Sunday, April 27, 2008

Time out for memes

Well tagged by AFBH I am not feeling in the least bit frivolous at the moment, so I will address this with all the seriousness and deep analysis that this behoves.

5 things found in your bag:

I shall extend the meaning of bag to include those items that are often carried in my pockets, as this is the way gentlemen continue to carry their impedimenta :)

First and foremost, my laptop; a laptop or similar has been part of my life since the mid 1980's. Currently this is averitable modern day "swiss army knife" for this indispensible serves me as research tool, memory adjunct (for all those senior moments), communication aid and last but not least security blanket.

Second, is my stainless steel mug, I may not always use it, but I prefer it to be there.

Thirdly, a dictaphone, useful for making quick notes when booting up the laptop is not a practical proposition.

Fourthly, a mobile phone, although for years I lived without one, I would feel very insecure without it these days.

Fifthly, having retired my veritable and non metaphorical swiss army knife, a leatherman juice, that essential fashion accessory for today's well dressed "geek"

5 favorite things in your room:

No doubt this is another invitation to burglary, but most of the stuff in my room is junk.

I have my cameras, my non functioning wall clocks, my photographs, my flutes and my books.

5 things you have always wanted to do:

I would like to design a landmark building
I should like to travel to the USA on the QM2.
I would like to have the income to afford a Land Rover
I would like to make a movie
I would like to write a book.

Two of those things are potentially within my purview, and the other two are dependent upon landing a good job when I have completed my research
The first just ain't gonna happen in this world.

5 things you are currently into:

It is no news to say that I am into Photography, Autism Research, Land Rovers, Blogging and Emailing

5 people you’d like to tag:

I will pass on this, I can't think of anyone who I would like to torment at the moment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Do I need this?

I have just been reminded after reading Aspie Bird's blog, that I saw the late Genevieve Edmond's guide for sale recently alongside Marc Segar's guide.

I could not bring myself to buy either of such guides considering the unfortunate history of both authors.

On the other hand it set me to think, not only do I want to buy this guide, but would I ever need such a guide?

Perhaps it contains advice I might have found useful at one time, but then when I needed such advice there were no such guides, because there wasn't any 'asperger's ' back then to write guides about just socially different and 'dysfunctional' people.

Nowadays in a way perhaps I find the label of 'asperger's' sufficient as an explanation.

One of the first autobiographies I read was Lianne Willey's "Pretending to be normal" I was not really impressed, I didn't go around pretending to be normal, because I did not know what normal was. I may have worn more or less socially acceptable 'mask's' at times. The conventions of a suit for an interview, black tie at a funeral and a formal dinner, that sort of thing but I doubt I was ever less than me in such clothes.

I think the problem with such guides is that they accept the notion that we are foreigners in our own native lands. It may be a good analogy for attempting to understand the customs of 'neurotypical's' but it also says something far more damning and negative about that society which we are by accepting the definition that it is 'foreign', not a part of. That it is a society which is not welcoming to what we truly are.

If I were to go into a Roman Catholic Church I would take my hat off, and if I were to go into a Mosque I would take my shoes off. However since I subscribe to neither of those particular belief systems I would still feel uncomfortable and unwelcome even though I had obeyed the customs.

I would like to think if I were inviting a foreigner into my house, that I would extend the tolerance in the other direction, to allow them their customs,* for we cannot always assume that there is a guide book on hand.

Anyway it is not really about showing respect to the customs of others so much as an issue of disability accommodation. More is perhaps expected of those whose difference is invisible on the surface. There is at least an inbuilt notion in most societies (even if it is not universally practised) to be accommodating to someone who cannot see, or who cannot hear, or for whatever physical reason cannot come up to the norms of behaviour (eating with a knife and fork when your hands don't allow you, you get the picture ...)

To me the notion of accommodation is that the most flexible ought to yield. I tend to lead a life with my friends where they know what I am like, and I know what they are like. That is why they are friends, I wouldn't really want someone who only knew the picture I had painted.

