Cigar reviews, news and ramblings by Kevin
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Category — Just Plain Random Stuff

Hey, I Shot That!


Through a curious chain of events, I recently had the opportunity to shoot this El Sol Nicaraguan Primeros Reserve Maduro for a local business journal. Having never shot for real publication before, I’m amused as hell. Aside from that, the El Sol is an excellent smoke, as is the Ybor City-made La Herencia de Cuba White Label featured in the interior spread.

December 1, 2008   95 Comments

The Cone of Ownage

Q: What sucks worse than a Victor Sinclair Vintage Select?

A: A forecast track that puts a hurricane in your living room on Tuesday.


The Cone of Ownage is virtually meaningless more than 24 hours out, of course. But Mike’s Weather Page is going to get plenty of hits from me between now and Tuesday.

UPDATE 8/19: Fay will drift well to my east. We’re expecting intermittently heavy rain, but sustained winds won’t exceed 30mph. Kevin 1, Cone of Ownage 0. But the season is young.

UPDATE 8/22: This storm is a drag. As I’m sure you’ve seen on the news, Fay has doubled back to the Gulf Coast. It’s well north of me, but it has been cloudy, windy and spitting for two days now. It could be much worse, of course. I could be under four feet of water in Melbourne.

August 16, 2008   60 Comments

A Novice Coffee Roaster’s Adventure, Part Two


Part One concluded after three minutes of roasting, with the beans taking on some color. Next, or so we had read, would come the first of two “cracks.” The heat causes the beans to expand, crack and shed a papery chaff. Sure enough, at about 4:30, we hear the first crack and begin to see some smoke and steam. Time to crank up those hood fans.

Now this is starting to look and smell like coffee:


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June 9, 2008   61 Comments

A Novice Coffee Roaster’s Adventure, Part One


I’m a little late to the coffee roasting party, but I have arrived.

After reading about home roasting on message boards, my curiosity was piqued. This would be right up my alley, since coffee has always been my favorite pairing with a smoke. Easily distracted as I am, however, the notion slipped my mind as fast as it arrived.

Then two weeks ago, my girlfriend is flipping through one of her countless fair-trading, tree-hugging catalogs and says, “Why don’t we buy coffee raw from this cooperative and try roasting it ourselves?”

The price was certainly right. Even after shipping costs, I’d save more than $2.00 per pound, or a couple hundred bucks per year at my current rate of consumption.

The selection of “raw” beans is virtually limitless. We settled on Peruvian Norte, Tanzanian Peaberry, Ethiopian Yrgacheffe, Brazilian Poco Fundo, and my longtime favorite, Papua New Guinea. The only apparent drawback would be the cost of an electric roaster, which starts at $89. Reading on, we discovered that some found the Whirly Pop stovetop popcorn maker to be up to the task at a low, low price of $27. Electric, schmetric. Put me down for one Whirly Pop!

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June 8, 2008   51 Comments

Vintage Cameras: A New Excuse to Loiter on Auction Sites


Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

I’m referring of course to auction sites. Seems like only yesterday that I got the monkey off my back. Yet I have found a brand new excuse to flag 50 auctions at a time, live-snipe at 3 am and otherwise engage in antisocial behavior — vintage 35mm film cameras.

(What does this have to do with cigars? Nothing, which is why it’s listed in the “Just Plain Random Stuff” category. However, I suspect that many cigar nuts who have fallen prey to C-Bid know just what I’m talking about here!)

Props (or blame) to Trixy, who gently mocked my addiction to digital and sold me on the retro-cool factor of 35mm film. My father, himself an excellent photographer with an encyclopedic knowledge of model numbers, also encouraged my bad behavior. Dad egged me on with gems like, “Of course you need a third Minolta XE-7… for parts!”

Two months later I have accumulated more cameras than an Osaka pawn shop — an arsenal of cheap, bulletproof workhorses I barely know how to use.

Why? Because I have an unnatural interest in photography. Because there’s something wrong with me that compels me to “win” other people’s crap. And because vintage cameras are the best deal since those $9 mazos of Padilla Achilles. (Ah, remember those?)

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April 17, 2008   41 Comments