Author Archives: Laura
I am going to make this short, if I can. It will not be sweet. I am tired of autism awareness. What does the lighting up of buildings blue do? Nothing! All appearance and no substance. There are people trying to live; trying to make lives for themselves in this world; and it is getting worse all the while. I keep hearing that autism is not a disability; told by the same people always trying to get even more government programmes set up to help us: What The Fuck is this? We are not disabled, we are anyone’s equal, oh please gimmint give us peeps more money.
There is an organization whose very name implies strongly that it is autism speaking. It rakes in huge amounts of money by way of sensationalizing autism. “Give us a hell of a lot of money to fight the scourge of autism!” with no apparent care that its public pronouncements poison the waters that we of autism must swim in.
Everyone wants more money for autism. Money for research, more money to support parents, more money to support those of us with autism. . .
. . .And no one thinks for a second that taxes must rise, and that when tax rises life becomes more expensive, and that the poor are ALWAYS hurt worst, and that people trying to Make their way in society with any disability (especially the invisible ones of Intellectual, Developmental, Learning, Social nature – like autism) are among the poorest. So. . .
. . .Let’s raise the spending once more, raise taxes, increase life’s paperwork and bureaucratic hurdles and then even more of the ID, DD, LD and SD people will fall from the “Barely able to make it” level to the “Needs permanent assistance” plateau!
No one sees that a fully bureaucratic; totally watched; totally governed total state that marginal people are hurt first and worst. We are people of societal niches! Your damnable paperwork, and taxed to the gills society disallows us!
Autism Fucking Awareness. Blow it our your arse.
. . . have about the same relationship as do the sky and I. Dreams to be left undone when I leave the world for whatever follows. Loves unrequited. Plans come to naught. Achievements left unachieved. Things that seemed rational dreams that might be accomplished; dreams that in the end may have well been flights to the Moon. The sea and the sky have deep relationship to my autism. These failed dreams are microcosmic views into my life.
Ah, I have long loved the sea! I cannot think of any aspect of the sea, or of lakes or rivers, that I dislike. The aloneness: aloneness that in being at least being a real and physical aloneness does not remind me endlessly that I am alone within a crowd. The ability to navigate where I would go rather than where a road might take me. The need to have actual navigational skills lest I end up at one of the great many places that I had no desire to go to. I love the sensory input; it seems to be what I was built to accept.
I have been upon the sea. Not far and not long. My uncle, in his earlier days, was a sailing skipper. He raced a lot. He won a lot. He was happy to take me out on his sloop. *1 This worked well for both of us. I would go sailing and my uncle had a willing crew. We liked it best when the small craft warnings were up. Get out there with some appreciable wind and a sea running; get some real sailing done. I fell in love with the sea and everything of the sea and of the vessels that ply it. And I wasn’t too bad at sailing!
I well catalog each and every thing at which I have some degree of talent. I am autistic and hardly good at everything. I am and have been so startlingly poor at so many of life’s important things that I am perpetually broke and of uncertain future. I seem to have a binary condition: Either I am prepared from birth with some talent upon which I can base a skill or I do not. If I do then I can excel at some activity; if I do not then no amount of practice can allow me to attain even a modicum of success. To do a thing at which I have that inborn talent is magical!
Whether holding the tiller in hand as it goes slack in reflection of growing reversed flow as I surf my uncle’s boat down the steep face of a wave, *2 or running slaloms through the reeds with a kayak, or putting a friend’s powerboat up on the trailer on my second attempt, *3 I have some sort of ability. I love the water. I love the sea.
And I have never owned a decent boat! Remember that line from two paragraphs ago, “I am and have been so startlingly poor at so many of life’s important things that I am perpetually broke and of uncertain future.” Well yeah. I have had the desire. I have never had the dollars. Most of my life I have lacked an operable motor vehicle; how might I get a trailered boat to the water or myself to a moored boat in any case?
In my mind I have the current boat, “Pelikan” *4 which I may describe in a later post. In my mind I ride Pelikan in our natural habitat. My dreams are a comfort in a world not at all shy about reminding me that I do not fit and am usually insufficient. I can get away from the noisome world of man, and onto the vast expanse of nature at its most untamed. I can calm myself to sleep. During the time that I cared for my ailing mother, *5 my dreams of finishing Pelikan’s drawings, building, sea trials and modifications, and then heading out to sea to circumnavigate the globe probably kept me sane and alive. . .
