June 5, 2009

Time on My Hands...

Back in the end of February, my cervical herniated disc (orig diagnosed in 2005) came raging back with a vengeance, affecting my right arm and shoulder so severely that it forced me to stop playing, reduce my computer work and cut out any type of strenuous physical activity. I am going to be documenting the specifics of this condition in my other blog Other Raney Day Thoughts. With the preoccupation and frustration of finding relief from this vexing medical issue, I find myself having difficulty staying focused on anything or follow-thru with projects and goals.

Recently a co-worker hipped me to one of the new types of products that fall under the category "mind mapping software". One of the goals of this software is to help more clearly mirror and assist with the brain's organizational and thinking process when creating and documenting tasks. It is much more intuitive than let's say a linear outline, which forces a conformity and presumes a degree of pre-knowledge to the scope and hierarchy of the task. Although I haven't reviewed the merits of the various products currently on the market, I am quite fascinated with the product, Personal Brain recommended to me. Like most people in this self-helpy generation I often document my goals on paper, rewrite, toss and rewrite again and then forget about them. Tonight I'm giving Personal Brain a crack at it and I've done a video capture for you to check out.

I'm currently using the trial pro version. Not sure exactly which features will still be available if continue with the free version. In the demo I've mapped out my various projects, and I'm shown navigating to a folder I've created for my friend Charles Monteiro's music project and then drilling down to the tunes, and notes and attached finale files for the tune sketches. It's somewhat hard to see in blogger video view. If possible it might be best to use the download video option so that you can see a larger screen rendering (for example in Real Player)

***Update: a more in depth explanation of PB Pro version's capabilities is given in Bruno's current blog on it.Click here for details


tico vogt said...

Hi Jon,
I learned about your site today and am checking it out for the first time. I play guitar, have been a long time fan of your dad and brother, and am looking forward to hearing you.
I had a severely herniated disk that I lived with for years, trying everything I could to deal with it. X-rays didn't really tell the story, and it wasn't until I had an MRI (after collapsing in someone's house and having to use a wheelchair, my doctor then deciding it was time for the MRI!)that it became clear my only recourse was to yank that puppy out of there. It was very successful, and as long as I maintain my core muscles, mostly by swimming and some simple PT excercises, I've been given a "new lease". Is surgery an option for you? I hope that whatever you try it works and I'll be sending best wishes.
Also, looking forward to your upcoming book.

Tico Vogt
Saratoga Springs, NY

Jon Raney said...

Hi Tico

Surgery is not something I want to do. I just can't imagine fusioning the disk in the neck and inserting something to stabilize. The whole idea is too freaky for me.

I bought an online guide written by a chiropractor to help improve it. Initially it seemed pretty good. Quite a few pages to read and steps to take.

I'll let you know if it's a crock or not:)


- Franis said...

I showed up here to check out what you had to say about the variation on mind-mapping software.
But then thought you might be able to use a tip from me. Some people in your neck situation have had success with Alexander Technique lessons.
Essentially, you can learn to move in a way that takes the pressure off of your neck problem. Alexander Technique comes from the UK performing arts field, where it was used for unlearning unnecessary effort that was accidentally coupled with intentional training.
As far as finding out more, the British Medical journal published a study of how effective Alexander Technique is for back pain in Aug. 2008. There are some temporary therapeutic benefits that happen during the private lessons - but the point is for you to improve the way you move all the time. Undoing unnecessary movement habits by yourself takes about as much time (and cost) to learn as music lessons. Since you're having problems to start with, private lessons will probably be the most effective. The only place I know that has effective self-study is www.performanceschool.org based in Seattle. There are youtube videos on Alexander Technique - check it out to see if it's something you could stand learning and maybe come to enjoy.

Jon Raney said...

Thank-you Franis:

I've read about Alexander Technique and I understand the benefits and there are many musicians that swear by it. I have been reading something I bought on the Internet that discusses a multi-faceted approach which includes Alexander Technique as part of the overall, in addition to possible ways of actually healing the disc. It's really a matter of putting it all together and being disciplined. The problem has lessened somewhat of itself so that's good as well.

Thanks again