A Dorky Text Conversation

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and felt you’re both total dorks afterward? Well that’s exactly what happened last night between a dear blogger friend and myself.

Laina over at Who Loves Kitty and The Silent Wave lost her beloved cat Murphy this week. It’s never easy to lose a furbaby (trust me, I know, I lost my black manx cat not too long ago myself). Alas, we’ve hit the max again in my house with cats and another cat my sister brought home recently had kittens so they needed a home, and guess who’s taking them? That’s right, none other than Laina herself. So glad they’ll be going to a great home and that I’ll be getting to meet a blogging pal face-to-face soon!

Anyway, after the deal was settled things got a little crazy in our back-and-forth chain. I am, with permission, re-posting that chain here so you all can get a great laugh out of it. If you recognize these quips, well, let’s just say you might be as big of a dork as we are.












Ahem…yeah. We’re so fucking special for sure (and yes, TFF did do a cover of that song, by the way, so that counts).

The Soundtrack to My Life

Rachel over at Illuminated Literation invited us to participate in a little challenge called “The Soundtrack to My Life.”  Is there a certain song that resonates with me?

Well I can think of two. This first one is my favorite song by my favorite band. Of all the countless attempts by other artists to capture the essence of this song, nobody quite does it as well as Tears for Fears did in 1982. Whereas every cover of this song is slow and sappy, TFF’s upbeat take on this song just adds to the insanity, and dare I say it, “madness.”

Interesting tidbit: every cover version of this song gets the next to last lyric wrong. The actual next to last lyric is “Halargian World” – an inside joke by Curt Smith. Halarge is a fictional planet and a common joke among the band members was to say something “was so Halargian.” Hence it stuck.

The other song came along much, much later than the above song – November 2004 to be exact. I was a senior in high school when this song was released and the first time I heard this song I was like “man, that’s SO me.”

13 years post-high school, this song is STILL so me. I’m still flying solo, walking that lonely road – it’s the only one I’ve ever known. I don’t know where it goes, but it’s home to me.

And yes, I walk alone.

Thanks for the challenge Rachel! It’s always cool to express ourselves through music.

Beer/Cigar Reviews – Settle Down Brown and My Father Le Bijou 1922

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 in, shall we?

As always, we’ll start with today’s beer selection:

Settle Down Brown

This American Brown Ale hails from O’Dell Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV, 50 IBUs and an unspecified IBU rating.

Pours a clear, rich brown color with some streaks of red. A frothy tan head tops the beer that lasts a long time and leaves ample lacing on the glass. Aromas of caramel, toffee and piney hops tickle the nose. Flavors follow almost exactly with a caramel blast up front supported by some toffee and red apple notes. The back end features a balanced grapefruit and pine hop bittterness and a tinge of light roast coffee. Medium in both body and carbonation, this beer drinks easily and is satisfying yet sessionable.

A great session beer that would be great to have a few with friends or to pair with food. Not overly alcoholic and smooth. A pleasing brew. Rating: 4/5.

And now for today’s cigar selection:

My Father Le Bijou 1922

This offering from My Father cigars features a Habano Oscuro wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and long fillers as well as a very attractive, artistic band. The vitola reviewed here is a 6″ x 52RG Toro sized stick.

The first light revealed a perfect draw producing ample thick, chewy medium-bodied smoke with notes of a slightly sweet earth and a dark coffee. There was a substantial, but not overbearing, pepper note on the retrohale. There was also a hint of creamy leather on the draw.

The first third is largely the same as the earth and sweetness morph together into a dark chocolate retaining all the other flavors. There is also a dark fruit on the draw akin to a plum or raisin. The body also intensifies slightly to a medium/full.

The 2nd third sees a slight transition with the dark fruity notes changing into more of a caramel and dropping the pepper bite almost completely. Entering into the final third we see another change – all the flavors are still there but the balance shifts as the coffee becomes the dominant flavor. I ended the cigar as the smoke started going warm at 1 hour and 20 minutes for a respectable burn time and bringing in a medium nicotine strength.

In typical My Father fashion, the cigar featured excellent construction with a near razor-sharp burn. The ash holds on a solid half the cigar at a time.

This was a great cigar all around – plenty of flavor and complexity. It paired nicely with an Australian Shiraz but would pair nicely with just about any red wine, a nice coffee or a nice dram of Single-malt. I would definitely smoke this one again. Rating: 4.5/5.

And that’s a wrap for today. Have you had either of today’s offerings? Let me know what you thought!

An Interview With Star of Autism Kids on Tour

Star from Autism Kids on Tour was kind enough to interview me this week about my experiences as an adult on the autism spectrum and to get my viewpoint. You can read my interview here: https://autismkidsontour.com/2018/03/25/sunday-interviews-the-third-in-a-series-of-interviews-with-autistic-adults/.

Thank you Star for inviting me to participate in your interview. I greatly appreciate it and I hope my responses are insightful and helpful for someone!

