Monday, February 22, 2010

Myface Stalkbook Exchange Between Tafkass and Yours Truly...

TAFKASS: Still having trouble sleeping properly... in fact, if I were Madonna, I'd be "Desperately Seeking Snoozin".
Yesterday at 22:24 • Comment •Like Unlike

CHEZ GUEVARA: Taf, that's like (a) vigin on the ridiculous
about an hour ago

TAFKASS: I know. Not sure why I can't sleep; maybe I need some Bedtime Stories. Or perhaps it's something to do with my duvet cover; in fact, I asked my sister the other day - "Am I using the wrong Material, Girl?"
about an hour ago

CHEZ GUEVARA: It could be the mattress. Have you got anything you could use temporarily whilst you sort it out, Like a (Pr)air Bed?
about an hour ago

TAFKASS: I think I know what the problem is - I've got two single beds, and, because I'm too tight to buy a double, I've just pushed them together and am sleeping on that. Problem is, they tend to separate during the night, and I keep falling Into the Groove.
50 minutes ago

CHEZ GUEVARA: Yes, I can see how that would be a problem. And the more you try and rectify the problem, the Deeper and Deeper you go. Although apparently Anita Roddick, the founder of the Body Shop has branched out into sleep clinics, which might be worth a try. I think it's called Lazy Lab Anita.
27 minutes ago

TAFKASS: I've also just realised that my curtains are a little short for the window, and the resultant Ray of Light probably isn't helping; when the sun's Orbit is mixed in, it just makes it worse. But thanks for the tip, Chez - I'll give it a try. At the end of the day, I just want something which will make me go to sleep... uhh.. quicker. Or as the French might say, Ehhh... Vite-er.

(By the way, girls, we're both single, if you're wondering.)
13 minutes ago


For more horrifying puns and mayhem, go visit The Artist formerly known as Shit Sandwich (Tafkass) at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shit and Run

You know life does have a way of really testing you when you don't really need any more testing, thank you very much. Went outside my house today and some utter shit has smashed my car up. I cannot understand how it's happened, though - the damage is on the side by the pavement, not the road. It's either someone that can't park and has done a runner or a pissed-up kick. Utter, utter bastards.

I tell you, if I got my hands on them, it'd be like watching a stoat in a bucket of kittens. So long as they were tied firmly to a chair and couldn't hit me back, obviously.

Tory Story - I can do PR, me

Just found a tremendous website where you can make your own very airbrushed 'Dave' Conservative poster, thanks to Taf over at Very Poor. Click here to make your own or see what other people have done. In the meantime, here are my contributions:

Testes Testes

For some reason, the email delivery thing has stopped. So this is a test. Move on, there's nothing to see here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Permission to be mightily embarrassed, Sir?

Permission granted. Aaaaaarrrrghh! I really should be banned from going near a computer when I'm stopping smoking. Of course my dark mood has flown as quickly as it came, and today I am left sheepishly reflecting on a rather melodramatic outpouring of self-indulgent nonsense. Again.

Still, it's good to know that I'm not actually mental. And it's a useful point of reference if I have another crisis to know that is isn't actually real. But now I'm in virgin territory - I really don't know what comes next. It's different when you're giving up because of someone else and I've usually fallen over by now. I'm hoping that's it and I've cracked it, but I'm not going to bank on it. That's just what it wants me to think...

So it's back to normality and apologies for those of you that actually read through it all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Spell is Broken, Crisis Averted

Phew. I was ambushed last night by an overwhelming and surprising need to smoke and I was totally unprepared for it. I managed not to smoke, obviously, but it gave me such terribly sad dreams (thanks for nothing, subconscious) that I awoke feeling unbelievably low. I can laugh about it now, but it felt pretty damn real at the time. It was the usual stopping smoking stuff - life is rubbish, you feel crap, you can't cope with it, what you really need is a cigarette, that will make it all better...

Fortunately, I decided to do something about it rather than mope about the house in a cloud of self-pity. I went to Aldi and bought misshapen vegetables, I went for a four-mile walk around Burrator, I made myself a full Sunday roast and I made a huge pot of my special soup to eat during the week. Lovely.

And that did the trick, it got me out of the melancholy in which I'd somehow managed to find myself. It's so weird that it can get me like that, it's like a veil of deception slowly descends and makes you see life in a very different way to how you normally do. It makes you forget what's real and what's not.

