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Archive for February, 2012

Good Guys Win

Wait, that doesn’t seem right…

Good guys win only in movies.

That’s more like it. Whether you think this is true or not, or whether you believe in karma or an afterlife reward, is irrelevant here. I like to believe that there is an incentive to be nice around other people, to do stuff the way they should be done, and to act in a logical manner while keeping the future in mind. But I unfortunately talk by experience.

This is not what happens in real life (at least, most of the time). Women are interested in the cool guys who look like they can give some excitement from the day-to-day routine.

Picture this: a random guy enters a bar. He wears a leather jacket and is holding a shiny black helmet under his arm. His stubble gives him a rough and wild appearance. First impression, he likes to race with his sports motorcycle, and lives on the edge of danger. He’s exciting.

Now picture me, on the other side of the bar, sitting down and sipping a beer. I’m clean-shaven, wearing a white shirt, and my tie is loosened around my neck. Whether I’m attractive or not is irrelevant – I’m labeled as someone who works at a desk job. I’m boring. Strangers won’t come talk to me.

I may be smarter and make more money, statistically speaking, than the cool guy, but that is irrelevant too. Women will go out with the guy who can bring excitement. Almost invariably.

Now sooner or later, this woman may come to her senses, realize that the guy is really a jerk, a dumbass, or a douchebag, and leave him. If this is a movie, she will see me as a smarter move, and I get the girl. If this is a movie. In real life, of course, I will be somewhere else, maybe years later, and she will do the same mistakes again. Over and over. Because cool guys are cool. They win.

Another unrelated example. I save my money for when I will retire. Even though I have a modest salary, I try putting a lot of money aside. I don’t eat out often, I very rarely buy the latest gadgets, and my car is boring and inexpensive (relatively speaking). Let’s forget for a moment that women will prefer the guy with an Audi compared to me and my trustworthy Corolla. The cool guys have debts, but they have material possessions. I am debt-free, and I’m planning for a great retirement. There are rumors that the governments are planning to seriously increase the inflation in the coming years in order to help people (and themselves) to pay their debts. That means that cool guys will have an easier time paying their debts. That also means that the money I struggle to set aside for my retirement will be worth a lot less. Good guy loses, cool guy wins.

So what does it mean to be cool (aside from not being boring)? Cool guys don’t take care of their health as much – they go to fast food restaurants with other cool people. Vegans who take care of their health are boring. Cool people don’t think about the future – they live in the now. They take trips to interesting countries and buy expensive stuff in their oversized home. A cool couple will have two cars – having money, and parading to the neighborhood, is cool. Cool people drink alcohol and coffee. Up until recently, smoking was considered to be cool (it is still considered cool by kids, though), but public pressure got the best of the government, for once. Why do you think there are so many actors, singers, and rich people who use drugs? Yes, living right in danger’s face is cool. People look at you and think “wow, I want to look like him!”. Cool people don’t brush their teeth and floss three times a day, because thinking proactively is not cool. Live in the now! Break the rules! Getting a speeding ticket means living, and you’ll get girls! Being cool also requires a certain lack of dedication and will in some areas. For example, it’s considered cool to deliberately make mistakes when you write a text message to someone, but someone else who applies himself to write correctly will be seen as putting too much effort for nothing. Someone taking care of his health will not be cool, and won’t be called to a party.

Today, I lost something else. By sleeping polyphasically, I had something different – I was different. There are so many things that can go wrong with this experiment, that for once in my life, I was a cool guy. I tried for a week in early February, and stopped because I got scared. Then I went back to polyphasism for a complete week, and found out that my body was too weakened. I caught the flu during my one-week “normal schedule”, and caught a cold after exactly one week on the polyphasic sleep schedule. This is not normal for me, and is the first actual consequence that I notice. True, I live in Quebec, it’s February, everyone is sick right now, and my flu and cold may or may not be related to the sleeping schedule. There’s too much at stake now – it’s not only a matter of what studies you decide to believe, but an actual notice of how my body is responding. Maybe.

