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User Journal

Journal Journal: Day 14, results acceptable 3

OK, so I'm quitting smoking. Finally. Day 14 today, and it's been a while since I've done a JE on it. Lessee, where am I to, as my Newf compatriots might put it?

I'm still on the patch, though down to a lower dosage (14 mg/day). No cigs most days; Fridays are still a problem because the other gamers smoke, but day before yesterday was interesting. Mark had quit that day (and maintained yesterday, cold turkey, go Mark!), Chris is only smoking on Fridays, and Rick "really (has) to quit". That just leaves Steve. While I find it within my boundaries to have a couple of smokes on game night if I'm not smoking the rest of the time, it would certainly be easier with less smoking overall... and that seems to be where we're headed.

As an aside, Steve has written a thinly-veiled allegory on the whole anti-smoking thing. It's called "The Healthy Dead", and features a couple of characters that have appeared in the main "Malazan Book Of The Fallen" novels as well as in a short-run collector's edition novelette called "Blood Follows". While it's not enough to keep me smoking out of spite (I can feel that it's harming my body, and that's enough for me), I do agree that the whole "saving people from the consequences of their choices" thing is fucking annoying.

Anyway, aside aside, it's going OK. The last couple of days I haven't put on a patch until going out in the afternoon, and I've had the distinct feeling that I could probably get by just fine without one. That's gotta be a good sign, because when attempting to quit in the past, if I didn't have a patch on, I'd be plotting to buy cigs as soon as possible.

Oh, and my gf is loving it too; she hated me smoking (while doing a remarkable job of remaining understanding), so there's some good motivation right there. So all in all I'm feeling pretty good about all this. Go me!

User Journal

Journal Journal: How's it goin', eh? 3

Well, day 5 of not smoking and so far I'm hanging on. Yesterday was kind of brutal, an incredibly annoying afternoon at work followed by an equally annoying runaround in the rain searching for a rare beer (German, with smoked malt, if anyone cares) I wanted to use in a cheese soup. Not sure whether the annoyance level was caused or aggravated by not smoking, but it seems fair to assume that it could have been.

Finally made it home by about 6:30. That's when things started to improve. Cooking is such a great way to deal with stress - that and some good loud music, in this case Oysterband's latest, Rise Above. Help with the dishes from a beautiful and sympathetic woman who appreciates my cooking didn't hurt, either. ;-)

So then we sat down to a really nice meal - the soup was worth the effort. Although next time I might use stout, because the smoky beer had an odd bitterness to it and that clashed a little with the aged cheddar.

The next smoking challenge is tonight's RPG, my usual Friday night session with fantasy writer Steven Erikson and several other friends. Generally a chain-smoking kind of thing, but one of the other guys is quitting right now too, so perhaps there will be a bit less "atmosphere"... we'll see. But as I drink my morning coffee and see the Big Bright Yellow Thing for the first time in a few days, I'm optimistic. I still think this is it - the last time I quit smoking. Go me!

User Journal

Journal Journal: "This is the time / And this is the record of the time..."

...as Laurie Anderson once observed.

What is the time? It's time (well, long past, but that's a whole bunch of longer stories) for me to stop smoking one of the few drugs that really should have war declared upon them - tobacco.

I've been a smoker for about twenty years, give or take, and I've made far too many half-assed attempts to quit. Sometimes I've succeeded (once for eight months), but never for good. This time, though... this time just feels different.

The patch helps, as does the fact that the weather here is cool enough that I don't sweat the things right off my skin. If you've ever tried the patch and encountered the same phenomenon, here's some advice for getting them to stick all day:

1) Wash the application area really well, with soap that effectively removes dirt, sweat, and skin oils.

2) Dry the application area with a hair dryer. A towel just doesn't seem to cut it, although a really absorbent paper towel might.

3) Heat up the patch with the hair dryer (a toaster works too). Don't set it alight, just get it all soft and sticky.

4) Slap that puppy down tight and rub it 'til it's seriously bonded with your clean, dry skin.

This does slightly increase the "burn-in" feeling on first application, but the trade-off is well worth it to me, because the patch has a better chance of staying on all day.

It also helps, this time around, that I've been working toward and planning this for some time. Preparation is a good thing. So is acknowledging your efforts, both to other people and through journaling. Or both. ;-)

Another key motivator here is that I'm living in my own space (no longer sharing with anyone), and I want it to be clean. At my old place my roomie and I were always popping outside for a smoke; going down three flights of stairs on my own is not so appealing. It's also good to have my place smell clean when my nonsmoking girlfriend comes over...

It's only been a couple of days, but I've already noticed a few things that are very different. Munchies!!! I'm really going to have to watch that. Time to start keeping a lot more fruit and rice cakes around! Another thing that's weird: I've always associated cigarettes with "breaks" - like if my job has me driving around, I get to have a smoke. Somehow, it just doesn't seem like the much-anticipated break that it was until this week.

