Song Lyric Sunday 4/30/17 – Blue On Black

Consequences. An interesting topic for our weekly venture into the world of music for Song Lyric Sunday. Again, it’s such a broad topic but I think I have a great song that fits the theme and is a song I perform regularly at open mic or at karaoke so needless to say it’s one of my favorite songs (of course, I have a lot of those admittedly LOL).

Kenny Wayne Shepherd is one of those relatively unknown artists but he does have some really great music. I imagine he’s probably regarded as a one-hit wonder and this song would be considered his one hit and when I thought of consequences this was the very first song that came to mind for me. I imagine the artist envisioned it as a lover leaving him but I think it can apply to a multitude of lost relationships; from damaged familial relationships to losing a long-time best friend.

Thus I present to you the song “Blue on Black” as performed by the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and written by KWS, Mark Selby and Tia Sillers:

Night falls and I’m alone
Skin yeah chilled me to the bone
You turned and you ran
Oh yeah oh slipped, right from my hand

Hey, blue on black, tears on a river
Push on a shove it don’t mean much
Joker on jack, match on a fire
Cold on ice is a dead man’s touch
Whisper on a scream doesn’t change a thing
Don’t bring you back
Blue on black oh yeah, blue on black

Blind oh, now I see
Truth, lies and in between
Wrong, can’t be undone
Oh slipped, from the tip of your tongue

Hey, blue on black, tears on a river
Push on a shove it don’t mean much
Joker on jack, match on a fire
Cold on ice is a dead man’s touch
Whisper on a scream doesn’t change a thing
Doesn’t bring you back, yeah
Blue on black, oh blue on black, oh yeah

Blue on black, tears on a river
Push on a shove it don’t mean much
Joker on jack, match on a fire
Cold on ice is a dead man’s touch
Whisper on a scream doesn’t change a thing
Don’t bring you back, blue on black, oh yeah
Blue on black

Hey, blue on black, tears on a river
Push on a shove it don’t mean much
Joker on jack, match on a fire
And cold on ice is a dead man’s touch
Whisper on a scream doesn’t change a thing
Doesn’t bring you back
Blue on black, oh blue on black
Oh blue on black, oh blue on black
Source: http://www.songlyrics.com/kenny-wayne-shepherd/blue-on-black-lyrics/

Hope you enjoyed. Also, I apologize in advance but I will probably be either absent entirely or at the very least late with my post for next week’s edition of Song Lyric Sunday as I will be on vacation and too busy to blog from Wednesday on thru the following Monday. Just giving you a heads-up in case you’re wondering where I went; I’ve not fallen off the edges of the earth, just too busy. Thanks for your understanding.

Back to Target Weight

Since about my early/mid 20s I’ve been one to mostly stay physically fit. When I was a teen I was bordering on morbidly obese and I just got sick of it so I kicked things into high gear. I dropped about 80 pounds in the course of a year, started running and strength training. It’s something I’d maintained for a long time up until about three years ago and was even underweight at a particular point.

My physical fitness started deteriorating in March/April of 2014 when my last relationship came to an end. We had some minor issues that could have been worked out but one major issue that was non-negotiable: children. She caught baby fever, I’m adamantly antinatalist (not just childless/childfree – antinatalism is a stronger position than that). As such, that irreconcilable difference forced us to part ways.

As such, I spiraled into deep depression and didn’t even get out of bed for about three months. I quit running, exercising, ate and drank myself into oblivion and I gained back about 3/4 of the weight I had dropped. As I started recovering several months later I dropped a bit of the weight again as I resumed normal activity, but then another stressor entered my life and derailed that: my job, and it’s an office job so I was relegated to sitting around in front of a computer screen all day. With that, the snacks readily available in the break room and still more or less was a functioning alcoholic. It’s how I coped after work.

Yes, I paid dearly for it. I didn’t think I’d gained that much weight back until I went to the doctor last December for my company mandated annual physical. When I weighed in at nearly 220 pounds I nearly cried. I knew I had gained weight but had no idea it was that bad. Of course, the doctor reminded me that I was overweight and I should drop some. Alas, that would have to wait until 2017 as we were in the midst of holiday season.

