A trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie has landed and it’s way different from what I was expecting. The tone is somber and serious, giving the movie a more dramatic feel than your typical summer-superhero fare. That’s not a bad thing at all and, of course, the trailer only shows one aspect of the movie. Having said that, as a longtime FF reader and someone that enjoyed moments of the previous Fantastic Four movies, the trailer didn’t have the tone that I wanted. When I think about the Fantastic Four, I think of Marvel’s foremost superhero family. Yeah, they have cool powers due to an irresponsible experiment with cosmic rays and they go on amazing adventures, but the dynamic between Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny is what “makes” the book for me.
Also, the trailer needed about 900 percent more Kate-Mara-in-skimpy-clothing clips.
Seriously though, Marvel superhero movies have generally been more “fun” than DC’s more serious films. While I’m sure that the Fantastic Four movie will have comedic moments and sweet CG-powered fight scenes, the trailer is making me prepare for a more serious side of Marvel’s filmic efforts.
What do you guys and dolls think of the trailer and its feel? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section.
Welcome to the first episode of The Vape 48 on RPadTV! My goal is to film 48 episodes of the show in 2015. Each one will feature a guest from the vaping business. In addition to getting an update on the guest’s company, we’ll talk about the vaping hardware and e-liquids we’ve been enjoying lately. And yes, I totally lifted the name from DC Comics’ “The New 52.”
Week one of The Vape 48 stars Vaping Utopia owner Kavish Mehta. He talks the three new e-liquids he recently launched: Beez Cream, Eden, and Zion. His hardware choices include Mad Industries’ Penny Mod and Hobo Customs’ Hobo Atomizer. Kavish’s juice picks include e-liquids from Sol Sauce and Ripe Vapes.
I’m a big fan of Diamond Liquids on several levels. First and foremost, the company makes a number of delicious e-liquids that I enjoy. I appreciate that Diamond Liquids is very particular about the sweeteners it uses and which ones it doesn’t. Lastly, it’s fantastic how supportive the company is with the local vape community. There are usually multiple vape events every weekend in Southern California and you’ll almost always see someone from Diamond Liquids in attendance, supporting local vape shops and vape companies.
In the interview above, Diamond Liquids owner and mixologist Britten Allen talks about how the company got started, his approach to making e-liquids, some of the flavors currently available, future flavors, and his upcoming mechanical mod. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the company’s Eruption, Lucky Mother Custard, and Razzi flavors. Eruption has a delicious mango flavor that I really enjoy (despite being bored with most fruit e-liquids). As a fan of Bailey’s Irish Cream, Lucky Mother Custard is right up my alley. Lastly, Razzi is a wonderful raspberry cheesecake juice that’s probably my favorite in the Diamond Liquids lineup. All of the juices are high-VG for optimal vapor production, but they also vape quite well in rebuildable tanks like my trusty Russian.
Check out my chat with Britten above to learn more about Diamond Liquids and to hear how Lucky Mother Custard got its name.
One of the newest companies in the ultra-competitive world of vaping e-liquids is Jiu Jit Juice. Inspired by mixed martial arts and crafted by a jiu jitsu practitioner, this line of juices has launched with a trio of dessert e-liquids.
The “white belt” line of Jit Jit Juice flavors features a high-VG base and a unique combination of flavors. Armbar is a layered combination of coconut and custard. Triangle is a strawberry, waffle, and cream combination that has one of the best and most distinct strawberry flavors I’ve tried. My personal favorite of Jiu Jit Juice’s launch flavors is Mata Leao, a salted caramel pudding that’s simply delightful. What I enjoy about all of these e-liquids is that they’re flavorful and layered, without being in your face. While these juices aren’t for everyone, they fit nicely into my vaping wheelhouse.
In the interview above, Jiu Jit Juice CEO Phillip Chu talks about his company and launch flavors, as well as upcoming Jiu Jit Juice lines. Future e-liquids will feature different PG/VG ratios and various themes. I’m particularly excited for the “brown belt” series, which will focus on tobacco-based flavors. Be sure to check out the clip above to learn about this exciting, up-and-coming juice company…as well as to hear an open challenge to another jiu jitsu practitioner in the vaping business.
RPadTV’s “Best of 2014” vaping coverage continues with a list of excellent atomizers and accessories. Similar to my list of favorite 2014 mods, there’s no such thing as a “best atomizer,” but for SEO purposes this article is titled that way (blame Google). Unlike most of the Southern California vapers I see regularly, I’m more of a flavor guy and not much of a cloud chaser. My top atomizer pick reflects that. Also keep in mind that I only included atomizers that I’ve used extensively. There are a number of great 2014 atties that I tried briefly, but since I didn’t spend significant time with them, I wasn’t comfortable putting them on my list.
As for the accessories, they’re more universal — products that every vaper should consider. Now let’s to this!
