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Archive for October, 2010

Tough times.

October 23, 2010 1 comment

Everybody says that things have been tough for business lately, but there’s one company that’s booming and has new offices popping up everywhere. So….what exactly do the good folks at For Lease do?

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Putting Pieces Together.

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

“Individually, public documents don’t contain classified information. But once you gather many documents together they may reveal secrets.” -Clifford Stoll, The Cuckoo’s Egg.

Today I had a conversation with someone that covered a lot of topics. Two things in the conversation came up that, when put together, possibly suggest that something is up in their household: Pregnancy complications and that their daughter has stopped taking Accutane.

Accutane can have some serious side effects and there are plenty of reasons to stop using it; what comes to my mind first of all is that it is contraindicated in pregnancy. That suspicion doesn’t amount to much on its own but with the talk of pregnancies in another part of the conversation, from someone who has never raised the subject with me before, gives that suspicion some weight.

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Rain Man, I Hate You.

October 20, 2010 1 comment

When you look at statistics showing how much of the population has some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder you’d expect to notice more autistic people out and about….but you don’t….I suppose they don’t seem to get out as much as other folks….so maybe it’s no surprise that having seen Rain Man seems to be the extent of many people’s education about autism.

I don’t really hate Rain Man…well…not as much as I hate John Steinbeck. I just don’t like people making narrow assumptions based on a Hollywood movie. It’s called Autism Spectrum Disorder, not routine-bound mathematic savant disorder.

I’d say that 3 out of every 5 times somebody learns my son is autistic, they ask me if he’s a math wizard. At that point I get a little scared that I’m going to be reinforcing the math savant misconception because it happens to be that my son is very good at math, as in honour roll good, but he’s not a savant.

Yes, autistic people generally have a narrower range of interests than neurotypical people and that focus tends to make them really good at whatever interests them, but it’s not necessarily savantism. Autistic folks might seem less well rounded than the rest of us, but I’ll bet you don’t look as well rounded to other people as you know you are; try giving the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s how you can make it through an introduction to my son without embarrassing yourself: Keep an open mind, and don’t ask if he’s a math wizard.

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Romantic notions?

October 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Today I took a cord of wood to my in-laws and thought back to a conversation with a fellow a couple weeks ago. I mentioned that I was contemplating buying a whole logging truck load and he said how he likes to do a little wood splitting sometimes. It made me think.

There are some things that a lot of people have romantic notions about. I said once that living in a rain forest doesn’t seem so precious when you’re being eaten alive by the local insect fauna; the same is true when you actually need to do that thing that others only need to do in an essentially recreational manner or view from afar with a sense of nostalgia.

Things like splitting firewood, cutting silage, and crank starting engines.

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You learn some interesting things in a bead shop.

October 15, 2010 Leave a comment

When I go shopping with my wife I like to tease cashiers. We were recently at a bead shop and I noticed a basket of tiny zip-lock bags by the register. When we went to pay for our purchase I picked one up and said to the cashier, “Oh, you use the same baggies as my drug dealer!”

My wife gave her patented eye roll and sigh and told the cashier to never mind me; it’s part of our routine. To our amazement the cashier said that drug dealers have tried to buy bags in the past. The three of us started talking. It turns out that they sell the baggies to customers to organize their beads but they had a problem with drug dealers coming in to buy them; they were actually explaining their intent to the store clerks. When the clerks made it clear that baggies would not be sold to drug dealers then a problem with baggie theft developed, and now they live by the register in clear view.

A funny thought is that some dollar stores sell the same bags for less money so I wonder why the drug dealers would persist. I’m sure that a dollar is a dollar whether you’re a welder or a drug dealer.

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Asking a favour from all you Chinese people out there.

October 8, 2010 Leave a comment

I was buying groceries the other day and saw yet another white person with a Chinese calligraphy tattoo. It’s fine for a non-Chinese person to have Chinese writing on their body, but I think that little piece of strategic anti-essentialism isn’t usually done with any more thought than, “that’s soooo cool!” Maybe I’m wrong…I’d like to be wrong. Anyway…it made me think of a good joke to play for anyone who is ethnically Chinese:

When you see somebody with one of those tattoos, put on your best cheezy James Hong accent and say something like, “You must really like pineapples!” When they question your assertion, or after that likely moment of silence, point at their tattoo and yell, “pineapple! Ha, ha, ha!”

I would be grateful.

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A little reasoning.

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

My son was watching a UFO show on the television and I was thinking about those fellows who whine about all the secrecy around Area 51.

I have a question for the Area 51 freaks: Do you suppose they give public tours at areas 1 – 50?

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