You can visit it by going to http://www.cigarnewbie.com. I’ll primarily post my reviews there but some general stuff will be cross posted. Enjoy! 🙂
It’s not surprising that I woke up to hear that the bailout may not quite go as planned. Yesterday I saw protesters near Wall Street chanting “No to the Bailout”, in reference to businesses getting the bailout and not the average consumer. What caught my eye this morning were two lines of reference in this NY Times article:
Mr. Boehner pressed an alternative that involved a smaller role for the government, and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, declined to take a stand.
And Point 2:
The aide, Kevin Smith, said Republicans revolted, in part, because they were chafing at what they saw as an attempt by Democrats to jam through an agreement on the bailout early Thursday and deny Mr. McCain an opportunity to participate in the agreement.
So before any serious discussions about the bailout had started, McCain put his campaign on hold and went to Washington because it seems impossible for him to do two things at once. I say this because my eyes were pleasantly impressed with the following:
Mr. McCain was at one end of the long conference table, Mr. Obama at the other, with the president and senior Congressional leaders between them. Participants said Mr. Obama peppered Mr. Paulson with questions, while Mr. McCain said little.
So while Obama didn’t put his campaign on hold he was able to also attend the discussions and even answer questions. The so-called “leader of the Free World” faces thousands of decisions a day and must be able to multi-task. Heck, even Reagan was able to do that and I’m not sure he was really there that often if it wasn’t for Nancy.
I’m also beginning to wonder who is really running for president: Palin or McCain. Since he refuses to talk or “take a stand” one way or another (i.e., lead his party as a presidential candidate should, right?!) then how can he be considered to lead a whole nation like the US. I don’t get it. I watched a few of the “townhall meeting”
videos and noticed that Palin talks over him (she’s taller than him I think) and is more eloquent than him. Some of the political commentary suggests that the Republicans are having more of these because he is less likely to have foot-in-mouth-itis than when she’s not there.
But politics aside, the Bailout failed. At least, thus far it has. So the question remains as to whether the bailout would work or will work? Politicians really don’t have to worry right now because, well, they’ll likely be re-elected to the jobs they already have or get some board position. The average citizen, people like you and me, who earn a wage of some kind trying to eke out a living with massive debt (mortgage or credit card), are the ones who suffer under this. You want to fix the system try this: force banks to be responsible, reduce service fees for things that are extraneous, reduce credit card annual percentage points, reduce CEO salaries and keep the average workers — the ones that actually produce the product that others will buy — employed.
Let’s face it. Those that are wealthy only buy wealthy, extra things. These people make up 2-5% of the market.
Those that are middle-to-lower class buy things to help with day-to-day living (e.g., groceries, clothing, mass transit, etc.) make up the rest of the market.
The ones suffering are the ones that make up the rest of the market. It’s stuff like this that makes me want to chuck it all, grab K and become some raving mountain man. I’m beginning to see the appeal.
As I try to increase what my blog adds to the world (cigars and transgenderism — what a combination, eh?), I’ve been playing with some themes. A few look good but then fall short of the mark. The one I use now is ok but not quite exactly what I want. I think I’m going to have to take a weekend and just bone up on my php, CSS and html and see if I can create one I like. My biggest challenge is to get my ads to work (reality is, as much as I don’t want to have ads, is that I want to have these blogs pay for their own bills).
I have decided to move CigarNewbie.com to it’s own “blog” area so that should spring up in a day or two. We’ll see how it fares over the next few months.
Today was less than fun at work and I was nearly fully late but made it in with a couple of minutes to go. But by the end of the day I was ready to go home so I thought I’d treat myself to something interesting an ddifferent. So I went to the Wall Street store of Barclay-Rex and picked up a couple of things, including a Rocky Patel Summer Collectoin 2008 Lancero. This cigar is a 7 x 42 guage, thus appearing slim and long. While it’s a nice cigar it’s rather unremarkable. There are no hints or flavours of really anything. In some ways, a bit disappointing. 🙁 But still, enjoyable in the sense of not being horrible to the palate.
