SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT BEING A HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISTIC

I’ve often felt like this over the years and to this day – alone, (sometimes by choice), and lonely. Photo courtesy of momdoesreviews.com

 

The other day I happened upon an online article that I found so attention-grabbing and interesting, I downloaded and printed it.

The piece was called ” Why ‘High Functioning Autism’ Is So Challenging” by Nazish Shokat, and it discussed one particular myth regarding folks on the autism spectrum who are high functioning to the point where they were by and large mainstreamed into neurotypical – non-autistic – society.

Like I was.

This article, which I found on the website Healthy Gossip Online, served to debunk the common myth of people with high functioning autism generally being, according to Shokat, “Unusually intelligent and successful” like big names such as Albert Einstein and Bill Gates.

Some of the points that Shokat made included how high functioning folks on the spectrum…

  • “May…have significant challenges which…are made more challenging, in part, because they surprise and upset others who don’t anticipate odd behaviors or reactions from people who ‘pass for normal’ in many situations.”
  • “While people,” according to Shokat, …”with more severe autism are not generally expected to just suck it up and get through difficult moments, people on the higher end of the spectrum are expected to do just that.”

The main point that Shokat was making was that,

 

High functioning autism is very challenging every day.

 

That much like the more severe autistics, the high functioning people are just as noise, smell, taste, and sight sensitive,

Have social cluelessness issues that are just as pervasive,

Have levels of anxiety and depression that are just as common as they are among neurotypicals,

And have just as many problems dealing with unexpected changes as their lower functioning counterparts.

 

As I read the article, it was like Shokat was talking directly to me as the issues that were discussed in the piece were issues that I have gone through, and continue to go through to some degree.

Which, in the form of various incidents as a kid, an adolescent, a young adult, and even in recent times, I wrote about in detail in my book, WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Living With Asperger’s Syndrome in a Non-Asperger’s World.

By the way, not that it’s my intent to be the proverbial pushy salesman or anything like that,

But for all who read this, I really hope you take the time to buy WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Living With Asperger’s Syndrome in a Non-Asperger’s World on http://www.lulu.com 

The biggest reason being that for all those neurotypicals out there who may know me or knew me way back when, it will help you to understand me, what I had and have, and the way I am because of that.

For those reading this who don’t know me, I’m sure that WALKING ON EGGSHELLS will help you to understand people on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum, why they sometimes behave the way they do.

I think as much as anything else, that was why I wrote the book.

 

 

I’ve often felt like this, too, when I realized that I did or said something inappropriate. Photo courtesy of theautismcafe.com

 

 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2019: A Review of BET’s “American Soul”

Sinqua Walls as Don Cornelius, with Kelly Rowland (center) as Gladys Knight, in BET’s “American Soul”. Photo courtesy of newyorker.com

 

MY ANNUAL HOMAGE TO BLACK HISTORY MONTH, FEATURING A REVIEW OF A NEW TV SERIES DEPICTING A SHOW I GREW UP WITH

Being an African-American whose formative years were in the 1970s and 80s, I remember Soul Train very well and quite fondly.

I can easily recall being of single digit age living with my grandparents in Riverside, CA, sitting in the big Laz-I-Boy chair every Saturday afternoon after getting my fill of the cartoons and Dick Clark doing his thing on American Bandstand, watching that cartoon train grooving in the opening credits,

Don Cornelius introducing big name acts from that time and wishing everyone “Love, Peace and Soul!” at the end of that hour,

That scramble board, which even at five, six, and seven years old I could solve in around ten seconds, thinking even back then that anyone who couldn’t solve it in the minute allowed was a real dummy,

And of course who can ever forget that Soul Train line?

Plus on top of all that, I actually knew a few of the Soul Train Dancers from the 1980s, including one that I went to UCLA with who wore all the costumes.

So although I never really watched Black Entertainment Television because of what I felt were the excessive commercials and the reruns of sitcoms that they played that I frankly didn’t like while they were first run,

I made a point to check out BET’s new miniseries, American Soul, starring Sinqua Walls as Don Cornelius and featuring former Destiny’s Child Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight, which was set in 1971 during the American Bandstand-style dance/music show’s beginnings in Los Angeles, Cornelius having moved the show to L.A. from Chicago that year.

