Song Lyric Sunday 7/31/16

 

So, our theme for Song Lyric Sunday is to post a song that was featured in a movie. It can be a song from a favorite movie, or one of your favorite songs that was featured in a movie.

Honestly, this one is an easy one for me. One of my favorite movies as a kid was Cats Don’t Dance. For those who don’t know the movie, it is an animated movie of a talented orange tabby cat Danny who moves from Kokomo, Indiana to Hollywood to pursue his dream of landing a part in a musical. Well, in doing so he crosses path with child star Darla Dimple (“America’s sweetheart lover of children and animals”) who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and will do everything to sabotage not only his dream but the dreams of every other animal actor/singer/dancer.

She nearly gets away with it until Danny develops a master plan to expose him and all the rest of the animal talent to a live audience, and in doing so Miss Dimple reveals her true psychotic diabolical self. At long last, animal stars are born.

Anyway, the song I chose from this movie is called “Tell Me Lies.” The song was written by Randy Newman and performed by the late great Natalie Cole (what a voice and what a tragic loss). It is a beautiful song with very beautiful and poetic lyrics.

I am choosing this song because I can so relate to it in my own life. The song speaks of her character’s experiences in the events prior to, leading up to and during the movie. It speaks of how she always gets her hopes up only to have them crushed. She knows better than to get her hopes up but she lets it happen regardless. Why think it’ll be different this time around, only to realize it won’t? Whatever the case, as the end of the song says, regardless of how many times we get beaten down, how many times we fail or how many times things don’t work out, we’ve got to hold onto our dreams and never quit chasing them. We never know when our dreams might at long last be realized (which in her case they were at the conclusion of the movie).

Without further ado:

I never believed that there was a rainbow
With a pot of gold at the end
I’m much too smart for fairy tales like that
Yet here I am again
I thought this time, this time we’re gonna make it
Why I thought so I really don’t know
Maybe something in his eyes just told me so
Something in his eyes…

Tell me lies
And I’ll come runnin’
I must have lost my mind!
I could close me eyes
And tell you just exactly what’s comin’
Life’s gonna turn just a little unkind

Seems like everyone’s sailin’
Way out on the sea
And I’m stuck here on the shore
Sun’s always shinin’
But it’s never on me
Why should I try anymore?

Tell me lies
Tell me lies
And I’ll just keep right on comin’
This time I’ve got to believe in the dream
This time I’ve got to believe in his dream
Source: http://www.letssingit.com/natalie-cole-lyrics-tell-me-lies-3zx8t4w#axzz4FwFkg4Up

 

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One Lovely Blog Award

So I was nominated by crystalamay  for the One Lovely Blog Award! Thanks so much! I’m still a fairly new blog here so anything I can do to get on the map and get more readers is greatly appreciated. I think everyone already knows I’m autistic and a tattoo junkie so I won’t mention those, but I’ll mention some other facts that might be lesser-known to my readers. Without further ado, here are my 7 facts about myself:

1. Vital Stats: My A/S/L is M/29/US. I live in a little community just outside of Abilene, Texas USA. By day I am a design engineer but by night I run a part-time clock and watch repair business. I am single and and have no children and I love it. I have no desire to ever have a mate or children.

2. I hate, hate, HATE baggy long men’s “shorts” with a passion. Like what’s the point? There’s practically no ventilation. You might as well just wear long pants. Nah, it’s short shorts for me all the way. It is kind of hard to source them, but I manage – importing from Australia/NZ, finding well-fitting women’s shorts and custom tailors. I’ve also been known to hack up worn-out jeans though since I am a guy I doubt “Daisy Dukes” is an appropriate term – perhaps someone can suggest a male equivalent?

3. I am an atheist but a spiritual atheist. I elaborated some on my religious views in a previous blog post.

4. I am a total music junkie. Like really. It’s my favorite outlet. I both listen/appreciate and play music. I play guitar and bagpipe (weird combo I know) and do English style bell ringing (or “change ringing” if you will). I also like to sing even though I’m not the best at it (I can carry a tune reasonably well but I don’t think I have a very pretty voice – though my friends all tell me I sing just fine). I have a wide variety of musical tastes that run the entire spectrum. Some of my favorite bands/artists in the present time include Tears for Fears, Dire Straits, Katy Perry, The Dubliners, Red Hot Chilli Pipers (yes, pipers – a bagpipe rock band that does bagpipe covers of classic rock hits), Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Foreigner, Hal Ketchum, Johnny Cash, The Cars, Loudon Wainwright III, etc. etc. etc.!

