KTKC – Nearly Half Way Through, Plus Nifty New Giveaways.

Alright everybody. This is just pathetic. To the best of my knowledge, OldNFO is not wearing a kilt and already has donations into the triple digits. Please do correct me on that if I’m wrong. Kelly’s not really in the contest and he’s still in second place! I’ve got to level with you, readers: This kilt is a pain in the butt. I really don’t remember it being all that big a deal last year, but it’s really tearing me up. If I’m going to wear this thing every day* this month and have to explain it to every stranger who asks about it, surely you could pitch five or ten bucks towards the cause on my donation page! Please don’t make me beg. Oh. Too late. I guess this is begging.

Last year, a more well-known blogger stole my idea to offer offered custom pics in exchange for generous donations. This year, he offers secondary prizes to his readers in exchange for generous donations. Well, when I say that my friend Mark of Rimfire Designs donated a pair of 1911 grips to the cause, I had to call and hassle him for that. He rectified this slight indiscretion with style.

Mark has been making some really beautiful grips for 1911s, Hi-Powers and some other semi-autos in quite a few exotic woods. He’s branched out into revolver grips a little bit, testing the waters on Ruger SP101s. He’s doing something new for the Evyl Robot KTKC. He’s making two sets of grips to fit the S&W K/L/X frame round butt out of a slice of English yew, hand-picked by your’s truly. This is gorgeous wood that I’ve been looking for just the right application to use it. Each exclusive set of grips will be signed and numbered, and will be engraved with either My “ER” logo, or the KTKC shield, or decorated with one of Mark’s pyrographic designs, or left blank, at the winner’s preference. Additionally, Mark’s wife, J.L., who is an up and coming master painter, has donated one of her beautiful works to the prize pot. I will try to get a picture posted of her painting as well as a description of the media used, etc. as soon as possible. Not to be outdone, I’m also going to donate a custom made OWB or IWB holster to fit a 1911, M&P, or Glock pistol (possibly others – depends on what you have and what dummy guns I have in house). This holster will be a double-layer horsehide model, and I may incorporate some exotic skin, depending on how froggy I’m feeling and how creative I can get with the prize winner. Any one of these four prizes is valued at over $200.00.

So, what do you have to do to win? Donate to KTKC through my donation page. The highest donation gets their pick of these four prizes. The second highest donator gets second pick, etc. So, I’ve got almost $1,000 worth of gear that I’m now bribing my readers with. If you have something that you’d like to contribute to the prize pot, please give me a shout. And, please do make a donation to KTKC through my page. I’m not keeping a cent of the donation money, but I’d be tickled to heck if I became serious competition in the main fundraiser contest. Plus, it’s a great cause.

*I missed the first day of the month. I didn’t even realize it until that evening. Also, I did make a private range trip in jeans. That was just before I couldn’t stand the sweat in the wool and it was pretty warm that weekend. I apologize for my weakness.

Oh, Please Save Us Too!!!

Something that I keep hearing as I’ve gone further down the rabbit hole on preparedness that I’m sure many of you have heard as well is this, “I know you’re armed. If anything big happens, I’ll just come to your place!” Wrong answer, Bucko. Actually, this is only wrong about 95% of the time I hear it. Why the hell to people just assume that we’d defend their unprepared butts if the place went all to Crapsville? If the apocalypse did happen, do you have any idea how many people we’d have to turn away at the door with a shotgun? I’m not trying to be callous, I’m trying to be realistic in a situation when such actions might otherwise be appropriate anyway.

