Autism Spectrum and Myers-Briggs Types

Maybe this is a weird thing to wonder (as even all of us on the autism spectrum are different), but I wonder if those on the autism spectrum mostly fit into just a few Myers-Briggs types.

I would imagine most (if not all) of us are introverts as well as judgers (i.e. have a preference for structure and order). The middle two letters might be able to go either way but if I was a betting man I’d bet that a vast majority of us fit into those four personality types (INTJ, INFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ).

For me, I don’t fit into a neat little box. I strongly lean I and J, lean moderately N and, depending on the day and set of questions, I flip-flop between T and F. I guess that makes me an INXJ but overall about half the time I wind up an INTJ and the other half INFJ. I know, I’m just weird like that.

I should say that I don’t take the MBTI as gospel truth in any sense of the term. I don’t think we should let our type dictate what careers we pursue or anything, but it’s just interesting to me.

So to my fellow spectrumites, what is your Myers-Briggs type? Also just generally for my other blogging buddies, what’s yours? I’m truly curious.

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Beer/Cigar Review Wednesday 12/28/16

Welcome to beer/cigar review Wednesday where I review any notable (and some not so notable) beers I’ve drunk or cigars I’ve smoked over the past seven days. As always, these are just my subjective opinions and everyone’s palate is different so what I like you might not and vice versa. I always encourage participation in the comments with your own reviews

So let’s get things kicked off, as always starting with this week’s beer selections.

Rahr Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer

Last week we featured Rahr Winter Warmer, a lovely beer in its own right. This is the same beer but aged in bourbon barrels, which kicks the ABV up to a whopping 10.5%* and keeping the IBUs at 44. You’d think the beers would be very similar but they are actually totally different!

Pours the same reddish-brown with a thin tan head that recedes quickly, but this one leaves a thin ring and minimal lacing. Bourbon and alcohol astringency hits the nose up front with the roasted and caramel malt in the background and a hint of vanilla. Flavor consists of the same core of roasted malt and sweet molasses but the bourbon barrel aging adds a whole new level of smoothness, taming the hops (vs. the regular) and introducing a decadent vanilla flavor. Slight burn on the way down rounds out the bourbon aged experience. Thick body and low carbonation, drinks very smooth and almost chuggable.

Though both are great beers in their own respects, this bourbon barrel aged version is in a league of its own and is (at least to my palate) a superior product. I enjoyed the regular, but this just kicks it up. Rating: 4.5/5.

Rabbit Hole Rapture Fusion Brown Ale 

From Rabbit Hole Brewing in Justin, Texas hails this “Fusion” brown ale, described by the brewer as an English brown ale with an American attitude. It weighs in at 6.4% ABV and 33 IBU.

Pours very fizzy from the can (maybe it’s bottle/can conditioned?) but eventually settles into a dark brown with a tinge of red in the light. Aromas of green apple, caramel malt and a subtle citrus hoppiness. Palate pretty much follows identically with a green apple tartness on the front which gives way into a roasted and caramel malt body and a sharp lemony finish. Light in body and high in carbonation and resembles a light beer in terms of mouthfeel so it could easily be chugged.

Definitely an interesting beer of sorts. I did enjoy it and it would make a fine session beer, even if not the most complex beer around. This is one to take with you to the speedway to kill on a day of racing. Rating: 3.5/5.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Celebration Ale is a fresh hopped India Pale Ale haling from Sierra Nevada Brewing in Chico, California. It weighs in at 6.8% ABV, 65 IBU, 16 Plato OG and the brewer is kind enough to include the final gravity, 4 Plato.

Pours a bright, vibrant red-orange from the bottle with a substantial 2 fingers of head that sticks around and laces the glass like crazy. Very strong, citrusy grapefruit hops on the aroma with a slight undertone of pale and caramel malt. Flavor is practically fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice – crisp and refreshing. The beer benefitted from a little salt (not beer salt, just plain NaCl) according to my palate preference for salted grapefruit (it might be a southern thing, but if I’m going to have a grapefruit with breakfast or something I like it with a bit of salt). A little bit of a burn on the way down. Medium in body and high in carbonation. Drinks well, a little too bitter to chug but not harsh.

