Monday, June 28, 2010

New Sign Language Evolves Before Our Eyes

Image from

One of the things you may not know about me is that when I was 16 & 17 I was a volunteer sign language interpreter at my parent's church. Signing is a place where my Aspie exaggerated face-making was a benefit and it got me out of having to sit in the first couple rows with my parents. It was a pretty big confidence building thing for me.

Anyhoo, that's just kinda background to clue you in to why a post about a new Nicaraguan sign language on the Not Exactly Rocket Science blog caught my interest. The basics of the sign language are as follows:

In the 1970s, a group of deaf Nicaraguan schoolchildren invented a new language. The kids were the first to enroll in Nicaragua’s new wave of special education schools. At first, they struggled with the schools’ focus on Spanish and lip-reading, but they found companionship in each other. It was the first time that deaf people from all over the country could gather in large numbers and through their interactions – in the schoolyard and the bus – Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL) spontaneously came into being.

NSL is not a direct translation of Spanish – it is a language in its own right, complete with its own grammar and vocabulary. Its child inventors created it naturally by combining and adding to gestures that they had used at home. Gradually, the language became more regular, more complex and faster. Ever since, NSL has been a goldmine for scientists, providing an unparalleled opportunity to study the emergence of a new language.
The post goes on to explain how one experiment has shown the new language's affect on "spacial reasoning skills." It was a very interesting article and you can read the rest of it right here. I think it's best points were about how language and mental processes are linked.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Lots of Little Things

I couldn't decide on any one topic today since I have lots of little things on my mind. So we're just going with that today!

If you haven't already read it on Twitter, it'll be a surprise to you to know that there was a shooting outside my apartment last night. As in RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. My friend MB and Matt and I were chillin when we heard what sounded like gunshots. MB and I heard one and Matt heard the other. A lot of times we think we hear gunshots when we hear a car backfiring, so we weren't sure if that's what it was.

We popped out heads out of the apartment building and saw a Mexican man holding his left leg and calling someone on his cell phone. There were a few other Hispanic adults around him (the apartment buildings across the corner(s) from us have a lot of Mexican families in them). Other than the guy holding his leg, we had no indication a shooting had actually happened. Then, someone ran back to him from their apartment and gave him a Mexican flag, which he proceeded to use as a tourniquet around his thigh.

Now knowing something had definitely happened, we decided to wait and make sure an ambulance showed up, in case we needed to make any calls or whatever, though it seemed the shooting victim was taking care of it. We sat on our porch and ten minutes or so later (a very long response time for our neighborhood) four or five cop cars rolled up and the cops swarmed the corner. They got a description of a "black male on a bike" (Yes, we were close enough to hear some of what was said) and several cop cars rolled back out, presumably to look for the suspect.

A few minutes after that the EMTs got there and then a bit later the ambulance showed up. I went back inside knowing that the victim would be taken care of and wondering what the heck happened. Was this something random or something pointed? There's never been a shooting this close to me in the city and I'm kind of surprised that I don't feel at all concerned for my own safety.

First off, Tuesday I went on a nature hike in Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area with my friend Bob.

Field full of wildflowers!
Dead tree that was hosting a mushroom convention.
See the dragonfly?

We decided this will probably be out last hike until summer's past. Even in the woods it was HOT HOT HOT!

Matt and I gave our cat babies a bath yesterday. Then Frederick and Pinky decided they wanted to damply sit on our laps. Once Matt outsted Pinky, he came and sat on me too. Then Inky was watching all that, looking jealous, so I told him there was still room for him right over my heart. The end result? Check it out:

No, kitties, look over THERE!

(Click here to see embedded video)
There's no interesting sound on this, btw.

Are they ever going to get tired of sleeping on me?!??!

So freaking hilarious. But humid and kinda gross from my side of things. Especially since the kitties stayed there so damn long.

Like I've mentioned before, I've had issues arranging this apartment in ways that really suit me. The last time I re-arranged the second bedroom in this place that we use as art/storage room, it looked like this:
But I didn't use the room that much, finally figuring out that I really didn't have the right table for me (which is why I always ended up on the floor). So I invested in a drafting table which came in Saturday. With that, I was all ready to re-arrange the art room again, but before I did I finally decided that awful green paint (that doesn't really show up on the pics very well) just HAD to go. It made the room like a cave; it was noticeably darker than the rest of the apartment.

So I spent bits of time throughout the week painting, until Matt was nice enough to finish it off for me. Then I got rid of some stuff we'd been keeping, moved some of the other stuff into other rooms and finally made it into an art room with tiny bits of storage for other things (and, the obligatory cat items). And now it looks like this:

I still need curtains, but it's almost perfect for me now...

Check out the sexxy drafting table!
The extra chair on the right is for the cats to sit and watch me if they wanna.

This counts as mostly clean since things are stacked nicely :P
The slim black thing wrapped in plastic at the back there is my theremin!
On the right you can see my Armitage the Third action figure. Cause I love that baby-making, wing-wearing robot lady.

Stacking things makes them more awesome!

Storage that is random enough for my randomness.

Aspies LOVE penguins.

So much more shiny!!!!