The verdict?

I liked it! A solid thumbs up!

 

 

Who can ever forget the Soul Train Line here, and those afros? Nice pants on this guy dancing, by the way! Photo courtesy of latimes.com

 

 

I didn’t think that Walls looked anything like Cornelius in his voice or mannerisms, but I did think that he did a good job playing him, showing his struggles getting his show to go national in Los Angeles, from dealing with bigoted L.A. cops to schmoozing with white sponsors and executives who, in the midst of the recent Civil Rights Movement, were still rather uncomfortable with the idea of a Black man running his own show.

Rowland did well portraying first guest Gladys Knight; I particularity liked her singing her all-time classic “Midnight Train To Georgia” on just a piano in a nightclub during a scene. I remember thinking, “That’s how she should have released that song back then, with just a piano and not with all those other bells and whistles.”

And of course the music, the clothes and the dancing were dead on, impeccably showing the natural look – the afros, the dashikis, the hoop earrings, etc. – that was prominent in the African-American community in the early 70s.

I also liked the auxiliary story line of the Vietnam War, which was still raging in ’71; the part where the medic was helping the soldier who was shot in an ambush and that family was waiting for that medic to return home only to find two military officers arrive with the tragic news that always follows in that situation, and the mother’s reaction, was well done.

OVERALL: I enjoyed American Soul and its depiction and history of a television show that was a pretty big part of my childhood.

I’m looking forward to seeing the subsequent episodes.

 

Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight with her Pips on BET’s “American Soul”. Photo courtesy of youtube.com

 

 

 

AN UPDATE ON THE (SELF) PUBLISHING OF MY BOOK, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” – And Something That I Left Out of the Epilogue

I like this pic of this row of books in a library. Very colorful. Photo courtesy of timcalkins.com

 

GETTING RIGHT TO THE POINT…

Yesterday Lulu.com, the site that (self) published my book, WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Living With Asperger’s Syndrome in a Non-Asperger’s World, finally sent me a copy of my newly published page-turner.

I must say, it looks good; I had hoped such after doing so much editing, rewriting, updating, and fine tuning for seemingly three of the six years that I was working on this tome of mine.

Of course it should go without saying that this – writing and publishing a book – is a big accomplishment.

It’s a major part of something that was a significant goal of mine ever since I first embarked on a writing career eleven years ago (My goodness, it’s been that long!)

 

For Those Who Are Reading This:

If you are interested in buying and reading WALKING ON EGGSHELLS, go to this website:

http://www.lulu.com

The cost, at between $30 – $40, is not as low as I would have liked, but at roughly 350 pages, it was Lulu that set the book’s price, not me.

And I did put in a discount.

So without sounding too much like the proverbial pushy salesman, it would be great if you bought WALKING ON EGGSHELLS and checked out what my life as someone on the autism spectrum in a neurotypical world was, and is, like.

 

NOW, FOR SOMETHING THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE EPILOGUE OF WALKING ON EGGSHELLS…

The past couple of days or so, I have wondered how I will be remembered.

How if something happened to me that would result in me leaving this Earth and officially joining the Lord, how would the people that I know – currently and since my formative years in Santa Monica – remember me.

In other words, if somebody told someone mentioned the name “Derek Hart” to someone after I was no longer here,  what would they say?

Like everyone else (I reckon), this is a very curious thing that’s swimming in my mind a bit, since I doubt that I’ll be able to float around like a ghost and eavesdrop on any conversations of that nature.

If anyone who knows me, whether a friend an acquaintance, or a relative, reads this,

It would be great if you offered your opinion of how would you remember me in the comments below.

It will be interesting to see what folks say.

 

I posted this photo on an earlier article/post on this blog, but it still illustrates how my life as an aspie was as a kid, I feel.

