Autistic Pride Award: Laina’s 500th Post

My response to Laina’s magnificent 500th blog post “The Autistic Pride Award [500th Post]”.

INTRODUCTION

Laina over at thesilentwaveblog decided to do something special for her 500th blog post. The result was an absolutely splendid post, and this is my response to it. 

THE AUTISTIC PRIDE AWARD –
LAINA’S BRIEF

This section sets the scene for the remainder of the post. First here is Laina’s brief:

  1. Whoever wants to participate, participate.  I’m focusing primarily on Asperger’s/autistic people, of course, but anyone who supports autistic people and neurodiversity is welcome!
  2. Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea 
  3. Do link back to this blog as the original creator.
  4. Describe a bit about yourself.  However much you feel comfortable saying.
  5. List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
  6. If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.  
  7. If you’re not on the spectrum yourself, you can use this opportunity to describe a loved one in your life who is and what makes them awesome, or you can explain what autism means to you and why you think the world would be a better place if it were to be more embracing of autism.
  8. (Of course, you can answer more than one!  For example, someone who is autistic can also describe how much better the world would be if it was more open toward autism.)
  9. If you like, you can list other blogs or resources that are autism/neurodiversity-positive, to give them a shout-out, too.

The fact that I am writing this post demonstrates that I wish to participate (1). I was inspired the source article itself which deals with (2) and (3), and I take this opportunity to urge you not just to read Laina’s 500th post in full but also to explore her blog in more detail. Thus, the rest of this post will start with point (4) of this list.

ABOUT ME

This is my WordPress profile statement:

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

You can learn more about me by reading more posts on this blog, and the rest of this post. I will include photos that relate to some of my interests, and links to other blogs the relate to my interests.

SPECIAL INTERESTS

  • Photography – as many of the posts on this blog show. There are many photographic blogs that I could link to here, but I have chosen just one, Cindy Knoke’s, from which I choose to feature a post titled “Gorgeous Greece & Her Beautiful Islands“. Here is one of my fairly recent photographs:
    Castle
  • Public Transport – I am the creator of a London Transport themed website, www.londontu.be, I have blogged here about many journeys, including Inlandsbanan and The Jacobite, while the photograph above was taken through the window of a moving train. Here is a public transport related photo to end this segment:
    Farewell to the Jacobite
  • Nature and Natural History – these linked interests are lifelong. For a natural history blog I thoroughly recommend whyevolutionistrue, while for good stuff about nature I recommend Anna’s blogthis is one of her posts about nature. Here is a recent bee picture to end another segment:
    P1020327
  • Cricket – I am listening to commentary on the second T20 between England and South Africa as I write this.
  • Autism – kind of obvious given that I am both autistic and involved in an autism charity. Before moving on to autism related blogs I offer a link to the National Autistic Society website (it is a very useful resource). I have of course already linked to Laina’s blog at the very start of this post, and I also recommend strongly theunabashedautist, americanbadassadvocates and theinkedautist.  Having (including the opening link to Laina’s blog) given shout outs to four blogs by #actuallyautistic folk I finish with a link to Autism Mom.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BEING AUTISTIC

Many of my greatest strengths, such as my computer skills, my attention to detail, my skill at taking and editing photos are a direct product of my autism. Autism is part of who I am, and never in the ten and a half years since I was diagnosed have I wished that I was not autistic. I conclude this post with a photographic collage that I used in an auction alert email sent out yesterday:

1052 composite
I envisaged something like this when I started assembling this image – along the top we have the full lot followed by close-ups of both faces of the medal, while along the bottom we have photographs of the engraving around the rim.

Scotland – Getting There

Post 2 in my Scottish holiday series (there will be more later today). This post describes the journey there.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the second post in my series about my holiday in Scotland. This one focusses on the first day, when I travelled from King’s Lynn to Kyle of Lochalsh and then walked across the bridge to Isle of Skye, where I stayed the night at Saucy Mary’s Lodge. 

THE FIRST LEG OF THE JOURNEY-
KING’S LYNN TO PETERBOROUGH

With my envisaged train for the next leg of the journey leaving Peterborough at 9:46 and the bus journey reckoned at 1 hour 20 minutes or thereabouts I decided that prudence dictated being on the 7:34 rather than the 8:04. The journey ran fairly smoothly and I arrived at Peterborough Train Station at just after nine o’clock. 

