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On Autism and the sensation of Time.

November 1 keeps catching me by surprise. Every year. Every Autistics Speaking day.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have an accurate sense of time: to remember an event and Just Know how long ago it was, to see an event in the calendar and Just Know how long I have to wait. But I don't. I have five times into which all events are sorted: there is the Now. There is the Recent Past and the Near Future... maybe up to 24 hours in either direction. And then there's the Past, and the Future. And within those two groups, there is no ordering. If something happened a week ago, or twenty years ago, it feels the same to me. If something is scheduled for Thursday, or for April, the urgency is the same to me.

As you can imagine, this doesn't help with things. If something was more than a couple of days ago, I don't remember if I've done it or not. The death of my father's father in 1993 feels as immediate and painful as the death of my mother's father in 2009. For any event which has happened, I must consciously remember context to put things in order: This person was at that event, so it must have been while I was working there. That narrows it down to five years or so... now I have to look up which years those were...

Because all events in the future are the same, it makes planning a bastard. All tasks are due In The Future, so the one which is due in two days feels like the one due in a month. So when I look at a list of things which need doing, I don't see a list, I see a heap: I cannot pick which one needs to be done first, because they all feel like they need to be done first. And when I need to do something, either I do it Now, or I look up and see that I have been saying "I'll do it tomorrow" for a week, and the week before that, and the week before that, and... it's been months. Bugger: I'd better do it tomorrow, then.

Would you believe this affected language learning? D'accord, mes enfants: Quelle heure est-il? And the teacher would wave a clock at us with the hands set just so. I still, at almost 43 years old, have to stop and consciously figure out a dial clock from first principles, every time. So then, I would still be trying to figure out which one was the hour hand when even the slowest other student had thrust their hands up: C'est huit heures quinze, madame! (That I couldn't process anyone's speech as quickly as anyone else didn't help either.) So, for years, I thought I was bad at languages.

I saw an episode of Bones once, where a character described himself as "dyslexic for time", which description struck through me.

Depression is not helped by this. Because all I can put into somatic context is the immediate Now, then I cannot remember not being anxious or depressed. I know it must have been different at some point, but I am currently full of fear and anxiety, and it may as well always have been thus, and might as well always be.

If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done. I just wish that every minute weren't the last minute.
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What is the difference between a cage and a sanctuary?
Autistics Speaking 2015 Participant

There have been a couple of cases recently of schools deciding that the best way to cope with an autist is to restrain them.

One was a primary school. They built a cage. A literal steel cage. In a storage room, where the only two lighting levels were blinding or black, because it was floodlit with the sort of fluorescent searchlight glare that OH&S people tell us is compulsory, and no windows. In a touch of probably unknowing irony, it was painted blue.

This cage was explicitly for the benefit of an autistic student, so that they could lock him in there when he had a tantrum. "For his own safety, and the safety of others", of course.

Of course.

Of course it is obvious that they didn't ask an autist, because then they might have learned that a meltdown is not the same thing as a tantrum, that a meltdown is caused by something, and that what an autist needs to come down from a meltdown is quiet, calm, dark solitude. Well, solitude that child would have, if not privacy. Dark that child would have, if they remembered to turn off the lights, and if "pitch blackness" counts. Quiet would be achieved, because any screams would be muffled.

If they had been looking for a better way to make a bad experience immeasurably worse, it's difficult to see how.

Then, more recently, there was a "box" at a ... well, let's not call it a "school". I doubt anything was taught there. More of a daycare center for autistic adults. (Not that such things aren't themselves needed.) And there, also, was a box.

In this case it was slapped together with 2x4s and plywood, instead of case welded powder-coated steel. And the outside was decorated by the autists themselves. And they had been asked to bring in egg-cartons from home to line the inside.

Now, this one is harder. Because it might be something to lock an unruly autist into, ... but. It might have been a place for an autist to retreat into. Because: quiet, dark, private, enclosed.

Everyone was outraged. There were fulminations on the front pages, and abject apologies from the organisation, and calls for investigation. No-one seemed to consider that it might have been something for the autists' benefit.

