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Who the Hell Would Want to Listen to Me?

It truly boggles my mind that the radio show has gotten over 15,000 podcast subscribers with over 1,000 adding the show feed in just the last month. I mean, who the hell, outside of a few friends and some people whose fancy I and my co-host just seem to tickle, would want to listen to this show? I don't mean this is a negative way. I just honestly don't get it. There are so many other shows out there that I just wonder why us?

I joke about it, but I also have no idea how many of those reported subscriptions are bots diligently plugging away and doing what they do. Moreover, could podbean be padding their stats so you'll stay and pay them? Also likely. I also don't know if podbean accounts for people who unsubscribe (I'm leaning towards doubting that part), so the current number of subscribers is probably less than 15,000 especially after the show disappeared for nine months. However, if the subscribership (I made up a word!) is even 10% of the reported total, that means that we still have 1500 people listening in every week. That's kind of crazy cool.

Honestly, I just wonder (because this is what I do) why? What attracts people to the show. What keeps them listening, if they keep listening? I also wonder what the actual numbers are, mostly because you all know I like to know what the truth of things are.

Whatever the case may be, I'm so very humbled by the fact that people who don't know me at all are interested enough to click on the subscribe link on iTunes or whatever other service they use for podcasts. Blown away, actually.

Clive Barker on the Future of Books

During a recent interview, that is now posted on his official website, Clive Barker said:

"And I think in ten years that books won't exist. I just think paper will be too expensive, it'll be opera, you know? It'll be something so rarefied - I just don't think you'll be able to buy a book like Abarat with 150 illustrations for fifteen bucks, I just don't think it'll happen. Very regrettably because I love holding those books."

I really love this man. I love the way he expresses himself even when he's sharing a downer opinion.David Berck @ Google+


I just have to wonder why some people who have never even been to CA hate it so much. I can understand if you've been here and not liked what you saw, but the actual disdain from afar "just because" really boggles my mind. There is so much to love or like about being here.null

Apparently, I can share posts from G+ to LJ now. Neat.

Amazon's Cloud Drive

So Amazon has posted a new service that's kind of cool, in concept, though nothing REALLY new, as there are services out there that do remote storage already. However, you can now use Amazon to upload any documents to their remote storage and, if you have music files, stream them to play the music over your web browser or android device. Kind of neat, right? Yeah, kinda. My main question comes down to quality of the audio file as you're downloading/streaming, which I can't imagine is all that great. 4G would help, but 4G, from what I hear isn't all that widespread quite yet. Still, the price point is decent enough at $20/yr for 20 gigs of storage. Another problem, for me, is that there doesn't seem to be a way to create multiple playlists without copying the same files within your cloud drive, which will eat up your storage quota (something to fix, Amazon).

However, as with anything Amazon, it's important to check the terms of service. What with the prevalence of file sharing, it's not difficult to figure that Amazon will take steps to limit piracy. I'm sure this was a huge sticking point for the music companies. So, here are a few things to note about the Cloud Drive service from Amazon.

5.1 Your Files. By using the Service with Your Files, you are directing us to store Your Files on your behalf. You are solely responsible for the content of Your Files and your use of the Service to store and retrieve Your Files. You must ensure that you have all the necessary rights in Your Files that permit you to use the Service without infringing the rights of any copyright owners, violating any applicable laws or violating the terms of any license or agreement to which you are bound.
- So, as expected, no storing of music or video you haven't bought or recorded yourself, mkay? No biggie, really.

5.2 Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and disclose your account information and Your Files: to provide you with technical support and address technical issues; to investigate compliance with the terms of this Agreement, enforce the terms of this Agreement and protect the Service and its users from fraud or security threats; or as we determine is necessary to provide the Service or comply with applicable law.
- This is going to be sticky for some people. Amazon can look and parse through ANY of your files to make sure you're in compliance. Again, not to be totally unexpected, but this will be a sticking point for some people who like to keep their privacy...private.

5.3 Security. We do not guarantee that Your Files will not be subject to misappropriation, loss or damage and we will not be liable if they are. You’re responsible for maintaining appropriate security, protection and backup of Your Files.
-a CYA move. Ironic, though, that part of their advertising is concerning security and how you don't have to worry about the files on your computer being corrupted or lost, because you can just download them if that happens!

