2 Roys and 1 Panda.

One of the reasons that I was given for the reluctance to diagnose autism in adults is a fear that the person being diagnosed would stop challenging themselves, effectively climbing into a box labelled “AUTISTIC”, pulling on the lid and giving up on life. I knew this was never a risk with me because I wanted a diagnosis specifically because I wasn’t ready to give up, I wanted to be able to say to people “Look, I’m trying, I’m trying really hard, and sometimes I’m failing, so just cut me a bit of slack.”.

I saw a few weeks ago that there was a programme coming on Channel 4 called “Undateables” and that amongst other people it featured an aspie guy. Just the name of the programme was enough to piss me off. I don’t care how nice Channel 4 think the programme was, it immediately reminded me of a comedy sketch (might be a Mitchell and Webb one?) called “The boy with an arse for a face”. The programme was never going to raise awareness, it was only ever going to be an excuse for people to have a laugh at people who are different. Just following the trending topic on twitter for a few minutes was enough to prove that I was right.

I spent a great deal of time thinking about this programme before it came on. When something gets lodged in my brain like that I tend to over think it and then when the thought escapes from my brain it inevitably comes out all messed up and garbled. This is precisely what happened when I tried to explain my thoughts on this programme to a friend who I’ll call Roy. Roy assured me that no programme was going to change her opinion of me. I think I made it sound like I thought she specifically was susceptible to being swayed, when in fact I was trying to explain that I was generally concerned that the programme would be a massive backwards step for awareness in general and would change perception of people with Asperger’s at a time when I was still in the process of telling people.

This week I had an interesting conversation about labels, specifically about my usage of the terms NT and aspie. My friend, lets call him Roy, enquired as to what NT meant. Having answered his question, Roy went on to challenge me as to why I used those terms, why did I use those labels. To him, I’m not an autistic person, I’m just me, he doesn’t treat me any differently post diagnosis to how he did before. This is true, me and Roy still talk the same now as when we first tweeted each other about a hypnodisc clone that appeared on The Gadget Show many episodes ago.

This conversation also got me to thinking. Differently wired means just that, we think, feel and communicate differently. When I use the terms aspie or NT it is only as a way of alluding to a group of people that I’m talking about. To differentiate between two groups of people. That doesn’t mean I think either group is better or worse, just that I acknowledge that they are different. I have never heard an autistic person talk about curing neurotypicalism, or using genetics to eliminate neurotypicals from the world, but this is the sort of language that autistic people often have to accept.

April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day. I realise I’m very lucky to have people in my life who only see me as me and so I said thank you to them all on that day. I guess they don’t realise how valued they are because they all expressed surprise at me thanking them, suggesting that I had nothing to thank them for. Well, you’re all wrong, you rock!

Author’s note: Why the fuck couldn’t I have explained it this way to my friends? In my defense, use of metaphors that only mean something to the speaker is fairly common amongst aspies. Damn you brain! :) #TheGiftAndTheCurse

But what about the Cheerleader!?!

It’s been a bad week for fans of serial television shows; Flash Forward, Heroes and Law & Order have all been canceled. I’m sure that the people that made the decisions to cancel these shows thought that they were doing the right thing, but I just can’t see it. Let me qualify that, even if from a business perspective, the falling advertising revenues were making the shows less profitable, or even not profitable at all, they shouldn’t have been canceled like that *clicks fingers*.

The people watching these shows invest hours of their lives in them and they simply are not going to do that if the shows keep getting canceled without the stories being properly resolved. I specifically have not watched Flash Forward because I couldn’t see it surviving past one or two seasons and can say the same for Stargate Universe. The Stargate franchise is a brilliant example of the two ways in which things can go wrong, on the one hand you’ve got SG-1, where towards the end the story arcs were crippled by the seemingly constant threat of cancellation, everything felt like it was under developed so that it could be wrapped up in a couple of episodes. On the other extreme you have Atlantis, which showed no signs of death until suddenly an attempt was made to wrap everything up in a couple of episodes. In both cases, the stories and characters that viewers had invested so much time in were gone without an acceptable resolution. Television executives please note, straight to DVD movies are not an acceptable appeasement for this, even if they help to ease the pain.

I guess we’ll just have to add Heroes to the ever increasing list of awesome shows that died too soon.

PHILIPS 32PFL7404. What. Up.

Buying a new TV is such a minefield. You read all the reviews, you ask your mates, you compare the specs and then you make your choice.

I was looking for a new TV which had to meet the following criteria (any other features would be considered a bonus):

  • Freeview;
  • Full HD;
  • 32″;
  • 100Hz;
  • LCD;
  • > 2 HDMI connections;
  • < £600.

I narrowed the list down to three.

SHARP AQUOS LC32LU700: I liked the Sharp because it uses a grid of LEDs to backlight the image, meaning better contrast and greater energy efficiency. The new Samsung LED TVs (you know, the crazy thin ones) use a line of LEDs around the edge to achieve a similar effect, but this means that the light drops off towards the middle of the picture leaving it noticeably darker.

PHILIPS 32PFL7404: 5 stars from What Hi-Fi.

SONY BRAVIA KDL32W5810: Uses the Bravia 3 engine, which came highly recommended, and comes stacked with a bazillion extra features (including FreeSat HD, DLNA). Only really in my price bracket because it is about to be discontinued.

I eventually chose the Sharp and collected it yesterday morning from my local Richer Sounds. Bad decision. The TV itself felt very well built and the picture was stunning, but the remote felt cheap, the audio was poor and worst of all (and the reason it went back this morning) there were serious audio sync issues. If you’ve ever seen “Rumble in the Bronx” (a Jackie Chan film dubbed badly into English) then you’ll get the idea. If you turn off all of the image enhancing functions and watch the built in Freeview tuner then you might be able to live with it, but turn any of that stuff back on, or try and watch an external source and you just want to cry. The guys at Richer Sounds were brilliant (highly recommended) and allowed me to switch the Sharp for the Philips without any fuss. The Philips is awesome, so much more simple to set up (particularly liked the eye test style image setup, “Which do you prefer, number one… or number two?”), sounds amazing and has a much nicer remote. It’s going to take me a while to set up all of the features nicely, but I’m well chuffed with my purchase.

MW2 in 1080p with mad audio is a truly legendary experience. True story.