April Podcast Update

Another month, another podcast update and updated OPML file for you: download it at https://podstand.co/profile/lwgrs.

New Subscriptions

S-Town Podcast
S-Town Podcast

S-Town.  I’m pretty sure most people into podcasts are already aware of S-Town, but if you’re not I definitely recommend it.  I don’t want to give away any details, because I feel like it needs to unfold sequentially for you to get the full effect.  What I can say about it is that it plays out like a long-form article from a magazine.  Almost like someone took a written 7-part article series and recorded an audio version of it.

I don’t know that I would listen to a series like this all of the time.  I don’t mind that the shows I listen to aren’t really serialized, and are easy to digest.  I feel like that’s one of the more appealing aspects of podcasts.  However, once every now and then a series like this could stick on my radar.

I hope to read a lot more follow-up pieces on what kind of effect S-Town has on the podcasting community.  I hope that we don’t see too many “copycats” – but I am very interested in seeing what Serial and This American Life do next based on this show.

Tea & Jeopardy.  This was a recommendation in one of the Writing Excuses podcasts.  The short description: it’s basically an author interview podcast, but occasionally the host and guest encounter “perils” that they need to overcome.  It sounded like something I might like, but it’s not entirely up my alley.  Giving it another shot when a new episode comes out.

Dropped Subscriptions

None!  I don’t believe I actually dropped any podcast subscriptions this month.  Pretty solid month of listening!

Gord Downie’s Secret Path

This review originally appeared on my personal blog.  You can read it there: https://noformatblog.ca/2017/04/13/gord-downies-secret-path/ 

Gord Downie’s Secret Path

Secret Path is an adult alternative album from Gord Downie (lead singer of The Tragically Hip), released in October 2016.  It was released with an accompanying graphic novel, as well as an animated made-for-TV film that aired on CBC in the same month.  You can read more about the production background of the album on Wikipedia.

Secret Path tells the story of an Anishnaabe boy named Chanie Wenjack, from Marten Falls First Nation, who died in 1966 while trying to return home.  He was escaping from an Indian Residential School.  All of the proceeds from this album and book are being donated to the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation project.
* – Note – the above paragraph was paraphrased slightly and partially copied verbatim from the Wikipedia article I linked to.
As a preface to this review, I want to say that I’m not a “strong” music reviewer.  When it comes to music, I don’t dive deep.  I know what sounds I like, and occasionally lyrics stand out to me.  Usually when I listen to an album, I don’t really look into the details about it beforehand.
However going into Secret Path, I was at least peripherally aware of the subject matter.  I knew that it dealt with an aboriginal boy who died in the 1960s, but didn’t really explore it much further than that.  It was always one of those “Oh I’d like to listen / read that, but maybe later” kind of things.
That really influenced my listening to this album.  I tried to focus on the lyrics when I listened to the album, but personally I have a hard time doing that.  For me, music is more about the overall sound and like I said, I don’t normally pinpoint on what’s being said (with a few exceptions here and there).
Knowing the subject matter, the album gave me a distinct atmospheric feeling.  Overall, the album gave me a feeling of being alone.  The first couple of tracks start out on a bit of a positive note – Chanie sets out to escape the residential school, and looking forward to going home.  But the rest of the album gradually descends into a gloomy tone, as Chanie faces increasing hardships.
Most of the instruments on the album are guitar and piano.  I think what really helps create this mental image is Downie’s voice, which is best described on this album as strained at times and haunting.  Everything fits together so well to tell this story.
In a way though, I think I should have listened to this album while reading the accompanying graphic novel.  I definitely will still pick it up and read it, but I think it would have helped me even more in understanding what was going on in the music.
Still, the album is technically very well done.  And I think that it does exactly what it sets out to do: tell the story of Chanie Wenjack and his ill-fated journey home.  You’re not going to hear these songs on the radio, and that’s OK.  That’s not what this is meant to be.  In one sense, it’s a bit of a disappointment that it might not get widespread mainstream attention (though I contend that since its release, it’s received a LOT of mainstream reviews, so it has received attention); but on the other hand, I appreciate that this project wasn’t undertaken with commercial success as the first thought.
I read a Pitchfork review of the album that Downie was approached by Broken Social Scene member Kevin Drew to record an album, and that Downie didn’t have any material – but he was writing about Chanie.  I don’t know why, but I get the idea of this tragedy nagging away at Gord Downie until he could get it out to the world.
I definitely recommend listening to the album, and I hope you follow my example by picking up the graphic novel and read that, too.

