My Favorite Podcasts – Distilling

Jul 30, 2017 | | Say something

I have two, 12-hour-long, security shifts every week.

I’ve only had three days off from these shifts in the past year. It’s a safe constant in my weekly life.

Halfway through that first year I bought my first iPhone (an SE, the baby one, in rose gold.)

I’ve barely enjoyed podcasts before this because the android podcasting options continue to be an embarrassing failure.

I had to torrent the podcasts I marathoned at jobs prior. I recall Ricky Gervais and Marc Maron.

At this job I’ve just flip-flopped between Spotify and Pandora subscriptions. Currently back on Spotify and I’m confident I’ll stick with it.

But I’m actually not that much of a music guy, I just wanted to discover music for my stream. Spotify’s Radio feature has kind of cured me of the responsibility of playlist curation, however. So I thought I’d try audiobooks for listening material.

They’re not long enough, and I don’t know what to pick, and I feel cheated if I do a bunch of research and end up not listening to books because I had the readers.

Podcasts, then. Long form audio, feel like I’m hanging out with someone, it’s a little more conversational. Lots of subconscious fodder to hopefully make me more interesting in conversation.

Podcasts are a great proxy for feeling part of a conversation, particularly if (like me) you are a lurker type.

  1. You go into chat rooms or cruise Reddit threads (no judgment)
  2. Take it all in 
  3. Without contributing

Podcasts I think are the quintessential format for these types of people.

I queued up a bunch of podcasts, sourced from the list generously provided by the folk(s?) who curate the My Favorite Murder google spreadsheet.

My Favorite Murder is not my favorite podcast. I do think it’s a good podcast, but I honestly find more value in the compiled recommendations than I do in the podcast itself.


When I say I used to watch a lot of anime, a common misunderstanding of that statement is that I’ve finished a lot of anime series.

What I actually mean is that I’ve stated a lot of anime.

There are so many series, and so many of them are very long, that there is a necessity to pare things down.

While I’ve finished series at the behest of others so we could discuss them, most of the time I rely on my own taste to determine if I want to continue with a series.

I’ll get the first two to five episodes of a series. The first 1-3 episodes of most commercial-quality anime are entirely worthless. If you understand story structure at all you’ll probably be able to skip them completely and be able to follow along.

In fact, if I can’t skip the first few episodes and still know what’s going on, it’s probably a really good show.

So this wide, shallow, first-impression-elimination system is something I apply to a lot of other things when trying to find what to spend my time on. I do it sort out the order I want to read unrelated books in, the order I reply to e-mail, games I want to play on stream, and (finally we get to the point): podcasts.

I’m currently interested in True Crime podcasts, but the diversity of content offered by podcasting as a format is truly vast and I’m sure I’ll repeat this process for every type of thing I’d like to passively learn about while doing other things.

I want to be clear that I don’t have a tremendous faith in passive learning. If I really want to LEARN something, I’ll sit down and focus on learning that thing from primary sources. This is more of a way to farm my curiosity, to give me ideas and feed my subconscious. Maybe it will improve my writing.

I don’t formally rank anything at this point for the most part. I just put things into little buckets that describe my reaction.

Keep means it’s something that seems valid, informative, entertaining, or high-quality to me.

Ummm is something that I’m not sure about or have to return to when I have more information. An example of an UMMM are all the podcasts I’ve found which talk about Serial. I haven’t listened to all of Serial yet, and while spoilers are not much of an issue to me, I’d rather just know what they’re talking about so can I can dis/agree with them.

Pass = issues. For podcasts it’s necessarily audio issues. I don’t like sound effects nor music, I really hate when people are recorded at different quality levels if they’re not “calling in” (and even then…), I have a ton of language triggers which deserve their own post, or the hosts are painfully unprepared/uninformed.

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