Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Autism, Life Lessons, and Societal Interpretation

Now there's a heckuva title, right? Well, as it turns out, this lesson just hit home for us. My dear 13 year old son is dealing with a life lesson on being caught stealing (or at least looking like he was stealing).

First let me explain something. My son has two therapists who work with him and other kids at his school. It's very helpful and he is getting more and more independent every month. One of the incentives the kids get for doing well and being respectful is a small piece of candy. Hershey's kisses or other single wrapped items are usually what is given. Please spare me any nastiness over giving food as rewards as it is only one of many incentives and the system has been very successful for him.

Now for what happened:

Over the last week, candy has been disappearing from the reward box it is kept in. On Monday, my son was caught in the room with the box in his hands. He hadn't taken anything yet, but that really doesn't matter in a situation like this. He's not being held accountable for past missing candies because no one saw him take those. But he has lost the ability to gain that incentive for the next two weeks. The primary points he needed to understand were that he was in a room he didn't belong in and had the box in his hands.

His explanation, no surprise, would make a defense attorney blush. My son is mastering semantics when it comes to trying to squeak out of trouble or get out of doing something. So I realized that this was a prime opportunity to teach him about how his actions can be interpreted and how that can shape everything.

It wasn't his "intent" to steal anything. He thought he had earned the rewards and went and got the box down to "wait for" the person he would get the reward from. Never mind that he's not supposed to do that. He's supposed to go to his next class and if there's a reward for him, it will be dealt with. It always is. So I explained it to him like this:

If it looks like you are stealing something, then it will be assumed that you are stealing something.

Intent doesn't matter when it comes to what people see. Especially when you are somewhere you don't belong. But even if you do belong, how the viewing public interprets your actions can make or break your day. How many of our kids have crossed paths with the law merely because no one understood what was happening with their subject behavior? Arguably, the number is pretty high. There are media stories of autistic kids getting handcuffed or tazed because of their reactions or badly interpreted behavior.

I picked up a poker chip from my desk area (no I don't gamble) and showed it to my son.

"Imagine that this is a piece of candy." I said and then I put it in my pocket. "What does it look like I just did, if I do this before going to to the register?"

"Stealing." He didn't miss a beat. He understood right away and I saw the light come on. I explained how that understanding is very much the same as finding him in a room he wasn't supposed to be in, holding the box of candy in his hands.

Now, he doesn't like the consequences and some people may not think they are fair. I say they are much more appealing than learning this lesson with a trip to jail or marks on a permanent record. It's better to learn how the public reacts to various behaviors now than when they are in the middle of a crowd somewhere.

Before I go, I'll leave you with one tool that can help your child understand how important public behavior can be for certain things. That tool is Youtube. I show my son videos, ask him what he thinks of what people are doing, and we discuss it. Don't be afraid to discuss it with your kids. You may save them more than just embarrassment.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Why the Oregon Standoff is Ridiculous

Today's Wildeman rant is brought to you by a militia group in the middle of nowhere, Oregon, USA. This crap has my head spinning. And of course, there's plenty of uneducated BS being thrown around on the issue to make it even worse.

So this family under the name of Bundy have formed a militia and taken over a government building. Specifically, they took over the Malheur National Wildlife refuge headquarters. Thankfully this is a remote building several miles from anywhere. Apparently, these are the sons of Clive Bundy who pulled an armed standoff stunt last year because he didn't want to follow some very basic laws regarding his cattle grazing OFF of his 160 acres of property. Because, you know, 160 acres is just too impoverished and unfair and small.

Last year's armed standoff did not end in Bundy's favor, to quote the legal decision of the courts:

"Bundy is permanently enjoined from trespass. Bundy shall remove livestock within 45 days. The United States is entitled to seize and impound cattle." (As they did to the tune of 300 head)

So, clearly the Bundy family is learning impaired in some way as the sons try daddy's stunt up in Oregon.

How stupid this is proves itself in just a couple of minor points.

1: They claim they intend no violence. Well that's bullshit. I don't care who you are, if you gather up and stage any protest armed to the teeth with guns, guns, and more guns; you are looking for a fight. It's as simple as that. You have the right to gather and protest, but there are rules. You don't do it by waving guns around. But that seems to be the Bundy solution to just about everything, considering Daddy Bundy's long history of violent threats to anything that gets in his way. Per their quote to the media, they only intend violence if the government wants their building back.