Episode 21: Meanwhile

Finally, after three years, a new episode!  Thanks for sticking with us during the unplanned hiatus.  During the recording we forgot about our “lost” episode 20 that we totally did record, so that’s where the Episode 20 references are coming from.

In this episode we watch the (as of yet) series finale “Meanwhile”, and also cook up some Slurm!  Plus we talk about the upcoming Futurama mobile game (which since recording is now available for pre-registration on Google Play!), and other fun stuff.  The Slurm video is coming soon – listen for a brief clip at the end of the show!

Download the podcast from Archive.org or your favourite podcatcher!  Available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.

Some links we mentioned:
A Trip to the Moon
Fan-O-Rama – Futurama fan film

Episode 20: Attack Of The Killer Podcast

Editor’s Note: This episode was posted on our old webspace, which due to “reasons” died earlier this year.  We thought we were only at episode 20 – but it turns out we recorded this two years ago!  Episode 21 is coming later this week, but for now – enjoy this gem from August 2015.



Mike and Steve are back from an unintended hiatus with a new episode!  In this episode, they watched Attack of the Killer App, which is definitely the third episode of season 5, 6, or 7, depending on how you look at it.  Topics of discussion include the upcoming Futurama Mobile Game, data mining, and apparently they’re building some sort of tube system.

 iTunes | Stitcher | RSS | Twitter




Monthly Podcast Update

You can see the original post back in February – but the updated list is available at https://podstand.co/profile/lwgrs.

Since my last post, I decided to cull some podcasts from my subscription list.  I will come back to those in a bit.  I wanted first to talk about  the new shows that I added.

New Subscriptions

Side Hustle School: I added this show because I’m interested in the concept of the “side hustle”, colloquially known as beermoney in some online circles.  But I was skeptical of this, thinking that it might be a mass-produced, spammy podcast that I wouldn’t end up liking.  I definitely recommend this show, because it’s short (most episodes are 10 minutes or less) and gives a brief overview of what some people are doing to earn income on the side of their regular job.  I might prefer more information in a weekly format, but in its daily form, it’s not bad.  The great thing about this show is that the stories presented are all pretty interesting and often unique.  One thing I like about short podcasts is that I can throw one of these in between longer shows.

Twenty Thousand Hertz: I was impressed with this show.  I listened to the “Cars” episode – in the car, fittingly.  I learned some new things about the sound design of cars, and I thought it was really well-produced.  I’ve only heard one more episode (it was about talking dolls) – looks like it is possibly a bi-weekly show.  I may need to download back episodes to get a better feel.

The Pitch: Pretty much what I thought it would be – Shark Tank in audio form.  What I liked about the most recent episode I heard was that the show interviewed the people making  their pitch after the fact.  I like it, but it definitely doesn’t update often.  Still waiting for a new episode.  This may fall off the list.

Steele Wars: If you get a chance, listen to the episode where Steele convinces a friend who’s never seen a single Star Wars movie to watch Rogue One.  It’s a good example of what I like so far of this podcast.  One problem: Steele releases a lot of episodes, and they’re all lengthy.  I’m not 100% sure I’m going to stay subscribed, mainly for a ‘no time in the day’ reason.

