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Is this thing on?

Is this thing on?

Recently, I received a request for an interview. It was odd… I do not consider myself the kind to be interviewed. I just do my own thing. I make my silly movies, record my vlog, work on my novels and pour my brain out on the blog. I will admit I was flattered. Jon asked if I would answer some questions for a site called www.manyperceptions.org. With his permission, I am posting the questions he asked me and my answers.

I hope they enlighten you a little bit about me AND I hope you enjoy them.

Please describe your favorite interests, hobbies, and activities. 
This is a difficult question to answer. Unlike most individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, I do not have one “special interest.” Now that I think about it, that is not entirely true. Let me explain and quantify that. It would be argued that I have a large number of interests: Nitro fueled radio controlled vehicles, video games, quantum mechanics, film making (movies in general) writing. But it is more than that. My real “special interest” is knowledge. 

Along with my Asperger’s, I have SEVERE mixed bipolar, O.C.D., and social anxiety disorder. Couple the obsessive tendencies of the Asperger’s individual with obsessive compulsive disorder, and you end up with me. 

Research and Nitromethane! My anti-drugs.

I was humiliated by a teacher when I was young. It was long before I was diagnosed, and it was known that I was a child with “special needs”. My parents spoken to my teacher, and he told the entire class, mocking me. I decided then that I would never be considered stupid again. I HUNGER for knowledge. I’m able to hold a conversation on almost any topic. If I can’t, my skills in research and memory allow me to absorb enough knowledge to be conversant within a day or so. 

These developed research skills have allowed me to research it all. Anything that catches my eye, I can decide if I wish to pursue it within a day. 

SO… 
1) I use video games as a stress reliever. The mixed bipolar, thus far, has not been successfully medicated, so being able to relieve my… less savory impulses is useful… 
2) Quantum mechanics is something that I stumbled across as I was searching for the nature of the universe and how everything works. I don’t know the math behind things, but I can actually hold my own in a physics discussion. 
3) Nitro Fueled RC vehicles. I own one, right now. I love it. It was one of those things I did not understand, so I got into it because I refused to be beat by a piece of knowledge. For me, these days, it’s not one of my special interests… BUT… When the diagnostic criteria mentions meaningless ritual that helps sooth and release stress that can cause “outbursts,” they were talking about my truck. I recently mixed this interest with my film making here:


4) Writing. I started writing because it was one of the few skills I started out with as a kid. It was so hard to make myself understood, so I learned how to communicate in writing. To date, I’ve written 3 novels in a series, 1 stand alone novel, 2 half novels, and a handful of scripts. I am struggling now because I desperately want to be published. 
5) Film making. About 5 years ago, I discovered film making. And that was it. My O.C.D. was appeased. There is so much to learn… I have been researching for 5 years, and I still don’t know much…lol… I have produced over 20 short films during this time. Two of them have actually taken awards and some of them are available through amazon.com. 

Are you a fan of science fiction & fantasy movies? 
Absolutely. Orson Scott Card, Piers Anthony, Mercedes Lackey – interests all. I love sci-fi movies a great deal, as well. I avoid the ones that everyone knows and loves though… I eschew Star Wars and Star Trek (though JJ Abrahms Star Trek was entertaining) in favor of the 5th Element, Supernova, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash. 

Do you like astronomy? 
This is an interesting one. I am not a fan of astronomy, per se. I am intensely interested in the nature of the universe. This includes everything from Schrodinger’s Cat, to quark soup, to exotic matter states, to exotic vacuum states, to gravity, and the like. As such, astronomy does hold some interest, but only as it pertains to my understanding. I can say I am not interested in the minutia of how it’s done… until it becomes a tangent off of one of my many information hunts.

Take that, Zoloft Egg! 

Is there a moment in your life when you felt particularly happy? 
Yes. When I recieved notification that my work had won awards. My team created “Killing Time” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2q9CO8qBrE) and the teaser for “Project Z” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhfdMolJszc). We entered them in the Fear Fete International Horror Festival (http://www.fearfete.com). “Killing Time” took best Louisiana Thriller and “Project Z” took Best Louisiana Zombie. It was exhilerating. 

We are working on a 36 episode web series for Project Z that will culminate in a Feature film. I expect that my next big thrill will either be awards off the series or getting the feature on the big screen. Either of those, or my novels getting picked up for publication. 

Do you hang out with friends very frequently? What do you usually do with them? 
I do have several friends that I hang out with quite regularly. Of course, a couple of them live with me, so it is a great deal easier to do. We watch movies and play Words With Friends. Talk about Internet videos, the minutia of life. Currently, Timber and I are working on getting his project off the ground. He wants to be a horror host, like Elvira. Well, not like Elvira, he doesn’t look nearly as good in a low cut dress as she did. So, he’s writing that and we’re gonna shoot a season of it for him. 

What sensory issues do you have if any? 
Light. I am easily overwhelmed by sudden increases in brightness. Makes me really uncomfortable physically and emotionally. Shopping can be difficult because of the riot of colors as well. 

Get it? Focus? Never mind, you
just had to be there!

What is the best part of having autism? What is the worst part of having autism? 
My particular flavor of autism has the benefit of long spells of hyper focus. Most of what I do requires it. Writing, filming, editing, sound design; they all require long hours in front of the computer, so that hyper focus helps. I sometimes have to be reminded to eat. 

The worst part of it is also the hyper focus. I have been obsessed with my creations for years. (On a side note, I hate it when most people say they are obsessed with something. The average person doesn’t understand what true obsession is.) My brain won’t run down at times, so I will be up and down throughout the night most nights because I haven’t written something down, or an idea pops into my head, or I haven’t shot my vlog in over a week. I haven’t slept right in well over 15 years. 

What would you do if you won $10,000,000 in the lottery? 

Yup… There’s most of that ten million, right there!

Unlike most people, I don’t even have to think about this. I have a great deal of gear I would like to get (A pair of canon c300 cameras, the lens kits, a real lighting kit, dolly, Steadicam, jib crane, and more); funding a couple feature films (I can do wonders with a $300k budget); a plot of land with a steel building that I would personally build a green screen/infinite white room, screening room, and small sound stage in, and invest the rest. 

What are your religious and/or spiritual beliefs? 
This is an interesting question. I was raised in an extremely Christian household. I observed the fact that the Neurotypicals in the household were irrational in their behavior. There was very little of the love that the book espoused, and even worse: the book was riddled with contradictions and very few answers to questions. Please don’t take that statement as an indictment of Christianity or it’s believers… I don’t claim to have the answers, but I know that it’s not the right way for me. 

That being said, I set out to learn it all. Since religion wasn’t providing the answers, I fell in with science. I will not go into all the gory details, but there are certain things in nature that hint at some unpleasantly irrational concepts. Things like wave/particle duality, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, wormhole theory and quantum entanglement take you down a path of the unexplained. 

Ironically enough, Schrodinger’s Cat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrodinger%27s_cat) brought me around to a belief in… if not a god-figure, an intelligence greater than ourselves. Until we observe the experiment, the cat can be said to be both alive and dead. When we observe it, the wave function collapses to the result: live or dead cat. Think about this, though: We ourselves can be said to be exactly like the cat. We are performing an experiment in which our results either produce a dead cat… or they produce a live one. Who is observing us to collapse our wave function? 

In short, science has led me to a point where I believe in something beyond our experience. 

What is your definition of a good friend? 
For me, a good friend is one who understands. Sometimes, due to the different wiring, I am going to be pissy or have issues, or not communicate well, or want to be left alone… obsessive, opinionated, oblivious. A good friend is the person who not only understands these things, but accepts them, and (except on the really bad days) enjoys them.

What medications do you take? How do they help? 
At this point, we are exploring treatment options. I WAS on Lamictal. At the time, I was on a patient assistance program and then I was awarded Medicare. When that happened, I lost my patient assistance and was unable to get the Lamictal. Once you stop using Lamictal, it loses most of it’s effectiveness if you start again. 

I have been working with one doctor who refused to listen. So I am in the process of getting into see another doctor who is also a neurologist. 

My condition is compounded by a couple factors. I have mixed bipolar, and it is pretty bad. There are current studies that indicate that people who have suffered multiple concussions in life and then develop bipolar disorder have further problems. In short, the bipolar may be untreatable due to the damage caused by the concussions, and I had a ROUGH childhood. (It was my own fault, but it was rough…lol) Add this to the fact that I am diabetic and many of the drugs used to treat spectrum disorders cause high blood sugar levels, and my treatment options are limited. 

I am, however, very hopeful with regards to this new doctor. 

How can we have a theory when
we don’t have all the pieces?

What theory is the best explanation of autism? 
Since there is little proof to support ANY of the theories, I do not think there is any explanation that could be considered the “best one”. As with everything in my search for the truth, I prefer to wait until there is supporting evidence… words and theories without citation are pretty useless. 

How were you treated in school? 
I was different in a LARGE school. My graduating class was 1200+ students. I was undiagnosed in school, so I was just the weird kid in the sea of NTs. 

As with most Aspies, I had very few friends, but they got it. 

I was tortured mentally and attacked physically on more than one occasion… In spite of the fact that I’ve always been bigger… I am 6’9″. Back then, it was 180 pounds. Because my father was a combat instructor for a large police force, I knew how to fight, but I was always caught in the cognitive dissonance loop of wanting to do the right thing. Eventually, I was pushed too far, and snapped. 

