How to Write Aspie Characters

How can a writer portray a character with Asperger Syndrome (a form of high-functioning autism) realistically? Even writers who actually have Asperger Syndrome themselves may have difficulty.

One of the troubles these days is that Asperger Syndrome has been folded in the label ‘autism spectrum disorder’ along with Kanner’s autism (which is often low-functioning autism.) Since Aspies often have high intelligence and are very verbal and may have ambitions to be writers, they don’t have much in common with a person who has Kanner’s autism, is believed to have a low IQ, and never learns to speak.

I remember an experience of my own with the diagnosis changed. I told the lady at the Michigan food distribution that I had an ‘autism spectrum disorder’ and she presumed I would be unable to sign my own name on a form. She was probably looking about for my ‘caregiver.’ As a person cursed with a Mensa-level IQ, I didn’t like that. My intelligence is one of the few possibly-good things about me and I am testy when people presume I don’t have any.

To write an Aspie character you need to learn more about actual people with Asperger Syndrome from good sources. It’s not the same as having ‘autism’ and, contrary to news reports, it’s nothing like being a sociopath. The organism Autism Speaks, oriented towards parents of young children with autism, isn’t very helpful in learning about people with Asperger Syndrome. Even the diagnosis lists on good web sites don’t actually give you a good picture for character creation.

A few years ago I found a children’s book called ‘All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome’ by Kathy Hoopman. Yeah, it’s a kid’s book, but I liked it enough to bring it to a session with my then-therapist and we spend a few sessions going through the few pages and comparing it to my life. (It’s a great book for Aspies or their parents to give to significant people to explain the condition because it’s a quick read and has cute cat pictures. Get this book!)

I was not diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome until adult life— in school I was diagnosed as being a lazy troublemaker, or shy, or sad, or needing to go to a therapist. I associate my Aspie status with my being bullied by kids in school, humiliating experiences of misunderstanding by teachers, loving books, and massive fandom for TV shows like Star Trek and Dark Shadows. 

It’s not untypical for an Aspie like me, who moved from city to city in childhood, that I grew up with zero friends after a certain age. But once I got internet access as a adult, I had a few online friends, initially from my blog and later from Facebook (which I joined to gain more readers for my blog.) I even have friends with Asperger Syndrome, officially diagnosed and self-diagnosed. I’m in a couple of Facebook groups for Aspies, and so I’ve learned that different Aspies have different ideas of what is ‘typical’ for Aspies. Also, I’m not sure that the online Aspies are actually sharing all the gory details of their real lives— though many of us share too much! 

When writing an Aspie, even if you are an Aspie, you have to trim back some of your knowledge when creating a character. You can mainly pattern your Aspie character after two or three real-world Aspies that you know or have read about. Take a trait from one and a trait from another. Some Aspies have real-world friends, others don’t. Some lack most social skills, others have more such skills. And sometimes an Aspie person just seems to have contradictory traits. I myself am afraid to initiate phone calls and find it stressful. I can’t even call some family members that seem to care about me, I’m afraid to disturb them. Yet I phone my mother (who’s in her 90s) every single day (we both seem to be ‘addicted’ to that contact.)

I believe our Aspie characters have to serve a greater purpose in our fiction than virtue-signalling support for the ‘differently-able.’ They should have an important role in the story or not exist at all. It’s probably better to pick a character that you already suspect must exist in the story and give him Asperger Syndrome. Pick the set of symptoms for that character that still allows him to do the things you need him to do in the story. For example, if your Aspie is a receptionist for your hard-boiled private detective, she will probably need minimal phone skills much of the time. If your Aspie character will have to talk to a lot of other people, he should somewhat able to talk to other people, though it may be difficult for him. 

So good luck in creating your Aspie characters! If you do it well— or do it poorly but tell a good story— I may count myself as one of your readers some day.

KetoLife: Carnivore Forefather Vilhjalmur Stefansson

For a Harvard anthropologist, Vilhjalmur Stefansson was an exciting kind of guy. He was an Arctic explorer, and since rugged Arctic explorers weren’t cool with being chained down by having to haul tons of ‘civilized’ food wherever they went, he and his men ate what the Inuit— the Eskimos— ate. 

