Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The BBC website tells me today that-

Smoking 'reduces alcohol effect'

"Smoking and drinking often go hand-in-hand
Having a cigarette while drinking may reduce the effects of the alcohol, scientists suggest - but the tests have only been carried out on rats so far."

Can this story be trusted? After all nicotine alone is fatal to rats.

So what genus of beer-and-fag-consuming rats have they been doing these tests on?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Feeling slightly off colour today

Originally uploaded by mariotto52.

Last night was the legendary Mr and Mrs LB's barbecue. If anything was designed to test the resolve of an ex-smoker it is this.

The event has been running for eleven years now the first one being their wedding reception. There’s plenty to throw on the Barbie, plenty of drink to wash it down with and there’s a couple of charming cats and a nice garden to enjoy it all in. There is a abnormally large amount of cigarette smokers however and as I wrote earlier it’s this sort of undefined event where the urge to light up can be strongest. It acts as a kind of punctuation mark in the sea of fulsome prose.

You what? Exactly.

Anyway I DID NOT SMOKE. And to be honest I’m rather pleased with that. And I enjoyed it every bit as much as I usually do.

Bad head though.

(I made a lame joke some time ago about a Palin-athon on the television. Well UK History has designated today Palin Sunday. No kidding. Can my fragile head cope with it all?)

Friday, July 21, 2006

My new chum

I think I've picked up a little friend. I opened my gmail account and saw that some comments had been left on Verbal Diary. Lots of comments. Lots of comments about items I posted more than a month ago.

"Very pretty site! Keep working. thnx!"

"Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site! Keep up the good work. Thanks"

"Nice! Where you get this guestbook? I want the same script.. Awesome content. thankyou."

"Hey what a great site keep up the work its excellent."

"Really amazing! Useful information. All the best."

"This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this."

"Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks."

I somehow doubt they are being sincere- or capable of sincerity or any other human quality. But I'm in two minds about this.

On the one hand I don't suggest you get too close kiddo or it's a hose-pipe down the throat and see how your electrics like it.

On the other hand I do need cheering up so ta very much.

Can we meet?

The Quit-o-meter reads:

---3m 1w 5d 05:51 smoke-free, 2,583 cigs not smoked, £299.63 saved, 1w 1d 23:15 life saved


Heatwave London
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
Yesterday R and I sought out the air conditioned splendour of the New Connaught Rooms to place our bid on the mansion in SE18.

R had noticed that one had gone at auction in the same road for way beyond our budget. I was looking at the auction online and feeling a bit more optimistic about things as I noticed 3 bedroom houses were going for affordable prices in places like Thornton Heath. However it wasn't to be as we were outbid by £26,000. For some reason things are rocketing just when and where we don't want it to rocket. We retreated to the White Horse (itself doomed)to drown our sorrows.

This was preferable to losing it for a matter of a few hundred I guess but it still felt pretty bad. We were full of righteous anger about it seeing in our imaginations all the Victorian fittings being ripped up for the inevitable conversion into flats that is to come. A real pain.

Another feature of auctions is the nerve-wracking nature of it - a wave of the hand signifying a lifetime commitment. At least at a wedding you have your friends and family to back you up and some uplifting music if you're lucky.

I felt the same as attending one of the all-or-nothing interviews I had been to in the past. And the result was the same. The difference was I performed well- that is I put my hand up at the right time and stopped putting it up at the right time. It's just that we weren't rich enough to compete with the evil developer pig-dog bastards. That's all.

But for all the nervous stress and crashing despondency I didn't need or even think about having a cigarette. So hooray for that.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Quarterly Review.

It has now been three months without a cigarette so I'll have a little review of my progress since April.

Most, but not all, of the things in the hamper have been consumed. R only recently made a move on the Balm Mint footscrub. She also did an excellent job of the coconuts using her power drill to extract the milk.

I think there might be some monkey nuts left but my mind has turned to different types of snacks. Chocolate snacks to be exact.

My comedy beer belly has expanded exponentially. The other week I pulled on my corduroys, as I got dressed for work. I had forgotten that the night before the button had come off it and I didn't have time to sew it back on so I reached for another pair. They didn't fit. I then got another - again they had mysteriously shrunk. Four pairs later and I was going to have to miss work because I had no trousers.

