Friday, March 30, 2012

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: First day saved - You saved 24 hours of your life

Monday, March 26, 2012

Free as a bird now!

I don't want to get too cocky, but as of 9am this morning, I am EIGHT DAYS smoke free! Without even so much as desire for a smoke in the past two or three days! Though I have a much better reason for why I didn't smoke yesterday, and that's the fact that I probably would have struggled to breathe.

Yesterday, I took a trip up to the National Whitewater Center in North Carolina, a huge man-made rapidtopia which the US Olympic team uses to train. And in addition to that, there are several ropes courses, rock climbing walls, zip lines, bike trails, name it, they probably have it. Basically, this place is about as crazy as it can get on land without venturing into the magical land of Clusterfuckia. Which is probably located in Atlantis, or at least Atlantic City.

This experience has taught me two things....the first, that I really need to work on my upper body strength if I ever want to survive in this zombie apocalypse training ground for more than 8-10 hours, and two, season passes are awesome. And the even better part? Three more weeks of not smoking and that pass is paid off. Not too shabby!

Speaking of not too shabby, between an awesome trip to Atlanta where I finally got to see the Bodies Exhibition, the whitewater trip, and an upcoming trip to Charleston this weekend, that's three out of town trips during the month of March alone! I'm international! If by international, I mean driving to two other states...which I do mean. April, ball's in your court!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One week!

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: Following the road - No smoking for one week

Friday, March 23, 2012


#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: A lot - 100 cigarettes non-smoked

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Moving on; 60+ hours into my quit

As anyone who's ever heard of any quit smoking method, the first 72 hours are the absolute worst.

I beg to differ, if only because experience has taught me well.

I can do 72 hours standing on my head, and have done it, plenty of times. Most of the time, I don't even feel strong cravings, but then again, most of the time, I'm not planning on quitting forever. The scary part is after those 72 hours. Because then there's almost no logical reason to ever smoke again. Sure, you can still get cravings, and there are plenty of psychological impulses that still exist, but the strength and intensity of nicotine's grip are dead and buried by that point.

It's basically like moving on when you've gotten used to anything, except this is chemical based and smells like shit. Imagine your ex actually DID make you high, and that her scent was in every bar and could be smelled from a car away. Pretty damn maddening when you cut right down to it. and Ciggy. The walks, long drives, the nights of mad writing, coffee together, drinking together.... MAN! Seriously, the association, the growing pains, constant excuses and coverups; it really makes me wonder if addiction isn't just an abusive form of dating for one.

Also, my brain is on fire right now, so if that seemed rambly, my apologies. 

Savin dat $$$

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: Saver - You saved 10$

Monday, March 19, 2012

24 hours down!

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: First step - No smoking for 1 day

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Woo quit achievments!

#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: Saving minutes - You saved 60 minutes of your life


#QuitNow! Achievement Unlocked: 10 Down! - 10 cigarettes non-smoked

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Breaking the habit...again

I had actually intended to write about cleaning out my closet (literally) and trying to make a quick buck on the internet by selling stuff, but it turns out a Wayne Gretzky 1981-1982 Topps card in pristine condition is only worth about $7. So, that can wait until some other time (I'm going to end up making a separate whiteboard for posts I want to do...shit that's a good idea). But in addition to that and a completely worthless Jaromir Jagr card (when he was a Penguin!), I found a sort of quitting smoking kit I had written over six months ago. So, instead, I'm going to write about smoking, and how many babies I'd suckerpunch right now to not feel a crave. If you've never tried or never had to quit smoking, that last sentence probably sounded really harsh, and possibly a sign of mental instability. If you have quit in the past, or quitting now, you realize I'm holding back.

I've made a lot of serious attempts recently to quit, but whether it was outright for someone, for someone else under the guise of being for myself, or for someone else to somehow spite them, one simple fact is clear; quitting for someone else doesn't work. And if you end up not having someone to quit for, well, that's when you have to man (or woman) up, look in the mirror, and give yourself the finger, and fight your own demons, ulterior motive-free.

Without further ado, here is my quit smoking kit.

Reasons to Quit - Nothing fancy, just a simple list of well thought out reasons to stop smoking. I made sure to emphasize ones that focus on me, and ones that are in line with my values. The last one is on shaky ground, but still in line with my values.

-It's killing you
-It's cannibalizing your exercise
-It's draining your wallet
-It makes everyone you own smell like shit
-It makes you smell like shit
-Did I mention it's killing you?
-It can prevent you from getting certain jobs or positions
-Boredom's not a good excuse
-I don't even really like it
-I made a promise (a while ago, but still, a promise is a promise)

Trigger List! - Next, I wrote out a list of my triggers. Once I started writing them down, the list gets really long, and really dumb, once I thought of all the dumb reasons I would like up. This definitely falls into a "know thy enemy" sort of philosophy, because once it's in your face, it's hard to ignore.

