Pushing my new hashtag

Two weeks ago, Isabella “Issy” Stapleton’s mother pled guilty to a charge of first degree child abuse to avoid a charge of attempted murder. Kelli Stapleton drove Issy to a secluded area in her van, drugged her, then lit two charcoal fires inside the van to try and suffocate the both of them. They survived. Matt has more details.
Earlier this week, a Singaporean woman was charged with murder after her autistic son fell to his death from their high-rise apartment. I never thought I’d say this, but I really wish that the death turns out to be a tragic accident.
In the Stapleton’s case, people have tried to exonerate Kelli, pointing out how difficult it is to raise a child with autism. To me, this is unacceptable. What these people are saying is that it is understandable for parents to kill their autistic children. It’s not. It sends the message that our lives are worth less because we are not neurotypical.
In my last post, I put forward the hashtag #ALifeWorthLiving.
We need this hashtag more than ever.

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A life worth living

In less than 24 hours, I will be attending the wedding of a cousin of mine. Yesterday, I tried to make banana bread. The result was unsuccessful, but still quite delicious. I’ve made notes about what I did wrong, and I’m going to try again.
I’m a member of the “Boycott Autism Speaks” group on Facebook. If you want to know why autistics would boycott an organisation that supposedly fights for them, it’s because Autism Speaks narrative is one of “autistics’ lives are unmitigated tragedy”.
So this is my little response. I’m going to try put it on a poster and take a picture.
Autism Speaks will tell you that my life is a tragedy.
But…

  • I have a driver’s license and a car.
  • I live independently and can cook and clean.
  • I’ve been working as a Software Test Analyst for over ten years now.
  • I go to the Cinema regularly.
  • I work out at gym often.
  • I surf the internet and blog.

My life is not a tragedy.
It is
#ALifeWorthLiving

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Kafka at my workplace

I donated blood today.
My previous four weeks at work would not be out of place in a Kafka novel. As you know from my previous post, I first left a site then was sent back.
A few days after arriving back, my network access was disabled. It is a routine security precaution to do this when someone leaves. Unfortunately, the message that I was coming back slipped through the cracks. Alarmingly, my access still hasn’t been restored, almost four whole weeks later.
Here comes the Kafkaesque part. The person whose job it is to fix access was on leave (s/he’s back now) so nothing could be done. You’d think that in a huge organisation (the client site is a bank) there would be things like proper delegation and control so that if the person with relevant authority is unavailable there is someone with the necessary authority who can handle it. But no.
It would appear that whenever an organisation exceeds a certain size, it becomes a bureaucracy. Plenty of rules and regulations that, instead of helping, slow things down.
I’ve been able to access the system. I have an alternate user account that gives me restricted access (system under test, no email, intranet but no internet). One thing the client demands is that we log our times on its internal system. Without access, I can’t log time. This has me worried.
Well, the responsible official is back, so by Monday, things should be sorted. I’m hopeful, but not completely.

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Well, that was quick

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was leaving the client where I’d been assigned for over four years, and going to a new site. Well, that was the initial plan anyway. Things have changed and I’m back where I was.

On Monday, I reported to my new site. I was told I would be taking over and that this week would be handover with me officially starting next week. The person I was taking over from would show me what to do. By Wednesday, things were going along swimmingly. Then, my head office manager showed up and told me that a woman on my old client site was going on maternity leave. Since I’d been there for over four years and knew both the client’s processes and the system under test, I was picked to replace her. I was instructed to go back on Thursday. This was a huge, and in some ways unpleasant, surprise.

My manager on the new site was unhappy, and I totally understand. Handover had been going very well, and now handover has to start anew with someone else. It had taken me over two days to get the hang of things, and the new person would have only two days to learn.

The people at my old site were surprised and pleased to see me back. It’s good to be back, but at the same time I’m worried about the site I was pulled off from.

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An unexpected change

As you probably know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, I test software for a living. Today I received a not entirely pleasant surprise. My contract at my current site ended today. Monday I’m going to a new site.
I can’t entirely blame my employer for springing this on me. On Tuesday I came down with the flu, and I was booked off until today. I would probably have been notified earlier had I not been off sick. It’s still a bit of a shock though.
I kind of like the site I’ve just left. I was there for over four years in total – the longest I’ve been at any client. The next longest period I’ve spent at a client was two years and three months. I’ve been testing software for just over ten years, and those two sites make up more than half my work experience.
There is a saying that a change is as good as a holiday. I’m about to find out if that’s true.

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The meaning of being a man

There’s something that’s been knocking around in my mind for quite some time now. It’s not something I usually blog about, but I just feel the need to get it out there. That I’m blogging it on Fathers’ Day is oddly appropriate.
I was reading an article on Cracked, and they linked through to this article on bronies. For those of you who don’t know, bronies are adult male fans of the cartoon show “My little pony: friendship is magic”. It discussed how bronies came from the first generation to be raised significantly by feminists.
Feminism changed women’s role in society, and by extension society itself. But an obvious question appears to have gone unasked (or at least, I’ve never seen it asked). That question is: what is men’s role in society?
Because the role of women in society changed, the role of men in society had to change. Yet, like I said, I haven’t seen this question asked anywhere, and that surprises me somewhat. It seems so odd that such a necessary discussion hasn’t taken place. If it has and you know where, I would appreciate a link.
Another Cracked article I read was about the Men’s Rights Movement. It is shocking how something that could have triggered the discussion referred to above turned into a rage-filled orgy. The article portrays them as insecure, angry, and with their heads up their backsides. A real pity, actually.
The incompetent dad is a cliche that goes back to the earliest days of sitcoms and is still used today. Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin are the best examples. Yet the fathers I knew while growing up (including my own) typically weren’t incompetent or stupid. They, like the mothers, were doing their best. Sometimes it wasn’t good enough, usually it was.
What makes a man? I suppose that’s my question. Yet, just like there isn’t one way to be a woman, there isn’t one way to be a man. You could be an active parent, absent parent, childless; single, in a stable relationship, a bed-hopper; a high-flying professional, a tradesman, an assembly line worker. What skills should all men have? How should they behave in different situations?
If you have any thoughts about this, dear reader, please read my Comments Policy and submit your comments below.

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Letting the side down

Be warned: there are some swear words in this post.
It’s a real nuisance when you’re an advocate and members of your group let the side down.
You’ve probably heard of the “virgin killer” Elliot Rodger, who stabbed three of his roommates to death before embarking on a shooting rampage killing three more people. Some have suggested that he may have been autistic, but he was never diagnosed and he was prescribed medication for things that weren’t autism. He was angry that women were ignoring him. If he was autistic (which appears unlikely), just remember that being autistic is no guarantee against being an entitled arsehole, and that it wasn’t what made him a murderer. If you want to read a summary of his manifesto, here’s part 1. Link to the next part is at the bottom of the linked article.
Somebody who actually is letting the side down is Jake Crosby (yet again). He’s given a talk at AutismOne, a trade show for autism quacks that masquerades as a conference. Some people at Orac’s blog (including Orac) have seen video of the talk. They’re not impressed.

Crosby specialises in conspiracy theory plots about those who argue with him. Disappointing.

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