6kinds_of_crazy: idjits prohibited (idjits)
So, of late, there are a lot of things I’m failing to understand.  Some just confuse me, others puzzle me, some make me angry, and one thing I don’t understand actually amuses me.

Of course, a lot of this failure to understand may well come from the fact that I'm on the Autism Spectrum-- but I like to think that some of it is just from being human.

I’m going to start with amusement, just so that anyone who quits reading because they get annoyed with my other things I don’t get actually sees that.

I’ve never been able to see a man in the moon.  Ever.  I said I did, waaaaaaaay back when, when my dad was trying to point him out to me, but… nope.  I see nothing manlike or face-like in any part of the moon, regardless of its phase.  Now, this doesn’t really disappoint me, it really does amuse me.  I look on it as an example of Imagination Failure, and most times?  I have a kick-ass imagination.

Puzzling… people WHY do so many people text repeatedly back and forth, have LONG CONVERSATIONS via text— instead of just TALKING!?  I mean, sure, it’s a smart phone, but it’s still a phone, for pity’s sake!  Talking is faster, doesn’t result in “damn you autocorrect” moments, and is generally less likely to result in miscommunication.

Beyond “puzzling” and well into “confusion,” edging into "annoyance," we have NOSTALGIA.

Now, I’m not talking about “remember when dad was alive” type of nostalgia, or, “hey, remember that time in high school when we drove the school librarian out of her mind” nostalgia.  No, I’m talking about crap like the “Last Sane Generation” meme that STILL shows up in my Facebook feed now and again.  Here’s the whole thing, in the red text:

“The Last Sane Generation.”

 Born in the Eighties.

 We are the last generation that learned to play in the street.  We were the first to play video games, the last to record songs off of the radio onto cassette tapes, or music videos on VHS.  We are the pioneers of walkmans and chatrooms.  We learned how to program the VCR before anyone else.  We played with Atari, Super Nintendo, and Genesis.  We believed that the internet would be a free world.

We are the generation of the Thundercats, the Transformers, and GI Joe.

We travelled in cars without seatbelts or airbags, and lived without cell phones.

We never had Playstations, a hundred-plus TV channels, flat-screen TVs, MP3s, iPods, or the internet.

...But nevertheless, we had a GREAT time. 

Now, even ignoring the contradictions in here (“we believed the internet would be” followed later by “we never had” a list that ends with “the internet”), this thing is almost as full of crap as the 45th president of the United States.

My youngest grandnieces, born in the 2000s, play in the street.  I still see kids playing in the street pretty often, though I am, admittedly, in a small town in Central Illinois. 

I was going to video arcades in the late seventies.  One of the most recognizable names in video games came out in 1980 (Pac-Man), and Donkey Kong, which introduced us to a plumber named Mario, had a 1981 release.

Walkmans sucked, as a rule.  If they didn’t eat your tapes, then they played unevenly, speeding up or slowing down at random.  Some of them did both.

I could go on for the entire list, but you get the idea, right?  I mean, in the first place, these weren’t “eighties kid” things, I was born in 1965, and in the second place, how is any of that better than what we have now?  I mean, my iPod has never eaten my eight dollar (cassette) copy of Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man, but I had two different Walkmans eat two copies of it.  Seatbelts and airbags?  Those things save lives.  Yes, we survived without them, but others didn’t, including people we knew, and even went to school with.

Every generation of kids I know has had a great time.  Just because it’s different, that doesn’t make it less appealing.

Nostalgia, ladies and gentlemen, is fine in small doses— but in no way do the things some people feel nostalgic about make them better than later generations, and I’m really tired of seeing and hearing crap that suggests otherwise.

Next up… why don’t people vote?  Seriously, how can it hurt you to vote?  I’m pretty sure it can’t.  (Unless you want to get stupidly anal, and point out that you could trip and break a bone or something on your way to your polling place, but please, let’s not be assholes, here.)  I’ve got a friend that rarely votes, because the electoral college decides who is president, according to said friend.  Who never said anything when I pointed out that the electoral college follows the popular vote, as a rule.  But the number of “faithless electors” has been, by percentage, ridiculously small, down the years.

Vote, people.  Vote, vote, VOTE!  After all, there may not be someone you actively want to see in an elected position, but there’s probably at least one candidate who isn’t as bad as the other or others.  Voting is a privilege that should be seen as a duty.

Besides, if you don’t vote, you really can’t complain, and hey, we all like to complain about some aspect of the government, right?

And finally… trans people.  More specifically, the bigotry against them.

If someone is born male, but feels female, and elects to dress and think of themselves that way… okay.  If someone is born female, but feels male, and elects to dress and think of themselves that way… also okay.  If someone feels genderfluid?  Okay.  Feels non-specific, agender, doesn’t wish to be identified as either?  Yeah, I’m still okay with that.

None of this matters, or should.  It doesn’t affect me.  Despite what you may believe, it doesn’t affect you.  And, I’m sorry to tell you, it isn’t going to hurt a damned thing if someone who was born male but who identifies as female uses a women’s toilet.  Your daughter/sister/wife/girlfriend is most emphatically NOT in danger of being sexually assaulted by a trans person in the restroom.  That has never, in all of the history of Criminal Justice (a subject in which I have a degree) happened.  Not.  Once.

On the other hand?  People of both “polar” genders (and probably people all over the gender spectrum, though that’s not easy to determine, yet) have been assaulted in restrooms by the following:  Police officers, correctional officers, firemen, and politicians.  And, you know, priests and other "religious leaders."  Not to mention relatives of pretty much every stripe and degree of closeness.  Your worry is grossly misplaced.

Seems to me that we could solve the problem by just eliminating urinals, putting in nothing but stalls, and making sure that stall walls and doors go all the way to the ground.  (I've never understood why they don't go all the way to the ground, to be honest.)

Two of my favorite comic strips are by trans women.  I didn’t know it in the first case, not until I had followed the lady on Twitter because she’s a brilliant writer and amazing artist, and she mentioned being trans in a politically-based Tweet.  Later, she retweeted something by the other lady, who is documenting her journey from male to female in a series of comic strips that are always… well, honest.  Sometimes they make me smile, other times they make me sad, but almost always, they make me think.  I’ve re-examined my thoughts on gender and identity pretty heavily, thanks to these two ladies, and I hope that they come to understand that, someday.