5. I am a slight bit of an athlete though I haven’t always been. I enjoy running races and playing golf and bowling. I absolutely suck at golf but I enjoy it anyway, but I am a pretty damn good bowler.

6. Other than music and my athletic ventures my favorite hobbies include smoking cigars (yes, I consider it more of a hobby than an addiction), microbrew beer, Single-malt Scotch, watercolor painting.

7. I am a total foodie. Like really. I love all different ethnicities and styles. My absolute favorite food is sushi and I am a total chili head – I enjoy my food mouth-burningly hot. I even like hot and spicy desserts.

So there you are. Now you know a little bit more about me, who I am and what I like. As far as who I’d like to nominate, I’m going to choose some of my new followers and followees as to get to know them better, as well as some of my older ones who really got me started on my journey:

1. tracey

2. Helen Espinosa

3. Anjali Soni

4. Kenzieequinn

5. sailajap14

6. Reema Nanda

7. Troubles of a Twenty-Something

8. Her Headache

9. WaveringParisian

10. Jhalli Patakha

11. The Well-Informed Namer

12. dheerajnair

13. Rachel McKee

14. Karuna

15. mishie1 (Yes – I know you just completed the last one, but you’re still my best blogging pal!)

Reader Question: Managing Tattoo Pain 

So I have another reader question to answer! 

Q: I want a tattoo so bad but I have a very low pain tolerance. Any advice? 

A: Do I ever have some advice for you. Like you I have a very low pain tolerance and always swore I would never get ink due to the pain factor. Look at me now four tattoos later and currently working with my two artists on two new tattoos (one for each of them to do). 

Before I go any further, let’s just cut the bullshit and establish this fact: tattoos hurt. Period, end of story, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You are having a bunch of needles driven into your skin over and over again at a rapid rate. Of course it hurts. 

Anyway, there are a number of things you can do to manage the pain. Focus on the background music, have conversation with your artist or bring a friend to chat with. These things can help take your focus off of the pain and divert it elsewhere. When I’m getting tattooed I tend to zone out into a meditative state. 

After some time your endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) will kick in and you get quite a buzz. This also helps manage the pain. Some people claim the area being tattooed goes completely numb after awhile. This isn’t true in my experience but the first several minutes are always the worst it seems. 

Which brings me to my next suggestion. Though some macho tattoo people refer to it as “pussy juice” don’t dismiss the use of numbing gels, creams or sprays. You have a number of options available to you here. If you live in a place where EMLA is available OTC this is a popular choice. It does have epinephrine in it however, which can affect how your skin takes ink so be sure your tattoo artist is experienced using it. There are also Hush and Ink Eeze gels. To use these products smear on a thick layer (don’t rub it in) on the area to be tattooed, wrap with cling wrap or saran wrap and leave for an hour to 90 minutes before your tattoo. If this initial numbing wears off there are sprayable products from Hush, Ink Eeze and Vasocaine that will numb you in the middle of a session. These can be reapplied as many times as required to get you through the tattoo. 

One last thing to mention: placement is everything. Muscular and meaty areas tend to hurt less. Shoulders, outer arms, calves, butt, etc. hurt way less than wrists, ankles, tops of feet and the like. The pain on these muscular areas is more irritating than anything. Bony areas can really suck. 

In short, my advice to you is to use whatever means necessary to get you through it. If you want it bad enough you’ll find a way. Pain should not be a barrier to getting that tattoo you want. Rest assured you’ll want many more after this one though! It is addictive. 

Good luck and looking forward  to hearing about your tattoo experience! 

Do you have a tattoo related question? Leave a comment or send a private message through the contact form! 

The Power of a Hug

Perhaps I’m a bit different from my autistic peers in that I enjoy physical touch. Hugs, cuddles, even a friendly peck on the cheek. I love it all and I’m single. I enjoy it equally from both sexes. I find it reassuring in a way.

