longwing: (Human)
SOME of you are obligated by the societal overmind to buy me pretty things for my birthday. Me, I'm kinda chill about the whole thing, but if you're looking for something fast and easy, I'd suggest eBooks.

I can crack Kindle DRM. Heh Hehe Hahahahahaha! Hem. Sorry. I can crack Kindle DRM, so eBooks from Amazon are a fantastic idea. I can load them on any device under the sun, and I properly own what I'm given.

Here's my Amazon wishlist, which is still pretty accurate. A lot of the stuff on there is also available as ebooks, though I'll not turn my nose up at papery products or DVDs.

Some stuff from my Amazon wishlist that's available in e-format (in no order whatsoever):
The Apex Book of World SF
Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies
Makers *
Elegy Beach
Occult America
Pandora's Star
Judas Unchained
Marooned in Realtime
The Peace War
Dragons Wild
Look to Windward
Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present *
Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe
Zoe's Tale
The Name of the Wind
The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City

* Doctorow's books are not available for the Kindle, but if you buy a paper copy, I'll download the open eBook from Cory's site: http://craphound.com/makers/download/

If you're interested in wending further afield. Drive Through RPG has PDFs of the Dragonstar RPG supplements.

Or ya'know, whatever you feel like getting. Nothing's cool too, or wellwishes.
longwing: (Infohazard)
Considering Asperger's from a dyslexic's perspective, you'd think I'd be more inclined to defend the legitimacy of Asperger's. I'm not. If anything, it makes me a harsher critic. Are most Aspies legitimate, or victims of a culture of over diagnosis? Is it truly a disability when it doesn't significantly impact one's ability to function? Aspies have a lot of trouble getting dates and interacting in social situations. We have a word for that: Geek.

It's worth pointing out that the number of Asperger's diagnosed individuals rises sharply in the Geek subculture. Proponents of the disease claim that our subculture lends itself well to the acceptance of people with Asperger's. This may well be the case, but if you read the symptom list for Aspergers, it looks an awful lot like a psych profile of the standard brainy geek. A number of the symptom lists read like astronomy charts: "Aspies are bad at math, except for some rare cases that are significantly better at math." Really? So what you're actually saying is that mathematical aptitude has nothing do do with your syndrome, because there's no pattern. Why include mention of math at all? The symptom lists cast a wide net, with a lot of opportunity to get yourself caught.

So on it's face, I'm quickly inclined to disbelieve in Aspergers; but dyslexia stops me from making a snap judgment. I know what it's like to have a disability that no one can see, and that no one really understands.

So I'm left torn. In a culture of massive over diagnosis, is Aspergers merely a parent's attempt explain their child's inability to socialize? In a society of massive stigma against mental disabilities, is such a judgment just motivated by prejudice?

I don't know.
longwing: (Infohazard)
For me considering Aspergers, will always be framed by my personal journey through a completely unrelated mental disability.

I'm severely dyslexic. I know what it is to have a genuine handicap that exists entirely inside my skull. Nothing separates a dyslexic from a crowd. This leaves people constantly suspicious. Dyslexia is often thought of as an excuse to avoid work or to forgive shoddy writing.

For a long time, I mentioned my dyslexia in casual conversation. I felt it was important that people knew about it. I wanted them to see a functioning dyslexic who hadn't been beaten down into pretending to be normal.

I stopped.

Why? Because no matter how open or approachable I tried to be, I felt it did more harm than good. Normal people don't believe in dyslexia, not really. Only other dyslexics believe in dyslexia. Even then, we're so doubtful that we start testing our fellows, we wonder if they're ~really~ dyslexic. "Oh? How many grades of special ed? What's you're WPM? You still flip characters or is that just me? When did you learn to spell?"

We're so suffused in the popular notion of false dyslexia that we turn on each other. And why not? We dyslexics live our entire lives with this condition. I don't know what it's like to be 'normal', because this inner universe is my 'normal'.

The inside of my head isn't really all that fascinating, it's pretty mundane in here. Just every now and again, for no reason at all, I flip a digit or reverse an S. With dyslexia, you start to think we're not ~really~ sick; you're just whining. Oh sure, I should type about twice as fast as I do, and I can't spell to save my life, but are those dyslexia? Aren't they just shortcomings because I'm lazy? Am I bad with names because of the way I'm wired, or am I just a careless person who doesn't really like people?

