Saturday, March 16, 2013

Aspies and the Butterfly effect

Katie teaches me something new on a regular basis, even when I least expect it.

She is a fan of Dr Who and has pulled me into that world with her.  Dr. Who is a long running  British series about a guy with no name and his ever changing companions who travel through time in a big blue police box, that is "bigger on the inside".

I have to stop here to tell you.  I hate time travel.  I get all caught up in it and can't figure out how anyone can keep it straight.  Back to the Future is especially mind numbing to me.  Don't even get me started.

Anyway Katie recently started blogging herself.  She fancies herself a writer and has taken to the platform like a fish to water.  Today she is writing about time travel.  She kept going on and on about stepping on butterflies and how this could alter the outcome of history should you step on one in the past.  She claims it is a well known discussion among science fiction fans and indeed if you google, like I did, butterflies and time travel, you will even see a Wikipedia article about it.

Apparently it is closely related to chaos theory which states something about how a small change  at one place in a nonlinear system can amount to an even larger change down the line.  All I remember about chaos theory is that is has to do with fractal geometry and if something is a fraction off at the start, it can be miles off down the line.  In short as my son says, it's rocket science and frankly gives me a headache.  It is also mentioned that the flapping wings of a butterfly can possible alter the atmosphere and possibly alter the path of a tornado.  This is heavy stuff.

Of course when I told her about all this we had a discussion about chaos theory and her brother piped in and we had a grand old time.  We discussed Back to the Future, Star Trek, Dr. Who and even the classic It's a Wonderful Life, where Clarence the angel shows George Bailey what life would be like if he had never been born.  Little things make a big difference i.e. the butterfly effect.

It's times like these that I marvel at the possible effects my kids and other Aspies will have on the future of the world.  There are some who are trying very hard to discover the gene that causes Autism. They want to develop a prenatal test to detect the presence of this elusive gene.  And to what end?  Termination?  How can we possibly tell if this gene will result in someone who is so profoundly affected vs someone like us?  And who can say that those profoundly affected kids won't somehow challenge those who care for them to make an even greater positive change in the world.  That's assuming they themselves won't alter time.  Talk about boggling the mind.  Each of us is a butterfly capable of changing the future, even without a time machine or a Tardis.


Templates can be good sometimes.  I use one on my web site so that all the 118 plus pages are the same and the menu buttons that took me forever to learn how to code show up consistently from page to page.  I use a very simple template on this blog because that's all Google had when I started it.  They have so many other options now.  Today, I changed the font.  I like fonts.  I have over 5000 on my computer.  I don't use them often.

The font here is called "Coming Soon".  If I compose the post with notes on my iPad and then copy it here, it comes out larger and more of a comic sans type font.  I am not sure which I like best.  I am also getting to the age where I sometimes see better without my glasses.  This is annoying if only because the dang things are not cheap.

Anyway, if anyone finds this font hard to read, please, please let me know.  Use the comment link.  I'll get it.  Promise!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

He's a good boy!

We've all seen it too many times.  A life is cut short always too soon.  The evening news reports that someone's child has been shot and killed by law enforcement in the commission of a crime.  We will never find out why he was seen climbing out of the window of a business late at night.  We'll never hear his side of the story and he'll never hear the tongue lashing from his disappointed mother.  What we do hear is his grief stricken mother blaming the authorities and her declaration that he is a "good boy".  While I am not one to automatically defend the police, it always amazes me that his mother claims he is a good boy.  A good boy would not be breaking into someone else's property.  A good boy would not do this to his mom.  Maybe she is remembering the boy he used to be.  Maybe he fell in with a bad crowd and was influenced by others.  But we will never know because he was caught doing something wrong and killed in the process.

This seems to happen every time.  You never hear the mother say anything like, He was always getting into trouble or, I've never been able to control him, or he never listens to me anymore since he started hanging around with those bad kids, or started taking drugs or dropped out of school.  Always she says, he was a good boy.

So why does this concern me?  I think it is because, that after hearing this opinion so many times, the the general consensus becomes that a  mothers opinion of her child can't be taken seriously.  The unspoken word is that since she's his mother, her view is tainted.

