Another month, another set of weekly One-Minute Vacations, courtesy of Aaron Ximm‘s quietamerican.org site. Each Monday, more or less, Ximm posts 60-second audio snapshots recorded around the world and contributed by a growing assortment of volunteers. Highlights in July included a thunderstorm caught on tape in northern Italy (MP3) by Joseph Young (“using Soundman OKM binaural microphones and a Sony MZ-N707 minidisc recorder,” he reports) and an extended scene at a temple in Nara, Japan (MP3), courtesy of Ari Noguchi, who writes … well, he describes the scenario at length on Ximm’s site, but it’s probably preferable to listen to it through at least once before having what actually occurred spelled out for you. While the thunderstorm is self-evident, the Nara sequence is not. Both are elegant real-time sound events with the shape, in retrospect, of compositions. (The Nara is also unique in that it’s one and a half minutes in length.) These One-Minute Vacation entries are worth checking out regularly, and Ximm has added a podcast feature for those looking to access them automatically. One thing of interest about the entries is that while they seem to pass so quickly as to evade attention, they last much longer if you watch the seconds tick by on your MP3 player. Of course, better yet to close your eyes and drift away for a minute. More info at quietamerican.org/vacation.html.