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Author Topic: PC053: Change of Life  (Read 5876 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« on: May 17, 2009, 02:36:55 PM »

PodCastle 053: Change of Life

by K. Tempest Bradford.
Read by MA in PA.

It all started because I wanted a pet. All of us younger kids did. But Mom always said that there wasn’t room for any pets cuz there were so many kids. She had a point, I guess. There were nine of us. But then David, my oldest brother, left home when he was only seventeen and a half to join the Peace Corps. Mom cried for three days straight. Dad said it was only because she was going through the Change of Life.

The day after she stopped crying there was a bunny in the living room. No cage, just a bunny. I guess Dad bought him hoping it would cheer Mom up–and it did. She sat on the couch holding the bunny for hours and told us all that we had a new family member: David the bunny. Katherine, my oldest sister, said that Mom named it David out of a sense of displacement or some other big word she liked to use just because she wanted to be a psychologist or a psychiatrist or some kind of person who messes with your head.

I wasn’t impressed. I wanted a dog.

Rated G. Contains a menagerie.

Posted a day early in honor of Fen of Color United.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2009, 08:30:51 PM »

Not happy with invading child.  Angry  Fail to see relevance of cookie recipe.
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SirJolt
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 10:46:57 AM »

I found it hard to get to grips with the manner in which the story was written... I couldn't decide between whether or not it was a style choice or if the point of view of a younger narrator had necessitated a certain verbal thriftiness.

Normally I'm all for not going out of your way to explain every little thing, but this felt awkward and unsure of itself. The "fantasy" element was obvious from the beginning, which made the reveal towards the end boring, and while I hoped that something a little more interesting would come, it never really materialised Sad
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Hilary Moon Murphy
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 12:05:45 PM »

I was happy to see a Tempest story on here.  I'm one of her fans!

I enjoyed the gentleness of the story, and the strange connections between the animals and the mother's lost children.  Thumbs up.

However I must agree that the introduction had me confused.  Cookies?  The idea of fantasy and food is great, but maybe food-related introductions should be saved for food themed stories.

Thanks!

Hmm
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Portrait in Flesh
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 12:18:41 PM »

The cookie tangent didn't throw me off as much as the lisping-Cindy-Brady-style narration.  Not easy on my ears.  Nearly turned the story off due to it. 

As for the story itself...I shouldn't be able to tell how a story's going to end so soon.  As soon as the first pet showed up, and knowing its name...I just kind of knew where this was going and, coupled with the narration, the overall experience didn't do a terrible lot for me.

But, if I were allowed around fire or other heat sources, I might very well try that cookie recipe.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 12:53:19 PM »

However I must agree that the introduction had me confused.  Cookies?  The idea of fantasy and food is great, but maybe food-related introductions should be saved for food themed stories.

Again, I found the cookie recipe irrelevant, but having somebody's kid do the introduction really rubbed me the wrong way.  If I want to listen to children, I'll go back to Clonepod.

The cookie tangent didn't throw me off as much as the lisping-Cindy-Brady-style narration.  Not easy on my ears.  Nearly turned the story off due to it.
As for the story narration itself, it didn't bother me.  The reader did a good job of conveying that this was a kid narrating the story, while avoiding the things that I find most annoying about hearing kids talk.

The story itself, however, I'm lukewarm on.  Or in other words, "meh".

And the rating: "Rated G ... contains a menagerie"?  A "G" rating? Seriously? 
"Rated PG ... contains psychotic parent with separation issues" seems more accurate.
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Hilary Moon Murphy
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 01:27:46 PM »


As for the story narration itself, it didn't bother me.  The reader did a good job of conveying that this was a kid narrating the story, while avoiding the things that I find most annoying about hearing kids talk.

I agree that the narrator did a great job with this.   One of the stories that I've got coming up in PodCastle features a child (though an older one) narrating the story.  Since it is so hard to narrate stories in a child's voice for audio, I am crossing my fingers and hoping that it comes off well.

Hmm
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 01:43:49 PM »

OK. I don't care if you criticize the choice of having a kid intro for us, but please don't criticize the child's voice. Come on, people.

Hilary -- your story's being narrated by Chris Reynaga, who also did Immersed in Matter.
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Portrait in Flesh
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 04:18:56 PM »

OK. I don't care if you criticize the choice of having a kid intro for us, but please don't criticize the child's voice. Come on, people.

OK, as I'm in an apparent minority in not enjoying (IMHO overly singsong) childlike voices narrating audio stories (and if the same person gave both the intro and narrated the actual story itself, it was lost on me...I assumed there were two people involved here), I'll just say it was an observation on the audio quality of the story presentation itself.  It just didn't work for me.  Same as others who have problems with episodes where the audio quality isn't quite right.  Not meant as a personal slight.  Just an expression of an opinion.
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Hilary Moon Murphy
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 04:43:29 PM »

OK. I don't care if you criticize the choice of having a kid intro for us, but please don't criticize the child's voice. Come on, people.

