Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for February 18 2016 – Sculpting My Personality

In this episode, I play a song from Cheap Trick; I talk about my recent business trip and whether I am an extrovert and making myself be the person I want to be over the course of decades; I tell a fugazi tale of losing my Kindle and getting another.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, February 18 2015

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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 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for February 1 2016 – The Polite Conventions

In this episode I play a song from Valley Lodge; I discuss the problems in producing anything regularly; I catalog my failure to meet my writing goals; I talk about my queues of podcasts, comics, books and TV shows; I discuss the true seriousness of OCD and how no one is “a little bit OCD”; I point out what seems like a logical discrepancy with how the left treat the 99%/1% split and trans people; I talk about my dream schedule of SF and comic conventions to attend in 2016; I discuss my Creative Common license and whether it is polite to ask to use CC licensed work.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, February 1 2016

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for May 22 2015 – Communions

In this episode, I play a song by Shelby Earl; I talk about John Roderick, enjoying his podcast and being impressed by his candidacy for Seattle City Council; I talk about Atlanta storm sewers and elections; no Balticon for me; I read the Patrons and also give a shoutout for the Grantblings podcast; I talk about being at peace and meditation; I talk about why I would never have really been a punk; I talk about how angry I still am at the Baby Boomers; I mention Pete Holmes and his episode of You Made It Weird where he talked to Richard Rohr; I tell some stories from the days when I thought I would be a preacher and then skeedaddle.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, May 22 2015

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for May 19 2015 – Around the Podiosphere

In this episode, I talk a bit about the real world hitches that keep delaying the show; I talk about some podcast listening I have enjoyed including Gregg Schigiel interviewing Jackie Kashian; Eddie Peppitone; Brian Quinn and Sal Vulcano; I talk about a local con that is losing me; I bring up unproductive ways people disagree; I talk about where I think modern reporting is losing me; I close by playing a weird piece of music that is also one of my favorites.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, May 19 2015

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for August 8, 2014 – “DDOP 9: Beer”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, August 8, 2014

In this episode, I talk about craft beer; a local Oskar Blues tap takeover; how I used to drink beer as a teenager compared to how I do it now.

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 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

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Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for September 13, 2013 – “My Life In Fandom #28”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, September 13, 2013.

In this episode, I finish up the fandom series by covering the years 2000 to present; after that I discuss a few quotes I found funny from recent podcast listening.

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 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

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Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for May 24, 2013 – “Sleepless in SC”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, May 24 2013. I discuss getting no sleep, missing my friends at Balticon, being in the middle of fiascos and having my hosting turned off, I talk about how I love comedy podcasts but I hate them using the “pioneer” terminology and shitting on their predecessors and how the world that lets them work was build by those they demean, I talk about not getting my Free Comic Book Day books that were held for me (which later I did get, this was a short-term misunderstanding, I will backtrack in audio next show). I laugh my out of the show with some spectacularly bad advice.

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 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

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Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for February 20, 2012 – “Haters and Conventions”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, February 20, 2012 (yes, it took me almost two weeks between recording and posting.) This episode is another of a new format recorded in my car. I briefly discuss where I am in the LetterMo challenge; I talk about the notion of “haters” vs legitimately disliking something with the specific example of the Comic Book Men TV show; I talk about which SF and comics conventions I’ll be attending in 2012 and which ones I had to decline; I backtrack a little into my history in various fandoms and talk about the way friendship can flourish even when you rarely see people.

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:

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for February 20, 2012 – “Haters and Conventions”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, February 20, 2012 (yes, it took me almost two weeks between recording and posting.) This episode is another of a new format recorded in my car. I briefly discuss where I am in the LetterMo challenge; I talk about the notion of “haters” vs legitimately disliking something with the specific example of the Comic Book Men TV show; I talk about which SF and comics conventions I’ll be attending in 2012 and which ones I had to decline; I backtrack a little into my history in various fandoms and talk about the way friendship can flourish even when you rarely see people.

