Metatalktail Hour: Sound Effects! March 9, 2019 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, I'm Always Feeling, Blue, is interested in your sound effects, saying, "I punctuate all proffered fistbumps with a "tssshh!" slow-mo impact sound, mainly because 30 and 40 something yr old men in sensible clothing fistbumping seems a bit naff/daft. What sound effects do other Mefites add to their everyday lives and activities?"

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, so tell us everything that's up with you!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:34 PM (101 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I do a lot of sad trombone noises. Actually, I do a lot of brass instrumentation with my voice, for various occasions. Kind of hard to transliterate 'em. Mostly these are inflicted on co-workers.

So anyway, my wife and I realized tonight that neither of us has seen Space Jam before, so we're watching it. I... I think I was supposed to get baked before doing this.
posted by duffell at 5:42 PM on March 9, 2019 [6 favorites]

posted by duffell at 5:43 PM on March 9, 2019 [10 favorites]

I'm like duffell, my favorite sound effect is "womp womp" when something goes wrong. Everything has gone right with the garden lately, although it's been a slog with all the wet. But spring is coming, and it's beginning to show.
I've started several seeds indoors in anticipation of less wet weather. Most of those are out in the greenhouse bench now, waiting for potting or planting. I've finally built my new raised beds and lined them with cardboard, but the soil wont come til Wednesday and will be a real schlep so they're empty for now. I also got a lot of general work done including moving pots to their new locations, filling a fabric raised bed so my Joi Choi seedlings will have a home soon, and pulling some carrots for eating. Cannot recommend growing your own carrots enough. Easier than you think, and so so delicious.

On a whim I started a non-fiction club on fanfare and have started posting non-fiction books. I hope people are interested, Its a non-standard use of fanfare I know, but I have such a backlog of books to read I hope this spurs me to get to it and clear my backlog a bit. Join if you're interested, I'd love to see what you're all reading too!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:57 PM on March 9, 2019 [8 favorites]

I have so many noises I make at/around the dogs and cat too. With humans, I'll do a "whoop" if it looks like someone's going to run into me. When I'm driving, I'll sometimes make "skrrrrrt" sound effects when making a turn.
posted by Fig at 6:01 PM on March 9, 2019 [10 favorites]

Too many to count. I've had people ask me to "say that again" so they can giggle at my wild gestures and sound effects. Onomatopoeia is one of my things. I make a lot of noises.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:09 PM on March 9, 2019 [8 favorites]

I will often say "beep boop beep" whenever I'm interacting with something electronic.
posted by Fizz at 6:25 PM on March 9, 2019 [9 favorites]

Among other things I make ironic creaky noises when I bend over and get back up only I'm afraid they are no longer ironic these days. Oops.
posted by ferret branca at 6:35 PM on March 9, 2019 [8 favorites]

These days everything I do seems to be accompanied by a Nelson Muntz laugh.

Even this comment.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:38 PM on March 9, 2019 [8 favorites]

In non-sound-effect metatalktail hour,
- fuck daylight savings time. I'm exhausted, and am definitely not going to church and did most of the chores today so I can be lazy tomorrow, but still. I hate it.
- I would be remiss in my Safety Professional duties if I didn't throw out a reminder to check your smoke and CO2 detector batteries when you change your clocks.

- I put myself on Tinder last night, and really don't feel like I have a firm grasp on how it all is supposed to work, but in less than 24 hours I've matched with a good handful of people, had some text convos*, and am relatively sure I'll have a date within the next week. So I'm not completely failing, which is good, but boy howdy it's a wild place with some.... idiosyncrasies.

*I got a "hey sexxxxxy let's have fun" initial message from someone and replied with this gif which made me laugh out loud. No reply, I hope he got a kick out of it. I did.
posted by Fig at 6:40 PM on March 9, 2019 [26 favorites]

I'm pretty sure I can't help putting stingers on my actions throughout the day.
posted by rhizome at 6:44 PM on March 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

I am also a fan of womp womp (sad trombone) as well as badum ching (rimshot) sound effects in conversation.

I say "a-roo-roo-roo" to myself sometimes when I find something I'm looking for. I'm a hound dog!

I saw Captain Marvel tonight, so now I'm calling the cat a flerken, which is just a nonsense word, not onomatopoeia, but makes me similarly happy.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:49 PM on March 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

When a kitchen appliance beeps or dings, I beep or ding back, like a call and response. These days a couple of my appliances sing a little song when they're done. For some reason I don't sing a song in reply but instead go "beep boop!"
posted by Mizu at 6:51 PM on March 9, 2019 [9 favorites]

I both knock and about half the time say 'knock' on my patients' doors.

I didn't even realize I say 'stab' during my martial arts classes when we're doing knife defense (with rubber knives, obvs.) But my sparring partner pointed it out yesterday...because I asked her why she was laughing.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:58 PM on March 9, 2019 [19 favorites]

I do sotto voce scat singing to accompany chores and I'm aware it drives everyone crazy so I'm trying to do it in my head instead. Buh buh buh da da doo wah buh buh buh cha yeaahhhhhhhhh. It's not something I consciously chose to do and it started pretty suddenly and I don't really control it, it's like I'm haunted by a tiny ghost of a scat-singing ragtime-playing piano man who got assigned to me in the afterlife.

Like he is eternally hopeful that he will get discovered, somehow, off this afterlife punishment gig, he's so optimistic. These little random songs make me happy but I'm aware that zing-a zing-a doh re re mi doh ra ma ma hey! is not appropriate for cleaning the counter so I try to keep it inside.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:07 PM on March 9, 2019 [15 favorites]

Maybe no exactly sound effects, but I tend to do a running commentary of old NBA Jam lines while I am doing stuff. I teach college and most of the students have no idea about NBA Jam, because old, but whenever I say "Boom Shaka Laka!" they laugh because it is also in a Big Bang song.

