Episode 1 of The SEB Podcast is now online.

So here it is: The inaugural episode of The SEB Podcast.

We cover a number of topics starting with Podcasts and moving on to a question from Decrepit Old Fool that we talk about a lot, but never actually answer. That’s followed by tangents galore that are related to DOF’s question by only the thinest of hairs and then a little gushing over the fact that George reads our blogs and some discussion of our religions backgrounds, faith healing, and politics and how we should be the leaders of the world except that we’re too lazy. We close it out with a discussion of James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar which may contain a couple of spoilers so you may want to stop listening at that point if you haven’t seen the movie.

The program I used to record this podcast stuck us in separate stereo channels so I’ll be in your left ear and Dave will be in your right if you wear headphones. This turned out to be a good thing in part because Dave’s audio was much quieter than mine and I spent a good part of the last couple of days learning how to use Audacity to try and bring his levels up without distorting the hell out of it. In the end I dropped my levels down to more closely match his so you can turn up the volume and hear us both a little better. It also took a little time to figure out what data rate to save it as to keep the quality up and the file size down. The final file is 56.7 MB in size and will occupy 1 hour and 22 minutes of your time.You can download it directly by clicking here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed here or you can listen to it at the bottom of this post with the built-in handy flash player. Right now it’s being hosted on SEB’s server so I’m hoping that we don’t suddenly kill our bandwidth allowance with it, but we’ll find out soon.

We had a lot of fun doing it and we hope you’ll be at least mildly amused by the results. If you like it then we’ll do more and try to get better at it both in terms of the quality of the recording and in the quality of our discussions. Let us know what you think in the comments.


38 thoughts on “Episode 1 of The SEB Podcast is now online.

  1. Wow. You make it sound a lot more professional than it was. 😉

    We thought the alternating stereo would have the additional bonus of making it seem like I was on the listener’s right shoulder, urging them toward good, while Les was on the listener’s left shoulder, urging them toward evil. It’s all very meta.

  2. Pingback: My initial foray into podcasting is now ON THE INTERNETZ! | ***Dave Does the Blog

  3. Sorry, Dave. I saw through that and just put my headphones on backwards.

    Les, totally not the voice I was expecting. You sound like a radio talk-show announcer. It’s a great fit. Dave, good speaking voice, too.

    The alternating stereo was a bit much, to be honest. You could keep the left/right without 100% separation.

    http://creativecommons.org/audio/ is a good starting spot for music with relaxed or open licensing.

  4. I’ll look into how to blend the channels a bit next time around. I’ll also look into something a bit more sophisticated to record the session with. And I totally wanted to be a radio DJ at some point.

    So how about the content? Were we at least mildly amusing?

  5. FWIW, it’s strange hearing our own voices, too.

    I just finished listening through the whole thing myself, and … well, “unstructured” would probably be a relatively benign adjective for the effort, but hopefully there’s enough interesting content amidst our flitting about topics to make it worthwhile.

  6. it’ll be exhausted by the time I get to work, this morning, so I’ll have feedback tonight.

    But, yay!

  7. Excellent. Just click on the link below, and for a small, reasonable monthly fee, you, too, can enjoy the continued natterings of Les and Dave. Operators are standing by …

  8. Audacity is a good, free, application for managing audio. It can be a bit crashy for some, so you may want to record using a simpler app and then import.

    I had no trouble listening to the whole thing. I found slightly too much rambling for my taste, but one opinion isn’t cause for change. The freedom to rant and ramble is one of the benefits of the medium. I don’t like podcasts that avoid it completely, either.

    Oh, and I’m the guy that hasn’t seen Avatar, so I was stung by that spoiler. I’ll live.

  9. For what it’s worth, Frac, that spoiler is telegraphed, oh, about five minutes into the film. As is … well … pretty much the whole film.

    And I agree about the rambling. Chalk it up to nerves. I think any follow-ons are likely to be a bit more focused. A bit.

  10. I used Audacity on both my Windows 7 machine at home and my Ubuntu box at work. It loaded in the whole file and manipulated it with nary a hiccup.

    And sorry about the spoiler, I tried to warn folks in the entry above.

  11. to respond, Les,

    The reason I think the kink/Christ thing could actually be argued is that the story of Jesus is one of the most sadomasochistic around – though the bible is littered with stories that praise people who suffer tremendously.

    But, in a larger context, there’s this trend in literature that tragedy is cleansing and redeeming. Being one of the most pervasive pieces of literature in the world, one can argue for the impact the Bible has had in shaping the sociology of kink, even though most True Believers vehemently oppose it.

