My Experience With Neuro-Emotional Technique

If it’s one thing I know all too well it’s pain. Lots and lots of pain. It’s been weighing me down for a long time, to the point it’s taken a toll on not only my mental health, but physical as well. It’s not been fun and it’s been affecting every aspect of my life – work, friendships, relationships, etc.

Several people had suggesting counseling for various demons I carry around, but that just does not work for me. I was forced into counseling as a teenager and it made no difference whatsoever. It was a waste of my time and my parents’ money. I knew that wasn’t an option.

So fastforward to the present. Now that I’ve started a journey to mend my physical health, mending mental health is part of it too as it’s all linked. Counseling isn’t an option, but I need some sort of mental healing. That’s when Laina suggested to me to look into Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET).

I only have limited understanding of what it is or how it works, but what I can tell you is that NET is in no way counseling or talk therapy/psychotherapy. Rather, NET uses elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine and chiropractic care to correct imbalances caused by painful or stressful situations (a better explanation can be found here). You never know what event your body wants to talk about in any given session, but something usually comes up.

Sounds like a bunch of hooey right? Don’t get me wrong, I was skeptical too. VERY skeptical. Alas, I’ve been weighed down by so much shit in my life that I was willing to try anything.

I’ve only had three sessions so far, but here’s what I can tell you – it’s amazing. The experience is incredible. During all three sessions I’ve had some significant event or concept has been “pulled out” – all without telling the practitioner anything major about my past or any painful/stressful memory/life event. One’s body tells the story without much need for verbal cues. It’s almost like an emotional detoxification as it were.

So what do releases feel like? Well they can be varied, but in the end the best way for me to put my experience is that it’s almost like an emotional detachment from that event or memory. It’s still there, but it’s like you’re no longer hurt, angry, etc. about it. It’s just what it is. In the end, I’ve always felt a lot lighter and more relaxed/at peace at the end of a session. Stressful shit does pile up on you and weigh you down after all.

I might not know the hows or whys, but I do know it works and it’s been more effective in just three sessions than years of counseling or talk therapy ever would dream of being. It’s very efficient, and I’m all about efficiency.

So that’s just my experience with NET and I’d highly recommend it to everyone. We all need a good mental/emotional detox as well as physical. I definitely feel better and am in a better place because of it.

Valentine’s Day Weekend (and Other) Reflections…

So here I am, another Monday morning at Laina’s place working and doing my laundry, but after a fun weekend prior.

This was the first Valentine’s Day since 2011 that I have not been single. It’s weird in a way. I guess you can count 2014 as partnered, but that was the day my most recent ex and I split so I don’t know if that even counts.

Anyway, it was the first V-Day in that long that hasn’t totally sucked. Though what we have is the farthest thing from a traditional relationship, it was fitting to celebrate what we have on the day, and that we did. I cooked us a dinner of Salmon, Thai peanut buckwheat noodles (buckwheat is not related to wheat and is gluten-free) and French-cut green beans, after which we went for wine and chocolate at San Antonio’s own Stray Grape winery (review coming soon over on Texas Bite & Sip). It was a night of reflection, affection and looking to the future ahead.

It was crowded so we retired early to my place for a Walking Dead marathon, then continued the theme into Saturday by taking a drive up to “winery row” (US 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg) to sample some more wine.

As we look into what lies ahead, of course nobody knows, but I still know I’m in a better place now. To love and to be loved feels great.

Other interesting reflections: my weight is holding steady after a drop, but my body composition continues to change in my favor – to the point I can rock swim briefs at the pool with complete confidence.

I feel even lighter mood-wise also, and would you believe I have completely lost my taste for cigars? I’ve tried a few here and there recently (ones I used to love) and I can’t stomach the taste anymore. Maybe as my body detoxes itself it’s being repulsed by the taste to not introduce new toxins? Who knows, but all I know is I’m pretty much completely cigar-free these days. I’m not complaining – they’re expensive and it frees me up to do other things with my time.

I’m trying to read a novel for the first time since 2017 – Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. So far an engaging read for sure, and this coming from someone who doesn’t get much pleasure from reading novels.

Of course, should a business venture come to fruition, the plan will have to be different moving forward as I no longer smoke cigars. That’s ok – I’m thinking maybe an entirely gluten-free tavern featuring a variety of food offerings and some of the very best wines from Texas hill country (as well as maybe some hard ciders, etc.). That’s still a concept in its infancy, but it’s worth it to explore.

Anyway, that’s what my life looks like now.

Logic Does Not Compute – The Men’s Swimwear Edition

So after years of not having any swimwear, I finally hopped online and got me a swimsuit. It’s about time right?

You might ask yourself why not just go to a B&M and get one? Well, it might be different for my European readers, but in the United States no department stores stock brief-style swimwear for men. We Americans in all our prudishness are all about those heavy, ridiculous, baggy long trunks (which Laina coined the term “sissy-ass shorts” to describe). It’s absolutely asinine.

Luckily I found a really nice one online, which Laina helped me pick out. We looked at the color options for a particular style and she decided that purple would look great on me. So I measured myself, got the correct sizing and checked out to the tune of $30 and change…which was after a 30% discount code!!!

Well, I have to back up and scratch my head at the logic here. Brief-style swimwear is less than 1/4 as much material as trunks, but they’re more expensive? Like how does that make even the remotest amount of sense? My logical autistic brain just can’t figure that one out. You can go to fucking Walmart and buy a pair of sissy-ass trunks for $10, but good luck finding swim briefs for less than $40-50?!?!?

Man, if anyone can figure that logic out let me know. All I know is that’s stupid. Maybe it’s a luxury tax of sorts – pay for the comfort, freedom and aerodynamic advantage of swim briefs. Engineering after all. 😉

Grieving for Gluten (And Other Things)…

When you find out you have an allergy, autoimmune reaction, etc. to a certain food or certain compound in a given food, it’s quite saddening to say the least. Even if you do know it’s for the best, it can really fucking suck.

For me, some days are better than others. Most of the time, I can deal with it just fine. I’ve found gluten-free replacements for all of my favorite foods – Italian, Asian, sushi, pizza, you name it! I definitely do not feel at all deprived on the food spectrum. I’ve found ways to deal with it (as well as my reactions to dairy, oats, amarinth and corn) and still eat all my favorites, using various gluten/grain free breads, pastas, etc.; non-dairy cheeses and ice creams, you name it. In fact, I’d say I eat better now and I enjoy eating and cooking more than I ever have in the past.

Alas, I still find myself sometimes longing for a Bratzel from Flying Saucer (a cheese/beer brat topped giant soft pretzel), a delicious donut, a wood-fired Lucia pizza from Vagabond in my old hometown of Abilene, and above all else, a good stout beer – the last of which still aches my heart that I can’t have anymore. There have been a few times I’ve wanted one so bad I’ve fucking cried.

Last week was a prime example, and I goddamn near caved and cheated on the gluten-free thing. Due to some unfortunate events last week (which were a result of my own doing and I’ll own that – though I don’t want to discuss details), I felt so bad the only thing I wanted was a Bratzel and imperial stout, and I was “this” close to going over to Flying Saucer and getting just that. Luckily, something came up which prevented me from doing that and saved me what could have been days straight of intense pain and suffering (I guess everything does happen for a reason).

The only gluten-free beer I’ve found around here is Redbridge by Anheuser-Busch and it’s no imperial stout. Whether or not you could even brew a gluten-free beer to have the thickness of imperial stout is another question altogether – part of where it gets its thickness is from the gluten itself.

Now, some Google search results have shown some true gluten-free imperial stouts. Alas, most of them are brewed on the west coast, and all of the ones I’ve found contain oats, which lo and behold I also react to. I can’t have those either!!! EFF. EM. ELL.

I guess I should consider myself lucky because I’ve got so much great Texas hill country wine to choose from around here to fill that void, but damn, wine just ain’t the same. I love wine, don’t get me wrong, and I would often choose it over beer back in my beer drinking days, but when you crave a beer it’s just a poor substitute.

My old pipe band is having a Burns Supper in a couple of weeks. I can guarantee you nothing there will be Celiac-safe because of the nature of Scottish cuisine. I can’t even enjoy that anymore. At times it’s just too much to handle.

Alas, I know it’s for the best if I stick to it, and in due time I’ll miss these things less. Taking it one day at a time is all I can do, and I guess I’ll just trudge forward, even if a beer or Bratzel is tempting at times.

I’ll be fine, and I can triumph over my cravings, and I will enjoy better health for not giving in. A little emotional pain now is worth not having a lot more of it later (as physical and emotional pain usually go hand in hand).

Never Underestimate a Guitar’s Saddle

Last week, my new Taylor 552ce got what seems like a small adjustment but was really a huge upgrade – I had a quality bone saddle installed.

