Chuck Tomasi sent me this photo that he found from the first New Media Expo (called I think the Podcast and Portable Media Expo or something like that.) There are four early podcasters visible in the shot. I’m not sure about the cats in the background, if you can identify them let me know. Cool, no?
Podcast Expo 2006, it was year two of the Ontario California conference. We were reprising our “spontaneous poolside barbecue feast” of the first year with a less spontaneous version of the same thing paid for by Dave Hamilton of Backbeat Media. Tee Morris gets some sort of spirit of Elvis in him and decides to shed his clothes and jump into the hotel pool naked as a grape. He invites me to jump in, in the most platonic and masculine way one straight guy can ask another straight guy to join him in public nudity. I decline, and my excuse is that I have a condition called flickrphallophobia, which I defined as “fear of seeing pictures of your dick posted to Flickr.” Evo Terra refused to believe that I made up that term on the spot, and I believe we placed a bet on whether Google would find it and he lost it (the second bet he lost in 30 seconds.)
I have told Tee this many many times, but my biggest regret in my 5.5 year history with the podcast medium is that I didn’t just take off my clothes and jump in. It wouldn’t have been that big a deal and I really don’t know what my problem was. Given the opportunity again, I’m opting for shenanigans. However, as the story came up again this weekend we realized that this term still isn’t in the googlosphere and Paul Fischer really wants it so. It was also suggested that the better term is “autoflickrphallophobia”, which would be the difference between fearing any wee wee photos on Flickr vs. pictures of ones own. I coined a term for that person: “redonkulopedantic.”
I’m thinking a lot about conventions lately. This is the first year where not only am I not going to Podcast Expo but I never for a second even considered going. I was scheduled to speak last year but when it came down not only was my day job so crushing at the time but it had been for months and I just couldn’t do it. I had to cancel a few weeks before the show, which was a crappy way to go about it and made me feel bad. However when it came to the actual missing of the show other than not being able to hang out with my friends, I was OK with not going. The extended to this year when I just never considered going at all. Nothing against the event but a combination of losing the scruffy charm of the Ontario CA conference center and just not having much interest in the “podcast industry” as a goal left me uninterested this year.
In contrast, since I have a reborn Reality Break on my hands, I’m trying to increase my attendance at science fiction and comic book conventions. That’s where I choose to put my energy and travel budget now rather than Podcast Expo. I’d rather go where my potential listeners and fans are. People generally have this idea of promoting their show at Podcast Expo but really that’s not a great place for promotion unless your goal is to get the attention primarily of other podcasters.
However because I’m ever less enthralled with getting on airplanes the cons I attend will skew heavily towards the southeast where I can drive to them. I missed Heroes Con but I will be attending Dragon*Con where I will be participating in the podcasting track and also doing interviews. I hope to make it to Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland this fall and do some interviews there too. I have an invitation to OryCon in Portland OR that I’m thinking hard about but is low probability. I’d love to do it as I have lots of friends out there but it’s just such a shlep to get there and back. When I went in 2006 I ended up losing most of one of my days with friends and sleeping in Ohare airport.
There is a new comic convention called XCon that will be starting up in Myrtle Beach this Halloween season. I’ll obviously go to that one. If people have suggestions of good cons for both promoting my work and getting new interview material recorded, let me know. The probability that I can go decreases with the square of the distance from the South Carolina coast but I’d love to know about them.
I play a song from Chris Yale; I give a crazy dog house update; I play a quote of Henry Rollins discussing the notion of musicians “selling out” by letting their music used in commercials; I take exception with a lot of Gayl Murhpy’s advice in her Podcast Expo talk; I talk about westerns and how much I’m enjoying the modern western genre; I play a song from Michelle Malone and off I go.
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I play a song from Brian Jonestown Massacre; I talk about plugging in and letting the magic flow and natural creativity; I discuss Neil Gorman’s comments from Ology about the soul of podcasting; I riff on Dave Hamilton’s post about podcasting and professionalism; I play a clip from Ivan Stang on the Hour of Slack and a song from The Thermals and then seal the deal.
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Today I got several emails from people that I didn’t already know thanking me for doing my talk at PME. The subject matter seems to be striking exactly the right nerve and helping people with that middle ground of the podcast life cycle.
