Welcome to Green Comet

These free novels, Creative Commons licensed Green Comet, and its sequels Parasite Puppeteers and The Francesians, tell an expansive story of love and adventure on an inhabited comet. To learn more about the trilogy, and for samples, visit the Welcome Page. To download the books, visit the downloads page.

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Misophonia

Petar Milošević CC-BY-SA – tap for original


Synesthesia of the Day — Misophonia

For the first time in a long time I don’t feel as if I’m up to my elbows in work. It seems like after I finish writing a novel is when I get really busy. It has to be prepared for publication, then it has to be published, and there’s a lot to that for someone who does it himself. Then there’s the recording, which took a month for The Plainsrunner, and preparing that for release. So I’ve been busy and it’s letting up, and now I find myself looking around for anything I’ve missed. Wracking my brain in case there was some little detail I’ve left out. I guess I’ve gotten used to being busy, and it’s taking a while to slow down. As I do slow down, though, I realize that I now have time for a blog post that isn’t about the book. Here’s one about synesthesia.

In a previous post — Most Unpleasant Sounds — we looked at Dr Sukhbinder Kumar of Newcastle University and a small study where he came up with a list of the ten most unpleasant sounds, as selected by volunteers. The list would seem reasonable to most normal people, although I’m sure most people could easily alter it, either with the sounds themselves or the order of their unpleasantness.

It turns out that Dr Kumar works with people for whom unpleasant sounds go far beyond any list that normal people might make. The list would be much longer and the reaction to the sounds would go beyond unpleasantness or discomfort. For the people suffering with misophonia, some sounds can get down to their primordial emotions, from uneasy fear to terror. Mere sounds can evoke a classic fight-or-flight response. Unless they can find a way to insulate themselves from the sounds, they could live their whole day in a state of extreme stress.

It’s easy to dismiss the complaints of people with misophonia. Why should I have to worry about every little sound I make just because somebody’s a little sensitive. Tiny little sounds that everyone makes unconsciously every day. The popping or smacking of lips. Sniffing. Even the way we breathe. And that’s just few from one small part of the body. There are a lot of triggers — largely things we could control if we tried — and we would have to be on our guard all day long to avoid bothering anyone with misophonia. Can’t they just suck it up and deal with it?

No, they can’t. With therapy they can learn how to deal with it better, but there’s no cure. Unlike other forms of synesthesia, which can be pleasant, or at least interesting, misophonia seems to be unrelentengly bad. Sufferers soon give up trying to get the rest of us to give them a break, and look for ways to live with it. Typically that means cutting themselves off from people. Working from home. Staying single. Since the bad sounds are largely made by people, who could avoid making them — that’s an important part of it, that it’s not just any sounds, but sounds that people make when they don’t have to — the most effective course is to avoid people.

Next time you hear someone drag their fingernails across a blackboard, and you recoil, your skin crawling, try to imagine if you also felt primeval fear, your thighs quivering in preparation for running away. Then try to imagine feeling that way if someone snapped their fingers or sucked their teeth. Misophonia — hatred of sound — might be the worst form of synesthesia.

Read this BBC article about Margot, and how she lives with misophonia.

rjb

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Plainsrunner Recording Complete

Cover photo Angela de Paula CC-BY-SA

The recording of The Plainsrunner is finished.  It comes to a total of about ten hours of listening.  Now I need to polish it up, which includes running it through a normalizer to to ensure continuity across all files, and adjusting the gain so the audio is at an acceptable volume.  Then comes the conversion to formats suitable for normal audio players, MP3 and OGG.  Not long after that I’ll be releasing it into the world.

rjb

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Help for Hobbyists


I’ve just learned of a website dedicated to hobbies — HobbyHelp. They describe themselves as, “a small team of enthusiasts, looking to share our knowledge and experience with anyone looking to start a new hobby.” Some of the most popular posts are, 10 Most Popular Hobbies in the World, 10 Hobbies That Look Great on Your Resume, and The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Astrophotography. But what brought me to the site was a message from Jenny, one of the bloggers at HobbyHelp. She had seen my post, NASA Image and Video Library, about NASA’s consolidation of its scattered resources into a single archive, and reached out to me with a link to a post of hers, The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Astronomy.

