Welcome to Just Another AIO Blog, a site that is dedicated to the popular radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. We provide news, reviews on the latest episodes, articles, features, and we also are home to Adventures in Connellsville, a unique look at the town next to Odyssey through book form, We also provide a U.S.S. Response page that gets updated every other day. This page provides a response to recent comments on The Soda Shop Message Boards. And just recently, we started a unique Adventures in Odyssey podcast: called JAAIOP, or Just Another AIO Podcast. Feel free to post comments or subscribe to this site by email or with Google Friend Connect. Thank you!

Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog

Thursday, August 30, 2012

No Article Today, But... 8/30/12

     I'm sorry to say that I can't write an article today. But that doesn't mean I didn't keep myself busy doing other things!
     First of all, I wrote an article on CC through my new blog! It's an article celebrating CC and MBs in general, and I pride myself on writing it. You can check it out at Campbell County.
     Second, I wrote a new, short and sweet AIC today. It involves Polehouse and a kidnapping, so check it out!
     Thirdly, a new U.S.S. Response will be out tomorrow, but, as I said on SS, it will be the last one for a little while. I'm afraid I'm running out of time to do things like The U.S.S. Response, so I'm taking a little break from it. I know some of you Soda Shoppers are disappointed by that, but I promise I'll start it up again some day!
    Anyway, that's about it. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... AIO Ne - Wait! This isn't AIO News! This is a boring post with no meaning!
    Okay, that's about it, I'm afraid. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... A BORING POST WITH NO MEANING!
     Thanks for reading, and don't forget to check out all that stuff and more on JAAIOB and AIO blogs everywhere!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

AIO News 8/29/12

     Wow, it's been a while. You guys thought this blog was done for, didn't you? Well, it's not! I'm gonna be back after quite a hiatus in full swing! Sorry I haven't been posting, I was just lazy and busy. There's not much news, but I figured I had to do a post today. Also, I'll start doing a little unofficial news today! Also, expect some changes in my blog soon. I'm considering doing some different things with it. Anyway, I'll give you a little bit of news...

     Hello, I'm Alex Jefferson, reporting at you live from The Ceiling Fan Podcast, where Episode 46 was surprisingly released on iTunes, though it's still not up on their website. I just listened to it and loved it! It could be the best Season 4 episode yet, maybe even topping the live show.
     And, in other news, Out of Control in Odyssey and TNT are going full steam ahead with their posts. TNT released a new post featuring more unofficial news from The Old Judge, the dedicated reader of nearly every AIO blog out there. And Out of Control in Odyssey has released an excellent review of Taken, the exciting new adventure book by Brock Eastman. Other websites continue to offer more great posts.
     And, finally, the Webster ceromondy is being prepared even as I speak, as several AIO webmasters are graciously giving acceptance speeches, some written, some audio, and even a video one. Contributiors include Garret Vandenburg, Ben Warren, David Hilder, Noah and Hallie, and Josh and Ally from Out of Control in Odyssey, as well as the host of the awards, Alex Jefferson.
     Well, thatr's about all. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 24, 2012

AIO News 8/24/12

     Hello, I'm Alex Jefferson, reporting at you live from FOTF HQ in Colorado Springs, where Album 56 is in the hands of Brock Eastman. I'm eagerly awaiting to get my copy soon. More on that as the story unfolds.
     And, in other news, a new Official video Podcast was released with yet another Get in the Show! update. I don't usually give my opinion on news, but I have to say I am honestly becoming quite tired of these constant, almost annoying, Get in the Show! updates. I wonder how many people watch/listen to these podcasts devoted almost entirely to going on and on about Get in the Show! I honestly don't, and I will be glad when this contest has come to an end. It'll be great to hear the winner in Album 58.
     Well, that's about it, I'm afraid. Until next time, I'm AJ, and this is... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

AIO Article: Pound Foolish Wisdom #1 8/21/12

     Well, thankfully, PF saved me at the last minute from having to write an article. We decided to do an ongoing series exploring characters further pretty early on, and PF suggested it be called Closer Look, but once I saw Freddy Jay's feature exploring characters further called Deeper Look, I realized this PF feature would look like an unintentional ripoff of Freddy Jay's articles. So, he gave me many, many suggestions for names, but in the end I decided on Pound Foolish Wisdom. You will hopefully be seeing #2 in the future, so enjoy this fantastic article! It's really a masterpiece, possibly even better than his last one! (If that's possible.)

     Where AIO Characters Are Put Beneath the Microscope

by Pound Foolish

     Hi, it’s the nutty, the deep, the weird Pound Foolish. (Call me PF at your peril; it’s not necessary to abbreviate every single online name that’s more than one word.) I didn’t introduce myself in my first post. As, arguably, giving an in-depth look at a hot AIO topic is the best way for an AIO “dreamer”, as Alex calls us, to introduce themselves, I didn’t introduce myself on my first article. But now, I’ll say a few words on myself for you to skip over at your earliest convenience. I’ve been an avid AIO listener for years. As Alex said, I’m the founder of the Emily RULES! Klub. That is, ERK. Yes, it sounds just like “irk.” We’re here to irk the Emily Haters! Well, I’m occasionally mentioned in the AIO blogging community, as I am a moderator on The Soda Shop, and a controversial, somewhat popular one. And, like all dreamers, I aspire to my own AIO blog!
     Alright here we go…

     Many really just hate the new era. The way they talk, they are ready to ring Andre Stojka’s throat, join a CCCW protest, fill Kathy Buchanan’s office with dead cats, and form an Emily Stinks club. I used to feel the same way. (Well, not the Emily Stinks club, but most of it.)
     I yawned at Matthew in Target of the Week. I only sort-of became endeared to him and the rest of the Parkers in Grandma’s Visit; as the cacophony of Mexican accents and music seemed positively alien in AIO. And while I enjoyed Priscilla in Stage Fright, she seemed rather bland in The Malted Milkball Falcon, and I thought she’d proven unsuited to the larger role. Perhaps the worst of it was Vance, insufferably awful at times, especially as my mind inevitably compared him to Rodney. I enjoy those episodes now, but at the time, it practically infuriated me.
     But two characters seemed to be making up for a lot, and they rapidly won my heart over. One happened to be a girl with a pleasantly cartoony voice who fearlessly barked orders to males and solved cases with clever logic. The other was a fascinating oddball who, at first glance, seemed to be a bad-guy… and yet turned out to be more interesting than that. He always acted unpleasant, yet he seemed to like the other AIO kids pretty well, and enjoy being with them.
     I will talk about the former, Emily, later. She’s become a RIDICULOUSLY controversial topic online, so I won’t talk about her till I feel like I’m ready to tackle a bomb. This article is about Jay Smouse.
    Why do we think a bully is a bully? Because he picks on people? No, because, more specifically, he picks on people you like. Consider Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet. To him, his fury was righteous, a deep hate against sworn enemies of his family that bred a longing for violence and terror. When he drew his sword on      Mercutio and slayed him, to Romeo, Tybalt showed evil. (Romeo would’ve been even more mad if he knew Bart would make the event into a funny Electric Palace commercial.)
     Mercutio loved Romeo. Tybalt hated Romeo.
     Romeo learned to hate Tybalt. Tybalt believed himself in the right.
    A villain is the product of point of view.