This becomes a problem for us when trying to get school officials to understand the child with Aspergers.  Aspies who don't realize something they say is rude, gets punished instead of learning why their comment is inappropriate so they can alter the behavior.  When my children lash out, it is because they are over stimulated or overwhelmed.  If this happens in the classroom, there is always a reason for it.  If that reason is figured out, the whole class usually benefits.

Kids with Aspergers usually have an above average intelligence.  Past teachers have told me, that they use my kids as a sort of barometer for the rest of the class.  If the smartest kid in the class can't keep up, then chances are no one else can either.  This was brought to our attention recently when one of the kids had a substitute teacher.  When it became clear that this sub would be teaching for an extended period and have to keep the class on the same pace as the regular teacher, things got rough.  He had to get the class up to speed in a short period of time.  When Katie couldn't keep up and lashed out disrespectfully, she was called down to the office, talked to and threatened with in School suspension if the behavior was repeated.

Now I get to say it.  Katie is a good girl.  Do you believe me?  Well she is.  I rarely if ever have to discipline her.  She never deliberately misbehaves.  One time she sorta kinda misbehaved and it drove her crazy.  She came to me in some distress, worried that she had done the worst thing.  I was either taking a nap or gone and she had helped herself to a soda without asking.  She always asks and unless it is the last one and I want it, I always say yes.  It's not a big thing.  But she was convinced that since she didn't ask first, she would be in big trouble.  It bothered her so much, that she had to snitch on herself.  I never would have known.  That is the worst thing she has ever done unless she was in some Asperger induced distress, and then she can't help herself anymore than some one in a wheel chair can get up and walk.

Luckily she is attending a school, with a great principle and wonderful teachers.  After several emails back and forth, her school understands that if Katie was disrespectful. She didn't mean to be and something was wrong.  Her regular teacher is back and all is right with the world.  But it wasn't always like this.

In the past, we sometimes had trouble getting  people to realize that even though she couldn't always control her behavior, I didn't think that she should be able to behave anyway she wanted to.  But there are more effective ways to alter the behavior of some Aspies than to threaten punishment.  In Katie's case, if you can explain to her why others act the way they do and why her behavior is wrong, she can usually find a better way to make her distress known and communicate what her needs are.

Aspergers is a neurologically based  developmental delay.  Because of this and also possibly due to our style of parenting, Katie doesn't understand why her classmates act the way they do.  Sometimes it is normal teenage behavior, sometimes it is due to a cultural difference.  Sometimes I have to dig way back to my classes in sociology to explain typical teenage behavior.  She listens very carefully to my explanation and sometimes you can see the lightbulb go off.  "Oh I get it", she'll say.  "That's dumb" and usually "ok" and she'll be fine.  The problem is that i won't know what she doesn't know until the situation comes up.  If it is timed right, we can avoid a meltdown.  Luckily as I said, her school is pretty good about these things.  Yesterday she had a problem with a particularly loud and boisterous assembly.  A teacher noticed her difficulties and moved her to a quieter room.  I learned today that her principle heard the noise and her first thought was how Katie was handling it.  She told me she looked all over for her before finding out she had already been cared for.  It is good to know that they are all looking out for her.  She is a good girl

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I am  a grammar snob.

There, I said it.  It annoys me to no end when people, especially journalists, can't manage to make the subject and verb to agree.  It would seem that at least people who make their living writing would get the grammar right.  I am not perfect.  I admit that also.  But I am not a writer.  I am a nurse, mom, geek, but not a writer.  I don't expect much.  Semi-colon use eludes me.  But please, please, please, don't make me listen to another "I -me" screw up.

When we were kids,  my mother would constantly correct our grammar.  "I ain't got no homework"  was quickly corrected to "I don't have any homework."  I learned grammar, not so much by the rules but by what sounded right.  And the source of what sounded right was my mom.  So it really bothers me when I hear news readers read their copy and get it wrong.  Millions of people are hearing it, many of them are kids.  And they are hearing it wrong!!!!!

Another thing I remember from when I was young was being corrected when someone would say.  "Bobby and me are going outside."  No, it's "Bobby and I are going outside"  (Bobby is my brother.  He's a cool dude.)  That one was easy.  Even the rule was easy.  Just get rid of Bobby (sorry buddy) and see if it sounds right.  "Me am going outside" Makes me cringe just typing that.  After a while it seemed everyone decided to use "I" all the time.  It made them sound intelligent.  At least until they started using it incorrectly.  Please give Mike and I a cookie. (He's my other brother)  Arrrrrrggggggg.  Makes me crazy!!!  Would you say "Please give I a cookie"?  It happens all the time.  Even on CNN.  And you know they get everything right all the time.

