Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Lounge is now open

I added an embedded Nabble forum for those occasional moments when blog comments don’t cut the mustard. Got questions that aren’t relevant to one of my blog posts? Just wanna chat about something random? Got stuff you wanna share? Grab the hot beverage of your choice and pull up a stool in the Lounge!

No registration needed or anything like that–it’s optional, and you can just go straight to the posting bit without any account hassles.

We need to get out more…

Would you believe that my wife and I completely forgot that today was Easter Sunday?

We were watching The Amazing Race when Mrs E suggested we get a pizza from Papa Murphy’s, the neighborhood take-and-bake chain. It sounded pretty good to me–the prices are good, the ingredients are fresh, and they prepare the thing right there in front of you like a Subway. Except with pizza instead of sandwiches. Anyway, she goes out to score the pizza, and 20 minutes after she left, I get a text message from her saying it’s Easter Sunday and Papa Murphy’s is closed.

Uh-oh. So’s the grocery store. And just about every other place that appealed. Our cupboards are empty because we were too busy to go grocery shopping earlier in the weekend. We’re both starving by this point in time, and we made the semi-desperate decision to hit the local Denny’s for supper, since they were one of the few places that were open.

It was a surprising experience. Now, this is Denny’s, and my expectations for restaurants like that are pretty low. I’m talking “Please, Lord, I hope we don’t get food poisoning” low. I ordered their double cheeseburger because I didn’t believe their menu photo for one minute–I thought it would be a sad little biscuit-sized travesty with 2 vaguely beefy-tasting slices of processed meat product, placed forlornly in a depressing nest of limp, flaccid, and soggy fries. Instead, I actually got a I-shit-thee-not massive double cheeseburger that looked like it needed to be renamed Humongorr the Burgernormous. I had to sort of nibble at it rather than being able to bite into it, even after mashing it down to something that wouldn’t require me to dislocate my jaw to eat.

It wasn’t bad. About a six on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “microwave burger from vending machine” and 10 being Mighty Fine Burgers. Next time, I get the regular sized burger, because damn. Fries were surprisingly OK as well.

Mrs E picked out the Tsing Tsing Chicken as the appetizer, and she had some sort of BLT sandwich with a really unfortunate name that made me think of whoopee cushions. The Tsing Tsing Chicken is, as the name implies, supposed to be some sort of Chinese-style sweet-and-spicy chicken. I wasn’t expecting much from it either, but I was pleasantly surprised. It actually tasted way better than the typical “meaty lumps in red sauce”, “meaty lumps in brown sauce”, or “meaty lumps in slightly redder sauce with sesame seeds” kind of stuff you get at the local Chinese buffets. I was stunned when the waitress asked us if we wanted ranch dressing with it. Ranch dressing? With Chinese-ish kreplach? The horror.

We were planning to try the bacon maple sundae (they’re running this Baconalia thing for 10 weeks where they add 7 bacon-themed dishes to the menu), but we were much too stuffed to even entertain the thought. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, topped with crumbled bacon. We’re gonna try that next time.

I’m about three minutes from a meat coma, so I’m gonna pack it in for the night.

Woo! One week plus one day…

I quit smoking 8 days ago.

I didn’t suddenly wake up one morning and decide to quit or anything that dramatic. It just sort of happened. I came down with a cold last week, and I usually don’t smoke much when I’m sick, if at all. I mean, I just don’t feel the urge when I’m sick. I’ve been like that for years.

The one big difference this time was that instead of somehow finding myself taking the habit back up after getting better, I decided to see how long I could stay quit for. You know, take it one day at a time, no pressure. It’s harder than it sounds, because a large part of smoking, besides the addiction, is simple habit. You’re used to taking smoke breaks, or you have a routine where you’re just used to having a cigarette in your hand while doing something or the other. That’s usually what caused me to take it up again the last several times, force of habit.

You have to really go the extra mile to break habits. Not just the habit of smoking itself, but also the other habits and routines that you associate strongly with smoking. In the past, I wimped out and resumed smoking because I couldn’t handle the disruption to my comfortable routine. I always had an excuse–I needed to get work done on a critical project, I’m surrounded by smokers and temptation, or whatever. This time, I decided to grow a pair and tackle the whole problem like I was serious. Why? That shit’s expensive, for one thing. A pack of fags doesn’t cost a couple bucks anymore–I think they’re up to like seven bucks a pack right now. Second, it’s inconvenient, especially if you’re like me and you prefer to smoke outside. I had a prime window of opportunity to quit for good, so I hatched a plan.

First, I made the most of the fact that I don’t get urges when I’m sick. That’s important, because it helps reduce the power that the addiction holds over you. If you tough it out past the hump, past the part where you’d normally be climbing the walls and biting other people’s heads off because you need a nicotine fix, you’re halfway home. From there, it’s a matter of managing habits.

Second, I tried to break habits and shuffle around my routine. I avoided being around other smokers for a few days, I found something else to do at the moments where I normally would step outside for a cigarette, and I got used to not taking smoke breaks while working. Wasn’t easy, but a few other major life changes made it easier. Suddenly, it’s evening of day 8 and I realize I haven’t even thought about smoking.

How do I feel? Weird. I mean, it’s easy to think you’re a manly paragon of health when you haven’t had a proper frame of reference for what “healthy” really means for years. You kind of forget what feeling healthy is really like, and you don’t really notice the effects that smoking has on you. You think about the lung cancer, emphysema, or whatever, but you don’t notice the other effects creeping up on you. You don’t really notice that you get winded more easily. You don’t notice the lower energy levels. You might not even notice your performance in the sack gradually decreasing over the years.

The one word that comes to mind right now is “oxygenated.”

That’s how I feel. Oxygenated. It’s weird. I have more energy, I feel more alert. I don’t need anywhere nearly as much coffee to get through the day as I used to. I even feel a little bit smarter. I’m not going to comment on the sexual health aspects because you didn’t come here to read about my wang.

Suffice it to say that I feel better than I ever have, and I think I’ve really kicked it this time. It’ll always be a one-day-at-a-time sort of deal, yes, but I feel great about it.

Big changes upcoming!

 The 2 biggest changes:

  1. I’m closing down Ebbles Miniatures and moving on to other things. 
  2. I’m consolidating my hobby interests and web presences together here.

The Ebbles Miniatures storefront will be closed permanently as of May 1, 2011. I’ve started moving some of my favorite paper models over here and sharing them with everybody. You can find them on the navigation bar below the header, starting with the Saga Of The Uppity Robots lineup.

I will no longer be selling anything directly to the public. Instead, I’ll be focusing on freelance programming, 3D modeling, and papercraft design work for other companies.