Well, with that new motivation I decided to make some major lifestyle changes. I can’t run as much as I used to due to knee issues but still do some. Fair enough. I decided to make up for it with more weight training. I also decided to re-structure my diet and alcohol consumption some. Knowing that my drinking was the main culprit of excess calories I made a conscious effort to limit myself to my natural tolerance of 3 drinks/day. Probably my other biggest weakness is ice cream. No more of that for dessert, but you won’t deny me my ice cream so what do I do? I move that to breakfast (a cup of ice cream has about the same number of calories as a bowl of cereal with milk). I also check calorie counts of my alcoholic drinks in a day and adjust accordingly at dinner while still making sure to get ample protein and fat. I still allow myself one or two “cheat” days per week where I just kind of have whatever I want (because you can’t deprive yourself all the time). I’ve had this routine since January (with the exception of St. Patrick’s/birthday weekend where I didn’t pay too close attention) and it’s pretty solid now.

The result? I don’t know how much I’ve lost off of my gravitational attraction to the earth but I have lost about 3″ off of my waist; which was my goal to begin with. I’m actually portioned pretty well. I can fit into (men’s) size 34 and/or 87 lower half wear again (87cm that is – most of my shorts are in metric measurement as I get them from Down Under where you can still get short men’s shorts), which was pretty much my goal to begin with. I’m to the point now I can start slowly transitioning back to a maintenance level of caloric intake with simply a restricted day after my cheat days to even things out. That’s kind of what I do already anyway.

So yes, I definitely feel better physically. Not only am I not carrying around as much weight but there for awhile I was having some absolutely horrible IBS-like symptoms. I’d cycle between being horribly backed up and not being able to stay out of the bathroom every few days (TMI, sorry) as well as almost constant stabbing stomach pain. I was wondering if maybe I had torn a hole in my stomach lining or something but that wasn’t it as I still handle insanely hot/spicy foods just fine (my heat tolerance is insane – I’ve eaten ghost pepper, scorpion pepper, etc. without breaking a sweat or having any ill effects). It was just a side effect to my horrible eating/alcohol habits.

Anyway, it’s good to be back to “normal” and I hope to keep it that way. Of course, now that I’ve built this routine into my structure I should be alright.

When Two Divergent Paths Converge…

I was always a huge fan of the TV sitcom Frasier (as well as its predecessor Cheers). Honestly, I can’t help but wonder if Dr. Frasier Crane is borderline high-functioning autistic because I see a lot of myself in him (appreciation for fine arts, beverages, philosophy, somewhat introverted and pretentious, etc.). Whatever the case, I always got a kick out of the show and was sad when it ended.

Anyway, when I’m bored I’ll often watch reruns of the show to pass the time and I just watched the episode titled “Sliding Frasiers” that got the wheels turning in my brain and inspired this post. Basically in this episode Frasier is going to speed dating and can’t decide whether to go formal (suit) or casual (sweater). Well, the show depicts the events of both choices and while they seemingly diverge in the middle of the episode, at the end they start to converge back to the same ending point and by the end of the episode they were totally convergent realities.

So how the hell did an episode of a sitcom inspire a blog post? Well, every now and then some external force inspires me to think deeply “what if.” What if I my autism had flown under the radar and I got my first class aviation medical certificate and started flight school? Then when I graduated I progressed onto flying regional jets and eventually the big jets? Where would my life be right now at age 30 had I taken the path I longed to take more than any other? By this point I would have the flight time accumulated that I’d probably either be a senior Captain for a regional airline ready to move up to the major parent company if not a junior First Officer at the major parent company. I’d be knee-deep in my dream career, life would be great wouldn’t it?

Oh hell, who the fuck am I kidding? As I watched the conclusion of that episode it dawned on me that I’d be just as miserable as I am now. I’d be stuck working for/under someone, taking orders from someone, being told when to work and what to wear to work. I’d probably still want to fucking kill myself. The reality is that airline life isn’t glamorous. It’s high-stress, fast-moving and you’re never home. That’s just reality. If I was an airline pilot today I’d likely hate my job just as much as I hated working for a fucking crane company. I’d still be a beaten, demoralized dog looking to transcend my day job.

