The Pain of Loss

“Many people ask me why I always sign off ‘Till we meet again.’ Because goodbye is always so final. Goodbye, Dan Wheldon.” – Marty Reid, ABC commentator, after the crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that took the life of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon in 2011.

I remember very vividly watching that nasty crash as it unfolded but never in a million years did I think anyone would have died in that mess. When the news broke I was actually hurt and when Marty Reid closed the broadcast with the above words it hit me hard.

Since then I’ve changed my parting line to something similar, because goodbye really is so final and I reserve it for occasions such as this.

Today, my heart hurts terribly. Yesterday a very good friend of mine lost a hard fought battle against pneumonia. She seemed to have been making a recovery but things turned for the worse.

We didn’t know each other that long but in that time I came to regard her as one of the kindest and most gentle, beautiful people I’ve ever met. She was always there giving me words of encouragement even in my darkest days. She saw in me what I didn’t see in myself at the time. I’m sure I always drove her nuts with my ramblings about what a nobody I felt like but she never got mad, only reassured me that some day things had to get better. When they did she shared in my celebration as well as my trials and tribulations even recently.

Right now I feel for her husband (also a very good friend to me), her family, friends and fur babies. We are all feeling the incredible pain of this loss. Words cannot express the pain I feel right now.

This isn’t something I’ve had to deal with much in the past few years. It still hurts when it does though. I’ll cherish the fond memories, and maybe even the tough times.

Yes, indeed, goodbye is always so final. Goodbye, dear friend. I hope you are no longer in pain and are once again one with the stars. I’ll always love you, even in death and will never forget you.

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Song Lyric (Monday) 4/8/18- The City of Light

So I’m a day late with my Song Lyric Sunday submission due to NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Sorry about that, I’ll get back on schedule next week for sure.

Alas, we were tasked with a song about light and this was the best my brain-dead self could come up with. This little song sung by abandoned appliances in search for their beloved master – making the long trek from the countryside to the city.

So with that I give you the song “The City of Light” as featured in the 1987 animated film The Brave Little Toaster (written by Van Dyke Parks):

Life is like a journey
On a road that’s within
Head says you should stay
But your heart says to begin
So you go

Blanky, Radio, Kirby: But you don’t want to go

Toaster: Any life worth living
Isn’t life just filled with ease
You just stay forgiving
Through the forest and the trees

Toaster, Lampy: And you’ll go
Just where you want to go

Toaster, Lampy, Radio, Blanky: Time fly by in the city of light
Time stands still in the country
There’s no time for a fuss and a fight
As we travel the land

Lampy, Radio: And I’d be
Satisfied
Just to be
Not denied

Toaster, Lampy, Radio: To reside
With some pride

Toaster, Lampy, Radio, Blanky: While I ride
To the City
The City of Light!

Lampy: Light shines like a diamond
In the City at night

Radio: When that diamond shines
You know that everything’s all right

Kirby: But you know
We got a way to go

Blanky: Let us meet the master
We don’t wanna make him wait

Lampy, Blanky:
You just keep a-knockin’

Toaster, Lampy, Radio, Blanky: He will open up the gate
To the City of Light

Lampy: Master is a man with a plan I can understand

Toaster: Master is a man of great reflection

Radio: Master is a man who lays his hand across the land

Blanky: Master is the man of our affection

All: Time side by in the city of light
Time stands still in the country
There’s no time for a fuss and a fight
As we travel the land

Lampy, Radio: And I’d be
Satisfied
Just to be
Not denied

All: To reside
With some pride
While I ride
To the City
The City of Light!
Source: http://www.songlyrics.com/van-dyke-parks/city-of-lights-lyrics/

OK, a totally lame pick this week I know, but I’m still running on fumes. I’ll do better next week, I promise!

When Vacation Goes Horribly Wrong…

So it’s back to work for me after a rather cold NASCAR weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in No Limits, TX. What should have been a fun time wound up with some ultimate suckage.

My woes started Friday afternoon when I arrived at the track for qualifying. Due to a massive thunderstorm qualifying was ended after round 1. After looking at the radar I felt it would be safer to go on to the hotel instead of waiting around so that’s what I did.

This turned out to be the correct decision as just as I got on the highway it hit full force. My GPS routed me some back roads to avoid traffic and go around the storm so I arrived safely at the hotel.

