Monday Medley IV

A few recent finds, an solution, a new problem and some photographs.


I finished my posts about the two major autism events I have recently attended ahead schedule, so I am producing an extra post today. This post will contain some autism related links, a solution to the problem I posed on Saturday, a new problem, and a handful of photographs.


On Saturday, in a post titled Setting the Stage for Tomorrow and Monday I set a problem about an email spam filter. I now present the answer, and my favourite of the published solutions, offered by Aaa-Laura Gao Gao.

SFAAaa-Laura sol 1


First of all, the last blog-related thing I did yesterday was to create a page containing links to everything that I had posted about the two autism events I recently attended. 

Next up come two pieces that tackle the organization known in autistic circles as Autism $peaks or sometimes just A$:

  1. An open letter to A$ co-founder Suzanne Wright from the parent of an autistic child, published on the Autism Womens Network under the title “For God’s Sake Stop Speaking“. I quote one paragraph below:
    Your insistence that your tragic ideas on how autism should be viewed, managed, and treated be forcibly imposed on every country in the world is frightening in its scope and ambition. The very loud horn of the autism apocalypse you keep blowing at the world is sad because there is so very much good you could do. I cannot grasp this hate filled fear mongering in someone who has a neurodivergent grandchild. I would think you would want to use every means at your disposal to insure the world accepts him and supports and accommodations are made for him to actively participate in every community. I can’t help but wonder how he feels about a grandmother who speaks publicly about how difficult his existence is on his mother as you did in your previous unfortunate address to Washington.
  2. A piece by the Steve Silberman of Neurotribes fame with the self-explanatory title “Autism Speaks Need to do a Lot More Listening“.

My remaining links address Whitney Ellenby aka #ElmoMom. Firstly we have a three-part series of posts by mamautistic:

  1. Some Background Re #ElmoMum
  2. More Context on #ElmoMum
  3. Some #ActuallyAutistic Adviuce for #ElmoMum

We finish with a piece written by an allistic mother of an autistic child, Mind The Hypo’s splendid piece titled “A Different Perspective” from which I quote a paragraph:

Then she goes on to say “I’m also reaching out to fellow parents in pain to remind them to cast off shame,“. Not only an article but an entire book about the pain and shame of having an autistic child. To me, this is a self-centered, retrograde, outmoded idea. If one truly intends to cast off shame, how about starting by not calling it a tantrum, or not offering an explanation that sounds like “he’s broken” followed with “but it’s not my fault, I’m just a martyr of a mother, please recognize that!”


Here, courtesy of brilliant, is another problem:



Finally, here are some photographs:

Rear of MinsterKorg 1Korg 2SuperstringsBlack headed gullsBlack headed gull


Musical Keys and Birds

A brief account of Musical Keys and some bird pictures.


Saturday was a music day, and I have plenty of pictures to share from recent days.


These sessions are organised for the benefit of autistic people, so before I get into the meat of this section here is stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of

The Korg is a very sophisticated machine (for classical music enthusiasts it looks a 21st century version of a clavichord, but it does so much more). I will let the photographs tell the story (I got most of these by playing with my left hand while using the camera with my right FYI):

Korg IKorg IIKorg IIIKorg IVKorg VKorg VIKorg VIIKorg VIIIKorg IXKorg X


We start with the largest bird to be a regular feature of life in Britain – the mute swan:


Next we come to a much smaller species, which I have not previously captured on camera, a little wader called a turnstone (I seem to recall that a few years back The Lynn News had a columnist who used Turnstone as a nom de plume):

Turnstone ITurnstone II

Further along the Great Ouse and on the side of the river were a few specimens of a larger bird that is not a regular sight in these parts – the greylag goose:

Greylag geese

We end with a couple of cormorant shots:

Cormorant CSwimming cormorant



Musical Keys and a Meme

An account of my Musical Keys session on Saturday and a meme that I created.


Saturday was a Musical Keys day in King’s Lynn. This post shows you what I did during that session.


Those who read my post about the session on January 6th will recall that in that session I was on a keyboard, which when you add Christmas in to the equation meant six weeks since I had used Reaper, so I was particularly pleased to get back to using Reaper. Once I had re-acquainted myself with what I had already done I moved on and created another major piece. I will met some photographs of my Reaper screens tell the rest of the tale:

Reaper 1
The first five pictures are from the first half of the session.

