Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Couple of things I need to update here. A while back I slammed the latest series of Battlestar Galactica and that criticism now needs to be balanced. After the first few crappy episodes set on New Caprica, the series improved hugely with only one or two turds in the punch bowl (‘punch’ being the operative word here with an episode I can only describe as ‘boxing and relationships’ – one of those marking time episodes). Certainly I’ve been enjoying Battlestar lately, though I do feel the Gaius Baltar/ Number Six thread is flapping in the wind and the behaviour of the zylons has descended into the ridiculous. Where will it all end? Will it end?

Smoking. Well, I’m still off the cigarettes, though I did lapse yesterday and have about three puffs on one. I have to say that the graph of cigarette cravings I put on here is complete bullshit. It’s claimed on the website that came from, and others, that cravings last only a few minutes and the worst of them are over after the first 72 hours. I got through the those first three days quite easily and it is now that I’m having difficulties. The few puffs I had yesterday (along with some nicotine gum) where the consequence of a craving that lasted hours.

Writing and so forth. Been a bit of a struggle lately what with the outfall of a death in the family and this attempt at stopping smoking (maybe, like the guy in Airplane, I just chose the wrong time) but I’m still putting down those words. Line War is now approaching 100,000 words with the endgame building to its climax. Nothing much else to add to that really, since the writing life is hardly romantic and consists of sitting staring at a screen for hours on end until beads of blood appear on the forehead (bit too dramatic that, but I couldn’t resist it).


Bob Lock said...

Hi Neal,
Yeah isn't it strange how so many producers try to flesh out episodes with 'fill-ins' that have nothing to do with the plot and only serve to make you angry that you've just watched 60 mins of generic material which could have been shoe-horned into any given number of series?
Pity you've got so far with the fags (for American readers, I'm talking about cigarettes here and I'm not suggesting he's gay...)and then got tempted, I've no idea on how bad the cravings must be as I've never smoked, but try stick it out if you can. I printed that material off for my wife, and she actually read it. However, her commitment to stopping has only resulted in her buying 'pretend' tobacco from the health shop and mixing it with her normal stuff in her rollies. Only problem is the damn thing smells weird and we get some strange looks when she lights up in public.
Getting back to BG, I can't understand who is meant to be in charge of the Cylons. For example, who decides you are going to be an eight foot silver robot with one red eye or a strapping blonde with long legs and plenty of curves. Have the robots got an organic or computer-based brain? Which came first? If it was the robots then why make human-like Cylons and demote yourself to be the inferior product?
Oh well, enough ranting, gonna try and write, looks like I'm in the mood :)


Stargeezer said...

Didn't want to piss on your optimism earlier but everyone knows the sixth day is the hardest. And I've heard the following year isn't much better. On the bright side, though you seem like the kind of person who can actually beat it.

Kirby Uber said...

this is the bit i mean on the smoking. the first couple of days, i find, are easier. when one is actively fighting the lack of smoking... then five or six days in, the craving comes back, and it's all i can think about. perhaps this is the psychological aspect? who knows. it's very irritating, however.

Mark T Croucher said...

Keep off them mate, you can do it.

I wanted to watch this new BG series but just never got around to it. I also wanted to try and see that one about the wizard detective but likewise seen squat diddly. I manage to fill me tv watching time into one night of sky +ed recordings and the latest dvd's for the rest of the week.

On the AGW situation that you left comments on my blog on (thanks), It all seems to have accelerated this week. Every news article concerning Co2 emissions was prefixed or postfixated (whatever the correct diction is?) with "saving the planet". I guess we are at the stage where whatever we or "they" do and the planet and us are still around, "they" will claim it was their success. Who can prove otherwise?

Murph said...

I think I liked the BSG that featured the deckhand with a hook for a hand (literally).

As for smoking, I've never smoked, but I know people who have "quit" and they say the craving never really goes away. It is always there.

S. F. Murphy
Trapped in a Wormhole called Missouri

Neal Asher said...

Bob, I guess the problem with BSG is that, on the whole, I don't really like most of the characters. When those fill-in episodes appeared in my favorite - Babylon 5 - I usually enjoyed them because they told me more about characters I cared about. As to the Cylons - they're sophisticated enough to build something almost indistinguishable from a human being (and this must also mean everything in the human brain) yet they behave like desperate housewives. And I'll start yelling at the screen if I again see Baltar waking up in that big bed and gazing about in bewilderment.

