Potential Job – New Development

I promised I’d keep you guys updated on any new developments with my job situation and I have another one as of this afternoon!

The branch manager called me this afternoon toward the close of business and my 2nd interview is scheduled for Friday evening! This will be largely a practical interview – he’ll be setting me up with a CAD system to have me draft a mock lift plan. I can’t imagine it’ll be anything too complicated.

Nonetheless, I’ll be doing a fair bit of study in preparation for this. Brush up on some lesser-known CAD skills as well as some other things. I’ve got this golden opportunity here, I’m not going to squander it.

Luckily things have been pretty slow at work so I’ll have plenty of time to brush up and practice in both familiar software and a web based application just to keep fresh with that. It’s always a good thing to stay on one’s toes after all.

This is my chance to show what I’m made of. Wish me luck!

A Few Monday Morning Ramblings

Maybe it’s just me, but I am having a hard time giving a fuck about the tasks in front of me. I don’t really see why I should either – my focus is not on this job, but landing a new one. Knowing that my time here is in all likelihood coming to an end, I just can’t be bothered to really care.

Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen? They fire me? Hah, I’m leaving anyway. After I submit my dissertation-length list of grievances to corporate HR I’ll be ineligible for rehire anyway so what the hell difference does it make?

On the other hand, damn is it ever hard to conceal when you’re looking for a new job. Having to be stealthy about it is not the easiest thing in the world. There is only one person in this office who knows about the progress with my job search and that’s the HR lady. I don’t trust anyone else with that kind of information. My emotionally and psychologically abusive boss managed to manipulate two people in my office into staying after submitting long-term resignation notices and I’m having to keep my guard up so I don’t fall victim to his tactics. This is largely why I’ve decided I’m not even giving a notice until the last possible second – as I have a lot of vacation time built up it’ll basically be “today is my last day” and then I’ll be going on vacation for the remainder of my employment here.

Anyway, I figure the other company is running my background right now (not that I have anything to hide – I’m squeaky clean) so once that comes back hopefully I can be scheduled for that 2nd interview. I’m hoping that goes down sometime this week and that I’m looking at about a 3-4 week timeline to be at the new company.

Will keep all my lovely followers updated as far as new developments. Stay tuned!

Beer Reviews – Founders Sumatra Mountain Brown and Backwoods Bastard

On today’s installment of my beer reviews we are going to take a look at two big beers from our friends at Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You’re going to want to stay tuned for these reviews, because they really are something special!

Sumatra Mountain Brown

Sumatra Mountain Brown is an American Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Sumatran coffee. It weighs in at 9% ABV, 40 IBU and an unspecified gravity rating.

The pour is a deep chestnut brown color with just a few streaks of red when held to the light. A frothy tan head tops the glass that recedes slowly. Aromas of fresh roast coffee, caramel, cream and a bit of an alcoholic astringency. Big coffee flavors up front, supported by a backbone of caramel and milk chocolate. There’s a hint of a roasty quality to it as well as a substantial piney hop finish. A little bit of a burn going down. Thick body and medium carbonation but very easy drinking.

A big, bold beer with a coffee attitude. If you love beer and you love coffee you’re going to absolutely dig this. It would pair well with a variety of cigars. I paired with a JNV Barberpole for a great experience; will double down on the Sumatran qualities next time with a Hiram and Solomon Traveling Man or a Rocky Patel Royale (I love Sumatran tobacco too!). Rating: 4.5/5.

Backwoods Bastard

Funny redneck-ish name aside, this beer is anything but redneck. Oh no, not that – it’s all class and sophistication. This is a Scotch Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels – we’re talking whisk(e)y to the max. ABV predictably fluctuates somewhere in a hefty 10-12% ABV range and 50 IBU – rather heavy for a Scotch Ale. The gravity rating is not specified.

Pours a clear, deep, dark maroon color with a creamy tan head that recedes to a thin ring and laces the glass like crazy. Aromas of bourbon, caramel, peat and plum tantalize the nose up front. Palate follows the nose but much more complex, starting with a backbone of caramel and plum supported by notes of dark chocolate, coffee, smoke, peat and an ever so slight tinge of vanilla and banana. The body flavors were very much like a single-malt Scotch (note: Scotch Ales are basically Scotch Whiskies prior to distillation). The back end features and ample grapefruit hop bitterness and a warming, substantial, oaky bourbon finish. Thick syrupy body with low carbonation. A bit too rough to chug but a smooth sipper that will keep you coming back for more, but you sure feel it stick to your ribs at a whopping 350 calories/bottle!!!!

What an absolute treat. Bold, complex and sophisticated. Pair this with a full-bodied cigar such as a Padron 1926, CO Final Third, Marrero Fuerte and the like. This one definitely gets top marks at a 5/5 rating.

