Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What Texting Means to the Deaf

Did you know that the Deaf community were some of the first to use texting?

I began loosing my hearing when I was 4, and it gradually degraded until I was about 7 and it stabilized at its current level. This means there were a few years in there when my parents did teach me the proper etiquette of answering the phone. That didn't last for long, however, and although we gave TTY technology and specially amplified phones a try, they were bulky, difficult and intimidating for my friends to use, and nearly impossible to move (meaning if I was at someone else's house, I couldn't call my parents). And cell phones have never been super accessible.

When I was about ten, I attended a relative's wedding and we happened to be seated at a table with a deaf couple. They were extremely nice people, and at one point in the conversation, they pulled out these little devices (they looked like pagers with keyboards) and showed me how they could type messages to each other. I was enchanted. I wanted one. It would solve all my problems!

However there were two problems. #1, the devices were pretty pricey. #2, you could only message someone else who had a device, which  meant that we'd have to get one for my parents too, and it wouldn't be any good in contacting friends, siblings, grandparents, etc.

So that kind of didn't happen.

However, by the time I hit college, texting technology existed and most phones were capable of it, even if it wasn't yet widely used. My parents at first weren't keen on the expense, but they quickly realized how useful it was for me and I was allowed to use text messages sparingly as needed.

It was life changing. Outside of the internet and subtitled movies, it's probably one of the best inventions for deaf people of the past 20 years. Not only did it open so many doors for me and make my life a ton easier, it also meant that for the first time ever, my preferred method of communication wasn't just available for everyone, it was very soon cool, and then the norm!

In fact, even my very non-technologically interested uncle completely understood how texting was absolutely necessary for me to survive in the world of 21st century communications (and I definitely could have used it back in the 20th century too!)

What's funny is that I'm not a texting fanatic. I much prefer conversations in person, or at least online where I have a full keyboard and my fingers can (almost!) keep up with my thoughts. I'm not sure if that's just the way I am, or because texting has always been a valuable tool for me just to make my life run smoothly. I don't think of it as a recreational or social thing - I think of it as a survival necessity, and in my case, that's not a dramatic teenager exaggeration. It's the truth.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Haven't forgotten to post!

It's just been incredibly busy and last week my internet was spazzy. Plus I'm on this trip specifically to see people, so I want to hang and chat with the people I'm with offline, since I can do online stuff any time. I get home in a week and a half, so it won't be much longer before ordinary posting resumes. And I should have some awesome pictures from Brickfair to share!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Interview with Orson Scott Card

In case you're not yet tuned in, a film version of the award winning "Ender's Game" is finally coming out. Furthermore, OSC continues to write new books filling in gaps and extending the edges of the Enderverse saga, with the newest installment just released!

The Ender News blog had a chance to interview OSC at the San Diego Comic Con, and part one of the interview gives us an inside look at what we can expect out of the newest book. Part two will contain OSC's thoughts on the film!

An excerpt from the interview:

Card filled me in on some of the plot specifics first, mentioning that, as his readers probably know, Earth Unaware is a prequel to the Ender's Game series. It follows the storyline leading into the First Formic War (Ender's Game takes place during the Third), from the perspective of a mining family living out in the far reaches of the solar system - the Kuiper Belt. The corporations have taken over all the easier places to mine (like the asteroid belts), so it's not easy living.
"The mining family, they basically live from their ship so they have to be able to make everything themselves," Card explained, adding that their ship, El Cavador, is Spanish for "The Excavator." 
Since they're at the farthest reaches of the solar system (this little infographic really explains the distance well), they're the first to spot an incoming alien ship, traveling at half of light speed. As Card said, "If you can get at half of lightspeed, you're a fast ship." With a possible threat looming ever closer, it's up to the family to get to Earth in time to warn them.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mountains and Cats

Well last night involved more driving as I traveled to my third part of the trip - staying with my friends Alicia and Jason. They're housesitting at this awesome cabin up in the mountains - it's really a huge house although they call it a cabin. I have a room to myself and it's kind of huge and awesome. Jason made spaghetti tonight, and Alicia gave me an art lesson. So despite having a migraine, it's been a pretty good day.

