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Ok, the second CD from the FBI arrived today. I just popped it into the drive and haven't read it yet.

When I guessed there were things beyond the original case in my file, I didn't quite expect the stuff I found.

There's an entire CD they've refused to provide based on a second grand jury investigation I didn't even realize happened.

I'm starting to figure out why they've stalled releasing my stuff back to me. Not that I think it's justified, but their odd responses back in 2005-2006 make more sense in context now. Ugh.

 

More to follow. Sorry it's vague, I haven't even read everything yet.

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit its original location here ----> Timmins.net. Your livejournal username will work there.

Recaptcha

So I was commenting on a special needs parent blog, and this new ugly recaptcha variant came up, where it's a crummy picture and a distorted word, and you need to read text from a slanty image of a sign on a building, or whatever. It's pretty awful. So I tried that a few times and gave up, and tried the audio version.

Recaptcha sound

I don't know if any of you can make that out, but I can't. I assume the majority can, or they wouldn't post it. I cannot hear the numbers over the noise at all.

Ultimately, Becky had to help me with a text version to get the comment to post. I think we're starting to hit a wall, where we're taking reverse turing tests so far they assume you have good sensory skills and can handle visual and auditory noise well, or you're not a human. That's a scary world for someone who doesn't.

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit its original location here ----> Timmins.net. Your livejournal username will work there.

A hamburger victory

We're all doing okay here in the Timmins household, though it seems we've been sharing some minor bugs going around.

Billy was out of school part of Wednesday and all of Thursday because he was sick (as the school said "Please come and pick him up, he's had diarrhea. We put the clothing he came in in a plastic bag and changed him into his spare change of clothes in his bag." so yeah, it was one of those days.)

Friday he went to school and had a good day. He developed a really awful sounding cough that night. He still had it on Sunday so we dropped by the Pediatric after hours clinic, (where the resident was kind of dismissive, and a little WTF all the way around. "Should we bring him to his special education preschool program tomorrow?" "Sure!" "Will you write a note saying it's not contagious then? They get pretty strict about that." "Uh, it is contagious. Do they have special needs kids there or something?" "Well, it's special education preschool like I said, so yes, by definition they have special needs students there." *sigh*)

Anyway, we left a steam humidifier in his room last night, which seems to have helped, as I haven't heard him cough since. He's had a bit of a diaper issue tonight, so we'll be keeping him home tomorrow too, but it'll be nice to get back into his routines.

Right now he's up (he's napped a lot all day) and just for the first time in a long time actually ate hamburger! In fact, he polished it off and asked for more. Usually he won't touch them, or will crumble it up into little pieces and push it away. He won't eat his special dairy and soy free potato salad mommy made, but we'll take the hamburger victory for today. YAY!

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit its original location here ----> Timmins.net. Your livejournal username will work there.

Uh, wow.

I think the big trick here is going to be figuring out how to get this covered under Michigan's new autism law going into effect on the 15th. Wow.

20121012-231851.jpg

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit its original location here ----> Timmins.net. Your livejournal username will work there.

Privacy Act request update (FBI)

With all the Billy related stuff, I forgot to post this excellent little gem:

So it looks like I won't be seeing these CD-ROMs until March of 2013. Open government, but not in a hurry.

I mean, I suppose it's fair given they have to read 2000+ pages to decide what to redact. But wow.

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit its original location here ----> Timmins.net. Your livejournal username will work there.

A Big Boy Day

We've had a lot of big boy stuff happening here in the Timmins household recently. Between school, and a new bedroom, and mumblings of eventual potty training, we're working on a lot of rites of passage at once. We've been pacing ourselves as best as we can so as not to completely overwhelm Billy.

We introduced Billy to his big boy room last week, and this week we moved his crib in there. He loves the new space, and seems to be generally okay with his crib being in there. We introduced him to the crib by letting him jump in it a bit after we got it installed. I'm hoping we will have a peaceful night. I wanted desperately to get this done yesterday, so he'd have a non-school night to adjust. But alas, that was not in the cards last night.

So today, we went through a few big boy events for Billy. First the big boy room with big boy toys, and today we got a special toilet seat with integral potty chair:


For the first time, he didn't panic when we set him on the toilet and immediately beg to get off. He sat on it, and proudly at that. It's the first time anyone's gotten him to sit down without a complete panic, so we'll call that a solid win. To commemorate the occasion, we told him from now on, he gets "big boy diapies" (pullups) during the days (which his preschool teacher was hinting about last week anyway, so it's well timed).

Also, Lamphere transportation called on Friday at 3pm, and asked us to call back about the bussing. And of course, I returned their call within 5 minutes, and they were closed, being after 3pm on a Friday, and all. Well played. My guess is that bussing should start early next week, but I wouldn't know because they totally didn't mention that in the message, because they suck at messages. If a bus shows up unexpectedly tomorrow, I'll be somewhat dismayed.

