Archive for February 2009

 
 

GLaDOS Soul Injection

Alright, I admit, I’m a Portal junkie.  I discovered it somewhat early on and have rolled around in its success like a dog in a crap filled ditch, revelling in the stank of the world loving the game, no, the experience, like I have.  It makes you feel good to see something you love find success.  I could say nearly the same (although a modicum less stank in this iteration) about Jonathan Coulton, who I am very excited to say I am going to see in concert tomorrow night.

I also came across a great analysis of GLaDOS’ physical form, a vision that I must admit I did not catch when playing the game but am fascinated by now.

That all being said, I came across a version of the Coulton-penned, Portal-centric song ‘Still Alive’ today performed in a minor key that I think was really the high point of my day.  The singing is OK, but the piano playing  and interpretation of the song is stellar.  I’d buy a copy for the old iPod.

Here’s my recipe for success tonight:

Open a great beer.

Get yourself a Portal themed shirt.

Listen to Coulton’s best song (’Skullcrusher Mountain’ in my not so humble opinion).

Then enjoy this inspired interpretation of ‘Still Alive’.  Forego the cake, trust me.

Man Tempts Magnets and Loses

Awesome.  This guy had 2 huge neodymium magnets (the kind that are decidedly not toys) and somehow let his finger get in between them.  WHAM.  

These monsters shattered the bone, tore the nail off, lived up to the warning on the packaging.  Lessons that end in a little gore are lessons that stick.  Note the size of those magnets in the picture and don’t miss the fingernail and bits of Dirk stuck between them.  

Buy your own and crush you fingers here.

Don’t take my word for it, check out Dirk’s full harrowing tale.

 

The neodymiums your mom warned you about.

The neodymiums your mom warned you about.

Podcast Formula (or how to not suck)

I’ve been into podcasting for a long time now, both as a listener and as a creator of content.  The successes that I have had come partially from my being picky as hell about what I listen to and attempting to apply those standards to what I make.  Here are the guidelines I try to follow:

 

Chemistry. 

Top of the list for a reason.  You need more than one person talking and they need to be having fun.  When done well this makes the listener feel that they are part of the conversation and makes for a much better listening experience.  There are zero casts that have lasted on my iPod for long that are a single host talking, not because they were not interesting, they just proved to be not interesting enough without a little dialog, a little banter, a little opposing viewpoint.  No amount of editing, effects or media clips will save your bacon if the hosts are wooden or can’t kid each other.

Set Goals and Don’t Wander Far.

I know, I know, I’m one of those ‘visualize success’ dorks but hear me out.  A good cast is rarely the result of a mic and some people just running their mouths.  Decide what your show is all about and stay somewhat true to that vision.  If I am talking entertainment news I need to insure that more than half of my show is entertainment news and not my droning about trying to find a job, what my kid is up to or my screwball antics at replacing a toilet.  Here and there might be fun but when shows lose sight of their core direction and I find myself once again in a touching non non sequitur about what their roommate found in their nose this week I move on to another entertainer.

That Hair Club Thing.

What I mean is don’t just be a producer of your content, listen to it too.  Put yourself in the position of a listener that will only get some of your cultural references and nearly none of your inside jokes.  Is it still entertaining?  If the answer is yes (and with some it is) then keep it up, if not, rethink what you are doing.  If I find my own giggling irritating when I listen to my show objectively then the audience is likely to as well.  People lie to spare your feelings (Don’t believe me?  Just watch the morons that finally find out how much they suck at singing on national television on American Idol.  Their friends and family should have never let some of those people on that show).  Listen to yourself and seriously think ‘Will anybody but me and my 5 best friends listen to this more than once?’.  If you are only after your friends as an audience than let it rip.

Ad Lib.

This does not fall far from the ‘Chemistry’ tree above.  I can usually tell when people are reading and when you have 2 people reading dialog that is supposed to sound conversational you’ve %$@*^’d up.  Sometime you have to read stuff, I’m cool with that, but when you don’t have to then don’t do it.  Know your material and just talk about it so the experience feels like I am part of the conversation and not at a seminar.  Don’t over-prepare material or you’ll be tempted to just read it.  Outline your points and chat about them.  If you cannot do that then you should consider another hobby.

Don’t Overextend Yourself.

Making a show that does not stink is hard work.  90% of my effort is up front, gathering info and getting talking points outlined.  This can turn into a monster if you don’t rein yourself in a little bit.  Define the line where it stops being a fun hobby and is dreary work and don’t get near that line.  Trust me.

Never forget that there are more choices for podcasts than listeners have time and it is very easy to drop one and try another.  If you want to reach more than 10 people you need to deliver what you promise them and make it entertaining enough for them to choose you again next time.  I hope these help and I look forward to hearing new content.  Drop me a line if you have a cast, I’ll give it a listen.