Saturday, September 26, 2015

My New 'Relic Tech' Hat

Thought I'd post my new hat courtesy of St. Paris Embroidery:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dueling Ogres Website Launch

Just thought I'd share that Dueling Ogres, a favorite podcast of mine (and one I appeared on recently [Link]), has launched a website.

It will make searching for previous episodes and information easier for listeners and the curious.

Click on over and take a look: Dueling Ogres Website


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Views from the Classroom: Early 2015-16 School Year

The 2015-16 School Year is under way. I really enjoy teaching, although there are some drawbacks. Grading, for example, takes a lot of time--but it comes with the territory.

Here are a few pics just for fun. The first is one of many spiders I've seen hurrying along the hallways and in the rest rooms. This one happens to be about midsize compared to his (or her) compatriots.

Spider scurrying down the hallway

The second one is the stack of Pre-Tests that I will be giving next week (including an argumentative essay). And yes, they have to be graded. This is in addition to all of the other assignments and lessons and grading, which really adds to the load. I get to do the same in the spring with the Post-Test.

Pre-Test to be administered...and graded

So, if I am not posting a lot in the near future, you might have a pretty good idea as to why ;)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review of Genre Shotgun up at Flash Bang Mysteries

Below is a link to a review of Genre Shotgun (my short story collection) over at Flash Bang Mysteries.

Click on over, especially if you've not given Genre Shotgun a try, and see if it's something that might interest you.

Link: Review: GENRE SHOTGUN: A COLLECTION OF SHORT FICTION by Terry W. Ervin II at Flash Bang Mysteries

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Humor: If We Talked to Other Professions Like We Talk to Artists/Authors

Thought this was humorous (ignoring the first 5 second).

Just put the words "writer" and "book" or something similar and it'll make perfect sense. I get some of these on regular occasion. Probably would more if I wrote full-time (as my main career).

Sunday, August 16, 2015

River City Comic Con 2015 Round up


A quick report from River City Comic Con 2015.

Had a great time meeting readers, gamers, artists, fellow authors and more. Below are some pics of the setup and some random folks, and also some of the readers who picked up copies of my novels.

My Table Set-up

View from My Table in the Ballroom

Grumpy Cat

Brandon (of Dueling Ogres fame) and Me

Crystal with her First Civilization's Legacy Series

Kraig with his copy of Flank Hawk

Catherine and her copy of Flank Hawk

Stan and his copy of Relic Tech

Nathan and this copies of Relic Tech and Flank Hawk

James and Jodie
with their copies of
Flank Hawk and Blood Sword

Tiffany/Loki and her copy of Relic Tech

Brandon with his copies of Flank Hawk and Genre Shotgun

Angie with her First Civilization's Legacy Series

Friday, August 14, 2015

An Interview with Brandon and Remington, the Voices behind the Mics of Dueling Ogres

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Brandon and Rem. Please, tell us a little about yourselves and Dueling Ogres.

Rem: Hello readers! I’m Remington Hitchcock (or Rem. Really you can call me whatever you’d like, I just can’t guarantee I’ll respond to it). I’m a miniature sasquatch who hates long walks on the beach because sand gets stuck in my fur. A random playbuzz quiz once said I was akin to Einstein, but I think it was just trying to make me feel better about myself. I’m a Capricorn, a Christmas baby, and I love to hug. There have been double-blind studies that confirm that my hugs are therapeutic.

Brandon: I'm a fan of video games, robots, and authors who drink too much. Dueling Ogres combines a lot of the first two and not nearly enough of the third. Rem and I sort of set the framework of a “geek news” podcast, but most of the time that falls apart in favor of whatever's on our minds. Depression, the definition of “domesticate”, and Rem's life growing up in a trailer park are a few examples of paths we (arguably shouldn't have) gone down.

What was the motivation or drive behind creating your podcast and how did you come up with the name for it?

Rem: Brandon and I have endeavored to create something for the better part of our out-of-high school friendship. We first started off with physical comics and then moved on to webcomics. Unfortunately, I’m completely overbearing and Brandon’s uncontrollably aloof.

So when those didn’t work out, we took a break from each other’s smelly faces. When we came back, Brandon wanted to do a podcast and I said “Meh, what’s the worst that could happen?” AND HERE WE ARE!

The name was a bigger chore than we originally intended. We tossed around some pretty awful names: The Bias Brigade, Mad Murray’s Barbecue Hour, Rem & Bo – Soup for the Soul, Two Twats and a Mic, You’re Clearly Bored, Misanthropic Musings, Douglas Fir Power Hour, Goblets and Ganders, The Goliath Serum, Fortified Whines, Robot Reach-Around, and Mustache’d Questions to name a few.

Then we threw a shout out to the social media platform. We started off with “The Lazy Ogre Hour” or “Dueling Columns.” We got the following, because our friends all think they’re funny: Lazy Ogre, The Hour of the Lazy Duel Columnist Ogres, Two Lazy Bastards with No Flare for Name Choosing, Hairy and the Brandersons…

Eventually I pulled the trigger on a combination of the two: Dueling Ogres. Quick, simple, and sonically pleasurable.

Brandon: Succinct! Dueling Columns was my suggestion very glad that ended up being left on the cat-hair covered floor of the studio.

 Who is your intended audience?

