“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” is a popular television series on Fox involving a robot that displays many Asperger traits. The whole gist of the story is this: Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) has a son, John (Thomas Dekker). John is being pursued by a Terminator that wants to destroy him. They recruit Cameron, a Terminator played by actress Summer Glau, who has been reprogrammed to help instead of hurt John (Good Terminator) and off they go running from the Bad Terminator and trying to figure out how to stop him. In between plots, there are love stories, adolescent angst, and plenty of robots getting blown up, shredded, burned, then putting themselves back together in a strange Humpty-Dumpty fashion and reactivating themselves to chase after John again. Pretty typical life for a teenage boy.

Cameron, the Good Terminator, follows John wherever he goes, including school. Although she is beautiful, it’s not long before John and everyone else who interacts with her realizes that she is a little bit “different.” She is supposed to be able to blend in and interact with real humans better than the other robots, but she has her, um, moments.

The following examples may not have been discussed yet, but all traits you’ll eventually see dissected on this site:

Telling the truth with brutal honesty without regarding the feelings of others:
High school bathroom with lots of teenager girls. One girl asks Cameron if she looks fat in the outfit. Cameron says of course she does and her reply results in a string of profanity from the girl seeking advice. Obviously surprised by the girl’s anger, Cameron reminds her, “You asked.”

Literal Interpretation or Misinterpretation of Phrases/Not Understanding pop culture or slang phrases:
Sarah, John, and Cameron are all getting into a vehicle. “I call shotgun,” John says, while getting in the front passenger seat. To which Cameron says, “I call nine millimeter.” (Which is probably what she’ll use to disable a Bad Terminator within the next 10 minutes of the scene.)

Using appropriate social skills or phrases, but not doing so smoothly. Timing is off, phrase is somewhat incorrect, or the social skill is right mannerism/wrong time:
Cameron is conducting a bank heist to access a special vault that will take them to another time. “Everybody on the ground,” she yells, brandishing a firearm. But remembering her programmed manners, she follows it up with (after a brief pause), “Please.”

Picks up a small boy by the collar, lifting him from the ground and tells him very sternly that there’s a chance the Bad Robots will kill him and his parents. (After all, he needs honesty.) When Sarah gives her the “What the hell are you doing,” reprimand, Cameron quickly remembers proper social rituals and asks the young boy, “Would you like a bedtime story?” Yeah, he’d probably like that. Along with being put back on the ground and dry pants, now that the ones he’s wearing are soaked with urine.

Needs to be reminded of personal space:
John (to Cameron): “When you talk to people, don’t stand so close.” Of course, there’s a practical explanation for this. Cameron (to John): “I’m assessing the threat level.” (Obviously. She needs to determine if it’s time to call nine millimeter.)

Image: William Hook on Flickr

#24 Dating Themselves

Written by SAPL on October 15th, 2008 in Marriage and Dating, Socialization.

Image: badjonni on Flickr

Someone once said “Love Thyself.” This motto is good for anyone to live by, but Asperger people take the advice one step further: Love thyself and date thyself.

How would you describe a person who dates themselves? Narcissistic? Strange? Nonsense! It’s simply relationship heaven for Asperger people. Since they enjoy solitude so much, it’s no surprise they often choose to go solo during many social activities. Unlike neurotypicals, they freely partake in movie outings, dinners, museum visits, concerts, you name it, and without worrying about having someone to accompany them. Asperger people love to date themselves! Aspies find nothing odd about this practice and are quite surprised to learn neurotypicals have completely different viewpoints.

In conversation, an Asperger person might ask [insert neurotypical X] if she went to see the musical

Jersey Boys. A neurotypical person might reply with, “No, I was going to go, but I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.”

“How ridiculous,” the Aspie person thinks to herself. “Why would anyone miss out on so much fun just because they can’t find anyone to go with them?”

