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Hamburger Diaries xtra: The In-N-Out Burger Secret Menu

Sunday, 9 March, 2014

So much cyberspace is dedicated to the In-N-Out Burger “secret menu” it could probably be weighed. It may be the case that this entry is not required. This is one mortal’s attempt to delineate every off-menu item available at In-N-Out Burger with explicit names. A very few of these are not known system wide. Your correspondent has emphasized the principle of keeping a menu welcoming and simple within the Hamburger Diaries. You will be forgiven if you presume opposition to a formal off-menu system.

While not imposing to first-time customers, the secret menu is an important part of In-N-Out’s mythology. Whenever In-N-Out does a “pop up” location in a distant land, such as New York, Tokyo or Shanghai one need not ask the most popular item among new customers. Every person in every land has seen enough television or movies originating in Los Angeles to become curious about Double Double animal-style. Read more…

Selecting vape gear for maximum visual impact

Sunday, 2 March, 2014

In the event you are advocating vaping, especially as an alternative to cigarettes, as a public presence or simply wish to be conspicuously vaping in a public place, noticeable gear is essential. The following are recommendations for people in, say, public performance who wish to vape and be seen doing so.

As always, my focus is on cost. This list pulls exclusively from the inventory of the curiously named The down side of ordering from any vendor in China if you are in North America is the extremely long shipping times. Anticipate a shipping time of not less than a month. Six weeks between placing the order and its arrival is quite common. However you will part with roughly 20% of the USD for equivalent, sometimes identical, gear from any domestic vendor. Prices listed on Fasttech are retail prices which include shipping anywhere in the world. Fasttech denominates exclusively in US dollars.

The inquiry which prompted this post asked about providing a noticeable pink electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer solution. The links provided will be to pink or fuchsia variations, although other colors including silver and black are typically available. Some discussion will occur about accessories which make all of this stuff work with the rest of your vaping gear.

This purchase will include a “mod” or battery container, tips on selecting batteries, a battery charger, tanks which affix to the mod and the somewhat misnamed “drip tips” or the bit you suck on. Each are selected for a compromise of cost and visual impact. I repeat: The focus of this article is to provide items in the color pink, but other colors are available.

Batteries and the charger are generic, flexible items which are not distinctive to Chinese vendors. Rules exist for the shipping of batteries to external non-commercial destinations from China, and a domestic vendor might have a more favorable price. The style of batteries under consideration are available in versions that shut down under extreme conditions, or are “protected”, and those that do not and depend upon the circuitry of the device to shut down During extreme conditions.

In lieu of a common eGo battery, use a mod. Often these are 150% the size of an eGo battery or more. Correspondingly, these store more energy and need not be charged as often. Items which have integrated batteries are available. The following options all require separate batteries which must be charged outside the device in a device designed for this purpose. Well regarded, popular items in this category include:

  • A clone of The Bolt for $13 which requires a single, protected 18650 battery. It features a 510 connection only. The original article costs $40.
  • A look-alike of the JM22 mod for $13 which requires a single, protected 18650 battery. It features a 510 connection only. The original article is a super-premium hand-built device which costs around $200.
  • An authentic Vamo V2 “advanced personal vaporizer” which requires either a single unprotected 18650, a single unprotected 18500, or single or dual unprotected 18350 batteries. It features an eGo connection with a collar for attractive 510 connections. It costs just over $25, but is a variable voltage and variable wattage device. The V2 includes a resistance meter. It is the lowest priced VV-VW device on the market, but retains reasonable quality. The Vamo line now extends to the V5, three generations newer. Overall utility has not been effected. Later generations are not available in multiple colors. The Vamo V2 typically retails for around $50.
  • An authentic SmokTech SID another VV-VW device which requires a single, unprotected 18650 battery. It features an eGo connection with a collar for attractive 510 connections. $37. The list price of the SID is $49.99.

In the event you purchase an above device which uses only a 510 connection, I very strongly recommend a 510-to-eGo adapter so it is compatible with the rest of your vape gear, especially clearomizers. This adapter is invisible in use.

Purchase batteries of a name brand you recognize, Sanyo, Samsung, Panasonic, &c. Purchase the appropriate protection or lack for the device you intend to power. These batteries are useless without a charger. Your correspondent is no expert in this area. The Nitecore Smart chargers are consistently recommended and sadly not available in novel colors. The link is to the same store, but you may wish to shop around. The use of two 18350 batteries in the Vamo V2 is a recommended configuration by the manufacturer, and is best for extremely long usage, low-ohm or sub-ohm operation.

