Tag Archives: books

Fabulous Fridays: #52 Lists Project

52listsThis week’s lists asks me to name the ways in which I have fun. (Note: I am only listing actives that are appropriate to be mentioned in a blog.)

  1. Spending some solo time with various members of my family.(We tend to turn everything into an epic adventure.)
  2. Spending time with everyone in my family.
  3. Reading
  4. Singing
  5. Playing Guitar
  6. Going to the Movies
  7. Going to Concerts
  8. Going to the Theater
  9. Playing Tennis
  10. Going to places I’ve never been before.
  11. Hanging with Friends
  12. Going to Disney World.

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Fabulous Fridays: #52lists Project

This week’s list: List your favorite characters from books, movies, television, etc…

  • Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind
  • Rose DuWitt Bukater from Titanic
  • Darcy Rhone of Something Borrowed/Something Blue
  • Margaret Simon from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
  • Farley Drexel Hatcher (aka “Fudge”) from Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Double Fudge.
  • Jo Polniaczek from The Facts of Life
  • Blair Warner from The Facts of Life
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (Specifically Melissa Gilbert’s version) from Little House on the Prairie.

Take Action: Find a common personality trait between all of your favorite characters. What is one character trait you admire?

I’d never really thought about it before until now because they sort of seem like a diverse group in my head. Still, when it comes right down to it all of them (except for maybe Fudge) are more than what they appear to be. At first glance, they seem stereotypical, but when you really get to know the characters, they are a lot deeper, stronger, and opinionated when you first meet them. They may be debutantes, superficial or classic tomboys, but there is always more to them than meets the eye and there is a part of me that has something in common with each one of them.

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Buy It, Borrow It, or Bag It: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

holly-madison-article     When I picked this book up, I had no idea who Holly Madison was. Having never seen an episode of The Girls Next Door, I could not tell you the cast members’ names and I only vaguely knew that it centered around three women who lived in the famed Playboy Mansion. Still the idea of getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Hugh Hefner’s pleasure palace seemed like a bit of decadent fun, so when it became available at my local library, I checked it out.

The way I figured it, the book could go one of two ways: either it would be well written and full of juicy tidbits or it would be one of those tragic tales that they make into a Lifetime movie. I was wrong on both counts. Down the Rabbit Hole is just…sad and for all of the wrong reasons. For everyone who has ever viewed the iconic Playboy brand as the pinnacle of the soft-core porn industry or looked at Hugh Hefner as a man who is still living the high life despite his age, this book will leave you deflated and you’ll be sorry that you peeked behind the curtain.

Madison’s tale is fairly standard: Small town girl wants to make it in the big time so she packs her bags and moves to Los Angeles where she hopes to end up in that most famous of all magazines, Playboy. It’s an interesting career choice and after securing an invite to one of the Playboy Pool Parties, she becomes a regular fixture until (almost immediately) she moves in to the Mansion itself.

Of course things aren’t always what they appear to be in Wonderland and Madison learns that she is not welcomed with open arms. The other “girlfriends” of Hefner’s have a very specific pecking order and Madison is low man on the totem pole. She spends a significant amount of time talking about how mean everyone is to one another, how Hefner perpetuates the drama and why none of his “main squeezes” tend to end up in the magazine itself. Evidently the Number One Playboy himself knows that despite his wealth, at his age he is hardly a “catch” and many of the girls will only cuddle up next to him in order to secure their pictorial, collect a handsome paycheck and find someone else in pretty short order. So naturally, he has to keep those closest to him on a tight leash. (Metaphorically speaking, of course)

Couple this unflattering scenario with the idea that the Playboy mansion is hardly the palatial digs one might expect it to be. I could have done without hearing about the urine soaked carpet, the stacks of adult films lying around and the furnishings that seem straight out of the seventies. (Let’s not even talk about the bizarre bedroom ritual that followed a night on the town.) By the time the Girls Next Door television show got off the ground, Madison has devoted half a decade to this place with no promise of a photo shoot and little more to show for it than the distinction of being Hugh Hefner’s main girlfriend. Once upon a time, that illustrious title had cache but to hear Madison tell it, the shine has long since worn off. Halfway through the book I wanted to yell, “What were you sticking around for, Lady?”

