Valentine’s Haiku

See people walking
Arm in arm and down the street;
Really miss my sleep.


I’m so sleepy. I’m also going home this weekend as reading week finally begins.  All I am holding onto today as I finally end this bludgeoning week is that I’m going home, burying my face in our pup’s fur and zonking out.

Exploring

Everything around looks
So normal
Ordinary
Nothing out of the blue;
Nothing here does,
Except perhaps you

It’s hard to notice
When everything around
You seek
But it’s a little hard,
Out of shape
On two hours of sleep.

I’m genuinely on two hours of sleep. I was at a hackathon all weekend, and when school, travel and travel costs all add up, you have to give it your all!
And so I think I may have slept a little between 4:30 and 5:30. Maybe.

Totally worth it!

The best part about hackathons is the total exploration. You often end up staying overnight in a single building designated as a coding area. Even if it’s a building you’re quite familiar with, there’s nothing a whole night there can’t teach you that you already knew from spending two hours a week in lecture there. You find new cozy hacking/study spots and if you’re home, you have a alternative to the old stuffy library for the rest of your education!

For me, this time it was about exploring (infiltrating?) a new (rival?) school’s comp sci base: I was up in Montreal! (The commute did not agree with me however!)

B46425A7-F65E-48B5-9BE6-E4A556DA40BF
I’d like to walk here more often. Would you? The seamless coexistence of old and modern architecture make for a very interesting picture—and is quite similar to Toronto’s case.

I snuck out on my short break and walked around some really stunning architecture. I wish I’d had more time to explore the city, but my lack of time was a whole other story!
It’s a story that probably deserves its own post: the travel post with some bonus theatrical thrills, because believe you me a sleep-deprived kid mostly confined to the insides of a computer science department building, can still get into fixes.

Hackathons are also a great way to make new friends! Even if it is at your own school or university, spending twenty four hours debugging and crying over your own bad coding habits with someone else is sure to earn you a new friend, one who always knows the pain of getting 178 nested errors only to follow them to the first instance of where thing started going wrong and for your error message to make absolutely no sense to anyone. They’ve seen you there before, in the wee hours of the morning.

Another super cool part of the exploration that goes on at hackathons is obviously, an exploration into the world of computer science, and all its wonderful skills! Most people end up learning something new at a hackathon, maybe because what you’d like to make uses a platform you’ve never used before, or if you’re playing around with totally new, shiny, cool hardware and writing code to talk to it: I will never tire of being amazed at how we bounce electricity around to get a cool chip-spider or whatever’s new in the hardware lab, to talk to your computer and do whatever you command it to do (as long as there are no bugs, of course!)

I gave InVision the ditch and tried out some prototyping on Figma this time, and my word, Figma is advanced. It looks to simple to begin with, but you can use it to come within inches of having the appearance of decently sophisticated code usable by neat UI.

I do want to make another one of those process boards series I made for another prototyping project that was quite close to my heart… and I will, on the other blog that’s supposed to have my art/design stuff in one place! In the meanwhile, you’re welcome to play around with the app from this morning that I wish I’d coded and not just prototyped… Figma genuinely can make stuff look real good!

Screenshot 2020-02-02 at 10.30.29 PM
Knock yourselves out. Don’t doubt that my exhausted ass will be anticipating you every tap with manic glee that only comes with excessive hours of prototyping in a day that manifest in the form of unnatural attachment to a sequence of light bulbs going off on an LCD monitor.

Weekend Expectations

It begins,
The anticipation
With every drag down
Comes the reactionary lift up
The almighty rescuer
Never far from mind
Dreams of the weekend
Breaking the falls
The rising mercury
In the internal units
One-man coolant

And then it begins,
Never explicitly announced
Merging in with the work,
The falls;
Losing awareness at long last
Or so it may seem,
Metered is out, analog is in,
Everything based on just the feel within
Blissful waves
What else?
And then you wake
To 11 PM.

Living for the weekend maybe be someone’s catchphrase, but it’s a lot others’ way of life and lifeline. But then it’s gone in the blink of an eye… I’m mourning the loss and passing of my weekend, and it’s only Saturday evening.