Also, there are three cats here, and I've made friends with two of them, one of which started following me around. I think he approves of me.

Friday, July 20, 2012

ReginaCon 2012

Five years ago Regina Doman and her husband Andrew invited their fans to come down to their house for a weekend of festivities. It was such a success that it became an annual thing, and thanks to God's blessings, I've been able to make every one of them.

This year's gathering (called either "ReginaCon" or "The Fairy Tale Novel Fan Gathering") was held in Illinois by the Dominick family. We had a full weekend of fun, friends and fairy tales. Wonderful talks were given on character building, weapondry (I got to demonstrate self-defense rule #1 - running away!) and how to draw anime. We also officially announced the Ruah Chronicles! (see previous post for more details on that series)

Below are some of my favorite pictures, as taken by myself, my friend Emilie, and Mrs. Dominick. I may do a second post if more photos become available for me to use. :) 

(No particular order...)

Drawing time with Rose and Hannah!

Megan dresses in traditional Mexican costume for our Multi-Cultural dinner and dance.


More dancing...

Even more dancing!

My friend Christine had a new puppy who was a much loved member of the festivities this year!

Rose working on the thank you card she and I made for the Dominick family. (Isn't she talented?)

Quilting with Regina and Jackie. (Learn more about how this came about here!)

Sketching in the Anime Tutorial. (This was my first time trying out Anime style drawing. Rose was a great teacher!)

On Friday night we held a live Clue game. I was the victim! (Appropriately named Dr. Crimson...)

I had to remain *dead* for quite a long time as everyone gathered around and talked animatedly. I kept peeking through my eyelashes to try and lipread what was being said! About three different people tested my pulse, and our Father Brown gave me *last rites.*

David and Christine as "Father Brown" and "Ellie Peach"

A cool picture of Regina as Miss Peacock.

Amanda and Paul as Lady Rose and Captain Camo.

After I *died* I was bored, so I decided to come back as a ghost. I went around haunting everyone and saying "AVENGE ME!!!!". Amanda pretended to faint every time she saw me, and did such a good job that some people thought she had really fainted!

Amanda and I preforming "Piano Lesson" from "The Music Man" for the talent show. Amanda did a brilliant Mrs. Paroo!

Theresa, Teresa, Rebecca, Megan, Emilie and Nicole modeling their t-shirt art!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Coming to a bookstore near you!

Mermaids... Unicorns... Paris... Catholic Fantasy... My first published novel...

"Wait, what? I thought you were writing about time travel!"

I am! But I've also been invited to be the third author in a Catholic YA Fantasy series that Chesterton Press is putting out next year titled "The Ruah Chronicles". My friends Regina Doman and Matthew Bowman will be writing the first book. My book is slotted to be the third, and Matt will be co-authoring it with me (his name will be first on all the books so that they are grouped together in the bookstore).

Matt and I got most of the first act outline sketched out today and had a blast doing so. Hopefully Regina'll approve it! I've been to Paris so I know the layout and feel of the city, but I don't speak French. However, Matt's mom is fluent so we were able to go to her for help with some linguistic stuff.

I'm really excited because this will be my first published work, and I'm thrilled that it will be by Chesterton Press. Also, it'll take place in Paris and involve a unicorn, nuns, and some hostile mermaids. Sound like fun? I think so! We don't have any set release dates yet, but my book is slotted to be the third book released (although it will take place parallel to book one, involving a minor character from that story).

For more information, check out Chesterton Press's Facebook page! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

So my blog apparently stole Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak

I apologize for the brief disappearance of the blog. My e-mail address had some issues and because I was at ReginaCon I was away from the internet for 7 days and didn't even know there was a problem until today. Yikes! Anyhow, everything is back and working now. Thanks for your patience! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Eastward Ho! (wait... that's not right...)

Whew, just got done typing up my itinerary and contact info for my trip this month and it's intense! Well okay it's full of names and details because I'm staying at four different places and traveling by both plane and car and... I'll spare you the gory details. But yeah, it'll be an adventure! Four weeks with some of my favorite people, none of which I've seen in 12 months, many in 2 years.

I'm still going to be posting, but the spacing/timing might be a bit weird, so thanks in advance for your patience!

