sound triggers

I’ve been noticing a rather interesting phenomenon recently. Well, I’ve been mulling over this for a while (like most things that I eventually get around to posting about) but I reckon I’ve been noticing it more easily of late. As the title to this post suggests, I’m talking about what I’ve decided to dub sound triggers. These are sounds/words/noises that appear in regular day-to-day life, and that are seemingly benign, but then somehow have the ability to set my mental gramophone into motion and, before I know it, I have a random song stuck in my head.

I’m sure this must happen to other people, considering the ubiquity of music in today’s society, but I’ve never heard or seen it discussed. Sure, everyone has songs that seem to always get stuck in their head, even after just hearing one line from it, but this is about triggers outside of the song itself.

This might make a bit more sense if I provide some examples:

Give me everything – Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo & Nayer
For some time, I actually thought this song was called ‘Tonight’ because that’s always the word that triggers this song. Of course, I don’t think of this song every time I think/hear/read the word “tonight” but if the circumstances are right, it could happen.

The call – Backstreet Boys
This one’s only happened fairly recently. I remember clearly that it was in the morning one day when I had work. I was at home, looked at the time, and thought “gotta go”. That’s all it took. I don’t think I’d listened to any part of ‘The call’ in the temporal vicinity of this occurrence, but it somehow managed to resurrect itself in that moment. I’ve since discovered that it is quite catchy and, despite the morally dubious topic, I don’t mind it.

Just a little – Liberty X
The most recent time that I remember this song randomly popping into my head was when I was on my way between the train station and the pharmacy. There was a sound trigger, but I can’t remember what it was. I think it was just something that reminded me of the rhythm of the song.

We are done – The Madden Brothers
I started getting this song in my head whenever I completed a task and said “done” in my mind as I ticked it off my mental checklist. There’s something about the tune that also reminds me of a theme song for a radio program my mum listens to, so sometimes it morphs into that as well.

Whistle – Flo Rida
At the height of this song’s popularity, I think that any sort of whistling must have made me think of this song. It’s not really the sort of song that gets stuck in my head for very long, though, so it wasn’t that annoying.

Barely breathing – Duncan Sheik
This one’s a bit different, because it’s not just about word association – this song is also emotionally triggered. It’s actually the words “come and go” (toward the end of the song (?)) that make me think of the song, not any of the actual chorus. Then there’s that “can’t breathe” sort of feeling from nervousness/excitement, sadness/happiness – sometimes that’s enough to put the song in my head.

I didn’t actually think that I would manage to think of that many examples, but there you go (granted, I have written this post over a few days to give myself plenty of time to think of more examples). If you’d like to share some of your own exampes, I’d like to hear them (or would I…?)

cooking clean

I’d intended to do a lot of cleaning and tidying today, but ended up doing more cooking instead. I do like to cook, but I just don’t get the chance to cook often enough, since a certain member of the family tends to take care of that. Yes, I’m part of that generation that’s getting a reputation for never wanting to move out because of various reasons – not least of which are financial. But I digress…

I’ve learnt a lot of my cooking knowledge from my mum, but a lot of it also comes from TV cooking shows, such as ‘Ready Steady Cook’, which is always full of tips and easy recipes. Of course, ‘MasterChef’ is another favourite of mine in this category, and their “master classes” are always interesting (particularly Matt Preston’s cheat recipes), but I find ‘MasterChef’ is more useful for learning about flavour combinations and cooking terminology than for general know-how and recipes. Again, I digress – sorry.

I reckon that, in the past, I’ve been hesitant to cook certain dishes because I know the mess that it will create and/or I think about all the washing up I’ll have to do afterwards. (Yes, it seems that, as a general rule, the onus to wash up is never on the cook, but I sometimes feel obliged to clean anyway.) But I don’t mind doing the dishes so much any more. It’s never going to be my most favourite chore, but at least I dislike it less now. And so now I can cook a bit more freely.

