Audio Books are a Lie

Audio Books are a Lie

You know those highly productive people, the ones who seem to have an endless bandwidth and can do almost anything? The ones who seem to be moving at a million mile hour pace, speeding through life from project, to big life goal, to meetings to another success with the occasional failure sprinkled in? Those people. I know people like that, doesn’t everyone? I had a conversation with one of those people recently and she is always talking about the latest book she’s reading.

 

I stood there in amazement just thinking, “how on earth, with all you have going on in your life, do you possibly have the time to read all of this stuff?” So I asked her. Turns out, she doesn’t read, well hardly ever. She listens to it all, Audible, podcasts, you name it.

 

Why do I feel like I’ve been lied to? Sure I listen to audio books, but I always feel like I’m lying when I say, “so I just finished this book.”

 

I think that is because it takes me longer to read something than it does to listen to something, especially if I bump up the listening speed to 1.5. I wanted to know if there is any cognitive difference between reading and listening. So I did some research. According to a 1977 study, college students were able to retain information just as well by listening to it when compared to reading it. They were able to retain about the same about of detail from the text.

 

Professor William Irwin, in a 2009 essay wrote that he thinks the audiobook genre is one that is “woefully unaddressed by academic community in general.” He is skeptical that listening to a book and reading a book highlight the same cognitive process.

A 1985 study strongly links the listening of and reading of information with the same cognitive processes in the brain which seem to indicate that reading and listening affect the brain and the learning process in the same way.

 

Maybe I’m just dealing with semantics here. Maybe I’m just so used to a, “book” being defined as pages with words and information bound together with a hard bound or paperback container. Perhaps I’m just not 21st century enough, my definition of “reading a book” hasn’t expanded to “listening to a book.”

 

Maybe it’s all in my head. But I also know that I’m an auditory learner. I can usually memorize something after hearing it two times, once if I’m concentrating. Auditory input is really powerful to me and is strongly connected to my memory. Not so with reading a book. I always remember more detail from audio books than from a hardbound book. I also think it feels like I’m lying when I say, “I finished this book,” because I’m able to multitask while I listen. I can be on a jog or working at my desk, or painting while listening at the same time. I can’t do that with a regular book. I have to focus, sit down, and can’t use my hands because I’m holding the book.

 

So for me, the bottom line is this, If I ever say “I finished a book,” it was probably an audiobook. And from now on, I will do my best to differentiate between audiobook and book. There is a difference. It makes me feel better knowing that the all-powerful individuals who seem to do everything actually can’t do everything, they can’t sit down and read three books a week. They have to listen to them because they are busy multitasking. And for whatever weird reason, it makes me feel like I got a little dose of truth about the world and those I admire. Audio books are not equal to regular books, even if they have the same content, because even if the mental processes are the same the physical process of using your eyes and hands (limiting) versus listening (while you multitask or even speed up the pace of the book) means that they are different physical processes. Same content + different process = different experience.

 

More than anything else, this was mostly my coming to terms with audio information. A dose of intellectual honesty for my morning! Ahhh Wednesday! We can make it guys.

 

What’s Your Favorite Color?

What’s Your Favorite Color?

How many times in your life have you been asked your favorite color? Probably an innumerable number of times. As a child you may have been asked that question more frequently than any other. It seems like such an insignificant question, doesn’t it? (I feel really stupid when I ask little kids what their favorite color is, as if the child doesn’t deserve the respect of a real substantial question). What does it matter in the grand scheme of life what someone’s favorite color is? I think color does matter, I think it matters more than we realize. We take color for granted. I think color can save lives, change lives, and form dreams.

In The Color Answer Book by Leatrice Eiseman, a world leading color expert, She suggests that colors and color preferences are determined by geography and psychology.

In one excerpt, Eiseman argues that some color preferences are class associated. In other words, you will gravitate toward certain colors depending on your socio-economic status. Historically, only the rich could afford richly colored robes, because dyes were expensive, people associated color with wealth. The poor and lower class citizens would wear plain linens in undyed whites and beiges, because they could not afford dyes. This is how purple became the color associated with royalty. The purple dye came from sea snails in the Muricidae family. They were a rare commodity and so only royalty could afford the rich purple dye.

Eiseman noticed that the color pendulum shifted about the same time as industrial revolution. When dyes and colorful clothing became abundant, lower classes could afford colorful clothing at reasonable prices, the upper classes began wearing blacks, grays, whites, and beige. They began wearing muted tones to, once again, distinguish themselves. Brightly colored goods began to be associated with the lower classes.

It wasn’t until fashion designers began using brighter colors that color became destigmatized again, designers like Versace, Hermes, Carolina Herrera, and Oscar De La Renta.

Today, quality determines class distinction in goods, not color, Eiseman argues. A pair of orange polyester pants might be considered cheap, but if a designer crafts orange velvet pants and pairs it with a silk blouse, suddenly it is high quality and fashionable. While color might not be the determining factor in class distinction any longer, I still think that color preferences are experientially reinforced.

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As a child my favorite colors were blue, pink, and white. They made me think of my birthday. I remember all of the fabulous birthday parties my mom threw for me, the birthday cakes, the party games, and the blue, pink, and white balloons and streamers. Blue and pink are no longer my favorite colors because I don’t value birthdays as must as perhaps I once did (still love birthday parties and presents. I wouldn’t want you to be discouraged from ever throwing me a party or giving me a gift <3).

Now, I value other colors for different reasons and for different applications. Everything was pink blue and white as a child. Now I know that different colors serve different purposes in different contexts. And I’ve learned that pink, blue, and white really isn’t the best color combination for anything based on applied color theory (unless you’re throwing a gender reveal party, in which case, blue, pink, and white win!).

