*Whew*

Got my computer fixed. It was only gone for a few days, and I backed up my docs and music and pix and extra programs before taking it in, but as I anticipated, it came back with a fresh OS installed. So I had to sort through the shiny new programs and adjust all of my setting preferences, and decide which files I really need to dump back on. After three days of paranoia and considerable annoyance, I found where I had backed up my 200+ bookmarks some three months ago *whew!* Imported calendar data into different program and got to two appointments okay *double-whew!* Finished job app. Got class reports turned in on time.

I feel like I’m making progress, but considering that my Things To Do list never gets any shorter, I might just be walking the wrong direction on a “slidewalk” (moving walkway). But omigosh, I will actually be able to get some blogging done again!

But not soon; I’m tired, and then there’s tutoring and a bunch of errands and an exam to sit and grocery shopping and probably several other things that aren’t coming to mind at the moment, that need to get done first.

On the other hand, I did find a Minuscule that I had not seen before, and I’m going to assume that everyone else is likewise “up to their ass in alligators” and also needing some fun. So kick back and enjoy the surprise ending!

“L’attaque de la sucette rose”

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“Danger Will Robinson, Danger!”

Sigh.  My laptop is in the shop.  So, cannot share new insect pix, and am working through convoluted annoyances getting classwork and job apps done.  Meanwhile, I was stuck waiting for someone …

Uh-oh, I discovered the fab crafts at Etsy, and there are more insect-themed prints-clothes-jewelry-et cetera than you can shake a stick at.  I don’t mean just the usual kitschy hair-clips, stuffed animals, aprons and tee shirts; they also have very nice cufflinks, neckties, beaded chain mail, steampunk type stuff, capacitor insects, necklaces made of resistors

I don’t need any coasters.  But dang! You gotta love someone who not only crafts nice things, but also is so literate:  “Karl von Frisch Coasters” found at theseawithin’s shop. (Karl von Frisch was the ethologist who deciphered the honeybees’ waggle dance.)

Wow.  Geek out to your heart’s content; I have reports to write.

 

 

Talking to Strangers

So, the Kid is easing into classes at the local community college, with plans for taking the fall semester part-time and working. The inevitable What-To-Take? question came up, with the idea being that a couple of classes should be general-education requirements, and the third something personally interesting. Well, I said, you should see what courses are required for an Associate’s Degree. (A 2-year general education diploma, which can transfer to a four-year degree elsewhere).

This is all well and fine, and various categorical listings are perused until realisation set in: some kind of Oral Communications credit is needed, such as Interpersonal Communications or Public Speaking classes. Oh noes!

Why do I have to have a speaking class? complained the Kid.

To be sure, many people dread taking their college Public Speaking class. Psychologists tell us that a dread of speaking to large groups of strangers is common, right up there with a fears of heights, spiders, or thunderstorms. Then again, the average citizen did not have a preliminary diagnosis of Social Phobia.

I remembered the teacher’s comments on the Kid’s earlier oral presentations in school: Need to make eye contact. Remember to speak up. Use gestures, interact with the audience. Those comments had stuck in my mind, as about that time in history I was beginning to put things together and wonder if my own kid didn’t have a bit of Asperger’s. Sure, there was eye contact with family and the couple friends. But the general hanging quietly around the edges of large family gatherings was long ingrained, and by secondary school the strong reticence for striking up conversations with strangers or for joining school or civic clubs, was both inhibiting and inhibited by social interaction.

I also remembered these same types of comments on my own class presentation grade sheets, back when I was in primary and secondary school. I offered up some personal history, I remember taking Public Speaking when I was just a clerk, and I could not imagine when I would ever have to give a talk, much less who I would give it to, or what I would talk about. Of course, I have since given presentations to groups of hundreds, and been doing public speaking for over 15 years. Life has a way of zig-zagging and putting one in unexpected situations, where any previous skills may suddenly be useful.

But teens don’t find such parent comments to be useful; they’re always stories from Long Ago And Far Away, and have no conceivable bearing on the teen’s own future life. Such are the limitations of teen perceptions of both personal histories and of the possibilities of Life in general.

The Kid looked through the rest of the general education requirements, and under the Social Sciences section, came up with an introductory course in Economics. (I had always considered Econ to be within the realm of Maths, but I wasn’t the one making these lists up.) Econ was full of equations and would be easier for the Kid to digest conceptually than all those inscrutable sociological subjects. Okay, I replied, Econ is good; it will transfer anywhere. And for the personal interest course?

The introductory computer game design class, came the answer.