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:

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for February 20, 2012 – “Haters and Conventions”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, February 20, 2012 (yes, it took me almost two weeks between recording and posting.) This episode is another of a new format recorded in my car. I briefly discuss where I am in the LetterMo challenge; I talk about the notion of “haters” vs legitimately disliking something with the specific example of the Comic Book Men TV show; I talk about which SF and comics conventions I’ll be attending in 2012 and which ones I had to decline; I backtrack a little into my history in various fandoms and talk about the way friendship can flourish even when you rarely see people.

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:

Limor Fried on Open Source Hardware

I’ve been way behind on watching podcast videos. I had to make time to sit down and watch some out of self defense as my laptop hard drive is about to fill up. I’ve been interested in the work of Limor Fried all through the podcast era. I first came to her via the podcast of her keynote at the 2007 SXSW and have been interested in her work ever since.

Of all the downloaded videos I watched the best, the one I enjoyed most was Limor’s talk on Open Source Hardware. It was full of quotable quotes. I paraphrased a few on Twitter as “Be aware that if you are relying on external validation only, you will get crushed.” and “Another reason you might want to open source your hardware is that you are an ideological freak. Free as in speech, baby!”

One of the points she made was very similar to a point I made at Balticon on a panel about Art, Music and Literature in the Age of Digital Reproducibility. An audience member brought up the issue of someone taking your online work and making merchandise from it. My point was that if you catch someone doing this, of course you should ask them to stop but also be aware that they did you a favor by demonstrating to you that a market exists around your work. If they are able to sell your merchandise, then you with a direct relationship to your own fans ought to be able to kick their ass at it. For whatever value they have cheated you of by their unauthorized use of your work, if it was cheaper than the cost of you paying for market research and it forced you to get off the stick then you came out to the good.

My favorite part of Limor’s talk was when she talked about seeing other people taking her designs, building them and selling them. Her process of getting used to that sounded a little Elizabeth Kubler-Ross with the stages of grief. The funniest part was when she asked someone to at least give her the attribution required by the license on the designs, she was asked to prove that she was the one who designed it. At first this made her mad but then she realized this is the highest compliment that can be paid to her work. Her goal was never to extract every possible nickel from commercial exploitation. If it was, she either would have never openly published the designs or she would have tried (possibly fruitlessly) to use a non-commerical license on them. She ended up finding peace with the idea. As Omar Little would have said on The Wire, “It’s all part of the game.”

Limor’s company, Adafruit, seems to be quite healthy. Selling kits for building these projects is – if I interpret the remarks in her talk correctly – generating revenues over $1 million per year. She doesn’t seem to be hamstrung by giving away her IP. In fact, I think one way to look at it is that you are as strong as what you can give away. I could possibly have looked at making my Spanish to English Kindle dictionary a salable product but I’m happier to give it away. Limor gives away really strong designs and still grosses 7 figures a year in sales. I think that’s a big positive take away from this talk. Give away what you can stand to, and afford to and we all get stronger. Jealously guard what you have and only you get stronger, and sometimes not even that.

Night of the Livid Walt

I listen to the Tell ‘Em Steve Dave podcast and lately I’ve been enjoying it more than it’s big brother podcast SModcast. Like all podcasts in my list I’m about five weeks behind. On the episode I’m listening to now they make a reference to a fan created animation. LIke most of these, it is an anecdote from the audio show extracted and then animated. I really enjoyed this one. I liked how it looked and I found the original story hilarious. The full story was at least 15 minutes long, this cartoon is only about 90 seconds of the payoff at the end.

I have actually been skipping SModcast when they do live episodes. I listened to the one with Clerks/Clerks 2 actor Jeff Anderson because I wanted to hear what he had to say. Other than that, when I hear that the show is live, I just hit skip. I have 10 days worth of podcast running time, I’m not digging the live ones (or most live ones ever from any show) so why bother? This is also the same reason I stopped listening to the Authors On Tour podcast. I found that when popular authors play to their crowd, it just bugged me to listen. Same thing with SModcast, the playing to the crowd is the opposite of what I liked all along. I’ve decided that at future Dragon*Cons and Balticons I’m not doing any more live podcasts. It’s just not my thing. They are fun to do but really not fun to listen to outside of the room.

