07:30 AM: get in a car with friends and head to a vaping expo in Oberhausen, 'bout 30 minutes away. Doors open 10 AM. We have no tickets.
08:00 AM: arrive at the conference center where the expo is being held. 'bout sixty people or so already waiting outside to buy tickets. We could have bought early, but they had already sold out when we had finally decided to go. About a month ago.
09:00 AM: the box office opens.
09:20 AM: step out of the box office and find the end of the line at the door. Find it about 300ft. away from the doors.
10:00 AM: the line we were in had, by now, stretched to an intersection, so a second line had formed that kinda merged with the first. That one went across a street, actually. Round the block sort of stuff. I'd estimate more than 2,000 people were waiting to get in at the appointed time of 10 AM.
10:20 AM: the line moves about a foot.
and so on, and so forth.
11:30 AM: FINALLY reach the gate. The doors. Whatever. All the pre-sale tickets, all of them, had sold out over a month ago. The conference center had four glorious doors, double doors, about six foot wide a piece. One was open. Not one double door, no, half of that. With ONE single lady tearing off ticket stubs ... and then holding people back a moment. Because inside were two other ladies, who'd attach a wristband to every visitor so people could go out and get back in and so forth. And weren't very efficient at doing that. Quite friendly, well dressed, professional demeanor. Just not very good with their hands (and I just tried in vain to find a pie chart that could inform me whether that town is predominantly catholic or protestant, until I realized I'm not quite of sound mind at this moment).
Inside was. Crowded.
Every single person either already a vaper, or intending to become a vaper and trying stuff out. Everybody was delighted by the unusual experience of being able to vape away, to one's heart's delight, while in a public building, being slowly crushed by a mob. It was foggy, the smell was amazing.
The glare of the lights is exacerbated by a solid cloud of fog. We had climbed one of the balconies to rest our weary bones. And could not, I kid you not, see more than the lamps on the opposite wall of the room, maybe 100 feet away. I must admit, honestly ... blowing clouds while standing under a "No smoking anywhere in this building" sign was good fun. Or had been, until I went to point the pink pistol at the porcelain firing ranger and there were well-maintained ashtrays mounted on the wall right there. Maybe leftover from a previous time or, which would warm the cockles of my heart, something put there by a staff fed up with the bogs in a non-smoking building constantly getting clogged up by fag-ends.
Actually getting to the front at any stall and trying out the wares or something, that took at least 10 to 15 minutes. And THEN you'd wait for someone to come over and answer questions or serve you or stuff.
The conference center is not huge. I'd say, with about 1,500 people, it'd have been crowded. Full enough to become uncomfortable.
There were 3,500 people in there that day. Yes, my survival instincts were ringing the alarm bells at times. Not because of all the fog, but because I know that people suck.
Tried out three or four flavors, didn't have time to do more. Managed to pick up ONE aroma. The other stuff I liked was only available as ready-made liquid, which I do not use. Also picked up some spare wire and empty bottles for storing my self-mixed liquid. Some Fibre Freaks Classic Density 2 cotton.
Grabbed a sample of "barrel aged, limited stock" liquid. No, that's not a joke. I have NO CLUE what it is. The flavor is strange to me and ... the lung hit off of that stuff is EVIL
. A build I was vaping at 100 Watt all day, had to turn it down to 65W. There is something HYPER volatile in that barrel-aged stuff that just jumps out and punches ya in the chest and giggles, madly. No, thanks.
01:30 PM: went outside for the vaper's rights rally. Thought that, since the conference center had not become one little bit less crowded at 1PM, it would be empty.
Nope. Wasn't. Headed back before the hordes horded in. At this point, there was STILL a 200 foot line at the gate, people who hadn't yet collected any wristbands.
3:00 PM got the fuck out of there. NOT going again next year, I don't think.
About 4 PM got home. Feeling every nut and bolt, ouch.
The current hot ticket in vaporizers/atomizers whatchawannacall'em, is the Genius².
It will deliver so much vapor, with so much airflow, it doesn't have a standard 510 drip-tip. But a bigger one. It is for cloud-chasing, I've had the opportunity to try it out. It's a good, mid-sized dripper, really. Except it isn't. It's a cleverly designed RTA, a tank atomizer. I want one.
But the guy who invented and patented it, he's asking for 180 Euros. 'bout 200 USD. Quality made in Germany, but too rich for me. At 100, I might talk. But not 2.
And yet, just waiting in line before the "gate" was opened, near me, I saw at least five of them. One guy had brought two and was alternating between the one on his mundane box-mod and the other, on a one-foot "scepter" for which he had a special quiver and holders attached to one of the straps of his back-pack.
