Sunday, December 12, 2010


Well, so much has happened recently, I don't really know where to start. W made it to Logan ok and I'll be starting classes in January. Talesin is getting more fun each day, always learning new things, like how he can grab my fingers and navigate them into his mouth where we spend some good quality time with him exercizing his jaw muscels. The new job has been doing ok I guess. I just got out of the transition period following training and get to learn things like which computers are broken but not labeled as broken waiting for the sucker new guy to be stupid enough to use them. In a lot of ways I liked the old job more. The old job 90% of the policies are national, so one persons account will work more or less like the next. This job the policies are 90% local, so the accounts all work very different from eachother and you just kind of have to get used to them all one at a time. Even how the information is organized for each region is different. So searching one region for the words pay bill might come up with a different set of info than the next region, and depending on your luck you might not even find what you were looking for.

I also liked the old job attitude that you had to guarantee that everything worke
Or followup until it does work. The new job, the attitude is it will probably work, if it doesn't they can call back, and anything you can possibly dump on another department do so because all calls are supposed to be over within 375 seconds on average to get full quality bonuses on the paycheck. I think my main complaint is that I've been working such late hours I have trouble getting time in for family.

BJ and I are being predictably slow to integrate into the new ward. Someone we met in the ward told us it normally takes about two years for the ward to get to know someone. Combine that with my normal social struggles and you can imagine nothing much is happening socially for me.

Unfortunately, we won't be getting out to MD this year for Christmas. Money is tight and flying is expensive. So we'll be staying in UT this year.

I've neen reading lots still. I just finished Rick Riordin's last olympions book "The Lost Hero" and got through Diane Duane's "So you Want to be a Wizard". Both great reads.

One way or another life continues. I'm not certain how I'll manage homework and Talesin at the same time since I've just been learning to cook dinner and hold him simultaneously, but somehow we'll manage.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

USU here I come

So, update on college status.  I was accepted by all three schools I applied to, and have chosen to go to USU.  Their program for what I wanted seemed more along the lines of what I wanted, so I'm doing it.  I've chosen Conservation Ecology for a starting major.  We are working on moving as soon as we can manage, or maybe earlier, your pick.  It's times like these I wonder how many books we really need.  I think I counted in excess of 13 boxes full of books.  We spent several days just packing those up and doing nothing else packing wise.

This means transferring between work places.  That's been an experience and a half before even doing it.  So my HR department keeps contradicting itself about how benefits transfer.  Not that I'm not fairly certain I know which ones are making it up based on a lot of assumed information that isn't true and which ones actually know, but its kind of scary none the less.  Also, my experience so far is that one moment I'm told a training class is available for me to join, the next moment the training has been canceled, the next moment it is available again.  Oh, and bouncing back and forth between being told that my application will be handled through a backdoor process vs being told that I can only get in if I do things in the traditional by the book method.  Annoying describes it fairly well.  Hopefully everything will go smoothly once the rubber hits the road at all of its 10 MPG glory (which is the advertised mileage rate for our rental moving truck), but I think I can expect a few bumps in the road.

I'm also not looking forwards to a new training class.  The last time I went through training I had a class that acted like a bunch of 3rd graders.  The kind of thing like people hitting the teacher in the head with a paper airplane during class etc.  And that was pure hell for me trying to work through.  So hopefully there will be a more disciplined approach to managing the classroom once I get to the new site.  If not, hopefully I can duplicate my social success from the last time.  I think it was the first time in my life that I took a group social setting and intentionally changed peoples attitudes towards me so that general behavior wasn't so antagonistic.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Skousen and GWC

I recall once hearing a professor of mine describe Skousen's technique for describing the world as reducing the incredibly complex to the amazingly simple.  Perhaps that's a good summary, perhaps not.  One way or another, select readings on Skousen used to be part of the core freshman curriculum at GWC.  If you hadn't memorized his list of principles from his book, chances are you had never been a student there.

The first time I read his book the 2000 year leap I loved its simple clear cut seemingly scriptural based claims.  You could solve almost any policy discussion by quickly hacking away the reality and reducing it down to how it fit into a couple of neat tidily packaged ideas.

When I read him again for my graduation exam, I hated him with a passion.  As I re-memorized his words, I found myself unable to concentrate because I kept breaking off into arguments with him about how he was so wrong.  Utterly, completely, and insanely wrong.  I think my wife had to remind me many times that I wasn't trying to agree with him, just memorize him so that if they asked me what principle number 14 was I could spout it off.  Luckily, I'm a fairly good crunch time memorizer.

So when I was looking at  their website today and reviewing the curriculum, I found to my delight they have removed Skousen from the curriculum.  I'm not certain how they did that without me hearing about it, but somehow they managed.  I guess they decided spending more time actually studying classical texts and papers by important political founders was more important than Skousen.  Maybe this has something to do with changing the president of the school a couple of times.  The entire curriculum looks better than I recall it being when I went through it.  Maybe the school is going places after all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Forums... and rambling

On the days when I want to try to reach out to other people and connect some, it often seems it would be easier to do so on web forums that in real life.  In real life I have to sort out who I actually want to interact with in a fairly short amount of time.  And most of my personal interactions happen at work.  Ok, this probably sounds silly, but I really struggle with finding acceptable ways to spend time doing non work while I'm at work.  I mean, if I'm spending any significant amount of time on a social interaction instead of working I feel like I'm cheating my employer of my time.  Its hard to find ways to do both at once, especially when, well, my work is isolated and it typically involves talking to someone over the phone.

Sometimes I wonder whether the ICU team was a mistake on my part.  Yes, being in this position allowed me to take some classes that really moved things forwards for me in life.  Yes, it was a raise in pay.  But at the same time its meant not being able to attend most any church social events because for some reason the ward likes holding them on weekdays or Fridays in the evening, and I work Mon-Fri in the evening.  Also, the team I was on before was a close knit group.  Not everything was perfect about it but the members of the team at least interacted regularly.  The ICU team typically has only one member active at any particular time.  Sure, I have a backup person who I could fall back on if things got too intense, but that's a total of one person on my team I can normally socialize with throughout most of my day.  I could always join the chat room for the PM commitment team, but I've just never felt that I fit in.  Dominant interactions include making fun of your customers, other agents who bring you work to do, and each other.  And I'm sorry but I just have trouble interacting in that mode.  It's just like how I could never learn to play-fight growing up.  If I'm going to hit someone, I'm going to do it because I'm hoping to injure them, not because I want a mock contest of strength to help arrange the macho stratification of a social group.  Similarly, I have a really hard time making fun of someone unless I am really out and out trying to mock and crush them.  IE, I have to have lost my temper.  And I hate losing my temper or treating someone in a low manner.  To me if I act that way that's a message to me that I'm a low life who isn't ready to be live as an adult.  I think to many people, making fun is a way of analyzing each other for the likelyhood of tolerance to when you might actually mistakenly hurt their feelings and also a way of defining yourself in your social stratification/network.  IE, make fun of our customers to establish ourselves as superior intelligence to them, make fun of other agents to mutually agree upon how our team is better than their team, and make fun of each other to try to establish who has emotional, technical, and social dominance in the group.  Flatly not much of that makes any sense to me, but I think that's what they are actually doing.  About the only way of doing that that ever made sense to me was arguing over political philosophy to establish how intelligent I actually was in comparison with others and also to exercise my mind.  And yes, Andy you were a wonderful debating partner.

