Fun Words for a Week of Celebrations

Posted by Emma on November 24, 2010 at 11:15 am. Captioning

by Kirsten Dirkes

This week, we celebrate an important event. I refer, of course, to the modern opening of King Tut’s tomb on November 26, 1922.  To commemorate this, our fun words include some archaeology terms, some food-related words in case any of you are also celebrating Thanksgiving this week, and a word in the middle that provides a nice segue between the two.

SERIATION - an archaeological method in which artifacts are relatively dated by placing them according to the rise and fall of styles in particular areas

CANOPIC JARS - jars used in ancient Egypt to store internal organs removed during mummification, not including the brain, because who needs that?

MIDDEN - a pit or pile of domestic trash; especially kitchen midden or shell midden

GALETTE - a round, flat pastry similar to a pie but without the pan, often with edges turned up around a filling of fruit; it may take several tries before you end up with a galette that doesn’t need to go in the midden

CUCINA POVERA - cuisine of the poor; an Italian term for using simple, readily available ingredients; a way to impress your guests with a description of the dinner they’re about to get when all you could afford was a packet of Ramen noodles

(We are excited to say that Kirsten has accepted our begging and pleading request to keep writing the weekly Fun Words! To those celebrating Thanksgiving, have a wonderful short week filled with food, fun, family, friends and football. Don’t forget to look for more blogs from Kirsten in the future.)

Fun Word Friday!

Posted by Emma on November 19, 2010 at 10:27 am. Captioning

Here are some of our favorite fun words of the week.

retrodict: to utilize present information or ideas to infer or explain a past event or state of affairs

mendacious: given to or characterized by deception, falsehood or divergence from absolute truth

vulpine: foxy, crafty

grimalkin: an old, female, domestic cat

nescience: lack of knowledge or awareness; ignorance

Metropolis: The Most Expensive Silent Film

Posted by Emma on November 17, 2010 at 8:08 am. Captioners, Movies

by Jason Mitchell

Our resident public domain and creative content expert, Jason, is back to share his sci-fi film knowledge.

This month is a big month for fans of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the most expensive silent movie ever made.   The home video release of the most complete version of the film seen since its 1927 premiere is here, thanks to a lot of restoration work and one of film history’s all-time great discoveries.

Metropolis is a landmark in special effects and science fiction in cinema.  The film sets the standard for the modern vision of mad scientists and has forever influenced the portrayal of humanlike robots in the movies.  The inspiration for iconic film characters such as Dr. Frankenstein and C-3PO can be traced directly to Metropolis.

A robot with the scientist.

The film is truly a technological marvel, utilizing complicated special effects and editing techniques to create a truly distinctive Art Deco vision of the future.  Watched today, it is still hard to determine how the images of the towering city were created.

A city street with tall buildings a magnificent structure on a hill in the background.

Without a doubt, the film is an important landmark in film history, but few have ever seen it in its complete form.  At the film’s 1927 premiere in Berlin, a 153-minute version was shown, but soon after, many scenes were cut to appease foreign theater managers who demanded a shorter running time.  Many of the edited scenes were thought lost forever after studio warehouses were destroyed in World War II.

Over the years, restored versions of the film were made by compiling elements from the many different cuts shown internationally.  It wasn’t until 2008, however, that the most complete version of the film ever found was discovered in Argentina.  Apparently never returned to the German distributor, the print included nearly 30 minutes of footage that had not been seen in decades.

A man in front of a giant bust.

I was finally able to see the newly restored version of Metropolis recently.  Unfortunately, even after much restoration work, the rediscovered footage is in pretty bad shape compared to the pristine footage of previous restorations.  The lost elements are really exciting to see, though, and help expand the world of the city and the character of the Thin Man, who has now become one of cinema’s creepiest villains.

A pensive man reading a newspaper.

