A daily workout that’s simple and works: HIIT The Deck


There are doubtless other posts about similar workouts, but as I learned this through oral tradition (passed on to me by a footy team, no less) and I've definitely developed my own way of making it work for me, I figured I'd write it down anyway.  

Also yes, I'm responsible for the terrible name, as far as I know.  Sue me, per usual. :D 

For background, I've done weightlifting and strength training as well as swimming and kungfu, and currently my life is pretty bereft of fun ways to stay in shape — so I started to notice that I was getting out of it, like, puffing if I had to bike more than 5 miles kind of thing.  So I went digging through my piles of previous workouts for something that's

  • EASY,
  • NOT BORING, and
  • WORKS.  

Of all the training workouts I've done, HIIT — High Intensity Interval Training — is a type that just works.  There are other kinds of training that work, obviously, but this one's effective and flexible, so I like it. 

A workout of this kind isn't much fun by itself, but it does the trick — like making sure you get good nutrition even if it doesn't taste great.  It's simple and portable enough that I can do it every day, and it not only keeps me fit, but also lets me make progress and train, even if life isn't providing me much to train for at the moment.  Training has plenty of its own rewards, and I never want to be someone who doesn't consciously grow and develop myself physically — and I can't always rely on life to provide enough exercise and time for fun!  

I think it takes me roughly half an hour to do, but I never look at a watch while doing it, so I'm not sure.  HIIT almost always invovles timers, but in this version, we're outsourcing all the rep-counts and rest-durations to a simple tool:  the deck of cards.


Any cards will work; you just need A) numbers and B) suits.  Grab a tarot deck if it makes you happy.  Don't worry if it's ratty or missing cards (just replace them with slips of paper).


I usually shake the list up by one or two items every day, both to keep from getting bored and to accomodate my body that day.  (i.e. today I could NOT do squats, thanks to yesterday!)  …I also often use weird workouts I've learned from kungfu or whatever; but it doesn't matter; pick what you like.  

Let's say you're on the AFL team that taught me to use a deck this way.  Their typical choices looked like this:

Hearts = pushups
Diamonds = burpees
Spades = jumping rope

Clubs = squats

If you have weights or equipment on hand, you can use it, obviously.  My chinup bar is damn handy, as is a simple kettlebell or weights.  But really, anything works.  Planks for X seconds is a great beginner one that takes no equipment, for example.  And I've recently fallen in love with doing deck-workouts with my punching bag, where practicing strikes and combos take the place of pushup-type exercises.  It's SO fun, it works the whole body, and for me it just flies by compared to most raw/boring exercise.

To make an exercise harder, or to add more cardio, just add "2x" to an exercise and do double the number of reps that come up.  

For a good deck, I try to balance upper/lower body workouts, and include something that's definitely cardio and definitely core-muscles.  I also have a "backup" for exercises that are particularly difficult — for example, I can't do a zillion pullups (yet), so if I'm doing pullups, it will be "pullups to failure and then X seconds of half-pullup hanging after that".  Similarly, you could use "seconds of horse-stance" for when you run out of ability to squat.  It's nice to have that in place so that the thing you're worst at doesn't force you to quit too early.


Flip over a card.  It's the eight of clubs?  Ok, eight squats, fast as you can.  (All of this is done "fast as you can"!  You don't want to cool off too much in the middle.)

Flip another card.  Queen of diamonds?  Yikes — that's twelve (Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13, Ace=14, and yes you'll learn to hhhhhaaate aces) burpees.

Flip another card.

And another.

DON'T STOP for longer than a sip of water in between cards, and don't slow down any more than you absolutely have to.

Keep going until you can't.  One trick I use to make sure I don't wimp out is that if I flip a card, I have to do it — so if I want to know what the next card is, I'm stuck doing it.  It's amazing how many times I can't stomach not knowing what the next card is, and that'll get me several farther than I would have if I'd been able to flip it and then decide to stop.


You have a lot of options to make progress with this one:  You can fight to finish the deck (which totals up to 104 reps of each of the four exercises, complete with the HIIT ideal of tiny randomized breaks between sets).  Then you can fight to finish it faster; then to do a double deck.  You can swap in harder exercises, or do decks that focus on a specific area you're trying to train.  If you pick up a physical hobby, you can swap in drills from that, and wham, your usual daily workout is also a training tool for more complicated goals.  It's really easy to do with friends if they're roughly on your page, fitness-wise; and if not, you can still do separate decks at the same time, if the motivation helps.  (It helps me!)

And that's all wonderful, because things that keep a workout fresh keep it happening; but for me, the killer feature here is that it's EASY to do this one, and to KEEP doing it, even if life gets in the way.  It's flexible in all the important ways, from accommodating beginners to working around injuries and travel to staying fresh and challenging after you've been doing it every day for months.  

Enj–well, maybe not enjoy, per se, but get off the couch and enjoy the results, at least!  :D


Posted in kungfu yay, mad exercise, psychology | 2 Comments

Technically correct is the funniest kind of correct

Hey all!  OMG, I'm so sorry to have vanished for so long.  :/  I think I got — to be brutally honest, which OH HEY I've missed this little forum where I get to be entirely that — I think I got overwhelmed by peopling and attention, and was forced into a bit of a retreat.  That kind of thing happens to me pretty regularly in life; but I hope no-one was worried.

