Screw You And Your Condescending Customer Service Reps VistaPrint!

Happy Shootin’ DudeAs you can probably tell from the title of this post, I am angry. Livid. With small twitches in my extremities that can only be stilled by breaking something. Unfortunately, I’m pretty happy with the things in my office, so the twitching will have to subside naturally.

[Warning: The following was written in anger. While Brian generally avoids excess profanity in his blog, he doesn't here. He revels in it. If strong language offends you, dear reader, consider checking back in later for the next installment, which will undoubtedly be cleaner.]

So I just got off the phone with a customer service representative for VistaPrint named Kevin. (Which kinda bothers me because I have a good friend named Kevin.) Thought I doubt that’s his real name, Kevin, I can tell you, is an asshole. And as you would expect from a grade A prick, he’s horrible when it comes to customer service. Here’s an example of the exchange that will cause VistaPrint to lose my business from this day forward.

Kevin the Prick: Hi, what can I help you with?
Angry Brian: Hi, I’m calling because the replacement order for my business cards never arrived. The one I ordered several months ago. And in fact, I’m looking at your website, and it says my order was canceled! I never got any notification of it being canceled, which is fucking ridiculous.
Kevin the Prick: [With attitude] Excuse me?
Angry Brian: [Ignoring attitude, more irritated] The replacement order I put in forever-ago was canceled. I didn’t cancel it. I wasn’t notified that it was canceled. I’ve been waiting forever.
Kevin the Prick: OK, if we can proceed without the swear words I can help you.

You know what Kevin? Fuck you and fuck your company. Customer service is of paramount importance, especially when things don’t go as planned. I think it goes without say you never, ever correct a customer. Especially an angry customer. And especially not when you’re all saddled-up on your high-horse. I don’t care if you wince. I don’t care if you shudder. I don’t care if you’re offended. And I don’t care if I was overly aggressive and a prick myself when spoke to you. You don’t correct a fucking customer. That’s right, “fucking”. Because you know what, when you do that, you lose a customer. You Kevin, you lost VistaPrint all my future business. Congratulations. I’m sure VistaPrint doesn’t mind the costs of my lost business to ensure your ears a G-rated work day.

What makes the whole thing even more asinine is I was using the word “fucking” in the exchange as an adjective; a description of how ridiculous the situation was, not as a verbal assault against Captain Pricktastic. (Who is probably illiterate and the progeny of a lonely goat herder and his smelly flock.) That sort of swearing is even allowed on the radio these days, thanks to Bono‘s televised slip at an award show a few years back.

So you as the reader, are probably thinking “Brian! Don’t say anything until you actually get your order! You won’t get it for sure now!” You know what, you’re probably right. But I don’t care. This is at least the third time I’ve had to contact them with regard to this order, and I have very, very low expectations of ever receiving it. Here’s the time line as it sits presently:

March ’07: Flawed business cards ordered (part my mistake, part theirs).
April ’07: Flawed cards arrive.
May ’07: Notice problems, which includes embarrassing spelling error, and re-order. (Have to pay a small additional fee for re-order, since it was partially my fault. Fine. Again stuck with 21 day shipping time frame. Fine.)
June ’07: Stumble on a confirmation email, and realize I never got these cards. Email customer service. Never get a reply. (I think I sent a second email, but no response to that either.)
July 13th ’07: Stumble on that forgotten confirmation email again. Check the website only to discover my order was canceled. Call Kevin the CSR clown and get pissed.

Some people reading this might also think I’m the one being a prick. Yep, that’s very likely. I was an angry customer. That was my role. They have my money, I didn’t receive the goods. I’d been screwed, and I wanted satisfaction. The CSR’s job was to talk me down with apologies (which are generally only a formality, but an appreciated one) and promises to rectify the situation followed with decisive action.

How do I know all this? I’m a I.T. consultant and I dabble with selling things on eBay. In both scenarios, you have to deal with people who are pissed from time to time. Just this week, an eBay customer failed to read my thorough auction write up (if you’ve read my cigar reviews, you know I’m thorough) and sent a livid email to me to tell me how unacceptable an item was. An item that he paid 50 cents for. The flaws were documented in both text and pictures, but instead of correcting him, I apologized.

