July 24, 2004

Think This Means They Could Fix My "B" Key?

This is great for Danger, Inc., makers of my T-Mobile Sidekick (or Hiptop in Danger Lingo). As one of the early adopters of the Sidekick, I'm hoping this means that Danger has an free and easy way of badgering T-Mobile into fixing my "B" key. It stopped working a few weeks after I bought my new Sidekick. Of course, I didn't buy any extended warranty. As it stands now, instead of looking in to what could be done to fix my "B" key, I re-jigger my writing to exclude "B" words. Instead of baby, I type infant. Instead of break, I type smashed. Stuff like that. I've gotten good at it.

The color sidekick is nice and fancy and faster than the old model. But I've found the durability isn't as good. If they upped the quality of the software and innards, perhaps they saved on the case and keyboard? It doesn't feel as hardy in your hand.

My old sidekick rode 14 miles at 40 MPH on the top of my van one time before falling off into the middle of a four-lane road when I made a right-hand turn. When I found it, face down and open, just missed by oncoming traffic, it was on and working just fine. Scratched, dented, but absolutely nothing wrong with its brain or parts.

I've had the new Sidekick a month or so, and already the B key doesn't work and I've had to call T-Mobile once when it went dead for a day to find out I needed to take out and re-insert the SIM card.

Anyway, I hope they use the money wisely, is what I'm sayin'.

And I hope they write and say, Hey Girl, we'll send you a new one that works just groovy and you send us yours.

That's be good.

July 23, 2004

Hi Dean!

Received the code. Deciphered. I read you. The quarter is benind the tallest oak in the westmost part of town. Over and out good buddy.


Sure, the story itself is funny...

...because I can think of so very many alternate headlines for it, many of them involving SPAM. But none of my funnies compare to the joy of reading a sentence like this one from the BBC:

"Despite the massive public interest, no-one was found to have lost their organs."

I mean, you just don't run into that kind of news every day.

Really, you don't.

I have now stopped smoking for 19 days, 7 hours, 4 minutes, 12 seconds.

July 22, 2004

okay, I'll live in a bag.

I guess. Why not? Is a zipper included?
Earthbag construction
Originally uploaded by Rog.

You say symbiosis, I say homogeny...

Let's call the whole thing off.

The more weblogs embrace, partner with, and mimic traditional media, the more weblogging reads like, feels like, and smells like traditional media.

In other words, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck......

Doc thinks the teaming of Technorati and CNN around politics is cool news. I think Doc is cool. But I think neither of these things is the point.

As a nice way of streaming blogs on macro events for easy slicing and dicing BY THOSE LOOKING FOR EASY SLICES AND DICES this is a fine maneuver. 

SO why does it annoy me, greatly?

I am looking not for symbiosis here, but contrast. My biggest hope is that, in seeing these two forms of communication side by side, the juxtoposition will bring clarity and bright shiny edges. My hope is to see the blinding light of dissonance between blogging and "J"ournalism, to confuse the hell out of every one, including our very own pundits here in blogland.

My fear is that it will look more symbiotic than dissimilar, like Doc says.

politics.technorati.com? How about loss.technorati.com, how about chemo.technorati.com, how about babiesborn.technorati.com?

The diluting of blogging into little more than streaming news (especially political) is a trend that needs to die an early death. Lest we see the day when blog-speak runs beneath all the other little terror-tape up-to-the-minute reports at the bottom of the news screen -- if they can fit another ticker tape on at the bottom of the news screen!

......bloggers report Dukakas the winner by 54 percent!..... Instapundit to wed Sullivan....  Mass. blogger spies suspicious package on sidewalk....

Film at motherfucking 11.

Sharemeter says I get to live another day

I've added a day onto my life, according to Sharemeter. Thanks Paul for letting me in on it. Pretty powerful stats!

Based on my particulars: I have now stopped smoking for 18 days, 5 hours, 34 minutes, 45 seconds. That translates into 291 cigarettes NOT smoked, for a savings of $61.83! I have increased my life expectancy by 1 days, 18 minutes, 35 seconds.

The good news is, I live a day longer.
(the bad news is, I live a day longer without a cigarette.)



Fiction Recommendations PLEASE

For the first time in six years I've read a  novel from cover to cover (in two days) without a smoke break.

I quit while I was pregnant with Jenna. I spent the majority of my pregnancy in the bathtub digesting novel after novel after novel, with a hunger I thought was driven by the knowledge that once the baby came, I'd never have time to read again. You know, since children end your life and stuff.

Now I think that my nine-month fiction fiesta may have been as much an antidote for the boredom of not smoking as a pregnancy craving. So I read this novel by Catherine Coulter called Blind Side and had a blast with it. I've never read her before, but it's one of those FBI crime fighter thrillers with a six-year-old boy at the center of the ruckus.

So, here we go gang--I'm jonsing. Do I stick with Coulter and run down the series? Or who do you have for me to read? QUICK LEAVE YOUR FICTION RECOMMENDATIONS TODAY!

[[note, I've read every Grisham novel (including bleachers--my first sans-smoking book), I read Running with Sicssors by Agustine Burrows, and I read The Narrows by what's his name? The big detective author guy--malcolm somebody? You know, the Harry Bosch series...]]

My tastes are not eclectic when it comes to fiction. Mostly I NEED AN ESCAPE in my purse just in case.

Thank you.

Everyone's seen it by now...

but I still have to link to JibJab's This Land. It's just too funny.

July 21, 2004

Waiting to Exhale

Once a week I go to group therapy. Friends ask, what do you do in group? How is it different than individual sessions? I'd never trust opening up with other people around! What do you s-a-y?
Group is an amazing and powerful tool for -- excuse the buzzword -- recovery. Buzzwords aside, I can say it has been an essential ingredient in helping me get more well than I've been in my previous 42 years. Without the work I've done in group, I probably wouldn't have been ready or willing to give up smoking. It's not that I talked about smoking in group. It's that, when you work as hard as I work in group, you know when you're not making progress, when there's some kind of block, when you're stuck. Usually it's an addiction. Pick your poison.
I didn't put this together before I went tonight--the whole smoking and group thing. I just went. Like I always do. But like I always don't, I cried through my work. All of it. Never mind cried; I sobbed.
I wept for the family I had and lost, the family I thought I had, the father who evaporated one day when I got off the bus from kindergarten, the battles with stepfamilies and alcohol and panic and rage and so many many other things. I wept for what was and for what was missing. I wept for him and for her and for us.
And finally, I wept for me.
It was the first time I realized, really realized, why I smoked, what I was holding down with cigarettes, why I so desperately needed to escape. Even though I've worked for a year to sort through issues I never thought I could, I've held onto so much more--more that I needed to run from every 20 minutes.
I've grieved plenty over the last two years, believe me when I say this. I am the one who never cried over my father's death. I am the one who carried a 4.0 GPA in the face of an emotional meltdown. I know a thing or two about holding up, and I know a thing or two about breaking down.
What both amazes and terrifies me is knowing that there's so much more to go. That I've really only begun. That some of what I've run the farthest from has been buried so deep under so many layers of smoke and spaghetti, of jokes and cokes, that it's going to take me a long time to get it up, and out. Out is the ultimate goal.
I never thought when I started this journey it would feel this way. I guess if I had known I might have decided not to take it.
For the first time tonight, though, I don't want to smoke.
I don't want a cigarette.
I just want to breathe and rest, to dream, to float.

"We do care that you had a cheese sandwich for lunch" --Mena Trott

In honor of Mena's quotable quote, I continue with my rather detailed, if not tiresome, daily meanderings through smokelessness.