 

A Few Random Thoughts About How Disappointing a Start 2019 Has Been

Demonstrators rally against a partial government shutdown at a protest hosted by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg via Getty Images Photo courtesy of today.com

 

Let’s see…

Because of our President-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-On-This-Blog and his overly zealous zeal to build a wall on the southern border to deal with the immigrant issue – which in my view won’t work as if someone from Mexico or Central America really wants to come to the U.S., they’ll find a way, wall or no wall,

This country has been in the midst of its longest government shutdown in history.

And he fed the national champions of college football sodium and fat-laced fast food to boot when they made their visit to the White House, which I saw as an insult.

The teachers’ union of this country’s second largest school district went out on strike for the first time in thirty years on Monday, which considering the uncompromising natures of both sides I see as lasting a long time – and may end the Los Angeles Unified School District as we know it.

Mind you, no one supports teachers more than I do, and I will vehemently dispute anyone who suggests otherwise.

I worked with young people for around twenty-five years in some capacity, mostly as a physical education teacher and a coach.

Education is my family’s business as I come from a long line of educators.

And I strongly support LAUSD’s teachers – some of them whom are relatives – on their quest for not only better pay, but for smaller class sizes, funds to hire nurses, librarians, and more support staff, and other things that Los Angeles’ schools have been lacking for decades.

But I can’t help thinking and feeling that 2019 has gotten off to this type of start after only sixteen days in.

 

 

UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, who has provided the most positive moment of 2019 so far. Photo courtesy of cbssports.com

 

 

I mean, nearly a million people who get their paychecks from government jobs haven’t due to President You-Know-Who haven’t for nearly four weeks, and are starting to feel it in their inability to pay rent, bills, etc.

I fear that the way things are going, L.A’s teachers will see the same fate.

I don’t want to see any of them getting their lights and utilities turned off or getting evicted.

The more bad things that are happening, the stronger my conviction that only God can sort things out.

It’s quite interesting that the big highlight of this still new year is a gymnast from my alma mater, UCLA, by the name of Katelyn Ohashi, having a video of her dynamic floor exercise routine (which she got a perfect ten on, by the way) go viral with roughly fifty million views and causing such a sensation.

Here’s that video of her floor routine on case you’re one of the three people who haven’t seen it yet…

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ic7RNS4Dfo

 

To be honest, I can’t think of much else more to say right now.

I could say that I hope and pray that things will get better over the next twelve months, (which I do), but that’s such a cliché.

I do hope that the rain which has been watering the Los Angeles area where I love continues tonight when I go to bed.

I feel a little out of sorts right now, a bit depressed, and I can use the sounds, which soothes me; it’s a part, or trait, of my Asperger’s, you know.

 

 

A scene from the Los Angeles’ teachers strike against LAUSD. Photo courtesy of scpr.org

 

 

TV Shows I Enjoyed In The Past That I Still Watch & Enjoy Today

Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

Like most other folks, I enjoy television.

I remember having my own TV set in my bedroom for as long as I can remember.

I watched and enjoyed many shows – cartoons, sitcoms, documentaries, miniseries and hour-long dramas – over the years.

But I have gotten to thinking about the programs in which I was a regular partaker of, that I find myself still watching and enjoying today – or would if it was on.

Here’s my list of such shows that I still watch or would, the only rule being that it would have to be the entire series, not parts of it.

By the way, these shows are in chronological order, beginning with one starring someone who remains my all-time number one crush to this day, after over forty years…

 

 

Photo courtesy of comics-x-eaminer.com

WONDER WOMAN (ABC/CBS, 1976-1979)

I was in love with Lynda Carter beginning at nine years old, and as I began puberty, which was when this show was on.

And as it is aired on the nostalgia-based Me-TV Network Saturday nights, as I am now in my fifties, I remain in love with this woman; I make it a point to not miss an episode.

To me, Lynda Carter was the epitome of the perfect female form, particularly when she was transforming into Wonder Woman via that spinning move.

Plus she has aged very well, thank you very much!

