Polyphasic Sleep and Better Thinking
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Category — underwater hockey!

spinning tired carless twist focus FLIP epic. And underwater pie.

Difficulty concentrating today.  

Strange bruises up and down my forearms from spinning (staff-spinning!  Am learning to spin staves and holy hellfire is it awesome).  

I tend to go looking for food when I'm tired.  (Yes, when you're polyphasic you have more chances to sleep, but you also have to miss less of them due to stress before you feel ickyshit.)  Thankfully apples are tasty and make me feel full, so yay lack of nutritional consequences.

I will be carless again for a while, it looks like.  I had gone a year carless, rather enjoying that you can do this in Boston and I'd never done it before, until I bought my last car six months ago.  That car (which darnit, I loved) was totaled in an accident this month, and I won't be able to afford to replace it for a while, so back to carless I go!  To keep it from being depressing, I will treat it as an adventure, a reason to get better at fixing my bike and skateboarding on the very lumpy streets and sidewalks, and an opportunity to learn some more cultural lessons.

I owe a video to, um, who or whatever I'm doing the videos for.  Better be quick before too much else builds up to talk about, I think.  One thing I'll put here to save myself some time there:  Physical exertion often brings about some degree of 3D; I think that's in part why some people do it, especially the really extreme/scary kinds.  BUT it feels TOTALLY different to do it on purpose, for example when you're swimming six inches from the bottom on your tenth consecutive underwater pool-length with twenty or less seconds to breathe in-between, and there's nobody there to make you keep going all the way to the other wall but you need to if you want to get better, so as a last-ditch effort you reach in and twist…and suddenly you're looking at the bottom of the pool in 3D, and your heart-rate drops and you make it the rest of the way clean and easy as underwater pie.

One other interesting 3D thing:  What you see in 3D, you remember.  Something about that focus writes things really, really clearly into your (or at least my) mind.  I can still count the dirt-grains on the pool-bottom, and that was two days ago.  Hmm!

Had my evals for taiji today.  Am doing okay — fundamentals getting a bit ahead of form, but it's warm out so I'm adding forms-practice in the park some mornings starting next week.  Had an AMAZING experience where the instructor is patiently explaining, explaining, explaining how to switch focus (I KNOW RIGHT) from using muscular force to allowing chi-force (later; that's a book and a half) to drive your movements, and I've heard it before but suddenly I get it, it happens, and the whole physical world goes FLIP HAHA and oh my shit, I feel awesome.  It lasts about thirty seconds, but it was thirty seconds I'd have gladly paid a year's tuition for again and again.  That…well, if 3D is a different dimension of attention, this was the corresponding different dimension of physical control.  (And think about how easy it is to control where your attention is — how little effort it takes to move it — versus how easy it is to control your entire body, and you'll realize why it takes decades to learn this thing.  The analogy is conjecture of course, but I'll stand by it for now.)  

And writing is awesome…I'm 7/10 done with my novella (yup), I think my epic poem about Detroit is finished (yeah I know) and I got an idea for an updated Desiderata-type bit of prose that's only about 1/3 finished but really fun (shut up hehe).  

The key to difficult times is knowing where your keys are.  Mine are in taiji, in writing, and in being able to communicate with people — having contact and conversations, and maybe also some drinking and snogging if I'm lucky.  ;)  So however tricky and tired and expensive and etcetera things are lately, I know that I'm doing okay, because I know what lights to measure by. 

May yours be known and shine bright, too!

March 29, 2013   Comments Off

Endless Chicken Cornucopia

*bok*

(This makes sense, I swear.  I'm titling a post full of updates on things while making vague Thanksgiving references while poking the memory of one of my recent favorite books.  Don't be scared; this kind of thing happens all the time — just chill, and enjoy being a Chesterfield sofa for now.)

It's possible…probable…okay, likely that I drink too much coffee still.  I'm putting it firmly on the Fix Later list, though; especially in light of having successfully eliminated almost all wheat gluten from my diet in recent weeks (and that has me feeling much better! I was all bloaty and gastrically unhappy, and I'm fortunate that the first thing I tried — cutting out wheat — had an immediate positive impact).  But you know that when you make an offhand comment about not really being addicted to caffeine and everyone in the room laughs mightily, that's probably a hint right there.

