Work From Home Week 1 Debriefing

So I’ve completed my first full week of working from home (at least mostly). I was in the office Monday and then half a day today and just worked away at home the rest of the time (it’s still good to check in with the office a couple of times per week). I can already tell this is going to be so much better.

I’m so much less stressed out. It’s quieter, distraction-free and on nice days I can actually take my work outside while enjoying a nice strong cup of coffee and a cigar. No “getting ready” for work either – been loafing around in just a hoodie and meggings all week (it’s been a bit cold here, yes it even gets cold in Texas!) and just in my element. No office gossip, no landlines ringing off the hook, no nothing – just do my thing in peace.

This week was a fairly intense week so it was a really good one to gauge working from home. Yes, I’ll need some improvements to my home work environment but it will be a work in progress (hopefully the government shutdown will end soon and I can get my tax return in a timely manner to put toward that).

Honestly, I think for those of us on the autism spectrum, working from home is probably the next frontier in making our lives easier. It seems like many of us (myself included) don’t seem to do well in either an office environment or in the field. Sounds, smells, gossip, distractions, you name it. Uh, no. Maybe as “office work” moves more toward “homework” our lives will continue to improve. It’s early yet and I already feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. Honestly, though not my dream job cranes are kind of fascinating – figuring it out is almost like a puzzle in a way. I’ve always loved puzzles of all kinds after all.

Anyway, it seems as though 2019 is off to a great start – new tattoo in the works, better work environment, let’s go!

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Silly Haiku…

This is kinda fun. Song lyric haikus? What can you come up with? Mine was:

Even while we sleep
We will find you acting on
Your best behaviour

Cyranny's Cove

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Oh oh oh oh oh…
Oh oh oh oh! Oh oh oh
oh oh… The white stuff!

Ok, this is not serious, but I just thought it was funny that this fit the three lines of a haiku. And believe me, when a snow storm hits town, you need to find something to laugh about… LOL And for the youngest, or the people who wouldn’t get the joke, here’s what this was inspired by;

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Cigar Review: Punch Signature

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This cigar from the Honduras maker Punch features an Ecuadorian Sungrown Corojo wrapper over a dual Connecticut and Habano binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan long fillers.

First light reveals a perfect draw putting off a good amount of smoke. Medium/full body flavors of nuts, earth and spice. Hint of cocoa and a buttery texture.

Getting into the first third we get some more complexity while retaining the same core flavors. Pepper dies down somewhat allowing a distinct raisin and plum note to join in. A hint of caramel in the background. A tinge of smoky mesquite is also detected on the retrohale.

The 2nd third sees a slight shift with the pepper diminishing almost completely and the smoky and mesquite notes blending together into a meaty taste and aroma. No further changes were noted. Ending at 1 hour for an average burn time for the size and bringing in a medium nicotine strength.

Construction is where this one fell a bit flat. Fairly wavy burn that required a couple of touch ups along the way. Also some slight splitting of the wrapper in places. The band is quality and self adhesive and came off with no effort.

This one I’m kinda torn on. It’s a fairly price-point oriented stick (about $6 average from what I’ve found) and the flavors are really nice but the construction left something to be desired. Was it worth enduring for the flavors? For me yes, but maybe not if this isn’t a flavor profile you seem crazy about. Maybe I just got a one-off, but I’d have to try another just to see. Pairings for this would be a smooth red wine or a nice Jamaican rum for best results. Rating: 3.5/5.

“Virgin Shaming” – A Lesser Known Sexual Shaming

I’ve talked some about my sexuality (or, since I’m asexual, maybe more accurately lack thereof) on this blog but I don’t think I’ve ever addressed a problem I see a lot directed toward me (particularly from cishet, white, conservative men) – “virgin shaming.”

I should preface this post by saying I am in no way downplaying the problem of so-called “slut shaming” – I absolutely hate that term by the way. As far as I’m concerned, one’s sexual practices (including random “promiscuous” sex) do not devalue a person in any way, shape or form. So long as all parties are consenting adults, I couldn’t care less. You are no less of a person if you sleep around than you are if you’re donning a purity ring and a chastity belt.

Alas, that does bring me to the topic I’m addressing today – something I’m dubbing “virgin shaming.” I’m sure everyone who abstains from sex is subject to this at some point, but it seems to me this is one type of sexual shaming that men are subject to a lot more often than women, and for a very obvious reason. Virgin shaming is yet another byproduct of patriarchy and toxic masculinity.

If I had a nickel for every time some random joe-blow trailer trash inbred redneck Bible-thumping hillbilly told me I needed to “get laid” I’d be a millionaire. This often times comes up in my debates regarding antinatalism and existential nihilism. These “men” (if you could even call them that) all say one reason I’m miserable is my lack of sexual activity.

