Posts in Podcast
What Podcast Boss is Listening To

I listen to podcasts. No really, I listen to a LOT of podcasts. I listen to so many podcasts, I've stopped asking people for recommendations. I've probably heard already it. This fact has earned me the nickname "Podcast Boss" among my friends. Occasionally people ask me a for a general recommendation or a list of what I listen to. This is that list. I'll update it as I find new favorites, or if a questionable ending knocks something off my recommendations list (I'm looking at you, Missing Richard Simmons and The Black Tapes.) Is one of your favorites missing from my list? Comment! I'd love to chat about what I thought or try something new.

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Business

Proof to Product
Tradeshow Bootcamp's podcast, talking to owners of product-based businesses (I appear on episode 5)

From Maker to Manufacturing 
A maker, talking to other makers about their journey and growth (I appear on episode 10)

Productivity Paradox
Super helpful productivity concepts and tips from someone who doesn't make you feel judged

Fiction

Tanis
My favorite podcast - a PNW themed mystery that encompasses topics of history, faith, dread, and hope

Rabbits
Another fun mystery podcast from the creators of Tanis - this one about a far reaching game and gathering in some pop culture elements

36 Questions
A musical fiction podcast that made me ugly cry

The Big Loop
A series of short stories that are weird and wonderful - also makes me ugly cry

The Bright Sessions
The adventures of a therapist for people with superpowers

The Disappearance Podcast
A weird and winding mystery that confused and intrigued me enough to keep listening

Showcase: The Polybius Conspiracy
Was not marketed as fiction, but was SO GOOD that I don't care whether or not it was all true

Non-Fiction

Family Ghosts
Sweet and sad and haunting stories of family life and our personal histories

HGTV & Me
A funny and delightful deep dive into the world of HGTV shows

This American Life
Favorite Episodes: “The House on Loon Lake” and “The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar” 

Reply All
Markets itself as a podcast about the internet, but shares stories that are so much more than that

S-Town
A giant life, lived in a small town - rough and sad and beautiful

Invisibilia
I loved the episodes "True You," "Future Self" and "The Culture Inside" - important conversations about identity, race, and more

The Hilarious World of Depression
Talking to comedians about their experience with depression and anxiety

Will You Accept This Rose
Recapping and making hilarity out of the Bachelor franchise

Politics

Slow Burn
Nothing is new under the sun. Why doesn't that make me feel better?

Pod Save America
"A political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane."

Nerd Farmer Podcast
A great podcast from a truly great human being - local to the Seattle/Tacoma area, features conversations about education, politics, race, and everything in between

The Pope's Lon Con
A wild ride that I WISH was fiction

True Crime

Crime Writers On
The true crime podcast book club I've always wanted in real life

True Crime Obsessed
The true crime podcast book club I'd have if my friends were SO FUNNY IT HURTS

Missing Maura Murray
If I had to choose one unsolved mystery to know the answer to, it's this one

My Favorite Murder
Come for the gasps and shocked responses of two friends telling each other murder stories, stay for the transparent conversations about mental health

Serial
The podcast that put true crime podcasts on the map

In the Dark
While unsolved mysteries are intriguing, seeing how a solved case gets solved (and how it could have been solved so much sooner) is both shocking and sad

Zealot
A podcast about cults with delightful Australian accents and catchy transition music

Dirty John
A paperback thriller of a podcast

Criminal
A podcast that consistently turns the idea of who and what we consider to be "criminal" upside down

Done Disappeared
A goofy but on point satire about the true crime genre 

Ear Hustle
Incredible, humanizing stories about life inside San Quentin prison

The Grift
Big stories about the people who get away with it

Heaven's Gate
A series about the infamous group that humanizes everyone involved

Faith

Good Christian Fun
Dives into the weird world of Christian pop culture (hilarity ensues) but also manages to stumble into truly meaningful conversations about growing up in church, and struggling to find faith for oneself