In any case, I don't fit in with the PM shift of my old team.  And due to a fluke of chance of how things were situation when I was training and other things, I sit by myself in one of the most isolated spots in the call center.  Its so nice that way that a bunch of admin chose to sit in the same area to take advantage of the peace and quiet I found for myself back there.  And I'm not on buddy buddy terms with my operations manager or sales trainer so that doesn't help the social isolation part.

So back to forums.  I used to invest a large part of my socializing into online forum discussions.  About the same time I got engaged, my favorite forum started to die a slow and horrible death and most of the frequent participants were driven away by the change in atmosphere.  It's since been deleted so you won't find the things I said there anymore.  Since then I've never been able to bring myself to more than just lurk on a forum.  I mean sure, I'll check out spiderweb's forum if I want a hint on how to complete a game and I'll browse through another forum or two from time to time if I need to browse through other people's experience for some practical ideas.  But in general I just have lost interest in forums.  I think I just can't bring to bear any feeling of commitment to the social environment, don't care about what people are talking about anymore.  So I mostly just comment on blogs now and then.  Hopefully the changes that are pending in my life right now will help shift things around for me some.  If I don't die of change anxiety first :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bartimeus Trilogy

A few days ago I finished off the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. Not a masterpiece or anything super profound, but it was a well done entertaining piece of work and the audiobook versions worked very well. So I'll have to find somethingn else to listen to at work for a while. Definitely worth looking at for anyone in the mood for a laugh.

Self therapy, Eye Contact, and Memories

So I've been feeling recently that it was time for me to pursue a certain self therapy product that I had heard about a long time ago in one of my collection of Asperger Syndrome literature.  I had avoided it for some time because, one, I don't typically have $120 to shell out, two, I don't typically have the time to use such a thing, and three, when I very seriously looked at it before I noticed the study they had backing up the product had, well, less than stellar results.  That needs clarification before I go on.  They managed to produce very powerful effects with a group spending only a modest amount of time with the program, but those effects were only strong in arbitrary testing environments.  Once the study participants were measured in environments more closely approximating reality, the effects were much smaller.  It's no silver bullet, but looks like it can help provide a good foundational level of support for gaining another skill set- that being emotion reading.  I've gotten a lot better at that over the last year or so that I've noticed, so I'm hoping that giving it an intentional push in the right direction might actually have a better chance at later translating into continued progress.  And most of the alternative methods I've heard about involve spending a lot of time staring at stranger's faces and pondering what you see there.  Not that I'm saying that's a bad idea, but there are several problems with it.  One, since my gaze pattern isn't exactly "natural" people will probably very much feel I was staring at them in ways that make them uncomfortable.  Two, looking at people's faces isn't always comfortable in that I sometimes find it hard to concentrate on what they are saying or on other things if I'm looking at them.  If I'm stressed or working hard at something, I'm likely to look away.  Three, eye contact invites social interaction.  I'm not always prepared to enter social interaction at will or spontaneously.  So typically as I walk around I avoid eye contact so that I can avoid the effort of trying to calculate exactly what factors would play into how I should perform in a certain setting.

Think of it this way.  My brain power is like a grain grinder and the things I have to think about are like the grain being dropped into the hopper at the top.  If too much gets thrown at it at once, it has to be ground faster and faster until the grain isn't spending much time in the grinder and coming out the other side looking more like cream of wheat than flour and if you try to make bread with it, something bad is going to happen. If this continues long enough, the entire thing might just overflow and need to be shut down for a time while the mess is cleaned up.  For most people, I think the grain doesn't start to get tossed into the hopper at the top until they really choose to have the conversation, based on a bunch of submental emotional and physical reactions in their body conditioned by previous thinking and experiences.  For me, the grain starts flowing into the hopper as soon as I invite the possibility of the social interaction.  So say I walk down a hallway and make eye contact with 15 people.  That's 15 people I have to take into account what I know about them from the past and any indicators that they are projecting in the present that may be different from the past, form an opinion about them and the situation they present in, formulate how any of that has anything to do with me, what might likely be an appropriate list of responses to the lists of things they might possibly say, and then choose which of a list of things might be an appropriate one with which to initiate reaction.  Granted some of this can be short cut by various scripts such as "the weather is quite ____ today," or "I think that is a different ____ you are wearing today," or "so what did you think of the recent _____?" but I have to think about it to choose one of those to say.  Having a significant history of a working relationship with the person helps because then it is already established which scripts go to which person.

Coming back to the point, if I'm going to spend a lot of time staring at people's faces trying to decode the messages there, I'd better not be doing much else, because thinking about people's facial coding and preprocessing the possible interactions that might follow is actually mental work for me.  So, not the sort of thing you do in the grocery story while you are trying to get the shopping done quickly.

So I've ordered the product since I found it for a really really good price.

But that seems to be triggering an unexpected mental cascade.  I don't think anybody really likes focusing a lot of mental effort dwelling on things they are not good at, which is what I'm proposing to do by planning on using this software.  To make it worse, I think most of the therapy or self improvement situations I've had in life regarding my AS were associated with something bad.  In elementary school when the counselor identified that I had a theory of mind problem and proposed to work on it by having me read alternative perspective children's books, I had firmly in mind how stupid the stories were from my perspective, since they weren't doing the story right, how embarrassing it was to be judged as inferior by the school counselor, and a feeling that somewhere along the lines I was being undervalued.  Fast forward to the future, missionary service is shown as an opportunity only if I agree to participate in improvised therapy that was going to be performed by volunteers who had no training, background, or even basic understanding of the actual nature of what they were dealing with from beforehand.  Much of it seemed to devolve into intentionally stressing me out to see how I reacted under strain.  How much I learned or not isn't relevant to my later emotional feelings about therapy.  I failed to be accepted for service.  Fast forward some more.  Not worn out enough by that experience, I sign up for a door to door selling job, not because I think I'll be any good at it but because I think its a great learning opportunity.  Regardless of how much I actually learned or what developmental experiences I had along the way,  I give it my best shot, end up broke and have to have my parents loan me money to get myself back home, fail to have money to pay for our wedding rings, and put the starting year of my marriage in financial distress because we're stuck paying for a car that I couldn't manage to sell because, well, I think I've covered the subject of my natural salesman abilities well enough.

Honestly, I need to do this sort of thing in a setting where not succeeding doesn't mean risk of social humiliation or serious financial penalties.  Doing it that way makes the risk to my self esteem and self confidence drastically worse.

So now I'm at it again.  Can't stop prodding myself with that self-help stick.  This time the only thing at risk is the about $57 for the program, which, to give it a fair hearing, was recommended in a book by a very prominent expert, and whatever time I feel inclined to spend on it.  But even though I think it is the right thing to do, that doesn't mean that I don't have a bunch of negative emotions tied to the subject of trying to do anything about it.  Hopefully this will break that cycle somewhat and I can begin to focus on learning without putting some sort of larger success failure thing in the balance.  I really hope this works.

And because I couldn't resist, here's a funny Dilbert.

