My New Hobby

So I lost my liking for cigars entirely. Whereas that has the benefits of not being exposed to the byproducts of fermentation, it did have a massive negative side effect in that it induced a major personality change. I didn’t notice personally, but Laina pointed out to me that I was overall more melancholy and less lovey.

It took me awhile to isolate the cause of my mood lately, but there’s only one thing that stood out to me that changed – I hadn’t been getting nicotine.

That’s when I figured I needed some form of nicotine. I can’t stomach cigars anymore and I can’t handle vaping as the ingredients irritate my lungs. Gum didn’t appeal to me either.

Laina suggested I try a pipe. The tobacco isn’t fermented and the health risks seem to be very minimal with non-inhalation. Not to mention it’s much cheaper than cigars – one pipe full is less than $1 worth of tobacco. Save for startup cost it’s the most cost effective way to enjoy tobacco.

I’m still in the learning process, but it gets better every time. Pipe tobacco is much more subtle in taste than cigars, so it’s more palatable to me at this time, not to mention nowhere near the time commitment. Even though it’s quicker, due to less processing of the tobacco, I get just as much (if not more) nicotine from the pipe.

Laina says she’s already seen the old me come back.

So what’s in store here? Maybe I’ll review some different pipe tobaccos here. Whatever the case, it’s nice to be able to enjoy the ritual of smoking again and the brain benefits that come with it.

FedEx Sucks…

Just a quick rant about how fucking bad FedEx sucks hairy monkey balls.

All should be well right now. I should have gotten all 3 shipments for my grandfather clock kit and the clock should be under construction as we speak.

Is it? Oh hell to the naw, because I got fucked over by FedEx!!!

Package 1 containing the wooden parts arrived intact. Fine. Package 2 containing the glass parts was badly damaged in transit. All 12 pieces of glass sustained at least a crack and many of them were totally shattered. Does the word “fragile” mean anything to anyone?!?!? Package 3 was lost in transit after leaving the Hutchins TX distribution center on Thursday, 6/4/2020.

So now we’ve got a damaged package claim and a lost package claim both into these jokers. This is going to set my project back another month while a replacement set of glass is made and while I wait for another hardware shipment. I’m dead in the water until I receive at least the hardware.

This has turned just ugly. I wonder if this wasn’t meant to be after all. Ugh.

Clock Project Update

It’s been a month and four days, but I finally was notified this morning that my grandfather clock kit has shipped. I imagine they had to mill all the wood parts from scratch (which is fine, better than them being mass produced), then blow the glass and all of that.

I expect the kit to arrive in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’ve procured all the required finishing materials (stain, clear coat, glue), clock mechanism and chime rods.

I should be able to hit the ground running when everything gets in, and for the most time intensive part of the construction I’m going to try to take a few vacation days so I can work right through it. It’ll definitely make the process easier.

Anyway, wish me luck as I embark on this project.

Chime Rods vs. Tubular Bell Chimes – Which To Choose?

As I await the rest of my grandfather clock kit to arrive and thus start building, here’s something to think about if you’re considering a grandfather clock: chime rods vs. chime tubes.

Each, of course, has their pluses and minuses as well as a totally different sound.

Chime rods are more common, less expensive and the movements are generally less temperamental. The sound is softer and mellower than that of tubular chimes, and they have a rather unassuming appearance in the clock case.

Tubular chimes, on the other hand, have a striking and impressive appearance in the back of the case. They tend to be more expensive and the movements can be temperamental at times. Tonally speaking they are louder and brighter, more like church bells.

So which to choose? Budget will of course come into play, but another consideration is space. Tubular bell chimes can be way too much for a small space, while chime rods might be too soft or quiet for a very large venue. Of course, no hard and fast rules apply. Personally I just prefer the mellower sound of chime rods, hence I chose rod chimes for my clock.

Sound samples of each:

Which is your preference?

