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Friday, December 29, 2006

Caption Unavailabilty 

Ugh! Some time ago, I ordered a Spanish movie with subtitles from Amazon.com. I didn't get a chance to see it until last night. However, there were no subtitles.


However, it doesn't stop there.

KT has gotten me some movies for Christmas and some for "just because". Even though he relied on my WishList, he ordered the DVD's from another site. Now, I put these movies on my WishList because I relied on Amazon.com to provide accurate information on caption availability.

Anyways, we put in Hellbent, a horror movie of 5 gay men being stalked in West Hollywood. Er, no captions!

Then, we put in Strip Jack Naked, a British view on gay life. Guess what? Yep, no captions.

Ugh! Now, I know that I cannot wholly rely on Amazon.com for accurate caption availability. I'll have to do multi-site comparison to see if such a movie does indeed have captions/subtitles.




Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas in Minnesota 

On Christmas Eve, KT & I flew out to Minnesota, joined by his mother & stepfather, to spend Christmas with his sister and 3 nieces.

I packed my suitcase like I was gonna spend Christmas in the Artic. This Texan doesn't do well in the cold and snow. So, I packed in thermal & flannel clothing. I thought I was gonna be dealing with 20 below zero.

Anyways, we get there and it wasn't so bad.

Christmas was quiet and relaxing. Something that KT & I needed. Of course, we had already opened our gifts Saturday night. We saved a couple for Christmas Day.

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I spent the day reading The Autobiography of Santa Claus that I got for Christmas. I thought it was a good book which gave some creative explanations of how Santa came to be as well as some Christmas traditions. I thought it was an interesting twist on "immortality" and how some people are involved, such as.

I'm not sure if everyone would like this book. However, I would have loved this book if only the author had included the "origin" of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer. Ah well.

The day after Christmas, we all went out to Famous Dave's Barbeque for a late lunch/early dinner. Damn! This was some delicious finger-licking barbeque! The prices are moderate but you get A LOT of food! You're bound to leave this place stuffed!

Then, the next day, we flew back. It was a simple relaxing Christmas for us, which is what we needed.

Now that we're back, we're just simply busy preparing our lesson plans for the Spring semester. Well...at least, we get another long weekend coming up!

ta ta...



Friday, December 22, 2006

Blog Reading 

I haven't posted anything these days because I've just been reading blogs. Blog entries have been really interesting lately. I'm just reading them and the comments, especially over at DeafDC.com.

Oh, the title has been released for the final Harry Potter installment. It is "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Soooooo cannot wait for that book to be released!

Then, Kekua sent me this email below about the last Harry Potter book:

Confirmed Information

On this page you can find several points of information we know about Book 7. Each of these points have been confirmed by an official JK Rowling source.

Character Information
-We will find out something "incredibly important" about Lily Potter
-We will find out who R.A.B. is
-We will discover more about Dumbledore's past
-We will discover where Snape's loyalties lie.
-Something will be revealed about Petunia Dursley, although it will not be that she is a Squib
-Viktor Krum will return (World Book Day, 2004 interview)
-We will see a reappearance of Dolores Umbridge - "It's too much fun to torture her not to have another little bit more before I finish." (MuggleNet/Leaky Interview)
-JKR has said, "There is a character who does manage, in desperate circumstances, to do magic quite late in life, but that is very rare..."

Plot Information
-Harry will face Voldemort for the final time
-Harry will be attempting to find and destroy Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes
-Harry will return to the Dursleys' during the school vacation, but the magical protection Dumbledore arranged will expire on his 17th birthday when he comes of age
-Harry will visit Godric's Hollow
-There will be a reappearance of the two-way mirror
-We will see the wedding of Fleur and Bill Weasley
-The fact that Harry "has his mother's eyes" will prove to be an important plot point
-At least one character will die

-The last word is expected to be "scar," but may change
-We will finally learn the full reason why some people become ghosts when they die and others don't
-The final chapter, which has already been written, will detail what happens to the characters that survive
-There will be no more Quidditch matches

Oooo, I definitely canna wait for the book!

Have a great weekend, y'all!


Friday, December 15, 2006

Silent Night 

I wasn't able to watch CSI:NY on Wednesday night because I was teaching a class. So, I had it TiVO'd. Last night, came home, warmed up some tamales and watched the 'Silent Night' episode.

Overall, it was a pretty good show.

Of course, yesterday, I had read blogs where there were many criticism on the episode. And of course, as a Deaf person, I was analyzing everything and making comments to my partner, who was watching as well.

