Polyphasic Sleep and Better Thinking
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Category — writing

Not entirely about Cannonfist

So, I've been kind of loose and flapping about what to do with blog-type postings of stuff lately.  I've lost my organizational thread, I think; there's both too much to put AND too many places to put it.  I have the same amount, or possibly more, "readers" on Facebook than here; yet I don't want to talk about the same stuff with them, and branching out from either is problematic.  So if you've been wondering where the overhaul that I've been talking about is, well, it exists, but it keeps getting halfway and then getting changed.  Do I want a main portal page that can split off into The Everything?  Or a carefully curated set of URLs with different content?  

I have no idea yet, but if there's one thing I've learned it's that carefully studying a question, holding it up to the light as it were, for long enough always attracts the answer.  So I'm still pondering that.

I've also taken on a HUGE short-term project, so expect me to disappear a lot in long-form, but since I'll be in front of my computer a lot, possibly get pretty verbose on Twitter and/or Tumblr.  (Thanks to IFTTT, Twitter gets auto-posted to Tumblr.  I can't *really* figure out what to post on Tumblr yet, but I have a few friends who run *great* feeds, so I often repost their stuff if I suddenly find the time.)

I have to figure out where to put Ubersleep (the easiest, as it has its own URL at ubersleepbook.com already), my taiji stuff (especially as I gradually move towards teaching(!!!)), this writing project (if it works; will need it's own page and URL and all that shit), other writing (to avoid pseudonym issues with any of the other two) and just B.S. (though possibly I should cut back on that, or make a page for — just thinking aloud here — taiji and fiction that can hold the occasional hey-community B.S. post?  Maybe move my tendency to get poliphi over shit to a forum like the rest of the world?  (Actually that's not a bad idea…if I impress anyone I can pull them "into" my writing site(s); could be a good source.  There's a writer I really like who just about used Something Awful as his launch-pad to success, and at least two have done it with Reddit…).  I own puredoxyk.com but don't want to rely on it too much for Reasons; I also own yieldandovercome.com, which is a nice taiji URL and maybe OK for something else too?  HHMMMMM.  LOTS OF H's AND M's.

BUT FOR NOW, while I fill up Evernote and Google Docs trying to figure that out, here's a video of one of the Chen Grandmasters (his name is Chen Bing, and I know I shouldn't find it funny that such a big guy with such a ridiculously intimidating line of work — I mean, "Hi, I'm a Grandmaster of one of the most terrifying kinds of kungfu, how are you?" — is named "Bing"…but come on it totally is funny) doing the form I'm currently trying to learn.  It's very short, so watch it and get some Culture, damn it.  ;)

 

I know this sounds silly because that doesn't look like an easy form to anyone I've showed it to, but trust me when I say that It's a lot harder than it looks.  I mean a) Grandmasters kind of make everything look easier but also b) all that force you're seeing thrown around is 100% internally-generated.  You could get your strongest kickboxer-Crossfit-muaythai-weightlifter-whateverbadass and he'd be ohhhh, at least two years from being able to throw a single one of those punches correctly?  Those are all the kind of punches (and elbows and knees and everythings) that I've been writing about, which have taken so much study to be able to even do *basically* correctly, and which are done INcorrectly the world over by both the 90% of people who don't know what internal force is and the 75% of those who do know who are just doing it wrong.  Chen Bing's style isn't the same as my sifu's, who's style descends from Chen Zhenglei's (and I'm not really good enough to have a style yet), but he's HELLA good (duh) and if you've ever wanted to see what internal-style-kungfu's generated force looks like (when it's not actually hitting anything), now you can say you have.

Yay!  Enjoy your Sunday.  I've got a million words to write.  ;)

December 15, 2013   2 Comments

Book update!

Hey everyone! I'm SO SORRY for how the publication of the Second Edition of Ubersleep got slowed down at the very end…isn't it always true that it's the last 2% that gets you?

