Song Lyric Sunday 9/18/16 – Live Life

So this week’s prompt for Song Lyric Sunday is a song you recently heard in concert or would like to hear in concert. Well, I am totally not a concert person at all so I’m afraid I don’t have anything really to this effect, but I’m going to take a very loose interpretation of the prompt (as I always do, but this even looser) and go from there.

For the first time this season, I am totally tuning in to Dancing With The Stars. While I normally would not, a person I admire very much is doing the competition this year and I am tuning in solely to watch and root for him. His name is James Hinchcliffe and he is a race car driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He’s had a bit of a rough season this year, but still I would say is a victory for him to even be racing this season because last year he had a major crash during practice for the 2015 Indianapolis 500 that in all honesty should have killed him. He was impaled through his leg, had to have surgery, 14 pints of blood and lots of physical therapy. The fact that he’s even racing this year is a miracle, and to be doing DWTS is just a total inspirational story.

So for this prompt I am using the song Hinch and his professional partner Sharna Burgess danced to in the season premiere of DWTS and I am going to say that is the song I recently heard live (yeah, I know they danced to the recording but whatever). The song is called “Live Life” by Zayde Wolf. I didn’t pay much attention to the song as I was watching their dance routine (which earned the highest judges’ scores of the night I should say!) so I looked up the song after the fact and found it to be a very beautiful and inspirational song and such an appropriate song choice for their first dance given what Hinch has been through in the last year. The fact he is doing this makes me admire him more, not only as an IndyCar driver but as a human being.

Here you go. Have a tissue handy if you’re the emotional type.

Sometimes I think that I’m a dreamer
The one that’s standing all alone
Sometimes it feels like it’s forever
Since I’ve truly felt at home

What am I gonna do?
What am I gonna do to feel like freedom’s mine?
What am I gonna do?
What am I gonna do to feel like freedom’s mine?

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
I’m gonna live life

Some nights I stay up staring at the stars
Wondering how far it goes
I know this life is all I have
Well that’s what I’ve been told

What am I gonna do?
What am I gonna do?
Will you go where I go?
The time is now not when
I’m reaching for your hand
Will you go where I go?

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
I’m gonna live life

Like it’s the only one (like it’s the only one we have)
Like it’s the only one (like it’s the only one we have)

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Yeah I’m gonna live life

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Yeah I’m gonna live life

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Source: https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Zayde-Wølf/Live-Life

As an added clip, here is Hinch and Sharna’s dance routine. In the beginning you can see the accident than nearly claimed Hinch’s life and hear his thoughts about it. Truly an inspirational story.

Hope you all enjoyed and rest assured I will continue participating in these. They’re fun and it’s great to be introduced to new music.

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Op-Ed: I Stand with Colin Kaepernick 

​Not often do I like to get political on this blog, but the hoopla about Colin Kaepernick’s protest gives me reason to chime in. In a nutshell, I stand with Kaepernick and support him in his protest. I haven’t saluted the flag during the anthem or recited the pledge in years and I will continue not doing so until we see some dramatic changes here. 

Before you start jumping down my throat, let me say that I am a freedom-loving American patriot. I love my country. I love what my country stands for on paper. I would fight a just war on my country’s behalf (by just I mean one that directly affects us and our safety – none of this stupid police action bullshit that we currently involve ourselves in). 

I do not, however, particularly love the way the paper is put into application/practice because it negatively affects me and multiple minority groups I’m party of. For one, I am an atheist and it’s not easy being an atheist in this country. We are often the target of police harassment, job discrimination and in my home state and seven others we are effectively outlawed from running for or holding public office. It’s not particularly fair in a country that supposedly embodies freedom of religion, now is it? 

However, the mild discrimination atheists face in this country is nothing compared to the major, wide-scale discrimination we autistics face in this country. I’ve already told you about how I am effectively shut out of my dream career (airline pilot) on sole account of my autism diagnosis. It’s like the FAA makes a blanket rule for all of us instead of evaluating us individually. In a similar way, we are shut out of any and all military, police, firefighter, EMS, etc. service as well. Hell, even in “civilian” jobs we are often passed up for our neurotypical competitors despite the fact that we might have better qualifications for the job in question (why do you think autistic adults have a disproportionally high unemployment rate?). We are often at the butt end of police brutality because our police either do not receive adequate training to recognize or choose to ignore the signs of autistic meltdown. 

