Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for May 22, 2009 – “CREATE South and Balticon, 2009 Style”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for May 22, 2009. This is my first ever episode recorded in a car. I give a wrapup to our 2009 CREATE South conference; I play my goto song for this kind of topic by Alana Davis; I then talk about Balticon and why from here on out I will be attending science fiction conferences with a podcast track and probably not any pure tech-centric or commercially organized new media conferences.

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:

My CREATE South Recap

I have posted my wrapup of Saturday over at the official CREATE South blog. It took an amazing long time to put that together, basically all evening yesterday. I think it was pretty thorough and covers a lot of it, but there is always more you can put in. It was impressive how many really good photos were available for embedding in there. If you go over to the CREATE South 2009 Flickr photo pool you can see these for yourself.

Dave Slusher, Tee Morris

I don’t know if I have that much more to add here beyond that post. The picture I’m embedding here is one of my favorites of the day, because it looks exactly like it felt from my perspective. There was a point in the morning where the adrenaline rush had worn off but all the same stuff still need to be handled and I felt about like I was about to fall over.

When I was standing in front of the crowd introducing Tee Morris and desperately trying to figure out what to say when I came up with a line I really liked. I was talking about how pleasant it is to have him involved and interested in helping because he can talk knowledgeably about so many subjects in such an animated fashion. How it came out was “Tee Morris is like the human version of an ideal gas. He’ll expand to fill whatever volume you give him.”

Thanks again to all the people who helped organize CREATE South 2009, who presented, who videotaped things and everyone who showed up and participated. We are bucking tradition by starting to organize 2010 right now. Let’s keep that excitement going, friends!

It’s Like a Dream

I’m in that dreamlike state, following the success of CREATE South. I’m still kind of tired in that way you don’t get in a single day or two, but that long term existential tired of having thought about and stressed about an even for months, and then the event is past. On top of that, I’m still buzzing with the enthusiasm of having spent a day with people – mostly Carolinians but a few notable distant travelers – who cared enough to spend a beautiful April Saturday in a building talking about passion and what drives us and what we can make and create and build with that energy.

What I haven’t done is turn much of that into the tangible, which really is what the whole day was about. In my opening remarks I discussed the gap between intention and execution and how whatever it is that you think it is between there and whatever you think is preventing you from moving forward, it is almost certainly a smaller problem and more easily overcome than you think. The trick is just to plow into it and be willing to hit those problems headlong.

I have writeups to write up, a few details to handle in the mopping up from the event. However for the moment I’m in a pleasant daze having been stunned by the fellowship and generosity of a hundred or so friends and strangers and peers. It was a great time and I’m sure it will build into something even more productive in the future. For now, I’m in a holding pattern. I feel like that brief moment in a stationary bungee jump where you’ve been shot in the air but haven’t yet started falling back. I’m enjoying this moment of freefall.

CREATE South is Done

The day of CREATE South went off generally pretty well. There were some hitches but all in all, people seemed to get value out of the day. I was inspired and edified by how everyone took to it. My partner Andre Pope cooked for two days to feed everyone, the students of Horry-Georgetown Technical College stepped up and participated. Thanks to everyone who presented and everyone who attended. I’ll talk more about this later. For now I’m still fried.

CREATE South happening about … um … now

We’re in the middle of CREATE South right now. The sad truth about organizing a blogging/podcasting conference is that it makes you stop doing it. I’m getting that good “Come to Jesus” moment from the whole thing. I’m looking forward to taking this new found second wind of enthusiasm and putting it in to practice. Next week. After some sleep.

Thanks everyone for coming!

CREATE South in 48 Hours

The 2009 edition of CREATE South will be happening on Saturday, just over 48 hours from now. We’ve crossed that freeing point where a lot of the plans for things that would nice but not crucial have been jettisoned. All the good ideas that just didn’t come together, those are out the window. Now it is down to executing on the things we absolutely have to have to make the day turn out.

We have over 130 people registered, which puts us very close to 3 times the 2008 registration. We’re past the point where getting folks to come out is our problem, now it’s making sure those people have a valuable day. We’ve done a lot to get a programming track that should provide something of use to practically anyone. I’m thrilled, nervous and once again completely questioning my own sanity for getting involved. I’m sure in 2010, I’l be at exactly the same point two days out.

Hope to see you, hope to meet you. Creatives, technology lovers, social media junkies of the Carolinas and beyond, let’s throw ourselves one hell of a party!

Say Hi to Tony (Kahn) for Me

I’m lucky enough to have made the acquaintance of Mr. Tony Kahn in the podcast era. I first met him as far back as Bloggercon 3 in Palo Alto, way back in the wild days of 2004 when many of us had only been podcasting a few months. Tony did a lot for podcasting in the early days with his Morning Stories podcast for WGBH in Boston. He told me back then that he wanted WGBH to take a lead in podcasting from public radio as a way of lending whatever credibility they could to the validity of our new medium.