The older the Asperger person gets, the more she learns just how ridiculous this neurotypical rule applies to “the others,” from shopping to sports games to relieving oneself in the lavatory. As a result, the Aspie vows to live life even fuller by themselves, trying their hardest never to miss any fun because everyone else’s calendar is full, no one else likes similar types of movies, or no one else at the dinner table has the urge to tinkle.

And dating oneself has tons of perks for the Aspie as he never has to compromise on when, where, and what to do. This ensures that most dates can involve the special interest, the date can never complain about going to the same restaurant every Friday night and use this as an example to bring up “inflexibility” in couples therapy, or bash him in front of their girlfriends about the lack of “spontaneity” in the relationship.

Naturally, safety should always be considered when dating oneself and dates in places like dark streets or deserted areas aren’t desirable. The Aspie female unfortunately will find herself surrounded by various male “friends” if she chooses to take herself on a date to a bar where the social rule followed by drunk neurotypical males is to offer her a drink in hopes she will break up with herself and date them. Yes, cautions of dating oneself should not be taken lightly. Always meet yourself in a public place. Email is good, but give yourself your phone number only if you feel comfortable.

Much neurotypical chatter takes place about the Asperger who is known to date him or herself. If you could Google this chatter, keywords might be “isolated,” or “loner” or “I never see her with anyone.” But the next time a nosy neurotypical poses one of their most nuisance questions, “Are you even dating anyone?” quickly turn to them and say, “Darn right. I’m dating myself.”

#23 Worrying: Working The Wigdala

Written by SAPL on October 5th, 2008 in Uncategorized.

Have you worked your wigdala today? Sounds strange, I know. Maybe even a little dirty. Allow me to explain with a brief lesson in Neuroscience 101.

The brain is divided into several areas, some of which are more responsible for some activities than others. The cerebellum, for example, coordinates muscle movements, which may lead some Aspies to wonder what the heck happened to theirs as their clumsiness can only leave them to hope for a Forrest Gump-like athleticism. Another area would be the amygdala, which plays a key role in regulating emotions. There is a center of the brain that has become a hot topic in research and will soon generate millions of money that intellectual con-artists known as PhD grant writers with snatch. That area, responsible for the center of worrying in Asperger People, is called the Wigdala.

Asperger people worry a lot. Day in and day out. It’s possible Aspies worry in their sleep as well, but a person’s bedroom activities are a private matter. The Asperger will worry about every anticipated problem or situation that might come up and wonder how on earth they will deal with it. When a solution is not reached, they may worry that it’s taking too long to come up with one. They worry about things might happen, things that might not happen and how to make things happen.

All of these worries and fears result in a super wigdala, or a wigdala on steroids. It has been increased significantly in size from being worked so hard, the Asperger finds himself wigged out (others use the terms physically and emotionally exhausted).

Some neurotypicals might innocently try to calm the Aspie, saying phrases such as, “You know, 99% of the things you worry about don’t come true.” Fantastic! Now the Asperger has more worries to add to the collection: When will the 1% event come true? And which worry is that 1% instance? I wish I knew, so I could think of plan A-ZZZ to conquer it.

It may be argued that what some Asperger people need are slight boost of confidences to remember all the many times they have successfully dealt with any difficult situation that caused anxiety in the past. That right. You own your wigdala; your wigdala does not own you! (Note: This is the point where usually you are asked to send $99.95 for a Wigdala Working Kit, complete with a pamphlet containing testimonials by people who’ve found success with the Wigdala Working Kit, but whose results are not typical.)

Positive Wigdala Working consists of simply remembering the times when the Asperger person showed the wigdala who’s boss. It might help to make a list of those events. And that’s where Microsoft Excel comes in handy. With 65,536 rows and 256 columns, there are a total of 16,777,216 cells in one worksheet! That’s enough cells to document a whopping 3% of a Asperger person’s daily worries and how she successfully, through hair pulling and marathon fatigue at the end of the day, made it through them.

Image: Quick Silver on Surfer Village

Ladies, ladies, ladies: This special Asperger People In The News Is For You.