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit its original location here ----> Timmins.net. Your livejournal username will work there.

Autistic Child Area signs…

PECS card available at http://www.do2learn.com/picturecards/printcards/index.htm

So a week or so ago, we were going to see some friends, and happened across an "Autistic Child Area" sign. I was completely dumbfounded by this sign. As someone with Asperger's syndrome, I should probably at least know how to react to such a sign, right? And maybe I could tell others!

Heck no. I have no idea what you're supposed to do differently with these signs. In fact, my amusing (and okay, pretty horrible) first thought leads to the image on the left. My immediate first reaction was "Maybe I should velcro a 'don't run in front of cars' PECS card on my front bumper? I mean seriously, how am I supposed to react to a sign like this?"

So a person who has thought about this for just a second would say "obviously, you should watch for children running out into the street. You should know, your kid has a problem with wandering and you always have to keep an eye on him for exactly this reason!" – But my response to this would be simple – "But that's not what the sign says, it just indicates that someone with a pervasive development disorder lives on the street. It doesn't give any guidance to the driver as to what is going on, so as a parent I'd just be hoping that all the drivers are aware of the risk of elopement and lack of awareness of danger. Poo on that. That's ridiculous. And besides, I should be watching for that anyway, because neurotypical kids run carelessly into the street all the time. If I'm not watching for that, a sign warning of autism isn't going to help either."

I would much rather drivers be paying attention to the road than pondering the meaning of a vague road sign in my neighborhood, that's for certain. I think we have far too many signs out these days that provide little or no useful information that tend to distract drivers, or numb them to road signs, causing them to disregard information when it really is serious, because some signs don't matter.

And ahh yes, elopement, that's one of my favorite parts of parenthood at the moment. Billy tends to go where ever he wants, given his choice. Oh, a puppy across the street? I know we've practiced not crossing the sidewalk boundary a hundred times, but … but .. puppy! Turn your back for a second, and he's right out at the edge of the street! And while we were camping this summer, we ended up having to use a hot pink trail marking ribbon strung around our campground to keep him from wandering throughout the campground, no matter where we went. In St Ignace, I went into the back of my car to grab our tent, and in the 30 seconds I was otherwise occupied, he silently walked away, and was found two roads down (in the campground) at a campfire with several other campers, pointing at the fire and saying "fire, fire". It was completely terrifying because it had just become dusk, and I couldn't easily see him. And of course, he doesn't respond when his name is called. I was so relieved to find him safe that I didn't even care how awful I must have looked to the other campers, parent wise. After that, we went back to last year's old standby of attaching a glowstick to his back where he couldn't see it. He tended to respect the pink trail ribbon boundaries more often than not, and we briefed our nearby campers on the risks of him wandering, and asked them to try to distract him if he showed up, and also not to give him milk or soy products if he asks, as he's allergic. (Thankfully,all the fellow campers were very accepting of Billy)

On the upside, our PCP finally referred us to Beaumont's Center for Human Development for a proper medical diagnosis of Autism. YAY! Once they nail down the diagnosis, and define what treatments are medically necessary, it will be helpful to get any necessary therapy for Billy when school is out over the summer. It won't have any effect on our educational treatments, which are done based on federal and state special education guidelines, but will help us in private therapies when the school is out and they aren't providing them, as our therapists at the school can't provide referrals to private specialists under our HMO. So you're asking "you don't have a diagnosis yet?" – yes and no. We have every medical professional we've met saying "yeah, it seems like he does, he meets all the signs, but it's not my specialty". We have the school saying "He meets the federal criteria to receive his school based services, and the rest is none of our business." This is the final piece of the puzzle that helps us with getting insurance to cover more than just speech therapy (which they covered directly based on a referral from his pediatrician for speech delay). This will be with a developmental pediatrician, and will flip all the right bits in the insurance company and medical information systems to get us the right services in the private world. It will make discussions with medical professionals a lot easier, since with a label, you don't have to go and re-explain everything every time we deal with a new medical professional.

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit its original location here ----> Timmins.net. Your livejournal username will work there.

So today, we gave Billy his big present from us. We've been quietly cleaning out a room we filled with junk when we first moved in here a few years ago. In its place, we've been arranging new toys, and organizational stuff. One wall has a 10 foot long by 2 foot high roll of whiteboard wallpaper on it, so we can draw pictures and words for him with dry erase markers. Currently it has some doodles and a crude visual schedule (I plan on printing out full size color cards, laminating them, and backing them with velcro, but for now this will have to do). We gave Billy a table, some Billy sized chairs, and an easel with chalk. There's also a place for his sensory bins we created, and a table to play with them at all his own, so that should make days when he returns from school easier for him (and us). There are still a couple extra boxes, and we're not finished cleaning out the closets, but it's a start, and he can start to enjoy his new space.

