Today in funny thoughts

I’m watching this sort-of documentary about Isaac Asimov. And I’m sure I’ve heard things like this lots of times before, but now I’m thinking about it.
People say things like “What if computers become more complex than human minds? What if humans become obsolete?”
Well, those questions only go together if you think being less intelligent than other people makes you worthless.

Minty is mystified

Is it really the majority view of people with vaginas that if you get menstrual blood on something it is RUINED FOREVER and must be thrown away?

I see people saying things like

“I’m so mad, I ruined my favorite underwear.”
“With these Special Gimmick Underwear, there’s no more ruining your underwear and having to buy new ones!”
“Now that I’ve had a hysterectomy, I can get nice bedsheets because I won’t ruin them.”

And I just don’t get it.

My experience with bloodstains is this: If you wash it within 24 hours, there will probably be no stain, or at worst a barely-visible outline. If you can– like, if you’re at home and have spare underwear and privacy– just put them in cold water immediately. A minute or two of scrubbing with your fingers and it’ll be gone. If you wash it before it’s totally dried, blood actually comes out very easily, especially from synthetic fabrics.

I have a few pairs of underwear with faint old stains on them, because I didn’t wash them right away. I have had zero pairs of “ruined” underwear.

(Possibly my experience is slightly different because I normally use pads and not tampons? So if I get a small amount of blood on my underwear, I can stick a clean pad on top of it and it’s manageable for a little while? But still. “Ruined”.)

Minty rereads A Wizard Alone part 2

WOW so I got engrossed in the story and didn’t realize until, like, two chapters later, but DD was pretty darn thorough about improving this. I recall the part about the mildly creepy statues, in the original version, including some commentary on how the statues’ staring eyes must be Darryl ~longing for eye contact~ that he can’t handle with actual people. And in this version, Kit is creeped out but also impressed with the precision and detail, and the only thing about the staring is that it’s a little off-putting.

I guess this version actually verges on making autism too much of a superpower? Darryl tells Nita about being teased, later, but that’s very minimized. So overall there’s a lot of “Wow, actually, he might be different in a GOOD way! What a novel idea!” I mean, none of the characters act too shocked about it, but it can’t help but have a little of that tone.

 

At the gym waiting for Sparkly. Someone on Tumblr was talking about surgery so I was thinking about how I was injured as a kid. Someone just fell off the high bar (into a pit full of foam balls, so they can’t be too badly hurt) but something’s wrong and I just. I am not good at dealing with Unknown Things That Are Wrong especially not after this week. The coaches are handling it and I’m sure she’ll be okay. But ow, my brain.
———-
Trying to move my leg when my ACL was only connected to a chipped-off fragment of bone was the SCARIEST thing I’ve ever experienced. It hurt too, but mostly it felt so deeply, fundamentally wrong.

Annnnnd I was going to write more about this tonight but I should really try to not freak myself out. More tomorrow.

Minty (re)reads A Wizard Alone

(Part of the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane.)

And I’ve been pleasantly surprised but I’m still conflicted about parts of it. I’m holding out to see what happens at the end.

We’ve got some great Latest Modern Theory stuff, that I’m fairly sure was part of the “New Millenium Edition” update, and is about as good as any description from the outside could be:

“I seem to remember that there’s a theory about some autistics having trouble with interactions, not because they’re out of contact with what’s going on around them, but because they’re too much in contact, because it’s too intense to take. And structure’s really important to them then… the structures they’ve built up over time to deal with the pressure. If theirs has been violated by recent events, communication might be tougher than usual. There might be a lot of ways the communication could look that you wouldn’t necessarily be expecting, so you’d need to be willing to dump your preconceptions about that.”
—–

“There are so many different ways that autism affects people: it’s a spectrum, after all. I wonder if a lot of the trouble with helping them is caused by trying to pigeonhole them into narrow categories to make it easier. When there are probably as many kinds of autism as there are autistics.”

—–

“Why’s he been stuck in the middle of an Ordeal, on top of everything else that’s going on with him?”

Tom shook his head. “If he’s been offered wizardry, that means that there’s some problem to which he is the solution… so fairness doesn’t come into it. In whatever form was right for him, the Wizard’s Oath found its way to him, and he understood and accepted it. Our only business now is to find out how we can assist… without interfering with the basic challenge.”

But I just can’t get over the darn sad clown– which is an aspect, or a manifestation, of the autistic character, although the POV character here doesn’t know it yet:

“She kept coming back to the clowns. To Nita, there was a fake quality about them, nothing genuinely humorous. It was strange to think that someone seriously thought that makeup could make you funny. But there was no question in Nita’s mind that makeup could make you scary. The stylized clown face, too generic, too cartoony: that really bothered her. So did the baggy, motley costume, disguising the real body shape so that it could have been a bare steel skeleton underneath instead of flesh and bone. And the slapstick jokes, endlessly repeated but supposedly amusing because of the repetition—all these left Nita cold. There was something mechanical about clowns, something automatic, a kind of robot humor; and it gave her the creeps.

 

It was doing so again, right now. Because here in the darkness, followed around by one of those sinister spotlights, was a typical clown act—the clown riding around and around on a ridiculously small bicycle, in ever-decreasing circles. There was nothing funny about it to Nita. It was pitiful. Around and around and around, in jerky, wobbling movements, around and around went the clown. It had a painted black tear running down its face. The red-painted mouth was turned down. But the face under the white greasepaint mask was as immobile as a marble statue’s, expressionless, plastered in place. Only the eyes were alive. They shouted, I can’t make it stop! I can’t make it stop! And, just this once, the clown didn’t think it was funny, either.”

