What I’ve Been Listening To…(The Extended Week Edition)
I recently got a new job! A job which allows me to listen to music or programs during my shift. Sometimes all 8 hours of my shift (if I so desire). So I thought I’d share with you the best things I heard during my last week (and a half) of listening to podcasts (sorry no music, bug Sam or Ally for music).
During my week and a half I was able to finally get caught up on my backlog of podcasts I had accumulated. Partly due to the Thanksgiving Day weekend, and partly due to my last job only having a two hour block of time where I could listen to stuff. As such, I had quite a few different things to select as the best of the best.
I only wanted one best episode per podcast since some had more episodes then others due to me backlogging more serious shows. Rocket Punch has no entries on here because if you’re here reading my articles you probably already listen to our podcast. Enough with the explanations, on to the champions.
Champions of the Week:
What’s the Point – Building Pixar’s Landscapes: 12/3/15
An interview on how Pixar used data sets from the US Geological Survey to create the backgrounds for their upcoming movie The Good Dinosaur. Leading to backgrounds that are sweeping and familiar, and the use of more data in one scene (of The Good Dinosaur) then was used in the entirety of Cars 2.
Freakonomics Radio – Food + Science = Victory!
Is it really the water that makes New York pizza so good? This question is definitively answered finally. I have many questions like this. So finding out that there was someone out there who approaches food from the scientific method is really exciting.
Undisclosed – Episode 9: Charm City
Undisclosed is a podcast for people who didn’t think Serial (first 1:30 for a quick description of Serial) went deep enough. This podcast really gets into the details of the case, and unveils more upsetting things about the legal system of Baltimore (if not America in all.) This episode deals with some of the more scandalous methods used by the Baltimore Police Department. And how they relate to the case against Adnan Syed.
Radiolab – Birthstory
Find out how 2 men + 4 women combined to make 3 babies. Oh yeah the story also involves 4 countries and 4 different languages. The difficult path of those seeking out surrogate mothers. And the odd story of the birth of 3 children. It’s a hell of a ride.
The Adventure Zone – The WHOLE Petal to the Metal story line
The Adventure Zone is a Dungeons & Dragons podcast by the brothers of My Brother, My Brother and Me, plus their dad. The most recent story line culminated in a massive car chase competition a la Death Race 2000, or maybe it reminds you of Fury Road (either way). The families oddball humor and sometimes bumbling characters, really adds to the fun. A great listen even if you’ve never played a pen and paper Role-Playing game.
The Nerdist – Kelly Carlin
I’m a fan of The Nerdist Podcast, and it got me in to Podcasts in general. Chris Hardwick’s interview style is more conversation then interview and is extremely humanizing. And it was really interesting to hear from the daughter of George Carlin. A physiologist and stage performer herself, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As a fan I knew her childhood had not been normal, or easy (from reading her dad’s memoirs.) But she was intelligent and funny, and fun. She’s also (not-so) surprisingly casual with her usage of the f-bomb. (Would this be nature or nurture?) Also in this episode “The pitch for the best movie ever conceived”.
The Total Soccer Show – Star Wars Soccer XI
In what has been this week’s biggest Reese’s moment for me, someone got Star Wars on my soccer and I discovered that Soccer names, are sometimes indistinguishable from expanded universe Star Wars names. This one was a lot of fun to listen to while listening to Taylor and Daryl pick their starting lineups using Star Wars characters, and debate who and why. By the way if you are interested in soccer, TSS is my choice for best podcast for soccer analysis and news.
Giant Bombcast – 12/08/2015
I haven’t finished this episode when I started writing this article, but at about a quarter of the way through was a story about how Eastern European pirates (tech, not seafaring) in the old days of tape technology would broadcast the audio code of video games on the radio. People would actually record these broadcasts and “download” video games this way. As my friend Jondar put it “It’s the Cro Magnon version of Sega Channel.” The only down side to Giant Bomb’s video game themed podcast is that it clocks in at two and a half to three hours long per episode. Might be a long commitment for some people.
Lore – The Whole Damn Podcast
Since my wife introduced me to this podcast, I promised I wouldn’t write much about Lore before she could. That’s literally the only reason why it’s on the Runner’s Up for this week. (Ally will be writing more about it this weekend.) Do you like scary stories, mythology, monsters, superstition? Any or all of the above? Then you should probably be listening to Lore. My wife and I listened to this podcast while driving to and from Texas this Thanksgiving (hey Dad), and I finished up the last few episodes on my own at work. My only complaints are that it’s only biweekly and that it lost some ambiance when not driving through the middle of nowhere at the dead of night.
Freakonomics Radio – Am I Boring You?
The science behind boredom and how humanity really hasn’t done a ton of research into this topic despite it being a huge factor in so many peoples’ work, leisure, and social lives.
Sawbones: The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits
This is a show about medicine and all the oddities that it entails. I won’t spoil the surprise here, but this story made me once again happy to live in society where science and medicine are rigorously tested and not just educated guessing. Plus this was an interesting story I’d never heard.
Radiolab – The Cold War
What happens when an ice cream truck rivalry goes south? The Cold War. A look at how conflicting takes on business and rules can make for a rough situation.
Freakonomics Radio – Ben Bernanke Gives Himself a Grade
You may not care about an interview from the guy who was the Fed Chairmen when the financial crisis hit, but I find long-form interviews often humanize the famous, and this interview is no exception. His obsessive interest in the Great Depression, and FDR’s policies (despite appointed chairman by a conservative president) were surprising. Add to that the story of his wife responding to his appointment with tears (that were not of joy), and you may soon find yourself enjoying an interview that is partially about monetary policy.
Have I missed any of your favorites? Please feel free to send in any podcasts (or just single episodes) I should be listening to. I’m always looking for an interesting story.
And of course congrats to the podcasts which won, if you guys are in St. Louis let us know on twitter will meet up for a drink and hand you over your trophy.