Podcast — 41 Minutes

Episode 19: Catching Up With Joshua Miller

Podcast — 41 Minutes

Episode 19: Catching Up With Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller returns to the podcast for a free-form conversation with Dr. Gwynette. He shares how he has been dealing with the “isolation” of the pandemic, his interests, goals, and fears.

You can follow Dr. Gwynette on Twitter and Instagram.

Music by @MrBobbyKalman

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Dr. Gwynette: Hello, my name is Dr. Gwynette and welcome to The Autism News NetWORK podcast, this is episode 19. You can follow me @DrGwynette, that’s @D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E and you can also follow our work on TheAutismNewsNetWORK.copm.

Dr. Gwynette: We are joined today by a very special guest, Mr Joshua Miller. Welcome Josh.

Joshua Miller: Hello.

Dr. Gwynette: How are you doing today?

Joshua Miller: I’m all right, my allergies are acting up a little bit, but other than that I’m doing pretty good.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, ’tis the season in South Carolina right?

Joshua Miller: Unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: The home of pollen.

Joshua Miller: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, we’ve been pretty blessed in Charleston that it’s been pretty mild but we know the heat and humidity are coming pretty soon, right?

Joshua Miller: Unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Well, Josh is back, and he did a previous podcast with us, and you can check out that episode, I’m not sure which one it is but it’s early on probably episode …

Joshua Miller: Yeah it’s one of them earlier ones.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah and we wanted to bring Josh back because hey we love being in the room with Josh Miller and talking about whatever is on his mind. Josh is an Autism News NetWORK participant, and he is a very talented guy. We’re going to talk about some of his interests today.

Dr. Gwynette: First though, Josh, I want to ask you, how do you feel like you are holding up during this pandemic?

Joshua Miller: I’m going to be honest with you, I mean since I moved to where I’m at right this second, I mean I’ve been isolating for the better part of two years so this ain’t new to me, unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, you and I have talked offline about social isolation and how it’s difficult wanting social connections and then the pandemic comes and takes away a lot of possibilities, doesn’t it?

Joshua Miller: Yep.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, but we’re all a work in progress so hopefully we can get through this and begin to expand our worlds out again. So, what have you been doing to stay busy?

Joshua Miller: Well I’ve been doing my online school work with one of the local colleges and when I’m not on a leave of absence, dealing with medical stuff, I’ve been watching older TV shows, like Gundam and TV with my mom and reading books and …

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Trying to come up with ideas to write, that sort of thing.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, you’re definitely…

Joshua Miller: I’ve been playing Halo.

Dr. Gwynette: Playing Halo, yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: So, Halo has been around a little while, but it’s still a classic isn’t it?

Joshua Miller: I mean this shows how old I am because I remember when it first came out. Now for the Xbox One, they came out with, I think last year, the Master Chief Collection, where they took the original two games, from the first generation Xbox, back in the early 2000s. They took those two games, kept the same game, but they just updated the graphics to near Xbox One graphics.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s cool.

Joshua Miller: So I’ve been starting with Halo one, then I played Halo two finally, I’ve never played that before.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And three, I got done with the side story, Halo three ODST. Then I back tracked to Halo Reach.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah and for those in the audience who don’t know, Master Chief is the main character in Halo and he’s been kicking butt for a number of years, hasn’t he?

Joshua Miller: Yep.

Dr. Gwynette: What do you think it is about Halo that makes that game so special?

Joshua Miller: I mean for me, I’m going to be honest with you because I have a love, hate relationship with video games. I mean I can’t just go on … for me to like a game, I like the story involved in it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I mean I don’t play online video games because I used to, or tried to rather, but I don’t go online because you get cursed out by eight year olds saying words that, you know.

Joshua Miller: I got cursed out calling me everything but a —– —– and they call me words that I didn’t even know existed when I was their age. I mean it’s like give me a break.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: It’s not like it’s Vegas and there’s money on the line.

Dr. Gwynette: Right yeah, people…

Joshua Miller: So I just play the campaign. The story mode. And that’s what I like about it. It’s almost like reading a book but interactive.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, the story mode is really cool and do you like the vehicles in Halo?

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, the Banshee’s, I remember the first time I rode the Banshee’s, those were really cool.

Joshua Miller: Yeah, I like the Scorpion, which is the tank.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: And then in Halo four they added some kind of small mecha suit like thing, it’s about 12 feet tall and just walks, I thought that was cool. And I bought Halo five at GameStop, I want to say at the beginning of April. Right as the pandemic was coming to Charleston. I think I got it the day before GameStop decided to do an about face and not let anyone in the store.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah I think for a little while GameStop was trying to be an essential service, right?

Joshua Miller: Don’t get me started on that.

Dr. Gwynette: For some people I guess it might be.

Joshua Miller: No, I’m sorry, video gaming is never an essential business.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah I think it’s smart that we don’t touch that one.

Joshua Miller: I mean I don’t want to bash a company, but I mean, come on now.

Joshua Miller: Anyway, I got it on … I paid 10 dollars I think for Halo five and I’ve never played it and I’ve been wanting to. So when I eventually get up to there, I want to play Halo five and then Redbox, I got this back in November, no the beginning of December, my bad. Remember that video game, Jedi Final Order, or whatever, I don’t know. The interactive one that came out?

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I saw online, and you had to be quick about it, where Redbox, where you go get your movies at.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: They were doing away with their video gaming side of it, so they were selling all their video games for like next to nothing.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow.

Joshua Miller: So I bought that game for 25 dollars when everyone else was paying 50 or more for it.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s good, why do you think Redbox stopped doing video games in their Red boxes?

Joshua Miller: I don’t know to be honest with you. I know I never used Redbox, that was the only time I’ve ever even rented anything, and I bought it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah it’s kind of an interesting little niche there that they’ve been able to squeak out a living between a Blockbuster video store and Netflix. It’s like this little tiny niche and they seem to be doing pretty well.

Joshua Miller: I don’t see how it’s going to last for much longer as far as physical content goes.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah they’re probably on borrowed time. That’s cool. So, you’ve also, over the years, been really interested in writing and things like science fiction. What kind of stuff have you been reading or thinking about writing?

Joshua Miller: I haven’t actually written anything in the better part of 20 years. In fact, I think I have it here somewhere. One moment. Because I don’t ever throw anything away. Yep here it is. I’ll have to send you emails of it later, but it’s a little vanilla folder.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And I wrote most of this stuff 20 years ago, it’s just story notes for a story idea, back when I was in the seventh grade.

Dr. Gwynette: Yep.

Joshua Miller: No eighth grade. And I just like to write science fiction stories. Right now I’ve been trying to work up the …

Dr. Gwynette: Sorry I’m here Josh.

Joshua Miller: No you’re fine.

Dr. Gwynette: I had to step and close my back door because there was a guy with a Weed Wacker next door.

Joshua Miller: We can always edit it out.

Dr. Gwynette: So yeah…

Joshua Miller: I like to write, I’m just trying to work up the courage because I seem to have lost, as weird as this sounds, the passion to write, I mean I’ve been making [inaudible 00:09:14] it’s almost like since I left the eight grade and gone into high school, back then, and then the bullying really went up by a power of ten.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: You know I’ve almost lost the passion to write and I’m trying really hard to get it back.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: So I’m trying, you know I joined a fan fiction group for Star Wars and I’m trying to write that just for practice, just to work up the confidence for something, even if it’s never going to be published.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Just so I can eventually get to the step of working on an original story.