I know people with a whole myriad of other disabilities face similar discrimination in this country. It is true that we have the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that was signed into law by Elder President Bush that says academic and work environments must provide “reasonable accommodation” for people with disabilities. However, very rarely is the letter of the law actually put into practice in any work or education environment. 

Despite my rantings above, I do wish to say that I fully support our police, firefighters, military, EMS and all of our other public servants. I realize that a vast majority of them are truly good people doing very difficult jobs and doing them to the best of their abilities. I will never question that the majority truly protect and serve. It’s the few bad apples who ruin the bunch (well, perhaps with the exception of our politicians who are almost all rotten apples). 

In conclusion, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. That includes otherwise offensive, unpopular or dare I say it anti-establishment speech. It protects your right to stand and salute the flag and my right to sit and turn away from it. It protects your right to fly a flag and my right to burn one (not that I would, just using it as an example). Let your conscience guide you to make the correct decision for you. 

The Job Decision and Contemplating My Next Move 

​ After having some time to mull it over, as much as I hated to do it, I ultimately decided to turn down the job offer at the other company. 

A multitude of reasons led me to my final decision. Their expensive and piss-poor insurance coverage was a big factor. The ultimate dealbreaker though was what I had feared from the outset: no visible tattoos or piercings (other than earrings for women only). Yes, I specifically asked if they were tattoo and piercing friendly and they outright told me no. It was at that point I immediately withdrew my candidacy for the position. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I refuse to go out of my way to cover my tattoos if they are not covered by default with the normal work uniform. I think it is highly disrespectful to tattooed or pierced folk to not allow them these forms of self-expression. It’s body policing/shaming at its worst. I am proud of my tattoos and I will display them within the bounds of a work uniform. If you’re going to make me wear a special uniform just to hide them, you can take the job and shove it up your ass. I’ve also been considering doing piercings as well (one thing leads to another right?) and will have the same policy regarding that. 

It just pisses me off that things like tattoos and piercings come before job performance. If I’m good at what I do and I do so in an efficient and timely matter does body art really matter? I tend not to think so, but then again I guess logical thinking isn’t very common is it? 

So yeah, I’m feeling kind of gutted right now but at least I have a clean conscience that I stood up for my civil liberties. I can’t help but wonder if this will eventually become a political battle. If it does, I will gladly throw my name in as a co-plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against these discriminatory and unfair codes. 

As far as my next move, perhaps it’s time I consider another career change. If I have to work (which we all do) I want to be in a career where my tattoos or any piercings I get will not be a hindrance. That might mean going back into academia. I know most liberal public universities wouldn’t care. Hell, I doubt large urban public K-12 school districts would care. They tend to be more liberal also. My degrees are in math but that isn’t my first love – music is. If I were to go back into teaching I’d ideally want to be like an elementary music teacher or a middle/high school choir director. It would mean going back to school, which is fine by me. If I can’t fly, well, might as well immerse myself in music right? It at least makes me temporarily forget the pain of everyday life. 

Beer Reviews: Shipyard Pumpkinhead and Odell Oktoberfest

So tonight was one of those two beer nights. As I was watching my main man James Hinchcliffe (IndyCar driver) and his instructor/partner Sharna Burgess tear it up on Dancing With the Stars I was sipping on a couple of fall seasonal beers that I picked up on the cheap at my favorite local grocer. Let’s do a couple of quick reviews here for each of them!

Beer #1: Shipyard Pumpkinhead

From Shipyard Brewing in Portland, Maine comes Pumpkinhead – a pumpkin ale weighing in at 4.7% ABV. Pour is a light golden color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Aroma primarily consisting of spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) with a hint of pumpkin. Flavor is fairly muted overall – just tasted like a pale ale with just a hint of pumpkin and spice. Thin mouthfeel with high carbonation. The beer is chuggable but nothing special. Honestly I was left wanting more pumpkin and spice flavors. Disappointing. Rating: 2/5.