When last you saw your heroine, she was so depressed she stayed in bed all day, with brief bouts of consciousness to drop off and pick up her child from gymnastics, and tend to her here and there, and then return to bed to watch A Goofy Movie with her.

Today was a bit better. I made it to the grocery store. For some, a menial task. For me, Filmore Hall. I even remembered to get dog food, which considering we were out, made both me and the dogs happy.

I had the extra energy I needed to deposit a check (from back in the days when I actually HAD work to do--Hello August I feel ya comin' you dry-as-a-bone mofo). The teller was approximately 10 steps from where I checked out at the grocery store--a real triumph!

I have therapy tonight, so I get to leave the house again in a half hour.

This is what it's like for me without my best worst friend. I'm not as down today. We watched a DVD this afternoon which was highly maudlin, and I felt better.


July 20, 2004

44 posts til my 2,000th post, and a lifetime to survive until I smoke.

Another milestone approaching. Just 44 posts until I hit 2,000 here. That's sort of cool. And then again, as with every milestone I approach these days, the fundamental question of "why?" tosses itself into the mix.
Today, well, just now actually, as I was back in bed, my new favorite spot, watching the Goofy Movie with Jenna, I was trying to tie this feeling of sadness/depression/??? back to something, to figure out why I've been so down even in the face of what is the triumph of quitting smoking.
I think it's fear. All the years of stuffing down fear and anger with smoke--maybe I'm feeling so disconnected and bored because I'm afraid of those feelings coming up? Maybe the detachment I'm feeling from life right now--the who can stand this place without a lit cigarette feeling--is a buffer because I'm too afraid to feel what living is like when I'm really there. Afraid of what those moments hold when I'm present without 5 minute breaks every 20.
How do I behave with no way out? How do I sit without thinking about getting up? How do I talk without the away time to process? How do I love without an automatic afterward? How do I drive a half hour without disappearing for 10 minutes of it?
I'm afraid of this life that you all live without escape.
I like my house. I have distractions in here. But the world is too bright. I don't know where you go when it gets too bright or too dark. Where's your smoking area? Even if you don't smoke, you must have one. Is it a martini? A secret something? What?
Tonight I'm scared that I can't do this forever, and scared that I have to. I don't like myself--my personality--the last couple of weeks. I hope the experts are wrong and that I shouldn't be feeling more normal by two weeks post-smoking simply because the nicotine is gone.
Because if this is my normal, well then it sucks, and badly.
Anyway, I have a Goofy Movie to go watch. Thank goodness, the day is nearly over.

I want a new design!!

Halley's got a good looking new template goin' on.
The font, colors, and design are so clean and easy to read.
I come back to this blog after visiting Halley's and look at my own house and feel like I'm looking, well, at my own house. Shit.
And the strange thing is, with this new blogger interface enhancement circus, I'm changing typefaces and leading and I don't even know I'm doing it, and that's just no good. I need things to be a LITTLE bit hard. Make em too easy and I'll screw them up for sure.
I am still not smoking. I was very depressed today. Jenna went to gymnastics camp and I stayed in bed most of the day. Why? I kept not wanting to, but it felt so good, and bad, at the same time to hang on the edge of consciousness where I no longer noticed how distressingly unappealing life is. Or seems to be, because of course I want to live or I wouldn't be doing this in the first place!!! I just don't want to feel "like this."
There is an ambivilance that comes with not smoking, as if the meaning has been sucked out of my participation in life. How stupid. I know it's stupid--ironic anyhow--that in getting healthier I feel less like doing anything healthy.
Is this hormones? Is this no cigarettes?
Is this what happens when you take away somebody's death wish?
I don't know.
My two huge activities today consisted of taking Jenna to camp and picking her up.
I could have full well gone swimming afterward. I could have gone grocery shopping. Goodness knows we need food in the house. I could have gone to see my sister.
I came home. I feel comfortable not smoking in my home because I've not smoked in my home for a decade. Home is where I don't notice so much.
But out in the world, I really fret. How stupid that sounds. Trading nicotine addiction for agoraphobia.
I think that this week I'm going to have to pick a day where I MAKE myself do something outside the scope of work (which is at home on my laptop), outside the scope of household chores (again, happy happy home home), and outside of the bedroom (which is where I like to nap and nap and nap). I'm going to have to push myself out into the world and find some tiny speck of joy in participating in life sans stimulants.
Perhaps I should take up drinking? I've been thinking about it, and that's really not good.
Keeping you posted.