Of course; silly question. What else has the Kid been focused on for years now, but all flavors of card and video and online gaming, including working up the algorithms, character weightings, and testing of a home-made card game.

Then I had a brain-flash, You know, if you’re taking this class, why don’t you see what Associates degree program it goes with? You don’t have to do the whole program — you can try it and see if that’s what you want. But it would make sense to see what the requirements are for the program, so you don’t take stuff that doesn’t work toward it.

This made sense; who wants to take extra classes they don’t need? We noodled around and found the program, and looked over the requirements, noting that this class was one of the prerequisites necessary before even applying for the program, and —

OH! Hey, look! I pointed out to the Kid — There are no oral communication course requirements!

Someone out there realised that geeks are not going to want to take such classes, and found other courses more suitable to their future careers. Oh, happy day! Further examination of the requirements meant dropping and adding various classes, until a workable combination of time slots and still-open sessions was created. We also toured the bookstore to see how bad the damage to the pocketbook would be, and were delighted to find that the three classes would require no more than $100 of books, which is about half of what most courses require. At last, the Kid had enrolled in classes for the fall semester, and even found a career goal to try out.

And a class in Public Speaking is not even required.

I need better sleep:

I microwaved a bowl of salad.

EF4 and FI9

Blogging has been interrupted of late due to job search and classwork. In contrast, the number of blog post ideas continue to grow …

My daughter came up with the Force of Irony in her stories, as an actual force of nature that causes things to happen. In turn, I came up with the idea that the Force of Irony can be detected by with an Irony Compass equipped with a needle of Absurdium.

The recent spate of stories about severe thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes and flooding have filled newspaper headlines. There are also record numbers of tornadoes this year; over 1500 have been reported in this first half a year, and last year there were only 1093. Meteorologists will be debated causal hypotheses for a while yet (including the inevitable dog-wagging tail of, “record-setting events are caused by keeping records”).

But this particular newsbit caught my eye: over in Manhattan, Kansas, there was a tornado last Wednesday. By various news accounts, it left a swath of destruction a mile long and half a block wide (in the typical Midwestern tornado track from southwest to northeast –– map and pix 1, pix 2). Judging by the damage and meteorological records, it was an EF4 scale twister, which is very heavy, indeed. The best operative adjective is demolished.

Kansas State University took over $20 million in damages to several of their Halls. The uni president, Jon Wefald, stated,

… the university’s insurance policy carries a $5 million deductible, requiring it to pick up one-quarter of the estimated damage. He said the university had recently renegotiated that deductible down to $100,000, but the change would not take effect until July 1.

Ouch! That just hurts. Sadly, compassion fatigue sets in as this sort of news is repeated in a number of cities and states. (Cue reminder to share with your favorite charity.)

But this particular datum ranks a 9 on the Force of Irony scale: the Wind Erosion Laboratory was completely demolished

Not so fearsome now, eh?

Remembering to Remember to Remember to …

I went and drew the bath. When the tub was full, I took off my pyjama top, and realised that I had forgotten my towel.

I fetched the towel and then realised that I meant to mow first before bathing.

Shut the bathroom door to keep the heat in, I went and changed into gardening clothes. Unplugged the mower from the charger, got one strip done, and then realised that I had forgotten to put on the bag — I wanted to bag the grass clippings to use them for mulching the vegetable garden.

Fetched the bag and put it on the mower. Mowed several strips, enough to have filled the bag, and then found out that I had forgotten to remove the chute block that lets the grass into the bag.

At this point, I realised there was a trend: I kept forgetting things, including the planning-ahead bits. Oh, yeah — I forgot to take my medicine this morning, including my ADHD med.

Usually I try to put my pillbox atop my MacBook when I go to bed, to remind myself the next morning to take my medicine promptly.

But that requires remembering.

Horrid day for a migraine. Could have been worse.

Yesterday: it is very sunny, so bright the out of doors looks like over-exposed photos, all contrasty lights and darks and washed-out colors; even the trees were flickering masses of surface brilliancy against their internal heavy gloom. The previous night’s storms guaranteed humidity and muddy passage, and the tailwinds still rattle across the landscape, scratching the yet-unpruned peach tree branches against the outer wall of my bedroom. A few houses away, there is the repeated doppler roar of someone taking advantage of the clear skies to catch up on overdue mowing.

Cradled between layers of pillows, with the sheet and cotton quilt and heavy wool blanket pulled up to my ears, I lay stiffly. Mostly still asleep and not even close to the stage of stretching groggily or opening my eyes, my conscious awareness surfaces uncertainly through layers of internal sensory checks, transversing clouds of anxious, nonsensical dreams with endlessly repeating plot-less terrors.

