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I am NOT addicted to Q-tips!

First let me just say that I am a calm, rational, logical person who is definitely not addicted to Q-tips.

Or their generic cotton swab brethren either.

Yes, I admit, I used to regularly clear my ear canals of wax using the those handy, tiny tufts of cotton on a stick. It was effective and felt…satisfying. So effective and satisfying (but not addictive!) that it became a daily duty.

If you haven’t cleaned your ears with a Q-tip or the generic equivalent, you can’t understand. The scrubbing sensation, the rustling, up-close sound, the joy when the cotton comes back yellow and your inner ear feels…pure.

Unblemished.

Born anew.

It’s simply amazing (but not addictive!).

I’m pretty sure there are a ton of ASMR ear cleaning videos that can give you a sense of it. A pale, shadow-of-reality sense of it.

(That said, don’t blame me if you get lost down that particular ASMR rabbit hole. I recommend a viewing of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as an antidote.)

But ear wax, its nature…waxes and wanes.

Some days it’s moist and clingy and easy to remove.

Some days it isn’t.

Some days it’s dry and brittle and swab-phobic. It’s an entrenched army of bitter angry wax, stretched too thin and unwilling to cede its hard-won inner ear-land.

On those days, the spinning and twirling and rubbing of cottony goodness inside your ear has to be…more vigorous.

More determined.

More ruthless.

And on one of those days, I drew blood.

A lot of blood.

An eliciting from the Missus an “Oh my gawd are you having an aneurysm!?” amount of blood.

The Emergency Room doctor, of course, told me that sticking something deep in your ear and spinning, twirling, and rubbing it is stupid.

That’s the actual medical term for it: stupid. I kid you not.

She’s probably right.

So I stopped.

(See, not addicted. Told you!)

She also explained that the ear has its own way of cleaning itself and getting rid of excess wax. She gave more details, but at that point I had a wad of gauze, a large scab, and no doubt some surplus ear wax clogging things up and making it difficult for me to hear. I got the gist of the message and left it at that.

What my doctor said may be true, but she failed to mention (or perhaps I just didn’t hear) that as you get old (not older, but old, like me), the body’s mechanism for self-cleaning the ears becomes less…pleasant, shall we say?

When I was little and before I had access to cotton swabs, I never thought about the wax in my ears. Whatever self-cleaning was going on went on seamlessly and quietly.

Not so now.

Now I can feel small pieces of wax fall into the bottom of my ear canal, hear the slight rustling sound as it lands, sense when it’s actually falling out of my ear (usually when I’m trying to make a good impression on someone – nothing says “Hey I’m a classy cool, hip and with-it dude” like flakes of wax fluttering out of your ear).

I couldn't find a picture with the right sort of ants. These are fire ants and when they climb into your ear, it's A LOT less subtle than other ants (and therefore flakes of ear wax) sound

The pitter-patter of tiny feet never sounded more horrifying

And not itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow flakes of ear wax.

Dime-sized.

And not bright yellow.

Scab-brown.

Not to mention the itchiness that accompanies this self-purging. Did I mention the itchiness?

It’s like having chicken pox in your ears.

Or an army of microscopic ants marching in and out of the ol’ sound canals.

It’s enough to make an old man want to head to an NRA-approved Death Camp™ (also known as a ‘school’) and end it all.

But instead I find myself reaching for the box of Q-tips again. Not because I’m addicted, but because the bugs are in my ears and I need to get them out.

Fortunately, they get stuck in the ear wax and I can spin, twirl, and scrub them out before they cause any brain damage.

(If you feel compelled to leave any comments, please use ALL CAPS as I’m having a hard time hearing right now.)

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Posted by on 26 February 2018 in Angst, Life

 

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My car was dirty, I had a microphone, and Oxford comma later, *BAM*, ASMR video!

I don't know where this is, but I'm quite sure it won't smell too pretty when I get out.

This is how I imagine it might look if I was eaten by Cthulhu and then, inexplicably, regurgitated. Yes, that is the imagination life dealt me. You should be so lucky.

Tip to the aspiring ASMR artist – always do a test run. I did, using an old cell phone as a camera, and the cell phone overheated, causing the software to “shut down some apps” to help it cool.

Included in the shut down apps?

The camera software.

Sigh.

Sorry. Life has been crazy. No real updates, just this video. If you actually bother to watch, wear headphones. I made it for listening, not really watching. You know, 3D sound and all that.

And as an added bonus, it’s short.

 
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Posted by on 29 August 2016 in 3D sound, Angst, Life

 

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I heard it through a high fidelity recording of the grapevine

I’ve never felt more alive and aware.

How did I achieve this enlightened state? Was it reached after hours of yoga poses?

With hot stones taped to my chakra points?

While high on peyote?

Not exactly. Though someone should try that and let me know how it goes.*

Yesterday my Zoom H4n digital recorder arrived.

Wait. Let me rewind.

(Pun intended. Except it’s all digital, so is it really rewinding when there’s no physical tape? Meditate on that heaviness, my flock…)

A while ago, I stumbled across ASMR. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

Really wanna know? Go to YouTube and search ‘ASMR’. Then watch some of the videos while wearing headphones.