6.4 Information Provided. The Service and the Software may provide Amazon with information relating to your use and performance of the Service and the Software, as well as information regarding the devices on which you download and use the Software and the Service. For example, this information may include the device type, mobile network connectivity, location of the device, information about when the Software is launched, individual session lengths for use of the Service, or occurrences of technical errors. Any information we receive is subject to the Amazon.com privacy notice located at www.amazon.com/privacy.
- Here's where it gets into Big Brother territory. If you're using their software, they reserve the right to figure out what service you're using to access them and where you are. I understand the reasoning behind this, but this is where it really gets touchy for me. If you're really paranoid, this is an easy way for whatever government and/or marketing agency to track you. Have this downloaded on your Droid? They can just activate it and figure out where you are. Of course, they can already do this because most smart devices have a GPS built in them anyways. I just wonder what their threshold is for someone who likes to show off some music to their friends by access the software from another computer and then downloading it so you get better sound quality.

So, as in all things, just be aware of what you're agreeing to. Personally, I've got some bootleg recordings and such that would be a breach of their ToS. This, plus the lack of flexibility with playlists and probably lack of sound quality when streaming means I'll stay away for now.

ETA: As for more irony, this is my 1,984th entry. :D

Getcha T-shirts!!

ok, so I tend to do things in bunches. Ideas, projects...within a given period, most things are related in some form or fashion. Apparently, it's time for ideas for t-shirts for Paradigm Shift. I have no idea how I'd sell them without having to obtain a business license (maybe cafepress?) or if it'll ever really come about passed me giving some out to friends and show guests (oooo! now there's an idea), but there it is. So far, I've hit on four ideas. I've talked about a couple of them over on fb already, but want to document them here just in case I forget.

1 - Very nebulous, because I wanted to give any artist willing to take this on almost free reign. The show is about ghosts, aliens/UFOs, cryptids (think bigfoot, nessie, etc), metaphysics, spirituality, tech, folklore/urban legends, and other related things. Visuals representing some of those things (don't try and put 20lbs of crap in a 5lbs bag) plus the show name, ztalk radio, and a semi-hidden not-so-obvious frog are what I'm looking for. The other ideas are more specific.

2 - Dogs playing poker. Insert cryptids, ghosts, aliens, etc for the dogs.

3 - The classic diner shot, the image name I can't remember off the top of my head (Hollywood Diner?) but you know it with Bogey, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe in a late night diner. Insert some of the above characters of ghosts, etc. Front of the t-shirt for this could be the classic neon tubing of the show name. I'm really kind of liking this one right now.

4 - Police line-up with Bigfoot, Nessie, and alien (green or grey), etc. This may or may not be through a one way mirror and may or may not have a finger pointing and a blurb along the lines of, "THAT'S the one!" and maybe with the addition of "That's the one we'll be talking about on Paradigm Shift this week"

NEW 5 - Different paranormal creatures doing the Sands of Iwo Jima pose. Flags has Paradigm Shift logo.

Another NEW 6 - The last supper. 'nuff said.

So, yeah...those are the ideas right now. One friend has expressed interest in drawing something up. Another asked about image size and so may be interested in drawing something up. If anyone else is up for giving it a go, please feel free. We can definitely try to work something out in compensation, though I don't imagine a whole lot of money, if any, will come out of this.

Feb. 25th, 2011

Just because I'm smart enough to be a doctor but chose to not go to med school,
Just because I didn't go into computers,
Just because I haven't gone into professional sports,
Just because I didn't go for that PhD,
Just because I didn't go for a law degree,
Just because I'm not making as much money as I could be,
Don't mistake what you think is a lack of completion as a lack of passion or ambition.
It does not make me any less successful.

I am smart enough and capable enough to complete all of those thing above and even more.
I choose my own path and I hope you do, as well.
Money can make up for a lot of things in our current world.
But it will never fill all the holes.
Love, justice, compassion, and true happiness are what really matter.
Can money or a degree buy any of those things?
I say no, because all of those need to start from within.
Money and pieces of paper are external things we use.
Love, justice, compassion, and true happiness are intrinsic qualities from which other things are generated.
True ambition is working to bring those qualities forward and helping others to be able to do likewise.


"Sometimes things come up in our lives that are actually detours taking us away from our path. How can we know whether it's a door or a detour?"

Betty answered, "When it's a detour, it's usually something you want to do rather than desire to do. Yo have to find out whether your motive is ego or love. If the ego is motivating you, then chances are this is not the right door for you, and it will dead-end."

-Doreen Virtue, The Lightworker's Way


Missing in Action

You know...I should post here more often. I've fallen into the facebook trap.

For those not on facebook or missed the post, I recently asked for everybody's opinion of the best concept albums of all time. So far, the nominess have been:

Pink Floyd - The Wall
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper
Dream Theater - Scenes from a Memory
Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime
The Who - Tommy
The Art of Noise - Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise?
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
Styx - Kilroy Was Here (aka Mr. Roboto)
Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Green Day - American Idiot
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
ELP - Tarkus
The Who - Quadrophenia
Rush - 2112
Nirvana - Nevermind
Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick
David Bowie - Outside
Queen - A Night at the Opera
NIN - Downward Spiral

Any additions?

