Ever since I can remember I have associated colors with numbers, letters, words, days of the week and months of the year. I never questioned it until recently. I now have a name for it. Synesthesia. More specifically Grapheme Color Synesthesia.
Synesthesia: A Documentary by Jonathan Fowler
Boing Boing presents a remix of "Synesthesia," a documentary directed by Jonathan Fowler (jonathan-fowler.com) about people whose senses blend, or mix. For instance: a synesthete might see colors when listening to music, or taste flavors when hearing a spoken word.
In this documentary, Dr. David Eagleman of Baylor College of Medicine explains this condition, and four synesthetes explain how they perceive the world.
The full-length version of this film was produced with support from The Research Channel (researchchannel.org), and is available for viewing on their website: http://tinyurl.com/lpluak
CREDITS: Directed & Produced by Jonathan Fowler. Cinematography by Rex Jones & Jonathan Fowler. Music by Moby & Olis.
* David Eagleman, Ph.D., neuroscientist, Baylor College of Medicine
* Marilynn Masten, synesthete
* Julia Cochran, synesthete
* Tiffany Gill, synesthete
* Sean Day, synesthete
If you yourself think you may have Synesthesia, I highly reccomend that you visit http://synesthete.org. Here you can take a battery test which will assist you in determining if you have Synesthesia. Simply click, "Not Sure If You Are Synesthetic" on the right hand side of the page.
Ever since I can remember I have associated colors with numbers, letters, days of the week, and months of the year. Just recently I took a battery test which assists in determining whether one has Synesthesia and which type.
To participate in the battery yourself visit http://synesthete.org and click on "Not Sure If You Are Synesthetic" on the right hand side of the page.
I never thought the fact that I associate numbers with colors was an odd concept. Just yesterday I was speaking to a friend about this and she exclaimed, "ooooo, that number/color association has a name!" I looked it up and found that there is a neurological condition called Synesthesia.
I've learned that there are various forms of Synesthesia and the type that connects numbers and colors (and/or letters) is calledGrapheme Color Synesthesia.
Many who experience Synesthesia are left handed women. I am a left handed woman.
There are various tests and batteries that can assist in determining if a person has Synesthesia. The Stroop is a popular test which presents different words in different colors. For example the word Blue may be presented in the color (pink)Blue. The individual taking the test must read the words in the colors they are presented. The time in which it takes the participant to answer which color it is written in, is recorded. Those with Synesthesia will take longer answering than non-Synesthetics.
According to a 2007 article from Associated Content, "One theory suggests that, people who have Synesthesia just retain color memories from childhood. An example would be colorful alphabetical or numerical magnets that the child had played with. This theory, however, does not explain all aspects of the condition.(Ramachandran, 2005)"
I learned that for some with Synesthesia, days of the week have color. It rang a bell! As a child I used to believe that days of week were associated with color. I hadn't remembered this in so long!
Monday is Red, Tuesday is Yellow, Wednesday is Green, Thursday is Purple, Friday is White, Saturday is Pink, Sunday is Blue.
It's interesting how this just all came back to me in a flash!
In rare cases, when hearing a specific note one will develop a specific taste their mouth. Another rare form is where a person can taste food while hearing specific musical notes. Fascinating.
When I look at a word I do not consistently see color. However, when I see certain words I can come up with a color if I choose to pause and ask myself what color I think it should be. The specified color then pops up pretty quickly in my mind. For the purpose of this post I went to a random website and looked at specific words and asked myself what colors I could associate to with the word I was staring at. Here are a few.
Phenomena is Black Angela is Green FilmisBlue AboutisRed ScientistisYellow
I noticed that I could not associate a color with any and every word. But some colors jumped out at me immediately.
What I experience, does not interfere with my daily life. When I read I am not noticing colors, when I see signs I do not notice colors, when I see colors I do not think of certain words. Because of this I would have assumed that I only possessed tendencies rather than actually Synesthesia.
I decided to investigate further and came across a website which offered a lengthy testing battery for the condition of Synesthesia.
The results conclude that I have Grapheme Color Synesthesia. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I feel a little doubtful but regardless there is no major concern here. These associations with words, numbers and colors have no negative bearing on my life.