Oh.  I should probably mention that I find both of these women physically attractive.  Heck, one of them is almost painfully attractive, and both are people I wish I could just sit around and talk to, on occasion, learn more about storytelling from, because they’re both very good storytellers.

So, yeah.  I don’t really understand a lot of other things, really— how normal people manage to live with such poor memories (I remember things that happened when I was two, have confirmed these things with family), why anybody likes manga or anime, what the hell anyone sees in ANY reality TV show, I could go on for DAYS— but these have been on my mind for a while.  Long enough that I’ve decided to post them in this sadly-under-written-in blog, anyway.

And really, the ones I mentioned are heavily on my mind lately because of the political climate.  I can’t help but worry about those two comic-strip-artist/writers that I mentioned, because of that climate.  I can’t help worrying about any and all of my women friends, for the same reason.  I know people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, aromantic, pansexual, queer, and pretty much every part of the spectrum of sexuality, and I worry about most of them, for one reason or another.  (To be honest, most of those reasons are the fault of the republican party....)

Hence, today’s list of things I don’t understand.

6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
I just finished the final part of Michael R. Underwood's "Genrenauts:  Season One," and while it was a couple of metric tons of fun, it also led me to an insight about myself and my neuro-atypical (AKA autistic) difficulties.  Pretty good trick, if you ask me, but, then, I'm on the receiving end.

In short, the Genrenauts is a series about a team of people (well, there are many teams, but the narrative only followed one) who can access archetypal "story worlds," which are broken down by genre, and then by subgenre.  These story worlds affect our own world, and when a story has a "breach," or goes wrong, the Genrenauts go out to fix it, because broken stories have a negative effect on our world. When Western World gets a broken story, lawbreaking goes up.  When Romance World has a broken story, relationships on Earth Prime fall apart, divorce rates go up, and people stop looking for romance in their lives.  When there's a story breach in Fantasy World depression and despair go on the rise on Earth Prime.  The Genrenauts go and fix these breaches, which can be quite a bit of work. 

So, last night I finished "the Failed Fellowship," the last part of the first "Season" of the series, and I was eminently satisfied with it.  I sat and ran down my reactions to the various books, and wondered why I liked them so much.  Two of the genres visited-- Western World and Romance World-- were genres that I don't care about, even actively dislike.  Still enjoyed those, almost against my will.  Science Fiction and Mystery worlds I was comfortable as heck with, and to my surprise, the same for Fantasy world.  I could've understood that last if they'd been in the "Urban Fantasy" region, but they weren't, the team was basically fixing a High Fantasy, "Chosen One" story.  And I've long since given up on high fantasy, or epic fantasy, or whatever you want to call it.  So I thought about it, while waiting to fall asleep-- and I had that epiphany mentioned in the title of this post.

I liked all of these things more than I might otherwise have done because the viewpoint character, by and large, is the newest member of the team, a probational Genrenaut named Leah Tang.  Her outsider's point of view, her wonder and delight at being inside stories, at fixing broken stories, pulled me in, because... well, I share her viewpoint.  Only I'm not fixing stories, or anything, I'm not an outsider looking at a new and wacky world. 

I'm an outsider looking at our world.  The real world.

Now, don't freak out, or start the pity train or anything.  I'm okay out here, looking in, and there are enough people who work to make me part of their lives-- their worlds, in other words-- that I'm not spending a lot of time bored, or lonely.  But, yes, I'm kind of outside everything, mostly for the reasons discussed in my last couple-three posts; I don't think like a "normal" human being.  See two of the three posts preceding this for my rather poor attempts at explaining that, if you like.

Things that seem really obvious to other people aren't at all obvious to me, and vice-versa.  Sums it up fairly neatly.

But the epiphany that resulted also explained a couple of other things to me, and I am, quite frankly, relieved.   I have the beginnings of an understanding of why, over the last several years, my tastes have shifted, my focus narrowed, and my desire to read certain stuff that I used to enjoy dwindled to outright vanished.

I used to read pretty much any science fiction or fantasy that passed in front of me, and a lot of mysteries.  Nowadays, I'm much more selective.  I read little science fiction or science fantasy (Star Trek/Star Wars are examples of the differences), more mysteries, and the fantasy I read is almost exclusively urban fantasy.  Now, thanks at least in part to Michael R. Underwood's "Genrenauts," and thinking about why I enjoyed it so much, I have some idea.  

I don't read much science fiction or epic fantasy any more for the simple reason that I'm having a hard enough time understanding the world I live in, and have no desire to have to learn about another world in order to enjoy stories set there.  My science fictional tastes have shifted to mostly things that take place on Earth, in the future.  Still some culture to learn, but not so much as anything involving aliens.  Same for high fantasy, or epic fantasy.  (The latter term bugs me, because I think that "epic" is purely subjective, and that judgment should be left to history.)  You want me to learn about your lands, your races, your politics on a world that doesn't even exist?  No, thanks.  I have a hard enough time with understanding the real world, not gonna try to understand another one for the sake of entertainment.  I'll be over here, reading some urban fantasy, where I know the "basic rules" already, and only have to fit the weird stuff into the world I already know.

And that?  That's part of why the Genrenauts works for me, in part, I think.  Sure, there are "new" worlds, but they're not really new.  They're archetypes.  They're the basic set from which all others are derived.  So, I not only sympathize with Leah Tang and her wonder and delight, I get these worlds.  By presenting them as archetypal, by stripping them down to very basic levels, Michael Underwood has put them into a place, or I guess maybe a context, that I can reach and understand.

So, yeah.  I'm on board with the Genrenauts, and in for the long haul.  And I owe the author for leading me to a better understanding of my rather atypical mind, so, if you're reading this?  Go check out some of his stuff.  I've enjoyed everything he's released, especially the Ree Reyes Geekomancy books and the Genrenauts.  At the time of this writing, I know some of each are on sale....

And in a day or so, once my brain's done digesting that last piece of the Genrenauts saga (so far), I'll go review the books on Amazon and Goodreads.

But in the meantime?  I'll be a lot more relaxed about the changes in my tastes, and why they happened.  Which I find pretty groovitudinal.

