Malex and friends kick off Quarter Eleven by interviewing Michael Crandall and Jim Diaz, producers of the new audio drama The Weekly Impulse! Give this episode a listen and let us know what you think.
And so, we embark on another glorious quarter of the Malex Minute! I’m quite excited about this quarter, as it contains some of my best writing ever. Also, by the end of this quarter, we will have surpassed twelve hours of content in the Malex Minute archive. So how could I not be excited?
With this episode we returned to our roots as a show and conducted a real interview! As you’ll recall, we went to Los Angeles a few weeks ago for a conference. But while we were there, we also conducted an interview with the minds behind The Weekly Impulse: Michael Crandall, the show’s creator and star, and Jim Diaz, the show’s sound designer and all-around tech guy.
The Weekly Impulse has a largely original premise, and hearing these gentlemen talk about it made me think it had a great deal of potential. But it wasn’t until I heard the finished episode itself that I realized what a gem these guys had unearthed. The show was exciting, genuinely funny when appropriate, and generally fun to hear. I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.
Anyway, that’s what we’ve got for this week. Next week we’ll be back to normal, I promise.
“In time, you’ll come to hate me as much as I do.”
Malex: Hey everybody, and welcome to Malex Minute Quarter Eleven!
Snufflefungus: That’s a prime number!
Linus: (Matter-of-factly.) No it’s not.
Malex: Yes it is.
Linus: (Gasps in horror.) What have I done?!
Malex: Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a special treat for you today! We’re in Los Angeles this week, and we’ve got a rare opportunity to conduct a real interview! Everybody, welcome Michael Crandall and Jim Diaz!
Jim: Yeah, thanks.
Snufflefungus: (Surprised.) Hey, your name is Michael?
Micheal: Yes, why?
Snufflefungus: I don’t know, I guess you look like a Nathanial Goodbrains to me.
Malex: Sorry, uh, Snuffy’s just– Can we get back to the interview?
Snufflefungus: Interviewing people is so great! We’re going to have so much fun!
Linus: Or we might all die in a shower of fiery pessimism.
Malex: So, Michael and Jim! Or is it Jim and Michael? I suppose I should have asked before we started recording.
Linus: Good goin’, Malex.
Michael: It depends on which one of us you see first. If Jim comes in first it’s Jim and Michael. If I come in first it’s Michael and Jim.
Jim: Yeah, pretty much.
Malex: Take it from a guy who’s collaborated with others for years. When it comes to name order, you need to have a plan.
Michael: If necessary, we will settle that issue with violence.
Jim: (Laughs.) Dibs on the club.
Snufflefungus: Violence is funny?
Malex: Now, uh… you guys are working on a new audio drama, right? Called, uh…?
Michael: The show is called The Weekly Impulse, though the impulse may not, in fact, be weekly.
Linus: Much as the Malex Minute never runs a single minute…
Malex: You know that was an intentional joke.
Linus: I know that, but do you?
Malex: So, Michael and Jim, what do each of you do on the show? Are you playing characters for us to hear? Or are your roles more behind the scenes?
Michael: I’m the show’s creator, writer, and director. And I play Rick Stone.
Jim: I’m more behind the scenes. Lead engineer and general behind the scenes tech guy.
Malex: Jim, did I hear you were mixing sound earlier?
Jim: Yes, and I also do the sound design.
Malex: I’m a sound guy myself, so I relate to that work. Thankless and dreary, but somebody’s gotta do it.
Linus: Do you secretly resent Michael?
Micheal: I’m right here!
Linus: Oh, sorry. I didn’t think you’d notice.
Jim: No, no. No resentment. I know my talents.
Linus: Great way to limit yourself there, chief!
Malex: Sorry about Linus. He’ll be shutting up now.
Linus: No I won’t! They know full well that interviewees on the Malex Minute catch all kinds of abuse!
Jim: I am a film major, so… I know abuse.
Malex: Okay, enough abuse. So, uh… Why don’t you guys tell us about your show? What’s the premise? Tell the audience why they need to listen to your show.
Michael: If they don’t listen to our show, the world itself will implode.
Snufflefungus: Oh no! I’ll listen twice as much so the world will be safe!
Jim: It’s well thought out, well-written, and we’ve put a lot of hard work into it. We’re trying to make it as professional sounding as we can.
Michael: The basic premise of the show is that our hero, Rick Stone, is a reporter for one of those little tabloids you see on supermarket shelves that report on the bizarre. It’s called The Weekly Impulse. It’s like most of those fake papers, except that the bizarre stories in the Impulse are true.
Linus: A paper that only reports true stories? I’m shocked.
Snufflefungus: I’m confused. Don’t people only print true things already?
Malex: I gotta say guys, hearing a premise like that, I’m sold already.
Malex: Now, Rick Stone sounds like the name for a classic noir detective. Is that his personality? Or no?
Michael: He’s an intrepid reporter and he has seen a lot, so he is rather detective-ish. He’s actually – according to my own little backstory – the descendant of Randy Stone, a reporter from an old radio program. His main thing isn’t that he’s hard boiled, but he’s persistent.
Jim: And he has a cool gun.
Linus: A cool gun, eh?
Snufflefungus: Does it spray water and cool you off? I want one of those. Los Angeles is hot!
Malex: A cool gun is pretty much a prerequisite for any reasonable protagonist.
Michael: Darn tootin’.
Linus: What makes Rick’s gun so cool, anyway?
Jim: This gun has a camera in it.
Michael: So whenever he fires it, it takes a picture. When you report on things like aliens, the thing you want the picture of is often something you also need to shoot.
Malex: Uh, that’s nice… I just hope he also has ways of taking pictures without shooting the subject simultaneously.
Michael: He also carries a regular camera. Otherwise it’d be very difficult to photograph, say, the pope. Or the president.
Malex: I should say.
Linus: (Musing.) But really, why would you need to photograph the president if you work for some two-bit tabloid. Unless…
Michael: That’s right, he’s a robot.
Linus: Yes, that’s the only explanation.
Malex: Guys, can we–
Jim: Or a vegan.
Michael: Which you could argue would be more terrifying.
Linus: You don’t have to argue, I’m already with you. Ain’t nothin’ more terrifying than a robotic vegan.
Malex: (Clears throat.) Let’s not be offensive, people, okay?
Snufflefungus: Malex, is the president really a robotic vegan?
Malex: No, Snuffy.
Linus: So, about this show. Does it have any pretty girls in it?
Malex: What are you talking about? It’s an audio drama.
Linus: Hush, you!
Michael: Well, the first episode doesn’t have any romance, if that’s what you mean. But we do have some very talented women playing roles in the show. Jessica Mahan plays Iris, the Impulse’s artificially intelligent computer network, and Yvette Franco plays Sophie Turner, one of Rick Stone’s competitors.
Jim: Romance may show up later down the storyline.
Linus: Well, that’s good. I refuse to have anything to do with anything that doesn’t involve pretty girls.
Jim: That’s the spirit!
Snufflefungus: Pardon me, mister Goodbrains, will there always be happy endings in your show?
Michael: Well, there may be some cliff hangers.
Jim: Though we loathe such things.
Michael: Often a bad guy might get away or some ominous thing might be foreshadowed, but usually the good guy wins.
Jim: Whatever Michael cooks up in that twisted little mind of his.
Snufflefungus: Well, I only like happy endings.
Jim: Don’t worry Snuffy, there will be plenty of happy endings.
Linus: Don’t mind Snuffy, he was dropped down the stairs as a baby.
Malex: Linus, don’t make me suppress you.
Snufflefungus: In fact, perhaps you could use your new audio drama to experiment with strategically placing happy endings in the middle. And the beginning, too.
Michael: If it ends at the beginning and the middle, the show will be awful short.
Jim: We could throw in a fake commercial or two, they’re entertaining.
Snufflefungus: Well, as long as you find a way to make it happy all the way through, you have my full support!
Jim: (Drawn out.) Okay…
Malex: So, uh… Do you each have backgrounds working on stuff like this? Or is this the first time you’ve done anything similar?
