You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2010.

Just so you don’t think I’m all-the-way lazy, I wanted to put some photos up here. Also, my last few (*ahem* most) posts are texty, diary-style randomness coming from a semi-schizo brain.

To be honest, I had even forgotten how to add photos to this post. I’ve been too distracted by audio books and freezing-my-butt-off temperatures, and also a general gloominess that always comes along with winter and makes me be more artsy than usual (in that I post stream-of-consciousness stuff).

Sooo… this is what my random self did two  nights ago:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I keep on forgetting to post things to FB and the blog… this means that you get the ranting raving person, and they get the photos!

 

 

 

I have finally succumbed to the temptation to get an audiobook (that is, now that my iPhone has made it free). This is something I have put off for a long time. I just haven’t been able to reconcile myself to the fact that a) I’m going to need to pay someone to do something that I can do myself for free, b) I’m going to have to pay someone to say all this stuff in a tone of voice that I have no control over, and c) it seems kind of lazy.

So, my first two objections got most-of-the-way wiped out when I took out the word “pay”, but I still had this niggling little bit of doubt, because I’m still going to have to listen to it in someone’s voice, and to attach a single voice and actor to a plethora of personas seems a little bit like every time I ever remembered the story, I’d remember it the way someone other than the author or my own self told it.

This is why I HATE to watch a movie before I read it… not only because they skip out on all kinds of fun stuff, but also because when you read it after seeing the movie, you picture every person in the book as the actor who played the character.

For example… Harry Potter.

THIS just came up in your brain, didn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually, if you were lucky enough to read the books before seeing the movies, you might see this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you didn’t read the books and live in a cave, you might think of this:

 

 

 

 

 

THIS, on the other hand, is what comes up when you Google a less movie-adapted book, like “The Bedside Book of Beasts”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very refreshing! Pretty much just a book title! *whew*

Anyhoo, because I had these little nagging doubts in my head, I have kind of held off on the whole Audiobook thing. But I’m pretty sick and tired of my CDs in my car, because I go about 1/2 hour to work and 1 hour home every day… and I haven’t read in a while for a few reasons that aren’t really good enough to rob me of something I really enjoy, but they still do…

So, I thought, “Ok, if my FIRST TIME” has the potential to make or break this for me, what should I listen to?

The criteria:

1) Something I have already read, so that the experience can’t be ruined

2) Something told in the first person, so that I don’t hear the same person talking through a billion characters

3) Something I won’t have to pay a ton of attention to, since, after all, I am driving

4) Something that can be stopped and started with relative ease, because the drive isn’t all THAT long, compared to my regular reading, and someone reading aloud is going to take a lot longer

5) Something free

And, I came up with….

Black Beauty, which, after a Google search, will look like this:

 

 

 

 

 

But, if you look in my memory, still looks like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got to chapter 6 today, to and from work. Nice, short, descriptive chapters. And one description was of BB, with “one white hoof and a pretty little star on my forelock” or something to that effect, and that he was thought “rather handsome”… which, after oh, about 20 years, brought the book rushing back to me.

I have to say, I am still not the greatest fan of listening to someone else’s voice telling the story, since I am so used to reading fluidly, but so far, it’s beating my old CD, and the Christmas tunes on the radio, and I’m getting a delicious little bit of my childhood back.

Audiobooks, you get a solid “B”! Yes, I do grade on a curve.

Whenever I blog, I seem to have WAAAAAY to much to say, and the only thing going through my mind while I write is, “TOO LONG, DIDN’T READ”.

I say this often, to Eric, to co-workers, and to myself.. ohhh, you want to tell me what you did over the weekend?… *cough cough* … “Too long, didn’t listen” (or, listened at first, stopped listening!)

So here is a quick one:

I have been watching Bewitched. I love the campy-ness of it, the old-fashioned views of men and women, that Darren can “forbid” Samantha to do anything. And I love that Samantha does pretty much what Darren wants, but doesn’t give in, all the way. They really compromise.