     We are so easily wrong about a person’s behavior, because we can know so little of the circumstances surrounding a situation. In The Importance of Being Earnest, and Lady Windermere’s Fan, both plays by Oscar Wilde, the entire plot revolves around misunderstandings. A complete misconception of how good, and… and complexly, darkly bad, the characters are.
     Lady Windermere’s Fan begins with her discovering, it seems, her husband is having an affair with a strange, elegant woman recently arrived the community. A woman interested in him because of money.
    Lady Windermere, some hours after meeting the woman at a ball in Lady Windermere’s home, says
“You talk as if you had a heart. Women like you have no hearts. Heart is not in you. You are bought and sold.”
    She later discovers the woman to indeed have past, and despicable in society’s eyes, but a brave, loving woman, with no attachments to her husband. In the final act, she has a significant discourse with her husband on the woman.
    Lord Windermere: “Child, you and she belong to different worlds. Into your world, evil has never entered.”
    Lady Windermere: “Don’t say that, Arthur. There is the same world for all of us, and good and evil, sin and innocence, go through it hand in hand. To shut one’s eyes to half of life that one may live securely is as though one blinded oneself that one might walk with more safety in a land of pit and precipice.”
    Thus, through such a strange glass, partially clean, partially filthy and distorting, we must view Jay. Jay, in his first appearance, seems merely Vance’s rotten, meanness loving side-kick. It’s only later we discover he can do a rockathon for charity alongside Matthew, the very kid he picked on, and never once, as far as we see, even consider bullying him. He sides with Valerie, in How to Sink a Sub, and yet turns around becomes helpful. And, while, in Sub, he indirectly upsets Olivia, the main character of the episode, he talks to her. Not to say mean things to her, just to talk… and, well, yes, complain. But he never tries to bother her. As for Barrett, yes, Jay always throws insults and pranks at Barrett, but only through his sense of competition.
(What do we make of such a character? What do we do with Jay?)
    Yet, when we again see Vance with Jay, in the much talked of Mistaken for Good, Jay moaningly goes along with him to do the dishonorable. It’s as if, away from Vance’s influence, Jay is just a fairly annoying, goofy, somewhat rude, oddball kid. One can’t help wondering if Vance led jay astray in the first place.
    But, we all already knew this. Because many of us like him. Sure, we all like Rodney’s funny, slightly menacing character, but how many of us like him as a person? How many of us would like him as a friend? All who want Rodney Rathbone as a friend, show their hands!... Hmm, yes, that’s about the expected statistic.
    What shall we make of Jay? Just what do we do with him?
    Back to what I was saying, Jay, unlike Rodney, some of us do like. He’s a silly, sometimes friendly, even kind, (in Mistaken for Good), person who’s misguided and too competitive.
    On the other hand, is Jay, when it comes right down to it, a bad person? No, because there’s no such thing. All people have the capacity for good.
     Sin, then, is an action in which we open an absence of God and his goodness in ourselves, in the world, and, often, other people. However, in fiction, this is not the case. In fiction, there are antagonists and protagonists. The bad guy and the good guy. Part of the fun of fiction is we are able to absolutely despise people, something we cannot do in real life without some guilt.
     Jay occasionally fits somewhat into this role. He’s the antagonist in Unbecoming Jay, How to Sink a Sub and The Amazing Loser.
     In all of them, Jay does fabulously as a villain. And is a villain. We route for the “good” character, and hope Jay is going to be defeated. Well, perhaps not so much in The Amazing Loser. One may easily fail to care whether Emily’s addiction prone older brother is going to win a scavenger hunt. Especially as Matthew was really the one who would be the winner, as Jay was just a useless tag-along. They tried to center the conflict on Jay and Barrett, and have Matthew in the background, but Jay, in the end, was nothing but a baddie-wannabe. However, it worked. One may not be in suspense, necessarily, but Jay is both funny and a pain, as he should be. So the listener wants Jay to lose, getting a well-earned whop.
     In How to Sink a Sub, Jay warns Olivia of oncoming trouble for them both. He is worried for himself, yet he seems worried for the other also, as he warns her. His worries are also justifiable. Some teachers are just no good, and being stuck with such a one is maddening. And, as it turned out, Katrina truly came off as authoritarian. One can’t help but sympathize with his and Valerie’s gleeful rebellion against Katrina’s new, strange, controlling ways.
     Speaking of Valerie, is it a coincidence Jay, when he is the villain, is always either competing against Barrett, or in league with someone else? Let’s examine the former point first.
     Just what is it with Jay and Barrett? How long have they been determinedly rivals, and why? I’m not suggesting AIO should devote an entire episode to how years ago Jay and Barrett’s glorious rivalry sprang to dramatic, furious life, but a few hints would be nice. We can assume it might have something to do with music, but it’s all up to our imaginations… Why does Barrett bring out a sometimes out of control sense of competition in Jay? The significance of this is… if it wasn’t for Jay’s competing with Barrett, Jay would only have been cast as the likeable, goofy villain… once.
     Next, the latter part of the question. Jay being in league with other villains. As I said, Eugene comments Valerie and Jay “… influence each other in all the wrong ways.” Could it be influence is one of Jay’s key problems? We already saw Jay’s being led astray by Vance. Here, again, another baddie pulls Jay into questionable action. Valerie also brings out the worst in Olivia. Understandably so. Indeed, Valerie casts grows a frozen ice covering of chilly meanness and negativity over the lake of every show she’s in. She’s an affective, well rounded character that way, doing exactly what she’s supposed to do. She’s the sort of person, who, if on really knew her, one might despise but would also, in ways, admire. But we may talk more on Valerie later.
      For now… it’s enough to observe this control has gone over onto Jay. She frees Jay to be mean, negative, and pull at first harmless enough but increasingly problematic pranks. Around her, he can be, well, his worst self. Give into his whims.
     With Vance and Valerie, then, and with Barrett, Jay becomes, as we saw, just a misled, somewhat rude, goofy kid.
     Could it be we’ve misjudged him?
     Moving on, in the Soda Shop, people speculate on Jay’s beliefs. Suzylou, a writer on the Unofficial AIO Blog, says…
     “… People can say they are Christians, but being a true Christian also means we desire to live a life like Christ...and we can't live a life like Christ if we aren't acting like one. And, while I don't think Jay is evil, he certainly isn't a kind person very often- therefore his isn't acting very Christ like, which is probably what is leading people to believe he isn't a real, true Christian under God's leading. Oh, and I also believe that a true, born-again Christian can and will stumble and fall at times- but he can be forgiven, but I also hope that person will try and learn from his mistakes to become a better person.”
     I know, I quoted Suzy in my last article. I didn’t mean to do that, but she can be quite smart, and the quote fit perfectly, so what the hey.
     Technically, a Christian, as far as the bare-bones definition goes, is just someone who believes in God and that Jesus Christ was our savior. Being Christian is an entirely different matter. For instance, Jay acts mean, but he seems to long to be a good person. One, by contrast, might act as a follower of Christ, but inwardly dwell unnecessarily on dark thoughts and desires, such as lust or imagining vengeance on someone.
Is Jay a Christian at heart?
     Who can say?
     We can’t see his heart.
     If he is Christian, he’s AIO’s first major character to be Christian, and yet behave greatly questionably as a trademark. If he believes something other than Christianity, he is AIO’s first major character to belong to another religion. If he belongs to a different religion, he’s a somewhat poor bad start to representing other groups.
     It would be a fascinating development, as well as a new and important one. How come AIO acknowledges racial diversity, (the Parkers, the Washingtons), but never religious diversity? Only minor characters have ever subscribed to a religion other than Christianity. Yes, Seth’s weirdo mom, for example, practiced a philosophy contradictory to philosophy. But she was little more than a walk-on.
     A religious program need not focus entirely on religious characters to be religious. In fact, if used properly, religious diversity brings out the Christian messages still more. Acknowledging other’s belief’s, allows fiction to point out where they are right and wrong, thus strengthening the case for Christianity.
What’s the point of coming to a conclusion in fiction if no one ever truly challenges the conclusion?
     Perhaps it’s time Odyssey gave up its habit of being inhabited entirely either by poor, drifting, clueless non-Christians without any religion who need us to “save” them, and sweet, “church-going” Christians.
So, either way, Jay is something new. He already stands out. I imagine we shall never discover Jay is, say, Mormon or a follower of Islam. Most likely, if he were to believe in a religion, just be something he’s going along with because, say, his parents believe it. All the same, it could be more fresh, complicated, and show more new sides of Jay’s character than just having him be another poor doesn’t-know-Jesus casualty.
     So, who’s Jay? He’s never really given us reason to think he is Christian, or a religion other than Christian. Is he a mostly-good-person, or a mostly-bad-person?
     Is he, in the end, a villain or an oddball, less than perfect good-guy?
     Well, it depends. Is a person their actions’ in public? Or is a person their thoughts… their dreams… their hopes… Who they are at home?
     We’ve never see Jay at home.
     Perhaps, until we do, we cannot be sure who he is. That’s because he is so much like a real person. What makes him a good character is that we do not know what to make of him. What to do with him. He has something called soul. Heart. Being. Such things are complicated.
     Perhaps we should instead ask what shall Jay do with himself.