I was more critical on Marlee Matlin than any of the other Deaf actors. I dunno. I just seemed that Marlee just could not act in that episode. I've seen better acting of hers in other shows, such as Reasonable Doubts, Picket Fences and Law & Order:SVU. I do have to agree with some bloggers that her lines were cheesy, especially at the end. "I wish I could help you." "I speak with my hands. You speak with your eyes." *gag*

I found it interesting that many Deaf bloggers and commenters have complained about her using her voice in the CSI episode. I was like, "hello! Isn't that like her trademark?" Correct me if I'm wrong when I say the next sentence. I do not think there is a movie or a television episode where she has not used her voice.

I thought Russell Harvard did a great job. Of course, I might be biased because he's my fraternity brother. Nonetheless, he did a great job. Of course, I wished he had a bit more exposure on the show. I had to laugh because I thought "Russell, a bad guy? Toting a shotgun?"

Like I said, I thought it was a good episode. Could it have been done better? Sure. However, I am cautious and observant about how critical we, Deafies, are of the episode. Bloggers and commenters have shown concerns, disappointment and other reactions. Many were concerned about the Deaf actors voicing on the show. Many were concerned about the cop (Jerry Ferris) have a dual role as an interpreter. Many were concerned about the portrayal of a Deaf person's ability to read lips. Some were concerned about the vibrations identifying the exact murder weapon. Some were concerned about the portrayal of the Deaf family involved in a crime or their stance in assistive devices/real world.

First of all, Hollywood glamorizes everything. Do all Deafies use their voice? No. Are there cops that can interpret? I'm sure there very few. Should an interpreter from an agency be called in? Definitely. Can Deaf people read lips? Only some with varying skills. (Remember that lip reading isn't an exact science.) Can Deaf people read lips expertly at a distance, especially at night? That's like 99.9% impossible. Can Deaf people help the police and forensic crime specialists/investigators identify weapons merely by vibrations? Oh please.

But you know what? That's Hollywood. Let's look at the real life of CSI. CSI's aren't all gorgeous and model-like. CSI's don't work in offices and labs encased in glass. These lab testings and results do not occur within seconds or minutes. They take days and weeks before results are produced.

I remember reading an article about real-life CSI's. When CSI (the one based in Las Vegas) started to be come popular, many people enrolled at local colleges and universities to be a CSI. The instructors said that the work of a CSI is actually very boring and tedious. Hollywood was just glamorizing everything.

So, while we wished that 'Silent Night' could have been done differently, let's be thankful for the exposure and the use of our Deaf actors. Of course, I'm not saying let's just sit back and do nothing. Continue to write letters to Hollywood but at the same time, let's be thankful for the exposure.


Tonight is the monthly Deaf GLBT coffee social.

Starbucks in Capitol Hill
237 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Upstairs (go all the way to the back for the stairs)
7pm to 10pm

Closest Metro:
Capitol South
Eastern Market

See you there!


Every year I'll get a flu shot. Of course, every year, when other people get their shots, they always complain that their arms are sore. Never happens to me.

Well, except this year. Damn, my arm hurt...all day long! Heck, even when I was sleeping. What the heck did they put in those flu shots?

ta ta...



Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Heaven Come Down 

Last night, after watching the March of the Penguins, which was entertaining, KT came across documentary that captured my attention. After watching it for a few minutes, I asked him what was the name of it. It was Heaven Come Down.

Heaven Come Down is a documentary on a branch of the Pentacostal denomination that not only do these fire-and-brimstone preaching, speak in tongues and spirit-filled dancing/movements but they also handle serpents, drink strychnine and dance with fire. The focus is limited to Pentacostal churches in the Appalachian area, such West Virginia and Tennessee.

Of course, the main focus of the film were these Christians' handling of serpents during church services. Heck, even in their own homes. And these aren't snakes like garter snakes. These are venomous snakes like rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and diamondbacks. Many of these Christians have been bit...repeatedly. A few have died.

When they get bit, their hands or other parts of their bodies are swollen. They break out in sweats. They vomit. They pray. Other people surround them and pray with them. But as soon as the tingling starts to fade, they jump right back into snake handling.

These people do this because they believe it is Biblical. According to Matthew 16:16-18:

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

However, one preacher of a similar denomination did show concerns over these Christians. If you do it so often, then that line of rationalization or responsibility fades. The handling of serpents is dangerous, where a few of them have died. The drinking of strychnine is also dangerous. One of the serpent handling preacher somewhat agreed. He stated that one should not handle snakes if not isn't ready to meet the Maker. He said, if you get bit, you better know where you're going, witout a doubt. He was referring to the Heaven or Hell destiny.

