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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Quitter, Non-smoker and Ex-smoker

Earlier today on Quitline,  Axl231261 and g1nny posed the question "When do we go from Ex Smoker to Non-Smoker?"

I'm not sure that it is a progression. Quitting is a process at the end of which you've become an ex-smoker. Being a non-smoker can also be interpreted as a function state .. one who does not smoke.  If I'm not smoking, I'm a non-smoker. If I'd never smoked I would be a non-smoker. If I'd given up 20 years ago I'd be a non-smoker. If I gave up yesterday I'd still be a non-smoker:
Time QuitEx smokerQuitterNon-smoker
Never smokedNNY
Still smokeNYN
1 day?Y?
100 daysYY?

Most of the table cells make sense, but the question marks are the ones where interpretation is required. Personally I'd say the ? marks should be replaced (left to right) by N, N, Y even though that second N contradicts the previous paragraph. Redefine "Non-smoker" purely functionally as "Non-smoking smoker" and I'd agree with the Y.

I'm still trying to work through going from "Quitting" to "Ex-Smoker". While I wasn't smoking and getting by with Champix, a chemical aid, I was definitely a Quitter. Since then I've been a couple of months not smoking without any chemical assists. Functionally a non-smoker during that time, but with internal turmoil that makes me wonder about my commitment to the process.

The way I model it for myself is that I'm a nicotine / tobacco smoking addict and basically I'm like any other Addict. I happen to be clean and I can usually tell you how many days clean. I have acquired methods and techniques that help me avoid smoking and I have a support network that helps me stay clean. But, beyond all this I am an addict. I am a non-smoking tobacco addict, I don't think I'm really an ex-smoker yet and don't think I have any right to describe myself as that until I realise I go days in a row without thinking about smoking.

That's what I'll say to my fellow quitters. For the last 15 years I've worked with a guy that gave up before I met him. He's told me that he found describing himself as a non-smoker rather than an ex-smoker had one big advantage for him; people didn't offer him cigarettes in the way that they did when he said he was an ex-smoker. I don't know if the 21st century differs greatly from the 20th in this respect, but when talking to a non-quitter that doesn't know me as a smoker I describe myself as a non-smoker and would decline an offered cigarette with a polite "No thanks, I don't"

Upgrading Postgres to 9.4 beta3

I've been running Debian testing for quite a while and have recently had an error when attempting to update my Postgresql database
The on-disk format of the PostgreSQL 9.4 data files has changed between
beta2 and beta3 (and as a consequence, the catalog version number). For that
reason, existing PostgreSQL 9.4 clusters need to be dumped using the old
package version, and reloaded after upgrading the packages.

The postgresql-9.4 package will now refuse to upgrade because version 9.4
clusters exist on the system.

Per default, a "main" cluster is created. Run "pg_lsclusters" to check if
other clusters exists, and repeat the steps below appropriately.

To resolve the situation, before upgrading, execute:
# su - postgres
$ pg_lsclusters
$ pg_ctlcluster 9.4 main start
$ pg_dumpall --cluster 9.4/main | gzip > 9.4-main.dump.gz
$ cp -a /etc/postgresql/9.4/main 9.4-main.config
$ pg_dropcluster 9.4 main --stop

Then after the upgrade, execute:
# su - postgres
$ pg_createcluster 9.4 main
$ cp 9.4-main.config/* /etc/postgresql/9.4/main
$ pg_ctlcluster 9.4 main start
$ zcat 9.4-main.dump.gz | psql -q --cluster 9.4/main
$ rm -rf 9.4-main.config 9.4-main.dump.gz
So I did this :) only to get the following message on the zcat | psql step
ERROR:  role "postgres" already exists

Googling for the error message gave the suggestion that I should use the command dropuser postgres, but that just produced the message
dropuser: removal of role "postgres" failed: ERROR:  current user cannot be dropped

At this point I tried a little poking around and close to the top of the dump file I discovered the line
CREATE ROLE postgres;
A quick test of dropping the CREATE ROLE line worked first time. This meant that the zcat line now reads
zcat 9.4-main.dump.gz | grep -v 'CREATE ROLE postgres'|psql -q --cluster 9.4/main

With this change the upgrade's worked without obvious errors and psql is responding to simple queries. Unfortunately I don't know enough about postgres to be able to say that everything is working.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Last Christmas: Dr Who is scary again

Warning: I discuss the plot of the episode. If you're unhappy with details of a programme you haven't seen being discussed, please watch the episode now and then return here.

One of my strongest single childhood memories was hiding behind my mother's chair while watching the original Dr Who avoid the Daleks in their metal floored city. I was definitely at least 6 and probably no more than 8.

I've never understood why, before the middle of the 20th century, children's entertainment was permitted to be seriously frightening nor why after that it was forced to become so completely bland and non-threatening, but The Dr lived through that era and was destroyed by it.

Dr Who of the early 1960s was for a young child a very frightening TV programme. It was scary but at the same time I never wanted to miss a minute; hence the cramped space between mum's arm chair and the wall. Later incarnations of The Dr became less frightening. Obviously I was maturing but I also think that the BBC had been gradually turning down the fright as they slowly but surely turned it into the self parody it became before ultimately being shut down.

They say you are always a fan of your first Dr Who so it would be interesting  to hear from people a few years younger than me if they found the 1970s and 1980s versions of Dr Who as shallow as I did. Was it purely that I was maturing and out-growing the show?

Since the show was resurrected I've enjoyed watching the occasional episode as the new Dr Who was, I felt, still accessible to younger people without being a silly parody. Tonight I watched Peter Capaldi's 12 Doctor and Clara Oswald in the 2014 Christmas special  Last Christmas.  For the first time since those halcyon days of the early 1960s I felt genuine horror while watching the show. Sure I'm now an adult and didn't need to hide, and the horror of being trapped in nested dreams by a parasitic creature would probably escape attention by a 6 year old, but to me the thought of the mind being forcibly taken over by predators was scary.

The episode started as almost a comedy with Santa Claus crashing his sleigh at, Clara's house. I thought "Oh no, another parody" but then the episode turned dark with strange shambling aliens and "Dream crabs", spider like creatures, attaching the guest victims ... except that Santa Claus returned and then either was or wasn't there, eventually being there almost to the end.

I think that what made the horror aspect work so well was that there was this mixture between the comedy elements around Santa Claus and the horror elements around the dream crabs. At first it seems to be a standard comedy horror spoof, except that as things carry on it becomes obvious that it isn't this and that the apparent comedy elements are actually a part of the horror.

Eventually everything is resolved, but this is hardly a surprise as we know the Dr will always survive and while there have been companions that have died, I can't remember any recent cases.

I've said to Tessa a few times that I like the thought of Dr Who far more than I like the reality of Dr Who, but if they can start producing shows of this quality I may well become a serious fan again, a mere 50 years after first being one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Smoking in the Magazine of The Ship of Fools

Well, it's officially the Christmas holiday for me and I'm not due back at work until the 5th, except that I committed some code changes just before leaving for the break and my conscience won't let me just leave potentially bad code in the pool for 2 weeks so I'm quietly monitoring things remotely. I simply didn't want to return to the new year with code changes from the old year half done if I could help it.

I'm also going to be checking for any urgent queries over the break. Hopefully nothing seriously difficult to deal with.

Other than that I don't need to worry about the wonderful world of printing for a couple of weeks.

I'm also 109 days into quiting smoking and just coming up to a portion of the year where everything is different. Between now and Anniversary day I have Christmas, New Year, 2 weeks holiday, one weeks work and then the 2015 Linux Conference of Australia ... held in the great Australian City of Auckland.

It's all good, but also the first time I've done any of these things since giving up and my experience of the last 109 days is that the first time I do anything since quitting, the addiction will trigger and try to convince me that it's time to have a cigarette. It's really weird how that works. I know I'm not planning on having a smoke but somehow the addiction thinks that just a little extra push and I'll crumble like a house of cards.

Perhaps a little more worrying is that I've been feeling a weakness particularly in the arms and legs; strangely not especially connected to my exercise routine but I have been feeling a desire to cut that short. For now I'm treating it as psychosomatic as it doesn't seem at all consistent, but if I end up taking a couple of extra days rest from exercise over the break it will be interesting to measure how that affects this weird little ailment.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What is it about tobacco addiction?

Last night I would happily have smoked at least one cigarette. Today I didn't even think about it except when on Quit-line and even then it pretty much felt an abstract thing.

Last night I noticed the smokers outside at the food hall in Te Awa, this afternoon I sat at the next table to some at Circus Circus and only realised when I saw the waiter removing their used ashtray.

I like the TV programmme Coronation St, and several of the characters on there are smokers. Usually I notice when one of them lights up. I watched last night's episode this evening and I couldn't tell you if anyone actually had a puff.

What's tomorrow to bring? Will I cruise through or will I have to fight myself toa standstill? Why can't the damned thing make up its mind how to attack?

BTW: Have you ever noticed how on Coro (and possibly other TV shows) they always have a full-size cigarette in their mouths even if they've supposedly been smoking it for a while.

Sometimes, I wish

Sometimes I wish my back didn't hurt as much when I drive;
Sometimes I wish I hadn't had to drive to Hamilton and back tonight.
Sometimes I wish I could still light up while waiting for Tessa so we could go home;
Sometimes I wish I could have, one, just one;
Sometimes I wish the addiction wouldn't lie to me.

Sometimes I wish Christmas was already over;
Sometimes I wish I was a child and Christmas was still magic.
Sometimes I wish I'd never started smoking;
Sometimes I wish I was starting my quit next week.
Sometimes I wish I could have, one, just one;
Sometimes I wish the addiction wouldn't lie to me.

Sometimes I wish my friends on here wouldn't have their own problems quitting;
Sometimes I wish the addiction wouldn't lie to them;
Sometimes I wish I didn't have to be strong for them.
Sometimes I wish I could have, one, just one like I tell my friends.
Sometimes I wish the addiction wouldn't lie to me.

Sometimes I wish I could climb into bed and pull the covers over my head.
Sometimes I wish it was only sometimes.

Sometimes ... Often ... Always ...

I Wish.

Julia Clement, December 2014

No, I'm not in any trouble or an especially bad place tonight. I just wanted to externalise this as a bad poem.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park 2014

I work close enough to the Auckland Domain that access to our street is affected by this so work got a notice with times etc for road closures, the two rehearsals, etc. We can't go to tonight's official show so along with several hundred others we decided to take in the dress rehearsal last night.

Attending the rehearsal meant the road closures weren't in full swing and we were able to park quite close to the Carleton Gore road entrance, which was handy for Tessa's knees as the route was largely flat and on grass. We went two hours early, just as the afternoon rehearsal was winding up. We had planned to have a picnic and then go to the convert area but when we saw that the crowds were already gathering we decided to take our picnic dinner down there with us.

They've kept the format that's served them so well but revamped the cast; gone are Frankie Stevens and Jackie Clarke and in there place were several younger musicians I didn't recognise but the younger audience members obviously did.

I can only remember seeing 3 or 4 smokers in the Domain, only one in the main audience sitting area, and caught a couple of whiffs of tobacco. Most of the audience were families of cast members and the majority of the cast were young dancers from, if I count right, 5 different dance schools or groups and a couple of (semi-)pro hip-hop crews so there were a lot of parents, and siblings there but even so it was refreshing to see how few people there were smoking. We parked just across the road from the park entrance and I did see a handful smoking on the street in the short time I was there.

Nothing fired off my smoking triggers as such before or during the concert although after we'd eaten and I took the dishes back to the car I had a minor "wouldn't it be nice ..." moment easily avoided. Then after the end of the show as we got back to the car I had a brief craving, again easily suppressed, probably coming from the psychological nostalgia as I would have smoked at this time in the past; especially if I'd gone a couple of hours at a smoke-free concert.

Once again a great night.  The rehearsal doesn't have the fireworks or the lighting of the Christmas tree and the real show tonight will have them and be even better,

[Update 5PM]

I just went for an exercise ride on my bike including a lap around the Domain. At 4:30, three hours before the planned start time,  the area where we were last night, close to the stage, was already filling up and people were starting to fill good positions on the crater walls. A lot of them had umbrellas up against the light rain that's already forming. As I left and rode down Carleton Gore Rd, they were towing away cars from the temporary mobility parking areas.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In Search of Fettuccine Bolognese

Fettuccine Bolognese? You know, like spaghetti bolognese only with flat cut pasta strips and not round pasta. I find the texture and strangely enough the flavour a little different and more to my taste. It sounds simple enough to make, so why do I have so much trouble ordering it?

Our first contender is Alessio's, the Italian food stand at the Ponsonby International Foodcourt. The last several times we've eaten Italian there I've ordered Fettuccine Bolognese with extra parmesan cheese. The woman that used to take the orders had no problems, but she seems to have been replaced, twice. The last 4 times I have had problems. The first replacement order taker managed to record the order wrong, simply as "Bolognese" and spaghetti bolognese arrived. I'm not sure why but I accepted this. Normally I'd check my order before accepting it but this time I didn't notice until both Tessa and I were already eating so I didn't say anything. Next time, when spaghetti bolognese arrived I sent it back.

The third time, I read what the order taker had written on her pad and politely pointed out to her that she hadn't written "fettuccine" anywhere. She corrected it with poor grace. Once again spaghetti arrived and once again I sent it back. This time it was the chef's mistake.

Finally a few days back I attempted to order my favourite from them and there seemed to be a new order taker at the counter. It took a long time to explain to her that I wanted Fettuccine Bolognese, just like spaghetti but made with fettuccine ... she seemed unsure what fettuccine was ... once I'd convinced her to write it down I then asked for the extra parmesan cheese. She wanted to know what parmesan cheese was and which menu number it was.

At this point I realised that whoever this woman is, she isn't an Italian food stall order taker so I walked off and had a different cuisine, Chinese from Golden Express. While I was there I remarked to Tessa that I didn't think I'd return to Alessio's and why. The Chinese lady who fronts Golden Express was listening to my explanation and even she laughed when I got to the bit about an Italian restaurant not knowing what parmesan cheese was.

Tonight we went a little bit upmarket. Precisely to Niko's Pizza, Greek and Italian food place in Takapuna. I still wanted my fettuccine bolognese so when I saw that they had both a fettuccine dish and spaghetti bolognese on the menu I asked the waitress if I could order it, she took the order and all seemed well ... until the food arrived that was ... when it arrived it was fettuccine all right but in some kind of creamy chicken sauce. Tessa sent it back for me. Next we had the owner bringing the dish back saying that it was their fettuccine dish to which Tessa explained that this wasn't what I'd ordered.

Eventually he got it and wandered back in. Tessa's meal arrived; mine arrived a good 10 minutes after Tessa's. To be fair it was a damned good fettuccine bolognese.

We've eaten at Niko's a few times before, but getting the wrong meal delivered to the table, having the owner argue about it and then our dishes being served at different times makes me positively disinclined to return.

OK I've ordered something that isn't on the menu. I'd accept three possible outcomes as fair:
  1. Refusal (Either through policy or an inability) to make the dish,
  2. Offering to make the dish at a different price,
  3. Making the dish at the same price as the spaghetti.
What I won't accept is having my order taken and then not getting what I ordered delivered. If you take the order, deliver what you've agreed to supply. It's really that simple. OK, mistakes do happen, if you take the wrong dish to the table, apologise, don't argue the point.

Postscript

Unwilling to spend any more time or money at Niko's, we drove back to town and went to Circus Circus for dessert and coffee. Unusually for them Circus Circus made a mistake with the order. When this was pointed out to them they immediately apologised and fixed the problem. Right answer Circus Circus.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Suddenly it's difficult again

I've done 80 days, 80 long smoke-free days, yet at lunchtime today I was thinking how much I'd like to have a smoke, I went Passion Food at the Newmarket Plaza food court and instead of my usual crispy pork had Mapo Tofu on rice for lunch and when leaving the food court walked past the local branch of The Tofu Shop (For those who don't know it, this is actually a grocery chain specialising in East Asian foods) I'd bought cigarettes there before giving up and I seriously considered buying a packet.  I was even working out what to do with the other 19 in the packet.

Sure I try and present a largely positive picture especially when encouraging those whom I support on quit-line, but I also try and warn them that we are on the hardest journey of our lives.

This should be getting easier, and for a long time it was but suddenly it's hard and this is the point I don't get.

Since coming off the Champix I've still felt gassy and often nauseous. For the last week or so I've had a passable imitation of a smoker's cough -- I wish I knew where that came from. Tessa says it sounds a lot less worrying than the cough I actually had when smoking, so at least there's that.

I'm still exercising after work. Tonight it was walking and at the 1 hour mark I was in Cornwall Park near the big roundabout. it took me over ½ an hour to walk the slightly over 2km home ... I was really dawdling by that point.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sugar Overdose

When I first started giving up I was handling the oral desires by using sugar-free gum and also munching out on nuts, almonds, dried peas (salted or chilli). This was good for keeping my mouth busy but also appeared to be leading to increased flatulence and other digestive discomforts. Subsequently I've decided I'm unsure about the flatulence as I now blame Champix for it.

To cut a long story short as my need for oral gratification decreased I decided to switch to sugar-free sweets. Great idea, lousy execution. Today I discovered that the brand of sweets I had picked wasn't sugar-free at all. I have no idea why I thought they were.

To rub insult into the injury, I've also been munching on Vicks lozenges today. I knew they were mostly sugar, but wasn't expecting to have doubled up.

Update 20/11/2014 @21:21: There's no secret, they're Mentos. There are regular Mentos with sugar and sugar free Mentos. I probably started with a roll of the sugar free ones and then switched to the regular without noticing. Mystery solved.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Back pain

Nothing special or world shaking about today's write-up. I've just had this nagging pain in my back for the last couple of days.

Yesterday I went for a walk at lunch-time to try and lightly jolt it back into full service. I ended up walking past the hospital (1 to 2 km away). When I realised I was going there I decided to have lunch at the Sierra cafe on the street nearby, got there and realised that it was a Columbus cafe instead,  saw the smokers clustered just outside the green line, and panicked. Next thing I knew I was jumping a bus for Downtown, nothing inspired there, nor at Ronnies.  I had a nice chillied tofu lunch in the food court at the bottom of Albert Street and hopped a bus back to the Symonds St end of Grafton Bridge. I walked back to work from there, passing the green-line and the Columbus cafe without incident or panic.

