May Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to my wrap up of May books…two months later. *shrugs* I’m dogsitting at the moment, so the shelves behind me in the video are not my shelves. Let’s get right into it. This month, I read mostly graphic novels because I wasn’t really in the mood to think too much while reading.

I read the third volume of Moonstruck, and it’s just as cute as the first two. A quick refresher for those who don’t know, the main character of this is a werewolf in a world where mythical creatures are real and mingle with each other and humans. Magic is a casual, everyday thing, and there are a lot of accommodations for the varying bodies of these mythical creatures. Cute, fluffy romance between the main character and another werewolf, and it’s very queer. Again, I kept feeling like something was missing. This series is just good enough for me to keep reading it, hoping it’ll get better.

The next graphic novels I binge-read were Skyward, Volumes 1 to 3. This is a world where one day, gravity suddenly became a fraction of what it was. Many people died, from shooting off into the sky, and those who were left adapted to life where basically everyone can fly. However, the wrong step can mean death. Willa loves this, and she works as a messenger, delivering packages across the city. But turns out, there’s a plan to bring gravity back and she gets mixed up in it. — I won’t say more details than that, because I enjoyed reading this not knowing much. I really liked seeing the little details that change with low-g. For example, the insects are huge now, because gravity isn’t holding them back from increasing in size. Desirable living spaces have become flipped, the closer you are to the ground, the more expensive it is and rich/upper class people live there with grav-boots, pretending everything is normal. The higher you go, it turns into the slums and where the poor live, because there’s greater risk of misstepping and falling up into the sky. There is one supporting character that is an amputee, nothing below the knees, but in this world, that doesn’t matter because they essentially fly or float everywhere. I enjoyed that little detail.

The third graphic novel series I read this month was Motor Crush, and I read the first two volumes. Domino Swift loves motorcycle racing and does it professionally in a racing league. Under the cover of night, she also participates in brutal bike wars against rival gangs to win a very valuable contraband called Crush. Crush is basically a machine narcotic that boosts engines to incredible speeds, and strangely, Domino needs it to live. — This was a little all over the place, so the story was hard to follow at times, but I really enjoyed this concept, and I’ll always be down for reading about badass queer ladies.

The first novel I read this month was The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green. This is a collection of essays by John, reviewing various things from the Anthropocene on a five-star scale, such as Canadian geese, sunsets, the QWERTY keyboard, and more. The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, the one that humans have lived in and profoundly reshaped the planet and everything on it. — I really enjoyed this, John has such an interesting thought process for many things, and how he writes about various subjects is just great. I laughed at several of these reviews, but that’s not to say that this is a lighthearted read. There are some very heavy and serious topics as well, including an essay about the pandemic. These essays show how powerful we are as a species, but also shows how much we don’t know and have no control over. This is absolutely worth the read.

The last graphic novel I read this month was Ms. Marvel Vol. 1, about Kamala Khan, an ordinary girl from Jersey City that suddenly gets superpowers. At first, she’s overwhelmed and tries to be like her hero, Captain Marvel, but realizes that she’s not being true to herself by doing that. We see her fumble her way through these new powers, figuring out how they work, what she should do with them, and if it might be too much for her to deal with. I definitely plan to read more of this series, I’m interested to see where this goes!

And finally, I closed the month with an eARC which is out now, Rabbits by Terry Miles. “The door is open.” We follow K, who is a pattern genius and a low-key obsessive about the legendary game, Rabbits. However, Rabbits is not a game known by all. It’s a mysterious game that only a few know about, and those people talk about it very carefully. There are a lot of questions about what exactly Rabbits is, but people know it’s been around since at least 1959, ten iterations have been played, nine winners have been announced. People wonder if it’s a reality-bending game or just something run by an extremely powerful being or artificial intelligence. Regardless, the winner is rewarded very well, but exactly how, no one knows. Wealth, recruitment into some top government agency, a key to the universe? It’s not all a fun game though. The more you play, the more deadly it becomes and players have died in the past. This has always been true, which is why K is surprised when Alan Scarpio, a billionaire, approaches him and says there’s something wrong with the game and it needs to be fixed before it’s too late. Then Scarpio goes missing and the deadline flies by. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. — When I first started reading, I wasn’t sure if I was into it. But I kept reading, and next thing I knew, I was into it. This is set in Seattle, so it was neat to see all of the little nods to specific locations like the Fremont Troll, the monorail, and so on. It was cool because one part of this game is noticing when details aren’t quite right, and I was able to catch them all because I’m from here! Obviously, as I’ve said, this is about an alternate-reality game. There are a LOT of references to other games, most of which went over my head because I’m not a big gamer, but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment for me. A lot of times, you will question what’s real and what’s not, because of the recursive nature of the storytelling. K and his friends chase down one lead to find something weird at the end, and another to find nothing. It loops on itself quite a bit, can get a bit repetitive, and is very technical and detailed. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this and would recommend it if you enjoy sci-fi, gaming, and slightly weird stories.