PETERBOROUGH TO EDINBURGH 

The 0:946 to Edinburgh Waverley, scheduled to get there at 13:20 arrived in time and was not absolutely packed, although it is clearly a popular service. I got a window seat in a designated quiet coach (both parts of which represent significant bonuses to me – the latter even more than the former). This was the start of the portion of the journey that is not so familiar to me, and also therefore represented the point at which the camera got pressed into service…

Spire
Taking photos through the windows of moving vehicles can be frustrating (and all bar a few taken when the train was at rest were taken thus)

ChurchVillage viewed from trainView from Virgin Train 1Wind TurbinesP1000114ViewCooling Towers

York Model Railway
On the approach to York, the first stop after Peterborough

York Model Railway2York Model Railway3Church2P1000125Approaching YorkYorkYork2York3York4York5Old Train

Darlington1
At Darlington, one terminus of the world’s first passenger carrying railway, the Stockton & Darlington.

Darlington2Darlington3Stately homeVillage2Road BridgeBridge and riverViewfrombridge1Riverview1Riverview2Riverview3Newcastle buildingNewcastle1Newcastle2Newcastle4Church, NewcastleChurch, Newcastle2River TyneRiver Tyne4River Tyne 4

North Sea 1
A first glimpse of the sea just north of Newcastle

North Sea2North Sea 3North Sea 5North Sea 6North Sea 7Wind TurbineNorth Sea 8North Sea 9North Sea 10North Sea 11Lighthouse, near Scottish border

Edinburgh Waverley
Edinburgh Waverley

EDINBURGH TO INVERNESS

A slightly late arrival at Edinburgh meant that I had to move fairly fast to make the change to the train to Inverness. A combination of the fact that some idiot at Scotrail (part of Abellio, the profit-making subsidiary of the Dutch state railway company) had deemed three carriages sufficient for this train and the heat of the day made this leg of the journey like travelling in an oven on wheels. However, neither of these factors kept me from taking photographs…

Edinburgh AirportEdinburgh Airport 2Bridge1Bridge2Bridge3Bridge4Bridge5Bridge6Bridge7Bridge8Scottish VillageScottish FactoryChurch - ScotlandCowsRenewable EnergyRenewable Energy2RiverRiver2River3River4River5PitlochryPitlochry PlaqueRiver through treesStony RiverRiver6River7River8River9River10River11River12River13River14River15River16River17River18River19River20River21CottagesRiver22Scottish TownScottish Town2

INVERNESS TO KYLE OF LOCHALSH

Arriving at Inverness over half an  hour late I then discovered that the train I had expected to catch to Kyle of Lochalsh was being replaced by a bus service. There were two different buses, and there was some confusion of who should go on which, but we set off at the appropriate time. I continued to ply my camera…

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P1000266
My first sight of the Skye Bridge, and a by then very welcome sign that the journey was nearly complete. When I first travelled this way in 1994 there was no bridge, just a regular ferry crossing.
P1000267
The approach to Kyle of Lochalsh, with Kyleakin visible in the distance.

THE WALK TO SKYE

It was still pretty hot even at 8:45PM as I began the walk to Saucy Mary’s, which according to my instructions was 2.5 miles. The reason for this is that the bridge to Skye actually starts a good half-mile beyond Kyle of Lochalsh, is itself a longish crossing and then on the other side one has to go back along the Skye shore to Kyleakin which is directly opposite Kyle of Lochalsh. I arrived at Saucy Mary’s thoroughly exhausted and went straight to reception. There I was greeted with news that I had been relocated from my dorm bed to a room normally used only by staff. The reason for this was that the people who had booked the other four beds had revealed at the 11th hour, having not mentioned it while booking, that they were travelling with two babies, and the manager had decided that it was unacceptable to put me in the dorm room in that circumstance (absolutely right, and thankyou very much). 

‘Special interest’ vs obsession 

Laina on why the word ‘obsession’ needs to be dropped from usage in relation to autistic people – she is spot on as usual…

the silent wave

The diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s/autism includes the tendency toward:

“Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).”

…At least, as described by those with cultural authority (a topic that will in itself be the focus of a future post).

(That criterion is Part B-3, for the curious.)

This is often shorthand-termed “special interest”, by some on and off the spectrum, and although I’ve used this term myself, you’ll see that it’s usually enclosed in quote marks, which I intend to indicate that although it’s a common and recognizable term, I don’t particularly like it.

