My dark screenshot, :-)

screenshot, originally uploaded by natech.

Gotta love dark theme. It kicks ass.

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Am I a celebrity?

Something happened that’s never quite happened to me before. Someone recognized me from my blog.

It happened when I was invited over to a friend’s place for BBQ. One girl I know brought her little sister who’s 16 years old.

“Hello, I’d like to introduce you to my sister.”

I said “I’m Nathan, nice to meet you.”

She made a little surprise look on her face. I thought, “what? something under my nose?” She asked her sister, “Is he the one who has a blog,” Her sister said, “Yes, that’s him.”

Then, she said, “Wow, it’s really you in person. I love reading your blog. I never thought I’d meet you.”

I was even surprised too, not really knowing what I should say but said “thanks, didn’t think it was that worthy to read but thank you.”

I looked up the definition of a celebrity. It simply means “a widely known person.” I’m still not widely known but that was a cool feeling, though. :-)

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Tip #2 – Do you know ASL?

In my recent interview with Google, obviously, I need an interpreter, so in requesting for one, I didn’t say “I’m deaf, I need an interpreter for our interview, so please get one for me.”

Instead, I asked “Do you happen to be fluent in ASL? If not, then we’d need an interpreter.” Then, she replied, “Unfortunately I don’t. Is there a way I can help to find an interpreter for us?” I answered, “Not a problem, I will find one for us, thanks.”

There are two reasons why this is important. First, it further shows that ASL is a natural, legitimate language and that both parties need an interpreter, not just for a deaf person. Secondly, it shows that I’m independent, not like a baby that screams for milk. The interviewer has too many things going on and I do not want to add one more thing to her list that she has to find an interpreter. Plus, she never worked with a deaf person before so she wouldn’t know where to go to find an interpreter.

That is tip #2.

Why didn’t I get a cochlear implant?

Not too long ago, I actually thought about getting a cochlear implant so I can start talking to hearing people and maybe on phone but I realize there are no guarantees that I would be able to carry intelligible speech and my past speech therapy didn’t go so well either. Also, I didn’t have a desire to hear human voices that sound more like “a croaking dalek with laryngitis.”

I just read this article – “Better ear implant hope for deaf” – from BBC News. Suddenly, I know why I didn’t want a cochlear implant. It’s those kind of technology advances that discouraged me from wanting one. Why? because if you got a cochlear implant today, chances that in five years from now, it’s going to be pretty much out of date, just like your computer that got old and slow. Younger generations will have better, more powerful cochlear implants than you do. I’d imagine that at a C.I. convention, people with C.I. ask each other, “what kind of cochlear implant do you have?” “Oh, it’s 2.0, pretty old.” “Oh, mine’s 82.435 version.”

Also, I hate the idea that if you got one, you’d be more successful and able to fit into the “real world” better. That’s completely untrue.

I’ve been born deaf, raised by Deaf parents, went to a deaf school, then Gallaudet University, transferred to RIT and graduated there. So, even if I got a cochlear implant, I’d still hang out with deaf friends anyway, because ASL is my natural language and the one that I understand most easily. Besides, what’s wrong with teaching ASL to hearing people? There’s a lot of people who are interested in learning ASL.

I understand that we’re a nation that loves to fix anything that’s broken but being Deaf doesn’t mean your ears are broken. That’s just who you are and I’m quite happy with the way I am.

Tip #1 – get your own interpreter

For the next five days, I’m going to write a tip that I think will help a deaf person to succeed.

My first tip is “get your own interpreter.”

I’ve had a fair share of working with different interpreters. Some were great, some good, and some bad. Some were certified, some weren’t. One thing to keep in mind when you’re working with an interpreter, anything you said is going to be used against you. What I mean by that is hearing people will believe whatever the interpreter has spoken for you. And some of the translation may not exactly what you said but that’s what hearing people will hear and think that’s what you said. So, that’s why it’s important to work with interpreters that can really understand you and your ASL style.

There was one time during an interview. I had an interpreter whose receptive skill wasn’t as good and she had a hard time understanding me and I had to change my ASL style to more of a PSE (Precise Signed English) and that cost in a lot of clarification work and interruptions (wait, what did you just say??). So, the interview didn’t go exactly as smoothly and the interviewer probably saw that I was a difficult person to work with and that must mean I’m not an easy person to work with. Suffice to say, I didn’t get the job. From that moment, I learned my lesson. I will never let an agency or someone pick an interpreter for me. I’m going to pick an interpreter that I know I will work with well enough.

