The ramblings of a dweeb who lives life like it's 2005

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The Sound of Music: Synesthesia and Me

A September 2006 Scientific american article describes the phenomenon of synesthesia as

an anomalous blending of the senses in which the stimulation of one modality simultaneously produces sensation in a different modality.

In other words, the brain receives one sense and converts it into another. For instance, the sound of a car passing by having a strong paint smell, or the number 16 tasting sweet.
Synesthesia can present itself in many, many different ways, and there is no specific method of telling whether you or someone you know is experiencing it or not. A triangle might taste like a dry wine for one synesthete, but smell like a sunflower for another. However, despite these wide ranging differences, the sense to sense mappings that synesthetes have are often very much the same. I.E. synesthete A will always think a triangle tastes like dry wine, and synesthete B will always think it smells like a sunflower. This is what sets synesthesia apart from things such as psychotic or drug/medication induced hallucination episodes.
Synesthesia is a fascinating and bizarre phenomenon, but it can be quite jarring, maybe even overwhelming, to deal with at times. For instance, imagine your synesthesia is turned up so high that literally every sense, and all forms of it, have a synesthetic mapping. You hear a plane flying overhead, as well as 50 people talking in 50 different languages and accents, all with different sounding voices. Oh and the smell of cooking food too. It’s a nice smell, but that’s not the point. Your brain is having to process thousands of stimuli and synesthetically map each one. If that doesn’t make your brain crash like Windows 95 after a Blue Screen of Death error, I have no idea what will!

I’ve known what synesthesia is for quite a while, but have never taken any serious notice of it. That is until I got chatting to someone online about it after reading some of their social media posts. Like me, this person is totally blind, but more to the point, he’s a synesthete. He’s an adaptable synesthete, meaning his synesthesia can effectively be turned up and down. Part of his synesthesia involves words having different textures, depending on both the language and accent in which the word is spoken. We eventually formed a kind of bond over our synesthesia, and now I consider us to be close friends. Well, as close as an online friendship can be. 🙂
After chatting with him for a bit, I eventually realized that he’d helped unlock a part of me that I never really knew existed, my own synesthetic tendencies.

How my synesthesia works

I have quite a unique, but also highly confusing, form of synesthesia in which every word, in either English or any other language, is mapped to one or more musical notes in which I imagine that word being said. Now, here’s where it gets confusing. One word can have more than one musical note mapping, and each syllable, I.E. the parts that make up a word, also have their own mapping.
The only way for me to demonstrate this is with a piano recording. The following sound file shows how the word ‘Sweden’ is mapped to musical notes. The first note you hear is A4, which is the swee syllable. The second note, G4, is the den syllable. It might help if you sing along with the notes so you can get an idea of how the word maps to the notes.

If you’ve made it this far without your brain blowing up, first of all, congratulations! Secondly, here are some more piano examples of my synesthetic word to musical note mappings. Again, singing along with the notes might help you understand the mappings better.
For screen reader users, each word will be listed as a level 2 heading, and the mappings will be level 3 headings. This will allow you to quickly jump between them using the appropriate heading navigation keys for your screen reader.

Beat (music)/beet (beetroot)

Mapping 1, F4

Mapping 2, G4

Mapping 3, C5

Cat

Mapping 1, A4

CD (compact disk)/Seedy (full of seeds)

Mapping 1, D3, C3

Mapping 2, F3, D3

Mapping 3, F4, D4

Mapping 4, D5, C5

Mapping 5, F5, D5

Feet (legs)/feat (achievement)

Mapping 1, A4

Scene (movie)/seen (with your eyes)/h2>

Mapping 1, E4

Sea (ocean)/See (with your eyes)

Mapping 1, D4

Mapping 2, F4

Mapping 3, G4

Mapping 4, D5

Mapping 5, F5

Swede

Mapping 1, A4

Sweet

mapping 1, a4>

Conclusion

Synesthesia can be a very confusing concept to wrap your head around; even the best scientists are still finding their way around it!
I hope this blog post has been as intriguing and insightful as it has been mind boggling. Below is a citation link to the 2006 Scientific American article that I used as a research point for this blog post.