The short version (because there are a lot of videos out there) is that hearing certain sounds is supposed to trigger involuntary ‘tingly’ sensations in your head and spine that feel pretty good.

The operative word here is ‘supposed’.

I appear to suffer from a form of what the ASMR community refers to as immunity.

As in doesn’t work. No tingles. Well, once, when I was half asleep, and something inadvertently went bang in the background of the recording I was listening to.

Then, I had tingles.

For the half second it took before I woke up.

So I’ve clocked twenty, maybe thirty hours total on a quest for an ASMR. And gotten maybe half a second of one.

Story of my life.

Dammit.

But never one to accept lemons from life, I found a citrus lining in all this.

I became obsessed with sound quality.

OK, becoming obsessed doesn’t exactly sound like a trade up. Just bear with me. It gets better.

Besides, it could have been an obsession with Justin Bieber. That would definitely be more lemon than lining.

I researched the community and the artists who had the best sounding (but still non-tingly) recordings.

As a result, I bought a Zoom H4n recorder. They’re all the rage with the ASMRers.

And I have to admit, it’s pretty cool.

But all this is my long, meandering way of getting to the point of this posting.

As of yesterday, I have never felt more alive and aware. Why?

Because my Zoom H4n arrived.

And I started using it.

Being a grandiose idea sorta guy, I hit upon the brilliant scheme of recording my evening walk with the family, well, for lack of a better term, we’ll say dog.

Sure, dog. That works.

So I recorded the walk. And then listened to it.

I’d share the recording here, but I doubt you’d find the sounds of my…dog…relieving himself on a tree all that entertaining.

Plus at the end I may have walked through a spider web stretched across my front lawn, hypothetically belonging to a spider I might have seen during the day so I knew it was HUGE and so I might have screamed in a piercing, unmanly fashion.

No one would want to hear that.

If it existed.

Which it doesn’t, as far as I’m concerned.

The surprise came when I closed my eyes and listened.

And heard the skitter of sure, why not, my dog’s claws on cement. And crickets. And a neighbor’s water fountain. And cars whizzing by.

Standard stuff. And frankly, if I hadn’t heard them, I’d have been bitterly disappointed in my new purchase.

But I also heard sounds I hadn’t noticed on the walk itself.

A barely audible family discussion in one house I passed. Another neighbor with a water fountain. The lonely wail of the heretofore thought extinct Red-legged Tinamou.

Sounds that made me sit up, open my eyes, and say, “Hello, where did you come from?”

This really annoyed the Missus, since I was in bed at the time and she’d been asleep.

So tonight I walked again, and recorded again. But this time I found myself more mindful, more aware, and I picked out those sounds I had filtered out last night.

I felt a little bit more alive and a whole lot more aware.

Unlike that time with the peyote. I woke up from that with a migraine, a tramp stamp, and half a cat in my mouth.

Can not recommend. I’m still coughing up hair balls.

But all this New Age-y fulfillment will make me feel a lot better next month when the credit card bill arrives.

* NOTE: Ian M. Dudley is not a medical doctor, certified yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist, or psychedelic drug connoisseur. Attempt at your own risk.
 
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Posted by on 11 September 2014 in Life

 

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ASMR Haul videos – how to make spine-tingling fashionable again

If you aren't feeling all tingly right now, you might not be alive.

Look at this amazing haul…of books and shivers.

Being an avid reader and aspiring writer, I listen to NPR a lot.

Do I pledge?

That’s not important here. And it’s rude to ask.

My point is that by listening to NPR, I am often exposed to things I’ve never encountered before.

Like haul videos.

Who knew tweeners made videos about all the cheap, fashionable clothes they bought that week?

I sure didn’t know, and probably didn’t need to.

Thanks, NPR.

This weekend, the rerun of This American Life featured ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, videos.

Basically, they’re videos that make you sort of shiver/tingle in your head.

Yeah, weird, so it caught my attention. And held it.

A common trigger is whispering. Based on the innocent presumption that was the only trigger, I started watching a few of these videos.

There are way more triggers out there than just whispering.

Let’s just say they involve role-playing.

Yes, role-playing.

They’re like phone sex without the sex.

Or two-way communication.

Or, technically speaking, phones. They usually use YouTube instead, which is notoriously one-way in real-time.

But while there are some really freaky-deaky triggers out there (I’m looking at you, ‘please stroke your hand with a makeup brush’ person), I can’t deny that they work.

OK, to be clear, the makeup brush one did not work for me. But the whispering ones do. It’s really trippy.

And addictive.

Not for me, of course, I’m far too socially well-adjusted to succumb to something as droll as internet addiction.

But some of these videos create the illusion of shared, casual intimacy. That you’ve just sat down with an old friend who is stroking your face with a makeup brush as you chat.

And that, despite being entirely illusory, is powerful stuff.

Being a man who likes to throw his power around, I just had to make my own ASMR video.

Put on your headphones (for best effect) and click below to learn deep, dark secrets of my book hauling that will make your brain tingle.

If you need me, I’ll be alone in my man cave, watching some ASM-, er, listening to an NPR stream. Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me! My books are available!
 

The Santa Claus Gang:

The Santa Claus Gang: A Marlowe and the Spacewoman short story

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE, and another fine showcase for my artistic abilities!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 
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Posted by on 8 April 2013 in Life

 

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