Monthly Archives: February 2015

Vaping Saved My Life


Oh, yes, there’s the whole life and death bit. For sure, that factors into it if you want to dwell on the morbid. We are (pretty much) all au fait with how vaping is safer when compared to smoking. And that extends to those seeking to legislate the sod out of mods & liquids. They may come out with all kinds of nonsense but they know in their hearts what the truth of the matter is – just yesterday they let that slip in a Welsh government committee. Even Glantz has acknowledged the relative safety; he just disputes the 95% figure.

I had a bout of illness that I’ll not bother going into here. After such a life event you find yourself in a strange place. Friends that feared they could catch it from you stopped calling round, others took deep offence from the drug-induced moods or didn’t understand what was going on – and potential employers look at you like you’re damaged goods. There’s hollowness to existence when 90% of the life you knew no longer exists.

Vaping filled that hole: The equipment, the forums, the meets and then the job. I’m not alone in this. We make friends in the vaping world, friends who go on to set up businesses or do reviews or make people laugh with their comments. We are tied to vaping more than we ever were to tobacco – and it scares people. They see this for what it is: it’s more than an addiction. Like spending your weekends jumping out of planes, off bridges or stock car racing, those with the power to control it will try to.

But it’s not that aspect of vaping that I ascribe to having saved me either.

I’d taken to travelling everywhere with a toilet roll following one very unpleasant Reading Festival when younger. A weekend of bands, drinks and food from people in vans who’d have had every possession burnt if Public Health inspectors had inspected back in the day. A couple of days of mixed deep-fried salmonella combined with portions of gastroenteritis in a bun took its toll.

But age dulls the memory of cramps and the sound of the laughter from your mates. The imperative to be as prepared as a boy scout makes way for the convenience of travelling about with just a phone and a wallet.

So thank you vaping.

Thank you for producing drippers that call for the constant mopping of the sides and the need to capture those errant rivulets from airholes. Thanks for giving me the need to carry more absorbent material than a hazardous materials emergency spill response team. Thank you for saving my life on the 4:15 from Euston.

Return of the Mech


There are those who see vaping as a linear trajectory, as kit moves along a path finding better ways to deliver the experience with the goal of a perfect vape. Mods and attys deviating from this trajectory are roundly mocked. Vapers place them in the corner of the online playground and hurl spiteful comments. But then something new takes hold and the line of progress veers off at an angle like a dog spotting a cat licking its balls in the road.

eGo to USA, USA to Pinoy, Pinoy to USA, USA to GB and the slow rise of the regulated device. A couple of ugly boxes later and the market became nothing but C-shapes and rectangular cuboids. Power outputs from chips have become engorged to a level that continually outstrips what is perceived as normal vaping. Virginal atomizer holes followed suit in the quest for increased airflow and most drippers now boast gaping holes to rival blocks of Emmental cheese.

My Dad was a proud man in the late 70s as his the bulk of his wardrobe was adopted by a section of the Punk community. “I’m back in fashion,†he’d exclaim. I remember seeing the smiles on the faces of hippies as they looked on at the resurgence of the flared trouser and my mother’s face when my daughter was decked out in a 50’s dress.

When the DNA40 hit many proclaimed the death of the mechanical mod. Resale values began to drop like a politician’s popularity with WI members after he’s named in porcine shenanigans. Why would anybody bother with a tube where you need to swap cells out because the useable voltage has gone? Why would anyone buy a tube when there are plentiful, useable regulated devices on the market?

But life isn’t linear; life is a coil of wire.

I sold off all bar a couple of mech and proclaimed myself shot of them. Why ride a leaky old Triumph when the Japanese were making two-wheeled machines of destiny? And yet the motorbike market came back around to Triumph, its history and the new iterations of the models.

And so, when faced with the opportunity of getting myself a treat, I looked at the options out there. Something distinctive, something that performed, and something I could get unbridled joy from simply holding. And I went mech.

There’s a beauty in simplicity. Heck, it’s the reason my wife finds me bearable. A good pair of scissors, a functional penknife, a table – forms uncluttered by deviation from functionality. It helps that I remain unconvinced by the temperature controlled mantra combined with a willingness to go low ohm – but I’m getting the vape from a tube that I was getting from a box. No, that’s wrong. I’m getting a better vape because I’ve dispensed with the chip making my decisions for me. I have obtained a Zen-like oneness with my vaping device. I made that coil and wick to perform with the mod; I am tied to it and it to me. If there is something I need to tweak it takes more than the press of a button…and I love that. Again.

This isn’t retro, it’s not grasping at the past to deflect the future from approaching too fast. It’s Tom and Barbara raising pigs in the back garden, it’s embracing a simpler and more fulfilling way of being. Of course it is also waxing lyrical about something that isn’t important but then neither are flared trousers, Triumphs, scissors or…probably…existence.

The mech is back.

The Art of Vaping


Vaping is more than simply a coil heating liquid to evaporation. Sure, it is simply that if we reduce it to its basest function – but to ignore the rest is to cut oneself off from additional delight.