My friend Will (whose business I need a persistent link to here) related a story to me once. A girl he was friends with once called him on the phone in hysteric terror, saying that someone was trying to break into her home, and he needed to come save her NAOW!!!!! His response was a simple, “Do it yourself!” Even telling me the story, he apologized for his callousness. But, no. Even though it is true that those who choose to not arm and train gain safety benefits tangentially from those of us who do arm ourselves and train. In a place that supports CCW, the bad guys don’t know who is an easy mark and who carries tools of death. This makes them think a little harder before they commit evil. Additionally, if I’m in a position of being threatened at the same time as one of the unarmed, there is a likelihood that my self-defense actions will save them as well. However, I do not arm and train to save them, but myself. It is not anyone else’s job to ensure their security but themselves. Indeed, if Will had run to the rescue of his friend in need and shot the bad guy, that would make him a vigilante. Apparently she dialed the wrong number – she should have dialed 911, since she didn’t choose to protect herself. The callous one in his story was his friend, who took none of the responsibility for her own safety and expected him to put his neck out there because he did prepare. No. Sorry, but no.

If the world I know went into total chaos, I have no doubt that fellow victims would try to come and hunker, using my resources, bringing nothing to the game with them. As a liability, a parasite. They only show up because they know they can’t survive on their own. And, it’s true. Turning them away is a death sentence. Not only would they have to be met with arms, as mentioned above, I fully expect that things may have to turn immediately lethal with a person who I may have previously considered a friend. I also know many who are prepared in ways that I might not be. If you showed up with a truckload of non-perishables or extra ammo, or tools, and asked to join the party, I might have a different answer. If you showed up with an intangible toolbox full of practical skills, I’d be more likely to let you aboard. Additionally, I have no doubt that I know people who would welcome me and mine into their own fortification for the same reason, that I am bringing goods to the party. They know that I won’t suck their resources so much as combine my own with theirs to make the whole stronger.

To some, it may just seem mean-spirited, but if everything went upside down, it would not be about being ‘nice’ so much as surviving. Consideration for those totally unprepared would be a luxury we could, in large part, simply not afford. This would, of course, have to be delicately balanced with reasonable compassion. So, what to take away from today’s rant? I’m really preaching to the choir on this one. Perhaps it’s this: If it’s the end of the world, and you show up at your Prepared Buddy’s hole-up, you had better ask yourself why he should let you in beyond simply being buddies. Because if things have gotten as bad as they ever could, he can’t provide for all of his friends. You should have thought more about that before it came to this. Best of luck to you.

What Caliber for Zombie Crickets?

I’m not the first to post about bugs and pets today by any means. But, LawDog segued a great queue for me to tell a story to yue. Ahem. To *you*. As Teen Bot and I were preparing for our lunch today, he commented that he saw a cricket that the cats had decapitated that was still hopping about. I commented that they were simple enough life forms that it just didn’t surprise me. Having the cats and dog around is actually really great pest control. The crickets have been horrible this year and we’ve had quite a few stow-aways. The cats’ favorite method to deal with these annoying pests is to play with them until they die from it, and leave the carcase on the floor until the dog finds it and cleans it up. The dog works quickly so this arrangement works pretty well for all of us. Most of the time we never even see the bug itself.

Anyway, About an hour after Teen Bot pointed out the headless cricket, a movement on the ground caught my eye. It was indeed the zombie cricket, still squirming. It seems that whichever kitty nearly dispatched the errant insect worked with surgical precision to mostly pull the head off, hanging by a thread of some kind of tissue. Central nerve perhaps? Anyway, it’s now been well over two hours since Teen Bot discovered our very own Miracle Mike, and he’s still break dancing in the living room. I agree with Teen Bot that it is pretty gross, but I also find it quite compelling. I may have to put the little guy in a jar to see how long he lasts. If this is indeed the beginning of the zombie invasion, I may need to get one of these. In fact, I’m off to jar up an abomination. Until later!

Jen-chi 2.0

Who put the “bok” in the bok choy bok choy bok choy?
Who put the “daikon” in the daikon radish?
Who was that man? Was he from Japan?
He made my baby make some kimchi.

The kitchen is a mess and I keep catching a whiff of fermenting veggies. The smell is faint but unmistakeable. Jennifer and I canned up the makings of kimchi with the vegetables that we purchased at the oriental grocery last week. She poured over the internet for recipes and methods until she was properly misinformed and we set out to hazard our health with controlled food decay. The truly psychotic part is that neither of us has actually ever had kimchi. So, if we screw it up, we won’t even know! That whole thing about “if it doesn’t kill you…” Well, wish us luck. We’re talking about bringing a jar or two to Blogorado if we survive the original sampling. Here’s to fermentation and not botulism!

