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 Just because you have some skills...

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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Just because you have some skills...   Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:28 pm

I ride a Vespa-clone scooter, and have ridden motorcycles. When one is first learning, within the first 500 miles or so, there tends to be a majority who have careful understanding that if you're stupid, this activity could hurt you. I've heard it said that once you gain your comfort zone, that's when the problems can occur: confidence, even overconfidence, invincibility, complacency and alertness all dwindle a little, finding their safe equilibrium between being paranoid and being completely aloof.

So, what does this have to do with pipe smoking? I pipe smoking won't likely kill or hurt you, but it shares a common root: learning and application.

Over the summer/fall of 2011 and through winter 2011/2012, when I re-started this hobby (the right way), I've had a great time smoking my pipes and tobaccos, often gifts of the Brothers, carefully-chosen pipes upon proper research and suggestions, a bunch of sunny mornings to go and contemplate my day and how to approach it, pleasant evenings letting the day wind down. I smoked slow, I packed just right, I chose (to the best of my ability) the right tobacco and the right pipe--and nine times out of ten I'd feel I got everything perfect. I was confident I'd get a great smoke, each and every time.

Recently, I've been developing problems. Problems I know better as to why they're occurring. My smoking time has gone from a good hour or hour and a half, to 30 - 40 minutes. My tongue is getting scalded. I'm getting wet smokes. My tongue is leather. Tobacco isn't tasting as good. Pipes are getting hot. I'm drinking more liquids to counteract this problem, and this is making me smoke wet. One of my cobs started to burn out on the bottom, and I find myself chasing the flavor/nicotine/relaxation to the bottom of the bowl (which I fear burning out even a briar). I'm simply not finding the slow, sit-down satisfaction I once did, or at least, not as often.

Perhaps it's a bit of stress keeping me from realizing that this time is my time, new jobs and the spring weather starting to give hints at work and less "free time" to find the need to fill. Maybe I have done the pipe equivalent of taking the bike around the corner a little too fast, a little too soon, because I was so mindful and great at doing this just a little while ago, I can rev it up a little right?

Apparently not. It's another reason why I like pipe smoking, even a little more now, because it's honest. You're not going to get more thrill out of speed. You're not going to get relaxation out of simply stuffing more tobacco in the chamber because it's going by too fast. In fact, I'm starting to realize that the pipe and how I interact with it directly reflects exactly what's going on with me at that moment, and the tongue bite, hot pipe and potentially ruined pipes may be a good way to say, "Hey pal, stress kills, take a step back and a deep breath." It's strange, too, I saw all of these digressions coming, slowly, and then they started adding up. They sneaked up on me, little by little, until something had to be done.

Like a good friend you might have had a disagreement with, piping without gratification it isn't something permanent. So you might have stepped on your beloved dog's paw or cat's tail. They aren't going to leave you over it. They're always there for you. Pipes are the same, they need the attention, both short-term and long-term to give back to you the benefit they were designed to do.

This is just an "intermediate pipester's" missive not to give in to bad habits, and not to get complacent--even if you're doing fine from the start. I know I'm doing something wrong, but because I had it so right, I figured it wasn't me, it was everything else. Ain't that just a typical human thing to do?

The good part is, it's always a new day and a new time to maybe go back and read (or ask) the obvious from those who know, go "back to church" in a way, hear the preach and the praise, and find out you might have strayed off a simple path just a little--but it will always welcome you back.

Today I start over a little, again, to remember my roots, remember my reasons, and go back to basics.

Cool
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MisterE
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Location : Mexico City
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:13 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:

Today I start over a little, again, to remember my roots, remember my reasons, and go back to basics.
Cool

I try to do this every day. Not just as it relates to pipe smoking, but with everything. If I put this idea first, my day and all it's activities (pipe smoking too) go waaaaay better. cat
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jefe1037

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Age : 36
Location : Mr. Pleasant, SC
Registration date : 2012-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:37 pm

+1 kyle. Thanks for the insight.
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Cigar2you

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Location : Havre de Grace, Maryland
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:51 pm

Like my dad used to say "hey stupid stop thinking" it seems when issues arise I tend to over think the problem.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:55 pm

There's a fine line between over-thinking and mindfulness. One is bad, the other is ideal. Rather than suffering the first, I was lacking the latter.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:41 pm

Just today:

MM Diplomat. Connecticut Yankee packed properly. A trusty lighter. A tamper. A small cup of water. A chair. Music. My porch, my laptop and perusing BoB. Calm. Conscious.

An hour just went by like nothing, but seemed like a nap. Flavor. A few more lights. Cool pipe. Dry smoke. Pondering. Relaxation.

Nice; nothing to worry about.

Cool

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dshpipes

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Age : 34
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:29 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Just today:

MM Diplomat. Connecticut Yankee packed properly. A trusty lighter. A tamper. A small cup of water. A chair. Music. My porch, my laptop and perusing BoB. Calm. Conscious.

