The Martian

I’m reading Andy Weir’s book, “The Martian.” If you’re a nerd, you should drop whatever you’re doing and read it right now. If you’re the kind of nerd who already read it, read it again. If you’re not so nerdy, you can wait a couple months until the Ridley Scott movie starring Matt Damon comes out.

Language warning: this book drops the f-bomb in the first sentence.


Calling Dr. Laura

Once upon a time Nicole Georges was on a zinester book tour that I was excited about going to. Unfortunately, she wasn’t on the leg that went through Tucson and I missed out. Later on, my daughter went to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls and, that year, Ms Georges was one of the organizers and co-M.C.s of the showcase that, not only gave some super cool girls a chance to rock out, but gave a loving, historical retospective of the first 10 years of RNRC4G.

I have to admit, I developed a but of a crush, but I was married and she was gay, so it was pretty much an admiration of charismatic creative energy kind of crushes that makes you want to read their books when you come across them in the library.

So, this summer, I’m taking a bit of a vacation week, and I stop by the library, and there it is: Calling Dr. Laura.

This book is Nicole Georges’ graphic memoir of a search for self-identity, parental acceptance, and love (from dogs, mostly).

It’s also deeply rooted in a pre-Portlandia Portland zinester scene that I really wanted to be a part of, but missed out on, because, hello, sometimes robots have crippling social anxiety. Also, I acquired a baby in that timeframe, which complicates things.

So, this book has left me quiet and thoughtful and nostalgic. It also makes me want to write my own graphic memoir. So, I suppose it means it’s inspirational. I liked it. I’m a moody and thoughtful robot. This is a good book for that.

5 out of 5 post-ironic whatevers

Satellite Dream Pizza

I’m going to eat here in a little bit. Wish me luck.  

So… the verdict is, this pizza is pretty good. It’s on the pricey end, but they load the toppings on there like crazy. We were advised by friends to avoid the breadsticks. Probably a good call. The crust, while delightfully crisp, seemed a little on the bland side. A little mullety, I suppose. If the  breadsticks are made with the same dough, this could be a problem.

Robot does not live by breadstick alone.

AS vs. NT Culture: Two Worlds, One Dysfunctional Family

Being partly robot can feel like this, too.

The Artism Spectrum

NMrelationships1FULLAfter several weeks of juggling various projects and generally bumbling the whole executive functioning thing, I’m finally getting around to transforming my presentation on neurologically mixed relationships into a series of blog posts. And I say posts, plural, for a few reasons.

For one thing, my presentation was just over an hour long. No one wants to wade through that wall of text. Plus, the actual content that I wanted to cover in the presentation would have taken an entire day or more to go through. Now that I can include everything, I will—it’s my blog, goshdarnit!

This post is an intro to the metaphor of neurotype as culture. In the following posts, we’ll begin the more in-depth dissection of autistic and neurotypical culture, and how these “cultural” differences affect relationships.

So, relationships…

As a child, I assumed relationships were something that just happened.

I knew that if a…

View original post 1,266 more words

Mint M&M’s


This one’s a no-brainer These are pretty much crunchy, inside out Junior Mints. They were on sale for 59¢ at the micro-Kroger. I do not feel like I overpaid. I might have spent more. Heck, I practically inhaled the whole bag. I might have even liked them better than Junior Mints. 

The question would bear a scientifically conducted blind taste test. I’ll let you know when the grant money comes through.

Song of the Sea

I don’t always ‘get’ holidays. Today is Easter, a straight-forward celebration of springtime renewal as signified by the resurrection of Jesus, the Son of the God of the Jews, that American Christians observe by gathering together and eating a spiral ham. It just seems weird, It probably shouldn’t bother me. I’m not Jewish. I’m not concerned with eating kosher any other day of the year. I should get over it. However, I knew that, this year, if I found myself in a large group of ham-eating American Christians, I would be in danger of saying things that would be hard to take back.

Much better to seek out the quiet and contemplative atmosphere of my chosen house of worship, the art house movie theater. Also, Sunday afternoon was my best chance this weekend to hang out one on one with my daughter.