    But then again, yeah, there was a part of me that wondered if you could or would pull it off, and there’s some rule 34 in there, too.

    I laughed pretty hard when I heard your responses to it. People on the train thought I was wierd.

    Good work, you guys. I look forward to the next one. And if paypal didn’t rob you blind of small payments, I would pay a buck per podcast, for sure.

  12. Cool. I think there’s certainly plenty to talk about re Jesus (and some Christian threads) in an S&M mode; the transformative nature of tragedy (and the value given it); etc.

  13. I’ve got an unrelated question. How do I enable an avatar for this new version of the site?

  14. Nice to finally see a podcast from y’all… although I have to be honest that the total split stereo thing is pretty disorienting. I actually took the mp3 into my copy of Adobe Audition and converted it into a mono file before listening to it. Only got a few minutes into the split one till it started driving me nuts.

  15. Yes, as your mother I started listening to it. I got as far as ‘the neighbor kids dragged me into it’ and it quit. Being such an advanced student of computers I didn’t know what to do next. I want to hear it all but I need my IT man to fix. Oh right –your my IT man—please fix it!!!!!! By the way I found a few giggles and smiles so far!!!!! Good work—both of you!!!!!

  16. Seeing as the consensus seems to be that mono is preferable, I’ve gone ahead and converted the file to mono and have uploaded it to the server. If you download it now or listen to it on the flash player it should be in glorious mono for your listening pleasure.

  17. Stereo is good for things like intro/backing music or other dynamic elements like that. But in the environment of a talk show or podcast it’s best to just leave it coming out in mono. Keep in mind that, when you mix voices to separate stereo channels, you’re essentially halving the full volume of the voices which makes it not only disorienting but hard to hear.

    Anyways, I’ll be curious to see how this podcast develops in the future. I like the whole style of rambling on about various topics that interest you guys. Makes it seem more personal that way. Good luck on the next one!

  18. Just stopping by to say I did get to hear the whole podcast. Interesting, humorous at times, and definitely worthy of a sequel. Dave you can call me Mom –Ma’am is so formal!

    As one of my kids used to say. “Do again, do again please!”

  19. Hey Les, Dave,

    I just started reading SEB after a little link here from the mighty Pharyngula.

    I liked the format of the podcast. I liked the presenters. I find it hard to believe that Dave is really more than a nominal Christian – just seemed way more reasonable that the regular bible-thumpers I’ve run into. You can take that as a compliment if you like…. (^_^)

    I wondered, Dave, if I may indulge in questions, you said that you came to your current church largely because your wife had a good experience with that group in university. It sounds like little thought was put into choosing your theology (if one really believes in the whole God thing). Was there any more of an intellectual reasoning behind it all, or was it just so naturally occurring as you make it sound??

    Anyhoo, the whole point of this drivel was to point out that Toy Story are actually playing here in Japan in 3D already. I haven’t seen them, but seeing as I love Toy Story, it could happen….

    Oh, and do another podcast, onegai shimasu!

  20. I find it hard to believe that Dave is really more than a nominal Christian – just seemed way more reasonable that the regular bible-thumpers I’ve run into. You can take that as a compliment if you like…. (^_^)

    I do. I think it begs the issue of what being a Christian means — I’m not convinced that the the “regular bible-thumpers” or the norm / standard, or that someone who’s not is only “nominally” a Christian. But I may self-select for the Christians I hang out with (which sounds odd — aside from church/church-related activities, I don’t explicitly hang out with people based on their religion).

    Was there any more of an intellectual reasoning behind it all, or was it just so naturally occurring as you make it sound??

    Well, I did have a Catholic background, and am not unread in theological matters (I plowed through Lewis’ apologetics in college, and have read a fair amount of comparative religion, though not as much on the Christian denominational level).

    Margie’s experience and mine meant we ended up marrying in the Episcopal Church, but we didn’t rush right out after and join a local parish. We didn’t get into church-going for a few years, and did a bit of shopping around. We were comfortable enough with Episcopal beliefs and practices to start there, and liked the place we found for its people and leadership, so we stuck.

    If I were starting over from ground-zero-scratch on choosing a religion (or none) or denomination, I’m not sure this is where I’d end up, but I’m happy enough with it that I don’t feel a compelling reason to change. To that degree, my theological choices might be a bit sloppy, but I think theology has limited applicability as well to leading a good (or Godly) life; it’s got some influence on some of the big questions, but can easily descend into angle-on-pin-head-counting.