In case the link eventually breaks, transcript: Boss: I signed you up for a class to try and get rid of that thing you have.
Dilbert: What thing?
Boss: The thing. You know. The thing that makes you the way you are.
Dilbert: My personality?
Boss: Exactly. But we call it communication skills because it sounds less rude.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My almost Lesson

So now that the strengthening marriage class is over we've been moved to teaching a genealogy class.  Granted, this is an area where I have little to no expertise.  But that doesn't stop me from plunging headlong into the work.  I've already identified a few people who weren't listed in the family tree before.  Anyways, I spent a ton of time and effort trying to get ready so that from a personal knowledge perspective, a technical perspective, and a what am I going to say when perspective I'll be ready to present.  I stayed up till about 1 in the morning preparing the night before.  Then I show up at the church with a backpack filled with lesson papers, a subwoofer, and a laptop along with a duffel filled with scrap books, lesson manuals, camera, satellite speakers, and photos of grandparents along with a camera tripod slung over my shoulder.  Yes, I walked to church and yes it was Fast Sunday, call me crazy.  In any case, I'm wandering around the building 15 minutes early trying to get a member of the Bishopric to tell me what the wi-fi password for the building is so I can demo the new family search website for everybody and he tells me that last minute the stake decided to interrupt our regularly scheduled classes that day so they could send in somebody to do a lesson on missionary work.  I was supposed to be informed beforehand, but the person they told to tell me about it was out of town and not checking his voice mail or something.

Fun fun fun, I love it when communication works really well.  To be fair the person who was supposed to tell me was trying to be helpful and was also hauling in his own pair of computer speakers and laptop setup just in case I didn't have anything that would work.

So I suppose you were dying to ask by this point, what was with all the tech stuff I was hauling in?  Well, this class is supposed to have access to a projector so that the way the familysearch website works can be seen by the whole class despite not having computers for everyone in the room.  But the previous teachers for the class tried to find it in the library and it wasn't there.  But telling everybody to just strain their eyes to look at my computer screen from half the way across the room wasn't going to work.  So, I was planning on having the camera on the tripod aimed at my computer screen.  The camera can be wired to display what it sees on a TV screen with standard video ports.  I then could zoom what I was looking at on my computer screen to show it in large view on the TV.  Oh, and the class included video clips from a disk that is so scratched that the church DVD player doesn't recognize it when its inserted so I was going to have to play that on the laptop as well, projected onto the TV in a similar manner as just described.  But my laptop wasn't designed to project sound to a whole classroom, so I was bringing along my altec lansing computer speakers which happen to include a sub woofer along with so that everybody could hear.

End of story my lesson is delayed for three weeks to accommodate the lesson on missionary work, stake conference, and general conference.  But I now have the wifi password, have the ward clerk ready to bring everyone's records to class so they can login to the appropriate website,  and have brought the Bishopric's attention on to the fact that I have no idea where they keep the projector hidden.  Plus my lesson is all written. 

Flu Shot

I've got the sore arm today.  Luckily I don't do any real manual labor at work so that doesn't really matter.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

College status

Ok, so the final requirement for applying for schools is done.  The school at the bottom of my list already mailed back to tell me I was accepted.  The one on the top of my list still says they are waiting for proof that I actually home schooled instead of taking extended naps for a couple of years.  School in the middle is the one I just finished the final step for today, so no possible way they could have responded yet.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I felt this just deserved attention:

Take a look, it speaks for itself.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

GWC... and moving on

I've been meaning to post a review of my experience at George Wythe for some time, but can't quite bring myself to do it yet.  My decisions to attend, to keep attending, and to pursue certain life paths following it involve a lot of private contemplation, inspiration from charismatic teachers, and simple growing that I don't like to talk about because my experience has been that not everybody respects my readiness to make my own decisions in life or even respect whether I properly understand myself and my own wishes.

To boil down my experience at George Wythe down to a nutshell, I'd say this.  If you feel prompted by the Spirit that you are supposed to attend, don't miss the opportunity of a lifetime.  If you didn't feel that prompting, stay away unless you have your basic course in life plotted out and can afford to spend a lot of luxury time in personal development.  Anything I'd say about whether certain things the school has done may never really be of any value to anyone else, because the school is constantly changing and tinkering with itself.  One school year a certain course might be taught effectively, another year that same class might be a total joke.  So I could spend a lot of time criticizing or praising certain things and a current student might think I attended a completely different school than they are in.

I'm in part reluctant to criticize an institution that has brought me so much personal growth.  I attribute my ability to understand the basic ebb and flow of group discussions primarily to unique education experiences I don't believe I would have had elsewhere.  I attribute my widening vision of the world from a very narrow minded foolish and angry outlook to a much broader, accepting, and much more careful outlook to experiences I had at that school.  Some of those I could possibly have gotten elsewhere, but I don't think so.  A normal school experience is probably too specialized to have rewritten the broad swath of my understanding of society.  It probably could have fixed several areas of my understanding, but not the whole thing.  I remember feeling like I had woken up, being intensely embarrassed by my past strong opinions, and wondering if I had really known much of anything before I came.  It's a mind expanding experience.  There's no other way around it.  Its hard to explain the differences because they are so vast.  For example, my entire view of sexuality's role in history had to be thrown out and replaced with something more accurate.  My entire viewpoint of the legal mechanics of freedom of religion was thrown out.  My entire viewpoint of property rights had to be rewritten (it used unconsciously hold as an axiom that actions regarding property were inherently distinct from the property and actions of others with only a few exceptions that didn't really exist enough to be worth taking into consideration).  And that's just a sampling and doesn't mention my understanding of modern biology, economic policy, judicial practice, cultural and identity diversity, global politics,... and I could go on if I thought about it long enough.

Criticizing the problems is different.  Problems are easy to mention because they are concrete and distinct.  There were just so many of those moments.  Like when a professor suggested that we might achieve a unified field theory faster if we rewrote the number theory based on the equation 1=600.  Or when someone else boldly suggested that Hebrew was the Adamic language.  Or when someone suggested that a bizzare grouping of 13 century writings should be considered almost like cannon scripture and came up with breath taking conspiracy theories explaining why so much of those writings were so easily dismissed by any modern examination.  Or when it was suggested that we were on the verge (or at least should be trying to be on the verge) of a number theory revolution that would remove the arbitrary symbol based limitations of numbers and replace it with a numbering system that wasn't separate or apart from reality.  Or that since the modern scientific method of evidence based observation was really simply the religious conclusions of a whole bunch of people without authority then there was no reason that we shouldn't rewrite the religious premises of the science and come up with practical scientific conclusions more or less directly on revelation.  Uncertain about where Heisenberg's nasty little particle has gotten off to or how fast its going?  Just pray about it...  Ok that one is a slight exaggeration, nobody actually suggested the uncertainty principle was untrue or could be replaced by revelation, but that would be a good example of applying the proposed system.