God help us all.

Bridges burned

For some time now, we’ve been hanging out with some of the neighbors every Saturday night we’re available. Some of them will start out fairly early in the afternoon and often drink beer until well after midnight. It’s a nice opportunity to maintain friendship with the locals and a nice time to relax mid-weekend. Jenni and I usually turn in fairly early from our Saturday activities, so having a beer with the neighbors is usually quite convenient for us. Granted, we turn in before the younger ones are ready to call it quits, and we don’t start nearly as early as some. But, the time that we spend with them is fun and valuable. It’s been interesting to get to know these people and discover that my preconceived notions of each one of them have been completely wrong. In getting to know them, one in particular has raised… not alarm exactly, but wariness.

This particular individual is a drunk. Many people like to drink, but this guy is a textbook alcoholic. When he’s not working, he’s drinking. He doesn’t remember what he said or did when he was drinking. Often, in his drunken stupor, he doesn’t remember what he said or did only minutes earlier. He likes to push the envelope and say inflammatory things when he’s been drinking. Drunk. I personally don’t like to drink excessively, as I don’t like the feeling of loss of control. I’d make a terrible druggy. When I drink, I like to kind of maintain the buzzed level and not really push it into ‘drunk’ zone at all. Even so, I don’t mind when people get drunk just as long as they can keep something of their wits. In other words, I don’t like people who get drunk and stupid like this guy does.

A few weeks ago, we were invited to a backyard cook out at the drunk’s house. Things seemed to be going well until the drunk started spouting disparaging vitriol about women and how his view on them. As if to prove a point, he started drunk-dialing his girlfriends each in turn and commanding them to bring him a can of Skoal and a bottle of Crown Royal. Each conversation ended with him screaming through the phone that he didn’t need the other party and they would have to ‘learn their place’. He had about four or five phone calls that were exactly in this format. Needless to say, he wound up with no Skoal and no Crown Royal. Jenni gets combative with this guy. She informed him that his girls were damaged. Thankfully, they weren’t so damaged as to comply with his drunken demands that night. Truthfully, I think the drunk is damaged himself. I believe he grew up without a mom and his dad didn’t really have any idea how to raise a kid. I don’t say that as an insult to him – he just seems to be lacking some of the fundamental character traits that more traditional upbringing instills.

A couple weeks ago, Jenni and I found ourselves on a Friday night throwing a bunch of meat on the smoker as we often like to do. We’d gone to the store and had wound up with way more food than we’d be able to eat ourselves. This isn’t usually a problem as we love our leftovers! And, my philosophy on the smoker is this: If I’m going to bother to light the fire and make the heat and smoke, I’m going to fill that thing up with food. No sense wasting the energy otherwise. Right? Jenni suggested that we should invite the couple from down the street to enjoy the food with us. I thought that sounded like a fine idea so she texted the other woman. Moments later, they were coming around our house with a cooler of beer and a sack of potatoes. And, they were followed by the drunk.

*sigh.*

I didn’t want the drunk to come over. We didn’t invite him. We invited the other couple. I’ve gotten to the point that I would prefer that he just go and do his own thing. I hate the thought that he’s mistreating women over there, but that’s preferable to him being a wild element in my life. In all fairness, Jenni’s text message was likely an ambiguous invitation to “you guys” and he was likely standing in their yard when the invitation went through. So, even though we didn’t intend to invite him, he was here now. Unless someone does something to necessitate it immediately, I don’t make it a habit to run people away from my home. In retrospect, I may need to work on that.