Pretty soon, if it hasn't happened already, the whole world will think that rotten grammar sounds right.  Now kids will have to learn the rules if they want to speak correctly.  But I don't know if they care any more.  Already we see words spelled wrong and I don't mean just typos.  I mean using lite for light and site for sight.  I will admit occasionally typing "their" when I mean  "there".  But at least when I proofread, I know to change it.  I also don't get too annoyed when I read comments online and the spelling and grammar are so atrocious that I can't figure out what the person is trying to say.  I know you can't edit some of those pages.  But it is really annoying when reading an online news report and the actual article is full of errors and missing words.  It's OK for a while if it is breaking news, but for crying out loud, fix it before a couple hours go by.  The newspaper isn't full of missing words or typing errors.  Why is it OK for the online version to be such a mess?

I think I am raising a spelling snob.  Katie loves to look over my shoulder and watch the red lines appear as I type and can't wait to tell me I spelled something wrong.  The problem is, she usually does it before I am finished with the sentence.  I never said I was a typist.  I have to look at my fingers when I type.  But at least she notices.  Her grammar and spelling are impeccable.  So maybe I am channelling my mom.  Maybe Mom is standing over Katie's shoulder from heaven watching her write and correcting her.  I like thinking that.

Monday, March 4, 2013


I had what I called a computer scare this past week.  It shouldn't have been a scare but it was and I wonder if I have become complacent or if my interests have changed.  There is some background  that I need to explore

Let's take a walk down memory lane shall we.

I've been a computer nerd from way back.  Way way back.  Heck I even have a slide rule.

We purchased our first computer for the kids for Christmas (yeah right).  We got it on lay-a-way for $650.00 from a place called Mostly Closeouts in the early 80's.  It was an Apple Clone (remember those?) from Franklin Computers.  It had an Open F key where Apple once had the Open Apple key and ran on something called F dos.  Back then computers didn't come with hard drives, just a floppy drive and if you were lucky two floppy drives.  If you wanted to run a program, you had to insert a 5 1/2 inch disk and turn on the computer.  Some programs required swapping out multiple floppies.  Such fun.  But we didn't know that at the time.  We didn't know anything.  We took it into the back room, closed the door so the kids couldn't see, and turned it on.  It Beeped!!  Scared the heck out of us!  We turned it off.  The kids later told us that they heard the beep and knew they were getting a computer for Christmas.

I got good at trouble shooting that Franklin.  We had purchased Word Perfect and had a heck of a time introducing the computer to the printer.  I was on first name basis with the Word Perfect help desk.  Support was free then and local.  No calls to India needed. After a lot playing with the switches on the back of the machine, we just got used to printing pages that had a solitary K in the upper right hand corner.  This was easily fixed with White Out.  We weren't that picky.

A couple years later we came into what seemed like a wind fall and bought an honest to goodness Windows PC.  It cost over 1700 dollars and had to be taken up to the check out counter on a four wheeled dolly.  We needed help getting it into the car.  OK maybe it wasn't that big but it seemed like it.  It ran Windows 3.0.  Still support was free and local as I found out when all of a sudden my Games window disappeared .  It turns out you weren't supposed to just turn it off by flipping the power switch, like we did with the Franklin.  You were actually supposed to shut it down through the file menu.  Why the heck didn't anyone tell us that?

We kept this computer for a while.  In the meantime (around the mid to late 1990's) one of the kids built a computer for school and the other got a laptop with Windows 95.  Once again, I was lost.  Where the heck was my Program Manager and all the programs and I have to turn it off by using the start button?  I didn't bother worrying about it because the company I worked for was still using dos.  Windows would have to wait.