Song Lyric Sunday 3/25/18 – Secret World

Our theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is seeing. This one was surprisingly easy for me because a certain lyric popped into my head straight away – “This is a garden, this is a steeple, I hear the crowd before I ever see the people.”

In a roundabout way, this song is all about seeing. You see what you see in your own little world and turn a blind eye to what’s not in that world. Same is true for all of us. Thus is the nature of our own little “Secret World” – and thus this week’s featured song. This song was released in 2004 and is featured on the album Everybody Loves A Happy Ending, so titled as it marked the reunion of childhood friends Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith after they had a mutual falling out in 1991 and thus re-kindling the band they became so famous for spearheading in the 1980s – a band that needs no introduction here whatsoever.

So, without further ado, here is the song (written by Orzabal):

This is a garden, this is a steeple
I hear the crowd before I ever see the people
Yours for the asking, and for the taking
There is a power in the vacuum we are making

You and I have a secret world
And we can keep it unfurled
And pay no attention to the cradle or the grave

And when we’re crossed
We can say that we’re lost
In the middle of nowhere think you’ll like it a lot
And if we’re wrong and we end up alone
We’ll light a candle for their innocent bones

You and I have a secret world
And we can keep it unfurled
And pay no attention to the cradle or the grave

You and I have a secret world
And we can keep it unfurled
And pay no attention to the cradle or the grave

And when we’re crossed
We can say that we’re lost
In the middle of nowhere think you’ll like it a lot
And if we’re wrong and we end up alone
We’ll light a candle for their innocent bones

You and I have a secret world
And we can keep it unfurled
And pay no attention to the cradle or the grave

And when we’re crossed
We can say that we’re lost
In the middle of nowhere think you’ll like it a lot
And if we’re wrong and we end up alone
We’ll light a candle for their innocent bones

And when we’re crossed
We can say that we’re lost
In the middle of nowhere think you’ll like it a lot
And if we’re wrong and we end up alone
We’ll light a candle for their innocent bones
Source: https://genius.com/Tears-for-fears-secret-world-lyrics

I hope you didn’t get too lost but that you liked this song a lot (even though this makes three weeks in a row with this same band). 😉 As always, thanks for our trip into the wonderful world of music.

Reader Question: What’s My Favorite Picture Book?

I love getting just random questions from my followers. I enjoy the interaction and it almost makes the blogosphere feel more personal. Alas, I don’t get many of them so I respond to the question, regardless of topic.

Rachel over at Illuminated Literation would like to know what my favorite picture book is.

Well, I have no hesitation for that question. For my favorite picture book we are going back to 1977 with this timeless classic by Eric Carle. I’ve always enjoyed his books but one stands out for me, and that’s this one:

The Grouchy Ladybug

I loved this book since I was a little kid. The story line is hilarious I think and shows bullies do eventually get their just desserts. The growing sizes of the pages with the growing sizes of the opponents is also a creative use of paper and illustrations I think. These elements combine to make it my favorite picture book. I enjoyed it as a kid and though I will never have children of my own, I’ve been enjoying reading it to my nephew lately.

For a reading of this book, here you go:

Thank you for your question Rachel!

Do you have just a random burning question for me? Ask away!

Beer Reviews – London Porter and Little Betty

Taking some time out of my day to give a couple of beer reviews for you. I know, you’d expect nothing less right? Let’s dive right in!

London Porter

This offering from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC in Chiswick, London, England weighs in at 5.4% ABU and an unspecified IBU and gravity rating.

Had on tap at Argos Brewhouse and Bookstore in Sweetwater, TX. Pours a dark chestnut brown color with streaks of maroon. Thick tan head. Aromas consist of dark chocolate, roasted malt and coffee. Flavors follow exactly – with notes of roasted malt and dark chocolate early supported by a light roast coffee finish and a tinge of vanilla. Medium in body with sharp carbonation.

Easy drinking and sessionable, this is one to kill several at with friend at the pub. It’s got good flavor, it’s well-balanced and won’t overwhelm anyone. A gob-smacking brew for sure. Rating: 4.25/5.

Little Betty

This Imperial Stout hails from Nebraska Brewing company in La Vista. It weighs in at 9% ABV, 83 IBU and an unspecified gravity rating.

Jet black pour with a thick tan head that sticks around and laces the glass like crazy. Aromas of raisin, pine, mocha, coffee, roasted notes. Flavors consist of a roasted malt core with dark chocolate, espresso and a tinge of vanilla. Raisins on the finish along with a big wallop of pine and grapefruit hops. Medium in body and carbonation and drinks easily enough with the alcohol being well hidden.

Good flavors, plenty of flavor but a little lacking in mouthfeel for me. When I drink an Imperial Stout I want to be able to chew my beer. This one didn’t deliver in that department but the taste was great. Rating: 4/5.

So that’s it for today. Have you had either? Let me know what you thought!

