Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘autism’

As Easy As Counting To Eight

Did you know that you can go to The Hunger Site and Click To Give daily and donate (for free through various sponsors) to these causes/issues?

MSF_Value_Espen25c_MonthlyGift_160x600_LP-Alternate7.50Hunger

Breast Cancer

Animals

Veterans

Autism

Child Health

Literacy

Rainforest

With each click 5 cents are donated to the specific organization. It may not seem like much, but if you do it daily it can add up to several hundred dollars in a years time.

Go to The Hunger Site can click on the buttons at the top of their home page.

It also connects you with other sites such as Doctors Without Borders.

Three Weeks In December

Three Weeks In December by Audrey Schulman
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans
New York Journal of Books
January 31, 2012

Like the plants, people, seasons, and animal life of Africa, Three Weeks in December will stay embedded in your memory for many years to come. Once you’ve touched ground with the antagonists, there is a feeling of intimacy and knowing that rarely occurs in a novel. This vibrant creation is actually two novellas wrapped in to one volume, with the stories alternating between Jeremy in 1899 in East Africa and Max in Rwanda in the year 2000.

The contrasts between the characters are extreme—yet there is also a similarity between them. Jeremy is hired as an engineer to help build a railroad through what is now known as Tanzania, in British controlled territory, while Max is engaged as a botanist by a pharmaceutical company to find a rare plant (for commercial purposes) in the gorillas’ sanctuary of the Virunga National Park.

Jeremy is a white man who is part of “progress” and “modernization,” while also hunting and being hunted by people-eating lions. Max is a black woman who arrives in Rwanda seeking to learn, observe, discover and appreciate the people, gorillas and life she finds. Both are completely out of their element.

Jeremy and Max were alienated and ostracized in America. Jeremy, because of his sexual preference and Max because of her Asperger’s (autism). Whereas, Jeremy’s family and community shamed and ostracized his very existence, Max’s mother fought for her tooth and nail throughout her life. Her mother’s determination is described as, “She was worn down as a rock pulled from the sea. All weaknesses battered away.”

In many respects, Max’s behavior and the description of her reactions, thoughts, and feelings as an “Aspie” closely resemble the real life professor, Temple Grandin, whose life has been popularized in book and film. A superb line offers a glimpse into how one woman with Asperger’s lives within: “The loneliness of her skin.”

Once in Africa, Max and Jeremy’s social anxiety and fears are confronted with torrential monsoons of choices in their individual environments and cultural situations. In order to literally survive, they must take chances, step outside themselves and trust others—a difficult task in the best of times, let alone in the worst.

Their past realities and moral compasses are continually questioned. At one point, Max is thinking, “She marveled once again at how chameleon was the human mind—capable of shucking off a lifetime of values fast as a dirty shirt—able to angle the facts toward whatever it found convenient.”

Read complete review at New York Journal of Books.

American Idol Rocks On!

Our young man from my hometown Santa Cruz, James Durbin, is rocking American Idol week after week and as of today, is in the top 7. That is out of over 100,000 people that tried out for the show this season. Quite amazing, considering the odds.

Not only has James continued to stay true to his interests, style and background, but he’s also been able to be quite authentic and not get too caught up in all the hype, publicity and judgments from the show, media and public.

Everyone talks about what he’s been through (father died young from overdose) and what he lives with (autism and Tourette Syndrome) and his supportive and affirmation producing girlfriend and their child, but what is most important and should be the quality that is most desired, is the music that comes through him (heart and soul).

James seems to be a natural performer and in some ways like Lady Gaga, is able to actualize what he sees in his head on stage. Combine that with a good voice and musicianship and it looks like he’s got it all.

Regardless of whether he ends up “winning” this season or not (as voted by the same people who voted off the best singer of the lot – Pia Toscano), James will have a long career doing what he loves and continuing to bring people to their feet.

American Idol has never had someone quite like James. Season eights runner-up Adam Lambert was probably the closest in temperament and musical variety. Adam has an amazing voice, which is more nuanced than James, but James is also James and when you hear him and see him, you know who it is right away… a big time winner against all odds on America’s most watched television show.

Tag Cloud