Yes, Virginia there are pink atomizers. Even collars or “beauty rings” are available in pink to make the most of your vaporizer’s appearance when using a 510 device with an eGo connection. Any of these costs around $10. Units which merely have colored reservoirs are not included as juice typically distorts the color.

  • RG280 uses Protank or Evod heads. Features an eGo connection. Uses a 510-style drip tip. Available in pink and fuchsia. This is a glassomizer. The reservoir is glass and not plastic.
  • RG500 is a variation on the RG280 with a larger juice reservoir. Features a 510-connection instead.
  • K2 bottom-coil uses Evod heads. Features a 510 connection. Uses a 510-style drip tip.
  • Vivi Nova in pink and fuchsia. Uses Vivi Nova heads. Features a 510 connection. Uses a 510-style drip tip.
  • Evod. Uses Evod heads. Features an eGo connection.
  • Innokin iClear 16B is a variation on the now classic starter clearomizer which is available with a pink-and-white metal sleeve called Petals, and a solid pink sleeve. Features an eGo connection. Uses a CE4 drip tip. An adapter is available to allow the iClear 16 series use 510 drip tips.

Be certain to pick up a supply of heads or wicks for your new atomizer. Remember, you may need beauty rings to use these with your mundane eGo batteries. A conventionally chromed atomizer would work well in this application, but those are common.

You have the right battery. You have the right tank. You may even have a beauty ring connecting the two in just the right color. Now the drip tips. Because this is so subjective I shall merely link these by shade. A very few of these are for the Kanger T2 and are not the 510 type.

The bent aluminum, two-inch high models would stand out especially.

If I were shopping for you, you would get The Bolt, because you don’t have to mess with it, and an RG500 simply for the size. This configuration would be topped with a 70 mm or 2 and 3/4 inch long drip tip. That’s $25 for the e-cig and budget another $25 for batteries and charger. Step up to the Vamo V2 for a total of $62.

How I do the vape, an advisory guide

Friday, 28 February, 2014

I have been called upon to describe my method for acquiring vapor supplies. In person this has not proved successful. Cartridge-based systems will not be discussed. The starter kits available at the big-box stores are cartridge-based systems and are, largely a mere gateway to “hobbyist” vaping, the subject of the guide. If you are starting out, skip the purchase of a big-box store vaping kit and go directly to the hobbyist-level gear.

The essential bits of an electronic cigarette are

A battery:

  • Sometimes a “mod” which is a flashlight battery or two within a case. Many batteries are available which allow the user to adjust voltage or wattage with the objective of effecting the flavor and vapor temperature.
  •  The most common batteries are stand-alone eGo batteries; eGo being a trade name for a specific battery connection. After the eGo, a 510 is quite popular and is the default connection on a “mod”, although eGo-compliant mods are common. The eGo is an evolution of the 510 connection, and 510 devices connect readily to eGo batteries and mods.
  • You may use a “passthrough” in place of a stand-alone battery which allows you to plug into the wall or a USB outlet. A few batteries are available which allow you to use them, while plugged in, as a passthrough.

An atomizer to utilize the battery’s electricity to make the juice into vapor. Among these you find:

  • Simple atomizers whose use is sufficiently advanced it reaches beyond the scope of this guide. Different types of atomizers are available which function with electronic-cigarette components for the use of dry material, especially botanical matter, which is also beyond the scope of this guide.
  • Cartomizers which have a modest reservoir of juice ( .25 ml to 1 ml) stored within wicking material, and are often used with “tanks” which wrap the cartomizer to extend usage. This style of juice vaporization is popular and common.
  • Clearomizers which are the atomizer and a reservoir in a solitary, readily removable unit. This unit includes a wick, sometimes “coil head” which is immersed in juice and eventually wears out. The word tank is occasionally used to refer to large (<2.0 ml) clearomizers. In smaller less expert-driven brick-and-mortar shops any device which sits on a battery and makes vapor is a tank. Glassomisers are clearomisers, typically larger capacity ones, with reservoirs made of Pyrex glass and are substantially more expensive but resistant to higher acidity juices.

Starting out you will almost certainly be handed an eGo-style battery and a clearomizer. Rebuildable atomizers, conventional cartomizers, and cartomizer tanks are beyond the scope of this guide.

As the Kanger T2 and its clones appear to be phasing out, your options for starting out are Vivi Nova, CE4 which includes the Innokin iClear 16 and iClear 30 although the wicks are different among these, and Evod among “clearos”. If you are purchasing a starter kit, take what they give you. These three are so functionally similar one need not worry too much about it. The Vivi Nova is a 510 connection and typically your setup will be supplied with a “beauty ring” or collar to complete the eGo connection. Each of these is distinct and uses distinct service parts. If you are starting from scratch, be sure to buy a packet of replacement wicks and know which wicks your device uses.