In all honesty, the five of us were having a great time on the back deck, enjoying the food and the fire. There was much joking and conversation and just general good times. Then the drunk did his thing again. This time his tirade was racial. He started by railing against ‘the blacks’ and then moved on to the statement, “You ain’t right if you ain’t white.” You know, a lot of people have had a little much to drink and said something stupid. I have at one time or another – perhaps not a bombshell like that, but still. I attempt to live my life as per James 1:19, quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. You know when you get mad at something someone said and it turns out that you misheard them and now you look stupid? Yeah. I hate that.

It’s not like I exactly tolerate racial hate speech in my home, but I thought that maybe the drunk could be put down gently. I’m married to a quarter Filipino and my best male friend is black after all. But, when you are the guy who reacts to a situation like this calmly, it doesn’t go the way you would have planned for it to. Jenni got in the drunk’s face and explained to him that her grandfather immigrated from the Philippines and she isn’t exactly ‘white.’ Then the guy who is the other half of the aforementioned couple jumped into the action. He and the drunk got face to face and yelled at each other for a minute. That’s about when the drunk stormed back to his house in a huff. At this point, I’m pretty sure I was still standing on the porch with a finger in the air, mouth open to deliver my calm words, since I was determined to settle this like civilized people. Again, I may need to work on that.

Anyway, we haven’t seen or heard from the drunk since then, and apparently neither has the couple down the street. He’s not missed. I sincerely hope that he eventually gets the help that he needs, but I’m not holding my breath either. Frankly, if I never see him again, that will be fine. I don’t think I was wrong to not get in the drunk’s face when he started his bullshit, and I don’t think that it would have been appropriate to throw him out by his coattails when he showed up in the first place, but I wonder if I could have done something differently. One thing is certain – there’s a line that has been drawn and he is absolutely no longer welcome here. At this point, if he showed up, I would certainly have him leave. Still, there’s a broad, gray line in the middle there.

Close Encounter in the Woods

Last night, Jennifer posted about our foray into hog hunting. We were originally intending to go with Daniel S, but that fell through at the last minute due to work constraints. I’m sure we’ll catch up with him at a later date. Jennifer tells about us sitting in the dark, waiting for the legal time to start shooting and waiting for the pigs to explore the bait we left out for them.

The property where we hunted is a family farm, and there is a small tree blind permanently mounted on the premises. The original assumption was that we were going to set up in this tree blind. When we scouted on Friday, I climbed the blind to inspect it. Not. Gonna. Happen. The dilapidated 2×4 construction is approximately 3.5-feet long and maybe 18-inches wide, missing several boards, and has a ‘hand rail’ consisting of a young, green branch tacked to two trees with a few nails and some twine. Although the whole thing is probably no more than nine feet in the air, it ticked my acrophobia all over the place and felt more like fifty feet. So for better or for worse, we decided to set up in the brush underneath the tree blind (I really hate irrational fears).

We arrived at our location on Saturday morning and were set up and waiting by 6:00. We had a pint-sized thermos full of espresso and a quart-sized thermos full of apple cider. We had each brought our M4geries, loaded up with high-dollar ammo in special magazines, and we each had a .22 rifle as well, in case of small game. So, there we sat in the dark with our rifles, warm drinks, and nature. We quietly whispered to each other from time to time, but mostly sat quietly listening to the stillness around us. You ever get that feeling you’re being watched? Has that feeling ever caused some level of small panic? Sometime between cups of coffee, the feeling hit us and the hair stood up on my neck. It was about 6:30 when we heard movement in the brush to our left. It had to be around fifteen yards out, moving slowly. We could hear each deliberate footstep crackling in the leaves and pushing twigs aside. It was a dark and moonless prior to sunrise, and nothing was visible through the brush in the ambient light. When we attempted to use our flashlights, the brush was thick enough that the subsequent glare completely obscured what was behind or within it. When lit, the animal would remain still and wait for us to turn the lights off. After a few seconds, we would hear it creep again. It circled around behind us, where the road is, and slowly approached us, coming down the foot trail that we had come down earlier. Again, we attempted to light it, but could not see the animal. For the record, if I had seen Bigfoot on my first hunting trip out in the woods, I wouldn’t tell anybody. Eventually, the animal’s curiosity was satiated, or it decided that we weren’t all that interesting, or it decided that we didn’t look like we were worth the effort for breakfast. One way or another, it left the way it came, and slinked into the adjacent wood.

