Song Lyric Sunday 7/22/17 – You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Our prompt for Song Lyric Sunday this week is a song about friendship. Well OK, that one is kind of hard because I have so few friends (if I even have any!) so this was a challenging prompt. The wheels turned for a long time in my head trying to think of something else besides this default choice but I couldn’t think of anything so I have to default to this.

Here then is “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” written and recorded by Randy Newman and as performed in Pixar’s first ever film Toy Story. The lyrics are transcribed in the video so I won’t transcribe them below but you get it.

With that, since it is such a cliche song, I’ll include a totally adorable father/daughter duet here. This is sure to warm your heart and you can see the strong bond these two have with one another.

That’s a wrap for today. Again, sorry this was probably the lamest SLS yet for me but hey, it fits. So sue me.

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New(ish) Ink

Not an entirely new piece but just adding onto what I already had. This will be a work in progress though – Jade and I were talking and this will probably become part of a larger aquatic theme half-sleeve or something in the future. For now, the wave adds a new dynamic to an already fun piece. 

As it has a lot of white ink, you can still see the fresh perforations. A better healed picture will be posted to the “My Tattoos” page in a couple of weeks, as  well as updated pictures of my other work. 

Ink therapy is the best therapy. 

Friday Ponderings…

As I sit here at my desk on an uneventful Friday drafting my resignation letter (yes, it’s time – the company has crossed a line it can’t un-cross with me and I see no way forward; I’m at a point of either resigning or I’m going to flip out and be terminated) and pondering my next temporary career move (yes, only temporary – whatever job I take on until L&B is launched is only temporary anyway) it occurred to me a pervasive recurring pattern in my life and it’s really bothering me and has me scared in a way.

I’ve noticed that in my life, two years is when no matter what I get myself into comes to a close or winds up eventually failing. It’s like a ticking time bomb almost. I’ll have been with this company for almost exactly two years come my last official day of employment here. As far as my endeavors prior to that I spent two years in graduate school with the intention of pursing a PhD in applied mathematics, but due to whatever reason going into semester 4 of my graduate program things took a turn for the worst, my grades slipped and I wound up leaving with just a Master’s. Prior to grad school I was a high school teacher for, you guessed it, two years before I became a victim of a mass teacher layoff in the state of Texas (thousands of teachers were laid off around 2010).

Whatever the case, it really does bother me that I go in cycles like this. It makes me wonder if it’s purely external factors or is there something else at play internally like another as-of-yet uncovered mental health issue that runs comorbid with autism spectrum disorder? Further, what does this mean is in store for my future? Will the next job I have fail after two years? That wouldn’t be a big deal because you see, my medically-caused bankruptcy falls off my record in July 2019 and then all roads lead to me moving some place that fits my lifestyle and launching L&B. However, that leads to the next question: will history repeat itself yet again and lead to the failure of L&B after two years? Then what the fuck am I going to do?

Forgive me for being incredibly bleak and negative here, but I truly am worried. I can’t help but wonder if reincarnation is true and if so what the fuck did I do in a past life that I’m being punished so harshly for it in this one? It’s hard to keep a smile on your face and stay upbeat when shit like this happens again and again. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

I’ve fallen into that void of silence where I cry without sound, where tears rolls down…

Beer/Cigar Reviews: AleSmith Speedway Stout and LFD La Nox

Oh baby baby, for today’s beer and cigar review I’ve got some absolutely off-the-charts stuff. You’re going to want to stick around for this one, these are must try items if you’re into beer, cigars or both.

AleSmith Speedway Stout

Speedway Stout comes to us from AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, California. It is an American Imperial Stout brewed with coffee. It weighs in at a hefty 12% ABV, 70 IBU and AleSmith is kind enough to provide the original gravity which is a very heavy 1.114 (26.75 degrees Plato).

Had on tap at The Flying Saucer in Garland, Texas. Pours an absolutely jet black color with a 1/2″ of milk chocolate colored head which lasts a long time and laces the glass like crazy. Very strong dark roast coffee immediately greets the nose followed by undertones of dark fruit, roasted malt and a wallop of alcoholic astringency. Big, bold and complex flavors with the coffee being the star of the show but not bitter or burnt as some coffees can be. The coffee is supported by a rich, complex boquet of dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, raisin and a delicate hop bite. Fair amount of alcohol burn in the back of the throat going down. Full, thick body and a low-to-medium carbonation. Very easy to drink; almost smooth enough to chug. You could get in trouble with this one easily.

