Friday, July 18, 2008

BabelCon 2008: Travel Tales (of the Crypt)

I live in Naples, Florida--right across from Miami. I'm closer to Cuba than I am to any state in the Union, and it takes a good 8 hours drive time to get to Georgia. It also takes about 13 to 14 hours to get to Baton Rouge, where BabelCon is.

After much consideration, I decided to break up the trip and stay with a friend in the panhandle of Florida tonight--wait, that would be this morning at this point (4:32am)--and on the way back as two trips of 13 hours of driving alone can be quite dangerous.

My plan:

  • Have everything packed and ready by yesterday--wait, Wednesday--and in the car.
  • Record my radio show on Hellboy yesterday--wait, Wednesday.
  • Write my angels speech that I am giving on Saturday. (This should be interesting. I write about fake angels--why I call them Cherubians instead of angels, and done little to no research on angels.)
  • Leave Thursday morning so I could not have to speed and hang out in a coffee shop with my three to four hours of spare time, editing my graphic novel.

That was before some really cool stuff happened this week that I can technically talk about but it's freakin' 4:37 in the morning. Big picture: Wandering Sage Publications is turning A Prophecy Forgotten into a paperback! If you are going to DragonCon, you will actually be able to purchase a limited edition DragonCon only paperback, but the room is spinning right now and everything is blurry, so I think waiting for another blogwill do it more justice.

So, instead of getting everything ready for my radio show and preparing my speech on angels, I've been focusing on contract negotiations and rights issues. And, of course, these kinds of things tend to zap me out of focus.

So, I ended up getting about 2 hours of sleep last night--I mean Wednesday night.

And I ended up recording my radio show this morning--I mean Thursday morning. My plan? Record everything in Naples, leave in time to reach my destination, and edit the show up here.

You know, I should have learned back in March when I put diesel in my car that I shouldn't try to operate on 2 hours of sleep--especially when I'm traveling.

Problem 1: I left 2 hours later than I should have (@ 2:30pm). I arrived at Ft. Walton Beach around, oh, 10 o'clock their time after driving 8 hours. (Yes, it's a nine hour drive. I just went a little...faster.) When I arrived, I had my MapQuest directions in front of me, ready to go. Of course, it was pitch black outside and in the car, so every time I wanted to read said MapQuest directions, I had to turn on a light.

That's when I remembered that Ft. Walton Beach doesn't believe in using street signs that people can see at night. And MapQuest requires being able to see street signs.

Let's see, where did I visit before I finally reached my friend's house? Hmmm.

  • Well, I got all the way downtown, and I realized that I had long since passed the .8 miles to my turn. (I kind of knew that at about a mile, but I always assume Mapquest is the one in the wrong. I don't know why I do this since I haven't been right yet.)
  • Then, I turned around and tried to retrace my steps, but I somehow took a left hand turn that I didn't even know was a turn--I believe it's called a fork in the road. Remember--not very good street signs. I ended up almost saying hello to the nice guards at the Eglin Air Force Base entrance.
  • I had to go back where I started, which was the wrong place to begin with but it was the only way I could find the right way to retrace my steps... (Did any of you get that?)
  • I finally guessed right on the street, and I eventually made it to my destination.
  • No, I did not call for directions. I really wanted to figure it out on my own. (Guys, admit it. You can relate.)

Then, after visiting with my friend and her hubby, I started to work on editing my radio program so I could upload it to Ad Astra's site.

That's when I realized that I had left about 4 minutes out of my first segment, meaning that my 36 minute show was only 32 minutes. I didn't have any radio equipment with me to record anything extra. (Obviously a case of severe fried brain, and I drove all the way up here with it!)

4 minutes is,like, a whole radio segment!

I literally almost burst into tears. But, I'm pretty stubborn, and I decided I had to figure out how to fix it. So here's what I did.

  • Remember that "audio version" of A Prophecy Forgotten that ArcheBooks tried to create that, well, put people to sleep because a computerized voice was reading it? I've got the program that creates the voice on my computer. Now, having a robot talk for four minutes doesn't make for good radio, but having a robot talk for two words and then using some of my past recordings does.
  • I created an mp3 file of a robotic man saying "Last week." It sounds, well, mostly real.
  • Then, in front of each of the 5 segments that I originally recorded, I added the parts of me making fun of movie critics and quoting movie critics during last week's show. Example:
    Man's voice: Last Week...
    Me: And so-and-so from so-and-so said.... Trust me they were hilarious. You've got to listen to last week's show if you haven't.
  • I still needed a full minute, so each segment of this week's show has an extra 12 seconds of Final Cut music at the end.
  • Problem solved...

Not bad for 2 hours of sleep in 48 hours, is it? Of course, all this editing took me about 4 hours, hence the 4:00 in the morning blog time (ooh, it's almost 5:00). Then it took me about 30 minutes to get the whole thing uploaded on Ad Astra's Server.

So, if you listen to the Ad Astra version, don't judge me too harshly this week. (I just used the shortened version for the podcast version.)

And now, I'm off to bed so I can get some sleep before I visit the Naval Air Museum (hopefully) and then drive 4 hours to Baton Rouge. If you see me nodding off at BabelCon, just wake me up.

Oh, yeah, and I've got an angels speech to write, too.

One more thing. Those little bottled Starbucks frapaccinos that you can buy at grocery stores really don't help wake you up.

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