Skip to main content

Book Review: Born on a Blue Day (2007)

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant begins with Daniel Tammet sharing how he visualizes numbers. To him, they're shapes and colors that make him feel warm or comfortable or uneasy. Then he describes growing up and slowly realizing that he's different. Daniel has Asperger's, and autistic people typically have issues with expressing (or even feeling) "appropriate" emotion. He talks about viewing other children as noisy, moving objects to be avoided; spending hours at a time just sitting and thinking in his room; obsessively collecting favored items; being overwhelmed by changes; and his family's enduring support for him all his life. Daniel starts to become independent after a year volunteering in Lithuania (where he learned to speak the language fluently), and his journey takes him to his record-setting recitation of 22,500+ digits of pi when he was 25. He also meets Kim Peek, the inspiration for Rain Man, when they film the documentary Brain Man. In between, he falls in love, launches an educational website, and learns a few other languages.

Born on a Blue Day is a great read because Daniel is an engaging writer. He communicates ideas simply and in logical sequence. He comes across as humble and self-aware. He's relatable. He was the bullied kid who sat down and waited for the bullies to go away. He was that boy who stood a little too close to you. He was that guy who went on and on with encyclopedic knowledge about a topic that interested him. In other words, he's that awkward person that we all sometimes are, except his brain works differently from ours. Through his book, he introduces us to a different world, Planet Autism Spectrum, now inhabited by 1 in 88 kids in the US, according to the CDC.

After reading this book, I've invented a new term for my condition: I am autastic. It's like the opposite of autistic. To be autastic, you must:
  • have a keen awareness of personal space 
  • have the ability to read between the lines, even when there are no lines
  • be unable to visualize numbers 
  • be incapable of quiet introspection
  • change your mind every five seconds
  • overcommunicate
Like autism, autasticism is brought on by a combination of factors, including genetics, a diet high in fried fat and oils, and vaccines. Because I am generous, the term autastic may also apply to someone who has autism and is hot. Let me know when you meet someone autastic like me; it's lonely being so unique.

Daniel Tammet has another book, Embracing the Wide Sky. What say I read it and check back in with you, eh? 

Popular posts from this blog

Paint Nite!

Last night I joined the "Oops" Paint Nite event hosted by the Club Cafe in Back Bay. About 12+ people came to relax and have two artists guide them through painting this original work:


The point was not to slavishly duplicate "Oops" -- we were instructed to make it our own, to relax, and not to utter the words, "Mine sucks," "Can you do this for me?" or "I thought this was paint-by-numbers!"

Speaking of dashed hopes, I had assumed that wine was included. I had done something like this before, only it was in the morning and we all got mimosas. Not so here! While the artists were setting up, I schlepped over to the bar and was rewarded with a generous pour of Cabernet. Now I was ready.

The setup: Everyone got a 16" x 20" canvas, three paint brushes, and a palette (a paper plate) with red, yellow, blue, and white paint. One artist (Brian) had the microphone and would paint with us, while the other was the assistant (Kory) who wo…

An International Women's Day Miracle!

Truly, International Women's Day is a special day. No, not because multitudes are out there rallying for our rights and giving voice to the powerless. It is because I won a gift card from a company raffle!


Let me explain why this counts as a minor miracle. You see, I never win anything. I answer every damned survey sent my way, participate in all the raffles, buy lottery tickets -- to no avail. This particular raffle occurred monthly, and I had been faithfully entering my name every month for two years, with no results. Finally, last month, I declared: "No more!" and unsubscribed from the mailing list -- but not before entering one final time, because why not.

Hah!

There's also some déjà vu at play here. You see, four years ago, I won a gift card from a company raffle. The one fracking time I won anything! I was elated! Shortly thereafter, also on International Women's Day, I was laid off from my job.

Sooooo...since the day's almost over, I guess I'm not…

Get Out (2017)

Get Out has a charismatic lead, a terrific soundtrack, and damn good cinematography. While it’s described as horror/comedy, it’s more disturbing/cringe-y than scary, and I mean that in a good way. This is an entertaining movie that’s also pretty effective as social commentary.

The film stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a photographer who’s about to spend the weekend at his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parent’s house. Naturally, it’s in a secluded spot in the woods. When they get there, the awkwardness that might be expected from a first-time meeting gives way to a series of bizarre behaviors and interactions. While Chris initially takes it all in stride, it eventually becomes clear that there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes.

The acting and dialogue are highlights of the film, as is the camera work. In particular, Kaluuya’s eyebrows and head tilts are so expressive that the audience knows what’s going on in his head even as he politely brushes off eccentricities. A…