Sleep Inertia

So sleep. It’s the thing that causes me to lose more productivity than anything. I end up sleeping most of the day, or until I have to go to my minimal wage position at Office Max. And previous searches on the internet have led me into the same bullshit advice about getting up early.

So here’s what I found.

First off, Prozac and Tricyclic anti-depressants can affect the body’s natural Circadian rhythms. This is simply a side effect of the meds and is something that an ambitious mental freak will have to deal with. Being freakish myself, well, that’s something I have to deal with too. But the way in which these meds affect the sleep process is in the NREM phase of sleep.

NREM is non-REM sleep, or non-rapid eye movement sleep. This is a three phase part of sleep that is where the deepest sleep occurs. NREM sleep takes place before REM sleep and though REM sleep is the brain’s way of dealing with processing events and physical reactions from the day, NREM sleep is deep sleep, and without it you are left with a groggy and cognitively whacky lack of ability. It affects cognitively challenging actions more than physically repetitive actions. Sleep Inertia can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to several hours depending on the individual and the point at which deep sleep was interrupted by waking.

One more point before I discuss possible solutions, and there are some promising homeopathic solutions, is the nature of this sleep pattern. Each cycle of sleep, including both NREM and REM sleep is approximately 90 minutes long. Thus if one were to take a nap, the ideal times are thirty minutes (long enough to get some rest but not so long as to be submerged into deep sleep), or 90 minutes (long enough to cycle completely through a sleep cycle.) Naps are actually one of the recommended actions, though the timing is vital lest you awake and empower the Sleep Inertia.

And now, a few recommendations.

Napping, as discussed above, though it is important to awake at the right times. Sleeping in multiples of 90 minutes. So if you wake up at seven, you’d want to go to sleep at either ten or eleven thirty pm. That way you time your wake-up to match your body’s natural rhythms. Then there is the waking up gradually, using something that lulls you out of deep sleep before waking you up. Soft music that grows slowly in volume, or natural light–meaning keep your curtains transparent enough to allow light in.

And then there’s the regular tips. Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to sleep and waking up at the same time, even though it may mean an early night and morning on the weekends.

Now, I don’t know how well these tips work, though I’m going to experiment with them over the next few days and weeks. I will return with results once I have them.

 

 

 

 

 

Soldiers in Drag, WWI Style

Short one today. I’m still reading the Weintraub book about the end of the Great War (WWI). An interesting anecdote arose as I was reading this evening. Apparently, days before the armistice was signed, troops began to retreat on the power of rumours and innuendo from other soldiers. One squad found themselves in a practically untouched village.

The squad entered a house to find a room full of beds and a chest of drawers full of women’s things: underwear, dresses, etc. Without hesitation they proceeded to strip down from their Army uniforms, full of lice and insects and stink from the trenches, and proceeded to lay on the beds and pass out immediately. They didn’t care that they were dressed as women.

Homosexuality during the Great War is little understood or known. (See this article from the Guardian reviewing a Forgotten Voices of the Somme, by Joshua Levine). As with Imperial British protocol, buggery, or homosexual sex, was forbidden by law–something which was enforced even more in the military. Another article in Vada Magazine adds detail to the plight of homosexuals during the war.

I am a big fan of Patrick O’Brien and his Aubrey and Maturin series of books. They follow the continuing adventures of two characters in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Era. They frequently mention buggery as a charge against members of the crew and discuss it as a posting offence–essentially worthy of a whipping and possibly a rationing of their rum allowance. Whether this was the actual policy of the military I don’t know, but it makes for an interesting side note.

As a gay man in Trump’s America, I worry that the culture wars will end up with a world far more liberal than the one I live in. It is especially worrisome as Trump and the Republican Congress could easily pass laws threatening workers rights and other hard won civil rights for queer men and women.

But that’s for another discussion.

Photo appears here. Along with the caption that this is apparently Brigham Young’s son in drag. Who knew?