Hilary -- your story's being narrated by Chris Reynaga, who also did Immersed in Matter.

Rachel,

Just to be clear, I meant no criticism of the child's voice.  I like kid's voices.  (I merely stated that I wanted my cookie recipes with food stories, that's all.)

And thanks for the title.  I've fallen behind in my PodCastle listening, and will definitely go looking for that one.  Chances are that over the next month or so I will catch up with all the stories I've missed.  Such a treat that is lying ahead of me... I feel like a kid anticipating Christmas having a bunch of new stories to listen to. 

I look forward to hearing Mr. Reynaga.

Thanks,

Hmm
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 06:02:28 PM »

Quote
childlike voices narrating audio stories (and if the same person gave both the intro and narrated the actual story itself, it was lost on me...I assumed there were two people involved here)

There were two people.

I misread you -- I thought you were referring to Aidan (who did the intro) when you said child-like Cindy Brady lisp. Interestingly, Ann, who is like the actual mother, did not misread you.

Hilary, I read you as you intended.

So, I over-reached. My apologies! Please ignore & resume. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2009, 08:32:46 AM »

Because the intro narrator sounded so much like Ann Leckie and I couldn't quite make out the name (it sounded like "Ann Leckie-Harry"), I thought:

1. Ann had recorded the intro and the producer had pitch-shifted it to make her sound younger. I've used similar techniques to make male sound effects into female ones.
2. The story was a reverse-aging story.

Apparently neither was true.

The story had a lot of things I didn't like.

I think we're supposed to assume the family had so many kids because the mom felt this compunction to take care of things/people so she kept making more of them. The story, I think, could've worked just as well with five or six kids, with the older four, then the narrator, then one baby brother/sister. I had the feeling, though, that there were more kids between Junior/Chucky and the narrator, but we just didn't care about them because they weren't relevant to the story.

As for the "wishing animals were kids and so they become your kids because you miss your kids and are pissed they moved away" thing... why didn't the kids just become the animals from the get-go? Why did they have to be actual animals and then suddenly become the kids?

Basically, I think the story should've been more sinister, and because of the preceding paragraph, it wasn't.

Other things:

1. Why didn't Larry just get a vasectomy in secret when he realized what his wife was doing? Or did he not realize?
2. What did Larry do for a living that allowed him to support such a huge family?
3. I felt the whole feud with Chucky was pretty forced and lame; there was no indication that the family wasn't a loving family, so why did they allow the Chucky thing to happen?

I didn't mind the voice. The character was supposed to be between 8 and 12, I'm guessing.

Overall, not my favorite PC.
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Talia
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2009, 04:27:52 PM »

1. Why didn't Larry just get a vasectomy in secret when he realized what his wife was doing? Or did he not realize?

Why would he have realized? the way the story was told, it suggested she didn't flip out until her kids started leaving the house.
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2009, 07:07:37 PM »

I was also thrown by the child narration in the beginning. Note: she read well enough, however as a parent myself I've learned that our children are NEVER as cute to other people as they are to us. And that's okay.  The cookie recipe also threw me for a loop, it had nothing to do with the story what so ever (That I saw) I would have disliked this intro idea regardless of who narrated it.  AND then the story. I seriously deeply dislkied the story. It made me feel like the mother chatacter was the portrayal of everything that goes wrong with a woman when she "gets to a certian age"   darnit.

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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2009, 08:55:23 PM »

I liked this story.  The child protagonist's POV (hey, was he/she a boy or a girl?  I couldn't tell, I don't think it was ever specified, and in the end I guess it doesn't matter) was very well done, and the story did an excellent job presenting the situation from a very matter-of-fact kid's point of view.  I thought the narrator did a good job.

That said, on reflection I'm not terribly comfortable with the whole "my mom got flighty and totally irrational because of her hormones" thing.  I feel odd mentioning this as I know that the author's female and I'm male, but to be perfectly honest the more I think about how the mother is portrayed in that story the more it bothers me. 
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2009, 11:46:07 PM »

After a few moments I fast forwarded through the intro.  No disrespect to this specific child, but I do not enjoy the reading voices of children at all.  After a few minutes of the actual story I fast forwarded it too.  I found the fake child voice grating as well.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2009, 08:21:59 PM »

I was also thrown by the child narration in the beginning. Note: she read well enough, however as a parent myself I've learned that our children are NEVER as cute to other people as they are to us.

I congratulate you.  Seriously.  Precious few parents that I've encountered are able to realize this simple truth.
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2009, 02:17:23 PM »

I'm fully aware that my child isn't as cute to others as she is to me, actually.

I had recorded an intro to this story months ago, but reconsidered it.  I needed to replace it with something, and came up with the cookie recipe.  First off, it's an excellent recipe.  Second, I have too often heard stay at home moms described contemptously as "staying home baking cookies."

