Beer/Cigar Reviews – Rogue Fresh Roast Ale & Bold by Nish Patel

Welcome to another installment of my beer and cigar reviews where we take a look at some notable (& some not so notable) beers and cigars. Let’s just get right down to it shall we?

Rogue Fresh Roast Ale

From Rogue Brewing Company in Newport, Oregon comes “fresh roast ale,” an American Brown Ale that the company says uses “fresh roasted” malt, roasted in house. Consistent with the style, it weighs in at 5.7% ABV, 37 IBU and Rogue is kind enough to give the specific gravity of 15 degrees Plato (1.061 SG).

Pours a chestnut brown color with streaks of red. Frothy tan head that recedes fairly quickly. The nose is greeted with a balanced aroma of caramel and dark fruit with just a hint of roasted malt. The roasted malt is more prominent on the palate being supported by a backbone of caramel and toffee notes. The finish enters a nice balanced coffee with some sharp pine hop bite. Medium body and carbonation. Smooth, easily drinkable and sessionable.

Though not the wild beers we’ve come to expect from Rogue, this one was pleasing enough. Just wish it had a more prominent roasted note to match its name, but still good and very sessionable. Rating: 3.5/5.

Bold by Nish Patel

Nish Patel is the younger brother of the more well-known Rocky Patel but he seems to have learned from the best. Bold is a blend created by Nish and it features Nicaraguan long filler, dual binders consisting of Mexican San Andreas and Connecticut broad leaf under a Connecticut broadleaf Maduro wrapper. This is the Toro vitola measuring in at 6.5″ x 52RG. Let’s just say it did not disappoint.

The first light revealed a slightly loose draw putting off lots of thick, hearty smoke. Medium/full body flavors consisting of earthy tones and big pepper/spice blast. A little bit of leather comes through on the retrohale and a subtle note of cocoa joins the draw after the first few puffs. Getting into the first third the pepper/spice dials back a bit and the cocoa becomes more prominent and a touch sweeter/creamier. Getting into the 2nd third the earthiness and leather taper off and a bit of an umami enters into the finish and retrohale. The final third shifts completely to a heavy earth and dark roast coffee, dropping the pepper and cocoa notes completely. The smoke got hot and acrid at 1 hour and 35 minutes for a fantastic burn time. Medium nicotine strength.

Construction was excellent throughout. The burn wasn’t completely straight but only required one small correction at about the 2/3 mark. This is to be expected out of a Maduro cigar and totally expected with the double binder.

An excellent cigar in which Nish proves he can blend too. Rich but silky smooth flavors, thick smoke, complex and transitional without too much nicotine. A very well-balanced cigar that would go well with a number of drink pairings (and paired beautifully with the aforementioned beer). Bold is definitely a home run. Rating: 4.5/5.

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Tattoo Topic Tuesday – Touch-Ups

For this Tuesday’s tattoo topic I’m going to briefly discuss the concept of touch-ups, what they are, what they aren’t, why they are sometimes needed (and how to minimize the need for them!) and some etiquette surrounding the topic.

So first off, what exactly is a touch-up? Put simply, a touch-up is just that – it’s like putting touch-up paint on your car when you get a scratch or chip in the paint job. The artist is going back and filling in, darkening, whatever spots that might not have retained the ink well or have deteriorated overtime.

In a perfect world, a tattoo would be 100% perfect the first time around and you’d be good for life but we don’t live in a perfect world. Our bodies naturally try to reject the ink as it is a foreign substance and because it can’t it instead dispatches our immune defenses to try to carry it away. Since the ink particles are so large our white blood cells and antibodies can’t engulf them very easily to carry them away so the ink remains. However, over time those ink particles do break down to the point they are able to be carried away. This is why old tattoos appear faded and “weathered,” though if they have been well cared for they should still have definition.

Of course, there are ways to slow the weathering process down, most notably religious use of sunscreen as UV rays break down the ink particles thus accelerating fading and weathering. Also, occasional use of a daily moisturizing lotion will keep your tattoos looking fresher longer as dry skin will also contribute to fading and weathering (and this is yet another reason to drink plenty of water!!!). Also, with the advancements in tattoo inks themselves they are higher quality now and don’t break down as fast. Nonetheless, you can’t completely stop the process.