Truth's Table
A thoughtful, soulful, podcast on faith and culture hosted by 3 incredible black women

The Shauna Niequist Podcast
I love Shauna's books and her podcast conversations are helpful and encouraging as well

For the Love with Jen Hatmaker
Her recent episode with Emily Ley was really encouraging to me

Soccer

Nos Audietis
The foremost Sounders podcast

Locked on Sounders
Dave's wisdom about both soccer and life are worth listening to

The Cooligans
Covers all of MLS, and looks for the funny in everything

 

My Reflections on S-Town

If you haven't listened to the S-Town podcast by the Serial and This American Life team, what the heck are you doing reading this blog post? Get thee to your podcast app and buckle up for an adventure.

If you have listened (and hopefully finished, though I'll avoid spoilers), you know why I'm still thinking about it. Here's my thesis statement:

Everyone has a story worth telling. Be it joyful or tragic, or likely a bit of both.

I listen to a lot of podcasts. What is a lot, you ask? I subscribe to and listen consistently to more than 50. I've tried hundreds. My friends ask me for reviews and recommendations. I love podcasts. The series' that are most memorable for me have a few things in common:

  • A story with many layers and interesting themes
  • Great audio quality, music, and effects
  • An approachable narrator or host
  • Rich human drama
  • Surprising twists and turns
  • A satisfying ending

For me, S-Town met these qualifications and exceeded all of my hopes. The Serial & This American Life team did something I was sure they could not achieve again. They set the bar for podcasts even higher. Serial changed the game. S-Town blasted off into orbit.

My first tweet about S-Town (about 15 minutes into the first episode) said this: "I adore this guy so far, with his giant garden maze and his rubix cubes." That sentiment never changed.

I've embarked upon my second listening of the 7 part series, and there are a few topics and quotes that especially stand out to me today. 

"I've been finding stuff out slowly over the years."

Tyler, one of the integral characters, says this about John, the protagonist. It's a simple statement, but it's poignant. That's the crux of relationships. You can't meet someone and figure them out in one conversation. People are beautifully and tragically complex. To really get to know someone, it takes years of shared experiences, conversations, and picking up on what goes unsaid. This podcast inspires me to dig deeper in my relationships. Ask more questions. Spend more time. Really listen and observe.

"Life is tedious and brief."

A quote on a sundial, a contemplation of the passing of time. In this season of my life, it speaks to me. We try to bounce between big events and major milestones and our memories don't hold onto the stuff in the middle. But our lives are made of the morning cups of coffee. The afternoons spent writing or looking out the window. The quiet evenings at home. Our lives are structured by doing dishes, washing loads of clothes, making mundane appointments. The time in between IS pretty tedious. But here's the truth - if we don't embrace the tedious, our lives WILL be brief. We can stack up all of the "big deal" moments on top of each other, and they won't reach all that high. If the exciting is all we count as living, our time will feel brief. I'm ready today to hold on tight to the tedious, and be grateful for the people I spend it with, in the place that I love.

What will I leave behind?

This may sound morbid. I don't mean it to be. But I'll die someday. We all will. If I was suddenly no longer here, what would I leave behind? What notebooks would my loved ones read to learn more about the details of my life story? What writing have I done that would share enough about who I am, to share what I've learned from the days of my life? I want to do enough with my days - not necessarily to achieve some cultural definition of success - but to honestly share the story of the beautiful and terrible in my life. To define my "worthwhile life." 

Today I purchased the beautiful score by Daniel Hart. I'm always looking for music to listen to while I write, and this fits the bill perfectly.

Next I'm planning to dig into John's "bedtime reading." The two short stories mentioned in the first episode are available to read online.

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

S-Town will stick with me, as my favorite books, albums, films, and conversations have. Honest, human, emotionally resonant. I'm grateful that Brian Reed took the time to get to know John and share his story with us. I think we're all a little better for having known him.