Citation

Scientific American. (2006). What is synesthesia?. [Online]. scientificamerican.com. Last Updated: 11th September, 2006. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-synesthesia/ [Accessed 13th July, 2023].

The Seedy FAQ: 20 Wacky and Wild Questions about Seedy!

I’ve been wanting to do this for a short while now. The idea actually came to my mind after someone on a Discord server I’m on suggested it.
Do you want to know me, but you’re too afraid to ask questions or just don’t have the time? Well, here’s a little quick fire Q-n-A post that will hopefully answer some of those burning questions you might have.

1: Who are you?

I am known as SeedyThreeSixty or Seedy. You can just call me Seedy; it’s easier.
I am without any eyesight. I see nothing. No colour, no light, no shadows… nothing! Pure blackness!
I am a hobbyist software programmer, web developer and, of course, blogger. I love anything to do with computers, especially old school tech. Video games are my life! I love fighting games like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Tekken, Virtua Fighter etc.

2: Were you born blind?

Yes. I have been blind since the day I was born, though it hasn’t affected my life in any way. I can do exactly the same things as a sighted person, just in a slightly different way.

3: What’s your favourite fighting game?

Street Fighter! All the way! Even though I suck hard at the games, I love pretty much every Street Fighter game in the series. The Alpha series, the EX line of titles from 1996, 1998 and 2000, even the original Street Fighter from 1987!

4: What’s your favourite video game console?

The Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 will always be my favourites! Always! I played the hell out of those consoles as a child. I still play the hell out of them now thanks to the power of emulation! I still play on my physical Xbox 360, but I use the awesome PCSX2 emulator to get my Playstation 2 fix.

5: What’s your favourite operating system?

My 5 favourite operating systems are Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 7. I used those systems a lot as a child, and I still do today thanks to virtualization. I’d die to be reunited with my old house-built PC again so I can experience that selfsame childhood joy with real hardware and not have to put up with laggy virtual machines!

6: Why are you stuck in the past?

OK, forgive me for being a little harsh with this one, but it’s the only way I can get this point across.
The 2000s were full of happy moments. From visiting theme parks with my family, to playing games on my custom-built Windows XP desktop, to sitting around the dinner table with the family and watching The Simpsons and/or Futurama on Sky 1 every night at 6. As soon as the 2000s went, everything else went with it. My family, my PC, the games I played, a lot of close friends from school and the like, the Sky package, the happiness and love for life I once had… everything!
The nostalgia I have is down to my burning passion and desire to keep those memories alive. At the end of the day, memories are all I have now! I’m proud to be a 2000s kid. I’m proud to be nostalgic. I’m proud to be a part of the retro community. My nostalgia will only grow more powerful. If you don’t like it, get out of my life! You can’t criticize me for being me!

7: What’s your soul purpose in life?

My reason for living, if I’m completely honest, is making people smile. Helping others out and making them feel happy makes me feel happy. I hate to see people struggling and feeling sad. A friend in need is a friend indeed. If I end up flat broke and on the streets, at least I can say I took some time out of my life to help someone out with their problems.

8: How do you play video games when you’re blind?

See A Guide to playing Video Games Without Sight.

9: How do you use a computer when you’re blind?

See A Guide to Using Computers Without Sight.

10: Would you say you had OCD?

Definitely! Especially when it comes to dates, numbers etc. It angers me to no end, and can make me feel uneasy. I hate it when people get dates wrong, such as the release date of a song or the date of a historic event. I also hate it when people abbreviate years. It’s not twenty twenty, it’s two thousand twenty! You wouldn’t say “I have twenty ten pounds in the bank”, would you? I get that one thousand nine hundred forty-five is harder to say than nineteen forty-five, but if the second digit in a 4 digit number is a 0, like in 2010 or 1066, don’t abbreviate it! That’s what twenty-four hour time is for!