I firmly believe that we are all artists. As children we all had the capacity to wonder at the world, to gaze at things that marvelled us and to get busy with crayons while being instructed not to colour outside the lines. Along the way we switch off and stop noticing things. I’m pretty certain its down to the stuffy nature of the art world and the times we were told we were doing it wrong.

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.†~ Edward Hopper

If you have ever stood and looked at Van Gogh’s Starry Night you may, like me, have been blown away by the loops and spirals of thick oil on canvas. It is the same emotional response I get from looking at images of diffraction patterns or the paths traced out in particle physics experiments. Both of which are evocative of the plumes sprouting from a mesh wick.

Spirals and loops of vape, building patterns of waves cascading away from the coil – aggressive, crackling splendour; it interweaves and flows, creating unique patterns in the air. Like snowflakes, no two pulses on the switch of the mod will ever recreate the same image in front of you.

And then there’s exhaling the cloud, as it catches the tiny eddy currents in the room to drift before standing as a metaphor for life and vanishing like it was never there…just a sense of the smell indicating the entity it once was. I can assure you I’ve not been drinking yet, this is a genuine love of the airborne textures I create.

I know I’m not alone, I know you can get this otherwise there wouldn’t be a fascination with subohming or the painstaking efforts to marry the right mod with a fitting atomiser. You love it too; you get the aesthetic of vaping. Like the inspirational Alison Lapper, you paint with your mouth.

But our enjoyment isn’t limited to the visual aspect of vaping. When doing my Art Foundation I discovered a love of aural sculptures and ‘found sound’. It made sense to me that if I adored music then a logical extension is an appreciation of those noises that comfort or challenge us. Waking up to the sound of sheep outside is, to me, as pleasurable as the creaking door in a horror film, I need no image to look at because the sounds are painting pictures in my mind.

Darth Vapous mentioned a similar thing on the POTV forum; the delicious commotion created at the same time of the cloud. The rasp of a Hellfire, the suction of a large-hole dripper – even the whistle of a Kayfun; clicks and snaps, smacks and whooshes fill our ears with the noise of vaping. Pops from flooded wicks that are surprising yet entertaining remind us that the coil is bursting into life and, as the electrical latency of the mod dies away once releasing the switch, the afterburn hiss embraces silence.

Stunning.

 

*Image of the atomiser from an online vaper called Vape Geek.

A Vaping Christmas


Christmas taught me a number of things including (and not exclusively) that a Disney musical can tire the patience of saints, political debates can become immensely heated when fuelled by tequila and I really don’t use gennys that much.

I love a genny, I keep saying how my Origen V2 is my favourite atomiser, but I can count the number of run-outs it had over a fortnight on one hand. Clearly, this doesn’t mean I don’t love it – but I am left wondering why I keep going back to the Kayfun-lite like film producers keep hiring Nicolas Cage.

Like Cage, the Kayfun is pretty much a one-dimensional device (albeit far more rewarding and capable of expressing a greater range of emotions). I know that some people drill theirs out or sub-ohm with them but, frankly, it’s not what it was made for. You can cast Rupert Grint in any number of other roles but he will forever remain that odd looking one who once waved a twig: It’s what he was made for. To do anything else is akin to taking Argentine footy star Lionel Messi and playing him in goal.

I began my break playing with drippers, something I’d not done for most of the year. A new juice arrived from Colonel Boom and it sang in the Igo-W+, I was truly smitten. But, rather than keeping at it in an atty that was working well I insisted on going down the easy route of filling up one of the KFLs. Why? I’ve no idea beyond my latent stupidity and laziness.

It didn’t work; notes vanished from the experience like shifting from Lou Reed to a celebrity-strewn cover of Perfect Day. Did I return to dripping? Nope.

I used put the lack of use the gennys got down to the fact that I have juices dedicated to each one – and those flavours only tend to get a run out when drinking booze. But in a fortnight where I single-handedly raised the share price in several distilleries they still didn’t see the use I’d have expected.

The Heron has joined the list of single-juice attys; the only thing it sees is Powwow Sauce. What helps it is that PWS is pretty much one of my two all-day vapes along with some heavy GVC (residing in a 3.1ES).

The realisation of what type of vaper I am took hold at the outset of a fun festive family game. A delightful coming together of competitive souls that forced me to remember something important I had to attend to in the garage.

Sheltering from the enforced frivolity, I cast a gaze on the workbench littered with woodworking tools and a host of half-finished vape stands. Some had even reached the stage of having patterns burned into the shapes. See, I love the idea of building things but my attention span runs to that of our collection of fish.

I love the idea of atomisers I can build to my requirements but have, more and more, reduced to just swapping out some cotton and burning off the coil. It’s made me realise just how much I could never be a reviewer making videos on a weekly basis. Spending my time wicking and coiling instead of starting blankly out of the window seeking inspiration is just not anything I’d like to do.

So I’m a lazy vaper. I’m a lazy vaper with an aversion to enclosed spaces packed with in-laws. So much so that I’ve found myself frequently looking at pictures of the new Kanger Subtank thinking how brilliant it would be if I could cut the tiresome cotton threading out of my life. It’s not going to happen, I’m too lazy to find out if it works or not – I’ll go see if one of the industrious video makers has looked at one.

If only I could find a similar way of replacing those related to me.