Wednesday, August 16, 2017

About those North Korean missiles

Clearly, the world is topsy turvy right now.

We're used to North Korea having a lunatic for a president, but we haven't worried about it too much because, for years, we've had a competent leader in the White House. Obviously, I can't speak for anyone but myself -- even though, I'm pretty sure my opinion is held by more and more people every day -- but, with Donald Trump in charge of the U.S. military, I'm more concerned about a potential for World War 3 than I have been since grade school.

I guess that's fitting since Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump pretty much act like grade school students with their taunts and their attempts at bullying and general whining about life.

Some good news, though: According to this piece I voiced for Defense Updates, North Korean missiles will probably never make it to the United States anyway -- not even to Guam. Now that doesn't help alleviate the fact that we have a delusional infant in the White House, but at least we won't get blown up by the delusional infant in Pyongyang.

Watch the video to find out why.

Defense Updates is just one of my regular clients that I do voice-overs for. If you're a YouTube creator looking for a voice, check out a bit of what I do and get ahold of me.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Oh, hey, look at the time!

It's 5 a.m. and I should really be asleep. But it's been six days since I've offered anything resembling an update and I thought I should really check in.

I spent way too much time tonight focused on the incident in Charlottesville, Va. If you want my take, check out my Twitter, @scottleffler.

Of course, before sharing my thoughts on Twitter, I voiced a few things for my friends at Did You Know? Funny thing about tonight's session: I did a piece on the Baltic Sea Anomaly. This is the second piece I've voiced on the odd Millenium Falcon looking rock sculpture(?) at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Here's a link to the first piece on did on it.

It's been a pretty busy week for me, including lunch with my youngest (who I don't see nearly as often as I'd like), drinks with friends (who I also don't see enough), a concert and an art show. Needless to say, it was a good week.

Did You Know? and Defense Updates are the clients I seem to voice pieces for most frequently, although, I have clients I do more work for (larger scripts less often). That said, I picked up a new YouTube client this week. I'm waiting for the first of three scripts I voiced for them to drop. And after that, I'm hoping those updates will be fast and furious.

YouTube creators! I am available for contract work. My reasonably priced voiceovers will be much more appreciated by your subscribers than any text-to-speech you can buy.

A recent example from Defense Updates:

I try to post links to other things I find on my Twitter.

Have a good night. Morning? I don't know. Whatever you consider 5:30 a.m. to be.

Monday, August 07, 2017

My four-day career as a bouncer

First of all, if you've come to enjoy frequent updates here, my apologies for the two-week hiatus. It's taken me a while to catch up from a wild four-day ride that started July 27.

Some background:

  • Greg Burt is a friend of mine. He's also probably the hardest-working person I know. He simply has more going on that just about anyone else I deal with on a regular basis. Aside from writing a weekly column for All WNY Radio, he provides significant material help with the All WNY Music Awards, and he books and promotes dozens of shows in the Buffalo area each month. Oh, and he has a "real job" on top of that. So when Greg asks for help, I'm going to say "yes."
  • A few weeks ago, Greg had asked me if I knew of anyone that would be interested in working as a door-man/bouncer at Stamps, a bar in Tonawanda where he books many of his shows. I suggested a mutual friend who I thought may be interested (but wasn't) and told him if he was in a pinch, I could lend a hand. 
  • Wednesday, July 26, as I was enjoying hot dogs at Ted's, I got a message from Greg asking what I was doing the following four days. My response, "I'm going to guess, working at Stamps." I was right. 
So Thursday, I get to Stamps at approximately 5:45 p.m. I'm there to take tickets, check IDs and make sure no shenanigans occur at a hip-hop show/birthday party. On I scale of 1 to 10, I'd rank my performance as "Titanic." And not in a good way. 

As the night went on and the patrons/performers had more to drink, some of them got a little testy. Eventually, one unlucky chap found himself surrounded by a bunch of other guys who were upset with him. I still have no idea what the original source of the animosity was, but as they surrounded him, I jumped up from the table I was sitting at (where I was taking tickets) and got in between the angry mob and their would-be victim. I exclaimed to said mob that the dude was literally backing away and asked that they give him some space. I'm pretty sure I said it in English. But they didn't seem to comprehend it. 

Eventually, the dude was backed up all the way to the stage ... which he then climbed on. The band, meanwhile, continued to play ... with this random dude standing on stage with them. The angry crowd relented momentarily and the dude jumped off the stage and began to head towards the door. This is actually where things went sideways. 

As the dude (sorry, I have no idea what his name was) was walking past the sound booth, the sound guy, Chuck, noticed a bottle of liquor sticking out of his pants. Chuck attempted to grab the bottle. The dude took offense and hit Chuck in the back of the head with the bottle. 

Punches were now being thrown by multiple people. It spilled out into the street. The bar was literally cleared out. Those that remained were thrown out. It was the only way to maintain any sort of order. 

Once outside, things eventually calmed down and people went about their normal lives. But the show was done. To add insult to (literal) injury, Chuck didn't get paid by the birthday boy, whose party it was. 

When I went back into the bar, I found that my phone, which I had left plugged in at the ticket-taking table, had been stolen. 