6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
I'm a serious anti-theist.  I oppose the very existence of religion, as I feel that it limits the human race, slaps on us the chains of anti-intellectualism, puts people in a position of behaving well only in expectation of reward or fear of punishment, and generally damages the chances of the human race's long term survival.

I'm not cool with that.  I want us to survive and thrive and colonize other planets, and somewhere in there, stop being a bunch of assholes to one another on a regular basis.

Religion is a direct (and undeniable, to my mind) threat to those things.

Gonna use a snippet of my logic that I posted in reply to a comment by one of my increasingly-few religious friends, here.  Apologies if you saw it on Facebook already.

I deeply, sincerely believe that the energy put into religion by the human race is wasted. Same for the money and the effort.

Apply that energy, that effort, that money, directly to problems like homelessness, mental health, poverty... and you will see a significant improvement in the world.  The psychological and sociological impact would be just as great. Greater, perhaps. 

My attempts to reach the rest of the world, to make them understand that sometimes you absolutely must use your head, must overcome the brainwashing that society tries to do to all of us from very early on?  I can't stop those.  Not and look in the mirror, anyway.

(And before you take umbrage at my use of the word "brainwashing," go Google the phrase "are religious summer camps brainwashing kids" and watch or actually read [no skimming!] some of the articles.  Of particular interest are "Brainwashed at Bible Camp" on Exchristian-dot-net, and the "Brain Washing (Jesus Camp ''Highlights'')" clip on YouTube.)

This is my way of trying my level best to make the world a better place. Well, one of my ways.  The other is writing fiction, because sometimes, a story is the best argument there is, the best teacher there is.  Besides, I love writing.  Might be that I couldn't truly stop writing, not and keep what sanity I have remaining to me.

But make no mistake; the stories I tell, when I'm telling original tales, at least?  (I've been known to do fanfiction, and wipe that smirk off your face, it's story-character-and-plot based, not porn!)  They won't include any acknowledgment that the christian god, or the muslim god, or any other god/dess from any Earthly religion exists.

Because those particular fictions?  They completely overwhelm my ability to willingly suspend my disbelief.

(Welllllllll... okay, there is one original story I've written [and tanked the rewrite on] that acknowledge the christian god and some of the others-- but that story does make most of the "mainstream" gods of the "primary" religions of this planet look like the jackasses that they would be if I thought for a second that any of them were real.)
6kinds_of_crazy: cane fighting (canes)
Events in the world of late have had me thinking about this more than before, even. Cops shooting people, people shooting cops, politicians (all the ones I've seen, thus far, republicans) acting like assholes over both sets of events. Muslim extremists. Christian extremists Political extremists. Conservative extremists. Liberal extremists.

Okay. I'd like to point out that none of these people, even those whom I agree with somewhat-to-a-lot, are actually thinking like sane people, in the judgment of the neuro-atypical, neurotic, anxiety-ridden, obsessively punctual, formerly-conservative-on-matters-pertaining-to-Criminal-Justice (and still conservative on some of those issues, but fewer as time marches on), anti-theistic, curmudgeonly, seriously snarky writer whose work you're reading.

I'm gonna put the example of my thinking that (I think) has the most potential to shock (maybe even upset) some potential readers out there first: I've been an atheist since I was eight years old. Seriously, not kidding, not exaggerating. Sure, there have been a few lapses into some sort of theistic belief or another, most of them when I was hurting emotionally in some way, but there hasn't been a real lapse of that sort in almost thirty years, now.

"What could possibly cause an eight year-old to become an atheist," you ask? You may well not like my answer.

The thing that caused me to decide that god was in no way real, that the bible was a fairy tale from end to end? That would be reading the bible.

I was reading at three. Mostly the magnificent Dr. Seuss and Little Golden Books, sure, but reading them, understanding them, and needing help only very rarely. At four, I started reading my sister's old "Happy Hollisters" mysteries for kids. I climbed the literacy ladder rapidly after that. And, at eight, I read the bible. Somewhere, some relative had found a bible that I'd been given that had the pages split into two columns. On the left, the King James version of the bible. On the right, a "plain English" (they might call it a "New International Version," now, but this was the early seventies, folks) translation.

After finding out, at seven, that Santa Claus definitely wasn't real (I'd suspected for a couple of years), I worked out for myself that the same applied to the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Uncle Sam, etc-- and I started wondering about god. My family went to church (which I largely found dull and utterly pointless) fairly regularly for a while, up until I was seven or so, and I knew the basics of Christianity. Not long after my eighth birthday, I found that weird bible again, and I decided to read the thing.

It took me a while, because I couldn't just carry it around like an ordinary book (it was HUGE, and besides, my few friends would've thought I had lost my mind), and it was... well, even at age eight, I was a bit of a continuity nut, and I could only read the thing in small doses because of that. There were "continuity holes" all through the damned book, places where it contradicted itself and said radically different things, and then, of course, it horrified me in other ways, too. (SLAVERY!? Selling my sister for goats!? What the actual [CENSORED]!?)

(On the plus side, by reading both sides of that divided bible, King James and plain English versions? Yeah, I've never had any trouble with parsing out Shakespeare.)

I came out of it an atheist, sometime in early June. No way was I buying into that crap. Stupid, badly written, contradicted the things I was being taught in school, and made no sense! None, at all. Not even a consistent, internal logic, like, say, the Robert Heinlein books I'd read, or Peter Pan, or Robin Hood, or... or anything that, while fantastic-to-impossible, at least made sense within itself.

So, there. The first real example of my love of logic, and how seriously different I think from other people. If it can't be made to make sense, it isn't real. The bible makes absolutely no sense, so god isn't real. Seems perfectly easy and logical to me.

Which brings us to bigotry. I understand it. I still, on occasion, have to fight myself over it. I fail, on occasion, to be utterly honest. I'm trying to get better about that, but I honestly doubt that I'll ever completely succeed. Okay, well, I'm going to keep trying anyway. Because, you see, hating a person or group because of the color of their skin, of who they love, or how they express that love, or because they really, deeply believe that they were born the wrong gender? Because they come from another country or continent, another culture? Because they can't see, or walk, or hear?

