Monthly Archives: March 2012

My Experience with Electronic Cigarettes

I smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes per day for eleven years. I loved smoking, the ritual of it, it was relaxing and fulfilling. A smoke with coffee in the morning, one right after eating, one before bed.It just felt good, and calmed me.  But then in 2008-2009, it really started to bother me.

I was coughing and hacking every morning. I couldn’t run or ride my bike without wheezing. I was waking up in the middle of the night, not able to breathe, fearing death. I needed to quit but didn’t want to. I had tried cold turkey and the patch before. Obviously neither worked. Then I tried an electronic cigarette. It was a mediocre one from the mall, bought after Yule in 2009, just before New Year.

It wasn’t the same as smoking, but it was pleasurable, and it was nice to be able to “smoke” in restaurants, movie theaters and stores. Plus I felt better. But I still smoked, up until 1/21/10. I was determined to never smoke again. It was killing me.

1/22/10 was my first day in over 11 years without a cigarette. Coffee was really hard without tobacco. I probably wanted a smoke a dozen times that day. I stuck with it. After the first week I was no longer hacking in the morning or waking in the night. After the first three weeks I no longer had a craving for a cigarette. I could smell things better, and food tasted great. Corn was like a whole new experience. It was so sweet, it was like I was a child trying foods for the first time.

But the e cig I had purchased didn’t work very well, and they had customer service on paper only. So I ordered a popular internet brand that had a 30 day money back guarantee. I got my money back. So I spent a couple of months with another brand, which performed satisfactorily, however, I couldn’t clean the atomizers. An atomizer is the heating element that produces the vapor. It requires a cartridge filled with flavored juice that contains nicotine, or no nicotine, if you so choose. Now most e cig companies and customers use what is known as a cartomizer, an atomizer and cartridge combined, which hold alot more juice and tend to perform better.

Most atomizers now cost around $10, back then I was getting mine for $16 a pop. They would last about 2-3 weeks, and die after I cleaned them. I spent alot of time on forums and trying various methods of cleaning them before I decided I was getting ripped off. There is a degree of user error with these things, and I wasn’t willing to give up on that brand until I was certain it wasn’t me.

Then I came upon a company worth endorsing: Volcano. They offered two e cigs at the time, the Volcano and the Magma. The Magma is what I chose, as it’s the same diameter as a tobacco cigarette, but a little longer, and lasts about twice as long before recharges as the Volcano. The atomizers for these things were $8 a piece, the customer service was nothing short of excellent, and the attys (atomizers) cleaned up easily, they were lasting me on average 3 months, with 6 of them in rotation.

In November of 2010 I upgraded to their newest model, the Inferno. It came in two sizes, both of which look more like metal cigars than cigarettes. One has 1000 mili amp hours, the other 650 mah. The former lasts me 2 and a quarter days between charges, the latter last 1 and a half days. I now primarily use the latter, because I like the size of it, and it can be used while plugged into the wall or computer, which also charges it. I’ve been using clear cartomizers for close to a year now, they’re the easiest to clean, produce wonderful flavor and vapor, and they’re bloody cheap! $11 for 5 of them, and they last 2-3 months!

I spend between $3-$8 a week on juice, the equivalent on a carton of cigarettes. I feel great, my girlfriend has never been happier, non smokers around me love it, and my dental hygiene has improved. Electronic cigarettes have changed my life for the better, and I strongly recommend them.


Camper Progress 3/22/12

I haven’t done much at all with the camper since the last post. I’ve been very busy with work, working long hours and sometimes 6 days per week. What little creative boosts I’ve had have been spent tinkering with the wood stoves…but at least they’re for the camper! I feel bad I haven’t been working on it though. I do have a tendency to start things and not finish them, but that’s not going to happen. I have some other cool projects I’d love to do, but I won’t until the camper is finished, that’s a little incentive.

I’ve never installed piano hinges before, and I just winged it for the first two floor panels. Just lined the hinges up and started screwing away. Worked fine. Then I tried the same method with the largest panels. Got all done, tried to fold them closed, and they stopped 6″ short…expletive. So I thought about how it should be done…the pain in the donkey method. Lay the panels next to eachother, line the hinge up, mark the holes, drill them. then install the hinge on one panel, then the other. Googled it after work, and yes, the painfully slow way is the right way. Barbara Streisand!!!

So I’ll get back to it soon. The good news is it’s all on the downhill now, though there’s still alot to do.

Mailbox Wood Stove

I’ve had four fires with the heiny keg wood stove. Because of it’s small size it takes alot of babysitting to keep it burning, and it doesn’t hold very big pieces of wood. Friday night I tried for about 4hrs to boil water on it to no avail. You could heat a small space with it, but you’re better off using an alcohol stove to cook with. Last night I tried my mailbox wood stove, and was very impressed!

It holds alot more wood, and larger pieces. I was able to put a standard sized kiln dried split log in it (from Tops). I spent the night outside in my hammock tent with my kitter buddy, and when I woke up I fired her up again. Since most of the paint had burned off, I busted out my cast iron pan and tried cooking breakfast on it…worked like a charm! It worked so well that 6hrs later it was still warm, and that was with the door closed! I didn’t add any ventilation holes to the door as I wasn’t going to go through that effort if it didn’t burn well. Later on today I’ll cover the existing holes, add ventilation to the door, and reinforce the cooking surface with 22 gauge steel.

Next week I’ll paint it black with high temp paint, add some legs and work on a latch. I may add some sort of grate to elevate the wood so air can move under it.

Mailbox Wood Stove

Wood Stove going POSTAL!!!

Note my propane tank fire pit, he’s a hot lil devil!

Ugly Side

You can see a piece of the wood that fits in there. I’m toying with the idea of adding an oven or water heater to the ugly side. All in all this was very easy to build and get burning/keep burning. It’s a little bit thicker than the heiny keg, so it should last longer, and it was only $10.

(Afterthought) The chimney was made from beer cans. Aluminum cans would be a disaster, as aluminum will melt under these temperatures. These cans are steel, Sapporo Japanese beer. Because of the shape of the cans these things fit together very well and there’s no smoke leakage. Not a bad price per can, at around $3.50 each, and the brew isn’t bad either!

Click Here for Finished Project