The Pod People

OK, I’ve been threatening to resurrect the Radio Free Dogpatch podcast for a while now, and the stars finally came into proper alignment this week, so here we go.

For the first time Radio Free Dogpatch is not a solo effort — my friend and colleague Hal Walter joined me for a chat of about 75 minutes that I boiled down in editing to just over an hour.

RFD-BugCall it “Two Dudes Mystery Theatre.” We talked about the passing of poets Jim Harrison and Merle Haggard; Hal’s autistic son, and what it’s like trying to do creative work while raising a child who is not “neuro-typical”; and cooking.

For anyone who’s interested in the nuts and bolts of this Frankensteinian project, we chatted via Skype (Hal lives in Custer County, Colorado, while I’m in Albuquerque). On my end I was using a Samson C01U USB condenser microphone and an old pair of Bose earbuds plugged into an equally old iMac; Hal went even lower-tech, using a $50 Kindle Fire and some Apple earbuds, the kind that include an inline mic’.

I recorded our conversation using Ecamm’s Call Recorder, then split the convo into two tracks and dragged both into Apple’s GarageBand for editing. Once the thing was more or less the way I wanted it, I uploaded it to Libsyn, which hosts RFD and sends an RSS feed to iTunes.

During our ‘cast I promised to provide links with more information about some of the topics we discussed, and here those are:

Jim Harrison

• Tom McGuane’s “Postscript” in The New Yorker.

• Mario Batali recalls mealtimes with Harrison in Time.

• Jimmy Buffett bids a fond adios to his hermano on Facebook.

• Doug Peacock on Harrison and the art of friendship at The Daily Beast.

Merle Haggard

A recollection from Patrick Doyle in Rolling Stone.

• NPR’s “Fresh Air” reprises a 1995 interview with the outlaw country legend.


• The food of Apulia, from Florence Fabricant in The New York Times.

• Her recipe for orecchiette with cherry tomatoes and arugula (being a barbarian, I add hot Italian sausage).

Final notes

If you find yourself interested in Hal’s writing, you can visit him at Hardscrabble Times (yeah, it’s been a while since he updated the ol’ blog) or order up one or more of his books (check the link in the sidebar).

Meanwhile, let us know in comments what you think. It’s a little rough around the edges, but so are we. Happily, the podcast can be improved.

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8 Responses to “The Pod People”

  1. JD Dallager Says:

    PO’G: Absolutely incredible! When do you sleep??!! 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Lately, not often, JD … it’s been a long time since I edited any audio, and I’ve never tried recording/manipulating a Skype chat, so I was really, really, really slow at putting the whole shebang together.

      I need to get under GarageBand’s hood, find a few shortcuts. Boy, the sumbitch is a little less than user friendly, I don’t mind telling ya.

      • Larry T. Says:

        What, Apple crap is not user-friendly? C’mon, you’re not drinking enough of the Apple-Ade these days?
        Note: this is in NO way an endorsement of Microcrap but a response to the barrage of “I-crap is so intuitive” and “I-crap/Macs/Apple never, ever crash or blow up” that I’ve endured over the years from those inebriated from too much of the Apple-ade.
        On another note, TV coverage of Paris-Roubaix is start-to-finish tomorrow. When are the LUG’s starting?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        As I’ve mentioned a time or two, Lorenzo, today’s Apple is mos’ def’ not yesterday’s Apple. Some of the software I found really user-friendly Back In the Day® just plain ain’t no mo’.

        And not being able to do simple mechanical work on the new hardware is likewise exasperating. When I got up this morning after spending a large part of yesterday trying to make GarageBand do what I wanted it to do, the fan on the old iMac was going full tilt — sounded like a Huey warming up on the pad. Why? Beats me. I hadn’t laid a finger on the keyboard since early afternoon on Friday. Thing was supposed to be sleeping, like me. But a 10-pound sledge will fix most anything.

        Still, puzzling out these little mysteries keeps the mind sharp, yes? Maybe if Mom had had to untangle a few of these these techno-threads the cray-cray would have let her be.

        Meanwhile, back at Paris-Roubaix, Charles plans to be up at the crack of dark-thirty Laramie time to be hollering about The Race of the Really Big Stones. I’m unlikely to clip in before 6 a.m. O’Grady Standard Time.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I liked it! You got the radio voice, dude. Hal is a very interesting guy, and I can see why his readers would want to meet him. I will put “Legends of the Fall” and Full Tilt Boogie on my reading list.

    Like I have said before, we should roll up the driveway after a long and memorable ride, tell our partner we had a great ride, and then just fall to pieces like the car at the end of the Blues Brothers movie. Preferably in our 90’s or later. Sitting at a desk is just no way to go. Got to be outside. Had a friend on a search and rescue mission in the Chiricahua mountains. He had a heart attack during the mission, and he ended up being the one on the helicopter flying to a Tucson hospital. He later told me that when he realized what was happening, he quickly chewed a couple of aspirin he had in his pack, made the radio call for help, and leaned up against a tree. He said he looked around and decided he couldn’t have been in a more perfect place.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Pat. It was an interesting experiment, for sure. David Bernstein of The Spokesmen has been very helpful, sharing his tips and techniques. And Jason Snell at Six Colors is a treasure trove of useful info, too.

      Hal is indeed a very interesting fellow. We met back in 1983 or thereabouts when I took a job on the copy desk at The Pueblo Chieftain — he helped get me off cigarettes and back into healthful aerobic exercise, so you can blame him for what I’ve become. Or maybe Obama. Thanks, Obama!

      You and your friend have the right idea. Dad survived all those combat missions during WWII only to die hooked up to tubes and wires in a Bibleburg ICU; Mom made her final departure from an Alzheimer’s care facility, Give me the great outdoors any old day.

  3. carl b duellman jr Says:

    great podcast. nice honest and real conversation and not over produced. i especially like the part about living to 120. i could use a do over.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      A do-over. Sheesh. You and me both, Hoss. I’m starting to think that after 62 years of practice maybe the next 62 would go a little more smoothly. Glad you enjoyed our little experiment. We have more planned, but with nine or 10 jobs and a special-needs kid Hal makes himself hard to catch.

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