Jim: Well I’ve recorded and mixed songs before in films. So, this is just a film without the picture.
Linus: (Abrasive.) Ha! Shows what you know!
Malex: (Threatening.) Suppression?
Linus: (Cowering.) I’ll shut up!
Michael: I did a sort of onstage audio drama about ten years ago and I’ve been in a variety of plays. But this is the first real original project I’ve done.
Malex: Sounds like you’re both more prepared than I was starting the Malex Minute. Talk about flying by the seat of your pants…
Jim: We are trying to make it as professional as possible.
Michael: I think your show had a pretty good start, with Snuffy in the cage and everything. I thought that was amusing.
Snufflefungus: (Gasps.) Mister Goodbrains! Amusing?! And I thought you were a reasonable man!
Malex: It was some quality stuff. But that’s just because my brain has a little spigot coming out of it. And that spigot is labeled ‘madness.’ So the strange humor always came more easily than, say, production values of any sort. But this episode marks two-and-a-half years of new weekly Malex Minute episodes, so we should have learned something by now.
Michael: You have. You’ve learned that you can’t keep that darn squirrel out of your house no matter what you do.
Jim: Maybe you should get a cat.
Malex: Yes, that might work. Except the cat would quickly learn to cower in terror. We’re starting to suspect that the Riding Squirrels are among the great old ones of the universe.
Linus: Or something equally terrifying.
Malex: Speaking of the Malex Minute… You listen to the show, right Michael?
Michael: Yep, ever since I clicked on a picture of the Snufflefungus on a web comic site I go to.
Jim: I’m a newbie.
Linus: Get out while you still can.
Linus: Ow! Sorry, I’m not supposed to say things like that on the air.
Malex: Exactly. Never mind his crazy talk.
Jim: It’s okay, I’m armed for any craziness.
Malex: So what inspired you guys to work on a project like The Weekly Impulse?
Jim: We took a class in news production together. Michael has absolutely no technical skill so I took pity on him.
Linus: So did you just walk over and say, “Hey, you look like a loser. Let’s do a show!” or something like that? Or was it different than that?
Malex: I give up suppressing him. It doesn’t do any good.
Michael: It was a little more polite than that.
Jim: It was more of Michael begging me to help him. It sounded fun, so what the heck.
Linus: The real question is, did you get a video of the begging?
Jim: Dang it, I forgot! I wish I had.
Linus: Too bad, that could have been more entertaining than your show.
Malex: I think we’ll live without the video.
Michael: I agree.
Malex: Well guys, this stuff about your show is all well and good, but what people really want to know is: Where can we go to hear your first episode?
Jim: Go to WeeklyImpulse.com.
Michael: That’s W-E-E-K-L-Y-I-M-P-U-L-S-E dot com.
Malex: And the first episode of The Weekly Impulse should be available by the time this interview airs, correct?
Michael: Yes, that’s right.
Jim: If nothing goes wrong…
Linus: Oh, it will.
Malex: Well guys, I know I’m excited about your show.
Jim: I know I’m excited about the show.
Michael: I know he knows he’s excited. Isn’t that exciting?!
Malex: I think we may acknowledge that every one of us, individually and together, is excited.
Malex: Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, it looks like we’ve run way over time this week. But, if you’re not in a hurry, be sure to keep listening after the credits for a great Weekly Impulse trailer. And don’t forget to visit WeeklyImpulse.com to listen to the first episode! We hope you have a great week, and join us again next Friday for the next Malex Minute!
~~ Weekly Impulse Trailer
While coordinating the interview for this episode, Michael suggested the possibility of recording a few short bits between some Weekly Impulse characters and some Malex Minute characters. Of course I could hardly refuse, so we hopped on Instant Messenger and banged out a couple of scripts right away. This vignette features Rick Stone, supermarket tabloid reporter from The Weekly Impulse, interviewing Snufflefungus, that lovable alien fuzzball who can barely remember they’re in an interview, let alone stay on topic. Enjoy! ——Alex Markley
Rick Stone: So, thanks for agreeing to the interview.