Stargeezer (there was me thinking you're such an optimist yourself heh), thing is, I know all there is to know about the problems of giving up. To do so, you have to do a certain amount of lying to yourself, a certain amount of reality distortion.

Kirby, yesterday I smoked 7 cigarettes. I won't call that a failure, I'll call the 11 days before when I didn't smoke a success, and keep on trying.

Mark, sigh, AGW... Bird Flu, BSE, global cooling, snowball Earth, nuclear winter, silent spring, Edwina's eggs, the millennium bug ... yawn.

Murph, I think you're a bit ahead of us there. We're about halfway through series 3.

Well, there's a series on TV at the moment called The Last 24 Hours. I just watched one about the last day of Sid Vicious. He was whacking heroin into his arm just a few hours after his previous hit nearly killed him. Supposedly nicotine is more addictive than heroin.

Anonymous said...

Ah B5. Now that was a program worth watching. I must put away some money for the £150 complete boxed set.

I also liked the short lived "Space: above and beyond".

I don't think I've seen anything worth watching since. The Sci-Fi channel's remake of the Dune series looked good but I've not managed to see them yet. Only the first book was worth reading anyway.

Mark T Croucher said...

Err, don't wean yourself off of nicotine for heroin. Maybe try crack?

Another copy of Parasite on ebay BTW.

Neal Asher said...

Hey Stargeezer, please ignore my 'optimism' comment. You started posting here at around about the same time I was having an email exchange with someone and I sort-of assumed you were him. Wrong.

Got the full box sets of B5, but as ever, like with our boxed sets 24, we never get round to watching them. Both the Dune mini series are well worth watching. In fact, because of the success of the first, the second got a larger budget and is even better.

Yeah, get on the heroin to wean myself off the fags. Funny, I read someone's dissertation recently where it's explained that methadone, which is used to help get people off heroin, is actually more addictive but less enjoyable, and that it would be cheaper and easier to just give addicts heroin. Further proof of the underlying attitude in our society that if it's enjoyable it must be bad.

Anonymous said...

My daughter (who is only 17) wants a t-shirt that says "No Smoking: There Are Cooler Ways to Die"....

She also states that it's an insult to the old Battlestar Galactica that this new BSG has even taken the same name. And that Starbuck is a girl--PLEASE!

She's very opinionated for a 17-year old female, I guess.

Your anonymous California fan
Linda P

Anonymous said...

Neal, you have said that you quit smoking in the past, how was it you would start back up? I ask this because for me it was thinking I could handle a few puffs (like the ones you mentioned).
In January, after over a year of non-smoking, I had a craving following a long day of work. I told myself that I could handle a cig without picking it back up, and I did for a short while, but a few days latter I found myself making another excuse, and another, until finnally the cravings sped up and here I am again. I'm just saying if you think a few puffs are no big deal, and won't get you started again your probably wrong. Also, for me the craving never stoped, they just became extreamly rare. I looked at the chart you posted and it dosen't tell you that nicotine cravings stay with you for a long time even though its out of your body in a few days.

While I always read your blog, I never post so I'll say here...Keep up the good work. Take one day at a time and good luck.
Mike B

Neal Asher said...

Linda P, it's hearing about opinionated teenagers like your daughter that gives me hope for the future. People need to argue and question and demand explanations - in today's world a bullshit detector is a must.

Mike B, I'm back on that wagon train myself - seven cigarettes per day for the last two days. I never considered the two puffs no big deal. I was mortified that I weakened and took them. I hate the hold this drug has over me and perfectly understand that it's grip goes to the root of my mind. One of the problems is that when the cravings hit later you may remember on an intellectual level why you gave up, but you no longer feel it. Illness, unfitness and pain are things that we quickly forget - I guess it's one of those survival things (like putting on fat) that can be a drawback in the modern world.

JSB said...

Good luck on the continued nonsmoking, you need to stay around for a good long time and feed my addiction to your books! :)

I feel your pain though, my wife just quit cigs and I just quit cigars, at 5 weeks now