After being coerced into signing her GND contract and having some of her fashion designs pirated (by Playboy no less) I think I would be having a chat with the guy in charge…especially if I was living with him. Down the Rabbit Hole is a cautionary tale for which I have no sympathy and if you’re smart, you’ll avoid it. Bag It.

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Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: The Angry Optimist by Lisa Rogak

Stewart     I am a sucker for a good biography and I am even happier when that biography does not belabor the family tree of the subject and gets right into the heart of what we want to know. The Angry Optimist does just that. The Angry Optimist is a biography of Jon Stewart who ended his tenure as host of The Daily Show on August 6 to the chagrin of his fans. Oddly enough, little is really know about the man who has been called the “most trusted name in news” other than he was a classic underachiever and Bruce Springsteen fan who never considered himself anything more or less than a comedian despite the accolades that came his way. His friends are fiercely protective of him and don’t tell tales out of school, but what the author was able to find out about him is pretty fascinating and certainly lends itself nicely to his role on Comedy Central’s fake news show.

The Angry Optimist takes readers through Stewart’s beginnings in the clubs and how he eventually landed bit parts in various movies, made friends with Louis C.K. and others who were regular guests on The Daily Show. How he was asked to take over the show and gave it an overhaul that changed it for the better. The book chronicles his generosity to spin his colleagues off into their own endeavors including Stephen Colbert, Jon Oliver and more, how he unwittingly caused the cancellation of CNNs Crossfire and CNBC’s Mad Money when he took on both show’s hosts and ripped them a new one on behalf of the American people and because the book was updates just after the announcement that he was leaving The Daily Show, it discussed his replacement host and surmises that the show may never be the same.

It’s not as good as going to sleep after watching Stewart Monday through Thursday, but if you are having Daily Show withdrawal syndrome like I am, it’s worth checking out of the library to pass the time and remember the good ole days that were the summer of 2015. Borrow It.

 

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Tingle Tuesday: ASMR Dependency and Immunity

ASMR image1      Is ASMR harmful in anyway? Can you become addicted to it? What happens when it stops working? These are all questions we have seen on various message boards so allow me to put a few concerns to rest. When the whisper community/ASMR community began, it was all about helping people relax and get to sleep at night. This remains the primary goal of ASMRtists everywhere; therefore ASMR is not intentionally harmful in any way.

That being said, safety is always the key word when indulging in any practice that operates on a subliminal level or has the ability to put you to sleep or in a hypnotic trance for a period of time. If you are knew to the ASMR phenomenon, here are some top tips and rules to keep in mind:

  1. Do not try and trigger your tingles while operating a car or heavy machinery.
  2. Screen all videos/audio content prior to using them for ASMR purposes.
  3. Use foreign language content judiciously. (Hey, I am triggered by it myself and most ASMRtists are just offering something different, but keep in mind although YOU may not know what is being said, the subconscious might and I am aware that there was one ASMRtist who was being very derogatory in their FL content. So, just be aware. )
  4. Screen content prior to allowing your children to watch it. This seems fairly obvious, but it bears mentioning.
  5. Discuss any concerns you have with your personal physician.

As far as we know, it is not possible to become “addicted” to ASMR however; it is possible to develop an unhealthy reliance on it. Allow me to explain. If your love of ASMR content is preventing you from enjoying a full life outside of a computer screen, then you may want to do something about that. Any psychologist will tell you that substituting a real life for a virtual one is not healthy, but be assured it’s your behavior not the content doing that to you. I am of the opinion that although ASMR can help you get through the rough times when you are in need of a good night’s rest, it is often most effective when you are doing everything you can to have a normal, happy, healthy life. Remember, it is a supplement, not a way of life and you lesson the chances of ASMR immunity when it does not become an everyday occurrence.

