Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 14

Today is day 14 of not smoking and I’ve finally come to the realization that I won’t be smoking again. You may think that’s a daft thing to say after just two weeks and just a few weeks back I would have agreed with you. But that was before I properly tried out an e-cig. The things are excellent, delivering nicotine as a vapour to your lungs without all the other horrible stuff you get from a tobacco cigarette. Also, upon seeing more of these devices and enjoying the enthusiasm of what seems to be a massive growing subculture, I’m hooked. I mean, how can I resist e-cigs that look like a sonic screwdrivers?

Update:
It's also worth mentioning for those who have tried e-cigs in the past and not been impressed, that these devices have come on in leaps and bounds. They are no longer like trying to suck a pea up a straw, give a good volume of vapour and a good hit. 




Of course the question I’m now asking myself is can I give up vaping … and will I want to? 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

E-Cigs

The more I find out the more I’m coming to the conclusion that e-cigs are a game changer. As it was the situation was that the anti-smokers and ‘health professionals’, or ‘useful idiots’ as they are sometimes called, kept calling for further controlling legislation on smoking to which nanny government happily agreed, while it was also happy to have the excuse that ‘it’s for your own good’ to keep raising the taxes on cigarettes and tobacco. Meanwhile their buddies in Big Pharma were happy to screw large profits from smokers with expensive NRT and, this being a corporatist society, government was happy to open up the tax coffers to them via the NHS. It was all very comfortable and tidy and to the profit of governments and the drug companies. Smokers of course were being screwed, but such filthy creatures of course don’t matter. Other tax payers were also being screwed (consider how much NHS NRT costs) but so what, that’s what they’re there for.


Then e-cigs arrive on the scene being produced by lots of small companies. These companies are all in competition with each other and, as a result, prices of e-cigs are steadily tumbling. But they’re also in competition with conventional NRT and Big Pharma doesn’t like that at all. It therefore goes to its buddies in government and does what big companies always do in our corporatist society: calls for more legislation, more rules, more red tape. You see, big companies can afford to employ people to deal with all that crap and the more of it there is the more the little guy gets squeezed out; the easier it is to kill truly capitalist competition. However, I rather suspect that with the arrival of the £1 e-cig they haven’t moved fast enough. The cat is out of the bag, the game has changed.

One upshot of all this is that we’ll clearly see just how much of the rules, regulations and taxes that have been loaded on smoking are really ‘for your own good’ – are really about concern for the health of smokers. If activists from the likes of ASH are pushing for them to be banned then that will show you that it’s not the negative health aspects of smoking they hate, but simply smokers and smoking. It will also demonstrate that like most people running such organizations they’re righteous pricks who are addicted to bansturbating. If government pushes for them to be banned it’s then all about the money: they’re seeing revenue streams being threatened, they're under pressure from their Big Pharma buddies and the kick-backs and jobs for the boys might dry up etc. What weare seeing is an attempt to legislate e-cigs out of existence and, if that doesn’t work, I’ve no doubt that government will find some excuse to load them with massive taxes. Doubtless there will be studies along the lines of the second-hand smoke farrago clearly demonstrating that e-cigs are dangerous.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mourning the Wine

Well that’s strange. We’re on day 11 now of quitting smoking. I have noticed how much better some things smell and many things taste. I can keep on eating popadoms now whereas before they were just a fairly tasteless accompaniment to curry. Walking past a fast-food van can be murder. Shop-bought radishes and carrots do actually taste slightly of radish and carrot etc. But apparently things aren’t the same with wine.

One effect of stopping has been an inability to sleep well so, last night, I thought I might as well try drinking some wine to see if that would help. I deliberately left it late before cracking the bottle because I didn’t want to give the alcohol time to work on my will power. I opened a bottle of Hardy’s cabernet shiraz merlot that was a gift from Caroline’s mother and just the sort of thing we liked. The first sip was nice, the second was … um … and thereafter the wine was just far too strong flavoured and heavy. I even put half my second glass back in the bottle. While Caroline persevered with the Hardy’s I opened a bottle of less heavy Dreamtime Ridge. This initially tasted better, but then just went away from me. I sat there sipping it thinking I would rather have a cup of tea.


