Me and The Mormons

This evening we had a visit from a couple of “elders” from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints. Any religion that sets loose 19 year old kids on the public and calls them “elders” is one I find a little hard to take seriously from the git go.

These young gentlemen asked me if I believed in Jesus, and I told them no. They then asked if I had any particular beliefs and I said yes. I told them ‘I believe in J. R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the Subgenius.’ The guy in front remained stoic, but the guy in back cracked a big smile at that. They asked me if I’d like to learn more about Jesus and I said “No thanks, I think Bob has got me covered.” And that was that.

I have before threatened to move my copies of The Book of the SubGenius, Revelation X, and The Subgenius Psychlopaedia of Slack: The Bobliographon into the front room just so they are handy when missionaries come calling. That way, I can try to counter-missionary-ize them. I do believe this is the first visit we’ve had from Mormon missionary teenagers. Usually the people we get are elderly black Jehovah’s Witnesses. All of them could benefit from learning the word of “Bob!” It’s easy to remember our credos as there is only one commandment: “Let he who is without humor mount up upon himself.” At least, that’s the King Ivan translation. The modern English version is edgier.

Why $700 Billion?

I figured this out in a moment of clarity, why it is that the Bush Administration is pushing for $700 billion for bailouts. That’s a very specific number for a situation that is not at all straightforward, so why $700B rather than $500B or $850B or $1 trillion?

There is a concept in poker called the “value bet.” When you get to the final betting round, all the cards have been dealt or drawn and now the probabilities have all collapsed into what hand you actually hold. If you are convinced you have the best one, you make the value bet, which is a bet you want called. You are sure you are going to win this hand no matter what, so you want to get your opponent to commit the maximum into the pot. You don’t want to bet too little because then you aren’t exploiting this fully but you don’t want to bet so much as to make them fold because then you get nothing additional. The ability to feel out this number is a key part of the advanced game that the pros work on.

Why is Bush asking for $700 billion? Because he’s got a few more months to try to transfer as much money from the public coffers into the hands of his peers in the privileged “ownership society” class. This is George W. Bush’s real legacy. It’s a value bet.

Update: I knew it. My intuition is confirmed. Thank you, good night.

Dan Conover on the Media Interregnum

My friend Dan Conover took a buyout at his job at the Charleston Post and Courier last month. His final assignment was to write a piece on the present day values of mass media journalism. Fittingly for the situation, they opted not to print it and gave it back to him to do what he wanted to. He opted to publish it at his group blog Xark. I occasionally shoot off my mouth about journalism (like I did the other day) but I’m an outsider who doesn’t really know what I’m talking about. Dan’s a career journalist, so when you read his assessment of the current state of journalism, bear that in mind.

Update: While I’m linking to Dan, I should also include this piece he posted about our congressman Henry Brown. This is the kind of politics we deal with here in coastal South Carolina.

BlogHer Greensboro is Cancelled but Show Up Anyway

This year’s ConvergeSouth in Greensboro NC was to be a hybrid conference, with CS on Thursday and Friday (October 16 & 17,) with the BlogHer Roadshow on Saturday (October 18.) Well, last week BlogHer cancelled all four of the southern stops on that tour, leaving a hole and leaving those who made non-refundable travel arrangements holding the bag. It turns out Kelby Carr and I had a similar idea at the same time – if the space at NC A&T was being held for BlogHer and we could keep it, we could put in grassroots programming and fill that void. Lo and behold, it is now all official.

Sue Polinsky kindly acted as our negotiator with the college to (re)arrange the space, and Kelby and I split the day between us. Kelby is organizing the morning sessions, which are similar to and for a similar constituency as the original BlogHer sessions. I’m putting together hands-on workshops for the afternoon, not unlike what we did for CREATE South (and what we just started putting together for next year.) The goal of the afternoon is to get people together in the same room with some to teach, some to learn and everyone to walk out more knowledgeable and equipped to execute on their visions.

I personally want to learn how to do green screen video compositing, and have made sure we have a kind volunteer to help us with that – Charleston’s Don Lewis. Jared Smith will be presenting on how he does weather broadcasts over the internet. I’m going to show people how to record interviews via Skype. On top of that, there will be plenty of time and volunteers to walk people through specific tasks they need help with? Need basic help in setting up a blog? We can do that. Interested in doing a podcast but not sure where to begin? Check, we’ll make that happen for you.