Wait.

The government might actually want the building back? Holy shit! And here I thought their first response would be to donate it to Goodwill!

2: Their reasoning for doing this is an even bigger pile of bull.
-They're being oppressed. Uh, how is that even possible? With a family net worth in the far millions, ownership of hundreds of acres of land and hundreds of heads of cattle, you're oppressed how exactly? Oh, apparently government ownership of land equals oppression now.
-They're doing it for another family that's being terrorized. This one is juicy. Never mind that the Hammond family attorney denies that the Bundys represent them at all. No. The ballsy point here is that the Hammond family apparently likes to light shit on FIRE. I don't know about you, but the freedom to cause fucking forest fires is entirely new to me. Not letting them light uncontrolled fires is now terrorism. Where is this new dictionary I keep hearing about? And since when did fire become an endangered species that should be allowed to go where it damn well pleases?

These are the two main points of their big standoff. Come on, Bundys, admit it; the real reason is "we're a bunch of greedy assholes with guns".

3: Then there's the whole RACE angle. I swear, if I hear one more person say "of course they won't shoot them, they're white", my head is going to implode. Stop it. Just stop. You aren't helping a damn thing. If you really think that white people get off better only because they are white, I have a one word history lesson for you:

WACO

And then I have another word for you:

FERGUSON

I don't know if you noticed, but when people claiming to be with "Black lives matter" destroyed millions of dollars of property by LIGHTING IT ON FIRE and more, authorities didn't come in with live ammo and kill them all. No. They used rubber bullets and made 80 or more live arrests. The only people who actually caused serious injury were the rioters themselves! As another example, when people claiming to be with BLM blocked off a freeway (creating all sorts of safety hazards) they weren't shot down either. So NO it's not a race issue. Knock it off!

And just like the rioters making BLM look bad, the Bundy's crew is making responsible gun owners look bad. You all know full well that this will be the next banner unfurled for the anti-gun people. It's people like the Bundy's who screw it up for everyone else.

Now, you want to know what's really scary? Just like thousands of people thinking that Donald Trump's racist crap is the answer to America's problems; apparently hundreds of people think it's okay to take up gun waving and property destruction in the same of someone else's problems. Violence by mass measure is becoming an "answer" far too often. People are snapping. If anything is a warning sign, this is it! And it comes down to the haves and have nots. Not black or white or Muslim or anything else. When families can't afford a box of mac and cheese and they still make too much to get food stamp assistance, something is horribly wrong. Blaming those struggling families is even worse. This is why hysteria is gripping the people of our country. This is why crap like this is happening. This is why the common person is so easily roped into doing stupid things like supporting a family of greedy assholes with guns. Mark these words, if something isn't done to make things right, it will only get worse.

Monday, December 28, 2015

FALLOUT 4! My tips.

It's been over a month since Fallout 4 hit the scene and the gaming world went crazy. Heck the porn world went crazy too. They actually LOST record sales because of Fallout 4. Name a game that's pulled that stunt before! Since my dear wife got upgraded our system to Xbox One and got the Fallout 4 package, I've spent some serious time playing this game. I'm almost a level 60 now and I'd like to share some observations. These are tips for those of you coming to the game a bit late. Some of these observations haven't been posted in any other tip pages that I have seen (and I've been looking!).

First of all, the end all be all of Fallout info is the Wiki. It's an undeniable source of information. But now my tips in no particular special order:

SETTLEMENTS: This is the big new thing to Fallout. Building settlements. All the tip pages I've read tell us that you need food, water, and beds for your settlers. That's the bare minimum to keep happiness above 50. You need at least 1 count each of food and water per settler as well as 1 bed per settler. Here's what they don't tell you;

-Don't go build crazy on your settlements unless all your settlers have what they need. That means planning ahead. You should build your settlement for the possibility of no less than 20 settlers. That means 20 beds need to be incorporated into your build one way or another. This is important because there is a cap on how many elements you can build into a settlement before it's "full". If you reach "full" and don't have beds for new settlers, you'll be looking for hacks and tricks to get past the cap. And there are tricks to be sure, but some report they can screw up your game. I've tried one and it did nothing at all. Probably only works for PC. I find, if you plan ahead, you don't need tricks. I've gotten by just building "bunk houses" for my settlers and tossing mattresses on the floor. So long as you cover those basics, you can pretty much build whatever you want. But you will run out of room eventually. Now for more basic tips.

-Try to assign all settlers to something if you can. Busy settlers are happy settlers. Well, usually. It will be challenging to give absolutely everyone a job once you start hitting that 15-20 person bracket, but you really want them all to have something to do. Crops and defense are the easiest assignments, but there's the junk station too that you can assign them. You can also have more than one create supply lines to other settlements. Supply lines are very important as they link food water and building materials from one place to another. Then you can put little shops on your settlement and they can work at those and even earn you some caps.

-Defense! Your defense for any settlement should be a minimum of your total food plus your total water. You'll have to set up a lot of defense on the ground, but try to build defense out of reach if you can. Elevated defenses have better range and are harder for enemies to damage. You really can't have too much defense. I go overboard on purpose and aim for over a hundred no matter where it is (or as close as I can come). Defense is also an integral part of happiness.

-Light things up! Power is also on the happiness checklist you can find in your Pip boy under Data/Workshops. Give them power. Wire things up and put in fancy lights. Would you like to live without electricity? Seems your settlers don't either.

Here is my personal checklist of minimums for building your settlement. OH, and if you you don't have to set up a beacon for any settlement right away... DON'T. Build it first, invite people afterward. You'll thank me.  20 beds, 20 food, 20 water, 20 power (if you have access to water, use water purfiers! they will need power so add to both for your settlement), 80 defense (some of it should be settler assigned but you can cover that anytime), 1 of each workstation (like armor, weapons, chemistry, etc), 1 junk station (larger spaced settlements could have 2 or 3), 4 shops (but the more you can build in toward at least one of each, the merrier), 1 brahmin trough per every 2 brahmin (that aren't supply liners). Make sure you have designated areas for your crops and water (if you don't have access to a major water source).

PERKS: Okay, building your character is as complex as it ever was but there is one area of perks that are absolutely imperative. Scrapping and crafting perks are essential to your survival. So is the aquaboy perk. When building your character stats, make sure you have stat levels needed to get these perks!  Here are my minimum suggestions for theses perks:

-Strength: 4 so you cover blacksmith and armorer perks. You may not care about blacksmith, but armorer is a MUST to get all you can get out of your armor. So at least a Strength of 3 for that. Don't forget that Strength affects your carrying weight too and hording junk has never been more important.

-Perception: 4 to cover your locksmith. Picking locks WILL get you further than hacking.

-Endurance: 5 for Aquaboy. Breathing under water in this world is way too handy. You also don't take rad damage from being in water. There is a LOT of water in this game.

-Charisma: 6 if you care about settlements at all and want to make the most of them. This is for your Local Leader perk. You can't build shops or set up supply lines without it. It's also important for speech checks in missions. If you don't care about those things, you should have at least a 3 for Lone Wanderer to increase your carry weight when alone (even with Dogmeat) by 50 lbs.

-Intelligence: 6 to get the absolute most out of your crafting because of Gun Nut and Science! perks. Science! is a level 6 perk. Your hacking is also covered under this stat and there are places that you will need your hacking at Master (well at least one place that I know of). You also want the Scrapper perk that is a level 5. You could say this area is loaded with important perks.

-Agility: I set mine at 2 and raised it to 3 later on. Agility is full of great "kill em" perks, but you don't need them as much as you do the crafting perks to really get ahead on your character. Here is the really cool thing, even without the bobbleheads, you can put a perk selection into raising any stat you want to build your way up in more perks later in the game. So, it's not like you will miss out on any of these by not getting them right away. At a level 50 I was taking down Deathclaws with handguns before they could reach me. And I haven't raised my Agility for the other killer perks yet.

-Luck: Again, I set this at 2 and raised it to 3 later and now I have the bobblehead. Luck is nice, but not as important this time around as those essential crafting perks.

Now I'd like to point out a couple of tips that will help you in wandering the wastes that I also haven't seen mentioned elsewhere.

HUNTING FOR HEALTH: You know all those packaged foods you can find in the Fallout games? The Dandy boy apples, Instamash, bubblegum, and Cram? Screw em. Don't waste your carry weight on them. They may give you health, but they also give you rads, and rads (especially in early game) suck. Eat what you kill instead. This will start with radroaches, bloat flies, and blood bugs, but you'll find that gathering meat and using the cook station (every time) will not only support your health, but give you some useful boosts. The bigger the monster, the better they are to eat. And one in particular is the Radstag. Eating cooked radstag raises how much weight you can carry just long enough to get you to a place to dump your junk! So if you go over your carry limit by 2 or 3 pounds, munch a Radstag steak! I've done so well with this method, that I've only had to use stimpaks very rarely and in extreme situations. I have built up over 300 stimpaks in my inventory to carry around! I've never had to pay for a stimpak either!

Best early hunting consist of Radstag, Mutant Hounds (Mutant Hound Chops reduce your rads!), and Stingwings.

CYCLE YOUR WEAPONS: You should make sure you have at least one good weapon for each ammunition type that you can pick up. 38 is the most common ammo, but if you do it right, you'll always have just enough to kill your enemies. I carry about 3 weapons (whatever has the highest amounts of ammo at the time) while gathering up ammo I find for my other weapons. By the time my current weapons get low, I can swap them out for my others and be just fine on ammo. And the longer you play the better it gets as you add perks and whatnot.

SCAVENGING: Search everything you kill. Raiders are loaded with stimpaks and radaways along with ammunition and scrappable weapons and armor. Eventually, you may only take the ammo and health goods because you want to use your carrying weight for other goodies. I go through any location and wipe out all resistance before searching for junk. I take all the bad guys' stuff and jump back to home base with it. The I return and go through the place again and again until I've wiped out all the cool goodies I can get. Eventually, it will all respawn and you can go do it again. You'll never truly be without scrappables and junk stuff. You'll even find great hot spots for special parts.

BE A DRUG DEALER: Yeah, really. At chemistry stations you can blend things like Buffout and Jet to make Buffjet and since these are ALL OVER THE FREAKING WASTELAND, you can make decent caps off them if you find yourself wanting to purchase anything from junk dealers. I buy from shops rarely, but when I do, I walk away with what I wanted and all their caps to boot. I don't bother selling weapons. Don't have to.

Now, before I go, I want to share something funny you can do with your settlers. It's not necessary, but it's actually kind of hilarious. Give them weapons and armor. When you do, you can actually EQUIP them, but sometimes they'll do it themselves. I've given a couple of settlers miniguns and watched the fun during raider or gunner attacks. You don't have to give them ammo, that seems to come out by magic. So dress em up and arm them for deathclaws. It's fun.Make them your own personal circus. Why not?

Have fun with these tips and feel free to add your own in comments! Time for me to go play!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Duking it out! Best Fight Scenes Ever

Time for another Wildeman post! But today I'm not going to rant, no. I'm going to post about something else as you all heave a big ol sigh of relief. Today I want to talk about movies. In particular, my favorite fight/action scenes. I'm posting in no particular order, but I think you'll agree with my reasoning on these being some of the best fight scenes ever.

You that point in a movie that really gets you revved up for watching? For me it's when some creep gets his just desserts the hard way. For that I bring you my first example. A scene from the movie, Second Hand Lions:

Isn't that beautiful? Not only that, but it's simple and direct. No need for ultra fancy moves, just the right tone and action. It's an old fashioned approach and it's awesome.

Speaking of old fashioned, I have to touch on this one. This is the first fight scene that ever stuck in my memory from a movie. You'd think it would be Bruce Lee at my age and his scenes were wonderful, but they didn't add the storytelling like this.

Nope. Billy Jack will always be a favorite character of mine. I think I'll remember that foot to face line when I'm senile and drooling in my wheelchair.

Next, an action heavy hitter, Jason Statham. If you haven't seen the Transporter movies, you are missing out on some action gold. But one thing you might notice about this list, is that I'm not aiming at the one guy versus fifty dudes fight scenes. Those are awesome, but they lack something that I find endearing to the scenes I'm showing you. It's like there's more of a purpose to these fights than just pounding people into human pudding. Take this scene for example.


See what I mean by purpose? It just stands out over other fight scenes. It's also that moment when the hero is sorely underestimated and it bites the offenders in the ass hard. But if we are going to use gimmicks and tricks to drive this point home, there is recent show that I enjoyed very much. Here:


So what are some of your favorite fight scenes? Feel free to post in comments!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

So your child was just diagnosed with autism...

It just happened and the news hits you like a runaway truck. You experience a mixture of relief and shock. Relief at having a name for the thing you didn't understand and shock because you still have no idea what to do about it. Better yet, your doctor may not know what you should do either. It's bad enough that parenting doesn't come with automatic instructions, but you have far more to learn than the average parent.

Well you aren't alone and this write up is geared to give you more than one place to start.

I am an adult with autism raising a teenager with autism. I've been on your path and then some. Not only did I have to relearn everything I thought I knew about parenting, I had to relearn myself. This advice will by no means cover every thing you could face. Every child is different and how heavily they are affected by autism is vastly different. That's why it's called "the spectrum". Which leads to my first point:

Get to know your child: Sure, every parent has to do this, but you are watching for intricate details that others will take for granted. You are watching for triggers in sensory that others don't commonly react to. You are watching for extreme behaviors that demonstrate super interest or reaction or almost NO interest or reaction. These will be noteworthy to you so you can help your child interact with a loud and intense world. Look for both the things that aggravate and provide comfort. For example, if hiding under a blanket calms a meltdown, you best have a blanket with you on outings. There are three subjects that I use to teach people about autism in children. They are as follows:

-Sensory: Various sensory (your five senses) "problems" or imbalances are common in autism. Colors and lights may be super bright and overbearing. Sounds may be too loud and invasive. Textures may cause extreme discomfort. Yet, some sensory issues may do the opposite so much that your child seeks them out constantly. These can be very strange behaviors. The list is long and some behaviors can be disturbing. The good news is that your child will develop past hundreds of these behaviors. Behaviors as a toddler are by no means bound to be permanent. And by no means should you think you cannot teach your child alternate behaviors. You absolutely can.

-Routine: The order in which you do daily activities is something your child will likely become very sensitive of. Changes in routines may be met with severe resistance. This includes issues like change of wardrobe from one season to the next. As they grow, clear information on how and why of changes may help. Again, these are teaching points for you as the parent. It's simply something you will have long term work on with your child. The forms of many sensitivities will change with age. Just know, that if you teach them to brush their teeth before getting dressed and one day you switch that around, it may become a very difficult day.

-Social: Social interactions are heavily affected by sensory and some delayed maturity issues (but not just those). Social interactions have a tendency to go one of two directions; too little or way too much. Lack of eye contact or "appropriate" response to your emotions (anger or praise) are just the beginning. Clear and literal information can be of utmost importance. For example, my wife summoned my son to his messy bedroom where he had tossed dirty clothes down in his doorway. She asked him "what is wrong with this picture?". My son became very nervous because, while he saw the mess on his floor, he did not see a "picture" anywhere. If she had asked "what is wrong with these clothes?" he would have understood immediately. You're child will have to be taught very specifically what it means when you are happy with him or not. Just expressing the emotions, will likely not work the same as with a typical child. As an additional caution, never spank an autistic child. It will ignite sensory triggers, cause huge meltdowns, and teach them that it's okay to hit you and others. When I say that you will have to learn a whole different way of parenting it is not a casual reflection.

Be involved with your child: Your child needs you more than ever to help them understand how to live in our crazy world. I'm going to make a suggestion that has helped my own son in so many ways.

Play games.

Yes, games. I play and collect heroclix with my son. It's a table top game with tiny figurines of comic book super heroes played out on a map. I developed short term variations of the rules for my son to enjoy at a very young age (about 8). It helped him with social interaction, math, and problem solving. He still loves the game to this day. He has fond memories of interactions with those games. How to react to winning or losing and the random chances of the dice are incredible tools that can be integrated into teaching how the world works in real life. It's creative parenting at its best.

