Moving to

It turns out my solution for running more than one site didn’t really work with my current provider, so I’m moving this site to (which is now residing at

For now, I’ll leave this post on top, but later I’ll redirect this hostname to

Most of the stuff on this site will be located under the Autism and ADHD category on Talkwards, so you should definitely check the content out there.

Chemtrails, WTF?

Four hours after coming home from work: Find myself Googling chemtrails.

Fuck you ADHD! How the hell did I get here? You’re wasting my life, and what the fuck Asperger, did it really took you four fucking hours to figure out what the hell was going on? Get me out of here! NOW!


Ok, it started with me reading an article about Facerape. I mean who the fuck came up with that idiotic expression?

So I was thinking about comparing the relationship between Facerape and being raped live on Facebook with comparisons between the drowning accidents of immigrants on the Mediterranean with Auschwitz… (I voted against it, but they follow a similar pattern…)

That’s when I thought… can I find something about chemtrails here?

Wait… that was after I stumbled across this prophetic vision of the future

And down the rabbit hole I went.

And now I am almost back. And fuck me if I got anything out of it…. other than the knowledge that there are seriously, seriously broken people out there in the world.

Here’s my message to anyone that believes chemtrails are a problem today:

This was solved decades ago. You should head over to Area 51. They give out cures. I think the government needs to update their mind controlling broadcasts to include this information.

Ok. I am kidding. There are no chemtrails, there are no Area 51 (except there are) and there are most definitely no governmental mind control broadcasts. (Ummm… if you exclude state-sponsored TV… but I’ve already excluded it—who the hell want that shit?—so… no mind control broadcasts for me…)

Crap! Two out of three… that must mean chemtrails exists as well? Right!

(4.5 wasted hours now… Aaaarrgghhh stop! Now!)

Focus Cards: How to keep focus

Focus Cards can be used by people with high level of distraction and bad short term memory to quickly regain focus when they get distracted.

The problem

Since I’m a person with a pretty bad short term memory (due to Asperger, I think), and are pretty good at getting distracted (mostly due to ADHD), I’ve found, part from my to-do-lists (in GTD-style), I need something to keep me focused while I am working on a task.

My problem is that if the phone ring, a colleague asks me a question or even just opening the program where I keep my “next task” on my computer, I risk getting distracted and losing track of what I am doing at the moment.

It isn’t uncommon for me to work on a programming task, remember I had to make an appointment with my dentist, open gmail – in order to get to my calendar – and find myself 15 minutes later writing a book review (because there was a mail asking me to do that).

Of course, having less things on your plate helps, but in my job (IT-consulting), I’m sometimes required to handle several tasks at once, each with something that needs to be done. GTD works well for this situation, but if I am unable to quickly return to the task at hand – from phone calls and questions – I waste time.

Focus Cards

Focus-CardsSo, I came up with the “Focus Cards”.

In short it consists of a number of index cards and post-it notes. I then put instructions for a “piece of work” on the index cards and a name of a project or part of a project on a post-it.

The index card is supposed to contain process specific information such as checklists, control questions or other instructions. It also works as a marker for the kind of task being performed for the project or project part.

You can get both the post-its and the index cards from a office equipment or paper store. You might also be helped by writing with lead pencil both on the index cards, at least until you’ve gotten the contents on the card down to your liking.

I’ve split the reminders into two parts since I found the process is pretty static while the tasks and projects always change. This way I can keep the memory notes short – with the right combination of post-its and cards you might only have to write the project name on the post-it and reuse the same few cards over and over.

Added bonus: Defining your process

This can also be a help to figure out the steps in your work. The next task you work with, write it down on a new card (use a lead pencil). As new tasks come up, reuse an old card (perhaps after having corrected the text some) or write a new card. After a few hours or days you take the cards, sort, categorize, split and merge – create new cards or reuse/correct the old ones.

Still using a lead pencil (and a rubber eraser, obviously) add check list items or control questions to the card if you realize you keep forgetting or have to check the same thing over and over. If the cards get cluttered, erase and rewrite, or write new cards as needed.

If you have a role definition for your work or some kind of work flow or checklist description this can help creating a base set of cards, but you will most likely still want to modify the cards according to the above process.

An example

As an example (from the IT-business where I am active), I have a focus card each for “Testing”, “Analysis/Error handling” and “Documentation”.

On the “Analysis/Error handling” card I’ve put a checklist with the following items (comments, not on the card, within parenthesis):

  • what did the tester (person reporting the bug) do?
  • what did they think should happen?
  • what happened instead?
  • Can I recreate the bug? (In our test system – if we can’t recreate it, we’re not going to be able to find it or fix it)
  • who pays? (The manufacturer of the standard product where the error ocurred? The customer – for standard support etc? My company – because the bug occurred within the guarantee time? Etc etc)

On the post-its I will type the name of the project, and perhaps a sub part of that project or a bug/issue number from the bug tracking system in use.

