Why I Will Never Date Again

So I was just having this conversation with a friend of mine. We were talking about past relationships and such and I mentioned that I haven’t been on a single date in going on three years and that I will never go on another one (with the exception of simple “friend” dates). Now that seems a bit extreme but it’s quite simple really.

I’m a math guy (my degrees are in math and in my shitty day job I’m a crane lift plan engineer) so I approach everything analytically and from a math perspective. Over half of all marriages end in divorce and there’s no telling how many non-marital relationships never even make it to marriage before breaking down (I’d estimate greater than 90%). As such, the odds are drastically skewed toward the fact that whatever relationship one finds him/herself in will end in a parting of ways (translation: heartbreak). That’s not even considering those few relationships which do last until the death of one or the other party; and there’s about a 50/50 chance your partner will expire before you (translation: heartbreak).

In other words, the risk of heartbreak drastically outweighs the potential reward and therefore from a purely mathematical perspective you are better off not entering into a relationship. After all, the only way to absolutely guarantee you will never get your heart broken is to never love.

This is why I will never date again. It’s that simple, and I should not be stigmatized for my decision despite the fact that society stigmatizes single people. How does me being single affect your life? None at all, right? Then why the fuck do you even care?

Song Lyric Sunday 2/26/17 – Somewhere Out There

So this week’s Song Lyric Sunday was a very emotional one for me. I’ve not lost many people close to me over the years, but the theme immediately made me think of the worst day in my life: December 19th, 2002. That was the day I lost probably the most important person in my life, my great-grandmother.

When she died my relationship with my parents and immediate family was very strained. She was the only one I really had a good relationship with and when I lost her it absolutely crushed me. Thinking back to the time, there was only one song that could describe the pain I felt and I listened to it over and over again for comfort and guidance. This is that song.

“Somewhere Out There” was written by the legendary James Horner with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for the 1986 animated film “An American Tail.” Though the song mostly refers to two siblings who are separated and miss each other (but still alive), the song took on an entirely new meaning for me when she died. I’m not religious but I believe her soul is somewhere out there, thinking of me, loving me tonight. Sometimes I even still hear her voice calling my name and that one day, our energies will be together again.

Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight
Someone’s thinking of me and loving me tonight
Somewhere out there someone’s saying a prayer
That we’ll find one another in that big somewhere out there

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishin’ on the same bright star
And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there, if love can see us through
Then we’ll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishin’ on the same bright star
And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there, if love can see us through
Then we’ll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true
Source: http://www.metrolyrics.com/somewhere-out-there-lyrics-linda-ronstadt.html (Plus one correction by me.)

For those curious, here’s the original film version. This particular scene is the first one I ever cried over in a movie. I just bawled the first time I saw this.

Though I lost her over 14 years ago, in a way the loss is still a fresh wound, but her memory lives on. I actually got a tattoo in her (and my great grandfather’s) memory last October. To see this and my other tattoos, please checkout the My Tattoos page.

Rest in peace, Kimiko Shiho-Holland, great-grandma (December 10th, 1918 – December 19th, 2002). Love you, miss you and long for the time our energies are together again.

 

Potential Summer Project

Since I’m taking a break from my normal blog topics (for reasons mentioned in the previous post), I figured it would be a good opportunity to take a look into some other personal life details and some things I’m personally interested in and love.

So one of my weird fascinations ever since I was a little kid has been clocks. Yes, seriously: clocks. Those things that tell time. What’s so fascinating about clocks? Well, perhaps the mechanism itself and how it works, and in the case of mechanical clocks, how little they’ve changed over millennia in terms of the principle of operation yet they still tell time to a more than acceptable standard. There might not be any electrical parts but there’s just something so amazing about the level of engineering and precision in a mechanical clock. These things are epitomized probably by the tallcase clock (more often referred to as a “grandfather clock” – a colloquialism which came from a 19th century ballad by Henry Clay Work).

Just admit it, there’s just something so magical about a grandfather clock. The ticking is like a heartbeat that brings the house to life, and when they chime they can make even the smallest and humblest of abodes seem somewhat like a mansion. The only problem: they come with a stiff pricetag. A very stiff one if you want a nice one, anyway.

