listening to the podcast

For descriptions of each episode, check out my Show Notes at the top of the page. This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real people or events is purely coincidental.

WARNING: Some of the language may be offensive, but no worse than you would expect in an R rated movie.

Special thanks to NASA for the image of the galaxy.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Can't say enough about this show!

     Other posts about Wolf 359 lament that no other shows from these talented folks at Kinda Evil Genius Productions are on the horizon. We understand: The show is addictive, clever, and brings a fresh take on audio science fiction.
     The first few episodes give no hint of seriousness and could have had the same story in a contemporary business or academic setting. But before the end of the first season it quickly evolves into a deadly serious sci-fi drama.
     The quality of writing, acting, and sound-scaping is top quality and the story arc is masterful. There is a definite end to the story when all things are wrapped up nicely. That is not to say all evils are undone, but the loose ends are finally tied up neatly.
     Sprinkled into the saga are back-story episodes revealing the past of each character, and providing reinforcement to an already well rounded plot.
     The premise of a lazy slacker taking a job on a remote space station pays off as each character is developed. Not everything is as it seems, and the evil plot of the ruthless villains gradually comes to light, along with mysteries which eventually are answered.
     The players are outstanding:

  • Zach Valenti is extraordinarily talented as the central character Doug Eifel, and shows versatility in the role of Dr. Hilbert; an entirely different persona complete with a believable Russian accent.
  • Emma Sherr-Ziarko who plays Commander Renee Minkowski; an unwitting and tormented pawn of her evil masters whose spirit ovrcomes the circumstances she did not choose.
  • Michaela Swee gives a compelling performance as Hera, an artificial intelligence (computer program), who is truly a person and has been set up to suffer by her creator, Dr. Miranda Pryce, also played by Ms Swee. It also doesn’t hurt that she has a totally sexy voice.
  • Scotty Shomaker plays the suave, evil bastard Marcus Cutter and nails it.
  • Cecilia Lynn-Jacobs comes in a bit late in the story as Captain Loveless, but delivers a fine performance as a [redacted to prevent spoilers by order of the inter-galactic podcast consortium].

  • Zach Libresco portrays one of those professionals that we know really exist but we wish they didn’t, and is very convincing.
  • Noah Masur plays a man who lives for things that go ‘boom’ and develops a character arc that makes a great story in itself.
  • Michelle Agresti is the voice of Dr. Alan Maxwell, an A.I. specialist who cares about people like Hera as a physician cares about patients.
  • Alan Rodi handles the music for Wolf 359, which proves a remarkable achievement. Read more about him here.
     This is an amazing show and the entire staff of workingthegalaxy enjoyed every episode. The prestigious awards earned by the cast and crew are astounding.
     Check it out on iTunes or the Wolf 359 website.
     The creator, Gabriel Urbina, cast and staff don’t seem to be cooking up another show (sigh!), but you can find more about them on the show site.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Science Fiction Comedy (what the juck?)

Mission to Zyxx is a silly, imaginative, and strangely addictive comedic send-up to sci-fi space opera. It is improvised and seems unedited (it is actually edited but you can hear the actors sometimes laughing at their own performances. The sound effects are quite good and the plot holds together brilliantly.
Sci-fi fans will recognize the skewering of Star Wars, Star Trek and many other sci-fi shows which they hilariously spoof.
You should start at the beginning and listen to them in order as they refer back to previous stories and build upon them.

