Podcasts Part 5

My last installment of this podcast time capsule series is a snapshot of how much time I’ve spent in my life listening to podcasts since 2014. These are estimates because I’m only eyeballing the average episode duration and multiplying it by how many episodes I’ve listened to (as of 11/9/17). But it’s pretty darn accurate! Here’s the crazy stat: according to my calculations, I’ve listened to about a total of 2,400 hours of podcasts which is about 40 full days of content. Over a little less than three years!!!

First Graph: total number of hours I’ve listened to a podcast. The top four are the oldest podcasts I’ve been listening to, and The Read in particular has very long episodes which is why it ended up at #1. The numbers represent how many episodes I’d listened to as of 11/9/17 (I now realize this was a dumb label to set)

Podcasts-1Podcasts-2

Second Graph: Ok I only made this because I love playing around with Tableau (I couldn’t even upload my visualization because it seemed unwise to upload these graphs onto my Tableau work account). Anyway, this shows the same thing as above, just in a different way. I think the size of the dot represents how many episodes there are. Example: I’ve listened to a ton of Planet Money episodes, but since they’re (thankfully) kept to 20-25 minutes, I haven’t invested as much total time as compared to the sometimes 2 hour long episodes of The Read.
That’s all for now.
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Podcasts! Part 4

The next installment of my podcast blog series (HA) is going to be about podcasts that have come and gone, and podcasts I’ve just never gotten into. I’ve mentioned before two podcasts that I really enjoyed but are no longer in production – What’s the Point and Surprisingly Awesome. They only had 75 and 22 episodes, respectively, and in both cases, the hosts went on to do different podcasts. Once again, I must say What’s the Point is one of my favorite podcasts of all time!

Another one worth mentioning is Making Oprah, which was always meant to be a short series. Over three episodes and three shorter, bonus episodes, the show looks at how the Oprah Winfrey show came into development and the work that went into producing the show. And yes, there are interviews with Oprah herself!

I also got swept into S-Town, which I mainly listened to during a red eye flight to NY that I wasn’t able to fall asleep on. S-Town, the first season of Serial and Missing Richard Simmons falls in the “trendy podcasts that didn’t impact my life in any meaningful way” category.

Here’s what I have tried and didn’t love

  • This American Life: I gave this podcast several tries but I eventually realized I didn’t love any of the stories I had listened to. Which is why I don’t usually listen to storytelling podcasts like this or the Moth – it just seems like such a gamble that you’ll have any interest in what someone has to say for 45 minutes. Also, I don’t love starting podcasts that have been in production for a very long time but don’t keep a (free) catalog of prior episodes. I feel incomplete if I haven’t gone through the entire archive of a thing I love.
  • Candidate Confessional: Every episode is an interview with a political candidate (or someone who worked on the campaign) who lost. I listened to a few, really liked some, but generally couldn’t get invested in most of the interviews. For one, I know so little about politics prior to 2016 so a lot of things are like “who? what?” and for another, I hate listening to interviews with politicians, business executives, or well-established celebrities because you’re basically just listening to a long winded sales pitch. Other examples of this: How I Built This and David Axelrod’s the Axe Files.
  • The Room Where It’s Happening: OK I certainly played the Hamilton soundtrack non-stop and I did listen to a ton of episodes of this Hamilton podcast, but after a certain point, I can’t listen to this much dissection on any one topic. This did introduce me to Travon Free, the host of this podcast, who also works on The Daily Show. Most importantly, by following him on Twitter, I was able to get a small peek into Black Twitter which everyone knows is the best part of Twitter.
  • Radio Lab: I have discovered with Radio Lab the one thing I really can’t stand in podcasts and that’s the overuse of kooky sound effects. I guess part of the supposed appeal of Radio Lab is that it’s an “unconventional approach to the medium and message of radio” (per NY Times) but I find sound effects generally unnecessary and distracting. Sometimes I just stop listening because I hate a long-winded, overly produced intro. This and Ted Talks are good examples of podcasts with introductions that immediately turn me off.
  • The Champs: I do not listen to any podcasts that are only hosted by solely straight white men. I didn’t plan this, but only realized this after I was like ten podcast subscriptions in. For some reason I kept hearing “podcasting is dominated by straight white men” and then I looked at everything I listened to and was like “how can this possibly be true?” So this is the podcast where I finally listened to the silenced minority of our nation, the straight white man. The first episode was recorded in 2011 and they went all the way to early 2016 before calling it quits. I found this while trying to find any interview I could of Tiffany Haddish (star of Girls Trip). It was a great, very personal interview (that I think was the basis for many future interviews/magazine articles that would feature her two years later). The podcast has a Howard Stern vibe, meaning they ask pretty outlandish and personal questions but for whatever reason, the interviewee answers. Just from this one podcast and from the Howard Stern interviews I’ve listened to, I am going to generalize all men and say they have an obnoxious habit of playing the most random, unnecessary sound effects. Sometimes they don’t even have ANYTHING to do with the conversation. I think it’s because men have short attention spans and need BEEP BEEPS and BOOP BOOPS to keep them entertained. Anyway, I would recommend taking a look at their archive and listen to any episode with a name you recognize, because they definitely have interviewed SOMEONE you know.
  • 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy: a BBC podcast with 10 minute episodes that tell the history of things like plastic, tax havens, clocks, and the shipping container, and their impact on the modern day. In theory, I’d love this. In practice, this is the type of podcast where you really have to focus for the entire episode because it’s so condensed, and I discovered it’s harder to concentrate 100% for 10 minutes as opposed to listening at 75% for 30 minutes. I’d constantly miss something and a ten minute episode would take thirty minutes to get through. It eventually started to feel like a drag to have all the episodes piling up so I deleted it. Sorry, British man with a very soothing voice.
  • Anna Faris is Unqualified: This is consistently at the top of comedy podcasts and I was really excited to listen to this because I used to LOVE Anna Faris (The House Bunny is one of my favorite movies of all time!). Listening to an episode completely derailed my love for her, AND it also made me not like Chris Pratt. I listened to one with Jenny Slate and Chris Evans and they did an advice column section and at the end of it, I found myself agreeing with CHRIS EVANS of all people. She gives horrible, cringeworthy advice, the kind that’s like “I believe the best in everyone and everyone is probably good inside!” as opposed to the straightforward “you’re being an idiot, stop doing this” advice of Dan Savage.
  • Serial: I wouldn’t say I disliked the podcast, it was more that I couldn’t hear it while I was commuting, and at a certain point I had no idea who was who. I have found that I generally don’t like these serialized mystery podcasts. So I never finished the first season and I never bothered with the second. By choosing not to listen to any murder mystery podcasts, I’ve cut out a significant chunk of the podcast population!