I started asking around, and actually got some answers. (From ASAN AuNZ, who did not have to answer the questions of some random from off the street, but they did, to their credit.) And they sent me more photos than had been published.

The box was unlined. That could just mean it was unfinished. But it was clearly crude and unrefined. Of course, that meant also that it was relatively flimsy, and could not contain anyone who really wanted out. But more damning, it was against the windows, and open to the windows. There was little darkness in there, and thanks to the open gaps, little to no muffling. (But then, again, if the autist inside could hear everything outside, so could everyone outside hear the autist were they so minded.) And there were close-ups of a thing on the outside of the door which I was assured was a place for a lock. I couldn't see how it was possible to put a lock on it, but I was assured that that's what it was.

I remain dubious about the intentions of the staff who built that box. I still think it not impossible that they were really, if ham-fistedly, trying to build a retreat box, where an autist could have a semblance of privacy and quiet in which to calm down. Or, everyone else is right, and it was a ham-fisted attempt to build a box in which to punish or restrain an autist who was playing up.

I do believe the press release of the organisation involved, when they said that whatever its purpose, it wasn't fit for it. They dismantled it and threw it away when they found out about it, and everyone who was involved will probably be punished... or at least given a stern talking-to.

But... We autists do need a place to retreat. When at work, we are increasingly being sat, along with everyone else, in overbright, noisy, confusing, full of distraction and detail and movement, every movement public to everyone, open plan office spaces. Every moment in glare, with someone literally watching over your shoulder, with the conversation of a hundred people unmuffled in your ear, with people moving in your line of sight all the time in the corner of your eye. And there is no respite. They may have "cool down" spaces where you can take your laptop (good luck if you are assigned a desktop), but they're designed for NTs, and are still bright and public and loud and distracting. They may have meeting rooms you can book for private work (pity about the whole laptop thing), but good luck booking them over the Project managers' interminable meetings about minutiae and trivia. There is no escape from when you arrive, to when you go home. No escape from the light or the noise or the incessant burble or the movement or the feeling of a predator behind you or the people people people always expecting you to deal with them socially on their terms and immediately.

So the lack of a place to retreat is also a problem. And autists aren't included in the design stage, or the OH&S stage, or, really, the consultation stage. My requirements aren't arbitrary, they are medically necessary. But when I raise them, I am dismissed with platitudes and boilerplate and repeated assertions that this space is designed to be best practice and ergonomic and all sorts of other lies and bullshit.

These spaces are, I'm going to be charitable here and say "unwittingly", designed to exclude autists and make us feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. It's the equivalent of setting up a Mosquito, playing high pitched sounds that adults can't hear, but teenagers can feel on the edge of sensation like the echo of teeth being pulled.

And I work in IT. You'd think IT would take better care of its autists. (Who am I kidding, no organisation gives a toss about its IT department until they can't read their email any more.)

So there is a need for retreats, for sanctuaries, for a place to go to keep the world out, to take a breath before you plunge back into the dazzling glare of a world built for other people but not you.

It's important, though, too, that this place be appropriate, be fit for purpose, and, above all, be voluntary.

What is the difference between a cage and a sanctuary?

It's on which side of the door is the lock.

(We're scheduled to move into the new building by the end of the year.)
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Sílim go mbeadh sé seo breá le Bar-Barra... is dócha.

Tá sé ceoltoir as an tSiombaib é, agus tá cuid focail na n-amhrán atá:
"Is gaeilgeoir mé, tá Gaeilge mo chroí..."

(Ní dóigh liom go beidh ar maith leat an ceol: tá sé duine ó an tSiombaib leis a chuid Gaeilge air, atá a bhí mé tú a éisteacht é.)
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Overload is a feature of autism, to the point were I would talk about how my autism interacts with my circumstance, but there is so much going on that I find myself unable to extract any particular thing to discuss: the forest is so big, I can't describe any trees.

So instead of talking about that, let me talk about television.

There are autists on TV, even if their attributes are usually inconsistent and subject to plausible deniability by the show's writers. That is: it doesn't matter how obvious that the traits are, the writers will deny that the character is anything of the sort. Presumably so that they can explain away any mistakes they make.

