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Hear my plea

I need suggestions.

Apparently I have an auditory information processing style. This has a couple of ramifications that are at odds with each other in a crowded workplace like mine:

First, it's really noisy in here, and I'm surrounded by a) a guy with the droningest voice in the Pacific Northwest; b) a woman with a very, very bad chronic cough; and c) three harrassed and stressed individuals who, in order to ease their workday burdens a little, speak to each other in what I think is Tagalog--which is a very clipped and bouncy language that's hard for me to ignore.

Second, I can't drown these distractions out with music because I can't work with music playing either. Music: requires most of my CPU to process. And of course, audiobooks are right out.

I have this meditation-type CD--rain and some gongs and stuff--but I'm getting really, really sick of it. I need non-cognitive, non-rhythmic, non-musical blocker-outers for my ears.

So, any suggestions?


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
I don't know what your office layout looks like, but if there's someplace you can velcro on some panels of egg-crate foam to deaden sound...

And to sub in for the rain and gongs and stuff, "pounding surf" and/or "whale songs."
Jul. 15th, 2009 09:12 pm (UTC)
Whale songs! *thinks of Ellen Degeneres as Dory*

Good idea. Any physical change to my layout is, sadly, not feasible (open plan cubicles) but I just thought to put "meditation" into the search engine at Last.fm, and they actually have some stuff! Cool! And Whale Songs! Yay!

Thank you!
Jul. 15th, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
I was thinking inside "wall" of cubicle, in the parts that don't have built-in shelves, although a lot of cubicles are so tight that sacrificing an inch of depth really hurts. And the velcro is so that you can glue the foam to a board, glue a velcro dot to the corners of the board, and glue a velcro dot to the cubicle wall--when you get a bigger cubicle (or an actual office!) you can just take down the sound-deadening panels and the cubicle is unchanged except for a few velcro dots.
Jul. 15th, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Hee! I only have two tiny walls. Everything else is wide open. Picture a very large square, with me in one corner of it, and about eight other people working behind me.

I love the idea that I might someday "graduate" to an office. I took a step down from office land so I would never, ever have to supervise anyone ever again. In this Michael Graves tomb of a building I work in, there are almost no offices.
Jul. 15th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Whoof! I was picturing a bunch of c-shaped partitions with one serf per.

My home office is in the front room--I feel rather deprived because there are only two full walls to cover with whiteboards and corkboards (and prop the Fandom Shrine against).
Jul. 15th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
You have a shrine?

Well, I guess I kinda do too, in the form of my DVD collection.
Jul. 15th, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
Umm, I have a DVD collection in the living room. In the office, across from my desk, I have a huge framed picture of Avon that was a birthday present from Morrigan. Underneath it, on top of a bookcase (the Avon snow globes that entropy_house and gair made for me are on the shelves) are four more framed Avons (...the jigsaw puzzle entropy_house made,* a photo, two Suzann Lovett illos, and a framed picture of Paul Darrow. The covers of all six Serenity comics, in their plastic bags, are hanging on the doorway between the office and living room. On top of the middle bookcase are the framed Firefly and SErenity photos; between the bookcases are various illos I printed out and tacked to the wall.

The slash stuffed animals (Tigger and a small bear, Pooh and Piglet--so-called because they're SEWN TOGETHER hugging each other) are on the first bookcase.

Oh, and the collection of books ABOUT fandom is in the bookcase that houses the shrine, although it's kind of hard to tell because I usually have a whiteboard propped up in front of it.

*However, some entropy_house fannish graphics are extra-shrine, they're on the bulletin board behind the desk.
(no subject) - emeraldsedai - Jul. 15th, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 15th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
Gosh, much sympathy, the wrong kind of noise drives me to distraction. I'm not sure what to suggest other than another meditation CD.

FWIW, I used to find it impossible to work listening to music, but since I started working in Starbucks regularly I've found I can listen to certain types of music (putting in the headphones and entering my own zone being preferable to chatter). If I listen to the same pieces over and over, I stop noticing them: piano music (Chopin preludes, Beethoven sonatas) works for me. Audiobooks would of course be impossible, although one of the most restful audiofiles I have is of someone reciting verse in a language made up by Ursula Le Guin. Would some kind of chant work (not in Tagalog)?
Jul. 15th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
LOL! Yes, Tagalog chant might not be my best bet. Chant in general, however, is a good idea. Gregorian chant can be wonderfully non-demanding.

I've had some success with certain classical music, and you're quite right that extreme familiarity with a piece is almost as good as rhythmless meditation music. No Mozart, though. Too bouncy.