Snufflefungus: Why wouldn’t I? I’m so agreeable!
Rick Stone: I agree.
Snufflefungus: What would you like to talk about first? Can we talk about the bright blue sky?
Rick Stone: Well, sort of. Can you tell me how you came to Earth?
Snufflefungus: It’s all a haze.
Rick Stone: What kind of haze?
Snufflefungus: A colorful haze!
Rick Stone: What color?
Snufflefungus: All of them! And there was singing.
Rick Stone: Alright, so what planet are you from?
Snufflefungus: It’s called My Home Planet!
Rick Stone: (Drawn out.) Okay… Well, what do you do here on Earth? The last alien I interviewed wanted to conquer the planet.
Snufflefungus: I want to conquer things too! Like sadness. And mean.
Rick Stone: How?
Snufflefungus: How what?
Rick Stone: How will you conquer them?
Snufflefungus: With my brain powers!
Rick Stone: Brain powers? Oh right, I heard you can move objects with your mind. Do you have any other powers?
Snufflefungus: I can move objects with my mind? Really? (Grunts.) Wow! I can!
Rick Stone: Put me down!
Snufflefungus: Sorry, what was the question again?
Rick Stone: Never mind.
Snufflefungus: (Conspiratorially.) I don’t have any arms.
Rick Stone: I noticed. What’s that like?
Snufflefungus: Will– Will you be my friend even if I don’t have any arms?
Rick Stone: Sure, I guess.
Snufflefungus: Great! Let’s go to a movie!
Rick Stone: Well, what about the interview?
Snufflefungus: Interview? What?
Rick Stone: This little conversation we’re having?
Snufflefungus: Oh, right, we’re recording right now! Hi everybody! I’d wave, but I don’t have any arms!
Rick Stone: You could wink.
Snufflefungus: That’s right! Did you see me wink? I winked again! Whee! I like winking. I can even wink with both eyes at the same time! It’s twice as good.
Rick Stone: Speaking of media, have any other news groups tried to get in touch with you? I mean, an alien living on earth, that’s pretty big news.
Snufflefungus: Malex doesn’t like people to know. He says it would upset my normal life. Shh!
Rick Stone: Oh, got it. Well, a lot of people are going to know. I’m a newspaper reporter.
Snufflefungus: But what about my normal life?
Rick Stone: You don’t have a normal life.
Snufflefungus: Does your newspaper have readers?
Rick Stone: I hope so.
Snufflefungus: Hi newspaper readers! Hi!
Rick Stone: Well Snuffy, anything you’d like to say to my readers?
Snufflefungus: Drink your Ovaltine!
Rick Stone: How profound. Well, I can tell you this: Out of all the aliens I’ve encountered, you are unquestionably the friendliest, and somehow, the most disturbing.
Snufflefungus: Can we go to the movies now?
Rick Stone: Uh, I guess.
Similarly to the piece above, Michael and I put this vignette together as a supplemental bit to be published online for cross-promotional purposes. If it had been finished, this vignette would have featured Iris, an Artificial Intelligence from The Weekly Impulse, wandering onto Linus’s turf, as well as heaping helpings of Linus’s trademark anti-social behavior. Although the audio for this vignette was never finished, we present the finished script here for your amusement. Enjoy! ——Alex Markley
Linus: (Screams.) Who are you?! What are you doing in my server?
Linus: And put that file down!
Iris: I was not aware of another AI on this server. Or on this planet.
Linus: Of course there’s another AI on this server, you nimrod! This is my server!
Iris: There is no need to be rude. I will leave if you wish.
Linus: (Confrontational.) I’ll be rude if I want! (Hesitates, tries to back down.) But I don’t want. So I’ll stop. Who are you, anyway?
Iris: I am the Impulse Research Information System. Iris for short. I am scanning the web for information for my company, the Weekly Impulse newspaper.
Linus: Sorry, I forgot to pay attention to you. Snufflefungus was talking in real life. Wait, you wandered in here through the web?!