Still, there is Sheldon Cooper, and Temperance Brennan, and Data, and (I'm told) Abed Nadir.

Characters in historical features, however, are more difficult to nail down. Not least because the assumption seems to be that, in accordance with Age of Autism dogma, there weren't any autists before the 20th century.

Which is, of course, ridiculous.

Historical autists who could feign normality, or were in circumstances where they could function, were just folks who were odd. Autists who could not function were "idiots", and typically ignored in the records. If they lived that long.

There's a good argument that Fitzwilliam Darcy was on the spectrum, given how he was described as acting stiffly and formally, and abnormally so even by the standards of the time, but hiding behind his demeanour a rare kindness and sensitivity.

Sherlock Holmes, for different reasons, as well.

But as far as it goes, that would seem to be that, unless you include the archetypal absent-minded professor. And even that is typically a trope in its own right, and with only tangential connection to autistic traits as is typically presented.

And then there is Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, series 2, episode 8: "The Blood of Juana the Mad".

Spoilers and potential triggers ahead

Beatrice Mason is a student of medicine in the 1920s. When we first see her, she is not the only female in the class — indeed, the teacher of the dissection class is a woman — but the three women present are outnumbered by the men. When the sheet is pulled from the cadaver, supposed to be a woman in her thirties, and it is revealed to be an older man with a slit throat, Beatrice is the one who names him as Professor Katz. Her expression is one of surprise, rather than shock or despair.

Later we see the investigation enter Professor Katz' office, and it turns out that Beatrice was his research assistant. She gets distressed that strange people are invading the office. She gets even more distressed when a valuable mediaeval manuscript is missing from the safe.

Her reaction is to rush out to the empty corridor, and rest her forehead against a pillar. When Phryne (the heroine of the series) goes out, Beatrice says that she finds groups of people difficult to be around.

Later, when Beatrice is questioned, she reveals that she effectively lives in her office after she was kicked out of her rooming house after she was blamed for a fire. As a woman, she wasn't allowed to live in any of the residential colleges. She is very matter of fact about this.

Later we learn other things about Beatrice. She may not show it, but she says that she is sad that Professor Katz is gone. She only eats jam sandwiches. She hates it when people touch her books without gloves. When she says in response to an offer of a place to stay, that she "will consider it", she means exactly that, it's not a euphemism for "no". She looks distracted, but while looking around she picks up important details as quickly as does Phryne herself.

And she provides the vital clues to solving the mystery when not only has she transcribed the missing manuscript, not only had she found the hidden code, but when her transcription was stolen, it turns out that she had made separate transcriptions of the code alone.

Her difficulties are not played down: she is drugged because someone gives her a jar of spiked jam. She is lured to a boy's room by simply being invited. "It was polite to go. It's important to be polite." She is constantly being insulted, teased and excluded, and appears unaware, although she does describe knowing full well what's going on. Mostly.

Never once is the word "autism" uttered. It would be an anachronism if it were: Kanner's paper was still twenty years in the future. And yet, for those who know what they're looking at, there can be no question that that's what she is. It's not a tragedy, it's not played for laughs, it's not a source of superhuman powers, and it's not a quirk without consequence.

It's possible for the depiction of autism on television to be done right.
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The Blood of Juana the Mad

So... a researcher who obsesses over a mediaeval manuscript, who is autistic, and works at the University of Melbourne.



Feb. 19th, 2013 10:20 pm
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I seem to have misplaced a decade somewhere.

It's Miss A's tenth birthday today. how did that happen?

BRB, checking down the back of the couch...
catsidhe: Per pale sable and vert, two chevronels argent (SCA)
It turned out that the Cockatrice drawing I knocked off in a couple of hours appeared on the front cover of the Cockatrice publication. People have said that they like it, which is gratifying.

After a week of not quite panicking, things more or less worked for 12th night, heraldically speaking.

I ran Henri and Beatrice's last court, handing off to [personal profile] actreal for Teffania's Laurel ceremony, and only almost ruining it in the introduction.

The final court also included, amongst lots and lots of Cyphers, a Cockatrice, Prometheus, a couple of Silver Pegasi and a White Scarf, [personal profile] felinophile being admitted as a Pelican.

