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Showing posts from October, 2010

Speaking, Job Hunting... Health Issue

I haven't had much time for personal writing, even the creative writing I have been pursuing this year. I've made two public speaking appearances this month, both two hours long. Thankfully, one was a panel discussion so I wasn't speaking nearly as much. The academic job hunt has continued, subdued after last year. The applications have also taken a great deal of time. One university required four applications, though all four fell under one job description. I'm certain there's a legal reason for this, but it was a lot of work because they wanted so many documents. Not only did you have to submit the documents online, they asked applicants to mail copies of the documents, too. The main reason I've only managed eight-hour days is that I'm dealing with some medical issues. I am anemic, with severely low hemoglobin and iron levels. Last time this happened, two years ago, I ended up spending Christmas Eve in the hospital getting a blood transfusion. On the posit

Reflecting with Jo

Yesterday I spent several hours holding one of our cats, Jordan, knowing she needed love and attention. It was, sadly, the end of her battle against the ravages of age. I don't know how strange it is, but I spent much of the time telling her how much I enjoyed various things she did throughout life. I whispered to her and told her how much she had meant to me during the roughest patches of life. She would fade in and out of sleep, exhausted. I've read research pointing increasingly towards emotions, memories, and even self-awareness in animals. I want to believe that Jordan knew how much I loved her as a companion. Jordan and her sister, Mimi, have been with us for almost as long as my wife and I have lived together. That means they have been through the good and bad with us. I thought about those times a lot over the last few days as Jordan needed more care and attention. For all my shortcomings, and they are many, the one thing I am certain I have done "right" for


The word "community" is overused in academic fields, but it is the best word for what it on my mind today. I closed "The Autistic Place" today. It was meant to be an online community dedicated to issues of autism and education. The reality is, however, that online communities come and go so rapidly that what was popular a year or two ago is often "inactive" now. There are dozens of Yahoo groups that are dedicated to autism. Most of these were active five years ago, but have since fallen out of favor with users. Just as the Usenet groups and most "listservs" have faded away in the last five years, so have many online forums. The Internet has accelerated the speed with which a community grows, propers, and then declines. The timeline of the Internet is punctuated by technologies and business ideas that were "hot" for a moment. When is the last time you used IRC or read a newsgroup? Remember CompuServe? Prodigy? And Netscape was near

Plans to Close The Autistic Place

This blog is continuing but in the next week or two, I will be terminating The Autistic Place -- a failed attempt to create a Web portal for all things autism. The Autistic Me has many readers and seems to serve a purpose. While I might be recognizing the impossibility of establishing a thriving portal in a virtual world with far too many autism-related Web sites, I am not going to stop blogging. In fact, I think terminating the relatively inert portal is going to free up a little tiny bit of time and energy to focus on other tasks. Updating the Drupal CMS and the backend databases proved to take a few hours every month. Yet, there were never any active users for the Web site. For those seeking autism-related portals, there are many of them. I was unable to create something better -- and definitely not able to fund any sort of advertising campaign to launch a portal. One of the things I am noticing is that the Internet itself is evolving. The mailing lists I have read for years are slo

Decompressing, Sometimes

When I am anxious, there are a few things that sometimes help decompress. These things do not work always, but most of the time they do. Because I don't like street noises, which are particularly painful, I seek out isolated park-like areas when I am not home. In Dallas earlier this year, I found several amazing park-like settings, include an enclosed mall with a duck pond and sculpture garden. Parks, arboretums, and gardens are followed closely by museums and galleries. The worst places for me are urban downtown areas. Even the park areas are often too close to the buildings and streets. If I am at home, I turn to cartoons and family entertainment, from Disney to Warner Brothers. I love films with a family pulling together in the end. How can you feel bad after a Pixar movie? Friends and family always win the day in a good movie. I do seal the windows, close the curtains, and drink herbal teas when I am at home and anxious. I do not want to think about where we live, which is much