There's no logic to any of that. None. So I try, really, seriously try, to avoid it. Sometimes? I fail. Still working on it. Never planning on stopping. I allow myself the luxury of being bigoted against bigots and other willfully ignorant people, that helps. (Ignorance? Not a problem, that can be repaired with time, and often will be. But deliberately staying ignorant, willfully being uninformed? That's stupidity, and stupidity will not be tolerated!)

I can live with that.

But there are things I may never be able to deal with.

Things like the religious extremists who declare everything but THEIR WAY of doing things to be wrong, or sinful, or evil. That's just stupid.

Things like idiots who talk about how homosexuality is a sin, it says so right there in the bible-- and ignore the bits about tattoos being sinful, about working on Sunday being sinful, or starting a fire on Sunday being sinful.

Things like fans of [INSERT FICTION HERE] who insist that a couple of characters hating each other is actually Unresolved Sexual Tension (and never mind the gender of the characters, and their demonstrated sexuality in the fictional universe). (And, yes, it bugs me just as much when someone turns a homosexual character bi or straight as it does to see them turn straight people bi or gay, because I believe that who we love and how we express it is central to who we are.)

Things like people who insist that Donald Trump isn't a racist bag of greed and filth, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Those things will probably always make me angry. Sometimes I can control it. Sometimes... not so much. (Bet on anything that I post anywhere on a Tuesday being anywhere from snarky to vitriolically bitter. I hate Tuesday, it's my shopping day, and I hate having to leave my home and deal with crowds.)

So, again, I ask; if I irritate or anger you (or even just disappoint you), consider that my thoughts are not like yours, that I have my own (possibly [okay, probably, yes]) skewed logic that led me to write/post/reply as I did. I'm not saying that you shouldn't call me on it-- you should, or I'll never figure out the boundaries between appropriate and inappropriate-- but don't rip me apart over it, please?

I'm trying to get better about interpreting the world around me, seriously. I'm just... not successful anything remotely like all the time.

This didn't really go where I wanted it to, but... it does have some merit in explaining that I really think "outside the box," as it were, so I'll post it. But I'll be grumpy about it, probably.

6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
Okay,  honestly, no one thinks exactly like anyone else, but with me?  The difference is pretty exaggerated, mostly thanks to my Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Or, to use a term I've become very fond of, the difference is pretty exaggerated, mostly thanks to my being "neuro-atypical."  (Meaning I have a brain that is physically  weird, as well as the varieties of weird that you probably know or at least suspect.)

The basics of Autism are that some part (or parts) of the brain under-develop, and some other part (or parts) of the brain over-develop.  (Brain scans have shown this consistently.)  There are some fairly typical symptoms, but not every autistic person will have those symptoms.  I, for example, have no real difficulty with making eye contact, a fairly  common issue for autistic people.  I'm neuro-atypical in different ways.

Dictionary-dot-com defines autism spectrum disorder as "any of various disorders, as autism and Asperger syndrome, commonly manifesting in early childhood and characterized by impaired social or communication skills, repetitive behaviors, or a restricted range of interests."  I didn't manifest in childhood, not strongly enough to attract attention, anyway.  Or not the kind of attention that got me tested and treated or anything.  

I do have some of those symptoms.  I've never really socialized well, and the older I get, the worse that gets.  I tend to dislike change in my personal world (but not enough to be a republican, ha-ha!), and I have long preferred to communicate in writing over verbalization, at least when something was emotionally important to me, because I do so much, much  better than I do verbally.

But, in the end, it all comes down to this: I don't think like you do.  

That's hard to really wrap your head around, and, believe it or not, I get that-- because I have to constantly  remind myself that very few people remember things like I do.  This was pointed out to me a few years ago, when a friend mentioned some things we'd done when we were young and dumb, then said, "I'll bet you thought I forgot all that, didn't you?"  When he seemed puzzled by me answering "of course not," we started talking about memory... and  I came to understand that it wasn't just him that had a memory that wasn't as good as mine, it was most everyone.  (Only my best friend comes close to having a memory that works like mine, and as well as mine, and [I think] better than mine on some subjects.)  (Well, him and my gaming buddy R, whose memory is... actually kind of scary-good, even next to mine.)

I remember everything I've ever read that interested or amused me.  Not verbatim, no, but by content.  Hand me a book, I can tell you if I've read it or not without ever opening it, most of the time by title and author, though I sometimes have to check the back cover/inside flap copy.

I also can plot some hugely long book, or fanfiction, and keep that plot in my head, despite it sometimes taking literally years  to finish the project.  I've never outlined, and consider it a silly habit (sorry, if any of you who do it are reading this), because all of that is in my head, usually before I finish the third chapter.

I see mystery's solutions, often long before anyone thinks I should be able to, and I'm right about my deductions an ever-increasing amount of the time.  I spot the horribly subtle clues that are in the book/show/movie, and there's the solution, boom.  (To be fair, I miss the obvious  [in both entertainment and life] a ridiculous amount of the time.  Goes back to that whole "different way of thinking" thing, I suspect.)

I think about a ridiculous number of things that you don't have to, most likely.  I have to think about socializing, which can make things a bit... odd, at times, I suspect.  I have to work  not to think about problems, be they mine or those of people I'm close to.  I am currently nearly constantly thinking about either my upcoming disability hearing, or one friend's losing their job and having to move back home, or another's potentially dangerous problems that are a mix of personal and potentially legal.  I have to actually push those things aside to think about other things.  Irksome, on occasion, but other times, that kind of focus can be really  handy....

Thing I'm trying to get at, here, is that all of you are going to (if you haven't already) very probably lose your patience with me, someday.  When that day comes, ask yourself... "is this because he's being an ass, or is it just that he's neuro-atypical?"  Because there's at least a chance that the difference/rigidity of my thinking is at the root of the behavior that irked you in the first place.

Honestly, I'm very rarely a jerk on purpose, especially to the people who are likely to be reading this in the first place.

"Neuro-atypical."  That sounds so  much better than "autistic," don't you think?
6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
Or not very many of them, at least.  More specifically, I completely fail to understand why certain things cannot be let go of  by fans.  Or, more accurately, by fandoms.

The two examples that get nearly constantly under my skin?  Monty Python  and Firefly/Serenity.

Monty Python was last on a screen of any size for an original run in 1983 (if we restrict things to original material, not clip shows).  Okay, they had a reunion thing on stage in 2014-- that really doesn't help the American fans any, as the stage was in England.  Yet practically everyone I know still quotes Monty Python skits, movies and cast members as though they were Shakespeare, the bible and famous historical figures.

And the thing that rrrrrrrrrrrrrrreally gets under my skin?  THEY WERE NEVER EVEN VERY FUNNY!  I've seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail-- and I never laughed but once.  ("I warned  you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you knew,  didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little bunny,  isn't it?"  That got a laugh out of me.)  Yet, for the number of memes and quotes and other stuff that you cannot escape if you are a geek on the internet, you'd think they were still active, and producing more new material than Doctor Who,  the Marvel Cinematic Universe, every Star Trek  show and movie EVER, and all the comic book publishers of the world combined.

And should you suggest, however politely, that Monty Python is long over, and you're rather tired of seeing things from it all these years later, THE INTERNET EXPLODES AT YOU!

It's insane.

Then we come to Joss Whedon's "space western," the show called Firefly  that, after cancellation, somehow managed to get a big screen movie called Serenity  made.  Now, Firefly  ran for 14 episodes before cancellation.  Regardless of what fans say (or, more likely, SCREAM), the ratings for the show did not, in fact, justify keeping it on the air.  The ratings are available online, look them up.  I'd have cancelled the show myself, despite enjoying it, from a strictly business point of view.

Fans howled, screamed, and made a bunch of big hairy things  of themselves, the DVDs of the show sold, and somehow, a theatrical movie got made.  A theatrical movie, that, in cold hard fact, did not make its budget back.

And yet, the fans still howl, and scream, and demand another run at the TV show, and never mind that many of the actors either just don't care or have actively expressed a lack of interest.  The one actor whom I have heard express a desire to see the show brought back is the one whose career seems to have largely have stalled since the show was cancelled.

And still, every week, there's a new shirt, or meme, or something.  At least once a month, someone posts about how the show needs to be brought back, though it's been off the air (in original run, at least) since 2003, and out of theaters since 2005.

I find myself wondering... is my inability to connect with something dead and gone, to wish it back that strongly, a part of my Autism Spectrum Disorder?  Or am I just... a lame geek?  Given my passion for the Wild Cards books, the Dresden Files novels, Peter Clines's Ex-Heroes series, and the works of Stephen King, I rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreally don't think my geekdom is questionable.  So my impatience with the inability to let go of the dead and gone?  I think it's the ASD.

Especially since that impatience in reference to things gone, and the clinging to of same?  It seems to extend into every part of my life.

Seriously, people.  What's dead is dead.  Let it GO!
6kinds_of_crazy: cane fighting (canes)
Both of those things are a part of my autism.  Like a lot of "functional" autistic people, I have a need  for a schedule. 

Please note: "NEED."  Not, most emphatically not, "want."  When my schedule is violated, it throws at least that day out of whack, and sometimes that day and the one after, even.  Given my family, this is making it harder and harder to interact with them-- because my sister has some sort of possibly-LAWS-OF-PHYSICS-bound inability to be on time for anything that doesn't involve her job.  (She babysits professionally, so that may save her from lateness at that, as she works out of her home.)

This made the Christmas Holidays a mess, and highly stressful for me.  Despite claiming to understand that I need a schedule, and need to stick with it, my sister was late for every.  Single.  Event.  Scheduled.  Over the three days that we need to finish up Christmas, now.  (Two of her three kids are married, so there are their in-laws, as well as my sister's in-laws, requiring time and attention.)  By the end of things, I was a wreck, then came the disaster that was my shopping day on Tuesday the 29th.

For almost a year, I have gone shopping at the same time every week.  I leave between 11:00 and 11:30 AM every. Single. Time.  The need for a schedule is even more intense, here, as this day triggers both my agoraphobia and my demophobia.  The schedul helps me deal with those twin terrors at least a little better than I would without it.  

My shopping day has moved once, but it's been Tuesday since the middle of last summer, and the time has never moved.  My sister is, until such time as I get an actual hearing from the disability people, loaning me money to buy the things that food stamps and Medicaid/Molina won't pay for.  She was supposed to give me some for a couple of needed medications that Molina won't pay for that day.  On a few other occasions when she couldn't be there to hand me the money, she stuck it under the door.  Not that day.  She left her house before eleven o'clock.  So I, with my extremely limited budget, was looking at two trips to the nearest sity for shopping, instead of one-- as she wasn't answering either texts or phone calls.

When she DID text me, she asked why I was in town so early-- at NOON.

Now, here's the frustrating part, for me:  I'm expected to remember my sister's rather complicated schedule of babysitting kids, their feeding and nap times, which she has what days, what times parents drop them off and pick them up, and not come or call at inappropriate times.  These change pretty often, as parents' schedules change, or the kids age out of babysitting, or whatever.  I'm expected to keep up with these changes.

But she can't remember ONE TIME that hasn't changed in a year.

Makes.  Me.  CRAZY!

Seriously.  I've got to remember five days worth of ever-changing schedule.  She gets pissed if I miss something and show up during naptime, wake a kid up.  But she can't remember one time a week for me.

Fortunately, the rest of the people in my life are pretty good about it, though my online-gaming people are neither of them the most prompt in the world.  That, I'm learning to adapt to.  A little.  Very slowly.  And, since that day, my sister has made an effort to remember my need for a schedule better.  (Possibly because of the fact that I pretty much fell apart while trying to talk to her about it, which, maybe, just MAYBE, actually got her to stop assuming that it's a want, not a need.  Possibly!)

Now all I have to do is teach everyone on Earth who uses the English language to spell correctly and understand the basics of grammar, and I will be good to go.

(Oh, gods and ancestors.  I am so completely DOOMED!)  :-p
6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
You know, I walked into this whole "oh, hey, I'm autistic" thing thinking I was, you know, not really autistic, or not very autistic, because I, ladies and ginglefins (two attaboys and a cookie if you can identify that reference), am a freaking idiot.

See, I know how often Hollywood (generic term for "visual entertainment," easier to type than "TV and movies") screws up... well, everything they touch. I am extremely aware of how badly they misrepresent every sort of law enforcement and issues of Criminal Justice, and more than a little aware that Hollywood as a whole fails all the sciences, forever.

And I'm aware that they screw up medicine and medical issues, badly, constantly, even (yes, I'll say it) dangerously.

Yet... want to know where I got most of my ideas about Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Yup. "Idiot" I said, and "idiot" I meant. My ideas about Autism Spectrum Disorder and those who deal with it mostly came from Hollywood.

So I thought, "hey, I'm not autistic, maybe. Or not very, or not typically."

Thing is, I'm more and more sure that these thoughts were those of a man who was, if you will pardon the expression, full of shit. Except maybe the last part, because I don't have what a couple of medical professionals consider the most common symptoms of ASD, difficulty with eye contact and a huge, single-focus obsession with... something. (Apparently, gaming is too broad to count, as are heroes, reading, writing and even superheros. If it was "D&D and ONLY D&D," or reading the works of one particular author over and over to the exclusion of all others, or "the Flash and no other superhero" etc, so forth and so on, maybe, but none of my real-world obsessions actually qualify as an ASD thing.)

Only, I'm suffering a couple of things that... I dislike talking about, and that are probably symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. They can be, I know, and they're odd enough that I suspect that they are.

I used to love comic books. Superhero comics especially. I have an insane number of trade paperbacks collecting comic book issues, usually one or two storylines per book, and I recently got back all of those. And I started re-reading them, working through them in an order that was pretty much "favorites first." Then... I stopped. Not because I don't like the stories any more, that's not the problem-- if you've heard me rant about "the Flash," you know that's not the problem.

It's the colors. The action scenes. Those things... bug me, almost hurt, nowadays. There's too much to follow, too many obnoxious color combinations, too much BRIGHT vs. too much DARK. I can only read a couple-three pages before I have to put the book down and go do something that's more... blah. Less riotous, less insane. So far, I haven't had trouble with TV and movies, or not MUCH trouble. I do get a bit overloaded after some things, and I very, very rarely watch two hours of anything straight any more. (Which at least makes it easier to avoid binge-watching things on Netflix. Not much of a silver lining, no, but I'll take it.)

It's not just that. Last weekend, at my grandfather's funeral, I got badly overloaded-- and I only went to the graveside ceremony. But that was held in a tiny little cemetery out in the country, and there were too many people crowded too close together. Despite the somber occasion, there were some bright colors, mostly coats and jackets. And the sounds, the sounds of fall and wind and a whole lot of people murmuring and talking before the thing started, and some people crying, and then the damned prayer, and my brain needed to separate out each individual voice when the "amen" came, and of course I couldn't even begin to do that, not with one two-syllable word. Hell, even my clothes were... were not right. The textures of the slacks and shirt felt too slick, too not-right, and the tie, despite not being very tight at all, felt like it was choking me, and the whole thing just sent me damn near round the bend. I went to my car as soon as it was over, as fast as I could move, and I... well, let's just say that my driving away was not a thing of dignity and decorum, and leave it there.

I sometimes think that this is at the root of my crowd issues, but... no. It doesn't help them, no-- crowd noise, colors, motion, those aren't making things easier, but they aren't the root of that problem, just an exacerbating circumstance.

So, I'm trying harder than ever to avoid crowds, and I'm pretty much giving up something that I really, really loved for a long time. Or mostly giving it up. There's still prose superheroes to be had, thanks to the likes of Peter Clines and his Ex-Heroes series, Seanan McGuire and her Velveteen Versus stories, and, of course, the best of the prose super-beings books, the Wild Cards series, by many and varied, under the leadership of Melinda Snodgrass and George R. R. Martin.

This damned sensitivity to over-stimulation of the senses is not what I would call a good time, but so far, I'm dealing with it. Or at least, I'm trying.

6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
Seriously.  I've been subject to mood swings at various points in the past, but this is getting ridiculous.

One second, I'm fine.  Relaxed, and, if not happy, not upset.  The next second?  Bitterly angry.  Or sad to beat the bleakest blues man.  Or-- and my least favorite-- uncertain about EVERYTHING.  Couldn't make a choice between French fries and tater tots if my very life depended on it.

Then I shift to something else.  No apparent trigger, no rhyme, no reason.  All of which tells me that, whether I like it or not, it's time to tell the counselor I'm seeing that I'm maybe fighting depression, on top of all the other shit I don't want to be dealing with.  I've got so many of the symptoms that even I can't deny it, anymore.  

I don't want to be suffering from depression.  That's something that a couple of relatives that I don't like much have suffered in the past, and I dislike the idea of being like any of my uncles but Ed, who isn't depressive.

Hell, I really don't want to be autistic, even the apparently mild variety that I am.  Or agoraphobic, or paranoid, or ANY OF THIS CRAP!

You know what the worst of it is?  I mean, seriously?  It's something that I know-- intellectually-- is damned stupid, and yet... my emotions refuse to get the message, and I sit around feeling ashamed of all of this shit.  Deeply, mind-numbingly ashamed.  Like I've committed some horrible, awful goddamned crime, something like... shit, I don't know.  Maybe like I stand accused of "twelve counts of murder in the first degree, fourteen counts of armed theft of Federation property, twenty-two counts of piracy in high space, eighteen counts of fraud, thirty-seven counts of rape... and one moving violation."

Okay, that probably wasn't funny.  Sorry.  Just trying to deal with this, and probably doing it wrong.

Point is, I feel ashamed.  And guilty.  And ashamed of feeling guilty, and guilty about feeling ashamed, and I guess this is one of those vicious cycles.  Oh. Joy.

I'm trying to get past it.  Failing pretty badly, most of the time, sure, but trying.  It's making me feel like Sisyphus got off easy, which is dumb, because there are people dealing with this (and far better than I am) all the time.