Though I think that Gal Godot was a great choice to play the princess from Themyscira  in that 2017 smash box office hit of a movie – or Paradise Island, as it was called in the TV show – with the sequel scheduled for release in June of next year; she was definitely the right person to play that quintessential superhero,

In my book, there’s still nothing like the original.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of stan.com.au

 

THE DEGRASSI SERIES (Syndicated/The-N/CBC, 1987-1991, 2001-2015)

It’s interesting that the teen drama that’s widely considered as the best is one that’s made and based in Canada, rather than in the United States.

I remember first checking out “Degrassi Junior High” on PBS while a college student, then continuing to watch these teens from the Toronto area deal with all the issues that teens go through as they entered and graduated high school, and in the reboot – the first one, for all intents and purposes (talk about setting a trend!) –  that began in 2001 and continued for a decade and a half!

One word stands out in my mind regarding this Degrassi universe:

REALISM.

 

 

A good pic from “Degrassi, The Next Generation”, featuring the cast members that went on to become stars, Nina Dobrev (far right) and Drake (in wheelchair). Photo courtesy of  hollywood.com

 

 

There wasn’t one issue – sex, drugs, drinking, teen pregnancy, racism, homophobia, suicide, and later transgender issues, mental illness,  and even abortion – that these set of shows ignored, and it wasn’t done in a way that was resolved  within thirty minutes.

I have many of the episodes from all three of the main Degrassi shows on tape, which still I like to watch.

And the fact that it has produced stars like Shenae Grimes (“90210” – the new one) Nina Dobrev (“The Vampire Diaries” and a new show called “Fam”, who incidentally I think is gorgeous), and particularly Drake, who is the all-time biggest star to come out of there, hasn’t hurt.

 

 

 

Fred Savage (left) and Danica McKellar (right) filming the most famous first kiss in television history. Photo courtesy of mentalfloss.com

 

THE WONDER YEARS (ABC, 1988-1993)

I remember watching the Super Bowl in late January of 1988, and the announcers plugging this show and mentioning how good it is while Doug Williams and his Washington teammates were winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Like millions of others, I was not disappointed as I watched Kevin Arnold’s and Winnie Cooper’s first kiss.

And I was not disappointed in the five seasons that followed, as it showed Winnie, Kevin, and his BFF Paul Pfeiffer going through all the normal adolescent stuff in the background of the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s; the pilot featured Winnie’s family getting the horrible news that Winnie’s cool brother was killed in Vietnam.

Though it’s not currently on in reruns at the moment, this is one show that I would make a point to watch if a network put it back into circulation.

And I think it would be a great idea if a reboot was made, or at least a TV reunion movie; I’d like to know what Kevin, Paul & Winnie were up to now.

 

 

 

The cast of “Party of Five” from the first season. Photo courtesy of variety.com

 

PARTY OF FIVE (Fox, 1994-2000)

I knew that this show about five siblings ranging in age from not quite a year old to 24 who lost their parents in a car crash and dealing with the fallout from that would be an excellent one when the very first episode featured Bailey, the 16-year old played by Scott Wolf, was yelling at the oldest brother Charlie, played by Matthew Fox, to get a job after he screwed up some money-making venture, the family on the verge of losing the house to foreclosure for missing a mortgage payment with the siblings risking being separated.

That set the tone for the series, as it exuded realism; not only did I never miss an episode until the very last season while it was first run (an exception to my rule for this list),

When Pop-TV was recently showing reruns of the first season, I made sure to watch those episodes, remembering how good a show it was.

Of course the fact that Neve Campbell, who played Julia, was an absolute babe who, if I had to pick, was my biggest crush in the 90s along with Jennifer Connelly and the young lady who played Myra, Urkel’s obsessed girlfriend in “Family Matters” who tragically died of stomach cancer before her 30th birthday, Michelle Williams;

Was on “Party of Five” didn’t hurt as Neve was my exact type.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, who played Bailey’s love interest Sarah starting from the second season, was real cute, too.

Plus, I must mention, the acting and story lines were top-notch and very well done; there’s a reason why pretty much all of the cast went on to have good careers in TV and the movies after “Party of Five” finished.

