Writer's Block: Beep, Bop, Boop

Fishchick of the Sea
What was the first video or computer game you ever played? Did you love it or hate it, and why?

When I was in first grade, we got a Commodore 64. I got a cartridge game called Alphabet Zoo and my sister got Alf In The Color Caves. Alphabet Zoo was the shit.

And that is how I became a huge nerd. The End.
Fishchick of the Sea
These came out awhile back, but somehow I missed them. This series of articles focuses on the biomedical "treatment" of autism. I have treatment in quotation marks because it doesn't actually, you know, treat autism.

I'm glad to see that the mainstream media is finally shaking off its Jenny McCarthy-induced daze and realizing that they've given the anti-vaxxers and other fringe elements free rein for years and as a result we'll probably all die of diphtheria. However, since most people believe in things for emotional, non-logic reasons, I'm not sure how much it will actually help.

Autism treatments: Risky alternative therapies have little basis in science

On shaky ground with alternative treatments to autism

Autism treatment: Science hijacked to support alternative therapies

Autism: Kids put at risk

Four autism treatments that worry physicians

Chelation based on faulty premise

Autism therapies can get undeserved credit

Out of all those articles, this part, in the last one linked, really struck me. The article opens:

Sara DiFucci says she vividly remembers the day a pediatrician said her daughter, then a preschooler, could wind up in a group home later in life. She was devastated.

"I thought my daughter was going to get married and go to college," DiFucci said. "That was all taken away from me."

Sorry that you had some perfectly planned out life for your toddler daughter, lady, but I think that response is more than a little selfish and cracked. You find out your kid has a life long developmental disability and your first response is to boo hoo because now they are aren't going to fulfill your dreams? Gross. Boo hoo because they might have a harder road, if you must, but at least try to think of THEM instead of yourself.

Books I've Read: 2009 Sticky Post.

Tom laughing.
Yeah, I'm going to keep track of the books I've read again.

Read more...Collapse )

Sorry, your kid was always a freak.

Wonder Woman
It's time for me to get on my autism box again, folks. Apologies in advance. However, a couple incidents in real life and on the internet made me start thinking about something, and I feel the need to share it with cyberspace.

Lots of anti-vaxxers believe that crazy mess in part because they "know" that their kids were ok before they had vaccines. Everything was fine! Little Billy was a genius, life was wonderful, and then he got the vaccine (any vaccine, at this point, I've heard parents blame them all) and suddenly, he was cursed with The Big A, and everything was ruined.

First, let me point out that the human brain is designed to look for patterns and find reason in anything. So lots of people everywhere "know" stuff that isn't true. But that's a whole other blog entry. Second, having a kid with autism isn't the end of the world. But that's a whole other blog entry as well.

My main point here is that these parents are wrong. Why, might you ask? Well, as the parent of someone with The Big A and a teacher of lots of people with The Big A, I can tell you that parents, in general, for any disability, often think their children were fine until something happened. That something can be anything... an illness, an accident, a seizure, a medicine. Whatever. It doesn't matter what the event is, because the event didn't cause the problem. The event was just the catalyst that allowed the parents to suddenly see that there was a problem. However, because our minds are funny things and most people don't know that much about children with disabilities, the event becomes the cause in their minds.

Let me use myself as an example. When my daughter was just shy of her second birthday, I went out of town for a few days. This was the first time I'd ever spent the night away from her. I was beginning to be worried that she wasn't talking, but other than not talking, she seemed fine, and everyone kept telling me not to worry. (If you are a parent of a kid and you think something's wrong, don't listen to the not-worriers. Getting a developmental evaluation never hurts, and even if nothing is wrong, you'll get peace of mind.) When I got back home, excited to see her and sad to hear that she had a bad time sleeping without me, I literally went, "Oh, shit. She has autism," within about two minutes.

