Thursday, November 25, 2010

I've moved...

I'm now hosting my blog on my own server,  Feel free to join me there, as posts are no longer being updated here.



Monday, September 27, 2010

Blue Mist Vaping 60mg Nicoting Solution - First Impressions

Just got my shipment from Blue Mist Vaping, ordered a 120ml bottle of 60mg unflavored nicotine solution.

120 ml bottle of 60mg Nicotine Solution.  6ml bottle on right for size comparison

First off, shipping was fast, and the bottle was well-packed and well-protected.  The bottle has some nice weight to it, and the top has a rubber seal inside to prevent leaks.  I can't detect any kind of odor of a base to the liquid when I attempt to smell the contents, which is a great relief over unflavored DIY nic concentrates I've purchased in the past.

When I get home this evening, I'll mix up a small batch of e-liquid and do a proper review.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lovebugs, WTF!

It's lovebug season in Florida. Again. Twice a year these little pests have their mating season, and that involves pairs of the insects, one male and one female, flying around aimlessly, attached at the ass end, seeking out the shortest path to your windshield as you're driving down the highway.

They're not the smartest of insects. In fact, they're not much smarter than most plants. During a two week mating period, hundreds of thousands of them meet their demise by being embedded into a speeding radiator grill. It's like the old joke once said, "What's the last thing that goes through the mind of a female lovebug? The male." It's not uncommon for your car to leave the driveway sparklingly clean, and arrive at your destination looking like something CSI should be investigating.

What's even worse is trying to do anything outdoors during this time.  They don't bite or spread disease, but there's so many of them that it's near impossible to breathe without a half-dozen of them shawshanking their way to your nasal cavity.  They get into everyting; your home, your car, your clothes, that little flap of skin-fat that separates North Waist and South Waist.  The outside walls of your house looks like a miniature set for a revival of Hitchcock's "The Birds".

Thankfully, once their annoyance starts to peak, it's soon over.  And I suppose it could be worse for us Floridians.  We could have to deal with hurricanes, tropical depressions, lightning, one of the Bush brothers, rednecks, blue hairs, hanging chads, humidity, sunburn, shark attacks, alligators, mosquitos, and Disney.  If we had those things, this state would suck.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Hunt

Salia worried about her husband. Since he was a boy, Carlos had participated in the hunt. She knew it was important to the village and their survival, but she also knew the dangers involved. Many times during her life, she would see the men return from the forest, some badly bruised and injured, and some mortally wounded, never to return home to their loved ones. Every hunt, she feared Carlos would be next, and she would become one of the village widows. She quietly wished there were another way, but in her heart she knew the importance of the hunt.

Carlos worried, too. Worried that he would make a mistake, and leave his beloved Salia behind. Worried that they would not get enough meat, skins, and fur to sustain the village through the brutal winter. This was his seventeenth hunt, and he knew it was likely that at least one of his tribe would not return. He knew that others would be maimed and would never be able to participate in the hunt again. But their job was vital to their survival, and without their efforts, everyone in the village would perish. As he moved through the trees, he spotted his quarry, deep in the underbrush. He steadied his spear, and realized that, no matter the danger, he lived for the hunt. It called to him each year, and he was drawn to it.

After all, it was marmot season.

New songs, new e-cigs, and more

Started tracking 2 new songs the other day, and I think I finally have what I need to make a first-rate self-recorded album. Well, except for a real life bass guitar. I've got my eye on a sweet Ibanez Soundgear 6-string, just gotta come up with the cash for it.

So, the tunes. Both are instrumentals, one is a heavy piece that'll smash your face into the back of your skull, the other is going to be so beautifully lush and sweet that you'll cry worse than when your first pet died. Having quit smoking 17 months ago in favor of e-cigs, my voice is a lot stronger now that I'm no longer breathing in cigarette smoke every 15 minutes, but I'm still not confident enough to put my vocals on a track. Soon, though, I'm still practicing.

Speaking of e-cigs, bought a 510 Riva kit today. It's the first e-cig I've bought since I got my Puresmoker Prodigy v1 mod May of last year. The Prod has been just fine for me, but I'm a gadget geek and I finally broke down and got some new hardware. Looking forward to it, have heard some really nice things about it, and it was dirt cheap, too.

This FDA thing looming over our heads is growing, too. Oral arguments in the appeal for the lawsuit between NJOY and the FDA are supposed to be tomorrow, I believe, so I'm eager to hear news of that. FDA is on the losing side of that appeal, so I'm hoping the momentum from the initial ruling carries over and the injunction against the FDA is upheld. As soon as I see some news on it, I'll share.

My office finally told me yesterday that they're ordering my new Verizon phone. Contract was up weeks ago, and it's taken every ounce of willpower not to throw my current phone through the window, but by this time next week I should have my new Samsung Fascinate. I've started work on an Android application, and the emulators on the PC do a decent job for testing, but actually having an Android device will be a welcome change.

So, good week this week. I'll try to post some rough cuts of the toons I'm working on later this week to see how you all like 'em.

Vape on, and keep rockin'.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Electronic Cigarettes featured in the Wall Street Journal

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal posted an article about e-cigarettes. I've been an e-cig user since April '09, and the device completely changed my life. From waking up in the morning and losing that feeling of choking caused by years of cigarette smoking to regaining all of my lung functionality and getting my vocal range back to where it was before I started smoking, I haven't felt this healthy in years.