Like I said, Titanic. 

Despite all this, I was asked to return on Friday for a graduation party. 

Friday went much more smoothly. There were a couple hiccups here and there -- the guest of honor though her phone was stolen (but we found it) -- but overall, it went pretty well. The only real problem was that this party went until 4 a.m. At the end of the party, there was a dude asleep at the bar. My job was to get him out. I did. Then I asked him how he was getting home. I had planned on calling him a cab (with someone else's phone since mine was still stolen) but he said he lived around the corner and had walked. So I offered to walk him home to ensure he got home safe. "Around the corner" can be a relative term. I got back to the bar around 5:30 a.m. and proceeded to go home for some sleep before ...

Saturday was another hip-hop show. It was, however, much more tame than the first one. In fact, everyone was pretty cool. My only complaint on the night was that the artists, for reasons I cannot understand, mostly lip-synced from their own recordings or sang along with their recordings -- voice track and all. *shrugs*

Sunday was metal night with "Arsonists Get All The Girls" headlining the bill. Metal isn't really my thing but I met some great people. 

The bar asked me if I would be interested in working there more in the future. I told them that I'd be happy to help if they're in a bind ... but bouncing clearly isn't my calling. I'm much better at doing voiceovers. In fact, here's some I've done in the past couple weeks: 

For those of you worried about North Korea's recent missile launches, fear not. Defense Updates says a single B2 bomber can pretty much take out their entire military: 

From Did You Know:

That's not a dog!

I always wanted a dungeon in my apartment.

And Holley High School. This one is particularly cool because the guys who put these videos together are in Algeria -- half a world away. Holley High School, meanwhile, is "just around the corner," by which I mean it's about an hour from where I live.

Of course, I voice three videos per day for Did You Know, in addition to other random things, so there have been many more videos for them than just the three posted here. I try to share them via Twitter as they are published. Follow me on Twitter @scottleffler if you're interested.

Sales pitch: If you need me to voice something for you, shoot me an email to and we can discuss your needs.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cute and funny are my favorite

I'm a sucker for click bait just like the rest of you. Much as I try to avoid or ignore it, I'm constantly sucked in by stupid stuff on Facebook with "30 things not to say to your girlfriend" ... or whatever. And after the first page of four items, each moderately funny, you're treated to one item per page for another 26 pages. I usually bow out after that first page of four. But I do like me some funny.

Today I've got some videos to share with you -- things I've voiced in the past few days. One of them is a mix of clever and funny (my favorite) and another has the most adorable baby squirrel. Plus there's a whole whack of other things because not everything can be cute or funny.

Let's start with the most recent offering from Econ Cow, "More Ways to Break Tied Elections (Voting #6)." I've mentioned this series before, which I enjoy for a couple reasons: 1) Politics, yay! 2) It's put together in a very amusing manner.

Next up is the cute baby squirrel video from Did You Know. Just look at all the cute:

I'm not sure that the last picture really hit me like a bag of bricks ... but that's how marketing is done these days. I just read words out loud. Did You Know features three new videos each and every day -- all voiced by yours truly.

Defense Updates also has a couple new videos up, including this one about the tense peace between Russia and China:

Of course, much of what I do never lands in a place when I see it. But it's out there. Somewhere. If you run across something that I voiced in a weird place, do me a favor and tell me about it.

Eight minutes until Monday and I'm about to settle in for a long night of reading words out loud. But thought I'd share a few recent ones with you -- it seems like it's been a while since I've done that.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sometimes saving money isn't worth it

I love Five Below. It's a discount store in the Walmart plaza on Military Road in Niagara Falls. It has everything from t-shirts to toys to books to electronics. It's where I get my cheap headphones and occasionally grab something else that looks like it might be worth more than $5.

That was the case the other day when I ran across the Shaper Image Visual Charge Wall Plate Charger and Power Outlet. I've concluded recently that I have more things* that charge (or are powered) via USB cords than via actual electric plugs. And I've been looking at outlets with USB plugs built in on Amazon. But when I ran into this option for just $5, I had to try it! And it's from Sharper Image so it should be decent quality, right?

My review of the unit, which I posted to Amazon, indicates that I was mistaken. It's not worth $5. In fact, I'm not sure I'd use it if it were free.

Oh well. This is the risk of buying $5 products. Try, try again.

Maybe you'd rather spend your money differently ... like on this KickStarter for Misery Loves Company that I did a voiceover for. Or not. Whatever. It's your money.

A few other things I've voiced recently:

Defense Updates: Why North Korea Won't Last Even a Few Days in War with U.S.?

The guys from Did You Know seem to be really keen on three topics: death, abandoned places, and dogs. Today covers all three:

1) This Guy Went Into A Town That Was Abandoned In 1982. What He Found Is As Stunning As It Is Eerie.

2) What This Village Does With Their Dead Is So Bizarre… But Somehow Kind Of Sweet !

3) 16-Year-Old Dog Dies Saving His Owner’s Life From A Wolf Attack

And there were, of course, other items -- including a series of phrases for a children's video game in which I play the role of a surfer dog. Yay, surfer dog.

