So Long, 2017

So another year comes to an end. Let’s face it: 2017 SUCKED, in more ways than one. Dictator Trump assumed the throne on January 20th and it’s been all downhill in American politics from there, but that goes without saying. Personally my year has just been absolutely terrible, but there are a handful of highlights for me:

January: January 2nd marked my one year anniversary of venturing into the world of ink and I got my first piercings! How about that? We also had to suspend ringing at my local bell tower, prompting a temporary leave from the bell ringing scene.

February: Spent V-Day single but that’s A-OK with me. Other than that February was rather uneventful.

March: I wrote the final chapter of my 3rd decade of life as I turn the big 3-0 on the 18th and add a sick new tattoo to my collection in the form of a gnarly pocket watch piece.

April: I am made aware that I am to either transfer to the metroplex or be made redundant. In hindsight, I should have accepted severance but I instead accepted a new position within the company, but I’m still in Abilene at the time being.

May: Bell ringing baby! I now completed my journey around all of the “7 Towers” featured in the annual 7 Towers Bell Ringing Festival! That doesn’t seem like much but it seems like a huge accomplishment to me.

June: See you in the pits! I decided to upgrade for the weekend to get pit passes for IndyCar weekend and boy am I glad I did! Getting to go down into the pit area was an amazing experience. On the sad note, this was my last month of working in Abilene.

July: Oh baby baby, what an emotional roller coaster! On the 11th I attended my first concert at American Airlines Center in Dallas – Tears for Fears and Hall and Oates! As a die-hard TFF fan this was like a dream come true (and H&O is pretty cool too!). This is also the month I formally move offices and it kills me to be away from my family, but also on the upshot I added a wave to my existing Pisces tattoo to make it more dynamic. Can’t complain too much about that.

August: Nothing remarkable really. Nothing to really talk about here.

September: Another fairly boring month, but not without the increased stresses of work and general feeling like shit. Why the hell didn’t I walk when I could have?

October: Man, has it already been a year since my first tattoo convention? Has my artist already been a journeyman for a year? How crazy is that? In that light, I also take a step up on the tattoo pain scale and start a big bell-ringing themed piece on my ribs (yeah, that was painful!). Oh, and I get to meet one of my cigar idols? That’s pretty damn cool.

November: It’s NASCAR playoffs weekend at TMS! It was a fun filled three days of racing getting to see all three NASCAR series, even if it was insanely hot (pushing 90F/30C in November!!!). In addition to Thanksgiving I also finished up my bell ringing piece AND got my 2nd set of piercings in the process. Kind of a kickass month I have to say, even though my job gets shittier and shittier.

December: Wow, we’re finally at the end of a roller coaster of a year. I finish it out strong by spending the holidays here and making a massive earring haul. I start to make my exit strategy from my horrible company and start to enter talks with a potential future business partner. Maybe the time is now to start really looking to the future to eventually make L&B a reality?

So what will 2018 bring? Well, at least at the first more of my shitty-ass job in the metroplex but hopefully that won’t last long. Maybe soon I’ll be able to go back “home” for awhile to contemplate my next moves. Of course, 2018 will undoubtedly bring more ink, maybe another piercing or two, more blog content (if anyone has suggestions for topics feel free to let me know!) and maybe some other new adventures. We can only wait and see right?

Now, I’m going to go ring in 2018 in style. Everybody keep it safe tonight and remember don’t drink and drive.

Song Lyric Sunday 12/31/17 – The Candy Man

A song about candy or sweets? A bit of a strange topic, but an interesting one for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday.

As far as my thoughts on this, the only song that came to mind for me was “The Candy Man” as featured in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and as made famous by Sammy Davis Jr. (written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley). However, I just know someone will duplicate this selection, so I’m going to do something totally wild and crazy here to make this post unique among the ones who duplicate this pick.