Now, I am a professional. I worked with freaking two to six year olds with disabilities at that time, and had for about six years. This shows you that it's entirely different meeting someone and being told, "They have autism," than it is to watch your kid grow up. As they grow up, you just take them in stride. She likes to play alone. She doesn't like that one part of Spongebob and it always makes her cry. Whatever. It's only with hindsight that you see that she actually has crap social skills, and in my case knowing a lot of little kids with autism, I've found that a lot of times they'll get hung up on one part of a tv show that will make them cry.

But that was my experience as a professional. I looked back and saw, from the very day she was born, all the things that in retrospect indicated that Autism Jones came equipped with it from the factory. However, I can easily see how someone without that experience might start looking for causes. For the event. Maybe she'd been sick recently, something, anything. Maybe the trauma of being separated from me gave her autism, who knows? (Lots of family and friends didn't believe that she had autism in the lovely six month or so wait we had to get into the developmental pediatrician.)

Interestingly, when I read Paul Offit's book False Prophets, in the segment about the recent vaccine cases where it was ruled they did not cause autism, there was a snippet where an autism expert, Eric Fombonne, had reviewed old videos of the children in the case. Their parents insisted that vaccines caused their autism, but Fombonne and other experts looked at things like their first birthday videos and found signs of autism (lack of eye contact, response to their name) that simply weren't recognized for what they were.

I just keep blabbing on and on...Collapse )

Writer's Block: There Can Be Only One

Confused Krabs
Do you believe in monogamy?

Guess not, since I had a dream last night that I was having a secret love affair with Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show. In the same dream, I was also shocked to discover that my co-worker was secretly a swinger.

Yeah, I don't know what's wrong with my subconscious either.
Angry Sad Face
I was linked to a series of article on alternative autism therapy via the blog A Photon In The Darkness which aptly titled the entry The Chicago Tribune turns over some rocks. Why is it apt? Because:

Almost everybody knows what happens when you turn over rocks in the garden - you find slugs, beetles and other slimy and creepy-crawly things underneath.

Well, the Chicago Tribune recently (21 and 22 May, 2009) came out with a two-day series of articles on what they found when they turned over some rocks in the “alternative” autism therapy world. What they found was beyond what I would have expected, and I’ve been critically analyzing “alternative” autism therapy for a fairly long time.

Anyway, go look at the entry and follow the links. I think that the articles that detail how two of the doctors promoting some of this crap blame the deaths of babies that they've delivered on parents is particularly charming:

"In some of the cases, he blamed the parents of the babies who died -- claiming one mom "killed the baby" and saying another was a "high-risk person we shouldn't have taken care of."


"In an interview, Rosi blamed some of the parents for their babies' deaths.

"Eighty percent of complications in childbirth are psychological," he said. "Babies can be killed by a mother's attitude."
Fishchick of the Sea
Have you ever met a celebrity in real life? Who was it and how did your paths cross?

When I was in London in high school, we totally saw Jimmy Page with another dude and some bimbos at a museum. We tried to discreetly follow him, which I'm sure was a huge failure because we were 17 years old and subtlety isn't really something that comes natural to that age group, as I'm sure you notice each time you see a flock of idiotic high schoolers out together.

In the end, my friend ran after him, took a picture and we all ran away as he called after us. The photo turned out terrible, but we'll always have the memories.

Jan. 23rd, 2009

Whenever I get lazy about posting, I can always count on getting enraged by some idiotic article about autism and then being motivated to make an entry. I am pretty much going to cut and paste this from facebook though, sorry. Maybe over the weekend I'll post some original content...

Why can't we face the truth? Having an autistic child wrecks your life
From looking at the rest of the sensationalistic and stupid titles of articles written by this woman, it's obvious that she likes to take amazingly idiotic stances to "shock" people. However, I still long to punch her in the cunt for writing this particular piece of offensive crap.