Podcasts! Part 3

I don’t remember when I first started listening to podcasts but the first one must have been the Fernando & Greg’s Sideshow, which I was introduced to through Jessica in 2014. F&G are two radio DJs in the bay area, and they have a somewhat unknown, unadvertised weekly show that they record after their live morning radio program concludes. I have no idea how their side show got its start – at the time I started listening, it was pretty raunchy, definitely too raunchy to be put on the live station. I started listening to their episodes not even through iTunes, but through the radio website! It was an AWFUL site, and I actually had to play the episodes through REALPLAYER, that’s how janky their site was! The webpage would constantly crash mid-episode and take down all of my tabs, or ads on the website would slow down my CPU. The show wasn’t well archived and there wasn’t a good way to navigate through the episodes. You just had to keep pressing next page… next page… The archive didn’t even show every episode since the beginning! (I hate when that happens). Despite all these technical issues, I listened to every available episode until I reached the end of the archives. I STILL listen to this podcast, so it’s the oldest podcast I have in my rotation. It’s much more tame now, almost boring, and I probably would’ve stopped listening to it by now, except it’s perfect for work because I only have to give it about 20% of my attention. In the past, they’d share sex stories, Greg would read out loud gay porn narratives he found on the web, and they’d call up some of Greg’s friends, my favorite of which was Patty. There was a time when they’d call up Greg’s friend Rudy, who I LOATHED. When I first started, there were episodes twice a week. At some point, there was even the possibility of it coming on 3x a week! Now it’s just once a week, it runs exactly for 1 hour and will cut out at the hour mark. The lesson from this podcast is: sometimes, setting a strict time limit to a podcast series is detrimental to the flow of conversation.

The SECOND podcast I started listening to was The Read. Jessica also introduced me to this one (though I don’t think she listens to this regularly). She liked F&G so much, she wanted to find more comedy podcasts, and she saw that The Read was consistently #1 in Comedy for podcasts. What had hooked her was an episode that referenced this moment from Iyanla. I thought I’d give this podcast a whirl and I’ve stuck to it ever since. I like it because it’s good to work to. I always tell people that I don’t know their pop culture references 40% of the time, and I used to vehemently disagree with the advice they gave. Their podcast duration has gone from one hour to consistently 2+ hours. Because of this, the fact that I have listened to it from Episode 1, and because they seemingly NEVER take a break from recording weekly, I’ve done the math and this is the podcast I’ve spent THE MOST time on. This podcast is often credited for paving the way for many other black podcasts.