 

The False Armistice

i have read a great deal about the Great War in my research for my, as yet unpublished novel, Nobody’s Heroes. While I focused on the African-American experience as that was the focus of my novel, I have also read widely about some of the lesser known detail she of the war.

for instance, the armistice was not signed in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was signed several hours earlier and went into effect at the eleventh hour. This myth of the Great War is possibly the most egregious and wide spread, especially as reference Tom it ha she become idiom. It is not the only piece of interestingly information regarding the ending of the war.

ive just started reading A Stillness Heard Round the World, by Stanley Weintraub. The first chapter is a recital of a myth in formation, though it goes unknown today. Four days before the armistice was actually signed and became effective, a reporter for the United Press issued a wire to the effect that an armistice had been signed Andrew the war was ended. It would take later investigation to uncover the truth behind how this rumor started, but it spread like wildfire. From New York where a ticker tape parade happened impromptu (and this before ticker tape parades existed) to Pennsylvania where the mayor of Philadelphia rang the liberty bell with a small hammer, the rumor flew on wings of electricity.

the celebrations moved west, though Chicago was raine out and the parade turned intimate a muddy mess. In California the celebrations were just as rowdy as those along the east coast. Hell, even the President came out to wave and smile at the crowd of excited citizens. His waving white handkerchief gave vehemence to the rumour of armistice, and kicked the roaring and celebratory throng into high gear. It was pure luck that a riot didn’t start when news of the false story hit the streets. There was some minimal rioting in New York where a few windows were smashed and a few goods stolen, but nonetheless the crowd stood dispersed with equanimity and depression.

The war wasn’t over, not yet.

If You’re Red You’re Dead #1

The closer I come to finishing the first volume of Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs, the more I am struck by the constant fight against Communism. Not only was this an issue for Singapore in the fifties and sixties, but it was an issue for the United States throughout the century. So much so, in fact, that I would suggest that the Cold War started in 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution and the withdrawal of Russia from the Great War.

While Communism had yet to lay hold of Russia and its eventual buffer states in Eastern Europe, it was the beginning of a new chapter in international relations. In the United States, four minute men swooped across the country giving speeches in theaters about the evils of the Hun and the great need to be vigilant against those who would conspire against the government, be they Communist, German, or some other offensive ilk. This translated into an almost immediate swing from anti-Germanism in early November 1918 to an anti-Red (be they Communist or Anarchist or som either -ist unlike by those in power) sentiment influencing the U.S. government.

In fact, there was a push by several members of society to mobilize the returning soldiers from fighting the Hun in the trenches to fighting the Communists in their homes. Perhaps 1919 was a crucial year for the anti-Red forces. They saw an election looming on the horizon with the threat of Communist politicians running for office. They feared Negro collusion. There was indeed some basis for fear in a sense as the piers of New Jersey and the windows of Manhattan well remembered the blasts of sabotaged ships during the war, an all too real reminder that the U.S. was not invulnerable to sedition and conspiracy.

The twenties found Prohibition and a new enemy to occupy the country. The concern more for the alcohol than for the crimes of Reds, or of anyone for that matter. The few exceptions being Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian Anarchists who were found guilty of killing a guard and robbing a factory. It was a show trial when all was said and done and, unfortunately for Sacco and Vanzetti, came on the tail end of the nineteen teens fears of Red invasion.

In the thirties, with FDR in the White House, and a progressive platform of leftist leaning policies designed to lift the miseries of the Great Depression, a new Red scare came into focus. This one was a Republican assault on FDR’s decidedly Socialist policies, policies like Social Security and the rest of the alphabet soup (as the plethora of new agencies was called). He wasn’t seen as democratizing the country and of redistributing wealth.

And while I will continue, I want to take a moment to talk about wealth redistribution. It is the one thing that Republicans fear more than abortion, gay rights, and black voters. As I’ve written previously, imvestopedia, possibly the most conservative -pedia on the internet, raised only one issue with Socialism, and that was wealth redistribution and the threat of lazy slouches leeching off the system. This has been a major theme throughout the history of this country and of the wealthy.