July 19, 2004


I am tired. Dog tired. And every time I feel that tired sinking feeling I reach for something that's not there anymore, and I get very irritable. Angry even.
All the stuff I've read says that at two weeks (where I am now), the physical addiction/cravings for nicotine are gone. The dependence on nicotine as a stimulant is over, the literature says.
Bullshit I say.
When I want one, I want it as badly today as I did day one. The number of times per day that wanting hits has eased up, but the wanting hits just as hard, with the same gusto as always.
Today we went outside and cleaned my van from pedal to bumper. I used to smoke in my car on the rare occasion when I was alone in it. This was the first cleaning since my de-nicotining self-improvement project. I keep my car as near an actual pig pen as I can on an average day. And a smoker's pig pen is pretty bad. It took two hours of sweat just to get the inside passable.
I took 8 packs of "pegs" (what george and I call the half-cigarette oddities that result from my habit of breaking an American Spirit non-filter in half, then smoking one half at a time in my filter) from my glove compartment and hurled them into the garage. I didn't care where they landed as long as they flew far away from my lips, which REALLY wanted a reward for wading through the mess that was my mini-van.
I hate that van. I hated it even more today because I had to clean it without the dissociative second-hand activity of smoking.
We took Jenna to chuck-e-cheese this evening. My former highlight of Chuck-e-Cheese used to be stepping outside for a smoke. This time I couldn't. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE THAT CAN DO CHUCK-E-CHEESE WITHOUT SMOKING?! Screaming rides, shrieking kids, bad pizza, and epileptic-friendly blinking lights.
"I don't want to be a freak like you people who can stand that place without a cigarette," I said mostly to myself as I stood at the ticket counter with Jenna waiting for her to decide whether to get a notepad and a ruler, a goodie bag, or a tube of body glitter with her 256 tickets.
But I managed.
And it made me so tired. I get so tired. I teeter between exhaustion and insane rage. The all-or-nothingness that was once reserved for my smoking activities has seeped into my non-smoking self.
I know there must joy in regular people's daily activities. I know somewhere there is a "fun time" waiting for me minus the detachment that comes from smoking, that a boredom free life without constant multi-tasking exists somewhere. And I'm sure the experts are correct, that what I'm experiencing now is more the havoc of the emotional addiction, not the physical.
But it feels pretty physical to me when I want to put my fist through a wall.

Fair and Balanced Tom

We're all Fair and Balanced. Well, compared to Fox News. 
Go read Tom and do as he says.
Tom: A new commonplaces, fair and balanced watchdog of the zou gou.

July 18, 2004

If only Bush could spell...

Oh shit!
We missed by one letter!