 

 

 

Lucy Lawless (Xena) and Renee O’ Connor (Gabrielle) from a show I so much liked in the 1990s. Photo courtesy of popclassicsjg.blogspot.com

 

XENA, WARRIOR PRINCESS (Syndicated, 1995-2001)

Recently I realized once and for all that I am attracted to strong women.

It was a factor in my loving “Wonder Woman” in my formative years and still loving that show (and Lynda Carter) today,

And it was/is a big factor in me not only  being a regular viewer of this show in the mid-to-late 90s,

But also making a special point to watch the reruns of this warrior with the leather and the chakram kicking much butt on El Rey Network.

In fact, it’s on right now; I’d be watching it if I wasn’t typing this.

Besides Xena, who I felt could kick Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman’s a** (not Gal Godot’s version, I don’t think) in a fight, the other thing that I really liked about this show was her sidekick, Gabrielle.

Played by Renee O’ Connor, “Xena” was just as much about her growing over the course of the series, from naive tag-along to an Amazon Queen who kicked a** right along with Xena.

Plus I must admit,  she was my type; I had a big crush on her – not quite as big as Neve, Jennifer or Michelle (Urkel’s girlfriend), but big nonetheless.

Most of all, “Xena” featured characters that were strong role model for girls rather than stereotyped submissive wimps in distress, which I thought was real cool.

As was the main character from this show…

 

 

The cast of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar (middle) in the title role. Photo courtesy of bloody-disgusting.com

 

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (WB, 1997-2003)

There were four things that I enjoyed most about this TV version of the original 1992 movie starring Kristy Swanson – which I felt was akin to the TV version of “Batman” in its camp while this TV version of “Buffy” was akin to the darker, more realistic version of the 1989 “Batman” movie with Michael Keaton…

1. Not only was this TV version of Buffy a cutie who kicked much butt, she was funny! I loved the cracks that she often made as she dusted the vamps with her “Mr. Pointy”, and in other places.

2. The British vampire William the Bloody – also known as Spike – played by James Marsters. The greatest TV villain since Dallas’ J.R. Ewing and  Dynasty’s Alexis Carrington/Colby. He was just so cool, funny, and just plain fun to watch as he spent several seasons trying to kill the slayer.

3. How the character of Willow, the brainy girl who ended up being a lesbian witch played by Alyson Hannigan, grew over the course of the series from a computer (so-called) nerd to a bad-a** wiccan who even embraced her dark side, battling Buffy after her girlfriend Tara was killed at the end of the sixth season and trying to end the world before her lifelong best friend, Xander (played by Nicholas Brendon), talked her down.

4. Cordelia, Sunnydale High’s resident mean girl played by Charisma Carpenter. Yes, she was, for the most part, a word-that-rhymes-with-witch, but she was also a hottie who I had a big crush on and felt would have made the perfect Wonder Woman if a TV or movie version of her were made at that time, the resemblance was so there, she could have passed for Lynda Carter’s sister or niece if not her daughter.

 

 

 

The original cast of “Charmed” (sorry, Rose McGowan). Photo courtesy of syfy.com

 

CHARMED (WB, 1998-2006) – The original series, NOT the current rebooted one

I was first interested in this show due to having watched two of the three stars – Shannen Doherty, who played oldest sister Prue, and Alyssa Milano, who played younger sister Phoebe – on TV for years, from the original “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Who’s The Boss”.

I was not disappointed as once again, this show about three powerful witches exuded strong women serving as strong role models for girls.

And the fact that they were attractive – I particularly liked Alyssa – didn’t hurt.

If I had to choose a favorite character, however, it would be middle sister Piper, played by Holly Marie Combs.

Piper was the perfect combination of strong witch and the nurturing, prototypical girl next door who you took home to mom, married, and then became a mother figure to you; “Charmed” was great at showing that as she married her guardian white-lighter, Leo (played by Brian Crouse) and had two sons.

In fact, I call ladies like that “Holly Marie Combs” types, because Holly gave off that vibe.