     Amazing, wasn't it? I look forward to more Pound Foolish Wisdoms, don't you? Anyway, that's it for today. But considering if PF hadn't saved me with this amazing piece of art, you would have had to endure no article at all or a short article from me.
     Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 20, 2012

AIO News 8/20/12

     Well, not much AIO news today, but there is some JAAIOB news. First of all, U.S.S. Response will be out on Wednesday, and PF's article should be out tomorrow. Also, I'm planning on trying to switch from Blogger to Weebly, as I'm realizing that is really a better website service. Well, now I'll report what little news there is...
     Hello, I'm Alex Jefferson, reporting at you live from Paul McCusker's interview, (That's a weird place to be reporting, right?) where Paul McCusker has been interviewed on Short Story Time TV. You can check that out on The Odyssey Scoop.
     Well, that's it for now. Until next time, I'm AJ, and this is... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Feature 8/19/12

     Alright, everyone, for today's feature I have another really special treat for you! I had the amazing oppurtunity to interview none other than Nathan Hoobler! That's right! It's really a great interview, so I hope you guys like it. Also, for the first time in two weeks, there's a new AIC out!

1. When did you first start listening to AIO?

I started listening in 1988. I'm not sure of the first episode that I listened to, but I distinctly remember having to wait to hear the second half of "Camp What-a-Nut."

2. What drove you to start AIOHQ?

I had been working on the school website in the public relations office at my college. I thought that it would be fun to take those web building tools and create an Odyssey website. I wish there was some great purpose or master plan, but really, I just thought it would be fun. It was a lot of work, but fun work, too. And the interaction with other fans was certainly worth it.

3. What was it like being an intern for Odyssey?

It was fantastic. Not only was I working for Odyssey, I was working with the people whose names I had heard for years at the end of the program. I learned a lot about writing, production, and just working in general that summer. And it convinced me that this was what I wanted to do with my life.

4. Where did you get the idea for The Triangle?

The episode was Paul McCusker's idea. There's a line in "For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll" where Jack is talking about his friends stealing his girlfriends away. As an aside, he says, "How do you think Whit met Jenny." Paul thought that it would be fun to write an episode explaining the story behind that line.

5. What is your favorite AIO episode that you've written?

I'd probably say "The Top Floor." That was the most fun to figure out and work through all the details. But the episode that I still get the most comments about is "The Pact."

6. What is your favorite AIO episode that you haven't written?

For many years, I said, "Waylaid in the Windy City." While that's still a favorite, an episode like "Something Old, Something New" might top it now.

7. If you could have any AIO character return, who would it be and why?

Bernard Walton. Not only is he a perfect folly for Eugene, he can say things that no one else can get away with. And, of course, he has a heart of gold underneath all that complaining.

8. Which do you prefer: writing or directing?

I'd say that writing is more rewarding, but far more time-consuming. It takes weeks or months to get a show written and all of four hours to get it recorded. On the other hand, directing can be tremendous fun. Directing "The Top Floor" and "Something Old, Something New" were both high points for me.

9. I saw a picture of you drinking a Wod-Fam-Choc-Sod after recording Home Again. What was it like recording that episode?

I was there for the recording, but I wasn't directing. That was Paul McCusker. Like many shows with the main characters, there was a lot of laughing (and a little bit of chaos) in the studio. After recording, I did the voice-edit on the show, which took about a week. Voice editing really appeals to my linear mind so it was fun, especially on a show with so many of the main characters.

10. What episode are you working on currently? (You don't have to give away spoilers.)

We're working on episodes for albums 57 & 58 right now. Some of the shows may switch albums at this point. I'm not entirely certain what my next script will be.

11. What is your relationship with the Odyssey actors?

As you may have seen in bonus features or Facebook, the cast and crew are very much like a family. We enjoy spending time together and keeping up with each other. It's a blessing to work with people who you like so much.

12. How has AIO impacted your spiritual life?

It's influenced me in ways that I understand and probably a lot of ways I don't know about. Certainly much my knowledge of the Bible comes from hearing so many Odyssey shows through the years. There have been times in my life where I've asked the classic question: WWWD? What would Whit do? 

Having to write words to put in Whit's, Connie's, and Eugene's mouths has also forced me to think very seriously about my own relationship with God. You can't write for characters who are supposed to be walking with God and be neglecting your own time with Him.

     That was great, wasn't it? It's still amazing to me that through this little blog, I've been able to email Nathan Hoobler, the man I wrote an article about! That's it! Don't forget to check out the new AIC while you're here!
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekly Review: Wooton Knows Best 8/18/12

     No U.S.S. Response today. Sorry. But I still have a review of Wooton Knows Best...
     Happy endings are normally good, but in this particular episode, the happy ending annoyed me. The episode starts off with a boring and rather predictable premise, but Marshal Younger does his best. I was thrilled to hear of the return of Camp-What-A-Nut, but honestly, the first scene seemed disjointed and unnecessary. I didn't think it was even all that funny. Wooton is becoming an annoying filler character, and I'm one of the fans who agrees with Austin Peachy's article The Three Stages of Wooton. (Which is a very good article, by the way. Go read it if you haven't already!)
     Bringing in a new voice for a kid is something AIO has done many times before, with Heather and even Rodney for one episode. (Like Father, Like Son) Of course, I prefer Kelly Stables to Hope Levy, and this episode made me like the character of Olivia all the more.
     The episode progresses nicely. I actually thoroughly enjoyed Wooton's 'thumb' monologue, even if his appearance in the opening scene annoyed me. It was the first time I'd laughed at a new AIO episode in a long, long time.
     David Parker's conversation with Olivia was also one of the best scenes on this album. It was great to hear a little more about the people he knew as a kid. And I also liked that, for once, Olivia didn't get her way. I was glad that she didn't get to go to camp, because I knew she would learn more if she didn't, and it would make for a better episode. But as I said before, the ending annoyed me.
    When the ending finally came around, I rolled my eyes. The whole 'Melissa Syphers' thing was just plain stupid. Olivia screaming, Melissa calling her by name, everything about it was annoying, unnecessary, and stupid. I would have been much more satisfied if she hadn't met Melissa. And the actress they got to play the singer was just - ugh.
     Overall, this episode was okay, I suppose, but the last scene and the first scene kind of made it a bit of a downer. If both scenes had been removed, I think I would have rated it a lot more.

    Wooton Knows Best Rating 5/10

    I know, I know, this is a reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyy short review. But, like I said, my reviews of 56 will be a whole lot longer.
     Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 17, 2012

AIO News 8/17/12

     You guys thought I wasn't posting toady, didn't you? Sorry it's so late, but I had to do school and then I focused on a creative writing project I wanted to do, so you could say I forgot about blogging almost entirely. But, there's actually quite a bit of news, so sit back and listen to... AIO News!
     Hello, I'm Alex Jefferson, reporting at you live from The AIO Flash Drive, where new flash drives are available for prices ranging from $41 - a whopping $1000! (That's the entire AIO series) These actually sound like great bargains for any AIO fan, so I suggest you check these out. These flash drives will include AIO episodes for any diehard fan.
     I know I don't report unofficial news very often, but TCF has been on such a long hiatus I figured this was pretty earth-shattering in the AIO world. The Ceiling Fan Live Show is finally out! I was eagerly awaiting it for months, like everyone else, and I will watch it tomorrow! That's right, it's a video podcast!
     And, in other news, I just found out about two new AIO blogs that had been floating right under my nose. Thanks to Freddy Jay from CCC for posting about those! Here are the links to these two new blogs: (WARNING: BOTH BLOGS HAVE REVIEWS OF ALBUM 56 AND SPOILERS!)

http://taiodn.blogspot.ca/ and http://aiothoughts.blogspot.com/

     Well, that's about it. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

AIO Article: Why AIO Has Remained Popular 8/16/12

     First of all, PF should have his article by next Tuesday, so expect a nice long article soon. I'm going to write a pretty short one today, however, so get disappointed. Also, I pmed Wooton a AIC 7 preview, so that should be up on his site soon. I think AIC 7 might be one of my longest and best yet. Why else would I go on a week hiatus? Well, let's get to the article!

     For your entertainment, I have compiled a list of reasons on why AIO Has Remained Popular in an age of mediocre entertainment and a lack of morals.

