Sad Day for My Blog…

…I really hoped to not have to do this, but with the instances of verbal (typographical?) abuse I’ve dealt with at times in the past on this blog and another very recent instance of such, I have had to formally establish a commenting policy.

I will be including a link to the policy on most of my blog entries moving forward (maybe with the exception of any awards, challenges or Song Lyric Sunday posts) but just know if you’re a long-time reader and we’ve exchanged comments before, this doesn’t affect or apply to you whatsoever. More or less it will be new or unfamiliar commenters I screen more closely.

My newly instituted commenting policy can be read here. As I said, it probably doesn’t affect you, but it’s just a safeguard for my own well-being and the well-beings of those I care most about here.

Thank you all for understanding.

-Lynn Blair, The Inked Autist

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The Autistic Pride Award

So I was “passively” nominated for the Autistic Pride Award by Laina over at The Silent Wave Blog. I do appreciate it and although this does feel somewhat weird to me (as autistic pride is somewhat of a foreign concept to me due to the way my life has panned out) but I’ll give it my best shot.

The rules are really simple…

  1. Whoever wants to participate, participate.  I’m focusing primarily on Asperger’s/autistic people, of course, but anyone who supports autistic people and neurodiversity is welcome!
  2. Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea
  3. Do link back to Silent Wave as the original creator.
  4. Describe a bit about yourself.  However much you feel comfortable saying.
  5. List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
  6. If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.
  7. If you’re not on the spectrum yourself, you can use this opportunity to describe a loved one in your life who is and what makes them awesome, or you can explain what autism means to you and why you think the world would be a better place if it were to be more embracing of autism.
  8. (Of course, you can answer more than one!  For example, someone who is autistic can also describe how much better the world would be if it was more open toward autism.)
  9. If you like, you can list other blogs or resources that are autism/neurodiversity-positive, to give them a shout-out, too.

That’s it. 🙂

So a bit about myself:

ASL: 30/M/USA originally from Roswell, NM, currently living in Abilene, TX. Right now I work as a lift plan engineer for a large crane company, a job I totally despise but it pays the bills well enough. After having my dream career yanked out from under me due to my autism diagnosis (however unfair that seems), but eventually realizing it would have been the same unsatisfying dead end as this direction, I’ve set my sights on one day owning my own cigar and whiskey lounge.

I was diagnosed with AS/HFA at the age of 14 despite much resistance from my parents who did not want to accept I was different. They thought I was just a defiant child and treated me as such, sometimes being subject to psychological and physical abuse. I still live with some of the emotional scarring from that but our relationship is much better now that they’ve accepted it.

My main “special interests” are as follows:

  • Tattoos/piercings/body modifications
  • Music (both playing and listening)
  • Change bell ringing (for those unfamiliar, here’s an explanation)
  • Microbrew Beer
  • Scotch Whisky
  • Cigars
  • Auto racing (particularly open wheel racing)
  • 80s Fashion (with a particular love affair with men’s short shorts LOL :-P)
  • Aviation/airplanes
  • Philosophy (with particular emphasis on existential nihilsm and antinatalism/efilism).

What I like about being (why I’m proud to be) Aspergian/autistic:

This really is a tough one. For the longest time I’ve hated being this way and I’ve only very recently warmed up to it and accepted it as part of me (though if I were to be totally honest most of the time I still wish it wasn’t). Alas, I have to pick something here so I will say a few things. I love being able to absorb information like a sponge and retain it forever and that it enables me to maintain intense concentration on a particular task for countless hours (so long as I’m actively engaged in the task at hand). I also like that I have practically no self-censor and am able to speak my mind no matter how unpopular my opinion might be. Lastly, I feel it’s part of the reason I enjoy physical touch. In a particularly hands-off society, the power of a hug, kiss on the cheek or cuddling (even among just friends) is grossly underestimated and I think it’s easier for me to accept and enjoy physical affection than if I was neurotypical.

Why I think the world would be a better place if it embraced autism:

Well, that’s an easy one for me to answer, seeing as how I was a victim of exclusion from the aviation world due to my diagnosis (no current world aviation governing body grants medical clearance to fly for autism spectrum people), embracing autism would actually mean most of us could live our dreams and probably excel at them. There are certain professions in which the condition would be a net asset but the stigma surrounding the condition holds all of us down. Life is hard enough as it is, don’t make it any harder for us please.