To be honest though, this site and the sleep "community" really contributed to that overwhelming-of-forces that forced me into retreat.  It's not your fault!  I just forget sometimes that I'm not the way I wish I was, socially speaking.  Like, I learned pretty much everything wrong when I was a kid, and I treated myself badly and blindly and without good guidance for a long long time.  I normalized isolation, and a weird combination of self-harm and self-reliance (that kinda worked for a while, i.e. it kept me alive, but I was almost 30 before I learned to abandon it, and it did its damage).  

I've since learned Goethe's lesson (YAY THANK YOU GOETHE) about attitudes and weather, and also (let's call it, for fun) Neo's Lesson about choosing the fundamentals of reality; and holy COW am I a good sight better and more functional of a human now — and I hope to improve, obviously!  (Big plans are in motion; I guess I'll have to come back and update about them later.  :P)  

But like I said, I lose sight of what's underneath sometimes; I try building castles on quicksand and then my mind gives out at a weak point I hadn't acknowledged I had — great lessons, sure.  But when suddenly there are too many people in the world, and it's too hard to hear myself, my Goethe-program and my lessons, I just can't anymore.  I'm not an introvert actually — not anymore; they would have said I was a severe one for a long time; but in actuality I think I was always a Broken Extravert.  …Which is all a very dumb and convoluted way to say, I don't want to go hidey; I don't really need to escape; and yet, I can't help it sometimes.  Gods willing, I will always fight my way back.

Even though looking at the "new" front page of this site makes me cringe now — I kind of threw it up there in a last-ditch "do something" before systems shut down completely, last time — I'm glad that the Blog is no longer the front page, and I'm happy that I still have this space to write the kind of thoughts that just. don't. fit. anywhere else, including in a personal journal, because they're shared thoughts between me and those who think like me, which dammit, we're rare but we're out there.  As much as my brain tries to insist that that doesn't matter, I know damn well it does.  And part of admitting that is taking a deep breath and reaching out sometimes, even when you're sure you'll eventually be embarrassed about what you say.

Such is growth.  The Art of Sucking At Things.  :D

HELLO AND HAPPINESS, everyone!  I hope you've been well. Feel free to drop me a line and tell me what's been up.  

I'll be back.  :)

Posted in better thinking, psychology, social laquer | 4 Comments

Finally, a perfect body

I’m being told, by individual mouths as well as much of my culture, that I should be upset and/or ashamed that my body is, at age 38, no longer “perfect”.

Well, it wasn’t perfect before. Or rather, if I looked at my 20-year-old body now I might say, “Perfect!”, but I never felt nor was allowed to feel like it was perfect then; and in strict terms it was never true — I’ve always had the uneven breasts, thick legs and most of the scars, for starters. And I was obsessed with that inch of belly-fat back then; I hated it and myself, because I was told to, every day. It was awful, and my body and I had such a terrible relationship for a while because of it. Even though it looked “perfect”, or so I’m told now.

So it’s hard to grieve for this “perfection” that never felt like mine to begin with. Perfection seems like something that’s only designed to be appreciated from afar — i.e. when you have it, you can’t enjoy it; and once you lose it you’re supposed to feel sad. …I smell bullshit.

If, however, “perfect” is a designation relative to a thing’s use, or the zeitgeist it’s in, then my body is undeniably MORE perfect now than it ever was in my numerical youth. I’ve found parts of life to occupy where my breast-evenness doesn’t matter at all (or is interesting, or even “cute” and exciting to people), and where most of the people around me love my leg-muscles and sure as hell don’t mind scars. This body is also flexible, has great endurance, and is usually pain-free — things that might have also been true before, but which I was in no position to appreciate. I’ve taught it to dance, and do kungfu, and swim and climb — all in the last decade. Every day it gives me new opportunities to play with and learn balance, strength, relaxation, and a host of other amazing skills that a) I couldn’t gain without a body, one that has limits and challenges; and b) a perfect-looking body wouldn’t help me obtain one whit.

I feel joy and appreciation for my body daily, now, partly because it has taught me how to seek and find and experience so many wonderful things. Is that not what having a perfect body is like? Daily joy and appreciation?

“OK, so you’re lucky,” they say, “but as time goes on, your body’s going to fall apart.” Yes, thank you; I knew that. I’ve actually had it fall apart already, several times in several ways. I know what it is to be unperfect in the sense that you can’t walk because you have 250 stitches in your gut, and to use crutches because the damn knee is acting up again, and other such things. (I’ve also gotten to re-learn walking and then for good measure learn to do plank push-ups, which I never could before the gut-surgery; and I’ve gotten to grit my teeth and train like crazy until the bum knee never lands me in crutches anymore — all wonderful, brilliant gifts that my body gave me by failing to be flaw-free.)

