Ink As Therapy

Right on schedule, the Saniderm was ready to come off of my new tattoo and it has now entered the peeling phase, which will last about another week or so. From there I’ll have a finished tattoo that’s ready to show off.

Alas, as any ink enthusiast, ideas have already been swirling in my head for my next one and I think I have a rough concept of what I’ll be getting next. I’ll need to play around with certain design elements but as a matter of “balance” I’ll likely choose placement on the other side in the same spot (since I am all about balance and symmetry – it’s the mathematician/engineer in me). The only one I’ve not yet balanced out is my rib panel but I’m in absolutely no hurry to have my other ribs tattooed – that was a pain unlike anything I’d ever felt before.

Anyway, I digress. Obviously I’ve done the whole gamut for “therapy” – some of it forced upon me by those who also forced existence upon me, some of it voluntarily. I’ve done the whole counseling, behavioral modification and even antidepressant/antipsychotic medications. Nothing ever worked. Nothing was able to quiet my tortured mind. I guess that’s a challenging element of autism – it seems a lot of traditional treatment methods don’t work on us. Maybe this further signifies that autism should not be classified as an illness or disorder? That’s something to chew on for a later time.

Back to the topic at hand. Ink as therapy. Tattoo enthusiasts throw around the term “ink therapy” all the time. Alas, as weird as it sounds, there might be some truth to that statement. As I’ve eluded to it in previous posts, but for me, being in the hot seat is when I’m most at peace. For me, when Jade is working her magic on my human canvas is the only time my mind is ever “quiet” as it were. All the rest of the time it’s racing, typical of those in my tribe. I even have trouble sleeping due to it. Sleep? Hah, what the fuck is that?

With as much negative stigma as there still is around tattoos, the benefits I’ve reaped from my favorite hobby have been incredible. I feel like my overall pain tolerance has improved (day-to-day bumps and scrapes aren’t as bothersome to me as they used to be) and maybe I’ve even gotten an immune boost because I don’t get sick like I used to. There are studies suggesting such too.

In that light, ink has been the one thing that has been able to do what counseling, drugs, etc. were all unable to do. It centers me. It’s meditative. It makes me feel “good.” Shit, as they seem to be the only form of “treatment” that works for me it seems to me my health insurance should fucking pay for my ink. It’s better “medicine” than any of the poison that criminal enterprise known as Big Pharma peddles as such.

I’ve found something that works for me, so at the very least that should be respected and tolerated. Whether or not you even like my tattoos is of no never mind to me (art is subjective after all – a masterpiece to person A could be butt-ugly to person B) as I’ve now transcended past tattoos solely for meaning to the point of just getting them because they look cool and feel good. Call that hedonistic as it were, I admit it is. I’m not hurting myself or anyone else in the process so I fail to see where that’s a problem.

Stay cool and ink it up!

Advertisements

In Violent Times…

…just get a sick new tat!!!

What do you think? Of course I’ll get a better pic when it’s healed and out of the Saniderm but there you go.

What do you think? Have you ever gotten a song lyric tattooed on you?

Edit to show an artist’s pic, before the Saniderm was applied. She was good – she even got a tiny bit of my fabulous meggings in the pic:

My Pre-Ink Routine

So with my appointment coming up in about 5 hours, I’ve begun my pre-ink routine to get me into the tattoo mind frame. As much as it’s old hat to me by this point, there’s still some level of nerve involved for what’s about to come. Ink enthusiasts will tell you that never really goes away, no matter how many tattoos you get.

Of course, being on the autism spectrum and liking “order” as it were, I have my routine down pat to get me into that mind set and get me on my game to endure the pain and resulting adrenaline/endorphin rush of the tattoo process. It’s calming and reassuring, as is every set routine we autists have (whether we’re inked or not) as deviating from order and structure is unduly stressful to us.