A couple hours later, after we had discovered that our ‘blind’ was not in the least concealed or even construed by the surrounding brush, and had been staring at our unnoticed bait for some time, and finished off some ten shots of espresso and some now cool cider, nature called. I quietly whispered to Jennifer that I was going to walk up the trail a little way and shed some coffee. I slowly and quietly made my way up the foot trail, looking for tracks to attempt to identify whatever had checked us out earlier. I didn’t see anything but boot prints from the two of us on the foot trail. Then I got up to the road and found fresh tracks. They were cat tracks, and they were in excess of four inches wide! They were wider than the tread on my boot, and sunk a good 3/8-inch into the soil at least. It’s fair to say that the animal was into the 200’s-lb range, judging only by the impression in the earth. “Oh holy *expletive*!” That’s what Jennifer heard from my position. We had come out to stalk and yet had become the stalked.

I knew that there were lions on the property, as I’ve seen their tracks of various sizes. This was by far the biggest of them to date. That makes about the fourth one, assuming that there aren’t any that are identically sized. It makes me wonder if we’re seeing a mother and her maturing cubs. Rumor has it that the young will stay with the mother for a couple of years. What’s really sad about our Saturday morning encounter though – I carry a tape measure in my pocket and there’s a 5-megapixel camera built into my phone, and I still didn’t think of taking any pics. *Sigh.* As much cougar activity as we’ve seen, I’m sure this won’t be the last encounter we have with the big cats.

I’m astounded at the proliferation of wildlife on the family property in recent years. When I was younger, it used to be the standard fare of birds, with a few deer and a den of coyotes. Once we found a boar skull, but there was no additional evidence of hogs at the time. The coyote population has obviously thinned out, possibly driven out by the cougars? Recently though, we’ve seen massive amounts of hoof marks, both pig and deer. There have been the distinct prints of a few coyotes, but not nearly like they used to be, smaller canine (possibly foxes?), and bobcats in addition to the aforementioned cougars. We saw what we are pretty sure were opossum and skunk tracks as well.

There are certain supplies that I really want on hand next time around. I’m actually starting a grocery list on my phone devoted to hunting supplies. I know that we’re going to be many hunting trips in before I actually feel like we’ve got most of what we’ll need – that’s just the way it seems to work. And so, we didn’t shoot anything this time. We still had fun. What’s fun about getting stalked by lions in the freezing dark for so long that your legs go to sleep? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to do it again!

Squirrel!

Yesterday, Jenni and I took steps to go further down the rabbit hole of gunniness. Neither of us have ever been hunting. I dispatched an errant rabbit once, but that was about the extent of my animal harvesting experience. The rabbit got hit with a 25-grain .22 CB Cap. The slug went in in front of the left shoulder and exited behind the right. The lungs were liquified and death instantaneous.

We had been scouting squirrel activity in a particular Sooper Sekrit location for months. Yesterday, Jenni and I woke up early (for a Saturday), gathered guns and ammo, swung by Academy to pick up our Resident Annual Hunting Licenses and continued on to said location. It was easily below freezing and the tree rats were not very active. Our boots and socks proved not to be sufficient insulation. However, I had some chemical toe warmers in my BOB that we employed. It ALWAYS pays to be prepared.

We saw only three or four large squirrels in the trees, but didn’t have much of a shot at any of them. Until one large female approached us towards noon. Jenni nearly got her several times with no success. It was not that she took a missing shot either. It was that the squirrel moved into a less shootable position before the trigger broke. It was when I had her sighted in that she stretched out and presented her left side, as though she heard a noise coming from that direction. I cracked the shot off. The animal sprung two feet straight up and collapsed into the brush below.