Comeback Show

The Adam Sandcast: I think what Tyler (of Cynical Cartoons) is doing is a unique angle.  If you’re not familiar, the Adam Sandcast used to cover only Adam Sandler movies.  Now he’s doing standalone episodes of “fake” podcasts, if that makes sense; last week it was Kevin James (“Kevin Can Pod”) and this week it’s Jim Carrey (“Jim PodCarrey”).  He’s trying something different and it’s worth a listen if you like Cynical Cartoons.

Dropped Subscriptions

Storm of Spoilers.  I just found these episodes to be too long, and I was skipping too many of them.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not due to poor quality.  I just found that I wasn’t keeping up with them.  And with Game of Thrones coming back soon, and not being able to watch the episodes right away, I only really want one GoT podcast piling up for me – that would be A Cast of Kings.

That’s it!  No other dropped shows this month.  Will that change?  Stay tuned at the end of April…

Coming up next week on the blog: my first look and Android 7 – Nougat.

Filmspotting Madness 2017: Pantheon Challenge

One of the long running podcasts I listen to is Filmspotting. The brief summary is that two hosts review films, but that’s not germane to this post.

In the past few years, they’ve run what’s known as Filmspotting Madness, their take on the popular March Madness NCAA Basketball tournament. They’ve pit actors, directors, and films against each other to determine the last one standing. I don’t normally take part, but this year I will.

This year, they are putting movies that are in the Pantheon against each other. The Pantheon is basically the “hall of fame” of movies for Filmspotting. 

There are some pretty tough choices in the brackets, and some of them are Oscar Best Picture winners too (oh yeah, that’s on tonight!). It might even inspire a movie night playlist if you’re not a fan of watching the Oscars. 

Podcast Subscription Post

I almost labelled this as the “Monthly Podcast Subscription Post” but thought better of it.  I’d like to have this as a regular feature on the blog, but I don’t know yet if it’s going to be monthly or maybe less frequent.  Either way, I think the format may change, but you’re going to see this kind of post pop up more than once!

I subscribe and listen to a lot of podcasts.  Usually, I don’t have the time to listen to more than a few in a day, so I tend to be pretty picky when it comes to adding or dropping shows.  I have no problem trying out new shows if I like the description or it comes recommended, but I quickly drop shows from my rotation if it doesn’t “do it” for me.

These posts won’t have much info added to them, with the exception of new subscriptions & dropped subscriptions.  For those, I’ve got a brief write-up of why I added / dropped the subscription.

With that said, here’s my current subscription list, pulled from my OPML file in Pocket Casts:

Active Subscriptions
(Podcasts with an episode in the last 90 days)

  • Cynical Cartoons
  • Overthinking It
  • Filmspotting
  • Toronto Blue Jays Podcast
  • Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
  • A Cast of Kings
  • Make Dad Read Comics
  • Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast
  • The Night Time Podcast
  • CBC Radio 3 Podcast
  • Writing Excuses
  • Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast
  • Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder
  • A STORM OF SPOILERS
  • Hokey Religion: The Star Wars Podcast
  • The Benchcast
  • Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?
  • Sens Callups
  • Almost Educational
  • Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin
  • Good Job, Brain!
  • Transporter Room 3: The Star Trek Podcast
  • Under the Influence
  • Anthology – The Twilight Zone and Classic Sci-Fi
  • Birds All Day
  • Polaris Podcast

New Subscriptions

  • Side Hustle School
    • Why I added it: I’m skeptical of this one but the subject matter is something I’m interested in: “A daily show for everyone who works a regular job and wants to start an income – earning project on the side . In each episode , listeners will hear a different story of someone who ‘s started a side hustle – along with what went well , how that person overcame challenges , and what happened as a result . The show is written and hosted by Chris Guillebeau , the New York Times bestselling author of The $ 100 Startup , The Happiness of Pursuit , and other books.” 
  • Twenty Thousand Hertz
    • Why I added it: this was based on description alone.  It sounds like it’s a podcast about Sound Design, something that is inherently COOL: “You may not think about the sounds you hear every day but somebody has . The voice in your phone the effects in your video games that drum machine in your favorite song There are people – and stories – behind every one of them . Join your host , Dallas Taylor , on an exploration of the stories behind the world ‘s most recognizable and interesting sounds.”
  • The Pitch
    • Why I added it: based on the description, I figured I’d give it a try. After all I like Shark Tank / Dragon’s Den a little: “A show where entrepreneurs pitch investors for funding Like Shark Tank , but smarter”
  • Steele Wars : Star Wars Podcast
    • Why I added it: Steele has appeared a few times on Plumbing The Death Star and I wanted to add some more SW content to my list.

