CRRRaSh! 335 The Second Taping

By Roy Mathur, on 2020-09-21, at 17:44:52--18:50:06 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Still Here

I'm back. This is the second taping of this episode, because in the last one, I sounded utterly miserable. Maybe I should have left it as is, but I thought I'd try again and fake being very slightly less depressed.

I am having a bit of a time. My reading/computer/podcast show notes writing glasses broke, and were added to a long list things that are currently broken. Car, kitchen, fridge, me...

Yes me. I am not doing well, professionally or personally---writing, jobs, health, still single---nothing has changed in more than a decade, literally, nothing seems to be working. I get up in the morning and just think what do I try to fix first. As I said, it's a long list and I'm exhausted. I need a holiday. I have not had one for a very, very long time, but this isn't the best time, and a holiday won't solve those problems. Besides... money.

That's the reason for the delay. This meant there wasn't a hope in hell that I could get the next Doctor Who episode out, but if I delayed any longer, even the items in this all things geek episode would be irrelevant.

Fast Food

Can you walk through a drive thru? Can you bicycle through a drive thru? I'm missing KFC and I live dangerously near one.

I shouldn't because I've been under the weather lately, but I crave it. It's junk food therapy.

Humane Spider Trap

My usual jar and piece of paper has caused the death and injury of two spiders and I need a new method. Spider vacs? Suggestions?


The trailer looks cool, doesn't it? I'm still not convinced by Josh Brolin. He was good as Thanos, but I never saw him as a tough guy, which is a pity as Gurney Halleck is one of my favourite characters.

I'm a fan of Dune and Dune Messiah, alright with Children of Dune, but started drifting away at God Emperor of Dune and Heretics of Dune. I'm not even sure I started the last Frank Herbert Dune novel, Chapterhouse: Dune. Still, this looks to be a good film adaptation, at least of the first half of the first book.

I showed my mother the trailer and she is also looking forward to it. My mother, by the way, as well as the usual airport potboiler from Dan Brown, or a Maeve Binchy, or a Sue Grafton, also enjoys genre fiction. This even includes the ultra violent sword and sorcery Kane novels of Karl Edward Wagner. On my recommendation, she started the first book and is gradually making her way through it. She tells me her favourite character is Jessica.

If you too are new to the franchise and want to prepare, you have until mid-December to read the first book. There's also the older David Lynch film and the Hallmark TV series, as well as the upcoming Sisterhood TV show. It's a good time to be a fan of Dune.

This is a non-profit offering free courses in coding for wannabe full stack web devs, but requires that you have a Git account and understand how to use it.

It is useless for me as a backend boy (stop it), scripter, and minor game dev.

Amazon Flex

I signed up for one of these freelance Amazon delivery jobs, but with revelations about how Amazon spies on people it doesn't like, let's see how far I get. Days later, I moved on to the next stage of the online application. After what I've said about Amazon in the past, will I pass their background check and social media snooping?

BTW, I'm not doing this as investigate journalism, but so I'm not broke all the time.

Skype Credit Ripoff

It cost GBP 0.19 to renew my Skype credit with a 4 second call to another phone that I owned. Why do I have to pay for the privilege of retaining unspent money?

I also think the interface is rubbish. I'm not impressed at all with what Microsoft has done with Skype or any of it's acquisitions...


... which brings us to 9 to 5 Mac saying the Chinese government would rather shut down TikTok than sell to Microsoft and Oracle. ByteDance, who own TikTok, denied this and is tried to make a deal with the US government to avoid being banned.

I reiterate, I don't have confidence in either Microsoft and, frankly, Oracle's Larry Ellison's involvement in anything also makes it immediately uncool. So, of course, Oracle are now in partnership with ByteDance and have the Great Orange Oaf's blessing.

I Have a Bike

My old KHS Manhattan Flyer---a 50s style retro bicycle---is back from the bike mechanic and working again. It seems to be running okay, but there are spots of rust everywhere.

