Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Night Owl or Morning Lark?

"Blessed are the owls, for they shall inherit the mystery and magic of the night" - Hilary Rubinstein
Photo credit - Link
I identify myself as a night owl. You know, those people that are highly efficient and buzzing late at night. Unfortunately when forced into the structure of the working week, night owls are often hurrying to get ready in the mornings and skipping breakfast in favour of an extra five minutes of sleep.

Morning larks are those (slightly annoying) chirpy people that leap out of bed in the morning with the vigour of having an ice bucket thrown over them. They are the ones that go on early morning walks and do yoga before breakfast. It looks great in theory and designer sports wear, but convincing my semi-conscious brain to rise earlier to meditate in front of the sunrise just isn't going to happen. However, larks can also be the people that turn into slouchy pumpkins and toddle off to bed at about 9 pm every night.

Photo credit - Link
Night owls are often confused as being lazy as they snore away the morning hours while Miss Chirpy goes to the gym, reads the paper and vacuums the floors, all before work in the morning. But research has shown that there are distinct differences in the natural circadian rhythms (body clocks) of night owls and morning larks. Some research even suggests that genetics may play a role to pre-determine our owlish or larkish tendencies. 

I always thought that senior school and university had turned me into a night owl. Staying up late to finish assignments and almost dying trying to get up the next morning to hand them in. But this pattern has extended into my working adult life. They say that our owl/lark preferences do influence our work choices. Interestingly, I work in a job that can have quite varied work hours and even late night field work. People will say "Oh, I can't understand how you can traipse around in the bush at night", and my reply is usually "No, it's great! It's quiet and cool and you don't have to worry about sunburn" (a lack of large predators in Australia makes it a bit safer too).

So, whichever you are, chances are you were naturally built for either the morning or the evening. Which one are you?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Report Card for Summer

Dear Gaia,

We are writing to you to to inform you of your daughter, Summer's, performance over the last season. We are concerned that over the past few months, Summer has not been providing us with the hot weather we usually come to expect of her. Although we have been experiencing the odd sunburn and thunderstorms in the evenings which are characteristic of Summer, temperatures are not reaching much above 26 degrees celsius on average during the day and the nights are still relatively cool. Light jackets are still required at night in February. Additionally, Summer has brought with her this season an unprecedented level of rain, which although is good for the garden, isn't good for normal outdoor activities like boating, sports and picnicking. This is not the sort of behaviour we expect to see in December, January and February.

We have reason to believe that Summer has been greatly influenced lately by another element, La Nina, who tends to be a bad influence on many seasons resulting in cool and wet weather conditions. Summer's long-term friendship with El Nino, which resulted in the warm and dry season we have come to expect, appears to have ended and we are concerned that this new friendship with La Nina is affecting her ability to perform the necessary tasks required for the season.

We would appreciate your cooperation in discussing our concerns with Summer to help resolve these issues. We look forward to an improved performance by Summer next year.


The people of eastern Australia.

P.S. Please find attached an image of what we would like to see from Summer next year.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Laman Street Update

Some of you may remember my previous posts about the Laman Street figs in Newcastle here and here.

Well, here's an update:

Common sense lost out.