So my pre-ink routine starts with the morning of the session, with some meditation to center my thoughts and usually over a cigar and coffee. This routine starts to prep me for what’s to come mentally, while I recite affirmations to myself. “You will overcome the pain and you will have a beautiful piece of art” or something similar.

Then a couple of hours before the session I’ll eat a fairly sizable meal from a favorite restaurant. This gives me the fuel I need to endure the session, but enough time to start digesting so I’m not feeling lethargic or weighed down by the time I get to the hot seat. Comfort food, for me usually in the form of a nice meal from my hometown’s top 100 Chinese restaurant (yet, whoever thought podunk Abilene, TX would be home to one of the top 100 chinese restaurants in the US?).

While I’m processing my meal I usually stop for another cigar, which I smoke while rocking out to my jams. Music motivates me, and especially music I emotionally connect to. Admittedly that usually means my TFF with some others mixed in. By this point I’m in a state of “alert relaxation” and am ready for the process to begin.

After the first couple of lines have been completed the nerves have worn off and I’m usually settled into my zone to carry me through the session. I’ve now entered that state of pure meditation where I feel most at peace. As odd as it sounds, when I’m in the hot seat is when I’m most at peace, at any given time during my life.

So that’s it. That’s my pre-ink routine. I’m not saying this works for everyone, but it really works for me. Maybe even neurotypicals have a similar routine? Maybe some autists also have something similar? Let me know!

Cigar Review: Aganorsa Leaf Maduro

img_1631

Welcome to another one of The Inked Autist’s cigar reviews! Today we are taking a look at this offering from Casa Fernandez featuring a Mexican San Andreas Maduro wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and long fillers. The size reviewed today is the 5″ x 54RG box pressed Robusto Extra vitola.

The first light revealed a slightly loose draw putting off big puffs of thick, chewy, medium/full body smoke. Big pepper and earth blast right up front. Tinge of a nuttiness on the finish. A little bit of grit to the texture.

Getting into the first third we have largely the same but the pepper dials back a bit allowing a spicy, unsweetened vanilla extract to enter the draw flavors. There’s also a tiny hint of espresso on the finish going into the retrohale. Still that same grit to the texture.

The 2nd third sees no further changes, holding everything except for a tinge of strength entering the mix. Only a slight shift into the last third as the vanilla morphs more into a nutmeg. Ending at 55 minutes for a slightly better than average burn time for the size and bringing in a medium nicotine strength.

Flawless construction with a near razor sharp burn all the way down. High quality self-adhesive bands that were easy to remove and did not damage the wrapper. Ash holds on about a third at a time.

A lot of the prototypical Mexican San Andreas flavors in this stick. High on body and an overall savory, earthy experience. Enjoyable flavors, though personally I would have liked a tinge of sweetness in the mix to round out the package, but that’s just me personally. This would go well with a hefty red wine or a bourbon. Rating: 4/5.

New Ink Preview

Well after going back and forth for awhile we’ve got the design for my next tattoo nailed down and I think it’s a real winner:

If all goes well this should be going down next Saturday (2/2). Stay tuned to see it go from paper to skin; I’m sure you all will be anxious to see it.

First Shipment from Privada Cigar Club!

So after watching the CigarObsession Live show featuring Brian Desind (founder of the Privada Cigar Club), and given how much less I’m shelling out on gas every week by not commuting 120 miles round trip for work 5x per week, I decided to take the plunge for the paltry price of about $30/month (after shipping) to the PCC.

After receiving my first shipment, I’m already convinced that if you are a cigar lover like me and you have not yet signed up, you really should sign up. It’s quick and easy, just go to their website, fill out their questionnaire to complete your tasting profile and submit your payment and shipping information. It really is that easy! From there, enjoy 3 either aged, rare/limited release or just plain exceptional cigars per month, handpicked for you based on your profile.