“But you won’t be able to look attractive when naked anymore.” I love when people say this, because thank you for holding up a giant sign that says “I’M BAD AT SEX, DON’T BOTHER” — I’ve got a long list of potential lovers, and I appreciate the administrative help identifying the ones who aren’t worth the effort. The more years of experience I rack up with attraction, sex, and love — all things I was a flailing newb at, at 20 — the more important it becomes to me to have partners who are good at it: And people who think that judging someone’s looks against preconceived models is any part of foreplay are, I can say with confidence, terrible lovers 100% of the time. (People who are *not* my potential partners who judge what they think I look like naked and whether it would be “good enough” for them to fuck are not just bad at sex, they’re gross and inappropriate, and they can rest assured that this body is way more likely to punch them than get in their beds. Perhaps they should be looking at its form and strength more than its scars and skin, because it might help them to know that I throw one hell of a punch — way harder now than when I was 20. And I like punching almost as much as I like sex, so it’s all good by me. ;)

When we say that something is “perfect”, are we calling it immortal, unchangeable? If so, then “perfect” is a simply meaningless word. If not, then no breakage, aging, or failure of any part of my body makes it less perfect. It just makes it a perfect, mortal, changing thing, that yes, will eventually give out entirely. Exactly the same can be said for a perfect flower, a perfect animal, a perfect forest or a perfect star.

And if you ask me today, with a few more inches of belly-fat and a few more scars, to imagine and name off the perfect things in this world, well. This body, that’s driven me all around the planet for all these years, that’s taught me brilliant lessons and brought me amazing pleasure in a thousand ways, is one of the first things that leaps to mind.

Posted in aesthetica, better thinking, kungfu yay, psychology, sexytime | 2 Comments


I'm reposting this in its entirety from Everything2, mostly because it's an old site and this piece is over 15 years old, and I can't bear it being at risk of vanishing.  I looked it up again today because I knew people at the Ghost Ship, none who are confirmed dead so far, but many who are grieving.  This piece is not only beautiful in its description of this horror, but as it describes an event of over a century ago, it serves as solid proof that neglect of fire safety is absolutely unconscionable, and I hope the owners of the Ship start with jail time and move on to burning in Hell, frankly.


(From the entry "Fire" on Everything2.com)

Eyewitness at the Triangle
By William G. Shepherd

the Milwaukee Journal, March 27, 1911.

I was walking through Washington Square when a puff of smoke issuing from the factory building caught my eye. I reached the building before the alarm was turned in. I saw every feature of the tragedy visible from outside the building. I learned a new sound–a more horrible sound than description can picture. It was the thud of a speeding, living body on a stone sidewalk.

Thud–dead, thud–dead, thud–dead, thud–dead. Sixty-two thud–deads. I call them that, because the sound and the thought of death came to me each time, at the same instant. There was plenty of chance to watch them as they came down. The height was eighty feet.

The first ten thud–deads shocked me. I looked up–saw that there were scores of girls at the windows. The flames from the floor below were beating in their faces. Somehow I knew that they, too, must come down, and something within me–something that I didn't know was there–steeled me.

I even watched one girl falling. Waving her arms, trying to keep her body upright until the very instant she struck the sidewalk, she was trying to balance herself. Then came the thud–then a silent, unmoving pile of clothing and twisted, broken limbs.

As I reached the scene of the fire, a cloud of smoke hung over the building. . . . I looked up to the seventh floor. There was a living picture in each window–four screaming heads of girls waving their arms.

"Call the firemen," they screamed–scores of them. "Get a ladder," cried others. They were all as alive and whole and sound as were we who stood on the sidewalk. I couldn't help thinking of that. We cried to them not to jump. We heard the siren of a fire engine in the distance. The other sirens sounded from several directions.

"Here they come," we yelled. "Don't jump; stay there."

One girl climbed onto the window sash. Those behind her tried to hold her back. Then she dropped into space. I didn't notice whether those above watched her drop because I had turned away. Then came that first thud. I looked up, another girl was climbing onto the window sill; others were crowding behind her. She dropped. I watched her fall, and again the dreadful sound. Two windows away two girls were climbing onto the sill; they were fighting each other and crowding for air. Behind them I saw many screaming heads. They fell almost together, but I heard two distinct thuds. Then the flames burst out through the windows on the floor below them, and curled up into their faces.

The firemen began to raise a ladder. Others took out a life net and, while they were rushing to the sidewalk with it, two more girls shot down. The firemen held it under them; the bodies broke it; the grotesque simile of a dog jumping through a hoop struck me. Before they could move the net another girl's body flashed through it. The thuds were just as loud, it seemed, as if there had been no net there. It seemed to me that the thuds were so loud that they might have been heard all over the city.

I had counted ten. Then my dulled senses began to work automatically. I noticed things that it had not occurred to me before to notice. Little details that the first shock had blinded me to. I looked up to see whether those above watched those who fell. I noticed that they did; they watched them every inch of the way down and probably heard the roaring thuds that we heard.

As I looked up I saw a love affair in the midst of all the horror. A young man helped a girl to the window sill. Then he held her out, deliberately away from the building and let her drop. He seemed cool and calculating. He held out a second girl the same way and let her drop. Then he held out a third girl who did not resist. I noticed that. They were as unresisting as if her were helping them onto a streetcar instead of into eternity. Undoubtedly he saw that a terrible death awaited them in the flames, and his was only a terrible chivalry.

Then came the love amid the flames. He brought another girl to the window. Those of us who were looking saw her put her arms about him and kisshim. Then he held her out into space and dropped her. But quick as a flash he was on the window sill himself. His coat fluttered upward–the air filled his trouser legs. I could see that he wore tan shoes and hose. His hat remained on his head.