So I got to thinking, I have some basic woodworking skills and horological skills, there’s no reason I can’t take this on myself and build my own. I have sources for the parts and such and can probably build a much nicer clock for the price than I could buy in a store. So out of curiosity I went to an online shop and specced out what I’d want in a grandfather clock and was pleasantly surprised by the total cost: about $2,600 for raw materials and clockworks (including a Hermle cable-driven triple chime unit w/auto night silencer, deluxe engraved/backlit Roman numeral dial with moon phase, matching embossed lyre pendulum and “wedding bands” on the weight shells, beveled glass on the doors and side panels, hinges/handles/etc. and pre-cut wood that only needs sanding, finishing and assembly). To buy a clock from say Howard Miller or Ridgeway at that price you’re looking at a very plain clock with a single-chime unit. Nah, I’ll save the money and make up the difference in sweat equity, not to mention if I built it myself it would be that much more personal to me.

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve built a clock from such a kit so I do have some experience. I have a mantle clock I built about 14 years ago from a similar kit and it’s about as nice of a mantle clock as they come (Hermle triple chime keywind movement, glass sides for viewing the movement and a roman numeral dial with raised embossed corners). Alas, I’ve not taken on something on the magnitude of a grandfather clock so it’s definitely something that will take a considerable amount of time.

Alas, I think it would be fun and rewarding. The “heartbeat” of the clock combined with the deep, mellow chimes would definitely make my home feel more like home. It’s soothing in a way. I might only have a small bachelor pad but I might as well make it as much like a true home as I can, right?

 

Blogging Break

Guys, in light of recent events, I feel I need to step away from the blog for awhile, at which point I will re-evaluate whether I want to come back or walk away entirely.

As I started gaining traction I got my fair share of critics and vocal opponents. I’m OK with that. What I’m not OK with is the pure hate and vitriol that has been spewed my way the past couple of weeks, not only in the comments section but also via private message. I do not come to blog in order to be shat upon and verbally (typographically?) abused. I get plenty of that in real life.

I will still be around in a limited capacity, participating in the weekly Song Lyric Sunday prompt and maybe I’ll continue doing beer/cigar reviews but other than that? Congratulations detractors, you’ve officially shut me up from blogging about autism through my lens and about my opinions on it.

Which is probably what you wanted, well, I’m giving you what you want. I’ll just take my cure-desiring self elsewhere if you can’t handle opinions that differ from your own or desires that differ from your own.

Song Lyric Sunday 2/19/17 – Love Stinks

Ah, love. The theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. Well seeing as how love is a mostly foreign concept to me (whatever love I experience is totally primal in nature and I’m incapable of feeling deep, passionate love) and I’m a total cynic deep down, I’m going with this classic J. Geils Band song because, let’s face it, at the end of the day love really does stink.

You love her
But she loves him
And he loves somebody else
You just can’t win

And so it goes
Till the day you die
This thing they call love
It’s gonna make you cry

I’ve had the blues
The reds and the pinks
One thing for sure

(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah

(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah

Two by two and side by side
Love’s gonna find you yes it is
You just can’t hide
You’ll hear it call

Your heart will fall
Then love will fly
It’s gonna soar
I don’t care for any casanova thing

All I can say is
Love stinks

(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah

(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah

I’ve been through diamonds
I’ve been through minks
I’ve been through it all
Love stinks

(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah

(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks yeah yeah
Source: http://www.metrolyrics.com/love-stinks-lyrics-j-geils-band.html

Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. You can feel however you want about love, but I just happen to agree with J. Geils. You all can keep all this “love” bullshit. I want no part of it.

Tattoos and Addiction

All I want for my birthday is a new tattoo, new tattoo, new tattoo… Oh wait, that’s not how that song goes. Never mind.