Curse DST.

Sweet Dreams

Man, I miss the old days of nursery and day care where part of your day was just curling up for a nap.

I’m at work right now and tired out by stuff I’ve been doing since morning. Of course I’m too self conscious to sleep. It’s not something you do at work.

But imagine if sleeping was in fact a part of your workday. Some new-fangled study claiming that it boosts productivity and miraculously, ensures bug-free code (nothing ever ensures bug-free code).

This would be the next big thing in quotidian work lives.

Now, people fuss over their hair and clothing, cuff links and ties, formal leather shoes and a neat haircut.

Authoritarian look, good language, a firm handshake. Sharp briefcase. All the things we focus on because we’re allowed them at work.

Clean wallpapers, work-filled laptops.

Now bring sleep into the foray.

Imagine IKEA rolling out its latest collection of chic yet work-friendly pillows. Pillow cases and pillow stands for people with their own office rooms. Foldable pillows that fit into your briefcase. The artist’s work-pillow. The boss’s work pillow. The intern’s work pillow.

The big question to be asking a successful CEO in a ‘look into the life of’ interview: what sort of pillow do you prefer?

How does the sort of pillow you carry affect your job interview? GQ articles on the most subtle yet effective pillows to bring to the workplace.

Adverts showing approving colleagues watching the smartest pillow-carrier sleep:

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight
But they while on Impressionist Pillows©™ slept
Were toiling upwards all the while

Impressionist Pillows: Making marks… even in your dreams!

Of course this is going to be more about the pillows than the sleep itself, or atleast until Memory Foam decides to enter the scenario.

It probably won’t happen, but oh well. I can dream. And get back to work.

Off.

It’s that rare sort of day

When the sky’s 67% blue

More than a wisp of light in the sky

And winds raging at 32

We call it good weather these days, folks:

Don’t settle for less!

Lower your expectations,

And today’s been the best!

But I digress; the sun’s out, it’s so quiet

And calm and maybe even a hint warm

And of course, I also have a truckload 

Of studies taking me by storm

A quiet place, headphones, 

Math textbook, lots of light 

And a booster dose of motivation’s all I 

Need in my life

So of course I picked today

To be feeling extra sleep deprived

Of course today I feel obliged 

To run away from all my responsibilities in life

And so with my nose stuck in the air

With lots of work and none a care

I do hereby out loud declare:

Goodbye suckers, I’m off to bed. 

Philosopher’s Look

12 AM math be like

I have a soundtrack

That keeps track

Of how far I’ve gotten

And a playlist scroll

To tell me how much further I have to go

And its meant to be stimulating

And to pick my mind

Till I can search its depth and find

The answers I need

Visualise my graphs and proceed

Get ahead with calculus homework

All courtesy of the good professor

And it ends up being

A soundtrack of white noise

Sleep’s rejoice

As it conquers this no-resistance city

And so if you see me

Hunching backwards

Eyes skyward

With a deep, blank stare,

Stop admiring my philosopher’s look

And know that I’m not there.

Hi, thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading, and at this hour too! Wish I had a coffee to offer you. How’s a greeting instead?

May the snow melt before it falls on your head.

Or maybe,

Sunnier days are ahead!

Or perhaps something I wish people wished me more often,

May you not dream of math again tonight.

I’m sticking with the last one.

This poem wasn’t so much a poem as me awakening at 2:15 AM to a math video for school playing in my ear. It was more of a ramble that accidentally ended up almost rhyming.

And that’s the story. So I’ll let you have your promised greeting now,

May you not dream of math again tonight.

Haze

Staying up late at night to study has its own merits and demirits. I do some work, my mind wanders, poetry happens. Often.

I don’t always want to reach for my phone at 1 in the morning, it really messes up my rhythm.

So this is my new outlet.

I’m doing poetry on paper napkins! I could go all poetic about how fragile they are and everything, but you know the real story behind it; I’m just lazy.

I’m not sure how legible my handwriting is, it also happens to be my 2-AM-attempt-at-being-neat, so while it’s an aesthetic (I guess? That’s my alibi, after all!), I’m still going to transcribe it, for readability.