Some might post the movie version of the song or Sammy Davis Jr.’s version, but not me. I want my post to be something entirely different; something nobody will duplicate. So what am I doing? I’m posting MY OWN COVER of the song. Yes, this is ME performing my own rendition of the song. It’s just me, a guitar and a crappy computer mic (so please don’t diss the audio quality). I should also say I’m VERY rusty, so please don’t be too hard on me. I know I’m not the best guitar player or singer. You don’t have to tell me that, and I’m already nervous enough making myself vulnerable in this way, so please be nice. Please. 😥

Who can take a sunrise
(Who can take a sunrise)
Sprinkle it with dew
(Sprinkle it with dew)
Cover it in chocolate
And a miracle or two
The candy man
(The candy man)
The candy man can
(The candy man can)
The candy man can cause he
Mixes it with love and
Makes the world taste good

Who can take a rainbow
(Who can take a rainbow)
And wrap it in a sigh
(Wrap it in a sigh)
Soak it in the sun and
Make a tasty lemon pie
The candy man
(The candy man)
Oh the candy man can
(The candy man can)
The candy man can
‘Cause he
Mixes it with
Love and
Makes the world
Taste good

The candy man makes
Everything he bakes
Satisfying and delicious
Talk about your
Childhood wishes
You could even eat
The dishes

Who can take tomorrow
(Who can take tomorrow)
And dip it in a dream
(Dip it in a dream)
Separate the sorrow
And collect up all the cream
The candy man
(The candy man)
Oh the candy man can
(The candy man can)
The candy man can cause he
Mixes it with love and
Makes the world
Taste good

The candy man can cause he
Mixes it with love and
Makes the world
Taste good

Well there you have it. If you have something hateful to say, please move along. I don’t have time for that shit. I was scared to death to do this. Please don’t be too hard on me. Thank you.

Product Review: Columbia Sportswear Thermarator Gloves

Yes, even in Texas it gets cold. We’ve barely gotten above freezing the past several days and it can be a drag when you want a cigar but have to freeze to death. Well not literally, but you get it (and no, I don’t smoke in the house or car; I hate the smell of stale smoke)

I have avenues of keeping warm though: I have some thick jackets and such, but one item I lacked was gloves so my  hands always got really cold. I finally decided to break down and buy a pair of gloves but needed them to be touchscreen compatible (yes, I’m part of the plugged-in generation). I did some looking and found a pair of these at the local Academy so I decided to jump on them. I’ve used them a few days now so I can give an accurate review:

Fit: Pretty true to size. Columbia conveniently gives a sizing guide and it’s pretty accurate if you measure wrist to middle finger. I opted for a large size and it’s a perfect fit for me (note: I measure just under 8.5″ wrist to middle finger).

Comfort: These are very soft material and very comfortable on the hands without being overly bulky. You can still move your fingers very easily, even brand new.

Warmth: Definitely gets good marks here. The gloves are very warm and retain your natural body heat well enough. Stay outside for extended periods and your hands do get a bit cold as the gloves cool off with ambient temperature, but even staying outside smoking a long-ish cigar didn’t make my hands freeze. The only parts that get fairly cold are the touchscreen-sensitive fingertips as they are a different material, but not unbearably cold and definitely nowhere near as cold as bare hands would be. Naturally, they do get colder in higher winds than still winds, but that’s anything.

Touchscreen Compatibility: Probably the most important aspect I was looking for, and these get absolutely top marks. I was able to use my iPhone SE without difficulty once I figured out how to type with them on. It took maybe 5 minutes or so of practice to find out where the “sweet spot” on the glove was. Once you adapt it’s as easy as typing with your bare hands.

Value: I got these on sale for $16 at my local Academy which is a really good value, but full price they are a bit pricy. Whatever the case, you definitely get quality for your money.

Overall: I’d recommend these gloves for any plugged-in person. They will keep the chill out and keep you online. These work well and if you can get them on sale reasonably priced. Your fingertips might get just a touch cold but other than that it’s hard to find fault with them. Rating: 4.5/5.

Christmas Day Debriefing

Well, much to my relief, I actually had a pretty darn good Christmas. Of course, I had nothing under the tree for me as I had already gotten all of my presents (in the form of my massive holiday earring haul) so I was treated to a festive feast that my mother cooked up and we existed mostly peacefully.

