Sound Effect

Saturdays at 10 AM

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

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Will James / KNKX

This segment originally aired February 18, 2017. 

The electronic data we use isn't as ephemeral as it seems. Our photos, videos, and email take up physical space in the world.

Patty Martin knows this. Some of it ends up outside her kitchen window. 

Martin lives in Quincy, a rural Washington town that happens to house vast chunks of the internet in gigantic data centers. 

Quincy, a town of about 7,000 people in a bowl of gentle hills, was known for food processing plants that turned potatoes into French fries.

Courtesy Scott Losse

This segment originally aired February 18, 2017. 

For comedians like Seattle’s Scott Losse, sharing lots of information about their flaws and their family members is just a given. He goes on stage in front of a live audiences telling jokes about things like his lifelong issues with anxiety and his deep love for his 16-year-old cat named Kitty.

But comedy often comes from pain, and that's true for Scott. When he was younger, Scott lost his two older brothers — one from suicide, the other, in a car accident.

3 Generations Of Diaphragm Defeat

Jul 15, 2017
Courtesy of Sarah Anne Lloyd

This segment originally aired February 18, 2017.   

After years of bad experiences with hormonal birth control, at 19, I thought I had found a holy grail: The diaphragm. It was 2006, and nobody used diaphragms anymore, but I knew all about them — because since I was about 10 years old, I knew that my very existence depended on my mother leaving hers in the dresser drawer one cold winter day in January of 1986. I was conceived under the dining room table, on the shag carpet of their Fremont apartment.

“Be careful,” she said. “You were a diaphragm baby.”

Courtesy of Alex Ashley

This segment originally aired February 18, 2017.   

Alex Ashley, a journalist and musician from Bellingham, Washington, has known his friend, Kit Knowles, for almost five years now.  The connected after the loss of a mutual friend. 

When it comes to their friendship, they trust each other, they communicate — all the boxes are checked. 

Except one.

“There’s an old proverb — you’ve probably heard it — that says ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder,’” Ashley says.  “But what if that’s all you have: absence? What then?”

 

This week on Sound Effect, we share stories about our parents, and about being parents.

Trick Riders 

The McMillan family in Soap Lake, Wash. has taken in seven foster children. Most of the kids are now accomplished horseback riders, often performing tricks at rodeos. Lynette McMillan explains why she felt drawn to adopt these kids and how the rodeo lifestyle helps them adjust to a new life.  

My Mom Back Then

This story originally aired on December 3, 2017.

Lynette McMillan had a small, quiet family, relatively speaking. She and her husband were raising three kids on a ranch in Soap Lake, Wash. They took a trip to a friend's place, a couple that had taken in foster kids and giving them a better life than what they had previously. This was the inspiration for the McMillans to become foster parents themselves. 

Courtesy of Polly Story-Lebl

 

This story originally aired on January 21, 2017.

One big way to flip the script is to mess with the traditional parent-child dynamic. For many, it can seem like parents are these older beings with no life before their children were born. In modern parenting especially, parents don't appear to even have a life when you're a kid.

 

But what if you could meet your mom or dad at a younger age? Maybe even the same age you are now? What would it be like? What would that person be like?

 

Courtesy of Mike Long.

This story originally aired on April 29, 2017.

Seattle writer Michael Long was a terrible student in grade school. It wasn't that he couldn't do well; it was just that he had no interest in it. Instead of studying or paying attention in class, he would often be caught doodling or staring off into space.

(courtesy Nancy Leson)

This story originally aired on June 18, 2016.

Nancy Leson, half of knkx's  Food for Thought duo, has been in the food industry for a long time. But some of her earliest memories of food come from bars -- not as an employee, but as a patron — a six-year-old patron. 

Leson grew up in Philadelphia, in a time and place where children were allowed to belly up to bars and eat Slim Jims and pickled eggs, or order a Coke with loads of  Maraschino cherries. 

The reason Leson wound up in those bars was that that was where she would find her mother. 

Finding The Time To Say 'I Love You' To Your Dad

Jul 8, 2017
Courtesy of Dominic Black

This story originally aired on April 15, 2017.

When I think back on it now, when I was growing up there’s two things that were really hard for me to tell my parents. The first was: ‘Hey Mum and Dad, so we’re getting sex education at school.’

And the second was, ‘I love you.’

Insomnia by Alyssa L. Miller is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2j5q5Nf

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

Jul 1, 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:

Kyle Norris / KNKX

 

 

Michael McAndrews has had a lifelong love affair with birds.

 

It all started with an article he read as a kid in National Geographic. It profiled homing pigeons used in wartime to communicate messages between troops. Michael was captivated by the story of a bird named Cher Ami that saved almost 200 American soldiers in France during World War I.

