Basic Zippo Stuff

This started when I was digging around online to see at which point lighter flint circumference became standardized. I obsess over stupid things when I least expect it. Why does every one of these lighters, of every possible configuration, dating back at least to my own 1920’s lighter in my collection, use the thickness flints? I mean, countries can barely co-operate enough to share food, so how did that stupid lighter flint thickness end up being the standard?

Yeah, well, I still haven’t found my answer, but while digging around online, I stumbled across a lot of sites that had weird information about Zippos and similar lighters in general. I gotta throw in my two cents, on some of the most basic points that are bothering me.

gallon jug

I’m pretty sure you can use beer for lighter fluid.

1. I like cheap! I like free even better! But one of the boards I came across were how you could save money buying a gallon of this or that to fuel your Zippo. I have to wonder why the hell you would conceivably buy a gallon of anything just to fill your Zippo? There’s always the zombie apocalypse, but beyond that, geez, if all you want is lighter fluid, friggin’ spend the few extra dollars for something specifically designed for your lighter. You don’t need a gallon.

2. Here’s another thing about a non-butane lighters: it’s fuel is flammable and any ignitable liquids evaporate. Almost all of these types of lighters are NOT airtight. Your Zippo will run out of fluid even if you don’t use it. Those zombies come, you’re f*cked, but until then, just keep a little extra lighter fluid around.

3. Okay, did a Zippo ever stop a bullet? Can it? Not if that’s what you planned on. But I can show you plenty of x-rays of people who survived point-blank gunshots to the face because the bullet didn’t penetrate their skull. C’mon…dumb luck is dumb luck. Better to be lucky than use your ninja skills to throw a Zippo in front of a speeding bullet heading right at you. I was saved in a car wreck by my bowling ball, and I’m not planning on lugging it around for protection from random car wrecks. Also, bowling balls are absolutely useless for lighting a pipe.

bug spray

“Skull means…pirate, right?”



4. Gasoline? Lamp oil? Aftershave? WTF is wrong with you? Go buy some lighter fluid. God, if I could come through an Internet connection and just slap the shit out of some idiots, I would. Nail polish! Who the…why would nail polish even occur to you? Augh! Yeah, you think I’m kidding…here’s an exact quote from a message board. “could i posssably use nailpollish remover or bug spray” I was going to use a link there, but I refuse to talk to someone who’s considering using Raid in their Zippo.

What makes a Zippo special is that sound and the brand-name. And a lifetime repair or replace warranty. But that sound…you could be anywhere at anytime and if someone flips open and uses a Zippo, you’re never going to mistake that sound for anything else. Unless you’ve been filling your lighter with bug spray.

Really, basic sense here. You’re buying a Zippo because you want a Zippo. If you were in dire straights for just a lighter, you’d go and buy a cheapo disposable lighter.

So in summary;

Don’t buying a gallon of raw naphtha at the hardware store because it’s cheaper than. If you’re that broke, you can’t afford anything you’d need to light with that lighter.


Generally, a higher mortality rate than cancer.

Don’t immediately think your new Zippo is defective if it runs out of fluid. Unless you’ve used it to protect yourself from bullets.

Don’t go anywhere that your Zippo is your only protection from bullets. If you plan on using it to stop bullets, you need to rethink your life as a whole.

Don’t use anything but lighter fluid. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. If you’re putting nail polish in your lighter, someone probably had to read this aloud to you.

Now you know why canned peas have more complex instructions than “Heat until hot.”

Still On Admin

Well, since the “doorbell” incident at the end of April, I’m still on Administrative Leave. I know I should be worried, but the truth is, getting a postal employee canned is virtually impossible. I’m not even close to the MSRB (Military Service Review Board) stage.

NAPS logo My NAPS (National Association of Postal Supervisors) rep didn’t even interview me before we went into the II (Investigative Interview).