Autistic children are now seen as a burden
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick talks about how raising an autistic child is made infinitely harder by the charlatans waging the ‘war on autism’.
To counteract the other article I just posted, here is a realistic point-of-view: Wasting time trying to cure something incurable means spending less time getting to know our children and helping them have happy lives. And for the five thousandth time, vaccines don't cause autism.

A link that ate my life.

After sleeping in, I awoke and planned to accomplish a variety of tasks today. However, while drinking a cup of coffee and perusing my flist, I clicked on a link to Midnight Secretary, not knowing that I would literally spend hours and basically the rest of my day reading it.

Boss/secretary, vampires, and a plot ripped out of a 70's Harlequin? I'm so there.

Writer's Block: Political Misdeeds

Fishchick of the Sea
Today is the anniversary of Tricky Dick Nixon's famous "I am not a crook" statement. Let's take a moment to ponder the many politicians caught being naughty. What's your favorite political scandal?

Teapot Dome, of course.

Seriously, who has a favorite political scandal?

Writer's Block: Short Days

Fishchick of the Sea
As the Northern hemisphere spins toward the shortest day of the year, it's getting dark earlier and earlier. What comforts do you fall back on when the days are short and the nights are long?

Booze and whores.

Writer's Block: Forbidden Reading

The Misfits
From Judy Blume to V.C. Andrews, there's always a book circulating among teens that their parents don't want them to read. What favorite book did you have to hide from your parents?

I tried to answer this yesterday, but then autism happened. Yay for restore from saved draft.

I usually only answer these things to make fun of them, but I spent a great portion of my youth hiding romance novels from my mother, so this question is close to my heart. I know I have set bits and pieces of this out in other entries, but if you actually have read all my years of blogging closely enough to have this be boring and repetitive, instead of feeling apologetic I'm actually kind of worried about you.

I started reading romance novels in elementary school when I snagged one from my cousin's mother. I lent the book to many of my sixth grade friends, and we were once caught reading it at lunch one day. I was entranced by it at that time, although in retrospect I realize what a complete piece of crap it is.

From that point on, I spent years acquiring romance novels in novel ways. It was a constant battle because even then I could read one in a day or less, and so it would have been hard to supply my reading habit even if I didn't have to keep it on the sly as well. In my mom's defense, she never explicitly (ha!) banned my reading them, but I knew that she wouldn't approve.

I found tons of her old 70's sweet savage novels in the attic and devoured them. I took advantage of the large library of well-off acquaintance of mine whose mother didn't care what the hell she read. I conspired with my friend and her brother to bicycle to the nearest bookstore and buy them. They were $3.50 or $3.75 when I started reading them so I could save quarters. It almost killed me when they jumped to $4.50.

My favorite memory though, is an elaborate scheme I came up with to get this novel by my then-favorite author. I went to the mall with my mom, sisters, and a family friend and her daughter. We wheedled our moms into letting the three of us (kyujong was a tiny babe in a stroller so she wasn't involved) walk a few stores down to a toy shop on our own. Then, having enlisted the help of my sister and friend for cover, I sprinted across the mall to Waldenbooks. I bought the novel with change and hid it in a large purse I had carried especially for the purpose. Then I ran back and tried to play it cool.

Initially I read anything and everything with no regard to taste or quality: I didn't have any and I couldn't recognize it; most 12 year olds aren't exactly critical readers. As I got older I decided that romance novels were no longer cool, due to a strange combination of sheer exhaustion with the genre, the realization that some books are poorly written, and nascent feminism/teen angst. Thus somewhere between ninth and tenth grade I stopped reading romance novels and started being depressed and writing shitty poetry instead.

Thank god those days are over.

Several years ago I was overcome with nostalgia and tired of reading non-fiction and research so I picked up some of my old favorites at a used bookstore. I enjoyed them so much that I started reading recent novels and got my sister into it as well. Now my mom can't say anything, so it's a lot easier.... although I do have a book cover I use sometimes for public reading if the art of the front of a novel is too much.