The THIRD podcast I ever listened to was Savage Lovecast, which I stumbled upon while looking for relationship advice. I must have found a really good written column by Dan Savage, which then directed me to his podcast. As of today, he’s done 575 episodes, one a week, and I think I started listening around #450 or so, in 2015. He’s been doing this podcast thing way before podcasts were a thing (and his written column for EVEN LONGER). I went to his website and started listening from episode one. Then, about two years ago, a friend shared with me a relationship problem. I said “omg Dan Savage had this EXACT QUESTION before!” but when I tried to recount his advice, I became kind of distraught that I couldn’t recall his advice word for word. I then made the decision to start tracking every question and answer, and the obsessive in me decided this meant I would have to go back and document the ~250 episodes I’d already heard. My progress was significantly stymied by the 20+ other podcasts I got into in the past two years, but I’m getting there! Anyway, I generally agree with 98% of his advice. I ADORE him and find him to be incredibly eloquent and precise in his language, particularly since he seems to do everything on the fly. I’ve seen him live twice, and while he does cover a rotation of repeating topics, you never tire of it. Also, the advice columns are gossipy fun!

I was pretty content with just this rotation of three for a while. But then at some point in 2015, I thought I’d look for podcasts with a data science slant and I ended up listening to What’s the Point, the podcast that probably ignited my exponential obsession in discovering podcasts.

What’s the Point is probably one of my top fave podcasts of all time – its shtick was every week, it’d do a deep dive into a number/data and the issues surrounding it. Topics would range from privacy, Pixar, politics, movies… This was my first foray into the “learn something” podcast genre. It’s produced through FiveThirtyEight, which introduced me to the 538 Significant Digits newsletter, and Nate Silver, who I followed throughout the 2016 election and immediately unfollowed on November 9th. This was a SUPER informative podcast, and would peel apart a lot of interesting subjects that aren’t often touched on. Unfortunately, they ended the podcast, and the host, Jody Avirgan, went on to do some sports podcast. This was the first podcast I listened to that ever got cancelled, which made me feel very old to have seen a podcast come and go. Even though it’s since been cancelled, I’d highly recommend going through their entire archive.

Favorite episodes: A Privacy Mea Culpa and the Dark Side of Forensic Data

From here, WTP inspired me to search out informative, interesting podcasts on society, culture, etc. Naturally, this led me to NPR. First was Planet Money. Then came NPR Politics. Then all the other NPR podcasts (see my NPR podcasts post!) I think my podcast obsession just coincided with the general proliferation of podcasting and my waning interest in indie and EDM music. I always say 2010-2014 was the height of EDM, and indie bands became really indistinguishable because everything is just run through a synthesizer. (Here’s the proof!) Save for the Hamilton soundtrack, music just didn’t interest me anymore, so I cancelled my Spotify subscription and began to obsessively collect new podcasts to subscribe to and marathon through at every moment.

So of course, NPR is not the only provider of informative podcasts. I also had StarTalk, which I think I may have found because Neil DeGrasse Tyson was on the first episode of What’s the Point, and Dan Savage was on an episode of StarTalk (cross promotion is fairly popular in the podcasting world, I’ve noticed). Startalk is now in its eigth season and I only recently finished ALL the archived episodes (there are a LOT of episodes per season). I love this podcast because I really do learn so much and Neil DeGrasse Tyson is just so masterful at teaching, communicating, and answering each question in a unique, thoughtful way. I love the format of always pairing a scientific expert with a comedian – it makes a HUGE difference. However, I have noticed that the show’s format changed slightly since its early years. The segments have gotten shorter, and Neil himself is not always in the episode or the segment, so it almost feels like a variety show rather than the typical sit down interview. They’ve also created two spinoff shows, which I decided not to listen to because that’s just TOO much knowledge.

Other “let’s learn something!” podcasts that I got into during this podcast bubble were Linear Digressions and Raw Data (two podcasts about data/data science), Surprisingly Awesome (a Gimlet podcast which has since been cancelled) and the Bowery Boys (a podcast about NYC history, my current “project” which involves listening to ~85 podcasts in the archive). As you can see, a TON of informational podcasts, which gets to be a bit much. So I started to branch into more conversational podcasts like Another Round, Katie Couric and Bitch Sesh.

I’m currently subscribed to TWENTY SEVEN podcasts which might be over doing it. But I’m still constantly on the search for more! It’s crazy but fun. Maybe one day I’ll read this and think “haha what an outdated form of communication!” or “my god I wasted so much of my life listening to information that I never retained!” or else “ah yes, the voice of my old friends.”