The show was created by: Alden Ford, Seth Lind, Moujan Zolfaghari, Shane O’Connell, Allie Kokesh, Jeremy Bent, and Winston Noel: A stellar cast with impressive credentials. Workingthegalaxy intended to list all of their accomplishments but the list got too long. 
The track record of acting, directing, producing, and writing of this group is so extensive it is no wonder they are able to recruit such terrific guest-actors as:

Sasheer Zamata
Connor Ratliff
John Rober Wilson
John Murray
Lauren Adams
Michael Cruz Kanye
Zach Cherry
Jon Gabrus
Lorraine Cink
Jordan Carlos
Josh Patten
Caitlin Puckett
Lydia Hensler
Justin Tyler
Paul F. Thompkins
Jeff Hiller
Ali Gordon
Dru Johnston
Laura Willcox
Nicole Drespel
Lennon Parham
Alex Song
Christopher Scott
Matt Little
Sebastian Conelli
Bobby Moynihan
Arnie Niekamp
Adal Rifai
Matt Young
Jonathan Braylock
Rekha Shankar
Leslie Collins
Brandon Scott Jones
Yoni Lotan

The story never (so far) mentions Earth or humans, so it could be anywhere and anytime in the universe as it follows a group of eccentric characters who begin season one as ambassadors. This changes later when they become rebels. In fact, the whole story follows some sort of bizarre arc as the characters develop and change.
Like any entertainment, it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it does keep me coming back for more. Check it out wherever the finest audio drama is found.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

     Okay...I got my audio feed reinstalled, but it looks a little different due to circumstances beyond my limited expertise and patience. Sorry about the delay...I was obligated to attend to other things while sorting this out.
     Another podcast review will be posted right after I put the fire out and dig my way back to the surface.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lost the Audio Player

The audio player widget which links to my audio recordings has vanished from this site😖. I need to restore it to it's rightful place asap.
I have no idea what happened to it: I will start by looking under the couch; nearly everything that goes missing ends up there.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

In Memory of Vladimir Yerokhin

  Vladimir passed away in his Monterey, California home in late June. In July, friends of Vladimir Yerokhin gathered at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Saratoga, California for the traditional forty-day Panikhida service.

After the service was a dinner in his honor. 

Vladimir made a living by painting and making custom gilded frames, but also created original art to give to friends.  

 Here is a small sample of his work. The painting of the coffee pot was made to hang outside and is done in colored cement. 

Remembered were his generosity, kindness, and great talent. Vladimir lived and worked in Monterey, California producing beautiful paintings and custom frames.
  His friends in the Church knew him mostly for his work with Orthodox Christian icons.

We will miss you, dear Vladimir—-Memory Eternal.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Virtual virtual assistant

     The audio drama Sandra from Gimlet Media is both delightful and disappointing. There are plenty of fan comments out there raving about how addicting the show is, and that they want more, but one common complaint is that it ends without wrapping up the loose ends and finishing the story.
     The premise of having an electronic virtual assistant (like Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri) which turns out to be real person on the other end of the connection is fun to explore and has a lot of story potential. The cast and crew are professionals whom we expect a lot from but, to be honest, the story does not give these actors enough to work with.
     The protagonist of Sandra is Helen, the real person answering questions from clients, played by Alia Shawkat. The computer voice of Sandra is done by Kristen Wiig; directed by Sebastian Silva; written by Kevin Moffett and Matthew Derby.
     I enjoyed the show despite the abrupt ending. Perhaps this is one that needs a second season to bring it all together.
     It’s only seven episodes, so why not check it out and judge for yourself. Available on iTunes and Gimlet Media.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Steal the Stars...highly recommended

     Steal the Stars is a fresh idea; an unpredictable drama that gets into the head of a tough-as-nails woman, Dakota Prentiss played by Ashlie Atkinson. It is a stellar performance which captures the character and the mood of the story completely.  This is not a rehash of old ideas and I could never have predicted the ending. That people like Dakota Prentiss exist I know to be true, but they are rare and, frankly, scary.
     Neimah Djourabchi is equally convincing as Matt Salem, Dakota’s lover and co-conspirator.
     The story is written by Mac Rogers who has also given us The Message and Afterlife, as well as stage plays The Honeycomb Trilogy, Frankenstein Upstairs, God of Osidian, Ligature Marks, and many more.
     Jordana Williams directed Steal the Stars, and has directed some of Mac Roger’s stage plays. Both have won many awards and gained high praise in the world of performing arts.
     The story comes through a first person POV as Dakota meets ‘the new guy’ Matt in a facility that secretly studies an alien spacecraft and the dead alien within it.
     Romance is forbidden between people in this organization, but…you know…rules were meant to be broken. Unfortunately the consequences are bad enough that almost never happens.
     What brings me to recommend this audio drama is both the exceptional writing and Ashlie Atkinson’s performance. She has an impressive career in live theater, film, and audio. In fact, check out the credits of all the cast and crew of Steal the Stars and you will not be surprised that this is such an exceptional show.
     It’s produced by Tor Labs, an audio imprint of Tor Books where you can find all of the cast listed and lots more interesting information.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Magic in our world