Invariably you will start with a humble eGo battery, ideally two. These may be charged ca. 400 times and need not be empty before charging. They use a similar, although less dense, kind of battery system as found in mobile phones. eGo batteries are available as variable voltage models and, although more expensive, these should not be explicitly avoided.

An electronic cigarette requires servicing. Batteries must be charged through a wall wart or USB connection. Wicks or coil heads, the terms are interchangeable, must be occasionally replaced. You will find dozens of videos on Youtube with explicit instructions on maintaining your electronic cigarette. Some folks occasionally rinse their clearos and such in vodka or similar alcohol solution. This is optional.

When driving an extended distance, the preferred method is to insert a USB converter into the outlet on your vehicle we once called a cigarette lighter. Connect this, through the USB cable, to a fully-charged battery designed to be used as a passthrough. Atop your battery mount a particularly large clearomizer which is full. Do not even think of attempting to fill a clearomizer or similar device while the vehicle is in motion. The USB connection and disconnection should be made while the vehicle is parked and switched off. Between major metropolitan areas vape juice may not be available. You should carry your own supply. Never, ever, not ever so much as consider charging an unprotected battery, such as an eGo with an automobile electrical connection. The unstable electrical supply can and has caused explosions within operating cars.

I acquire my service parts, accessories and batteries from the internet. Largely from They have far and away the best prices on this kind of thing. All of my four surviving clearos, and my two surviving batteries come from Fasttech. As I type more are on the way. The local brick-and-mortar store is very convenient. An iClear 16 at that shop is nine dollars, but three dollars on Fasttech. Wicks and such are similar. When buying higher-end items, such as mods, variable devices and so forth it is worth the trouble to look elsewhere. Although Fasttech may have the best price this should not be assumed. Fasttech takes between three and six weeks to deliver items to North American addresses from their warehouses in China.

I spend roughly $38 per month and am a very heavy user, although nothing compared to how much nicotine I consumed while smoking.

All of my juice comes from two vendors. I do not bother with exotic, high-end vape juice. The two vendors I adore are Minnesota’s Vista Vapors and Washington state’s Mt. Baker Vapor. I have placed a few orders with both and they are never more than five days away. Their prices on juice are the best around, as this is their specialty which they do in very high volumes. The selection of flavors is nothing less than intimidating. However, for the most part these juices need to steep, or just sit around with the cap off ideally in a darkened place, for about a month. This is also true of some of the allegedly nicer vape juice I have conveniently purchased just up the street. Their juices are roughly one-third the price per ml than established brands like Johnson Creek, and a quarter of what you pay for custom mixing at the B&M. These shops have very consistent sales, and I tend to stock up at those times. Six 50 ml bottles can run $50-$60 even on sale, but this is roughly equivalent to 18 cartons of cigarettes.

My only nicer items are an Innokin iClear30S dual-coil, high-volume clearomizer and an Innokin iTazte VV 3.0 variable-wattage, passthrough battery. If I run out of anything, I can always run up the street but I tend to keep an eye on it. I remain a big fan of the Innokin iClear16. My present flavor inventory includes black currant, butterscotch, cinnamon roll, clove, coffee, cream tea, dk-tab a classic tobacco vape, dulce de leche, green tea, “professor pepper”, “red cream soda”, root beer, RY4 an evolution of the original e-cig flavor essentially caramel and vanilla with a hint of capsicum, my favorite teaberry, vanilla and 555 an old, dark British tobacco. I am considering my first proper “mod” but am intimidated by choice.

In-N-Out Austin

Monday, 2 December, 2013

Just a quickie made while walking down the street.

Holiday shopping list for those buying for an aspiring ex-smoker

Saturday, 16 November, 2013

These are recommendations based on two months of fooling around with this stuff and discovering how well it works to get folks away from cigarettes. I have explored the scene, watched many videos, visited forums by the score. All of the following recommendations are safe bets as investments in getting someone in your life to finally give it up. We are approaching that critical period when orders for gift giving must be placed, especially those intended for overseas shipment.

Do not bother with the well advertised kits. These are specifically designed to provide an inferior experience and prolong addiction. The “refills” are extremely expensive. This really is a case of: If your product is so great, why do you need to advertise?

If you don’t know anything, and you don’t want to bother to know anything about vaping and so forth, just get this kit and you’re done. The listed price includes shipping anywhere in the world, including places you cannot ship from the US.