Yep, that’s right. I was clearly right, he was clearly wrong. (And I think we both knew it.) But I asked him what I could do to make the situation right. You know what? It worked out beautifully. I got very positive feedback from him, and while I lost a little money on the item (I got to keep most of the shipping expenses), this customer would probably buy from me again! That’s customer-fucking-service, Kevin! Get your thumb out of your ass and grab a damn note pad!

WordPress needs a lion-roaring emoticon. Or maybe an exploding head. *Sigh* OK. I’m done. Happy again! :)

[UPDATE: I finally made it to the next level! My mother would be so proud...

Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
hell (8x), asshole (5x), pissed (4x), ass (3x), fuck (2x), gun (1x)]

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Mr. Brian’s Opus: How To Buy, Make And Season A Humidor

A number of months ago, right around the time I started this blog, I realized I really needed to buy a humidor. Through the wonder of duty-free international travel, I’d come into the possession of a unusually large number of cigars. (At least for me.) And as I was rustling around through my cabinets looking for a lighter and a cigar cutter, I kept finding old, desert-dry cigars. It started to bug me. A lot. And it made me realize that the cigars I had just acquired were going to suffer the same fate if I didn’t take decisive action against it. I needed to buy a humidor.

Judging by the volume of hits to my humidor-related posts, there are a lot of people out there in the same boat. If you are, and you’ve come here looking for humidor information, you’re in luck. I’ve grown from one very expensive humidor to around six humidors of varying sizes, quality and much lower price tags. And I’ve learned quite a bit since I authored those early humidor posts. And of course, I’m completely independent and unsponsored here, so you know I’m not going to tailor my recommendations to maximize kick-backs. (Though I kinda wish I could. Kick-backs are my favorite kinds of kicks. ;) ) This is how I do it.

Buying a Humidor
I think a lot of people are tempted to go all-out when they buy their first humidor. Because a humidor can be a status symbol or an elegant piece of furniture, most newbies expect to pay a lot of money for their first humidor. Accordingly, there are a lot of places you can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on swanky humidors.

But there are also places where informed buyers can spend very little for the same thing. So not only is high price tag expectation wrong, it’s probably the reason people like me avoided buying one for so long. If I had known it was possible to buy, say, a small 20-cigar humidor for as little as four bucks, I would have done so many, many years ago.

First Step: What kind of humidor do you need?
You know what? You probably already have a humidor and you don’t realize it. It isn’t pretty, and it won’t help get you considered for membership at the exclusive country club, but beverage coolers and and zip lock bags will absolutely work to keep your cigars properly humidified. (In fact, I use and recommend zip lock bags for flavored or “aromatic” cigars.) If you spend much time on cigar blogs and websites you’ll hear people referring to their “coolidor”. That invariably means that the person has dispensed with formality, and is using a converted beverage cooler for their cigar collection. (It also usually means they have a huge and fast-growing cigar collection, leaving little money for traditional humidors. More information on coolidors toward the end of this post.)

Of course, plastic baggies and giant plastic coolers aren’t the right choice for everyone. And in fact, I think everyone should have at least one, proper humidor. A humidor that you enjoy looking at. One that looks nice on your desk, your shelf, or heck, on your boat, if you happen have one! (Brian doesn’t yet, but rest assured, when he does, it will have a humidor.)

Second Step: How big a humidor do you need?
Going forward, I’ll assume you’ve decided to go with the idea of buying a proper humidor. But before you go out and buy one, you need to give some thought to the number or cigars you plan to keep. The rule of thumb (which I’ve found to be a good recommendation) is that you should double that figure to determine how large a humidor you need. For example, if you only buy a one box of cigars at a time (which is usually 20 or 25 cigars, depending on the brand), you should probably get a 50 cigar humidor.

Buying a humidor that’s larger than you think you need will accomplish two important things. First of all, it allows you some wiggle room. If you pick up a couple of singles, or your new box comes in before you have finished off the last box, you have a place to put them. Secondly, a humidor that’s too full or too empty will not do as good a job keeping your cigars properly preserved.

