Archive for the ‘Interaction’ Category

My Personal Password Conundrum

April 30, 2014 3 comments

passwordI have a bit of a rant about the use of passwords in the modern age. Perhaps I’m too set in my ways or perhaps I’m just weary of all the wonderful hoops the information age requires us to jump through.

Thankfully, this episode is NOT password protected. Yet.


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Deadline Cascade

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

penpaperHere’s an update of stuff I’ve got going on in the writing and podcasting worlds! I recorded this last Sunday evening and for the last few days I’ve been scrambling about finishing up the current project you’ll hear me discuss in this episode. I also mentioned a few publications my work has recently shown up in.


In the Bloodstream

Kaiser’s Gate: Tales From the Front – Amazon / DriveThruRPG

Tsunami Quarterly Review # 4


Filling in the Gaps

March 11, 2014 Leave a comment

fixingabrainI’m fascinated with the way our brains fill in the gaps about people and things when we use social media. So I’ve decided to ramble about it for a bit. 🙂


Ganymedian Folderol

February 10, 2014 2 comments

RatHatI am not dead! I just went to a party held by my author friend Kierce Sevren (check out her blog HERE) and it was DELIGHTFUL. Here’s a thing I recorded beforehand. It was horribly early in the morning and I think I must have been too close to the mic, so apologies for the oddities in the sound. I’ve tried tinkering about with music loops for the background – let me know what you think, if you’re so inclined. 🙂



June 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Hey folks – things are changing! This is an audio-only update, so feel free to listen below or download the MP3 file to hear me ramble about what’s going on.


Categories: Interaction Tags: , ,

It’s Coming!

March 18, 2011 1 comment

Hey, folks!

I’m making a little entry here to let you know that I have a book coming out and it has just gone into pre-order! The book is called Abduction Etiquette and it contains about 50 or so monologues that I wrote to perform at open mic nights at coffee houses and the like. They’re all very short pieces and I have performed each and every one of them in public. So, these all come pre-tested for audience reaction! 😉

I am incredibly excited about this. Right now it’s looking as though the publication date is going to be some time in August, but that may be subject to change depending on the number of pre-orders we get.

Now, the cover price of the book, when it’s published, is going to be $14 (plus S&H) but right now there’s a pre-order sale going on! Anyone who pre-orders the book right now will be able to get it for $9 (plus S&H).

Now here’s where I’m going to ask for a little bit of help.

If you’re interested in ordering the book, by all means, feel free to do so. I’ll be more than happy for you to. If you’re not so sure, then that’s okay. 🙂 BUT I’d appreciate it if you let anybody that you know – who you think might be interested – know about the book. So if you have any friends who are into acting or comedy or who like strange poetry, people who are involved in theatre or in university theatre departments, actors, acting students or folks who just like silly character pieces, I would very much appreciate it!

Before this book can come out I’ve got a target of at least 100 pre-sales I need to make. If it doesn’t make 100 by August then the publication date may get pushed back. If, on the other hand, we make 100 pre-sales well before the publication date, then it may come out early! And of course nothing would thrill me more, and I’m sure anybody else who actually goes in and pre-orders it would be cool with that coming out to them early as well.

With your help, I think we can definitely pull it off.

The pre-order deal is currently available at:

This is the first time I will ever have an actual book out. I am ridiculously excited about it and I thank you very much for having the patience to let me ramble about it a bit.

And now, if you’re curious about what kind of monologues these are, there are three samples on that site, but I’ve also recorded one  for you and will be putting it at the end of the audio file for this blog post.

Thanks again and I hope you enjoy it!

The monologue, Kingdom of Java, is at the end of the recording! Click below to listen:


Music by Dave Girtman

Answering Machine Flashback

November 7, 2010 1 comment

I was going through the contents of an old disk and stumbled across some answering machine messages that I’d recorded and done some audio editing on back in the 90’s – sort of an early example of me playing around with audio from some of the earlier strata of my life. And I thought it would be amusing to play them for you.

I’ve got two answering machine messages. The first one used samples from Young Frankenstein and the second used samples from Return of the Jedi. And I know I have a couple of friends that I had told about these messages and they were wondering if they’d ever get a chance to listen to them.

So here they are, guys. Be kind!

The messages are at the end of the recording! Click below to listen:


Music by Dave Girtman

Online Gestalt Entities

April 23, 2010 14 comments

I’m about to get into a topic that might tick a few folks off.  You see, this is going to be about something that is fairly commonly done on the internet (in fact, a number of my friends do it) but that I’m not too fond of myself.  Just know that if you happen to be one of those folks who follow this practice, I’m not meaning to single you out or hurt your feelings.  I also don’t think any less of you as a person.  But yes, this IS about you.

I’m talking about taking a picture of yourself and another person and posting it as your personal avatar on an internet community.  Now, I don’t mean including a picture like that in a collection of photos – I have no problem with that.  I’m talking specifically about using a photo of you and someone else as the one identifying image that comes up on Facebook, MySpace or any number of other services when I go to look at your profile.  It’s your avatar – the one picture that’s meant to convey the essence of who you are to everyone who looks at your personal page.