I want all this crap to go away and leave me alone.  I want to sleep like a normal person, not three hours one night, four the next, then two, then four again, etcetera and so on, until I finally give in and take an Ambien, sleep ten hours-- and have some of the most SERIOUSLY *&#%ed up dreams in the history of humankind.  (At least, I freaking HOPE SO, because if dreaming about flying planes you steer with your feet  [like runner sleds] over deserts of dried spaghetti, all in order to drop super-glue bombs on a group of human traffickers who specialize in air-traffic controllers is NOT *&#%ed up, then we're probably doomed as a race.)  I want to be able to understand why, exactly, Monty Python is supposed to be funny, why people watch reality TV, and-- no, never mind, I don't really want to know that one-- why it is that it's a problem for anyone that there are girls who are gamers, why anyone thinks the Three Stooges are funny, how it is that Kevin Anderson keeps getting published, why Deadpool isn't considered a villain, and how it is that country music has fans.  

I have a funny feeling that I'm screwed on most of those issues.  But if someone were to come up with a non-drug cure for insomnia, that'd be a nice damned start.

So, yeah.  Depression isn't much fun, and mood swings actively SUCK.  

I suppose that's all for today.  I feel like I just ran a marathon through a sea of Jello, so it's gonna have to be.

6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
I hate crowds.  I loathe them with a passion I used to reserve for pentecostal/evangelical religions (both of which seem to attract more of the seriously stupid than other, marginally less infuriating religions).

If I'm going to continue with the whole honesty thing, crowds scare me.  I can't see everyone, I can't track them all, and I can't be sure that I'm... safe, I suppose.  That no one is going to enter my personal space, or touch me.  The former upsets me, the latter can actively freak me out.  More and more seriously, the touch of an "unauthorized" person upsets me.  ("Authorized" people include friends and medical people.  And family, so long as we aren't talking those relatives that dwell [or were raised in] the state of Alabama. They're all on the "don't touch me" list.)  Thus, the proximity of an "unauthorized" person can upset me, too.

More and more, being in a crowd leaves me with the feeling that I'm going to have to just leave wherever it is that the crowd is with whatever my task in the store (the most likely place to encounter a crowd) was left undone.  Not a comfortable feeling.  In fact, it leaves me feeling somewhere between angry and ashamed.  

Yeah, yeah, I know.  "Nothing to be ashamed of."  Well, despite all my best efforts, I do have enough of that despicable "machismo" garbage in my makeup that being afraid of something that other people aren't can leave me feeling ashamed.  I don't like it (or particularly like admitting it, even), but it's there, and I have to acknowledge it.  (Honesty.  Occasionally, the habit is really annoying.)

Entering a grocery store is becoming a chore that I hate so much that I'm considering trying to do my shopping for two or more weeks at a time, maybe even a month.  Tragically, I'm not really equipped with the storage space for foodstuffs to make that at all practical.  So instead, I'm thinking about doing my shopping in Aldi on Wednesdays... and my Walmart shopping on Thursday nights, after gaming.  Might work... I hope.  (I wish Aldi was open later than eight PM, that'd make all of this easier.)

Worse than grocery shopping?  My medication refills.  They're all kind of staggered, and because of my insurance, I can't just get things early to get more of it at once.  I often have to make a special trip to Wal-mart just for meds twice a week, and that?  It can't be done late at night. The only place with a pharmacy that's open that late doesn't take my insurance at all, so... I'm stuck with things as they are.

And it's not getting better.  Sure, the therapy for this hasn't started, but... I have doubts.  The things that are being talked about, they just don't really sound terribly effective to me.  And, after watching my mother abuse prescription meds for years, I'm horribly leery of using meds to control my issues more than I already am-- to be honest, I really don't like relying on the meds as much as I already do.  More will be... problematic, I fear.

Why can't this be easy, damn it all?

Oh, well.  Until something changes, I'm just going to have to deal with it, I guess.  Tragically, that may well result in me being hard to deal with. Apologies in advance for that part, folks....

6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
When did it become okay to touch perfect strangers?

This is bugging me more and more, of late, and I suspect it may be related to the other stuff that's going on in my head, but I never really liked strangers touching me.  Ever.

The list of people that are allowed to touch me without causing me to flinch or jerk away is diminishing.  Rapidly.  There are fewer than thirty people I'm cool with having touch me, at this point.  (Note: This number does not include medical professionals.  I am aware that they have to touch me to do their jobs and help me take care of myself.  So my brain overrides my instincts, there.)

The Thursday Night Game Crew are all groovy.  I trust them, and I like them.  They're my friends.  No issues, there.  My sister, her three kids, and their three kids, all okay.  (NOT her husband.  Still lots of leftover hostility there, and some active hostility, if I'm gonna be totally honest.  He's still a jerk on a good day.)  My grandfather.  Then, of course B-- she's my sister in all but blood-- and C, who's been my friend for thirty-plus years, and is helping me with the whole process of applying for disability, has been since the start.  Locally?  Excepting those I haven't seen in a long time (K & R, G), that's pretty much it. 

The internet friends, the ones I've actually met?  Sure.  Even the ones I haven't seen in a long time, I'm pretty sure I'd be okay with that.  The few I haven't met... I don't know.  Probably not, to the authors I follow, with apologies on the off chance that any of you are reading this.  (More like the WAY OFF CHANCE, I figure.)  Same to the couple -four people I've met through others on FB or Twitter.  (No offense meant, should any of you be reading this; it's my neuroses that are the problem, not anything that any of you have done or failed to do.)

But... last time I went shopping, I got something off of a high shelf for a short lady who was... I'm gonna guess middle thirties, and cute as a button.  I hooked the bottle of whatever it is that they call the blue Mountain Dew flavor with my cane, pulled it down where I could reach it (FIX YOUR SODA SHELVES, WALLY-WORLD!), and gave it to her, no problem.  Then she... I don't know if she meant to pat my arm or squeeze it, but either way, I flinched away hard enough to startle her-- and piss her off.  She said something pissy, turned around and stalked off like I'd told her to bring a ladder or grow a foot in height, or something.  Or started singing that old song Short People.

I feel bad about upsetting her, but then again, I sort of don't.  I guess I feel a little bad, maybe?  Or feel bad about not feeling worse about this?

I really don't get it.  Why do people think it's okay to touch people they don't know?  I mean, that's really intimate, touch is pretty much the most intimate sense, and I don't want to get that intimate with strangers.  

Or is it just me that dislikes touching and being touched by strangers?  Because I acknowledge that it could be just me.  Looking around at other people in the stores led me to think that at the least, it's just me who dislikes it so intensely, but that some others, at least, so share the dislike, if not the strength of the dislike.

