Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thursday morning news and coffee roundup

Just a quick news roundup with some odd tidbits. First there was a bus crash of Katzenbach students:
ROSEDALE, Md. (AP) A bus carrying children from a New Jersey school for deaf students crashed into two tractor trailers and a passenger car, seriously injuring the bus driver and disrupting northbound traffic on Interstate 95 for hours, state police said.

The bus, owned by Stout's Charter Service of Trenton, N.J., was carrying 27 students, boys and girls ranging in age from 11 years to 15 years, and five staff members from the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf in Trenton, state police 1st Sgt. Russell Newell said. The students were returning to New Jersey after a basketball game at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Columbia.

I send my sympathies to Katzenbach - almost went to school there so I guess I have a soft spot for it! UPDATE: NBC reports:

The driver, 55-year-old Keith Schmitt of North Plainfield, was flown to a hospital.

Two children were hurt. One has a head injury and a second has a back injury.

Now this next news item struck me as very weird:

In a rare case that has raised the hackles of women’s rights activists and lawyers, a rape accused has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the victim, a deaf-mute girl and her family members. Under the MoU, both parties have agreed to tie the knot.

The MoU between 22-year-old victim and accused Dilip Mulji Vaghela has been signed on a Rs 50 stamp paper before a notary in Ahmedabad. Dilip and his friend Vinod were arrested last year by the Women’s Cell of Crime Branch for allegedly gangraping the deaf-mute girl.

However in the MoU, Dilip states that he never raped the girl, but that he likes the her and wants to spend rest of his life with her.

Who's communicating this girl's needs if her mother didn't even understand her when she tried to explain she was pregnant? We need some more cheerful news these days...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

National Deafquirer rulz!

Tuesday morning news and tea roundup

Had the pleasure of speaking with Jen Dodds yesterday who is working the project. She will be adding DEAF IN THE CITY soon; and possibly next year could be in charge of the 2006 Deaf Blog Awards. Which I think would be very neat... in other news, I'll be working with the MICA Project and Ann Marie Bryan on the Sarah Marie Pack Writing Award. Funny; when I was in college I fought for such chances, never thinking about the people they were named for, only thinking that they were opportunities. Now I'm on the other end of the bench.

The news is full of the criminally Deaf this week, but one could wish a little clarity from this story:
Arrested were Harumi Otani, 59, and Hirofumi Takaya, 65. Takaya's 40-year-old daughter Masami was also arrested in connection with the crime, police said.

Both Otani and Takaya were deaf and mute. The three suspects reportedly learned about the 77-yer-old victim at a gateball contest for deaf and mute people in Kochi Prefecture in January last year.

Investigators said the three conspired to intimidate the elderly woman, who was also deaf and mute, and on Aug. 29 last year they demanded money from her at her home in Sanuki, Kagawa Prefecture. They reportedly knocked her to the ground and trampled on her legs, then took her to an agricultural cooperative in the city and made her withdraw a total of 3 million yen from two accounts and hand them the money.

You know, when I was in college, and valiantly trying to get along well with the hearies with very mixed results, I remember one conversation with my friend Kres who was convinced disabled people didn't commit crimes. Hearing people are weird. That being said, I shouldn't, but I feel a bit of satisfaction at the news that Deaf people also mug old ladies. I don't feel good, no, just... proves we're as capable as anyone else and... I better drop this. Of course, the police are also taking action at the news:
The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) is setting up a training scheme for police officers.

The aim of the scheme is to raise awareness among policemen of the barriers faced by deaf and hard of hearing people.

Officers will be able to learn basic sign language and will be given advice by RNID trainers on how to communicate more effectively with deaf people IN CASE THEY MUG OLD LADIES (addition: by editor).

In case they mug old ladies, or in case they commit crime sprees. From The Australian:
California's oldest death row inmate, who was blind, deaf and ina wheelchair has been executed, minutes after the end of his 76th birthday.

Clarence Ray Allen was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 12.38am (1938 AEDT) at San Quentin prison today, less than an hour after his 76th birthday ended at midnight.

Allen, who was legally blind, deaf, could not walk and suffered a near fatal heart attack in September only to be revived and returned to death row, was assisted into the death chamber by four correctional officers shortly after midnight.

Of course the only reason the newspaper mentioned he was blind and deaf was shock value. I don't believe in death penalties but I have met some Deaf kids who think cops will just let Deafies do what they want - they won't - and they don't show pity just because, you know, you're a Deaf person.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr.

This guy was awesome. He died on a picket line, fighting with Union members to protect the rights of workers. Everyone remembers he had a dream; let's also remember the lengths to which he went to make that dream real.

I've been working my ass off the last couple days. Finished EB, and my preferred team is contacted - hope to hear from them over the next couple of days. (Guys? Check your g-mail.) I am so stoked about that. Also, started working on a new screenplay - very funny stuff - I'm enjoying the ride on this one, as like my first full-length screenplay it just came to me in the middle of the night on top of the Corona Wave. I had been up late talking to Brillohead, and made an offhand comment to him. BAM! Screenplay. Lovely how that works.

Had a long talk with Sparkly Spanker yesterday about having relationships with hearing people, especially those who don't sign at first. General Jen agrees: THE most important thing for a successful relationship is to lay out the boundaries of what you need and what space you need as a Deaf person. I made the mistake of not doing that and being "nice" (What my wonderful Professor Paddy Ladd calls "trying not to offend hearing people") too often. Result, frustration - and crazy-actingness on my part. Yes, when I am too frustrated I start to act like a crazy man.

