can you read my lips? Deaf but neither dumb nor blind – Let’s Carpe thehell out of Diem

This morning I sent all my facebook friends a private request. Something I never did before and usually do not like myself to receive, worse, sometimes not even bother to read. For a cause or campaign or however you want to call it.

This is what I wrote [copy+pasted] 301times:

On behalf of my Turkish/ Scottish God-daughter Dilara Earle who is deaf and a film maker herself, with CI, but that is not enough, I would love you to sign this petition

As a Dutchy I grew up with subtitles on both TV and movie screen, the most normal thing in the world for me, but not so in English speaking countries. Lots of hearing people find subtitles annoying hence the missing link for the audio impaired.

Thank you,
Carolien Geurtsen

Yesterday that same god-daughter of mine posted her own strong [and for me heart breaking] message on Facebook into the digi-verse, in order to get people involved:

“All I want for Christmas is Subtitles!”
Please sign this! It won’t happen for this Christmas but it would make the rest of my Christmas’s!

All we want for Christmas is subtitles


There have been so many times I have had to:

Leave the cinema because the projector has broken and they can no longer screen the subtitles.
Return the DVD I just rented and that still uses up my Lovefilm quota, even though it wasn’t my fault.
Wasted money on a DVD that I can’t return because it doesn’t have subtitles.
Can’t watch the extras on the DVD because they only put subs on the main show. I mean, why?

I studied film as a degree and because I need subtitles, suddenly I can’t access what I want to learn from the commentaries and behind the scenes shows. ARGHH.

I still remember going to the video store down the street on a Friday night. I’d look for the square speech bubble before genre, actors, pretty covers, titles, or interesting blurbs on the back. That small square determined everything.

There are exciting new advances with glasses (like 3D) that allow you to watch subtitles alongside a hearing person who won’t get annoyed by them. Captiview is also a gadget that let’s you take in an adjustable screen that pops into your cup holder and although it had flaws it did an okay job. I’m used to watching lips, the screen and action and sentences all at once. But it’s still not up to scratch!

I want to finally go to the cinema on the same day as my friends to see the exciting new release and talk about it after.
Not 3 weeks later, after which the entire thing has been talked about on my Facebook news feed….!

I want to rent DVDs without being frustrated, embarrassed and guilty that I can’t watch it with someone and that they feel like they can’t watch it now. Which is a bit rubbish all round!

I’ve cried over this. My deafness is just something I have. But the fact subtitles aren’t on every DVD by now and the cinema isn’t 100% accessible just isn’t fair!

Cringe? Whatever. I don’t give a pig’s shit anymore. Just sign it, for me. I’ll give each and every one of you a big massive sloppy kiss and be eternally grateful for when the day finally comes round!


And there she got me going, remembering when she was a baby and how her mother found out that she was deaf, and all the difficult years, with there own challenges, to follow. And I do not care shit to become even more dramatical: As I have witnessed from so close how dramatical it has been for all involved and therefore for so many more on our ‘civilised’ planet.
I imagined my BF and her mother reading this post sitting at the kitchen table where her laptop is (so I happen to know from our recent Skype sessions), looking at the gorgious picture from her smiling daughter, who is terribly far away right now, somewhere Down Under, so you might magine with me as well:

This mother is weeping. A million likes.
One of the few things we can be grateful for is that this has given you a taste for world movies and taught you more tolerance than the insensitive people who say they can’t concentrate on a film with subtitles. Pah!
The technology’s there – it just needs folk to put it in place and others to be grateful they have all their senses, if not their common sense.

Cringe cringe. As I am reading that one, not that far, but away…
For me as a Dutchy who knew subtitles (from the cinema) before they had TV at home, this really was a revelation yesterday.
That people can be disturbed by subtitles bacause they are not used to, I can vaguely relate to. That’s how it was for me watching English movies with Turkish subtitles in the Open Air Cinema in Kusadasi when we lived there. But that people actualy can oppose it because of this ‘disturbing factor’, beats the H out of me.

To give some more idea, if this is A Far-From-Your-Bed-Time Story, another sensory impaired friend of my D:

Don’t get me started on airlines, I flew all the way back from Mauritius and there was not one single subtitled English speaking film.
Also Sara Cox angered me several years ago when she complained about going to the cinema to watch a film because it was subtitled! RANT!