“Nice!” said Jenni. When we collected the game, we could not immediately see the injury. She looked so pristine in fact, that I put another shot into the base of her skull from point blank just to be sure. It wasn’t until we started skinning her that the initial shot was obvious. The shot went in just in front of the left shoulder and stopped at the lower rib cage on the right side. Lungs were liquified, death instantaneous. I don’t know why people complain about having to chase small game after the shot. Just destroy the lungs so you don’t have to worry about it! 😛 Honestly, if every hunting shot I take is so ideal, I’ll be shocked and feel very lucky.

The shot was at approximately 40-yards with a Winchester M69A (.22-lr bolt action), with a 26-inch barrel and a Lyman micrometer peep sight. I was shooting CCI .22 CB Caps again. This combination is so whisper quiet that hearing protection is laughably unnecessary. In fact, this is quickly becoming my hunting caliber of choice. It’s quiet, it’ accurate, and it’s devastatingly deadly. The animal was about 24-inches long from nose to the tip of the tail.

We skinned and processed it into meat before the carcass was cold, saving the heart (still intact), liver, and kidneys. I’m drying the tail as a trophy, Jenni is tanning the pelt, and I placed the head and paws on my brother’s front porch as a prank. He didn’t appreciate my humor, so I cleaned it up later because I felt bad.

jan 21 squirrel

Observations:
*I wish we had been able to take ten squirrels each, but it was not meant to be on this trip.
*Now, I want to shoot something bigger. I can’t wait until DanielS comes for our feral hog shoot. I hope I get a 500-lb sow! -But, not with .22 Short.
*While Jenni was sighting the animal in, she commented that her heart was racing. I had to smile, as I completely understood the sentiment.
*I now understand why some people devote their entire lives, every second of their free time in fact, to hunting. It is that gratifying.
*Although we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I can understand how this is definitely not for everyone.
*Never eaten squirrel before, but there’s enough meat in the freezer from this one that it should make a lovely little dinner for the three of us.
*The toe warmers made the trip. Next time, I want a thermos of something hot to sip on as well. Spiced cider would have been a life saver.
*I now realize that I want to carry all kinds of meat packaging material, para cord, folding utility knives with those hook blades instead of the trapezoidal utility blades, latex gloves, hand wipes, and a shock and weather-proof digital camera.

Quitting Update

Last week, I had a little rant here concerning my tobacco habit.  I thought that I’d give you an update.  A week ago Monday, when I published the aforementioned post, I’d just finished my fourth cigarette for the day.  That evening, I did have a fifth one.  On Tuesday, I had one cigarette in the evening, and did the same on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  On Saturday, I smoked one of my brother’s cigarettes in the afternoon while we were out shooting, and then I had a small cigar that evening.  Yesterday, I did not smoke anything, but I did hit my cheapo e-cigarette a couple of times, not that it counts for anything.  I now understand why people recommend not buying one of the cheap ones.  If it does indeed release nicotine, it is in such trace amounts that it is pretty much undetectable.  So it’s not really any more comfort than a placebo.  I haven’t even bothered to use it today.

So, the last nicotine that I’ve really had was on Saturday evening.  And, I’m okay.  I haven’t yelled at anyone today, and I don’t feel like I’m sick or irritable.  Yeah, I miss my smokes and would really like to have one, but I’m finally feeling like not having a cigarette.  My relatives seemed shocked but supportive when I told them yesterday.  It’s been hard on Jennifer, but she’s been supportive.  Honestly, I didn’t expect this kind of success.  When I first brought it up last week, it was so flippant and off the cuff that I pretty much figured I’d have a fresh pack again in a couple of days. I would have bought more by now anyway – even if I hadn’t over-smoked last weekend.  I wonder if the girls at the smoke shop miss me yet…

Over the weekend, I discovered that visualizing the euphoria that comes along with the nicotine fix actually helps stave off the cravings.  Every smoker describes it differently.  To me, it’s like butter and tingly extremities.  It’s very much a tactile sensation in the fingers and toes.  I never much thought about how awesome it feels until I didn’t have it anymore.  Nicotine doesn’t affect everyone, of course.  Jennifer never gets the buzz or head rush, and will never be addicted to smoking because of that.  But for those of us who are sensitive to nicotine, it is quite euphoric.  I’m not going to lie – I already miss it quite a bit.  But, it doesn’t consume all of my thought like it did early on last week.  In fact, sometimes I’ll come to the realization that I haven’t even thought about tobacco in hours.

