Friends in Unexpected Places and More Career Ponderings

​It always amazes me that you find so many friends in the most unlikely places. In my case, I found out such at work and the outpouring of support from everyone has been nothing but amazing. 

When I sent out my letter of resignation on Friday I immediately got a bunch of responses back saying how much I’d be missed and how they wished I’d give the matter more thought. It was absolutely overwhelming, and in fact so overwhelming I decided to stick around for the time being. 

If it’s a lesson I’ve learned over the course of the past two weeks, it’s that I guess I never much realized how highly the people who really know me think of me despite my shortcomings and oddities. Sure, my mental health condition makes me a little odd in some ways, I have multiple tattoos and am about to have piercings, I have strange taste in clothing and I’m just totally unconventional. They look past that at the quality of the work I put out and I guess I never realized before just how huge my role with this company has been. It’s just been a very sobering few days for sure. 

Now, is that to say I’ll be with this company forever? Don’t count on it. I will eventually move on as almost all of us do (very rarely do people stay with one company for their entire lives). I’m still searching for something that really satisfies my soul (as much as I hate to admit it this job still isn’t very rewarding for me) but until I find out what that is it’s comforting to know that I have friends here who value not only my work but me as a person. 

I’ll always look to better myself and at this point I’m considering self-employment as an option as well. It dawned on me last night while I was puffing a Padron 3000 Natural and sipping a Glenlivet Nadurra that why not take those two loves and combine them into a business idea? Most tobacco shops don’t sell alcohol and most liquor stores don’t sell premium cigars. If I can combine the elements of a cigar shop, a liquor store and a lounge I could be onto something good and sell fine cigars, microbrew beers and fine whiskeys of all kinds (Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, Canadian, etc.). For the non-drinkers I’d have artisan coffees to choose from. I’d want somewhere that people can come in, enjoy the finer things in life and meet and visit with new people. No TVs, soft background music and no WiFi. Maybe a couple of chess boards, a few decks of cards and a pool table or two. For me I’d be getting paid to enjoy my vices and being the owner I could come to work with all my tattoos showing, all my piercings in and wearing my short shorts and I’m sure nobody would give a shit as they’d be too interested in drinking, smoking and shooting the shit. 

Now obviously this is quite some time down the road but still, it’s a dream of mine. They say you’d never work a day in your life and maybe it wouldn’t feel like work at all. Man, I’m almost 30 years old and I still don’t know what I want be when I grow up (well, I do but that option is closed hah). I guess I really am still a child at heart. 

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Beer Review: Oskar Blues Death By Coconut

A rather interesting concoction from Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado: an Irish Porter with coconut extract and chocolate malt. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 25 IBU. Not really a heavyweight but not light on flavor by any stretch of the imagination.

Pours a dark brown color with a tan head that recedes fairly quickly. Heavy coconut aroma up front with a little chocolate undertone; very aromatic. Flavor is almost like a liquid Mounds candy bar – very assertive sweet coconut flavor with dark chocolate. Slight caramel malt and delicate hop bitterness. Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Drinks very easily and smoothly and you could easily polish off the 4-pack in a sitting.

This was a very pleasant beer that was almost like a dessert in and of itself. I really did enjoy this rather unique and tasty brew. Rating: 4/5.

Song Lyric Sunday 11/13/16 – Expressing Ourselves Through Music

So interestingly this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is just to express our feelings through music. Man oh man, I have a lot to say as a result of the events of this week so I couldn’t pick just one song. I could have picked dozens of them but I’ve managed to narrow it down to three.

Firstly, I’m very saddened. As such, as much as it kills me, I must return to the first song I ever featured when I started participating in this prompt: “Mad World.” Quite frankly never has the lyric “the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had” more resonated with me than it has this week. Originally by Tears for Fears, this week I’m featuring a duet between Gary Jules (who covered the song) and Curt Smith of T4F (who sang it originally). It’s pure gold. An interesting tidbit – when he first recorded his cover, Gary Jules misheard the next-to-last lyric and sang “enlarging your world” as if that made any sense at all. The correct lyric is “Halargian world” which Smith just kind of threw in as a joke (Halarge is a fictional planet) but the producers loved it so they kept it.

