Posts tagged ‘sleep deprivation’

I am Mildred’s incorruptibility

I’ve recently had several fantastic experiences that, until I noticed them happening, I would never have imagined. They were absolutely thrilling:

It all started when I was watching some late night TV, alone and in the dark. Reruns of The Untouchables were on, and I was sipping my chamomile tea as Eliot Ness tried to track down the moonshiner passing off wood alcohol as real hooch. As he walked through the alleys, the steam floating up from the Chicago sewers and the steam from my tea mingled, the darkness of the alley and the darkness of my apartment blended together, and suddenly I was experiencing a TV show in a way I had never done before: I was right there, with the steam blowing in my face and the darkness encroaching in on my periphery, just like Ness!

A few weeks later, I’m reading a book. I don’t have a fireplace, so I’m curled up next to the oven instead (it’s surprisingly cozy when you open the door and prop your feet up on it). As it turns out, I’m rereading my favourite parts of Fahrenheit 451. I hold the book close and cherish every word as the amber glow of the methane flame licks my feet, and I say aloud, “play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out” (the line is spoken by a woman holding illegal books to her chest shortly before she is lit on fire, and alludes to an actual event in which a similar thing happened). Again, I suddenly realize that I am experiencing the book in an interactive way that I had never conceived before.

This evening, Rob, Dave, and I went to a midnight showing of Fight Club. I was a bit sleep deprived because I was up until 2:30 last night playing Munchkin at the office, and had to wake up pretty early this morning. So now, it’s 12:30 AM, I’m very tired, and am taking in a movie that discusses insomnia and passive consumerism. Again, I felt like I was participating in the movie, in a way I had never experienced before.

If you can notice when it happens, this sort of thing metamorphoses the media and synthesizes an interactive experience. The feeling I got from realizing this and relishing the moment was fantastic. I need to look for this more often!

Fuckin’ a…

…man. It’s usually poor form to start off a Monday with an all-nighter. Last night at 3AM, when I was trying to hunker down and do some grad school apps, Dana IM’ed me and said that Tiffany was sick and wouldn’t be able to make the corrections to our mid-year clinic report. Since it was due on Wednesday, and we got an extension until Friday, and we were actually planning on turning it in on Monday afternoon, we decided that we really needed those changes made. So Dana, Cris, and I spent last night from 3:30 until 8:30 AM in the LAC doing clinic. I am not as happy a camper as he expected to be this morning.

My computer is nondeterministic?

So, recently, I have been frustrated that Xorg keeps randomly crashing. And I mean, randomly. It has only crashed twice while I’ve been using my computer, but about 5 times while I’ve been out of the room or asleep, with nothing but the screensaver running. I had attributed it to an unstable build of Xorg (I’ve been running version 6.8.2-r0), and waited until a new version was out (6.8.2-r6). However, I couldn’t get it to compile. I looked through the Gentoo forums for help, but no one else seemed to have the same problem as me. Today, I finally decided to start my own thread on the forums about this, when I noticed that the ebuild had failed in a different place than it had failed previously. That was really weird! On a whim, I tried building it again, …and it worked. As I write this, everything on my computer has been updated except OpenOffice, which is in the middle of updating itself. No problems with any ebuilds, least of all Xorg. wtf? I suspect it is a problem with faulty memory, and Mac just backed up my suspicions. We shall see… It’skind of neat being able to spot a hardware problem; I don’t think I’ve ever successfully done that before (though it would be great if I haven’t successfully done that here, either. I’ll find out more later).

BTW, I’ve (sorta) been off polyphasic sleep since Wednesday. I did it for a week, and I believe it can be successfully done for much longer. However, I was only getting a couple extra hours per day to do stuff, so the benefits weren’t as great as I had hoped. On top of that, it’s harder than I expected to schedule naps every 4 hours (they seemed to come in the middle of parties and movies and things), so it was a social inconvenience. Add that to the social inconvenience of swearing off caffeine and alcohol while on the cycle, and the drawbacks outweighed the benefits of it. However, I still seem to get sleepy during the day at certain points, and I took a 20-minute nap in the middle of the Putnam exam (this actually helped – I was getting tired and frustrated, and couldn’t get any of the problems, so I went to sleep. 20 minutes later, I woke up alert and energized, and solved another problem), so I’m not completely back to monophasic sleep yet.

Protected: I did it! I took the plunge!

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So, today was the Systems test. Due to high levels of both serotonin and caffiene in my body, I went into the test with a weird I WILL TAKE THIS TEST LIKE IT’S NEVER BEEN TAKEN BEFORE sort of feeling. And perhaps it was just the sleep dep (last night I went to bed around 5:30, so my guess of 6:00 wasn’t too far off), but I think I did pretty well on the test. Systems is my favorite class, so I enjoy studying the material, even if I’m up to horrible hours of the morning doing so. But tonight I get to sleep! Oh frabjous day!

Let’s see… news… people recently discovered a new species of hominids in Indonesia. The weird thing is, this species only grew to be about 3 feet high, so the excavators have dubbed them hobbits. Nifty! (Original publication here)

Not a happy camper…

Sunday night, I went to bed at 3:00AM. Monday night, I went to bed at 4:30. We’ll see when I go to bed tonight, but I think that 6:00-7:00 is a realistic time, unfortunately. I’ve just gotten back from spending 9 straight hours in the CS department (10.5 if you count the Pomona CS department too), and because it was sunny when I went in, I was in a T-shirt and shorts. It’s now raining quite hard out. I am cold, wet, tired, stressed, frustrated (the mock ACM didn’t go as well as I had hoped), and have to study for a test. Systems is fascinating, but I don’t feel that I have a good handle on the material, and I’m still 50 pages behind in the reading (this is one of the few technical classes where you actually, really, seriously have to do the reading). So… yeah. I expect that starting Thursday night life will be good, but in the meantime, I might be a bit on edge.