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Month: July 2010

Distillations #100 – 100th Episode!

Wow! 100 episodes! We mark this milestone by revisiting some of the stories we’ve covered over the past 3+ years. Devin Browne gives us an update on the electric and battery-powered cars she reported on from GM’s Battery Lab back in October 2008. Catherine Girardeau talks about the hair mats that were used to help clean up the oil spill in the San Francisco bay back in December 2007, and what kind of technology is being used to clean up the Gulf Coast And Jody Roberts updates his 2009 environmental wish list with a new list for 2010.

Birthday Cake – Candles, from Flickr user jessica.diamond.

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Zekey ramblings

I intended to keep an ongoing log of all the funny/amazing things Zekey said as he was learning to talk, but his language developed so fast I just couldn’t keep up. So now I’m left with all these little bits of paper filled with Zekey ramblings and before I lose them, I’m listing them here. I should have dated them because I know some of these are quite old. He’s been speaking in complete sentences since about 16 months old. Here are some of the earliest ones:

Let’s get some milk.
I wanna hold you.
Let’s change the diaper, I have a poo poo.
I wanna play with cars.
I wanna go THAT way!
I need to get a stick. (Used for anything he can’t reach.)
I wanna read the book.
Where’d that come from?
Just a little bit more.
It’s an ‘O!’ (holding up the white of a sliced hard-boiled egg)
Let’s go downstairs.

Here are some of his more creative phrases – fill in the blank with his favorite word of the moment:

a little bit of _______ (fill in the blank)
happy ________ (mama, dada, horsey, pretty much anything)
________ saur (mama, dada, etc.)
uncle (Jeff, Josh, mama, dada, Zekey)

And here are some more recent ones. He’ll just string together a whole bunch of the words he knows into these long rambling sentences that sometimes make sense and sometimes just make us laugh:

A funny looking boat says “errrrr” like a car.
Jump like a monkey or like another animal that jumps; sometimes like a horsey.

Zekey loves to sing songs and he knows all the words to many of them. Some of his favorites:

Wheels on the Bus
Old MacDonald
The Ants Go Marching
This Old Man
If You’re Happy and You Know It…

There are countless more; I’ve recorded some and will try to post at some point. He’s just started singing along with his favorite songs on the Music Together CDs. It’s so cute. He’s still not totally in tune, but he definitely goes up and down the scale as the notes go higher and lower.

The only downside to all this talking is that he’s pretty much stopped sleeping in the car. If he’s not singing along with his music, he’s telling us what he sees out the window, or what he did that day, or what we’re doing later, or tomorrow, and who we’re going to see. Charming to a point. When it’s 10pm and we expected him to be asleep 2 hours earlier, it’s not so cute. Last weekend we left NJ around 7:30pm, thinking he might be up for a half hour or so and then he would pass out. At 8:30pm we’d had enough of his yammering so we told him it was time for sleep and “no more talking.” Instead, he got fixated on the phrase “I want Zekey’s music.” (meaning he wanted us to turn on the Music Together CD.) He repeated that phrase 368 times. I’m not kidding. I counted. Three hundred and sixty eight times. At 9:30pm, when we finally got home, he was still going. Crazy kid.

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Distillations #99 – Summer Barbeque

Another Distillations celebration of food and drink: papaya as a natural meat tenderizer, an interview with food historian Roger Horowitz about how steak became the quintessential American meal, and a segment on the carcinogenic properties of grilled meats.

BBQ Inferno, from Flickr user Frederic Poirot.

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2010 Third Coast Festival Short Doc Competition

I just completed this piece for the 2010 Third Coast Festival Short Doc competition.

All You Need Is a Wall: A meditation on big changes, building walls, and breaking them down again.

This year’s assignment:

For the 2010 ShortDocs Challenge – Book Odds – we teamed up with The Books, IOHO one of the most inventive and creative bands making music today. With the help of Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong we chose eight audio samples from their vast library of sonic offerings, and four song titles from their record The Way Out. Then we issued an open call to “make radio” – short audio stories including at least two of the samples, and named after one of the song titles: “A Cold Freezin Night,” “All You Need is a Wall,” “Chain of Missing Links,” “I Didn’t Know That.”


buzz note
strange town
winding coinbox
with youououou

sonic doodads

clarinet clock loop
eros vibraphone
note manual

I chose All You Need Is a Wall, inspired by the many stone walls I see in my new home in upstate NY, and my neighbor Jody, who used to be a stone mason.

As a freelancer, there are so few opportunities to do truly creative work with sound. The folks at Third Coast give us an opportunity to do just that – to think about sound in new ways, challenging us to break out of our day jobs and get creative. The winners get all expenses paid to the conference in October, but for me, it’s not about winning. It’s about doing a piece that I feel good about. (Incidentally, I didn’t win. But I had a great time at the conference.)

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2007 Third Coast Festival Short Doc Competition

Every couple years, the Third Coast Festival sponsors the “Short Doc” competition – to find the best short audio pieces, 3-minutes or less, around a certain theme. In 2007, this was the assignment:

Dollar Storeys invited seasoned producers and radio fans alike to submit short audio works inspired by one of three items purchased at a dollar store: a ceramic mug sporting a feisty feminist message, a 4-pack of wooden mousetraps, and an old-school bicycle bell.

I chose the bike bell, inspired by my friend Arwen, whose bike (and bike bell in the shape of a burger) was stolen many times in San Francisco.

My Bike Had a Burger Bell: A Tragic Tale of Loss and Woe: a true story about bike commuting, theft and making the best of a bad situation.

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Pulse of the Planet – Compostable Plastic

I recently started doing some production work for Jim Metzner, creator and host of Pulse of the Planet, daily “two-minute sound portraits of the planet” that air on radio programs across the country. Jim would essentially hand me a raw interview he’d recorded and say “find me some stories.” My first assignment was an interview with Richard Gross, a professor of chemical and biological science at Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

Compostable Plastic: Conventional plastic can persist for hundreds of years, but bag your produce in bio-based plastic, and you can toss the scraps AND the bag right into the compost bin.

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Distillations #98 – Climate Engineering

A show on attempting to control the climate with science. Segments on modern-day rainmaking, the history of trying to “fix” climate problems, and fertilizing the oceans with iron.

Image courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales Collection.

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