Mid afternoon the back came off my chair at work and my already sore back was jerked a bit. Come day's end I decided I'd try going for a long (in time terms) bike-ride. After coming home I hung the washing and then lept back on the bike and rode down to Cornwall park. I ended up riding around for about 1½ hours, pretty much non-stop. It was a gentle ride, but plenty of lateral flexing of the spine. Afterwards I felt a lot better. Was shaking a bit, not sure why and it wasn't a bad or unpleasant shaking so I pretty much ignored it.

Today I felt better but I was getting a tightness in the back. Come day's end I really felt that I wanted to give it another shake-out so after bringing in the washing from last night I headed down to Cornwall park for another ride-around. A little shorter today at just over an hour and my leg muscles weren't happy with it but my back felt good.

A couple of hours later I decided to go for a shorter power walk to even up the leg exercise.

After all this I feel pretty good, certainly better than I would have felt after the same amount of exercise a couple of months ago, but my general lack of exercsie this year was showing. I can see I need to keep my exercise levels up.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Going back for more punishment

I scared myself a little at work today and realised that if I'm going to succeed at this non-smoking game I need to get my life re-integrated so I can simply do the things I like to do without worrying overly about the smoking vs non-smoking identity.

Angela and I are due to resume bridge early in the new year and I've been wanting to go back to stand-up and have another try for quite a while. I haven't felt very funny since the 6th of September, but I was having a bit of humourous "verbal diarrhea" in the office today and decided I am ready to put a new set together and have another go.

I zapped off an email to Scott at the Classic Comedy Club asking for a slot and then Tessa and I went to the Club last night and while I was there had a brief chat with Scott letting him know that I want him to give me a few slots so I can't run away and hide again. As soon as he gives me my start date I will no longer be an ex-raw-comedian. Hopefully the comedy unquit will be as sticky as my smoking quit.

It was a little funny as I stood there last night looking out through the glass and into the terrified eyes of those soon to be sacrificed to the crowd as they sucked the nicotine into their systems as fast as possible to calm their nerves.

Will I be able to resist the nicotine before my first set? Will I need it afterwards? I'm hoping that the answer to both of these is "No", but I can no longer look at my reflection in the window, floating translucently among the raw comedians and not want to be back on that stage. Life is full of risk; when you go to KFC, every single drumstick has the dog-killing bone, and it's just as effective against humans as dogs, yet we continue to go to the red and white stripes to lick our fingers.

I need some material ... I think I have enough to do a set on quitting smoking, if I can make it into a coherent story that's funny otherwise I might just have to talk about something else, but smoking or not smoking I will be up on that stage.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Finished with Champix

I haven't enjoyed the Champix, but it was (I believe) the differrence between my being able to quit smoking and not so I will always be grateful to it for giving me the option of becoming smoke-free for life.

Like many people I was having sleep disturbance and a few weeks back I stopped having the evening tablet. A couple of weeks back I missed a day, after a bit of thought I went back on the stuff. On Sunday the 9th I forgot to take the morning tablet and didn't notice any negatives.

Following this I'm now 4 1/2 days since my last one, feeling a little strange & the burping was definitely still with me this afternoon. I've had a slight smoker's cough since Sunday evening, and I'm feeling a bit stressed but, and this is the important thing, I'm not feeling any strong cravings for a cigarette. No stronger than I've had for the last few weeks.

I've had my Champix in my backpack since Monday in case I needed to go back on it in a hurry. I can't see that happening now, but will take the foul stuff if I need to.
 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Parakai Pools

Tessa and I spent the day at Parakai hot pools.

It was great not having to punctuate swimming with scheduling smoke breaks. I just went about my day switching activities as I felt like it. It was great to feel free.

I spent a lot of time on the hydro-slide and think I've swallowed a lot more water than I should.

I'm pretty sure I forgot today's Champix (I've cut back to 1 a day to reduce side-effects). I'm not suffering any bad effects or cravings so I'll leave it until tomorrow morning's scheduled one. A lot less scary than when I forgot one a week or 2 back.

I can't recall who mentioned becoming super-sensitive to the smell of tobacco smoke but at one point I was in the water and smelled over the strong chlorine the smoke from a cigarette 20 metres away. It didn't ruin my day, I didn't even concentrate very much on the other cigarettes around.

These tobacco cravings seem to come and go and punctuate their timings.

Update: This was the end of my taking the Champix. I was OK the next couple of days without it and decided I didn't need the side effects.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Here's to other quitters

All's pretty quiet in my own smoking cessation process. Meanwhile I've had time to think of others on their own journeys.

Although there are many others, there are four people I'm going to call out to.

First up Ladylene. She made the first ever comment on my first quit-line blog and was one of my supporters in the early days. Yesterday she reported severe burns to her hands in a cooking fire. Tessa (Wifi Wifie) and I send you our best regards and hope you fully recover without resorting to nicotine.

JohhnyRed was another commenter on my first blog entry. Johnny has since relapsed as a smoker but is setting a quit date and is going to give up in the next few days. Johnny I send you my best wishes for your quit.

Maanu and Calmwaters are other lapsed quitters. Maanu was another of my supporters in my early days. They, joined by a few others quit together on the first of NO-Vember. Some of us are actively supporting them. NO-Vembrists, I send you my congratulations,  support and wishes for a permanent escape.

As for me, I'm going to be starting the third smoke free month in a few days and I hear that's one of the danger areas in quitting so I'm chilling and marshalling my strength. Meanwhile let's all get in behind our fellow quitters who have a more immediate need of support.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Champix Withdrawal?

I know I'm not supposed to do this but I've been hating the sleep disturbance at night and the feeling that I had to sleep during the day (At least at weekends I could give way to it) that a week ago I cut back on the Champix to just having one in the morning.

I wasn't noticing any bad effects with the non-smoking and certainly have had better sleep pattens, but this morning I forgot to take the tablet.

I know that what's going on today is from my brain, but I don't know if it's brain chemistry or entirely psychological because I know I don't have my magic shield blocking receptors or if it's partially the chemical addiction, but I've noticed three things today
  1. There's a funny bubbly feeling in my lungs, a feeling I know from when I've attempted to give up in the past cold turkey or with patches. Coming on today I think this has to be psychological.
  2. I've been coughing up a little phlegm, like a weaker version of a smokers' cough. I haven't had that for several weeks.
  3. I really really really wanted a cigarette at lunch time. If one had found its way into my hands I would have lit up.
So, what does this tell me? Thats' what I'm trying to work out. If I go back on the Champix they will run out in a week or two anyway.  Should I just stay off and tough it out? Is there some Champix giving up process or is it all psychological? If I go back on the Champix will it be just as bad in 2 weeks time?

For the moment, my plan is to sleep on it.

Update 29 October 08:20

I decided to go back on the Champix. Had one before bed and have just had a second so for today, at least, I'm back on full strength,

Friday, October 24, 2014

Labour Friday Evening Blues

I've been sneezing, coughing, wobbling around and nursing a sore throat yesterday and today.

It's not a flu, but it could be a cold. Possibly an allergy or just another symptom of the not smoking. I'm not overly worried, I quipped at work today that I think I'm allergic to public holidays. This is the start of Labour weekend.


Funniest thing about the sneezing is that now I've given up the smoking I'm noticing for the first time how strong the eucalyptus smell on the Kleenex really is. I don't think I'll be buying them again, sticking to the aloe vera ones instead.


I've really been feeling like a smoke off-and-on today. It started on the way to work. I didn't feel up to cycling or walking to work so I caught the bus for I think the first time since giving up. before giving up I would have had a smoke on the way to the bus stop finishing there or had one after getting of the bus. Today I was dimly aware of smoking on the way to the bus stop. I'm guessing this is why I didn't get triggers then. I most definitely had one as I walked up to work from the bus stop.

Lunch was at the Indian place in the food court. Usually I only go there when I've already decided I want a vegetarian lunch, today I'd pre-decided I wanted a meat lunch, and happened to be close enough to the Rialto that I went up for a lamb curry. The lady serving was quite surprised when I asked for a non-veg curry. Despite planning on lamb I ended up having beef.

Walking back to work after lunch I could so easily have lit up. Going home tonight I needed to pop into the supermarket for some weekend supplies and heading home after that the feeling was strong.


It's lessened a bit now, but I'm still aware of it going on in my head.  48 days into non-smoking I know I can do it and I will do it. I don't know where these triggers are coming from today and tonight, but I will defeat them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Redefining myself

I had a little chuckle when I wrote that title. Ten years ago I started this blog with a single paragraph posting about how I was redefining myself in the wake of a failed relationship, except I used 225 words to effectively say nothing. Following that paragraph was a five month hiatus until my next posting. Now I'm saying the same in the tail end of ending my relationship with tobacco. The difference is that at least I've built up a habit of regular blogging over the last 6½ weeks.

For that 6½ weeks I've been thinking of myself as a person who was quitting smoking. and quitting has occupied a lot of my attention over that time. As it exposed me to support and advice from an audience of other New Zealanders who are also quitting, this made quit-line a good place for my blogging. I'm now finding that I'm thinking about other things a lot and if I find I mainly want to discuss those things, then this or ¿Que? are the venues I'd prefer.