Third Step: Buying the humidor
You have a huge volume of options available to you when it comes to buying a humidor. But I’m not going to fill your head with a bunch of general guidelines for selecting a humidor. I’m going to make this easy. I’m going to tell you exactly what I would do, right now, if I were buying another humidor. Exact steps. If you follow my steps, I can assure you that you will: 1.) get a great humidor, 2.) save yourself a lot of hassle and 3.) save a ton of money.

If you only need a 20-cigar humidor, the best place to go is CigarBid.com. Go there, and search for “humidor”. As of the time of this writing, there were 78 humidors of that size, all selling for under ten dollars. These inexpensive humidors bear the logos of such cigar makers as Carlos Torano, Greycliff, Rocky Patel, CAO and Camacho, to name a few, so it’s likely you’ll find one that’s to your liking. I would advise finding one that’s recently been listed (they usually start for a dollar) and placing your bid, with an auto-bid (maximum bid) up to $7. If the current trend continues, you’ll probably snag it for $4.

If you’re looking for a larger or fancier humidor, CigarBid may also be a good way to go. However, the variety of humidors of larger sizes isn’t quite as great or as reliable as the 20-cigar humidors. I’ve also noticed the tendency for some humidors to be overbid and actually more expensive than they can be found through some internet retailers.

That’s why I recommend visiting CheapHumidors.com for larger humidors. Their humidors are top notch and consistently less expensive than I’ve seen elsewhere. They have such a large variety of humidors, that I’m certain you’ll find one that you like in the size you need.

But before you make your purchase there, I encourage you to check out their selection of “Imperfects“. As the name implies, these humidors have imperfections, but they are cosmetic in nature. Meaning that you’ll probably be getting a good looking, perfectly functional, humidor with a scratch at a very reduced price. (Around 15% by my math, as was the case with my recent purchase.) If you pair that up with a the coupon code from the Dog Watch Social Club for 10% off, you’ve got yourself one hell of a deal! (Sorry, I’m not giving the code out, I don’t want the DWSC or CheapHumidor guys getting mad at me! Listen to the show, they’ll tell you what it is!)

I have one last recommendation for your first humidor. Consider buying a humidor with a glass top. If you’re new to cigars, you will undoubtedly want to open your humidor and admire your beautiful puros so often that it will be tough to keep the climate stable. And you’ll probably be overly concerned with the humidity and temperature. With a glass top, you can ogle to your hearts desire, and check the humidity and temperature every 5 minutes without disturbing your cigars’ idyllic habitat.

Fourth Step: Essential humidor gear
Now that you have your humidor, there are a few things I recommend you pick up. Trust me, these are things that will make your life a whole lot easier.

A Digital Hygrometer/Thermometer

I believe you can upgrade to one at CheapHumidors for a fee, or you can probably score yourself a good deal on one at CigarBid. Either way, a digital combination hygrometer/thermometer is the only way to go. Analog ones look really nice, but they’re less accurate, and more of a hassle to get calibrated properly than a digital hygrometer. It’s hard to beat getting the exact temperature and the relative humidity all in a single glance.

Distilled Water

You will need to have a supply of distilled water on hand at all times now that you own a humidor. Fortunately, a gallon jug of it is very inexpensive (under a buck-fifty), and lasts a very, very long time. (To give you an idea, I’m still working on a gallon I bought in April.) Anyway, this is the only water that should ever be used in your humidor. Using filtered water or tap water is just begging for mold, mildew or an infusion of weird chlorine flavors in your cigars. (I know, I know, somebody is going to tell me that they use tap water all the time without any problems or weirdness. You can, but I don’t.)

The Puck

Most humidors come with some sort of inexpensive humidification unit that’s basically green florist foam housed in a vented plastic block. It’ll work in a pinch, but your humidor will take forever to stabilize if it’s your main humidifier. And by forever, I mean at least a couple of months. I know, I did my first that way. Lemme tell ya, you get really, really sick of the humidity roller coaster.