That’s when another round of woes started – I couldn’t check in because their computer system was down. Go figure, right? So I waited around in the lobby for some time. After I finally got situated I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner but she got sick this week so we had to take a rain check. I wound up consoling myself with some sushi and sake instead.

Saturday was just ridiculously cold – barely above freezing, very unusual for April in Texas. I decided to try a new cold weather look, which kept me reasonably warm but it was still cold. Alas, I was not about to skip a race I had already paid for – that would be a waste of money.

After enduring 5 hours of cold I retired to my hotel to warm my bones and stream the IndyCar race which was in Arizona that night. Internet troubles at the hotel kept me from doing that smoothly and I only caught a few snapshots of it. I was left feeling very frustrated.

So Sunday comes around and it’s still cold – not as cold as Saturday but still rather cold. After fighting traffic for a parking space (NASCAR Cup Series races always draw a much bigger crowd than the lower series and/or the Verizon IndyCar Series) I settled in only to watch my man Martin Truex Jr. wreck out on lap 81 for a last place finish. As if that wasn’t enough, my most hated driver – Kyle (Cryle-Rowdy-Dickhead) Busch won the fucking thing. Kyle Busch is an embarrassment to NASCAR and motor sports as a whole – he acts like a toddler, has zero sportsmanship, talks trash, drives like a dick, you name it. It made me sick to see that sorry son-of-a-bitch win.

Then it was time to fight traffic out. Thank goodness I have a TxTag pre-paid toll account or it would have taken me forever. As it was I was able to take a couple of toll roads and save about an hour probably.

So I finally got home at around 9:15 CDT last night, feeling tired, hungry and totally demoralized. This was a weekend from hell. What should have been a vacation was anything but – it was pure misery.

Oh well, maybe IndyCar weekend in June will go better. If anything the blistering heat might make me wish for the freezing cold again. On the upside, I did rock the shorts-with-leggings look and got a picture with a racecar. I was long overdue for a new profile picture anyway. That’s something, right?

Oh well. Onto the next one.

And Now For Something Totally Different…

Well, I told you I’d be doing something wild and crazy today, but just what I’m sure most of you were unaware. Well, I shall reveal that to you.

Let me just say that yesterday was a total bust. Qualifying got rained out after the first round and a friend I was supposed to meet up with for dinner got sick as a dog so that got thrown out of the water too. Bleh.

At least I got a pic with the legendary Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Chevy Camaro ZL1:

profile

And it cost me nothing. Love this pic – so much it became my new FB profile pic and probably my new Gravatar and “About Me” photo.

Anyway, enough about yesterday – onto today. Today is going to be cold as shit here in No Limits, TX. This Xfinity Series race is going to be one cold motherfucker. Yes, even it gets cold in Texas, but for it to get down to freezing in April? Not so common.

Anyway, ain’t no way I can go bare legged as in the photo above in that cold of a temperature. I have quite a tolerance for cold but not quite that much of one. Alas, I’ve never worn long pants to the races and I have no desire to start now, so what am I to do?

Well, I throw some leggings on under my “Davy” Dukes of course:

leggings

Yep, this is my first time trying the whole “shorts-with-leggings” look but I think I’m a fan. I can already tell they’re keeping my legs warmer than long pants actually and although I’m still not sure about the tightness of them on my legs I do love the softness of the fabric.

What I like is that not only do they keep me warm you can still very clearly see the profile of my legs – which I do regard as my best physical feature. I ran my ass off to get legs like this, I’m gonna flaunt the hell out of it. Maybe now I have an option to do so in cold temperatures such as what we are facing in No Limits, TX today (right at freezing this morning, low 40s F/mid-single digits C at green flag and only topping out in the mid-to-upper 40s F/upper single digits C at the end of the day).

I’ve always been one to do things my own way, and maybe this is just a new avenue for me to express my true inner self. I’m gradually coming out of hiding and more into my own than I ever have and I consider this to be a good thing. It continues to improve my overall satisfaction with life so I can’t complain too much huh?

Well, it’s off to the races for me. Catch you all later!

So have you ever worn shorts with leggings? Did you like the look? Do tell me what you thought!

*Note: Leggings are West Loop brand L-XL size – $5.99 from Walgreens. Fit me all but perfectly – for reference, the shorts pictured above are standard men’s size 34. 