Dropped Subscriptions

  • Beware & Warning
    • Why I dropped it: The humour just wasn’t for me.  I felt that the length of the shows was also too long for what I wanted from the episodes. I respect the work they do but it’s just not a show for me.

Inactive Subscriptions
(I haven’t declared these “dead” yet…)

  • Eric and the Legion
  • Radio Free Burrito
  • The Adam Sandcast
  • The 6th Sens Podcast
  • Rathole Radio
  • TV CRIMES
  • Memories of the Futurecast
  • Days of Old

The Connectome

I was listening to the official Star Trek podcast (as you do) the other day, and there was an episode that featured Morgan Gendel, the writer of The Next Generation classic episode The Inner Light, to discuss the episode and various topics.  The whole episode was interesting, but he was particularly focused on what’s known as the Connectome.

Here’s a description of the Connectome, from Wikipedia:

A connectome is a comprehensive map of neural connections in the brain, and may be thought of as its “wiring diagram”. More broadly, a connectome would include the mapping of all neural connections within an organism’s nervous system.

The study of the connectome was described in the podcast as akin to mapping the human genome.  Basically, understanding this aspect of the human brain would be HUGE in terms of understanding how we work, and also in adapting technology to fit our needs.  I won’t go into all of the specifics and ruin it for you, but some of the ideas broached in the episode with Gendel and Hoffman talk about some really cool, and also slightly terrifying, things that could theoretically be done with an understanding of the connectome.

If you’re not into Star Trek, just ignore some of the trappings of the episode and focus on the interview.  It’s really good, and is a good way to kill an hour while you’re at work or commuting.

#104 – Wingin’ It 2017 Edition

Every now and then I like to just throw a podcast together without putting a ton of work into it.  I already had the playlist, but I decided I didn’t want to do the research today.  So here you go!  A very eclectic mix of tracks, grouped in no particular order.  Hope you enjoy it!  If you like the podcast, consider supporting it by joining the Patreon campaign!

Track List

  1. Derwald – Berlino
  2. Nuns of the Tundra – Robot Love (Single Verison)
  3. Mickey Blue – Give Yourself Away (Produced by Benstar)
  4. Strangezero – Burnin Star
  5. Brady Harris – Welcome Me Back
  6. The Madpix Project – When the Sun Goes Down
  7. Matt Confusion – Pride
  8. The Artisans Beats – Finally Find
  9. Jekk – Survive
  10. Nicolas Falcon – My Island
  11. The Green Duck – On the Rise
  12. Doc Aquatic – All Timer
  13. Alexander Mack – Sharp Dressed (Prod. Alex Mack)

I really want to meet Robert Picardo and Ethan Phillips

This is going to be largely another podcast recommendation, but if I’m ever asked what celebrity I’d most like to meet, it’d be Robert Picardo and Ethan Phillips, together in the same room.  Those two are downright funny, and also (mostly) down to earth.

Apparently they know each other quite well since starring together on Star Trek: Voyager, and have crossed paths several times.  I learned today that both Picardo and Phillips were cast in Cowen Brothers movies – and I specifically want to seek out Inside LLewyn Davis now.

I would definitely want to meet both of them, but if I had to choose, probably Robert Picardo.  Anyway, if you want to hear some proof of their genius together (and apart), have a listen to some episodes from Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast.  I’ve listed them in order of newest to oldest.  Don’t worry, inside jokes are kept to a minimum.