heritable: social cognition

2014-07-12 22:12:18 PDT

“Genes Drive Half of” …
“social skills” … “run in the family”
“tasks were significantly heritable” … “those that required social cognition”
I.e. (significantly) genetic.
Okay, chimps, but … just sayin’

dreams … teensy bit better

2014-07-01 00:07:46 PDT

Semi-random bit.

So, I guess over the last several weeks or so, the dreams have been, well, … at least a teensy bit better. Far from great, but what the heck, maybe the subconscious is being just a trace more hopeful/optimistic … if even quite tentative/guarded optimism?

E.g. over the past several week, did have two dreams with a trace of human contact in ‘em. Not much, but hey, better than zilch on that front, eh?

One dream had a friend in it from years past, that friend long since dead, years ago, but the friend was in a dream, and hey, I got a hug, and we actually got to spend a little bit of time hanging out and having some nice bit of conversation. Ah well, that was that bit of dream. Still miss that friend.

Another dream, a trace of physical contact – not even sure who it was with in the dream. Seemed it was someone I sort’a kind’a maybe/barely/marginally liked, certainly not someone I was all that interested in or excited about, wasn’t even having any conversation or dialog with the person. Just some modest trace of contact, but hey, it felt okay, maybe even “good” – although it was more of just kind’a let it be there, not really like any kind of “active” contact … just kind’a marginally touching. No more, no less. That was the bit of contact in that dream.

Dreams otherwise? Eh, nothing especially noteworthy jumps to mind from recent stuff. Often at least somewhat “interesting” – at least of what I recall, but nothing really all that noteworthy.

Dreams, contact not, isolation, …

2014-06-06 07:54:08 PDT

I suppose perhaps it ought not surprise me. But so much isolation, lack of connection, lack of contact, lack of real conversations, about zilch on any human physical contact. Anyway, dreams, sex in dreams? Physical contact in dreams? Conversation(s) in dreams? All highly lacking. What do I find myself getting “excited” about – if even moderately so, in dreams? Getting to hang out in proximity. No contact, no touch, no conversation, not even doing anything, not even seeing the person, just merely getting to hang out within a few feet of ‘em, quietly, nobody saying a darn thing, them being “okay” with that – nothing more, and nothing at all happening – didn’t even get to see ‘em – they were totally under the bed coverings, head-to-toe, almost as if someone had made the bed with them in it, but instead, rather, they’d just inserted themselves that way, totally and completely covering themselves up. And I thought it was a big exciting deal to get to hang out within several feet of ‘em like that – I was quite working up to it and trying to achieve that. Okay, so didn’t quite actually even achieve that, but hey, at least I was quite looking forward to it – or at least a distinct possibility thereof. Yeah, that’s about as exciting as the “human contact” in even my dreams gets to be these days. Ah, if even my reality were so much as merely that “exciting”, but alas, not even close to so little as that. FML.

Introvert – yet another test

2014-05-27 04:43:35 PDT

Nothin’ to see here, move along, move along.

Yeah, no surprises here.

Took another introvert/introversion test, and the results:
“Very Introverted” … “You scored” … “higher than 99% of your peers.”

Dream – Sinking Ship

2014-03-30 15:39:04 PDT

So, bit less than a week ago – actually morning of 2014-03-24 – I had a particularly interesting dream. I thought it rather noteworthy in its relative uniqueness for me, what it did and didn’t include and how, how I, and others, did and didn’t react, felt or appeared to feel, setting, depictions, etc. Interpretation? I’ll not specifically comment upon that (not that I even necessarily know), but some metaphors and idioms and the like do certainly come to mind, e.g., “sinking ship”, “that ship has sailed”, etc., among many additional possibilities. So, without further introduction – the dream, or at least most all I recall of it.

I’m on a ship, sailing from port. Not even out of the the harbor yet. Seemed kind of like a tall sailing ship, but much more ship than sail, and I don’t recall seeing or noting any sails – don’t think I even noticed masts, though perhaps I didn’t notice – fairly small relative to the rest of the ship, or perhaps from where I was positioned, or the relative darkness, wasn’t particularly visible. Weather? Clear, calm, quiet, dark. With an emphasis on dark. Most everything appeared quite dark. The ship of dark wooden construction. Rather of wood heavily stained and darkened from weather exposure – most everything on the ship looked like that – certainly at least the exterior, and not much better on any interior bits.

