Monday, 28 October 2013

Monday Muster

Happy Monday, dear ones.  Have a stunning play of light and water by Paul Bica:

symphony

There are a few older pieces in today's roundup of interesting stuff, but they're still relevant and interesting.

Like Straight White Male is the lowest difficulty setting there is, a smashing look at privilege by John Scalzi, using gaming starting stats as an analogy.  If you're trying to introduce someone to the concept of privilege in a way that doesn't make them react with "how dare you say I have privilege just because I'm a straight white cis neurotypical!  As if I had any control over that!  Don't you know how hard my life's been?!" this could be it.

Four in five disabled Australians have not been visited by friends or family in the last three months.  More than half haven't had a phone call in that time.  Almost one in five have had no social contact with another human being in the last quarter.

This is not good enough, and a sign that something is very, very sick and wrong in our community.  Read more and continue the discussion on ABC Ramp Up.

Steven Coventry is crowdfunding a project to bring his collection of autistic art to Australia.  He's looking for $2,000 to stage an exhibition during next April's Autism Awareness Month, and at time of writing has raised $300.  If you're inclined to drop a few bob into his hat, you'll find his campaign here.

Barb Cook's shared her story of being diagnosed with Aspergers as an adult with Women's Weekly magazine.  It's well worth a read, and for once the comments section isn't full of shit either.  Speaking of Barb, her and partner Paul are off on an around-Australia motorcycle adventure, filming a documentary called Autism All Grown Up.  It's going to look at the lives of autistic adults, and pull no punches:

"We will delve into the areas of those who live on the streets, those who are stuck on welfare and live on the poverty line, what is the prevalence of those on the spectrum living in caravan parks, take a look at drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, addictions, suicide, abuse cases, sex workers, pornography, the gay/lesbian community, psychiatric institutions, employment, the prison and justice system, motorcycle clubs, aged care... You name it, the stuff you will most likely hardly ever hear about and quite often people don’t want to hear it. But it happens every day around Australia."

Here's another old one, but relevant: not only is it by my ongoing middle aged British man-crush James May, but it's about obsessions, something I've been thinking a lot about lately.  His thesis is that everyone has something that could be described as a "special interest", only the subject matter differs.  Some might be associated with autistic people (like the stereotypical bollocks about trains and maths) whereas others - like sport, booze and cars - are accepted as normal.  James explores that through the differences, and similarities, between himself and partner in crime Oz Clarke:

"With the best will in the world, I’m just a bit of a drunk. I enjoy drinking, I like the taste of wine and the belief that, after a bottle or two, I am an avant garde composer at the piano. I believe that the function of alcohol is largely to help shy and possibly ugly people to meet each other and have sex.

"But Oz is actually a wine enthusiast and connoisseur. He likes to look at gravel in vineyards. He likes to stand on a hill and think about how the wind and temperature dictate the rate of grape ripening and the effect that has on fruit flavours and acidity. He likes wine labels, wine corks and the boxes wine is shipped in, and knows everything about them...  Oz is, by any normal person’s standards, a wine bore.

"...in his 120-year-old face I see a tragic mirror of myself, another bore merely immersed in a different subject. One of the wine makers we visited drove an old Citroen DS and I discovered I could talk about it, uninterrupted, for nearly half an hour."

Citroen DS
photo by Michael Gil