Skip to main content

Skating in Peace

Accompanying the arrival of autumn are many of my favorite things: pumpkin pie, warm apple cider, hot teas, homemade cookies, multi-colored leaves, 60-degree days, and ice skating. That's only a partial list, because I love fall. I dislike summer, would rather skip the snows of winter, but fall and spring are glorious. And locally, the ice skating rink is open from Labor Day through Memorial Day.

During the week, the public sessions are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with evening public sessions on Friday and Saturday nights. My wife and I have been skating during the evening sessions, but those are crowded and noisy. It is much nicer to go skating during the day, when only a few people use the rink.

Last year, I found myself sharing the rink with three to five people most days. Sometimes, I was the only person skating, while the figure skaters were stretching or dealing with equipment issues. Around and around, smoothly on the cool ice. While they play music during the evening sessions, the afternoons are quiet. The practicing figure skaters and their coaches will start and stop and restart bits of classical music.

I enjoyed cycling around the foothills of Central California on weekdays because there were few (if any) cars along the route. Rarely did I see another cyclist, either, though the route was popular among riders on weekends.

Cycling or skating, there is a rhythm — you pedal or skate to a beat. It provides a sense of order and structure. The smooth ice and the relatively smooth roads are important, too. Yes, the roads vibrate, but they are not jarring like mountain biking. While riding, I get used to the vibration of the narrow tires on asphalt. Ice is also irregular — it's not as perfect as people imagine. (The natural ice of outdoor rinks is too rough for me.)

Autumn is quieter than summer. It is calm and relaxing. Skating is relaxing, too.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …