Category — polyphasic sleep
I'm moving this week, so pardon my invisibility (I'm actually getting a TON done — like the final edits for the Second Edition; finished! …which means that if you'd like to preorder and get the discount, now is a great time, ahem…but most of it isn't visible, unless you happen to be peeking in my windows looking for an accumulation of boxes).
However, the moving has raised an issue, an opportunity for improvement, that I might not have noticed otherwise: I have too many clothes.
Not because I love clothes, mind you — I like comfortable, well-fitting clothes that meet the needs of my activities, but beyond that I'm all about the simple, cheap and easy. However, I did learn to shop the way I think a lot of modern people do: When you, say, realize you need a pair of pants, you go get one — or two or three — that meet the need you've discovered, and add them to your collection. Which then means that eventually, even with some regular culling (which I try to do), after years of doing this, you wind up with a huge collection. Mine filled four garbage bags! I know I don't wear 75% of them hardly ever, but don't want to throw them out because they're perfectly functional, and I'm used to keeping them.
Well, that's enough of that — I've decided that I like an alternate clothing-system much better: One decides of an acceptable amount of clothing, and then as things need replacing or one's needs change, clothing is replaced with better items. Prefer black pants now? Great, buy 1x black pants and let go of 1x other pair. The wardrobe may change — and if you're lucky, the quality keeps increasing, as you let go of the least item while obtaining the best you can — but it doesn't grow. You have a set amount that you need / want, and you stick with that.
So that's my plan — once I'm done with the basic unpacking, I'll decide how much clothing I need, and pare down to that; then, as I upgrade, I'll ditch the least/lowest item to keep the numbers constant.
(Think I can do it? Could you?)
Here's my preliminary stab at a list of what I think I'd like to keep around. I'm in no way suggesting that everyone should have the same size list here – this is just what I think (initially) might work for me. And it's not all practical — note the high allowance of knee-socks! — the point is that it's finite. If this list doubles but I can keep to it, I'll be happy. (And still have less clothes than I do now…oy.)
PANTS: 5 pair jeans, 2 utility/not-jeans-with-pockets, 2 dress pants, 3 yoga / workout pants, 2 sleep/sweatpants, 1 fleece layer, 2 waterproof/camping pair, 3 technical/underlayers, 1 running shorts
SHIRTS: 7 t-shirts, 3 button-downs, 3 long-sleeves, 2 fleecy/hoodies, 3 workout tops, 2 technical/underlayer, 1 bulky sweater, 2 tank tops/sleepwear
FANCY: 3 dresses, 2 skirts, 2 business jackets, my silk taiji uniform, 1 pair nice pyjamas
UNDERTHINGS: 14 pants, 5 reg bras, 3 workout bras, 2 swimsuits (this category is already in line, I think; this is basically a listing of what I have)
SOCKS: 7 wool, 7 fun knee-highs, 3 cotton, 1 dressy, 2 pair tights
May 15, 2013 No Comments
Here's a great find recommended to me (and all polyphasic sleepers) by one of my co-presenters at Penguicon, the very well-mannered and well-researched Neil Funk.
I've used it for several weeks now and WOW, what a difference. F.lux runs in the background, and on my machine uses next to no resources and has never caused any conflict or problems.
What it does is adjust the "temperature" of the colors on your screen — making them look less blue and more orange. You tell it a "daytime" and a "night-time" setting, and it switches them at sunset and sunrise automatically.
Two things: Bluer light makes your eyes more tired. And temperature is something that you adjust to remarkably quickly — within a day, I had to try to see the difference; and after a week I turned f.lux off and found the resulting color blinding and unbearable.
My eyes have been less tired by a good measure overall since I got this software, and I'm calling it a great find for polyphasers everywhere!
May 9, 2013 5 Comments
Everything happens in cycles — ebb and flow, wax and wane. Whatever's good for you now, enjoy it, because it'll change…and whatever's bad for you now, endure it, because it too will change.
Enjoy and endure.
Advice that boils down to those two things being the major attitudes in one's life is, I think, guaranteed to be good.
I have trouble anymore, saying what's good and bad for me, in my "life situation". Something feels wrong about making that call, and as is always the case lately*, when I get stuck I turn to flipping focus to 3D; and there's never any room there to judge something "good" or "bad". I know that sounds weird, but there isn't; just like there isn't room in say, mountain-climbing to write a novel. They're just…not compatible pursuits, 3D and normative judging. Maybe one day I'll be able to explain why.
Things are nicely crazy though (you know I like them that way), and the end-result-of-the-moment is me sitting at my desk, exhausted after a long hard couple days without much room for naps, sipping scotch and watching Footy** and looking forward to retiring my brain into a silly book until a faceplant sleepcoma takes me for as long as it needs to — I'll happily crash tonight because gods, I need to heal up. The underwater hockey tournament I planned on, but then I extended it by one game that was even more intense than the tournament and one massive taiji workout and one very tiring seven-hour work meeting that didn't let me nap to recover from any of the above and then I tumbled off my skateboard pretty well and added some scrapes to my already-pretty-banged-up body, and right about then I felt my soul go, "NOPE. WE DONE, YO."
Which is really quite a nice place to get to, as long as you can indulge it — it's miserable if you have to keep pushing through, but a downcycle in itself isn't bad, and just like an upcycle, it feels good to go with it, to do what needs to be done; to flow like water. "Flowing like water" (as the Chinese put it) is extra-important when times are turbulent, and I think it's safe to say they are now — I'm moving in two weeks, just for starters — because pushing or pulling in the wrong direction and at the wrong times can do you so much damage. Stress kills — not a joke. Tensing up when you're hit makes you break bones, rip tendons; knowing how to relax and control your movements without unnecessary tension keeps you from breaking in a strong wind. And other hilariously mixed metaphors. Sh'up, I'm tired. ;)
Other recent wisdom, which I don't necessarily have the energy to explain in detail right now, but which could be handy to other students of reality so here you go:
When you think you can't, take deep breaths and allow yourself to have the experience of being at your limit.
Always be as nice as possible about saying things that may make someone angry. It'll make you more comfortable saying them — because sometimes they need to be said — and also minimize the odds that you'll regret the encounter later.
When in doubt, if you feel like laughing, do it.
Especially at your brain. Laugh at your brain at every opportunity.
(is a verb ;)
*yes, I know I need to say more about this…I've been stewing on another NYE YouTube video too long. Will fix soon, promise!
**I'm not much for spectating, but holy shit footy. Think "extreeeeeeme soccer that's maximally fun to watch". Damn Australia is awesome.
May 7, 2013 No Comments
It's six a.m. on day two of Penguicon, and all I can say is "My, my, my." I'll confess to not being much of a con-goer thus far in my life; I've been to a few, but never really grokked why they were worth so much time and effort to some people.
Well, this one has changed ALL that. This I can see giving up a chunk of your life to do and throw and be part of. This place is nigh Shangri-La.
It's also been, so far, one of the biggest successes I've had in traveling while polyphasic. The day before I got here was nuts, and I barely managed my 3 hours before catching my plane yesterday morning (and had had hockey instead of a nap the evening before, yikes); but I caught up on naps in the various airports (Nashville: crappy coffee but really comfy seats!), and then proceeded to run all over the place yesterday, culminating – thanks to the most amazing selection of scotch that I'm pretty sure has ever graced a hotel-party (these blokes named Nathan and Seth…I cannot even begin to fangirl about their scotch collections, and how amazing they were to share like they did!) – in a half-drunken face-plant into my bed at 2am. I woke up at 5 feeling great, had a long conversation with Inverse Phase (I know right?!), and then wandered around talking to the various groups of hardcorers still awake (there are quite a few!) until the hotel agreed to give me coffee (which was a full hour before breakfast actually starts – they're awesome here, and extra generous to the convention folks on top of it).
So now I get to sit and enjoy some quiet-time, consume much-needed calories (did quite a bit of swimming yesterday evening), and grab a nap somewhere before the first panel at ten. LOVELY.
