Archive for the ‘polyphasic’ Category

Aaaaaaand it’s winter

October 15, 2009

Remember fall? Me neither. Fall seemed to come and go faster than I was able to come up with a cute way to say how quickly fall came and went. Yea, it’s like zero here (well, 44, but what’s the difference?).

This has made it so much harder to get back onto a polyphasic schedule. I barely remember resetting my alarm this morning at 5. This is what I remember: it was Fargo-cold in my room–the only thing missing was Steve Buscemi and a wood chipper–and my survival instincts kicked in. And I don’t know about you, but my survival instincts are very passive-aggressive. “Oh, sure,” my survival instincts like to say, “it’s warm and safe here in bed, but you go ahead and leave. I wouldn’t get up right now, because it’s nutsackshrinkingly cold out there, but you’ve made it this far calling the shots. I’m just your survival instincts, don’t mind me. I’m not here.” And so on.

So I gave in. Passive-aggression gets me every time.

In other news, I’ve been working on my first Arduino project. I’m building a binary clock with a solderless breadboard (so dumb…always solder) 10 LEDs and a piece of cardboard box. The hours will display on top and the minutes on the bottom. If an ‘x’ represents an LED in the on position and ‘o’ represents off, 10:05 would be xoxo oooxox, 1:30 would be ooox oxxxxo, noon would be xxoo oooooo. And so on. Quick binary lesson: 00000001 is one, 00000010 is two, 00000100 is four, 00001000 is eight, 00010000 is sixteen, 00100000 is 32, 01000000 is sixty-four and 10000000 is one hundred twenty eight. Then you can add them: 00000011 is three, 00000110 is six, 11111111 is 255 and so on.

And now a link to someone who has already crushed me in the LED-clock-making trade.

Well, I’m sitting here missing Julie, thinking about going back to being a vegetarian and whether or not I should take up binge eating to deal with the cold.  All possible zacklab experiments.  Well, this feels like the end.  More experimenting to come, dear readers, but for now, I’m off to brave the tundra for a brisk jaunt home.


Polyphasic: I’m Back…

October 13, 2009

…and I got a chance to play with lovelycharts. If you like making charts you will ❤ this.

Well, shit — Polyphasic Day 5

July 6, 2009

It’s 3:35am Monday morning and I can barely keep my eyes open. And it took almost 30 second to write the first sentence. Reading Steve Pavlina’s sleep blog, I noticed that the worst day for him was day 5, but he was on the Uberman schedule, which takes less time to adjust to than the 3-nap Everyman.

I feel miserable. On a tiredness scale of 1-10, I’m an 8.5 or 9. Everything was going pretty well until yesterday morning. On Saturday, I woke up at 3 with no problems whatsoever, made scones, cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom, did laundry, went to a farmers’ market on my bike and then grabbed coffee and breakfast around the corner all before 9am. Yesterday, I woke up at 3 and felt groggy until my 5:30 nap. At 5:30, I closed my eyes and didn’t wake up until 9:30! The extra sleep destroyed me. And it likely set me back.
This morning I was ready to throw in the towel. Seriously, I’m not sure what stopped me from climbing back into bed. I don’t know where this polyphasic sleep case study is going. It may very well be a day or two away from being history. For now, however, the kitchen is filthy and could use some attention.

We’ll sleep in shifts… (so it begins)

July 1, 2009

In 30 days of night, Sheriff of Barrow, Alaska, Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnet) leads a party of survivors into the attic of an old house. Outside, the awful sounds of opportunistic vampires set loose on Barrow’s prolonged darkness have the survivors resigned to their fate. “We’ll sleep in shifts,” Oleson says, “We’ll ration our food, and then we’ll figure out the next step.”

It’s such a cliche in survival fiction–we’ll sleep in shifts. In quotes, “we’ll sleep in shifts” yields 32,400 google results. “Don’t you die on me!” only yields 14,000!!

In 1990, the fifteenth episode of Married with Children’s fourth season (A Taxing Problem) aired on Fox. Al was facing an IRS audit and wanted to sell Peggy’s hair for $5,000. Afraid that her husband will cut her hair while she’s sleeping, Peggy enlists the girls to form a perimeter, “sleeping in shifts” to protect those red locks.

And it shows up it popular media and, uh, well, unpopular alike. In apckrfan’s Firefly fanfiction episode entitled, “Positive Affirmation,” and sandwiched between such literary gems as “Her body was still virginal. Contrary to her mind, it was untainted. The one thing she thought they’d been unable to take from her. A lone tear fell, cascading a path over her cheek, down her face, and dropping to the examining table she sat on. They’d even taken that from her it seemed.” and “His lips quivered into the hint of a smile like they so often did.” is a suggestion by the team’s leader to “sleep in shifts” so that the pregnant woman can have the bed for a couple hours. A considerate bunch.

But I digress. I’ve decided to pick up where the clicheists and sleep scientists left off. Starting in three hours and forty-five minutes, I’ll be experimenting with polyphasic sleep. If you don’t know what polyphasic sleep is, check out Dustin Curtis’s blog. Dustin’s blog is glossy (if electrons can be glossy) and professionally packaged. And his article on sleep is very interesting. He explores various strategies for sleeping from Monophasic (what most of us do anyway) to the Uberman sleep cycle, which, if you ever followed Seinfeld, is the DaVinci sleep that Kramer became infatuated with in episode 128, The Friar’s Club.

I won’t be experimenting with the Uberman. Like most people, I do not have a schedule that would permit me six naps every day (though 22 hours of waking time sounds pretty good). I will be following the “Everyman” sleep cycle: 3 hours of core sleep each night and three 20 minute naps throughout the day. And my goal is that this space be a place to catch my random thoughts and musings both about polyphasic sleep and not (did you see that the Democrats just got 60 members in the caucus? They’d better not blow it).

Can I succeed? Will 4 hours of sleep a day be adequate? Well, unfortunately for Sherrif Oleson, Peggy Bundy and Cosmo Kramer, one of them was forced to inject himself with vamp-blood only to die a horrible cinder-faced death once the sun finally came up, another ended up thrown into a river by mobsters and, well, Peggy just fell asleep–and Al couldn’t bring himself to cut her hair. What a sweetie.

Lo ho ho, but there is still hope for me. Because in apckrfan’s fanfiction I’m pretty sure the sleeping in shifts thing worked. I didn’t read it.

With a mountain of scientific and anectodal evidence suggesting that polyphasic sleeping is a panacea (or may kill you) I now march forward. There is baseball on TV, the Daily Show awaits and I have to get my homemade pasta making tools out so I have something to do at three in the morning when I so desperately want to go back to sleep. Until then, good luck to me and I’ll see you in a few hours.