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Pondering the South African Memesphere – Looking for the Good in Everything

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In the Middle of the Night

November 20th, 2007 · Posted by Who Knows? · 9 Comments

I go working in my sleep
Over mountains of pain
To the river so mean

I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide
And its so hard to cross

I must finish the chapter I’m currently working on, before I go to sleep, otherwise I will probably not have it finished before lunch tomorrow. Even if I sleep until lunch (I wish I slept that well lately), it would be worth it to not procrastinate by going to bed first.

Now how to stay awake and alert, that is the question. Caffeine has a half-life of three to four hours in a normal person (many more in pregnant females or females on oral contraceptives, apparently). The point being, at night, caffeine is not an option. At least not until the last night or two, when one can pull an all-nighter. So I’m trying Berocca. I hope Vitamin B will give me some energy, and it isn’t a psychoactive stimulant. In fact, any placebo effect would do. Something that will help me stay awake, but not actually have any effect when I do eventually go to bed. ;-) If only I actually believed in it, there might have been some homoeopathic remedies that could have helped.

The other thing that could help, is the right choice in music. This is tricky though, and I don’t have enough experience. It depends on what I need to do. Certain work I can do quite well on Infected Mushroom, I’ll try that now. Earlier this evening, I did some work on Jacques Loussier Plays Bach, and then some Michael Bublé. Before that, I even experimented with Cold for the hell of it (I don’t know them very well yet), but that likely only works for very specific tasks/chapters/sections.

Too late to get advice for tonight, but maybe for the upcoming week then: what music would you recommend? What do you like working on? (When doing what kinds of work?) I’ve heard some people work on heavy metal… Oh, and hey, if you know of good Jazz for the Jazz n00b, let me know. I know I like Oscar Peterson, amongst others.

I think I’ll try Infected Mushroom for the rest of this chapter. If it doesn’t work, I’ll revisit my extensive classical music collection. (Yes, the good old The Gathering and Classical Mushroom. I don’t have any of their later stuff.)

ps. Maybe I should revisit my tagging strategy. Thirteen tags seems quite overkill, no?

Categories: Personal
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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hugo // Nov 21, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Aaah! Vivaldi is evil!

    I’m listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, it’s been a long time since I did that. And now? Now I want to play violin again! Aaargh! I don’t have time! Evil Vivaldi!

    For the record, my favourite Violin concertos would be Tchaikovsky and Bruch.

  • 2 Hugo // Nov 21, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Just Jinger. I’m working on Just Jinger at the moment. Strange. ;)

    And yes, their old stuff, before their name adjustment. (They’re now Just Jinjer, due to mispronunciation of Jinger in their international market.)

  • 3 Rinus // Nov 21, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Infected Mushroom, yes, I tried working on that. It’s good for coding, not so good for writing though. I find I get rather caught up in their music and then catch myself just listening and not writing anymore. (Their newest album, “Vicious Delicious”, is brilliant!)

    I also tried Michael Bublé and he worked fine for a while. The problem is, once I start to know the lyrics, I tend to want to sing along (in my head). That also kinda breaks down the concentration…

    I do listen to some Linkin Park, but I’m also over familiar with them. I find listening to new unknown music works best for me.

  • 4 gerhard // Nov 21, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    what works well for me is keeping your mind active by running an audio book in the background that you can listen to. something interesting that u can switch to during ‘down time’ like when you’re getting bored. even if you just switch for 5min at a time, it lets you just get your mind active again. as for music, music that is difficult to understand , like hard house or hard rock / metal. something where the words cant be easily made out.
    otherwise , i hear that alot of people do meth so they can study all night, but i havent tried this myself, nor am i planning to.

  • 5 gloep // Nov 21, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Ooo Rinus that’s true… As soon as you know the lyrics to a song, you’re pretty much screwed. Or if you know the gyrations of classical music you’re just as screwed.
    My roommate like listening to something like the “Spirits” compilations, but that’s too inspirational/atmospheric for me. I tend to start daydreaming about being an aborigine and doing crazy dances with a didgeridoo on top of Ayers Rock. Then something like “Conquest of Paradise” comes on – then everything is lost because I want to hide in a bush and shoot white people with quivering arrows. But that’s just me.

  • 6 Hennie // Nov 21, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Ja, Infected Mushroom! As jy iets raseriger soek, kan jy In Flames se nuwe album Come Clarity probeer. Dis so na aan easy-listening metal as wat jy sal kry. ;) Baie handig as jy die moer in is vir die wereld en jou tesis.

  • 7 Hugo // Nov 21, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Infected Mushroom is indeed coding music. Especially late at night. I have many a fond memory of late-night coding to Infected Mushroom.

    Right now, I’m going with Rinus’ suggestion and using work-time as an opportunity to subconsciously get to know music I don’t know very well yet.

    Right now, I’m doing basic stats – pdf / mean / variance / state-count calculations for particular HMM topologies – to the sound of Cake. It has the right kind of mood right now: light, but invigorating/encouraging/positive. I think I might have to turn this section into a paper and publish it somewhere, if it really is as “new” as I’ve been led to believe.

    And Happy Birthday Rinus.

  • 8 Hugo // Nov 21, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Hehe… check these Cake lyrics (actually, you gotta hear it, reading isn’t enough):

    Jesus wrote a blank check
    One I haven’t cashed quite yet
    I hope I gotta little more time
    I hope it’s not the end of the line
    Yea, Jesus wrote a blank check
    Oh, one I haven’t cashed yet, all right.

    Cute, or what? ;) I’ll have to check out In Flames some time. Thanks Hennie.

    Well if I had to choose a number
    I’d want it to be number one
    I don’t wanna be number two
    Yea, I don’t want to be number four
    Yea, but I can hear a knock on the door
    Jesus wrote a blank check, all right.

    I love Cake’s cover of I Will Survive, that one I know well. Maybe I’ll have to skip it. Cake’s lyrics are very clear, so it only works/helps if my mind is able to focus.

  • 9 Hugo // Nov 21, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Now Bush Deconstructed, 1997. Sweet remixes of his sweet old stuff. That kind of remix works well, similar to trance music. I’ll have to expand my collection of that kind of thing, I just don’t have time for collecting music right now. ;)

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