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27 May 2014 @ 12:30 am
Pain looks great on other people, that's what they're for  
Update!! :D

••• Every year on the last weekend in March my workplace holds a regional conference on autism, and this year I got to go. The center's executive director encouraged me to go because I didn't go last year and she thought some of the talks and workshops would be relevant to me. My dad went with me that Friday and my mom the following day, and while both of them had to pay to get in, I didn't since I work at ASRC.

On Friday I went to two presentations: a psychologist talking about the problems young adults on the autism spectrum have on leaving their parents' house and living independently (and strategies to help deal with them), and someone from my state's BRS (which I talked about in my last entry) talking about what her agency does for ASD people and how to get them job experience. What struck me the most about both of them was how far along I was regarding a lot of the stuff they talked about; it seems a lot of people my age on the spectrum have trouble with, say, knowing how to dress appropriately for a job, doing their own laundry, not doing anything other than getting sucked into video games, etc. I guess I should count my blessings that my parents and I haven't had to struggle as much as some people have; most of the life skills they talked about (like driving) I already know how to do, or (like cooking) I won't have any trouble doing as long as I follow directions. I know I won't have any problem living independently (in fact, I can't wait for it! XD), and I'm sure I won't need any mentors or other people to help me out with that, but it's the transition that's going to be hard. I still struggle a lot with motivation and social skills, and not having very many summer jobs in high school and college has also been something I'm catching up on. Which is immensely frustrating, but at least I'm always thinking of ways to work on that. ^_^;

The biggest reason I wanted to go to this conference was the fact that Temple Grandin had her lecture that Saturday morning. And yes, it was every bit as informative, passionate, and funny as you'd expect from a very well-known autism advocate. A lot of what she talked about reiterated the gist of the previous day's workshops, but she also spoke at length about the neurological basis of autism (in which she showed pictures of brain scans she had done recently and how parts of her brain were bigger or smaller than those in a neurotypical person), the issues it causes when ASD people try to interact with the world (as dealt with in books like The Reason I Jump), and how it can confer positive and useful traits (as talked about in Grandin's own work). Lastly we went to a talk by Jesse Saperstein, a self-advocate, anti-bullying activist, and motivational speaker, which was again about many of the topics covered in the first three, with more emphasis on his own life story and anti-bullying efforts. (Sadly, he only got through half of his presentation before he ran out of time.)

Two interesting things happened during the conference: On Friday, Jesse was signing copies of his book, Atypical: Life With Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters, and I bought one of the books he signed! He remembered my name because earlier that day I hurried to flag down one of my co-workers, who was acting as his minder and walking with him, because I was confused over whether or not we had lunch plans -- I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised, now that I think about it, but still. :D He was very kind and funny, and he wrote me this nice note on the front page:

I am glad to meet another self-advocate who is a role model, and may my story be an indication of the positive qualities that you embody!

-- Jesse A. Saperstein


I also bought a book about finding and keeping jobs if you have Asperger's, and two co-authored by Temple Grandin (Animals in Translation and Developing Talents). And I still haven't cracked open any of them yet. Typical of me, really. :PPP

The other thing: During the Q&A portion of Grandin's talk, an autistic student questioned her advice about having ASD kids join Boy Scouts, because of their history discriminating against atheists and LGBT people. When Grandin told him she didn't want to talk politics and stood by her advice, the student started yelling about how the Boy Scouts were an ~oppressive~ organization and that they shouldn't be supported -- basically, the kind of thing you expect college kids to do when they're really passionate about injustice but don't know how to turn it into something constructive. I hated it when it happened while I was at college, and I really hated it then; I got so much second-hand embarrassment like you wouldn't believe. Thankfully, Grandin shut him down. After she got him to stop talking over her, she explained that while she understood his concerns, she knew a ton of people who were helped by being in the Boy Scouts, so much so that she was going to keep recommending them. I completely agree -- I'm gay and an atheist (although not a particularly strong one), and yeah, the BSA really needs to get its shit together. But I was in Cub Scouts throughout elementary school, and it did help me break out of my "shell" and improve my social skills when I needed it the most, so I can't support anyone, no matter how well-intentioned, who trashes them outright.

