Archive for August, 2013

These are not in any particular order.
1. Libraries are a place of order. Unlike the rest of the world which is chaos, libraries organize information by subject, author and year. There is no reading between the lines for information like there is in the rest of life.
2. I feel like a computer expert when I am able to answer computer questions, like how do I book a computer. Where can I find a computer with microsoft word. (Although, there are some times that I can’t figure out how to fix the computer or format on microsoft word but these questions are few and far between.)
3. Libraries are quiet and never give me sensory overload which sometimes happens in unknown crowded places. Especially when I am very hungry or tired.
4. There are always people to watch who never end up letting me down with their off-the-wall antics. Therefore, it is a good place to learn about human behaviour and what to do and what not to do in social interactions.
5. It is a good place to read the newspaper and catch-up on the daily going-ons.
6. There is usually treats to eat in the staff room.
7. I get to learn about where a good place to nap is from the professionals. These people are amazing they can fall asleep anywhere anytime and they usually choose to do it at the library.
8. I learn how to deal with rude people or hecklers as I like to think of them. This is good training for when you are on stage performing comedy.
9. There is time for day dreaming or analyzing social interactions and kicking yourself for them not going well.
10. Finally but not leastly, I am able to check out books, cds and DvDs in a convenient location for free.

I often talk about Aspergers the problem; how it makes life harder socially because frankly that is what I am often focused on. Nevertheless, there is also a whole different side to Aspergers. There are trade-offs and while sometimes the trade-offs do not seem fair Aspergers can also be a beautiful thing.
In school my memory was always amazing. I was always able to engage with any material that I read or studied in university in a very deep personal way and was often able to connect with it. There are some people in university and life who are able to sail by, getting great grades with very little effort. I know several of these people who were able to get great grades but, and its a major but, they never seemed to really care about what they were learning. For them school was a formula you do A+B and get C where C is a high mark. For these people the things that they were studying were completely irrelevant and they had just mastered the formula.
I on the other hand, because my social life was not the greatest had time to really engage with the ideas that I was reading in the books. The information was not something to learn by rote but something to try and understand and engage with.
There are some people who can never remember what they read five-minutes after they put the book down. My memory has always been glorious. I have been compared to an elephant in my family, since an elephant never forgets. I don’t know if I would say I never forget but my memory is pretty darn good. My problem has always been putting down these ideas in a way that everyone else could understand. As a result of having Aspergers, I have never been the most organized of thinkers I have also been at times careless and not focused enough on fine details. I mean even though, I was not getting the best marks I was always able to know the material as well as anyone else. In addition, while I always worked hard I don’t think it was always as necessary to read many things more than once before the information was stuck in my long-term memory bank.
All of these aspects, the ability to appreciate what I was learning, the time to focus on it and appreciate it as well as the memory to hold onto this information are all aspects of having Aspergers and I am grateful for all of them.

The other day I was communicating with this girl on Eharmony and I thought we were beginning to really connect. Out of the blue, however, the communications suddenly ceased.
There are several answers for why this may be. A) I said something wrong. Not likely the answer because we were only going through the guided communications at this point, therefore, it is unlikely A. B) I was being too passive and needed to act more aggressively in order to sweep her off her feet and instead the communications left with a really neutral feeling and she gave up. C) She found another guy and they were hitting it off even more. It is likely, C. Which goes back into the whole when you suggest you get together with a girl and your schedule’s never mesh and she always has a handy excuse why she can’t get together, if two people really wanted to hangout can they really be too busy? At the beginning of the relationship before, you get to know each other you really can’t push the issue. Nevertheless, is it possible that life is always getting in the way? If that is the case, why does this situation only seem to happen to me which suggests that this is really not the case. I don’t know the answer to this situation or if there is even an answer.
While, this post seems more like it is about dating, in actual fact, it is about establishing new friendships.
Just one Aspies account of trying to make sense of the world.

The majority of the audience are 40 plus.
Therefore, keep the jokes relateable to this age range. Talking about things such as Mortal Kombat, Pogs or Boardwalk Empire may not go over with this audience so well as when doing stand-up comedy in a bar with young people. Young people will understand the references because they were there as well. Also, keep the material clean as older people do not gratuitous dirty jokes. Which is okay, because my jokes are generally clean most of the time regarldess who I am performing for.

One good rating can make your show extremely successfu.
My review from CBC was medicore and it while it can still be argued that I could still have had a successful fringe without a great review, getting 5 stars from the Winnipeg Free Press, allowed me to relax and enjoy the festival more. People do not take a balance of the two scores and go based on the average, instead a great review will run wild and drum up business better than one could possibly believe. Other groups had to work much harder, handbilling and promoting their show than I had to simply because I got lucky. There is both skill and luck in being lucky as I am not going to say I didn’t deserve the good score but the score from CBC shows that not everyone thought as highly of my show.

While Fringe festival can be lucrative, it may not necessarily help your social calendar.
This one is pretty self explainatory. There is no arguing that my fringe festival was a success and yet, after it was all said and done no girls flirted with me because I was a star of the fringe-festival and I still felt as uncomfortable talking to people my own age as ever.

Not every show is going to be equally strong, but that doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up over it.

Do not rush yourself, it only makes it that much harder to get back on course if you start off badly because of rushed lines.

