The Sound of: Sandy

Well folks, Hurricane Sandy has made an appearance in MA today. I decided to be a crazy lady and step outside with my recording equipment to get a little sound (though not as crazy as Jesse–he’s outside now with a shovel clearing out the leaves from the drains on the streets).

You can see the larger gusts of wind in the sound wave–beautiful! And that’s exactly when my house shakes the most…and my cat runs under the bed and I pull my headlamp a little bit closer!

Stay safe East Coasters!!


PS: My Halloween costume idea: almost a year ago I was literally a hurricane bride during Irene…so this year, it’s only appropriate that I’m the bride of Frankenstorm! Pictures to follow.


The Sound of Home

Well, sadly I don’t have my recording equipment with me on this West Coast trek. Bad radio producer, bad! But let’s see if I can give you a taste of what I’m experiencing right now:

I’m sitting on the roof of the San Francisco MOMA. It’s an unusually hot day for S.F. and everyone seems a bit out of sorts about it. Looking around at this beautiful sculpture garden you’d expect it to be really quiet and peaceful. But actually the wind is whipping around the concrete walls and the hum of the city is more of a roar–I can actually feel the bass, which is speckled with piercing sounds of construction and sirens.

What I want to be hearing now is my cat purring, my husband playing ukulele and onions sautéing on the stove. I’m seriously craving HOME! It’s been 2 weeks of travel, which really isn’t that long (I’ve been away way longer than this in the past); but right now I feel ready to be back!

Here are some photos from the last leg of my trip in San Francisco.

Looking up at the restoration of an old building from the roof of the MOMA.

Critical Mass.

A S.F. street scene.

Ornate details.

Golden Gate.

This is actually in Portland, OR, but it captures the feeling that I’m taking with me from my travels.


P.S. What does your home sound like?

The Sound Of: The Subway

The other day I hit a sweet spot. For me that’s having my recording equipment with me at just the right moment. I was in the subway station, in a haze of work stress, until the sounds of beautiful music down the platform lifted me out of my funk. Sometimes it just takes one thing–a sound, a picture, a taste–to pull me out of my head and make me appreciate the moment.

I walked to the opposite end of the platform–moving away from the place that would line me up perfectly with the stairs at my destination, which for any frequent subway-commuter is a no-no. (Do you do this too?)

The man playing the music looked so calm, so confident in his abilities. He was definitely sound inspiration for my day!

Take a listen to his music…notice the part where the subway enters the station, barreling through the tunnel. The music just keeps going.

It’s not subway musicians that inspire me…it’s the whole package. Over the near-decade that I spent in NYC, I practically lived on the train (for one year I even endured an hour and 45 minute commute each way–let’s just say that I got comfortable moving through space with lot’s of others). I love hearing different languages, reading over people’s shoulders, imagining what riders could be thinking and where they’re going…

While we’re on the subway subject, here are some subways from around the world. What’s your favorite subway system?

(Photos clockwise from top: Man playing music in NYC subway/Jessica Ilyse Kurn; Mexico City subway 2; Munich Subway 3; Paris Metro 4 & 5; London 6)

And of course my beloved Boston T

Please share some of your favorite subway experiences in the comments!



PS: Check out these earrings…on my “I want asap!” list.

The Sound of: A Windy Ship

I’m a lucky gal. I married into a family with cousins who are year-round residents of Martha’s Vineyard. We went last weekend to visit for Passover.

It’s always spectacular to be on the island in April–the towns are pretty much deserted, trees budding, the salty air is extra crisp.

My sound of the week was taken on the ferry ride over to the island. It was a beautiful, bright day, albeit chilly and windy. Specifically, this sound is of chairs rattling on the boat’s deck. Every time I hear this sound I think of two things: chattering teeth, and the famous Marilyn Monroe-skirt-blowing-up image. I’m going to go with that second inspiration and throw together an outfit perfect for a warm wind (I think that I have the spring itch for new clothes).

(One–just messy enough for the big gust of wind; two–I bet this skirt could get a little lift in the wind, but not too much…; three–this dress calls perhaps for a brown shoe, but I like how the shoes will subtly pick up the black diamonds in the earrings; four; five; six–I can’t get enough of my pastel nails. And this polish is free of ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals!; seven)

I wasn’t wearing any of these things…I was unglamorously hunkered inside, wrapped in my bulky, sleeping-bag-like coat…the wind wasn’t warm like in my more stylish day-dream!

What does this sound make you think of? Please tell me below!



PS: Check out this amazing weather site! Creative people!

The Sound of…the CIA

Now, if you know me, you know that I know my way around a kitchen–or so I thought! Recently I had an experience that made me question this knowledge. I was visiting the CIA–that’s the Culinary Institute of America, not the Central Intelligence agency (though a visit to their kitchen would’ve been equally as interesting). In this sound clip I ask a student chef what he’s making…he casually says, “a mirepoix.” “What’s that?” I ask? Then, he kindly explains, but what you can’t hear in the audio clip: he does a double eye roll before that explanation. A sting to the heart–I’ve lost all my foodie cred!

In case I wasn’t the last to know…a mirepoix is basically a mix of carrots, celery and onions–it’s a base for all things stock to casseroles. And this base is different all around the world. Oh Wikipedia, always there when you find yourself stupefied, which happens a lot more than I’d like to admit…

 Similar combinations, both in and out of the French culinary repertoire, may include leeks, parsnips, garlic, tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms, bell peppers, chilies, and ginger, according to the requirements of the regional cuisine or the instructions of the particular chef or recipe. The analogous soffritto (frequently containing parsley) is the basis for many traditional dishes in classic Italian cuisine, and the sofrito serves a similar purpose in Spanish cuisines. In Cajun cuisine, a mirepoix or (jocularly so-called) “holy trinity” is a combination of onions, celery and bell peppers.

Another thought inspired by the sound of chopping (by the way, can you hear in the sound that he’s chopping celery? Take another listen if not, I bet you’ll recognize it now.)…Are there cuter chef outfits out there? Well I investigated, and yes indeed there is some fun culinary fashion!

Though in my kitchen I prefer this route…

(one, two, three)

Did you know about mirepoix?

xox, Jess

PS: I was at the CIA to record this piece.