(Let me know if the Earth has launched out of our solar system and it’s actually readable enough for me to not need to transcribe it!)

So here goes nothing.

Einstein was right
Yes, time is relative
It’s relative, to space and sound
And all the people you’re around
Silence echoes louder than sound
Perhaps it does to some
For me, the white noise of my own thoughts
Begs sound’s intervention
Break through my inertia
Set me free
Take the place of disturbance
At once growling and motherly
For 9 PM and 3 AM
Are now the same to me
Bind me to my looming,
Growing responsibilities
Free me, speak in my mind
How screwed an I if I disagree?
Coerce me, coax me
But get me through the shitstorm
I’m singleminded in the wrong ways
Steely resolve to absurdity
Break down my statue
A memorial to eternity
And then know that you’re free
To haunt my whisking dreams.

(Just a note, that’s my math textbook in the background. I’m truly sorry.)

Complex Lullabies

Looking back on school makes you wonder how many of the things they’d told you  about it were really true. It seems to me like a lot of times, myths seem to get away with their trashtalk just because in between hearing them and living your school life out, you don’t really get much time to think about them. (No, the time you spent whining about them doesn’t count.) You hear them, get busy living a completely different life, and then realise one day well past graduation that certain high school stereotypes were, well, unproven myths.

Heck, either that, or I was just a science student. That’s my one label to hide behind and blame for everything including something as trivial and unsuspecting as “My tea tastes poisoned” (long story for a day you’re up for some physics).

I digress here, but chemistry is all about the exceptions. Us failed chemical sugar bombs are no exception [or wait… would that then be ‘we are exceptions’?  Aargh, language conventions! Don’t tell my English teacher. I bribe you with a picture of the structure of meth.

Image result for structure of Methamphetamine
C10H15N

Us science kids were sort of exceptions to the high school stereotype. You thought the nerds, the jocks, the queens and the means were what you’d find in a typical grade 12 classroom? You’re wrong—we only have zombie versions of these.

 

The only stereotype that did fit us well was the absentee one. On the plus side, an empty class is a quiet one (well, relatively). On the flip side, it kind of defeated the purpose of school and had me carrying a 300-page Iron Man survey notebook for nothing… but apart from the last bit, those were teachers’ opinions, what zombie am I to judge?
PS: We didn’t have absentees though. Only zombie-absentees. We’ll let them loose on the city this Halloween… by which time, the first semester of college would have kicked in and they’ll be powerful zombies in the truest sense. Get out your cameras, filmmakers! The Rise And Pillowfall Of The Zombies will be premiering live (how ironic) this fall. Coming to a school near you. Mwahahahahahahaa!
Spoiler: This is the climax of the movie.

But yep, one high school legend that’s a truth is that high school will turn you into a sleepwalking insomniac. (Yes, that is a thing.)
I don’t know if it’s possible to catch up on four years’ worth of sleep, but my little sister, only just beginning high school, is already showing insomniac tendencies. It’s going to be a long four years.
[In other news, I am absolutely shattered that insomniacal is not a word. What happened to building a varied and diverse dictionary? They really are squeezing multiple meanings (as a noun and as an adjective) out of a single word… it’s ‘1984’ all over again!]

Anyway, I was talking to her about her math last night. She’d spent a few hours on some last-minute English homework she’d remembered. No one remembers English homework until it’s real late. It’s 1 AM. She’s due up at 6. But she’s a school-zombie. Not a very graduated one, I’ll grant her that; 3 AM was my timezone, and 2 AM was thermodynamics’, but she’s owning 1 too. On a random whim, I tell her what math lies in store for her. Circles, proofs, volumes, ‘angles in semicircles are always right’ (by which I meant 90° of course, not correct. But if you’d rather try that reasoning in your proof, I won’t stop you. It’s your bragging rights.), complex numbers, the redefinition of the ‘imaginary’.

“Mmmhm.”

I began to tell her about the trigonometry that followed up in two years, a personal favourite of every emotionally shattered high school kid… second only to calculus.  I started talking about the fifty or so formulae you’d be buffeted by in nothing but your underwear. There also really are fifty, I kid you not.

The next scene is straight out of the Saturday morning cartoons, but I hear a snot-filled snore. Our neo-high school zombie-borderline insomniac is asleep in a record five minutes.

Hey, it could be the English homework or the weird human thing you date for all your student life called ‘exhaustion’, but I’m selfish, so I’ll pawn off all the credit.

Following that, out of sheer perverse habit like the true student-zombie I’ve become, I sat in torchlight and drafted this post till 2.

12

Some walls were built
Just to be melted
Some blood spilled
For some extra colour
Some holes faded
To make way for new ones
In the end, you’re jaded
Like you never were
Some lights dimmed
For an added perspective
Polished and trimmed
Unfinished product
Add preservative
Formalin
Tentative
Keeps you up till three
Miss your finest moment
You’re half asleep
How far can your mind bend
Promises aren’t to keep
You smell like varnish
Or something worse
And can you furnish
Something concrete
Can you remember
And can you forget
Did your ember
Set off alarms again?
Can you waste today
When you have no tomorrows
Search for hay
In the needlestack?
Are you there
Or has your mind gone blank
Or do you care
To go back to bed
Fulfilment
Is just an illusion
Did you know you were lent
Your misery?
Are you there
Or has your mind gone blank
And do you care
To head straight back to bed?
Hit the brew
You’ve got a new best friend
All a sinking ship’s crew
The parrot flew away.

Sleepslave: Like A Sponge

People always say, go explore, but remember your roots, carry your culture.

Don’t lose your values.

I think I don’t want to lose my ‘u’s– there’s a British English stickler for you!

Another thing I don’t want to lose, whose loss I am currently lamenting, is my sleep… Unfortunately, whenever I try to binge-sleep, something comes up.

There was a day I decided I could afford to sleep in. No alarms, no internal reminders (which, trust me, work like a charm. If it’s in the back of your head that you’d need to get up at six the next morning, your body will inevitably wake you up at a time alarmingly close to what you’d wanted… If you go back to sleep though, it absolves all responsibility!
This has worked for me for a 3 AM shift too, so I can vouch for it! Except perhaps when I’m dead tired.)

But that particular morning, I decided I’d sleep till 10, at least.

8:30 AM

There’s a knock on my door. (It actually works to wake me up, so mum’s never had to drag me out of bed. My sister’s another story, though.)

I ignore it, after all, I’m sleeping in, remember?

It is mum. She comes over and shakes my shoulder. I’m already on my way back to sleep by now.

“Listen up,”

Listening, but I’ll process later. Mmm, good night, sweet dreams, please don’t draw the curtains.

I magically go into vampire-mode at night. I’ll grunt at a single LED if  you keep it before me in the dark! Yes, I’ve bumped around many times. I’ll learn, I guess.
I’ll learn to navigate in the dark better.

“Your school phoned asking about you.”

Mmm.

Mm― wait, what?
I processed that too quickly for my own good health.

School phoned? Why?

Why did you have to tell me this when I’m trying to stay asleep??

“I just thought you should know before I forget. Anyway, I’m leaving, you can sleep if you want.”

If black, sleepy eyes can look evil, they sure as hell are in this instant.

‘I can’ isn’t a choice anymore. ‘Can I?’ is the question.

This isn’t the first time this has happened.

I’ve had a very similar morning, with the exact same explanation and proceedings, the only difference being in one part:

“Listen up,”

Mmmm. D’you mind, I don’t like the light.

“You need to complete your math test and submit it today. Just thought I’d remind you, I’m leaving, don’t stay in bed after 11.”

Or, “You’ll need to pick up your report card from school this afternoon.”

(falls on the floor and remains there)

Some people have trouble absorbing calcium into their body. They’d understand what I go through.

Somehow, no matter how long I try to sleep, I just can’t assimilate it into my body!

It’s like the night before an exam, when you’re picking up a new and easy (read: neglected) topic, but the next morning, it’s been wiped. They say kids’ brains are like sponges, absorbing.

I’d agree with the first half: just a small squeeze, and they lose it all, no retention!

What would you like to retain with you if you went globe trotting?