Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Analyse this

On Twitter a few days ago I mentioned that I went to Orange (where I was born and raised) for the day and visited my mum. Just as I was leaving she said she'd be cleaning out a cupboard and found some old papers that her father had written about me. They were notes he'd written when I was 6. 

My grandfather was an intelligent man, a bicycle rider in his early years (maybe why I like the Tour de France?) who later worked as a steam engine driver (all Aspies love trains, don't they?) and then for an engineering company called Borg-Warner in Sydney. Their Australian branch doesn't exist any more.

He was interested in psychology, meditation, hypnotism etc and was a great chess player who could solve the cryptic crossword in the morning newspaper in no time at all.

The notes he wrote about me are very accurate (I think) and weirdly amazing considering I was only six at the time. They were based on me writing a story for him (including handwriting analysis) and drawing a picture for him as well as his observations and conversations with me. 

The picture wasn't with the papers unfortunately but I have the vaguest recollection of it. He mentions I had no "colour sense" but posits that I must have had a limited number of coloured pencils!I can vaguely see myself drawing a red sun for example.

Anyway, I've typed out his notes which in some cases are just notes and not full sentences. In any case, I found it  both fascinating and disturbing. I almost cried when re-reading it later that night.

I asked my mum why my grandfather had written this? Had she asked him to? She said no but it's obvious to me that my parents must have perceived some problems with me - being tormented at school and not fitting in with the world. I don't remember that in kindergarten or first grade but maybe I've suppressed it. I know I hated school when I reached puberty.

The mention of Cox Avenue is also bewildering. That was my third home. We lived with my great grandmother for a short while when I was born then moved to a little place called Clergate just out of Orange for a few years. I drove back and looked at that house a few years ago. It was an old rambling property with lots of space and right next to the railway line (again with the trains!). We then moved back into town at a newly built house in Cox Avenue.

I know my uncle (my mum's brother) was killed in a truck accident around that time so maybe that had something to do with it. My mum said she doesn't remember why I would have hated living there.

Apart from that it seems like I missed my calling as an artist or musician! :D

Here are the transcribed notes:

Page 1

Ian Hazzard
Small writing sample and coloured drawing submitted
Observation and conversation

This analysis is written in relation to a six year old boy and the remarks are comparisons to 6 year olds.

Main impression is one of intellectuality.

Clear, logical thinker. Very observant.

Thinking does not follow conventional paths but is not a rebel. Just thinks big and takes in a tremendous scope and sees always a full picture.

Is not a “quick” thinker because he is too busily engaged in observing, evaluating and collating and then “what impression will my answer make? What do they expect me to say?” When he is sure of the answer he will then reply. An original thinker he arrives at his conclusions by his own processes but may shape this answer as required by circumstances.

Shows diplomacy and tact which can range from adroitly handling people to concealment and evasion (even lying if the occasion demands it.)

Does not show spontaneity or joie de vivre. Too serious and wrapped in thought processes and evaluation.

Very good at getting the full picture and grasping all essentials. He is twice as smart as you think he is (because he can grasp and then conceal diplomatically) so do not discuss in his presence anything you shouldn’t because he has a wonderful memory and he will remember, evaluate and understand correctly. Because things that have happened (memory …) play a tremendous part of his life, your concealment may have an impact you do not appreciate. Do not attempt to disguise words or conceal – he understands and will despise your childish attempts to hoodwink him.

Page 2
Do not be concerned about “concealment”. This is his way of coping and if he is not forced to conceal he will be open.

Bullying. Normal amount of experimentation. If he is not tormented by others – school teachers (unknowingly) and school mates (deliberately) he will not have the need to get “even”. He will be too busy learning.

<that’s all for page 2>

Page 3
Has a slight bullying tendency and may at times be cruel to those unable to protect themselves such as small sisters and cats.

Very well balanced viewpoints and well balanced personality. Leans to the past – such as to past learning and lessons. He is evaluating the last hours – day – week – month and does not have time for now and the next minute therefore does not joyously look to the future.

Evaluates today and tomorrow from what he knows of today and yesterday.

Generally optimistic and bright in outlook

He dislikes Cox Avenue and it disturbs him more than anything else in his life. This is something he cannot cope with. He may not know why or if he does he may not tell you. (See remarks on diplomacy and tact and concealment). This is a sensitive area and any direct probing will be sensed and probably deftly parried.

Is not a rebel or an individualist – is too busy learning and evaluating his present experiences and you’d be surprised at what he already knows because the overall picture is extremely smart, clever and observant with tremendous intellectual capacity. Give him intellectual stimulation and challenges – subtly of course. He is no footballer so don’t put him on the team.

Watch that memory – he files things away for future reference. I do not mean he will recall vindictively but let him recall and express himself.

I would have liked to have seen a painting rather than a drawing as I feel his colour sense is way off – or were they the only coloured pencils he had? This could be so because he has outstanding sense of form and proportion so he would be unlikely to leave gaps and so was forced to use what was available.

Very sensitive in the matter of form and proportion. Colour sense? No! Maybe his high reasoning ability and keen appreciation of form outweighed “colour”

Page 4
sense and reasoning said “Any colour is better than no colour at all – because form and proportion is more important – the full picture is more important.”