I’m stealing from myself in using the Uplifter motto – “Bring What You Have; Teach What You Know; Learn What You Need.” If you were planning on coming to BlogHer or even if you weren’t, we’d love to have you come on Saturday. Let us teach you, teach us something, participate and share and socialize. I promise it will be a good time or triple your money back.

Thanks again to Sue, to Kelby for being a co-conspirator, to Ed for helping publicize (and for keynoting CREATE South!), to everyone willing to present and mentor and attend. If you need more information, want to volunteer or request specific programming for the afternoon, please drop me an email. Let’s do it live!

Update: Some details about presentations are now posted. Come join us!

Around the Podosphere

Here’s some random things I’ve been listening to.

My close personal acquaintance Mary Robinette Kowal put up a reading on her site of her short story “Evil Robot Monkey.” I both liked the story and liked her reading of it. I’d love to one day have a chance to spend a little more time with her.

I’ll admit that I’m on the verge of becoming something like an Amory Lovins fanboy. I call him “Amory McLovin” just for fun. This morning I listened to his presentation about how businesses can save energy and turn a profit on doing it. I heard his previous series talking about changing house designs so that they use less energy in ways that are cheaper to build. His story involved guys repeatedly asking him what the payback time was and not hearing him say “Dude, this design is cheaper than the standard!” I’ll listen to any presentation of his that goes online.

Cyberpunk Radio continues to be the consistently weirdest thing in my podcast listening queue. That’s why it stays in there. I have no idea how many people listen to this show, but he’s been plugging at it for years and years. It’s highly creative and in its own way the truest show I listen to. This show sounds like living in 2008 feels. I recommend you check it out.

I love poker – playing poker, listening to shows about poker and watching poker on TV. I listen to Poker Road Radio, which I like but spends a lot of time on the cults of personality and the “poker lifestyle” kind of stuff. I really don’t give a damn about which players have the nicest Rolexes or Bentleys. I care about the game, how to play and how to improve my play. That makes the new show in the Poker Road family – All Strategy – perfect for me. It really is what the title says. Daniel Negreanu and Justin Bonomo discuss the strategy of playing poker without all the nonsense. I’ve heard the first two episodes, another was published today and it has already climbed high up my list of favorite podcasts.

Tonight I listened to the Eyedrum Show podcast, hosted by my friend Chris. At the beginning he mentioned that this episode was the second to last one. He said he’d talk more about that later but unless I missed it he never came back to that story. I don’t know what is precipitating this, but if forced to guess it would be burnout. Chris has been hosting this WREK Sunday Special about Eyedrum every month for the last 4, 5 maybe more years. I enjoy listening to it but I can understand why it would make sense to stop.

Networks and Podcasts

Because I’ve been busy with umpty-zillion projects lately, I haven’t been doing as much data gardening as I should over at AmigoFish. I just ran into a case this morning that is a classic pattern I’ve seen over and over. When existing old media networks of any kind – TV, radio, cable, even newspapers – get involved in podcasting they always make the same mistake. There RSS feeds never point their link back to a page specific to that show, but one for the network. This screws up a basic assumption of RSS, that the link element defined in the channel is where you go to get more information about this feed. I can only presume that for all networks, they assume that they the network are more important than any individual program.

In AmigoFish, I have it set up so that two or more RSS feeds with the same channel link are alternate feeds for the same show. This holds 99+% of the time, but where it breaks is generally with networks, who don’t use this pattern properly. I just ran across it this morning with the Discovery Channel. All of their different shows point back to their central page listing shows. This means that I’ll have to go in by hand and separate out the different programs into their own shows. It’s a big drag, but that’s the sort of thing I bought myself when I started this project.

I’ve been searching for some sort of larger truth I can abstract out of this pattern about networks and their view of themselves. In my less charitable moments (like the first paragraph), I impute this to an institutional moral failing – that they consider themselves as the parent organization more important and definitive than any program they offer. It really makes no sense to me. If you have an RSS feed for Mythbusters and you follow a link for more information do you want to go to the Mythbusters site or to their parent channel? I’d think almost always it would be the Mythbusters site. If anyone has some more insight they can give me into how these organizations think, I’d love to hear it.