Hello Dallas, My Old Friend…

So here I am back in Dallas for NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway. I’m writing to let you know in advance that I’ll be missing this weekend. All my Song Lyric Sunday and Sunday Social friends try not to miss me too much!

Nonetheless, stay tuned for something wild and crazy going down tomorrow. I promise you’ll get a kick out of it!

Have a great weekend!

-Lynn, “The Inked Autist”

I WILL Light It Up Blue

As has always been the case concerning April 2nd and the entire month of April in general, I am breaking rank with my fellow autism spectrum people and am lighting it up blue. Please note that this does not mean I think any less of those who disagree with me and choose to boycott this campaign. Believe me, I don’t. I know it sometimes seems I’m being dismissive of you all but trust me that it isn’t the case.

Unlike virtually every other autism spectrum person I’ve ever met, I for one wish it would have been different for me. It seems most people on the autism spectrum are OK with it (I even recently asked the question on Quora, “Why don’t autistic people want to be cured?”). I got a range of responses but not one of them challenged the premise of my question, leading me to believe that (from my very small sample size anyway), none of them really care about a cure and some are even frightened by the thought.

I will say that some of these concerns are not at all unfounded, but rather overplayed and overstated. It seems to me the biggest concern with the autism spectrum community is the topic of eugenics. Fine, I’ll buy that concern, but I think it’s taken to too much of an extreme. Is a pre-natal test for autism spectrum disorder (similar to pre-natal tests for Down Syndrome) really a bad thing? As someone who is staunchly and unapologetically pro-choice (for whatever reason) I don’t think so. Let’s face it: what’s worse? A fetus that’s aborted early term before it can even feel pain or a special needs baby born to parents who either do not want to deal with that kind of thing or who are ill-equipped to deal with it? There will still be plenty who would decide to go through with the pregnancy and have the child, something we see all the time with Down Syndrome. Less than half of fetuses that test positive for Down Syndrome will be aborted on those grounds, so the argument that the powers that be are hellbent on culling autistic people as a whole is absolute bullshit at best.

So we’ve addressed that, let’s switch back to born people. Many born people fear that should a cure be discovered it will be forced upon them. Again, I hear you. I realize this might seem scary, but instead of having a fear-based, knee-jerk emotional response, consider this: in pretty much every country on this earth we have the right to refuse medical treatment for any reason, even if such a refusal would result in our death. Do you really think this would be any different from any other medical treatment? I don’t see why it would. The right to refuse medical treatment has been consistently upheld and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

So I think I’ve addressed the two big concerns that many people have. I’ll now move into my pro-cure argument. You are welcome to stop reading now if I’ve pissed you off, but if not and you’re actually willing to learn this perspective, continue reading.

I have a dear friend (and please, please don’t take this as me attacking you, I promise I’m not!) who describes neurotypical vs. autistic in the similar light as the whole Windows vs. MacOS debate. Whereas I think it is a reasonable attempt to bridge the gap and there is some merit to the argument, to me there seems to be a glaring flaw in the analogy and I’ll address that here.

Let me first state what I do find accurate and attractive about the argument. Does the fact that MacOS has a much smaller market share automatically mean it is an inferior product? Absolutely not. There are some very strong points about operating system, not the least of which include how everything just flows together and integrates seamlessly and the much lower risk of malware. However, let’s not ignore the downsides: there is only a fraction of the software available for MacOS as there is for Windows. When it comes to availability of software, Windows wins hands down – there is no contest. I would absolutely agree that neither platform is necessarily superior or inferior to the other, only that they have their relative strengths and weaknesses. I would agree with this as it extends to neurotypical vs. autistic debate – each type does have its relative strengths and weaknesses.

That said, here is where I think the argument fails. Depending upon my needs as an end-user, I have the ability to freely choose which operating system best fulfills my needs. As an engineer who uses products such as Autodesk AutoCAD and Inventor, Windows is by far the superior choice for me for a work computer, and this is what I use at work. Whereas AutoCAD does have a Mac version it is several iterations behind the Windows version and Inventor does not run on a Mac at all. For personal use, Mac is the best choice for me as I do a lot of creative stuff. So there, I use both. Windows and Mac apologists, no need to attack me – I use both platforms.

