In March of 2011, the Dodge family flew to Chicago for the 95th Birthday party of Jennifer Dodge’s grandfather. Craig decided to record the trip for posterity and create a whole new genre he is calling an Audiomentary. I have no idea if this is entertaining beyond a very narrow scope of people, but I enjoyed it. There are cute moments, embarrassing moments, funny moments, and touching moments.
There is limited commentary on the audio as it is mostly a series of sequential audio clips in chronological order, but for your reference, I have included a breakdown of the primary characters involved below:
Craig – (Me) I am the narrator, producer, editor and host of Vertically Striped Radio and this audiomentary. Also I am very bad at waking up coherently in the morning.
Jennifer – (Craig’s wife) Sometimes referred to by her nickname of “Jo” Somehow she manages to tolerate my foolishness, for which I owe her unending thanks; and as her daughter says, her hair smells so smushy and so beautiful.
Ellie – (Craig’s six year old daughter) My girlie is a sweet, shy and sensitive, although occasionally crazy, girl.
Luke – (Craig’s three year old son) Luke is a precocious, some might say impish, boy with oodles of energy.
Grammy/Joan – (Craig’s mother-in-law) Joan is a wonderful, giving, and often silly person; which you quickly learn in the audio.
Julia – (Jennifer’s sister) A sweetheart of a girl. She is owed many thanks for being the logistical guru for our trip into Downtown Chicago.
Marat – (Julia’s husband) He’s the one with the Ukranian accent which he developed as a result of growing up in the Ukraine…funny how that works. He is also apparently an evil mastermind, although I’ve only ever known him to be a friendly guy.
Olivia – (Marat and Julia’s 2 year old daughter) Olivia is very sweet and even-keeled kid.
Gabriel – (Marat and Julia’s 1 year old son) – A wide eyed little guy who was drooling so much due to teething that I don’t know if I ever saw him in a dry shirt the whole trip.
Jeff – (Jennifer’s brother) – He’s a big hearted guy. Jeff was my partner in basketball crime who watched a bit of March Madness on my iPod with me at Frank’s birthday party and who was devastated when Kansas lost to VCU.
Kristi – (Jeff’s wife) She is a doctor and a smart, interesting and thoughtful person. Her voice is on the audiomentary sparingly, but she was there. She is with child at the moment, so our next family gathering will have even more family.
Jace – (Jeff and Kristi’s 2 year old son) A doppelganger for Luke, and a friendly fun kid.
Uncle Jim – (Jennifer’s uncle) Perhaps the nicest man you could ever get to know. Jim is the owner of the super friendly cat and formerly an owner of a stunt cat. Jim is unflappable in prayer in the face of screaming children.
Aunt Ellen – (Uncle Jim’s wife) She is pretty much only in the background on the audiomentary, but one of the sweetest women you could ever know.
Amanda – (Jennifer’s cousin) Amanda is a very friendly and kind lady. She’s the one who was making friends with strangers, hugging waitresses, and fiercely defending the word “Hoagie” in the audiomentary.
Gigi/Giselle – (Amanda’s 4 Year Old daughter). Gigi is very outgoing and confident girl. She is the voice wishing Grandpop (Frank) a happy birthday at the birthday party and is heard in a lot of the ambient noise.
John – (Jennifer’s cousin) Johnny is a large and very friendly bear of a man. He speaks in a crappy Boston accent along with Craig on the way home from downtown Chicago.
Aunt Carol – (Amanda and John’s mother) Carol is a funny, friendly outgoing lady who spent a lot of time with her Sister Joan on the trip. She is not featured heavily in the audiomentary and is primarily in the background.
Frank – (Jennifer’s Grandfather) Frank is a stalwart of a man and makes for a great patriarch for this wonderful family. He is also the man of the hour on the audiomentary, celebrating his 95th birthday party. He is Joan, Carol, and Jim’s dad.
Grace – (Frank’s wife) She married Frank after his wife (and mother to Joan, Carol and Jim) passed away a few years ago. She is aptly named.
Zoo Guy – (Employee of the Zoo) Random guy who works at the Brookfield Zoo with whom I started talking with about Bears. I don’t know him, but he certainly had a lot of info on Bears.