Monday, March 30, 2009

Food: We tried tamarind for the first time today. Initially, I bought the tamarind pods to draw, but since tomatillos are perishable, I have to finish drawing them first, and my gaze kept sliding over to those weird, lumpy brown pods. The more I looked at them, the more curious I became, so I selected the plainest of the bunch (I meant to draw the others) and broke it in half. When I pulled the two halves apart, the interior, which was slimy, lumpy, brown and very reminiscent of waste rather than food. I was a little hesitant to put that in my mouth, but am so glad I did! It has a wonderfully sour, sweet, flavor, bettter than the sour candy. I talked the kids into trying it (they were also quite reluctant) and before long, only a couple of the pods were left...oops! I guess I'll have to buy more. There are large seeds embedded in the brown pulp, so we planted several pots of those, to see if we can get it to grow as a houseplant. The next food we'll be trying: mochi.

Movie Review: Twilight

I generally don't watch wildly popular movies, but my son and I have been devouring the book series by Stephanie Meyers (more on that later, after we finish the fourth book). I liked the first book well enough that watching the movie seemed worthwhile.
Predictably enough, I didn't like the movie half as well as the book.

The girl, Bella, is portrayed as intelligent and hardworking in the book series. In the movie, she seems pretty dippy. Her vocabulary is limited, and where she could have been bright and shy, she comes across as shy and dumb. Even though she's madly in love with Edward in the book, she comes across as merely needy in the movie; there was no fire, no passion. Edward was definitely creepy, but his hair, UGH!! I mean, does it have to stand up on end like that? His eyebrows were drawn in too heavily, making him look artificial. If his hair had been styled in a less alarming, attention grabbing (hardly what a closet vampire would want) style and his eyebrows had a more nearly natural thickness, he would have looked so much more convincing.

I'm not sure that these are faults of the actors, either. Many aspects of the movie were quite convincing- Bella's convulsions, for instance, and Edward's overly formal manner. James, Alice, and Jacob were all much as I had imagined, as were Carlisle, Esme, and Billy.

For all the hype and attention this movie got, I think a little more TLC on the presentation of the main characters would have made such a difference. As it was, it came across as less interesting and more sappy than the book was. Oh, one last comment- the music was absolutely perfect. I just think they needed to fire the makeup artist and whoever told Bella to act so dumb.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


As promised: I certainly don't experience synesthaesia the way Daniel Tammet does, but I think I have traces of it. Examples:

When I was a child, I saw numbers as though they were arranged like a deck of cards extending infinitely into space. The positive numbers ascended slightly while the negative numbers descended. In other words, try to picture a number line where instead of a line with dots, you have numbers written on cards, the cards overlap, and they are on a continuous, infinite incline. The cards were transparent, I couldn't really see the card, just the numbers, which, by the way, were all transparent black. To add, I had to mentally move up the line, and the number that was the answer would be larger, bigger, sort of like a card pulled up out of a deck or from a hand of cards. The multiples of ten were bigger. When I counted aloud, my voice would build in expectation every time I neared a multiple of ten, like kids do when they're playing hide and seek and are nearing the count of twenty, only for me, it was every multiple of ten, not just twenty.

Time to me is a circle graph. Each year is a circle, and it is joined to the year before it on January first, so that all the years together are like a continuous spiral extending back to the time when I was born, at which point the spiral tapers down and becomes tiny before it vanishes. The end of it, where I will die, will be torn off roughly rather than tapering smoothly as the beginning did. Each circle or year progresses in a counter clockwise fashion. The seasons are deliniated by an X. The top quarter is winter, composed of December, January, and February. The left quarter is spring: March, April, and May. The bottom quarter is summer; June, July, August, while the right hand quarter is fall; September, October, November. Holidays and birthdays flash like little lights in the months as I visualize them. The spiral is compressed most of the time, except when I am thinking of a time or trying to remember when some event happened. Then the spiral stretches out and I work back progressively until I find the circle I need.

Time as in daily time is also a circle graph, but not what you might expect. I will have to draw it and post an image of it here for it to make sense. All 24 hours are in one circle, and they aren't evenly divided. This may be why I allocate time differently than other people. Some parts of the day feel much longer and more expansive to me than others even though I know that they are really all the same length.

I sometimes visualize scent.

And textures often have sounds to me, especially squeaky, disagreeable sounds. For example, cotton balls, frosted glass, and certain fabrics all feel horrible and sound excruciating to me.

In order to do math, I more or less have to visualize the numbers moving around, and I think this is why I have so much trouble with algebra, especially if I don't understand *why* the numbers are moving or when they can or can't move.

Drifting off the topic of synesthaesia now, certain sensory experiences are simply heavenly to me. Smelling a certain scent, seeing a certain shade of a color, feeling the wind blow against my face, hair, or body, the sound of the wind. I love wind. And I can't explain it at all, but the people who smell the best to me, smell like wind feels or looks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm over it now. After explaining that I had PTSD to my teacher, he was more careful with me and I am coping much better with the class. It really wasn't his fault that being pinned to the ground by a large, strong man caused me to freak out and have flashbacks.