By doing this, I got a lot of experience and insight about myself, and the human body in general. But such experience is not considered cool – skateboarding experience, on the other hand…

The plan right now is to stop polyphasism. The consequence is that I go back to being a boring guy. Other consequences are that my interests and pass-times will have to compete for my very-limited free time. Having a course in the evening means that I won’t do anything that day. Another possibility would be to cancel my gym membership and do some basic exercises at home, which would free up 0.5-1 hour every work day. I wouldn’t like to do that, but getting up at 04:45 means I have to go to sleep at around 09:30. I don’t have time to do anything.

Whatever I do, I have the feeling that I am doomed. FML.

 

What does it mean to be cool? Not thinking about the future, and living now.

I don’t want to do that.

Categories: Dating, Sleeping, Thinking

Polyphasic Sleep – Week 1

I wasn’t especially loud about it, but I went back to polyphasic sleeping a week ago – February 20th, 2012 to be exact. Overall, my experience has been similar to my first try in early February.

I am still wondering why my body is reacting the way it is right now. It happens now and then that I have a “bad nap”, but I’m still okay, correctly functioning, until the next planned nap.

 

I am better prepared this time. My schedule is defined more precisely, and I put the alarm out of reach from where I sleep, so that I don’t just turn it off and go back to sleep. If I have a bad nap, I try to make up for it during the night.

I had a one-hour zombie trance on the second night, trying to play a song on the piano. Aside from that, nothing to report.

Just before going back to polyphasism, I could remember my dreams when I got up. Right now, I don’t remember most of them when I wake up from a nap. I hope this will change soon.

Sleep Schedule

Sleep Schedule

This is the sleep schedule I will try to follow. There are the same amount of work, relatively the same amount of eating and cooking, and both have a time reserved for gym or a run. What polyphasism allows me is an hour of stretching or similar exercise (like meditation or Tai Chi) every day. My free time increases from 3 hours to 6 hours. Time spent sleeping decreases from 7 hours to 2 hours. I found out that it could be more logical to force the gym period in the morning, and take a nap when I arrive at work. My schedule is flexible, so I am now working from 08:30 to 17:30.

My free time is still spent between some basic pass-times. If I want to read more than half an hour, I must do so before my 22:00 nap. I play the piano, work on my blog, learn programming in Python and Ruby, and browse the web. I can occasionally watch a movie or some tv series episodes, and I no longer consider that as lost time (until I go back to monophasism). I have some courses I’d like to take in the evening that would increase my personal growth – one that I’m really interested in, albeit very expensive, is a woodworking course. The thought crossed my mind that I could even get a bachelor degree in physics, finance, or law. The only real thing that is preventing me from doing that is that the chances that I’ll still be polyphasic in 3-6 years are quite nonexistant. That’s too bad, really – that would have been interesting.

So basically, everything’s as fine as it can get. For a second time, I didn’t have an adaptation phase. However, I did go back to polyphasism while having the flu. Probably a bad idea, but I’m convinced that my specific lack of sleeping is preventing my body from healing itself as quickly as before. Or is it age?

Categories: Uncategorized

Simplicity in the Kitchen – Guacamole

2012/02/24 2 comments

Here’s something that so easy to make it’s not even funny – Guacamole.

Here’s my recipe:

  •  2 or 3 ripe Avocados
  • 1/2 Tomato (or 1 small) (optional)
  • Cut the avocados in small cubes and mash them with a fork until desired consistency.
  • If using a tomato, remove the liquid and seeds insides, cut the rest into small cubes and stir them in the mashed avocados.

I usually add some random spices like parsley or chili. Some people like to add lemon or lime juice, but I think the mix is pretty good, just like that.

 Of course, the goal here is to make something as simple as possible. It takes but a couple of minute to make, and it’s a delicious and healthy alternative to the more complex guacamole you can find at the grocery store.

 In my honest opinion, an avocado is ripe when you can press the peel with a small amount of force. I sometimes see in the store an avocado section where they are, well, grossly overripe. You can push your finger in without using any force! I like my avocados between firm and soft, and of a beautiful light green inside, not brownish green.

Categories: Cooking

Learning Python and Ruby

I want to learn Python. Actually, if I recall correctly, I had a quick course on Python at the university, but that was millions of years ago.

So, I want to learn Python. And Django. I plan to make my web site(s) from that. Thing is, I had to choose between Python/Django and Ruby/Ruby on Rails. In the end, Python won over Ruby because 1) it seems more popular, and 2) I like Monty Python. Moot point.