     1. It's relateable. Of course, no one can relate to Jason Whittaker battling economic terrorists in London, (except maybe James Bond) but we can relate to, say, the episode Opposite Day. We all get obsessed with computers and sites like Barret, (In fact, I think I'm obsessed with the Odyssey fan blog world in general! But that's another article, so I'll stop putting up parentheses in the middle of an article.) and we all have those rather annoying people who we have want to be friends with and have want to tell "Get lost!" to like Olivia. I could completely relate to both characters, and it's not just in Opposite Day. Episodes like Slumber Party, The Defining Moment, and even older episodes from generations gone by like Good Business, The Prodigal, Jimmy, and Coming of Age all have relateable characters in relateable situations. Kids (like me) like to see other people go through their troubles. It makes them feel that they're not alone in their emotions and situations, and they can automatically attach to the character and his.or her situation because they've been where the character is. Also, it's fun to see how other people will handle a situation that I've been through. And while other shows may have relateable characters and situations, I think Odyssey handles these situations better than any show I've ever seen/heard.

     2. It's timeless. When I listen to Albums 1 -12, and I put the disc in, and that classic theme song starts blaring, I get all excited. I can't wait for the adventure, and it feels like I'm listening to a piece of history. But at the same time, the episode and what it teaches feel just as important now as it did 20 + years ago. I don't care if they mention records or VCR's, as long as the stories are still fresh, uplifting, and entertaining. There are other shows that I believe are timeless as well, such as I Love Lucy and The Muppet Show, but Odyssey is probably my favorite out of those three. I enjoy listening to old episodes just as much as new episodes, if not more. The old episodes were, are, and always will be fabulous. Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows won't.

     3. It's exciting. In order for younger children (I'm talking 8 - 9 year old boys who watch superhero movies) to truly enjoy a show, it has to grab their attention. As they get older, they'll appreciate shows that they considered 'boring' when they were younger a lot more, but when they're that age, they're bored easily and they only like exciting stories. Now, exciting does not mean intense, so The Black Veil wouldn't be considered the only exciting episode in the Odyssey canon. Exciting means, in my own words, captivating. Odyssey episodes like The Labyrinth, the entire Novacom and Blackguaard saga, Castles and Cauldrons, and even non-intense episodes like Mayor For A Day and Red Herring, are definitely captivating. And when younger children buy Album 55 and listen to The Labyrinth, they might appreciate quieter episodes like To Mend Or Repair more after getting their dose of intrigue and excitement. Excitement is a trait in many shows for marketing purposes, and Odyssey is exciting too, but it doesn't need an explosion every 15 seconds to achieve that excitement.

     4. It has diehard fans. Odyssey has quite a massive fanbase, with over 2 million listeners, but it also has a lot of diehard fans. I mean, not that many shows have about 50 websites completely devoted to them. And the webmasters aren't the only diehard fans. There are incredibly loyal listeners everywhere, from Canada to India to New Zealand.

     5. It has good morals. The purpose of Odyssey is to encourage believers and sometimes non believers to grow in Christ by presenting lasting Biblical truths. That was poetic, wasn't it? Christian parents want their kids to learn Biblical truths, so they buy Odyssey tapes. The kids get involved in the story, and then learn something at the end. And Odyssey isn't just a sermon like some Christian 'entertainment' these days. It aims mostly to teach, but it also wants to entertain its listeners. If people aren't entertained, they won't want to listen or watch the thing that's not entertaining them, so they won't learn anything.

     Well, that's it. There's a new U.S.S. Response out, a short one, so check that out, as well as the awesome AIC preview on The Unofficial AIO Blog.
     Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

AIO News 8/15/12

     I apologize once again for not posting on Monday. It was basically procrastination. But, now I'm back with the latest AIO News!
     Hello, I'm Alex Jefferson, reporting at you live from the AIO product table, where information on two new Odyssey products, the Silver Celebration and 90 Day-Devotionals For Kids has been revealed. I look forward to purchasing at least the Devotional book, though maybe not the Silver Celebration, when it comes out. You can check out both of these products on Christianbook.com or in your local Christian bookstore where they will be hitting the shelves soon.
     Well, that's about it for today. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and you are listening to... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekly Feature 8/12/12

     Alright, today I have an interview with someone who surprisingly has been interviewed only once! Who is that person? Jacob Isom, of course! Yes, I had the oppurtunity to interview Jacob Isom. This is a nice long interview that I think you all will really enjoy! So here it is:

1. What was your first exposure to AIO?
Technically, I saw my first Adventures in Odyssey animated cartoon with my cousin ("A Fine Feathered Frenzy"), though I don't think that counts because it's not the audio series.
I was first introduced to Adventures in Odyssey in, I believe, 1991 when I was six years old. I come from the original generation of Odyssey listeners and grew up with the show. My aunt gave me a cassette copy of "Terrific Tales, Mysterious Missions" as a Christmas gift. Meanwhile, my brother and sister both received their own AIO albums on cassette as well that same Christmas. My sister received "It's Another Fine Day" and my brother received "Other Times, Other Places." The first episode I ever heard is "The Ill-Gotten Deed", and when I heard it, my initial reaction was that "this show is weird". Fortunately, I decided to give more episodes a try. Needless to say, by the end of the album I was hooked. And since I had access to two more albums right off the bat, it's a given that my siblings and I swapped albums after they had similar positive experiences. After hearing three albums in a very short amount of time, I'm sure you can imagine how eager I was to obtain more albums.
Because I was new to the show, I assumed that getting "The Early Classics" would fill in all the details I'd missed by jumping right into the series. It didn't. To me, the album felt very discombobulated and random, and rightly so since the album was pieced together with out-of-order episodes after the series started. Thankfully, that has been corrected with the release of "The Adventure Begins."
I think I had collected all the available albums up through "Signed, Sealed & Committed" by 1998 or 1999. That was considered a complete collection in those days, and "Chronicles, Kings & Crosses" was that special coveted extra compilation album with the "cool" cover.

2. What was your inspiration for The Odyssey Scoop?
Primarily my love for Adventures in Odyssey spawned my desire to start my own fan site. I began working on The Odyssey Scoop during a time when it was difficult to obtain certain Adventures in Odyssey graphics, and the product images available at the time were very low quality. Fan sites were very few and far between. I don't remember this as 100% fact or anything (time has a way of doing that if you don't keep a journal), but I think I remember I had browsed through the AIO HQ, a fan site by Odyssey writer Nathan Hoobler, and The Soda Fountain by Corey van der Laan. Those two, along with the newly-released Official Site, inspired me to start a site of my own.
I launched the website on December 22, 2000 titled as "The Odyssey Scoop", which happened to share the name with a feature in Focus on the Family's Clubhouse magazine--though, I didn't know it at the time. Regardless, I stuck with the name because it was just too perfect not to use. Otherwise, our podcast down the road would never have had the chance to be called the "ScoopCast". A very fitting name, don't you think?
Regardless of the name, I'm thankful for the opportunities that have arisen since as I developed design skills for the past 12 years. I would probably cringe at my earlier work and disown it if given the chance. I guess that's why I'm never truly satisfied with one look to the site. What you see today is the result of persistence and not being willing to be content with the status quo.

3. Who is your favorite AIO character?
Probably Whit, mainly because I remember him there throughout my entire childhood. The performances of Hal Smith as "Whit" stand out as really powerful as I listened, and I looked up to him as a kid. My other favorites are Connie and Eugene for their personalities and Bernard for his sarcasm. Of course, Jason, Tom, Jack, and Joanne are my favorites as well.

4. If you could have any AIO character come back, who would it be and why?
If you're hoping I'd choose Regis Blackgaard or Richard Maxwell to return, you're turning to the wrong person. I'm glad the Blackgaard Saga has come and gone, and while Richard turned out to be a hero, there's not really a whole lot the team could do with him if they decided to bring him back. My choice would most likely be to bring back Jimmy Barclay as they have done in the past, but keep him in Odyssey to raise a family. Having Donna around wouldn't be a bad option, either, though they could probably bring her in from out of town occasionally. The same goes for Jana Whittaker. There was something real about Jana's presence in Odyssey on occasion and to be able to see her relationship with her father.
I am glad to see the Odyssey team is doing their best to bring in old faces for older listeners like me. It brings it all back!

