Friday, August 12, 2022

My Voice (and Big's) On Journey Into...

Marshal "George R.R." Latham has finally gotten out the winner of his "Journey Into... Journey" contest from a couple of years ago.  It's called "Backtalk" by R.C. Anderson, and is presented as an episode of a fictional podcast about interference on communications channels in old NASA missions.  

I got to perform the part of a retired astronaut, telling about a disastrous mission back in 1969.  I was described as having a Texan accent, but what I missed was that I was supposed to be in my eighties (whoops).  Nevertheless, the episode is excellent, and does fun stuff with the audio format, and also features Renee Chambliss's ever-hot voice, Big Anklevich's evergreen voice, Gino Moretto's crazy Kiwi accent, and Josh Roseman, who Big and I used to mock relentlessly back in the Dunesteef days.  and Josh Roseman, who Big and I used to mock relentlessly back in the Dunesteef days.  Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


Every time I come to the cabin, I drive over to the dam, and force myself to run from one side of it to the other.  It has become yet another tradition for me.  I also check my messages and sometimes try to watch YouTube videos from the tiny spot of wi-fi accessibility on top of it.  Because it's so hard to find, in June, I drew a line in the gravel to mark where to stand, and frequently use it as a finish line when I'm running (by the time I'm on my way back, I'm usually so out of breath and desperate to lie down that I need the psychological push of a visible marker.

Each week, I stand there, try to get a signal, and use my tennis shoes to redraw the line a little deeper.

But what's weird is, I go there every Wednesday, and every Wednesday, the line is either filled in by wind, half washed away by water, or in this week's case, completely re-covered by human hands (or most likely feet).  Somebody has seen what I've done and says, "I see your evil-doing, and it is my job to oppose you."  Next time, I need to remember to bring a shovel and a can of spray paint.

I think I mentioned that CatsCast asked me to do another story for them.  Well, I sat down and recorded it.  It was written by Rati Mehrotra, and honestly, the story was as good as the author's name was hard to pronounce.

I had this idea the other day, to keep myself (and only possibly you) entertained, that I would count all the chapters/sections in the book, and keep track of how many of them I had completed, to see how close I was to done with the project.  There are fifty-two segments, which is an easy to remember number, and I'll ask Marshal if he can give me a status bar I can paste into these posts, to demonstrate my progress.

As of tomorrow (if I remember to stick them in the Dropbox), I'll have completed two of the fifty-two (granted, these are two of the, probably, four easiest bits in the whole book, them being the title and the Introduction, but hey, those need to be recorded (and edited) too.

I edited a chapter and man, is it tedious!  Reading the story was easy, performing the story was precise and complicated, but editing the story is arduous, time-consuming, misery.  

I'm reminded of a podcaster I knew who would record their audio, and then outsource it to an engineer to do all the editing, clean-up, and mixing, and I used to say, "That's like one of those dudes that has a girl in every port, knocks them up, and then never sees them again, because they're on to a new one."

Arcove or Writing or Exercise: All Three

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

8-6 thru 8-9


I went on a hike with various members of my family today, and even though I left to get there at the time we were supposed to meet, I still was the second one to arrive.  We walked around in the mountains, then drove to a lake, where those of us still with energy walked around it as well.

There was a very small waterfall at the top of a trail, and people lost their minds and stood under it.  I had a bit more self-control, and got a picture in front of it.

I could've hung out longer (there were squirrels and chipmunks that weren't very afraid of people, and we kept throwing them peanuts and pretzels and Valtrex, and I could've watched that for another hour or two), but some folks were tired and had things to do, so I drove back down the canyon by myself, then stopped at my sister's to mow her lawn, then went home, showered waaaaaaay too long (my feet were so caked in mud, we'll probably have to have the bathtub burned), then ran to the library to get some writing done.  And now I'm typing this (and some stuff for yesterday) instead of writing.  Silly me.

Only got 570 words.  But I was really enjoying it when they did the announcement.  Would've gotten double that with an extra fifteen minutes.

This is just a picture of the folliage that I thought looked cool.  If I had time, I'd stick a "Where's Waldo?"-type cameo in it.

