LoriB.me

Rambling On…

12 More Days in Oakland — 03/16/2011

12 More Days in Oakland

I hella heart Oakland

We are moving in 12 days and I am starting to freak out. Our house is full of boxes. Everything is different. I will miss our house terribly. We have lived here for 8 years and I have loved every minute of it.

Karen is very busy seeing people before we leave. I have seen a few people. There are more I want to see, but probably won’t because there are so many things going on and I can barely even stand to think about adding more things.

Things keep breaking. As if there weren’t enough things to do, we have added waiting around for repair people to the list. Our washer broke one day before the warranty expired. It was a weekend, but Sears let us use it because we called before the expiration date. That was very lucky. We were not so lucky about our freezer. That one expired in December. It has been leaky and not freezing things as it should. Tomorrow is the day for that repair. Spent 3.5 hours at Costco yesterday waiting for tires. Considering we will be driving almost 3,000 miles, I think it was worth the wait. Hopefully we will get out of here before we spend all our money on repairs.

Mostly I am freaking out because I can not at all picture what it will be like to live in Baltimore day-to-day. I don’t interact with very many people here, but over the years, I have managed to not be completely isolated from the outside world.

There are 3 ways that I can interact comfortably with people I don’t know very well:

  1. Geek events – meetups, conferences, cons, camps, etc. It is easier to talk to people at these events because we share the same interest and excitement about whatever technology we are celebrating at the moment.
  2. Beer – I like to drink a beer with people sometimes. Maybe even a scotch or Jack and Coke. Still not terribly easy, but definitely takes the edge off.
  3. Martial arts – Even though I have such a hard time talking to people, for some reason, I usually have an easy time fighting with them. I think this is strange, but I don’t really care.

I am not worried too much about having a beer. I think that will happen on its own. I have been researching Baltimore geekery and found a few meetups, including WordPress. Hopefully I will meet new people to work with and talk shop with. I have met some really great people here through WordPress meetups and I will miss them a lot. I have also been looking for a new karate (or other random martial arts) school with weekday daytime classes. If it wasn’t for karate, it is very likely I would have no human contact for most of my waking hours.

I am lucky to know some people in Baltimore already, one of whom I am especially excited to be living near again (that is you Kim, if you are reading this). Over the years, I have met lots of Karen’s friends there and have always had a good time with them. They are very welcoming and down to earth and strangely easy to be around. Thanks K’s friends!

As each day passes, we are doing more and more “lasts”. It is possible we will do all those things again someday, but probably not for a very long time. Today might be the last time I go to San Francisco before we leave. Karen will go back next week to party with her friends. It is all very strange. I don’t like it. Still, I am looking forward to new adventures in Baltimore and am very curious what life will be like a few weeks from now.

Karen and Lori’s Big Adventure — 03/10/2011

Karen and Lori’s Big Adventure

We are moving in 18 days! I can hardly believe it. In honor of the occasion, I did what I do for just about every occasion and built us a website to track our drive across the country and further adventures in Baltimore. Karen and I will both be posting stories, maps, pictures, etc.

There is not much there yet, but if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and visit us at KarenandLori.com 🙂

Autism and Empathy — 03/01/2011

Autism and Empathy

I watched a great video today featuring John Elder Robison that touched on the subject of Empathy and Autism. There is a popular opinion that people with autism do not have empathy. I am not sure if this true.

I think I am a very empathetic person, but I am not completely sure that I am empathetic in the way that other people are. Sometimes, when I see someone who is sad, I feel sad too. If it is someone very close to me, I can feel their sadness like it is my own. Sometimes even worse. I think this is similar how most people experience empathy. On other occasions, I think I can not experience empathy in the common way due to not always understanding the way the general population thinks and feels.

There have been many times in my life where I have found myself being stared at in exasperation by someone because I do not understand what they are feeling or why they would be feeling a certain way. Sometimes, I can look back and understand what I had done wrong, but other times, it remains a mystery.

One thing I really have a hard time with are social conventions and expectations having to do with clothing. I will never understand why it is acceptable to wear uncomfortable clothes (that may possibly even endanger your life if you have to run from someone!), but wearing clothing that has been aged to soft perfection is looked down upon if it is beat up looking or has holes.

Over the years, I have learned that it is sometimes embarrassing for people to be seen with me because they are concerned about what other people will think about them, about me, or both. I accept that as a fact and often try to not put people into this uncomfortable position. The conflict comes when I do not have the energy to go along with this and/or am very upset by it for some reason, like entering a situation that is terribly uncomfortable and having the added stress of not wearing familiar and comfortable clothing. I realize that I am much more sensitive about clothing than most people, but it is not something I can change, and therefore, always something I have to deal with.

Even though the situation above is only about clothing, it can cause strong feelings of anger, disappointment, and sadness. I can not always empathize with someone who is feeling a lot of anger or sadness because of the way I dress, even if I completely understand why they are feeling the way they do. There are plenty of other situations where this applies that have nothing at all to do with clothing.

I have often been labeled “non-compliant” or “anti-social” and perceived as a person that does not care about anyone or anything, including myself. Lack of empathy is just the tip of that iceberg. School officials, medical professionals, and even sometimes people who are close to me have believed that I don’t care and/or don’t understand what they are thinking or feeling.