So I’ve officially completed the 11th month of my 29th year on this planet (which is probably 29 years and 11 months too long on this planet truth be told) so the countdown starts to the big 3-0 (Will I really be 30 years old 28 days from now? Ugh, gag me with a spoon!). Of course, how does an ink junkie celebrate (well, if birthdays are even worth celebrating to begin with) his birthday but with some new body art? I’ve already got my artist drawing something kickass up for me around a general idea I shared with her and I just have a feeling what she comes up with will be out of this world (she’s always done great by me).

Which brings me to my topic for today: tattoo addiction. The question non-inked or minimally-inked folks always seem to ask is “why do people go back for more and more tattoos?” Well, I can only answer for myself obviously but the looming question seems to be if tattoos are really in fact addictive or if it’s just an excuse people use to decorate (or, in the view of a few conservative religious assholes, mutilate) their bodies?

Well obviously with tattoos you’re not dealing with anything physically addictive. That much is plainly obvious. There’s nothing in tattoo ink that could cause a physical addiction to a substance (at least not that anybody is aware of). However, there are other types of addictions rather than just to a physical substance. Take for example gambling. Gambling addiction is recognized as a legitimate addiction and there are prescribed treatments for it. Obviously there is nothing physically addictive about shitting your money off (or is there? who knows?) but there’s something about it that brings gambling addicts a certain level of satisfaction or a euphoria and thus they seek it out.

Tattoos are the same way. Now, again, I can’t answer for anyone else but myself but yes, I do personally crave the feeling of sitting in the hot seat. Ironically when I’m getting tattooed is when I’m most at peace. I usually refer to it as “ink therapy” actually. With my everyday hectic life, a shitty job with asshole coworkers and bosses and not really having much to look forward to in my life it’s that kind of inner peace is that I actively seek out. It’s a hard feeling to describe but the best way I know of to describe getting tattooed is a strange sort of meditation. You have the buzzing (coil) or rattling (rotary) noise of the machine sort of in the background that is soothing in a way (it really helps you zone out) and the impact of the needles on the skin obviously causes a certain level of discomfort (varies depending on location and your own pain tolerance) but it keeps coming so your body releases endorphins which are not only a rush but also soothing at the same time (strange I know). It really helps to center me for a few hours. Then when it’s all over you see the artwork at the end and hopefully it’s pure bliss (if, of course, you’ve reviewed the art and made sure it was to your liking).

I will say there’s nothing on this planet quite like it and every time I walk out of the studio I long to feel that again and I’m already thinking about my next tattoo. Sometimes I don’t figure out what I want for a considerable amount of time but the wheels are always turning. Of course, we only have a limited amount of canvas so you’ve got to pace yourself also but yes, I do experience withdrawals in a way. It’s been nearly six months since my last tattoo and I’m like going nuts.

So in conclusion, no, tattoos are not physically addictive but for some there’s a psychologically addictive part to them. When my mom asked what I want for my approaching birthday I responded, “The sweet sting of a tattoo machine reminding me that I’m still alive and suffering.” Well, it’s true. It’s the only thing that I can take the sting (pun intended) out of a day I otherwise wish I didn’t have (as if I didn’t have a birthday I wouldn’t have ever existed, which more often than not I do wish would have been the case).

“Breaking Up” With a Friend and Other General Unpleasantness

There are times when one must make a very difficult and painful decision; a decision which will leave one in often times extreme emotional pain for a long time coming even though it’s really the best thing, for even as blind to emotion as raw logic is, the human soul is not.

Well, that’s exactly the decision I just had to make. It’s been a long time coming but it doesn’t make it any easier. Of course, I am somewhat of a fool for waiting this long to act on what I knew I had to do and as a result I’ve suffered far more for it than if I would have just done it when I knew it had to be done, but even my logical side sometimes is repressed by pure raw delusional emotional Pollyanna bullshit.

I’ve just “broken up” with the one person who probably was, up until a few months ago, my best friend. Of course, the plot thickens a bit in that this isn’t the first time I’ve broken up with this person, for this very person is none other than my most recent ex-girlfriend.

I know, I’m a fucking imbecile for even staying friends with her after our relationship ended. You aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know. Feel free to chew my ass and spit it out in the comments because I fucking deserve it. Alas, I’ve finally wised up and removed one of the biggest stressors in my life, as hard as it is to let go. It’s not that much different from losing a loved one at the outset, even if it is the best thing.