11: What’s your favourite day of the year?

At time of writing, one of my favourite days of the year is only 12 days away! I call it Windows 95 day. It falls on 24th August, the date of Windows 95’s release. Windows 95 brought many awesome features to Windows, such as the start menu, 32-bit app support, the ability for devices to be instantly recognized by the OS through the power of plug-n-play, and so much more! It’s a bloody good operating system, so why not celebrate it? That’s my opinion anyway. I also see Windows 95 day as a day to celebrate the simpler times and to remember the many, many happy days of yesteryear.
My other favourite day, and I think this one applies to all mathematics/science nerds out there, is 14th March, also known as… Pi Day! I won’t get too geeky here, but you can find out more about Pi Day, and Pi itself, on the Pi Day website.

12: How do you dream if you’re blind

My dreams are almost entirely auditory, meaning they are mostly filled with sound. On the occasion that I do see in the subconscious world, my sight is generated from descriptions that other people have given me in the conscious world, such as those of forests, mountains, famous buildings etc. Isn’t the brain a wonderful thing?

13: What’s your favourite alcoholic drink?

I am a cider drinker. I drinks it all of the day. I am a cider drinker. It soothes all me troubles away.

14: What programming languages do you know?

I know Python a lot more than any other programming language. The only other languages I know are just markup languages like HTML and Markdown. I don’t know C/C Plus Plus, PHP, Java, JavaScript, or any other real programming or scripting language.

15: What type of music do you listen to?

I like to listen to a lot of rock music. I like songs from the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, System of a Down, Divide the Day, Papa Roach etc. I also like a bit of pop, hip hop and EDM. After all, house time is any time, and any time is house time!

16: What food do you like

Pizza, pizza, pizza, and more pizza! I also like anything that’s super hot and spicy. Gimme dat supa hot fiyya!

17: Your favourite TV show is?

I am a hard core Simpsons and Futurama fan. If you don’t like it, you can bite my shiny metal ass!
There is a lot of stuff I can’t watch, such as TV episodes or films with explosions, loud bangs, jump scares etc due to my PTSD and misophonia. You can find out more about these here.

18: What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled?

This one time, someone (I won’t say who) tried to get access to my computer. Unbeknownst to them, however, I had a permanent lockout policy set up on my user account. By typing in the wrong password 3 times, this person had triggered the lockout. Of course, with the person being computer illiterate, they didn’t have a clue what the error message on screen meant or why they couldn’t log into the system. They called me and told me what was wrong. I convinced them that the computer was broken and that the only way to fix it was to reset the entire operating system! However, I had a secret weapon in my pocket. I booted into a talking Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) and fired up a little tool called NTPW Edit. This allowed me to break into the security account manager (SAM) and restore access to my local user account. No system reinstall needed! Even after I’d fixed the problem, the person still thought my entire computer was broken and was none the wiser. Tee hee!

19: What’s your favourite number?

I have a few lucky numbers. One of them is 4,294,967,296, or 2 to the 32nd power. Of course, I’m a computer nerd, so this really is no surprise. Other ones include 5, 9, 50, 60, 95, 98, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and all the powers of 2.

20: What’s your computer related pet peeve?

I absolutely cannot stand the term 4k. Read my lips: 4k. does not. exist! A 4k display has a resolution of 3840×2160, twice that of a HD display, 1920×1080. 3840 / 1000 is 3.84. Therefore it’s 3.84k, not god damn 4k! 4k is just a marketing ploy to make the display tech sound better than it really is. Don’t fall for it! At least the term 1080P is correct, though.
You can find 7 more computer related things I absolutely despise here.

Conclusion

There you have it. 20 weird, crazy questions and answers about me! I hope I was able to bring you a step closer to solving the highly complex enigma that is… me.

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