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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bowling for HLAA

Something's always going on. If it's not a volleyball game that I'm training for, a get-together I'm attending, or gym time that I'm working through, then it's definitely HLAA time! There have been lots of things going on since we had to replace our chapter president, so I've been scrambling around making sure things get completed. I have to admit I didn't plan on taking on this role this year so I'm making adjustments and have been relying on Secretary Shanna and Treasurer Minda far more than I should. I wanna give them a shout out, you two rock, been absolutely supportive and you truly care about the chapter, so I want to make sure I do my part to keep things moving along!

Part of that includes making sure our events for HLAA are properly advertised and the word spread to those who want to attend. Just yesterday, we hosted a bowling social at Incredabowl in Overland Park, about 10 people showed up, including two ASL students who needed to interview deaf people for their classes. A great time was had by all, and I've made a few new friends out of it.

Bowling.... is such as dang tough sport. Could it even be called a sport? ;-) Eh, well, if hitting a ball over a net constitutes a sport, then I guess rolling a ball down a lane could be too. I just couldn't get in a groove all day until near the end of the 2nd game - lo and behold, the strikes and spares finally popped up. Yay! My younger bro still beat me, which is a feat since he nearly paralyzed his hand a few years ago.

Two years ago, a freak incident happened at my mom's house in L.A. where he was opening a drawer in the bathroom and the ceramic handle spontaneously broke off and severed nerves in his index finger and thumb. To save his ability to use his hand, they performed surgery to restore the nerves - they were mostly successful, as today if you see his scars on his hands, he has most of the feeling in them, though there is still stiffness and slight numbness. Whew!

Off to do some cleaning before the gym - my stepsister is coming into town before flying back to L.A. She's apparently in a wedding in Topeka for her sister (or half sister? I don't think it's the same dad...) and wants to use my house for a launching pad to the airport. I'd say it's almost the same distance from Topeka to the airport as it is from my place!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Sometimes I come up with the weirdest goals. But for the longest time, I've always wanted to be able to stand on my hands. But when you have the hardest time balancing even on your own two feet, you'd think inverting might just be pushing it. ;-)

However, I've been reading up on just how to do a handstand. Seems simple enough. Of course, by this time next week, I'll probably wind up in the hospital with a subdural hematoma (link not for the squeamish) from doing more of a faceplant....

I'm gonna be able to do this by the end of the year, no doubt!

A follow up to my last post - I came across this article on a blogsite somewhere, but it bears sharing some more - it's been reported that 76 athletes with hearing loss competed in NCAA and NAIA, with about half in Division 1 sports. That's great!

Off to see some NHL hockey tonight - LA Kings vs NY Islanders in the Sprint Center. It's not the Mighty Ducks, but it is an L.A. team, so I gotsa represent!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mainstream success in sports

I'm always heartened to hear when people with hearing loss are achieving their dreams in sports outside of the deaf community. The true litmus test of one's ability to be good at a sport is to complete against everyone who plays the sport, at the same level as everyone else. When Kenny Walker made it onto the Denver Broncos, that was a big deal to the deaf community, but I saw that as "wow, he's achieving his dream, hearing loss or not." I went to the first round of NCAA basketball championships back in March this year to watch my alma mater CSUN play against Memphis - coincidentally, freshman Michael Lizarraga was on the bench, ready to play in what I hope will be many more NCAA championship runs.

Today I'm heading out to catch a KU soccer game with a couple of buds. KU just happens to feature Emily Cressy, who apparently is kicking butt and winning games. So KU soccer just might go all the way this year! Come on, 'hawks!

On a side note, I caught an ASL film last night. It's made me compare my recent experiences watching films made by people with hearing loss. My friend Rhiannon created "When I'm not Alone" for her school project which was absolutely phenomenal. The ASL film, in comparison, cannot hold a candle to Rhi's documentary. But pretty much the entire audience at the ASL film loved the ASL film, the "best ever." I'm flabbergasted - am I really that high of a film buff, to see this flick and go "it really had glaring problems that prevented me from enjoying it."

