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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

If we work in tandem

There’s no fight we cannot win
Just you and I, defying gravity
With you and I defying gravity

They’ll never bring us down!

Well, are you coming?

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

You, too

I hope it brings you bliss

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

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!

I hope you’re happy

Look at her! She’s wicked!
Get her!

Bring me down!

No one mourns the wicked!
So we’ve got to bring her…



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!

March Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to a completely different background. I’m currently in the middle of a renovation of my room! You will eventually see what I’m doing, maybe? Anyway, let’s wrap up the books I read in March! This month, I read six books and did *not* like two of them, unfortunately. You’ll see why when we get to them, but luckily, I was able to end the month with a couple of good reads. Let’s get started!

First up, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This incredible book tells the tale of Noemí Taboada who is living it up in 1950s Mexico City as a debutante, enjoying the wealth and partying the days away. One day, her family gets a very strange letter from her cousin who recently married and moved to High Place. This house is in the Mexican countryside, and her cousin is begging for someone to help save her. Worried about her cousin’s safety, Noemí’s father decides to send her to check on her cousin and take her away if needed. Noemí arrives to find a very hostile house – her cousin’s new husband who is menacing but also somehow enticing, his father who also rules the house with an iron fist and is fascinated—maybe even obsessed—with Noemí, house staff who barely interact with her, and it would seem even the house itself doesn’t want her there, causing her to have nightmares of doom. It’s not all awful though, the brother seems to be friendly enough and wants to help Noemí out. However, Noemí is determined to dig past the walls the family has around them. She starts learning more of the history behind High Place, the darkness that surrounds the area, the violence and madness that’s happened, and realizes there’s far more happening here than seemed to be at first. She’s trapped in more ways than just one as she struggles to figure out what she should do. — *faces of amazement, just wordless* There is so much happening that I didn’t mention in that description, mainly because this is a Gothic horror, and a lot of elements depend on you not knowing too much detail to be truly effective. But again, this is horror and it is chock-full of content warnings. A few major ones are graphic violence, murder, incest, racial supremacy, sexual and physical assault. There are also some related to body horror. You can easily find a full list of content warnings in places online. I said earlier that there’s a lot happening, and there is! However, it is also a very slow build-up. The horror slowly creeps in as Noemí learns more and more, and has a big, intense ending. The horror does become gory at times, but it’s also very cerebral, making you question things and struggle to separate fact from fiction. I was blown away by this, because while it starts out as your “traditional” haunted house and horror story, it doesn’t take long for it to swerve away from that and throw you into some dark situations. I’m going to just stop talking about this because you really should check this out if you like Gothic horror or just horror in general. By the way, I am so excited to see the Hulu adaption of this!! I hope it lives up to the book! Also, I definitely recommend another book of Moreno-Garcia’s that I’ve read, Gods of Jade and Shadow, which is also incredible.

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay. This is a twisty story told from multiple perspectives and goes between the past and present about the Pine family and the tragedies that have struck their family. Present: Matt Pine, a current NYU student, just finished a night of partying to find out that his family has been found dead while on vacation in Mexico, and local police are claiming it was an accident. It seems too suspicious though, and no one is telling Matt why. This makes news everywhere, because the Pine family is a known name. Past: Matt’s older brother, Danny, was accused of murdering his girlfriend and was handed a life sentence. There was a viral true crime documentary made, suggesting that Danny was completely innocent, but Matt saw something that makes him sure Danny did it. Back to present day, Matt is thrust back into the trauma of the past, a media frenzy, and the mystery behind his family’s death in Mexico. He wants to find the truth to everything – the original murder, his family’s, and confront all of his fears. — I was sent an ARC, and a final hardcover copy, of this book by Minotaur Books for review. Thank you! I’ll be giving the hardcover to a friend of mine. I really enjoyed this! It’s a thriller, drama filled, very twisty, and the characters are great. They all felt very fleshed out, even the ones who appeared for only a brief time. Matt is surrounded with great friends who do their best to support him in this traumatic time, even when he tries to push them away and go it alone. The FBI agent that’s in contact with Matt, Sarah Keller, is fantastic and she deserves more! I’m not going to talk too much about this, it is a thriller after all, and the plot moves very quickly. It reads very much like a movie, and it’d adapt really well, I think. I do wish it had a bit more atmosphere, and maybe a little more depth with the Pine family, but I get that this is more focused on the after and the surviving members. Still, I really enjoyed this and would recommend if you like action/thriller stories.