. . . There am I, there am I aboard Pelikan. We are roughly one thousand miles offshore and with more than that astern. Headed for islands in the South Pacific, not far beyond the equator. Got the Trades on my starboard beam on a warm and quiet day. The sky is a wonderful blue punctuated by a few clouds; no storm imminent. Glass has been steady now for hours along with air and water thermometers. The sea runs with the long period swells that bring powerful energy from the Southern to Hawaii where surfers risk their lives taming it. Pelikan rides well, with a noticeable corkscrewing motion as the main set arrives not quite bow on, but from starboard quarter. The wind is light and so I have all the canvas set: the sails are all vertical roller furling and all fully run out. *6 On the aft deck the solar water desalinators are quietly doing their job. On the foredeck photovoltaic panels are charging the batteries so that night will include proper lighting and radar. The boat is mildly heeled and I am cosy against the lee side of the cockpit, tiller in hand. We are headed 239 with the actual course this leg expected to be about 233. There is no knot log as such but the primary GPS – when on a few minutes ago – confirmed 232 at 7.1, that is just fine. I think I will get dinner going in the solar cooker on the foredeck along with panels. All is well in the world. The motion of Pelikan feels so right. The sights and sounds and the feel of the salt air are a sensory delight.
Yeah. It will never become real. Me and the sea. Unrequited love. Failed dream. I think my dreams were never meant to become real. I do still dream.
*1 Which ever sloop it was at the time, he owned various boats
*2 7.5 knots may not seem like a lot, but heeled over in a stiff wind to the extent that the uphill deck is awash, the knot log showing that seven point five, knowing that the log transducer is reading reversing flow and that the actual speed over the ground is above that indicated speed, having one’s head barely above the rushing water as I rest on the longitudinal cockpit seat peering past the doghouse and pulling the tiller to keep the boat from running to lee, well. . .that is the fastest I have ever gone!
*3 Power? Yeah! I had never had the helm of a power vessel and since my friend had gone to get the truck and trailer I was elected to stick the boat onto the trailer, in a stiff wind right on the starboard beam. First attempt I had the ability to gauge the wind’s effect upon the boat. Second try I put it right there.
*4 Pelikan, my favourite bird and fountain pen, my favourite imaginary vessel.
*5 Ten years and no respite. I would be afraid to go to the grocery store for fear of what I might find upon return home.
*6 I really will have to describe Pelikan in a later post. Best ship I will never have!
. . .but usually I’m the bug.
Years ago I was caring for my mother who was failing from congestive heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. I watched he decline slowly; the opposite of raising a child up, I was raising my mother down. To see my mother, my friend, obviously headed to the grave was a torment. I could not do a thing to alter her course; all I could do was my best to slow the descent and to lessen her pain. As I did these things, I always wondered if I was doing enough. I always wondered if I ought to be a little more attentive or patient. I spent ten years with no caring for my mother; I had no assistance during this time.
That sounds noble enough. Let me make now a terrible admission. I not only feared the future of having to eventually place my mother into a care home and then prepare for her death. I had another worry. You see, as I surveyed my situation and my past I had to understand (I had no idea yet that I was autistic as no one had bothered to tell me.) that I was a flop. I feared a future without my mom not only because she had been my best friend and my protector. . .
. . .wait a minute! “. . .and my protector.” That says it. My mother had been my protector from the moment of my birth to the time at which I had to take care of her. I knew that I would shortly have to face the world alone. Alone: without mom’s being my emotional flywheel. Alone: without mom’s friendship. Alone: I would have to provide my own income. Let us examine that entirely pragmatic issue.
I have never earned much money. My life is not one of career, but of a succession of usually short lived jobs of generally low nature and within someone else’ small business. Hard work, low pay, no benefits. I have not only lived with my mother because I have always found it nearly impossible to face the incomprehensible and usually hostile world alone; I have lived with her because I have never earned the money needed to get my own apartment.