5. What are your favorite AIO episodes?
Throughout my listening years, I've become attached to "Grins, Grabber and Great Getaways" (or "The Wildest Summer" as the team calls it now) because I received it the following Christmas and listened to it in that entire day Christmas Day. I remember "The Case of the Secret Room" scared me to death, and after I'd heard the first scene for the first time, I rushed downstairs and made my brother and sister come up and listen to the episodes with me. We rewinded the episode (and yes, we had to physically rewind back in the day) and played from the beginning.
Many of the older episodes were my favorites growing up because those were what I was exposed to. Nowadays, I'm always excited to see what developments are coming up in more recent albums for newer generations of fans. And as cynical as I find myself to be sometimes (I'm a 90's generation listener with lots of memories attached), I'm trying to enjoy the show for what it has become, not for what I remember it used to be. And when I remember that today's generation of target audience fans is enjoying the show for what it is, I remember it's all worth it.

6. What are the best and worst things about running The Odyssey Scoop?
The best part is that I've come in contact with many fans throughout the years who send e-mails of encouragement, comments, suggestions, complaints--everything. The fans are the ones who keep me going. Without their feedback and suggestions, I would have quit a long time ago. Another awesome thing about the site is seeing the traffic to the site inch its way up every year. The site becomes more well known and I've developed a relationship with several members of the Odyssey team who keep me posted on products and things going on behind-the-scenes.
On the flipside, the site has grown so large that it's often difficult to keep site features updated. Real life away from the Scoop tends to pull me away with its demands. And because the site is so large and has improved design-wise throughout the years, it's become common for me to explain via email (on hundreds of occasions) that The Odyssey Scoop is merely a fan site and isn't the Official Site. Because of that, I'm always looking for ways to improve communication on the site to avoid having to write as many of those types of emails... but not everyone reads so I guess I can't win!
Overall, the fans keep me going. I've seen the site impact a lot of people, and seeing a small snippet of my work published in the Official Guide is like a big welcomed reward for my work. Thanks, Focus!

7. Why did you decide to start The Soda Shop?
For years, I had tried to incorporate more ways for fans to interact on the website, which ended up being something I had to try to keep up with on a daily basis. By releasing a message board where fans can step up and get involved and keep the ecosystem functioning daily, it becomes a win-win situation. And I'm thankful for the people who have stepped up to help me out.
Mainly, I wanted to create a place where fans can login to a safe environment (on the Scoop) and discuss Adventures in Odyssey. Currently, other Odyssey message boards exist but are not limited to just AIO discussion (which I have been involved with as well). I wanted to create a community of fans who can discuss only AIO and immerse themselves in it alone. Oftentimes, other message boards are so large that it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate and get involved. The Soda Shop fills a void for the online fan community... and I welcome the use of other big message boards like the ToO as well as it fills a void, too.

8. Do you have any advice for AIO fans looking to start their own website?
If you don't have the commitment to keep a site going long-term, I'd say don't even bother starting a website. If you do have that commitment, be ready to provide your own unique content. You want something that other sites don't have as your enticing site feature. There have been quite a few cookie cutter fan sites over the years. If you want yours to stand out, you have to be different. Go that extra mile. Don't just start a site to provide the latest Odyssey news when that's already covered by other sites (and the Scoop).
Oh, and find ways to gain feedback from your visitors. Without the visitors, you really don't have a website. It's always good to stay in touch with them and find out what they think, because they're the ones interacting with it!
Most of all, be consistent and patient with yourself as you begin. Learn what works and what doesn't. Watch your site morph into something else as time goes by. And don't be afraid to take chances. Not everything you try will work or catch fire. It's okay to experience failure along the way. I'm still in shock at how huge the Scoop has become and how much it has changed since 2000.

9. I understand you enjoy other radio dramas. What other radio dramas do you listen to and overall which one is the best?
I like good acting, so acting dictates my radio drama preferences. I absolutely love Focus on the Family Radio Theatre for its high-quality drama and cinematic feel. Also I like Lamplighter Theatre because it's pretty high-calibur like Radio Theatre, though I consider myself far more loyal to Radio Theatre. I've heard other audio dramas including "Left Behind", "Jungle Jam" (another drama I grew up with and highly recommend), and others. By far, Radio Theatre takes the cake.

10. Have you ever considered working for AIO or FOTF?
At the moment, I'm actually working as an independent contractor work for Focus on the Family for some of their Adventures in Odyssey products. Although I'm not officially on payroll, it's been a pleasure to work with the team and handle some of their graphic design needs. I've quickly discovered that the team gives a lot of creative liberty and generally allows me to show them what I have in mind. I must say... Focus has been an awesome group of easygoing people to team up with!
If you'd like to see some of my work, be watching for Adventures in Odyssey's updated "Official Guide" this fall. I designed the eight-page color tip-in featured in the back of the book which serves as a huge selling point for the book. It's got new photo galleries and pays tribute to all the art styles of the past. Also, I recently took on design work for AIO's upcoming numbered albums. "The Grand Design" is my first album project I was responsible for, from front and back traycard covers, to CD labels, to bonus insert completion. Look for the hard copy of Album 56 this fall.

11. Have you ever been to a live show?
Alas, no, I have not. I've usually had things come up to where I am unable to attend. I would love to go and experience one myself!

12. Have you ever met any AIO actors?
Not yet. I guess you could say that's on my bucket list. It's a very deep bucket.

13. How has AIO impacted your spiritual life?
Overall, I believe AIO has shaped me a lot over the years. As cliche as this sounds, I learned a lot from Whit and I occasionally remember things he said in a former episode to remind me of how I should act. I can certainly blame AIO for my historical knowledge of many of the Bible stories. Hearing those episodes over and over really drives the stories home. I believe storytelling is, perhaps, one of the strongest influences in a person's life. It usually isn't the sermon from your pastor you remember several years afterwards. It's the sermon illustration he used as a memory tool to help you. Stories have the ability to bring doctrine from head knowledge to your heart because you see its application through a story. Now, allowing the Holy Spirit to always work in your life is a challenge in itself.
So yes, AIO has been a a strong influence in my life spiritually. AIO shouldn't be my spiritual life; it should merely aid in pointing you to Christ and encourage you to press on. I don't know here I'd be without AIO.
     That was amazing, wasn't it? I'm honored to interview such an asset in the AIO fan community, and I'd like to thank Jacob, if he's reading this, for taking to time to give long, thought-out answers! Well, no AIC today, but AIC will be back with a bang next week along with yet another great interview! Who will I be interviewing next week? I'll give you a hint: He/she works with Odyssey!
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekly Review: Call Me If You Care 8/11/12

     Sorry there was no post yesterday, but I have a great excuse: no news. Finally, I released the long-awaited return of The U.S.S. Response! Another U.S.S. Response will be put out Monday as well. And now, for my rather short review of Call Me If You Care...

     Nathan Hoobler is great, isn't he? He can take an mildly interesting idea and make it brilliant through good writing and intriguing situations. This is not the most memorable Nathan Hoobler episode, and it's not a standout in Album 43, (probably due to the fact that Sunday Morning Scramble, Stars In Our Eyes, and The Coolest Dog are a whole lot funnier than this one) but I still enjoy it immensly.
    The episode begins with a few lines that make you think this is another one of those "Connie's dad" episodes. I really like Emotional Baggage, Father's Day, and Where Is Thy Sting?, but I was sort of hoping this wouldn't turn into a "Connie''s dad" episode, probably because we haven't had one in so long it would be a little weird.
     I also commend Nathan Hoobler on the "cell phone" mystery idea. AIO has done plenty of mysteries, but most of them don't involve modern technology. But, then again, cell phones aren't exactly 'modern technology'.
     But as the episode progresses, we are introduced to two new, one-time characters: Cindy and William Bancroft. I like these two characters, they're unfortunately a rather realistic depiction of some father-daughter relationships. But I'll get into them later.
     I was surprised by two things at the beginning of this episode: the appearence of Jack and the 'Plan B' feel of this episode. It's not just that there's Plan B music after every scene, but Jack was in Plan B, and in this, and some of the lines just seemed reminiscent of Plan B. As some of you know, the Plan B series are one of my all-time favorite episode, so I actually get excited when they use Plan B music and themes. But that was just something I noticed.
     To be honest, Jack's appearance seemed forced, considering he had about five lines. I don't really understand the point of having him drop in, except to find the note. But, oh well.
     When Connie and Whit finally arrived at the Military hospital and met William, I thought William actually sounded a lot like Lester from No Way Out. But, after looking it up on AIOwiki, I figured out that it wasn't the same actor. The scene with Cindy and William seemed a little corny and sentimental, but AIO pulled it off as best as they could. The note, on the other hand, was a very good device to tell the story, and even I was touched by the end.
     And then, at the very end of the episode, Connie's dad is mentioned again. That was a good way to tie up the beginning and end, and I felt satisfied when the episode concluded.
     Overall, great job Nathan Hoobler! This one wasn't perfect, but I give points for good writing and originality!

