Yesterday, our friend Clay sent James and me a link to Ingress, the augmented reality game. For those of you who haven’t stumbled onto this thing yet, James described it as “Foursquare with space noises.”
You play Ingress on your Android smartphone, and the app is basically Google Maps with an overlay that shows where “portals” are in your area, and lets you collect “exotic matter” (XM) as you wander around town. You collect exotic matter to level up and use special abilities against portals to either protect or attack them.
There are two sides to the game, the Resistance and the Enlightened. The backstory gets more involved as you go along, but so far as we know at the beginning of the game, this XM started kind of appearing/invading the world. So far, it’s not doing anything. The Enlightened think the XM is made of puppies and rainbows and will save the world. The Resistance, not so much.
“I’m not sure which side to pick,” I said last night.
“Which side would you pick if this weren’t bullshit?” Jim said.
“What do you mean? Like, if this were actually happening?”
“Oh, pfft, easy,” I said. “Resistance. This can’t possibly be good.”
“Right? It’s a no-brainer!” James exclaimed. “No good ever comes of superior, mysterious forces that appear out of nowhere.”
Mark our words, Enlightened. This will all end in tentacles, madness and creeping dread.
I was getting tired of feeling fat, sore, and exhausted all the time, so I decided I was going to have to change a few things. We quit smoking two months ago, and that’s helped a lot, but since weight doesn’t lose itself (and believe me, I’ve tried), today I started walking to work. Well, part-way – I took the bus downtown and walked six blocks to work.
It was a pretty nice walk. It was a gorgeous day today – warm and sunny with a nice cool breeze. I’m so out of shape it was tough to actually enjoy the walk, since I spent the whole time trying to convince myself I was not out of breath after two blocks and bitching to myself over shin splints. In a couple of weeks it won’t be so bad, though.
Also, I need me some better shoes. I strongly suspect the flip flops I wore to hike six blocks are to blame for the shin splints, which I have not had since I was playing basketball in junior high, but suck just as much as I remember them sucking.
I’m really tired of the “walled garden” approach to social media. I’m active on a lot of social media platforms, and I do the blogging thing here. It would be nice if there was an easy way to pull all that activity neatly into my blog. Every method I’ve tried is ugly or kludgy or both.
Quitting smoking comes with a lot of weird side effects no one ever thinks to mention. Possibly no one ever notices the other side effects, as they’re too busy murdering people due to lack of nicotine. However, since I’m not lacking in nicotine, I’ve noticed the indigestion, the hoarseness, the nagging cough, the low-grade sniffle, the acne, the aches and pains, the insomnia… I thought I was supposed to feel better?
Speaking of not smoking anymore, I keep having the oddest sensation that I’m breathing too hard. I mean, I’m not. I’m not laboring for breath or panting, my heart’s not racing, nothing like that. Everything is proceeding as per normal. It’s just that every time I take a breath, my lungs go, “Holy crap, there’s a lotta oxygen in this air today. Are we standing near a tree or something?”
RedditGifts didn’t work out so well for us this time around. We participated in the Snack Exchange, the Coffee and Tea Exchange, and the Hats and Scarfs Exchange. James got some delicious popcorn treats from Indiana, but he doesn’t eat popcorn. I got some great coffee and tea, but my snack gifter seems to have gone AWOL. And Jim got a woman’s scarf for Hats and Scarves. He did have a lot of fun making the photo album for the scarf, though.
I started smoking when I was, like, twelve or thirteen. For the majority of my life, I’ve been a pack-a-day – or more – smoker. And it’s finally catching up to me. Let’s be honest, here. Smoking isn’t getting any cheaper. It’s a dirty, messy habit, and it smells bad. It dyes your teeth, hands and nails a pretty fugly color of yellow. All that, plus I’m tired of being sick and sinusy and out of breath all the time.
So, clearly, something had to be done. I’ve tried quitting before and it didn’t take. I have the will power of a turnip, and I like to smoke. It’s tricky to kick a vice you actually enjoy.
After some discussion, Jim and I decided to try this “eCigarette” thing. We’ve got a friend who’s been “vaping” quite happily for several years now and we figured, well, if it works for him…
We spent a couple of weeks reading reviews and watching videos and whatnot, and finally decided on the eGo Twist with the eGo T3 Sol Fuego “clearomizer.” We ordered them last Monday and they turned up Saturday.
eGo Twist C And eGo Clearomizer With Pen For Comparison.
I haven’t had an actual cigarette since Saturday afternoon. No withdrawals, no twitchiness, no grumpiness, no problems. It’s pretty awesome, guys.
This is a pretty simple device. The eGo Twist is the battery. It’s called the Twist because the silver cap at the end dials up the power for stronger or weaker vapor, to your preference. The Sol Fuego is the tank, where you put the nicotine liquid you’re smoking. It also has the atomizer in it – the little gadget that turns the liquid into steam. We also have a USB charger for the battery and some replacement atomizers because I guess they only last about a month. That’s no big deal, as they only cost about $3 or so. The battery is the expensive part, at about $23.
James and I got two batteries and two Sol Fuegos each, and five 10ml bottles of ejuice to try out. Total start-up cost was about $150, but the ejuice costs between $5 and $13 each, depending on what size bottle you get, and as far as I can tell, filling the 2.4ml tank on the device is going to last me a few days, so after the initial investment, and even counting for replacement gear, this is going to save a bundle.
Actually smoking – or “vaping,” which sounds dumber every time I say it – is fairly similar to smoking a cigarette. You inhale it like a cigarette, the vapor hits the throat with a similar bite as cigarette smoke, and you breath out a plume of steam that looks just like cigarette smoke. One big difference is that you light a cigarette, smoke it, and crush it out, and there’s a very distinct sense of having begun a thing and finished a thing that you just don’t get in the electronic cigarette. That takes a little getting used to.
Overall, though, we’re both pretty tickled with these things. We’re looking forward to trying all the different flavors, and after only a day and a half, we already know we’re going to have to bleach and steam-clean the whole house because good lord, people, why didn’t you ever tell me smoking stank that bad?! I had no idea.