Monday, January 18, 2010

smoking satire. or is it irony? or just sarcasm? i don't know. i feel like winona ryder in reality bites: i know it when i see it.

any way, i like these book titles even if they are not all that clever. it probably appeals to the part of me that is anti the social pariahism, hysterical roll-back of basic personal freedoms, and general malediction flung at smokers without heed to the reasons people smoke and how much they actually hate themselves for it. 

either way, i like them today, being in a mildly grey frame of mind - in case you can't tell. a sudden then sustained decrease in cigarettes makes you down. an extra discovery.  but a small win today. i had no cigarettes at work and fought and won many small skirmishes against insurgent cravings. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

okay, so quitting is not being accomplished. i am having to fight for every cigarette left unsmoked. the last two days have seen figures balloon to 6-7 per day; well over my keep the motor running 1-2 per day levels. i am going to try some new tactics:

1. fake nicotine 'cigarettes' - you can get them at the chemist. little plastic cigarettes with a small dose of nicotine in them
2. buy alan carr's easy way to quit smoking book
3. refine my reasons, like the 'brigette bardot principle' (see below)

it is commented upon that brigette bardot shows the effect of years in the sun and smoking all her life.

"She lighted a cigarette. 'I'm not an extremist, you know,' she said, smiling in a conspiratorial way. 'Someone has to do this'".

but i do love how she has aged with natural grace and seclusion, and is now a champion of animal rights (which is what the above quote refers to).

it may seem a bit superficial to have 'fear of what it will do to my skin in terms of premature aging' as one of the main reasons to quit. because of course, real beauty is a thousand leagues deeper than the skin. but it is all part of the emotional makeup, isn't it? and as i breach the early thirties and steam around toward the mid-thirties, maybe that reason has more potential to work in the clinches, when others more health-related fail the immortality test.

i should make a new 'reasons i am trying to quit' card: the facing side with young brigette, the back side with old brigette: natural and graceful, but sun-beaten and smoke-wrinkled nevertheless.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

yes, the one that has brought the smoking habit back to the fore on prime time.

as a trying to quitter, personally, as far as i can figure out, smoking on tv or film will not always trigger the need to light.

i think that is a bit of a myth myself. seeing a madman character or for that matter a belmondo or a jean seberg light up i do not have a pang and an automated pat of my pocket for my fags. sitting in a darkened theatre, seeing smokers on screen, it is not their smoking that makes me wait impatiently for the credits to roll so i can rush out and gasp in some of the same in the fresh night air. 

what does trigger it, rather than seeing the beautiful smoking on screen, is an emotion portrayed. usually, a quick, piercing insight into the soul of me or of the world. like if a film maker portrayed something like this (quoted directly from hannah waldron's blog):

"This poem 'They are the Last' by (John) Berger really stood out for me. I think he noticed something. I will pick out 1 section-

Now that they have gone
it is their endurance we miss.
Unlike the tree
the river or the cloud
the animals had eyes
and in their glance
was permanence.

It was the same fox for ever and ever.
To kill him
was to drag him
from the earth
of his eternity."

i have never read john berger's book ways of looking. now thanks to hannah, i want to. my initial investigations via trusty google (where else) led to this interesting article.

Monday, January 11, 2010

it is mind-meltingly hot in melbourne today. i think about 44 degrees at top. the sun feels like it looks. i wish i was a swiss mountain goat perched on a craggy outlook over the wintry snows. and yet, i light the fire in my hand one more time. insane. 

but a small improvement: i don't take my pouch of tobacco to work. that effectively seems to eliminate the work cravings i was battling. but what? you still have your tobacco on hand? that is not the way to quit! i know. but it is just really hard. there can be very real, escalating panic if i feel like a smoke and i have no access to it. even though it is readily available at the corner store. it is a mental thing.

anyway, if you are in melbourne or victoria and happen by some strange chance to be reading this, i wish you a thousand cold showers and a sea breeze. and please put a large bowl of water out for the stray cats and dogs, and one up high for the birds.

top image source
bottom image source

Thursday, January 7, 2010

every breath you take

blow out. 3 cigarettes today. have been too easy on myself, i think.  and the thing is, i don't really want to smoke the cigarette for the cigarette's sake, they don't taste any good and give me a mild head spin now that i have a much lower intake. it is just something to do.  will try and re-group and go for zero tomorrow. dependency. 

images from Keetra Dean Dixon’s Just Between You And Me: Objects of Co-Dependency series. taken directly from the extremely excellent zero1 blog.

an unexpected spark

in your eyes

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the guilt is strange. i smoked one cigarette today. that is one more than none. but i think i should have some right to say to myself, 'good job, you have gone from smoking usually at least 10 a day down to one.' but then i feel like i should not allow myself to say that, because i am guilty of the one, and the compromises feed the devious smoker's mind.

please forgive the diversion below, but i was just thinking about guilt, and seemed to recall from 2nd year philosophy nietzsche being all over the guilt thing. some searching and i found this...this is all just taking bits and pieces and totally does not give justice to the totality of the arguments of the original text or the insights of the essay!