Maybe ’65-’70 is a pretty good example for a marriage … if you don’t mind a little magic.

P.S.  I’ve also caught myself talking all Samantha-y to the dogs: “Oh, dear! You have to go onesies? Just give me a moment and I will let you outdoors likety-split!”, or “Heavens! Have I forgotten to feed you again? No wonder you are licking your chops and looking at me so lovingly, darling!”

PPS. If I ever have kids, they’re going to be weeeeeiiiiiirrrrrd.

I think I should rename this entire blog to “How Google Affected My Thought Pattern”. Or, “How to Tell You’re Just a Smidge Autistic”, instead of “A Little Journey”.

If you’ve seen my Facebook album of “how to make dinner ala Christa”, you’ll be a little more prepared for the randomness that makes up the bulk of this post.

I have the day off today – I have agreed to work every Saturday (2 less hours/week for the same pay, but giving up a weekend day…), and so I usually book of the Monday, so that I have two days off together (Sunday-Monday). This week, a co-worker booked off the Monday, leaving the showroom in a lurch, and so I worked yesterday (Monday), and took today off instead. It’s made for an interesting pattern of work, don’t work, work, don’t work, with the Remembrance Day closed-day. This past week I’ve worked Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Monday, and back to Wednesday, tomorrow. I’m starting to forget whether I’m coming or going… or, I’m starting to remember what it feels like to work retail/waitressing.

Today, I had planned on doing some homework, and had the foresight to email myself a CAD file so that I could work at home today. But, Eric recently helped me to install Windows 7 on my computer, and I didn‘t have the foresight to move AutoCAD to my repository drive, and so I am CAD-less. Instead, I decided to chat with my friend, Cat, at her work, via Facebook. Yep, sat down at the death-trap, La Computadora.

*This is the part where Google takes over*

I mentioned to Cat that I might like to see a movie in a theatre sometime soon, as it’s been a while since Eric and I have gone out, just the two of us together, for something other than grocery shopping. She suggested trying to see “Despicable Me”, if I could find a theatre in town still playing it. I haven’t been to a movie in a coon’s age, so I wasn’t familiar with DM. She said “oh, you have to see the trailer with the yellow Minions and the cow toy”. So I faithfully Googled it.

So I watched that, and I agreed, it looks pretty funny, and we chatted some more about plans for Thursday, and did we remember to invite so-and-so for what time, and we really should do things together more often… and the whole time, Google was on in the background. I somehow went from a cute animated movie to an article about the TSA’s new millimetre-wave/backscatter-ray security scanners in US airports. Fascinating! Scary! Thought and discourse provoking! Then off to AS&E’s website, which led to more fascination… they just got about a $63.1 million dollar contract or something ridiculous like that.

And that lead me to Derek Paravicini, who is 26, blind, autistic, and a musical savant. So I looked up videos of him on the History Channel. And on one of the videos, there was a brief remark about how Derek seems to have no filters for all of the stimuli coming his way.

This thought has always intrigued me. As a kid, I used to like to lay in bed and see if, by relaxing my muscles in waves, head to toe, I could become relaxed enough to slow my heart to under a beat every two seconds. Today, I lay in bed and will my heart to go anything under quarter-time as I think about the dogs and my relationship and work and the house and bills and all of the things I should have done or should do or always forget about but remember right before bed.

Anyway, this passing remark in the video reminded me of those exercises I used to do, and I decided to try to filter all of the information my body was recieving right then into descriptive thought. Kind of like those annoying self-quizzes that get handed around, where you have to describe what you’re wearing right now, and what the book next to you says on page 48, paragraph 2, line 8 that no one I’ve ever know has ever really completely resisted. It’s going to get all detail-y and random now, so if you just wanted to check in and see how my day was, you might want to stop reading now. Really.

No, REALLY.

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This is where I start rambling.

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You’re still here?

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Fine. I warned you.