Thud–dead, thud–dead–together they went into eternity. I saw his face before they covered it. You could see in it that he was a real man. He had done his best.

We found out later that, in the room in which he stood, many girls were being burned to death by the flames and were screaming in an inferno of flame and heat. He chose the easiest way and was brave enough to even help the girl he loved to a quicker death, after she had given him a goodbye kiss. He leaped with an energy as if to arrive first in that mysterious land of eternity, but her thud–dead came first.

The firemen raised the longest ladder. It reached only to the sixth floor. I saw the last girl jump at it and miss it. And then the faces disappeared from the window. But now the crowd was enormous, though all this had occurred in less than seven minutes, the start of the fire and the thuds and deaths.

I heard screams around the corner and hurried there. What I had seen before was not so terrible as what had followed. Up in the ninth floor girls were burning to death before our very eyes. They were jammed in the windows. No one was lucky enough to be able to jump, it seemed. But, one by one, the jams broke. Down came the bodies in a shower, burning, smoking–flaming bodies, with disheveled hair trailing upward. They had fought each other to die by jumping instead of by fire.

The whole, sound, unharmed girls who had jumped on the other side of the building had tried to fall feet down. But these fire torches, suffering ones, fell inertly, only intent that death should come to them on the sidewalk instead of in the furnace behind them.

On the sidewalk lay heaps of broken bodies. A policeman later went about with tags, which he fastened with wires to the wrists of the dead girls, numbering each with a lead pencil, and I saw him fasten tag no. 54 to the wrist of a girl who wore an engagement ring. A fireman who came downstairs from the building told me that there were at least fifty bodies in the big room on the seventh floor. Another fireman told me that more girls had jumped down an air shaft in the rear of the building. I went back there, into the narrow court, and saw a heap of dead girls. . . .

The floods of water from the firemen's hose that ran into the gutter were actually stained red with blood. I looked upon the heap of dead bodies and I remembered these girls were the shirtwaist makers. I remembered their great strike of last year in which these same girls had demanded more sanitary conditions and more safety precautions in the shops. These dead bodies were the answer.

Posted in 'pocalypse, better thinking | Leave a comment

Another category of logical fallacies

OK, look.  I love logic.  I basically got a degree in it, and I was raised in a pro-intellectual household by a man whose bread and butter (and therefore mine) came from his skill at arguing — and I'm good at it; I won't even pretend to be modest there.  

I know a LOT of people who also love logic, but who don't have my training in it — tech people mostly; people who work inside a system where logics, both the mathematical / formal kind and the informal systems and debate kinds, are very valuable.  These people are natural allies of logic-when-it-comes-to-human-interactions:  They agree (with philosophers and others who've made this argument, often against incredible backlash, for centuries) that being logical, i.e. attempting to act in accord with reason, and seeking calm, clarity and understanding beyond just reacting like a lump of flesh to one's emotional and other stimuli, is a wonderful thing:  a worthy goal and a kind of betterment for all people in almost all circumstances.

We don't tend to kill people, in this part of the world at least, for pushing this pro-logic, hey-let's-try-being-reasonable-instead-of-just-emotional agenda.  It's kind of showed its worth for a few hundred years now, and religion (it's oldest enemy, an entire system built on anti-logic) has much less of a hold on human societies in most places, so for the last couple generations especially, "being logical" has grown steadily more popular, in theory if not in practice.  (As ever, we humans care about what works, out there in the real world where we might starve; so just as the scientific method has gotten more and more cred with people the more technology it produces that they can see and hold and treat (illogically, I hafta add) as "proof the thing works", so has reason and systems-thinking and related branches of logic gotten more popular as people become more familiar with things like computer networks.)

But what your average pro-reason, pro-logic person I interact with doesn't seem to understand, generally, is that for humans, being logical / reasonable is VOLUNTARY.  It's a choice, like eating vegetarian, reading a book a week or napping twice a day.  Like all things we can choose to do, the choice to "use logic" to interact or to "be reasonable" in a given situation or about a certain topic are, first and foremost, GOALS that we set for ourselves.  

We don't get to flip a switch and say, "OK, I'm logical now!  I've decided to be pro-logic so from now on, everything I do is representative of logic and reason!"  It's not a jumper on a motherboard, or a radio-button in Edit > Preferences.  It's something you devote to, study, try to understand and then struggle to apply to yourself in every case you can.  You will not always succeed, because again, that's not how humans work.  But a "vegetarian" is not a human who has not had animal product pass their lips in X months; a vegetarian is a human who has decided to live on a non-animal diet, and who makes all of their decisions in an attempt to live by that principle.  A logical / reasonable human is the same.

So here's, I think, the important part:  You can't decide that ANYBODY ELSE is logical, is a devotee of reason, beyond yourself.  Logic is wonderful, and it's necessary in many pursuits, so you can definitely be part of a thing where you (and others) are obligated to act reasonably as part of it (for instance, if you become a doctor, you're agreeing to act according to reason, and can be punished for not doing so) — but simply being human does not put you, or your opponents, under the umbrella of "if logic says you're wrong then I win, wham".

