I caught up to the main character in my Worlds Together series shortly before the events in Synergy Of Hopes could take place and asked him the following questions. His answers were a little terse, but I’ll take what I can get.
What is your greatest fear?
Never finding a love like the one my Grandfather knew before the too soon loss of my Grandmother SSilsnia.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
The way I freeze when asked to speak up in public.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
My Grandfather Roggi. No one has had to overcome more pain to fullfill his dreams.
Which living person do you most despise?
Duke Argodr. His ego is nothing but trouble to everyone who has to deal with his people.
When and where were you happiest?
Working with my Grandfather Roggi making the Konhor project a success.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d learn how to speak to a girl who catches my eye rather than pulling into myself.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My Exavent red hair.
What do you most value in your friends?
People who do what they said they would do.
What is your greatest regret?
Not forming any lasting relationships during my time as a Cadet in the League Star Academy.
Last week I posted a list of the podcasts I presently listen to on a weekly basis. One area of the modern reading experience referred to on a increasingly regular basis is the whole world of audiobooks.
As a writer I admit to having the thought of eventually releasing my works in audiobook format but production and distribution is a large subject best left for another day. This post is about my thoughts on the reading by audiobook experience.
To start, I have listened to a handful of audiobooks during extended road trips. This includes using regular CDs, MP3 CDs, and via the Audible app on my phone. Just enough for me to have a foundation from which to postulate.
Roadtrips are a good place to listen to an audiobook with one caveat. If you are not alone in the car you are signalling to everyone else that conversation is not welcome while the book is playing. During my day to day routine things get a lot trickier. Right now the majority of the time I have for listening is taken up by the podcast rotation mentioned on my last post. To make room for audiobooks I’d have to give some of them up.
A quick estimate based upon the three podcasts that push audiobooks the most suggest I could free up two hours a week by no longer listening to Functional Nerds, Writing Excuses, and Wordslinger. I’m sure they won’t mind losing my listener support to follow their ongoing advice.
Two hours a week equals eight to ten hours a month. About the length of your average audio version of a full length novel.
I further estimate I may be able to carve out another two hours each week by adjusting my daily priorities. This is where things get tricky since this cuts into time I presently use to do things like think about where my writing/editing endeavours are headed. Another danger, listening to audiobooks is far more passive than reading, making easier to listen on when I should be getting to other things.
I am now capable of listening to two audiobooks a month.
One good thing about listening via Audible is the ability to accelerate playback speed. If a little experimentation shows I can handle a book at 1.5 speed I can hear six hours of story per week. In the unlikely event that I can remain sane at 2.0 speed that becomes eight times, or almost a book a week.
Audiobooks tend to be for more expensive than either print or e. I could go the library route though this will almost certainly limit me to CD or MP3 CD at this time. No acceleration. It would also limit me to older books for the most part. Audible.com does have a monthly subscription option but that would only get me one average length novel each month. At this moment I can’t see how that would work for me.
All in all it looks to me like audiobooks just don’t fit into my reading experience at this time, except on road trips.
I have a moderately long commute to and from my bread and butter job each day. About two years ago I decided to try maximising that and other driving times by exploring to growing world of podcasts. What once was a handful of listens has now become a stable to fill my entire week.
Over this time specific podcasts have come and gone. Some because the stopped making new ones, some because they didn’t speak to me, and some due to technical reasons around my present sound system. That is simply the nature of the beast.
I thought it might be interesting to post a list of my present listens, so in the order they appear in my podcast app here are the shows I presently listen to on a regular basis:
In closing I should note that not all these podcasts are released on a regular basis but most do come out at weekly.
My last post, Into The Land Of 3D Computing, details my first foray into the world of 3D computing and 3D printing.
I have since rescaled my model and produced a demo sized model in a medium I can polish to perfection. 3dhubs came through again.
Now for the tricky part. Doing the actual polish and deciding if I need to add any markings. You will have to read the opening of Synergy Of Hopes to understand why that’s an important question. (Is that blatant enough?)