I was flipping through the Python tutorial pages when I had a crazy idea (I must have been too concentrated in my learning).

What if I learned both languages at the same time? You get double the work load, double the brain activity, double the learning curve, and in four years, instead of being a master in one of them, I’ll still be struggling and mixing both. Crazy idea indeed. I like it.

In comparison charts, Python and Ruby are often compared together with PHP. Unless they are comparing the web scripting capabilities, I’m at a loss here. From the little I’ve seen so far, it would be easier to compare Python, Ruby, and EcmaScript. I already know Javascript (which is based on EcmaScript), so I could code and compare functions, and give my comments from there. When I’ll move on to making web pages, I’ll check PHP.

In the following days, weeks, or months, I will compare JavaScript, Python, and Ruby. I will not write tutorials on how to learn these languages, as I assume an easy knowledge of programming (C# or JavaScript will do nicely). That means I will not go into details about operators and other basic stuff that should be fairly easy to learn at a glance.

Categories: Programming Tags: , ,

Polyphasic Sleep – Back in Action

2012/02/21 1 comment

My state of reason did not stay for long. Not even two weeks…

It is true that after sleeping polyphasically for a complete week, going back to a normal sleep schedule seemed boring. Since then, there has been many times when I wished to do something new, only to realize that it would need to compete with all my other projects for the little free time I have.

I can usually remember my dreams, now. And I fall asleep faster. Is this because my internal sleep algorithm is changed, caused by only a week of polyphasism? Did my January trip to the U.K. shuffle the way my body handles my circadian rhythms? Do my going vegan in late January have anything to do with it? How can I know? I can’t afford another trip for the next 80 years, and I won’t go back anytime soon to a carnivore diet. What I can do is give polyphasism another try.

Who am I kidding… I’m doing it for the free time it gives me. It really was intoxicating – it seems the more time you can grab, the more you need.

Actually being polyphasic was indescribable. There were many times when my nap was coming, and I was feeling excited to know that right after it, in just 30 minutes, I would come back and eat a small breakfast. It was intellectually stimulating to try to place my meals to strategic positions across a 24-hour cycle. It became a game for me to try finding the most optimal nap hours, considering stores, courses, and gym hours. But what I love most about this is the feeling of being peaceful. I’m currently sitting in front of the computer, quietly, while most everyone else are sleeping. Wait, scratch that… What I love most is that after work, it seems like you have a free day ahead of you, and that a simple week-end seems like a week of vacation.

I know my body, and I remember what happened two weeks ago, and how it felt like. And I am not stupid. I will stop again if I find that it is too much of a struggle to get up. I will stop if I notice any negative change, mentally or physically. Also, I will try eating less than on my first try – I was always hungry!

There are no studies about people having all the REM sleep they need, but lacking 100% of the other sleep cycles. All I see are studies about general sleep deprivation.

In an evolutionary aspect, why would the human body have light and deep sleep, if it doesn’t need them? I honestly don’t know – maybe as animals, we tended to sleep during the dark hours – a lot more than needed. Maybe the humans and their REM cycles are optimal when spaced a bit apart, so non-REM sleep cycles could be some sort of fillers? Another of my hypothesis could be that non-REM sleep are helping the body fight its toxins. Think of all the food you can eat that would disrupt your REM cycles – caffeine and alcohol, to name only two. If you don’t take any, your REM cycles are nice and comforting! More logically, since almost forever, we eat heavy food. If the body needs extra time out of REM sleep to digest all the meat, that could also explain non-REM sleep…

It’s anybody’s guess, but if we speak about evolution, we might as well speak about the scientific curiosity of doing something that is not well studied.

On another note, sleep deprivation, only by sleeping 5 hours instead of 7, has been linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown that these people lacking sleep tend to make poorer food choices. Without knowing the last phrase, it was already looking like diseases of affulence to me – diseases that are only common in the west (mostly North America and Europe) because people don’t care about their health. So what really causes these diseases in people sleeping only 5 hours? The sleep deprivation, or the fast-food?

My 01:00 nap nears. I’ll do my best, stick as much as possible to a strict nap schedule, and see where it goes from here. If you see me acting erratically, pray tell me.

Categories: Sleeping