The article was very well written, and was able to present views on the use of e-cigarettes from users, vendors, members of the scientific community, and the government. It's no secret that the FDA has a vendetta against the continued use and sale of e-cigarettes, and that this stance is at odds with common sense and what we know about the devices and how they compare to traditional cigarette smoking. Authors David Kesmodel and Danny Yadron were able to cut through the fog of misinformation wafting through the air and present a very fair journalistic piece on e-cigarettes. (I'm sooo sorry about the pun, but I just couldn't resist)

The American Council on Science and Health have written a response to that article that highlights some inaccuracies in the WSJ piece. They make a great argument that, even though more long-term studies should be performed on the use of these devices, removing them from market while these studies are conducted would be a dangerous move that could do much more harm than good to e-cigarette users.

It's my hope that the tide is turning on public perception on the devices, and people will begin to realize just how much these devices have to offer smokers who just can't give up their cigarettes through other methods.

Links to the Wall Street Journal, and ACSH's response, are below.

E-Cigarettes Spark New Smoking War -

Dispatch: WSJ finally lights up e-cigarette issue > Facts & Fears > ACSH

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Westboro Baptist Church meets Brick Stone

I gotta say, this video is just full of win.  Brick Stone is my new favorite person of the day.

The cheaper things get, the more they stay the same...

Ran across this excellent article from Gizmodo on sub-$50 earbuds, and the likelyhood that they are all pretty much manufactured by the same few factories in Asia using the same basic components.  Essentially, pick a canned design, tweak it a little in the visuals department, slap a company logo on it, order a few thousand, and away you go.

The Secret Scam of Cheap Earbuds

Now, I'm an e-cigarette user, and this made me think of the state of that industry, as well.  It's a well-known fact that a majority of the parts for e-cigarettes are manufactured by a small group of key Chinese manufacturers.  These parts, just like the cheap earbuds in the Gizmodo article, aren't manufactured for quality or longevity, but for disposability and quick sales.  If your battery on your e-cig breaks, just turn around and order a replacement for 15 bucks.  Nevermind the fact that the new one will only last you a couple of months, they are banking on you coming back time and again to spend a little money here and there for your devices, or your earbuds, or your 30 dollar DVD players, or whatever.  And I'm confident this trend probably stretches across many, many product types.

My advice?  Spend a few extra bucks on something that has some thought put into the design, and some care into the construction.  A friend of mine has went through 3 sets of earbuds in the last year for various reasons, but my $80 Sennheiser headphones have been working great for over 2 years, and sound phenomenal.  My mom has spent $200 in e-cig batteries in the last year, and my $100 Puresmoker Prodigy e-cig mod has been going strong since May 2009, with $30 dollars of common rechargable batteries.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

And so it begins....

Well, I've been a musician for almost my entire life, it seems.  I did well at academics, but spent most of my time singing, or learning various instruments.  By the time I graduated high school, I had passable skills on 13 instruments and had even managed to get really good at a couple of them.

During the same time, I began a love affair with technology.  Just like music, I wanted to soak up as much knowledge as I could on computers and gadgets.

I attribute these interests mostly to my father.  He drilled it into my head that I was never, ever, under penalty of death, ever to touch his guitars without him being there.  Same for the old (new at the time) 8088 IBM-compatible PC he had.  Of course, in the 80's, fathers also went to work for a good portion of the day, at which time I would proceed to touch his guitars and his computer without him being there.  With that, I learned another valuable skill:  covering my tracks.  (I told this to him years and years later.  He said he knew.  So kids, beware, no matter how sneaky you think you are, they know.  They always know).

After high school, I struck out onto the club circuit with a few bands.  After a few years, I learned another valuable lesson:  if you want to play music your way, and you are relatively unknown, you will make dick for money.  Thankfully, I had all that, up until this point, useless tech knowledge floating around in my head, and managed to get hired by a small tech company in Orlando doing network, workstation, and server implementations and maintanence.  Fast forward to today, and I'm still working there, although I've taken on application development as part of my core duties here now.

For me, music and application development go hand in hand.  They balance well together to keep my creative juices flowing.  Take, for example, a song I was recording several years ago in a former band of mine.  We were in the studio, and I had just finished laying down a take of a guitar solo.  The engineer working with us, Roscoe (the second Roscoe I've met in my life, the first being the actor that played Roscoe P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazard, who taught drama at UCF near where I live), looked at me and said, "That sounded great, but that last bit, could you make that 'looser'?"  Well, that's a rather vague term.  So I had to think how to auralize the term 'looser' on the guitar.  Another take later, and Roscoe and the rest of the guys in the band agreed that, somehow, I had nailed it.  Development work, to me, is a lot like that.  Someone has a need to do something on a computer, or a phone, or some sort of device, and it is up to me to take that vague idea of 'something' and turn it into something tangible, basically out of thin air.

So,with that, comes this project.  Why a blog?  Well, for one thing, I've always had an interest in writing, but never really had an outlet for that.  Blogs have been around for years, but for whatever reason, I never saw fit to try the medium until now.  Second, I never had an idea of what I wanted to say until now.  And that hasn't really changed now, either, except for the fact that I realize that if I don't say *anything*, then I'll never say *something*.  So I've created this space as a place I can go and talk about things of interest to me (and hopefully, all of you reading) about various things in the world of music, technology, or just goings-on in the world around me.  So bear with me over the next few posts as I work on getting my writing chops up to speed, and hopefully some of you will find what I have to say interesting and/or entertaining.  And if you don't, I'm sure you'll let me know in the comments.