Sunday, January 6, 2008

Welcome to the year of the Rat (nearly)

Christmas is over, New Year is done with - until February 7th that is! After much fafing about I have finally got down to editing more of TI, (episode 25 is now available through Podiobooks or my web site here) and should be getting episodes 26 to 29 finalised this week.

We're now (temporarily) without a DVD play - the surround sound DVD play we have decided on New Year's Day that it didn't want to play any DVDs - and only two weeks out of warranty... Luckily the X-Box 360 isn't so bloody minded ;-) Should find out on Tuesday how much the DVD player will cost to repair, just what's needed in January - an unexpected bill!

Mentioning the X-Box, I've been spending a huge amount of time since Christmas playing Bioshock, Halo 3, Prey, PGR 4, Forza Motorsport 2 and most recently Sega Rally and I've come to the conclusion I need more time and a force feed-back steering wheel (for the driving games)

I'm hoping that the Writer's Strike in America is resolved soon - they are holding up the production of the last series of Battlestar Galactica! Although, I completely agree with their point ;-)

In the mean time, I have a few books to read - thanks to Christmas...

I'm not sure which one will be read first...

Jeremy Clarkson can be very funny, and I do have a tendency to agree with a lot of what he says...
...especially when he was in Grumpy Old Men.

Terry Pratchett has been (and is) one of my favourite authors, so it may be Making Money before the dry wit and observations of Mr Clarkson...

Then there's always Robert Rankin - the man who has written such wonderful books as Armaggeddon The Musical, Nostrodarmus Ate My Hamster and Raiders Of The Lost Car Park...

So many choices, and so little time! Terra Incognita takes priority, of course, but I have a couple of weeks free at the end of this month, so I may yet catch up with my reading! Add to that, the StarShip Sofa boys are ploughing ahead with episodes - this week we have an episode about Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes. It's an exceptionally good read and well worth the time :-) Peter Watts, author of Blindsight, has also recorded one of his short stories (The Second Coming Of Jasmine Fitzgerald, a PDF of the story may be downloaded here) for Starship Sofa; and that should be released in the next few weeks - it is a rather good and thought provoking story :-)



Sunday, December 16, 2007

Terra Incognita (and the years) rolls ever onwards

Okay, so I haven't got as many episodes done this weekend as I'd intended! Episode 22 and 23 have been uploaded to and await the tender mercies of the guys to massage them both onto the Terra Incognita title page.

There's also a new page been added to my Web Site that links to Variant Frequencies' The Failed Cities Monologues: Hath A Darkness.

Also been listening to some new music (well new for me anyway)

John Barrowman portrays Captain Jack Harkness in both Doctor Who and Torchwood.

His latest album - Another Side - has recently been released and from the brief excerpts available to listen to at his web site it sounds like a very good piece of work.

Admittedly John Barrowman isn't my regular 'kind' of music (Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, Coldplay), but the man has one hell of a voice and I have to say that this is worth a look.

I've also been listening to Rogue Traders. They are an Australian band who I've recently become aware of through Doctor Who - strange how that program seems to link to other things...

For those who watch The Doctor, the song used as the Toclafane descend from the rift in the sky is Voodoo Child from the album Here Come The Drums. Drums being something of a constant torment for The Master since childhood...

This weekend I'd intended to complete the long job of cutting Praedari, the sequel to Terra Incognita, into dialogue sections ready for recording next year. Didn't get that finished, although I did manage to do five chapters, leaving seven to do.

Another job I wanted to get done was producing the audio files (mp3, stereo, 256Kbps @ 44.1Khz) for Terra Incognita. requires 128Kbps @ 44.1Khz Joint Stereo and as I'm creating a complete set of audio CDs for everyone who leant their voice to a character, I want to do a high quality version ;-) Unfortunately, I only got seven episodes of that done :-(

Most of this has been the result of watching Doctor Who Series Three and 2/3 of Torchwood series One. Although I have found time to listen to the StarShip Sofa Spider Robinson interview - very good. If you've not come across StarShip Sofa and like science fiction, I'd highly recommend checking the Podcast out!

And finally... Battlestar Galactica: RAZOR is due to air on Tuesday. It's a bit of a tough one that as I really do want to watch it, but to see it all in one go - on air - will mean that my other half will have to wait at the airport until it's finished. Somehow, I suspect she won't be pleased with that. So it'll be recorded and we'll have to watch it later off air.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.



Monday, December 10, 2007

Too much coffee, audio editing, Terra Incognita, Praedari and Christmas

I've managed to drink too much coffee today whilst editing the narrative for episodes/chapters 21, 22, 23 and 24 of Terra Incognita. The practical upshot of that is that whilst I feel tired, I know I can't sleep (perhaps that's self fulfilling?) But, such is life! Episode/chapter 21 of TI has been uploaded to and should be live on the site in the next couple of days. I've also uploaded it to, as with all the other episodes, and it can be downloaded from there - each of the episode/chapter pages on my web site has a link at the bottom to the mp3 for that episode/chapter hosted on

I'm hoping to get at least another three chapters edited together this week, and Kevin has reiterated his desire to complete the narrative recording before Christmas. With any luck, and a following wind, all thirty-six chapters will be complete by 31st December 2007 and released on an unsuspecting audience... That means a fun schedule to complete fifteen chapters in twenty-one days. Not too bad, editing the narrative for each chapter takes around forty minutes and editing that together with the dialogue and sound effects takes another three to four hours for each episode/chapter :-D

When TI is complete, I'll be taking a break from audio editing for a couple of month - I could do with a bit of a break from constantly thinking ahead to the next episode/chapter and the one after that and the one after that and... This will also give Kevin a fairly good chance of getting a fair chunk of the narrative pre-recorded for Praedari, although it will mean I'll have a bit of catching up to do. Thus far, everyone who's voiced one of the major characters has agreed to reprise their roles for the sequel. I've also had a few offers of extra voices, which will help a great deal.