Rose McGowan’s character of Paige, brought in after Doherty was killed off, was pretty good as well; I didn’t really lose interest in the show afterwards.

 

 

The original cast of “Dawson’s Creek”. Photo courtesy of bustle.com

 

DAWSON’S CREEK (WB, 1998-2003)

Another show that I enjoyed and watched every episode of when it was first run that I make a point to watch in reruns when shown today, as it did last year on Pop TV.

Like Party of Five and Degrassi, it was the realism and acting performances that made me a fan of the show.

And much like Party of Five, there’s a reason why all four members of the original cast – James VanderBeek (Dawson), Katie Holmes (Joey), Joshua Jackson (Pacey), and Michelle Williams (Jen) went on to successful careers – particularly Williams with her two Oscar nominations and her Golden Globe for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn; she had that legend down.

Of course Katie has never left the spotlight either with her movie career, marriage to Tom Cruise and current relationship with Jamie Foxx.

The episode of Dawson’s Creek that come to mind the most is the series finale, the one where Jen is found to have a terminal heart condition after the birth of her baby and dies.

It was sad of course, but served as the perfect ending to that series.

I also liked Andie, the smart, perky girl who dated Pacey and came down with schizophrenia played by Meredith Monroe; the initial put-down banter between her and Pacey  early in the second season was fun to watch.

 

 

The cast of “American Dreams”. Photo courtesy of episodate.com

 

AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC, 2002-2005)

I liked this drama set in Philadelphia in the mid-1960s amongst the backdrop of Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” so much,

That I have the distinction of having every episode on tape, even having the episodes taped for me during the third and last season when I was at work and couldn’t be home to watch it.

I honestly don’t think there was anything about this show that I didn’t like, besides the character of Chris, played by current “This Is Us” star Milo Ventimiglia in the third season;

The 60s music – Motown and all the rest – was great,

The acting was excellent,

And it was realistic in dealing with the issues of that time, particularly racial as a part of the show’s story line depicted how the African-American Walker family, whose father Henry (played by Jonathan Adams) worked in the Pryor’s TV and radio store and whose oldest son Sam (played by Arlen Escarpeta) went to school with the two oldest Pryor kids, JJ (played by Will Estes) and Meg (played by Brittany Snow of “Pitch Perfect” fame), who was a dancer on American Bandstand along with her best friend Roxanne (played by Vanessa Lengies),

Was sometimes mistreated in a racist way, particularly Sam.

There were three scenes that were the most memorable to me…

1. The one where Meg and her best friend Roxanne were hanging out with the singing group Jay and the Americans after an American Bandstand taping, and finding themselves dancing to the Drifters’ “On Broadway”; that was so well produced,

2. Meg, Roxanne, and the rest of the American Bandstand dancers’ reactions to the Beatles’ historical arrival in America, going nuts while dancing to “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on the show.

3. Everyone’s reactions of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy at the end of the pilot, particularly Meg and Roxanne crying at their desks in school and a TV showing the actual breaking news reports of JFK’s tragic death in Dallas.

and…

4. The last episode of the first season, which saw Philadelphia in a race riot, one of the many that broke out that summer of 1964. Meg was caught in Philly’s black section with Sam in what was going to be a branch of her father’s store, and of course she was extremely scared while she waited for her dad to rescue her, with Sam comforting her.

One can imagine how disappointed I was when this show was canceled after only three seasons.

I can only hope that it can come back on again in reruns somewhere.

Or – dare I hope – it gets rebooted. I would love to see that show set in the late 1970s or 1980s and find out what Meg and everybody else is up to.

 

 

Some of the cast of the TV version of “Friday Night Lights”. Photo courtesy of vox.com

 

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC/Syndicated, 2006-2011)

I firmly believe there has never been a better portrayal of football than in the book, movie, and television series “Friday Night Lights”, depicting the extreme devotion to high school football in Texas and one small town’s – (fictional) Dillon in this case – devotion to such.