An hour just went by like nothing, but seemed like a nap. Flavor. A few more lights. Cool pipe. Dry smoke. Pondering. Relaxation.

Nice; nothing to worry about.

Nice recovery. Wink
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:57 pm

Rinse and repeat every day for the next six months, give or take a day, a pipe and 'bacca.

Eventually I'll develop a true routine, and it'll all be second nature. Cool I was just foolin' myself, and let me tell you: I'm glad it happened!
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J Soshae

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Age : 45
Location : Birmingham, AL
Registration date : 2011-08-19

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:20 am

When I find myself getting in a hurry, I break out my first pipe that is prone to gurgle. I slow down when I sense a touch of gurgle. I see if I can slow smoking enough to prevent another gurgle. Sometimes the pipe goes out, but i do not sling the moisture out of the stem or swab it with a cleaner.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:12 am

J Soshae wrote:
When I find myself getting in a hurry, I break out my first pipe that is prone to gurgle. I slow down when I sense a touch of gurgle. I see if I can slow smoking enough to prevent another gurgle. Sometimes the pipe goes out, but i do not sling the moisture out of the stem or swab it with a cleaner.

Interesting. I wish I didn't smoke so "wet mouthed" (even without a drink) to possibly employ that without negating variables.

On another note, I've often wondered if a P-lip Pete would make a difference to my contributing to my own gurgle. I know damn well the System would probably help, but I just don't like the look of most system pipes. I could learn to like a 303 or something.
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kieveryuu

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Location : Greater Boston
Registration date : 2012-01-07

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:28 am

Good thread Kyle, these are good things to remember.

My recent “back to fundamentals” had to do with packing. I had became very comfortable packing 2 or 3 of my pipes and then when I really started exploring my other pipes it all fell to pieces. I had to start over from pinch one and am finally getting a good regular pack once again.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:28 am

http://www.brothersofbriar.com/t16335-reverse-pack-method?highlight=reverse

...was a packing thread that threw me off. I think I had just gotten to the point where I was comfortable and had found a way that worked. I got drawn into the concept I may have been over complicating. I ended up... erm... over complicating. Not in the way that was obvious by my tedious testing, but by the fact there was something to it that wasn't there with what was working before.

In the future, I'm going to ignore all other packing methods contrary to what is working, because if it works, why fix it?

I think beginning and intermediate smokers should find a packing method that works for them. Stick with it until something needs adjusting. When you can easily go back to "tried and true," then you can go about debunking or reinforcing pack theory. Cool
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kieveryuu

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Location : Greater Boston
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:55 am

Interestingly, it was that thread, that reminded me that I should stick with what works.

Before that thread, I had really started over complicating things, a had started doing something a little like the three pack and a little like the Frank method... was really over complicated. Before that, and what I have largely returned to, at least with my pipe kit and bagged baccy, is to move the pipe in a spiral/scooping motion through the tobacco. This gives me a very nice pack in most of my pipes, all that is needed is a light tamp, perhaps a pinch more tobacco on top and all is good. Razz

Of course, I am still trying to figure out the packing in my large bowl pipes...
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:31 am

Before that thread threw me off, I did (and will do) it by feel, and each pack is different, depending on pipe and bacca. I'll fill the bowl up, make some room by packing it down to whatever degree feels right, add some more, again, pack a tad, test the draw, add a little on top, and good to go. Takes longer to type it out to explain it (or read it) than do it. Laughing It worked for most of my tobacco, whether chunky, flake, cube, or ribbon.

The only other method I came up with is for flake, taking a flake, folding it in half, balling it up between my palms to roughen the edges, and adding that chunk to the pipe. Sometimes doing this twice, linin' 'em up like pinballs if the bowl will allow it. As it burns, the ball opens up and fills the chamber nicely.

I'm sticking with this. It meshed well with my slow but steady puffing, which the "palm twist" method in the link led me down a road of hotter-than-normal smokes because it was packed too loosely compared to my own. On the plus side, it was a very even pack and burn, which made me wonder if I should look down that road more. On the negative side, it was a terrible choice in the wind--ribbon cut packed loosely is asking for heat. Laughing It's almost always windy here.

Again, just musings of someone going back to basics. *shrug* Cool
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monbla256

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Age : 72
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: kyle wrote:   Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:08 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Before that thread threw me off, I did (and will do) it by feel, and each pack is different, depending on pipe and bacca. I'll fill the bowl up, make some room by packing it down to whatever degree feels right, add some more, again, pack a tad, test the draw, add a little on top, and good to go. Takes longer to type it out to explain it (or read it) than do it. Laughing It worked for most of my tobacco, whether chunky, flake, cube, or ribbon.
)

You're on to something there Kyle. I think that, from my experience, learning to smoke slow and easy as one has to with most ribbon cut Virginias, can be one of the best things for smoking almost ANY type of tobacco. I have seen some of the younger smokers at the B&M I go to so focused on going a whole bowl with only one light that they smoke too fast for most blends. Take it easy, carry lots of matches, and learn to enjoy Razz
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puros_bran
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:25 pm

Of all the stuff I could grumpy old man.. Imma grumpy old man this...

