Substituting Smoking: Blogging

Temptation is a funny thing. As somebody just three days into the process of quitting smoking I have learned that first hand.

Finding alternative things to occupy my mind whenever I get tempted seems to be the best approach however. For instance, I have just written a 2,800 word blog post based on an IT project I completed just before Christmas. I’d been wanting to write a post about it due to the lack of reliable information I found online while I was working on the project, but never found the motivation. Probably because I knew how long-winded it would be and I had better things to do with my time. Yet here I am three hours later, proud of finding the motivation to finally complete the post, and still smoke free. Find the post here if anybody is strangely interested in SIP

So next time you’re tempted to pop outside in the freezing cold, miserable winter weather for a sly fag, blog instead!

via Daily Prompt: Tempted

New Year, New Habits, New Hobby

Another year has disappeared into almost distant memory in what seems like a few days. As I reflect on the events of 2016 I’m genuinely concerned for the outcome of some of the stupid choices made by the british public around EU membership and what lies ahead as lying arseholes in suits steer us into uncertain waters. Then just as I thought shit couldn’t get any worse, Trump won the election across the pond. For fuck sake!

Anyway, those idiotic decisions are in the past and we, as in I, need to look forward to what lies ahead for me and my family.

My first oder of business is to clean up my act when it comes to my health. As a smoker of around 15 years I have decided to quit smoking finally. It’s an idea I have toyed with for several years but never really put the effort in. Now however my smoking, and the inherent inability to walk up stairs without panting like a pit bull, is getting in the way of my other health related goal. Loose weight.

Over the past few years sheer laziness and far too many take-aways have seen my weight rise from 15 stone to over 19. I used to love going mountain biking on a regular basis. Whenever I wasn’t on a mountain I’d go for a ride locally and clock up roughly 20 miles a time. Nowadays though my bike is lucky if it gets out once every six months and the last time I checked my Just-Eat account had seen over £1,500 in the past 12 months. It’s shameful when I think about it.

I’ve already made the first step of stopping smoking and slapped a nicotine patch on my arm. So far it seems to be doing the trick, however the first smoke of the day still has a much stronger draw than my will power at the minute.

As for the weight loss, I think the first and foremost challenge will be cutting out take-aways, or at least drastically reducing the amount I eat. Then hopefully the excess weight will shift from my gut to my wallet. After some exercise of course, hopefully of the mountain biking flavour.

So to make a long story short, although I’ve just told it anyway, my three resolutions this year, or at least new habits I need to form, are as follows:

  • Stop smoking
  • Get more exercise
  • Eat more healthily (and less take-away)

As for a new hobby for 2017 (as if I need another one) I have purchased a DJI Phantom 3 drone. It’s great fun to fly and I’m well impressed with the quality of the video and images that come out the other end once I’ve had my fun. It’s already crashed into a brick wall which jumped out of nowhere though… It’s a good job replacement propellers are cheap enough. The kids love chasing the drone around the field too, which is another win, although they haven’t managed to catch it at 200 ft of altitude yet.

Boys and Their Bases

Today’s youth is completely different from the youth of my generation. They never seem to want to go out and explore, get up to mischief, play knock and run or put coke bottles in their bike tyres to make it sound like a broken motorbike. Instead they prefer the comfort of their bedroom, communicating with friends over console chat systems and mobile phones.

When I was a lad I’d wake up in the morning and have some breakfast, get dressed, then go to knock on my friend’s door. We’d spend all day in the woods building bases, climbing trees and lighting fires, only returning home when we were hungry, or if we hit the “before its dark” curfew imposed on us by our parents.

I’m not sure if the kids are entirely to blame in this situation though. I think a lot of the blame lyes with the paranoia of parents who watch the news, and the perceived safety concerns around kids these days. That and technology for making it easier than ever to keep in touch with friends without clapping eyes on them for weeks or months.

One of the most memorable bases built by me and my friends was an old, disused, brick mine ventilation shaft. It had been filled in but the concrete ended about six feet below the brick level, with only about one foot protruding from the ground around it. The shaft was roughly 8 feet square inside, with the brick work taking up another foot all the way around.

As soon as we found the shaft we knew exactly what to do with it; build an underground base of course! We used logs and old four by two timbers to cover the top of the shaft, followed by scraps af particle board, plywood and any other sheet material we could lay our hands on. We then threw over a huge plastic sheet, then proceeded to bury the roof over the course of a week with shovels and an old wheel barrow with rust holes all over it.

The door was a simple affair. It was an old “stack and store” box filled with dirt and slid into a hole left in the roof just big enough for the box to slide in, with the lip of the box resting on the edges to prevent it from falling through. Once closed, kicking a little dirt over the lip of the box made our new underground base pretty much invisible unless you knew it was there.

Inside we spent our pocket-money on silver spray paint and battery operated lights from Your More Store. I’m sure at eleven we chose silver because it was cool, but it actually reflected the light from the cheap six volt incandescent lights and made the place seem lighter.

Someday I may take my kids to the site of this base, which is back to being a hole in the ground with a bunch of collapsed timbers slowly rotting back into the earth. Hopefully it might spur them on to go exploring the way I used to when I was their age. Every child should experience an underground base or a treehouse, along with the sheer joy of building it in the first place and the bruises from falling out the tree.

via Daily Prompt: Underground

Daily Prompt: Waiting

I hate waiting. For anything. This can have it’s advantages as well as disadvantages.

When waiting to go somewhere I usually find I’m ready way too early, leave way too early and end up at my destination way too early. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to things like job interviews, but can be a bit creepy when I’m sat in the car for half an hour outside the school waiting to pick my kids up.

Waiting for stuff I’ve ordered online is the worst. I hate it so much that I’m more than happy to pay over the odds to have it delivered as soon as possible. Amazon Now sort of scratches this itch, even though they don’t deliver to my home address yet. It looks like the receptionist at work is going to have to continue to receive all of my gadget for the forseeable future.

via Daily Prompt: Waiting