According to Stefansson, the tribes he travelled with ate mostly caribou meat, with fish, seal meat, polar bear, birds and bird eggs making up the rest of the dietary. The Inuit mostly ignored the plants in their environment as ‘not proper human food,’ but they would eat knotweed roots if they were short of food. 

Stefansson lived with the Inuit, eating as they did, for a decade and observed that the Inuit who ate this way were healthy and vigorous people, not weary lethargic souls suffering from scurvy, pellagra, and other deficiency diseases. 

Stefansson believed that the diet the Inuit ate, and that he himself had eaten for so long without bad effect, must have been a healthy and ‘balanced’ diet. And he was willing to put himself and a fellow explorer, Karsten Anderson, on the line to proof it under scientific observation.

In 1928, the two men became the subjects in a year-long experiment to settle the all-meat-diet controversy. For three weeks, they ate a mixed diet of fruits, grain, vegetables and meat while getting medically tested.  Then they moved to Bellevue Hospital and were fed an all-meat diet while under observation, Stefansson for three weeks and Anderson for 13 weeks. After the observation period they were sent home to live on all-meat diet for the rest of the year. Their urine was regularly tested for ketones and so the researchers would know if they ‘cheated’ on the all-meat diet. 

The men ate many types of meat— all cooked, even though the experimenters wrongly assumed that the Inuit ate only raw meat. The men remained healthy for the full year, with no loss of physical or mental vigor and not vitamin or mineral deficiencies. 

Later, Stefansson wrote a book, Not by Bread Alone, about the all-meat diet, and the researcher who supervised the experiment wrote the introduction to the book. (I have ordered the book from Amazon, where it is available.)

Modern nutritionists tend to ignore this experiment, Stefansson, and the Inuit, in their insistence that you need to down serving after serving of fruits and vegetables to ward off scurvy and other deficiency diseases.

There is a modern movement toward a carnivore diet. The noted health podcaster Jimmy Moore said on a few recent podcasts that he’s doing mostly carnivore now. Since Jimmy Moore often shares his medical test results on his podcasts, with commentary by his physician co-host, it seems likely that the carnivore diet is not causing Mr Moore any active health problems.

I haven’t tried actual carnivore myself. Being dependent on a rural grocery store for my meat supply, I can’t get grass-fed beef regularly, or get any big variety of cuts of conventionally-produced meat. Being low-income, I can’t exactly afford to have hundreds of dollars of grass-fed shipped to me without giving up such luxuries as electricity and winter home heating.

In addition, my (very conventional) primary care provider insists that my level of chronic kidney disease demands that I cut down on protein and that I eat more ‘plant-based’ protein— in other words, more over-processed fake meat and milk products. The fake milks are usually sugared, as well. I’m not sure how much I trust the advice of a non-doctor who lied to me about my test results before I insisted that the clinic mail me a print-out of the results. Though she does seem to approve of what my low-carb ketogenic diet has been doing for my blood sugar control (my A1c is currently on the low end of the prediabetic level.)

Since I now have home test strips so I can test my urine for protein myself, I can see for myself whether extreme protein restrictions are helpful to deal with that aspect of my health. So it’s possible that I may try some carnivore days or weeks in the future to see what happens.

Meaty good wishes to you,

Nissa Annakindt

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Recipes: Keto Parmesan Eggs & Keto Parmesan Sauerkraut

Today we have a recipe twofer, Parmesan Eggs, which is a great ‘breakfast’ food (remember any meal that breaks your overnight fast is a ‘breakfast’ meal.) And Parmesan Sauerkraut, which is a great way to turn healthy sauerkraut into a food that even people who don’t normally eat sauerkraut will like. The cabbage in your sauerkraut counts as part of your low-carb veggies you are allowed even on the Induction (strictest) level of lowcarb/keto eating plans. 

