I have discovered podcasts! They’re wonderful, they’re free, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
Having stuff on my iPod was initially a way to get me walking, a way not to be bored during exercise. I used to listen to cassette or CD audiobooks, but I had a few problems with that, namely losing cassettes and having to carry around a big ‘ol Walkman.
But with my iPod mini, it’s sheer pleasure. And the sound on most of these podcasts is superb. In fact today, while I was walking at the San Leandro Marina, I kept looking around to see where the helicopters were. They weren’t. They were on a Disney World podcast.
I find iTunes a little difficult to work with. I don’t know what podcasts are out there, and so I try various word searches to see what could be there that I might like. What got me started was going to a comic podcast panel at WonderCon last month, purely by accident. I liked what I heard, mostly a rant about how comic book women have large chests – yes, both hilarious and tragic -- and subscribed to Lene Taylor's I Read Comics podcast. Very well done, well written, humorous even though I no longer read comics.
My favorite podcast so far is the Battlestar Galactica one put out by Ronald D. Moore, creater and executive producer on the show. For each podcast, Ron finds some time late at night, sips some Scotch and lights a cigarette, and just tells us what decisions went into making that last episode. It’s just terrific content, and he doesn’t waste time getting down to it (except to tell us where he got that Scotch). When I realized, though, that I was listening to spoilers, notes about shows I haven’t viewed on my DVR yet, I decided not to listen to them until later.
I really enjoyed the Ebert & Roeper podcast. I find that when I DVR the program, I never have time to watch it. The podcast is just the sound, and it’s very entertaining.
However, one that was really stupid and almost disgusting was a podcast about Harry Potter (called Pottercast). I love reading the books and seeing the movies, but this podcast is three young people stepping on each other orally with apparently no real place to go and only opinion, no real information. And if they're not all talking at once, they're giggling. It’s chaotic to say the least. So I deleted them.
One other that I’ve listened to is a Disney podcast called Disgruntled Disney Dweeb, and I enjoy it for the most part except that it took a good 5 minutes of introductions and music before I got to any content. Another Disney podcast that is so much more professional and full of interesting content, though, is Inside the Magic. ITM’s broadcast that I listened to today covered a couple of things that really interested me: the closing of the Italian restaurant at Epcot, and a tour of one of the hotels attached to Disney World. One of the most delightful sequences I’ve heard was an interview with a Brasilian guy who worked as a janitor for two months in the Magic Kingdom (WDW) circa 1998; he told how he liked to cheer kids up when they discovered, for example, that Ariel had a different voice from the movie.
Most of the Disney podcasts, I think, talk about WDW; I guess it has more things than Disneyland. I really didn’t think I’d be interested in the intricacies of Disneyland and Disney World, but a lot of the content concerns memories, my memories, of the two theme parks. And that’s fun. The ITM broadcast was over an hour, not a lot of theme music (except in the background as they talk), and involves at least 3 speakers. It’s a real professional job.
One podcast I tried out was called Indies, and I was really mad that they put all this weird music in it. I finally discovered that the podcast was about Indie Music and not Independent Movies. Ah, no wonder.
When I first discovered podcasts, I hooked onto several food shows. However, not all of these are great. If the recipe involved things I don’t like – like squash – I wouldn’t listen to the podcast. And one of them involved how to get your kids to help you cook, and that wasn’t only boring, it was horrible in that both kids talked over our host. Constantly.
The Bon Appetit and Food Network podcasts, however, can be a lot of fun if they’re not too specific. The last Bon Appetit one I listened to involved wine. Too boring. And if they involve squash or eggplant in their recipes, it's all over.
Anyway, this is an exciting new world for me. I hope to find more new worlds to explore. And walk more.