So this is one reason why you might need or want a touch-up. If your tattoo has faded to the point of losing definition and saturation and you want to bring it back to life, a touch-up is in order. The only way to bring it back to its former glory is to add more pigment. Depending on how faded or weathered the tattoo is this could be just refreshing it in some spots or it could mean a complete re-do of the tattoo as thought it were a brand new tattoo. Just keep in mind though that a tattoo is, in essence, a colored scar and the 2nd time around as you are tattooing over what is essentially scar tissue it will be somewhat more painful than the original application. Also, depending on how extensive the touch-up or re-do is, it could be just as expensive, if not more so than the original. Just another thing to keep in mind. As with the original tattoo, you should not haggle on price (it’s insulting and rude) and don’t go cheap. If at all possible you should go to the original artist.

So that’s a long-term reason a touch-up would be required. There are also some very short-term reasons. Due to the nature of human skin, there is no such thing as a perfect tattoo. The canvas is not flat, there are imperfections in skin and tattooing is a very messy process. Sometimes it can be hard to see at the outset if a certain area has taken the ink (especially true of light graywashes and white ink where blood, plasma and the abrasions can obscure ink). It can also be hard to see if the artist has completely covered an area and if some areas might have actually lost a little bit during the healing process. These are all factors that could contribute to needing a touch-up in the short-term. Case in point, some spots on my wave required some touching up to refine.

Now, just as there are ways to minimize the need for long-term touch-ups, there are ways to minimize or eliminate the need for short-term touch-ups as well. I know I’ve raved about this particular product so many times on here, but it’s worth reiterating: Saniderm preserves the tattoo during the healing process and your tattoo will heal with darker blacks and more vivid colors than the antiquated healing methods (the stuff really is magic, I’m telling you). Beyond that, of course don’t scratch an itching tattoo or pick away at any scabs that might form. These could all pull out ink. Another note is to not take too hot of a shower or bath as that will cause your pores to open and could possibly cause a tiny bit of fresh ink to seep out.

Any artist worth his or her salt will do a short-term touch-up at no charge, but it is my view that you should still tip the artist for his/her time. However, you should wait until the tattoo is completely healed before assessing the need for a touch-up. If in doubt, consult with the artist. You might be happy with the tattoo but the artist might see something he/she wants to add some definition to or embolden (and if they do don’t question – I was happy with the wave as it was but after Jada went back and touched it up it does look even better). I of course want to be happy with my tattoos but I also want the artists behind them to be happy with them. We are walking billboards for their work after all and I want to wear and display artwork that they are proud of as well.

So that’s a brief discussion of touch-ups. By all means, I welcome discussion in the comments section. If you’ve had touch-ups or re-works of your tattoos please share your experiences.

Hurricane Harvey – A Reposted Facebook Rant

Before we get into my reposted rant, let me express my sincerest condolences to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Abilene and Dallas/Ft. Worth are both far enough inland that I was not adversely impacted by the storm but my company has several branches in coastal cities that were and I have several bell ringing friends in Houston who were also devastated so I’m feeling the impact in my heart nonetheless.

That said, I’m going to repost a brief political rant over the storm here, not because I necessarily like to post those here but because this needs to be said. I do try to remain as politically neutral on my blog as possible, though sometimes it’s impossible. There are some takeaways from Harvey that everyone needs to wake up to. Hopefully after a major disaster like this maybe some people will wake up and smell the coffee.

Rant below:


The thing about science is that it is true and it doesn’t give a fuck about your worthless, uneducated opinion. Climate change is very real. Hurricane Harvey is living proof. Pretty much every other hurricane would have dissipated by now. Harvey is still a tropical storm and one not too far below a category 1 hurricane. 

I say this as a slightly right of center libertarian. I ain’t no bleeding heart, liberal tree hugging hippie snowflake. I just acknowledge science. The movie The Day After Tomorrow is coming true right before our eyes and the scientifically illiterate Bible thumpers in this country can’t see it. In their delusional state of confirmation bias they see it as the “end times” and nothing else. 

