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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

To All the Vapes I've Loved Before

Okay, I have been promising for a minute to do this post. Now that it's been a year since I went cigarette-free, I thought it was a good time to sort of showcase my vape collection. Some of these devices I won (yay, me) or were gifted (because people were glad I quit cigs) or that I gifted myself (with money saved from not smoking). I have to say that I do NOT miss smoking even though I sometimes miss the smoking rituals. I do like vaping. I can vape without nicotine and I can vape without stinking. I dig it.

I know that there have been a lot of news reports of the dangers of vaping and, honestly, I agree with others who think the problems come from outside "normal" vaping. People who are using juices from any and everywhere might be getting bad additives in their eliquid. Also, a lot of folks are vaping weed and who knows what else. It's just like with the stories of people hurt by exploding devices. Usually, those are situations of people improperly using vapes or amateurs improperly using specialty devices meant only for the experienced. You will not soon - if ever - see me using something I had to build and set up myself. No thank you, ma'am. It took me a week to get comfortable just choosing juice to put into an easy-fill, off-the-shelf device.

These are the devices I love and what I think of them now that I have more experience vaping.

First, let me say that after I wrote this post, I realized that I forgot to mention the device that I tried and went back to cigarettes. This was probably 5 or 6 years ago when ecigs were getting to be really popular in Alaska. I wanted to quit (again) and a friend went to the corner cigarette store and bought me a Blu device. I was so hopeful. Then I tried it. Ugh. That was the worst ever experience of my life. I didn't understand why people preferred a "vape" over cigarettes. I stayed on cigarettes until I moved here to Iowa. I saw the friend of a friend vaping away on a tiny ecig. I asked if they really liked it and I told them about the Blu. They let me try their device (I think it was an Aspire or something similar). It was decent. It didn't make me cough or feel like I was inhaling sandpaper down my throat. That's when I knew that I could find an alternative to cigarettes. So...

The Juul was my first. I loved this thing. I was able to give up cigarettes with it. The vape was just as strong of a nicotine hit as the full-flavor cigarettes I smoked except the flavor and scent was Mango. How I loved the Mango pods. However...

Juul pods are so expensive that I wasn't saving any money. Also, eventually, Juul stopped selling the Mango pods. I rarely use the device anymore. The replacement and refillable pods I've found just are never as good as the original Juul pod.

I had one or two other small cheapo devices like that amazing $9 Boulder that I eventually gave to my SIL. She loves and still uses it. I wanted something that gave me the flavor of the smaller pod Juul device. I was seriously over cigarettes at this point. Enter the Smok Veneno. Wow. This thing scared me a little at first. My nephew had to show me everything from how to fill it to how to change the coils. I still to this day never mess with changing the wattage except from up to down! I do love this though. It's a workhorse and it can handle being dropped (a couple of times) and tossed into purses and backpacks. I can also switch out tanks with the Caliber. I really do love this and will have til it quits on me.

After the Veneno, things get blurry as far as which device came next and when. Because I won or was given a couple of devices, I would pay it forward by giving them to someone else trying to quit cigs and wanting to try vaping. I at one time had at least 2 devices similar to the Boulder. Those went to friends and neighbors and I hope they helped them. As for the rest, here are some that I still have and I link to any reviews I might have written for them.

This is the Aspire PockeX. I have learned that I'm not a huge fan of the smaller and less powerful mouth-to-lung devices out there. Even though MTL mimics smoking a cigarette, I have gotten used to direct to lung vaping since I don't use high nicotine (or, sometimes any nicotine) and like the clouds and flavor more than anything. I hope that made sense!

Overall, this PockeX is great for "ladylike" vaping. It a nice device for slipping into the purse or pocket for trips to the store or when you are around people who might not vape. I have literally vaped right in front of people who never noticed because this device is so discreet. However, I never got a lot of flavor with this. 

Pico Baby
 This little beauty is the Eleaf Istick Pico Baby 25W Kit. It's one of my favorites as far as how it looks. It's just cute and discreet and stylish. And it was under $15 believe it or not. It's a nice vape - much more powerful than you'd expect for such a tiny device. It didn't come with extra coils and I always burn through them quickly.

But when I say this device is tiny, I mean just that.

So, there's the cute, tiny Pico Baby and then there's the big brother...

The Pico Squeeze is a squonk device. Listen, I had zero business getting this thing! I didn't understand what a "squonk" was. Now I know. Thank goodness I have a young (young adultso don't freak out) nephew who was once so into vaping that he built his own devices (whatever that means). He came over and set everything up for me and told me to call him whenever I need to do anything more complicated than filling the juice reservoir.

I don't use this one often - because of my nephew's instructions - but when I do, it is awesome. I can't really describe how much more smooth and defined flavors are when using a squonk. Just freaking superb.

