Dean Takahashi is the best videogame journalist ever. In terms of quality, quantity, and reach, nobody can touch him. He has been covering the games beat for decades, writing for prestigious outlets like The Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury News, Red Herring, and VentureBeat.
Within the business, he’s considered the gold standard. At this point in his career, other journalists should serenade him with “Simply the Best” or “Nobody Does It Better” whenever he walks into a room.
Dean Takahashi is someone that I’ve admired since the day I met him. I half-jokingly call him “my childhood hero,” but I truly hold him in the highest esteem. Like I said in the intro, he’s the best.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and ReedPop announced that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has been cancelled for 2023. Carefully worded quotes from both parties have some people asking, “Is E3 dead?” With that in mind, The BeeRPad hosts Marcus Beer and Raymond Padilla discuss the show in this very special E3-centric episode.
Surprised by the cancellation of E3 2023, the boys discuss:
My interview with Blow E-Juice co-owner Farid Zahreddine comes with an added bonus. As expected, he told me about Blow E-Juice and its three launch flavors. In addition to learning about the company and its tasty dessert e-liquids, Farid went on an inspired rant of how it’s wrong for politicians to equate vaping with tobacco cigarettes. His passionate diatribe was a pleasant and welcome surprise.
As for the company itself, Blow E-Juice started in mid-2015. The owners are people that are passionate about vaping and got into the scene. In addition to appreciating the fact that vaping got them off of tobacco cigarettes, the owners were fascinated by the vaping community. As with many new and rapidly growing industries, the vaping business is relatively small and has a sense of family. The owners of Blow E-Juice seem to genuinely enjoy that aspect of vaping.
Moving onto the three Blow E-Juice vaping e-liquids, the company’s most popular flavor is Om Nom Nuke. It’s a savory dessert blend that combines toffee custard, vanilla ice cream, and caramel. It’s a very rich flavor that’s bursting with complexity. Vapers that enjoy simple, straightforward flavors will likely be overwhelmed by Om Nom Nuke. The bit of it I vaped was quite delicious.
Dolce Fuel is the company’s strawberry cheesecake e-liquid. While not as rich as Om Nom Nuke, it’s still quite flavorful. The company did a good job of mixing the cheesecake creaminess and the bright fruit notes. While there are a lot of strawberry cheesecake flavors on the market, I believe that Dolce Fuel is certainly worth a try.
To my surprise, my favorite Blow E-Juice flavor was the company’s simplest blend. Orgasmic Aftermath is a straight-up cheesecake. Perhaps I was influenced by its fantastic name, but I really enjoyed this straightforward cheesecake vape.
For more information on Blow E-Juice and to hear Farid’s fantastic rant, please check out the interview below.
When I first met the Hold Fast Vapors crew, I was excited by the prospect of meeting a group of pirates that made vaping e-liquid. Sadly, Hold Fast Vapors doesn’t have any actual pirates on staff (or so the company claims), but what it does have is a bunch of delicious flavors. Senior account executive Connor O’Brien spent some time with me to talk about the company and three of its flavors.
The newest addition to Hold Fast Vapors is the Ironclad line. The Ironclad e-liquids use a higher percentage of vegetable glycerin (VG) for more vapor production. The first Irconclad flavor is Key Largo, a yummy Key lime sherbet. I very much enjoyed this e-liquid’s blend of light sweetness and tanginess. It was my favorite of the three flavors covered in this interview.
One of the earlier flavors in the Hold Fast Vapors line, Mutiny is a blend of pear, berries, and cream. It’s an interesting mix that stands out from the numerous berries-and-cream concoctions on the market. Mutiny’s use of pear gives it a tasty edge. While I’m generally not big on fruit vapes, I do enjoy fruit-and-cream blends. With its pear kick, Mutiny was a pleasant surprise.
The last flavor in the Hold Fast Vapors lineup is a dessert mix called Port Royal. Vapers with a sweet tooth will enjoy this medley of cake, maple sugar, and nuts. I love me some dessert vapes, so I was instantly drawn to this flavor and enjoyed the bit I had during my meeting with Hold Fast Vapors.
Connor told me to expect two more flavors in the Ironclad lineup, which makes sense considering that many vapers have moved to sub-ohm tanks. The extra VG will help them fog up some rooms with delicious vapor. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t reveal much about the flavors. Off camera, he said I’d have to walk the plank if he told me what the new flavors were. See, I knew they were pirates!
Foggy Gnome had a number of interesting products for vapers on display at Vape Nights. Mark Gutensohn, the company’s head of sales and marketing, walked me through them. First, let’s talk about the three types of Foggy Gnome cotton. The company doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach for cotton, so if offers three varieties of wicking material. Gutensohn doesn’t believe there’s a “best” one of the three, but rather different types of vapers will have different preferences. Beyond that, the same vaper might find a different type of cotton will match a certain juice.
