Audiobooks Are Books

I love books.

That should be the end of all I need to write about books and reading, but I have had some negative reactions to the way I read books. Typically the conversation is as follows:

Me: “I just read X book by my favorite author”
Them: “That is cool.”
Me: “Yeah I finished listening to it on the drive to work today.”
Them: “Listening to audiobooks is not the same as reading.”
Me: …
Me: burns them with the fire of a thousand suns

I don’t get this hate for audiobooks. And usually the people telling me this have not read a book in a while. They ave a weird snobbery that you can only read books by a melting candle and parchment paper and yet they haven’t read a book since they were forced to in college and in reality they spark noted it because spark note was a thing then and I have no idea if spark note is still a thing.

I love books in all of their forms. I love paper and hard cover books. I love ebooks. I love audiobooks. I love iBooks (or Apple Books now) and the ability to embed videos and other multi media straight into the book.

If you are able to have the ideas that Charles Dickens typed into his MacBook Air while sitting in Starbucks make it to your brain, does it really matter how they get there?

I was going to cite various research articles that showed that some kids learn better with audiobooks and that comprehension is better and give a personal anecdote that I tend to skip over paragraphs when I read very fast so audiobooks help me slow down and actually digest content. But I don’t care.

I just want to read.

And if that reading is actually listening to an author or a professional narrator read a book to me like I’m a child in their parent’s lap (instead of a mindless drone on his hour commute) then so be it.

Just read damn books and who cares how you consume them. And if someone judges you just know that inside they aren’t happy with their own ability to read books and they are taking it out on you. Since that is what we do in our society now a days.

Just read. From graphic novels to audiobooks. Just freaking read all ready.

I you need recommendations my newest and most favorite stories ever are both by Mary Robinette Kowal.

The Lady Astronaut of Mars - A Short Story

The Calculating Stars - The First book in the series based on the before short story.

The next book in the series The Fated Sky which is almost out but not quite out as of the writing of this post. (August 21, 2018 FYI)

Fruitless Search for the Perfect App

I have a problem.

I am on an endless search for the next perfect app. Currently, on my iPhone, I have 266 apps, which is down a lot since I purposefully cleaned up a lot of apps I never used a few months ago. Though it is up from 256 apps recently in this post. I know it used to be well over 300 apps, which is just outrageous.

I love trying new apps!

But, I have been trying to turn over a new leaf, courtesy of Merlin Mann. He shared a few thoughts in a recent podcast with Brett Terpstra (the maker of the two apps I am using to write this right now nvALT and Marked 2). To paraphrase Merlin, what is the purpose of the change and what are you trying to do? I am asking myself these questions with each app I am downloading and trying out. Basically, is it worth it to switch or invest the time to use it well? If not, don’t rock the boat and switch unnecessarily.

I love downloading a new to-do list or note taking app like there is no tomorrow but, so far, I have never used any of the to their fullest extent. I see a cool new feature in a new app, despite never using half the features in the previous 10 versions that I have used. This constant search for the next best widget, despite never using each widget, I found has been bothering me more and more lately.

I shared in a previous post that I am trying to moderate my apps to some extent and use test files for a lot of things. I am trying to do my writing, note taking, thoughts etc in nvAlt and then deciding what other app it should go to.

For instance, this post started as a file created in nvAlt, with the assumption that it would be a blog post, and then after a few paragraphs I opened Marked 2 to see how it was formatting as I wrote it and added things such as links and other text features.

I have also started trying to do the same thing on my phone. I have started using Drafts 5 as the place I start almost all of my text. If I have thoughts, an email or iMessage to draft, a post to start writing, or notes to take I will open Drafts. I even am trying to remember to use it to start a google search.

Knowing where I start each of my thoughts has allowed me to be more confident when I sit down to do something. If I had an idea that I wanted to write about I wasn't sure what to do before. Do I open Squarespace and type out a blog in their editor? Maybe put it in Notes, Pages, or Word? And the same thing on my phone with Evernote, Notes, Simplenote, Bear, Editorial etc.