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

And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression
No expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow
No tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
‘Cause 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
Made to 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 kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
‘Cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it’s a very very
Mad world
Mad world
Halargian world
Mad world
Source: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tearsforfears/madworld.html

The next feeling I have is angst/fear. Due to the results of the election, I have made the bold decision to resign from my job and relocate to a liberal state where I will still have protections even when DJT’s SCOTUS picks overturn Obergefell v. Hodges and when he and his GOP-controlled congress and him repeal the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course, this decision comes with a certain level of fear as there is always the possibility of failure, despite thinking it’s time for a new adventure.

To express this, I’m featuring my favorite Kansas song (which I might or might not have featured here before – I don’t remember): “Fight Fire with Fire.”

There’s a hole in the wall
With a light shining in
And it’s letting me know to get up
It’s time to begin

Oh there is nothing to lose
‘Cause it’s already lost
In a runaway world
Of confusion
I’m not gonna take it

That’s why I’ll fight fire with fire
Oh I’m burning inside and my heart is a-cryin’
Fire with fire
And I don’t want to lose this flamin’ desire

Standing alone
In a crowded room
I can feel a chill in the air
I’m shakin’

I’m miles away
I want to cry out loud
I want to fight ’til the end
And I won’t let ’em take me alive

And you know I’ll fight fire with fire
Oh I’m burning inside and my heart is a-cryin’
Fire with fire
And I don’t wanna lose this flamin’ desire

Fire with fire
Oh I’m out of control and I want you to know I’m fightin’
Fire with Fire
And I’m never gonna lose this flamin’ desire

Fire with fire
Oh I’m burning inside and my heart is a-cryin’
Fire with fire
And I’m never gonna lose this flamin’ desire

Fire with fire
I’m out of control and I want you to know I’m fightin’
Fire with Fire
Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa 
Fire
Source: Lyrics transcribed by me as I found nowhere with the correct lyrics.

Lastly is a song that is true of the journey on which I’m about to embark. I’ve never much ventured out of my little bubble, save for my brief stint away from my little town when I went to grad school. It’s never been clearer that it’s time for me to move on and strike out on my own. It’s time for me to spread my wings and learn how to fly, make a wish, take a chance and make a change, but I’ll always love my family and my home town. Hence my final choice for this prompt: “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson.

Grew up in a small town
And when the rain would fall down
I’d just stare out my window
Dreaming of what could be
And if I’d end up happy
I would pray (I would pray)

Trying hard to reach out
But when I tried to speak out
Felt like no one could hear me
Wanted to belong here
But something felt so wrong here
So I prayed I could break away

I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes ’til I touch the sky
And I’ll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won’t forget all the ones that I love
I’ll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway

Wanna feel the warm breeze
Sleep under a palm tree
Feel the rush of the ocean
Get on board a fast train
Travel on a jet plane far away
And breakaway

I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes ’til I touch the sky
And I’ll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won’t forget all the ones that I love
I’ll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway

Buildings with a hundred floors
Swinging ’round revolving doors
Maybe I don’t know where they’ll take me
But gotta keep moving on, moving on
Fly away, breakaway

I’ll spread my wings
And I’ll learn how to fly
Though it’s not easy to tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won’t forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway, breakaway, breakaway
Source: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kellyclarkson/breakaway.html

Anyway, these are the songs I chose to put into words how I feel this week. I think the lyrics speak for themselves and I can only hope that my future has some bright shining star somewhere along the way in the despairing road of darkness that will likely be the next four years of my life (if I make it through without losing it and ending my story along the way).

We shall see what the future holds I suppose.

My Resignation Letter to My Current Company and Only Post-Election Remarks

As I’ve said here, I never really much like to get political on my blog. That’s not the purpose and that’s not the theme, but I do have some closing remarks regarding the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency.