So, the ship – not even yet out of the harbor. Not sure exactly where it was coming from or going to, but I somehow got the impression that it was coming from the US or Canada, bound for somewhere in Western Europe, or the other way ’round. In any case set out for a very long sea – neigh ocean – voyage. But the ship was very tall – at least in proportions. Seemed almost more like a tall building than a ship – appeared very disproportionately top-heavy, and seemed to me rather remarkable that it even stayed upright and didn’t very immediately topple over and fall to one side. Yet it stayed upright. And it was teaming with people. Highly overcrowded. Not quite to the point of being packed in like sardines, but all pretty much standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and having quite to shuffle to even move some modest bits about each other. Deck upon deck, seems probably at least a half dozen or more decks high, all likewise packed with people. Men, women, children. Dingy dark clothes. Sort of like a scene one might imagine of an impoverished neighborhood from some 150 or more years ago plucked somewhere out of Western Europe, or perhaps slightly less likely some town on the US Eastern – or perhaps Western? – seaboard. And I remember thinking it seemingly remarkable that the ship was even staying upright. And that sailing across sea or ocean seemed … well, seemed to me the ship would barely be seaworthy enough to make it to a close by adjacent harbor – let alone across sea or ocean. It seemed as rickety and run down and battered as the dark appearance of the wood it was constructed of. Seemed almost more like some shanty wooden weather-beaten shed – or of such materials – that somehow existed as a much larger ship, than some modest shed. Many stories tall of ship decks – decks got larger going up, then seemed to get a bit smaller at the very top two decks or so – but not by much. And the ship appeared exceedingly top-heavy – lots of ship above the water, and didn’t appear to conceivably be any way that what was beneath the water could support and balance all that – yet it moved very straight, tall, and upright, though slowly, out from port.

And then it was sinking. Not even out of the harbor. It was going down, and the waters were very deep. Not falling to a side, but just straight on down, relentlessly, not swiftly, but not exactly slowly either, … steadily, relentlessly, unstoppablely down. And the ship’s crew? – Abandon ship. Very matter-of-factly. Nobody seemed at all paniced – not in the least. Hardly concerned or worried at all. They were just following crew directions to abandon ship. There was a direction rather like “women and children first” – but that wasn’t quite it. It was first, young children, then older children. Then women, then men, and lastly crew – if there be time – but no one seemed concerned if their was time or not, or if there be enough life boats (there were hardly any) or life preservers. And off they went. Maybe some very few lifeboats first – if there were even that – I think perhaps one to a few – small ones, if even any at all. Then children – young children – with life preservers – off into the water. But a very odd sort of life preservers – at least those I saw. They were sort of like a cut-out chain of paper dolls, but of a white foam, like one would use for a packing material – not like styrofoam, but similar material that’s more flexible and squeezeable/squishable/bendable without breaking and some fair bit more translucent in appearance. And this chain of paper-doll-like life preservers, each “doll” – or life preserver, shaped more like a standing man or kid – about kid-sized – so I guess these were the “children” life preservers. And apparently the idea was – and the instructions were, each kid grab onto one, and also hold hands – so the kids were going off hand-to-hand in a chain like the preservers themselves, while also clutching onto the preservers. The perservers weren’t very thick – something between 1 cm. and an inch at most – and probably not even that. So these kids were going off, arm to arm as a chain, with these preservers, straight off into the water like that, dropping into the water as a chain. And drop into the water they did. Preservers and all, they sank, just drifting down into the water. Cold dark, but pretty darn clear water. And no one seemed particularly concerned that the kids were sinking like this. Not sure what my role in all this was, but I recall thinking/remarking that they weren’t working. That they’d be much better off busting up some of the wooden chairs on the ship – which had rather woven wooden backs to them, and using those and weaving their arms on and through those, rather than using the foam life preservers. That poor as the chair backs would be for “life preservers”, they at least would make for some bit of floating debris to hang on to. So I was encouraging them to do that, and some kids were going in like that, I think, and it seemed to be working, … though no one seemed to particularly care one way or the other. Well, even for myself, seemed like I didn’t much care nor was particularly invested in it – just seemed to be a practical matter – those don’t work, this (approach) works a bit better – use this, not those. Really not much concern beyond that – though when I saw chains of kids sinking down into the water I think it occurred to me “what a waste”, or something like that.

So, ship sinking in the harbor. And the people of the harbor? Though we’d just left port, and seems there must have, or should have? – been people at the port, perhaps many, as the ship was going down, the harbor seemed totally deserted and quiet – perhaps even “dead” in some way. There was absolutely no one at or around the harbor that noticed – perhaps there was no one there to notice. And all on the ship seemed to ignore the harbor and its proximity – as if no notice or attention, let alone help, would come from there. Or perhaps as if we were totally surrounded by people – yet all so very totally alone and mostly quite helpless – that seemed a relatively recurrent theme in what was happening. Everything pretty dark – harbor, ship, water – dark but clear, sky – I noticed nothing distinguishing at all in the sky – perhaps moderately high thick solid overcast. Harbor? Old, dark, like the ship – wooden. I think there was like one or two lanterns out on the harbor – just enough to illuminate it some fair bit to make out some key features – notably the nature of the wood construction and shape, where it ended, and the darkness of the water began – but really not much else.