ASMR immunity is something that comes up frequently and essentially refers to those moments when your go to videos stop working and no matter what you do, you cannot seem to get the ASMR tingles to occur. Rest assured this is very normal and typically comes from over exposure to the same video and ASMRtist. When we get used to their voice, their actions or if we have watch the video so much we have it memorized it can negate the effect. For some, the solution is to find a new ASMRtist while others take a break for a while and then come back to it. If you have experienced this yourself rest assured there is nothing wrong, and more importantly, the condition doesn’t last forever.

Untile next time, tingle on,

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

 

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Tingle Tuesday: Fission and ASMR

Fission   This is another debate that comes up frequently on ASMR message boards and in social media. Is it the same thing as goose bumps or the feeling you get when you hear a really great song on the radio? I have a feeling I am going to tick a lot of people off with my assessment on this subject, but I’m just going to go for it: it’s all in the same family of feelings.

It distresses me that as a community, members frequently bash one another because of their goose bumps or fission feelings that “aren’t” technically the ASMR feelings we have accepted as our own criteria. If I may step on a soapbox for a minute, these feelings are very valid and can help folks discover their true ASMR triggers. Telling someone “no, it’s not the same thing” essentially shuts them off from that discovery and is a disservice to the continued understanding of this area of the mind.

We tend to accept on premise that ASMR probably has something to do with a release of dopamine and we know that the chills experienced during music illicit the same brain response. We also know that ASMR often feels like goose bumps without the raised skin effect so are we not shooting ourselves in the foot by alienating other conditions rather than learning from them?

When I began writing the ASMR book, I spent a lot of time reading about things that are seemingly unconnected to ASMR. For example: “Why do people watch things?” “Why are certain sounds more pleasant than others?” These queries did not always lead me to relaxation sites but often led me to education sites such as “How do people take in information? Sight, sound and touch” and audiology sites that explained head space, the inner workings of binaural sound and biological concepts that I should have memorized way back when.

Because we still know so little about ASMR, it is vital that we examine as much information as we can from a variety of fields of study without prejudice. Finding similarities as well as differences will lead us to better information that will help researchers develop more ways in which to study the phenomenon and give it widespread credence throughout the entire scientific community.

Until next time, Tingle On,

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

 

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Tingle Tuesday: “What’s an ASMR?”

asmr    The first time I saw the term, I had no clue what it meant, how to pronounce it or what to make of it. After months of watching my happy little tingle videos, seemingly overnight their titles all contained a four letter…something: ASMR. Now, I didn’t know what an ASMR was (read: azzmer) but I avoided the term like the plague. At first I wasn’t sure if the term was used to distinguish the type of video I had been watching with something completely different (like something more sexual in nature.) However when it became so prevalent, I eventually looked it up.

It was then that I learned that Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) was a semi-scientific term to describe a perceptual phenomenon characterized by a tingly feeling that begins in the head or scalp and flows through the body causing it to relax. It was a term that was more or less made up in 2010 by healthcare IT worker Jenn Allen and promptly dismissed by the clinical community as nothing more than “pseudo science with a medical sounding name.”

While it was nice to have an “official” name connected with the sensation, I have to admit, I was a little confused by the lack of knowledge surrounding it. It wasn’t new. I knew that much having experienced it since I was seven, but if it wasn’t new then where was the research to back it up? If it was a type of biofeedback response that was elicited in medical practices as way to help people relax and cope with pain, why was the scientific community so keen to deny it or act like it wasn’t real?

As someone who had worked in the medical field for nearly a decade and continues to write about a variety of medical subjects, this made no sense to me. I couldn’t help wondering if the phenomenon that YouTubers were calling ASMR had another name at some point, one that was recognized by science but no one knew what it was. Was there some fundamental piece of the description missing that would cause some researcher somewhere to say, “Oh, you mean…” and fill in the blank with a well-thought out but obscure Latin term that no one had ever heard of before or was the real problem the fact that people were turning to YouTube to get a good night’s sleep?

I suspected it might be the latter and thus began my quest for answers. In September of 2013, I wrote my first article on ASMR, it was a local piece that simply introduced the phenomenon to those who may not have heard of it before. I began following the social media feeds of several ASMRtists and learned that several of my friends were already familiar with the sensation as well giving us permission to discuss it in the way that only “tingle heads” can.

