On graduation

Social life involves being sorted by a few others who have, by the rest of us, been given the power to sort. Our illusion is that it ends on graduation, from one school or another, when one teacher passes us, and then passes us on. But it never really does. We go on being driven and sorted, until at last we’re sorted out, and driven home.

From the New Yorker, Feb 2015 Issue


Owls and Larks (Toastmasters speech #2)

On Monday, I gave my second toastmasters speech with the title “Owls and Larks”.  The goal of the speech was to incorporate a strong beginning and end, and to transition smoothly between the different parts of the speech.  The feedback was very positive with the following things noted:

  1. I play with my wedding ring if I’m nervous.
  2. I move my arms only from the elbow, need to improve my body language.
  3. I tend to drop my voice at the end of a sentence, sometimes making it difficult for the audience to understand the last word.
  4. My (bad) posture detracts from the (mostly self-deprecatory) humour in my speech.

I was also advised that the ending could be stronger and that it might help to memorise the last line of the speech so that it serves as an anchor;  and that a good last line is what makes your speech memorable.  I like this last bit of advice very much as that is what is usually lacking in my presentations.

The subject was of course on my current attempt to wake up at 6:00am and as a lifelong “owl”, how difficult this may be.

Wake up with the sun

The trouble with short winter days is that 6:00am feels like midnight.  Following the advice to change one’s waking habits slowly, I’ve planned to wake up with the (local) sunrise every day till equinox.  The next challenge will be to maintain this when we shift to summer time in a week.

On March 20, the local sunrise time is 06:29 so I will maintain this same waking time till April 17, when the sunrise (in summer time) is again at 06:30.  Following sunrise again, I should be up at 06:00 by May 4.

I tried this today and found the snooze button to be my foil.  So from tomorrow the clock stays away from my bed-side table and there will be no snooze allowed. With more statistics, I’ll put up a tracking graph here.