That’s it for May! My June wrap up is coming, I’ll be combining it with all my Queer Lit Readathon books, because I completely and utterly failed to do vlogs during the week of. Thanks for reading, bye!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Recent RID happenings

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. I’m back after a whole month of no posts. This is for a variety of reasons which I won’t go into here. This video will be more specific to the signing community and the interpreting community, so feel free to skip this video if you’re not part of either community. If you are, you should watch this. I’ll be talking about the recent turmoil in the interpreting community about the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

For full transparency, I have not watched every video related to this situation. However, I have had conversations and discussions with people who have seen most of the videos and stayed more up-to-date with what was going on than I did. I will leave a link to a doc that someone created, it has a timeline of the key videos that were posted from both sides of this whole situation. Recently, I was part of a meeting between Deaf Interpreters in the PNW, and one of them mentioned that they had watched most of the videos to catch up, and said that it took them over four hours to watch almost everything. I’m mentioning this so you’re aware of how much there is to watch. I will do my best to summarize this without leaving out anything essential. This video probably won’t be perfect, and if anything comes up that I want to clarify or add, I will put it in a pinned comment below this video.

I want to be upfront with where I stand. I am on the side of Dr. Jonathan Webb and the RID Board who resigned from their positions due to this. Thank you all for your hard work and service to this community who very much needs it. I am saddened that it came to this point, and that people—including myself—are only now doing something about it. Full disclosure, in this election cycle, I did vote for Ritchie Bryant. At the time, I didn’t know enough about all of the candidates, and I certainly didn’t do as much research as I should have. That’s fully on me. I’m saying this because knowing what I know now, I would vote for Dr. Jonathan Webb. Now I’m going to give you an overview of this situation, then talk a little more about my thoughts.

A few years ago, RID had their elections, and elected one of its most diverse boards in RID’s history. For the first time, there were three deaf people on the board at once, the board was full of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, had several DPIs (Deaf-Parented interpreters), and multiple LGBTQ+ people. Recently, RID had their election cycle again. Three people ran for president: Dr. Jonathan Webb, Ritchie Bryant, and Priscilla Moyers. 43% of the votes went to Dr. Webb, 38% went to Bryant, and almost 18% went to Priscilla. This was also the highest percentage of the membership voting, around 17% versus the usual 5% or so. Unfortunately, this is when a lot of very racist remarks and behavior started to really show. Now, I want to be clear – this behavior already had been happening to all of the BIPOC on the board, through emails, messages, and so on. It started to ramp up after RID’s release of a position paper where they said that CDIs should be used for all press conferences. Dr. Thibodeau confronted Dr. Webb during RID’s October board meeting, because he had accepted a job without a CDI. That job was not a press conference, just a standard political event. The position paper only focused on press conferences. After this election cycle ended, and the winners were announced, Dr. Thibodeau posted an angry vlog, saying that the fact that Dr. Jonathan Webb won this election was very audist, because a hearing person was voted in when there were two deaf people running for the position. This sparked a whole mess, people supporting Dr. Webb and the board, people supporting Dr. Thibodeau’s remarks. I won’t go in-depth on those remarks, but some key ones: calling Dr. Webb audist, using racist language to put him down, refusing to use his proper name and calling him Jon when he specifically asked for his full name to be used, among others. Many of these remarks were just lashing out, targeting Dr. Jonathan Webb, and forcing him off the board. Dr. Webb chose to resign for reasons he explained in his letter to RID, and shortly after, all of the current RID board resigned from their positions. These people cheered, saying they won. Won what? You succeeded in pushing out the most diverse board in RID’s history, leading to the next board being likely majority white, if not all white.

These people repeatedly said things similar to this: “put race aside, focus on audism.” Uh, you can’t do that. Any kind of -ism has to be confronted at the same time, you can’t pick and choose which ones you’ll fight. Black people can’t get rid of their skin color as much as we can’t change our hearing. Indigenous people can’t change their skin color as much as people can’t shake gender assumptions. By saying “ignore race in favor of audism,” you’re showing your privilege and are being racist. We cannot separate -isms from each other. I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s not. But we can’t pick and choose which issues we fight for, because uplifting others doesn’t work like that. It’s long been a problem in any type of activism – us first, then you. This is why it’s such a struggle to get anywhere, we’re working toward a common goal but not together. That has to stop.