In the months that followed it became obvious that the ASMR phenomenon was moving more into the mainstream, but I was still irritated by the fact that few reports I saw went beyond “tingle tales” or the connection between ASMR and Bob Ross. I watched well-regarded physicians offer possible explanations for the sensation with a shrug as if they really had no clue as to what was going on and commentators who acted like the whole thing was a big joke. Oh my Lord, people this can’t be that hard, I thought to myself. Someone is going to have to track this thing in and figure out what is going on.

Little did I know that I would become the “someone” who would do it.

Until next time, tingle on,

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

 

 

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Tingle Tuesday: Finding the “Whisper Community”

Whispering     Like a lot of ASMR experiencers, I stumbled onto the online whisper community and their trigger videos by accident although I was more or less “involved” from the very beginning. Ever since Connie gave me that biofeedback tape, I was on the lookout for material that could cause the same relaxation response inside of me. I would seek out relaxation tapes/CDs at my local bookstore and at the library, but the selection was often limited.

I can’t pinpoint when I first turned to YouTube in search of relaxation videos, but I can say that my search to find something to settle my brain intensified in 2008 with the passing of my mom. If you have never lost your last parent, then you cannot imagine the desperate feeling of loss that comes along with it. I felt alone in the world. I couldn’t sleep. My entire biological schedule was turned around and I struggled to get used to the new “normal” of being an orphan. As I suspected, there were a lot of videos to choose from including self-hypnosis, guided visualization, meditations, affirmations, etc. but many I sampled had music that distracted me, poor sound quality and vocals that grated on my nerves rather than soothed them.

Frustrated, I noticed a strange looking video in my suggestion queue that promised a whispered hypnotic video for sleep. Is that what I think it is? I wondered

Morbid curiosity possessed me to click on it and before I knew what was happening, I was staring at a young woman who was sitting on her bed whispering at her camera. “What in the world?” I mumbled confused as to what I was watching.

Every molecule in my body told me to exit the video, but I couldn’t. There was something strangely compelling about it. Suddenly my queue was full of “whisper videos” as well as videos that promised clicks, taps, hair brushing and an assortment of other noises.

Though some people may have thought me crazy, I was like a kid in a candy store. I had no idea why these people had made these videos or exactly what the intended point of them was, but it was as though the person behind them knew instinctively what would work on me. Was it possible that they felt it too and actually made videos to create that feeling?

It appeared so. After several days of exploring this new medium, I found videos that actually mentioned the brain tingles I had felt over the years. It was wonderful to be validated by something I hadn’t talked about with anyone before. I mentioned what I had found to my husband and was surprised to learn that he had no clue what I was talking about. I mentioned the Alphabet Game, hair brushing and other activities that had put me to sleep in hopes that he could commiserate, but he said he’d never felt it.

“Oh come on,” I said, convinced he was pulling my leg. “You’ve never felt a weird tingly sensation in your scalp that’s kind of like goose bumps but…not?”

“Never,” he promised, shaking his head.

Later on I showed him one of the videos I had been watching. I can’t remember who made it now, but it was of an unseen person brushing their hair. He seemed a little perplexed by my new source of entertainment.

“Let me get this straight,” he said. “You watch this to get a funny feeling in the back of your head and then fall asleep to it.”

“Well….yeah,” I commented. “I don’t know, it’s as if when they do it to themselves, I can imagine what it would feel like if they were doing it to me.”

He took a deep breath. “Well, there’s nothing odd about watching someone on YouTube brush their hair, I guess. So, does this feeling have a name?”

“Not really. A lot of people just call it the ‘head tingles.’”

He stifled a laugh. “Well, here’s hoping that they come up with something more official than that in the future.”

Until next time, tingle on!

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjulieyoung

Join INDY ASMR: https://www.facebook.com/IndyASMR

Read this blog post at: www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR: http://www.amazon.com/Idiots-Guides-ASMR-Julie-Young/dp/1615648186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432674500&sr=8-1&keywords=Idiots+guides%3A+ASMR

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Tingle Tuesday: A Biofeedback tape leads to a discovery

outdoors-woman-headphones    Connie was a colleague at hospital who became a dear friend and mentor of mine. In fact, if I had a list of women who have had a profound impact on my life, her name would definitely appear somewhere in the Top Five. She had a way of opening my eyes to new concepts and in an indirect way she was directly responsible for my discovering ASMR. (In fact, if you look closely, I dedicated my portion of the ASMR book to Connie!)