"to take upon oneself not punishment, but guilt. that alone would be god-like."

friedrich nietzsche

all quotes below from an essay on nietzsche's genealogy of morals here:

"Guilt, in its general form, is ethically-experienced regret at one's failure (not necessarily intentional) to honour obligations to which one genuinely feels committed;"

the essay goes on to describe the relationship between guilt and the concept of nietzsche's 'bad conscience'. in terms of an awareness of one's 'masterly' instincts for bad, anti-social behaviour and the need to quell these instincts, the experience of 'bad conscience' is an "unpleasant combination of potential guilt towards society, liability towards oneself, and the need for self-aggression towards masterly instincts."

but bad conscience can be active, positive:

"... Nietzsche burn into a great part of one's nature a 'no' to its outward expression, to become contemptuous of instincts of which one was 'formerly' proudest, to live with the contradiction of a freedom that is both restricted (externally) and enhanced (internally), creates a wholly new phenomenology: that of human nature as problematical and contradictory, that of oneself as a riddle to oneself, that of the tortured 'inner life' perpetually examining itself, that of a compromised 'outer' freedom versus a purer 'inner' freedom. In short: with the 'bad conscience' we get 'the internalization of man', his creation of an inner, freer world, later christened 'the soul'. Nietzsche calls this state 'active' bad conscience (GM, II, 16)."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

and now, we turn to the french.
they smoke so fine.
gainsbourg #1: charlotte

charlotte sings with serge

such a bad lapse today, with very strong cravings and mental weaving and wavering. the one cigarette yesterday opened the door to let that dangerous chink of smoke-infused light through. a new discovery of feeling guilty. i had one cigarette in the morning, with a cup of tea (russian caravan). i sipped and smoked while the plumbers were carting my water tank down the side of the house and maneuvering it into place next to the jacarandah tree, commendably protecting the potato plants from tradesperson harm. then i smoked another one when i got home after seeing the old rosemary bush was pulled out to make way for the tank. but i think i can save it. i look forward to watering my burgeoning vegetables, fruits, herbs and some flowers that i love, garden with my new guilt-free water harvested directly from the sky.

anyway, it was a bad day for the willing. i see now this is a big fight i have on my hands here. very big, and:

"Let's face it, you're losing the one who kept you company throughout the day, got you through those stressful moments, helped you celebrate your triumphs. Yep, you're giving up your best friend."


tuesday january 5
cigarette count: 2

Monday, January 4, 2010

it is really hard today, first day back at work after the holiday break. i really miss popping outside to have a little cigarette and a cup of tea break in the sun. i so far seem to have avoided the bad withdrawal symptoms; worst at the moment is feeling stiff and sore after playing tennis yesterday (exercise really does help).

playing tennis: john mcenroe doing what he does best. it is kind of what i look like when i crack it because i can't hit it like i want to.

for context: on a good day, i would smoke between 7-10 rollies (roll your own cigarettes). over 10 and above and up and up and never stop on a really bad day...

lots of quit advice says that you should try and keep in mind the reasons you are quitting, and bring them to mind when the cravings hit. carry them around on a little card. one of my main reasons is health. so my first card would read:

"lung. cancer. emphysema. stroke. heart disease. throat cancer and that voice box replacement that means you have a hole in your throat and a vibrator to speak. eye disease."

my next card will have to have something to counteract the little voice that says,

"what about those 90-year-olds happily puffing on their daily cigar and sipping their daily straight whisky and rum?"

via this paramedic's blog

via here

Depending on the number of cigarettes you smoke, typical benefits of stopping are:

  • After twelve hours almost all of the nicotine is out of your system.
  • After twenty-four hours the level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped dramatically. You now have more oxygen in your bloodstream.
  • After five days most nicotine by-products have gone.
  • Within days your sense of taste and smell improves.
  • Within a month your blood pressure returns to its normal level and your immune system begins to show signs of recovery.
  • Within two months your lungs will no longer be producing extra phlegm caused by smoking.
  • After twelve months your increased risk of dying from heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker.
  • Stopping smoking reduces the incidence and progression of lung disease including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • After ten years of stopping your risk of lung cancer is less than half that of a continuing smoker and continues to decline (provided the disease is not already present).
  • After fifteen years your risk of heart attack and stroke is almost the same as that of a person who has never smoked.

january 4 2010
cigarette count: 0 (but REALLY borderline 1 before I go to sleep)
edit: cigarette count = 1
and it didn't taste good at all. it was a purely mental need, i didn't feel like the nicotine at all. the mental games begin?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

oscar wilde via the impossible cool

jean cocteau via here

A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?  
~Oscar Wilde

The dead drug leaves a ghost behind.  At certain hours it haunts the house.  
~Jean Cocteau

sunday january 3 2010
cigarette count: 0

jean cocteau via here

Saturday, January 2, 2010

merri creek via flickr

merri creek via nga

i am about 40 hours in, with no cigarettes. at this stage they say to expect things like moodiness, irritability, depression or anxiety, changes to appetite, fatigue and changes to sleep patterns. what a drug.

the first day, yesterday, we went for a really big walk around the brunswick and fitzroy north neighbourhood. a wonderful thing to do on a still, still day. i hereby resolve to try and take a walk every day. we reached merri creek; such a precious waterway to have running through the inner northern suburbs. with the birds all atwitter and the bright green, orange and red sparks of parrots in the grey-green eucalpyt leaves. 
friends of merri creek link
merri creek management committee link

Thank heaven, I have given up smoking again!... God! I feel fit.  Homicidal, but fit.  A different man.  Irritable, moody, depressed, rude, nervy, perhaps; but the lungs are fine.  
~A.P. Herbert

saturday january 2 2010
cigarette count: 0

merri creek tapestry via mcmc

merri creek via flickr

Friday, January 1, 2010

camilla engman illustration, 
they smoke so beautiful on film

new years day 2010
cigarette count: 0