Category Archives: The Geek Life

CONvergence Is Imminent!

CVG2013logoOne of the things consuming my life lately is CONvergence 2013, which will invade on July 4th and then continue through the weekend. CONvergence is the 800-pound gorilla of Minnesota conventions, where an expected 7,000 people will show up and proceed to nerd out, dress up, and boogie down until the whole thing vanishes again like Brigadoon.

CONvergence is my “home” convention. I started attending sci-fi conventions back in the early 1990s with Minicon, which back then was the equivalent 800-pound Minnesotan gorilla. I did some volunteering with Minicon, but it wasn’t until CONvergence started up and inherited the giant-convention mantle from Minicon in 1999 where I really started spending time contributing to the community. I’ve spent a lot of time making tiny segments of CONvergence go, in various capacities: party host, co-head of parties, video team lackey, publications minion, badger, panelist, money counter, general gadfly.

These days, I’m mostly just a panelist. But oh, do they ever put me to work!

Last year, I broke the CONvergence record by sitting on 20 panels in one year. This year, I said I was going to take it easy, so I wound up cutting my schedule down from 22 panels back down to 20. Ah, the easy life!

Thus, if you spend any time in a random panel room at CONvergence next week, there is something like a 5% overall chance I’ll be talking at you for an hour. It seems like a 20-panel slate would make for a larger percentage, but that’s just a testament to just how much amazing stuff happens at CONvergence every year. And that’s just panels. That doesn’t count the parties and the dances and the dealers room and the art show and Paul Cornell teaching everyone in the parking lot how to play cricket. (Okay, the Paul Cornell thing actually is on the panel schedule, but I think you get my point.)

Anyway, if you actually want to catch me at CONvergence and say hello (and you should!), here’s where you can find me:

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Accumulation of Activities

I have been ridiculously busy as of late. In a nutshell, here’s what I’ve been up to:

webcomic_341The Webcomic Beacon: A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to lend my film expertise to a recording of The Webcomic Beacon podcast about James Bond. The episode also features comic artist Rich Morris, who does webcomics about gaming, Dr. Who, and now James Bond.
kongAnimation Aficionados: I was also asked to lend my film expertise to the Animation Aficionados podcast about the original 1933 version of King Kong. The episode was recorded about a week before Ray Harryhausen passed away, so I unfortunately spend part of the episode waxing poetic about the fact that he was still alive. Still, that shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying giant stop-motion gorillas.
TGL LogoThe Geek Life: The Geek Life podcast is nearing its 200th episode! A few weeks ago, we also started recording the show live online, via Google Hangouts. If you are free on Tuesday nights around 8:00pm Central Time, you can watch us nerd-out in live video. Just watch the show’s Twitter feed or Google+ page for the weekly link. If you want to comment at us while we are recording, use the #thegeeklifetv hashtag on Twitter. You can also see us live — as in, live live — at CONvergence.
Drinking with GeeksDrinking with Geeks: The new Drinking with Geeks podcast is now running full-steam ahead! Four episodes are up, and more are on their way. If you are a Twin Cities local and want to join in the Drinking with Geeks social hour and see the podcast recorded live, simply show up at the Bryant Lake Bowl at the appointed time. (Watch the web site for dates and times.) Also, if you are attending CONvergence this 4th of July weekend, you will be able to see the usual gladiatorial Drinking with Geeks panel, followed by a brand-new experiment called Hungover with Geeks.
KillerBsThe Killer B’s Improv Movie Show: The Killer B’s show will also be back at CONvergence this year! Once again, you will be able to watch in awe as improv comedians, musicians, and a sound effects artist create a brand-new live soundtrack for films they have never seen before.
PowerPoint KaraokePowerPoint Karaoke: This PowerPoint Karaoke season is wrapping up! Our last Bryant Lake Bowl show until the autumn will be on Thursday, May 30th. After that, we will be returning to CONvergence to use up all the slides that are simply too nerdy for a general audience. Show up at either venue to watch improv comedians give PowerPoint presentations about slides they have never seen before.
FirstIssueFirst Issue: The First Issue video podcast continues to chug along, and more updates are on their way. You will also be able to see the show recorded live at CONvergence, as we interview Mark Stegbauer about his work and take a look at his very first comics inking gig.
CVG2013logoCONvergence: Speaking of CONvergence, it looks like I will be on around 20 panels again this year. Madness! Once the schedule is firmed up, I will make a separate post of what is going on and where.
soundandfoleyThe Sound and the Foley: My new blogging endeavor, The Sound and the Foley, is up and running strong! It seems that other folks are as fascinated by memetic sound as I am. I have a list of blog post ideas as long as my arm, so it seems I will have no shortage of material to write about.
CollegeOfCuriosityThe College of Curiosity Conference: Finally, I will be speaking at the Conference of Curiosity in Chicago, IL on May 25th, on the subject of The Sound and the Foley project. The other speakers are folks like Hal Bidlack and magician Dennis Watkins, so if you’re in the Chicago area, you should feed your curiosity and join us!

On the Air on Tuesday Nights

TGL LogoA few weeks ago, The Geek Life started doing podcast recordings on Tuesday nights. We made this move because Skype was giving us trouble as a recording platform, and Google Hangouts seem to be more stable. The odd bonus of moving to Google Hangouts is that a) we can now record video of our weekly podcasts, and b) we can easily turn it into a live Internet show.

Thus, last week, we did a trial run with the live video thing, and it was a good ol’ time. A few intrepid listeners even formed a hashtag on Twitter for running color commentary. Therefore, this will likely become an ongoing thing.

Want to watch the Geek Life live? We record on Tuesday nights, around 8:00pm CST. Keep an eye on Google+ or Twitter to get the Hangout link. If you want to ask questions or comment, simply use the Hangout or the Twitter hashtag #thegeeklifetv.

Geek Life Goes Video

TGL LogoFor the past 180+ episodes of The Geek Life, we have recorded our audio via Skype. Skype is a cheap way to get four people on one audio track without having to schedule putting them into an actual room together. Since we at The Geek Life are lazy at 8 PM on Tuesday nights, Skype was a fine solution for a long time.

Then, we started having problems with Skype. Or, rather, Skype started having issues with me. For whatever reason, when Paul would speak, my audio would drop. This has been going on for several weeks.

Enter Google Hangouts. While Google Hangouts have issues of their own, they do seem to cure the audio problem.

They also enable Mike to capture video.

Oh dear.

Thus, The Geek Life Episode 185 has not yet hit the audio streams, but it can be seen in its entirety on YouTube.  Want to watch me wander around my kitchen? Or see what sort of hatwear Paul uses to disguise his identity? Here you go.

New Geek Life: Minecraft Pi

Silent movies! Minecraft on Raspberry Pi! Making noises with iPads! And other stuff! Have a listen to episode 176!