Fabulous in Tights by Hal Bodner. Alec Archer is the owner of a successful male escort service in Centerport, where sex work has been legalized. He lives there with his husband, Peter, who he loves very much. Centerport also happens to be the place that a lot of villains choose to kick off their career. Luckily, Alec is also Whirlwind, a superhero that works to protect Centerport from all of these evil plots. We encounter Thanatos, who has a mysterious plot to twist a plan to end world hunger, which is led by Peter. Thanatos is very, very clever and has figured out things about Whirlwind that no one knows, not even Whirlwind. Whirlwind and his friends race to stop Thanatos before the plot is unleashed. — Quite bluntly, I didn’t like this. I gave it two stars out of five. Honestly, the only reason why this book still has two stars is because I really like the concept of this book, some of the worldbuilding, and we need more queer superheroes and villains. But there’s too many issues with it for me to give it anything higher. This book is extremely campy, which isn’t really a problem in itself, but combined with everything else, it just was too much. I didn’t really like Alec as a person. Sure, he had some great banter, but overall his personality is kind of trash. Near the beginning, we meet him as Whirlwind and he’s rescuing civilians from a burning building. He made way too many fatphobic comments, used several slurs, had a really creepy attitude towards a wheelchair user, and has the attitude of sort of a mean old queen. Weirdly self-absorbed at the same time as being a superhero who actually does care about the safety of other people. Just overall not a great person. There’s also a slightly confusing thing with the marriage between Alec and Peter. It’s said pretty early on that the marriage is secret, because Peter works in corporate, and people aren’t all that open-minded and such. But later, it’s said that people kinda just know about it, it’s not really a “secret” and it was kind of just brushed off. Plus, Alec is a pretty well-known figure, being the owner of an escort business, so it’d be really difficult to keep that marriage a secret anyway. What was even the point of that? Let’s talk about Thanatos. The whole description of his appearance was very interesting, and I did like it. There was also some sexual tension between Whirlwind and Thanatos. However, there’s some inconsistencies in the physical description. For example, he’s described as having a monstrous mask and it seemed to be something that fully covers the face. But then a leer and grin are described later on, it’s just unclear on what the mask looks like. Because of certain things and the way that were described about Thanatos, I was able to guess who he was *very* early on. Overall, I just didn’t really like the characters, it was very predictable for me, and kind of disappointing.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson. This is the second queer book this month that I really did not like, and I’m going to tell you right now—if this book is on your list, take it off. There are so many problematic aspects, and I already saw them coming just from the blurb. This is supposedly about a trans girl, Kate, figuring herself out, how to move through the world and come out to people, but for maybe 90% of this book, her deadname and he/him pronouns are used. There’s this whole thing of “wanting” that doesn’t feel like a trans girl wanting to present as who she is, but is clearly written by a cis author with the mindset that this character is “a boy wanting to be a girl” which is just wrong. There’s a lot of transphobic things said by Kate, which is sort of understandable, because there’s a lot of internalized transphobia she has to work through, but there were also transphobic things said by Leo, the other trans character in this book. I will tell you this “”””twist”””” of both main characters being trans, because how we find out about the second trans character is just not right. Leo’s transness is used as a plot twist and he gets “found out” when he’s shoved into a room with a popular girl, being expected to have sex together and revealed that way. No, just no. When Leo found out that Kate was trans, he didn’t immediately switch to she/her pronouns in general and for his internal monologue. He pretty much used her pronouns and called her Kate only when she was in more feminine clothing, which is just not right. In the author’s note or afterword, whatever it was, she says that she worked with an UK-based gender clinic (this was set in the UK) to ensure the representation was done well. I— I disagree. I might have been more forgiving if this had been written in the early 2000s, but this was written in 2015, and I was just really annoyed the whole time I was reading this. Just don’t pick up this book.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Braiding indigenous stories, science, and personal stories together, Kimmerer takes us on a journey through the living world to see what we can learn from it. Kimmerer talks about her childhood, her wonder at all of the living things around us and the stories that they have, the secret language of plants and how we can learn it if we just slow down enough to listen. She tells us of how she decided that she would become a botanist and was trained to ask questions with the cold lens of science, then eventually realizing that she’d lost her way and worked on returning to her indigenous ways of learning and being. Kimmerer emphasizes the importance of reciprocity in everything – our relationship with each other, the earth, animals and plants. By accepting the gifts of others, the earth, we grow and thrive but only if we give our own gifts in return. We learn about Kimmerer’s thoughts on western science and worldview compared to indigenous ways of thinking, the relationship between those, and how all of that affects the way we live today. — I had been reading this throughout the month for Signed Out Loud, a book club. It’s a lot to take in, and I think it is best if it’s read in parts. There are three major themes being woven (or braided) together: the long tradition of sweetgrass and indigenous traditions involving it, her own journey as an indigenous scientist and professor, and her life as a mother. While I did enjoy all parts, I feel like this book could’ve been a little more focused on one or two themes. That might help the book not feel so long and slightly meandering. That aside, Kimmerer’s writing is beautiful and very evocative. She takes the time to describe the nature she sees around her, how she interacts with it and learns from the land, and how she teaches her students about the earth. I really appreciated all of the stories that she shared, both personal and from the various tribes she’s connected or worked with. I learned a lot more about various indigenous traditions, and how they make sure they give back more than they take. This book reminded me how much I really miss being out in nature for longer periods of time, and I’m honestly excited for spring and summer to be able to really enjoy being outside. I would certainly recommend this, but I’d also encourage you to seek out indigenous reviews of this and not take just my white perspective on this.

Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn. Perle is a siren that’s been trapped in a tub on a pirate ship since Kian, the captain, created a device that allowed her to cancel out all siren song and capture them. Perle finally sees a chance to escape from Kian’s hold when the ship is attacked by another pirate crew, and is found by Dejean, the captain. Despite Perle growling at Dejean and being hostile, he simply treats them with kindness and does what he can to gain Perle’s trust. Slowly, the two of them build trust and a language of signs, quickly turning into banter and a tenuous relationship. Dejean devises a plan to relocate Perle and eventually help them return to the sea, and discovers Perle’s far more injured than first suspected. Their tail doesn’t work, and the best they can do is wiggle their hips. Dejean and Murielle work together to help Perle adjust to their new situation, recovering from being stuck in poor conditions and figuring out an aid to allow Perle to swim again. However, it’s not all calm. Kian is angry her first siren catch isn’t under her thumb anymore and is a looming threat above Dejean and Perle’s heads. They both know they have to kill Kian, because she’s been so destructive to the sirens and her own crew. — I’ve been seeing this book talked about a lot by my BookTube friends, and I am so happy I finally got around to reading this! First, let’s go over the fantastic representation in this. Perle, and the rest of the sirens, don’t have a concept of gender like humans do, so they/them pronouns are used for them throughout the whole book. There’s a lesbian couple, ace characters, and disability rep. There’s probably more that’s slipping my mind right now, but it’s incredible. I really appreciate that while this sort of has romance, it’s never obvious. It’s much more subtle and gradual. I absolutely love Perle and their dry sarcasm, the banter between them and Dejean when they’d built up enough language to communicate. I was fascinated by how Bryn did that part, the sign language, because by some of the descriptions, I can see the parallels with ASL. But at the same time, it certainly fit in the world and made sense. Of course, sign language is incredibly difficult to portray using English because there’s so much lost in translation, but the way it was done in this book worked for this situation. To be clear, there aren’t any deaf characters. The sign language was developed because humans can’t understand the vocal language of sirens, and the sirens already use signs in some situations. Perle simply taught Dejean those, and they created more as their bond developed. I really liked the siren mythology in this, how pods work, their views on social and gender constructs, territories, and the conversation around disability in terms of life in the sea versus on land. I could go on and on, but I think I’ve said enough! I really liked this and encourage you to go read it!

That’s all for my March books. I am SO glad that I was able to close out the month with two good books after those awful ones. Leave in the comments a book that you enjoyed recently or are currently reading.

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.

International Transgender Day of Visibility

Hello, I’m Rogan and today is International Transgender Day of Visibility! This is a day where we celebrate and recognize all the amazing and wonderful trans and nonbinary people that exist in the world. First started in 2009 because at the time, the only well-known day that centered trans people was Trans Day of Remembrance. It is very important, but it is a day of mourning and fails to recognize the vibrant living trans community. I also want to recognize and give a huge thank you to all of the beautiful trans Black, Indigenous and women of color who are the foundations of this community. It’s because of them that trans people in the US have the ability to be who we are today. However, we still have a long way to go for trans rights, and they are under attack right now in several states. I’ll link some resources at the end of this post to check out.

I want to remind you all that though I don’t talk about it all that much on here: I am queer or nonbinary, and I use he/him and they/them pronouns. Yes, I am very masculine-presenting most of the time, but that doesn’t make me any less trans. I’ve been playing around with what label fits me best, and queer feels the best for me. That one word encapsulates the whole of who I am, both my sexuality and my gender. Nonbinary is another word that works for me, but it’s not the first one I reach for. I want to be clear here, in this video I will often say trans as an umbrella term. Not all nonbinary people are trans or identify as such. I typically don’t refer to myself as trans, though I do fall under the trans umbrella. My gender experience isn’t one that people are aware of, or realize is possible, so I want to talk a little about it.

People have this idea that all trans people experience gender dysphoria, dissatisfaction with their own bodies, and want to change it. This is true for many trans people! But not every trans person wants to have surgery or even do anything to change their bodies. Simply acknowledging that they’re trans is enough, or their gender identity doesn’t cause them to feel the need to do anything except socially transition. This might be just a pronoun change, changing their name, adjusting gender presentation, among other things. I personally don’t experience gender dysphoria, but I do experience gender ambivalence. I’m fine with my body, I like my body, but I’m not attached to the idea of being a “man” nor do I want a more feminine body. A lot of people also have this idea that nonbinary people all want to either have an androgynous presentation, or have complete gender fuckery, mixing things that are categorized as masculine and feminine together. This is true for many nonbinary people. It is not for many others, including me. I really don’t mind presenting as masculine, and I don’t mind it when people use he/him to refer to me. However, I have been playing a little more with things that are usually seen as feminine, such as nail polish, lipstick, make-up. I really like it when people specifically use they/them pronouns for me. It’s a little thing, but it actually does make a difference.

To close out, I want to emphasize that trans and nonbinary people never owe you anything. Explaining their gender to you, sharing their transition journey—medically, socially, etc.—or even disclosing it in the first place, none of it. You may ask questions, but only if they’ve opened it up to them. Otherwise, do learning on your own. Don’t lean on your trans friend to do all of the work, there’s a lot of trans people online doing the work already. There are tons of resources out there on the internet, use them. The trans experience is so vast and varied, and I certainly can’t speak for the whole of it as a white, masculine-presenting person. I’ve barely scratched the surface today, and I’m sure I’ll think of things I wish I had added into this video once it’s up, but it’s a start. I’ll gladly answer any questions you might have that are specific to me and my experience, but for anything beyond that, go elsewhere. That’s it for today, Happy International Trans Day of Visibility!