To know the rules maybe is an advantage, but to know that you need not have to live your life by them if you do not chose to is equality.

* footnote (I might draw the line with Borat )

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Weekend

Here I sit in a University owned hotel lobby having just checked out, reviewing my life I suppose, whilst waiting for the coach to take me back to the remainder of the residential weekend.

You only have to turn the news on to see signs of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and uncertainly over everything in the future.

The future is always uncertain for me, because never mind world events, where do I go from here, and how do I fit in?

There seem to be altogether too many people on the planet for there to be a stable life, global warming, energy crises, food and water in short supply, it seems like the chickens of Malthus, whose prophesies were long set aside, are finally coming home to roost, and so is there room for one more person on the planet, me?

My parents have respectfully “shuffled off” there “mortal coils” and what is their legacy? Apart from myself and my brother, do they still live in anyone else’s memory?

Not everyone can leave a concrete mark even on their own generation other than the headstone that marks there grave.

I know my mum left concrete marks in the most literal sence, in the form of ramps to buildings. I know these would have come eventually since the law now demands them, but without the pioneering efforts and the campaigning would that be law now? I do not think so.

So whilst my mum was alive I was as active in those campaigns as she was, as active as I am now in the autistic world.

My dad? I don’t know, I suppose had he and my mum not separated, my mum would not have made those changes in her life that led to that campaigning, and by implication would not have drawn me in.

I suppose too he played some part in the community during his lifetime. He worked, contributing to the economy, making the tools that supported the industrial life of Coventry’s motor city in the 60’s and 70’s. I suppose too he was a part of the war effort, as a boy messenger for the fire service during the Coventry blitz, and later on as a soldier, posted out to Egypt and Palestine. In a minor way, however you see occupying forces, and from whatever side you look at it, he was a part of that still unsettled history that is the middle east today.

He served in Palestine facing not dissimilar hazards to the armies in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had no choice, that is where he was sent, and in the process he learned a respect for the Bedouin and their language.

Back in civilian life he was part of the popular cultural movements of his generation, as a jazz musician, and later part of the folk revival, which as you can see from an earlier blog I became part of too.

Like all of us, he did bad and regrettable things in his life, I can’t say I have not done any myself, but in subtle ways a world in which he had never been, would not have been quite the same.

I know I face upheavals to come in my life. I have the prospect of kitchen and bathroom works in my flat, the disruption of which I am not looking forward to, they are the necessary improvements which should make things better for a while, before the next upheaval when I have to leave my current flat altogether as it is still scheduled for demolition around the time I will expect to be graduating as a PhD

It is like that envisaged course completion, some way off, and in a way so far off I find it hard to believe whether or not it will ever happen to me, or if something else might happen in between to cause me to leave my flat or my course of study earlier.

So why am I writing all this now.

I suppose it is reflecting on the fact that I am here at Birmingham, a year on from when I was at Birmingham last year, on a similar study weekend, planning my final assignment, and unsure where that was leading. I did not feel well a year ago, the stresses had really got to me, but I survived and moved on. For those of you who have followed my blog, it is all there to see as it happened.

So this time I am not a part of the course, I was studying. I am enjoying the temporary status of a paid lecturer instead, and nervous as to how my delivery yesterday was received. Being as I was paid for it, could I have planned it a bit better? Given it more attention? If I have another opportunity at a further study weekend I can certainly use the experience to improve on it.

In any case I thought I need to improve my ability to be more impromptu in my delivery, to be confident enough that I do not need to read from my prepared script.

If you see me in my “Whichever way” video, you will see me delivering a script, literally. I am reading off it. So I was when I first made the presentation that I later had filmed to make the video. Well I am trying to lead my life a little bit off the script now.