I went to the hospital, but I took the three assailants with me, and it got easier after that. However, standing in my graduation robes, I actually almost had to get in a fight when one of my torturers started something right then. 

When I got to college, things changed… teachers loved me… and the respect for intellect and knowledge was common enough that people were drawn to my drive.

Your blog had several pictures related to lunar exploration. Do you feel that space exploration is important? 
I do. Very much. I believe that humanity’s future lies in understanding the nature of the universe and our existence. Right now, the only things we can truly understand are the things we can interact with. Unfortunately, we are limited to our own planet at the moment. Through direct observation we can learn a lot, but there are things that we can’t know for certain without experimentation. To experiment, we need to have a presence there. 

I will admit, I have been GREATLY influenced by the late Carl Sagan. His wonder at the universe, to this day, leaves me in awe. Side note: this sums up the way I feel about all this 

Should we send people to the moon or mars? 
Yes. The universe is a big place, and if we can’t get to these places that are right in our own yard, we have no business doing anything more than throwing rocks and poo at each other. 

Should we send unmanned spacecraft to other planets? 
Yes, but only as a scouting measure. We need to go, study. Europa is the only other place in our solar system with water. It used to be said that life was carbon based, but studies have hinted at other things. On our planet, we have found life where no life should ever have been, and in every case, water is involved. So, to find life, we need to go to where the water is. 

The surface of the Earth is the shore of the
cosmic ocean. From it, we have learned
most of what we know. Recently, we have
waded a little out to sea, enough to dampen
our toes or, at most, wet our ankles.
The water seems inviting.
~Carl Sagan

Should we build more telescopes? 
I believe orbital platforms are the way to go, with a more modular approach to construction. The Hubble was amazing for its time, but wasn’t designed with upgrades in mind. As imaging technology increases, we should be able to upgrade with it. 

What is the philosophy of the Matrix? 
Any philosophy in the matrix is a construct of the fans. Glaring continuity errors throughout the series indicate that the Wachowski’s did not consider an over-riding philosophy. As a film maker, I don’t like it when people try to place more meaning on what I shoot than exists. I try not to do it to others. I am so analytical, that if I watch a film with the intent to see more than they intended, I would never enjoy them. I take the same approach to movies as I do life. So, if there is a philosophy to the Matrix films… I missed it. 

Do you usually win arguments? 
I try not to “argue” per se. I enjoy spirited debates, but when it becomes an argument (the word carries connotations of anger or elevated emotions), I try to extract myself from the conversation. The stress that arguments can place between people is often more of a problem than someone else’s point of view being in line with fact. That being said, as long as it’s not a case of opinion, I make it a point to never make a statement that I am not 100% certain of. I also admit when I don’t know something readily. If I am proven wrong, I admit it readily. I’m told that it’s quite infuriating, and that sometimes people just want an argument. I don’t get it. I don’t know if I have answered your question or not. 

What advice do you have to help NT people understand autism? 
Please don’t use the phrase “I understand.” You don’t. This is not a combative statement, simply the Truth. We think differently than you do. If we say something that you feel is weird or stupid, it isn’t intentional; it is because our interpretation of the stimuli at hand has returned a false positive. Even if you have an autistic spectrum individual in your life, you cannot know what we are going through. The only thing you have is our words, and language is an extremely imprecise way to describe what we are experiencing. 
Also… never say any one of these things. 

What advice would you give to people on the spectrum to understand NTs? 
Give them a break. They are ignorant of our condition because they have no frame of reference. They have no way to understand what we experience. They are ignorant of it, but most of them are not willingly ignorant. The stupid things they say are rarely meant in an offensive manner. They are doing the best they can. 

What subjects were easy for you in college? What subjects were more challenging? 
I excel at Physics (understanding it, not the math), English, Creative Writing, Film, and Computer courses. 

History was hard… Dates kept drifting away. Math was hard because I am dyslexic on top of it all… so the numbers kept playing tricks on me.

Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources:
http://www.sixuntilme.com/blog-mt2/blog_images/2009May/internal_speaker_sum.gif
http://www.uwb.edu/getattachment/research/dictionary-research.jpg
http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2011/049/5/b/too_happy_egg_____by_voohie_vachapoohie-d39ug4j.jpg
http://blog.rv.net/wp-content/2009/01/suc_8535.jpg
http://www.g-f-m.net/gfm/grip-action/dolly/gf-quad-dollies/europe/filmgear01.jpg
http://futurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/puzzle_missing_heeger.jpg
http://www.markgarlick.com/images/artwork/Splash-in-the-Cosmic-Ocean.jpg

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