Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Why listen to podcasts

The stories, man. The stories. You listen to them podcasts because of the stories. And believe me, there is a story for every one.

I still have my trusty iPod, which I use to listen to podcasts.
Too bad they phased this line. Very reliable, this gadget is.
In a way, it started my ongoing love affair for all things Apple.
I've been listening to podcasts since I was in my early 20s. Back then, there wasn't a while lot to listen to. They were more or less recorded radio shows. But now, oh boy, I am always aurally stimulated. Podcasts are now my go-to whenever I crave for stories. Besides, they do help a lot with my commute.

I've rekindled my habit of listening to podcasts a few years ago, listening to them sporadically whenever I felt like it. Nowadays, not a day goes by when I don't listen to a single podcast. I gobble podcasts like I used to ate Kraft caramels. Like peanuts. Chomp chomp. One after another. (I had no fear of diabetes.)

Some of my favorite podcasts
A hodgepodge of entertainment and education
Then last year, Serial came out. It was a game changer. Suddenly, everyone was curious about the murder of Hae Min Lee by Adnan Syed back in 1999. I got so hooked by this podcast that it got me thinking—this is one incredible way of delivering a story and I want to moderate a discussion on the podcast as a storytelling medium for my book club. So next year, we're going to talk about Serial. Hopefully, the second season will be out by that time too.

My goodness, listening to Serial was agony, but in a good way. Argh, the perils of waiting every week for a new episode. And pretty soon, all 12 episodes have come and gone. Of course I wanted more. I needed my Serial fix like I needed a cigarette after sex. (I don't smoke, but you get what I mean, yes?)

So I got to exploring other podcasts and what I found would ultimately lead to a diverse listening experience. And, more importantly, something that would make the ultra hyper mega super duper heavy traffic in Manila just a bit bearable.

I love horror, so I was happy to discover the No Sleep Podcast. It's a weekly podcast wherein each episode has an average of three horror stories. I haven't been frightened by a good horror novel lately, but some of the stories from the No Sleep Podcast have creeped me out. Then there's the Mystery Show, wherein the host, Starlee Kine, attempts to solve a mystery every episode. I particularly liked the one where she finds out Jake Gyllenhaal's actual height.

If there's one podcast that I feel should come out with more frequent episodes, it's The Truth. Each episode is a radio drama. Honestly, you just never know what you're going to get. Always a pleasant surprise, listening to The Truth is. Jonathan Mitchell, the producer, is a god. For the food lover, I recommend Spilled Milk. The hosts (Matthew Amster-Burton and Molly Wizenberg) talk about one particular food per episode and the result is hilarious. Lots of cred on this one, as the hosts are chefs and food writers. I also love Molly's blog, Orangette, which recently won the James Beard award as best food blog.

If I need a good laugh, there's always The Flophouse. It's a movie review blog where the hosts hysterically skewer a bad movie per episode. (They watched it, so we don't have to.) Another brilliant podcast, 99% Invisible, delves on design. I love how the podcast looks at the design of things we seemingly take for granted—the game of basketball, our highways, and even those dome houses. Freakonomics Radio is always a reliable listen. So is Reading Lives, which appeals to my book-ish self. In each episode, the host, Jeff O'Neal, talks to one person about the books that have influenced him or her since childhood.

I have no qualms that listening to podcasts have taken away valuable reading time. I still get my stories, although in a different format. And I am still reading, albeit a bit more slowly. In fact, I'm reading Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I tried watching the first 2 episodes of the TV series, but somehow, I couldn't get into it. I know there's a good story in there somewhere, so I'll just get that from the novel.

One of three books inside my bag.
This copy has severely yellowing pages.
I literally wiped off dust bunnies from it.
And I have been spending a lot of my weekend recently at R's place. R is doing some major interior decorating. He just finished having one room painted blue, which is almost the same shade as that of the Tardis of "Dr. Who." I don't really get "Dr. Who," but goodness, this shade of blue, I super like!

Lots of shelves in R's blue room.
In one shelf, his favorite book (Ready Player One) is next to mine (I, Claudius).
Could our reading tastes get any more different?
Who cares? He reads. And that's mighty fine.
One side of R's blue room has this huge world map.
We're thinking of putting markers on the places that we plan to visit.
Ah, all the possibilities!


Tina said...

I got into Serial a little late so I was able to binge-listen to the entire first season. I still get chills whenever I hear the opening music. Can't wait for season 2!

Peter S. said...

Tina, I can't wait for season 2 as well! Would you believe that I have listened to the first season three times already? Ang traffic kasi!

bennardfajardo said...

The Mystery Show is fantastic and that episode with Jake Gyllenhall is just an instant classic.

Peter S. said...

Exactly! Would be nice to get frequent updates though. Episodes are too few and far between!

Jack said...

My personal fave so far: They're talking sci-fi movies right now.

Peter S. said...

Will check that out, Jack! Thanks for the reco!

angusmiranda said...

I'm rather a newcomer when it comes to podcasts (I just started last year). I like 99% Invisible, too! Other favorites are Radiolab (very interesting stories), KCRW's Bookworm (book discussions), and the New Yorker Fiction (short stories read and discussed by writers).

Peter S. said...

Hi, Angus! Oh, I listen to Radiolab and the New Yorker Fiction too. But I choose which ones to download from them, unlike from these podcasts I mentioned, where I listen to each and every episode. The BBC Drama of the Week is a good listen too.