So lets just say that when I was first at the school I was enamored by the idea of transmitting the mind evolving paradigm shifts that I experienced at the school to others and I wanted to teach at GWC or a similar school.  Anyone who has known me for long enough knows that I can be fairly good at delivering an impassioned lecture on a subject I feel deeply about, and I felt this was a good way to put that talent to use.  Later as I had to spend more and more time on the parts of the school that I didn't like, I realized more thoroughly that for every amazing wonderful thing that happened at the school, there were plenty of crazy things that happened that just left me embarrassed and wishing I wasn't affiliated with these people.  Eventually I decided I wouldn't really be happy being at the school in an official capacity.  Glad I went there?  Yes in many ways.  Ready to spend my life there?  No.

So, when Bonnie Jean came up with the idea of seminary teaching as a career option for me, that seemed like a perfect mix.  Bear impassioned testimony on subjects I feel deeply about, get to spend time studying scripture, and change peoples lives for the better.  But I miscommunicated with the teacher who ran the seminary training program and it turns out that my GWU degree means nothing to them.  Am I disappointed?  Yes.  Am I deeply shaken and shocked?  No, I'm not even surprised.  Its an experience somewhat like finding out I wasn't qualified for missionary service because of Asperger Syndrome except on a much smaller scale.  I had felt prompted that I should pursue doing it and that with the help of God I could accomplish it, but I had also felt spiritual promptings in advance of it becoming official or even before I was supposed to know that somehow it wasn't going to work out.  So when it doesn't work out my reaction isn't deep disappointment or anger, its just relief that I'm accomplishing one more step along the path I'm supposed to follow.  And I have to remind myself that what I'm becoming during this process of life may mean more to God than my immediate success at achieving any particular goal.  I seem to get a lot of those experiences, and I have to be careful because my self confidence and self esteem is sometimes a delicately crafted and balanced ornament rather than a deeply rooted part of myself.

So, its time to move on.  I've always felt that career wise God has been trying to give me my choice on the matter.  After so many years doing the George Wythe experience, I've gotten out of the habit of thinking about what I would like because I've been focused on trying to figure out how I could make the biggest impact on the lives of those around me and figure out how to do so in a professional capacity.  I still feel that I'm supposed to try to change people's lives in a way similar to how I was originally hoping to do.  But now I'm considering that perhaps that role is one that I will fulfill in private capacities.   Or in other words not getting paid to do it.

So now I'm turning back to my older and more enduring interests to see if I can find a life path from the things that I really enjoy.  I love science, and in particular I love learning about and being around animals.  So now I'm turning to biology.  With work and blessings from above, I hope to get into a normal university and be able to work myself through it without too much delay.  And then, perhaps just live life because that's what I like doing, rather than pursuing things that change me for the better while I'm pursuing them, but leave me without an immediate path forwards.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Look me in the Eyes

I just finished listening to another audio book today.  It was Look me in the Eye by John Elder Robison.  Brief synopsis for those who haven't heard of it, a memoir of an aspergian (his word usage, same meaning as me saying I am an Aspie) who grows up from a broken family, develops savant skills working with electronics dealing with music and special effects, drops out of school, does major work for big name rock and roll bands, goes on to become an engineer/executive at various electronics companies, and finally settles down to be a car mechanic, only learning that he was on the autistic spectrum when he was in his 40's.

Lets just say I have mixed feelings about the book.  He's not the kind of person I would have made a point to get to know when I was growing up.  The focus on rock and roll in the book was almost a turn off to me.  When the main thing that gets mentioned in a lot of review blurbs is that he designed guitars for KISS, it lead me to believe the book was more of interest for his involvement in rock and roll than for his Asperger Syndrome.  So I never put the book on my wish lists.  But when I noticed it was a downloaded audiobook from my library, I figured it couldn't hurt to try it out for free.  And when I did download it, the pervasive profanity and background story elements of the associations that come with being employed by a heavy metal band were significant turn offs.

But, I also couldn't put the book down.  So many of his experiences hauntingly remind me of my own past.  Some of the negative things that happened to him could have been my experiences as well if things had been just a little different here and there.  The descriptions of lost relationships, missed opportunities, and the constant analytical questions about basic emotional social interactions that others take for granted all spoke to me.  Even if the settings in which he describes these events in are bizarrely out of my experience, I still get the point.  I don't know if the book will ever make its way onto my shopping list or whether I'd recommend it to my younger friends on the spectrum, but I'm glad I read it just the same.  It was a beautiful experience to read and made me review my life again and be grateful I didn't have to wait till I was 40 to begin to understand myself.  I just wish I could have had the chance to start understanding myself at a much younger age... some things might have been different if I had known so many things...

Monday, August 23, 2010


Taliesin has regained his full birth weight ahead of schedule and has the jaundice basically under control. So we're happy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Disclosure exhaustion

So, with having a baby comes the initiation of pediatric care and of course being around a ton of medical professionals.  So one of my questions for the pediatrician's office was if we ended up staying in town long enough for Taliesin for get old enough for it to matter, would they feel prepared and confident dealing with him possibly being on the autistic spectrum.  And of course, you can't ask that question without being asked in turn why that is a concern.  So I end up disclosing that I'm technically on the spectrum.  The PA-C handled the question very professionally and was very friendly and polite in discussing it.  There's no particular reason that I shouldn't have asked that question, and when we filled out family medical history intake forms it would have come up one way or another.  But, for whatever reason it still terrifies me to talk about it.  I mean literally, to the extent that I start feeling weak and slightly shaky.  It was really annoying because I thought I had started to get over that reaction.

I tend to swing one way and then the other with disclosure issues.  Sometimes I act as if talking about it with people who don't already know would be the last thing I'd ever want to do, sometimes I feel desperate to be able to talk about it but somehow feel that I can't.  Sometimes I slide right past such a disclosure without getting nervous at all. 

Granted, I've had limited negative experiences with disclosing.  Typically that is because I try to make dead certain any potential candidate for disclosure is really emotionally safe before I even think about it.  Oftentimes, people aren't even unpleasant, they just spend the next while grilling me on why I don't focus on the positive aspects of my life instead of the negative and aren't I practically creating my own hell by allowing anything bad to have a name.  Sometimes people have reacted by giving me a strong emotional shove to pick myself up out of a depression and refocus.  Sometimes people react by denying the validity or perhaps the existance of my emotional and mental realities.  And when they do that, sometimes people can be downright mean about it and I mean dirty mean about it.

And then there are the other experiences where people find it fascinating, don't even care, don't remember, set up networks to help protect me from social situations I'm afraid of, or treat it as a mere medical oddity.  Those are often the most pleasant interactions.  I even had one situation at work where I got to help relax a coworker out being afraid to have a child because they realized they were at a high genetic risk of having a child with it.  That was an extraordinary experience.

I guess there's two components to it.  I like interactions to predictable, and disclosing on a medical subject that is, shall we say, such a socially hyped issue is like rolling dice.  You might get anything good or bad out of it.  The other component is that almost for as long as I can remember a lot of people have been unable to see past the nerdy smart kid to see me as a person and might insist on me playing the role of the nerdy smart kid if they even interacted with me at all.  I get so tired playing the one role over and over again part of me tries to refuse to play along.  Asperger Syndrome has been such a crucial part of that social scenario played on loop that I almost never manage to control that as a result I don't want to talk about it, for fear that someone knowing that part of me will conveniently use it to reinforce the stereotypes they expect me to work within.  Because the AS touches almost every part of my personality, interests, and behavior refusing to socially acknowledge its presence messes with me in a lot of ways.  Think of an elephant in a rather small room that only I can see and only I can bump into and I'm trying to walk around it.  Sometimes it can be nice to tell someone that I'm sorry I can't meet your expectations because there is an elephant in the way and I have to walk around it first to do what you want me to do.  But since I'm the only one who can see the elephant, people don't always believe me that its there, so I don't like talking about it either.  And like a place on your tongue that you keep biting, not being able to react to the elephant properly just makes it seem that much bigger.