I just read the entire Tufa novel series by Alex Bledsoe in about a month.
Interestingly, I wasn’t looking for something to read, but rather some new songs to listen to. There are some excellent music videos on Youtube with a band called Tuatha Dea that I just couldn’t get enough of, but when I searched the titles of the songs it turns out that some of them are actually book titles.
Each book is centered on a fictional town in Tennessee called Needsville, and on a secluded community of…well…sort of human people.
If you don’t know the basic premise for the story, you won’t guess it until the end of the first book, and even then you must wait for each book to reveal more of the back-story in deliciously bite-size anticipation.
Much of it deals with very human relationships and not so human challenges. This story will appeal to readers of folklore and fantasy, as well as those who enjoy frank prose about the lustier side of life. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The band, Tuatha Dea, is also from Tennessee and is truly a family affair:  Like the Tufa folks in the novels, the members of this band each have extraordinary talent and can play multiple instruments. 
I spoke to Danny Mullikin (rhythm guitar, composer, and drums) and, to my surprise, he said that their experience in music began with a family drum circle not so many years ago. Only his son Brandon was already playing guitar at the beginning.
Danny’s wife, Rebecca Holman, delivers powerful vocals as does Rebecca’s sister Kathy. Danny’s daughter, Tesea Dawson played flute before the band formed, and now plays bass guitar and keyboard. Kathy’s fiancĂ© Chris Bush  plays didgeridoo, native American flute, penny whistle, bagpipes and drums. Adam Ogle is on rhythm and lead guitar. Brett Maney has joined the tribe on drums. Laura Smith recently joined Tuatha Dea bringing her world class fiddle playing to the band.
The YouTube videos I’ve seen include the songs: Long Black CurlWisp of a Thing,
and,The Hum and the Shiver, which are all titles of Tufa novels. The videos are professional, outstanding works of art thanks to Jesse Jones. Also, you will want to see the Appalachia Burning video which recounts the terrible fire in 2016, which the band members experienced first hand, and the song was written in a hotel where they evacuated to. I especially recommend Ailein Duinn for some real Celtic music. Yeah, I’m a fan of Celtic music.
Tuatha Dea also participated in The Green Album, in association with Nightsong Recording Studios. This is a collaboration of many talented people and the Rainforest Trust to purchase millions of acres of rainforest for conservation. 
You still have time to see Tuatha Dea’s final performance of 2018 at the Appalachian Masquerade Ball in Greer, South Carolina on October 26th.

Through email, Alex Bledsoe answered a few questions I’d been wondering about:

WTG: Can you tell me how you got to know Danny and the rest of the band?
Alex: I was attending the Pagan Unity Festival (PUF) outside Nashville, and they were the headlining band. I’d never heard of them before, but they blew me away. Later Danny and I realized that we’re the same age, we grew up twenty miles from each other although we never met, and we shared memories of many of the same places and events. I gave him a book and he gave me a CD, and then about two months later he called and asked if I’d mind if the band did some songs based on my Tufa novels. By then I’d become a hardcore fan, and of course I said yes.
WTG: Would you ever consider a sequel, prequel, or spinoff of the Tufa series? I think the story cannot continue without becoming a new story, but I’d like to tell my readers your thoughts on that.
Alex Bledsoe.  photo credit; Rex Winters
Alex: That’s exactly right. I chose to end it where I did because I didn’t want to start repeating myself. We’ve all read series that have gone on way too long, far past the point where the author had anything new to say. I didn’t want to fall into that trap. I’m not ruling out ever returning the Tufa, but I’d have to have a substantially different (and good!) idea first.
WTG: I’m seeing a lot of different media; film, tv,  books, comics, live performance, and audio which all have fans, but it’s hard to see the big picture sometimes. What do you think of today’s trends in entertainment? 
Alex: I see two competing and contradictory movements in all forms of media right now. One, there’s a long overdue push for representation, particularly in genres and forms previously dominated by white men. The other is a full-out war on original content, whether music, movies, TV or literature, driven by marketing. All the arts, not just music, need the equivalent of the punk revolution of the 70s, which takes the arts away from the corporations.
WTG: Are there any events or upcoming publications you would like people to know about?
Alex: I’ll be at the SE Wisconsin Festival of Books in Waukesha on November 3, discussing “Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Politics” with authors Patrick Tomlinson and James Lowder, and at the Stoughton Public Library on November 11 with Katherine Addison (aka Sarah Monette) and Steve Fortney.

Alex has written other series as well and all can be found on Amazon. The music of Tuatha Dea is also on Amazon as well as their website,

I share these with you because they make my life more enjoyable and hope they do the same for you.

Best Wishes,

Saturday, July 14, 2018

breakfast in Grover Beach

Did a road trip to Grover Beach, near Pismo on the central coast of California. The idea was to devote a few days to beach combing (that's searching for coins and jewelry with a metal detector) on one of the biggest beaches in the USA.
Since I was staying in hotel that was remarkably like a dungeon, I ate out for every meal.
I've never done a restaurant recommendation on this site before, but if you are in Grover Beach and want some great American comfort food, try Lil'Bits Cafe. The biscuits and pancakes are made from scratch every day and everything is the best quality.
The people are nice and the coffee is good, too.
Lil'Bits is at 151 N 7th street in Grover Beach.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Kimberly Poole: Producer, Podcaster, and Voice Actor (and Larper)

Closely associated with Nineteen Nocturne Boulevard and Julie Hoverson, is the Warp’d Space and Warp’d Stories productions by Kimberly Poole.
Kim has been acting since junior high school drama class and continued through high school. Later she worked with Julie as a voice actor, and expressed an interest in learning how to produce shows. Julie mentored Kim as Warp’d Space took shape.
She already knew plenty of actors from the podcasting community, and recruited some of her actors from her own family: Kim’s daughter plays Pilot in multiple voices. Local voices are recorded at Julie’s studio and the others send recordings from remote locations.
This can be tricky since remote recordings necessarily have a different audio environment, but Kim says she can pull it off since the expected audio ambience in spaceship scenes is controllable [my paraphrasing].

I’ve done a bit of audio myself, and have had to splice together remotely recorded dialogue, so I can sympathize with the challenges.
She would like to do more Warp’d Space, but getting the crew back together is no small undertaking.
Kim says she goes to Larp events monthly (I’ve really got to try that) which lets her combine acting and costuming and become a sociopath-assassin for a weekend.
Kim’s advice to those interested in podcasting: Find someone like Julie to learn from and take notes. She says you really have to like what you’re doing; it’s far too much work to not like what you’re doing.
Good advice, Kimberly.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Extraordinary Audio Entertainment