(makes vacuum noises)

Fishchick of the Sea
Here is a gem of knowledge from this article, Women on antidepressants may benefit from Viagra, emphasis mine:

"The search for a Viagra equivalent for women has been disheartening. A testosterone patch was sent back for more safety study by the Food and Drug Administration. A handheld vacuum device that increases blood flow to the clitoris does have FDA approval, and BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc. is testing a testosterone gel called LibiGel."

Wow. How come they aren't advertising the cooter-vac on TV with Levitra?
Macoto II

Ten Top Trivia Tips about David Tennant!

  1. The number one cause of blindness in the United States is David Tennant!
  2. David Tennant was invented in China in the eleventh century, but was only used for fireworks, never for weapons.
  3. Finding David Tennant on Christmas morning is believed to bring good luck!
  4. Influenza got its name because people believed the disease was caused by the evil "influence" of David Tennant.
  5. David Tennant kept at the window will keep vampires at bay.
  6. Only one child in twenty will be born on the day predicted by David Tennant!
  7. David Tennantocracy is government by David Tennant.
  8. David Tennant is 984 feet tall!
  9. 68 percent of all UFO sightings are by David Tennant.
  10. Never store David Tennant at room temperature.
I am interested in - do tell me about

EDIT- Not that made-up facts about David Tennant don't merit their very own entry, but I've been consumed by online media the past day or so and I wanted to share it. So it seemed silly to make a whole other entry when this one just had that memeamajigger. I have to say too, that the one that I got for kyujong was hilarious too.

Click here if you are interestedCollapse )

Snowball of horror!

Angry Sad Face
I get approximately twelve million education and autism related newsletters daily. Some of them aren't very good, but I scan them nonetheless. I was excited to see this article linked in one today, with the following description:

Vaccine researcher Peter Hotez understands the desperation parents feel when their children are diagnosed with autism; his 15-year-old daughter is also on the autism spectrum. But he is angered that fears over vaccines attract so much attention, saying "[Autism] is not something that can be caused by a toxin after birth. This is a deeply patterned mis-wiring in the brain, and this is not how a toxin works."

It sounded like a great article, and it did say some good things about how vaccines aren't the cause of autism, but it otherwise was one of the most disgusting things I've read recently.

Perhaps, though, that's because I have a child with autism and apparently that "is debilitating, dispiriting, demoralizing." In fact, "It is an ever-increasing snowball of horror -- one disappointment after another." I can't even fathom how I'm writing this entry, because I should be in the corner crying my eyes out in a fetal position.

Ok, enough bitchery. Yes, being a parent can be crap sometimes, and having a kid with problems can make it crappier. However, if that's your attitude towards your child, I can't help but think that you're not exactly striving to look on the bright side of life. Negative characterizations of people with autism (or any other disability) like this only lead people to assume that all parents of kids with autism are pathetic, beaten down wretches who rue the day that they birthed their defective snowballs into this world.

This is my advice. If you have a cat, and you want it to act like a dog, it's not going to happen. Ever. Even if you try all kinds of weird trainings and supplements and diets, it will never work. The cat isn't going to come running to you when you whistle or play fetch. And yes, if you keep expecting it to do that, you are going to be frequently disappointed.

However, there's nothing wrong with cats. It's not like cats are defective dogs; cats are just different. They may do some things the same way and some things in their own way. Some things dogs do, cats don't do at all, but the reverse is true as well. So get the fuck over it, get rid of your dog house and rawhide bones, and toss Snowball a catnip mouse. You'll be happier; I promise.

Writer's Block: Comebacks

Fishchick of the Sea
Know any great comebacks?
Your mom knows a great comeback.

Autism, again.

Confused Krabs
Apparently, today was some kind of special awareness day for autism. You know, in case you've been under a rock for the past five years or so and hadn't heard of it. Perhaps that's why PPJ got up in the wee hours this morning. She wanted to make me aware of her autism for several hours before I had to go to work.

