Running off at the mouth

Keep running, big fella. The first ton is the hardest.

Yup, it’s that time of year again.

Something about vile weather, a lack of paying work and the fact that I have all this goddamned technology cluttering up the joint drives me right into the cold mechanical clutches of podcastery.

I don’t know why. I’m a writer first, a cartoonist second, and a back-alley videographer third. An editor if nobody else is available and the pay is medium-heavy. So it’s not as though I lack for creative outlets.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never earned a dime from podcasting. It’s playtime rather than paytime.

Things might have been different had I gone into radio instead of print. Today I’d be working a couple late-night shifts a month at some whistle-stop public radio station and living in a van down by the river. For recreation I’d be pitching upper-case typos at my betters on social media, spraying graffiti on an overpass by the light of a pallet fire, and guzzling cheap gin from the bottle.

Whatevs. In any case, I was glancing back through my training log and noticed that it was full of running for some reason, so I thought it might be fun to let my pie-hole out for a short jog.

And thus, for no good reason other than just because, it’s time for another episode of Radio Free Dogpatch:

• Technical notes: I recorded this episode using a Shure SM58 mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface, plugged into a late-2009 iMac. I read my script into Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack, then edited the audio in Apple’s GarageBand, where I had already built the intro/outro music out of a bunch of Apple loops. The intro/outro telephone voice is also a GarageBand deal, one of a bunch of vocal presets you can select while recording directly into GB. The running sounds I captured on Trail 365 using a Tascam DR-10L digital recorder clipped to my waistband with a lavalier mic attached to my collar.

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28 Responses to “Running off at the mouth”

  1. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Good to hear your voice again. Podcasts generally bore the s–t out of me but your running story sucked me in. I was one of those Jim Fixx running boomers back-in-the-day, sticking with it until I finally ran a sub 3 hour marathon and sub 40 minute 10K. After that I was kind of like you, running a substitute for cycling when the weather was crappy. But each time I’d start back up it was harder and harder to move from just slogging around to actually running, which I define as being in the air briefly with each step and getting a solid drive forward off the back foot.
    Each winter it took longer and longer to arrive at that point and when after one winter when I failed to get there, just couldn’t bring myself to go through it all again when the weather turned bad the next year. Now I’m the typical lazy ‘Murican except when it comes time to pedal a bike, but when I’m in Sicily with no car on a tiny island WALKING is the thing and I get used to it pretty quickly.
    I’d rather hop on my shopping bike but sometimes that’s more trouble than it’s worth. The plus side of course is the exercise – something I can always use more of!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Larry. Podcasts in general seem a little long to me; the ones I’ve done are basically just audio columns. This one ran 750 words, which is a hair less than my old BRAIN columns.

      I’ve never taken running seriously, other than as a substitute for cycling, and I expect my mechanics are all screwy. I’ve never even done a straight running race, though I have done a few multisport deals and one burro race.

      For me the idea is just to get the hell out of the house before I’m tempted to unfold the trainer and bolt a bike to the evil sonofabitch. Forty-five minutes or an hour is plenty, and since I run trails, I don’t get bored.

      The simplicity may be running’s biggest appeal for me. Pull on some shorts and a T, lace up the shoes, and go.

      • Keith willy Says:


      • SteveO’D Says:

        I would submit that you in fact do take running seriously, just not blown out of proportion like way too many.

        Put one foot forward. Then the other. Then simply begin again. Run, and know that you are running.

  2. Keith willy Says:

    Wow. Very sophisticated sound stuff for you to claim being a novice at this. I think your are way guilty and why are you hiding?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Keith. These here ee-lectronical computerified thingamajigs make audio a helluva lot easier to do than it was in high school, when recording and editing meant Sony reel-to-reels, razor blades and tape. Also, lots of alcohol, drugs and cursing.

      If anybody cares about the details, here they are:

      The hardware I used in this one includes a Shure SM58 mic and Audio-Technica ATH-M30x headphones plugged into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface, which in turn is plugged into a late-2009 iMac.

      I recorded my script using Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack, then dragged that AIFF file into Apple’s GarageBand, where I had already built the intro/outro music out of a bunch of Apple loops. The intro/outro telephone voice is also a GarageBand deal, one of a bunch of vocal presets you can select while recording directly into GB.

      The running sounds I captured on Trail 365 using a Tascam DR-10L digital recorder clipped to my waistband with a lavalier mic attached to my collar. I dragged that WAV file into GarageBand for background.

      Then I edited the various audio bits, moving stuff around, clipping out dead air, fading tracks in and out, and saved the whole project as an AIFF file. I dragged that file into iTunes, converted it into a mono MP3, and uploaded the MP3 to Libsyn, my podcast host. Easy sleazy.

      But it’s totally amateur hour. It’s like my cooking — I’m following a recipe here. The guys at Six Colors have a bunch of useful info on how to create a podcast, and you don’t have to look very far around the Innertubes to find more than you would ever want to know about the topic.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    If the kibble runs out, those smooth pipes will still land you a gig at the local NPR station, and you won’t have to live in a van by the river. That is if you keep the tree branches off the ductwork on the roof. But, and there always is one, the music you used linked up with a Bluegrass Underground concert we watched a few hours ago. So, if you like funk and have 24 minutes to spend, check these guys out. Best on a big screen and speakers.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Nice, Pat. That opening tune reminded me of The Crusaders, an outfit I saw at the Mount Hood Festival of Jazz back in 1982. Joe Sample (piano), Stix Hooper (drums), Wilton Felder (saxophone), Wayne Henderson (trombone), Randy Crawford (vocals) and a rotating cast of backup musicians. Good shit.

