Podcasts – My Current Listens

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I love podcasts.  I’ve talked about this a lot.  But my list of podcasts is ever changing, so every so often, I like to do an update of what I’m listening to.

My current jams are:

The Baby-Sitters Club Club – Jack and Tanner are hilarious.  Two 30-something guys reading and reviewing The Baby-Sitters Club books.  But if you read these in the 90’s, trust me, there’s so much subtext you missed, and Jack and Tanner will help you find it.  (Or maybe they’re just making it up for entertainment.)  Either way, these are a riot and totally worth the listen.

Wolf 359 – This is a fiction podcast, set in a space station.  Small cast, incredible acting, epic writing.  It’s what I would call a dramedy.  Definitely start this one from the beginning.  I’ve actually listened to the story twice through.  The show wraps up this year, and I’m alternately excited to see how it ends and sad that it will be ending.

The Bright Sessions – Another fiction podcast, this one about a psychologist and her paranormal patients.  Really great listen.

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect – This is Radiolab’s Supreme Court show.  They go into depth on current Supreme Cases and former Supreme Court cases and explain why they’re important now and what they mean for us.  And Radiolab‘s main podcast is pretty good too.

Reply All – This one’s new to my list.  They describe themselves as a podcast “about people who shape the internet and how the internet shapes people.”  There are some absolutely fascinating stories here.

Sawbones – This show will likely forever be on my list.  Take an entertaining trip through medical history.  It’s amazing what we thought might cure our ailments.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s the podcasts that I listen to almost immediately when a new episode pops into my app.  There are others that may rise back to the top over the next few months, so I’m sure I’ll have an update then.

Any podcasts I should be listening to?

My current pop culture obsessions

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the various sources of entertainment occupying my time lately.

And by occupying my time, I mean “playing in the background as I do other things” or “being read for ten minutes before I pass out every night.”

(Of course, much of this will be replaced by the Olympics beginning this weekend.  I don’t even care what sport I’m watching.  But I will be watching.)

Like many people, I got sucked into Stranger Things on Netflix.  I managed to watch the entire season (only 8 episodes) in a single weekend while still getting in a 50 mile ride and 11 miles of running.  I’ve been struggling to explain the show.  It’s definitely in the sci-fi realm, not really what I would call horror.  I’d probably put it in the same genre as The X-Files, wherever you put that.  Supernatural mystery?  Either way, it’s excellent storytelling and I have high hopes for the second season.

I’ve been listening to The West Wing Weekly, a podcast about (obviously) The West Wing.  Josh Malina, who joined the cast mid-series, and a friend are working their way through the series, discussing one episode a week while also bringing on great guests, including actors, writers, and directors from the show.  I’ve been rewatching the show along with them, and it’s been a lot of fun to listen to their discussion.  It’s also very hard to make Netflix stop the autoplay and not go on to the next episode.

In other podcasts, I may have already recommended Still Buffering, “a sisters’ guide to teens through the ages,” but it remains highly entertaining.  Three sisters, two in their 30’s and one still in high school, discuss what it’s like to be a teen, both in the 90’s and today.  As someone who was a teen in the 90’s, this is an entertaining reminiscence through the ridiculousness of teenage life, and it’s also mind boggling to learn the teenage “rules” about things like Instagram and group texts.

Radiolab has started up an infrequent podcast called “More Perfect” about the Supreme Court and some major cases and it is fabulous.  I may be their target audience though, as a trained attorney who loved Constitutional Law class in law school.

If you liked the first season of Serial, you might want to check out the second season of Undisclosed.  The Undisclosed team’s first season was on the Adnan Syed case, but they’ve picked up a new case for their second season, and it’s really interesting investigative journalism.  Each week they do a new episode plus an Addendum, hosted by Jon Cryer (yes, Duckie) where they discuss some of the key points of each episode.  Great for the true crime fans out there.

