Podcasts I Have Loved…

The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting
Image via Wikipedia

Sarah asked me to post about some of my favorite podcasts and I love to oblige requests!  🙂

I don’t know when I started listening to podcasts – probably sometime after the purchase of my first iPod in 2005.  As I blogged about before, I am an avid audiobook listener and so listening to the radio is not how I like to pass my time in the car.  I am not opposed to music – maybe sometime I’ll blog about my music listening habits – but I am purposeful about what I listen to and the radio can be too random and unsatisfying.

Probably the very first podcast I ever listened to was The Satellite Sisters.  I used to try to listen to their radio show whenever I was in range (which wasn’t often at all – a few times a year?) and I loved their book and blog, so when they started putting their radio show on podcasts, I signed up immediately.  It was a three hour radio show, condensed down to an hour forty or so and it was bliss!  It was a little overwhelming, as it was a daily show (6 days a week) and my commute was only an hour a day, but I did the best I could.  Then the sad news that their show was going to be off the air came and I was very sad!  But they continued to create a podcast, not as many hours long and not daily, and that appeased me for a while.  In the years past, they stopped making a regular podcast and got regular jobs but now they just started again – making one weekly podcast with different sisters appearing when they can.  So when there is a new Satellite Sisters podcast, that gets high priority in my listening queue.  They just archived over 200 shows onto their website and iTunes, so if you want to hear what I’m talking about, there’s lots of material to choose from!

Lian (the youngest) branched off on her own and has created The Chaos Chroniclesblog and podcast and that is a close second for my listening pleasure.  She wrote a book, “Helen of Pasadena,” and I drove to Edina to meet her and get signed copies of the book. They are a remarkable family and my friends know that I think of them as friends.  I will often bring them into the conversation (e.g., “Well, you know Liz?  She’s my Satellite Sister in CA, and she just got back from Iraq!” or “You should hear Julie’s sobering tales from North Korea!” or “Julie told the funniest story about a man who wanted her dog’s tennis ball!” or “Sheila just reviewed that movie and it was hilarious!”).  Good stuff.

Me with Lian Dolan, author of "Helen of Pasadena"

So the Satellite Sisters probably got me started on podcast listening but I have branched out!  Others that I listen to weekly are:

  • Filmspotting:  A weekly movie review podcast featuring Adam Kempenaar and Matty Ballgame.  They discuss one or two current movies, play Massacre Theatre (wherein they massacre a scene from a movie and you enter online to guess the film), discuss listener’s picks, and close with a Top 5.  They are funny and can be pretentious but it’s a good listen.  Matty is from Minnesota and Adam is from Iowa and they record in Chicago.  Good stuff.
  • The Moth Podcast: True stories told live.  There is almost nothing better than a great story told aloud, especially in front of a live audience.  Another thing I love about The Moth Podcast is that the stories are usually just over 15 minutes long, so you can listen to one in those weird times when you don’t have much time.  Or you can crank out a bunch of them in an hour.  They are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes raunchy, but always good.
  • Spilled Milk: Sarah and I read “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg and then I discovered her blog and followed her podcast with Matthew Amster-Burton, another food writer.  They are HILARIOUS!  Their show is also usually about 15-20 minutes at most and they talk about one thing.  Their last show was about RICE.  And before that it was about MEAT STICKS.  They include recipes and are very fun to listen to.
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour: I’m new to this one but find it absolutely fun!  It’s about an hour a week, published on Friday, and about pop culture!  It’s four or five people sitting around talking about TV, movies, comics, Broadway, music… whatever pop culture is relevant for the week!  They end the show with “what’s making them happy this week,” which is a great way to end a show.  I now follow them all on Twitter (not stalkerish at all!) and they are all very fun on there, too!
  • NPR: Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!: A radio show that I usually miss on the weekends so I’m thankful for their podcast!  Funny, clever, show.
  • This American Life: A topical radio program, also often missed on the radio!  Thankful for the podcast and love the themes of the show!  I love themes!
  • Radiolab: I’m fairly new to this one and truthfully don’t listen regularly, but it’s a bit like This American Life, in that it’s topical stories, but with a focus on sounds.  They are clever and creative and good to listen to.
  • APM: Marketplace Tech Report: This is a short little podcast – 5-6 minutes daily – and I listen now and then, but truthfully started downloading it because of the host – John Moe.  A very sad podcast day for me was the day that Weekend America with host John Moe went off the air.  How I miss that show!  I follow him on twitter (@johnmoe) and he’s hilarious.  He now lives in St. Paul and I really miss that show.  It’s fun just to hear his voice in the Marketplace Tech Report and feel nostalgic for Weekend America.  🙂