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Really, this part is mostly for me, and I would have written it in long-hand, but typing is much faster.

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Here is a verbal-diarrhea-style sketch (oh wait, that’s called automatic writing, isn’t it!) of what was going on (seriously, this is more for me than you):

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I switch perspectives a LOT.

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There is a ceiling over me, something like 6 feet above, because I’m sitting down. I can feel space there, and if I concentrate, I can kind of hear it; Eric’s computer is humming behind me and letting me know where the walls are. I also have a visual memory that is telling me how far back the wall recedes behind me,  past my range of vision. The wall in front of me is less dense in one spot (strange how it can make me feel more vulnerable!), because there is a window there. I can feel some cold on the left side of my face, and when I close my eyes, I can tell that it is a light source, too. The string that pulls the blinds up is moving just a smidge, left to right, because the furnace has come on. I think that if I took video of it, you wouldn’t see it moving. But I can see it when I don’t look right at it, kind of like those background stars when you try to count them.

I can hear air rushing through a space, mostly from a vent on the far side of the room, to my right. Through conditioning, I know that it is hot air. I can also feel heat, mostly on my forehead, the back of my neck, and, strangely, on the upper sides of my fingers; I feel it on those knuckles that grow the fine little hairs – the one you wear a ring on. Maybe I am registering my hair folicles relaxing as a temperature shift – maybe they are relaxing because the air is warming, or maybe they are relaxing because of my conditioned assumption that the air moving through the vent is warm, and I interpret my conditioned reaction as a feeling of heat. Maybe it’s actually getting colder in here.

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Pause.

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nope. It’s getting warmer. Our house warms up in spurts.

I am hearing a steady, low hum coming from below the floor, like something big is there – something dangerous. I think about the general ineptitude of the contractor who installed the heater and I calculate the odds that I will die in my sleep either from CO2 poisoning, monoxide poisoning (why can’t I remember which comes from a furnace?), smoke inhalation from a fire, or just plain burning to death. Or an explosion. Can’t forget about explosions. Our house would probably cave in and we’d slide down into the damp muddiness saying “no no No NO NOOO!” if something exploded in the dug-out.

I can’t pinpoint exactly where the heater is in the space below me – partially because the dug-out basement is so grody that I haven’t looked down there since the flood, and they installed the furnace after that. But the floor is humming at my feet. I decide it’s right there, under me, and that I am probably wrong, at the same time.

My hair is pulled back, and it hurts a little bit, because my hair is still pretty short and I had to pull it back pretty harshly – forgot that feeling until just now.

I can feel my hoodie touching my neck, especially on the sides where it’s zipped up. It wraps around my arms and is tighter at the elbows because my hands are up, under my chin. I can feel the folds in the materials, there, on the part of my arm most likely to have a nurse draw blood from. It gets tighter near my wrists, too, but slightly back from my wrist bones, because the bends in my elbows take up more fabric.

My right ear canal itches, suddenly, like a fruit-fly just did a dive-bomb into it – probably because I wear earplugs at night, and also because I am concentrating pretty hard, and the right side of the room is bigger, so there is a lot of volume there, compared to my left, where the noise is more intense. I imagine the moving air and vibrations from that bigger volume filtering past the fine hairs in my ear canal and it creeps me out, because that makes me think of them slowly moving wax up and out of my ear… I eyeball the Q-tips in my make-up bag.

My hair is longer on the right side, and I comb it in that direction (briefly remembering that I used to comb my hair to the other side, which I know because Dad and I have a mole on the same side, and that used to be my part-line… or maybe that’s a false memory), so the hair falling out of the pony tail is mostly on that side, and it kind of tickles my face.

My hands are folded together under my chin, right over left, and the one inside is warmer than the other. The outside, right hand is cold on the back surface, where I’d be most likely to write something to remember, but warm on the fingers, because my chin is warming it. I am wearing a ring on the outside hand, which is poking into my chin, and now that I think about it, it kind of hurts. And so do my elbows. I can feel that sticky-outy bone a little too harshly against my desktop. Come to think of it, my back is getting tired, too.