If you haven’t tried the topics for today’s beer reviews get on it. You’re doing yourself a major disservice if you don’t. Founders puts out some amazing products and these are no exception.


Song Lyric Sunday 1/28/18 – The Parting Glass

Goodbye/farewell is never easy. Let’s face it, it’s not. It’s hard to say goodbye, especially to those you love. That’s what makes this theme for Song Lyric Sunday so profound in my view.

When I saw the theme I immediately knew which song I would pick, because I’ve decided this is the song I want played at my funeral. As an atheist, I don’t want any religious bullshit being played at my funeral and I especially don’t want anything overly sad or sappy. Send me off into the great unknown with style and class, and that’s what this song has in miles.

With that I give you “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Scottish song of well-wishes upon parting ways. The author is unknown, though early manuscripts of the song date back to the 1770s and are often attributed to Sir Alex Boswell. As with most traditional folk songs, there are countless versions, but I’m settling on this version because this is the version I want played at my funeral, namely The High Kings rendition of the song. Warning: you might want to have a tissue handy.

Of all the money that e’er I had
I spent it in good company
And all the harm I’ve ever done
Alas it was to none but me
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To mem’ry now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be to you all

So fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
Then gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Of all the comrades that e’er I had
They’re sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e’er I had
They’d wish me one more day to stay
But since it fell unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
Then gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

(La La)

But since it fell unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

So fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
Then gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all
Good night and joy be to you all 
Source: https://genius.com/The-high-kings-the-parting-glass-lyrics

This song always sends chills down my spine, no matter the version, but in my opinion The High Kings’ version just has that little something extra – perhaps it’s the pipes in the background. As a piper myself, it always stirs emotions deep within me.

So that’s my selection for today. What did you think? Let me know.

Cigar/Scotch Review: Oliva Connecticut Reserve and Aberlour A’Bunadh

Welcome back. Today we are going to take a look at a couple of rather interesting products that are pretty much on total opposite ends of the spectrum but are excellent in their own right. We shall start with the topic of today’s cigar review, which was recommended to me by the employee stocking the walk-inumidor  at Spec’s in Downtown Dallas when I went for a beer and liquor run (and that I’d have never picked up on my own otherwise).

Oliva Connecticut Reserve

This offering from Oliva features, predictably, a claro shade Connecticut wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The size reviewed here is a 7″ x 50RG Churchill. It’s billed as a mild but complex cigar, but is it? Let’s find out!

The first light revealed a perfect draw producing a large volume of smoke. Medium body out of the gate with a zesty wood and pepper, not too unusual of a start to a Connecticut cigar but with more substance.

Getting into the first third the body settles to mellow mild/medium and gets very creamy with a natural sweetness that sometimes has a vanilla connotation. There is also a subtle, fleeting cocoa on the draw. The woody note loses its initial bite and takes on a very light, bright cedar, particularly on the retrohale. Consistent flavors start to finish while the body waffles between a mild/medium and a medium – one draw seems to be stronger/weaker than the next for some reason. Ending at 1 hour 20 minutes for a slightly fast burn time for a Churchill but not at all unusual for a Connecticut blend. No detectable nicotine strength.

Flawless construction with a razor sharp burn while the ash hold on solidly for about an inch and a half at a time.

Honestly, this cigar reminded me a lot of the previously reviewed Padron Damaso at half the price. It’s still rather expensive for a milder cigar IMO (about $6-9/stick depending on vitola) but it’s definitely a notch above a vast majority of Connecticuts in terms of flavor and complexity. This would be a perfect cigar to start your day along with a cup of coffee.  Rating: 4/5.

Aberlour A’Bunadh

This single-malt Scotch from Aberlour distillery is aged in sherry casks and bottled at cask strength. The batch reviewed here weighs in at 61.1% ABV (122 proof).

Appearance is a deep, rich honey color and leaves substantial lacing when swirled in the glass. Aromas of sherry, honey, brown sugar and dark fruit on the nose, along with a hint of anise and licorice. The attack features flavors of toffee, orange/citrus, molasses and dark chocolate. A sweet cinnamon/nutmeg spice on the middle of the palate followed by a full-flavored, warming, oaky finish supported by the sherry cask maturation. A subtle black cherry note comes out as the long finish starts to fade. Very thick on the palate, almost syrupy.

This was an absolutely mouthwatering Scotch and one I’d recommend to all Scotch drinkers, whether or not you tend to prefer cask strength. You just can’t go wrong with it and it’s priced competitively in terms of cask strength Scotches. Pair with a full-bodied, heavy, dessert-like cigar for best results (the previously reviewed Marrero Fuerte pictured above with the Scotch was a match made in absolute heaven). Rating: 5/5.

