an update.

Hey y’all! So it’s been almost a month since I last posted and I wanted to write a quick update. Things are pretty okay for me, all things considered. Life for me have been hectic this month and I’m still trying to deal with my (failing) mental health. But I’m here and I’m starting the slow process of getting my life back together.

I’ve been doing a bunch of adulting this past week, resulting in a huge amount of anxiety. But as I’ve learned, my anxiety always does better if I just deal with the problem/thing immediately. It literally took me until I was in my early 20s to realize that addressing the source of my anxiety would actually make the thing go away and thus, my anxiety would go away as well. I come from a family of procrastinators so I’m not surprised it took me that long and I still try and not deal with issues immediately.

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S-Town and Missing Richard Simmons

Recently, I listened up the popular podcast S-Town and ended up listening to all seven episodes in about 24 hours. This podcast is wonderfully produced and one of the latest projects from the teams behind This American Life and Serial. I was initially hesitant to listen to this show because I wasn’t sure how the show would go. It has been lauded as a true crime podcast and the description of it alludes to it being similar in nature to other popular podcasts like Serial and Missing Richard Simmons. And while the description doesn’t adequately describe the final product of the show, it was an interesting (and sometimes rough) listen.

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True Crime and Tragedy as Entertainment

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about using real life pain, tragedy, and abuse as entertainment. A part of this comes from listening to the podcast Missing Richard Simmons, in which one journalist looks into the enthusiastic fitness instructor’s rather sudden retreat from public life a few years ago and the turmoil that the show caused. Listening to that show felt weird at so many moments and Amanda Hess over at the New York Times nailed exactly why it felt so invasive.

There are so many other examples similar to Missing Richard Simmons that are based on that same sort of premise: using and telling someone else’s story in a very public way. Many (but not all) of these productions are about events that are traumatic and violent, making them moments that I’m sure not many would want to constantly relive on a public stage.

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I’ve written about a few of my favorites before so it’s no secret that I love podcasts. My day job allows for a lot of listening time so I tend to go through a lot of episodes each week. And while I have reviewed plenty in the past, I thought I’d compile some of my favorites all together! I’ve grouped the list by category/related content so if you see one you like and are looking for more, check out the ones in the same group. This list is in no way a true reflection of all the amazing audio content that exist nowadays but just some of my favorites. Some will have easily accessible transcripts, others will also have Patreons and ways to support their work. All that information, if it’s applicable to a show, will be right below each show description.

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The LifeAfter Podcast.

170x170bbA few weeks ago, I discovered a new podcast from the same partnership that produced The Message. As I loved The Message, I was immediately on board with the new one and was not disappointed. Life.After follows FBI clerk Ross Barnes as he tries to get through everyday life and work after losing his wife in a car accident several months before. Listening to his late wife’s posts on an audio social media platform is often all that gets him through – that is, until he hears something new and rather weird.

There are only 10 episodes in the podcast, with each one about 25 minutes long. The production and sound of this show is incredibly well done and while there were times in which it fell a bit flat, the voice acting was convincingly real. According to one of the creators of the show, they would record the show outside the studio and on location, allowing for the show to be more authentic. And this is such a tiny detail and such a weird comment but the fact that they had a specific sound for VoiceTree posts made it seem more like a believable platform.

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mza_359485749806540041.600x600-75If you are anything like me and enjoyed listening to The Message, then you’ll probably also really like the podcast Limetown. It’s fictional podcast following the investigation of what happened to a place called Limetown in 2004 and seems to be a mix of Serial, NPR, and the Twilight Zone. Although if you want to listen to it spoiler free (which I would), I recommend not reading this any further.

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The Message.

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with podcasts of all kinds and I’ve written about some of my favorites a couple times before. Nowadays, podcasts seem just as popular as they were in 2005 – the year some claimed to be ‘the year of the podcast’.  And there are so many ones to listen to: news and radio programs, investigative journalism (like the popular Serial), others that aim to improve your love life, etc etc.