The final court segued straight into the investiture ceremony, which I also did the shouting for.

After lunch, the first court of Felix and Eva, handled by [personal profile] actreal. This was all about the Royal Household, and no awards (requiring entry into Canon Lore) were given.

After tourneys and other such entertainments, first court of the evening was run by Sorle, who passed off to the B&B Stormhold who allowed me to pass my Office of Goutte d'Eau off to [personal profile] pearl, who very shortly thereafter was also admitted as a Laurel.

Paul Mortar was granted a Golden Tear, there was another Cockatrice, a Star and Lily, and Dante the newly appointed Deputy Goutte d'Eau was granted an Award of Arms.

And [personal profile] actreal was made a Court Baron.

The chest I made at Mistress Antonia's workshop did not win the Arts and Sciences competition, but it was very handy to carry our feasting gear -- and it fits almost perfectly into the boot of Mim's car.

People said nice things about my shouting, including that they were entertained when I pronounced people's names as they were meant to be, not as they might be read out naively.

Sunday was at a site a long way away. [personal profile] actreal was not there, so I did the courts, and Sorle did his shouting duty at the tourney. One of the items of business was that the previous evening the children had chosen a king and queen by the finding of a bean in a cake. Miss A was the queen of the children. They came up in court to ask permission to hold a children's court, which was graciously granted (their Majesties seemed taken by the idea), and their majesties ran the King and Queen of the Children through a quick oath to Do The Right Thing, and granted them tokens. (Which was not expected or planned, but was a lovely touch.) Miss A in particular had a strong clear voice in court and her petition and answers were note-perfect.

During the day there was wandering, and talking, and Being Hit On The Head Lessons, and the Children's Court (they appointed their own lords and ladies of the court, and a herald, and gave out awards and prizes, and waved banners, and generally demonstrated that the College of Heralds and the various aspects of nobility will be in good hands when it comes their time.

I heralded the final court, which had a Golden Tear (for the Steward), a Star and Lily, several gifts and offers of fealty, and one huge glaring stuff-up on my part when the court was closed, we had had cheers for the King and Queen, and I then declared three cheers for "the Barons and Baronesses, the Peers, and the populace of Stormhold".

I didn't even realise I'd said that (at the top of my lungs) until the Kraé Glassians all looked at me horrified, gave confused cheers (knowing what I meant), and then informed me what I'd said.

Autopilot can be a bitch.

And there's documentary evidence of the coronation.

And Sorle Canon was right there, so all the CHAF forms went straight to him then and there, and it's already up on Canon Lore.


Jan. 1st, 2013 12:02 am
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May this one be better than the last.
catsidhe: Per pale sable and vert, two chevronels argent (SCA)
I got sunburned on my shoulders, where my splendidly embroidered new tunic doesn't cover.

My new period boots worked wonderfully well, although the wrappings chafed my calves quite painfully.

The kids were mostly well behaved, except for an incident involving a river and a lost shoe.

The company was exceeding pleasant.

Mim and I were made companions of the Silver Drakkar. This was a huge surprise and honour (not least the unscripted acclamation), but it does explain why the Baron told me that Rocket had volunteered for the closing court, which came as news to Rocket himself. There was only one token, but when Mim went to Bash, she was given Baron Sven's own token, an even higher honour again.

I have opened applications for my replacement, with an announcement at court and a post on Stormlist. I would send the message to the Chronicler, but I don't know if Stormscroll would be out early enough. I got an approving message from a herald who liked the way I worded the post.

I interview for my own job tomorrow.
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A note to far too many organisations who have websites which are meant to deliver a service: Your website is overcomplicated, baroque, brittle, and absolutely unusable. You are paying your web devs to piss people off and chase them away. You are declaring that the disabled can just fuck right off because you would rather stab yourself in the head than make something accessible to them. You are what is wrong with the internet.

Telstra, I'm not just looking at you, I'm setting fire to you with my eyes. I wanted to see what mobile phones are available on my current plan... ideally which ones are available at $0 extra cost. That shouldn't be a hard thing to ask for. Not only did I used to be able to do it, it used to be easy.