I voted for Gary Johnson, as I said I would. I did not believe in either major party candidate and I actually believe in the Libertarian Party platform of social tolerance, fiscal responsibility and “live and let live.” That said, if you had held a gun to my head and forced me to pick one or the other, I would have picked Hillary. The reasons for this are discussed in my resignation letter below.

I truly believe that Donald Trump is a dangerous man and this has already proven to be the case with the many incidents of xenophobia, homophobia and racism. He’s also dangerous to people of my ilk.

As such, I have decided to take a leap of faith and drop everything and move. No, I don’t have shelter, a job or anything of the sort secured yet. I am sort of diving off the deep end here, but I am hoping with big risk comes big reward.

With that said, I hope you read my resignation letter below and realize what’s at stake for those of us who do not fit the neurotypical, cisgender, heterosexual mold. This is not to shame anyone for how they voted, but just to make the gravity of the situation real and relevant. I’m not looking for sympathy either. I’m just sharing why I’m so scared.


To all addressees:

After hours of careful consideration, it is with a heavy heart that I announce that I will be separating from *** at the end of the year. My last day with the company will be Friday, December 30th, 2016.

This is a very difficult decision that I did not arrive at lightly nor do I have anything against any of you nor the company. This decision was reached based purely out of fear for my own personal future. With the surprise election of Donald Trump to the presidency, I fear that I have much to lose if I continue to reside in a deep red state such as Texas. For starters, we all became aware of what DJT thinks of people with disabilities when he mocked the one reporter. I fear that if given the chance he will work with his completely GOP dominated congress to repeal the Americans with Disabilities Act and of course Texas will not protect people with disabilities without a federal mandate. I also fear for my future as a member of the LGBT community. As the Trump/Pence administration has promised to reverse protections for people like me and appoint Supreme Court justices to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, there is a high probability that I will never have the opportunity to marry who I love should I continue to live here. For these reasons, I have made the decision to relocate to a much more liberal, open minded state where my rights as a LGBT man with a disability (specifically autism spectrum disorder) will be protected regardless of what decisions are made at the federal level.

As for exactly where I will go? I have yet to make that determination. I am confident that I will arrive at a decision in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I will provide whatever support necessary to anyone in preparation for my departure. I will continue to be available for CAD drawings as they are needed. I will transfer ownership of the Logistics log on Google Drive to M** so that can continue to be used for those who need it. Should the powers that be choose to replace me instead of allowing my position to go defunct, I am willing to help train a replacement if a suitable candidate is found during this transition period.

In closing, I wish to extend a vote of thanks to everyone in this company. When I came on board I was down on my luck and dare I say even on the brink of suicide. I probably would not be alive today if I was not given this opportunity. You all have been a huge blessing to me during the past 15 months and I will be forever indebted to all of you. I would especially like to thank B**** W***********  for giving me the chance to show what I am capable of. Though my tenure with this company was short, I have gained a whole new set of professional and life skills that will serve me for years to come. Should *** or one of its sister companies eventually expand into the geographic area that I relocate to, I would gladly return to the company in the future.

I wish all of you the best as the company moves forward.

Warm regards,
Lynn Blair, Draftsman, Abilene Branch

Beer Review: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

I feel almost like saying hello to a long-lost friend drinking this beer. Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewing Company is a real heavyweight of a beer coming it at 10% ABV, 24.5 Plato OG and 51 IBU. This beer is a long-time favorite of mine and I look forward to it every fall/winter, but what I did this year just took it to another level.

Pours opaque jet black as an Imperial Stout should. Two fingers of tan head recedes to a thin ring and laces the glass like crazy. Aroma of roasted malt, dark chocolate a hint of estery fruit and a slight alcohol astringency. Beautifully complex flavor dominated by dark chocolate (not surprising given the name) but with smooth understones of roasted and caramel malt, coffee, vanilla and currant. One of the longest finishes of any beer I’ve tasted leaving a little bit of all the flavors on the palate until the next sip. Slight alcohol burn going down. Thick bodied, velvet smooth and a subtle carbonation. Drinks easily enough for a heavyweight beer but not chuggable.