If you like grapefruit juice you’re going to love this beer. That’s all there is to it. I’m generally not a huge IPA fan but I do enjoy certain ones and this is one I did and I’m sure IPA fans will enjoy it too. Rating: 4/5.

And now for this week’s lone cigar pick (haven’t had the opportunity to try anything new this week):

Romeo y Julieta Romeo Gorditas

This (approximately) 4″ x 60 RG (couldn’t find an exact size on this vitola) features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and Dominican long filler. I couldn’t find much else on this cigar so we’ll have to go with that.

First light revealed a loose draw producing airy mild/medium bodied smoke with a very musty earth on both the draw and finish and a hint of caramel on the retrohale. About 1/2″ in the body flavors come up to medium and a very soft, aromatic cedar joins in on the retrohale. 1/2 way in the caramel starts taking on more of a sweet spice, almost nutmeg flavor. The final third goes entirely woody throughout bringing a charred wood through the draw, finish and retrohale. Ending at 50 minutes as the smoke starts to go hot and acrid, this was a fairly short smoke with a very mild nicotine strength.

Performance was above average for a 60 ring gauge – a wavy burn requiring one correction at about the 1/2 way point but that’s to be expected with large ring gauges. Otherwise performance was normal.

Not an overly complex or strong cigar but one that would go great with coffee in the morning or for a quick lunch break smoke (assuming you get a 1 hour lunch). Won’t blow you away but won’t disappoint  you. Rating: 3.5/5.

Product Review: Thalia Capo 200

Well, since nobody got me anything for Giftmas (sniff, tear) I figured I’d get something for myself. After all, I haven’t done something nice for myself in forever so I figured it was time I do so and take some of the sting out of the holiday season.

I’ve been playing guitar for years and one thing that I’ve always been disappointed with in some respect or another have been my capos. I use a capo a lot (probably more often than not) as I have to play in some weird keys to compensate for my relatively low vocal range so it’s been an almost constant struggle. I’ve gone through dozens of capos over the years and while some of them were good they always left me wanting in some respect or another. Then the family owned and operated Thalia came along a couple of years ago. I got one of the first releases as it excited me with its innovative concept of turning the mechanism upside down for fast key changes as well as making the capo a work of art, but I found it very hard to press and thus difficult to really use it to its supposed full potential.

So then I heard about the new and improved model dubbed the Thalia Capo 200. I went back and forth for a long time and for the holiday season I finally decided to pull the trigger and get me one in my preferred aesthetic choice (gold plated with blue abalone shell inlay – there are like 32 inlay options and 3 finish options to suit your own aesthetic taste) and I’m ever so glad I did.

My initial impressions upon opening the package were that the capo was a work of art – the shell inlay and gold finish were everything I’d hoped for and more. A quick glance over the instructions and I found it a snap (pun intended) to pop the stock fretpad out and replace it with the correct radius sliding fretpad for my Martin guitar (note that the capo comes with an assortment of both sliding and rubber fretpads to suit your preference and the radius of your guitar’s neck – and you can get “high profile”XL rubber pads as an option for use on 12 string guitars, mandolins, etc. that have higher tension).

I immediately noticed upon squeezing the capo that it was much easier to squeeze than the first generation Thalia. Due to the pressure required the first generation was almost unusable for me as I have relatively weak wrists and hands. This version I can squeeze without issue and place it where I want.

I placed it on my guitar and after a little bit of practice figured out how to use it to its full potential for quick key changes without missing a beat. With the sliding fretpads (a harder material) the strings sound as rich and resonant as open strings and with the correct radius the guitar stayed in tune all the way up the neck. I was able to get it to press the entire width of the fretboard all the way up to the 11th fret on my relatively wide Martin OM neck (1 3/4″ nut, 2 1/4” @ 12th fret), though I rarely capo above 5 so it was more than sufficient for that (whereas the first generation was only good up to about the 7th fret) or with the new design you can conveniently park it on the nut when not in use.