Maybe I’ll try some of those wines again, but not any time soon.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Other Stuff

Right, fuck that shit – it’s starting to get a bit whiny on this blog. Let me waffle about some other stuff. You all probably know about the upshot of the Night Shade Books saga and how their lists were bought up by Start & Sky Horse Publishing (the former is ebooks the latter the paper version) but what I haven’t mentioned here is how Jarred Weisfeld of Start was determined to buy up my backlist. Those books not taken on by Tor US were being sold as ebooks in the US by Tor UK (yeah, gets confusing doesn’t it). This was, incidentally, something Tor UK weren’t going to do because a US publisher might be put off buying the rights… Anyway, Jarred has essentially bought the rights to ebooks that were already being sold over there. How good a thing for me this is I don’t know. Certainly the advance is nice but does this mean Sky Horse will be bringing out the paper version of those books? Does this mean US fans will be seeing their own copies of books like The Line of Polity? I just don’t know.

Meanwhile my books are still going into translation. The books you see turned up at our house just a few days back. These are the German Baste Lubbe version of The Technician.


And while I’m on the subject of foreign copies of my books. I’ve been selling off my loft stock of books (here you see the latest pile of parcels ready to go)




and wonder if there’s anyone out there who would like some signed foreign editions (mainly German) copies? I have plenty: 



Day 10 ... I Think?

Somehow I find myself in day 10 of not smoking. (or drinking) and on the other side of yet another afternoon nap. My sleep patterns are all over the place and during the night the most I seem to manage lately is about 6 hours of interrupted sleep. Is it the exercise I’ve been doing to keep busy doing this? No, because it usually knocks me out at night – especially the weight-training. Is it the not drinking? No, because when I lay off the booze regular sleep patterns establish within a couple of days. Then it must be the not-smoking, even though I’ve been using NRT and don’t seem to be suffering anything in the way of withdrawal. Also, scattered through these periods of being utterly knackered are periods when I feel so bursting with energy I can’t keep still, would like to run around the nearby field, in fact feel as more energetic than I have felt in many years. This last is what I have to keep in mind. Once all the upsets are out of the way I’m going to be healthier, fitter! Caroline, meanwhile, is also being whacked on the head by Morpheus and his now getting her own particular reaction to giving up smoking, which is ulcers in the mouth. Of course the anti-smoking crowd never use words like antiseptic or antibiotic in connection with smoking…

I’m sorry to have to report that the writing isn’t going great at all, in fact, it would be more accurate to say it isn’t going at all. Yes I’m writing blog posts but they hardly require the same degree of concentration, and yes I managed to do that synopsis of Penny Royal I: Isobel for Bella Pagan, but actually getting deep into the trilogy to make the alterations and corrections needed is a no-no now. This inability to concentrate is certainly due to the abnegation above, but is also due to the reason we are back in England right now, when we’d usually be on Crete. In fact that might be another reason for my insomnia.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 8

Interesting, a few people have been asking me what works best for quitting, while one has even bought an e-cig and is ‘quitting with Asher’. Now I’m hardly an expert on this. I have given up many times in the past, sometimes for as long as a year, but who wants advice from someone who has failed so often? And, really, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be a non-smoker even this afternoon. However, let me waffle on about what I know.

You do have to make lots of attempts at giving up to learn the pitfalls general for all smokers and the pitfalls specific to you. (Surprisingly there are still smokers out there who think they can give up at any time.) I, for example, know that one of my main danger zones is not now, but a few months down the line if I start feeling depressed. Another danger, conversely, is feeling healthy, well and happy because at that point the bad stuff related to smoking is hazy in my mind and the pining for that faithless friend seems stronger.