So, here's an update: The print edition is DONE, everything submitted, ready to go…and now I have to wait 3-5 days for the distribution company to assign it an ISBN.  If I'd known about that delay, I would have ordered it sooner, but since the ISBN gets put in late in the publication process, I thought I had to have all the files ready first.  D'OH.  As soon as I have it, though, all the pre-order copies will go out (give it a week or so for shipping, depending on how far away from the US east coast you live).

The eBook is also done — has been done since late May actually — but is stuck in the throes of a hilarious(?) technical problem that I'm just powerless speed up the resolution of…it's going to take as long as it takes.  On the upside, I really don't think it'll take much longer (it's already taken WAY longer than anybody thought it would), and once it's resolved, the book can be out the same day.

I should mention here how incredibly pleased I am with the Second Edition, delays aside.  I do apologize for your wait, but boy howdy are you all in for a treat, if I do say so myself.

  • The new cover is gorgeous, really modern and nifty — I'm finishing some fiction projects soon too, and have already asked the mighty Eric to do covers for them; I love his work.
  • The typography is…well, I almost have no words.  This is where the benefit of my not being a major publisher comes in:  A big house would have laid everything out to minimize the number of pages, and thus the cost of printing, period.  I'm just some person and my publications are my personal victories — and same for my designer — so this book is laid out to be as beautiful and readable as possible, and it's, no kidding, a work of art.

    • The margins are generous and placed so that your fingers won't cover words when you're holding it in any of several typical book-reading poses;
    • The layout and spacing follows a grid laid out based on the golden mean — nope, not kidding!
    • The fonts are hand-hunted and chosen by one of the pickiest font fanboys in my world; there's even a page in the back describing the fonts, for you other typo nerds. ;)
  • Content-wise, the Second Edition is roughly twice as long as the first — 211 pages!  It has a double handful of new sections, expansions everywhere, additional links and research…tons of stuff.  I'd been working on it a while, and I kept a general changelog (even put it in the book, because I'm a dyed-in-the-wool nerd), but even I was surprised when it was finished, and I saw how much more was in it than the original.  All my concerns about new editions and updates being something of a money-making scam sometimes were totally laid to rest when I saw this finished…this is an update to be proud of.

And lest anyone think that I'm just sitting around waiting for the book to finally get done, avast ye!  I beg to differ:

  • There's a launch / thank-you party planned in July, to be held at the epic Artisan's Asylum makerspace in Somerville and soundified by one of the deities of puns and hackmusic, Inverse Phase.  If you're in the area and want to come, let me know and I'll get you an invite!
  • Once I have physical copies in my hands, I'll be visiting some local bookstores and seeing what happens (worst that happens, I meet a bunch of local bookstore people, right? ;)
  • Starting in the fall, I plan to expand outwards a bit, to other bookstores and sleep-clinics, depending on how things are going
  • And I haven't forgotten about the UberSleepStudy I wanted to do, though I do need to update the page, since there's no way it can happen at my place in October — I've moved to a much smaller apartment, and my job situation is changing too.  But I'm not at all forgetting about the people who wanted to participate, or how important it is that something like this happen — real updates on the Study will start to come once the book is all buttoned up and out there!

THANK YOU all again for your patience and your interest — I'm super interested to hear what you think as you start to receive the books!

June 17, 2013   5 Comments

Come on Mr. Postman! I want to celebrate my extra half-month of summer!!

FINISHED the print submission of the Ubersleep Second Edition yesterday!

Paid a ton extra for fast shipping so I can get the proof in my hands ASAP, and once I'm sure it looks nice, IT'S OUT!  The poor EBook is still suffering in the throes of some hilarious, not-our-fault-I-swear software problems, but with any luck should be finished about the same time.

Once that's done, a thank-you-omg launch party and several bookstore visits are waiting in the wings!

Gonna be a great summer – and it's gonna contain approximately 15 more days (4 extra hours x 90 days = 360 hours = fifteen 24-hour days) than the summer of someone sleeping for 8 hours per day!!

