Bad Luck – It Could Get Better(?)…

…but it’s going to get worst, first (assuming it does even get better).

Well that’s how it all works right? My suspicions were confirmed this morning when I had the diagnostic trouble code read and it came back as P0304 (misfire in cylinder 4).

So yeah. Car is undrivable for now. Driving with a misfire is never a good thing as you risk serious damage to the cat doing that.

Man, what sins am I paying for that I committed in a past life such that I’m being punished dearly for it in this one? Seriously, what did I do to deserve this?

OMG. It just seems like my life will always suck. Like what the actual fuck?

Excuse me while I go fucking cry my eyes, lungs, heart and brains out.

FML.

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When It Rains It Pours…

Rough idling? Check. Flashing check engine light? Also check.

Yeah, that’s bad news alright. Rough idling isn’t good obviously (and to be fair I had noticed a vibration on initial start every driving cycle, but didn’t see anything lighting up until tonight so I dismissed it) but a flashing check engine light? Well, anyone who knows the first thing about cars knows that’s about as bad as it gets. A flashing check engine light is a sign of the dreaded P03XX diagnostic trouble code, which indicates a cylinder misfire.

Of course, this is a highly dangerous situation and one that might not be correctible without sinking a shit ton of money into it and of course being car-less for another couple of weeks probably.

It seems what started off dreamy is quickly turning nightmare-ish. Why a German engineered technolgical marvel of a car is having major problems at only 47,000 miles when my old Ford (with the old backronyms “Found On Road Dead,” “Fix Or Repair Daily,” etc.) had almost 87,000 on it the day it was written off, and not once did I *EVER* see a check engine light on that thing. I mean *NEVER.*

Honestly, I just kind of had a sick feeling about that car over the weekend after what someone told me about VWs not lasting in the heat of southern US climate. My dad was quick to dismiss it and say I should look at it anyway. My gut told me to run, but I had my arm twisted into it by dad who took it for a test drive on Saturday while I was at the IndyCar race. Of course at the moment I test drove it and then subsequently drove it off the lot I was absolutely delighted that I had my arm twisted into it but now I’m not so delightful about it. I knew I should have gone for the 2017 Honda Fit I was looking at and had in my mind as the right choice – with only 3,000 miles on it at less than $15,000!!!! I guess I let the “fun factor” of the beefier and sportier yet four model years older Jetta GLI eclipse pure practicality in my mind and now I’m paying for it. Hard.

Hopefully there’s a way out of this. If it’s a simple fix, as per my extended service plan it’s a $100 deductible and the rest is covered. If it’s something serious and not really worth fixing, maybe I can convince them to take the car back? Who knows, but it looks like my relationship with this car could be very short-lived.

Oh well. I guess I was just meant to drive slow-ass boring cars. Bleh. Just one more shit-tastic piece of my shit-tastic life.

And people wonder why I wish I had never been born…

Cigar Review: Smokin Joe’s 34th Anniversary

For cigar smokers looking for a stellar stick at an unbelievable price, definitely stay tuned to this review. You’ll be glad you did.

This commemorative cigar, available exclusively from cigarandpipes.com in New York was blended by E.P. Carillo Cigars and features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican long fillers. This cigar comes in three vitolas – a 5″ x 50RG Robusto, a 6″ x 52RG Toro, and a 6″ x 60RG Gordo. All three vitolas are less than $5/stick, so definitely budget smoker specials.

So let’s just get into the review and talk about why these sticks are so special. For this review, I am smoking the Toro vitola.

The first light reveals a perfect draw putting off plentiful thick, medium/full bodied smoke. Notes of cedar and pepper dominate out of the gate, along with a smooth leather. Quite a surprising start to such an inexpensive stick.

Getting into the first third the cigar develops in complexity, still holding a medium/full flavor profile. The notes above remain, but are joined by a rich cocoa on the draw and unsalted roasted nuts oh the finish. The smoke is very thick textured and creamy on the palate.

The second third sees the same great complex flavor profile but with the balance of flavors shifting a bit. Whereas the first third emphasized the wood and pepper notes, the cocoa and leather really take over in the second half. That’s really all there is to report as the stick is fairly consistent otherwise, which is fine by me as it has a complexity and richness to the flavors. Ending at 1 hour 15 minutes for a solid burn time for the size and entering a matching medium/full nicotine strength.

Excellent construction throughout with a near razor sharp burn and an ash holding on damn near half the cigar. High quality self-adhesive band that came off without issue and did not damage the wrapper.

I told you that you were going to want to read to the end. You are just not going to find a better cigar in this price bracket. Full of flavor, a nice kick, and an unbelievable price. I hope they make these regular production. Do yourself a flavor and buy a bundle in your preferred size and try it out. You’ll thank me later.

