Time and Autism

Autistic people perceive time in a very different way to the rest of the world. It flows much more like a river. Most of the time we are quite happy to let it pass us by absorbed in our own interests. Other people like to have others around them to interact with. These are like stones in the stream. We are objects that slowly but surely get broken down into our constituent parts and distributed across space and time.

I can understand how Einstein came up with the theory of relativity in this way and that it took a couple of years to get the maths to prove his ideas. I can understand how people could think he was autistic too. We do have an unconventional way of thinking that is also systematic. Our ideas do not get respected though until they are profitable as I mentioned in The Current War.

As Autistics brains get stuck thinking about words that were said to them, conversations, events or literally that has happened to them they pick apart everything to find the smallest details possible. In this way they see how to correct mistakes and make things better which others do not but they also miss the bigger picture that everyone else has.

It’s this lack of socialisation and connection that is both an Autistics strength and weakness. It’s a strength because they can work unhindered until the task has been completed but it’s a weakness as it takes a toll on there mental health. They are not aware of developments in the world or simply choose to ignore them thinking them unimportant or too depressing to contemplate.

In a world remade like Greta Thunberg would like as this one has been; let’s all take advantage of the time we have spent with our families and away from society to make our environment a friendlier place based on love, togetherness and peace. Let’s not just hope but work towards making the old world of corruption, deceit, lies, money and exploitation of both environment and people languish in the past as it should.

What is dead may never die

I think this Game of Thrones motto taken from the words of the Greyjoy family from the Iron Islands is very appropriate to describe Covid 19.

I was reading in the Times today that the reason that Covid 19 is so effective is because it is a virus and therefore already dead. It reminded me of several sci fi parallels as it’s just bits of protein replicating like mad.

The first thing that struck me was that we are essentially fighting a vampire. It demands a blood sacrifice on a regular basis and it’s definitely getting its fill. A good reason to catch up on all that supernatural material as preparation. I recommend Buffy the Vampire Slayer as my personal favourite but you can’t go wrong with Johnathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula either. Even though these are desperate times I still would never recommend partaking in Twilight even to keep the kids amused.

It also turns you into a zombie when you have it so my husband has been preparing by killing as many as possible in his computer game which he completed with flying colours recently. He is on to his next target now which is preventing a chemical weapon from getting out into the open which is also extremely appropriate for right now since today he went for his Covid 19 test. Having recently turned into the WeekendI can’t feel my face when I’m with you” it was a good idea since he also has leukaemia. I don’t want to crown his suffering by making him into a mother fking starboy if he does happen to have Corona Virus.

Then my thoughts turned technical as I got to thinking about what Dolores said on the latest series of WestWorld. We have tried so much to improve ourselves but we have given control of our lives over to technology and if sufficiently pushed they will eventually be our downfall.

It’s also like the insecurity virus in Ralph Breaks the Internet as it finds a weakness and copies it infinitely until the system shuts down to reboot itself. However, we have no anti virus yet to try to fix the situation that we have created for ourselves.

Another reminder came in the form of the Borg from Star Trek who just seek to make everything like themselves as we have been trying to do in recent years. This has been happening with a whole homogenisation of global culture.

To push the destructive technology point further recall the replicators in Star Gate SG1 whose quest for world domination knows no end like our vast sprawl of commercialisation across the planet, the Skynet in the Terminator movies which uses hindsight to stop our own stupidity and arrogance, the Matrix movies where we have finally pushed it too far and live underground or Battlestar Galactica where we carry our entire DNA with us to try to find a new planet to colonise.

To really drive the point across as by this point I’m getting quite anxious hence reciting every relevant sci fi program I can think of. I even went as far to imagine the Daleks who wish to exterminate all life unlike there own. This is where it gets a bit controversial suggesting this is possibly like the Chinese if the rumours of Covid 19 being a manufactured virus are to be believed. You shouldn’t trust Trump though after his bleach comments.

As you can see I have indulged in many programs over the years so I should be the best prepared but really this just makes me write lists of everything in the cupboards, fridge, freezer, clean, do laundry and organize my clothes when not watching more tv!!!

