Wine Review – 1916 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Today we are reviewing a wine. I haven’t done many wine reviews on here but I’ve been asked to do more so I’ll try to make a conscious effort to do so. Today’s topic is this 1916 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon of a 2012 vintage.

This bottle I found at a local grocery store on special, but don’t let that fool you. It’s not a cheap wine by any stretch. My research has pointed to me to Espier Estate in Victoria, Australia as the mastermind behind this wine but the back of the bottle says “Our Cellars” in Hopland, CA so I’m utterly confused, as can be seen here along with the ABV. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me  can educate me on what exactly this is.

Pours a deep red as a good Cab should. Ample lacing when swirled. Aromas of rose petals, blueberries and black cherry. The black cherry carries over into the initial attack which gives way to a jammy plum note and just a tinge of dark chocolate. Warm, peppery finish with oaky undertones and an ample amount of tannins. Medium to heavy body with a long warming aftertaste.

An excellent wine, it would go well with a heavy dinner or, as I had it for this review, paired with a full bodied Maduro cigar such as the previously reviewed Blanco Liga Exclusiva Maduro. Rating: 4.5/5.

I Did It…

This is a follow up post to my previous post about contemplating playing out again.

So I decided I might as well give it a shot in that I don’t have much to lose. So I prepared a set list (30 minutes), brought my guitar with me this morning and decided to just go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? A repeat of the last time?

So after a few drinks to calm my nerves TFF/H&O concert tee and “Davy” Dukes clad me took the stage still nervous as hell. Here we go.

Well this…strange…thing happened. I made it through unscathed. The crowd was small so that might have been part of it but I didn’t get booed off the stage again. I got some small ovation but nothing big. The crowd was too small to gauge but maybe it’s better this time?

In any case, I have a bit more confidence that I can take with me. Maybe I’ll be back next month when they do it again? We shall see.

Now though? I’m breathing a sigh of relief that I broke the ice again. Baby steps right?

Help Me To Decide…

So an opportunity to put myself back “out there” might have just presented itself to me.

A little backstory that some of you all know: back in my younger days (read: graduate student days in Idaho) I was a very active musician. I played two to three venues per week – mostly just open mic nights but some paid shows too. I enjoyed it for sure and was a great outlet.

That was until I moved back to Texas and tried that. I guess none of the venues I had available in Abilene were conducive to it. The first venue I played at back home just wasn’t into me – so much that the first one I attempted to play at I got booed off stage. That was in 2012.

That incident left me wondering if I really sucked as badly as I perceived to. I never had the most confidence anyway. Was the crowd in Idaho just “being nice” and tolerating me? Or is it just the difference in crowd and taste in music? Whatever the case it really fed into my self-doubt and shut me down completely. It’s been six years and I still haven’t played another show since.

Alas, it is possible I now have a more suitable venue for my style of music. There’s this little pub/bookstore place (odd combination I know!) just down the road from my office that attracts quite an eclectic crowd – one that might be more into me. They just started doing open mic nights but on Saturdays. I already drive 60 miles one way to work 5x per week so I wasn’t about to make that drive on a weekend, but they are moving it to Thursdays.

Given that and the generally positive feedback I’ve gotten when I cover my SLS submissions, I’m thinking this might be my shot. I’ll never get past my mishap if I don’t put myself back out there. That’s just a fact, and I don’t want to have a case of the “shoulda-woulda-couldas” later on.

So dear readers, help me to decide – help me make the most of freedom and of pleasure. Should I go for it?

Welcome to Sunday Social

Let’s all congregate at Rachel’s blog for our weekly get together.

Rachel McKee~Illuminated Literation

Sunday Social is a place to mingle, collaborate, and share our blogs. Sunday Social is one more place where you can share a post that maybe didn’t get as much feedback as you were hoping for. Sunday Social is a place to meet new bloggers.

This weekly post is a “wild card” of sorts. There aren’t many rules but I do ask that you follow a few guidelines.

  • Give honest, constructive feedback, but always be courteous.
  • If someone takes the time to comment on your post, please return the favor and check out their endeavors too.

How do you participate?

It’s very easy.

  • Copy and paste the link to your blog or a specific blog post in the comment section below.
  • Give us a little blurb about your blog, the feedback you are looking for, or if you are just hoping to meet some new blogger buddies.

Voila! That’s it.

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Song Lyric Sunday 6/24/18 – Dreams

Dream. A rather interesting prompt for Song Lyric Sunday and one I could have easily copped out on, but I’m going to do something different that just isn’t a no-brainer for me and doing something different. Sure, I could have done a redux from the first time I ever participated in this challenge, but I’m not.