About anti-trans bills:
Bills that have been introduced:
Things you can do:

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Dungeons & Dragons and the deaf community

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome! Today I just want to chat a little about Dungeons & Dragons, and the almost nonexistent relationship it has with the deaf community. This is somewhat based on a Thursday Thoughts video I did a while ago for my Patrons, but that was completely unscripted. For this video, I’m planning it a bit more and making my thoughts more coherent. Also, just to be clear, I’m talking about the original roleplaying D&D, not the spin-off games like Lords of Waterdeep, Dragonfire, and such.

In case you’re not really familiar with D&D, here’s a quick intro. At its core, it’s a collaborative storytelling game. You have the Dungeon or Game Master, often abbreviated to DM or GM, and Player Characters, PCs for short. The DM is responsible for the world and lore, encounters which is where the PCs fight monsters, baddies, and such. The DM also takes on the role of all the non-player characters, NPCs, like the townspeople, other adventurers, villains, creatures, etc. The PCs are the ones who move the story along, decide on what they want to do in this world. Yeah, there can be a bit of dice rolling, but it’s always up to the table for what style of play they want. Roleplay-heavy, combat-heavy, a mix of both, gritty or light, the possibilities are endless. So what is my background in D&D anyway? I have none. In all seriousness, of course I knew about D&D growing up. It’s everywhere in pop culture, movies, TV shows, and such. But I’ve never actually played myself, mostly because no one around me did and it never really occurred to me that it would be something I’d want to play.

Lately though, I’ve been kind of consumed by it. I blame NerdSync and his video about D&D, which I will link! Because of his video, I’ve been watching a lot of Dimension 20, a comedy-based D&D actual-play show on Dropout and YouTube, and their vodcast Adventuring Academy, where they talk about the ins and outs of D&D and tips, how to be a good Dungeon/Game Master, different styles of play, community, and a lot more. A lot of the earlier seasons are available on YouTube for free, and most are captioned. I decided to sign up for Dropout though, because I caught up on all the free episodes, there are some that will ever only be on Dropout, and it’s guaranteed there will be captions. Plus, it’s only $6 a month which is a great deal for all of the content they have on there! Quick detour for those who don’t know, Dropout is a subscription service under CollegeHumor, and all the shows on there are comedy, but also very adult so plenty of swearing, references to sex, and so on. AND completely ad-free. This isn’t sponsored, I just think they’re neat, that’s all.

ANYWAY, back to the topic of D&D! I think it’s quite unfortunate there aren’t many deaf people playing D&D visibly online, because I think our language is uniquely suited to this game. Before I go into that, I want to acknowledge that there are many reasons why there aren’t many deaf people playing in the first place. Access to knowledge of the game in the first place. It requires a group and someone willing to DM, which is already difficult for hearing people, so it’s even more difficult for deaf people to accomplish this. The information, like the DM’s Guide and Player’s Handbook, aren’t very accessible to many deaf people because it’s in dense English and not necessarily easy for people to understand if English isn’t their primary language. Many D&D actual plays are in podcast/audio form only which automatically excludes deaf people, and if a transcript is even provided, we come back to written English. And transcripts frequently lose a lot of the nuance that comes with seeing facial expressions, body language, and so on. So with that said, there are some people doing some streams. Check out Deaf Board Game Convention, I’ll link them below, they’ve been doing some streams for various games, including some D&D campaigns. There is also a Facebook group specifically for Deaf D&D, but I haven’t joined the group yet. While I was looking for deaf D&D groups, I also came across a couple of articles talking about it. Unfortunately, these articles are well over a couple years old and the social media accounts mentioned are defunct now. So there isn’t really anything recent apart from the Facebook groups which are somewhat active. Just want to point you to what I know about!

Now, why is ASL or any sign language suited for D&D? First of all, it’s obviously a visual language, and it is FANTASTIC for storytelling! There are some things that a DM could do or describe that’s just impossible to do in English. They could even describe things happening in slow motion or sped up. The possibilities are endless. Roleplaying is, in a way, literally built into our language. There’s a linguistic term: role-shifting. If we’re recounting a conversation we had with someone, we establish the sides of the conversation. When my shoulders and body is this way, I’m the one speaking. And now I’m saying what the other person said in our conversation by rotating my body. We also have other ways of shifting roles by changing our signing style to maybe match the other person, generalizing it into an attitude, mimicking the body language people had, changing facial expressions, and others. That’s a very simplified explanation, and the possibilities are truly varied. Of course, not everyone is a master storyteller—and you don’t have to be to play D&D!—but the fact that it’s already baked into the language gives us a boost.

I put up an informal survey on my Instagram stories, and interestingly, I got the same number of responses for people who did and who didn’t but were interested. Looking at who, there weren’t all that many deaf people who already do play but there are quite a few who want to. This doesn’t surprise me at all, and I really look forward to the day when there are a lot more deaf DMs out there and there’s more visibility for D&D in the deaf community!

Funny that I haven’t even played a single game of D&D myself, but I have quite a lot of thoughts about it!! Let me know in the comments if you play, or any thoughts you have about this. I’d also love to know of any resources you would recommend I take a look at!

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.

