Friday, November 23, 2007


We have been watching the Ghost Hunters marathon on Sci Fi with our older child (Jason has been banned from even listening because of his ease of fright). If you are unfamiliar with this reality show (in my mind this actually qualifies as a reality show since there are no 'contestants' per se although they did something to get a new investigator), these two plumbers founded a paranormal investigation team called The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS). They go to places where people claim there are hauntings and set up electronic equipment to find evidence. They go in from a perspective of skepticism, so, more often than not, they come up debunking the haunting or coming up empty handed. They do however get some pretty interesting footage, sounds and experiences.

Anyway, Grant and Jason, the two principals on the show, probably can't help us with our nocturnal issues, which is why Linda and I are forming our own investigative group: GOPS or the Grace Olivia Paranormal Society. Dedicated to discovering the reasons for why these two 'entities' go bump in the night and wind up haunting our room, we'll use anything in our powers for a good night's sleep. The past two nights have been a haze of movement of one coming into the room early in the night (1:00 AM) with the other waking at around (4:30-5).

Last night, Grace was clearly coming off of some bacterial thing she had for Thanksgiving, she had a 102 fever and was somewhat uncomfortable, so just as Linda was going to bed, she brought her in and set her up on the Dora futon next to the bed. She was a poltergeist for the next 2 1/2 hours however, moving from her futon across the room, making all sorts of disembeddied sounds, till finally settling at around 3-3:30. I heard the other spirit around 4 AM, but chose to attempt to ignore it. But 4:30 came with a more determined to be heard ghost, as she began kicking the closet door. Rather than risk a full blown haunting with wails and screams, we made a snap decision to bring her into our bed and risk disturbing the other apparition. The elder spirit would not be quelled however, probably due to a gluten infraction at Thanksgiving last night (she got hold of and ate leftover pie crust and was pointing my massages in bed to her belly to help her get rid of gas). So here I am, tired but inspired with this mixture of hauntings in my head from the Ghost Hunters series and haunting of my sleep by these two determined entities bent on keeping us from a reality-based existence through insomnia.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Prodigal Son

While this is no cause to kill the fatted calf and celebrate, it could potentially hold a key to binding a gaping wound in the autistic community and more importantly, help an autistic get out of a private hell;

My audience is limited, but for the sake of an autistic person, if you are on the ND side, throw aside the personal grudges and lets see if we can help...

When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father."But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Middle-Age Wasteland

Well, I guess Pete Townsend had a musical point about hoping to die before you get old. That is, from a musical standpoint when you have kids. When I first became a parent, I remember walking up the stairs at work humming a Barney tune...THAT was the beginning of the end folks. My television AND music today are not totally not my own. It's pathetic when you actually ENJOY Jack's Big Music Show when Laurie Berkner come on!

I was a raucous, classic rock n roll, denim jacket with all the Zeppelin/Who/Stones patches sort of guy. I had one beat up Carlo Robelli Strat copy and an old Fender acoustic. Now I have twice as many guitars worth 10 times as much... and alas, no time, energy, or hands. You just can't play guitar with one hand occupied carrying a toddler. I tried teaching them to strum while I did the fretboard, just isn't the same though. As far as guitar playing, I went from an almost reflexive picking up of the guitar daily to picking it up if I see the opportunity to sneak out the front door and play for 5 minutes...once a month if I'm lucky.

I've covered my suspicions of an aspie-like stim of playing 'air' instruments. I used to air-guitar to things like Zeppelin's Heatbreaker and Van Halen's Eruption. But since music nowadays usually involves a story about something fluffy, I now air guitar on everything musical on all the kids shows that sticks in my head. Just imagine an Eddie Van Halen finger-tap solo fill instead of the EIEIO verse for Old MacDonald. It's maddening though to find yourself putting an air keyboard line to the theme from Sesame Street.

I used to have a decent (translation: LOUD) stereo system, now my music gets 'played' through the DVD player into the TV speakers. Although most of my music nowadays comes from that wonderful cable TV invention called Music Choice. Every once in a while when the moon is full (and blue), I get to have my 'choice' of music, I'll usually choose blues or revert to my classical (rock) roots.

Not one of my kids tends to share in my musical passion though. I suppose it's somewhat my fault for not ingraining music into the older three. I hope to push music a little more with Liv and Gracie. I have heard various music therapies have a positive impact, but I just want them to enjoy the juxtaposition of music as both a complex mathematical puzzle and an invocation of emotion. I still have that passion for music, but if I can't pass that bug on to one of these little buggers, I will be very disappointed. I'd hate to be institutionalized by one of them at 80 for moving my arthritic fingers to the tune of Purple Haze!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Night 'Outside' the Life

We got a chance to go out by ourselves...just the two of us (LIN and me, NOT LIV and me). But, of course, we had to have an autism theme. Luckily, POAC of NJ (Parents of Autistic Children) was having a benefit in Monmouth University of the play A Day in the Life, with the music of the Beatles. Someone at work asked me when the last time we were out. I said, aside from movies, shopping and the occasional meal...Nineteen Ninety something...

Anyway, a spendid time was guarenteed for both and they delivered. We didn't win anything but we did win our freedom for a few hours. We were happy to have our wallets lightened for the benefit of such a great organization as POAC. In case you don't know, they provide free (YES FREE) training for parents professionals and school systems on a variety of subjects and therapies for autism in New Jersey. They helped us out much in the early days to give us an understanding of the things we were facing. Thanks for the wonderful time and all the 'Help!' to all of us in NJ!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stop and Thank Them....

We interrupt this autism rant to bring you a special rant on my personal views:

I moved down to Monmouth county more than two years ago. My commute went from just under 25 miles to just over 50 one way. After a couple of weeks down here I realized I would have to sell my soul to the oil companies in order to continue my commute in the Sable station wagon, so I convinced Linda that we needed a good commuter car. I wasn't going to swing a new car, so I went to a local rent-a-car place and began lusting after a 2004 Sentra that seemed sufficiently scratched up so that I could get a good deal.

After a couple of times visiting the lot after hours, I decided to confront the salesperson about how much. I went to the front desk and the woman said "Yea, jack's here, let me take you to his office. I was expecting some shiny suited fast-talker and i was a little surprised to have the woman tell me "You'll have to speak up for him, he's real hard of hearing....Hey Jack, JACK! Someone is here about one of the cars for sale." It almost sounded like his hard of hearing was somewhat of a running joke in the office. I shook hands with a man who should have clearly been put out to employment pasture a few years ago, but I went with it just the same.

He took me back downstairs and took a long time walking, finding and handing over the keys. I did a solo test drive and came back with the intent of buying. We went back to his office to negotiate. I got him down a couple of hundred bucks, but was more interested in the military pictures and general 'motif' of the decor. I commented on his obvious military service and thanked him for his service to me and our country. He brightened and proceeded to tell me that he was 19 when he arrived at Normandy and had lost his hearing during the ensuing battle.

Jack Morris has always stuck in my head since then. He had been feeble when I met him and I'm not sure if he is still with us. But I'll tell you, his and all their heroics on that D-day will never cease to give me, and I hope generations forever, chills as to the bravery and selflessness it took to begin to rid the world of tyranny. Those chills also apply for every man and woman who have and are serving in our military. From me and my family, I give you my sincerest thanks and appreciation for all you have done and are doing for me and mine and them and theirs across world. Thank you and Happy Veterans Day; may you reunite with your loved ones soon...