Audiobook or Writing or Exercise: All Three


I went to the movies (to see BULLET TRAIN) with my cousin last night.  It was a lot of fun.  There was also a trailer for a movie called SMILE that was so terrifying, they had to hose off my seat mid-way through the Coke commercial.

I also took an hour or so to record two more chapters of the audiobook.  I'm starting to worry that my voice for Halvery is indistinguishable from my voice for Lyndi.  But maybe I'm being too self-critical, since Abbie tends to write, "said Halvery" and "Lyndi asked," which should help.

Audiobook or Writing or Exercise: Audiobook


I have been forcing myself to sit and record at least one chapter of "Arcove's Bright Side" each night.  At this rate . . . well, I'll still finish it sometime in 2024, but I'm trying.

Got a chapter of Arcove in, then did a chapter of "But Now I'm Found" (just to switch things up) and that gave me 301 words.

I also went for a run, promising myself some pineapple sherbet as a reward afterward.

Arcove or Writing or Exercise: All Three


I mostly worked today, though I did take the kids to a stream to catch minnows for a half hour.  It's that time of the year where there are simply thousands of tiny fish, and they're easy to catch.

I haven't been to the library in a few days, and that's when I tend to do my blogging.  Today, I worked on "The Washer Whispers," managing 637 words, while earlier in the day, I sat down and recorded the last chapter of "But Now I'm Found"*, which came to 114 words.  

My heart's not really in the writing right now, but I remember somebody somewhere saying that, when the whole book is done, you won't be able to tell which bits were written when you were excited and the words were really flowing, and which bits were absolute torture to get out, with absolutely no inspiration.  We'll see.

Arcove or Writing or Exercise: Arcove & Writing

*It was a really weak chapter, making me question the whole endeavor.  But what can you do?

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Rish Outcast 227: Caller I.D. (1)

Rish presents the first installment of his (hopefully) annual "Caller I.D." series, only about a decade late!  

When young Chad Kluchar gets a mysterious call on his new cellphone, he has no idea the person on the other end is familiar to him . . . shockingly familiar.

If you would like to download the episode, Right-Click HERE.

If you would like to support me on Patreon, click HERE.

Logo by Gino "Caller NZ" Moretto.

Friday, August 05, 2022

Blog 8-5


I'm at the library now, not to write, but to burn copies of my uncle's funeral onto CDs.  Each one takes approximately six minutes to burn . . . so I might as well write something, no?

A super old guy just walked past with a book about Iwo Jima in his hands.  My first inclination was to tell him that I was there, and that I still remembered the moment the island came into vie--

No, wait, that was a movie.

It was my Uncle Len's birthday, and a bunch of people got together to remember him (apparently, he had expressed hope that he could have a big birthday get-together, complete with a Mariachi band, when he was hospitalized last year), and somebody paid a Mariachi band to play to our little group.  It was really strange, but hey, it was neat to get together with family members, especially those that drove all the way down from Las Vegas.

Sorry, this is another of those days where I simply don't want to be here.  I keep putting in CDs, getting an error (that they are damaged or unwriteable), then I take them out, put them back in, and they burn fine.  But it's a lengthy process of about six minutes each, once they start to burn.  It's not a big deal, but I sat here for an hour and a half, and wrote a couple hundred words (turned out it was 853), and I think that's what I'll stick with.  Maybe tonight I can record a chapter or two.

I was determined for "Arcove's Bright Side" to be my absolute best work, and for listeners to be positively orgasmic (figuratively or literally) over my performance.  Of course, that's setting myself up for disaster, but hey, you do you.

I actually did some serious recording on the book, but found that, unlike a professional audiobook narrator, who probably puts in six to ten hours in a day*, my voice was absolutely, completely, and totally shot halfway through the third chapter.  Despite having "rehearsed" the book so it could go faster, there was one character who I simply couldn't figure out how to voice, and decided to just mark his lines in yellow and go back to them once I remember the way I'd done it before (my notes were "has a Northern accent, from back of the throat," which SHOULD have been enough).  The character of Arcove has been fun and easy to voice in the past, but I found myself coughing after practically every one of his lines, which means I might have to redo those too.  And you think Abbie's a perfectionist . . .