Neovapetek Venturi — There were dozens of “cloud chaser” atomizers released in 2014, but not many “flavor fiend” atties. The Neovapetek Venturi was one of the few atomizers made expressly for vapers looking for rich flavor. Its unique design produces a warm, highly-concentrated vape. As an added bonus, the design also makes it highly leak resistant. The Venturi is expertly made from top-notch materials and backed by outstanding customer service. While my cloud chaser friends sometimes make fun of my love for this atomizer, I simply don’t care. For the kind of vape that I enjoy, the Venturi was easily my favorite atomizer of 2014.
Ivation Ultrasonic Cleaner — Every hardcore vaper should have an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s a tremendously useful tool that’s great for steeping e-liquids and cleaning vape gear. I find ultrasonic cleaners especially useful for washing atomizers and mods; they’re just brilliant at removing gunk from crevices and threads. While there are a number of inexpensive models on the market, I went with the Ivation IVU96S. I like that the unit’s tub is removable, making it easy to wash. Btw, if you’re a vaper that wears glasses then you really need an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s a fantastic way to gently and thoroughly clean your specs.
The Convict — Yeah, I know that The Convict by Convict Vapors is already on my “Best Mods of 2014” list, but one of the reasons I enjoy vaping on it is its atomizer. The genesis-style atty on The Convict features a large 5ml tank, a reduced chamber, and easy-to-work-with posts. For me, it produces a stellar combination of flavor and vapor. When I want a vaping setup with capacity, The Convict is usually my first choice. The excellent genny on this hybrid mod is a big reason why.
Xuron LX Micro — Vapers that build their own coils should invest in a good set of wire cutters. My cutter of choice is the Xuron LX Micro. It’s rated to cut wire as thick as 18-gauge, which is overkill for many vapers, but could come in handy. This is a sharp and sturdy tool that will last a long time.
Cotton LABO Organic Cotton — It pains me when vapers buy organic Japanese cotton at vape shops. They usually pick up five pads for $5, which is ridiculous. For $7, you can get 200 pads of Cotton LABO Organic Cotton. It’s a much, much better deal. While some vapers claim to be able to taste the difference between various brands of organic Japanese cotton, I am not one of them. Cotton LABO pads are as good or better than any of Japanese organic cotton I’ve tried at vape shops.
Aqua v2 by Footoon — Last year, the Aqua by Footoon was one of my favorite atomizers. However, they’re hard to get serviced if something goes wrong, so I swore off UVO Systems products in general. Then the Aqua v2 came along. It’s a great improvement over the original. I love that it’s 22mm, easier to build, and easier to refill. For me, it offers an optimal blend of flavor, vapor, and convenience. The Aqua v2 is easier to work with, holds more juice, and looks better than the original. Footoon knocked it out of the park with this atomizer.
The Vape Kit — If you’re just getting into rebuildable atomizers, The Vape Kit is a great starter toolset. It has everything a new builder needs to get going and comes in a convenient case. Many advanced builders I know have The Vape Kit toolset and swap out some of the tools for ones that they prefer. (Here’s a shot of my kit with some personal additions.) It’s just a smart product that works well for many vapers.
Tobh Atomizer — While it’s not quite as popular as it was during the first half of 2014, the Tobh Atomizer by Tobh Mods was the most influential atty of the year. So many companies mimicked its features (heat fins, negative posts and base cut from one piece of metal, slam caps, etc.). I wish more companies would use techniques like the press-fitted brass and copper caps that Tobh Mods offers; they’re brass or copper on the outside, with stainless steel on the inside for safer vaping. The Tobh Atomizer is a great American vaping product that truly changed the atomizer game in 2014.
Kuro Concepts Coil Winder — I’m convinced that this product is fueled by wizardry. As a merely average builder, I really appreciate how quickly and conveniently the Kuro Concepts Coil Winder works. You can make clean coils in seconds with this product. They’re has to be a small sorcerer inside each one, right?
VLS Vulcan — The Vulcan is an inexpensive atomizer with great features and strong build quality. While I try to stay away from clones, I totally understand that some vapers feel that original products are overpriced. Vapour Lifestyle’s mission is to offer original products that are well made and easily attainable. The company did just that with the Vulcan. It also listened to customers that wanted more airflow out of the original by releasing a sleeve made for cloud chasers. While I like the product itself, I love that VLS is serving up original quality vaping products with relatively low prices.
The surprise was on a couple of levels. While I’m a fan of the recent Guardians of the Galaxy comics (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Brian Michael Bendis), I didn’t think these characters were mainstream enough for a mass hit. Despite the monosyllabic talking tree and the haughty talking raccoon, that’s exactly what happened. Guardians slaughtered the box office and was generally well reviewed by mainstream media outlets.
