Camping… FAIL

September 6, 2009 4 comments

I planned a trip to the red river gorge with some friends. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, in fact, almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Even more so, even things that you would think couldn’t go wrong did. We did have some fun, but overall the trip was a dud and it needs to be redone right, so I’ll probably plan another trip very soon that I hope should go right this time. Either way, the following is a list of the highlights including all of the FAIL moments.

Step 1: Get a large group of people together to go camping… FAIL

I invited about ten or more people and we ended up with five people, one of which couldn’t even stay longer than one day. Most people had to work, watch kids, or just plain bailed out at the last minute.

Jackass #1: This guy just plain bailed on us

Jackass # 2: This guy had to work, nice bloody excuse…

Jackass # 3: This guy also had to work, pfffft, yeah right!!

Other Jackasses not listed in picutre: Joey and Brian

Step 2: Leave on time!! FAIL

The most important part of camping is leaving on time to set up your campsite, finding the right campsite, and actually DOING something the first night you are there. This all failed miserably. We didn’t actually leave Ohio until 5:00 P.M. because we were lazy, unorganized, and had to run extra errands that were not originally planned (AHEM.. Erick). We didn’t even get to the campsite until 10:00 P.M. This was AFTER parking in a campsite we thought wasn’t taken but was, being stopped by a ranger, and getting stuck in dirt and having to use four wheel drive to get out. Putting up tents in the dark sucks!

Step 3: Properly load up the camping gear on top of the car… FAIL

That’s right. We’re stupid. We loaded coolers, sleeping bags, and supplies on top of my SUV but didn’t use the racks. By not using the racks, we caused a dent in my SUV’s roof. We had to stop along the way in to unload everything on top, pop out the dent and use the racks like we were supposed to in the first place.

Step 4: Find the right campsite (more on this later) FAIL:

Not only was it dark because we got there late, but our campsite was basically a field with nothing but HUGE weeds/flowers which made my allergies kick in full gear. We had to hack down tons of them to even clear the path. There was no fire pit, and the ground was so hard that we couldn’t even get the stakes into the ground for the tents so we had to just weigh them down with coolers and other things.

Step 5: Don’t forget anything…

I forgot a lot of things, as did everyone else. We had to buy a bunch of stuff from the local gas station/convenient store. Not only did I forget stuff at home, I forgot to grab a bag of ice that I bought from the convenient store that night! FAIL

Step 6: Don’t go hiking with someone who is sick

My friend Erick was so sick that he complained the ENTIRE time we went on a trail. Every little hill, bump, step, rock, twig, bug, etc. was a nusance to him for some reason and he had to let everyone know about it at ALL TIMES. I think I might have almost puked once at the amount of complaining he was doing. Erk… it wasn’t THAT bad! Also, you don’t need to wash your hands after getting dirty dude, it’s frakking camping!!

Erick resting for about the 20th time (I stopped counting)

Step 7: Don’t camp on private property!! FAIL

We didn’t know it was private property, but the ranger and sheriff sure made an effort to show up and tell us. This is when the camping trip ended. Apparently we were on private property and they told us that we had to move our camp site somewhere else. Yeah right, we were not about to take down EVERYTHING, load it up, try to find a campsite (all were taken anyways), unload everything again, and set up camp AGAIN in the dark like the night before. Getting the camp site set up at midnight with enough time for a 1 hour fire and roasted hot dogs is not my idea of a blast, especially on the last night we were supposed to be there. Also, the sheriff gave us a hard time. He was trying to find drugs on us which we did NOT have. He found some little white pegs that went to a camp chair and asked if they were pills, smelled my tupperware salt/pepper shaker asking if there was drugs in it, and accused us of drinking (which we were going to do but hadn’t done so yet).

Apparently salt and pepper are abusive drugs now:

Thus ends the camping trip. We had to stop to fix the load on my car, we were late, had to set up our tent in dark, camped in an nightmare area for someone with allergies, camped on private property
and kicked off by the police, had friends bail on us, friends who complained on hikes and were clean freaks during camping, forgot stuff before and during the camping trip, and to top it all off I didn’t get to drink any beer or smoke a cigar!! Though the camping trip sucked there was a few good moments when we hiked in the gorge and scaled a large rock/mountain formation called the indian staircase. All in all, I still got to spend a small amount of time with friends away from society for a day or so and got to do some hiking I wouldn’t normally be able to do with the kids around. Below are a couple of pictures from the highlights of the trip:


Here is a link to the full album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfspirittt/sets/72157622270226242/

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Oliva Serie O Maduro

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Brand: Oliva
Size: Robusto 5×50
Wrapper: Maduro Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $105 for a box of 20 on Cigar International’s site

The Oliva Serie O Maduro was a bit of a surprise to me. I actually got these cigars by purchasing two “mystery” 5 packs from Cigar International on their daily Joe Cigar deals. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened up the package, but I had a smile on my face once I got through the packaging. I’ve smoked the Serie V and G before but never had the opportunity to try the Serie O. I’m glad I took a chance with these because I was very pleased with the smokes.

