Archive for the ‘Radio Free Dogpatch’ Category

‘We’ll be right back after this message. …’

July 15, 2020

Down time.

The question very much not on everyone’s mind is: “Whatever happened to Radio Free Dogpatch?”

My little podcast was ticking along nicely there for a while, with episodes popping up semi-regularly since the first of the year.

Then the broken ankle took me down in February, and The Bug® put the boots to me in March.

And that, as they say, was that.

A podcast, even a low-rent, one-man, half-assed model like mine, takes time. Thought. Quiet.

It’s quiet out there. Too quiet.

All those things were suddenly in short supply when Herself joined me in working from home.

If any of you have been doing likewise in lockdown, you know the drill. Zoom meetings. Phone calls. Speakerphone calls, with voices that often fail to harmonize with the ones in my head. Skypeing. Messaging. Texting.

And it all starts at stupid-thirty, ’cause Herself is an early riser. By the time I crawl out of my coffin around 6-ish she’s already brewed the coffee and fed the cat, and is two-three phone calls into her day.

Which is rigorously planned. She has a List. Items will be checked off same or she will know the reason why. Any gaps that appear unexpectedly between chores will be filled with … more chores. Herself is a Tasmanian devil of relentless functionality and accomplishment.

Me? I just, y’know, kinda, like, fuck around, an’ shit. See what happens. If anything.

Ho, ho. Too bad for me. Her gig is the one that makes it rain around here. My contributions to the general fund have become a little less laughable since I started collecting Social Security in April, but next to her mighty fiscal Niagara my revenue stream remains the dribbling of a very old dog with prostate issues and a bladder stone the size of the Hope Diamond.

Shucks, the podcast never brought in a dime anyway. In fact, it sent dimes out, in the form of dollars. Many, many of them. An essential worker it is not. Like Adolf Twitler’s “presidency,” it is primarily a cash-burning vanity project.

So if anybody is going to STFU around here for a minute, or even for months, well … it’s gonna be Radio Free Dogpatch.

I take solace from learning that I’m not the only voice to develop a little situational laryngitis in The New Weird Order.

For instance, parents who podcast are finding it tough to get their Ira Glass on with herds of unschooled munchkins free-ranging around the home studio, according to Caroline Crampton of the “Hot Pod” newsletter (scroll down).

Writes Crampton: “[F]or those who work in audio and need to edit for long periods, or record links and tracking to the highest possible standard that the moment will allow, there’s the extra challenge of finding the space and quietness to do that.”

The short version, from one anonymous podcaster: “Take after take just gets nuked.”

(Insert sound effect of Trinity atomic blast here. Oh, wait, we’re doing text now, not audio. Never mind.)

Happily, my primary distraction is not a horrifically bored, runny-nosed, ankle-biting, boundary-testing expense that a dozen or so years down the road will call me a fleshist at my own dinner table for not pledging some of my hard-earned Imperial credits to the Robot Liberation Army. She’s an income-generating asset, and right now, too.

So if Herself screams “GRILLED CHEESE! GRILLED CHEESE!”, she’s gonna get some grilled fuckin’ cheese from yours truly. We call it a quesadilla around here, but still, whatever you wanna call it, she’s gonna get it.

Radio Free Dogpatch is not the new toilet paper. It may be in short supply, but that doesn’t mean the punters are throwing hands over it at Libsyn. If I have something to say, I can always slink off to where the old toilet paper is, close the door, and squeeze out a quick blog post.

And yes, I’ll turn on the ceiling fan and wash my hands afterward.

Bleach Blankety-Blanket Bingo

April 27, 2020

Great Caesar’s Ghost, is it all superhero movies?
And where the hell is our Superman?

Being on lockdown is like watching a bad movie.

Sure, it sucks. But if you bail early, you might miss something.

Or catch something.

Why not just lean back, put your feet up, and enjoy (hating) the show? The credits will roll soon enough. And we know who’s not getting a best-director Oscar for this hot mess.