I don't like pop unless I do, and in this case, I like this song cause it's infectious and ridiculously danceable. I love a song that makes me want to jump up and shake myself about. Add crazy Star Trek clips to it, and I'm gonna like it even better!

(Click here to see embedded video)

Matt found this and I thought it was kick ass! Bored Panda has a post about 18 Inventions from the Past, some of which would be handy to have right now. My favorites included the one wheel motorcycle and the radio pram.

You can see them all at the original post.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tick Tock Goes the Clock...

Image from

My fiance and I have been planning to have a baby together ever since I "asked" him to be with me by telling him I wanted to have his baby. (If you knew how I used be against reproducing, and how vocal I was about it, you would see that this represents a complete reversal of what I used to believe). He said that's what he wanted too and we've been planning on that long-term ever since. (Sweet, sweet Asperger's love! <3) But just yesterday, that want turned into a BIOLOGICAL NEED.

I got to thinking about my age. Even if I convinced Matt to knock me up RIGHT NOW, I would be 40 when our little girl is 10 (we're planning on having a girl), 50 when she's 20, 60 when she's 30. The reason that scares me so much is my parents were these generally same ages, 40 at 10, 50 at 20, etc., and they NEVER had the energy needed to take care of us. I want to be able to keep up with our daughter,

I really want to be a good father (if you're confused, remember that Matt and I are internally the opposite genders of what we look like externally)... I've gotten used to the idea of pushing a baby through my body (though it still seems weird to my inner masculinity)... And I've been working on being more patient and calm, less judging and reactive and trying to get physically fit enough to have all the energy I need to play with, teach and train a child EVERY DAY FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS.

It's so weird how badly I want this! It makes me wish I could magically make Matt change his mind and/or to follow him around with my ass in the air telling him to PUT A BABY IN MA BELLEH! I NEVER thought I would be a person in a relationship who was trying to convince the other person to make a baby. NEVER ever ever!

For most of my life I didn't ever want to have a kid, partly because I hadn't made peace with my physical femininity, partly because I was worried about becoming the kind of monster I saw as a kid and I never wanted to cause anyone that much pain, and partly because there was no one I could see wanting to share my DNA with (cause, remember, I thought for many years that I had NO CHANCE with my darling). Though it did seem a shame to waste all these sexy genes.

So, it is very surreal to be in my own body right now. For instance, Matt and I were getting it on and despite how turned on I was and how sexy Matt was being, I totally could not fully get into it because my brain kept thinking "this isn't going to end up in a baby" and that made me so sad I wanted to cry. SO NOT LIKE ME. I am going to get cranky if this starts screwing with my sex life on any sort of regular basis.


I feel as ridiculous as Debbie in the "Chickmate" episode of Sealab 2021:

(Click to see embedded video)

(Click to see embedded video)

Note: there was so much more to this post when I first wrote it. Thoughts about how my mental and physical genders intertwined in this whole baby-making situation and much more. But Blogger totally fucked with me and deleted half of it for no apparent reason. The best half of it, too. =\ Matt had read my post before this happened and he typed in approximate text as best he could from what he remembered, cause there's no way I'm able to recreate those thoughts. Some thoughts are so much of the moment that they are lost to me forever if I don't immediately capture them. So this post sucks now, which really upsets me because it was SO DAMN GOOD :'(

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Event Pics: KC Chalk & Walk

I had an exhausting, sweaty, dirty, challenging but fun weekend at the Kansas City Chalk & Walk making my Alice In Wonderland Cephalopod (which you can also see in a smaller version @ my current show).


I had just got the outline started when...

..a massive storm front moved in, blew tons of things around/away, and chased all of us away for about 2 hours.

Afterward, we all came back out from where we'd been hiding and started back over. Luckily the weather held for the rest of the weekend.

Matt helping out with the outlining.

I was tired already when we got started Sunday. I hadn't slept well and my leg muscles were aching from all the squatting-standing-squatting-standing-squatting from the day before. (SRSLY you try doing that for 3-4 hours and see how you feel.)

Thankfully, my sweetie pie Matt was there to help me both days with some of the crushing-the-chalk-in/painting-it-in (not to mention picture-taking, water-fetching and various other go-furin). We brought a mortar & pestle and ground the chalk up, mixed it with water and painted it on. I also rubbed chalk over this sometimes or sometimes rubbed in chalk first and then followed up with the "paint."

Matt was solely responsible for making the clown fish. For some reason I woke up Sunday unable to correctly draw a clown fish. When I told Matt, he stepped right up and offered to do it for me, even though he pretty much never draws and pretends he has no artistic talent. I was very grateful.

Matt also added some shading for me on what I had made the first day so that the image had greater depth and impact.

IDK who Matt Graves was... the square was sponsored by someone who did know him, but they never stopped by to tell me about him.

All done!

After I -er- we finished my picture, we walked around and saw what everyone else was doing.
Amy (above) was working next to me at the Chalk & Walk last year, but was way across the courtyard from me this year.

Nicole (above) was also one of my neighbors at last year's event and she got me into the Chalk Walk in the Historic Northeast earlier this year as well. She was also far away from me this year. I think the organizers were trying to make me meet new people or something.

I like that all three of use decided to go with the Alice in Wonderland theme (instead of the Masters or Originals, which were the other choices).

Related posts:
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