So that’s one major stressor gone, now to tackle another one: my job. I really don’t know what to do anymore. I really, really, REALLY hate my job and everything about it. Cranes are only so exciting, you know? At the end of the day they do nothing besides pick (albeit very heavy) shit up. What’s so exciting about that? Not a lot. Between that and the fact that I make actually less than a first year K-12 teacher in the state of Texas (and I don’t get summers off either) yeah, it should go without saying I dread going to work. It’s to the point it’s really affecting my away-from-work life too. I’ve grown more antisocial, irritable, snitty and angry just all the time. It’s really made me into an incredibly ugly person, and it’s compounded by being stuck because you know bills don’t just stop. No, I can’t just go get another job. It’s not that easy. I suck at interviews and the only jobs I’ve landed (including this one) were jobs for which there were no formal interviews. Any time I’ve had a formal interview I’ve been rejected. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I really just…don’t know what to do anymore. I really don’t. Part of me thinks I’d be better served by being institutionalized. At least I wouldn’t have really any stressors if I was. Of course, I would prefer to be cured (as mentioned before), but there ain’t going to be a cure in my lifetime. Alas, I’ve always said and I always will say if a clinical trial were to come available I would gladly offer myself up as a guinea pig. I don’t give a fuck what the risks are. What’s the worst that could happen? I die? Hah, that wouldn’t be bad at all. At least I’d finally be relieved of my pain and suffering.

Beer/Cigar Review Wednesday 2/15

Welcome to beer/cigar review Wednesday where we take a look at some notable (and maybe not-so-notable) beers and cigars from the past week. This week is also kind of a light week as I was still getting over a cold the latter half of last week and into the beginning of this week but we should be back to full swing soon! Alas, I do have one of each to review (though no photo of the cigar – I mistakenly trashed it from my phone; sorry!).

First for this week’s beer selection:

Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine

What would the beer world be without Dogfish Head pushing the envelope in nearly every style they take on? This American Barleywine is no exception as it weighs in at an insane 15% ABV and a respectable 85 IBU. As always from Dogfish, this one was a real taste treat.

Pours a medium orange color with a thin but heavily laced head. Aromas of alcohol, fruit, caramel malt and floral hops. Deep, complex and warming flavors of vanilla, pineapple, caramel malt, a subtle spiciness and a wallop of piney and grapefruit hops to finish. Substantial alcohol burn on the way down. Thick bodied (almost to the point of cloyingly thick) with medium carbonation. Sips easily but you can’t take big gulps of it.

What can I say? Dogfish Head does it again. A rib-sticking, warming and satisfying Barleywine. Everything a good example of the style should be. Bold, complex and very alcoholic. Pretty filling too (drinks like a meal at 450 calories per 12 ounce bottle). Rating: 5/5.

And now for the cigar of this week:

Padron 1964 Maduro Principe

(No photo – sorry again!)

Padron, the prototypical Nicaraguan puro. This particular one is a 4.5″ x 46 RG soft box pressed Corona size and features Nicaraguan long filler, binder and Maduro wrapper. Typical Padron single cap which is somewhat risky to cut but I usually have no problem (wish they’d put doubles or triples on their cigars as everyone else).

First light revealed a perfect draw with high smoke volume. Full body, heavy earth and pepper. Flavors were surprisingly consistent from first light almost down to the last puff, which came at 40 minutes in (not too bad for the size cigar). Also a very heavy nicotine strength – I nearly threw up by the time I finished it.

This was not surprising but typical Padron construction – flawless, near perfect burn line and draw. The only downside is that damn single cap. This one luckily didn’t unravel but I’m generally very careful when cutting these (try to leave just a bit of it). Usually don’t have a problem but I still prefer a straight/guillotine cut for the most open draw possible.

In general I tend to like Padrons but this one didn’t tickle my fancy. Most Padrons tend to have some dessert-like flavors (cocoa/chocolate, cream, coffee) which I prefer but I guess due to the maduro wrapper (earthy/peppery typically) and small ring gauge it was dominated by the earth and pepper. As such, I didn’t really care for this one but if you love heavy earth it might be to your liking. Rating: 2/5.