Now, believe it or not, between winning devices, getting them as gifts, and finding sales, I don't spend nearly as much money on vapes as I did on cigarettes. With cigarettes, I was sometimes going through over a pack of cigarettes a day. At the time I was in Alaska, a pack cost over 9 dollars and sometimes as much as 10 and change. Crazy habit. Now that I vape, a $7 bottle of
ejuice can last me 2 weeks or more. Of course, I don't use fancy juice. I also have found places like the Dollar eJuice Club. Mostly, I use VapeWild juice that I can find at Electronic Tobacconist (and skip the crazy shipping or club fees). So I do like finding devices that are no longer brand new on the market. Once the new device craze wears off, I can snatch up a 40- or 50-dollar device for 15 to 20 dollars. Don't believe me? Go back and look at what I paid for some of the devices compared to what they cost several months before my review.

Anyway, it did take me a while to learn what kind of vape experience I like. I'm not into a lot of bling-bling or alterable parts and stuff. I just want something that's decent-looking and gives a nice flavor. Okay, I do like my vapor too! Once I settled into my vape groove, I was more careful about falling for all the hype every time something new came out. And I was really happy with what I already had in my collection.

Then, because I remembered the joys of the Juul, I wanted to see if there was anything just as good. I especially wanted a more "able" device than the Juul - more affordable and definitely refillable. And along came the Uwell Caliburn.

I didn't immediately love the way it looks. The Caliburn is so much fatter than the Juul. As soon as I vaped the device I forgot all about the Juul. The one and only thing that Juul has on the Caliburn are those high-nicotine pods. I think that's what attracts newly-quit smokers. You get such a good taste and a super-hit of nicotine with Juul. But then you start to learn about things like salt nic and refillable pods. Yeah, no need to spend all that money on Juul pods.

Finic 20
I am now best friends with the Caliburn. Like the Pico Baby, it's small and discreet.  Because it's narrow and flat, it's nice to have when you don't want to carry a purse. This is a good pocket vape.

Another device that I wasn't immediately thrilled with is the Finic 20 from Voopoo. Since I won it in a giveaway, I was willing to get used to it. And I have to admit, it's a cute little device. When I was given a choice of 3 devices, I chose to wait a month for this one mainly because of the colors and design.

I had to use this for a few days and figure out that I could not only vape cigarette-style but also do DTL vaping. Then I was happy. I don't use this all the time but I like it.

I can't believe that I'm just now mentioning one of my fave devices. Well, it's my sort-of-fave. The first one I got went wonky and I had to fight my way through getting it replaced. Tedious. But so worth it because this thing is AHmazing. Behold the Voopoo Caliber.

Oh my my my! How I love this thing. It's beautiful and a vape- monster (if that's a thing). The one reason I use this mostly at home and don't pack it around is that it's freaking solid. It's too fat to tuck in a pant or skirt pocket and too heavy for a shirt pocket. I don't mean to say that it's crazy-heavy, but it's just a bit much for tucking away anywhere, in my opinion.
Uwell Whirl 22

No worries though. Just like the Pico Baby is the kid sister to the Pico Squeeze, I did find the adopted kid sibling to the Caliber. Adopted because it's got a different mother.

That's the Uwell Whirl 22. How cute is it? For a $20 device... I'll say that if I could, I would have paid twice that. It's not as powerful as the Caliber, of course, but it's a nice substitute for taking around on the go. It's smaller and much lighter in weight.

 Look at them together. Just kind of amazing that I found something like the Whirl. It's one of the devices that I liked the minute I got it.

I'm just now discovering that, for some reason, I never did a review of the Smok Priv V8. Huh. Well, I will have to do that. For now, here is what it looks like and I can tell you that it's another device I was a little slow to fall in love with.

There are some pros and cons with this one and I promise to do a short review soon.

The Innokin Endura is one that I started out liking and then... things have been going downhill. I listed the pros and cons when I reviewed the device but those negatives have become very annoying. The other day, it tipped over again and then started leaking. When I tried to see what was up, the whole top part fell apart. So... yeah. That thing was too much trouble to fill and then, with the constantly tipping over, it just went into a drawer somewhere. At least I got an extra drip tip that fits a couple of the other small devices...

You can probably tell that I tend to like Smok devices - even though I don't know if I'm pronouncing Smok correctly. I say "Smock" but some other people say "Smoke". Whatever. Maybe because a Smok was my first serious device after the Juul, I feel comfortable with them. I will say one thing though: When Smok gets it right, they nail it, but when they get it wrong...

The Smok Infinix was a device I raved about for a long time. Then, recently, I could hear light hissing after I finished taking a hit. I changed to a new, clean pod and the same thing happened. I'm going to have my brother or nephew take a look at it the next time they are over. Ugh

By the way, in a battle between the Infinix and the Caliburn, the Infinix gets its butt kicked. For flavor, vapor, and reliable hits, the Caliburn is the champ. Also, next to the Caliburn, the Infinix looks and feels a little cheap.  I have to admit right now that Uwell and Eleaf are becoming my favorites. Sorry, Smok.