CE4+ Atomizer with USB Rechargeable 1100mAh  Battery Electronic Cigarette Set

This includes a long-lasting battery, a wall-wart charger for that battery and similar standard or ego-connection batteries, a clearomizer-type atomizer, which turns the “juice” into vapor, and a case to carry it all around in. This is everything you need to try the process of vaping, except the juice, for about $12. If you want to be nice, throw some replacement wicks and juice in the box. A wick will last around one week of heavy use.

On buying juice:

Your new vaper will want their juice to taste like tobacco. That sensation will help habituate them to the new reality. If buying locally from a shop or online you will want

  • 555 for a heavy tobacco flavor like an old-man cigarette
  • RY3 or RY4, sometimes Ruyan instead of RY, for a mainstream Marlboro, Camel and similar flavor
  • TAB or Turkish Blend for a dark, yet somehow classy blend.

Buy additional juice in a non-tobacco flavor you know they like. The variety of flavors available can be overwhelming. Something your recipient likes is out there. For additional options for juice at reasonable prices, please explore Vista Vapors and Mount Baker Vapor.

Vaping fluid, juice or elixir (all terms for the same product) is available in various strengths. The appellations “low” “high” and so forth are not applied consistently. You want a number. The common strengths are

  • 0 mg/ml or 0% Which contains no nicotine.
  • 6 mg/ml or 0.6% This is very, very light. For a habituated or addicted smoker, this won’t even register.
  • 12 mg/ml or 1.2% Appropriate for a person consuming a less than a pack of blue or formerly “light” cigarettes daily.
  • 18 mg/ml or 1.8% Appropriate for a person consuming about a pack of light cigarettes or less than a pack of red of formerly “full flavor” cigarettes daily. This is the most common strength available in mass-produced juice, and the “cig-alike” vaporizers available in larger retail chains.
  • 24 mg/ml or 2.4% Appropriate for a person consuming a pack or just more of regular red or formerly “full flavor” cigarettes daily. This is the most common starting point for pack-a-day smokers.
  • 36 mg/ml or 3.6% Appropriate for a person consuming considerably more than a pack of cigarettes or even filterless or old-man cigarettes daily.
  • 36 mg/ml will cause a light-cigarette smoker to become ill.

If you really want to do this right, your aspiring non-smoker will need more stuff. Pretty much the same stuff that’s in the kit above, but more of it.

Atomizers where the action happens:

  • A vaper usually runs two or three “clearos” each with a different flavor of juice.
  • For just over $2 ea. CE4S Clearomizer, which uses “vivi nova” style wicks. Your vaper should be able to buy replacements locally.
  • For $3 ea. the name-brand iClear 16, which uses iClear16 wicks. These are also very common and replacement wicks are available at a shop nearby.
  • Performance of the two items above are very similar.
  • For just under $10 ea. the larger, more rugged and higher performing iClear 30s. Always include an order of wicks with your gift. This would make a nice gift for the experienced vaper in your life. Even if he already has one, he would like another. The iClear30s is made for a slightly different kind of battery and requires a beauty ring to mount properly.

Batteries, the atomizer is powered by electricity:

  • What you think of as the amount of electricity batteries contain is measured in Amp-hours. These batteries are small enough, they measure in milliAmp-hours or mAh. 650 mAh is the smallest battery you should entertain. It will last a light vaper through a work day. A pack-a-day smoker will require at least 900 mAh to get through a work day. More is always better.
  • Batteries are available in extraordinary variety. Various mAh size, “variable voltage” which effects the temperature and volume of the vapor, and manual or push-button operation, or automatic or breath operation. What you are shopping for is a battery with an “ego” connection. The iClear30s has a “510” connection of which the ego connection is a compatible variant, hence the requirement for a beauty ring.
  • The world is moving toward automatic batteries. Inhale and vape. This is a big auto battery with a cool light on the end.
  • This is a similar, silver battery.
  • If you want to push the button or have more control, this is a big battery which will last a heavy vaper 24 hours.
  • This is a variable voltage version of this battery.
  • This is a physically larger, more durable variable-voltage battery. If presentation is important, you may want to consider this one. Technically, this is a “mod”. You don’t really have to worry about that.
  • All of these pages have a list to the right which you may use to peruse your options.

Accessories, although an atomizer and a battery will allow you to use juice, you need more to make the action happen.