I mean, not only is having extra summertime the best thing EVER, but I don't know about you, I think summer nights are just spectacular.  Even when you're just walking around, they feel like this:

June 3, 2013   2 Comments

Scream, clap, laugh, win: Humor makes a great molotov cocktail

Luke McKinney's new article — a follow-up to his infamous piece on "straight white male" being sexuality's lowest difficulty setting (you may remember John Scalzi's still-famous article expanding that idea) – on 5 Gamer Comments That Give Straight White Guys a Bad Name had me screaming and clapping while simultaneously laughing coffee out my nose.

As Scalzi points out in his blog today, this IS written on Cracked.com, so it's got a marvelous left-handedness where you know that some of the people being called assholes in this article — in lovely metaphor-laden smackdown style — are going to be reading and commenting on it…and boy, do they.  I've stayed off the comment thread myself, mostly because all I really want to say is fuck yes, Luke.  Way to hit a second home-run just to prove you can! 

…It's really impossible to pick a "best" part of this to quote, but…

"People want to bang you = easy life" is the worst sexual equation since David Carradine's work with knot theory.

WAHAHAHA::wipestears::

But seriously?  I think it's incredibly important that topics like this one be handled with loud, raucous, stabby humor whenever possible.  It's hard to speak accurate truth to power, sure; but it's even harder to make power hear it, and those people who can take truths and wrap them in you-can't-ignore-me linguistic molotov cocktails are treasures of humanity.  It's precisely why comedians and satirists are so vitally important to every movement, and I'm chest-burstingly proud that the No More Forced Pregnancies-related movements have voices like Luke (and Scalzi) on their side.  <3!

June 1, 2013   5 Comments

Word Junkie

To remind you who you're dealing with:

the allusive is my everything
(oh lovely self-slogan, all I need and a t-shirt too)

the illusive makes me sick 
(show 'em or go home, gods; this ain't dice)

and the elusive lifts me up 
(mind is the first floor, no buttons needed)

So remember:  They're not puns,

They're pulled punches.

 

May 17, 2013   2 Comments

Give Me A DRM-Free World

Lulu Blog » Living in a DRM-Free World.

Count me among the authors who feel that DRM did nothing to benefit us, and who're frankly relieved that it's on the way out.

Has the book been torrented?  Yup.  Does this upset me?  HELL no.

Think of it this way:  The Internet is the biggest communications medium in the world.  If you were an author and you went to the biggest public library in existence, where everyone was talking about and handing around books 24/7, and you found that yours hadn't been mentioned or shared at all, what would you think?  That it must suck, right?  

As an author, or really any kind of artist, you get attention and money and rewards for your work when people like it and tell other people about it.  Being that they're talking to each other in the real world, they have a much better idea how much of your work should be shared, and what should be said about it, to interest the person in front of them, than you and a zillion marketers could ever have.  If they think loaning a copy to their friend is the best way to make you a new fan — or that thumbing through it themselves is the best way to determine if they want to be your fan — then who the heck are you to argue?  

It's a sort of Taoist truth of sales:  Let people do their thing, and only intervene when needed.  I intervene, usually by being nice about it, when I run into someone who's borrowed by not bought my book, and almost always they turn into a buyer.  If I intervened by being a jerk, or prevented them from getting ahold of my work in the first place, guess what they'd be?  Yeah, not a fan, for sure.

Fortunately we're not alone, we authors-who-pay-attention; as this article demonstrates, publishers like Tor and distributors like Lulu are catching on that penalizing readers – especially penalizing all readers for something a tiny percentage of them do — is just plain stupid, and a world without DRM is hopefully right around the corner.

*yay*

May 14, 2013   No Comments

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

Attributionses

I have no idea who this dude is, but WOW does he deserve a tip of the Nap Hat:

…Next time I'm thinking I'm not able to get comfortable enough to sleep, I'm going to see this guy admonishing me in my mind.  