The other surprise was Dave Bautista. As a longtime pro-wrestling fan that prefers skilled technicians over musclebound oafs, I’ve loathed Bautista for more than a decade. He sucked in the ring and on the mic for the WWE. I was certain that he’d suck in Guardians of the Galaxy. His performance was…shocking. Obviously Big Dave was made for action scenes, but I was astounded by his comedic timing. He delivered some great lines in the movie and I’m still astounded that his acting was entertaining.
As I’ve written a few times in the past, I believe that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior movie from technical and writing standpoints. That said, Guardians is way more fun and re-watchable. Since their digital releases, I’ve seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier twice and…you know, I’m not actually sure how many times I’ve watched Guardians, but it’s definitely more than 10.
With its fantastic special effects, outstanding use of music, and fun performances, Guardians of the Galaxy gets my pick as nerd movie of the year.
The LEGO Movie — This one was a surprise. I was expecting a saccharine movie for kids, but got a clever and heartfelt film. LEGO Batman ruled. “Everything is Awesome” ruled. The LEGO Movie was a smart and funny movie that’s great for children of all ages, and one of the most charming movies I’ve seen in years.
Birdman — I need to watch this movie again…several times. The writing and performances were great, but the camerawork was mesmerizing. The way the movie was filmed, it looks like a couple of really long tracking shots. Some have argued that it appears to be one tracking shot. Birdman is strange, powerful, and dazzling…but I’m still not sure what I saw. This movie definitely needs repeat viewings.
Your Turn — As always, I want to hear about your favorite movies of 2014. Fire away in the comments section (please!).
Now that 2014 is over, let’s take a look at my favorite vaping mods of the year. While the title of this article is “Best Vaping Mods of 2014,” that’s simply for SEO purposes. Mods are subjective devices, with different people looking for different levels of performance, certain aesthetics, various buttons feels, and more. As for me, I like strong performance, but don’t really need top-of-the-line voltage drop. I prefer aesthetics that are simple and understated. The vast majority of my batteries are 18650, so I gravitate towards mods made for that particular size. I also put a premium on support and service, which is something most vapers I hang out with don’t seem to care about. Lastly, I generally prefer made-in-the-USA products.
Out of all the mods I used extensively in 2014 (there were lots of nice ones I didn’t get to spend much time with), these five were my favorite.
Vapour Art GP Paps X Lux — In 2013, Vapour Art’s GP Paps X was my favorite mod, so it wasn’t a surprise that the GP Paps X Lux ended up as my favorite mod of 2014. It has everything I love about the original — fantastic build quality, elegant looks, and a great button with a light touch. The GP Paps X Lux adds aluminum bronze to the mix, which is more conductive and more luxurious than the 316 stainless steel used in the original model. While there are hundreds of brass mods and several naval brass mods on the market, there aren’t many that use aluminum bronze. The metal helps the GP Paps X Lux stand out with its rarity and superior performance. While its performance isn’t quite as good as the other mechs on my list, this is one of the most beautiful and expertly crafted mods I’ve used. To top it all off, Vapour Art products are backed by outstanding customer service.
The Convict — For the last half of 2014, The Convict by Convict Vapors has been my workhorse mod. This genesis-style hybrid offers high performance and a huge 5ml tank. I love that it’s made in the USA and backed by an extremely generous warranty. The Convict that I’ve been using is made out of aluminum, which is highly conductive. Brass, copper, and stainless steel models are also available. When I need a vaping setup with capacity, I almost always reach for The Convict. It’s well made, it hits hard, and holds a ton of juice. Pardon the pun, but I think Convict Vapors is one of the most criminally underrated companies in the vaping business. The company makes fantastic vaping devices that are backed by extraordinary warranties.
Brass Knurled King Mod — My other workhorse mod of 2014 was the Brass Knurled King Mod from Surefire Vapor. I used the dusted brass model for most of the year and the nickel-plated brass model in December. Both American mods are well made and backed by strong customer service. The combination of brass, tight construction, and silver-plated copper contacts helps the King Mod deliver strong performance. Aesthetically, I love the way the mod looks — elegant and simple, yet distinct. I wasn’t a fan of the huge “lug nut” caps on the original King Mod, but I really dig the way the Brass Knurled King Mod’s knurled circular caps look. The nickel-plated brass model is probably my favorite mod of the year in terms of looks. While the $230 price tag made sense in early 2014, I do think Surefire Vapor’s prices were slightly high by the end of the year, with a number of great mods available in the $180-$230 price range.
Tantra Mod — A newcomer to the mechanical mod scene, Chillum Vapor kicked things off with a great product in the Tantra Mod. It features a naval brass body, tight engineering, and a unique disc spring. All of those aforementioned features add up for excellent performance. The construction of this mod is excellent and I love that Chillum Vapor uses naval brass instead of a cheaper alloy. I’m also a fan of the Tantra Mod’s 20 x 1 threading, which allows me to use it in hybrid mode with some of my favorite atomizers for direct-to-battery performance. In terms of looks, the Tantra Mod has about as much flash as I enjoy. It’s certainly the flashiest mod on this list, but relatively understated compared to many mods on the market. While the mod and company name conjure up images of South Asia, the Tantra Mod is an excellent made-in-the-USA mech.