Something else that I’ve learnt from ‘MasterChef’ is the importance of working cleanly and being organised in the kitchen. Watching Jamie Oliver’s 15 and 30 minute meals shows has also reinforced this. I’ve also noticed that Mum tends to clean as she cooks. I’ve been working on this, and it’s actually really good because there’s less cleaning at the end of it, which is great because that’s when I just want to sit down and eat. Plus, it feels like there’s less washing overall.

So today I cooked fish (not exactly sure which species – my dad bought it and left it in the fridge for me to find) with lime and cracked pepper. It was really tender – I’m surprised it turned out so well. I did think about following this up with some cupcakes or something, since it was early afternoon and, for some reason, baking is kind of an early arvo thing for me. But I’m not much into making sweets and desserts (love eating them, though!). Instead, I cooked up some thyme & oregano potato cubes.

I’ve only recently discovered how much I like oregano. It’s not that I’ve never eaten it before, but I’d never been able to pinpoint the taste because it’s always been with a number of other herbs and fragrances. I do like the smell too. Coriander is probably still my most favourite herb, but it’s got some stiff competition.

And the last dish today was a kind of stew that my sister and I created using pork and the classic mirepoix (a term I’m pretty sure I learnt from ‘MasterChef’). The aim of making this was basically to clear out the fridge a bit more, so we threw in some tomatoes and mushrooms as well. Of course, plenty of thyme, oregano and basil went in too.

Cooking probably isn’t something that I could do as a career, but I did speculate that if certain friends of mine follow through with their dream of opening up a cafe/bistro, I’d totally work for them every week-end (not going to give up Pharmacy, of course).

fifty-three hours

What a week it has been… I’ve worked a total of about 53 hours this last week. I reckon it’s been a long time since I last worked so many hours; that’s why I haven’t posted anything all week. I seriously thought I was going to miss my post for this week – not for lack of subject matter, but lack of time to actually sit down and write anything.

Mum’s been out of town for the last week, so that’s meant extra cooking and cleaning for me. (Yes, I’m part of that sub-section of that generation that doesn’t want to move out of home until absolutely necessary. Well, that’s not entirely true, but that’s beside the point here.) By the time that all of the essential jobs are done, all I want to do is go to bed and sleep. I’d really like to go to bed and sleep right now, but I don’t want to risk not having time for a post tomorrow and then ruining my post-per-week record. Besides, I feel (a bit) more awake now anyway.

Strangely, I’ve felt more energetic and less tired these last two days (Friday and Saturday) compared to mid-week (Tuesday through to Thursday). I was really pumped on Monday but, then again, I usually am. Perhaps it was the change of scenery at the end of the week. And I really do mean change of scenery – from the river to the lake in the mountain (well, it’s kind of a mountain)

What was really weird was that on Thursday night / Friday morning, I had really broken sleep – I just kept waking up in the middle of the night and really early in the morning before my alarm went off – and yet, when I got up when my alarm actually went off, I felt as well-rested as if I’d slept soundly for eight hours. And then waking up this morning, after an uninterrupted sleep (well, I don’t remember waking up in the middle of the night), I was just too sleepy and wanted to go back to sleep. I’ve hypothesised that it’s just related to my sleep cycle/pattern.

Right, all this writing an thinking about sleep has made me quite sleepy. Looks like this will just be a short post…

every morning

It’s been a very long week… Feels like a very long time since I posted here… I’ve been filling in for my manager at work this week, which has meant 7am starts every day, which has meant getting up before the sun every morning. I’m actually quite pleased that I haven’t been late at all this week. (I was going to say “pleasantly surprised” but, when I think about it, it’s not really that much of a surprise.)

It’s been nice watching the sunrise every morning. That orange glow just reaffirms why orange is my most favourite colour. It’s also nice that it’s actually decently cold that early in the morning. I like my winters to actually feel like winter.

I’ve often wondered if I’m more of a morning person or an evening/night person, but I can’t seem to put myself definitively in either category. I don’t mind early starts at work, and I don’t usually sleep in very late on my days off, but getting up early is still a bit of a pain. Having said that, however, once I’m up and I’ve had breakfast, I’m ready for anything. On the other hand, nighttime productivity is quite variable, but unless I’m super tired or sleep-deprived, I can generally stay up quite late.