  4. Keith willy Says:

    Wow. Those pants look expensive, if they don’t feel so. Impressive stuff what technology is in reach of us all. God must be getting bigger.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    Running. Yep. About time I listened to you. My better half looked at me tonight and said “yeah, that’s how I looked when I spent eight hours a day sitting on my ass at a desk editing papers”. Its called a delicate criticism. Not exactly tossing one out the door into the street, given 31 years of wedded bliss, or whatever we call it. Just a recognition that I am slowly going to shit.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ooo, that’s gotta sting. Leave a mark, that will.

      I started doing some light weightlifting a few months back because I felt like I was suffering some age-related loss of upper-body mass. So the other night as we’re getting ready for bed I strike a few shirtless poses in the mirror and announce, “I’m Batman!”

      Herself gives me a squeeze and says, “Of course you are. A very old, very bald Batman.”

      Like I said. Ooo. Stings. Leaves a mark.

      But the running, it’s not too bad. Taxes the heart-lung group, burns calories, doesn’t take up any space in the garage. Plus it’s portable. You jet off to Albany for a fun-filled weekend, the airline doesn’t charge you a hundy to ship your exercise machinery.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        “..charge you a hundy to ship your exercise machinery.” Where can you send it that cheaply? I’m getting prepared to be hosed big-time in a few weeks. A bike travel case (double wide and full of wheels, etc.) + two medium-sized rolling suitcases and I’m-not-sure-yet as to what else.
        We lucked out the last time as the airline desk clerk took pity on us, but I fear the law-of-averages will catch up with us this time.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’ve never flown with a bike, Larry, though I’ve flown on a bike a time or two. This rarely ends well.

        When I go, I go Air Subaru. Air Subaru takes off whenever and lands wherever, but they don’t charge much and they rarely lose the luggage.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          As you might guess I’ve flown with bikes a time or two + have plenty of experience related by clients over the years. Only once in 3+ decades have I seen first-hand a bike totally destroyed and overall very few cases of real damage. Most of the time damage is from poor packing rather than airport gorilla antics.
          Domestically I just ship ’em using but Internationally the only reasonable way is to check ’em as luggage and prepare to get hosed. Even if we get hosed this time it’ll really just be the law-of-averages catching up with us as the local airport folks here in Iowa have mostly been too kind over the years we’ve flown out of here. This will be the final time so they gotta get their loot now or forget about it!

    • SteveO’D Says:

      31 years! Well done, Khal. Me, I’ll be celebrating a dozen years of marital bliss this winter. And considering we’ve been married 20, that ain’t too bad..

  6. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Well it sounds like you are requesting someone to punch you in the nuts so you can regain your lost youth. Sigh…ok…I’m on the next flight out. Anything to encourage more great humor from you in what I hope are more podcasts. You can always count on old Herb. But aren’t Kahl and POB a lot closer?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s not quite how I envisioned the Fountain of Youth, Herb. I was thinking something more spa-like. A Ten Thousand Waves kind of deal.

      Glad you liked the little podcast. It’s fun, something of a challenge, takes me out of my safe space, like shooting those review videos for Adventure Cyclist.

      The hard thing to remember is that writing for publication and writing for spoken word are two different beasties. If I talked the way I write I wouldn’t have to have friends jet in to get my kick in the ’nads.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      I could be there in 6 or 7 hours if Patrick is desperate. On the other hand, I need to go find some bar tape for the new Double Cross Disc build. That’s the last thing to get to finish it. The wheels and brakes are on order. My LBS has the rotors and tires in stock. Should be ready next week. So how about next week Patrick? I’ll bring the new ride with me.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I think that the subtext of the podcast was “Anybody who yearns to be young again deserves a puck in the ’nads.”

      I wouldn’t be a kid again for a FedEx 18-wheeler full of Krugerrands. Everything was either triumph or tragedy, without the interesting in-betweens that make the game worth the candle.

  7. John Hodge Says:

    “Maybe it’s because I’ve never earned a dime from podcasting.”

    So….pretty much just like writing, cartooning, and editing then, yes?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I take exception, sir. I have earned a dime and a nickel off them things. Uncle Sammy got the dime, and Herself took my nickel.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        Who cares if it earns a dime or not? As someone once said: “Even a dead fish can go with the flow.”

        Sooo….PO’G……please keep on with your podcasting, blogging, bike reviews, running, ‘Crossing, MTB’ing, and generally (quasi, possibly) un-politicized reviews of “la Vita Americana” (that was for you, Larry) for us less talented PO’G wannabes.

        PS and a plug for NICA: Just returned from the NICA Colorado MTB championships in Durango. I help coach a team of high-school MTB’ers: They and their colleagues across the US would make all of your readers proud. That sport allows the young women and men, and their parents and even grandparents who often ride with them and support their progress, to stretch their physical limits and personal confidence to the limited.

        They are more than following in our footsteps…..they will extend our frontier and exceed our expectations.

        Ride on!!!!!

      • JD Dallager Says:

        Sorry….very long day (as in18 hours)….should be stretch their physical limits and personal confidence to the limits.

  8. Libby Says:

    Bravo!! Bis! Bis!

  9. Mark Rothschild Says:

    Google…”Trump Mash” Beavis + Butthead…

  10. Mazoli - Blog Author Says:

    Great cartoonist!

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