This I believe because the writing shows a great grasp of the overall picture at all times.

Things must always be completed, rounded off and tidied up and never ever be left unbalanced.

These traits are predominant.

Apart from Cox Avenue he is very happy and contented and appreciative in nature.

Has very good coordination and would shine at work requiring hand-eye and muscular coordination and attention to fine detail. Actually shows very great adaptability over a wide range of skills. Does he like music? Try the piano – you’ll be surprised.

What particular type of work? Anything at all – he can easily ape and master anything.


I saw a lot of Aspie traits in what was being described but maybe I'm over-reading it. 

Monday, 3 February 2014

Does anyone else enjoy Scam baiting?

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scam_baiting:
Scam baiting is a form of Internet vigilantism, where the vigilante poses as a potential victim to the scammer in order to waste their time and resources, gather information that will be of use to authorities, and publicly expose the scammer. It is primarily used to thwart advance-fee fraud scams and can be done out of a sense of civic duty, as a form of amusement, or both.

I do it for the amusement but the scammers aren't taking the bait lately. Here are the last two where they didn't bite back because I was too sarcastic. (spelling mistakes are theirs)

The first one:

From: Apex Foundation claimagent@qq.com
Jan 15

to xxx.xxx

Ref Number: APLUK/9GM/3688
Batch Number: APEX-ENGINE0537

Dear Internet User,

We congratulate you over your success in the following official publication of results of the E-mail electronic online Sweepstakes organized by Apex Foundation held on the 2nd January 2014. Your email ID has won the total sum of GBP1, 000.000.00 (One Million Pounds Sterling) during the electronic E-mail online Powerball Draws For Internet Users.

You are advised to contact the claims department immediately to redeem your prize.

Mr. Robert Benz

Claim Agent
Tel: +447012933191
Fax: +44 7005968749
Email: claimoffice@qq.com
International prize Department

You are required to send the below information to the claim agent.

1. Full name:

2. Country:
3. Contact Address:
4. Telephone Number:
5. Marital Status:
6. Occupation:
7. Sex:
8. Age

The claim agent will attennd to your claim upon the reciept of your response.


User Award Promotion Team

and my response ...


Jan 17

to claimoffice 

Hello Mr Benz

Oh thank you soooo much. I've never won anything in my life! With the one million pounds prizemoney I'll be able to take that round-the-world cruise I've always wanted and pay for that new kidney I need.

1. Full name: Phil Sherman aka Internet User

2. Country: Australia
3. Contact Address: 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney NSW 2000
4. Telephone Number: 0419-317-446
5. Marital Status: Single and desperate. Maybe I'll be able to find a girl with my new found fortune? What dating sites are good, do you know?
6. Occupation: Rat catcher - man, the rats in Sydney are the size of suitcases!
7. Sex: Not very often
8. Age: 33 1/3

Again, thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you. When can I expect payment? I have a lot of bills to pay so next Friday would be good for me.

Are you related to that Mercedes fellow?

Phil Sherman


and the second one ...

From: Hatten Wanetta <hattenfunwanetta@outlook.com>

Today our Company, MVL Company, is in need of sales representatives in Australia.

Our Company deals with designer goods and branded items. We've been providing our customers with exclusive products for more than five years, and we believe that the applicant for the position must have great communication skills, motivation, desire to earn money and will to go up the ladder. All charges related to this opening are covered by the Company. Your main duties include administrative support on orders and correspondence, controlling purchase orders and expense reports.

Part-time job salary constitutes 580AUD a week.
Full-time job is up to 920AUD per week .
Plus we have bonus system for the best workers!

To apply for the vacancy or to get more details about it, please email us directly back to this email.

Hope to hear from you soon!
Best regards,
Hatten Wanetta

my reply ...

To: Hatten Wanetta <hattenfunwanetta@outlook.com>

Hello Hatten,

That's a unique name! Is it English? It reminds me of Hattie from that TV show Parenthood. And your middle name is Fun. How great is that!!

I looked up your company on the internet and am quite impressed!

Your proposal sounds very interesting because I'm looking for a new job at the moment.

  • I have rather good communication skills, however does the job involve much use of the telephone? I used to work in a call centre and had to quit because I kept having nightmares about being devoured by a giant cell phone. If it just means using a computer, it would be fine 
  • I am keenly motivated to be successful 
  • I have a tremendous desire to earn money and keep up the payments on my Porsche 
  • and I am willing to go up the ladder because I am not scared of heights and I prefer not walking under a ladder, in any case

I would prefer a full-time position but a part-time position is OK too. I am sure you will be so impressed by my work-ethic that you will promote me in no time at all.

Is it possible to get paid in $US rather than $AUD? It's OK if you can't.

Please send me an application form and I will complete immediately and send back with my latest CV.

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Ian :-)

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Not a good blogger

OK, I haven't been a good blogger - nothing posted since last November.