He went into the II thinking I had been escorted out of the station by postal inspectors (I was not), a Threat Assessment had been done (it wasn’t), and that the video showed me breaking the doorbell (it didn’t), and the proper protocols had been used. This would have been:

1. Notification via certified mail to my postal address on record (nope).
2. Phone notice to my postal phone number on record (nope again).

I’m not sure why I even have NAPS. I didn’t join for more than a decade. The trigger was when I was using my walker at work, and I swear to god, the OIC said, “Uh, I don’t want to get up in your business, but I noticed a disability tag in your car. Are you handicapped?”

Off Road Walker

“Nope, I just use this baby for swampin’.”

Ever had one of those moments where you’re so dumbfounded that you’re rendered speechless? I’m one of the snarkiest people you’ll ever meet, but c’mon… I looked down at my walker, and then looked back at him. Much later, I thought of all the retorts I could’ve shot back.

“No, my walker and wheelchair are fashion accessories.”
“Actually this is pet walker. I call him Wheelie.”

Man, you can imagine all the comebacks I could’ve used but wow! I grant you, it probably one of the dumbest OIC’s I ever worked with, but still. He used to send District emails with horrible grammar and spelling. We supes used to send them to each other because they were hilarious. And a year later, he lost all of the Amazon business once he became the postmaster of Bellevue, and he got caught with thousands of delayed packages just sitting in his station.

Anyway, at that point, I realized that upper upper management’s collective IQ had decreased to where joining a “union” was desperately necessary. If you can’t figure out that handicap license plates and the guy using a walker or wheelchair is handicapped, then your operating on such a low level, you probably have to work to remember to breathe, eat, and all the other functions used in our lower brain stems to control bodily needs.

So, where was I? Oh, yeah…belonging to NAPS is as effective as someone breaking into your house, and while you don’t really own a gun, you yell “I have a gun!” It’s like, “Don’t fuck with me! I have NAPS!

In case you didn’t know or understand, after my first week off, all my Admin Leave has been paid. Which means the PO is picking up the tab while I watch DVD’s, catch up on my reading, and get household projects done that I’ve been putting off for years.

Stamp with monkey on tricycleThe PO doesn’t get revenue from your taxes, just your postage; so your taxes aren’t paying for me kicking back and putting my feet up. Just that stamp on your envelope.

And I’m not alone. The PO does stuff like this for thousands of people every year. It’s not like they’re on welfare or drawing unemployment. The PO is just happy getting people like me out of their hair by paying them to stay home and eventually not getting fired.

It’s this kind of management strategy is why the PO is bleeding money like a stuck pig.

Now please excuse me. I’m going to go watch some anime while getting paid $28.17 an hour and dicking around all day.

Good lord…the USPS is doomed.

Topomax SUCKS!

Just sayin’.

One of the joys of neuropathy is pain. A lot of it. Like stars behind your eyeballs pain. So one of my docs stuck me on Topomax (Topiramate). It’s not an opioid painkiller, like vicodin or whatever, but it’s an anti-seizure medications that also keeps the nerve endings from firing off at a random painful level.

Ever hit your “funny bone?” That’s the ulnar nerve. That’s one of the nerves affected by my neuropathy, so it’s like constantly having that pain of banging your funny bone against something.

This class of medication has always screwed directly with my physiology. When they first tried two other similar drugs, my eyesight went to hell. I could barely see. I came off the meds and presto! I could see again. Cause and effect. Remove the cause and the effect goes away.

So, after a while, another doc said, “try this,” and handed me a prescription for 30 days. Well, I’ll be damned if the pain didn’t fade to a dull pain (it never really goes away), instead of the eyeball-exploding kind of pain. And it didn’t screw with my eyesight. But it did have direct effects on my physiology. I dropped a lot of weight that I couldn’t spare already, and I started noticing some other minor stuff. That was maybe a year and a half ago.

Now, being Bipolar II, I take a couple of meds for it. I long ago decided if I had to choose between being in pain or being crazy, I’d rather be in pain. When you’re in pain, the only one that hurts is you. When you’re crazy, you hurt everyone around you.

