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17-a de nov 2010 @ 04:46 "Simple Living" is a luxury of the wealthy
We bought ourselves a Roku box a while back and one feature of owning it is that we're now able to watch NBC Nightly News every day. Last week they ran a series about simplifying one's life and we were suitably disgusted by all the information they *didn't* mention. For example, NBC was so enamoured of a millionaire who downsized and went to work at Starbuck's that they didn't bother to tell us what kind of savings he was living off in addition to his low wages.

Someone on Twitter recently hyped this blog entry -- lessons from a car-free life -- that is obviously intended to be inspirational but just sets off my "poor people can rarely live like this" alarm.

keep reading after the cutCollapse )
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3-a de aŭg 2010 @ 21:01 Sixteen years later, little has changed
I just read an article in the Columbus Dispatch about young people with Asperger's struggling to find and keep employment (I've included the text of the article below.) This article really saddens me because it's the same thing I went through at their age (although I was applying for lower level jobs and was a high-school drop-out.) Our education levels may be different, but the story is the same: deficient social skills keep these young people from meeting their potential.

My own experience was that it was easy to land jobs. I worked as a dishwasher, a short-order cook, did data entry, hot-walked horses, babysat, recorded books for the blind, checked hand stamps at the door of a bar, worked as a restroom attendant, dealt pretend poker in a bar, measured and cut electrical cables, packed girl scout awards in boxes for shipping, conducted telephone surveys, waited tables, cut sprue off plastic pieces in a factory, ran the cash register at a convenience store, worked as a receptionist . . . I was able to interview well enough to get all of these jobs. I was not able to maintain enough "normalcy" to keep them. None of my jobs ever lasted a full month. Most lasted two weeks.

I was a hard worker, showed up for work every day, on time, learned my responsibilities quickly, took pride in doing a good and thorough job. But there was always that "something" that made employers not want to keep me. In 1994, the new revision of the DSM included a condition called Asperger's Syndrome. In the sixteen years since then, awareness of the condition has been steadily growing. I had thought that the workplace experience would be different now for those young adults who grew up knowing about their Asperger's, learning how to self-advocate, and entering the workforce in a world where it seems now that nearly everyone has heard of this condition. Apparently, I was mistaken.

Even Vocational Rehabilitation, as described in the article below, is still doing the same dance number now that they were doing before they'd heard of Asperger's. I went to Voc Rehab in 1993 to try to get some help. After conducting many different types of tests, I was told, "you are very intelligent and very complex. We can't help you now but if you go through about five years of therapy, you can come back and try us again." Later, after I'd been diagnosed with Asperger's and had time to research my condition, I learned that it's very common for people with Asperger's to test as schizoid personality disorder or other illnesses on the MMPI. In the days before mental health professionals knew about Asperger's, we were commonly misdiagnosed as being schizophrenic. There are many conditions that Asperger's almost appears to be if one is examining it with a trained eye but no knowledge of Asperger's. Like many people of my generation with Asperger's, I have a string of half-fitting misdiagnoses trailing off behind me into my past.

I thought it would be better now that Voc Rehab counselors must know about Asperger's. But the description in the article below of Chelsea's encounter with Vocational Rehabilitation doesn't sound significantly different from my own. This is greatly disheartening. Articles like this feed into my insecurities: here I am, working my way toward a doctorate degree. Am I kidding myself that I will be able to do anything with it? I was basically diagnosed Asperger's and then cut loose to make what I could of my new self-information. I desperately need life skills coaching from someone trained and experienced in working with adults with Asperger's (I've learned, painfully, over the years that those who aren't trained in Asperger's tend inadvertently to cause far more damage than assistance when they try to work with me) but Medicaid doesn't cover that sort of service and all the providers I've found are very expensive. Ironically, I can't afford the training I need to be able to secure a job with a high enough income to afford the training I need to be able to secure a job. To say that I am apprehensive about graduation is an understatement.

