I’m really bad at avoiding being cynical.

And that really sucks.

The following is a comment from a reddit thread. I suggest reading the thread until you get to this one, but this one is the most important thing I’ve read recently.

Fuck, I have been battling bedbugs for three weeks, and I was ready to crucify the people in the original picture just like everyone else. But once I got to the end of that comment:

“…Everyone is doing their best. If they are doing a bad job it’s because they don’t know how to do it better. Whether it’s knowledge, depression, mental illness, shitty upbringing. It’s their best, as terrible as it may be.”

It makes me remember the fact that I graduated from college right when people with my degree had been flooding back in to my industry after they took a break during the financial crisis. I have since abandoned any hope of getting back to any kind of social service/mental health unless I become independently wealthy. Since then I’ve been jumping from one job to another, just to keep my household afloat – and even that is once again coming under fire. If you look at my resume` without really asking “why in the world has this guy been in traffic control and in a preschool?” then many people would assume that I just can’t hold a proper job long-term. The truth is that I have had to face really hard facts at really inconvenient moments in my life.

My point is: I’m doing my best, but I often get nervous that people don’t always see that – I get nervous they will see me as lazy. Or as ‘not motivated’. Or as ‘entitled’. Or even as ‘just another loser’. But goddamit, I’m doing my best. I need to be making more money, but man there are some really important things that I’ve had to sacrifice. Sometimes the thing I have to give up is financial security. It’s a lot better to give that up and rest easy than to know that you weren’t there when someone depended on you. For me, that trade has leveled a hefty bill in my direction, but I think it’s been worth it.

Bedbugs

They are a thing. A thing in my house.

Not very many- in fact so far it’s one of the smallest colonies I’ve ever even heard about- but no matter how many you see, you drop 100% of other things and take care of them right the hell now. 

So, this website is on a 100% hiatus until a) the inspectors come and inform us that we have done everything properly, and can relax while they heat treat the domicile or b) we do everything we can and told we need to get out of the way while the pros do their thing.

Option ‘a’ means I will have an episode out Friday the 11th. Option ‘b’ may limit my access to a computer of the right caliber, and you might not see an episode until the 25th or later.

A few notes if you find yourself with bedbugs: 

-Tell your landlord asap. They are required to do something about it by law, and most want to be known as ‘the landlord who takes this seriously’.

-DO NOT spray with rubbing alcohol immediately. This may send the survivors in to the walls, making them harder to detect and exterminate. But keep rubbing alcohol around, especially for your ‘leaving the house’ routine. Listen to  your exterminator and landlord for immediate instructions.

-One of the primary health effects of these nasty little parasites is the lack of sleep due to anxiety. See if a family member or friend will take you in for at least a few days while you get your house sorted.

-Be considerate to people you interact with: if you are staying somewhere else or even visiting a friend, decontaminate yourself. Wear clothing that has been heat-treated (dryer in highest heat, longest time is usually ok), use alcohol on your shoes when you leave the house, DO NOT give them a gift from your house.

-Be prepared to sacrifice all your free time and some money to get rid of them. Your local health department might be able to assist with finances.

-Get ready, right now, to fight, really hard and do everything you need to do to get rid of these little bastards. It’s going to suck. You will cry. But you will kill the fuckers and you will eventually recover from them. But it will be worse if you don’t have a thirst for their death.

Podcast Day 2016 episode 4

FINAL EDIT: I am admitting defeat. I keep trying to work on this instead of doing other things, which makes me not want to do other things, which starts up the Spiral of Defeat and Failure and Other Bullshit™. I will keep around those episodes that I have already created, but I’m not going to finish. Maybe I’ll do a new year’s thing. I probably should have planned way far in advance, anyways. Current plan is to get out an episode of Nerd Fort #1 ASAP, which I think will be on Friday.

This was supposed to be where I would have the next episode, but I don’t yet.

This will be rectified soon.

Edit from my phone: the fan on my power supply in my computer has died, so I don’t want to use computer for anything to serious, like editing audio. It may be a few days before this gets figured out. Hopefully i can just clean it out really well.

Edit again: holy crap. While fixing my computer my household came down with the plague. I’m already very lucky that I’ve been able to work like this, and i haven’t been able to record or edit anything for quite a while

I plan to release the remaining podcast-focused episodes all on Friday. Certainly everything that I can get done by then.

But of course I know how plans go.

Hopefully the final edit: Plans did not go well. I got some serious food poisoning and I didn’t even know what day it was for a little while there. Planning on recording the next time I have time away from both job and toddler at the same moment. Might be tonight, 10/20/2016. I’m going to post the audio from it ASAP after I record.

Podcast Day 2016, Episode 3

Ok, here is episode 3, all about the hardware needs that you will have. (links to products here give me a kickback, btw)

1. Space.

Literally. You need space to do this. It needs to be quiet, it needs to be free of pets and children. It should not have bare walls.