For a consistently enjoyable audio experience, I turn to 19 Nocturne Boulevard where Julie Hoverson has posted hundreds of shows. Whatever your tastes, you will surely find plenty to enjoy. There are period pieces (Edwardian and Victorian mostly), vintage science fiction from decades past, lots of H.P. Lovecraft, horror, westerns, mysteries, and some charming, off-beat comedies that draw on nursery rhymes and fairy tales for a foundation. Some are quite reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, while others remind me of the old time radio shows.
There are also some longer non-fiction pieces which seem to be a rambling outpouring of podcasting and recording advice, and some that are monologues about film, writing, acting, storytelling, and working with voice actors. I say ‘rambling’ but for anyone who wants to get into writing or producing audio, there is a lot knowledge and experience that Julie is sharing, which would otherwise have to be learned the hard way. These are titled “Tone Didactic” and are raw, unedited pieces that give a peek into the life of a podcaster.
Julie in Renfaire costume
Anyone who searches through the podcast directories will likely see listed. I did, but the short description among all of the others didn’t make it stand out. I didn’t really take much notice until writing the review of Edict Zero (written and produced by Jack Kincaid) a couple of months ago. Julie was the voice actor playing Special Agent Jewels Kircher. Since then I’ve listened daily to her own productions. Julie wrote and produced every one of the shows, unless otherwise noted when there was a guest producer.
I interviewed her then, and recently contacted Julie again for this post:
WTG:   Did you write a lot before getting into audio?
Julie:    I've written stories all my life.  My main outlet for many years was tabletop role playing game scenarios - both just for groups I ran, and for a zine I wrote.  Then I studied screenwriting for a while (I do have a couple of short films), but realized that unless I felt like going to LA I was never going anywhere in film.  I was also in an old time radio re-creation group, and roped in several of my friends - one of whom - Reynaud LeBoeuf - got a part in an online audio drama in like 2008, and got me into that show, since they still needed a female lead.  While recording that show, I realized the scripts I’d written for our re-creation group were more appropriate for an independent online show, and started making my own.

WTG:   How do you find and choose the music for your podcasts?

Julie:    The first place to look is always Kevin MacLeod of, the great godfather of all online media.
I have some licensed music, a lot of creative commons music, and have commissioned music to be made for me. 
The trick is keeping track of which is which...

WTG:   I heard you mention that you are a ‘costumer’. What sort of occasions do you create costumes for? Cosplay? Renfair? Dickens? I think this is an interesting side to your personality and people will like to hear about it.

Julie:    I cosplayed before they invented the term.  I've done costumes for sci fi conventions, theater, haunted houses, renfaires, SCA, larping, anything I could think of.  I even had my own Goth clothing line for a few years.

WTG:   Can you tell me something about your work with Victorian tintypes? What interests you about historical records?

Julie:    Oddly enough, it all started at a swap meet, where I spotted a pic that immediately struck me as "The Deadeye Kid", the main character of one of my series.  Then I found a few more, on eBay, and it turned into an obsession for a while - add that to my love of Victorian costuming (which dates back to high school and beyond), and I have amassed quite a collection.  Cleaning and tweeting my tintypes, as well as putting photos into books for other costumers to appreciate as well is my way of using my obsession to try and supplement my income - plus I hate just hogging them all to myself.

WTG:   So many of your adaptations are from ‘vintage’ literature. How do you find the time to discover these treasures? And do you feel that today’s entertainment trends are missing something?

Julie:    Well, it's primarily Lovecraft, since I’ve loved his work for a long time and he's still wildly popular.  I find that and other stories on Project Gutenberg -  I also do a series of readings called "Atomic Julie's Galactic Bedtime Stories" which are straight (not dramatized, though I occasionally drop an editorial comment or hysterical laughter) readings of sci fi stories found on Gutenberg.  I don't adapt from modern trends because it would cost money.  I’ve worked in IP law too much to waste my time on fanfic, when it could get smashed in an instant.  Though I do have my entirely original series "Fatal Girl" which is in the style of a "magic girl" anime.

WTG:   Do you have a screenplay in the works (or anything else that you’d like people to know about)?

Julie:    I wrote a couple of short films, but my main outlet is the audio dramas.  One of my scripts will be performed at an audio festival in a couple of weeks in England (It won a contest).

WTG:   Are there some themes that you especially like to explore in fiction?

