xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

22 years ago today...


22 years ago tonight, I went to my first Grateful Dead show. So, I thought I'd tell the story. Why not, right? I KNOW! Too bad it's not very interesting. Maybe you can tell your own story in the comments?

So, I had this boyfriend in college... blah blah blah.... I actually thought I was going up to just visit him in the Bay Area; I was living in Santa Barbara at the time. But, since I had never been to a show before, I didn't know what I was really in for. So, he brought me to the Oakland Coliseum on December 30, 1989. He had a ticket, and of course I didn't, except I'm pretty sure I got miracled that night (meaning, somebody gave me a ticket for free) but, maybe not, because NYE shows are impossible to get tickets for, so who would have miracled me? I don't know, it was a long time ago. Anyway, I made it inside.

My purpose for the evening, however, wasn't to go to a show, because I had no idea what that even meant. All I knew of the Grateful Dead was Touch of Grey, which was okay, I guess, but a little poppy (poppie?).  My purpose, on that day, was to find and take some Ecstasy... which I very much succeeded at doing. YAY! So, we went inside, and found ourselves a seat up in the bleachers or something, I don't know, and all I remember was looking at this giant crowd of people and saying "oooohhhh myyyy goooodddddd...... look at all the peeeooppllllleeeee" and being just so impressed at the size of the crowd. I'm pretty sure my boyfriendatthetime wasn't as impressed as I was. Okay, he had been there before. Whatever. It was new to me; and awesome. So awesome. I didn't even know the music, but the music was so awesome. SO AWESOME. It was only until I tried it again at the next set of shows that I realized it wasn't just the drugs that was making it awesome; it was just awesome.

Here's the setlist. Most of you won't care. Some of you will care a smidge:
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland CA (12/30/89)

Good Lovin'
Walkin' Blues
West L.A. Fadeaway
Music Never Stopped

Jack Straw
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
Estimated Prophet
Terrapin Station
I Will Take You Home
The Other One
Standing on the Moon
One More Saturday Night

Baby Blue
Anyway, that was the beginning of almost 6 years of bliss. I wish I had gone sooner. I'd had the chance, but I didn't know what was waiting for me so I'd opted out. I was dumb. I miss it. Go listen if you don't believe me.

Reunions: Autism Style

Me: So, did you have a good time in Tahoe?

Child 1: Mmm hmmm.

Me: I missed you!

Child 1: laughs I know

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Phone conversations: Autism Style

Talking to Hubs on the phone this afternoon:

Hubs: Hey, Child 1; say hi to Mama.

rustling noises

Child 1's voice: Hi Mama.

Me: Hey, you! Are you having fun???

Child 1: I am having fun.

Me: Did you see the snow?


Child 1: Okay. Bye.


rustling noises

Me: Hello? ..... Hello?

rustling noises


Me: Shit

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mama takes a staycation

Hubs and both kids have gone to Lake Tahoe for 3 days.

I'm all alone in my house until Friday.

I have a very long list of things that I'd like to get accomplished during this time, like clean out that junk drawer in the kitchen and go through my old clothes and take a bunch to the thrift store.

The first thing I did, of course, was take a 3 hour nap. Then I spent 3 hours making this rage comic. Hopefully you guys will appreciate it, even if you don't read rage comics.

I make no guarantees for my state of mind over the next 3 days, or what kind of crap will end up on this blog of mine.....

I hope you will consider joining me on this journey.

This journey of awesomeness.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes? I think?

Child 2 has his own computer, so does Child 1. Hubs brings home laptops from his office that have been discarded or abandoned so we're pretty much swimming in computers over here. (I tell you this because I feel the need to justify why it is that our kids both have their own computers. Hubs gets them for free, it's not like we're rich or anything. We also have a rather large Broken Laptop Graveyard in my office.)

Child 2 has been spending a lot of time on his computer this past week (Vacation, bitches!!!!!), mostly watching YouTube videos of random people playing Mario related video games. Did you know that people record themselves playing Mario related video games and then upload them to YouTube? They call them "walkthroughs." They're just kids, narrating their journeys through these Mario games, and are rather benign. I can't make it through an entire video, though, because it's really fucking boring, but I have watched them (because I'm a "good" mom) and both kids really enjoy watching them.

The problem with YouTube, however, is that the parental controls are pretty sucky, so despite my best efforts, the kids will click on other things and often find themselves on videos that are, well....let's just say SO NOT APPROPRIATE for kids this age. (They don't end up on porn or anything, but they do seem to find the ones with the most colorful language.)

So, anyhoozle.... it's Christmas.....  and I'm in the kitchen making rugelach....

.... and Child 2 brings his laptop into the room with me, because he likes being near me (awwwwww) so that he can watch his videos while I cook, and he had stumbled upon one of those videos that I mentioned earlier. It was some dude narrating these stick figures who were having a conversation, and the subject matter of the conversation the stick figures were having was so not appropriate for kids his age.

So, I get pissed (even though it's pretty much my own fault) and I close up his computer and put it in a place that he can't reach. "Go do something else," I order, which he does. Hours later, he comes and finds me at my own computer, and he's crying. He really wants his computer back, and he promises that he will only watch Mario videos and stay away from all the other kinds of videos.

With a face full of tears, he grabs onto my arm and hugs it and says.... "Mama, I'm sorry about the Filipino hookers. Can I please have my computer back?"

Until next time.....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Jews Go to the Movies Day!


Oh, and some other stuff... presents... blah blah blah... Santa.... yadda yadda yadda... birth of your lord? yeah, no... that's not it.... Oh right! Trees with lights on them!! YAY!!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Math is HARD... when you're drunk....

This is Hubs' writing. Happy Birthday, Hubs!!!!!

Happy Birthday Hubs!!

Today is the hubs' birthday (I won't tell you his age, but let's just say that no matter how old I get, he'll always be older than me!!). Yes, he has the terrible misfortune of having been born 2 days before Christmas. I always make sure to get him TWO gifts every year. One for the birthday and one for the Holiday! He wasn't so lucky as a kid.

Happy Birthday Hubs!! Sorry I'm in such a shitty mood today :) I'll make it up to you, I swear I will....

(He probably won't even see this unless I tell him about it. Let's see what happens.... *giggle*)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I am so, so sorry

In the last few weeks I have seen numerous tweets that have attempted to direct me to blog posts. They were drawings that people have done, or awards that have been given out... and I think that I've pretty much ignored them all.

So, I wanted to apologize to all of you guys who have tried to get me to go somewhere and then I didn't. It's not because I don't care, and it's certainly not because I don't have the time (seriously. I've got nothing going on right now). It's just because I'm stupid. I have a bad memory and these things go by my timeline and then I forget. Because I'm dumb. No, really. That's why.

It's important to me that you all know that I'm not one of those people who thinks she's too cool to pay any attention to anybody who doesn't have at least 2,000 twitter followers. I am so not that person; in fact, I fucking hate people like that. I think it's rude, it's uncool, it's bad fucking karma. I am not cooler than anybody, and if you have tried to get me to look at something and I didn't look at it, PLEASE tell me again. I saw your tweet, I did, but then 2 seconds went by and I forgot to hit "favorite" and then it was all gone. And I hope that, in the future, when I am a dumbass again and I forget to do things again, you guys will read this again and please don't take it personally.

In other words.. it's not you, it's me. Wait. That sounded wrong. IT'S ME. I SWEAR IT IS. But in the bad way.

And on that note, here is my new self portrait, just like I told Jennifer and Lisa I would do.