It seems like a fun and interesting thing to do, so you start your own show. Theoretically it has unlimited upside potential but after a few or few dozen shows your listenership is not climbing anymore and companies are not knocking each other down to pay you sponsorship money, so now what? My thesis is that by orienting your expectations and goals to your own satisfaction, to your own sustainable level of enthusiasm you can keep the balance you need to keep going. By worrying less about listeners and money, you will do a better job of doing the things that might eventually attract listeners and money. There’s a bit of Zen koan in that advice, but I think it is absolutely true. It’s all about balance. People stop because they feel like the results they want to happen aren’t. By keeping your expectations such that you are satisfied no matter what, that balance remains unshakeable.
I just checked the Gigavox page, and thus far the average rating of that talk is 4.4 stars. That’s way better than any of my Voices in your Head shows ever got rated. Thanks, all. If the talk spoke to your inner podcaster, let me know.
Update: I got the weekly IT Conversations email, and this talk is the highest rated one listed in the mailing. Go, me!
Thanks to Darusha who let me know this went live today, I am proud to announce that my talk from the Podcast Expo is now available for download. I’ve already started receiving nice emails from strangers who found it useful. At the risk of auto-horn-tooting, I’d suggest that if you are sick of the word “monetization” in regards to new media, you might want to give this a listen. The whole goal is to affirm every other reason besides cashing checks why someone might engage in creating your own media.
If you listen, please do leave me feedback on how useful this was to you. I use that to help me hone in for future talks, so I hanker for anything I can hear. Positive, negative, I need what I can get. Help a brother out.
Update: I just noticed that I didn’t get this or any of the other recent PME talks in my “all IT Conversations” RSS feed. I guess the Podcast Academy stuff has officially been severed from IT Conversations, or more technically speaking they are now separate and distinct channels of Gigavox programming. Just letting you know, if like me you thought you were actually subscribed but you weren’t.
Craig Patchett emailed me to let me know that he had published the show with his interview of me from PME. At first, I had no recollection of getting interviewed by Craig although I know I ran into him several times. It wasn’t until I listened to the show that I remembered it. It must have been late in the day on Saturday on the show floor because I think that was the low point for my voice. It sounds about shot here. Craig caught me all philosophical about new media, covering my beat as I do. He described me as “fiercely independent” or something close. That’s me, fierce. Grrrrowr. Thanks Craig!
On a recent episode of Smart City they did a show on “new media” (which wasn’t what I mean when I use that term but any mobile online activity kind of stuff) featuring cyberculture’s own Mimi Ito. It was an interesting show talking about the generational shift in media consumption and a lot of the stuff that many of us are already soaking in.
Wow, most of this was written in the first couple of days after I got back from California, but it has just taken this long to post. In lieu of experiencing Converge South, here I post the balance of my antics from Portable Media Expo.
Saturday I didn’t get up brutally early but I was still at the convention center in time to see Andrew Baron’s keynote. It was OK but I think Andrew knows he’s not the most enervating speaker. While we were in the back of the room George Starcher gave me a thumbdrive with some video from my talk the previous day and I transferred it to my harddrive. I ran into CC Chapman after the keynote and he was going up to be on a panel on music licensing. At this stage of the game, I can’t claim that I think there is much I haven’t already heard on the topic but I wanted to support CC. He’s always at every talk I give, so it only seemed fair to go to his. I mostly sat and answered email and took photos of the panel and the jokers around me (including fellow ITC show host Denise Howell, who I had just met earlier that morning.) Towards the end, though, there was a statement made by Ali Partovi of GarageBand.com that brought me out of the woodwork. He said “Once a song is made available for free download, no one will ever purchase it.” This, said I, is a load of bollocks. I pointed out that there is a large and growing number of people who go out of their way to make sure the artists they like get money from them, including buying the CDs and iTunes of things they already have in order to keep them afloat. In a larger sense, even though you already have those songs you are making a downpayment on the next album by making sure the artist has money and energy and encouragement enough to do it one more time. He refused to believe some of us would operate under this regime. In fact, the contrapositive of his thesis is true. I will not buy any CDs I haven’t already downloaded a big chunk of. This is what happens when as an industry you burn customers for $17 over and over again for albums with one or two good songs.
