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[Curiosities]

Although curiosity is a part of my daily life, I tend to have a short attention span – most of the stories I come across every day hold a temporary place in my thoughts.  So the people, events, ideas, and topics below hold very special places in my heart and mind, so much so that I want everyone to experience them.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

> 99% Invisible
A Tiny Radio Show about Design
http://99percentinvisible.org/

This radio show is addictive, not only for its smart and well-executed production, but also because each broadcast is less than ten minutes long, like design popcorn (the truffle-oil kind).  I love the creativity of Roman Mars and his crew – their ability to find quirky and insightful subject matter is admirable, and highly entertaining.  Make sure to check out two of my favorite recent episodes about Samuel Plimsoll and Nicolas Feltron.
And if you don’t automatically want to name your next child Roman Mars, you should.

> Portland Cello Project
http://portlandcelloproject.com/

I have always had a love affair with the cello.  So when I discovered this group at a recent “Out to Lunch” summer concert in downtown Seattle, it was an instant obsession.  There is something magical in watching the eight bows move in unison, but the real fun is in singing along to unique song choices like the Black-eyed Peas’ “Hey Ya,” or  A-ha’s “Take on Me.”

I recently posted a piece about flautist and beat boxer Greg Patillo, and I rhapsodized about his ability to transform a flute performance into something unexpectedly harsh and intense.  The Portland Cello Project does the opposite (which is what I love about them): their set list may read like the Workout playlist on my iPod, but each song is performed as if their audience wore tuxedos and ballgowns instead of hoodies and Threadless t-shirts.

> Queen Anne Bookstore
www.queenannebooks.com

While I can’t share the coziness of this little shop with you if you don’t live in Seattle, I can share the staff’s thorough, authentic book reviews and top ten lists – all accessible from their website.  The women who work here are voracious readers and love to share their opinions about just about any genre of literature, and they are just genuine, friendly people besides.  Some of my favorite afternoons have been spent with a latte in-hand (from the also lovely El Diablo coffeehouse next door) browsing the intimate selection of novels, biographies, cook books, greeting cards, and children’s stories.   My next step: attending one of their Saturday Night Book Mixers.

> This American Life
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

How did I survive for 27 years before I discovered this radio show (well, maybe 19 years…I first began questioning the complexities of human existence around 8 years old)?  It was the first time I realized the potential of journalism in an application other than print media.  I don’t want Ira Glass’s job (I have an atrocious radio voice) – I want to be a writer on this show.
So there it is Mr. Glass.

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