Even despite my antinatalist beliefs and believing that existence is inherently harmful, the reality is life will continue to exist on this planet for billions more years. We need to take care of our planet so those life forms after us can have the least bad existences possible. 

Put your Bibles down and learn some science. That’s all there is to say here. 


This rant can also be read on my Facebook page (link in the “contact me” section of this blog) and by all means comment both here and there. The bottom line is we cannot continue ignoring this problem and we need to address it head on. Go paperless, trade in those gas guzzlers, switch to LED light bulbs, do whatever you feasibly can. Every little bit helps.

We need to be better stewards of our planet than we are now. That’s all there is to say. If the destruction of Hurricane Harvey doesn’t wake you up to that, well, you’re pretty much hopeless.

You can read more at this link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/climate/how-hurricane-harvey-became-so-destructive.html.

Song Lyric Sunday 8/27/17 – The Swimming Song

Our topic for Song Lyric Sunday this week is heat. Well, what better way to beat the heat than taking a dip? Even though I haven’t done so in years myself mainly due to body image issues (reference previous post) it’s still refreshing to do.

So here’s a song about cooling off with a refreshing dip. Written and performed by Loudon Wainwright III, this is a fun little ditty and one of my favorites to play at open mic nights and such.

Here then is “The Swimming Song.”

This summer I went swimming
This summer I might have drowned
But I held my breath and I kicked my feet
And I moved my arms around
Moved my arms around

This summer I swam in the ocean
And I swam in a swimming pool
Salt my wounds, chlorine my eyes
I’m a self-destructive fool
I’m a self-destructive fool

This summer I did the backstroke
And you know that that’s not all
I did the breaststroke and the butterfly
And the old Australian crawl
The old Australian crawl

This summer I swam in a public place
And a reservoir to boot
At the latter I was informal
At the former I wore my suit
I wore my swimming suit, yeah

This summer I did swan dives
And jackknives for you all
And once when you weren’t looking
I did a cannonball
Did a cannonball

This summer I went swimming
This summer I might have drowned
But I held my breath and I kicked my feet
And I moved my arms around
Moved my arms around
Source: https://genius.com/Loudon-wainwright-iii-swimming-song-lyrics

Hope you enjoyed. It’s such a fun, light hearted song.

Becoming Comfortable in My Own Skin

Yes – even we guys suffer body image issues.

When I was a teenager I was bordering on morbidly obese. I didn’t eat terribly (though probably not the best) but I had a bunch of antidepressants and antipsychotics shoved down my throat due to what my parents and school counselors/faculty perceived as depressive and antisocial behavior (when it turns out I was high functioning autistic – my parents refused to accept it until the new counselor we got later in my public school career talked some sense into them) and they made me balloon in weight. That combined with hormonal teenager skin (a problem I still struggle with somewhat to this day) and I had serious body image issues all through school.

In undergrad I started losing the weight as I gradually came off of the medicines that didn’t really have much effect and I didn’t really apparently need anyway. As I came off and I started a diet and exercise routine I managed to lose a bit but I was still what would be considered overweight.

Then I went to grad school where I lost an appetite altogether from stress and I lost a shit ton of weight – at this point I was down to 160 pounds (I stand 5’11” by the way and am fairly big boned) – and everyone thought I looked absolutely sickly at that weight but I was actually content with my appearance at that point. I thought I looked good. I guess I wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything but pencil thin after having been chunky since about age 12. In a way I took on a warped sense of reality.

After my last relationship came to an end I turned to excessive emotional eating and alcohol intake and I gained about 40 pounds and was absolutely disgusted with myself even though everyone swore I didn’t look bad. I hated how I looked in the mirror even though I looked what a lot of people would consider normal but I still obsessed over it. I was overweight by the BMI (even as inaccurate as it is in my typical autistic self I took it as literal gospel truth) so I just had to lose the weight. I was unsuccessful in doing so and actually as I took on the stress of a new job (read: even more stress eating and even more alcohol consumption) I packed on some more weight.