So what about NRT? Well, it works. I have in fact been using it for a long time. The smokers’ cough was a relatively recent thing for me but one constant I had was a nag in my chest that turned to a pain when I smoked more than my usual 10 or 15 roll-ups (and usually drink was involved). I always worried that this was a developing heart problem, except it was a nag that went away with exercise. It also went away if I just laid off the cigs for a bit. To do this I chewed a 4mg piece of nicotine gum in the morning which delayed my first cigarette sometimes until midday. And with that piece of gum it was always important to chew it before I wanted a cigarette. If I left it to that moment when I was about to roll a cigarette it was always too late.

But really this gum wasn’t helping me give up, but helping me continue smoking. It’s rather like the Aerolin inhalers I’ve been using. I was appalled, a few days ago when clearing out the drawer of my bedside cabinet, to discover eight of the damned things. The situation is getting ridiculous when you feel a bit wheezy and puff on an inhaler so you can smoke a cigarette.

Now to the NRT I’m presently using. I start off in the morning with a piece of that nicotine gum. Thereafter I stick an inhalator in my mouth for that surrogate cigarette feel, pulling on it to keep the cravings at bay. If I get a bad craving I find a Niquitin mini (4mg) kills it stone dead or, alternatively, just a few drags on my Vapestick. This last comes into its own in the evening when I want a cigarette which, as many smokers know, is not necessarily the same feeling as craving nicotine. I intend to stay with this stuff for a good long time, but eventually I want to wind down on it and dispense with all the paraphernalia.

Positive effects:
The nag in my chest ceased on the day I stopped smoking, the cough disappeared two days later. My sense of smell is returning and I’m picking up on things that even give me a stab of nostalgia. Only the other day I caught a whiff of a tree fungus and that reminded me of childhood expeditions to collect various fungi. My sense of taste has improved too – some foods are now ridiculously delicious. Exercise is now really easy and becoming a pleasure. Every now and again I feel surges of energy, almost like a V12 engine whose six knackered spark plugs have been replaced.

Negative effects:
Cravings of course. An inability to concentrate sometimes, but then how do I distinguish that from similar occasions in the past? Occasional grumpiness (of course I was the soul and spirit of joy when I smoked). I’m eating more and already putting on weight. And … and … well that’s about it really.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Sale Again

Okay, seeing as I'm back in England with access to my loft, time to try and clear out the stock up there. Below you'll find the list of what I have (English language) along with the price, but I'll need to know where you are to work out the cost of postage and packaging. They will be signed of course. If you want anything here please email me at ndotasheratvirgindotnet. I also have numerous foreign editions, for example I just received five of the Baste Lubbe German edition of The Technician, so get in contact if you fancy any of them.

Book
Detail
Number
Price

Brass Man




MM paperback
UK Sullivan cover
11
£8

Trade paperback
USA
22
£10

MM paperback
USA
16
£6






Polity Agent




MM paperback
UK Old cover
2
£4

MM paperback
UK Sullivan cover
10
£8






Prador Moon




Trade paperback
US Night Shade Books issue
21
£10






Voyage of the Sable Keech




MM paperback
UK old cover
5
£4

MM paperback
UK Sullivan cover
7
£8






Orbus




MM paperback
UK Sullivan
4
£8






Cowl




MM paperback
UK wraparound
4
£8

MM paperback
US
4
£5.50

Trade paperback
US
8
£10






Hilldiggers




MM paperback
UK old cover
3
£4






Shadow of the Scorpion




Trade paperback
UK old cover
4
£12

MM paperback
UK Sullivan
7
£8






The Technician




MM paperback
UK Sullivan
7
£8






The Gabble




MM paperback
UK old cover
8
£8






The Departure




MM paperback
UK Sullivan
19
£8






Zero Point




MM paperback
UK Sullivan
11
£8