The thing that bugged me about the whole snake thing was that these Christians knew it was against the law. In some states, such as West Virginia, it is illegal to own a snake. So, during a case which involved the police, these Christians hid the snakes. It was sorta hiliarious because it looked like they were smuggling drugs.

The documentary not only show the spritiual side of these Christians but also showed that some Christians fall out of faith and even get in trouble with the law. One preacher had a suit filed against him by his ex-fiance (ex-wife) for molestation of the 4 children. He was eventually charged with sodomy. His wife was like, I love him and he needs more than ever. O....k!

For the first 8 years of my life, I was raised in the United Pentacostal Church (UPC). (Some use PCI or UPCI.) This branch also does fire-and-brimstone preaching, speak in tongues and dancing. No snake handling or strychnine drinking. As a Deaf kid, everything was vividly stimulating and peculiar. The one thing that used to scare me were these "slain in the Spirit" moments. Being slain in the Spirit is when a preacher lay his hand on people and they would fall back on the floor, still praying.

Oh man, I could write a week's worth of postings on my UPC upbringing. Anyways, after my dad quit the military, we returned to the States from Germany. From there, my parents tried to find another Pentacostal church. However, I think that my mother was tired of the strict guidelines that the UPC had on Christian living. My mother liked make-up and hated having her hair up in a bun. So, we started attending a non-denominational Bible-believing church. It was still a Pentacostal church but not one under the UPC branch.

Anyways, as I was watching the documentary, I could understand their rationale for doing some things. Yet, at the same time, I was conflicted about some of their practices. Their Christian talks brought back some memories. Anyways, I truly think that if I wasn't raised UPC, this whole thing would've gone right over my head.

Anyways, I would suggest you check out this documentary if you have the Sundance channel.



Tuesday, December 12, 2006


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Cliffie, wishing you a great day for your birthday! Do something crazy after you get off work. :-)

(Check your email soon!)




Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Baking 

Whooo, I had fun over the weekend.

Saturday, I finished my Christmas shopping for KT! Yay! Now, I just gotta wrap them all up. Then, I gotta do a little shopping to stuff KT's stocking.

While I was shopping, I was going to other stores to pick up bits and pieces necessary to do my holiday baking.

Of course, I get home only to have to go back out for a couple more things...twice. Don't you just hate that?!?

Saturday night, I made an Oreo cheesecake. Wished I had rememberd to take a picture of it. I also made a couple of Jell-o Magic Mousse.

Then, I boiled a couple of whole chickens in preparation for tamales the next day.

Got up early Sunday to make sugarplum thumbprint cookies.

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I believe this is the first time I ever made cookies from scratch. Purty good!

Then, with Oreo cheesecake, some cookies and the 2 Jell-o mousse desserts, we went over to Jon's place for a BBQ. Them people are from Minnesota. So, they were like, hey, today is a good day to BBQ! We, Texans, wouldn't even think of BBQ'ing in December.

Ok, I so did not expect the cheesecake to be devoured within the hour. KT brought up a piece. I had a bite of it and it was oh so heavenly! (Let me remind you that it was my first time making the Oreo cheesecake.) No wonder it was all gone!

I'll definitely make it again.

Then, I had to come home early so I could start making chicken tamales. You know, it's a lot of work for one person. But you know what? I really enjoy the alone time to clear my mind and just relax.

Of course, the cats were acting like I was the BEST human in the world. They were just brownnosing for some chicken shreds. Of course, I couldn't resist them.

KT came home hungry but he was willing to wait 2 hours for the tamales. That's how good they are!

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Mmmmmm! They look delicious, no? (I hate the camera in the Sidekick pager! Came out alright for the cookies but bad for the tamales. Grrr!)

The tamales were a big improvement from last year, which was the first time I made them. They were still delicious. I wanted to continue the tradition from my maternal grandmother.

This year, they were just delicious. Next time, I'll just make them a little thicker. Basically, I'm just happy that I got it right.

Well, that pretty much sums up my weekend.

ta ta...


Saturday, December 09, 2006

In Memory 

Today would've been my mother's 51st birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Love & miss you much!



Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Shopping 

Ooooo, tomorrow is gonna be crazy! I'm gonna finish up my Christmas shopping tomorrow! Well...I'm gonna try.

Then, Sunday, I'll prolly do some holiday baking.

Somewhere in between, KT & I are supposed to get a tree and decorate it.

Ooooo, fun!


Thursday, December 07, 2006


Yesterday, I was pretty upset after discovering news about my grandmother.

Since my mother passed aways almost 3 years ago, I've kept regular touch with my cousin Susan via email. However, since September, we've not had regular contact. She had to have surgery on her hands, due to carpel tunnel syndrome. She had one hand operated and recuperated for 3 weeks before she had surgery on the other hand. Now, she has to rest her hands for 3 months.