One in five…

This is disgusting. This kind of thought process is precisely what shut me out of my dream career. We as a society have to do better than this.

Ordinary Hopes

Apparently, there is no greater disability in life than a bad attitude.

I have been reading that line on social media for far too long.

And it annoys me!

Because no matter how positive a person is, when faced by steps,  inaccessible toilets, sand, mud or some other physical barrier, a  good attitude simply doesn’t magically make things accessible!

Then I saw this statistic from the Papworth Trust.

1 in 5 British adults (21%) surveyed think disabled people need to accept unequal opportunity in their lives. Men are more likely than women to hold this view (28% compared with 15%). This is the “bad attitude”.

Suddenly I see that, yes, a bad attitude is disabling people!

We have 650 MPs in the House of Commons. “One in five” could mean that 130 of them may well think that disabled people should stop complaining and just accept that they can’t access life fully.

There are approximately 800 members of the House of Lords. Which means that there could be 160 Lords who may not believe that disabled people should expect equality.

Data from…

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New Responsibilities – The Stress and Anxiety

I just had a feeling moving back home would come with it a major catch. Don’t get me wrong – it is so much better being back home. Alas, I’ve been thrust into a role outside of work that I’m not ready for nor did I really want, but I’m having to take out of pure necessity.

I’ve been the Pipe Sergeant (2nd in command only to the Pipe Major) for my pipe band almost ever since I got out of high school. Luckily I’ve not had to do much in the way of band leadership; the P/M has always taken that role upon himself. That was much appreciated as I didn’t want to handle much of that aspect of it but I always knew in the back of my mind that one day I would have to take that role on as the P/M is considerably older than me.

That day has come.

Due to the current Pipe Major having some health issues and that he’s aging, the time has come for me to assume that role. It’s not that I wanted it. Trust me when I say if I could have turned the position down I would have. I’ve just moved back, I’ve got a hectic (yet fulfilling, I should say) new job and I’ve never had a leadership role of this sort before. I wouldn’t know where the hell to begin or what to do. Needless to say I’m incredibly anxious and scared.

I’m hoping this will only be temporary until I can hand the position off to someone else, but in the meantime I was the only logical choice for the position. Whoever steps up into the Pipe Sergeant role will have to have a much more active role in management than I did while P/S. I’m not going to force it on anyone who does not want it, but I know for sure I will need some help. I also hope the outgoing P/M will provide some sort of support.

I see this as a good opportunity for me, but at the same time a lot of unneeded stress and I’m not sure how to deal with it. I’m sure I’ll figure it out, but the sooner I am able to hand it off to someone who actually likes being the head honcho and I can go back to just being a piper (I’m sure I won’t even want to be an officer of any kind after this) the better.

Wish me luck in this new adventure. I’m going to need it.

Beer/Cigar Reviews – Black Butte and Primos Estate Maduro

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 in shall we. As always, we will start with today’s beer selection.

Black Butte Porter

This offering from Descutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon is an American Porter style ale. It weighs in at 5.2% ABV, 30 IBU and an unspecified IBU rating.

Pours a dark brown color with some red streaks and a light tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, coffee and piney hops. Flavors follow – roasted malt and coffee make up the body along with a slight tinge of dark fruit. Balanced but not overbearing piney hop finish. Fairly light bodied and medium in carbonation, you can kill several of these and not be weighed down.

A solid example of the style. While not the high-octane, bolder beers I tend to prefer, for a session beer this is easy to please and you can have a few and not feel guilty about it. Rating: 3.75/5.

And now for today’s cigar selection.

Primos Estate Maduro

This offering from Blanco Cigars features a Nicaraguan Habano Maduro wrapper over a Honduran binder and Honduran, Nicaraguan & Peruvian long fillers. The size reviewed is a 6″ x 52RG Toro vitola.

The first light revealed a perfect draw producing plentiful thick medium/full bodied smoke. Flavors of a sweet spicy cinnamon on the back of the palate and a black pepper on the retrohale supported by subtle notes of cocoa on the front of the palate.

Getting into the first third we get much of the same but adding a slightly tart creamy note to the draw and a hint of cedar on the retrohale. Pepper subsides somewhat but does remain.

The 2nd third sees a transition in which the tart cream starts to take on more of a plum note and little dark roast coffee joins the mix yielding a very complex flavor profile. Strength sets in early, holding at a medium at the halfway point. No further changes were noted. I ended the cigar at 1 hour 10 minutes for a reasonable burn time for the size while the strength holds at a medium.

The typical Blanco construction quality was evident in this stick showing a razor-sharp burn all the way down.

A solid cigar all around, and at a price point that’s hard to argue with (ranging from about $6-7/stick depending on the vitola). Nice complex flavors and a lot of flavor make this a must-try cigar. Rating: 4.5/5.

That’s a wrap for today. Have any of you tried today’s offerings? Let me know what you thought in the comments!