Song Lyric Sunday 2/12/17 – When It Comes to You

In what seems to be an appropriate Valentine’s Day topic, this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt is to feature a song about the insecurities or doubts you experience in a relationship. Well, I’m definitely no stranger to that as the few relationships I’ve had in my life were all short-lived and terrible (and I’m ever-so-single now!) so I had a song immediately pop into mind that I love that fits the category.

Dire Straits has long been a band I’ve really enjoyed. Their unique sound and Mark Knopfler’s unusual guitar style give the band a very distinctive signature sound that I really like. Perhaps they are most known for “Money for Nothing” (which is a great song, by the way) but there are others by them that are just as good, if not better.

Take this one for instance. Written by Knopfler and recorded in 1991, this song has a very smooth sound and although the lyrics are somewhat depressing, the upbeat nature of the song is one you can really get into.

If we can’t get along we oughta be apart
And I’m wondering where’d you get that cold, cold heart
Set me free – sign my release
I’m tired of being the villain of the peace

You been giving me a bad time
Tell me what I’d do
How come I always get a hard time
Honey when it comes to you
Sayin’ things that you didn’t have to
How come I always get a hard time
Honey when it comes to you

You only get one life – this I know
I wanna get my licks in now before I go
The fire of love is dead and cold
I gotta satisfy the hunger in my soul

And you been giving me a bad time
Tell me what I’d do
How come I always get a hard time
Honey when it comes to you
Sayin’ things that you didn’t have to
How come I always get a hard time
Honey when it comes to you

If we can’t get along we oughta be apart
And I’m wondering where’d you get that cold, cold heart
Set me free – sign my release
I’m tired of being the villain of the peace

And you been giving me a bad time
Tell me what I’d do
How come I always get a hard time
Honey when it comes to you
Sayin’ things that you didn’t have to
How come I always get a hard time
Honey when it comes to you

How come I always get a hard time
Honey when it comes to you

How come I always get a hard time
Honey when it comes to you
Source: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/direstraits/whenitcomestoyou.html (With some additions made by me)

Anyway, there are a couple of other versions of this song that are also great. The first is from Knopfler’s “side project” band, the Nottingham Hillbillies. This was actually the “original” version if you will, before he recorded the song with Dire Straits (this version is 1990, Dire Straits was recorded in 1991). It is very similar to the Dire Straits version but has almost a more bluegrass feel to it.

However, probably the most well-known and popular version of the song is country singer John Anderson’s 1992 cover of the song. Anderson’s version is a total departure from either Knopfler version and has its own charm.

Anyway, that’s a wrap for this week. See, I listen to stuff other than TFF. 😉 Anyway, this is a great song and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do.

Beer/Cigar Review Wednesday 2/8/17

Well, I said I wouldn’t have an episode this week but I figured I’d review an old friend I’ve yet to review here because I’m familiar with it and have had it enough to know what it’s like.

I have no cigars for this week but I do have one beer review for you.

Old Chub

Old Chub is an old friend of mine hailing from Oskar Blues in Lyons, Colorado. It’s a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy that weighs in at 8.0% ABV and 25 IBU and comes in a can as all Oskar Blues products do (which actually is a good thing as it means it’s portable).

Pours a dark, nearly opaque, rich reddish-amber color. Aromas of molasses, caramel and alcohol. Palate follows the nose with big blasts of sweetness consisting of caramel and molasses notes. The back end enters a hint of chocolate and peaty smokiness. Delicate tea-like hop finish and noticeable alcohol afterburn. Thick, mouthfeel and soft carbonation. Surprisingly smooth and quaffable.

This is one of those beers that is, in my mind, a classic and almost beyond reproach. It represents what a great Scotch Ale should be (big, bold, malty and smoky) plus it has the portability of cans as those can go anywhere. What’s not to love? Rating: 4.5/5.

Sorry that was a short episode, but my palate is now starting to recover with the rest of me so we’ll be back on schedule next week!