2. A computer.

I assume that most people have one that will suffice for recording and editing – if you’re not sure, trying playing a modern video game on it. Can it handle it at default levels? awesome. it works.

3. Actual podcaster-specific stuff: a microphone.

The one that you will use comes in 2 major types: Dynamic and Condenser. Here is a Wikipedia page about it.

If you are going to be in a group setting and you don’t want another mic for each person, go with condenser, as it will pick up all the audio in the room. I use a Blue Snowball for recording my D&D sessions.

If you are going to be by yourself, or you can afford one for each person, then use a dynamic mic, as it tends to not pick up audio that is far away from it, and it has a more impressive range that it can pick up. When I am recording by myself, I use the ubiquitous ATR-2100.

Other things, in no particular order:

If you don’t want to build a blanket for around your computer every time that you record, get some acoustic panels.

If you don’t want to find the very limits of your listener’s patience, get a pop filter. There’s also another style.

If you’ve got money to burn and hate taking time to put your microphone away, then get the thing I incorrectly called a boom. It’s actually a scissor arm stand. A boom is the long pole that sticks out the back of a ‘normal’ mic stand.

If you want to be able to do anything on your desk without pausing your recording, then a shock mount is for you.

If you want to hear what you sound like to your audience while you are editing, then some decent headphones are in order.

International Podcast Day 2016, Episode 2

There are some things that are very important to podcasting that can’t be bought or acquired in how we normally think of it, but are still pretty important.

1. A support network

Most people have some kind of support network, but many people rarely think about it. Taking some time to figure out who in your life is going to help you with your podcast – often in ways that you might not expect – is very valuable. To learn who would be in your podcast support network, the best advice is to talk about it and see what people have to say.

2. Time

Many people feel like they don’t have enough time, which is a problem for podcasters because it is a hobby that does take a significant amount of time. Making a decision to carve time out of your other activities is usually what it’s going to take to be able to have time to podcast. Definitely don’t sacrifice time with your family, or time at your job. Maybe consider sacrificing time asleep or time doing other games and hobbies.

3. Attitude

I still don’t really have this one well defined, even for myself, but I know it’s important. Staying motivated and disciplined is important. Also important is sticking to your decision to do it. When I’ve got a bad attitude, I can’t make good episodes. When I have a good attitude, I am capable of making the best episodes.

4. Passion

Everyone is passionate about something. Some people have a humanitarian cause – like raising money for researching a disease, or raising political awareness about an important issue. Other people have a personal passion – perhaps the music industry, movies, woodcarving, or sun tanning. Perhaps your passion is simply having fun with your friends or enjoying board games.

The great thing about podcasting is that you don’t need to be passionate about podcasting. But you do need to be passionate about something. When you get in front of a microphone with a passion about anything, youve got a good start to be able to podcast well.

5. Technical understanding

A lot less important than you might think, it is nonetheless important to have a basic understanding of the tools that you are using to podcast. You don’t need to have college-level knowledge about the broadcast industry, or how microphones work, or anything like that. But you do need to know how all of your stuff fits together, and how to make it work.

There are some people that are capable of tearing apart and rebuilding a car’s engine. Then there are people who are afraid to open the hood of their car at all. But both of these people can drive their car down the road. They both know the gas, the brake, how to unlock the doors, and how to roll the windows up. Very similarly, most podcasters won’t be able to safely take a soldering iron to the inside of a microphone, but practically anyone can hook up a microphone to the computer and make a recording.

International Podcast Day 2016 – Episode 1 of 7

So, today is International Podcast Day 2016, and I am doing a kinda off-the-cuff mini series about podcasting. This episode is how I started a podcast and a really rough bare minimum that you would need to get started. Since this podcast is 75% about my story, I won’t include that in the show notes, but I can give you the links for the podcasts that I mentioned, and the very basic things you need for a podcast.

Welcome to Night Vale is at http://www.welcometonightvale.com/listen

The 3.5 private sanctuary has changed since i first started listening to it, and can be found under a new name at  http://knowdirectionpodcast.com/

The Audacity to Podcast can be found here: https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/

The four basic things that I mentioned that you need for a podcast:

Thing 1: a recording device. To start, I suggest a USB mic attached to a computer. You can use things like your phone but I don’t suggest it. You can also go crazy and start with sound boards and professional-level microphones at first but if you don’t already have experience with them, then it’s a really bad idea.

Thing 2: Somewhere online to put the audio where your potential audience can find it. YouTube is the bare minimum for this, and is also a really bad idea. Don’t podcast on YouTube unless you are doing a video podcast, and don’t do a video podcast unless you really know how to edit video. I personally suggest Libsyn as a media host, but that’s just me.

Thing 3: a space to record. If you think you have a great place, then record total silence in that space for 2 minutes, and then listen to it. Now go back and turn off all the stuff that was making noise (AC, furnace, the dog, street, etc.) and then talk a little bit. just say your name and where you are from – and listen to that. You’ll notice little echoes and stuff. You want soft surfaces and zero machinery.