Julie:    I always like to explore social issues, particularly those facing women.  I also love sweet romance and con artists, whether I believe in either of them....  LOL

I listen to 19 Nocturne Boulevard through iTunes where she has 300 episodes, but everything can be accessed on her feed, and she’s slowly getting everything up on You Tube, including videos made from the live streams that she’s recently been doing on where she edits together audio dramas live every night from 6-7PM PST, and answers questions.
There are two short films by Julie at this link, and she has books available on Amazon here and here. Her twitter feed, @myladyswardrobe runs a tintype each day.
Another outlet is which is an online radio station that she runs. This has her own shows as well as some of her friends’, and some old time radio.
The best way to contact Julie is on  facebook’s 19 Nocturne Boulevard page.
Julie Hoverson is multi-talented and prolific. Frankly, I don’t know where she finds the time for all of it, but I’m glad she does. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I like this quote

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”
---J.K. Rowling

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Royal Manticoran Navy: official Honor Harrington fan association

Everyone knows Star Trek. Everyone knows Star Wars. What about Honor Harrington?
No? Then you probably aren’t a science fiction BOOK fan. The Honor series by David Weber is only on paper at this time, but it’s so good that around 4500 fans belong to the official fan association: The Royal Manticoran Navy

David Weber is a prolific writer and historian. His intricately crafted world of Honorverse spans 35 books, as listed on his website.
Enthusiasm for the series resulted in a fan organization based upon the structure of the fictional Star Kingdom of Manticore, complete with noble titles, military ranks, duties and positions.

We met with Joseph Harney and Theresa Hindle in Sacramento and got an introduction to the Royal Manticoran Navy. They are officers (Commodore and Captain, respectively) in the Tenth Fleet, which covers the western United States and part of Canada. There are fleets across North America, Europe, and Australia, with individual chapters in the fan association designated as ships, bivouacs, Assault Shuttles, and Light Attack Craft. To see a map of these, click here.
The organization takes applications from groups of six or more members to create a new chapter with a ship designation. There is also a branch for kids called the Sphinx Forestry Commission.

But what do they do? Well, by all accounts, they have fun. Oh, they also attend cool science fiction conventions. I met Joseph and Theresa quite by chance at the WizardCon in Sacramento a few months ago. Despite having read at least nine of the Honor Harrington novels, I was oblivious to the existence of a fan association. You can imagine my surprise when I saw uniformed officers in a booth for the Royal Manticoran Navy. The uniforms, by the way, look just like the ones on the book covers, and the club has a rank and award system which is also modeled upon the books’ space navy. Rank is earned by passing exams and awards (service ribbons and medals) also represent real achievements. These are not just costumes.

Another thing they do is support charities. Some chapters help to prevent homelessness, some collect toys-for-tots. The official TRMN charity is
Big Cat Rescue in Florida, the world’s largest accredited sanctuaries for exotic cats, and leading advocate for ending the abuse of captive big cats and saving wild cats from extinction. If you read the Honor Harrington books, you will quickly figure out why this charity makes sense for the fan association.

You might already be a fan, but don’t know if you would like to join TRMN. Well, I don’t know if you would either, but I can tell you that they are all sorts of people with one thing in common: they love the book series. From our chat with Joe and Theresa, I gather that many members also like the convention scene and cosplay. Many are interested in history, roll player games, and reenacting. Joseph Harney describes himself as a professional reenactor who has been active in Renfair, Dickens, and other events.
Author David Weber

Did I mention that David Weber is an historian? The whole Honorverse history has solid parallels in the political, economic, and military history of Earth, and as the fictional decades pass in the novels, events unfold logically and naturally for societies, governments, and individual characters.

If you are not already a fan, I’ll just say this: The titular character is interesting enough to have 13 books about her adventures, spin-off series for young adults, anthologies, graphic novels, a series companion book, and a fan club of 4500 members. Other writers who have contributed to the Honorverse include: David Drake, S.M. Stirling, Roland Freen, Linda Evans, Jane Lindskold, Eric Flint, Timothy Zahn, and John Ringo.

David Weber’s website lists 35 published books related to Honorverse, and the Royal Manticoran Navy website lists some more which are available only to members.

If you are into science fiction, history, and adventure, maybe you should check the books, and the Royal Manticoran Navy.