I hope this has given you a good overview of this situation, and if you have any questions or want clarifications, comment below. I will pin anything important to the top. If you want to watch the videos, the link is here. But please be sure to take care of yourselves, many of these videos have racist, sexist, ableist, anti-queer, and other harmful language. I’m going to close this with saying have conversations with people, know where you stand, and do the work.

Are deaf people disabled?

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. Today I want to talk about deaf people and their relationship with the term “disabled” along with where I stand on this subject. I’m making this video in part because of a comment on my previous video that was somewhat rude to another commenter that did absolutely nothing wrong. You could say that this is a very controversial topic in the deaf community, so I just want to again emphasize that this is *my* view on this. This does not mean everyone else in the deaf community thinks the same way as I do.

Why don’t Deaf people consider themselves disabled? Deafness is not viewed as a loss, but rather a gain. There’s a whole community, culture, and language, with an identity built in. People take pride in being Deaf, and have no desire to change it. The only issue with wider society is communication barriers, not the hearing ability. Remember this, I will come back to it.

Why *are* deaf people disabled? This is obvious to most people: we can’t hear, therefore we are disabled. Deaf people argue against this definition because they say that we’re healthy, we function just fine, it’s that people don’t know sign. Ahem. Your internalized ableism is showing a little bit there. Anyway, while it’s true that we’re able-bodied, we literally cannot learn to hear. If the communication barrier was the only thing, then wouldn’t people from other countries that moved here be considered disabled to start with if they didn’t know English? They’re not, and over time, they can learn English if they choose to. So… There has to be something else. Ah yes, being deaf. It’s correct that if everyone knew sign, and everything had captions, being deaf wouldn’t be an issue at all, but that’s not the case. Therefore, we are disabled by our circumstances and environment.

What’s my personal view on this? Let’s go back to the rude commenter I mentioned. I can’t see the original comment, because the poster deleted it, but it said something about the disabled community and by implication, was including deaf people in it. The rude commenter basically was very snippy and said that they were in the wrong for saying Deaf people are included in the disabled community. I was going to reply and shut that down, but alas. So if it’s not clear by now, I consider deaf people to also be disabled. Yes, I will say I’m a deaf person first. That’s because it more accurately reflects my own personal experience, my needs, and immediately communicates to you what I might need in way of accommodations. Speaking of accommodations, it infuriates me to no end when I see these very same people, insisting that Deaf people aren’t disabled, whip out the ADA whenever their needs aren’t being met. The Americans with Disabilities Act literally has disability in the name, and covers a wide range of accessibility needs, including interpreters. So if we truly aren’t disabled, then we shouldn’t be covered under the ADA, no? Oh, what’s that? We need those protections? Well, gosh darn it, guess we’re disabled then!

In all seriousness, deaf people have a lot of parallel goals with the wider disability community. We all want access to things that will make our lives easier, make it possible for us to comfortably participate in society, and not just be pushed to the side and forgotten about. I also want to add, by saying that deaf people aren’t disabled because we have a culture and language, you’re excluding all those who don’t know sign, became deaf later in life, and so many more on the wide spectrum of deafness.

One last thing, and it’s a very minor thing that I’m sure most people overlooked. For a while now, any time I say deaf, whether that’s in my captions, text messages, posts, and so on, I don’t use the big D anymore. I did in this video to be clear that I was talking about culturally and signing Deaf people, but otherwise, it’s been lowercase d. In my view, because we are disabled too, and I want to include everyone who doesn’t fit in that small cultural/linguistic box, I use the lowercase when I’m speaking about the wider community.

Disability rights are deaf rights too. Don’t be an asshole. Leave your thoughts in the comments, and keep it civil.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Note: Thanks to Phelan’s videos (signinngwolf on TikTok) for helping me formulate and structure my thoughts a bit. I agree with a lot of what they say in their mini-series, and have borrowed some of it for this video.

Round 7 TBR | Queer Lit Readathon

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome! Today, all the hosts of this round are sharing our TBRs, or To Be Read. This is what we hope to read during this week full of wonderful queer books. Kathy and I tend to try and go for a full blackout, which often results in having a list of five to ten books. I just want to be clear this is not what you have to do to participate! If you read even just one queer thing, you have taken part.

A few things before I go into the books. Multiple books are from the library, and I should be able to have them all during the readathon. For clarity’s sake, I will only be telling you the title and what challenges I’m applying them to. Many of these books also cover other challenges on the board, but I don’t want to bog this video down with repeating the challenges. I also won’t be going into much detail of what each book is about, because I’ll be doing a wrap-up at the end of the week, possibly a vlog if I remember! After the list of planned reads, I’ll throw in a few honorable mentions at the end.