So today at work I went into total sensory overload (which happens semi-regularly with me) and just broke down and cried out loud. Yes, this is what happens when I finally get overloaded. I just can’t control it. So let’s just talk about how my day went, why don’t we?

Well it all started within about the first 10 minutes at work. The person who usually answers incoming calls hadn’t arrived yet and I was right by the phone so I went ahead and answered it. Well, my postnasal drip decides to strike in full force just as I answer the phone and I go croaky just as I start answering the phone and so it’s kind of like “*croaky*tha–ah-ah-ahem–thank you for calling (company name) this is Lynn.” Just my luck it was upper management and I was chastised for not saying “excuse me” after clearing my throat. Uh, sorry I guess. So now I’m already on edge.

Then I get more shit piled on me that I thought I was fucking done with. In a fit of rage I popped off at my boss and said “If you fucking wanted this on here you should have fucking said so in the first place.” Yes, I was raging mad over it. It turned into somewhat of a pissing match between my boss and I and I’m fully expecting to get written up for the incident, but oh well. I was mad.

So if that wasn’t bad enough, I start having computer issues and our IT department at my company is absolutely useless. I could have fixed my own computer myself but oh no, they don’t let us have administrator passwords so we have to go through them. Lost another couple of hours of productivity.

Well by the time all was said and done at the end of the day I had all I could handle and went into meltdown mode. Well, as I was leaving the office all teary eyed and bawling a passerby happened to notice and offered me a hug, for which I was very grateful. We stayed locked in each others’ arms for probably 5 minutes as I cried away on her shoulder (sorry, didn’t mean to ruin your cute dress lady!). After we had released each other I had managed to check the tears and calm down enough to drive home. I don’t think I’d have been able to without that sort of support.

Ultimately sensory overload is just part of being autistic. We can only handle so much. Overstimulation can take many forms – not just frustration or anger. Even happiness and/or hilarity can trip sensory overload. It’s gotten me fired from a number of jobs because my bosses just didn’t understand. Luckily my current boss does understand to some degree and has a leash with me. Nonetheless, I have my days like today.

Anyway, I digress. I write this to show how a hug can impact another. Of course, not everyone likes being hugged and I don’t recommend you go up and just hug people randomly without asking if they want to be hugged, but don’t be averse to offering. You might just change their entire day. It’s a powerful symbol of emotional support, affection and even just a friendly bond.

Perhaps I should start standing on street corners on my days off displaying a “Free Hugs” sign just to see how many people take it up. Maybe it’s a way I can make a difference in the lives of others. Also, if in the highly unusual even we cross paths, dear readers don’t be afraid to hug me. It’s perfectly OK. I should be pretty easy to spot – just look for the tatted guy in short shorts. It’s probably me. 😛

At any rate, thanks to whoever you are. If by some chance you’re reading this, you made my day. I just want you to know that.

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 7/24/16

The theme of terrible news and such going on in the world brings to mind my favorite song by Tears for Fears called “Mad World.” One particular line of the chorus says “the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.” That pretty much sums up how I feel not only about the goings on of the world, but also my own personal life.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head, I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very mad world, mad world
Mad world, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very mad world, mad world
Mad world, mad world

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very mad world, mad world
Halargian world, mad world

This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time

Music has different meanings for different people, but the one thing it can do is give a voice to things that need to be said; things that are hard to find words for.  When I posted the Midnight Oil song a few weeks ago and found out it was a protest song, it got me thinking about how powerful music can be.

The power of lyrics and how they speak of things that are usually left unsaid leads me to the theme for this week.  There are some crazy things happening in the world right now, and I feel like I’m constantly bombarded with either terrible news or really awful politics.  I feel like speaking out in the form of music.  It can either be a protest song or a song about surviving this crazy thing called life.

I hope that’s not too narrow of a theme, but I’m excited to…

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Rejected Op-Ed: Tattoo Acceptance

Just before I got my puzzle piece and dagger tattoos, I had penned an op-ed to my local paper concerning the issue of tattoo acceptance in both social and professional circles. The powers that be rejected it even though I can’t understand why. It was not edgy or anything. Actually I’ve written many more edgy op-eds that were published. Maybe that’s what they like from me? I don’t know.

