My interest in typography started at an early age, taking the Philadelphia subway to school and back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Only an hour from New York City, the Philly subways were just as covered in graffiti as were the subways of New York. I remember checking for new styles daily, watching the bubble letter style evolve into the wildstyle. I kept track of my favorite writers such as Credit, JayCee, Met, Tap, Bucks, and Espo. Those images poured themselves into my psyche, leading me to a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Oregon and an awesomely fun career in graphic design & illustration.
VaporDave with one of his all time idols, Tommy Chong, at the 2016 International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco.
The VaporDave custom vape setup. Michael Rose of Black Uhuru has signed this
box (barely visible in silver paint pen to the left of the sticker), and Jack Herer
has used it as well. So has Ed Rosenthal but there's no pic of him, and I plan to
get Tommy Chong to use it and hopefully get a pic too. Best vape flavor ever.
Way back in 2005 a friend of mine gave me a Vapor Brothers vaporizer; one of those wooden box models that comes with a plastic hose. Not being especially fond of plastic, I promptly lost the hose in a hotel room one night. When I arrived back home, I really wanted to keep using my vaporizer as I'd discovered that what I loved most about it was what it didn't do…leave that foul taste of burned resin in my mouth.
After going a few days without my vaporizer, a friend stopped by with another friend of his who was a glass blower. They wanted to use my vaporizer, but alas, there was no way to use it. Then the glassblower guy said he could make me something that would fit the element in the wooden box. He took measurements and came back a few days later with the piece shown here, which I've had ever since. It's now 2016 and the piece has broken in half three times and been re-blown three times; each time it broke the break was very clean and easy to fix with a torch. The box itself is on its third element as well; the lifetime warranty sure did come in handy. The first replacement was really nice as the original element wasn't ceramic, it was metal, and that means it off-gassed really nasty stuff that you couldn't taste but was really bad for you.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The name VaporDave was first given to me at a poker game in 2005. I'd taken to bringing my vaporizer wherever I went as I simply couldn't stand the taste of resin any longer (even a green hit on a fresh joint tastes like smoking a bowl of resin to me compared to a hit from the vaporizer). The poker game was a few blocks from my house, run by a group of guys I didn't know, and as I was leaving one of them asked me for my phone number. I gave it to him and he said "I'm putting you in my phone as Vapor". From there it just kind of took off, with everyone calling me VaporDave, then Vapor, then simply Vape. This was way before the word vape was ever heard of or used by anyone, so it's kind of nice to know I was way ahead of trend without even trying…story of my life…
UPDATE: When at the 2017 International Cannabis Business Conference in Berin I was honored to meet Jürgen Bickel, of Storz & Bickel, makers of the famous Volcano vaporizer. Jürgen handed me his business card, and when I handed him mine, which only has the name Vapor Dave on it (with my contact info of course), he asked me what that was all about. I told him the above story and he reached down beneath his exhibitor table and handed me a box with a brand new Mighty Medic "flower" vape (newbie term for the same weed we've been smoking forever). I had to pretend I'd never seen one before, or that I didn't currently have one in my bag. In fact, I'd seen one for the first time only hours before, upstairs in a random hotel room. A local Berlin freelance journalist who writes for VICE Magazine and elsewhere was in the hotel room, and the guy hands me a Mighty Medic after I said I wished I had my vaporizer with me as people were smoking joints and pipes of some pretty good weed. I used the Mighty Medic and was amazed, and the guy said I should keep it for awhile to use in Berlin. Love the Euro vibe, exactly the kind of thing I would have done for someone. Then the guy said Jürgen was going to be downstairs, which I already knew since I'm the one who put his logo up on the conference site, and that I should tell him I'm some famous guy in the States who does reviews and see if he'd sponsor me with a Mighty Medic. I really didn't want to misrepresent myself like that, and wasn't actively seeking Jürgen out. I just kind of ran into him while headed to the VIP Reception as he was setting up the Storz & Bickel booth. All I did was show him my card and he did the rest. Who was I to say "Sorry Mr. Bickel, I already have a loaner in my bag but thanks anyway". I thanked Jürgen profusely and went upstairs to put the unopened box in my room. The next day the journalist guy asked for his vape back, and he seemed irritated I'd kept it so long, but it seemed like he was saying I should use it during my stay at the conference, which was a 3-day event. I think he'd seen me getting the new vape from Jürgen and wondered why I still needed his, but I didn't want to travel through customs with even a trace amount of weed molecules on me.
And the year before this, I was at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco when Tommy Chong was the star attraction. I went by his Chong's Choice booth and spoke with his handlers, and they were just launching the first Tommy Chong "flower" vape (sorry, I'll have to put that in quote marks for at least several more years). The vape was called the TC1, and it was very pretty, coming in black, red, and white. The white was by far the prettiest, reminded me of a bottle of Brill Cream somehow. Vintage, like Tommy himself. I asked how much to buy one, and was told they were some of the first prototypes and not for sale. At this point, I did what the journalist in Berlin (in my future but in your, the reader's, past) told me to do, and launched into a shameless promotion of myself as VaporDave. As if they gave a shit about me compared to the legendary guy they were working with...but apparently I got through to the woman at the booth, because after the event was over I went by the booth one more time to inquire about getting a vape and was shut down by the main guy in charge, who told me everything had already been packed up. He was right, there was nothing left in the booth. But the woman said "wait a minute, I think I might know where one is up in the room". She left and came back five minutes later with a brand new TC1 in the box. I asked her how much and she said "how about one hundred dollars?". "Sold" I said, and thus did I own my first modern "flower" vape (I say first modern one because I had a Magic Flight back in the day but that was a really bad one as it used the fumes from heating a nickel metal hydride battery and I used it a couple times then threw it away). It works well but the size of the bowl is so small that it's hard to get a good flavor, which is the whole reason I vape at all. Sorry Tommy, love you to death, but your vape has been relegated to third behind my original vape setup and the Mighty Medic. It is the prettiest of them all though, so it has that going for it.
"One who vapes is a vaper, not a vapor"
—Grower in Williams, Oregon
"Vape" becomes Oxford Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year
—VaporDave has been in people's phones as "Vape" since 2005