It can just be overwhelming.

Now I have a flow of procedure that most everything starts from. Drafts on phone and nvAlt on the computer. Then it can be exported to wherever I need it afterwards. And I can easily change my mind if something that starts as a simple text message, then makes more sense as an email, and ends as a blog post.

I may not end up with less apps on my phone, but the amount is much less overwhelming because I don't have to worry about the app overload and what I am going to do.

And I am working on using a few apps more to their fullest extent, such as OmniFocus, Instapaper, and Bear.

But, we will see how long it is before I am over 300 apps on my phone again.

Morning Mineral Cocktail

One of my favorite things is coffee. I love coffee with a passion. And I am not one of those people who pretends to like coffee but instead have have milk or cream with some coffee. I take it completely plain, black as night, nothing added to it at all.

I have never quite been as bad as needing coffee in the morning first thing before I talk to anyone, I would even skip some days. But I could tell if I did.

I have started reading Marcus Aubrey’s new book. He founded Onnit.

I usually go into books about changing you lifestyle, diet, workout plan etc with a lot of skepticism. Most of those books are just a rehashing of things you can find easily on the internet and they only have half truths behind them.

The 1st chapter has been a game changer already.

Instead of shoving coffee down your throat and standing in a hot shower very sleepily he says it is better to drink water, get sunlight or blue light, and to move.

From the book:

"There is a solution to all that: a three-part formula that involves a simple morning mineral cocktail for hydration and adds a little bit of sunlight and a little bit of movement to reset your internal clock, taking you from getting owned to owning it within the first twenty minutes of your day. I’ve tested it, the athletes and high performers I work with have confirmed it, and clinical research has proven it: hydration and circadian balance are the essential ingredients to the consistent perfect wake-up."

So far I have mostly implemented the morning mineral cocktail. I knew I was dehydrated in the mornings, I had heard it many times before, it is one of the things that Kelly Starrett talks about. But, I have never done anything about it.

Today is my third day trying this new thing in my life an I haven’t done it perfectly yet it has still helped. First 2 days I used the sea salt grinder to put some sea salt in water and stir it up. I didn’t use any lemon juice as he recommends. And this morning I did it slightly more properly, I weighed out some fine ground sea salt (3g for the recipe) and then put in a dash of lemon juice (he recommends an actual 1/4 lemon slice).

I am just an N of 1 and these 3 days don’t prove a theory but I feel really good after doing this. I have naturally woken up at 6am on a Saturday and Sunday ready to get up and excited to drink the water. This is a little unusual for me, I do tend to be an early riser, but I’m not usually excited to face the day and I can totally sleep in until 9am or so if I wanted to.

This has made working out much easier. I can take my time in the mornings, work on the computer for a bit, before I go to Crossfit around 8-8:30. I am much less rushed an get a better workout in that way.

Here is his full recipe:

Morning Mineral Cocktail

  • 12 ounces filtered water
  • 3 grams sea salt
  • 1/4 lemon, squeezed

Happy drinking!


Resources

Marcus, Aubrey. Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimized Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex (p. 11). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

EMR's Suck

EMR’s suck.

That is pretty much a statement I think most medical professionals can get behind. I get extremely frustrated with any EMR system that I have used.

Examples of stupidity in various EMR's that I have used, in no particular order.

  • All text is a monospaced font that CAN ONLY BE CAPITALIZED! (but, like, why?)
  • 8 clicks to add a diagnosis, only if you already know the exact phrasing of said diagnosis.
  • 5 submenus to find the exact check box you want (so instead I just free text, why even have the check boxes)
  • Pop up menus that do not appear in standardized place due to seemingly random addition of other options
  • If you make a mistake and select and ICD 9 code instead of ICD 10 you have to delete your whole note and start over

These are just a few that I came up with off the top of my head. I don't really know the reasons why all of these programs are the complete worst but I suspect a few things.