Dr. Gwynette: And if you don’t mind, tell our audience what fan fiction is.

Joshua Miller: Fan fiction is something that you have to be careful, you can never publish it, because someone else owns the intellectual property to it.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: But fan fiction is where you take a story, lets say Star Wars since I like it, and you write your own Star Wars story. But since you didn’t have permission you can never publish it. I mean you can go on one of these fan fiction apps I guess and put it on there, but you’ll never be able to monetize it. Which is fine because I see it as practice.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: You can work up the skills and everything playing in someone else’s sandbox, so to speak.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And then eventually branch out into your own original.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, now you’ve had a long standing interest in science fiction. You were introducing me to the idea of some sophisticated writings about space colonies. Earlier it was pretty mind blowing but can you tell the audience a little bit about that.

Joshua Miller: I am a huge fan of Mobile Suit Gundam. It’s almost like the Star Trek of Japan.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: And it’s been around in Japan since ’79 and just like the original Star Trek here in the States, it got canceled before they could properly finish it. Star Trek did, the original anyways. Gundam also got canceled and then just like Star Trek it became popular through re-runs.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay.

Joshua Miller: Because the original run of Star Trek, it crashed and burned. But when it went onto re-runs that’s when it became popular. And the same thing with Mobile Suit Gundam. And I bring that up because when I see something on TV, whether it’s science fiction or anything, I like to research it. To see where they got ideas from. And in the Japanese cartoon, they have space colonies at different range points in the Earth, Moon system. And these colonies, the ones in the original Gundam were called O’Neil type three space cylinders.

Joshua Miller: And essentially what it is, is if you take a cylinder, make it 20 miles long by about almost five miles wide, and you spin it a little over one rotation per minute, you can simulate Earth’s gravity inside of it. Using the same principle that the Tilt a Whirl at the fair, where you sit in and it spins really fast and it sticks you to…

Dr. Gwynette: Sure.

Joshua Miller: It’s using the same principle as that. And I’ve always been fascinated with space colonies because unlike Elon Musk I don’t think we’ll ever be able to colonize any of the other planets, even if we had the technology to make atmosphere wise, because of gravity. Mars has such less gravity than us it would be hard on people to live there their full lives and even come to visit earth with the drastic change in gravity.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay.

Joshua Miller: So if you wanted to branch out into space you would almost have to do it where you could have gravity near ours. And with space colonies you could do that.

Dr. Gwynette: Sure.

Dr. Gwynette: And you had an author that was kind of a pioneer in this area you were telling me about, right?

Joshua Miller: Yes, Gerard O’Neill, I don’t know if you can see it but I think he was at Princeton, I don’t know he was at one of the universities and in the late ’60s him and his grad students were trying to come up with a way to, how would it be possible to live in space? And they were talking about it, and they’re like, “Well in order to live in space, it would have to be comfortable, it couldn’t be like the international space station,” or in the ’60s it would’ve been something made out of rocket parts.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: It would have to be comfortable, you would have to Earth’s gravity, this that and the other. You would have to be able to grow food and control radiation. So they came out with different types and they call them between island one, island two, and island three, and essentially they’re just different shapes and sizes. But yeah that’s when they came up with it.

Joshua Miller: And he came up with the idea for the mass driver, so that they could launch stuff of the moon without using rocket fuel. So just electricity and magnets.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. And what would they be launching of the moon?

Joshua Miller: Materials, resources that they mined from it.

Dr. Gwynette: Oh I see. Okay. So you go down to the moon, you mine materials and then you send them back.

Joshua Miller: Because you would have to build this colony in space, you couldn’t build it on earth because it’s so massive and then shoot it into space, it just couldn’t be done that way.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. Interesting. So you’d have to use particles from the moon to construct the space station, or the space colony?

Joshua Miller: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s really interesting.

Dr. Gwynette: And you had a model there?

Joshua Miller: Yep.

Dr. Gwynette: Can you tell us about what that is?

Joshua Miller: This is, I don’t know if you can really see it good, this is a small accurate model of what the island three looks like, which is my favorite.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay.

Joshua Miller: And this ring right here where my finger’s at, that would be where you grow your food. I mean I know you can’t really see it in the picture but this ring is made up of tiny, tiny little cylinders and each one of those cylinders would have its own environment, so you could have year round growth of water melon, or squash, or stuff that grows in the summer. It could be summer in each one of those tiny cylinders all year round. So you could have always in season.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s cool, and so you’re using sunlight and then how do they control for the temperature in space?

Joshua Miller: The way I understand it, because I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not a physicist so I have a hard time understanding it.

Dr. Gwynette: Of course, yeah.

Joshua Miller: When I read it, I try to see if I can relate it to something I know, so I can get a better understanding of it.

Dr. Gwynette: Sure.

Joshua Miller: I think it’s through the mirrors, which is for the main colony … let’s see if I can get …

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, you got it.

Joshua Miller: For the main colony it’d be these things sticking out right here, I don’t know if you can really see it, but that black thing that’s barely visible. Those are mirrors and it has three for the main colony, you would direct sunlight via … it would move so you would see the sun rise and set, to simulate it.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow, so this was like…

Joshua Miller: And you could close it to get darkness to simulate the…

Dr. Gwynette: And so in that book, the High Frontier by Gerard O’Neill, he outlines a plan for how you, I guess, overcome some of the physical challenges of being out there.

Joshua Miller: Yeah and there’s a lot of challenges you’d have to overcome.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, did he start out with a premise about why it was important to live in space?

Joshua Miller: Yes, I mean the guy was ahead of his time. He knew from data that eventually Earth is going to run out of fossil fuels eventually. I mean because at the end of the day fossil fuels are a finite amount of resources. And it doesn’t replenish itself. So once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: So between that and he knew that the environment because unfortunately with factories it is toxic to it. Between that and the population growing, because now we’ve reached a stage in human history where people are living longer. Before in the past, you had diseases and a lot of diseases that almost kept the population in check. And I hate to say that. I’m not trying to sound cold but…

Dr. Gwynette: No I understand.

Joshua Miller: But it did and now with modern medicine, it’s not really much of a problem for most of the world.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: So, people are living longer and there’s, again, just like there’s a finite amount of fossil fuel, there’s only a finite amount of space.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: And there’s only a finite amount of fresh water for us to drink. Even though the world is mostly water, that’s salt water. I mean you can’t drink salt. So that’s why he came up with the idea for space colonies. Because he’s like, “We can’t live on the moon. Not permanently.” I mean we could build bases there, temporary, but we would never be able to have a permanent, 365 day, Permanent thing there.

Joshua Miller: You can’t live on Mars because of the gravity, you can’t live on Venus because the pressure would kill you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Well until we get faster than light travel, which that’s not going to happen for a long, long time. You would have to build in space where you could clearly duplicate the conditions on Earth, so that people could live and grow like that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, do you recall what he mentioned about water source?

Joshua Miller: I know he said water was precious but I mean I can’t remember exactly.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, because that’s probably a tough one, because water is also really heavy, you know?

Joshua Miller: It is. Because that’s why he was talking about we could mine … comets are made up of water, he was talking about how we could get water from space and he said all kinds of different things.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. That’s really, really interesting. So you could can go pretty deep in that, you know?

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah.

