Sunday, November 01, 2015

Of Songs and Sympathy

My 15 year old daughter, Siena, is a pretty good kid.  I don't always understand her, but that doesn't change the fact that she is essentially a wonderful human being. This was exemplified by something that happened on Halloween last night.

Every year at our house, Halloween is an incredibly busy night. Our home feels like a repository of cousins, friends and family members who come by to let their kids hit the "rich people houses" that surround our neighborhood.  Tales of full size candy bars at every house are the thing of legend for eager young treaters and this year was no exception.  Not only did we have Halloween to contend with, but two different birthday parties (my daughter and mine) later that evening.  Siena was expecting he high school friends over, a lively bunch of young ladies who were planning on trick-or-treating before the party.  She had also agreed to doing three separate face painting makeups, her own and her two younger siblings.  So, Sisi had a pretty busy night ahead of her.

I always get a little nervous when I find out my teens are trick-or-treating, not because they are past the recommended treating age, but because I never really know their real intentions for going out.  Siena's older brother, Max, for example, had plans to go out for Halloween, too.  His plans, however, involved a gang of cousins and friends and playing pranks in a red full body morph suit. Could I expect a phone call from the police or better yet, my wife calling me to cut my Halloween early to deal with the hell these teenage boys had wrought upon our neighborhood.  I had similar thoughts for Siena.  Was going out with her friends just a ruse to get dressed up in skimpy cat outfits and prowl for cute boys?  I dunno.  Isn't that what teenage girls do?  I'm old.

In any event, after returning from my own annual Treating Jaunt 2015, with my youngest kids (SIDEBAR PROTIP: I learned that I avoid being chastised for being an adult Trick or Treater by wearing a mask. This way I could pass as my daughter's "older brother" and guiltlessly fill a pillow case with as many full size candy bars), my teens slowly made their way back to home base.  No police calls for my son. Mental crisis number one averted. I did find out that two of the older boys just walked up to homes and asked for candy sans costumes, which I am sure confused many of the senior citizens on their route.

Then Siena and her friends came back home.  Would they be dragging in some flannel shirted teenage Adonis who smelled of Axe and communicated only by a series of "sups" and "brehs"? I shudder to think of the possibilities.

"We got a TON of candy!" Siena and her friends each held up pillowcases which easily weighed 10 lbs. each. "Great," I thought silently to myself.  "I told her not to wear that sleeveless top. It shows more skin than I'm comfortable with my daughter showing. Plus, it's cold. At least dress for the weather! Don't you check the weather app on your phone? Did we not raise a daughter with sense?"

Siena then proceeded to tell my wife and I that the four of them had gone from house to house, not trick or treating, but singing for people.

What I neglected to tell you is that Siena is in her high school choir.  She is the soprano and a damn good one according to everyone from her choir director to seasoned musicians who have been blown out of their shoes after hearing this beautiful, angelic voice emanating from her five foot frame.  She sings mostly sacred music; four part harmony Gregorian chant.  It's pretty heady stuff to be sure, well past what other choirs are expected to sing at her age.  And she nails it. Everytime. In a big way.

What she and her friends had done for the 2 hour Trick or Treat period is decided they would go from door to door and essentially sing these four part harmonies, slightly changing the words to "Trick or Treat."  As you could probably imagine, people were gobsmacked, emptying their candy bowls into each of their bags.  Some people were in tears and most were left with a feeling of awe that they had just been "treated" to a bit of song on this night of supposed terror.

She then told us about this one house they went to.  They had avoided it at first because posted on the door was a handwritten sign that said something to the effect of "Please leave medication in the mailbox". It was a message, not for the incoming Trick or Treaters, but for some caregiver who was coming to help out whoever lived in the house.

On their way back, they passed the house again, this time noticing a group of saint statues in the front yard.  They decided to approach again, knock and see if they could sing for the residents.

An older woman answered the door.  The girls began to sing.  But before they could get to the end of the first verse, the woman said abruptly "Can I stop you?"  The girls stopped singing, nervous they had done something wrong.

"My husband is dying. I'd like you to come in and please sing for him."

