Although this last week seemed to pass quite quickly for me, in the run-up to my appearance on The Shaft episode 36, it felt as if every single unoccupied waking moment was devoted to worrying myself into a frenzied state. Would I come through the podcast with flying colours, or would some EPIC FAIL befall me, and I’d become a laughing stock? To anyone who is not the worrying kind: you don’t realise how easy you have it 😛
Still, my friends, both online and at work, tried their best to reassure me. “You’re going to be fine” was their overall refrain since Tuesday – but although their considerable efforts were greatly appreciated, they all had a much higher level of faith in me than I had in myself.
Sensible Me: Mark, why should this be a problem for you? You’ve spoken with The Guys from The Shaft before! Heck, you’ve hung out with them, via Mumble and Skype, on no end of occasions!
Terrified Me: Yeah, true – but when I was doing so, there weren’t hundreds of other people, worldwide, who might hear me foul up!
Sensible Me: Ugh – I give up. Go knock yourself out.
Terrified Me: (incomprehensible gibbering)
During the week, I made frequent visits to The Shaft’s Google Doc of the show notes, so that I could add things I wanted to talk about. It also provided the opportunity to check out the Sightings links they’d added, so that if called upon, I’d actually have some idea of what they’re discussing. Or, at the very least, not be sat there with a bewildered look on my face.
On my own PC, I also expanded a little on my description of the five Excavation Station ideas I’d come up with, so that if I blanked out, I could just look at my Word document and just jabber, rather than gibber.
Sensible Me: See, at least one of us is preparing.
Terrified Me: I’m preparing, too – for the FAILPOCALYPSE, that is.
Sensible Me: Oh, shut up.
And then it was Sunday. I made sure I got up four hours ahead of the scheduled start, so I could go do what I needed to, including shave, shower and making sure I had soda to drink instead of just yucky water. Sunday is normally a lazy day for me, but I couldn’t afford to do that this time.
With everything ready on my end, I fired up both computers, brought up everything I needed to use during the show (no Dead Air while Mark waits for a program to load, thank you!), and called the Dead Workers Party on Skype. No answer. And that happened twice more, though as it turned out, on the first two occasions, Brent and Eric were still setting up – I didn’t have the stream up, but I was sitting in The Spawn’s IRC chatroom, and Imperialistic very kindly took up look-out duty, letting me know what was going on, as and when it was felt necessary. Thing is, I’d rather hoped I’d get into the call early, so I could listen to their music stream, and try to get myself relaxed. Ah, well.
Eventually, though, The Shaft was in a position to call me, a little ahead of the show starting, and I had a quick chat with Eric and Brent for a few minutes, while they set up. And then… Eric played “Video Killed The Radio Star” by Presidents of the USA, and since I knew the original version by The Buggles, I really got into miming it, and bouncing around in my chair like a lunatic. I was having fun! Then alefnull told me that what I was doing was one to two seconds behind the sound, as it came through the stream. Gah! Still, at least I wasn’t actually singing the thing.
When Wes arrived, I tried to find a moment to jump into the conversation and say hello – which I managed. Now, here’s the thing: Wes often describes himself as simply a “talking head”. I’m telling you now, Wes – that ain’t true; there are many things about you which make you so much more than that (not least of which is that glorious, booming laugh). And you proved it royally, when you had that detailed conversation with me ahead of the show. Whether it was a conscious decision on your part to put me at ease, or simply being gracious in explaining Battlestar Galactica and 7 Wonders to a total bloody noob like me, it did actually help in relaxing me a little before things truly got under way. Thank you.
It’s one thing to sit in Ustream’s chat, telling people, “Relax, a late start isn’t unusual for them.” It’s quite another to be sitting in front of my web cam with a dry mouth and sweaty palms, waiting to get started so that we could get finished. Don’t get me wrong: I’d been hoping, ever since hearing the first eight episodes of The Shaft, that I could do something that the Minecraft community thought was awesome, and I might get invited onto the show. I wanted it – but not actually from an ego-trippy, “Look at me! Look at me!” perspective… No – the hosts and the guests always sounded like they were having so much fun, and I longed to be a part of that fun; if I couldn’t actually be in the studio with them, I could at least be on camera, talking with people I enjoyed, admired and respected.