After this panel, I went back to the hotel room and traded my laptop and backpack for my Marantz PMD 670 and the bag of audio equipment. It’s too burdensome to carry all of it at once, but either is fine. I cadged a little lunch from the speaker room, set up the Marantz to my liking and hit the show floor. I didn’t really have an agenda but I just walked around and talked to people that interested me. It was tilted towards people I already knew pretty well but I also interviewed Paul Kafasis from Rogue Amoeba who I don’t know. These will make up the bulk of the next few shows [actually, I wrote this so long ago the shows have already been done]. It only seemed reasonable to actually talk to some folks with this audio equipment I shlepped all the way out there and incurred two special airport searches for. I had said that last year I never used it, but I forgot my interviews with JD Lasica and Simon Steadman so I did do a little with it then. I more or less interviewed folks until the show closed. As I said in the most recent podcast, I wasn’t explicitly eschewing women, that’s just how the dice fell during that period that I had the Marantz deployed. I’d have liked to talk to Susan about her family oral history podcast project but she wasn’t around Saturday. It wasn’t until I was organizing later the complete lack of female voices hit me.
After that I went over to the room to prep for the BBQ. I’ll skip the details of that since I have mostly already covered that. The BBQ politely self-destructed right around the time it should have, so I and Scott Fletcher walked around and picked up trash. The only twinge of disappointment I had the whole time was right at the end, when we were picking up trash. The last table of folks had a giant pile of glasses and crap piled up. I asked them to all carry a handful of trash on their way out. One of the crowd said “Won’t the hotel people do all that?” Sigh. I pointed out that their giant pile of glass from the hotel bar violates the rules of meeting at the pool so the way you repay that karma is by cleaning up after yourself. Do people really need to be told these things? I went out of my way to talk to the Ray, the head of security to make sure we were cool. He seemed to appreciate the way we returned the pool back to its original state, so the karma bill was marked paid.
I had heard that there was some sort of Todd Cochrane venture holding a party, and that the body painters were back there. Although I did not jump naked in the pool, I was kind of in the market for some limited craziness. I ran back to the room and got an AmigoFish sticker and met Darusha up there. My plan was to see if I could get the fish painted on my ass. After all my jokes about iPod Observer having “clickwheels tattooed on their asses” it just seemed right. Kevin Mason, the painter, thought that was cool so I dropped trou and he went to it. This might sound crazy, but because of my near-impeccable timing there was almost no one around when I did this. There is a little documentary evidence of this but not many folks watched my bare butt getting painted. The hilarity happened during the painting though, when several minutes in to it Kevin said to me “You know, I love AmigoFish.” Turns out he’s been a member for a month or more and has used it to find new things. When I started this outing, I had no idea he actually knew what the service was. So, as he was painting my ass I was asking him about how he found the user experience. That’s what you call hands on customer service, except without the hands.
After this I went down to the bar and hung some more, having a drink with Lance and Pam Heath. They snapped a photo of the increasingly smudged fish from a quick exposure of it. I buckled back up, and there was the security guy watching the whole thing. The only thing I could say was “Ray, I wish you hadn’t seen that.” He shrugged and walked away – I wasn’t sure how to interpret that but it seemed fairly benign. I had a drink with Kevin and Marci, the body painter and paintee respectively. After this, the bar really thinned out to just the hardcore which was me, Ben “Bendrix” Williams, Ken Ray and his friend Rachel [who I didn’t recognize at the time, but is from 88Slide.] We shut down the bar and then went out in front of the hotel for Ken and Rachel to smoke.
While we were out there, this lady named Joanie came up to Ben and me asking why the Ontario Marriot was full of cool young people on a Saturday night. She said she was a vendor at the LA County Fair and is frequently at that hotel and had never seen it like that. Somewhere in there she mentioned having been a punk as a teen, so I told her I could draw the line from that to podcasting in 90 seconds, explaining that the urge that led people to publish zines or make homemade band shirts or just learning three chords and forming a band plus cheap computers and ubiquitous electronics leads to the world in which we can all be creative on whatever excites us. She seemed to get it. She also seemed embarassed by the fact that she sold these collapsible vases that set when cold and can be scrunched up small when hot. I thought it was highly cool, not necessarily as vases per se but as raw material for some sort of crazy Maker project. I think she never quite got that Ben and I were unironic in thinking those sounded cool. Because she was a couple years older than me, she saw all these punk bands I was too young and too Kansan to have seen, so I was enjoying all the 70’s LA punk stuff.
