Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vacation Anxiety

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So last week, my family and I went on vacation to Disney World. We drove all the way to Florida from upstate NY, which wasn’t a major deal considering I work midnights and I’m usually awake at night anyway. Then again, it was a near-24 hour drive, so yeah it kinda sucked. Sleeping in the car was no picnic with my kids singing “Let It Go” over and over again for thirteen hundred miles.

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Yes, I am fully aware that you are one with the wind and sky.

Considering my aspieness, you would think that being on vacation and messing up my normal routines would put me in a bad mood. And yes, I will admit that I end up missing my video games so much that by the end of every vacation I consider bringing my Xbox along on the next one. But it’s actually not that bad for me. I don’t mind being in a weird place because I know that the point of the trip is to experience somewhere new.

The one thing I do really need when I’m on vacation, though, is a “nothing day.” I’m fine with having lots to do on vacation; I just can’t have every moment of every day filled up with activities. If I don’t get any time to relax, then it just feels like work. And when I’m on vaca, bumming around in a cramped hotel room watching non-HD local sports and eating vending machine food is relaxing for me.

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I am so there.

So, as I said, the family and I went to Disneyworld. I don’t know if you know this, but it seems to be a very popular place to visit. My GOD was it crowded. And it was in the middle of the school year! What terrible parents these people must be, pulling their kids out of school to go to an amusement park! Excluding us, of course.  🙂

Anyway, yeah, LOTS of people. But you know what? I handled it fine. My daughter handled it fine. See, it’s not really people themselves that freak us aspies out, it’s the social interaction that goes with being around people. Most aspies are perfectly fine if they can blend in anonymously with a crowd. That’s what Disney felt like;  it felt like walking through Times Square in New York City – tons of people around, but nobody paying attention to anybody else around them. It was great! We had a great time. The kids really enjoyed the rides and stuff, and my wife and I enjoyed being able to act like kids without looking creepy.

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Shit like this don’t fly anywhere else.

The vacation was practically stress free, except for the Disney germs we all came down with when we got back home. I didn’t expect the most stressful part of my trip would be going back to work and having to talk abou my vacation with my coworkers. But that’s another post entirely.  🙂

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Funeral Footwork

View of a group of people's feet standing in an office

Now that things have settled down just a bit, perhaps I can get back to blogging.

 My family and I traveled out of state to my father-in-law’s funeral during my last hiatus. I have posted before about the experience of attending a funeral from an aspie standpoint before, so I already knew I was in for a slightly uncomfortable time. However, I was also very aware that I was going to have a very important job at this funeral – my FIL’s death hit my wife pretty hard. She handled it surprisingly well, but she was still emotional. I was there to support her, because aspies are superheroes when it comes to lending support during emotional times.

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Able to not understand what the big deal is in a single shrug.

There were times where I found myself standing around with nothing to do, so I started doing what I enjoy doing in these types of situations: I began to observe human behavior for interesting patterns. It didn’t take me too long to find one. I started noticing how people were standing and talking together. I noticed that when two people stood together, they almost never faced each other. They stood with their feet at an angle to the other person, like a conversation deflection of sorts – I’m not really interested in talking to you, but I don’t want to seem rude and ignore you, so I’ll meet you halfway. It was pretty consistent no matter the age or gender.

I decided that I needed to learn this move, post haste.

Even more interesting was how this dynamic applied when there were more than two people standing together. The “angled feet” behavior was still present, with each person angling themselves to avoid directly facing either of the other people. And as the group grew, the people adjusted their angles to fit the group’s size, often positioning themselves to form a social semicircle.

It was fascinating. Seriously. I felt like Pavlov, only my subjects weren’t drooling dogs.

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And my beard wasn’t quite as bitchin’.

The most interesting thing happened when…

Wait a minute…

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That’s totally Robert Duvall with a humongous beard!

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah…

The most interesting thing happened when two groups came together to form a large “supergroup” of sorts. Each group would open up slightly to accept the merging group, and after a moment or two of jostling, the people would fall perfectly into the angled feet position! The supergroup would often be a fairly large circle at this point, with nobody talking or looking directly at anyone else, yet they were all having a conversation with everyone at the same time.

