Yesterday marked day one of the Social Media Conference in Bellingham. I attended with my KVOS hat on, interviewing speakers and attendees. While there, Aaron Booker, from Social Pastures, and John Mortensen from Think-a-tron Media Laboratories interviewed me on my “traditional media” back ground and how social networking and media is changing things in this industry.
One of the hardest songs you will ever sing. This nation’s great anthem. And normally, if you’re asked to sing it, it’s an honor and one that’s done in front of a crowd of people who are waiting for something else to happen. Recently, I was asked to sing The Star Spangled Banner at the Northwest Washington Fair for both the afternoon grandstand show and the Monster Truck show in the evening.
“Hey Deb, Microsoft is wondering about your availability…”
That was all I needed to hear. I didn’t care what I had scheduled that day. I had to make it work. I’ve been wondering how to do VO for this company…uh..er…I mean EMPIRE for years and now, it’s happening. Well, it happened.
Admittedly, they were picky. Probably one of the toughest VO sessions I’ve had to date. But was it worth it? Totally. Loved working with the guys there. Let’s hope they wonder about my availability a little more often…and I’m speaking, of course, strictly on a professional level.
It’s been 6 years since I’ve been on the radio….live, that is. Eight years since my stint at KISM, Bellingham. They contacted me, needing someone to fill in for a while. It’s been a hoot working morning radio again. The commute isn’t easy. My alarm goes off at 2:30am. I live in Seattle, after all, and KISM is located in Bellingham. It’s exactly an hour and 17 minutes from my condo in Belltown to the station, and I know every rest stop along the way. My co-host is Brad Cash, who’s a great talent and amazing musician as well. You can listen every morning on kism.com, or if you’re anywhere along the I-5 corridor between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, you can check it on 92.9FM, 5:30 – 9:45am. The loosely entitled “Best of the Morning Show” airs every Saturday morning as well. I’ll post some more bits and pieces soon. Check back…
Where are we going anyway? After a week of working in Kuala Lumpur, the three of us hop a plane over the South China Sea to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia on the island of Borneo, and then another one to Lahad Datu, Malaysia on the east coast of Borneo. Once we land, we are greeted by our driver from the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Little did we know what we were in for.
The lodge’s website states, “The Borneo Rainforest Lodge is a 2-hour drive from Lahad Datu on a sometimes rough and bumpy road.” That is one huge understatement. It was a tough one. Joe got car sick. Not fun. Here we are taking a break…and this was even before the ride got really bumpy. And, as you can see, we still have 77km to go.
There no way to explain just how much lumber we passed..or rather tried to pass. It was almost impossible to get by some of these huge trucks. The amount of felled trees made us very, very sad, and also had us concerned about seeing any animals. Come to find out later from the locals, there was a brief window of opportunity for cutting down trees in the rainforest and wouldn’t you know it? Big Paper came in and did what they could in that window.
FINALLY! Almost three hours later, we arrive at the lodge. We were greeted with a lovely lunch, complete with some sort of welcome drink.
This bed is just right…
We met our guide, Vivian, who was a Borneo native. He explained what we would be doing for the next three days…hiking hiking and more hiking. The first morning there, we were up at 6 and ready to check out the canopy trek. It was an absolutely beautiful morning…exactly what you would expect in the jungle: mist, exotic noises, a fresh smell in the air from the overnight rain. We made our way to the canopy, in full leech regalia. (In the pictures you can see our leech socks…you never know where those buggers are gonna end up.)
Definitely NOT OSHA approved, but who cares? Vivian told us that a group of Filipinos (5 of them, that is) built this in 6 months and used SCAFFOLDING. Uh…yea. These pictures don’t do it justice. Amazing! Walking in the treetops of the jungle.
As we turned one corner on the canopy walk, Vivian says, “SHH! I smell orangutan!” “You what??!” the silly Americans say. “Yes, they were just here…” We look down to our left, and there is the bed where they had slept the night before. Leaves pushed down in the top of a tree. It would have been warm if we could have touched it. Then, as we wait and look and look and wait, we see them, in a tree to our right. A mama and her baby. The pictures don’t do it justice so I won’t post any here. They were just a little too far away, but trust me. It was cool. She was feeding him water from the leaves of the tree. We stood there, watched and smiled. It was definitely worth the crazy drive up there.