Whatever the case, I refuse to be silenced on this matter and if the paper won’t publish my op-ed I’m going to publish it here. I think this needs to be said and we as inked, pierced and other body modified folk need to continue to advocate for change and acceptance. I am fortunate to work for a company that has no rules against piercings and tattoos (in fact one of our upper management is sleeved out on both arms (at the very least – he probably has more) and has large gauges in his ears. He couldn’t get away with that in some other places.

At any rate, enjoy.


Though great progress has been made with acceptance of tattoos in mainstream society, it saddens me that tattoo rejection is still an issue in both professional and personal circles. I think there are multiple reasons for this, but none of them are really valid when you think about it.

Probably the most common objections I hear to tattoos are religious in nature. Although there are many Christians who sport tattoos, when you really look at it the Bible is pretty clear on its stance of tattoos: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:28. I am not as well-versed on the Qur’an but my understanding is that the Qur’an has similar provisions forbidding tattoos. Whatever the case, this goes back to the freedom of and freedom from religion doctrine: you are free to practice your religion, but you are not free to force others to conform to it. To expect those of us who reject religion to conform is highly misguided.

In the workplace, tattoos are often thought of as “unprofessional.” I cannot speak for anyone else, but personally all of my tattoos are very personal and symbolic to me. I refuse to just get ink on a whim. The permanence of the decision requires careful thought. Virtually all employee dress codes allow jewelry. Many items of jewelry (most notably religious jewelry and wedding rings) are symbolic to the people wearing them. If such pieces of jewelry are not unprofessional, then how are tattoos somehow unprofessional? How is a tattoo any different from a piece of jewelry in that way? It does not seem any different to me at all.

Some associate tattoos with criminal behavior. The reality is that about half of all adults have at least one tattoo nowadays. Are you seriously going to tell me that half of all adults are criminals? The reality is that most of us “inked” folk are normal, law-abiding citizens. It seems to me this fear is pretty much analogous to the fear of gun owners. You will never convince me that the majority of gun owners are criminals.

Other miscellaneous objections to ink come in the form of potential regret, how tattoos age with the person and other silly stuff. None of these are really valid arguments in my opinion. The same thing could be said for a lot of things in life. They do not work there, they do not work here.

Obviously I am not calling for acceptance of vulgar or obscene tattoos in a professional setting, much like I think it is perfectly fine to disallow vulgar or obscene t-shirts, jewelry or other articles of clothing. Tastefully done tattoos, however, should be perfectly acceptable. There are just no legitimate grounds to forbid visible yet tasteful tattoos in a professional setting.

By the time this op-ed is published, I will in all likelihood have gotten my third and fourth tattoos. Just as with my first two, each one will be symbolic to me. They will be expressions of who I am rather than things that define me. I can assure each and every one of you that I am the same me now that I was six months ago when my entire body was a blank canvas. Nothing has changed as far as my work ethic, my good moral character, my core convictions or anything else about me.

As always, societal paradigm shifts begin with individuals. I think of the era before my time in which interracial marriage was frowned upon but is now largely accepted. In my lifetime, the parallel of same-sex marriage comes to mind. All of these life choices were once considered unacceptable or taboo but have gained much more widespread acceptance in modern times. Just as we have made great strides in these areas and have made great strides in the mainstream acceptance of tattoos, we still have a long way to go.

The reality is that tattooing is a practice that dates back to the dawn of civilization. It is nothing new. It is not a “fad.” Why, then, do we treat it as such? It makes no sense. It is beyond time we wised up.

Random Saturday: Come Enjoy a Cigar With Me! (And a Slight Political Rant)

So instead of “off-topic Sunday” (which kind of sounds dumb, let’s face it!) I have decided to call it “random (day)” instead. Though this blog is mainly to focus on tattoos and tattoo-related topics, I don’t know as though there’s such a thing as “off-topic” and I don’t feel like having a specific day of the week to stray. I’ll write when a topic comes to me or feel like it. It is my blog and I can talk about whatever I want after all.

Anyway, today’s random topic is going to focus on one of my favorite “other” hobbies (though tattoos will always be my favorite!): my love of fine cigars. So pull you up a chair, get one cut and lit and let’s talk (and rant – somewhat of a political rant coming later!) about cigars!