Podcasts! Part 2

I need to give these other randos their time to shine!

  1. Another Round: this is an interview/conversational podcast that I will only listen to if I can concentrate fully on it, because it’s just SO enjoyable. What I love is that I only know the guests about 20% of the time, which makes it that much more obvious that the interviewers, Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, are really top notch. They have such vibrant personalities, and they come up with the most random but often amazing interview questions. They have interviews primarily with influential black people, usually writers, activists, artists or media figures. Of course, when I try to explain the podcast I always add “they have also interviewed HILLARY CLINTON!” Even better than their interviews though, are the other podcast segments. Totally random but amazing things like What Had Happened Was (where they recap a childhood experience), Tracy’s Joke Time (literally telling a longform joke) and Y’alls Parents Were Nasty (where they play obscure oldies that have dirty lyrics). The most surprising thing is that Buzzfeed produces this! Buzzfeed actually produces several podcasts which I NEVER see advertised on their app. Poor marketing, but this is a hidden gem. (in a small whisper: I find this superior the much more popular Call Your Girlfriend, but one shouldn’t compare)
    Suggested Episode: #79 Pour One Out For Elmo (with Joy Reid)
  2. The Daily: Whenever I talk to someone else who enjoys listening to podcasts, this seems to be the only podcast that everyone is listening to. I think it is currently the top downloaded on iTunes. NPR has a similar concept with Up First, and the only reason I listen to this one and not the other is because The Daily came out first. The first episode was released on 2/1/2017, and it discussed the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. I think this podcast integrates well with NYT reporting, as they are able to bring on their subject experts to discuss with the host, Michael Barbaro. Michael was once on a late night talk show and I watched the interview and was immediately crushed to find out he was NOTHING like what I envisioned in my mind. Honestly, I have never once seen a picture of a podcast host and thought “yes, that’s what I had in my head!” I am always taken aback. It seems like the original concept of the show was to occasionally do deep dives into things that weren’t front page news, but with the Trump administration, that can’t be the case. There have been a handful of episodes on slower news days that dealt with one-off topics like assisted suicide and incarceration of mentally ill murderers – real sunny stuff. Anyway, the show is excellent, and I actually keep an Excel workbook that tracks the subject of each episode so one day, years from now, I can go “OMG I forgot this happened!” There’s one thing I can’t stand though – they love to add in sound effects like a clock ticking or leave in the sounds of setting up the interview, like Michael dialing a contact, the ring ring as he waits for someone to pick up … I’m like JESUS REALLY? DO WE NEED THIS?
    Suggested Episode: 9/19/17 where they talk to the reporter who broke this story and discuss the Mueller investigation
  1. Still Processing: This is a NYT podcast that doesn’t feel like it’s put out by a news organization at all. I think the premise of the podcast is that they talk about culture and technology, but there’s a heavy lean toward culture. I started listening to this as a recommendation from LaineyGossip, regarding an episode they did on Whitney Houston. After listening, I couldn’t stop playing When You Believe for weeks, which drove Robyn batty. By the end of each episode, I find that they often shape my perspective in a more meaningful way – my views generally align with theirs but they just speak much more thoughtfully about it. It’s also refreshing that they don’t have guests on the show. The hosts, Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, live in NYC and the way they talk about the city actually makes me feel like I’m living there with them sometimes! An example of why I love this podcast: on the week of the Bodega uproar when everyone was falling over themselves trying to save their local bodega, Jenna Wortham was the only one who was willing to say “you know what, no one ACTUALLY LOVES their bodega.”