  21. Hi Dave,

    Hmmm, yes, you are right. “Nominal” wasn’t perhaps the word I should use – it perhaps trivializes things. Perhaps I should explain. Growing up in the UK and living in NZ for a couple of years after my PhD, I ran into many Christians, many of whom were only too peachy-keen to try and “save me for Jesus” (not a problem here in Japan, though – the percentage of Christians in the population has decreased over the last 400 years). Of course, I am sure that these actually represented a (vocal) minority of Christians met (for example, my boss in NZ was a Christian, and had been training for the ministry before he felt “the call” to become a scientist. He still sees what he perceives as the work of god in everything though – for example we were driving along one day through a relatively new embankment were the soil profile was exposed, and noticed a thick, dark band in the soil profile. My former boss, Cory, suggested it as evidence of Noah’s flood. I pointed out it was more likely to be evidence of a volcanic eruption. Anyhow, I digress).
    It sounds a lot like you are happy to “live and let live”, and I can appreciate that. I wonder rather whether you are not more of a social Christian, rather than a believer Christian, if you understand the distinction I am trying to make. Perhaps if I am blunt, I would simply ask if you actually believe in a god? If you do, why do you believe? Is it evidential, or personal experience, or simply something you’ve always done? Also, if you truly believe, why do you not follow the biblical commandments as fully as some others, for example, fundamentalists? Sorry, I don’t mean to pressure you on this, and you can tell me to sod off if you like, I just find this kind of thing interesting is all, and you seem like someone who has both considered his beliefs and is willing to have a forthright discussion about them.

    I am glad you found a place that you enjoyed going, and enjoyed the company of the people who also go there. My own hobby is karate, and I can tell you, every club is different, even in the same association (interestingly, in Japanese, the word for association – kyokai – is also the same word for church). It can be very hard to find a place which is the right fit for you.

    Perhaps slightly at odds with you, I think that the denominational question can be rather important. Sure, it may have little impact on your daily worship, but many of these churches also run programs in poor countries, where their influence can be very positive, or like the RCC in Africa, very negative. Finally, of course, many of these denominations preach that they are the only way to redemption, so if one of them actually happens to be right, well, everyone else is in for a nasty afterlife.

  22. I do think there’s a strong aspect of my Christianity that is social vs. dogmatic. But I do believe, based on personal experience and guided (that social component again) by the experience of others. Nothing objective I’d point to as some proof of God’s existence or Jesus’ divinity — just strong enough feelings over the years that I’m willing to go along with it, checked primarily by my rationality to make sure I’m not doing something lunatic as a consequence.

    I’m not that interested in “saving folks for Jesus.” I’m a universalist, so I see salvation as an inevitable result for everyone. And not “you will check off the boxes believing in doctrines A, B, and C” sort of salvation. I’m confident enough that humanity in general (and I in particular) have only the vaguest insights into the divine that, though I think trying to figure that out is one of our goals, our worldly success in doing so is going to be dodgy at best.

    Thus my non-Bible-thumpingness; I believe the Bible inspired (in some places) by things that did happen (in some cases), but I don’t see the chronicles of various tribes and scribe 2-3000 years ago as being dictation from God. There are useful things in there, good things — and some stupid and horrid things. If I were “meant” to just choose to accept it all on authority and swallow it whole, I’d hardly need free will or cognition.

    Some of the above notions would get me booted out of some congregations or denominations. Whether I am in fact a “real” Christian is up to some debate — though, ultimately, I don’t think it’s either anyone’s place (save God’s) to say, nor do I think it’s the biggest question I need to address in my life.

    I’m in karate, too — have gone through three years of training in Shotukan Karate, in the ISKF, and am at a 2nd kyu Brown Belt. And, yes, the world of martial arts is much like the world of religion (up to and including, sadly, a lot of folks who are overly interested in parting you from your money).

    If I seemed to downplay the importance of denomination, let me correct that. I think denominational differences can be important, but only in some cases. How a Christian denomination treats its members as well as those outside of its membership is more telling to me of how they follow Christ than in what specific theology and doctrines they follow regarding the nature of the Paschal sacrifice or the fine points of the Nicene Creed. Jesus’ attitude toward doctrine (at least as recorded in the Gospels) is very broad and general, and where it gets in the way of loving God and neighbor is presented as useless at best, dangerous at worst. His message was much less doctrinal than social, IMO.

    And, of course, all of this is stuff I should be nattering about in a podcast, right?