A few words about parmesan cheese— the common kind of grated parmesan cheese in big plastic shakers sold by Kraft— it’s not the best. It’s not the worst, either— that would be the stuff in similar shakers that is cheaper that doesn’t even claim to be parmesan cheese that is just processed junk food. I’m using a generic version of the Kraft parmesan at the moment, but better is the kind that is just regular parmesan cheese, either pregrated for you or grated yourself at home. (I haven’t been to the grocery store that carries it for a few months.)

Parmesan Bacon Eggs

For this recipe you will need a ramekin. I’ve had a few ramekins which I’ve always called ‘mini casserole dishes.’ Two are 16 oz capacity, one is 24 oz. Recently I bought 2 made-in-France 8 oz ramekins. For this recipe it is usual to make an individual ramekin for each person. The recipe is for one individual ramekin with one serving. You can make more ramekins or make enough for two people in one larger ramekin.

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) bacon bits (or chopped cooked ham or Spam)

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) heavy whipping cream (or coconut milk/cream)

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Tablespoon (7.5 ml) butter or ghee, dotted on top

(optional) 1/8 tsp (0.63 ml) Himalayan pink salt

Spray your ramekin with olive oil cooking spray, and add the ingredients in the order listed. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C.) Bake for about 17 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your eggs and the size of your ramekin. (I use the 16 oz or 8 oz ramekins, the smaller ramekins need more cooking time.)

Nutritional info: carbs & net carbs: 2.4 grams; fat: 24.9 g; protein 16.4 g.

VARIATIONS: Make with 1 or 3 eggs depending on your hunger level, leave out the meat or replace it with tuna or salmon or some other meat; use a different kind of cheese, use EVOO or coconut oil in place of the butter or ghee. 

Parmesan Sauerkraut

Break out your ramekin for this one as well. Fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchee are good for you, but a lot of us don’t care for the taste of plain sauerkraut. I love it this way. Double or triple the recipe for more eaters— use a bigger ramekin or casserole dish if you do.

1/2 cup (125 ml) sauerkraut

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Tablespoon (7.5 ml) butter, ghee or extra-virgin olive oil

(optional) 1/8 tsp (0.63 ml) Himalayan pink salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F(170 degrees C.) Spray your ramekin with olive oil cooking spray, and add ingredients in the order listed. Bake for about 12 minutes until parmesan topping is golden. 

Nutritional info: carbs: 6.3 g; net carbs: 1.9 g; fat: 13.0 g; protein: 3.3 g. 

VARIATIONS: Use kimchee instead of sauerkraut. Use home-made sauerkraut or kimchee using the recipe in Real Food Keto (by Jimmy Moore, Christine Moore, and Maria Emmerich.) OR do a combo of the two recipes by adding 1/4 cup sauerkraut/kimchee to the Parm Bacon Eggs recipe above (add before all the other ingredients.)

With parmesan-fingered salutations,

Nissa Annakindt

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Try These Lowcarb Keto Podcasts

If you are ‘doing keto’ or lowcarb, whether for ‘fast weight loss,’ diabetes control, help in Aspergers/autism or ADHD, or other health reasons, your first order of business is to learn more about the lowcarb/keto eating plan. You don’t want to be one of those sad cases who thinks ‘keto’ means giving up regular bread and eating tons of pita bread!

I am lucky on the lowcarb/keto learning curve. I am an obsessive reader anyway, and I am blessed with good intelligence & education, so I accumulate and read books about lowcarb/keto. But some people— even well-educated people, even teachers who are SKILLED at teaching reading to children— don’t learn as well by reading.

That’s where the podcasts come in. A good podcast with a well-informed host and guests cut through all the internet keto rumors the same way a sound book does. And you can listen while doing other tasks— I’m listening to a podcast right now while writing this blog post. I listen both on my laptop computer (a Mac) using iTunes, and I download podcasts onto my fleet of mp3 players so I can listen to podcasts while doing my daily walks or hauling water buckets to my critters. 

The down side is that ANYONE with the right equipment can set up a podcast and say any old thing about keto or lowcarb. That’s one reason why many new lowcarbers are so ill-informed. It’s best to be selective about which podcasts you listen to at first. Here are some that have passed the Nissa test— the information they give matches what I have read in the best books.