Shortly after this, I had a chat with Mikey from Nebraska (everyone else seemed to know what show he does, but I never caught it.) [In fact, I found him – Public Nuisance Radio.] I was born not so far from where he lives, and we talked Nebraska and Henry Rollins and more punk and had a good ol’ time. Around here, though, I hit the wall and had to decide whether to walk back to my room or be dragged back there. I chose the former.
Sunday I got up and got ready to interview Andrew Baron in the hotel lobby. I showered, trudged out with my Marantz and waited. When he wasn’t there at 9 AM, I called his cell. They were out late and still in bed, so that didn’t happen. Hey, I was out till 3:30 AM the same as them but I was up and at em at 8 AM. I don’t hold anyone else to my standard of manly vitality though, it’s just not fair to them. No hard feelings. I went back to the room and packed up all the gear. Even though there were hours and hours until the flight and we are about 3 minutes from the airport, just the act of packing got me a little agitated. At one point, I had my cellphone and then just didn’t. I knew the thing couldn’t have disappeared. When I calmed down and looked thoroughly, I found it in the center of a pile of dirty clothes. Nice.
After packing and rolling out of the hotel room for the last time, I finally met Andy Walker who was a few rooms down from me. We chatted for like 2 minutes in the hall until the maid cart made it wiser to bail on the hallway. I had seem him walking around with a camera crew, but this last minute was the only chance I had at a conversation. He seemed like a great guy, I hope to talk to him a little more in the future.
Afterwards, I checked out of the hotel and waited for the shuttle. I figure I’d hang at the airport and maybe nap at the gate or if Ontario had free wifi I’d go online there. I said my goodbyes to various people, saw Wendy and John from GabberJaw on their way out, rode the shuttle with Doug Kaye and Scoble amongst others. At the security line, they were running the belt back and forth on my bag so I told them it would probably be easier on us all if they’d just hand search it. Again, I understand what a tacklebox full of wires and adapters looks like on the X-ray machine.
Up at the gate, the flight from Ontario to Atlanta was lousy with podcasters and expo attendees. There were at least a dozen that I knew personally, and some like Jim and Mandy from Baltimore that I had just met or was meeting then. Mandy was at my talk Friday and actually ended up sitting kitty korner from me on the plane. I don’t even remember who all was in the group I was sitting with, but someone went to the fast food place and bought a bunch of sodas to hand out. Thank you, masked man, even if I don’t remember who did it. I talked more with Steve Eley and then went and did a pickup interview with CC Chapman. CC would go on to win the “longest goodbye” award, because I saw him all the way up until 3 minutes before I got on my connection to Myrtle Beach in the ATL airport.
On the flight itself, I goofed around and categorized all my interview audio from the weekend. I found out that two of the interviews, Doug Kaye and Robert Scoble, had this annoying periodic buzz in it. I think it might have been the low battery indicator. I had never ran the battery down that far, but it seemed crazy to me that the battery indicator would be audible in the recording. I tried to do some noise reduction but an airplane isn’t really the best environment for such work. I had a little incident with the woman sitting across the aisle from me that I wrote up but may or may not actually post. It’s a little overwrought, as most tales of sin and redemption are. A lot of people paid the $5 to watch the movies and TV or play games on the LCD in the seat back. Me personally, I read the end of Soul Kitchen and watched vlogs, so I didn’t need to pay for diversion. My whole weekend was devoted to the idea of keeping myself diverted, so it would be freaky to choose to outsource that now.
After the plane landed and I got out into the terminal, I realized that I didn’t have the next boarding pass and sleeve with my luggage claim check. The gate personel told me it would be easier to get a new one printed than go back in the plane, so I just went on. There I saw CC several more times (he was 3 gates down) and grabbed a little dinner at a Nathan’s Hot Dogs stand. We boarded on time for a very full flight, and then we were off. All was fine until we landed, when it came out that half the luggage never got loaded on the plane because it was so full. Kind of a bummer, but at least for me heading home not a make or break deal like it would be for someone on a business trip or on vacation. I filled out my ticket and gave them my info and was leaving the airport when I saw a dude pushing a cart full of luggage with my bag on the very top. Turns out that because of my layover, my bag went ahead on an earlier flight. I had been willing to drive back to the airport later (I only work a few minutes away) but not having to is so much the better. After this and paying for parking, I finally got home at something like 11:45 PM. With that, some welcome home kissing and an exhausted drop into the bed where I slept fitfully at best and created a snoring incident at one point in the middle of the night.