The other thing to consider is that giving up smoking is a process.
  • Smoker - Self explanatory - becomes
  • Quitter - Someone who is no-longer smoking, probably with great difficulties, possibly using chemical aids, support groups and services like quit-line - becomes
  • Ex-smoker - able to resist smoking without using chemical aids, still recognising an addiction, may need a level of support - becomes
    Non-smoker - Able to resist smoking without using chemical aids or support groups. No-longer thinks much about smoking.
    There's lots of other scales, for example quit-line goes straight from Quitting to Non-smoker, I want the Ex-smoker step in there, because I see it as a measurable step in my recovery from nicotine addiction and one I want to get to and then go through. I would like to define myself as an ex-smoker today, except that today I am using Champix, I am due to use Champix for the next 3 weeks. I don't at the moment know if I could successfully continue quitting without using Champix, and I've decided not to try and find out. This means by my definition I'll still be a Quitter for those 3 weeks. Of course there isn't a sudden transition from one stage to the next, obviously going from Smoker to Quitter is sudden, but the other steps are progressions, one day you realise you have moved from one to the other and even within each stage there are a lot of levels.

    One of the things I'm finding on Quit-line is that when I read postings by those who have just quit (or are just about to quit) I know that only 45 days ago I was where they are now, but it seems a lifetime ago. They and I are at opposite ends of a wrong-way-telescope; I try to give useful advice to their questions and know from what I've seen that those who survive will be where I am now around Christmas / New Year, to me when I was there the people who had managed to stay given up for 40+ days seemed to be in an unimaginable position of success; now that I'm there I know that it's just one day at a time repeated a lot of times. It may only be  one day repeated lots of times but I know that it is moving me closer to my goal.

    I'm hoping I can move on and find the energy to think of blogging about other things that fit here; or at least some more small essays for ¿Que?.

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    A nice day for a smoke

    After Sunday market Tessa and I occasionally go down to St Heliers beach for a "picnic" late lunch from the local bakery.

    We've done it plenty of times, including the nicer Sundays over the winter but this was the first time we'd done it since I quit smoking.

    We sat on the bench seats looking out over the beach to the sea, eating our lunch, watching the people go by along the promenade. I finished my lunch, leaned back in my seat looking out to sea. As I did this the thought "Nice day for a smoke" came unbidden into my head.

    I said "Yeah, it would have been" quietly to myself and put it out of my mind but it's interesting how often the first time I do something I haven't done since quitting, or go somewhere I haven't been since then causes a smoking trigger to be released.


    When the trigger comes up I often realise that yes, this was a place / time I regularly smoked. I almost certainly would have lit up after having lunch in that very seat in the past.

    Alternately, as I'm now going to places I only occasionally visited before quitting, I'm wondering if I really do associate those places with smoking or if the addiction is asking "maybe here??" If it is the latter, will visiting places I've never been before act as triggers in the future. Will thinking I should have a cigarette become my standard reaction to new places? If so, I wonder how long will that last?

    Rust never sleeps. Nor, it seems, does addiction.

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Moving Beyond Quit-line

    Tomorrow morning I will have been 6 weeks without a cigarette, but as recently as last night I had a craving for a smoke. It came on while Tessa and I were in the Ponsonby International food hall.

    I think there were a number of things behind this craving hitting. Having two blog postings censored on Quit-line had stressed me and being a bit bored and having my increasing stress at dinner not noticed by Tessa helped increase the gravity of the situation. Suddenly there it was. It was strong and it was difficult to shake but I got Tessa to drive me home. As soon as I was away from sources of temptation I could work on dispatching it from my life; this time.

    Previously I would have probably posted something about it on quit-line, but having had two postings censored there yesterday. I really didn't feel like talking about it there. I was shaken but not out. The rest of the evening wasn't very pleasant but I got through it; which is in itself a lesson.

    I got to bed, a little late, and slept without any problems. Today at work I wasn't having any nicotine cravings. Obviously while it helped a lot in the early days, I think my recovery has advanced to the stage where I don't benefit greatly from the quit-line board. It is consuming a lot of my time and it's probably time I started to wean myself from it.

    On the subject of my censored postings, I did point out to them by email that I didn't feel that they should have been censored. I received an email from them today where they did concede the main point I made in my second posting; but I feel it was too little too late.


    That brings up my big problem with Quit-line. This blog posting is about a problem with my giving up, so it should belong on Quit-line, but because my annoyance with Quit-line either I couldn't tell the real story or if I did tell the real story they would immediately censor it.

    I have this blog. I think it's time that I started using it and just putting my story here.

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Censorship at Quit-line

    The government supported Quit-line service has rules about posts on their blogs. One of those rules is that you must be supportive of other bloggers. Tonight when I pointed out that their system confused following a bloggers postings with supporting the blogger they censored my post with a bland "it goes against the blog house rules, which includes being supportive towards other bloggers"

    Luckily as Quit-line can't control my ability to post in other places I can still show what I was trying to post. As you can see below I was not only not being unsupportive of other bloggers but explaining how I support them.

    I emailed straight back asking exactly what  part of my post broke their rules. They declined to answer, sending me instead a form letter claiming they will respond but as they've previously shown in actual fact they don't respond. I think they just like to brush things under the carpet.

    It looks like quit-line can't take a single piece of mild criticism.

    Update 6 PM Thursday

    They did respond with
    This blog has been declined as being unsupportive because it does not support fellow bloggers. However I will refer your email to the Team Leader for their consideration. 
    At around this time they also decided to remove the Original post after 11 hours.

    This was censored later: the original Post Thursday morning
    I just went through a strange little exercise. I was supporting about 40 bloggers and couldn't name more than a dozen of them so I decided to clean out the ones that were no longer of interest to me.

    When I've found that a regular poster stops interesting me I've dropped them off the list so this was only ever going to remove infrequent or departed bloggers.

    I just "unsupported" all the bloggers in the list after opening a fresh tab for that blogger's posts; I kept doing this until the "Bloggers I support" list was empty.

    After that I went through the individuals either adding them back into the list or deciding otherwise. I've ended up supporting 19 people,

    The regular posters and new ones that have posted in the last couple of days were safely back in. They haven't had time to change much and I haven't had time to lose interest in them.

    By the time I got back to the ones that haven't posted in the last week I was starting to find a mixture of people I miss because they haven't posted recently and a smattering of people who just posted once, either to say they were starting or to say they'd now given up for an extended period and were just checking back in.

    The further back in time I went the more people I found who were at day1, 2 or occasionally 3, blogged once or twice and then vanished from here. When someone was at day 2 a month ago and has said nothing since then I hope it was just that they found quit-line blogging wasn't for them and have continued their quit on their own.

    Alas I fear for many it is not so. To those people, I hope you can find your path to non-smoking, one that works for you.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit-line on Thursday 16 October 2014.


    This is what they first censored:
    Update 17:00 Thursday - What do you mean by "supporting"

    I seem to have upset a few people when I said I was "unsupporting" people on Quit line when they no longer posted blogs that interested me or even posted blogs that I disliked.

    There's a flag on Quit line that makes it easy to find a small group of bloggers out of all the bloggers on here. This could have been called "Follow" as Twitter does, but no, Quit-line decided that to be more positive they would call it "Support" which means that when I no longer wish to follow a person's postings I need to click something that says "Unsupport" they really haven't though that one through.

    Get a life people, this flag has nothing to do with supporting people or not supporting people.

    When I really do support people I post encouraging follow-ups to their postings, or when I can't think of anything to say that hasn't been posted by a dozen other people I try to remember to at least give a thumbs up by clicking the "Like" button on their post.

    I think if you look through the past month of blogs here you'll find I've posted a lot of encouraging follow-ups to people's blogs. That's supporting.


    An earlier version of this update was originally published on Quit-line on Thursday 16 October 2014.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    First Uninteresting Day

    In mathematics there is a semi-humorous paradox known as the "Interesting number paradox": It holds that if it is possible to classify all natural numbers as either interesting or uninteresting, then it is impossible to find the first uninteresting number.

    Consider:
    * 1 is interesting because it's the first number,
    * 2 the first prime, first even number, etc,
    * 3 the first odd prime,
    * 4 is the first square,
    * 9 is the first non-prime odd number
    * 64 Is the first cube of a non-prime
    ... eventually you will come to a number that is uninteresting, except that the mere fact of being the lowest uninteresting number is sufficient to make it interesting.

    In terms of my journey to becoming a non-smoker today nothing happened except the time gap between my last cigarette and the current clock setting increased.

    This means that today was interesting as the first uninteresting day of my journey.

    Broccoli sprout chemical treats autism

    Oh, the irony of it. Now we just need a much larger and more skillful group of scientists to find a way to get, not just children in general, but autistic children in particular, to eat broccoli.
    "many of those who received a daily dose of the chemical sulforaphane experienced substantial improvements in their social interaction and verbal communication, along with decreases in repetitive, ritualistic behaviors, compared to those who received a placebo. [...] We believe that this may be preliminary evidence for the first treatment for autism that improves symptoms by apparently correcting some of the underlying cellular problems"

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    $1,000 Mark (Non-smoking savings)

    I'm determined to keep with this non-smoking process, but as time goes on it usually gets further from the immediate part of my consciousness. Today when I went out for lunch today I had quite an acid gut and went for a vegetarian curry at the Rialto. I think the acid gut is Champix related. Recently I've forgotten to take Champix a couple of times and haven't noticed an increase in desire, but even so I don't want to be risking the progress I've already made so I'm trying to keep to the two a day for now.

