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Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Photo Fun for Friday

Unlike my usual Friday photo feature, I didn't take any of these pictures. I received them in my email and couldn't resist sharing them with you. Aren't they clever?

Last year I posted photos of dogs dressed in Halloween costumes. For those of you who missed out, you can see them here.

If this has inspired you to create one of these designs for next year, here's a link to the free stencil designs from Better Homes and Gardens. There are 13 dog breed stencils available.

Happy Howloween everybody!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sara Chapman & the 2009 Photoblog Award

One of my favorite blogs is Sara's Fave Photos by Sara Chapman of Seattle. I blogged about her previously on my post Photos Worth a Thousand Words. Sara frequently features flower photos and all of her pictures are a visual delight.

Sara has entered her blog in the 2009 Photoblog Award competition. As I'm only permitted to vote once for her [I was hoping I could vote once a day for her] I'm writing about her here, hoping some of you will check out her blog so she can get the votes she deserves.

If you're interested in voting, click here for her entry on the 2009 Photoblog Awards site. In order to vote, you will need to create an account with the site by creating a login and password - it's simple with no cost involved. The site will then send you an activation email with a link to click and you can cast your vote. Voting is open until December 15.

Good luck, Sara. I hope you win!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some Like It Hot: Amazing Race Episode 6

Continuing to race in Dubai, all the teams suffered from the heat. Thoughtfully the producers arranged two water related challenges. The first involved rowing an inflatable boat out to a yacht to receive a watch from a sheik. That seems like a straightforward enough task but our racers showed some unusual ways to row a boat including paddling it with their arms instead of using the oars. Tiffany rocked this task using standard rowing technique.

Given the choice of assembling hookas or counting gold, most teams sweltered in the sun building 12 of the intricate smoking devices. Cheyne and Megan stayed ahead of the pack and finished first. When it came to counting gold, the alliance between the brothers and the poker players paid off. The girls had the smarts to do it but the boys had the calculator! Working together led these teams to their excellent finishes of second and third place.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. There was a second water related task on tonight's show. This one involved "Taking a Leap of Faith" which turned out to be sliding down a very steep water slide into a pool with real sharks at the Atlantis Resort in Dubai. (It appeared that the sharks were separated from the swimmers by a glass wall.) Some of the teams enjoyed taking the plunge but not Mika. Her fear of water and heights combined to pscyh her out of going down the slide. That decision cost her and Canaan the race as there was one team still behind them. Team Globe Trotters arrived last on the scene and helped convince Mika not to slide. That may seem mean but I have no sympathy for her as she had wasted a lot of time before they got there dithering over whether to slide or not. Talking her out of the slide was the Globe Trotters only chance to stay in the race and they did it.

I'm rather scared of heights myself but I have managed to enjoy the terror of water slides several times. And for me there wasn't even the possibility of winning a million dollars involved. Do you think I'm being too hard on Mika or do you think she should have expected a challenge like this on the Amazing Race and prepared herself for it?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun ASL Video with Captions in English and ASL

This video is FUN to watch! I really appreciate the time the signer took to add the captions in ASL below the English captions. When I was taking my sign language class and had to sign sentences in front of the class, that's how I wrote them out on my paper. First in English, then as ASL concepts. It reinforces the idea that ASL is not "English in the air".

Thank you to my friend Pam for bringing this video to my attention. I hope you all enjoy it! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Read more about signer Stephen Torrence and how he makes his ASL videos in this interview: part one and part two.

A Very Harry Halloween

My entry in the library's Pumpkin Carving Contest.

I've been sick with a virus for about two weeks now. Last Friday I went to the doctor and was tested for influenza A/B and strep. Both tests came back negative. The doctor suggested it might be mono and that I needed to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. As needed I could take Tylenol for my sore throat pain.

Fortunately, my downtime hasn't been a complete waste. I've been reading the Harry Potter series. Now that I've entered the world of J.K. Rowling, it's hard to believe I haven't read them before now. My only explanation is that when the books first came out my son was too young for them.

I remember there was also some concern by conservatives about witchcraft being promoted through the novels. Now that I've read them for myself, I can't understand that viewpoint at all. Even though the world is magical, it's far from perfect. The characters all must cope with events beyond their control and must deal with everyday problems like bad weather, unfair teachers, and taunting classmates. I find it particularly endearing that Harry who may be the most powerful wizard of all must wear glasses to correct his nearsightedness. No magical Lasik vision spell for him.

So far, I've read the first four novels. After each one, I've rented the movie on DVD. It's been an enjoyable way to spend my time while resting and really put me in the mood for Halloween next week!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Desert Snow: Amazing Race Episode 5

This episode seemed pretty low key to me after the shocking upset of last week.