I’ll go through the library books first, starting with Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, which is the Group Read. It’ll also go toward Hard-Hitting Contemporary, and I already know it is, because this will be my second time reading this book. However, I have a different perspective on it since I last read it, so I’m interested to see how differently I read it now.

Next, I want to read She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya. This will cover two challenges: Shorter Than a Novel, and M-Spec. Last round, I read something by this author and was okay with it, I’m hoping that this will be a much more enjoyable read.

Me, Myself, They: Life Beyond the Binary is a Memoir by Luna Ferguson. I’m very interested to read about this person and the work they’ve done!

This is a book that I’ll be reading first, since it’s due back the second day of the readathon, The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashely Poston. I’ve read one other book by this author, Geekerella, and really enjoyed myself. I’ve seen this one recommended multiple times by Kathy, so I’m finally picking it up. This will Bring You Joy and Summer Vibes, because I’ve been told this is a fun, fluffy read, and it happens at a con, which always gives me summer feelings.

Then I plan to read The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan, which will meet the Religion, Recommended, and Underrepresented Identity challenges. I’ve seen this recommended by multiple people, and I’m putting this in Underrepresented, because we so rarely see anything about queer Bengali people in literature or media.

Now we’re onto the books that I own! First, The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. I didn’t even realize that this book was queer when I got it, but I’ve see reviews listing queer characters. This will hit the most challenges at once: Not Set on Your Continent, set in Paris; Vintage, happens in the 1880s; Choose Your Own Category, historical fiction; Intersectional, multiple queer characters that have other identities from my understanding; and as an bonus, there’s disability rep in this as well.

And for the final book on this list to be read during the readathon, we have Draw the Line by Laurent Linn. I’ve had this for a while, and it looks really interesting because it’s a mixture of text and graphics because the main character is a comic artist. This will hit the Superheroes challenge, I hope!

With those books, I have mentioned all of the challenges but one – 40%+ BIPOC. The intent of this challenge is to get you to make sure you’re reading widely and intersectionally, not all from white authors. I have seven books on my list, and four of them are by BIPOC authors, so this challenge is ticked off as well.

Books I want to mention that I considered for this readathon, but ended up not going with for a variety of reasons – the hold time is too long, it’s not available at my library, or other.

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore. I actually have this checked out at the moment, but I’ll likely be reading it *before* the readathon because it’s also due on the second day of the readathon and I don’t want to attempt to finish two full books in the first two days, especially when there’s a hard return time, because they’re both ebooks. This would have gone toward M-Spec and Hard-Hitting Contemporary.

A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian. It also would fit Hard-Hitting Contemporary and Intersectional. I already had these challenges covered by other books, so I decided to read this another day.

And for the last book I was considering, Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. This hits the most challenges this round: Choose Your Own which I decided would be historical fiction, Intersectional, Vintage, Underrepresented Identity, and Recommended loudly by Adri. I would have definitely gone with this book for the readathon, but the library waitlist is so long, I’m still three or four weeks out from even being able to get my hands on it.

Those are the seven books I’ll be reading, plus some recommendations for this round! Let me know what you’re most excited to be reading this round, if you’re participating. Bye!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Sign language to text recognition

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome back! I know, it’s been a while. Some new things in the background! Things are still changing in this room, I still have a lot to go. My Patrons already know this, but I’ve been busy with a new job. I’ve been figuring out what the process looks like, what my process looks like, and having work from that. It’s going good. That’s why I’ve been gone for a while. So that aside, let’s get into this video topic.

As you’ve seen from the title, today I’m talking about sign language to text recognition. I want to quickly talk about this, because I’ve been getting a few emails. I’m still really conflicted about this. Basically, I’ve been getting emails asking if the person can use my videos on this channel for training their AI to recognize what sign means this, translating into text. This is because all of my videos have captions included, so they can use that in parallel to figure out what a sign can mean in English. I have problems with that. For several reasons.

First, I’m sure this is often not their intention, but when they contact me asking that… Basically, they’re looking at it as sign, ASL, to English. Like that can be done just looking and translated. I’m like, hmm. That is pretty much interpreting, translating, from one language to another. You’re not trying to create something that will take sign and make it into sign writing, for example. This is not equivalent to vocally spoken English becoming English text. That’s because they already have equivalency, while sign doesn’t. And my captions don’t always exactly match what I say.

Second, my signing has a range. Sometimes it’s very English, sometimes it’s more ASL. It depends on the day, what my brain process is, and so on. So… Your trained AI will learn that changing range, it won’t be able to identify that difference. Also, it’s learning from my signing. It will learn how to translate *my* signing style, not other people’s. Some people are more strongly ASL than I am, some people are more English, or use SEE. All of that. Learning from me is a tiny step, and barely even scratches the surface of all that ASL is.