Also, I had no idea that "womp womp" was the sad trombone sound, but now certain things from the past seem to make more sense.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:29 PM on March 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

I still say "ach" like my dad and his parents when something goes wrong, but since I have to go back to the 1860s to find a relative who spoke German as a first language I'm worried it's an affectation rather an actual tie to my roots. Still, it's more satisfying than "oops" or "ugh" or any of the other English exclamations. (I have the same concern about my use of "gesundheit" instead of the more common "bless you".)

I like clucking my tongue loudly, and I'm trying to get my kids to recognize my particular cadence (just two quick ones, nothing fancy) so they know when I'm trying to get their attention in a loud place.
posted by Tehhund at 7:33 PM on March 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

I mostly make unplanned groans and sighs these days. I did realize on Friday that I sing "Good morning!" when I enter work, which is weird because I can't sing and don't sing and so it's probably not very tuneful, and I don't mean it as a song, just kind of sing-songy, and even that is something that I don't know why I do.

I spent today writing a five-minute talk for church tomorrow (on my personal experience with the divine/transcendent moments), then reading a book on teaching adult learners that gave me all sorts of ideas/structure for the training I'm doing Wednesday. Also spent the day listening to the rain and cuddling with cats and drinking tea. It was a very nice day.
posted by lazuli at 7:55 PM on March 9, 2019 [7 favorites]

All of my sound effects are kid related: exploding fist bumps make an exploding sound, all person/animal/stuffed animal noses say boop when you touch them, electronic things and pretend robots say beep boop, and I’m capable of having a whole conversation in meows that makes sense to both of us.


It’s been a super-eventful week. My ex and I reached a divorce settlement pretty favorable to me (including 50/50 custody), I’ve been preapproved for a big enough mortgage to buy the house I’ve been renting, I bought a fabulous necklace made from an antique serving spoon and went for a walk by the water with a good friend today, I got a brutal but therapeutic massage on Friday, and the garlic I planted in my garden has started sprouting. I can breathe again. I won’t have someone who hates me waiting to use every choice I make against me now. The sun has been shining, my orchid plants are making babies, and I’m going to be okay. It’s not quite emotionally real yet but it’s true. Ahhh.
posted by centrifugal at 8:00 PM on March 9, 2019 [21 favorites]

(Hammer slide cock)
posted by clavdivs at 8:03 PM on March 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh lord, so many. It's almost a non-stop commentary when I'm by myself, a mixture of goofy noises and sound effects from old Warner Bros. cartoons, snippets of whatever song has wormed its way into my head at the moment, and bits of dialog from - well, everywhere.

One favorite is making Daggett Beaver type "Eeh" frustration noises when I'm trying to make something work that isn't working the way I want it to. And if that doesn't work I move to Yosemite Sam style fake-cursing (not as good as Mel Blanc, but I'm workin' on it).

Certain lifting or other minor-effort actions also call for a "heyy-yup."

Sometimes when whatever I'm cooking smells wonderful and delicious I let out a delighted cliché-French "honh-honh-honhh", which always made my former housemate laugh.

When I was a youngster I often heard my grandfather's grunt of effort as he levered himself up out of his Favorite Chair, and I've picked up the habit of doing it even when I don't really "need" to. Once I got a good guffaw out of my housemate when I prolonged the strained groan long after I was up out of my chair and halfway across the room before suddenly cutting it off and muttering "Oh yeah, I can stop now." I enjoyed getting laughs out of my housemate.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:18 PM on March 9, 2019 [8 favorites]

Mine are probably endless and terribly annoying, so I won't go over them in detail.

I have found, recently, that when pulling weeds, when I get a big root out, it feels incredibly satisfying (a little like pulling someone's head off and getting the entire spine out - I saw that in a cartoon once) and I do sort of have a woohoo! that I say. I'm sure I'm getting an enormous dopamine burst every time it happens which is why I find weeding my garden so terribly addictive and I can do it for hours. Also, I have a lot of weeds. A lot. We have a huge bermuda grass problem in the entire San Fernando Valley, as far as I can tell. It's just one long buried root branching out in a billion directions infesting every yard in the Valley. I am ruthless, and since I won't use Roundup or similar chemicals, it's my weeder, me and some vinegar to get them all out. And I will get them ALL OUT.

So far, I've planted peas, peppers, strawberries, dill, tons of lettuce. Tomatoes went in yesterday, I'll probably do carrots and cucumbers next weekend. My chickens have started laying again and today I baked a gorgeous honey cake in this pan with my bees' honey and my chickens' eggs. Having brunch in Palm Springs in the morning with friends.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:25 PM on March 9, 2019 [9 favorites]

My sound effect is "cha cha cha." I have no idea what it means or where I picked it up or even what circumstances cause it to come out.
posted by invokeuse at 8:36 PM on March 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

I make a variety of sound effects, and do a variety of voices.

