Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Bits and pieces

It's been pushing three weeks since the last entry, though this will just about keep within the line to have a minimum of two blog entries per month. I mean, it's not that hard to sit down for half an hour every two weeks and write something...to be completely honest, I need to start writing more frequently. I got into a period last year where I'd be writing for about half an hour a day, whether it was writing a short story, a rambling stream of consciousness or other assorted bits and pieces. They're all filed away on this laptop...somewhere. Some of the stories were pretty decent from what I recall. Nothing that's going to blow anyone's mind, but for things that are usually made up on the spot. For some reason, my stories always seem to sound better coming from the top of my head than being thought about for a prolonged period...

Since it's been a few weeks since the last blog, I should give a bit of an update on the whole Alpha Brain thing. For the sake of it, I'll only mention the first two weeks otherwise the second entry on that will only contain a week of discussion...it makes enough sense in my head.

For what it's worth, I definitely think they've had some sort of effect on me. There wasn't a lot going on for the first few days, but I think I put that down to my body taking a little bit of time to get used to things. Plus, I started midweek with that weekend being spent in Leipzig (more on that later), so there wasn't a lot of need for the stuff to work. By the Sunday night though, I was more than a little bit tired after barely sleeping that weekend and decided to try some an hour or two before bed so that they'd influence my sleep. It could have just been that I was completely shattered, but that was one of the better nights of sleep I've had in recent months. I didn't sleep right the way through, but I had some pretty cool dreams and woke up in the morning feeling unusually fresh and energetic...especially for a Monday morning.

At work, I'm able to concentrate on my work and focus better. I was finding that by around 2/3pm, my concentration would completely wane with my energy levels for about half an hour of being completely unproductive before picking up for the final hour or two at my desk. Honestly though, I haven't had that...the concentration level is still right up there until the end of my day and I don't get that mid-afternoon drop.

So they seem to be doing something positive. Things from the last week seem to continue suggesting this, and taking another few pills before bed once every few nights seems to bring on a better level of sleep and some cool dreams. I'm not saying it'd be worth taking this stuff just for some crazy dreams, but these dreams are good fun.

Anyway, as I mentioned a few paragraphs up, I was in Leipzig a few weekends ago catching up with friends.  Admittedly, the weekend started off with a big bag of suck when Hessie called me to say that she'd missed her coach by a matter of moments and wasn't going to be joining us. A single tear of emotion trailed down my cheek at the loss of a stranded bff, but we soldiered on.

It was a really fun weekend, and I can now tick "Sleep under a table" off the list of things to do before I leave this planet. Don't ask why, I'm not completely sure there was a valid reason for my sleeping under a table. There was space elsewhere on the floor, but I was happy enough there and it meant that I was able to chat away with Susan until the small hours grew slightly larger and light probably wasn't too far away. Aside from a diet of predominantly tasty baked goods (mmm...tasty baked goods), one of the cool points was going to the Stasi museum. Admittedly, it was a bit grim in parts...though we all know the Stasi weren't all about sunshine and rainbows. What was interesting though, was reading about people who had been sentenced to death and executed decades ago, but were posthumously pardoned in the early 90s. I can't imagine that's much solace to the individual..

As always, it was great to catch up with friends and spend some time checking out another part of Germany. For a first proper visit to the former East Germany, it was pretty cool to look at some of the slight differences between the East and the rather modern and super busy Hamburg. Even now, over 20 years since reunification, there are still slight traces of the past. I guess that's the way it should be though, at least to some extent..

I mentioned in the last entry that I was finally going to start podcasting. I think we'll need one or two more dummy runs to make sure everything is alright before we put the first piece of content out. The name still hasn't been sorted either. Well, my half of the name...turns out that's the most tricky thing for me! I'm thinking about possibly doing a solo 'cast alongside the joint one with Rachel, but if I do that, I'll probably leave it a while... we'll see.

That's all from me. As always, life is looking good in the immediate future. Love what you're doing and make the most of what you've got.
Much love.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Kicking off with a bang

It's the start of the year, and we're headed towards the end of the first full week of 2013. I've been back in Germany for almost a week, I've been back at work since last Friday...and it's starting to feel like I've never been away. That's not a bad thing at all, I quickly remembered that I could speak German, settled back down into work and picked up where I left off at work.

The first week and a half of 2013 have been pretty good. I realised that I needed to be more positive in life, and I think I've made a good effort so far to be more positive in day to day life. If that keeps going over the coming weeks and months, then I'll be quite happy with myself. I didn't go and make any resolutions for the start of the year, since I've never really made them. If I made one, I'd probably feel more tempted to break it, just for the sake of it.

One thing I would like to change is getting a bit more sleep though. For quite a while, I've been struggling to sleep. If I go to bed early, I find myself springing awake by about 1am and then I'm unable to go back to sleep for a while. My current 'record' is 4 hours lying awake at night. Maybe I should start doing some writing at night. I was always at my most creative last year during the small hours of the morning...maybe it's a sign!

Anyway, the main chunk of this blog entry is to say that I'm taking a 30 day challenge using Onnit products. For those who don't know what Onnit is, they're a supplement group specialising in nootropics and the like. I heard about them as a sponsor of Joe Rogan's podcast, and they've started sponsoring a couple of other podcasts that I listen to. So, I figured I'd give them a go. Their website has plenty of material about what the different supplements contain, what they claim to do and if you have a quick look on Google, there's plenty of material on both sides of the argument saying that they're a load of rubbish and that they really do work and they're fantastic. I guess we'll find out.

I decided to get hold of some Alpha Brain, which they claim is a cognitive enhancing supplement to boost mental performance (as well as help with an enhanced dream state) and New Mood, a 5-HTP and L/-tryptophan supplement which is supposed to support relaxation and help with a healthier mood balance by creating more serotonin 

Maybe they'll work, maybe they won't. If they don't, then it isn't the end of the world. If they do have some sort of positive effect on me, fantastic.

So over the next 30 days, I'll be writing a little something every day about how I'm feeling and whether I can feel a difference. I haven't decided whether I'll post things on a weekly basis in four installments or if I'll do two entries for each half of the month. We'll see how things go.

Also, I'm pretty sure my Zoom showed up today. Sadly, it's currently upstairs with a neighbour who decided to take it and they haven't been home all evening for me to pick it up. So that'll have to wait until tomorrow...but I should be able to have a play with that. I imagine Rachel will be busy in the next few weeks with exams and uni related antics, but then we should be ready to take a couple of trial runs and find out what works, what doesn't work and what needs to be changed before throwing some audio content out into the world. 

Oh, and Leipzig awaits this weekend. Fantastic. Exciting times lie ahead. Watch this space!