In Dubai, my favorites Meghan and Cheyne took the fast forward challenge to a first place finish. Brian made a point of helping every team he possibly could in the hopes of receiving good karma later on in the race. Tiffany and Maria received a replacement vehicle when they damaged theirs. Lance and Keri had difficulty navigating, came in last, and were eliminated. From what we were shown, there was much less fighting between them on this leg of the race. And I have to admit their exit from the game was unexpectedly classy saying they had other great things to look forward to in their life.

Would you have enjoyed building snowmen in the desert heat? That seemed like a better option than searching the "needle in the haystack" like snow piles for a tiny white snowman. But the two teams who found snowmen actually finished ahead of those who chose to build snowmen. Go figure.

For me the best moment of all was when brothers Sam and Dan tried to book an airline ticket to the Persian Gulf!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Got Flu?

I'm out sick from work. My son got sick first and now it's my turn. I've got a fever, sore throat, and cough. I really don't know whether or not the swine flu is to blame, but I couldn't resist posting this cute pig photo a friend sent me!

Don't worry, I am drinking lots of fluids and getting plenty of rest as a precautionary measure. And reading my blog does not expose you to any risk of contagion.

Stay well. I'll be better soon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

And the First Shall Be Last: Amazing Race Episode 4

In last week's preview, we were told that one team misplaced their travel documents. Shortly before tonight's episode, I saw a clip that revealed the team to be one of my sentimental favorites, Zev and Justin. Oh, no. Not them!

All through this leg of the race, I kept waiting for the fatal moment to occur. I was sure we would see them leave behind their passports as happened with Toni and Dallas on a previous season. I was wrong because they arrived in first place at the Pit Stop without incident. Sadly, their triumph was short-lived as they discovered Zev's passport was missing shortly afterwards. Hmm...I wondered is that standard procedure for teams to be required to produce their travel documents to show staff at the end of each leg?

Phil told the guys they had to retrace their steps to try and recover the missing passport before the last team arrived at the Pit Stop. They were unable to do so and were eliminated from the race. Darn! I really would have liked to have seen more of them on my tv.

Dating couple Megan and Cheyne continue to look strong and interact well with each other as a team. Lance and Keri had a much easier time of it on this leg of the race but there was less humor in tonight's episode as a result. They continue to be my least favorite team.

Bye, Zev and Justin. I'm sorry to see you go so soon!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Flowers for Friday: Marvelous Mums & More

Yellow Mums

White mums with yellow centers

Purple Mums

Reddish-orange Mums

White Mums



I'm dedicating this post to my Mom who is affectionately known as "Mum" to my son. That's the name I called her Mother so it's become a family tradition. Someday, I hope my son's child(ren) will call me Mum too.

Love you, Mom!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why We Make Mistakes

I recently read this fascinating book by Joe Hallinan. I highly recommend it to everyone who makes mistakes. If that doesn't include you, you can stop reading now.

Uh-huh. I thought so.

Ever since I started blogging about my funny hearing mistakes, I've been intrigued by how my mind works to fill in the missing parts of conversation and tries its best to make sense of the garbled speech I hear.

Here's some examples:

When someone was describing a museum exhibit featuring parts of the body, I thought she said the finger instead of The Thinker. I think my misperception actually fits better with the context.

When a coworker was describing a bird that got out of its cage and flew around an apartment, I thought she said it landed in the cat dish rather than the cactus. It seems as though my mind was thinking about pet mishaps and naturally thought of cat. I have a dog who has large bowls for his food and water. I pictured in my mind the bird landing in a cat's dish of water. Splash! That would be funny. If I were the bird, I'd prefer my version over a prickly cactus landing. Ouch!

Recently I attended a library event where a photographer explained how you can use a point and shoot camera to maximum effect. He said he got on to doing art shows in order to make money. Silly me thought he said archery. In defense of my poor brain, I would like to point out his talk was all about "shooting things". Heh.

When I picked up Mr. Hallinan's book, I was hoping to read some research on hearing mistakes. But the subject wasn't covered. Undeterred, I emailed the author and received the following replies which I have received permission from him to post. The following is excerpted from the emails:

From Me:
I really enjoyed reading your book Why We Make Mistakes. I was hoping you would include research about the mistakes that are most common in my life which are hearing mistakes. Do you have any information on that subject?

From the Author:
You raise a very good issue and one I've given a lot of thought to lately. I had thought about this some while I was writing the book, but decided against focusing on hearing mistakes in part because they are very hard to illustrate -- at least in a print medium. So my short answer is no. But hearing mistakes of the kind you describe are perfectly consistent with the other kinds of mistakes we describe in the book. For instance, I talk about how we all tend to "skim," -- noticing just enough to get by, drawing inferences where we can, etc. And it seems to me very likely that we do the same thing when we listen to someone speak at a lecture or give us directions: we "skim" hear, taking in some but not all of what is said.

From the Author's second email reply:
You can make mention, if you want, of the example we use of F.C. Bartlett and the native American story he has people read and then recount. I suspect something similar happens when we hear things and try to recount what we are told -- we only retain a fraction. In fact, one study found that the average judo fighter can recall only 29.3% of pre-match coaching instructions after the match is over.

