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.