And the ship continued going down. I quite noticed it was going down at a rate too fast for the rate of abandoning ship that was taking place. I could see if it kept going as it was, many on the ship would just get sucked under right with the ship – never having had time to get off the ship in its orderly evacuation. Somehow I noted that, and worked to improve that a bit. Not sure if I was somehow some lowly part of crew, or just someone who started to take action. But I noticed ship was going down faster than could be evacuated – at least as it was being practiced thus far. There were additional railing gates on the ship that could be opened. I noted that, and I think I remarked that they too needed to be used. Somehow I got them open – not sure if I did it myself, or got someone else to do it – but got additional railing gates open, so more people could get off the ship more quickly. That quite seemed to help. Yet all seemed to be quite going about it in a very nonchalant manner. Off the sinking ship, into the water, with whatever life preservers, or bit of floating debris (broken bit of chair) or whatever they could manage, I think perhaps some small number in lifeboats, but the rest all right into the water. And nobody seemed particularly concerned about it. And despite the very close proximity to harbor, all were quite accepting of the fate which they were sure awaited them. The water was cold – not icy, but cold. And they all knew that without rescue they’d die. And they all knew they would not be rescued – that no one would be rescued. And that all would die. And none seemed at all particularly worried or concerned about it. All just seemed to have a quite poor fate, and not be concerned about it or motivated to try to do anything about it, and they all felt there was really nothing they could do about it anyway. I guess I felt like all I managed to do was buy them a slight bit of time – nothing more than that. And I too, quite seemed mostly very unconcerned about the whole mess. And down, down, down, the ship relentlessly went – people off into the water, and ship down. I think that’s pretty much all I remember of that dream – and perhaps about all there was to that particular dream.

Hiatus

2014-03-30 14:20:44 PDT

Yeah, I’ve been taking a break from blogging.

When I started taking that break – hiatus – I figured it would be at least moderately long time, … perhaps “indefinitely”.

Why?

Time? Priorities? Sort’a, but that’s not most especially it.

Most notably, and not necessarily in any particular order:

Hardly anyone reads my blogs. Heck, only one person on the planet that I actually know. And it’s not like doing the blogging has increased that number. No, it was one before, and has stayed at one. I don’t know, maybe even shrank. For all the writing, and fair bit of it motivated as a “better” or “preferred” (or seemingly so) means of communication with that one person … well, that hasn’t worked out very well – for me, nor for for them. So, yeah, all the writing/blogging, hasn’t worked very well for me, for them, or me making any kind of real “connection” to anyone else on the planet.

Writing as communication/expression – to get it “out there”? That’s mostly been a means of last resort. No dialog, no communication (or dang near none), so … blog – “out into the world”? … more like out into the void. Mostly ignored, unread, unliked. I can do “out into the void” a whole lot more easily and efficiently, by not writing or communicating at all – just communicate nothing, or stay silent, or stuff it down, or whatever – helluva lot easier – and about as effective … if not even more so. It’s not like I’m at all unused to that anyway. Been doin’ that lots of my life anyway – and may pretty much always be stuck with such. Whatever. I’m used to it – know how to do it. Not a big deal to do lots more of that. Not that it gets me anywhere, but it’s not like blogging, for all the time and effort, etc., has served me much better … if even better … and, heck, for all the time and energy and angst, quite possibly even served me worse.

Doesn’t do anyone any good. Really, quite, it doesn’t – or such would certainly seem to be the case. Damn near no one likes my writing/blogging, I quite struggle with it and find it hard and very time consuming. And quite possibly creates more problems than it’s worth. E.g. of even closest to me – come to know my blog much more than me – really kind of pointless and counter-productive after a while. Ought be conversations, not blogs. And, well, if that isn’t happening, then mostly a lot of nothing. Which, actually, mostly gets to be better than a lot of almost-entirely one-way blog “communication” – and almost nothing else – that seems to become a lot more of a rip and separation of understanding, than a growth in understanding. Seems little to no communication is better than mostly blog and nothing, or hardly anything else. Seems to lead to less mis{understanding,communication,presumption} than with bunch ‘o blog and little else. Okay, sure, maybe leaves a lot more unknown and questions / “mystery”, than a bunch of blogging, but if unknown results in more accurate understanding of what’s known, and what is and isn’t known, and how it’s characterized, etc., well … unknown can be (and is?) a lot better than increasingly misperceived, misinterpreted, and incorrectly known – and that seems to increasingly and greatly occur with a mostly one-way flow – or at least highly lopsided “flow” (“flow” – even calling it a flow seems quite a stretch) of communication. Basically there’s pretty close to no feedback loop – so things tend to run off in directions that just aren’t good, useful – or accurate representation. And it’s not like my blogging is doing anyone else any good. Heck, not even me – especially for all the time/effort/angst/inefficiencies, etc. at working at it and attempting to (and, egad, the writing, and rewriting and editing, and sometimes just friggin’ giving up on that – but in most all cases it comes out pretty piss poor anyway).