It also turns out - to no one's surprise but my father's - that he and I sound sufficiently alike that a graduate school cohort-mate of mine ran into him today and asked if we were related.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 8:50 PM on March 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

My favorite minced oath is dagbladet!

invokeuse - I have socks with a fox on them and the words "cha cha cha" and I have no idea why they say that.
posted by moonmilk at 8:51 PM on March 9, 2019 [5 favorites]

Sophie1, you may or may not be familiar with Diana Wynne Jones' fantasy novel Howl's Moving Castle, but it has a chapter titled "In which Sophie expresses her feelings with weedkiller." I can recommend it.
I say "schniff" when I'm feeling sneezy, which I suspect comes from my father. When I was working regularly with Korean(-Japanese) people, I picked up "aigo," which can express anything from "ooh, stiff muscles" to mourning; then I changed jobs and sat next to a Chinese lady for four years and found myself using her "aiya" instead.
This has been a lousy week all around, mostly my own fault, and I'm not expecting next week to be much better, but things could be so much worse and it's important to remember that, I guess. Best to all.
posted by huimangm at 8:59 PM on March 9, 2019 [5 favorites]

We have a huge bermuda grass problem in the entire San Fernando Valley, as far as I can tell

Fuck Bermuda grass with a rusty hammer. That shit is 80% of my weeds and I hate it even more than I hate Oxalis. It gets into my beds and then in the process of ripping it out you accidentally damage your plants arrrrgh that fucking Bermuda grass...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:41 PM on March 9, 2019 [5 favorites]

Fig, centrifugal: 💪 and ♥️.

Re: sounds, I have to think about that a little more. I'll come back to that part.
posted by limeonaire at 9:42 PM on March 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

‚Psssshewww‘ when I send off an email.
posted by The Toad at 9:46 PM on March 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

I "oy" a lot. I picked up sucking my teeth from disapproving Ivorian ladies, so sometimes I do that if I'm irritated. If I'm speaking another language, I make "eh" listening noises instead of um. I get yelled at for saying "I'm sorry" too much, and I overuse the word particularly.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:10 PM on March 9, 2019 [8 favorites]

I can't reproduce them here, but I make a number of weird noises in the morning when I attempt to talk. They usually mean things like, "what time is it (and can I go back to sleep)" or "you're warm" or "I am sleeping do not attempt to snuggle". The best I can do is, the first one is a note that goes up, the second is mostly mmm, in a happy way, and the third is a profoundly grumpy mmm.

I also say beep boop, but only to let people know that, say, their toast is ready or the oven time went off. It's just signal boosting.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:14 PM on March 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

My whole childhood was punctuated by (continuously honed and improved, and gradually expanded with other sounds) upset-chicken noises. I learned these from my uncle just in time for basis school.
I remember that a math teacher around when I was 11 complained that the class sometimes sounded like a rainforest. That was all me.

I think I have matured; most of the time now it's more the ka-chink, ka-bam, and boinggg variety. At nigh-60, the frequency of oneself bumping into, or dropping, stuff has seen a steady increase, and the soundtrack arranges itself thereafter.
posted by Namlit at 1:53 AM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

I definitely boop! noses, especially now that I have captive noses to boop! daily. Sometimes I poom noses too (although, mostly t’hb, the cats not being au fait with old YouTube cat videos)

I cat hiss at the pressure cooker (this is reduced now that I have an instant pot) and have been known to cat hiss at teenaged boys who block the pavements. If you stop dead in front of me because you are looking at your phone, you will get a very annoyed growl in your ear.

I also do a series of disgruntled clicking noises if woken up, apparently.
posted by halcyonday at 3:31 AM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've been really isolated for the last eight years: living alone, not having a partner or many close friends, rarely having friends over, mostly unemployed. I started making all kinds of sounds to be less alone: tongue-clicking, humming, "beep-boop"-ing, talking to myself to make decisions and remind myself what to do, talking to myself in the third person...

I feel like I just need to remember that I exist.
posted by bendy at 4:26 AM on March 10, 2019 [9 favorites]

My cat and I have developed a series of chirps and little meows that allow her to converse with me on a deeper level. I actually know what some of them mean, too! The current favorite is a mhrrr sound that definitely means, "Sleepy." She slow blinks at me then falls asleep like the big little bunny loaf that she is. So much love for her.
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:39 AM on March 10, 2019 [12 favorites]

I have been known to introduce a Sad Trombone to low points during staff meetings, as well as introduce the Final Jeopardy theme song to my kids overthinking breakfast choices.

On a side note, my 7 year old 'discovered' this thing about putting guacamole on toast yesterday... Today she requested it for breakfast. (Yes, I know... I don't want to break her heart yet that she didn't quite discover it and let her know it is the hack advertising cliche of the generation that precedes her...) It was akin to the 'who put their peanut butter in my chocolate?' / 'who put their chocolate in my peanut butter?' commercial debate of the 80s.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:19 AM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Almost every night, around 9:00 p.m., my husband will start making high pitched noises.

We'll be watching a TV show, I'll be focused on that, and then I'll here, woo-woo, and at first, I don't know what I'm hearing, then I'll look over at him and be like, "what the hell are you doing? Oh, it must be 9:00."

He also speaks in a made-up language, with fast-paced syllables, but nonsense words. Sometimes we'll talk back and forth, asking each other questions and answering them. He's much better at it than I am, however.

We used to live in an apartment complex that was backed up to a lot of trees, and he'd talk back to the crows every morning, on his way to the parking lot, startling the neighbors with his loud, "Caw! Caw!"

I also make some weird noises, but mostly strange voices, I think because when we were kids, we used to put on mini plays and record them using a cassette recorder, and I was called upon to be several different characters. We also made hand puppets out of old socks, and they had to have voices as well.

Which reminds me of my favorite bit from Two and a Half Men, Jane Lynch and her cow puppet.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:22 AM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

I find this a fascinating question because it made me realize that I don't do any sort of regular sound effect. I am loud and generally chatty so this surprised me but I guess along with that I tend more towards catch phrases. I am loving reading about what other people do though.
posted by biggreenplant at 6:38 AM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

In the kitchen, when I’m reaching around someone to get something (or, say, to put something in the sink from around the person washing dishes) I’ll sometimes let out a soft “mmaahh” sound like the bird in Tiny Wings when it lands just right on a slope.

