Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Listening to My Inner MAD

No, I'm not angry, and no more crazy than usual, thank you very much. But a few minutes ago, as I discarded, just for tonight, the ambitious post topic I've been turning over in my head this evening, I remembered a bit of advice on study tactics from MAD Magazine, circa 1965. My brain doesn't have the exact quote handy any more, except for the last six words. But the gist of it was this. The night before a test, you have two options. You can stay up all night and cram, and then be too sleepy to remember anything when the time comes to take the test. Or you can get a good night's sleep, and be wide awake the next day, ready to concentrate and remember all those facts you would have known had you "stayed up all night and crammed."

I'm not in school now, but the point seems relevant tonight anyway. As much as I absolutely have to get done this week - and trust me, the stress level at work is rapidly approaching "11" - I wasn't up for anything tonight except to buy and cook dinner, watch House, check my email and watch the Doctor Who story "The Christmas Invasion" for about the tenth time, along with some DVD extras. I didn't go back to the office; I didn't select photos for church; I didn't wash dishes. I didn't even edit John Scalzi's entry on Wikipedia, as I've been contemplating, except to remove someone's addition of an upcoming novel that doesn't exist. Personally, I hope he runs with the idea and writes it, but right now it's just a mock book cover someone made out of a truly outstanding photo Scalzi posted on Whatever. But I gather someone fooled someone else into thinking it was real, and that someone else announced the spurious book on Wikipedia.

But I digress. And that's rather the point. I got almost six hours of sleep last night, but coming off two nights in a row of three hours each, with a four hour nap in between, that's clearly not enough. I'm distracted and unmotivated, just when I need to be concentrating and powering my way through all this stuff I really need to get done. Part of that is my natural tendency to get "avoidy," to use a Buffyism, when faced with high pressure obligations. But mostly I think it's the sleep thing. Which is why I'm going to bed now. If I don't lie awake in bed, which has happened a lot lately, I've got a shot at very nearly eight hours of sleep.

Then I'll be awake tomorrow to face all the work I didn't get done tonight. Maybe this time I'll be able to concentrate, and get a lot more of it done than if I'd "stayed up all night and crammed."

Meanwhile, winter has returned to the Old Pueblo, just as I was starting to consider the possibility that for the first time ever (in my reckoning, anyway), that Pennsylvania groundhog was onto something. No it didn't snow, but it got chilly, and it rained, and my windshield is all covered with dusty dried raindrops. It's not dramatic like what's been happening in Ohio and Oswego, but it caught me off guard a little. If it gets really cold again by Tucson standards, I'll let you know.


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