The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

Forgot My Activation Anniversary Thursday, August 9, 2007

Gosh, I posted on August 7, but I totally forgot it was my one-year anniversary of my cochlear implant, as I pulled a ~11 hour shift for the second day in a row. Amazing how being super-busy at work will let things slip your mind, especially since I had been thinking all summer about how I wanted to mark my one-year anniversary with a small party as a way to say thanks to everybody.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing from several of you about your activation experiences (with activation dates of Aug. 6, 7 & 8). Each of you had a wonderful experience, albeit emotional, but that’s to be expected. Hearing about your experiences brings back memories of my activation day, as well as my feelings prior to activation. But re-reading all the entries makes me cry…especially the one about how I felt right after activation.

It’s amazing what sounds I’ve heard in one year. I could make a list of all the new sounds I’ve discovered in the last year, but that’s a project for another time, and I have to get up early to get one of my co-workers. But the CI has had a profound impact on my life, both through the experiences that I’ve been offered in the last year, both at school and work, and through people that I’ve met. And for that, I’m grateful to everybody and everything that has blessed me in this journey. I still have a long way to go, but the ride so far has been amazing.

Until you have been deaf, or are involved with the implantation process, most people will never understand the emotions behind being able to hear, and what a gift it is.

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And That’s The End Of The School Year Monday, May 28, 2007

Back home in Phoenix now, but not without a crazy end to the year, but well worth it.

I moved out of my apartment, then the next day was Mandy’s wedding, which was absolutely wonderful. I caught Mandy’s bouquet, so we both were laughing over that. Then I was at the airport 4 hours after the reception was over, so I’m exhausted from all of that plus finals week and little sleep.

Anyway, I finished my first academic year (trimesters) with the cochlear implant. 3 quarters of getting a GPA of 3.00 or higher, and 2 quarters of being on the Dean’s List . That’s a first for me in college, to be on the list twice in one year.

Was talking to Catherine about it at the break between the wedding and the reception…was it the cochlear implant that helped me do better in school, or was it just the result of being older, more mature, and doing what I love? We debated that for awhile.

The reason why I think it might be the cochlear implant, is because it’s forced me to listen more in class, because I want to hear everything that’s going on, to try and understand the teacher and listen to the interpreter. Maybe it’s that extra focus that’s causing me to pay more attention, and therefore, do better.

Things Of Note
– Recognized the word “Toostee Roll” at the wedding, and then realized it was that song.
– Wearing the CI for almost 2 days straight = makes the area around the magnet sore. My hearing aid ear was sore, but not as much as the CI.
– Hearing my cat meowing constantly as he rushes to the landing, down the stairs, and greets me as he realizes I’m finally home is one of the best feelings ever.

 

La La Land Friday, May 11, 2007

Filed under: events,music — Allison @ 8:07 pm

AHA! While out shopping today, I finally found the song I was obsessing about at the Hard Rock Club (at Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls) when I went to Canada a few weeks ago.

It was this amazing dance song that was playing, one that got me up and shaking my booty on the dance floor. And if I find a song that can get me up and dancing, I want to know what it is.

I asked at the club, and nobody knew it, and I couldn’t call Canada because relay calls don’t go to Canada, so I basically gave up. It made me wish that clubs would post their playlists so if you hear an amazing piece of ear candy, you know what it is.

Anyway, I was in FYE today and searching through their database for the Cream dance cds, when it came on, and I went “OMG THAT’S IT! *squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee*”

It’s “La La Land” by Green Velvet.

Thank goodness for the CI, because I wasn’t able to hear it with the hearing aid…AT ALL.

And now Jen’s going to send it to me because I’m obsessed with listening to it as much as I can, now that I found it. *happiness*

 

The Last 3 Weeks Thursday, April 12, 2007

So much for writing in here on a daily basis, but I do come bearing plenty of news.

1. I went to the store on March 29, and as soon as I walked into the store, I recognized the song that was playing. Eiffel 65 – “Blue (Da Ba Dee)”. I went over to the cashier and asked her if that was the song that was playing, and she said yes.

2. I’m starting to pick up more phrases here and there, but nothing all at once. It’s slow going, but patience.

3. The CI panel was excellent. It was fantastic getting to talk to other CI users, and hear about their experiences. In addition, we got to educate the audience about cochlear implants and answer any questions they had.