Okay. Now I'm off to record another piece for the city of Constanta, Romania. Then maybe sleep. Maybe.

*May be a slight exaggeration

Monday, July 17, 2017

Quitting while I'm behind

Today (or yesterday, depending on how your calendar works) started out mildly frustrating.

I had worked for several hours on a relatively small (3,500-word) voice-over for a client. I had done about half a dozen takes on his scripts, which he wanted to be "authentic" but "energetic." After several discussions back and forth of what he wanted and numerous re-cuts on his script, I decided I had to cut him loose. It was better to forfeit the previous work than to risk wasting further time on a client who didn't seem to *really* know what he wanted.

I should have known earlier that it wasn't going to work when he gave me a 700-word script and wanted it squeezed into 2:30. I told him what he wanted just wasn't possible but I was able to get it into 3:30. That's 200 words per minute. (The average American speaks 110-150 words per minute.) He wanted to know why I was talking so fast. *blinks*

Anyway, I cut ties with him and refunded the money he had paid. But again, I'd rather be out cash than continue to waste my time.

I decided to take a break and catch up on Twin Peaks, as well as watch the Game of Thrones season premiere. Both were excellent uses of my time and I returned to work refreshed -- and maybe a little twisted. (Watch the shows, you'll understand.)

Three scripts from Did You Know put me back on the right path. Then I did a script that's part of a series I'm doing for the city of Constanta, Romania. I really enjoy these scripts ... but they're a lot more work than some of the other things I voice. For one thing, they're about half in Latin. But it's history and culture, so I get to learn while I work. One funny take away from that script: I had to say the phrase "by the barbarians" and, for the life of me, couldn't get it right. "Tabula Peutingeriana?" No problem. "By the barbarians?" Nope. So when this happens, I just say the phrase over and over until it clicks. I found it funny so I posted it to Soundcloud:

After that, I had a couple other small bits to record and then, this blog post.

After this, I return to a long-term project for the students of You Lin You Ke -- an English-learning class in Beijing.

Oh! And Doctor Who is a woman now. 'bout damn time.

- Scott

Friday, July 14, 2017

Allen Burger Venture ... yes, please

Out on the town Thursday, following my first visit to Hotel Henry, sustenance was required.

I've heard so many good things about Allen Burger Venture but hadn't had the opportunity to venture there yet. (See what I did there?) Let me just start by saying that Thursday may have been my first trip there but it will NOT be my last.

Walking up, the place is packed -- inside and out -- and there's a bit of a line at the door. Nothing overwhelming, mind you. And it moved quickly. I think we waited maybe all of 10 minutes to get a table. It was, after all, 7 o'clock on a Thursday. Busy was to be expected.

There's tater tots in there. And they were awesome.
Since we had drinks at 100 Acres at Hotel Henry, we switched to good old-fashioned pop at ABV. RC Cola. She had root beer. And we ordered: Loaded tater tots to start, followed by a #2 for her (Beef on Weck Burger) and a Chimichurri Burger for me.

The tots came first and we kind of regretted ordering burgers. Seriously, these were both awesome and awesomely filling. They had what appeared to be homemade tater tots with pulled pork, jalapeno peppers and other tasty bits, with melty Monterey Jack cheese on top. There's also a version that has two sunnyside-up eggs on top.

Just as we finished the loaded tater tots and decided that neither of us could ever eat another bite of food again, the burgers came. And ... we didn't want to disappoint the staff by not eating them. I mean, the staff had been so nice and helpful. So ...

Chimichurri Burger from ABV. On their special menu. 
So I had ordered the Chimichurri Burger, in part, because +Juda Nevadomski had posted a Grilled Dinner And Chimichurri recipe to All WNY News about a year ago and we had a discussion about me needing more chimichurri in my life. It having been nearly 12 months since and me not having added said chimichurri, I felt it was almost an obligation, really.

Imagine the ingredients from the aforementioned tater tots (minus the tots themselves) on a burger ... with chimichurri sauce. Yeah. That was my burger. And it was delish.

Her burger included New York state cheddar, caraway seeds and horseradish aioli. It came with au jus for dipping. It looked brilliant. I can't say how it tasted.

All burgers come with fries. They were salted -- but I added more, of course.

In all, the bill came to $54 -- which is a bit more than I'm used to paying for a couple burgers. But totally worth it.

And in the end, the YouTubers below actually paid for them. Here's a roundup of some videos that popped in the past 24 hours or so ... voiced by yours truly:

First up, we've got a pair of videos by Did You Know. I was voicing videos for them here and there. I had mentioned previously that one of the videos I'd voiced had 1,000,000 views. The rest of their videos used a computer generated voice. Going forward, I'll be voicing all their videos -- three per day. Their channel is growing really rapidly and I expect to see them get their first 10,000,000-view video soon.

1) This Elephant Survived A Poaching Attempt. Then Vets Noticed Something Weird:

2) North Brother is an Abandoned New York Island Nobody Knows about

We also have a new entry from Defense Updates:

And finally, the latest from Econ Cow:

Okay. That's my life in a nutshell. Now get out there and live yours!

- Scott