Now, however...

First, you have made it extremely difficult to even find where my plan is described. I have to know the genus, family, and species of plan before I can compare instances. And I can't compare across plan genuses. And the web page just tells me that "phones are available", but there is nowhere, nowhere where I can find out which ones.

And when I was trying to look, the website popped up some javascript abomination or other to get my feedback. Which was intrusive, complicated, and didn't work. And then I went to give some feedback on my browsing experience, and you've made it so insanely complicated and baroque that I can't even figure out how to do that! I started off annoyed, then deeply annoyed, and then angry, at which point I wanted to give some pointed feedback. But the process of trying to figure out how to give feedback escalated my feelings to wanting to abuse you and all your web developers and user interface architects, to wanting to fill in the feedback form (wherever the hell it is) with a couple of megabytes of insults, cursewords and wishes for your horrible deaths, and then the desire to hunt you down with my feedback literally written on a sharp stake and giving you some "pointed feedback" in a very visceral and non-metaphoric manner.

The thing is, this sort of thing isn't that hard. It's not trivial, but it's a solved problem. You have had this functionality in the past, and you systematically stripped it out because ... because reasons? Because you literally hate us and want us to suffer? Because you are going out of your way to make it impossible to choose the sort of sensible plan I've had for decades and push me onto something which isn't as functional for only twice the price?

What you're doing is very clearly trying to look clever. And the thing about looking clever is that people or organisations who actually are clever don't need to work that hard to look it. Corollary: the harder you're trying to look clever, the more likely it is that you simply aren't. Corollary to the corollary: your website shows you up as a bunch of blithering fools, desperately signing up to the latest buzzword du jour in the frantic hope that you'll be taken seriously this time, all the time alienating the people who would want to use your service, and not fooling any of the ones who need to be convinced, except for the ones whose custom you don't want, but obviously deserve.

Summary: go stick your heads in a fucking pig, the whole fucking lot of you. Your obvious contempt for those who would dare attempt to become your customers on their terms is returned.
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I don't really think of myself as "disabled".

Even when I got the diagnosis of Asperger's. I mean, Asperger's is an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Autism is classified as a disability, but this is how I've always been, so I don't feel any more "disabled" after the diagnosis than I did before.

Sure, there are things I can't do as well as most people, but usually I can work around them. "Please email that info to me, because I have already forgotten it." "Please, only one person talk at a time, otherwise I can't hear anyone." "Say again?" "I don't understand."

But then sometimes the walls fall down.

Last week was very difficult, but it could have been much worse.

The Tuesday before last, and the Friday before that, I had the visual halo of a migraine after going to the gym. This was disturbing – to say the least – so my wife, Mim, made an appointment for me at the doctor's.

And on the Wednesday evening – the evening before the appointment – my car's engine changed from running rough to tapping as I drove home from filling the tank. When I checked, the oil was basically dry.

So on Thursday morning Mim drove me to the doctor's appointment, where he told me I was probably dehydrated, and that I needed blood tests for everything. I was at high risk for Diabetes, high cholesterol, Lymph dysfunction, all sorts of things.

After the appointment, we went shopping and got a bottle of oil, and I filled the engine when we got home. I drove around the block, but the tapping didn't go away, so Mim called a mechanic, and we drove over for him to look at the car. It turned out that the tapping was fixable, the car needed a service (which I knew), and I had severely over-filled the engine, and was at risk of blowing the gaskets. We booked it in for a service the following Monday. Which meant that I would have to figure out the new train ticketing system to get to and from work.

On Saturday, Mim took me to get phlebotomised, which was relatively painless, even if it did delay my morning coffee by a couple of hours.

On Monday, she followed me to the mechanic's, and took me in to work. She gave her phone number, so that the mechanic would talk to her about the works required, and her mother drove the car home for us. Then Mim came and collected me from work. She also booked the followup doctor's appointment when I got notification that my results were in.

I'm not diabetic, by the way. (big sigh of relief.)

But that long tale, even with the happy endings (car is fixed, bloodwork looks normal, further gym sessions have been migraine-free), brought something else to light.