I think this is SO important.  (Did I mention it's important?  Because it's important.)  Because by treating logic as an assumption rather than a deliberate, buy-in system, we lose SO much of its value, for one thing.  To be a fan of reason is to hold up mankind's ability to choose to think carefully as a treasure, and to say to yourself and others, "This is so important and so awesome, that I'm gonna do it, going to choose to live by it."  That's a gold star that we shouldn't take away from logic by treating it like it's as obvious as needing to breathe or pay the bills — because it isn't.  Many, many people, in many cultures — probably most of both, if you were strict about it — are NOT logical, and have no desire to be.

And you can't make them.  

But you have to deal with them.  Literally, you have to make deals with them — over everything from your work, to your relationships and family, to voting or getting a spot on the subway or walking down the street unharassed — you have to butt heads and argue and state your case and try to get along with (or overcome, depending) all these people who have no real interest in logic (though they probably say they do, because it's popular here and now).

By "real" interest, I mean that they value logical thinking and rational conclusions, including and especially as applied to themselves.  Someone who does that, you can have a logical discussion with, and you can use reason to point out flaws in their own position and trust that they will at least attempt to follow your meaning — and if they agree that their position is unreasonable, you know that, because they're a devotee of logic, they will try to change it.

However.  That is, I repeat, NOT most people.  Not most of your family, your journalists, your friends, or your cops and governors.  Most people's interest in logic ends right with "knowing enough about it to sound smart enough to get people to do what I want", period, end of story.  Those same people, if this were a few hundred years ago, would be professing to be super-fans and experts in Christianity (or Islam or Hindu or Buddhism, depending on your part of the world), and they'd be happy as pigs in mud to violate every inconvenient principle of any of those things while quoting scripture at the same time.  They're still out there, of course, too — the world changes slow — but when you think about how easy the not-really-a-believer, in-it-for-the-power priest is to spot nowadays, realize that he hasn't gone away; only changed his religion.  He's a huuuuuge fan of "logic" and "science" now.

But he's not our biggest problem, those of us who love our logic and would, if we were allowed, use that system to govern our whole lives.  Our biggest problem is the half-believers, the Undecideds, the people who are probably perfectly happy to "go along with" logic and reason, but who in reality are still WAY more comfortable actually making decisions the easy, the automatic (and therefore "natural"-feeling) way:  By turning toward things that give us a pleasant tingle, and turning away from anything that hurts.  Because we're animals, and if you take away our self-reflection and intelligence (or just choose to never develop them), then that's what we do:  We skate through life like amoebas, turning towards things that smell like food, and running from anything that seems painful.

And the thing I find myself wanting to scream at my fellow pro-logic folks nearly every single is this:  YOU CAN'T REASON WITH PEOPLE WHO DON'T.  And that includes people who wish they did, or want to say they do, or really like the idea but don't know how…in other words, really, most people.

Look, logic survives and thrives for the same reason all other systems do:  Because it works.  But it doesn't work if you're standing there taking punches and talking about how this is all very illegal in your rulebook.  Logic is like boxing:  It's a voluntary game, with rules that have to be agreed on by both / all parties in order to work.  And these are scary times, where a great many illogical people are spouting a bunch of terrifying ideas.  Appeals to logic are not going to stop them.  They might stop other people who really are logical from agreeing with that thing, but for every one mind you reach that way, you lose a hundred others.  And you certainly can't protect yourself or anyone else from the dangerous bad ideas going around lately by pointing out that they're not logical.  That is 100% analogous to standing in front of the Inqusition and pointing out that what they're doing isn't very Christian.  …Do you really think they gave a fuck it wasn't?  And do you really think that people pushing to start a Muslim Registry or bring back the fine art of blaming women for rape really give a fuck if their claims aren't logical?

Be safe out there, friends.  And yes, be rational!  Use rationality and reason to teach each other, to reach across boundaries, to learn awesome new things about yourself and others, and to find new ways to be kind and fair when our amoeba-selves would be otherwise.  But when the "conversation" you're in is clearly no-holds-barred emotional; or when the "news" you're reading is clearly flat-out lying; or when giant financially invested forces are playing off of false exhortations to "be reasonable" to tone-police those they're hurting (you saw this with the DAPL protests), remember that you're not boxing unless you're in a ring.  If you or those you love are being attacked in an alleyway, be it a physical or an intellectual one, then make sure you're respecting logic by applying it where it makes sense, and using other tools where it doesn't.  

OK, enough babble from me — I'm trying to muster the will to shift this website around (ugggh, hehe) while also Xmas shopping and not just hiding under the blankets 24/7 because it's cold out and almost everything I see and hear outside my house makes me want to jump off a cliff.  (I'm sure that totally wasn't obvious at all, from any of the above, lol.)

Peace*, everyone!

(*which necessitates justice :))

Posted in better thinking, philosophy, technical-ity | Leave a comment

All the things that need updating…

So, regarding sleep and scheduling, I'm sad to report that my Dymaxion adaptation, while it was going well and I was really starting to feel like I'd gotten it, did not survive the recent U.S. election.  I'm envious of people who can work right through something like that without floundering, but that tidal wave of angering and worrying news hit me hard, and there's no sleep schedule that could have survived it, even if it wasn't a tricksy one that I was barely used to.  *siggggh*


1) I liked a lot about Dymaxion, and it felt perfectly great for 2 days before the crap hit the fan, so I'm hoping to do it again.

