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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dreams

Just watched "The Glen Miller Story" on TV. It's a happy story with a sad ending.

It's a happy story, because Glen Miller had a dream, and pursued it, and was supported in pursuing his dream by his wife. That would be nice. But I'm not so sure I have any dream in particular. I have a couple things I like to do, and occasionally might even love doing -- the podcast, and this blog. Karaoke I just like, can't say I love it. I don't really expect any of those things to result in some ideal life, or even a better life.

I think one really ought to have a dream to work on. Reminds me of the line from the song, "Wish I could find a good book to live in." Too bad I'm not a writer, I'd write my own. But I don't really believe my life will ever get better. Different maybe, better not likely. And I don't suppose there'll be a woman who will want to support me in a dream I don't have -- or I'm not sure I have.

And it's a sad story, that movie is. In the end, all stories are sad. Because in the end, everybody dies. Only dreams survive.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What's it like to be you?

I'm thinking about changing my podcast's promo recording.

I recall someone once quoting Connie Chung as saying something to the effect of, "The best interviews boil down to one question: What's it like to be you?"

I can see her point, assuming it was her point; I haven't been able to find the quote again, or even where I found it last time. And I'm thinking, that's what my show's about.

In my current intro, I say my show is "about... 20 minutes, sometimes more." But it's also about what it's like to be me. I'm self-diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, based on my current circumstances, but more on my life history, as I remember it. So, what's it like to be a guy with minimal social skills, who takes on a hobby like Karaoke, that always takes place in a social environment? What's it like to be an intensely private person in an emphatically public place like a karaoke bar? What's it like to be surrounded by crowds, and noise, and smoke, and bright lights, and deep shadow, when all those things tend to be anathema to someone like me?

For that matter, what's it like for a very private person to take on such a public activity, as podcasting, or even blogging? Granted, I've been coping with my own limitations for nearly 50 years now. One can accommodate and adjust. But what's that like?

That's really what the show's about, music and book reviews notwithstanding. And I think the promo ought to reflect that. Make sense to you?

Now I'll wait, breathlessly, for the comment from Connie Chung. ;-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

No more endorsements. For the moment.

I removed my candidate endorsement. Too much negative crap, from all the candidates involved, to greater or lesser degrees.

I'm planning on voting against continuing to have a President. The position serves no useful purpose, does no useful job, and actually requires two useless people to be paid for four years to do nothing we want them to do, then we pay retirement for the rest of their lives, even if they've done nothing productive and/or we just flat don't like them.

I'd say the Chief of Staff becomes a position appointed by Congress. Chief of Staff is what the President is supposed to be, anyway. Or maybe Chancellor or Chamberlain, something like that.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What I wish the Zoom H2 would do

I've had my Sampson Zoom H2 for a couple months now, and while I'm very happy to have it and have fun playing with it, there are a few things I'd like to see improved.

For one thing, the display screen is way too small for my aging eyes. I could see a screen of double the size, with no severe change in overall size of the device. The user interface is also a bit of a hassle. I dunno about more buttons, but a touch screen like the one on my Palm PDA would be helpful indeed -- better display that way, too.

I note that the earphone jack is on one side of the device, and the mike jack is on the other. This doesn't serve well if I want to use it with a computer-style headset. Another option would be a submini jack to work with one of those old-style cellphone headsets. You'd lose a bit of quality, but gain in convenience for some uses.

Speaking of convenience and quality, as it stands now, if I plug in an external mike, I lose all four of the internal mikes. For "on the street" interviews, it'd be nice to use a headset mike for myself and be able to point the Zoom at the interviewee(s). Perhaps a good compromise would be if plugging in the external would cut out only the Front mikes, the ones at 90 degrees, and leave the Back mikes available, the ones at 120 degrees. Those, after all, would be the ones pointed away from me most of the time, anyway.

I doubt if the Samson Zoom H2 folks are liable to change this for one blogger and podcaster, though. So jump in anywhere, if you agree.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Comment spam, again

Just had some idiot try to stick me with "comment spam," a supposed comment that turned out to be for the purpose of advertising an audio book site. I have ads on the site, and I guess that's just something I gotta do, though given I've earned $3.75 or so over the past two years, I dunno why. You wanna advertise on my site, you ask. You don't try to B.S. me.