And that’s where two totally different realities of my life would be coming back together. Whereas my life would have split off in my teenage years and about 6 or 7 years ago my live path would be at the apex of different, as time progressed further the two alternate roads I took on this journey called life started coming back together and now they’re almost to the point of merging again. I’d say we’re within 10 miles or so of the alternate Lynn meeting up with the real Lynn, becoming one and the same and moving forward as one unit, and I imagine my end business venture would either be the same or close to it. Of course, there would be some small differences (most notably I’d probably not have tattoos or piercings) but those are just academic in the grand scheme of things.

Now, this is obviously all conjecture. I can’t say for 100% certainty how things would have wound up and I imagine I could never give up flying for recreation, but at the end of the day I probably wouldn’t have lasted forever. That’s just reality. I’m too free-spirited, too defiant and dare I say too much of a fucking weirdo to be content working for or under someone. I just can’t do it. I’d go insane.

Maybe this is the breakthrough I’ve been needing to finally process this demon and lay it to rest. I will always have a shadow of it in my life as at least I’d still be able to fly privately after leaving behind an airline career. So whereas the pain reflecting on what could have been just a few minutes before this post was off the charts, maybe now it’s about a 4 or 5 and I imagine as I continue to bring the concepts of my business together to the point of launching it that pain will continue to dwindle. It’s probably a lot like grief – you never get over the pain. It just gets easier to deal with.

Well this has probably gone on long enough. Just felt inspired I guess. Here’s hoping this is the key breakthrough I’ve been waiting for for decades and can finally start the road to recovery. In a way I feel like an addict just passing the withdrawal stage and now onto the mending stage of life putting the pieces back together. I guess it just takes some longer than others.

Potential Health Benefits of Tattoos?

Well, I think everyone knows the health risks of tattoos, including risk of infection and allergic reaction, of which the risk of both are all but eliminated when tattoos are done in a clean environment with sterile equipment and high-risk pigments (such as red) are spot test beforehand. However, can tattoos have an upside other than the beautiful artwork left behind and the adrenaline and endorphin rush that you get during the session?

Perhaps so. I happened across this article the other day that suggested people with multiple tattoos might demonstrate a small immune boost. Oddly enough, those with just one tattoo or were getting their first showed a dip. I guess the moral of the story is if you’re going to get tattoos get multiple!

Anyway, of course I take it with a grain of salt but as a tattoo enthusiast studies like this pique my interest. I imagine it’s like the consumption of alcoholic beverages though: there are some health benefits associated with it but they are not great enough to recommend it for all adults. Tattoos aren’t for everyone and I wouldn’t ever pressure anyone to get a tattoo, but for those who do enjoy them there might be a small benefit.

Of course, for me tattoos have benefitted me in a number of ways. I seem to have improved my pain tolerance over the course of my inked journey and I’m just more confident in my appearance overall now that I’ve decorated my own personal “temple” the way I see fit so yes, despite getting a bad reputation I know I’m far better for having tattoos and that they have benefitted both my physical and mental health.

A Few Changes…

Alright followers, you probably noticed some changes in my page. Here’s a brief overview and the reasons for them.

  1. Change of email address. As I had another old WordPress account from way back when, I had to use an alternate email for this one. I finally got into my old account and changed the email on that one so I can use my primary personal email here. This change was made due to the fact I’ve missed private messages from some people who have used the contact form. I deeply apologize and this change will now help me respond to you in a more timely manner.
  2. Addition of my  name to the comments, posts, etc. – I figured it’s time I let you in a little more. I’m tired of hiding behind a silly username. I’m ready to be real and open about who I am. The name of my blog won’t change as the focus hasn’t changed, but I’m hoping this will allow me to be a bit more “personal” with my followers and seem like more of a friend rather than a distant blogging pal.

Other than that, nothing has or will change. I’m still the same fiery me and you can expect the same great content. I hope you like these changes and our blogging friendships will continue to grow for years to come.