Pair with red wine, rum or imperial stout beer for best results. For what you’re getting for such a diminutive price, I’m giving this cigar a 5/5. It blows away many cigars 3 times its price point and sometimes more.

The Phoenix Rises

Out of the ashes of the tragedy that was the untimely demise of my Fiesta, the Phoenix rises and I am blessed with this gem:

VW3VW4VW1VW2

I went backward two model years but way up in bells and whistles and driving experience. Sure it doesn’t have the same fuel mileage but damn it’s got some guts and is just a much more fun drive.

Really, you should have seen the look on my face the first time I gave it the juice and just took off. The clutch is super smooth, very easy on the leg, and engages at just the right point – not too high or too low. Responsive throttle, but the accelerator is floor mounted so you actually press the top of the pedal instead of the bottom. The only thing I don’t like about the car? No blind spot mirrors. I’m sure I can purchase those without too much cost though.

I guess everything does happen for a reason. I cried tears of anguish when I went to collect my things out of the Fiesta and say goodbye one last time. I’m crying as I write this post, but for the total opposite reason. This is a far nicer car than I ever thought I’d be driving in this life.

Sure, there’s still a grieving process, but having this will definitely ease it along and in due time I will be back to normal. In the meantime, I’m going cruising for a bit. Catch you soon.

Cigar Review: Sobremesa

This offering from Saka cigars features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Mexican San Andreas binder and Nicaraguan long fillers. The size reviewed here is the Elegante en Cedros – a 7″ x 50RG Churchill vitola.

The first light reveals a perfect draw producing ample medium-bodied smoke. Core flavors of earth and leather out of the gate with a substantial but not overbearing red pepper blast on the retrohale. There’s also a tinge of bright cedar on the nose.

Getting into the first third we see many of the same flavor notes, but with the addition of a light roast coffee – akin to a breakfast blend – on the draw. The body flavors also see a bit of an uptick and they are now solidly medium/full. The smoke is very creamy and thick on the palate. Overall the flavors are definitely on the savory/zesty side.

The second third brings a very welcome transition as the earthiness takes a back seat and brings in a note of dry unsalted nuts and a distinct creamy note with a slight tinge of sweetness. The pepper and cedar notes remain, as do the coffee and leather. Very complex blend but no one flavor dominates any of the others.

The final third sees another shift, but this one more subtle as the coffee takes on a distinct dark baker’s chocolate bite. The pepper also dies down somewhat. Ending at 1 hour 50 minutes for a truly impressive burn time and bringing in a matching medium/full nicotine strength.

Excellent construction throughout with a burn that wasn’t totally straight but didn’t need any manual correction, which was impressive given how windy it was when this was smoked for review. Ash holds on solidly for a third of the stick at a time. High quality self adhesive band that removed easily without damaging the wrapper.

Overall a very robust and complex smoke that leans strongly toward the savory side. I would have liked a bit more sweetness to round out the package but otherwise it was a very nice smoke for sure, though I do prefer Saka’s Mi Querida over this one. Pair with a sweet red wine or a nice rum to balance out the relative dryness of the stick. Rating: 4/5.

On Being Asexual, Etc.

Since it is LGBTQIA+ pride month, I couldn’t let it go by without mentioning something of my own sexuality and how I deal with it. It’s no secret that I’m very much asexual, which is maybe the least understood sexual orientation of all because we’re all so different. So I figured I’d put to rest how I deal with it personally and quash some misconceptions.

First of all, what is asexuality not? It’s not a number of things, but here are the the big ones in my view:

  1. Asexuality is not “aromantic.” Asexuals can be involved in romantic relationships just the same as those who have sexual attraction. It is different for us, admittedly. Some of us are heteroromantic, others homoromantic and some biromantic. I’m the last one of these. I can be romantically involved with anyone, regardless of biological sex or gender identity. I’m just not right now because I’ve not found anyone with whom I would be romantically compatible. That does not mean all of us are in that situation, but some are indeed aromantic entirely.
  2. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy! Some are in indeed celibate, but that’s not universally true, especially for those married to someone with a sex drive. Asexuals might or might not engage in sexual relations. For some, it’s “optional” – a take or leave kind of thing. For me, sex is a no-go and the thought of it disgusts me, but some can tolerate it or maybe even enjoy it for the sake of a partner. It’s just that it isn’t the “end goal” for us.
  3. Asexuality is not a lack of “libido.” Our bodies function the same as anyone else’s. Just because we don’t take interest in sex in and of itself doesn’t mean our biological programming doesn’t sometimes take hold. Most of us (maybe even all of us – though I hesitate to make that claim) are not aroused by looks alone. I know I’m not (even though I do appreciate attractiveness). It takes some serious stimulation, but even as a male I do have erections. Actually, if I didn’t, that would point to some other health problem.
  4. Asexuality is not depression! For whatever reason, so many seem to think a lack of interest in sex has to be related to some sort of clinical depression. Though they can be correlated among those with a normal sexual appetite, asexuals are not by default clinically depressed.
  5. Asexuality is not an “excuse.” I get so sick of this. Many people think aces claim to be that way because they just can’t “get laid.” Whatever. This is one asexual males especially hear in a patriarchal cis-het dominated world. I’m sick of it. See my previous post on virgin shaming.

