Summer is just about officially over. Just about: Iz goes back to school on Sunday, and we'll be a quartet again for the first time since early June. I am so sad about her leaving, but also know that clingy parents suck. So, off with her, and may she have another year of self-discovery and adventure at her amazing school. As for our other offspring: Leo was thrilled to be back at school because I am boring, though he had a great time at camp. J. was happy to be reunited with her now-8th-grade friends, and enjoyed geeking out at her first CrunchRoll con, where she made me pose with a Colossal Titan head and I nearly gagged.
This summer was even more disorienting than usual, due to more visitor and visiting activity than usual. Since I'm an introvert who requires significant alone time to recharge, the result was very little writing and TPGA-ing—but I gladly chose time with my friends and family over productivity. Gladly.
Other late-summer happenings: Seymour and I revisited Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe for our anniversary (and I surprised him by arranging for some of our bestest friends to be there at the same time). The Valle was even cooler than I remembered, and is an excellent site for geeks of many stripes. Example: while out early one morning looking for sightings to add to Seymour's bird nerd list, we came across a puddle containing endangered baja killifish
! (Killifish are rad because they reproduce like brine shrimp, laying eggs in puddles that completely dry up along with the eggs, until the next seasons rains come and then *blort* the eggs rehydrate and the next generation of killifish emerges.) Killifish are not exactly lionfish nor neon tetras in appearance, which sadly belies their utter badassness:
|[image: sandy-colored Baja California killifish in a sandy puddle.]|
Most people come to the Valle to visit the many (and increasingly many-er) wineries
. I like drinking as much as anyone with French Canadian ancestry, and enjoyed visiting Lechuza
, Tres Valle
s, and Retorno
wineries especially—but what I really loved was the dogs lounging everywhere in the tradition of the region's ranchos, and talking with local nerds and oenophiles both aspiring and legit, as my mangled Spanish permitted.
|[image: Sleeping dog by a low stone wall, in front of a vineyard.]|
And while there are many truly remarkable restaurants
in the region, and they are as creative
in the Bay Area, my personal pilgrimage site is a purveyor of Ensenada-style fish tacos: El Buen Sazon
. Our simpatico and brilliant guide Israel Torres (a biologist with deep regional knowledge and connections) laughed at my insistence on hitting up the taqueria instead of one of the vinicola foodie joints, but after I explained that the very last thing I ate before getting married was, also by my insistence, a similar fish taco, he understood (though was no less amused).
|[image: Close-up of fried fish tacos. OMG.]|
Back home, we had more great friends stay with us for a week plus! What a treat. Their sprog and J. are seriously compatible nerdlings, which is all we could ever hope for from back when we were all pre-kids. (All you need to know: The kids spent the week watching Pacific Rim and HellBoy.) As for us, we've been in this area for nearly a quarter century, but taking visitors to see the delights of our our region in combination with the shock of beastly cold San Francisco summers is always, always fun:
|[image: Our group atop San Francisco's Twin Peaks viewing area, in the fog.]|
About the only non-family/friend activity I did engage in was a few tweeted spates of countering biomedical approach flogger and Generation Rescue
board member, parent to the child for whom Autism Speaks was created, and cognitive dissonance/privilege denialism role model Katie Wright. I know this description is unkind of me. I am still working on a way to thoughtfully engage people who accuse me of willfully engaging in conspiracy theories for publicly posting/passing along an unnamed reporter's request for personal stories about autism pseudoscience (I actually didn't know who the reporter was; it was a request from a friend), or who claim I am supporting the suppression of free speech when I get schadenfreudey about rabid anti-vaxxer Polly Tommey getting banned from Australia because she lied on her tourist visa (she was there on a tour to promote her anti-vax movie, not there to see sights). I suppose you can read Katie's own words and decide for yourself:
|[Image: Exchange between me as TPGA, and Katie Wright: |
KW tweeted, "Ha- being 'gauche' rich people's
problems...Wish as much concern 4 premature deaths of autistic
people due2 intractable epilepsy #RealProblems"
Me: "You don't get to get righteous with people who fight for
*both* dignity and better research just bc you ignore
former for the latter" KW: "I get 2B anyway I want"]
There's a good reason autism pseudoscience devotees like Wright are sweating and defensive: Prominent media outlets are starting to openly denounce bogus autism approaches: NPR is going after Generation Rescue
, BuzzFeed recently denounced the pseudoscience cult-think bubbles
that trick parents into pursuing bogus biomedical autism "cures," and I was recently involved in an effort that I can't talk about just yet (and which may or may not pan out). But this wide-scale recognition that autism pseudoscience hurts both autistic children and their families is something I've been wanting to see for almost a decade
and write about a LOT
, and which people like Matt Carey at Left Brain/Right Brain
and MMS/Bleach Enema denouncer Fiona O'Leary
and tons of autistic writers have long been diligently countering.
Anyhow. Summer's done. I am back to writing and editing. And, due to weeks of non-productivity, am backlogged to an impressive degree. So, if you've been waiting on me for anything, or didn't get a reply regarding something you sent in the last three months, wait a week and ping me again. And then maybe again.