Buzz Off

I’ve mentioned a few times the benefits of having a deaf spouse. They can’t pick up on the mutterings under your breath and then divorce you for being a jerk and of course sign language is useful for communicating through windows and at a distance when phones are not practical. Another advantage to sign language is that solicitors, beggars and hippies wanting signatures give up when they see someone using ASL (see here) because yeah, they want to save the Earth but not bad enough to learn how to communicate with a large percentage of the population.

There are several devices for the deaf we use to make life a little bit easier. Gizmos that flash lights when there is someone at the door, a camera connected to a monitor for telephone relays from deaf-to-deaf or deaf-to-hearing people and a few smart phone applications. Text messages is one of the greatest aids that exists for the deaf. From the caveman days of the TTY and expensive typing pagers to the ease of modern versions on cellphones it is texting that will probably be the primary and easiest form of communicating over a distance for the deaf. Texting is an equalizer (though many deaf I know dislike lowering themselves to the hearing standard). Video applications like Face Time has proven valuable and so has a similar application from Sorenson VRS that works on the computer and smartphone. Sorenson company supplies the high-speed internet-enabled cam-phone in our home and it works great.

Sorenson also have made available some flash cards for the phone for use when dealing with the non-signing public called Buzz Cards. Basically you show the Buzz Card to a cashier or cab driver or whomever to communicate your needs. They read it and then get your request wrong just like with all their hearing and speaking customers. I made some of my own in the past (right here) that where a bit artistic or practical for the spouse to use but I have to say the Buzz Cards are pretty handy. The basic set in the app comes with a few slides ready to go but the best thing about them is that they are fully customizable and the user can add new ones as they see fit.

As you can imagine that allows many shenanigans. Here are some examples (with shocking words pixelated for the faint of heart):

Yes, as much as I don’t like jack-booted authoritarians I hate hippies even more. So the majority of what I have termed Buzz Off Cards (see what I did there?) are intended for them. When I’m at the mall and some girl pauses in texting her BFF (omg!!! hez sooo cute!) long enough to attempt to get my signature on a clipboard I have a choice of several images to show her. But they are not intended only for people who are trying to make the world a better place by standing around in shopping malls doing nothing! No, sir. Teens or older people begging for change at the stoplight can get an eyeful, too. You hold a sign up to my car window and I’ll respond in kind with a Buzz Off Card.

So thank you, Sorenson. I express in all sincerity that by creating your application and making it available you have made people’s lives better. The deaf can communicate with the hearing public a bit easier. My wife can order a coffee, find a restroom or successfully use a drive-thru through (especially at night after the dining area is closed or in areas she doesn’t feel comfortable getting out of the car) thanks to you. I know it really improved my visits to the mall and made those uncomfortable meetings at traffic intersections a little less awkward.

And now, a pretty lady signing to The Sound of Sunshine…

Tow Away Zone

Dealing with vehicle issues this week so featured is a few car-related entries today.

Hey, Mom, can I borrow the car?
One of my worst fears has come to pass. Free Car finally died and the costs of repairs, with little guarantee that it would not fail again within a few weeks if not days are prohibitive. I am left with no choice but to purchase another car. This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem except for the lingering fallout from my time in Stupidlandia still doesn’t enable me to get a reasonable loan. A few months ago the car breaking down would have been a disaster that would have left three people unemployed. Currently we are at a point where it is less an emergency and more of an annoyance. I know a guy who knows a guy so I should have a really good car for cheap by the end of the week.


Because Calvin urinating on a cat attacking his groin would have been weird.
Check out the tow truck decal I printed out and stuck to the rear of my friend’s Jaguar next to that symbol of a leaping cat. I think it is funny because his Jag is always in the shop. He doesn’t see the humor.

Decal I put on friend's Jag because it is always in the shop

Still better than the Stephen King novel.
Here is one of the truly scary scenes from the 1966 film The Bubble. The movie tells the story of the few people left self aware when they wander into a town that is covered by an invisible dome. Aliens are studying humans though how effective the test could be are in doubt since the captors have zombie-fied the townspeople, surely skewing the results. The aliens also hate broken down vehicles littering the scenic roads because they tractor field out of the dome any car with engine trouble. If the video looks a little blurry it is because it is presented in 3-D. Put on your red and blue specs for the entire experience!

There is another scene in The Bubble similar to this one featuring a woman trapped in a truck but that would have meant actually watching The Bubble to find it.

Are we sure it’s tobacco she’s smoking?

Not making the news the other day is that the Old Gold Tobacco-Lovin’ USO Hostess also had her day before a judge, appearing in court immediately after Julian Assange made his famous showing. Since cameras were not allowed in the courtroom a sketch artist was present to record the events. While Julian was sketched variously as being dignified or about to power-up and beat an invading alien superman to death, Old Goldie should have requested a different artist. Based on the art provided that faithfully carried over her advertising persona she is clearly in for a rough time convincing a jury of her peers she hasn’t done anything wrong.

old gold crazy eyes in court

You can’t be too careful

Following with interest the news that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been issued a warrant for his arrest by Swedish authorities. I’m not ready to state whether he has been framed, set up, or is guilty but I am going to pay attention to the story. There are only a few people who know what really happened and we have to wait for the evidence to determine who is guilty and who is innocent.

This story has international implications. Assange is notoriously difficult to locate as he is reported to never stay in the same place more than one night. Dangerous men have dangerous enemies and I’m sure the various threats against Assange are very real. There is no telling what region he may visit in his travels. He is a ghost. He could very well be hiding in a motel in New York, Britain, Berlin, Hong Kong or even San Diego.

So just to be on the safe side I’m going to wear a t-shirt with the slogan NOT JULIAN ASSANGE on it whenever I venture out of my home. I’d hate to get tasered by cops when on the way to the mall mistakenly identifying me as Mr. Assange. This is something everyone should be concerned about. Furthermore, my wife is visiting relatives in hated Maryland soon so I have to be ready when I go to the airport to see her off. The t-shirt will divert suspicion from me being Mr. Assange and ensure that there will not occur a case of mistaken identity when I escort my wife to the TSA checkpoint. Look what happened to Frank Morris. If he was wearing one of these T-shirts he’d still be a free man today.