The Serie O maduro is a Nicaraguan Puro from all habano seed. The wrapper is VERY dark and the aroma is very strong to boot. I’ve already smoked through all 10 of these sticks and may have to purchase some again, but I’ll wait to find out what the Cain tastes like when I go to the local cigar tastings next week.

First Impressions and First Puffs:

The construction is very well done. The wrapper is very dark and oily and the smell from the foot of the cigar gives off hints of chocolate and spice. From the first few puffs I am getting a nice white tight ash, and the smoke is pretty smooth. I can tell it will be a very dark cigar as I go throughout but it’s also very smooth. The first tastes my palate is picking up on are spices and gingerbread.

First Third:

The draw is a bit airy, and I’m not getting a full mouth of smoke from it but I think that will change. The construction is holding up nicely and the spiciness flavors are still there. I’m also getting a hint of coffee bean.

Halfway mark:

The draw is still a bit airy but has gotten a lot better. The full flavored smoke is kicking in and the spiciness and coffee notes remain. I am really digging this cigar so far.

Final Third and Thoughts:

The full flavored smoke is definitely apparent now and the draw is treating me nicely. The construction has held up with no problems throughout the smoke and I’m smoking it down to the nub. It’s getting a little hot but manageable. πŸ™‚ The finish of this cigar is very nice with the spiciness and coffee notes staying evident the entire time and the ash is holding strong.

Overall, this is a very good smoke. I’ve always been happy with the other “Serie” cigars from Oliva and I’ll add this one to my list as well. The draw was a bit airy in the beginnings but picked up toward the end. The spicy notes, and oily wrapper help make this a strong smoke but smooth sailing. I got these on a deal for about 3 bucks a stick but you can pick them up for about 5-6 bucks a stick at your local B&M. I’m waiting to reserve my judgment on whether I need to repurchase these or go with a box of the new Cain sticks that just came out. Be sure to check out my review on those next week sometime.

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Categories: Cigars, Uncategorized Tags: , , , ,

Lazy Man's Review – Victor Sinclair Rare Connecticut

August 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Brand: Victor Sinclair
Size: Torpedo
Wrapper: Connecticut Domincan
Binder: ??
Filler: Cuban seed long filler Dominican Republic
Price: box of 20 mixed for $35.00 http://www.thompsoncigar.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=73617

I’m going the lazy man’s route this time around and thought I would just post my audio notes up instead of typing out the entire review. It’s also a chance for everyone to hear my heavenly voice. πŸ™‚ Actually, it was really just a chance to mess around with some audio editing tools as I prep for the new Long Ashes podcast we will be releasing soon.

The Victor Sinclair Rare Connecticut is part of Thompson Cigars “exclusive” line. This is similar to CI’s purple label cigars. Several well known cigar manufacturers will make a new/special blend for the store that you can’t buy anywhere else. Although I thought this was a decent cigar all around, I wasn’t really wowed with any complex flavors and I wasn’t impressed enough to consider buying these again. I did, however, enjoy trying out the punch on top of the torpedo cut for the first time. Listed below are the complete audio notes for the review. Enjoy!

Victor Sinclair MP3

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Super Premium Seconds

August 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Brand: Punch Rothschild seconds
Size: 4.5 x 50 Rothschild
Wrapper: ??
Binder: ??
Filler: ?? CI says a Honduran blend with long fillers
Price: bundle of 25 for $29.95 http://tinyurl.com/ml7c3s

I’m always on the hunt for the perfect everyday cigar. Ever since I got my smoking room I usually smoke about 1 cigar a day and on the weekends about two every day. Being married with 4 kids, I can’t afford to smoke the premiums every day like some cigar superstars on twitter @jcruz πŸ™‚ . So instead, I settle for good but not great. With the super premium seconds though, this is hands down the best everyday cigar I have smoked. You can’t even really tell you paid less than 2 bucks for these smokes. The construction of them do have some problems about every third or fourth one you smoke because the cap likes to come off, but it usually doesn’t happen until the end of the smoke so it’s an acceptable issue (for a cheap cigar; if I paid 4 dollars or more for these then I would have issues with that.)