Trick question. All of that is dyslexia. Even the doubt. The doubt isn't wired in, but it's caused by dyslexia all the same. Dyslexia sneaks up on you. I don't actually ~see~ flipped digits or reversed symbols. I'll read a number off a slip of paper (301-555-5289), then I'll dial it into the phone (301-555-2589) and be confused by the wrong number. What? 5289? Of course, That's exactly what it says. How did I miss that? I'm being careless, lazy, stupid...


I'm being dyslexic.
longwing: (Infohazard)
I fell down a rabbit hole last week night. The internet is full of them, someone really should do something about it before they eat all the eCarrots and iLettuce. The hole in question: Wrong Planet, an internet community for people with Aspergers Syndrome.

You know that really creepy feeling you get when an extremely observant person tells you what you're thinking or how you're feeling? No? Trust me that it's very disconcerting. We like to think of ourselves as individuals, unique to ourselves, and ruled by intellect instead of biology, so it's really eerie to see dozens of people thinking the same way you think. It's like staring at a troop of actors who've all been hired to mimic your movements and expressions.

I was left with a distinct lack of sleep, and an overwhelming sense of "holy crap, that's ~me~!" Problems I've always considered to be quirks of my own personality turn out to fit a distinct and identifiable profile.

Do I have Aspergers? I don't know, but the odds are pretty high. Before I can be comfortable with such a diagnosis, I need to consider my feelings towards the 'condition' itself.
longwing: (Default)
Wow, now that was an amazing weekend. I'm rather glad I went. I really needed a break/vacation from the ordinary, and Balticon definitely qualifies.

I have a lot of stories to tell about Balticon, but I'm actually not going to tell them. Not yet. The one overriding melancholy theme of the weekend (for me) was that I don't write enough. I think of myself as a Writer, sometimes I even call myself that, but I don't actually put out anything cohesive and whole.

So I'm not allowed to tell my "really interesting Balticon stories" until I've finished one piece of short fiction. Yes, I'm punishing myself into writing Fantasy by not writing about a Con. I already know I'm a Geek, you can stop laughing.
longwing: (Default)
The previous post is, to my memory, the first post I've ever friends-locked. I did this because I didn't want any possibility of the information in that post getting back to certain parties. The likelihood that my landlady (who doesn't use the internet very much to begin with) would find my LJ is exceedingly low, but I wasn't willing to take any chances. Since making that post, the situation has changed somewhat, and I can stop with the f-locking. While it's still unlikely that this will ever be seen by anyone outside my immediate circle of acquaintances, I no longer care. Changes to the plan now make it immune to most catastrophes. )
longwing: (Human)
As mentioned earlier, I took a bit of a trek on Friday to attend the "Geek Comedy Tour 3000". The event was all-in-all pretty good, certainly far better than I expected for free. Some of the comics were fall-on-the-floor hilarious. Chris Barylick and Jimmy Meritt both stick out in my brain, although at least half the comics were really funny. The other half varied from "ha" to "eh". It was really obvious which comics were genuine geeks, and which ones tossed a geek joke or two into an otherwise more mundane routine. (One guy spent his whole routine talking about sports for bob's sake.) All in all it was an interesting and positive experience, on balance I would've happily paid a ticket for it. Even if it did open up someuncomfortable questions. )
longwing: (Default)
(Via Macdweeb.com)
Announcing the Geek Comedy Tour 3000, an absolutely free comedy show featuring some of the best comics DC has to offer with a chance to win door prizes including $25 in cash, free video games, tickets to the DC Improv, a Playstation Portable and assorted nerd swag.

When: Friday, April 28th, 2006, 8 PM

Topaz Hotel, 1733 N St. NW, Washington, D.C. , just off Dupont Circle
and accessible via the Metro's red line. Head over and follow the signs
down to the lounge. (directions can also be found at http://www.topazhotel.com)

Why: Because you actually know which Star Trek films were the really good ones.

Admission: Free

Food and snacks: Full bar one floor up.