Though but a few inches in length and maybe 1/4″ wide at most, a seemingly small component such as a saddle can have a huge impact on the resulting tone of the guitar.

For those who are unfamiliar, the saddle is the part in the bridge that effectively terminates the vibrating length of the string. The string “breaks over” it into the bridge where it is then anchored via pins or a pinless system.

Alas, the saddle does much more than that. The energy of the string actually passes through the saddle onto the guitar’s soundboard (the top piece of wood), making the top vibrate.

Needless to say, the material that the saddle is made from will have a major impact on the final tone of the guitar. Most production guitars some with some sort of a plastic saddle (Micarta and Tusq being the most common). Though easy to run through a milling machine and mass produce, plastic just doesn’t do that great of a job transferring the strings’ energy to the soundboard. It effectively acts as a damper.

Compare this to most boutique guitars which come fitted with a bone saddle. Bone does a much better job of transferring the energy from the strings. The result is a louder guitar with a more punchy low end, more shimmery high end, richer overtones and longer sustain (slower decay).

Every guitar is different of course, but I can say this – I’ve installed bone saddles in every acoustic guitar I’ve ever owned. How many did I go back to plastic in afterward? None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Bupkis.

Now, my Taylor 12 was an exception in that I had it installed professionally because of the greater degree of complication. 6-string guitars are easy enough to do on your own. 12-strings are much more exacting with the intonation and having to cut guide slots in the saddle for the course pairs (lest they rest too close together).

So if bone is so much better, why would even high end production guitars use plastic? Well, again, automation. Due to the nature of bone it can’t really be milled and must be hand-finished. That said, manufacturers do keep some bone saddles in stock for aftermarket purchase, just not pre-installed in their guitars. I don’t know how many they sell, only that the end result is well worth it.

Taylor says they recommend plastic saddles in their acoustic-electric guitars because of their pickup system and possible inconsistencies with bone, but I’ve not noticed any issue with mine after changing the saddle. I had to adjust the EQ/preamp a bit, but the energy transfer to the pickup is no different. As such, I’m inclined to dismiss Taylor’s concern as hogwash.

For those worried about animal cruelty or unnecessary killing of animals, let me rest assure you no animals are killed just to make guitar saddles. The bones used in the making of them are a byproduct of the beef industry.

So that’s well and good, but what did I notice in my Taylor 12? Simply put, the bone brought out the shimmer of the course strings in a huge way, giving it more of a traditional, jangly, big bodied 12 string sound. It also increased the volume, sustain and overtones. The guitar was great before, don’t get me wrong, but the bone saddle just elevated it to another level. It was an all around good decision to upgrade.

Anyway, food for thought for you guitar players out there.

William Chris Vineyards – Hye, TX

Come with us as we visit one of the largest and most upscale wineries on the Highway 290 corridor for this week’s winery review!

Texas Bite & Sip

Date Visited: 1/4/2020

The William Chris Vineyard is nestled just off the US 290 highway in Hye, Texas, a small unincorporated town in the Texas Hill Country.  Founded in 2008 by William “Bill” Blackmon and Chris Bundrett, two long-experienced winemakers who had each been working for different wineries.  Both had grown dissatisfied and disillusioned with some of the  practices dominating the Texas wine market at the time, and shared a common vision of creating authentic Texas-grown, Texas-made wine to the public (source).

Although this is the largest and most-established winery we’ve been to yet, the signage was–interestingly–rather thin as seen on the highway.  It was there, but not large, and you had to know approximately where the winery was, or otherwise you might miss it.  However, once you turn into the driveway, the signage becomes more plentiful and much clearer.  Upon the first drive-up, one can really get…

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Neurotypical For A Day

Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s most or all of us on the autism spectrum, but do you ever wonder what it’s like to be neurotypical? If you could choose to experience life as a neurotypical for one day (with the guarantee you could revert to your previous state in 24 hours’ time), would you take that opportunity?

By extension, would you continue to exist as neurotypical if you found it easier/more palatable to do so? Or would you choose to revert to your previous autism-afflicted state despite the difficulties that come with that?

While I’m still on the fence if I would accept a cure should one become available (note: I don’t think one will now nor ever), it would be interesting just to see what it’s like to be “normal” as it were. To be able to flow with the way the world is designed. To be the one catered to instead of ostracized.

I can’t be the only one who wonders.