In any case I'm off to a great start disclosing it to the pediatricians clinic and when I struggled to do it there I got annoyed at myself and intentionally disclosed to a random nurse when I didn't have to (which was also a very positive experience) and also had a near disclosure experience in Priesthood meeting today.  So I simply feel exhausted with the entire business.  I feel less annoyed with myself, but still struggling to find a nice convenient border that says this is when I talk about this and when I don't.  Not that I haven't agonized over that subject for hours, purchased and read books that discuss it, and otherwise beaten the subject to death in my own head.  Its just that social context is so dynamic, trying to find a simple rule for how to deal with it is like trying to use a geometrically straight line to travel in real geographical space.  Sometimes there are mountains, or elephants, in the way.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


This guy is totally adorable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Starship Troopers

So I'm on to my second downloaded audiobook.  Figured I would try something I hadn't read yet, so I downloaded Starship Troopers.  Old sci fi is kind of funny some times.  For instance, the attitudes towards women in the book.  Granted Heinlein I understand is, shall we say somewhat interesting on this issue in general.  But just a sampler of the confusing cross messages we get:

Women in general or specific women in the story are:
  • Better at reflexes
  • Welcome as soldiers (as contrasted to men who are seen to be in too ready supply for the military)
  • Better than the main male character at math and physics
  • Capable of saving the lives of the male soldiers by performing amazing mathematically intensive pilot stunts which is a normal part of their job description.
  • Too ornamental to be thought of as good at anything practical
  • Things instead of people: "She was one of the good things about belonging to a species with two sexes"
  • Incapable of flying a spaceship without leaving you covered in bruises

Part of this seems to be our main character not wanting to admit that anyone is as important as he is, but when it comes down to it I think it simply what you get reading stuff that was published in 1959.  A lot of things were in flux back then and so when you choose authors from those time period you get opinions that seem out of sync or incongruous compared to the modern incongruous heap of opinions we call home.  Its still enjoyable fiction, though I'd say its far from being my favorite stuff ever.  I think my favorite by Heinlein so far is still Universe.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Audio books

I rediscovered recently that I could download audiobooks from my library.  I had known this for some time, but the last time I checked it was filled with a bunch of relatively low interest stuff.  Checking again, I found they actually had some of my favorite authors.  So I've been enjoying myself.  One audiobook for the car to and from work.  One audiobook for while I'm at work and at home.  Gives me something to do while I make dinner.  Makes me feel really pampered.  I mean a day doesn't go by without me having spent at least an hour, maybe more, immersed in some story or another.  And this without paying anything and for the most part without taking additional time out of my day.  Of course some of this will have to be reduced as I come up on my next Sunday school lesson and I'll need to spend more time preparing that instead of listening to books.  But oh well, I'm enjoying myself for now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So I switched managers at work.  Not switching positions this time, but just managers.  My old manager decided the town didn't suit him anymore so he transferred elsewhere a few weeks ago.  The new manager was only barely selected a little bit ago.  Since they are still in progress of hiring additional managers for more normal positions, the new manager won't be able to take over responsibilities until a few more weeks have gone by.  It should be fun because our new manager is from outside our team and knows little about what we actually do.  So we get to train him.

I was actually encouraged to apply for the position myself by a few people.  But, when it came down to it my performance bonuses were regularly high enough to make it so my effective wage was higher than the starting manager wage.  Someone mentioned that if your base pay was higher than management starting positions then you could get a small wage increase for starting out, but my base pay was actually lower than management, just by total pay after routine bonuses was higher.  So it was lock myself into a position that makes scheduling my life insane because overtime is the name of the game (but not overtime pay because it was a salaried position) and get paid roughly the same amount or slightly less, or keep my position.  So I didn't bother applying for the job.

I hope I am able to work well with the new manager.  I always have to walk on tip toes getting used to a new social dynamic and this will surely be about the same that way.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


So Talesin has fallen behind the 10% growth mark where they start to worry more.  Now we get twice weekly moniterings to make sure everything is doing o.k., which so far, everything else is besides him being small.  Guess its time to hold our breath and hope we don't get an induced delivery ordered.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


So we're kidless for the first time in 10 months or so. Feels quiet. I miss my little Uriel, but it will only be so long before Talesin shows up.

In other news, both BJ and I LOVE cheese and spinach curry. I made the cheese myself!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Psalms, and trust

I'm reading in Psalms now.  What is standing out to me the most is the intense sense of trust in the Lord the psalmist constantly shows.  There is an intense trust that the Lord is completely just.  When the Psalmist comments on something they obviously feel is injust, its not in the form of protest but in a prayer.  Its really quite amazing to read.  It reminds me that I need to be more trusting in the Lord.

It gives a slightly different perspective on that when your interacting with a child.  Uriel likes to play a game where he climbs on top of a little end table in his room or on top of the chair (which he isn't supposed to do but happens all the time anyways), turns around, and leaps towards me.  I enjoy catching him and setting him down again, where the process repeats itself.  Recently, he's decided this fall and catch me game could be extended to, shall we say less predictable locations.  He hasn't quite learned that I'm not always ready to catch him.  Say if I'm sitting on a chair and he's on the ground several feet away, if he randomly falls over backwards away from me he's just going to land with a thump and be really unhappy about it.  Doesn't stop him, he trusts me

Its kind of freaky, he doesn't know I'm not all powerful when it comes to catching him.

Makes you think a little differently when you realize God is all powerful and is responsible for deciding who gets to be caught and who gets to land with a thump.  If I'm trying to be like Him, I need to be oh so much more reliable and so much more wise.  I can't catch Uriel because I'm just human and can only reach/lunge so far and so fast when he does something stupid.  God is capable of catching us, but he has a separate agenda from us sometimes.  As a parent I will have a different agenda than my kids sometimes.  I just hope my little baby that is coming will be able to have me catch him when its the right thing to do.  And not have to worry that I won't be able to do so because I'm too preoccupied with my own emotional needs to the exclusion of other factors.

I'll miss Uriel.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Village in the Treetops

When I'm not busy preparing lessons or reading scriptures, I like to use my breaks at work to read. When I couldn't find the third westmark book due to the mass of confusion that is my book collection, I decided to pick up an old Jules Verne that I had never read before. Supposedly, Villiage in the Treetops explores Verne's take on evolution, but forgoes the typical gadgetry that accompanies his stories. I used to be a huge fan of Verne, so I hoped to pass some enjoyable hours reading it.

