Archive for the ‘QuitJournal’ Category

Well, I’ll be damned… Something good happened.

I haven’t updated lately, even though I’ve had stuff to report, mainly because I haven’t had the time and/or the energy to write up a post. Even now, I would really rather be headed to bed, but I want to get this all put down on paper (as it were) just so I can focus on other things.

First, I’ve lost some weight. I’m down just under ten pounds at this point, to just over 260. I was down under what I weighed before I quit smoking (more on that below) for the first time since quitting. Unfortunately, over the last weekend I gained some weight due to extremely unhealthy behavior (more on that below, as well).

It feels really nice to be losing weight—mainly, I think, because it’s the result of increased discipline. I’ve been working very hard lately on my finances and my eating habits (and I think that the discipline for both comes from much the same place), and it’s been rather amazing at how much better I feel, not only in the psychological sense that I’m doing something good for myself, but in a very tangible sense as well. Working on keeping my finances in order means that I’m far less likely to eat out, which means that I have to cook for myself and plan my meals—more discipline, which has a direct impact on my health as well as my wallet.

As for the smoking: I just hit the five-month mark of not having had a cigarette. Not much to say at this point that I haven’t said in one of my prior updates regarding the smoking. I do, however, feel that it’s important to keep celebrating the fact that I’ve been successful with this. But I think that after the six-month mark (which, coincidentally, will be at some point very near my birthday next month), I won’t bother posting any celebrations until I hit the one-year mark.

And as for last weekend: We shut down an entire datacenter last weekend. The power consumption of our New London datacenter was growing so much that we didn’t have any more capacity, and as a result they had to add UPSes (Uninterruptable Power Supplies). However, in order to do that, we had to shut the entire datacenter down. Given that there were over a thousand servers alone (not counting network devices, network storage devices, SAN devices), this was no small feat. Given that there was only a 36-hour window during which they could work while the power was out, too, meant that we had to work fast in order to get it done. We shut down all of the servers in a matter of about 10 hours on Friday night, and powered them all back on from Sunday afternoon through early Monday morning. We had a small contingent of servers that had to be powered back on by 6pm Sunday for the start of the business day in Nagoya, Japan, and another set of servers that had to be powered back on by 3am on Monday for the start of the business day in Sandwich, England. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted come Monday (although I got lucky as I have awesome coworkers who knew that I had a long drive and were fine with letting me go home a couple hours early, both nights). I was also eating crap the whole weekend as a result.

And now for the really good news: I got a promotion! Well, sort of. It’s an 18-week “project” with my company to fill in on the Level 3 support position, to backfill for our normal guy who is doing another position. It means that I get to do more in-depth, engineering-level stuff, which is exactly the kind of thing that I want to do. You know, solving the big problems type stuff. No pay raise, but obviously it gives me more ammunition for the not-too-distant future (especially should they decide to keep me on in the position or move me into other similar positions instead of putting me back where I am currently).

I think there was some other stuff, too, but I really can’t remember what it was, so I’ll finish for now.

Happy Cinco de Mayo

I’m not really in the mood to write any kind of in-depth, well, anything, so here are some talking points:

  • Tuesday evening marked four months of not smoking. For those really counting, that’s seventeen weeks. Yes, I’m very proud of myself.
  • I was hoping to spend this holiday (if you can call it that; we are in America, after all, and this is really just an excuse to drink, like St. Patrick’s Day) with friends, but no such luck. Seems to be par for the course, really.
  • Speaking of “par for the course:” The first official week of the golf league got cancelled due to unstoppable rains. Naturally, the day after, it stopped raining and has been some of the nicest and warmest weather we’ve had all year. Go figure.
  • As this post’s bullet-point style would indicate, I have almost no desire to do anything requiring any kind of actual work at the moment. My job has sapped me, I have no money (despite the fact that I just got a raise; I think it’ll take a little while before that really starts to have an effect due to the amount to which I’m in debt at the moment), and I seem to be some kind of pariah lately, if the fact that my friends seem to be avoiding me is any indication.

Let’s hear it for staying positive. *clinks glass* Cheers.

Very sore, but still smoke-free

The subject of this post is referring to two things.

First off, the more obvious of the two: I’m still smoke free. I say that because it’s April 2nd, and it’s three months since I quit smoking. And I haven’t had one since. According to QuitMeter, it’s been almost thirteen weeks. In a similar vein, I also have given up most of my soda drinking; I drank a lot of diet soda, an average of at least 2 liters a day. I decided it wasn’t worth it to keep drinking it all, so I’ve been drinking a lot of water lately, which can’t be bad, right? I figure that if I can do this stuff successfully, I can move up to the next step: the much bigger and more challenging task of losing about 70 pounds. That’s more daunting to me than quitting smoking ever was.

As for the other thing. Why am I sore? Well, for a couple reasons. First, I went out on Friday night, with some friends. It started as a going-away party for a friend who was leaving for a new job. It ended at about 3:30 am when I went to sleep after going out to a dance club, then had eggs and bacon at one in the morning with my friend Heather. There’s definitely something to be said for evenings like that.