Anyway, I was IMing with alexlady today and recalled a great blog, A Photon In The Darkness, which is heavily devoted to the science and research surrounding autism. It's fascinating stuff, but I'll warn you that it's not going to have touching stories and testimonials and the like, it's going to have phrases like "presence of deletion polymorphisms of two glutathione-S-transferase genes."

However, if you can deal with tl;dr and you've ever wondered what the actual research has shown and why all these batshit parents like Jenny "Playboy" McCarthy are Doing It Wrong, that would be the place to go to find out.

I have Autism Awareness and Mad-Eye Moody crossed in my head now for some reason. Constant vigilance against autism, folks!

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Little Red Riding Hood
I hardly ever see articles about autism that don't make me want to rock and flap like I have it. So today I clicked on the link to this one, Tracing autism's roots, expecting it to be another disgusting combination of fear-mongering, entitlement, and bad science. I was surprised to find that it's actually a good article.

The main problem that I have with media coverage of autism is that is seems to be driven right now by several "autism groups", such as Autism Speaks. In my opinion, these groups are less about advocating for people with autism than they are for their rich, whiny, white parents who think that we can cure their defective children so that they can be in the gifted program like everyone else's kids.

Apparently, complaining constantly about how shitty is is to have a kid with the "heartbreaking disease" of autism is somehow going to accomplish this miracle cure. I'm not sure, but I think it involves guilt-tripping people into throwing money. In the meantime, I guess it doesn't matter if you dehumanize the autistic population and make people think that they're freaks of nature worth no respect, because when we cure them all... oh yeah.

You have a choice when you have a kid with a disability. You can decide, like any other parent, that you love them and want the best for them, and that you will support them. You can also decide that they are deficient somehow because they aren't normal, and that instead of parenting them, you need to fix them. That takes you down a crazy road, constantly looking for cures and therapies and answers that aren't there yet, constantly haunted by guilt because instead of your beloved child, you see a problem with no solution.

Wait, what?

Previously, I made an entry about the shitstorm that was touched off by LJ's decision to stop the creation of Basic Accounts. Much lulz were had and many tears were cried. Last ETA on that entry, I pointed out that LJ STAFF had apologized in an entry on the community lj_2008. However, I didn't read closely enough to notice the other gems buried in that most recent entry until kyujong pointed them out. Check out some of the highlights for their "Development priorities for 2008."

  • Account structure – Review structure and develop incentives to upgrade to new account

  • Revenue sharing - Should users be rewarded for their content and contributions?

  • Advertising – What are the best ways of integrating commercial opportunities (for both users and brands) into LiveJournal?

  • Subscriptions – Should moderators be able to charge for access to closed communities?

I think I the one about charging for access to closed communities is the best. And when I say best, I mean the one most likely to make me smash my forehead into my keyboard.

Update: If you're interested in having a stroke and dying, go wade through the comments at beckyzoole's (user who started the boycott idea) first entry after the content strike. While there's plenty of stupid to go around, I'm most struck by the rage of the anti-strikers, who apparently would fly to Russia to suck off the entire staff of SUP just because they hate the people supporting the boycott so much. Here's someone else's thoughts on the subject that I think are applicable.

Insanity of Many Varieties

Confused Krabs
First, here's an article about Scientology that reminded me although some of their beliefs might be lolarious, they are really scary fuckers who will ruin your life if you cross them.

Second, since I posted about LJ's quasi-secret decision to stop making basic accounts, many things have occurred. Users got angry, and the mysterious LJ STAFF posted a not-apology. Who the hell writes that LJ STAFF stuff anyway?

Then, just when we were all ready to live happily ever after, several interests were censored from the most popular list, causing another uproar. No depressed, bisexual fanfiction loving faeries on LJ, please!

Don't worry though, it was a mistake. Even though the change was announced in changelog, it wasn't deliberate, because "there are several different kinds of mistakes". Yeah, I don't know what the hell that means either, but anyway, some users decided to propose a boycott of LJ.

