A Total FML Moment 

Yep, I just had a total FML moment that could cost me my job. Here’s the story told in FML style: 

Today I was singing along to “Shout” by Tears for Fears and being silly and changing the lyrics so instead of singing “these are the things I can do without” I sang “this is a job I can do without.” Little did I know the office manager was in the supply room next to my office. Well, she overheard me. FML. 

Yeah. Well it’s no secret I hate my job but I’m already on thin ice so that could be the nail in my coffin. Just wish I had a backup plan. Ugh. Kill me now. 

We shall see but my awful luck strikes again. 

Beer Review: Karbachtoberfest

So I’ve been cooking out today fixing a German affair of food so I figured why not get some quaffable but flavorful Oktoberfest to enjoy with cigars and the aroma of bratwurst smoking on the grill? Hence I chose this Oktoberfest by Karbach brewing in Houston, Texas. It’s a relative lightweight (at least compared to the beers I typically gravitate toward) at 5.5% ABV, 25 IBU and Karbach is nice enough to provide the OG: 13.5 plato.

Pour is a medium amber color with a thin ring of head that dissipates quickly. Fairly straightforward on the nose with some caramel malt and generic sugar sweetness. Palate follows with pale and caramel malt sweetness with a slight pumpkin undertone (note this is not a pumpkin beer but it has a flavor reminscent of it) and a soft iced tea bitterness. Light body and high carbonation – this beer is absolutely chuggable.

While not my absolute favorite beer, it did serve its purpose as a cookout beer and paired very well with the Macanudo Cafe cigars I was smoking (a mild bodied and sweet/creamy cigar – not my favorite but inexpensive and suited the situation also). Rating: 3.5/5

Song Lyric Sunday 10/30/16 – (Don’t Fear) the Reaper

This week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme is to post a scary song. Definitely appropriate for this time of year. I had a few things ideas in mind but this is the song that rose to the top.

I’ve always enjoyed bands that are “unique” and that kind of stood out from the crowd. Blue Oyster Cult is one such band. They were all their own and cranked out some pretty good songs. I do like them and could have picked a number of songs from them, but for the scary theme this one song I think stands above the rest – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” One, the music is just damn creepy and especially with that cowbell. Second, our own mortality is never a comfortable subject to talk about and this song definitely addresses that.

I’m sure many of you know this song already, but if you don’t, prepare to have your spine chilled:

All our times have come
Here but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain… we can be like they are
Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man…

La la la la la
La la la la la

Valentine is done
Here but now they’re gone
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity… Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women everyday… Like Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women everyday… Redefine happiness
Another 40, 000 coming everyday… We can be like they are
Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man…

La la la la la
La la la la la

Love of two is one
Here but now they’re gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn’t go on
Then the door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew and then disappeared
The curtains flew and then he appeared… saying don’t be afraid
Come on baby… and she had no fear
And she ran to him… then they started to fly
They looked backward and said goodbye… she had become like they are
She had taken his hand… she had become like they are
Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
Source: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/blueoystercult/dontfearthereaper.html

Hope everyone enjoyed and have a safe and happy Halloween!

How Social Media Has Benefited Me as an Autistic Person

So many are all up in arms preaching about the evils of social media. They talk about how people spend too much time on social media, how they post too much on social media and how political or religious discussions often go sour and ruin friendships and even marriages. Of course, taken to the extreme anything is bad but as someone on the autism spectrum and a generally socially anxious/introverted person I have to say social media and the blogosphere have been a huge blessing for me.

Let’s take as an example one of my newest local friends, “Laura.” She’d seen me comment on a lot of news stories on Facebook but always kind of admired from a distance. She might have replied to me a time or two but nothing major. Well a few months ago she said she saw me in person, describing me as a “majestic creature” (LOL right?) wearing short shorts and could have sworn it was me but didn’t want to say anything for fear of repercussions. Well, I’ll just let you look at that exchange:

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Well I guess she never saw my reply but needless to say that was August and she hadn’t said anything to me since then, until this past Tuesday. I was having a debate on the ethics of suicide on a local news station’s page and she chimed in as follows:

screenshot_2016-10-28-08-41-29_1

Well I wrote her that Tuesday but didn’t hear back until the next day (expected it as Facebook screens PMs from non-friends). Well as we started talking we immediately bonded and in just two days we’ve become really close friends.

Now, what does this have to do with how social media has benefited me as a spectrumite? Well, if it was a direct face-to-face encounter for the first interaction I doubt I would have opened up so easily. There’s always that fear of judgment and my slight social awkwardness and tendency to get snappy and defensive (not on purpose mind you) when sensitive subjects come up. I imagine puts a lot of people off even if I do decide to open up to them. The computer screen at least provides a little bit of a buffer to tame that.

A vast majority of my real-life friends were Facebook (or MySpace back in the day) friends before we ever met in person. I can’t say I’ve met any of them real-life first and I likely would never have reached out to them (or vice versa) otherwise. My social anxiety would prevent me from reaching out to them and my initial shyness and introversion would put them off. As they got to know me with the initial buffer of a computer screen it allowed them to see past my social awkwardness and anxiety.

Then of course the blogosphere goes without saying. I love all of my WP followers and friends and I’m glad to know you even if just through blogging. Of course, if any of you do want to get to know me more on a personal level you are free to friend me on Facebook or email/chat with me (contact info on the home screen side bar). If not for you all I wouldn’t have many friends at all.

It’s a tough world for those of us on the autism spectrum so anything to make our lives easier and/or better is a good thing, and social media has definitely made my life better. Sure, as with everything it has its drawbacks but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it and without you all.