     Call Me If You Care Rating: 8/10

     Sorry the review is short, but I'm kind of anxiously waiting to review Album 56, so I'm writing short reviews. But only a couple more weeks till The Perfect Church airs! I'm so excited to listen to it and review it! But until then, I'm gone! There's going to be a really great interview tommrow for a feature, and not just from me! The Old Judge is interviewing Christian A.!
     Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

AIO Article: The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me 8/9/12

     Well, I'm back on SS! Check out the grand return of The U.S.S. Response right after you're done reading this! Well, PF might write another article next Tuesday or the Tuesday after that, so I guess I can scratch what I said last post about no articles on Tuesday whatsoever. Anyway, I'm doing an article today. I hope you like it, cause it's longer and deeper than any article I've done so far!

     Note: After careful thought and consideration, this article has been edited by the writer a few days after it was published.

     Weird title for an Adventures in Odyssey article, right? After all, this isn't Just Another Muppet Blog! But, being a fan of the Muppets, I thought The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me would be a good title for the article I'm about to write. It does have to do with AIO, though, don't worry!

     Once upon a time in 1987, some kid got a copy of Odyssey USA. No one really knows who that kid was, but I'm confident he's out there. I'm also confident that that kid was the first Odyssey fan, or maybe the kid who got the album next was. Whoever the first AIO fan was, they fell into one of three categories: The Lovers, the Dreamers, or my category: The Involved. I'm guessing the first Odyssey fan was a Lover. You're probably wondering what exactly these three categories mean, so I shall explain.

     The Lovers make up the majority of Odyssey fans. These people love AIO, and they listen to it a lot. But it doesn't go beyond that. These people don't usually go to live shows, (well, some of them do) they don't check Odyssey websites with the possible exception of The Official Site, and they don't know nearly as much Odyssey trivia as we do. Often, when these kids grow up, they'll forget about Odyssey, and it'll just be some little radio drama they heard when they were kids. These people, however, are still Odyssey fans, even if they're not very dedicated to the show. They learn a little and laugh a little listening to Odyssey, but it was never incredibly important in their lives. These are the people that we never hear about, but they're out there. Like I said, the Lovers make up the majority, and they never really do anything with their love of Odyssey except listen to it. This is perhaps because they don't know that message boards or Odyssey websites exist.. I had a friend a few years ago who was a Lover. He liked Odyssey, and in a way got me hooked on it, and at first, he knew more about it than me. But he sort of stopped listening, while I kept listening more, until I it's reached the point where I don't know if he's listened  to it in years. For the Lovers, Odyssey is a passing fad, not something incredibly meaningful. All of my family except maybe my little sister are Lovers. Even I fell into the Lovers category when I was an early Odyssey fan. But then there's the Dreamers...

     The Dreamers are another group of Odyssey fans, smaller than the lovers, but in many ways more important to the Odyssey fan community. Some of this group could be considered hardcore Odyssey fans, since they know so much about the show, but many of them, like the Lovers, don't really do anything with their love of Odyssey. Most of the Dreamers get online and look at Odyssey fan sites, and wish they could make their own. Or they want to become the next Nathan Hoobler and write for Odyssey, or they want to send in questions to The Official Site. In fact, I believe that most of the people who send in Q & A questions to Paul and Dave are Dreamers, with the exception of Austin Peachy. AIO Message Boards are made up of almost entirely Dreamers. Some Dreamers on MB's include: Hannah J., Pound Foolish, various adults on ToO, gabbygirl17, suzylou, and others like maybe mymustang17 from CC! Being a Dreamer is actually a good thing, it means that you want to get involved with Odyssey-related things but you just don't. That's absolutely fine. Fan sites must be carefully thought-out before being made. But if Dreamers have a good, unique idea for an Odyssey fan site, I don't see what's stopping them from making it! Dreamers are also sometimes people who have Odyssey blogs that stick around for just a month or two, (you know the blogs I'm talking about) or people, like I said, who do stuff on The Official Site and dream of writing episodes but just don't want to. Once again, I was stuck in the Dreamer stage for a very long time. It was probably only about a month ago when I 'upgraded'. Yes, I'm making these categories into special elite clubs with this article, but I'm not meaning to. Dreamers are big Odyssey fans who have listened to the show for years, but don't have the dedication to start a website or get involved with Odyssey. In fact, I might still be lingering in between the Dreamers and the Involved stage. My sister would probably barely be considered a Dreamer. Also, it may not be that Dreamers don't want to start Odyssey websites or step up and talk to Odyssey actors and Odyssey crew, it could just be that they don't have the skills or time to start their own website. But, if they don't have time, they can't be classified as Involved, the next category.

     Ah, yes, The Involved. The last group of Odyssey fans. As I said before, I'm not sure if I would be in this group, but I think I'm pretty close. This group has Odyssey fans sites that have stood the test of time, (I guess mine hasn't really, yet) and they're not afraid to let the Odyssey team know they're out there. Some examples are: Angela Phillips, (The Writer's Scholarship winner) Austin Peachy, Jacob Isom, Bren McFarlond, Ben Warren, and others. I'm not sure if I deserve to be put in that list, but maybe one day I will. I'm hoping that one day, when I'm 21, JAAIOB can have a 10th Anniversary Celebration. But that could just be wishful thinking. Who knows how long this blog will last? But anyway, The Involved fans are often not on MB's, but that doesn't mean they aren't involved. Actually, if you'll notice, all of the people who started the MB's are Involved! The Invovled group have credentials in the Odyssey fan world, and deserve to be put on TOJ's Cast and Crew: Take 2 page. They also are obsessed with Adventures in Odyssey. But, really, they probably know about as much about the show as The Dreamers. This is because there reaches a point when you can't learn anything else about Odyssey, and Dreamers and Involved alike achieve this. And these 'Involved' people go to live shows and meet the actors and talk to them and get INVOLVED! I hope that one day, I can without question be among them.

     In conclusion, it really doesn't matter which group you're in, it just matters if you're an Odyssey fan! I just noticed that there seem to be three categories that AIO fans fall into, so I wrote an article about it. Lovers can become Dreamers, and Dreamers can become Involved. You just have to want to.

     Sorry the article was a little weird, that's just what I felt like writing today. Comment and tell me which group you think you fall into! Just in case you guys don't know, I configured the settings so that anyone can comment under Anonymous, so you don't need a Google account anymore! Anyway, The U.S.S. Response will be out later today, so keep watching for that! Also, I have two interviews right now. One will be released this Sunday, one, um, next Sunday! Also, the Webster ceremony is due the last Sunday in August, so that should be great, particularly the possible acceptance speeches I can get.
     Thanks for reading, and please comment!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

AIO News 8/8/12

     Oh boy... Yes, I know I have quite a bit of explaining to do, as not only did I not report the news two days ago, I also had no article for you guys yesterday. It was partly procrastination and business, (Yes, I'm a bit of a procrastinator. Sorry.) but I also realized something. I was posting every day, so people didn't have to wait long to read my posts, but the quality was starting to suffer. My article on sagas was pathetic, I realized, and the reason? I was in a rush. I read PF's article, and I read mine. His was a lot better-written and longer, because he took more time to write it. I never want to make the mistakes I made with my articles again. So, starting now, I'm skipping Tuesday altogether and only writing one article a week, on Thursday. This may change later, but for at least a few weeks, nothing on Tuesday. I'm sorry for breaking my promise to do a daily post, but I'm sure you all prefer good, infrequent posts, to rushed posts every day. So yes, I might have been able to post yesterday, but I didn't want to. Well, actually, yesterday was literally spent entirely with my friends, so I didn't really want to sit on the computer while they were at my house. Alright, I'm done with the announcement. It is time... for the news!
     Hello, this is Alex Jefferson, coming at you live from Pikes Peake, where  The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is about to begin. This may seem unrelated to Adventures in Odyssey, but considering one of the contestants has an AIO-themed car, many would say otherwise! That's right! Jeff McPherson of Bozeman, Montana, is racing in a car that includes the AIO logo! I'm sure most AIO fans will be rooting for him in this historic race. More on that as the story unfolds.
     Also, a new Official Podcast that gives the first glimpse of Album 56 as well as an interview with an actor discussing The Labyrinth is out. So definitely check that out as soon as you can.
     Well, AIOwiki has a new poll up as well, so go check that out. Well, that's about it. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Weekly Feature 8/5/12

     Sorry this post was so long in the making, but I couldn't think of a feature because my interview isn't here yet. But just a few minutes ago, an idea popped into my head. I could do another list! (I know, I've done a lot, but I kind of like these things!) So here, in my own words, are the The Top 5 Best AIO Podcasts of all time! Also, don't forget to check out the new AIC!