It was a delightful and grueling four days that flew by in the blink of an eye. Even now, as I write the tail end of this a full week after I left, it seems like it hardly happened. I talked to hundreds of people, renewed many acquaintances and made many new ones, bought drinks for people and was bought drinks by people, fed people and was cursed by them, and generally engaged with the community. It was fantastic, and I thank everyone who took the time to talk with me, take some stickers and shake my hand, came to my talk or came to anyone’s talk. Thanks to Tim Bourquin for putting on another great event and thanks to everyone for making it a great party. I wish it was happening again next weekend, and I’m glad it really isn’t for another year.
I play a song from Whitney Steele; I present a series of interviews I did at this year’s Podcast Expo, with Ray Slakinsi, Paul Kafasis, and Garrick van Buren.
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Reading this report of my talk makes me very very happy:
Leif really enjoyed the hobbiest track at the expo and was re-energized by Dave Slusher’s session on doing it for love. Would you podcast if your audience was small or non-existent? Don’t get overly caught up in sticking to your show format or building brand and remember why your doing it – for the love.
I’ve heard from several people that my talk helped them refocus and remember why they spend those hours at the computer and the microphone. There can be no greater compliment and I’m proud to have been of service to y’all. I talked to Leif at the show and am glad to have been of some assistance in helping him get his second wind. Some of us have been doing this a year, two years or more and it’s good to get back in and address our fundamental motivations. Are our original reasons for starting still in play? Are my motivations for doing the second year the same as the first? What do I want out of this, and why should I do it one more time? If I helped people introspect enough to answer those questions (and I hope the answer is “Yes, let’s rock this thing!” but complete with updated reasons to continue to bring it) then it was all worth it.
Here’s my PME 2006 rundown, which I’ve been writing somewhat all along but just haven’t punched into final form yet. I’ll break this down into separate posts as it makes sense. Right now I’m too tired to look up the links for everything. I’ll add the missing ones in later. Let’s pick up where I stopped from the MYR airport last week.
When I got to my gate in Atlanta, I met Dave Jackson and Robin Maiden who were on my flight. It wasn’t until very late in the game that I realized that I was loaded down stickers for both my show and AmigoFish with me, so I should stick them to my backpack. I did, and then as I walked down the jetway from behind me a voice said “Dave?” It was Ray Slakinski, who was the person behind me in line. He figured that if I had both stickers on the pack, there was a good chance it was me.
The flight was fine, and pretty uneventful. I worked on the talk, futzed with the computer a little, and started reading Poppy Z. Brite’s Soul Kitchen. By the time we landed, we were a little behind schedule. We took the shuttle back to the hotel, checked in and I tried to do the badge pickup/speaker reception thing but it was already all shut down. I walked around the Marriot some, saw more people and eventually went out on a jaunt to an Applebee’s in Rancho Cucamonga with Michael Butler, Joe Klein, Jasper Borgman and the Couches. It was fine and good conversation but kind of a shlep there and back, so it sucked some energy out of the evening. Joe treated, which was nice of him.
When we returned, we hung out at the hotel bar some and saw all kinds of people. I renewed my acquaintance with John Furrier (who I sat next to at Benihana’s last year) and talked to Gary from Podcast Pickle (who was kind of bummed about this). I met Nicole Simon in person for the first time, which was a nice surprise since I had no idea she was even coming. The bar was completely crazy, and I learned my lesson last year about trying to yell over the crowd too much the night before my talk so I folded the tent relatively early (midnight, which was 3 AM my time) despite trash talk from my compadres.
Friday I was up at 5 AM California time, whether I wanted to be or not. I got up and went to the fitness center to do the orbital trainer for a while. Shortly before I left Paul Colligan got there. I was frankly surprised to see another PME person in the fitness center that time of day. I thought about grabbing some breakfast at the hotel, but I decided to work on the assumption that the speaker ready room would feed us. After showering, and suiting up I headed across the street to the convention center at the early hour of 7:30 AM. I was able to get checked in and grab some coffee but there was no food in there. Uh oh. On the upside, Annelise was running the ready room again this year. She was so nice last year and even bent the rules to allow me to interview Simon Steadman in there rather than have to move all my gear. Sitting in the ready room, I worked on the final touches of the talk and saw some more folks. Eventually, I was able to cadge a little food.