Shift a bit, arch back.

I’m sitting in a clear Ikea chair. I can feel the curve at my butt, and I can feel a little bit of the plastic against my skin, where my pajama pants dropped when I folded my legs to sit down, plumber-style. I can feel the waistband of my pants, and my stomach, which is full from a hotdog I had for lunch. Come to think of it, I can still taste that a little bit, where my tongue is pressed up against the roof of my mouth. I can feel my teeth with the tip of my tongue, too, just lightly. They (my teeth) are separated ever so slightly. When I bite a little with my teeth, I can feel them sliding against my lips. Think about saliva glands. Neat. Digestion starts at the mouth. Briefly contemplate ultra-saliva.

Think about the movie Alien. Consider the fact that I am a diluted movie-type alien.

My knees go just past the front end of the chair, maybe about two inches of clear space at the back side of my knee, where I can feel folds of fabric again, just like at my inside elbows. Are the veins there too big to draw blood from? Both of my feet are curled so that the tops of my toes are on the laminate wood-looking floor, which is cold. My feet are curled together, much as my hands were, with the same warm-cold effect, except that my toes are colder, like usual. I sprained my ankle back in September, and it doesn’t seem to have healed properly. Besides the swelling that I can see, I can feel my muscles along my shin are pulled pretty tightly, almost like a cramp, and there’s a dull pain that’s pretty much constant. It makes me walk down stairs all funny-like.

There is someone outside scraping the snow off of concrete (we got a bunch of snow last night!). The shovel is metal, not plastic. The sound comes mostly from my right ear, where the living room opens up and there is a large window, but there is also sound coming in my left ear, through the smaller window, which makes me believe that this activity is happening on their personal walk, and not the public sidewalk. The muted-ness of the sound makes me think of several inches on a shovel – not a huge snowfall, but enough to warrant a shoveling. There is a banging sound, as if someone is trying to break ice, so I think that the snow must have melted at some point, and re-frozen. I don’t think my car will be much fun to get into tomorrow.

Both dogs are at my feet. I am not touching them, but I sense that they are there. It is partially a memory of them both going to that place, and partly an intuitive feeling that there are two curled bodies there. I believe Biggs to be forward with head to the right and Buttie to the back with head to the left, based on their breathing. I check, and yes, I am right.

All of this paying attention has made me realize I have to pee. So that’s the end of this exercise. After the bathroom, I’ll be headed back to watch the rest of the videos on Derek.

Cheers!

Today I watched as Graeme Taylor, a gay 14 year old kid got up in front of teachers, classmates, and school board representatives and gave them a very well-reasoned and intelligently laid out good old-fashioned tongue-lashing about disciplinary actions taken against his openly gay teacher, Jay McDowell. Why was teacher disciplined? For getting into a verbal argument with two kids on the subject of gay rights. Click on the link, and watch it.

In 2010, we can look back on all kinds of oppression (oooh, heavy word!), each one taking it’s own distinctive shape and form. Black White Native Chinese Woman Man Gay etc. If you ask any of the people affected, you’ll probably get the impression that it’s not quite fixed. Watch the adverts from the “It Gets Better” movement… it should speak to you regardless of any stereotypical box in which you place yourself.

In modern society, we are exposed to stereotypes ALL OF THE TIME… but we also get to see the best of people. All of the awful things we see are counterbalanced with beautiful, amazing talents, stories, creations, abilities, and things that just make you want to drop to your knees and cry for joy. I’m sure Double Rainbow guy agrees with me.

To get back to the point… I love stereotypes. We all do (come on, admit it!). They exist for a reason. Building-block-like categories ARE comedic, dramatic, and inspiring. Name a race/orientation/personality, and I will make you a TV show out of it. It’s delicious and it’s entertainting. We take either the best features or the worst features of a huge number of people and make them cartoonishly exaggerated… and the more outlandish the storyline, the better the ratings. We are all brilliant, unique fools, but we all fit into stereotypical categories.