With warm regards,
Lynn Blair, “The Inked Autist”

Song Lyric Sunday 4/23/17 – The Hurting

Pain. A broad topic as we’ve all experienced pain in our lives (sometimes intense) yet a challenging topic. Well, a fitting topic for our weekly Song Lyric Sunday venture.

The song I’ve chosen for this prompt is “The Hurting” which is the title track of the first album released by a certain British duo that you’ll probably recognize. Which one? Well, the initials of the members of the duo are R.O. and C.S. (with the former being the songwriter for this song). In medical lingo, this band would be known as Lachrymation For Phobias. Surely you have it figured out by now. 😉

Note: This is the only track I could find on YouTube for this song and it’s restricted from playback on WordPress. You’ll have to hop on over to YT. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Is it an horrific dream?
Am I sinking fast?
Could a person be so mean
As to laugh and laugh?

On my own
Could you ease my load?
Could you see my pain?
Could you please explain the hurting?

Could you understand a child
When he cries in pain?
Could you give him all he needs
Or do you feel the same?

All along
You’ve been told you’re wrong
When you felt it right
And you’re left to fight the hurting

The hurt
Hurt
Hurt
The hurt
Hurt
Hurt

Get in line with the things you know
Feel the pain, feel the sorrow
Touch the hurt and don’t let go
Don’t let go, don’t let go
Get in line with the things you know
Learn to cry like a baby
Then the hurting won’t come back
Won’t come back, won’t come back

The hurt
Hurt
Hurt
The hurt
Hurt
Hurt

(Is it an horrific dream?)
Hurt, hurt, hurt
(Is it an horrific dream?)
Hurt, hurt, hurt
(Is it an horrific dream?)
Hurt, hurt, hurt
(Is it an horrific dream?)
Hurt, hurt, hurt
(Is it an horrific dream?)
Hurt, hurt, hurt
(Is it an horrific dream?)
Hurt, hurt, hurt

Source: http://www.songlyrics.com/tears-for-fears/the-hurting-lyrics/

I will say this is definitely not my favorite TFF song but it’ll do for the prompt I suppose. I vastly prefer “Mad World” which but I’ve already featured that song I had to think of another one.  Honestly the musical and lyrical composition of this particular reminds me a lot of “Space Aged Love Song” by Flock of Seagulls.

Anyway, there you have it. Your weekly dose of Tears for Fears. I know, I’m terrible. 😛

My Business Concept – Leaf & Barrel Cigars & Whiskey

The other day I sat around and wrote this as a note on my Facebook page. I think I might be onto something here. Maybe I’m just kind of crazy for thinking this is legitimate but maybe someone else might have some input? By all means I’m open to suggestions for improvement as I won’t be in a position to launch this for some time yet.

——————————————–

If I were to be totally honest with myself, comparing where I’m at now to two years ago not much has changed other than I actually have money on account of actually having a decent paying job. Yeah, it was a stroke of luck that I got in where I’m at now (even despite the fact that the people who got me in were terminated shortly after) but I’m still as miserable as ever. Even with looking at a potential transfer and major pay increase, well you know what they say about money and its ability to buy relief from suffering (or lack thereof).

In course of my time at the company, though the money has been a huge blessing in its own way (life has definitely been easier not being flat broke all the time, even if I am still miserable), I’ve come to realize that I will never be happy working for or under someone else. Being told what to do, how to dress, to cover my tattoos and/or remove my piercings, etc. just does not fly with me. I’m too much of a free and independent spirit to be boxed in that way. I’m sick of it all. I really am.

With this realization I got to thinking how I could break out of all that bullshit and do my own thing. I’ve tried doing horology but there’s just not enough market for it anymore for it to be a sustainable business so that’s not really an option. So as the wheels got turning one night and I was indulging in my nightly ritual of a cigar and a Scotch it just dawned on me – I love cigars, I love whiskey, let’s marry the two concepts together into one! You have cigar bars and whiskey bars but I don’t know as though I’ve ever seen the two in the same setting. That was the tiny spark of a big idea that set the concept of Leaf & Barrel in motion.

