Monthly Archives: December 2013

Podcasting

I haven’t written much about my new job – mostly because life is just getting in the way.  My life has a new, less stressed rhythm to it now, which I’m still trying to settle into.  My new schedule is such that I can pick the kids up at school three afternoons a week.  This means that I can spend those afternoons with them.  I have vowed that I will not spend *ALL* of those afternoons doing chores and/or errands… instead we have been playing games and generally spending time together for at least part of that time.  In addition, the weekends are more relaxed because I’m able to do some things in the afternoons, like pick up a little, or rake leaves, etc.  So I am generally more calm, which makes everyone else more calm.

The negative about this job is that it’s further away, which means I’m spending more time in the car each day.  I used to have a 25 minute commute three days a week, and 30 minutes on the other two.  Now it’s a 40 minute commute.  On paper, that really seems almost the same, right?  Well, it doesn’t feel the same.  For some reason, maybe because it’s mostly freeway driving now, and it’s kind of straight with no traffic… it feels like it’s a lot further.  I was listening to music, but it was getting me down.  There was a lot is sighing, a lot of looking at the clock, more sighing.  It was really getting to me.

So I decided to try listening to podcasts.  I have been listening to a couple of podcasts for years, but never while driving.  So I looked around for an app that would make podcast listening easier (this was just before the new ios from Apple that actually made their podcast player functional).  Anyway, I found iCatcher, which is easy to use and chock full of features.  It basically just lines all your podcasts up, and plays them one after the other, downloading them as they become available.  It makes it really easy – I just plug in the phone, start the app, and I’ve got 40 minutes of interesting listening.  Now rather than dreading the drive, I look forward to it twice a day.

What am I listening to?

  • Fresh Air
    • Terry Gross is such a fantastic interviewer.  I generally only listen to her entertainment or science interviews, though.
  • This American Life
    • Love.
  • Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
    • I usually listen to this on the weekend, but I download the podcast just in case I missed part of it.
  • Jim Hightower’s Common Sense Commentaries
    • A Texas populist – he’s always got interesting things to say about big business and agriculture.
  • StoryCorps
    • This is NPR’s project to record Americans interviewing each other.  It’s short and often very touching.  I usually hear it Friday mornings on the news, but sometimes they put additional ones in the podcast.
  • TED Talks
    • I end up listening to only the ones I find interesting, but there are plenty.  If you don’t know TED, it stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design.  They have conferences around the world and ask interesting people to give lectures on interesting things.  I’ve learned a lot, and been inspired by many.
  • TED Radio Hour
    • This is the NPR show that takes various TED Talks and pulls them together into a wonderful hour-long show.  They supplement the talk with interviews of the speakers, and tie all the talks together.  It’s wonderful.
  • Radiolab
    • One of my absolute favorites.  It’s like This American Life, but science-y.  Check it out.
  • Science Friday
    • This is always the Friday show on Talk of the Nation on NPR.  Lots of good science talk.
  • Selected Shorts
    • Airs on NPR on the weekends.  It’s short stories read by actors.
  • StarTalk Radio
    • One of my favorites.  This is Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s podcast, in which he and a (varying) sidekick talk about space and science-y stuff.  So fun – he is amazing.
  • The Moth
    • More stories – these ones are more personal anecdotes told onstage in front of an audience.  Have made me laugh and cry.

As you can see, I’m an NPR nerd.  There are a lot of “story” podcasts in there, with a health dose of science, and just a sprinkling of politics.  Right now, I have about 7 hours of listening waiting for me, but I listen to about 6 hours a week, so I think my list is just about perfect.

If you have any suggestions for me, leave them in the comments!

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