However, a night of dancing, for a fat guy (see above comment about needing to lose 70 pounds), is really rough on the legs. I’m not exactly in shape, so I’m not so much with the muscle endurance, and my legs were quite sore afterward. Keep this in mind as I talk about the rest of the weekend:

Saturday, I woke up before my alarm clock went off at 8. I showered, got dressed, packed some stuff and then drove down to New York City. I met with a couple friends, had some drinks, and then attended a Dream Theater concert at Radio City Music Hall. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I had a ticket in the sixth row, and the show was being filmed for a DVD, which pretty much guaranteed that there would be no sitting down for the entirety of the show. Which was three hours.

Now, mentioning again the prior mention of my hearty girth, and noting to you that I have a congenital ankle condition, and you may be able to see the dangers of being on my feet for a continuous three hours. And then, after that, we went to Applebees (about five blocks from the venue), ate a way-too-overpriced meal, and then walked another, what, seven blocks? to the hotel. Really not good for my feet.

When all is said and done, though, I’m not going to complain at all. It was a combination of great friends, a little exercise, a few beers, a slight case of temporary tinnitus, some limping that’ll go for yet a few days more, and some cool memories.

Pictures to follow.

Oh, and by the way (QJ)

It may be a little stupid due to the whole 30-day/31-day/28-day month thing, but tonight marks two full calendar months without a cigarette. It was officially eight weeks (56 days) on Monday night, but this is the numerical line of two months.

Time quit: 8 weeks, 3 days, 1 hour, 44 minutes
Cigarettes not smoked: 708 (My God, that’s insane!)
Money saved: $177.00

QuitJournal Update

Time Quit: 5 weeks, 6 days

You read that right: 42 days since I had a cigarette. According to QuitMeter, I have not smoked almost 500 cigarettes and I’ve saved over a hundred and twenty bucks.

Probably the biggest change I’ve noticed in the last month has to be my sense of smell. I’m picking up things that I just don’t remember noticing before, and I seem to be almost hypersensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke. I can smell it through doorways and walls. I’m guessing that this will not be changing any time soon, either; from what I understand, former smokers are the people who can most easily pick up on it.

I think that the best thing about this is that I feel like I can really just call myself a nonsmoker. I was worried that I would feel like a fraud calling myself that, especially because I’m looking for apartments closer to work, and there are just a ton of ads that state “No smokers”. But I don’t feel like a fraud, which makes me feel even better than all of the positive things since quitting.

QuitJournal Update

Time Quit: 3 weeks, 1 day, 15 hours, 30 minutes

It takes twenty-one days to break a habit, or so I’m told. I officially quit at 9pm on January 2nd, which makes me past the 21-day mark. And that’s a really good feeling. I feel good that I’ve stuck with it; I feel good that my singing voice is already improving; I feel good that I’m not getting short of breath after small amounts of physical activity (though I’m still fat, so that doesn’t help in terms of the shortness of breath). I feel good that it doesn’t bug me that I quit like it did the last time.

I need to find some way to celebrate when I hit the one month mark (then I’ll do it again at six months, then a year, then two years, etc.). Unfortunately, due to a lack of cash, I think I’ll have to celebrate by getting new brakes on my car.

QuitJournal Update

Time quit: 1 week, 4 days, 1 hour, 32 minutes since 2-Jan-2006 21:00:00.

That’s over eleven days. And it was almost cut short on Wednesday night. Went to another Trivia Night at the bar, and I was pretty damn close to having a cigarette. I know now that I wouldn’t have, even if I’d been handed one. But it would have been a long and tormented several seconds while I figured out that I wasn’t going to have it.

I’ve been good since then, though. I’ll be glad when it doesn’t bother me that way when I drink anymore.

Some Quitting Info

This is as much for my own benefit and to remind me of what it is I’m trying to do as it is to share with other people.

This is what the American Cancer Society lists as the health benefits of quitting:

20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette. The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, pp. 39, 202)

8 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, p. 202)

24 hours after quitting: Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, p. 202)

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30%.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193,194,196,285,323)

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 304, 307, 319, 322)

1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)

5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5-15 years after quitting.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.79)

10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decrease.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.110, 147, 152, 155, 159,172)

15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.79)

Something to think about.

QuitJournal Update

I had a pretty rough time last night. Not sure why, but I think it probably had something to do with it being the end of the week and everything.

As of this moment, I have officially gone 4 days, 17 hours without a cigarette. According to QuitMeter, I have not smoked 65 cigarettes during that time and have saved myself $16.25. I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

This whole ordeal has actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been at least a little challenging at times, especially those times when I would be almost definitely smoking, like the drive to work, or right after I eat something. Those times have been the worst.

There’s also the additional problem: I LIKED smoking. Stopping something that you like makes it that much more difficult. I find myself thinking about how much I liked it sometimes, and realize that it’s just my brain trying to fool me into having a cigarette. That makes it a little easier not to do it.

Still, it was kinda my only vice. I think I need to find something else that’s bad for me to take up the space, like skydiving.

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