As mentioned, one of my favorite beers year after year. I can’t find any fault with it whatsoever. Rating: 5/5.

As a side note, I found this beer paired beautifully with a 601 Steel Anvil, a 6″ x 60RG gordo cigar – a Nicaraguan puro featuring an oscuro wrapper and a variety of ligero fillers. The cigar is full-bodied features prominant notes of chili pepper, dark chocolate and a smooth leather. The chocolate and chili notes make for a match made in heaven with this beer. I don’t often drink beer with a cigar (I usually prefer Scotch) but you just can’t beat this pairing.

Song Lyric Sunday 11/6/16 – Love Can Build a Bridge

So this week for Song Lyric Sunday our challenge was to either post a song about judgment or acceptance. Well, my first choice was going to be “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone but someone beat me to the punch with that one so I had to step back and think of something else. Another song then came to mind but it’s a song someone else featured a few weeks back for another theme so I didn’t want to use it either.

That’s when I remembered a song we did in elementary school. We “sang” this song in American Sign Language with the music. I’m not at all fluent in ASL but I still remember how most of this song goes in that and as I listened to it for the first time in years I couldn’t help but to sign the lyrics.

With that I present “Love Can Build a Bridge” by The Judds.

I’d gladly walk across the desert
With no shoes upon my feet
To share with you the last bite
Of bread I had to eat
I would swim out to save you
In your sea of broken dreams
When all your hopes are sinkin’
Let me show you what love means

Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don’t you think it’s time?
Don’t you think it’s time?

I would whisper love so loudly
Every heart could understand
That love and only love
Can join the tribes of man
I would give my heart’s desire
So that you might see
The first step is to realize
That it all begins with you and me

Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don’t you think it’s time?
Don’t you think it’s time?

When we stand together
It’s our finest hour
We can do anything, anything
Keep believin’ in the power

Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don’t you think it’s time?
Don’t you think it’s time?

Love and only love
Love and only love
Source*: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/judds/lovecanbuildabridge.html

As per the 2nd part of the challenge, I will admit I am guilty of some judgments myself and have been at the butt end of others. People judge my nervous tics, my fashion sense and even my ink. I do have a socially awkward exterior and am a little rough around the edges until you get to know me so not many give me the chance, but the few who do will tell you I’m a very loyal friend. I do my best to love everyone. It can be difficult (especially when you’ve been the victim of bullying your entire life and can be a little afraid to “let people in”) but I’m working on it and getting better. That’s the thing that I think is my biggest downfall in passing judgment – being afraid that someone who stops to talk to me is just interested in tearing me down when the opposite is true.

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed!

Turning Clocks Back

As an amateur/hobbyist horologist (clock/watchmaker) this is a question I get asked a lot. Can you turn your clock or watch backwards? Well, here’s my most recent FB post that I hope will answer your question. I’m always happy to share my knowledge with everyone.

A question I often get from people regarding fallback is whether or not you should turn a clock’s hands backwards. There’s a myth out there that you absolutely cannot turn a clock’s hands backwards. This is false.

When it comes to time-only clocks (including watches), or quartz clocks, there is no risk turning the hands backwards, regardless of what era it was made. There’s nothing to get out of sync anywhere.

On modern chiming/striking clocks (for example Howard Miller, Seth Thomas, Hermle, Kieninger, Ridgeway, etc.) it is perfectly safe to turn the minute hand backwards. These movements have a “slipping clutch” system in them that allows you to do so without damage to the movement. In addition, modern chiming clocks have a “self-righting” mechanism that will synchronize the chime/strike back to where it needs to be, though the chiming may seem to be out-of-sync for an hour or two. 

For antique chiming/striking clocks, turning the hands backward is a big no-no. Either advance the minute hand 11 hours or stop the pendulum/escape wheel for an hour and let the time catch up.

Whatever the case, only move the minute hand. Moving the hour hand will result in the clock striking the incorrect hour as the hour hand will not be in sync with either the count wheel or the rack-and-snail (these systems are how the clock “knows” what time it is).

Anyway, hope that educated someone.