I know of no one in my day to day life who recognizes the sound I’m making, or the really relaxing game that it comes from.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:54 AM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

when pulling weeds, when I get a big root out, it feels incredibly satisfying (a little like pulling someone's head off and getting the entire spine out - I saw that in a cartoon once)

This is making me look forward to weeding!

I picked up sucking my teeth from disapproving Ivorian ladies

I picked up that as well; I try to not do it much because it seems ripe for misinterpretation.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:56 AM on March 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

huimangm - I am not familiar with the book, but I have added it to my reading list. Thanks!

Homo neanderthalensis - yes. I will now announce prior to a weeding session, fuck you with a rusty hammer! I will defeat you!
posted by Sophie1 at 7:26 AM on March 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Now Nanukthedog's seven-year-old will never be able to afford a house, due to her avocado-toast habit. Alas.
posted by lazuli at 7:47 AM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Mine are just sort of ad hoc things, rather than a regular habit; I "talk" to animals. (Mr. gudrun is good about not being too embarrassed when they happen in public.)

I do a really good yappy little dog bark/howl, and have been known to do it back, to kind of egg them on, at really annoying yappy dogs that just won't quit. I purr at my and other cats, and can do various meows and mews pretty well also (I know I do it well because I get good feedback from the cats I do it with).

I love crows in general, but I find the calls of fish crows iresistable, and will imitate them back to them. I've had some great back and forth "dialogues" with fish crows a few times, including an over five minute round one time.
posted by gudrun at 8:09 AM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

biggreenplant: I find this a fascinating question because it made me realize that I don't do any sort of regular sound effect. I am loud and generally chatty so this surprised me

I think I used to make more sound effects when I talked less. Since I've become a chattier person (both by necessity and because I wanted to) I think those sound effects have been crowded out by words.
posted by Tehhund at 8:47 AM on March 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Even though I'm perfectly capable of speaking in complete sentences, I apparently do a lot of non-language communication, to the point where a co-worker has dubbed it "makin' soundguy99 noises" - "hup" or "whuff" or "huh!" when moving or lifting heavy things, low growling or "aaAH" when a piece of equipment is being uncooperative, a sort of throat-vibrating "ehhhhhr" to indicate mild disagreement, "nnnghyaaAAAGh" or "bwhuuufrgh" along with hand-waving when someone is doing something mildly dumb (like, when you roll a case off a truck you should at least roll it few feet in the direction it's supposed to go, not just leave it at the bottom of the ramp getting in everyone's way.)

The common "sound effect" we use (and I don't even remember who started it, I don't think it was me) is making a "BZZT!" electrical connection noise when plugging a cable into something. We don't do it every time, because goddamn that would be annoying, but it's the source of mild practical joking where you make the noise when someone else is plugging the thing in and if you time it right you can get them to jump a little. Usually, of course, done when they're plugging in something not even remotely dangerous, like a data line or a microphone cable before we've even turned on the main power breakers.

Although sometimes "BZZT!" is entirely appropriate, like the time just recently when we thought we had a problem with an electric cable and I plugged it in at the warehouse to test it and it went like:

"BZZT!" *loud snap and blue spark as the cable shorts out* "Whoa, goddamn, I guess "BZZT!" is about right!" *general laughing from co-workers*
posted by soundguy99 at 9:05 AM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I took my 3yo nephew to the playground yesterday while his parents ran an errand. There was a little kid-size house there, so he wanted me to be the mailman and bring him mail. So I'd walk up and be like "oh, doot do doo, just delivering my mail, hmm hmm hmm." And then he had me do it again, but was like "no! Sing the mailman song!" And I was like, how does the mailman song go? And he goes "doot do doo, just delivering my mail, hmm hmm hmm..."
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:20 AM on March 10, 2019 [13 favorites]

I do the Peggy Hill "Ho Yeah" whenever I score a mild suburban mom victory, such as having the thing in my purse that somebody asked for.
posted by selfmedicating at 9:20 AM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I "talk" to animals.

Ditto. I'll usually address animals before their human walkers. And I always say "Hey beauty" to the first few birds of the day I see. It's a thing my mom always used to do. When I come back from a busy day I'll often make the BYYYyyyooooop noise of a computer powering down as I heave myself on to the daybed.

I read this thing on BoingBoing ten years ago and I still do this and say "Hello peanut butter"
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:06 AM on March 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

When the teakettle goes off, I answer it in kind: "teeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEeeea"
posted by davejay at 10:16 AM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

I say good morning to crows. I say oocha, oocha when I hobble down the stairs in the morning and my joints holler. I have rant-y conversations while driving, but please assume I'm on the phone. I say Good-bye to the dog when I go out; this is useful as he understands that he is not coming and does not try very hard to sneak out the door. I presume he does, in fact, watch the house and is a good boy while I'm gone. I yell loudly when I drop things and they fall on my toes; my next door neighbor is more deaf than I am so no big deal about the swears.
posted by theora55 at 10:44 AM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

My spouse has a habit of randomly making cat sounds to fill in conversational gaps or to say, "hello" in a situation where it seems weird to actually say something. I somehow got into the habit of responding with duck noises, often accompanied by frantic, attacking-duck mime. I don't know what it means, but it's a rare weekend together that doesn't involve me pecking at toes and making an angry quacking noises at least once.

I'm a lot better at realistic pigeon than duck, but it comes up a lot less often.

In high school, I got really good at throwing the big-L loser sign while making an extremely loud tongue click. It's been a long time since I felt comfortable doing that. I think that's probably a good thing.
posted by eotvos at 10:56 AM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Also, it's not quite a sound effect, but I'm pretty sure my habit of saying "hello, computer" in StarTrek-IV Scotty voice every time I'm confused while working with digital lab hardware has driven everyone I work with crazy by now. I hope at least some of them recognize it. Most probably just think I'm crazy.
posted by eotvos at 11:00 AM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I do have conversations with my cats, in their language, but hold my coffee here, I am listening to Jimmy Page play the guitar with a violin bow live, on his birthday, early seventies, as if I weren't dazed and confused enough...I named my one inside plant, Robert. Otherwise I am pretty quiet, yeah-you won't find me in an old folks home.
posted by Oyéah at 11:03 AM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

Reading my previous post. . . I've been genuinely trying to avoid using "crazy" in conversation. Clearly I'm not very good at it yet. Sorry.
posted by eotvos at 11:20 AM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

We have Donald Duck quack fights to amuse our niblings. It works great!
posted by platitudipus at 11:20 AM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

Actually, it works just as well on some adults at least half of the time.
posted by platitudipus at 11:21 AM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

My shelter cat is very talkative and has taught me about 20 interesting vocalizations since he's been owning me. These lessons are usually given at 4:30 am. I've gotten so accustomed to purring at him that I now sound like Chewbacca when I yawn.

Our ancient farm vet use to walk into the mass of vicious attack dogs in our front yard and say, "Hey puppy, don't eat me," and all of them would immediately STFU, and basically escort him directly to the door. This phrase has worked on every strange dog I've met over the ensuing five decades, so I offer it as a magic dog spell to all gathered here.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 11:21 AM on March 10, 2019 [17 favorites]

Every time I remember to, I re-enact the scene of John Candy taking off his shoes and socks on the plane from Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Bonus points if I gently graze my 12-year old with the sock while waving it around.
posted by Twicketface at 11:34 AM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

I talk to everything - animals, the sky, plants, food, the fridge, myself, books, furniture, buildings. Usually I greet things - Hello sidewalk! Enjoying the warm sun? A lot of times I'll just go, "It's YOU!" to random things. Sometimes I like to listen, too, so I'll put my ear on some rock or on a tree and see if I can hear anything. (Speaking of sidewalks, someone once made one of those "weird person in the area" posts on Next Door about me because, curious if I could hear a construction project up the street through the sidewalk, I knelt down and put my ear to it, which admittedly would look kind of weird.) So many people here talk to birds, it warms the heart! I too caw caw at crows although I do yell obscenities at magpies. Audubon makes this wonderful soft birdies that make bird calls, and I have a few meadowlarks stashed in my backpack and car so that I can call other meadowlarks, but only because my own bird call is abysmal. I sing a lot - sing in the bathroom, sing while working, both nonsense and real songs. One of my husband's favorite stories about me is the time while hiking I noticed a mountain lion following me and I started singing, "Come Get Your Love" to it, realized that wasn't the best choice, and switched songs. I'm utterly incapable of not slowing down or stopping to moo at cows despite growing up on a cow ranch. All kinds of (bad) sound effects come out of my mouth - I'll hum along with the computer, go "tink tink tink" with the hammer, say "whoosh" when I send email, "choo choo" at trains, that kind of thing.

One of my favorite "sound effects" I stole from something some climber from the 60s-70s used to do although I adapted it. Every summer I teach a portion of a field geology course to juniors and seniors. The course is taught at about 5000-6000 ft and most of them come from sea level to about 2000 ft. On their first day there I lead up them up this huge hill. Because I have a significant advantage because I live at that elevation and usually I'm in better shape because I understand what field geology requires and they're about to learn, I'm fine on the hill and they're almost always huffing and puffing right at the beginning; towards the top they act like they're dying. So on the toughest, steepest part near the top I pull out a harmonica and play "Row Row Row Your Boat". Hahahaha!

But when it comes to regular sound effects that I make on a regular basis? *cough* Hello, my name's barchan, I'm almost 40, I've been driving for almost 25 years, and when I drive a motor vehicle I still make all the sound effects a four year old would make playing with toy cars.
posted by barchan at 11:52 AM on March 10, 2019 [15 favorites]

I say "welp" a lot. It's as much a sound effect as a word.

Also, like other Southern white ladies d'un certain age, I make certain little modulated sounds to express delight to see someone, polite interest, mild surprise, disapproval, and a desire to be moving along now. I'd have to write them out on a staff.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:48 PM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

By God, I love the calls of meadowlarks. Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake has many meadowlarks. I would sometimes stop by the side of the road to hear them sing. I always exchange greetings with the parrot across the street.
posted by Oyéah at 12:49 PM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

I hum when I'm content and busy. I'm not sure where I picked it up but it's a recent thing. It mostly happens when I'm content. It even often happens in public as I'm going about my day or at the grocery store and it's kind of embarrassing.

I regularly talk to wildlife. Squirrels, birds, otters, I can't tweet or chirp like them but I can repeat patterns back at them with "tsk" sounds, and they'll usually reply.

I definitely talk to cats and speak cat. I can trill, mrrt, meow, yowl and even purr a little.

I will start speaking chicken if presented with chickens, say, in someone's yard. It's apparently realistic enough sounding that more than once someone thought their chickens got out of their coop or yard when they couldn't see it was me making the chicken noises.

When I'm waking up and content apparently I make all kinds of weird grumbling, yarping noises to the point my friend thought a baby bear was raiding our camp when we went camping. I was in my hammock and she was 30 feet away inside her car and she still heard me inside a closed car and wasn't sure if I was going to be eaten by a bear or what. Nope, just me waking up and stretching and groaning.