-Coffee (which I'm drinking right now....)
-Whiskey (throw scotch in there as well)
-Waking up
-Going to bed
-After meals (especially a huge meal!)
-Annoying people that I can't drown out with noise cancelling headphones
-Work not being varied/satisfying enough (this has changed since I wrote this)
-Any relationship issue
-Congratulatory cigarettes
-Seeing friends and coworkers smoke
-Family issues
-After working out
-Before/after flying
-self pity
-self loathing
-technical difficulties
-death (irony!)

The sad part is, I could probably write another 20, and only 8 of them would be due to the Eagles last year. .500....what the hell Andy Reid.

How to Beat Triggers: So that you know your enemy...time to come up with a strategy. All I did was write out my triggers, and either why it was dumb, or what to do instead.

Boredom - dumb reason, get a hobby, cook something tedious, workout, clean something, if at work, further career

Coffee - only an issue at home, don't have cigarettes lying around
Drinking - Buy an eCig in advance if early in the quit stages. I don't care if they're not proven 100% safe. Smoking is 100% not safe. Unless eCigs end up killing you faster, save the "jury is still out" bullshit for someone who cares.

Waking up - Don't have em around
Going to sleep - samesies
After meals - chew gum instead, floss, go for a walk
Annoying people - just go for a quick walk
Work - work on things to improve work or switch jobs, even within the same workplace. I eventually did, and big shock, I'm happier and smoke way less.

Relationships - Smoking isn't going to fix shit, and more importantly, it's not a form of retaliation.
Victory cigs - stop blowing yourself
Smoking peers - Don't indulge, don't stand near coworkers while they're smoking.
Stress - you're wasting five minutes while smoking that could be used to destress the stressor. It's not helping anything.

After working out - Can supposedly give you a heart attack. (but tastes so damn good in clean lungs)
Self pity and loathing - (I quote from July of last year) "suck it up, you emo little bitch"

In conclusion
Clearly, this plan wasn't bulletproof, but it was one of my more successful attempts at quitting smoking, and did in fact offer me the best chance of stopping for good. Unfortunately, I did end eventually pick up the habit again, but now that I've discovered this again, I'll be using this. I'll also update the blog with whatever status update thing my QuitNow app (available on Android Market and whatever the iPhone one is called) gives me.

If you have a support system that works, that's great for you, but sometimes, you need your own kick in the ass and need to fight for yourself. That's what I tried to do, and that's what I'll be doing now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

And the wheels go...wait where'd it go?

So a wheel was stolen off my car this morning. One. Single. Wheel. I can't even describe the facial expression I must have had, it was somewhere between pure shock, total disgust, a tinge of amusement, and a whole lot "you've gotta be kidding me". And not even the common courtesy of a cinder block, though they were at least kind enough to leave my lug nuts. I guess there is some honor amongst thieves.

So here's what a brief breakdown of dealing with this looks like.

Step 1: Evaluate the situation Well, the wheel's gone, a lug nut from another tire is missing, and my front end is resting on a curb like a sleeping, three-limbed baby. Great.

Step 2: Call the po-lice. And answer a bunch of questions before you get to explain your situation. It's not like I pressed "3" for theft. Thankfully my state has the "castle" law, so I'll know whether to reach for my phone or gun should my apartment ever get broken into. Also, don't expect them to do anything. I didn't, but it's important for the next step...

Step 3: Call your insurance company. I was hesitant to do so, but I love my car, and the thought of the wheel assembly violently falling to the ground or the front end being damaged and effecting it in the long haul made me make the call. And luckily, a claim won't be filed if the damage is more than the deductible. Thankfully, I have enough in my emergency fund to cover that.

Step 4: Do the following things to prevent this from occurring to begin with. 

Now, I realize that the victim of a crime can't blame themselves, but sometimes, a little bit of thinking can go a long way. Especially before disaster strikes.

Prepare #1: Lug locks, lug locks, lug locks. Sadly, I never thought of this, because if I had, I would have looked them up and realized the twenty or thirty bucks would have been worth it. I guess part of why I didn't do that is because I don't have chrome wheels or anything that notable. These are first things I'm putting on once I get my car back, and it will be money worth spent. Let's be honest, at some point most of us have spent that much on a plate of food at a nice restaurant. I probably ate more than $30 worth of McRibs when they came back.

Prepare #2:Spare for the spare. Sure, I saved myself three or four hundred dollars when buying my car (used), but my deductible is $500 and I also could have slowly saved up for a replacement. (I won't) Make no mistake (again), it's worth it to spare (there it is again!) the pain and aggravation. And that's not even getting into the sheer obviousness of emergency blowouts. This tip won't apply to most people, but if it does, fix it. Because I should have.

Prepare #3: When Han Solo had a bad feeling about something, he had a good reason.  There were more cars in my parking lot than normal last night, and I should have just parked in a different lot. Something didn't feel right, and I ignored my gut and parked it there anyway. A thirty second walk could have saved me $500.

Well, that's about it for this. Look forward to a forthcoming post called "My Weekend Without My Car". I think it might actually be a good learning experience.