And than over to my tube You Tube via mum:

Absolutely, Disgraceful.
Also youtube, particularly when the subject is relevant to sensory impairment and it’s not subtitled.
Anyhow, I put a lot of Dilara’s (and possibly your) good grammar and passion for books down to reading subtitles from an early age (let’s excuse the odd slip whilst ranting).

So, H.I. folks:

1 – Hearing folks who can’t cope with subs: 0 on that score.
Dilara Bien-aimée will enjoy waking up in Oz to our rants!

To sum it up a little more with the last titbit of the personal life of being a BF to a sensory impaired:

I would just like subtitles because after watching so much TV with Dilara, my brain can no longer muster the extra concentration to actually listen to what they are saying in addition to watching the film.

So, I guess we could make this work for the sooo many audio impaired people living on our Planet Earth.  So, yes, as one of my favorite quotes from another dear friend:

Let’ s Carp theHell out of Diem

[and yes I put it on purpose like that, otherwise our Digital Bros will expell my blog from the digi firmament

due use of #swaerwords++

 All I want for Christmas is subtitles

P.E.T.I.T.I.O.N – Love Film



Mandalas in progress – Not only Monks


It is very fascinating for someone (me) who already made child-like mandala’s from the age of seven and since then has only seen women active on that terrain to see men being busy with Mandala.
Apart from Tibetan Monks in Zutphen and Amersfoort or on TV that is. Them being busy for days in a row with a huge Mandala from sand, to all give it back to nature after accomplishing this divine and meditative type of art.

So yes, as soon as I saw Reinier attaching his huge objects to the walls of the exhibition salon, I first bombarded him with questions, stopped myself abruptly and asked if I could interview and film him. We made an appointment and two weeks later, after his workshop I attended as well, we went along with it. The interview is in Dutch but there is much to be seen without understanding the words.

Reinier Jonkheer is a very down to Earth Technical Engineer by profession, and since he was a child deeply fascinated bij shapes and forms in any symmetric type of way. Thinks Spirograph if you at all remember.
So soon after he did a course ten years ago in Mandala coloring and drawing, he started walking his own unique path if designing his own Mandala’s, and now he uses the most fabulous mixture of techniques and shapes. From very tiny pieces of paper to huge and triangular wood structures.  Including 3D objects, embroidery combined with mosaic and bamboo, using wire, rubber, ropes and just about anything which serves the purpose, up to the top of a juice bottle as a centrepiece to keep things in balance (see vid).

Reinier Jonkheer on Mandalas 22-10-2013Reinier recently started to give Mandala workshops in Wijkwerkplaats de Meerkoet in Houten, The Netherlands, which is fortunately just around my corner 😉


Part 2 –

Credits Vrije Geluiden VPRO

King of the World – R.H. Weber/ Bluesified

Gepubliceerd op 28 mei 2013

King of the World: Erwin Java – gitaar, Ruud Weber – bass/ voice, Govert van der Kolm – hammond, Fokke de Jong,drums

King of the World is a Dutch blues band. They perform Bluesified written by Ruud Weber.

This video was recorded in Bimhuis Amsterdam for VPRO Vrije Geluiden.
Vrije Geluiden is a music program for the Dutch public broadcast organisation VPRO.

What on earth are you? No label suffices * Inservice Autism 2013 Belgium


I was invited as speaker on a 2 day conference on autism in Belgium. It was a strange combination of factors and ingredients and a lovely combination of uniquely wired people in whose surroundings I felt completely comfortable.

The most personal strange discovery which I noticed for myself was the following: I was completely able to focus and open up to speakers IN the (autistic) spectrum, but had to close down, literally LOOK down and filter a little extra when there were speakers NOT in the (autistic) spectrum (or at least so I presume – I could be totally wrong with this assumption).
So when I was attending meetings of who I figure now as NON-spectrum persons, I either had to look down and listen from that position, close my eyes in order not to get visually over-stimulated to keep focused, or take pictures [look trough a frame] and either right away process them while listening or save them it the proper files on my telephone.