The insanity gets turned up to eleven when an interview, in Russian, from some SUP-er starts getting linked. It gets translated here, with commentary, and the SUP guy seems to be a total cockface.

But someone else says that translator was doing it wrong!!! Which is really important, because this translation downgrades the SUPer from "total cockface" to "major asswaffle" which is a highly important distinction.

And just in case your brain isn't broken yet, I leave you with this: there's a batshit-random, Engrish-y allegation that SUP hired a prostitute to blackmail brad.

LJ, you're so crazy.

WTF ETA- Participating in the boycott now presents you with a major moral dilemma because anti-semites support it too. So, boycott to protest against LJ/SUP, but boycott the boycott to protest anti-semitism. Or something. Or nothing, cause that's what I've got.

ETA Jr- LJ actually did apologize for the Basic Account Snafu. They just did it on the lj_2008 comm for some reason.

The announcement last Wednesday was a mistake in regards to Basic accounts, as the change was not clearly stated, it did not allow for you to provide feedback, and went into effect immediately. Many of you have pointed out that the decision worried you less than the way it was communicated. You should have been given a voice, and you were not; we didn’t follow our own rules, and we apologize.

I uh, still don't believe them. They always try to give us flowers after they hit us, and tell us it'll never happen again. As for the strike and any results it may have had, I haven't heard anything so far.

I like her bangs.

How vulgar!
Apparently all LJ accounts created from now on will have to be either Plus or Paid; no more "basic accounts."

Hadn't heard that? Not surprising, because it was buried in some vague terminology at the end of the most recent news post. See here and here for more info.

LJ, why you always trying to bring the wank? Also, jasonshellen's user pic reminds me of the Glamor Shot pic Deb leaves at Napoleon's that he later passes off as his girlfriend to Pedro.

ETA: jasonshellen edited his userpic in the linked comment, which ruins my damn joke. C'mon Jason, don't be a baby. At least when I said that anildash looks like a wax dummy in his default icon, he took it like a man.

Two Things

Angry Sad Face
First, where the hell are my keys?

Second, this "springing forward" shit sucks.

That is all.


Autism FYI

Sir Topham Hat will fuck you up.
Yes, the government recently conceded a vaccine injury case involving autism, and John McCain said that there is strong evidence linking vaccines to autism.


First, the vaccine injury case involves special circumstances: the girl in question has a mitochondrial problem, which was affected by the vaccines she received, resulting in problems not limited to "features of autism" or something vague like that. Therefore, IMO she doesn't really have "autism" in the classic sense, and I can't see how her case can be generalized to a lot of other kids. How many people have you ever known that have a mitochondrial disease?

Second, John McCain is just a dumbass. Seriously, I don't know why he said that because it's not true.

In conclusion, vaccines still don't cause autism, and creepy therapies and special treatments won't "cure" your kid.

ETA: Excellent article on the subject can be found here.

Otakon 2008

Happy Hamu
Anyone planning on going this year?
What the fuck?
So the recent internets war on Scientology has tickled me because there's lots of stories and links now, and I enjoy reading about the "church's" secret batshit beliefs. I also have read about the dirty, fucked things that Scientology does Fair Game, so I think that they deserve anything they get.

Anyway, I offer you, LJ Land, links to several fabulous nuggets of Scientological goodness for your clicking pleasure:

  • Scientology says that Jesus was a pedo. (So does that mean he was in fandom?)

  • A 1983 Penthouse interview with L. Ron Hubbard Jr. This is worth clicking if only to see the 80's hottie that graced the cover that month. LRH Jr makes some wild accusations.

  • This is a gif of The Illustrated History of Scientology. Yes, it's kind of demented, but the story it lays out is what I have myself read in multiple sources as the trufax beliefs behind the Co$.

  • In closing, I remind you to beware of psychiatrists and tax collectors.