 

Celebration by bfick is licensed under CC BY http://bit.ly/2sVygTq

 

Greatest hits compilations usually come out at the end of the year, but we thought, why wait? This week, Sound Effect shares some of our favorite stories from the first half of 2017.

 

A Shop For Violins, Cellos and Basses

Veteran luthier Rick Wickland works on part of a violin bow at his work bench inside Hammond Ashley Violins, in Issaquah. The horse hair used on the bow is hanging behind him.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

At one end of the long building that houses Hammond Ashley Violins in Issaquah, five students are getting ready for a violin class.

In the middle of the building, luthiers are repairing violins and cleaning string basses.

And up front, behind a door marked “Suite 100,” customers are coming in to buy or rent violins, and get them repaired.

Credit Alex Gao

Marcus Haney has caught several big named musicians on camera, including the likes of Coldplay and Elton John.

In 2014, he was asked to produce a music video for the British band Bear's Den. He came up with the idea of coming to Seattle to film his younger brother, Turner Haney, and Turner's friends, who all attended Seattle Pacific University, capturing youth on the brink of adulthood. 

Seattle Black History Through The Lens Of A Beauty Salon

Jun 24, 2017
Jennifer Wing / knkx

To enter De Charlene William's Beauty and Boutique hair salon at 21st and Madison, where First Hill meets the Central Area in Seattle, you have to get past an iron gate.  The extra security is a reminder that doing business here for 48 years has not always been easy.

"I've been through a lot here on this corner," Williams says.

Josh Estey/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / HIV in Indonesia by DFAT IS LICENSED BY CC BY-NC 2.0 http://bit.ly/2neL1Wx

The most difficult part of recovery from addiction can be taking the first step to get help. For hundreds of heroin and prescription pain medication addicts, that first step is a walk through the door of a methadone clinic in the South Sound called Tacoma Treatment Solutions. Every day people arrive at the clinic as early as 5 a.m. to get their daily dose of methadone. 

Courtesy of Port of Mokha coffee

28-year old Yemeni-American Mokhtar Alkhanshali loves coffee. In fact, he is the first Arab certified Q-grader, the coffee equivalent of a sommelier for wine.

Mokhtar grew up between the United States and Yemen. In his grandparents’ garden in Yemen, Mokhtar picked red coffee berries off the trees and laid them out on drying beds. His grandmother taught him when to harvest the berries, and later, how to brew coffee with spices like cardamom and cinnamon.

San Juan Island 17 by Jeff Clark is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2rlvP97

This week on Sound Effect, we head out to the islands.

The Good Ship Issaquah

Marsha Morse was one of the first women captains in Washington’s ferry system. She’s been navigating the waterways since 1975. And while she captains the ferry Issaquah, she considers her office the entire Puget Sound.

The One Lonely Island

WSDOT/Broch Bender

 

Washington boasts the largest ferry system in the country. “Twenty-two ferries cross Puget Sound and its inland waterways, carrying more than 22 million passengers to 20 different ports of call,” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s website.

 

Marsha Morse was one of the first women captains in Washington’s ferry system. She’s been navigating the waterways since 1975.

 

Hannah Burn

 

The San Juans' last homesteaders first discovered the islands on a map. June and Farrar Burn were newlyweds. They met in 1919 at a party June threw in her log cabin in Virginia. June quickly fell for Farrar’s ruddy-cheeked smile, curly red hair, and his ability to make himself useful immediately:  gathering firewood, serving drinks, hosting as if it were his own home. Farrar was drawn to June’s lively eyes and her unmistakable, fierce spirit. In a month, the two were married.

Kevin Kniestedt / KNKX

Affordable housing is certainly a big issue these days, especially if you are living in the greater Seattle area. But it is also a major issue on some of our islands.

On San Juan Island, an overwhelming shortage of affordable housing is threatening the community and economy. But a non-profit in Friday Harbor is come up with a way to help that problem: by picking up old houses that are no long wanted in Victoria, British Columbia, putting them on a boat, and giving them a second life in Friday.

“McNeil Island and neighbors” by worldislandinfo.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2tseyeM

Note: Some of the content in this story might be upsetting to some listeners. 

McNeil Island in South Puget Sound is where the Special Commitment Center for sexually violent predators is located. There are about 250 permanent residents at the Special Commitment Center -that’s what they’re called — and there are only a few ways you can leave the facility: you die, you’re deemed to have successfully completed treatment, or you can challenge your commitment with a trial.

Courtesy of Steve Edmiston.

 

In the summer of 1947, off the coast of Maury Island in South Puget Sound, a man named Harold Dahl was out on his boat with his son, Christopher, their dog and two workers. Harold collected logs floating in the Sound and resold them to lumber mills.

 

According to Dahl, on June 21 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, six unidentified flying objects appeared in the sky above his boat. One of the saucers then exploded and a metal substance started raining down from the sky killing the family dog and burning Christopher’s arm.

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