I just finished a book entitle day Gotham, a history of New York City through 1898. In this book there was a great deal of talk about the way the upper and middle classes in Manhattan treated the poor. They were intent not to encourage anyone, if at all possible, to living off the dole. They didn’t everything to prevent the government from providing for the poor and homeless, despite their numbering in the thousands. They developed workhouses and put the poor to work like prison labor, forcing them to work a hard day for a measly few cents, or a couple of meals and a berth to sleep in inside. It was a cruel city, New York, and looking at the behavior of its upper class, one can see the foundations of the modern Republican view fearing wealth redistribution in any form.

So there was the thirties, and then World War II came about. Even during the war FDR acted as if there were enemies in Russia under Stalin. While the was no criticism of Red policies in the U.S.S.R. per se, the allies were conscious of the dangers should Russia join the Pacific Theater in time to lay claim to geographical bases in Japan or nearby. This was a major factor in Truman’s decision to drop the atomically bomb. Not only was he wary of losing thousands of lives in a push into the heart of Japan, he was determined Tom prevent Red Russia from Anne in good anything in the Far East.

I will stop here and continue this diatribe later. I don’t want to have to consume too much in one sitting.

The End of Chase Chance

When I initially imagined using the pseudonym of Chase Chance I was living in SE Asia and worried about repercussions for some of the things I envisioned writing. Part of it, too, was a series of books that would follow a family through the twentieth-century. These books would begin with the story of Reuben Ayers–star of my book Nobody’s Heroes, still unpublished–which tells the story of the black regiment out of New York during the Great War.

While I do want to continue that story, there is much there to tell, and much to research. Chase Chance would prove to be a character in the present who discovered Reuben Ayers story and proceeded to write the books as an exploration of his own family history leading up to his incarceration and institutionalization as a mentally ill ward of the state. This was all imagined shortly after I left the hospital with delusions still abounding and depression easily approaching.

In the meantime I am gearing my current writing to the specificity of things that will sell well on Amazon. Yes, I am writing stories that may not be taken lightly by governments in the SE Asia region, but I am in the United States at the moment. Thus, I hope, able to say such things without the danger of enraging said governments to my detriment. The most they can do is to prevent me from entering their countries.

Chase Chance was always fictional, though I thought it would be fun to eventually create a character based mostly on myself and my mental health problems through whom I could alter my own past and imagine a different life. But that’s decades away at the current rate of storytelling.

So I do away with the Chase Chance Facebook page, and open up the new Steven Jacob 30 page at www.facebook.com/StevenJacob30.

Why 30? When I was in high school we learned about Dante’s Divine Comedy. There are thirty canticles in each book, and thirty is a perfect number. Three times three times three plus three. It is my lucky number, not my age.

So I take the risk that in writing what I want to write, I may be alienating foreign governments, but I’m not delusional enough anymore to fear that they will focus on me as a person of influence–at least not at first, nor for quite some time–and sick their Asian dogs at me.

As story isn’t good if it’s about a happy family. So I will write about things that I saw when I lived there, things that I learned through books, and problems that beset the different venues in the region. If the governments of SE Asia were perfect, it wouldn’t matter, but that’s what I want to do, and what I intend to do. Though as I mentioned in my post yesterday on ChaseChance30 I am going to approach this launch with a bit more seriousness.

The first entry–before I relaunch Chris Hunter–is titled Noy and Her Ungrateful Husband Khamsouk. It is a literary drama set in Laos and follows the separate members of a family as they face the overwhelming power of the State and the secrets that have long eaten at the foundation of their relationships. But more on that later. I’m going to release that in e-book and POD formats on Amazon. I will announce dates and more details soon.

And then there are other projects that I may publish that I wasn’t considering publishing in an e-book format initially but that I want to get out there because they discuss certain important stories of the past. I may also post shorter historical essays and other writings. We’ll see how things go.

All that said, then, I am signing off. This will be the first post on my new page and I will share it on my Newsfeed. I will also post it on Linkedin with a copy to my old Chase Chance 30 page. From now on, this blog, ChaseChanceProject.com will be the first place to get updates on publication, research and other information. I will discontinue the Chase Chance Facebook Page at the time I announce the publication of Noy and Her Ungrateful Husband Khamsouk.

Cheers.

 

 

Socialism is what?