Joshua Miller: And also in Gundam they also said the downside to it is when the antagonistic country, the Principality of Zeon, they actually took one of these things and dropped it on Earth and destroyed Sydney, Australia with it, so I mean they also showed where you could use it as a weapon unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, because it’s so big?

Joshua Miller: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, that is pretty wild. So he was writing about that in the late ’70’s?

Joshua Miller: Well no, that’s the Japanese guy that came up with the cartoon Gundam.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: No, Gerard O’Neill was more of an optimist, he wouldn’t have wrote that in his book.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, gotcha. Awesome, yeah that’s really cool I want to read that. The High Frontier. Pivoting a little bit, you’ve been doing some photography recently haven’t you?

Joshua Miller: I’m trying.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, tell us a little about that.

Joshua Miller: I’ve always been fascinated with, even as a kid I’ve been fascinated with different alien planets. Or what scientists would imagine an alien planet would look like. And to me I feel like the closest thing I would be able to get to an alien planet is taking pictures of stuff closer to the ground. Because grass, may look simple to us, because we’re over five feet tall, but to an insect the size of ant or something. Grass could be the size of an average tree.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: So, how would the ground look like from that point of view. And I’ve always been fascinated with stuff like that and I took my Star Wars miniatures, which are not big, I mean the AT-AT that’s in the picture is smaller than the palm of my hand.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I took, a cheap 20 dollar phone and I think that’s what flared up my allergies, because I hate pollen. But anyway I had to get really close to the ground to take the shots and yep, that’s what I did.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah I saw those pictures yesterday and they are awesome. I’m going to be posting those to our Autism News NetWORK Instagram. Various shots of the AT-AT, and what’s the walker with two legs?

Joshua Miller: The chicken walker? AT-ST.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, the chicken walker. And the way the perspective is set up in these shots, it really does look like they’re on an alien planet. And there’s some really cool ones, my favorite one, I think I told yesterday, there’s one where the AT-AT is crashed out in an ant hill and the chicken walker…

Joshua Miller: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: That was really neat. So we’ll be posting those and yeah it’s a great way to be creative and let your imagination run wild and you know take advantage of being outside, because right now we’re all kind of cooped up. But yeah, the price of course is the seasonal allergies.

Joshua Miller: Yeah unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: No I enjoyed looking at those, we’ll be sure to post those.

Joshua Miller: I mean I was wanting to … my idea when I took them at first is that I wanted to take the pictures and then I wanted to Photoshop the background out of it, where you see my apartment or the cars or what have you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: But unfortunately the last time I dabbled in this type of photography, this was at least three years ago I think. I had a different computer, I had a windows’ computer. So I downloaded, Gimp, which is a free Photoshop alternative, and unfortunately, Gimp is not really the best for a Chromebook, which is what I have now, so I wasn’t able to. But eventually I would like to get something where I can Photoshop it better.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, I mean they look great now but certainly there’s lots of things that you can do with computers that, I guess, expand or optimize the picture.

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And with the ant hill, I mean I had to be really quick because at first there was an ant hill near my house, a smaller one, but those weren’t fire ants so weren’t aggressive so I would put the AT-AT walker in the tiny mound, and they would just go around it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I’m like, “Well I don’t need that, because I need the ants to look like aliens, like they’re attacking.” So I had to find a fire ant mound, so they would actively attack it, and at the same time I had to be quick before they found me and started biting me.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s hilarious. It’s like the hazards of getting the shot. You know?

Joshua Miller: And did you see the bee pictures, those ended up being my favorite and that wasn’t even planned.

Dr. Gwynette: Those are awesome, and I posted the first one to Instagram yesterday, to the Autism News NetWORK and we’ve already gotten…

Joshua Miller: Did you see the bee that was on the one that was under the stick, where it was just his face.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, we haven’t posted that one yet. The first one we posted was the bee kind of sitting from a side view and then tomorrow…

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah, he was flying that what was so lucky.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah he was flying.

Joshua Miller: Because I tried to take pictures of a lady bug but that one was moving just way to fast, it wouldn’t cooperate.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah and then the other one, that we’re going to post today, you can see …

Joshua Miller: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: It’s really cool, what a great shot.

Joshua Miller: Those are the type of bees, because you know bees get a bad rep, but there’s two types of bees really, there’s those bees that are in the picture and then there’s the bigger bumble bees and the smaller bees, the one that’s in that picture, they’re not aggressive, in fact, they have their mounds in the ground like ants.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: In fact a couple of years ago I found a mound in another place I lived at, and I was able to get my head right next to the main hole and the bees would come fly by me, come into the hole, completely ignore me, and come out.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Just like that bee in the picture. He didn’t see me as a threat so I was able to take pictures of it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah if you have any good pictures, definitely forward them on and we’ll get them posted. I wanted to also highlight some of your work that you did a few years ago. A couple things. One, you wrote a piece for Project Rex, which is still up on the site, called A Glimpse. And can you tell us a little bit about why you wrote that, and what it means to you?

Joshua Miller: I wrote that because, I mean I can’t remember what it said now it’s been so long. But I wrote it because it’s just how I view autism for myself. It’s like you said, everyone who has autism is different. It’s not like different types of cancer where the symptoms are more alike than different.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: With autism, it’s a spectrum unfortunately. Everyone manifests those spectrum, diseases in different ways.

Joshua Miller: So for me, I wrote it to describe how I personally struggle with autism for myself.

Dr. Gwynette: And it’s a great piece, if you haven’t read it, check out, Projectrex.org and you can just search Glimpse, for Josh’s piece. It’s really heartwarming and he doesn’t hold back, he gives a lot of the details, the joy and the pain, and it’s really cool. It’s a fun read and a quick read.

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah, it’s not long.

Dr. Gwynette: And then several years ago, kind of, you build on that and you gave a talk at the Low Country Autism Consortium.

Joshua Miller: Yep.

Dr. Gwynette: Tell us about why that was meaningful for you.

Joshua Miller: I mean I was nervous that day, but I mean oddly enough I don’t really have stage fright as long as I have stuff prepared to the T on what I’m going to do.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: And as long as I don’t have technical difficulties with technology. I try not to use it if I can help it, and if I do I try to use it at a minimum for that reason. Because technology has a mind of its own. And I don’t like being unprepared. So if I have to speak and I have everything planned to a T, then I feel good about it. It doesn’t bother me. And I liked it because I got to further explore the stuff. Because some things, I was talking about, it does better having pictures which was something I could do at the Consortium you’re talking about, because I had a PowerPoint presentation.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: It’s something I couldn’t do in a paper.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: I remember that day, it was a packed room, it was like standing room only, and I had the blessing of introducing you that day and I remember saying that, “If you’re not afraid, it’s not courage.” And you were definitely poised to give the talk but I think what I was so proud of is that you had the courage to share your life with other people.

Joshua Miller: I mean I’m an open book, I try to be now, because A, it seems like for the most part, society attitudes towards mental health have gotten better over time, so I try to be an open book because I like talking about my struggles, and I like hearing where people say, “Well I’ve gone through that.” Because that makes me feel like I’m not alone.

Dr. Gwynette: Yes.

Joshua Miller: Because it is easy for me to think that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And so yeah I like talking about it and it really hasn’t been a problem for me.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah there’s so many people who’ve said to me, “Josh is so inspiring and if Josh can do it, I can do it.” So yeah, while you’re sharing your story and figuring out that you’re not alone, you’re also inspiring a lot of other people to pursue their goals and their dreams and to keep working to overcome challenges. It’s awesome.