Instead, I’m going with this 1977 song by Fleetwood Mac that I have loved for a long time. The structure is quite simple but it’s a nice little song anyway. So there then is the song simply titled “Dreams” (written by Stevie Nicks):

Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down?
It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it

But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering
What you had
And what you lost…
And what you had…
And what you lost

(Oooooh)

Oh, thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say, women…they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know
You’ll know

Now here I go again, I see, the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness…
Like a heartbeat drives you mad…
In the stillness of remembering
What you had
And what you lost…
What you had…
Ooh, what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know

Oh, thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know
You’ll know
You will know
Oh, oh, oh you’ll know
Source: Lyrics in video description.

So there you go. See you all next week!

Why I Do Not Want Children

If it’s one thing I’m absolutely rigid on and that I have never wavered on it’s my lack of desire to have children. Actually, it goes farther than that – the idea of being a father just absolutely repulses me, so much I actually ended my last relationship over that very issue. I was put at a crossroads where I had to decide which was worse – being single or having children I don’t really want. Obviously I decided that the latter was a much worse fate. As such, I did the only thing I could do and ended the relationship.

I have a multitude of reasons for not wanting children, but they can broadly be put into two categories: practical and philosophical. We shall take a look at those here.

Practical Reasons:

Concerning my practical reasons for not wanting children, the very first thing to consider is the expense of having children. Kids are not cheap! Doctors visits, increased grocery bills, daycare, school supplies, glasses, braces, sporting equipment, cars/drivers’ education, college, the list goes on! That all adds up.

The second has to due with my internal wiring. I’m one of those autistic people who is incredibly short-tempered. Is that conducive to having children? Absolutely not. I’d likely do them psychological damage with my tendency to meltdown and get frustrated over the slightest thing out-of-whack. That’s not to say all autistic people are incompetent parents. On the contrary, there are many who are quite capable of it. I’m just not.

I also pretty much got the short end of the stick when it comes to genetics, not only with the autism thing but I also have a heart defect (Wolff-Parkinson-White) that has a genetic component and I do not wish to pass that on. I also know I’m a carrier of the gene for Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid. Though I’ve not shown symptoms myself, I do know my biological father does and had to have his thyroid basically killed. I do not want to risk passing that on either.

Lastly is just I’m too much of a free spirit to be held down. Not having children I can pretty much travel unhindered, do what I want as far as nightlife and the like. I’m not held down by family commitments, which would no doubt make me miserable.

Philosophical Reasons: 

Before I discuss my philosophical reasons for not having children, I feel I must say that none of what I discuss here is intended to pass any judgment on anyone regardless of what reproductive decisions they might have made. That is not my intention. The views presented here are not original views, but rather views of academics that make the most raw logical sense to me. Again, this is not meant to be a personal attack on anyone so please do not take it that way.

The first, and strongest argument, is the Benatarian Asymmetry, named after South African philosopher David Benatar. Benatar first proposed this asymmetry in a paper titled “Why It Is Better Never to Come into Existence” and was further expanded upon in a full-blown book titled Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence which was published in 2006. The argument is much too long and detailed to list in a blog post, but the meat and potatoes of it is this: whereas pleasure is good and pain is bad, the absence of pain is good even if there exists nobody to benefit from that good, but the absence of pleasure is not bad unless there already exists someone for which such an absence would be a deprivation. In other words, regardless of the pleasure-to-pain ratio in one’s life, although the pleasures of life make our lives go better than they otherwise would, had we never existed we’d have forgone any and all pain (good), but because we would not “miss out” on anything by never existing (as deprivation requires existence), it is always better not to come into existence.

For more clarity of the asymmetry, consider two people: sick and healthy. Let’s say sick gets sick but has a strong immune system and is able to recover quickly from that sickness, while healthy has a weak immune system but never gets sick. Who is better off? Obviously healthy is better off, even though (s)he has a weak immune system. Everyone would agree that it is better never to get sick, regardless of the strength of one’s immune system. There you have it.

The second argument, which is weaker and not an entirely new argument, is the Pollyanna Principle. The Pollyanna Principle is basically an irrational optimism bias. In other words, we grossly over-estimate the quality of our lives. More or less, none of us realize just how much pain and suffering we endure on a daily basis. For a prime example of this, let’s just step back and think about a few things. What do we spend a vast majority of our waking hours doing? Working, of course. It is a very rare and fortunate person who does not completely loathe his or her job. OK, that alone puts our lives more into the pain category. Combine that with the day-to-day pains and irritants we experience and don’t give much thought to: hunger, thirst, heat, cold, financial woes, the need to urinate and/or defecate, the need to sneeze, sniffle, cough, clear the throat, etc. That’s not even considering the bouts of illness and disease we will all face. Our sleeping hours have their own irritants; namely dreams which more often than not result in painful stimuli – fear, sadness, anger, etc.