Painting is my antidote when I try to relax from the end of the world as we know it but the weather has stopped me from doing this over the past week hence I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed by this again.

On videos you understand without comprehending the lyrics

I love it when you watch a foreign language video and when you finally get to see the English translation you realise you already understand what the song was about through the acting. That to me is the sign of a good song. I love Sergei Lazarov for this reason. I don’t understand Russian but I respect that he is not afraid to bend gender boundaries for a good performance. It’s all her

I also used to like Greek videos for this reason but they are becoming very generic which is so sad. I have previously talked about Greek videos that have spoken to me though so check them out although it’s not letting me recommend them to you right now.

On listening, enjoying but not understanding (Hyperlexia or just Autism?)

Grammar is essential to interpretation in foreign languages

When you try to control everything, it ends up controlling you

The Quarantine Chronicles

I was just thinking that the situation we find ourselves in right now is not far off the nightmarish world of Fahrenheit 451. In it physical human connection is replaced by conversations on video screens. These video screens are larger than life in the fact that they become all consuming. It is considered highly attractive if your lounge/sitting room is in fact just 4 screens for walls. In that way that highly prised connection is permanently established but there is in fact no connection because you can’t really see the people or their lives. You only have a facsimile of reality. This was life for me existing behind a screen because reality was so painfully overwhelming as it was real.

It’s like living in the world of Equilibrium. We wanted to remove all the negativity present in the world but in doing so we also cocooned ourselves to the point of numbness. We no longer felt anything so we lost the ability to connect on any level let alone a meaningful one.

This virus is allowing us to reconnect with our immediate family but also disconnecting us from our extended family. We no longer have stories to share or deep conversations because those present were not there.

Everyone is currently in the same boat with regards to lack of mobility. We are craving interaction with our friends. We like to be social and have experiences so being told stay inside is jarring to a couple of rebellious individuals. Usually I’m on the side of the outsider always being one but for once we need to do as we’re told. In this regard tv is helping by having cooking shows, craft shows, walks and quiz shows. These all keep us occupied and possibly give us ideas to try out later. Let’s turn the pain and anxiety of missing friends and family into positive activities that benefit our communities .If we do this we may find a much better world with improved mental health.

Learning to cook is an essential skill that we seem to have lost but maybe we can regain it over the coming weeks. Let’s see if we can get the nation cooking, cleaning, repairing, exercising, gardening and generally looking after ourselves and our environment.

Machines like Me by Ian McEwan

This is an Audible book that I listened to recently while I was on holiday. Listening to an enjoyable story that is engaging makes long road journeys pass so much more quickly!

It’s alternative history based on the fact that Alan Turing wasn’t turned insane by taking oestrogen tablets to cure his homosexual urges. With this in mind we end up with a very different 1980’s. We have advanced sufficiently with AI to build completely life like humans that tests what it is to be human after all. They are an exercise in humanity as it teaches us whether we can accept machines into our lives as equals.

I loved the philosophical debates that Adam engages in with his housemates Charlie and Miranda. I also loved the technical, mathematical and physics details along with the anthropological studies. Adam raises a lot of interesting questions and provokes strong emotions which you wouldn’t expect a machine to be capable of. He is not really a machine though; but a conscious being capable of existing all by himself as along as he has the same comforts were used to like shelter, sleep and fuel.

This is essentially an exploration of the contradictions of being human. This is what every child has to learn and what autistics struggle with greatly. The same things that Adam can’t comprehend are also what we have difficulties with. There is however no real solution to these issues as life is such a messy business.

Best wishes

Angela

The Current War

This is a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch (yes him of the completely unpronounceable and unspellable name).

In this movie it seeks to understand the reasons behind the battle that took place between Edison’s Direct Current and Tesla’s/Westinghouse’s Alternative Current. Or as I explained to my husband, how the band AC/DC came to be;)

Ben plays Edison who we all know won the battle of who could light up America first. It was the first of the alternating technology battles (Betamax/VHS etc) that proved its not the best that wins but the one that is promoted the most and therefore more popular.

Social skills win over talent as people are much more willing to invest in a person who is like them selling them a dream rather than an engineer who can actually produce that idea. This is why Tesla loses out but it’s far more complex than that.