Pass the popcorn. Say, is it just me, or does this soda taste like bleach?

Yes, yes, yes, it’s another doctor-recommended, hospital-tested, clinically proven episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: Acoustic considerations (Herself doing paying work right next to my “studio”) dictated that I change locations (to her wallk-in closet) and return to the Shure Beta 87A mic and Zoom H5 Handy Recorder for this one, instead of recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was in GarageBand, with an assist from Miss Mia Sopaipilla, whose stylings on the keyboard while I stepped away from the desk for a moment rendered the original voiceover … interesting. The intro music is a compilation of GB loops, assembled by Your Humble Narrator. Howling courtesy The Colorado Sun, because I forgot to record our local howlers last night. Singing Italians via The Guardian. Angry crowd from the YouTube Audio Library, as is “An Army of None,” by The Whole Other. And Freesound.org contributed the hum (adamamazing), the comic rimshot (deleted_user_7146007), and the film projector (filip_stefanowski ),

The New Abnormal

April 18, 2020

Some folks think they’re getting the business.

The American attention span, ordinarily measured in nanoseconds, is fraying around its all-too-short edges as the walls start closing in on the homebound.

Relief payments have gone walkabout. The SBA ran out of money to loan. And almost no unemployment aid has made it to the self-employed.

Is patience a luxury we can’t afford, or a necessity we can’t live without?

For some folks, it’s just one more thing that they’ve run out of, like beer, beans, and buttwipe. But Your Humble Narrator still has a personal stash, and if you can bear about six more minutes of social distancing, he’ll let you have a little taste.

Yes, yes, yes, it’s another socially distant episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic and Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. The trail-walking portion was recorded on a Tascam DR-10L. Editing was as usual, using GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro. The background music is “Easy Day” by Kevin MacLeod, taken from the YouTube audio library, as was the angry crowd. The squeaky bike is from jamesrodavidson at Freesound.org. The yappi corgis are likewise from the YouTube. The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote are, of course, from the glory days of animation at Warner Bros. And the centurion calls us weird from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”

Hello in there

April 11, 2020

Herself and Herself the Elder enjoy analog FaceTime at the Dark Tower.

Locked doors. Empty streets. Everyone’s bunkered up and wearing masks, like poilus in a Ypres trench awaiting a gas attack.

Social distancing isn’t new to me. I’ve worked from home for nearly 30 years, and I have come to relish my solitude. My colleagues these days are mostly in Missoula and Boulder. Some days I find it hard to believe that I ever got anything done in a crowded newsroom, which may have pioneered the open-plan office everyone else soon came to loathe.

But even I get twitchy now and then, especially since I was homebound early on with a broken ankle. The COVID-19 may be out there, but the cabin fever is most definitely in here. There are bicycles to be reviewed, an ankle to be rehabilitated. And anyway, jolly old Doc O’Grady feels it’s prudent to take society’s temperature now and then.

So I limp around the ’hood for a spell, shout back and forth with the neighbors. One has retired and has a new dog. Another is working overtime and has an old dog, gamely hanging on, like the rest of us. Next door they’re turning a pile of gravel into a base for a backyard shed. The other next door is exhausted from babysitting grandchildren.

Sometimes we ride the bikes. Herself the Elder needs regular resupply, soda, wine, and Kleenex, along with a bit of analog FaceTime through her bedroom window. A little girl squeals, “I have a bike!” So do I, sweetie. I bet you don’t have to give yours back after a few weeks. At least, I hope not.

The Italians sing. New Yorkers clap. Here in the ’Burque ’burbs we venture out briefly, if only to say, “Hello in there … hello … and have you heard the latest socially distant episode of Radio Free Dogpatch?”

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: Cheap, cheap, sings the Radio Free Dogpatch birdie. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic, recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. Once again the background music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled in the iOS version of GarageBand with some John Prine licks in mind.

Doing time

April 1, 2020

Miss Mia knows how to be jailin’.