5/17/2019 – One Year Later…

Yeah I’m a day late writing this post, but that’s ok. Yesterday was way too busy to write a blog post, but I can catch up to speed today.

This is a little unfamiliar territory for me, but for the first time in my 33 years and a little change on this planet, I made it one year in a relationship. All of my previous relationships were very short-lived and dysfunctional, none of them lasting more than 6 months. To make it one year has been a little shocking to say the least. I never thought I’d see the day and I always thought there was nobody for me.

So Laina and I started our day with a visit to our favorite coffee shop then hit the road to Fredericksburg for a wine tasting (glad things are finally starting to open up again!). After a leisurely trip there and back, we stopped by my place briefly to unload and prep for the next stop, which was a couple of rounds of mini-golf at a premiere course just north of downtown. A little fun in the sun later, we retired to my place for some light reading and a special dinner cooked by yours truly – steak medallions, potatoes and salad – a recreation of the first meal I ever cooked for her. This paired with a couple of special bottles of wine (Lost Oak Rose Blanca for her and Pedernales Family Reserve 2016 for me), followed by a jam session, a movie (Angus), and a pour of Fredericksburg peach brandy to cap off the night.

I can’t say as though I’m surprised we’ve made it this long, just something I didn’t see coming. What the future holds I have no idea, but I guess we shall see, won’t we!

Here’s to another year ahead, which I’m excited to see what will bring. Never have I loved someone so deeply before. Maybe my curse has been broken after all (and maybe it just took a totally unconventional relationship to do that – conventional might just not work for me).

As If 2020 Couldn’t Get Any Weirder…

I’m sure my American followers have heard about the recent discovery of the Asian Giant Hornet (which American mainstream media has dubbed the “Murder Hornet”*) in the Pacific Northwest.

Yeah, about those things. I knew about them long before they made the news. My great-grandmother had mentioned them in passing (she grew up in Japan after all, where they are referred to as the oo-suzumebachi – or the “giant sparrow bee”). I don’t recall her ever mentioning anything about being stung by one, but I can’t remember for sure if she had.

Times like this honestly serve to make me miss her more. I’m not really freaked out by the hornets’ presence (save for the threat it could have on honeybees), but rather it makes me wistful for a simpler time.

In the meantime, for a balanced report on these, check out Nathaniel “Coyote” Peterson. He was brave enough to voluntarily take a sting from this hornet, and gives his experience here plus some other tidbits.

Stay safe out there!

*Addendum – “Murder Hornet” has to be the most ridiculous name I’ve ever heard. I vastly prefer the Japanese name.

It’s Finally Happening

It feels absolutely surreal, but soon my home will be complete.

I found too good of a deal on a grandfather clock kit to pass up. It has all the appointments I want (Hermle 1171-850 cable driven triple chime movement, Roman numeral dial, decorative banded weight shells and lyre pendulum) at a price tag of just a shade over $2K including shipping.

Of course, there is sweat equity that will be involved. I will have to build it myself, but that makes it more special. As far as cost, I’ll recoup that and more by stopping cigars. I had no idea how much those damn things were costing me!!! This has much more value than that.

Anyway, I’m excited.

Health Journey Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated you on my health journey, so I figured it was time to do so.

Concerning weight/composition – I’m holding steady at approximately 190 pounds, which is the lowest I’ve been since about 2014. I was actually thin as a rail then (probably too thin), but when Emily (my most recent ex) and I parted ways I packed it on. When I started my new health journey I was around 200 and some change. I’ve lost a lot more fat than 10 pounds though; I can feel it. I’ve added some muscle, especially in my upper arms (long a source of self-conscience for me). For once I have a fairly positive body image. Never did I think I’d be confident enough to sport swim briefs, but here I am (and oh how I wish pools were open right now)!

(Photo credit – Laina Eartharcher)

I’m also currently addressing nutrient deficiencies – most notably B6 and D, but some others also. I’m on heavy B-complex dosage as well as a heavy D dosage. My lack of these vitamins was a major player in depression and flat affect – I wasn’t making any neurotransmitters. My D deficiency was also a key player in my seasonal allergies.

Some other deficiencies are being addressed with food, most notably by having salmon twice per week, usually with kombucha for good bacteria.

A recent lab panel (the Genova Individual Optimal Nutrition, or ION panel) also revealed some significant heavy metal toxicity (most notably mercury, lead, and aluminum). We can’t deal with those directly yet, but hopefully in a couple of years I’ll be put back together enough and ready to undergo chelation. In the meantime, I’ve converted to all stainless steel cookware and axed tuna and other high mercury fish as to cease throwing fuel on that fire.

Concerning lifestyle modifications, I am now 100% smoke-free. I’ve tried having a cigar a time or two recently and my palate just will not accept the taste anymore. I can’t pull the intended flavor notes out of them anymore and all I’m left with is a pure, burning tobacco taste. It’s very unpleasant. I also don’t really enjoy hard liquor anymore either (unless in a cocktail). I tried having some brandy last week and didn’t much enjoy the taste. About the extent of my hard liquor consumption moving forward I think might be in the form of a green apple frozen margarita from Paloma Blanca here in San Antonio (like OMG – to die for!!!), which my last ones were on my birthday before shit got shut down. Other than that, I think I’ll stick to sorghum beer, wine or hard cider.

Which, of course, leads to the next point – we’re working hard to correct the damage done by the time period I drank very heavily as self-medication. I’m on natural remedies to correct excessive intestinal permeability as well as liver damage (which seems to be working – in 2018 my ALT was 64, indicating a liver in extreme distress; my recent ION measured it at 16). Of course, we have to resolve these before I can tackle heavy metal chelation, but in the meantime just dietary changes as well as the Pure Encapsulations LVR (liver support) seem to be promoting some mild detoxification.

I’m having regular chiropractic adjustments now to correct certain misalignments and such. I feel like I’m about 1/2 inch taller now. Oh, and my left knee? It’s given me grief over the years, but since getting it adjusted I’ve been pain-free. I can squat and lunge to full depth on that knee, as well as increase reps and resistance.

Lastly is emotional healing. I’m continuing to have two sessions of Neuro-Emotional Technique per week, and some stuff that’s surfaced is shit I haven’t thought about in years, even decades. It’s absolutely insane. Who knew it was still weighing me down? Alas it’s good to get those emotions cleared out.

I think that about covers it. I hope you all are well, and here’s to better health.

How I Kicked (Suspected) COVID-19 in 3.5 Days

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a health professional. The information here shall not be used in lieu of advice from a medical professional.

About a month ago, I had a really strange illness. It wasn’t quite like a cold or flu in that I had no runny nose or anything. My main symptoms were fever, body aches, fatigue and dry cough. Sounds a lot like our friend COVID-19 doesn’t it?

Though I was never tested nor confirmed, I do have strong reason to suspect this was the disease I had. I had visited a regional winery in the recent past; and it was packed with tourists from all over the country (and probably some visiting from abroad).

It would be interesting to be tested for antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus just to see, but I bet I would test positive. Of course I can’t claim with 100% certainty, I’m at least 80% certain.

So was it just awful? Hah. Bitch, please. I felt pretty crummy for 3.5 days, but bounced right back and it was much less bothersome than even a common cold.

So how did I do it? I did so by following this simple protocol:

  • Vitamin C – 20,000mg (yes, twenty thousand)/day
  • 65mg Zinc daily
  • Tincture of astragalus – 5 droppers/day
  • Sambucus elderberry syrup – 120mL/day
  • Diphenhydramine HCl for sleep
  • “Warming” foods (as per Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine)
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid sugar
  • Avoid exercising

That’s it. No pharmaceuticals, no nothing and I was back to full capacity quickly.

Moral of the story: take care of yourself, stay home, rest up and you’ll be fine. Really. Don’t buy into the media hysteria.

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.