I hate the amount of it I could stand to read. It's so thick with racist stereotypes, allusions, or outright presumptions of superiority that I wasn't able to get past the first few pages. Perhaps its no different than the conventions that lead him to write a servant character into 20,000 leagues who throws himself to his death rather than abandon his master to die alone. But somehow, questions of race have modern descendants that make unearthing old moldy stupidity seem even fouler than coming across non racial class boundary stupidity.
I've had to wonder, have I ever been a Verne fan or did I simply adore 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Around the world in 80 days is a passable story. The Mysterious Island I can't stand. Journey to the Center of the Earth is simply annoying. But Captain Nemo's nameless sense of loss and isolation from all humanity struck such a cord with me I couldn't stop reading it when I was in my teens. I've probably read the story 8-15 times. I finally had to make myself stop reading it because it was fixating me on a subject that left me quite depressed. Something of the undiagnosed Aspie in me connected with Captain Nemo. I was honestly quite disappointed to have his secret revealed in The Mysterious Island.

In any case, I recommend against reading the Village in the Treetops unless you feel ready to ignore colonialist and racist sentiments in your characters.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mandatory overtime

So fun stuff at work.  This next week there is mandatory overtime of 6 hours for all agents.  Just another wave that comes from working with the Iphone 4.  I'm looking forwards to another big day of upgrade eligibility resets tomorrow.


So apparently Ikea has gotten so many complaints they supposedly have created a fix it kit that makes their crib work with their mattress and they are going to send us one.  I have no idea what it is, my guess is some sort of short rubber bumper to fill up the gab between mattress and railings.  So perhaps the story has a good ending after all... if they truly are sending us this kit as they say they will.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Going home, and what shall he sleep in?

So, for everybody who missed it earlier Uriel has a firm date to go home now, for a little bit, and then he's off with other family.  But we will be free to pursue our own family at our own pace now.  No more instant family add water.  It's been a dramatic move towards having a going home date, but its finally done.

In other news, I hate dealing with crib stuff.  It took us a very long time to figure out a crib to buy, and having to fuss any more than necissary with it now is just annoying.  So with Uriel going to be ending up with my in laws, they wanted us to make an attempt to transfer some of his belongings up there previous to him coming home if possible.  An obvious candidate is the crib.  We can assemble ours, move him into it, and pack up his and take it to the in-laws.  It took about 2 hours or so to put together, about what I expected given the product reviews.  Then we go and put the mattress in it and discover there is a 2 inch gap or so in width.

We had been warned in other product reviews that this crib was not quite standard sized and one reviewer had said to avoid this problem just buy the ikea mattress that is supposed to go with it.  So that's exactly what we did and still there is a gap.  According to the instruction manual its safe as long as the gap is smaller than 3 centimeters.  But their own mattress which is recommended by their own website creates a 5 centimeter gap.  What gives?  Now understanding that the people who recommended buying ikea mattresses just weren't paying attention to the actual safety recommendations, we searched online and found other people who had had the same experience only to be told by ikea that their product was designed to be that way and that if they didn't like it they should stuff a bumper pad into the gap.

Two problems here.  If the crib is designed to be this way with their mattress which exceeds the size requirements listed on the outside of the box, somebody in their design department needs to be sacked.  You should at least trying to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.  Second, bumper pads are also stated by the AAP to be a suffocation risk.  So basically they want me to trade one risk of death problem for another risk of death problem.  Not cool.

The crib itself is great, feels very solid and I don't have any concerns about the crib itself.  I just need to find a mattress which is 29 inches wide and hope that I can return their mismatched product.  Most matresses seem to be between 27-28 inches, so finding a 29 inch one is a little difficult.  The obnoxious thing is that we are finding that mattresses between 26 and 29.5 inches all say in their descriptions that they fit "standard size cribs."  Now, if a crib is 28 inches, a 26 inch mattress does not fit it per official safety guidelines because the gap is too large.  If the crib is 26 inches a 29.5 inch mattress isn't going to fit inside unless its designed to be squishy sideways as well as up and down to the order of 3.5 inches.  So I get the impression that "standard size" cribs and mattresses is more or less an advertising claim that doesn't refer to anything terribly specific.

I guess this is what I get for doing all my research on which cribs were the best value in safety/functionality to money and just buying whatever mattress the manufacturer suggested instead of researching it out.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Calling

So my wife and I have been called to be co-teachers (along with another couple) of a marriage and family relations Sunday School class.  It is looking like it will be lots of fun.  Its getting to the point where Bonnie Jean and I have been married for longer than many people in the ward.  I wonder if that is part of why they asked us to teach it.

Its funny, because this is the one class I used to joke they better not ask me to teach.  I love teaching in doctrinal settings, so its not that I'm not looking forwards to it.  Its just that my experiences and suggestions for the class on how to hold a relationship would be based on my own neurological experience which is distinctively different than most peoples.  I mean, I can't really expect many people to get a lot out of it if I were to get up in front of everybody and say "If your feeling irritated shelf the feeling till it can be analyzed and deconstructed for its various causes, motives, and goals.  After analysis is complete, reintegrate those feelings with your principles and long term goals and form an action plan that may include overriding the original emotional status.  Once that is done then you can act on your feelings.  If you act before then, likely you won't like the results".  I mean, that is true of the way and I relate to Bonnie Jean, but very few people would even understand it much less believe that is how my brain genuinely tries to operate.

The lesson manuals (which I have downloaded as PDF's to view on my IPAQ), seem very principle based in the discussions, so I should have lots of material to use without having to dive into my personal experiences too much.  But there will be those moments that I'm sure I won't know how to deal with until they come.  It will be a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know the ward members better and for them to get to know me.  That's part of what I like teaching in a ward.

The lesson manual states I should try to review the entire course before beginning to teach it, so I'm attempting a rush through of the material before I begin to teach.  Even though Bonnie Jean and I took this course together when we were much earlier along in our marriage, its still amazing stuff to read through.  I'll be looking forwards to teaching it.

The call was extended last Sunday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Work the past few days...untranslated

Content warning: The following contains a high percentage of weird with a lot of relaxing, being myself, and exposing my thought processes without prior translation.  Do not read if your sensitivity levels are high!!!

Other wise have a nice day.

So I got a note from my new manager at work today.  He didn't stop to talk to me, just kind of threw it on my desk as he walked past.  It was essentially a thank you card for adapting into his team so well, but put onto a fancy little card that we use when we want our thank yous to be officially recorded by our work program that recognized exceptional agents.  See here for a brief overview.

In any case, I guess I was not feeling totally sure of my performance on the team and getting a note really made me feel good.  Which triggered some confidence.  When then in turn started to inflate my head a little.  I caught myself being rather superlative and prideful for a little while after getting it, which made me laugh at myself quite a bit when I recognized the emotional shift.  Silly me, thinking I'm better than someone else because I get a thank you card.  The funny things you notice about yourself when you are paying attention is really quite fascinating, to me at least.  I don't know that my introspection really are of that much worth to anyone else.  I mean, I doubt everybody wants to hear about how I agonized myself over whether I was appropriately displaying my personality at a bad time or acting out inappropriately or whether I should be concerned about it at all or whether I should be glad I was loosening up at work or whether this was a sign I was becoming more comfortable with my identity or... over accidentally interrupting a trainer the other day to comment that there was a woodpecker on the tree behind her.  For family members think dinner time bird observations/exclamations and you'll get a sense of what happened.  Fortunately the woodpecker comment was not noted upon and we moved on with the training presentation as if there wasn't a window behind her with a bird that I couldn't quite see properly because the blinds were closed.  Yes we have semi see through blinds at work and I could see a bird through them.