Leaf & Barrel (name suggested by a very good Canadian friend of mine as not only a descriptor of the business model but also a play on my initials) would take my love of fine cigars and whiskeys and bring them together. The business would consist of two elements – a brick and mortar retail store and a bar/lounge.

The retail store would focus on fine cigars and various types of whiskies and would feature a large climate controlled room with ready-to-smoke cigars to be sold by singles or in bundles as well as a variety of Scotches, Bourbons, Irish Whiskeys, Canadian Whiskeys, etc. to suit all palates and price points. It would also feature as side items such things as microbrew beers and fine wines as well as pipe tobaccos and smoking accessories. The non-alcohol drinkers would not be left out and would have a selection of coffees and teas to choose from.

The bar/lounge side of things would be a relaxed, casual kind of speakeasy atmosphere. The room would have state-of-the-art ventillation so that cigars and pipe tobaccos purchased from the retail store would be allowed to be smoked (no cigarettes or outside tobacco though) as well as any beverages purchased from the retail section (no outside alcohol/coffee/tea). For those unsure of what they want drink-wise, we’d offer single shots of our whiskeys and tasters of our wines/beers at a reasonable cost (not the exorbitant amount charged by most bars) as well as bottomless ready-made coffee/tea for reasonable cost. No food would be served but outside food would be allowed in.

There will be no TVs or anything of the sort and I’m still debating on having Wi-Fi or not (though online music/video streamers would be relegated to earbuds). Maybe just some easy-listening background music. We’d have tables for people to play cards, maybe a checker/chess table or two and a pool table or two. The goal would be to unplug from the demands of everyday life and just chill for awhile and get back to being human and friends again. We’d be all inclusive and welcome everyone, regardless of race, sex, religion, origin, sexual orientation, gender identity (and that includes the right to use the bathroom that aligns with your gender identity!), neurotype, disability, social status or anything else and any offender to that inclusivity policy would be immediately dealt with and removed.

Ideally I’m thinking for a location have a ground level, a loft and maybe a basement. Of course, the loft would be the bar/lounge section as smoke could waft up and out and then ground level the retail store. A basement would be nice so I could live where I work (being single and no kids and that never changing, that would be the best possible situation for me).

Of course, Abilene is not the place that would support such a concept or my inclusivity policy. I’d have to find some place else a little more progressive and open-minded but I think I’m onto a winning idea here. It’s just finding out where and how to get this going. I’m still a couple of years away from even being able to think about getting this together as I still have a bankruptcy on my record and good luck getting a business loan but I can start assembling my vision now I think. This is why I’m writing this down so I can revisit and make slight modifications as necessary.

I realize this would be purely a labor of love. I’d be leaving behind a good-paying drafting career for being a broke-ass hippy but that’s OK. You can’t put a price on contentment and satisfaction and money is just an empty promise – it’s not going to bring that. I know I will never be happy as happiness is not an emotion I’m capable of feeling, but all I seek is relief from suffering and when I’m indulging in my vices is when I’m most at peace (well, either that or when I’m being tattooed but I can’t do that all the time).

Whatever the case, I know I’m dreaming at least for the time being. But maybe someday this dream will become a reality. If I can’t fly for a living as per my true dream, well, the least I can ask for is to be paid to indulge in my vices, right?

My Miserable First Piercing Experience

So here we are, about three months after I got my earlobes pierced as an almost 30-year-old adult. Yeah, I know, talk about old for first piercings. Hell, I was an old tattoo virgin when I got my first one of those too. Oh well, better late than never I guess, right?

Anyway, I have to say my experience has been absolutely miserable. It seemed like nothing has gone right with the aftermath and even the right piercing (which was my first ever piercing as it was the first ear done) didn’t go exactly smoothly either. So there was that, well what else could go wrong?

Well, let’s just say everything. When I first got pierced I was told to do nothing and that was the “new way” of doing things – no twisting, turning nothing. OK, seems simple enough. Well about three weeks in I seemed to have snagged my right earring on something giving my ear a bit of a tear and it got really irritated to the point it seemed like an infection. Well OK, I go to the doctor, get checked out and I’m just told to aggressively clean and Neosporin. I got it healed up fairly quickly.