Oh, well. I'm gonna put it behind me and go play some volleyball tonight! Woooo!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flag football

With summer winding down (it's not over until the Autumnal Equinox!) it's time to put aside the sandals and slip on some sweatpants. The daystar is waning - lights up at 7, lights down at 7... nooooo! Pretty soon I'll be cooped up all day at the office with no sunlight for weeks, not looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I've been categorizing things I'll be doing this winter to stave off cabin fever. A list I've generated thus far:

1) Sunlamp
2) Gymnastics late on Monday nights

wait, no, I need to re-order my list.

3) Gymnastics late on Monday nights
4) X Factory/Gym
5) Guitar Hero
6) Sunlamp
7) DDR
8) Trip to Las Vegas or L.A.
9) Snowboarding trip to Colorado
10) Milk runs on Snow Creek
11) Sunlamp
12) Hot cocoa
13) Studying Japanese
14) Planning my trip to Japan
15a) Skydiving
15b) .....or bungee jumping....
15c) ....or both!
16) Blogblogblog
17) Partypartyparty

One item that's definitely not my winter sport but will be keeping me out of the house is Flag Football! I've played some football growing up, kind of hard to avoid it when you end up going to a high school that tends to win championships. Never made the team, but still got to play some good ol' flag. Now, coed flag football, I've never done - so this'll be interesting. I tend to sometimes play a little... rough. :-)

Seeya out on the field!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Paramore concert

Naaa-naa-na-naaaaa! Discovering new music is one major joy that just happens spotaneously for me. Listening to internet radio, reading what's good in Rolling Stone magazine, or even just checking out a friend's playlist really nets me some great results. So, last year, Seth emailed me out of the blue and was like, "Check out Paramore!" Apparently he had been playing some Guitar Hero (yeahhhhhh!) and played, I think, the song "Misery Business" and it sounded so superb that he had to go and get their two albums, "All We Know Is Falling" and "Riot!"

I liked their sound too - alternative rock with some heavy guitar riffs and some thumpin' drums. You know someone really likes a band when they create a playlist of just that band's top songs ;-) So you can tell I'm definitely stoked when just yesterday I find out they're set to hit town on 10/6 at the Uptown Theater. Yesssss!

One reason I'm thrilled is because I've always had a good experience at Uptown - seems to be a well organized place, good sound, and free parking. Can't beat free parking! And I shoudn't forget to mention that the club has been excellent about providing sign language interpreters upon request - phenomenal job, actually, and I hope that this time will go just as smoothly!

They'll be showcasing their new album "brand new eyes." Now I have to actually listen to their newest single to see if it's any good...

Off for lunch!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

DPHH exhaustion

Man, throwing a party can be brutal. Back in April, I was approached by some representatives of a VRS company to host "Deaf Professional Happy Hour" or DPHH, in Kansas City. I'm all "why me?!" Apparently someone volunteered me... I'm gonna have to find out who it was and really really reallllly thank them... ;-)

In any case, good naturedly, I figured it'd be easy to pull off. Man, it was not! It was kind of funny being the guy who doesn't do bar hopping but having to figure out what are the good bars to host this event. After a couple of false starts, I was able to settle on Tanner's Bar and Grill on 87th St in Kansas. Nice space, wouldn't be too crowded, not too expensive for the drinking crowd, free parking, and an early start!

For what little advertising was done, it was a pretty darn good turnout - 25 people, including myself. Now I need to figure out who took pics because I neglected to use my camera for like the first 5 hours... the event was only supposed to last 4 hours! I've got a couple on my camera that I'll post up after I get back from my Roller Derby event tonight. Yeaahhhhh... that's gonna be relaxing :-D

What impressed me the most was the cross-section of those who came out. We had:

1) Deaf/signers
2) Hearing impaired/no sign or little sign
3) CI wearers
4) Interpreters
5) Hearing friends who were curious as heck

From a networking perspective, we had:

1) Deaf professionals
2) College students
3) Owner of an interpreter agency
4) Director of a government post
5) Grant-seekers/fundraisers
6) Out of work people looking for jobs

So I'm really glad it was a diverse group!

Now I've got a group of interested people who want to make the next one happen, planning the location and date, and get the word out. So now it'll be herding cats instead of me chasing down leads. Whoo! Go Rusty, Stormi and Cheyann!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Gathering Blue

So I just finished reading the companion novel to "The Giver" - "Gathering Blue." The Giver piqued my interest because of the parallels to 1984 - a so-called utopian society that, frankly, wasn't. It wasn't quite dystopian either - it wasn't a bad future, just... overly controlled.