Beer Review: Valkyrie Double IPA

From Southern Star Brewing company in Conroe, Texas comes the Valkyrie. This Double IPA lives up to her name weighing in at 9.5% ABV and a whopping 110 IBU. Don’t let the ridiculous IBU rating put you off though as she does have a sweet side that makes for a deliciously well-rounded brew.

Pours a hazy golden-orange color with a 1″ head which gradually recedes to a thin ring and leaves lots of lacing on the glass. Aromas of citrus and pine up front with an undertone of alcohol astringency and an undertone of caramel. Palate follows with a big blast of tart grapefruit hops with a dry, piney finish. An ample backbone of caramel malt sweetness and alcohol burn balances out the intense hop kick. Smooth, thick mouthfeel with medium carbonation leaving a hop oil slickness on the lips. An easy sipping beer but a little rough to take big gulps of.

Overall a solid Double IPA with a big hop punch but a solid malt backbone making for a hoppy yet smooth beer. I’m not the biggest fan of IPAs but this is one I return to time and time again. Rating: 4/5.

Who Wears Short Shorts? (Or, More Accurately, Who Hates Long Shorts?) 

​“Don’t get strung out by the way I look; don’t judge a book by its cover.” – Tim Curry (as Dr. Frank-n-Furter). 

So I was over reading Anonymously Autistic‘s blog (you should really check it out!) awhile back and I happened across her post from a few days ago where she spoke of her extreme dislike of socks. Well socks don’t bother me, but it reminded me of my biggest pet peeve (you could even call it a “major psychotic hatred” truth be told) when it comes to the world of clothing/fashion: men’s shorts. 

Chalk it up to an autistic thing or a sensory processing disorder or whatever, but I cannot stand the current style(s) of men’s shorts. I find them annoying and truth be told to me they defeat the purpose of shorts to begin with. You might as well just wear pants. 

So what’s this guy to do? Just sit there and take it? Well, those who really know me know that’s never been the kind of person I am. It should be plain as day from my Gravatar picture and my Facebook profile picture that I proudly and shamelessly rock the short shorts (usually around a 2” inseam). So what if the powers that be (who exactly?) say men aren’t supposed to? Who makes these arbitrary “rules” anyway? 

Now, it seems like most people I encounter on a daily basis don’t give a shit. This is especially true in more progressive, liberal big cities where I’m just one of the crowd. I do, however, get more than my fair share of insults in highly conservative, closed-minded Abilene TX (so much I’ve actually been kicked out of a bar because the owner didn’t like them, but I told that story already). Hell, I even got my fair share of ridicule at the tattoo convention a few weeks ago (the last place I expected it – 1. bare legs, boobs and butts are commonplace in tattoo parlors and 2. you have to be somewhat of a misfit to have tattoos to begin with). Most recently when a political discussion I got involved in on Facebook turned ugly several participants just had to take jabs at my profile picture (most notably one of them said “you should save your $0.02 and put them toward a new pair of shorts”). 

Again, I imagine it is a sensory processing issue induced by autism but I am a very hot natured person. Like I’ll be in short sleeves and short shorts well down into the 50sF/10sC and be perfectly comfortable. People around here look at me like I’m crazy (they can’t handle the cold) but it’s true. When the bosses are gone at work I’ll even wear them to work, much to the amusement of some of my coworkers (we don’t have a hard and fast dress code, but there are things that won’t fly). 

Whatever the case, I refuse to change just to suit the aesthetic preferences of others. Chalk it up to what you will (be it autism, sensory processing disorder or just plain weirdness) but in a non-business setting comfort comes before everything else and if that means rocking shorts that barely cover my butt then that’s what I’m going to do. Even neurotypical people have certain preferences when it comes to clothing (that might not always be the “in” thing), so why can’t we? Why worry about petty stuff like this when there are bigger fish to fry? 

When a Fortune Cookie Happens to Be Right

“Shanghai Hong Kong egg fu yung, fortune cookie always wrong” right? Well, maybe not so much. Let me explain.

For the past several months I have been trying to convince the powers that be at the local Episcopal Church that our change ringing bells are in severe disrepair and in need of a major overhaul by a reputable bell hanging company. My concerns had largely fallen on deaf ears and I had all but given up on it so I shelved the idea and just accepted that the change ringing bells at that church would forever be silent.

So fast-forward to last Thursday when I was enjoying a meal at my favorite local Chinese restaurant. I always enjoy eating at that restaurant because the food is impeccable and I always get incredible service. So I finished my dinner and cracked open to find a fortune that said “Your efforts in a critical area will soon be rewarded.” I just kind of laughed it off as I always do with fortune cookies (by the way, a cookie for whoever got the reference above!) and shelved it.

Then comes Sunday (yesterday). Apparently the organ console cratered yesterday. Go figure. That is going to be a very expensive repair, but apparently the music director remembered my concerns with the structural integrity of the change ringing peal. He therefore called the tower captain who then emailed him the detailed report I had prepared, and from there the report was passed on to the powers that be and it looks like we might actually be getting our bells restored according to my recommendations! It’s not a definite but I’m at least being included in the discussions and I’m actually being taken seriously.

So today I was reflecting upon my fortune and I realize just how prophetic it happened to be. Now, I’m not a believer in god, fate or anything of the sort but this was almost an answered prayer in a way. I feel like I’m finally getting recognition for something. I’ve never gotten recognition for anything in my life and I had resigned myself to thinking I was a nobody and that’s all I ever would be (be it due to autism or my lack of having any extraordinary talent). However, if my vision and effort is what will ultimately lead to having a properly installed change ringing peal at my home tower, I’ll at least have a small legacy within that circle.

For once in my life I feel like I’ve accomplished something worthwhile, and it feels really good. Even if I don’t accomplish anything else, I’ve at least left my mark here. Though I often wish I had never existed, moments like this make me realize that although my existence might be bad for me, someone else has benefitted from my existence.