The Battery consists of four tests and one questionnaire. The first test is the Grapheme Color Picker Test. Here I was asked to identify a color which I associate with a letter or number. When a letter or number appeared on the screen a color popped up and I had a option of changing the color and picking a shade of that color. The same letters and numbers showed up repeatedly in random order.
I showed a score of 1.59. A score below 1.0 is ranked as synesthetic. Non-synethetes asked to use memory or free association typically score in the range of a 2.0. A perfect score of 0.0 would mean that there was no difference in the colors selected on each successive presentation of the same letter. So it appears that for this test I landed somewhere in the middle.
The second test was the Speed Congruency Test. My results for this test was 88.89%. An accuracy percentage of right answers in the range of 85-100 typically indicates synesthetic association between the graphemes and colors. Those below 85% typically rule out synesthesia. So, for this test I fit the Synesthetic category.
The third test was the Weekly Color Picker Test. Here I was asked to associate a color with a day of the week. The days appeared repeatedly and in random order. I scored 0.51. A score below 1.0 is ranked as synesthetic. Non-synethetes asked to use memory or free association typically score in the range of a 2.0. A perfect score of 0.0 would mean that there was no difference in the colors selected on each successive presentation of the same letter. Here to I fit the Synesthetic category.
The fourth test was the Monthly Color Picker Test. Here I was asked to associate a color with a month and the months were repeated in random order. I scored a 0.8. A score below 1.0 is ranked as synesthetic. Non-synethetes asked to use memory or free association typically score in the range of a 2.0. A perfect score of 0.0 would mean that there was no difference in the colors selected on each successive presentation of the same letter. Again, I fit the category for Synesthetic category.
The combination of the tests and questionnaire resulted in a diagnosis of Grapheme Color Synesthesia.
For more information on the Synesthesia Battery and the details of how it is scored, please refer to David M. Eagleman, Arielle D. Kagan, Stephanie S. Nelson, Deepak Sagaram, Anand K. Sarma. A standardized test battery for the study of Synesthesia. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2007 Jan 15;159(1):139-145.
So, in the end what does this mean for me? Nuttin'! It's interesting of course but the only thing that has changed in my life is that now I have a name for what I experience.
To take the battery yourself visit http://synesthete.org and click on the tab that says, "Not Sure If You Are Synesthetic". It is located on the right hand side of the page.
Here I am again, posting about Lt. Dan Choi. On March 19, 2009, Lt. Dan Choi, announced that he was gay on The Rachel Maddow Show. Despite his value as an Arabic speaker able to communicate with the Iraqi people, Lt. Choi was notified that he was soon to be discharged.
To read my 2009 post, Lt. Dan Choi Discharged Under Don't Ask Don't Tell, click here. To read my 2009 post, Lt. Dan Choi Fired Despite Much Support, click here.
On June 30, 2009 Lt. Choi stood trial and appealed unsuccessfully to President Barack Obama. He presented over 260,000 support statements from soldiers, citizens, members of congress, Iraqi friends, and his boyfriend. While the case was appealed to the Secretary of Defense, Lt. Choi served openly in his infantry unit for over a year while publicly pushing for the repeal of the immoral policy.
On March 19, 2010 Lt. Choi handcuffed himself to the White House fence with fellow gay veteran Captain James Pietrangelo II. As a result they were arrested and spent the night in prison. They repeated the action on April 20, 2010 with four other veterans including a transgender navy veteran.
Upon Choi's release from prison, he received notification of his honorable discharge under "Don't Ask Don't Tell." He then wrote a letter to the Senate Majority Leader, relinquishing hisWest Point class ring.
Choi's last arrest occurred on November 15th, 2010. Choi protested Don't Ask Don't Tell at the White House. Choi is now facing federal charges which equate to 6 months in prison or a $5,000 fine for an obscure infraction of Parks and Wildlife federal regulations.
Courage Campaign Chair and Founder Rick Jacobs sent a letter of support to Judge Facciola, who is presiding over his trial. Help the cause by adding your name to the letter! To do this visit the Courage Campaign website and simply type in your name, email and zip code. It's easy!