Also, I'm really tired. I wonder if other people have found this. I'm a coffee drinker (well, this is Slashdot, probably no need to explain that); my typical morning is a travel mug full of strong coffee and a couple of smokes before arriving at work, then another travel mug for the trip to work and the first part of the morning. I miss the morning cigs less than I thought I would, but the caffeine doesn't seem to work quite as effectively without the nicotine jolt. Probably a lot better for my health, though - together, they pack a hell of a wallop.

So that's where I'm at. I'm going to try to journal about this occasionally; it might make for interesting reading down the road. To me, at least. One thing I'm going to avoid, though: becoming one of those painfully smug, holier-than-thou reformed smokers. I'll just be happy to manage this much, thanks!

Anyone else have good, inspirational or funny stories about quitting? I'd love to hear them. Cheers!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Mods... not ALWAYS on crack.

Well, being something of a fan of the /. mod system (as noted below), it's nice to see it working the way it should. The whole story is below; thanks to those who took the time to respond. Who knows? Maybe somebody just hit the wrong mod category. Cheers!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Mods on crack 5

I am generally a fan of the mod system on /. - I think it's a reasonably elegant solution to a rather difficult problem. Sometimes, though, I just have to shake my head. I've never been one to bitch about moderation, but for some reason this one bugs me.

I should add that I don't always get to use mod points before they expire, being a pretty busy guy and all, but I always meta-moderate when given the chance (which is pretty much every day). I can only hope that someone catches this one in the meta-moderation process. Honestly, I'm baffled.

I made a comment (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118096&cid=9979707) related to an on-topic reply to a story. I could see getting modded off-topic, but I'm at a loss to see how my comment could be construed as trolling.

The only explanation I've found (and my meta-mod experience bears this out) is that there are an awful lot of moderators out there who use "Troll" as a way to get rid of a post with which they disagree. And that's just fucked up.

So how about it - have I missed something?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Global warming FUD 7

A couple of recent Slashdot stories have tied into global warming, and I must say I'm astounded at the prevailing attitude here. I'd sum that attitude up as follows:

1) It's natural.

2) It's inevitable.

3) There's nothing wrong with it.

I have several problems with this attitude, specifically:

1) Some climate change is "natural"; even anthropogenic climate change is as "natural" as beaver dams. So what? Data indicate that we are contributing to it!

2) If natural cycles are inevitable, fine. But if we can reduce the climate forcing WE CAUSE, shouldn't we?

3) There is plenty wrong with global warming. It is likely to disrupt fragile ecosystems (like the Arctic, in which I was raised), displace many millions if not billions of people, have an economic impact to dwarf that of the most ruinous war in history, alter local climates (often for the worse) and weather patterns, alter hugely important currents like the Atlantic Conveyor, and quite possibly trigger extinctions widespread enough to be called "massed".

The term FUD is one that probably needs no explanation to Slashdotters. The prevailing attitude towards global warming seems a kind of anti-FUD: "Nothing to fear, we're certain about that, don't doubt us."

It seems to me (and to most of the scientists I meet, talk to, and read) that a more reasonable attitude is exactly one of FUD: "We should fear this because the possible results are extremely bad for our society, we are somewhat uncertain as to details and very much need to learn more, and it's precisely because there IS some doubt as to human contribution and our ability to respond that we *need* to learn more."

Here's to more global warming FUD. Comments?

User Journal

Journal Journal: What will replace the multinational corporation? 3

Just went to see a film called The Corporation a couple of days ago, and I've been thinking about it quite a bit since. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the film describes how the modern multinational corporation came to be, and what it basically is now - a vastly powerful, amoral fictive "person" with traits we would call psychotic in a human.

Many people seem to think that the multinational corporation will replace, or is replacing, the nation-state as the most powerful entity in the world. It certainly appears that the corporate, "pro-business is pro-everyone" mindset is driving at least one world superpower. Oh, wait, there's only one left - so much for security through obfuscation. ;-)

Anyway, I got to wondering. Seems to me that hugely powerful corporations are not Good Things(tm), and some of us might want to hasten our passage through the "Corporate Age". What, though, would we work toward?

I don't have any great answers. I do think that changing what corporations are allowed to be, legally, is a better approach than challenging what they do, though both efforts are probably necessary. But what will come after the Corporate Age?

I was talking about this with my friend Steven Erikson last night (some of you may know his fantasy novels). He thinks there will be a reversion to nation-states, but more strongly isolationist and more divided by cultural and physical differences ("race", religion, politics, etc.) than nation-states are now. This makes sense, and one may already see it happening. What I'm wondering is, what else is coming? In what other ways will the post-corporate age differ from the pre-corporate age?

After all, if we can figure out what it looks like, we can find it that much more easily. Cheers!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fundamentalist Christian trolls 8

I've been wondering why fundamentalist Christian trolls seem to lurk around /. and similar sites, attacking science in general and evolution in particular. At first I thought they might be proselytizing, but a review of posting history suggests that - whatever else the goal - that's not what they're trying to do.

Are these posters young males going through some kind of rite of passage? Is it something they are told to do by a religious authority? Is it revenge for verbal knocking-about by pro-science/pro-evolution trolls elsewhere?

I'm really kind of curious about this. Anyone have any insights?

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"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)