One More Week!

To think next week I will be crossing off another bucket list item – to see an IndyCar race.

It just so happens that the first attempt at running the Firestone 600 (the lone Texas race in the IndyCar series) was rained out so it just happened to be rescheduled for this weekend. Lucky me, as I had other things going during the first attempt at running the race and now with the way the cards have played out I’ll be able to go.

A little-known fact about me is that I am a huge IndyCar fan. I’m not a fan of NASCAR interestingly enough but I do love IndyCar. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to go see the Indy 500 in person. Nonetheless, one time you do not pull me away from the TV is during the annual running of the Indy 500. I camp out and do not move.

Anyway, this will be the first race I’ve ever been to so it’s a new experience for me. Have any of my followers ever been to a car race? If so, do you have any advice for me? What to expect, how to prepare, things to take, whatever? I already know sunscreen, bug spray and earplugs but is there anything else? I think Texas Motor Speedway also allows BYOB so I’ll be sure to take a cooler too.

Any input is appreciated.

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The Saga of the Malfunctioning Oil Light

When they say something is too good to be true, it probably is. Case in point: the saga of the malfunctioning oil light in my car.

So a little back story: up until January of this past year I was driving an old, beaten up 2000 Ford Focus. The paint was chipping off the hood, the cruise control didn’t work and there was a leak in the clutch system so the clutch pedal had absolutely no free play and didn’t even pop all the way up when released. The car was a hot mess but the thing served me well for nearly 11 years. It wasn’t pretty but it sure was tough.

So when I took my new job one of my first orders of business was to save up enough for a down payment on a new car. I had done my research and decided on a very specific vehicle that I was in the market for: a Ford Fiesta with
1.0L EcoBoost. With MPG rivaling that of a hybrid and the fact that it comes only with a manual transmission (my #1 requirement in a vehicle) it seemed like the perfect fit for my needs. Finding one, on the other hand, proved to be a difficult task. The manual-only thing keeps it from being a good seller. I had resigned myself to thinking I would have to do a special order.

Well, until I came across one a year model old (2015) but still brand new. See, the thing sat on the lot forever because of the manual. As such it was deeply discounted and they just wanted it gone. The only problem was that it was about 150 miles away from home and I had prior engagements that day so I couldn’t just go so I called them and asked if they could hold it, which they said no (which I was expecting). I kept hoping and praying that it wouldn’t sell that week, and when I got the call the next Friday evening from the salesman who said it was still on the lot I prepared for the trek to go collect the vehicle. I got to that dealership the next morning, took it for a test drive and fell in love immediately, got back and made the deal (and a hell of a deal too!). It seemed like destiny really.

Anyway, I do love the car. It might have a tiny engine (1.0L, 3-cylinder) but with the low-inertia turbocharger and direct injection it packs a mighty punch. Oh, and the fuel economy goes without saying – the best I’ve gotten on a long road trip is 44 MPG. Can’t argue with that number.

So, there’s always a catch right? The answer is yes. When it came time for my oil change the reminder tripped and so I changed the oil and attempted to reset it following the directions in the owner’s manual (turn ignition on without cranking the engine, fully press and hold brake and gas for 25 seconds) and it was not resetting. Baffled I took it to my local Ford dealership and had them try and they couldn’t get it to reset. It’s now been at the dealership for a week while they run test after test and they still can’t isolate the problem. It’s even leaving the corporate engineering department at Ford baffled!

I swear, I have some of the shittiest luck ever. I love the car and would hate to give it up but man, this is killer. At least it’s still drivable while the engineers try to bounce ideas off of each other and come up with a fix. Still though, what a train wreck. What seemed like absolute destiny in January is turning into a total nightmare.

I guess you gotta laugh to keep from crying though.

Beer Review: Prairie BOMB! 

Say hello to my big friend BOMB! hailing from Prairie Artisan Ales in Oklahoma. This beer is an Imperial Stout aged on espresso beans, cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and ancho chilies. It weighs in at a hefty 13% ABV and 65 IBUs and baby it is all there. Had it on draft at my favorite local watering hole last night, paid $13 for a pour but it was worth every penny.