To read the letter click here. To add your name to the letter click here.
To visit the official Lt. Dan Choi website click here.
To visit the official Lt. Dan Choi facebook page click here.
To visit the official Courage Campaign website click here.
To visit the official Courage Campaign facebook page click here.
Roar! These slippers are awesome. If you visit Baby Cricket etsy page on this day you'll see that these grey slippers are already sold out. Do not fret! Baby Cricket can still make these for you! These slippers come in Ivory, Tan, Mocha, Chocolate and Grey. Each pair is $35.
In a sense these slippers seem very simple. Triangle pieces sticking out of a slipper. But here is how the creator describes her work.
I started making these for little kids, but there was such a demand for them in adult sizes I now offer them in all sizes. The tops are made with two layers of super soft furry grey fabric, with black micro-suede claws sewn securely into the toes. The soles have a layer of foam sandwiched between a faux leather sole and the furry insole for the comfort of those of us who weigh more than 30 lb toddlers.
The ivory and the grey are the fuzziest fabrics, while the tan, mocha and chocolate have a shorter fur.
Please let me know at checkout if you want a different fabric and/or claw color.
Well, turns out the white version of these slippers are meant to look like Max's character from the children's book.
I just ordered my pair of grey monster slippers! "Let the Wild Rumpus Start!"
Can't wait till' I get my pair in the mail! I'll be able to wear my Where the Wild Things Are slippers while cuddling with my Where the Wild Things are "Bernard" plush. Yes, I have a Bernard plush, lemme alone!
Another example of how bacon has gotten out of hand.
...Or how bacon has become more creative. I think it's a combo platter of both.
I rarely eat bacon. Too fatty and greasy.
Even so, I do find myself intrigued with the various ways in which people are incorporating this food. I imagine this bouquet of roses smells terrible.
These little flowers remind me of stars. I've been craving anything pastel lately. Pastel peach, lavender, and especially mint. The above flower accents are various shades of light pink with glitter all around. I'm a sucker for glitter so I am loving this presentation.
I wanted to show off Twinkie Chan's new hat but I figured I had to jot down a blurb about who she is. Otherwise, for those of you who aren't in the know, this is just a random cutie chick with an awesome dessert themed hat. So, keep reading and when you are up to speed I'll get back to the hip hat.
I've been a fan of Twinkie Chan for a very long time. To read one of my former posts about Twinkie Chan click here. This post will give you detailed information about her work, along with great photos, and video footage.
Basically Twinkie Chan is a crochet artist extraordinaire from San Francisco. Being that I am obsessed with cupcakes and any aesthetic that is food themed, Ms. Chan is right up my alley. She crochets mainly food themed scarves but she also crochets, purses, tissue box covers, pendants, cup holders and more.
Here's a taste of her creations. Below are just three of the scarves that I actually own.
This one is my favorite of all my Twinkie Chan stuff. I am obsessed with cupcakes and I love strawberries.
Toast is one of my favorite foods. So simple but so perfect. A very cozy food, a very munchie food. Toast is also very random and I dig random.
Grapefruit is not one of my favorite fruits. I have to be in a particular mood to consume a grapefruit. Even so, I find them to be one of the prettiest fruits. Fruit is so beautiful to me. The textures, the scents and the intricate presentation.
Ok, as promised back to the hat..
Twinkie Chan bought this hat from Locketship. The shirt is from Miss Alphabet. She posted these pics on her blog or "blargh" as she refers to it. According to Twinkie Chan the cake plate is actually sparkly. I'm a sucker for glitter so that makes me happy.
This hat seems very Alice in Wonderland to me. Tea and cake and quirkiness all around. That's my stuff!
Though I have never considered myself to really be a stereotypical "girlie girl", I do enjoy quirky girlie as I call it, and Twinkie Chan is definitely the epitome. Creative with a hint of oddity!
For more information on Twinkie Chan visit her official website here.
(You'll love it. You'll be greeted by a refrigerator that will open when you click on it!)
As a psychiatric social worker I am always looking for ways in which to advocate for the mentally ill. I also make efforts to educate others about mental illness while squashing stigma.