The Unofficial Adventures in Odyssey Podcast       #5: The Unofficial AIO Podcast: Ah yes, the original fan podcast. The one that started it all. This is by no means the best Odyssey podcast, for various reasons including how old it is and the length of some of the podcasts, but it's still very good and it definitely deserves the #5 spot. Chris and Sarah did a good job on UAIOP and I think I speak for everyone when I say that we miss them. But this awesome podcast still couldn't beat...Audio Theatre Central
     #4: Audio Theatre Central: Yes, I am aware that some fans don't consider this an Odyssey podcast because it focuses on other audio dramas like Jonathan Park, Radio Theatre, and Lamplighter Theatre, but considering it gives news and reviews of AIO, I consider it a part of the AIO podcast world. I discovered it very recently and have fallen in love with it. These three are so funny and great together, you can't help but love their podcast. And their insightful thoughts on episodes are always enjoyable to listen to, and their love of radio drama is apparent in every episode. This podcast is not perfect, but it's entertaining and a great listen. But what beat ATC?
     #3: The Boredom Buster Podcast: BBP is a perfect example of an overnight sensation that became a sensation because of great episodes and a great interview! Even though it's relatively new to the podcast market, BBP still absolutely deserves a spot on this list. As I said in an earlier article,. I didn't love the first episode, but the next several episodes made up for it. I love their interview with Jave Griffin, as well as their reviews of A Member of the Family, Recollections, and all the others they've reviewed! I can't wait for them to start reviewing Album 2. If you're reading this Noah and Hallie, keep up the good work!

 Picture#2: The Ceiling Fan Podcast: Hmm... I've always enjoyed TCF. It's one of the longest running AIO podcasts, and it's also the most unique. Ethan Daniels and his antics have entertained fans for years, and I hope they continue to entertain fans for years to come. I am eagerly awaiting the special podcast coming out soon, and I would call myself a 'Fan of the Fan'. However, this podcast has gotten so unrelated to Odyssey that I'm not sure I would call it an Odyssey podcast anymore. So, #1 is...

     #1: The AIO Blogcast: Some of you on CC may already know that this is my favorite podcast. But I decided to say it again here. Austin and Natasha have done an absolutely SPECTACULAR job with their blog/podcast. I especially love their audio dramas. What other AIO podcast would've thought of doing that? Austin and Natasha are amazing, but there are rumors that the AIO Blogcast is ending. (Sob, sob) Even if it does end, it had a very good run, and I will enjoy it for as long as I'm an Odyssey fan.

     Alright, that's um, it. Once again, sorry I posted so late. I'm not positive that I'll even post news tommorow. I know this is sad that JAAIOB is coming out of its golden age, but I warned you last post. I'm not ending this blog, but once again, expect less posts. And don't forget to check out Installment 6 of AIC! As I said before, no AIC next week as it's going on a week-long mid-story break.
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekly Review: Think On These Things 8/4/12

     Okay, I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing for tommorow's feature. I was expecting and interview, but I still don't have the answers, so I might have to do something else. Also, after Installment 6, AIC will be taking a week-long mid story break, so no AIC next Sunday. For today's post, I will be reviewing Think On These Things...
     Has anyone noticed that a lot of Odyssey episodes have misleading openers? Something Blue did, as well as episodes like The Last Great Adventure of the Summer. In the case of Something Blue, the opener made the episode seem more action-packed than it really was. In the case of TLGAOTS, (The Last Great Adventure of the Summer. Yes, that's kind of a long, obnoxious acronym, but they shouldn't have made the title so long!) the opener made it seem like a typical summer episode, possibly similar to Our Best Vacation Ever, but it turned into an epic spy story.
     In the case of today's episode, the opener made it seem like a fast-paced IS episode, when what we really got was a rather simple episode about purity. This isn't to say that I didn't like this episode, I'm just not a really big fan of misleading openers, as I said in my review of Something Blue.
     The episode progresses nice and quickly, and we are reintroduced to the character of Dr. Hawthorne, who we haven't heard in 6 years, though his actor has made other appearances. I was once again a bit unnerved by Dr. Hawthorne's apparent unfairness. I understand he wants to discipline his students, and that's sometimes a good thing, but he goes a little overboard in this episode and in future episodes. Even so, it wasn't right for Trent to do what he did at the end of this episode.
     The mayonaise scene was, in my opinion, pretty funny, particularly this line:

     Marvin: Why do these people need so much mayonaise?

     I might be the only person in the world who laughs at that, however. Marvin cheating seems a little out of character, but it still provides a good life lesson. Trent, on the other hand, has some things to learn about respect. (I probably do too, though.) I'm afraid I still laughed when Trent was ordering Dr. Hawthorne around. I know it wasn't supposed to be funny, but I just found it comical when he created that impossible train story problem.
     And, in the climax of the episode, Marvin cheats, Dr. Hawthorne is himself, and Trent is toast. Overall, this episode taught a good lesson, and I like that it involved so much math. But it still seemed a little short, and Dr. Hawthorne was a little strict, but of course that was the point. Sorry I have to wrap up this short review, but I really didn't have that much to say about this episode.

     Think On These Things Rating: 6/10

     Thanks for reading, and check back tomorrow for my feature and the last AIC before the mid-story break!

Friday, August 3, 2012

AIO News 8/3/12

     I hope you enjoyed yesterday's article. PF did a great job, didn't he? Anyway, it may interest you to know that the 6th Installment of AIC is written, so I should have that up soon. Also, I'm expecting an interview for the next Weekly Feature, and Ep. 1 JAAIOP podcast is in the works, as well as the grand return of The U.S.S. Response. Oh gosh, I'm starting to get busy with this blog! That's another thing I wanted to bring up before I started the news.
    As I said in the last few posts, I'm getting busier with my life. For instance, I performed in a play for a few hours today. That's why I'm so late with the news. Also, I'll be starting school and other things, so I'm afraid I want all you readers to brace yourself for less material from JAAIOB and from me in general on AIO message boards. You can all rejoice now, for you won't have to constantly read new posts and U.S.S. Responses and Adventures in Connellsville's and listen to new, dull podcasts all the time! Well, I've rambled enough. Let's get on with the news...
    Hello, I'm Alex Jefferson, reporting at you live from Canada, where Canadian AIO fans are rejoicing over the news that Album 56 is available for download there! I know there are several big AIO fans in Canada, including Garret Vandenburg, Wooton Basset from UAIOB, and David Hilder from The AIO Update, so I think it's great that FOTF released it in Canada.
     Well, that's about it. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

AIO Article: Wooton and Penny: The Deathly Serious Controversy 8/2/12

     Once again, sorry this post is a little late. I'm starting to get busier with my real life, and I can't be online as much as I was in July. But, I'm back, but I don't have to write much, because, I have for you a brilliantly written article by none other than Pound Foolish! Here it is:

     Wooton & Penny: The Deathly Serious Controversy
By Pound Foolish

     We have the Olympics because of individuals, not deeds. Deeds alone are nothing to us, what stirs us are those who do the deeds. Jessica Ennis makes people talk about the triathlon, and Jade Jones sparks conversations about Taekwondo. They show us, through their deeds, that they are here to fight to the heights of the extraordinary. If the same deeds, contests, struggles, were done by a variety of different people, rather than all emblemized in a single individual, they would pass unnoticed.
      We know the greatness of deeds because those who do them, who sweat out, struggle through, and live within, the impossible.
      Basketball would be just a game if it wasn’t for people like Michael Jordan. Painting would just be moving a brush around if it wasn’t for people like Renoir, Monet, and Michelangelo. Singing would just be…
Recently, Wooton, one of AIO’s most beloved characters, fell in love, as we know. He’d done it before, but, this time, we knew the candidate to be Christian. They can be together. Will it happen?
Many fans, according to the online buzz, frown on the idea. Some find Penny and Wooton silly and unentertaining together. Some argue their similarities make the match uninteresting, or even that Penny is just a female Wooton. Some think Wooton would evolve out of his goofball, immature attitude. Finally, some just plain don’t like Penny.
      In order for Penny and Wooton to justify their romance’s existence, unless it is intended only for comedy, it must be not just a deed, but a deed that shows us intriguing sides of themselves as people… and Penny must be a worthwhile person for Wooton. But is the question really , is she good for Wooton? Perhaps we should as is Wooton good for Penny…
      After all, don’t girls have any rights here! Why are the boys always the center of attention! What about equality!? What about grrrl pow… sorry, got carried away. Anyhow, Penny just isn’t a girl Wooton, she’s very different. Wooton would change, some, but in a good way. And as for not liking Penny… what are you, nuts!?
     As I said, some dislike the combination of Penny and Wooton. Some find them too much alike. Too enthusiastic, loud, and obnoxious together. Well, live with it. This is a children’s show. Children are used to Disney Channel and The Cartoon Network, overflowing with nutty characters behaving crazily together. If you aren’t willing accept this, get out. I know that sounds like I’m being grouchy. Yet, the fact remains, this show isn’t made for us… So, should we try to dumb down to a child’s level when listening to an AIO? Nope. We should realize we are not dumbing down. We’re just enjoying an art form made, really, for kids. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, good children’s entertainment is still good to adults.
We need to accept AIO on its own terms. Kids’ terms. Not ours. Take it or leave it.
      Others think Penny and Wooton’s similarity makes them implausible and unentertaining. There’s no friction or risk in their relationship, the argument goes. “Oh, darn. Penny and Wooton are so similar. Penny’s just a female Wooton. It’s just not interesting.” Really? Penny was, as many of us AIO fans know, intended to be a bad guy, who seemed good and then turned out to be in league with Dr. Trask. She wasn’t meant to stick around and be Wooton’s girlfriend, that just wasn’t her purpose. I doubt the AIO team decided…
     Nathan Hoobler: “How about we have Penny be another girl-Wooton? Oh, and how about she’s a bad-guy?”
     Dave Arnold: “LOL, let’s do it!”
     The fact is, Penny just likes licorice and is somewhat goofy. If she was rarely seen with Wooton, would we even notice her supposed over-similarity? Penny is into the study of art and has the sophistication to listen to long art lectures and the patience to put pen or brush to surface for however long is necessary. And she even is philosophically wide-eyed to the world, enjoying meditation and frequently thinking on her emotions and person. Now, refresh my memory… when was the last time Wooton languidly sat, drinking a grape-juice float and painting an imitation Renoir, chit-chatting with Connie about philosophy?
     Penny has her own personality. The more they are together, the more it shows. Far from too similar, if they date, or are married, their differences will emerge more and more. Penny has a heart of curiosity, wonder, and artistic fascination. Wooton has a heart of “I love everyone in the whole world” and laser tag.
Wooton would change, yes. We find this hard to accept. Most of us, after all, like Wooton as-is. He’s the best, right? (Ben Warren, you stay out of this.) One thing, as The Old Judge pointed out on his Twists and Turns site, is that there would probably be an end, or at -least a near-end, to Wooton’s occasional mail-route-episodes, in which we see him caring for everyone on his route as best friends. Sure, we’d hate this. But, though it would take a long time to get used to… isn’t the idea of Wooton caring for a wife, and maybe even children, just as tantalizing? Perhaps it’s just what’s needed to humanize him further, and to put an end the Wooton-haters who scream he is just not that funny. How could Wooton being married not be funny? It’s practically impossible.
      Connie, Eugene, Katrina, Mitch, Liz… they all matured and changed as the years went by. Maybe it’s time we let Wooton do the same. Sure, we will miss the old Wooton. But, he is already changing, before our eyes… because Penny is unconsciously slipping into the center of Wooton’s life. Wooton no longer centers around making people in general happy. He’s about making … her happy. He loves her. He cares about one girl, with his heart, and he’s changing himself for her. You didn’t know he could do that, did you? (I’m tempted to insert a smiley here, but that would be painfully unprofessional.) Wooton is developing. Is that really bad?
     It’s an odd relationship we have with AIO characters. On the one hand, they’re our role models and inspiration. On the other, they make us sad because they grow up… almost like they’re the children we can’t have yet. But, in order for us to accept their change, as with parents, we must change. Maybe it’s time we asked ourselves… do we need to change as well?
     Finally, we must address those who dislike Penny… loonies though they are. (No offense, Penny disliking organization.) Some find her “annoying”… My friend, Suzy Lou, a new writer for The Unofficial AIO Blog, sometimes has an aversion to Penny for reasons she is unsure of. She says “...she has a odd, kind of ditzy personality. Normally I enjoy characters like that, but not so much with Penny. Maybe I'll grow to like her with time, who knows.” (On a side note, she recently said she’s warming up to Penny.) Okay, I’d say another quote, though it’s on a different subject, will round things off nicely. It’s from my pal, Bryce, the creator of this site, in the USS feature… “I think a lot of fans do act like they hate the new era because there are new characters. But, change can help you change, you know, and that can be a good thing! (Listen to Back to Abnormal)… I'll bet one day they'll be saying, "When Whit Hertford got too old to be on AIO, Odyssey was horrible." or ‘"When Kimmy Robertson stopped working with them, AIO went down the tubes.” So you see, people were complaining about The Washingtons, and now they're asking them to return...”
     Dum-dah-dah, there you have it. Penny’s new here. Give the girl a chance. When Connie came to town, she was a bit of a brat. A likeable one, but a bit of a brat, nonetheless.
     As I’ve been saying, Penny has artistic instinct… a wandering, open, philosophic spirit… another thing: a voice, courtesy of the ingenious Kimmy Robertson, that shines. I love her. But she had to become a major character overnight, so it’s understandable a lot of fans are having a hard time adjusting. But the kid has potential. Some fans, I guess, will always just dislike her. We are all cursed with something called taste. But, eventually, Penny shall have just as many fans as all the other major AIO characters.
     Penny and Wooton are entertaining together. Penny isn’t a Wooton with a Miley Cyrus figure, she’s her own person. And Wooton will never lose his, but if he shows his maturity and grows in responsibility more… well, we’ll just have to take that. And some will dislike Penny, some will enjoy her. That’s the way characters, and most things in artistic matters, are. But, as far as rounded character, believability, likability… and potential for even better things to come… she’s a good character.
     So... maybe Penny and Wooton’s deeds speak for themselves. They’ve spoken. They like each other. Maybe Penny and Wooton have shown they love each other. Maybe their laughing together, agreement, enthusiasm… whether it annoys us or not, are all signs of love. And, maybe, they matter.
They call for change. In them. In us. Because the deeds are done by two special people.
And that’s part of what makes love special. Sometimes, amazing people fall in love. Brought together by God.
     So, who knows? Perhaps, someday, (inside joke alert) Penny and Wooton will be picking out china patterns together.

     That was amazing, wasn't it? I'm so honored that he inserted a quote from me, considering it was such an absolutely fabulous, well thought article. That's one of the reasons I brought PF on to write articles. So we could have long, fascinating articles along with my short, consice articles. If he agrees, I'm hoping to get him writing an article every two weeks or so, so get used to this awesomeness!
     Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

AIO News 8/1/12

     I'm so sorry I'm posting so late, but I sort of forgot to. As I said in my last post, I have other things on my mind. But, I finally remembered to post and I am here to report the latest news!
     Hello, this is Alex Jefferson, reporting at you live from many online Christian book stores, where Album 56 is available for download today. I am not going to download it, as I already heard Happy Hunting and that's enough for me, but if you guys want to go download, nothing's stopping you! (Unless you don't have a computer, but then you wouldn't be reading this.)
      Well, I'm afraid that big news is all for today. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!