As for the three specific types of Foggy Gnome cotton, first up is Southern Blend Organic Fogwick. This mix of short-fiber and long-fiber cotton retains the natural oils and waxes. For those looking for the purest flavor, Southern Blend Organic Bath is a good choice. It’s similar to the previous cotton, but undergoes an organic bath to remove the oils and waxes. Last, but certainly not least, is Sub-Ohm Gold Organic Fogwick. Aimed towards vapers that love low-resistance coils and high temperatures, this short-fiber cotton has the highest heat resistance of the three. Gutensohn was quick to point out that all Foggy Gnome cotton is American grown and mechanically processed in the United States.
On the box mod front, Foggy Gnome offers the Fogg Boxx. This parallel box mod is made from extremely sturdy 7075 aluminum. Gutensohn showed me a video of a Fogg Boxx being run over by a large truck. After driving over the Fogg Boxx, the driver got out of the truck and vaped on it. The box mod is available in seven different colors and comes with a certificate of authenticity. The Fogg Boxx is manufactured and assembled in the United States. In addition to its sturdy construction, I love that the Fogg Boxx looks different from all the Hammond-style box mods on the market.
To learn more about Foggy Gnome cotton and the Fogg Boxx, check out my chat with Mark Gutensohn below.
The Wismec Noisy Cricket — designed by the infamous Jay-Bo — is one of the most unique box mods of 2015. While many vaping companies are going with regulated box mods, the Noisy Cricket is a mechanical box that offers the unadulterated power of two 18650 batteries in series. For those of you unfamiliar with the difference between parallel and series configurations, the former gives you the combined battery life of both cells, while the latter gives you the combined power of both batteries. The Noisy Cricket is also a very small and pleasantly elegant device. So you’re getting immense power in a cute and tiny box mod, similar to the Men in Black weapon it was named after.
In the interview below, Jay-Bo talks about how he came up with the Noisy Cricket. For his first mechanical mod, he whipped up an elegant design that used a hybrid adapter. Before he could put the design into production, mods like the Bay City Vapor Surfrider and SMPL were released. Since he didn’t want to release anything too close to those mods, he tabled his mech mod efforts. Many months later, he came up with the idea for the Noisy Cricket while on an airplane and banged out the prototype in days.
While the series power is the most obvious feature of the Noisy Cricket, I’m a big fan of its aesthetics. It’s a clean and simple device, with no branding on the body. It uses a hybrid adapter for the atomizer and a SMPL-style firing button. The contacts are gold plated, to prevent corrosion. The battery slots are lined to help prevent accidents with batteries with torn wraps (which you should really be rewrapping, btw). Lastly, the button has a PEEK insulator for additional safety.
Vaping the Noisy Cricket is distinctly different from the majority of my vaping setups. Jay-Bo had me put my Indestructible Atomizer on it for testing. My atty had a 0.4-ohm dual-coil Clapton build on it. On the Noisy Cricket, there was no ramp-up time and I got huge hit of vapor straight away. In fact, it was more power than I’m accustomed to and I wasn’t able to take a drag for more than three seconds. In the video, Jay-Bo goes over his build recommendations for the Noisy Cricket. If you’re interested in the mod, plan on building much higher than you normally do.
To learn more about the Wismec Noisy Cricket, check out my chat with Jay-Bo below.
A few weeks ago, I caught up with Wismec senior designer Jay-Bo to talk about the Reuleaux DNA 200 mod. Quite simply, it’s the most unique DNA 200 mod that I’ve seen all year. While most DNA 200 box mods on the market use LiPo batteries, the Reuleaux DNA 200 uses three 18650 batteries. Most enthusiast vapers have an ample supply of 18650 batteries, making the Reuleaux’s use of “traditional” vaping batteries more convenient. The mod also has an unusual shape, which stands out next to a typical box mod and is surprisingly comfortable to hold. In the video interview below, Jay-Bo talks about the Reuleaux’s design and features.
In case you were wondering about the name, the mod is named after Franz Reuleaux, a German engineer best remembered for the Reuleaux triangle. In addition to the name reflecting the mod’s unique shape, it’s also an homage to the collaboration between Wismec, Jay-Bo, and Evolv (maker of the DNA 200 chip).
While the shape and battery usage are its most obviously unique features, the Reuleaux has some cool things happening under the hood as well. For reverse polarity protection (making sure vapers stay safe when inserting batteries incorrectly), the mod uses a mechanical solution rather than the more common electronic one. The Reuleaux’s battery slots feature circles on the positive side that hug the corresponding circle on an 18650 battery’s positive connection. If a user inserts a battery backwards, it will not make contact. Jay-Bo was particularly proud of the simple and elegant solution he came up with for reverse polarity protection.
When you add it all up, the Reuleaux DNA 200 offers the versatility and power of Evolv’s DNA 200 chip, a comfortable shape, and the long life of three 18650 batteries. Jay-Bo has made a lot of cool vaping products over the years and this mod could be his best yet. Check out my chat with Jay-Bo below to learn more about this wonderfully atypical DNA 200 mod.
My buddy Corey has been raving about Beard Vape Co ever since he discovered the company’s vaping e-liquids in 2014. At Vape Nights 2015, I finally got a chance to chat with the company. Beard Vape Co director of sales Lucas Kraft was kind enough to walk me through the company’s history, talk about three of its flavors, and tell me what’s coming next.