Beer #2: Odell Oktoberfest

From Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado comes their take on an Oktoberfest. A little high on ABV for the style at 6.1%. Pours a medium red-amber color with a fluffy head that sticks around for awhile and then dissipates to a thin ring. Malty/bready aroma with a slight herbal quality. Flavors follow: bready, malty, caramel. A hint of tea-like bitterness on the back end; surprisingly robust flavors for the style. Medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation and drinks very easily. Quite impressed with this one. Rating: 4/5.

Song Lyric Sunday 9/11/16 – One Night in Bangkok

Before I get into this post, I just want to reflect briefly on what happened this day 15 years ago. I remember it like yesterday – I was in my math class when it happened and when that class let out and the whole school was abuzz. I had no idea what had happened until I got to my next class and then it was like “OMFG!!!” Those who lost their lives in the wreckage, those who lost their lives on the line of duty and those who put their lives at risk at the present day. May we never forget.

OK, now onto more happy stuff. This week’s theme for Song Lyric Sunday is to post a song that refers to some city/town/state. Well, being from Abilene, Texas I could have gone for the obvious choice, but that song is actually about Abilene, Kansas so I didn’t want to use it.

Instead I chose this song from the musical Chess called “One Night in Bangkok.” The verses are rapped by actor Murray Head, the choruses sung by Swedish singer Anders Glenmark and the song was written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus from ABBA (go figure!) with the help of English author Sir Tim Rice. A true collaboration effort and somewhat of a catchy song. Though the song is not about Bangkok directly (rather a massive chess tournament) it makes several references to life in the city.

Anyway, here we go!

Bangkok, Oriental setting
And the city don’t know that the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world in a
Show with everything but Yul Brynner

Time flies doesn’t seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change don’t you know that when you
Play at this level there’s no ordinary venue

It’s Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings or
or this place!

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
And if you’re lucky then the god’s a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One town’s very like another
When your head’s down over your pieces, brother

It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city

Whaddya mean? Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town

Tea, girls, warm, sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite

Get Thai’d! You’re talking to a tourist
Whose every move’s among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Siam’s gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha

And thank God I’m only watching the game controlling it

I don’t see you guys rating
The kind of mate I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you

So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage
parlours

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me
Source:  Murray Head – One Night In Bangkok Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Yes, I know, I have a habit of taking very loose interpretations of the themes. Oh well, I think it makes things more interesting. Anyway, hope you all enjoyed!

Saturday Randomness: Car/Driver Stereotypes

Am I the only one who makes (often inaccurate) stereotypical prejudgments about a person based upon what kind of car he/she drives? Like what kind of personality this person has, social status, occupation, whatever? Surely I can’t be the only one.

Anyway, I can’t help but wonder what other people think of me when they see my car (whether or not I’m in it). It’s nothing fancy or anything but it’s not an old beaten up junker or anything. So I’m going to show you a few pictures of my car here and tell me what you’d think of me if you saw my car on the road, peeked inside it in a parking lot or if you were just a random stranger I gave a lift.

So judging by these pictures, if you knew nothing about me, what would be your preconceived notions about me based solely on the car I drove? I’m truly curious.

(BTW: The car is a 2015 Ford Fiesta SFE EcoBoost – it features a 1.0L turbocharged 3-cylinder engine. Sort of a rarity in North America but it’s a hell of a car and gets highway fuel mileage rivaling that of hybrids – the best I’ve gotten highway is 44 US MPG).

Beer Review: Unibroue Maudite

All the way from Chambly Quebec, Canada comes this rather interesting beer. It’s officially classified as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale but it has the appearance similar to that of an Oktoberfest/Marzen. It has the ABV to back up its classification (8.0%) but I have to say this beer is quite a contradiction at its very core. I don’t know what the hell to think of it honestly.

Pour is a cloudy (unfiltered) orange color with a thick, frothy head that leaves minimal lacing on the glass. Tart, fruity aroma up front with an underlying hint of spice. A very unusual taste that I don’t know how to describe really. It’s definitely got that typical Belgian fruity quality to it. Big malt backbone with a touch of what almost tastes like pumpkin. Spicy finish of coriander and cinnamon heat. Burns on the way down. Medium bodied with medium carbonation and very easy drinking.

Honestly I’m a bit confused. It almost does taste like half Belgian have Oktoberfest. Two different styles, two different regions, one beer. I don’t know whether I like it or not! Not often is it that a beer puzzles me this way but this one has me puzzled for sure, so I guess I’ll just give it a 3/5.