Writing, Skyping and Podcasting dreams

I didn’t write over the weekend or yesterday. Today I managed 1967 words. That’s just under 8 pages. Not a record-breaking day but I’m encouraged. I even managed to type a dialogue scene while waiting in the dentist’s office.

I received the fiction pieces for the WorldCon writing workshop. The format is a small circle where three hopefuls (like me) get their pieces critiqued. The workshops are conducted by published authors but the participants are also expected to do a detailed critique of each piece. I haven’t read the other two stories yet. I want to read them closer to the date so they are fresh in my mind for the session.

One interesting thing I did today was install Skype on my computer. It will be good to contact overseas (and long-distance) friends and relatives for free. In the long run, I also want to experiment with different ways of digital recording. I looked at an interesting tutorial about using Skype to record an interview. It recommends using Skype for public access radio or podcasts and explains how to adjust your firewall settings for optimum sound quality.

I would like to eventually podcast my school plays, maybe on schooltube.com, probably using student actors. It will take me some time to figure out the technical requirements but it would be great to put my plays out there. That way, other teachers could use them and I would find another audience.

Believe me, these shows are fun but time-consuming. Take my play ‘Mozart’s Mystic Flute,’ a time travel piece featuring W.A. Mozart, warring sisters, Jimi Hendrix and Barney the dinosaur. By the time you’ve cast the actors, recruited a music director, rehearsed for months, drummed up 18th century costumes, taught your actors the Minuet, and tracked down 50 pocket watches for a visual gag, you’re tired of the whole thing!

The performances themselves are great for the director. I just sit back and watch the show but that’s it. Once it’s over, I don’t produce the same show twice. I like to write a school play every second year, which gives me a backlog of four plays. Most have had a run of only seven shows apiece. It seems a shame not to use them again… just not as stage plays. Where would be the fun in doing the same thing twice?

Naked to Nature

I’m a fan of the The Naked Scientists podcast with Chris Smith. This is a fun, English podcast with features such as ‘kitchen science’ experiments for kids to try at home and quizzes for listeners.

For weekly podcasts on Science with a more serious tone, my new favorite is Chris Smith’s Nature podcast. Many of the topics are related and the sponsers are the same. The difference is more in-depth interviews with scientists on their latest discoveries.

Happy listening.

SSL4You & Escape Pod

Do you have trouble reading on the bus? Want to take your books everywhere yet still keep your hands free? I recently discovered PodioBooks via the “I should be writing,” podcast: http://shouldwrite.blogspot.com/

Podiobooks offers free podcasts of books, split into weekly installments. If you are impressed with their services and choose to donate, Podiobooks splits the money with the creators of their podcasts. There are all sorts of categories, including dramatized serials, fantasy, science fiction and fan fiction. I even found one story labelled “Magic Realism.” Here’s the link if you are interested: http://www.podiobooks.com/

I listened to Theresa Sanchez’ excellent Spanish podcast again today. I put a link on one of my previous entries, but as of today it’s also in my link list.

Her most recent podcast talks about the excuses people give for not coming in to work. As usual, it’s informative and gently funny. ¡Que disfrutes!

Español para Extranjeros — Learning Spanish

  • Most North Americans, despite childhood lessons in French or Spanish, remain unilingual. I blame the internet. With podcasts, internet radio and free lessons on zoodles of websites, learning just about any language has become too easy. Where’s the glory in it? The quiet guy in the next cubicle is probably already doing it.
  • Lately I’ve been trolling the internet for intermediate Spanish sites. I’ll listen to anything: grammar, reggeaton, cultural chit chat, scientific blurbs, news and politics… I’ve even found a podcast that teaches nasty jokes and slang but I’m not endorsing it — too many canned laughs and chipmunk-pitched voices. Podcasts designed for native speakers are too challenging for me but I have found a gem, produced in Madrid.
  • I refer intermediate Spanish students to my favorite language podcast: SSL4You. The author, Teresa Sanchez, teaches Spanish via cultural anecdotes. Her weekly monologues, on topics such as getting lost in Madrid, her ‘stolen’ car, Pamplona’s running of the bulls and Spanish wedding customs are entertaining and instructive.
  • After each monologue, Teresa explains the complete text in simpler words, enriching listeners’ vocabularies with useful synonyms. For those who like to read the text, her notes to the program include the complete script of the monologue for consultation on your ipod or computer.

    I don’t know Teresa but it’s hard not to like her charismatic, non-commercial podcast:


Cereal Girl