Given the above, and combined with the fact that nobody consents to being brought into existence (rather, we were all just kind of forced into it), I feel that it is very difficult to justify bringing new individuals into existence.

Given that, the question I’m sure many of you are wondering is, “Do you wish you had never been born?” The answer to that question is, without any hesitation whatsoever, a resounding yes. I would have preferred never to have been brought into existence. However, that statement shall not be construed as “I want to die.” Once already in existence, most of us have an interest in continuing to exist and it can be very easily argued that death is actually one of the many harms we will face in this life (a position Dr. Benatar also defends at great length). That said, I absolutely do support the right to die so that if one decides his or her life is not worth continuing, that choice must be respected and the government does not have the right to stop anyone from taking his/her own life.

The above are the major reasons I have chosen not to have children. Again, these reasons are personal to me and shall not be intended as a personal attack on anyone. If you disagree with them, I’d like to know why. Please feel free to discuss your own views and engage in a healthy and respectful debate. I promise you I will not shut you down. I feel we can all learn something from the other side, whether you are a pronatalist or an antinatalist, a parent or childless/childfree.

Selfie Day 2018 – Work “Uniform”

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not much of one for selfies but I had this one about a week old mirror selfie (hey that counts right?) to show someone just how chill my (relatively) new work place is.

Let’s face it, I live in Texas where it gets insanely hot during the summer. Long stretches in the 100s F/40s C are not uncommon. When people question my love of short shorts, I can’t help but just point out how hot it gets.

As such, I guess I’m kinda lucky I have such a chill office environment. When I can get away with going to work dressed like this – in our company logo polo shirts (which are very lightweight material) and my “Davy” Dukes…

…I can’t complain too much now can I? Half professional, half stay cool in he summer. I’ll take it, especially with my sensory processing issues that cause me to just fry even in moderate temperatures. I swear it is an autistic oddity but oh well.

Happy selfie day everyone. Just don’t take it too seriously and have fun. 😉

Father’s Day Pain

So I’m going to be a bit of a wet blanket today. So sue me. I’m reposting a Facebook rant here because of the insensitivity of some people with regards to this (i.e. some remarks “at least you still have yours.”). Many of us have deep seated pain on these days, and I’m no exception.

If you want to stop reading now, no problem. I understand. If you dare to continue, please try not to be too judgmental and be forewarned there is some very strong antinatalist language in this rant. If you are offended by such I suggest you stop reading.

I repost this not to make anyone feel sorry for me, but to hopefully make you think twice about passing judgment on a total stranger for any reason. You just don’t know what they’re enduring.


Sigh…

It’s officially Father’s Day, a day that is admittedly quite painful for me. Not because of my lack of children (I wouldn’t have them if you paid me!) but because of a painful past.

The man who is half responsible for imposing existence upon me without my consent is nonexistent in my life and never really was a part of it. He left my mother before I was even born. They were actually separated at the time I was conceived. I was the result of a broken condom and a one night stand after my grandfather (who I never met) passed away. He never tried to communicate with me as a child and I didn’t even talk to him for the first time until I was 21 years old when he sent his daughter (only child from his 2nd marriage) to scout me on social media (then MySpace), and even then he only did that because of a massive accident he had that shocked him and brought me back into his conscious mind. Like really? Guilty conscience much? Needless to say the lines of communication weren’t open for long.

Enter my step-father almost six years after I was born. He was hot-headed, ill-tempered and closed minded. He thought from the start I was just some problem child with discipline problems and was bound and determined to beat me into submission. Little did he know that I was just autistic and I couldn’t help it. Our relationship would be turbulent all the way until age 14 when the school counselors implored him and my mother to get me an evaluation. It was only then he listened to reason, though I had long suspected I was on the autism spectrum due to a late night news report on it a few years prior. He just didn’t want to accept it and thought it was a figment of my imagination.

All that said, it is my step-father’s surname that I bear. That was made official not too long after they married and he’s been the only real father figure I’ve ever had. In my adult years I’ve somehow found a way to forgive him for his past transgressions and today we have a pretty good relationship. We still have our issues on occasion but it’s not as bad as it used to be.

As for my biological father? I haven’t heard from him in 10 years and I doubt I’ll ever hear from him again. He and his daughter just seem to have no interest in it. I guess in a way I don’t blame them. I’m a total weirdo and I’m sure too weird for them. Whatever. I try not to dwell on it but sometimes it’s hard.

I do not post this story for sympathy or pity. Rather, my intention is just to remind everyone that many of us have endured pain that one cannot know of or comprehend. Maybe it’ll give you a brief moment of pause before you pass judgment on a total stranger. You don’t know what they’ve been through.