It is true that often I have not understood. Over the years, I understand more and more. It has never been true that I don’t care even if I acted like it. Does not understanding and thereby not being able to feel what I “should” be able to mean that I am not empathetic? I think it might.

In the Apple widget dictionary, empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” If I don’t understand why someone is feeling something, even if it is a feeling that most people would instinctively understand, by definition I can not empathize with them.

As usual, this is getting rambly and I have ended up with more questions than answers. John Elder Robison is taking part in some studies that may someday figure out these mysteries and I am very curious what becomes of them. Does anyone else have thoughts about the experience and/or non-experience of empathy in autistic people?

LoriB.me — 02/13/2011

LoriB.me

The new name and URL of this site is LoriB.me. I have been thinking of changing it for a few years but wasn’t quite ready to let go of LBnuke. Today I was ready. All old links will be automatically redirected, but please update your bookmarks.

Welcome to LoriB.me 🙂

Fourty-Four — 02/08/2011

Fourty-Four

When I was in grade school, kids used to call me “44” because the big serial killer of the moment (1976-77) was David Berkowitz, aka “Son of Sam”, aka the “.44 Caliber Killer”. For those of you missing the connection, my last name is Berkowitz. My birthday just passed on January 28th and I turned 44. For obvious reasons, this has reminded me of my old nickname. It was one of the nicest nicknames I had during grade school. One other observation that I have had concerning my birthday is that it is pretty cool to turn 44 in ’11. Not sure why.

I had a great birthday. Highlights of the day were Macworld 2011 (regardless of the iPad-centricity), birthday cake with a bee on it, and champagne 🙂 (Thank you K!)

The night before my birthday, Karen was kind enough to join me at an HTML5 meetup in San Francisco where Paul Irish, an awesome front-end development genius, was speaking about HTML5 Boilerplate, “A rock-solid default for HTML5 awesome”. If you are very sad that you missed it and would like to see it now, here it is!

Goodbye Kito — 02/05/2011
Mad World of Warcraft Cataclysm — 01/22/2011

Mad World of Warcraft Cataclysm

WoW! What a great video written and performed by Brunhila on YouTube! An exceptionally well done video showing and describing the WoW world after Cataclysm to the tune of “Mad World” by Tears for Fears.

Mad World of Cataclysm Lyrics:

All around me are the brand-new races,
Messed up places, forlorn faces.
Deathwing broke the world I knew in pieces,
Flooded cities, unveiled new species.
Suddenly I’ve got a crappy gearscore,
No one invites me, pugs don’t like me.
Back to griding rep and max professions,
New achievements, quest progression.

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad,
Disenchanting all these epics after wanting them so bad.
It’s so humiliating, I’m upgrading with greens,
Hearthing back to Stormwind in a very, very,
Mad world.

Yesterday I was an epic raider,
Purple blader, Lich King slayer,
Now I’m not well-geared enough to get in,
Bastion of Twilight, Throne of the Four Winds.
Cued for randoms, I was very nervous,
No one knew me, pulled right through me.
Hello trainer. Tell me what’s my lesson?
Reforge this. Don’t stack that anymore.

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad,
Disenchanting all these epics after wanting them so bad.
It’s so humiliating, I’m upgrading with greens,
Hearthing back to Stormwind in a very, very,
Mad world.

Minesweeper Madness — 01/14/2011

Minesweeper Madness

The best version of Minesweeper I have played so far on the mac.

Favorite minesweeper app for iPhone :

Both of these apps are free.

2011: The First 9 Days — 01/09/2011

2011: The First 9 Days

Baltimore

Even though we are only 9 days in to 2011, this year has been pretty crazy so far. So crazy, that 2010 is already kind of a blur. Karen and I are trying to get ready to move to Baltimore in April and there are so many things to do, it boggles my mind. We are both crazy busy with work, cats, packing, cleaning, and about a million other things.

I have not had much time or energy to post here on LBnuke other than the ‘Please vote for AWN’ series. Thank you so much to everyone who voted! We came very close a few times, but did not win. As it turned out, we made lots of good connections and will be able to do many of the things we wanted to do with the contest money. I think 2011 will be a great year for the Autism Women’s Network 🙂

2010 was the best year ever for BeeDragon, my business. I have been crazy busy and am now working on 2 large projects that were not supposed to overlap. It seems to be common in this business for clients to be very late with their content. Thankfully one of the projects has been sticking to the planned schedule. I still dream of having some kind of  partnership, network, whatever, where I am not a one person shop. My ideal team consists of me doing general web development, an awesome graphic designer, and a business manager. I don’t know anything at all about the local Baltimore web dev community, but hopefully I will find it quickly!

LBnuke 2011: I am in the process of adapting LBnuke to be a little more Tumblr like so that it will be easier for me to post things here. Right now, I am running an early release version of WordPress 3.1 so that I can play around with ‘post-formats’ and learn how to work with them in theme files and templates. As usual, WordPress makes this pretty easy.

Time to get back to work now. 2011 will be a big adventure for me and K. My current plan is to avoid going insane while so many things are going on at once. So far this is going ok except that I fall asleep a lot. At the end of March, either me and Karen or just Karen will go to Baltimore to find a place to live. At the beginning of April, we will pack up our cats and drive across country.