For the record, I prefer terms such as “niche specialty”, “subject area of expertise”, “topic/subject of interest”, and so on. (Don’t those sound more dignified, not to mention more accurate?). Mix and match Dignified Terms until your heart’s content…

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Why and how I blog

Some excellent ideas and advice on setting up a blog from one of my favourite bloggers…

the silent wave

Not too long ago, I received an email from a friend who passed along a forwarded message from a new WordPress user about how to go about starting up a blog and promoting it. Interestingly enough, this friend mentioned my name to this person (which is totally fine with me; I was surprised–in a good way–and honored).

Well, eager to help and share, I typed up what could be considered a small e-book in response, and emailed it back. My friend asked me if I would consider making a blog post out of my reply; the funny part is, I had already copy-pasted the email I sent into a separate file, to do exactly that: share it with others.

I meant to share it on my one-year anniversary of blogging, but I had forgotten, and lined up several other posts for publishing. Then I got to thinking howit might be…

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Infinity and a New Autism Symbol

Introducing aspiblog followers to a new autism spectrum symbol, with grateful acknowledgement to thesilentwaveblog.

INTRODUCTION

I hope you have noticed a rather dramatic change to the header of this blog! The rest of this post is devoted to explaining the reason that I have adopted that particular header. Before going on into the main body of the post I am going to point out that is this post will be featuring coloured text the distinction between ordinary text and links is the usual in such circumstances – links are underlined and in bold.

INFINITY

Many mathematicians have written about infinity, including Georg Philip Cantor who demonstrated conclusively that not all infinities are equal. As one who has read plenty about infinity and who is autistic the symbol that now forms the header of this blog has a particular resonance…

THE DISCOVERY

This morning when I was going through my emails I came across a reference to a blog post on thesilentwaveblog titled “Autism Spectrum symbol?“. Naturally I read it with some enthusiasm, starting with the explanation of why the puzzle piece is unacceptable (it was chosen by others, not us, and it is associated with a hate group who masquerade as an autism organisation). Then came the symbol itself, a rainbow (or spectrum) coloured infinity symbol, as shown below.

Autism Symbol.jpg

BACKING MY JUDGEMENT

Having been thoroughly impressed by this symbol, and believing it important to walk the walk as well as talking the talk I set about using it as the base for a new header for this blog, and came with putting the name of the blog inside the symbol, one half in each loop, and one half green and the other half red. My new image before I increased its size to the necessary width for a header was this:

Aspiblog

I hope this rainbow coloured infinity and customizations of it such as mine for this site blow the tainted puzzle piece right out of the water. I await feedback with interest.

 

Science and Nature

Some of the best science and nature related pieces I have recently come across.

INTRODUCTION

Having started the day with a science related squib I finish it with a full length post concerned with Science and Nature. As this is a post where all the text will be the same colour please not that links are in bold and underlined. Before proceeding here is a list of all of today’s previous posts:

PART ONE: A VARIETY OF SHARES

I am building up for big finish by dealing with everything else first in a single section. I am going to start with…

A REPORT FROM SUMOFUS.ORG

The campaign group sumofus.org have produced a definitive report to the effect that we do not need bee killing pesticides to feed the world. For detailed information on where we are with the fight to save bees please click on the graphic below:

sumofus.jpg

THUNDERCLAP: #GARDENS4NATURE

Yes another thunderclap for those of you who are on social media to support. Click on the screenshot below for more…

Gardens4Nature

THE EDEN PROJECT

The Eden Project in Cornwall, of which I have very fond memories, has just added to its laurels by winning VisitEngland’s award for Inclusive Tourism. Thus I have two links, each accompanied by a screenshot to share:

  1. The disabledgo blog piece detailing this latest success for the Eden Project.
    Eden Project VisitEngland award
  2. The Eden Project’s own website.

A LEGAL WAY PAST PAYWALLS

I am indebted to WEIT for this. It is an app that is free to download. For more details please visit the WEIT article on this:

PART 2: SOME FANTASTIC EVOLUTION MEMES

I found these on twitter by way of their creator, whose twitter name is Lord Cropes. Below is the particular meme which caught my attention:

EvolutioninAction

This is just one of 129 memes of this type that he has created, and you can view all of them by way of the website pinkheretic.com. Here is one more to further whet your appetite:

PART THREE: PHOTOGRAPHS

I finish with some of my own photographs:

Moorhen + chicks
An adult moorhen and two chicks
Moorhen and chicks
Adult and two chicks close together
Moorhen chick
Close up of a chick

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