The Hanukkah Dialogues: A Guest Post (although I am partially responsible)

I don't think this needs an introduction (giggle). So I'll just tell you (chuckle) that this was written (snort) by Jim who can also be found at Just A Lil Blog (guffaw). Oh, by the way, do you know how he got on Twitter? It's because I said "You're funny. Are you on Twitter?" (BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

The Hanukkah Dialogues

Alright, so I was apparently born without the “faith” gene that gives so many people so much comfort and also so much guilt, but what I lack in faith I make up for in curiosity.  I was curious about what I’d heard about Hanukkah, and, moreover, skeptical.  I turned to the greatest scholar of Judaism I know, Jillsmo, for answers.  What follows is an “enhanced” dialog of our twitter discussion of Chanukah, where the enhancement is simply what happened to be going through my mind as the discussion progressed.  At the end, or maybe even interspersed within the dialog I’ll do my best to add some tidbits about Chanukkah that I gleaned not only to satisfy my own curiosity, but also to avoid being overly offensive (since Jillsmo is my twitter sponsor and also FF’ed me once. . . hard, square in my tweet deck).

So, without further ado. . . “The Chanuka Dialogues”:

Jim W:  Is it offensive to wonder whether the guy checking the lamp oil just didn't know how much lamp oil it actually takes for 8 days?

Okay first thing out of the gate.  I was trying to be funny.  I knew Jillsmo wasn’t a huge fan of the holidays having read it in her blog.  But people are funny about religion, and while I’m not particularly religiousy (i.e., not at ALL), just because someone seems not religiousy doesn’t mean you can shit all over their religion with reckless abandon and not pay some sort of penalty.  And I like Jillsmo.

Jill:  that's not offensive, I mean, there was a lot of stress and chaos going on at the time

Sort of a lukewarm response, but I took it as an opening.

Jim:  dude. . . wait wait. . . I didn't carry the one. We're cool for 8 days!

Jill:  wait... HOW many ounces are there in a cup? OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Feeling a lot more comfortable that I’m not burning the bridge of blog friendship at this point by continuing.

Jill:  It's a miracle!!!

Okay, at the risk of being offensive.  This is like the lamest miracle ever.  Even if I make my peace with it actually being a miracle, I’m reminded of an episode of a television show by the second greatest Judaicical (is that a word?  That’s a word.  Right?) I know of, Jerry Seinfeld.  Kramer is taking a car Jerry wants to buy for a test drive.  He misses the turn on the way back and decides to just keep driving and see how far it will go.  It goes impossibly far until, at last the dealership is in sight, and they go for it.  The car rolls to a stop, out of gas, and Kramer says he’ll think about it.  IT ONLY HAD ENOUGH OIL FOR ONE NIGHT!!!  MIRACLE!!

Jim W:  ixnay on the iracle may!! I fucked up the math!

Jill:  LMAO!!!!

Jim W:  So embarassing. Who the hell bought all this lamp oil anyway? I said ONE DAY'S WORTH!

Jill:  do you have any idea how much lamp oil costs?? OY!

Alright, so what is up with the fucking lamp oil already?  Why do we need it?  Why are we lighting lamps in the first place?  Well, it turns out this douchebag Antiochus IV invaded Jerusalem, looted the Second Temple (which is apparently at least the second best Jewish temple in all the land) and put a bunch of Jews to the sword. 

I guess that was more or less okay with the Jews except then THIS happened, (from the third greatest source on Jewstory that I know of, Wikipedia):  Judaism was outlawed. Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple.  He banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple.  Antiochus's actions provoked a large-scale revolt.

You outlawed my religion?  You. . . you desecrated the second best temple I fucking own?  You. . . you banned my ritual mutilation of man penis??  And you. . . oh no you di-in’t. . . you fucking burned the goddamn BACON!!!  PREPARE TO DIE, OF COURSE!!

So the Jews took back the Second Temple by force.  This taking back led to a celebration.  Because, you know, bacon is back!  They wanted to light the temple, but all the fucking sacred oil had been desecrated by a bunch of Zeus worshipping douchebags!  All except one pot, sealed by the high priest (who may or may not have been shitfaced when he calculated how much oil to put in the “one day’s worth pot” per my discussion with Jillsmo).

Back to our dialogue: 

Jim W:  abba is going to KILL me if he finds out I bought enough for 8 days. Tell him I just bought enough for 1!

These sorts of “Jews are cheap” jokes are beneath me, but I felt like Jillsmo went there first, and I didn’t want her to feel guilty about it.

Jill:  but it was on sale! Eight for the price of one. How could I refuse??? Such a deal.

So they dedicated the Second Temple, but they have this one pot of oil.  And here’s where the miracle part comes in. . . it’s going to take them eight days to get more oil.  But they only have enough for one day.  So this is totally inconvenient to the rededication ceremony.  You know, lamp’s gotta stay lit, people.  You can’t cook bacon without light!  So at this point I imagine a Project Manager entering the picture and saying, THAT’S “UNACCEPTABLE!”  (because I am one, I hear this term ALL the fucking time, to the point where I’m like Inigo Montoya saying to Vezzini, “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”) “You make this last until we get more!”  And they did.  And so, you know, miracle. 

And with miracles come celebrations!  And so this is pretty funny, but you know one of the awesome customs associated with “the Festival of Lights” (they call it that because they know they can’t spell Hannukah the same way twice otherwise)??  Eating foods fried in oil to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame in the Temple alight for eight days.

Are you fucking with me??  Bacon and fried foods??  I LOVE Jews!  So, this is where the holy hashbrowns (also known as latkes in Yiddish) come from.

At this point Patrick Smith joined the fray, apparently hoping we would start roping some of the other religions and their sucky miracles into the discussion.

Patrick:  Are you two blaspheming again? Let me know when you start ridiculing hinduism. #theyknowwhy

Jill:  "They know why" LOL. I think I'm giddy with lack of sleep, I'm laughing my ass off at everything today

I attempted to shift the focus of our heightened religiousy awareness to something I knew more about, namely, Christianity, and specifically the miracle of the Christmas birth of Jesus to a virgin, which, and don’t excoriate me, has long made me think of THIS dialogue that possibly escaped Biblical scholars:

Joseph:  You’re pregnant?  What do you mean you’re pregnant??  I thought you said you were on the pill!
Mary:  I am on the pill!  It’s not 100% okay??  What about you?  You were supposed to pull out!
Joseph:  That’s Onanism and forbidden by religious law!
Mary:  Right, and having sex before we’re married is totally kosher.  God, you’re an asshole.
Joseph:  What the hell are we going to do?  Your dad is going to KILL us!
Mary:  Okay, shut up and listen.  We’re going back home and I’m telling dad that God did it?
Joseph:  God did it?
Mary:  Yeah, God did it.  He impregnated me, and my child is going to be King of the World or something.  He’s super religious and totally into this “descended from David” stuff, he’ll buy it.
Joseph:  Alright. . . I’m in.

But anyway, I said:

Jim W:  Ugh we've been following that fucking star all night. Let's just crown the first baby we see. Hey, is that a manger?

But apparently the power of the Christian God awed them both into silence because they totally ignored that awesome comment related to the magi and drifted off my twitter radar.

Some people then came in and told us they thought the whole conversation was pretty funny (presumably anti-semites, because everyone loves a good jew-bashing, I know because I read not only “The Merchant of Venice”, but also “Ivanhoe”, and also fast forwarded “Schindler’s List” to the nude scenes, and mostly based on this, it appears these folks have universally gotten shafted by people in power (i.e., Christians).  But they also might not have been anti-semites, because I’m not an anti-semite, and I also thought it was pretty funny.) and that it should be blogged, but I didn’t feel comfortable blogging it because I’m not Jewish, but then Jillsmo said it was okay, so I felt like I had the blessing of all of Judaism behind me.  And it’s not like you can just refuse that sort of calling.

