(Not So) Song Lyric Sunday 3/26/17 – Beethoven’s 5 Secrets Featuring Voiceover by James Hinchcliffe

Healing, such a broad and vast topic so a rather interesting choice for Song Lyric Sunday (though a fitting one). I’m glad Helen is back and her fiance is on the road to recovery. Even in a way it was fitting for me this week as I have a fresh tattoo that’s healing up nicely (Saniderm came off this morning, now the rest is downhill).

Well, it’s also a complicated topic for an atheist. Most songs about healing are religious in nature (and mostly of the Christian religion) so finding secular songs about the topic was a challenge, and by the time I’d decided to go with something someone had already taken my idea (that’s what I get for being late on the draw!). So I’m going to take this a totally different direction and post a not-really-a-song song and go from there.

If you’ve followed me for awhile you’ll know that I am a big racing fan with a particular fondness for IndyCar and it just so happens that my favorite IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe was a competitor on Dancing with the Stars Season 23. Hinch and his pro partner Sharna Burgess made it all the way to the finals and finished 2nd behind gymnast Laurie Hernandez and her pro partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

Anyway, before I show you the musical piece, dance and voiceover I’ve selected, it helps to see the background. In May 2015 Hinch suffered a brutal practice crash that in all honesty should have killed him. Part of his front suspension failed sending him careening into the barrier wall at 224 MPH, knocking him unconscious and driving the severed part of the suspension through his leg and hip. The surgeon replaced all his blood three times over and Hinch even flatlined at one point. Here was that crash:

Alas, somehow he beat the odds, recovered and was back in the car for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar series. Which brings me to the musical piece I’ve selected: Beethoven’s 5 Secrets (arr. Piano Guys and OneRepublic). This was the piece Sharna used to choreograph their finals freestyle dance and added a voiceover by Hinch himself because she didn’t feel like any song could tell his story quite like he could. Hence for “lyrics” I’m using his own words and I think it not only applies to racing but could apply to any miracle bounce-back, be it from physical or emotional injury. Warning: Have a tissue handy.

“My life can be stressful, but being in the racecar is when I’m most at peace. 
Ironically it’s what slows me down. 
I know my sport has risk, and I accept that. 
But when you’re behind the wheel, you have to believe it won’t happen to you…
…Until it does. 
I remember entering turn 3 and then everything goes…black. 

They didn’t think I’d race again; they didn’t think I’d walk again.
They weren’t even sure I was going to live…
…But here I am.” – James Hinchcliffe 

So there you have it. Please don’t sue me for doing something totally off-the-wall here. I hope you enjoyed the music, Hinch’s poetic words and the beautiful dance (which earned a perfect 40/40 from the judges).

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Song Lyric Sunday 11/27/16 – Gimme Some Lovin’

OK, this is probably my weirdest pick yet for Song Lyric Sunday (and I’ve had some that were out there for sure!) in that I’m bending it to fit the theme of learning something when I first heard the song.

So what could I have possibly learned from this seemingly nonsense song by Spencer Davis Group? Well, it was the context in which I first heard this song recently, namely on Dancing with the Stars. When James Hinchcliffe was preparing his trio dance in the semifinals his pro partner Sharna Burgess and 2nd pro partner Jenna Johnson (who stepped in for Sharna for two weeks while she was recovering from a knee injury) it was decided they’d use this song and bring sort of a racing theme to the dance (a jive).

So what did I learn from this song? Well, it wasn’t so much learning from the song per se, it was more about learning more about Hinch. I knew a fair amount of trivia about him (and the other drivers also) as I follow IndyCar religiously but what I did not know is that when he was a kid his dad would blast this song to pump him up to go gokarting. I thought it was kind of neat they brought the song in that way and it’s kind of a sweet story, so that’s what I’m sticking with.

Here’s the song:

Well, my temperature is rising, got my feet on the floor
Crazy people rocking ’cause they want to some more
Let me in baby, I don’t know what you got
But you better take it easy ’cause this place is hot

And I’m so glad you made it, so glad you made it
You got to gimme some lovin’, gimme, gimme some lovin’
Gimme some lovin’, gimme, gimme some lovin’
Gimme some lovin’ everyday

Well, I feel so good, everything’s getting high
You better take it easy ’cause the place is on fire
Been a hard day and I had no work to do
Wait a minute baby, let it happen to you

And I’m so glad we made it, so glad we made it
You got to gimme some lovin’, gimme, gimme some lovin’
Gimme some lovin’, gimme, gimme some lovin’
Gimme some lovin’ everyday, yeh