From childhood to the present day I still have a strong aversion to the color red. I avoid the color like the plague. You will not find the color red in my wardrobe or home décor. I think it is because I hated cherry flavor cough syrup (I had to drink a ton of that stuff as a kid), and it was bright red. Which is yet another example of experiential color reinforcement, or in this case a deterrent.

I’m enjoying my psychological look at color theory. More on color theory later, but for now, let me know what your favorite colors are, and can you tell me why they are your favorite colors? Tell me in the comments!

5 Things I’ve Learned from my Husband

5 Things I’ve Learned from my Husband

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My husband and I have been married for a tender three months. But in the years that I’ve known him, he has changed my life and my thought process. I have always been a believer in choosing your life, choosing whom you want to be and actively striving to be that person. Being a victim of your circumstance and blaming your life on the inability to choose is not good enough. Joel has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to choose the life you want.

  1. Believing the Best

Joel believes the best about me and about others. He gives grace and thinks positively about the future. He missed his life calling as a cheerleader (jk I’m glad he’s not a male cheerleader…) He’s got an infectious smile and encourages me in my goals. He believes that everything will work out and that good things will happen when God is in control.

 

  1. Don’t Stress

I would not say that I’m a type A personality, but I am more so than Joel. His belief that everything will work out has taught me to not stress. It’s easy for me to be afraid of not making the right grades, or not getting the stellar job, or not being able to (fill in the blank), but Joel actually tells me not to stress, to let it go. Stressing does not help my situation and it makes me unpleasant to be around. I still need to learn a lot from my “go with the flow” husband but choosing not to stress out is a big one that has been a long time coming.

 

  1. Actually DO What You Want

Anyone who knows me, knows that “be who you want to be” is my life mantra. I believe so much in the power of choosing your beliefs, choosing the kind of person you want to be, and actively making choices to become that person daily. It’s so important to me that I have it tattooed into my skin to daily remind me to be the person I want to be. But even with the tattoo, I forget. I forget that I have the power to choose who I interact with and how. I have the power to choose when I pray, eat, workout, work, and smile. I get to choose everything. Joel reminds me to choose what I love, to choose what is lovely, and uplifting, to choose what I was made to be.

When we first started dating Joel mused that he would like to have a sailboat. A couple years later, we have one and we are having a blast. Joel does what he wants, because he chose it, worked for it, and God gave him the desire of his heart.
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  1. Work Hard

Joel is a hard worker. He get’s things done, he knows his margin and limits. If I don’t know what kind of person I want to be, or what kind of life I want to have, how on earth would I know what to do? Joel encourages me to work hard daily to become the person I want to be. He encourages me to take steps when I’m afraid and to be hopeful in the future when it seems dark.

 

  1. Enjoy Every Minute

Let me tell you to enjoy every minute as I sit here sipping a mimosa that Joel made for me. Why? Because it’s Wednesday and Joel likes to have fun and give me treats. Choose to enjoy the minutes. Choose to give way to the moment, the impractical, the lovely, the beautiful, or the impossible and believe that life is good and choose to enjoy it. * sip *

Take a second and enjoy at least one moment today. Don’t rush around all day. Comment to let me know which moment you chose to enjoy today! I’m always looking for new ideas.

What is Romanticism? and why does it matter?

What is Romanticism? and why does it matter?

*Disclaimer* I paint with broad strokes in this post.

Romanticism is a thought movement that emerged in the late 18th Century and early 19th Century. It is marked by an increased focus on the individual, tension and resolution, and optimism in literature, music, and the arts.

In art, the focus on the individual perspective was drastic compared to the Dutch Realism movement in the previous century. You may recognize Dutch Realist, Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, which has since been turned into a novel and film starring Scarlett Johansson.

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(Johannes Vermeer, Girl with the Pearl Earring)

Up until the mid-to-late 1800’s artists painted to reflect the world around them. For the most part they painted the most accurate depictions of life and people as they saw it, realistically.

Romantic artists took individual perspective to a different level. Artists began painting their impressions of the world rather than objective still life. Individual perspective allowed for individual interpretation, which meant that Monet used more vibrant colors and more exaggerated strokes when painting his famous water lilies.

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(Claude Monet, Water Lilies)

Why is Romanticism important? I think that if you were to ask that question of scholars you would get a lot of different answers. Some might even say that Romanticism is not important. But what I think is important about Romanticism is not necessarily the individual interpretation (although I do think that it is fun); Romanticism is important because the romantic’s were optimistic and in some ways more honest.

What do I mean by more honest? Romantic artists were not afraid to paint imperfections. The truth is that we do not live in a perfect world. They were not afraid to show the dark side of life that is inescapable, yet they were optimistic enough to believe that it could be portrayed well, and that they could add beauty to the darkness.

Previously in art history, blemishes were painted out. Darkness was kept in the closet (I mean darkness of form, not content. There are plenty of dark/creepy pieces in the art history, but they were usually painted with the most accurate of realism and even hyper perfectionism, erasing blemishes altogether).

Creating a perfect replica of a still life on canvas is wonderful and it takes a tremendous amount of talent. But is also takes talent to take the ugly, the ordinary, and the uninteresting, and make it beautiful, worthwhile, and uplifting.

Like Monet (French Impressionist), transforming what were, dirty, ordinary haystacks, into colorful, lively, and bright objects to be appreciated.

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(Claude Monet. Haystack. End of the Summer. Morning. )

Romanticism and its individualism makes me want to add beauty to what is otherwise unlovely; to add light and color to what might ordinarily be dingy. It makes me thankful for the ordinary haystacks in life, instead of only being able to appreciate the perfectly posed portrait.

If you would like to see my Romantic interpretation of a dirty, slimy oyster, here it is. You’re welcome. (please know that I’m being sarcastic)

On the Half Shell, 16"x20"