Also, remember the cool Nap Infographic I found on some random site a while ago?  It was way too huge to post in the main body of anything, but here's a link — really cool stuff!  And I did get some attribution info for that, and definitely ought to post it, since wow is that a really well-done piece and must have taken for-freaking-ever to do:  It was originally posted at Patio Productions, here.  And I am a bit of an asshole for not mentioning that sooner, but you know what?  Such is life.  I *am* a bit of an asshole sometimes, unfortunately.  ;)

And speaking of, it's time to get some fecking fiction writing done, because wow have I been awful about that lately, and I have a massage scheduled for this afternoon (I'm definitely realizing how marvelous those are for keeping the computer/hockey demons off your neck & shoulders!) and so I can slouch and drink coffee and type furiously with impunity this morning, so I'm gonna!

February 26, 2012   Comments Off

And sometimes what comes out the other side is

…poop.  And sometimes it's not poop; sometimes we lay a golden egg and then just sit there being baffled for a moment before the necessity of cleaning up and going to check on the guests again intrudes.

Ah, life.

So I'm horribly, desperately, probably-will-not-recover-ably behind on NanoWriMo; I'm mad that I didn't get my 30 in this year but in nearly-retrospect, I suppose it was sort of inevitable, especially once one of "my" datacenters decided to start flummoxing about.  I was already moving apartments, traveling twice, and leading a team to speak at a conference this month, after all; and that's a lot even before you start pulling night-shifts and weekends on a regular basis.  (I refuse to actually complain about the nights and weekends…I have a ridiculously awesome team of geniuses working alongside me now, and mostly I just send emails and keep the hounds off so they can fix things.  This time last year it was me and one other tech, and those were some brutal night-shifts!)

But for all that I've only got, let's see, eight-and-a-half stories to show for this month, some of them are, once again, not half bad.  I'm posting this one (the eighth, of course) because it isn't very good as a story, but I still enjoyed writing it and reading it and figured somebody else might too.  It's like what I imagine would happen if I took up writing Hallmark cards!  ;)

There’s a spot on this road where the path diverges eight ways.
If you see it, and you know that eight is the number of possible paths, you may be able to choose the correct one.  But if you do not realize that you’ve reached the eightfold split, then there is very little hope you’ll go the right way.  But maybe I can help.  Here is how you’ll know you’ve reached the eightfold path:
One optional path will always lead left, but there will not always be a right option.
One will certainly be rocky and slant upwards.  Consider this one carefully.
One path will appear to lead straight ahead, but if you look closely you’ll notice that it isn’t really a continuation of the path you were on after all.  This is a deceptive path that will seem appealing because it looks like no choice at all, but in fact it is a significant divergence.
One may slope downwards, and if it does, you will often see a pleasant resting-place with water in this direction.  Beware this path; it never leads where it looks to.
Two, sometimes three paths will lead backwards.  Take one of these if you must, but keep in mind that none of them actually head back to where you came from.
The crossroads is often occupied by an older person who wants you to stop and talk.  They may have wisdom, or only doubt; but before you decide to talk to them or not, consider that doing so is a path in itself:  None of your other options will remain exactly as they were when you’ve finished.
And lastly, if you find yourself faced with seven paths similar to the ones above, confirm that you are in fact at an eightfold crossroad by looking up.  The final path, or the key to which path to take, is often hiding right in the open, just over your head.

November 20, 2011   5 Comments

Overly Honest

This, I think, falls under "Blogging nobody wants to read" — Sometimes I wake up and I'm not sure what to think, what to do, and then I sit down and write for a while and EUREKA, I HAVE IT!.  That's what happened today, and though I'm sure no-one probably cares about the process, I can't just throw that writing away…that would be like painstakingly determining your exact favorite color and then forgetting the whole process so you could go back to wearing read.  (BLACK, my favorite color has been black since I first could recognize the shades of it, and my favorite shade of it is the one I can stare at a moment and lose all sense of surface; it's a color that conveys depth, that makes it seem as though everything you paint it with can dissolve into infinity at a moment's notice.  What's yours?)

Anyway, overt honesty below the cut.  Perhaps if you need some of your own, mine will rub off?  Or perhaps you'll waste ten minutes reading about someone else's insecurities and life-pathness.  Time will tell!  ;)

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October 1, 2011   3 Comments