Crank(y) Call

So, my daughter pointed out to me as I recorded this audio that it will be interpreted as racist or discriminatory or anti-something.

My answer to that is that this is nonfiction.

This is a phone conversation I had sometime back in 1997 or ’98. I wrote the dialogue as true to my memory as possible. The greatest difference is that the caller was female, which I couldn’t re-create in Audacity (also, my phone number was different then, but I don’t remember it).

I was a young Marine at the time. I later learned that the person who wrote the check was another Marine who also lived on Quantico but belonged to another unit. He picked my number at random, then started bouncing checks all over the local area, writing my phone number on the checks. When the police did contact me, we straightened everything out and I encouraged them to prosecute him to the fullest extent because, well, screw that guy.

So, in answer to my daughter’s accusation, how is one supposed to portray an event if one of the parties uses broken English? Am I supposed to change what they actually said? Am I supposed to omit information or not talk about it because one party was of a different ethnicity? I’m sorry, but the first option does not represent reality and the second is censorship. If anyone is offended by this post, I re-created this phone call to the best of my ability to be a true and accurate representation of an actual event. That’s not racist.

To create this audio file, I started by writing the full conversation out in MS Word. I recorded it with an audio recorder and imported it into Audacity. I copied each section of the ‘caller’s’ voice and pasted each into place on a second track, generating silence over them in the first track. I also generated a tone to ‘bleep’ out my phone number.

Highlighting the entire second track, I adjusted the pitch and tone of the voice, increasing the speed slightly and raising the pitch.  I downloaded sound effects for a ringtone and dial tone, placing them at the beginning and end.

Then, I exported the audio as an mp3.

Tales From Space!

Image result for tales from spaceOn this week’s episode of Tales from Space!, our intrepid hero learns that not everything on unexplored worlds is friendly …

After listening to some samples, I came up with the idea of a space explorer meeting his fate on an uncharted world. I searched for sounds of a spacecraft landing, steps on a metal ladder and then footsteps in gravel, loading them into Audacity.

Next, I found an other-worldly roar, a bark and an attack, followed by a pig chewing. I used multiple tracks to overlap sounds, sometimes copying and pasting to get the “story” right. I found a male scream and put it between the attack and the chewing, then added some steam escape to the rocket ship. Some of the clips needed to fade out to prevent a sudden audible stop.

I trimmed, nudged and arranged everything until I had it where I wanted.

Finally, I decided it needed some into and outro music to give it a radio-drama feel. I put music at the head and tail of the project, which moved most of the clips that then had to be re-arranged.

Cordelia Villalobos

Building on the theme of ‘if the Spanish Armada had won,” today’s project is a local radio newscast. I wrote it to parody Telemundo, the all-Spanish broadcast, as if English were not the common language here. I’d have done the whole thing in Spanish if I spoke a word of it. I tried a little accent, which I’m not sure was effective but kept because many news anchors with foreign services have an accent when they broadcast in English.

The first task in the project was selecting real-world news stories. I chose President Trump’s recent comments on cannabis law reformation, then his recent remarks at the G7 summit, and finally put in some local news regarding the flooding. I wrote the copy in MS Word, then recorded it using a handheld recorder.

I knew I needed supporting audio, and found a clip of President Trump here.  Then I found audio from the BBC World Service, which included its well-recognized into and outro music as well as reporting from the G7 in Canada.

I asked for help from my lovely assistant, Cordelia (Piper) Villalobos to record a man on the street interview to support the flooding story.

Finally, I imported all the audio into Audacity, trimming out mistakes and copying in the music and supporting soundbites.

Once I’d listened to it a few times and made final edits, I exported the audio as an mp3.