2011-0728 Thursday

SUMMARY: Melatonin first night. Brain static. More efficient counting. Gun Safety poster completed. Starting creative project.

I went to sleep around 1100PM last night. I had gotten some “natural melatonin” from the health foods aisle, and took a pill of the stuff (“not approved by the FDA”) as directed 20 minutes before going to sleep. I slept until 530AM, which is a huge improvement. Another factor, though, was having freshly-laundered sheets, so I had felt extra comfy. Plus, I was tired from 3 days of accumulated non-sleep.

I have been cataloging the various mental states I’ve been experiencing lately, and this morning there was a new one for the list: a kind of silent wakefulness. It felt non-staticky and quiet. I wasn’t even aware that there had been static in my mind before, but without it I was more in the world and simultaneously more at peace with myself. A contributing factor may be knowing exactly what I need to do today, feeling for once like I had a system that was really starting to work.

I had another waking insight, left-over from last night’s reading of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. This was with regards to the advantage that Asian kids have in having a more efficient counting system. Gladwell pointed out that the Chinese system uses very short syllables for numbers, compared to 3x the length for English. As a result, it’s actually easier to maintain longer chains of digits in memory; it isn’t a number-of-chunks problem that constrains the short term memory, but the length of time it takes to mentally recite. Additionally, the counting system is much more logical in Chinese. As an experiment, I recalled my Chinese counting, and then tried to remember an arbitrary number of digits. In English I can never remember more than 3-4 discrete digits reliably. In Chinese, to my surprise, I could remember far more. It’s been 2 hours, and the digits are yi-san-chi-lyou-lyou-lyou-ba (1376668). I never would have remembered that in English. It occurred to me that perhaps my language sensitivity slows down my numeric processing, because a word like “six” carries connotations with it. It reminds me of books, sentences, phrases…it’s much more than just a number. Perhaps Chinese can be my technical counting language. Food for thought.

On another note, I think I ate a little too much for breakfast this morning. One less egg, I think, and one less sausage link. Or just one piece of toast. I am feeling a little too full still.

It’s now 715AM, and I’ve been at Starbucks for about 15 minutes. This morning’s work session is to work on a desktop wallpaper design based on the quote, “Any time I see someone succeed I am happy, for it affirms my belief that I live in a world where success is possible.” —Bonnie Gillespie, writer and casting director.

0715 to 0845: Switching to DesignJournal
0845 to 1045: switching to Gun Safety Poster Project. Making 11×8.5. Relayout for full-bleed.
1145 to 1300: set up standing desk at studio.
1300 to 1430: consult on DNS setup with client.
1430 to 1515: lunch, surf, facebook.
1515 to 1715: back at studio, working on gun poster.
1715 to 1815: dinner, check email and facebook
1815 to 1830: work on desktop wallpaper for client
1830 to 2100: accidentally fell asleep.
2100 to 2400: finalized gun poster, fulfilling July’s “money making activity” goal.

It has been a pretty productive day, though the nap was unplanned. We’ll see how this affects tomorrow’s schedule, which will be largely working on the client desktop wallpaper.