Monday, April 23, 2018

T is for The Walk

Welcome to Day 20 of the A-Z challenge. This year I am reviewing podcasts.  Day 20 is the letter T, and the podcast I will be reviewing is The Walk.


You are the hero of this drama. While you are sitting in Inverness Station in Scotland, you are given a device that must be taken to Edinburg.  As you are about to board a train, terrorists blow it up and set off an EMP that takes down everyone's electronics. Now you are a suspect in the bombing, and you must get your device to Edinburg in order to save the world. 

Category: the Arts

What's the Time Commitment Here?
20 minutes once a week...but you'll want to start from episode one, so you can actually listen to them as quickly as you want!

My Review
This is a very unique story. You, as the hero, never speak. You are traveling with a group of people who speak to you and to each other, and you have the voice of Charley guiding you through the countryside. The device you carry allows you to communicate with her, even though all other electronics are gone. There are also people chasing you. The podcast also contains ambient noises so that it sounds like you are outdoors. I was enjoying the podcast before, but once I realized how awesome it sounded to put in some earbuds and take it on a walk, it's even more fun. You can almost forget where you are! 

There are lots of podcast stories you can listen to, but this is the only one I know of that happens in first person. It's pretty cool.

You can listen to it here or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

S is for Sorry Not Sorry

Welcome to the A-Z Challenge! This year I am reviewing podcasts. Day 19 is the letter S, and the podcast I will be reviewing is Sorry Not Sorry. 

This was the very first podcast I ever listened to. My friend Amy recommended it to me because I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (the Mormons) and so does Jenna Kim Jones and her husband Al. Their religion comes up only tangentially. Here's what Amy had to say about the podcast:
I guess my number one recommendation for you would be Sorry, Not Sorry with Jenna Kim Jones. I'm sort of type-casting here because Jenna and her husband are Mormon, but really this just means that you are guaranteed a clean show. Jenna is a stand-up comedian, and she and Allan are just sweet and funny- they model a great marriage, and they are new parents as well. The shows run 30-60 minutes. Side note: Jenna has two great instagrams, one under her name and one called 'Jenna Tries' where she tests a variety of new or strange snacks.
And pretty much that's exactly what you get. It's just Jenna and Al talking about their lives, their children, the movies they watch and the food they eat. They have a ball. They also answer questions from their listeners and read a couple of tweets. 

Category: Society and Culture. OK. That category makes me laugh. They are so down to earth...I'd expected "Comedy" or maybe "Family" but "Society and Culture"? Snort.

What's My Time Commitment Here?
Twice a week, for 30-45 minutes. EXCEPT that just this week they went on hiatus for a couple of months. So you have lots of time to catch up before they return. Or at least listen to an episode or two.

Amy's quote above says it all. They are fun, good people who live in a neighborhood where it is normal to drive around in a golf cart. When they mention the LDS church I feel a spark of kinship with them. I searched for a long time for a Mormon podcast before realizing that this was all I needed--good, regular people living good, fun lives. 

I don't listen to every podcast. They kind of slide to the wayside every once in a while and then I pick them up again like a favorite blanket.

You can listen to Sorry Not Sorry here or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

R is for Read Aloud Revival

Welcome to Day 18 of the A-Z challenge. Day 18 people! There were times I didn't think I would make it this far, and yet here we are! This year I am reviewing podcasts. Day 18 is the letter R, and the podcast I will be reviewing is the Read Aloud Revival.

Sarah Mackenzie thinks you should be reading to your kids. She means all your kids--she just did an article about reading out loud to your teenagers. I loved it! I have two teenagers at home, and only one of them will let me read to them, but I love it with my whole heart! If you have a child living with you, she has tips and reasons for reading to them. 

Category: Kids and Family

What's the Time Commitment Here? 
Once a week for 25 minutes. 

My Review:
I love reading out loud. I do it as a teacher, I do it as a parent, and frankly I would do it as a stranger if I found a child who needed to be read to and I could do it without being creepy. Sarah loves reading to children as much as I do. I don't listen to every episode, because not every episode matches my situation in life. But I love middle grade and young adult literature, so I like the recommendations for myself. 

All of my children love reading, but it was heartbreaking to watch my oldest son kind of "outgrow" reading. I didn't want that to happen to my younger son, and this podcast inspired me to listen to an adult book with him on audiobook--just to show him that there is a whole world of books out there when he runs out of books in the young adult section. We're about 1/3 of the way through The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and this time with him is so precious. I'm so grateful that it is happening, and that Brandon Sanderson writes super long books.

You can listen to Read Aloud Revival here or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

P.S. Her website is super organized, so if you are only interested in one age group or one topic, you can easily find the related podcasts. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q is for Questions

This year I've been reviewing podcasts, and I've gotten a lot of questions about it. I thought I'd use this bogpost to answer a few.

When did you start listening to podcasts?

I had just switched from an android to an iPhone, and so far I wasn't a fan. It was the day of the big solar eclipse last summer, and I was at a gathering at our local library. While we waited for something to happen, I complained to my friend Amy about my new phone, and she introduced me to the podcast feature. iPhones make listening to podcasts almost effortless. She told me about the podcast I will be reviewing for the letter S and encouraged me to give it a try. And an obsession was born!