(Regina Doman fans... one of my stops is attending REGINACON in Chicago, hopefully I'll be able to do a couple of posts about that!)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Once Upon a Time" features new princesses this year!

The buzz this week (tucked between all the other geek news coming out as SDCC approaches) is all about the casting of two new princesses for ABC's hit show, "Once Upon a Time." Season 2 will air this fall and will introduce us to new takes on two beloved characters:

Jamie Chung will play Mulan
Sarah Bolger will play Sleeping Beauty.

What do you think of this news? The girls are supposed to be recurring characters so we'll probably see them in two or three episodes as we did Cinderella and Belle.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Decoy Bride

Once upon a Time there was a mad man with a box that flew through time and space who ---

Oh no. Wait. That's Doctor Who. This is the Decoy Bride. They both star David Tennant, but only one of them involves time travel.

The Decoy Bride includes plenty of hidden references to Doctor Who, though, and fans of the show will love seeing David Tennant's adorableness in a romantic comedy. Also, fans of Pixar's "Brave" will also be thrilled to see the voice of Merida in the flesh - as Kelly MacDonald plays the leading lady opposite Tennant.

But what if you're not a fan of either? Why should you watch this little low budget rom com? Keep reading.

In the North of Scotland, there is a little windswept and waterswept island called Hegg which no one ever goes too. It is populated by 75 people, most of them senior citizens, and all of them married save for 30-something Katie Tyler, a struggling writer who has just returned to her childhood home after being dumped by her musician boyfriend.

Meanwhile, back in civilization, there is a movie star marrying another writer. Lara, the darling of Hollywood, has been stalked relentlessly by paparazzi, including one who would terrify even Princess Di's stalkers. No matter what she does, she can not shake off the cameras, so she tells her agent that they need to go somewhere really remote where no one can possibly find them. Somewhere like that island her fiance wrote about in his book... the island of Hegg.

Cue shenanigans and romance. Although not the most stunning of films, it nonetheless carries a deeper heart and more endearing whimsy than most romantic comedies. It's about love, it's about Scotland, and it's about writing. For me it's hard to find a better mix than that, and I'd heartily recommend it to any of my readers.

The film is not rated, but any incidences of language or innuendo are very mild, and would likely have gotten a PG rating from the MPAA if it had been submitted.

Best news? The film is streaming on Netflix Instant!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So I'm behind watching "Eureka" but...

but I just watched "In Too Deep." One of the most moving episodes of "Eureka" since season 3 at least, and I loved it. (I missed two weeks and now have to watch it on Hulu instead of the TV, and SyFy has an annoying release gap for the online viewings.)

 I don't know if this counts as spoilers since it aired several weeks ago, but I was not expecting the submarine wedding. However it was awesome and I'm so glad it happened... I get so tired of TV shows (and comic books!) dragging out engagements and never letting permanent changes happen.

I really love how the show is allowing both Fargo and Zane to mature. TV these days likes to showcase immature, goofy guys, and Fargo and Zane were the best of these for a long time, and now they've grown even better because they're growing up.

Fargo especially has become a character very dear to me. When I first started watching the show, I first thought he was annoying, then funny, and now he is probably my favorite. Although I disliked Holly when she first appeared, I now love her and love the dynamic between her and Fargo. I really really hope they work out a way to save her.

I felt season 4 was weak, but season 5 is doing a very good job of giving us the best of all we love about "Eureka" as it comes to a close.

And can I end this post by saying how much I adore the ongoing D&D game? The ending of the episode where they all gather around to play... it's awesome.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Your Little Princess Costume Design

Those of you who follow my personal sewing blog (Seamstress Confessions) are aware that for the past six months my friend Amanda and I have been hard at work developing a new business. Our service is crafting unique, high quality dresses for the little princess in your life.

Earlier this spring we invited many of our friends to follow our Facebook page, Tumblr and Twitter accounts. Now we're going bigger. Yesterday we launched our super duper shiny website and would like to invite YOU to come over and visit!  

Browse dress designs and pictures, read our bios and take a look at our FAQ's page... and perhaps even order a dress for your own little princess! 

Hope to see you there!