The Slow Reader – Gone CH 32-39

I fooled around a little with the sound in the last two episodes. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like the way the sound turned out in chapters 20-32. So I made some changes. I will listen back and figure out whether or not I go back to how I recorded it in the last few episodes. I think I like it better.

Plenty of new information revealed in these chapters, including the cause of The Fayz! Or part of the cause. This is the penultimate episode for Gone coverage, with chapters 39 – Final coming in 2 weeks’ time.

Read ‘All Our Relations’ by Tanya Talaga – it’s a really important book that I think everyone needs to read.

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/stephen_g

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2474979-stephen-gower

I’m excited for The Slow Reader – 2 weeks from now

I haven’t even completed the pre-production on the final episode for “Gone” (catch up on the book by following the Podcasts category on the blog) and I’m already excited for it. I’m excited for me, and I’m excited to have people listen to it. Because I think it’s going to be the best one yet (for this book). I’ve been really up & down with my own personal reaction to the podcast and how I’ve produced it, but I’ve been taking in everything I’ve done for it so far and internalized how I want to make the podcast sound better.

I’m not going to release any details – because there’s still two more episodes for the book left (tomorrow, and 14 days from now); but I will give you a little bit of behind the scenes to chew on.

Left: My Kobo Clara HD reader
Right: My podcast notebook

This is a new approach to podcasting for me; I usually just take notes and improvise as I go on the mic, because I don’t like working with a script. While this isn’t exactly a script, and I deviate from what I write from time-to-time, I figured that doing a solo show needed a bit more structure and that doing it unscripted would be harder.

Indeed, even partially scripting it is more difficult than I thought (for example, for an episode I thought would definitely be longer than 15 minutes, I came in under 10). But I’m having a good time doing it. As I said to Vanessa last night, I’m doing a lot of the work for the podcast in small chunks, because I don’t want to burn myself out and have it actually feel like work.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been trying to make the podcast sound better as I continue through the books and reading that I’m doing. It bugs me a little bit that most of my episodes are still quite short – 10 minutes or less. I feel like I’m not putting as much effort as I could be into the episodes, so that’s mainly why it’s bugging me. So that’s why this episode coming up in a couple of weeks has me excited – like I said, I’m still doing the pre-production work and have a lot to put together, but the material I’ve written already is some of the best I’ve done for this podcast to date.

Something I’m struggling with at the moment is a lack of time, though. I’ve finished Gone, but haven’t picked a new book to read yet – so while I have plans for an episode or two in between Gone and the next book, I don’t know how all of that will work out yet. If I sit down and think about it, I likely have a lot of time to puzzle it out. I definitely want something planned to release so I don’t get caught with several weeks without a new episode again.

I’ve got a few notes and ideas for the next book and how to cover it a bit differently. Some of that will go into the final chapters of Gone; but for the most part you won’t see a change until the start of the next book.

Thanks for reading / listening. Let me know if you are listening to the podcast!

New Podcast Discovery: Science Fiction Shorts

I’m not going to lie, the inspiration for the name of this blog was pulled directly from a podcast I enjoyed from years back that no longer publishes: No Format Podcast. (Also not a lie, I sometimes think about re-branding this blog and calling it something else.)

The podcast was hosted by Josh Wetencamp and his friend Jason (can’t remember the last name, and Apple won’t give me more info right now!), and they covered a number of different topics – as the name suggests, they didn’t have a set topic, or a specific show clock that they followed. They were fun to listen to, and definitely one of the first podcasts of its kind; nowadays you’ll probably find several shows that follow the same premise (“It’s a show…about nothing!”).

But I’m getting away from my main point. Josh has a new podcast available on Apple Podcasts (also via RSS feed)! The main premise is basically Josh reads a story to you, and talks about it a bit. The first episode (and first four episodes I guess) cover a story from the late 1800’s called The Brick Moon. It’s an interesting thought-experiment story and I enjoyed Josh’s thoughts and some of the ramblings that related to the story.

When I was brainstorming what I wanted to do with a new podcast, I thought about doing something similar to Science Fiction Shorts. What I’m trying to accomplish now with The Slow Reader is basically what Josh has done with one episode (albeit I don’t ever plan on narrating the books in full). So this was a lot of fun to dive into and I got a lot out of it, personally.

If you want to listen to sci-fi short fiction, then this is a good place. I think he’s going to be reading public domain stuff for the most part; The Brick Moon comes from Project Gutenberg specifically. If that is up your alley then subscribe!

Slow Reader #6: Gone, Chapters 20-32

Finally got this one out. I thought it was going to be a long one, but it’s around the 10 minute mark. Pretty happy with that! Expect two more episodes.

After a lengthy delay, a 12-chapter update for Gone, chapters 20-32. Things are really heating up, and if this were a movie we’d be pretty close to the third act by now. There are going to be two more episodes for Gone, before moving on to the next book. Enjoy!

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/stephen_g

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2474979-stephen-gower

Blog: https://www.noformatblog.ca

No Podcast Today

Photo copyright Robert Lamb.
Source: https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5364653

I’m travelling back home on the train while I write this; I’m sorry to disappoint anyone who was waiting for it (hey…there are at least 60 listens! That’s not nothing.), but I don’t have a podcast to release today. Normally by my schedule it would be out early Thursday morning.

I finished my notes of the chapters I read – actually, I decided to stop short of a few chapters, because it was just getting really long in the tooth. I’ve lamented before that my episodes are so short, but I’ve gotten used to the idea of little 8-10 minute chunks. I can’t say for sure how long it will take me to record this upcoming episode, but it really felt long. So I added one more episode to cover “Gone” to my list of episodes, which is fine by me.