Time, energy, priorities? Yeah, very busy … and/or quite not. The blogging just isn’t working well for me or anyone else, at least as far as I can tell. So, have taken quite a break from it – and will probably mostly continue to do so. It still amazes me how anyone ever got the impression that I like to blog. Can’t say I ever have. Really never been anything more than a last ditch effort at attempted communication/expression – when all else has failed. And, well, the blogging’s quite failed too. So, … mostly I go back to a lot of nothing on the communication. And, yeah, a lot of no communication is better than bad communication, so yes, it’s an improvement … really, it is – all ’round.

And I’m sorry, but I make no apologies for (okay, can we talk oxymoronic paragraph lead-in?) saying/writing, that for me, yes, the writing is dang hard, takes a lot of time/energy/effort – sometimes many hours or more – sometimes even days or more, for what ought be relatively simple bit of writing for even just one single blog post. It’s a lot of time, it’s a lot of effort. If folks don’t want to read/hear me mentioning that – that’s fine, don’t read it – nobody (or hardly anybody) reads it anyway. No one’s forcing anyone to read this (well, except maybe me forcing myself to read it – particularly when I write it – but maybe that’s also quite a bad thing). Okay, so maybe I’ll apologize that my writing is generally cr*p, and my editing skills generally lacking and under-applied, etc. But I’m not going to apologize for having written it (at least in general – unless I quite screw up and write something I really ought not have communicated or attempted to communicate). And I’m not going to apologize for writing/communicating that it’s hard and time consuming. It is. In general, I don’t want to be apologizing for writing what’s true or fact. Okay, sure, I’ll “apologize” for the reader’s difficulty in pouring through my material. I’m sorry that it’s not a breeze to read – and that it probably never will be. But I’m not going to apologize for writing it.

So, yes, lots of reasons to take a long – possibly even indefinite – break from the blogging. In short, the blogging, not good for me, not good for anyone else, don’t like doing it – hard – difficult – time consuming – and dang near zilch positive out of it. So, was time to stop. Certainly at least take quite a break from it.

Will I blog/write more, or again? Yeah, probably some bits on occasion. At least when I might particularly feel like it and be so inclined. In the past many months, can’t say there have been many such occasions. Really only a few or so times I even felt moderately tempted to blog something. So, maybe I’ll manage to more-or-less blog those occasional few somethings. Or maybe not at all, or hardly at all. And all the other stuff I might otherwise be inclined to blog? It really just doesn’t matter now, does it? Well, not much anyway. And generally certainly not enough that it ought be blogged about. So, … many months past – only a few things in mind to possibly blog. Maybe I’ll blog them. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll only blog one of ‘em or so. Whatever. Matters not. It’s not like anyone cares, or I matter. Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly true, but not far from it.

And so it goes. Maybe some “radio silence” is good anyway. Too much noise as it is, eh?

roll with it(?), social?

2014-01-09 22:49:38 PDT

“Roll with it” – thought/phrase, which for whatever reason(s), I seem be thinking more often recently, and sort’a kinda adopting that attitude, … well, maybe at least approximately, or some fair bit more, at least, … probably not “entirely”, anyway.

Roll with it? … and what of that? What is that, … or is that for me? Not sure exactly, but I kind of think “roll with the punches”, “go with it”, “go with the flow”. Sort of a mix of things, but notably try not to get phased by “it” – whatever “it” might happen to be. Just kind’a take it in, don’t worry about it too much, try to learn from it, if feasible, maybe even try and enjoy it – at least if that might also be appropriate. Maybe in some ways it’s kind’a less caring … bit more detached. Detached? From what/whom? From … everyone, everything, yes, even more detatched from myself. Sort’a kind’a “who the hell cares”, whatever kind’a attitude. So, yeah, not all good. Kind’a mixed. More present/engaged/involved, yet simultaneously more detached. I don’t know, maybe it’s a coping/defense/survival mechanism? Or at least so, in part? Be able to go through, do, engage in more – and be able to more/better survive it … by … being more detatched. Hmmmm… I don’t know, but do find myself feeling/thinking that way significantly more recently, and with, for better or worse, more of that attitude/approach. Sort of, at least in fair part, an “I just don’t care” attitude. Not that I don’t, … that’s not it, … more like I just can’t … or can’t that much or as much. And, does it make a difference, or make much or anything better or worse, or significantly so? I really don’t know. Too soon to say – a semi-recent change (roughly around the turn of the new year or so, give or take some moderate bit). Maybe it won’t make much difference. Or maybe it’ll make a lot of difference, but I won’t be able to tell. Sometimes I’m just not able to see, notice, or pick up on stuff I ought to, or that many/most people would. Whole lot of times I just don’t see it … really highly blind to it. So, … who knows. And, … who knows if this newer “attitude”/approach of mine (“roll with it”, etc.) will more-or-less stick, … or not. Maybe some weeks or even less, and I’ll have totally dropped that general attitude/thought. Who knows. Not even sure so much why it’s there … other than hypothesizing it’s bit more about coping/survival – trying to psychologically survive, notably my making more attempts to be social and socializing, more of just trying to be “okay” with social attempts quite utterly and repeatedly failing, more of just giving myself “permission” to just friggin’ not engage, and stay the heck out/away, isolate, whatever, if/when I need to – to “recover”, or whatever. All, just kind’a “roll with it”, and … try not to get too stressed or upset or drained or whatever by it, … no matter what it is, or how it goes, or fails to go, or whatever, … just roll with it.