2)  I will *never* do a "gradual adaptation" again; that was pure awful and zero help.

3) After a week of bouncing everywhere in terms of sleep, food, and just about everything else, I've mostly gotten myself settled back into E3.  I'm gonna stay here a while, and like I said, keep an eye out for good-seeming oportunities to try Dymaxion again.  This is now an absolutely impossible time to transition anything major, though; the most I'm hoping for is to be able to stay stable and healthy and strengthen my center while the world goes nuts around me.  :/

More stuff:  I'm planning to smash all my websites together, not sure when, but, if you have thoughts or notice changes and want to talk about them, feel free.  Currently I have 4 sites in varying states of okay-ness running on separate WordPress instances; I'd like to turn them into one site with four "wings" that I can update from one interface.  Stay tuned for THAT mess while I figure it out, lol.

I'm working this week to get my hour-a-day-minimum exercise regimen back on track, since it'd been deteriorating / getting sloppy for a while now, and yeah the last 2 weeks destroyed that too.  It'll be hard to motivate to go swimming regularly, with the weather being cold and time feeling crunchy and high anxiety always looming, but I'm up for the challenge!  This will be a swimming-ful winter!

Talk to you all more soon; I keep having ideas by the bucketful, and being too psychologically exhausted to share them.  This, too, I'm hoping, will soon change.

Here's to change:  As it is inevitable, may it at least sometimes be kind.


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4am thoughts from the new world order

…in honor of the screaming Anarchists, in no particular order, things that have been occuring to me the last couple days like the angry ceaseless waves of a storm sea…

1.  We wanted people to vote for "anything but [X]", and they did, but they decided that the worst thing, the thing that needed to be voted against no matter what, was the establishment; the continuation-of-things-as-they've-been.  SOME of that, definitely an election-swaying amount, is in response to the ongoing failures of all the recent US administrations, including out-of-control war-profitteering, pathetic response to climate change, and outrageous levels of inequality and corporate control of government.  Some Americans believe that ousting the government that's currently killing our middle class is more important than all the many downsides of electing fucking Trump.  I may not agree with those people, but I am also not going to dismiss them; they're Americans, they voted, and when I do the same, I expect people to respect my right to do so based on my real opinions.  I can vehemently not share the opinions of my fellow citizens — to me, protecting the basic rights of vulnerable populations is more important than making sweeping changes to our government; even though I completely agree those are needed, I wouldn't sacrifice individual freedoms for them — but I can't just declare *everyone* who made this decision to be an idiot and slam the door.

If anything, it's pretty imperative that the door not be slammed, especially now.  We are going to need each other, to get through what's coming.  The near future is going te be a true "united we stand, divided we fall" time, and people on ALL sides are going to have to swallow a lot of rage and fear and reach out their hands to people they don't like, if we want to survive as anything like an America.

2.  It's tempting to look for all the racist, sexist, xenophobic and other horrible acts going on right now and to immediately blame them on fucking Trump and those who voted for him (or didn't vote against him), but that would be disingenuous:  All of those problems have always been here, and they've always been terrible.  If that stew of shit is boiling slightly harder now, since the election turned up the heat on it, it's still stupid to blame that extra three degrees for everything: The pot was on, loaded, and boiling hard long before this.  Bigotry, hate-crimes, and discrimination are long-term problems that we ALL own, and every one of us, regardless of politics, is responsible for standing up to them as hard as we possibly can, now.  We must do this to save ourselves.  Blaming each other for the state of things is worse than useless at this point — we have to find things to agree on, and fight for them together.

3.  This kind of stress and anxiety is HELL on the brain.  I'm proud and happy to report that mine is stll functioning, still making it to work and taking showers and feeding the robot; but holy shit has it not been an easy run.  My heart goes out to everyone who struggles with mental illness at a time like this…having the outside world upend itself on you like this, having things legitimately go dark and scary, is rrrrrrrrroooouggggh.  Whew.

4.  Being a parent puts a whole thick layer of fear and anger on shit like this, that I hadn't expected and wouldn't have understood before, but holy gods, I cried as the news sank in enough to start thinking about my daughter's place in all this.  At thirteen, she's old enough to be paying attention, and knowing she was hearing any of the vile talk this election season was hard enough; but now?  Now she's going to spend her formative sociaopolitical years hearing that shit from every loudspeaker, seeing all the ugly hate and ego-driven uncritical thinking and unmitigated greed and assholery that times like these always spawn?  Oh god.  I still don't know what to say to her.  I know I have to think of something (and probably I will) supportive and useful, but all I *want* to do is fall down and tear my hair and apologize for the world she's inheriting until I lose consciousness.

5.  I've slept a little extra (~2.5h Wed and Thurs), because the anxiety's just been burning me out, and there's nothing I can do about that; I know when, for health reasons both mental and physical, I MUST take some extra time out.  I'm hopeful that I can get back on Dymaxion without paying too harsh a price, but if not, I will take an E3 break and plan to do it again later.  I like this schedule, overall, and want to give it a longer-term chance, whether that's now or at a more auspicious time.