But the real sound effects are all in my head. I have a very rich internal monologue of imagined sound and it's almost a constant thing. I can make music in my head complete with drum patterns, synth and bass lines and effects. It'll often be driven by the rhythm of walking or doing a repetitive task, or can be totally free form and ambient. It's very much like I have a whole bank of synthesizers and drum machines in my head.

It's persistent enough that I talked to my doctor and psychologist and took some tests just to make sure it wasn't a symptom of schizophrenia, but I've had this for as long as I can remember, even as a very young kid.

When I first started hearing loop-focused techno and house music as a teenager in the late 80s and early 90s it was very much like "Those are the patterns, sounds and noises I like to make in my head!" and I was hooked.

Today I use imagined tone and sound in meditation. There's pitch and harmony there, and it maps or corresponds to light or energy. I can check my internal mood and state by stopping and listening and turning off words in my internal monologue or thought processes. It's discordant sounding, weak and warbling when I'm upset or depressed, and gloriously harmonic and full when I'm doing well.

It's magic and I would be sad if it went away. It's one of the reasons I can sit patiently for hours or days on end and not get bored. Waiting for a bus or something is easy for me because the inside of my own head is super entertaining.

If you see me just happily sitting somewhere and glassy eyed, I'm probably just listening to the music in my head.
posted by loquacious at 1:12 PM on March 10, 2019 [7 favorites]

Live-in partners of the past have claimed I make a little occasional "mmmnnnm" noise while I'm reading, or thinking, but I've never caught myself in the act.
posted by sockermom at 1:35 PM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

My cat Mystery knows one trick: I hold up my index finger and sing "boop", and she will stand up on her hind legs and boop her nose on it. I taught it to her by awarding a treat for a successful boop, but now she does it out of affection.

I have been trying to teach Milo this trick. He will come running when he hears me make the "boop" sound, because he knows it means treats. He is less clear on remembering what action is supposed to follow the sound. He'll watch Mystery do it, then I'll give him the same sound and gesture and he'll just stare at me perplexedly. I'm not giving up though. He Will Boop.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:56 PM on March 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

I hold up my index finger and sing "boop", and she will stand up on her hind legs and boop her nose on it. I taught it to her by awarding a treat for a successful boop, but now she does it out of affection.

I am happy to read the second part of the sentence; a friend of mine once boasted of how he had taught his cat to give him a high five by giving the cat a treat each time. I asked earnestly, "Did you train the cat or has the cat trained you?" It gave him pause, as it were.

As for the topic o' the week, I am not sure I have much to contribute. I mean, I do make non-verbal vocalizations, but I am not sure I could transcribe most of them with any fidelity. The closest I can come is that as a young biscuit, playing Crazy Eights with my grandmother, she would often take the opportunity to tutor me in the ways of righteousness and tell me how I should never cheat at cards because "on the riverboats, if the catch you cheating they go *whhhiiiick*!" (The reader should here imagine a breathy reading of the onomatopoeic verb accompanied by a swift stabbing motion with one hand; this, my grandmother felt, was the proper sound of a shady gambler being stabbed through the hand by a Pinkerton or something. Where my born-circa-WWI Canadian grandmother got a knowledge of the demimonde of antebellum Mississippi River gambling boats in anybody's guess.)

Anyway, whenever a book or movie contains the suggestion of someone cheating at cards or dice, I see my grandmother making a stabbing motion and hear her "Whhhiiiiick!"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:34 PM on March 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

I once found the words


very neatly scratched into a cubicle wall in one of my high school's toilets. I vividly remember my extended fit of laughter that day. 46 years later, I still occasionally catch myself saying "oink blubb urks" to the world at large.
posted by Namlit at 3:53 PM on March 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

At work, I am the printer whisperer. When making solid color prints, it makes long groaning moaning sounds which I echo back in harmony. When co-workers give me side eye, I ask them how successful their color printing is compared to mine. My prints don't jam and I assure them that harmonizing with the printer leads to excellent prints.

I also quietly cuss and softly hum bass lines when troubleshooting network hijinks or while waiting for some longass Photoshop action to complete. My boss has taken to wearing headphones...
posted by a humble nudibranch at 3:59 PM on March 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

I use a very sarcastic "Ta DAHHHHHH!" when a friend says something particularly obvious. It is occasionally accompanied by a pirouette and flourish where appropriate. Bear in mind that I am a nearly 50 year old fat lady, so it's a productions to be sure.

Most commonly used sound effect would be a rising "whoop whoop WHOOP WHOOP!!!!" (a la Zoidberg) as I physically nope out of a situation.
posted by ninazer0 at 4:01 PM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

"whoop whoop WHOOP WHOOP!!!!" (a la Zoidberg Curly)

Proper attribution of source is essential...
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:37 PM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Ahhh! Thank you Greg_Ace!
posted by ninazer0 at 5:58 PM on March 10, 2019

At work, I am the printer whisperer. When making solid color prints, it makes long groaning moaning sounds which I echo back in harmony. When co-workers give me side eye, I ask them how successful their color printing is compared to mine. My prints don't jam and I assure them that harmonizing with the printer leads to excellent prints.

You might not actually be wrong. If you're making a noise that's within the same harmonics you're probably imparting some slight amount of energy into the machine and possibly have learned through muscle memory what sounds to make, and vibration is used in industrial processing and material handling all the time.

It's even used in printing lines and paper handling. They use vibration in stuff like paper jogging tables to get large stacks of paper neatly lined up or on sheet/roll transfer/handling lines.