A common misconception about those with Schizophrenia is that they always violent and lacking intelligence, creativity, and humor.
This video depicts 4 individuals living with Schizophrenia. This video will offer a more honest look. While there are indeed mentally individuals who scream and rant and rave as you see in the movies, it is not always this way.
I don't think anyone likes to be lumped into one category. So, why do we feel comfortable doing this to others?
I've written about The BigGayIce Cream Truck and it's pure awesomeness, several times on this blog. I am here once again as I am pleased to pass along some great news. As of today the force behind the The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck announced that there is now a Big Gay Ice Cream SHOP! According to The Village Voice, the shop is scheduled to open September 3rd. Oh how I wish I lived in New York!
So what is The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck? For those of you who don't know, I will fill you in.
(npr.org)Credit: AnnMarie Hordern
Doug Quint is a professional bassoonist. He has degrees from The Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. He is a member of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and of the award winning woodwind quintet,Zephyros Winds.
Being that he is unemployed during his off seasons, he embraced the bright idea that he should drive around an ice cream truck. Within a few months he gained a huge following. Not only is he a friendly guy but his ice cream treats are anything but ordinary. He sells variations such as a chocolate bacon covered ice cream sandwich and various flavors of ice cream with more than 20 options for toppings. Some of them include ground wasabi peas, caramelized bacon, Trix cereal, key lime curd, pumpkin butter, pickles and more.
What IS The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck?
The Big Gay Ice Cream Store has no doubt been a labor of love for Quint. It seems that not only will the ice cream be yummy and fun but so will the interior design of the shop.
(photo credit. Rebecca Marx)
Above is muralist Sam Simon creating a dazzling unicorn.
(photo credit. Rebecca Marx)
The mural will be covered with 4,000 rhinestones! Is that impressive or is that impressive? I'm a big fan of the tackiness that are unicorns so I am very jealous that I can't be in New York for the big opening. Forget the ice cream, I think I'd be happy just hugging the wall.
...Yes, I'm that kind of person...
(photo credit. Rebecca Marx)
The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop is stationed at 125 E. 7th St., New York, NY. Have fun you lucky ducky New Yorkers!
(source) For more information visit these sites.
Find information, truck stop schedules, merchandise (hats, mugs, shirts) and blog at The Official Big Gay Ice Cream Truck website
You can also keep up to date with the Official Big Gay Ice Cream Truck facebook page.
Jani (January) Schofield is a young girl with Schizophrenia. Her father, Michael Schofield, has written a book about his journeys with Jani which will be released on March 20th, 2012. I am plugging his book as I have been appreciative of his daughter's story and the story of he and his wife for quite some time.
Jani was born in August of 2002. She was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 5. Jani is currently 9 years of age.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
I've posted about Jani Schofield in the past. To read my post 7 Year Old Battles Schizophrenia written in 2009, click here. To read my post Jani's Parents, also written in 2009, click here. And lastly, to read my post Something's Burning, written in 2009, click here.
Jani Schofield's Story
As a psychiatric social worker, but a human first, I have been interested in psychology and human behavior from a young age. As a psychiatric social worker that is relatively new in the biz, I have much to learn and am far from a seasoned clinician.
Currently, I work at a long term psychiatric hospital and I work with mentally ill adults. To date I have never worked with mentally ill adolescents and certainly have never worked with mentally ill children. Children experiencing Schizophrenia is extremely rare. There are even some doctors who do not believe that Schizophrenia can exist in children.
Jani is a quirky young girl (and I am quite fond of quirkiness in anyone) who experiences auditory hallucinations and visual hallucinations as well as delusional thinking. She claims to live in a world called Calalini where she exists with dwelling cats (for example - "400" the cat who scratches her) , rats (for example "Wednesday" the rat who bites her), and numbers.
"Calalini is on the border of my world and your world."