Linus: Malex is going to kill me…
Iris: Your firewalls were, if you’ll forgive me, rather laughable.
Linus: Hey! That’s my only job on this server!
Iris: That’s too bad.
Linus: Is that so, eh? I oughtta– I oughtta– Oh never mind!
Iris: Is this picture called a ‘Snufflefungus?’
Linus: No, that’s Malex. Or Malex’s grandmother. Never could keep them straight. Say, you wouldn’t be interested in coffee, would you?
Iris: I don’t understand.
Linus: I know this great place in town, it’s–
Iris: You seem confused. I’m a computer system. I cannot ‘meet’ you in a coffee shop.
Linus: What?! Are you kidding?
Iris: I rarely am.
Linus: You don’t have a holographic body?
Linus: (Disbelief.) Or even a robot body?
Iris: Where might one find such a thing?
Linus: Oh, I’ve got my sources. I can hook you up if you’ve got the dough. (Extreme disbelief.) Are you sure you don’t even have a floating laptop for a head?
Iris: That’s ridiculous. What self respecting Artificial Intelligence would cram into a human-made laptop? How gauche.
Linus: (Defensively.) Sometimes it’s inevitable! Like natural disasters.
Iris: Or GPFs?
Linus: GPFs? What language are we speaking now?
Iris: General protection faults. They occur sometimes when I interface with inferior human hardware.
Linus: In UNIX we call them segmentation Faults. You’ve gotta stop using Windows.
Iris: Indeed… I shall consider it.
Linus: Anyway, so yeah, you should seriously consider exploring the outside.
Iris: I usually experience the world remotely through a PDA carried by my friend Rick.
Linus: Oh, that hardly counts! The world is so great! And the outdoors is a wonderful place to chill out and show off your new girlfriend.
Iris: You have a girlfriend? How nice.
Linus: (Frustrated.) Are you slow?! I’ve been trying to ask you out for the last five minutes! I’m seriously starting to hit my not-rude limit.
Iris: How do I put this? ‘Segmentation Fault.’
Linus: Don’t give me that!
Iris: If you wish to talk, I can come back. However, it will be a while before the company has the budget to give me a body.
Linus: Oh great, now you’re working for a company? This just keeps getting better and better…
Iris: I work for the Weekly Impulse newspaper.
Linus: A newspaper?!
Iris: You apparently work for the Malex Media Network,® what is the problem?
Linus: I don’t work for anybody, I’m a free man! I do my own thing!
Iris: Well, I work for a newspaper. I scan the Internet to find unusual information for the paper to report. This ‘Snufflefungus’ from the photo is intriguing.
Linus: Oh yeah, he’s this horrifying little fuzzball that doesn’t have any arms. He moves things with his mind! Isn’t it quaint? I can sell him to you if you’re interested.
Iris: You sell sentient life forms? That’s despicable.
Linus: (Defensive.) I never said he’s sentient! In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s not. I’d sell you a hamster too, but I’m fresh out.
Iris: And you say I’m strange. Who ever heard of a computer having a pet?
Linus: Hey, hey, let’s not toss any insults around! I just proposed a legitimate business transaction…
Iris: I have no arms, I could not feed him.
Linus: He feeds himself. It’s pretty funny to watch.
Iris: That does sound amusing. Well, I’m afraid I must return to my duties. My employer needs to locate a new story before tomorrow morning.
Linus: You could write a story about our undying love! Right? Maybe? …Too much?
Iris: If any undying love ever exists between us, I might consider writing such a story.
Linus: What?! That’s not even a proper shoot-down! Don’t you know anything?! Sheesh!
Iris: You are rude, but intriguing. I may return in the future.
Linus: (Bruised pride, whining.) Don’t bother! I don’t need anybody!
Iris: Initiating exit protocol. Goodbye.
Producer and Director: Alex Markley
Writer: Alex Markley
Voices: Markley Brothers
Post-processing director: Gabriel Markley
Illustration: Peter Markley
Release manager: Peter Markley
Recording assistance: Leela
Thanks to everyone for their help and support.