I was just heading over to the Starbucks subsidiary to do a little work myself. I enjoy the atmosphere at a coffeehouse, and my little netbook is quite useful for that purpose, but it IS very music-y in those places.
Jul. 15th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
it IS very music-y in those places

I was nearly driven mad last month by the 1980s medley, and I liked the songs they were playing.

Here are the two Le Guin mp3s: Twilight Song and Sun Dance Poem. I'd like an hour of that to listen to, but that's what made me think chant might work. Gregorian chant would hopefully put you in vast empty quiet cathedral space too.

Enjoy your Starbucks session! Late night here, way past time I logged off.
Jul. 15th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
Both of those are wonderful. The combination of soft rhythm and complete incomprehensibility is guaranteed, under the laws of hypnosis, to create a mild trance-like state.

What an amazing mind LeGuin has.
Jul. 15th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
also consider noise-cancelling earphones. They're espensive, but supposedly quite good. Test one first, to make sure they work on voices, not just white noise.
Jul. 15th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
I've seen those things on people in airplanes--where they must be satisfactory, because they're almost always worn by passengers with every earmark of the frequent flyer. Just did some quick research and found this article on HowStuffWorks, the key part of which was: "That means about 70 percent of ambient noise is effectively blocked, making noise-canceling headphones ideal for airline and train travel, open office environments or any other location with a high level of background noise."

Too bad about the near-$400 price tag, but if it gets bad enough around here, I'll consider anything.
Jul. 15th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
Resident frequent flyer mraltariel swears by his noise-cancelling earphones, but didn't spend more than $100 on his.
Jul. 16th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
Would love to know what sort he's got!
Jul. 23rd, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)
Jul. 23rd, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you for the resource! I'd never heard of or seen in-ear phones with active noise cancellation. Amazon had them for sixty bucks, so a pair is on its way to me now.

Perfect timing, too. I read your reply on a particularly annoying morning of office noise.

Much obliged.
Jul. 27th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Oh good, I'm glad you found them so cheaply! Hope they work, Mr A swears by them.
Jul. 15th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
Birdsong? can you get that on cd? I don't know
Jul. 15th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
I am finding such cool stuff as a result of people's suggestions!

Have a look at this: the most beautiful birdsong in the world.

Oh my goodness! I don't think I could concentrate on a thing listening to that, but it's absolutely marvelous.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
LOL! Yeah, that'd do it!
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
Simple ear plugs. That's actually a very good idea! Believe it or not, I hadn't thought of that. Since my problem isn't boredom, I don't actually need the distraction of sounds.

Those foamy, industrial ones are cheap and effective. I might even have some around the house from various travels. Thank you!

I find it extremely strange that anyone can get any work done with music playing. I've been accused of ADHD by a boss who medicated her own child for being distracted by noise, and who actually hinted that I might consider the same course for myself if working in a noisy environment was a problem for me. (Of course, this was the boss who had surgery as a form of annual recreation, so...)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'm very happy to tell you that I don't know what this hate meme is. My involvement in the SPN/J2 fandom is limited to watching Show, reading the best fic via recommendations from trusted friends, conversing about Show with same trusted friends, and writing fic myself.

I see a few fanvids, read very limited reports of cons, keep up with J2 appearances, photoshoots and news thanks mostly to vampirefan and generally keep my nose out of fandom wank.

So, what's the hate meme?
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 17th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
I succumbed to curiosity and clicked the link, but happily the hate meme is no more. So I had a look at the love meme, and there they were all talking about the hate meme and how they weren't the same way, so I got some idea.

This is why my participation in fandom is at arm's length. My main interest in fandom is in its creative output around the source material, and the friends I've made from being part of that, not its unbalanced personality.

Which reminds me: what are your thoughts on the warnings debate?
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 17th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Also, I've accepted the warnings consensus. I plan to post warnings in blackout or in author's notes on a separate page, and I don't know if I'll be able to resist being snarky.

Warning: this story is very AU. The characters have slightly different names from real life. You will not recognize all the RPS characters here because there are some original characters. Please don't be traumatized by that. One character mentions in oblique terms an attempt made on his youthful person by an older teacher. Another character remembers witnessing circumstantial evidence of pederasty between two very minor characters. There is, furthermore, some blasphemy that may offend persons of the Christian persuasion, and both characters treat women and servants with a degree of incorrectness that can only be excused by their early 19th century setting. One minor character is said, by an omniscient narrator, to have witnessed an amputation in wartime and is, himself, a PTSD sufferer. This is a lifetime saga, so in the end, both characters die. What may be more traumatic is that they get old first."
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )



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