Sunday, July 22, 2007

An Ex-smoker's Journal: Major Withdrawal Symptoms

This has been my 7th Day since I puffed my last stick of cigarette. These past few days I've been through major withdrawal symptoms, and it has not been pretty. I've been experiencing mood swings. Its like having a period for guys. I'm not kidding! I got occasional crankiness in the mornings, because normally I would light up in my car on my way to school. There's also the occasional dizziness in my head, especially in the afternoons. A mild fever in the evenings. There's a funny sensation when I take a piss. I crap a lot more than usual. What's even worse, I had this cough a couple of nights ago, and I thought I saw dusts or ashes coming out of my mouth and falling down the sink in my bathroom. Hmmm, must be the tar from my lungs. And so, I went to do some research on the internet. According to one article, these symptoms are pretty much temporary and it will last in less than 2 weeks. It is normal for me to cough out bits of gray particles as my lungs are in a healing process since I haven't been consuming any poisonous chemicals for days. Yeah, healing processes do hurt, especially after quitting cold turkey. But after realizing that these withdrawal symptoms are a natural process to get the bad stuff out of my body, its no wonder I crapped a lot more than usual.

I'm gonna have to do some exercises to counter this pain, or at least keep it at minimal. After typing this blog, I'm gonna pay a visit to the stadium. Which reminds me, ever since I quit, my appetite has been soaring up. If that is so, I could gain weight from eating a lot. The reason for the new sense of hunger is due to the fact that nicotine is an appetite suppressant. Smoking between meals seems to eradicate the need for the snacking behaviors which I'm experiencing right now. Shit! I gotta start running!

But on the brighter side, there's been a dramatical change in my breathing. It seemed to get better and better. My sense of taste and smell has heightened than before. Last Wednesday I bought myself a carrot juice, I thought it tasted way better than the last carrot juice I had a week ago, and yet it was the same brand! And I didn't really need to sniff on something to identify the scent; I could actually smell the scent from inches away now. Finally, my teeth has never been whiter! I don't stink of cigarettes anymore so I washed myself up less. Everything is so fresh; my hands, my hair, my clothes, my car, my room, my mouth (I could kiss all of you to prove it!)...

Hopefully my mind will be as fresh after these withdrawal symptoms are finally gone. As of now I'm still kinda sick, like a mild fever. Sigh. Last night I had a terrible nightmare; that I actually turned into this:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nicotine Patch

It's been 6 years since I lit up my first cigarette. I was 18 back then. Before that I used to be heavily against smoking, dissing my smoker friends who started puffing at very early ages. I didn't expect that I would turn out to be like them. It was pressure that made me joined the nicotine club. The sensation of inhaling the nicotine into my lungs, the nice soothing puff of smoke blowin out of my mouth, the warmth of the heat near my lips. All those things made me feel high enough to keep me at a relaxed state, despite being aware of the dangers and risks of smoking death sticks.

These recent days I've been experiencing a further decline in my energy and stamina. My breathing is crap, and I tend to be sleepy and tired in some occasions. Worst of all, I felt a strange pain in my chest one morning when I got up. It wasn't very pleasant. I got all cranky during breakfast, which only a nice cigarette on the highway could help lift my morning drive up again. To make things worse (or exciting), smoking is usually in session under the tree at the school car park during breaks, and that's when I join the nicotine club and enjoy a stimulating conversation with the rest of my smoker gangs. We're like a family under that tree. Its hard to imagine losing them if I decide to quit, but then again, its harder to imagine losing my life if I didn't.

Its time to make a bold move. Quit smoking! I know I've done this several times these past few years but I feel that giving up so easily is not an option for me. I just gotta keep trying until I can prove to the world that I can. I just finished my last pack two days ago, and today's been my 2nd day since I started quitting. I've had minor headaches yesterday, and expecting some pains in my body, probably in the process of healing my damaged and toxicated organs. This is gonna be one hellova ride!

I've been introduced with new friends over the course of my life, and these new faces have been helpful enough to encourage me to quit smoking. A bunch of em were actually ex-smokers! So its really good to know that I'm not alone in doing this. I appreciate all their encouragement and advice. In addition, I could also tell the difference between my healthy smoke-free friends and my cruddy heavy-smoking buddies (apologies to them for this bold statement).