4. I have a new input device for my iPOD. I am no longer using the DirectConnect cable, as I’m tired of changing them around. This one works with both my hearing aid and the cochlear implant, and just requires the flip of a switch. It’s not the HATIS, but I can’t remember the name of the manufacturer off the top of my head right now but it’s called the Freedom. The best part, the cord is white, so I get to look “cool”. :-p

5. Mandy and I are both upset about the Harmony release news. I have to wait till July to get mine. More info on that in an upcoming post.

6. NAG is coming up soon, and Mandy and I are busy preparing for it. I’m nervous, but excited at the same time. It’s been interesting putting together the timeline and all the data for the booth.

7. I’m behind in writing back emails, so I apologize to those who have been waiting for a response.

Anyway, more soon! Hope all is well with you!

 

Recognizing Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” Within A Second Monday, February 12, 2007

Last time I talked about the sounds I was hearing at the hockey game. It held true for the next night.

The most exciting moment happened on Saturday. I was fiddling around with the camera, when I instantly recognized a song as soon as it started. Once again, Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” was recognized within less than one second and played for about 3 seconds, as the game started up again.

I turned to JJ and said “That sounds like Crazy Town’s ‘Butterfly’.”

“It is.”

“It is? No way, are you serious??? That is SO awesome!”

I was all excited over that because I have no idea what they’re going to play at the games, and usually everything sounds distorted coming through the PA system.

Finally, here’s a picture of me shooting away! I took about 12+ gigs of photos this weekend of ice hockey alone. It was my first time doing sports photography, and I found that I absolutely love love LOVE it. I plan to continue with it but next weekend is our last two home games, and then the season’s over. We’re not eligible for the playoffs this year, but next year.

I’ve met so many people this year through hockey, including some cute guys. I may have a date or two…we will see. ^.^

(photo by JJ)

 

The Obstacles Of Having Hearing Friends And Family That Love The Movies Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday night, MK and I went to see the simultaneous ASL-Voice play at school titled Obstacles. It was a great play, really emphasized the obstacles that deaf people face in a hearing world. I haven’t been to one of those plays in a long time, but only because back then I couldn’t understand what was going on, due to being a new ASL learner. I’ll discuss the play next time, and the obstacles it talked about.

Tonight I realized that I had my own obstacles. My hearing friends. Ok, maybe not them, per se, but the things they choose to do. They want to go to the $2.00 movies tonight, and invited me to come along. But they forgot that I needed open-captioning (OC).

So, I told them that it wasn’t OC, and that they could go ahead and go without me.

I really didn’t feel like
a) going outside when the temperature currently “feels like -2” according to the weather report
b) sitting through a movie, missing the dialogue, but knowing what happens visually. It ruins the movie for you when you actually see it with captions because you already know what happens.
c) watching a movie when I would rather watch it in the convenience of my own apartment, without missing anything if I have to go to the bathroom. I also have a particularly bad habit of falling asleep during movies.

Anyway, it’s fine with me, as I’m used to not going to the movies with everybody else. A few years ago, I told my family to go ahead and go without me, when one of nieces/nephews wanted to go to the movies for their birthday, but it wasn’t OC and it was about $15. So I went home to my mom and did other stuff.

The last time I went to a non-OC movie was Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. I only did that because I had never been to a midnight opening of a movie, and wanted to experience it. Secondly, HP4 was my favorite book in the series (of 1-6, when’s #7 coming out?) so it would be easy to follow along, because I already knew what happened in the book. I don’t even remember what was the last non-OC move that I saw.

My friends discussed about the possibility of coming over to watch a movie, since we’re all going out to do errands in the morning together. I didn’t hear back from them until they were already at the theater. Apparently, they lost track of time, and had to leave immediately, and weren’t able to tell me what the plan was until after they got there.

Growing up, I was forced to go to the movies like every week with the other kids at my babysitter’s house. The only thing I liked about it was that I got to have all kinds of special treats at the movie, and it was nice and cool inside. It was a great relief in those days, as the summertime temperatures were ~115, and we spent the entire day in the pool, swimming and being toasted to a golden crisp by the Arizona sun, even with sunblock on.