Okay, so the professionals have re-discovered Asperger's Syndrome. They are studying it and releasing new research results every month. Television series on major networks have had recurring characters with Asperger's Syndrome (however poorly rendered those characters may have been) so AS has attained some sort of "trendy awareness" like ADD had a couple of decades ago -- "everyone" has heard of it by now. Why aren't we any farther ahead than we were two decades ago when no one in the English-speaking world had heard of Asperger's and those of us living with it were floundering and drowning once we hit adulthood?

What can we do to fix this problem?

Young adults with Asperger's syndrome struggle to find jobsCollapse )
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23-a de jul 2010 @ 05:28 What I'll be reading this semester
In case anyone is curious about what books my nose will be stuck in this Fall semester,
click here to find outCollapse )
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Sparrow
11-a de jun 2010 @ 21:58 Some meme I found
1. It’s 2AM and you are not home. You are more than likely:

Up the hill, watching a meteor shower.

2. What’s the last thing you spent more than $100 on?

My food dehydrator? Or was it my VFF Flows?

3. What do your bank checks look like?

Vaguely greenish with the bank logo. The cheapest default checks available.

4. Where did the shirt you are currently wearing come from?

Pegasus (a little hippie-type shop here in town)

5. Name something that will be on your Christmas wish list:

A Blend-Tec is the constant default on my Christmas wish list but it will be a few years before Santa brings it.

6. What color is your toothbrush?

White with some sort of aqua colored decoration on it.

7. Name something you collect and tell us about it.

DVDs. I like movies.

8. Which was the last restaurant where you ate? Who were you with? How was it?

I think it might have been Elmer's, maybe two or three years ago? I hate that place. Oh! Does Jamba Juice count? I had lunch there about five months ago with Loree and it was mondo tasty. I LOVE fruit smoothies!

9. Who was the last person you bought a birthday card for?

My mother. I hope I remember to mail it in time.

10. What is your worst bad habit?

succumbing to inertia

11. Name a magazine you subscribe to?

The Journal of Recreational Mathematics.

12. Your favorite pizza toppings?

Green olives, tomatoes, green peppers, artichoke hearts

13. Whose number were you looking up the last time you used a phone book?

I was looking to see if there are any local seamstresses or tailors.

14. Other than family, who is the person that you love most?

Jesus the Christ

15. What is the last thing you cooked?

Grilled cheese sandwiches.

16. Name something you wouldn’t want to buy used?

a diary

17. Which shoe do you put on first?

The first one I can find.

18. What is the last thing you remember losing?

The stack of brochures from the career center.

19. What is the ugliest piece of furniture in your house?

It's all pretty ugly; difficult to choose.

20. Last thing you bought and ended up returning?

I can't remember. I usually don't have it together enough to return something.

21. What perfume/cologne do you wear? If none, why?

None. I'm very sensitive to chemicals and strong scents.

22. Your favorite board game?

Scrabble

23. What was the last board game you played?

Scrabble, a year or two ago. I don't get much opportunity to play board games because Robert hates them and I don't really know anyone else.

24. Where did your vehicle come from?

The car is not really mine; I'm driving Robert's. The bicycle came from the Pocatello Free Bike Shop.

25. If a movie were made about your life, what would the theme song be?

"Circle" by Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians

26. You’re sad; who can cheer you up easily?

My rattie, if she's in a good mood and feels like hanging out.

27. What was the color of the bridesmaid dresses of the last wedding you went to?

I've only been to two weddings in my life and the most recent was sixteen years ago. You expect me to remember anything other than wondering how soon I could leave?

28. What house cleaning chore do you hate to do the most?

Is "all of them" a valid answer? Um... anything thate requires me to use smelly cleaning products.

29. What is your favorite way to eat chicken?

Why would I want to do something like that? I love chickens! They are sweet and pretty and very smart and if you raise them by hand, very cuddly. I don't eat my pals.