Actually being chosen close to first for a sports team: Priceless

Brought to you by the letters A, W and P.
For more information, call 703-920-2281 or e-mail barylick@gwu.edu.
Bring as many people as you want and it should be a really good show.
"The Geek Comedy Tour 3000: Comedy that KNOWS Han shot first."

I'm plotting on going, as it's only a short walk from my work. If anyone else is interested, I can probably bamboozle convince my family to assist with return transportation. I'm going to head there after work, with a short segue for some dinner.
longwing: (Default)
I really think that LOST is going to be the last television show I watch. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of the constant give/take between consumers and "Old Media". There's a lot of really good entertainment out there. Battlestar Galactica, which should be a favorite of mine, leaps to mind. I loved the original series, and I've heard incredibly positive things about the new version, but I just can't bring myself to invest in it. It takes too much money and time to really enjoy old media anymore. Single seasons of shows cost more than I can afford, and I despise advertisements too much to truly enjoy the broadcast versions of anything. (Not to mention that I'm not willing to shcedule my life around when a network decides to show something.)

The networks understand this too, which is why they fight so hard to limit the availability of non-broadcast entertainment. We've seen it time and again, people really hate ads, and advertisers really like people. They're like an annoying yapping dog, they don't yap out of spite, they yap out of love (and no matter how nice you are, you still want to kick them for it). The networks figured out long ago that people watch shows together, not by themselves. LOST is a social phenomenon as much as it is a drama. Americans can't get enough television because we can't get enough of each other. TV is a really convenient excuse to gather, to pay attention to a mutual interest, to be entertained... and I want that. Does anyone here watch LOST and not talk about it with their friends? The networks realized that a show is most valuable when it's topical. No one talks about shows from 1995 except those who've aready seen them. Geting people you know to watch an old movie or an obscure film is like pulling teeth. I know this, I'm part of the problem. So I endure the adverts and buy the DVD's...

but I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the constant barrage of "buy our crap!", and the equally constant barrage of "watch our not-so-crap!". I can't help but feel that there's some way to break the cycle, I just don't know what it is.
longwing: (Default)
How do you explain the difficulties of Dyslexia to someone who is deaf? The concepts are easy, sure, but every time I write them down I sound like a spoiled dandy who's never encountered real hardship. In the course of my day today, I encountered exactly that problem. I became increasingly embarrassed as I attempted to read the handwriting of someone who can't speak or hear. Here's someone with a major disability which impacts every part of their life, and they're patiently trying to empathize with my inability to read what they're saying or write my replies on a sodding piece of paper.

In the end I just came across as an ass who doesn't understand the definition of "disability". I've never figured out how to deal with these situations, and I always botch it when it comes up. The way to bridge the gap between hearing and deaf is to write the conversation out, and I can't seem to bypass that long enough to explain my inability to, well, write the conversation out. If you turn away, they get offended (and reasonably so) so you're stuck using their pen and their paper to describe your shortcomings. Even when you finally get it written out what have you communicated?

I have symbol recognition problems, I can't spell, wah wah.

longwing: (Default)
I won't be here on Monday, so you all get two (basically useless) posts today instead. Thanks to the queuing system inside Semagic, I've been able to post one entry per weekday for the entire month thus far. It's no NaNoWriMo, but I consider it a challenge none the less. After a fashion, this is a test for converting some or all of my LJ into a blog. As Eric Burns once put it, the best thing you can do for a blog is to show up on time, every single day. That can be a rather epic requirement, though it might not seem so to the casual observer. Coming up with something to post, something relevant, cleaver, and actually engaging, every single day? Tall order.

Heck, this post doesn't even technically meet my goals.

I suppose I could wax quixotic about blogging, and whether there's even a point to posting any of my stuff in another format. The real challenge with blogging is to actually make news, rather than regurgitate old information. I do that on occasion, but for the most part I only reiterate the interesting information of others. In the end, I haven't yet bothered because I require no validation for my writing. I post to LJ as much for links-aggregation as for people reading it. If it's good enough to bookmark, I back it up online.

Hmm, I'd finish this thought, but we're heading for the airport in a minute (literally) and my boss will kill me long before airport security if I don't shut this thing down.