Well then I start getting more infection scares as I noticed when I was cleaning them (with just a saline solution as astringents can irritate a piercing) I was noticing pus on the pads. Well here we go again, cleaning and Neosporin and I seemingly get them cleared up and all is well again, only for it to return again on my left ear a couple of weeks later.

This time, however, I noticed no other signs of infection – no redness, swelling or heat radiating from the piercing. It wasn’t infected. That’s when I realized that wasn’t the problem at all – it was my stupid hormonal teenage boy complexion. For whatever reason I’ve been breaking out on the backs of my earlobes (not unheard of for me) and I was confusing them for piercing infections. Of course, it’s been happening more since I’ve been pierced.

I have to say, it’s not been pleasant. Alas, my piercings are finally almost healed up enough to start wearing other earrings but man, this has taken forever to get there. As much of a clusterfuck as this has been with doing “professional” piercings (i.e. with a hollow needle) I don’t even want to think how bad my experience would have been had I been pierced with one of those stupid piercing guns they used at the mall.

Now, is this bad enough to put me off of more piercings? Probably not; I’ll still probably get more, but I just hope my experience is better next time. Ugh. This has been miserable!

Cigar Reviews: Blanco/CigarObsession Sampler (Complete 4/19/17)

Original Post: 4/7/17
Update #1: 4/12/17 – Added Final Third Lancero
Update #2: 4/13/17 – Added 2nd Third Perfecto
Final Update #3: 4/19/17 – Added 1st Third Solomon

co sampler

So here I am about 3/4 of way completely through my variety pack of the Blanco/CigarObsession series cigars. For those who missed my post about it some time ago, the sampler is one vitola in each of the “Thirds” blends by Blanco Cigars for Bryan Glynn of CigarObsession. As the variety pack was released right before my birthday, I just had to get my hands on one as an early birthday present.

I’ve now smoked my way through half of the entire variety pack plus the original three sizes in each blend and as I promised I’d come back to them after I’ve had them all. To review, each line consists of:

CO 1st Third (Red Band): 5″ x 52RG Robusto, 6″ x 52RG Toro (Original size), 7″ x 38RG Lancero and and 6″ x 54RG Solomon; all vitolas box pressed.

CO 2nd Third (Green Band): 5″ x 52RG Robusto (Original size), 6″ x 52RG Toro, 7″ x 48RG Churchill and 6.125″** x 52RG Perfecto; all vitolas non-box pressed.

CO Final Third (Gold Band): 5″ x 54RG Robusto, 6″ x 54RG Toro (Original size), 7″ x 38RG Lancero and 6.5″ x 54RG Torpedo; all vitolas box pressed.

So far I’ve had the 1st Third in Robusto, Toro and Lancero; 2nd Third in Robusto, Toro and Churchill and the Final Third in Robusto, Toro and Torpedo. Thus far I’ve noticed more similarities than differences in each of the vitolas I’ve tried, but so far I do have favorites based on subtle things in each blend that cater to my particular likes.

First things first though, commonalities in all three lines. All three lines feature flawless construction, near razor-sharp burns and easy draws. All produce a large mouthful of smoke on every draw. Great draws on all three, though the Final Third has a draw slightly on the looser side than the others. Major props on construction and roll quality. Bold yet smooth flavors are also hallmark of all three blends, but that’s where the similarities stop. The actual flavor profiles are worlds different.

Now for the broad descriptions of each line. Later, I’ll delve into what make my current favorite vitolas in each and why. Here are the similarities in each line:

1st Third: Medium/full bodied flavors with a predominant pepper and spice flavor and undertones of chocolate and musty earth. Down toward the nub the spice and sweetness meld together into a cinnamon/nutmeg type flavor. This line also has the most nicotine strength of the three blends, matching the body at a medium/full.

2nd Third: The mildest blend of the three, but still no slouch at medium to medium/full depending on the vitola. As it is a Cameroon blend, it has that distinct Cameroon flavor of creamy leather, a slightly sweet cedar and a little bit of a metallic zing on the finish. This line has the least nicotine strength of the three holding at a mild/medium.