Every once in a while even I was doubting whether I was paying full attention, but it was when I found myself nodding frequently that I started to discover a pattern: I was filtering out the non-necessities in order to be able to cope with all the stimuli of the attending people and visual and audio input at the same time.
Most significant for me was this was not happening at all with people so called in the spectrum like Paul C Siebenthal,
Wendy Lampen and Diederik Weve. Utterly interesting. I only could think of a connection with that they were each talking from their own Book of Life.

In short, I had a great time, with great talks, wonderful silences and many impressions and new contacts to take home.
The location “Provinciaal Vormingscentrum Malle”, is a very basic one with an absolute charm because of that.
I only felt sorry that two of my colleague speakers @Autistagirl and @Aspienaut had a really short and cold night due heating problems. They are two people who I strongly recommend to follow on Twitter and find their various publications and maybe chance to hear them speak yourselves. My own little room was on the contrary much too warm for my comfort, so I closed the heater, opened the window and slept only under a sheet and my huge bath towel which I brought. The blanket was much too warm for me.

So I had a great couple of days.
I only wished there had been simultaneous translation of the various settings, although I totally understand this to be very costly and not feasible, but there was so much value and quality in content and presentation that I would have loved to be able to share this with a wider audience. So yes, I certainly have a wish-list towards next year: More, longer and a true international Inservice on Autism

It was a great joy to be in this cocoon with very special people for 3 days and I went home with fond memories and loads of new contact details and I look very much forward to receiving the sheets of the various meetings and workshops I attended and the ones I couldn’t. Autistagirl and me were programmed at the same time so I had no chance to attend her Workshop.
The I Can’t wait urge is strong and as a matter of fact I feel my good old missionary qualities arising… want to share to the people I now know who are desperate for support in their approach with their pupils for example.
The uniqueness and the special, extremely gifted and talented people who each from their own perspective are so enormously challenged in a 2013 world with so much stimuli, I can only being to imagine how demanding that is and my own sensitivity for sound, light and people seems…trivial I guess is the proper English word.
The first morning home, in order for me to process my own impressions, it was lovely to play with the pictures I made in the early hours, and transform them in a black and white cartoon type of way.

Having said that.


In the mini workshop Creative Writing and Autism I attended on Day One, I wrote a Sprinter which was cryptic at that moment and hardly translatable, but I give it a try. First you draw your own hand and write 5 qualities, one in each finger and I choose the pleasure one to keep it light and surfacial, or so I thought…


What on earth are you?
but one of my dreams?
you sit down on the floor
and lean against my couch
with hick-ups of pleasure
I don’t get it
because I miss you so much that it hurts
My male best friend C
my female best friend A
my unborn child
my mother
my so beloved death ones

Only upon arriving home I realized that my friend A, who passed away last year November, as  a matter of fact died on that 12th yesterday a year ago. A co-incidence which make my tows curl up.
I did not write this to make anyone sad, certainly not  Biba, Paul, Carl, Wendy or Diederik, but to share how much I appreciated to have met you and sharing some of me with you, where you shared so much of you with me.
As well as the ones whose names I forgot, the ones I did not meet and the ones who took the effort to come to my workshops, to me, this crazy wired forgetful species, apparently not IN the spectrum according to some tests, possibly with some left over minor brain-damage or maybe just born this way, definitely in a different kind of spectrum than the ‘mediocre’ ones we all trip around in.

And Wendy, no words are enough to express how happy I am that you are able to cope with this emo-bomb on legs who is all over the place on moments that you can least use it 😉
Ilonka, I immensely love to know you as a dear friend, a wise and humorous earth mother incarnated, helping me to keep my wits whatsapping day or night-time. I have so much respect for all you managed to manage the last couple of months.

Love you all


my dear friends birthday


Music uploaded Nov 1 2011

Inner Bells
from Album Kirvani Revisited (Challenge Records)
by Marion von Tilzer
Rani Heymann – clarinet,
Caroline Leeuw Wagner, Lisanne Soeterbroek – violin,
Wouter Huizinga-viola,
Sanne van der Horst – cello,
Heiko Dijker – tabla,
Lenneke v Staalen – indian violin, Marion von Tilzer – piano,
(Inner Bells was commissioned by Auke Bijlsma)