Up next was our uphill hike. 1,000 meters. Before reaching the summit, we passed an ancient burial ground. Here is a casket made of a tree trunk.
We scale a tree-limb ladder and find human remains. Can you see the TEETH?!??
The view is incredible! We see our lodge and the Danum River.
And, on our way down, we take advantage of the “jacuzzi pool” for a well deserved dip. But what are those things nip nip nipping at our legs?
And finally, one of the last things (that was also the coolest thing) to happen to me while in Borneo:
Kuala Lumpur is all about eating, and the best eating isn’t in the air-conditioned restaurants. The best place to eat is the street called Jalan Alor (formerly known as the Red light district of KL). This is where the locals go.
Both sides of Jalan Alor are lined by endless rows of ‘mamak’ stalls and outdoor restaurants, interspersed with hawker stands selling fruits, barbecued meats, hanging ducks, and other gastronomic delights.
Sorry, Lola (Seattle restaurant). While your kebabs are the best in Seattle, you just can’t compete with these skewers. AMAZING!
Just pick your own stick and dip to cook…
Food, beer, friends, oh yea…and I’m in KUALA LUMPUR…what can be better?
It really was quite overwhelming at times. A veritable carnival of food. The would-be carnies tried to wave us into every place along the way, and, we usually obliged. I wish I could have eaten more…
And, of course, we tried to try the durian. We were warned about durian, the so-called “king of fruits” of Southeast Asia, which smells like hell, but supposedly tastes like heaven, if you can get it past your lips. We witnessed a family enjoying one of these at their table. “How bad can it be, really?” We picked a random durian stand, pictured below. Maybe it was the words “high quality” on the sign that we were drawn to. Regardless, we had to try it, right? Joe’s face says it all…it was disgusting. Larry, the “foodie” of the group scooped a couple of maggot-like morsels into his mouth and found something redeeming to its foul smell. Joe spit his out immediately. I couldn’t get it past my lips.
Mort ran the camera. I think Mort was the smartest one of the four of us. Check it out:
Coming up…three days in Borneo with two not-so-elusive white apes. AND…back on the radio again.
Once the Magic the Gathering Pro Tour got under way, we were pretty much working in the Convention Center for three days. Since we were staying to go to Borneo, however, we had all of Monday to see some more of the sights of Kuala Lumpur.
We headed to Chow Kit, a “wet market” where a lot of produce, meat and fish is sold. The floors are often sprayed and washed with water—to the extent of flooding it—which gives it the name “wet market”. Why all the water? Well it’s where the animals and fish are kept live until sold, of course.
Go ahead and pick through all the meat. You can choose with your bare hands what you want! And don’t mind the guys smoking behind the counter. What’s a little ash in your dinner, anyway?
And look! All the way from “washinton!” Apples!
And, some things are just the same no matter where you go. Wacky morning radio being promoted on the side of a bus! Tune in to the “HOT FM AM KREW of KL!” My question is: Where are his HANDS, anyway?
Coming up…our evening spent at Jalan Alor and three days in Borneo!
The first full day in Kuala Lumpur was spent at the ancient Hindu shrine called Batu Caves. It’s about 10 miles outside of KL. These pictures don’t do the statue (Hindu diety Murugan) justice. It’s enormous! About 140 ft. tall.
There are 272 steep steps up into the caves.
Monkeys meet you along the way, hoping to get some food, or even just a drink of water. This guy (below) seemed really cute at first, until we realized he chewed THROUGH THE PLASTIC for a drink of water. We let him have the bottle.
I just so happen to have an apple in my backpack. I made some instant friends.
It’s starting to get a little creepy in here. My fear of Planet of the Apes is coming to life! Cornelius? Zira?
A view inside the caves:
Back down the 272 stairs…
Click here to see the video Think-a-tron produced from this amazing outing.
If you would have told me a year ago that I would be in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I wouldn’t of believed you. Crazy how life goes, huh? I am here and I am loving it. After losing a day because of the travel, we landed in KL to beautiful sunshine and 80 degree weather. Some down-time today, but the work starts tomorrow as we head to the Batu Caves to feed the monkeys and then to the Petronas Towers (across the street from our hotel, pictured above) which boasts the second tallest building in the world. Magic the Gathering Pro Tour starts Friday. Be checking back here for updates and more pictures!