The Coup in America

I am tentatively pleased that the attempted coup in the United States of America, the one that would install Hank Paulson as acting leader of the American Junta, is running into problems. The first laugh I’ve had from the whole situation came from the image attached to this NPR story. I’m very proud of Christopher Dodd for staring down the Bush Administration on this point. He is the hero of this Congress, and I wish he was the majority leader rather than Harry Reid. Every point where the Democrats looked like they’d do their standard act of caving in to threats and then ended up hanging tough and fighting, Christopher Dodd was involved, sometimes the only one standing up.

Here is a copy of Dodd’s proposed bailout legislation via the Sunlight Foundation. Compared to the original floated, which would have made any congressional or judicial oversight illegal, it is a damn sight better. You can annotate and leave your comments over there, which I encourage anyone to do who has the time to do. I just heard Larry Lessig’s talk about the Sunlight Foundation the other day, and it was fantastic. This is the first legislation that I’ve seen it in action, and this my friends is what democracy in the 21st century should look like.

Update: Whoops, didn’t actually include the link to Dodd’s marked up legislation. Thanks to Adam for pointing that out.

No Free Gift Money For the Rich

I’m calling my representative (Henry Brown) and both of my Senators (Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint) tomorrow. I’ll have a script somewhat prepared so that I can remain coherent through my brain melting anger. What I will be expressing is that I do not want Congress giving a $700 Billion bucket of money for Hank Paulson to toss towards whichever firms he most wants to get a no-strings gift from the taxpayers. For one thing, I’d like this to be tied to repeal of the Bush tax cuts on the rich. The rich are the ones who benefit from this, so their usual canards about how they are immune from having to pay into the common good have never been more obviously false.

It’s time for the Republicans to apply that rhetoric of personal responsibility that they apply to you and me to the corporations that need our help. Companies that get this money need serious strings attached. One of my pet strings is that I’d like to see all executive salaries capped at say, $200K a year during the period they are are on the public dole. When they’ve repaid the money to the US taxpayers, they can lift the cap. Here’s Robert Kuttner’s list of strings he’d like to see. That’s a pretty good list. Rather than linking to individual posts about the unbelievable outrage of this bailout slush fund, I’d suggest reading Avedon Carol’s recent posts. I’d just be cribbing her links anyway.

Time to call your senators (here’s all their phone numbers) and representatives (find your representative’s contact info by your zip code at the top of this page).

What You Do Is More Important Than What You Say

Mark Glaser at MediaShift published an article a few weeks ago that was an insider perspective from a NYU journalism student. She is taking a class called “Reporting Gen Y (a.k.a. Quarterlifers)” and she wrote a blog piece about the class. The piece itself is surprising, containing observation that she was the only one of the 16 students who actually had a blog before the class amongst others. What’s really interesting is what the follow-on reaction was.

Her professor – the one teaching young budding reporters how to use new media – was not happy at the budding reporter’s use of new media. This class requires all of the students to blog, but when the subject was about the inadequacies of the class itself as reported by Alana, the professor claims that was an invasion of privacy because she did not ask permission to do so. I’m no journalism student or a journalist, but is that how it works? You need permission to write a piece about your experiences from everyone else in the experience?

Even more fascinating to me are the comments on Glaser’s follow-up about the reaction to the original post. It reflects the clear divide to me between the defenders of the status quo and those willing to upset it. I find the latter group more valuable because, to quote Dr. Horrible “the status is not quo!” The impression I got from those defending the actions of NYU and Professor Quigley is that reporters should know their place, only report on things that the subjects want reported on, not upset apple carts. Thinking back a century or so, what important pieces of journalism were comfortable for anyone involved or did the subjects desire to have written? The argument seems to be on the ethics of writing the blog post without telling people she was doing so – in a class required to write blog posts. That whole line of debate is at best disingenuous.