Have you had either of today’s selections? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Potential New Job Update

Hey all, I just wanted to give you a quick update on my potential new job.

I’ve not yet been called to schedule a 2nd interview (which will be with the president of the company – corporate HQ is in Albuquerque, NM so he’ll have to take a day to fly down to interview me) but HR at the Sweetwater, TX branch called Wednesday to have me fill out the consent form to run a background check.

I thought that was a very good sign. Things are looking up! In the meantime, as I have two weeks and change of unused vacation time I will have to take before my official termination date, my email will not be deactivated for some time (it won’t be deactivated until after my last official day of employment) so I’m pre-writing an auto-reply so that if someone within the company emails me they will know the situation. I’m posting a draft of it here so maybe I can get some feedback and suggestions for improvement. Please read below:


It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that (day/date) was my last day at the office and my email has not yet been deactivated. Though I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at (company), I have accepted an equivalent position in the Abilene area so I could move back to be closer to family. 

Perhaps someday we shall cross paths again. In the meantime, I am positive that my successor and/or another one of (company)’s fine draftspeople will do as great of a job for you as I hope to have. It has been a real privilege working with you for the past two and a half years. 

I wish you all the best.

Lynn Blair, Former Draftsman, (Division name)

What do you think? Please let me know.


Beer/Cigar Reviews: Bourbon Barrel Aged Chump Change and Rocky Patel Vintage 1992

Welcome to another edition of my beer and cigar reviews where we take a look at some notable (and some not-so-notable) beers and cigars. Let’s just jump right into it starting with today’s beer selection.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Chump Change

This hybrid beer (equal parts black ale and farmhouse ale) aged in bourbon casks hails from Oak Highlands Brewery in Dallas, TX. It weighs in somewhere around 11% ABV and an unspecified IBU and gravity rating.

Had on tap from Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House in Dallas, Texas. Pours pitch black with a thick cream colored head. Bourbon aroma present up front, supported by big blasts of dark and wild fruit. Flavors of black cherry, chocolate, caramel and apricot along with the signature farmhouse ale/saison tart bite. Bourbon very present on the finish and very warming on the way down. Thick in body with low carbonation, this one drinks way too easy for its ABV.

I can honestly say I’ve never had anything quite like it. Unique and complex, I must say I definitely enjoyed this one. Rating: 4.25/5.

And now for today’s cigar pick.

Rocky Patel Vintage 1992

This offering from Rocky Patel features and Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan long fillers. The vitola reviewed here is a 7″ x 48RG Box Pressed Churchill.

The first light revealed quite a snug draw and with only minimal smoke output. Mild/medium bodied flavors of sweet straight tobacco and a slight pepper on the retrohale.

Getting into the first third the draw opened up to perfection and now putting off big plumes of smoke. Still mild/medium body but very creamy and sweet with a nutty core. A slight pepper still remains on the nose. The flavor was consistent start to finish. I ended the cigar as it started to go warm at 1 hour 30 minutes in for an average burn time for a Churchill. No detectable nicotine strength was noted.

Excellent construction with a near razor-sharp burn. Ash holds on approximately 1/4 of the cigar at a time.

This one would make for a nice morning cigar with coffee or for someone who just prefers milder cigars. I will say, however, that it is quite pricy for a mild stick (varying from $7-10 depending on vitola). You’ll have to decide if that’s worth it to you but at that price point I’d definitely reach for something with more intensity and/or complexity. Rating: 3/5.

So that’s a wrap for today. What did you think? Have you had either offering? Let me know.

PS: Happy Robert Burns Day to all my Scottish readers/followers!!!


After 12 days apart, I was reunited with my car at around 7:30 AM CST this morning. Looks good as new.

It would have been Monday but there was an issue with the right rear tire so that had to be replaced. They could have thrown any old tire on it and gotten it back same day but they actually took the time to order in a matching tire to the same tires that are already on it so that was some solid customer service.

I was a little annoyed at the outset when I was called to tell them they’d have to keep it awhile longer but it actually worked out to my benefit – my brother-in-law was released from jail in a town not too far from here (free man, it’s about time!) so I was able to take the rental and go get him as opposed to racking up miles on my car. As the rental was unlimited miles, there was no out-of-pocket overage.

Alas, I’m breathing a sigh of relief. That’s over and I hope that’s the last of this. With me hopefully getting out of DFW(TF) soon, this insane traffic hopefully will be a thing of the past. Man do I hate it.