Getting an opportunity to practice not letting emotions overwhelm me lately:  I'm quite sad about the holidays.  It'll be nice to see my family, definitely; but it'll also involve taking expensive disruptive trips to somewhere even colder than Boston and with much less exciting anything to do — gods do I not miss being stuck in the house during those bleak Michigan winters, wondering if I ought to go wander around the mall just to have a reason to get out — while the majority of my friends are off playing in hockey tournaments I have to miss, and going to warm places for diving and hammock-on-beaching and such.  I will admit to being grumpy about this.  I'm trying really hard not to be, but it's tricky.  I think a possible antidote might be to start planning something better for next year–?  We'll see.

[Idea had after writing this:  Also, I could start planning, or trying to plan, a few cool things to do over the Xmas trip -- it may take a little sub-travel, but surely the entire Midwest isn't such a hole that I can't find some people to visit, a hockey team to practice with, or some event worth checking out...right?]

The Second Edition is excitingly near done!  I got the completed proofs back from the (amazing!) designer the other day, and they look phenomenal, and one of my big tasks now is to go through them line-by-line for the no-really-one-last-time proofing.  Then it's cover time and we're in the home stretch!  Super geeked about that — this is taking a long time compared to the first, but when I look at the difference in quality and all the extra content, I know it's way worth it.

Important note:  I am still struggling to find a photographer for the Second Edition cover photo & About The Author pic.  It should be easy and fun work, and net someone a very good portfolio credit in return — if you know anyone in the MA area who might be interested, please let me know?  (If I don't find anyone soon, I'll improvise, and that'll work fine; but for obvious reasons, I'd rather meet/help out/work with a local artist-type.)

I haven't put up the sleep study flyers though, and I'm not sure I will — looking into it more, it's just a pain to flyer things around here…I dunno.  Things to ponder over the holidays.  I don't anticipate that I'll have trouble getting enough people into the study proper — there are already more applications than there are slots, though obviously the bigger a field of candidates we have, the better, generally speaking — and I've been made nervous about the local attention by some recent comments I've gotten about how the (many!) prominent sleep-researchers in this area will view my conducting a study.  I'm totally going to do it anyway — they should have done one if they wanted to so badly, darnit; I personally have been sending annoying emails to this effect for years — but I'd much rather put off getting their attention about it until after, or at least during.  Still percolating on that one.

I haven't forgotten that memory class I wanted to run, either — I think about it all the time, especially now that I have a bit more time myself, and it's still something I really want to work on.  (I especially have a deep, inexplicable desire to memorize the Periodic Table.)  Pulling together a time & method that works for more people than just me is the current challenge; plus there are a few more places I'd like to advertise it; but really it's mostly ready and I should just do it.  Sort of instead, I started a 10-day program that claims to make you really good at mental calculation, because it's always annoyed me how much I suck at that.  It's going well so far — day one, I shocked myself by rocking off sums of 5-7 two-digit numbers at a time without much trouble at all!  Yay brainhackery.

This also marks week 3 of being self-employed, which is still startlingly similar to both being unemployed and to being full-time employed — I'm stupid busy, but most of my work is trying to find work, so it sure isn't paying much.  Stressful to be sure, but there's still plenty enough probability that this may turn out to be a very positive career-event that I'm focusing on keeping my chin up and doing my best.  Productivity is a real challenge in these circumstances, but definitely one I feel I'm qualified to tackle — I'll make sure to let ya'll know what I come up with.

Aaaand I think that's about it — World Updated; Stuff Said; time to move on.  Hope everyone is well!

-PD

November 20, 2012   Comments Off

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of victory over sleep

I am *so* thrilled to be writing this, from five a.m. on the day after a hockey game, having already started the laundry and made tea and puttered.  

I didn't get home from hockey until after 11, and I didn't manage any naps at all yesterday.  (Work making the naps harder has really impacted them, I'm sad to say.  It was hard enough to interrupt my own busy momentum, but now that I have to go to my car…)  Most of my weekend was swallowed by worky things, and what little wasn't happened over Sunday's naps, and on Sunday night I left my alarm (phone) in the car by mistake and passed out for a full 8 hours.  That must have been enough to fuel up, though, because even after a raucous late-night game that had me slinking to bed at midnight, my eyes flew right open at four.