" Sorry L I can't make it in today - no trousers" wasn't a phone call I wanted to make.

Luckily I saw some green commando type things with a stretchy waistband that looked ridiculous but at least covered most of my lower limbs. Panic over.

Other things? The patches had an unsettling effect on my skin which lasted for a bit beyond their use but its all ok now.

Fitness levels are probably a little bit better but carrying around my tummy is a bit tiring.

Money. Slightly better off at the moment but that will change when I visit the dentist next week. I can feel the caramel syrup corroding my molars as I write.

Mental Health. You what? Who you looking at?

Odours. These are no longer masked by the sweet smell of tobacco.

Time saved? I'm not sure here. I guess my employer has benefited handsomely. You do have to give up a lot of time if you're a smoker to ensure you get your fix. On the reverse side a cigarette is a great way of filling up dead time and staving off boredom and depression.

Net effect. Positive but not life transforming.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My Ubuntu in action - the not so simple and not quite the best things in life are free (if you forget the money it costs to set up- for routers, second hard drives etc..and the time of course... oh yes...the time...).

One of the ways I've tried to keep my hands occupied over the weeks has been by sitting down at the keyboard of my PC – obviously. Sometimes this has been enjoyable. Sometimes not. I have done a bit of cautious experimenting with the world of Linux and at times I have felt like Nicholson in “The Shining” constantly typing “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” into a Terminal whilst going slowly INNNSSSAAAANNNEEE!!!!!! (R has been a perfect Shelley Duval).

But not always. I always feel nervy about praising it because whenever I'm feeling evangelical about Ubuntu something tends to crop up. I will throw caution to the wind and say it's been really good fun and must have a chance of making inroads into the market. Apparently its Apple that might feel the heat more than Windows as it possesses some of Apple's selling points minus the tie-in to the pricey hardware.

There are loads of times when I rejoice I'm in XP. Feed Demon is a great tool for my minor RSS obsession and its a Windows-only prog but I'm beginning to appreciate the work done at Straw. My first Linux RSS try outs were depressing but things are looking much better.

I have Ipodder the same as I do in XP I have got Opera 9 working (blood sweat and tears there I'm afraid) . I managed to sort out radio streams (an essential for R who likes to listen to AFC Wimbledon match commentary). The whole multimedia area is a bit tricky but a lot of other basic stuff – image editing word processing etc are all there ready to go from the outset. And there's a lot of stuff sitting there waiting for you to play with when you get bored. I've even got, a very slow, Google Earth running on it.

It has its limits. Its strengths are what though? Freedom from the security chores you have with Windows. The freeing of processor power for the same tasks.

I rather like it because it forced a tiny dose of learning on me and, ironically perhaps, has made me discover things in Windows that I didn't know were there such as some windows management features. (Windows management means things like jumping between programs and stopping your screen getting cluttered up with too many things – stuff like that. Linux has lots of great stuff for all that such as multiple workspaces that you can jump between.)

Sorry. Downside is it makes for a very boring post.

Oh ...yes Blogger doesn't like it when I paste over from Open Format Documentsssszzz

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It may or may not be killing me but getting home and opening a bottle of Young’s Ordinary just now is pure heaven. The beer’s at just the right temperature – R keeps it in the communal shed to make it slightly more difficult to access. Like most self-imposed barriers they tend to be a bit flimsy. One of us just phones the other one when we’re approaching the flat and they throw the keys down and Bob's your uncle. The shed does stay nice and cool though. So though the shed fails as an aid to temperance it succeeds as an aid to temperature.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It was a forgettable enough display for any poor neutral who decided to watch it. Lucky old neutrals I say. Its pain is still fresh in the memory for some of those involved.

I still don’t really understand the game of football. Rooney gets sent off for kicking some balls around the park. I thought that was the whole point of the game. Anyway it resulted in penalties with the inevitable result.

What’s really annoying is that it was the wrong balls that got the treatment.

Luckily things cheered up a bit with a great display from France against Brazil. I hope they can deliver up some pain for their next opponents.

Despite the stresses and strains I didn’t feel the need for any consoling cigarettes. The quit-o-meter now reads as:

2m 3w 2d 01:46 smoke-free, 2,102 cigs not smoked, £243.83 saved, 1w 07:10 life saved