Perhaps figuring out Road Uberman (that magical four-hour cycle of drive + (gas+urine+refreshments+nap) that lets me road-trip pretty much endlessly) was a bigger traveling win in terms of sleep-hacking, but polyphasing at a con is pretty darn magical. Add to its various pleasant effects the fact that I'm actually here to talk about polyphasic sleep, and voila, it's six a.m. on Saturday and I've already pretty much won this weekend! (And I haven't even done any of the sleep-panels yet! — Though I have already had several awesome conversation about it with quite a few people.)
Onward! More winning awaits.
April 27, 2013 5 Comments
Guess what, world? I'm confirmed for Penguicon, as a speaker on two panels! One is about sleep hacks in general, and the other about polyphasic sleep specifically, and they are of course both going to be AWESOME.
Penguicon is quiiiite possibly the coolest thing in Michigan and a huge chunk of the rest of the world besides; and I'm fortunate to be homies with a bunch of the people who run it (and now several more of them, like Ed Platt, who — get this — lives right near me in Boston and is running the Sleep Hacks panel at P-Con!). Check out this incredible video my good friend Scott put together for the con:
Sadly, the book won't be ready by then — it's just 3 weeks away, and proofs from the printer take that long — but I WILL have some materials for pre-ordering and discounts for the con people; and in lieu of copies, I'm bringing a sharpie to sign boobs.
–Wait, did I say that out loud?
March 31, 2013 No Comments
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 No Comments
Hey all — So, I got several more offers to write a testimonial for the Second Edition of Ubersleep, but only ever got two completed ones. That's not enough to make the new section worth it, so if there aren't any more I plan to strike it entirely. I'm not really wedded to the idea anyway, since testimonials are really easy to find online, compared to the other kinds of information I've tried to gather here. But it did seem like it'd made a nice addition, to have a few well-considered ones. While two isn't enough though, three seems okay, and for three I'd keep it.
Anyway, I hold in my hands the VERY LAST editable copy before the book goes to print. If I should happen to get another testimonial (following these guidelines), I'll add it to the last round of edits and there'll be testimonials; if not, the section will be struck. I won't be disappointed either way — it's up to you!
Oo, it's kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure of publishing, isn't it? Pick your sections, Internet! ;)
March 27, 2013 2 Comments
Exciting things are happening too fast for me to write them!
First of all, the Second Edition of the Ubersleep book is nearly there, and I expect to be able to release it in May! That's right, this May — in just a few weeks!
(Uh-oh, that's three in a row…hang on, let me get these out of my system: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
(OK, hopefully that does it for a few paragraphs…)
Ahem. On top of that, after much futzing with schedules and whatnot, I've decided to take the opportunity afforded by the Second Edition to do some meeting of polyphasers and questions-and-answers as far and wide as I can. I'm thinking Boston right after launch (since I'm here and all), some more of New England through the summer to give me time to plan, and then a serious road trip — possibly all the way to the West Coast — in the Fall. We'll see how it goes, money- and interest-wise, but the few speaking engagements I've done so far have been a blast, and I would love the opportunity to do more of them.
Expect more updates on my road-tripping schedule(s) soon, and if there's a place you think I should go — a bookstore or sleep clinic or school or whatever — then please drop me a line so I can add it to my already-awesome list!
(Darnit, the bangs are back. !!!!!!!!!!!!…yup, I don't think I'm going to run out of them this time…it's too exciting! Grr. Sorry, everyone!)
March 24, 2013 1 Comment
(A: Nothing is truly random. ;)
Devoting a post to the ton of small wonderful things I've run across this week!
- MyFitnessPal: I've been looking for a simple app/site to help me track basic calories-in-calories-out forEVER, it seems — and this one finally has everything I need! Simple interface, comprehensive database of food and exercises, and it's free. I've found that I do SO much better with an app like this around — without it, I'm liable to either overindulge in high-calorie food because I have no concept of what I've burned off in exercise today; or for the same reason, fall several hundred calories short of anything reasonable and feel like crap. Tracking takes maybe a total of ten minutes a day, and it keeps me in healthy limits with hardly any other trying at all. I've really missed it since DailyBurn began to suck, so finding this one is a huge win!