I went to see the Leo Laporte and Ronald Moore keynotes. To be honest, I wasn’t wildly impressed with either. Last year, Leo was like a pentacostal preacher breathing the fire of independence and passion. This year, he was a lot like someone trying to convince you to buy insurance that you aren’t sure you need. Ronald Moore’s talk was OK and people seemed to like it but personally it didn’t do so much for me. I don’t like the Battlestar Galactica TV show and while I tried it out with the podcast it was an interesting excercise and a good use of the tech but not one that resonates with me for this specific application.
After that, it was off to my room to set up. Just like last year, the sound/AV person in the room was a complete crackerjack. Mel, I think was his name. We were set up in like 90 seconds and it just went smooth as silk. Unlike the professionals at CNN, I was self-aware enough to check the mike pack before I went to the bathroom. The talk seemed to go off well and people liked it. Unfortunately this year, all the panels and talks I saw on the second floor were more lightly attended than you’d expect. Because of the traffic pattern, there just wasn’t anything else up there to have people walk by and say “Hmm, this seems interesting.” The positive side is that everyone who is there really does care and hunted it down specifically. [Update: I got the evaluations faxed back, and they were all pretty positive so I think people got something out of the talk.]
Once my talk was done, I flitted back to the hotel room to change out of the suit. I was getting into the market for some kind of lunch. Butler convinced me to ride the Hummer limo over to the Podshow suite at the Sheraton. I wasn’t so wild about it, but he worked on me for a while until I gave in. Right before we left, I ran into Susan Kitchens. My nightmare scenario was that I’d go to this silly lunch in the ridiculous limo and never see her again, which would be a pretty bad trade off. I rode the limo and when we got out, I proclaimed loudly “I cannot be bought by Podshow … but I’m willing to let them try.” I hung out in the somewhat weird scene in the suite, ate the free food and had a drink or two. On the way back, I ran into Dawn and Drew and their posse, including Nick “Movie” Starr.
In the limo on the way back, we talked and fooled around with cameras and such. Drew and I poured glasses of whiskey from the decanter in the limo, and I made a “toast to the boogie” to his video camera. It all seemed fun until I remember that I had promised Ray Slakinski that I’d be on a panel with him for Podango at 3:15. It was maybe 2:00 PM at that point. I ran back into Susan and we talked and walked the show floor together for a while. I went to look for the “Unconference” to meet up with Ray. Somewhere along the line, I had been given bad intelligence that this was in the Marriot hotel. In fact, it was right at the very front of the show floor in what one would consider an unmissable spot but I missed it. Somehow, the fact that it was actually in the Podango booth eluded me. After floundering for a while, I got there late but they were running late so I didn’t really hold them up. This whiskey on the rocks was settling in good, so I was nice and loose for this panel thing that was me and Ray talking about the early days of podcasting. I tried to be a trooper and do what was asked, but I secretly feared I was boring the hell out of the audience. After that, a little bit more of the floor where I talked to Scoble and got him to stick an AmigoFish sticker on his tripod leg. I thought that was quite cool.
A trip back to the room to call home and chill for a few minutes happened and then it was off to the Podcast Circle Jerk (aka Podcast Awards). It was pointed out to me that the room across from the main ballroom had all the same bar and food as the main one with a line 1/10th the length. I went over and fixed a plate, got a drink and talked with Brian and Tina Ibbot for a while and with Ricky Spero for a long time. John Furrier bought me a drink at some point and I chatted with a number of people. I headed across the hall for the festivities and they were already over. For the second consecutive year, I didn’t actually see any of the awards ceremony. I’m not explicitly boycotting them, but I also am not on fire to see them either so I wasn’t really torn up about missing them.