For instance I might type “intranet, dev server” on the post-it and place it on the “Install/Configure” card. Then once that’s been done I can move the post-it to the “Testing” card to verify the install/config of my development server. (This is given that I don’t do too much in between – in which case I’ve found it’s best to keep your desk clean, throw away the post-it, after having updated the to-do list of course)

Pros and cons

I keep the index cards/post-its in front of me (on my otherwise relatively clean desk – you wont be able to do this if you have piles of papers and other junk on your desk!)

Whenever I get distracted, once I return focus to my desk all I have to do is look for the index card and the post-it.

Not having to move/maximize/minimize application windows on my computer helps keeping “interesting” e-mails and other junk away from me, and since I actually do most of my work on the computer, being able to remember what I was working with, and not having to move or reorganize my windows too much is also a huge help.

The only pit-fall I’ve seen so far with this system is that it has the tendency to turn into a to-do-list system in a pile on your desk. This is something I like to avoid, mostly since I have my to-do-list on the computer, where I can sort and filter it, but also because the “Focus” part of the whole thing gets lost if you have too many things on your desk.

I think the key to making this system work is keeping the number of post-its down. If they grow, prioritize and select the thing you have to do first. Put the rest in a to do list.

Another tip is using a lead pencil, which makes it easy to add and remove notes on the post-it (although you can always throw the post-it away and use a new one).

One advantage with the index cards is that you have your checklist/memory-help (on the index card) stuck to the task at hand. I actually started this system by just making a checklist, or process description of my work, then I cut it up in sizable chunks.

Seeing patterns

Torajan pattern - pa're'po sangbuaI’ve understood Aspies are good at seeing patterns (from a discussion group on the diagnosis criteria at Asperger center in Stockholm, among other sources).

The thing is I might be too good at it, or seeing the wrong patterns.

As a programmer I am greatly helped by being able to look at program code and see if it’s wrong somehow (a bit like a “biological code compilation” ;o), although it has also made me allergic to code that has been applied using the “load it into a shotgun and blast it in”-method.

One peculiar fact I’ve noticed with respect to patterns is a tendency (of mine) to see only vowels. I was mixing up the swedish cities “Göteborg” (Gothenburg) and “Örebro” (not sure what that translates to). This was simply because on the vowel level they are “the same”: Ö-e-o.

Lately I’ve been having the same problem with “terapeutisk” (therapeutic) and “pedagogisk” (pedagogic). This case is a bit different though since only the two first vowels are equal.

The mix-up in the first case seems logic. It’s between two swedish cities. In the second case, however, it’s a bit more complex. My first thought was that I, somehow have put therapy and pedagogy in the same category (“Freudianize” that!) but then it got me thinking. What if the mix-up came before the classification? I mean I said to myself, well I mixed them up, so I probably think of them as the same somehow…

Obviously I don’t go around mixing things up this way all the time. The above examples are the only two I am aware of! But if the mix-up can happen across categories… wow imagine getting old and senile… (or not!)

Then again, maybe this happens to “loosely coupled” words/subjects. I live in Stockholm, some 600 km from Gothenburg and about half that distance from Örebro. Since I live far from both and have only stopped at Örebro train central on my way past it, I guess they have little importance to me, so I mix them up.

Cocktail Parxshrorichhheeeeiii – Or, what did you say?

Cocktails_mit_Schirmchen_300Something very strange is going on when I hear several people talk at the same time.

I think the best way to describe it would be to say that I get a few milliseconds of one conversation, then a few of the other, and then back to the first. It becomes a completely unintelligible noise. I don’t hear words… I guess doing it in text would be like:

John (whom I am talking to) and Peter (who’s talking to Bob on the other side of the 2×2-table island) at the same time: sdoi dwhyaotu’sk ntohwe tvheerysihoanv?e a new web site?

Me: what did you say?

John, a bit impatient, apparently not having any problem whatsoever that Peter and Bob is talking at the same time we are: what’s the version?

I’ve tested my hearing – it was perfect. Or at least good enough not to warrant any form of action.

My problem isn’t my hearing. I just can’t separate people’s voices.

At a cocktail party this becomes an explosive and rather fantastic wall of incoherent sounds… almost like music.

That’s all fine, but when someone tries to talk to me… I am not able to say more than, “aha”, “okay” etc – I have no clue what they are talking about… I guess lip reading would be a way to go.

