Robert's House of Hamsters

Somewhere between Sacramento, the Oregon border and that tingly feeling in your toes.


One of those weird moments...

You know those people that are convinced they have every bad medical condition on the planet?

Well, I can be that person sometimes. But this time around, it might actually be serious.

A week or so ago, one of the other writers at The Post did a piece on autism. So one night I was dabbling around on the Internet and came across the Wikipedia page for Asperger syndrome.

Now, there's looking through symptoms of a neurological disorder and going "hmm, I kind of do that, that a bit, too" sort of like when you read a description of your zodiac symbol.

But reading the characteristics of AS was just about like reading a damn autobiography.

Continuing on, I found the page for high-functioning autism, which is basically Asperger's as well. Another autobiography.

This portion stuck out at me:

There is a high correlation between HFA characteristics and those described in the Myers-Briggs INTP profile [1] description. Another theory states that Asperger's correlates to the INTJ personality type, whereas HFA correlates to the INFJ personality type.

I've taken the Myers-Briggs a couple of times in the past. Guess what I am?

Then I found the Austism-Specturm Quotent test, developed by psychologists at Cambridge. This claim is attached:

In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher.

I scored a 30.

I don't really consider this creepy, since I don't think of autism as "creepy" I just wonder if there's something to this.


Take Five

Note the title. Yes, I'm listening to Dave Brubeck right now. Yes, that song was a bitch to play in concert band.

Anyways, I've been neglecting this blog for a while. So this is an obligatory post before I'm told to post more.

So, work is work. Thanks to the Great Editorial Exodus of '06 (all four of 'em--yeah, it's a small paper) I became senior reporter after seven months.

Not necessarily that bad, but then the beat shifts came. I went from one very busy beat, one moderately busy beat and one hardly anything beat to three very busy beats and one moderately busy beats.

The conspiracy theorist side of me thinks the DA, school district superintendent and county supervisors have closed-door meetings to schedule out events in a manner to drive me insane.

I think the things that are bugging me about the education are getting thrown in the middle of covering yet another labor dispute and the beat involves parents. Administrators are fine, teachers are fine; but I have zero patience of any kind for parents — school parents, Little League parents, you name it. This is odd, because I get along great with my own parents, so it's not any personal trauma that causes my short fuse around parents.

I've already learned that I'm going to get anonymous calls over stupid petty issues, realized why my predecessor got so frustrated over things signed "concerned parent" or something similar and that any time I dare to mention a charter, parents will point out the undeniable fact I'm plotting to use the powers against the traditional public schools--which I was educated in for 18 years of my life and like just fine. Yeah, there's sarcasm there.

Parents drive education reporters to drink. Well, education reporters would drink anyways, but the parents drive them to drink more. Right, Jeremy?

On the positive side, every labor dispute I covered came to a successful conclusion (after getting a lot more ugly) and I'm going to get the chance to teach some high school kids journalism basics.

Court is great. I love court. The veteran court reporter at the other paper is really helpful. Not rival-paper-leading-the-greenhorn-down-the-wrong-path-for-personal-gain helpful, but genuinely helpful. I just need to remember to check for upcoming court dates more often.

I'll also share Big Funny Moment Thus Far from the court beat.

To get into the courthouse, you go through metal detectors. Basically, superior courts have carry-in restrictions similar to any known airport. (well, except Chico Muni) Right, Val?

Apparently, the woman in front of me was unaware of this fact. She shoves what appears to be a gym bag-sized, purse-like thing into the x-ray machine and is taking roughly half a decade to pull all the metal jewlery off her body.

I, however, am becoming so old hat at the metal detector that I have all my stuff ready to go before I'm even though the door. I'm standing there with a handful of cell phone, keys, spare change and pens, amazed that it is possible to have that much metal on your body and not get yanked around by every magnet you pass by.

Seeing she's going at sloth pace, one of the bailiffs working the security detail gives me the all clear to jump ahead of her.

Well, right after I walk through, another bailiff is looking through the woman's gym bag/purse and pulls out what appears to be a scale-model version of an assault rifle, which turns out later to be a torch lighter. (great for kids!)

"Do you think it's smart to bring something like this into a courthouse?" the bailiff says in a I'm-so-damn-intimidating-when-I-try-to-sound-stern tone of voice.

I ignore it, until it dawns on me that Gym Bag Woman is still yanking off a couple of bracelets. The bailiff thinks that's my bag.

Fortunately, at that point another bailiff who actually knows who has what points out that it isn't mine, grabs my bowl o'metal for me--after inspecting my car/apartment keys--and lets me go back to waiting for a trial verdict to come in.

On a side note, Gym Bag Woman was taken totally by surprise that the State of California might not want something bearing a striking resemblance to a deadly weapon into a place that is staffed by armed security. Go figure.

All for now, more to come.


I went to the fire today.

More candid details later.