Yes, I Want a Cure…

…and that does NOT make me intolerant, self-hating or any of a number of other things I’ve recently been accused of being.

As my blog has started gaining momentum, not surprisingly I have gotten my fair share of critics. That’s to be expected as none of us are immune to criticism. I’m perfectly OK with that. Constructive criticism and healthy debate are good things as they cause you to re-examine your own stances with new information and you can either refute the counterpoint or accept the new findings. I’m fine with that. However, what I’ve been recently accused of is unacceptable.

Some folks (who I am assuming are fellow spectrumites) have either commented me or sent me private messages accusing me of a number of wild things. Some have accused me of being intolerant, some self-hating and even some have claimed that I’m faking it in order to parody autism! I’m not going to name names because I’m better than that but I will say all of these accusations are pure and utter bullshit.

My desire for a cure has to do with one thing and one thing only: my dream career. As the FAA does not tolerate autism spectrum disorders for medical clearance to fly, a cure would mean I could live my dreams. Ideally the FAA would revise their guidelines and evaluate us individually but that’s a pipe dream and that ain’t ever going to happen. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s just reality. The potential rewards for me personally would grossly outweigh any potential negative effects (including loss of heightened intelligence or even loss of life).

Please note this is my own assessment and as a Libertarian I am not about forcing anything on anyone. If your perception of your autism is that it’s a benefit to you and that you don’t want to be cured that’s cool with me. I will love and accept you either way. You should weigh the potential reward vs. the potential risks for yourself and make a decision based on your own desires.

I guess what I’m trying to say is please don’t try to put words into my mouth or speak for me. I know many of you regurgitate that old line “Autism speaks doesn’t speak for me.” If they don’t then fine. Perhaps they should change their name in light of that (even though as a general rule I do support the cause). Oh yeah, that leads me to another thing – since I have a tattoo that was a fundraiser for that particular charity I’m told I’m a sellout among other things. Not cool, people.

At the end of the day, I respect your choices and feelings concerning the topic. I only ask for respect in return. Thank you.

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100 Followers Q&A Answer

So to mark 100 followers, I opened up a Q&A session. I only got one question but that’s OK, I’ll answer any more questions I get in the comments because just one is a bit boring.

Rachel over at Illuminated Literation asked, “If you could live anywhere, where would you choose?”

That’s an easy one: Australia, hands down. I have a couple of reasons for this. First off, with the year-round hot Australian climate men’s short shorts never really went completely by the wayside so I could at least wear them and not get looked at (too) strangely. Also, being a former British colony there is a strong change ringing presence there and the standard of ringing is generally very high (rivaling that of England and vastly superior to North America). I can deal with the inherent risks of living there (venomous/dangerous animals) for these benefits. If only their immigration standards weren’t so stringent!

Anyway, there you go. Anymore questions for me, anyone? Ask away.

Song Lyric Sunday 1/15/17 – Pale Shelter

Yes, I know what so many of you are probably thinking, “ANOTHER Tears for Fears song?!?!?!?” Well yes, another one indeed.

This week’s theme for Song Lyric Sunday is to post a song about the parent/child relationship. Now, “Pale Shelter” might seem like an awfully weird choice to apply to that relationship but when it comes to the story of my life, I think it fits perfectly.

First off, I am adamantly childfree so I can’t post anything from the perspective of a parent as I do not have, nor do I ever want, children. It’s just not the right life choice for me. However, my relationship with my own parents closely mirrors the theme of this song (manipulation and gaslighting). See, my biological parents divorced before I was even born. I’ve never actually met my biological father, but my mother used to always talk shit about him and whatnot. Then my stepfather comes into the picture and doubles down on that. They painted the picture that my biological father was a deadbeat and a piece of shit and I didn’t know anything different so I believed them.

Then one day, when I was a senior in college, my half-sister (whom I didn’t even know existed at the time) messaged me on MySpace (yes, this happened that long ago for those who remember MySpace) and introduced her to me as such. I always knew it was a possibility I had half-siblings, but now it was confirmed. Then a bit later, for the first time I spoke to my biological father. It was a difficult thing for me to ask, but I asked him why he did what he did. He then proceeded to tell me his version of events and he also sent me the documentation to back his story up. For 21 years my mother and stepfather outright lied to me and manipulated me into irrationally hating my biological father.

I really tried to develop a relationship with both my half-sister and biological father but I was unfortunately never able to. Due to irreconcilable differences we’ve stopped talking and I think my biological father has probably since passed away. Alas, learning this new information irreparably damaged my relationship with my mother and stepfather. We still get along and we’ve made amends, but there is still some anger and resentment over it from my perspective.

In addition, I received an all out lack of love from my mother and stepfather. They were very ill-equipped to deal with a special needs child and thus I was the victim of physical abuse as well. The only person in the household growing up who actually loved and cared for me was my great-grandmother, and this is a huge reason I have her memorialized on my body in the form of a tattoo.

These are the reasons I chose this song. Written by Roland Orzabal (the band’s main songwriter) it really seems vague enough it can refer to any kind of relationship in which one is manipulated or gaslit (be it romantic, parent/child or otherwise). This is one of the group’s older songs (1982) and was featured on their debut album The Hurting.