Third, for those who are watching, you can clearly see that I’m a white, masculine-presenting person. I’m also queer. So that means my signing style, for those who aren’t skilled in ASL, often shifts from masculine to feminine. I tend to stay around the middle. So because of that, it means your AI will learn… It won’t learn how to read someone who’s very feminine or very masculine. They’re very different in how they sign certain words.

Fourth, like I just said, I’m white. You will be training your AI to learn from a white person. I don’t sign the same as a Black man, or a Black woman. Or even queer Black people. I don’t sign the same. This runs into the same problem as facial recognition. Facial recognition is biased to white people, because white people designed it in the first place, developed it, trained it on white people’s faces. It often makes mistakes with Black people. I foresee this sign language recognition will be the same with Black and people of color.

Fifth, I know the reason why they contact me is because I have *many* videos, almost 400 now. So that’s a big resource for training an AI, and out there, there are limited resources for the training. I get that, but like I’ve said, I am one person. Training your AI on one person won’t lead to effective understanding.

Vocal speakers are diverse – high, deep, lively, monotone, accented, regional, fast, slow, and the list goes on. It’s the same in sign, the same. Signing fast, slow, feminine, masculine, with facial expressions. Expressions are important. All of that… That’s why even speech-to-text recognition struggles sometimes. If you have a strong accent, it doesn’t understand. Even your register, it can’t understand some registers. You will run into the same problems in sign, and maybe even more so, because sign, specifically ASL, is very varied in our language structure, our linguistic features, how we express, and all the different things. So training your AI on one person is not enough.

I just mentioned facial expressions. That’s one of the things that I feel like many of these people who want to do sign language to text recognition work forget about the expressions. They tend to focus on the hands, how the hands flex and move, focusing on that. Facial expressions are very important. For example, if I were to say: I’m happy! Or: I’m happy. It’s the same sign, happy, exactly the same, but the expression changes the whole meaning. Happy! I do mean I’m happy, but if I say happy. Obviously I’m not. That sign language recognition tends to be missing that and not include expressions.

All of what I’ve said so far, I haven’t even mentioned coding. Coding is the most tough part of this whole thing. I personally don’t understand code, I don’t understand how to do it. I may understand really basic things, but in-depth typing, no. But I do know people who do. And I know of one group with deaf people that are working on trying to develop a method of recognizing sign language. They’ve really struggled, it’s tough. They’ve been working on this for several years, and they got nowhere near. And they’re deaf, know the language, and so on. So when I have hearing people–hearing people!–contact me saying that they’re doing this as a project for my university, my last semester, or my thesis project, whatever. That caused conflict for me, because they’re hearing. They probably don’t really know sign. This is their temporary, their final project. They probably won’t continue it after graduating. So… I almost feel like, what’s the point? I’ve had several, three or four different people contact me asking for this. I already understand enough that I know it’s not possible, even with in-depth training and such. This is a long-term project, if you really want to invest in it. I did have one group from the UK reach out. They are aware that BSL and ASL are different. They’re working on both ASL and BSL, okay. And they are planning on having this be a long-term project, alright.

I’m not knowledgeable on coding, but I know enough to recognize that what these people are trying to do is very tough. Because they’re trying to teach an AI or program a full language that has varying ways of signing it, teach it that when the programmer themself may not be knowledgeable with this language. Then taking that language and translating to a full other language. I don’t know if our coding or tech capabilities are there yet. Or if they will ever be.

So this has happened often enough recently, that when people reach out saying that they want to do this… I’m inclined to ignore it or say thanks, but no thanks. Because–especially if it’s a university project. I’m like, you will not be able to do this in one semester, you will not.

So from now on, any time people contact me for a university project or thesis or whatever, I will be saying no. Because… You do it, then what’s next? Will you make that available to the deaf community? High chances are no. Because it didn’t succeed, or with what you did, but you graduated so there’s no need to continue. So where’s your exchange for my sharing? All of that was just me throwing out things, unscripted. So I’m probably missing a few things, I don’t know. Leave in the comments what you think about this and how you feel about people doing this, the concept of this. Whatever. Leave comments below.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

April Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello and welcome to my wrap up of the books I read in April! This month, I read eight books, but this won’t be quite that long, since several books are part of a series. Let’s get into it!