Rem: We are foul mouthed and occasionally talk about some heavy life stuff, but all in all it’s a comedy cast focusing mainly around geek culture. So while we won’t stop your kids from listening to us, you should really be paying closer attention to their internet usage. The analytics tell me we’re most popular with the 25-34 age range and relatively close in sex.

Brandon: For me, the intended audience is anyone who enjoys geeky things without taking it or themselves too seriously. We have a lot of fun recording the episodes, and if nothing else that seems to shine through.

How do you prepare for the podcast? How do you determine each episode’s contents?

Rem: About 95% of the time we come in to the studio having no idea what we’re going to talk about. The other 5% is a topic or topics we tossed at each other in a private message a day or so beforehand. TLDR: We don’t and we don’t.

Brandon: Translation – I spend a few hours each week checking up on movie, gaming, and comic news and writing down things that may springboard into a discussion. As far as topics go, there really isn't a whole lot of rhyme or reason. I try and do a theme episode every few weeks, like the history of sea monsters or the etymology behind curse words. Those tend to be a lot more involved with close to eight or so hours of research. Most of the time I haven't told Rem the topic beforehand so our conversations are more genuine.

What’s the most difficult part of podcasting and what’s the most enjoyable part?

Rem: The most difficult part is the editing by far. And it’s not so much that the editing is hard, but it’s very tedious because I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to cutting silence and erroneous stutters. As we go on, I’ve found shortcuts and have learned to let some of those things go. For me, the most enjoyable part is learning something new about the technical aspect (i.e. EQ, compression, etc., - stuff that makes us sound better) and spending a couple hours every week with one of my favorite people in the world.

Brandon: The most difficult thing for me is trying to be as open and honest as possible while still being entertaining. In the real world I'm pretty reserved, so it catches me off-guard sometimes still that we're digitizing our lives and putting them out onto the internet forever. Well that, and trying to feign enthusiasm when Rem brings up World of Warcraft.

Most rewarding by far is interacting with our listeners. It's nice to see something you've made is acknowledged, you know?

How has Dueling Ogres changed over time? What direction do you anticipate it taking?

Rem: Honestly, when starting anything new there’s this grittiness to it. We haven’t even released our first seven or eight episodes for reasons ranging from sound quality to us coming off too pretentious or overly crass; so there’s been a learning curve in the very way we present ourselves, especially during important interviews. We’re both self-conscious about the way we portray ourselves and we’re very aware of how responsive the internet can be if you say something it doesn’t like. So we dance a fine line between being crude and being funny for the people we have listening. We certainly don’t want to lose the millions of people already listening to our show.

After 50 episodes, I think we’ve settled in to what we’re going to be doing for the long-haul. We’ll continue to experiment with things like fake commercials about Podcast Dumps and stuffing movie tickets into the elderly. We might occasionally do a bit here and there. But by-and-large the podcast will probably continue to have a loose form factor where we talk about things we like and dislike until we actually duel with clubs and morningstars. On-air. Live. To the death.

Brandon: Agreed. Our death fight is inevitable. Neither can live while the other survives.

If you could have lunch with any two individuals (living or deceased), who would they be, where would you dine, and what would you hope to discuss?

Rem: We’ll go with one living and one dead. Robin Williams, because the man was probably the sweetest, funniest person I’ve ever had the privilege to be entertained by. We would discuss anything and everything we could until we realized we’d been having lunch for three days straight. Living – and this is a weird one, I think – Bill Clinton. I don’t know if you’ve paid him much attention since his presidency, but he’s been doing a lot of humanitarian work with the Clinton Foundation and I’d love to pick his brain about where we’re at as a country, where we’re going, and how we can work to be better to our fellow man.

Brandon: Kurt Vonnegut and Leonard Cohen. We'd eat somewhere greasy and kosher, so maybe a Jewish Wendy's? And hopefully we could discuss quitting smoking, rapidly changing technology, and finding the balance between cynicism and bitterness that really makes their work fantastic.

What advice would you have for others thinking of getting into podcasting?

Rem: The best advice any podcaster will tell you is to talk about something you’re passionate about. If you’re worried about your equipment or how you sound: don’t. There are plenty of shitty-sounding podcasts that are totally worth the listen, and plenty more great sounding podcasts that are boring beyond reprieve. If you’re serious about what you’re delivering, the quality of your show will improve over time.

Other advice (after you’ve decided what your show is about): get a website, consider recording video on top of audio, network with other people, and invest in your endeavor. Growing your brand is important if you want people to respect you, even if your content is comedy driven. And it will take time. It doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’re on a budget.

Brandon: Find a friend with a love of editing and expensive computer equipment who humors your silly ideas. Worked for me!

As we’re closing in on the end of the interview, is there anything you’d like to say or add?

Rem: Make sure you closed the garage door. I’ve got big things going in there. BIIIIIIG things!

Brandon: Seriously, don't look in his garage.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Remington and Brandon.

Hey, it was our pleasure and we’re happy for the opportunity! We can’t wait to ask you a bunch of deeply personal and potentially awkward questions. When it happens the door will be locked. We’ve learned our lesson: Never let the guest leave…alive.

Below are links were you can find out more about and listen to Dueling Ogres:

Google Voicemail: (978) DUOGRES [386-4737]

Twitter: @duelingogres

You can also search for us on pretty much everywhere you get a podcast. If you can’t find us, send us an email and we’ll jump on that like a grenade from the Viet Cong.