It's bizarre, because I'm actually feeling really quite positive about things at the moment. I've stopped smoking (and everyone who knows me will appreciate how important that is for me). I'm living healthily, with proper food and actual real-life exercise and I'm even enjoying it (mostly). Work is better now than it has been for about two years - I've already done more business this year than I did in the whole of last year. Sams is going well, I've got my fundraising mojo back and I'm three weeks into a new training group. I have a tremendous group of friends, both new and old. On the whole, life is pretty good.

On the relationship front, which was the battleground of the latest attack, I'm also feeling pretty comfortable. I've been single for nearly a year and a half and although of course I'd like to eventually meet the girl of my dreams, I'm in no rush to jump into anything. I know what I want and what I don't want. It has to be right, on both sides, and sooner or later, someone I think is brilliant will also think I'm brilliant. Until that point, I'll just carry on being brilliant on my own.

It's just that when the smoking veil of deception is lowered... I forget all of that, I really do. I suddenly feel terribly lonely, insecure, rejected, incapable, demotivated, inadequate, helpless and hopeless... followed by the sickening realisation that the only thing I really have in my life is a cigarette. And that is really how it gets me, often without any real basis whatsoever. It's like being under a magic spell or hypnosis. And it really does take a superhuman effort to snap myself out if it and get back to reality. And when I do, it's actually like waking up from a bad dream, you can't quite believe that you felt like that.

That's one of the reasons why I write these little updates - they're probably not of much use or interest to anyone else but me, but they do enable me to remember what's important when the veil descends. Because it can be frightening - it's so real at the time and yet it's absolutely not me at all. There's a part of you that is in some way aware of what's going on, but no matter how loud you shout, you just can't break the spell.

Fortunately, I'm not the only one. Having spoken to a few ex-smokers and to others who are in the process of stopping smoking, it would appear that my experience is not unique. And that's really quite reassuring to hear, to know that I'm not actually going mad - and that it does go away eventually. Someone has told me that by three months, you're normally out of the woods and into the clear. I'm about halfway there, madness permitting.

One last thing - I will allow myself a modicum of pride - I have managed to overcome the six-week hurdle, which has made me fall so many times in the past. I managed to shake myself out of it, to break the spell and come out of the other side. I'd like that to be the last attack, please, but we'll see. Onwards and upwards.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Below the Belt on Valentines Day...

Yup, it's another smoking update. I'm nearly at week 6 of stopping smoking and I've reached the point where the vast majority of my previous attempts to stop have failed. I don't know why it is, but around the six-week mark, the smoking bug just creeps back into my head and I can really, really feel it trying to force its way in. Like menstruating at Castle Dracula, this is a very, very dangerous period.

It was around this time in December that my last attempt failed - back then, I was working nights which made me overtired. This in turn - coupled with smoking withdrawals - made me overemotional, which made me want to smoke. And rather than it being a craving of wanting to smoke, it felt like a fact that it was only a matter of time before I would smoke. Not a fear, not a desire, but a hard, cold, undeniable fact. And no matter how much I tried to dismiss it, not acting on it felt as futile as saying I would never eat or breathe again. I genuinely felt like I didn't have a choice, all I was doing was delaying the inevitable.

This time it's different. Not because I feel different, because I don't. I feel just as vulnerable as I did back in December, perhaps even more so. And I can feel it once more, checking for cracks, looking for a weakness to exploit, trying to get me to recognise the futility of believing I can stop. Tonight, incidentally, it's trying to get me on Valentines Day, trying to get me to reflect on love lost and rejection. It would be so easy to follow that path, to immerse myself in melancholy and misery - it's not fair and it's below the belt. And yet I know where that path will lead. And that's why this time it's different.

It's different because I realise that this is actually just smoke and mirrors. I am normally a tremendously positive person, comfortable with myself and my surroundings, I'm not a particularly insecure person - the only time I get in any way maudling or self-doubting is when it comes to smoking. The physical dependency of smoking is broken within days of stopping - the psychological dependancy takes much, much longer and it undermines my very being until I eventually break. I can't believe that it's taken me this long to really appreciate that.