How do you listen to podcasts?

iPhone: If you have an iphone, go to the podcast feature and search for the podcast you want and start listening. It's that easy.

Android: If you have an android, you can download an app that does the same thing.  I've helped a couple of friends get started, but I really don't know which app is the best. If you are a podcast fan and listen on android, please let us know about apps you like.

Computer: If you don't have a phone, you can listen on your computer by searching for the podcast you want. They probably have their own website, or you can listen on stitcher, sound cloud or iTunes. Some podcasts can be downloaded on Spotify, but I haven't tried that. 

When do you find time to listen to all these podcasts?

I listen while I drive. Sometimes I listen while I'm cleaning, getting ready for the day or cooking. Sometimes I listen while I go on walks.

Do you really listen to all these podcasts every week?

Nope. It's been a crazy couple of months trying out new podcasts and trying to find things I was excited to review. It has been equally fun to start deleting podcasts I'm not interested in listening to. I miss music and I miss audiobooks. I'm even starting to miss quiet. But I do listen to a bunch of podcasts, and I'll sometimes binge on one to catch up if I'm falling behind. I am also trying to make informed choices. For example, I love Optimal Living Daily, but I'm not very interested when they talk about minimalism, so I'm starting to skip those.

What are your top 10 favorite podcasts?

(I'm writing these down in the order they appear on my phone, not lowest to highest. Because who can choose?)

1. By the Book
2. Dear Hank and John
3. Happier With Gretchen Rubin
4. The podcast I'm reviewing for the letter Z
5. No Such Thing as a Fish
6. Optimal Living Daily
7. The podcast I'm reviewing for the letter V
8. Anthropocene Reviewed
9. The podcast I'm reviewing for the letter W
10. Writing Excuses

What are you still looking for in a podcast?

Real news! Told with context and backstory but without taking a long time--maybe 20 minutes per day on the top 3 or 4 news stories, told without bias and with care to journalistic integrity, i.e. not saying the name of terrorist organizations or murderers that might be copy catted. Someone who uses the original sources to tell their news, and who is also entertaining but not about the click bait. Someone who I can listen to with my kids in the room because they aren't going to suddenly use a disgusting sexually explicit metaphor or an over abundance of F-bombs. Ideas?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

P is for Podcasts

Welcome to the A-Z Challenge! This year I am reviewing podcasts. Day 16 is the letter P. My word is podcast, but I will not be reviewing any podcasts at all today.

In the process of filling all the letters for this challenge, I asked some friends what podcasts they listen to, and this is that list. I know nothing about these podcasts except what I'm telling you. 

Ideas from my podcast loving friend Amy (I tribute my love of podcasts to her suggestions):

Overdue: A podcast about those "books you've been meaning to read."

The Longest Shortest Time: a parenting podcast for everyone who struggles.

Ideas from my friend Karen:

AmWriting: A show about "writing, reading and getting things done."

99% Invisible: A podcast about design and architecture. Which sounds really dull, I know, but I have had this particular podcast recommended by so many people that I've got to see what is going on with it.

Idea from Kimberly from Passing Down the Love who stopped by during the A-Z challenge: 

Just Keep Blogging:  A podcast for all of us bloggers!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

O is for Optimal Living Daily

Welcome to Day 15 of the A-Z challenge! This year I am reviewing podcasts. Day 15 is the letter O and the podcast I will be reviewing is Optimal Living Daily.

Optimal Living Daily is part of a family of podcasts. They are:

  • Optimal Living Daily (personal development, minimalism, productivity)
  • Optimal Finance Daily (finance)
  • Optimal Health Daily (health and wellness, including stress)
  • Optimal Business Daily (all things business)
  • Optimal Living Daily: Relationships (friendship, dating, marriage, parenting and more)
I've only ever listened to Optimal Living Daily, but the other ones are set up on a similar premise, which is unique. The host of OLD, Justin Malik, finds great blog posts about living your optimal life, gets permission from the blogger, and reads them for us!

Category: Alternative Health (What?!?)

What's My Time Commitment Here?

The episodes are less than 10 minutes long--is a blog post is particularly long it will get broken into sections to be read each day.  365 days a year!

My Review
Even though they are short, a podcast every day adds up! I've gotten pretty good at not finishing the ones that don't interest me. But I get inspired at least two or three times a week by the things I here on this podcast. I highly recommend it! 

You can listen to Optimal Living Daily here, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Monday, April 16, 2018

N is for No Such Thing As a Fish

Welcome to Day 14 of the A-Z challenge! We've passed the halfway point!! This year I am reviewing podcasts. Day 14 is the letter N and I will be reviewing No Such Thing As a Fish.

After a rocky few letters, I'm back on solid ground with one of my favorite podcasts. No Such Thing As a Fish is hosted by Andrew Hunter-Murray, Dan Schreiber, Anna Ptaszynski and James Harkin. They each find one fact to share each week, and they discuss each fact with each presenter adding their own connections to it. This is the moment the show's name was born:

Category: Comedy

What's My Time Commitment Here: Unfortunately for everyone, new shows only appear once a week. They are about 40 minutes long.

My Review: I love it, and often have my young teenagers listen to it with me. Occasionally I wish I had reviewed it first--they can get crass every now and again, but for the most part, we thoroughly enjoy this podcast.