Getting Outside

We have time these days to get out and enjoy the weather. It doesn’t matter if it is cold and snowing like it was today. And it doesn’t matter if all we do is walk to the store and back.


They've been smoking a while.

I have smoked more and smoke longer than just about anyone I know. I started smoking the cigarettes I filched from Mom’s purse more than 40 years ago. My daily consumption was measured in packs, not cigarettes. Yet I recently quit “cold turkey” with no problems at all.

I have quit many times in the past but always went back to smoking in a matter of days or weeks, at the most. I’ve use nicotine replacements like the patch and gum. Didn’t work because I still wanted to smoke. This time I have no desire to smoke again because I know the secret of how to quit.

Quitting is a three-step process involving –

  1. Life-style change.
  2. Relocation.
  3. Financial incentives.

A life-style change could involve school or work. Graduating from college or getting that dream job qualify for life-style changes, as would getting fired or going to prison. What the change is isn’t as important as long as it has a major impact on your every waking moment for the foreseeable future. A little something to take your mind off that next cigarette is what you are looking for.

Relocate. Pull up roots and move to another state or country. Someplace far enough away you can’t possibly go back without plane tickets and a week off. Move far enough away you have to learn a new language and this could double as a life-style change.

Financial incentives to quitting smoking have to be real to be effective. Just because cigarettes are now 25% of your budget isn’t enough. When you have to make a choice between feeding the kids or feeding your habit, you are in the right ballpark.

Following these steps, I haven’t smoked in over three months. My life-style change involved retirement (at about half of what I was earning), upon which I relocated to a country where cigarettes cost about $7.50 per pack.  Both these factors went a long way toward the financial incentive step.

I was going to market this three-step process. After all, if it worked for me it would work for anyone and I certainly could use the money. Then my wife pointed out what should have been obvious. I had had any number of life-style changes in the past and continued smoking. I have relocated several times and have lived on both the east and west coasts before, as well as Europe. I continued smoking. I remember paying $1.80 for a carton of cigarettes in 1972, and more that $7.00 for a pack of name brand smokes in Maine recently. I continued to smoke.

Quitting smoking is easy. Every smoker I ever knew has quit smoking at one point or another. Hell, every smoker quits every time he or she finishes a cigarette. The trick is not to start again. I quit smoking on November 1, 2009. The only real difference is I haven’t started again because I don’t want to. If I ever figure out how I came to not wanting to start smoking, I’ll be be back with a marketing plan.

Of course, if  we can convince kids never to start smoking in the first place my business plan won’t be worth much. And that would really be wonderful.

No. 1338

No. 1338

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

Carvings on Middle Ages house in Zeil. The faces were meant to frighten away evil spirits and are found all over town. Most of these houses have been restored. I will be coming back here often this spring and summer.

The Breaking Wheel

The breaking wheel, several of which can be seen here in the background of Bruegel’s “The Triumph of Death” was a torture device used for capital punishment in the middle ages and later into the 19th century. In the epitome of cruel (if not unusual) punishment, offenders were tied to a wheel and beaten with a cudgel. The aim was to break bones and cause the most pain possible. Sometimes it could take days to die from this “breaking on the wheel.” Ironically, the cudgel was also called a life preserver, a club intended for self-defense.

“The Triumph of Death” painted c. 1562 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

No. #1239

No. #1239

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

Left out this morning after breakfast and walked through what is called the “Dülbig.” This is farm land just outside of Knetzgau and is sometimes referred to as “Katzensagel.” I’m not sure of the meaning or origin of either names, but this might be an interesting project to research.

No. #7100

No. #7100

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

Snow continued to fall today as we walked out in the “Duelbig” between Knetzgau and Zell. A month ago, flowers were still found in blossom here.

I though the $50 fee was a bit high until I received my new “operators” license in the mail yesterday. It was sent to me by the State of New Hampshire’s DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY’s DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES. The letterhead was printed on heavy bond paper and listed John C. Barthelmes as the COMMISSIONER OF SAFETY and Virginia C. Beecher as DIRECTOR OF MOTOR VEHICLES (I can’t help but imagine Ms. Beecher on a pedestal with a wand in her hand, directing thousands of driver-less vehicles). With all these departments and bureaus, I can understand why a license costs so much.

However, I do wish the State of New Hampshire would spend some of the $50 license fee to hire someone to read over the letters they send out. It would be nice if these form letters made a little more sense. As an example (and before we even get to the body of the letter) they have my name and address correct, then use “Dear Citizen” as a salutation. Kind of impersonal, when these days even Publisher’s Clearinghouse can figure out how to pepper my name throughout a document to give it the “human touch.”

In the first paragraph, I’m told to ” . . . please find your permanent driver license, which is valid until the date of the expiration . . . ”

First off, there is no need to find anything. It’s a one page letter. The license is glued to the bottom of the page, it’s very shiny and has my picture on it, all of which makes it pretty hard to miss. And since when does anything “permanent” have an expiration date? Do we really need clarification on when the license is valid? I just assumed a licence is valid every day until it expired. Are there certain days when it’s not valid?

In the next paragraph I am asked to ” . . . verify that the information on your driver license is accurate.” I didn’t place any information on this license, I though I was paying the State of New Hampshire $50 to do that! I’m also advised a renewal notice will be sent automatically, prior to the expiration of my (permanent) license and if not, I should contact them. I’m half-tempted to write and tell them I haven’t received my renewal notice yet. It is, after all, prior to the expiration date.

Finally, if I have any questions or comments, I may” . . .  visit our website at www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv. I did this but didn’t see any sections for questions or comments. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. I did see a picture of Virginia C. Beecher, though. I’ll have to revise my image of her to include all those cars backing up quickly.