Reaper 2Reaper 3Reaper 4Reaper 5

Big piece 1
These last five shots deal with my new big piece.

big piece 2Big piece 3big piece 4big piece 5


A number of recent posts on this site have been about or have touched on the themed of “autism acceptance months” (here, here and here). During the weekend I created an #autismacceptancemonths meme for sharing on social media which has had some success, and for the benefit of those of my readers not on social media I reproduce it below:



Autism and Music

An account of the first Musical Keys session of the new year and some autism related links.


This post comprises two elements – one an account of the first Musical Keys session of 2018 and the other sharing some excellent recent stuff about autism. Because it is an autism themed post I am using #RedInstead text (scarlet for headings and links, maroon for body text). 


Musical Keys is an activity run for autistic people who enjoy music. Generally speaking it is run fortnightly, with a session for youngsters between 3PM and 3:45PM and a session for older participants from 4PM to 5PM. I had initially been expecting to renew my acquaintance with Reaper (a computer program for composing music – see here for more details) but circumstances dictated otherwise, and I actually ended up on a…


This machine can function as a wide range of instruments/voices and in a wide range of styles, and I explored a lot of the instruments in the course of the time I spent on it.


John, one of the two people who run these sessions, showed me how to play chords as opposed to single notes, and I experimented with playing varying numbers of notes simultaneously, and using the whole range of the keyboard. 

I created a few chords where the notes played could also form words, such as face/cafe, cabbage etc. I enjoyed making the acquaintance of this keyboard and learning something of its capacities.

These notes could form the word ‘cabbage’ (there being 2 as, 2 bs, 1c, 1e and 1g. Kirsten Murray, who helps John to run the sessions, took this picture with my camera.
Here you can see the notes – I played this with my left hand, while photographing with my right.
A close up the central screen.
The screen with more of its surrounds, including detail about the ‘voice’ settings.


This section starts with a post from Rhi that I regard as being the last word on “mild autism”, published under the title “Autscriptic: Mild Autism“. 

My next piece comes from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, written by Shannon Des Roches Rosa of under the self-explanatory title “Eleven Ways You Can Make Your Autistic Child’s Life Easier

The next two pieces in this section are both from the blog “Autism is my Superpower


I have linked to a number of reviews of Judith Newman’s book “To Siri With Love”, although since I have not read the book I can offer no direct comment about it, and here are a few more pieces about that book:


The organisation who are the subject of this little section go by the name of Autism Speaks, who you will also see referred to as Autism $peaks, Auti$m $peak$ and A$ in various places. 

  1. From comes this story, whose title “Autism Mother Sues Autism Speaks For Disability Discrimination” gives you more than a hint of the truth about this vile organisation.
  2. The website has a piece titled “Autism Speaks: Torturing autistics for profit” which is as damning an indictment of an organisation that claims to be an autism charity as you could find anywhere.


Computer Aided Composing

An account of my recent doings at Musical Keys with a photographic interlude.


A few sessions back at Musical Keys, an event run for autistic people that I am a regular attender of, I switched from using Scratch to using a different package called Reaper. This Saturday just gone I reached a point at which I feel that my work on Reaper is now worth talking about. Also I have some good pictures that I can slip in as part of the back story.


Scratch enables one to play notes on various musical instruments and also has some saved sound loops for variation. Effectively therefore Scratch enables one to play music and sounds but not really to create anything beyond the framework within which to do so. Reaper is both less and more – less in that it has no versions of musical instruments, more in that is really all about combining different recorded sounds into a larger whole, and therefore has much more of a creative element to it. 


I had spent one session assessing the available sound segments, working out which ones I liked and which of those combined well together, and a second session combining shorter segments into longer ones by putting together segments that would or could naturally flow together, but at the start of Saturday what I actually had was a set of useful components that I could start to think about assembling into proper length pieces…


I had decided to lengthen my walk to the venue by taking in a stretch of the Great Ouse before rejoining the regular walking route to Gaywood by way of Seven Sisters and the Vancouver Garden, and a quick sampling of the air outside my flat convinced me of the need to don an extra jumper – it was cold, as some of the photos will make very plain. I had also allowed myself time for a visit to Gaywood library, since I would naturally pass very close to it. It may have been cold, but the birds were out in force, especially near the Great Ouse.

lapwings and a gulllapwings and gullsFlying lapwingswimming birdBlackbirdsBlackbird

Leaving the river by way of Hardings Pits I headed for the South Gate and thence Seven Sisters and the parkland areas…

framed magpieKL signSouthgatestarlingsthree birds

Among other things the walk through the parkland provided me with absolute proof of how cold it was – gulls walking on water. 