Audiobook or Writing or Exercise: Audiobook & Writing

*Of course, I have no idea.  It may be far less than that, as we are dealing with human beings here.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Blog 8-3 and 8/4


Once again, I'm at the cabin, and though I got here a full hour earlier than last Wednesday, before too long, I had finished editing my audiobook (didn't get a single chapter recorded on mine before starting on Abbie's, and only got the introduction and title done on hers), and the sun was getting low in the sky.  

As I was driving here, there's a long stretch of road where the highway goes in between two farms, and at a certain time of year (namely, right now), the grasshoppers tend to swarm or flock or congest that part of the road, often splattering themselves all over the windshield (and sometimes jumping right into the car with me, if I have the windows down).  Well, today there was something else I hit on the drive down, some kind of tiny swarm of little bugs that covered the front of my car and smearing the windshield with an orange goo that was bad enough I stopped at the next town and wiped down my glass with all the napkins I had in the car.

When I got to the cabin, I looked at the front of the car, and you can see the little spots where I hit thousands of these little bugs.  Sadly, I have it on pretty good authority that one of those now-deceased bugs would've become President of the United States had he lived.  SadFaceEmoji.

Big and I recorded a Dunesteef episode on Monday (did I blog about that?), and so that was what I chose to focus on this trip (I also recorded some lines for the last of the HorrorAddicts stories I was asked to do--easy work, for the most part, and fun).

From the library, I watched THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER for the first time in thirty-two years (was it '90 or '89 when it came out?).  I had never really liked it, except for the clever gimmick of the Russian characters speaking Russian, then transitioning to English for the rest of the film.  But in the intervening years, I read the book (and the subsequent three books), and my understanding expanded.  

This poster is great...but it's the WRONG COLOR!!!!!!!!!

I quite enjoyed the film, actually, especially Connery, who was typically compelling, and wonderfully brilliant.  Heck, Alec Baldwin, who I simply could not take seriously in dramatic roles for, jeez, this whole century, is charismatic and charmingly understated throughout.  John McTiernan directed it, who directed one of the three (maybe two) best action movies of the Eighties, and now I can't think of the last time I saw his name on a movie.  I wonder if he's retired, or has made too many enemies, or is still in director jail for LAST ACTION HERO or something* (I started listening to the audio commentary before I fell asleep, and it was great to hear him criticizing the decisions he made throughout the movie, saying stuff like, "I didn't really achieve what I set out to in this scene," and "I hope what they did makes sense to the audience, but I'm not sure I did it right").

Arcove or Exercise: Exercise


So, Big and I "got together" on Monday, and finally recorded that last (story) episode of the Dunesteef.  I had been putting it off for more than a year, but he pinned me down and it got done.  It was a long time in coming, but now that it was recorded, I chose to focus on editing it today, so Big could get it up as soon as he could.  At one point, he quoted (or perhaps misquoted) "Beast of Burden" by the Rolling Stones, and I decided to put that in there as the outro music, since I happened to have that song on my laptop anyway.  It's a really solid track from a band I never particularly appreciated, but there's a downbeatness to it, which I thought served the goodbyes well.

I got my exercise bike down, for only the second time, and focused on riding on it, even turning the difficulty up to the second-highest setting.  I read some of a new Houdini book while riding it, and kept saying, "Okay, one more mile then I can stop."  To my surprise, I got pretty sweaty with it, and my legs were a bit wobbly when I finally got off, which I'm sure means I did something good.

There were kids driving around on four-wheelers at the cabin (like there usually are on weekends, but not on Wednesdays and Thursdays), and they were so noisy that I left the computer and investigated what they were yelling about.  There were three deer in the woods in front of our cabin, a mother and two fawn.  The kids were pretty ecstatic about the discovery.

And a moment later, I thought, "Have I become so jaded by seeing them literally every week that I am no longer able to observe them with joy and wonder?"  So I went out on the deck and watched them.  All three deer looked up at me with mild curiosity, but did not run away.  I wondered what they were thinking, and if deer could ever be so accustomed to people that they would approach and let you feed them.  Hmmm.

I drove back, and didn't record a podcast for the first time in living memory.  I did record one with Marshal, though, when I got home.  I guess I'll have something to edit for next week's trip.