In his loosely autobiographical novel “Homeboy,” ex-con Seth Morgan had a character offer some advice for a new fish worried about doing time.

“The time does itself,” schooled Smoothbore. “You jist got to live with it.”

A few pages closer to the penitentiary, the narrator elaborated:

Jailin’ was an art form and lifestyle both. The style was walkin’ slow, drinkin’ plenty of water, and doin’ your own time; the art was lightin’ cigarets from wall sockets, playin’ the dozens, cuttin’ up dream jackpots, and slowin’ your metabolism to a crawl, sleepin’ twenty hours a day. Forget the streets you won’t see for years. Lettin’ your heart beat the bricks with your body behind bars was hard time. Acceptin’ the jailhouse as the only reality was easy time. Jailin’.

Staying at home, social distancing — these aren’t jailin’, but they’re not exactly freedom, either. Sure, the cell is a little bigger, the guards a little less visible, and the food better. Still, you’d rather be out on the street.

But listen to Smoothbore. Let the time do itself. Live with it.

With any luck at all, you have a short stretch and an agreeable cellmate. You know — someone who doesn’t mind doing the laundry while you stretch out on your bunk and listen to the latest thrilling episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: The bargain-basement broadcasting continues. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic,recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. Once again the background music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled from bits and pieces in the Mac and iOS versions of GarageBand. Other sonic adornments come from the iMovie and GarageBand sound libraries.

Antisocial distancing

March 21, 2020

The outside is still there. We’re just not making as much use of it lately.

No child likes homework. And damn few adults like working from home full time, once they’ve given it a whirl.

Oh, sure, some of us are cut out for it. Truth be told, without the option to work remotely, some of us wouldn’t be remotely employable.

So as you noobs open your laptops on the kitchen counter, launch Skype, and settle into The New Normal, remember the Old Abnormal. We’re still here, in our three-day beards, unbrushed teeth, and soiled yoga pants, taking regular meetings with the voices in our heads.

We pioneered this shit. Homesteaded it, you might say. And we like it.

So, welcome to orientation.

First, the bad news: The voices in your head are not the ones you’re used to hearing around the water cooler in the office.

The good news? You can tell them to shut the fuck up and they won’t rat you out to HR.

Yes, it’s another thrilling episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: It’s another bargain-basement broadcast. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic, and skipped the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder in favor of recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. The intro music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled from bits and pieces in the iOS version of GarageBand on a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Angry shouting and background music (the latter by Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions) is courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library. Cash register by kiddpark at Freesound.org. Herself was voiced either by Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks, or Rosario Dawson, I can’t decide.

Rolled another one

February 27, 2020

Eric “Nohand” Crapton takes his solo. | Photo by Herself

One of the interesting aspects of occasionally wandering away from straight writing into “multimedia,” by which I mean short videos, podcasts, and what have you, is seeing how one thing can become another if you use a big enough hammer.

It’s not always a better thing. But it’s inevitably something different. So what we have here is a podcast that grew like a weed, a wart, or a boil from a couple of short blog posts.

When I blew up my ankle last Friday my instinctive reaction was to write a long blog post about the first time I did that, in 1983. I was a depressed 29-year-old fat bastard who had just quit one job in Oregon for another in Colorado, and suddenly, boom, there I was in a walking cast, on crutches, 1,400 miles from my new home.

A fiberglass foot makes it tough to drive stick. Hell, I couldn’t even load the truck. Stairs were involved. Plus I had two dogs who were nearly as ill-mannered as I was.

And then there was the time I broke a collarbone midway through a long-loop mountain-bike race. Lemme tell you, that shit will affect your finishing time. My cyclocross training proved useless. Couldn’t even shoulder the bike and run. Couldn’t drive then, either, and it was a long haul back to Bibleburg from Gunnison.

Happily, in both instances, I got by with a little help from my friends. Until this last time, when I was on my own.