I tend to like dystopian stories - where the future isn't so shiny and awesome, but downtrodden and depressing, because it reminds me that we must take control of our destiny or else the futurewill turn out negatively. Blade Runner, Running Man, Terminator, and the Fifth Element are excellent examples of this. But in the case of The Giver, we have an alright future, if you can stand being emotionless and oppressed... from birth to release.

I don't think I could handle being emotionless again. At one time in my life, I used to think it was important to repress my emotions, bottle them in, appearing like nothing bothered me, nor that I could ever be happy. I'm not sure why I became that way - it was an emotionally turbulent time for me, where I wasn't associating well with others, going to a school in another town where the special ed program was hosted, and having none of my schoolmates living nearby to make friends with outside of school. Truthfully, my emotions didn't make things easier to deal with, as I was seen as an angry, brooding, negative teenager, even in school. I'm glad I was able to find an appropriate outlet for my feelings, because I get the impression most people now think I'm positive, happy, and outgoing.

I liked how the Giver explored the dangers of mindless thinking. In the book, we are led to believe that "release" is some kind of exile, leaving the society because of the inability to fit like a square peg into a round hole - but later it is revealed that permanent death is the result, and not even given a second thought, like it was routine and normal.

That leads me to the next book, which is fresh in my mind and I'm still digesting it. I'm not sure how it's linked to The Giver - there's absolutely no indication that it's even set in the same time period. The only themes I see similar are the level of control and ritualism to keep things the same year after year - but to what end? To just keep the society intact forever? To remain in power, no matter how little influence one exerts? It feels like the two books didn't explore this aspect enough, the motivations behind the control and routine. Mayhaps in the 3rd book, all will be revealed....

Okay, time to wake up! Got a big day today, DPHH tonight at Tanner's Bar and Grill, then a full-up weekend ahead of me. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Receiver of Memories

Now that I'm re-living my 20's (without making the same mistakes ;-) ) I'm taking the time to keep my life in balance, enjoying the things I've always loved (such as reading books, playing vball, and building lego,) with new adventures and new horizons. One such adventure is being involved in HLAA - Hearing Loss Association of America. I'm now the President of the KC Chapter (I need to finish the paperwork involving that transition, natch) and that means I'm full-on responsible for getting people motivated to grow the chapter, fundraise, involve others, and generally keep the ship from running aground. I'm not much of a sailor... but the U.S.S. "KC HLAA Chapter" is steaming full speed ahead towards Walk4Hearing in St. Louis!

Another new-ish thing I got into when I started living in KC is the Kansas City Roller Warriors. I like sports, but watching them just isn't my style. I like to play - being active is soooo much better than lounging around. But there are a small number of sports that I really.... can't play, or that I have difficulty playing. That mostly involves sports where my feet don't touch the ground.... like ice hockey, or the aformented roller skating. That's partially why even though I'm looking forward to snowboarding this winter, I'm simultaneously dreading it. But the Roller Warriors are a hoot to watch - these girls are rough 'n tough and FAST on 8 wheels, racing around a track to score points against XX's bent on taking 'em down with a well placed block. Coindentially, one of my favorite players is named "Dominant Jean" ;-) Last game of the season is this Saturday!

Since I'm able to enjoy myself more now, I'm making time to read again. I've always loved reading - I read voraciously, consuming every book I could come across, hungry for knowledge and new words. One book that I apparently missed the first time around was "The Giver." I'm fascinated the idea of a utopian future - it's an ideal, where perhaps everyone is happy, we're able to achieve dreams, etc. Well, this starts out that way, but then the ugly stuff starts coming out, and the future isn't so perfect anymore. A society where there are no emotions, no passion, no love - that's not one I would want to consider living in. There's a question that I see posed every once in a while:
"If you guarantee you would live to be 100 if you cut out everything unhealthy in your life, like drinking soda, eating steak, doing risky sports, stuff like that - would you do it?"
I would answer no, because without those things, life would barely be worth living. I'm an cautious risk-taker, out to experience life - and I'd hate to miss out on all the fun stuff. ;-) So that Giver society.... not for me. I should probably make a post on just the Giver and the sequel.. errr, companion novel that I'm reading now - Gathering Blue.
Eh, I'm gonna get going to focus on Wednesday business. Ciao, all!

