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Showing posts from April, 2010

Only 16 Days Remain

Countdown is 16 days. At this point, one finishes "just because" and for no other reason or purpose. After May, I hope -- more than anything -- to never set foot on campus again for any reason. I'll even switch medical specialists if I can, to avoid being near campus. I literally feel sick when I'm near the university… I despise it that much.

End of Job Hunt, Beginning of... Plan C

The academic job hunt is over, concluding after 61 applications and near-exhaustion. I did not locate a post at a college or university and do not intend to look again next year. My Ph.D defense is May 11. That, and a handful of remaining conference appearances, will mark the end of my time in academia -- at least until a university invites me to teach based on my creative writing success. That is not sarcasm. I have faith in my writing. Plan A was to complete the Ph.D and locate a tenure-track post, enabling us to have something of a normal life. I'd write and teach. Plan A is inoperative. Plan B was to find work locally, allowing us to save money towards moving back to California. To date, this has proven to be an unsuccessful plan. I have "" and Indeed alerts, but this is a lousy job market. Researching teaching K-12 again, I realized that teaching in a state that is closing dozens of schools isn't promising. So, onward… Plan C, the current operational o

Autism Spectrum Quotient

I generally skip the Facebook app nonsense, but after a few friends took the "Autism Spectrum Quotient" inventory, I thought I'd complete it again. From the application: I've calculated my Autism Spectrum Quotient as 45, which is very high. Most women score about 15 and most men about 17. Most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 35. However, many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's have no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives. I'd have to look up what my original score was. I think it was 42. So, I'm more withdrawn after four years in Minnesota. There's a shock -- cold winters and a miserable city leave me alone at home. Duh?

Struggling to Reset

It has been three days since I attended an academic conference. I only attended one of the two days, knowing I was not doing well physically. I'm still "shaky" -- the best adjective I can conjure at the moment. It is like my senses are turned up a notch even more than usual. My assumption is that when I am tired I cannot block the input. The refrigerator, the ceiling fan, even the buzzing of lights are distracting me. I was listening to music to block out everything else. Today was going to be a day out of the house, to sit and write at a bookstore. Instead, I'm too tense to drive. Every pothole would be annoying, not to mention the struggle I have driving in our neighborhood anyway. The bookstore, with the people and associated input, would have been miserable. I hate being tense like this. Three days of wanting to hide under covers and avoid the world. Tomorrow I have to teach and Wednesday I'm heading to an audio store to replace my Jeep's radio and two spe

Post-Conference Decompression Needed

I attended a regional academic conference on Friday and had planned to attend Saturday, but one full day left me completely exhausted. I presented on autism and writing courses, in particular how we might better accommodate the needs of students with ASDs in our classrooms. I presented during the last hour of day, from 4 to 5 p.m., which is never a good time to present. That's especially true of a holiday weekend when people leave early. My presentation left me with the sense that at least some in the audience thought I didn't understand autism. I concluded this when they offered stories about their experiences. Unfortunately, anecdotes are not data and personal experiences are not the same as statistics on course attrition. Hopefully, everyone understands that data on any group are generalizations -- and generalizations never apply to individuals. When someone suggested I didn't know much about her particular student with Asperger's Syndrome, I tried to explain that th

Frustration with Autism Groups

Earlier today I was asked: "May I ask the reason you are even ON an ASD list if you're so self-sufficient and never need any assistance for anything?" Of course, I've never claimed life is a solo project. My presentations begin with a reminder that most successful people depend on many, many other individuals. Family, teachers, mentors, etc., have all helped me along this path. But, I also don't sit around waiting for help. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. When I fail, it is usually because I did something or failed to do something. Maybe I failed to anticipate a problem, which might include other people, but that's how life is. Sure, I probably fail with spectacular regularity. And? What's wrong with falling down time to time? I'm not going to wallow in what my disabilities or challenges have "cost me" as a person. They haven't cost me anything of serious consequence. Jobs? Grades? Whatever. I have an incredible wife, great family,