In a similar way to getting a tattoo, smoking a cigar is almost meditative in a way. You just kind of forget about everything and time sort of slips away from you. You just kind of get lost, puff away and just enjoy the moment and the now as the smoke wafts around you. It’s probably my favorite way to relax.

Contrary to feeding an addiction, smoking a cigar is more about experiencing the unique taste and aroma of the cigar. Cigar smoke is not to be inhaled; just take it in the mouth, taste it and release it insead (passing a little through the nose for the full bouquet of aroma and flavor – called “retrohaling”). Just casually puff on it to get the wonderful smell and taste of the tobacco (and even a little bit of a buzz from the nicotine). Each cigar tastes and smells a bit different and you just have to find what you like. My personal favorite brands are Padron and Oliva as they give me the flavor profiles that I like (smooth, dessert-like flavors such a cream, cocoa/chocolate, coffee, natural sweetness and the like). To amplify the experience, pair a cigar with a nice Scotch, a dark stout beer or, if you don’t drink alcohol, a nice cup of coffee.

Anyway, time for a couple of cigar selfies! First selection was this morning’s choice: Oliva V Melanio Torpedo. Slightly snug draw but great flavors of cocoa, toasted bread, a slight caramel, a touch of coffee and a nice pepper zing on the retrohale. Just hanging out at my local lounge unwinding and waiting for my favorite Asian restaurant to open.

wp-1469303751190.jpegMmm. Delicious. A first-class smoke. Mother’s milk! Cookie for the reference by the way. 

The second pic is about a month ago kicking it at the local disc golf park after a round. This one was a Padron 1964 Gordo in natural. A mellow, creamy smoke that was perfect for just kind of relaxing after some hard exercise. I know, my semicolon tattoo is obscured by the camera angle but I can promise you it’s there!

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Man, I’m so cool what with my big fat cigar, shades, tats and short shorts. 😉 

If I’ve maybe interested a couple of you non-cigar people out there into perhaps trying cigars, there is a great basic primer for how to enjoy a cigar on YouTube. Go to YouTube, look up CigarObsession and watch his “How to Smoke a Cigar” video. It’s very educational and informative.

Anyway, now I must go on a slight political rant about the state of tobacco control in my country. Recently the US Food and Drug Administration took it upon themselves to impose stifling regulations on the cigar industry that is liable to make a lot of these cigar manufacturers’ products disappear from the US. Basically under the new rules every cigar introduced after Feb. 2007 (the grandfather date) must be approved by the US FDA before it can be sold.

It might not sound like that big of a deal, but it is. Most makers of fine cigars are in countries such as Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Cuba (we can get Cubans in the US again now) where there isn’t a whole lot of money. Cigar making is a labor of love rather than of profit. You’ll not get rich founding a cigar company. As such, it is cost-prohibitive for these companies to submit cigars for testing, pay the registration fee and that’s not even a guarantee that the product will be approved.

The whole concept behind this prohibitive regulation is to supposedly curb tobacco use, but honestly let’s think about it: since when have such regulations ever really worked with anything? Alcohol prohibition in this country was a total failure as is the current “war on drugs.” This nonsense is really more like a war on personal freedom. Yes, I am aware that tobacco is not good for your health. However, I am also a grown adult and more than capable of making my own life decisions and taking on things that I consider to be an acceptable level of risk. Sure, I know smoking cigars will slightly increase my risk of oral cancer and will impose a slight increase in mortality risk, but you know what else is a big killer? Stress, and lord knows I have plenty of that in my life. I’m more than willing to take my slight chance of oral cancer if it means a dramatic reduction in stress which is more likely to kill me anyway. As with all things in life, moderation is key.

Anyway, where does this all leave people like me? Well, we’re going to have to get our cigars overseas and from “black markets” from places that don’t have these regulations. Sure, many cigars that are around now were around on or before the grandfather date and we will still have them, but a lot of the special releases and such will be gone unless we find another avenue. As a Libertarian, I hate having my rights infringed upon.

Anyway, that’s the end of my rant for today and back onto happier things. Here’s where I open the lines of dialog.

Do you enjoy cigars? What are your favorite(s)? Also, what beverages do you enjoy pairing with them?