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Archive for July, 2009

A year ago, I’d have laughed in your face if you told me I’d be using Twitter on a frequent basis.

Heck, I would have asked you “what is a twitter?”

Now it is a big part of my daily activities — from finding out what friends are up to or hearing about hot topics, it has become the tool that the developers intended it to be — a microblog.

When my mom ranted a couple of months ago about where I find all this time to do Facebook, blogging, and tweeting, I just didn’t bother answering. Part of me knew she wouldn’t understand what I would explain to her. The bottom line…it doesn’t take much time or effort.

I recently wrote a new column for my regular place at i711.com and this column will focus on how these multimedia tools have replaced several mainstays in the deaf community — particularly deaf periodicals. (When I get the URL of the article, I’ll post it.) In that column, I explained how tweeting and updating one’s status on Facebook has replaced the way we receive news.

Remember how when Michael Jackson died, he nearly brought the Internet with him. We, as society, crave instant results. Instant gratification. As a high school teacher, I see that all the time now. My students want to know their grades now, now and now.

Jared Evans recently presented at the DCARA vlog symposium and was gracious enough to allow his followers to view his PowerPoint presentation. One story from his presentation stood out for me.

Just how powerful Twitter can be in the Deaf community.

Remember the Netflix dilemma?

Jared illustrated that in the days after the furor started, Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin joined the bandwagon with her Twitter following. Because of the ability to do searches in Twitter (#Netflix) and RT (retweeting), word of what Netflix said flew through space like the Millennium Falcon. In a week, Matlin doubled the number of followers from 5,000 to nearly 10,000. All because of RT’ing.

While we may have lost our ability to be patient and wait for news to come via TTY or from house visits from our deaf friends, we have gained a powerful tool that can be used to measure how news gets to us.

Heck, even now, I just got a tweet from a friend who’s at the National airport waiting for a flight to Oregon. *snickers*

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Last week I got a text message from my brother simply telling me to “check my email!”

I just checked that off as a silly thing. A couple of hours later, I opened my email and found this picture:

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Two widdle, cutie, little kittens! But there was nothing with the email. Just the photo. I replied to my brother asking what the heck that was. He never replied back.

Then he had the nerve to post 9 more pictures on Facebook of the kittens. I still didn’t know why.

Did my brother and sister in law go ahead and get two more cats? I had no clue.

Turns out they were abandoned by the mother cat under the steps of their townhouse! They don’t look to be more than 8 weeks old, and they’re cute.

The one on the left is called Lefty. And no, it’s not because of where he is sitting. It’s cuz of an eye problem the cat had (since fixed). The one on the right is called Spunky. He says it’s self-explanatory.

You gotta admit, they’re cute. They’re going to keep one of the kittens. I’m counting on them keeping Lefty. After all, gotta have a lefty in the family.

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Farewell, Frank

Yesterday while I was driving home from the movies with a friend, she told me that Frank McCourt had died.

Instantly, my mind raced back to the picture of the little boy on the cover of the book he published, Angela’s Ashes. angelas_ashes

Frank McCourt was known for his wit and his prose. And he should be. After all, he taught creative writing in Stuyvesant High School for nearly 30 years. McCourt was not an immigrant. He was born in the boroughs of NYC but moved with his family to Ireland — the native land of his parents — during the Great Depression.

I clicked with his writing mainly for two reasons: his words glued my eyes to the page, and he grew up in squalor in the area of Limerick, Ireland — the birthplace of my maternal grandfather and half of my genes come from the green land.

After Frank’s book was published, his older brother Malachy wrote his own memoirs. His first, A Monk Swimming, was a play on words that I did not get until I read the book. The title itself is the mispronunciation of Malachy’s efforts to say “among women” from the Catholic prayer, Hail Mary.

One of my favorite quotes from Ashes is this:

I’m on deck the dawn we sail into New York. I’m sure I’m in a film, that it will end and lights will come up in the Lyric Cinema. . . . Rich Americans in top hats white ties and tails must be going home to bed with the gorgeous women with white teeth. The rest are going to work in warm comfortable offices and no one has a care in the world.

While there’s no “fancy” words here, this resonates with the common man and how they perceived the world and the obvious rift between the rich and poor during the years post-Great Depression.

Frank won the Pulitzer Prize for Angela’s Ashes, and his subsequent sequels, ‘Tis and Teacher Man carry on the literary prowess that Frank started with Ashes.

Yesterday, the literary world lost a nice old bloke.

Goodbye, Frank. Have a pint on me.

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Indianapolis!

Last weekend my good friend Travis and I made a 1,100 mile weekend trip to Indianapolis to visit the King Tutankhamun exhibit that will only tour the United States once before returning permanently back to Egypt.

No, we didn’t see King Tut’s mummified body. We did see a lot of exhibits about his family and his tomb. We were forbidden from taking photos in the exhibit, but we did see the following:

  • King Tut’s canopic coffinette (where his insides were embalmed and stored for the voyage to the afterlife)
  • Tut’s golden sandals that he worn in his tomb
  • earrings (and other jewelry)
  • HUGE bust of Pharaoh Akhenaten (more on that later)
  • Funerary mask of Psusennes I
  • Coffin of Ahmose
  • Tut’s royal bed (made of wood and still intact after 4,000+ years)

Much more! About Akenaten — he was suspected to have been King Tut’s father, and he believed in monotheism — the practice of worshipping one god. That was against traditional Egyptian practice. After his death, his legacy was shattered from the records and he was “swept under the rug.” That’s one of the main reasons why experts believe King Tut’s tomb was intact — he was unknown because of his association with Akenaten. Fascinating story.

In the Children’s Museum, we also saw some other exhibits — namely the Star Wars: The Clone Wars props, and the 43-foot tall glass tower made by famed glass sculptor/artist Dale Chihuly. See pictures:

Glass Tower

see-thru floor(this was the see-through floor that you could view from the bottom. Every piece of color is made from glass.)

dinosaurs at entranceDinosaurs at the entrance of the museum.

AnubisHuge statue of Egypt god Anubis on the outside of the museum

clockPendulum clock operated solely on water (it’s dyed blue in the photo) — vacuum operated that pushes water up and down to count the minutes and hours.

travisnmeTravis and me on the rotating seat looking up at the glass ceiling.

We didn’t get to see much of Indianapolis — but I saw Lucas Oil Stadium — where the Indianapolis Colts play football. It looks nice and clean from the outside.

We ate at two nice restaurants in downtown Indy, and I added 4 shot glasses to my ever-growing collection.

It was definitely a good weekend. If you ever want to see King Tut — go see him before October!

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In order to curb midday cravings, I’ve turned to chewing gum.

A couple of days ago I browsed the candy aisle at a store and noticed something I haven’t tried in a long time — Wrigley’s!

WrigleysSpearmintGum-1913AI just had to buy it! So today I popped a stick in my mouth and I was awash with memories — instant flashbacks to my great-grandfather — “Pop”.  He always had this gum in his house and every time I went to visit, he’d always offer me a piece of spearmint or Juicy Fruit.

The wave of mint taste engulfed my mouth and I sighed in contentment and closed my eyes to think about Pop.

Childhood memories like that are always pleasant.

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