All in all, even though I already knew about most of the stuff the presenters talked about, it was still rather interesting and thought-provoking, and I'm glad I went. :D

••• I had to go for jury duty last month, and...I actually had to serve on a jury. Which I was totally not expecting, because I don't know of anyone else who got picked to be on a jury, and I was hoping to be out of the courthouse by lunch that day like the first time I went. But alas, I got picked; it was relatively painless, especially since I didn't have a lot of important things going on that I had to put aside, but it was still a little annoying.

The jury I was on was for a routine accident liability case; a man was suing his insurance company for damages over lingering injuries from an accident four years ago (that happened not too far from where I live right now, actually). The crash was minor, but he had to go to physical therapy for many months afterward, and he still has back pain that he claimed makes it hard for him to live life as he did before. The case lasted three days; on Wednesday (4/9) I was called in to be questioned by the lawyers on both sides before I was told I had to come in the next day and let go a little before 1 PM, while on Thursday we left at noon because the witness the defense attorney wanted to bring in was under the impression that he had to come in the following day and so didn't show up. Friday was the last day; I didn't get to deliberate because I was an alternate juror, so I was let go early (around 3 PM), and then I got a call two hours later telling me I was officially relieved from jury duty. (The jury decided to give the plaintiff the medical costs the insurance company was supposed to cover, plus $30,000 extra in damages.)

Even though the case we were on wasn't the most interesting, I'd still say it was a worthwhile experience. It was a good chance to see how the legal system is at least supposed to work -- from the lawyers interviewing potential jury members, to seeing what cross-examinations are actually like, to learning about the laws relevant to the case you're deciding and how to apply them. Being on a jury involves making a very important decision for people that affects the rest of their lives -- because most people who have to seek legal recourse only see the inside of a courtroom one time in their lives, if at all. Which, yeah, is pretty freaky if you think about it, but I didn't think about it that much since I knew I was an alternate. And I got to sit in the witness stand during voir dire, which was pretty cool. ^_^; Anyway, I'd recommend being on a jury if you can do so where you live; you'd be fulfilling an important civic duty, and you'll get a lot out of it too.

We had a long lunch break on Friday because the judge let us out early, so after I ate the bagged lunch I brought with me I took a walk up and down the street where the courthouse was. When I came back, I noticed this food truck called Fryborg parked outside. Now, New Haven has a TON of specialty food trucks, and I thought to myself, "This is going to be my last day here, and I don't see myself on my own in the city anytime in the near future, so buying something from a food truck? Sure, I'll splurge. XD" So even though I was already mostly full, I bought one of their specials: hand-cut fries drenched in a four-cheese sauce and bacon bits. And it looked so good I had to take a picture:



I am NOT turning into one of those people who Instagrams every meal I buy, I SWEAR. It was just the one time, okay?! 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

••• I might have to get my teeth straightened again in the near future, and I really don't want to. When I had my braces taken off 11 years ago, the orthodontist put a wire splint behind my top two front teeth so they'd stay straight, which was supposed to stay on indefinitely. (I also had retainers, which I wore regularly until my first year of college when they broke.) Well, a few months ago the bar came off one of the teeth; they had already been shifting (which is to be expected when you haven't had braces on in 11 years) but now it was happening a little quicker. Recently I saw my old orthodontist, and he told me that while the back overbite they tried to correct hasn't come back, the front overbite has, and my teeth have started crowding as well, and he recommended I go on a two-year Invisalign treatment.

My mom really wants me to get this done; when I expressed even a little bit of hesitation about it, she said, "Oh, you are going to have this done." In that tone of voice. And, well...it would cost about $5,000 to get this done (in addition to the $6,000 my parents already spent on my braces a decade ago), and since I don't have dental insurance it'll all be out of pocket (and I don't know if I'm eligible to get dental insurance anyway.) My mom says I can use some of my savings bonds to pay for it (since she's the only one who's actually making any money, and she can only do so much), but as I understood it, that money is supposed to be for paying off my student loans, and the money I'm making at my job is something I can save up for grad school and/or moving out of my parents' house. Plus, I don't feel like going through another orthodontic procedure, I feel that this is less of a legit medical issue than a cosmetic one (and that this is a pure money grab), and since I'm turning 25(!) in a couple of weeks I want to have at least some control over what I do with my body, even if it's something my mom thinks is stupid and unwise. (And her teeth are just as crooked as mine. She should be the one to talk!) I mean, now that I've written all this out, it does seem like a wise decision to just go through with it, but I'm not sure how to feel about all this. :/