“Without motivation to succeed, such as the ability to own an income-producing business, workers’ human instincts prohibit drive and desire that is produced through such incentives.”                   –Investopedia

I looked at two different web pages this evening after coming in from work. The first page was put up by the World Socialist movement. It gave a basic definition of Socialism, in which the needs of society are met by the members of society working together to come up with the necessaries to supply those needs. It is a system wherein common ownership of production is limited to certain nationalized segments and the people have the right to, in return, contribute accordingly.

The second page was Investopedia. Look up the difference between Communism and Socialism on Investopedia, and you’ll find a very capitalist interpretation. Though the article’s primary criticism of Socialism is that it limits monetary incentives to produce more efficiently.

Bullshit.

I’ve read enough of Harvard Business School, Inc., Fast Company, and other work related sights to know that money is rarely the primary factor in incentivizing workers. Yet if one is allowed to extend the discreet to the general, Investopedia is an extreme capitalist viewpoint of systems that have worked in northern Europe and to a certain extent in Asia and elsewhere.

I find this particularly interesting as the United States will support Socialist governments so long as they promise not to extend their policies further to the left and become Communists.

This is the case with Lee Kuan Yew. A Socialist, and a non-Communist, who used the Communists to rise to power and then, in order to foster union with Malaya and the other Straits Settlements, forced the Communists from the PAP. But even then he was courting extremely left wing governments for support. Visiting Nehru in India, Tito in Yugoslavia, and others, all in an effort to gain worldwide support for consolidation.

Lee managed to get by with it, though he was criticized by the British colonialists for his rather leftist leanings and contacts. I wonder what will happen once Singapore reaches Independence. Will Lee Kuan Yew become an Autocrat with Socialist bent? Or will the Joker cut Batman and Robin to smithereens? Tune in at the same Bat Time and the same Bat Channel.

 

 

 

Four Signs of Communism

A predominant theme in Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs is his personal fight against Communism in Singapore and the Federated States of Malaya. He not only uses the goal of creating an independent, non-communist, Singapore to manhandle policy, but he does it to discredit individuals.

In one description of a meeting with a fellow named Peng, who he adjudged was the head of the Communists in Singapore, Lee lists four demands he received from Peng.

  1. Democratic rights;
  2. Cultural freedom
  3. Freer import of books from China
  4. Freer immigration rules

Of these four, Lee quickly pointed out that they would of necessity prove to expand the influence and power of the Communists in Singapore.

This I refute.

Having lived in two ostensibly Communist countries (Vietnam and Laos) I am familiar with the heavy burden of censorship and the efforts to discredit opposition by limiting access to all of these things, whether they be considered as human rights or Communist propaganda.

I find it interesting, too, that Lee frequently makes the distinction between anti-Communist and non-Communist, as if one of them was simply anathema and the other, which did not support Communism but didn’t refute it either, somehow acceptable.

At the time, I can understand Lee’s reasoning. He is confronted with demands for more democratic rights and cultural freedom. These would later, according to Lim, be appropriated by the People’s Action Party (PAP) to develop an artificial nationalism in Singapore and create a system that would allow the multilingual population of the island to feel apart of something bigger than just being an immigrant group.

The others, however, seem to be arbitrary. On one occasion when living in Laos, I ordered several books at one time, a box from Amazon of approximately three hundred dollars worth. I never saw that box, but I do know they tended to open the bigger boxes and investigate what was inside. I suspect what happened was that the Post Office censors opened my box and saw the two volume Historical Dictionary of African-American Riots and proceeded to condemn the entire shipment.

I cannot live without books. It is a truism. I am simply built that way. And that is one of the reasons that I respected Singapore despite its autocratic rule. They had an entire mall dedicated to books, and that only a block away from an eight story building full of books and study nooks.

I thought that this was a sign of democratic development, but apparently not. Books, according to Lee, were dangerous and Communist. I have also read several theses written by Singapore students out of NUS. They rarely challenge established wisdom and tend to be the kind of repetitive twaddle (and yes, I just used the word twaddle) that is historically Mandarin/Confucian. That rather than discover new information and develop new interpretations, they repeat the classics, and the better they are at quoting the classics, the higher they get in the administration.

And immigration, well, that’s a global issue, and possibly the only one that I agree might be a serious challenge to an honest and upright government. Singapore is small, approximately 720 square kilometres, and has little room for crowds of refugees or uneducated masses. But to turn them back. . .hurts. I’m not going to dive into a discussion of immigration today, but needless to say, I can see how–in Lee’s situation–immigration from China might effect his standing as a “non-Communist” leader.

Picture of Changi Beach, eastern Singapore.

And by the way, if you’re interested in purely Capitalist flights of fiction, go to my Author’s page on Amazon and buy my books.

Communetards Are Among Us

I remember in Elementary school learning about the Cold War. Hell, it was still going on. Teachers were patriotic and Republican–which happens when you live in a red state–and couldn’t broach the thought of someone whom they knew, or who they respected being a Communist.

Now, I’m not a Communist, but I might just be a Socialist. I believe in single payer healthcare, in bread and butter over guns (as the old economics trope goes). In the United States especially we should be able to provide everyone a roof, three squares, and a job. Instead we have the largest military in the world and continue interfering in parts of the world that don’t need or want us.

And imagine what would happen if the military shrunk a little bit. Maybe put a little more money into Homeland Security and their efforts to crack down foreign terrorists. Up the police force salaries, get the FBI to do its job. And what in the hell is the ATF for? Aren’t all of these things legal? Alcohol, tobacco and firearms? Then why have an organization–a law enforcement organization–for the enforcement of existing laws? Can’t the police, or the FBI handle that. If you want to get rid of useless programs there’s one.

The military. Let’s get back to that.

Back in the day, under Truman and Eisenhower and the longer list of presidents who represented leadership against a mythical foe, Communism was a citadel, a single bloc against which the policies of democracy and capitalism must prevail. But Communism was never a bloc, it was never an obelisk. (I’m sorry Dave, but I can’t do that.) Communism was as separate and apart as Capitalism.

The USSR had one type, China another, Eastern Europe wasted under USSR control and sought to avoid the internal pograms of Joseph Stalin, the purges, the late night trains to Siberia. China had Mao and the Cultural Revolution with its disastrous consequences for the Chinese peasant. And Indochina had a completely different system, all three countries facing different paths through corruption and nepotism on their way to Capitalism with a Socialist scent.

And the military, originally built up under Roosevelt during WWII got even bigger. All the wars we fought before that and the military shrunk when they finished. That’s what mobilization is for. We have a standing army that numbers near 1.5 million people. That’s a lot. That’s almost as many soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme in the First World War.

We don’t need that. We don’t need to be armed for second strikes, we shouldn’t even be armed for first strikes. Though I grew up a Republican, cleaning out the closets of my mind has produced a very different person than the one who used to be me. I’m proud to be for peace, and I’m proud to be an American (ask me again in 2020). But I also think that there is real value in helping the poor and the suffering, the ageing and the mentally ill. Hope in reviving the waning spirits of Social Security and Medicare.

Now that doesn’t prevent me from pushing my books–which are thoroughly capitalist and democratic. I’m glad for the system that allows us to vote in and out politicians, though I would prefer more than two parties (that’s a conversation for another day). So if you’re looking for something light and fluffy, with some action, some wit, and some adventure, go on over to my authors page on Amazon.

Image courtesy of Archives New Zealand.

Lee Kuan Yew, Dictator or Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-man?

Right now I’m reading the memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, first Prime Minister of independent Singapore and politician extraordinaire. He took control of the country in 1965 when independence was declared and only relinquished power–sort of–in the late nineties. Nearly thirty years as a single party dictator, but the world loved him.

He and his party, the People’s Activist Party, or PAP, controlled the country for decades–and still do. Some people have tried to create an atmosphere where dissent and opposition could thrive, but they fail due to the great grip on the media and on criticism controlled by the regime.

I do not intend to criticize Singapore’s leaders. They’ve done a swell job of moving the country from third world undeveloped to first world developed. They fought off the Communists–after using them to come to power–and created a non-Communist, independent Singapore, which, if you read Lee’s memoirs, was the point the whole time. This may not be the case, but Lee states it at least once every two chapters.