I'm also going to be investing in a new bit of kit for the PC...

This is a XENYX 1204FX Premium 12-Input 2/2-Bus Mixer with XENYX Mic Preamps, British EQs, 24-Bit Multi-FX Processor and USB/Audio Interface and it is what I would have bought this year for recording TI, if only I'd known it existed... The major advantage (for me at least with this bit of kit) is that it has XLR connectors for microphone input and the output is a standard computer USB - so no more line noise. Although I suspect I'll be needing some new XLR audio cables as well :-( This is a Behringer bit of kit and more details are here.

So come February if anyone reading this wants the 4 channel mono mixer I have and can give it a good home...

This isn't a bad bit of kit by any means, I'm simply looking for an upgrade ;-) and will pass this one along to a good home. I bought it from Maplin here in Ireland and it works nicely - line noise being a function of cables without enough shielding!

The page on the Maplin web site for the mixer is here...

Praedari picks up the story started in Terra Incognita a couple of months later, I'm hoping that I'll be able to release it through under the Creative Commons License (as with TI). I'm also going to be having the manuscript for TI professionally edited and reviewed by John Jarrold. It's kind of a deeply seated hope that John will be interested enough in TI to consider it for representation... But that is in the future and as we all know, there are no guarantees in life!

I should mention that both of the images used for Terra Incognita and Praedari are the work of Peter Sharpe who is an exceptional digital artist. His web site is full of examples of his work and it may be found here.

I'm now officially excited about Christmas, all the money is spent, the cats are enjoying redecorating the front room with the Christmas tree as well as the wrapping paper that was until recently securely around presents... As a result, I'm starting to get into the spirit of things ;-)

I read on the BSG Wiki the other day that the intention is to finish the series at the end of season 4. A great shame, but infinitely better than continuing and being axed before the end of the story may be told to everyones' satisfaction (Farscape and Firefly are two that spring readily yo mind). Still there's always Tony and Ciaran at Starship Sofa to roll out the science fiction in the weekly Podcast. The Geordie Duo have a couple of stories by Michael Moorcock for download (mp3 format) and they are both pretty good to listen too ;-)

I finished Eifelheim by Michael Flynn the other day, very good read and an intriguing idea. Really enjoyed the book, although I was a little miffed at first with the alternating to present day, until that plot thread began to link in a more defined fashion with the core of the story. I'd highly recommend it as worth reading; although I do have to say that it comes (for me at least) a very good second to Blindsight by Peter Watts. I've now moved onto Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5. I've not read any of Mr Vonnegut's work before so it promises to be an interesting experience!

Best get on and get some sleep, the working week is fast approaching!



Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas comes but once a year...

The season of cheer and good will to all is almost upon us once again (why is it that there's a season for cheer and good will?) - and credit cards all over the world will be getting an annual hammering over the next three weeks or so! I am extremely pleased with myself as I've all but finished Christmas shopping, I have a few bits to arrive from internet purchases and that's the lot :-)

This all means that it's almost time for Battlestar Galactica to start season 4 over here and the Doctor Who Christmas special is fast approaching. I think we'll probably watch The Great Escape over Christmas - don't know if it's on or not, but we have a copy on DVD; so that particular 'tradition' may continue!

Terra Incognita has had another couple of episodes uploaded to, they should be live fairly soon (or there's a direct download link from on the cast pages for each episode on my web site) I'm intending to get episodes 21 and 22 edited and mixed together tomorrow (Sunday) and uploaded to by Wednesday.

I've been getting back 'into' Iron Maiden over the last couple of months, kind of return to teenage years. I must be getting old as the Garda (Police) are beginning to look younger and I'm fairly certain that 'they' (whoever 'they' may be) don't make very many good TV programs these days - having said that there is BSG (Battlestar Galactica), Doctor Who (David Tennant is very good as The Doctor) and Atlantis (spin off of Stargate SG-1, and Amanda Tapping is in it :-D)

I see that a new BSG mini-series is to be released soon (26/12/07) called Razor. It's the story of the Battlestar Pegasus. The story is outlined thus at the Razor web site:

On the eve of the devastating Cylon attack, officer Kendra Shaw reports for duty on the Battlestar Pegasus. When mankind's future is forever changed on that fateful day, Kendra is reshaped into a "razor" - a tool of war - under the ruthless guidance of her commander, Admiral Cain. Battlestar Galactica: Razor tells the untold story of Pegasus and provides chilling clues to the fate of humanity as the final chapters of the Battlestar Galactica story unfold.

It would appear that the BSG story is drawing to a close, perhaps a five year story arc was (and is) the intent...

I've also finally got started reading Eifelheim by Michael Flynn. Only a few pages in as yet, so I can't really comment on what the book is like. Even so, thus far I'm enjoying it - which is always good.