We don’t always get to do things, just me and her. Oftentimes, when we do, it’s homework. But sometimes, when we’re lucky, we get to watch a magical animated film from an island across the ocean. A lot of times that island is Japan, but today, lucky us it was Ireland. We had the treat of being able to watch Song of the Sea at Portland’s Laurelhurst Theater.

Years ago, my daughter and I had seen director Tomm Moore’s earlier film, The Secret of Kells. It was brilliant. In many ways Moore’s work hearkened to that of Hayao Miyazaki, in terms of emotional depth and childlike wonder that belies a spiritual connection to the landscape that is far older than that of our current age. By the same token, Kells was completely Irish in visual style and folkloric texture. When I saw that Moore’s new film was showing at the Laurelhurst, I knew what we were to spend our precious few hours together on Easter Sunday doing.

My daughter took no convincing. She had just this morning decided she was vegetarian and wan’t interested in eating ham, either. So we went to the movies.

As we had hoped, Song of the Sea was beautiful and haunting, and I might have cried a few times. The children at the core of this story, Ben and his sister, Saoirse, live in a lighthouse with their father, having lost their mother when Saoirse was born. Theirs is a fractured family that has some things to overcome before they can heal and move on. And, of course, there are faeries and selkies and a witch and a mean granny and the most loyal and brave dog a boy could ever hope to have. And owls. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the owls are not what they seem.

And, like I alluded earlier, I might have cried a few times.

It was hard not to. In many ways this is a film about honoring loss, the importance of feeling your feelings, and remembering to love what you have. Those three things are tied together so deeply, and if you cut out one of them from your life, you risk cutting out them all and turning stone. It’s a metaphor that the film handles much more elegantly than this brief blog review. And it’s a metaphor that speaks to me directly, because oftentimes I need some extra help feeling my feelings. And sometimes, when I don’t get it, I turn to stone.

The last few years have been tough on my own little fractured family. If I had seen this film with anyone else, or on my own, my heart might have broken in two before I left the theater. But I got to see it with the perfect companion to make it be a healing experience. The ancient Greeks knew that one of the powers of drama was its tendency to provide catharsis, a purging of emotion that leaves the psyche clean and prepared for the next thing life will bring. Seeing this film with my daughter, knowing at every tearful moment I could reach over and grab her hand, let me recognize and appreciate what I have, rather than dwell on what I’ve lost.

Perhaps next Easter, or the next holiday, whichever holiday actually matters, won’t need to be a private affair for my part-time family of two. Perhaps I’ll be ready to more fully include the greater circle of friends and more-than-friends I’ve been adding to my life. And perhaps I’ll even be able to eat ham with Christian Americans. That is, of course, if I haven’t joined my daughter in her vegetarianism.

Song of the Sea — 5 out of 5 Selkie Suits

Daylight Savings Time

This is pretty much a crock. Who thought this would be a good idea? Mussolini? Only a second-rate fascist would subject the working world to a week of extra suicidal ideation and road rage for a week a half every spring.

Seriously, every morning I woke up considering which bridge would be the best one to jump off. Not that I really want to, but sleep deprivation is a jerk. Daylight Savings Mussolini is a jerk. I want to throw my bike through the window of a Starbucks. Anarchy! Anarchy! I want a nap!

Dream Review

Lately I’ve been having the worst dreams. Last night I was on a mission for someone, a relative or something. I was supposed to get something from Taco Bell for them. Only the Taco Bell had been shut down, so I was looking for another Taco Bell. I consulted my smartphone. (This might have been the first time I’ve checked Google Maps in a dream. Even so, I’m surprised Google haven’t figured out how to insert ads into that particular user experience.) The next closest Taco Bell was actually a Taco Bell Express inside a Plaid Pantry. But when I got to the Plaid, the Express counter was closed up already and the guy there told me to try a different Plaid Pantry a mile a way. Oddly, these Plaid Pantries were in Tucson, not in the Pacific Northwest, which is when I really should have known it was a dream.

But maybe I did know all along. The entire time I was on this futile quest, I was expending a conscious effort not to grit my teeth as I had forgotten my grind guard last night. But why Taco Bell? Why was that worth all the grief? I don’t know. I was kind of gassy before bed. Maybe that has something to do with it. Or maybe it’s just a portent of the dullest kind of encroaching doom possible.

Either way, this dream doesn’t qualify for any rating other than DUD.