That's not to say there's been nothing to write about. I just wasn't sure anyone would actually be interested in reading any of it. I know I said this was for myself and I didn't care if anybody read it; but then I started asking myself what was the point of spending time on a blog? Life got in the road - last year's chicken massacre, neighbours crashing through our fence and dealing with the insurance company for months (!), work, family, autism, Christmas, New Year, wedding anniversary, birthdays, art, my i-Pad, cutting up timber for the winter, watching movies and TV shows, Pinterest, more fox attacks -- you get the point -- all the same things everyone else deals with. So it's all stored away - on notes, sheets of  paper (much to Kelly's annoyance) and diary pages and in my head.

Plus I finally decided to check out Twitter in February and have spent most my spare time on there, quickly becoming addicted and discovering lots of really great people. My autism family on Twitter is very special to me and everyone is supportive of each other. I thought I learned a lot reading blogs around this time last year. However, Twitter has been a real eye-opener and I can't believe how many similar people there are with similar experiences, similar doubts and similar concerns.

My Twitter timeline is just as eclectic as my life - tweeting about #autism, #art, #Sharks (not the #Sharknado type), #Will, #work, the #TDF, #chickens, #cactus, #TV, #movies, #work and so on.

I used to think I was the only person in the world who thought like I did, who had strange addictions, who made lists, who had to have complete sets of that addiction and so on. No, there are lots of others who have been doing the same thing for as long as I have! Yes, I find that amazing, earth-shattering almost but mainly a relief.

When I was diagnosed with Aspergers, it was a relief. I know some people can't handle hearing the diagnosis but for me it was a relief. It was like a veil had been lifted and I finally knew there was a reason at least for the way I thought and felt and dealt with life. It explained so much about my childhood, my troubles at school and the agony of trying to fit in.

Will's diagnosis of autism two months earlier was a similar relief which some people might find odd. There was no sense in denying it. There was no sense in trying to blame someone or something (Andrew Wakefield and "vaccination causes autism" nuts rile me like nothing else on the planet). We missed out on accessing early-intervention programs but Kelly and I had been doing our own early intervention with Will without even knowing it. But, as I said, it was a relief because it explained so much. I always wondered why Will would never say "hello" to other kids at school for example. Autism explained why that, and so much more, was so.

Life as I know it sometimes doesn't make sense so it's good to find some answers!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Car Crash

One of our neighbours crashed through our front fence on Monday night. He wrote off his car and did major damage to our fence and gate but luckily he was OK. Amazingly he didn't even get a scratch!!

He somehow managed to knock one of the posts clear out of the ground.

And here's an artistic view of that post from Will the next day!

Will was asleep at the time but the noise of the crash (like an explosion) woke him and then the car horn was stuck on and it drove him crazy. Just an example of his sensory issues where noise causes him physical pain.

Soothing Patterns

Will loves patterns, like this one he created on his iPad.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Why blog?

I’ve been making diary notes and jotting down thoughts over the past two years on what it’s like dealing with autism in my family and have plans to eventually write a book, just for the personal satisfaction mainly and maybe preserving “family history” in some small way.
In September I decided that starting a blog would be a good outlet for some of these thoughts, regardless of whether anybody else actually reads it.
In the past month, since my first post, I’ve discovered numerous autism and asperger blogs, many of which are fascinating. It’s been a revelation to find all these other people with similar experiences to myself. Reading the words, a lot of the posts could easily be describing me. Amazing that there are so many shared experiences and that there are so many people who have been diagnosed later in life.
Growing up, I remember “fitting in” until I was 12, 13 or so then always felt my divergent interests, and the fact that the thoughts and feelings in my aspergian mind couldn’t connect to my friends any more, put me at odds with those friends. I never wanted to be a “sheep” though and have always been defiant in sticking to those interests and not following trends.
While everyone else was listening to Abba, I was listening to The Clash. While everyone else was getting drunk, I was at the cinema watching a movie. While everyone else was watching mindless action or frat-boy movies, I was discovering Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange and other more intelligent fare. While everyone else was driving fast cars I was a passenger, observing, taking notes and writing it all down.
I’ve always been interested in writing and wrote a tenpin bowling column (of all things) for my local newspaper for a decade (1990s) as well as an online version, before blogs were blogs really. I also wrote lots of fiction and had some sci-fi short stories published in my early twenties.

It’s also been rewarding reading about other people dealing with autistic children. For a while after Will’s diagnosis it was tough to deal with and felt very isolating. It seemed we were the only ones fighting the good fight to help our child. Gradually Will has met other autistic children through an Outreach program and Kelly has become good friends with some of the other mothers.

I didn’t intend on such a big gap between posts but a couple of days after my first post, a fox came onto our property and killed 16 of our chooks (Australian slang for chickens) in the middle of the day. That was devastating to Will, my wife Kelly and me.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Artistic Autistic

Will hated art in his first years at school. His teachers knew that Kelly was artistic and put so much pressure on Will that he cracked and refused to do anything in art class.

He's since found his feet somewhat and a couple of years ago won the Stewards' Award at our local show.

This year he's done some nice work including collages, etchings and canvases plus some computer-generated images.

It's great to see him blossoming although he still needs quite a bit of encouragement to keep his mind on the job. He battles through the process to get the end result.


Created with Complexification's Substrate program and modified with the Aviary photo editor