I can tell you that if I paid my money to go to NYU, took a class on blogging, blogged about the class and then had a policy applied to me ex post facto that I was not to blog about what happens in the class on blogging, I would be pissed off at the minimum. What it would give me is a teachable moment, but the teaching is not what the professor wants. It is clearly “Listen to what I say but ignore what I do.” My favorite moment in any Subgenius ritual is when the speaker says “Question Authority!” and the whole audience yells out “Why?” If this journalism professor feels that authority can appropriately quash things from being written that the authority doesn’t want out there, then that explains a lot to me about our modern times.

I don’t create journalism. A few years ago when I was doing interviews at an SF convention and they made me get a press pass, I wasn’t happy because I didn’t like being labeled press. To my mind that’s a value subtraction from what I was trying to do. I have no reverence for the position of Professional Journalist as a career. That’s great kid, now report on something meaningful to me in an illustrative way and we’ll be getting somewhere. More and more these days, I’m not happy with the journalism I do experience. It doesn’t ask the hard questions, doesn’t provide what I need to know and generally fails to question authority in the ways that I feel it is obligated to. Now I’m slowly beginning to understand why that is, and the outlook for that improving in the future is that much bleaker.

Let me close with an appropriate quote from one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries:

Now that you’ve realized the prides arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
from the heart
It’s a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothin’s strange
People, people we are the same
No we’re not the same
Cause we don’t know the game
What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved lets get down to business
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
Make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say…
Fight the Power

New Reality Break Episode: Mur Lafferty

For those of you who don’t subscribe to my other podcast project, this is just a heads up. My interview with podiobook favorite Mur Lafferty that we recorded at this year’s Dragon*con has been posted at the Reality Break podcast site. If you are one of her many fans, you should check it out. It has a lot of in depth discussion of her novel Playing For Keeps in specific and the philosophy behind superheroics in general. Friends, I wasted most of my teen years doing the background reading for this here interview. It has all built to this point, so you should listen and be a part of it.


We watched Marjane Satrapi’s film version of Persepolis last night. Wow, what a fantastic film, one of the best adaptions I’ve ever seen. I’d actually put it above Sin City because it was not only a faithful adaption but the style of adaptation carried a lot of the story. My favorite bit was the flashback into the founding of modern Iran, told as if all the Shah’s father and the other characters were paper dolls. That choice carried so much meaning and said “these guys were all puppets” without actually saying it. I recommend this film as highly as I can, as do I recommend the original graphic novels.

As a reminder, here’s the short video interview Marjane was kind enough to do with me a few years back when she was in town.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for September 14, 2008 – “Dragon*Con Wrap Up”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for Septemer 14, 2008. I play a song from Abney Park; I talk about my Dragon*Con experience; I play a song from Doctor Horrible and then boogie my nerd self into the con suite. This is a long show, so be forewarned citizens of the podosphere.

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Surprise Good Clean Fun

Last night I was feverishly working on the Mur Lafferty episode of Reality Break at the same time I was listening to the live stream of Good Clean Fun and was in the chat. Yeah, I know. They got to talking about the early days of podcasting and decided to call me, which was a bit of a surprise and I wasn’t ready for but I did it. The conversation was rambly and I have no idea why Jasper wanted to ask me about what I do when I go to the gym, but there you go. I’ve decided that when I go for two weeks without a new show produced by me, I’ll put in links to some of these other things in my feed. That way, at least I can keep it from going dark. As it is, I have an episode to publish today and others that will be hot on its heels. I still have a lot of material in the can from Dragon*Con.

I join the call somewhere about halfway in this very long episode of Good Clean Fun. Check it out if you are so inclined.

Get Well Soon, Teresa

I came in from an enjoyable evening at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot for this month’s South by Southeast to find the bad news that Teresa Nielsen Hayden has had a heart attack. You many know her as co-proprietor of Making Light or comment moderator of Boing Boing. I’ve known Patrick and Teresa in a virtual sense since I was a young dumbass science fiction fan stumbling into the GEnie SFRT back in 1992. They’ve always seemed like the people a step ahead of where I want to be, a little bit smarter than I ever get to, and clued in to things in a way I wish I was.

My heart goes out to Teresa and also to Patrick, all their many friends and family. May her recovery be speedy and complete. I’ll keep my eyes open about specific things that can be done to help her and post them here as I find them out.

