Vape Update

I have a few minutes while dinner comes along. Time for a quick post about the vaping status.

I have a confession to make: after using Vuse e-cigs for over a year, I lapsed back into burning “real” cigs. Yes, I know. Nasty. Smelly. Unhealthy.

It was pretty obvious that the e-cigs I was using (Vuse in my case) doesn’t deliver enough of a kick to really kill the urge to light up a real cig once in a while, especially at times of stress. So today I did something about it. I bought a “proper” e-cig. It’s a lot like the very first one I tried, early last year—so it’s back to the possibly messy refilling process and everything that goes with that. This time round, I’ll put up with it since the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Here’s a pic:


One thing the guy in the vape shop told me: people seem to lose the urge to smoke tobacco after a while of using e-juices with flavours other than tobacco. So I bought one bottle of tobacco flavoured just to get started, and I also have a fruity flavour (plum, actually) and one that sounds weird but I couldn’t resist it: custard & chocolate. Let’s see how this works out.

Until next time . . .

Five Months

I just realised that tomorrow marks FIVE MONTHS since I switched from “real” cigarettes to e-cigs.

In all that time I’ve had only one lapse, at work, after a very high-stress couple of hours diagnosing and fixing a bug under an extremely tight deadline. We did it, but then I and my co-worker (who was also switching to vaping, but hadn’t quite packed in the tobacco at that time) stepped outside for a puff, and I scrounged just one cig off him. I won’t be doing that again—he smokes menthols.

Five months. It doesn’t seem like that long. Does that mean I can call myself a non-smoker? Ex-smoker, probably. Vaper is the proper term, I think. And perhaps not even that for much longer—I’ve noticed that I don’t seem to be getting through as many Vuse cartridges in a week as I used to; my consumption of the things seems to be dropping without me even trying. I wonder what would happen if I actually made an effort to deliberately cut down on those now?


Now Is The Time . . .

IT has been far too long since I posted here. Basically the house move—which I thought would be behind us by now—has taken every spare moment. Today I’m taking a rest break from the moving, because frankly I’ve had enough of it today, on top of day job work. And I need to write something, before I die of writing withdrawal, and a blog post is just the thing.

The House Move Thing

AS noted, we are STILL moving house, but the end is in sight. I could go ahead right here, right now, and say we’ll be in the new place by this time next week . . . but that would probably be the kiss of death, tempting providence, and things of that nature. So I’ll just say that I hope we’ll be in by this time next week. There’s still a chunk of work to take care of, but it’s really not so bad.

The floors were done some time ago, and a whole bunch of cleaning and fixing up has been done. Desks have been built. Clean, new appliances have been installed, and dirty old appliances have been removed. Bookcases are in place and books are on shelves. And three quarters of the basement in the old place has been cleared—some of the stuff having been moved to the new place, some stacked up as trash to be disposed of, and some items marked for donation to our local Habitat For Humanity place. (No, I don’t donate to Goodwill since I read that every penny they make from sales of items given to them for nothing is pure profit—they don’t actually give anything to charity.) One more room in the basement to take care of, then three rooms on the ground floor. Then the final step—call in professional movers to take care of the big stuff I can’t manage myself, such as sofas and beds and the fridge, etc.

Why has it taken so long? Simple: we’re doing most of it ourselves. In other moves we’ve done, we’ve had professionals to load our stuff onto trucks at one end and unload at the other, and everything’s been done in a matter of hours or maybe a couple of days. This time, the old place and the new one are but minutes apart, so I’ve been able to shift a lot of stuff just using my car. But that’s meant I’ve had to do it after work and at weekends, and time is limited—as are other things, such as the number of arms I have, the amount of space in my car, and the number of hours in a day.

The Writing Thing

ALL of this has meant that everything not related to house moving or the day job has been pushed to a back burner that’s so far to the back, it’s actually over the hills and far away. That includes blogging (until now, of course), writing, gaming, and even Twitter (which might seem insane—you’d think I’d be able to find time for the odd tweet, but honestly I’ve been so absorbed with everything else that most times it hasn’t even occurred to me to tweet anything at all).