Last year at my physical I weighed in at 220-ish pounds and was absolutely devastated. I decided I would drop some weight starting beginning of 2017 and I did just that. I spent the first half of this year dropping some excess weight and finally come June I decided I was good.

Truth be told I don’t even know what I weight right now and I’ve learned not to care. I’ve also accepted that I’ll never be a skinny mini again. I’m naturally big boned so being a skinny mini isn’t for me. I’ll also never be buff – I don’t have the genetics and no matter how much iron I pump I’ll never have a bodybuilder look. My arms are a constant source of self-conscience because they are relatively thin, however now that I have tattoos I want to be able to display those. Maybe come this time next year I’ll have the confidence to dawn a sleeveless shirt and show my artwork – it needs to be displayed after all.

I know, I know – I’m odd. I wear short shorts but not sleeveless shirts? Yeah well, my legs have always been my best physical feature I thought.

In some ways embracing tattoos and piercings has helped my body image also – it’s given me a stronger sense of self-ownership and bodily autonomy. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had that experience.

I took this mirror selfie about a week ago in full hippie garb to show a friend and I’m like “hey, I actually look good.” It’s been forever since I’ve felt that way.

mirror

It’s been a long road but it’s good to finally be at a point of self acceptance. I live a healthier lifestyle now (reasonable limits on food and alcohol consumption as well as maintaining exercise as time allows) so maintaining it shouldn’t be an issue. For reference, the shirt is a normal size large and the “Davy” Dukes (since I’m a guy I use “Davy” instead of “Daisy”) are a size 34. It’s been A LONG time since I’ve fit into a 34 and, although not pencil thin, I think is a good size for me.

As far as my next goals: get up the confidence to go sleeveless or even shirtless (definitely this too when I start getting my torso and sides tattooed) and swim in a speedo. Hey, why not, right? If others hate it, well, that’s their problem not mine, right? I’m finally in a state of body positivity and I’m not going to let someone else take that away from me.

Reunited

After a long 8 days of separation, I was reunited with my Ford Fiesta at around 7:30 this morning. It’s good as new.

Once again, hat’s off to Progressive for their amazing customer service. Going through their Concierge Service Center made everything as quick and painless as possible. They kept me mobile, kept me updated and got it fixed fast (with the assistance of an in-network body shop that is).

Now if I could ever find the responsible party that would be the icing on the cake but I don’t look for that to happen. It’s too difficult to prove without surveillance footage. Oh well. At least I was only out a $250 uninsured motorist deductible.

Scotch Review: Glengoyne Cask Strength

I love beer and drink more than my fair share but Scotch is my first love. Perhaps it’s by baptism into pipe band culture or perhaps it’s the little bit of Scottish blood that runs in these veins (I am a Blair after all; adopted mind you ;-)) and let’s face it; nothing goes better with a cigar than a good single-malt Scotch. Of course, as with everything food and drink wise, I like bold flavors so naturally I prefer cask strength Scotches (i.e. Scotch straight from cask to bottle without the addition of distilled water to bring it down to a specified proof/ABV).

This particular batch came out to 58.8% ABV (note cask strength Scotches vary a lot) so it has the pedigree of a good cask but does it have the flavor?

The appearance is a beautiful dark copper color. The nose is greeted with a wonderful bouquet of butterscotch, banana, vanilla and a hint of floral esters. As is to be expected, a fair bit of astringency as well. The initial flavor is a smooth medium bodied caramel and banana with a touch of brown sugar. This gives way into a full bodied finish of a balanced peppery and smoky note (but not like peat – just general smokiness) while the butterscotch and vanilla enter back into the mix. The finish is long and warm, lasting well until the next sip.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect for the price point (I paid $75 from a place called Spec’s here in Dallas). I’m honestly quite impressed. It’s a unique Scotch for sure; never experienced this flavor combination but I dig it. I’d describe it as dessert-like for sure – definitely something to have after dinner. For suggested cigar pairings, go for something smooth and rich like a Rocky Patel Royale, Padron 1964 Natural, CO Final Third or an All Out Kings.

This is definitely one I’ll be keeping in my liquor cabinet. Rating: 4.5/5.