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Harkle.com is a directory of closed captioned web videos servicing the deaf, hard of hearing and anyone who enjoys the clarity that closed captioning provides. Harkle is also an advocate for web captioning and accessibility, persuading producers to caption their content and promoting free or inexpensive software or services. 

Want to see a specific web video get captioned? Harkle.com users can request captions for their favorite videos. They can even volunteer their time to get involved. Volunteers help with transcription, caption text editing, captioning timing and caption upload. They can even help by contacting producers for copyright clearance and persuade them to help underwrite the small cost.

James Short, founder of Harkle.com, is a big fan of the free captioning software MAGpie (despite its current shortcomings) and is also very excited about the new online options for captioning like Overstream.net, Mojiti.com and DotSub.com. Now almost anyone can overlay captions onto videos at YouTube and other shared video sites.

I volunteer my time setting up the lines for lonelygirl15. What I do is go to lonelygirl15 website for the script, copy and paste the script onto Word, and then rearrange them so that it's easier to read. I then forward the scripts to Harkle who adds the captions to the video, with the lonelygir15 producer's blessing, of course! It takes some time, but I feel I'm doing my part to help make online captioning a reality.

Joseph Grigely, Deaf Artist

I recently received an email from the public relations firm for  Contemporary Museum in Baltimore about the deaf artist's exhibit. I was honored to receive a notification; I'm sure that they have sent it out to several bloggers out there. One blogger, Fookem and Bug, received the same email and has posted the email and the flyer.

Joseph Grigely is a deaf artist who created a video presentation based on the misunderstandings caused by lip-reading. He also collected the notes that he had written with other hearing people and have it displayed as an art.  There are other works he created based on his memory of sound and his experiences as a deaf person. I don't know what kind of media that will be. I'm looking forward to attending this exhibit, and I plan to write my critique of his work. It will be posted here.

When: May 6-August 16
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 pm; Thursdays from noon to 7 pm.
Where: Contemporary Museum, 100 West Centre Street, Baltimore, Maryland


Open Captions & Review of Spiderman 3

Last weekend, i watched Spiderman 3 with open captions at the local theatre. The movie started after a long 15 minute session of previews, but there weren't any open-captions. So I got up and went to see the movie theatre attendant to see if this particular theatre is supposed to have open-captions. He verified, and he went to turn it on. I was thinking... that's all they have to do? Push a button to turn it on? Hmm... why do they set up weird times to have the movie open-captioned? I know... it's the marketing and the demographics. And that people don't want to "read" the captions. Blah, blah. Whatever!

Summary: I'm not bothering to write up a summary since most people know what it is about. Spiderman saves the city of New York. What else? :)

Review: I didn't know what to expect from Spiderman 3. I haven't seen Spiderman 1 or 2. All I knew about Spiderman was that he likes to climb skyscrapers and fly using his spider web thingy. The movie started with the most boring, no... one of the more boring... beginnings that I've seen. It took 45 minutes to actually get to the "meat" of the story. There was a lot of action. There was that classic fight between good and evil. The plot focuses on what one can do with the evil and how it impacts the character. There was a love story intertwined in the story, which I think attracts the female viewers, i.e. chicks. I think the movie was trying to be an action film for men and a chick flick for women. As you can tell, I was not totally impressed with the movie, and I was bored with the movie.

Rating: Sorry Spiderman fans... I'll have to give it a 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

Sand Art

I was feeling a little down these days... then I found this videoclip,"Just Imagine," through StumbleUpon. Ilana Yahav is an artist who uses sand on a glass table to create images. She also created other videoclips at her website. These videoclips look cool, but I haven't seen them all. I'm quite impressed. Oh yeah, I feel a little better now. :)


Online puzzle

My husband sent me this awesome website. It's an online puzzle where you have to put the pieces together, while the image is moving. It's a little difficult, but once you get the hang of it, you'll get it.

I had to dig around the website to find information about the puzzle and the creator. Harada Yasunori is the guy who created this puzzle, and he is from Japan. He works with the NTT Communication Science Laboratories, focusing on technology to be used for communication. I couldn't find information about the puzzle.

Anyway... enjoy playing with the puzzle. Let me know what you think of it. Try it out!


Happy Mother's Day

When my parents found out that I am deaf, my mom did the research finding the services that I would need. She made sure that I got the education that I needed. It was agreed that I go to the program for the deaf in a public school about 30 miles away at the age of 5. There were two tracks in that program: oral and manual communication. Looking at what they taught in both tracks, my mom decided that oral was the better of the two, because the classes that used manual communication were for those who really struggled with school. She felt that I needed the “best” education possible, not "watered-down" education.