If you say your show is going to be 45 minutes if you go under 35 critics will not like it.

Well, the fringe festival is over so I am now going to reflect on this amazing experience.
Pre-fringe I sent out all the emails to all of the contacts that Fringe suggested, which was like 4 weeks ahead of time. I thought that everyone would be interested in my story because I am egotistical like that. I have a hard time taking the perspective of others, therefore, when things go badly its because of something I did and when things go well it’s because I got lucky. Nevertheless, in my head the world revolves around me. Therefore, when I did not hear back from anyone other than the Jewish post and Shaw at first I got really discouraged. (I still think the Jewish post, had the best article of the bunch =0 ). Maybe, I had miscalculated and it turned out no one would be interested in the message that I had to say. Maybe, only people with aspergers would care and everyone else would prefer something lighter. This was a stand-up comedy which is light, but also about a weighter topic Aspergers. My blog never had the biggest audience after all. Therefore, I began worrying that my fringe show would be a flop.
Slowly, however, three weeks after I had sent out all the emails, two weeks after I stopped thinking anyone cared and four days before the fringe festival started. I started hearing back from CBC and the Winnipeg Free Press. When CBC first contacted me I was in a hurry and had just woke up from my nap so wasn’t really coherent about what was going on. Therefore, when they interviewed me for the website I was just confused and thought that was that. Then they contacted me again to do a radio interview, at the radio interview they also talked about doing something for tv but when nothing happened that day I moved on. The television department actually contacted me the day before I was performing. On top of that I was still writing my fringe festival show because the original script was too darn negative.
My mom was still convincing me, however, that not everyone would be interested and only people impacted by the disorder would come to my show. On top of that people with Aspergers rarely like to leave their house so I thought my audience would be tiny.
In addition, I had got my tech time wrong and only out of mercy from the tech guy steve who waited late were we able to practice at all. I only knew, I got my tech time wrong because my mom called me on my cell-phone I had been out that day with some people putting up the great posters that Cory Falvo made for me.
The first night of my show I knew was going to be huge because it was all my parents friends who had read the article in the Jewish post and therefore, had come out to support me. Therefore, I figured I’d have at least one packed house and only one packed house. I was okay with that, because frankly I was not that comfortable with my material after writing and learning it all in a week. Granted it was based on my five years of stand-up comedy but everyone told me stand-up comedy doesn’t do so well in the fringe festival. Also, it wasn’t like I was on the pinnacle of Winnipeg stand-up and had already been looked past for many big shows like the Winnipeg Improv festival. As a result, I had every right to be concerned. Forunately, for me there were lots of people who came out to support me. My brother’s friends parents all the way-out in the country even drove in to support me that night.
The next day, was Friday. I was very nervous because my show started at 5:45 and my shift at work ended at 5:15. Forunately the two were very close to each other. Nevertheless, I was very nervous about not having lots of time to prepare, mentally that is, as my show had no props. I was flabbergasted when I got there and there was a huge line-up. The place had sold-out. The show is very strange for an audience member to know when to laugh because at the heart of it, the jokes are about something really sad therefore, it was hard for them to know when it was okay to laugh and not feel like they are laughing at the person with the disability. It is made tougher by my pedantic speech as a result of my disorder. I have faced this challenge often as a stand-up comedian and I didn’t know how this would fare for my show. This ended up not being that big of a problem. Nevertheless, I wasn’t thrilled with how my show went. My general awkwardness at the end of my worked in my favour, however, as the audience loved it. I wrote this off as a freak occurence and that my audience sizes would normalize for the rest of the shows. That my third show no way would anyone come out I mean it was at a god-awful hour of 11pm on a day that had been raining hard and was still coming down hard. Nevertheless, lo and behold this show almost sold-out as well. There were 5 seats still available.

I was a bit worried how, the critics would take it, however, as my show was barely 35 minutes at that time and I said it was a 42 minute show. One critic hated this and gave me a medicore review a 3. The other big critic, however, loved my show and gave me a 5 stars. Which is a miracle, since five star reviews should only be reserved for the best shows like the Hot Thespian Action one or Crumbs. You know, shows that would sell out automatically whether or not they got 5 stars.
After hearing both shows complain about my show being short. My brother and I stayed up late the Saturday before the Sunday show, my 3rd show, and worked really hard to add 5 more minutes. One of the jokes that came out of this session actually became one of my best jokes.
After getting the 5-star review I also got two super generous reviews from complete strangers in the Jenny’s which is the unofficial fringe newspaper. My shows now started selling out really quickly. I could only hope that the message that I was trying to send about people with Aspergers being just as capable and worthy as anyone else, despite having our shortcomings socially was getting through. One show sold out 5 minutes after tickets going on sale I’ve heard.
The final hurdle came after I won patron’s pick. I was going to be going up against the best shows from other venues in the exact same time-slot. Amazingly enough, the press and word of mouth was good enough that it was the only show that sold-out in advance.
The most rewarding part of the festival, however, was not selling out shows but having strangers who I did not know come up and talk about how they could relate to the show and how they too had Aspergers and appreciate what I had done. Some of them even shared their own stories.

In September, the show will air for one night only at the purple room as a fundraiser for Aspergers Manitoba.