Update: The blogospherical cone of silence has lifted, as Patrick posts an update on Making Light.

Update #2: Teresa is purported to be released today (9/15). Woot!

Eddie Campbell on Becoming Things

I’m at this moment listening to writer and artist Eddie Campbell get interviewed on Inkstuds. This is good timing as I just picked up 9 of his Alec and Bacchus books from the Top Shelf $3 sale (still 2 days left.) He just made an amazing quote on starting up new pursuits and committing to them.

In my teens I had already decided that I was an artist. Not that I wanted to be one, that I already was one. In my head I was one. I think to succeed you’ve got to be slightly mad. It’s not just a matter of deciding what you want to be, you have to believe you already are that thing, it’s just that nobody else has noticed yet.

I think this is excellent advice that I’ve inadvertently been following my whole life. No one asked me to be a radio talk show host, or a podcaster, or a conference organizer. For that matter, when I went to graduate school in computer science I had never actually taken a computer science course in my life but in my mind I was the thing and I made it happen. Decide what you want to be, decide you are that thing and manipulate reality until it is true.

Dragon*Con Wrapup Part 1

Here’s my wrapup of this year’s trip to Dragon*Con. This is probably about the latest I can do it and have my friend brain cells intact enough to remember things. It might should go without saying that there is a looooong post warning, but I’ll try to spice it up with enough pictures to keep some visual interest. [On second thought, it’s out of control and I’m still on Friday so let’s break this down into parts.]

I left work shortly after lunchtime on Thursday. I needed to get going before 4 PM if I wanted to make it to the registration that night and avoid it on Friday. Although I had mostly packed the night before, there were just enough little details to handle that I kept failing to finish packing. It got to be around 3:45 PM and I was still fiddling around gathering minor things. I finally hit the point that I was willing to leave whether or not I had everything, just as long as the car was moving towards Atlanta.

Registration Line Around the Hyatt

I drove pretty solidly through from Myrtle Beach to Atlanta, other than a gas stop in Florence that inexplicably took freaking forever. I got to Atlanta around 9:30 PM, checked in to the Days Inn so that I could park there, and trotted directly over to the Hyatt for registration. Because there was a mixup with my guest status, I ended up buying a registration. That was less painful than you might expect, as the pre-registration was really the zoo.

After getting my badge, I went over the Hilton to see Derek and Swoopy setting up the podcasting and skeptic tracks room. I was willing to help but there really wasn’t much for me to do. Anything beyond one person trying to cable mixers is a complete mess. I did help Derek sound check a little and fix some feedback by walking around the skeptic room on the handheld mike while reprising the Casey Kasem routine.

I needed to find a Kinko’s to run off and cut some flyers, and both the Hilton and Marriott are supposed to have ones that are open until 11 PM. At 10 PM both were closed. Thanks FedEx, for buying Kinkos and screwing it all up. I went back to the hotel room, unloaded the car and found that there was a Kinkos at 100 Peachtree so I drove over there. Now, I used to drive an ice truck in Atlanta and I thought I knew the Five Points area acceptably. I had the hardest time getting to this damn joint because of all the one way streets. I ended up on Peachtree going south past it at one point, which ain’t the best part of ATL to be driving your Honda Civic around at midnight. At least I knew I was doing it wrong, and eventually got back to the Kinkos. Everyone was grumpy and it was much slower than I thought it should be, but thank you Kinkos lady for fixing the cuts of my flyers. I thought they were perfectly lined up so that a single cut down the center would be perfect, but they were a full 1/4″ off. WTF, Dave? She made extra cuts to make them perfect and didn’t even charge me, so that was very kind.

I walked across the street to the Landmark Diner and got a burger after that, mainly because it was right there and open. I had thought about heading to other better late night restaurants but the proximity and ease sold me. It was OK. The dude sitting across from my table appeared to be a big time rapper or music mogul. He was highly blinged up with rings and medallions, and at least a dozen dudes came by to give him their obeisance. I didn’t recognize him but then I wouldn’t. In retrospect I should have snapped a phone cam picture of him just to identify who he was. He must have been somebody. After this, bed.