Or there was the time I had a coworker say that she was going out to the hall for a drink.  Then when she got back I asked her if she felt more hydrated.  When she said yes I commented that it was always nice to have plenty of hydrogen in you, especially when it was coupled with oxygen, except for when it was H2O2 in which case it was mainly useful for cleaning small cuts and scrapes...  Wow, I get weird some times.  In any case that triggered about the same cascade of self evaluations as the bird incident did.  Except, since I knew the target of my hydrogen jokes a lot better as things go, no where near the same level of self criticism and agonizing, just a careless inquiry into what my action actually meant to myself.

I suppose I am beginning to enjoy my shift a little bit more than I was when I first started.  I've found people I'm comfortable being weird around and I'm starting to feel like I've got a grip on what I'm doing.  Feel more a part of what is happening instead of feeling like the new guy on the team.  So I'm more or less happy with it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


So we broke down and bought a dishwasher.  I'm thrilled.  We went from having a sink full to the brim of dirty dishes that despite hurculean efforts every few days would just fill right back up like to having a sink scattered with a few dishes here and there that a mild amount of effort could mop up.  Given time and situation constraints on when we could effectively work on dishes, this is a massive boost in lifestyle quality over here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dishwasher envy

Given how many late nights I've had slaving away at a pile of dishes that appears seemingly out of nowhere, I've been experiencing dishwasher envy recently.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Well, its been finalized, I've been accepted into the ICU team's PM position.  If I'm lucky they'll have me walking around in a white coat in no time.  Not joking, at least one of the members of this team already do this.  Not certain how my body will respond to the late night shift, but we'll see.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


So I applied to the position I mentioned earlier.  I lost control of my self presentation fairly quickly in the interview but managed to do so without being completely embarrassing.  Just good old candid me who can't think about how something will sound to someone else until afterward .  Initially I was told I'd get a response within several hours.  Now its been several days and last I checked we were just glad that the last person they needed to interview had shown up to work as planned and that no unexpected extra events were thrown in the schedule for that day.  Emotionally this has been unpleasant, like being trapped in a stress position.  I'm in the midst of a change that is uncertain as to whether its going to happen, and I'm uncertain as to whether its going to happen for several days now.  Its not that I don't think the change would be for the better or that we wouldn't be able to manage if the change didn't happen.  It's just I'm stuck not knowing whether things are changing.  Reminds me of when I went to college the first time.  I desperately wanted to leave home, but the sheer amount of uncertainty and change involved left me so stressed out I could hardly eat for I think about a week or more.

Back to the present, this could be a lot worse I suppose, but a ton of my body's stress indicators are all sending up signal flares and fireworks.  I can't remember the last time I was this twitchy, don't recall ever having stress stomach aches before, and can't bring myself to fall asleep.  Today was the first day since applying for it that I managed to make myself follow my normal break routine at work instead of doing something like staring out the window doing nothing except watching the pattern of light play around the blinds replaying awkward events from my past through my mind or wishing I was better at predicting how things would sound when I said them.

As I told one of my associates at work today, I'm mentally freaking out, but trying to do so calmly.

Some days I just have to love being me.  Because if I didn't I'd have to find out how to love being someone else, and that sounds like a headache. (grins).

Sunday, April 11, 2010


So a few weeks ago, they decided to pour the concrete for the tennis court behind my apartment.  This wouldn't normally be a problem, but they decided to do it at 2 AM.  Took them until around 4 or 5 PM, so we're talking 14-15 hours straight work.  Since they were making so much noise and light it woke us up and we were among several people who filed a noise ordinance complaint.

Then, just a few days ago, they put up a sign on our door saying they were going to do it again tonight.  So to reduce the amount of light coming through our window, which was what woke us up the first time, we went and got curtains and I hung them in our bedroom.  Then today they come by and say, never mind, the weather has turned and we'll do it on Wednesday.

Just so long as when they do it I can sleep, I don't mind.  I'm not terribly hopeful though.

ICU team

So, I'm applying for a new position at work.  Right now I do standard callbacks.  Doctor calls up says, "fix my phone, wait, I'm in the middle of performing surgery, call me back" click... I get to call them back and say "what's wrong with your phone sir?"  I'm looking at moving to our center's "Intensive Care Unit."  Literally that's what we call it.  There's a Center for Disease Control too, but that's out of center.  So basically, I'd do the callbacks for the problems that as far as anybody can tell during the call, have no solution.  Like the person I had recently whose contract was printed out in Spanish on accident and there's no official way of reprint in English unless he wants to sign up for another contract.  I'd be working evening shift instead and get paid another 50 cents an hour.

There are several reasons for switching positions.  One, Bonnie Jean could switch back to working more hours regardless of when Uriel went back home.  Two, I'd be more able to take daytime Institute classes.  Three, the scheduling perks that come with being on my current team only last so long as my stats stay good, and I'm only ever one week away from losing that.  Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but they've been being really aggressive about maintaining high productivity.  To maintain stats you have to do around 1/4 to 1/3 of the callback work when the time for it isn't being measured.  Imagine measuring car speed that way.  The distance counts, but not the time you took getting there.  Makes your speed jump really quickly.  The ICU team, on the other hand, values thoroughness and accuracy over speed, which suits me just fine.

Since I'm already a backup replacement for the ICU team and I have a really good relationship with the TL in charge of the operation, I have a really good chance of getting it.  The TL in charge actually all but told me that the interview for it would be a formality.  He said we'd still have to do an interview process just to make it fair, but that he was really excited to have me on his team.  So unless I have a call monitoring that completely bombs between now and then, chances are I'll get it.

Nonverbal Language... and Movies

I have been rewatching a lot of movies recently.  Gives me something to do while I'm washing dishes.  I've noticed something.  I'm starting to pick up on a lot of the background stuff that I never saw before.  Emotional cues between characters, non verbal story elements etc...  I'm not certain how much of this is due to the aging process of gaining experience.  I recall listening to some Amy Grant music before and after getting engaged to Bonnie Jean and there was so much of it that I got after being in a deep relationship that I hadn't picked up before.

How much of this means my expression of AS is evolving as I develop as a person?  That would be nice, but its also unstable.  My development can shift forwards or backwards without warning.  I recall one time when I was so proud of myself because I was talking to three girls at once, said something that caused an unintentional emotional reaction, read that expression off all three of their faces in real time, responded to it in real time, and addressed the unintended reaction.  Wow that was a good day.  Normally most of that would happen after about a minute and a half of analyzing and the conversation would be over before I could address the problem.  Then, I was unable to read social context or anything social that was non verbal for about the next three days and I think I made my professor want to kill me.