Another interesting observation:
Ticket price on the day was 8 Euros. While standing in line at one stall inside, the people in front of me waved over and welcomed their friends. Who hadn't even been planning to attend the expo an hour earlier, apparently, and had bought tickets from a scalper outside. Or, more likely, someone who had been waiting in line to get in for about four hours and had just wanted to get rid of his ticket (had I not been far away from home and reliant on someone giving me a ride, I'd have gone home without even selling the ticket by 11 AM, I admit. I was miffed, then). Apparently, they had to pay an outrageous price. 10 Euros!
Yeah, they're all cashing in out there, greedy scalpers!
A 2 Euro markup, all of 25% of the regular door as it was, for an event where pre-sale tickets had plain sold out in August. Apparently, such a markup is outrageous.
This, I feel, is a symptom of out society here. The sane reaction, I'd have thought, how I think I would have reacted, would have been "Wow, bargain!". Had my friends reported getting such a low price with scalper, I would suerly have congratulated them, given kudos.
But people must not enjoy good fortune, and nobody congratulates anyone on good fortune, mostly. Yeah, rub it in, braggart!
would have been the likely reaction with most people here.
While, as it is, the "victim", whatever makes them a victim, automatically gets the moral high-ground and authority of definition and generally gets to complain. Which Germans enjoy, the buggers, I must suffer them, commiserate! Pity me!!
Yet more interesting observation: The vaping culture is built around youtube. It's where vapers show off their gear and their skills. A lot of amateur reviewers have managed to amass such a following, manufacturers just throw new products at them for free, to get it reviewed. Saw Germany's master youtube vaper, Obi, but only from afar. Physically bumped into two others (most of the time, inside there, ANY encounter would necessarily involve bumping. If not shoving, groping or felching). I know now how, in their videos, they always manage to make such huge, impressive clouds.
Guys are SHORT. You don't see it in the videos, but the one that stick in mind, he could stand up straight like a rod, I could comfortably rest one of my man-boobs on his head. SHORT dude. Of course his clouds look big, even if his lungs are proportionally small.
Ah, well. I got email last night. The replacement for my beloved HexOhm V3 VV box-mod, which had crapped out about a week ago, has already come in from China and should be in my hands no later than Wednesday. Their English isn't always very good, but the after-sales customer service at Focalecig.com
is exemplary. They also have warehouses in Germany and the US for very quick shipping of select items sans any customs hassle. It's, not just in my opinion, by far the best mail-order retailer in China thus far. They ship quick, with several S&H options at surprisingly reasonable prices, they describe their products honestly, in my experience (though not always with good English), are very accommodating in all regards. If you want affordable vaping gear, that's the place to go.
Also, on Monday, I get to pick up my new Hypersquonk at the post-office. The Slovenian who makes them (any "NEW" product in vaping will come from a guy in a shed, basically) must be bored with Slovenia, he shipped it from Italy. The shipping cost at first had me flabber, and ghasted, doubly so when the tracking indicated regular Italian post and not a private jet powered by blackjack and hookers. But, as it turned out, the tracking was just crap, and three days from Milan to my local post office is respectable. Okay, three days really is horribly slow in the 21st century, when everybody shops online and just-in-time logistics are getting preposterous (I ordered something from an online pharmacy Thursday evening, 'bout 7PM ... on Friday, I got a note to pick it up the registered shipment at the post office. Not a BIG online pharmacy even.) But still, with what I know about shipping stuff across Europe, it's a reasonable deal.
Ah, yes, WTF is a Hypersquonk. It's a device that'll let me use ... wait, I just remembered, I explained that the other day.
Please forgive me, I woke up with some pretty bad pain and took a small dose of Tilidine (a synthetic opiate considered so harmless here, they only recently added it to the special list of medicines that need the doctor to sign TWO pieces of paper for a prescription. In the US, schedule 1 since always). Very nearly the maximum daily dose of Ibuprofen, spread over the day, too. And a full dose of Tilidine just now. Stoned.
I had considered taking it along to the expo but had decided against it. I could have lost it somewhere and someone might have tried vaping it. Would have done nothing, since it's converted into actual opiate only in the liver, and I'm ranting again, I'm watching Charlie Brooker as I type this and while my headache is relieved, as is my hip, my neck and shoulders are all hurtey now.
Funny note: One aroma on offer was G-Punkt. Literally G-Spot. The G? Gurke. German for cucumber. NO. Just ... no.
If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?
I said I have a big stick.