Social. Maybe I’m just friggin’ socially retarded. Sure, quite, even plenty smart in many ways, and not an *ss about it, pretty modest and quiet about it ‘n all, but, nevertheless, social? Yeah, I highly suck at that, and, looks like I mostly very much have my entire life … only in more recent year(s) or so have I come to really quite realize and admit that to myself – I mean the objective reality makes it pretty darn clear and quite speaks for itself. Guess most of my life I’ve been in “denial”, or “pretending” that wasn’t the case, … or, probably mostly more so, rather wishing it was there and better, but not really paying enough attention, and not comparing enough objectively and critically, to really notice how markedly absent, and generally screwed up it was (and is). “Oops” – yeah, big oversight. Ugh.

Fixable? Uhm, well, first, “how bad is it”, or both more objectively and subjectively, impacted how and what do I most especially suck at socially, and, where/how does that most significantly and negatively impact me (sure, impacts others too, but I’m not really qualified to say exactly who and how much and when and where – at best maybe I could sometimes roughly hazard a guess here ‘n there). But I do know how it impacts me.

Bad how? Mostly want to engage, be connected, e.g. have good friend(s), heck, even a good relationship, but for the most part quite lack that, despite all my desire, interest, work and attempts at such. So, how (and why?) do I fail at it so, and so markedly? Yes, that’s the $64,000.00 question (okay, so having it well answered and “fixed” is probably worth a lot more than that to me). E.g. it would be really nice (friggin’ fantastic) to, say, have a really good friend, that was very much, “Sure, absolutely, you need anything, any time, day or night, just call me, don’t even think about it twice.”, and that would actually pick up the phone, or promptly return my call … I just don’t have that, not even particularly close – at least certainly not that I’m aware of and know it’s there or feel/believe it to be there. And, would want with that with someone that actually knows me and understands me rather well. Yeah, that’d be fantastic. Have had that at times, but, alas, the vast majority of my life, not, and not even close. Better yet would be friend(s) that in addition to that, I actually wanted to spend lots of time with, and they wanted to spend lots of time with me and were well able to do so, and that we quite enjoyed our time together, etc. Yeah, ain’t got that, ain’t had that the vast majority of my life. Or, better yet, really great relationship. All that plus, … yeah, uh huh, … not exactly zero luck there, but the, uh, “results” thus far, have fallen pretty darn short of that. In no particular order, closest to that? Uhm, well, had a relationship that was, or seemed, wonderful, that lasted all of six weeks. Then never was to be again like that. And no, that didn’t end due to something I did or didn’t do, but regardless, it ended, never to again be what it was. Or, … about 12 years or so – wow, even engaged! … uhm, … for over 8 years – yeah, … we never even lived in the same country, nor less than something over 1,000 miles apart. :-( Never then, nor in my life, ever made it up to cohabitating, where either moved in with the other to stay … sure, visit, stay a while, but actually move in? That never happened. And yes, long distance sucks, … majorly. Not like I “can’t” or ought not be able to meet someone quite wonderful for me much geographically closer (heck, probably approximately ten million people live within about 15 or so miles of me), but dang, finding and discovering that wonderful person and wonderful match, and them finding and discovering me … yeah, that’s been damn near impossible for me. Managed one helluva lot better with that by every and all means other than first meeting in person – yeah, I don’t do well with in-person first impressions. Get to know someone rather well, and they me, via online or phone first, and I tend to have a fighting chance. Start with in-person, and … yeah, that typically goes quite badly. So, yeah, a whole helluva lot of failure there, and not much success. It’s not like I’m looking to want to be or try to be some gregarious extrovert crowd pleaser with a few zillion friends, but geez, being able to generally have at least one really good friend, that I can actually really talk and converse with. Is that asking too much? <sigh>

So, yeah, socially retarded. Or something like that. I mean really, probably at least a good solid year now, probably a bit more, I’ve been workin’ like hell to try and do and be better on that, and, … though I’ve learned some things, for the most part I’ve made damn near zero progress – despite all my efforts, attentions, energies, studying, reading, time, $$, counseling, courses, practicing, etc. And a whole lot of it still is – or at least seems – incredibly daunting, if not outright impossible – or at least impossible for me.