Arcove or Exercise: Both

*Oh, I forgot, McTiernan also directed the disastrous THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR and the somehow even more disastrous ROLLERBALL.  Guess that makes three strikes.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

8-1 & 8-2


It's a new month, with new goals.  Most of August will be spent working on Abbie's book, and we had our phone conversation today where we talked about the project and how to pronounce things.  It was very positive and we'll see how hard I can hit this thing here at the beginning of the month, so that I can stay ahead of the deadline to finish it.

I know there will be challenges--heck, there were a couple of bits where I thought, "How the devil am I gonna pull this off?"--but hopefully, it'll make a good go of it.  Apparently, she's already got fans anxiously awaiting the book, including a doctor who only has time to listen to the audio.

Also, I've set an easily-achievable goal of writing 3000 words in August, so that I still write SOMETHING, instead of just letting my writing fall completely by the wayside.

My nephew was incapacitated by a migraine today, and was still in bed when I left for the library.  To my surprise, around four this afternoon, I started getting a headache, one of those that is far forward, around my eye sockets.  I took a pill, took a twenty minute nap, and while it's not entirely gone, it's tolerable.  I can't imagine having the kind of headaches he has, or the kind of headaches my wife would get if she found herself married to me.  But cheers to those who suffer and force themselves to function through it.

Well, I got 744 words written when they did their nightly jarring announcement.  Something tells me three thousand will be a walk in the park, unless I completely fall off the wagon.

The end of the day was spent podcasting with Big.  But more on that later.

Arcove or Exercise: Writing (wait, that's not one of the choices!)


It rained like crazy last night.  It was one of those rainstorms where I worried about flooding, and worried about the homeless dudes who live here at the library (I sometimes see them making their beds on the lawn in between buildings--not at all a bad place to spend a night).*

The main goal I set for August was to either exercise or work on Abbie's book every single day of the month.  Yesterday counts because I did the phone call with her talking about voices and pronunciation.**  Today, well, I knew I wouldn't have time to do much, so I sat down and recorded the opening and closing titles of the book.  It only took five minutes, but hey, I'm still counting it.

After nearly twenty years, I finally terminated my Netflix subscription.  And before you squint and say, "What are you talking about, old man, everybody has a Netflix sub--"  No, I finally had them stop sending me DVDs, since I hardly ever watched them anymore, and when I did, it took me days or weeks to get through them.

Well, I got some writing done (again).  I managed 860 words tonight.  Which puts me halfway to my goal . . . for the month.

Arcove or Exercise: Arcove/Writing

*My brother got called into work because several trees--not limbs, but entire trees--blew over and knocked down powerlines, and he said the entire roof of a storage unit was blown off, so hey, it could've been way worse here in town.

**It was kind of astounding that she knew who every single minor character is, whether they do anything in the book or not (apparently, there are several more books to come, and some of these characters MIGHT have important things to do a year or two down the road).  Me, I sometimes forget entire stories I've written, let alone the names of the characters who appear in them.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

7-30 and 7-31


I got one of those fun "Prove it's really you" tests over on Paypal today, where it wanted me to confirm my identity by sending me a text to my phone, then I had to type it in on the computer before the time elapsed.  No big deal, right?  Except for once I typed it in, I got the error, "Sorry, unable to verify your ID," and it wouldn't log in.

Didn't quite get 700 words today.  I kept trying to find synonyms for "concern" and "worry."  There aren't a lot, at least in my mind.

Anyway, I'm gonna head home and get some more reading done.  I'm in the home stretch now.

Oh, hey.  CatsCast asked if I wanted to do another story for them already.  I'll have to come up with something funny to say in my bio.

Writing or Exercise: Writing


So, last week, David Warner died.  He was an excellent actor, nearly always playing bad guys (in TRON and TIME BANDITS and TIME AFTER TIME and even TITANIC), and played Gul Madred in the excellent two-part "Chain of Command" episode on Star Trek: TNG.  David Warner was cool, and because he died while I was reading Abbie's book, I thought I'd try and make one of the new characters sound like him.

The same day, Paul Sorvino died, who had a great film career . . . but also played Worf's foster brother on a seventh season TNG episode called "Homeward."