Joshua Miller: Yeah but I mean I just want to stress to that I myself am a work in progress as well, I mean I’ve got a long way to go, I mean I get self conscious when people say, like you said, that I’m an inspiration. Because I don’t really see myself as that, I see myself … I don’t know, I feel like I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, so I don’t know. I struggle a lot, especially with loneliness and depression because I’m a walking contradictory. I want friends but I don’t want to stick myself out there into a new place.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: So it’s like I do and I don’t.

Joshua Miller: I don’t know, I mean I’m very complicated.

Dr. Gwynette: And welcome to being a normal human being. We all make mistakes, we all are walking contradictions, we all are a work in progress, so you’re in good company.

Joshua Miller: Thank you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, yeah. Looking forward can you tell us about any dreams that you might have? Things you want to accomplish?

Joshua Miller: Honestly, I mean the biggest things I want to accomplish in life, first and foremost I want to be independent, financially and everything, because that’s my biggest fear in life, is that something happens to my mom and that’s just it. And I don’t have anybody else to fall back on.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: So I want to be financially independent and two, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with disability, I just want to stress that before I say this next phrase. I am not saying that. People don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. But for me personally, I don’t want to just get a disability check, I want to be able to work for it. To me, again this just me, I feel like working has a reward, you know?

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I don’t want to sit at home and play video games, I feel like that’s just wasting life. I feel I personally could do more. So my dream is to be financially independent. To get off social security, and be able to own my own car again.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Maybe even write a novel and I don’t know, and do something I really enjoy. I mean I’m in school for medical billing encoding, but I’m going to be honest for you, I don’t really care for it. I mean I’ve never really cared for anatomy or anything like that, and dealing with bureaucracy and this, that, and the other. Trust me, I’m not a bureaucratic person.

Dr. Gwynette: [inaudible 00:34:20]

Joshua Miller: And I agree with it, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy day to day in it.

Dr. Gwynette: So, we’re striving toward independence and a meaningful career, which is great, those are great things to pursue.

Joshua Miller: Because my biggest passion in life, more than anything, is books. And I know that may be weird because it seems like books are a dying breed in light of E-books, and computers and everything else. For some reason I just really love books. I had a difficult childhood and for me to get away from stuff, I used books. I read novels, I mean I read Jurassic Park in eighth grade.

Joshua Miller: I still remember Michael Crichton, he’s very descriptive. The scene in the movie where the guy from Seinfeld dies by the spitting monster, or spitting dinosaur rather. In the book it was very descriptive unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And I still remember that page to this day and that was 20 years ago.

Dr. Gwynette: I wouldn’t be surprised because you read so much, that’s probably why you’re such a good writer as well.

Joshua Miller: I mean you have to be able to read to be able to write.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I mean there’s some things, you can watch TV, but unless you read, it would be a hard time to translate visual to written.

Dr. Gwynette: Exactly. Exactly.

Joshua Miller: And that’s why I like the old Star Wars expanded universe / Legends. What used to be the continuation of Star Wars before Disney bought it.

Dr. Gwynette: Oh and we have to have you back to discuss that topic because in some ways The Autism News NetWORK Podcast, all roads lead to Star Wars because that discussion is so rich, and people are so passionate, that we definitely want to get into that. So will you come back and see us sometime soon?

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah I will.

Joshua Miller: I mean but my thing with the Star Wars fans of today, and it seems like it started with the prequels, is that I feel like people at the end of the day need to remember, I mean I love Star Wars don’t take me wrong, I mean I have the imperial officers hat, I mean the whole nine yards, my room has Star Wars stuff all over it. I live and breath Star Wars.

Joshua Miller: That being said, and I love the old expanded universe stories, were they perfect? No. There were a lot of stupid stories mixed in there, but that’s bound to happen when you have over 200 novels. I mean they’re not all going to be block busters.

Joshua Miller: I mean let me circle back around before I continue my rant, but my point is, it seems like the fans have become hostile lately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: It’s almost like the Sith, you’re either with me or you’re my enemy.

Dr. Gwynette: Exactly.

Joshua Miller: People grow up, I loved it, I lived and breath it, used it as an escape, but at the end of the day it’s not really. It’s like that Disney princess, every time I see on Facebook, I try to avoid Facebook because I get tired of the, pardon my language, the BS.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: But every once in a while I’ll post a gif of the Disney princess from Frozen, saying, “Let it go, let it go.” Because I mean at the end of the day, there are much bigger things to worry about in life, than Star Wars. I mean at the end of the day, Disney paid three point something billion, with a B. For the rights to it.

Joshua Miller: If they wanted to take the original films, go out in a Mariana trench and just dump it in the ocean and replace the characters with Disney characters, that’s their right. I mean they paid the money for it.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s true, I never thought of that. So I love that you’re setting that boundary between fantasy and reality, that’s great.

Joshua Miller: And I’m autistic and I feel like there’s sometimes autistic people seem to struggle with that boundary a little bit, and for me to really understand it and get it, that should be a wake up sign. That, “All right, let’s wake up people.”

Joshua Miller: You know, if you like the expanded universe, great I did to, read the books and ignore Disney, I mean no one’s forcing you to watch it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Write your own fan fiction, just know that you’ll never be able to publish it.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s right.

Joshua Miller: You know, it doesn’t matter.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: At the end of the day, it’s fiction.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah because people, you’re right, they get very intense and fired up about it.

Joshua Miller: It’s crazy. They run actors off of Twitter because they disagreed with them.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And I think that’s insane. Just like with the kid from The Phantom Menace, who played Anakin Skywalker, the little kid in the Pod racing one.

Dr. Gwynette: Jake Lloyd.

Joshua Miller: They bullied that kid and ran him, this was before social media, they bullied that kid horrendously. It’s not his fault that George Lucas can’t write dialogue to save his life.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: I mean even Mark Hamill in an interview from the ’80s told George Lucas, he’s like, “George Lucas can create an extravagant world, he can, and special effects, and this, that, and the other, but when it comes to dialogue, he struggles with dialogue.” And Mark Hamill told him that, I saw it in an interview, I’ll have to give you the link later.

Joshua Miller: He’s like, “George, people don’t talk like this.”

Dr. Gwynette: I didn’t know that.

Joshua Miller: I mean they are punishing the poor kid when they should be punishing the writer who wrote the script.

Dr. Gwynette: And all of it for something that’s just a movie, or you know…

Joshua Miller: Exactly.

Dr. Gwynette: Exactly.

Dr. Gwynette: Well this has been The Autism News NetWORK Podcast, episode 19. I wanted to thank Joshua Miller, for coming in and sharing his intellect and sharing his life with us today. You can reach Josh at email address, which is Joshuapellaeon@gmail.com I’m going to spell that out for you. It’s Joshua …

Joshua Miller: Yeah that’s probably a good idea.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, Joshua, J-O-S-H-U-A, Pellaeon, P-E-L-L-A-E-O-N, @gmail.com, feel free to reach out to him if you want to talk more about anything we discussed on the podcast. You can follow me @Drgwynette on Twitter and Instagram, and also please check out our work on TheAutismNewsNetWORK.copm, we have lots of videos, news letters, interviews, all kinds of good stuff for you to check out there.