Clay Marzo is a good looking man in Hawaii who loves to surf and will be flashing his Malibu looks in the movie, “Just Add Water.” Funds from the DVD sales will go to Surfers Healing an organization dedicated to fighting autism. Marzo is 19 years young and only recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Like many Aspies, he’s always been drawn to his special interest and has become quite skilled at it. He has been recognized with 3 NSSA National Surfing Titles, a nomination for Maneuver (Surfing, that is) of the Year at the 2007 Surfer Magazine Poll and Video Awards, as well as video appearances in various surf movies.

Surfing does wonderful things for him, just as looking at him might do wonderful things for you.

“Just the feeling to get off the social side of everyone, just go surf and free your mind,” Marzo said.

He reports having sensory sensitivities and although sometimes social situations give him a wipeout, he’s quick to get back on board.

Relevant Things Mentioned In This Post:
Going MIA
The Special Interest
Possible Need For Earplugs

If you’re interested in reading the full stories, just go to KHNL as well as Surfer’s Village.

Images: KHNL

#22 Imitation

Written by SAPL on September 17th, 2008 in Socialization.

trekkyandy on Flickr

The Asperger will often imitate to get through various social situations when they are unsure of how to navigate them using their regular social skills and personalities. This can take on several forms from imitating social gestures, professional and business mannerisms, party talk, or even entire characters, such as “The girl pretending to laugh at the stupid boy’s jokes.”

Do you remember the fast food commercial (it may have been McDonald’s) where a business man walks into the eatery and finds one of his co-workers and says something like, “Oh, hi person at work I don’t really know or care about and I’m just here to get my coffee, but I’m still pretending to be friendly because I need to get promoted,” or something of that nature. There is no better explanation for the Aspie’s need to imitate. Situations call for social behaviors and the Aspie must perform them on cue whether it feels natural or not.

In most cases, imitation is good. If you really told the co-worker at McDonald’s, “I was really hoping you’d call in today. I’m going to have to find another McDonald’s or perhaps a Starbucks so I can avoid running into you,” your unemployment claims would outnumber breast implants in Hollywood.

But imitation can have a very dark side. Adolescent Aspies who imitate, “the bad kids,” will not only find themselves in trouble at school, but looking damn ridiculous as well. Imagine your coke bottled glasses, pocket protector wearing, ant-farmed carrying kid grabbing his crotch (held up by suspenders) and telling the teacher, “I don’t do homework #$%@*, I do your mom.” Point taken?

Bad imitation is scary and even an adult Asperger can succumb to it. Adult Aspies may find themselves imitating people they really don’t like or admire, pretending to take on values they really don’t have, faking emotions that are exactly the opposite of what they’re feeling, and having to recite too many scripted and phony responses.

When this happens, it’s tragic, but all is not lost. The yellow pages can sometimes be all the resources one needs for help and a few phone calls to some great divorce attorneys can quickly help the Aspie regain him or herself and snap out of that generic fog.

#21 Eating Routines And Food Presentation Preferences

Written by SAPL on September 8th, 2008 in Uncategorized.

Greefus Groinks on Flickr

It’s been said that there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s. Once the Asperger finds his or her preference for eating the peanut butter chocolate goody, he or she will never eat it differently again. For those of you working in office settings, if you have an Aspie in the office and you know a Reese’s is her favorite treat-offer to buy it 2-3 times for her and watch her as she eats it. She might break the top off and lick the peanut butter, eat the outermost ridges, or take a stab in the middle and leave the ring for the end. Watch carefully and after the 2nd or 3rd time, you’ll find yourself cracking up. Or getting really, really, really weirded out.

Along with Eating The Same Foods Everyday, Aspergers like to stick to eating routines and reliable ways of have their food presented on the plate. That whole, “the kid likes it sliced in triangles and not rectangles,” sandwich thing is no joke for the Aspie. They may even eat in a particular order-green vegetables first, eat clockwise or counterclockwise, no mixing of side dishes, the ridiculous list goes on and on.