Monday, September 7, 2009

We.... are.... WYLD STALLYNS!

Growing up, I never was much musically inclined. It seemed like someone took my musical talents and gave 'em all to my older brother - he was the top tier trumpeter, the first chair, getting all the solos and accolates for marching band, jazz band, concerts, plays, what-have-you. I did try the piano for a year when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, but the notes never made sense to me. I just couldn't make much progress on reading a dang music sheet.

I did attempt to pick up drums when I was in middle school - got drum pads and drumsticks for my birthday one year, and did some thwacking in my room on some days, but when you get down to it, I really had no inspiration to lead me to believe I was making beautiful music. All I was doing was making a dull thump on some greyish pads with no accompanying tunes to suck me in. I abandoned that fairly quickly and pretty much swore off of playing instruments for the rest of my life.

Now, maybe it was because of my hearing that I didn't get anywhere with music - I didn't have a favorite song until high school, I never sang because I never learned the words of songs, and often I was forced to go to my older brother's band events - which bored the heck out of me.

This all sounds so negative. However, there is an upside to all of this. When I got my CI, I started, slowly, to appreciate music. Songs sounded... richer. sometimes I could pick out a word or two, but I needed to work at it. Then I started reading lyrics online and going "OH!" How could I have missed out on all of this? How did I avoid laughing my butt off to Weird Al Yankovic? How could I have misunderstand the true meaning behind "When I Come Around?"

Now I'm ravenous about looking for new music and new sounds - and along comes along Guitar Hero 5! *wails on a power riff*

I just picked it up yesterday. I didn't get to bed until nearly 3am today. It's all making me nogastalic for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure! Almost all the songs are since 2000 - which is about when I started my discovery into music. Even then, I don't recognize most of the songs on the game - so I might get some new favorites out of this!

My favorite song on the game is Steady as She Goes.... such an awesome song!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The ultimate sport

With summer winding down (I go by the summer equinox date of September 22nd as the official end of summer, as opposed to some people thinking otherwise! ;-) ) and football season starting up, I look for ways to stay active and outdoors to stave off the impending cabin fever that goes with winter. Actually, the biggest reason I dislike winter is because most of the time during the week, I work from sundown to sundown - I get to work when it's still dark, eat lunch at my desk, then leave the office with the glow of the streetlamps still. Ugh. I keep promising myself to do this every year but this year I WILL get a sunlamp and use it to stave off those winter blues.

Not to say that winter's all that bad - I do like playing in a snow a bit, it's always fun to find a empty parking lot with fresh snow and spin out doing donuts, throwing powder everywhere. I can get a fire going in the living room to make it nice and cozy. I'm looking forward to trying out snowboarding this season! Me and balancing on boards doesn't seem like the best combination of things, but hey, stranger things have happened! :-)

In the meantime, while the weather's reasonable, there's still a lot to be done. Hitting up a corn maze is on my must-do list - galavanting through miles-long 10 feet high cornrows is a daunting task that relish, challenging myself to get all the checkpoints within the maze. At first, when I played, I tried to stick to the maze they made. But then it was like "well, that other checkpoint is right there, let's just sneak over there and get it!" Then it was on - just get 'em all as fast as we can!

The one game I don't think I've played since I left Cali-burning is Ultimate Frisbee.

There was talk a few days ago about forming our own soccer team. I have no love for soccer, but I do like playing goalie so I can do that. I just like using my hands - which is totally what Ultimate lets you do! We just need a huge space and a big enough group, and it would totally own. Passing the disc from teammate to teammate, with the opposing team trying to swat it down or intercept it, running all over to get open and collect the pass - definitely a sport to make you sweat it out! There were times when I would play in college after an all-nighter out with the fraternity - that was crazy, because I would just lose the whole Sunday after 1pm from pure exhaustion.

So, yes! Time to set up an Ultimate day!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My birthday


Yes, today is my birthday, though I won't officially be 30 until about 11ish Pacific Time. I do not have any problem with growing older, I actually had a list of things I wanted to do before I turned 30 and I ought to track down that list and compare to where I figured I'd be in the future when I was 20. Some things I do recall on that list:

1) Get my college degree. Status: Mission Accomplished! I really ought to stretch it to a Master's, most likely an MBA in management or finance - but snapping up the BS really put me on track with a career that has been greatly rewarding!