- Remojobo.com: A simple site just for remote-friendly computer jobs? YES PLEASE! I wish it were bigger, but hey, at least someone thought of it finally.
- Twitter Bootstrap: I've come to love HTML5 anyway, but as someone who's *not a designer* and often called-upon to "just throw up a simple page for…", Twitter Bootstrap has totally saved my bacon. I can make a clean, simple, and VERY professional-looking site in almost no time, now…it doesn't free me from hiring a designer when one's needed (and why would I want to? the designers I know are pretty awesome), but it is a big improvement for those of us lower on the web-development food-chain who still have to do it sometimes. (If moving this site wouldn't be such a pain, I'd be considering it — but I have enough to do, heh.)
- The Magic Work Cycle: I mentioned this briefly before, but hoooooly wow is it awesome. It's like sticking a firehose into your flagging motivation's tender bits, pulling out a starter pistol, and gesturing meaningfully. I was having trouble getting "real work" done, what with so much of it and *also* so much else going on, but thanks to this thing (and the helpful website-companion here), I'm getting *crazy* amounts of stuff done, and not feeling overworked at all. It's very, very simple: You work 30 minutes, then you play 30 minutes. Play is anything you wait it to be that isn't work. The built-in deadlines and context-switching keep you focused, motivated and from getting stuck. Simple and brilliant = WIN WIN WIN.
- The song "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield: This is an old song and you've probably heard it — I hadn't, because for decades I couldn't bear music that wasn't in some way angry, and this is the pick-me-up song of the century. It's goofy and it doesn't care, just like that friend you (hopefully) have who makes everyone feel great and doesn't care if that's not hardcore or "cool". It's all over YouTube, it breaks the usual popular music laws by having competent and meaningful lyrics, and if you need a smile or a boost, I highly recommend it!
OK, playtime is almost up (seriously, magic work cycle FTW), so I'm outie — OH, but one last thing; I saw a proof of the new cover of the Second Edition! Hopefully I can post it here soon, but for now I'll just say o.O!
March 14, 2013 2 Comments
(No, no, I'm not drunk. I've just had the old ditty "What do you do with a drunken sailor?" in my head lately, and needed to write a post about what to do with 4am's.)
Four a.m. is becoming a challenge for me.
I still like it. I still wake up pretty automatically at four-ish, unless there's some crazy mitigating circumstance. And there have been plenty of times when the quiet period from four to seven has been a really pleasant opportunity for various things, as I think is well-evidenced by the number of "YAY FOUR AM" blog-posts I've written.
But sometimes four a.m. is a really tough time to *utilize*, y'know?
If I'm in the middle of reading something compelling, that's easy; it's a natural reading-time. But my couch/bed is the only comfy place to read, so I can't really use the time for study; a half hour of dry reading in the quiet will put anybody to sleep at four a.m.
I generally try to stay off the computer, because I'm on it so much of the rest of the time, and my eyes and neck get unpleasantly, sometimes damagingly tired from the overuse. (My eyes are really not happy with me right now, actually.)
Of course nobody's awake — this is one of the really, truly dead times when *nobody* is awake — and international or long-distance company is generally computer-driven. I also have zero desire to go out this early; it's chilly — four a.m. is chilly in August, I swear; it's just a cold time — and nothing really presents itself out there that I'd like to be doing right now.
The real rub of it is that I have a roommate now, *and* she's a light sleeper, so I have to stay out of the kitchen: One thing that used to work really well for me early in the morning was some kitchen-time. Time keeping life organized, maybe playing a little music, maybe inventing or doing something for the hell of it — the kitchen is right by the tool-room, and within easy reach of the art-supplies — but I really can't do that anymore; really I can't even make coffee until at least seven, because of the noise.
Being stuck in my room (which I like; it's a great room…but pretty small) by myself and (ideally) off the computer for 1.5-3 hours a day (it's 3h, but I don't mind reading for a chunk of it) is tough, and it's starting to wear on me. It's tempting to go back to sleep for a bit just to rest my eyes — and that, to me, simply means I'm not doing an adequate job using the time.
March 14, 2013 4 Comments