The good news is that you have a better option. Head over to Cigarmony.com and pick up “the puck” (small puck, large puck). For a mere $15 or $18 bucks (depending on the size you need), you can drop that in your humidor and forget about it. The puck is full of little beads that are designed to maintain 70% relative humidity. Which means that if there’s too much humidity in the air, they’ll suck it out. If there’s too little, they’ll let off the humidity they’re retaining. And they really do work! It literally transforms your humidor from a high maintenance headache to a no maintenance pleasure. OK, I better stop before I break into love sonnets for the Puck.

If you do head over there an pick one up, tell ‘em I sent you. They don’t know who I am (yet) and I probably won’t get anything for it, but maybe if enough people tell them, they’ll send me some extra pucks or swag out of gratitude. :)

Fifth Step: Seasoning your humidor
OK, now you’re ready to prepare your humidor for cigars. I’ve done this often enough now that I can boil the process down to quick and easy steps.

  1. Wipe down the interior of your humidor with distilled water and a paper towel. Don’t soak the wood, overdoing it might cause some warping.
  2. Close the humidor and wait for the water to soak in. Give it an hour or so. Less if you live in a really dry climate.
  3. Get your puck ready for action. (Follow the instructions it came with to prepare it.) Or your other humidification unit, if you go that route.
  4. Once the interior appears dry, fill a shot glass (or other small glass) with distilled water and put it in the bottom of the humidor. Put the puck or your other humidification unit in there also. If you haven’t already, put your hygrometer in there also.
  5. Close the humidor and let it sit over night.
  6. In the morning, your humidity reading will probably be a bit high. Take out the shot glass. And load your humidor up with cigars. The time it takes you to arrange everything will probably bring the humidity down to a reasonable level. (No need to hurry, make ‘em look nice. :) )
  7. Close it. You’re good to go.
  8. Keep an eye on the hygrometer. You probably don’t need to check it every day, but if this is your first humidor, I know you will. :) (Eventually the humidifier will need some additional water. Your hygrometer will tell you when.)

Pretty easy, huh? If everything goes right, it’ll take more effort to buy all the gear than to get it ready.

The Indie Path: Do-It-Yourself Coolidor
This post so far has focused on the more traditional approach to acquiring a humidor: buying it. But you don’t have to take that path. There are plenty of resources available online that will show you how to convert that old cooler you have in the garage into a gargantuan tobacco treasure trove. I’ll be honest here, I’ve never “made” a coolidor. I do have a smallish cooler I use to store some of my odd-ball cigars, but all I did was clean it out, air it out, and throw in the cigars, humidifier and hygrometer. It works, but it’s not a work of art. So I’ll leave the instruction on this topic to the experts. Here are a few guides to get you started:

The Stogie Review‘s How To Make a Coolidor Video

Previous Humidor Posts
This isn’t the first time I’ve written on the topic of humidors! (Though it is probably my most opinionated.) If you’d like to learn a bit more, or just enjoy reading my humidor musings, check out the links below.

Have A Better Approach?
If you have a better, easier or cheaper approach of going from humidor zero to humidor hero, feel free to leave a comment! There’s always room for improvement. :)

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And The Rockets Red Glare: My Fourth In 12 Pictures

And now for something completely different. How about some fireworks? Enjoy! :)

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Not too shabby, considering I wasn’t really prepared for any serious picture taking! (Check out the whole gallery here.)

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Wanna Read This Blog? I Need To See Some ID

Well it’s official. This is an adult blog. If you wanna keep reading, you gotta prove to me your at least 17. Or you have a parent looking over your shoulder. (If you’re under 17, you probably do, you just don’t realize it.) For now, I’ll assume your ID is in the mail.

Brian's Random Thoughts, Rated R

I figured there was a good chance that I’d get at least a PG-13. But I didn’t get the rating because of the frequent discussion of cigars and other tobacco products, as I would have expected. I got the naughty rating because of the use of the following words:

  • “hell” – 4 times.
  • “asshole” – 2 times.
  • “pissed” – 1 time. (Which shouldn’t count because I meant “drunk”, damn it!)

(Of course, now my ratings will be even worse. Damn it! Shit!) So apparently, it’s not a very sophisticated rating system, it’s pretty much a website crawler with a dictionary of naughty words. (I could make one. :idea: And I might just if I have the time. Hell yeah.)