At that point, I felt like I should look a little more into the holiday and develop some sort of understanding before I posted my enhanced version, and that’s where some of my tidbits came from. 

So in closing.  1)  Nobody can spell Chanukah right.  AND HERE’S WHY!  The actual spelling uses a symbol that doesn’t equate to anything in English, okay?  So they approximate it with sounds.  Those sounds are the Huh sound or the Chah sound, roughly, depending on how you do it.  So they just try their best to spell it like it sounds consistently but because everyone is an asshole who has to do it MY way, and MY way is the only right way, there’s like 6 official spellings that are all fine.  It’s the same with Qaddafi, yo.  I learned this on the interwebz.  Anyway, they just call it “The Festival of Lights”.  2)  And this really surprised me. . . it’s not really THAT big a deal in the whole pantheon of Jewish holidays.  It’s bigger in the States now because apparently their was some sort of religious dick-measuring contest and the Jews were pissed cause Christian kids get Santa and their kids got a fucking dreidel and some hashbrowns, and maybe some gold, so a lot of Jewish families give gifts too, which makes The Festival of Lights seem way cooler than the celebration of Kramer driving the Saab back to the dealership after an impossibly long test drive.  But anyway, way bigger holidays out there for folks of the Jewish faith.  3)  After this I’m probably burning in hell.

The End

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Child 2 has a sleepover

I have to come right out and confess right away that this sleepover/all day playdate thing was my idea. Child 2 has these two BEST friends from Kindergarten and they were all separated into different 1st grade classes. The other day he was saying he was sad that he only ever gets to see them at lunch and recess, so I suggested that one day over the holidays he have them both over. "A sleepover?" he says. "Uhhhh.... sure. Why not." He's had sleepovers before, but only ever with ONE kid at a time. What the hell. Let's give it a try, right?? Both moms can't believe I actually agreed to it. Well, it's only one night, right?

Let's see how that night went.........

7:30pm Kids arrive and immediately disappear into the Man Cave (where the Wii is). I ask both moms "is there anything I should know?" and they both make me taste their dust as they bolt from my house. Ooookkkkaaayyyyyyy........

9:00 I start wondering if I should maybe get these kids to go to bed? It's a little early for Child 2's bedtime, but maybe these other kids go to sleep earlier? Child 2 comes into the kitchen for some water and I casually suggest that they go upstairs and start getting ready for bed. He agrees and heads back downstairs.

9:45 Okay, I guess he's not coming back, apparently I need to do some insisting. I go into the Man Cave and they're playing Wii tennis; jumping up and down and yelling and stuff. Good! They'll tire themselves out and then crash! I say that when this game is over, it's time to come upstairs.

9:50 Miraculously, they emerge from the Man Cave and head upstairs to Child 2's room, where they immediately open the computer and start playing games on it. Okay, I'll let them simmer in there for a while.

10:30 Child 2 and Friend 1 come into my bedroom to report "There's a problem. Friend 2 says his legs really hurt, he's in a lot of pain." Okay. I have no fucking idea what to do with another kid that isn't feeling well, so I go in there to inspect his legs. He's wailing in "pain" and I look him over but there doesn't seem to be a problem I can identify. I suggest that he lies down; he says he tried that already. I ask if he's been doing a lot of running lately? He says yes. OH! That's the problem! No worries, then! Then he whines "I want to go hooooommmeeee....." Awww, crap. I say "how about we just call your mom?" It's not too late, is it? Who the fuck knows? So, I call his mom, who was either sleeping or having sex, because she was not pleased when she answered the phone, and I hand it over. He spends some time trying to convince her to come and get him and eventually hands the phone back to me. She says "will they be going to bed any time soon? Because he's usually asleep by 8:00 so he's probably just tired." Oh. Awkward. I hang up and go in there and make them close the computer and go to wherever they will be sleeping. I take an adorable picture of the three of them all crammed into Child 2's bed and feel victorious!

10:30-11:00 Lots of yelling and laughing and bumping noises emerge from Child 2's room. I choose not to intervene and assume they will wind down eventually.

11:15 The door is opened and the sounds get louder. I go over to see what's going on and find Friend 2 sitting in the hallway, practically in tears. "They won't let me sleep!" he cries. "I know! I'll go sleep in the Man Cave!" and heads down the stairs. "NO!" I say, because there's no heat in the Man Cave and it's going to be really cold tonight. I herd them all back into the bed and give a stern lecture about being nice to your friends and keeping Friend 2 awake isn't being a good friend!!

11:15-11:45 I go back in about 5-6 more times to yell at Child 2 and Friend 1 about letting their friend sleep. Friend 2 is just lying there looking pathetic and exhausted.

11:45-12:00am Things start to quiet down and I think we've succeeded, until suddenly it all gets really loud all over again. I go back in there to find all three of them out of bed and running around. "What's up guys??" I say. Friend 2 responds with "I decided to play along, because... if you can't beat 'em... join 'em." I burst out laughing and just leave. This can't go on forever, can it?

12:15 Child 2 can be clearly heard shouting "LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED" and the bumping and yelling continues. I go in to investigate and they've decided to have a party because they've stayed up past midnight and are very excited about that.

12:15-12:45 More shouting and yelling and bumping sounds, but now it's getting late and I'm getting tired. Not only that, but Child 1 is starting to get cranky because they're keeping him up. I go in and start making threats. "You don't have to sleep but you do have to stay in bed and you have to be quieter than this. And if I have to come back here one more time I'm taking Yoshi with me." I figure that threat will at least get Child 2 motivated.

1:00 I go back in one more time but I don't take Yoshi because at this point I'm just so tired I don't even care anymore. "But we were just about to play football!" says one of them.

1:30 Child 1 is asleep but they're still awake in there and I no longer care. I put in earplugs and go to sleep.

2:30 I wake up briefly and can hear that they're still awake. At least they'll sleep late the next day.... zzzzz......

They were up at 7:00am.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What happens when you cross a 6 year old, a cat and a laser pointer

This went on for a while

Saturday, December 17, 2011

and that's when I lost all faith in humanity

I was browsing around reddit earlier, reading rage comics, which I love (normally), when I found one written by somebody who works with autistic kids in an elementary school, referring to himself as a "tard rangler." I'm not going to show you the comic, since most of you don't know what I'm talking about, anyway, and I think it would just be more confusing.

Anyway, I was upset, and I left a comment, of course, knowing that it would be wildly unpopular, because they hate shit like that over there.

Y'know, it used to be that I didn't really have an opinion about what they call "The R Word," but which I prefer just to say: retard. (Kind of like saying Voldemort). Look, I blogged about it over a year ago. But in the last year, Child 1 has experienced the beginnings of what will likely be a lot of bullying in his future, and even though that word was never used by any of the kids at his school, I seem to have grasped onto it as the symbol of everything he's going to suffer at the hands of other people in his lifetime.

I know, maybe more than anybody, that people on the internet like to play a role, because the anonymity of the internet keeps them safe from having to take any real responsibility for their words. And I know that people will say things on the internet with the intention only to piss people off (that's called "trolling," and people do it on reddit all the time, just because it's fun for them). And I also know that people, especially on reddit, like to take the moral position that you should be able to say anything in the world you want to because the 1st Amendment gives you that right. But there's something about a person who would so gleefully say to a mother of an autistic child "I'm sorry your tard is such a burden," with the sole purpose of making me angry, that makes me lose all faith in humanity.  I'm not easily offended by much, as you guys might know, and I'm not even sure if I'm offended by this as I am just really sad. Really really sad.