I realize I don’t have a lot of room to complain, here, given that MY avatar photo is usually a close-up of my left eye.  At least in my case, though, there’s no doubt that what you’re looking at is supposed to be representative of only one person.  There are plenty of folks out there who post things just as abstract or bizarre, and I have no issue with that.  But when you’re posting a photograph for your avatar and there’s more than one person in it, things can get a bit confusing.

Me and another guy. Which is which?

Sometimes it’s you and your kid, which I can kind of understand – after all, a lot of folks are proud of their children and place them above all else in importance.  If you consider your kid part of your identity as a person, then there’s no reason not to include them.  I must admit that I find it a little bit disturbing when the photo is ONLY of your child – suggesting that your identity has been completely subsumed by your offspring – but that’s another topic.

There are folks who like to use pictures of themselves with their significant others.  Again, I completely understand if you’re proud of the fact that you’re in a relationship – especially since some of us go through what seem like entire ice ages between them.  If your name is fairly gender-neutral, though, I may have trouble telling which one of you is which.  That, of course, assumes that your significant other is of the opposite gender.  If not, then it becomes difficult to tell who’s who regardless of naming conventions.

When it’s a picture of you and your best friend (again assuming that we’re only talking about cases in which you’re both the same gender), I have no idea what to think.  If I haven’t met you before then I have no way of knowing which one is you.  This is a common problem, I think, and yet people persist in doing it.

Are you trying to remain anonymous… without remaining anonymous?  I know that the last thing I’d expect my best friend to do is use me as a decoy to throw people off of his track.  It’s kind of like a superhero moving his sidekick in front of a bullet.  (“I knew you’d come in handy one day, little chum!”)

I often hear someone say that they’ve used a picture taken with a friend because it’s the best picture they could find of themselves.  That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t solve the fundamental problem of identifying you.  That’s what an avatar is for, after all.

Are you trying to co-op a second person into your identity?  Are you symbiotes?  If it’s your best friend I’m sure they don’t necessarily have a problem with being “part of you” but I have to wonder if that diminishes their own individual identity a bit.  Are they okay with being a gestalt entity?  Does the essence of all that is you inhabit more than one body?

Maybe it does.  Maybe you and your friend are so inseparable that to know you is to know them as well and vice versa.  If that’s the case, then more power to you.  But I just have to ask one little favor: if your shared identity allows you at least the tiniest sense of self, could you possibly make it clearer which of the two people in your avatar photo is you?  Be the one standing closer to the camera.  Do something funky with Photoshop — give yourself a halo of light or glowing eyes or something.

Because ultimately, when I look at your avatar – whether it’s a picture of a giant eye, a cartoon armadillo or an ordinary photograph – I’m meant to be looking at some facet of the person you believe you are, or at least the person you’d like to be.

Otherwise, why bother?

Click below if you’d like to hear me read the article:


Music by Kevin MacLeod

Personal Branding (Yeeee… Ha?)

November 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Howdy, partners.

I expect some of y’all are curious about the art o’ Personal Brandin’.  Step on up to the fire-pit and grab a hot iron, if you think you’re ready.  It takes a brave one to do it, but once everybody sees that there emblem on you, the folks’ll flock to you like a flight o’ rabid condors!  It’ll only be a few seconds before you pass out from the pain, so come on!  Who’s first?

Okay, okay, tempted as I am to finish this whole article in character, I’ll drop the accent and get a tad more serious.

I’ve taken a few tentative steps into the wading end of personal branding and will probably need to try sinking or swimming very soon.  Something I’ve been learning is that writers – writers of pretty much anything – need to advertise not only their work, but THEMSELVES.  What that essentially means is that they have to find ways to make themselves memorable to their readership.

Mur Lafferty (author of “Heaven” and “Playing for Keeps”) talks about this fairly frequently on her podcast.  J.C. Hutchins is doing it all over the place – remember him, by the way?  The guy whose Kilroy2.0 character “hacked” this blog and a bunch of others on October 27th to promote the release of “7th Son?”  If you do, then he’s evidently getting it right.

I’m still working on it.  I really need to get in gear, though, since I may very well have a creative project to promote sometime next year (more on that if and when it comes to fruition).  I recently came across an article by the inimitable Miss Destructo that discusses the creation of a personal identity and an accompanying press kit.  All I can say is that when the time comes for me to put a press kit together, I’ll be referencing it heavily!  It also shows that there are clearly a lot of steps I have yet to take in defining my own “brand.”

But, that said, here’s some of what I’ve done so far.  Hopefully it’ll be helpful for someone out there who might just be getting started.

Who is this OtherDoc guy, anyway?