Of course in between the 2 remaining guys Westinghouse and Edison; they start to play dirty. They use underhand tactics to undermine the others reputation and products. Speed and efficiency are good but money is king in business. The Serbian immigrant is taken advantage of because all he has is his mind when he has sold his patents. As he is unable to communicate his ideas in a way that others understand they belittle him.

Watching a movie like this on a plane doesn’t do it justice. I couldn’t read the historical facts which are presented at the beginning and the end of the movie to separate the facts from the dramatization.

I definitely need to watch this again as the sound quality through the headphones was quite poor and in a movie that isn’t action based, you need to be able to hear the dialogue. I’m sorry I can’t give a very articulate review but I was only able to get the gist of the film.

Best wishes

Angela

The Rise of Empires – Ottoman on Netflix

This is part of the new breed of historical programs on Netflix that are part dramatisation and part recitation of historical facts from learned professors in the area. I have watched some about Russian history too namely the Czars. I will write about this also in due course.

This series has 6 episodes covering the legendary siege of Constantinople in 1453. This was conducted by Mehmet the second against Roman Emperor Constantine the 11th. It is narrated by Charles Dance the man who voiced Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones.

I think this is a fascinating period of history starting with the astonishing takeover where 23 armies including his fathers had failed before him. Each episode covers a different bit of the siege from the initial plans, the artillery attack, naval attack to sneakier tactics and finally the success.

This follows on from previous posts I have written about the Ottoman Empire and when I eventually visit Istanbul there will be some more as the city is bound to yield many interesting things to write about.

The Byzantine Empire was much earlier and I have already written about that too in a couple of posts. Byzantines.

Best wishes

Angela

Advocating for autism

As a proud autistic adult I have written 2 new books and these are about how to deal with the traumatic and emotional events that life throws at us like dealing with grief, social occasions, adolescence etc

Imagina and A Life of Ice and Fire.

This is in addition to Autistic Communication and Autistic Education.

My other books are on How to learn the Greek language, Greek life, More Greek, How to learn languages and finally A Life of Halcyon Days which is a romantic chick lit book set in Greece.

Best wishes

Angela

Grammar is essential to interpretation in foreign languages

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/se-sena-stamatise-i-kardia-σε-σένα-σταμάτησε-η-καρδιά-heart-stopped-you.html

My heart stopped with you

This is a song that immediately struck me the first time I heard it. It’s a pop/ rock song but it’s also strangely calming as it’s streamlined. I’ve listened to it countless times and I thought I understood the lyrics as they are quite passionate and evoke your emotions. I therefore thought I knew what the song was about because his speech is relatively clear and distinct. To me it was about love but an all encompassing love that disables you from functioning. It describes the feeling when you are head over heels for someone and it’s just like a bolt from the blue as we say to explain something completely unexpected.

While this is not completely the theme of the song upon reading the actual lyrics, it never occurred to me before despite the fact I have most likely looked up this song before and I’ve certainly tried to analyse its content. I have been passively watching and listening to songs for years with an inkling of their meaning from the emotions that I perceived from the videos but they haven’t been correct. I need to translate the words to get the full picture. My arrogance at my own ability and my naïveté have probably both contributed to this. Plus being selfish and not allowing anyone to critique me as I was too emotional and sensitive myself. I didn’t have enough life experience or emotional maturity to comprehend the message of the song.

The song explains that love is blind as the guy is still stuck on his ex. He can’t get over her as much as he wants to as there are still so many reminders of their relationship. He is still wondering what he has done to lose her. He wants to get back with her as he still loves her and thinks that this will stop the pain he is feeling. He is becoming bitter towards the end and wants to cut out all trace of her from him.That’s certainly different to usual and no wonder I never picked that up.

Have you ever had that before?

Best wishes

Angela

Using games to improve your language skills

Just in case you were wondering what happened to the language posts here is one.

