This post is coming at you fresh from Hilton Head, SC. I’m currently attempting my first clam bake and enyoying a cold Shock Top. Hilton Head is a long 12 hours from Pittsburgh, and we drove every one of them on Friday night into Saturday morning. One of my favorite things to do on such long overnight road trips is tune in to AM radio and see what kind of fun stations I can find. AM radio is so good for road trips because the signal is so beautifully fragile. The reception will wax and wane with mountains, trees, and stoplights, creating all kinds of strange whistles and static over the talk, but it always seems to come back (unlike FM radio, which fades away for good once you get too far away). It is so much a function of the road trip, and it requires a lot of patience. But the shows make it so rewarding. It’s a whole world of conspiracy theorists, UFO watchers, weekend hobbyists of all stripes, expressing their fetishes over the fickle AM airwaves. A man challenges his listeners to think of animals with double letters ine their names (Aardvark, Hammerhead, Puffin, Armadillo were among my contributions). A woman calls in to relate her most frightening experience, involving a visit to heaven, where her dead grandma shows her visions of the devil (did you know everyone in heaven is 33 years old? She should know, she’s been there). A psychic claims to have changed the weather with the power of thought, and urges her listeners to use positive thoughts to avert natural disasters. I’ll take all that over classic hits of the 80’s and 90’s for 12 hours, thanks.
Speaking of road trips, I’ll be giving a presentation on my ideas for electric cars and roadside architecture this Thursday. The event is called “Pecha Kucha Night”, and it’s at the Union Project in Highland Park at 7pm. For those of you unfamiliar with the Pecha Kucha (pronounced pee-chuck cha) format, here’s a little rundown. Each person is allowed to present 20 slides at 20 seconds per slide. The slides roll on with or without you, so you have to keep moving. PKN Pittsburgh is run by the AIA, but the presentations do not necessarily deal with architecture. They can be on anything you want them to be, as long as you feel like you can present it in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Hopefully you can make it, if not, I’ll put an update up here next week.[Update: PKN presentation here]