October 26, 2005

Secrets of the Good All-Nighter

So, my classes are in the process of eating my life. Mostly, I'm pretty keen on this, haven't been in such a good mood in ages. But it goes like this: several days of fiendish studying, academic mucking about, gathering of materials & etc., followed by at least a couple days which pass by in a blur of laundry, recovered sleep and frenetic decompression.

Which is to say that I'm not really the best source for much information at the moment that doesn't pertain to, say, the history of modern agriculture in North America or the relative advantage of farming rabbits instead of chickens. On the other hand, I've discovered that a 2-3 hour nap the evening before and regular, light snacking combined with the promise of a hearty breakfast really help get you through that long stretch of chilly rationalization that breaks out around 3:30am when you try to talk your more 'sensible' half into believing that you'll only shut your eyes for a couple hours, promise, and really won't turn off the alarm when it rings. When the rationalization gets very bad, get up and do the dishes that have accumulated and you know they have. The activity stimulates blood flow and the mindlessness provides a safe break from studying.

Also I think my reading speed has been improving, mostly through panic, which is a marvelous motivating force.

An enormous amount of writing has also occurred. Just not here. At any rate, with the bits I've been chipping in at the Seattle Times Backyard Blog and the papers for class, it sure feels like an enormous amount, though I suspect my total word count is down. Given the raw inputs of coffee, a high protein diet and a 150-200 page book, I can now generate a theme paper overnight, as if by magic. Though this would be what our guest lecturer today referred to as low value production, turning high quality inputs into something which cannot in fact be eaten at all, while rapidly turning over the vast share of initial materials to waste heat.

I'm about as far from the sort of sustainable sun-based agriculture system, as you might find at a honey or free-range cattle farm, as it's possible to get. On the other hand, taking a longer view, I have to hope that overall I end up being a net ecological boon by the time the final accounting is performed.

However, as long as I'm writing something, I may as well share. Can't let good coffee go to waste. I'll work on keeping you up with my reading for the class by way of some of my papers and you can create extra entertainment by grading them a second time, if you're into that sort of thing. If not, you can skip along to read the fine offerings of my co-bloggers, who still get around to reading the news regularly. All I can add on that score would be to join you all in hoping for a Very Merry Fitzmas. Indeed.

Posted by natasha at October 26, 2005 12:24 AM | Education | Technorati links |

Thanks for the update. I think I speak for many of your readers when I say that we miss you, but understand completely.

I've taken NoDoz exactly once in my life. Freshman year. Exam at 7 a.m. Set alarm for 6 a.m. after studying until 4 a.m. Alarm goes off. I chase a NoDoz with a glass of water and reset alarm for 6:30 a.m. Woke up at 9 a.m. :-(

Ever since then, I've just pulled all-nighters with a little help from coffee. (At my age, I still occasionally have to pull an all-nighter).

Best wishes in working out the strategy that works for you. And hang tough!

Posted by: Darryl at October 26, 2005 01:24 AM

Don't look now, but that sustainable sun-based agriculture involves a fair amount of jumping out of bed to chase off the moon-based predators...

Posted by: serial catowner at October 29, 2005 06:31 AM