Dr. Gwynette: So, for Josh, I’m Dr. Gwynette, thank you so much for joining us, and we’ll see you next time.

Dr. Gwynette: Hello, my name is Dr. Gwynette and welcome to The Autism News NetWORK podcast, this is episode 19. You can follow me @DrGwynette, that’s @D-R-G-W-Y-N-E-T-T-E and you can also follow our work on TheAutismNewsNetWORK.copm.

Dr. Gwynette: We are joined today by a very special guest, Mr Joshua Miller. Welcome Josh.

Joshua Miller: Hello.

Dr. Gwynette: How are you doing today?

Joshua Miller: I’m all right, my allergies are acting up a little bit, but other than that I’m doing pretty good.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, ’tis the season in South Carolina right?

Joshua Miller: Unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: The home of pollen.

Joshua Miller: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, we’ve been pretty blessed in Charleston that it’s been pretty mild but we know the heat and humidity are coming pretty soon, right?

Joshua Miller: Unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Well, Josh is back, and he did a previous podcast with us, and you can check out that episode, I’m not sure which one it is but it’s early on probably episode …

Joshua Miller: Yeah it’s one of them earlier ones.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah and we wanted to bring Josh back because hey we love being in the room with Josh Miller and talking about whatever is on his mind. Josh is an Autism News NetWORK participant, and he is a very talented guy. We’re going to talk about some of his interests today.

Dr. Gwynette: First though, Josh, I want to ask you, how do you feel like you are holding up during this pandemic?

Joshua Miller: I’m going to be honest with you, I mean since I moved to where I’m at right this second, I mean I’ve been isolating for the better part of two years so this ain’t new to me, unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, you and I have talked offline about social isolation and how it’s difficult wanting social connections and then the pandemic comes and takes away a lot of possibilities, doesn’t it?

Joshua Miller: Yep.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, but we’re all a work in progress so hopefully we can get through this and begin to expand our worlds out again. So, what have you been doing to stay busy?

Joshua Miller: Well I’ve been doing my online school work with one of the local colleges and when I’m not on a leave of absence, dealing with medical stuff, I’ve been watching older TV shows, like Gundam and TV with my mom and reading books and …

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Trying to come up with ideas to write, that sort of thing.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, you’re definitely…

Joshua Miller: I’ve been playing Halo.

Dr. Gwynette: Playing Halo, yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: So, Halo has been around a little while, but it’s still a classic isn’t it?

Joshua Miller: I mean this shows how old I am because I remember when it first came out. Now for the Xbox One, they came out with, I think last year, the Master Chief Collection, where they took the original two games, from the first generation Xbox, back in the early 2000s. They took those two games, kept the same game, but they just updated the graphics to near Xbox One graphics.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s cool.

Joshua Miller: So I’ve been starting with Halo one, then I played Halo two finally, I’ve never played that before.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And three, I got done with the side story, Halo three ODST. Then I back tracked to Halo Reach.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah and for those in the audience who don’t know, Master Chief is the main character in Halo and he’s been kicking butt for a number of years, hasn’t he?

Joshua Miller: Yep.

Dr. Gwynette: What do you think it is about Halo that makes that game so special?

Joshua Miller: I mean for me, I’m going to be honest with you because I have a love, hate relationship with video games. I mean I can’t just go on … for me to like a game, I like the story involved in it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I mean I don’t play online video games because I used to, or tried to rather, but I don’t go online because you get cursed out by eight year olds saying words that, you know.

Joshua Miller: I got cursed out calling me everything but a —– —– and they call me words that I didn’t even know existed when I was their age. I mean it’s like give me a break.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: It’s not like it’s Vegas and there’s money on the line.

Dr. Gwynette: Right yeah, people…

Joshua Miller: So I just play the campaign. The story mode. And that’s what I like about it. It’s almost like reading a book but interactive.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, the story mode is really cool and do you like the vehicles in Halo?

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, the Banshee’s, I remember the first time I rode the Banshee’s, those were really cool.

Joshua Miller: Yeah, I like the Scorpion, which is the tank.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: And then in Halo four they added some kind of small mecha suit like thing, it’s about 12 feet tall and just walks, I thought that was cool. And I bought Halo five at GameStop, I want to say at the beginning of April. Right as the pandemic was coming to Charleston. I think I got it the day before GameStop decided to do an about face and not let anyone in the store.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah I think for a little while GameStop was trying to be an essential service, right?

Joshua Miller: Don’t get me started on that.

Dr. Gwynette: For some people I guess it might be.

Joshua Miller: No, I’m sorry, video gaming is never an essential business.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah I think it’s smart that we don’t touch that one.

Joshua Miller: I mean I don’t want to bash a company, but I mean, come on now.

Joshua Miller: Anyway, I got it on … I paid 10 dollars I think for Halo five and I’ve never played it and I’ve been wanting to. So when I eventually get up to there, I want to play Halo five and then Redbox, I got this back in November, no the beginning of December, my bad. Remember that video game, Jedi Final Order, or whatever, I don’t know. The interactive one that came out?

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I saw online, and you had to be quick about it, where Redbox, where you go get your movies at.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: They were doing away with their video gaming side of it, so they were selling all their video games for like next to nothing.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow.

Joshua Miller: So I bought that game for 25 dollars when everyone else was paying 50 or more for it.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s good, why do you think Redbox stopped doing video games in their Red boxes?

Joshua Miller: I don’t know to be honest with you. I know I never used Redbox, that was the only time I’ve ever even rented anything, and I bought it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah it’s kind of an interesting little niche there that they’ve been able to squeak out a living between a Blockbuster video store and Netflix. It’s like this little tiny niche and they seem to be doing pretty well.

Joshua Miller: I don’t see how it’s going to last for much longer as far as physical content goes.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah they’re probably on borrowed time. That’s cool. So, you’ve also, over the years, been really interested in writing and things like science fiction. What kind of stuff have you been reading or thinking about writing?

Joshua Miller: I haven’t actually written anything in the better part of 20 years. In fact, I think I have it here somewhere. One moment. Because I don’t ever throw anything away. Yep here it is. I’ll have to send you emails of it later, but it’s a little vanilla folder.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And I wrote most of this stuff 20 years ago, it’s just story notes for a story idea, back when I was in the seventh grade.

Dr. Gwynette: Yep.

Joshua Miller: No eighth grade. And I just like to write science fiction stories. Right now I’ve been trying to work up the …

Dr. Gwynette: Sorry I’m here Josh.

Joshua Miller: No you’re fine.

Dr. Gwynette: I had to step and close my back door because there was a guy with a Weed Wacker next door.

Joshua Miller: We can always edit it out.

Dr. Gwynette: So yeah…

Joshua Miller: I like to write, I’m just trying to work up the courage because I seem to have lost, as weird as this sounds, the passion to write, I mean I’ve been making [inaudible 00:09:14] it’s almost like since I left the eight grade and gone into high school, back then, and then the bullying really went up by a power of ten.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: You know I’ve almost lost the passion to write and I’m trying really hard to get it back.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: So I’m trying, you know I joined a fan fiction group for Star Wars and I’m trying to write that just for practice, just to work up the confidence for something, even if it’s never going to be published.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Just so I can eventually get to the step of working on an original story.

Dr. Gwynette: And if you don’t mind, tell our audience what fan fiction is.