Finish | ASL Ponderings

Note: This is very dependent on the visuals, so what’s below is the straight transcript. I recommend watching this, if you’re able, to see the facial expressions.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. In this ASL Ponderings, I’ll be talking about the sign for “finish” and the many, many different ways it’s used in ASL. There are actually several signs that can be used for this word. They have slightly different uses, and also change very much on context and facial expression as you will see. They are: [finish], [end], [done], and there’s probably a couple that I’m forgetting. The first one, [finish], is what I’ll be focusing on today because that’s the one that has the most varied use. The second, [end], is typically used if you’re talking about the end of a task, something with a hard cut off, and usually time-related. [Done] is not used as often, because it has a very specific use – I’m absolutely done with this/I’ve had enough. With that, let’s discuss this sign, [finish].

First, the most obvious is what it means literally, of course. In ASL, there’s no specific sign for suffixes like -ing and -ed or tenses. What we do instead is use other signs or the context tells us what the tense is, here’s a few examples. I’ll do past, present, and future, so you can see what the differences are.

  • I finished the job. [I finish job finish.]
  • I’m finishing it now. [I now finish progress.]
  • I’ll finish it tomorrow. [Will finish tomorrow.]

The slight differences between how “finish” is signed modifies what it means as well. If it’s past or future, it tends to be one motion, like so: [finish/finished]. If it’s present, it’s more than one time, [finishing]. This is because past/future is not currently happening or in motion, but the present is. We often use “finish” for the past tense as well. For example: I read that book. I [finish read] that book. I’ve been to that country. I [finish touch] that country.

Now for the perhaps less obvious uses. With this one sign, we can say things that take whole English sentences, and change the whole meaning with just our facial expressions. I’m sure I will miss a few usages of this word, but here’s a few examples. You will see that I’m literally signing the same thing, just different motions and expressions. The captions will reflect what it’d mean in English.

  • Stop that.
  • That’s quite enough.
  • STOP.
  • Stop making things up/stop teasing me.
  • Knock it off.
  • That’s hilarious!
  • Oh my god/oh no.

This just goes to show you how *important* facial expressions are in ASL! This is not the only sign that can mean many things and depend on facial expression/context for meaning. This gives you some idea of how difficult interpreting can be, doing everything live! I think that’s all I will cover today, I hope you learned something new from this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.

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.

February Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello I’m Rogan and welcome to my February books wrap up. This month, I made a point of reading only Black authors and stories (apart from one, but that will only briefly be mentioned today).

Before we get into the books though, I’m going to recommend some Black authors and their books that I’ve read. All of their Instagrams will be linked below. Akwaeke Emezi, who wrote Freshwater, Pet, and The Death of Vivek Oji. I’ve only read Freshwater, but enjoyed it! Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X, With the Fire on High, and Clap When You Land. Two of these are written in poetry/verse, and Acevedo is incredible! George M. Johnson wrote All Boys Aren’t Blue. Julian Winters has written several, and I’ve read them all! Running With Lions, The Summer of Everything, and How to be Remy Cameron. Kacen Callender who wrote Felix Ever After, which I absolutely loved, and This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story, which I did not. They’ve also written other things that I haven’t read yet. Keah Brown wrote The Pretty One, which I’ll be talking about today. Layla F. Saad, the author of Me and White Supremacy which is definitely on my TBR. Leah Johnson wrote You Should See Me in a Crown, which is fantastic. Namina Forna wrote The Gilded Ones, which I haven’t read yet, but have seen so much good about!

Now, I originally planned to also recommend some Bookstagrammers, but I discovered I had quite the list and I don’t want to make the beginning of this post any longer than it’s already going to be. So I’m going to have a very extensive list of links at the end of this post, along with some Black bookstores across the country. Be sure to check them out, even if you don’t end up following them. Alright, let’s dive right into the books!

First up is The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love With Me by Keah Brown. This is a collection of essays written by Keah, talking about her personal experiences with cerebral palsy, navigating her life as a disabled Black woman, surrounded by abled people, and exploring representation in popular culture. She really struggled with loving herself throughout her life, due to all of the pressures society put on her and comparing her to her able-bodied identical twin. Keah has fractured relationships with her family, yearns for romantic love, and over time, she connects with others in the disabled community. With a lot of introspection and interacting with other disabled people, she came to love herself and created a viral hashtag, #DisabledAndCute. She’s also a disability rights advocate. — I thought this was “cute” in the way Keah presents the essays—you can certainly see her personality very clearly in this—but she’s very open about the struggles that she personally went through. She acknowledges the pain and hurt she’s caused to her family and loved ones, and what she’s doing now to try and repair or rebuild those relationships. Internalized ableism is a large part of these essays, along with an idealization of who she was “supposed” to be to deserve love and to live. I personally didn’t really get much new out of this, in regard to disability. However, if you’re someone who’s relatively new, or know little to nothing about the disabled community, this will be a beneficial read. I did enjoy this, but I will warn you that Keah repeats several points a lot, and the essays sometimes feel like they meander a little. I get it, Keah was a blog writer before she wrote this, so this is probably close to how she typically writes. Which is fine! I just think it probably could have been edited a bit for this book.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. Bree Matthews has recently lost her mother in an accident, and decides that she’ll be using school as an escape. She got accepted to a program at UNC-Chapel for bright high schoolers, and is excited about it. The very first night she’s on campus, she’s at a bonfire party and witnesses what could be nothing else but magic. A mage tries to wipe her memory of the attack, but it doesn’t work, and it unlocks something in Bree. Her own brand of magic and a forgotten memory from the night her mother died. Bree is determined to get to the bottom of whatever’s happening on this campus, even if that means infiltrating a secret society of magic users. She quickly discovers there’s far, far more than meets the eye about this society and has to decide how far she’s willing to go for the truth. — I LOVED THIS!! It will absolutely be a reread for me, probably just before the second book comes out. Also, I will be doing a Title Talks video for this, where I talk about more details and big plot things that I don’t want to spoil here. Bree is Black, her best friend is lesbian and Taiwanese-American. The Order, which is what the secret society is called, is visibly all-white. However! There is a purpose for this, and they’re not all cishet. There are a couple of bi characters and a gay one, a wlw relationship, and a nonbinary character that I love. There are some other Black characters – Bree’s dad, her therapist, and another student who makes a couple of appearances. Also, the ancestors of Bree are vital to part of the story. The reason why the Order is all-white is that they’re descendants of King Arthur and the Round Table. This book directly confronts anti-Blackness in America, and its roots in the history of our nation, along with slavery, colonialism, and violence. It honors the ways that Black folk have had to survive, fight, and thrive. There are a couple of things I’m meh about, like the romance involving the MC, several YA tropes that are just soooo common, BUT those in no way detracted too much from my enjoyment of this book and I gave it a full five stars. I really look forward to seeing what happens next.

Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington. A collection of stories about a young man living in Houston, the son of a Black mother and Latino father. He’s coming of age, has been working at his family’s restaurant for years, puts up with his brother and resenting his sister for not being around. He’s also discovering that he likes boys. While we experience this family’s ups and downs, we also see stories of others around Houston about an affair, a baseball team, hustlers, and more. Many of these stories have other young queer men. — I enjoyed this insight into the daily lives of so many different people across the city, all the different ways a community, family, and a life can be. For some reason, I thought this was a memoir but it’s definitely not! Bryan Washington’s style of writing is really interesting, and I enjoyed it! Since these are short stories, apart from the larger story arc of our main character, a lot of them didn’t really stick with me. Maybe if I had read them one story at a time, but this collection is a little unusual in that it has a combination of short stories and a longer one broken up into parts. Another thing that’s not a big deal, but I didn’t really get a sense of Houston. Reading this, it felt like it could be almost any other large city. Yes, there were specific street names and locations, but I don’t know them, so that didn’t really help set it apart from anything else. That was really minor though, and I’d love to eventually read his other work.

So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane. This is the only non-Black book I read this month, and the only reason why I read it is because I’m working on reading this series for a Title Talks. So I won’t be talking about it today.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi. A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice full of characters of color, this takes place in Brooklyn, specifically Bushwick. Zuri Benitez is proud of her home in Bushwick, her family, and her Afro-Latino roots. She loves her neighborhood, but that love may not be enough to prevent the gentrification of it. The crumbling mansion across the street from her home has been undergoing renovations, and one day, the wealthy Darcy family moves in. Zuri wants absolutely nothing to do with the family, but her sisters are charmed and interested in getting to know them. Janae, her older sister, starts to fall for Ainsley, and Zuri definitely can’t stand Darius, the arrogant and judgmental brother. Zuri has four wild sisters to deal with, interest from a cute boy, college applications coming up, and she’s struggling to find her place before she loses it all. — This is incredible. It is a retelling, and while I haven’t read the original, I know enough to be able to say that this is not the same story being told again. The fundamentals are kept, but Zoboi really makes it her own, using the original as merely a guideline. I appreciated that the conflict came from culture and background, rather than making it a white/black conflict. It prompted a discussion of race and class, how that can impact people across all skin colors. I liked Zuri well enough, but I was annoyed by her snap judgment of the Darcy boys, especially because she later gets pissed about others making snap judgments about her. She also repeatedly mentions she’s from the hood, which—I get it, the author wants to make sure we remember she’s not from a “nice” background, but I felt like it was mentioned way too much. There was enough in the descriptions of the area, the other people there, and so on, that it didn’t need to be said that she was from the hood repeatedly. Darius bored me, he didn’t feel very fleshed out. Most of what we learn about him is pretty surface level, and nothing about him captured my interest. I enjoyed the other characters though, like Madrina, the landlady and resident Santería priestess. There was a lot of rich culture, some from Madrina, but also throughout the book, there was a lot of Haitian and Dominican food. I really enjoyed the descriptions of New York as well, when they ventured out of the block. Of course, there’s the romance in this. I felt that part was kind of meh, even though it’s a pretty major part of the original story. I think part of it is that I didn’t particularly like Darius at all until much, much later in the story. I was also annoyed with Zuri’s attitude about anyone who’s not from the hood. When the romance actually happened, it felt a tiny bit forced or just skipped over, and became instalove. Regardless of that, I really did enjoy this book and would recommend it if you like retellings of classic stories.