Write A Song in One Hour: Balticon 44

At Balitcon 44, I participated in a panel that was one of the most fun things I’ve ever been a part of at any SF or comic convention in my 25+ years of attending them. The panel was called “How to Write a Kick-Ass Song About Anything.” I went thinking it was going to be songwriters at the front of the room talking about writing songs but in fact, the brilliantly cracked minds of the organizers had something bigger in mind. Instead, people were gathered at the front of the room with instruments and they laid out the plan: We’d take 5 minutes to brainstorm a theme, 5 minutes for a chord structure, 10 minutes to write a chorus and then split up into smaller groups to write the verses.

The panel was officiated by James Durham, with Norm Sherman, Kim Fortuner and Mattie Brahen serving as the more experienced guides. I am proud to say that one of the early bits of input that steered the whole experience was mine. In response to “What will this song be about?” I threw in “Everyone seems to love the steampunk nowadays. How about something steampunkish?” As more suggestions piled up, we added ornithopters and dragons to the mix.The (metaphorical) gears engaged after that, and the panel decided it would be bluesy so we needed a reason why a dragon and an ornithopter would be down in the mouth. The group decided that the dragon had lost its flame and somewhere in there that the dragon powers the ornithopters and the loss of flame meant that the protagonist was now losing the war. This lead to the chorus “Like a toothless gear, like an empty flagon, there is nothing more pathetic than a smokeless dragon.” Rock on!

From there, we split up into two groups. I’m not sure how the other group worked, but ours had a lot of fun writing the first verse. There were definitely people in the room who were kind of watching in bemusement, but for the people who were engaged and throwing out suggestions, every single person had an idea or word or phrase that ended up in the final song. By and large, people worked together quite good. I can tell you that every point at which someone revised something I had suggested, the revision was better than the original. For example, I suggested “broken gear” in the chorus, and later on, someone else pointed out that “toothless gear” worked better with the dragon theme, which is absolutely true. I told James later on that the only thing I would have changed is to change the ground rules such that no one can ever tell anyone else “No” to any suggestion. The only possibility is to come up with alternatives that people feel are superior. It’s kind of a dick move to say “Your input isn’t good enough”, and I think it is much better with less stress to just put in something else. The mode of operation should always be to take the best suggestion on the table, and if you don’t like it then improve it .

With that said, it was all good. The two groups exchanged just enough information so that we could keep the narratives making sense. With no real coordination our group set the stage with a first verse and the other one resolved a lot of stuff. It was kind of freaky how well the two independent verses worked when we put them together. The musicians played and the room sang the song through a few times, then we performed it to record a few times and we were done. Holy moley was the whole thing fun, beginning to end. It was funny how Mattie Brahen, an old school filker and the only panelist not in our new media subscene, started out really skeptical and eventually really got into it. I talked to her in the hall afterwards and she admitted that at the beginning she was pretty sure we were all crazy. She may have been right.

I stand by my belief that this is in the top five SF con moments I’ve ever had. It demystified a lot of the creative process and showed how the songs weren’t these perfect gems that popped into being but something you work and work and work until it becomes what you want from it. The talent of the musicians and the very tight constraints helped a lot. We had 50 minutes total before we had to leave the room, so the song had to be written and recorded with no room for spinning wheels. If they ever do this again at a Balticon, I highly recommend you try to be in that room.

Ebooks From TV – My New Side Project

It’s true, I do not need Yet One More Side Project. Regardless, I have one. Talking to Paul Fischer at Balticon a few weeks ago, I was mentioning to him my ebook buying dynamic. I said that “If I see a book on Colbert or the Daily Show that interests me, I look to see if it is available for Kindle. If it is and at a decent price, I just buy it then. If not, I never think about it again.” Paul’s response was “What if you had a blog that collected all that information in one place?” Brilliant, said I. I offered Paul the right of first refusal on pursuing it since it was his idea. He passed, so I came home and set it up.