And then today, Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on the original "Star Trek" (and six movies), passed away too.  She was 89.

My friends and I were always disappointed that Uhura had nothing to do on the show, especially knowing how important she was in inspiring so many people to pursue communications, linguistics, and the space program.  And hey, anybody who was on the original "Star Trek" is pretty great, between you and me.

There were so many tributes, both from Trek alumni and from others, and that was great, but Pat Carroll, who played the GOAT of all Disney villains, Ursula the Sea Witch died that same day, and I wished she'd had a day of her own to be appreciated.

I had a long drive in the morning, which is pretty irresponsible considering the price of gas (which has dropped more than thirty cents since the start of July, so it could be worse), but there was a guy who's moving and wanted to get rid of some of his figures, and the deal was good enough I was willing to make the drive. 

I made sure to finish reading Abbie's book, though it didn't take much (the last several pages were author's notes, and I had read those as I went along).  Then my nephew wanted to ride his little bicycle around, so I told him I'd take him to the park, and he could bike while I ran.  It was hot and fairly miserable, but we went all the way around, and I did the stairs three times (well, four times, technically, since there's another set of much steeper steps on the far side of the park).  Afterward, I got him (and me) a Slurpiee, and figured we'd both earned it.

Writing or Exercise: Exercise

Friday, July 29, 2022



I apologize for always complaining about stuff, but I was watching "Better Call Saul," and they had "Gene Takavic" run into a guy he knew back in New Mexico when he was Saul Goodman.  But I didn't recognize him.  I rewound it, watched it again, and paused it, still flummoxed.*  I just didn't recognize the guy who recognized Gene/Saul.

So I looked him up.  And sigh.

It was not the same actor who played the character in the old episodes.  Whoops.  Guess I'm not as stupid as the show made me feel.  Thanks, television.

In other news, I told Jeff today that the Gherkin is the most beautiful building in the world.  He laughed, but . . .

I'm back at the library right now, and the dude across the aisle from me is having a nice little mumbly chat with himself, twitching and rocking while he's doing so.  He's obviously mentally ill, and just as his behavior started to upset me . . . I thought about how I talked to myself this morning, trying to get my work done, and that one of the voices had an English accent and the other one didn't.  So, I need to be a bit more charitable, thank you very much.

I started writing again (though I sure wanted to look up every single possible thing that occurred to me . . . still do), and used the word "discomfort."  It seemed like the appropriate word, but I wanted to make sure I hadn't already used it.  So I did a search . . . and it was the NINTH time I had used "discomfort." 
I could've written more.  I could've written longer.  But I managed 670 words, and sorry to be a douche, but the guy across from me (who probably got more words written than me, truth be told) was making me nervous.  So I hit the road a full half hour early.  Sorry.

Writing or Exercise: Writing

*This confusion MIGHT have been avoided had this episode included a "Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer..." but it didn't.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

7-27 & 7-28


At the cabin, beyotch.  I guess I was tired, because I fell asleep while editing, and then later put on a movie (FREE GUY), and fell asleep during it too.  But when I woke up, a half hour or so later, I was pretty refreshed, so I finished the movie, edited Chapter 7 of my audiobook, and went out on the upper deck to look at the stars for a few minutes.  It was the first time I'd done it since I got carbon monoxide poisoning last year, and next time I go, it'd be cool if you'd go with me: the Big Dipper and the Milky Way were super visible in the sky, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me there were a million stars out and shining.

An owl was calling, which is pretty rad, and some other animal was doing some kind of call.  Do deer make noise?  It sounded somewhat dog-like to me, and I wondered if maybe foxes bark.  Probably, right?