Alas, that’s where the analogy fails in the NT vs. ND debate. I can’t freely choose which internal wiring I’m born with. That is pre-set and as of right now I am unable to change to a different platform that would best suit my needs. There is no question that in my specific case a neurotypical “operating system” would suit me far better than my pre-installed autistic wiring. Though I probably would have only lasted maybe 10 to 15 years in my childhood dream job, my life would no doubt have been easier doing that than what I’m doing now. I would like to have had the choice to switch to a platform more suited to my ambitions and desires, and there’s no question which platform would have been the superior choice for that.

As such, pro-cure argument as it stands today is not about forcing a cure on anyone. It’s about choice and nothing else. I 100% do not appreciate being called a traitor, a faker or a whole host of other things I’ve been accused of since I started expressing this viewpoint, nor is my viewpoint in any way fueled by self-hate. We are shaped by our experiences, and I am no exception. My own personal life experience combined with the input from others has led me to this viewpoint. Note that my language is different today than it was when I began this blog – I was adamantly pro-cure/anti-neurodiversity. I believed that should a cure become available that it should absolutely be administered as soon as a diagnosis is made and that it was negligent not to. However, I listened to you. I learned that not everyone has had the same experience as I have, and in doing so I have modified my argument. I only ask for the same courtesy in return.

And that is why, despite the admittedly bothersome ideology of groups like Autism Speaks and the like, I continue to support these groups who push for cure research in hopes that one will become available that those on the autism spectrum could then choose. I imagine would choose not to accept it, and that’s fine, but there is a small percentage of us who would.

THIS is why I break rank and will light it up blue tomorrow. Thank you for reading and hopefully understanding my experience.

Song Lyric Sunday 4/1/18 – Small Town Saturday Night

Once again we see ourselves on Sunday and it’s time to dive into our weekly exploration of music with Song Lyric Sunday, and this week our theme is either days and/or a day of the week. Time really does fly (and that ain’t no April Fool!) so here we go.

I’m not much of a country music person but there are a few artists and songs I enjoy. For me, overall, I’d say my favorite country artist is Hal Ketchum (who, in my opinion, is way underrated) and my favorite of his songs plays right into the whole notion of the name of a day in the week.

Spending my childhood in a fairly small town (Roswell, NM) and then most of my life in a little unincorporated farming community just outside of Abilene, TX (where I just moved back to after a brief stint in the big city), this song just kind of hits home for me. It’s a fun song and always brings me back to my childhood when my mom wore the particular cassette tape this song was featured on out (who remembers what a cassette tape is?). Supposedly it was inspired by New Braunfels, TX but it’s so applicable to any small town.

With that, here is the song “Small Town Saturday Night” as made famous by Hal Ketchum and written by Pat Alger and Hank DeVito.

There’s an Elvis movie on the marquee sign
We’ve all seen at least three times
Everybody’s broke, Bobby’s got a buck
Put a dollar’s worth of gas in his pickup truck
We’re going ninety miles an hour down a dead end road
What’s the hurry, son…where you gonna go?
We’re gonna howl at the moon, shoot out the light
It’s a small town Saturday night
It’s a small town Saturday night

Lucy’s got her lipstick on a little too bright
Bobby’s gettin’ drunk and lookin’ for a fight
Liquor on his breath and trouble on his mind
And Lucy’s just a kid, along for the ride
Got a six-pack of beer and a bottle of wine
Gotta be bad just to have a good time
They’re gonna howl at the moon, shoot out the light
It’s a small town Saturday night
It’s a small town Saturday night

Bobby told Lucy, “The world ain’t round…
Drops off sharp at the edge of town
Lucy, you know the world must be flat
‘Cause when people leave town, they never come back”
They go ninety miles an hour to the city limits sign
Put the pedal to the metal ‘fore they change their mind
They howl at the moon, shoot out the light
It’s a small town Saturday night

They howl at the moon, shoot out the light
Yeah, it’s a small town Saturday night
It’s a small town Saturday night
It’s a small town Saturday night
Source: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/halketchum/smalltownsaturdaynight.html

This was a fun trip down memory lane for me and a fun song all around. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did listening to it again. I couldn’t help but drag out my guitar and play and sing along as I listened. Actually, I almost subjected you all to my rotten singing for the 2nd time since my participation in SLS but decided you all probably wouldn’t appreciate that too much so I stuck with the original song. No need to thank me – I know already. 😛

Also, just so you know I will probably be tardy with my post next week – NASCAR returns to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend so I’ll be out and about with no time to blog. Thank you in advance for your patience.