It was really hard to find any fault at all with the capo. I guess if I had to nitpick something about it it’s that it’s rather heavy (not something you really notice once it’s on the guitar) and I found it no more obtrusive than any other capo despite the relatively large profile. Also, if you’re going to do sharp bends you might want the XL pads for some added tension (as to keep the string in place at the capoed fret) but as I never do bends in my playing this is a total non-issue.

The Thalia is a bit pricier than a normal capo but for what you get with it (unparalleled beauty and artistry, the ability to match it to your guitar perfectly and the added function of quick key changes and ability to use as a slide) it’s worth every penny. I think I’ll be retiring all of my old capos and using this one exclusively from now on. It’s that good.

Above all though is that the story of how the company came to be is really a heartwarming one of a father and a daughter who started the company from a Kickstarter campaign. You can read/hear more about their story on their website. You’d be hard pressed to find a better example of the American dream.

If you play guitar or any other stringed instrument for that matter, do yourself a favor and order you a Thalia. You’ll be glad you did. Have a look through their wide range of finish and inlay options and pick one that matches your guitar or your personal style. This really is the grandaddy of all capos.

Pros: A work of art, easy to use, preserves tuning and tonal quality of the instrument, can be customized to suit playing style and individual instruments.
Cons: None.
Rating: 5/5.
Recommended: Enthusiastically.

Song Lyric Sunday 12/25/16 – You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch

Hah. The Song Lyric Sunday theme is a favorite holiday song or one that best describes how I feel? I’ll just leave it at this. I’m feeling super Grinchy and incredibly bitchy (seriously, fuck the holidays – it sucks when you have no friends, you don’t get along with your family and you have to spend it alone and bitter) so I figured this song said it better than I could. I have no further comment.

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel,
You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel!

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch,
Your heart’s an empty hole,
Your brain is full of spiders, you have garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch,
I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch,
You have termites in your smile,
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile, Mr. Grinch,
Given a choice between the two of you I’d take the seasick crocodile!

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a nasty wasty skunk,
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch,
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote,
“Stink, stank, stunk”

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch,
You’re the king of sinful sots,
Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Grinch,
Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful
assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots!

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch,
With a nauseous super naus,
You’re a crooked jerky jockey and you drive a crooked horse, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!
Source: http://www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/dr_seuss/mr_grinch-lyrics-424495.html

Beer/Cigar Review Wednesday 12/21/16

Welcome to beer/cigar review Wednesday where I take a look at any interesting or noteworthy (and maybe not-so-notworthy) beers I’ve drunk or cigars I’ve smoked over the past seven days. By all means, if you wish to chime in on your experiences with these and/or provide your own reviews feel free to do so in the comments! At any rate, let’s get going.

Let’s start with this week’s beer selections:

Revolver Mother’s Little Fracker

Originating from Revolver Brewing in Granbury, Texas is Mother’s Little Fracker (too bad they couldn’t get away with calling it something else), a keg/bottle conditioned American Stout weighing in at 7.75% ABV and 60 IBU. Not quite an Imperial but pushing the envelope, it has some characteristics of an Imperial but is otherwise just a plain old American Stout nonetheless.

Pours jet black with a thick tan head that recedes to a thin ring and laces the glass like crazy. Big roasty aroma with hints of coffee and dark chocolate. Palate follows the nose almost exactly with roasted malt, dark chocolate and coffee but adding in a tinge of sweet caramel and dark fruit and adding in a subtle floral hop finish. Medium in body and very low carbonation which results in a slick mouthfeel and thus an easily chuggable beer.