One spring, I contracted an irritating cold that hung on longer than necessary and as a result turned my days and nights around. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I were still on night shift, but I was working in the mornings and was dragging throughout the day only to find myself wide awake at night. Frustrated, I said to Connie, “How am I ever going to get my body’s schedule straight?”

She thought for a moment and then said, “Have you ever heard of biofeedback?”

I shook my head.

She went onto explain that that after injuring her back, she too had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. In order to help her out, her doctor made her a tape of biofeedback suggestions to help her relax. She promised to bring me a copy of the tape the next day in hopes that it might help.

From the way she described it, it sounded a lot like the guided visualizations my professor had used on my self-hypnosis class and at that point I was willing to try anything so I agreed. The following day, she brought me the tape and made me promise not to listen to it while driving. “I’m serious,” she cautioned. “You could wind up in an accident.”

I thought she was being a little overly cautious, but agreed to wait to listen to it until I was at home. That night, after getting the kids to sleep, I lay down, slid the cassette into my Walkman and put the headphones over my ears. There was that hum of white noise that occurs when someone records himself outside of a professional studio and then I heard the doctor’s voice, which caused my brain exploded in those familiar tingles I hadn’t felt in quite a while.

“Is it possible for you to become a little more relaxed?” He asked.

There was nothing special about his tone. It was just…calm and over the next 10-15 minutes, he led me through a variety of deep relaxation exercises as well as some guided imagery to help ease my mind and urge me into a peaceful slumber. Some of the suggestions were obvious such as imagining a babbling brook or picturing the branches of a tree spreading out above me, but others were a little…well, weird and caused me to throw all of my energy into places I’d never put it before.

“Can you feel the corners of your mouth touching?” He intoned. “Can you imagine the space between your eyes?”

Although I knew it wouldn’t make sense to a lot of people, I was hooked. When I built up a resistance to the doctor’s voice, I sought out guided meditation tapes at the local library hoping to find that perfect blend of vocal timbre and suggestion. It wasn’t always easy. I didn’t care for a lot of the background music included in some of the tapes and sometimes it all seemed a little “rehearsed.” The thing that seemed to set apart that original tape was the fact that I could actually hear how amateurish it was. I could hear the doctor readjust himself in his seat or change the microphone from one hand to the other and oddly enough…it added to the experience.

It felt amazing to know that the funny feeling in my head was some kind of biofeedback response and that a doctor had “discovered” a way to tap into it. Little did I know that I had inadvertently hit the top of a very big iceberg, one that when I looked below the surface would change my life forever.

Until next time, tingle on!

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @Julieyoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorJulieYoung

Join Indy ASMR: http://www.facebook.com/indyASMR

Read this blog post at: http://www.thewaterwhispers.com

Read The Idiot’s Guide to ASMR at http://www.amazon.com: 

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Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It- open Hearts Family by Jane Seymour

Open hearts    This week’s edition of BBorB features Open Hearts Family by Jane Seymour. I picked up this small book when I had the opportunity to meet the legendary actress a few months ago. It took me a while to read it because I have been super busy. I’m embarrassed to admit that considering it’s roughly the size of a bathroom tile and a grand total of 125 pages of quotes and art work…not exactly a heavy read.

This book (as well as all of the Open Hearts titles) make a lovely gift for someone who has everything. Think Mom, Grandma, Aunt, teacher or friend. The artwork (all done by Seymour) is lovely and the quotes are inspiring, but it would not have been a book I would have bought for myself. That being said. I am very impressed with Seymour’s art and I would love to see a book of her portfolio and learn more about her technique since it is unlikely I will ever be able to see the full-size paintings in a gallery anytime soon.

Bag It unless for a gift…then the Open Hearts Series is a great choice!

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