Song Lyric Sunday 6/17/18 – My Grandfather’s Clock (And Sequel)

So Song Lyric Sunday comes once again and this week our theme is time. OK, cool, I get to share some useless knowledge with everyone this week!

Have you ever wondered why they call it a “grandfather clock?” The technical name for a free-standing floor clock is “tallcase” or “longcase” clock, but how did they get the common nickname “grandfather clock?” The common and popular nickname actually comes from a song! This song was written by Henry Clay Work in 1876 and tells the tale of the narrator’s grandfather’s floor clock. The song was so popular the nickname stuck and that is why we call it a grandfather clock today (oh the things you learn from being an amateur horologist [clockmaker/watchmaker]).

So with that is the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.” As with all classic folk songs, there are countless versions, but I’m choosing a version by a little known artist named Tom Roush as I feel he does the song the most justice.

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopped short never to go again when the old man died

In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
Many hours he spent as a boy.
And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know
And to share both his grief and his joy.
For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride;
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

My grandfather said that of those he could hire,
Not a servant so faithful he found;
For it wasted no time, and had but one desire —
At the close of each week to be wound.
And it kept in its place — not a frown upon its face,
And its hands never hung by its side.
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopped short never to go again when the old man died.

It rang an alarm in the dead of the night —
An alarm that for years had been dumb;
And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight —
That his hour of departure had come.
Still the clock kept the time, with a soft and muffled chime,
As we silently stood by his side;
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Grandfather%27s_Clock#Lyrics

There is also a sequel to this song that is much lesser known. This version of the sequel is also performed by Mr. Roush and was written by Work in 1878.

Once again have I roamed thro’ the old-fashioned house,
Where my grandfather spent his ninety years.
There are strangers in charge, and the change they have wrought–
Oh! it saddens me, even to tears.
Dear old clock! when they found you were speechless from grief,
Then they went and swapped you off, case and all.
For that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
For that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.

Grandfather sleeps in his grave;
Strange steps resound in the hall!
And there’s that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
There’s that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.

While we talked of the old clock they all ran it down.
Tho’ they claimed that it couldn’t be made to run.
It was useless they said– it was quite out of style;
Built, no doubt, just about the year One.
And the words echoed round, with a faint, mocking sound,
As if some one gave assent to it all;
‘Twas that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
‘Twas that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.

From the clock-peddler’s cart in the junk-shop it went,
Where its cog-wheels were sundered one be one;
And the brass-founder joked as they writhed in the flames–
“Melt’em up,” says he; “then they will run.”
There is grief in my heart, there are tears in my eyes.
Yet indignantly the sight I recall
Of that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
For that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.

“An extremely hard case!” said the junk-dealer’s wife,
As she carried it for kindling wood and sighed–
That mahogany case, with its quaint, figured face,
Which so long was my grandfather’s pride.
“There is hope for the small; there’s a change for us all;
For the mighty ones of Time, they must fall!”
Says that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
Says that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.
Source: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sequel-to-grandfather-s-clock/

So that’s it for this week. I hope you learned something this week and enjoyed the songs! Until next week everyone.

Product Review: Maximum Strength Sting-Kill Capsules

stingkill

Living out in the country has its hazards, and one of those hazards is insect stings. Bees, yellow jackets, paper wasps and bumblebees are almost constantly buzzing around in my back yard. Usually they’re keen to just leave you alone but every now and then you do draw the ire of one of those buggers and she’ll give you a good sting. It happens.

I first heard of this product on Brave Wilderness, the YouTube channel hosted by Nathaniel “Coyote” Peterson. Coyote has taken some rather intense stings over the years, from velvet ants, tarantula hawks, warrior wasps, bullet ants and soon the so-called executioner wasp. Whatever the case, this benzocaine and menthol based gel is in his arsenal for all the crazy stings he subjects himself to.

This was an impulse grab at the pharmacy this past Thursday, after hearing Coyote rave about it. Little did I know I’d have the opportunity to try it out the very same night!

So I was smoking my evening cigar minding my own business when out of the blue a rather irritable paper wasp decides to tag me on the back of the hand. I wasn’t doing anything to that little thing; it just came out of the blue and got me, the sorry bitch! Oh well, as I said, risks of country life.

So I got a vial of the sting kill and followed the instructions. Application was quick and easy and immediately had a refreshing cooling effect on my skin. About 30 seconds later the benzocaine took effect and completely eliminated the burning sensation from the venom. I was truly shocked at how well it worked!

Needless to say I highly recommend Sting-Kill and believe it should be in every medicine cabinet. Insect stings happen, but they don’t have to be more painful than necessary. Easy to use and cheap, do yourself a favor and get some. You’ll thank me later.