Wow. Just wow. This beer absolutely floored me (in more ways than one!). I like dark, I like big and I like bold and this has all of that and more. I absolutely cannot find fault with this beer. Imperial Stout lovers will especially appreciate this fine brew.

Rating: 5/5.

La Flor Dominicana La Nox

This 6.5 x 50 Toro+ sized stick (really somewhere between a Toro and Double Corona) from La Flor Dominicana features a Brazilian what I’m going to call Oscuro wrapper over a Mexican San Andreas binder and Dominican ligero long filler.

LFD has, admittedly, been hit-or-miss with me over the years – some I’ve liked, some have been “meh” and there have been a couple I really didn’t care for (including their #1 ranked Andalusian Bull – how that thing was #1 in 2016 I don’t know; it’s average at best IMO and this La Nox totally blows it out of the water). Alas, I’ve heard several people in the CO Fans group (as well as Bryan Glynn of CigarObsession) absolutely rave about this stick so I was excited to try it and I finally found somewhere that had a few of these in stock and yes, it absolutely blew me away.

The first light revealed a lightly snug draw but good smoke output. Medium bodied draw favors of a cool, creamy leather followed by a substantial, full bodied, meaty finish and balanced salty and peppery retrohale. Think almost like eating a juicy charcoal or wood grilled steak generously seasoned with Montreal steak seasoning. Finish seems to never fade. Smoke has a thick, almost chewy texture to it.

Getting into the first third the draw opened up to what I would call absolutely perfect and the smoke gets more complex bringing a subtle dry cocoa into the draw and an aromatic cedar on the retrohale. The 2nd third remained consistent but bringing the cocoa more into the finish. No further changes. The smoke started going hot and acrid at almost 2 hours for a super slow burn. Packs a punch at a medium/full nicotine strength but not overbearing and it didn’t leave me with that about to hurl feeling at the end.

Construction was excellent featuring a burn that wasn’t completely razor sharp but didn’t require any corrections or touchups – something that surprised me given the very dark, thick, oily wrapper. It did occasionally seem to want a double-puff but that wasn’t a consistent thing and no matter how frequently or infrequently I puffed the thing it didn’t get hot or overheat at all and it never went out on me.

Well, what can I say? How Andalusian Bull was #1 beats me when I could have easily seen this as #1 of 2016. It’s complex, bold, and lasts a long time. At times I was wondering if I was smoking a cigar or eating a hefty steak dinner. I immediately went for some ice cream after smoking this cigar, needless to say. As far as pairings, pair this cigar with a bold, full body red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a hefty bourbon for best results. An absolutely amazing cigar.

Rating: 5/5.

It Really *IS* The Little Things

OK, just a short, sweet late night post because this really is post-worthy. I hope this serves as a reminder that it is in fact those little things that can make someone’s day.

I ran to the grocery store this evening to get a few essentials and I had a rather pleasant little back-and-forth with some random middle-aged lady:

Her: “Man, you are sporting those shorts, I love it.”
Me (Grinning from ear to ear and blushing by this point): “Well thank you, ma’am.”
Her: “Stay blessed, man.”
Me: “And same to you.”

Just a simple kind word is all it takes to make someone’s day sometimes. Just a simple reminder to always be kind and show love to one another. You never know who might need to hear something nice the most.

Good night, WP. Got an awesome beer/cigar review post that I’m writing up right now that will go live tomorrow (that was going to be tonight’s post but this took precedence), so stay tuned.

 

Tattoo Withdrawals…

Yes, it’s a real thing. It’s been four months since my last tattoo session and I’m going absolutely crazy here. I so long to smell the sterile chemical smell, hear the electrical buzz of tattoo machines and feel the sting of needles as they are guided by the skilled hands of an artist injecting tiny drops of ink into my dermis and creating beautiful art.

Say what you will, but getting a tattoo for me is one of the times I’m most at peace. It’s almost meditative. They don’t call it “ink therapy” for nothing – I’ve never found any mode of therapy (be it antidepressants, counseling, etc.) as effective as a tattoo session. I always leave a session feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to take on the world again. During stressful times like these, I long to feel that again more than ever. If I could get a new tattoo every day I’d probably function a lot better mentally because it is so therapeutic, but seeing as how we each only have a limited amount of canvas and tattoos are really fucking expensive, well that’s not really an option.

