Feb. 2nd, 2016

topaz119: (sunset car)
Podcasts, for [livejournal.com profile] ariadnes_string, what I like, what I don't like, favorites, what my own podcast would be like...

After resisting the call of podcasts for years, I have gotten into them with a vengeance lately, especially since I’m in the car upwards of 2 hours a day getting to/from the office. They make a nice shift from audiobooks, so my favorites aren’t things like Serial or Welcome to Nightvale, which my brain reads as more narrative (and is not good at processing in the morning, especially.) I actually do love WTNV, but in the evening and as a break from a longer audiobook (I’m in the middle of Connie Willis right now and her stuff goes on for a bazillion hours, so a little quick weirdness from WTNV is welcome sometimes.)

Partially, this sudden love affair is because the idea of podcasting itself has grown up: when I first gave them a try, years and years ago, I found them to be mostly just painful, unmoderated group blather (or solo blather, which was at least quieter, but generally even more unfocused.) This is not to say that I don’t have favorites now that are just a couple people talking, but even those are a little more polished in production than the original ones I tried years ago.

The other thing is that I don’t really want to listen to people who have to prove a point (which eliminates a vast swathe of the popular) and I spend my days with the tech crowd—I *really* don’t need to listen to more of them in my car (buh-bye to another swoosh of recommended stuff.) But now the concept has spread out to so many areas that I can find thoughtful, reasonably produced ‘casts on all kinds of niche topics.

So, yeah, I’m all into the podcast equivalents of the Rare Pairs in fic. Surprise?

In random order, here are a few of the ones that have helped make the doubled commute time less of a hassle:

  • Backstory – Three history professors trace a topic of some current interest through American history. I may have a thing for Ed Ayers’ Virginia accent (and I do, I really really do), but that’s just the icing on the cake of well-thought out, nicely presented information. Since it’s a segment that airs on regular public radio stations it’s a little more elaborate than 3 guys sitting around and talking—there are interviews and side-trips that are produced by actual radio people—but the meat and potatoes of it all is the arc through history of such things as alcohol or Islam in America. (But yeah, Ed Ayer’s voice, happysiiiiigh. /tmi)

  • Reading Lives – One of bookriot.com’s podcasts, this one centers on, you guessed it – the reading life of various authors. My interest in this waxes and wanes with the specific person involved, but the only one I’ve stopped listening to was the one with the youngish dude who just… wrote young dude books. And even then, it didn’t annoy me, he just bored me. I mean, even Andy Weir’s hour was a pretty entertaining just from how he interacted with his dad around their shared love of sci fi. They do talk with a wide, diverse group of writers, which is really nice, and it’s just so soothing, listening to all these people who love to read talk about their favorites.

  • DBSA – Dear Bitches, Smart Authors, the official name of the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books podcast (iTunes did not like the B word and threatened to pull the podcast listing, so initials it was.) Usually an interview with someone in the romance field—author, editor, professors who focus on Austen or the Brontes, former acquisition managers for women’s writing collections… all very interesting given my long-time love of the genre and the disrespect with which it is held by many. I’m not as into her interviews with readers – they can tend right toward the blather end of the spectrum, but holy cow has my TBR pile grown from this ‘cast.

    You Must Remember This – Hollywood history, ranging from the 1920s up through the long and super-interesting series on the Manson murders. Pretty well-done—I especially enjoyed the series on the women of Hollywood during WWII—it’s stuff that’s tended to have been swept under the rug.

    The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill – You do not want to know how many Disney-related podcasts there are out there. Really, you don’t. I can’t bear to listen to most of them for more than a few minutes, as the entitled fanboy BS is at tsunami levels. This one is a favorite because the whining is at a minimum, and they really do know their stuff. It’s just 2 guys talking, nothing fancy, but it’s one of the guys who does the Unofficial Guide book (Len) and Jim, a freelance reporter who’s covered the theme park industry for a long time and knows eeeeeeeeeverything. So, Jim knows and talks to everyone, and Len keeps Jim more-or-less on track (the level of minutia in that man’s head is kinda scary.) Jim is pretty upbeat and positive, and keeps Len’s cynical side in check (I don’t actually listen to Len on his other podcasts because he can go down that slippery whining slope pretty fast), while Len counters Jim's minutia with the kind of crazy who (along with his wife) borrow from Space Mountain and the Tiki Room/PotC in a mid-century modern house remodel. Together, they do things like attach themselves to the recording device and walk through a park, looking at all the new stuff and sharing their geeky glee, analyze every scrap of leaked information to keep everyone apprised of the go-forward status of the Muppets at DHS (currently still a go, but they’re “right on the line” of keep/tear down), spend $600 at Morimoto to check out as many dishes as possible (my crew took on that challenge and blew it apart, but hey, it was fun), take the proposed updates to DL and DHS and backtrack out to where cast member parking needs to go before they can start construction. I heart them muchly. WDW is always in flux, but they manage to get as solid of information as possible, as opposed to the wild theories and rumors from many (if not most) other sites/casts.

    And an honorable mention goes to the Story and Star Wars series from Storywonk. I *thoroughly* enjoyed the dissection of the Star Wars movies from a story structure standpoint. All meta/critical analysis should be this good.

    My own podcast would be me talking to all of you, all my wonderful, fabulous geeky women, all about what was making your heart sing, because I think too much of nerd!women commentary is stuck in the 'look, they exist!' stage and not so much in the things that make them happy. And of course, there would be recs, of everything from fic to vids to recipes to make-up/manicure tips. (So, basically my flist, in audio form.)
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