Now I know that people will tell me that I am not a fuckup. They will say that I am well-spoken and that I am respected and that I change people’s lives for the better. I cannot disagree. However, I know that I am not actually so high functioning as I may seem to others. I like to point out playfully but truthfully that high functioning people can own cars that run. (I am aware that in some major cities cars are not needed, they are where I have lived.) This statement may be playful, but it is all too true.
One of the things that a Godly person is supposed to know is that they are not capable of much; that they should give it to God to accomplish things and run a life. I have personal anecdotal and absolute evidence of this – at least in my case. I am sixty years of age and last year found that I do not have the financial clout to own and operate a motor scooter. Think of that: I am an architect and engineer and have nor the savings nor the earnings to own and operate a fragging 250 cc motor scooter. I dare anyone tell me how high functioning I am!
Last year, 2013, was some sort of metaphysical assault upon me. From all sides came a relearning of the great lessons of my life: 1. I am a fuckup, 2. I am insufficient, 3. I am incapable. I had no need to learn any of these, my ego barely exists. I had no need to learn any of these; they are engraved deep into my soul. I had no need to learn any of these miserable lessons; I have learned them so well that I could not unlearn them given an eternity of contrary evidence. I cannot and do not take the events of 2013 to be some sort of lesson from any god. . .well, from that god of darkness perhap. Not a lesson, but an assault with intent to break me. And I did break.
I broke over and over again. I broke stuff. I entered 2014 owning barely a thing for so many instances wherein I thought I had it managed; “I may be in soft melt but I am coping.”, and then some extra load or fail or pain or damage or insult or situation arises and pushes me off the cliff into air bluing and thing breaking hard melt. I wish that I could say things more of pride of self; I cannot. I cannot handle life and I deal with the issues resulting from my ill handling of life poorly. I am weak and I am fallible. I am incapable of simple and standard human actions. I am adrift still upon the sea of life.
All I have is my philosophical base. But know what? A terrible cruelty is that philosophy is intellectual in nature. When I melt it is always loss of high level control. Philosophy is hand flying the aircraft, no autopilot available. Sometimes the workload is too high. Sometimes the situation can get ahead of the pilot. In 2013 I crashed many times. I am rebuilding. I expect this process to take some time.
I finally bought a camera. During the past – oh my, is it a year already? – I have had several near misses with a camera purchase. I have pondered deeply the Fujifilm X – M1, Fujifilm X20, Fujifilm X – Q1, Fujifilm F900EXR, and finally bought a just out of production Fujifilm HS25EXR. I am usually a bit of a Nikon partisan and so considered their P7800 and P530, and even (Gasp!) looked at Canon G – 15 / 16. But I will admit that I was kindasorta mostlymaybe looking at cameras from Fujifilm.
About a year ago I thought of doing some astrophotography, that is a strange corner of photography and the study of this little area led me to a deeper understanding of digital photography than usual for owners of digital cameras. Oh well, I am and Aspie and do not at all mind learning such things as this. Bear in mind that my past includes photography; including lithographic photography, a type as strange and specialized as astronomical. Indeed, the face that I have made mechanical colour separations assisted me in understanding just what Fuji has done.
Not all cameras, but X Trans and EXR models lack the OLPF! The OLPF *1 may generally preclude the dreaded Moire, but it generates a host of problems of its own and leaves many artifacts in the image file of any Bayer System *2 camera. By different specific methods the X Trans and EXR cameras resolve the trouble of potential Moire Patterns without any need for the OLPF! *3 With this, Fujifilm has changed the rules of digital photography. *4 I did a year of serious pixel peeping and fell in love with the Senior Fuji’s *5 abilities. But there is another issue here; and issue that other Aspies of sci / tech sort may identify with.
My camera is not only a powerful creator of images; it is also a message in a bottle. Most engineers (I will assume here engineers at a camera company.) are kept on short leashes. Cameras are a consumer product and likely to be purchased by people who have not spent a year pondering pixels v size and weight v control capability v versatility v cost. I would bet that most cameras are picked up in the discount department store by people who buy whatever brand their last camera was unless tempted by a cool case design or colour, or a lower price tag.
To do this sort of slow incremental engineering *6 is safe enough. It costs little, and will probably work in dragging customers to purchase the one. Primary engineering *7 may add capability, but who will see that in a department store? Who would notice even at home? Just how good is primary engineering at bringing new customers from the ownership of competitor’s equipment to yours? And even when primary engineering is done the cosmetics and marketing must be done as well! Little ground breaking engineering is likely in a market driven system.
