March Superlatives: podcasts & pressures

For me, for us, Spring is about taking a breath. A time of slowing down after the hectic 6-day weeks of Speech/debate season subside. Milder days, green growth, longer spells of purple-streaked twilight spent listening to the sounds of a baseball game in the dusk. The backyard air sweet with the earthy, wet smell of Spring and of possibility, as we make Summer plans. With the added gift of garden dreams this year, since starting a vegetable patch last year, there’s much to look forward to.

Only, you wouldn’t know Spring has arrived here in the Midwest and I’m not just referring to the chill weather and pouring rain (our garden plot is a flood plain). More than a bit of uncertainty has rolled into our lives like a dark cloud. I can’t elaborate further now, but the circumstances have induced a significant source of anxiety. The worst part; we won’t know the outcome of this unsure footing for months, and even more maddening, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m no good at dealing with doubt, either. I may be great at facing down adversity, but freeze in the face of uncertainty. All I can do is focus on what I do know: I’m fortunate in many ways, for innumerable things.20180317_165907 (1)I know that I have a loving husband, who I rely upon like my rock and who can rely upon me. Here we are this month, after viewing an NCAA March Madness basketball game of my favorite team who I’ve supported for over 25 years. Fan girl bucket list, checked. I know I’m graced with caring friends and supportive family, a job I enjoy (most days) and stable health, which I don’t take for granted. I know all this, but will still need to remind myself to take that breath rather than hold it.

Stown imageSo, distractions are what I need and what I’ve been up to. Reading, writing, bingeing Netflix and listening to podcasts whenever I can. Last year, a relative recommended the S-Town podcast, but I had listened to both seasons of Serial and needed a break from that style of measured, in-depth true crime journalism. Until this week when, craving a distraction while Spring cleaning, I clicked on S-town and devoured it in two days. I realize this podcast was released a year ago and made a ton of press while stirring up ethical debates, but I knew nothing going in. 

The synopsis: “John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.” And it’s so much more, with revelatory moments of unconventionality, strangeness, absurdity, sadness and unexpected insight into human nature and the dark side of genius. Holy crap, who knew sundials could be so profound? Not I, and although some question the ethics of intimately revealing the inhabitant of this town, no one questions it’s beauty. Called a “well-crafted monument to empathy,” I must agree and I need more! 

If there are any podcast buffs out there who have juicy recommendations, please share. I’ve been bitten by the podcast bug again and am looking to scratch that itch. Of course, any good bits of news are welcome too, how are my friends faring? I hope Spring is warm and sunny where you are and that the rain ends here soon. 



9 thoughts on “March Superlatives: podcasts & pressures

  1. Been thinking about you! Call me if you need to chat. I will be around every evening this week. Podcasts I have enjoyed: Moth, This American Life, S-town was super intriguing, Fresh Air, and The Keepers was on Netflix (may have started as a podscast?)
    Others I am interested in: Revisionist History, 99% Invisible, Reveal, Homecoming


    1. Thanks buddy, uncertainty is my enemy but I read somewhere that accepting it is a sign of maturity…
      Great thanks for the recs. I do listen to this American Life occasionally, just did yesterday, but I’m looking for more of a consistent storyline/season format. Oh man, we were so traumatized by the first 2 episodes of The Keepers on Netflix I don’t think I could handle that. I will check out the others:)


  2. Aargh, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with uncertainties. We have been as well for the past month, and even though we’re now coming out of that state, it’s just exhausting. I don’t handle doubt very well either; I don’t need things to be 100 percent locked down, but I do like things to be organized and have a clear through-line. I hope you’re able to find some things to distract you from the inevitability of not being able to do anything but worry – may I suggest that Netflix show I was hyping a while back (Everything Sucks!)? Particularly now that you’re seeing a bit of light on the other side of your insane work tunnel there – and yay for that, it must feel pretty great to be able to take a breather, right? 🙂 Also, you guys are adorable – I love that you were able to complete a bucket list item! That’s another one that feels pretty good to check off the old life list, huh?


    1. I’ve been thoroughly knocked on the back foot (not on my ass, yet), and don’t see a reprieve soon, but I thank you for your wishes. I’m even more thankful that you’ve made it through your uncertain time. There’s hope!

