Public radio and podcasts help me stay connected to the intelligent, free thinking, current affairs oriented adult world that I miss by staying at home with our child all day. There isn’t a day when I question whether I should be home with this child. I don’t even really miss adult interaction all that often thanks to the internet. Of course, I do miss water cooler moments from working in an office and actual coffee breaks. Mostly because I was an avid reader of the actual newspaper back then and could read while standing in line to get my coffee, while I drank it, and on the way back to the office/cube space. I usually worked close to a coffee bar. A priority that apparently ran deep within me.
How did I end up on coffee? I’m losing focus; where were we…? Oh, right:
I basically never turn my car radio off NPR. I love getting in the car and catching up on local or world news after being disconnected all day. Heck, sometimes it’s been a few days. I grew up in a house where the tv was always on and it was usually on the “news”. So, in that way, I suppose it’s just kind of comforting. Shows like Tell Me More and Science Friday always get me really thinking about stuff that I want to be thinking about. In addition to current affairs, I’m
kind of crazy for some Fresh Air. I’ve had more “driveway moments” because of that lady and her fascinating interviews with people doing rad things in the now. I’m pretty sure I would just collapse into a puddle if I were to share actual space with Terry Gross. That lady’s voice is what is so great about public radio. She’s engaging with both the audience and her guest. She’s awkward in the most sincere of ways. When we lived at the lake, I’m not ashamed to say that I planned my entire day and errands around being the car during Fresh Air. (We were way out in the woods. Far from, well, anything.) If it was a too quick an errand, I’d stop at the lake a few doors down from our house and listen while my then infant snoozed in the back seat so that I could finish the show. Of the interviews over the years, some of my favorites have included: David Sedaris, Maya Rudolph, Maurice Sendak, Jay-Z (back when he was still okay with the hyphen), Wes Anderson, Bill O’Reilly (it’s cut short, because he bails like a jerk) and Jon Stewart.
Podcasts have changed everything for me. I can listen anywhere and at any time. They automatically show up on my iPhone by the voodoo of Steve Jobs. I have more podcasts downloading on the daily than I have actual time to listen. That being said, let me tell you where my podcast obsession started: a guy named Merlin Mann. I’m more than a little obsessed with this guy. I follow him on twitter, his weblogs, his podcasts. I find him to be a) fascinating and b) massively entertaining. We both share in weird quirks (germaphobic) and issues of general anxiety (real talk). There is this nice peace I get when laughing with this guy. It also helps me to laugh at my own crazytrain issues. He has many podcasts; I listen to all of them. Usually by binging for a few afternoons. Sometimes on road trips with the hubs, who totally supports my crush on Merlin. We really like Back to Work (this inspires me to just stop being afraid and to start working) and You Look Nice Today. (It’s actually no longer a thing. But when it was a thing, it was so weird funny.) Also, don’t forget to check out Roderick on the Line. My all time favorite Merlin Mann podcast was when he and John Gruber (Don’t know who the heck he is? He’s kind of big deal in the Apple enthusiast world.) spoke at SxSW ’09 about staying true to your authentic voice regardless of whatever you’ll get out of it. I’ve listened to that talk a few times and after the most recent time is when I wrote my Brave Kindness post. I felt really fucking great about it, too.
So, there you go. Obsessed.
In addition to all the Merlin Mann podcasts, I have three others that I really can’t stand having to pause while listening: Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing (in the vein of Fresh Air), Decode DC (this is a newish one, and really got me hooked fast!), and The New Yorker: Fiction (writers reading and discussing a story from the magazine’s archives). Another old favorite is 60 Second Science. Yup, it’s just sixty quick seconds – but it’s awesome. Because, science!
Podcasts are one of my favorite things of things from this future time we’re living in. In fact, I’ve been dreaming up a podcast of my own. I know so many interesting people (yes, probably you) and I’m pretty sure between all of us, the content could be amazing. I just have to figure out a format. It helps that I have a hubs that works in media. Not having to sweat the tech is nice. So, that might actually happen…someday.