Archive for August, 2010


In my last post, I talked about some of the things about being an “Aspie” that can be depressing.  In this one, I want to talk about one of the things that’s awesome about it– and that is the enjoyment I get out of doing something related to my “special interest.”

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on writing some code in Javascript for my football Web site that will generate a graphical record of every drive in a football game from a set of numbers and names.

For example, the code will create this image…

… if you enter this data:

[[“kick”, 30, “S.Hauschka”], “pit”, 14, “G.Russell”, 34, 84, 7, “3:38”, [“FG”, 34, “good”, “J.Reed”]]

The image represents a kickoff from the Baltimore 30 to the Pittsburgh 14, returned to the Pittsburgh 34.  Pittsburgh drives 50 yards in 7 plays to the Baltimore 16 using 3:38 on the game clock.  Finally, Pittsburgh tries a 34-yard field goal, which is good.

All of the data comes from the list of numbers and names.  (In case you’re wondering, the player names would show up in info boxes when you move your mouse pointer over one of the lines in the image; I didn’t demonstrate that in this example.)

There are typically 25-35 drives in a football game.  If I tried to make images like the one above manually, I could do it, but it would take me days to create the image for a single game, and I’d never be able to keep up with all the games I’d like to cover for my site.  But if I can use Javascript to generate the image automatically, all I will need are the numbers and names.
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A few days ago, I got to see some of my classmates from Cedarville again for the first time in quite a while.  One of my friends was getting married, and it was a lovely wedding in which God was honored.

After the wedding, we went to the reception, which was held in the church’s gymnasium, and I found where my Cedarville friends were sitting and sat with them.

Have you ever been annoyed with yourself because you were in a time that should have been joyful and fun, but you were in a gloomy mood for no good reason?  I think that sort of happened to me.

As I think back on it now, there were a few things that were working against me.  To begin with, a wedding is the type of occasion that tests a lot of areas that I am weak in.  Making sure I am ready to go to the wedding requires using a lot of those executive functioning skills that are often tricky for Aspies.  I needed to make sure I had planned out what I was going to wear, what I needed to bring, and especially when I needed to leave in order to get there on time.  Driving increases my stress level a little more, and being in a social situation by myself bumps it up another level.

(What a whiny person I’m being!  I’m making it sound as if it’s such a hardship to do things that are a matter of simple courtesy.  This is part of the reason I’m annoyed with myself.  The fact is that it wasn’t that hard– I was glad that my friend invited me to her wedding, and I wanted to be there to share my best wishes for her and her husband.  I have a love/hate relationship with social situations in that part of me tries to avoid them, but I think deep down I really want to spend time with other people, and I almost always feel better after I have, even if it’s tiring sometimes.)

But the thing that seemed to mess up the meeting with my Cedarville classmates the most was unexpected– it was because I had a lot of trouble hearing what they were saying.  I mentioned that the reception was held in a gymnasium.  With so many people in a room with a basketball court for a floor, the echoing sounds of people’s voices in the background made it really hard for me to understand what my friends were saying.

It made me wonder if I’m losing my hearing.  I do like to listen to music a lot– is it possible the music is too loud?  Or is this more likely due to my brain processing sound input differently?  I have a difficult time tuning out background noise.

Whatever the case, I tried to have a conversation with each of my friends from Cedarville, but I wasn’t able to follow the larger conversation they were having as a group.  It got me thinking about how back when I was still going to Cedarville, I often felt the same way– not that I couldn’t hear what people were saying, but that I just didn’t know how to participate in the conversation on the same level as my friends.  It was sort of like being behind an invisible wall.  I wonder if it seemed to them like I was pushing other people away.

When I was talking to each of my classmates, I asked about how they were doing and what they were up to since graduating from Cedarville.  They are a bunch of really neat, talented people!  But it made me think about how little I knew about each of them even when I was still at Cedarville.

Anyway, sorry for making such a gloomy post.  I suppose that the positive side of this story is that it means I am getting a little better at interacting with others than I was ten years ago.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been such a shock to think back to how I was then.