Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Aurally Yours

If you normally spend between four and five minutes reading here, then today is your big break.

You get to spend about the same amount of time listening, because I’m offering up a hodgepodge of clips that help paint a sonic portrait of what goes on in our lives. No, it isn’t just a bunch of cutesy kid stuff (he said, knowing that the first and last clips are exactly that).

First up, Benjamin talks on the phone to his only first cousin. This clip is compressed for time, because the sound of Benjamin listening isn’t very compelling. But the Star Wars stuff is. (0:16)

The next two clips capture unexpected (and loud) moments during dinner preparation, when we forgot the recorder was running.

I had started the recorder to capture Ben’s whining for possible later use (hearing oneself whine on tape nearly instantly cured either my brother or me — I can’t remember the story very well). You might hear Ben say he wants to go hide. That is his default reaction when someone’s at the door. (0:13)

You say you want an impromptu duet? As I have mentioned before, our television rarely is on from the time I get home from work until the time Benjamin goes to bed (please note that the first part of this recording, above, has no TV sound). This was one of those exceptional days when the kid was whiny and we both needed to work on dinner. Dare I say all parents at some point have given in to the television’s placative powers? (0:35)

For a change of aural scenery, here’s a clip of bullfrogs (the size of Buicks) behind my inlaws’ home. A tiny tree frog fills the void between the two. (0:39)

On an evening that found us surrounded by severe storms, I grabbed two clips that are interesting for different reasons. The first is a newscaster whose attempt to sound newscasterly turns her delivery into more than just the facts. See if you can hear it. (0:07)

Outdoors again — still on that stormy night — here we hear our front porch windchimes. I turned in a circle to try to make a good binaural effect, but it was diminished by the brick walls surrounding me on all but one side. You’ll still notice it if you close your eyes and use headphones or earbuds (*cough* Simon *cough*). (1:10)

On May 15, Benjamin decided to sing about three of the letters in his name. I present them here as a challenge. Which one is which?

Thanks for listening.

Technical notes:
Recorder: Olympus DS20
Conversion from native WMA to WAV: Switch Audio Conversion Software
WAV file editing and conversion to MP3: Audacity
Ridiculously simple insertion and playback of sound clips: Flash Filter Plus plugin for WordPress
All software mentioned is completely free.

8 Responses to Aurally Yours

  1. *hack* Mark *hack*

    Unfortunately, I am without headphones here at work and, oddly enough, I usually keep my laptop speakers muted throughout the day so as not to be inundated by annoying beeps and squeals, nor let on to my coworkers what games I’m playing. What’s odd, though, is that I can’t turn them back on this morning. I’ll try re-booting and see if I can get the speakers to work. Otherwise, I’ll listen at home this evening. With earbuds. I promise.

  2. Cute Mark. I especially enjoyed hearing you and Shan sing and discuss Wubsie. The last ones of Ben singing are really cute too.

  3. Simon – You saying I’m a hack? Oh well, as long as you don’t say I’m a no-talent hack, I’m good. Seriously, though, it ain’t hard to take a set of earbuds up to work and leave them there. That way you could avoid playing things through the speakers that might make co-workers wonder what you’re doing.

    Trinity – Thanks for jumping in and helping my comments section limp along (no offense to Simon). Three of my regular readers were on trips, and two still are.

    You made my words feel a little less lonely.

  4. I love these! It is wonderful to put voices with faces…

    More please!


  5. Please don’t put that horrible voice with my face – I hate the way I sound! Yuck!!!

  6. Mark, no sir, not that you’re a hack. I was just coughing a little differently than you, that’s all.

    Unfortunately, I could NOT listen to the files at home because my cable modem officially DIED yesterday. Amy gave me the sob story when I got home from work in that she’d been unable to log on ALL DAY!! The horror!

    I called tech support after my usual modem fix didn’t work (unplugging and then re-plugging in the power), and the kind lady on the other end informed me that that particular make is now “ancient” and they’re replacing them. So I go to make a free swap with my cable provider today at lunch.

    I KNOW I should just have some ear buds here at my desk at work, but I haven’t had the forethought to bring any in, since the only time I think about it is when you post sound files. Darnitalltoheck.

  7. Sorry for the delay here, Mark. I finally got around to listening to this…no headphones at work now. I absolutely love Ben’s song about his name. We’ll have to have him teach it to Norah in a few years. They could at least agree on a few letters.

  8. What an AWESOME idea for a post. There’s nothing like capturing the *sound* of life…gonna go look at the software you mentioned to see if I can figure something out.

    I just loved this post. Not sure which was my favorite…the wind chimes or the Star Wars conversation. BTW- I have a Benjamin too :)


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