Perhaps there is a hidden script behind my life, and the future is already written, but I guess, nervous as I am even for the events of this afternoon, when I hope to find my flat as I left it, and not burgled, waiting as I am for the results of a brain scan I had last week, I hope that there is no melodrama waiting me. For now this actor is better off not knowing, else I could never cope with the present.

What will the world wreak tomorrow?
Tonight I have no care, and only am.
One now, one never moving instant instinct.
Continue time to turn, throw over what I feel
Return the terror, trample my delight.
For burns in my mind, memory of the light.
Outside, the blackness, shadows of the night.
Inside my soul, shines celebration of the light.

Watch this space, same time same channel ……………….

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I am Kathleen but wer macht den schun?

I have been debating how to respond to this nonsense, or whether to respond to it at all. At first I thought it beneath contempt and beneath my dignity to respond, however having seen the strength of feeling on this it would be cowardly of me not to.

For a start off, being named in this subpoena (which has no validity whatever in the UK, where I reside and blog and have my being) actually puts Mr Shoemaker in jeopardy as the law stands in the UK, in that he has published a libellous statement suggesting my web site and blog's complicity in a ridiculous conspiracy for which he owes me an apology. I don't think the fact that he is an attorney in the US gives him any immunity outside of his jurisdiction for that. I want that apology Mr Shoemaker, I want it in public. Do you have a sense of decency Mr Shoemaker? Then use it!

I would suggest to Mr Shoemaker if he is reading this (which I doubt given the factual errors in the subpoena) to look through my blogs and my website so that he will have no need to subpoena the "evidence" It is there in cyberspace in the full public gaze, and he will see what little I have to contribute to what I consider and have always considered to be a side show to the basic issues of Autistic and Disability rights which I am concerned with. Beware too it is covered by copyright and even the reproduction of such in a court document invites penalties. (There is case law on that somewhere in the asinine chronicles of the law as I recall)

Indeed it is a matter of record that I fell out with the Autism hub over the predominance of what I saw as a pre-occupation with the mercury Issue that to me is totally irrelevant to what I am about so far as promoting the much misunderstood and maligned concept of neurodiversity.

As for any financial support I am giving to, that is a leg to pull is it not? Never mind pulling your own, you won't have any left to stand upon.

It is a matter of fact that some years ago I attempted to snaffle unto myself the domain name Neurodiversity.Com and was somewhat miffed to discover it being sat upon, by I knew not whom, long before I discovered the identity of the Seidel's

Mr Shoemaker, if you would like me to appear in person in your proceedings, you would need to pay for that, and even then I cannot guarantee that the laws of your country would allow me a visa to travel so your attempts are really nugatory aren't they?

This whole thing reminds me of the classic tale of Canute commanding the waves.

If you look sensibly at this subpoena, you will realise that it is a pathetic attempt to command the impossible.

Nobody, and I mean nobody keeps records of the type that have been requested, and the demons that are being invoked here are invisible. Arthur Miller anybody???

In my jurisdiction I have little doubt that Mr Shoemaker would be regarded as a vexatious litigant, and more than that would fall foul of the standards of the law society and have to answer, just as Dr Wakefield is having to answer to his professional body, where the best advice in law will not protect him from the truth.

We may have stricter libel laws in the UK, and they do cut both ways for sure but hear this ... criminal Robert Maxwell used them for years to suppress adverse comment, but when he died the truth came out, that he was a swindler, and a cheat who abused the law.

Elton John may have used them to extract damages for the accusation that he was gay, but the truth is he is gay and has admitted it.

Worse than that Geoffrey Archer has gone to gaol for perjury over his libel suit.

There are consequences Mr Shoemaker, and if you do not face them in this world, you surely will in the next. Is it worth your immortal soul Mr Shoemaker? Is it?

A retraction is so simple Mr Shoemaker, can we have it? I hope I do not have to extract it through the courts in this land or yours.

Your argument is not my argument and never has been. You have gained precisely nothing in your endeavours and I am sure if Kathleen were to appear, the information that she would give would be to the detriment of your case not in it's favour.