Well, I feel so good, everything’s getting high
You better take it easy ’cause the place is on fire
Been a hard day nothing went too good
Now I’m gonna relax, buddy everybody should

And I’m so glad we made it, hey hey, so glad we made it
You got to gimme some lovin’, gimme, gimme some lovin’ woo ooo
Gimme some lovin’, gimme, gimme some lovin’

Gimme, gimme, gimme some of your lovin’, baby
You know I need it so bad woo ooo
Gimme some of your lovin’, baby
Source:  Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’ Lyrics | MetroLyrics

As an added bonus, I know you all are going to ask for it, here is the dance routine as performed by James Hinchcliffe and his pro partners Sharna Burgess and Jenna Johnson. Who knew someone who, in his own words, “sits for a living” could dance like this? He ultimately finished 2nd in the competition which is an amazing accomplishment considering where he was this time last year (namely recovering from a near-fatal accident and just getting his bearings going again).

I should say they got straight 10s for this routine, and rightfully so.

Random Saturday Pondering

As I sit here looking at my one-week old tattoo still covered in Saniderm (comes off tomorrow!) and re-watching James Hinchcliffe’s dance with Sharna Burgess on DWTS’ YouTube channel, I can’t help but wonder which tragic events in my life were actually hidden blessings and how my life would be different today had it not been for them.

Before I go any further, I urge you to watch the YouTube video referenced above. Hinch and his surgeon talk about his accident and his remarkable recovery, then followed by the dance. Have some tissues handy, you might need them.

In 18 months, James went from an accident that would have killed any of us to tearing it up on DWTS. I don’t care who you are, that’s just absolutely incredible, but what really shocked me is his claim that the accident was the best thing that’s ever happened to him. When I first heard that I thought “dude, you’re crazy,” but then I got to thinking about that statement and the implications of it.

Would he have even agreed to do the show if he hadn’t have gone through that? Would he really have had anything to prove? How would his life have been different if not for the accident? Apparently he thinks it changed his life for the better, and if that’s the case then who am I to question what he thinks?

That’s when I got to thinking his words and trying to apply them to my own life. How would my life be different today if not for the tragic events that happened in my own life? What would my life look like now? Would it be truly better as I often claim it would be or would I be just totally miserable? There is a chain of events of my life within about the last 5 years or so that I went through that probably have shaped me and probably made me a better person and put me in a better place.

This goes back to when I first got the rejection letter from the FAA stating that they did not deem me airworthy. At the time, I thought my whole life was totally ruined. Needless to say the years immediately after that were sheer torment. I went through life wondering “why me?” and feeling just incredibly sorry for myself. I pursued an alternate life course, went to grad school and found a girlfriend but it didn’t help. I was still miserable and when I caught my then-girlfriend having an affair I just fell completely apart. I just wanted to die. I sat at home or in a bar drinking my pain almost all the time. Just anything to numb the pain. All while concealing my pain from my students and professors (I was in grad school) in what little time I actually spent in that environment.

After grad school I was unable to find employment and had to move back home. Things had gotten so point that I basically I became completely non-functioning. I was so miserable that I set up a fantasy life for myself on a different blogging site as an outlet. It helped to sort of fantasize about living out my dream, but even then I knew that wasn’t a healthy coping strategy. It was there I met the girl who eventually wound up my best friend, but it wasn’t always like that.

We bonded to the point where we started a long-distance relationship. I had found love and thought “hey, my luck is finally turning!” I stopped binge drinking and actually started cleaning my life up somewhat. However, my personal problems combined with her desire to want children led to us mutually parting ways and that just totally broke me.  I went right back to where I was but then I also started popping Xanax like candy. I was a complete and total mess. I attempted suicide multiple times. I had all but given up and, truth be told, so had my family.

Then 2015 came along and things finally started to turn around. Though it was just a menial job, I was given a permanent part-time job maintaining the tower bells where I ring. It wasn’t enough to make a living off of, but it at least kept me from going completely bankrupt. I started to finally get better, got off the pills and cut my drinking back to moderate levels. Then in August another door opened and got me into my current job. Though I frequently do complain about how mundane it is, it pays alright and the benefits are unbelievable. That November I re-connected with my long-distance lover and, although we have differing life goals with regards to children and therefore can’t be together, we have re-kindled a deep and powerful friendship and we’re closer than ever.