Jani's parents are Michael and Susan Schofield. In an interview with Discovery Health, Michael Schofield had explained that, "Before her diagnosis she was always eccentric, but we just chalked that up to a great imagination," says Michael. "She was very mature for her age until the schizophrenia struck. She became violent at five years old -- severely violent, not tantrum violent. So at five-and-a-half, it was the first time we realized something is wrong here and we first took her to a therapist. From there we were recommended to [Dr. Linda Woodall, a psychiatrist in Glendale, Calif.] who we've been with since. A few weeks later she was on medication."
He further explained,
"When we first brought her into the psychiatric system, Michael explains, "the first time she was hospitalized, we were still operating under the belief that they could fix this. Isn't that what they're supposed to do? They're psychiatrists. We believed surely they must have seen this before. What became increasingly hard was that they kept telling us over and over again this is the most extreme case they've ever seen. That's not comforting to hear from doctors at a premiere psychiatric teaching hospital. That's when I really started to become afraid, afraid that we couldn't beat this, that there was no easy solution. I remember during her second hospitalization at UCLA she was getting worse and I remember feeling so powerless. The hardest part in terms of her within the system was coming to the realization that the system didn't have the answers."
"We've come to understand what her baseline is -- she's always a little bit psychotic -- and she hallucinates about 95 percent of the time," continues Michael. "We work with the baseline, but when it escalates to the point where she's a danger to herself or to Bodhi we try to hospitalize as a preventative measure, to prevent her psychosis from getting worse. She has so many hallucinations. When the medications work against one set, another set emerges to take its place. It's like fighting an insurgency."
When asked about one of the most surprising obstacles Micael and his wife Susan have faced, Michael says,
"The most surprising thing is the complete lack of services that exist. The Department of Mental Health wants to ship Jani to an out of state facility and no local facilities will take her because she's too psychotic. Throughout our journey all the services we thought must exist won't help us."
The problem, the Schofields say, is that many facilities cater to specific illnesses and can't help with Jani's problem. She doesn't fall in the autism spectrum, for example, so cannot garner services from some local agencies. Many services, they say, are behavior-based or are behavior modification programs."
"And you can't modify the behavior of someone in a psychotic state because they can't learn," says Michael. "When Jani's not in a psychotic state she knows it's wrong to hit -- that's not the problem. The problem is she can't control it. She has to watch two movies at the same time -- our world and her world, and sometimes they overlap. But you can only focus on one thing at a time. When we're out, for example, a car will be right in front of her and she won't see it. One little girl she hallucinates can jump off buildings and do this without getting hurt. Jani is unable to grasp that if she does this too, she will get hurt. You have to be on her at all times, within arms reach, to keep her safe."
Oprah interviews Jani Schofield
In my line of work I have witnessed this illness at its worst. Sometimes medications and therapeutic interventions can help immensely. I've worked with patients who are screaming, shouting, swearing like sailors, spewing delusions, and responding to internal stimuli, who turn a 180 when consuming medications.
When I am in the presence of a person who is now able to function due to medication intervention, I feel immediately angry with the Tom Cruises of the world who adamantly oppose it. While the mental health system is not without it's problems, there are many benefits which I am oh so grateful for.
It is unfortunate that Jani is one of the individuals who's medications barely touch her illness.
I am impressed with Jani's parents. Their lives are anything but easy. I am impressed with Jani Schofield. Her life is anything but easy.
Those experiencing mental illness have always been my heroes. Whether they are actively seeking assistance or whether they are battling their illness on their own within their alreadly tampered mind. I am always impressed.
As a psychiatric social worker, my job is to help my patients in any way I can. Every day I am humbled as it is often my patients who teach me. I have no idea what it is like to be in the shoes of each invididual. It is important to recognize patients an individuals. One mustn't lump those with Schizophrenia (or other specified mental illnesses) into one group just as one cannot lump all who experience breast cancer (or other medical illnesses) into one group.
Each individual has a story. Each individual comes with their own level of acceptance, or denial. Their own level of insight, their own struggles and triumphs. Their own world view, their own capacities, their own talents, their own roller coaster.
Grad school helped me learn various aspects of psychology, theory, practice modules, diagnoses, social justice policies and multi-cultural approaches. All of that is fine and good but the real learning comes from sitting across from a patient and simply listening. There's a lot that can unfold when you just shut up and listen.