Friday morning, I got up and read some books for a while. Sad to admit, although I had two book interviews to conduct I didn’t have either of them significantly read. It was a lot like cramming for finals. I read a big chunk of Playing For Keeps, got ready and headed over to the convention. I made the executive call to leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign all weekend because I didn’t want maids farting with my equipment. That turns out to have been the right call, although by Monday morning it was a disaster area.

I’ve spent 14 years of my life in Georgia, the bulk of that in Atlanta and that whole time I’ve been active in science fiction and comic book fandom. Despite that, the very first person I ran into was Ryan Karetas – my coworker and the guy who sat the next desk over from me at the office in Myrtle Beach for a long time. For all of the weekend, I spent a fair bit of time fiddling around with leaving flyers on tables, putting out stickers and such. Anytime you have an agenda of doing this, there is a lot of jockeying at the table. I try to be ethical about it, but when some guy has 17 stacks of the same flyer at 8 inch intervals, I tend to combine them and using the extra space for myself. By the last day, it’s a free for all of Lord of the Flies proportions.

I attended the first two sessions of the podcasting track and shot a little video of each with my very first camcorder. The second one was on shooting video, which I was obviously newly interested in. I asked a question about using some of this info towards indie documentaries. After the panel, Rhett Aultman caught up to me and was interested in talking to me more about what I want to do. He was meeting friends at the Marriott anyway, so I and his wife (parter?) Amy and him all went an hung out for a long time talking about the ins and outs of making documentaries. It was highly useful and I was very glad of it. The con was off to a great and roaring start.

I forget what I did for the rest of the afternoon. Surely it involved fliers of some sort, and back to the hotel room for reading and probably some basic scoping out of dealers rooms and such. At 10 PM I had a session on the podcasting track at the Hilton where I’d do a live interview of Mur Lafferty. However, Evo Terra was throwing a podcaster party in their suite in the Hyatt at the same time. Mur and I decided to go over to the party before, hang out for a while and then come back. There were several potentials for mishaps here, involving pre-interview cocktails and elevator rides. We actually got to the party relatively easily, partly through the efforts of one of Mur’s hometown friends who completely big balled his way onto a service elevator with us trailing behind. We hung out for a while and I left to go back to the Hilton around 9:20 PM since I had a camcorder to set up, equipment to check out and such. I walked into the elevator area as the bell rung. I hopped on a half-empty car with zero wait, and there were no stops between us and the ground floor lobby. In 20+ years of Atlanta SF conventions, I’ve never had a ride like that at 9 PM during a con night.

Me and Mur Share A Laugh

I went over to the Hilton, set up and got everything ready. It got to be close to time, and maybe 5 minutes until 10 PM I got a text message from Mur that said only “Elevator hell”. Uh oh. I had everything ready to go and we had a small audience – about as small as you can get and still have an audience – but I told a few stories and basically vamped for a few minutes until Mur got there. We took a minute for composure as we had a whole hour to get a 30-45 minute interview done. Then we turned on the machines and the magic happened. The interview was great and I have it on both audio and video. It will be posted to the Reality Break Podcast feed this weekend.

After the interview, I schlepped all of my stuff back to the Days Inn and unloaded it all, called home and then went back to the podcaster party. Because I had no function booked on Saturday but an interview at 10:30 AM on Sunday, I had already prepared for Friday as a party night and Saturday as a relatively well behaved quiet evening. With that in mind, I settled in for an evening of revelry. I ended up running into Jason and Randy from Beatnik Turtle on the balcony of the party. They are also the authors of the The Indie Band Survival Guide: The Complete Manual for the Do-It-Yourself Musician, a book about which I had been getting emails from their publicist anyway. I had been planning on replying after the convention when I was less busy, and now here were the dudes right in front of me! We set up an interview for Sunday at noon right after the other one I had scheduled in the same spot, so I was able to knock out two without moving my equipment. Sweet luck!

As we hung out and had a few drinks, a hilarious incident occurred. I’m not going to talk about it here in specifics, because it led to me writing a song that Beatnik Turtle will record and that Ewan Spence kindly sanity checked for Scotsman correctness. Keep watching the skies, maybe we’ll have a podosphere premiere of the song on an upcoming episode of the podcast. The evening was fun and I talked to a number of people that I already knew and people that were new to me. I kept drinking and hanging out and chatting with people so long that I literally closed down the party. I helped Evo and Sheila clean up a little and then it was off to my little room for sleep.