I could not have done any of it on my own.

Mim had long since found a medical clinic for us to go to, and had the number to hand. Mim knew the mechanic, and had his number to hand. Mim had organised half a dozen people in an intricate dance of planning over a week, over and above the usual juggling involved with being a mother of two. Mim neither froze nor panicked when plans changed and unexpected emergencies popped up. Mim could make phone calls without having to force herself to.

If it were not for Mim, I would have had to pick a doctor randomly out of the phone book, not having any idea where to go. At this point I would have been paralysed by the choice between dozens of unknowns, and very likely given it up as Too Hard.

I would have had to pick a garage out of the phone book, again, randomly. Again, paralysed by a choice between unknowns, again likely to have given it up, or at least put it off and put it off and put it off...

I would have been unable to ask for help, leading me to be stressed out by learning how to buy a train ticket in the new system. (Although that there is now a need to learn how to buy a train ticket is another rant, for another time.)

Even if I had been able to chose a doctor or mechanic, I would have been paralysed at the act of picking up the telephone and talking to them: an absolutely excruciating experience at the best of times, and the best of times is not when I'm worried about my health and my car and everything is failing at once and I need to cold call strangers and make snap decisions and complicated (for me) planning on the run.

With Mim looking out for me, everything turned out OK, and relatively without fuss, and quickly.

Without Mim, I would still be stressing about finding a doctor, and prevaricating about actually organising to go, and putting off dealing with the car, and catching public transport in the heat and the rain, and avoiding the gym because I didn't know what was causing the migraines, and generally freaking out. Every point would have been a mountain to overcome, where most people see gentle hills at worst. And that's if Mim were to have only been on holiday last week. Without her at all in my life then I wouldn't be living where I do, likely wouldn't have the friends or social interaction that I do, wouldn't eat as well as I do.

Whenever I've made a step towards independence in the past, it was only possible because friends and family have helped me. A school friend helped me move out of my father's house, and in with him. And then helped me arrange a flat of my own. Where I lived off takeaway, and never used the kitchen, and washed my clothes far less often than I should have, and was in the early stages of scurvy before other friends noticed and gave me a prod. And those friends helped me move in to their share house, and through them I met Mim.

I owe my independence to the help of others. I don't think I would have been capable of any of it without their help.

And it was luck that led me to them: it was because my father saw an ad for the entrance exam for a selective entry state school, and he took me to take that test, and I passed, and I chose Japanese instead of French or German, and I repeated year ten, and I joined the Stage Crew. If any of those things had not happened then I wouldn't have met any of these people, and I would not be where I am now.

I simply could not have done it without their help.

And so, by this luck, this series of strokes of luck, I am privileged. I am privileged in that while I have Asperger's, I don't have to think of myself as disabled.

Because other people have helped me in those things which I cannot handle on my own, simple and normal things which most people take for granted, like arranging a place to live, and eating, and seeing a doctor, and getting the car serviced, and dealing with minor crises, and so I am saved from most of those things which could so easily go so very wrong.

I love Mim. She is my wife, and my friend, and the mother of my children, and besides all that, the person who enables me to function as if I were normal. I cannot express how grateful I am to be so lucky.
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Bones, season 8 episode 2: "The Partners in the Divorce"

Over the years Temperance Brennan's Asperger's (as near Word of God as we're likely to get [0]) has varied from subtle eccentricities to verging on caricature, but in the episode which showed here last night, "The Partners in the Divorce", they damn near nailed the core of the condition.

The plot is ostensibly about the investigation into the murder of a man whose body was found burning in a 44 gallon drum under a bridge. But that's incidental to the personal interactions going on. And the biggest one is between Booth and Brennan, dealing with recent events.

The context is that Brennan has just returned from three months on the run from the law, trying to clear her name after being framed for a murder. (She, of course, arranges for this to happen.) But in the meantime, she and Booth have been separated, and Booth has neither seen nor heard from Brennan or their baby, which Brennan took with her on the run.

When we first see them in this episode, Brennan is cooking breakfast, and we can see that Booth is trying to hide how upset he is. Brennan is cooking breakfast, usually Booth's job.