It does take small talk to a completely new level, though.

I hear everything the guys in the other end of the room are saying…

listeningBefore I started medicating my ADHD I was unable to work or concentrate around other people unless I wore headphones. The problem was two fold. I was unable to filter out sounds in my surrounding, and I kept wanting to answer people’s questions, even if they were talking in the other end of the room.

The first one was a problem for me which I solved with an iPod before I started medicating. After that I was soon able to get work done even without my iPod.

However, now I do not use medication and I am still not having the same kind of problem. This is because I’ve learned to accept that I won’t be able to answer conversations I hear, which in turn means that I don’t even bother listening to them. I simply do not care.

If they have a problem I might be able to solve, then they can come to me or mail about it or otherwise communicate about it. After all, you’re not required to answer questions before they have been asked!

Before I got my diagnose, it even got so far that a colleague of mine – my boss never mentioned who it was – complained that I was butting on on people’s conversations. The fun part; I got no complaints whatsoever. Apparently the sanctity of a conversation is one of these rules you’re supposed to just “know”. Well well…

Now, after having attended treatment with Mindfulness and Acceptance Therapy I was even able to sit on the train, tune out everything just to realize some silly teenager was probably trying to get a rise out of me by calling me… I don’t remember the name, but when one of his friends say “his name is probably not – whatever it was,” and I looked up and realized we were the only ones in the train car I have to assume he was talking to me.

That was a pretty drastic 180 degree turn, if I may say so 😀

Tip: Getting Organized

If you are an Aspie you probably have a lot of things. Old stuff you cannot throw away.

Perhaps you collect things? I’ve heard examples of anything and everything from model airplanes, to plastic buckets, to rubber boots, to pictures of horses. Aspies seems to have the collector gene in spades!

As a consequence you probably have a rather messy home. I know I used to. I had piles of things covering the floor, only leaving small “paths” snaking through the mess and connecting my bed, my computer, the kitchen and the hallway.

Given that an Aspie can get rather stressed out by a too cluttered surrounding or by not being able to find stuff, this is usually a problem that needs to be solved.

My solution consisted of the following activities:

  • Throw away and give away things I don’t need or want
  • Organize the things I decided to keep

Throw away / Give away

This can be painful, frustrating or something you just don’t want to do. However, I recommend you go through your things and divide them up into three piles:

  1. Throw away
  2. Give away
  3. Keep

You can give a lot of things to charity. I know where I live there’s containers from the Red Cross and similar organizations where you can put clothes and some other things. Check with those organizations, or if you know where they have collection points, check with them what you can leave and how.

Giving things away keeps you from worrying about wasting something that someone might need.

You can always go through the give away and throw away piles an extra time before you act on them. You can also do this several times. Perhaps once a year or so.

Just accept that you probably have to get rid of something.

I don’t know about your case, but I had stuff that was just garbage. I hadn’t been able to get it out the door. For instance, clothes from the 80ies – a pink and lilac training overall – I’d rather shoot myself than wearing that thing. However I gave it away to charity – poor bastards! 😀 Once I had the piles it was easier to just pick something from the throwaway pile on my way out. I didn’t had to think about it.

In fact, I still place my garbage bags by the door when they need to get thrown out. It doesn’t matter if it’s the day before and the bag will be sitting there until I leave the next day. Once I leave I get the bag with me out, and that is a vast improvement from having it pile up someplace indoors.

Getting Organized

Once you have decided what things to keep you need to get organized. In principle this means deciding a set location for everything you own, from car keys to collected plastic buckets to old photos.

Here’s the key to success:

You won’t be able to do this unless you have furniture, drawers, and boxes where you can place your things.

Here’s a list to get your inspiration going (also see the images at the bottom of this post):

  • Boxes, from matchbox-small to meter/yard sized and every size in between
  • Binders
  • Shelves
  • Chests of drawers
  • Suspension files

You can get boxes from stores like IKEA. How about keeping old shoe boxes?

I have a bunch of shoe boxes with computer parts on top of my shelves. It may not look perfect but it is so much better than having stuff lying all over the place. I’ve also written on the boxes what they contain.

When I get messy, for instance fixing my computer, I can pull down the boxes, spread the contents allover the apartment. I then have a mess, but because I know where each piece of “mess” belongs I can get the things back into the boxes and the boxes back on the shelves in about ten minutes. I’ve done it several times.

The cool thing about being an Aspie is that you can usually create a system and remember it. This is your strength and you should use it.

Organizing things haphazardly is most likely not playing to your strengths and even though it may take some time to get organized in the first place, once you’ve got the system down, it’s way faster than playing it by ear.