Eventually I got introduced to Windows 95 and 98.  We had discovered Dell and could avoid the trip to the checkout with the dolly by ordering our computer on line.  I was home with my third child at the time, having resigned from the company that was STILL using dos based programs.  I was having fun. Win 98 was pretty stable and you could spend hours personalizing the thing with themes and screen savers.  I remember downloading loads and loads of free games and screen savers at my son's college because they had a fast (for the times) connection.  I had a bag full of 3 1/4 inch (not very floppy) floppies and they had loads of fun things to do on them. Viruses were not a problem and lots of geeks made lots of programs and gave everything away for free.  It was great

Still Windows wasn't perfect and I became pretty good at fixing  problems.  My little boy even had fun but sometimes he'd get into a friend's computer and change the colors around.  I remember being called by someone who was in a panic because her menu bar was blank!  She couldn't do anything because File, Edit, View etc. were gone.  I felt like a miracle worker because I knew how to access all of it by key stroke alone, and could get into control panel and change the text color back to normal.  I also learned how to fix things by simply searching the internet for fixes.  As the school computers got older, they needed more and more fixing.  Windows was prone to problems and if I wasn't fixing my own computers I was cleaning, maintaining and fixing more and more of my friends and their friends computers.

Then we got a great deal on a computer from my husband's job.  They would even give us a coupon for a free upgrade to the newest operating system- Windows ME.  Unfortunately we never had to use the coupon because it came with ME already loaded.  What a nightmare that was.  There were days when it would take 20 restarts to get the thing to work.  Thank the maker for Windows XP.

But my computer woes weren't over.  Of course by now support was no longer free nor local.  Dell, once known for excellent customer service, now became pretty crappy.  There were times when I knew more than the "expert" on the other end of the line and the world.  I swear, they must have been reading from cue cards.  Chat support was better but not great.  I got really good at reinstalling Windows.  I had one computer that had the mother board replaced four times before they gave up and replaced the whole machine.  That happened twice all within the three year warranty period.  When the third replacement machine came with Vista installed, I gave it to my kid and gave up on windows altogether.

During this time while I was getting really good at Windows troubleshooting and sometimes making money at it,  my son in law's family (from California) were singing the praises of Apple.  So what the heck, I went on Ebay and bought an Apple Power PC iBook running OSX Tiger.  It was pretty reasonable because Apple was moving to intel based machines and was soon to be releasing the Leopard OS.  I just wanted to learn a new platform.

Wow was I impressed.  I was used to setting aside a huge chunk of time setting up a new machine on our home network even as familiar with Windows as I was.  The setup of this little machine was so easy.  Open box, plug it in, turn it on.  It found my network in seconds even before I went looking for it.  It was so cool,  except.........   It never broke down.  I was used to going to my favorite download site, Major geeks, to download all the necessary freeware programs with each new Windows computer.  Disk cleaners, Unzipper programs, Spyware scanners, Registry Cleaners, Malware removal tools, Uninstallers, Virus scanners, DeFraggers, etc.  Plus the requisite helper programs:  Font managers, PDF creators,  backup programs and drivers for microphones, web cams, printers etc.  But I didn't need any of these.  I did install a virus scanner  and mac Janitor , but the thing came with a web cam and microphone and research on the web told me I didn't need to do all the maintenance I was used to.  It felt weird.  I wasn't naive enough to think Apple was immune to viruses, but the majority of the malware out there was aimed at the ubiquitous PC world so all I could do was install a virus checker and let it do it's job.

So I  waited for a problem so I could learn how to fix it........  It never came.  The only problem happened because I thought I should be doing something.  I don't know how I did it but somehow,  I managed to duplicate my entire system and started getting "startup disk full" errors.  I took it to the Apple store and even though I didn't buy it there or get an extended warranty, the guy there only took a few minutes to figure it out.  He put a bunch of stuff in the trash and told me to empty the trash when I got home because it would take awhile.  That machine is still operating well and being used by my husband.

So fast forward to this week.  I have a 2007 iMac desktop and a 2009 mac Book pro and very little knowledge of how to fix either.  They work well even if they sometimes feel a little slow when I am using Safari to wander around the internet.  Then Friday while I was working on a web site on my 2007 iMac, I decided to reboot it because since I leave it on all the time, it was getting a little slow.  It wouldn't reboot. no matter how many times I tried.

