Here we are, almost a full month or so from the end of the Podge. I’ve thought about what to write here almost every day since we released The Podge Cast is Here, our final episode. If I don’t sit down and do this today, it’s just going into that ever growing pile of “Yeah, let’s do that!”.
So, in no particular order, here are a few thoughts I’ve had on The Podge Cast and where I am in life in general:
This is Why We’re Ending
Despite the fact that we’ve made a lot of jokes about “This is why we’re ending”, which we seemed to have attached to just about everything, those aren’t the reasons we actually ended.
If I had to pick a two word phase, it would be “It’s done.” At Gencon this year, I had the privilege of sitting (drunk) around a table with Mick Bradley (@mickbradley) and Rich Rogers (@orklordd) where we were talking about being done. I don’t think they were quite as maudlin about it as I was, but I likened it to a sculptor finally actualizing his vision of a work out of a hunk of stone. The work is finished. It’s done. The conversation felt really poetic to me.
I have no illusions that in reality, I was probably slurring and sounding like a loud moron.
At the Gencon Social, I had the opportunity to talk to Rob Hall (@grimgoroth) about the show and why we ended. While I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about what I was going to say when we (inevitably) were asked the question at Gencon, I don’t think I delivered my answer very well.
We ended because it was time. Johnny G. used to have a saying about gaming groups ending in fire or ice, which I actually think is pretty funny in context of Fear the Boot. But our show ending was neither. Sometimes the time is the time. This was our time.
If you attended the Gencon Social, then you got to hear me present two awards: Risk Legacy and The Jank Cast. If I had to peg the second, the absolute moment I knew The Podge Cast was ending, it was the recoding we did with Timo, Todd and Clyde at Forge Midwest this year which made me award The Jank their award. Their passion, drive and enthusiasm about games, gaming and the community was infectious. It made me feel things. Things I hadn’t felt after having done our show in a long time. I talked to Luke about it shortly afterwards and he told me “Hey man, I’m just doing this for you. If it was up to me, I’d have quit a while ago.”
I don’t mean to disparage the work that my co-hosts or I have done over the last year. I love the way our show evolved. I have fun with my co-hosts because they’re my friends. If you can’t have fun with your friends in any circumstance, then are they really your friends?
But, I think what I would want from the show now is different than what I’m getting from the show we were doing, more below.
I’m A Different Person Now
I’ve noticed this steadily over the last year or so: I’m changing as a person.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m almost *gasp* 30 or not and feeling the inevitable creep of my own mortality knocking on the door or if this entire feeling came about from a bizarre alignment of poor scheduling choices on my part, but I want more.
Follow me on a trip for a moment, if you will. Take the 168 hours you have in a week, and start breaking down percentages on how you spend that time and what you get out of it.
56 ( 33% ) – Sleeping (health)
40 ( ~24% ) – Working (money)
72 ( ~57% ) – ??????? (?????)
Breaking it down, you have about 60% of your life to do what you want with it. I’ll claim that the podcast took up about 6 hours of my week, all told. A few for recording, a few for editing, posting, community management, etc. Bringing that to about 10% of my non-work, non-sleeping time was working on the podcast. That’s pretty minor, right?
No, that’s not entirely accurate. Anyone who works on any project understands that while you may spend X hours on any broad category item, you actually spend 20% of X thinking about it when you’re not doing it. (I call this the investment burden, by the way) So, take that 6 hours up to 7.5. So there’s a ~11% of my leisure time spent on the podcast.
Have you seen the flaw in this math yet? Ah yes, we’re forgetting a number! What about work investment burden? Yee, work just jumped to 48 ( ~29% ). Pushing sleep into the mix (though I won’t add it here, you certainly could add a sleep burden, too), the total allocated time jumps to 111.5 ( ~66% ).
I didn’t add school in here, since at the time I was still working on my masters (completed just after The Podge ended!) or that I’d been working a lot more than 48. You get the idea.