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas. A reimagining of the classic Peter Pan story set in the small coastal town of Astoria, Wendy Darling has been carrying trauma for five years of having gone missing with her little brothers in the woods, losing them, and having no memory of what happened. Children are starting to go missing again, echoing what happened with the Darling children. People are starting to ask questions, bringing back all of that trauma for Wendy. One night driving home, she nearly runs over somebody, and when she goes to check on them, she discovers it’s the Peter from the stories she was told growing up, the ones she told to her brothers, and to the kids at the hospital she volunteers at now. It’s the person she’s been unconsciously drawing over and over, along with a mysterious tree. Her world is shaken as she has to reevaluate everything she thought she knew, and help Peter figure out what happened to the missing children, and hopefully, her brothers too. — *takes a deep breath* I LOVED THIS. Thomas hit it out of the park again. Their first published book is Cemetery Boys, and I absolutely loved that. This is their second book published, but the first one they wrote. I really enjoyed the twists that Thomas put on the classic story – how Peter’s powers work, what the Lost Children are, Peter’s shadow, the Darling family and Wendy. I really don’t want to spoil major things for this story, so I’m not going to tell you any more details. This book does go deep in on PTSD, trauma, mental health, so that’s something to be aware of going in. I preordered my copy, and it’s gorgeous! The hard cover is this beautiful blue color, and the endpapers are light pink! I also signed up for the preorder campaign, and got three beautiful cards with illustrations and an enamel pin. First card is of the Darling children smiling and posing for a family picture, flip side is Wendy alone, looking sad. Second card is of Peter Pan, mischievously smiling, flip side Peter is back-to-back with his shadow who looks malicious. The third card has Wendy alone in a window nook looking out, flip side Wendy and Peter smiling at each other on the floor. The enamel pin is of a silver acorn with a moonlit forest scene on it, a purple ribbon around it that has the title on it. Just beautiful, like this story. If you liked Cemetery Boys, you’ll probably enjoy this as well but they are not similar in any way! For a more detailed, but still spoiler free, review, I’d recommend watching Adri’s reading vlog.

I’m going to go out of order a little here, and jump to the third book I read this month. The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim. Riley Oh is part of the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches. She’s excited to see her sister, Hattie, finally get initiated and get her Gi bracelet, allowing her to be able to cast spells on her own. Riley would love nothing more than to follow in her sister’s footsteps, but she’s saram, a person without magic. She was adopted and has always been the outsider in her family and the gifted community. During a conversation, Riley and Hattie discover it is possible for a gifted to share their magic with a saram, and decide they’ll cast the spell during the initiation. What could go wrong? *stares in foreshadowing* They discover that Riley is not exactly what they thought she was, and Hattie’s life is now in danger. To save her, Riley is given the task of finding the last fallen star, which is just impossible. Riley has no idea how to find it or what it even is. On the journey, her beliefs are challenged by what she learns, she meets all sorts of magical creatures and people, and she has to figure out what being a witch is, what family means, what belonging means to her. — This is a Rick Riordan Presents, and I absolutely enjoyed it, like I have pretty much every other RRP book. I have read Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee, which also has Korean mythology, but that had a heavy focus on the gumiho, or fox spirit, mythology with others sprinkled in. It’s also sci-fi! Fallen Star is more about the six clans, which have different types of magic – protection, healing, illusions, among others. We also meet various mythical creatures, and some deities. This is set in modern-day Los Angeles, and the Korean witches are hidden in plain sight, their temples and buildings hidden by magic from passerby. The world that Kim created is just fantastic, and it never felt like she was info-dumping on us, we learned bits as we went. Part of that was because Riley was learning some herself, so we learned along with her. The story does have a main character and focuses on her journey, but the side characters were all fantastic and they had their own journeys too, they weren’t there to serve as just props for Riley. The whole message of this book—feeling like an outsider and having nothing to offer, or having two identities you care about very much, struggling to figure out where you belong—is just fantastic, and I can tell it will resonate with a lot of people, especially those who come from several cultures. To end, the plot twists!! There are multiple, and they’re all good! This is a book people need to read, and it JUST came out so it’s available everywhere now.

Now, back to the second book, which is Deep Wizardry, the second book in the Young Wizards series. I did the moving around because after Fallen Star, I read three more from the same series: High Wizardry, A Wizard Abroad, and The Wizard’s Dilemma. I’m currently reading this series for a Title Talks, where I’ll go more in-depth about each book. I didn’t say anything about the first book when I mentioned it in my February wrap up, so I’ll do a quick summary now. So You Want to be a Wizard is about Nita, a preteen that stumbles across a book and discovers that wizardry is real and she has the ability to use it. She meets Kit, and they both go on an Ordeal, where they have to prove themselves and probably save the world in the process. Deep Wizardry takes us under the ocean where whale-wizards are doing a big piece of wizardry to calm the Sea and protect the world. High Wizardry rips us away from Earth as Nita’s powerful little sister goes on her own Ordeal, hopping across the universe. A Wizard Abroad drops us into Ireland, where layers of old wizardries are so dense, you can’t do any spellwork without accounting for ancient magic first. The Wizard’s Dilemma forces us to face our own mortality, and how complex life can be, especially when it comes to diseases like cancer and viruses. That’s it for that series, for now anyway!