All in all a pleasant stout. Not quite imperial stout smooth but not as rough as some plain American stouts can be. Definitely not my favorite but one I would definitely drink again. Rating: 3.75/5.

Rahr and Sons Winter Warmer

Rahr and Sons is another one of my favorite Texas breweries. Based out of Ft. Worth, this place is another one of those that likes to push the envelope a bit. This Winter Warmer is not too far out of character but still packs a good punch at 8% ABV and 44 IBU.

Pours a dark reddish brown with 1 finger of head that dissipates to almost nothing. Aromas of molasses, dark fruit and floral hops. Flavors of roasted malt, black cherry and a touch of molasses sweetness supported by a subtle smokiness and a medium floral/piney hop finish. Slight alcohol burn on the way down. Medium in body and carbonation and drinks easily enough.

Yet another tasty brew from Rahr and Sons and if you can get it definitely a quintessential winter seasonal beer. Rating: 4/5.

And now for this week’s cigar picks:

La Flor Dominica Andalusian Bull

Here it is folks: Cigar Aficionado Magazine’s #1 cigar of 2016 and luckily my local tobacconist had them in stock. This cigar features Dominican long filler and Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper and is a 6.5 x 64 Salomon.

First light featured a very loose draw with minimal mild-medium bodied smoke consisting of mostly a smooth, creamy leather on both the draw and retrohale. Double-puffing the first bit helped the smoke production and body immensely bringing it up to a solid medium body and enhancing the draw/finish flavor and adding in a subtle cocoa on the draw and caramel on the retrohale, along with a slight spice. The creamy leather core sticks around through to the 2nd third dropping the spice, caramel and cocoa and bringing in a coffee note and no longer requiring double puffs. Nearing the final third the body flavors are up to medium-full and the coffee transitions to a cedar while still keeping the same core flavor. First hot/acrid draw came at 2 hours thus ending the cigar for me. Medium nicotine strength lasting from about the end of the first third to the final puff.

The cigar featured the typical burn issues that come from a large ring gauge (namely a wonky burn requiring frequent touching up) and the last third had to be puffed very frequently or it would go out. Honestly it was a bit of a pain in the ass to smoke because of that.

All in all, this cigar would be a leather lover’s dream as it features that core flavor from first light to final puff. I’m not a huge leather fan so it didn’t really do it for me and combined with the burn issues I didn’t like it as well as CA obviously, but not unplesant or or anything. I was just expecting and hoping for more. Rating: 3/5.

Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro Terra Nova

This AB cigar is a 5″ x 50 ring gauge robusto and features a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan long filler under a San Andres maduro wrapper. I picked this one up not knowing what to expect – I had had one out of an AB variety pack and it absolutely sucked but I chalked it up to the fact most companies (cigar or otherwise) put their rejects into variety packs to sell them cheap and decided to give it another try.

First light featured a perfect draw consisting of a rich chocolate on the draw and a very peppery and spicy finish supported by a soft leather on the retrohale. The smoke had a dry, chalky mouthfeel. Pepper and spice taper off after the first light but still present bringing the body down to a medium, but also allowed a creamy coffee to come in on the draw. The retrohale morphs to just a generic earthiness by the 2nd third while keeping the same draw flavors. The final third goes completely earthy on the draw, finish and retrohale dropping all the other flavors. I ended the cigar at 45 minutes with over two inches left because of a full nicotine strength.

Construction and burn was typical of a thick maduro wrapper leaf – somewhat wonky and requiring a couple of corrections to the burn. Double puffing helped the burn stay more even, but as always one has to be careful doing this as to not overheat the cigar (which leads to a very putrid hot gas flavor).

I don’t know how to rate this one honestly. The first about 30 minutes of the cigar produced very nice flavors while the last third didn’t suit my taste preference and it had so much nicotine I felt like I was going to throw up when I ended it. If you like nicotine bombs this is one to check out for sure, but I just can’t handle them. I think my final rating is going to be 3.5/5.