This wasn't the kind of response I was hoping to receive. I really wanted some insight into the kind of hearing mistakes I make. The ones he refers to are ones I think people with good hearing make. Or am I in denial about my own level of attention to a speaker?

I received the following comment from Jonathan to my last blog post which seems particularly relevant to this discussion too:

Honestly, I always find it odd that people without hearing loss can mishear what other people said. I've associated this experience with being hard of hearing so much that it just seems bizarre that it's not exclusively an HOH issue. But, then it somewhat parallels to what someone, a hearing person, once said to me: hearing people don't listen, hard of hearing people do.

Do you agree that the examples I gave above of my own mistakes are different from the hearing mistakes the author cites as due to lack of attention. I would argue I was putting a lot of effort into following the conversation based on the context I was able to decipher. Or do these examples prove my brain uses inference to understand speech the same way as someone with regular hearing does?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Making of ....a Slight Mistake.

Linda, my very good friend from library school, shared this amusing story with me recently.

She was sitting at the reference desk when a teenager approached her and asked if the library had a book in its collection. She asked him what the title was and thought he responded with "The Making of the Lion King". She hadn't heard of the book before and the thought passed through her mind that it was rather strange that a young man was interested in a Disney children's film...but professional that she is, she went ahead and consulted the library catalog. She didn't find a listing for it.

She asked the young man again and repeated back what she had heard as the title. Apparently he was too polite to correct her. Fortunately for him at that moment her coworker came to take the next shift at the desk. He restated his request to her. Before leaving, Linda told her colleague she had been unable to find "The Making of the Lion King". Suppressing a giggle, her coworker told her the title he was looking for was "The Making of a Latin King." Oops.

Thanks, Linda for reminding me that sometimes even those with excellent hearing make mistakes and allowing me to share your story on my blog.

[For those unfamiliar with the Latin Kings, they are a gang in the United States. Just a bit different than an animated feature film.]

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dropped on Planet Mars: Amazing Race Episode 3

I'm not going to recap episodes from Amazing Race 15 as I did in the previous two seasons. But I will add my two cents as to which teams I favor.

Since the first episode, I've had my eye on dating couple Meghan and Cheyne. I really enjoy their interaction. They are always positive and upbeat. I was thrilled when they made it to the Pit Stop first in Tokyo at the end of the first leg of the race. We'll have to see how their team dynamic holds up when they're racing at the back of the pack.

I have to admit I was skeptical about father/son team Gary and Matt's ability to compete due solely to the father's age. But they proved me wrong coming in first in Vietnam, the second leg of the race. They continued to run a strong race last night, finishing third.

My top sentimental favorites are Zev and Justin. I really admire Zev's ability to cope with the chaos of the race as he has Asperberger's Syndrome. He provides great entertainment with his deadpan delivery of one liners in the interview segments. My other sentimental favorite team is the Harlem Globetrotter guys, Nathaniel and Herbert. They have stood head and shoulders above everyone else - literally - in countries such as Japan and Vietnam. They also have showmanship skills that make for enjoyable television viewing. I'm glad they were cast.

Best moment of the night when Ericka and Bryan, the married interracial couple, dubbed themselves Team Zebra.

Funniest moments were provided by obnoxious Lance, the muscleman/lawyer. It was priceless watching his red balloon float away. His boasting about being the strongest player in the race availed him of nothing when he couldn't comprehend that his clue was stored inside a bullet and he wasted time looking around for a clue someone apparently gave all the other teams but not him. Heh. And of course my post title came from the ever quotable Lance.

If you're watching the show this season, let me know who your favorites are and who you think just might cross the finish line first.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blessing of the Animals or Cursing?

Today is the feast day for St. Francis. One of my church's annual events is a Blessing of the Animals at our outdoor altar. Ever since my family got Rusty, our beloved golden retriever, I've wanted to go. Today was the first time I actually made it to the service.

The baskets you see in the photo above were used to collect donations for a local humane society. We brought paper towels. Others brought pet food and disinfecting wipes.

In this photo Rusty waits patiently with my son for his turn to receive a blessing.

My church approaches this gathering with a good sense of humor. After the service was over, awards were presented for largest pet, smallest pet, pet who most looked like the minister, and pet who looked like its owner.

But the funniest moment of all was a hard of hearing mistake. Not by me, but someone else this time. A man turned to me wonderingly and asked "Do they call their dog, Damn?!" Just then the dog's youthful owner called out his name and perhaps it was the power of suggestion but sure enough it sounded like Damn. But then the man's wife poked him in the ribs and said, "His name is Sam!" I reassured the man his name was better. Heh. Surely all pet owners have referred to their animals that way at least once. It'd be pretty funny if a dog started responding to that for its name.

In this photo, Rusty socializes with some other dogs in front of the altar. Blessings to all animals today.