It was at this point, that my wife and I audibly gasped in our living room, hearing this story.

The girls went into the home an found an older man, the woman's husband, sitting in a chair, connected to different machines by wires and tubes. He had a blanket over him, and hearing her describe it, he was on some sort of oxygen machine because of the tubes coming out of his nose. They sang for him for about 10 minutes, "Oh God Beyond All Praising" and "King of All Our Shepards". He listened to these four angelic voices filing his living room with sacred music. Who could have even predicted this? On this, Halloween night.  They talked briefly before leaving and heading home, but not before his wife gave them all bracelets, extra candy and of course, hugs.

The girls stood in our living room, telling us this story and then shared a short version of their program.  We clapped, we hugged.

And we were humbled.

What an interesting and memorable Halloween night they created for many.

I pondered over this story this morning, remembering that today was All Saint's Day and that it was also the day my father passed away four years ago. Had my dad been alive when Siena had honed her talent to where it is today, he would have loved it.  As much as he loved her.  After all, they did share a birthday together.

Please remember all those souls who have passed on during this All Saint's Day. And if I learned anything from this, it's to try to do something unexpected for those who are still here with us to enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jawbone Radio #304: Taking a Vacation From Myself

Hey hey! It's  new podcast to celebrate our 10th anniversary of podcasting.  We talk about my newest obsession, moving away and starting over, storming out of restaurants and more.  Thanks for hanging with us for the past ten years. Here's to 10 more!


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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Jawbone Radio #303: Appreciation of Vocaloids

We return for a new show after a six month hiatus.  Nora and I talk about Vocaloids, my new podcast CreatureGeek and how I appreciate doing Jawbone Radio so much more on the eve of my new show premiering on


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jawbone Radio: The First 60: Show 14

An old show for #TBT from 3/7/05.  On this show we interview Amanda Congdon when she used to be on Rocketboom. Remember that show? It was terrific.  Listen in and hear our first celebrity interview! From 2005!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jawbone Radio: The First 60: Show 13

Another old show for #TBT from 3/5/05.  We apparently just got interviewed by the PD and our story would be coming out the following week.  Little did we know what was going to happen to us!  I promise I'll try to get these out on a more regular schedule.  This summer has been a tough one for sure.  Thanks for sticking with us!

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jawbone Radio: The First 60: Episode 12

Another old show for #TBT from 3/4/05.  We play our Adam Curry mashup from DJ Hojo and more. We also talk about our first special guest - Amanda from Rocketboom. Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jawbone Radio: The First 60: Episode 11

This episode originally aired 3/1/05.  Nora and I wrap up things from my trip to Las Vegas. I hope you enjoy this Throwback Thursday!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jawbone Radio: The First 60: Episode 10

Holy cow.  Sorry for the long time between updates. Nora and I have not had a chance to do a normal Jawbone in quite some time because of a various number of reasons.  But don't give up hope yet.  I do have a new "old" show from the first 60 to share.  I have decided to give myself a schedule for these so I will be posting these on the infamous "Throwback Thursdays".

This show is from 2/23/05 and features Nora's sister Joan and her now ex-husband Aaron.  I have to be honest, I didn't listen to this episode as there is a certain awkwardness for me hearing from someone who is no longer in your day to day life.  I'm sure it's funny, but I have no desire to listen to it.  I guess this is one of the byproducts of doing a podcast.  Life changes and you have an audio recording of time before that change. In any event, I hope you enjoy this throwback.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jawbone Radio: The First 60: Episode 9

Episode 9 is from 2/22/2005.  Like the Neil episode from before, this is also a pretty important episode of Jawbone.  For some reason, I create a fake feud between our show and the PodFather Adam Curry.  I don't know why I did this, perhaps only to get more listeners, so you know, trolling.  Anyhow, listen in to another nugget of history from us.

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Friday, May 09, 2014

Jawbone Radio: The First 60: Episode 8 (NEIL!)