That concludes this week’s rendition of my beer and cigar reviews. Let me know what you thought of these.

Tattoo Nightmares – “Make it as Ugly and Painful as Possible”

As a tattoo enthusiast and someone who gets over-enthusiastic about things I get involved in (I imagine it’s an autism trait truth be told) I spend countless hours watching tattoo reality shows (Ink Master, Tattoo Titans, etc.) and scouring the depths of YouTube for juicy content related to tattoos (be it first tattoo reactions, horrible tattoo typos, etc.) and stumbled across this one which, quite honestly, made me very angry watching it. I’ll take shit parenting for $2,000 Alex:

Now, I realize this is a reality show and might not be able to be taken at face value (not to mention the nightmares are dramatized for the Cinema effect) but some people are so anti-tattoo that I would not put it past them to do this kind of thing. Alas, I’m bothered by more than one thing here.

1) The parents. If they didn’t want their daughter getting a tattoo underage, then they should have stood their ground and said “no.” It would have been better to make her wait than have her wind up with an ugly ass tattoo as tattoos don’t wash off. Also “painful as possible?” What are these parents sadistic or something? Granted, using pain as discipline is as old as humanity itself but this goes far beyond just a swat on the ass (and even modern academic/psychological studies question the value of that).

Honestly, I support a uniform minimum age of 18 (at least in the US) to receive a tattoo and even caution against getting one prior to one’s early 20s. Most 18 and 19 year olds aren’t quite mature enough to make a lifelong decision like this (most, not all) but I don’t support an age higher than this because the military age is 18 and as far as I’m concerned if you can be sent to war you’re old enough to drink, smoke, vote, do whatever drugs you want (yes, I think drugs should be decriminalized as a whole), buy a gun and get whatever body mods you want. I still caution against it though just out of principle.

2) The tattoo artist. I’d like to know what tattoo artist put making money before morals, ethics and principles so I am sure to never get a tattoo from that artist. If the artist in question here had any, and I mean ANY self-respect or respect for the industry or art he/she would not have agreed to this. Any tattoo artist worth his/her salt would have said “I’m not doing this to a human canvas.” A good tattoo artist will also tell you that if you push too hard, use too much voltage, too hard a hit or too fast a frequency the needles will irreparably damage the skin and leave scars and other permanent damage. This not only makes the tattoo look like total shit but also makes cover-up work later on down the road that much more difficult and painful. Lastly, any reputable tattoo artist would not purposefully do a tattoo he/she is not proud of. After all, that is that person’s work on display from hereon out.

As far as I’m concerned the artist who did this should be put out of business and have his/her shop shut down. This is unethical behavior and even in some ways physical assault. This kind of thing is unacceptable PERIOD.

I say all this because this kind of thing is not what leads to more acceptance of tattoos in mainstream society. This just reinforces the stereotype that tattooed people and tattoo artists are rebels and savages rather than normal, good people. This does NOTHING to help our cause and as such I’d like to send a big “FUCK YOU!” to ANY artist who would pull this shit. This is just immoral, no matter how you turn it.

End rant for today.

Holiday Blues

I know I’m not the only one who suffers from the holiday blues but it sure isn’t the easiest thing to deal with, even for a total introvert like me.

I really do try to stay as upbeat as I can during the holiday season but it is very difficult for me to do. When most people are exchanging gifts and enjoying feasts and company of their families, I normally am relegated to my home alone and with nobody.

My relationship with my family is strained, even my immediate family. We get along and whatever but it is strained due to certain issues. My extended family? Hah. I’m not allowed at their gatherings anymore due to my religious stance (atheism). I’m also seen as the weird one and due to those reasons I’m made to be an outcast.

I hate to bitch and moan but I just feel horrible. I imagine I’ll be okay but still, it’s tough. I’d almost rather be at my miserable job than stuck at home on a holiday. As weird as it sounds that would take some of the sting out.

Whatever the case, sorry. I just had to get that out.