Well, I finally got my answer, vis-à-vis the autism assessment. I won’t get the definitive answer until Friday when I have the follow-up appointment, as the guy who did my assessment has to first confer with everybody else, but he assured me that he was for sure on it and doesn’t see anybody else swaying him. Finally, that weight is off my shoulders and I have a name to put to why I am the way that I am. Now comes the hard part: telling people. While I don’t mean to assert they are of equal magnitude, it feels a lot like what I imagine it must be like coming out of the closet. In both cases, there’s some level of stigma to contend with, and you never know how somebody will take it. My mom’s immediate response was to ask about Rain Man, if he had autism or not. My friend at work didn’t think much of it and asked if I thought his nephew might be autistic too, since his speech was delayed and he routinely spins in circles for long periods of time (I told him, yes, that does sound like a distinct possibility). A guy in a Discord group I’m a part of claimed he was diagnosed when he was younger, but said he doesn’t buy it because he thinks both autism and ADHD diagnoses were just handed out indiscriminately, and also went on and on about how I shouldn’t even bother telling people and categorizing myself.
That last one really got under my skin, since this is the same guy who has mocked me in the past with dumb names when he didn’t agree with my opinion, and who is known to get on seemingly everybody’s nerves due to his attitude. I couldn’t help but say to him, quite honestly, that maybe his autism is preventing him from really grasping how he’s coming across in his chats. Not trying to be rude or anything, just recognizing that that goes hand-in-hand with ASD, especially since I’m often guilty of the same. But I’m certain that won’t be the last time I encounter some frustration telling folks. I’ll just say I’m so glad I found Laura Ober’s podcast The Loudest Girl in the World, where she talks about realizing she’s autistic in her 40s during the pandemic. In the latest episode, I was almost moved to tears hearing about how an autistic acquaintance of hers is extremely distraught over the fact that, among other things, he doesn’t miss his loved ones when they’re gone. I too came to this realization earlier, that I don’t really miss people the way others do, and so it was healing to hear her tell him that they still know you love them, that he’s not broken or wrong in some way. Still, those thoughts aren’t easy to shake completely. I know I often find myself wishing I could be as outwardly emotional as neurotypicals. I know I’ll never be the N64 kid losing it over a present. My fiancee likes to say that’s super excited “for you” when I acknowledge that I didn’t show that much of the excitement on my face, and I can’t help but feel a little sad every time she does. I know it’s just who I am. That doesn’t fix that feeling, however.
So, to sum all this up, how I’m dealing with the diagnosis I desperately sought out is… well, it’s complicated. I’ll leave it there and get onto my reviews. I just felt I should update you all, since this was the first public place I spoke about my path towards a diagnosis.
I distinctly remember reading many of Randall Munroe’s “what if” answers on his website and checking religiously for new ones, as well as reading his first What If? book, so obviously I had to read this as soon as I saw it was a thing at Target. He really has perfected the art of making science and math fun. Although the questions he’s asked might be insane, he approaches them all as if they’re perfectly reasonable and follows them to their logical (if you can even use that word in this context) conclusion. With each question he answers, you learn and laugh simultaneously. Although these scenarios are generally ones that will never occur, the math and science he puts behind them are all too real, and I connect with them so much more in this context. This, and the first book, serve as a perfect introduction to both fields for wary newcomers. Just as language teachers often trick kids into learning the language by teaching them less vital things that they crave to know (like curse words), Munroe is the perfect guy to trick you into learning key mathematical and scientific concepts. If I had a teacher like him, I’d probably be in the math or science field myself right now. And I think saying that is the best way I can sell you on this book.
Again, like with the first volume, it’s fun enough… but also mindless fluff. We learn in this volume how One-Punch Man himself became the hero he is now, which is simply by exercising to the point of losing all of his hair. It’s a startlingly silly backstory, yet I shouldn’t have expected anything else from this story. And gone in this volume are the more introspective bits about him feeling disillusioned with his status as a hero. Instead, the focus is on his trainee who wants nothing more than to become like him. I should’ve known that we wouldn’t delve too far into serious territory, or do it for too long; however, I’m still disappointed. Like I said in my review of the first volume, I don’t know that the series can maintain my interest if it remains just silly fluff. I’ll give it a couple more volumes to win me over, though.
Ellesfena recommended this after The Magic Fish didn’t land with me as much as I had hoped. The heart of that story for me was the people, not the folklore they traded in, and I felt like I only got the smallest, shortest peek into their actual lives. The Best We Could Do, on the other hand, is like if you stripped that of their stories and made it all about their real lives, and it’s so much better for it. The end result, though, is a story with no fairytale happy endings. For Thi Bui herself, as well as her family, it’s been a life filled to the brim with a rainbow of struggles. They all have imperfections, only they came by them honestly and it’s hard to truly begrudge them for it. Bui fleshes out everyone beautifully, both the pros and the cons, not holding anything back, and that’s why her story works so well for me.
The title was what caught my eye in Target. For some reason, the idea brought me back to when I was a kid watching Chalk Zone religiously. And when I started to read it there in Target, I knew right then and there that I had to buy it. This is without a doubt one of my new favorite kids books and I think it might be one of the first books I read my future kids. (When they’re old enough for it) Daywalt succeeds in giving every crayon a personality of its own and I’m totally here for it. From crayons who are underused, to ones almost on the brink of death due to overuse, there’s such a wide variety of complaints that I never knew what to expect,. And I couldn’t stop chuckling as I read each of them. The ending may be a little rushed, if I had to nitpick, but it doesn’t affect my overall opinion all too much.
Having just watched Trick ‘r Treat during its re-release in theaters, and it being October, it only made sense that I finally read the Trick ‘r Treat comic the movie’s director released. Although it’s not quite on par with the movie, and is spotty to say the least, it does have enough charm to feel like a worthy inclusion to the Trick ‘r Treat canon. If the private investigator story was excised, my opinion on it would be a lot more favorable, though. I don’t know what was going on with the art in that one, but I couldn’t tell what the heck was going on the majority of the time, and the writing didn’t help much either. Aside from that one, though, these were decent little Halloweeny tales that gave me at least some of my fix, enough to help tide me over while I wait for that sequel to the movie. I just wish Sam was more of a character here, not just passing through all the stories. Or that we had more set in the present day. Oh well.