Category Archives: Unsolicited Advice

A letter to my friend whose child is newly diagnosed

I have so much to say, do not know where to start. I think the first thing to say is that now you know that your child’s brain is differently wired, you can help him manoeuver through living. He is still himself, it’s just you now have a clue how to work with him.

Visit resources that are developed by Autistics themselves. They know how we tick, what tools that work for them, what does not work. Avoid any websites or resources that describe us in demeaning or less than human pathology. (Look up Autism Speaks Sucks for a better description.) He is not defective, he is only disabled because society disables people like him.

If you want to the key to his success, look at his interest and work with it. Note I did not say “fixation”. I do not pathologise interests of anyone. People see fixation; I see an opportunity for Autistics to excel. I had a few main foci (Horse Racing, Narnia, Ham Radio and Winston Churchill). I managed to use what I loved and made my career choices based on them. I had a history degree because I loved Churchill. I was a theologian because of CS Lewis. And when I was denied my theological dream because of who I was, it was the thoroughbred horses that landed me my dream jobs and by the grace of God, restored me. I am now working with the Tote network inside the Churchill Downs corporate office! I wished the ghosts of Kentucky Derby winners past would have visited me earlier as a child, in middle school, and in May 2005 and tell me that my life work will be working in the horse racing industry and I must NOT give up on life.

My bosses throughout the years helped me succeed. Most of the work were on a printed checklist. I told them I preferred explicit instructions. When I was at Winners’ Circle, the bosses noticed I was very good at handicapping races, that I could understand complex concepts, that I wanted more challenges than just guiding people to their tables. I would tell my bosses about my methods to handicapping. In return, I became a programme seller and a mutuels clerk. They saw potential. They took me seriously. I even had my own contest, complete with posters printed by Hoosier Park.

Your child will need mentors during his life. I thank God for Gilbert Lefebvre and Martin Schramm. They took me in when I was a teenager and then an adult. Find a Godly person, for (s)he will be his closest person in his life.

Your child will internalise the messages of the world. He will know he is different. He will feel the pressures of trying to Act Normal and would do anything to earn your love and the acceptance of society. I resented my Special Ed classmates for acting inappropriately and making me look defective. But I was wrong to do that. It was the retard language and slurs and how the humor of today made us look less than human.

Your job (and the job of the mentor) is for your child to REJECT the bullshit messages and for him to ACCEPT himself. Fight and teach him to stand up for his right to exist.

Your child will learn on his own timeframe. Throw away the guidelines, autism means both advanced and limited development at the same time. And screw anyone who puts your child down because he goes at his own pace.

You will experience ups and downs. It will be worth it with each step of the way. Your child is made in the image of God. Accept him as the child God have given you. May you all find peace in joy in the One who have made us fearfully wonderful!

Belmont Picks: FWIW

Yesterday, I’ve downloaded the past performances for several undercard races and the Belmont Stakes tomorrow. Spent hours looking and staring, writing notes on race cards. Gave them to my general manager… who I’ve learned took them, copied it, and passed them to other managers. Thanks a lot, now I feel the pressure to do well. I did warn them about the nature of gambling, that these are guesses. So, without further ado, here are my picks for several races at Belmont. Use them for exotics (exactas, trifectas, or superfectas), preferably in boxes to increase one’s chance for hitting it.

RACE 7, THE WOODY STEPHENS, Grade II (11 June, 3:15p)
1) Sharp Azteca (he has the chops)
4) Justin Squared (I’ve seen him run well at the Chick Lang stakes on Preakness Day)
6) Seymourdini (he has a good exacta record)
7) Counterforce (for that overlay. He was second in Chick Lang)
And keep an eye for 11) Mrazek. His connections are also Nyquist’s. But… his speed is not there. Maybe he will keep up with the pace.

RACE 9, THE MOHEGAN SUN METROPOLITAN HANDICAP, Grade I (11 June, 4:41p)

4) Noble Bird
5) Frosted
7) Stanford
11) Calculator

RACE 10, THE WOODFORD RESERVE MANHATTAN, Grade I (11 June, 5:37p)

Now, this race holds a special place in my heart. You see, it was the first race I wagered and brought back my interest after years. Last year, I did an exacta for Big Blue Kitten and Slumber. They won. It’s full circle, now I’m working at the same place I made my wager. (My path in life is unfolding, I do not know what will happen, so I must place my trust in Him.) 5) Big Blue Kitten and 2) Slumber are back. I do not know which one I would use, as there are great horses like…

1) World Approval
6) Ironicus
10) Flintshire
11) Divisdero

RACE 11, BELMONT STAKES, Grade 1 (11 June)

I really like the potential of this race. Challenging but so much talent to choose from. Mix and match your preferred horses with these picks:

1) Governor Malibu
5) Stradivari
11) Exaggerator
13) Creator

I’m divided between 2) Destin and the crazy 10) Lani. He’s more disciplined than in prior weeks, but he ran the Derby and the Preakness! I hope he has the energy to endure! But I really like Creator the best.