As mentioned earlier I would like to promote, Michael Schofield's book about his journey with Jani.
Janurary First: A Child's Decent into Madness & Her Father's Struggle to Save Her, can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com. To place an order click here. The book will be released on March 20th, 2012. I ordered my copy!
Citizen Cope - Bullet And A Target: Live From Austin City Limits Festival
Mr. Dali Lamas
Another sister's shootin' heroin tomorrow
Amputees in Freetown
The church wasn't honest
The state put the youth in a harness
Creatin' hostility among us
Teacher said no college
Still the kid's gotta get a check with a couple commas
People wanna bomb us
More people gotta scatter and run from us
You can blame it on Zeus and Apollo and Adonis
But what you've done here
Is put yourself between a bullet and a target
And it won't be long before
You're pulling yourself away
Brother Lee by Citizen Cope (Clarence Greenwood) - A private solo acoustic show at the City Winery in New York City on March 10th, 2011. And where the rubber meets the road yea
Where the hot meets the cold
Poor meet the soul
Where the young meet the old
Truth be told
I got somethin' on my mind
Y'all gotta know
Here we have Banksy themed cupcake! Banksy is a underground graffiti/street artist from the UK. His works are political and satiric in nature. This was made by the talented forces of Buttercream Bakery in Brighton, England.
This image depicts a young girl letting a heart shaped balloon fly away. It mimics the image of Bansky's.
To learn more about Banksy and his art visit his official website here.
To learn more about Buttercream Bakery visit their official website here.
To visit Butercream Bakery's official blogsite click here.
I've posted about the amazing Tracy Anderson before. She continues to impress me time and time again. I had discovered her years ago when I was interested in finding out who Madonna's trainer was. I had always admired Madonna's sculpted arms and I knew there had to be someone helping her out with that.
The Tracy Anderson Method is quite incredible. The cardio pieces are all dance cardio. This suits me just dandy as I love dance and have been dancing in various forms since childhood.
In this post I will be focusing on her arms workouts.
The below video is my all favorite Tracy Anderson footage featured on YouTube. It is a workout video that Anderson made for one of her clients, Gwenyth Paltrow.
Although, Anderson does incorporate weights in her workouts she prefers to use her own body's resistance for her workouts. I love this. I find it unique as so many workouts focus on lifting weights only.
Tracy Anderson Arm Workout
I don't even know the name of the song in this video but because of this workout I actually like it. It's not the type of music that I generally go for but the workout really matches up with the beat of the song.
Tracy Anderson Arm Workout Webisode
A great workout video however you'll notice the gentleman working out behind Anderson is way off. I often wonder why so many workout videos show individuals who don't know the routine and error frequently.
Tracy Anderson "Sitting Arms" Workout
To learn more about Tracy Anderson and The Tracy Anderson Method visit her official website. You will find her dvds for sale, other products for purchase and information about her Los Angeles and New York studio locations.
Official Tracy Anderson Method website.
Official Tracy Anderson Method facebook.
Rainbows, stars and sweets! A blue cloud shaped like a tea cup! Twin stars reading books! Tea and books! Two obsessions.
You know I've never considered myself to be much of a stereotypical girlie girl, but it seems the more Sanrio related items I purchase, the closer I get to it. Or perhaps being that I am an adult, I am closer to reverting back to childhood. Hmm, maybe I never left. That's not such a bad thing.
Cute chef hats, stirring of bowls and creatin of my favorite obsession. Cupcakes!
Cake, candy, stars! A boy who isn't afraid to wear an apron! Twin Stars featured on the inside of the mug.
I believe story telling is an art form and blogging is a medium in which to share stories and ideas. Within this blog I hope to cover a spectrum of topics. From the serious to the silly. Here you will read my views and inquiries about subjects such as feminism, other various socio-political issues, psychology, spirituality, sexuality, and general interests such as film, art and music. You will also be exposed to my obsession with cupcakes, tea, books, Hello Kitty, and quirky day to day journeys. I enjoy learning from others as I am constantly attempting to introspect, grow and evolve. During this process I will be jotting down musings on this blog. Pull up a comfy chair and a spot of tea and join me!