Whoo, am I getting behind here on shows!  Both old and new.  In any event, this show was recorded the very next night after our last show - even though it's taken me a month to post it).  In any event, this was a pretty momentous episode as it is the first episode where Neil makes an appearance.  This is the origin of the fat guy in the basement story.  Around this time, we had seen dozens of stories about people being cut out of basements because they basically ate themselves to morbid obesity. It's a sad truth to be sure, but what struck me as most odd was the amount of people in CLEVELAND who had this problem.  In any event, enjoy this "must-hear" episode of Jawbone.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jawbone Radio: The First 60: Episode 7

Show Seven!  And we still had only been podcasting less than one month!  This is from 2/20/2005. In this show, we still talk about about Adam Curry as if he's a thing.  Funny stuff. Listen in and let us know if you like this walk down memory lane.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Jawbone #302: Join The Yakuza!

On this episode of Jawbone, Nora and I discuss birthdays, the Yakuza, and superhero films.  Also, if anyone has books 4 and 5 of Song of Ice and Fire that I can borrow, please let me know!  I need to finish the books before the new one comes out.

Yakuza Theme Song

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jawbone: The First 60: Episode 6

This episode was called "Under Pressure from Reality TV" originally uploaded 2/18/05.  It's fun to hear us talk a little bit more about ourselves and then sidestep the issue.  We re getting closer to perfecting our style, if we ever had a style. One thing I noticed is that the theme song I chose for the opening of the show makes for a very laid back overall feel.  I like where we are now with the theme.  It's funny how the music really sets the tone for the rest of the podcast.  I even had a weird music bed in the background throughout the show, which, if I'm being honest, actually sounds pretty cool. I might do that again!

This is also the show where we first reference the fat guy living in the basement. Good times, good times.

Anyway, enjoy this flashback!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Jawbone: The First 60: Episode 5

This is what I could call an "experimental" show.   It's pretty rough for me to listen to this one because I was trying to get this show to sound like a terrestrial radio show, so there are a bunch of music stops and carts and soundboards - ugh. It sounds pretty bad to my ears.  Everything was more or less planned out in my head, but it wasn't really planned out for Nora and you can hear her frustration with me.  Nora just wanted to talk and I wanted it to sound like a "radio" show. We are definitely still trying to find out footing.  But this show was one of those where I felt I had to have content to keep people listening and the "content" was me playing carts.

Enjoy and let us know if you like this!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jawbone: The First 60: Episode 4

It's a Valentine's Day show from 2/14/05. By now, we are really into the groove and this feels like Jawbone's of today. There's a definite newness to this, as if we were trying to impress someone on a first date. I'm still experimenting with music at the top of the show and I also swear once or twice at the top of the show, taking full advantage of the podcasting format. I still feel weird about doing that on our show because it is not my personality to use foul language all the time. But I think it was a reaction to me not being able to swear on during our college radio days and I was putting some bravado on for my college radio buddies who were no doubt listening in.

Good show. Very classic experimental Jawbone. We even sound sort of ready for the topic, which is a nice change of pace.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Jawbone #301: Social Media Disaster

New Show!  We have entered the 300's folks.  On today's show, we talk about the power of Twitter, the missing Malaysian aircraft, being beholden to your phone and the best PR coverup EVER.

If you feel you are tethered to your phone and your time is not your own, please give our voicemail call 216-236-GEEK.

Does anyone in Cleveland remember this event from 1986? 

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Jawbone: The First 60: Episode 3

This is the show that really got us to a point where we were OFFICIAL PODCASTERS.  We have an intro, stingers (courtesy or our friend Pete AKA DJ Hojo), two mics and we actually sound sort of professional.  Nora still sounds a little bit drunk and her speech sounds a bit slow because of the audio delay from us recording in Garageband. (Yes, we recorded podcasts in Garageband).  On this show, we wrap up the trilogy or our home inspection podcasts, the shows that got us online to begin with.  Enjoy!  And please let us know if you like this trip down memory lane.