In the evening, I went to the Podtrac party where I met Darusha Wehm for the first time. She is on Team ITC and in fact punched up my copy for the most recent Voices episode but we really have only had minimal interaction up to this point. She had been at my talk, but I didn’t know that was her because I didn’t know what she looked like. I did a lot of hanging out with Butler at this party, talked with Sam Levin and more with Ray Slakinski and his PopCurrent partner whose name I am blanking on right now [Update: Mark Jeffries, thanks Ray]. Somewhere in the middle of this party, Brother Love did a performance that was, ummmm, interesting. One of his own songs played on the PA while he danced around and sang along and lip synced and interjected lots of “Give it up for ___ ” type silliness. Depending on the tuning of your postmodern irony sensors, it was either pretty bad or completely fantastic. Somewhere before the evening was out, Darusha made sure to tell me that I was incorrectly referring to myself in my talk as an “anarcho-capitalist”, that it is a more specific term than the goofy way I mean it.
When that party wound down we went on to the infamous Evo and Tee Wingin’ It / LibSyn / Kiptronic / IODA party. What is there to say about it but “Wow.” There were a number of highly surreal moments. At one point, I walked out into the main room and seated on the back of a couch were the three naked body painted women plus Ray Slakinski. Later when I was waiting to use the bathroom, the women were showering off the body paint. It is weird how quickly you can get inured to naked people walking around. I don’t recall any flashes going off, but I hope there isn’t a lot of documentary evidence of all this with me in it. Either the photo has me looking at the women or oblivious to them, and either way I come out like a schmuck.
Oddly enough, this party is the one where I had the long conversation about Irish politics with the British musician/risk assessor (was his name John? Sorry dude). It seemed kind of jarring with the surroundings, but it was really interesting. He seemed surprised that I was as interested as I was in the subject, and that I knew at least some of the history of Sinn Fein and the IRA. He took me way back, like many centuries in the history lesson. I found it all fascinating.
As you might could have expected, this party was busted and shut down. We split up and went various ways. Some people went to the Doubletree hotel bar, most went back to the Marriot to the Podcast Pickle party. Some of the same elements showed up there, so it started getting insane as well. I don’t actually remember much of this one, but it was fun enough and there was more conversation. I bailed on it after a while, went down to the hotel bar which oddly enough was flat empty. I sat with Mike Geoghegan and Len and Nora from Jawbone for a few minutes and then called it a night.
I play a song from Slau; I present a series of interviews I did at this year’s Podcast Expo, with Jake Ludington, Eric Rice and Michael Geoghegan.
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I’ve got PME writeups to write and posts, a bunch of interviews to make into episodes of the podcast, all kinds of various things to do but last night I was so zonky that all I could do was read email and news feeds and then look at PME pictures on Flickr. Yesterday was a rough day at work trying to hold it together but I should be back to a more sane schedule now. I’m up and feel approximately normal today.
I have seen a little bit of writeup here and there about the Saturday night BBQ from Scott Fletcher and Martin McKeay and others (Martin was the wheel man this year.) This was the last year for the “go grab food from Woody’s” style. It was way more organized than last year, with the money and transportation already lined up. I called at 1 PM and asked them how much lead time they needed to have 3 or so party packs ready by 6:30 PM. I called and made the final order when they told me I should, and still it took an hour and half past when I wanted it. The worst part of the whole thing is that both years I have not been able to actually host the beginning of the party because I’m sitting in the damn place waiting for food. I tried to coordinate from my cell in the restaurant but eventually it died and I was screwed. Sorry all you folks who waited and then bailed. There was almost no food left over (we bought twice as much as last year and had fewer leftovers) so plenty of people got fed but I’m sorry anyone was disappointed. Next year, if there is such a thing, it will involve someone else delivering food to us and I’m going to be at the pool partying the whole time.
Next year, with the show being a Friday through Sunday, the whole dynamic is different. Do we have the chill-out anti-event on Saturday night or Sunday or even at all? The engine that drove it the last two years is the lack of official events on a party night that most people are still there, and that situation won’t be present in the whole weekend conference. This will take some thinking. Maybe it will remain Saturday, be more organized and funded and catered in and we can have it be a “destination party.” From here on out, if I’m associated then I’m at the pool the whole time. I hate missing the fun parts of a party I’m helping throw. Thanks to everyone who attended, to Chuck Tomasi and Tee Morris for jumping in the pool and to Tee for doing it naked. People starting chanting for me to do it, and I claimed to suffer from “flickophallophobia” which is fear of photos of my dick getting posted to Flickr. Evo Terra refused to believe that was an ad-lib, but I did come up with the term on the spot. I did slip on trunks in a quick trip back to my room and later jumped in the pool myself, but minus the dangly bits on display.
