zola: (Default)
Is anyone out there doing anything of note?

I continue to work... sleep... work....sleep... work....sleep....

Ever feel like you're just in a holding pattern waiting for your life to happen? But then when stuff starts happening, it's usually some kind of annoyance, and you wish it wasn't happening...

I think I need to go out to dinner or something. All work and no play makes Zola a really boring blogger.
zola: (Default)
Not much is going on at all, really. I'm working hard, we're all fighting to finish up the current project, and there are many days that it seems that all I do is work and then sleep.

Calamity has her vet appointment on Feb 4th, so we won't have to deal with amorous kitty after that--really, it's been more funny than anything because she's just so confused. Even funnier is when a couple of the neutered boys try to err... help her out as it were... they know they're supposed to do SOMETHING but they really aren't sure what that is.

But she's been an inside cat since we got her, so it hasn't been too bad keeping her in, and the worst is pretty much over now. She'll be taken care of before it happens again.

I've been watching the latest economic news and kind of scratching my head--I realize that all the numbers aren't necessarily in, but I don't think I've been hearing from anyone I know that financial times are all that great--the price of gas has hurt people a lot, no matter if they exclude energy prices from their indices.

I think that it's going to get worse before it's going to get better--while the stock market may have recovered from the effects of the world price slide over the past few days, the bottom line is that the Dow is about 1500 points lower than it was three months ago, and I don't think we've quite seen the end of it yet, although hopefully some of the measures that are being taken will make it more gradual.

I don't know how much a tax rebate is going to help--maybe that's a hidden bailout package for the credit card companies, they figure everybody is going to use the money to make a credit card payment or something?

Seriously, though, where is this money going to come from if we are already running a deficit? And what are we going to do about health care? There's something awfully wrong with a system where a serious illness can actually push people into bankruptcy, and where people skip needed medical care because of cost. Haven't any of our economic pundits realized that sick people aren't all that productive? Wouldn't easing the cost improve productivity?

It would be really nice to see an economic plan that is based on what actually works instead of discredited theories.
zola: (Default)
1) Buying a second box of cards... I almost didn't and would have run out!
2) self-sticking address labels --wish the envelopes had been the same
3) Actually getting a set of cards out that have a prayer of making it by Christmas.

Hope everyone's card arrives in time.


Dec. 11th, 2007 02:08 am
zola: (Default)
From NYT in an article on New Jersey's recent attempts to make flu vaccine for preschoolers mandatory:

“We deserve a choice, not a mandate,” Ms. Collins said. “It’s our right to decide what toxic substances we inject into our children.”

So does this mean heroin is all right?

Full story
zola: (Default)
An interesting page I ran across about the "Gay Agenda"

zola: (Default)
We have so many kids running around with diagnoses of one kind or another that I'm honestly getting a little worried about it.

I recently had the most ASTONISHING conversation with a young man whom I am guessing was around sixteen, give or take a year.

He got my screen name through a mutual friend. He had asked me to help him put together a couple of screen caps where the camera had panned--that way you get a big picture with the whole background.

An example under the cut if you don't know what I'm talking about )

I was perfectly willing to help him, I know a fair share of tricks. However, it quickly became clear through the conversation that he wanted me to do it FOR him because learning to do so would be "too stressful".

I said I honestly would be busy for three or four days and wouldn't have time, that I could answer questions now, but I would not be able to do it for him.

He said he was very eager to have the picture completed, and said he would check with me again to see if I had time.

Well, as it turned out, I was busy for much longer than I expected, over a week. And this kid messaged me a couple of times, politely, but I was still busy. And when he messaged me the third time, I said "look, here's the problem. I've had a few things come up that couldn't be foreseen, and I think that I'm going to be tied up for at least another week and maybe two. Why don't you give it a try? That way you won't have to wait on me to do it, and if you learn how, you can do these kinds of pictures anytime you want and not have to wait for them."

He was skeptical but I coaxed him to open up his program. He said he sucked at it, and I said it was all right that he sucked at it, that we all had to start somewhere and this was his moment.

I explained that I could do my work and help him at the same time because it didn't involve my having to sit down and spend an hour at it, and when I explained I'd been so busy that when I had a free hour I wanted to do my own stuff, he seemed to understand.

So I spent about two minutes if that explaining just a couple of simple things he could do to get the pictures lined up with each other. He started to get interested, he'd never thought of doing these things. And I said "this is why I wanted to tell you how instead of doing it for you, it's much faster and you walk away knowing how to do it for yourself."

He said he wasn't any good at it, and I suggested he try. I made sure he grasped what I had said to do, and he said something about sending the picture to me afterwards to see if it was any good.

I said that he would know it was good because he would be happy with it.

He said that he wasn't sure about that because "People with aspergers syndrome can't tell sometimes."

It was with great satisfaction that I informed him that I also was an Aspie. He seemed completely stunned.

I tried to give him a little bit of a pep talk about how being an Aspie could also be a help with something like this--the combination of mono-focus and an eye to detail can really help you learn a lot and do some good work--and his picture DID come out just fine.

But it left me with a grave feeling of disquiet. What are we doing to these kids, that they feel powerless to do things or have to avoid them because they are too "stressful"? What kind of messages is this kid getting that he felt he couldn't even *try* to do this, even with help from a person who had done lots of those kinds of pictures?

You know, I am all for reasonable accomodations for people. If an autistic person is prone to overload, for example, you're not going to hear me saying they need to be forced to sit in an environment that will lead to overload and then be punished for melting down. That's completely counterproductive.

But by the same token, are we really doing these kids any favors when we treat them like they are incapable? Obviously, this kid was told he was helpless and told to avoid things that frustrated him--he didn't want to get too stressed.

How on EARTH will this sort of thing produce independent adults? I mean, wtf? Isn't part of being a grown-up ideally learning some self-discipline, which includes learning how to handle frustration and do things you don't necessarily want to do?

Wouldn't it be better to actively encourage the child to seek ways that are positive for him to ADAPT to circumstances? Like with frustration, to encourage a deep breath and walking away, and praise for doing so? If the autistic person can't stand crowded, noisy places and is told it's okay to avoid them, how the hell are they going to manage to go grocery shopping or attend college or manage all the little things that involve being around other people?

Wouldn't they be better served if we actively encouraged and supported them in finding ways that they could endure such an environment for the greater good of their independence? Why is it suddenly off-limits to push the child a bit? Mind you, I am NOT advocating the kind of pressure that would make the child feel overwhelmed, but isn't part of the parent's job to teach the child to overcome limitations, no matter what they are? Don't we all have to learn to push ourselves a bit? I think that gentle amounts of that are healthy and give us the power to get off our asses and go to work even when we'd far prefer to sleep in on a rainy day.

I just don't get this. If a child is born blind, nobody thinks twice about them being taught to navigate with a cane or to read braille or any of the other adaptations that makes it possible for a blind person to maximize their independence. Why aren't we thinking this way with autistic kids?

See, to me, it's all about the power. If we can't do for ourselves and believe we can't do for ourselves and don't even try, we are then at the mercy of those who are doing for us, and they may not act in our best interests, no matter how well-meaning they may be. I want every autistic person to do for themselves as much as is in their capability to do, and when you encourage people to look for meaningful, positive adaptations, it is astonishing how they blossom as they realize that yes, they indeed CAN do a thing that they thought they couldn't do. They may do it differently than an NT, but that doesn't matter because they can get it done.

That empowerment also can lead to healthy negotiation and working with others in a positive way, because rest assured, no matter how autistic, you have strengths that are not only valuable to you, but valuable to others, and instead of the help you may need being grudgingly tendered, you are now an equal. You may suck at dealing with the grocery store, so I handle that, but you're a whiz at making the meals so you do the menu planning and we make the shopping list together. There's no "help" there, that's just two people working together to make a job easier on both of them.

I think what's worst of all about this is that I believe it makes the disabling aspects of autism even worse. This kid was so helpless he wasn't even willing to try. And yet he's presumably had every benefit of modern psychiatry. What kind of success story is that?
zola: (Default)
It happens every year in May--one of the biggest, if not the biggest trade show for people in the video game industry.

The buzz is it's going to be cancelled

I'm really bummed--I had hoped to be able attend one over the next few years.
zola: (Default)
From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, July 11 — It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”

But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these “unusual or out-of-place” sites “whose criticality is not readily apparent” are inexplicably included in the federal antiterrorism database.

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

(Full article)

You must be registered to view this article--if you don't want to go through the trouble, try Bug Me Not
zola: (Default)
This is really starting to tick me off.

I was assigned a phone number by Verizon when I moved.

Apparently the former owner of the number was some kind of deadbeat or something, because I've now had this number since February and I am still getting calls for him.

Most people are reasonable. I say nicely "This is a new number, please update your records," and they say okay and that's the end of it.

Then we have the winners over at the collection agencies who think that apparently I'm trying to put one over on them. Now, it's NOT difficult to call Verizon and verify that the number was changed and is no longer registered to that person, but they still try. I had one actually try to get me to tell him who I was, as if I would tell some total stranger my name just because he asked for it.

We had the dude who called the number three times, was told the same thing three times, and had his kid call and say "who's this?". I told the kid where I came from, that was no way to start a phone call and he had the wrong number and stop calling.

Another call today. I said politely that the number had been changed, that this was a new number. He said "Do you know what it was changed to?"

How the FUCK would I know that? Apparently I'm the phone company now?

If the calls don't stop pretty quick, I'm going to change the number--this is stupid.
zola: (Default)
Or should that be national INsecurity?

No Icons, No Monuments Worth Protecting
June 01, 2006 12:18 PM

Richard Esposito Reports:

New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. That was a key factor used to determine that New York City should have its anti-terror funds slashed by 40 percent--from $207.5 million in 2005 to $124.4 million in 2006.

The rest of the story

And these are these are the people who feel they deserve unfettered access to our phone records without a search warrant...

Although I've got to say, I'm less concerned with their use of the data now. After all, it's clear they have no idea what to do with it.

Too funny

May. 31st, 2006 02:21 am
zola: (Default)
If you have your gmail personalized, you saw this quote today, but for those who didn't, it made me laugh every time I searched today:

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
- Phyllis Diller
zola: (Default)
When replacing a bad hard drive, the copy of the boot drive works MUCH better when the ribbon cable is actually plugged in.

If you can't see it on BIOS, that's a BIG HINT that it isn't connected.

Wipe that smirk off your face, Mr. Wright.
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