      Ok, I watched 3 episodes of Everything Sucks, but it isn’t coming together for me. I would expect some awkward high school stuff, bc, high school. But I was hoping for more comedic relief. Maybe I will revisit them soon. Lately I’ve binged Grace and Frankie and it’s tickled every funny bone escape hatch I’ve needed. Thank you! He and I make a good team:)


      1. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear you thought Everything Sucks totally sucked (that sentence just writes itself.) But turns out you are far from the only one, because it got cancelled this weekend, and Netflix doesn’t cancel anything. So I’m thinking it really wasn’t very popular. I just thought it had a weird, cute little heart to it, and I really, really loved the burgeoning relationship between Luke’s mom and Kate’s principal dad. Also that drama dipshit Oliver. There’s a cute episode where he and Emaline and Luke’s two nerd buddies dial up the old ‘Net (probably Netscape, and it takes about 20 minutes to get a single page up on the library computer) and look up alternative methods of getting high. That leads them to some deeply misleading information about the hallucinogenic properties of nutmeg, which leads to some very hilarious scenes of them choking back bulk quantities of nutmeg in the woods, getting fake-high and then monologue-ing in a tree. Which he can’t get his idiot ass back out of afterwards. Trenchcoat was weighing him down. Boo, I thought for sure you would have loved its whole “creative nerd in the ’90s” thing, but you can’t win ’em all. 😉 I guess it must be one of those nostalgia things – one of my best friends in high school was Kate (right down to the Tori Amos) and there were certain Emaline-like qualities to both my personality and fashion sense (I wasn’t in drama, but I could be dra-ma-TIC.) That Wonderwall video Luke makes, though? Ugh, brilliant. Find me that kid, grade 9 me really wants to be best friends with him.

        I’ve never seen Grace and Frankie, but I’ve paused quite a few times at the Netflix listing and thought, “Huh, should I…?” There’s just way too much stuff on Netflix, I don’t even know where to start. This weekend, on the recommendation of a friend, my husband watched this documentary on Netflix about this cult in Oregon – it was totally bonkers. He was watching it with headphones on and I was doing my blogging thing with my headphones on, and I’d periodically hear over top of everything, “What? WHAT. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, WHAT IS THAT?!?” Old, Old Country, maybe? It was crazy – definitely no comedic relief there!

        I just discovered that a favourite BBC program (Misfits) has disappeared from Netflix, and it’s super, super expensive to buy. I am in some despairing depths about this – I really love my foul mouthed east end super hooligans, but close to $60 for six episodes? Perhaps not.


        1. That’s the same joke my husband made about Everything Sucks when I said I was expecting a comedy (though, he like it better than I). He said, it’s all right there in the title, I shouldn’t have expected differently. Ah, you would be into that Wonderwall video as an Oasis fan, I enjoyed that part, but I found the story and acting more cringe-inducing than comedic so far. Oliver and Emmaline are actually two characters I like watching. Sort of an “observe them for the love of mockery” types as Shakespeare would say. I must watch that gettin high in the woods episode soon!
          I saw the previews for that Wild, Wild Country-on my husband’s watch list but I’m sure I’d be irritated by the obvious-guru who creates a following just so he can have sex with young girls-it does look like shocking entertainment though and I’d be into the historical value.
          If you ever get the chance for Grace & Frankie, I think it’s superb, depicts empowering female friendship with a heck of a lot of truth. The 2nd season has been my fave.

          I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking shows stay on Netflix forever but was disappointed when The Wonder Years left just as I wanted to start watching. Perhaps your library would have an available copy of the Misfits dvd?


          1. It’s the joke that makes itself!

            That documentary – what I saw of it – was just nutso. And you’ve got it nailed down – hard to get on board with a “movement” dedicated to getting one disgusting pervert laid on the regular, although everybody else wasn’t exactly on their best behaviour either. It was like a clusterbiff of humanity’s worst impulses and behaviour out on nauseating display. Still pretty fascinating.

            If my local library had a copy of Misfits, I’d die. The only thing you can pick up at the library is the flu. 😦 This will crush your library sciences heart, but my city does not prioritize its library services. Which is just amazing for the capital of this country, truly. You should see the fuss being made about our downtown, central library right now (not just where to put a new one, but what to put in it, how much of an indigenous presence is it going to have both in terms of design and the actual material contained therein…) Ottawa’s a pretty pathetic bureaucracy (it is the seat of our country’s government) – I swear we could dither ourselves into a hole in the ground over how to empty a garbage can, making sure we respect all people and creatures in doing so. I love being Canadian, but sometimes we suck.


          2. I’m not that surprised about your low priority library, you can’t fight city hall. We ‘Mericans are lucky in that libraries provide so many community services that they are a priority, especially in my state, 4th most libraries I believe. Although, you can catch the flu here too:/

            I briefly stepped into a Canadian library in Montreal on a visit bc I had to use the restroom in a wickedly major way. I remember being struck at how similar it was to U.S. versions. a bit more business-like perhaps…


          3. Yup, that’s Canada for you – kill any hint of personality while you dither about inclusiveness to the point where you’re left with a plain blank wall, because it can’t offend anyone. You know, except for the people who are deeply offended by plain blank walls (oh, they exist!)

            Fourth most libraries? Not bad, not bad. They’re a crucial service, and like I said, I wish we prioritized the content of them more than what their design says about us as a people or whatever.

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