Joshua Miller: Fan fiction is something that you have to be careful, you can never publish it, because someone else owns the intellectual property to it.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: But fan fiction is where you take a story, lets say Star Wars since I like it, and you write your own Star Wars story. But since you didn’t have permission you can never publish it. I mean you can go on one of these fan fiction apps I guess and put it on there, but you’ll never be able to monetize it. Which is fine because I see it as practice.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: You can work up the skills and everything playing in someone else’s sandbox, so to speak.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And then eventually branch out into your own original.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, now you’ve had a long standing interest in science fiction. You were introducing me to the idea of some sophisticated writings about space colonies. Earlier it was pretty mind blowing but can you tell the audience a little bit about that.

Joshua Miller: I am a huge fan of Mobile Suit Gundam. It’s almost like the Star Trek of Japan.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: And it’s been around in Japan since ’79 and just like the original Star Trek here in the States, it got canceled before they could properly finish it. Star Trek did, the original anyways. Gundam also got canceled and then just like Star Trek it became popular through re-runs.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay.

Joshua Miller: Because the original run of Star Trek, it crashed and burned. But when it went onto re-runs that’s when it became popular. And the same thing with Mobile Suit Gundam. And I bring that up because when I see something on TV, whether it’s science fiction or anything, I like to research it. To see where they got ideas from. And in the Japanese cartoon, they have space colonies at different range points in the Earth, Moon system. And these colonies, the ones in the original Gundam were called O’Neil type three space cylinders.

Joshua Miller: And essentially what it is, is if you take a cylinder, make it 20 miles long by about almost five miles wide, and you spin it a little over one rotation per minute, you can simulate Earth’s gravity inside of it. Using the same principle that the Tilt a Whirl at the fair, where you sit in and it spins really fast and it sticks you to…

Dr. Gwynette: Sure.

Joshua Miller: It’s using the same principle as that. And I’ve always been fascinated with space colonies because unlike Elon Musk I don’t think we’ll ever be able to colonize any of the other planets, even if we had the technology to make atmosphere wise, because of gravity. Mars has such less gravity than us it would be hard on people to live there their full lives and even come to visit earth with the drastic change in gravity.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay.

Joshua Miller: So if you wanted to branch out into space you would almost have to do it where you could have gravity near ours. And with space colonies you could do that.

Dr. Gwynette: Sure.

Dr. Gwynette: And you had an author that was kind of a pioneer in this area you were telling me about, right?

Joshua Miller: Yes, Gerard O’Neill, I don’t know if you can see it but I think he was at Princeton, I don’t know he was at one of the universities and in the late ’60s him and his grad students were trying to come up with a way to, how would it be possible to live in space? And they were talking about it, and they’re like, “Well in order to live in space, it would have to be comfortable, it couldn’t be like the international space station,” or in the ’60s it would’ve been something made out of rocket parts.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: It would have to be comfortable, you would have to Earth’s gravity, this that and the other. You would have to be able to grow food and control radiation. So they came out with different types and they call them between island one, island two, and island three, and essentially they’re just different shapes and sizes. But yeah that’s when they came up with it.

Joshua Miller: And he came up with the idea for the mass driver, so that they could launch stuff of the moon without using rocket fuel. So just electricity and magnets.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. And what would they be launching of the moon?

Joshua Miller: Materials, resources that they mined from it.

Dr. Gwynette: Oh I see. Okay. So you go down to the moon, you mine materials and then you send them back.

Joshua Miller: Because you would have to build this colony in space, you couldn’t build it on earth because it’s so massive and then shoot it into space, it just couldn’t be done that way.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. Interesting. So you’d have to use particles from the moon to construct the space station, or the space colony?

Joshua Miller: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s really interesting.

Dr. Gwynette: And you had a model there?

Joshua Miller: Yep.

Dr. Gwynette: Can you tell us about what that is?

Joshua Miller: This is, I don’t know if you can really see it good, this is a small accurate model of what the island three looks like, which is my favorite.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay.

Joshua Miller: And this ring right here where my finger’s at, that would be where you grow your food. I mean I know you can’t really see it in the picture but this ring is made up of tiny, tiny little cylinders and each one of those cylinders would have its own environment, so you could have year round growth of water melon, or squash, or stuff that grows in the summer. It could be summer in each one of those tiny cylinders all year round. So you could have always in season.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s cool, and so you’re using sunlight and then how do they control for the temperature in space?

Joshua Miller: The way I understand it, because I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not a physicist so I have a hard time understanding it.

Dr. Gwynette: Of course, yeah.

Joshua Miller: When I read it, I try to see if I can relate it to something I know, so I can get a better understanding of it.

Dr. Gwynette: Sure.

Joshua Miller: I think it’s through the mirrors, which is for the main colony … let’s see if I can get …

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, you got it.

Joshua Miller: For the main colony it’d be these things sticking out right here, I don’t know if you can really see it, but that black thing that’s barely visible. Those are mirrors and it has three for the main colony, you would direct sunlight via … it would move so you would see the sun rise and set, to simulate it.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow, so this was like…

Joshua Miller: And you could close it to get darkness to simulate the…

Dr. Gwynette: And so in that book, the High Frontier by Gerard O’Neill, he outlines a plan for how you, I guess, overcome some of the physical challenges of being out there.

Joshua Miller: Yeah and there’s a lot of challenges you’d have to overcome.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, did he start out with a premise about why it was important to live in space?

Joshua Miller: Yes, I mean the guy was ahead of his time. He knew from data that eventually Earth is going to run out of fossil fuels eventually. I mean because at the end of the day fossil fuels are a finite amount of resources. And it doesn’t replenish itself. So once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Dr. Gwynette: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Joshua Miller: So between that and he knew that the environment because unfortunately with factories it is toxic to it. Between that and the population growing, because now we’ve reached a stage in human history where people are living longer. Before in the past, you had diseases and a lot of diseases that almost kept the population in check. And I hate to say that. I’m not trying to sound cold but…

Dr. Gwynette: No I understand.

Joshua Miller: But it did and now with modern medicine, it’s not really much of a problem for most of the world.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: So, people are living longer and there’s, again, just like there’s a finite amount of fossil fuel, there’s only a finite amount of space.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: And there’s only a finite amount of fresh water for us to drink. Even though the world is mostly water, that’s salt water. I mean you can’t drink salt. So that’s why he came up with the idea for space colonies. Because he’s like, “We can’t live on the moon. Not permanently.” I mean we could build bases there, temporary, but we would never be able to have a permanent, 365 day, Permanent thing there.

Joshua Miller: You can’t live on Mars because of the gravity, you can’t live on Venus because the pressure would kill you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Well until we get faster than light travel, which that’s not going to happen for a long, long time. You would have to build in space where you could clearly duplicate the conditions on Earth, so that people could live and grow like that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, do you recall what he mentioned about water source?

Joshua Miller: I know he said water was precious but I mean I can’t remember exactly.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, because that’s probably a tough one, because water is also really heavy, you know?

Joshua Miller: It is. Because that’s why he was talking about we could mine … comets are made up of water, he was talking about how we could get water from space and he said all kinds of different things.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. That’s really, really interesting. So you could can go pretty deep in that, you know?

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah.

Joshua Miller: And also in Gundam they also said the downside to it is when the antagonistic country, the Principality of Zeon, they actually took one of these things and dropped it on Earth and destroyed Sydney, Australia with it, so I mean they also showed where you could use it as a weapon unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, because it’s so big?