1. Jimmy Moore podcasts – Jimmy Moore is a lowcarb/keto superstar, even though he’s not a doctor or scientist. He’s a formerly 410 pound man who lost weight on lowcarb, learned as much as he could about it, and made a long running health podcast about it. His main podcast, The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show, is the longest-running health podcast, and has had most of the lowcarb world’s superstars as guests. Jimmy’s good at explaining the science behind lowcarb to ordinary people. He also does other podcasts, such as Real Talk with Jimmy Moore.

2. The Fat-Burning Man Show – This is the one with Abel James. I learned about this podcast from a Jimmy Moore book. I’ve listened to it a few times and it’s good and sciency. Presumes you are big on doing workouts, which is great if that is what you are doing. (At my current age and state of health I need gentler exercises myself.)

3. Dr. Berg’s Healthy Keto and Intermittent Fasting Podcast – This podcast is in short bits mostly of about 4 to 7 minutes on one topic or question. If you listen mainly on your laptop and get impatient listening to longer podcasts, this might be the right one for you. I’m listening to this one a lot lately.

4. 2 Keto Dudes – Now one of the Keto Dudes is a Keto Lady, and this one doesn’t seem to be updating much lately, but I enjoyed the episodes I have heard. 

These are the podcasts I’m listening to at the moment. Do you have any different ones you would recommend? Please let us all know in a comment! I’m always looking to learn more, especially as I’m currently writing a book about the lowcarb/keto way of life, specifically on the accusation that ‘Keto’ is a ‘fad diet.’

Personal Update: Still trying to figure out how much I need to lower my protein count, if any. Using Carb Manager to track stuff. Made ghee today, double batch in 2 kettles since last time I made a double batch in a big kettle it didn’t turn out as good. Trying to get more fasting & intermittent fasting in my life. Been in ketosis for 27 straight days now. Life is good.

Wishing you the best in podcasts and life,

Nissa Annakindt

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Can Aspie Authors do ‘Platform Building?’

When you finish a book, you’re not finished. Not in the author world of these days. You have to help market your book, even if you have a traditional publisher. And marketing means having an ‘author platform’ which means interacting with other people, perhaps in ways that are difficult for *Aspies to do.

So, what can we Aspies do to build our platforms? The first step is to know what we CAN do versus what we CANNOT, and what we have no opportunity to do. 

Examples— I personally am able to blog, to interact on certain social media, especially Facebook, MeWe and Twitter. I don’t think I am able to do podcasts as some of my author friends do— I would be too scared, my voice has gone weird since my slight stroke last year, and I don’t have any special video equipment. And I have never been invited on a television show the way Dean Koontz is frequently invited to be interviewed on The World Over on EWTN. 

Your personal situation may be different from mine. Perhaps you are able to be a YouTube star, or perhaps you can’t manage to do Twitter, you just find it too intimidating. It doesn’t matter. There are things you can do, or you can learn to do. Put your emphasis on those things.

There is one thing that most every kind of ‘platform building’ will involve— you have to think of what you do from the other person’s point of view. Other people are not committed to helping you peddle your book! You have to be interesting to other people, and make your book sound intriguing. And you have to learn to be interested in what is important to the other people, so you don’t come off as being self-centered. Seeming self-centered is a common problem with us Aspies, because when you are as socially isolated as we so often are, other people’s interests are kind of a distant and theoretical thing.

So— if your ‘platform’ involves having a blog, think about what problems your blog post might solve for other people. You might share how YOU solved a problem— perhaps in how you got Scrivener to work for you— only when you write it, think about how other people might be dealing with the same problem that you have faced. If you can provide the information to solve a practical problem, and perhaps share your personal experience in facing the problem, 

Aspie (and other) authors— what is your current author platform like? Do you have a blog, a static web site, are you active on Twitter, MeWe, Facebook, Pintarest or YouTube? What is the strongest part of your current author platform? What are you doing RIGHT? Share it with us in a comment!

Aspie-related greetings from

Nissa Annakindt

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Aspies – persons with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

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Lowcarb Keto Recipe: Free Bone Broth!