Final Third: The most intense flavors of the line at a near-full body. These are dessert sticks all the way – a rich, complex blend of creamy coffee, hot cocoa and a hint of caramel on the retrohale. Fairly consistent from start to finish but that’s OK because of the complexity. Medium nicotine strength; enough to give you a bit of a buzz but not much more.

So those are some sweeping generalizations. Now some specific vitola descriptions here, and keep in mind the subtleties here are just that; subtleties.

We’ll start with the 1st Third:

Robusto and Toro: Not surprisingly, being the same ring gauge the only real difference here was burn time. At my rate of smoking (on the slower side) and ending right at the band (which I do because I prefer cooler smoke) I got about 55 minutes out of the Robusto vs. about an hour and 10 minutes out of the Toro. As mentioned, peppery/spicy out of the gate and stays that way, tapers off slightly after first light to introduce the slightly sweet earthy/chocolaty undertones. The sweetness and spice meld together in the final third, bring a wallop of strength.

Lancero: Wow, this one is worlds different. Full body and damn near full strength. Sweet spice as found toward the end of the first two are pretty much the entire front 4″ or so – hot cinnamon with a hint of vanilla. Think almost like an overly spiced eggnog. Retrohale burns like hell. The back end goes very heavy earthy and a bit nutty. Decent burn time – about 50 minutes before I had to put it down not because of it going too warm (I had around 3″ of cigar left!) but because the strength was starting to become overbearing. I was feeling nauseous when I ended it.

Solomon: The mildest vitola of this line at a medium, the lowest nicotine strength at a mild/medium and also has a looser draw than the others. Starts off medium/full with a big pepper/spice blast that quickly fades as the ring gauge opens up. Notes of unsweetened cream and straight tobacco. The 2nd third brings in a subtle, fleeting in hint of the cocoa. The last third drops almost everything except the straight tobacco. 1 hour 10 minute burn-time. Definitely an example of how even a small change in ring gauge (up to 54 from 52) can have big effects on a particular blend.

Favorite so far: I’m going with the Robusto as my favorite thus far. Obviously I like the flavors of the Toro equally well but being a longer smoke time I struggle to finish it with the nicotine strength. The Lancero was just too much for me in that department but did have nice flavors. If they offered it in a Minuto size (a short Lancero – 4″ long as opposed to 7″) I’d be all over it. The Solomon just didn’t really do it for me (I wouldn’t turn it down but it didn’t amaze me either) and is probably my least favorite of the entire CO series.

Now the 2nd Third:

Robusto and Toro: Again here, basically the same thing save for smoke time (55 minutes for the Robusto, an hour and 5 minutes for the Toro). Think your favorite Cameroon amped up (most Cameroons tend to be on the milder side it seems, despite their delicious complex taste). Creamy leather, slightly sweet cedar and a hint of metallic zing on the very smooth, easy retrohale. Consistent start to finish, wavering from medium to medium/full.

Churchill: Very long smoke time (1 hour 45 minutes) and the same core flavors as the previous two, but slightly richer at a consistent medium/full. The finish also mixes in a slight spicy component to the zing for an interesting added dimension to the flavor profile.

Perfecto: First off, you probably noticed I put a ** by the measurement on this one. This is because I knew the listed size of 6.125″ probably wasn’t right, and this became obvious when stuck next to the 6″ Toro. It actually appeared to be shorter so I wanted to double-check that and, as you’ll see here, the actual length is about a half inch shorter at  5.625″:

IMG_0100

So that aside, what about the cigar? Well, of the four sizes it definitely has the most transitions (not surprising at all). The first light was marked by a dominant glycerin-like sweetness. This quickly gave way to a big leather blast. As the ring gauge widened it was more like the Robusto and Toro but with less metallic zing. As the ring gauge narrowed toward the end the cedar notes were emphasized while everything else took a back seat. 1 hour and 10 minute smoke time so surprisingly a slightly longer burn time vs. the Toro despite being slightly shorter.

Favorite vitola in this blend: That’s an easy one for me: Churchill, hands down. The Robusto and Toro are fantastic and the Perfecto has more transitions but it seems the Churchill has that little something extra body-wise as well as the most start-to-finish complexity. Oh, and who can argue with that kind of smoke time?