Oh, and also, I'll be a travellin' fool for the first half of this year, apparently. All for paranormal stuff. On the docket is San Diego next month, Gettysburg in March, and Bisbee a little later on. Plus, a couple more investigations are shaping up.

So yeah. That's a sort of update. I should do this more.

Dec. 9th, 2010

So, somebody did something really lame in the radio station's chat room today. This person threw out a comment about some douchebag being Japanese and offended a good number of people in doing so. Yes, the douchebag was wrong in what he did, but two wrongs were done here. The person who made the comment messaged me on facebook and probably expected me to be angry, but that's not how I reacted. As I was writing my response, it occurred to me that my response needed to be put out into the ether for some reason, so here it is. Of course, I've omitted the person's name, because it's really not germane to what's being said here. Also, I'd appreciate if people who know this person wouldn't mention the name, either. It's not about blaming one person in particular.

So, here goes:


Here's the thing. I could go on a long diatribe about this, but, really, what would it matter? It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of yours right now because of the way you've insulted guests on my show on a number of occasions and can't see how you're being insulting, according to what you say. You've also made other offhand remarks about Germans and liberals that I remember off the top of my head. This is a pattern.

I deal with racism pretty much every day and have been for a long time now. Statements made in ignorance sometimes sting and sometimes they don't. It's as much about where the person who hears those statements is at the time of hearing them as it is about the person who makes them. The person who is offended may or may not have a legitimate gripe. However, the problem lies within the two parties, themselves.

You can't change the way someone perceives your words at the time and you can't take them back once they're said. What we say is a reflection of who we are. So, here's the challenge, (name). What are you going to do about this? I don't mean an apology or a message on facebook. I mean, what are you going to do to try and recognize and correct this sort of thing before it just pops out?

We are all works in progress and we all stumble. We all have bad days and say things the wrong way or even hear them in a way that wasn't intended. However, when the same essential thing happens repeatedly and we refuse to address it by questioning ourselves and our own behavior, then there is a huge problem.

So, while I appreciate your recognition and coming to me with an apology on your own, what really matters is what you take out of this. Honestly, I'm not really offended because I wasn't there and so I'm not in the moment. However, from what I hear, you really offended someone who has become a regular listener of the station and has been a very nice person, to boot. She's even offered to help me with some of the audio and help clean up some of the old radio shows we play, for free, just because she enjoys doing it. I've also heard that a lot of people in the chat were offended, as well. To be blunt, I'm in a place where things like this don't really phase me any longer because it's just something that's going to keep happening until you decide there's something that needs changing for yourself. When something like this happens, I just kind of shrug because I've just been waiting for the next time it happens. This is not a good way for people to look at you, but that's where I am and I know others also wonder when the next time is going to be and what will the incident be.

The manner in which things are said are just as important as the core message.

So, (name), thank you for apologizing. I truly appreciate it. However, what's more important is what are you going to do to make sure that the next mistakes start becoming fewer and farther between?

And isn't that the challenge we all face?

There are always better ways to say things and there are parts I'm sure people will take issue with. But, the essential thing is, we are given the people in our lives for a reason. When something is repeatedly brought to our attention, we need to respect that and pay attention.

Maybe that's where part of the problem is when someone does not believe in any sort of higher guidance coming through...that everything is just coincidence. However, that still doesn't mean there's nothing to be learned from patterns in our lives. Meaningless coincidence can be anything but meaningless if we want it to be so.

Books Looking for a Good Home

To the locals:

As some of you may remember, semi-recently, I was parsing through my books and am in the process of getting rid of a good number of them through paperbackswap. However, I have a few books that I don't want to post there because of their size, which increases the cost of mailing them. As a result, I have some stuff that's available to anyone who wishes to speak up and either arrange a meeting or come pick 'em up. There is no payment expected. Just knowing they're going to a home where they'll be appreciated is good enough for me. However, I wouldn't turn down a small Amazon gift certificate donation, either ;). I kid. Not really. But they're really free to a good home and I won't cry as long as you're happy to give them a home. With that said so thoroughly roundabout, here is a list of what I have available.

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams
Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams
To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams (both parts 1 and 2 in an omnibus)
Isomnia by Stephen King
The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson (well loved. A bit beat up)
Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
River of Gods by Ian McDonald
Matter by Ian M Banks
Trinity by White Wolf (Corebook RPG)
Exalted by White Wolf (1st ed limited edition in slipcase)
The Star Wars Encyclopedia by Stephen J Sansweet

Any takers?


Mister Cellophane...Call me Toulouse

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