I have been musing over the question of how to generate professional grade images of the ship in my stories, Konhor, for some time. It is the one element missing from my cover to Synergy Of Hopes, my blog image, and even my Author Cards.
My Konhor Board on Pinterest shows many of the diagrams and images I’ve developed to date, but none of them are clean enough to use in the manner described. I simply don’t have the artistic or graphic skills to take them to the next level .
In response I have attempted two very different tactics to acquire such an image. Method one had me contract a designer on Upwork. This got me a wonderful ship design that didn’t work for me once I’d had a chance to think it over and cost me too much money to try it again any time soon. Method two had me consider the option of creating a 3D rendition of Konhor which I could either render from various angles or 3D print an actual model. The latter has the added benefit of being able to put it out on display at Cons and other public venues.
My first intro into the world of 3D printing came through the powerful but free program Blender. It’s taken me hours of watching online videos to get a grasp on the basics of this program. My second biggest foray into 3D came after being pointed to Tinkercad. Though this online program appears primitive it only took a few short videos to give me the skills to build a first prototype of Konhor.
One thing Tinkercad doesn’t have is the ability to add a light and capture renders of my ship in that platform. Thus I turned to the idea of seeing what it would take to have a 3D model printed. This meant finding a service able to handle the job at a reasonable cost. Enter 3dhubs, a site where I could find local 3D printer services and collect quotes. Four days later I had my prototype. A model so small I could make it into a tieclip or earing as the picture above attests. Seems I still have a bit to learn about this whole 3D thing.
My next interation will be 4 times larger, which in a 3D environment actually increases its volume by a magnitude of 64. This may cost me a wee bit more than prototype #1 but is still cheaper in time and cash than the other options I have at this time.
More to come.
They also laughed when we paid $10 a bulb for CFL lighting. Those early bulbs each lasted 10 years and saved us I don’t know how many dollars in electricity. Modern CFLs are designed to fail more often and cost so much more in overall pricing. Many of our latest bulbs are even more efficient LEDs.
In a similar manner we were doing cold water washing long before it became vogue and risked the ire of our neighbours for daring to use a clothes tree when we had a dryer.
Back to the car. Once upon a time we spent a large part of our summer camping out at events hosted by the Society For Creative Anachronism. In those days much talk had turned to buying minivans or SUVs to haul ever increasing amounts of gear. After much debate I went with a relatively efficient Dodge Neon and a trailer. It was a great compromise compared to the costs our minivan choosing friends found themselves putting out.
After our involvement in the SCA slowed to a crawl the day arrived when the nice firemen turned our 4 door sedan into a 3 door convertible that we traded in for a Toyota Echo. Then a ditch monster caught the Echo in an ice web that trapped three other cars and we replaced it with the Toyota Yaris I drive now.
With the 300k mark with its promise of escalating maintenance costs fast approaching I am now looking at a Toyota Prius. Probably the C model. By my estimates, if I’d owned one for the life of our Yaris I would have saved well over 10 grand on gas.
While electic vehicles are now making a strong show in the market our personal needs remain such that they are not yet a viable alternative. Though the savings in fuel would more than make up for the higher purchase price.
But you must have power to climb steep hills, or to avoid that accident, or to enjoy the drive. I’ve heard it all from the people who inspired the title for this post so many years ago.
I have never seen the need to accelerate up hills such as those that command three out of the four routes out of the Lower Mainland into the rest of the Province of BC. All my vehicles did just fine making their way up the slow lane at a comfortable speed. In the 35 years I have been driving I can count on zero hands the number of times power would have gotten me out of an accident. It has never happened. As for enjoyment, I have loved to drive from the moment I got my driver’s licence. I have made long road trips in a gas guzzling SUV, in a 70s v8 powered land-boat, and all the economy cars mentioned above. In my mind too much power would only encourage me to drive faster and miss more of the scenery I’m looking for.
By some standard the above means I’m broken, and I’m fine with that.