Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

03 June 2018

On the Spin #2: Podcast Edition

Since NPR One sucks now and is nothing but an endless Trump party with little to no regard for what I skip or like listening to on the regular (despite their promises that the app "just keeps getting smarter!"), I've started listening to podcasts in a big way—consuming maybe 2 or 3 per day, depending on length.

So if you're into that, or don't know where to begin—podcast discovery sucks, frankly—here's a primer on what I listen to now.

10% Happier with Dan Harris. Loved the book; the podcast neatly expands on its content and explores meditation from the perspectives of many. Harris likes to kick off with a segment where he listens to questions people leave on his voicemail. They aren't pre-screened, so it's fun to hear him tackle topics from meditation beginners and strugglers in real-time while always hastening to add, "I am not a meditation expert."

I keep secretly hoping somebody's going to surprise him with something weird, but it hasn't happened yet. Probably the producers pre-screen. Sigh.

His own earnest journey keeps me on board with my own meditation, though. I like his reflection that even if you meditate just a minute a day, that's still a success—a minute given to yourself. It's not a lot, keeps you out of a self-competing mindset ... and it's surprising how difficult it is to even allocate one minute to just you.

2 Dope Queens. My therapist recommended this to me as "homework". It's funny as fuck, super-real and packed with minority and female comedian talent.

A Very Fatal Murder. The Onion's tongue-in-cheek response to podcasts like Serial. It's just as well-produced, blows the lid off the little tropes true-crime podcasters use to keep you hooked, and takes no prisoners.

The Beef and Dairy Network Podcast. Fellow blogger/journo Stuart Dredge recommended this to me. It's a parody of hobbyist podcasts and has gone down a weird journey. At first it hewed so close to seeming true—with cynical fake ads, celeb interviews and name-dropping of "gods" of the beef sector—that it was hard to distinguish from reality until someone said something really weird.

Since then, it's gone down a few bonkers story arcs that border on the surreal. The narrator's befuddled, informational and geeky tone never wavers, though... except on the few occasions when he's in mortal danger.

Chiffon le podcast (FR). Intelligent interviews with women and men about the clothes they wear and why. Not all of them are from the fashion industry, which makes it more interesting. Fashion affects all of us in ways we can't begin to imagine.

Code Switch. Your primer to the ongoing identity war that characterises race in America. It often gets really personal. I don't listen if I'm already rattled because I OD'ed on news before getting up, though; it sometimes makes me hysterically, existentially upset.

Death, Sex + Money. From student loans to modern dating, this 'cast explores the intersection of culture, economy and why certain modern micro-experiences are surprisingly universal.

Endless Thread. My new favourite, which seizes on obscure Reddit stories or explosive memes, then explores the true stories behind them.

Game Scoop! A weekly dive into new stuff in gaming. The banter is awesome—like being in a roomful of friends—and it ends with a 20 Questions segment that's super fun.

Generation XX (FR). Interviews with female entrepreneurs—why they started their companies, what inspires them, advice for neophytes.

La Poudre (FR). Lengthy, personal interviews with feminists of all sectors and stripes. I like it when Lauren Bastide asks, "What's your relationship to your uterus?" It's neat to hear how many ways there are to approach that question. Also, no one is ever surprised by it.

Lexicon Valley. If you're a linguistics or English geek, this geek is for you. Plus his musical choices are adorably on-the-nose and dorky.

My Dad Wrote a Porno. I'm hoping I don't have to explain this—but if I do, basically a stereotypically fusty dad in retirement asks his son to read a book he's working on. His son realises the book is weird erotica about a woman climbing the ladder of the "pots and pans industry". His dad reveals he's already written multiple volumes.

Each season of is an almost painful reading of each book in its entirety, full of improbable scenarios—blue sperm, men grabbing cervixes—and other scenarios that are surprisingly probable (like that one time we all discovered that flight crews really do have a secret sleeping cabin where they may or may not orgy up with strangers). My favourite segments are the Footnotes with celeb guests who are die-hard fans.

Planet Money. A nice companion to Death, Sex and Money—except it's taking economic phenomena, then reverse-engineering them to explain how or why they came to be.

Pop Culture Happy Hour. From recent books to shows and films, this panel of close professional friends runs the gamut of every emotion you'll need to prep for before committing to your next act of consumption.

Radiolab. It's weird. It's smart. It takes you down rabbit holes.

Simplify. Blinkist's beloved podcast offering invites non-fiction authors to break down the key learnings from their work, and share books they love.

Stay Tuned with Preet. American politics in real-time from a high-level insider perspective. It stays on-point, explains how the innerworkings of our government impact stories that become clickbait, and never gets ranty, which is a fucking relief in this news cycle.

The Game Informer Show. My cousin described this 'cast best: It's a panel of people "very politely talking about gaming." Doesn't quite do it credit but now I can't stop thinking about how delighted he was when he said it.

The Guilty Feminist. Mostly I like this podcast because at start, a panel of women reveal the secret not-quite-feminist things they still sometimes think, do and say. It makes you feel less, well, guilty.

The Tim Ferriss Show. I haven't always been a Tim Ferriss fan, but he's going through this weird journey of awakening right now and has become infinitely more interesting since, because he's so vulnerable and is obviously trying to figure shit out.

Contrary to previous years, the podcast is less focused on pure-business topics intended to light fires of capitalism under your ass and more on long-term strategy, human insights and things that just make you better, not necessarily just to make money. I still skip the testosteroney intro, though.

Waking Up with Sam Harris. Sam Harris has more of an intellectual approach to the concept of "awakening" than Dan Harris does (and his monotonous voice shows it). Sometimes the segments are really enlightening and interesting; sometimes things devolve into arguments; sometimes I can't stand to listen because Sam Harris has a surprising tendency to shut down certain lines of discussion, or perspectives he can't identify with, wholesale. But it's probably also good for me to keep listening, so I keep it around when I need brain fibre or am just interested in a topic (like psychedelics).

This post was way less interesting than I thought it would be before I started. Oh, well. It's done now, so I'm publishing.

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