For some reason I could not yet fathom, the usual morning physiological data-gathering was running very slowly, as though entire sections of my brain either could not communicate or were withholding information. At times like this, I am highly uneven, having some high cognitive functions but lacking other more basic ones. Pieces of random information drift by, sometimes contained in the phonemes of words that repeat like the short loop of an advertising jingle, but slide away without having been decoded for any meaning. I become briefly aware of just one or two sensory indicators of the outside world: water running through the sink downstairs, or the crackling of a cat’s jaw as it yawns so wide the ears fold backwards.

The mental sticky-notes I told myself at bedtime flutter by intermittently, “I need to get up early to take the bags of brush down to the curb before the truck comes by,” and “I still need to do a prelab and upload it before 11:59 pm,” and “I need to finish that cover letter for the job app,” and “The cable repair person may be here at 8:00 am,” and “I need to drive my daughter back to her college town.” Things to do, people to be, and most of all, irrevocable externally-imposed deadlines to meet. The bad part is, were this a Saturday, this could be much worse.

Slowly the information collects, like tiles of satellite photos that must reach critical mass for the terrain to be understood. One points out that I did yard work yesterday, several short jaunts out to pull weeds from the vegetable patch and to bag the pile of brush. This means I will be achier today, and the stiffness will require me to move about more carefully for a few hours. I should not plan on doing any heavy work today.

But I don’t yet stretch to test my joints, as the recalcitrant parts of my brain yield the messages previously withheld: my head hurts, a pain so large it has expanded beyond my brain case to my eyes, my ears, my nose, my jaw … Read the rest of this entry »

Being “Up front”

(You can make your own posters at despair.com)

Bits and Pieces

I’ll never earn a Good Blogkeeping Seal of Approval* if I don’t get around to mentioning these diverse pieces of news!

I am remiss in mentioning Greg Williams’ wonderful cartooning work; he does a weekly piece called “Blogjam” for the Tampa Tribune (Florida newspaper), where he illustrates people’s stories as described in their blogs. Recently he did one based up my prosopagnosia page, “I’m Strange, You’re A Stranger”.

There are updates on my Hypermobility page for the curious, including handy-dandy medical information links for those who “Need more input!” (An “Ooh, shiny!” for whomever can name that movie reference?)

The latest Circus of the Spineless is up at the Seeds Aside — my antennae are all a-quiver with excitement. Such great reading for wasting time relaxing after a long day’s work, especially if you are also “feeling sluggish” like some of us.

My mum used to tell the tale that as a mere tot I tried to check out (shoplift) a book of dirty limericks. Of course, everyone assumed that I couldn’t read them … those limericks came back to haunt me when Akusai produced the 87th Skeptic’s Circle: Dirty Limericks Edition.

And just for fun, the connection with Asperger’s has been made before, but A. A. Gill does it best of all.

* No, I don’t think there really is a GBSoA — and I certainly wouldn’t apply for a housekeeping seal with the amount of clutter everywhere from these three dozen ongoing projects!

School “Discipline”?

(Coffee-spew warning;
swallow beverage before reading.)

I’ve been mulling over this post for a while now, and then several things reached critical mass, including a comment by a tutee, the recent post on Alex Barton (“Mend the Link”), and some internet articles listing “common questions asked in teacher interviews”.

Oh, plus this wayfinding sign displayed on the end of a “stack” at a library. The numbers of course refer to the Dewey Decimal subject classification. I like to think that whomever printed up the sign appreciated the ten-tonne irony; I also wonder just how many people actually notice it.

(Post continues below picture)

Apparently one of those common teacher-interview questions runs along the lines of, “How do you maintain classroom discipline?”

Wow. That sort of phrasing gives me flashbacks of Read the rest of this entry »

“Do Children In Scotland Have A Right To”

I’m off to the tub to soak off the gardening grime and cogitate upon my next posting. But meanwhile, here’s the next installment of Weird Search Terms (WST), absurd poems created from those curious search-engine queries that have landed people to my blog.

WST May cause drowsiness. Alcohol may intensify this effect. Use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery. Avoid direct sunlight.

  • mr escher
  • i am doing a research paper on arthritis
  • butterfly mudbath
  • what type of math problem would a person
  • number asperger agent
  • prove that you’re not the same
  • “red queen” recent research 2008 2007
  • safe ways to inflict pain for fun
  • it was good sitting with you
  • please dont say a word
  • why do i suffer. i do not get stimulas?