But, every now and again a strange thing happens. Some executive who ought to be a mere bean counter walks into the engineer’s lunch room and asks if anyone has some new and wonderful idea to be funded. That must have happened at Fujifilm several years ago. ENGINEERS GONE WILD! These people are remaking digital photography with things such as X Trans, EXR sensors, EXR image processing, LMO. These guys are not dragging their sad arses into work discussing matters such as *6. At Fujifilm, engineers are showing up with sly looks on faces and saying things like, “You will NOT believe what occurred to me last night!”
And with my Fujifilm HS25EXR those engineers have sent a message. Just like a message of deep emotion writ into any other work of art, this message must be read by one who understands the specific language, the language here being Engineerese. Well, I do. I have never been an optical nor an electronic engineer, but I have structural engineering standing about in two counties. I grok. My not too costly Fuji not only performs very well, it also is a physical message of the joy of perfection and ever improvement and of being turned off leash and even funded well enough to pursue these goals. After seeing a year ago what this company is up to how could I want anything else?
*1 Optical Low Pass Filter: remedial to stop Moire formation in Bayer System cameras.
*2 No denigration of either Bryce Bayer or his team at Kodak is intended. This was all determined long ago when cameras had far fewer pixels available to deal with patterns presented to the sensor and far lesser in camera image processors to handle complex de mosaic computations.
*3 I could easily go FMA (Full Metal Aspie) about such matters as this but will kindly not do so unless asked by my kind readers.
*4 EXR image processing is also part of the magic, and Fujinon lenses are probably the best photographic lenses in current production.
*5 X Trans and EXR models.
*6 Okay guys, we have to combine the sensor from the YD 873 with the newer processing engine from the YD 905 and the battery used in the newer and smaller NB 39 with the same lens as in our new camera’s predecessor the YF 775 and give it a cool groovy new look.
*7 Primary engineering is the basal sort of engineering that establishes new ways of accomplishing. Long ago at Kodak Bryce Bayer and his team did the primary engineering behind colour sensitivity in nearly all digital cameras made to this day!
Just a couple of things that bother me.
Firstly, people always making statements about how perfect life is. I assume that life is pretty good for these people.* A person for whom life is pretty good most of the time is likely to assume that life is pretty good pretty much of the time for everyone. Let me assure you that it is not. There are people in this world suffering from birth defects, diseases and long term damage resulting from diseases, pain and disability from birth or disease or accident, abuse of some sort – and I would insist that child abuse is the worst – or long term effects of such abuse, from any of a myriad of prejudices and biases, the life damaging effect of being raised in poverty, getting caught by the cycle of poverty, living in an area in which any form(s) of government have decided to have a war of some sort, being victim of criminal action, long term deleterious effects of poor choices made long ago when the person was young and ignorant, death or injury of a loved one, perhaps a loved one upon which the survivor is dependent,. . . So many horrid reasons for many people to be living lives that are decidedly less than perfect.
Secondly, people who say things like, “Life is whatever you make of it.” That acknowledges that some people may be living lives far less nice than they wish for, and makes it clear that the individual with such a life is responsible for that less than perfect life. Really? We have here at the Ranch middle aged man; severely autistic. He has no words available for his expression. He cannot ask for a specific thing for dinner – not at all, not in all his years! He cannot ask to go to the bathroom! He cannot enjoy a running conversation with a fellow human being!
Further, prior to being here at the Ranch he had lived in an institution; you know the sort of place; an institution for the care of those not able to survive in society; a place a tad worse than a third world prison! He has had this heaped upon him due to his severe autism. Did he ask for that? Anyone who believes so, please offer me real evidence of that personal culpability. He was born into hell itself.
Many people, far too many people, are born into Hell. There is little that such a person can do to alter that horrid fact of existence, and when we go about blithely saying stuff like, “Life is just wonderful, all you need is the right attitude.” And, “You can make your life into anything you want it to be.” We hurt these people even more.
Pangloss, please shut the hell up.
- Perhaps not. Perhaps they are trying to convince themselves that all is okay. I understand the need.