But when you’re sat there in the virtual spotlight, brain utterly BLANK from fear and nerves, staring at the show notes and hoping like heck that you don’t miss a single cue… that ambition – that dream – becomes an ordeal. Some people are born, or can be trained, to handle that sort of ordeal with grace, humour and sheer professionalism. Not me – and yet, even knowing from past experience of appearing in live radio and TV interviews that I could suffer utter, humiliating failure, I still wanted to take that risk so that, maybe just once, I could be a part of a show that I do, truly, love.
Then, it started. Sort of. In typical Shaft style, there was a little grinding of gears before the show got into its stride… When Wes asked if I’d like to read one of the sponsor messages, I asked to take the first one (I’d felt I could do something with it) – and just as I was about to read it out bang on cue, Eric stopped everything! Crunch… Oh, well… dust myself off and carry on 🙂
There was a bit of a hairy moment, when Brent asked me if I’d like to “talk about it”, and I had no bloody clue what he meant… Thankfully, it didn’t take too long before I asked if it was BitBurner’s Donation Drive he was talking about, and it was, so I was able to recover fairly well, I think.
Embarrassing moment: Laughing so hard that I snorted…
Sensible Me: *facepalm*
Terrified Me: Told you.
… and Wes said that they should record it, so I’d always be a part of the show. Fortunately, I wasn’t humiliated by the matter – I was easily able to laugh it off (and even if it’s a dorky noise, it’d still be cool to be on their soundboard!).
I was ninja’d by Wes during the Sightings section, though I’m certain it was accidental! I’d placed a couple of links I wanted to talk about into the Google Doc, and he read them out instead! Still, in fairness, the rest of my stuff in the show notes was under theirs, but in Sightings, my links were above, so I can’t really blame him for that. It wasn’t the end of the world 🙂 As it was, I still managed to get in my comments, as well as my corny line about wanting the TNT Snotty Bots tissue box, so I could always say I was blowing my nose. Please, feel free to groan.
After more than two hours, the show was over – and after quickly running to the bathroom (which I’d been desperately holding, to avoid the dreaded Dead Air, for over an hour – curse that delicious soda, and my dry mouth!), I apologised to Eric, Brent and Wes for talking over them a few times. Wes reassured me that it would have been fine if I’d interrupted more, because otherwise, he said, they tend to “babble” to fill the gap left by a guest who wasn’t talkative. Well, damn – there I was, trying hard to make sure I didn’t take over the show!
In the end, I managed to say most of what I wanted to say¹, got out most of the shout-outs I’d hoped to do, inserted a dirty joke when answering Riltend’s Question of the Week, and my friends all told me that I’d done a great job, so… phew!² And it was also so cool when they re-used my Listener Contributions bumper that was first broadcast on episode 19… Lots of fun, but also very scary… Would I do it again, in the unlikely circumstance that I was ever invited back? Damn straight, I would.
Before I close this rather extensive post, I’d like to say thanks to:
- The Shaft Podcast, first for inviting me to appear with them, and also for making me feel so welcome;
- Imperialistic and my newest friend, PretzelCast’s xwcg, who were helping me out in The Spawn’s IRC chat room.
… and an apology, to Gingernator666, who was unfortunately – and accidentally – omitted from my run-down of last Wednesday’s fun and games on AshRossy’s server. Sorry!
Last, but not least, you can watch the whole thing on the Dead Workers Party YouTube channel, by clicking this link!
¹ Including three of the four “magic words”: There are four words (to date) which SatoriLove really likes to hear me say with my British accent: Satori, Connecticut, water, and daughter – and any occasion when one or more of these words is said, she loves it :). I suggested to her, a few nights ago, that I try to sneak them into the conversation without them sounding contrived… and she replied that she was considering asking if I’d do that! 😛 I’d worked out lines to use which sounded sufficiently natural, but I didn’t get to use the one about BitBurner and his daughters (which I’d planned to mention in either the “welcome” segment, or when talking about 2 Player Productions’ call for submissions). Satori had also asked for an evil laugh, but I wasn’t able to oblige her with that, either. Let it not be said that I didn’t try!
² My mum also watched some of the show, and when I expressed the hope, via email, that I hadn’t let her down, she was quick to reassure me that I hadn’t. Phew #2.