Who The F started this 'Whole bowl on one light' BullCrap?
Matches go to 4 bucks a box? Or is lighter fluid $100 a bbl?
does it happen? Sure, but it isn't a sign every thing is right, or that the smoker has perfect technique... All it means is that the pipe didn't go out.



All the rest of that stuff.. Coolbeans dawg!

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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:39 pm

One of the BoB's here pays $4.00/50 matches that he uses on his "better" pipes Razz At that price, I guess you would want to just light it once Razz
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puros_bran
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:53 pm

I'll hold my tongue so someone doesn't 'rage quit'.


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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:50 pm

puros_bran wrote:
Of all the stuff I could grumpy old man.. Imma grumpy old man this...

Who The F started this 'Whole bowl on one light' BullCrap?
Matches go to 4 bucks a box? Or is lighter fluid $100 a bbl?
does it happen? Sure, but it isn't a sign every thing is right, or that the smoker has perfect technique... All it means is that the pipe didn't go out.



All the rest of that stuff.. Coolbeans dawg!


I'm not sure who or why "light count" is such a factor with some. I honestly don't give much a crap about number of lights. In fact, sometimes I find it neat I only sparked up the lighter a couple times before I gave the tail end a few lights to get to the bottom... but beyond that, I just kind of manage it when needed. Tamping, lighting, swabbing, whatever. I guess most people either associate pipes in the same realm as or cigars/cigarettes (they keep lit as a general rule), or it's just a stupid, no-gain competition among those who care.

Thanks for the encouragement, PB. I like this hobby, I like learning (even from my own mistakes) and will do what it takes to make it the pleasant pastime it was intended to be. Cool
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:25 pm

puros_bran wrote:
I'll hold my tongue so someone doesn't 'rage quit'.



Shocked Shocked Mad Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad

One light smoking is sine qua non if you're to truly appreciate a good smoke. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE knows that. Who cares if you enjoy it!? A great smoke is only measured by how many lights it takes.

Pffffft. Suspect

I'm outta here.....













lol!
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:43 pm

I already quit yesterday 'cuz someone said I was feminine. *kicks rocks*

Laughing

I had some chap razz me at the Tinder Box recently because I was in a conversation (not with him) and he was apparently intently watching me smoke. "You're gonna run that lighter outta butane if you can't keep that pipe lit," he scoffed at me.

"You're the popular guy around here, aren't you?" I laughed, and resumed minding my own business. He left the store shortly after, obviously bored, and oddly, the folks that work there had no idea who he was.
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puros_bran
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:08 pm

Shoulda promptly introduced yourself as Phenious P Bic, heir of the Bic fortune and CEO of that famous company, explaining to him that you were trying to gather interest in a new line of pipe lighters and that apparent expert that he was you'd like to have a lunch with him at 11:24 sharp at "insert expensive resturant" on tuesday, business casual..
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:10 pm

No worse than when I'm in a movie theater next to an unsupervised group of idiot kids, I introduce myself as the assistant manager and would hate to have ask them to leave on my one and only day off at the wages I'm forced to endure... tickets not refunded... Cool

If it's a place I don't care about or the business would frown upon me being a jerk for whatever reason, I've been known to pull out a few unbelievably tall tales for morons.
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mike_68

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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:24 pm

I must give your analogy high praise..as a daily rider of a 2-wheeled conveyance it's interesting watching others on bikes racing from light to light, invincible and (more to the point) invisible. I admit I have my days where I ride more agressively and I, often, have a close call that puts it back in my lap...rightly so...

I know how I need to ride to be as safe as I can...I just need to DO it. I'm getting better at smoking and enjoying my pipes...and that's what I need to do as well.

Good post! Well put sir!
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: Just because you have some skills...   Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:37 pm

mike_68 wrote:
I must give your analogy high praise..as a daily rider of a 2-wheeled conveyance it's interesting watching others on bikes racing from light to light, invincible and (more to the point) invisible. I admit I have my days where I ride more agressively and I, often, have a close call that puts it back in my lap...rightly so...

I know how I need to ride to be as safe as I can...I just need to DO it. I'm getting better at smoking and enjoying my pipes...and that's what I need to do as well.

Good post! Well put sir!

Thanks! Hot pipe versus dumb-lady-on-phone-pulling-out-in-front-of-you are a little different, but the perspective is realistic. Public streets are not race tracks. Pipes are not cigarettes. Screwdrivers are not hammers.
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