Oh, and it feels really nice to be shifting gears again. I missed that part of driving, even in heavy traffic. 😉

I Wanna Go Home (A SpongeBob/Sandy Cheeks Parody)

Do you remember the episode of SpongeBob SquarePants called Texas where Sandy is longing for her Texas home? Of course we all do.

“Don’t you DARE take the name of Texas in vain!!!” – Sandy.

Remember that little song she sings toward the middle of the episode where she’s reflecting on the home she left to conduct underwater research? Yeah, one of the saddest moments in SBSP history.

Well, I was thinking of that song last night in my own longing for home and I wrote a parody of it. I changed it to make it more specific to a city in Abilene and what I miss but also interjected a line from a familiar song for some humor.

Wish I was back in Abilene
The Met* is no place for a Lynn
Wish I was in Abilene
Prettiest town I’ve ever seen 😉
Oh no
I guess deep in my heart I’ll always be an Abilenian :-/

I wanna go ho-o-o-ome, home…

I wanna wake up in Abilene
I miss Vagabond Pizza*
I miss my mom and dad
My friends and my doggie too, oh why?

When I’m away from Abilene
All I can do is cry.

I wanna go ho-o-o-ome
I wanna go home. 😥

I asterisked a couple of terms for you non-Abilene/non-Texas people in case you were wondering what those were. “The Met” is a common term used in Texas referring to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Anytime you hear “The Met” in Texas that’s what is meant. As far as Vagabond Pizza, a pizzeria located in Downtown Abilene. Only the greatest wood-fired artisan pizza you’ll ever eat, complete with a microbrew beer and wine bar, a selection of appetizers and a professional pastry chef for desserts. Oh, and the owners and staff are like my 2nd family so to speak. They love me and I love them.

Anyway, thought I’d share that with you all. I think it’s good to express one’s feelings. Maybe it sucks, maybe you found it entertaining, sad, whatever, but this is exactly the pain I’ve felt in my heart since moving to The Met. I just want to go home.

Autistic Reflections: Job Interviews

Let me be the first to say this: job interviews SUCK. Like they completely and totally suck. They are so biased toward neurotypical people it’s no wonder unemployment rates are significantly higher for those on the autism spectrum than neurotypicals (source: http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/globalassets/documents/raise/knowledge_exchange/briefing_papers/series6/dillenburger290317.pdf).

This whole thing about making eye contact, the social anxiety of meeting new people who could potentially have control over your entire life among other uncomfortable variables, let’s face it, we have it tough. I’ve never been in a job interview that I wasn’t just a total nervous wreck. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that historically speaking the only jobs I’ve ever landed are ones that did not require a formal interview. The few jobs I have landed, including my current job, had no formal interview process and I was just kind of picked up.

Well, knowing how bad I want out of the hellhole I currently work at, I wasn’t going to squander my chance. My poor mother (love her to death, by the way!) spent hours Friday evening and Saturday morning rehearsing possible interview scenarios with me. I absolutely wanted to be prepared for anything they could have thrown at me. I had brought not only a resume but a recent example of a lift plan I’d designed, and not just any lift plan – the heaviest lift in (censored) company history, and I was the lead designer for it. Pretty good resume fodder, don’t you think?

As I pulled up to the office Sunday morning, 15 minutes ahead of schedule I took a moment to calm my nerves while waiting for the branch manager to arrive. When he did and the interview started, I was actually quite calm and collected once that rehearsed scenario started to take effect. I had to keep reminding myself to make eye contact (as painful and uncomfortable as that is for me) and to sound excited and ready to get on board. Was a lot of it forced? Oh yes, but luckily only for a short period of time. I knew it had gone well when the branch manager said he was going to make the push to get me on board and that, if it was totally his decision, he’d have me start right away.

Probably my biggest source of anxiety didn’t come to fruition – namely the issue of tattoos and piercings. I was wearing a short sleeved polo shirt (let’s face it – even that’s overdressed for the crane business) so my wrist tattoos were plainly visible and I left my earrings (both pairs) in. No word was said about either. I didn’t think it would be an issue but I was slightly nervous about it.

Anyway, the branch manager said I’d likely be called in for a 2nd interview soon, this time with the president of the company. That’s a good sign in and of itself, but an even better sign was when he suggested that they come up to Kaufman (where my current office is) to meet over lunch or something as to not put myself in jeopardy here. I thought to myself, “Wow, he must REALLY want me on board!”

Well, wish me luck as the process moves forward. Hopefully someday soon I’ll no longer have to greet these familiar, worn out faces bright and early for our daily races and I’ll be back to more familiar territory closer to those who mean the most to me. I am feeling very optimistic but your continued thoughts, prayers, love, etc. are greatly appreciated.

Much love to you all.