Pours an opaque jet black as a good Imperial Stout should. A thin ring of chocolate brown head crowns the surface of the beer. Aroma is dominated by espresso and a hint of chocolate with undertones of vanilla and spiciness. Taste brings out more of the same but brings the spiciness of the chili peppers to the forefront and features that classic chocolate and chili combination. The coffee is less pronounced on the palate than the nose and mixes well with the touch of vanilla. Beneath the core flavors are the classic flavors of roasted malt and a subtle hop note that one would normally expect from an Imperial Stout. Thick mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Goes down slightly harsh due to the ABV and chili peppers but drinks well enough – you just can’t take more than tiny sips at a time. When paired with the turtle cheesecake I had for dessert it was a perfect
match.

A beautifully complex beer that is worth its asking price. This one gets top marks from me – 5/5. You’ve got to get your hands on this one.

Advice: “My (Insert Family Member) Hates Tattoos”

So hanging out at my favorite watering hole this evening I noticed my server just got a fresh tattoo – her first. I of course congratulated her for it but she confided in me that she didn’t dare show her parents because they are very religious and hate tattoos. I did give her some bold advice and I hope she takes it to heart. I’m sharing that advice with you all here because I’m sure you fellow inked folk out there have had to deal with this yourselves.

I will be working under the assumption you are all legal adults in your jurisdiction as every place I’ve ever lived you had to be of the age of majority (18 here) to get a tattoo. Assuming you are of the age of majority my advice is simple: it is your body and your choice and you need to assert that simple fact. I don’t care if it’s a parent, grandparent, spouse/significant other or even a friend, it is your body and your choice and if said family member has a problem you tell that person where he/she can stick it!

I know I deal with this all the time. I have a grandmother who is very anti-ink and she never ceases to remind me every time I see her. She even asked me what would happen if my boss were to let me go over it. Well first of all, tattoos in the workplace aren’t that big of a deal anymore, but second of all is the bullshit: she acts like it is her body and she had ink forcibly injected into her body against her will.

No, I won’t apologize for my tattoos and I hope you don’t either. I also refuse to cover them just to appease her and I hope you don’t cover yours to appease someone either. You are old enough to make your own decisions and you stick by those decisions. I know my grandmother likes to play the “but God gave you great skin” nonsense with me (she doesn’t know I’m an atheist and I don’t tell her because of the drama that would ensue). My response to her the last time she brought that up was simple: “I agree, my artists agree that I take ink so well that it’s like it is just supposed to be there!” (which is true, I take ink very easily).

Whatever the case, don’t back down. You are your own person and if someone wants to constantly give you grief about your ink, my recommendation is to cut that person out of your life. You don’t need that bullshit. Your tattoo is a work of art and it deserves respect. That’s the bottom line.

Beer Review: Evil Twin “I Love You With My Stout”

You asked for them: beer reviews. I love beer and I love reviewing beer and now you get beer reviews on this blog! Rest assured I am listening to your input and trying to give you reading material that interests you, so here you go. Introducing Lynn’s beer reviews!

This review features “I Love You With My Stout,” an American Imperial Stout brewed by Evil Twin Brewing in Brooklyn, New York. It weighs in at a hefty 12% ABV and an unspecified IBU rating, though judging by the flavor profile it’s probably pretty high on that scale also.

Pour is a slightly lighter shade of brown than most Imperial Stouts I’ve had; it’s more of a transparent chestnut brown color with a thin 1 finger of head that dissipates fairly quickly. Aroma is a rich roasted coffee with a hint of a generic sweetness. Big, bold flavors of dark chocolate, roasted malts, dark roast coffee and black cherry with a slight hint of vanilla. Finishes with a strong, slightly astringent but not unpleasant bitter hop note. Thick, creamy mouthfeel with subtle, soft carbonation. Drinks easily but I wouldn’t advise slamming it back.

Overall a solid representation of the style. I’ve had better (including some other offerings from Evil Twin) but I would drink this again. I’ll give this one a 4/5.

 

Suicide: Can It Be The Right Choice?

I am about to write an opinion I’m sure very few will agree with. That’s OK. This is my opinion on the topic and I have arrived at it after long and careful study of the implications thereof.