Because this is what my kid is facing in the years ahead of him: having to be around people who think nothing about saying and doing whatever they want because they think it's funny. These people, who might be pushing him and physically hurting him and actually calling him a retard to his face. These people, who call themselves "tardcharger," and who think it's hilarious and perfectly acceptable to say things like this.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that anybody should be censored, my problem is with the thought process of a person who thinks that this kind of thing is okay. People actually think that this kind of thing is okay. How do I protect my child from people like that? The truth is that I can't. And that's why I'm sad now.


Update 2:

The kid who originally made the comic emailed me and I'm confident that he's cool. He's young, and saying things like that on reddit will get you karma, and I'm sure that's what he was going for. But, the fact that he wrote to me, and felt bad, convinces me that he's cool. The other dudes, though.... that's a whole other story.....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Only 9 days left in our Autism Holiday Readathon!!

Have you made a pledge yet in Kate's Holiday Readathon? Make a pledge per page read or just a total dollar amount: Go here for more info and for the pledge form.

I don't know how many pages she's up to at this point since she's already gone to bed as I write this so I can't ask her (probably should have planned this better), but she was doing about 400 pages a day, and she started on December 1st, so, uh..... if you count, the, um..... take the, uh..... wait. Okay, hang on..... put the, um..... carry the one...... fuck it, you do the math! She's read A LOT by now!! But the 'thon ends on December 25th, so... holy crap you're running out of time!!!

Remember that you send me your pledge but then the actual donation is to be made by you, on the honor system. I'm recommending donations go to the HollyRod Foundation, but it's really up to you. But you have to send me your pledge, because Kate's going to pick a winner (at random, so probably Child 2 will be doing the actual winner picking) and the winner will get some cool schwag. I don't know what, exactly; maybe it's just a bunch of crap, but Kate says it's cool, so I'm sure it's cool!! After all, if you can't trust anonymous strangers on the internet... who can you trust??

Here's the original post on the topic, written by The Kate, herself.

Here, again, is where you go to make your awesome pledge that's awesome! YAY!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Out of the mouth of babes 31

Child 2, singing softly: Jeeeeeeeeeeesus Chriiiiiiiiiist

Me: Is that a Christmas carol? What song is it?

Child 2: Man in the Box. What's a Christmas carol?


(I went with the unedited, and therefore better, version)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scripting done right

Lately Child 2 has been really into playing Rock Band; he's a terrible singer and he often makes me play with him so that I can sing, too, so that he can hear how the song is supposed to go. He usually "picks a setlist" and does between 10-20 songs each time, and often he'll pick his FAVORITE SONG IN THE ENTIRE WORLD more than once per set.

You guys know this song, right? I blogged about it a few times before: here and here. The lyric from the song is "One! Nothing wrong with me. Two! Nothing wrong with me. Three!.... etc."

Anyway, Child 1 has been walking around all afternoon scripting the song and saying "One! Nothing's wrong with me. Two! Nothing's wrong with me. Three! Nothing's wrong with me. Four! Nothing's wrong with me."

I wish I could tell him how awesome that is, because I simply cannot agree more: there is nothing wrong with him. I don't think he would get it, though. I'll have to try to remember this for when he's older and I can remind him....

Autism lesson: In case you didn't already know, "scripting" is something autistic people do where they repeat things they've heard; it's technically called "echolalia" (pronounced echo-lay-lee-ah). There are two types of echolalia: immediate echolalia, which is as it sounds, you ask "do you want juice?" and the kid responds with "do you want juice?" Delayed echolalia means they will repeat what they've heard after some time has passed, which is what we will call "scripting" or "reciting."

Update, from my friend Emily: "Scripting can also mean how we plan what we'll say in certain situations, whether it's something general like what to say when you meet somebody new or something specific like when I was pacing around my apartment last night rehearsing things that might come up in a specific conversation today."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes 11. Again.

This is a repost. I was looking through my Out of the Mouths of Babes series, which I haven't done in a while, and I think this one is probably my favorite. This kid is nuts, man. NUTS. I don't know where he gets that from.

So, I'm in the kitchen making dinner and I'm holding a spatula. Child 2 appears and says "Mama! What's for dinner? Wait, before you tell me, I want to feel that spatula." He comes over, touches the spatula and says "feels good. Okay, what's for dinner?"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Family Portraits

We don't take a lot of pictures as a family. I don't like having my picture taken, for one, which is one reason why you've never actually seen me. I'm usually behind the camera, which I'm fine with. Even my personal Facebook friends will tell you they're disappointed at the lack of photos of me in there. In addition, though, the four of us are rarely all together in the same place, and it's especially rare for there to be another person there who can man the camera.

Recently my mom "requested" a picture of the four of us. Actually it wasn't so much a request, as it was a statement: "I don't have a recent picture of the four of you. The empty frame that I have right now is 5x7. I'll see you on the 17th to exchange gifts." (Yes, I do get my no bullshit attitude from my mother. Thanks, Mom!) This should be a pretty easy gift to give, except for the reasons I stated above, so on Saturday night when Hubs' sister and family came over for dinner, I knew I had to seize on this opportunity.

Okay, so... here's another thing. Child 1 does not like it when the flash from a camera goes off in his face, but it was night so we didn't really have a choice. She took a number of pictures of us, and they all pretty much came out like this:
She would take the picture, and then say "Oops, Child 1's eyes are closed. Let's try again." She said that about five times before we figured out that we should probably prompt him to keep his eyes open. Except with the added prompting, he started anticipating the flash, and not only would his eyes still be closed, his teeth would be gritted in this "I'm smiling, I swear I am!" kind of way.

We went through at least 10 tries that way, with the following script each time:

SIL: Okay, ready?




SIL: Oh. Okay, let's try that again.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Eventually I just said "fuck it; good enough" because I was just so tired of sitting there and smiling and yelling and smiling some more. I know Photoshop, I can always take the eyes from one picture and put them over the eyes from another, right?

What we didn't realize, though, is that with all that yelling of "KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN," Child 2 was also apparently making an effort to keep his eyes open, and his smile was turning into the "I'm smiling, I swear I am!!" smile. And so with each picture, his eyes got wider and wider, and his smile got bigger and bigger, so when you look at them next to each other in iPhoto, it's like this:

Ultimately I settled on the least worst of the 20 or so options, with Child 1 kind of squinting and Child 2 just looking slightly out of the ordinary.

Close enough.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"All Kids Do That" Part 1: Picky eating. Guest post from @extremeparenthood

I'm not sure if this is going to be a "series" or not, but I've gotten a great response from my request for input and I want to be able to give everybody a chance to say what's on their mind. If you've emailed or tweeted me, I assure you I have your name and email and you will be hearing from me (whether you like it or not) in a week or so.

However, before Thanksgiving, I had asked Sunday, the incredibly awesome blogger mom who writes at Adventures in Extreme Parenthood, to write me something about how "picky eating" is a completely different ballgame with an autistic kid. It was inspired by me once having tweeted something about Child 1 not being able to eat anything without ketchup on it, and getting a response along the lines of "my kid puts ketchup on everything, does that mean he has autism, too?" That was a while ago, but it has festered in my brain ever since, even before the #youmightbeanautismparent awesomeness. I have 2 kids who are picky eaters, you see, and they both like to put ketchup on their food, but... it's different. It's different in a way that I don't think I'm capable of explaining, which is why I had to ask for help.