 Writing or Exercise: Exercise


I'm supposed to be finishing up "Arcove's Bright Side," but I'm so far behind, it would take an actual NASA-detected miracle to reach the end in time.  I keep noticing references to "Hunter's Unlucky," and I know that, if I was given the job to narrate that book now, I could do a better job of it (partly because the characters have developed so much more in my mind over the years (and my mouth too, if you know what I mean).  The character of Halvery has become a favorite of mine (not a favorite, I suppose, but the favorite), and I'm almost tempted to ask Abbie if I can go back and redo all his dialogue from the first book, now that he's so fleshed out, and the way I perform him.  But I'm not completely mad, mind you--I'll barely get this thing finished by the first of August as it stands.*

While reading her book, I notice certain strengths she has, and an ability to carry a narrative along by withholding information, but letting us know she's withholding it by having a character fixate on it, so we become as invested in finding out as he does.  Meanwhile, I've gotten better at writing over the years, but still consider it a triumph when I get from point A to point D without quitting along the way.  But ah well.

It started raining a little while ago, and man, it's RAINING.  The thunder is so loud, you can feel it in your grundle, and the rain pelted the poor deer outside so hard they ran for cover as though someone had taken a shot at them.  It came down in dime-sized drops, then nickel-sized.  I worry about the road getting back (a dirt road, which would now be a mud and running water road).  I think I've no choice but to stay here, if not for the night, then at least until the torrent stops.  Wow, the sun is still shining, yet it is pouring rain (like, movie rain, the kind that doesn't happen in real life, because people would die from it).  I'll try to get some video of it.

Anyway, I'll keep reading Abbie's book (I'm getting close to the end now) and do a mile or three on that exercise bike I carried upstairs a week ago.  Then we'll see.

At the last minute (I go into more detail in my Patreon address), I decided to at least TRY the roads, so I packed up my stuff, and got in the car.  And the roads were fine.  Honestly, my shoes got way muddier than my car.

Okay, turns out Tony Dow did die, just a day or two later.  You rock, Wally.

Writing or Exercise: Exercise

*Part of my problem is that I keep reading all of the dialogue out loud.  Even when I realize it's taking too long, and I start reading it silently, a page or two later, I start saying the words again, and it slows to a crawl.  I think Abbie understands that, even though I complain about it every time, the actual recording of the book goes much more smoothly (and a bit faster) if I've read it all first.  It's like making a movie where you take a few days to rehearse first, I suppose.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

7-25 & 7/26


This doesn't qualify for a Tale of eBay Horror, but I needed to write SOMETHING in my blog today, since the library was closed (today and yesterday), and I didn't so much as fart today.  Anyway, I got a message from a potential buyer* who asked if I would send him close-up photos of an item, so he could tell if it was what I said it was or not.

That's it, just that little bit there.  Somehow, I thought that was worth blogging about (hey, at least I didn't take another picture of the gross oval bruise on my side).

Watched a "Star Trek" episode called "The Enterprise Incident."  I remembered liking this one a lot the last time I watched it, where a female Romulan Commander puts the moves on Spock, but I found it middling and pointless this time around (after all, none of the plotlines from this episode are ever mentioned again, including the stolen cloaking device and the captured Romulan commander).  I was surprised, though, when I looked it up, to find out it's one of the more highly-regarded installments of the show, from Season Three, when nobody likes anything.

For the "writing" portion of my night, I sat down and recorded Chapter 8 of "But Now I'm Found," and dang it, like Chapter 4, I went waaaaaay longer than I intended.  It was not a long segment, but it was one hour and fourteen minutes recording it.  At this rate, I'll never get to the end.

Writing or Exercise: Writing


The press announced that Tony Dow, who played Wally on "Leave It To Beaver," died today.  There was even a heartfelt tribute from Jerry Mathers, who played his little brother.  But then, Dow's family and manager put out a statement that Tony Dow had NOT died.  Which is awkward, isn't it?

Big has already written over a thousand words today.  I'm not in competition with him (except, perhaps, in who can write a book and not publish it the longest), but I still feel the pressure building.  I'm sitting down at the library, with zero words, and we'll see how well I do in the next hour.

I shouldn't tell anybody this, but fudgin' "Hatchling" finally went through on Audible.  Jeez, if I live to be a hundred, I never want to mention it again.  It'll be like asking Lucas about "The Holiday Special."

Writing or Exercise: Both (if push-ups count)

*I get them every day, and at least one of them [sometimes multiples] ask me how low I will go on the price . . . it's just so weird.  You can make offers on eBay listings, and I've got them set up to automatically accept them if they're above a certain threshold, yet people still ask EVERYDAY what my lowest price would be.