I’ll be quite frank here: the concept of sexual activity (in ANY form) absolutely grosses me out. Like the idea is repulsive to me. Just thinking about it is making me sick to my stomach. That doesn’t mean I can’t have romantic relationships with others (being biromantic I can go either way), but I will say it does complicate things quite a bit. I know not all asexuals are totally abstinate and some are able to “put out” for their partners on occasion but I’m just not that type. Actually, a lot of people I’ve talked to on the autism spectrum think/feel very similar to the way I do. Maybe it comes with the territory.

Does that mean I, and other asexuals, should be shamed for that? Absolutely NOT. I don’t see what business it is of these assholes what mine or anyone else’s sexual practices are. Alas, I do notice that trend I mentioned earlier – women tend to be a lot more accepting of it and even respect it, maybe in large part due to the prevalence of male-on-female rape/sexual assault (seriously guys, shape the hell up and quit excusing that bullshit). Some men are even OK with it, but again, it seems like it’s largely an issue that the demographic mentioned up top seems to hurl.

I will openly admit asexuality is probably the least understood sexual orientation of them all (by anyone, psychologists or laypeople). That doesn’t excuse ignorance. Educate yourselves, and for fuck’s sake (no pun intended) quit telling people they need to get laid if/when they very clearly do not want to. It’s insulting.

The moral of the story: let people live their lives and don’t give unsolicited “advice” about what they’re doing wrong. Who the fuck are you to give bullshit “advice” like that. If I wanted your so-called worthless bullshit “advice” I’d ask for it. Since I didn’t ask for it, I don’t want it. Now STFU.

Next Tattoo Concept Preview

It’s been awhile since I’ve added to my tattoo collection. I’ve been going through withdrawals for sure – I long to sit in the hot seat again, for when I’m being tattooed is the time I’m most at peace. The sweet sting of the tattoo needle helps to center me and remind me that I’m still alive and suffering.

OK, emo BS aside, it’s getting near time again. Completely out of inspiration and ideas, I was looking for something to spark the creative juices again and break the dry spell. That’s when I remembered a picture my artist drew up some time ago that I could have sworn was at the request of a client but after I didn’t see the tattoo come up in her feed for a few months, I decided to inquire. Lo and behold, it was just something she drew up and wasn’t for anyone in particular and said she’d love to tattoo it.

So here then is the concept drawing (artist credit: Jada Taylor):

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As someone who has begun embarking on a writing career a bit later in life, this design just spoke to me. It’s a cool design for sure. As far as the scroll? After bouncing some ideas, I have decided to put a song lyric in it – “In violent times you shouldn’t have to sell your soul.” If you don’t know what that’s a reference to, you’re hopeless (J/K – for those who might not know it’s a reference to “Shout” by Tears for Fears):

Anyway, stay tuned as this moves from conceptual phase to final product. As soon as we settle on the concept, we’ll move forward and you, my dear followers, will be among the first to see it after I get it tattooed.

Wine Review: Apothic Inferno

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This offering from Apothic Wines is a red blend (they don’t disclose specifics from what I’ve found) aged for 60 days in whiskey barrels. Consistent with this aging, it does have a slightly higher than average alcohol content at 15.9% ABV. Whiskey (particularly bourbon) barrel aged wines have been a bit of a hot trend lately, so I expected nothing less than for Apothic to get in on the action. But did they do it well?

Pour is a deep burgundy color as a great red wine should. The nose is immediately greeted with notes of plum and cherry with a tinge of vanilla and woody bourbon. The palate is greeeted with a blast of bourbon with tones of vanilla, oak and maple syrup. This is supported by a black cherry and blueberry core. Finish is semi-dry with mild tannins and a long lingering warmth. I would rate the body at medium – it’s an easy drinking wine without being too heavy.

For the price (about $12/bottle it appears) I doubt you’re going to see a more wallet friendly whiskey barrel aged wine. I do feel the whiskey in this case might have been too assertive in that it seemed to be the star of the show instead of just adding character, but it was still a very enjoyable wine. I paired this with a Torano Exodus 1959 50 Year cigar for this review and it was a solid pairing. Rating: 3.5/5.

 

I’ve Been to the Edge, and I’ve Been to the Edge. Yes, I’ve Been to the Edge…

In pondering what to title this post, I just couldn’t think of what to call it. Alas, I guess merely quoting the most repetitive song ever (“The Edge” by Eiffel 65) seems appropriate because well, that’s what this post is all about.