    On the other hand, I do know I'm still hooked, Today was a bit of a relapse in my mental processes. When I left work at lunchtime I immediately thought cigarette; I put it out of my mind and walked up the street. As I walked past the bottom of Khyber Pass I noticed quite an attractive young lady smoking a cigarette. I'm ashamed to say I could tell you how the cigarette looked in her hand and her mouth, I could even tell you how she blew a little cloud of smoke, but was completely oblivious to her chest and trouser areas.

    Tonight this site tells me I've saved $1,000 Dollars and change.

    Stats Update: 38 days smokefree


    Smokefree days: 38 days
    Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1140
    Total savings: $1,022.20

    I've already spent over half of that on my Delonghi Magnifica coffee machine, but from now on it's pure profit :)

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Tuesday 14 October 2014.

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Annoyed at the politicians

    I think I must be getting back to normal. Today I wasn't focussed on my giving up smoking.

    I was listening to the news at breakfast time and getting annoyed at the politicians. Not the furious, irrational, nicotine withdrawl anger, just my "Do you really think the public are as stupid as that" anger I direct at politicians and journalists. Not just one set of politicians, but both sides & all their hangers on.

    Eventually I decided it was time to resurrect another of my blogs. This time not my personal diary but my "Julia Howling at the Moon" blog on human stupidity ¿Que?.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Monday 13 October 2014.


    Sunday, October 12, 2014

    Diwali, celebrating Indian culture in Auckland

    Tessa and I went to the Auckland Diwali festival on Queen St today. We've been going every year since around 2006. Initially we went to the one at the Waitakere Stadium then we switched to the Queen St one. When possible we did both. I can't find out when the Waitakere one is this year, if it's still going we may have missed it.

    Given that this was my first street festival since giving up smoking the question is raised, "how did I cope?" The answer is pretty well. Very few of the crowd smoked and I only caught the occasional whiff of tobacco smoke, I noticed it but didn't have any strong smoking triggers going on in my brain. When Tessa asked how I felt about one guy's smoke that I'd commented on, I said it was disappointing that he was so large that I doubted my ability to floor him with a single blow to steal his cigarette. The joke was that he looked like a repository for at least two varieties of plague and stealing a cigarette off him would have been a much worse health risk than the smoking.

    Yesterday I seemed to have worried a few people when I mentioned that I was moving my blog history from quit line to my public blog at http://kiore.blogspot.co.nz/ . I'm not planning on giving up posting there any time soon, but going forward I will be more focussed on the non-smoking stuff there than here.

    Now a word from our sponsor
    Stats Update: 36 days smoke free
    Smoke free days: 36 days
    Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1080 --- Damn, even my non-smoking count is poison
    Total savings: $968.40

    I'll wish you all a possum, kea and tobacco free island.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Sunday 12 October 2014.

    Diwali, an Indian Christmas in Auckland

    Diwali, aka Divali and Deepavali is the Hindu/Jain/Sikh festival held in October or November each year. In Auckland it is commemorated by a festival celebrating Indian culture in general. The stage of the main Auckland gathering is a tribute to a displaced Indian culture. Children's dance groups doing traditional Indian or modern Bolliwood dance. Indian traditional and modern music. This year there were a couple of Bolliwood dance groups that were composed of young females who were obviously European.

    As a sop to the religious history, the stage entertainment finds room for a nativity play telling the Hindu story honouring the exile and ultimate return of the lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana. Other versions of the festival such as the West Bengali Kali Puji, the Sikh commemoration Bandi Choorh Divas or Jainism's Lord Mahavira, attaining Moksha (release or Nirvana) don't seem to get a look in.

    The small and discrete compulsory religious notes over, it's an open air party with celebrations, including street dance and commerce led by the selling of Indian clothes, vegetarian food, real-estate and banking services from temporary stands erected on the street or in a park near the entertainment going on on-stage. In other words it's the Indian version of Christmas and, at least in Auckland, is pretty much as commercialised.

    I don't mean to sound cynical, it's a great party and I try to catch it every year. Many of the food stalls are commercial, but a lot of them are run by this temple or that yoga group and are fund raisers much like church fetes were in my youth. The food at these stalls seems less commercial and more authentic than much of the "kiwified" Indian food we are used to getting here. The banking and real-estate stalls can be bypassed. I did think of visiting the Air New Zealand stand to ask them about flights to India ... they don't even go to Singapore any more but other than that I shut them out and just enjoyed the party.

    I love the way that many of the immigrant communities in Auckland have brought us part of their cultures and choose to share with us. Diwali and the (Chinese) lantern festival have become two of the highlights of the year.

    Given that this was my first street festival since giving up smoking the question is raised, "how did I cope?" The answer is pretty well. Very few of the crowd smoked and I only caught the occasional whiff of tobacco smoke, I noticed it but didn't have any strong smoking triggers going on in my brain. When Tessa asked how I felt about one guy's smoke that I'd commented on, I said it was disappointing that he was so large that I doubted my ability to floor him with a single blow to steal his cigarette. The joke was that he looked like a repository for at least two varieties of plague and stealing a cigarette off him would have been a worse health risk than the smoking.

    Saturday, October 11, 2014

    Quiet day Reblogging

    Hmmm, last time I put "Quiet day" in a post title I was coming down with that damnable energy sapping virus I hope I've finally shaken.

    I've spent today copying my old postings off quit-line and into this my (largely abandoned) public blog at blogspot. I'm going to re-post them here in sequence, a few a day until they catch up with quit-line.

    I'm not planning on stopping blogging there, but a side effect of blogging there is that I've got back into the habit of blogging. The quit-line house rules say that the blogging space here is for posts that primarily discuss our progress with quitting and as I progress with being an ex-smoker and prospective non-smoker the non-smoking side of what I do becomes relatively less important while the other aspects of my life become relatively more important to me.

    As with all of us, there will be a time in the future when my blogging ceases to be a good fit for quit-line. When that will be I have no way of saying. Last time I was a non-smoker, blogging hadn't been invented.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Saturday 11 October 2014.

    Friday, October 10, 2014

    We've come so far

    I had a regular phone call from Quit-line today after it I was pretty stewed up. No names, no pack drill, but as one of my co-workers pointed out my fuse has been fairly short the last month and 4 days. The upshot of everything was that I was stressed out. Annoyed, but no real desire to head off to the dairy and get a pack. Now I've repatriated the blog from their servers I may write up the full story.

    Tessa and I had a picnic dinner in Cornwall park tonight then went on to Circus Circus for coffee. While we were there one of the staff dropped a bottle of water right by our table and there was glass and water everywhere. Other than Tessa's immediate "It wasn't me, this time" we were mostly just amused by the experience.

    A month ago tonight I was on day 12 of my Champix starter pack (Day 5 of quitting). Tonight I'm having the last tablet from the first regular Champix pack. Tomorrow I start on the 2nd and last pack.

    That night was the first time I'd gone out socially since giving up. That night we also went to Circus Circus after dinner and I was concentrating on avoiding the smoking triggers hitting me from all kind of stray corners. Tonight I wasn't feeling any triggers ... just the occasional "I'd like a cigarette" feeling I get on a fairly regular basis. Those unexpected "out of nowhere" triggers were so strong I almost caved quite a few times. Now the feelings are weak and not a threat.

    As time goes by I become more and more convinced that I'm going to succeed. Sure I've got to watch for stray side swipes from triggers, but I now believe I could do it.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Tuesday 10 October 2014.

    Thursday, October 09, 2014

    Yersinia pseudotuberculosis - another reason not to smoke

    I was watching the news tonight and this pesky ailment is spreading via
    vegetables including carrots and lettuce. I'd guess if lettuce can
    spread God's punishment on the vegans, tobacco leaf could too.

    This critter isn't just a food poisoning, "Genetically, the pathogen
    causing plague, Y. pestis, is very similar to Y. pseudotuberculosis. The
    plague appears to have evolved from Y. pseudotuberculosis about 1500 to
    20,000 years ago.[" - Wikipedia.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a public health expert; I'm a computer programmer
    who occasionally does stand-up. If you want to base personal health
    decisions on tips from me, can I also get you to help me get a
    considerable amount of money out of Nigeria?

    What about the rats? They spread plague, they could probably spread Y.
    pseudotuberculosis when they are having their morning showers.

    One of the scariest things I've ever seen was a (pet) rat running across
    the floor towards cover with a lit cigarette in her mouth. I never left
    another lit cigarette in the ashtray in that flat again. Of course now I
    haven't had pet rats for over 20 years and no-longer smoke it's all
    rather academic.

    Those rats were real sweeties. Once when I had 'flu one of them hopped
    up on the bed, sniffed me, then turned and ran off. "Great", I thought,
    "Even the rat doesn't want to know me". A minute or so later he was
    back, walked over to my hand, opened his mouth and dropped an uncooked
    piece of tapioca in my hand ... he'd worked out I was sick and gone to
    his food bowl to get me a treat.

