From the monthly archives:

September 2008

In memorandum George

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday September 30, 2008

in Personal

Saturday last I was told that George had died.
To be honest I had to think for a few moments who he was. “You know that big strong bold guy with the motorcycle”.
I knew.

In my world there are two kind of people:
Some people walk into your favorite bar or you place of work and except when they sit next to you and start talking too you, you might never notice them.
Then there are the kind of people who do make an impression.
If they walk into the place you feel them coming and you know them. Even if you were never properly introduced.

George was the second kind of people.
The kind I fear when I first meet them.
I’m not sure why I fear them but I think it is because I feel that I will never influence them the way I do with the first kind of people. George was the kind of people who could have influenced me. Some one who would have taught me something.

I will never know how he would have influenced me. But I do know that by his passing something will change at cafe the Musketier.

You’ll be missed.


Cognitive behavior therapy

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday September 23, 2008

in Personal

A new therapy is going to influence the way I draw.

The series about what I learn in cognitive behavior therapy consist of the following parts:

  1. Cognitive behavior therapy
  2. Strong anonymous feelings
  3. 751
  4. Feeling scared
  5. Accepting comments selectively
  6. Mad as Hell

The last 25 years I’ve seen the inside of many an psychiatrists office. Talking about my feelings they tried to help me with all the problems I felt I had. I did learn to talk about the feelings and thoughts and goals they thought that I should have.
But it never worked. I always had the feeling that I had more problems.

At some point a psychiatrist accused me of being addicted to talking to psychiatrists. After that I stopped seeing them. Not because I felt that the problems were solved. But because I felt they just didn’t listen to me.

Last week I’ve started a new therapy. Or at least I don’t think it’s completely new, but it is to me.
This therapy is especially geared towards people who are autistic.
Although I’ve only had two sessions and don’t jet know how this therapy will work it has already solved more problems and given more clarity then any therapy I’ve had until now.

Analyzing my toilet problems I’ve found that I had taught myself to go to the toilet right before I left my home and again in the train on route to my work.
Which means that if the train is late (which happens every 1 out of 2 days) I have a slight panic attack. And since panic intensifies bowl movements the problems keeps getting worse.
The solution turned out to be very easy. I just have to tell myself not to use the toilet in the train but the toilet at work.
(Of course one of the main differences between autistics and non-autistics is that we look at the logic of a situation while you look at your feelings: Convince and autistic that smoking is bad for your health and he will quit. Try to convince a non-autistic and he will tell you that it makes him feel alright and therefore it can’t be bad for his health.)

A problem that is getting clarified has to do with drawing.
I started drawing and this blog in the hopes that I would learned how I should use my photographic memory. But in the last year I found that I had ever more problems remembering and drawing nice pictures.
I thought that it had something to do with my lack of drawing skills. But thanks to the therapy I’m finding that it has something to do with my lack of memory skills.
More specifically. Trying to remember details in picture evokes very strong feelings. Although I don’t recognize the feelings I’m assuming they are nice feelings.
But I still find it very hard to deal with strong feelings that I don’t recognize. To the point were I tend to avoid those strong feelings. And since remembering details evokes strong feelings I tend to avoid remembering details.

In the therapy I’m going to work on recognizing strong feelings and dealing with strong feelings. I’m fairly optimistic that my drawings will improve as I learn to deal with those feelings.
And I’m hoping that my computer problems will allow me the time to write about this.


Ever more computer problems

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday September 23, 2008

in Blogging

After the problems I had with my new PC last week I went back to using my old computer. Which worked nicely for a few days. But Saturday windows tried to install the new windows xp sp3 upgrade. After that I started getting blue screens of death.

My dealer advised my to install a pro version of windows xp on my new PC almost guaranteeing that all problems would be solved. But it seems his guarantee isn’t worth very much.
The last few days I’ve been busy installing windows xp pro. But almost immediately I ran into a familiar problem: Windows won’t recognize the usb ports. The same problem I had when I tried to install windows xp on the new PC.
Only this time the problem is even larger. Last week I only had problems when I tried to use my usb mass storage device (external backup harddrive). Now I’ve reach the point where I can’t even use my wireless modem. I can’t connect to Internet to find the right driver.

The funny thing is that about 15 years ago I would have loved a problem like this. A real challenge to get my PC working again. But nowadays a PC is kind of a tool I need to do my work. It should just work.

But anyway I’ve reach the point were I’m willing to through my towel into the rink.
I don’t want to spend more time trying to find a way to get a PC working with windows XP where it is so clearly meant to work with windows Vista.

Using the save mode I’ve set my old PC back to the last working configuration and turned the automatic updates off. That means that I have a limited time to get my new PC working with windows Vista before the old PC gets so buggy that it won’t work anymore.
That could mean that I’ve have less time to work at this blog then I would like but… Since backups are never perfect, I would like to be moved before the old PC runs out of steam.


Finding suitable work

by Henk ter Heide on Wednesday September 17, 2008

in Paintings & photos

Working hard for a year to find out why I want to keep what I already have.

A year ago I started a program at BAVO-RNO to find work that was suitable for me considering the fact that I’m autistic.
In the first part of the program I research my own qualities and those of other people. Although I don’t remember the exact list of qualities I found, it was interesting to think about them.
Being autistic I tend to focus on the individual parts of behavior of people without realizing that there is a deeper meaning, a system to there behavior.
For instance tomorrow I’m having a meeting with one of my manager about a, for me rather costly mistake, he made at the end of last year. I always knew that I couldn’t trust him. But I never realized that there is a kind of motivation to his behavior: He is lazy and willing to do anything to prevent people from finding out that he is lazy.
Now I recognize that I can deal with him accordingly.