A search brought me to MacRumors and a whole page of things to try.  When none of them worked, I tried the last thing on the list,  Restore from Time machine backup.  Less than two hours later, I was back in business.  I sent my computer nerd son an email telling him to kiss his time capsule. (I had turned him into a mac convert a couple years ago).  I still don't know a whole lot about fixing a Mac.  Maybe, I'll try to learn.  But for now I am happy.  Once again, my computer just works even if I don't know just how it does.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mr. Magoo and the La La's

I'm annoyed. My children are annoyed.  I don't know if Mike is annoyed because it is probably his turn (Words With Friends, or in his case Words with Neighbors).

We've been spending the day watching some of our 6 million and 36 movies.  Ok maybe not that many but even my big kids will tell you we have a lot of movies as well as a fair amount of christmas movies, some of them pretty obscure, but we like them.  We came across a home recording of Bah Humbug.  It is a reading of Dickens' A Christmas Carol by Darth Vader and the President, otherwise known as James Earl Jones and Martin Sheen.  We recorded it in 1994 off the local PBS station. (I still can't help but marvel at the poor quality of TV reception we tolerated, but that's another story)  It is a very good program and both the kids were glued to the show.

During the ghost of christmas yet to come when Scrooge is asking the ghost about the body on the bed, I had an uncontrollable urge to sing the la la song.  Anyone familiar with Mr. Magoo's christmas Carol knows which song I mean.  I didn't sing long because Andrew had a laughing fit and told me, he loved me.  What mom can resist that, right?

Well tonight just happened to be the first time since 1967 that NBC re-broadcast this Christmas classic, so we all decided that we would watch it and sing the La La song together.  What a better way to spend an evening.  It doesn't take much to entertain us, I know but we have fun.

Things didn't look good for us when we joined the show five minutes in and Scrooge was already yelling at poor Bob.  Since this particular rendition is actually Mr. Magoo acting in the play of the Christmas Carol, there is a whole scene where he shows up at the Stage door, late and as per usual with  this near sighted little old man, manages to knock down half of the set decorations on the manager before he takes his opening bow.  But I remember them cutting that section in 1965 or so.  I didn't notice that they cut the Jingle Jingle song, but we had come in late so who knows?

The excitement was building as we got closer and closer to our favorite part and Katie assigned our parts.  Andrew would be the tall one, Katie, the one who got the sheets and I would get to be the one with the big nose.  She tried to assign Dad the part of the guy with the eye patch, but once again, it was his turn, so he announced he wouldn't be joining in on the sing a long.  After a few head bounces (it's part of the routine, honest), we started out

We're despicable.
We make ourselves 
Plain sickable. 
Berate ourselves,
Hate ourselves
Still none us of wishes he 
Would change. 

We're slick and shifty birds,
With fingers quick
As fifty birds.
While stealing your purse
Or your ticky-tock
Just for a kick we knock
You flat!
We're just blankety-blank-blank
No good!

then........... NOTHING!!  They cut the rest of the song!!!!!  arrgggggg

The rest of the show was even worse.  This was a made for TV special not a feature length movie that has to be "modified to fit the time allotted".  Heck, they even broke for a commercial in the middle of the bathroom song.  You know, the mushy squishy slurpy love song that kids hate and use as the perfect time to go to the bath room.  All Christmas shows have them, especially the cartoons.  Remember that horrid little number Clarice sings on Rudolph's annual production,-- the bathroom song.

So in honor of Mr. Magoo, I am giving you the rest of the song.  Just imagine it a little off key (except for Katie of course) and sung by three cartoon characters, one with a big nose.

The rest of the song:

We're not tea party blokes,
No chitty-chat
Or artichokes.
We're twice as blood-thirsty
As cannibules,
And wilder than animules
Are we!

We're reprehensible.
We'll steal your pen
And pencible!
Then sneer at you,
Leer at you
And really we ought to be
In jail!
We're just blankety-blank-blank
All bad!

I feel better now!

Merry Christmas

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Do you want the truth or do you want me to lie?

Oh how I wish that NT's understood that.

How hard is it to just say what you mean and not play games with words.  When you ask me how I am, do you want the truth, or do you just want me to say "fine"  even if I am not "fine" at all?  When you ask me if this dress makes you look fat, why are you so shocked when I answer truthfully?  I sure wish someone would have told me the truth before I wore that hideous dress to my son's wedding.  It took my Aspie younger son to tell me that I should never wear a backless dress.  It seems I have way too many moles on my back.  It also made me look like an elephant but that's another story.

My Youngest had a melt down at school yesterday.  Now these are to be expected, she hasn't been at a brick and mortar school since sixth grade.  But yesterday the routine was disturbed more than she had expected.  She was expecting the class routine to be interrupted because she was a part of the Pit for the play her school is putting on.  But what she wasn't expecting was for the whole school to be together for lunch.  (the school is large enough that there are three lunch periods)  Anyway, the cafeteria was crowded and much louder than usual, so that by the time she got to her next class, she was in a little bit of distress.  Now to her teachers credit, they noticed her with her hands on her ears, sitting on the floor and separated her from the class.  The problem started when they took her to the nurse.

Normally this would be the perfect thing to do, but Katie is just uncomfortable with this person.  She gives me the willys too.  Katie also has trouble with tactile issues.  She doesn't like just anyone touching her and she can only handle a certain kind of touch.  It took many years for her to even let me hug her.  Naturally when the nurse, who Katie has had very limited contact with, started putting her arm on Katie's shoulder, Katie bristled and told her she didn't like to be touched.  Consequently when Katie's favorite teacher came in and put her hand on Katie's shoulder, like she does every day, the nurse jumped in and told the teacher not to do that.  Now here's where things get complicated. Katie, who was getting calmer said, "Oh that's OK, I like Mrs. C" (the teacher).  Pretty innocent to my ears.  The nurse didn't think so.  Immediately she got defensive and proceeded to bombard Katie with questions.  Why don't you like me?  I've done all these things for you, but you don't like me? etc.  Instead of taking care of an upset student with a disability, she turned it all around to herself.

Well you can guess what happened next.  Katie started crying and three times said, "that came out wrong", but the questioning continued. And she was told she shouldn't have said that.  It's hard enough interpreting what others are saying when you are calm, but during a meltdown, it is near impossible.  It's harder to tell the lies that people seem to want to hear, when you are upset.  Katie usually just shuts down completely, this time she started to cry harder and they finally left her alone.

I can't quite put my finger on why this lady makes me uncomfortable.  It's probably a bunch of things.  She always makes me feel like she is just too busy to talk to me about Katie.  She is condescending and critical.  I am a nurse too and she knows this, but she acts like she should be the one who knows best what Katie needs.  Katie tells me that when she told her that it wasn't her medication that was causing her stomach to hurt, the nurse responded "yes Doctor" in a sarcastic way.  Good Grief, this is a high school girl.  Did she not consider that the kid just had cramps?  So needless to say, Katie is not comfortable with the lady, and yes, she doesn't like her.  But does she really want to know why we don't like her?  I doubt it.  So I am sure that when she asks Katie how she is, Katie will lie and answer "fine" even though that's not what health care professionals are for, now is it?

Monday, February 6, 2012


I mentioned the other day that I got caught up with the whole Casey Anthony Trial. Just writing that sentence will probably boost my blog up in the ratings on google. It seems a whole lot of people have become entangled in her mess.

I know why it fascinates me. I love crime drama. When I am not reading novels from the likes of Steve Martini, I'm watching it on TV. We own several whole TV series related to crime drama on DVD-- JAG, NCIS, Law and Order in all it's varied forms, CSI from coast to coast and my most recent favorite Criminal Minds. I swear there is an Aspie representative in all of these shows. Grissom and Sara Sidle (CSI) and Bobby Gorem (LNO Criminal Intent) are about as Aspie as it gets. And the young Dr. Reid on the FBI centered drama, Criminal Intent, has an IQ above 180 and is introduced as "our expert on ..... well everything" He is constantly coming up with exacting detail about endless topics. Finally there is our family favorite Abby Sciuto from NCIS. Katie calls her eccentric and says she talks like we do. I guess she is right.

We were in Florida at Disney World when the jury was being picked. Prior to this, I didn't know who she was. But in Orlando, you couldn't turn on the TV and not hear about this true crime story. Florida, it seems, has an open records law. Everything, and I do mean everything, from the first 911 call to the autopsy report is public record. And the TV stations and local newspapers petitioned the court for anything they could get their hands on. I've even seen transcripts of the sidebar conversations the lawyers had with the judge on the internet. It was just like Law and Order -- intensified. Just those few times watching the news in our hotel room while waiting for the next days weather report and I was hooked. We missed the coverage that occurred as we drove home after our four days at Disney World ended, but the very next day, I could tell you the channel numbers assigned to HLN, CNN and both the eastern and pacific versions of Insession/tru TV. The last time I had watched a real life trial was when Court TV chronicled the whole OJ Simpson debacle several years ago.

I admit it was entertaining. Judge Perry was great and had amazing facial expressions. Jose Baez was such a fumbling idiot next to my hero's on JAG or Law & Order. Even the forensics, that most people found boring, were fascinating to me. The prosecutions main witness, Dr. Vass from the Body Farm was as geeky as they come. He obviously loved his area of expertise, even calling it "really cool" at one point. He knew all kinds of the stuff, I also found interesting and spoke with a slight speech difference that made him seem so approachable.

So it was obvious to me, why I was hooked, but why was everybody else acting so off the charts? Some say it is because the players were attractive, white and middle class. Unfortunately, I have seen cases where poor /non white kids go missing and they barely make a blurb on even the local news. But there have been other attractive white kids missing or murdered, even in my home town, that don't take off like this one did. The blogs that have devoted themselves to missing or exploited kids mention these kids and write a lot about them, but the main stream news barely acknowledges them. On any given day, I could google Casey Anthony and there will be at least two news articles from within the past week. Why?

Most of the articles/blogs I have read have a very loyal group of commenters who discuss this case unceasingly. Their feelings either pro casey or anti casey are strong and obvious. Many express love for the victim and extreme hatred for Casey, her lawyer, her family and her supporters. Others attack the haters and pledge their loyalty to the suspect (who has since been acquitted.) There are very few without strong strong feelings one way or the other.

I remember such strong feelings during the OJ Simpson case. It was understandable. This man was a wealthy celebrity and a very charismatic character. Plus the two issues of sex and race were very present. The defendant was black, the victims were his white ex wife and her white male companion. Plus the fact that it was held in LA with it's long history of racial troubles and a police department known among some as being racist, didn't help. Mix all those things together, celebrity, wealth, race and sex and you get strong feelings. I get that. But what about Casey? Why did she evoke such strong feeling? The only racial issue I could find was never mentioned in the press. I saw one account in one book that Casey's mom, didn't care for hispanics. This was from one of Casey's childhood friends who said she wasn't welcome in Casey's home if her mother was home. If this was true, it seemed Casey played it to annoy her mother. She chose an hispanic lawyer, blamed a woman she described as half black and half Puerto Rican, and dated at least one hispanic man and one Italian. But again, I never heard this mentioned on the main stream media. Plus the family wasn't rich and were in fact struggling financially. There was a bit of an element of Sex abuse, but few details and that wasn't brought up until trial. So compared to OJ, the emotional components weren't there from what I could see.

Which takes us to the location. Orlando has been called an entertainment center but not a high crime area like Miami might be. BUT there are those pesky Florida Sunshine laws. We have access to everything. There was always something to report on no matter how small or insignificant. We knew who the witnesses were going to be, we knew about all the evidence, even some that never made it to trial. We even knew what Casey bought from the jail store, from snacks to cosmetics. We saw every picture her parents ever took of her and her child. We saw the video tapes of the visits she had in the jail. All of these things fall under Florida's public records law.

Could this be the reason everyone was hooked on Casey? It is certainly part of the reason I watched. Could it be that I am not so different from everyone else, at least as far as obsessions go.

Something to ponder. Maybe later. NCIS is almost on ;-)

Why can't blue always be blue?

A few things happened in the last few days that help illustrate the difficulties some Aspies have in translating from neural typical speak.

I was sautéing some mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers and dill in margarine today to eat with my baked potato. (it was really good, you should try it). My 14 year old Aspie came in and stated, "That smell is much more tolerable than what Dad used to make for breakfast". She immediately followed this up with, "That wasn't insulting was it?" She does this a lot. She enjoys having a larger than average vocabulary but so desperately wants to avoid hurting anyones feelings.

So I asked her what her intent was with a series of questions. On a scale of one to ten, one being awful, how did she rate the smell of my mushroom, (a four) and how did dad's smell rate, (a one) This I knew. We all hated the smell of his one time favorite breakfast. Was she trying to say that she liked my mushroom smell or was she saying that it was barely tolerable but still better than dad's?