That site is Ebooks From TV. I’m trying hard to cover all the evening and late night talk shows, CSPAN Book TV weekends, and the daytime talk shows as I can. Ideally, if a book was mentioned on any of the national TV shows, you can find it in a post on Ebooks From TV. My goal is to get the post up the same day but occasionally it might be a day or two later.

If you run across a TV show where a book is mentioned and you don’t see it on the site, let me know via email at dave@ebooksfromtv.com . It could be that I’m not following that show, that the book doesn’t actually have a Kindle version available, or that it was published more than a year ago. I’ll make sure that at the very least I’m paying attention to that show, if nothing else.

Before the end of the weekend, I’ll set this up as a Kindle subscribable blog. My current understanding is that those blogs available on the Kindle must be at least $0.99 per month. I’ll put it at the very lowest price available whatever that is. If you frequently find yourself looking for books that you saw on a talk show, this might be a handy resource for you.

Special Correspondent for Technorama

I’m still barely dribbling out the con reports from my trip to Balticon and in that time since I’ve been writing them, I’ve been to a whole other con, Heroescon in Charlotte last weekend. I had a lot of fun there, did comic shopping and autograph hunting and all the things a fanboy does at a good sized comic con. This year I also did a few interviews as “special correspondent” for the Technorama podcast. Thanks to Kreg Steppe for lending me his H2 for an hour to walk around and interview a few folks and then toss it back to him for him to do the actual work of making a show from them.

Check out the episode here and let me know what you think. It was a blast to be able to do this work outside of my own shows and just cut loose. I highly recommend it to all podcasters. It really is invigorating.

My Balticon 44 (2010) Wrapup, Part 2

Part two of Balticon by strobe light.

Saturday evening: I was on a panel at 5 PM with Phil Rossi, Norm Sherman, Dan Tabor and Thomas Gideon. It was called “Art, Music and Literature in an Age of Technological Reproducibility.” We talked about creative commons licensing and the ethics of piracy and how not to freak out when people lift your creative work. It was a fine panel and I think we all acquitted ourselves just fine. Afterwards I had dinner with Gideon, Mistress Jett, Dan Tabor and MA in the PA (who knitted my bad ass Jayne hats), and Kevin Crosby. Kevin gave me an enormous amount of legal advice that I can use for my movie, not really specific answers but ways that I should be asking the questions. It was all great.

After coming back from dinner, we ran into Phil Rossi in front of the hotel. I asked if he needed any help loading in, and he said no, “… But. I could use a guitar tech to help keep these guitars in tune.” This is where it got a little weird. I found out later that Phil was under the impression I was a guitar player, which I am not. I played bass when I was younger but stopped 22 years ago. I asked if he had a tuner, and offered to do it if he couldn’t find anyone else more qualified.

I went and did some other stuff and then went back to the room a little before the show and we committed that I would do the job. It sort of became like a waking version of one of those anxiety dreams, where I’m on “stage” (really the front of a hotel ballroom) with only minimal ideas of what I’m doing. As Phil traded guitars between his acoustic and electric, I’d take them off to the side, plug them into the electronic tuner and go. I said before that I’m not a guitar player but I’m not color blind and I can read the difference between red and green LEDs. The first time I tuned Phil’s acoustic I had a true bit of stress because I could not get the B string right. I wasn’t sure how much song remained, whether this guitar was going to be used the next song or later, and how much longer it would take or even if I could ever get the damn thing right. Finally, I turned loose of it about 45 seconds before Phil was looking for it. Bullet ducked.

Overall, the whole thing was kind of like those anxiety dreams I still have to this day. Usually in them, I’m in a test that I am not prepared for or realize it is the end of a semester and I forgot to drop a class I long since stopped attending. Standing just offstage tuning guitars that I’m not exactly sure how to work is pretty similar to that. It was a good experience though. I really dig Phil’s music and was glad to be a minor part of it. Check out Phil’s stuff, for Dobbs’ sake!