That’s exactly what I did when I got an interview with Google. I asked one male interpreter to see if he could interpret but he was busy so he gave me a personal reference to his friend who was an interpreter too. She turned out to be one of the best interpreters I’ve ever worked with. She had a B.A. degree in English and an MA in professional editing and writing, so I knew she wouldn’t have a problem translating ASL into a high-level English. Also, she was straightforward; she asked right away if I had any materials, anything that will help her translate and during the interview, she asked for clarification instead of just making up words and made sure it’s not me, it’s just that it needed to be interpreted accurately. Not meant to sound sexist but she was a good-looking lady and all of my interviewers were males. She put us at ease and we were having a good interview, just talking, asking questions, and sharing my experiences.

Results? I got the job.

And recently when I was in Mountain View a couple of weeks ago for an interview, I did the same thing again, I personally picked an interpreter I knew and she was good too. The interviews went pretty well, I’m still waiting to hear something from them.

One thing you should be thinking about when you want to get your interpreter is attitude. It’s probably the most important trait for any interpreter to have and ourselves too. There are some interpreters who think they know it all about ASL, some just come for money like it’s just a day’s job without really wanting to help a deaf person to succeed, and some won’t admit mistakes, putting the blame on us. You don’t want to work with those kind of interpreters.

Personally, I think all interpreters should be certified, attend deaf workshops, carry memberships with different deaf organizations and stay in tune with the deaf world.

So if you have an interview coming up, you might want to think about getting your own interpreter.

How do I handle my gmail?

This is just going to be a little note of what I usually handle with my gmails.

First of all, gmail is the best web email app around, bar none. It’s light, efficient, fast, and you can check emails anywhere with an access to the internet, on computers or mobile. On top of that, you can search through your emails, which is really what separated it from other hundreds of email services. It also actually check for new mails for you so you don’t have to keep refreshing the page. And there’s no annoying flashing graphical ads that seem to take up half of your screen. Who ever wants that!?

Now, I rarely use archive, I just leave them in my inbox but all of them is marked read or in a light blue background from a white background color. If I get promotions, advertisements, or any non-personal emails, I delete them. Remember, when you delete, it’s going to stay in trash for 30 days, so no worries, if you ever need them again, just find them in the trash. Because I think 30 days is long enough to know that you don’t need them anymore.

Well, you might ask why I don’t bother to use archive? well, I kinda let it archive itself when it goes into the next page and I like to keep having a glance at my current messages on the first page; maybe I might spot some emails that need a reply. I try to mark all of my emails read so that the number of new emails stay at 0 next to the inbox label so it’s easy for me to know if I got a new email or not.

Lastly, this is more of advice, don’t delete your personal messages, keep them or archive them, because in 50 years from now on, you’re going to want to read some of ur old emails and remember the days. Some of your friends or family will be no longer able to email you anymore, so it’s going to be what you have of them. That’s what I said to my friends to convince them to switch to gmail. :-)

I’m going to email to my grandmother after this.

WordPress clean-up

For over 3 years since I started using wordpress as my blog engine, I’ve made a mess in my folders so I’m gonna clean everything up and slap on a new design as well.

Please pardon the mess while I clean it up. Thanks.

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Sign language in matchbooks

Saw this from

Sign Language in matchbooks.

Isn’t that awesome?

I’m going to make one for myself. :-)

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“Everything you do is an investment of your time.”

Ben Franklin said that. The more I read about him, the more I admire him.

I think my hiatus days are over. I’m back. The last few weeks have been pretty crazy. I was in California for almost two weeks. The first week was attending NADC – National Asian Deaf Congress and met lots of people. Attended some workshops too. Learned about taking on leadership roles. We do need more leaders, that’s for sure. So, hopefully, something will happen.

Second week was attending interviews with Google. I got interviewed for this position on ‘Assistant Webmaster’; it went pretty well and is definitely something I want to do. I told them I wanted to learn Python, which leads me to this:

I’m going to overhaul this website to be Django-powered, which is a framework based on Python. It’s going to be a challenge but it said if you nail down the basics, the rest is gravy. Well, I hope so.

I’m back and I’m going to do my best.

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