I recently went to a birthday party and the guests there were found of using the Sims computer game in foreign languages to learn all of the basic household items. They also liked to play Command and Conquer online with Russian and other eastern block people as it was a good way to learn the language as it was used by the people. My way of naming my Pokemon after Greek animals seemed rather inferior after that. I have thought about changing my devices to foreign languages but that never goes well. I’ve done it by accident and I’ve used items abroad and it’s just too confusing for me. I also came across an Alexa recently so I thought I would see if it could talk to me in foreign languages. This Alexa was new so didn’t seem to be able to even tell me whether she was an Echo, Dot or what version she was. I gave up after asking the same question in 3 different ways and getting the same default responses. So as much as games and technology can help you learn a new language, the best way is always going to be to get out there and to be social as much as you might dislike this method.

Best wishes

Angela

Using technology to up your language game

It’s always a good idea to work smarter not harder as then you are rewarded for your efforts without you having to struggle so much. Therefore using the resources that are available and around you means maximum effect from minimum work. To this end I have started using Blinkist and Audible in addition to Amazon to be able to create an immersive environment to further my language learning.

As I’m introverted and autistic I’m not too fond of talking to people. This becomes apparent quite quickly if you have previously come across any of my work. As you may expect this presents certain problems. With the fact that I don’t like to mingle with others; my communication skill development has to take a different path. As I’m good at mimicking I can learn pronunciation from repeating the correct sounds made by others. As an integrative approach is best here, I need to look at a diverse range of options to get a broad spectrum. As accents vary from country, region, age, male/female etc I need to incorporate as much material as possible.

I have previously been using YouTube for music and educational purposes (Tedx) but the gap between the 2 is too vast. A lack of “Comprehensible Material” meaning it’s not currently the right level for me. When watching YouTube videos there is frequently no subtitles to assist me so this cuts down there usefulness. I have tried Sky Arts but there is not enough foreign language material. I have also looked into foreign films (World cinema) but again there is a lack of material or maybe access to the material as I’ve never found any. Netflix also seems to come up short when looking for Greek material.

My new idea is based on the fact that was used by a famous polyglot from the past to progress his linguistic merits. That is, read the same book in many languages since then you can learn grammar, syntax and semantics while enjoying a story that you already know well. This is a style favoured by Hungarian polyglot Kato Lomb and is also mentioned by other noted polyglots such as Canadian Steve Kaufmann and Italian Luca Lampariello.

Since the best way to learn a second language is to repeat the way you learnt your first language that is what I’m attempting to do here. It’s a lot easier for children to gain language skills than it is for adults as we try to intellectualise it too much. Basically we think too much about the underpinnings of a language looking to gain an understanding of the structure before attempting to ‘build a house’. Children just go forth and practice.

However the problem comes when the way I learnt is through my mother reading to me constantly. This meant that I could read by 18 months but was unable to talk for a further 4 months. My mum doesn’t know any foreign languages and is dyslexic just like my husband so that counts that option out. This means I have no practice partner. I have tried recording my voice and uploading to YouTube but I haven’t had any luck with that because I can be quite quiet and indistinct.

My solution to this problem is to get Blinkist and Audible to read to me but Greek books are few and far between. Getting a physical book to look at is very difficult online. As your brain reacts differently to an ebook than to a physical book this means that the real copy is much better for this purpose. An ebook could have a narrative attached to it to make it better as a real book wouldn’t have this capability. Getting a physical, audio and ebook of the same title in Greek is next to impossible. Dual language books are equally as difficult to find.

This 3 tier attack is easier in Italian, Spanish and even Russian but in Greek they just don’t seem to exist. I have done extensive research and monitored this over many years. While the situation has improved slightly, I don’t hold out much hope for a sudden burgeoning in the market.

Below is a link to my published work and to my previous blog posts where I have talked about many of the issues I have mentioned above.

My published books

Series links

Best wishes

Angela

Sky Arts programs

These are another fantastic resource to use to learn languages with. There are many European programs where the people being interviewed do not speak English but subtitles are provided for your benefit. This can range from a program about the influence font (sizing, spacing, arrangement, case, style and colour of letters) has on us. The show travels from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal to French Canada, the USA and finally the UK to give a wide variety of signs throughout history with a knowledgeable local in each location.

Another program I have watched was set in France and it demonstrated all of the sketches that the famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent did during his working career including his cartoon sketches that he did when he needed a break. They interviewed those closest to him and the majority of the program was in French with subtitles.

