Friday, November 19, 2010

Sleepers vs. Non-Sleepers

A couple of weeks after moving into my new apartment, there was a power-outage that lasted from 10:30 at night to about 4:30 in the morning. It was July. I live on the top floor. My room got very warm very quickly.

During the power outage, my apartment was very quiet. Sort of. There are two types of noise: white noise, and non-white noise. I normally sleep with the air conditioner and a fan on. The building's ventilation system makes a certain amount of white noise. That was all silenced. Now, I could hear all the non-white noise, such as people talking in adjacent units, cars driving by on the streets, dogs barking in the distance, etc.

I didn't get to sleep that night until about 4:30 AM. When I told this story to the McQueens Robin laughed and said I was the only person she knew who wouldn't be able to sleep at night during a power-outage. I tried to explain the difference between white noise and non-white noise, and how I can sleep with white noise, but not non-white noise. She didn't buy it. Jack suggested that there seem to be two types of people in the world: sleepers and non-sleepers, and sleepers will never understand non-sleepers.

Sleepers are people that go to bed and sleep. They sleep because they want to sleep. Or because they're comfortable and tired. I was a sleeper when I was a teenager.  Actually, most teenagers are.

A non-sleeper can't just go to sleep. They need certain conditions to be in place. During the day, I am a sleeper. At night, I'm a non-sleeper. In the day, I can sleep while sitting upright on a noisy, hot, crowded bus with my head against the bouncing window. But at night, I need everything to be just so.

So I started contemplating the difference between sleepers and non-sleepers, trying to develop a theory as to what makes one one and not the other. Then I stumbled across Today's Articles. It turns out that science already has answers.

When you're awake, your brain produces high frequency brain waves. As you fall deeper into sleep, your brainwaves lower in frequency.  Every now and again, while sleeping, a spurt of higher frequency waves are produced. Those spurts are called "spindles". The scientists found that people who produce more spindles don't get woken up as easily as those who produce fewer spindles.

Unfortunately, the question of "how do I make my brain create more spindles?" remains unanswered.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Church Hopping - Part 5

Since my last Church Hopping instalment I have visited a few new churches. Since then I have been to:
Treevale Pentecostal
Being a Pentecostal Church, I knew not to expect an orderly service like what I'm used to at Baptist churches. Some of the stereotypes proved to be true. Singing was pretty repetitious. Overall the music was good. The preaching was probably not bad - most of the time. I don't want to start a holy war here, but I happened to visit this church on Pentecost Sunday. So, of course, the sermon was on Tongues. Every time I visit a non-Baptist church I am reminded about how Baptist I am. This time was no exception.
As for Friendliness, I found it somewhat lacking, which is to be expected in a church that large I suppose. But the pastor did make a point of coming and talking to me, which was good.
Village Pentecostal
I keep going to churches on the wrong Sundays. I went to Chedarview Alliance the day they had the longest preacher in history. I went to Treevale Pentecostal on Pentecost Sunday.  I went Village Pentecostal on what turned out to be a very Pentecostal service. The singing started. But it never ended. They never did get to the sermon. They just got swept up in things. They sang for about 2 hours. But, being Pentecostal, they have a penchant for repetition. In those two hours, I think they only sang 3 songs.
Afterword a few people came to talk to me and assured me it wasn't usually like that, and they hoped I'd come back again. Which I did. Last Sunday I went there again. This time there was an actual sermon. Again, I couldn't help thinking about how Baptist I am. The music was very repetitious. When people talk to me at that church, they're always wondering what I thought of the service, and wondering if I'll come again. It's like they're insecure and asking me " did we do? How do you like us so far?"
West-Fence Alliance
This church was so-so on the friendly scale. A couple of people made sure they shook my hand and said "hi" as I walked in, but then they went back to what they were doing before. Afterwords, a few people came up to me to talk to me and told me they hoped I'd come back. The preacher was a guest, so I'll have to go back to hear the regular pastor at some point. The music wasn't bad, but it did make me miss Blackbelt Baptist's music. West-Fence does what most other churches do with their music. They play contemporary music - written to be led by guitar and vocals, and led with the piano. They didn't even have a guitarist there that morning (ministry opportunity for me!), so that could be the reason. But, it made me appreciate Blackbelt Baptist all the more.
I have since been back thrice.  One time they had two announcements that should have each taken five minutes.  They each took about 10 to 15 minutes, leaving the preacher with hardly any time to race through his sermon.
I went a third time where the preacher spoke for 45 minutes.  I'm not sure if I happen to be going on the wrong Sundays, or if those Sundays are the norm.  I'll have to continue to investigate.
As of writing this, I just went there again this morning.  This time the sermon was 55 minutes long.  It didn't feel like it - which is good.  It felt more like 35 minutes.
Chedarview Alliance - Again
The McQueens wanted to check this church out one Sunday, so I said I'd meet them there. I figure they wouldn't have the world's most boring preacher back again. I would give it another chance. This time the preaching was great! They showed a video of Andy Stanley. As for friendliness, no one would shake my hand, not even the people handing out bulletins. Not only would they not shake my hand, they wouldn't even make eye-contact with me! That's it. I'm definitely not going back.
That one in Farhaven
I forget the name of this church, so I can't come up with a pun-based pseudonym for it.  Pastor Jack was preaching here one Sunday morning, so I went. It was a small church in a school gym. The music was decent for what it was. The preaching was great. And the friendliness was also pretty good. However, it is too far for me to go every week. And, for fellowship reasons, I think I want a larger church.
St. Albany
This is part of the Anglican Network. We were told it had a cool young adults group. So we went to check it out. They had an after church social (which seems to be an Anglican thing) in the church basement. It took a few minutes, but people were eventually friendly. They took my email addy for the young adults group. Unfortunately, they meet at a time that's inconvenient for me.
The music was decent. The seats, however, were very uncomfortable. They were old-school pews with very little leg room.
For communion, they gave the option of drinking from a communal cup, or individual tiny glasses. If you know me, you already know I opted for the individual glasses. But when I got to the front, the person in front of me got the last individual glass. I had to go for the communal cup. Eeeeewwwwww!
Again; I am very Baptist.
So, this February will mark two years since we left Yahoo! Baptist, and I still don't have a regular church family. I might have to re-evaluate my church-selection criteria.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Did You Wash Your Hands?

Anyone who knows me knows how I am about washing hands. I become aware of when I touch something that will cause me to have to wash my hands before touching food. When I'm eating at a function where hand-shaking is required, I shake with my right hand, and handle food with my left. When I have breakfast in a restaurant, pick up my toast with my left hand, and use my right hand for things like the Ketchup bottle, or the salt and pepper shakers - which are rarely washed.

In Today's Article, we get another hand-washing hint. If you wash your hands, and put them below an air-dryer, and rub your hands together it actually brings bacteria out from the pores in your hands, increasing the overall bacteria count on your hands from when you just finished washing your hands. The next best thing to do is not rub your hands.

But the best thing to do is to dry your hands with a paper towel. Using a paper towel allows you to turn off the tap without touching the tap that you touched with your dirty hands, and you can open the door without touching the handle.