So I’m behind schedule with writing work on the Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia sequel. But once we’re in the new place, I have a brand new (and might I say, awesome) desk in a room that’s our dedicated office, and working in there is going to be a dream. I can’t wait.

The Day Job Thing

ACTUALLY, I was going to say a few words about what I’ve been up to at work. Frankly, I can’t be bothered. Admit it: you don’t really care anyway, and unless you’re a Java web application developer I might as well be writing in Swahili. So enough said about that.

The Smoking/Vaping Thing

THE last time I lit a real cigarette was June 10, so if my arithmetic is correct, today marks thirty-six days without burning tobacco. Hoorays and cheers are in order, I think.

The Gaming Thing

AGAIN, as noted above, I haven’t had time to play any games. And that, just like not having time to write, is getting me twitched-up. I long to spend a couple of hours playing Freelancer, or Sir, You Are Being Hunted, or Unreal, or Serious Sam, or Half-Life, or Portal, or any of a dozen other games. Maybe if I make some good progress with moving stuff to the new house over the next three or four days, I’ll reward myself with a game break. Got to get those priorities right . . . but then ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. (For some reason I have an urge to write that again a few times.)

The Competition Thing

A few posts back I announced a contest in which readers had a chance to name a character in the Gunn & Bohemia sequel (see that post for details). Well, one or two new reviews popped up, but nobody contacted me so there’s no official winner. However, since I’ve no time to work on the book at all, I’ve decided to extend the deadline. You’ve got until July 31. Get yourself a copy of Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia, post a review on Amazon, and send me a note through the Contact page (link on the tabs at the top of this page), and you’ll get your chance. Go on, you know you want to.

Until next time . . .

Things Are Coming Along A Bit

The House Comes Along A Bit

I spent most of today organising some storage in the basement of the new place, putting together some shelves I bought a few days ago. Good shelves, too—we bought one a year or so ago so we knew what we were getting. They’re metal, and each shelf can hold up to three hundred and fifty pounds. The only problem is that each shelf is basically made of wire, so to finish up I bought some quarter-inch sanded plywood to lay on top. That was all finished up just a little while ago, so now we have five racks ready to take stuff from the basement in the old place. Tomorrow I begin moving things over.

In other house news, we bought some used furniture from a charity thrift store: a big hutch, an armoire, a chest of drawers, a dresser, a small cabinet and a two-seater sofa that was in such great shape that it was just too good to let pass. Most of the stuff is in the garage and once the flooring is in place on the ground floor we can move it into position.

The Writing Comes Along A Bit

NOT as much as I hoped it would, but I managed a couple of hundred words on Gunn & Bohemia II—the most I’ve managed in the last few weeks, what with everything else going on. Going forward the plan is to reserve some writing time every day, even if it’s only half an hour. Some progress is much better than no progress at all; no progress makes me twitchy and irritable, and being able write even just a few dozen words makes a big difference.

I also got a little bit of news from my publisher. A few weeks ago I sent them the first few thousand words from The Artemisia Chronicle, which is a full-length novel I wrote a while back and put to one side, to see if they might be interested. Well, it took a while because they’ve been really busy getting Terra Mechanica and then Tomorrow Wendell (a novel by RM Ridley) out of the door, but I got an email the other day saying they were interested. Next step on that is for me to fill in a submission form, which (with all the house and day job business going on) I haven’t had time to get to. Soon, though.

Vaping Update

SINCE the post about vaping a few weeks ago I’ve been continuing on with using the Vuse, with good results; I still get the urge to burn a real cigarette, especially when I’m feeling a bit stressed, but I’m averaging something like three real ones a day. Some days I’ll smoke four, and a couple of days I managed to get through with only two. And I’m very happy to report that last week I went one whole day without a single cigarette. I feel really good about that.

A Case Of The Vapers

For those of you that didn’t already know, I smoke. Not heavily—I’m not a brown-fingered fifty-a-day kind of guy—but I’ve been a smoker for a long, long time.