And on that note.... here's Sunday.....

Your kid is picky, my kid is Stalin.

One of the easiest ways to piss off an autism parent is to chime in after every struggle they voice with, "Well, my Johnny does that too!"

Case in point: The ever-popular "Which mom's kid is the pickiest eater" debate.

And to clarify... I WIN.

Or to be more exact, every single parent who has a child with autism (or other special need) will win that debate or ANY debate over the frustrations of child rearing. But not because we want to win it. Because the facts are so strongly evident in our favor.

My older son, Sam, is eight years old and since the age of 18 months he has eaten these foods:

  • Grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Animal crackers (but only a certain brand)
  • Pretzels (none of those sneaky stick shapes! ONLY the traditional pretzel shape)
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies (which I bake on a weekly basis)

No candy, no ice cream cones, no birthday cake, cotton candy, or any of the other sweets most children beg and plead for ad nauseam.

Unfortunately, this means that he also will not eat any of the items typical children hate, such as: brussel sprouts, spinach, carrots, liver and onions, and anything with the word VITAMIN FORTIFIED blazing across the front of the package.

His younger brother, Noah, who is six has very much the same type of diet. However, he will at least eat bananas and a handful of other toddler-friendly foods like Goldfish crackers and fruit snacks.

Neither of my sons will eat anything that requires the use of a spoon or a utensil. If you offer them one they will either use it as a drum or throw it across the room aiming for the cat laying on the corner of your couch. So, it would be best to just keep those forks and spoons to yourself.

By far the WORST thing anyone can say to me (or any special needs parent) about their child's picky eating is this,

"You know Dr. Phil (my pediatrician, my grandmother, God almighty himself) said that if you just serve them wholesome, well-rounded meals three times a day they will eat it if they get hungry enough."

To which I would reply..... "You wanna bet?!"

When Sam was five years old and had been on his sandwich & cookie diet for three years straight his Pediatrician suggested I give him regular foods for each of his meals and in her words, "Chances are he'll get hungry after a day or two and give in"

Once again I replied..... "Wanna bet?!"

After three days I called the Pediatrician to check in and told her he still wasn't eating. She suggested I keep going. So, I made sure he had plenty of fluids and I kept offering him things like Eggo waffles for breakfast, mac and cheese with a side of apple slices for lunch, and for dinner something HORRIBLE like pizza and ice cream for dessert. He wouldn't eat any of it. Not.A.Bite.

After five days the Pediatrician told me to stop and give him the sandwiches and cookies he had grown accustomed to. She apologized and agreed that clearly this self-limited diet was much more than just a case of being picky about food. She said that clearly this was more of a phobia. Very rare, but not unheard of in children with autism.

In the years since then we've chosen to deal with this situation by not dealing with it. In other words, parenting is all about picking your battles. Even parents of special needs kids have deal breakers...for instance, fecal smearing. My boys both went through that stage and they learned really fast that Mommy is NOT happy and it is NOT okay. But, picky eating is one battle I am choosing not to fight. If Sam and Noah want to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for four years straight that is A-OK with me. But shitting on my couch and spreading it on the walls will get you 86'd from my living room faster than you can say, "Don't squeeze the Charmin".

The point is that a parent of a child with special needs doesn't want to have their frustrations invalidated by someone insisting that their child does the exact same things...because they don't. Not on the same level that our children do and not coupled with dozens of other challenging behaviors all happening at the same time every day with no end in sight.

What we do want to hear is "Wow, that sounds really tough." and leave it at that.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Looking for input: #youmightbeanautismparentif

Recently there's been this hashtag on twitter: #youmightbeanautismparentif, where we get to say awesome things like "#youmightbeanautismparentif you're heading to the doctor to see if your foot is broken b/c it was in the way of a chair thrown mid-meltdown" (from Amy) and "#youmightbeanautismparentif Your heart aches with the meltdowns while others only see a 'behavior problem'" (from Laurie). Naturally most of the things I threw out there were sarcastic, but occasionally not. And the thing about twitter is, I've got 2500+ followers, and not all of them have experience with autism, so oftentimes I would get a response along the lines of "that's not autism specific, that's just a kid thing."

That kind of bugged me. And I'm really sorry to my friends who have said things like this, I hope you don't take this personally, and please don't apologize for it because I'm pretty sure you mean well, but the thing is... it's not the same. It may be a "normal kid thing" to constantly lose your jacket at school, but when my autie kid does it it's a completely different experience than when my NT kid does. And so I tend to get really defensive when I see people respond in that way.

So then I thought.... I shouldn't be getting defensive, I should be educating. After all, how much did I know about autism 10 years ago? I can't expect everybody to understand what we go through if they have no personal experience with it. And anyway, it's my (new) obligation as an autism blogger to inform and educate; after all, we change the world, right?

So, I am now looking for input from you guys. I would like to do a post explaining why these things aren't the same. I'm going to write about the lost jacket incident. Sunday has promised me a post about picky eating (she probably forgot. Sunday! Don't forget about that post about picky eating you promised me!!) If you have a kid or kids with autism, particularly if you also have an NT kid and can compare and contrast what has happened in your house, please contact me at jillsmo at gmail.com and add your story to the post I am compiling. Let's educate, not be defensive! And instead of getting annoyed when this happens, we can just point people to that post. If you need a topic, let me know, I have a list of those, as well, and if I don't get enough volunteers I will start recruiting people to write about specific ones. I'm planning to post it after the holidays.

Also: Just a reminder that the Autism Holiday Readathon is still going strong!! As of yesterday, Kate had read something like 2,400 pages. After only 6 days. Don't be intimidated by her brains and her beauty, though, because..... um.... Okay, I don't know why, because she's pretty awesome.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Homework: An Infographic

Hey! It's just like college!!!

Click to embiggen

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Things I Find In My House 11

Haven't done one of these in a while! And, I assure you, it's not for a lack of thing finding, it's mostly for a lack of going and getting a camera-ing. If this series is new to you, you can see the rest of the found things here. I find some interesting things in my house....


You know what? I'm just going to call this one "art" and move on. I know that's silly putty as the anchor, but those stick things? No idea. Then again, we did have a birthday party this weekend so it was probably something out of the goodie bag. Let's hope that's what those are, anyway.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meet the newest member of our family

Not quite what you were expecting, huh?

Lately the boys have been really into watching YouTube videos of other people making videos about Mario characters, and then when they're stalling at bedtime, they run around and re-enact those videos. I'll tell ya, it's really hard to make them stop playing and go to bed when we can hear Child 1 yelling "let's pretend this is Toad!"

In an effort to foster Child 1's new interest in playing and pretending, Hubs went to Fry's and brought home a stuffed Mario and a Yoshi. Mario was snatched up by Child 1, who immediately demanded that we go back to the store and get him a Luigi, too, and Yoshi was given to Child 2.

Unfortunately, at least as much as we know, the pretend play was not, in fact, bolstered by the appearance of both Mario and Luigi (yes. Of course I went right out the next day and got it). However, Child 2 immediately developed a somewhat unnatural attachment to his Yoshi doll and, seriously? The damn thing hasn't been out of his clutches ever since. I think he might be in love with it. He sleeps with it, he brushes his teeth with it, he has Yoshi brush his teeth, he sits him next to his plate at the dinner table and has the damn thing "eat" his food. With a fork.