And here we are in December and here I am toying with an idea that I always swore I never would toy with: of getting a tattoo. I figured with what I’d been through getting a semicolon was appropriate and that I would be one and done with the tattoos. I was hesitant at first, but I was convinced to go through with it. I did, and that little thing was all it took to start a tattoo obsession.The rest is history

Now here I am with five tattoos and having played a role in getting two apprentice artists promotions. Knowing I’ve helped them in their journey is an indescribable feeling of pride, and when I think about that, I think about what Hinch said. “That accident was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” When I think about his words, I realize that “wow, maybe the tragic events I’ve endured have been blessings in disguise.”

Paint the alternative picture: at this point I’d likely be a senior Captain at a regional airline and in the market to move up to a First Officer position at a major carrier. I might have a dream career but I’d still likely be an entirely blank canvas. I’d still probably be very anti-tattoo and probably somewhat judgmental toward those who do have them. I would be a selfish jerk without a care in the world about anyone and wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about helping others out. I would never have met my best friend. I would never have played a role in those two artists achieving their dreams.

I realize now that I am a better person for what I’ve gone through. No, I don’t believe in the old adage “everything happens for a reason,” nor do I believe in the existence of god, nor do I believe in fate. All that said, perhaps my life is in fact better the way it has panned out and it just took me many years to realize it.

No, I’m not an airline pilot. That’ll never happen. I do maintain some ray of hope that the FAA will eventually wise up and give those in my tribe a chance, and though it’s too late for me to make a career out of perhaps I can fly for pleasure someday. One way or another, I wouldn’t trade my love of ink nor my best friend for anything, even a dream career. Those two things mean more to me than a job ever could.

Thanks, Hinch, for sharing your story. It has given me a kick in the pants. Even if nobody else says this, please know you have helped me in ways you can’t imagine. I hope you get your Indy 500 win and IndyCar Series championship sometime. You deserve it.

Song Lyric Sunday 9/18/16 – Live Life

So this week’s prompt for Song Lyric Sunday is a song you recently heard in concert or would like to hear in concert. Well, I am totally not a concert person at all so I’m afraid I don’t have anything really to this effect, but I’m going to take a very loose interpretation of the prompt (as I always do, but this even looser) and go from there.

For the first time this season, I am totally tuning in to Dancing With The Stars. While I normally would not, a person I admire very much is doing the competition this year and I am tuning in solely to watch and root for him. His name is James Hinchcliffe and he is a race car driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He’s had a bit of a rough season this year, but still I would say is a victory for him to even be racing this season because last year he had a major crash during practice for the 2015 Indianapolis 500 that in all honesty should have killed him. He was impaled through his leg, had to have surgery, 14 pints of blood and lots of physical therapy. The fact that he’s even racing this year is a miracle, and to be doing DWTS is just a total inspirational story.

So for this prompt I am using the song Hinch and his professional partner Sharna Burgess danced to in the season premiere of DWTS and I am going to say that is the song I recently heard live (yeah, I know they danced to the recording but whatever). The song is called “Live Life” by Zayde Wolf. I didn’t pay much attention to the song as I was watching their dance routine (which earned the highest judges’ scores of the night I should say!) so I looked up the song after the fact and found it to be a very beautiful and inspirational song and such an appropriate song choice for their first dance given what Hinch has been through in the last year. The fact he is doing this makes me admire him more, not only as an IndyCar driver but as a human being.

Here you go. Have a tissue handy if you’re the emotional type.

Sometimes I think that I’m a dreamer
The one that’s standing all alone
Sometimes it feels like it’s forever
Since I’ve truly felt at home

What am I gonna do?
What am I gonna do to feel like freedom’s mine?
What am I gonna do?
What am I gonna do to feel like freedom’s mine?

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
I’m gonna live life

Some nights I stay up staring at the stars
Wondering how far it goes
I know this life is all I have
Well that’s what I’ve been told

What am I gonna do?
What am I gonna do?
Will you go where I go?
The time is now not when
I’m reaching for your hand
Will you go where I go?

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
I’m gonna live life

Like it’s the only one (like it’s the only one we have)
Like it’s the only one (like it’s the only one we have)

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Yeah I’m gonna live life

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Yeah I’m gonna live life

Live life like I never have
Live life through the good and bad
Source: https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Zayde-Wølf/Live-Life

As an added clip, here is Hinch and Sharna’s dance routine. In the beginning you can see the accident than nearly claimed Hinch’s life and hear his thoughts about it. Truly an inspirational story.

Hope you all enjoyed and rest assured I will continue participating in these. They’re fun and it’s great to be introduced to new music.