550373999_1280x720But there are some that hail back to the days of radio drama and productions like Orson Wells’ The War of the Worlds. One in particular is the podcast miniseries The Message, which seems to capture that same essence of radio drama but with a new digital spin.

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Podcasts (pt 2)

So several months ago I wrote about some of my favorite podcasts and since then, that list has grown! This list right now is about the podcasts  I know I love already(*) but the ones I’m excited to start listening to(**).

Last Name Basis* – husband and wife duo Patrick and Franchesa talk about what’s happening in the world as well as married life and their dogs.

Belabored Podcast** – This is one I haven’t listened to yet but Belabored is a podcast from Dissent Magazine about the labor movement.

Lore Podcast* – this is a biweekly podcast about true life scary stories and each episode looks into the truth behind a uniquely scary story. I have honestly gasped audibly and made faces at the information I learn and some of the stories. Based on this podcast, I guess it’s true what they say – sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Black Girl Dangerous Podcast** – so I haven’t listened to this one yet but Mia McKenzie started a podcast for Black Girl Dangerous and I’m so excited!

Media Monday: Podcasts

I love podcasts, partly because being an introvert with anxiety and depression means getting out of the house and interacting with others for extended periods of time can be really overwhelming. But also because there are so many podcasts that cover so many topics and interests that I usually end up learning a lot by listening. So for this Media Monday, here are some of my favorites.

  • Welcome to Night Vale: This is an twice a month podcast with community updates from the fictional (and strange) desert town of Night Vale. It’s told through a radio show, narrated by the character Cecil Palmer. There are announcements from the Sheriff’s secret police, mysterious hooded figures, angels, science, cultural events, sports, anything you might imagine for a community radio show (just a little weird).
    • I started listening to Welcome to Night Vale around a year and a half ago and was immediately hooked. It’s weird, spooky, Twilight Zone like, and is well written.
    • EDIT (Feb. 18th): Started reading some critiques of one of the WTNV character’s story arc (the Apache Tracker really) and realized how problematic and racist the entire thing was. And a big problem seems (to me) to be the fact that the creators (one in particular) are both white men and completely unwilling to have a discussion about what was wrong about that story line and character. There have been a few people to try to talk to them but the creators seem to continuously shut down the conversation, even though they seem to be adamant about being anti-racist.  I’m exceptionally disappointed in the creators for this.
      • Currently planning on writing up another post with more information (particularly some of the points of how the Apache Tracker story is problematic/racist) in the next couple days. Just want to make sure I get everything right…. And will probably email the creators with that as well.
  • Stuff You Should Know and Stuff You Missed in History Class: Both of these podcasts come from the website How Stuff Works and are incredibly informative and educational. They cover a wide range of topics, usually covering one topic in a single episode, with the occasional two part topic. I’ve been listening to both of these podcasts off and on for a few years, usually just listening to the topics I find interesting. (I just listening to the SYSK one on Charles Darwin and really liked it!)
  • Women of Marvel: I just recently found this one and started listening to it but so far, I really love it. A lot of the episodes (that I’ve listened to) have been discussing what working at Marvel is like, discussing different female characters in the Marvel universe, and there was an entire episode about San Diego Comic Con and cosplay (which I loved listening to!). I’m just starting to really get into the Marvel universe by watching the recent movies (Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, etc) and television shows (Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) but listening to this podcast is really making me want to pick up some of the comic books.
  • We Want the Airwaves: This podcast is hosted by Nia King and each episode is an interview of different queer and trans artists (usually people of color as well). King’s own description of the podcast is: “Nia King’s trying to figure out if her dream of making a living as an art activist is beyond reach. In this podcast, she seeks advice from other political queer artists, trans artists, and artists of color who seem to have figured out how to make art and make rent without compromising their values.”
  • GendercastThis podcast hasn’t really been updated recently but the past episodes are still really good. It’s hosted by Sean and Jesse and “is a podcast exploration of gender and what is means to live in, challenge and exist beyond the binary. It is a conversation between all those who identify along the transmasculine spectrum and our allies and supporters. It is a commentary on our culture and a reflection on where we have come from and where we are headed.”