First Third:

The body of the cigar looks very decent. The construction in general looks well done but you can tell the cap is a little loose and might have issues later on in the smoke. The smell is very strong and prominent of chocolate and creme and the feel of the stick is very decent (held together good and well humidified thanks to my expert skill in humidification πŸ˜› ). The first couple of puffs are really good, I tasted a sweetness and can tell the overall smoke will probably be a medium to full bodied smoke. The ash was a gray color and pretty tight overall.

Middle of smoke:

The smoke got a but stronger now and the sweetness went away. The taste can be more defined by a grassy, earthy taste. The construction is still holding up and usually does at this point of the smoke. The draw of the smoke is a bit tight and that seems to be the case on these on every other smoke, but nothing preventing the air flow completely.

Final puffs:

It’s starting to get a little stronger and a bit hot. The full flavor is kicking in now. The construction is still holding up though this is usually when every third stick will lose it’s cap and start to unravel. it’s not a huge problem since the price of these sticks are so cheap.

Overall it’s a very good everyday smoke and I would recommend it to anyone. The other cheap cigars I’ve smoked usually suffer from short fillers that are loose that leave for a soggy cigar that have a horrible airy draw and I was pleased that these are more closer to a standard premium that don’t have those problems.

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Up

Review for the Kiddies

Up is a fantastic, exciting voyage to South America! With a magic flying house, grouchy grandpa-type Carl Fredricksen and his little buddy Russell explore the jungle, meet a funny talking dog, and save a giant bird from a crazy old man in a zepplin! Featuring lots of laughs and some surprisingly tense action, Up isn’t for super-young kids, but any child over 5 will have a whole flying house full of fun!

Review for Grownups

Up spends its first 20 minutes or so grinding away at its protagonist’s life so savagely that it may reduce you to tears. Carl marries his childhood sweetheart, and in short cinematic order their lives rush by. Unable to have the children they desire, Carl and his wife Ellie pin their dreams on an eventual voyage to Venezuela, one she does not live to see. Crushed and alone, Carl spends all day in his house, talking to his dead wife while a heartless and marginalizing city grows up around him. Eventually, he is committed to a home, and realizing he has nothing to lose in death, flies his house on the voyage his dead wife always wanted to take. Carl’s flying house and the film’s other aeronautic hijinks show more than a passing Hayao Miyazaki inspiration, which is to be expected due to his close relationship with Pixar exec John Lasseter.

Carl is accompanied on his trek by Russell, a boyscout whose enthusiasm for nature is motivated by the love of a father who has long since abandoned him. The villain of the film is Carl’s boyhood hero, a man so lonely and obsessed that he seems less genuinely evil and more completely pitiable. Behind most of the film, these undertones of losing people and ideas we love can be felt in how the characters act and what they do. The whole movie is built on foundations of sorrow.

You might think this would make Up a sad movie, and it does, but it also makes its many happy moments stand out that much more clearly. The movie draws strong, heartfelt performances from all the members of its talented cast, and had, to me, no slip-ups on its way. And don’t worry: if you’ve seen the short film The Ark, and about halfway through Up you start to worry it’ll end the same way- it doesn’t. You can relax. Unlike Pixar’s other movies, Up probably won’t have a lot of commercial visibility. There will be some product tie-ins, but many companies have already publicly shied from the film. The reason is pretty obvious; ageism is an established thing in movies and just because Pixar rose above it doesn’t mean companies will.

In short: Up is a moving, sophisticated film that will appeal to adults and children on totally different levels and shines above other kids cinema on the market as a complex narrative on human feelings and behavior.

9/10

Categories: Movies Tags: , , ,

Camacho Connecticut

Brand: Camacho
Size: 7.0″ x 48 (churchill)
Wrapper: Ecudorian Connecticut
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras and Dominican
Price: MSRP $170.00 box of 25

The Camacho Connecticut is a sneaky little devil. On the outside it appears as your standard light Connecticut wrapper which normally gives you the impression that the filler is also light. This is where you are wrong. The Camacho Connecticut is full of spiciness with periods of creaminess which is subtle enough to balance out the smoke and provides a very interesting yet tasty experience.

I picked up the Camacho Connecticut from the Party Source Davidoff tastings a couple of weeks ago and didn’t even realize I had put it in my humidor until yesterday (shame on me). So without much thought, I snagged it out and prepared to smoke.