As attested by a trip to Halfords, many things are in short supply since the Covid cobblers---try getting a cheap bike helmet and lights---but it's nice having a bike again.

Car Reversing Sensor

In other news, the reversing sensor on my car has broken. According to YouTube, this might be an easy fix or a nightmare fix. I haven't had time to look, but with my luck I can guess which.

Moon Rust

I hate rust, but at least I can say it, and everything else oxidising around me, is like the Moon. According to a paper from the University of Hawaii, the Moon is rusting because of oxygen travelling there from Earth via Earth's magnetic field. My pessimism about our planet might be justified.

Podcasting Audio Quality

I don't like noise reduction. It can make audio sound boxy. Compression and normalisation reduces dynamic range. I also think some condenser mics sound robotic. There's no denying however, that these things make audio sound clearer. For a long time that is something my podcast has never been, largely due to my use of a cranked dynamic mic. So I'm again trying some combination of the above, along with a preamp, to clean up my audio. I would say, tell me how it sounds, but as you will hear later, that is probably futile.

I'm also trying to make room to keep my raw audio files, something I've never done before (madness), in case in future I want to redress some previous audio blunder.

Ukulele Hospital

Instead of buying a new baritone ukulele, after my cheap Caramel brand one let me down again, I'm repairing the damn thing.

There is enough landfill as it is, and it would be beyond weird if a strata of ukuleles was formed, like those shoes in HHGTTG.

I replaced the tuning machines on my first ukulele, a soprano Makala Dolphin, a few years ago. After replacing the DOA pickup system in the baritone, the tuners also failed and it refused to stay in tune. I ordered new tuners.

Octave Guitar Pedal

I bought a pedal. It's a TC Electronic Nether that pitch shifts down one or two octaves and mixes in with your dry signal to fatten everything up. Yes, yes, I know I'm a uke player, but I'm also a frustrated rockstar.

Given that it is GBP 30 and TC Electronic is now part of Behringer, a company I had mixed feelings about, I was dubious, but it seemed to work, even polyphonically.

Anyone with more money would be better off buying an EHX Pitchfork that has supposedly higher quality sound, goes 3 octaves each way, and does other cool things too, but also costs GBP 150. Royal Blood's bassist Mike Kerr uses it's even more expensive bigger brother, the EHX Pog, so if it works for him...

Paperback Version of The Horus Box (My Novel)

I'm re-proofreading my novel and will also pay to have it proofread for me by an outside editor on my way to producing a paperback version of the book. This was something I was going to do months ago, then hit conventions and bookshops with a few copies in hand, but the virus put a crimp in my plans.

It seems like a folly though, as very few people have ever bought, or even read, anything I have published as an eBook. I have seen my sales figures and they are terrible. I don't know why I'm doing this, but I don't know what else to do. I bet you don't hear that in other podcasts.

The Writing, the Show, the Whole Creative Thing

On a similar theme, I've saved the worst for last.

Is this show worth doing? Anyone else would have thrown in the towel after 8 years. Lack of any feedback, chat, or any form of engagement is extremely discouraging. Ironically, a year or so ago I told another more successful podcaster to keep their chin up despite lack of feedback and here I am in the same pickle. Podcasts exist because they have an audience. I don't put out requests for feedback because I'm needy, but because interaction is necessary to both quantify the value of what I'm doing and cater to what you want to hear.

The other thing that irritates me is that most of my social media followers are silent. The reason for my presence on social media is mostly to promote my podcast and my books. What annoys me about the lack of response, is I'm guessing they don't follow me for those reasons. So why follow me at all? So they can appreciate my photos of food?

I'm letting you know how I feel in case you're wondering why there is a sudden absence of new episodes in the feed, in addition to the delays. I'm still planning two shows a week, and MacGyvering my glasses and making a ridiculous effort got this episode taped, but I'm on wobbly ground.

I've said it all and there isn't anything left to say, except, if you are a listener, thanks for listening, but maybe actually tell me you like the show or something I've written by sending me an email or a direct message. That way I'll know my creative endeavours are worth pursuing.