If you’re looking for inspiration as you train, my Coeur teammate Amy Stone hosts the Mile After Mile podcast, where she interviews some impressive athletes and talks about the crazy things they’re doing.

I’ve been listening to audiobooks lately while running, but nothing that I can absolutely rave about at the moment.  I’ve been bouncing between the J.D. Robb In Death series (which I love) and the Outlander books which I have a love/hate relationship with.  (If nothing else, I get my money’s worth out of my Audible credit with those considering how long they are.)  In general, I’m a huge audiobook fan.

I have the latest Harry Potter release sitting on my counter at home but haven’t had the time to delve into it, as I manage to read for a few minutes every night before falling asleep, and I have a feeling that’s not the best way to read that book.  Someday I will have free time to just read for hours again.

So those are the pop culture things taking up my time.  What else should I be watching/reading/listening to?



Essena O’Neill and the Curated Life

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I’ve written before about the need some people feel to obsessively over-edit every picture ever taken of them, but I came across an interesting story this morning and wanted to share.  We are all aware of the “curating” of Instagram feeds and other social media.  People want to make their lives look perfect.  Health and fitness bloggers want to make their bodies look perfect.  We see stories of a person who finds an old friend on Facebook and is immediately jealous of their life, only to discover that the life curated online isn’t their true life at all.

Of course, I’m not against putting your best foot forward.  There are definitely some photos of me that I would prefer to keep off of social media.  (I’m sure everyone has a bad camera angle.)  And I’m not against using photo editing software in general, just the over obsession with it.  Remove that annoying pimple, fine, but don’t reshape your whole face.

A popular social media personality from Australia named Essena O’Neill just quit social media and she did it in the most awesome way.

Buzzfeed does a great job of summing up her story.  She made social media her career, and made a living from it.  But she was spending hours upon hours curating and planning and working to get the perfect look and the perfect picture.

And now she has quit.  She has quit social media and in doing so, is making a point to say how miserable she truly was.  Her accounts made her look so happy with a fabulous life.  But she was miserable.

She talks in the video to her 12-year-old self, the sad girl who wanted to be pretty and popular and who obsessively stalked celebrities and models online and decided she also needed to be popular, because that’s how she thought she would be valuable.

In the video, she says “You don’t have to prove your life on Instagram for it to be a good life.” She’s not against social media, but the way we currently use it, and I absolutely agree.  We’re so surrounded by the curated life.  People are so obsessed with making their lives look amazing on social media.  I’m sure I’m guilty of this at times too.  (Though my Instagram is still 90% cats.)

We all know “that person” online that seems to have the perfect life, but we don’t think about how long they must spend making that life look perfect.  And that’s an incredibly sad state.  We shouldn’t have to be fake.

And we should remember that much of what we see IS fake.  We shouldn’t look at other people and compare our lives to theirs because what they’re presenting might not be real.  And even if it is real, it’s certainly never the whole picture.  Clearly we all try to put our best foot forward in public, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t. We should just remember that there’s more to the story.

Essena has created a website, Let’s Be Game Changers, designed to encourage people to live authentically, not for the online life.  I really hope young people take a look at this and try to find some balance between their online life and their real world life.  And maybe we old people should do the same.  It doesn’t mean you can’t share your life online, but share your life, don’t create a life for the screen.




Training Entertainment: Podcast List Update

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I don’t know about you, but when I’m doing a long indoor training ride or a long training run, I get bored pretty quickly.  When indoors, I often have the tv on, but my go-to when I’m outdoors on a run isn’t music, it’s podcasts.  I occasionally listen while on the bike trainer as well.

There are a lot of great fitness-related podcasts out there.  I don’t listen to any of them.  When I’m working out, I don’t want to think more about working out.  I want an escape.  And since I’m constantly adding and deleting podcasts from my list, I thought I would update what I’m currently listening to.

Welcome to Night Vale remains on my list.  This is… well, I’ll just cut and paste their description.