Finally, let me tell you that (while you are understandably shaken now) you have become the parent of a very special form of person. He or she is going to show you things about life you never thought possible. Get ready, because it's going to be quite a trip.

Monday, November 16, 2015

French Flags and Coffee Cups

What the hell is wrong with people? I wish that weren't a daily question that plagues my brain as bandwagon wars erupt across the internet over stupid things. Things like coffee cups. Just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but damn. I don't see what's wrong with it. It's red. Oh wait, I get it, someone was watching Saturday Night Live reruns and came across the Church Lady.

"The cups are not religious enough." Was said by some fool whose name I didn't bother to catch in some interview. I don't know if this dipstick ever bothered to notice this... but...

Starbucks has never claimed to be a religious entity in the first place.

Funny that, huh? No one goes to Starbucks for a sermon. They go there for overpriced coffee. It's not a church, it's a coffee house. They can make up  the design on their cups in any stinking array of colors they damn well feel like. There are no laws against it and no church has any right to tell them how to conduct their business. If you don't like the cups, don't have them. Simple as that. But no, church whackos aren't content unless they have something utterly ridiculous to cry about.

I haven't seen any of them crying over the attacks in France recently and that brings me to something equally ridiculous as the coffee cups. The French Flag movement.

Why is it ridiculous? First of all, showing your support is not ridiculous. You have the right to show your support any way you want. Go for it! What gets stupid is the battle of the bandwagons every time something like this happens. Remember all the gay pride profile pics on Facebook recently? While it was a massive show of support it immediately brought out opposition. Not just opposition for gays, but opposition for getting on a bandwagon to support them when (if true) you had nothing to do with them in the first place. Same thing is still happening with Black Lives Matter. There has to be an opposing force of All Lives Matter, that ignores the point BLM is trying to make.

So, now that people are posting French flags, there are people criticizing because they don't see all the other flags of war torn countries represented. If you are one of those people making that complaint, I have a question for you:

WHY AREN'T YOU DISPLAYING THOSE FLAGS YOURSELF INSTEAD OF BITCHING ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE DOING IT?

This is like complaining about how your neighbor mows their lawn when you never mow yours. See why it's stupid? I can see why bandwagoning is irritating, but if you are bandwagoning against bandwagoning, you are basically doing the same thing, only dumber. Let people express themselves and get over it. No one who is posting a French flag is pretending there are no other problems in the world. That's just not realistic. We all know the world has gone to hell. We haven't missed anything. I could get into all the how and why of what people do to show support, but that's a long write up.

It's just like getting bent out of shape over a coffee cup. I'm sure we all have better things to do.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

There's a Muppet with Autism and the Sky is Falling!

It's not hard to make an anti-vaccination supporter have a complete mental blowout. Their collective sanity sits on a feather ledge to begin with and they have no qualm with demonstrating it. So, when Autism Daddy and Sesame Street worked together and brought us the first muppet with autism... well...

BOOM.

Louder than the hurricane that recently tore into Mexico is the sound of anti-vaxxer heads exploding. Of course, they believe the only cause for autism has been vaccines (never mind that such has been thoroughly debunked over and over again). They believe if you have autism and you aren't an anti-vaxxer that you're some kind of traitor to their cause. So it's not surprising that they think Sesame Street is in cahoots with "big pharma" to push vaccines.

Of course, that's absolutely untrue. But you'll never get through the concrete fog around an anti-vaxxer's brain to show them that.

Just when I think I've seen all the sickening stunts they can pull, they do this.

I personally love the fact that there is a muppet with autism. No, she doesn't represent every single form of autism in every single person (one of their unrealistic arguments because she can talk) but she does represent autism.
Julia of Sesame Street

One of the most wonderful things about Sesame Street is their belief in INCLUSION. They believe that we are all wonderful people and everyone should be taken for who they are and accepted as such. That is the Sesame Street way. To see it as anything else takes either ignorance or a twisted mentality.

Oh, but they say there's evidence! Apparently Elmo promotes vaccine safety.

Well, that's all it takes to make AVrs hate you. Well, never mind that the two events are not connected in anyway, nor is there any proof that they are; but I just don't care. I promote vaccine safety, I accept actual science, and I know that VACCINES DON'T CAUSE AUTISM. Never have and never will.