Gull walking on waterGull walking on water 2Gull walking on water 3rooksBlackbird II


John, who usually supervises the sessions was not feeling well, so having driven the equipment over he spent the afternoon sat in his car, while his assistant Kirsten took charge of the sessions. 

Once I had opened up Reaper, checked and adjusted the speaker volume (at least 99% of the time it is set too loud for me and I have to reduce it, often considerably – on this occasion it had been set to 70% of full volume and I reduced that to 35%) it was time to put my plan of exploring options for combining various elements to make a larger whole into practice. Before moving on here is a photo I took at the end of the session.


The piece that I called Organ and Strings was one of three background sounds that I used in the bigger pieces, the others being the drum and brass backgrounds. “Ensemble” and “Composite” as those names suggest were medium sized components, while “Horizontal” and “All in” were the two large scale components that I combined to make the final full size pieces. The two big pieces (12 and 16 minutes long respectively) were comprised of “Horizontal”-“All-in”‘-“Horizontal” and “Horizontal”-“All-in”-“Horizontal”-“All-in” respectively. By the time I had listened to the 16 minute piece at the end it was pretty much the end of the session. The next session is on January 6th and I shall work out some way to build on what I have already created. 


Musical Keys

A personal account of yesterday’s Musical Keys at the scout hut on Beulah Street and a walk on either side of the session.


Musical Keys sessions happened at the scout hut on Beulah Street yesterday. I was there both as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and someone who enjoys the session. With it staying light later in the evening and yesterday being pretty benign for an early March day in England I got two good walks in on either side of my session.


I made a quick visit to King’s Lynn library before heading for the scout hut by way of the Broad Walk and the Sandringham Railway Path. I had sufficient spare time to take some photographs en route…

This town centre cafe is the venue for an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning on Wednesday
Here are some of the trees from which it takes its name, on the bank of the highly sculpted stretch of the Gaywood river that passes through The Walks.
The library, fresh from recent repair works.
The first of four flower pictures – all featuring crocuses.



I arrived with the youngsters session still in progress – here are some pictures I took before my session started.


Before getting into details of what I did, I have a short subsection about…


This is best shown in a series of photographs…

The speaker system in use
Partially closed up – machine and bag of cables in the centre, the two speakers forming the sides of the case.
And fully closed – a stout black plastic suitcase.


I was on the computer, using Scratch 2. Once again I consider a series of photographs to do a better job than words…

A modest but sufficient set up – I have eight notes on my chosen instrument (Cello) set to be played by pressing a, s, d, f, h, j, k, and l respectively, and various extras, including getting the cat avatar to move and draw, with the pen size increasing each time I pressed one particular key.



Once the session finished, and the clearing up and locking up was done it was time for the walk back. I journeyed back by a different route, heading for Bawsey Drain, the Tuesday Market Place and King Street. Here are some photographs from this walk.


Musical Keys

An illustrated account of yesterdays Musical Keys session at the Scout Hut, Beulah Street.


Yesterday was a Musical Keys day for me and others associated with the NAS West Norfolk branch. Attendances were somewhat affected by the fact that an autism friendly event was also taking place at Norwich Castle. This post briefly covers the session I attended, from 4PM to 5PM (as usual there had been an earlier session for the younger ones).


I left my flat a little earlier than usual, opting for the Bawsey Drain route. I was carrying a guitar with me to donate to the group always assuming that it could be restored to usable condition (it was a long time since it had last been used). I picked up a few pictures along the way…



John who runs the sessions confirmed that he could make the guitar usable again (it would need new strings but was still capable of generating good sound). Once the session started I found myself using a computer program called Scratch to generate notes. Each note is assigned a numerical value by the program, and you the operator then assign each of these numerical values to a button on the keyboard…

My screen once I had assigned one octave worth of notes to various keys – this works on the ‘click and drag’ principle – the orange tabs at the top describe events, and the purple tabs describe sounds.
The full list of numerical note values.

The default instrument is a piano, but there is a range of some 25 instruments available – I eventually settled on clarinet as my instrument of choice. There are then a whole range of other options available, such as programming the cat to move while you are playing notes and even it draw lines as it moves. Here are a few more pictures.


I very much enjoyed this session, and I think this makes an excellent addition to real instruments. Although it was dark by the time I walked back, just before leaving I spotted an eight-legged friend…

I got three images of this spider…