That preamble turned out a bit longer than I expected… What I was getting to was that, because of these incredibly early starts, I’ve been mostly eating cereal for breakfast this last week (except this morning when I had oats) because cereal is probably the quickest and easiest breakfast for me to have. As such, I’ve had a lot of time to think about cereal and my cereal-eating habits.

At first, I didn’t think that this was something worth documenting on my blog, but I had a random conversation about cereal with some coworkers the other day (and it wasn’t me who brought it up) and I realised that people like talking about eating habits – even for something as seemingly simple as cereal. It’s not something that comes up too often, but it could be for that very reason that people are keen to give their two cents’ worth when it does come up. (Feel free to add your two cents’ worth if you feel so inclined.)

Sorry, preamble just got longer… But you must understand that I can’t simply post a list of my cereal eating habits without adequate introduction – people will think I’m crazy …or bored …or both (I will neither confirm or deny any of those possibilities)

There are two cereals that are essential to my cereal-eating: Weetbix and Nutrigrain. I never eat just one type of cereal, unless that is absolutely all that is available to me. I always have 2-3 Weetbix, which I place in the bowl first (and I always use the same sized bowl). I then fill the bowl to the brim with milk (although I’ve been trying to exercise a bit more restraint here and not use as much milk), and then add the Nutrigrain, which I proceed to eat in lots of three per spoonful. (I don’t know – they just seem to fit nicely in lots of three…)

More often than not, I will have a third cereal, such as Weetbix Crunch or Milo cereal (or something else that I’ve momentarily forgotten the name of) that I add after finishing Nutrigrain. (Pro tip: Milo and Weetbix go really well together)

Those of you playing along at home (don’t know why you would, but ok…) may remark at this stage that the Weetbix is undoubtedly soggy by now. That, of course, is the point of my putting it in first. I do, however, quite like crunchy Weetbix and will eat one bix before adding Nutrigrain if I start off with three bix in the bowl. Hope I haven’t completely lost you all by now (or earlier)

I think my longer entries are a good reflection of the things that I’m really passionate about. Either that or they’re really good for pinpointing the times in my life that I’m perhaps slightly delirious and have little better to do than write amazingly long posts that are rather disproportionate to the weight of the issue discussed.

my type of number

For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, I’ve recently started teaching myself to touch-type numbers. By this I mean the numbers above the letters on a standard keyboard, not the 3×3 number pad on the side. I’m fine with touch-typing letters and most punctuation (that isn’t attached to a number button), but I’ve just never gotten around to getting the hang of touch-typing numbers.

I actually first learnt to touch-type in grade five (? it was definitely during primary school, anyway), so this has actually been a long time coming. I’ve probably put it off for so long (intentionally and subconsciously) because I never thought I’d need to type so many numbers in and amongst all the letters I type (mostly work related typing, since I don’t seem to type many numbers here… Except the odd post about numbers, but even those didn’t have many actual digits in them…) Also, I’ve probably just been too lazy to practice.

Anyway, I’d say my number touch-typing has been going ok so far; I just need to get the hang of it a bit more. On a side-note, I think that’s the first time I’ve used a semi-colon in a blog post on this blog (and, yes, that is exactly why this post is being included in the “milestone” category). I’ve always avoided using semi-colons because I never got taught how to use them properly (if I was taught, I don’t remember, or wasn’t paying attention). I’ve taken a sudden interest in this particular punctuation mark because I’ve noticed that John Irving uses them quite a lot in “The World According to Garp”.

Also, I just stumbled upon this very helpful guide to using semi-colons on “The Oatmeal”. I was actually looking at a different article and this happened to be one of those related/suggested links. The site describes semi-colons as being “the most feared punctuation on earth”, which I thought was a very apt description.

So now, in addition to trying to get faster at typing numbers, I’m also going to try to use more semi-colons (when appropriate) …or maybe I won’t. I mean, using semi-colons doesn’t come naturally to me. Well, I suppose if I tried using them more it might come more easily; I just don’t want my writing to start sounding too contrived or whatever.