Manhattan Mod — Forget all the controversy surrounding AmeraVape. The Manhattan is an excellent mod that offers stellar performance. For many competitors in cloud contests, it’s the mod of choice, which should tell you all you need to know about its performance. It’s made in the USA and backed by great customer service. Originally launched in aluminum, The Manhattan is also available in brass, copper, and a number of limited editions. While the strong magnet took some getting used to (especially as a fan of light springs), after a few weeks I came to enjoy the feel of The Manhattan. (And lets face it, it’s just fun sticking the mod on various metal objects.) I absolutely love its understated looks, with a simple AmeraVape logo engraved on the tube. While AmeraVape’s newer products have slightly better performance, I’m not a fan of the busy design language used on the Apollo and Skyline series of mods. I’ll happily stick with the simple beauty and strong performance of The Manhattan.
Another person on my list of “people I really want to interview, but haven’t been able to schedule” was Craft Vapes co-owner David Alston. Luckily, we were able to connect at Vape Nights 2014. I first met David at a vape meet in December 2013. I was immediately taken with his flavors, which are very different than what most e-liquid companies in Southern California make. As 2014 rolled on, Craft Vapes gained a reputation as being one of the most unique and inventive juice companies in the region.
In the interview above, David talks about how Craft Vapes got started and his approach to making e-liquids. With an independent spirit and an appreciate for craft beers, the company owners use a simple approach of trying to make juice that they think is good. David discussed three of his recent releases. Creme Anglaise was initially released in Europe and made as a request to a local distributor; the juice made its American debut at Vape Nights 2014. Leprechaun (not made with actual leprechauns — I checked) is a mint-cookie dessert vape. Last is Black Forest, which is a shockingly good e-liquid approximation of black forest cake.
While David couldn’t share specifics on what Craft Vapes is working on in 2015, he did say that there are several juices in the works and that the company will turn its attention back to the American market. Check out my chat with David to learn more about this excellent e-liquid company.
My favorite part of Vape Nights 2014 was that it afforded me the opportunity to catch up with people that I’ve been wanting to get on camera for a long time, but for various reasons wasn’t able to. At the top of my list was Joshua Tongco, owner of The Great J’s and Bootlegger’s Brew. Launched in October 2013, The Great J’s has quickly become a very popular e-liquid company in the Southern California region. Many vapers I know rave about the Atta Boy and Bees Knees flavors. Joshua’s newest line is Bootlegger’s Brew, which focuses on creamy dessert blends.
Although The Great J’s is fairly well known in SoCal, its national exposure is still growing. Joshua leans on Instagram and word of mouth for marketing. While his juice might not have the reach that several SoCal e-liquid companies enjoy, vapers that I’ve met that have tried The Great J’s love it. Hopefully this interview helps connect The Great J’s with vapers around the country that enjoy the flavor profiles the line offers.
In the interview above, Joshua talks about starting The Great J’s and launching at Vapetoberfest 2013. He also talks about a few flavors in The Great J’s and Bootlegger’s Brew lines. Check out my chat with Joshua to learn about his juices and to watch me bust out a Chris Kattan joke.
I randomly met Chillum Vapor co-founder Abhi Chatterjee when I was hanging out at The Vape Source in Koreatown. He mentioned that he was working on a mechanical mod and a few months later the Tantra Mod has arrived. At Vape Nights 2014, I caught up with Abhi to learn more about his high-performance made-in-the-USA mech. Objectively, the Tantra Mod is impressive with its unique features and fantastic performance (Abhi claims a 0.19 voltage drop on a 0.2-ohm coil). Subjectively, it hits nearly everything I look for in a mechanical mod; I’m partial to vaping products that are made in America, I’m a big fan of naval brass as a mod material, and I like designs that manage to be elegant yet distinct.
In the Vape Nights 2014 interview above, Abhi talks about Chillum Vapor’s background, designing the Tantra Mod, the unique wafer spring that helps give it great performance, and the new stainless steel model. It was neat to learn the meanings behind the words chillum and tantra in relation to the company. While many people think of tantra in sexual terms, the word has a definition that absolutely fits a vaping company. Abhi also talks about the Volcanic Tip, a novel drip tip that borrows from ridged swords for better vaping.
On a note that has nothing to do with anything, I was particularly proud to have slipped a Taylor Swift joke into the interview. That’s one less thing on my 2014 checklist.
Anyway, check out the clip above to learn more about this excellent and distinct American mod from Chillum Vapor.