The day after Hubs brought Yoshi home, Child 2 insisted on taking Yoshi to school with him, only I wouldn't let him actually take it into his class. So, he made me walk all the way to his classroom door so that he could "say goodbye" at the last possible second, but only with the promise that I would bring Yoshi back with me when I picked them up. Which I did, of course, and as I stood there on the yard waiting for his class to come out, I was chatting with a fellow parent and explaining why I was holding this stuffed animal thingy, and I said "I bet he forgot all about it, anyway" and she suggested I pretend that I forgot it to see what happened. So, I hid it behind my back and when he came out of the building, he spotted me with my hands behind my back, and you wouldn't believe the look on his face. It was just sheer bliss. And he came up to me and grabbed the Yoshi from behind my back, and I said "I was hiding it, how did you know I had it with me?" And he said "if you had forgotten it, you wouldn't have had your hands behind your back."


On Saturday we went to the store and Yoshi (I said "can I call you Yosh?") had to "smell" every piece of fruit in the place. Then "he" picked out some apples to buy and later when Child 2 wouldn't eat the apple I gave him? He explained to me that he likes his apples a lighter shade of red than the one he had. I said "WTF? YOU picked it out!" and he says... "No I didn't; Yoshi did."

On Sunday he had a birthday party to go to, and I had to drag his ass there. He didn't want to go, he says, because "I just want to be with Yoshi all day." He went, eventually, of course..... but only because Yoshi was waiting in the car in the parking lot the whole time.


Welcome to the family, Yoshi. I guess. Just don't expect me to feed you or anything....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jerry Garcia's last interview

Damn, he seems pretty fucked up. Did you know that he died, 3 months after this interview was made, in his sleep, in a detox facility? He was a heroin user; he smoked it.

Miss you, Jerry

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The thin line beyond which you really can't fake

EDIT: Link to purchase Grateful Dead snuggie


Okay, so, I was thinking... you know what I haven't done in a while? Gotten drunk and just started typing. Why haven't I done that? Probably because... okay, I don't know. But surely there's a reason. Anyway, here we are. I'll be typing this post in stages this evening. At this point it's relatively early and I'm being very conscious about my spelling and grammar and making sure there are no extra punctuation marks in the middle of my words. But, I dig;ress....

There are a number of very interesting things I would like to share with you fine people on this fine evening. Is it really "fine," though? What does "fine" mean, anyway? What does it mean to be "fine," exactly? Also? Uh, oh what I want to know..... oh oh, is are you.... well, you know the rest. Or you don't. If you do, though, you're cool. If not... just move on.

Speaking of which, today I was wearing my Jerry Day t-shirt, and I was walking into a store on Solano Ave in Berkeley to buy a present for my Secret Santa giftee (by the way, Secret Santa? I see you here. Did you know I made this for you? That's the problem with being downvoted into oblivion, if you make a post specifically for one person they will probably never see it. So look at that post. LOOK AT IT!) and this random dude stopped me and said "hey, is that Jerry? I'm really into trivia and I was the only person at the bar the other night who got this question right: What was the original name of the Grateful Dead?" I answered it right and he was pleased and walked away. Do you know the answer? Tell me the answer and win a prize. No, really.

OH, and speaking of THAT.... OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. Okay, almost exactly a year ago, I posted this. THIS. CLICK ON THE FUCKING THING. And now? Almost a year later?  LOOK WHAT I GOT TODAY. LOOK. LOOOOOK AAAAAT IIIIIITTTT:

That's me, bitches. THAT'S FUCKING ME. Wearing a motherfucking Grateful Dead snuggie!!!! By the way, that's the closest you'll ever get to seeing what I look like. ENJOY THE BOOB, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Anyhoozle-ini, do you guys ever think about friends you used to have but don't anymore? I have this person who used to be my friend, a really good friend, actually, and we're not friends anymore, for various complicated reasons, and the other night she popped up in my dream and said to me "hey let's be friends again!" and in my dream I was really happy about that and then I woke up and knew that this would never happen, because of those complicated reasons I mentioned earlier, even though I still see her practically every day at this point I have no idea how to even make it happen again and she hates me, anyway, so even so we'll never be friends again besides there's too much baggage going on there, but still, it was nice to be friends with her again in my dream. Does that ever happen to you? No? Huh. Okay! Let's move on....

Hey you know what's a cool word? Spigot. Doesn't it kind of seem like a racial slur? You fucking spigot! I hate that fucking spigot! Yeah, but it's not. It's just a cool word. And when hubs comes here and reads this, maybe he'll explain it to you. Then again maybe he won't. When he leaves a comment, though, his name will be thesmos. LOOK FOR HIM.

And now I will end this awesome post with the following song that I think you should listen to because this song fucking kicks more ass than most songs that have ever been made into songs.

Jackie Greene, Gone Wanderin'

Okay, so!

Any questions?

Friday, December 2, 2011

If it's the beaches

When I first started this blog I would pose some philosophical questions that I had been pondering, and then I would have a discussion about it with the two people who were reading me, except those two people were people I was talking to all the time, anyway, so posing the question here and then discussing it with my friends was kind of a useless endeavor.

NOW, however, there are at LEAST two more of you who will read this, so maybe I can have a longer and more in depth discussion about it. So let's try it again!! YAY!!!

Okay. Below is a video and lyrics to an Avett Brothers song called If It's the Beaches, and here is my question: A big theme in Avett Brothers' lyrics seems to be the concept of "rearrange my plans and change for you," which is a line in this song, and it got me thinking: is that the ultimate love song a man can sing for a woman, that they will change who they are to stay together? Is that what women want men to tell them? Is that what men think they have to do to keep a relationship together?

Thoughts? I went with the studio version of the song because it was the one that was easiest to hear. Don't actually look at the video, just listen to the song and read the lyrics that are below....

If It's the Beaches

Don't say it's over
Cause that's the worst news I could hear I swear that I will
Do my best to be here just the way you like it
Even though its hard to hide
Push my feelings all aside
I will rearrange my plans and change for you

If I could go back
That's the first thing I would do I swear that I would
Do my best to follow through
Come up with a master plan
A homerun hit, a winning stand
A guarantee and not a promise
That I'll never let your love slip from my hands

If it's the beaches
If it's the beaches' sands you want
Then you will have them
If it's the mountains' bending rivers
Then you will have them
If it's the wish to run away
Then I will grant it
Take whatever what you think of
While I go gas up the truck
Pack the old love letters up
We will read them when we forget why we left here

Edit: I changed the wording of this post a little because I didn't think I said it right the first time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Autism Holiday Readathon!!

This is Kate. Isn't she puurty??
Today I am turning things over to my friend Kate, who most of you may know as Verb Vixen. Kate is this gorgeous, smart, funny, sweet, gorgeous twitter pal of mine, and the other day she said she wanted to do this Readathon, and give the proceeds to an autism charity of my choice! Woo hoooo!!! She asked me to help get the word out and also to pick an autism charity that I felt was most deserving.

I chose the HollyRod Foundation, and not just because both Holly and Rod are following me on Twitter. No, I'm really interested in helping organizations that provide iPads or grants for iPads to autistic people. I'm amazed at how much of a difference an iPad can make in the communication skills of a person with autism and I really want to help people be able to communicate, if they're unable to with their words.

I'll make my pledge right here and right now, by the way: I will match what Kate has pledged, which is to donate $1 for every 100 pages she reads from December 1-December 25th, 2011. But she's a serious reader, people. Who KNOWS how much this will cost me (and you) in the end....

I've created a new page here on Y.GT. dedicated to collecting your pledges for the duration of this readathon. You can get to it from that link, and also a new tab that you'll see above, any time between now and the end of the 'thon. Kate will be making daily page count updates on Twitter, so make sure you're following her to get in on the page count action.

And now, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's KATE!

