Sean Riley


Listening to Music by Sean, the Podcast.

In the days of mixtapes, I would also sometimes record a single original song and send it to a friend. This podcast continues that project started over half a lifetime ago. Listening to Music by Sean is about meaning, wonder, connection and loss sounded out through music one song at a time. Each episode introduces an original piece of music revealing the conceptual and production context in which it was created. All music and sounds are original and produced using analogue synthesis, sequences, samples and my voice.

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Communication Research Tool, Re-tooled.

The IMPACCT© (Interactive Media Package for the Assessment of Communication and Critical Thinking) is an online exam that measures the communication and critical thinking skills of communication students. Results of this application are used to assist the School of Communication at SDSU (and other universities) to better design curriculum to meet the needs of its students. Working with the researcher and Scholar Dr. Brian Spitzberg, Sean Riley recently released a complete rebuild of his original application. The program, over the last decade, has helped 10s of thousands of students understand the quality and effectiveness of their communication skills.

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If you see me, weep.

"If you see me, weep" is an encryption carved into a stone resting on the bottom of an river in the Czech Republic.  It is an ancient memorial to famines past and a warning that if the water level drops low enough to reveal it's message, tragedy is sure to follow.  Such hunger stones show the flow of a deeper slower time, a pace in which the entirety of our lives is but a finger snap or a spark flying from a slow burning log.   I have no idea what the handwriting on the wall is for our age, only that this pause is unsettling.  However, I take comfort that regardless today's uncertainty, we are part of a much larger, slower story. 

No Light from the City

There's no light from the city
Its road disremembered
There's no harvest in the valley
Only neglected soil and rotting vines

I pray for the angel to pass
Not believing in the unseen
I pray that grace is generous
Even through the ritual is lost to me

Yet, fire is a light of reckoning
Even a burning city can be a beacon
Penance for pride of ignorance
And love of righteousness

There's a ruin upon the hill
Not mourned for its fall
But glorified for what it never was
While the devout starve in its shadow

Die With Dignity

Explaining to an elderly family member living in another city who insists on venturing out into crowded stores and shops.

The risk is real. Consider this: Would you go out if there was a sniper randomly killing seniors waiting in line? For oldies like you, the risk of Covid-19 is significantly higher, like 100 snipers shooting people at random. As a smoker with a pre-existing condition, your husband will certainly die alone in an oxygen tent if he gets infected from you. We are already worried enough. We are sickened that if something goes wrong we cannot travel to you to help. Please, for our sakes and yours, be ridiculously careful at this time. You are at risk!

I'm at risk for everything. Toilet paper is dignity. I want to die with dignity.