Thing 4: Something to say. This is probably the most important part. If you don’t have anything to say, then no one will listen to you. You need to be knowledgeable and passionate about your subject matter. You have no idea how many podcasts there are about knitting. Seriously. there are enough of them that some people have compiled a ‘top 5’ list of knitting podcasts. You know that there is someone that wants to hear what you have to say – and a podcast is a great way to reach them.

This Friday, International Podcast Day.

I don’t know what makes this Friday the international podcast day, but for some reason it is. To start off, you should go catch up on your favorite podcast. After that, find a new, interesting podcast and get caught up on that. With the remaining 3 minutes in your day, you should read this and get prepared to listen to my podcast every day next week.

For some reason I care about Podcast Day. I don’t usually care about national/international anything day. I don’t care about pancake day, or beer day, free slushies at 7/11 day, or even D&D day. But I care about Podcast Day. The funny thing about that is: I’m not entirely sure why I care about it. I just do.

One way or the other, I am going to write a podcast episode the moment that I am done with this post, and I am going to publish the episode in my normal feed (SORRY, all you D&D listeners. If you have subscribed for only D&D content, I will make sure that I will include a disclaimer at the very beginning about how you aren’t hearing anything D&D). And then I’m going to write and record a bunch more so that you’ve got the whole story of how I got where I am and how you can start a podcast as well – or at least appreciate the people who do podcasts that aren’t backed up by big media outlets or other sources of cash and labor.

The first episode (this Friday) is going to be about making podcasts, and it is going to start off a mini-series about how I have made mine, and how you can make yours. They will be a half hour or less and be accompanied by half-way decent show notes.

See you then, I hope.

Nerd Fort #1, Episode 11 – for real this time.

MY GOODNESS

I really need to get my shit together. I didn’t even check the website to make sure that the last episode published.

The remainder after this episode is all a bunch of non-D&D stuff, so I decided to scrap it as an episode.

The next episode is either going to be session 4, or a break while I publish some other stuff. Specifically a game day in which I had several people over to my house, and some of them played in the nerd fort. We’ll see.

When my work actually hits 40 hours in a week, it’s a pretty intense 40 hours. I rarely have time to actually do very much after I recover from the day – you know, beyond the daily necessities of hugging the toddler, consuming sustenance, kissing the wife, fixing the car – that sort of stuff. So I’ve been struggling to actually edit and have things ready very far in advance. I plan to rectify this. So that I have less breaks in regular content.

IN THE MEANTIME here is the actual episode 11.

So I Actually Have A Podcast

So, I find myself at the end of a week, when I would normally be finishing editing an episode and releasing it. I would normally be hoping that the few people who I know listen to it (Hi, Ellie and Claire!) will get something entertaining and interesting out of it.

Turns out, that I only have about 15 minutes of session 2 remaining – I did not plan this well. The final few minutes are kinda important but not exactly the sort of thing that stands on their own. I will probably have a weird half-episode next time I get a day off to edit stuff, and release it along with the first episode of Session 3. But for now, no episode for the moment.

Speaking of Session 3, I am sure that anyone who has listened to sessions 1 and 2 have noticed that all the episodes in Session 2 are significantly shorter than those in Session 1. I am specifically planning on making one big change like that each session, and Session 3 will have a change as well – D&D stories.

So, I know that everyone has that one amazing story that they always tell their friends. That one character whom you managed to be build just right and still maintain that one thing that makes them special. That one session that had people literally falling out of their chairs in shock. That one prop that got the players so invested in their character that the campaign lasted for 3 years. That one adventure that gave you nightmares for a week. That story – the one you cannot stand not telling to any RPG nerd that wanders by.

I want to take some of these stories, and include them in my podcast. I will start with the stories from myself and the guys in the group so far. Hopefully, I will be able to solicit stories from others soon, as well. In the episode, the stories will be after the main content, and hopefully around 5-10 minutes long.

If you are reading this and would like to submit your story, then write it up and email me (seth.kleinpaste@stumblestoryinn.com) with the subject line “Nerd Fort Story.” It would be nice to get people in to Nerd Fort #1 to record it yourself, but if time or geography doesn’t allow it, then I will voice it, possibly with the amazing voice talents of the Nerd Fort Guys, and maybe all our friends.

So that’s that. I still plan on getting more text posts about stuff out on a regular basis, but that will probably be when my work calms down a little in winter. Otherwise, I’m going to just be chugging along with the podcast.

Nerd Fort Number One, Episode 2

This is the second episode, still in the first session. Nothing else really to say about it.

As for ‘housekeeping’ stuff, I have started to edit the second session. It was much shorter, but I am also making the episodes significantly shorter, so both sessions are going to take 4 episodes to complete. I think I will start doing a “gametale” near the end starting in session 3.

Thanks for listening! Tell your friends!