I use the handle “otherdoc” for things like instant messaging services, bulletin boards and various online community sites – basically anywhere that you’re encouraged to go by a cool pseudonym instead of your real name.  I’ve been using it ever since the late 90’s, when I needed to give my then-local ISP a user ID.  “Doc” was already taken, so I went with “otherdoc” instead – and it stuck.  And no, I’m not a real doctor in any sense of the word.  The “doc” aspect was a throwback to my fascination with both Doctor Who and Doc Holliday.  Merge the two and you get a cantankerous smart-alec trying to use his wits to make the universe a better place – which is kind of how I’d like to describe myself – well, an idealized version of myself, anyway.  The “other” aspect, while initially just a way to stand out, has come to represent that sort of “alien” vibe I’m told I tend to give off (if you’ve met me, you probably know what I’m talking about).  It also works nicely as a way for my humility to come out and prod me every now and then, reminding me that I’m not necessarily the idealized “Doc” composite to which I aspire – I’m the OTHER “Doc.”

Regardless of its origin, using the same handle wherever I go means that people will hopefully recognize me no matter what site I’m on.  If you’re picking a handle out for yourself that you’d like to use in a similar way, choose something that you won’t mind being remembered as because you’ll be stuck with it for a long time.

What’s with the eye?

So, you might have noticed that picture of my left eye that appears on my web site, as album art for this blog’s audio files and on virtually every web site and communication service to which I subscribe that allows the use of a personal icon.  Honestly, like my net handle, I stumbled onto the use of that, too.  I had a web camera at one time and tried to get silly and artistic with it.  That photo, showing my left eye in the light and my right eye in shadow, was probably the best of all the ones I took (which probably gives you a good idea of just how pathetic I am at photography).  I’ve used it – or at least the right-most part of it on those occasions when I have to use an icon that’s completely square – as another way people can recognize me.  If they won’t always know me by my face, then by thunder they’ll know me by my eye!

In other words, faces can be forgotten, but if you have some kind of logo – even if it’s just an extreme close-up on one particular feature – people are more likely to remember it.  Maybe not at first, but if you get it out there enough, they will!

Like I said, these are just a couple of small steps.  There’s a lot more for me to do to get where I’ll need to be.  In the mean time, I’d be curious to hear what you folks out there in the digital ether have been doing as a way of branding yourselves?  What do you do to shout your identity to the world?  Don’t be shy – mosey on over to the blog’s comments area and throw down some responses.  We’ll keep the fire-pit ready and the irons hot!

Click below if you’d like to hear me read the article:


Music by Kevin MacLeod

Why I Use Emoticons

October 8, 2009 6 comments

Do you do a lot of texting?  E-mailing?  Tweeting?  Facebooking?  Livejournaling?  Other web-related things?

I do a fair amount of all that and more and I freely admit that I make use of emoticons.  You know, those little symbols people make out of their keystrokes to show that they’re smiling    :), winking ;), frowning 😦 or that they’re Abraham Lincoln ==):-)= or Cthulhu (:€.

I’ve noticed that for the most part people tend to be divided into two camps over the use of emoticons.  Either they love them or they hate them.  Emoticon lovers tend to slather all their posts with little smiley faces, “leet” speech, acronyms and deliberately misspelled words and phrases (which are often called “lolcatz” for reasons it would probably take most of a second article to fully explain).  Haters of emoticons decry them as ignorant and childish and tend to characterize people who use them as annoying zeebs with cuteness fixations who don’t know how to properly express themselves in writing.

I’m not deeply enamored of emoticons but I do make fairly frequent use of them.  Why?  Because they’re handy communication tools.

The trouble with the vast majority of internet-based communication is that there’s no way to determine the tone of the person writing to you.  Let’s say you’ve just sent out a text message letting your circle of friends know you’re about to go on a date.  You immediately get a message back from Bob that says:

“Don’t stay out too late!”

Now I’m sure you see the problem here.  Is Bob actually telling you not to stay out too late or is he joking?  Does he actually think that you’re still a teenager and that you can’t take care of yourself or is he just doing some harmless ribbing?  Is Bob being a supportive pal or an overbearing jerk?

The fact of the matter is that Bob has made a perfectly innocuous statement.  But now it’s spinning around and around in your head.   When you go to meet your date you’re so angry, frustrated and nervous that you mistake them for a valet and toss them your keys, upon which they angrily get into your vehicle and drive off.  So, now, having no car and having realized your mistake there’s nothing you can do but sit at the bar drinking yourself into a depressed stupor until they throw you out.  Then you wander the streets drunkenly until you’re accosted by muggers and beaten to a bloody pulp.

But, fear not!  With the use of a single emoticon the whole nightmare scenario can be avoided!

Imagine if, instead of sending the message, “Don’t stay out too late!” Bob texts, “Don’t stay out too late! ;)”  You see that?  Bob is winking at you!  That means he’s just kidding around!  He’s really wishing you well on your date after all.  What a scamp Bob is!  Now you can go out on your date with a clear head and perhaps have sex later in the evening.

So that’s pretty much why I use emoticons.  Not only does it help prevent people from being beaten into unconsciousness by roving gangs of angry youths, but it also helps keep people from thinking I’m a total jerk. 😉

Click below if you’d like to hear me read the article:


Music by Dave Girtman & John Philip Sousa
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