Disclaimer before I launch into the next paragraph:  I am fully aware that people who choose not to have children face various difficulties and discrimination.  I am not claiming that mothers have life more difficult than non-parents, it's just that I think this story addresses a particular difficulty mothers in this culture face.

I don't see this as a story of a woman going crazy because of hormones.  I'd dislike it pretty intensely if I did.

In our culture, motherhood is severely idealized.  You're supposed to put your child ahead of everything else, give up everything for them, and so on, everyone here knows that song.  All of this is for the benefit of your children.  The thing is, if you do that, really and truly give everything in your life over to raising your kids, you not only do psychological damage to yourself, but it's bad for the kids too.

Some moms just deal with not being perfect and blow off the criticism (and believe me, everyone has opinions on how you should raise your kids, and lots of people aren't the least bit shy in instructing you in what you're doing wrong), but some do what the mother in this story does.  And for a while it works, but then when the inevitable day comes, and the kids grow up and want independent lives of their own, they have no psychological resources to deal with that.

I'd talked about that in the intro, but on reflection decided not to say any of that. 

Okay.  So.  My daughter had asked if she could read a story--which is totally out of the question.  She's a decent reader, but not good enough.  But this story was from the POV of a child, which seemed appropriate, and its her cookie recipe as much as mine, she's made them many times.  They're delicious cookies, and were a tremendous hit at her Girl Scout bake sale (all proceeds to a charity the girls decided on).   I had nothing to do with the bake sale at all--she did all the work.

I made two files, one of me doing the intro, and one of her, and then left the choice up to Rachel and the audio editor as to which they wanted to use.  So there you go.
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2009, 03:01:36 PM »

I'm fully aware that my child isn't as cute to others as she is to me, actually.

I had recorded an intro to this story months ago, but reconsidered it.  I needed to replace it with something, and came up with the cookie recipe.  First off, it's an excellent recipe.  Second, I have too often heard stay at home moms described contemptously as "staying home baking cookies."

Disclaimer before I launch into the next paragraph:  I am fully aware that people who choose not to have children face various difficulties and discrimination.  I am not claiming that mothers have life more difficult than non-parents, it's just that I think this story addresses a particular difficulty mothers in this culture face.

I don't see this as a story of a woman going crazy because of hormones.  I'd dislike it pretty intensely if I did.

In our culture, motherhood is severely idealized.  You're supposed to put your child ahead of everything else, give up everything for them, and so on, everyone here knows that song.  All of this is for the benefit of your children.  The thing is, if you do that, really and truly give everything in your life over to raising your kids, you not only do psychological damage to yourself, but it's bad for the kids too.

Some moms just deal with not being perfect and blow off the criticism (and believe me, everyone has opinions on how you should raise your kids, and lots of people aren't the least bit shy in instructing you in what you're doing wrong), but some do what the mother in this story does.  And for a while it works, but then when the inevitable day comes, and the kids grow up and want independent lives of their own, they have no psychological resources to deal with that.

I'd talked about that in the intro, but on reflection decided not to say any of that. 

Okay.  So.  My daughter had asked if she could read a story--which is totally out of the question.  She's a decent reader, but not good enough.  But this story was from the POV of a child, which seemed appropriate, and its her cookie recipe as much as mine, she's made them many times.  They're delicious cookies, and were a tremendous hit at her Girl Scout bake sale (all proceeds to a charity the girls decided on).   I had nothing to do with the bake sale at all--she did all the work.

I made two files, one of me doing the intro, and one of her, and then left the choice up to Rachel and the audio editor as to which they wanted to use.  So there you go.

ouch, it seems I hit a nerve here.

I was not out to hurt any feelings, and I'd apologize, I would.. except, see, I think I'm right. The cookie recipe wasn't for me. Nothing wrong with it per say (heck I like cookies) it just didn't fit, in my very humble view. And your daughters intro.. good for a kid, just.. inappropriate. Doing the same again wouldn't make me listen to Pod castle any less. I am finding an interesting mix of tastes and stories in this new little subdivision of the EA here I enjoy greatly. And if I don't like something? No big deal, I'm not anyone of much matter- just a listener, It'd take much more then one kid reading, one cookie recipe, one horrible fantasy economics lesson (as the others were surprisingly great), or one REALLY horrible purple sketch of a fantasy parody to drive me away. I'm patient and This particular branch of the EA tree is still getting it's walking legs.

as you were.

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Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.
Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2009, 06:12:09 PM »

I don't think you hit a nerve, except inasmuch as Ann and I end up rolling our eyes over the intros a lot. If we give the kind of intros we'd want to hear, y'all don't really like them (see: Pahwahke). As a consequence, you sort of get idea #2 or #3 or #100. Which is cool, but yeah -- we actually try pretty hard not to actually do anything very relevant to the story, so the fact that cookies aren't relevant is, well, more or less intentional.

Interestingly, everyone we told before the podcast launched that the intro would be a cookie recipe was stoked -- which is also the reaction we got off the forums. Different strokes for different folks.
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