Scumbags.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An excellent and truly horrible book

I've been listening to "The Immortals," a podcast novel by Tracy Hickman,
narrated by Tracy and Laura Hickman. It is a truly excellent, and truly
horrible book.

The story is science fiction, but not so very fictional as one might wish.
The assumption is that eventually, 2020 or so, we encounter a disease
that is as vicious as HIV, and as contagious as Ebola. And there is no
cure.

Society falls apart, mostly, and the only solution the government comes up
with is isolation camps, internment camps. Think "Anne Frank," but about
your own children, someday. But worse, in some ways.

I absolutely hate the book, and as a book, if I ignore the subject and
content, I love the book. As I type this, I'm listening to it. Because
I'm a podcaster who reviews audio books, and this is a very well written
audio book, and I can't do that without listening to it. For me, I would
have quit, because it hurts like hell. But for my podcast, I have to
finish listening.

Sometimes this podcasting hobby really sucks.

--
Grizzly's Growls
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity
Podcast: <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Blog: <http://grizzlysgrowls.blogspot.com>

Plan, what, C, D, Plan 9 from Outer Space?

I just found out today I don't have to put a separate feed on my Changeling Turkey account to handle separate, storytelling podcasts. I set all that up, but now I don't know, again, what to do with that old blog. Maybe nothing.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Just call me Professor

I was just asked, for the umpteenth time, if I teach at the nearby University. And of course I don't.

Back in High School, one of the few pleasant nicknames I had was Professor. I guess I have that sort of look. Or maybe I look geeky enough to be a professor, or hairy enough. I've been letting my hair grow out, just to see what it turns into. Right now, it's turning into a fright wig. If I dyed it orange, I could work at a circus.

Add to the hair thing that I am spending my time, as usual, behind the keyboard of my computer. I've actually been doing that for a substantial portion of the last 30-some years. I guess it comes naturally to me now. Anyway, I can see where a long-haired, bearded older guy who appears to be "working" with a computer while sitting in a bar near a University might appear to be a professor of some sort. Or a hacker, or a nut.

The fact that I'm blogging, Twittering, and emailing in between visits to Facebook actually is four more votes in favor of the assumption, now that I think about it.

Ain't New Media fun?

Monday, April 7, 2008

What, and give up Show Business?

Was involved in a chat on IRC, about some of the stories I've reviewed on the Show, and someof the music I've played. And I suddenly flashed on just how much I've gained by the process.

Just because I was looking for more to keep my interest, and more to keep the interest of my audience, I started listening to and reviewing more and more audio books on Podiobooks.com. And I started digging more deeply into the music available on Garageband.com.

As far as the books go, granted, I was going to be listening to something. Podiobooks is a free site, and there's a whole slew of books available. I got interested in Audio books because my Mom, almost 30 years older than I am, also listens to audio books, albeit whatever the local public library has on CD or cassette tape.

But looking back, I have found a whole bunch of really very good books to listen to, and by reviewing them, perhaps other folks have found these books and enjoyed them as much as I have. Some of those artists, like Nathan Lovell or Mur Lafferty, are going to be writing fiction for as long as they live, and I feel honored to be one of the happy few who get to see their work when it's still soemthing new. And I'm honored that, since this audio book venue requires a person talking into a microphone, I get to hear the story very close to the way the authors heard the stories in their heads. And the actual author reads the actual story for the recording. In another venue, these recordings would be profoundly rare and precious. And in the world where I live, they are rare and precious, and I look forward to maybe meeting the authors someday.

I will grant that the "It Doesn't Suck" list started out as a mechanical trick to give me X number of minutes of audio for the show I didn't have to create myself. But given that, I found Owen Poteat's music via the iDSL. I found Sue Marchand's music via the IDSL. TR Kelley's music I found only when I started looking elsewhere -- but I started looking because of the IDSL.