Happy Anniversary

My last cig was on july 3, so I count July 4 (independence day--pretty clever, eh?) as my no-smoking anniversary, which means it's two weeks today officially.
I didn't quit on independence day on purpose. The doc made me do it.
Still, feels pretty good except when it feels really bad.
Thank you all for your encouragement. Frank Paynter says I'm over the worst of it now. I remember how easy it was to "have just one" after quitting for 4 years, so I'm not sure I'll ever be over the worst of it. It's amazing the stories an addict tells themselves.
I once explained the thinking process in quitting to a friend who never smoked. It is true addict thinking that takes over the want-to-be quitter. Logic doesn't really work. In those moments when the craving hits, every single valid, rational, well-rehearsed reason for quitting you've given yourself---even if you just recited them two minutes prior---vanish. Gone. Into thin air. You remember nothing, nada, can't think of a single reason in the world why having a cigarette at that given moment would be a bad idea. It's like amnesia. Until you're in the middle of an inhale, you really have no conscience because you're really not conscious.
As soon as the wave passes, all those reasons come back into your mind--OH RIGHT! I can't smoke, OH I'm so glad I didn't light one up, oh MAN I would have blown two weeks straight, OH JEEEZE and there's Jenna, and OH CRAP THAT'S RIGHT, I'm on that medicine where I could die of I keep it up, and RIGHT I remember now!!! Duh! How did I forget all that?!?!
Then the next wave comes, and it's la-la-land can't think of a single reason, can't summon one good reason why having a cigarette would be a bad idea, just can't think--trying to think, but can't--of a reason why I shouldn't enjoy just one..... hmmm... seems like there was some reason I'm not supposed to, but no, nope, can't think of what that might be.
I wish I weren't an addict. I had a cousin, Louise, who, for as long as I knew her (decades), had one cigarette each day, just after dinner. Never more. She enjoyed that one cigarette in its oneness in a way I never could.
No sooner would I light it than wonder what I'll be up to next. Not Louise though. She'd sit back and relax, smoke her cigarette, make it last longer than mine ever did, and then she was finished. Just like that. On to other things without wondering when she'd have another. Without worrying that she might not have another.
What is that gene I'm missing? I don't have the "enough is enough" gene. I have the "if one is good, than 160 must be g-r-e-a-t!" gene.
Oh, wait a minute. I just remembered Louise married into the family.

Hell yes, war crimes.

Read Stavros today. And wonder then why so many good and decent people hate this country. Or, don't wonder.

Stewart Was Here.

You know how you can tell?
Because every time Flickr comes out with a new feature, your favorite blogs begin to look like they've been hit by the local overpass graffiti artist.
That's because Stewart is very smart and geeky and businessy and creative and he doesn't slow down. He leaves ideas scattered behind him in chalk outlines that are no longer just "inside" flickr. They're spreading. Look out.
Now you can check out photos on flickr, and with just a click-a-da-mousey, share them with your blog readers, complete with your witty commentary.
Stewart's announcing a new partnership over on his blog too.
Ah Stewart. What next, you crazy kids?

This is certainly appropriate

remind me to make a thumbnail for my sidebar.

Might as well make this template as noisy as possible, violating every typeface and design rule known to man and causing seizures in as many readers as possible.

You can't get that just anyplace.

blog No Smoking_LACC
Originally uploaded by Duane.

tee hee.

Maybe this should be my template photo.
pho shizzle
Originally uploaded by Abu.

No matter what I do, my template ends up looking like the inside of my head.

every single time.

AKMA's Photo

More from Flickr, where I found Pippa's Door, which is just so cool.

AKMA says: "Pippa has turned social activist, though her cause is not so well-publicized or globally significant as WMDs or torture. On the other hand, thereĆ¢??s a nascent feminist consciousness at work there, and some remarkable slogan-writing capacity. . . ."

Pippa's Door
Originally uploaded by AKMA.

Gary, courtesy of Flickr

Flickr has a great new blog-this-photo feature I didn't know about. Til I found a photo of Gary Turner, and decided I needed to blog it so I have it to look at, and I noticed that Gary is blogging, which is good. Gotta run and read.
Originally uploaded by Gary Turner.

Cigs were my friends because they...

Were always there
Listened empathetically
Talked me through every problem
Celebrated with me
Cried with me
Calmed me down
Got me up in the morning
Helped me through traffic
Reminded me to breathe
Yes, I know that sounds screwed up. But it's true.
They also...
Made me smell
Took me away from my kid
Made me cough
... uh, anyone?? That doesn't sound so bad.

the bonds of blogging

I find it quite adorable that these blog guys go shopping together. (for electronics and gadgets, of course.)