  23. Haha, sounds good Dave. I would appreciate a spirited discussion between you and Les on this. I feel I can happily tolerate your brand of Christianity – the type which isn’t out there to impose, stifle or anything like that. As long as the practitioners are able to exercise free-inquiry as to the nature of reality, then I have no problems. When “God” and the Bible become intellectual straight-jackets, well, my opinion changes. Still, with relation to your description of your worldview, it sounds rather like [an anthropomorphic big man in the sky with long flowing beard] God is superfluous – it sounds like an appreciation of the things unknown, the questions unanswered. Perhaps it gives you a place to reflect on morality and life each week, and even as an atheist, that sounds like a nice ritual. I can’t know what you get out of it without being you, but I can appreciate well enough that you don’t take it too seriously (^_^)

    Ahh, the ISKF, I have some friends in the ISKF. A good looking federation. A shame that Mr Nishiyama died, what, nearly 2 years ago now. He seemed to be a nice gent, and a real pioneer. Apparently, his kicks were an inspiration for Bruce Lee. I’m not so sure on Nishiyama’s decision to split with JKA Japan – that seems somewhat shortsighted. Although I have no doubt there are many talented people in ISKF, it should never hurt to have a link back to one’s roots.
    Well, I am a 1st Dan with the JKA, training (somewhat not enough) towards my nidan later this year. I took my nidan last December, but drew a Japan national team member for the kumite, and got reduced to a thin smear on the mat. More kumite training is required, I think! I was due to retest in March, but I have a new job at a university just outside of Tokyo which I will start in April. Thus, training has kind of been put on a back burner. Happily, I’ll be able to train at the JKA head dojo every weekend from my new place – it’s only about 1 hour by train, which should be amazing. Saturday is “kata day”, so I am hoping my Kanku Dai will become something beautiful over the next 4 years! Of course the Tsukuba dojo (my soon-to-be local dojo) is run by a 7th dan, assisted by a 6th dan, two 5th dans and a plethora of others, so my kumite should improve too! (^_^)

  24. I can appreciate well enough that you don’t take it too seriously.

    Well, I take it seriously enough to (a) dedicate my Sunday mornings and a fair amount of peripheral time to church-related activities, and (b) serve as an apologist for the faith at places like here (I serve as a critic of it, or some of its practioners, in enough places as well).

    What I don’t take seriously is my, or any human’s, ability to grok the whole thing, let alone command that understanding onto others. Hell, I make enough mistakes in the the concrete world I live in every day; to think that I or anyone else has all the answers to the metaphysics of the world is beyond me.

    Although I have no doubt there are many talented people in ISKF, it should never hurt to have a link back to one’s roots.

    Agreed. An unfortunate political mess, and I don’t know enough about the particulars to be either puffed up with offense or dismal in regret. I have an excellent instructor (himself a 7th Dan and on the federation technical committee), and continue both to enjoy it and get a good workout. I’m focusing on Jion right now; I don’t expect I’ll be testing for 1st kyu until the summer at the earliest.

    And my kumite is pretty poor, too (through no fault of my instructor). Dismayingly, I’m old enough that I could actually do my Dan testing through self-defense, rather than kumite, but I need to focus on some training in that, too. Don’t expect to be at that level for another year-and-change, though.

  25. Les, I don’t know if you saw my comment on Dave’s sight, so I’ll repeat it here. Your voice sounded mightily familiar when I started listening to the podcast, and I quickly realized that you sound almost exactly like Daniel Pinkwater’s, which I have heard many times on NPR and which you can hear at http://www.pinkwater.com/podcast/. Pitch it a bit higher and you can pass yourself off as him, perhaps on Car Talk, where he’s phoned in a couple of times.

  26. The odd thing is my voice sounds different depending on the time of day, how tied I am, and how excited I am about what I’m talking about.

    Of course I always think I sound weird when I hear my voice outside of my own head. I think I sound kinda stupid whereas the voice I hear in my head sounds highly intelligent. Though after listening to this podcast so many times while trying to edit it I’ve got a much better concept of my own voice as heard by others than I used to have.

  27. Ahh, apologies Dave, I made a mistake. I got confused between the ISKF (Mr Okazaki’s federation) and the ITKF (Mr Nishiyama’s organization). D’oh!

  28. Just got done listening. I really enjoyed the show. Very entertaining and the topics were great. I love the “laid back” feeling of the show.

    Looking forward to episode 2. 🙂

  29. Pingback: The Christian Code « Masks of Eris

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