A couple of doc visits ago, I told her that I was experiencing some additional pain. I guess I wasn’t paying attention or she didn’t mention it quite clearly, but she quadrupled my dose. QUADRUPLED! So, like the dumbass I am, doc says “take this,” I take it. I think most of us have that knee-jerk reaction to medical professionals, even when we know they’re patently crazier than we are.

Usually I’m just snarky, but over the past couple of months I’ve noticed that I’ve become moreĀ aggressive and angry all the time. I’ve always occasionally had cluster headaches (look it up), but I started having them constantly. Last Friday my wife and I discussed it, and I told her it had to be the Topomax, because I had started to note the doseage on my emergency medical information list, and was boggled by the difference.

I’ll save you the horrors of what happened Saturday at work (hint: it involved the po-po), but needless to say, I’ve stayed offline for a couple of days while I’ve waited for this crap to work it’s way out of my system, and get some of my usual zen-like state back. In the meantime, if I’ve said anything stupid online, I’m really sorry.

I’m not making excuses. Ultimately I’m responsible for my own actions, but at least now I’ve taken steps to get this under control. I take 1/5 of the insane dose now, and only just before bed, so my stupid doesn’t reach my keyboard or my waking work life.

Anyway, again, if I’ve been a dick to you the past couple of days, I’m really, really sorry.

Best fishes,


Stroke Me

You are WAY too young to remember that, but it was a Billy Squire song from when I was in high school, and dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Anyway, yeesh, I thought I’d blabber more about the TIA I had. That’s a transient ischemic attack. Fancy name for a mini-stroke; a stroke that lasts from anywhere from 5 minutes or less.

I was by myself in a closed post office, and I remember just suddenly getting sleepy out of nowhere, then right behind it getting really, really tired, then next thing I knew, I was on the floor. Just like that. No warning, nothing. Just BAM!

Explosion by cyderak
Tia by JackDSRS

BAM! Not pictured; small, blue,
furry Marvel copyrighted character.


My cell phone slid out of my shirt pocket about three feet in front of me, and I couldn’t move my arms or legs, and it set off my peripheral neuropathy, so my pain receptors were lighting up like Christmas trees, and I thought, mind you, that I wasn’t dying, but, “Shit, this is how I’m going to die. It’s going to friggin’ hurt like hell, I’m not going to be able to move, and I’m going to be staring at my effin’ cell phone just out of my damn reach.”When I could wiggle my fingers, it took my 45 minutes to drag myself to my cell phone, and another 15 minutes to dial 911. Then, I kid you not, an hour for the EMT’s to come from literally from the hospital ACROSS THE STREET. Don’t have a stroke in Auburn, Washington. Just sayin’.

During my lovely three day stay, one of my worries was that I was going to get kicked out of the deviantART Anime-Catgirls group because of non-participation. I also had two projects in the works I had promised I was going to finish, and I couldn’t even hold a cup of water, much less type.


the cat sleeps tonight... by Giorgiacosplay
Totally worth surviving a stroke.


I got back to work after a week, and was hassled about calling in sick, which came as no surprise, so I had my documentation all ready. It’s just the nature of being a grownup and working for a bumbling government bureaucracy.So, got my brain magnetized again. I’m planning on making a portrait of one of my MRI images for my desk just to disturb people. I’m fine. I was lucky. The TIA hit the area already damaged by my existing genetic disease (SCA), so it’s not even noticeable, and I’ve got a disturbing amount of brain cells to spare.


The Madman\'s Brain! by JackDSRS
Despite all of your suspicions, there’s still a brain in there.


We do know that certain parts of the brain control physical functions, but there’s many documented cases of functions being rerouted through other areas of the brain, and of course, individuals adapting and overcoming their disabilities. I think those few of us on dA who are combat military vets know all about “adapt and overcome,” eh?And…there is no truth in terms that one side of the brain controls the type of thinker you are: logical or creative. What can impact you is mental illness. Fighting with my bipolar illness has been more of a struggle than this physical stuff in terms of creativity. I can be unmedicated, extremely and wildly creative, but suicidal; or medicated, stabile, functional, rational and a nice human to be with, but as creative as a brick. That, my friends, is the real fight in terms of maybe something more applicable to art and creativity.

Anyway, back to whatever: Jack. Stroke. Survived. Not fun.

First test comes back. I’m malnourished. What? Okay, so I’ve lost 60 lbs. in about a year and I have no appetite while this stupid disease whittles away at me. Now I have to drink protein drinks for breakfast, eat lunch, which I usually do, and force myself to eat a dinner.

Weight Loss by JackDSRS

Oh, c’mon! Exaggerate much?


Quit smoking my pipe. I said, “Well, you can take that off the table right now.” The doc and my wife started squawking and I said, “One, there’s no empirical evidence that pipe smoking contributes to a stroke, especially compared to cigarette smoking. Two, it decreases stress, which decreases blood pressure. My blood pressure is insanely low. Three, cigarette smokers do not have card carrying clubs with lounges and pins. They huddle in anti-social clusters, shivering in the cold, hoping their bosses don’t see them. Four, pipe smokers have their own international holiday. Five, pipe smokers have competitive slow smoking championships. Six, the three pipe smokers in my family lived into their 90’s.” Hey, I’m already dying from a genetic illness. You are not messing with my pipe.

PipeClubLogoSmall by JackDSRS

Does that say Seattle Cigarette Stinkers?
Clearly it does not.

Not sure why I’m sharing, other than strokes suck, I survived, once you have one you’ll probably have another, and I refuse to die until I make it to Sakuracon, for which I already paid. I refuse to miss girls in cosplay, and hitting my credit limit on manga, anime, figurines, and posters that I have absolutely no room to put up but looked really cool in the booth. I’ll be in a wheelchair this year, so my secret goal is to convince young ladies I’m harmless and innocent, and get them to sit in my lap so a friend can take pictures. Moohahaha…

Leetle Girl by JackDSRS
No, really, sit on my lap. I’m in a wheelchair.
Perfectly harmless…

Color, Repair, and Verify Meerschaum Pipes

Since nothing is forever, especially websites, and the original post had an illustration that’s already disappeared, I thought I’d better duplicate the post before it disappeared. It’s without permission, however, it is from a long out of print book to begin with.


This section is from the Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.

How To Color a Meerschaum Pipe

  1. Fill the pipe and smoke down about one-third, or to the height to which you wish to color. Leave the remainder of the tobacco in the pipe, and do not empty or disturb it for several weeks, or until the desired color is obtained. When smoking put fresh tobacco on the top and smoke to the same level. A new pipe should never be smoked outdoors in extremely cold weather.
  2. The pipe is boiled in a preparation of wax, 8 parts; olive oil, 2 parts; and nicotine, 1 part, for 10 or 15 minutes. The pipe absorbs this, and a thin coating of wax is held on the surface of the pipe, and made to take a high polish. Under the wax is retained the oil of tobacco, which is absorbed by the pipe; and its hue grows darker in proportion to the tobacco used. A meerschaum pipe at first should be smoked very slowly, and before a second bowlful is lighted the pipe should cool off. This is to keep the wax as far up on the bowl as possible; rapid smoking will overheat, driving the wax off and leaving the pipe dry and raw.

How To Repair Meerschaum Pipes

To cement meerschaum pipes, make a glue of finely powdered and sifted chalk and white of egg. Put a little of this glue on the parts to be repaired and hold them pressed together for a moment.

Note: I’ve used superglue successfully, but it does leave a visible line, and it doesn’t color normally.

How To Verify Genuine Meerschaum

For the purpose of distinguishing imitation meerschaum from the true article, rub with silver. If the silver leaves lead pencil-like marks on the mass, it is not genuine but artificial meerschaum. If no such lines are produced, the article is genuine.

Note: I’m not sure if this will verify whether the pipe is made from carved meerschaum vs. pressed meerschaum dust.