That’s a lot of numbers and percentages to get some base idea of what a life boils down to. I think part of aging, and I’m not sure if this is a shared experience or not, is a fuller realization of the scarcity of time. As a teenager I rarely wondered about the things I would accomplish. Esteem seminars everywhere convinced me that I could be anything, do anything I wanted.
That’s a lie. Choices I made earlier in life have closed roads to me. There are things that aren’t ever going to happen. I’m okay with that. I’ve made a lot of choices and I’d change very few of them, if any at all. But, I need to take advantage of the time I have left, I guess, and I need to evaluate what I want to do and what’s helping me achieve those goals and what’s keeping me from them.
I’ve heard people say “Oh, I’m using this community as a stepping stone to X.”, which is a fine position to take, assuming you’re also doing X in the meantime. For instance, “I’m using this community to market my fiction to.” Great. But you’re not writing because you’re building a community. That’s a failure, no matter how successful your community is. At that point, you have two options: change your goal to having an awesome community or stop community building and write.
That being said, I don’t have a specific X in mind that doing the show is keeping me from doing. I dig doing things that are awesome. I like being involved with projects that produce things that people enjoy. In those terms, The Podge Cast has always been an incredible success. We brought over an audience with us from Fear the Boot, which we managed to grow. Given our numbers and the regular feedback we’d gotten about the show, we were successful.
But we were successful without a specific goal, which I think in a lot of ways was a failure on my part. Short-term, ephemeral success (or production reinforcement, if you will) is a harder feeling to reproduce and the diminishing returns of it catch up with you eventually. (Like say, four years later).
This is The Podge Cast was the most satisfying thing we’ve done in a long time. It was fresh. It was new. And, if I don’t say so myself, it was well done. Clever, playful, and a knowing nod and half-smile to the fans that have stuck by the show for four years, I consider this the middle finger to the idea that we’re mediocre by ability and not by choice.
I’m not 100% where I’m going with this, so I guess I’m just going to leave it here. I guess my TLDR is: I’m different and want something different than the show has given me.
Things I’m Proud Of
This is The Podge Cast is the top of my list. We went four years without missing a weekly release schedule, and that takes a lot of work. Once you get into a routine, however, and commit to releasing on that schedule, it’s really just spending the time to make it work.
I’m proud that we never sold out.
I’m proud that on several occasions we said we were wrong.
I’m proud that we announced we were working on a product, completed it, and delivered it to fans who wanted it.
I’m proud that we created a community of podcasters and fans who became friends. At conventions when I meet people from these communities, I’m proud that we can sit down and drink a beer and it isn’t weird.
I’m proud that we ended. I guess that’s the truest indication that I’ve grown considerably over the last four years. I don’t view ending (not quitting) as a failure, but as a success. We finished the race.
This section could go on forever with the various communities, internet peoples and whatnot we’ve interacted with over the years, so I’ll just let you assume that if your name isn’t on this list it’s because I ran out of time, not that I didn’t mean to thank you.
I think out of all of us, Melina put up with more shit than anyone to make the show happen. Not only did she write and direct This is The Podge Cast, but she also had us tramping through the house once a week for four years and breaking things. She put up with me editing at weird times and having to record on off nights the whole time.
In a lot of ways, the show never would have happened without her, so she gets first thanks since I never thanked her in the Iron Tyrants book, which she financed.
Go listen to Law of the Geek. Tell her I sent you.
The T-Mast rescued me from a quagmire of inactivity four years ago and got me jazzed to start doing things again. He’s always been supportive of our projects (which you can see in This is The Podge Cast) and we gab about movies all the damn time, even off the mics.
The Podge Cast never would have happened without T-Mast. Believe it.
These guys are my friends. That’s about what it is.
Your support was awesome. Thanks. Really.
If you love a creative endeavor and follow it, write in and tell the hosts or creators that. It keeps them going when things are terrible. Really, it does. Go do it now. Tell them I sent you.
The Brilliant Gameologists
For thinking of it a year ago.
The Accidental Survivors
For the sad walking away music.
You may not know what you did. But thanks anyway.