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Friday, March 07, 2014

Jawbone: The First 60: Episode 2

Episode is more of the same from the Pilot, where we discuss our impending home inspection, except now, we have two mics and some production values.  Keep in mind it is less than 24 hours than we did the last show.  When we first started podcasting, Nora and I were doing 3 shows a week!  We were young and crazy and out of control.  This is getting closer to where we ended up, but we are still battling all kinds of audio issues on our end.  Nora sounds a little drunk because she still hasn't learned how to combat the audio delay by pulling one earphone off your ear.

I hope you are enjoying these.  If you are please let us know!  BTW, Nora and I will still be recording new shows.  This is just an extra for longtime fans of our show.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Jawbone: The First 60 Episodes: Episode 1: Pilot

Over the past few days, I've been randomly  listening to old episodes of Jawbone.  I've been recording a lot of new stuff for Geek A Week, so occasionally, my computer will start playing an old episode and I'll have it on in the back as I'm working.  What strikes me the most about these old shows is that I barely remember recording them, so it's been like having the listener experience.  They've been fun to listen to, so I went back to the archives and realized that the first 60 episodes are nowhere to be found.  One of our listeners actually alerted me to this while at DragonCon this past year and asked if I would ever make those public again.

So I've decided to do just that.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting, in order, the first 60 episodes of Jawbone Radio.  I figured it's worth putting them up so people can hear our humble beginnings.  Not only that, but these first 60 episodes are an archive of how Nora and I fumbled our way into podcasting.  There are discussions about us hitting the front page of our local newspaper, how our story was syndicated across the country and how the BBC picked us as a top podcast to listen to (still unbelievable to me).  There are also audio experiments where I would back up my gear when I would go on business trips and Nora and I would record remotely.  There are live audio soundscapes and all kinds of really fun experiments that Nora and I don't get a chance to do anymore.

So without further ado, here is Episode 1 of Jawbone Radio originally published February 10, 2005.


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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jawbone #300: The 300

It's Show 300 folks!  We've got voicemails, stories about traveling and chat about Sister Wives. Enjoy the show and onward to the next 100 shows!  Thanks for listening and if you enjoy it, subscribe!

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Preparation for Show 300

Nora and I are one show away from Show 300 and we'd like you to be a part of it!  Right now, it looks like we'll be recording this show sometime next week.  So if you'd like to leave a voicemail for us or create a produced piece for us to play, we are all for it!  You can leave us a voicemail at 216-496-GEEK.  Or you can email us a produced piece of audio at monsterbymail at gmail dot com.

Hopefully we get a lot of really cool messages to play!  Looking forward to hearing what you guys come up with.

SHOW 300!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jawbone #299: A Flavorless Paste

On this episode of Jawbone Radio, show 299, (one away from 300!) Kevin Kelly, reporter from Westlife joins us to follow up on the progress of our Kickstarter, our friend Rebecca talks to us about her strange naming rituals, and Nora finds out you shouldn't call people elderly.

Also! We are soliciting our listeners for e-mails, voicemails and other great stuff for our 300th show. What do you want to hear? Any special guests? Let us know by leaving us a comment of calling our voicemail line: 216.236.GEEK.

Thanks for listening and please subscribe if you dig us!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Jawbone #298: Winging It

It's our first show of the new year - and also our 12th show - just two shows away from 300!  We wrap up Mama's Little Christmas, get sort of deep in our introspection of the holidays, chat about FitBit and let  everyone know more about my new Kickstarter project! Listen in and if you like the show, subscribe!

Michael Bay Meltdown

Geek A Week: Year Five Two Kickstarter is Launched!

Nora and I are planning on recording a show this evening.  We'll see how that goes.  But in the meantime, consider backing my new Geek A Week Kickstarter. Here's the link to the project.

Here's a little chart to see how I'm doing. I've got a ways to go!

Geek A Week: Year Five Two -- Kicktraq Mini

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jawbone #297: Calling Mr. Chrikaju

On this episode of Jawbone Radio (the last of our  10 shows funded through Kickstarter)  we talk about  Mama's Little Christmas, we hear from Richard from Savannah, and talk about Matoken and the secret of Mr. Pajomasi Chrikaju. Thanks for listening and we'll return in 2014!

Programmers Vs. Developers

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