Hell, I don't know.  Help a guy out, weigh in on this in the comments, let me know if it bugs you.
6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
Feeling safe is... well, it's not something that happens often if I'm not in my home.

Safe is maybe different for me than it is for you, too.  So I suppose I should explain what I mean when I say "safe"

When I feel safe, I'm not worried that someone I don't know is going to approach me and expect me to interact with them in some way.  I don't feel that things are likely to surprise me.  No, wait, that's not right.  I don't feel like things are likely to startle me.  Surprises can be good, startlings can't, not in my world.  

As example, it surprised me, last Christmastime, when L got me a gift.  (Coolest.  Mug.  EVER! Thank you again!)  That was groovitudinal.  

It startled me when, a couple of weeks ago, someone knocked on my door at around nine in the evening.  (Lady, really; if you haven't heard from an old friend in "five or six years," maybe you should NOT come to their apartment at night?  And that you were a rather powerfully attractive lady really didn't help, despite your obvious feeling that it should. Just a thing to consider.)

Safe is when I'm likely to not be forced to deal with a stranger, a problem (or at least no problem more stressful than "holy crap, my character has about ten percent of his hitpoints left and the cleric's out of spells," which isn't a problem, just a challenge), a startling event, or any genuine hostility.

Safe happens in three places outside of my home.  No, wait-- four.  I'm safe in my car, in control and comfortable, that's the fourth one.  The other three?  My sister's house, if I'm not there when a lot of parents are there to pick up their kids (my sister babysits professionally), B's house, and L's house.  Anywhere else?  Might be a problem.  So to my sister, B, and L, I say "thank you!"  It's nice to be able to be not at my house and feel safe, because I do get tired of being in the same place all the time.

No public place is truly safe.  I do feel more safe in public places that are familiar to me.  This probably explains why I prefer to shop at the same stores, whenever possible.  Despite high turnover rates at some stores, *coughWalmartcough* I can usually count on at least three or four familiar faces, and I can usually find someone I've interacted with in the past in a non-hostile way.  Same for Aldi and Jewel (except for the high turnover rates), there's a familiarity there that leaves me able to be less than "HIGH ALERT" tense.  Usually, I'm merely... wary, I think is the best possible word for it, while in those stores.  More alert than usual-- have to be to avoid accidental or unwanted touches-- but not actually "something moved, what moved, crap, I need a wall to get my back against" alert.  (WHY are people so casual about touching people they don't know!?  That's so... invasive!)

My doctor's office is pretty safe.  I'm aware of most of his staff, and I like my doctor.  (I'm referring to my general practitioner, here.)  I'm okay with my endocrinologist's office, same deal.  I've gotten accustomed to his staff, and I like the man himself.  But, you know, I'm having a really hard time getting down to Alert Status Yellow, even in the office of the guy I'm seeing who is assessing my mental and emotional health.  It's not him, so much as it is the place.  Unfamiliar.  Odd layout.  I don't know the staff yet.  I'm having a hard time even coming close to relaxing in there. 

Safety is an increasingly precious commodity.  So for those of you who offer it, either by letting me into your space or by just being my friends, I say "thank you.  Thank you VERY MUCH."

So.  There's the second confession.  (I'm stealing that word back from the catholics, so, no, you may NOT tease me about using it.)  I don't feel safe in very damned many places at all.  I'm not sure if that one's paranoia, some part of the suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder, or just plain old fashioned WEIRDNESS.  Given that this is me we're talking about, I'm willing to bet it's some of all three.
6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
Really.  My brain hates me.  I have evidence.

I'm fifty years old, and I have recently been given reason to believe that I have some sort of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Given what I know and have been able to learn, that pretty much translates to Asperger's Syndrome, in my case.  If it is Asperger's, I don't present quite typically, but hey-- that's why they refer to it as Autism Spectrum Disorder, I guess.

Then add in that a person whose entire job is to assess mental and emotional health told me that he's willing to tell my insurance administrators that it is a "medical necessity" for me to receive psychiatric and/or psychological treatment, and I hope you'll begin to understand my claim of brain-hate.

I've been trying to make my sister-- my closest living relative, the lady who pretty much keeps me (a little bit) sane, takes care of me as much as I'll allow, and probably more than is good for her-- my friends, and, as of today, my general practitioner, understand why things bug me the way they do.  I have a rather impressive shopping list of issues, and that's just the ones I'll admit to and am aware of.  So I'm gonna try and tackle them, make everyone understand that these things REALLY BOTHER ME, and, when I can articulate it, as least some of WHY.

Right now, it's late, I'm emotionally drained from having to be out in public today, and from having to talk to my doctor about some of the things that are going on with me.  That isn't easy for me.  At all.  That's another part of why I'm doing this.  I want to write professionally, to be a novelist, and I have some talent in that direction.  I discovered a long, long time ago that I can often say things by writing that I could never, ever say verbally.  That gets more and more true the older I get, so... I'm gonna take a shot at it, see if it holds true with my various phobias and neuroses.

I kind of hope so.  My friends are... well, these folks have the patience to be my friends, and I am self-aware enough (if only barely) to know that that isn't always easy.  That I don't make it easy, a lot of the time.  I'd like for them, and for my sister, and... well, a lot of people, I guess, to understand why the things that bother me affect me the way they do.  Why the way I perceive things makes those things bother me, I guess, because... well, because I know that my perceptions are skewed, sometimes.

That's a part of the problem, right there.  Call it my first confession.  (Yes, the raging anti-theist just used that phrase.  Deal with it.)

I know that my perceptions are skewed, sometimes, that I'm not seeing things correctly, that I'm not interpreting things correctly  Knowing that I'm wrong, that my perceptions aren't accurate?  It doesn't help.  In some ways, it makes things worse, because, rightly or wrongly, there's some shame attached to that.  I know that the perception is wrong, yet I can't make myself act on that?  I have to act on whatever screwed-up mess that I'm seeing/feeling/whatever?  That's pretty goddamned lame-- at least, it is over here in my head.

So, yeah.  That's where I'm coming from.  Not real sure about where I'm going, but I guess I'll find that out, sooner or later.

That's it for tonight.  You folks stay sane.  Somebody's got to-- and it's plainly not gonna be me.
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