Bone broth is a healthy food— wouldn’t you like to get some chicken bone broth for free? I get mine free all the time— because I eat a lot of chicken thighs and I save all the bones in freezer bags until enough accumulate to make some bone broth. Currently I get my chicken from the grocery store, but I AM plotting against the lives of some chickens right now. Which, alas, means I will need to learn to eat chicken parts that are not chicken thighs.

Free Chicken Bone Broth

Accumulate enough leftover chicken bones in your freezer to fill a Crock-Pot or slow cooker. When you have enough, put some (optional) veggies into your Crock-Pot.

4-8 cloves of garlic, crushed

One onion, chopped

thumb-sized bit of fresh ginger, chopped

chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)

Next, add your bones to your Crock-Pot and add

1/4 cup vinegar (I use Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar)

Water to cover bones

Cook on your Crock-Pot’s Low setting for 24-48 hours. Unplug and cool for about an hour, then strain the broth through a strainer to get the bones and other bits out. Pour into quart canning jars, and put in fridge overnight. The fat will rise to the top, and you can take it out, boil it a bit to get the last of the broth out, and use it for cooking fat. The defatted broth you can store in the freezer until you are ready to use it in cooking or bulletproof beverages. 

I DO NOT add salt or seasonings when making the broth— I can add these things later when I prepare the broth for consumption. 

VARIATIONS: I use the same recipe with beef or pork bones, which, sadly, I have to buy. I have been trying to get my deer-hunting friends to save me some bones, but they insist I don’t really want the bones, I want the meat. My best beef bones come from a local farmer who sells at a farmer’s market in Menominee, MI. I can’t save bones from my grocery store beef and pork because my local grocery sells mainly boneless meat.

USES: I cook my quinoa in bone broth, and it adds a great flavor. It’s a good base for soups. And you can drink a cup of bone broth, heated, as a beverage. Dr. Jason Fung even allows it as a fasting beverage— which is great if you fast in a household full of worried family members. Just make yourself a cup of bone broth, call it your ‘soup,’ and your family will calm down.

So, this is the way I get my bone broth for nothing. If only the chick hatcheries would send me my chicks for free, I’d be a song.

Bone-brothy greetings from

Nissa Annakindt

Fasting Update: Reading a book by Dr. Jason Fung, he talked about ‘modified fat fasting,’ but never explained what that is exactly or how to do it. Dear Jason can be disorganized like that sometimes! So I looked around the internet and found very little until I came across the concept of ‘bulletproof fasting,’ which allows you some bulletproof coffee on a fasting day. Or other bulletproof beverages, I assume. So I’m doing bulletproof fasting today (Thursday) and hope to do regular (water) fasting tomorrow (Friday.)  I’ll let you know how it goes!

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KetoLife: The Careful Carb Diet & Kidney Disease

I have been on low-carb for years, especially since I developed T2 diabetes. And it helps. My latest A1c test has me at the low end of the prediabetic scale, and I didn’t even ‘study’ for that blood test by being super-strict low-carb like I often do.

I have had bad kidney tests which indicate I have chronic kidney disease (CKD.) Not as bad as what my nondoctor PCP (primary care provider) insisted. I had the clinic mail me my test results and found to my relief I am NOT at stage 4 kidney disease but still at 3. My nondoctor claimed I was at stage 4 on the phone. 

But still, my nondoctor wants me to restrict my protein. And since I need to restrict my carbs to control my blood sugars, that leaves me with one macronutrient: fat. Which I’m sure my very conventional nondoctor doesn’t want me to eat, either. So: a food-free diet???

OK, so I’ve done a major search of all the low-carb and health books I have, including my 3 books by Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist (kidney doctor,) in search of information on combining low-carbohydrate and low-protein. I found very little until I got out an old Dana Carpender book and found ‘The Careful Carb Diet’ in Chapter 14 of ‘How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds (2003.)’

Dana (who is not a doctor, nurse, dietician or ‘health coach’) developed this diet for a man with severe health problems including kidney disease. (This man was under constant doctor supervision and had extensive blood tests every 3 months.) 