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. Tiến loves his family, and enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents, like they’ve been doing for most of his life. Tiến has grown up with communication challenges, since he speaks both Vietnamese and English, but his parents are struggling with English, being immigrants. Tiến is trying to figure out how to tell his parents he’s gay, because he doesn’t know if there’s even a word in Vietnamese for what he’s experiencing. He and his mother navigate life with fairytales weaving through their story. — This is a gorgeously illustrated graphic novel. The story of Tiến is interspersed with various fairytales that are very familiar to us, but their reinterpretations are the ones that are told. We read the German Allerleirauh, the Vietnamese Tấm Cám, and The Little Mermaid. I really enjoyed seeing these different reinterpretations, along with the styles of art/fashion for each story. The style of fashion was based on who was telling the story, and the period of life that the storyteller was in, giving us strong parallels between that person’s story and the fairytales. I absolutely recommend this, if nothing else but to read the fairytales and see this gorgeous art.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston. August is a cynical twenty-three-year-old that moved to New York City to get away from her mother’s obsessive and all-consuming search for August’s missing uncle. She moved to New York to prove that being alone is the best way to go through life, true love and magic is all made-up. August ends up getting a job at a 24-hour pancake diner, even though she has absolutely no experience, thanks to her weird roommates. And she doesn’t expect her subway commute to be anything but boredom, full of strangers, and electrical issues. Until one day, August sees this gorgeous leather-jacket-swoopy-hair-soft-smile girl on the Q. She quickly develops a crush, and learns her name, Jane, and falls for her charming, mysterious persona. August tries to learn more but Jane evades almost any questions about her past, and August eventually discovers that Jane doesn’t just look like someone from the 1970s, she *is* someone from the 70s, trapped on the Q line. August decides she has to help Jane get unstuck, and ends up having to call upon all the skills and knowledge she tried to leave behind with her mother. A whirlwind of a pancake fundraiser slash drag show slash heist planning goes down to help Jane get to where she’s supposed to be. — I loved Red, White & Royal Blue and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS. August, a bisexual and plus-size woman, and Jane, a Chinese-American lesbian, are wonderful, I love their relationship and banter, but I also loved the whole supporting cast. August’s roommates, who don’t blink an eye when they’re told Jane is a girl out of time, the neighbor who is also a drag queen, the colorful characters who work at the diner, and just everything. This is a book full of queer characters across the spectrum, with a sapphic romance between two completely useless people at the center. It’s full of aching loneliness in a city full of millions, people finding each other and creating little families out of love, self-discovery, and of course, so much food. There’s a lot that happens in here and I really don’t want to spoil anything! I absolutely recommend this amazing book. Quick note – this isn’t published until June 1st. I received an eARC through NetGalley for review. But when it is published, read it!!

That’s all of the books I read in April! Let me know what you want to read next!

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Defying Gravity | Wicked | ASL

This is a song translated into ASL, so there won’t be a blog post. This video also uses an instrumental, so there’s no vocals. The full lyrics are below, and they can also be found here.

Defying Gravity – Wicked (Lyrics)

[GLINDA, spoken]
Elphaba, why couldn’t you have stayed calm for once?
Instead of flying off the handle!
I hope you’re happy

[sung]
I hope you’re happy now
I hope you’re happy how you’ve hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you’re clever

[ELPHABA, spoken]
I hope you’re happy

[sung]
I hope you’re happy, too
I hope you’re proud how you
Would grovel in submission, to feed your own ambition

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
So though I can’t imagine how
I hope you’re happy right now

[GLINDA, spoken]
Elphie, listen to me, just say you’re sorry!

[sung]
You can still be with the wizard
What you’ve worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted

[ELPHABA, spoken]
I know

[sung]
But I don’t want it
No, I can’t want it anymore
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down

[GLINDA]
Can’t I make you understand
You’re having delusions of grandeur?

[ELPHABA]
I’m through accepting limits
‘Cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But ’til I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I’d sooner buy defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye, I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down

[spoken]
Glinda, come with me. Think of what we could do, together!

[sung]
Unlimited
Together, we’re unlimited
Together we’ll be the greatest team there’s ever been
Glinda, dreams the way we planned ’em

[GLINDA]
If we work in tandem

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
There’s no fight we cannot win
Just you and I, defying gravity
With you and I defying gravity

[ELPHABA]
They’ll never bring us down!