Morning Stories is no more but Tony has taken his body of work over to his new site, Hi Tony. He continues doing his fine work of conversing with people and publishing to us the results. Hi Tony is up for a Webby Award, and I recommend you go here and vote for it. Those familiar with me know my take on these awards and know that I don’t generally care about such things. For Tony, I make an exception. The man wants me to vote, I don’t mess around, I vote.

I invited Tony to be a keynote speaker at our CREATE South conference, now happening this coming Saturday. He wanted to do it but thought he might have a scheduling conflict. Then in the most drastic good new/bad news mail I’ve ever seen he said basically “The good news is I don’t have a scheduling conflict. The bad news is I have cancer and will be getting chemotherapy then.” Holy jumping cats, that’s some bad news. I’d have much rather he had the scheduling conflict. As Tony does, he’s documenting his process on the site with his Chemo Chronicle.

Just today I listened to an archived interview with the late great Studs Terkel. It occurred to me that what Tony does is a direct spiritual descendant of that fine man’s work and I am deeply smitten with both of them and their work. Getting the fascinating stories from ordinary citizens is valuable work and we owe both men a debt of gratitude for using their time and energy to do it.

Tony has been a good friend to me, to podcasting in general, to our conference and to the world. Please do me a favor and repay a tiny pit of that karma. Check out his work on Hi Tony, drop him a note of encouragement, and vote for him in the Webby awards.

A Little CREATE South and AmigoFish Love

I was just listening to the first episode of 2 People Talking from the Comic Book Noise podcast network. It’s the relaunch of what used to be called “Indie Comic Book Noise.” At the end of the show, not only does Derek throw out a little promo for CREATE South but also talks about AmigoFish for a few minutes. He points out one of the upsides of AmigoFish that is becoming more and more important as the podcast era moves on, which is that I remove things from the directory and also mark them inactive when they don’t have shows for a certain time. When shows go inactive, they don’t show up in predictions and lists and such, only if you go directly to them or search for them. It was nice to hear that someone appreciates these efforts I have put into the site.

Thanks Derek! Thanks Angie!

What to do about amazonfail




I have a post I will author soon with my take on the whole “amazonfail” brouhaha. Very short take – I don’t think I’ve seen anyone involved on any side of the question with whom I much agree. However this post will take time to write, and with CREATE South planning and extra day job work well into the evening, time is the one thing I don’t have.

I do have just enough time to note the absence of something from the Amazon detractors. I’ve seen a lot of hostility towards the company in the last few days, but very little in workable alternative building. To the various amazonfail warriors, don’t boycott. Instead, become evangelists for alternatives. My suggestion would be Powell’s Books. It’s a fine chain of brick and mortar stores (oh sweet “Bob” do I miss the days I could walk there for my coffee break) and a really fine online store. Go there, create an associate account (they pay 7.5% referral fees) and push the living hell out of that. Switch all your Amazon links to Powells. I think it would be good for the online retailing ecosystem for Amazon to have some stiffer competition, so build it. You’ll feel good that you did.

PS – follow my associate links and buy some stuff. That will really stick it to Amazon!

CREATE South, April 25th in Myrtle Beach


View CREATE South 2009 in a larger map

One of the things consuming a lot of my evenings lately is planning for CREATE South 2009. It will be held Saturday April 25th, and will be in Myrtle Beach at the Grand Strand campus of Horry-Georgetown Technical College. This is a few blocks from Market Commons and about half a mile from the beach. Registration is free, lunch is free. We only ask that you sign up ahead of time so that we know how many people we need to feed.

Our goal is to get together people interested in the intersection of technology and creativity, to meet each other and network, to hang out and teach and learn. We did this last year and it was great, and we’re doing it again but with a significantly more ambitious agenda. We’ll have tracks on art, writing creating community and making rich media. Our keynote speakers are Tiffany Trent and Tee Morris, talking about everyday creativity and social media, respectively. There is a full slate of activities in the afternoon covering the above topics. I think HGTC students might even be able to videotape the whole thing, so it is not impossible we release the whole thing as a video podcast – making the message the medium.

If you are at all able to travel in, we’d love to have you. Considering we have one attendee driving down from Minneapolis, the definition of “driving distance” has been pretty radically expanded here. I guarantee there will be bbq and chicken bog and other South Carolina delicacies available, as well as a full day of information and fellowship and mutual edification with like-minded individuals. Even if you can’t make it, please do us the favor of tweeting or blogging or otherwise posting to what we are doing. Let the word spread far and wide, and I hope to see you there.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for April 6, 2009 – “Starting is Easy, Finishing is Hard”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for April 6, 2009. I play a song from Glass Eye; I talk about CREATE South and Balticon and Dragon*Con, about organizing a conference and what we are trying to do with CREATE South in Myrtle Beach; I play a solo song by Kathy McCarty, talk about my Kindle and my social media timeout; I close out with another Glass Eye song.

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:

CREATE South Donation Day

One of the things keeping me busy lately is helping to organize the CREATE South conference. It will be held April 25 2009 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The mission statement of the conference is to educate and excite people about the intersection of new media and creativity. If there are aspects of new media, of writing, community online or artistic endeavors that you want to learn more about or to help others with, this day is for you. Bring the family, drop them off at the beach and come participate in the conference all day! It’s really a big win all around. This is a vacation spot, you know.