However, she just had to let me know about my grandma (her aunt). Before I start, the last thing I had heard about Grandma was that Dad and his older brother, flying in from Pittsburgh, would visit her on Thanksgiving. This was a couple of days before Turkey Day. Dad and I keep in touch like once every blue moon.

My grandmother has her own house. I'm not sure if she lives alone. Everytime, I'd go there, she always had some family staying with her in one of the bedrooms. However, from the stories I've gotten from relatives, it seems that she was living by herself this time.

According to Susan, Grandma has been slowing losing her mind. They're not sure if it's Alzheimer's or if it's stress-induced senility. My great-grandmother became partially senile during her last years. She pretty much recognized everyone. The only thing was that she always thought Grandma was her mother.

Grandma is another story. She has lost a few marbles. It got to the point where my Aunt Lucy moved her in with her so she could watch over her. Now, my aunt isn't exactly good health to be taking care of someone else. However, my aunt thought it was doable. Wrong! Grandma would try to strip off her clothes. She would try to escape from the house and wander off. These actions kept my aunt up 4 days straight.

My cousin drove down from Austin to help out my aunt. My aunt basically collapsed from exhaustion. Susan took care of Grandma. She said Grandma would curse her but then turn around and bless her repeatedly. She kept calling my cousin by another name. She would just babble on and on.

Afterwards, my aunt called a social worker about Grandma. After review, they decided it was best to put Grandma in a nursing home.

Susan said, my dad didn't show up to see her until after she was put in a nursing home.

Oh, I was livid! I heard nothing from Dad nor from Aunt Mary (Mom's baby sister).

So, I called up my aunt via Relay. I somewhat chewed her out for not keeping me updated. Her excuse was that she was too busy, due to the holidays. I'm sure she wasn't too busy to keep in touch with my other aunt in Chicago.

Anyways, she tells a different story. She said, according to Dad, that it was him and my uncle who found her at her home, naked, starving and talking to herself. She said it was them who put her in a nursing home. Apparently, my aunt doesn't know about my other aunt taking care of Grandma.

So, I'm getting 2 different stories. I was just really upset. After Kevin picked me up from work, I vented to him.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we can't blame each other. After all, Grandma was left alone. I'm sure everyone felt guilty, just like I did.

I could say that Mom would have never allowed this. Mom was always checking up on Grandma. She used to tell me that Grandma was getting older and that we'd have to prepare for the time when we'd have to have Grandma move in with us.

You see, Mom used to make me promise that if she got old, to never put her in a nursing home. My aunt, my grandma and Mom felt so bad when they had to put GrannyMa (my great-grandmother) in a nursing home. So, Mom always said that Grandma wouldn't be put in one. Well, Mom's gone. She was the glue that held us all together. After she died, we all kinda went our separate ways. However, I know that's not a good excuse. Mom's gone and we have to work together to keep the family together.

Yet, realistically, Grandma is better off at a nursing home. My aunt cannot take care of her. Her health isn't good. Dad has moved out of town and is dealing with his own issues. I'm way out here in the DC area.

Grandma is always kind. She may be weird but you know...she's my Grandma. Mom thought she was just absolutely hilarious. I love her. I may not always show it but I do. She was the one who used to sneak me out on rides with her. She'd teach me signs. She was a special ed teacher. I vividly remember my first sentences in signs: "I WANT HOTDOG. I WANT HAMBURGER."

Anyways, I told my aunt to get all the necessary information to I can keep in touch with Grandma. I'm gonna make an effort to keep regular contacts with her. She's my only living grandparent that I have now. So, I wanna make sure that she knows that I do love her and that she's in my heart and in my mind.

So, be sure you let your grandparents know that you love them and think of them.


Ugh! After I posted this, I called my aunt to get Grandma's new contact information. Just found out that Dad is moving her to another nursing home. Ugh! Wish he would communicate with me!



Monday, December 04, 2006


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I really did try to finish reading Middlesex. But I just couldn't! I guess it just didn't appeal to me.

I've heard so many people praise this book. It was on my WishList for a long time. So, I decided to get it and read it.

For a while, I thought that maybe I was just in a reading funk. Time after time, I'd get back to reading Middlesex.

So, yesterday, I thought I'd try reading another book. Boy, I was just so excited to read with pleasure once again. So, I tried reading Middlesex again, blah!

I dunno what it is. I think might have to do with so much focus on the grandparents than on Calliope/Cal. I was like "c'mon! hurry it up!".

Ah well...