[spoken]
Well, are you coming?

[GLINDA, sung]
I hope you’re happy
Now that you’re choosing this

[ELPHABA]
[spoken]
You, too

[sung]
I hope it brings you bliss

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
I really hope you get it
And you don’t live to regret it
I hope you’re happy in the end
I hope you’re happy my friend

[ELPHABA]
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately
“Everyone deserves the chance to fly!”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who ground me
Take a message back from me

Tell them how I am defying gravity!
I’m flying high, defying gravity!
And soon, I’ll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!

[GLINDA]
I hope you’re happy

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
Look at her! She’s wicked!
Get her!

[ELPHABA]
Bring me down!

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
No one mourns the wicked!
So we’ve got to bring her…

[ELPHABA]
AHHHH!

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
…down!

Gray, Cheat, Early, Watch, Outside | Regional Signs

Blog post has been expanded to explain the signs.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to a new Regional Signs! I know, it’s been a while. If you’re new here, this series is where I find different signs across the country that aren’t common and usually are used only in a specific region.

How does this work? If in the previous video, I missed something in the signs I tell you, and I’m told in the comments, I will add at the beginning of this video. That’s first, then the list for today. With the list, I will first tell you the common sign, then the regional sign(s). Now, I’m not all-knowing. I may say that this sign is from that region, but oh it’s actually used in other regions too. The reason why I tell you here, is because I don’t see it often. Of course, I will link in places the previous videos, so you can watch and learn all the different signs! Let’s get started.

In the previous video, I told you several signs for pickle: fingerspelling it, a P in a twisting motion on the chin, a P twisting on the neck, and a G handshape touching the side of the mouth then moving away and shaking.

One I missed is from Iowa, two G handshapes moving back and forth, the tips of the fingers touching.

First new sign today, gray. Common: 5-handshape moving back and forth, the fingers passing through each other.

This sign is from Rochester: the index and pinkie are extended, the thumb holding the other fingers down. The index finger slides down the chin twice, with the hand oriented palm outwards.

Second, cheat. Common: The non-dominant hand is held in a flat hand, while the dominant hand has the thumb, index, and middle finger extended. The dominant hand taps the non-dominant hand twice, between the index and middle finger. It looks like a bit like when scissors wins over paper in a game of rock-paper-scissors.

Many areas use this one, but it’s less common: the dominant hand with the index and pinky fingers extended, thumb holding the other fingers down, rubbing in a repeating downward motion on the forearm near the elbow.

The third sign is much less common, and it’s a very specific use. I don’t see it often now. It’s literally the sign for dirty, but signed directly under the nose rather than under the chin. This is more of like, a really dirty person, a big cheater. Cheat!

Third, early. We have several. Common: The non-dominant hand is held in a fist, the dominant hand has all fingers spread, and swipes the middle finger across the back of the fist. The swipe is typically done moving from furthest side to nearest side, but the reverse is also correct.

Another fairly common one: quite literally, E-A-R-L-Y. It’s fingerspelled, but with flair added, moving in a circle while spelling it out.

We have a couple more regional signs, but I don’t remember which regions they’re from. So if you know, leave it in the comments!

One is the dominant hand in a 3-handshape, touching the forehead and moving away quickly. It’s similar to rooster, but rooster is tapping twice and ending with touching the forehead, early touches the forehead once and moves away.

The other has a similar motion to the first sign, the dominant hand doing a swipe with the middle finger. However, it’s swiping on the nose, starting at the top and going to the tip of the nose.

Fourth, watch. I don’t mean as in wristwatch. Common: the dominant hand in a V-handshape, moving in a short forward motion, like eyes looking at something.

The two signs I’m about to show you, the first one is more common, and the second is region-specific. Both of them are more specific to watching TV, watching a screen, not watch in general. It’s more specific to screens, that’s my observations from people’s use of these signs.

First, the dominant hand held horizontal with the palm facing your body. All fingers are closed except for the index and thumb. The index is hooked and the thumb is fully extended. The motion is the same as the first sign, a short forward motion.

Second, I think this is the Southwest? I know for sure Texas, but maybe the Southwest as well? The dominant hand has all the fingers spread out in a relaxed claw handshape, palm facing out. The back of the hand is tapped on the chin twice.

Fifth, and last, outside. Common: the dominant hand starting in a 5-handshape and moving away from the body while bringing the fingers together. The motion is repeated twice.

This regional sign is specific to the Upper Midwest, Minnesota, Michigan: it’s literally signed the same way as boss is, with the dominant hand in a claw tapping the shoulder.

That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new. Let me know if anything is wrong or you want to add another sign in the comments. I will add or correct in the next video, and hopefully that video won’t be as long in coming!