I’m not entirely sure if the format I’m using is going to stick. I’m still only 5 or 6 episodes in, so I feel a bit of freedom when it comes to finding my footing for a format to use. I think that is pretty normal for most podcasts. However, most podcasts also don’t have a single host.

I really wanted to avoid missing a week (let alone 2 in a row now) while starting out fresh. However, just due to timing, that’s the way it worked out. But I have a plan written out (slightly modified now that I’ve decided to add an extra episode for Gone), so I will probably take some time off work shortly to get a few episodes ahead.

So I hope I haven’t lost all of the listeners I accumulated so far, and that you’re eager to hear what’s in store for the kids in Gone. I made a conscious choice not to get something released last night; I could have done the work from my hotel room last night, but I chose to relax instead. I don’t regret that decision.

No new podcast today

Mentioned on Twitter the last couple of days – I wasn’t able to get a podcast recorded for today (Thursday). Next one will focus on finishing up ‘Gone’ – I just couldn’t get something done. Hope you understand!

Brief Thoughts on Star Trek: The Motion Picture

I shared this on Reddit last week to (some) acclaim last week; I recently watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979, IMDB) and really enjoyed it. So I shared my thoughts on /r/StarTrek:

Spreadsheets and Weight Loss

This is going to be really out of date by the time I actually post this, but I really couldn’t wait. My weight loss has stalled of late, and the biggest reason is my lack of discipline in logging. Not surprised there. I’ve been trying and trying to re-focus and get going on this week after week, but I keep dropping the ball.

Weight Loss Spreadsheet
Weight Loss Spreadsheet – The Basics

So today (editor’s note – April 25th), I drew up a new spreadsheet. It’s basic, so I’m hoping that will help me keep motivated to fill it out – and properly, at that. This means that I need to have mostly accurate data from MyFitnessPal to get any use from the numbers.

I hope to see some great numbers at the end of the month.

What I hope to get out of this exercise is to see if my logging is accurate. My goal is to lose 1.5 pounds / week, which means I need to have a calorie deficit of 750 per day (based on 500 calories per day = 1 pound of fat). If I’m logging correctly – and my smart watch is giving me accurate results – I should see it accurately reflected in the final totals at the bottom.

The reason I’m tracking MyFitnessPal (“MFP”) totals vs regular totals is because the numbers for MFP are slightly different than when I use a TDEE calculator. The difference is only 100 calories or so, but this is becoming my “control” month to see whether or not I should stick closer to my TDEE or if MFP is close enough. When I get to the end of May I’ll have a look at the results and make some decisions.

Other notes about the spreadsheet – I need to make sure to re-adjust the BMR & TDEE numbers every 10 pounds. I don’t anticipate that happening this month, as long as I stick to 1.5 pounds per week. As I intend to keep this spreadsheet going, however, it’s a good reminder to keep in the back of my head.

The waiting game starts.

Slow Reader Episode 5 – Gone – Chapters 13-19

I changed things up a little bit. I discovered that taking detailed notes every time I read a chapter is not my optimal reading method, so I went back to how I normally read books and took notes AFTER. I like the result this week.


I doubled my reading output and read 6 chapters over 2 weeks. Covering off chapters 13 through 19 in this episode, things have escalated very quickly in Perdido Beach.

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/stephen_g

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2474979-stephen-gower

Thoughts on Luminary

No one has really asked me about my thoughts on Luminary, but as I have a lot of opinions about podcasts, I thought it worth sharing some observations about the latest podcast platform.

If you haven’t heard of Luminary, it’s a new podcast platform. Most of the same podcasts available on any other platform are there for free, but if you pay $8/month you get access to exclusive content available only on Luminary. It’s not too different from Stitcher, although there are some slight differences in the platforms that I won’t get into right now.

It just launched this week, though it made a splash a few months back when it purported to be “the Netflix of podcasts”. It’s received a lot of backlash, most notably for its ad campaign (“podcasts don’t need ads!”), and for taking some popular shows away from the realm of free downloads.

The backlash is simple: people don’t think that you should pay for podcasts – at least not in this form. I agree with that notion. The other part of the response to Luminary is that it is pulling podcasts that were previously freely available to their platform, and will only be available to Luminary subscribers.

I don’t begrudge the podcast producers at all for taking the money from Luminary. It can be expensive to produce a podcast, and having guaranteed funding (for however long that is) gives you the freedom to create better content.

I mentioned that their platform seemed to follow Stitcher’s model, with some differences. Namely, Stitcher requires you to submit your podcast to their database. They have a premium tier ($4.99 monthly, or $2.92 / month for their “premium annual” plan) as well, which gives you access to exclusive shows; but I believe these premium shows also become publicly available after a short period of time. For example, Wolverine: The Long Night was a Stitcher exclusive for several months before becoming available to everyone else in the Fall of 2018.

I personally prefer this model of offering premium content. I also like the way Spotify handles it – everything is available on their platform (music and podcasts alike) – but you get ads if you don’t subscribe to the premium level.

With all of that said, I admit I’ve changed my stance on Luminary since I first heard about it. I think that they need to make some changes to their platform, though; they are not a revolutionary solution to a problem or making podcasts more convenient, so they need to drop their “Netflix of podcasts” attitude. I think they should also follow Stitcher’s premium window model – make the shows freely available after 4-6 months. Heck – make it a year if you want to try to be competitive.

A lot of people have the opinion that Luminary is going to fail. I don’t think it will fall flat on its face, but I do think they will suffer a little. Hopefully for them (and the shows they are paying for), they decide to make adjustments rather than be prideful and end before they even get started.

Further reading: