Unblocked!

Yesterday, my wallet decided to hide out on the backseat of my car. That was part of my problem. Knowing that I had a stack of books waiting for me at the library that I couldn’t get out because my ID was in my wallet was the other. But since I found it just chilling back there after tearing my room apart, things have significantly improved.

Cover of 'X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books' by Joseph P. DarowskiOne of the books in that stack is X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor by Joseph P. Darowski. This is the book I have been trying to find. I’ve been wishing I could find a book that would give me some guidance as to overall stories in the over 50 years of stories in the comics. This is it.

I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys the comics of The X-Men universe. He focuses on the original title, known today as Uncanny X-Men, through issue #500. This book has not only given me guidance as to what comics I want to look at, it has given me focus in general.

It feels so good to have my focus back. It feels so good to know what comics I am going to look at in more detail. It feels so good to have a game plan as to what I am including and what I am excluding. It feels so good to know someone else has looked at these comics closely to examine what they say about things we deal with every day.

I have focus!!!! Now to get my hands on the other comics!

Balancing Act

That really is the best way to describe my life lately. I have been trying to balance work and school and personal time. It has been crazy. But there are a few things that have helped me along the way.

Schedule

I’ve been trying to give myself a regular schedule. Which can be hard since I’m basically an independent contractor whose paycheck depends on people to need rides around the city. But I have managed to always give myself 2-4 pm off. Whether it’s from school or from work, I spend two hours at home doing whatever I want. That is helping me to stay sane.

Support

Having people who I can talk to about my frustrations with one thing or another helps as well. Whether it’s about classes or about work or about something else entirely. Having someone who is willing to listen, and sometimes give advice, is so important.

Silent Weekend

This past weekend was Silent Weekend #129. Just being able to go camping and spend the weekend with friends and other ASL lovers was wonderful. A really refreshing weekend.

Well, it would seem that I have 3 Ss getting me through life right now. Hopefully soon I’ll have the time to share a few other things that have been helping me. But I need pictures to do that!

Finished! Deaf Side Story

Deaf Side Story by Mark Rigney

When I checked the book out of the library, I thought it would be comparing spoken language and ASL cultures. Wrong!

Deaf Side Story is about a production of West Side Story done in 2000 at MacMurray College in Illinois. The Drama professor decided to have the Sharks be students from the Illinois School for the Deaf, which was in the same town as the college. The book follows the production from when the professor first has the idea to after the last performance. The author does an amazing job of chronicling all the trials and problems that arise when you are not only dealing with two worlds, but trying to have them together on stage and make sure the audience has full access to the entire show.

It’s a great read for anyone interested in ASL culture. If you have no prior knowledge about it, don’t worry! The author takes the time to explain various aspects of the culture and the language so reader fully understands why things are the way they are. It’s a great book and is a great way of showing that a difference in languages doesn’t have to mean it’s impossible to work together.

Thinking of class…

That Deaf Guy is a wonderful slice-of-life webcomic written by a husband and wife team who write about their lives. It’s so much fun! But some remind me more of class than others.

This has come up quite a bit in class. It’s true! Once you are able to visualize things, signing becomes a lot easier.

We’re working on telling stories in class. Soon we’ll be working on stuff like this.
This isn’t class as much as it’s Silent Weekend. We’re not in the wilderness, but let me just say that there’s a reason I bring ear plugs to sleep at night.

I love class!

My grades may not have reflected it until recently, but I love going to class. I remember back in high school we had two solid weeks of snow days. Ugh. After the first week I was waking up every morning praying that we would have school. I was ready to go back.

Well, that’s still the case. Wednesday the new semester started up again. I’m taking two classes (one on-campus, one online) and sitting in on a third. The one I’m sitting in on is Linguistics of ASL and English. I wonder why I might be interested in sitting in on that? : ) The online class is Educational Psychology, and I think it may be more useful in the future than it might seem.

My on-campus class is right after Linguistics, in the same classroom even, which works out so awesomely. It’s my ASL III class. I know why I failed it the first time in the spring. Coming to class half an hour late really affects your confidence in addition to your grades. Aside from missing almost every quiz (I managed to get there at the end of one!) and getting only half participation points, coming in after class has started is not easy. I was missing information. I wasn’t able to make connections with my fellow students as well as the others. Also having a hard time reading the teacher’s fingerspelling really doesn’t help.

This time it’s completely different. My confidence is high again, even before class started. Over the summer I finally took two classes you’re supposed to take before starting the program. One is taught by my ASL II instructor who I always enjoyed chatting with. Also, while he had interpreters in the class for everyone else, I could simply listen to him directly and let the interpreters be background noise. If I misses something or didn’t catch his fingerspelling, I’d pay attention to them to get it, and then let it fade again. He even let me videotape class so I could review it.

After that, I’m ready for class. I think I’m more ready than most of my classmates. Our instructor is Deaf. Yay! He’s also the only one teaching all the ASL III classes, which I think is great. It gives a lot more consistency across at least this level. I wish they could do that with all the ASL classes. Anyway, after one night of class, I am so excited and feeling much, much better about this semester. I know that I can get an A in this class and regain the great GPA I had before the spring semester fiasco.

I guess I really did need that semester “off”. It helped me really think about my future and I feel much better about it now.