As far as resources, well, I don’t think I can share any more here that the creator of this award didn’t so I’ll just refer you back to her resources page.

So that’s my contribution to this topic. Maybe it was sort of lame and cliche, but maybe you enjoyed it. At any rate, I think this kind of thing is good for me as it helps me to be more comfortable in my own skin. Hope I didn’t bore you to tears and by all means please participate if you’re interested.

Cigar Reviews – Ohana Pulse Natural and Maduro Toro

Yes, I’m breaking a rule – two posts in one day. So sue me, I just wanted to write this while everything was still fresh in my mind.

So yesterday my local tobacconist had a cut-and-light event with Ohana Cigars based out of Ft. Worth, Texas and they brought along their Pulse line of cigars which they were doing specials on as well as some Flor de Cana 4 Year Gold Label to pair with them. I got to meet and visit with the director of sales and the master blender who were both very helpful and genuinely nice people who have a passion for cigars. Needless to say it was a fun-filled event and I was able to try a couple of really awesome cigars.

They had three sizes in each of the Pulse blends (Robusto, Toro and Gordo), but I went with the Toro in both (6″ x 52RG) as it’s my overall favorite size so I use it as a baseline. Both blends feature the same Nicaraguan binder and long filler, with the exception of the Maduro Gordo which features more ligero leaf for a bigger strength kick (no offense to Ohana, I’m a lightweight and I just can’t handle that much strength so that one wasn’t going to be for me). The Natural is a non-box pressed vitola featuring an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and a pigtail cap. The Maduro is a box-pressed vitola featuring a Mexican San Andreas Maduro wrapper and a closed foot.

Both cigars featured excellent construction, a perfect draw, plumes of creamy textured smoke and a good burn requiring no corrections or touchups. Burn time was slightly on the fast side for each, yielding about an hour of smoke time to the band point where I typically end my cigars but that might have been due to the relatively hot atmospheric conditions. Both also featured about a mild/medium strength, which is perfect for my taste.

Concerning flavor profiles, both cigars were fairly consistent start to finish but were completely different. The Natural featured a natural sweetness mixing with a medium/full creamy, nutty body and a sweet nasal spice (read: cinnamon/nutmeg) and a subtle cedar on the retrohale. The maduro was slightly milder in body teetering somewhere between a medium and medium/full** and was a total chocolate bomb featuring a naturally sweet rich, creamy milk chocolate on the draw accompanied by a hint of coffee and smooth, earthy/leathery retrohale with that same little bit of sweet nasal spice the natural had. Both went absolutely beautifully with the rum – a nice mellow rum featuring notes of caramel, brown sugar and coconut with absolutely no after burn. It was a great pairing for sure and neither one overwhelmed the other.

If you held a gun to my head and forced me to pick one, I’d say I liked the Maduro ever so slightly better but I’m a chocoholic so that comes with the territory but I absolutely loved the Natural too. Needless to say these will definitely be going into my regular rotation.

Ratings:
Maduro: 4.5/5
Natural: 4.25/5
Rum: 4.25/5

**I found with the Maduro the flavor intensity is greatly enhanced by the retrohale as opposed to it just adding more nuances. I retrohale a lot so I perceived it as more medium/full but “mouth breathers” will probably just perceive it to be a medium.

Song Lyric Sunday 6/18/17 – Music Box Dancer

So this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt was to post a song about dance/dancing. Well OK, there are plenty of those around, so as is my usual style I’m going rather unconventional and throwing a curveball into the prompt, and I’m afraid I’ll have to forego the bonus points for tying Father’s Day in because in a way Father’s Day is painful for me having never met my biological father (only spoken to him a few times on the phone) and having a strange relationship with my step-father in that it took him forever to accept me for the person I am instead of the person he wanted me to be.

Anyway, I digress. Enough of the sob story. When I think of pieces of music about dance, this lovely little instrumental tune composed by Frank Mills is always the first thing that comes to mind. Sure, it’s lyric-less but it whisks you away into a peaceful place anytime you listen to it.

Now, whereas Frank Mills envisioned this to be just an instrumental tune, there are a couple of different versions of lyrics people have penned to this piece of music. This first set of lyrics was penned by Ray Conniff in 1979, who renamed the tune “Little Music Box Dancer.”

I dream of a music box dancer no one can see
She twirls around and round and dances only for me
She´s just a cute music box dancer singing for me
When I hear that melody I know I´ll never be free.

She dances and she sings and then she hasn´t the time
She smiles when she goes by me and with me that´s just fine
She plays it, then she sings it, and she beats to the time
And a little music box dancer will one day be mine.

I dream about a girl who sings and dances for me
The love she gives to me is not that really could be
She twirls herself around and throws her kisses at me
My little music box dancer that no one can see.

Ah-ah-ah-aaaaah-aaaaah-aaaaah
Ah-ah-ah-aaaaah-aaaaah-aaaaah

My little music box dancer that no one can´t see.

I dream of a music box dancer playing the song
She sings it and then she dances to it all day long
She´s just a cute music box dancer playing for me
When I hear that melody I know for me love can be.

My little music box dancer, that´s something to see
The way she twirls around is just as cute as can be
As long as she´s around I know I´ll never be free
Why no one else could see her is a mystery to me?

I dream about the girl who sings and dances for me
The feeling that I have for her was just meant to be
And when she twirls around and throws her kisses at me
I love my music box dancer that no one can see!

Ah-ah-ah-aaaaah-aaaaah-aaaaah
Ah-ah-ah-aaaaah-aaaaah-aaaaah

My little music box dancer that no one can see!

Ah-ah-ah-aaaaah-aaaaah-aaaaah
Ah-ah-ah-aaaaah-aaaaah-aaaaah
Aaaaaaa!

My little music box dancer that no one can see!
My little music box dancer that no one can see!
Source: http://www.connifflyrics.com.br/little_music_box_dancer.htm

This next set of lyrics has an unknown author, however I think I might like these lyrics a bit better, but they’re equally as corny as Ray Conniff’s.

You walk in the room and you’re wearing a frown,
You reach for the shelf and cradle it down
The Music Box Dancer, what does it prove?
Only that you need to see a statue that moves.

A tutu of satin, bordered with lace,
Slender lines, agile legs, a wonderland face.
Her beauty is balanced, an immovable pose,
Eternally destined to remain on her toes.

Music Box Dancer, she is only a toy,
Project upon her your dreams of wanting life’s joy;
She’s perched on her stand, and never will part,
A final gaze upon her, now the music will start.

You wind the doll up, it’s nostalgic because
You’ve been here before, so give one final pause
To dream of the future, to reflect on the past,
Music Box Dancer start your whirling at last.

The room fills with music, such a cute song,
Watching her go ’round and ’round, she’s where she belongs;
Bring joy to the watchers, spreading a glow,
Whenever wound up, she’ll put on a good show.

Music Box Dancer, do you think or believe
She could step off her box if she wanted to leave?
So easy it is, twirl around with such grace,
Staying in her circle, she remains in one place.

Such a brief moment, a small time to spend,
The dancing will slow soon, the music will end;
In real life we’re plastic, nature’s unfair,
How can we breathe life, how can we share?

The knowledge and insights hidden in tombs,
We’re all Music Box Dancers all alone in our rooms;
We sit on our shelves where objects reside,
We don’t allow the music to get right inside.

Music Box Dancer’s now completely alone,
No winder or no listener, because nobody’s home;
How long before someone will re-wind the spring?
The room will now be witness; and silence can’t sing
Source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/f/frankmillslyrics/musicboxdancerlyrics.html

Well, I hope you all enjoyed. Again, I know, an unconventional approach to the topic but oh well. I’m just strange, I admit. 😛

Some Wise Words From Curt Smith

So I came across this video in my recommendations today (after YouTube recovered from its massive outage this early morning!). The segment “Today I’m Brave” featured Curt Smith (bassist, co-founder and co-lead vocalist of Tears for Fears) where he was discussing some “brave” steps he took in his own life and I think we can apply this to all of our lives, regardless of whether or not we’re pop stars. I think it’s especially true for those of us who are “different” for one way or another (be it autistic or some other deviant mental/physical trait).

I encourage you to take three minutes out of your day to listen to what Curt has to say here. You’ll be glad you did.

