Rants 16 Jan 2015 19:17:04

Abnegating Addiction

Some say “once an addict, always an addict“. When it comes to something as simple as caffeine addiction, that’s definitely not applicable.

Some years ago I became comfortable with the idea that I was most likely addicted to caffeine. When you drink up to a liter of Coca Cola every day, that’s not exactly a big leap to make. As it didn’t interfere with anything in daily life, I had no outward reason to care. However, what I do care about is personal control, and the idea that something was controlling me even to the slightest degree started nagging at the back of my mind.

Being a scientist at heart, I did some experiments to see what would happen if I forewent caffeine for a few days. Invariably, the first 24 hours are entirely normal with no side effects. The permanent headache starts in the morning of the 2nd day. The first few times, I couldn’t be sure it was the lack of caffeine as the weather was also a potential source, but eventually it became clear that the headache was indeed a withdrawal effect.

Having established this annoying fact, I obviously wanted to get past the addiction. To that end, I started keeping detailed track of how much Coca Cola I drank during the day. At this point, I had already cut down to what I thought was around half a liter spread throughout the day, which my logging demonstrated was true – so at least I wasn’t mentally cheating.

With the level set, I tried to break the addiction on two occasions. Unfortunately, concentrating on programming and other mental work while you have a headache just isn’t possible, which led to the attempts being cut short by deadlines and crunch times where I needed to get stuff done, addiction be damned. This led to cutting even more back on caffeine intake to a mere 200ml in the morning, used to flush down my daily vitamin pills. The irony of flushing down vitamins with Coca Cola is not lost on me.

On 2014-11-27, we ran out of Coca Cola, so I figured I’d try foregoing it again. As before, the first day was without withdrawal symptoms. And as before, the 2nd day brought with it the headache. 3rd day made it worse, but not as bad as prior attempts. 4th through 7th day was tolerable, and then the headache went away – and stayed gone.

And then I piecemeal decided to avoid Coca Cola for a month. It was available and within reach on several occasions, but I figured I’d try not having any. This led to 2 weeks, then 3 weeks, then a month passing by. And then New Year’s Eve was suddenly nearing, whereupon I decided I’d bloody well have some ice cold coke after midnight. I’d proven to myself that the addiction was real and, more importantly, that it did not control me.

I did worry that having caffeine again would immediately cause a relapse into a week-long headache when I did not continue the intake. Luckily, this did not happen. I can now enjoy Coca Cola randomly with weeks in between, without any side effects.

And as silly as a caffeine addiction is, writing and publishing this article comes with a solid dose of shame. I can’t even imagine how alcoholics and drug addicts must feel.

Stories 14 Jul 2014 11:34:04

365 tomorrows: Keen Mind

I’ve been a long time reader of 365 tomorrows. Those tiny doses of fun new universes does a mind good, especially when taken daily.

And now I’ve added my own voice to that chorus with the flash fiction Keen Mind. Hope you like it!

Rants 11 Jun 2014 21:38:05

Concerning Concerts

On Tuesday 3rd, 2014, I finally concluded that I just don’t enjoy rock concerts or music festivals. They’re just not the kind of emotional experience that they apparently are for many others. I long suspected this, but since I’ve mostly been to concerts where I didn’t really care much about the music, I couldn’t really draw any conclusions.

The Mastodon Sayler

This time, though, Raven and I went to the Metallica By Request mini-festival in Horsens, Denmark – and I really like a lot of Metallica’s music.
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Reviews 22 Apr 2014 10:00:30

Sage of Shadowdale

Sage of Shadowdale book series is awful to meh.

The first two books (Elminster Must Die; Bury Elminster Deep) drone on with pointless action that takes place sneaking into and escaping out of the Cormyr palace so many times I stopped counting, and it doesn’t set up anything interesting either. The two books could be condensed to half a book, without losing anything. The only saving grace is that Ed Greenwood writes very well, so he manages to make it tolerable to read. Rating 2/5.

The last book (Elminster Enraged) is much better, but still not very good. Most of the pointless plotless meandering was left out, so it’s at least working towards some clear goals. Too bad the main goal was a heavily foreshadowed deus ex machina – just because we know it’s coming, doesn’t really make it ok, especially not if you then don’t take the time to flesh it out. The ending that should have been a grand majestic resurrection, instead just falls flat. Rating 3/5.

How people have rated these books as high as Ed Greenwood’s earlier works like Cormyr or the Elminster Ascending series, I just can’t fathom.

Random &Rants 10 Jan 2014 17:25:23

EU Copyright Review 2014

There is an ongoing Public Consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules questionnaire with deadline February 5th, 2014, and here are my answers. I did not answer all questions; some due to lack of opinion, some due to lack of standing, and some due to lack of knowledge about the domain.

Type of Respondent

  • End user/consumer (e.g. internet user, reader, subscriber to music or audiovisual service, researcher, student)
  • Author/Performer
  • Intermediary/Distributor/Other service provider (e.g. online music or audiovisual service, games platform, social media, search engine, ICT industry)

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