On the other hand, you shouldn't yell at mechanical hard drives. There's been a few random videos of people testing what happens when you yell at a hard drive and it's actually enough energy to cause latency spikes.

I definitely talk to inanimate objects when they're being balky, including non-verbal growls and noises. I will growl at the wall or furniture if I accidentally run into it or bonk myself on it.

On the actual sound effects front I've been mucking about with pitching recordings of flying humming birds down to as much as 95% and they sound terrifying. They sound like attack helicopters. You can actually hear the wingtips cutting the air like helicopter rotors or maybe the tip of a sword or whip at nearly supersonic speeds, that weird crackle when something is moving through the air very fast. Also at that reduced speed their chirps sound like a large howler monkey hooting.
posted by loquacious at 6:23 PM on March 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

Ahhh! Thank you Greg_Ace!

I'm not...proud of my enthusiasm for the Three Stooges, but I own it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:31 PM on March 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

Talk at church went well! I spoke about my "personal experience with the divine/transcendence," and I get all weirded out by the fact that I have had those experiences but other people do not get weirded out because they have had their own, so it was a good reminder that I need to get over myself. And I nervous-shook only for the first minute or so, and a friend in the congregation said I did not speak too quickly, which is what normally happens when I'm nervous, so overall a win. Simultaneously working on the fact that I'm getting more publicly spiritual ("more publicly" like "finally admitting it to anyone other than myself") and that I have a giant fear of public speaking is... complicated. But! Today was good. Had a lot of people come up to me after services to tell me their stories of feeling contacted by dead loved ones, which was both deeply touching and deeply exhausting. Intellectually I should have known that would happen, but I just didn't anticipate it, and I was glad of my years of doing grief counseling to give me some guidance for listening and responding.
posted by lazuli at 6:43 PM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

Love reading about everyone's articulations verbal and non-verbal, thanks for sharing!

The pet ones reminded me that I used to always do a short "hsst!" at the cats when they were doing something naughty and somehow down the years that became my go-to sound whenever about to cross the road with someone and there's traffic coming. Hsst! Bad human! Danger!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:26 PM on March 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Oftentimes, though arbitrarily, I will make a "ptch-choo!" sound, like a laser pistol firing, when I am opening and closing tabs, or indeed doing just about anything on the computer. Even in games, where the laser pistol sounds are provided.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:09 PM on March 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

On the actual sound effects front I've been mucking about with pitching recordings of flying humming birds down to as much as 95% and they sound terrifying.

Yes! I was just goofing around with a video of me and my bird whistling together, and found that at half speed we sound like badly tuned violins, or something!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:51 PM on March 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yes! I was just goofing around with a video of me and my bird whistling together, and found that at half speed we sound like badly tuned violins, or something!

I've done domestic finches before, and if you slow down all the chatter by about 75% it sounds like a bunch of grumpy old drunken businessmen arguing very loudly and emphatically. "Chirp" becomes "WRAAAARRRRRR" and sounds very serious and heavy, especially with many finches all arguing with each other.
posted by loquacious at 4:29 AM on March 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

So I couldn't think of sounds I make earlier yesterday, but then I collaborated on a project with a friend over video chat yesterday afternoon and realized I make a whole bunch of "editing sounds" to myself as I'm editing documents, lots of small clicks and ch-ch-chs and suchlike. I had to mute myself when we weren't actively talking once I realized it.
posted by limeonaire at 4:40 AM on March 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

"Chirp" becomes "WRAAAARRRRRR"

awesome, and the thing about birds is that they kind of operate at a higher speed than we do, so those chirpy finches probably sound like a group of cranky old men to each other.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:12 AM on March 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sometimes, when I'm climbing a hill on my bike, I make what I think of as the Dylan Noises--these sort of nasal, buzzing whines that sound like stereotypical Bob Dylan, but don't make any real words, except for maybe "whoa" or "oh". Ridin' with Bob, man.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:33 AM on March 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh goodness, my animals all have distinct voices and personalities too -- I'm glad I'm not alone! In happier days, my husband and I would leave voicemails as the dogs/cat.
posted by Fig at 8:46 AM on March 11, 2019 [5 favorites]

This thread is deeply validating for me. Thank you.
posted by briank at 12:41 PM on March 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

awesome, and the thing about birds is that they kind of operate at a higher speed than we do, so those chirpy finches probably sound like a group of cranky old men to each other.

These were my exact thoughts when I first heard it. There was a lot of nuance in each chirp that came out when it was slowed down and it sounds everything like a bunch of grumpy old men ranting to each other about things.

Wait, I just remembered I have something posted. There's more audio processing on this than just slowing it down, like a bunch of stuff is reversed and cut up and manipulated, but close enough to share what we're talking about with the folks in this thread. Yep, those are little pet song finches.

Same with hummingbirds. To us we might see two hummingbirds flit past each other at the feeder, to the hummingbirds there was an epic fencing battle that took forever and burned up half their calories.

I was sitting and watching a hummingbird actually land and hold still for a good five minutes the other day and it might be the longest I've ever seen a hummingbird land and more or less hold still.