Kate's Holiday #Readathon Challenge

Tis the season to be giving, tra lalalala lala la la.

You probably don't know me, unless you're on twitter in which case, you might have a smallish percent possibility that you've stumbled on one of my tweets before. But even then let's pretend like you don't know me so I can keep this little introduction paragraph I've written.

I like to consider myself a member of the Literati. Haven't heard of us, well, we're growing, or shrinking, depending on who you ask. I have a little blog called Verb Vixen where I write reviews about all the books I read and post literary quotes and bookish things. Anyway, every holiday season some book bloggers get together and decide we should do what we do best to help others: READ. On December 2nd-4th a number of book bloggers will be participating in a holiday #readathon sponsored by WhoRuBlog, where they pledge a donation for every page they read. This year, I've pledge my donations to the HollyRod Foundation.

While any donation to any cause is worthwhile, I started thinking: What if we book bloggers told other communities of bloggers we were doing this? What if we stopped thinking about only what we could give, but how others could give too? What if we did something like a real fundraiser, where people could sponsor a reader and match donations? And what if it wasn't two days but the whole holiday season? It seemed like it could have potential.

That's when I contacted Jillsmo, because she's the best autism blogger I know. And Jilly totally wanted to support this hairbrained idea! Since she knows so many more autism bloggers than I do, it seemed like a good idea to host this in her space. Before we get to the challenge, I feel like I should tell you all, I read A LOT and REALLY FAST. Just how fast, you're asking? Well my record is about 1700+ pages in a day and about 162 pages an hour. While I can't read that pace every day or even most days (I do have a life to live people!). I can easily do a few hundred pages a day. Here's the real pledge:

I, Verb Vixen, pledge to donate $1 for every 100 pages I read from December 1-December 25th, 2011. My goal is to do about 400 pages a day for 25 days to reach a $100 donation. And because I'm extra giving this year, for every book I finish I'm donating a canned good to a food pantry or a toy to toys for tots.

Would you like to sponsor my reading as well? If so, I triple dog DARE you to take my #Readathon challenge. Visit Jill's page to make your pledge.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I dream of spiders

The other day, I was taking a nap. (Ahhhhh. Naps. Just thinking about a nap makes me happy) It was between the hours of 10:00am and 1:00pm on Monday, so it was while the kids were at school; and I was really tired. I was still recovering from my Thanksgiving weekend adventures, and I was extra "sleepy." But since it was during the day on a school day, I had in my mind that little worry that I really needed to make sure I was awake in time to go pick up the kids. Sure, I had set an alarm, but still... I'm compulsively punctual and even the vaguest idea that I might be late for something causes that little nagging feeling in my big, dumb brain. Unfortunately, when that little nagging thingy happens, it will inevitably manage to work its way into my dreams somehow. So... I had that going on, plus I was really tired and I was crashed hard. The combination of the two things created some interesting anxiety dreams that I thought you guys might find amusing.

Okay, so... you know how when you're asleep, and you've got that nagging thing in your head that I just mentioned, you will dream that you actually get up, and get dressed, and get moving, etc? This was kind of like that, and in my dream I was lying in bed and I forced myself to open my eyes (it was REALLY hard) so that I would get up. Except that was the dream, I don't actually know if my eyes opened in reality or not, but regardless... once my eyes opened, I looked in front of me, and I saw this....

A spider, hanging from a web which was attached to the ceiling 8 or so feet away... with way too many legs. Right in my fucking face. And I thought "wow, my contacts must be really blurry, look at all those extra legs that guy's got!" For some reason I wasn't scared or freaked out at the idea of this mutant spider hanging out in my face, and my first thought was that this would make a funny rage comic (evidence of my dangerous reddit addiction). I closed my eyes and then opened them again, and instead of the original mutant spider, a new mutant spider had taken its place.

And I thought.... what happened to the other spider? Did I blink him away? Are my contacts clearer now and therefore some of his legs have been removed? And he changed colors? And got smaller? How is that even possible? I'm confused by this, I should just close my eyes again.

And then when I woke up (for real) a few hours later, I inspected the wall to see if either of the spiders were still there. Did they just disappear? Did they crawl back up their web and up to the ceiling? And then I was like..... OOOOHHHHHHHH...... those were dream spiders! Neither of them existed at all! Well, shit! I can't make a rage comic about this! I'd better just blog about it.

The brain is weird.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stop Internet Censorship

If information and knowledge is something that is important to you, consider taking a moment today to contact your representatives and tell them to vote no on SOPA and PIPA (more info below). Please pick up the phone and make a call, rather than send an email, as phone calls have a much greater impact. American Censorship has declared today to be a "massive call-in day" and wants Senate phones in particular to be flooded with calls today.

"The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) would ruin so much of what's best about the Internet: They will give the government and corporations new powers to block Americans' access to sites that are accused of copyright infringement, force sites like YouTube to go to new lengths to police users' contributions, and put people in prison for streaming certain content online." - StopCensorship.org

In the House, the bill is called HR 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA): "This bill would establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be dedicated to copyright infringment. The DoJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against any site they deem to have "only limited purpose or use other than infringement," and the DoJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site. It would also make unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty up to five years in prison."

Find your Representative in the House

In the Senate, the bill is called S 968: Protect IP Act (PIPA): "Establishes a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be "dedicated to infringing activities." The DoJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against the alleged infringer and the DoJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site. In some cases, action could be taken to block sites without first allowing the alleged infringer to defend themselves in court."

Find your Senator

More information & reading:

Stop Censorship
American Censorship, Round 2
Washington Post article, 11/19/11
SOPA Wikipedia article
PIPA Wikipedia article

I'm turning off commenting for this post. Sorry for censoring you guys, but if you have a comment to make, please call your Senator and tell them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Autism bloggers can change the world

First, notice that I didn't say "autism parent bloggers" or "autistic bloggers." This is because, in my opinion, the term "autism bloggers" includes both groups. We're in this together, and regardless of our differences in opinion about so many things, what is at the heart of what we write about is that we all want the best for any person with autism; be it my child or an autistic adult. The huge divide between us needs to be healed, because if we're always arguing with each other, we are not working towards our mutual goal.

Before I started blogging, I didn't really talk that much about autism, other than to say that my son has it, and to tell some anecdotal stories mostly meant to be amusing. And I started blogging, not with the intention to be educational, but simply to have an outlet for what was in my head. It turned out that the things I was saying about autism was not only something other autism parents could relate to, but was also informing the non autism parents about what autism actually is. I was educating people, even if I wasn't aware of it....  and even if I didn't mean to.

So, here's what I want you all to know: You may think that what you're doing is just venting, but really what you're doing is educating. Even if you're only reaching one person (who isn't in your family) you're teaching people who have no personal experience with autism what autism actually is. It's not Rainman. It's not a bratty kid whose parents can't keep control. It's so much more than that. And what you do, by posting your words and your thoughts, is teaching the world these things. People who never would have had any idea, otherwise, are reading what you say, and they're learning; they're learning what autism is, and they're passing that on to the people around them.

All of that said, I will now get to my point: I want to share with you an email I received over the weekend. It's from a friend of mine, who I call Cactus Pants. I've talked about him here before: my friend, whom I've never met in person, who lives thousands of miles away from me, who has never even met my child, whose children do not have autism; here's how autism blogging has impacted him. Here's how my venting, here on my blog, has changed things thousands of miles away from me. (I'm posting this with permission, and I've changed any identifying information):

So I'm at church, sitting behind the Smith family, Sharon is really nice, Bill is not a guy I am usually friendly with but he works for the same company I do, so we talk casually at church functions about it. Sharon homeschooled and is a very loving mom.

