Saturday, September 29, 2012

College radio and the fear of your own voice

In all my years involved in college radio, I avoided any forays into radio journalism or public-affairs programming.  I certainly had opportunities to try if I was so inclined, but those kinds of shows were usually dominated by journalism students and required so much extra time I never had.

Besides, my brain tells me, I'm shy and awkward as it is.  Job interviews and blind dates are equally terrifying.  I never felt comfortable enough behind the microphone to have an extemporaneous conversation on-air, even conversations with no one in particular, i.e., "listeners out there in radio land."  I was a mere disk jockey.  I tended to get the speaking parts over with as quickly as possible and stuck to the music.

Oddly enough, I've become completely comfortable with public speaking.  There's something so intimate about being along in a room with a microphone that still makes me nervous.

When I think about the things I really love in life, of course they include music, humor, science, writing, public radio, and podcasts.  When I think about dream jobs, of course they include combinations of my interests and working for NPR or Radiolab.  But gee, I say to myself, if only I had any experience in journalism, or gee, if only I had any experience producing my own radio segments.  Obviously I could try to get started on my own, but is that a road I even want to go down?  I wouldn't even know where to begin. It just seems so hard.

What on earth would I talk about?

I really enjoyed reading this post Behind The Goat by Lulu Miller on the Radiolab Blog, which talks about the struggles to produce a great Radiolab segment.  Turns out it actually IS hard.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Music that got me through college - Part 1

This is an understatement for those who know me well, but I was in college for a long time.  I started attending community college at 18 years old, bounced around two undergrad universities, then endured a long stint in graduate school before finally finishing my Ph.D just after my 33rd birthday.

Another understatement: I love music.  A LOT.   Music has been a constant companion of mine and certain bands, songs and albums will always remind me of different times in my life.  And not in a general "this reminds me of being 20" way, but some music reminds me of specific moments, like "this reminds me of moving into my first apartment."

This series explores music that got me through my years as a college student.

Part 1. Community College  (1997 - 1999)
Memories of commuting to class and taking the scenic route, sitting in the dining room of my parents house while I plowed through Calculus or Engineering Physics homework, and sitting alone in the basement chatting with geeky guys on IRC and obsessively reading online bulletin boards for The X-Files.

You might tell from the playlist that I was morose and a bit of a recovering goth.

The Cure - "A Forest"

R.E.M.  - "South Central Rain"

The Smiths - "What Difference Does It Make"

Other bands I was into at the time: Ben Folds Five, Soul Coughing, Supergrass and Tori Amos.  At this point in my life, I went to my first club concert to see Portishead in DC's 9:30 Club.

x-posted to my engineering/science/academia blog, My Laser Boyfriend.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ben Folds Five and Fraggle Rock

"Do It Anyway" produced by Chris Hardwick's The Nerdist.  (Chris is the security guard in the blue shirt.)


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Drums

I'm so behind the times.  Check out The Drums.

"Days" from the album Portamento on Frenchkiss, which came out seven months ago.

Download a free remix of this song by Mates of  States on Stereogum

Thanks, Gingersnap!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


DENA is a Bulgarian artist and media studies student currently living in Berlin.  She started experimenting with sampling with her friends, who also helped her direct this video for the track, "Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools."

Love it?  Hate it?  It may take a few listens, but it's damn catchy.
Chorus: "Cash, one thing I ain't got in the hood. Diamond rings, I don't need them, all I want is chill with my friends by the swimming pool."
Check out German-based blog Stil in Berlin recent at-home interview, you can also download the mp3 via Stereogum.