This may make for a challenging experience at restaurants when someone who is not as in tuned to the weirdo, or uh, particular eating preferences. If the Aspie is used to his favorite dish with finely chopped cucumbers and it is brought out in big chunks the chef has committed a sin worthy of 2,000 Hail Marys. An innocent waiter may even try to convince the Asperger the dish isn’t suppose to be different than what he received, but the Aspie is no fool! He knows the waiter is trying to pull one over on him in an attempt to get him to shut his mouth and tip well. And so the Aspie becomes even more determined to pursue the case.

“More cornstarch?”

“We don’t use cornstarch. We use potato flour.”

“Different brand of rice?”

“We’ve been using the same rice for the past decade?”

“Different area of the farm the cabbage was picked from?”

“How the #$@! would I know?”

Much ado will take place that involves supervisors, managers, and Prime Ministers if they can take a phone call. Dozens of trips to the kitchen and several conversations with the manager will result in the Aspie finally getting the meal presented in the way he likes–or the meal being dumped on his head, depending on if the waiter was able to sneak in a smoke break.

#20 Correcting

Written by SAPL on September 3rd, 2008 in Socialization.

Vesentico/Sento on Flickr

In the world of Aspergerness, there are usually 2 colors: Black and White. It’s either right or wrong, with no possibilities of shades in between. However, for many Aspies, the color palate can be expanded slightly to allow for times when others forget what color an issue should fall under: That color is red-for correction.

Aspies love to correct, both people and inanimate objects. It is an innate tendency that they attempt to conceal though numerous methods-biting the tongue or lip, pretending not to see or hear the mistake, or maybe convincing themselves that there really is another way of looking at it. But sooner or later, a huge volcanic-like reaction will occur in their bodies and minds, forcing them to tell the world just how things really should be.

This is helpful at times. We’d all like to know when there’s spinach on our teeth. If you hire an Aspie as your personal assistant, you ensure you’ll never be in the presence of your future in-laws with an unzipped fly. Ditto for bad grammar, incorrect or twisted facts, mispronunctiations, and your tendency to strech or leave out parts of a story. “There aren’t 12 monkeys at the zoo. Three of those are actually chimpanzees.

A tender moment between a couple can quickly be ruined by the Aspie’s need to correct. “You’re eyes are as blue as the sky,” will quickly be followed by, “The sky is more cyan than regular blue. If you think my eyes are cyan, that’s fine, but blue isn’t the best descriptive word if you’re going to be using the sky as a simile.” This same partner was rebuked last week for writing a love letter rife with spelling errors that the Aspie circled in red and returned.

A lover who finds him or herself in this situation can be redeemed by the all time symbol of couple apology and makeup: Buying a gift for the Aspie partner. Red pens and white out make good stocking stuffers as well as books containing titles like, “Myths Uncovered,” “Secrets Exposed,” and “The Truth About,” as they give the Aspie the reassurance that you agree upon the core values of any good relationship: trust, love, and a strong sense of telling each other and the rest of the world how everything that comes out of their mouths or is written by their hand is completely screwed up.

If you’re an Aspie and think something in this post is amiss, please correct it by saying something in the comment box.

Scroll down and read text below video, then watch video to hear Stuff Asperger People Like Being Named Dropped!

Stuff Asperger People Like has been name dropped by the authors@google program. The author of Stuff White People Like, Christian Lander, spoke at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters. While he was being introduced, a nice young lady spoke about how viral the Stuff People Like Movement has become, with all the spinoffs it has generated. Stuff Asperger People Like was mentioned as one of her favorites! Throw your parties and watch this video to hear Stuff Asperger People Like mentioned! But of course, don’t watch it with other people. Go MIA to a private room and be alone. While you’re at it, eat the same sesame noodle dish you’ve always eaten at 7:30 PM for the past decade. Don’t forget your nerd porn.

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