But, the point of this post is…..  (drum roll)

Ba ba ba bAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

People are fueled by two things: outrage and innovation. Oh what, you want me to explain? Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine……. (I love explaining, and Eric gets the biggest part of my monologues, so consider yourself lucky that you aren’t here in person)

Outrage… Religious outrage, racial outrage, sexual and (really they are all this one…) conventional outrage (*cough* ignoring all of the openly gay/inter-racial stuff that went on throughout history)… I’m talking about “proper” convention). The funny thing is, that the more conventional we are, the less innovative we are. It’s like trying to punch yourself REALLY HARD in the face. Give yourself a good hard slap right now. Do it. I’m pretty sure you could slap someone else harder.

Have you heard the phrase “religion is the cause of all wars”? Modify that to “Convention is the cause of all wars”. Why do we try to stick to these ideas that are so very very old? The greatest innovators are people who defy convention, who go outside of what is generally accepted. What does convention do? It keeps everything the same. Wherever you are right now, you are reading this because of multiple levels of innovation. (What, you aren’t reading this on your iPhone?… for shame…)

The less conventional we allow ourselves to be, the more creative we are. So why are we so outraged by differences?

Innovation has different historical and cultural backgrounds, different socially accepted “norms”, different expectations and different modes of thought. Innovation is the outcome of difference. Why would anyone want to hinder that outcome? Why stuff people into little boxes labled “conventionally accepted”?

Teenage angst is universally recognized. It is the years-long anxiety we all feel when we try to accept ourselves, to orient ourselves into a “norm” (a shorter word for “convention” – it’s a lot to type). It should be the most creative time in our lives – we are creating ourselves. We struggle to categorize ourselves. Are we artistic? Athletic? Mathematical? Engineers? Models? Philosophers? Intuitive? You get the idea…

Angst doesn’t begin or end at puberty. I have had huge amounts of angst in my life. I did when I was five, and I still do. Over every little detail. At any age we wonder “why am I not like everyone else? Why don’t I fit into a “norm”? Why can’t we be whatever they want to be? Look at this mom’s story – her kid wanted to be Daphne from Scooby Doo.

Fully expanding your personality won’t get rid of your angst – that’s part of having a self-conscious brain. But the ability to pursue your real proclivity could lead to some really amazing innovations! We are all unique, and being unconventional is kind of built-in.
or just watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pttKK3DiRV8

 

I have encountered one of life’s best improvisations: LEMON POTATOES.

 

I fixed up a recipe I found online that called for baking in a lemon mix. Instead, I cut up 4 regular-large sized potatoes into wedges, and boiled them in a mixture of one carton of low-sodium chicken stock, 2-3 cloves chopped garlic, and 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

The boiling is partly to infuse the potato with the flavours (oh my, this worked well!), partly to remove some of the starch, and also, I didn’t want to wait two hours to have the potatoes cook through in the oven, or dry them up. Boiling leaves them very nice and moiiiiiiiisssssst!  While boiling the potatoes away, you mix up 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, one tsp dried rosemary, one tsp dried thyme, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves (I cheated on all garlic, and used a giant Costco jug of chopped garlic, but it worked well).  When the boiling potatoes are mostly cooked through, but still not soft, you pull them out, put them in a baking dish, and drizzle with the oil/lemon mix. Put them in an oven warmed to 375 or 400, and turn them occasionally to make sure they all get the lemon mix, until done.  Mmmmmm goood!

I was a bit worried that they’d be too sour, but they really weren’t – Eric gave his approval and two thumbs up. I almost can’t wait for the leftovers!  Also, I kept the boiling stock in the fridge for future use… I don’t if it will be for more potatoes or what, but it will be fantastic!

🙂