Metropolis is really a must-see for any fan of science fiction or movies in general.  It’s one of the most amazing films ever made, and now we have a version that is probably as close to complete as we will ever see.  There are the free downloads and discount DVDs available for this one, but I really recommend going for the fully-restored version.

Fun Word Friday!

Posted by Emma on November 12, 2010 at 9:24 am. Fun Word Friday

Here are some of our favorite words from this week:

vacillate: to waver in mind, will, or feeling; hesitate in choice of opinions or courses

spiel: to play music; to talk volubly or extravagantly

platitude: the quality or state of being dull or insipid; a banal, trite, or stale remark

jejune: devoid of significance or interest

insouciance: lighthearted unconcern

Hikin’ Blind-84: Hiking the Grand Canyon

Posted by Emma on November 10, 2010 at 9:36 am. Consumer Advisory Board

CaptionMax has a dedicated Consumer Advisory Board with experts in all kinds of accessibility. As guest bloggers, we let our board members to  share their accessibility stories. Our next CAB guest blogger is B.J. LeJeune. She has many years of experience in the field of rehabilitation and blindness.  Her perspectives about blindness have been influenced by both her deaf-blind grandfather – who fell off the roof at age 80 while making some minor repairs – and her husband Bobby who lost most of his vision as a child.  Although Bobby hasn’t fallen off any roofs, he keeps B.J. pretty active with many other activities. Thanks, B.J., for sharing this fantastic experience!

by B.J. LeJeune

This morning on the Today Show, Marc Ashton and some blind hikers known as the FBC Canyon Crawlers from the Foundation for Blind Children in Scottsdale, AZ, shared their adventures of hiking rim to rim through the Grand Canyon.  The memories flooded back.

Hikin' Blind-84 Group Picture

October 1984, it was lightly snowing and the heat felt good as we huddled around the small campfire preparing for our hike through the Grand Canyon.  There were 15 of us from Arizona State University, and about half the group was blind or severely visually impaired.  We were “Hikin’ Blind- 84!” We had spent the night on the North Rim and although we had planned to make it a leisurely 4 day hike, our overnight camping permits for the first and last day had been canceled at the last minute.  It was all or nothing – 23 miles down and up. The group gathered and decided we had trained enough to go for it.  When we left the rim it was 9 degrees, and after about 2 miles it was in the 80’s.

A group of 5 gathered around the campfire in classic 80's coats.

Two hikes on the trail with a grand view of the canyon in the background.

A hiker resting on the side of the trail with a large pack.

We groaned some about having to carry our heavy clothing all 23 miles as it was stuffed in back packs pretty quickly after we left the edge. We forded creeks, climbed over rocks, went around a zillion switchbacks, laughed at the kabab squirrels fussing at us, and enjoyed the canyon – almost every step down.

Down at Phantom Ranch at the bottom, we set up camp – put up tents, hung our food on deer proof (not so you would notice) racks, laughed at our various adventures, and fell into a deep sleep – exhausted, but exhilarated.

Picture of Phantom Ranch visted by a small deer.

B.J. sitting and willing the tent to make itself.

Two team members setting up a tent.

The next morning the young blind man I was guiding, found his knee was swollen and painful from the downward hiking pressure.  We decided to get an early start so we could make it out before dark with the rest of the group. The Colorado River was raging and there was a wire foot suspension bridge that spans the river.  It is made out of heavy iron mesh and comes up to about mid chest level on either side and is wide enough to accommodate two way hikers. It sways a little, but it is secure.  Because people get a little freaked out looking down at the river through the mesh, some 1 by 12 boards had been laid across it lengthwise to make the crossing less scary.

Walking out on the suspension bridge with a waist high railing.

We decided it would be best if my friend walked directly behind me with his hands on my shoulders so he could stay evenly on the boards. We were the only ones out, so there wasn’t any traffic on the bridge.  The river was so loud, I could not understand him when he started trying to yell something at me as we made our way across, so I walked a little faster so we could get over to the other side.

A arial view of the suspension bridge across the Colordado River.