Golly gee, Mister Dog, what happened then? There’s only one way to find out, sonny, and it’s not by reading — you gotta listen to the latest episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure Beta 87A microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. Post-production voodoo by Auphonic. The background music was assembled from various loops in GarageBand by Your Humble Narrator, while the various sound effects were gleaned from G-band and the iMovie effects bin.

Random acts of radio

February 18, 2020

The mighty Zenith K725.

Back in the Day® it seemed some oversensitive jagoff was always shrieking at us to “Turn that noise down!” Or even off.

How little things have changed.

Impeachy the Clown and Porky Pompeo have it in for NPR because a couple of its reporters had the temerity to, like, y’know, report, an’ shit.

And they’ve started cranking up that tired old double-chin music about defunding NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, because these fatboys can only punch down.

Naturally, this triggered me, because I’m as oversensitive as the next jagoff. Throw in the confluence of Presidents Day and Random Acts of Kindness Day, and boom: Before anyone could tell me to shut my yap I was opening wide to deliver another painful sound bite with the yellowing fangs of Radio Free Dogpatch.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. Post-production voodoo by Auphonic. The background music was cobbled together by Your Humble Narrator using Apple’s GarageBand and the iMovie effects bin. KRCC operations manager Mike Procell appears through the miracle of Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack.

The Monitor in the Merrimack

February 11, 2020

C’mon. When you’re staring at this much screen you want a box of popcorn, a big ol’ soda, and a preview of coming attractions that does not include the honking 18-wheeler into whose lane you have strayed.

I have an ironclad disagreement with the notion of a multiplex in motion.

My argument is a simple one: If you want to drive, get an automobile. If you want to text, tweet, phone, Facebook, Instagram, eat, drink, smoke, shoot, or stream anything other than your own bad self down the road, why, get a sofa and some fixed location to put it in.

Our discussion of the Escalade Multiplex with its 38 inches of curving OLED real estate caused me to remember an earlier screed on this very topic, from the pages of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News circa 2014. For a change I cited sources other than the voices in my head, though of course they too were interviewed at length.

Rather than simply reprint the column — c’est ennuyeux! — I barked it into the old Shure SM58 and presto! Yes, yes, yes, out popped another episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

Too late for this year’s Pulitzer for Audio Reporting, but hey, there’s always next year, amirite? Or maybe 2024, when the sonofabitch will be 10 years old and journalistic standards may have declined even further, perhaps to my level.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure SM58 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. Post-production voodoo by Auphonic. The background music is “Well Oiled Machine” from Zapsplat. Sound effects from Apple’s iMovie effects bin and Your Humble Narrator.

A Royal Flush, or Circling the Bowl

February 4, 2020

Goddamnit, this one will not go down!

What a week. And we’re only at Tuesday.

On Monday, the Donks intercoursed the penguin most savagely with an Iowa caucus that resembled nothing so much as the Batley Townswomens’ Guild’s re-enactment of the Battle of Pearl Harbor, only without the funny bits.

Come Tuesday, we got a twofer: First, the Senate “debating” whether to remove King Donald the Short-fingered from his golden throne; and the State of the Union Address, which seems certain to be even less funny than the Senate, the Iowa caucus, and the Batley Townswomens’ Guild.

And come Wednesday, His Lardship will skate on all charges, have Stephanie Grisham squeegee all those senatorial lip prints off his fat ass, and get back to wiping it with the world.

As if all this weren’t bad enough, well, I bring still more evil tidings — yes, yes, yes, it’s time for more political-science fiction from the K-9 Caucus at Radio Free Dogpatch!

Gosh. Whatever will Thursday bring? And News Dump Friday is gonna have to up its game big-time if it wants to keep being more than just another day of the week.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure SM58 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. Post-production voodoo by Auphonic. The background music is “The Throne Room” from Sir Cubworth, via the YouTube Audio Library. The golf shot and crowd noise come from craigsmith at Freesound.org. Clock ticking and alarm ringing are straight from the iMovie sound-effects bin. And the sound of the world swirling down the loo? That comes straight from the guest bath at El Rancho Pendejo.