The only real hiccup I had on my end? Well, my very old, conservative grandmother wasn’t at all thrilled about my earrings (or that I even have earrings to begin with) and just had to let me know her displeasure. I never understood the whole thing against men wearing earrings but whatever. I wasn’t about to take them out to placate her. Luckily she didn’t drone on about it.

Unfortunately for my best friend (who lives in GA), the same could not be the said and much of my day was spent offering her emotional support. Not that I mind, I should say – she’s going through a really rough time right now (much rougher than mine!) so needed someone to chat with. It’s all that I could do. Alas, I think something did come out of all of it – I think I found my future business partner. She has a BBA so she has the business knowledge, which I do NOT have whereas I have the knowledge of the products we’d be selling. We’d be a killer duo I think.

Alas, one thing I did learn about me: I can only wear large earrings for a short period of time before I want them out. Must be an autistic sensory thing. I was so relieved at the end of the day to take those big helix spirals out and put a pair of my barbells back in (which I can wear indefinitely without any issue). This time I opted for my royal blue pair:


Yeah, that felt much better when I put in something a little smaller. These I don’t even have to remove or change at the end of the day – they are no more bothersome to sleep with than the captive bead rings, which is good – it’s still good to have something in even that first hole constantly as it’s still a fairly new (less than a year old) piercing. Yeah, I was a late bloomer. Oh well.

Anyway, the takeaway is that I’ll only be wearing larger, fancy earrings for special occasions. For everyday wear I’ll stick to smaller stuff that I forget I even have in.

Anyway, hope you all had a good holiday. Here’s to looking forward to a new year!

And a Meltdown in a Pear Tree

Another 12 Days parody; this time autism-themed. Just for some levity for everyone here.

Stim the Line

Merry Christmas Everyone! Or for anyone that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukah,  late Solstice, early Kwanza, and a Very Happy December 25th!

I think no matter what you celebrate, The 12 Days of Christmas carol is probably something that you’ve heard. The math has been done, and to purchase all 12 days of gifts would cost you almost $35,000!

I’ve replace the drummers, pipers, lords and ladies, the maids, the swans, and the geese, the gold rings, the calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and the partridge with things that are a little more relatable!

So I present to you-

The Twelve Days of Autism 

On the First day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, A meltdown in a pear tree

On the Second day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Third day of Christmas, Autism gave to…

View original post 362 more words

Happy Yule/Merry Christmas/Whatever

Just a quick well-wish from me. Regardless what you celebrate (be it Christmas if you’re Christian, Hanukkah if you’re Jewish, Yule if you’re Pagan/atheist, whatever) have a great day and spend it with those who mean the most to you.

For all of my blogging buddies, know you matter to me and if it was feasible I’d send you all a small gift as a token of my appreciation. Alas, it isn’t. So have a virtual hug from me to you and enjoy your day.

As far as me? Just chilling with my immediate family and sporting these cool helix earrings today. They just felt festive so suitable for today:


You all have a good one, eat, drink and be merry!

Much love,
Lynn Blair, “The Inked Autist”

Song Lyric Sunday 12/24/17 – The 12 Pains of Christmas

So in an unusual curveball, Helen decided to choose danger as her theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. I was confident it would be holiday themed, but ironically my choice for this week fits BOTH themes (in my opinion anyway).

This song is one of my favorite holiday songs. Christmas (or, as this atheist prefers to call it, Christ-my-ass) can be incredibly painful and dangerous. With that said, here is Bob Rivers’ parody of the classic Christ-my-ass carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” called “The 12 Pains of Christmas” (written by Bob Rivers, Brian Silva and Dennis Amero). The video I chose is in no way an official video, but rather an amateur fan video that’s sure to make you bust a gut laughing!