Amazing!

From here, the supergroup would break up and the participants would float around the room until they joined up with others to form smaller group chains. And this dynamic happened over and over again. It was like watching so weird social cellular cosmos, with people aimlessly colliding with one another over and over again. It was cool to watch. It was even cooler not to join in. Instead, in between consoling hugs for my wife, I was able to let my mind wander onto other meaningless things. Such as….

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See? Didn’t I tell you?

Gotta Get Back In It

Yeah, I know. I suck. I’ve only posted twice this year, I know. I really suck.

I had some stuff take over my life and got distracted and busy and all the other words I can use as excuses but don’t really work to get me off the hook of one plain and simple fact: I need to post more. I had a good rhythm going, but it got all messed up and the Aspie in me totally lost my groove.

So, I’m going to get the groove back. I’m going to make it a habit to post once a day. That will get me back in it. So you’ll probably be getting a bunch of annoying “boring shit happened to me today” posts. But it’s better than no posts, right? I think so.

Apologies for the dead-ness of this blog lately, and future apologies for the annoying-ness of this blog soon. 🙂 But I’m back!

Picturing Aspergers

(It only took me to March to get posting again… not bad, right?)

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There’s nothing I hate more than having my picture taken. It’s not bad enough that I think I look terrible in about 96.318% of the photos I’m in – my wife will argue that it’s way less than that… okay fine, 95.279%, better? Everyone seems to have that problem. My problem is the actual taking of the picture. I can never have my picture taken without standing there and feeling like a complete ass.

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“When you said ‘cheese’ I thought you meant the camera was made of cheese.”

Think about the whole process for a second. I am extremely uncomfortable making eye contact with other people. Now, I have someone pointing a camera at me, most likely zooming in close on my face. It’s very intimidating. At least in regular situations I know when people are looking at me so I can avoid eye contact. With the camera in the way, I’m flying blind. My defenses are down! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!!!!

Hence problem number 1: I always end up looking away from the camera when my picture is taken.

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I call it the “terrified of something just out of frame” look.

Next comes the “direction” phase. Ah yes, how I hate this part with an immeasurable passion. This is the part where the photographer tries to get everything to get everything in the picture to look just right. For most people, this consists mainly of the person taking the photo saying “smile!” and then taking the picture. For me, not so simple. Instead, I get “okay smile… come on, bigger! Whoa, okay, not THAT big. Why are you tilting your head to the side like that? Straighten up a little. No, now you’re tilting farther, the other way. Okay, hold still. And smile… look at me now, and… head up just a bit… okay, you’re smiling too big again… you know what? Fine,” and they take the picture.

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It’s the “whatever is out of frame should be terrified of me” look.

How am I supposed to look normal in a picture when I can’t even make myself normal in real life?

My Bad

Apologies for the absence of posting lately. Life has been very busy lately. Quick updates – I passed my online blood bank class and certification test, so yay for that.  🙂  My wife ended up injuring her shoulder bad enough to require surgery, so boo for that.   😦  Most of my time recently has been filled up by doing all of the driving around for the kids, going to work, and sleeping when possible (which has not been much).

But don’t worry… I’m still here. I haven’t disappeared. And when I have a good amount of time to put together a proper post, I will. Thanks for your patience!!!

Top 13 of ’13

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Coming to you a little late this year, but better late then never. Right?

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Whew… tough room.

For your reading pleasure, the 13 best posts of 2013!