So here then is the first shipment I received yesterday. The packaging was smart and secure and the cigars come pre-humidified with a 69% Boveda pack for you to enjoy right out of the box. Also included within the package were tasting notes for each of the featured cigars in your box as well as pairing suggestions!

img_1593

All in all for what you’re getting it’s a bargain honestly. You’re getting some great cigars that you would likely pay more for in a B&M shop and it’s a great way to try new cigars.

So with that, yesterday I smoked the choice on the left, the Padilla Finest Hour Habano and truth be told I found his tasting notes pretty accurate. I personally didn’t get much of the licorice myself (but maybe that’s because I don’t eat enough to positively identify it) but I did get a nice smooth cocoa in there. Some additional notes: medium/full body, great easy draw and good construction. There were some burn issues and it did seem to burn quickly (an hour for the Toro size) but it was super windy yesterday so that probably accounted for both of those issues. It was a 4.5/5 rated stick all the way – Brian did a great job picking that one out.

Though I didn’t have any bourbon as per his suggestion, I did have a red wine that I paired it with and it went beautifully with that even so:

img_1594

I’m definitely excited to try the other two that were featured in this package, but I’ll space them out until the next release is due out in a month.

So yeah, I’m already impressed and would highly recommend any cigar lover join. It’s a total bargain and Brian is about as cool of a guy as you’ll ever talk to. Trust me, you DEFINITELY want in on this.

Cigar Review: Wise Man Maduro Lancero

img_1589

Today’s cigar review is an exercise in how a change in ring gauge can have quite a substantial change to the flavor profile of any given blend. The previously reviewed Wise Man Maduro Torpedo¬†¬†features a 52 ring gauge, compared to today’s 7.5″ x 40RG box pressed Lancero edition.

The first light reveals a perfect draw putting off plumes of full bodied smoke. A big pepper and earth blast start things off with a tinge of leather in the background.

Getting into the first third we see more of the same while a heavy, smoky brisket note joins in the finish and retrohale with a bit of the espresso and dark chocolate notes joining in on the draw, but more of an undertone as compared to the Torpedo. As with the Torpedo, this blend was consistent start to finish, ending at 1 hour 10 minutes for an excellent burn time for a Lancero and the strength almost matching the body at medium/full.

Excellent construction with a near razor-sharp burn and the ash holding on about a quarter of the cigar at a time. This one featured the same elegant, quality self-adhesive band which was easy to remove without damaging the wrapper.

So where does this come in? Compared to the larger ring gauge which had more of the dark semi-sweet dessert tones, this one brought the heartier, more savory flavors to the forefront and had a little bit more power to the smoke. As for which one prefers, that’s a matter of opinion. If I had to pick one I’d say I like the Torpedo in this one slightly better, but it really just depends on what I want because they are both killer cigars. Same pairing recommendations as the larger size, though and the same rating of 4.5/5.

Now, I did get a question recently about ring gauge. I was asked why I don’t usually review big ring gauges. The answer to that is I don’t generally like big ring gauge cigars. The reason being is they tend to be very mild, airy and don’t burn very consistently. I’ve had blends that I normally like in an “average” ring size that went totally bland in a 60+ size. As such, that’s why I don’t typically buy large ring gauge cigars. Mid 50s is where I generally cap out. I’ve had a few 60s that were good but they’re few and far between.

As you notice my trend, generally I review a Robusto or Toro size (approximately 50-54 ring gauge) as my “baseline” for a blend when I’m trying it for the first time, and if it’s something I like then I’ll try like a Lancero, Corona or Churchill (38-48 ring gauge) to compare the sizes to. I usually will avoid the Gordo (60+) end of the spectrum for the reason above, though if a particular blend only comes in that vitola sure I’ll give it a whirl. Most have been underwhelming to my palate though.

Another question that’s sometimes asked by new people – how is ring gauge measured? Ring gauge is the diameter of the cigar measured in 1/64ths of an inch. So a 64 ring gauge would be 1 inch in diameter and so forth.