On sleeping through seminars

It seems as soon as I enter a lecture theatre I fall asleep..

At the very latest when they turn on the beamer and start talking.

It’s not quite full on sleeping, just dozing off and waking up a few seconds later when my head jolts back up, but it’s frustrating to be completely incapable of listening to someone talk about their research for 40 minutes without falling asleep.

The room wasn’t too warm or too cold, and neither too light nor too dark. The topics were interesting and complicated and the speakers were anything but monotone.

I think I might have a bigger sleep-deficit than I’d imagined..


Anyone got any good ideas for staying awake?

On using the wrong strap

Backpacks, like suitcases, are something I ought to know more about than I do. I have carried some kind of backpack/rucksack/satchel/shoulder bag/handbag/bookbag/shopping bag/sport-kit-bag/…. almost every day for the last 25 years, on average probably multiple times per day.

Having said that, and considering how long quarter of a century sounds, I haven’t actually had that many different bags.

This is mostly because I get attached to them but also because I don’t like shopping much. This means I wear (/use?) them until they wear out or fall to bits, whichever comes first.

My latest is no exception.

It was one of the last in a box in Aldi. It was (and is :)) purple and perfectly tined to coincide with finally having to admit that a bag with 2 broken zips is more than defunct. It was perfect, in the way that only Aldi-backpacks can be perfect.

I bought it and ignored the small voice telling me it was probably sewn together by small Chinese children, pacifying my conscience with the knowledge that if I bought it it would almost definitely get more use than leaving it for someone else (which admittedly is no excuse for child labour).

That was a couple of years ago.

These days, as a result of daily maltreatment, 3 tonnes of textbooks and a couple of bottles of water, it looks like this:


This is a very good example of not heeding the stitch-in-time proverb. I am now looking at a whole lot more than nine stitches! 🙁

My bag is in the process of losing a strap, and I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I will need to mend it.



In the meantime I am learning, or at least trying to learn, to use the other strap instead. It’s a whole lot harder than it sounds.


I wear my backpack on both shoulders if I’m walking any distance, but I heave it onto my left shoulder first, and leave it there if I’m only going a couple of paces. If I need to take anything out of it without putting it down, I’ll swing it off my right shoulder and rummage through the contents, leaning the weight on the left strap.

I think this left-shoulderism stems back to a black leather shoulder bag I inherited from a friend (who goes through bags at an astounding rate of knots (or bags) in year 8 or 9. It only had one strap and I had to choose a side. I don’t remember what I did before that.

Moving to Germany meant multiple flights (and other journeys) made with a wheeled suitcase and a laptop bag. I, probably automatically by then, wore my laptop bag on my left (although strangely, often with the strap on my right shoulder), leaving my right side free for a suitcase. Having the suitcase on the right also meant that it was usually between me and the road which I think is generally a good thing.

After 5 or 6 years I had a fight with a suitcase . Now, 11 years on, I am almost incapable of changing sides. It feels so wrong, and my entire stance  unstable,  but I suppose that just means there’s more reason to practise.

Apparently, according to an article I read a while ago (and which I can no longer find), using the wrong hand to do routine activities (like brushing your teeth) can improve all kinds of things like memory or creativity etc. Here’s a link to a different but similar article. Maybe it works with carrying bags too…
…then maybe I’ll remember to mend it at the weekend (and be creative enough to get a load more revision cards written. 🙂