    Suggested Episode: We Grieve Charlottesville
  2. Ear Hustle: This is a podcast created in part by Earlonne Woods, a prisoner at San Quentin, and it gives you an inside look at life in a men’s prison. Each episode takes on a different aspect of life, like roommates (cellies), keeping in touch with people outside of prison, or dealing with life sentences. It is very humanizing, thoughtfully produced, and can occasionally make you laugh or cry. The episodes are relatively short, so they’re easily consumable.
    Suggested Episode: Unwritten
  3. Nancy: I wish there were more Asian or LGBT podcasts out there for me to listen to, but instead it seems like I’ve fallen into a black podcast feedback loop. I sifted through WNYC’s podcasts and came upon this gem – it’s an LGBT podcast hosted by two Asians! So a perfect center piece in my venn diagram of podcast wants. The hosts, Tobin Low and Kathy Tu, are about my age, so the topics and their experiences are more easily relatable to me. I fell in love from the first episode, because they speak to the mother of one of the hosts, and it felt like I was listening to my mom talking.
    Suggested Episode: #1 Hello, Hello
  4. The Bowery Boys: Ok this one is not an easy one to convince people to listen to. Every episode goes through a history lesson on New York, topics like Central Park, the Subway, Times Square. Sometimes topics like The Crash of ’29, NY and the Golden Age of Television, or The Lower East Side: A Culinary History. In the beginning, episodes were only 20-30 minutes long, and now they’re at an hour mark, which I find a little too daunting for newcomers. I generally hate learning history, but I’m fascinated when they link events to the way things are now. For instance, DID YOU KNOW the NYC grid has wider avenues closer to the water, because this was where most commerce occurred back in the 1800s, since at the time, the main mode of transit was ships. Or DID YOU KNOW that the builders of the first NY apartment building purposely and carefully selected their tenants to be interesting and stable, so the idea of living in an apartment would be an appealing idea for the wealthy. The most impressive thing is that it seems the two hosts, Tom Meyers and Greg Young, research separately and come together, and somehow they never overlap or talk over each other when they record. It’s like a well-orchestrated dance of facts!
    Suggested Episode: #135: The High Line
  5. Show Your Work: I am a HUGE fan of celebrity gossip, and in my college and audit years, I would legitimately spend two-three hours a night going through celebrity gossip sites. ONTD, in particular, is a huge time suck. Finally I realized, maybe this isn’t the most productive use of my life … and now I only look at Vulture and LaineyGossip.com. Lainey, or Elaine Lui, is a gossip writer and has been writing since 2004. The reason her site is far superior to anything else is because she’s selective about what she writes about, and she considers the social/cultural significance, pulling back the superficial layers of what’s presented in mainstream media. She will share an insider’s view of Hollywood, and I’ve definitely learned a lot that I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. For this podcast, she and her co-host Duana approach gossip from the perspective of work: what’s the hidden strategy/effort behind a bit of news? What’s the potential impact on a celebrity’s career? How are people shaping their image through their actions and words? And always, how does all of that reflect us as a society? It’s really intriguing, activates that gossipy part of your brain while remaining intellectual.
    Suggested Episode: Paparazzi and Morning TV
  6. Katie Couric: This is a weekly interview-style podcast, with a pretty diverse range of guests. I’m sure anyone who watched the Today show knew this decades before I did, but she has a warm, thoughtful interviewing style, and her cohost, Brian Goldsmith, is a great supplement by being very policy-driven. They also have the most effective use of podcast advertising because they always semi-ad lib it and make it fun to listen to. And because of the Katie Couric name, they get pretty big name people onto the show. I was also stunned to find out Katie Couric is SIXTY YEARS OLD.
    Suggested Episode: David Fahrenthold: Investigating Trump