I do remember being traumatized by movies or television that I watched as a little kid. I got so upset seeing “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead” only because I didn’t understand the dialogue, and the grandma looked like/reminded me of my own grandma, who I was especially close to. There were times I would be scared, such as in Silence Of The Lambs, The Black Hole, The Neverending Story (it’s one of my favorites, now that I understand what’s going on), and Speed (ok, that one was Dad’s fault, as Mom expressly told him that I was not allowed to watch it because I was too young. I was up all night, too scared to go to sleep, and so were they).

But that’s the way it was growing up. I hated it. I was so glad when the ADA was finally passed and captioning was mandatory. For the first time in my life, I was able to participate in watching stuff with my peers and family. No longer was relegated to sitting in the corner of the room, my nose buried in a book, or making up my own storylines to match what was going onscreen.

The benefit to that is that I became exceptionally well-read and extremely creative with the stories I would come up with. And then captioning came, and I learned to read fast, devouring information quickly.

I don’t want to keep my friends and family from going to the movies, which they enjoy doing and makes them happy. My mom and Stef both said it would be great if I can understand movies with the CI, so I can go with them. I don’t know when that day will come, or if it ever will.

I want to be able to go to the movies when my family and friends want to go, without having to check and see if it’s captioned. The movie I want to see, Dreamgirls, isn’t even available in my area, OC.

But where do I draw the line between going along with being a part of a group, doing something that I really don’t want to do versus being all alone, doing something else that makes me happy? It’s a conundrum.

 

Musical Playgrounds! Sunday, January 21, 2007

This was one of the coldest weekends ever where I had to do photo shoots outside. Brr.

In my travels today, I found a yet-to-be completed playground. I ran across it last year when I was out doing photo shoots. Back then it was just a pile of dirt and construction materials, and I’m amazed at the transformation it took, since I didn’t expect it to be a playground.

This was a playground of sounds. They had this spinning metal ornament on top of the tower, that was wind-generated. The harder the wind blew, the faster the “footsteps” were. It sounded like a helicopter mixed in with a plane, but I couldn’t separate the planes flying overhead from it at first. First things first, my photo assignment before I could play.

When we came back about an hour and a half later, we stopped at the gigantic cymbal that we walked through on our way out earlier. The pathway runs through the middle of it, and it’s about 6 feet high. I hit it with my tripod, and it caused a tremendous reverberation. Unfortunately, poor Ed was right in between the two, and I was on the outside. He came out, a bit shaken. I’m sorry!

Then there were these poles built into the ground, and you could stand at one, and talk to the other like telephones…cans and a string. I had a conversation with Ed through the system, from about 30 feet away. It was loud and clear, a bit tinny though.

He also found these gigantic xylophone pipes built into the concrete walls, but we couldn’t really hear anything or figure out how to make it work. It may not be done yet.

Then I wanted to climb up the steep climbing “logs” to get to the top of platform where the slides were. Bad idea. It was icy and covered with three inches of snow, so I slid down 1/3 of the way up. Ed tried it, and was able to get to the top using the railings on the wall next to it to pull himself up. Then I came right behind him, and made it.

The next surprise was at the top. It was a rotating pole, but it had two protuding tubes, sticking about 8 feet up in the air, ending in a bowl-like shape, like a stretched out trumpet. You put your eyes to the viewer in front of you, sticking your head in between the two pipes, and you could rotate the platform to see the world like a bug does, plus hear sounds from a distance away. I couldn’t hear anything, and the visuals were just so distorted by the spray-paint some punk left on the viewfinder.

At that point, Ed was ready to leave due to the cold, so he climbed back down the wall, while I decided to take the slide (I’m such a kid at heart). It was the BEST playground slide I have ever been on in my life, and there are plenty that I’ve been on (I just can’t resist).

I was screaming through the whole slide, as I shot through it. I was launched from the end, flew across the snow and ended up getting snow up my jacket and down my pants. I was so surprised by it that I just laid there on the snow, laughing as my jeans got wetter and colder from the snow. Ed was wondering what the heck was going on, because he heard me as he was climbing down, and I was screaming, and all he saw was me shooting out across the snow.

It was so much fun that I scampered up to the top, like a mountain goat, and launched myself down the slide again, shooting right across the snow. I should have gotten a video…next time!