30. It is your birthday. You hope the cake is?

A gorgeous rawfood creation covered with edible flowers.
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Sparrow
17-a de maj 2010 @ 00:00 Latest Messages from Twitter
  • 18:44 To cheer me up for losing my old hard drive, Robert gave me five DVDs full of albums in mp3 format. #
  • 18:44 @mlv heck if I know. A computer. LOL #
  • 18:46 Requiescat in Pace, Ronnie James Dio. #
  • 22:57 "Colleges are places where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed." - Robert G. Ingersoll #
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16-a de maj 2010 @ 00:00 Latest Messages from Twitter
  • 14:03 This is my 1st post with the new computer. Getting reoriented to a new OS, software versions, etc. Nicer computer but change is still hard. #
  • 14:19 Happy Armed Forces Day! #
  • 14:20 @mlv Robert's old computer. No idea. He used to play WoW on it until he got an even better computer and monitor. #
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15-a de maj 2010 @ 00:01 Latest Messages from Twitter

  • 14:51 Wrestling with updating the computer - offline for a while and using someone else's periodically until things get squared away. #

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14-a de maj 2010 @ 00:01 Latest Messages from Twitter
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12-a de maj 2010 @ 00:00 Latest Messages from Twitter
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11-a de maj 2010 @ 15:43 What Happens When Men Read Vogue
I didn't want a subscription to Vogue Magazine, but I have one anyway. What I had actually subscribed to was a cute, funky home decorating magazine called Domino. I got one issue and absolutely loved it. Then I got the notice.

The publishers had decided to discontinue Domino Magazine but would be converting my subscription to another of their fine publications, Vogue. They should have just given me my money back, but they didn't. And I didn't feel up to fighting over such a small sum, especially since I'd gotten my fill of fighting with publishers over money they owed me back when I finally decided to give up freelance writing.

So now I get Vogue. For context, the only "women's magazine" I ever read is Siempre Mujer and I devour every word of it, but not because I love mascara or frilly underthings but rather because it gives me a chance to practice reading everyday Spanish. I keep my issues of Siempre Mujer in nice condition and read them on the sofa. Vogue goes in the bathroom when it arrives, where water spots eventually dot the faces of Zoë Saldaña or Posh Spice or any of the other successful women I'd barely heard of until they showed up on the cover of my Vogue. (Though Zoë showed up the next month on the cover of my Siempre Mujer and I immediately forgave her for being on Vogue and promised her no more water spots on her face.)

When Robert has read his way through the latest American Rifleman and looked through his latest ammo catalog, he starts leafing through my Vogue. He occasionally quips that he's found the perfect bikini for his figure, thanks to the magazine.

Last night, after complaining at length that the preview of American Chopper promised that the fellows at Orange County Chopper would be building a motorcycle for Santa Claus yet the episode never showed Santa Claus, only the Jets, Robert started in on the latest issue of Vogue.

"The cover lied. It lied as much as American Chopper lied about Santa Claus!"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"It said 'ten secret ways you turn him on without trying' but it wasn't about the generic you, it was about ten specific women and it wasn't about guys in general, it was about these ugly guys who said they were real losers but the women made them hot. And it wasn't even about not trying because all the women did something to turn the guys on."

"Well," I said, "I don't see how you could write an article teaching women how to turn men on without trying, because anything they learned in the article and applied to their lives would constitute 'trying', by definition."

"But it wasn't even teaching that. The cover lied," he complained.

"Well, maybe the article should have been titled 'Ten women who did something that made loser guys really hot.' But I doubt that would have helped to sell issues."

"Yeah. It lied. And Santa Claus wasn't on American Chopper."

So rather than title this post "How Robert got upset about Santa Claus and magazine covers that lie," I thought I'd take a tip from Vogue and call it "What Happens When Men Read Vogue." It may be a misleading headline, but it got you here.

Now, about Santa Claus...
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Sparrow