Perhaps this one will flavour with age if left in a humidor for a year or two.
I always try to find the silver lining or happy stuff within the things that annoy me. For instance, yes, I don’t like getting up so early in the morning but some nice side effects have come from working downtown this week. For example, I’ll probably finish reading my 2nd book for the week, would have walked around some and got a few sprinking-like posts in here to add variety. The cooler weather is making walking around more enjoyable and more likely to wake me up more in the morning. This morning I took the added treat of smoking one of my Georges Reserve to start the day off. The cooler weather means I can open windows to let air in and out. I pondered Burns’ longevity and really, the only thing I can attribute it to is general contentment and enjoyment of life. And this is what I am finding now. I am a bit weird — ok, ok, a **LOT** weird — being a cigar-smoking, vegan, transguy Canadian living in the US under a work visa. Each of those are small groups in their own way and I bring it into an even smaller group.
But if you met me on the street you’d probably seem me very happy and enjoying what the world has given me thus far. I’m a very laid back person (perhaps reflective of my Acadian heritage) and more go-with-the-flow at this point of my life. Except now I get to generate the flow. The world around me seems to be falling apart (Bush’s recent State of the Union Address is attempting to suggest that) but even if it did, I know I could find a way to survive and continue with what I have started.
Anyways, as a sidenote, I’ve recently acquired the domain cigarnewbie.com. I did so because of the number of cigar and cigar accessory (I sound like Hank Hill) reviews I intend on doing here. Unlike other cigar afficiandos I figure I offer a different kind of review because I’m an average guy who only discovered cigars at age 38 (and smoking in general, although I have no intentions on smoking cigarettes as they do not appeal to me). This means my take on things tends to be rather fresh and uninfluenced by others. Hopefully, others will agree or at least, find some insight in my commentary. For those of you interested in cigars, what kind of things would you look forward to hear about from me?
And on that note, I’m off.
Cigar Name: Ashton VSG Tres Mystique
Cigar Description: Ecuadorian wrapper with long aged Dominican long filler
Review of the Cigar itself: It lit beautiful and the first draw was flavourful without being overpowering. The ash didn’t flake like other cigars I’ve had and it held it together well. The previous Ashton VSG I had came close to my palate preference for Padron Serie 1926 cigars. The burn is consistent with minor tugboating (where the cigar burns more on one side than the other) but the cigar recovered nicely from that fairly quickly.
The size, a 4.3 x 44 guage, isn’t indicative of the flavour that’s produced from the cigar. It’s is well constructed enough to ensure a long ash that held together. The taste is a mild nutty flavour with robust spicey flavour and minor hints of cedar, peaking in now and again. Additionally, it wasn’t wrapped too tight thus allowing a good draw to come. The initial ash fell on it’s own in one piece and the burn continued with a consistent, even burn.
The smoke that comes from it is a nice gentle white smoke that isn’t over powering. Even with a deep draw, the smoke wafes gently up from it without turning the air around me blue and overwhelming. As it continued to burn, the 2nd part of the ash continued the same as the first part — held together, indicating attention to how the cigar was made and put together. And for more than 60% of the cigar, I never had to relight it. I did touch it up a bit, to help it after the 2nd ash fell.
For the last 3rd, it continued burn consistently and evenly as it burned down to the nub.
I enjoyed this cigar with a bottle of spring water to clean out the palate and the company of a beautiful woman. What more could I ask for for a great evening: a cigar that I’d rate a 9/10 with a 11/10 companion. Life sometimes shows itself as perfect.
Smoke time: approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
Purchased from: Barclay-Rex Cigar Store in Wall Street district
Final Review Rating: 9/10 and defintely would smoke it again
(images to come)
You know, subway rides sre incredibly entertaining and a great learning experience. It’s incredible to think that a car filled with about 200 people, each with a diverse background, can be so silent with just the hum of iPod’d music in the background.
Makes ya think, eh?