Beard Vape Co was started by a local Culver City vape shop. The company made more than 100 flavors to test out and kept a handful of its most popular ones to launch. Two of the brothers that started the company refer to their father as Beard. The company and its logo are an homage to pops, which is very cool.
The juice Corey is enamored with is No. 32, which tastes like a cinnamon funnel cake. The emphasis is on the baked goods side, with enough cinnamon so that you know that it’s there, but won’t overpower you. As a vaper that’s sensitive to cinnamon, the amount in No. 32 is just about perfect. While Corey found it first, No. 32 has become my favorite juice from Beard Vape Co.
Lucas also spoke about two of the company’s other flavors. No. 71 is the newest flavor from Beard Vape Co. It tastes similar to the peach o-ring candies you’ll find at a candy store. Lucas mentioned that this flavor wins over vapers that claim that they don’t like peach vapes or fruit vapes in general. No. 5 is Beard Vape Co’s take on the popular strawberry cheesecake e-liquid. Lucas mentioned that it’s one of the most popular flavors among the people that work in the company.
Currently available are Beard Vape Co’s limited edition holiday bottles. Lucas said that these bottles will appeal to the numerous collectors out there and give the company’s customers a new way to interact with them. Expect more limited edition bottles in the future.
To learn more about Beard Vape Co and its flavors, please check out my Vape Nights chat with Lucas below. You’ll also get to see a super-cool pumpkin carved with the Beard Vape Co logo!
One of the coolest atomizers I’ve seen all year, the Shado Vapor MGNT RDA has several unique features that make it stand out from the competition. At Vape Nights 2015, company cofounder Jeff Freeman walked me through the MGNT RDA. The atomizer’s magnetic top cap catches your eye immediately. It’s self-adjusting, which is convenient for two reasons. First, you don’t have to take the top cap completely off for dripping juice. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about losing airflow position. Since the MGNT RDA uses a top airflow design, it’s highly leak resistant. Under the hood, the MGNT RDA sports a three-post design, with a gold-plated brass center post that offers a combination of strong conductivity and corrosion resistance. The MGNT RDA has unique features, clean looks, and vapes great. Best of all, it’s relatively inexpensive at $60.
Jeff also told me about Shado Vapor’s e-liquids, made in conjunction with the excellent people at POET. Similar to POET’s excellent e-liquids, Shado Vapor has a pair of pleasantly atypical juices. First up is Rosy Lee, which is a sweet black tea latte. RPadholic N8R really enjoyed this juice at the show. While I also enjoyed Rosy Lee, I preferred Shado Vapor’s Liquid Courage. This flavor combines black sesame, vanilla, bourbon, and several other “secret” ingredients. As a huge fan of Asian desserts with black sesame, I’m loving Liquid Courage.
Closing things out, Jeff told me about some of the box mods he’s working on. He has single-battery and dual-battery boxes in the works. He plans on adding some security features to Shado Vapor’s box mods that have never been seen in vaping. While he wouldn’t give me exact details at this time, he said that he would be using Bluetooth connectivity and a companion app to enhance the functionality of his box mods. As a tech nerd, I can’t wait to see what he does with the Bluetooth features.
To learn more about the MGNT RDA, the Shado Vapor e-liquids by House of POET, and the upcoming Shado Vapor box mods, check out my Vape Nights chat with Jeff below.
At Vape Nights 2015, Apollo Ecigs lounge operations manager and co-founder of Unstoppable Cyrus Malekzadeh told me about the company’s Fa-Q Vapes line of e-liquids. Aimed at RDA users, Fa-Q Vapes uses max VG formulations for maximum vapor production. While there are a number of juices out there geared towards “cloud bros,” Fa-Q Vapes also features some unique flavors that help it stand out from the competition. Cyrus told me about three flavors in the line.
Based on the popular Girl Scout cookie, Miss Samoa is Fa-Q Vapes’ best-seller. As you’ve probably figured out, it’s a blend of caramel, chocolate, coconut, and cookie. If you’ve never had a Samoa cookie then run out and grab a box. They’re awesome. Miss Samoa does a very good job at replicating the flavor. This is excellent on several levels. First, you get the joy of Samoa cookies without the calories. Secondly, Miss Samoa is available year-round, as opposed to not being able to find a Girl Scout when you need a Samoa cookie fix.
While I was disappointed to learn that Fa-Q Vapes’ Imperial Milk is not a milk-based e-liquid for Storm Troopers in the Star Wars universe, I was happy to learn that it’s an inventive flavor. Not wanting to mimic the numerous strawberries-and-cream flavors already on the market, the company put a unique twist on fruits and cream by mixing dragon fruit and cream. This juice was a very pleasant surprise for me.
Another Fa-Q Vapes pastry treat, Fauxstess Cupcakes replicates the flavor of Hostess Cupcakes. It’s a lovely mix of chocolate cake, chocolate icing, and cream filling. Similar to Miss Samoa, you get the pleasure of the baked goods without the calories. Cyrus was particularly proud of this flavor, since chocolate vapes can be very difficult to pull off.
To learn more about Fa-Q Vapes and these three flavors, check out my chat with Cyrus below.