The first thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Is finding a Christmas tree

The second thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The third thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The fourth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Sending Christmas cards
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The fifth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Five months of bills
Sending Christmas cards
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The sixth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Facing my in-laws
Five months of bills
“I hate those Christmas cards!”
Rigging up these lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The seventh thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Salvation Army
Facing my in-laws
Five months of bills
Sending Christmas cards
“Aw geez”
“I’m trying to rig up these lights!”
And finding a Christmas tree

The eighth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
“I want a transformer for Christmas”
“Charities, and what do you mean your inlaws?”
Five months of bills
“Ah, making out these cards!”
“Edith, get me a beer, huh!”
“What, we have no extension cords?!?”
And finding a Christmas tree

The ninth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Finding parking spaces
“Daddy, I want some candy!”
Facing my in-laws
Five months of bills
“Writing up those Christmas cards”
“Now why the hell are they blinking?”
And finding a Christmas tree

The tenth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Batteries not included
No parking spaces
“Buy me something!”
“Get a job ya bum!”
Facing the inlaws
Five months of bills
“Yo ho, sending Christmas cards”
“Ah geez, look at this!”
“One light goes out, they all go out!”
And finding a Christmas tree

The eleventh thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Stale TV specials
Batteries not included
No parking spaces
“I gotta go to the bathroom”
“She’s a witch, I hate her!”
Five months of bills
“Oh, I don’t even know half these people!”
“Who’s got the toilet paper?”
“Get a flashlight, I blew a fuse!”
And finding a Christmas tree

The twelfth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me
Singing Christmas Carols
Stale TV specials
Batteries not included
No parking
Gotta make ’em dinner
Five months of bills
“I’m not sending them, Mister, that’s it!”
“Shut up, you!”
“Fine, you’re so smart, you rig up the lights!”
And finding a Christmas tree
Source: Google search “The 12 Pains of Christmas Lyrics” (with several corrections made by me).

Anyway, a little bit of a joke pick this week for some levity in an often times difficult time of the year. I know so many people get holiday blues (including me!) so I hope I at least got some of you to laugh a little bit. As mentioned, some of the things in this list I think fit the danger theme so it played right into my hands this week.

Hope you enjoyed.

Beer/Cigar Reviews: Alaskan Winter and Marrero Bellartes

Welcome to another edition of my beer and cigar reviews where we take a look at some notable (and some not-so-notable) beers and cigars. Let’s just get right down to it and as always start with today’s beer selection:

Alaskan Winter

This winter ale from Alaskan Brewing Company is an Old English Ale brewed on Spruce tips. It weighs in at 6.4% ABV, 22 IBU and Alaskan is nice enough to give us the original gravity of 1.066 (16.25 Plato).

Pours a rich golden color with a thin ring of head that recedes fairly quickly. Sharp, floral aroma greets the nose (from the spruce tips) supported by fruity esters and caramel. Flavors of a thick caramel malty backbone supporting a yeasty bread quality and a subtle floral hop bitterness on the back. Medium in body and carbonation; easily sessionable.

If there ever was a “session” winter beer this is it. It’s still got lots of flavor but it’s low enough in alcohol and body that you can kill several and not really feel it. It went well with today’s cigar selection. Rating: 4.25/5.

And now for today’s cigar selection:

Marrero Bellartes

This offering from Marrero features an Ecuadorian Rosado Habano wrapper over Dominican binder and Costa Rican long fillers. The size reviewed is a 6.5″ x 54RG Torpedo vitola.

After two cuts with the Cuban Crafters Perfect Cutter, the draw was absolutely perfect putting off ample medium-bodied smoke. Creamy unsalted nuts dominated the draw while a sweet, spicy retrohale consisting of cinnamon and nutmeg filled the nasal cavity.

Getting into the first third the same flavors retained with an addition of a pleasant sweetness mixing into the draw and a heavy, substantial oak joins in on the nose. Entering the 2nd third the spice takes a back seat and takes on more of a metallic twang. No further changes were noted. I ended the cigar at 1:10:00 for a solid burn time for a Toro-sized stick and bringing in a subtle mild/medium nicotine strength.

Good construction throughout with a fairly straight burn that required no corrections. Ash holds on for a third of the cigar at a time.