Too Broad

These programs are trying to be the everything to everyone. They have to have all of the possible options for every little thing someone may need. It is helpful when they are at least for a specific profession, physical therapy vs nursing, but they are still very broad.

In physical therapy a lot of the programs try to force you to pick a region you are working on, like the knee. Then it will try and show you information that is mostly only relevant for the knee. But, they then make it very difficult to add a lot of other things you might typically add that is not knee specific. And if you have accidentally picked the wrong diagnosis at first, or wrong region, they don't always make it easy to switch things up to the proper thing.

Not Efficient

Because everything is built broadly the programs are not efficient. They are built for all options in mind so it takes 5 submenus to find the specifically thing you want instead of finding a way to make the stuff you want easily accessible. The program should make an effort to have as few clicks as possible to get to documentation. 5 of the 8 clicks I mentioned earlier to add a diagnosis are completely different pop up windows. That is ridiculous.

Reinforce Bad Habits

Many programs basically invite someone to write a poorly written note. You may be unable to copy and paste between areas or previous notes so are forced to rewrite information. I tend to take some shortcuts in this case, I don't know about you. Another example is having to look through old charts (which takes many, unnecessary clicks) to find the plan from last treatment or last reevaluation when that info could just pop up somewhere obvious in their new note. I remember really liking how WebPT showed the last assessment next to the text box for their new assessment so that you remember what you (or another therapist) put last time.

Do Too Many Things (Or Too Few)

These programs are trying to be good at documentation, billing, scheduling and other clinical things at the same time. If one of these parts break down it becomes a much worse program. But, you also don't want to buy 4 different programs to do each things that don't communicate well with each other.

Rant over.

I don't have any solutions at this point, but I just want to point out how frustrated I have been with all of these programs that I have to spent many hours after hours using.

Squatting Deep

I love what Zach Long puts out on his website and he just shared a video he and Mitch Babcock did on squat depth.

Mitch hits the facts hard right away with 2 quotes from a paper by Hartmann et al.

Deep Squats do not contribute it increased risk of injury to passive tissues.

and

The deep squat presents an effective training exercise for protection against injuries and strengthening of the lower extremity.

The deep squat is actually an effective tool to prevent and protect your body. It is not just safe, but it is necessary! Watch the video because Mitch gets into the nuts and bolts involved.

I had the pleasure of taking the Advanced Concepts in the Clinical Management of the Fitness Athlete course with Mitch and Zach. They have so much knowledge to share on the topic of Crossfit and physical therapy. I’m so glad I took that course.

If the rest of the Institute of Clinical Excellence courses are as good I’m excited to take more in the future.


Resources:

Hartmann et al.

Twitter links:

Mitch Babcock is @dr_mitch_dpt

Zach Long is @zlongdpt

Text File Lifestyle

I like to try way too many apps and things in my life (as of this writing I have 256 apps on my phone). But I recently decided I wanted a bit more simplicity.

I am going to try and use plain text for most of my writing, note taking, to do lists and anything else that makes sense.

This is mostly inspired by Merlin Mann, I listen to way too many of his podcasts including Do by Friday, Back to Work, Reconcilable Differences, and Roderick on the Line, not to mention his various appearances on tons of other podcast.

There are a lot of advantages to plain text, which include smaller file size and ability to be read by any word processor like Word, Pages, TextEdit etc.

I want something easy because I want to write a lot more frequently and I tend to get sucked in to complicated systems and then not write anything.

I am trying to write in the Markdown format, which allows for plain text files to be formatted in a web browser. This blog post is written in markdown, though I didn’t do anything complicated besides links mostly. But I could have done this or this.

The main way I am writing is using nvALT. It has a little bit of a learning curve, but is otherwise very easy to use. I can also access files on my phone using the Editorial app (or any other markdown iPhone app) since everything syncs so easily with Dropbox.

So we will see how this goes and you should be hearing from me a lot more if I can stick with this.