And then there were an amazing group of Minnesota artists I found simply because of sustaining a commmitment to the IDSL. Not always stuff I would have looked for, I'm just a country music guy. But there are some incredible performers, rap, alternative rock, folk, whatever, who have showed up on that crazy IDSL, just because they're from Minnesota as far as Garageband is concerned.

In the final analysis, I found all this wonderful music just because I made the commitment to take that dangerous walk through those Minnesota artists, and I shared them, as long as their music didn't Suck. I think y'all have done well following the list, but amazingly, I think I've been exposed to a whole slew of artists I'd have never heard of, some who's work I absolutely loved, and some whose work wasn't my style, but Gawd, what amazing work they did to produce what we've gottent to see.

Many of those artists may never shake the world with the brilliance of their creations. Many of them may never be quite commercial enough for some CD-burning label to give them a large advance, to give those folks a chance to do everything they've demonstrated they can do, by sharing their work with the whole damn world.

But many of those artists had at least one moment where they truly shined. And I got to be there, and you got to be there because I passed the word along.

I am honored and humbled by the opportunity, and I look forward to the opportunity to find out what comes up next.

Gosh, this showbusiness stuff is cool, huh? ;-)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Under The Weather

Missed another show last weekend, sorry about that. I was pretty worn out, and possibly down with whatever people are coming down with this year who don't actually die. Anyway, wrote the show script this week already, tinkered with recording part of it yesterday, threw out what I had because of too much background noise. I know I'm not the best about having a quiet environment, but I do make some effort.

I've got two reviews in train, one already written and one for the show after next. I have a couple songs from the iDSL waiting. I always try to ask for permission, and sometimes I don't hear back in time, but I've yet to have anyone complain I'd played their songs, so far, so good.

I also think I finished setting up the Changeling Turkey blog to be a podcast for my storytelling. Never tried that with a Blogger blog, but other folks do it all the time. So if you liked the way I read stories on Grizzly's Growls, that's where they'll be posted in future, and the two-and-a-half story shows I did on G.G. now also show up only under C.T.

I have been tinkering a bit more with Twitter, and put these little widgets up on two of the websites, in case someone wonders what I did five minutes ago. (Luckily, Twitter doesn't record audio of toilets flushing, for example.) A grand total of one follower so far, why, I have no idea. Haven't made my mind up about following other people.

And that's about it at the moment. I should finally have 53 up this weekend, and we'll carry on from there. And I'll be figuring out what exactly to do with C.T. as time goes on. Maybe that Audio Drama thing I wanted to do a while back?

See ya around.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Live on ILoveTechTV Podcast

Just the other day I did my first Thing on the 535 York Podcast, which is
driven by posts on the ILoveTechTV Yahoo Group. It's primarily a group
about folks who used to be on TechTV, back when there was such a thing,
and secondarily about tech stuff, new tech, old tech, tech companies, tech
people, tech issues.

I was more a baffled hanger-on than anything else, but this was my first
attempt. It was done as a group discussion using something called
TeamSpeak <http://goteamspeak.com>, which was originally intended for
online gamers to talk to each other live, but also serves rather well for
recording podcasts with folks in different locations, given they can
manage to install and configure the TeamSpeak client. (I installed my own
TeamSpeak server shortly after the show. Easy set up, and it has such
cool potential....)

The show was interesting, but a bit of a challenge. I'm an older fella,
and I used to know most everything there was to know about personal
computers, back a couple decades ago. Now, I have only a vague idea how
the newer stuff works, based on lots of podcast listening, lots of email
groups, lots of memories, and lots of wild-ass guessing. (But I guess
well.)

I hope I had some intelligent stuff to say, maybe some of the same
comments or questions other older folks might say to the same questions
and issues, but even that might be stretching a point. Anyway, I do
podcasts because I love to play with the technology, and I got to play
with other folks this time, so that was fun.

And by the way, I originally started my own podcast because of listening
to the 535 York podcast (named after the address of the TechTV studios).
It's kind of like you became a comedian from watching Regis Philbin on TV,
and then you get to be on Regis & wassername. Kind of a kick. Didn't
shake the world or create peace in the Middle East. But I had fun. And I
didn't throw up. (Hi, Teri!)