I assured her that while she could say anything to me, she might want to follow her grandmother's advice: If you can't think of something nice to say, don't say anything at all. I also told her that if she complimented something she really didn't like , she needed to be prepared to have that person, make that dish for her in the future. She wrinkled up her nose at that one.

A bit frustrated now, she said, but isn't the truth always the best option? Wow, how to answer that question coming from your teen. Then I remembered something. We had just watched an episode of Star Trek, Next Generation. The crew was watching Dr. Crusher and Lieutenant Barclay perform a scene from Cyrano D'Bergerac. It wasn't going well for Barclay as he stumbled with his lines. When the scene mercifully ended, the crew all clapped enthusiastically and yelled Bravo. Cmdr. Data (an android who strives to be more human for you non-trekkies) looked on with a puzzled look on his face. He turned to Cmdr. Riker and stated something on the order of, why are you all clapping, his performance was barely adequate. Riker responded, "Data, it's Polite"

I also relayed to her a conversation I recently had with her dad. He was wearing a pair of parachute pants and a white Tee shirt. I told him, they made him look like a clown and he should never wear them again. Normally that would be considered extremely rude and I am sure my inlaws would point to it as further proof that I am a sub-standard wife. But my dear husband has been married to me for over 36 years and knows more about Aspies than most people. We have long since come to the understanding that we will be honest with each other when the old question, "Does this outfit make me look fat?" comes up. If you don't want the truth, don't ask the question. We both appreciate, knowing what not to wear out in public.

So what to tell her about telling the truth. I wish it were an easy question. I told her to ask herself, what she was trying to achieve with her statement. If she was trying to compliment someone, then by all means say something. But that brought up another problem. As stated, she has a large vocabulary and it is growing everyday, but sometimes, she uses her new word improperly. This means that her statement can come out several different ways
1. She could be using the word properly and the person she is talking to might also know the proper definition of her word (a good thing)
2. She could be using the word wrong and the other person may know the proper usage. (bad thing)
3. She may be using the word correctly but the other person may not know the word. Which could lead to the other person being hurt because they have the wrong impression of the word, or they could feel like she is trying to show off how smart she is and trying to insult the other person's intelligence. That one bothered her the most because she never wants to hurt someone's feelings.

Sometimes it's best not to say anything.

I left her to think about all this. She came to me a little later and said, "Why can't everyone speak the same language? Why can't blue always be blue?"

It never is you know. Blue is always different. Honesty isn't always the best policy. And the rules are always changing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yes I am stil alive

And yes it really has been a whole two years since I wrote anything here. But I have an excuse, i guess.

A while back, I decided I was spending way too much time on the computer. If I wasn't working on my website, I was chatting with my online friends. While waiting for them to read and answer my latest post, I'd search out new cool things to add to Bouncing off the Wall. Or Maybe I'd spend the day trying to figure out why Windows was doing this or that to my PC.

So I gave my PC, that I have written about to my son, stopped messing with my website, told the girls online goodbye and got off the computer. And went straight to the couch.

There I discovered reruns of JAG and CSI and NCIS and the West Wing. Every day one of my favorites had a marathon. Then of course, there was the Summer of Casey Anthony. Don't get me started about her.

My Mac got dusty. It never needed tweaking, and I had my iPod touch or my trust iPad incase I got an earth shattering email (yeah Right). I hung out with my kids, discovered Facebook and learned how to type without a keyboard. Did I tell you I love my iPad?

Well today, I fired up the mac to post some soup recipes to the girls on Facebook and I got lost. It took me a while to find the recipes (they were zipped and stashed in a file for a website I made to share graphics with a PaintShop Pro users group. I got them mixed up with the food related Graphics file). But in the search, I took a walk down Lunatic lane. I found several rants and emails from the dark days and read them all. I opened countless abandoned web pages, I had started and got lost reading Java Script. When my stomach finally told me that I had missed Lunch, it was already 3:30pm. Too late to thaw something for supper and I still wasn't done exploring my old stumping grounds.

Then I found my blog files and of course read them all once again and realized I had a lot of stuff to report on. But sadly, Mr. Mike has just come home with Supper and if I stay here much longer, I'll be in big trouble.

One of my brother's refuses to buy a computer. He says, they will suck your life right out of your body if you let them. Well Bobby, you are right.