That’s it for my regular listening and my favorites.  For a while this winter I listened to Lori & Julia from Talk 107 in the Cities, and it’s very fluffy.  I listen to the smart Pop Culture Happy Hour instead and so have dropped that from my list.  I know there are so many out there… smart, funny, fluffy, pretentious and boring!  But this is my list and I’m open to new ones if you have something fun to add!

Whew!  Off to read!

Blogs

I added links to my page with some of the blogs that I “subscribe” to. I only included BOOK blogs, although I do subscribe to others that I really enjoy. Maybe that’ll be another list sometime.

I feel like I’m kind of hodge-podgey in my subscriptions to blogs – whether or not I’m “following” via google, “subscribing” via email, anonymously stalking… I’m not sure why. It’s very random, based on how I am feeling at the time. Most of the blogs were found when I signed up for a challenge – I checked out all the other blogs that signed up for the challenge and subscribe to those (through blogger) that I felt had the most interesting blogs or the most similar tastes to me.

I went back to using blogger after my utter frustration with wordpress subscription’s slooooooooooooow loading. Also, blogger is the feeder for the reader app I use on the iPad. SO I moved “booky” blogs over to wordpress and back again. This summer I check the reader twice a day, reading (or skimming) about 20-30 new blog entries at each time. I star those that I want to read more thoroughly or whose books I want to add to goodreads TBR.

So, tell me about your blog reading? How do you keep up? How long do you give a blog before you “unsubscribe”? What reader do you use, or do you read via email?

Do you have any suggestions for more great blogs for me? I’m always open to a few more!!!

Off to read!

Last post about SPRING READING THING!

summer reading
Image by ruminatrix via Flickr

Tomorrow is the LAST DAY OF SPRING!  Thus, this is the end of my SPRING READING THING posts.  I feel great about what I accomplished this spring, and with the most current list of books, I will leave it.  Thanks for the challenge, Katrina at Callapidder Days!

  • Mockingbird
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  • Heart and Soul
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Fly Away Home
  • Winter’s Garden
  • Harry Potter (2)
  • Harry Potter (3)
  • Harry Potter (4)
  • Harry Potter (5)
  • Harry Potter (6)
  • Harry Potter (7)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
  • Twenties Girl
  • The Carrie Diaries
  • Minding Frankie
  • Sweet Revenge

Off to read!

Spring Reading Thing Countdown…

Spring Blossoms
Image by jnyemb via Flickr

Katrina over at Callapidder Days is hosting the Spring Thing Reading Challenge, 2011, and I’ve been participating.  It’s hard to believe that it will be done with the first day of summer (YAHOO) next week, but how exciting is that?  It was a pretty loosely defined challenge – challenge yourself to read books during the three months of spring.  You could add to the list, take away from the list, whatever you needed to do to challenge yourself.

My list has expanded greatly since my first post and one book that was on my initial list remains unread – so far.  I still have time.  It is in my possession from the library reserve.  It’s hard to say there was a favorite that stuck out in my spring reading, because there were quite a few books that I loved.  Or really liked, at any rate.  The Harry Potter series is so fun to listen to.  Jane Eyre was a great listen and I’m thankful for that experience.  I’m reading my second Maeve Binchy book of the spring and they just are so comfortable and lovely that they just feel good to read.  I really enjoyed The Carrie Diaries, meeting Carrie Bradshaw pre-NYCThe Twenties Girl was fun fluff.  Major Pettigrew was a nice read.  Both Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet were sweet and not as heavy as I’d feared.

If I had to choose, I’d probably say I’m so glad I found a few Binchy books that I haven’t read.  They are reliably wonderful, in my book.

And when I’m done with Minding Frankie, I’ll start Fly Away Home.  I’ll also finish listening to book 6 in the Harry Potter series, on the list for book 7 from the library.  I’m sure that will conclude my Spring Thing Reading Challenge.

I signed up for a goodreads challenge, to read A Visit from the Goon Squad, which I have on audio, so I’ll listen to that after book 6 of HP, too.

INITIAL LIST:
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
the next book from the library… will have to look it up as it’s downstairs.  It was a new release that grabbed me.
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

CURRENT LIST:

  • Mockingbird
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  • Heart and Soul
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Fly Away Home
  • Winter’s Garden
  • Harry Potter (2)
  • Harry Potter (3)
  • Harry Potter (4)
  • Harry Potter (5)
  • Harry Potter (6)
  • Harry Potter (7)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
  • Twenties Girl
  • The Carrie Diaries
  • Minding Frankie
  • Sweet Revenge

Well, off to read!

Monday’s Muse

What are you reading today?
Image by Smaku via Flickr

MizB at Should Be Reading has posed the question:  What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?

I think the most recent book I had a hard time putting down was Christopher Cleave’s, “Little Bee.”  I just had to see what was going to become of the people in that book so stayed up waaay past my bedtime to finish the book.  Great book.

I also remember staying up until 4AM to finish John Grisham‘s, “The Firm,” way back in 1993 or 1994.  That felt different, though.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep because my heart was racing and I was filled with suspense.

Ah, good times.

Well, off to read!

Audiobook Week 2011!

It’s Audiobook Week, hosted by Devourer of Books (http://www.devourerofbooks.com/) and I couldn’t let the week go by without writing about my love of audiobooks!  (Although I’m SUPER-DUPER frustrated right now because for some reason WordPress is saving my document as BLANK!  Third time is the charm???  I’m learning and actually typing this into a word document so that I can save it and see if I can eventually publish it!  Yikes and Ugh!  Has this ever happened to anyone???)

As I say over and over again, I am currently listening to the Harry Potter series on audio and enjoying every minute of it (when I’m done I’ll have to figure out exactly how many minutes I spent listening!).  I cheated and didn’t listen to book 1, as I forgot what was book 1 and what was book 2 and so I started with book 2.  I’m currently on book 6 and really looking forward to book 7!  It has been some years, but I read all of the books before and some of them I remember more than others.  Listening has just brought them to a whole new level.  Jim Dale is an incredible narrator, providing voices for all the characters that are recognizable and not at all distracting.  What an incredible series.

I have been a commuter for 18 years, driving at least 30 miles one-way each day.  I have never minded commuting because I choose good stuff to listen to in my car.  I am totally unaware of top-40 music, but I am well-read!  I frequented the small-town library where I lived, and they had an extensive number of audiobooks so I read every book that I wanted to, and even some that I didn’t know I wanted to read.  I have listened to memoirs, thrillers, non-fiction, children and YA literature, and fiction.  When I bought my car in 2005 it only had a CD player, so I had a cassette player installed so that I could continue my habit!  Fortunately, books are now on CDs (and they were in 2005, too… just not as many!) and with the purchase of my iPod I also checked out digital audiobooks from the library system.  I live in a bigger city now and the library audiobook section is overwhelmingly large, so I often reserve a book I want to listen to rather than browse the many shelves.

Some of my favorite audiobooks include:

  • Diane Mott Davidson’s catering mysteries are always light and fun
  • Lillian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who… books are also always light and fun
  • Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series were unexpectedly interesting to me
  • Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries were also fun and interesting – Kinsey Milhone
  • Audrey Niffenegger’s books were good listens, although The Time Traveler’s Wife was difficult to follow with the dates and ages changing at the beginning of each chapter
  • Life of Pi was a beautiful listen
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was fun to listen to because I felt like I was in the boy’s head
  • Same with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (although I missed the visuals that are in the print version, so I re-read that one)
  • Anything written and read by Bill Bryson is a good time – he’s witty with a dry humor
  • Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto was a beautiful book, beautifully read

The thing I love best about audiobooks is that it fulfills my wish to be immersed in a story at all times.  I can listen while cooking dinner, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn and vacuuming, exercising, and driving.  Someone complained to me recently that they dreaded the tedious drive down Broadway, but getting into the car is something I rarely dread.  Thankfully my commute never entails rush hour traffic, but I think with a good audiobook I could even abide stop-and-go traffic.

I remember things differently when I listen to them rather than read the print version.  When I listen to a book I remember fewer details – like names and dates – but I remember more about the visuals drawn by the author’s words and the feelings that are evoked by the story.  So listening to a book I’ve read or reading a book that I’ve listened to is never a bad thing.  Each provides a different experience.

What are your favorite audiobooks?  What’s the longest audiobook you’ve ever listened to?  Do you find you remember things differently by listening?

Well, off to read!

A rhubarby weekend!

image

Rhubarb muffins. Some for breakfast and some for the freezer for summer entertaining.

Although I didn’t go to Lanesboro, MN‘s Rhubarb Festival this weekend, I did make two rhubarb dishes this weekend!  Yesterday I made a Rhubarb Crumble for a beautiful summer evening “dinner on the deck” and this morning I made another batch of Rhubarb Muffins.  I love these muffins.  I made a batch on Tuesday to bring to work to share, so these are for me and my freezer.  I have more  buttermilk and more rhubarb in the freezer so maybe I’ll look for another recipe to try!

Do you have a favorite rhubarb recipe or way to eat rhubarb?  Where do you get your rhubarb?  From the farmer’s market, your own patch, or from the kindness of friends?

The weather was beautiful this weekend – absolutely perfect – so I accomplished a little reading outside.  I finally finished April’s O Magazine and started May’s.  I gotta catch up.  I also have been reading on the iPad a library book.  It’ll expire Friday so I’ll have to get busy!  It’s a little difficult to read outdoors on the iPad.  Any hints for that?  I will need to look into accessories to see if there is anything that will help other than changing the settings.

Any hints on the iPad2 and reading outside?

Well, off to read!  But I’ll share my muffin recipe first!

Yummy Rhubarb Muffins
Mix together:  1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar; 1/2 cup oil; 1 egg; 2 tsp vanilla; 1 cup buttermilk.  Beat well.
Add: 2 1/2 cups flour; 1 tsp soda; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp baking powder.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups finely cut rhubarb and fill muffin tins.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture (1/3 cup:1tsp) before baking.
Bake 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
*I usually use two cups frozen rhubarb and add a little baking time.

What a high!

Microphones
Ah, the power of a microphone! Image by Rusty Sheriff via Flickr

Found this blog post in the drafts!  Never got published!  Written on May 13… oops! Better late than never, right? Or totally out of context and boring? Oh well…

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Just home and winding down from our “Over the Back Fence” radio show premiere!  Take Note!, our singing group, performed three songs, and the whole thing was such a blast!  We sounded great at sound-check and in the little room we practiced in and during the singalongs and during our songs.  And there were many laughs at the expense of Norwegians everywhere!  Tonight’s show paid tribute to both Cinco de Mayo and Syttende Mai.  What a great little show.  I must try to get there again – and for sure try to listen more faithfully.  I naively thought it would be broadcast live but it is simply recorded live – played later.  It was a great night leading into a great week of music ahead!

On the other hand, I haven’t been getting as much reading done!  Book reading, anyway.  I’m so far behind in my magazine reading but I’m feeling better about that, so I started reading “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” this week.  I finally made some headway today.  I am really liking it!  I thought it would be all heavy and sad and ominous, but it isn’t.  It’s about children.  So I imagine there will be sadness and heartbreak ahead, but it doesn’t seem like it will tear my heart out, so that’s a good thing.

Well, as I said, a music-filled week ahead!  Our big spring concert (with my solo!) coming up on Wednesday, Thursday a performance for a church family night, and Saturday we are performing at Minnesota City days!  It’s been such a great spring with the choir.  Can’t wait for the next adventure!

Well, off to read!  Happy weekend all!