To me, one of the most chilling scenes in any movie is Neil’s suicide scene in the movie Dead Poets Society. Inspired by his English teacher Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) to pursue his passion for acting, Neil (Robert Sean Leonard) auditions for and lands for the role of Puck in a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His father (who insists his son become a doctor instead) is outraged, withdraws him from Welton and the play and enrolls him in a military academy. Seeing no path forward, and with no support from his mother, Neil uses his father’s revolver to commit suicide.

Here is that chilling scene, for those who have never seen the movie:

As much as it makes the hair on the back of my own head stand up, it makes it even more so knowing just how close I personally came to having almost the exact same fate. On this day, the three-year anniversary of me getting my first tattoo (a semicolon tattoo on my right wrist), I feel I am finally ready to open up about just how close I came to being another statistic and just how close I was to putting my own family through the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.

Having been rejected from my dream career (on account of my autism diagnosis and the FAA not accepting those with ASDs), forced into less-than-satisfying menial jobs and not being able to stick with one long-term, I saw no other option but to end my misery, and by god that’s what I was going to do come hell or high water. On a hot July 2015 night, drove my (then) piece of shit car to a remote location where nobody would be able to find me and brought along a semi-automatic pistol for the ride. Loaded with a single round of hollow-point (because who needs more than one shot?), I aimed to kill and pulled the trigger without hesitation.

A few seconds go by and I think to myself “I guess I’m dead?” In that split second I feared the worst – that there is in fact and afterlife and now I’m destined for hell. Alas, a few more seconds go by and I realize that I’m still alive. I check in the chamber only find out that the shot had not fired. Puzzled, I ejected the unspent round to examine it and much to my surprise there was the imprint of the firing pin on the primer. Of the 25 rounds in that box of ammo, I had picked the only one that was a dud. Hell, that might have been the only dud in that entire production run. What are the odds that the single dud would have wound up in that specific box AND it just so happens to be the one I randomly picked out of that box? Beating astronomically rare odds, I had cheated death, much to my dismay (at least in that instant).

As I sat there for a moment, angry, frustrated, I couldn’t help but think at how unlucky I was. Here I was, going to relieve myself from my own suffering because I finally had the chance, and that was foiled by some awful luck. Alas, it was in that moment I thought to myself “What the FUCK are you doing?!?!?” I drove home to sleep.

A few days later, I was changing the transmission fluid on my car when I got a call from a long-time friend of mine saying an opportunity had come open at my previous company (which he then also worked for). I interviewed the next day and within a couple of weeks I had a new career in the crane business.

A few months pass and I settle into my new career. Though less than satisfying, at least it meant I had a decent home life and wasn’t wondering where my next meal was going to come from. With the cloud looming over me that my reality shouldn’t be this, is when I started kicking around the unthinkable. Something I always sworn I would never do. I thought about getting a tattoo as an outward symbol of my internal battles.

I kicked the idea around for almost two months, until I decided I might as well just go for it. So, after finding a local artist, I walked into the shop on the cold, rainy evening on January 2nd, 2016 at 6:00 PM. I filled out the paperwork, trembling in fear as I did so.

As I sat down in the chair and the artist began preparing her equipment, she told me something I will never forget. “You know once you get this one you’re going to want more,” and she will tell you this is absolutely true – I looked her square in the eye and said “you’re so full of shit.” I was so scared but I had gotten this far, I figured I had to follow through at this point.

I did, and the sense of pride after I did was like nothing I’d ever felt before. I was high as a kite too. That was quite a rush, and I now had upon me a mark indicative of my battles. At this point I still swore I wouldn’t do that again, but we all know how long that lasted.

Three years and eight additional tattoos later plus adding some celtic knot to my first tattoo (to separate it from the very conservative Christian side of Project Semicolon), well, I guess I never saw myself here three years ago. It’s been a wild ride for sure.

So yes, I’ve been to the edge, and whatever god might exist, god does know if I’ve looked down (which I have). Do I still sometimes struggle with these thoughts? Absolutely. I think it will be a lifetime of struggle. I’m also not going to guarantee that life will never get bad enough for me to finally get pushed over that edge (Amy Bleuel herself later succumbed to suicide). Despite my own personal struggle, I maintain the political view that suicide is a right and the government has no right to try to stop someone from carrying it out. That said, it should not be undertaken without exhausting all other options and without consideration of the effects of those around them.

With that, I want to say thank you to all my friends and followers for reading. Thank you for allowing me to tell my story. Of course, that story is still in progress, because my story isn’t over yet. If you’re still here reading this, neither is yours. Thank you and good night.

Oh, and the referenced song, for those so curious: