I recently bought the audiobooks for Yahtzee Croshaw’s Mogworld and John Hodgman’s That Is All. I had planned on loading them onto my media player & listening to them through the long hours at my job. Especially since the total running time of the two comes out to about 30 hours, I figured it would get me through nearly a week of everyday boredom. But, my player is a few years old & not an Apple product, so it took one look at the files I was trying to load & immediately gave up.
However, I remained determined to fill my slow hours with something other than daydreams about Trent Reznor & the furtive scribbling of blog posts while keeping an eye out for my supervisor. I decided to go through the backlog of podcasts I had downloaded and promptly forgetting to play. I have the “Oooo, shiny!” syndrome when it comes to podcasts & spoken word–the summary or description sounds fantastic! It is just so hard to pay attention!
Anyway, here’s a rundown of what I’ve listened to lately:
- I mentioned the Judge John Hodgman podcast a few posts ago and I’m still enjoying it. Now I have two reasons to enjoy Wednesdays–new episodes of both Zero Punctuation and JJHO. The premise: Mr. Hodgman mediates in disputes such as what is the proper time limit for a spoiler and when a sibling should stop using a childhood nickname. Podcast judge is just the latest of Hodgman’s smarty-pants personas. To get a sense of what the series is about, I suggest episode 63 “Nature Vs. Nerd-ture” or episode 43 “Triple Word Scorn.” But, those are just my personal favorites; please feel free to start wherever you like.
- My friend Courtney turned me on to both The Moth and The New Yorker Fiction podcasts. With This American Life, these three podcasts are probably the most enriching series I enjoy. Sadly, they are also the three that I can’t seem to follow consistently. The Moth and The New Yorker Fiction podcasts get back to the idea of oral storytelling that all literature developed from. One podcast is personal and presumably non-fiction; the other is fiction. Both can be deeply moving if you get a reader or speaker who knows how to tell the story and surprisingly, listeners will learn quickly what makes a good storyteller just by relying on their hearing. The New Yorker Fiction podcast has most of their past podcasts available at iTunes while The Moth only highlights specific sets a week. Go start exploring!
- I chose Stuff You Missed In History Class after reading a write-up in the AV Club’s podcast review. I downloaded a ton because they sounded so interesting but then neglected them because I thought How interesting can you make history without sounding like a lecture? Turns out the lovely ladies Sarah and Debline, who host the podcast, sound like they’ve been schooled at the best NPR finishing schools & know how to uncover the most interesting details about whatever subject they’re covering. I was hooked, though, when they recently did a podcast on the Salem witch trials in honor of Halloween. They mentioned one of the people prosecuted was Giles Corey & as they explained his case, I started shivering. I had been to Salem last year & had seen his decorated memorial stone, still remembered by someone who had put painted stones and flowers all over his section of the memorial. I was creeped out but ready to hear more.
- The last podcast on this list is How Did This Get Made? I started listening to this just for the lulz, as the kids say. Imagine going to go see really bad movies with your friends & the inadvertent running commentary you guys start to figure out just what the hell you’re watching. Well, guess what, the podcast hosts of How Did this Get Made? turned that into a job. Jealous, right? They just did Roadhouse recently & it was profanely awesome! Enjoy!
So those are my own personal faves, but if you feel like exploring the many many podcasts out there on the intertubez, I suggest you check out AV Club’s Podmass Central. They have a thorough index and weekly reviews of each round of podcasts. Discover something new to get you through your workaday boredom! & make sure your player supports it, unlike my sad little Walkman.