  • A device to charge batteries. Due to the chemistry of these batteries, which is not unlike those of a mobile phone or laptop, they do not tolerate fluctuations in electrical flow very well. These batteries should never, not ever, be charged through a computer or automobile. Use the wall wart.
  • When you want to vape and don’t want to use a battery, whenever you are close to a USB outlet, you may use a passthrough instead of a battery. This is essential for a vaper with two or fewer batteries. Instead of charging off a computer or automobile, use the passthrough.
  • For any aspiring non-smoker who may tend to keep their vaping kit in a sachel, pack, bindle, purse or the like, a case is a must. Select from these. The case should be just larger than the gear you have supplied.

Well meaning person, remember the object is to ween them off cigarettes. For some people this happens immediately. For others it takes weeks. For yet others, it never happens. Once cigarettes have been forsaken, the nicotine habit can be more easily broken. Tapered really. Some folks will need a push to make the move away from tobacco and the holiday season is a great time to encourage them and prove that you care.


Personal progress in nicotine addiction

Friday, 15 November, 2013

Doing the math. I have spent exorbitantly, by my standards, on vaping. Some time over the past few days I became cash positive with the endeavor. At present consumption rates, I have about another month of juice and other goods on hand. I am down to the equivalent of 8 full-flavor cigarettes a day despite not actually trying.

Part of the progress stems from my obstinacy about changing the wicks. When a wick starts to wear, you get less vapor, less flavor, less nicotine. For a limited time, that is hours or days, I can handle the stress.

The transition from cigarettes to just nicotine was easy. Occasionally I just forget to use. I experience the kinds of symptoms medicine claims I should when quitting cigarettes, and not the fifty-to-one-hundred times more severe symptoms which are common in objective reality. I’m not pushing it, but may actually be able to kick. I am so habituated to the process, I may actually continue using for a while when I’m down to zero-nicotine juice.

“Nicotine replacement therapy” is an especially cruel hoax. These products should be categorically banned, perhaps on an international level, and persons promoting gum, lozenges, patches and the like jailed and their degrees and licensees removed. NRT may be an expression of the continuing failure of our society and the system euphemised as “education” and what little good is actually accomplished with this particularly perverse jobs program.

NRT does not work. Those who purchase NRTs are simply experiencing decriminalized theft. “Logic” says it works. Peer-reviewed studies say they should function, but they do not in anyway address the practical issue. Nicotine addiction is not the reason people keep smoking. I can find no information, not even a thesis, on what additional mechanisms are in place compelling the jitters, the sickness, the jones which is all but fully absent from actual nicotine withdrawal.

If you have a smoker in your life, who you love or is someone you depend upon, get them a “starter kit”. Send them to the cheap-juice vendors online. Send them to Fasttech. Let them vape in the car or wherever.

Set them free.

Hamburger Diaries: Jack’s Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger Munchie Meal

Friday, 18 October, 2013

Once I had a stomach of cast iron. I am now 45 years old. I know better than this, or so one might think. As I type I am 30 hours out from the experience and I still feel a little bit strange.

You may have been paying attention when I said the Hamburger Diaries were on hiatus because eating this stuff makes me a little sick. Where were you last night when I elected not to go to 7-eleven for one of those salads? Look, it’s been a rough week. I’m not going into it. I elected to reach for the original gateway drug. It was more of a compulsion, really.

I was raised, as a correspondent reminds me, where only the food is good. I will say this much, I was well prepared for a life as the accidental gourmand by both rejecting and embracing the various foodstuffs of my raising.

Nearly one thousand, seven hundred calories. More salt than the Dead Sea. Marketing specifically intended to deter people like me. Yet I persist. With tax, the meal comes to exactly seven dollars. Everything about this deal is intended to give the intoxicated a positive experience. If only they could remember.

Jack’s Munchie Meal includes two tacos, just about a large-fries worth of fries and curly fries, a 20 oz drink, and a premium sandwich only available with this offer or dressed “chicken” nuggets. It is, in essence, the classic JBX order in a fancy box. The sandwich I selected, the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger, is a Jumbo Jack on a sourdough bun with a liquid, Velveeta-esque  cheese sandwich on top. Three bread, one burger.

It’s so so wrong.

The sandwich is crunchy, gooey and the briskness of the veggies is completely missing. So much is going on, the net effect is the taste of beige. As a texture experience, however, this is the most interesting burger I’ve ever had. I hope the woman behind Fat Ho Burger is getting royalties. This is the commodification of her ideal burger.

I suppose you know by now I have an inappropriately high opinion of Jack’s sides. We’ll skip that.

If you are interested in a compulsive eating experience, or are particularly drunk or high, the Munchie Meal is certainly worth at least a one-time adventure. I still feel weird.

I may not eat again.



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