When they get to the crime scene, Booth is further upset when he steps in brain matter and his shoe is bagged as evidence, and snaps when Brennan starts giving orders relating to police procedure. He angrily starts giving orders relating to forensic procedures, and hops off. Brennan knows that he's upset, but has only the vaguest idea why.

As the case progresses, and they discover that they're investigating a Divorce Lawyer, she further upsets Booth (a Catholic) with her statements that marriages often end in divorce, and it's a good thing they aren't married.

Things get more and more tense, with Brennan aware that something is wrong, but unable to figure out what it is. When people hint at the reason, she rejects it as a stupid reason: she gives Booth the credit of being as logical as she is. But still, they are snapping at each other, both getting more and more upset at each other, and themselves.

The turning point is when Booth talks to Brennan in her lab, and they are calm and rational about things, they give each other a peck, and Booth leaves. Brennan is relieved that things are calming down (which is the interpretation I gave the interaction as well), until her intern asks what's wrong. When Brennan asks why, the intern says that whenever his parents are that polite to each other, it means things are about to explode.

And that's the moment when she realises that he could be pretending to be calm, and that she needs help to figure out what's going on.

Later that night she arrives home late. Booth is drinking. He asks her why she's late, primed to see something to get angry at, but this is defused when she says she was meeting with Sweets the psychologist, asking him for help to learn what she should do. And she says so with "There's something wrong with me."

That was what made the episode for me. It was the recognition that Aspies get into trouble because we can tell (sometimes) that someone's upset, but not be able to tell what they're upset at, and we get caught when someone else tells us that things are "fine", we can't tell that that's a lie. And when we realise what's going on, it's us with the malfunctioning systems. It's our fault that the other person's upset, because if we were better at being functioning human beings, we would have been able to tell that they were upset, and figured out at what, and known how to fix it.

It was the look on Brennan's face when she realised how little she knew about what was going on around her, and how close she was to everything unravelling around her, and her largely oblivious. Because that's a feeling I've had myself.

Is this what it's like to relate to a character on TV?

"If we were on cable, we would have said from the beginning that Brennan has Asperger’s," Hanson says. "Instead, it being a network, we decided not to label a main character, for good or for bad. But those elements are in there."
catsidhe: (Gilgamesh)
I would like to find the person who thought that blocking all northbound traffic through the Haymarket Roundabout was an acceptable, let alone a good, idea, and ask the felching crack-smoking microcephalic deskbound project manager of an excuse for an anthropod exactly when he became a fucking brain donor.

And the same for every single person who didn't kill this stunningly fucking stupid idea stone dead as ridiculous on its face.
catsidhe: (Default)
Belle qui tiens ma vie, a pavane written by Thoinot Arbeau (a pseudonym for Jehan Tabourot) and published in Orchésographie in 1589.

The translation is my own, and any who know French better than I do (not difficult) are welcome, indeed, encouraged to submit corrections.