    OK, he didn't actually like the tapioca, but probably figured that since
    I kept giving it to him I must.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Monday 9 October 2014.

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014

    Rewarding myself for not smoking

    Today had it's moments. On the way in I was hit by a strong desire for a meat pie. I stopped at the local Hollywood and by then had changed my mind and looked at the fruit salads before finally deciding on a salad sandwich.

    When I got to work there was a strong smell of paint. All the internal doors were being done. So I needed to take the sandwich out onto the balcony to eat it. While I was out there I noticed that my ashtray had vanished. I found where it had got to, it had blown away and ended up on the balcony below ours. The lid's come off, but luckily it was empty and cleaned out. I don't think the people on that level ever go onto their balcony, but am wondering if I should go down and 'fess up or just leave it. It was only $3 from the dollar shop, and I don't need it any more so it's not like I care very much.

    I've been having problems running an ancient version of a program that doesn't seem to like 64 bit windows. I couldn't run it in a 32 bit VM because for some reason these couldn't see the database. After struggling all day I finally got it going right on 6PM. 15 minutes later I was out of there so fast you couldn't see the dust. I had to get to a date with my new toy.

    As I write this I'm having a coffee. Not just any coffee, but a freshly brewed long black from my new fully automated Delonghi espresso machine. Water in the side, coffee beans in the top, press the button and there's my coffee.

    I understand that for a lot of people coffee was/is a trigger. Luckily for me it was the other way as I used to have a cigarette while the kettle was running and the coffee afterwards. This means that the coffee doesn't make me feel like a cigarette, quite the opposite really.

    Yes, I have spent some of that money I've saved by not smoking on another of my likes. I picked up the machine at a reduced price at the big box sale Noel Leemings had at the ASB show grounds last weekend.

    I unpacked and set-up the machine last night but by the time I'd finished it was too late for coffee. This morning I lazed in bed enjoying the warmth and once I was out I needed to leave quickly so the grand christening was tonight and then I was stuck at work.

    I'm not doing this for the money. I'm doing it for the health. But, I'm happy to use some of that money that's not going up in smoke.

    Some time in early January I will have saved enough to buy myself a 3D
    printer. Then we'll see how good I am at resisting temptation.

    I've just finished the cup so I'll post this now.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 8 October 2014.

    Tuesday, October 07, 2014

    Moving on and up

    Stats Update: 31 days smoke free

    Smoke free days: 31 days
    Cigarettes NOT smoked: 930
    Total savings: $833.90

    WOW. One whole month has gone by, I stopped off at the chemist today
    and picked up my (final) repeat of Champix. I didn't even realise the
    month was up until I saw the calendar on my PC at work this morning.

    I logged in to Quit-line from work today and got a little pop-up asking
    how much I'd smoked in the last two weeks. I was very proud to be able
    to answer "Not one puff"

    Adding to that I haven't felt much in the way of exhaustion either today.

    The sun was shining, the birds singing and the spring flowers blooming
    all to celebrate my month.

    After this I was asked why my quit date and a visual cue on the site
    didn't match. My immediate reply "I'm not sure. It's possibly because
    when I first signed up I thought you were supposed to take Champix for 2
    weeks before giving up so my quit date was a week later than what I
    discovered it could be when I actually got the prescription filled.

    "I've changed my quit date on here but it only seems to have partially
    taken. My auto emails and phone calls are also a week out. [...] I've
    just queried their web master about it." started a process I'll deal
    with later. Let's just say I'm no longer quite the enthusiastic
    supporter of quit-line that I once was,

    Now I've moved to my own blogging space I no longer need to worry about
    the censorship on quit-line blogs. Let's just say for now I'm no longer
    quite the enthusiastic supporter of quit-line that I once was,
    Yay ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Tuesday 7 October 2014.

    Monday, October 06, 2014

    Darkness in the city of the soul

    I woke up this morning and my clock radio's face was blank. Yes, I was one of the 40,000 Aucklanders without electricity today. [[Note 12 October - This was the number I'd heard at the time, subsequently I've heard other numbers up to 85,000 and in one outlier, 85,000 homes. Obviously I didn't do my own count.]]

    Just in case there was still no 'lecky tonight, I decided to save the hot water in the tank, a lukewarm shower tomorrow morning being preferable to an icy cold one. I also decided I didn't want a cold breakfast in an unlit room with no Internet so MacDonald for breakfast, St Luke's for a roast pork and salad lunch and Ponsonby Road for Fettuccine Bolognese for dinner. About 10 Million calories while feeling uncomfortable in my unwashed skin.

    What I didn't do was have my morning Champix. Not intentionally, I just plain forgot. The packet sits on my computer desk so I normally have them in my face at both ends of the day. This morning I didn't sit there. I didn't notice any difference to my desire to stay smoke-free, but the addiction did try to slip in on the annoyances with the news that today was obviously special and a cigarette today wouldn't count. Ah, the ingenuity of my desire to lie to myself. Thankfully I was able to resist.

    The power's back on. I've neither bathed nor smoked today. Tomorrow I will shower, but not smoke. I'm also seriously considering halving my Champix dose to see if it makes a difference to the fatigue.

    I'm reading that most people who halve their Champix do it because of insomnia; I've got exactly the opposite problem and could happily sleep 19 hours a day. More on this when I post tonight's blog.

    I'm scared of the comments that people who have halved their Champix found the cravings stronger. I just don't want to go there.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Sunday 5 October 2014.

    Clean, clean at last

    The electricity was still on this morning and it looks like Vector turned the hot water heating on overnight as well so I had a lovely hot shower. After feeling so sticky and horrible yesterday it felt so good to be clean.

    As noted I've been having ongoing problems with fatigue. For example Saturday I had a full night's sleep, then was up for 2 hours then asleep for 4 or 5 then up for a few hours and then a full night's sleep. I don't know if it's Champix, a flu' like illness that Tessa and I have both had, or possibly some other medical condition. There's no way I want to risk being taken off the Champix early so I'm reduced to self diagnosis.

    Despite the above confusion, I've been seriously thinking of halving my Champix dose, mainly as a way to work out if it is actually the Champix. I've been reading comments by people who have reduced their Champix dose because of insomnia. They find the cravings are greatly increased and I don't want to be dealing with any increased desire for inhale-able salads. I've decided for now to keep taking the full Champix dose, but I'm closely monitoring the situation.

    Yesterday I forgot the morning one and didn't run out of energy. Today I deliberately took the morning one and the evening one and haven't felt the exhaustion yet. Tomorrow I'll take the morning does and monitor my progress. If I start feeling done-in early to mid afternoon I may try moving my tablet times to later in the day and just before bed.

    As a footnote, Tessa had a bad night's sleep the last two nights because of another problem. Early afternoon today she hit the wall and needed a nap. She thinks it was the broken sleep; I'm not convinced that the flu-like illness wasn't involved and am watching there as well.

    Usually writing these entries out helps to clarify things in my mind. Today I'm as confused as when I started. Oh well, let's find out if tomorrow is really another day.

    I will go to the doctor if this becomes long term or if it starts getting much worse. Meanwhile there are reasons I don't want to discuss here why I'm not ready for that step yet.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Monday 6 October 2014.

    Saturday, October 04, 2014

    Blogs, energy and the passage of time

    When I started this journey I decided I would write up my progress each day. As I said in a comment to my previous blog I didn't really expect I'd succeed in getting through the first week. When / if I failed yet again I wanted a record of how I failed so I could look back on it next time and plan better. Things have changed now. Come midnight tonight I will be 4 weeks smoke free. I really feel I can do it this time if I can overcome the tiredness.

    I'm putting the success down to two things. The Champix and the blogs this site. The Champix bit is self explanatory, "the blogs on this site" isn't quite so obvious, my blogs, your blogs, your comments on my blogs and my comments on your blogs all help me. I don't really know you beyond what you say here about your progress along the same journey as I'm taking, we're like a band of Anti-Argonauts avoiding being fleeced by the golden leaf.

    But the blog is also telling me something I didn't expect to happen has happened. This tiredness is both on-going and starting to get me down. If its from Champix I'm in a bad place, I can't see myself winning without it. If it's not the Champix I'm starting to get really worried. As she's had the virus I had a few days behind me, Tessa is my miner's canary. If she's got the exhaustion too this weekend I can put it down to the virus too. Of course, if it doesn't clear up soon it will open its own difficulties - for both of us.

    [[Update: 19 October
    The tiredness did eventually go away. I'm getting a few broken nights of sleep, , but at least when I'm tried the next day I know what to blame it on.]]

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Friday 3 October 2014.

    Stats Update: 28 days smoke free

    Smoke free days: 28 days
    Cigarettes NOT smoked: 840
    Total savings: $753.20

    Another quiet day. Didn't want to get up this morning so managed to sleep on and off until nearly 10. Then I was up for a couple of hours and then went back to bed for nearly 4 hours sleep.

    I feel OK now, but too much sleep is going on here.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Saturday 4 October 2014.

    Thursday, October 02, 2014

    Birthday Dinner

    I had another rough day, exhaustion and needed to sleep for much of the
    day. I'm really looking forward to this symptom of whatever going away.