It was when we started with the second half of the program that I felt that I was loosing speed and in the end coming to a complete stand still.
In the second half of the program we started thinking about what kind of jobs I would like and what kind that would suite me.
The problem there was that I had put down the condition that it should be a job at which I could start without getting an additional education. I was 46 at the time. Which is rather old for somebody who has experience in the field but hasn’t worked the field for the last decade. But starting from scratch in a completely new field of interest with a completely new education would mean that I would be 50 before I could get a job. Which would be completely impossible.

But my existing skill set is somewhat limited.
I’ve work in IT for a few years but that was more then 10 years ago. I haven’t kept up. Which means that my knowledge base for a fast moving field as the IT is gone. No change that I would ever get a job there.
I also have a different skill set. After leaving the IT I was fortunate enough get the first year of a study called “inrichtings werk”. As far as I know this type of education never existed outside of the Netherlands so I’m not quite sure how to translate it.
It was a study where you were taught to teach people how to change there behavior. The study was meant for people who would work with people that didn’t feel that there were responsible for there own life and there own problems. Meanly people with (mental) handicaps.

For some one who, like me, didn’t know that he was autistic it meant learning about behavior, social skills, acting and a whole lot of other skills you need to survive in a modern day society. But I also learned how to influence people and how to change their behavior. I’m actually quite good at it (if I may say so myself 🙂 ).

But as far as finding a job this is also a skill that’s not very useful. Influenced by emancipation movement of the sixties and seventies the way social workers dealt with the disabled changed. People became responsible for there own actions. Which meant that social workers became advisers and sounding board for their clients. Listening to them and asking them questions. Which is a completely different skill set. One for which I don’t qualify.

The third option was to try to find some kind of unskilled labor.
Although I did think about it for a while it soon became clear that there is no way that I can do unskilled labor outside of the sheltered workplace.
When people do unskilled labor employers invest hardly anything in them. Which means it’s very easy to dismiss them. But even if they aren’t dismissed workers can very easily be moved from one department to an other.
I have experienced both in the 8 months I worked outside of the sheltered workplace and both were to chaotic for me. In both cases I experienced a lot of panic attacks.

So early August I concluded that there is only one workplace left for me and that is to do unskilled labor at the sheltered workplace.
If that sounds boring that is because the work we do is very boring.

But when I started thinking about working for the sheltered workplace for the rest of my working life I realized that I do have a skill that has a value within the sheltered workplace. I’m schooled in teaching people who feel left behind and not responsible for there own life and handicap disability how to live and work with their handicap disability.
We have a lot of those kinds of people within the sheltered workplace.
This may not be a skill that is recognized by the sheltered workplace and at the moment there is no job in it. But that only means that I will have to sculpt carve my own niche out.


Blue screen of death

by Henk ter Heide on Saturday September 13, 2008

in Stories

My blog had an unexpected three weeks vacation.
Here’s why.

About a year ago I thought it would be a good idea to buy a new PC with windows XP before Vista would completely take the market over. But it turned out I was a little late. I could choose between an of the shelf PC that was only slightly better then the PC I had or a custom made PC with windows Vista.
Even though I didn’t like what I heard and read about windows Vista I thought it would be a waste of money to buy a new PC if it wasn’t a real improvement.

I did try to work and play with windows Vista. But it didn’t work very well. I could install the game Dirt but the wheel didn’t work. I tried to configure a network with my old and new PC but although the old PC saw the new one. The new one didn’t see the old one.
When I tried to install my email program I found that to be impossible.
After that my new PC just sat there for the better part of a year while my old PC became slower and slower.

Two months ago I decided that my old PC had become to slow. It took me a minute just to start my mail program and even longer then that to start Firefox.
At first I thought that enough time should have past to give the world a change to get used to Windows Vista. With all the new updates it should be possible to get my wheel and email program running.
Yes and no.
I still couldn’t find the update needed to get the wheel running but I did find an update for my email program Turnpike for only 160 English pounds!!!
Agh. What are these people thinking?
I bought Turnpike ten years ago for only 40 pounds. Over the years I’ve downloaded several free updates and now they want me to pay 210 Euro’s.
I’ve thought about using an other email program. But it’s to much of a fuss. There seems to be no easy way to export/import my email addresses. And the way Turnpike files mail is much easier then other programs.

The alternative was to clone the hard drive of my old PC and install Windows XP on the new PC.
I did so 5 weeks ago and at first everything seemed to go alright. Off course I missed a lot of drivers and it took some doing to figure out which ones I needed. But after a week the PC seemed to work.
Except for the fact that the wheel still didn’t work.

Three weeks ago I had my first Blue screen of death (BSOD).
I pulled the wheel and every thing seemed to be fine.
To be on the save side I went to my dealer to ask for advise and the told me that I should open the PC up to see what kind of motherboard was inside and install those drivers.
After figuring out that I had the Asus P5B and not the Asus PSB motherboard I installed the drivers and everything was fine… for a few days. (Why would they use a font that makes it all most impossible to see the difference?)
But by Thursday night I was again having one BSOD after an other.
Friday I dropped my PC off at my dealer and was told that it probably would be a driver issue and I could get my PC back by Tuesday. Tuesday they told me the motherboard was broke and it would take at least 1.5 weeks.

Yesterday I got my PC back.
They formatted the hard drive for no good reason so I had install my backup. (Only lost two days.)
I’m not quite sure whether the problem is solved. I’ve already had two BSOD and windows is complaining about missing a USB mass storage device driver. Which was start of the problem three weeks ago.
But it seems that the rest of the driver issues are solved and google tells me that the mass storage device driver is a separate problem that has something to do with windows XP.

I haven’t tried my wheel yet but I’m hopeful…