And who steals just one wheel! gah!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Neverending Whiteboard and the 100 Push Up Challenge

Push ups have always kind of been a huge pain in the ass. I have a bit of a large frame, about 6 feet tall and 185 pounds, but there's a lot more muscle in my legs (and fat in my gut) than in my arms, so after about 40-50 in a row, I'm usually done. And honestly, knowing my upper limit kind of bums me out when it's time to do them, because I feel like getting to that number is my goal, and then I can cop out.

Well, not anymore. I'm setting my sights on triple digits, and my plan is going to be pretty straight forward.

1) The 100 pushup challenge website. This website has been up for years, and they outline an 8 week regimen of doing sets of pushups three times a week. It seems like a pretty sound plan, and since it still has that kind of staying power after not really updating much (other than several other physical challenges), I'm fairly confident that it will at least get me to 80+. The site can be found at

2) Make myself lighter. USING MAGIC! It's a fairly simple philosophy, to do more pushups, weigh less. Now I doubt I'll be dropping 10 pounds in this course of time, since my diet is already fairly steady and mostly healthy, but avoiding putting anything extra on will be a huge boost in this department. Much like how I used a budget to start paying off credit cards and now my loans, I'll just limit the energy drinks (I recently discovered Monster's Rehab tea is pretty damn tasty) and try to find any other areas where I can literally trim the fat.

3) Hold myself accountable on here. While I haven't been updating every day like I wanted to, three a week has seemed to be the norm, so adding in my progress should only take a second.

4) Eventually post a video of me doing 100 pushups in a row while wearing green paint, and then Hulk out of my shirt. It's gonna be corny as shit, but if I ever achieve that accomplishment, it's gonna be fucking sweet. 

Also, I think in about two weeks I'll be heading out to take care of another section of some sweet hiking. Like I said in my previous post, I'll make sure to avoid the pitfalls of the last trip and just enjoy myself instead of just viewing it as a box to check off.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Misadventures of the soul, lessons from my first trip of 2012

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself into one." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Not sure if I mentioned this in my run up to the half marathon, but back in January, things took a MAJOR setback thanks to my hiking trip the first week of January. I had decided to go, alone, for four days and attempt to hike 80 miles of the Appalachian. I ended up making the first twenty miles, but at the expense of my left knee getting seriously hurt. Despite the pain, it was totally worth it, and all it ended up really costing me was a month off from my training, and the bruised knee and ego of having to call it quits early. Anyway, I thought I'd offer up some advice on a few solo hike ideas.

1) Know your terrain. The guidebook I brought with me labeled the hikes I wanted to do as "strenuous, very strenuous, strenuous, and strenuous." More than one of those hikes had altitude changes of 1000 feet within a mile. Sure, 20 miles a day doesn't seem terrible, but doing that while you're practically walking down the side of a cliff is a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad idea.

2) Know your weather. I went during one of the coldest few days of the month, so I over prepared by bringing lots of warm clothing, a tent, a heavy sleeping bad, tons of food, and a tomahawk I won by having the greatest mustache in a restaurant. It also added a fair amount of weight to my bag, which helped add extra pressure to my knee, and combine that with the terrain, and I was pretty much asking for trouble. Especially with cold weather. I spent a good portion of that night shivering and wondering if sleeping in freezing temperatures might end up being my last mistake, but luckily, it wasn't. Still, pretty freakin' dumb.

3) Know your limits. I'm a victim of this one, most of the time by over and underestimating my limits. I often feel the need to test these limits, and so far I have a 100% success rate of coming out alive and better informed, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes you need to list everything out and seriously contemplate whether or not it's a good idea. Freezing temperatures, a seriously long distance, being over prepared, a known knee problem, and steep declines all lead to what is a very poor plan. But, I was at least smart in one case, and that is having the number of a cab company and enough money to bail out if need be.

All of that aside, I wouldn't trade it for a moment. I captured some great pictures, which I'll probably upload soon, and I still can't think of a better way to have welcomed the new year. Now that the half marathon has been crossed off and I'm not planning on finishing the marathon goal until the end of the year, I hope to finish the rest of the trail in my state by the end of the year as well. And next time, I'll be more mindful, and have an even greater appreciation for the beauty of nature in solitude.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Alright, February Update Time

Just thought I'd do a quick post on the state of my resolutions

#1 - Quit smoking - STATUS = Much better than last month, definitely making strides towards quitting for good, and even though I have the occasional slip up, things are going way better in this arena. 

#2 - Marathon - STATUS = Halfway there! Ran my first half marathon on Sunday! And lo, it was good!

#3 - Networth - STATUS = Close to breaking even. My credit card IS PAID OFF. I'm right on the brink of being neutral on this, so that's a hell of a good feeling. 

#4 - Travel more! - STATUS = Better so far. Februrary just felt insanely bust for whatever reason, but I did get out more and tried a few new things, such as the beer tasting, which definitely sparked some change into my life. 

$5 - Write more - STATUS = DOING IT! Wrote a bunch of papers for school, and have been updating this a lot more often than during the month of January. 

I just wanted to get this quick update out of the way, but I'm sure I'll have some more rambling coming up in the next few days...until then, dream on!