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi. This is a novella I got from Tor’s monthly free ebook, and wow. We see the lives of siblings Ella and Kev, who both have extraordinary power. Growing up, their lives are defined and wrecked by racism and brutality. Kev gets put in prison for being a young Black man in America, and Ella visits him. Her visits are both mundane and supernatural, and during those visits, she tries to show him the way forward. — I went into this not really knowing much, and I’m kind of glad I did. First, content warnings. This book is chock full of them, references to famous violent events, police brutality, incarceration, descriptions of violence that can get graphic, and probably more I’m not saying. This is a short book, but it has SO much fit into it. It’s very powerful, and Ella has the ability to see the future and change reality. She can never share this part of herself because of how Black people are viewed in America, and the fact that people would never see or understand these things. It might be a short book, but it didn’t feel like one. It really felt like a fully fleshed out novel, with all of the topics it talks about. I look forward to reading War Girls, and whatever else this author has written.

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson. Demane has been labeled the Sorcerer by the people around him, due to his unusual gifts and understanding of things beyond most people’s comprehension. Demane is a demigod, and he follows his love, the Captain, a beautiful man who has one of the most incredible voices. Their gifts are called on to help protect and guide a caravan through the Wildeeps on the one safe road that’s now being stalked by a monster. — I’d already read another story by this author, A Taste of Honey, and enjoyed that. These are set in the same world, but different areas and different people. I really enjoyed Wildeeps, and the cadence and poetry of Wilson’s writing is just wonderful. The only thing that I wish was a little different is the pacing. The beginning is fairly slow-paced, and the last chunk of pages really picks up, almost too quickly. I would’ve liked it if it had been balanced a little more. I’ve been consuming a LOT of D&D content lately, and this honestly feels a lot like a D&D campaign, where a party is given the task of getting a caravan safely through a dangerous forest where a beast is stalking and killing travelers. But! That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, I did! It just felt short, and the core story wasn’t all that creative.

That’s all for my February reads! If you’ve watched this far, I appreciate you! I also wanted to let you know that I now have an Instagram account specifically for books, @roganreads, so feel free to follow if you want! In the comments, leave a book by a Black author that you enjoyed.




Black Creators

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. It’s March, but that doesn’t mean we’re done with supporting and uplifting Black people. That’s something that should happen year-round. Today, I’m going to do a video fully dedicated to Black creators I currently follow and enjoy – hearing, disabled, queer, straight, all of them. I already mentioned a bunch of TikTokers and Instagrammers in a previous video, so I’ll link here. I’m going to cover YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, in that order. Also, the order in which I name people will be alphabetical, for simplicity’s sake. Of couuuuurse everyone will be linked!

We’ll start with YouTube. I’m going to preface this with saying that all of the people I mention today from YouTube caption their videos. I do follow a few more that don’t caption, but I won’t be mentioning them today.

Ahsante the Artist, she talks about art, the creative process, and she has some amazing artistic videos. She’s big on organization and planning, and her videos are always so well thought out. She has also made some videos on queerness, privilege, identity, and she’s asexual. Jesse from Bowties & Books. As is obvious from the name, they talk about books! They read across pretty much every genre, and they’re always so thoughtful with their reviews. Jesse often has “unpopular” opinions about hyped books, and I love getting a completely different perspective on books that a large majority of people are just absolutely in love with. I will admit, their videos can get really long, but I love them. Jesse also runs the Enby Book Club on Instagram, if you’re interested in that! Evelyn From the Internets is absolutely hilarious! She does a lot of comedy, along with some cooking/food videos, scripted content. She is actually on a temporary hiatus right now, because she wants to shift to doing more scripted and planned sketches and things like that. The ones that she’s done in the past are great, and I can’t wait to see more from Evelyn! Next is Hallease, who often works with Evelyn, and is currently working on a project with her. Hallease is a filmmaker, and makes a lot of content related to that, being a YouTuber, some tutorials, creating videos and scripts, documentaries, and so on. I’ve learned some tips from her that I’ve applied to my own process, but also I just enjoy watching her teaching things. I’m really looking forward to her current project, Hardly Working. I’m actually a Patron of hers, so I’ve been getting some fun looks at behind the scenes stuff!

iLivieSimone, or Olivia, is a BookTuber. She talks about books of course, but also posts videos where she defaces various copies of her books. Her art is just gorgeous! Livie was the one who inspired me to deface my copy of The Prince and the Dressmaker. ItsRadishTime, also known as Taylor, and she’s a storyteller. I really enjoy her way of telling stories, and they’re about all kinds of things. Democracy, creative things, stories about life, among other things. She’s also bisexual and occasionally makes videos about that. Minnie Small is an UK based artist and the majority of her videos are about the art itself, showing the process of it, sometimes she’ll talk about things while working on the art. It’s very slow-paced and calming, you feel like you can really just sit there and relax while watching/listening or even do art with her. Olivia’s Catastrophe is another BookTuber who is fairly new to me, I only recently started watching. All of the videos are captioned though, so there’s plenty to watch! What I have seen so far, I’ve enjoyed, so I’m going ahead and adding her here.

Let’s move onto Instagram! I’m going to try and describe their profile in one sentence or two, so we can get through them.

Akilah’s PhD Journey is a new account, and it’s what the name says! Blair Imani is a Black bisexual Muslim, and has a great series called Smarter in Seconds. (Checking her profile just now, apparently she’s changed this to a series on YouTube, Get Smarter with Blair Imani!) Claudia L. Gordon is a Deaf public speaker working for inclusion and equity. Imani Barbarin is a disabled advocate who often talks about the intersection of disability and blackness. (Also posts often on TikTok if you prefer that.)