6.  Speaking of auspicious times…this isn't one, of course; these are very grim times in many ways; and there are proper ways to handle both.  In grim times, especially when the problems are huge and unreachable, un-affectable by one directly, the correct action is not to run around crazily trying to push the cruise-liner with your bare hands.  That's totally my inclination:  To look for ANYTHING I CAN DO, because I know that at least DOING SOMETHING will salve this high-pitched hum of inner panic that I'm desperate to not feel right now.  But the *correct* thing to do is to *wait properly* for an auspicious time, a time when one can act, to return.  Waiting properly means self-care, and also taking time to re-assess, to make or adjust future plans, and to set up emergecy measures that may be needed to take care of self or loved-ones should the excrement really contact the rotating blades.  That's where I am now:  Beyond continuing my stated commitment to stand up and yell about bigotry and discrimination when I encounter them, for now I'm staying away from throwing wads of my time and money at activism.  I've always been a supporter of such things, and I will continue to be, and maybe a lot more in the future:  But now, right now when things are so up in the air and so many immediate dangers have just reared their ugly heads, I need to fortify my everything.  …As I write this, I haven't made it out of the woods of shock enough to really begin this work, but I've made a faint wiggle here and there, and that's my path going forward.

7.  HEY YOU.  INTERNET.  THANK YOU for being there for me the last couple days.  Being able to read and study the words and thoughts of excellent thinkers all over the world has been super helpful, though not half as much as being able to contact, converse with and comfort my friends and family, just by flicking my fingers.  You aren't perfect either, but holy shit am I grateful for you right now.

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Hello from the other side

I owe a thousand writeups on a hundred things to at least sixty people, and being that I've been awake for 22h of the last six days, I have zero excuse for not providing them…other than that I've just really been enjoying spending the time by myself.  I'm reading books, making chainmail again, watching movies I meant to get to, organizing all my stuff, and oh yeah, doing a whole bunch of stretching and taiji practice, just for my own edification, that I'd normally never have time for (even on Everyman :)).

So yes, the Dymaxion schedule seems, at least so far, to be an awesome find!  A couple notes on that adaptation, though they won't mean I don't owe more details later, I know:

*  The "Gradual" adaptation method can kiss every butt in New England, if I have my say:  That noise was AWFUL, and I'm sure if we hadn't finally abandoned it and switched ("sudden"ly) to the schedule we wanted to end up on, this all would have failed.  So many people have told me about their gradual adaptation attempts, and I never had any personal experience to offer, and now I feel terrible about that and wonder how many failures could have been prevented if I'd tried this earlier and known to say GOD NO, GET ON YOUR SCHEDULE, because long dragged-out sleep dep where you're desynchronized from your regular schedule *but* not actually learning the new one is, if I may be dramatic for a moment, unspeakably awful.  For 17 days, I just grew more and more tired; on day 18 I decided to give the gradual the middle finger and just get on Dymaxion, and by day 19 I was already starting to feel better.  The last two days have been almost easy; I'm sleeping well and waking refreshed, and barely feeling any tiredness in-between…but NONE of those positives started until I got on the schedule.  

*  The Schedule, Dymaxion, I was awfully dubious about too; but unlike the gradual adaptation (which, when it works for people, I'm sure it does by accident \ because they manage to get on the full schedule before the gradual part wears them out too completely to adjust), it seems to have a whole lot of merit.  It took two days (of actually being on the schedule!) for me to start napping the whole 30m, but once I did, magic.  I'm absolutely reminded of Uberman, in terms of what the naps and the rest of it feels like, but it's no lie that only needing to sleep 4 times a day instead of 6 is WAY easier on the ol' "real life".  I don't want to make any final-sounding declarations with less than a week of actual adherence under my belt, but suffice it to say that now that I'm doing it, I think I really like this schedule.  <3

When it comes to "getting stuff done", well, overall the extra hours in the day have been pretty well balanced by being too sleep-deprived to do shit — for that last week of gradual especially, I was all kinds of useless.  Now, though, I'm starting to catch up and then some, and many things I'd missed being able to do even on Everyman are starting to become regularly possible, like practicing music and making art…it's pretty great.  And even on the other side of nearly a month of super difficult challenges, I can still easily say that yes, feeling rested and like you have enough time is *totally* worth the effort of finding and adjusting to a sleep schedule that works for you.  …It's nice to know that after all these years of messing with it, that bit is still true.  :)

Other minor notes:

–  Per usual, I didn't give up coffee (which affects me very little), but also per usual for a strict schedule, it affects me more than normal, and I've cut back slightly from my usual 3-4 cups a day to two, max.

–  I also still enjoy a drink sometimes, but I have a limit of ~one beer a day (I try to not drink more than that anyway, but I'm more strict about it on this schedule).  I don't notice any ill effects from that daily beer (thank goodness :D), but a week ago I had two and *ugh*, that I felt.

–  My exercise load has been medium-light (*for me*, my range being on the high end of normal amounts), but I've not only had no trouble with it, I've used the extra time to add some more stretching and conditioning to my usual martial arts stuff, and that's gone fine.  Next week I plan to add back my thrice-weekly swims, too.

–  Since yesterday, my sleep dep has been at 10% or less.  It's not completely gone yet, and I'll report back on how long that takes, but I feel as good or better than on monophasic, and almost as good as I did on Everyman 3, already, which is pretty awesome, yeah?  :D

More soon!  Nap lovely <3

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Gradual adaptation update

I'm not calling this a "Dymaxion update", because I'm still not on Dymaxion…after 2 weeks, I'm getting close, but progress in adapting has been slow.  

