for the freedom of others. Don’t even consider fighting for your freedom of speech or the press or religion. Because, if you do, you may get expelled, lose your job, ruin your reputation, be ridiculed, get an “F” on your dissertation, be called names, or many other things. If you do not believe me, try it. Try going against the flow. Or watch “Expelled.” Either way, watch out or you may very well be expelled, too.

Graduation

May 23, 2008

 

      It finally hit home to many of those who are actually finished from all the hard work over the last few years.  Gallaudet had it’s 139th Commencement on Friday May 15, 2008.  My jaws were in for a nightcap after all the happy flexing of jawbones for pictures.  Friends, family, professors, and administrators alike were gathered outside of the Field House to congratulate the “Class of 2008”.  Two things that dawned on me the most were the completion of their bachelors degree by three members of our program Keeping the Promise as well as the Honorary degree given to Dr. Chuck Williams.  I had a chance to sit down with each of the members of KTP before the graduation day and we all had small talk.  When asked how they felt about graduating, there were mixed feelings.  One member claimed he was happy and sad at the same time.  He mentioned that not only is he leaving school but he is also leaving a culture behind which is so unique, it is almost impossible to find it anywhere but here at the Mecca of the deaf world.  All and all, it is time for them to turn to a new chapter in their lives and the transition from undergrad to graduate or to full time employment takes a pounding on everyone. 

      Here’s the word to the wise for all those who are stepping outside those gates for the final time as an undergrad……You will miss 100% of all shots you do not take.  Take chances, risk and make choices to determine where you end up.  Graduation is one step, and the buck does not stop here so continue to pursue your dreams by careful goal planning and realistic choices.  If all else fails “Let go and Let God” guide your path. 

To Write or Not!

May 16, 2008

As I write this, I’m watching Doctor Who. A fantastic little show from England. It’s the second run of this series, and my god, the current Doctor is rather yummy. If you saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie, he plays Barty Crouch Jr. The name of this delicious actor: David Tennant. My suggestion: if you have SciFi channel and you happen to be home on Fridays at 9pm (Eastern), watch this show. You’ll be hooked on it almost immediately. Then, you are ordered to come and tell me all about how much you hate me for hooking you on it and gush about the Doctor and the episode etc etc. The young man on the right is David Tennant, yummy right?

Well, that’s besides my point here. During the school year, I have done three or so things: work, dealt with classes and dealt with the odd drama or two that cropped up during the school year. So, the last day I was on-campus, B and I ran into the new Editor-in-Chief for Buff and Blue. After a few minutes of conversing, she informed us she was looking for new writers for the newspapers. At first, I rejected the idea. My past expeience with journalism wasn’t pretty. I hated getting quote and my articles flopped during high school. I was finished with it after one year. My junior year, I turned the yearbook which was a lot more enjoyable for me.

However, I’ve been talking with B and I am rethinking it. While I certainly don’t have time to do it, I could do it once in awhile. To write or not – that is the question. While I ponder that, I need to preserve battery. Mine’s about to die on me. Reminder to self: check out the charger problem again soon. Ths is me saying farewell.

Ciao,

K