I’m only half way through the first volume–both of which land in the six hundred page territory–but I have found the reading interesting. It’s a good break from my writing. And it’s actually research for my writing. I’m trying to understand the politics of Singapore, something that I’ve never had to do as I’ve only pushed the edges of the envelope of research and never spent more than a few weeks at a time in the city state.

And what have I found? That Singapore is as autocratic and controlling as any other state in the region. And perhaps the country most similar–in my mind–is Cambodia. Both countries offered ostensibly free elections over the years, though it was understood if you voted for someone else, there may be repercussions. Both Lee and Hun Sen (Cambodia’s prime minister) created an environment where dissent is unaccepted. Either by imprisoning or banishing or illegalizing or disappearing the opposition.

But I get ahead of myself. There are single party countries all over the map. China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea, etc. I don’t mean to criticize these parties, but except for perhaps Singapore and China, the one party system doesn’t work. And why does it work in Singapore? Because of the strict rules set out, and the educational goals established, that restricted the behaviour of the people. From the rules against spitting, corporal punishment, and an artificial nationalism, Singapore’s government has decided its path clearly from the beginning.

China, though, seems more of an accident founded on population. They would have faltered or failed long ago if they didn’t have the population to depress prices and thus provide a low wage working class. This in turn enriched those who owned the companies and they in turn got richer through corruption. (China internet wall, please censor me.) And corruption is a disease best served at another meal.

I admittedly don’t have much to say about Lee Kuan Yew as a leader, though it surprised me when I learned he died in 2015–I must have been totally out of world affairs that year. Probably struggling to get sober, or to stay drunk. I’m not sure which. But that’s what craziness does. It destroys brain cells. .  .or is that alcoholism? Anyway, more insights into Singapore as I discover them.

 

 

 

 

Long Time a’coming

The other day I posted a little about depression. It won’t be the last time that I write about it, nor about creativity. I’m in a constant struggle to get done what I want to get done, especially with the added load of a part time job. I know that shouldn’t be that bad, and I appreciate the work, it just makes it difficult for me to separate sleep and writing. I want to write, I want to punch out four or five thousand words a day, but it’s tough to balance when you’re depressed and crazy.

It’s also depressing when you put something out there and no one buys it but your mother. (END OF WHINING. Go buy War Crimes now. Only $2.99 and available on any Kindle enabled device. Amazon.)

I knew I wanted to write from the third or fourth grade. I had graduated from reading the Lord of the Rings into some of Isaac Asimov’s works and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to create characters and universes. I wanted to make it all happen within the confines of a front and back cover. So I started writing. I’ve been writing ever since, just not publishing.

I’ve written two books that should sell in the literary fiction field, but they aren’t popular kind of things, they’re maybe mid-list. I’m saving them, for a day when I have a bigger audience, and in the meantime I’m writing things like Chris Hunter. Action adventure stories that appeal to a larger audience than literary fiction. They are custom designed to appear on Amazon, to be downloaded and enjoyed in a matter of a couple hours, maybe the length of a movie, but a lot cheaper than a movie ticket.

But I need to move forward. When I originally conceived of the idea of pushing writing until I could put out a novella a week I may have been manic. It was ambitious, and I think I could still do it if I could only conquer my morning depression and get up before the crack of noon. That’s ultimately the problem, sleep and depression.

But I’ve waited nearly thirty years to get published and to make it possible for me to survive from writing. That will happen, it’s just a matter of when. I will continue with Chris Hunter, though I may delay some of my other series until I get a few more episodes in the vault.

And I think that’s the announcement I’m making here. I will continue to release Chris Hunter Adventures on a monthly basis, but otherwise I need to reconsider my approach to this. If I can’t get sales once a month, how am I supposed to get sales once a week? A conundrum indeed.

All I need is some experimentation. Eventually I’ll strike on the right settings. The proper release spacing, the proper content, the things that will hopefully allow me to break past the minimal sales going to friends and family. It’s a challenge, and that’s what I’ll do. Face the challenge and wrest my living from the writing.