Way back in 2005, when I was trying to figure out where the next mortgage payment would come from, I tried just about anything creative that I could think of to help support my family.
Mostly, I did that by writing. I did columns and freelance work, and wrote a few books. It was creatively satisfying, and it helped us get through each day, then each week, and eventually through a few years.
Way back in 2005, the whole podcasting thing was just getting started, and I saw an opportunity to live out my childhood dream of having a radio show (in fact, even earlier in the 2000s, I had done a live broadcast where I played music and did my best DJ impression. I had to give it up for reasons that are lost to history). Just as blogging tools like Greymatter and Blogger had made it easy for me to become a self-published writer, Garageband made it easy for me to become a self-published radio sort of guy. Back then, I felt incredibly guilty if I did something or spent money on something that was just for fun, without also supporting my family. I couldn’t really afford to do a radio show or podcast just for fun, but maybe I could get sponsors or sell ads or take donations or whatever.
So way back in 2005, Radio Free Burrito was born. It never really helped me support my family, but it helped me find some more creative confidence, and it gave me an opportunity to pretend I was one of those late night DJs I grew up loving, listening to on a tiny transistor radio in my bedroom long after I was supposed to have gone to sleep.
I did Radio Free Burrito with some regularity for several years, trying my best to stick to a weekly schedule, but since this was back before I got treated for Depression, it was really, really hard to stick to it. I put a lot of work into each episode, and sometime around 2008, it just felt like it wasn’t worth the effort.
But something happened around the end of 2009. I don’t remember what it was, but — wait. I think I know what it was. I think that’s when I finally got treated for Depression.
Huh. That’s weird. I hadn’t really put these two things together until just now. Which is ironic, because I’ve been struggling to hold a pretty bad Depression and Anxiety thing at arm’s length for at least a week.
ANYway, around the end of 2009, I found a groove, and I got comfortable with the sound of my own stupid voice. Radio Free Burrito hit what I’ll call its golden age during 2010, and I looked forward to it so much, I started another podcast to support my book Memories of the Future, Volume 1.
After almost a year of consistent releases, my life started to really turn around. Not to mistake correlation for causation, but this was when I started to work like crazy as an actor again. I think it was around 2011 that I started working on Leverage, then Eureka, then Big Bang Theory, and then Tabletop was born. As much as I had loved working on the Burrito every week, I actually didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it, and since I felt like it never really passed more than a couple hundred listeners, anyway, I had to make a choice to let it go and invest my time and creative energy in other places.
The last show I did was in February of 2013. People asked me about it all the time, but I was pretty sure that Radio Free Burrito was done.
Until this weekend, when I had an idea.
See, I’ve been listening to Serial and Snap Judgment and 99% Invisible and Nerdist and Dan Carlin. Thanks to all of that, something landed in my brain and refused to leave. See, I’m sort of between big projects at the moment (finishing Tabletop and getting started on our RPG spinoff), and I think that The Thing I’m Going To Do Between Things is Radio Free Burrito. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay on a weekly schedule, but I think I can. I think that, if I remember that the point is not to make something perfect, but is actually to just make a thing, I’ll enjoy it, and maybe a couple hundred people will enjoy it with me.
So yesterday, I did a brand new Radio Free Burrito. It isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible, and it’s a thing where there wasn’t a thing before. I had fun when I was making it, and all I’ve been able to think about since I made it was what I’m going to do when I make the next one, which is pretty cool.
I won’t do this with every episode, but I wanted to share it and its show notes, here on the mothership, so as many people as possible can know about it.
Well, it looks like we’re really back, for reals, and on an actual schedule. Welcome to Radio Free Burrito Episode 35 – Ring of Fire
This week, I talk about the first thing to come to my mind, including trains and books. I tell a pretty gross story that gives the episode its title. This will also be the first episode that has an actual name, because some day I’d like to come up with something as magnificent as #Torsoshorts.
- The logo was designed by WWdN:iX reader Marc, who asked that I not link to his “in progress” website. Thanks, Marc!
- Radio Free Burrito doesn’t work as hard to earn its [EXPLICIT] tag as Memories of the Futurecast did, but it still manages to upset mom and get Twitter breakup messages from sensitive people. You have been warned.
- This is the first episode I’ve entirely recorded using Audacity, so it’s a little clunky in places. Next time it will be better.
- This show’s theme music is Janitor, by Suburban Lawns.
- You may like Gidget Goes To Hell.
- YouTube is full of episodes of Night Flight and New Wave Theater.
- Mental Floss is a good place to discover that you’ve lost an hour of your day.
- Here’s The Americans, by Robert Frank. Here’s America, by Allen Ginsberg.
- Fun facts about the Jalapeño.
- The monument that Ryan built on my island in Minecraft.
- You can buy S [Amazon | B&N | Powell’s] and Maplecroft [Amazon | B&N | Powell’s] online or at a local shop.
- Listen to woob’s entire catalog at Bandcamp, but pay close attention to 1194 and Lost 1194.
- Littlebits.cc has all the super fun LittleBits stuff you could ever want. Here’s their Synth Kit.
- The Booth At The End is a wonderful companion to Black Mirror.
- Snap Judgment, The Moth, Darn Carlin’s Common Sense, and Welcome to Nightvale should help with your Serial withdrawal.
- Here’s my blog about Harry Potter.
- This episode isn’t that good, I don’t think. I’m still getting used to doing this again. But that’s okay.
Okay, that’s everything. Please enjoy Radio Free Burrito Episode 35 – Ring of Fire.