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

So… fictional (I hope) story of weird antics in a strange town.  I definitely recommend going back in the archives and starting with episode one.

Staying on the fiction track, I recently picked up The Black Tapes Podcast.  It’s a serialized docu-drama focused on the paranormal.  If you liked The X-Files, you’ll like this.  It’s definitely not alien focused or anything, just sort of the unusual and unexplainable.  It’s getting better and better as the team gets more experience.

Next we flip over to Sawbones.  This is a podcast by a husband and wife team, where the wife is a doctor and the husband is comic relief.  They discuss medical history in a funny way, such as how people used to strap whole chickens to their face to cure mumps (or something, all I remember is chickens on your face).  Definitely not too graphic, and pretty entertaining all around.

When I’m looking for random entertainment, I listen to My Brother, My Brother, and Me, a podcast by the previously mentioned comic relief husband and his two brothers.  They do comedy and advice, and it’s hard to explain, but it’s pretty funny.

For great interviews by funny hosts, you can’t go wrong with Girl on Guy and Nerdist.  I got into both of these because they were interviewing someone I was interested in, and the whole show was just so great that I stuck around.

Obviously, you can’t go wrong with the This American Life podcast, and I downloaded their app so I could have access to the show archives.  Another standard is Stuff You Missed In History Class.  Both of these are excellent and it’s worth the time to peruse their archives.

Another new podcast on my list is Mystery Show, which I didn’t think I would like, but I got totally sucked in.  The host finds a random everyday mystery to investigate.  And though the subject of the mystery might not sound interesting, the storytelling is so great that you get sucked in and you must know what is going on in the scene on the Welcome Back, Kotter lunchbox or whatever the subject happens to be.

There are others in my podcast app, but I think these are the ones that get the most attention from me.  I listen a lot while in the car or doing chores around the house in addition to during workouts.  What podcasts do you listen to?  Do you have different podcasts for different activities?

Indoor Workout Entertainment

I like watching tv, but I’m not the type of person who can just sit and veg in front of the tv.  In fact, if I find myself sitting in front of the tv and being entertained, I know that I’m either extremely tired or getting sick.  I always have to be doing something else.  When I have the time, that is working on a craft project of some sort, but usually I’m doing chores (I play streaming tv on my computer and put it in whatever room I’m working in) or on the treadmill or bike trainer.

I joke that I like to rot my brain while I’m working out, but that’s not quite true.  I can’t workout and watch something that requires serious focus.  I need something that I can enjoy while my attention is split.

There are a bunch of shows that I regularly keep up with, but there are a few shows that I discovered late and then plowed through entire seasons as quickly as possible.

Broadchurch – The first season of this British drama focused on a crime in the little town of Broadchurch.  I’m a sucker for a good crime drama, and this one was very well written with awesome characterization.  The second season just started in the UK, but I’m waiting til I can watch it legally in the US.

Arrow and The Flash – Shows on the CW aren’t typically my thing, but I had heard such good things about Arrow that I had to check it out.  These are great shows to watch while working out because there’s a lot of action but you don’t have to be staring intently at the screen the whole time to get the plot.   Plus every time Oliver or Sara take their shirts off, I realize what muscles can look like with a lot of work.  It’s inspiring.  And who doesn’t love a good superhero story?

The League – You have to have a slightly twisted sense of humor and be okay with relatively juvenile jokes to like this show, but I find it hilarious.  The show is based around a group of friends who have a fantasy football league.  I know nothing about fantasy football, but I still love this show.  I was shocked to see a few episodes available for streaming on Southwest flights.  It’s an entertaining show, but I’m not sure I could watch with some nice old lady sitting next to me looking over my shoulder.

I am currently catching up on Supernatural (which I never watched) and Law & Order: SVU (which I watched til about 2009) as well.  I also need to get back into Doctor Who because everyone loves it but I didn’t get sucked in the first go around.

Suggestions for shows that are available on Netflix or Hulu Plus that I should be watching during my workouts?