I’m holding out for the ending to be different from (what I remember of) the original.

———-

Why does this bother me?

The uncanny valley is not MY problem. It’s not a part of me.

I.

The concept of the “uncanny valley”.

As explained by Wikipedia here.

As explained by TvTropes here.

II.

This is what Nita is feeling in that last quote up there.

III.

You’ll notice that the Wikipedia article sort of mentions in passing that people with disabilities can fall into the “uncanny valley”– they include prosthetic limbs as an example of a not-quite-human thing, and they label the peak of their graph “healthy person” not just “person”. But they don’t actually address the idea that “uncanny valley”- type reactions are part of prejudice against disabled people.

Well, it’s pretty clear to me that they are.

 

The uncanny valley effect is not a problem with the things and people that are perceived as creepy because of it. It’s a problem with the perceptions of the people around them.

Re: the essay of wonderfulness

(By which I mean this.)

I want to expand on one of the stories the author includes as an example of non-reciprocity. She kind of just lets it stand by itself, so (a) I want to complain (b) I want to explain what’s so shitty about it for people who may not find it as obvious.

Given these ABA data, the following scenario related by a mother in the section called “From the Front Line” of the near-classic ABA-for-autism manual, Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism: A Manual for Parents and Professionals (Maurice, Green, & Luce, 1996) makes infinite sense. The mother began by describing how she established a behavioral therapy program for her daughter.

The first order of business was to establish attending behaviors. This was accomplished by the therapist holding a food reinforcer at her eye level while stating “Rebecca.” Rebecca wanted that reinforcer (a raisin or a Cheerio) so she would look momentarily at the therapist who would immediately give her the Cheerio and praise her verbally (Good looking, Rebecca!). Once Rebecca began to attend, she was taught to follow simple gross motor imita- tions and simple commands (stand up, clap hands, wave bye-bye). (p. 366)

By the time we hit the one year anniversary of our program 3 months ago, Rebecca had developed a great deal of skills and language. . . . A sampling of her current skills includes her ability to expressively identify all the letters of the alphabet presented in random sequence. She knows her shapes and colors, she can count up to 12 items, and she has an extensive vocabulary (several hundred words). Additionally, she has become proficient in categorizing items among nine different groupings. I was recently quizzing her in the car and asked “What’s a zebra?” “It’s a animal.” “What’s a triangle?” “It’s a shape.” “What’s a couch?” “It’s furniture.” “Who’s William?” “It’s a person.” “What is a w?” “It’s a letter.” “What’s a helicopter?” “It’s something you ride in.” “What’s a bathing suit?” “It’s clothes.” “What’s cake?” “It’s food.” (p. 369)

As the mother wrote, “I present these examples to illustrate that many of the things that Rebecca knows are quite advanced for a child her age. I am convinced that Rebecca is a highly intelligent child. Her teachers tell me this constantly. In a way, that makes her deficits all the more maddening” (p. 369). What are these deficits that are so maddening to her mother? As the mother laments,

If, for example, I enter the kitchen after my morning walk and [my two daughters] are sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, Rebecca might glance up at me for a second and then look away. I have to walk up to her, get in her face, and force the interaction (“Hi Rebecca.” “Hi Mama.” “How are you?” “Okay.” “I love you.” “I love you, too.”). I have always found the contrast between my two children to be the most obvious and the most painful at mealtimes. Holly is such a talkative and observant child, and Rebecca will be sitting there like a sphinx, unable to participate in the give and take.

We find ourselves continually trying to draw her into our conversations. “Rebecca, what are you doing?” “I’m eating.” “What are you eating?” “Pasta.” “Good. What’s pasta?” “It’s a food.” “Good! Is it delicious?” “Yes.” “Say, ‘It’s delicious.’ ” “It’s delicious.” (p. 368)

You make your every interaction with your daughter into a quiz and you’re surprised she doesn’t want to talk to you?
That’s not drawing her into your conversations. It’s not a conversation if you’re not actually communicating, if you aren’t learning something that the other person wants to tell you. The fact that you try to get her to talk this way is not communication, it is a judgment that the way she normally acts (i.e. not talking) isn’t acceptable. And the content— the fact that your “drawing her into conversation” has the same form and content as your “teaching her to identify words”— means she doesn’t even get to talk just for the sake of talking. She has to say the right things, too, and if she doesn’t, she’s a double disappointment, a bad girl who doesn’t talk enough and doesn’t even know her lessons. OF FUCKING COURSE she doesn’t want to talk to you. YOU DON’T WANT TO TALK TO HER EITHER. Making someone recite their vocabulary words is not a conversation. Come back when you actually care about what she might have to say, instead of about how bad she looks next to her sister.

Ugh, brain.

I made it more than TWO YEARS but now apparently I finally have anxiety directly related to the thing that started all this. Which is: sandwiches with cheddar cheese on them.

Fuck.

I had a Thing like a month ago where specifically I wasn’t sure if the cheese we had was still good, and that was hard. But now it’s also showing  up as a generic minor anxiety thought, too.

——

Yes, I will get back to the kink thing eventually. I had a busy week.

I stayed up nearly until 5AM last night, making sure Sparkly got home safe from a party. And got up again at 10:30 this morning, so she could help clean up after it. I am SO TIRED but also thirsty, and Sparkly was talking about wanting something to eat, so I might be going out again. We’ll see.