I just finished reading Born on a BLue Day by Daniel Tammet and found it pretty interesting. It was impossible for me not to compare my own experiences with his. I think that some of his traits/quirks/abilities/differences may have been caused by the epilepsy rather than the Asperger's....not that I am in any way qualified to say so one way or the other, but he more or less says so too.

In the context of synesthaesia, I have more to say, but not tonight.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I am still upset over that. Honestly, my entire week has been stained and distorted by it. I do want to clarify that I'm not upset over the physical pain, which was very temporary. I think it had more to do with the fact that a rather large, muscular man was physically restraining me.

And see, this is why I don't like big muscular guys. They're scary to me.

I don't know what to do about this yet. I can't simply drop the class. I don't know.

When people say that rape, molestation, physical abuse, neglect, etc, don't really have any long term effect, they don't know what the hell they're talking about. Or they're in denial. Or they're a perpetrator. Or all of the above. It seems really unfair sometimes that I have to spend so much time and exert so much effort to repair the damage done by truly rotten people while they just keep living like they always have, finding someone else to wreck. They get away with it. I have to clean up the mess they left behind. And then tolerate attitudes from clueless types who tell me to magically get over it in a single day (or minute).

I suppose the main consolation is knowing that I appreciate life more deeply because I know how lousy it could be.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Current mood: seriously pissed off. I just got out of self defense class. The instructor was teaching us moves to take down and subdue an attacker. He demonstrated these moves on each of us. Instinct took over and naturally, I struggled, tried to escape, resisted, etc. We were supposed to indicate submission by tapping the mat. Well, admitting pain to a person attacking me isn't my strong point. I tend to either try to get away, to conceal any demonstration of pain (bullies and abusers feed on the high of causing pain) or to zone out of my body and go numb to the pain entirely. In other words, I kept trying to get away, and when I couldn't, went to refuse pain-go numb mode, which usually mollifies an attacker, only the point here was to keep trying to subdue me until I begged for mercy. By the time it felt like my wrist would be injured, I followed orders and tapped, but by this time, serious amounts of adrenaline were coursing through me and I felt seriously pissed off. Need I say that this occurred several times? It took most of my remaining self control not to flip out.

I am shaking and I don't feel very good.

Friday, March 13, 2009

These little houses are incredibly cool! They look like something out of Tolkein's books.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I realized tonight that I have a greater affinity for scents than I do tastes. In a way, this is great, because you can smell all sorts of things that you can't taste, and can enjoy the scent of tastable things without having to buy, procure, or otherwise arrange to be able to taste them. On the other hand, smell is very ephermal, scent memories are haunting, and food is more convenient because you can carry it with you and *store* it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The greyness is creeping like tendrils into my consciousness. But stealthily, steadily. And at the edge of my soul, I feel a nagging, a discomfort somehow.

I'm not happy with the pears. In fact, I hate them. Another student (who is an artist) gave me some tips on how to fix them, but I'm not optimistic.

I think that's the hardest thing about life. You go on your way, making mistakes, and you never get to erase them or to tear up the paper or shatter the badly formed pottery and make a new one. People talk about second chances, but this is an illusion, because it isn't a new canvas, it's the same one smeared with layers of old, despicable mistakes, and you can't paint something new and fresh, you can only add to what's already there. It's supremely frustrating.

People who know me well always say that I don't talk enough. I think I talk entirely too much. I think out loud. I don't censor my thoughts before I say them. They're disjointed. Or sometimes, I substitute entire words, unintentionally. Spoken language is a very difficult media.

Hope. People talk a lot about hope, as though it's some panacea for mankind. Frankly, I'm skeptical. I think hope is like the promise of a new beginning, more or less the same thing. Which is to say, it doesn't really exist. Hopeful promising things don't fall out of the sky and save our ass or bring new meaning to life and help evrything to make sense. What happens is that occasionally we get a slightly different color for our palette and we're so godawful excited about it that we feel liberated, until reality sets in again.

I think I need to cut my hair.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I did another colored pencil drawing...two pears. Will post it in a few days. I have a tremendously intimidating chemistry test coming up so don't expect it until after then.

I've been thinking about the coming spring and garden, and cold frames. I might post a rough sketch of the idea I have for that, too. Basically, I want to find a way to make a temporary cold frame that will enrich the soil where it's been, so that after the frame is moved, there is more or less a raised bed where it was, requirign no tilling. I've come to the conclusion, over the years, that double digging isn't all it's been cracked up to be. I think it disrupts the soil, the layers of organisms in the soil, and kills earthworms, which to me is a major issue. I hate killing earthworms. There isn't room in the house to start all the brassica and other cool crops indoors, so if I can put them outside and have only the nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc) and basil (can't forget the basil!) inside, that will really help.

Other than that, I don't have a lot to say. I've been dieting and have lost 7-9 # in the past two weeks, despite eating regularly, merely by counting calories, eschewing fat and excess carbs, and eating lots of fresh foods or low calorie soups, which are very filling. Exercise would be good, but my bicycle broke...badly. Will probably have to get another.