But you know you wanna try it out on your blog anyway. You’ll be pissed if you don’t! You can find the blog rater here. And you know, if your blog is coming in a little low on the naughtiness scale, you don’t have to be an asshole about it. It’s pretty easy thing to rectify. (Hell yeah, damn it! ;) ) Enjoy!

(And apologies about this Tourettes post. I swear future posts won’t have so much damn swearing in them. I just want to see if I can get to NC-17.)

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Dubai Palm Shaped Resort Islands Now On Google Maps

The Palm JumeirahPerhaps you remember reading about the fantastically expensive resorts the United Arab Emirates. You know the ones that were being built on manufactured islands reclaimed from the ocean shaped like palm trees? Well, if you don’t, here’s a couple of articles (ABC and USA Today) to bring you up to speed.

But because your time is valuable, and here at Brian’s Random Thoughts we’re all about giving you the most for your money (I’ll assume the check is in the mail), here’s the executive summary:

  • 100 mansions on each palm frond.
  • Estimated capacity: 120,000 residents.
  • Nothing going for under a cool million bucks.
  • Built on land reclaimed from the sea.
  • 32 hotels. (Including Trump International hotel.)
  • A water park.
  • A mono rail.

But there’s two things you probably don’t realize. The first is that there are two three of these reclaimed, palm shaped islands! Two! Three! I don’t know about you, but just one of these guys blew my mind. Hey, it’s good to know our gasoline dollars are being put to good use. (And I’m gonna need a place to stay once I’m fantastically rich.) ;)

And to prove it, I need to bring up the second point: Two of these crazy cool resort islands are now on Google Maps! (That’s where I got the picture for this post. Doncha just love Google?)

Here’s some quick links to the resort islands:

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Global Warming: Saving The World One Hippie Jamfest At A Time

Hippie Jam Fest, Portuguese StyleFirst it was Bruce Willis. Now it’s the Arctic Monkeys (website). Finally celebrities and musicians are starting to make sense. It’s scary. What the heck am I talking about? I’m talking about a growing number of famous folk that finally realize that celebrity does not equal an advanced degree in medical science. Or political science. Or climatology. It’s the “I only play one on TV” concept that was once obvious to everyone, but in recent years has become uncommon sense.

In a recent article, Matt Helders, the drummer for the Arctic Monkeys had this to say when asked for his news-worthy thoughts on Global Warming / Climate Change / Honey-I-think-the-thermometer’s-broken:

“There’s more important people who can have an opinion. Why does it make us have an opinion because we’re in a band?”

A-fricken-men, Mr. Helders! There are more important people who can and do have an opinion. An opinion based on careful research. They’re called scientists. I don’t mean to diminish you in the slightest as a musician or a person (I really do like “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”). I just want to say I love it that you choose to focus on your abilities on creating catchy tunes, where they’re best suited. And while you do that, I’ll focus on programming websites for security firms, insurance companies and banks, because that’s what I do. And you know what? The scientific community will be OK diagnosing and resolving the problems that arise in their sphere of expertise. Remarkably well, even without our considered opinions.

That quote alone makes the article worth reading. But it gets even better. He also points out the irony and hypocrisy of the Live Earth concerts that keeps his band from attending:

“It’s a bit patronising for us 21 year olds to try to start to change the world… Especially when we’re using enough power for 10 houses just for (stage) lighting. It’d be a bit hypocritical,” he [Matt Helders] told AFP in an interview before a concert in Paris.

Bass player Nick O’Malley chimes in: “And we’re always jetting off on aeroplanes!”

Yep, it’s a massive concert series promoting, among other things, reduced consumption of power and resources. Featuring some of the largest power consumers on the planet. Of course, the this particular concert, according to the website will implement “Green Guidelines”, but will those musicians commit to following the same guidelines in their future concerts? And you’re telling me all the people attending the concerts get there by bike or bus? That green is starting to turn a little brown if you ask me.