I’m a really nice guy, quite that, … but initial impression? Yeah, … tends to be quite off-putting, and damned if I have any idea how I can actually usefully fix that … especially when first meeting in person, which is generally so damn critical. Most of the folks that meet me and that do get to know me sort’a kind’a rather well (like they’re stuck working with me, and I with them, so they don’t have a huge choice about it … if they did, they likely would’a walked away and never looked back). Over some time they tend to develop a relatively positive opinion of me, e.g. roughly, “(quite) nice guy, capable, skilled, reliable, dependable, always willing to help, good at it, smart, caring, honorable, highly honest, high integrity, but …”. Yeah, there’s always a “but” in there. Usually along the lines of “(damn/quite/exceedingly) quiet, odd, …” probably some other stuff too, but not really sure the details. Seem to often leave the longer-term impression, “yeah he’s alright” – sort’a the not their initial impression at all, but over time gettin’ to more-or-less kind’a know me, more-or-less like me, or at least like having me around/available. But … engage with me socially or socially engaging? Generally not – some exceptions, but … I think most of the time they think I wouldn’t want to, or they don’t want to, or I in fact don’t want to – or some combination thereof. Often times, for “social” stuff, and non-work interests, we’ve got little to nothing in common, so that can kind’a get in the way. E.g. I’m not a party animal. For most, some loud party, booze, music, dancing, blah, blah, that’s their idea of a good time. Not mine. Sure, I’ll often hang out and tolerate that anyway, but most of the time it’s take it or leave it, and, I don’t really much care either way, just not that interested, … but I typically attend and try anyway – e.g. company work parties and company social events and the like. But does it go beyond that? Most of the time not. So, yeah, they’ll find me “nice”, “good guy”, “he’s alright” … but … “odd” / “different”, and probably some other bits too – though not sure what exactly.

So, what are some of the bits I have learned and/or am learning. Eye contact. Quite important. I highly suck at it. Most notably, if I’m looking at someone when I’m speaking or trying to speak, I repeatedly and totally lose my train of thought, even mid-sentence. I come off sounding like an idiot that can’t hold a thought. It’s like my brain, seeing the slightest reaction or movement jumps all over it and goes like, “What the hell was that? It moved! That’s interesting, what does it mean? Hmmm, damn, examined all the database entries on that, and … no friggin’ clue what that means, … or that they just did too, what was that?” And, yeah, fraction of a second to a second or two of that, and then I’m attempting to continue to say what I was saying, or say what I was about to say – and I’ve got absolutely no idea whatsoever what I was saying or about to say and I just stop dead, … over, and over, and over. Doesn’t go over well with folks, … at all. Or, … I just do not look at ‘em at all when I’m talking or trying to talk. Then I can actually generally talk fairly coherently, and at least continue to think of and talk about most of what I was trying to say – might miss or forget some bits or whatever, but generally at least manage to say most of the key points I had in mind to say. But then I’m not looking at them at all when talking to them – or kind’a similar, looking through them, and not “at” them at all (like when talking in front of a fair sized to large group) – that also works about equally poorly. Notably the not looking at them (or staring through them) – well, good eye contact – right kind and nature of it, not too much, not too little, well, turns out that’s friggin’ important, and majorly impacts people’s impressions. So, the not looking, or especially not looking when talking or about to talk, that tends to generally leave an impression of shifty or dishonest. So, tends not to leave a good impression. And the forgetting what I was saying or trying to say all the time, tends to leave impression of an incoherent idiot. So, … at least I’ve learned that. How to surmount it, or even if I ever can, I’ve no idea. I don’t know, … practice lots more? Maybe try playing off those extremes, – somewhere between impression of idot that can’t coherently talk, or impression of shifty/dishonest, … maybe there’s an optimal (at least optimal for me and what I can do) middle ground, … the semi-idiot semi-shifty/semi-dishonest impression? I dunno. But probably at least ought to try lots more there, see what I can manage to do with it. And, another thing I’m learning – and probably very important with the eye contact when I’m talking or trying to talk, is being able to “read” their reactions, e.g. know what their various expressions and eye movements mean, so I can use that feedback to appropriately adjust what I’m saying, and how, and even if I ought be continuing talking or talking about some particular something, or say it differently or (de)emphasize particular point(s), or wrap it up, or not even talk further about it at all. So, … yeah, … that’s very important, according to what I gather from what I read, various feedback and expertise, and, … yeah, … will I ever be able to do that and do that well? Wish I very much could. No clue if I’ll ever get there. Much of what I’m reading and studying now indicates that’s best learned as a child growing up. Most learn it intuitively, and never have to be “taught” it – at least explicitly. But some need help on that. I pro’lly could’a used a lot of help on that, but never got it – maybe no one never noticed, or noticed “enough”, to pick up on it. E.g. I did “well enough” (and then some, lots of straight As, top of class, all that goop) academically, that maybe no one quite figured out I was (and am) severely socially retarded. Even to this day, can’t say that’s changed much. E.g. work/career-wise, dang near top of my field, do what I do for work very darn well (quite/very/exceedingly technical stuff, and I’m damn friggin’ good at it), but … socially, and office politics ‘n goop like that at work? Yeah, that significantly holds me back – in a lot of ways. One friend, some years back, well knowing both my technical capabilities and smarts, was (and as far as I know still is) of the opinion that I ought be earning about thrice what I do, because I’m “that good”. But, uhm, yeah, socially, climbing that career ladder, “networking” (as in people) … yeah, I quite suck at that … socially retarded.