Podcasts! Part 1

I’ve decided to write a FIVE PART series on the current love of my life, podcasts! I’ve been meaning to write a post, as a way to snapshot this moment in my podcasting experience. My first draft post ended up being super long and a little disorganized, so I’ve decided to break it apart. This first post is going to be about my favorite NPR podcasts. I listen to so many NPR podcasts that I’m going to do those separately, and have separate posts on non-NPR podcasts.

Apple groups podcasts into categories like business, comedy, technology, news & politics, music, health, etc. Spotify decided to mix it up a little and groups podcasts into categories like society & culture, storytellers, news, comedy, science & nature, learn something, etc. Cue discussion of how no podcast can be just one thing, but the Spotify categories are way less clear and distinct, in my opinion. My personal tastes are apparently pretty narrow, because I categorize mine in a binary:

  • Conversational, Entertainment
  • News, Politics, Education

My favorite NPR podcasts:

  1. NPR Politics: this was the podcast that kicked off my interest in politics. Before listening to this podcast, I honestly knew VERY LITTLE about politics or current events. Sometimes I think life might have been easier then. And I certainly got through life without knowing anything about anything. Now I know TOO MUCH! Take me out! I was subscribed from the first episode on November 13th, 2015 which seems so long ago. I sincerely remember a time when I thought, after Hillary gets elected president, are they even going to have that much to talk about?! I do think the team dynamic has changed a bit since it first started, which seems to pinpoint back to when Sam Sanders and Asma Khalid left the podcast. Before then, it felt like conversation flowed more spontaneously, and it seems like Sam Sanders was the one to really bring out everyone’s individual personalities. Somehow they were able to toe the line of maintaining a fair perspective while allowing listeners to hear the reporters’ personalities emerge. I like to listen to this podcast while doing house errands like cleaning, cooking or watering my lawn.
    Suggested Episode: Inside HBO’s Confirmation: When NPR Broke the Anita Hill Story
  2. Planet Money: this was the first NPR podcast I listened to, and is an excellent example of the power of cross promotion. The only reason I listened to any other NPR podcasts is because of advertisements preceding the Planet Money episodes, and at a certain point, I thought, sure, why not! And NOW LOOK AT ME. LOOK AT ALL THE NPR PODCASTS I SUBSCRIBE TO. I once spent a very long time trying to figure out what was the very first episode of Planet Money and have concluded that their numbering system was very wonky and was only corrected after what is called episode 377. One day, I’d like to take the time to listen through their archives – the earliest episode I’ve listened to is #454 which dates back to April 2013. Their archive starts in September 2008 and evidently this podcast was formed to make sense of the collapse of the global economy, starting with Lehman Brothers. I once clicked through every page of their archives and logged every episode title into an Excel worksheet … and I end up with 177 more episodes than their numbering system claims to have made. MYSTERY.
    Suggested Episode: #654 When The Boats Arrive 
  3. Code Switch: one of my FAVESSS. This focuses on race and culture, often looking at things through the eyes of a minority. They are fast to respond to current events, but also have in depth takes on issues that you just might not have been aware of. There are a handful of conversational podcasts I specifically only listen to if I can fully concentrate on the entire episode, and this is one of them. The reporting is as robust as any other NPR program, but the correspondents seem to have more leeway in expressing their opinions, usually in the form of an exasperated sigh.
    Suggested Episode: Apocalypse or Racial Kumbaya? 
  4. It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders: Sam Sanders used to be on NPR Politics and must’ve shown such an incredibly dynamic personality that NPR granted him his own show. One day, I’d like to have an episode that details how that all went down. For a while, I thought he might’ve gotten fired from NPR and that was why he was leaving NPR Politics. His new show has episodes twice a week – on Tuesdays it’s a solo interview with a pretty diverse range of characters (has ranged from musicians to writers to journalists), and on Fridays it’s a weekly roundup with a rotating cast, always comprising of two journalist friends. It’s a great way to see the news through the eyes of journalists, and more so than any other NPR podcast, it is more living room conversational. I generally end up listening to this while driving home, so it feels like someone is talking to me in the car.
    Suggested Episode: Friday Wrap: Sir and Rumi 
  5. Hidden Brain: an educational podcast that focuses on the unconscious happenings in our brain. I always learn something new from every episode. I do feel like they’re playing with the format in recent months. I hated the original format (which included stopwatch science), loved the format they had previously (where they limited episode length to about 25 minutes), and am mixed about the latest format, where episodes are creeping up to an hour. Generally the guests that come on just happen to have books that they’re shilling. A good number of books I’ve read this year have come as a result of listening to this podcast, and they’ve always been pretty interesting reads.
    Suggested Episode: The Deep Story 
  6. Pop Culture Happy Hour: I haven’t listened to EVERY episode, but I’m all right with that! I forget how I started listening to this, but it must’ve been around January 2017. This podcast has been around for so long that at this point, I’ll listen to every new episode, but I’ve only gone back to listen to episodes that interested me, and haven’t bothered to see if there are any “hidden gems.” I prefer their old format where they’d pick a theme like “Celebrity Apologies” or “Use of Dramatic License in Historical Dramas” and just go down the line and talk about it, everyone bringing up their own examples, versus now where it’s like “Blade Runner 2049” and “Outlander.” I can see why they changed it though, I guess it is more attention grabbing and better SEO to have episodes centered on a specific work of culture. I have found MANY a podcast through their “What’s Making Us Happy” segment. This is a great podcast to listen to at work.
    Suggested Episode: The MTV VMAs and Taylor Swift 
  7. Embedded: this podcast is more season-centric than the rest, meaning that rather than having weekly updates, they’ll focus on a particular theme for a few episodes, then break, and then come back several months later with a new subject matter. Last season was police shootings (and I was expecting more episodes so it felt like I had been on the receiving end of an abrupt breakup when I realized there were no new episodes) and this season it’s the Trump administration. This works well for binge-listening, is educational and cuts in original audio clips very well.
    Suggested Episode: Police Videos: Flagstaff

If you can catch the two podcasts that AREN’T here that most people listen to, kudos to you. The ones I don’t listen to, that most people listen to, are Fresh Air and Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me. I have long said, I cannot stand Terry Gross’ interviewing style. I hate it when it sounds like people are just reading off a list of questions and not engaging with the conversation. It is so press junket-y. I don’t have a reason to not listening to Wait Wait because I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an episode before (but I HAVE been to a live taping of an episode with Dan Savage!). Other than that it’s 50 minutes long and I don’t like the title of the podcast.

Podcasts

There was a time when I could only remember what day of the week it was after I thought about what show I was going to watch that night.This was before the time of Hulu/Netflix/DVR, so my life was pretty strictly tied to an show’s scheduled air date. If I was going to watch 7th Heaven that night, that meant it was a Monday. If I was going to watch Buffy and Angel, that meant it was a Tuesday. Wednesday was Dawson’s Creek, Thursday was Survivor. (It appears I’m still living in the 90s). Now, I have a new way of knowing what day of the week it is. Podcasts.

Monday: NPR Politics. Tuesday: Savage Lovecast. Wednesday: Fernando and Greg. Thursday: The Read.

The joy of podcasts is that they keep me from nodding off in my cubicle. The difficulty with podcasts is that I can’t just listen to them anywhere or at anytime. I can’t listen to any on the train, because I inevitably miss crucial parts and will quickly lose interest (I never made it past episode 4 of Serial because I unsuccessfully attempted to listen to it while standing on the caltrain platform). My favorite times to listen are at work, if I’m doing something mindless, or if I’m driving or cleaning the house.

Here are my favorites/recommendations:

1) Savage Lovecast
My FAVORITE one. I’m not exactly sure what google search caused me to stumble upon Dan Savage, but I unabashedly love EVERYTHING he says. This is a podcast where people call in with questions, typically relationship/sex stuff, and he responds. He starts each podcast with a political rant and ends with caller responses to prior episodes. I would say I agree with 99% of his opinions, and he has made me think differently about the way things should be, in relationships and in life. I don’t have to be very focused on the podcast to follow it, which is great. His political rants keep me up to date on current issues, callers questions fulfill my desire for smut, and his responses make me feel like I’m maturing as a person. As a sidenote, I am weirdly obsessed with his husband’s Instagram; his husband seems to be a stay at home dad/swimsuit model and posts the most hypnotizing shirtless pictures of himself.

Episode Suggestion: Occasionally he has themed episodes but usually the questions in each episode are pretty diverse so you could listen to any of them and get a good idea of what he talks about. Episode 488‘s opener is a pretty good summary of his views on normality/kink though.

2) NPR Politics Podcast
I did not expect to like this one because I don’t particularly care about politics but this podcast does a REALLY good job of piquing my interest. They have a weekly episode and if something important happens, a quick take episode, where a group of NPR correspondents get together and talk about US politics. My favorite correspondants are Ron Elving and Nina Totenberg who have such great voices for podcasts. The podcast does a great job of summarizing what happened, why it happened, and what the future impacts might be. This involves a higher level of listening commitment, but it’s a nice variation from my usual political consumption (ie. Samantha Bee and John Oliver).

Episode Suggestion: Inside HBO’s Confirmation: When NPR Broke the Anita Hill Story

3) Planet Money
This NPR podcast explores pretty much everything and anything with an economic perspective. You end up learning about a lot of little random things, which I love. They’re relatively short, but do require some amount of listening attention, so I end up either not listening to any or listening to four at a time. I’ve found that this is my favorite podcast to exercise to, because the intervals are perfect and the podcast is tightly edited.

Episode Suggestion: 417 Lance Armstrong and the Business of Doping

4) The Read
This podcast is by two friends who comment on black culture and it’s consistently one of the top downloaded podcasts on iTunes. This one takes zero attention to follow, but I admittedly do not know what/who they’re talking about 30% of the time. I do not agree with the majority of their advice, but I think they’re funny, they bring high energy and it’s just very easy to listen to, no matter what I’m doing at the moment.

Episode Suggestion: Best Of on 1/1/2015

5) Fernando & Greg Sideshow
This is just two Bay Area DJs talking about random shit, with their friend Heklina and Jason, their producer. I love this one because for the most part, it takes zero attention to follow this podcast, so I can listen to this while doing anything, and they are the most sexually explicit of my podcasts (in a different way from Dan Savage) so it feels gossipy.

6) What’s the Point
This podcast is similar to Planet Money, in that they focus on a topic each time, but this has a data slant. The episodes are slightly longer than Planet Money though, so more in depth though I think Planet Money just covers a LOT of ground in a short time, whereas What’s the Point is more conversational, between the host and their interviewee. They cover very interesting and relevant topics.