So I was enrolled in the oral program where there were several self-contained classes. In addition, I was mainstreamed in the hearing classroom for math and reading, depending upon the teacher. However, as I was moving up to higher grades from kindergarten, she learned that I wasn't learning science and social studies in the self-contained classroom. She fought for me to learn; I was mainstreamed for science and social studies in the hearing classroom in fifth grade, finally. Eventually I was mainstreamed for all subjects except for English. In my senior year, I was fully mainstreamed. To this day, I thank my mom for fighting for my education.

My parents felt that I needed to learn sign language, even though I went to an oral program. At first, all three of us went to the sign language class, which was taught by a deaf man. My mom tried her best, yet she struggled. It was agreed that my dad would learn the signs, while mom would use speech and gestures. I admire my mom for trying. It's the effort that matters to me. She really puts her heart into communication. She made sure that I understood her. I couldn't bluff with my mom, like some people could with their families. She worked hard to make sure that I learn vocabulary and academic content. She loved to see me apply what I learn to life. Without my parents, I wouldn't be where I am today.

My mom has always been there for me in both good and bad times. She is a very strong person. She listens to me and gives advice that she feels strongly about. She shows her love by her hugs, her smiles, her teaching, and her endeavors.

Thank you, Mom!

Deaf Students & Testing

In this blog, Deaf in the City, there is a well-written essay about the NCLB law and how it impacts deaf children taking state tests. I am impressed with his research, because he cited several blogs that showed the stress and unfairness of high-stakes testing in both hearing and deaf worlds. The story of the school in California really tears my heart. Unfair! The NCLB law is really a mess, and it needs to be revised. Contact your representative and senator to do something about it.

Story Creator

Tonight, I "stumbled upon" this cool website. One can create a storyboard using the templates for background scenes, characters, and text boxes. One can upload his/her own pictures into the storyboard. It goes up to 10 chapters and 80 pages. Wow... that's a lot. Go and check it out. I'm going to have fun with this one. Once I'm done creating a story, I'll see a way for me to share it with you. :) If you want to share, please do.

Review of Original Sin

Original Sin (2001)

A man from Havana, Cuba meets his mail-order bride from Wilmington, Delaware. The bride turns out to be an actress pretending to be her. The real bride was murdered. The man doesn't know about it until she runs away with his money. He finds her and brings her back. The private investigator searches for her and investigates the mail-order bride murder. He turns out to be an accomplice of the actress. There's much more to the story, and I don't want to give away too much.

At first, I was not interested in the movie, because I did not have great first impressions of Antonio Banderas and Angelie Jolie. I knew that they were both very good looking people, but can they act? I was doubtful. After watching the first several minutes, I realize that my "original" impressions were wrong. I admit that. They're good looking and good actors.

The plot of the movie was gripping and kept me on my feet. The first conflict was about her stealing the money, and then they came back together. Second was when the private investigator (PI) told the man that she killed the mail-order bride. Lastly, it was about the relationship with the PI, which I'm not going to reveal. Yet... close to the end, I was anxious to get the movie over with. One can see the ending from a mile away. When I saw the ending, I was shocked. It was not what I expected it to be; let's just say, it ended happily.

4 out of 5 stars


Review of Goodbye Lenin

Goodbye Lenin (2003)

The young man grew up in East Germany. His mother had a heart attack just when East Germans were protesting which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. She then went into coma for eight months. She missed all of the changes during that time. So the son decided to keep everything just like it was before the fall, because the mother was heavily involved in the Communist party. He felt that it would be too much for her, and she would have another heart attack which possibly will kill her.

This movie is fascinating to watch. It brought back memories of what happened in Germany in 1990. I found it interesting about how the son had changed and matured while she was in coma. When she woke up, he fell asleep one time while taking care of her.  She got up and walked out of the apartment. She saw the changes. That's when she had to grow up, too. My favorite comedic part was when his girlfriend, a student nurse, was practicing putting on cast, they had an argument. She got up and left the bathroom. He was stuck in the bathtub, and he tried to get up.

This movie is much better than "Wings of Desire," a German film with Peter Falk. The plot of "Goodbye Lenin" hooks you in, and you would want to know how it ended. "Wings of Desire" was much more complex, and it was not easy for me to sit and relax while watching it. Yes, "Wings of Desire" was a good movie (it won an award at Cannes Film Festival) but it required deep thinking. "Goodbye Lenin" didn't require deep thought, and you can enjoy the plot better.

The ending was good. I'm not going to spoil it. Go and watch it!

4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars