The Tweets
The Tweets

Entries in Podcasts (5)


Decade: It's not just a defunct wrestling faction

Ten years ago I was single, new to the city I currently live in and living with roommates in a rental house. Oh, and I had a father who was alive.

Today I'm married, getting ready to leave this city for a better one and living with my wife (and cat) in a condo that we own. Oh, and it's been ten years since I've had a father who was alive.

A decade of a life lived, more than a quarter of the time I've been on this planet, some of the happiest moments; some of the most sad. None of which I was able to share with my--forgive the hyperbole--hero. He was the one who got me to a place where I could live the life I would end up living, the one who helped me out the--quite literal--door, and one of the two who welcomed me back when I needed to come home.

Ten years ago I had a family of three.

Today I have almost tripled that number with ties that only get stronger every day. I'm so lucky with the life and extended family I've married into and I'm so incredibly unlucky that I can't share this with him. He's a part of me (the best part of me), but not beside me anymore.

And because half of our relationship was based on the most inside of jokes, I'll end with one that he would no doubt approve of, will always make me giggle, and is subversive in a way you'll probably never understand:

Miss you dad; miss you every day.


Apple (Music) is making me love it (music) again… a love letter from a lazy technophile that's really about something else

While this is incredibly late to be relevant anymore, I'm hoping this is far enough removed from relevance to avoid most of the "fanboy" tags from being thrown my way.

I love Apple Music, and it's really because I've become lazy in my old age. Oh, and because podcasts.

Let me explain. The main reason I realized that some kind of music service was for me happened on the day I realized that I was a) listening to podcasts exclusively and b) it was turning into a bit of a chore. The whole reason I love podcasts--yes,still in the present tense--was that it was an enjoyable way to get informed, be entertained or just spend an hour (or two, if you're listening to Never Not Funny or the Todd Glass Show). When it got to the point that I was slogging through things just to get through them, I knew that there was a problem. Part of it is my "completest" disease, but that's another story.

The other thing that came to mind is that I couldn't remember the last time I heard a song that wasn't playing in my own head. That really hit me hard because music was the podcasts of my youth. I wouldn't leave my house without a walkman, discman--later MP3 player, iPod and iPhone--in my bag or clipped to my belt. Yeah, I was that cool. So many of my memories, both good and bad are forever and inexorably linked to songs and albums.

Ironically, it was a podcast (TOAP) that really reminded me that I needed to find some way to fit music back into my life. I started to institute a rule for my weekday listening experience: Podcasts on the morning commute; whatever you want to listen to during the day; music on the afternoon/evening commute. Because there is a never ending rabbit hole of both podcasts and music, this has worked out well for me, and to my surprise, I've rarely broken the rule except when I feel the onset of podcast fatigue or alternatively if there's an amazing episode I can't wait to listen to coming up that only shows up in my feed at 2:00PM.

But I'm getting slightly off track; this was supposed to be a fanboy gushfest about Apple Music. So to undercut everything from here on out, if I wasn't all in on the Apple Ecosystem, this would probably be about Spotify or something. But I am, so it's not.

While incredibly easy, the biggest selling feature isn't the fact that I can search for any song that comes into my head, and there's a 95% chance that I can find it and add it to my library. Nor is it that everything is remembered/saved in the cloud so I don't have to physically (digitally) have the song to have access to it. What I love are the playlists: Playlists created by real people that actually make sense and take me back to 1997 or 2003. Playlists that I can trust will take me back to 1956 if I want.

Not that I'm incredibly important or anything, but I honestly don't have the time to recreate a skate punk mix that will remind me of the times I would sit on the asphalt of a skating rink turned basketball court in July listening to "The Bag," waiting for my friends to show up for a pick up game, but a quick scan of the plethora of playlists available to me, I can come pretty close to finding one in a few clicks and swipes. Curation is a wholly undervalued skill; something that I would love to do if I could make a living off of it, mostly because I wouldn't have time to do anything else.

In a (read: my) post radio world, I'm just very happy to have a place where I can still discover both old and new music, listen on my terms and not sacrifice some of my other audio based forms of entertainment after which I can easily share with friends and jumpstart a dialogue with another real human being in the real world?

And isn't that one of the best ways to use our innate selfishness for good?


Insert clever song lyric here

Media consumption in 2014--for me anyway--has become more complicated as the ways to consume have gotten easier, or at least more convenient.

Podcasts are great, but when you subscribe to too many of them, it takes almost all day, every day--excluding weekends--just to keep up. This leaves precious little time for music, TV, movies... or actual human interaction. I was actually stressing myself out trying to listen to everything, which is the exact opposite reason why I listen to podcasts.

I don't know why it took me so long to realize it, but just like there's no way to see every news story, read every book or watch every tv show in existence, I can't possibly be expected--by who, exactly, I'm not even sure--to listen to all episodes of the small sampling of podcasts that I subscribe to.

So here's my crazy plan: I will choose a list of no more than ten podcasts that are "must listen." These I will make a point of hearing no matter how long it takes. These are the shows that are the most entertaining, informative, and the ones I'll feel actual guilt about not hearing. Everything else I'll do a clean every Sunday and delete any episodes that I haven't gotten around to in that week (I figure that downloading them in the first place help out the artist with their download numbers, thus helping in my tiny way to keep the podcast alive).

Caveats? It's me, so of course:

  • Any supremely interesting guest, or topic I can keep for a while
  • Any time I'm actually on vacation or travelling, podcasts released in that time frame get carried over to when I'm back to my "normal" schedule again.

To answer your question, yes, I am this neurotic. It carries over into most aspects of my life, sometimes in very strange ways.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm actually listening to good old fashioned music as I write, so I guess you could say it's paying off already.


Relevance is Relative

Because I'm so comfortable with the topic, let's keep going on this Podcasting metaphor. While the point of this blog is to track my struggles in staying "relevant" as I get older, I'm not telling any tales out of school when I say that this is a very non-specific goal.

Relevant to who, exactly? I happen to be very plugged into the comedy segment of podcasting, but there's a whole world of podcasts that I have at most a cursory knowledge of. Thankfully, I've gotten my "must complete the set" issue mostly resolved, otherwise my head would probably explode.

So I guess my definition of relevant is to stay current with the topics that I am, er, currently interested in. For example, I'm a nerdy guy, and I also love sports (not so much the politics of sport but again, another topic for another post) and as I grow older my reasons for loving what I love tend to evolve as well. When I was younger, it was easy to just immerse yourself in something and just soak it all up. That gets harder and harder as you get older; your worldview expands--hopefully--and there are so many more avenues for you to explore. My worst nightmare is to be one of those people who are stuck in the decade of their youth, yelling "get off my lawn" at young whippersnappers. I know a few of those people, and if it works for them, great. It's just a horror story for me.

I may not be in love with Pinterest, but I know what it is and how it works. Sure, I had to actually do some work and research to figure that out, but I'm glad that I can take part in discussions when the topic comes up. I'm always going to like what I like, and of course I'm going to defer to my generation for some things; I am only human after all. Interests will come and go (and maybe even come back again), but I feel it's important to update your viewpoint and not be stuck in the past with old opinions and predjudices. Some of your feelings might not change, but keeping that door open helps to keep things fresh.

The term Jack of all trades seems to have this negative connotation to it (maybe it has something to do with the "master of none" tagged on to the end), but I've always thought it was unfair. What's wrong with having multiple interests that don't necessarily intersect on the Venn Diagram of life? I've always tried to let my passions come to me as purely as possible and not dictated by what I should like given my past history.

Am I going to be able to go stat for stat with the Sklar brothers or quote for quote with a Simpsons fanatic? No, but at least I can stay in the game. And I guess I want to be a part of as many games as I can.


First post! ...for the nth time

Because it seems I love to dig myself into--and then out of--holes, I'm going to start this new verision of my blog in a place where I've probably lost the few people who will actually read this - Podcasting.

For some reason I've been a completist in many aspects of my life. If I start to collect something, I need to have them all: every season of a beloved show, the sequels of a great film (even if they stink), an entire set of baseball cards (that's a whole topic I'll be touching on later I'm sure).

The point I'm trying to get at is that when I got into podcasting, I quickly found too many quality shows to listen to and not enough time in the day to get through all of them. Of course this sent me into a panic, which is completely logical... I should let entertainment send me into fits of hysteria instead of actually entertaining me.

What I finally realized though, was something important about me. For whatever reason, I have this innate need to finish things, even things that are not mine. And if I can't, my first instinct is to drop it (the show, the project, the collection, etc). Maybe it's my age finally doing some good, but the logical side of my brain took over and I realized that that I was being a little crazy. There's so much information in the world to consume that you can't hope to take in everything and still have a life.

So the question became do I narrow my focus and know everything possible about a few topics to feed my completist mindset or do I do something different? Narrow views have never been easy for me (as my tendancy to create sidebars makes blatantly obvious), so I've become a more discerning consumer of podcasts. My subscriptions have actually increased, but I don't feel the need to listen to every episode of every podcast that is in my feed--with the exception of the delightful Stop Podcasting Yourself #ShamelessPlug.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, if I expand this philosophy to other aspects of my life, it explains why this website has been dormant for weeks and weeks. If I can't complete it out of the gate, why even start? This--obviously--is a rediculous statement and a perfect excuse to procrastinate. I was so obsessed with having the perfect thing to say that I froze when it came to start.

So is this a great start? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is a start, and hopefully the end is a long way off.