I guess this boundary stuff seems obvious to some of you, but for me it was a revelation. Not just because Sparkly and the General said it, but because of the way they said it, like it was a right for me to have my own space as a Deaf person. Some examples?

  1. I don't have to sit at the damn kitchen table just to be polite.
  2. I don't have to try and lipread and play the whole stupid guessing game if I don't want to.
  3. I do have the right to demand hearing friends focus on me.

Sometimes, especially these days working in a certain environment, it's easy to forget that. It was nice to have it back again. And having it, I think, is what has jumpstarted my writing.

Thanks roomie. And thanks, General. Back to the keyboard.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Not *that* kind of baths

Last night went with the W. to the russian/turkish baths; been there once before but needed it last night. I've been feeling a bit slow.

Anyways, two recommendations: if you go, have plastic glasses or contacts (the heat is so strong that metal frames feel as if they're burning your skin, and if the lenses fog up anyway you can't see anyone talk or sign.) Two, go with friends-it's more fun sitting in one of the five big rooms, each displaying a different kind of delicious steam, and enjoying the fumes if you've friends to do it with. Well, here I was lucky; the W. is much improved with his signing, and his friend Bree was visiting-a lovely faerie interpreter from Maine (that makes three fey terps I've met so far. Cool!) So chat chat chat and oh god this is SO hot then a dip in the frozen pool then out on the roof for a smoke and our bodies were so hot they steamed when the cool rain fell.

Bree is a terp who has been making movies. I told him about my writing and he told me about - and showed me this morning - his film Beautiful, based on the Cristina Aguilera song-was impressed. He's shown it at festivals already and doesn't need my advertising but he did say he might be able to come down and help out when I make my film, EB.

Which script is happily almost ready.

So we were talking about that in our peasant robes at the Bath when the W. convinced me: mud mask. Had to walk about in front of all the men and women looking like I just escaped from a beauty-obsession ward. But I admit my skin DID feel softer afterwards. And we still have some of the mud.

I paged Knob after telling her about it; I think all my friends could use a nice day here but especially her.

Took the W. out for Indian at Panna II; kind of in memory. The food was yummy; not many people there though. So many restaurants are empty or closing now in the city-not happy! But then perhaps global warming will come to the rescue. It's meant to be about 60 today in the city. In January!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I have found it!

Consider these points:
1. Republicans only respond to their contributors. They are corrupt and don't care about their own people.
2. The Republicans are very effective at getting their agenda enacted.
3. Therefore, if Democrats want effective leaders, we should donate to Republicans. If we give them enough money, they will forget about the Right-and we might get some real work done.

Just a thought.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Monday lunchtime news roundup: tea, no sympathy

Yep, you saw it - tea. Trying to be more health-conscious these days. I kinda miss being vegan.

Today's news roundup is kind of weird. From Belfast, Ireland:

Belfast City Airport has introduced a new alert system designed to help deaf and hard of hearing passengers. All deaf or hard of hearing passengers will have access to a hand-held Deaf Alerter device, which will vibrate and flash automatically if the fire or security alarms at the airport are activated. As well as being a safety device, the alerter will also help to keep passengers who have difficulty hearing spoken announcements up-to-date with the latest information with their flight. It will alert passengers to any announcements or changes concerning their flights, telling them when their gate opens and when boarding begins. In the event of delays or cancellations, it will let them know the revised departure times for their flights.

Here in the States, we don't have such equipment available - but many airlines do offer text or e-mail alerts for the above events. Those with pagers should contact their airline and see what is available.

In other news, was pleased to see my friend Jenn Dodds quoted on U.TV Live regarding yet another internet application for Deaf people (are you watching, Ridor?):

A group of British deaf people have today launched a major new internet service which aims to bring deaf people from across the globe closer together. is a new free service which will bring together online journals, known as blogs, by deaf people from all over the internet, promoting self-expression in text, images and video to reflect how diverse the international deaf community is.

The new site also offers support and step-by-step guides for anyone who wants to set up and run their own blog or videolog but isn`t sure what to do.
Click here to find out more!

Yay, international deaf blogging! Maybe Ridor can work out the next Deaf Blog Awards with Any other deaf news out there?

Am continually shocked by the Abramoff scandal currently raging. More about that later.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Deafie's Home Journal

Caring For Your Eyes: What your hearing parents won't tell you

Deaf people use their eyes more than hearing people so it is vital to establish a regular eye care regimen. Our suggestions at DHJ?

  1. Moisturize. When you use your hands, your skin dries. So too the vitreous material in your eyes. Regular application of Visine or another eye moisturizer twice a day can help prevent eye damage.

  2. What's up, Doc?: Eat carrots two or three times a week and take a daily multivitamin to ensure your eyes are getting the raw materials they need to work well.

  3. Rest. We use our eyes for conversations with friends, computer chats, interpreted events. Before these events, sit in a dark room with your eyes closed for five minutes. Besides being a great way to prepare, this gives your eyes the opportunity to recover from heavy usage-and you'll be able to better focus on the people you sign with.

Join us next week when we look at ten ways to hit a G-spot while fingerspelling the national anthem.