And last, but certainly not least, the Final Third:

Robusto and Toro: Yet again, pretty much only a difference in burn time (an hour for the Robusto, 1 hour 20 minutes for the Toro). Slight hint of pepper at the start which quickly tapers off and introduces a broad, rich bouquet of dessert-like flavors consisting of cream, coffee, cocoa and a touch of caramel on the retrohale (which is very smooth). Not very transitional except for the ramping up of the coffee toward the end and everything getting slightly darker.

Torpedo: Same great flavor profile as above but with a slightly firmer draw (obviously due to the narrower opening). Maybe slightly more concentrated draw flavors also for the reasons mentioned, which also helped to extend the smoke time somewhat to an hour and a half without the ember getting too hot.

Lancero: Unlike the 1st Third, the Lancero wasn’t night and day different from the bigger ring gauges but it was different. Same flavor intensity as the others but featured a more prominent pepper in the first third (mostly on the retrohale), which morphed into an earthy retrohale later. This vitola emphasizes the cream above everything else, while the cocoa and caramel was very subtle and fleeting. The smoke also seemed slightly more dense on the mouth. The biggest difference in this vitola was the strength – like the 1st Third Lancero, this one is an ass-kicker. I was sweating bullets and nauseated by the end of it, which came at an hour and 10 minutes – a very respectable burn time for a Lancero.

Favorite vitola in this blend: Torpedo, only for the slightly firmer draw. Due to being a piper I naturally have very strong jaw and cheek muscles so with looser draw cigars I have to pay very close attention to the force with which I’m drawing. I’ve come to favor Torpedo tips in looser draw blends for that little bit of added resistance (which is also a safeguard against overheating). The Lancero, though it had great flavors, didn’t have quite the same complexity and had too much strength for me. Again, if only it was offered as a Minuto as well.

So there we have it. I have now had all 12 of the CO cigars. Save for the 1st Third Solomon that was just OK for my taste, the others were all excellent and I think I have a new all-time favorite cigar: the CO Final Third in Torpedo. I absolutely love that thing. Alas, I’ll be stocking up on all my favorite sizes in each of the three blends and I’ll probably set aside an entire tupperdor (a humidified tupperware container – works just as well as a wooden humidor and is much cheaper) in my wine refrigerator exclusively for CO cigars.

Of course, I couldn’t finish this post without suggested drink pairings, so I’ll mention those rather quickly as this has already gone on 1,800+ words. For best results, pair the 1st Third with an Imperial Stout beer, the 2nd Third with your morning coffee and the Final Third with a bold, cask-strength Scotch along the lines of a Glenlivet Nadurra or a MacAllan Cask Strength. Fantastic pairings.

When Life Just F**king Sucks…

It just happens, doesn’t it? Life fucking sucks sometimes (oh hell, who am I kidding – it sucks most of the time) and there ain’t nothing you can do about it, and especially when you get thrown a curveball.

I think the time has definitely come for me to part ways with my current company. I’ve been toying with the idea for a long time but when push comes to shove, I don’t see a future. It is what it is and I’m honestly OK with it. It goes far beyond a money issue, though that is some of it – it goes to a relocation/transfer issue and a hostile work environment. I can’t deal with that. It’s time to go. It’s not like I’m in any way emotionally attached to my job anyway.

I wasn’t expecting this but sometimes life throws you the unexpected. I don’t know whether I should run with this and look at other avenues (if so what?) or if this will mark the end of me in general. What the fuck else do I have to live for anyway? My dreams were dashed to bits and no matter what I do I won’t have really much (if anything) to look forward to in life. Like what’s the point?

Bleh. Why can’t I just fucking drop dead in my sleep? That would be lovely. To return to the blissful state of non-existence is the best possible thing that could happen to me right now. I doubt anyone would notice I was gone anyway. That’s how much of a friendless loser I am.

Bleh. I’ll just have to weigh it I guess. If I stop posting for an extended period of time, you’ll know what happened. Just saying.

Life sucks.