It’s my life/ And it’s now or never


I love this video. From the moment I first saw it, it changed my perspective on that amazing song. It’s become a kind of anthem for me lately.

Gallaudet University
Gallaudet University seal

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned here at some point that I’m working on my graduate school application right now. My top choice of schools is Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Considering I want to go into Linguistics and study American Sign Language, it’s the perfect choice.

But I’m having some conflicting feelings about it. Getting in means finally going back to school and going into a field that I’ve recently admitted my passion for (both to others and myself).

But it also means moving six hours away from the city I’ve come to call home and all the friends I have here. It means my hubby will have to find a new job and we’ll have to find somewhere to live that we can afford on his paycheck and whatever I have left of my loans. It means moving to a new city and everything that comes with it. It means school all the time and that will leave even less time than I have now for my hubby.

But it also means diving headfirst into the amazing Deaf Culture and using ASL as my primary mode of communication. It means learning more about this community and language that I have become so fascinated by and fallen in love with. It means finally being able to enjoy what I am doing all day long. It means looking forward to a career.

Sometimes I just have to remind myself of the positives that come with it all and the worries’ volume gets turned down.

Life has been interesting lately and I have let this fall by the wayside. Not any longer. If I feel like posting, even if it’s a little one, I’m going to. There’s a reason I call this blog My Polymind, I just managed to forget for a while.

I’m confused

When I was an undergrad many years ago ::cough::8 years::cough:: I would avoid doing my studying and homework and such because I didn’t want to do it. It was boring. And my grades reflected it. Now I’m taking classes at night after a full 8-hour work day and doing amazingly. I am finishing up my second summer semester (well technically it’s my first summer semester since last summer was the last quarter before the switch, but you get the point) and I have been on Deans List 2 of the 3 semesters and will be on again for this semester.

I guess it just goes to show that you that an interest in the subject can really help. Right now I’ve got a take-home final paper for my Intro to the Deaf Community class that I’m not working on. Not because I don’t find it interesting, but because of how much I am going to have to trim down my answers. The instructor wants our papers to be in Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced. Four questions with a maximum of four pages. Right now I’m taking the approach of thoroughly answering the questions and I’ll go back and edit it down when I have to have it in. I am going to give him such grief over that the next time I see him. I’m not the only one finding the format a bit restrictive. He wants us to give him thorough answers. How am I going to do that in that format?!

Anyway. I just hope this motivation follows me into the next semester and on and on into grad school. I wouldn’t mind getting all As and Bs in grad school!

“Oh Say, Can You Hear?”

What is the purpose of having a person “sign” “The Star Spangled Banner”? Don’t deaf people know the words by now? Besides, signing can’t possibly convey the exact, personalized musical rendition the singer may be offering. How could a signer ever convey to a deaf person the elaborate, note-bending vocal gymnastics that black female singers put that anthem through? Especially those last few lines; the ones from “O’er the land…” all the way through “…of the brave,” which sometimes can take more than six or seven minutes to complete. Why, I should think a signer would break an arm trying to get that stuff across.
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin

I was listening to the audiobook this week and this part struck me. At first I was upset. But then as I laid out my side of the argument in my head, I realized that he was simply speaking as any hearing person, with little to no knowledge of Deaf people, would when asked something like that. But as someone who has taken interpreting classes and is working on a Certificate in Deaf Culture, I know why it is signed.

But before I go into that, there is one thing that does bother me is that initial “sign”. There is not reason to put that in quotations like that. It is signed. That’s it.

Okay, moving on. First, it is law that if a deaf person is in attendance and asks for an interpreter, one must be provided. They have just as much of a right as anyone else to understand what is being said or sung.

Second, interpreters do take classes that address interpreting songs. There is a way to convey what is being sung and how, but he is right. There is no way to fully convey to the d/Deaf person what we hear the singer singing. But if they need an interpreter, chances are they wouldn’t understand it unless it has always been to described to them in detail.

Which brings me to my third point: If you have never heard someone sing The Star Spangled Banner, you have no context to place any information about the singer’s rendition, and you aren’t missing anything. That is the most important thing I have learned about the Deaf: they do not see it as missing a sense. They cannot hear, we can. It’s as simple as that.

Happy tears!

I am so ecstatic right now! Tonight was the comprehension portion of my ASL final. When I was done, I handed it in and asked my teacher if he was going to be teaching over the summer. He loves to teach the Intro to the Deaf Community class and it’s offered in the summer. I haven’t taken it yet and I really want to take it when he’s teaching. He wants me to take it when he’s teaching as well. Oh yeah, I should probably mention that he’s Deaf, which is part of why I want to take it when he’s teaching it. Also he has such passion when he talks about teaching that class. He really loves it, and I want a teacher who loves teaching the class.
Anyway. After that, he volunteers to write a letter of recommendation for me for grad school if I want him to. Since it would be for the same university he graduated from, of course I do! I thanked him a million times and he said that my signing had really improved over the semester. Both my receptive and expressive signing skills! I really doubted my expressive had improved that much, but he assured me it has. I am just floating on Cloud 9 right now! I just have to keep it up if I want to get into grad school. I definitely have more confidence now, especially knowing that a native user of the language feels I am doing great in my studies of it.

OMG!!!!