Devin Norko is a queer hard of hearing autistic person who is an activist and advocate. Franchesca Ramsey is a hilarious comedian and had a great series on MTV called Decoded. Thaddeus, or hippypotter, is an illustrator and model. Justin Perez is an incredible Deaf performer who specializes in VV, visual vernacular.

Kuresse Bolds is a queer illustrator and designer. Let’s Sign About is an account similar to So You Want To Talk About… but with a focus on Black Deaf people. Mervin Primeaux-OBryant is a Deaf nonbinary actor and artist, among many other things. Vashti Harrison is a bestselling author and illustrator, best known for her children’s books.

Then to close out this video, we have a few more TikTokers.

Artie Mack, who I first found on YouTube, but their TikTok is a lot more active right now. Artie does a lot of education regarding disability, deafness, and the intersection of that with blackness. Amelia Som does mainly Dungeons and Dragons content, and I just love them. Jazmyn W is just extremely entertaining and has a fantastic series where she pretends to be White House HR checking out the previous administration. If nothing else, you have to check that series out!

The Woodmother is autistic and has ADHD, they’re writing a story set in Atlanta during the Jazz Age, which sounds absolutely fascinating! Zay, autieoddity, is another autistic person, and most of her content is educational and very informative, but it’s very much about her specific experiences and not in general.

That is what I have for today! I definitely did NOT list everyone, there are sooooo many great Black creators out there on various platforms. I also specifically didn’t include authors and Bookstagrammers in this video, because I’ll be putting them into my February book wrap up video. That should be up very soon, and I’ll link it when it is. The only thing I’m going to ask you to do today is leave ONE Black creator you follow in the comments (feel free to add more of course!). I’d love to find more fantastic people to follow!

Instead of asking you for financial support, I want you to go follow some of the people I mentioned today. That’s all. Go do it!

Black ASL – Did you know? | ASL Ponderings

I will NOT be teaching Black ASL itself. This is only to introduce the concept of Black ASL to those who know nothing about this, give resources to do more learning, and spotlight Black Deaf creators on various platforms.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. Yes, there is such a thing as Black ASL. Today, I’ll be giving a brief introduction to the history, going through the list of links I have below for further learning, then I’ll recommend a few Black Deaf creators that I follow and enjoy across various platforms.

Black ASL has ties with the ASL that we are all familiar with, but it also has many clear differences. Individual signs, signing style, cadence, all of that. This came around because of segregation. Black deaf schools were separate from white deaf schools until desegregation, so ASL developed differently and some of it still holds today. The first link I have is a short video from Netflix that features Nakia Smith, also known as Charmay. Her TikTok with her grandfather went viral, and in it, she’s talking with him about BASL and what it was like back then. 

The next link is an article that gives a brief history of Black Deaf people in America, written by Catalleya Storm. This gives more detail to the very basic info I just told you. There’s a project that worked to describe the linguistic features of BASL, sponsored by Gallaudet. And Talking Black in America did the first documentary about Black ASL, called Signing Black in America. The last link I’m giving you today is intended to be watched as a companion playlist to the book, The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL written by Dr. Carolyn McCaskill. She’s one of the biggest contributors to the research of Black ASL. I haven’t watched the full series myself, but I think it can still give some interesting info without the book. There are clips of Black Deaf people signing included as well.

That’s all of the links specifically related to BASL. Now I’m going to recommend a few creators. I’ll be listing people on TikTok and Instagram. Of course, there are plenty of people that I won’t get to in the video, either because I’m saving them to mention in another video this month or because I’m not aware of them. I’ll be adding them at the end of this post, so please feel free to comment with Black Deaf creators that you enjoy!

First, of course I have to mention two people that I’ve already mentioned. Nakia, itscharmay on TikTok and Instagram. She does various educational videos, often on dos and don’ts with the deaf community, but she also does videos on Black ASL. Catalleya Storm, they mainly post on Instagram at catalleya.storm but also have a YouTube channel. They’re a writer and an activist. Then we have Scarlet May on TikTok, she posts educational videos about the deaf community, and occasionally does stories, music translations, among other things. Kourtney is another TikToker, kooziza, that does mainly ASL translations of songs. There’s also Raven, bluejay19xx, doing more ASL translations and Coldest Water Table Talks, which are educational videos. Going back to Instagram, we have David Player, d7play, who posts a lot of educational things about being Black and Deaf, individually and the intersection between the two. And there’s Dr. Rezenet, rezearcher, who talks about personal life as a queer Black Deaf person, their studies, ASL linguistics, and more. Asteria Summers, empressillusions, is an Afro-Indigenous trans woman. She posts mainly about her personal experiences being in those intersections, mostly about being a Black trans woman. Lauren Ridloff who is an actor that’s been in multiple well-known plays. There are many, many more, but I’m going to stop there for today. I’ll also include a link at the end of this list that’ll take you to a guide on Instagram, listing more Black Deaf creators on Instagram for you to follow.

That’s all for today. Please leave a comment with a Black Deaf creator that you enjoy!

Black Deaf Creators