Looking at this list, I'm thinking that I have a lot of devices! In reality, it has been a year since I quit cigarettes and with contests, giveaways, and sales, I haven't done too badly. If you didn't believe me when I told you how long juice lasts me, just look at how much I accumulated over a 4 month period. I won't be buying juice again for a very long minute...

I took this photo 6 months ago for a post and I still have about 5 full or nearly full 30ml bottles and I think I still have all of those 10ml bottles.

So, if you didn't doze off somewhere before this, I might as well tell you about a fun app I've signed up with called Vaffle. It's social media for vape enthusiasts. I am not that into it yet because it's not very user-friendly. However, it is an awesome place to look at very cool and unusual devices. I love that part.

By the way, here is a post I did about some of the shops I frequent. And remember, I am a broke cheapskate so...

I hope you had fun looking at the different vapes and, hopefully, reading some of the linked reviews. And remember, as a vaper, be cool, not annoying.


I think this young man in underappreciated

The Age of Ugliness

Normally, I don't blog about politics or race. When I did in the past, it was just childish venting and when I realized that, I stopped. This post is not meant to be childish or petty but it will involve some venting. And I am posting it asap.

Today I experienced something ugly at our little neighborhood market. Let me back up and explain the current social temperature here in this town. I am in Northern Iowa and, for such a Trump-centric voting base, I have only rarely run into people acting like Trump at his worst. I think that the Trump voters here chose him for the same reasons anyone chooses a candidate. They wanted someone who represented them and their interests. I have my own opinions about whether or not they chose correctly, but, oh well. My point is that I don't think there are a lot of Steve King type people around where I live. The people here are decent, civil, and as worn down as the rest of us by the economy and various social stresses.  That said, I know that, like anywhere, there are people here with hate in their hearts. There are also people with their own stories and circumstances that have nothing to do with hating other people just for the sake of hating.


So, basically, up until today, the only kind of ugliness that I've had directed at me was the time I accidentally ran over a woman's heel with my shopping cart. She turned around and gave me a look that was screaming "Nigger" in at least 5 different languages. Here's the thing: had I not run into her, she probably would have never given me a second glance.

When I was at the store today, the man in line behind me didn't just hate me - he wanted me to know that he did. He went out of his way to let me know. I only happened to notice him because I glanced back when I out the little bar on the conveyor belt so he could load his groceries separate from mine. I could feel the laser of nastiness he was sending my way so I openly turned and looked him in the eye - you know, the way you do with vicious animals and human bullies. Oh! Man! He glared at me and fixed his mouth as if he wanted to spit on me.

I tried not to let this get to me and I finished checking out without changing my expression. (Okay, I already have resting bitch face, so I had to work a little to look slightly less bitchy.) The clerk is a young man who knows me and he watched this whole thing like he was worried something was about to pop off. 

Here's the thing, I don't engage with ugliness unless I'm forced to physically defend myself. That kind of thing hasn't happened since I was a teenager and had a lot to learn about social graces. I wasn't worried that this situation was going to go beyond the man's visual assault. He's an angry man and I don't know why. I do know that I'm an easy target for his anger. I'm black and female with nappy natural hair. In that man's mind, I probably look like every person he's supposed to hate for ruining his vision of "making America great again." You know, 'great' like back when the Klan galloped around in the night, holding up their Christian faith as a shield against (not for) everything our Savior taught. Our Savior and their Savior - that Jewish rabbi who died on the cross and is the Christ in 'Christian'...

The thing about hate is that it's not always backed up by reason or logic. It's usually not even directed at the right target. It's just this mask that some people wear to hide their real fears. I can disagree with someone without hating them (or their demographic). Hate is a poison that stops discussion and debate and the rational exchange of ideas and opinions. Hate allows people to be ignorant without shame. Hate can also be a tool that people use to divide and conquer.

Of course, all this ugliness wasn't born when Trump was sworn into office. He didn't invent hate any more than Hitler invented anti-semitism. You see where I'm going here?

The one thing that irritates me most about the past election and this current president is the backing and encouragement given to Trump by the evangelical Christians. I too am a Christian, so I want to speak on this. Yes, he's supported Israel and he claims to be pro-life. For some of us, that gives him carte blanche to crap on the rest of anything resembling moral decency. The other irritation is the whole 'MAGA' thing. As if every decent person in this country has not been a part of trying to make and keep America great. As a woman who cringes every time the president opens his mouth to say something horrible and divisive, I don't think greatness is the goal.

Very said & very true

So that's my rant. I don't want to go on because ranting doesn't solve anything. The best thing I can do is to keep praying for everyone so that, when the time comes, we will be able to heal and come back together as brother and sister citizens. That's going to be most important for people like me and the other broke and disenfranchised folks - you know, like that dude at the store.