The boards were clanking with each step – and a little slick from the river water splashing on them. When we got to the other side he starting yelling at me and said something cheery like, “What, are you crazy?  Are you trying to kill us?” Apparently, I had neglected to mention there were sides on the bridge or that the boards were not just laying on logs.  When I explained that we had not been in any danger, he explained to me that if he could figure out how to get out of the canyon without me, my life would indeed be in danger!

The hike out was fairly uneventful if you take out the pain factor. We didn’t have to ford any more streams, but we did slosh through a lot of mule droppings and urine ponds at the switchbacks.

The narrow switchbacks along the trail.

How the mules could empty themselves at each turn was amazing to us.  At first we would go around, but after about 3 miles, we just barreled on through. It was a little scary when the mules passed because they get the inside of the path.  The hiking paths are not always that wide, and it is a long way down!

A faculty member brought his 12 year old son who was an aspiring geologist and who filled us all with wondrous tales of the different levels we were crossing through.  He was great a picking up different types of rocks for people to feel and after running back and forth among the spread out group must have doubled his trip through the canyon.  When we finally reached the South Rim, we were exhausted, sore and we were changed.  We were tougher, we were sorer, and we were more appreciative of the vastness of the Canyon, and perhaps how small we were by comparison.  Did I mention we were also pretty sore?

A sore B.J. LeJeune trying to get out of a van.

As guides, our eyes were focused mostly on the trail.  But we were also challenged to describe the beauty around us in ways that would communicate the grandeur and glory of the Grand Canyon.  We had seen lots of rocks and noticed subtle changes as we changed levels and as the sun changed its angle.  I was amazed at how many ways there were to describe a rock wall.  Sure wish I had had some of those CaptionMax describers around to make it a better, more interesting experience.

A hiker sitting on a rock above the vastness of the Grandy Canyon.

One of our group and his guide did the whole thing round trip over the weekend, putting in a grueling 46 miles. I could not even imagine!  After hearing the piece on the Today Show, I pulled out my old photos and even now, I think the Grand Canyon hike is one of my biggest personal achievements.  I was delighted to hear the FBC Canyon Crawlers had also experienced the rim to rim experience of the canyon.  My congratulations to each of them!  I’d love to hear their stories too.

Through the years B.J. has been in a variety of rehabilitation positions, but currently is at the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University where she serves as Training Coordinator.  Her background includes working with persons who are Deafblind, college age blind students such as her fellow hikers, counseling and teaching adults with vision impairments, and older adults with vision loss. She is also the founder and CEO of CARE Ministries, a national Christian organization serving persons who are blind and Deafblind.

The House on Haunted Hill (1955)

Posted by CLeininger on November 3, 2010 at 9:04 am. Captioning, Movies, Video Description, YouTube

How did your Halloween weekend go? Are the costumes put away, decorations taken down, and candy wrappers in the trash? Did you get to watch enough scary movies this Halloween? Yes…good! However, if you’re having some post-Halloween blues, then sit back and enjoy a classic scary movie. You can relive some of those frights and scares while watching the classic film “The House on Haunted Hill” (1955). And don’t worry, this movie is video described and captioned! Spanish captions are coming soon.

Plot Synopsis: This is the story of five people invited to stay the night in a haunted house by an eccentric millionaire who is throwing the “party” for his fourth wife. The electricity will be out and all doors will be locked at midnight. No escape is possible. Anyone who stays in the house for the entire night, given that they are still alive, will receive $10,000. Who will stay alive? What else lurks beneath the surface of this story? (There’s also a pretty hilarious skeleton that makes its way into the film.)

What are you favorite scary movies? Are there any classic films that are better then their modern remakes? Think about all the other scary mansion movies that came afterward that bear a striking resemblance to this movie: Clue (1985) or Murder by Death (1976) or House on Haunted Hill (1999). What do you think?

Also, check our more FREE, fully accessible films on our YouTube page.



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