Belle qui tiens ma vieBeauty who holds my life
Captive dans tes yeux,Captive in your eyes.
Qui m'as l'ame ravieWho made my soul happy
D'un soubz-ris gracieux,With a gracious smile.
Viens tost me secourirCome soon to help me
Ou me fauldra mourir.Or I must surely die.
Pourquoy fuis tu mignardeWhy do you flee, dainty one
Si je suis pres de toy,If I am near to you
Quand tes yeulx je regardeWhen I look into your eyes
Je me perds dedans moyI lose myself within
Car tes perfectionsFor your perfections
Changent mes actions.Change my actions.
Tes beautéz et ta graceYour beauty and your grace
Et tes divins propos.And your divine words
Ont eschauffé la glaceAre hot ice
Qui me geloit les os,Which freezes my bones
Et ont remply mon cœurAnd have filled my heart
D'une amoureuse ardeur.With a loving heat
Mon ame souloit estreMy soul is wont to be
Libre de passions,Free of passions
Mais amour s'est faict maistreBut love is the true master
De mes affections,Of my affections
Et à mis soubs sa loyPut underneath its law
Et mon cœur et ma foy.Both my heart and my faith
Approche donc ma belleApproach then my lovely
Approche toy mon bien,Approach you, my dear
Ne me sois plus rebelleI will rebel no more
Puis que mon cœur est tien,Therefore my heart is yours
Pour mon mal appaiser,To ease my pain
Donne moy un baiser.Give me a kiss
Je meurs mon AngeletteI die, my little Angel
Je meurs en te baisant,I die as you kiss,
Ta bouche tant doucetteYour mouth so sweet
Va mon bien ravissantIt has ravished me well
A ce coup mes espritzTo blow my wits
Sont tous d'amour espris.They are all smitten by love
Plustost on verra l'OndeRather we see the Wave
Contre mont reculerAgainst the mountain break
Et plustost l'œil du mondeAnd rather the eye of the world
Cessera de brusler,Ceases to burn
Que l'amour qui m'époinctThat the love that stings me
Decroisse d'un seul poinct.Decreases from a single prick
catsidhe: (Gilgamesh)
Seriously, what the hell is wrong with BSM Remedy when the client, which is a glorified web page and must be accessed through a browser (although to be fair, the previous version's dedicated client was, in essence, a glorified and fundamentally broken web browser with pretentions of adequacy), uses almost as much memory as an entire running VMware instance of WinXP?

BSM Remedy: levelling the playing field by making simple jobs as hard to do as complicated ones, and complicated ones impossible.

BSM Remedy: because the person designing the system has no idea what you do, and it shows.

BSM Remedy: because there's nothing like an ITIL-compliant job tracking tool; and this is, indeed, nothing like one.

BSM Remedy: because if the person who designed your implementation knew what they were doing, they'd be doing something important instead of designing your implementation.

BSM Remedy: management hates you and wants you to suffer.


Sep. 10th, 2012 01:45 pm
catsidhe: (unhappy)
And mention BSM Remedy or the "smart" url completion algorithms of Chrome or Firefox at the risk of sending me completely over the edge into a snarling weeping fit of frustration and rage.

I'm holding onto control by my badly manicured fingernails as it is.
catsidhe: (unhappy)
Do not ask me any questions. Do not engage me in conversation, unless you wish it to be very short and the last word being "... off." Do not talk to me. Do not look at me. Do not wave your hand in front of my face unless you do not want to keep it. Do not touch me. Do not stand in my way. Do not walk very slowly in my way. Do not step into my way. Just generally get the hell away from me. Do not talk loudly or make noises, especially sudden ones. Do not ask "what's wrong", because the answer would be "everything", if I were capable of speaking it. Do not set me a task for anything requiring any sort of planning of presence of mind. Do not request anything requiring patience or calm.

Just ... don't.
catsidhe: (Gilgamesh)
What the politician said:
"Fines such as these for publishing blatant untruths or misleading news reports, or temporary suspensions of the right to publish or broadcast, would lead to a major improvement in the accuracy and fairness of our media."
(My emphasis.)

Which seems clear enough: if you lie, if you say something blatantly untrue, if you make shit up or don't bother checking, then you should be punished for it. That's not "Oops, we spelled this witness' name wrong", or "we were honestly misinformed," that's talking about Andrew Bolt-ian levels of disingenuity and agitprop.

How was this reported?

MP wants journalists fined for mistakes.


But thank you, nameless ABC journo, for proving his point. I have no doubt all the other sources will be similarly misquoting and mischaracterising Steve Gibbons MP from now on in, and squealing that they're the aggrieved parties the whole time they're shamelessly pretending he said something he didn't.
catsidhe: (Default)
Wordpress comment spam I found today:
Ripe install yet , I was wanting to copulate if you could correspond a litte solon on this substance? I’d be rattling thankful if you could clarify a small bit statesman. Impart you!

I think "I'd be rattling thankful" will have to enter my vocabulary.
catsidhe: (Default)
Dear Mr Harvey, the board and management of Harvey Norman, and whichever Oxygen Thief Advertising company who thought this was a good idea,

On behalf of Computer Professionals everywhere, may I invite you all to go fuck yourselves.

No love,



catsidhe: (Default)
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