Powerful, isn’t it? Self-acceptance is often difficult, but in the end so worth it. It’s not something you achieve overnight either – it takes years. I really am trying. It’s not been easy but I think I’m making strides.

Concerning Shopping – Online vs. B&M

I’ll just all-out admit it: I hate shopping in brick and mortar stores. I just absolutely hate it. Sales associates watching your every move, people staring at you and sizing you up, the long lines, the stupid small talk while you check out and all the other bullshit that goes along with it. Definitely not a healthy environment for anyone on the autism spectrum.

Alas, there are time where one has no choice to go into a large brick and mortar store (most notably grocery shopping as buying frozen/refrigerated stuff just doesn’t work online). In those cases, I go in, get exactly what I need and get out. I don’t lolly-gag around, look at random shit, make impulse purchases, etc. – I just get what I need and I’m fucking out of there. I spend as little time as possible before I’m checked out and bailed.

Nah, give me online shopping any day. No long lines, no social anxiety, nothing like that. It comes right to your door and you often times get much better prices when buying online even once you figure in shipping. It’s so much easier and stress free, not to mention you can peruse to your heart’s content without salespeople looming over your shoulder and trying to pressure you into a purchase.

Now, for small purchases in like a little boutique brick and mortar shop I’m all about that, particularly if it’s a type of shop that interests me. These places usually don’t have large crowds, only a couple of employees and they pretty much leave you to peruse to your heart’s content. That’s fine. When it can be a solitary, quiet experience that’s all good with me. My objection is to large department stores and such. Not to mention, I am all about supporting local small businesses. It’s good for the local economy.

Now excuse me while I go enjoy my awesome new wine refrigerator that I got from Wayfair, which will become a “wineador” – more or less a refrigerated cigar humidor. Yes, it’ll serve dual function – I’ll keep my cigars in it (in the humidified tupperware containers I store them in – I don’t do wooden humidors; too much of a pain) to stave off mold and tobacco beetles and a few bottles of wine. Living in hot Texas the dreaded tobacco beetle is always a worry for cigar smokers.

So are you more of an online or a B&M shopper?

Concerning LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

I saw a video on Facebook earlier today that moved me to tears. I just have to share it here. For those of you who read my blog and think like me, you will be too. If you have nothing but hateful religious drivel to spew, please fuck off right now because your comments will be deleted and you will be blacklisted.

The fact of the matter is this is the reality facing so many LGBTQ+ youth, and these problems carry over into adulthood. If you don’t pay attention to anything else you read, hear or see today I beg you to pay attention to this.

As I think about my own life and as difficult as life at home was growing up dealing with parents who were ill-equipped to deal with an autistic/special needs child (probably through no fault of their own), when I see this I’m reminded my childhood was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. The reason? I’m bisexual.

I feel very, very lucky that I have an immediate family who 100% supports my sexuality. They are a lot wiser than I often give them credit for, having grown up in the era that still considered anything other than the cishet mold as an illness. I’m so grateful that they were able to move past that mentality. I’m also lucky to have siblings and friends who are nothing but supportive of me. I do have a lot of extended family who are not and my brother-in-law is definitely not supportive but that pales in comparison to when a parents (biological or otherwise) turn their backs on their kids just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

I saw a quote recently that said something to the effect of “Gay pride has nothing to do with celebrating being gay but fighting for the right to exist without persecution; so instead of wondering why you don’t have ‘straight pride,’ be glad you don’t need one.” It’s so true. I don’t rub my sexuality in anyone’s face. I just want to be able to live my life without persecution.

We’re in difficult times in America right now with the election of one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ administrations in the recent history. Fortunately President Trump hasn’t gone out of his way to actively target us, but Neil Gorsuch is far from our friend and there’s a real possibility that he will be impeached and removed from office and Mike Pence is probably one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ politicians in America today. Don’t believe it? Check out his track record as governor of Indiana: he put into place a program that uses taxpayer dollars to fund gay conversion “therapy,” which has correctly been deemed as illegitimate by scientific medical research.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say in the matter. You love who you love and you are who you perceive yourself to be, and you have the right to equal protection under the law (including access to legally binding relationships and all the benefits of those) and have the right to exist peacefully without persecution or mistreatment. We are all human beings, after all.