Needless to say, he was incredibly excited. He found one of his new toy bins was full of play food. Becky showed him how to make a hamburger, and hot dog, and how to put on fake ketchup. He of course started making us all wonderful hotdogs, hamburgers, and watermelon with all the ketchup one could possibly want, exactly as Becky showed him. It was the longest, most natural pretend play I've seen out of him yet, and I was completely overjoyed by it. Of course, all good things must end, and bathtime had to begin.

 

Billy has always been a little weird about baths. One week he'll love them and it's impossible to get him out, another week you should probably wear one of those protective suits they use to train police dogs.  It's rare that I can get his head wet to wash his hair, we often have to resort to using dry shampoo to keep it clean. But tonight was very special. He played in the water, and when he was done, he let me lather him up with soap. But when it came to rinsing him off, he would have none of it. ALL DONE ALL DONE *TEARS*. I now have a large, soapy, newly minted 3 year old sobbing unconsolably and trying desperately to climb out of the tub and into my lap. Even a gentle pour of water from a cup onto his back made him scream, and I couldn't calm him down enough to have him try to rinse himself off.

Mommy swooped in to help console him, and we got him to rinse himself off with the cup. He did an okay job, but he got a vast majority of the soap off, and he no longer looks like a grubby child. We had to put off the hair washing until tomorrow. Fortunately he tends to be weird about wanting to get his hands dirty, which makes his hair easier to clean than most, as he won't generally get his hair dirty.

Now he seems calm enough to actually go to bed, so I'm going to do that, and try to get to sleep myself in a little bit.

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit here ----> Timmins.net.

So I did a big dump of Privacy Act requests to the various parts of government that seem interesting. The DHS, ICE, TSA, and Customs and Border Patrol, the US Postal Service, the FBI, and US Marshals service.

Of the agencies that responded, only the USMS and FBI had anything on me (which I kind of expected). The USMS sent me a packet of information, mostly biographical, detailing my arrest record specifically related to the 2003 Lowes case, and some really grainy mugshots and fingerprints. I'll admit, it was mostly just information I gave them as a condition of bond and probation, so it wasn't that interesting.

I thought the FBI was ignoring me. They didn't respond to my requests for status. Then, on August 15 (almost 2 months after I submitted the request), I finally received a response by postal mail.

 

"We have located approximately 2,170 pages and 3 videos or other media which are potentially responsive to your request. Per US DOJ regulations, .. there is a duplication fee of ten cents per page if you receive a paper copy. Releases are also available on CD upon request. Each CD contains approximately 500 pages per release. ..You will owe $252 for a paper copy with the 3 media CDs, or $95 (7 CDs at $15.00 less $10) to receive the release on CD. The actual charges could be less."

They go on to say I may reduce the scope of my request (which was simply for any record pertaining to me, and my social security number was given) and warn that I'll be in a medium queue because my request is 500-2500 pages.

Obviously, $95 is a great deal to learn that much about yourself. *I* couldn't write 2,170 pages about myself, so what they have should be pretty interesting.

Mirrored from Timmins.net.

Racism and misinformation

Today, while eating at one of my favorite restaurants, Idle Hour in Spring Lake, MI (I've literally been eating there since I was able to eat solid food) I found some printouts on the lazy susan on the middle of the table.

Naturally, I picked them up, and one set of them was filled with a printed email containing a racist "joke" about painting a golf caddy robot black and having it fail to show up for work, apply for welfare, or become president, or something along those lines. Someone has reproduced this "joke" here

It was prefaced with the words:

"IT MAY NOT BE POLITICALLY INCORRECT

BUT IT'S TRUE!"

I corrected this with my sharpie to then read:

"IT MAY NOT BE POLITICALLY INCORRECT RACIST

BUT ITS TRUE! FIXED THAT FOR YOU"

I think it's important to call a spade a spade, and let other people figure it out. You can't hide behind blatant racism with wimpy claims of "political correctness". This isn't someone saying "A black man" rather than "A man of African American decent". It's a straight up racist joke. If you think it's funny, that's fine, as long as you realize it's actually racist, not just some stupid jab in the culture wars.

I then set it back in its place. Found another email printout, this time some email forward talking about how Obama is screwing old people by putting a 3.8% sales tax on all home sales. I got the correct information from factcheck.org stating that there is such a tax, but you have to have more than $200k a year in income, and it taxed the sale in excess of $250k for single people, and $500k for married filing jointly, and only to the extent that it exceeded those values would it be taxed (a sale of a home for $501k would only have $38 in additional taxes, as long as the person had $200k in income that year, otherwise it'd still be not taxed). So I made massive corrections to that email and put it back as well.

I don't think the owners were involved, or possibly even aware. But I won't allow racism or disinformation to go unchallenged.

To see comments or contribute a comment to this post, please visit its original location here ----> Timmins.net. Your livejournal username will work there.

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