So what is asexuality? Simply put, the lack of sexual attraction. Nothing more. For us, sex can be anywere from optional to downright disgusting. As mentioned in a previous post and above, for me, it’s the latter end of the spectrum. I don’t know many 32 year old males who have never had any type of sexual contact, but I am one of the few, and that’s how I will die too because I just can’t bring myself to engage in it. I just can’t get past the thought of it.

I will admit, for me that does complicate romantic relationships a shit ton. That’s largely why I’ve not found anyone with whom I would be romantically compatible, among other reasons. I’d have to have someone who felt the same about sex as I do, but as we seem to be few and far between, that’s unlikely, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m not one who could “put out” for a romantic partner, even though some aces can. I don’t judge either way mind you.

Alas, not all asexuals are the same, and here’s one key way I am personally different. I’ve discussed this before, but you all know I am very physically affectionate even with close friends – something I’ve discussed prior. I can go all the way up to “make out” level with a person who is not a romantic partner and whom I have no romantic interest in! I’ve done it before with more than one such person (and a mix of biological sexes/gender identites). For me, I totally separate physical affection from romantic love. For me, even “making out” isn’t a romantic exchange, though it can be.  To me, it’s an exchange with someone I love, be it that or a friend/familial relationship. Now, that doesn’t mean I do so with just anyone, and I usually wait for the other party to initiate such contact, but I will respond if initiated and I genuinely love that person. Just stay in “safe zones” (i.e. non-private areas) and I’m just fine with that.

Anyway, I’ve just painted with some broad strokes, and the above are solely my opinions on the topic so nobody murder me here. It’s just my personal take, for what it’s worth. I’d love to hear about the experiences of other aces, so please comment with your thoughts. No two of us are alike, so I always like learning more. Please do share your views, even if you disagree with mine. I might just update or follow up with other persepctives.

“Everything Happens for a Reason…”

Does it really? I know a lot of people seem to believe that. It’s definitely hard to think what reasons something would play out the way it does (especially what seem to be misfortunes) but is it really true?

Last night on the way home from San Antonio, I missed a turnoff onto another road that set me back a few minutes as I found a convenient place to pull off and make a U-turn to get back on track. It was dark after all and this is a tricky part of the return trip due to the layout of the roads at that intersection. I thought nothing of it and got back on track, but it did set in motion a bigger misfortune that likely wouldn’t have taken place had I made the correct turn in the first place.

As it was, after making my way about another 20 miles or so I collided with a deer that popped out of nowhere. I was lucky in that the point of impact was on the very corner of my car, taking out only the driver’s side headlight and the quarter panel and just barely denting the hood and front bumper. I felt no recoil at all, nor did the seatbelt engage. I was able to “limp” my car the rest of the way home as there was only a small drivability issue in that the way the quarter panel was bent it was skidding the tire on bumps and such. Just taking it slow minimized this and I got home without further issues.

Needless to say I was shaken up at the outset though. I pulled over to assess the damage and immediately called Laina as I needed someone to talk to to calm me down, which she gladly took 30 minutes out of her evening to do so. She reminded me that “everything happens for a reason” even if we don’t know that reason. Maybe it could have saved me from bigger problems later?

Well, maybe it did. Just before my next major turn I came across another deer, and this one appeared to be freshly hit too. I thought that was an eerie sight at the outset, but after marinating it in my mind, would I have hit that one more directly with much more catastrophic results? Or would someone in front of me hit it to where I would not have had time to react and then I collide with the car?

Who knows? As badly as I felt for myself at the time, maybe something worse would have happened had I not missed that turn. I’ll never know, other than to say the universe has a really sick sense of humor at times. Yeah it sucked at the outset, but it could have sucked so much worse. In a way, I got lucky.

So does everything happen for a reason? That’s purely conjecture and we’ll never know for sure. Alas, I know there are worse things that could have transpired, and at this moment I’m just glad they weren’t worse.

I wouldn’t have felt this way a few months ago mind you. I’d have still been feeling sorry for myself. I would have been focusing on my own misfortune and thinking it was the worst thing in the world. Now I know it isn’t.

Funny how time flies, and funny how it changes you.