Joshua Miller: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, that is pretty wild. So he was writing about that in the late ’70’s?

Joshua Miller: Well no, that’s the Japanese guy that came up with the cartoon Gundam.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: No, Gerard O’Neill was more of an optimist, he wouldn’t have wrote that in his book.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, gotcha. Awesome, yeah that’s really cool I want to read that. The High Frontier. Pivoting a little bit, you’ve been doing some photography recently haven’t you?

Joshua Miller: I’m trying.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, tell us a little about that.

Joshua Miller: I’ve always been fascinated with, even as a kid I’ve been fascinated with different alien planets. Or what scientists would imagine an alien planet would look like. And to me I feel like the closest thing I would be able to get to an alien planet is taking pictures of stuff closer to the ground. Because grass, may look simple to us, because we’re over five feet tall, but to an insect the size of ant or something. Grass could be the size of an average tree.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: So, how would the ground look like from that point of view. And I’ve always been fascinated with stuff like that and I took my Star Wars miniatures, which are not big, I mean the AT-AT that’s in the picture is smaller than the palm of my hand.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I took, a cheap 20 dollar phone and I think that’s what flared up my allergies, because I hate pollen. But anyway I had to get really close to the ground to take the shots and yep, that’s what I did.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah I saw those pictures yesterday and they are awesome. I’m going to be posting those to our Autism News NetWORK Instagram. Various shots of the AT-AT, and what’s the walker with two legs?

Joshua Miller: The chicken walker? AT-ST.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, the chicken walker. And the way the perspective is set up in these shots, it really does look like they’re on an alien planet. And there’s some really cool ones, my favorite one, I think I told yesterday, there’s one where the AT-AT is crashed out in an ant hill and the chicken walker…

Joshua Miller: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: That was really neat. So we’ll be posting those and yeah it’s a great way to be creative and let your imagination run wild and you know take advantage of being outside, because right now we’re all kind of cooped up. But yeah, the price of course is the seasonal allergies.

Joshua Miller: Yeah unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: No I enjoyed looking at those, we’ll be sure to post those.

Joshua Miller: I mean I was wanting to … my idea when I took them at first is that I wanted to take the pictures and then I wanted to Photoshop the background out of it, where you see my apartment or the cars or what have you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: But unfortunately the last time I dabbled in this type of photography, this was at least three years ago I think. I had a different computer, I had a windows’ computer. So I downloaded, Gimp, which is a free Photoshop alternative, and unfortunately, Gimp is not really the best for a Chromebook, which is what I have now, so I wasn’t able to. But eventually I would like to get something where I can Photoshop it better.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, I mean they look great now but certainly there’s lots of things that you can do with computers that, I guess, expand or optimize the picture.

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And with the ant hill, I mean I had to be really quick because at first there was an ant hill near my house, a smaller one, but those weren’t fire ants so weren’t aggressive so I would put the AT-AT walker in the tiny mound, and they would just go around it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I’m like, “Well I don’t need that, because I need the ants to look like aliens, like they’re attacking.” So I had to find a fire ant mound, so they would actively attack it, and at the same time I had to be quick before they found me and started biting me.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s hilarious. It’s like the hazards of getting the shot. You know?

Joshua Miller: And did you see the bee pictures, those ended up being my favorite and that wasn’t even planned.

Dr. Gwynette: Those are awesome, and I posted the first one to Instagram yesterday, to the Autism News NetWORK and we’ve already gotten…

Joshua Miller: Did you see the bee that was on the one that was under the stick, where it was just his face.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, we haven’t posted that one yet. The first one we posted was the bee kind of sitting from a side view and then tomorrow…

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah, he was flying that what was so lucky.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah he was flying.

Joshua Miller: Because I tried to take pictures of a lady bug but that one was moving just way to fast, it wouldn’t cooperate.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah and then the other one, that we’re going to post today, you can see …

Joshua Miller: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: It’s really cool, what a great shot.

Joshua Miller: Those are the type of bees, because you know bees get a bad rep, but there’s two types of bees really, there’s those bees that are in the picture and then there’s the bigger bumble bees and the smaller bees, the one that’s in that picture, they’re not aggressive, in fact, they have their mounds in the ground like ants.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: In fact a couple of years ago I found a mound in another place I lived at, and I was able to get my head right next to the main hole and the bees would come fly by me, come into the hole, completely ignore me, and come out.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Just like that bee in the picture. He didn’t see me as a threat so I was able to take pictures of it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah if you have any good pictures, definitely forward them on and we’ll get them posted. I wanted to also highlight some of your work that you did a few years ago. A couple things. One, you wrote a piece for Project Rex, which is still up on the site, called A Glimpse. And can you tell us a little bit about why you wrote that, and what it means to you?

Joshua Miller: I wrote that because, I mean I can’t remember what it said now it’s been so long. But I wrote it because it’s just how I view autism for myself. It’s like you said, everyone who has autism is different. It’s not like different types of cancer where the symptoms are more alike than different.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: With autism, it’s a spectrum unfortunately. Everyone manifests those spectrum, diseases in different ways.

Joshua Miller: So for me, I wrote it to describe how I personally struggle with autism for myself.

Dr. Gwynette: And it’s a great piece, if you haven’t read it, check out, Projectrex.org and you can just search Glimpse, for Josh’s piece. It’s really heartwarming and he doesn’t hold back, he gives a lot of the details, the joy and the pain, and it’s really cool. It’s a fun read and a quick read.

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah, it’s not long.

Dr. Gwynette: And then several years ago, kind of, you build on that and you gave a talk at the Low Country Autism Consortium.

Joshua Miller: Yep.

Dr. Gwynette: Tell us about why that was meaningful for you.

Joshua Miller: I mean I was nervous that day, but I mean oddly enough I don’t really have stage fright as long as I have stuff prepared to the T on what I’m going to do.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: And as long as I don’t have technical difficulties with technology. I try not to use it if I can help it, and if I do I try to use it at a minimum for that reason. Because technology has a mind of its own. And I don’t like being unprepared. So if I have to speak and I have everything planned to a T, then I feel good about it. It doesn’t bother me. And I liked it because I got to further explore the stuff. Because some things, I was talking about, it does better having pictures which was something I could do at the Consortium you’re talking about, because I had a PowerPoint presentation.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: It’s something I couldn’t do in a paper.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: I remember that day, it was a packed room, it was like standing room only, and I had the blessing of introducing you that day and I remember saying that, “If you’re not afraid, it’s not courage.” And you were definitely poised to give the talk but I think what I was so proud of is that you had the courage to share your life with other people.

Joshua Miller: I mean I’m an open book, I try to be now, because A, it seems like for the most part, society attitudes towards mental health have gotten better over time, so I try to be an open book because I like talking about my struggles, and I like hearing where people say, “Well I’ve gone through that.” Because that makes me feel like I’m not alone.

Dr. Gwynette: Yes.

Joshua Miller: Because it is easy for me to think that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And so yeah I like talking about it and it really hasn’t been a problem for me.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah there’s so many people who’ve said to me, “Josh is so inspiring and if Josh can do it, I can do it.” So yeah, while you’re sharing your story and figuring out that you’re not alone, you’re also inspiring a lot of other people to pursue their goals and their dreams and to keep working to overcome challenges. It’s awesome.

Joshua Miller: Yeah but I mean I just want to stress to that I myself am a work in progress as well, I mean I’ve got a long way to go, I mean I get self conscious when people say, like you said, that I’m an inspiration. Because I don’t really see myself as that, I see myself … I don’t know, I feel like I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, so I don’t know. I struggle a lot, especially with loneliness and depression because I’m a walking contradictory. I want friends but I don’t want to stick myself out there into a new place.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: So it’s like I do and I don’t.

Joshua Miller: I don’t know, I mean I’m very complicated.

Dr. Gwynette: And welcome to being a normal human being. We all make mistakes, we all are walking contradictions, we all are a work in progress, so you’re in good company.

Joshua Miller: Thank you.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, yeah. Looking forward can you tell us about any dreams that you might have? Things you want to accomplish?

Joshua Miller: Honestly, I mean the biggest things I want to accomplish in life, first and foremost I want to be independent, financially and everything, because that’s my biggest fear in life, is that something happens to my mom and that’s just it. And I don’t have anybody else to fall back on.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: So I want to be financially independent and two, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with disability, I just want to stress that before I say this next phrase. I am not saying that. People don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. But for me personally, I don’t want to just get a disability check, I want to be able to work for it. To me, again this just me, I feel like working has a reward, you know?

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I don’t want to sit at home and play video games, I feel like that’s just wasting life. I feel I personally could do more. So my dream is to be financially independent. To get off social security, and be able to own my own car again.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Maybe even write a novel and I don’t know, and do something I really enjoy. I mean I’m in school for medical billing encoding, but I’m going to be honest for you, I don’t really care for it. I mean I’ve never really cared for anatomy or anything like that, and dealing with bureaucracy and this, that, and the other. Trust me, I’m not a bureaucratic person.

Dr. Gwynette: [inaudible 00:34:20]

Joshua Miller: And I agree with it, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy day to day in it.

Dr. Gwynette: So, we’re striving toward independence and a meaningful career, which is great, those are great things to pursue.

Joshua Miller: Because my biggest passion in life, more than anything, is books. And I know that may be weird because it seems like books are a dying breed in light of E-books, and computers and everything else. For some reason I just really love books. I had a difficult childhood and for me to get away from stuff, I used books. I read novels, I mean I read Jurassic Park in eighth grade.

Joshua Miller: I still remember Michael Crichton, he’s very descriptive. The scene in the movie where the guy from Seinfeld dies by the spitting monster, or spitting dinosaur rather. In the book it was very descriptive unfortunately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And I still remember that page to this day and that was 20 years ago.

Dr. Gwynette: I wouldn’t be surprised because you read so much, that’s probably why you’re such a good writer as well.

Joshua Miller: I mean you have to be able to read to be able to write.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: I mean there’s some things, you can watch TV, but unless you read, it would be a hard time to translate visual to written.

Dr. Gwynette: Exactly. Exactly.

Joshua Miller: And that’s why I like the old Star Wars expanded universe / Legends. What used to be the continuation of Star Wars before Disney bought it.

Dr. Gwynette: Oh and we have to have you back to discuss that topic because in some ways The Autism News NetWORK Podcast, all roads lead to Star Wars because that discussion is so rich, and people are so passionate, that we definitely want to get into that. So will you come back and see us sometime soon?

Joshua Miller: Oh yeah I will.

Joshua Miller: I mean but my thing with the Star Wars fans of today, and it seems like it started with the prequels, is that I feel like people at the end of the day need to remember, I mean I love Star Wars don’t take me wrong, I mean I have the imperial officers hat, I mean the whole nine yards, my room has Star Wars stuff all over it. I live and breath Star Wars.

Joshua Miller: That being said, and I love the old expanded universe stories, were they perfect? No. There were a lot of stupid stories mixed in there, but that’s bound to happen when you have over 200 novels. I mean they’re not all going to be block busters.

Joshua Miller: I mean let me circle back around before I continue my rant, but my point is, it seems like the fans have become hostile lately.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: It’s almost like the Sith, you’re either with me or you’re my enemy.

Dr. Gwynette: Exactly.

Joshua Miller: People grow up, I loved it, I lived and breath it, used it as an escape, but at the end of the day it’s not really. It’s like that Disney princess, every time I see on Facebook, I try to avoid Facebook because I get tired of the, pardon my language, the BS.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: But every once in a while I’ll post a gif of the Disney princess from Frozen, saying, “Let it go, let it go.” Because I mean at the end of the day, there are much bigger things to worry about in life, than Star Wars. I mean at the end of the day, Disney paid three point something billion, with a B. For the rights to it.

Joshua Miller: If they wanted to take the original films, go out in a Mariana trench and just dump it in the ocean and replace the characters with Disney characters, that’s their right. I mean they paid the money for it.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s true, I never thought of that. So I love that you’re setting that boundary between fantasy and reality, that’s great.

Joshua Miller: And I’m autistic and I feel like there’s sometimes autistic people seem to struggle with that boundary a little bit, and for me to really understand it and get it, that should be a wake up sign. That, “All right, let’s wake up people.”

Joshua Miller: You know, if you like the expanded universe, great I did to, read the books and ignore Disney, I mean no one’s forcing you to watch it.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: Write your own fan fiction, just know that you’ll never be able to publish it.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s right.

Joshua Miller: You know, it doesn’t matter.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: At the end of the day, it’s fiction.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah because people, you’re right, they get very intense and fired up about it.

Joshua Miller: It’s crazy. They run actors off of Twitter because they disagreed with them.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Joshua Miller: And I think that’s insane. Just like with the kid from The Phantom Menace, who played Anakin Skywalker, the little kid in the Pod racing one.

Dr. Gwynette: Jake Lloyd.

Joshua Miller: They bullied that kid and ran him, this was before social media, they bullied that kid horrendously. It’s not his fault that George Lucas can’t write dialogue to save his life.

Dr. Gwynette: Right.

Joshua Miller: I mean even Mark Hamill in an interview from the ’80s told George Lucas, he’s like, “George Lucas can create an extravagant world, he can, and special effects, and this, that, and the other, but when it comes to dialogue, he struggles with dialogue.” And Mark Hamill told him that, I saw it in an interview, I’ll have to give you the link later.

Joshua Miller: He’s like, “George, people don’t talk like this.”

Dr. Gwynette: I didn’t know that.

Joshua Miller: I mean they are punishing the poor kid when they should be punishing the writer who wrote the script.

Dr. Gwynette: And all of it for something that’s just a movie, or you know…

Joshua Miller: Exactly.

Dr. Gwynette: Exactly.

Dr. Gwynette: Well this has been The Autism News NetWORK Podcast, episode 19. I wanted to thank Joshua Miller, for coming in and sharing his intellect and sharing his life with us today. You can reach Josh at email address, which is Joshuapellaeon@gmail.com I’m going to spell that out for you. It’s Joshua …

Joshua Miller: Yeah that’s probably a good idea.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, Joshua, J-O-S-H-U-A, Pellaeon, P-E-L-L-A-E-O-N, @gmail.com, feel free to reach out to him if you want to talk more about anything we discussed on the podcast. You can follow me @Drgwynette on Twitter and Instagram, and also please check out our work on TheAutismNewsNetWORK.copm, we have lots of videos, news letters, interviews, all kinds of good stuff for you to check out there.

Dr. Gwynette: So, for Josh, I’m Dr. Gwynette, thank you so much for joining us, and we’ll see you next time.

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