••• On the BRS front (which I talked about in my last entry): I met with my vocational counselor a couple of times since then; the past two times it was with a contact/job coach from a job agency I selected that works with BRS in helping find places for ASD people to get work evaluations and more permanent jobs. I mentioned that one of my career ideas was pulling an Uncle Iroh and opening up a tea shop of my own (obviously I didn't phrase it like that, but you get what I mean -- and I have plenty of more important reasons why I'm considering it ~_^), so they suggested I work behind the counter at a local tea shop so I could get some experience with how a place like that runs.

I suggested, and we all eventually settled on, Savvy Tea in Madison; it's a bit of a haul from where I live, but there aren't a lot of places in the area that specifically cater to tea drinkers and it's the closest one that might work. The owner sounds very enthusiastic to have me on board; the only problem, however, is that they moved to an extremely tiny location since the last time my family and I were there because they could no longer afford to pay the rent at their old location. They were hoping to move to a bigger location (although not as big as the first one), but the owner said it would take a couple of months for them to do the necessary renovations, get settled in, etc., before they could take me on. It's been a month since the last meeting, so this week I think I'll contact the woman I've been talking to at the job agency to see how it's going. It's looking like a great opportunity, but right now it's just the proverbial waiting game.

••• A couple of weekends ago I met up with K. again, and we both had a great time! Since the both of us like sushi, I had us go to Don Asian Cuisine, a place in town that opened up not that long ago; I heard of them because they replaced a Chinese restaurant my parents used to get takeout from, and I read good reviews about them on Yelp. The sushi was extremely good; I had the California, salmon cucumber, and shrimp tempura rolls, and they were all as delicious as I hoped they would! XD Then we went to Redscroll Records in Wallingford, because K. had never been there and she'd never set foot in a record store in three years. We both bought a few things (I finally scored a CD copy of My Bloody Valentine's mbv), and then we hung out in the parking lot for a while. We were talking about all kinds of stuff for a looooooooooong time -- I met her around 2:30 PM, and we parted ways around 8. Yeah. O_o; We promised to be in touch with each other more often, so time will tell if that works out, but obviously I hope it does. ^_^;

••• Good news on the fandom front: Durarara!! is finally getting it's second season! XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD \o/

Bad news: Community got cancelled. =_=; That really sucks, especially since the last season was actually very good. I kinda figured it was going to happen eventually, just not now. But while it would be cool to have that sixth season and a movie, I'll leave that for the more hardcore fans to fight. It bummed me out, but now I think I've been able to let go. :P

*****

Other than that, everything else has been going relatively well, even though I've really haven't been myself this past weekend (both the UCSB shooting and my grandmother getting worringly sick was a little too much for me). The job is still going very well, my psoriasis hasn't come back (I'm only going to phototherapy only once a week now, and I'm down to 10mg of soriatane a day! :D), my sleep schedule has improved (this weekend notwithstanding), the weather has gotten a helluva lot better....yeah, not bad, not bad. How's everyone else been doing?

Originally posted at http://quadruplify.dreamwidth.org/140235.html || Comments on original post: comment count unavailable
 
 
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Lordes: Sandlordes on May 28th, 2014 11:12 am (UTC)
You have a very intersting and fascinating way thinking about things.

Jury duty sounds scary. I'd always be afraid to be on a jury who's to judge a murderer!
n/a: shockedquadruplify on May 28th, 2014 09:47 pm (UTC)
How so? O_O;

Jury duty wasn't really that scary, but yeah, I'd definitely be freaking out if it was a murder case. ._., It's a great thing Connecticut no longer has the death penalty, because it'd be so much scarier if we did, but it'd be intense as it was.
Lordes: Sandlordes on June 1st, 2014 07:10 pm (UTC)
Oh nothing big. Just different than mine. :)