Sound Effect

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

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Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This week on Sound Effect, "The Doctor Is In." We revisit some of our favorite stories on health, aging, things that take us to the doctor, and the toll that doctors often feel from helping others.

We kick off the show with a story that aired on our very first episode of Sound Effect. Leila Mirhaydari was a healthy and active 27-year-old when she went into sudden kidney failure. She spoke with Sound Effect host, Gabriel Spitzer about what her life was like as she sought out a new kidney.

Courtesy of Leila Mirhaydari

Editor's Note: This story originally ran as part of Sound Effect's inaugural episode which aired Jan. 10, 2015.

Tim Bouwer / Flickr

What does it mean to age? When are we over the hill? And what are the side effects of a longer lifespan?

On our most recent episode of Sound Effect on KPLU, we explored the idea of aging with Dr. Dan Gottschling. 

Meet Death With Dignity Champion, Robb Miller

Jul 23, 2016
provided by Robb Miller

Robb Miller worked as executive director of Compassion and Choices of Washington (now End of Life Washington) for most of the last two decades. That organization helps people with end of life decision making as they face incurable or terminal illnesses, and they pushed for the passage of Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.

Wikimedia Commons

So most of us probably take our general baseline physical comfort for granted. But imagine if something as innocent as a friendly pat on the back caused intense pain.

So for people who suffer from Fibromyalgia, that is your daily life. It’s pain, interrupted by brief bursts of relief.

Lauren Jhanson lives with this disorder, and talked about how it’s made her feel differently about her own comfort zone, and the strides she has taken to not let it hold her back anymore in life.   

Pamela Wible

Physicians are in the business of saving lives but they have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession.  An estimated 400 doctors a year take their own lives. Pamela Wible is a physician in Eugene, Oregon and she’s devoted a big part of her career to helping doctors cope with thoughts of suicide.

ROSS HUGGETT / Flickr

This week's episode of Sound Effect contains adult language that, while "bleeped," may not be suitable for all audiences.

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. For this episode, the Sound Effect staff brings us stories of going solo.

Table For One

Flikr

Who do we have to thank for countless wasted hours playing Solitaire on the computer over the last twenty-five or so years? Wes Cherry didn't invent solitaire, but he did invent solitaire for the modern age.

In 1988, he was an intern for Microsoft, and on his own time he wrote code that would become Solitaire for Windows.

These days, he runs a cidery on Vashon Island with his wife and his son. Out at his orchard, he talked about his motivation for creating the game, and some of the inside stories as to why it ended up looking the way that it does. 

Sarah Brandabur

Sarah Brandabur was no stranger to hiking. Before heading out, she would read up on the trails, check the weather conditions, and have a pretty solid idea of what she was getting herself into.

Last October, her plans for a hike to Ingalls Lake in Central Washington was similarly prepared for. It was supposed to be a day hike.  The weather was beautiful, and she brought a friend along to make the trek with her.

After her friend wasn't able to continue shortly after starting the hike, Sarah decided to go the rest of the way solo.

Why Is Roger Valdez Lonely? And Is That So Bad?

Jul 16, 2016
City of Seattle

Roger Valdez is known for his work in politics and as an advocate for micro-housing with Smart Growth Seattle and he walks that walk by living in an apodment. 

Gabriel Spitzer met with Valdez at his (very small) home on Capitol Hill and the two discussed loneliness and how a divorce lead him to move out, downsize and move forward. 

provided by Paulette Perhach

The following essay contains adult language that may not be suitable for all audiences. It was originally published on Billfold (which, by the way, makes no attempt to obscure the potentially objectionable language). 
 

You’re telling your own story: You graduated college and you’re a grown-ass woman now. Tina Fey is your hero; Beyoncé, your preacher.

provided by St. Peter's Hospital

 

It has been said that when we come into this world, we come alone, and when we leave this world, we die alone. Though that sentiment may be true, some hospitals are doing what they can to make sure that anyone that wants company in their final hours, has it.

 

St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia is just one of many hospitals with a No One Dies Alone (NODA) program.

 

Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

For this episode, the Sound Effect team curates some of our favorite segments dealing with law and justice.

First we hear from two observant men, a gutter punk named Shake and the captain of Seattle’s West Precinct, about the laws being broken at Seattle’s Westlake Park.

Wikimedia Commons

What do a gutter punk and a police captain have in common? They are both keen observers.

In this segment from Sound Effect's second episode, host Gabriel Spitzer takes a tour of Westlake Park from two men on opposite sides of the law.

First we hear from a man who would only give his name as Shake and then Precinct Captain Chris Fowler

Drawing Out The Green River Killer

Jul 9, 2016
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

Detective Tom Jensen spent more than 20 years looking for the Green River Killer. After Gary Ridgeway was arrested and charged, the lead detective and the murderer spent 188 days together as authorities made efforts to collect as much information as possible.   

NPR

You may have dreamt of doing it yourself, but Shon Hopwood made most people's action-movie dreams his reality and it ended with a stark dose of reality.

 

In 1998, when Hopwood was 22 and living in Nebraska, he robbed a bank. The 11-bank crime spree started as a joke with his friend, but that didn't stay a joke for long.

From bank robber to jailhouse lawyer to having cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, we hear a tale of how breaking the law turned into practicing it.

When A Rape Ends, Its Echoes Never Do

Jul 9, 2016
Yarra Zaslow

 

Here is the full account of her rape written by Yaara Zaslow and featured in Sound Effect's "Coming Out" episode. This article originally appeared in Jezebel. It is reposted with permission.

Three months after I was raped, I fractured two of my molars from grinding my teeth while I was sleeping. I woke up every night to the sound of a door breaking open, wood splintering: a sound that existed entirely in my memory.

Before that, I’d served in Burkina Faso in West Africa with the United States Peace Corps. I was raped, and because I did everything “right” afterwards—I talked to the Peace Corps, talked to the Embassy, completed a rape kit—I didn’t understand the nausea that came over me whenever I did anything aside from hide in my bed. Soon after, I was evacuated from the country with a canvas backpack and a change of clothes. I stayed home, in Seattle, for three months, while the Peace Corps did a full investigation.

Wikimedia Commons

 

This week Sound Effect is all up in your brain with an encore presentation of "Mind Games."

First, Gabriel Spitzer heads out to Elbe, Washington to meet with Marc Shackman and learn about efforts being made to open a church dedicated to the imbibing of the Amazonian hallucinogenic, ayahuasca.

Warren Langford

Nestled in the shadow of Mt. Rainier; Elbe, Washington is home to train car hotels with signs welcoming tourists hoping to bask in the glory of the mountain.

 

But Elbe will soon become a different kind of tourist destination, one that caters to those seeking spiritual enlightenment by way of hallucinogenic substances.

 

Gabriel Spitzer

The practices of fasting and cleanses have been diet and health methods for centuries.

In the early 1900s, Linda Burfield Hazzard, a.k.a. Dr. Hazzard, took these practices to an extreme in Washington state. She was basically convinced that every ailment, from baldness to cancer, could be cured through extreme fasting.

Her patients would fast for as many as 50 days, consuming nothing but a couple of cups of broth each day. In the most extreme cases, her patients weighed as little as 50 pounds, and it is assumed between 20 and 50 people died from her treatment. 

provided by Wesley Scott

When Wesley Scott went back to school she was on the fast track to a nursing degree, but the odd sleep-related symptoms she’s had since childhood began to escalate from weird to downright scary.

 

To her surprise, Wesley was diagnosed with narcolepsy, and it was around that time a fascination with how her mind worked and the entire universe of neuroscience took over her studies.

 

Now, Wesley works as a research technologist in the the University of Washington’s Cognition and Cortical Dynamics Laboratory.

Coin-Operated Folklore: Polybius, Portland's Mythical Arcade Game

Jul 2, 2016
provided by Joe Streckert

One of Portland's most notorious and awesome urban myths is that of a mysterious arcade game called Polybius.

 

Legend has it the machine showed up in suburban arcades sometime in the early 1980s. This was no run of the mill video game. Polybius would mess with your mind, resulting in sickness or euphoria. And If that wasn't weird enough, men in black were reportedly witnessed recording the game's data for reasons unknown.

 

YouTube

Kristin Rivas was newly married and only 21 when she started having non-neurological seizures. For months, she pursued a diagnosis as her symptoms worsened, but no doctor had an answer.

Barry Sweet / AP Photo

If you're in your 20s, it might be difficult to imagine, but there was a time when there was no web to browse, no Internet to access, and when few people outside of an academic setting had an email address.

This was in the early 1990s.

By the mid-90s, the internet was becoming available to the general public. There was a lot of buzz about it. On late night TV in 1995, David Letterman famously asked Microsoft founder Bill Gates about "this internet thing."

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Children who have been victimized often have to tell their stories to strangers – detectives or advocates working on their behalf, as well as attorneys working for their alleged abuser. And giving testimony in a criminal trial is stressful in the best of cases. But imagine that child could reach down and put her hand on a warm, gentle dog at her feet, to feel comforted and secure and, hopefully, composed enough to provide the facts necessary for getting justice. That’s what a foundation in Bellevue is working to provide.

Centrum Foundation

When Stuart Dempster learned about the empty two-million gallon water tank on the Olympic Peninsula, he had one thought: he had to make music there. Dempster is a well-known composer and trombonist, an emeritus professor at the University of Washington with a longstanding interest in recording music out in unusual spaces.

Photo provided by Rhianon England

Rhianon England has NF2, a disease that causes non-cancerous tumors to grow throughout the nervous system. Recently, a tumor returned on her auditory nerve and she wants it out. If doctors remove this tumor she will lose the rest of her hearing, but if they don't she could suffer from facial paralysis.

Kenneth Piekarski

A lot of kids grow up wanting to make it in show business and Seattle filmmaker Claire Buss was no different. Buss says she was practically raised by TV and she loved every second of it. She especially loved those morning game shows. As a kid, Buss even made up elaborate games for her sisters to play inspired by shows like "The Price is Right" and "Figure It Out."

Arthur Mola / InvisionAP

This week on Sound Effect, it's earworms. We share some recent stories that we just can't get out of our head.

Homeless Internet Helpers

mf821-03188616a / Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, you are what you eat. We bring stories of food, and how it intersects with identity.

We Eat War

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