First step is figuring out your protein requirement which you have to eat every day (except when fasting, I presume.) In Chapter 8 Dana said you take your ideal weight (not a super-skinny anorexic weight goal) and divide that number by 2. The result is the number of grams of protein you should get in a day. So for a 130 goal weight, you should get 65 grams of protein a day. 

Dana says you should not exceed your protein requirement by more than 20 grams, so for me, with a requirement of 65 grams a day, my max should be at 85 grams of protein. Which I set as my protein limit on my Carb Manager app, which I recently downloaded because I didn’t have a book that gave the protein counts of foods. 

Dana presumes you will be having three meals a day (I’m so over that way-of-eating now I’ve been doing intermittent fasting/partial-day fasting for a few years.) In addition, you are allowed certain ‘low-impact’ carbs, 2 to 3 servings with your 3 meals a day. Among the foods allowed is brown rice, cooked, (1/2 cup serving) or whole grain barley, cooked (1/2 cup serving.)

My problem is that rather than having 3 meals a day I usually do OMAD or have one full meal and one small bit-of-something, or perhaps a bulletproof coffee or two. And I don’t think having 2-3 servings of a carb food at my OMAD meal is going to be good for my blood sugar or my long-term low-carb compliance. 

But the idea of adding back a bit of carbs sounded a bit fun so I started my Great Quinoa Experiment. Now, I don’t know if quinoa counts as a low-impact carb, but it does have quite a bit of fiber in it, and I actually OWN some quinoa, in the back of my cupboard. 

My daily ‘dose’ of quinoa has been 1/8 of a cup, dry measure, which comes out to a little over 1/4 cup, cooked. So about 1/2 of one serving according to the Careful Carb rules. I’ve had it every day for a week, doesn’t send my carbs over my limit, doesn’t make me get heavy carb cravings. I cook my quinoa in bone broth and pretend it tastes just like Rice-a-roni, a major high-carb love of mine from childhood on. 

For the coming week I’m thinking of upping my daily quinoa dose up to 1/3 of a cup, cooked, just to see what happens. After all, on Dana’s Careful Carb I’m allowed more than one 1/2 cup servings of a cooked grain in a day. 

The real test will be once I finally get an appointment with my new nephrologist and get new tests to see if I’ve improved on restricted protein, or if I have to restrict still more. 

Yes, I’m doing the keto-lowcarb thing back on this blog again. Hope some of you folk enjoy it.

Low-carbily yours,

Nissa Annakindt

Come with me if you want to live! To MeWe, a great alternative to Facebook and the rest of the exploiting pack.  https://mewe.com/i/nissaannakindt

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T2 diabetes – Type 2 diabetes, adult diabetes

A1c – a blood test of your blood sugars over the past couple of months

prediabetic – elevated blood sugar, but not enough to qualify as diabetes

CKD – chronic kidney disease, comes in 5 stages, #5 being the worst

PCP – primary (health) care provider. Government jargon.

macronutrients – protein, fat, carbohydrate

micronutrients – vitamins and minerals

nephrologist – kidney doctor

OMAD – one meal a day— a form of IF (intermittent fasting)

AspieLife: We’re All In This…. 6 Feet Apart

No, we are not all in this together. Social distancing means we are not together. Some of us *Aspies are cut off from other people more than ever before. We may not be big on receiving hugs and handshakes, but when we can’t get those gestures of human contact we miss them and fear we are condemned to being alone forever. I mean, even more than usual.

If we have good jobs we may have to ‘work from home.’ And fear that our employers will discover that they don’t need us so much after all. We may be required to participate in video conferences— say we have the kind of internet service that allows us to do that. What if you can’t handle that kind of thing? What if it makes you feel weird and awkward and like you are on stage and about to make a major mistake?

If you have a low-level menial job— perhaps in spite of a high educational level— you might be considered ‘essential’ and have to go to work and take risks even if you are a person at high risk of getting a serious case of the Wuhan virus. Or perhaps you are not lucky enough to be employed by an ‘essential’ business like liquor stores, marijuana shops, or abortion mills, and you are out of work, with bills to pay and fears of eventual homelessness.