Call me cynical, but I don’t see the point to this concert. Like the massive hippie jam festival in the classic South Park “Die, Hippie, Die” episode (see partial clip below), it’s a great excuse for people to get together, drink, smoke, socialize and listen to music, but it what exactly does that accomplish? (I’m not saying any of those activities are bad, mind you!) It’s not spreading awareness, hell, you can’t turn on the TV or radio without hearing heated debate on Global Warming. Every time something even slightly unusual happens with the weather these days, somebody brings up Global Warming. If anything, it’s diluting awareness. People like me are already tuning out on the subject.


“Let’s have, like, a week long music festival. Draw everyone here and then together we can tear it all down.” (6:30)

The beautiful deceit of the whole thing is, musicians continue to do what they were doing already (playing music at concerts and scoring with groupies) but now suddenly they get automatic kudos for “trying” to save the planet. (From a marketing stand point, its pure genius.) Well if that’s all it takes to save the planet, I call a Live Earth Bender! It’ll take place the last week of August, and I encourage everyone to go out and get plowed for a week. (Yep, I was already gonna do that on my previously mentioned road trip, but hey, now I’m spreading awareness, man! Instant Karma!)

OK, I hope nobody reads this as a Global-Warming-is-bunk post. I have my doubts, but I think it’s smart to hedge our bets and take the greener path whenever practical. (I hate fluorescent lights, but we’re using the compact fluorescents at home. The sacrifices I make… ;) ) And that’s about as far as I’m going on it. I’m not interested in debating the topic, it’s too much like politics now. And politics is one of the three forbidden subjects for this blog. (Religion and the Great Pumpkin are the other two.) And as I mentioned earlier, I’m just apathetic.

However, you might not be. Being the fantastic blogger I am, I anticipated that possibility. So if you are interested in an extremely well-reasoned discussion of the topic, I invite you check out Scott Adam’s four-part Global Warming mini-series on the Dilbert Blog (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). As apathetic as I am on the topic, I even found it interesting. You may not agree with his conclusions, but you have to give him kudos for a very fair, thorough handling of the subject.

I guess it goes with out saying that Matt Helders is one cool monkey. :D

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The Third, The Fourth And The Simpsons Road Trip Crew

Antoni Gaudi’s Sun MosaicWell I hope you have your bottle of Madeira wine ready! Why, you ask? Ah, I see you have forgotten. No problem, your humble blog-esponent is here to keep you on track. As I mentioned in a previous doozy of a boozy post, Madeira wine, due largely to it’s incredibly long lifespan was, the beverage the founding fathers of the United States used to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence. (I just knew I should have held off on that post until July!) Friends, allies, and anybody who is indifferent but wishes us no harm (I’m thinking about you Switzerland), feel free to join in. :)

So happy 4th of July, and happy birthday America! Cheers! :D I hope you all will join me in reflecting on the freedoms we have that we take for granted. (And for cigar smokers, some irritable grumbling regarding our eroding freedom to enjoy a fine stogie.)

So I don’t have a long an interesting post to share today. I just thought it would be terribly negligent for me not to post something. Even in spite of the previous evening excesses. The highlights:

  • A Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Toro – After smoking so many 1992′s, I was surprised at the flavor. Very different than the 1992. Initially, I think I like the ’92 better flavor-wise, but I have quite a few more to try before I decide. I will say that I’m disappointed by it’s burn. Very uneven in both my and my friend’s cigar. And mine just didn’t want to stay lit. It could have be the conditions, so again, I’ll wait to pass judgment on it until I have a few more.
  • Port, Muscat, and Argentinean Malbec Wine – The port was your average resturaunt fare, nothing special. The Malbec was enjoyable, but it was the Muscat that really impressed me. I’ve never tried it before, and I really enjoyed it. Like port, it’s a dessert wine, but was a noticeably different flavor. But I’ll be damned if I can remember what that was. Yep, it was that good of a night. ;)
  • A Sancho Panza Double Maduro Quixote – I picked this one up because it came recommended as a good value purchase by one of the guys from The Stogie Review on last week’s Dog Watch Social Club show (download it here). It smoked like a dream. Though it didn’t strike me as particularly complex, I really enjoyed it, especially after the naughty Rocky Patel. I’ll have to pick up some more.
  • A Don Benigno Petite Robusto – According to one of the guys in the local tobacco shop, it was the best cigar in their humidor. I’m not sure that I agree with that, but I did find it interesting. My initial thoughts was that it was kind of like smoking movie popcorn. It was creamy, and I got a noticeably salty flavor from it. Very unusual, fortunately I have another to try to see my palate was blown by all the port and scotch. :) (Note: The one I smoked was the size of the petite robusto, but had the band of the Perla. No such cigar is shown on the website.)
  • 30-year old Ardbeg – A very smooth, but peaty single malt scotch, provided by an extremely generous friend. I’ll consider it payment for my cigar consultation in the humidor earlier in the day. ;)