I can again smell things that I couldn’t for a long time.  When I’m with a group of people, not only can I smell anyone’s cologne, deodorant, and laundry detergent (or lack thereof), I can usually tell what they last ate and whether they own a pet.  Oh, and not only can I spot out the smokers in a crowd, I can usually tell you what brand they smoke at this point.  I assumed that I would regain some lost olfactory prowess, but I had no clue I’d see results so soon!

Caffeine helps with the cravings too.  I suppose the two stimulants are similar enough that they’ll largely interchange in my system.  I know that elevated levels of coffee don’t give me the shakes like when I had a constant stream of tobacco.  Caffeine also hasn’t been keeping me up at night (which is a first).  I’m drinking more coffee than usual, but that amounts to an extra cup some days.  Not a big deal.  I have been afraid of how quitting might affect me psychologically because I have surmised that my original start to smoking was self-medication for mild depression.  Although not necessarily unfounded, it seems that my fear turned out to not be an issue.

The short-term plan remains what it has been.  I’ve gone over forty hours with no nicotine, no crutch, no patch, no gum, pills, or any such stuff, and I’m in no danger of tearing anyone’s head off.  I may as well stay the course.  The long-term plan is different.  As successful as this has been so far, I’d like to leave my options open to having an occasional smoke once in a while.  Although I hate being subject to the addiction, I just like tobacco too much to not even consider the possibility of occasional usage.  I feel like I ought to have a good six weeks of cold turkey first though.  I’ve got one of my good cigarettes left and I think it would be lovely to have on Christmas if I can be good until then.  If it proves to be too hard to be a non-smoker who indulges in an occasional smoke, I’ll figure out something different then.  That’s not like playing with fire, is it?

I Think I Just Might Quit.

I’m tired of smoking. I’m sick of my good clothing smelling like smoke. I hate bumming out cigarettes to other people because they know I’ve got good ones. I’m tired of spending the money. I’m tired of being subject to the nicotine. I’m sick of “cutting back” to a very manageable amount only to creep back up to more than I’m comfortable with. I’m fed up with trying to sneak them around disapproving family members just to be sensitive of their feelings. I’m sick of standing out in the rain and the cold and the +100-degree heat just because I’ve got to get that fix. I’m tired of that extra bulge in my pocket where I keep my cigarette case and lighter. I hate being tethered to the smoke shop because I can’t stand the cigarettes that they sell at the gas station. I’ve said before that if what I smoke was no longer available I’d just quit. I’ve threatened to quit if the price of the tobacco went up to certain benchmarks. My current cut-off is $10.00/pack. My smokes are sitting at just over $7.50 right now. Studies say that quitting by the age of 35 will lead to lifestyles as healthy as someone who never took up the habit, and I’ve had a long-term goal of quitting before my 35th birthday. I’m 33 now. I’ve intended to quit for a long time now, but knew that I simply didn’t have the motivation. I am not by any means required to keep it up for another two years or whenever the pack hits that magical $10.00-mark. I all but quit caffeine largely by accident, so it’s cousin stimulant should not be that hard as long as I’ve got the motivation. I’m flat-out pissed off at tobacco and I don’t have to take it anymore. But, dang it! I love my smokes! You’re probably wondering what brought this on. This weekend, I smoked like a fish. I don’t know how I went through that much tobacco, but I smoked a lot. No more. As soon as I publish this, I’m going to put what’s left of my cigarettes in my humidor and see what I can do. If I give into temptation and smoke them up before the weekend, that’s just tough. If I never touch them again, I’ll likely frame what I’ve got left and hang it on the wall.