How can I be sure?
When your intrusion is my illusion
How can I be sure
When all the time you changed my mind
I asked for more and more
How can I be sure

When you don’t give me love (You gave me pale shelter)
You don’t give me love (you give me cold hands)
And I can’t operate on this failure
When all I want to be is
Completely in command

How can I be sure
For all you say you keep me waiting
How can I be sure
When all you do is see me through
I asked for more and more
How can I be sure

When you don’t give me love (You gave me pale shelter)
You don’t give me love (you give me cold hands)
And I can’t operate on this failure
When all I want to be is
Completely in command

I’ve been here before
There is no why, no need to try
I thought you had it all
I’m calling you, I’m calling you
I ask for more and more
How can I be sure

When you don’t give me love (You gave me pale shelter)
You don’t give me love (you give me cold hands)
And I can’t operate on this failure
When all I want to be is
Completely in command

You don’t give me love
You don’t give me love

You don’t give me love
You don’t give me love

You don’t give me love
You don’t give me love
Source: https://play.google.com/music/preview/Ttn5wdmpyawisvus6c6jzmk2uma?lyrics=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=lyrics&pcampaignid=kp-lyrics&u=0#

Wow, sorry this turned into such a long Song Lyric Sunday post. Please forgive me and also forgive me for being a bit of a Danny Downer. This was just a tough subject for me is all.

Thoughts – USAF Revised Tattoo Policy

So I read earlier this week that the USAF has greatly relaxed their tattoo policy.

Their policy was originally at most 25% coverage of any visible body part (with the exception of head/face, neck and hands which cannot have any ink) and of course nothing vulgar or offensive. Gone is the 25% rule and you can now have a single “wedding band” on one finger of one hand.

I thought this was great news and a huge step toward more mainstream acceptance of tattoos (and piercings for that matter) in the work place and the military. I’m hoping other military branches follow suit, also start allowing piercings and eventually remove restrictions on any part of the body. I’m perfectly fine with objectionable tattoos remaining forbidden. Of course, I’m a proponent of instituting body modifications as a protected class so of course I cheer this and similar efforts on.

I’ve come to the realization that tattoos will only become more accepted when governments and businesses start their social paradigm shift on them (at which point the general public will shift with them). We’re making progress, but we still have a long way to go.

Beer/Cigar Review Wednesday 1/11/17

Welcome to beer/cigar review Wednesday where we take a look at any notable (and some not-so-notable) beers and cigars from the past week. We did not have an episode last week because I was still busy polishing off leftover bubbly and hard cider but we’re back with the program this week! This episode is a little light as I’m just now getting back into my regular mode but it’s coming to you now nonetheless.

Let’s start with our beer selections:

Epic Big Bad Baptist

Hailing from Epic Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, Utah, Big Bad Baptist is an whiskey barrel aged American Imperial Stout brewed over cocoa nibs and coffee beans. It weighs in at a staggering 13% ABV and an unspecified IBU and gravity (trade secret perhaps?). Whatever the case, Big Bad Baptist is definitely big and bad!

Pours a jet black as an imperial stout should. One finger of milk chocolate colored head which recedes to a thin ring. Big, complex aroma of alcohol, roasted malt, coffee, cocoa and whiskey. Bold flavors of caramel and roasted malt, a hint of vanilla, rich semi-sweet chocolate on the middle of the palate and finishes strong with a dark roast coffee and warming whiskey. Substantial burn on the way down. Thick, chewy body and low carbonation. Smooth as silk and damn near chuggable.

This beer is everything a good imperial stout should be and more: bold flavors, thick body and complex. Definitely hard to find fault with this one and it sure gets top marks from me. Rating: 5/5.

Now for this week’s cigar selections:

Room 101 Payback Chavala

Payback is a newer series from Room 101 cigars. The Chavala variation is a 5″ x 50 RG robusto size and, despite being produced in the Honduras, is a Nicaraguan puro.

First light revealed a loose draw with a huge volume of smoke output. Medium-full body flavors of a sweet cream on the draw and a big pepper/spice blast on the finish and retrohale. Just into the cigar the pepper/spice dials back a bit bringing through a tinge of vanilla on the draw. This remained consistent through just over half of the cigar when it went to a slightly sweet earth and straight tobacco on the draw and going to a woody retrohale, leaving the pepper/spice. Ending the cigar at just over an hour with the first hot draw, more than ample time for a robusto. Mild-medium nicotine strength.

Excellent construction with an even burn all the way down not requiring any touchups. Ash holds on for about a third of the cigar at a time. Though the last third didn’t suit my palate, I’m not complaining because I could use this as a quick 40 minute smoke at an insane(ly low) price point for the quality. You just can’t beat these for a bargain smoke (I paid like $5.50 for a single at my local tobacconist and Texas has a fairly hefty tobacco tax) and as such I’m going to rate it accordingly at a 4.5/5.

100 Followers?!?!?

Hey guys, today I got my 100th follower. I have to say I’m truly blown away.

When I started this blog I had a feeling it was going to be little more than a personal journal and that nobody would really read it. Or at least that’s been my experience on this site before. I’ve grown far beyond what I ever expected.

So what now? Well, how about a little Q and A? Do you want to know something about me? Feel free to ask. In a week’s time I’ll answer any questions (assuming I get any). I think this will be fun for everyone.

Ask away!