Sound Effect

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Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by knkx's Jennifer Wing. Each week's show explores a different theme.

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This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories of things that keep us up at night. We'll hear stories of fear and anxiety and meet people who work unusual graveyard shifts.

Radio Nightmares

Sound Effect gets a lot of inspiration from the hit radio show This American Life. So we thought we'd ask host Ira Glass what keeps him up at night. Turns out, his childhood fears were pretty dark.

The Cameraman

Brighterorange / Wikimedia Commons

Ira Glass, the host of This American Life, is headed to Seattle later this month to give a talk. We grabbed a few minutes with him to ask what it is that keeps him from sleeping.

 

As a child, Ira Glass spent nights considering his own mortality.  

“I would just lie in bed, trying to get my mind around the idea that I would be dead and everything in the world would continue without me,” remembers Glass.

Tim Durkan

The sidewalks of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood are home to drug addicts, the mentally ill and kids who’ve run away from home. These are the people most of us give wide berth to as we make our way in and out of trendy restaurants and bars. We turn a blind eye to then when they are camped out in a bus shelter. The level of caution afforded to these individuals goes up significantly when it’s dark outside.

Courtesy Arrington De Dionyso

Editor's note: The audio version of this story contains language some readers may find inappropriate.

Sometimes the things that keep us up seem to come out of nowhere. Something we might never have given a second thought to all of a sudden, for reasons we can’t quite understand, become front and center in our life.

That’s what happened to Arrington De Dionyso. He’s a painter and musician from Olympia.

Courtesy of Taylor Shellfish Farms

Almost every night in the winter, there are hundreds of farmers at work along the Washington coast. The lights of their head lamps are just barely visible on the shoreline. They are shellfish farmers out harvesting clams, oysters, and geoducks. They are up at such late hours because of the tide. That’s when it’s lowest during the winter months.

Jennifer Wing / knkx

Most of Kayoko Nakajima’s work takes place at night at the bedside of Japanese women giving birth. Nakajima, who operates out of Kenmore, is believed to be the only Japanese-speaking doula in the Seattle area. Many clients call her during the night—whether that’s 10 p.m. or 3 a.m.—and she sticks with the mothers and fathers until they meet their babies.

“Labor takes as long as it takes,” Nakajima said. “Once labor starts, there’s no day or night, for me, for the doula.”

When Your 'Dream Come True' Keeps You Up At Night

Jan 14, 2017
Sarah Cass

 

 

What keeps a lot of kids up a night is the fear of a monster under the bed or in the closet. The sounds an old house makes can distress even the bravest child. But what if what kept you up at night was the best thing that ever happened to you? That is what happened to Sound Effect contributor Arwen Nicks. She explores her sleepless nights in this essay:

CREDIT YINAN CHEN/CREATIVE COMMONS

This week on Sound Effect, we hear about changes of scenery. We bring you stories of people who were exposed to a whole different part of the world, a culture they weren't familiar with, or a lifestyle they never imagined.

The Logging Camp

Will James / knkx

Imagine growing up in a state to total innocence and freedom.

You're a child, and you have an infinity of woods and mountains to explore. You eat fresh blackberries your mother picks in the forest. All the dangers of the modern world are miles away.

Everyone in town is like an uncle, a mother, a grandmother. They dress up as Santa Claus for Christmas and stage a big egg hunt every Easter. 

Rex Hohlbine / Facing Homelesness

 

One way to get a different view and to exit your comfort zone is to trade the warm and dry home you live in for a camper van that will take you around the country to meet and help the homeless. You'll also bring your nine-year-old along for this adventure.

 

This is what Jennifer Underwood of Seattle is doing with her daughter, Rory. They are on a national tour called, “Just Say Hello.”

 

Courtesy of Paul Wager

I have never considered myself a musician. My father paid for more weeks of piano lessons for me than I was willing to attend and my stretch as a bassist in a high school rock band lasted just long enough for me to learn the bass line to Pink Floyd’s "Money." But for some reason, after turning 33, I decided to take up the drums. I took one lesson from a friend and felt more enchanted by music than I have, well, ever.

Robert Hood / Fred Hutch

Maxine Linial is a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and one of the world's leading researchers on an obscure group of microorganisms called simian foamy viruses.

She’s been at the Hutch for 40 years looking through microscopes in the lab and studying swirling cells in petri dishes. However, that changed very suddenly five years ago.

Courtesy Erika Lee Bigelow

Erika Lee Bigelow was out for St. Patrick’s Day in Portland when she saw a card advertising a contest hosted by the beer company Guinness.  You had to write a 50-word essay finishing the sentence ‘The perfect pint of Guinness ...” The grand prize was a pub in Ireland. That’s right, you could win your own pub. So she wrote her essay:

Allie Ferguson / knkx

This week on Sound Effect, we look back at our favorite stories from 2016. 

The Tree Hunter

Tacoma arborist Mik Miazio is a part of a national group of arborists and citizen scientists obsessed with finding the tallest trees of each species. He explains why he loves searching for these old growth forests.

Allie Ferguson / knkx

Tacoma arborist Mik Miazio loves trees. He has loved them since he was a kid growing up in New Jersey.

"I remember climbing my first tree when I was a kid. As soon as I was able to, I would jump right in there and disappear. I’m in my own world right there," Miazio said.