Even with the disappointments and delay, it was still a great party. Thanks everyone who attended, sorry for those who left unfed, thanks to Martin McKeay for the transportation and Dave Hamilton and Backbeat for paying the bill. Thanks to Scott Fletcher for working damage control during the delay and explaining the history of the event to the newcomers and quelling the whiners. Thanks to Deb Shadovitz for bringing candles – she thought if we have another BBQ we could use them, so she just brought them without knowing for sure there even was an event! That’s the spirit the event is about to me. She also brought Kahlua, of which I partook freely. Thanks to everyone who chipped in, moved tables, carried food, cleaned up trash, made strangers feel at home, made new friends. All y’all rock!
I’m home from PPME 2006 after a grueling day of travel followed by sleep in my own bed and now I get to get up and go to work. It was a fun weekend, but for relaxation this is not the best strategy. Today I’ll try to write up the overview of the expo before I start to forget all the details.
Thanks to everyone I saw the whole time. It was a great show!
I think I’m going to fold the computer tent for most or all of the rest of the day. I’m going to trade the iBook for the Marantz and do interviews around with people for the balance of the afternoon. Too much gear and you become your own sherpa, and that ain’t fun. Later, taters.
It’s been a nonstop whirlwind since I got up yesterday, and I hadn’t even opened the laptop in the almost 24 hours since the talk. I did a panel with Ray Slakinski at the Podango booth, I met up with Susan Kitchens and we hung out for a while. I had long political talks about voter turnout and the politics of Northern Ireland at various points inside of party situations, kind of bringing the vibe down but what the hey. I can barely keep up with the many people I’ve met for the first time, renewed my acquaintance with or just said hi to and conversed with when neither of us knew who the other was. Today I’m shlepping the Marantz around and doing pickup interviews. That should be fun.
I should note that the gift shop/sundries shop in the Ontario Marriot has the most reasonably priced toiletries of any such store I’ve ever seen. I forgot my saline solution in my travel bag, and it was cheaper there than if you buy it at the Piggly Wiggly, rather than being the traditional $17 of the “where else are you going to go?” hotel store model. Thanks!
Wow, here is some startingly thorough coverage of my talk yesterday. Thanks, Scott. Your summary makes me seem more intelligent than I felt.
The biggest bit of stress I have out of the whole Podcast Expo is remembering people. I’ve talked to so many people, met so many last year, received so many comments and audio bits and logos over the last few weeks. If I meet you and don’t immediately recognize your name, or the name of your show or your face or the fact that we have met before, please don’t hate me. My memory is like a sieve and I have had my capacity to remember stuff swamped with an order of magnitude over what I can assimilate. I’m not a dick, I swear, just overwhelmed.
I’m sitting at the gate at MYR. Because I’m a travel spaz, I went ahead and got here plenty early and decided to chill. Since there is free wifi at the gate, it made more sense to pack and check in several hours before the flight left than to answer email up until time to leave. I’m just answering the email here. I’m bringing audio equipment, and I figured I’d get the hand search of my carry-on. I ain’t checking the Marantz MPD 670. I don’t trust the TSA and the baggage handlers that much. The surprise is not that I got the hand search this time, but that I didn’t last year either direction. I have a tackle box full of wires and screwdrivers and such. If I saw this on the xray, I’d sure as hell hand search it.
I’ll be laying over in the ATL for a few hours, and then flying Hartsfield to Ontario. It would really be odd if there weren’t any podcasters on this particular flight, so I’m trying to think of something to bring them out of the woodwork. If I had thought ahead, I’d have worn a more podcasty shirt. I’ll think of something between here and there. Last year, Chuck Tomasi was on my connection from wherever (Cincinnati?) to Ontario. Who will it be this time? With any luck, it will either be someone I know by sight or that knows me by sight.
When I land, I’ll be going straight from the airport to the hotel to check in and then across the street to the speaker’s reception. I’m going to work on the talk more in the 10 hours before I get to Ontario. Dear Bob, I hope that I feel like it is done by then. If not, I might nip back to the room for a little while this evening to work on it. Either way, I’ll spend a little time in the hotel bar hanging out and shmoozing. Look for me there if you can.
I’m excited, about 1/100th as nervous as I was last year about the talk, and ready to have a good, enlightening, networky, fun, and uplifting time. See you there!