So, what else have I learned? Speak up. Yeah, often I speak too quietly – (nearly) mumble. Should generally try and avoid that and speak up and more clearly. But too, that can sometimes be hard, in multiple ways. First of all, I speak so damn little, I don’t have all that much of a voice. Can’t talk that loud for very long. If I do, my voice goes horse quite easily, and then I’m that much more screwed. But, I should pay careful attention for the clues/feedback, that I need to speak up. E.g. that leaning in, sometimes tilting of head(s) or whatever, can often be an indicator that I need to talk louder. Or it could be an indicator they’re interested in what I’m saying, or maybe both. I really don’t know how to tell the difference. And, yeah, eye contact – harder to notice that when I’m not making eye contact or anything close to that.

What else have I learned? Seems a whole lot of the feedback in my communication attempts is generally fundamentally, and often very severely, broken. Often I say far far far too little – whole helluva damn lot of the time I say nothing at all. Really don’t know when folks want to hear from me. Conversely, I’m not good at knowing when to shut the f*ck up – when folks just aren’t interested, don’t want to hear it, or that much, or don’t want to hear further on it – when I’m “turning them off”. And, of course, to further complicate that and make it even harder, some folks “play nice” / “play polite” and act like they’re interested, even explicitly say so, when they really don’t want to hear another friggin’ word out of my mouth. In any case, I generally completely and totally miss that, or only pick up on it when it’s far far far too late. “Subtle” just tends to not work on me. And I tend to mostly believe what people say – unless I know of strongly contradicting reliable evidence – and yeah, I typically won’t pick that up from a facial expression or body language … certainly at least not consciously, though sometimes a bit of it seeps in subconsciously (sort’a the vague “something doesn’t seem to be fitting together consistently here” kind’a feeling … but almost always without knowing what it is that doesn’t fit or is inconsistent or contra-indicated – just vague feeling that there’s something there that doesn’t well fit what’s otherwise indicated or being said). So, yeah. I mean if someone jumps up excitedly and hugs and kisses me, I figure they rather like what I said. If they strike me in the face with a full force blow of their fist, or turn around, stomp out, and loudly slam the door behind them, I figure they didn’t like what I said. But for the most part, more subtle reactions between such extremes, I mostly just don’t pick up on that. Okay, maybe doesn’t have to be quite that damn extreme for me to pick up on it, but … nearly so. Subtle in words, tone, inflection, eye movements, expression, body language – for the most part I just won’t pick it up or know what it means – or certainly very highly miss out on that when I’m talking or trying to talk.

What else have I learned? More stuff in the communication feedback. Thus far I find it mostly just an exceedingly confounding and confusing mess. For the most part, really don’t know how to make heads or tails out of it. Talk/write less, talk/communicate more – I really don’t know how much of what to do when … at all, at least for the most part. Some of it’s (roughly) like, e.g. blog, don’t write nearly so much … ever. I really don’t know what to make of that. Some write blogs, and articles that are helluva lot longer than what I write, … and even immensely more popular. Some of the feedback I get is don’t write more than the other person writes you. Uhm, but geez, then why would anyone ever read a paper, an article – even a long article, a newspaper column, heaven forbid a book or ebook. Yet people read those things. I don’t see lots ‘o folks running around saying those things ought never be written, or written that long. So, yeah, I’m mostly still thoroughly confused on all that. Reciprocity. I sort’a kind’a get it, but at the same time absolutely highly do not. E.g. really really be there for the other person, as much and in any and all ways I possibly can, and, … they like and appreciate that, and … I think – know even – they’re quite nice person … might expect or hope for some fair bit of similar in return? Sure, I’d at least hope for that, but … why it doesn’t happen? Or maybe it’s there and I can’t see/feel/realize it’s there. I really don’t know – I could hazard lots and lots of guesses, but I don’t know enough to know why – all I can do is guess. I’m very interested in someone, want to hear all about them, highly interested in them. Reciprocity – does that mean they’re at all interested in hearing about me, or even all that much? … even if they actually quite like me? No, it doesn’t. Not necessarily anything of the sort. If only life as a human was so simple.

What else have I learned. Well, there’s golden rule “do unto others, as you would have others do unto you”. But I guess long long time ago, I learned that rule rather sucks. Much better one, is what I call platinum rule: “do unto others, as they wanna be done unto”. Uhm, well, but what I’ve learned more recently, a lot of my presumptions about what others more-or-less want, may be … uhm, well beyond significantly flawed. Like, totally jacked up, screwed up, messed up, and often just way friggin’ wrong and incorrect. Uhm, how so? Ah, silly (stupid, socially retarded) me, for not understanding others that well (heck, damn near hardly knowning anyone on the planet all that well besides myself), uhm, yeah, for lack of better model to be applied, I’d presume they were more-or-less roughly like me, and would more-or-less tend to want roughly similar to what I wanted, would want to be treated as I’d want to be treated, would generally like and dislike things, ideas, concepts, feelings, etc., etc., more-or-less roughly similar to me. Uh, yeah, totally bogus cr*p bollocks assumption/presumption/model/guestimation. For the most part, I’ve no friggin’ clue what anybody else wants, how anybody else thinks, feels, what is/isn’t of interest or important to them, etc., etc., etc. I’m socially retarded, remember? I ain’t figured that out. And, to thoroughly complicate matters, I’m a freak, a friggin’ oddball. I don’t fit in, never have, probably never will. So, yeah, me trying to use me as a model or approximation for other Homo sapiens on the planet – probably a bad idea and pretty damn friggin’ f*cked up inappropriate, inaccurate, and often dead wrong, attempt at modeling.