I mean, by holding still it was flipping it's head back and forth about twice a second for the duration of that five minutes to keep scanning for danger, but at hummingbird time frames that must have been a very long, relaxing sit down in the sun.
posted by loquacious at 1:36 PM on March 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

Suffice to say that I am now walking round the kitchen with a grin on my face saying Chi-muhaha in a creepy voice.
posted by Namlit at 1:38 PM on March 11, 2019

Whoops, forgot the sound file link. Click there if you want to actually hear what we're talking about. It's pretty strange.
posted by loquacious at 1:45 PM on March 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I gently fist-bump the cat's head and say "BOOM". Other times I quickly run the flat of my hand up her face and over her head, making a sound like a spaceship buzzing her: psssseeww!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:36 PM on March 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

When I play cards, I like to throw them down with a sound effect like, "Whhhhpachow!" This garners hardly any notice when playing some games (Dominion, Terrarforming Mars, etc.) and gets me very strange looks when playing others (Rummy, Uno, etc.)
posted by BrashTech at 5:32 PM on March 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've got one of those buttons on my keychain that makes my car do a little "meep!" when i press it.

I always "meep" back at my car. It seems rude not to.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 6:39 PM on March 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

Ooh, I've got some slow motion birds too! They sound like a bunch of howling puppies!
posted by moonmilk at 6:59 PM on March 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

For a while, every fistbump between me and my son came with an explosion, which would then play itself in reverse at the height of the explosion. SFX ensued
posted by not_on_display at 7:27 PM on March 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

I say “boop” when I interact with machines that go boop. Like when punching out after a shift at work on the hand booper machine, or embarrassingly at stores sometimes when I boop my card on the card booper.
posted by rodlymight at 7:44 PM on March 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm also a "boop!"er! It's fun to go "boop!"

You know what's also fun? Puffing up your cheeks and blowing with a big ol' "whooooooooo" wind noise at doors that open automatically. I admit I do that a lot, too. And! You do that in front of the right aged kid and the look on their face is an additional joy.
posted by barchan at 8:21 PM on March 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I do an almost Scooby sound-- brrrauer? --to indicate perplexed surprise. And I vocalize the cheesy 🗯 sound effects from the Adam West Batman TV show, like "Biff!" Oh and I speak many animal languages; when my nieces were young, they always asked for them. I'm especially proud of my Sea Lion.
posted by carmicha at 11:00 PM on March 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Moar printer magic with sound effect! I was at the dentist and they asked if I wanted a receipt. I said yes, please. She said oh sorry the printer isn't working. I asked her if she'd like me to try fixing it with magic. She looked skeptical but said sure go ahead. I brought out my magic wand and made a few magical passes while making a whoooshing sound and the the receipt printed promptly.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:17 PM on March 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

Two for the price of one. I do get some startled looks from dogs, though. Cats can't be bothered.
posted by TrishaU at 3:12 AM on March 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Huh, I just learned that clear tomato consomme is a thing. And I might be able to make a vegan version using agar agar for the freeze clarification. Wacky.
posted by loquacious at 3:25 AM on March 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Speaking of Scooby, my brother and I both say “R’uh r’oh” all the time when minor things go wrong.
posted by carmicha at 5:41 AM on March 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

When I drop something or bang into something I make some variation of an "ACK" noise. When I'm frustrated I say "ARGH." When I give someone the finger I make this little popping noise/raspberry like Kramer on Seinfeld might.

Our cat has a voice, and we all talk in that voice (as the cat). The cat jumps in to any number of our conversations, or even starts conversations sometimes. He's kind of foul-mouthed jerk to be honest.

If something bad happens I make a sad trombone sound, which is also the noise my husband's cell phone makes when I call him.
posted by lyssabee at 2:42 PM on March 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Once upon a time in the late '80s I had a friend with a request that I still think about because it's almost realizable now. She wanted a little ball that hovered around and played appropriate theme music and sound effects. She was big into movie soundtracks and such and I imagine that she always had some appropriate music for the situation in her head and wanted everybody to hear it.

Fast forward to today and I can imagine like Raspberry Pi with speakers and a microphone in a jacket that could listen for voice commands from a single trained user to quickly pick appropriate sound to play to suit the situation.

And I wonder if someone has already done that thing. Or if a tiny drone could hover about tracking an IR source or such and turn 'Oh, that's so sad' into "sad trombone", or 'Let's do this' into "Ride of Valkyries".

Or if there is suitable single user self-contained trainable voice recognition that runs on a Raspberry Pi.

Because I just might want to just surprise her someday with a 30 year old request fulfillment (but I'd have to track her down first....)
posted by zengargoyle at 4:03 PM on March 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

whenever jam is eaten, or just mentioned, I say jam jam jam
posted by little cow make small moo at 6:13 PM on March 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Not so big on the sound effects, since there's so little room for them amongst the songs. Words or phrases will trigger an existing song lyric, or something with the right cadence/rhythm/rhyme will get turned into a song parody. My recent favorite is to the tune of "Drift Away," which sprang fully formed into being when my partner said about a particularly bad patch of driving, "Damn, that really shakes your soul."

Rattle your teeth, boys, and shake your soul
You just drove your car into a deep pot hole
In Philly, PA
posted by coppermoss at 7:02 PM on March 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I talk to the television a lot, sort of absentmindedly, because if I'm watching TV I'm also knitting and my attention is split. But I don't actually talk, I sing. Just a few words, always in a specific bum-bum-ba-DUM rhythm, the last note's always high... like it's a jingle I heard somewhere and can't get the tune out of my psyche. Watching Last Week Tonight and Ajit Pai is discussed? I'll absentmindedly sing "That guy's a DIIIICK" at my yarn. Catching up on The Bachelor? I'm warbling "He showers a LOOOOOT". And so on.

When someone rings my downstairs neighbor's doorbell, I can't resist saying BING BONG out loud. Sometimes I just like to say FART out loud in a quiet room. I talk to my plants now and then, but I'm more likely to give them fingerguns and the clicky mouth noise.

Living alone and working from home has definitely had an impact on me.
posted by palomar at 5:30 PM on March 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older How much do we make?   |   I have defeated the shark game Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments