Critical Pod-mass


I’m at a topping point, I can feel it.

I’m going to have to start deleting podcasts from my subscription list.

It’s not because certain podcasts are not as good as they were before, or that quality levels have changed.  It’s a question of time commitment.

You see, we just moved from one small town back to a larger city.  When I went to work in the small town, my commute was about an hour each direction.  I also worked from home, and remotely from a different office.  So I had a lot of time available to listen to podcasts.  That’s changed now, though.

Now, I’m visible as being in the chair.  It’s easier to interrupt me at work.  My commute is only about 30 minutes each way.  Instead of being a green light that someone can email, I’m just a quick holler away.  So sometimes a 30 minute podcast can take a few hours to listen to.

I’m now sitting at 32 unread podcast episodes, a few shows are now 2 weeks behind (at least).  Sometimes I don’t feel like I can devote any time to listen to the longer episodes.  70 minutes?  I might as well forget about it.  My walks aren’t that long.  Well, I guess I can change my habits, a little bit.

I remember running into this problem when I first got promoted.  I used to have the problem of not enough podcasts to listen to in a day, now I’ve got too many.  And the episodes keep coming in.

This is definitely a privileged problem to have, but it’s still bugging me.  It’s honestly one of the reasons I produce fewer podcasts than I used to.  I just don’t have time to produce content for all of the stuff I want to consume.

Alas.  I probably won’t end up unsubscribing to any podcasts.  I’ll just have to make do for dated references and just keep on top of my sports shows when they come in.

Recent Podcasts

So my free webhost (DirectHosting) changed servers on the weekend and I neglected to make the changes to the domain name right way – which in turn meant that since Sunday some time this blog has been down.  Woops!  I hope you weren’t in dire need of an update (which there was none this week).  I was also on a whirlwind trip moving some things across the province so was a bit busy.

Anyway, I thought I’d mention some podcasts I’ve been listening to lately.  Something I haven’t done in a while.

  • 372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back – This started off as a podcast reviewing Ready Player One.  As a follow-up, the hosts (Mike J. Nelson and Conor Lastowka) decided to read Ernest Cline’s follow-up, Armada.  Unfortunately they aired their final episode covering Armada this past Friday.  I’m not sure what they’re going to do to follow up these books, if they are in fact doing anything.  Disclaimer: I enjoyed both RP1 and Armada, but I also enjoyed how Nelson and Lastowka ripped apart the books.
  • Radio Free Burrito – Wil Wheaton is back!  In episode 51 he talks about a crippling depression he faced in 2017 and how he’s gotten better.  I recommend listening to back episodes but hopefully the fact that he put out a new show is a sign indicating more new shows to come.
  • Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo – An investigative podcast from Connie Walker, and a follow-up to Missing and Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?  All episodes are available to download, and it’s turning out to be an important podcast series rather than “just another true crime podcast”.
  • Incoming Game: A ReBoot ReWatch – With The Guardian Code (trailer) coming out in the US in March (and June, in Canada), ReBoot is suddenly relevant again.  Listening to this show prompted me to start my own rewatch.  The hosts are still getting their rhythm down but it’s entertaining.

Episode 24 – Luck of the Fryrish

Originally posted on Futurama Pedia

Mike and Steve are back with a brand new episode!  Covering a 16 year old episode!  "Luck of the Fryrish" is the focus episode, and Mike & Steve discuss Fry's birthday, Coney Island Whitefish, and which items you should order from Horse D'Oeuvres.  All that and more...on Futurama Pedia!

Make it Okay

I was turned onto the podcast “The Hilarious World of Depression” (Apple Podcasts, apm podcasts) when Wil Wheaton announced he was going to be a guest on the show – back on September 24th.  I wasn’t really interested in the “depression” side of things – mostly I am a big fan of Wil Wheaton and like to hear him speak.

To be brutally honest, the interview wasn’t all that special for me.  I’ve heard and read Wheaton’s thoughts on depression and what he deals with on a day-to-day basis – that wasn’t new.  But I thought I’d give the show a chance, because the host (John Moe) is charismatic and despite hearing some familiar stories, the conversation was frank, honest, and true to the name of the show, funny.

I’ve been listening constantly since then – Margaret Cho, Neal Brennan, and John Green – and hearing about new people I’d never heard before and hearing about their struggles with depression.  I think it’s important to note that despite coming from different backgrounds, their stories are all strikingly similar in terms of how depression affects them and how they cope with it.

I say that it’s important to note this because I think a lot of people suffering from depression feel that they are alone.  I don’t know this for a fact, but that seems to be a common thread in all of the stories I read and hear about depression (and surprise, it’s a common thread in THWOD [excellent acronym for a show, by the way]).

It’s also important to note that it got me thinking about myself.  Am I experiencing symptoms of depression?  Am I depressed?  A cursory self-diagnosis says no; but it’s not something I’ve really thought about addressing before.  In high school, I think I remember feeling like I was depressed.  I don’t think I really was, but with less than 18 years of life experience it can be hard to tell.

The last thing that I want to do with this post is play down the seriousness of depression.  We’ve all seen the cause gaining traction in media – I even wrote about the coverage this past year.  What I’m trying to do is highlight the fact that it’s important to accept that depression affects a lot of people – often people whom you don’t expect.  It’s a silent illness that is hard to diagnose and treat.

I’m glad that I don’t feel like I’m suffering from any form of depression.  But I know some people aren’t so lucky.  I’m also glad to know about this website through THWOD: Makeitok.org.

I haven’t fully taken the time to look through the website, but it looks like a very comprehensive place full of lots of knowledge about mental illness.  I think it’s worth combing through, whether you feel like you need to for yourself, or to find out how to better talk about it with other people who might need help.

Thanks for reading.

Podcast Recommendation: Filmspotting #651

I’m about a week behind, but just recommending the 651st episode of FilmSpotting: American Made / Top 5 Tom Cruise Performances

I find myself skipping FilmSpotting more than I used to (they’re just really long – I don’t always have time to listen to them apart from Massacre Theatre), but this was a really good episode.  Great discussion, and you’ll probably get a long list of movies you need to watch out of this.

Happy International Podcast Day!

I just found out two nights ago that today, September 30th, is International Podcast Day (an event that even has its own website!  https://internationalpodcastday.com/).  It’s an event that even has sponsors making it all possible.

If you want to read the full history of the day, check out their “About” page:
https://internationalpodcastday.com/about/

For my part of celebrating, I don’t really have any new content; so instead I’ll send you to my various posts about podcasts: https://noformatblog.ca/category/podcasts/ 

I also wrote on /r/podcasts about a recent Lifehacker article.  Read that little write-up here: https://www.reddit.com/r/podcasts/comments/72lp05/lifehacker_staffs_podcast_picks/

Beyond that – have a great day and listen to tons of podcasts!!

Podcast Goals

If you’ve been reading any of my posts for the last little while, you probably know I’m really into Podcasts.  I host my own show, Alternative Airwaves, which is a quasi-monthly music podcast where I play Creative Commons songs exclusively.

Along with my friend Mike, I also co-host Futurama Pedia, which is a “release when we can” model; it’s tough to find time to record together, but when we do, we have a good time.

Beyond that, I’m always thinking in the back of my mind that I’d like to put a podcast together that requires less production time – I can just hit “record” and stitch it together.

Tonight (Monday, the 25th) I completely planned on recording a new episode of Alternative Airwaves; but to do that, I’d need to listen to several tracks (in my process, I usually listen to 15-20 songs per show, and only 12-15 make it), do some research about the artists, and then finally record.  After that, I need to put the show together, track-after-track.

I thought about it some more, and realized that I didn’t want to put in the effort to do it.  With that realization came the notion that I want to go back into turning it into a blog primarily, where it used to be both a blog and a podcast.

I have some thinking to do, about whether I even want to do that much (make it a blog).  It’ll essentially cost me nothing to keep it going minus the cost of renewing the domain name, I just need to put time into it.

Episode 23: Saturday Morning Fun Pit

Originally posted on Futurama Pedia

Word of warning - the audio is far from perfect in this episode, as the noise reduction software wasn't playing nice.  But who cares!  You get to hear us talk about Saturday Morning Fun Pit!  Plus some Good News, Everyone!  Also, we had a bit of an audio gap / malfunction in the middle of the show - that audio was sadly unrecoverable.


Podcast Update for June

Here’s your podcast update for June!  There’s actually a lot going on for what is usually considered an “off-season” for entertainment.  If you want, you can see my subscription list at https://podstand.co/profile/lwgrs

Dropped Podcasts

I don’t recall dropping any subscriptions.  Good news!

Returning Shows

This list is somewhat long!  That’s really cool.

  • The Pitch is back!  Three new episodes came out, and while I was disappointed with the unannounced break I’m pretty happy there are new shows to evaluate.  Season 3 started June 14th and is now part of Gimlet.
  • Grant Lawrence is back on CBC Radio 3!  Which is now “Canada Sounds”, which I need to listen more for a proper evaluation.  I guess they got tired of doing the usual show of just playing cool music with the occasional feature.  Now it sounds like something tied even more strongly into Canada.  Episodes are short, it seems!
  • Radio Free Burrito – Wil Wheaton is trying to keep to a weekly schedule.  So far so good.  I’ve always liked this show, and it’s pretty much an audio version of his blog.  A show I usually listen to first as soon as it comes out.
  • Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder – season 2 seems to be looking at the Daniel Morgan murder from a slightly different perspective, assuming that the listener is familiar with the story.  Leans heavily on the host’s new book.

Recommended Listening

  • Overthinking It Podcast episode 464: E.T.: I Learned it from You, Alien Dad! 
    • Why this episode?  Because for a long time I’ve been meaning to re-watch E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.  I keep seeing it on Netflix and I don’t think I’ve watched it in 20+ years.  This episode is a deep dive on what’s going on with the movie E.T. (as opposed to covering the apparently terrible Alien Covenant), and was really fun to listen to.  They touched on so many aspects that I’d never noticed before so I had to watch it.
    • Pair this listening with a viewing of E.T.  You won’t regret it!

New Subscriptions

Just one – Back to the Futurama.  For the longest time, Futurama Pedia was the only Futurama podcast around but that’s changed!  Back to the Futurama is going through all of the Futurama episodes in order, from what I can tell.  I haven’t listened through everything, and still need to finish listening to their Space Pilot 3000 episode.  But it’s pretty good!

Got any podcasts you’d like to recommend?

May Podcast Update

Another month, another update!  As always, you can download my list of subscriptions by clicking on https://podstand.co/profile/lwgrs.

Dropped Podcasts

Just one show, and I hate to do it this time because it’s not because of quality.  It’s quite simply because of quantity.  I had to drop Steele Wars because there were just too many episodes over an hour in length, all at 1+ hours (I think the most recent one was 118 minutes).  It’s too much podcast for me; but if you like Australian comedians and Star Wars, you should stick with it.

Podcast Suggestions

These aren’t new subscriptions for me, but rather some specific highlights of my listening in the last month.

S Town Companion – Alec Baldwin’s fantastic interview podcast, Here’s The Thing, recently had Brian Reed (writer of S Town) on the show to talk about his experience putting the story together.  Worth a listen if you enjoyed S Town.  Spoiler alert – do NOT listen to this until you’ve had a chance to listen to S Town.  The first part of the podcast is OK to listen to, but there’s a brief pause to let you catch up before they talk freely about it.

Anthology – Host Matt Hurt is back covering season 2 of The Twilight Zone.  Every other episode is a bonus episode where he reviews Dimension 404 – a show I’m interested in hearing about but probably won’t watch (too much TV available!).  One episode I enjoyed in particular was his panel about hosting a solo podcast; not directly related to his source material, but was interesting to hear his perspective on podcasting.  You can find that episode here: https://anthologypod.com/2017/04/20/specialep1/

Unplayed Suggestions

This is a weird category, but this is my so-called “to do” list for podcast listening.  I listen to a lot of podcasts so I just haven’t gotten around to it, but this suggestion came from my brother on Twitter.

WTF with Marc Maron Episode 768 – Billy West I’m a big Futurama fan, and Billy West is a huge part of that show.  He also has his hand in almost every possible voice over venture in existence.  I will get to it eventually!

Got any suggestions of your own?  Let me know!