And just like many others, I’ve tried to pack it in. More than once. (Just saying that reminds me of the old joke: giving up smoking’s easy; I’ve done it dozens of times.)

These days, of course, for us addicts there’s an alternative to giving up cold turkey style, in the form of electronic cigarettes. Which I think is a bit of a misnomer, actually. There’s a battery, and a heating element that vaporises the liquid carrying the nicotine; that, to my mind, makes them electric, like an electric fire or an electric eel. Electronic makes me think of microprocessors and LEDs. Well, no doubt many e-cigs contain microprocessors and LEDs, so perhaps it’s right to call them electronic, after all. It just seems a little odd, that’s all. (Maybe it’s just me. It’s been a long week.)

To get back to the point, if you can’t stop being a miserable slave to the evil weed, you can at least try the e-cigs. Nobody’s going to say it’s as good as giving up altogether; it’s still nicotine, after all. But then, it’s just the nicotine. No smoke, no tars, no smelling like an old ashtray. And since most of the health problems associated with the coffin nails are consequences of the smoke and tars, surely the e-cig option is an improvement, right?


So, I thought I’d give them a go, if only to try to reduce some of the health risks. Over the last month or three I’ve tried a couple of alternatives, and I thought I’d write up something of my results.

The first one I tried was called a Tsunami. That’s the chrome and plastic one on the left in the photo. It seemed to work pretty well; you buy the liquid in little bottles and you fill the reservoir. The problem is that’s not always convenient (you can get some funny looks when you do that on your office desk, for example), and it can be messy. And it was relatively expensive—it set me back something like $65. But the big downside for me was that it just didn’t provide the kick a real cig does, and as a result I still had the craving to burn some real tobacco.

But I was (and am) convinced that switching would be preferable to staying on the smokes, so when I saw the Swisher e-cig I decided to give that a chance. This is the middle one in the photo. This kind has a rechargeable battery (the white part) and a disposable cartridge containing the nicotine liquid (the tan part), and it looks like a slightly oversized cigarette; it costs about $20 and for that you get the battery, a handy USB charger and one cartridge. The end lights up red when you take a puff, and that tells you it’s working. When the light blinks, either the cartridge is getting low or the battery needs recharging. Cartridges just screw into the battery, making them a lot more convenient (and less messy) than the fill-it-yourself type. But again, I still wasn’t getting that kick, and I was beginning to think either I wasn’t doing it right (with e-cigs you need to take longer, slower puffs to give the heating element time to get up to temperature), or maybe I just hadn’t found the right kind of e-cig yet.

The other day I happened across the Vuse, and I think I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for. This is the one on the right of the photo. The chrome part is the battery, and the black part is the cartridge. The Vuse comes with a handy USB charger, so it’s very like the Swisher—but there are a couple of very important differences. First, at $10 for the battery, charger, and one get-you-started cartridge, it’s relatively cheap (cartridges come in packs of two for around $7, and they say one cartridge lasts about as long as a pack of cigarettes). Second, the light at the end lights up white instead of red. Big deal, I hear you say—but I haven’t got to the good part yet: when it blinks white, that means the cartridge is getting close to needing replacement, and when it blinks red, the battery needs charging. Knowing the difference means you don’t throw out a good cartridge by mistake when you only needed to charge the battery. Other e-cigs don’t make it easy to tell the difference, so while this might seem like a small thing it’s actually a huge benefit. But the big, big difference is the actual vaping experience; the very first puff had a strength to it that the others didn’t, and I’ve found that it actually has enough of a nicotine blast to blow away the craving for a “real” cig. The downside: from what I’ve been able to find out, you can’t buy them outside Colorado (at least, not in retail stores—maybe you can buy them online, though).

As I mentioned, I only found the Vuse the day before yesterday. So I’ll see how this goes, and I might write up a bit more in a couple of weeks to let you, gentle reader, know how it’s working out.

Until next time . . .