13. My Autism Theory (7/27/13) – my crackpot theory about what causes autism

12. Triggers (3/10/13) – the little things that cause big meltdowns

11. My Nemesis (2/13/13) – a coworker of mine WON’T STOP TALKING.

10. Aspie Evolution (5/25/13) – looking at Aspergers as an evolutionary advantage.

9. I Don’t Get It (6/22/13) – I completely miss the point of a joke

8. Autism and Bullying (11/17/13) – avoiding the pitfalls of bullying with your autistic child

7. Fancy NOT Meeting You Here (9/3/13) – I avoid a co-worker in the supermarket

6. An Aspie and a Funeral (7/21/13) – I am extremely confused while attending a funeral

5.  Fighting for… a Cure? (1/17/13) – is autism a disease that can be cured?

4. Bad News is Bad (10/5/13) – I can’t handle hearing bad news from others

3. This is My Aspergers (8/13/13) – the history of my aspergers

2. Family Business (10/13/13) – trying to build an emotional bond with my children

1. What Does Aspergers Feel Like? (7/7/13) – a detailed look at what my Aspergers feels like

If I missed your favorite, please mention it in the comments section.

Happy New Year!!

Happy Holidays!!!

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Many apologies for the recent lack of posts. I’ve been busy trying to decipher my wife’s subtle hints on what she wants for Christmas. Hopefully she likes watching me play video games….

Wishing all of my readers a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season!

The Numbers Game

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Happy 12/12!!!

Dates like this always make me smile. Jackpot Day (7/7/07), Deca-Day (10/10/10), and any time Sequence Day rolls around (11/12/13 was the last one)… I love them all.

One of my “aspie passions” is math – I love all of the things you can do with math. The laws of the universe are written in the language of math. If you can interpret the laws, there is so much magic to be experienced. I love that I can use math for very important and also very silly things. I’ve become a pretty decent poker player over the last few years as I realized that successful betting boils down to a strong understanding of probabilities (a.k.a. MATH!). Then I find myself doing useless things with math like calculating expected value coefficients in order to choose between the Big Box or Curtain 2 on Let’s Make a Deal.

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3X + cos(2XY – 20) – X/R = ZONK

I think that sometimes numbers can be integral to a person’s life, if one’s mind is open enough to see the connections. For example… a very long time ago, for no apparent reason that I can remember, I chose 28 as my favorite number. I used it everywhere I could. When I was in high school I found out that 28 is a “perfect number” – all of its factors besides itself (14, 7, 4, 2, 1) add up to the number (14 + 7 + 4 + 2 + 1 = 28!). The number I chose as my personal favorite just happened to be perfect! And not only that, a few years ago I looked at my birthdate and found out that the digits of my birthdate add up to – you guessed it – 28.

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Brain asploded.

I’m not saying that I believe in horoscopes or things like that, but I do believe that numbers and math play an important role in the universe and our lives. I think recognizing patterns and number sequences in nature is a way to pay respect to the power that these forces play in our lives.

Interaction

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It has been brought to my attention from one of my followers – who also happens to live in the same house as I do and also happens to be married to me – that I need to be more interactive with my commenters and followers. Apparently, this “follower” has not been paying attention to any of the posts on this blog… or the behavior tendencies of her husband for the past fourteen years.

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She also doesn’t know about the meth lab I have running in the basement.

Breaking news: I have Aspergers. Also breaking news: people with Aspergers are generally bad at interacting with others. So yeah, you could say that my people skills are not exactly up to par. When interacting with people, at best I come off awkward and strange. At worst, I come off like a heartless, uncaring sociopath. And I thought one of the goals of this blog was to attract readers, not repel them.

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I would not be the first person to make that mistake.

With that being said… as much as it pains me to say so – because I’ll never live it down – this “follower” is right. I should be conversing with my commenters and followers. Sure, I can post personal and interesting things for you to read, but what better way to reach out than to talk to my readers and respond to their questions and comments directly? We might start a a conversation that never would have been explored without that direct level of interaction.

So, along with responding to emails, I will also be answering comments on my posts when the situation calls for it. And yes, I will also be responding to comments from that certain “follower” as well.

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If I have the strength left after heaing “I told you so” 1,364 times.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

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I just wanted to wish all of my readers and followers a safe and happy Thanksgiving! I am truly thankful for the ability that this blog gives me to reach out to each and every one of you.

Enjoy your day with whomever you spend it with, even if it’s just yourself! As for me, I’m off to Golden Corral to stuff my face with some Thanksgiving goodness.

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And the God of Thanksgiving bequeathed all foods with a chocolate sheen.