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!

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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.

Song Lyric Sunday 4/16/17 – Rain on the Scarecrow

So a song about rain or a song with the word “rain” in the title. That is our challenge for this week’s edition of Song Lyric Sunday. OK, no problem, one of my favorite songs has that very word in the title so this one was totally easy.

I’ve been a John Mellencamp (aka John Cougar) fan for a long time. His songs always seem so deep and to tell a story (even such seemingly light-hearted songs such as “Hurts So Good”). This one is one of his darker songs though, but very powerful all the same.

Here then is the song “Rain on the Scarecrow” (written by John Mellencamp and George M. Green, released 1985):

Scarecrow on a wooden cross
Blackbird in the barn
Four hundred empty acres that used to be my farm
I grew up like my daddy did
My grandpa cleared this land
When I was five I walked the fence while grandpa held my hand

Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation
This land made me proud
And son I’m just sorry there’s no legacy for you now
Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow

The crops we grew last summer weren’t enough to pay the loans
Couldn’t buy the seed to plant this spring and the
Farmers Bank foreclosed
Called my old friend Schepman up to auction off the land
He said John it’s just my job and I hope you understand
Hey calling it your job ol’ hoss sure don’t make it right
But if you want me to I’ll say a prayer for your soul tonight

And grandma’s on the front porch swing with a Bible in her hand
Sometimes I hear her singing “Take me to the Promised Land”
When you take away a man’s dignity he can’t
Work his fields and cows

There’ll be blood on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow
Blood on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow

Well there’s ninety-seven crosses planted in the courthouse yard
Ninety-seven families who lost ninety-seven farms
I think about my grandpa and my neighbors and my name
And some nights I feel like dyin’
Like that scarecrow in the rain

Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation
This land made me proud
And son I’m just sorry they’re just memories for you now
Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow

Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation
This land made me so proud
And son I’m just sorry they’re just memories for you now
Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow
Blood on the plow
Source: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johncougarmellencamp/rainonthescarecrow.html

Anyway, this song speaks to me in a roundabout way because most days “I feel like dying like the scarecrow in the rain.” Though I’ve never been a farmer and have no desire to ever be, having no legacy is what it feels like to be shut out of your dream job, which I am. Hence why the song is so powerful to me.

Anyway, sorry for the little “woe is me” bit at the end, but I just had to get it out of my system. Anyway, hope you enjoyed. As always, it’s been fun!

No, I Don’t Do Bars (An Autistic/Social Anxiety Rant)

So I might have just lost my one and only friend from my high school days over an incident tonight and it’s one of those “sorry/not sorry” kind of things.

So I was out on the town this afternoon/evening checking out a new local microbrewery. I’m a beer lover so I’m always sure to check those places out and I asked said friend what she was up to today. She had a birthday party to go to but afterward she and a few of them were going to a winery. OK cool, I love wineries too and the one they picked out also has a selection of humidified, ready-to-smoke cigars and I’m like “oh fun, I’ll chill, chat, have a glass of wine and a cigar and life will be good.”

Well, as it turns out the winery closed early tonight for whatever reason (their website says open until midnight but they shut down at like 9 tonight I guess). Well damn, that’s out of the question; so the alternative plan was to go to this tequila bar on the other side of town. Well, I politely declined because I just don’t do bars and it led to some back-and-forth between us and ouch; some damage might have been done (her last text to me was simply “OK, no pressure” – yeah, what am I supposed to make of that?).

I have to be honest, though: I don’t like bars. I don’t like the bar atmosphere. Yeah, I like to go out and have drinks but not in a bar. If I’m going to go have a few drinks it’s going to be some place like a brewery, a winery or a pub type thing that doesn’t have that rough-and-tumble bar atmosphere. I haven’t been in a bar in years and probably won’t ever again.

The reality is that bars make me highly uncomfortable. My social anxiety goes off the charts. Actually the last time I was in a bar was about three years ago and I got kicked out. I wouldn’t have normally gone to this bar but it was a craft beer bar so I figured I’d check it out. Well, the owner was offended because I was wearing my short shorts and told me I had to leave (his exact words were “you can’t wear panties in [insert name of bar here].”). Well, it was totally a blatant incident of gender discrimination because there were women in there wearing less clothing than me but I didn’t put up a fight, finished my beer, cashed out and left never to return. That incident might have been what put me over the top but all I know is the idea of going to a bar just freaks me out now.

If it’s one thing you have to understand to be my friend it’s that there are certain places and settings that make me totally uncomfortable and I have to avoid for my own mental well-being. I’ve set that boundary and I stick firmly to it. When I decline your invitation to a bar it’s nothing against you as a person, it’s just I have to respect my own limitations.

No, I don’t expect you (as a neurotypical) to understand. That would be totally unreasonable. That would be like asking a cisgender person to understand what it’s like to be transgender or a heterosexual person to understand what it’s like to be attracted to the same sex. It’s something beyond comprehension for the people who don’t live in that reality. That’s fine. What I ask for instead is respect and tolerance and to realize that some situations are just unsuitable for me.

