Monday, August 09, 2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


I've started writing nonsense, this is just a small chunk of it. I wrote seven hundred words on brushing your teeth yesterday. I'm trying to give you (the many) a window into my life at the moment. This is it. Draw you're own conclusions.

Hee had just bought, get this, because it's very important, a new alarm clock. Alarm clocks are very important. Not many people will actually ever fully understand the effect a good alarm can have on you're whole day. The difference between having a suitable alarm or one that is second rate can make or break ones entire week. Sleep, is obviously very important, we spend a disproportionate amount of time doing it and it affects everything about the way we live our lives when we're awake. Thus, the breaking of ones sleep becomes the most essential element of any single beings working day.
Or so Hee was led to believe. His friend Albert sold alarm clocks, he was an alarm clock salesman and knew a great deal about them. From a very young age he had always known what people wanted to hear, both when they were buying an alarm clock and when they were waking up to one in the morning. He believed he was an aficionado of the surrealist movement, especially their musings on dreams and the sub-conscious, but had read into select exerts of Breton's manifesto in much the same way a fundamentalist Christian will extract at will from the Bible; "If man's awaking is harder, if it breaks the spell too abruptly, it is because he has been led to make for himself too impoverished a notion of atonement." was interpreted by Albert as an instruction to seek acceptance and restitution from society by enhancing the population's alarm clock experience. Befriending a salesman in any field can lead to some interesting insights and opinions being shared. Some people would call this deceit, but Hee wasn't that kind of man. He was the optimist, the glass half full fellow, the bright side surveyor, he liked to think that when faced with a decision as to whether the person babbling in front of him had questionable motives, he would give them the benefit of the doubt.

So when his old alarm had given up the ghost, he had gone to see his good friend, he had sat through the two hours and forty five minutes of feature comparison, button integrity charts, tock amplification modes, digital radio enhancement diagrams and list after list of alarm sound bites, individually graded from one to irksome. He had come away with his choice, a shiny new model; the Wake-O-Snooze-You-Chooze F7.2.1 v2 Turbo, to give it's full title. This alarm was for all the people that have never fully experienced what it's like to be woken up properly. This was an alarm for the kind of person that wants to wake up in a whirlwind of happiness and stay that way for the foreseeable future. Sure, other alarms will wake you up, but for some people waking up is just not enough. This alarm clock, this wonder of technology, goes above and beyond conventional, and some might say appropriate, means. On unpacking the alarm, it will automatically begin a week long process of monitoring, analysing, reacting, adjusting and nurturing, in a relationship that has often been compared (by reputable statisticians) to that of the mother sperm whale to her calf. The different phases of sleep are firstly monitored using snore specific infra-red sonispheremal heat sensors placed in and around the armpits. This informs the core computer of the sleeper's nightly and weekly sleeping pattern, identifying any main problem areas or habits and also logging and assessing any noteworthy interference.. The alarm then requires a full day of analytical processing, during which it will calculate the atmospheric conditions needed to provide the sleeper with an ideal night's sleep, including the long term effects of such conditions and how that will affect the sleeper both mentally and physically. It will determine how much time the sleeper would ideally be suited to spend sleeping, and the exact type of sleep which would be suitable, be that dozing, snoozing, snoring, power napping, siesta-ing, catnapping or just plain passing out. Finally and most important of all it will of course ascertain the perfect technique or process with which to wake the client from their slumber. This depends entirely on the person, and which kind of sleep they are undertaking. For snoozers, a large, fat, metallic slapping noise like a wet seal hitting a letterbox would be ideal. For nappers, short bursts of Bach, but as if heard from every fourth carriage in a passing train, giving it a heightened sense of distortion. For dribblers and early risers, the thousand times amplified recording of butterfly cocoons opening on a Cumbrian beach would seem appropriate. For snorers, a Doppler effect recording of a palette of empty apple boxes demolishing a Worcestershire bungalow is desirable, followed by a crescendo of the tiny patter of toddler's feet across a wet swimming pool floor. For the fans of the quick forty winks, the eight second din of an endurance athlete vomiting violently into a bucket slightly too small in volume for said vile projections, would awaken them in precisely the correct manner.

You can see how the variables can escalate, and how when Hee first became aware of this gloriously unique world of slumber-awakening biometrics, he was baffled and (glass half full) awe inspired by the scientific techniques, statistical breakthroughs and engineering feats involved. He was so intrigued and excited that he did actually once inquire after Albert as to the channels one would need to go down to launch into a career in alarm clock sales. Albert was all too pleased that his friend had taken an interest and put him on to his employer, who promptly offered Hee an interview. However he slept in that day.

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