Now, enjoy the races, bet responsibly, and cheer on!

I used to have a testimony.

From my early Protestant years, the first thing any born-again Christian should have is a testimony. That was expected from any evangelical Christian.

My testimony was piss poor in comparison to the exciting (and often) sordid stories of various people who later converted. Like the Australian outlaw biker who became part of the Tribe of Judah motorcycle ministry. Or an assortment of pagans/’Satanists’ who would do magickal* stuff… and then they say a spell The Sinner’s Prayer and they have been delivered. Me, I was only an autistic kid who thought Catholicism is not my thing. And why lie about your testimony? It would ruin it.

One year, I was going to be rebaptised and give my testimony one Sunday… but the night before, I had horrid menstrual cramps. No go. (It turned out to be a good thing I was not rebaptized.)

I discovered the internet in high school, and found out at Concordia Irvine that I can get a free web page from Geocities where I can have my political and Christian webpage. It was good, but something strange happened.

I was learning about Christocentrism and the Solas. What was driving my story, me or Christ? What was the point of having a testimony? I had to question that as I see the sordid stories become “Try Jesus and you will get good things” pitches. They choose Jesus, they have subjective emotional extra-Biblical experiences that I cannot support or refute. How do they know their story was true? From their good behaviour? Or their happy beaming family? Or their $ucce$$ful living? Anyone with a Dale Carnegie/Napoleon Hill book would point out that anybody regardless of religion can have some moralism and success.

What was supposed to be my testimony just became a short autobiography, some mundane words. I have not even imported it from my old websites.

Here, the guys at The White Horse Inn says all this better than I can. The deeper I fell into the Lutheran realm, the more pointless my testimony gets. It should be useless, because Christ came to me via Scripture and the Means of Grace, not me choosing.

I only have a small bit of thought, for those who are about to give a testimony: When giving the testimony of your life, who is driving your actions? To whom the spotlight is shining on?

*When I say ‘magick’, I am referring to Crowleyan-style stuff, not David Copperfield sleight-of-hand magic.

So You Want to Paint Your Room Red

Disclaimer: The following article is strictly my view, and not the official view of my employer or the stores I work in.

If someone asks me what is my profession, I would say that I am a merchandiser. And if I was asked what products I promote, I say that I promote house paint in one of the major retailers in North America. I make visits to 13 big box retailers in NE Indiana and Ohio, I order paint chips, I organize and spiffy up the paint center, and teach the associates and customers the qualities of various brands of paint. I made sure the paint equipment is functioning correctly, and I even get my hands dirty and tint the paint myself. (And if my hands are not dirty, I am not doing my job right!) It is a very good job. I am proud of my work. And today, I want to take the time to give you some advice.

Red. It is the color of passion and hot warmth. The corporate raiders would wear red power ties as a symbol of aggression and ambition. Decorators would use red objects to make monochromatic rooms less boring. And it makes any room fun. However, there are pitfalls to red paint that could frustrate any consumer. So before you paint your accent wall or anything else, consider the following.

Most reds in a given palette is actually made of two types of red pigment. You choose your red shade and when we tint your custom paint, chances are we will use a combination of these colorants to get your red: “Exterior Red” and “Magenta”. The color code corresponding to these pigments will differ with each retailer, but they all use these pigments.

Using budget paints may not get the red you want. Budget paint is quite thin and has more liquid content than their more expensive brands. I tint the paint and the pigment will dilute the formula. The result is less coverage. And when a customer select a red shade from the premium palette, I have to tell them that the recipe adapted for the budget paint will be off. To achieve some colors, the can of budget paint would overflow. So it might be better to save your money for the more expensive paint.

You may need to use a gray primer. I have customers come to me with stories on how they used multiple coats but the whiteness of the wall would peek through and make the resulting color look more magenta/pinker than intended. Usually this happens when someone buys the budget paint and painted a white wall. When a customer wanted red paint (especially if is a budget paint), I would recommend getting a primer that is tintable to a gray shade.

After tinting, wet red paint looks pinkish. That is because the red you chose is a combination of the two pigments described above. But when I dry your swatch with a hair dryer, the swatch will cure to its intended color. Don’t Panic!

That is what I want to say about red paint, as I really want you to have a successful project.