The most recent program I have been watching is Sky Arts Master of Photography. I believe this is set in Italy as that’s where the challenges take place. Some of the contestants are Italian so you get to hear them interacting with locals during the course of their day. It’s very European as you get contestants from Germany, UK, Switzerland etc. There are subtitles for the Italian but to stop any more linguistic confusion the main content is in English.

Is there any other bilingual programs that you like to watch and would recommend me to check out?

Best wishes

Angela

Netflix

This is a brilliant platform to watch foreign language films on subjects that you are interested in. I have already posted about watching The First Line which is English but with plenty of Greek to keep me happy. I have also been watching Cathedral of the Sea which is Spanish (English subtitled) history, The Medici which is Italian history, Bolivar which is Spanish (English subtitled) Latin American history and the Last Csars which is Russian history. That last one is part dramatisation, part historical program. For pure drama in Russian with English subtitles watch Trotsky. This is not for the faint hearted as it’s quite raunchy from the start.

If you need to practice your English I recommend watching Peaky Blinders. This is on BBC IPlayer as well as on Netflix. You have 4 seasons so far to sink your teeth into. This is set in Birmingham just after World War One and the language is quite raw but it’s highly enjoyable. Not one for children but then neither are any of the above programmes either.

Do you have programs to recommend that I should watch as you don’t tend to hear about any of the ones above when asking people for viewing suggestions?

Best wishes

Angela

Researchers Break “Memory Wall” Conundrum, And Create The World’s Fastest RAM

Researchers Break “Memory Wall” Conundrum, And Create The World’s Fastest RAM

Researchers Break “Memory Wall” Conundrum, And Create The World’s Fastest RAM


— Read on sparkonit.com/2019/06/16/researchers-break-memory-wall-conundrum-create-worlds-fastest-ram/

This is simply astonishing.

Best wishes

Angela

Oh Brother Where art thou?

These are lines from one of George Seferis poems about the Odyssey.

O Brother Where Art Thou is a Coen brothers movie that has taken Homer’s Odyssey and translated it into 1930’s America. Initially the idea that George Clooney escapes from a prison chain gang doesn’t sound too interesting but it’s much better than that. It’s an exploration of what life was like in those times.

Best wishes

Angela

Pavlos Santorinis

Pavlos Santorinis

https://greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/pavlos-santorinis/
— Read on greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/pavlos-santorinis/

This man has achieved so much that his work deserves to be promoted more.

He is the first part of my Famous Greeks series.

Other series include Greek poets, authors, Musicians, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

An essay on the role of education in the future

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-much-can-we-afford-to-forget-if-we-train-machines-to-remember

As we are getting more into the 21st century the need to change our educational style is increasing.

  • No longer do we need so many of the facts that were crammed into our heads as children. We now have Google for that.
  • For the bibliographic details of our friends we have a phone.
  • To find our way from A to B we now have Sat Nav’s.
  • Calculators have replaced the need for mental arithmetic
  • Email has mostly replaced letter writing.
  • Smart watches are replacing our diaries.
  • Fit bits are monitoring our health.
  • Handsfree devices allow us to talk when we cannot use our phones.
  • Hive thermostats can control the heating in our homes.
  • Alexa can control your lighting.
  • Google assistant can control your music collection.
  • Amazon tabs can order your favourite items.
  • Siri knows far more about you than anyone else does (as does Facebook).
  • E readers are possibly replacing books.
  • Netflix are replacing the television stations.
  • Air B and B is changing travel accommodation.
  • Uber is revolutionizing travel transportation.
  • Just Eat is controlling where we get our takeaways from.
  • Cars no longer need keys for the ignition.
  • I)What else are we able to do without in order to increase the time available to ourselves for creative interests?
  • II)Are you scared by how much technology exists in our lives, it’s ability to learn and possibly to go rogue at some point?
  • III)Are we turning into mindless robots being programmed by exposure to so much media and our subsequent consumption of it?
  • IV)What does it mean to be human nowadays as we are relying more and more on technology for our every need?
  • Best wishes
  • Angela