YES!  Now I can write for a while (and do my laundry), and I'll be super motivated to get my nap this afternoon, and nothing's in the way of my evening nap either, so ha!  I've been unable to get in a perfect E3 day since I was sick last week, and it'll be awesome to switch back.

(I will admit, I've gotten quite spoiled on not having to re-adapt anymore.  I'm sure if I went monophasic for long enough I would, but since for the last, what, six times I've tried to "re-adapt" it's just been dropping right into it no problem, with maybe one day of occasional yawning, I'm guessing I've passed some line where I'm in the clear, by and large*.  I wonder if any other polyphasers have experienced this?)

Also, I've switched my breakfasts to salad.  Frontloading the oft-skipped raw-veggie part of the day's food seemed like a good idea, and I've heard it can help with weight loss.  (Do I need to lose any significant weight?  Heck no; I weigh 56kg, which is what I weighed in high school.  But body fat is largely determined by diet, and mine is awfully carb-heavy, and as a result I have all these awesome muscles and you can't really see them.  Would prefer otherwise, as long as I can do it by eating *healthier*, which I need to do anyway.)  A salad, by the way, is really mentally unappealing at 5am; but once you tuck in, it's fine.  Plus you can eat as much of it as you want, which is awesome since my usual breakfast of "a clif bar" was often leaving me feeling hungry still.  (I'm on bowl two now…hockey can also make you wake up a bit short on calories, heh.  Hmm…although, I hope this doesn't leave me craving pancakes for lunch!)

So yeah.  Adore that feeling of winning at sleep.  It's definitely a harder game to win when you're very active — just like eating right is harder when you're an athlete — but I wouldn't give up either, and I feel VERY thankful that I'm allowed, at this time of my life, to pursue both.

Oh yeah, and writing!  I've got this lovely hour to burn, and a story waiting.  ::fluttersigh::

 

*did you know this was a nautical term?  If you're a word-nut like me, read the Wikipedia page on nautical terminology one of these days…fascinating.

October 23, 2012   1 Comment

Underwater Hockey is Ridiculously Awesome

OK, just a note here to say that underwater hockey (or UWH as you'll see it abbreviated) is stone cold freaking awesome.  I don't even like competitive sports generally, but I've now played this one for about five months and I wouldn't give it up for anything; I *love* it and I look forward to every single practice.  I am learning that the US is generally a very poor location for UWH; Europe and Australia seem to have the really good teams, so if you live in those places, that's even more reason to go check it out!  (Though if you live in the US, join and support a local team like I did; they need you!  ;)

Since it unfortunately also wakes me up (and no, I don't know why; it's quite exhausting at the time), and I haven't yet wound down from tonight's training enough to sleep, here's the short list of UWH's many awesomenesses:

  • Stellar sportsmanship, at least on all the teams I've played with — there's friendly competition, sure, but violence, cheating, and being an asshole to people are uniformly and consistently discouraged
  • Nice opportunity, at least, for gender balance — the game is definitely not in any way easier if you're male, and in countries-that-are-not-the-U.S. there are plenty of mixed as well as women-only leagues.  (I'm not generally a fan of women-only leagues, because ahem that's called separate-but-equal and it doesn't work, but it's nice that there are enough women players in many places to warrant them.)  The teams I play with are all cross-gender, and especially considering the possibility for problems that you'd expect in a swimming sport, they all handle it *beautifully*.  I've never seen a single instance of harassment or anything like it.
  • Lots of ways to be good at it:  Swimming fast, having great endurance, having a long breath-hold, stick-finesse, and having a good brain for positioning can each make you a great player, and whatever you're good at, you've got something to work on, too.
  • Freaking awesome exercise.  Many recreational sports are actually "eh" when it comes to getting and keeping you in shape, but you can NOT beat swimming your butt off in a fast-paced environment that keeps challenging you to push your limits and is never ever boring.
  • Great intellectual challenge!  Stick-work is really difficult to get right and amazing to watch when people can do it; and the usual positioning and teamwork of regular hockey is *mega* harder when you're trying to anticipate yours and your teammates breath-hold times and rotations from the surface to the bottom of the pool.  Add occasional other twists like pools with "deep ends", slopes, etc., and it's like the fastest-moving chess you ever saw.