Or maybe its simple repetition?  Wow, I just watched Star Wars for the billionth time and now I finally get that facial expression that passes between Han and Leia at the end of the last movie.  I really don't know.  I probably have bits of all those going on.  In any case, it makes it kind of fun to watch these old movies.  I'm in the middle of Star Trek: The Movie (ok I felt like enjoying some old cheesy stuff, I know the movie is awful but its fun at the same time) and there's all sorts of things that I just passed by before that suddenly make sense.  I mean, the entire Captain Decker and Captian Kirk duking it out over who is more competent to lead the ship.  Sure I understood that it was there, but watching it now I get a lot of the emotional aspects of that battle and the politics behind the scenes of how they are relating.    Or there's things that suddenly don't make sense.  Why does Spock understand their "new" engines that "nobody" understands when he's been busy training to be a monk of logic or whatever you want to call it  for the past who knows how long?  I guess monks of logic get to study ship design?

In any case, its like watching the movies for the first time suddenly, or as if its a completely new movie.  Now if only some of this could translate to real world application that could be fun.  I'm guessing it could be happening there all the time and I'm just not realizing it because I've developed such a caution in dealing with people that I don't take risks where I might not understand what's happening.  For instance, I was IM chatting with a team lead about a new position I'm considering applying for, and I was practically triple verifying what he was saying to make sure I understood him.  That's worse because I don't normally interact with that particular person much and I always always struggle when I'm changing team leads, teachers, or whatever.  I don't adapt to different people's communication/leadership styles readily and I was trying not to make any big mistakes.  I can't hit rewind and watch the movie of John the team lead and Justin the closet aspie over and over again until I understand it.  Guess movies have their advantages.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's a boy

Ultrasounds round two are done.  Its a boy.  Fun Fun Fun.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sunday school teacher

So Bonnie Jean and I have figured out what it is that makes our favorite Sunday school teacher so great. For context, there are several of them, each of whom teaches once per month. In any case, the SUU President's mansion is in our ward and an event was held there recently and we realized our host was our favorite of the teachers. Hadn't realized he was the University president. Might explain why he's more likely to pull out Talmudic referances than crossword puzzles.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The value of knowing what you are talking about

Last month, there was a gay rights demonstration in my town.  Not too surprising considering the number of young people brought in by the university, but still a bit of a shocker to the sheltered Utahn's around here.  At the time, I was unable to tell what it was about.  I mean, really unable to tell.  I drove past it 3 times during my errands that day and I still couldn't see.  As one of my work associates commented, they needed to take some classes on protesting.  If you don't hold the sign still it means I can't read what it says, especially if someone is standing in front of it.

In priesthood meeting the following Sunday, my bishop said something essentially to the effect that it was a gay marriage demonstration and that we need to be careful in these last days etc... pretty predictable stuff.  Even though he stated or implied that the it was about marriage, I was pretty certain he didn't know because nobody else I had talked to had been able to figure it out yet.

So, today I finally looked up what they were actually protesting.  To make this make sense, I'll need to give some history.

A few months ago Salt Lake City passed a bill which protected homosexuals against employment and housing discrimination.  The LDS church, finding their concerns on the subject very much addressed made an official press release supporting the passage of the bill.  If you don't believe me the link to the press release/statement to the city council is here

In any case, church support for such a bill sparked similar bills across Utah.  In the Utah state legislature, there were simultaneous efforts to pass a bill similar to the one in Salt Lake and also to pass bills overturning any city discrimination law.  One lawmaker in particular, went on the record to say the following:

Our citizens shouldn't be doing things that are discriminatory. If they are, that's information we'll gather next year that will push legislation, If the GLBT community are doing offensive activities in a public setting, that will push legislation in the other direction," he added. "We need to be respectful of one another; we all need to all figure out how to live together."

I'll admit context is key on a subject like this.  But essentially from what it sounds like, he was saying that if homosexuals are publically obnoxious then said behavior will have to be criminalized or perhaps just repealing any city ordinances granting non discrimination rights.  I can understand a protest going against that kind of talk.  Especially since its so vague on what offensive activities means.  So what, if he loses his breakfast over seeing a gay couple make out next weekend he'll just have to take away their housing and employment discrimination rights to force them to move to California so his breakfast will sit better?  Perhaps he didn't mean that, but his statement was waaay to vague to be appropriate to a civil rights discussion.  To put it in context, if we were discussing race instead of orientation it would be like saying he didn't like segregation, but if he thought that the black community was offensive he'd be forced to allow segregation in employment and housing.  Not trying to say that all aspects of race and orientation arguments are equivalent or equal valued, but rephrasing his idiotic comment in a different context shows how badly worded and inappropriate the statement was.

So back to my actual point, my bishop thought he was speaking against a homosexual marriage demonstration.  He was actually speaking out against a proposal for non discrimination in housing and employment that the church he was representing had already made a statement supporting.  There's a value in knowing what you are talking about, which is why despite finding the protest interesting, I haven't commented on it until today when I found out what was actually going on.

More background on this situation can be found here, here, and here.

Oh, and having heard other people in congregation I've belonged to lament that in their opinion any publically known transgressor of any major commandment would be driven out of town in the little town he grew up in by ostracism and losing employment, I can see the value of a state ordinance.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Bonnie Jean took Uriel to a Relief Society event tonight, so I had a chance to install the second lock on the cabinets this evening.  I put the first one on his favorite drawer that was just his height, but that didn't make him lose interest in our glass measuring cups in the bottom drawer.  He likes the noise they make when he bangs them.  But, now he'll just have to be satisfied with enjoying the noise the drawer locks make when he bangs that instead.  He didn't seem very pleased to see me finishing up, readily grasping the connection between the lock I was installing and the one already in place.  So all we need now is one final lock to cover the silverware drawer so he stops trying to pull out the sharp knives and we're good.  I don't really care if he pulls out the oven mitts in the last drawer.  I mean good grief he knows how to put them on before touching the oven.  Not that we try to let him, but he knows how oven mitts work and is ready to use them.  Better that than him trying impulsively to touch the oven in general.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Clean Kitchen

Well, this is cool. I had to jump ship from IE Mobile to make blogger work, but here I am.

So exciting news. Two nights ago I stayed up till midnight and did something special. I completed all the dishes.

This is actually a bigger deal than it sounds. With temper tantrums every time we even tried to do dishes, it was extremely difficult to do them with kids around. By the time they left, most of our dishes were dirty and had to be washed prior to each use. So the sink hadn't been completely clean for easily 3-4 months. And now it is and has remained so for several days! Bonnie Jean was so happy!

In other news, I was hungrily eyeing a spiced potato stuffed bread, but haven't made it yet. We'd have so much food making that along with other stuff I'd want to invite someone else over to share it. But, I don't know how or who to invite. In a family ward everbody has kids and I couldn't fit them all in my kitchen... And as always Bonnie Jean and I integrate into new wards very slowly. But oh well, my stuffed bread needs to await another day anyways.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Of the funny guys in the Book of Mormon, Korihor must be one of the top.  "An angel appeared to me an told me to be a materialist agnostic, and I repeated it so many times I believed myself..."

Wow, great internal integrity and mental agility there.  Too bad he never got around to explaining how his angel fit into his materialist cosmology.  That could have been entertaining.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Between teething, a broken musical toy, and other factors, Uriel hasn't been sleeping so well recently. But for two nights in a row now, with the help of a musical glow worm and giraf he is going to sleep without temper tantrums. This is wonderful for us.

In other news, we are replacing the high chair so there will be no more flying baby boys at the dinner table.