As well as not only the ups, downs and pressures that the coach and the players go through to win a state championship for their school and community,

But how the rest of the folks, like the families of the coach and the players and the various students of Dillon High School get by and try to thrive and survive living in a town where football is absolutely everything.

I think everyone knew that the small screen version of “Friday Night Lights” was going to match the book and movie versions in quality,

When in the very first episode, all-universe, getting a full scholarship to a major football power quarterback Jason Street (played by Scott Porter) gets paralyzed by a vicious hit during the Panthers’ first game.

Which completely set the tone for the next five years of that series; how could the end of a star quarterback’s career, a kid who until that one split second had everything going for him, not set the tone?

Starz is currently showing reruns of this drama, and I watch it whenever I am able to; it’s that outstanding of a show.

 

 

 

Another image of my all time number one crush, this one from the first season. Photo courtesy of marciokenobi.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

“WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” IS OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED: Comments on a Significant Accomplishment

Photo courtesy of iluianionescu.com

 

 

THIS IS PERHAPS THE BIGGEST POST ON THIS BLOG IN A LONG TIME – OR AT LEAST ONE OF THE BIGGEST POSTS

After roughly six years,

A LOT of editing and rewriting,

And after posting several excerpts,

I just want to announce that at around 3:00 this afternoon…

I (SELF) PUBLISHED THE BOOK I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON FOR SO LONG, DESCRIBING MY LIFE AS SOMEONE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM – ASPERGER’S SYNDROME TO BE PRECISE – IN THE MAINSTREAM, NEUROTYPICAL WORLD, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”.

In other words, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” is officially a reality!

I published it through the self-publishing site Lulu.com; for those who would like to read my newly published book and have been waiting for it to come out, here’s the link:

 

http://www.lulu.com

 

I should state, as fair warning, that the cost of “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” is not that cheap; it’s around the $30 to $40 range, though I DID put in a discount.

To state the obvious, publishing my first book – officially becoming a published author – is quite mind-boggling.

To be honest, when I clicked the mouse and the congratulations from Lulu.com popped onto the screen,

Besides the fact that my heart was beating a little faster than usual, I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt.

I mean, I just accomplished something that I had wanted to do ever since I began my writing career eleven years ago.

This was a significant goal of mine, the number one reason why I began writing in the first place.

I had told my story of my struggles, some of them rather harsh and graphic, in the non-autistic world.

Do I expect this newly published page-turner of mine to be an epic best-seller, selling a million copies while I get huge royalty checks?

In a word, no.

Alex Haley and J.K. Rowling, I’m not.

But I definitely feel  something that I haven’t felt in a long time – a sense of real accomplishment.

I don’t think there’s anything more to say, except for the obvious;

I hope you buy “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, if nothing else to read about what it was/is like to be on the autism spectrum/have Asperger’s in a non-autistic culture which, in quite a few ways, misunderstood me to the point of being unwelcoming, and how I suffered due to that.

If just one person gains a better understanding of what it’s like to be an aspie after reading my book, great!

That’s all I really wanted to do, anyway.

 

An illustration of the process that I spent six years in writing my book. Photo courtesy of pm-powerconsulting.com

 

 

 

 

TWENTY YEARS IN CULVER CITY: Commemorating The 20th Anniversary of My Living In “Convenient City”

Photo courtesy of sothebyshomes.com

 

In three days from this writing, on December 30th,

My family and I will officially mark exactly twenty years since we moved seven miles due south-east from Santa Monica, where I had lived for twenty-two years, spending my formative years in that seaside suburb of Los Angeles; going to school from fourth grade through three years of Santa Monica College, graduating Santa Monica High (or “Samohi”) in the process,

Not to mention going through the obligatory adolescent growing pains that we all go through,

To a condo complex in Culver City.

And to put it plainly, without sounding too much like the Chamber of Commerce,

I have enjoyed my twenty years in what they call “The Heart of Screenland”.

Because everything in my neighborhood is within either a ten-to-fifteen minute walk or a five-minute bus ride, I have taken to call Culver City…

CONVENIENT CITY”

For the simple reason that it’s been nothing but convenient for me to live there.