And now, on a completely unrelated note, kudos to Emon for alerting us to the Simpson’s Avatar maker! I started screwing around with it, and before you know it, I’d made the avatars for the entire roadtrip crew! And here it is, for your viewing pleasure. Now run out and make your own. Hurry, don’t miss the fireworks!

The RoadTrip Crew
From left to right: “Monkey Poo” Harris, Brian and Brian’s hot, exotic wife.

Your Chance To Tell Brian Where To Go!

So I’m planning a road trip. But not just any road trip. This is gonna be a multi-day, 2,600+, cigar-smokin’, sight-seeing, exotic-beer drinking extravaganza! You read that right, 2,600 miles or more! Just how far will that take Brian? Well, the plan is to drive from Portland, Oregon to Atlanta, Georgia and hit a bunch of interesting sights along the way. And you know that no road trip is complete without a good crew. The current roster consists of my wife (who thinks this might be a waste of time and money), my good friend, and recent cigarillo aficionado “Monkey Poo” Harris (MPH for short) and myself.

Road Trip 2007

Anyway, the reason for the vague number of miles is that we haven’t yet figured out exactly where we’re going to stop along the way. The simple door to door trip is 2,596 miles. Of course, detours rack up mileage quickly. (Memo to myself, use trip odometer to figure out just how far we go.)

I’ve compiled a list of things I’d like to see, but I have a feeling that I’m forgetting some stuff. As these things go, once you’ve gone on a trip, somebody invariably asks you if you stopped at some amazing, can’t-miss attraction you either forgot about or didn’t know about in the first place. In an attempt to prevent as much of that as possible, I’m looking to you, dear reader, to give me some suggestions. So this is the chance you’ve been waiting for, tell Brian where to go! (Keeping in mind that my car is not fitted with a drill bit.) ;)

Oh yeah, I guess you might find it handy to know a bit about the destinations we’re already considering for this trip. You’re in luck, there is a list. A very, very optimistic list. We’ve got a week (and change) to do this thing, so there’s quite a few places that won’t make the cut due to time constraints. But it’s good to have a list. Lists are fun.

High Priority Sights
A combinations of places I haven’t been, and a few off-the-wall places that should make for some good pictures and funny stories.

Booze or Cigar Related
Yeah, this list is pretty small still. I think we’re going to wing it once we’re on the road. I’m sure there’ll be a ton of interesting pubs and cigar shops we’ll bump into on the way. Feel free to recommend one!

Lower Priority
Places I’ve either been to, or places far enough out of the way we just may not have the time to see.

A thought occurred to me the other night as I was compiling this list. Wouldn’t it be fun (and possibly cost effective) to have sponsors for a trip like this? As long as we’re going to be sipping bourbon, swilling ale and herfing across the U.S. why not make it a dual purpose trip? I could see us having the names of respected coffee, cigar and alcohol establishments (or websites) prominently displayed in the windows, or temporarily affixed to the doors of my car. I know we probably couldn’t give away alcohol, but we probably could hand out some cigars, kinda like honorary cigar reps. I’d be fun, but I have no idea who you’d talk to about something like that. If you happen to be somebody who knows something about that sort of thing, feel free to let me know. :)

Want to sponsor our roadtrip? Here are some ideas:

  • Send us some shirts, we can either wear them or give them out along the way.
  • Send us a bunch of cigars. We’ll smoke some of them and hand out the rest.
  • Send us some cash for gas and accommodation.

Anybody who does, will have name, brand and/or website displayed prominently on Brian’s chariot for at least a week! Is this a great idea or what? :)

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