All in all, a solid cigar in my book. Maybe not my favorite Marrero but solid nonetheless. It paired really well with the beer but would also be a good companion for coffee, hard cider or rum. Rating: 3.75/5.

And that’s a wrap for today’s reviews. Have you had either? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Kinda Funny? Kinda Sad? What?

So I just had the strangest experience while out grocery shopping.

I’ll be the first to admit: I *HATE* grocery shopping. Absolutely detest it. I just get what I need, check out and get out. No wandering about, no nothing. It’s an almost painful experience for me. Alas, tonight was a little different.

So here’s the scene: I’m sacking my groceries at the local Aldi after checking out (note: Aldi does not sack your groceries for you; you have to provide your own bags and bag your own). Well there’s this lady next to me also sacking her groceries, seemingly minding her own business right? Well, out of the blue she erupts in song, and within two words I recognize what song it is.

“All around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces…”

Of course, I couldn’t resist, I just had to respond “Bright and early for their daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere…”

I think this caught her off guard, but she continued the song, followed by me and so forth until we sang the entire song in an a cappella duet right there in the store for everyone to hear.

I’m sure everyone thought we were batshit crazy (including the employees!) but oh well. It sure is a Mad, Halargian World for sure; and maybe for a few minutes we could share in each others’ pain, suffering and perhaps some level of amusement.

Whatever the case, little things like that make one’s day and just goes to show the uniting power of music. Maybe we aren’t as divided as we think we are? Who knows? Just found it a funny (and perhaps kinda sad) moment in life. The only ones who really appreciate that particular song are the ones who feel the lyrics into their cores.

Holiday Earring Haul!

As usually happens around this time, my mom asked me what I’d want for the holidays. It gets harder and harder to come up with a wish list ever year because I don’t need/want much. I’m a minimalist at heart, but this year was different because I’d added two pairs of ear piercings to my body modification list and, until now, just had my two starter pairs of captive bead rings. Man did I need some variety!

Alas, here’s where it got tricky. Seeing as how I was pierced professionally in a parlor (this really is the best way to get pierced; mall piercing guns are pure unadulterated evil) with a 14g cannula most earrings are too small to effectively take up the hole in my flesh, while huge gauges are way too big (note: I have no interest in ear stretching whatsoever, at least for the time being). As such, I had to look for some stuff in specialty shops.

Well, with some help from mom in the form of a prepaid gift card I decided to make an earring haul! I did have to look around quite a bit as I didn’t want anything overly feminine and 14g, though being a standard, seemed few and far between with the styles I liked, but all in all I made out pretty well I think:


So what all does that consist of? L to R are some tribal double spirals, simple twists, double helix and six pairs of 14mm spiked barbells (1 pair each gold, silver, bronze, black, blue, rainbow). I’ve also got three pairs of “screw studs” (i.e. stud earrings that look like Phillips head screws – one pair each gold, sliver, black) that have yet to arrive. That’s OK though as those will probably take up my 2nd hole exclusively and those won’t be ready to be changed out for awhile yet.

I decided to go with the rainbow barbells for now as they’re funky and cool and this was my first time changing my first pair of piercings. After struggling to remove the captive bead rings (and losing one of the beads down the drain in the process – that’s OK though as I doubt I’ll ever wear them again because they’re so hard to put on and take off) the old earrings slid out and the new ones in like butter (another reason to get pierced professionally – the needle takes a chunk out of you to accommodate the jewelry whereas a gun forces a blunt stud through the tissue merely pushing it out of the way) and I think they look awesome:


They go with the CBRs just fine but I’m sure they’ll also pair with the studs great too; or with double pairs of barbells or even my tribals/swirls. These are universal and I like the spiked ends as they seem to have a more masculine feel.

Man, have I lost it? I’m talking about jewelry like a teenage girl. Oh well; now I know how they feel!

What are some of your favorite styles of earrings? This goes for anyone but especially men as I’m looking for more ideas for “masculine” styles (whatever the hell that means).