So, mostly I’ve learned that I don’t know sh*t about sh*t. And I may never know. Okay, aside from some technical cr*p – whatever. So I can earn a living. But, connection, friend(s), relationship(s), relatively happy and fulfilling social life? Yeah, … I’m probably totally screwed on that (figuratively, not literally), and maybe that will always be the case. “Oh well.” I dunno. Try and learn, figure out what I can, try and learn/fix as feasible, and, well, … whatever, … “roll with it”.

And, yeah, probably a whole lot more I ought cover to better round out this general topic, and relevant background, and relevant significant pieces, etc., but this posting is probably far too long already (and yeah, I’ve gotten feedback on that – no shortage of it) … so, … I guess this is a compromise between an exceedingly short posting of only something like: “I’m socially retarded. Damn. Oh well, what the hell, (I’ll) ‘roll with it’.” – which wouldn’t really explain much of anything – let alone itself, and … a posting yet longer than this … likely 30 to 150% longer yet, so, … a compromise, … I cut this one off, … at least for now … well, almost ;-) …

Maybe I ought get a T-shirt printed up:
“Really nice guy, smart, capable, but socially retarded. And you?”

What Causes Autism?: The Role of Environmental Exposures

2013-12-29 09:45:21 PDT

What Causes Autism?: The Role of Environmental Exposures – rather good video, but long – 1:01:10.

Most key bits could probably be covered in under 5 minutes.
What I’d give as key takeaways, and referencing some of the time bits on the video where particularly covered,
and adding some details and my interpretation, and wee bit of my perspective (some of the “summary” bits on the video are (over)simplified relative to the rest of the video’s content):

Nature vs. nurture – genetics vs. environment
research is ongoing, definitely not fully known, but to the extent thus far known and shown from latest research:

some autism numbers: 0:47–3:02

  • sex ratio 4:1 M:F (diagnosed, anyway)
  • 1 in 88 (1 in 58 for males) (again, diagnosed)
  • not “bad parenting” – but historically was attributed to such
  • neurobiologic basis (evidenced in autopsies, electrophysiologic, e.g. MRI & fMRI)
  • genes – heritability estimates: 35% to 60% factor (best current numbers; presumption that remainder is environmental factors, earlier estimates were up to 90% and even 100% genetic) 4:34–5:55

    multi-factorial (genes + genes environment + environmental — sufficient causes model), also varies by individual 5:56–7:05

    timing (of environmental factors) matters 7:06–7:36

    time trends 12:50–16:02

    • 1990–2001 autistic births (autism by 5 years of age) rose by 7-fold!!!??
    • true increase? – of that 600% increase, attributable to:
      • DSM changes: 120%
      • Broadening into milder cases: 56%
      • Trends towards younger age at diagnosis: 24%
      • Older ages of mothers: 4%
      • Those total to account for 204% of 600% increase
    • So, … true increase about 396%? … environmental?

    Most significant known contributing environmental factors, ordered approximately by highest contributing risk first: 51:15–52:47

    • pre-natal vitamin supplements (folic acid, etc.) – start before pregnancy, best if started 3 months before pregnancy
    • pregnancy spacing – best if 36 months or more from birth to next conception
    • Limit exposure to air pollutants from traffic, cigarettes, wood burning stoves, and other sources
    • reduce weight (healthy weight, don’t be obese/overweight), control blood glucose (healthy range), exercise moderately to reduce blood pressure
    • avoid flu / prolonged fever, use anti-fever meds if fever develops
    • limit exposure to (avoid) chemical pesticides, SSRIs as feasible (consult with doctor)

Yet another test – Are You an Alien?

2013-12-17 04:26:14 PDT

Well, I took the Alienation Test, so I figure heck, there’s probably an alien test, right? Yep, sure enough.

So, I took the Are You an Alien? test, and I scored:

For 55 % you are: Chances are you’re an alien. You seem to fit the personality, anyways. Next time you hear those callings, listen to them and be who you’re meant to be!
23.5133 % of 6205 Quiz participants had this profile! Profile A

Comments, not

2013-12-15 20:18:07 PDT

It’s been seven months now, since I’ve gotten a real live, sentient, at least semi-intelligent (spam doesn’t count) comment on any of my blog postings. Yes, dearth of comments. Just sayin’.


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