I think HobbyHelp is selling itself short by limiting its audience to beginners “looking to start a new hobby.” I think their site would be useful to people who are already involved in a hobby, too. People who are trying to expand their knowledge, or who are contemplating taking the next step in their experience. That is certainly true of Jenny’s post mentioned above. The depth of her research is plain to see. The care in the writing is obvious. While useful to someone taking their first steps in the hobby of astronomy, her piece would also be useful to people further along.

If you’re looking for a new hobby, visit the HobbyHelp website. If you’re interested in astronomy, visit Jenny’s post. Either way I think you’ll be rewarded for your effort.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner Chapters Have Been Removed

Cover photo Angela de Paula CC-BY-SA


The OliverOnline Book Club serialization of The Plainsrunner is now officially and irrevocably over. The files containing the chapters have been removed from this site, and the links to them on the OliverOnline site are now dead. Thank you to all who participated and I hope you were able to complete your set of chapters before they were destroyed.

Shameless plug: You can still get the complete set bound in a beautiful book, available for a reasonable price at Kobo Books along with all the other book stores listed in this post.

rjb

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Final Day to Download Plainsrunner Chapters

Cover photo Angela de Paula CC-BY-SA

This is your last chance to download any chapters you might be missing from our serialization of The Plainsrunner. To get you started, here are links to the opening chapters in each of the four parts of the book, and a link to the last chapter on the OliverOnline website, where the serialization was hosted.

Part One.
Part Two.
Part Three.
Part Four.
Chapter Fifty-Four.

Thank you for participating. Thank you for reading, and I hope enjoying, the book. A special thanks to those who took the time to leave a comment either here or on OliverOnline. An extra special thanks to those who took the time and made the effort to write a review of The Plainsrunner and post it, at one of the book stores or anywhere else. Writing is its own reward, but feedback from readers is gold.

I’m nearly finished recording the book. It should be done in another week, so stay tuned for an announcement.

Meanwhile, last call for downloads. Good luck.

rjb

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Three Days to Plainsrunner Files Takedown

Cover photo Angela de Paula CC-BY-SA

There are only three days left before the chapter files from the serialization of The Plainsrunner are removed from this site forever. If you want them and you don’t yet have them, then you need to get them now. The links to the files are on the OliverOnline website, but those links will become dead on December 1, 2018.

Here is a link to the post announcing the last chapter on OliverOnline. Unfortunately, the site has no search function.

rjb

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Recording The Plainsrunner

Photo CC0 on Foter.com


Jan Mehlich – CC-BY-SA

I’ve been recording The Plainsrunner for a couple of weeks, and it’s going well. There should be about two more weeks of it, then it will be on to polishing it up for presentation. I’m finding these sessions a little easier than the recordings I made of the Green Comet trilogy, which you can find on the Downloads page. I think that mostly comes down to shorter chapters, which are easier to do, and a shorter story overall, which is less daunting.

I always seem to enjoy this part, while also not looking forward to it. People say they like the audiobooks, though, so it’s worth continuing.

rjb

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Review Copies of The Plainsrunner

Cover photo Angela de Paula CC-BY-SA

Review copies of The Plainsrunner are now available. They can be had from Apple iTunes, Kobo and Google Play Books. This is an open invitation to anyone who would like a free copy of the book. There is no obligation to post a review at any of the online bookstores in return, although I would greatly appreciate it. If you do decide to do one, the review doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just a line or two would be fine. You can find links to the stores hosting The Plainsrunner in this announcement.

Contact me at arjaybe@greencomet.org or through this website for your free copy of The Plainsrunner.

rjb

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VocalID Certificate – 1500


I got another certificate! VocalID has sent me a certificate commemorating my reaching the lofty goal of 1500 phrases recorded for their Voicebank. VocalID is a company that is collecting voices that can be used to build personalized voices for people who need them. See my original post on VocalID.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner Available in Stores

Cover photo Angela de Paula CC-BY-SA

The Plainsrunner is showing up in stores. I’ll use this post to keep a running list of them. Go ahead and shop around for the best deal. Or go post a few reviews.

Book store availability

Google Play Books.
Barnes & Noble.
Amazon.
Amazon Canada.
Odilo Marketplace (For libraries.)
Apple Books.
Scribd.
Kobo.
24symbols.
ciando.com.

rjb

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