My Balticon 44 (2010) Wrapup, Part 1

I have a bad habit of starting chronological convention wrapups, being too detailed and burning out before I finish. Instead, I’m going to recap this year’s Balticon anecdote by anecdote. I will feel no compunction to do it in any particular order or in any number of posts. I’ll write until I feel done and hit publish, then lather rinse and repeat.

Overview: This year definitelly felt smaller and less crowded overall. There seemed to be fewer big literary guests and a lot of groups that had hallway tables in previous years weren’t there this year. I saw a few tweets from people that seemed bummed by this year. However, from my experience of mostly participating on the new media track with some forays into broader fandom at times, I thought it was even more fun than last year. I did a few things differently. I ended up not even deploying my promotional stuff. I didn’t stress about keeping stickers and flyers stocked around the con. Instead I focused on really rocking the three panels I was on, seeing friends and having fun.

One of the rules I set for myself was to not repeat meal partners anytime during the weekend. If I were invited to dinner and I had already dined with anyone in that group, I had to pass. It worked quite well and I avoided the comfort zone of locking in with a few people and socializing only with that small group. I like it so much I think that will become my standard con MO from here on out. I also made a point of trying to talk to as many people as possible and being open to as broad a set of shenanigans as possible. That worked out pretty well for me and I’ll get to some of those anecdotes later.

Saturday night: Viv Schubert organized a “nerd prom” that was held in one of the programming rooms. I helped set up some of it after being a spontaneous guitar tech (that will be its own anecdote later.) Kevin Crosby and I ran cables and secured bits of Tee Morris‘ DJ setup at the head of the room. When things were in hand there, I went up to my room and changed in to my costume. Anyone familiar with me or this blog knows I have one and only costume to wear at SF conventions. It was my “SeƱor Muerte” costume consisting of the luchadore mask I bought in Portland OR and the tights and wrestling boots bought for me by my wife, ring ready gear mind you. When the voting came time, all the participants in the nerd prom costume contest lined up into a gauntlet or catwalk where we all walked down and back to show off our costumes. Mine was the very last name called (only the character, I didn’t know we were supposed to put real names on there.) As I walked to the head of the room, about one second before I got there I hatched a plan to do my catwalk in a combination of a stomp and a monkey walk. I did a jump at each end and returned to my place.

In one of the odder moments of an odd night, a guy who was already wearing a wrestler costume that included a kid’s prop WWE belt. This guy, who I didn’t know and never got his name, gave me that belt to become part of my costume. “I’ve got 9 more at home, you should have this.” Thank you, dude who I don’t know. I heard later he was trying to hand it to me during my walk but I hope I’m giving away no secrets if I tell you “Mexican wrestler masks are the mortal enemy of peripheral vision.” This prop belt had no fastening hardware but I remembered from setting up the room where the duct tape was, and Phillipa Ballantine was kind enough to tape it to me. I am pretty sure that I’m the only person in that room whose costume became more ornate and more complete as I attended the party.

After about 10 minutes, they announced the winners in a few categories. I had a joke about the voting being rigged ready to go when they announced “Prom King” and it was me. At that point, I knew for a fact it had to be corrupt but it was in my favor so I kept my mouth shut. I joined the Prom Queen, Helen “Cynical Woman” Madden at the front of the room. We put on our sashes, tried to put on the crown and tiara but both were already wearing headgear that precluded it so we had to do the best we could. It was a completely insane amount of fun. I wore my “Prom King” sash all the rest of that night, and all day the next day. In order to make it the maximally Andy Kaufman-esque street theater I refused to explain the origin of the sash to anyone that needed to ask. The rest of that night involved having many conversations with many people, which was a complete blast. I also got kicked out of the hotel bar, in a full luchadore outfit, for carrying in a cup to talk to people. In retrospect, I should have taken the bar manager and put him into the atomic piledriver.

That’s all I can take for tonight. Many more tales of shenanigans later.