Most people will say that suicide is never an option. As a Libertarian, I absolutely disagree with this statement. I believe we all have the right to self-determination and therefore the right to end our lives if we see fit. I reject the notion that a governing body has any place to tell us that we must continue to live against our wills. Of course, this does not address any moral or ethical implications of suicide, just the issue of bodily autonomy.

I will also say that I fully support physician-assisted suicide in limited cases, but in more cases that current US law currently allows (well, some states in the US anyway). I believe that physician-assisted suicide should be permitted in the case of terminal illness (no matter how long the prognosis), incurable mental or physical disability or incurable pain (both physical and emotional). That said, I am against pushing it as an option and it should be the free choice of the patient without any influence from the establishment.

So there are my official positions on the permissibility of suicide. That does not, however, make a value judgment on suicide, whether it be good, bad or indifferent. I think in some cases suicide can be morally justified as good or positive, namely one who sacrifices his/her own life to save another’s (though some will disagree with me, I do view this as a form of suicide). I also think there are instances in which suicide is morally bad (such as murder-suicide). In general, I tend to view suicide as morally neutral – neither good nor bad.

Now, that being said, I do not think it’s something to be taken lightly. After all, it is an irreversible action. Suicide should only be carried out after due consideration of all the variables involved: the after effects and the risk and consequences of failure. You must be absolutely certain that this is the course of action you want to take. If you are in the least bit unsure, just don’t. Wait to see if you change your mind. If not, then I’m not going to intervene.

So what brings this topic up? Well, a conversation with my ex. I was telling her how I realize now that any hope of ever having my dream career has been dashed. I’ve exhausted all possible avenues and I’ll forever be stuck in jobs and careers that I absolutely hate. It’s not my fault – I was born with a disability that medically disqualifies me from flying (autism spectrum disorder) and said pain of being “grounded” is compounded by me having a sibling who is living my dream (of course, it also is her’s).

My ex is over here trying to convince me to “find another dream.” That can’t happen because I only have one dream. No other job or career is even remotely appealing to me. Have I mentioned how much I fucking hate my current job despite the fact it’s what most people would consider a good job? I think I have, but it’s worth mentioning again.

Since my dream will never be realized, do I really have anything else to look forward to in life? I tend to not think so. I’m still trying to sort out in my mind what is the correct course of action for me. Do I continue living and suffering just to appease my “loved ones” (in quotations because I doubt anyone really does love me)? Or do I actually put my own desires first and remove myself from the world? It’s a decision I struggle with obviously, but I refuse to commit to ending my life until I am absolutely certain that is what I want to do.

So, where do I stand? I think that in most circumstances suicide is in fact the wrong course of action. Most problems are temporary and will resolve themselves in due time. For permanent problems with no hope of getting better I think it’s perfectly fine to put oneself out of his or her torment. Either way, I will not question one’s decision to commit suicide and I certainly will not try to stop someone from carrying it out. If a friend or family member confided in me and said he/she was contemplating suicide, I would take a balanced approach and say “here are your options, but I respect whatever decision you make.” The way I see it is that none of us had any choice whether or not to come into the world and therefore we should all have the free choice to undo that action if we see fit.

Again, I know this is probably a very unpopular opinion but it is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

Changes

First off, I want to say thank you to all my followers, lurkers and regular commenters. You all mean a lot to me and have been instrumental in launching this blog. Alas, I have a feeling this blog is about to undergo some major changes.

When I first started this blog my intention was to have it centered on topics related to tattoos and just to autism spectrum disorders. As you quickly found out that didn’t last long at all. I quickly ventured into topics other than that and, lo and behold, I gradually gained more readers. It seems like versatility is the key to blogging success.

Don’t get me wrong, tattoo and autism related topics will remain among the recurring themes of this blog, but I will be adding additional topics. Among these new topics I’m considering adding are beer, Scotch and cigar reviews, random product reviews, life observations and I’m not opposed to political topics either. Of course, I will also continue to participate in blog awards or some other prompts as I deem appropriate and have time for. I’m open to practically anything really!

So what would interest you? Do you have a topic or a theme to suggest? Let me know!