Hi. The name's Gray. Began smoking pipes about 10 years ago while I was in college partly from nostalgia for the smell from memories of my grandfather, partly to supplant cigarettes (successfully). The pleasure in the 'hobby' is unsurpassible as far as decandant indulgences are concerned, in my opinion. A nice smooth, sweet cav or straight molassass/whiskey cured burly (made by a friend) does well to relax and soften the mood for any day. I've spent quite some time on a tobacco farm here in NC, and I must say, smoking a pipe is the closest one can get to smelling a crop curing in the barn. You can smell it for miles. This side of the state can become like one big smkers library. It leathers the trees and shelves all things with volumes of pensive and reveled thoughts. My two pleasures are a nice Porto and my pipe. I am a writer, a language connosuier, a traveller, and an unemployed educator. I have a small collection of pipes--and an odd habit, after most every pipe, I stick a piece of cinnamon gun in my mouth. It keeps the sweetness from the pipe going and keeps me from packing another and going at it for another hour or two. This is my first pipe forum, and, honestly, the first forum I have ever posted in. I look forward to reading everyone's thoughts and techniques on everything, though, I will say, as far as packing methods go, I am un-swervable from the "frank method." Cheers, tally-ho, full steam ahead, and all that jazz.