Ok, so then my friend Emily and her kids come in but sit in the back. Emily's autistic little boy has a meltdown pretty much immediately, so she has to take him outside. I felt like helping, but she had it. Eventually I guess she moved to the baby crying room, because at the end of Mass she came in to socialize. That's what we do, we all chit chat in church after Mass. So Bill leans in to me and says "oh great we get to watch this kid act like an idiot"....

Ok, first of all, he is 4... who the hell calls a 4 yr old an idiot in any circumstance? Ok, whatever, so I say "well, he's autistic". Then Bill says "yeah well that didn't stop him from stealing the baby Jesus from the play last year and running down the isle, it was a terrible embarrassment... and the parents just let him do it". This made me want to punch that asshole right in the fucking face, but I said "well, it's hard sometimes with autism," and he says "Yeah right, they just need to put a stop to it is all." Yes, that's right, there is a guy in Arkansas with the cure for autism that he is not sharing with anyone, but is judging parents as incompetent for not knowing it!!!!

So, I said "No tolerance forthcoming from you, Bill. We all can't be as good as you Bill! Come along kids before Mr. Smith finds fault with you and deems me unworthy to parent!" At this he muttered something, as if what I said was a joke that he was in on....

At home later, my wife says "man, you gave him every opportunity to not be an asshole, but he was not having it. Nope, he was determined to just ass it up." And I'm all, "This is a guy I rarely talk to, and THIS is something he thinks we can share a bond with, the inherent disdain for children with special needs?!!! What the FUCK!"

UGH! I am so pissed. I really didn't know what kind of absolute bigotry really existed out there for autistic kids and their parents, what an eye opener.

Thank you for giving me this outlet to vent.

Thank you for informing me about autism.

Thank you for the blessing that is you and your kids.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How my Thanksgiving weekend was

Disclaimer: I am not trying to pass Allie Brosh's awesome work off as my own. These pictures are memes now and therefore internet law says I'm allowed to do this.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving memories

Thanksgiving always makes me think of my brother. For obvious reasons, of course, because on days like this you think of family, especially family that is no longer with you, but I think of him especially on this day (he died almost 9 years ago).

He loved stuffing. Fucking LOVED it. Growing up, my mom always had to make a shit ton extra because he would scarf so much of it down. At his request, at some point during my childhood, she added sausage to her patented recipe, and that's the recipe I still use today. It's good stuff, man. Good fucking stuff.

His last Thanksgiving was at my house, with his wife, a baby Child 1, my parents and Hubs' sister and her husband. In the last year or so of his life he had been seeing some kind of Chinese doctor (apparently he was also the Dalai Lama's doctor?) who put him on this crazy diet of restriction, because such and such food causes a such and such in the body and such and such whateverthefuck.

I remember that he wasn't allowed to eat mustard, or poppy seeds? But the most important restriction, in this context. was that he couldn't eat any birds. BIRDS. He couldn't eat fucking birds on Thanksgiving!! So I made a separate bunch of stuffing, not cooked in the turkey, with pork sausage and a mushroom gravy. Not as good. I mean, it was good (because I'm a good cook, if I do say so myself), but it wasn't how it was supposed to be. He gave it his best shot and I distinctly remember him saying at one point  "fuck it" and going for a handful of the "good" stuffing. Because, really? Not eating any birds or bird products is really going to stop a stage 4 melanoma that had already spread to his brain at that point? I don't think so.

I hope he liked the stuffing. I'm sure he did but I don't remember specifically.

I miss him; on most days I miss him, but on Thanksgiving I miss him the most. I wish he could have some of my gravy, I know he would love it.

Happy Thanksgiving, nutjobs!!!

YES, I'm talking to you. YOU. You're the nutjob. Happy Thanksgiving, crazy people!

We had a last minute change of plans and I AM doing Thanksgiving at my house this year. That makes me VERY happy, and as I write this, on Wednesday afternoon, my fucking kick-ass gravy is on Day #1, happy bubbling away on the stove. KICK ASS.

I'm not going to spend too much time on this post, because probably nobody will read it, since everybody is spending the day either cooking or getting drunk or avoiding having to sit next to that one relative you hate, or all of the above, so I'll just say... I'm thankful for all the people I have met in the last year and a half, since I started blogging, who for some reason keep coming back to this lame ass blog day after day and humor me enough to tell me I'm funny, even though we all know you're full of shit (you must want something).

Here are some gifts I got you; straight from the internet! Except the last one. That last one is a picture of me holding a gravy bowl.

Gobble gobble, motherfuckers!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordlessish Wednesday: Dinnertime, with sensory issues

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm a Scrooge and I'm cool with that

This is a repost. I originally wrote this last year and I'm just posting it again because I like it :)

I hate Christmas.

Yep. I just said that. Take a minute to process.

Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you. First, the obvious: it's not because I'm Jewish. Okay, it's not just because I'm Jewish. We actually celebrated Christmas when I was a kid, I'm not really sure why. Probably because my parents wanted presents, too, and if you only do Hanukkah the adults don't get anything. But we actually had a little plastic tree that my mom would put on the dining room table, and for a few years there we had stockings actually hanging from the mantle (with care). So, you can't blame my Jeweyness on this. It would be more accurate to blame my atheism on it, but I'll get to that later after I explain some more.

No, what I hate about Christmas is that it is the king of what I call "Forced Gift Giving Days." Gifts are not optional on Forced Gift Giving Days, especially if you spend the day with people who actually do like Christmas, they're going to expect that you give them something. I hate this idea; actually the whole thing seriously pisses me off. You have these days where you're required to give gifts to people, and sometimes they're people you never speak to any other day of the year and actually don't really like very much. WTF?? What is the point of that?

My point is that you shouldn't need a holiday to be nice to the people that you care about. If you want to give somebody a gift to show your appreciation, you should do that on any day of the year that you like. And I do, actually, about 10 years ago I instituted my "For no particular reason" gift giving policy, and if I ever want to help somebody out or tell them I like them, I do that, even if it's March 15th and not December 25th. (actually I'm pretty sure March 15th is the Ides of March so that may be a bad example, but that was the first date I pulled out of my ass head.) I give gifts to my kids' teachers on May 10th (another ass/head date), I give gifts to my friends on September 22 (that's actually my birthday: make a note!!).  My kids get showered with fucking toys all year long (grandparents) they certainly don't need another haul of crap on this one day out of the year.

Now, maybe you're thinking that Christmas is a beautiful family tradition and I shouldn't be depriving my kids of the experience, but, you know, there are other days out of the year that are beautiful family traditions where gifts aren't required, and my kids are going to be taught to appreciate those days, instead. It is my intention to raise them with this attitude that I have, that if you love somebody, you tell them that on any day of the year, and not just the one day that has been assigned to telling people you love them (February 14th. EWW!)

Now, maybe if Christmas were an actual holiday worth celebrating, like if I believed in Jesus and wanted to celebrate his birthday and appreciate HIM, I could see how Christmas would be something I would be in to, but I am an atheist (actually more of an agnostic, but that's not the point right now) and even if the holiday were still about its actual purpose, which it isn't, that's just not a day that interests me. But, of course, we know that Christmas is about rampant materialism and supporting our capitalist society and showing off to other people all the shit you can or can't afford and has nothing to do with good will toward man or love thy neighbor or any of that shit. What's important about Christmas is that retail businesses can have large 4th quarter profits to show their shareholders that they're doing well and still a safe investment.

Why the fuck would I want to celebrate THAT?