The complicated thing about all this is that it's hard to tell what's real emotion and what's smoking-related nonsense. I think that there is an element of reality, but that it's magnified manifold by smoking's desire to break me. It's funny - many non-smokers think that smokers are weak. If only they knew the psychological battle we face and the mental strength needed to overcome it.

In the past I have been able to stop smoking, but it's often been for other people. This time I've broken that link and I'm doing it just for me. That's a good thing, and I know that when I do break the psychological hold it has over me, it will taste all the sweeter.

Whatever happens, I will not smoke. It can break me into a thousand pieces, I will not smoke. Because this time I have finally seen it for what it is, it's a con act, an illusion, a simple trick which I have always fallen for - I stop smoking, it makes me feel crap, I dig in, it keeps making me feel crap, eventually I crack and then I smoke. Finally I have worked it out and I will simply not react to it.

In some ways, it feels like I am trapped in a cold, dark cell, with walls of thick, grey stone. And yet if I look closely, the walls are just cinematic props, made of paper. I just have to recognise that, remember that and punch my way through. It's going to take some time, but for the first time ever, I now have a cold, hard, undeniable fact of my own: whatever the question, smoking is not the answer.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Run Fatboy Run

Well, I'm a month into my training routine for the Plymouth Half Marathon and truth be told, I've hit a bit of a snag. See, I have never really run in my life - and I only stopped smoking just over a month ago, so my initial level of fitness isn't the best. I found a running schedule for beginners on the internet to prepare for a half marathon in 20 weeks and I can't keep up. Or more to the point, my fitness isn't improving fast enough to keep up with the schedule. I guess there are 'normal beginners' and then there's me.

To be fair to my already dented pride, I always thought the schedule was ambitious, to say the least. To go from wheezing, smoking couch potato to running for 30 minutes without stopping in just 6 weeks was simply never going to happen, no matter how many ice baths I take. And I haven't missed a session in the last 5 weeks or so since I started, no matter how much I hurt - I just can't progress at the level I should be according to the schedule.

At first glance, this may appear to be yet another 'Chez in massively over-ambitious and highly unrealistic doomed to fail plan shocker', but it won't be. I am training when I need to, I just need to take it more at my own pace and develop naturally and organically, rather than by some off the peg plan. The plan works on paper, but is simply unrealistic in real life.

So I have thrown it in the bin and got a more realistic plan from a friend who's recently got into running herself - I've tweaked my diet to be a bit more training-friendly - and now that my fitness is better, I'm ready to go to the gym to build up a bit of muscle so my shell-shocked body can handle it a bit better. And I'm still doing the ice baths - my legs would have fallen off by now without them. Seriously, they're not as bad as you think. Well, they are, but you get used to it.

And the marathon? Well, my plan is to not worry about it too much, just gradually keep increasing my fitness. And I suspect that if I am able to do that, to the point where I can run for more than half an hour without stopping - well, I will run, walk and crawl my way round if I have to.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Opponents of Assisted Suicide still convinced it's any of their business

PEOPLE who are opposed to assisted suicide are still absolutely convinced that it is any of their business, according to a new survey.

A BBC opinion poll found that of those who are against voluntary euthanasia, more than half are 'fairly' or 'reasonably' sure they need to have an ill-informed opinion about the inner-most recesses of someone else's soul.

Meanwhile almost a third continue to believe it is more their business than the person who is actually trying to kill themselves.

The poll asked, 'Someone you don't know with a horrible disease wants a close friend or relative to help them end their lives - what the fuck has it got to do with you?'.

According to the survey 22% said 'a bit the fuck to do with me', 46% said 'a lot the fuck to do with me' and the remaining 32% said that absolutely everything was their business all the time.

The survey is part of a Panorama special on people who have been charged with the murder of a relative after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to listen to a single word they were saying.

Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: "While there is always the risk of someone using it as a cover for actual homicide, in the vast majority of cases it really is none of your business, so just shut up.

"Meanwhile if the police suspect foul play there is nothing to stop them launching a full investigation, thus giving Midsomer Murders that glorious whiff of authenticity."

Terminal illness sufferer Julian Cook, from Grantham, added: "If they're so sure that the number of days I choose to be alive has got something to do with them then perhaps they could give my wife the afternoon off and help me wipe my bum while telling me lots of fascinating things about Jesus."

From the Daily Mash