    Today is Tessa's birthday and we went out for dinner at Tony's Henderson
    (Her choice). She asked me a couple of times if I wanted to go for a
    cigarette, I just said "No". After the main she asked again and this
    time I just looked at her.

    Tessa: "Why are you looking at me like that?"
    Me: continued looking
    T: "Have you given up or something?"
    Me: "Yes"
    T: looks in disbelief "When?"
    Me: "4 weeks ago"
    T: "Why?"
    Me: "I don't want to die"
    T: "Why didn't you tell me?"
    Me: For the first couple of days I didn't want any additional stress.
    Since then I've been waiting for you to realise.

    It's a relief that it's finally out of the bag as I'd been getting
    rather bored of the "say nothing" game.

    It's a relief finally being out of the closet with respect to my
    non-smoking.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Thursday 2 October 2014.

    Wednesday, October 01, 2014

    Welcome Stoptoberists.

    Just wanted to welcome all you Quit-line quitters to the Given Up Club.

    The Rules Are:
    1. You Can Do It!
    2. Not One Puff Ever!
    3. One Day At A Time!

    Now on with my daily report. If you're new here and not used to my blogging, don't read too much into the health stuff in my writings, my nearest and dearest has never been a smoker and is getting most of the same, we suspect a virus and no we haven't been to west Africa.

    My 26th smoke free day's been characterised by acid stomach, burping and methane production elsewhere. Coming up to lunchtime I felt quite bad so
    I swapped around and had a vegetarian lunch from the Indian food place in the Rialto then ham + salad rolls for dinner.

    After I'd finished it occurred to me that Indian might not have been the best choice for an acid stomach, but it wasn't too spicy. Mind you, when Tessa asks me how spicy Asian food is, I often need to say "Very mild, probably too spicy for you" ... she's the first to admit that she's a "Wuss". I've observed since giving up that I do notice chili a little more, but am still fairly tolerant. To be fair, she can woof down cupcakes that are 1000 times sweeter than I can enjoy.

    It's not even 10pm and I'm fading fast. Still quite acid, but hopefully
    I'll drop off to sleep fairly quickly.

    Night all.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 1 October September 2014.

    Half-week 28th September to 1 October

    [[October 16 Note: This was a fairly quiet week on my smoke free blogging front. I've decided to combine the days into a single post for Blogspot]]


    A quiet weekend's been and gone

    My fourth smoke-free weekend is ending. Each week that goes by is easier.

    I'm still very low energy and have no idea if it's he Champix, the giving up, or this silly 'flu thing. Tessa has the 'flu thing that I had at the start of the week and has spent most of the weekend asleep, so I'm happy to blame that for now.

    I'm now on my longest smoke-free since I first started and I really believe that this time I can win. I'm hoping that the exhaustion and the Champix aren't related. I have no idea if I still need the stuff, but I don't want to risk finding out.

    I have a social event Monday evening. Luckily it's a smoke free event but it will be my first alcohol since early July. I'm not expecting any negatives but it will be interesting to observe how I react.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Sunday 28 September 2014.

    Coming out at work

    I've let my workmates know that I'm on my 24th day of giving up. I explained that I said nothing earlier because I was trying to minimise stress. I also used it as a chance to explain about the possible side effects of Champix.

    They took it well, but ironically in the late morning I got the strongest cravings I've had a work since week 1. Successfully resisted, of course.

    In retrospect doing this today when I'm going out for drinks tonight for the first time since July probably wasn't the greatest tactical move but it's nothing I can't overcome.



    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 29 September 2014.

    Alcohologram -- Reality through wine tinted glasses

    I survived my first evening with alcohol since a couple of months before giving up tobacco. I wasn't exposed to smoke during the event, but afterwards walking up Albert Street to the bus there were a few people smoking on the street. Not long ago I would have been one of them and it definitely set off triggers a few times.

    One of the strongest triggers was when I passed the Manhattan building where I lived for a few months in 2002 or early 2003 .... and there's a convenience store right there. Luckily I was able to stay true to my quest for a bus and Veered neither to the right nor to the left but went like Peter Dunne, straight down the centre"

    Another test passed. Now I know I can drink and not smoke. Also it was good catching up with some people I haven't seen in several months, including someone I haven't seen since the mid '70s. I didn't even know he was associated with that group.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Tuesday 30 September 2014.

    Distractions

    Got really stressed at work today (work related). Rewriting some procedural code as SQL was slowly but surely doing my head in. I needed to cut out for a walk and ended up circumnavigating the old Newmarket Domain (The block that contains Lumsden Green and the pool) to clear my mind.

    Yes, cigarettes were on my mind, but not as a strong urge. I did toy with the idea of smoking "Just one" but resisted. When I'm looking at myself "from a distance" it's amazing how cunning and duplicitous I can be in my dealings with myself.

    I rewarded myself with a little gift. Starting today it's been possible to register .nz instead of .co.nz, etc. I registered clement.nz to match my surname. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 1 Octoer 2014.

    Just oneism

    Now I'm on my 26th day I think my brain has finally accepted that I'm determined not to go back to smoking so the full frontal attack has largely gone away.

    I've noticed recently that it keeps throwing "I'll just have one" more and more at me. Intellectually I know that this would be a really dumb move and impossible to keep to so there's no way I'd risk it, but it's interesting how it keeps slipping into my consciousness.

    Been a while since I did a stats update:
    Smoke free days: 25 days
    Cigarettes NOT smoked: 750
    Total savings: $672.50


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 1 October 2014.

    Sunday, September 28, 2014

    How Wifi Wifie got her name and other stories

    I was asked in a comment on a previous post (Quit-line original) why I call Tessa "WIFI Wifie" on and the answer is "I don't", except on Quit-line. I'm already using my real given name and the first letter of my surname. If I used her given name as well we'd be easily identifiable. Obviously this is now published on my public blog but at least initially I was not wanting to unambiguously identify myself. Especially as the image I displayed on my Quit line profile really is me from a couple of years back. My hair is longer now.

    I do like her and as they all sound too curt, I didn't want to just say something purely descriptive like "The wife", "My former fiancée" or "She who must be appeased with the hearts of young children"

    "Wifie" was simply intended as an affectionate diminutive for "wife". I'll admit that I didn't do my homework properly there as that's an Americanism. The term doesn't exist as such in standard English but in Geordie it's derogatory (ref: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wifie).
    Again it was a bit curt and even without the research seemed almost a put-down "widdle iddle wifie", so I wanted a little something extra.

    Eventually by an in-depth process of looking up slightly to the right of my computerat a small plastic box with aerials and flashing lights I came up with WIFI. That's too prosaic, so I needed a better justification.

    "WIFI" because:
    1. If you search Google for Wifie, it will suggest "wifi"
    2. It's nicely alliterative.
    3. We each have Android phones and tablets and share an iPad we won. I like my keyboard and desktop, she prefers using the tablets via WIFI


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Sunday 28 September 2014.

    Saturday, September 27, 2014

    The evening and the morning were the 21st day

    It's really hard thinking that three weeks ago tonight I was rationing my last pack of cigarettes to run out exactly at bed time so I wouldn't have any left for the morning. A lots happened in that time and a lot hasn't.

    I finished one piece of unfinished business today when I emptied and washed out my ashtray at work. I'd been avoiding dealing with it because I simply didn't wish to touch it Today I treble bagged the contents and gave the empty container a good rinse.

    I've decided to sit Tessa down over the weekend and let he know I've given up smoking. She's currently sick with the bug I had, so I'll be gentle with her.

    I've been having a tough day of it today. I've still got some left-overs from the virus I had earlier in the week and just after midnight I had some severe stomach cramping ... I think I lost a couple of kilos before I went back to bed 1/2 an hour later. Despite doubting I had anything left to give, I've since been 5 more times starting at around 6am. Some for real and some as Shakespeare put it "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

    An early night for me tonight. I've programmed Coronation Street to record and I'll watch it over the weekend.

    Night all and as Dave Allen used to say "may your God go with you."

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Friday 26 September 2014.

    Morning
    Something weird happened a little after 8PM. The TV suddenly switched itself on in the back room. Took me a while to work out where the voices were coming from. Once I got back to bed it did take me a couple of hours to finally drop off again, but I must have got nearly 10 hours sleep. I'm feeling much better, sitting here watching Coronation St. The recording "broke" at about the point where the TV switched on. Luckily I'm past that point now and still watching.

    Plans for today include chillin' out and not smoking.

    Tired

    After sleeping over 10 hours last night, I've done very little today. I had a couple of hours nap in the afternoon and still feel I have very little energy now.

    I don't think that this is something I can put down to the Champix. Tessa seems to be following the same illness/tiredness process as me a few days behind and as far as I know she's never smoked so she's most definitely not on Champix. She's slept most of the day.

    On the plus side, as far as I can remember I've had no cravings today.

    I don't think we're anaemic. It felt viral, but I have been eating more vegetarian food than normal this week. I normally eat meat about 5 or 6 meals a week (out of 14) and when the fever was at its worst I couldn't face the thought of anything fatty or oily so I had muesli with boiling water for dinner those days. Tessa is much the same at the moment so vegetables are the menu. I love veggies. Until recently I used to set fire to dried veggies and inhale the smoke ... thirty times a day.