First Third:

At first glance the cap of the cigar is very prominent. You can tell that this cigar was constructed very well. The cigar has a nice aroma too it, almost creamy like. The wrapper looks to provide a smooth smoke. The first few puffs has an incredibly smooth draw and smooth taste, yet has a bite too it. The darker tobaccos mixed with the lighter wrapper really compliment each other well. Near the end of the first third the spiciness tends to die down and sticks with a more smooth and creamy taste which is welcomed nicely.

Halfway Point:

The smoothness continues, and the burn is still very even. The draw is excellent and I haven’t had any problems smoking it thus far. The herbal spiciness returned with hints of cedar mixed in as well.

Finale:

The cigar is now a lot darker and you can definitely rate this as medium bodied, maybe even a bit more than that. Though the cigar has gotten darker (which I normally prefer anyway), the smoothness of the wrapper continues to complement the fillers which creates a very interesting smoking experience. I don’t want to put it out. πŸ™‚

The Camacho Connecticut is an excellent cigar and I would probably rate it as one of my top 10 cigars as of recent, along with the Cuvee Rouge which is also an excellent cigar. Camacho has created a very interesting smoke with the light/dark mixture and the creaminess/spiciness of the cigar will definitely leave your palate excited throughout and wanting more once you are done. πŸ™‚ Good job Camacho!

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Felipe Gregorio Icon Groucho Marx

Brand: Felipe Gregorio
Size: 5.0″ x 55 (robusto)
Wrapper: Costa Rica
Binder: Costa Rica (double wrapper)
Filler: Mixed cuban seed (Condega, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic)
Price: MSRP $49.95 box of 20

I bought a box of these after discovering the Felipe Gregorio fat boy. The fat boy was my first introduction to Felipe Gregorio’s line and I really enjoyed it. It intrigued me to try the other blends that Felipe had, so I started doing some research. Felipe Gregorio seems to specialize in the exotic Figurado shapes and unique blends. This holds true for his Icon line of cigars as well, which seems to be a mid-low priced cigar. I was able to pick up a box of 20 of these from http://cigarbid.com for only 37 bucks plus shipping. I’ve smoked more than half of them and I think I can give a fair review on the Groucho now after going through a few trial and tribulations with this smoke.

First Third:

This cigar starts out strong and bold, which is a good thing. It has an oily wrapper which seems to give it a bit of a creamy coffee type of taste. I could taste hints of spice as well in the beginnings of this smoke. One thing that was a major problem for me when I first got these was the draw. I couldn’t draw anything from it. I think I almost sucked my eye balls out of my sockets to get even a pinch of smoke, and the only way to somewhat remedy this was to use a draw poker. Jerry Cruz from the “stogie review” also mentioned to me that he had heard this from his local B&M.

Luckily after sitting in my humidor for awhile they have gotten better, but the draw problems still exist somewhat. Other than the draw problems I had early on, the beginnings of this cigar is very flavorful and enjoyable. The burn is very even and the construction on these cigars are top notch.

Halfway Point:

Toward the halfway point of this stick the strong full bodied flavor tends to mellow a bit and is more in the medium bodied range in my opinion. This is not to say that the tastes from before are no longer there, it’s more so that the spiciness leaves for a bit. The coffee creaminess still sticks around which makes for a nice smooth smoke. There weren’t any burn or construction problems, though the draw can still be troublesome if your batch turned out like mine.

Finale:

The finale of this smoke picks up it’s spiciness from the beginning more than ever, and finishes as a full bodied smoke. Most of the creaminess flavors kind of die down toward the end and you are left with a true full flavored, full bodied smoke. The draw issues seem to subside toward the end of the stick even on my most troublesome sticks. The burn stays even until the end, and none of the 10 or so I have smoked have unraveled on me which wins many points in my book. Even the best of cigars have construction issues sometimes so this was a very nice surprise.

Overall, the icon line of cigars (specifically the Groucho in this case) are a decent smoke and well worth the price. The price really sells this stick and I can see myself buying them again in the future as an every day smoke. The draw issues are a definite problem and my only suggestion if you want to brave a box of these for yourself, is to over humidify them a bit (not too much!). That seemed to help with mine. The construction of the cigar and even burn impressed me as well. So far Felipe Gregorio seems to be pleasing me with what I’ve smoked of his cigars. I look forward to trying out and reviewing more of his cigars in the future.

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Categories: Cigars, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,