My worst enemy right now is not the cigarette; It's the addiction. I must ensure my willpower is strong enough to counter-attack addiction. One thing's for sure, I gotta give my lungs and heart a break from all those toxics. And more importantly, I need my energy back. In the end, I wanna live long and have a healthly life without the need of smoking. Also, I don't want my family to suffer in the future from the deadly second-hand smoke.

So why did I kept smoking even though I quit once before 3 years ago? It really took off pretty well, but I ended up kicking back to my old habits before I even realize it. It must have been the pressure from my friends. Majority of the people around me are smokers. So I felt kinda left behind, knowing that I used to smoke before. Cool, I used to cough and wheez a lot too.

Hopefully this time I quit for good, before I turn into this:

Monday, July 2, 2007

History Lesson: The VHS and Laser-disc Era

"Hey dude, can I get a copy of Episode 16 of Prison Break from you?"

"Sure, just gimme your pen drive!"

How easy it is to actually get movies, music videos and TV series for free nowadays. You simply copy them from your friends through your trusty flash drives, store them all into your hard disks and watch them through your notebook. Back in the 80's and early 90's, getting 2 half-hour episodes of Transformers would have to be droppin to the nearest Video Cassette store and purchase those big black cassette tapes in bulky plastic covers (which made them extra heavier). They used to cost about $20 a piece.

I used to have this favorite video cassette shop that I usually visited almost weekly when I was just in my primary school years. The little store was at Mabohai Supa-save (back then the supermarket was called 'Smart') on the 1st floor. The weird thing was, that video store looked like a porn shop coz it was pretty dim inside with miniature neon lights decorating the shelves.
Some of the videos I got there was Ultraman, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Doraemon, and a bunch of movies like the Ninja Turtles and Robocop.

VHS heaven... or hell

Having a VCR in your household was a necessity, while owning a computer at that time was pretty much a luxury. Every time my dad got back from his overseas trip, he usually brought back a lot of cassette tapes of Tom & Jerry and Bugs Bunny cartoons just for me to watch all night. He never got me porn. Nowadays parents, not knowing much about the contents of their purchase, bought their kids DVD movies that show lots n lots of tits (usually pink in color), teenage couples 'doin it' and hot gay action. Yay, free porn for the kids!

Happy hour

Rewinding was a chore. Can you imagine how hectic it was to actually having to rewind the tape all the way back to the beginning every single time you wish to replay your favorite flicks? But I got a way of getting myself preoccupied though. I could actually get a drink from the fridge and prepare a light snack (toast bread) while waiting for the rewinding process to finish. (hmm, no wonder I got so fat back then).

The transition from video cassettes to video-cd format was a wonderful experience, as you could finally watch movies through those ever-popular compact discs in the mid 90's. They were selling like pancakes, and they were selling somewhere between $10 to $15 during their glorious times. The problem was, an hour and a half movie required 2 Cd's for storage and you had to change Cd's to progress in the middle of it, so couch potatoes had to get their ass up to pop out Disc 2 from the other side of the CD jewel case, eject the CD tray from the player, take out Disc 1, slot in Disc 2, return Disc 1 into the case (I tend to stack them all on top of the player till they became the Himalayas) and press 'play'. Whew. Good thing ya didn't need to rewind them like the good ol' cassette tapes.

Then the DVD emerged. But I don't really wanna cover on DVD's coz its still a popular medium to watch movies in this decade (Hi-Def DVDs are still a long way to becoming mainstream in our country). Remember those large pan pizzas that you couldn't actually eat? Exactly, I'm actually talkin about the Laser discs. They were the granddaddy of DVD's.

When you owned a mighty Laserdisc, you'd laugh at the poor ol cassette tape. They were far superior in quality and performance (at that time). The track-skipping feature was introduced, making it easier to switch to different lengths of the movie. Unfortunately they were so big, and even bulkier than the tapes, you can't even fit them in your backpack or glove compartment. And they're freakin heavy too. If you were a midget, you could actually topple yourselves off from carrying those horrible things. Bringing them to school was impossible, you could get caught easily. Heck, it was much easier to trade cassette tapes and VCDs among my classmates.

And yes, they're freakin expensive. My dad, the crazy karaoke laserdisc collector he once was, had tons of 'em when I was a kid. They usually filled the shelves overshadowing my collection of cartoon cassette tapes. Its funny that there are no trace of those laserdiscs now, not a single one existed in my house. Probably evaporated into thin air thanks to the rising temperature of our planet.

God help me...

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