…And hopefully that is enough to get me started on my way to bed (having eaten something will help I think; I finish hockey practices hungry, but man the food you get afterwards is some of the best food you'll ever eat — one of my favorite things about swimming in general; do enough of it and you work up the best hunger ever).  Hope everybody's having a great week!

PD

[P.S.  Because I am insane and the scheduling couldn't be worked out better, I also have my kungfu/taiji lesson early tomorrow morning -- so hockey kills my evening nap and then kungfu wipes me out in the morning -- augh!  This is definitely resulting in my finishing Fridays a bit short of sleep, but I've been letting myself sleep in on Saturday to make up for it, and that's been working.  More postage (?) on exercise & napping lately, but this post warranted a note to say "yeah, hockey does sometimes mess with my sleep, but at least so far it's workable".]

February 2, 2012   2 Comments

Napping Infographic and Hilariously Disjointed Update

Found this neato (and huge!) infographic about naps, and it's interesting enough that even I learned something!  Check it out if you'd like.

I know you can't hang much on search terms, but it still weirds me out that the second most used search term to find this site is…."women what the fuck happened".

Then again, on another level that makes me a fierce sort of happy.  And I like the fierce happys.  You get those from hockey too!

And speaking of underwater hockey, I'm now doing that twice a week in addition to weekly taiji (and its attendant should-be-and-nearly-is-daily practice).  This has caused me to back off of P90 a bit, but not to abandon it — the cardio workout, specifically, is really useful for hockey and I can feel it helping, so I'm keeping that at least 3x a week, even if I miss the other one.  Oh, and on Mondays, when I have both taiji and hockey?  Er, no P90 that day, thanks.

I could try to describe what has kept me away from the Internets almost entirely for half a week, but I seriously don't think you all want to know.  Think phrases like "production downtime" and "24-hour shifts" and you'll start to get the idea.  My job is awesome, but the piper she does come collect sometimes!

So my favorite short story that I have ever written got its rejection letter a few days ago — right after I worked a 24-hour shift actually.  I mean to say this with the same half-bruised nonchalance that your rather wild friend may say to you one morning, "So last night a cop kicked me in the ribs."  There's nothing you can say back other than a sympathetic "Ow", and that's ok.  I'm angry that the story is a) too specific to really publish anywhere else (it was for a particular anthology) and b) being held onto by said anthology in case they want to use it for a future one, so I'm not even sure I ought to publish it myself, i.e. here.  Annoying, world.  We can do better than that.

Speaking of "better" and "writing", it's also NanoWriMo finally!  I love Nano — the 30-flash-fics version of NaNoWriMo — because last year I could feel it making my writing better, and this year, even though I'm behind by 3 stories already (see: 24-hour shifts), I'm already impressed with what's coming out.  Flash-fic is so useful that way, for making you write beginnings and endings, focus on revealing and concealing, and burn the dialog into the tabletops because it has to stand out in a sub-1K work.  ::shivers with awesomeness::

Anyway, I am sorry that updates have been shit this week…sleep kind of flew off the rails (again, see: 24-hour shifts — though I should add that my ability to snag a nap, and to wake up after 3 hours pretty reliably, came in amazingly handy too), and I'm only really just blinking my way back to coherency (and even so, wondering why it's Monday and not Saturday…I spent the whole weekend working!).  I'll come up with something useful to say soon, promise.  In the meantime, everybody have a great day/week/etc.!

 

P.S.  Oh, because I always forget to mention stuff like this:  I got interviewed!  Um, like, three times last week, if you count the one that was for underwater hockey too.  (I'm a newbie, but they wanted to interview me…why?  Because of my "bright, interesting" tattoo.  And probably the fact that i was the only girl there.  Ah, well; fame she is fickle. ;)  …The two that were for polyphasic sleep were encouraging, though; the quality of information seems to be going up, if one can take interview questions as an indicator.

OK, off to try and catch up on those stories!  Then nap, taiji, work, nap, hockey and a sleep that will probably feel blissfully like being in a coma.  ;)

November 7, 2011   Comments Off