I understand my own needs can’t always be accommodated and that’s when I say “thanks but no thanks, catch you some other time.” I have no desire to rain on anyone’s parade. That’s not the kind of person I am. I don’t expect you to bend over backwards for me. I just ask that if you’re going some place I don’t particularly feel comfortable in or if I’m really not feeling social at a given time and just want to stay home that my wishes be respected. As mentioned, it’s nothing against you, it’s just one of the joys (joys? hah, who the fuck am I kidding?) of being me.

Please don’t be mad at me. I know at times I can seem like a terrible friend but I promise you I’m not and I mean nothing bad when I say “sorry, I can’t do this.” Please forgive me and I’ll meet up with you in a more “friendly” venue soon.

Perspectives on Life (A Rant)

Preface: The following rant has come about due to some asshole on my Facebook friends list reporting some of my posts recently (which I know has happened because Facebook gave my that “someone is concerned about you” bullshit). Read at your own risk.

—————————————————-

I’ve recently had several debates with people (who I am assuming are Republicans/conservatives) on the appointment of Neil Gorsuch (or, as I prefer to call him, GorSUCK) to the Supreme Court of the United States. It should be very clear that I opposed his nomination but only did so for one reason: his opposition to physician-assisted suicide.

In my mind, it’s a black-and-white issue of civil rights. None of us chose to come into this world (or at least I don’t think we do) so we should all have the free choice to leave it if we so desire (for whatever reason – not just terminal illness) and to withhold access to life-ending drugs is probably the most egregious violation of personal liberty imaginable. For the government to step in and forcibly prevent people from having access to such drugs (or even trying to stop someone from committing suicide unassisted) is government overreach. To me it’s plain as day but what the fuck does stupid ass Libertarian me know about personal liberty?

Which brings me to the other topic of today’s rant: social attitudes toward life perspectives. For whatever reason, it is socially acceptable (and regarded as “normal”) to just love life and everything about it. On the other hand, to have even the slightest amount of distaste for life is seen as socially unacceptable to the point of either civilians or the government trying to force you to love it (via forcing one into counseling or forcing psychiatric drugs down one’s throat).

I’ll just be quite honest with you: I fucking hate life at the moment. I really do. I hate everything about it: my home life, my job, everything and I don’t see that changing in the future. Quite frankly I think I have good reasons to hate my life right now, for reasons I’ve mentioned previously on this blog as well as other reasons. Through my life experience I’ve come to the philosophical position of antinatalism (meaning that I think it’s bad to come into existence and that we should not bring new people into existence)** and when I debate my stance nobody seems to have any other retort than to say “get help” or some variant of that.

Well let me tell you what, Pollyannas: not everyone has it as easy, good or even as happy as you. There are more people who have truly miserable lives than actually have good lives. There are actually very legitimate reasons that life haters hate life, and if we were to be totally honest there are probably a lot more out there who do than will admit because of this social stigma around it as well as government interference where even they come in and try to force us to be happy-go-lucky. Sorry, I don’t go for that bullshit.

It seems to me that loving vs. hating life are just two sides to the same coin. I’m not saying you have to hate life; by all means if you love it then good for you. I’m not one to tell you how you should feel or view life. I just ask that you wouldn’t so readily dismiss the feelings of those who don’t feel the same way and maybe find out why they don’t feel the same way as you. I bet you’ll find out that those people have perfectly legitimate reasons to dislike their own existences.

Anyway, back to the topic of euthanasia/suicide: calling 911 on a suicidal friend, reporting their Facebook posts, etc. is pure utter bullshit. It’s not your life. It’s theirs to do with as you see fit and it is not your place nor is it the government’s place to try to stop someone from carrying that action out. If I feel like ending my own life I’ll damn sure do so and if anyone dares to use force in an attempt to stop me heaven help them. It won’t end pretty.

End rant.

**This is not to pass judgment on anyone’s reproductive choices. This are just my opinions. No offense is meant to anyone with that.

Song Lyric Sunday 4/9/17 – In a Big Country

So a song about road trips and/or your favorite road trip song, huh? That is our topic for this week’s edition of Song Lyric Sunday. Fun topic for sure.

When I’m yearning for a road trip or a vacation, the words of this song come to mind. “You can’t stay here with every single hope you had shattered.” Yeah, that’s exactly what I feel. As such, this is the song I most associate with road trips personally and I’m always sure to blast it when pulling out of my driveway for a vacation. I might have shared this song on a previous prompt way back when, but it’s such a great song it’s worthy of a re-share (not to mention when I first shared this song it went largely unnoticed).

Here then is Big Country’s title song “In a Big Country”:

Shock

Come up screaming
Come up screaming
Ha

I’ve never seen you look like this without a reason
Another promise fallen through, another season passes by you

Shock

I never took the smile away from anybody’s face
And that’s a desperate way to look for someone who is still a child

In a big country, dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can’t stay here with every single hope you had shattered

I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime

In a big country, dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

In a big country, dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

So take that look out of here, it doesn’t fit you
Because it’s happened doesn’t mean you’ve been discarded
Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming
Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted
I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can’t stay here with every single hope you had shattered

Shock, 1, 2

I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime

In a big country, dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

In a big country, dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

In a big country, dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

Ha

Shock
Source: http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Big_Country:In_A_Big_Country

Hope you all enjoyed, and may those of you who have upcoming road trips have fun!