It feels like such a cliché, but all sorts of things have happened to me in the last couple of weeks that makes it feel like I’ve turned some sort of corner. I’m being healthier, I’m reading and writing more, and I’m staying on top of things. And almost all of it is due to three tools I got right around the start of the year.
I got approached by an autism aggregate blog to list my blog, which is neat. I filled out the form, but they said it might take a week to get added, which is fine. That same day, my blog got more views in a single day than ever before, but also more spam comments.
Still, this is what I was hoping for when I became more active on here. While I may have left Facebook, I am still looking for communities, and people to interact with. I’m hoping that more traffic might drive some conversations about things I’ve posted, but also it was nice to look at the list and find other personal blogs about autism to follow and read.
I’m in Chicago to celebrate New Year’s before New Year’s. Every year for nearly 20 years, a group of my college friends have gathered, even as we’ve grown and spread across the country. Most of us started in the Midwest, and Chicago has had the largest center of gravity, pulling many into its orbit.
Chicago terrified me when I was younger. Then, I thought it was my innate naturalism rebelling against the grid of concrete and steel plastered across the land. While that’s nicely romantic, now that I know more about myself, I think it was more the complexity of it. I’ve managed to move to Des Moines, which is one of three metropolitan areas in Iowa that has a higher population than the capacity of Wrigley Field, and I feel comfortable. Des Moines is a lot less complicated than Chicago.
And this year, being on Lexapro, I’m a lot more comfortable with my friends. In past years, I was usually burned out after surviving the holidays with my parents, and spent a lot of these New Year’s celebrations sick in some way. Last year, I got some sort of flu, and missed most of it. The year before I had a stomach flu and didn’t even attend.
This year, the group is smaller. Fewer made the trek this time. Next year will be twenty years, and everyone is planning to attend, but right now it’s only two other families. Five adults and five kids. This year, I’m present and enjoying myself. I think this coming year is going to be a better year, and at least I’ll be better prepared to handle Chicago like complexity in my life.
I’m trying to decide if Destiny is like the ex- that you continually hook up with knowing that it’s a bad idea and it’s not going to last, or if it’s like the ex- that you always wanted to be with and maybe it’ll work this time because you’ve both grown.
Destiny has definitely grown. I finally unlocked the Menagerie last night, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. Like the Black Forge, which is also unlocked, though I guess now I can start grinding out the weapons and armor. If I’m looking for something to do, which I’m not really. I’m still having a blast grinding out daily bounties. And I’m slowly gaining light while doing it.
What’s interesting is that there seems to be ongoing new endgame activities based around the seasons, so that once I do get up near the hard cap, there will still be something to do. I ran into some of the Vex Offensive open world events on the Moon last season, and they were fun, but I haven’t started the Sundial event yet. Like I said, right now I’m perfectly happy grinding out these dailies, and now there’s also the Dawning, so I’m trying to bake and deliver cookies to different characters, which is a fun, if a little strange, activity to be doing.
Something that I was a little surprised by when I started looking into getting a diagnosis was the antagonism directed towards the self-diagnosed. In the online communities, I’ve run into several people who haven’t pursued a clinical diagnosis but still call themselves autistic, and then there are diagnosed members of the community who feel that these people are either lying about having autism or pretending to have it. Like most of these things in online forums, there’s no evidence to back up these claims, only the poster’s personal experience, so really they’re stating their belief, not a fact. Still, there’s a lot of resentment towards the idea that someone would pretend to have autism in order to get accommodations, presumably because accommodations have to be fought for, but again, there’s no evidence that the self-diagnosed in the forums have done this. I think there’s also a sense of horror and frustration that someone would want to have this condition.
It’s tricky. In my personal experience, I didn’t declare myself to be autistic until I had a diagnosis. I said I suspected that I was, and part of the reason why I got the diagnosis was to establish whether or not it was true. I don’t know if it’s really possible to truly self-diagnose autism within yourself. I mean, yeah, I could look at a list of symptoms and say I think I experience all of these, but I think that’s something different than sitting down with a trained professional and having them examine you. But apparently it’s hard, or it’s not possible, for some people to go after a diagnosis.
I don’t know. I think I would have a hard time taking the mantle of being autistic without having the diagnosis. I got the diagnosis because I wanted to know. I wanted to be sure, and have another person verify what I was seeing.
But still, when I see someone rant about the self-diagnosed, I can’t help but feel a little bit sympathetic, a little bit like I was once part of that group, even though I didn’t say that I was autistic until I had the diagnosis. I lurked about the forums for a long time before I got the diagnosis.
It was kind of a rough day. Not too bad, I guess. We went to a beer tasting at The Hall, and while it wasn’t a lot of beer, it was really high alcohol beer, especially compared to what I usually drink, what my body is used to. So I wasn’t exactly hungover, but I felt pretty worn out all day, like I was getting over a long illness or something. It’ll feel good to get to bed tonight.
I’d never been to The Hall before, but it’s a really cool place. It’s an apprentice program and restaurant incubator, with a cool social justice slant. The food will be unique and different every night, and there’s a bar with 60 different kegs on tap. The joint was jumping for a weekday night, and our beer class was a small portion of the people who were there. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t been there yet.
But the most important test—whether the printer could print a house on the site—went well. The printer works by squirting a concrete mixture in layers to build floors and walls. Software monitors the weather conditions, and the machine can adjust the mixture. “In the morning it might be drier, and then late in the afternoon, maybe it’s more humid, and then you’ll adjust that mixture a little bit in accordance to that that you get the viscosity that you need in order to have the same print quality throughout the day,” says New Story cofounder Alexandria Lafci.
The team can use an app to make slight adjustments to the blueprint on site, but the printing process is essentially autonomous. To make it even more efficient, it’s possible to print multiple houses simultaneously. The first two homes were printed at the same time, in a total of 24 hours over multiple days, because the team wanted to work only in daylight hours; in the future, they hope to run the machine for longer periods, making it even faster. New Story has partnered with a local nonprofit, Echale a Tu Casa, to finish the parts of the homes that can’t be 3D-printed, providing jobs to local construction workers.
This looks really cool, but I think the neatest part is how they decided to field test it in a jungle near a seismic zone. The 50 families who are getting these homes (for free!) will be moving from corrugated tin shacks without plumbing.
Some families toured the first two houses last week, noting how the new homes would stay dry in heavy rain and contrasting it with their current homes. “When it starts to rain, the house starts flooding and it is worse at night,” one future resident, Candelaria Hernández, said of the one-room shack where she currently lives with seven family members. “You have to wake up to put pots around the house so it things don’t get wet.”