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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.