It was this love that led Miazio to discover the tallest tree in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park. He noticed the giant Douglas Fir poking out of the canopy when he moved to Tacoma three years ago.

Jennifer Wing / knkx

 

If you’re lucky, you know who lives next door, and you like them. Hopefully, the feeling is mutual. In an ideal world, neighbors look out for each other. But, of course, not everyone is so fortunate.

What if you live next door to a nightmare? The place where drug deals go down? Where there always seems to be a party going on at three in the morning? The house where domestic violence happens and fights break out? The home that police visit — a lot?

Kevin Kniestedt / knkx

There are some things you might only be able to notice if you happen to be an insider. If you have lived in Tacoma for any extended period of time, there is a pretty good chance that you feel a bit territorial about it. It is a city that gets told that it can't measure up to Seattle. It is often associated with a certain aroma, while residents know that the smell doesn't really exist anymore, or at least doesn't compare to how it did decades ago.

Credit Matthew Streib

This week on Sound Effect, we share stories of traditions.

Tacoma Cotillion

 

It’s been months since young men showed up on the doorsteps of upstanding families in Pierce County delivering invitations and red roses to unsuspecting young ladies. Now, the event everyone has been preparing for is finally about the happen: Tacoma’s Holiday Cotillion.

 

The Tradition of 'Laser Floyd' At The Pacific Science Center Laser Dome

Dec 24, 2016
Warren Langford / KPLU

For most people, when they hear the words “Laser” and “Floyd” together the first thing that comes to mind is usually not “time honored tradition.” But that’s exactly what’s been happening at the Pacific Science Center Laser Dome for the last 30 years.

From Vancouver To China: The Tradition Of Reburial

Dec 24, 2016
Matthew Streib

When British Columbia joined Canada in 1871, the nation promised to build a railroad to connect Vancouver to the east. But labor was short, and white workers were costly, so railroad companies shipped in migrant labor from China.

Courtesy of Diane Whalen

As a young girl in Catholic school, Diane Whalen always wanted to be close to God. She set her sights on becoming a nun, until puberty hit and her interest in boys forced her to make a course correction.

It wasn't until Whalen was in her 20s that she started hearing people advocate for women’s ordination into priesthood. The Church never did come around to this idea, but an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests began ordaining women outside of the Church institutions. In 2010, Whalen became the first female ordained priest in Washington.

Tag Brothers

There are lots of games we all played in the schoolyard when we were kids — foursquare, tetherball, maybe some capture the flag if there was  enough time before the bell rang. Some of us just can’t let go.

 

There’s a group of middle-aged men, here in the Northwest,  who play an intense game of tag for the entire month of February, every year. They’ve been playing the game for decades.

 

Animal Odd Couples by Ars Electronica LICENSED UNDER CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2hGcG07 / Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories of odd couples and the unique ways people are drawn together. 

Man's Best Frenemy

Knkx general manager Joey Cohn has worked hard to befriend one particular co-worker: Winston. He wonders why they just can't get along.

The Up House

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Knkx general manager Joey Cohn has a special place in his heart for one knkx employee: Winston. Despite Winston's surly attitude and manipulative behavior, Cohn is desperate for a relationship with him.

Winston is, of course, a dog. He is specifically a French bull dog owned by Justin Steyer, knkx's director of digital media and technology. Listen to Cohn explain why he loves this dog even though Winston does not return his affection. 

Courtesy of Barry Martin

When Barry Martin first met Edith Macefield in 2006, neither would have predicted the close bond they would develop or the hours they’d end up spending together. They were a very unusual pair.

Barry was the foreman of the construction that was rising around Edith’s modest cottage in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.  Edith was the woman who became renowned for turning down a million-dollar offer from the developer that was building the project. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Caros and Ben Fodor didn’t always hate each other’s guts.

“Like, at birth, when he was first adopted, we were close, because he didn’t talk,” Caros said.

The irritation is mutual.

“Caros and I really didn’t get along growing up,” Ben said. “I don’t even know how to describe that guy. He’s kind of an a------, but he’s not like your stereotypical jerk. He’s got his own little way of ruining things.”

Courtesy of Vic Vogler

Editor’s Note: The following essay contains adult language that may not be suitable for all audiences.

 

Many odd couples start off innocently enough — the regular boy meets girl scenario. But what happens when the girl reveals a much darker side? And the boy in question is left wondering just why fate brought them together?

 

Vic Vogler, a writer in Seattle, brings us this essay:
 

Cuddling For Beginners

Dec 17, 2016
Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Imagine you walk into a room filled with complete strangers, but everyone’s there for the same purpose: they are there to snuggle up and to cuddle. These so-called “cuddle parties” truly do exist. Maybe this is not your thing, and maybe the thought of a snuggling with someone you don’t know makes you want to run screaming in the other direction. Well, you are not alone. It’s definitely not for 88.5’s Ariel Van Cleave. But Ariel is always up to challenging her fears, so she recently set out to take part in one of these cuddling events and shares her experience.

By National Park Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons bit.ly/2hxWrya

This week on Sound Effect, we share stories that take place underwater.

A Meal Fit For An Otter

At the Seattle Aquarium, sea otters get a diet that would make any seafood junkie jealous. Not only do they dine on restaurant grade salmon, crab, shrimp and other seafood, but they get fed up to nine times per day.  

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