Episode Suggestion: A Privacy Mea Culpa

Things other people like but I don’t:

– Ted Talks: I just CANNOT get into these. The descriptions tend to be more interesting than the podcast itself. I just lose interest too quickly, usually even before the one minute mark.

– This American Life: In theory, I can understand why people would like to listen to this, and I really did try to like this. I listened to at least thirty, thinking the entire time that I was the problem. Each time I’d finish a podcast and think, well … I didn’t really care about any of those three stories! Eventually when you have forty episodes built up in your queue and you have no interest in listening to any of them, it’s time to unsubscribe.

– Unqualified with Anna Faris: I liked Anna Faris and I liked Chris Pratt, not obsessively, but enough to be willing to watch their interviews on youtube if they were ever on a media circuit. But listening to Dan Savage has spoiled me because now if I don’t agree with someone’s relationship advice, I cringe SOOO hard. And I listened to one episode where Chris Evans was on and I cringed SOOOOOO hard at Anna Faris’ advice and Chris Pratt’s reactions and then I felt disgusted in MYSELF because I actually agreed with fratboy idiot CHRIS EVANS and it was just such a gross experience to find myself on the side of Evans vs. Pratt and Faris that I never listened to this again. I think this is an instance of celebrities needing to set up a higher boundary between themselves and fans.

Happy Endings

Listening to: Marina & the Diamonds – Primadonna (I’m so surprised she has hit US radio – I honestly thought it was Katy Perry in my car)

Every now and then I have a weekend where I decide I absolutely must watch some show, generally because I see it mentioned in some TV article or I randomly see some clip. For me, this weekend that show was Happy Endings. Due to a lack of options, I had randomly watched the Season 2 finale, without ever watching any other episodes, and fell in love after the synchronized dance sequence.

I will watch any comedy with a hilarious group dance. My assumption is that only shows where the cast legitimately enjoys spending time together will have synchronized dance routines. These usually take a ton of hours to rehearse and film, so I don’t think writers would be cruel enough to write one into a show unless they knew everyone was going to have fun with it.

Since there aren’t really episodes on Hulu and I don’t know where to illegally find shows anymore I had to suffice with youtube clips and tumblr  gifs 😦

The character with the most clips on youtube is Penny (Casey Wilson) and she never disappoints

Dave’s another hilarious one

Need to get the season dvds and kick it

Today I woke up, decided I wanted to make pancakes, drove to Safeway to buy pancake mix, and then made pancakes. They didn’t taste exactly as I thought they would, I think because I used almond milk, but with each bite I thought they were actually pretty delicious. To ensure that I wouldn’t just throw away the mix, I kept putting more and more blueberries and strawberries in it, knowing that I’d be too cheap to throw away good fruit. That somehow took up about three hours of my day and after consuming my three pancakes I just fell asleep until 12:30.

Then I went to Philz for like six hours and continued to read New York which I HAVE to keep reading without stopping because 1) it’s that good and 2) there are a LOT of characters and I know from experience that if I don’t read a book for a day I won’t remember any of the characters the next time I open the book. It was like 90 degrees outside and I think the only time I will ever enjoy weather above 80 degrees is if I’m sitting under the tree shade of Palo Alto Philz’ seating area. LOVE THAT CAFE. (Unfortunately so do a ton of other people so it is quite crowded on the weekends).

This weekend was Bonnaroo and Youtube streamed it. I watched Blind Pilot on Saturday, and then today I purposely took my laptop to the cafe so I’d catch Bon Iver. AMAZING. It’s very strange to think we’ve come to a point where I can click on a little Google Calendar link to add to my calendar: stream the Bon Iver live feed at 3:45pm CMT for a concert taking place in Tennessee. Yayyyyyyy internet … finding more ways to keep me attached to the computer. I always love the layout of Youtube’s live concert pages … I remember being impressed by the Coachella one. They have super cute graphics and the layout is awesome!!!

I realized that the artists I streamed – Bon Iver, the Shins, Blind Pilot – are all bands I have already watched live this year HAHA So that’s one of the things I will miss about the Bay Area when I move: the good concert scene.

AGH how is it 1:30? I guess I don’t feel tired because I’ve taken two naps today. I’ve been in a more hermit-y mood this month … after my trip to NY I looked at my google calendar and was like HOLY SHIT in the entire month of May, there was only four days of the month that I didn’t go out with friends (except the days I was in Monterey or NY alone). That is … kind of crazy … and tells me why my bank account balance hasn’t moved for a few months. At least it’s not dropping.

The Temper Trap – Love Lost (OMG HAHA I have never seen The Temper Trap perform – the lead singer is not at all what I expected him to look like)