The long slog of low-level sleep-dep has exactly the effect I was worried it would:  By the time you start reducing cores to really get down to your desired schedule, you've been fuzzy-headed for over a week already, and your willpower is a bit blinkered, as is your ability to think clearly and be creative when you need to be.  It's the same problem you get with adaptations that don't work at first, and get continued and continued:  One runs out of all the necessary energies, slogging through sleep-dep that long; even if it's not *bad* sleep-dep (and for the first couple days after the first big change, it is…it just gets about 50% easier after that, but sticks around).

For me personally, I'm also not doing well with the 30m naps. I think I've only gotten the entire 30m a few times; mostly I reliably sleep my 20m, and then am tired again and wanting a nap in about 4-4.5h, leaving me overtired by the time I do sleep (but apparenlty not enough to sleep 30m — maybe I need to set my alarm later, since the overtiredness DOES make me take longer to fall asleep than normal?)  My adaptation-buddy is having better luck with this, though, so it might just be how used to 20m naps I am.

Still!  I'm determined to keep trying, and hopeful that if I get a few more perfect days in with my 90m core and 30m naps, I'll feel better enough to adjust the core downward again.  Or I could leave it where it is, and see if I can adjust to it fully enough to burn off most or all of the sleep-dep, so I have more energy to move forward?  …Obviously I'm not 100% sure, but fortuntely I have an excellent buddy and a great group of people in the Slack chat to help me ponder and decide.

Wish us (long, slow) luck!

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Current reading list time!

(Brought to you courtesy of Day 6 of the Dymaxion adaptation… :))

OK folks, time to open up: What are you reading right now? Should I read any of them??

Because this is my currently-reading list, so clearly I need more:

1. "Time Travel", James Gleick — one of the first books I have ever pre-ordered, and totally worth it, omG. A history of the *idea* of time-travel, told by my favorite science biographer. Just got it, so a couple chapters in, but already <3 <3 <3 soooooo good!

2. "Peace", Gene Wolfe — holy shit. Neil Gaiman called this one of the small handful of books he would save in a fire in the last library on earth, and though I'm not very far in, I already think I see why. This is like some crazy elvish elixir you drink with your eyes. I may never be the same again after reading it, and I'm 100% OK with that.

3. "Both Flesh and Not", David Foster Wallace — I've always liked DFW's short works and essays more than the novels, and while some of this is still a bit tedious, it's fun to pull out, admire briefly and put away, like an antique muscle-car. I'm close to done with it, and will probably pass it on when I am; I like it, but not enough to keep the hardcover around. (I am *trying* to get better about not actually living in a fort made of books.)

4. "Computable Bodies," Josh Berson — my friend Josh's PhD work in kinesthetic awareness and the cultural evolution of things like proprioception, balance, sleep, and social cues is utterly fascinating, but it's thiiiiick stuff, and I have to review it someday probably, so taking this one slow. Recommended, though; Josh is a great writer and manages to walk the line between interesting and academically thorough *very* well.

5. Iain M. Banks, "Matter" — Eh, the Culture books are always good for a fun brainswim now and again, though this isn't my favorite type of story, and if I'm going to read it I usually just crack open Foundation again, because holy shit <3 Foundation. Trying to make it through more of the classic SF people here and there though, so this one's kicking around half-done and gets some lukewarm love.

6. "The Inner Game of Tennis," can't remember dude's name, WOW this book is amazing; I'm re-reading each chapter twice as I go, and highlighting it like crazy; it's almost over but I don't want it to be. Simplistic in ways, but overall the best education I've ever gotten from a book on physical learning. If you do ANY kind of training, you really, *really* want to read this — or at least tell your teachers to!

7. "Evidence of Satan in the Modern World," Leon Cristiani. A little early-80's paperback by a priest with hilarious beliefs but also damn good research skills; this is a fun romp through a HUGE number of known cases of possession (one of my fav topics, I know, sue me), including some great gems in the form of direct quotes/translations from, like, French priests (cures, accent over the e, if you're cur-e-ious :P) from the 1800's about shit they supposedly saw and dealt with…If you like shit like amityville and tend to read too much, well, you probably have books like this too. We won't discuss how many I've read. :) I could have read this book in a day or two, but I parse it out a few pages at a time, both because of the :groan: religion and because stuff like this is hard to find, so I'm making it last. :D


…And per my rules, I'm not allowed to deep-dive into more books than about that; my habit WILL just spiral out of control and next thing I know I'll be "in the middle of" twenty books and there are stacks of things falling over whenever I try to move, and also oh yeah what day is it. Fortunately some of these are almost done, so I can get some new ones in play. I have copies of "The Long Earth" by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter, and "John Dies at the End" which I've heard is awesome in book form, and a Brian Sanderson novel because I ain't tapped that yet, and yet another cool book on space-and-time theory called "From Here to Eternity", all in the pipeline and waiting to go…and that's before I get the predictable sudden hankering to re-read HoL or something. *sigh* I'm just sayin', if there's an afterlife, there had BETTER be libraries in it.

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