2) Earn a million dollars. Status: Umm..... Haven't won the lotto yet! Well, it would help if I played it... ;-)

3) Travel to London. (and Paris via the Chunnel!) Status: Heading in that direction! I ended up doing a whole lot of domestic travel after I got out of college. Right now my list of states touched has ballooned to 33, over 2/3rds of them for work... all expenses paid! I've just got to step up and make the time and place to do it - I think my cousin is still out there teaching at Oxford - or was it Cambridge? Dang it, I should know!

4) Jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Status: I've got my buds who want to do it, so time to pick a date and time and... jump!

5) Invent something that will change the world. Status: Pending! I've got one invention in the works, a couple I've not done, and more ideas than I know what to do with. But changing the world is hard! I should just change the goal to "an invention that will make someone lots of money ;-)"

I gotta find that list though! Oh, where is it in my archives.....

I'm gonna celebrate my birthday with some ice cream then a party on Friday. Makes sense as everywhere else in the nation, I was born on the 4th of September... but since I'm a September 3rd baby, I'm gonna just say - I'm now 30!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sleeping patterns

Sleep is important. Sometimes I take sleep for granted - I usually can fall asleep nearly anywhere, anytime, in just about any lighting conditions, and get at least 5-6 hours solid. I grew up with a dimmer switch on my bedroom lights and for the longest time never slept with the lights off, so I got used to still being able to sleep in semi-light. I was always able to get enough sleep to last me all day - it wasn't until my senior year of high school when I actually DID start falling asleep in my first class of the day, and understood how/why others could do the same. I used to make fun of those kids, the ones the teachers kept punishing for being sprawled out on their desks snoring by mid-morning, but it really drove home to me that sleep is essential.

This morning, I was looking up How to be a Morning Person - it features a lot of stuff that I do use to make sure I get outta bed and into work at a decent hour. Admittedly, in college, I always used to get into work late - 15-30 minutes late, even though I used to live literally right next to campus. I'm not kidding, across the street from my apartment was a parking lot to the school! And still, for several months after living there, I was consistently getting logged in late after my jaunt across campus. Then my boss instituted mandatory 8:15am in the morning meetings.... yeahhhh I definitely did everything I could to make those!

However, I'm also still a bit of a night owl - crashing after midnight, talking to my buds on the left coast, and rapporting with my fellow Xers right before the exhaustion catches up with us. It's hard to socialize during the day - I'm stuck on documents and conference calls and problem solving, so I tend to minimize my "hey how are you" notes when I'm on the clock. A number of my friends have clocks that don't conform to 8-5 schedules, which I admittedly am sometimes jealous of :-p. At least I can know that when 5pm rolls around, if I've gotten everything done I can go home and not worry about things until tomorrow.

In any case, I've just woken up and I'm still a bit sleepy. Time to shower and wash away those brain cobwebs!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Ow ow ow ow.

Actually, right now, today after an evening of P90X Plyometrics (jump training) with Seth and Kel, I'm feeling really good - no soreness, no aches, just a touch of hunger - and I'm ready to face the day. Last night was fun, getting together with kickass people and then planning an evening around a heart-racing activity. I gotta tell you, it was NOT easy, but it's certainly more fun with a group of motivated people who can keep up!

What I do feel is my gol durn arms where I arm wrestled 3 people at a party about a week ago. Bad idea. Still feels like my tendons have been shorn off. So I'm gonna go see my doctor and perhaps he'll tell me something OTHER than "stop doing what hurts!"

I dread going to see the doc - my doc's fantastic, he bikes in his free time, travels to the east coast when he can, and is pretty knowledgeable about stuff like celiac disease - but it's the whole "I'm hurt/sick/need help" that just makes me so ugh about doctors. It's like having to admit something's wrong with me - and these injured elbows are certainly proof enough of that. I don't even like taking pain medication unless I hafta, it's just ingrained into me that I don't need that stuff. Guess I'm just getting old....

Oh, right. It's my birthday coming up. Hello, 30, goodbye, 20's. *shrug* I don't feel much different than I do every day already, so, I guess it's just another excuse to have fun. At least this time I get to blow out the candles! ;-)

Off to work!