Today we are working on a full court press in the social media mindshare space, as I have already posted on the conference blog and the Grand Strand Blogger site. If you can take a few minutes and spare a few of your hard earned dollars in these tight times, please go to the site and donate. The button is in the sidebar of every page. If you are interested in coming and participating with us, please go to the site and register. Registration itself is free and there is no obligation to donate if you can’t swing it. If you are in traveling distance and would like to learn, teach and participate then please do register and spend the day with us.

Finally, if you are the tiniest bit sympathetic to our cause, please help spread the word. Please post about our conference on Twitter, on Facebook, on FriendFeed, on some social media thing I haven’t hear about yet because I’m too old and uncool. Please blog about it, tell your friends, drop an email to anyone you know in the area. We had a great first year last year and we’re hoping for even better things this year. What makes these days special is the enthusiasm and passion people bring to the room. Please help bring some of that and help those who have it to know about our conference so they can show up and rock our world. Thank you, intarweb social people.

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.

Chris Penn Challenges Podcamp Philly

Chris Penn has a post challenging the attendees of Podcamp Philly to not just geek out but build something of practical use to the citizens of Philadelphia. I really like that idea. When we put on CREATE South our primary motivation was to provide a framework so that people could walk out with a tangible set of things to do in order to join this community. We didn’t want to have a nerdish gabfest, it was always envisioned as a way to bring people out with similar interest and get as many people up to speed as we could.

What I like about Podcamp Philly challenge is that by putting a specific and achievable goal it helps focus the potentially meandering agenda, gets people honed in on not just building things but building things that help. I’d love to see this model work and be adopted at more places. If it works well it will make people feel better about their time, help some people and avoid the tendency for insularity that can come from these events. Make it happen, y’all!

EGC Clambake for April 29, 2008 – “CREATE South Wrapup”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for April 9, 2008. I play a song from Alana Davis; I talk about our CREATE South conference and how it went, and our goals for the next year; I play a song by Chris Yale and then dance me to the end of love.

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:

Ed Cone on Conway

After his trip to CREATE South, Ed Cone and his wife came back the very next weekend. What’s interesting about that post is the place they had lunch is in downtown Conway, walking distance from my house. This little joint is across the parking lot from the hardware store I shop, around the block is the restaurant at which we had our anniversary dinner and the theater we go to see the community plays. I really enjoy my little town and I get a kick out of seeing Ed enjoy it too.

CREATE South is In the Can

The CREATE South conference is now behind us. Big swatches of the day went not like I hoped they would but like I dreamed they would. The day wasn’t perfect by any stretch but the flaws were forgivable and survivable and the strengths powerful and heart-warming. I’d write more, but now I’m driving down to Surfside Beach to see newly minted blogger Roger Yale and his band Sick Stooges play. More later, after I have had my socks rocked.

Create South – T minus 9 hours

Tonight a group of us met at the Liberty Steakhouse for dinner and drinks as a pre-conference shindig. I met a few people that I knew online but had never met in person. This includes Heather who has been helping organize and calling in to the conference calls but who I didn’t previously know. I’m more excited than ever and more terrified than ever.

We’re now at that point where things are what they are. There are still a few details, but pretty much everything is in hand. I’m still sweating those, but I think all is taken care of. I’m so happy to be in this deal with Andre who has been a true monster of rock. Lots of people have helped in lots of ways, but having things such as all the food cooked by him and his wife Heidi and printing all the banners himself. I went by his office tonight to get a wifi router and he was punching grommets in the banners.

The complete list of people that have contributed is long and maybe Sunday I’ll take a minute and try to catalog it. Really a lot of what we’re doing tomorrow is cooking a big pot of stone soup. Everyone is bringing a little something with them, literally and metaphorically. I predict will have something tasty and interesting and it will be because of everyone there. To quote Steve Gillmor, “Thanks to everyone that showed up and especially those that didn’t.” See you there!

Do What You Imagine

Dan Conover writes about shooting his short film over the last few weeks.

Dan talks about the power of cheap technology when it intersects the desire to be creative. That’s the spirit that drives our Create South conference this weekend. Not coincidentally, Dan and his wife Janet will be presenting at the conference about ways to wire up cheap web services to create something more powerful than the components standing alone. I can’t wait to see this, I can’t wait to see Dan and Janet, I can’t wait for the conference. Come join us, register now!

Update: It gets better. In response to a sniffy comment about how they used this energy and cooperation not to “end hunger but make a zombie film” Dan responds:

We have a local blogosphere because dozens of people have been working to knit that community together since April 2006. It didn’t suddenly emerge because I posted a casting call for zombies. And would everyone have come running if I’d proclaimed “Hey, I’ve got this idea to end hunger. Y’all come help me?” I doubt it.

But I believe that every time we work together to make a “not so good by the looks of it” video, we learn a few things. We adjust our horizons. We start to look at ourselves and our possibilities differently.

I spent a long time being a Very Serious Person. But I get more joy from being silly.

In the end, I think spreading joy is a better strategy.