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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. 🙂 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 🙂 . 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 😛 ). 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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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: , , ,

Guyver: Dark Hero

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It’s always dicey adapting a cartoon for live action. Finding real people who look like cartoon characters is hard, as is replicating the unrealistic feats that animated characters are capable of in a  believable way. This problem is doubled when you try to adapt animation from Japan, where the prominence of animated cinema arose specifically in order to depict wild stunts and crazy monsters that Japanese film companies of the early-mid 20th century had neither the money nor the real estate to film.

The Guyver is kind of a media dynasty. There’s comic books, movies, TV shows, and, one would assume, cuddly Guyver plushes. For those not in the know, the Guyver is a suit of armor aliens built in order to shove humans inside and make cheap frontline soldiers for their horrific space wars. The prototypes rebelled and the aliens left Earth, leaving behind some dormant Guyver suits and an army of angry, lonesome mutant soldiers. Everyone wants a Guyver suit of their own, but predictably plucky young people get most of them. Rather like Power Rangers, said hero wanders about encountering danger, transforming with their armor, and kicking lots of faces. Because the Guyver is dark and edgy, there’s lots of blood and screaming and the suit comes out of you eww gross yuck! It’s kind of an adult cartoon, as envisioned by ten year olds.

Dark Hero follows the original properties as well as it can with no budget. Sean (Solid Snake) has what he believes to be the only Guyver suit. It makes him run around fighting crime, even though he’d rather just sit around his filthy apartment doodling in his dream journal. When he sees some symbols on television that he believes are related to the Guyver suit, he sets off for Utah to visit an archaelogical dig. Wouldn’t you know it, an entire corporation of bad guys in rubber monster suits is after the dig as well, and it’s up to Sean to pretty much kill every last one of them as savagely as rubber suit science permits.

Coming up since small times on the 60s-70s Godzilla films, I really got into this film. The suits are surprisingly good, and the Guyver armor is pretty on-model with the anime. The fights are pretty decent too, although there’s a surprising amount of non-fighting and it isn’t particularly interesting. Sean whines and moans about having awesome alien space armor that lets him shoot lasers out of his head, he romances an average-looking archaeologist, and some stuff happens with the FBI. But none of that matters because this is a guys in rubber suits hitting each other movie, and it totally delivers.

Actually, it may deliver too well. The violence in Dark Hero can be surprisingly graphic, and contrasted with the rather silly-looking suitework the effect is sort of confusing. It’s like if you were watching Sesame Street, and Big Bird pecked out Grover’s eyes. But if you can get past that, Guyver: Dark Hero offers something interesting: a live action anime adaptation that is both entertaining and faithful to its source materials.

6/10 (bump it up to 7/10 if you’re like me and giggle with glee when dudes in rubber suits body slam each other)

Galaxis

It’s a tried and true formula for science fiction success: create an exciting sci-fi universe, show us some teasey glimpses of it, then send the characters to Earth before you run out of money. If the alien warrior heroes befriend some scrappy Earthlings when they arrive, so be it. Time Guardian did this, Spaced Invaders did it, and even the Masters of the Universe movie featured Dolph Lundgren’s He-Man befriending a not-yet-scary-thin (and consequentially much prettier) Courtney Cox at prom somewhere in the Midwest. And let’s not forget Jesse Ventura’s Abraxis, the movie Lifetime would have made if it were staffed by Jack Kirby and Jim Starlin.

Galaxis (not to be confused with Galaxina, a z-budget space western about a sexy robot who fails at stealing Barbarella’s thunder) tells a similar tale. Brigitte Nielson plays Ladera, a space gladiator who subscribes to the wear-bikinis-to-battle school of movie logic. Ladera is looking for a magic crystal, which she must find before Richard Moll does. And guess where she looks?

Squirted out in the woeful middle of the hateful 90s, Galaxis is a cheap pastiche of better movies that came before. There’s a scene where bad guys rampage through a police station Terminator style, there’s a steel-girder showdown that looks stolen from Darkman, and the whole “evil wizard jacks up the innocent for magic crystals” angle has been done to death, most notably in the underappreciated Dark Crystal. It goes without saying that Galaxis achieves its ripoffery with a budget that would disappoint Sam Raimi (who happens to be in the film). The result is rather like watching cosplayers act out a better film, and not succeeding very well.

I will be the first to admit that I like bad movies. I have personally watched Jean-Claude Van Damme’s stunt double kick a terminally ill Raul Julia into a wall in Street Fighter over 7 times. I watched Category 7 and liked it so much that I nearly cried when my fiance wouldn’t let me buy Category 6. Heck, I actually bought Magic Sword under the mistaken belief that it was The Sword and the Sorcerer. But believe this battle-hardened fan of cinema crap, there is nothing worthwhile about Galaxis. It’s dull, ineffectual, and lacks the infectious charm that has saved so many awful movies.

It’s just bad.

2/10

Categories: Movies Tags: , , ,

Dagan Celtic Cider

Tasting rather like poison and urine fell in love, got married, and had a kid, Dagan is a weak drink with an unpleasant undertone. Lacking the hearty beeriness of a good American cider, the crisp notes of a good English cider, or the interplay of sweet and bitter that characterizes a good French cider (it’s also worse than Swedish and German cider, but I don’t want to go long), Dagan is like an insult, underhanded and increasingly unpleasant the more you mull it over. In its defense it is super cheap, especially considering I got it as an import (no idea if they have a US brewery).

Avoid Dagan Cider like you would avoid Dagon, HP Lovecraft’s fictional god of the evil fishmen.

2/10 (And I drank it right after I watched Wolverine, too!)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , ,

Connectland 4 Port Mini USB Hub

April 14, 2009 Leave a comment

When the USB ports on my last computer got a little funny after plugging in my printer, I became worried that the printer itself had damaged them. USB devices do fry ports, although it’s really rare. An obvious solution is to hook any powered USB devices to a cheap hub, and let them fry the hub instead of your ports.

This hub is pretty tiny- so small that the jacks on your USB cables won’t fit all the way in. They still seem secure, but this may be an issue for some users. The hub can carry power if connected to a powered USB bus, and it lights up really bright blue to indicate this. Fortunately, my computer is already an insane mass of glowing blue stuff, so it fits right in. It’s always on (provided your power supply is on) so it kind of acts as a night light to find your workstation by in a dark room. That’s cool.

The hub is very light, with a good solid feel. It’s probably light enough that you could stick it to a wall or bookcase, and the ability to accommodate up to 4 powered devices makes it ideal for connecting your desktop stuff to a single USB port. Owners of book-profile computers take note. The actual cord that hooks the hub to your computer is pretty short, which is odd for a hub; so I figure it was mostly built with desktop peripheral attachment in mind.

Overall, this hub exceeded my expectations for what it is: ablative armor for my motherboard in the event of a power surge from my printer.

7/10

Categories: Technology Tags: , ,