So right now I’m designing two more ideas to be inked onto me in the fairly near future – one addition and one cover-up. The first one will be an addition – as cool as my Pisces tattoo is it is kind of plain and could really benefit from a background. Jada (my local artist) says she has a totally awesome idea and will be sharing it with me this week so I’m totally excited to see what she comes up with.

The next one after that will be a cover-up. As much as I have gone back and forth about covering up my semicolon tattoo almost ever since I got it, I’ve just decided I’ll be happier long-term if I just cover the thing and forget about it. It won’t be an internal battle if I move forward and just do it so it’s probably the best course of action. Given the religious affiliation with Project Semicolon and given that I am an atheist, there’s just something about it that’s never felt right so to speak. As such, I feel like I have a religious symbol on me that I really don’t want. I’ve got a great idea for a cover-up that I think would look great (a Celtic Knot type of design) but I just need to get an idea of sizing and OMFG is it going to hurt like a motherfucker (1. it’s on the wrist and 2. cover-ups/touchups/re-works hurt worse than new tattoos) so whereas I’m looking forward to having that thing gone I’m not looking forward to the totally intense pain and suffering that I will endure to have it covered. I will probably require the use of numbing products to get through that but you do what you have to, right?

Anyway, what do you think? Do any of my readers have cover-up tattoos and can you share your experiences with me? I’ve never had a cover-up done (I’ve not any other tattoo I wish to cover – I love all of mine except the semicolon) so that would be new territory for me. By all means, chime in with your experiences!

Song Lyric Sunday 7/16/17 – In Spite of Ourselves

So our Song Lyric Sunday theme for this week is duets. I had two possible directions I thought about taking this; one of which is a song called “Woman in Chains” (great song, by the way – look it up if you are so inclined) but that’s by a certain group I’ve featured way too many songs by, not to mention it’s really, REALLY heavy and the lyrical content could be triggering for some, so I chose this much more light-hearted and comical/humorous duet instead.

One lesser-known artist I’m a fan of is John Prine – his songs always have either a fun or serious tone to them but they all tell a story of some sort. This one is no different, it’s a story song in a way. Prine wrote it for a pair of fictional characters but it’s really great nonetheless.

So here then is the duet “In Spite of Ourselves” by John Prine and Iris Dement. Keep a tissue handy – you might cry from laughing so hard!

[John:]
She don’t like her eggs all runny
She thinks crossin’ her legs is funny
She looks down her nose at money
She gets it on like the Easter Bunny
She’s my baby I’m her honey
I’m never gonna let her go

[Iris:]
He ain’t got laid in a month of Sundays
I caught him once and he was sniffin’ my undies
He ain’t too sharp but he gets things done
Drinks his beer like it’s oxygen
He’s my baby
And I’m his honey
Never gonna let him go

[Together:]
In spite of ourselves
We’ll end up a’sittin’ on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize
We’re gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won’t be nothin’ but big old hearts
Dancin’ in our eyes.

[John:]
She thinks all my jokes are corny
Convict movies make her horny
She likes ketchup on her scrambled eggs
Swears like a sailor when shaves her legs
She takes a lickin’
And keeps on tickin’
I’m never gonna let her go.

[Iris:]
He’s got more balls than a big brass monkey
He’s a whacked out weirdo and a lovebug junkie
Sly as a fox and crazy as a loon
Payday comes and he’s howlin’ at the moon
He’s my baby I don’t mean maybe
Never gonna let him go

[Together:]
In spite of ourselves
We’ll end up a sittin’ on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize
We’re gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won’t be nothin’ but big old hearts
Dancin’ in our eyes.

In spite of ourselves
We’ll end up a sittin’ on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize
We’re gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won’t be nothin’ but big old hearts
Dancin’ in our eyes.
There won’t be nothin’ but big old hearts
Dancin’ in our eyes.

In spite of ourselves.
Source: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnprine/inspiteofourselves.html

Oh man, what a great song. Ever since the first time I’ve heard it I’ve been dying to find a female to either karaoke the song with or perform it at an open mic with but I’ve yet to find one brave enough. A fellow WP blogger said she’d love to but seeing as how we live so far apart I don’t see how that’s going to work.