This early morning stuff has got to stop. Seriously. To make it even more fun, I don’t have enough time to enjoy a nice cigar and will probably have to wait until the weekend (maybe Friday afternoon). I’m a bit disappointed as I have some new ones I can to really test out and perhaps do a review of. This weekend suggests lots of rain so it may be a perfect one for it (although a photo shoot I was to be at last weekend was pushed over to this one so I’ll have to venture out for one day at least).
So for now I’m limited to some nice coffee (for that morning perk) and a Rocky Patel Jr., Baccarat Connie or a Macanudo Ascot. My favourite remains the Rocky Patel Jr., featuring a nice dark maduro wrapper. It has a nice flavour to it, almost a deep, rich nutty or coffee flavour, and generally takes about 45 minutes to smoke (a bit longer than my walk from the subway to home but if the weather is ok, I can linger outside enjoying it). I know all the health risks that come with smoking and certainly am respectful of laws put into place but I have to say that I feel far more relaxed after a nice smoke, particularly when I can enjoy the whole cigar down to the nub, than I do otherwise.
Life is short enough as it is. We spend the majority of it working for ourselves or others in hopes of making enough to support family and dreams, sometimes spinning our wheels due to issues outside of our control. A little luxury now and then is hardly enough to worry. We need to enjoy life and remove more of our worries. George Burns, well known for his cigar smoking, smoked upwards of 10-to-15 cigars a day! And he was booked right up to his 100th birthday (he lived to be 100 plus a couple of months).
I’ve come to the conclusion that while food, alcohol and exercise are all factors the ultimate item that helps one’s longevity on this planet is happiness. And I think with the way my life has been shaping up lately, we’ll have to have the fire department on hand at some point to deal with all the candles on the birthday cake.
Well, today was long and it felt odd. I felt somewhat isolated by my students and perhaps it’s because I’ve let my beard grow some. The challenge has been how much do I hide and when do I let knowledge out. I still believe in not being stealth as honesty can be the best policy. But sometimes it is also good to do this delicately and with grace so that it allow others to come to grips with this change, even if they don’t see me everyday. People have built in expectation of things and how people are. Genders are social constructs that others understand and they often get rigid when faced with the unknown or different.
But that will be things they will have to address and there is nothing I can do, unless they broach it with me, to help them come to terms with it. On a plus, a couple of former colleagues from my Canadian office are very aware of my transition and supportive of it. This will be helpful as I’ll probably visit the office in December and it’ll be nice to see old friends then.
That all said, today gave me a taste of what is up-and-coming over the next few months as my schedule will be busy. And that will allow me to keep moving and have less of a chance to experience DVT. I’ll probably not be able to enjoy as many cigars as I’ll be too busy travelling and such (which often have non-smoking policies — which is fine, understandable and acceptable to me). This will mean I’ll be limited to the weekend and, at the least, my “stash” will last for long time. In fact, it’ll allow for some cigars to age nicely in my humidors and thus when I do enjoy them, they’ll be even more enjoyable.
Wow. Early morning is not for me anymore. Well, especially when I don’t get enough sleep. I had forgotten what it was like to be up before the sun. And, of course, we don’t change our clocks until later (first Sunday of November) so my own internal clock, that is used to the clock getting changed at the end of September, is out of whack. It’s days like today that I prefer online teaching.
But it’s all good. At the least I get out and about. Lately, I’ve been feeling somewhat like a hermit. It’s a habit I can fall into when I don’t explore a city enough. It can be hard with a city this size (Toronto seems so small now) as there is so much to explore and often so little time. It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived here for almost a year now. While there is somethings about the US that I’m not so fond of, I do have to say that I like the variety and opportunity to find variety here. There seems more local flavour and welcoming than is sometimes found in Canada. Maybe it’s because of the belief of the so-called American Dream. I suppose one could think of it as a form of faith, blind absolute belief in a system that may or may not benefit some. Kinda like a religion: the faithful may or may not have proof of a deity but they believe with their heart and soul that something exists somewhere.
Right now, for me, the only thing I believe in is love and the power of it. And honestly, that’s enough for now.