Read ya all Tuesday.
longwing: (Default)
One Word Update

Art: Coat!
Friends: Few
Life: Good
Love: Lauren!
Money: Poor
Politics: Airports
Work: Lots

Memed from [livejournal.com profile] thelabmonkey
longwing: (Default)
On the extremely off chance that anyone here actually witnessed my journal this morning (rather than conglomerated entries on their friends page), I sincerely apologize. I was toying with LJ's style sheets and visual formatting, much to the detriment of my poor LJ's appearance.

I oftentimes check my LJ during lunch at work, and while it is my spare time, I have had more than one half-joking comment about the use of the associations resources for personal benefit. I wanted a style that looks more formal, one that would fit in better in an office environment, and thus not glare out of my monitor from fifteen feet away. I'm not trying to disguise my jornal, it's my time and I'm allowed to use it, but I think my boss fells uncomfortable because it makes me look unprofessional. We don't get many visitors, but appearance is everything when they arrive. When I open the door, I am the face of the Organization. It helps if that face seems to be doing something "very important"(tm). As I'm not actually trying to disguise my journal, I ran into a number of challenges when coming up with an acceptable look. I wanted each entry to have it's icon beside it, as I use them to designate different kinds of entries. I also wanted a look which possessed at least a modicum of style. I finally settled on "A novel approach" as my default format.

"A novel approach" has a lot going for it, but I really hate how it co-opts the spacing methods I normally use. I understand the logic, by eliminating blank lines, it attempts to mimic the style of a novel. I just wish I could toggle the option. I use spacing in my formatting, for emphasis, and to designate separate sections of a single entry. The new format looks fine when you're just typing a lot of text, but when (like me) you want to create link or image heavy entries, it gets in your way. I could simply compensate for the style shift, but everyone else would wind up seeing a bunch of blank lines.

So I find myself, yet again, pouring over CSS docs. I need to do this for work anyways, but I was putting it off. I was putting it off because I hate CSS. There is practically nothing CSS does that tables couldn't do with half the code. I find the waste annoying, and I find the "designers who want the web to work like inDesign" factor a pain in the ass. HTML, the language I know, is dying. It's dying because everyone wants information to be pretty. I want information to be convenient and uniform. This puts me at odds with the prevailing thoughts on how to build the information super highway. Some day, I'll have to learn this stuff. Really learn it. Not because I need to, but because no one will hire a web guy who doesn't think in CSS.

To make matters worse, I'm pretty much doing this for myself. We only see someone else's style settings when commenting on their journal, and I'm thinking about setting it to show each user's configuration instead of my own. The problem boils down to an issue of personality, and the cult of individuality. We're all so determined to showcase our personal style in an online format that any given journal becomes an argument between appearance and function. Reading through a friends page requires skipping across a dozen different interfaces and formats, and while those formats tend to be pretty, it slows the actual purpose of the journal to a crawl.

Right, end rant. This is my brain on CSS, be warned.
longwing: (Default)
What the heck? I wake up, and it's suddenly three weeks ago. We were treated to the season premier tonight, despite having been promised a new episode last week. Checking the website, I find that we've got a rerun next week as well. Given how busy I've been lately, I may just drop next week's session instead of coming up with an alternate show. I honestly haven't decided.

[livejournal.com profile] katilyna wants to go to Nations on Monday for their Halloween event. I'm generally clubbing averse, as I have all the dancing skill of an electrified cockroach. Still, it can be fun to sit and watch the crowd, basically meditate to industrial music. Bringing along a clipboard makes the experience even better, I've had some really good writing come out of sitting around Nations.

I'm thinking I'll go if I can get my new coat into working order. There's honestly not that much left to do on it, I've just been dragging my feet.
longwing: (Default)
For those who've been asking about my and [livejournal.com profile] katilyna's application for resident at Adelphi, I thought it best to put up a post once we knew anything new.

Unfortunately, no news would've been good news. We heard Sunday that we'd been passed over for the position. A candidate with better credentials applied and was accepted. While I can't say I'm gleeful about that, I do understand the meeting's logic, and I wish the new caretaker the best.

As stated before, I do not need the position. While it would've been lovely to not worry about money for a few years, I'm not in bad financial straights. Ultimately, life goes on.


longwing: (Default)

September 2010

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