    There's a lot more poisonous plants than there are poisonous animals.

    On the other hand very few poisonous plants that sneak up and bite people...

    Let's call it a draw


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Saturday 27 September 2014.

    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    Psuedosynæsthesia ODAAT, not DOATT

    Except for the lozenges and e-cigarettes I've tried everything everyone else on Quit-line has mentioned. before 1990 I even tried snuff and smokeless tobacco.

    The only thing that's ever really worked for me has been nicotine receptor blockers like Zyban and Champix.

    I'm on Champix now and on my 19th smoke free day. The cravings are largely gone, triggers are now very few, but what I have learned is I can't let my guard down. One cigarette and it's back to day 1. I've come too far to want to contemplate that.

    I'm also on day 2 of a 24 hour virus. When I was a smoker, I'd force myself to light up and puff even when it made me cough so bad my lungs hurt. It was a relief today not to feel the urge to do this to myself.

    (P.S.
    • ODATT = One Day At The Time, The motto of Alcoholics Anonymous;
    • DOATT = Day One All The Time)

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 24 October 2014.

    Psuedosynæsthesia?

    I asked if anyone else was experiencing strange tastes unrelated to what they are actually eating?

    A few times recently I've noticed a smoky aroma from Moccona coffee. Tonight I was having a peanut butter sandwich and suddenly had a taste of cinnamon. There was no cinnamon anywhere near me.

    Someone on Quit-line mentioned green tea tastes like cigarettes to her now. Hmmm, green tea and cigarettes. I guess if you're a regular green tea drinker, that's much like my getting a smoky smell in my coffee.

    I've noticed that Circus Circus' coffee tastes a bit stronger than previously, but Tessa also noticed that so I figured it was real. I still like about the same amount of chili-in-oil on my crispy pork.

    I think I'll blame it on the Champix.

    [[October 14 update. I seem to have gone off the crispy pork a bit since writing this, I'm finding it too fatty. I hope this isn't a long term taste change.]]

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Thursday 25 October 2014.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    Recipe: Renuked beans a la Bruce Clement

    I've been feeling a bit 'flu like all day. I couldn't be bothered having a proper meal so I thought I'd make one of my favourite comfort foods.

    1 400g Tin baked beans,
    1 *Large* heaped teaspoon Laoganma brand minced chili in chili oil
    2 Thick slices from cheapest 1kg block mild cheese.
    150 gm Nacho style corn chips.

    Mix beans and chili in large dessert bowl.
    Julienne cheese, insert into bean mix long-wise.
    Cover with Glad wrap
    Microwave until boiling.

    Eat with the corn-chips. A thumb or spoon may be necessary to mop up the last bit.

    Preparation time 1 to 3 minutes depending on pantry search time.
    Cooking time 2 to 3 minutes.

    Serves 1 hungry ex-smoking man or 2 normal people.

    It is edible, but hardly gourmet. Add a bit more and the chili works up a sweat after eating.

    Cautions:
    * Tongue burning hot when first out of the microwave
    * Take care not to miss your mouth. The mix is incredibly hard to get out of your beard once cooled.

    P.S. Still not smoking and feeling good about it.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Monday 22 September 2014.

    Day 18. Flu

    Yes, I was right, I was coming down with something. Have felt a bit soft and squishy all day.

    Reading through the blogs tonight, there's a lot of heavy stuff going down for others, so I won't dwell on anything. I'm still here, still not smoking and don't feel any need to smoke tonight.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Tuesday 23 September 2014.

    Sunday, September 21, 2014

    Saturday, Reflecting A better mood

    Gosh that last post of mine was unpleasant. I wasn't in a good head space at all yesterday. Feeling much more positive today.

    Listening to the wind howl I'm glad I voted yesterday. I've always liked voting on the day, but I'll happily stay inside today.

    Time for some reflection.

    Two weeks ago today I woke up for my first smoke-free day. I didn't start blogging on Quit-line until 2 days later, but my first post http://www.quit.org.nz/blog/view/post/59823/ was a recap and said "Saturday was rough. Every time I walked by the back door I wanted to step out and light up [...]. I think if I'd had any I would have lit up. I refused to leave the house. Several times I felt desperate for a smoke. I ended up hitting the sweets, biscuits, nuts, and almonds pretty hard."

    Looking back at those rather bleak words I can feel how far I've come, and also see I've still got a long way to go. I'm still munching on nuts, almonds and chocolate biscuits; but not nearly as much. I'm still not terribly keen on social outings, but aren't actively avoiding them.

    There's still not a huge amount of active joy in my life, but not as much sorrow either. To an extent my emotions are wound back. It's improving gradually though.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Sunday 20 September 2014.


    Day 16. Quiet day


    I'm feeling like I have a minor virus. Not sure if that's psychosomatic or something real. Given I was exposed on Thursday and Friday at work I'd believe either way. Whichever it is it's sapping my energy.

    Yesterday I had an extensive nap in the afternoon. After watching the tail end of the election results I slept late this morning. Then I ended up having a nap in the afternoon.

    Until I sat down to come to the Quit line site to write this I hadn't really thought about smoking today.


    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Sunday 21 September 2014.

    [[Note: 15 October. This was the first time I commented on, and I think the first time I noticed, the energy sapping virus that bugged me for the next few weeks]]

    Friday, September 19, 2014

    It's just a jump to the left then a step to the right

    Let's do the smoke-free tonight :)

    [[Note 15 October. This is a rather horrid posting. I've left it in the republishing sequence as it shows where my mind was at this point of giving up. The next day's posting noted this as well. I'm going to repost them simultaneously]]

    With really damp weather predicted for the weekend, I voted at lunchtime. On my way out of the polling booth there was some kind of "media event" happening. I needed to push past some turkeys sitting on the stairs with telephoto lenses trained on a toad-like creature at the main door.

    Despite the fact that he was blocking access to and from an operating polling booth the mediadroid had the cheek to complain that I had knocked his camera as I passed. As did the toad-like creature as I needed to push past it (*) to get out of the building.

    Moral: Don't mess with a recent ex-smoker. I was feeling quite evil today and my charity levels were way down(**).

    Kathy, the Brisbane based co-worker I mentioned yesterday, had a nosebleed at lunch yesterday with flu like symptoms today. I accused her of having Ebola, like I can't tell the West-coast of Africa from the East-coast of Australia. (Hint: East Africa has more water)

    Anyway, I've voted. I have my emergency survival kit and can stay in all weekend if I need to.

    (*) I'm unsure of the correct pronoun.
    (**) I did give to the Canteen street collection though. Canteen's a great charity and I always make a point of supporting their street collections.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Friday 19 September 2014.

    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Outed at work today

    Kathy, a colleague of ours from Brisbane was in town today and we went for lunch as a group. We were meeting at the front door to work's building. I arrived there with Jan, the person at the next desk to me and went to go outside. Jan asked if I was going out for a smoke and I said "No", just going out.

    After lunch when we came back three of us got into the lift and for some reason Jan asked why I hadn't had a smoke. Kathy piped up "He's given up smoking" which led to a funny exchange

    Jan: Have you given up?
    Me: Yes.
    Jan: Why did you lie when I asked if you were having a cigarette before?
    Me: I didn't lie. You asked if I was having one and I said "No". Then I didn't have one.
    Jan: When did you give up?
    Me: Two weeks ago. (OK, a slight exaggeration it won't be two weeks until late tomorrow night)
    Jan: No, when did you give up?
    Me: Two weeks ago.
    ((Awkward Silence))
    Me: When did you last see me have a smoke?
    Jan (To Kathy): How did you know he gave up?
    Kathy: He doesn't smell of smoke any more.

    OK, work guessed before Tessa. Always a possibility as there are 4 of them and only one of her, but I wasn't expecting someone I only see every few months to be the one to work it out. I've asked the people in the lift not to mention it to the others. I do feel sorry for Tessa. I was hoping for a day or two pressure free, tops. Now it's gone on for nearly two weeks and I'm quite worried that she'll feel hurt when she discovers I didn't share for so long.

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Thursday 18 September 2014.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Pride cometh before a fall

    I thought I was doing so well for the last few days until lunch today. We had an irregular get together at Sal's Pizza for people I used to work with.

    Sitting outside after finishing eating I suddenly desperately wanted a smoke. I have no idea where it came from or why it was so strong.

    If I'd had access to them at that point I would have lit up. I did resist walking up the road and buying some, but only just. I was already on my feet when the party broke up.

    Right now I feel one hell of a lot less cocky than I have recently.

    "Pride costs more than hunger, thirst and cold." - Thomas Jefferson

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 17 September 2014.

    Nicknames for Nick O'Teene

    Many call it "Nicodemon". As smoking is like a kiss, I've been calling her Lady N. While I wouldn't knowingly kiss a demon, I've kissed a few ladies in my time. I found out this morning it upsets someone who's on-line here as it's close to her nickname.

    Sorry if the Lady N makes anyone uncomfortable. Any pet name runs the risk of upsetting someone. I used to work with a French guy called Nico and I guess he could feel the same about "Nicodemon".

    So everyone, what do you call Nicotine?

    An earlier version of this posting was originally published on Quit line on Wednesday 17 September 2014.