I, of course, vividly remember the day my family and I arrived at our new home, particularly our first meal;

That evening, after we had begun unpacking, me setting up my bed and TV/VCR, I was sent to get dinner – Mexican food from Campos, which was about a block and a half away.

It was a branch of the original Campos in Santa Monica, which at 20th Street and Pico Blvd. was two blocks from our old house;

When I was taken around the new Culver City neighborhood where we would be living a month before the actual moving day, not only was there a Campos within walking distance,

But also a Subway and a Burger King – which I used to partake of the Whoppers in particular before I gave up red meat and eating at that place and other mainstream fast food joints like McDonald’s and Jack In The Box (which was down the street).

Not to mention a Ross, a Target, a Pavilions, a Ralph’s which was literally directly across the street from us, as was a Joyce’s pizza and submarine sandwich place and a Pizza Hut.

And the Fox Hills Mall – now called the Westfield Mall, a name which I refuse to use – a five-minute bus ride away.

Plus with Veteran’s Park being a fifteen minute walk and the Culver City Library being a ten minute walk – I’m typing on a computer at that library now as I’m writing this,

I think one can see why I refer to Culver City as “Convenient City”, as I consider my particular neighborhood one of the very few places in the greater Los Angeles area where you don’t necessarily need a car to get around.

Anyhow…

I got the Campos food and brought it home, where we officially Christened it with that first meal.

 

One of the two softball fields at Veteran’s Park in Culver City, where I have played many softball games; the Culver City Plunge Swimming Pool is in the background. Photo courtesy of  venyooz.com

 

 

Another reason why I have immensely enjoyed living in Culver City these twenty years (I thank God for this, and hope and pray that it continues forever):

Being an African-American male, I was racially profiled several times by the Santa Monica Police during the bulk of the 1990s, including being handcuffed across the street from my house because I “fit the description” of some stalker, which of course I wasn’t.

The number of times I have been racially profiled by the Culver City Police:

ZERO (knock wood).

I believe a factor in that is that I was in my 20s while being profiled in Santa Monica, while I spent nearly my entire 30s – I moved at age 31 – all of my forties, and am now in my fifties in Culver City; it seems to me like younger Black men are targeted more than middle-aged and older Black men.

And since I’m considered by American society as middle-aged,  the Culver City police have left me alone.

The kicker to this? I’m out and about a lot; doing errands, going to the Library and what-not.

I was told that the Culver City Police did much racial profiling in the 90s, but had some intense re-training regarding that issue by the time I arrived in 1998 and into the 21st Century, so I understand that that is a major factor in my good fortune in this area.

 

More Reasons For My Enjoyment of Culver City:

  • My neighborhood being racially and culturally diverse, as opposed to the defacto segregated, predominantly low-income African-American and Latino neighborhood that my family and I had lived in,
  • The middle class atmosphere that Culver City exudes; there are no real ritzy, Beverly Hills-ish sections of the town nor are there any pockets of extreme poverty,
  • The schools and youth sports programs are very good: I taught Physical Education at Farragut Elementary for three years (1999-2002) and coached Little League Baseball there for two years (2001-2002), considering those endeavors the highlight of my over twenty-year career of working with young people, because of the  support I got from that community and the general good character of the children there, and,
  • Some areas near my home look a little like where I used to live as a young child in Riverside, due to the eucalyptus trees.

And one thing that I especially thank my Good Lord and Savior for:

The fact that like Santa Monica and the rest of Los Angeles’ Westside,  with the housing prices shooting up into the million dollar range in many areas of Culver City in recent years,

I’m SO thankful that my family was able to move to that town when we did, when it was more affordable.

In other words, the timing for us was more or less perfect.

I suppose there’s not much more to say in this ode, except to say thank you to “Convenient City” for twenty good years.

Here’s hoping and praying that the next thirty to (perhaps) forty years are as enjoyable as these first twenty have been.

 

 

 

Culver City Julian Dixon Library, where I have gone at least twice a week, working on the computers there, for a long time. Photo courtesy of lacountylibrary.org