Part 2 coming soon …

More Macropayments

Here’s another example of the macropayment stuff I’ve been talking about for the last few days. John Klima is editor of Electric Velocipede, which I have never read but I know of because he has published William Shunn and I heard about it on his podcast. Now (via SF Scope) I found out about this offer of lifetime “benefactor” subscriptions. $20 normally gets you a four issue subscription to Electric Velocipede, but $150 gets you a lifetime subscription.

To sweeten the pot above the normal lifetime subscription offer – which is generally a wager being placed on longevity – he’s including copies of everything he has previous published (and still in stock, of course, because he can’t give you what he doesn’t have.) This actually reduces the threshold a lot, because without it you are betting on whether there will be 30 more issues of the magazine. If yes, you come out ahead. If no, you are behind. Now, you need there to be approximately 15 more issues but even so you get a care package of stuff right out of the gate. As I understand it, even better is that you are not subscribing to Electric Velocipede per se but John Klima, so any magazines or anthologies he edits, you will get a copy. That seems like a good deal to me.

This is another example of the principle of giving those who will support your projects and pay money an opportunity to pay more all at once for more stuff. Another macropayment in the wild. Thanks, John Klima, for helping make my point for me.

New Reality Break Episode is Live: Bruce Sterling!

It is belated, but Reality Break #5 with Bruce Sterling is up and live. In order to make up ground and repay listener patience, I’m going to accelerate the timetable for the next few episodes. I aim to put up the interview with Mur Lafferty this weekend and the one with Tobias Buckell the weekend after, following which I’ll return to an every other weekend schedule. The month of August really took it out of me in many ways, but things are back in the groove. It was great to go to Dragon*Con and sit down to do some interviews in person. I always prefer looking at people’s faces and body language when I talk to them, so doing interviews at conventions where I can talk to several people in person is my best case.

Please, link to the Reality Break stuff, tell your friends, spread the love! Suggest people you want to hear interviewed and generally participate. After all, I’m here for you so feel the love.

Gillmor Gang on Micropayments

As it happens, today I listened to a few weeks old episode of the GIllmor Gang, the one from August 22. In it, they talk about Pandora and tip jars and micropayments, the same sort of things I was discussing yesterday. Despite Doc Searls talking up his VRM stuff and my enormous respect for him, I think that’s the wrong path and Cory Doctorow is on the right path. It doesn’t matter how frictionless you make the money pipe, the selection energy it requires you to think about how much to tip makes it unworkable. I get pissed off having to decide whether to give a wait person 15% or 18% or 23% most times I’m in a restaurant. I don’t want to have to decide whether to give a musician $0.03 a play or $0.05 or whatever. Just the thinking about it is too much trouble.

The quip that occurred to me listening to them talk about it is “think less about the tip jar and more about the tipping point.” Consider 100 fans who might tip $1 apiece. I think you’d be better off if you could convert 2 of them into the Kevin Kelly style “1000 true fan” types who will give you $50 this year, and each year until they stop being a true fan. You make the same $100 that way, but you’ve got an annuity and evangelists and a deeper relationship with the people who do kick you dough.

The more I think on this subject, I think “go big or go home” is the way to go.

Dragon*Con Wrapup Coming

I really need to do a big wrapup of my Dragon*Con experience really soon, or else I’ll start forgetting details. I had much fun this year, my first since 2002, and would like to capture some of that in a permanent form on here. I plan on making a big linky, photo-riddled post but that takes time. I also have a backlog of new media to create and for a variety of reasons, mostly related to exhaustion and my inability to keep my eyes open, I FAILED to do this weekend.

I have interviews galore, for both the EGC podcast and for Reality Break. I’m also way overdue for making a blogger roundup post at Grand Strand Bloggers and I need to start working on next spring’s CREATE South. I’m not sure how it is that my hobbies can lead to being so incredibly busy but they do. I just had a vacation and I need another! Keep watching this space, netizens, and I’ll try to get all of that out very soon.