Depression is a common *comorbidity with Asperger Syndrome. And depression symptoms shouldn’t be ignored— depression is a serious disease, like Ebola. If you had Ebola, you wouldn’t take a bubble bath to see if that made you feel better, or worry that people would think you were weak for asking for medical help. You’d just go to a doctor at once. The same rule should apply if you have depression symptoms. Maybe you can’t get in to see your therapist in person, but maybe you can do that ‘telemedicine’ thing. And for goodness sake, if you are currently on an antidepressant don’t get so depressed you quit taking them! 

I am trying to make a point of having some human contact every day using the internet. I’m on MeWe (and also on Facebook which I hate, but my family members are all there and FB is the only way I have contact with any of them.) I’m working every day on my MeWe, making sure to post something daily and ‘like’ some stuff friends have posted. (MeWe is cool because you can ‘like’ posts with a wide variety of emojis, including a fleet of cat emojis with different facial expressions.)

I try not to listen to news crap broadcasts that talk about the ‘new normal’ because being cut off from other people is not MY idea of a normal. At least not one that human beings find livable. Social isolation is called cruel when we put the worst criminals in isolation in a supermax prison. But I guess some people think it’s OK for the rest of us? But let’s be strong, be tough, and find a way through this we can live with.

Greetings from at least 6 feet away,

Nissa Annakindt

* Aspies = persons with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder

*comorbidity = some other damn thing that’s wrong with you

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Can Aspies Make Money Writing?

Some years back I went to a big bookstore in Green Bay, Wisconsin and saw a book on Asperger Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder.) In the section on career advice it suggested ‘writer’ as a career for Aspies*. But popular wisdom suggests that writing is something that costs money, it doesn’t pay.

Poverty is a big problem for us Aspies. I read that Aspies had a 80% unemployment rate some years ago— even though by definition all Aspies have at least normal intelligence and can use language, unlike low-functioning autistics. Some of us even have high IQs— mine is high enough to qualify me for Mensa membership, though I never wanted to join since to me it seemed like Mensa was a bit intellectually elitist.

I have had difficulty with maintaining a gainful employment and am currently on SSI disability. (The government insists on believing that my Asperger Syndrome started in adulthood and so I am not able to get Social Security disability based on my father’s employment. And since I tried to hold down real jobs before turning to government charity, the govt takes that as proof that I didn’t have Asperger Syndrome back when I had a teaching job right after college.)

I must admit I have never made money with my writing or blogging. Of course the only books I currently have out are 2 poetry books and a very newly published e-book on blogging. And when I applied for an Amazon affiliate account I was kicked off in a month for not making sales. 

There are plenty of people selling ebooks on how you can make money blogging, or make money writing nonfiction ebooks, but I think a lot of these guys just write that stuff for money whether they make an income that way themselves or not.

Freelance writing or working for a newspaper is more like a real job and more likely to pay, but not all of us Aspies can handle it. I don’t think I have the social skills to handle working at a newspaper (even an online one.) And freelance writing can be a constant struggle with a lot of rejection in it. 

Still, if you have developed writing skills (or are willing to work on doing that) you at least have a possibility of making some income that way. You need to make writing and/or blogging and book/online marketing into your *Special Interests to gain the knowledge and discernment you need to make it work.

Thanks for reading this to the end and God bless you,

Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie & cat person


*Aspies: persons with Asperger Syndrome (high-functioning autism with no delay in learning language.)

*Special Interests: An intense/obsessive interest in a topic or field of study, a characteristic of Asperger Syndrome.


 

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Key to the Star Trek Aliens

Are the alien species of Star Trek (original Trek) symbols of something else? I suspected so— before there even was a Next Generation. They are of course more than that. But the symbols are a key thing to understand, especially if you are making your own aliens. Or if Star Trek and its aliens are one of your Asperger ‘Special Interests.’

Klingons 

Klingons are the major ‘enemy’ in the original Star Trek universe. So it’s only natural that they are a symbol of the USA’s real-world biggest enemy of the time, the Soviet Union. Klingons are quite plainly presented as cruder, more aggressive, and more direct than Terrans (‘Americans.’)

Klingons remind me of a story my high-school German teacher told us illustrating the difference between Germans and Russians. Seems a small boy’s village was taken over by German soldiers during the war. Since they boy had the good luck not to be Jewish, the German soldiers were kind to him, and let him fire off one of their machine guns. The gun jammed. The German soldiers were all upset, since now they would have to send the gun back to the manufacturer to get it fixed.

As the war went on, the Germans left, and Russian soldiers marched into the village. The boy made friends with these soldiers as well, and they let him shoot one of their machine guns. The gun jammed. A Russian soldier took the gun, smacked it against a big rock, and the gun worked just fine again.

I can totally see Klingons smacking one of their disruptors against a rock to fix it, instead of sending it back to a factory into the hands of whiny, not properly Klingon eggheads.

Romulans and Vulcans

Though Romulans were an enemy race and Vulcans an ally, it was also made quite clear that they were somehow related. Romulans were more aggressive, because they were more emotional. Vulcans traditionally controlled their emotions, and were more peaceful. 

I believed that both Romulans and Vulcans were symbols of Asian peoples. The Romulans were symbols of the Chinese— a mysterious people who had gone communist and assisted the North Koreans in killing Americans during the Korean War.

The Romulans in Star Trek were a mysterious enemy— the Federation had fought a war against them before without ever seeing a Romulan, living or dead, and so they didn’t know Romulans looked like Vulcans. Like the Klingons/Soviets, the Romulans/ChiComs were an aggressive empire likely to conquer planets and never give them back. 

The Vulcans were symbols of the Japanese people— not the WW2 enemies that attacked Pearl Harbor and committed atrocities against civilians in Nanking, but the later, allied-to-us Japanese that we perceived as good, possessing an ancient culture, and friendly. The Vulcans were a more mature species, but we Terrans had a thing or two to teach them. Starfleet only had one Vulcan officer, Spock— and he was not only half Terran, but half AMERICAN. 

Andorians

They were the blue-skinned guys with an antenna and white hair. They required enough make-up that there were no Andorians on the Enterprise crew. The very little we saw of them mainly made me think they were a symbol of race/skin-color issues, especially of the more exotic races/skin-colors.

Terrans/The Federation

The United Federation of Planets seems to be a knockoff of a bad Terran idea, the United Nations, but with less vampires (This is a reference to Declan Finn’s vampire novels in which we learn how to get the vampires out of the UN building. Nice to know.) Even the flag of the UFP is nearly the same as the UN flag.

Both Terrans and the Federation are symbols of Americans. Because Star Trek was an American TV show with an American audience, see? Americans are a fairly useful ‘type’ of the population of planet Earth, anyway, because Americans come from all over the planet. And you can’t say that Navaho Americans aren’t ‘real’ Americans because they aren’t Scottish Americans, or African Americans are not ‘real’ Americans because they are not Japanese Americans. 

Because Gene Roddenberry did not have time to invent dozens of alien races for the Federation and introduce them all before the storytelling got started, and because it was cheaper to have regular human actors without a ton of expensive time in the makeup chair, most people in the Federation seemed to either be Terrans or an alien species who looked exactly like Terrans.  The few exotics we saw (Andorians, Tellerites, Horta, Organians) spiced up the rest without scaring off too much of the American audience.

Or maybe the aliens of the original Star Trek WERE too much. The show was cancelled after 3 seasons, and never made it back to network television except for the cartoon Trek which also didn’t last long.

Hoping you had a happy Divine Mercy Sunday or Orthodox Easter,

Whether you celebrated or not (everyone should have a happy once in a while)

Nissa Annakindt

So, what do YOU think of my ‘key’ to the Star Trek aliens? Feel free to rant about how I’m all wrong and you, with your theory, are 100% correct. What do/did the Star Trek aliens mean to you? Or do you hate Star Trek and are ‘wrong’ enough to like other SF series better? 

Don’t feel you have to follow this link! It leads towards my new ebook ‘Getting More Blog Traffic: Steps Towards a Happier Blogging Life’  I just want to be able to claim I’m doing something to help the ebook sell  some copies this week. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086H4FQ4M