HBM105: Beautiful Stories about Dead Animals (part 1)

Before Kryssanne Adams was old enough to understand death, she found a dead mouse and carried it around with her in a plastic Easter egg shell.  She talked to it and gave it water.

Content Note:
Descriptions of death/dismemberment, language.

This is a special two-part episode, in which Kryssanne describes the many times where she’s seen death or inflicted it upon animals.  Soon, this will turn into a book, which will be available to purchase in our store.

Kryssanne is a writer in Bellingham, Washington, where she also helps run the Bellingham Alternative Library, sings in a Threshold Choir, and works at a museum.

Producer: Jeff Emtman
Editor: Jeff Emtman
Music: The Black Spot

👉 Listen to Part 2 👈

HBM101: Much Corruption

Growing up, Jeff Emtman had a hard time balancing his piety for the One God with his piety for the Gnomish lord Berwyn.  Generally, he deferred to the latter, though he lost favor eventually with both.

Jeff’s scoutmaster, a retired surgeon with a habit of collecting unusual boats, was always trying to get Jeff outside, away from the computer where he spent most of his free time playing a game where he tried to save the world from corruption and evil.  

Ancient Domains of Mystery (more commonly called “ADOM”) is an massive roguelike game that’s inspired heavily by Dungeons and Dragons.  Developer Thomas Biskup released the first version of it in 1994.

Jeff, a gnomish wizard of status, is susceptible to corruptive background radiation.  Once pure, his breath became ever more sulphurous, thorns that sprouted from his hands, etc. And he failed in his quest to save the world.

The Surgeon invited Jeff to join him for kayaking on the Naches River of Washington State.   The river holds a small irrigation dam that the two must navigate--the Surgeon with ease, and Jeff with no small amount of existential, religious struggle.

Example of a character bio created in ADOM. This character, a dwarfish wizard was born in the sign of the Falcon, which garners benefits to initial willpower and charisma. Also has increased ability to survive in in wild. Dwarves tend to be good with magic and subterranean skills.

Character ‘@’ engaged in combat with goblin berserker ‘g’ in a partially explored dungeon. Hostile ice vortex ‘V’ approaches. Far right: Staircase leading upwards ‘<’, lawfully aligned altar ‘_’ and an ancient statue ‘&’. Also pictured: walls ‘#’, floors ‘.’, and doors ‘#’.

The “burning hands” spell in this episode comes from a Esperanto-language reading of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, released as public domain audiobook by Librivox. The excerpt used can be translated to “...and the chain was bound around the arm.

Producer: Jeff Emtman
Editor: Jeff Emtman
Music: Serocell, The Black Spot, AHEE, Circling Lights ← New music!

HBM087: Trifle Not with Sacred Things

It hasn’t been easy for Ashley Fryer to let go of her faith. For thirty years, she dedicated her life to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She grew up attending church multiple times a week, and dutifully studied her scriptures. Over the years, she found inconsistencies in church doctrine, and would pile these up on what she calls ‘the shelf’.  She’d pile it higher and higher, thinking, “well, I’ll deal with it later.”

For Ashley, her shelf broke on November 5, 2015. On that day, a new LDS church policy leaked. This policy said, among other things, that children of gay parents could not be baptized unless they were eighteen years old, living on their own, and had renounced same sex marriage. It was a controversial policy that members of the church came out for and against. This ran counter to Ashley’s personal beliefs, and she didn’t believe the leadership of the church spoke for God. So she put down her beloved scriptures, unsure what to do with relics of a religion she no longer believed in.

Hermod before Hela , by John Charles Dollman in 1909

Hermod before Hela, by John Charles Dollman in 1909

Since then, Ashley has been on a journey of spiritual discovery. She started exploring Wiccan practices, paganism, and her Norse heritage. She found that Hel, the Norse goddess of the underworld, resonated with her. Half beautiful maiden, half rotting corpse, Hel is the keeper of dead things. To Ashley, Hel represents a spirit of radical self acceptance, and new beginnings rising from the ashes. Ashley realized that she knew what to do with her LDS scriptures.

This episode was produced and edited by Ashley’s little sister, Bethany Denton. Additional editing help from Jeff Emtman and Nick White.

Music:  The Black Spot

Lying in a Stranger's Grave

Carlos Gemora loved the feeling of the dirt at the cemetary where he used to dig graves.  One day he climbed down into the loamy, silty soil and looked up at the sky.  It felt like a womb... a death womb. 

This piece was produced by Alex Kime and Jeff Emtman, with support from Bethany Denton. Our editor at KCRW is Nick White.

Music by Nym and Lucky Dragons 

HBM042: Deers

Andy Wilson and Ryan Graves are best friends, despite having very different opinions on the hierarchy of human and animal life. The two come face-to-face with those differences after a fatal encounter on a frigid winter day in northeastern Idaho when Andy's dogs chase a deer into Lake Chatcolet.

Today, Andy is happily married (celebrating his year anniversary next week), working as a fine woodworker at Renaissance Fine Woodworking, and living in Pullman Washington. He now has three brown dogs and Quincy (the brown dog from the story) knows the word "deer" - but is less likely to chase one in his 11th year.

Ryan works as a nurse in Pullman Regional Hospital and lives just outside of town.  His duck died last week, but he's looking forward to the five Muscovy ducklings he's going to acquire soon. And he's looking forward to deer season.

This episode is heavily adapted from a short animated film also called Deers (embedded below), produced by John Summerson.  His film received support from the Princess Grace Foundation USA

Bethany Denton produced this piece for Here Be Monsters, with editing help from Jeff Emtman and Nick White.
 

Music: Flowers ||| Lucky Dragons ||| Flower Petal Downpour

Ryan Graves walking the hills of the Palouse.

Ryan Graves walking the hills of the Palouse.