Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thing 19: Podcasts

Podcasts are one of the things I've had to figure out how to fit into my day - as someone who also wants to listen to a lot of music, and as someone who is not always home a lot in the evening (and where listening in the car is problematic: I have to set up the iPod with the radio transmitter - plus, my commute to work is only about 15 minutes right now), it took me quite a while to figure out how to fit listening to podcasts into my week.

My answer? I catch up on them while playing World of Warcraft, unless I'm voice chatting with someone while playing (rare, usually). It's turned out to be great combination, because I don't lose pieces of the conversation (like I might if I were doing chores around the house, turning the sink on, etc. that would affect what I heard).

I'm not trying to focus on writing something (when a different set of words can be distracting). And yet, if I lose track of a sentence or three of a podcast because I'm concentrating hard on the game, it's easy to either back up a bit, or just pick it up from context.

One other side benefit is that because the podcasts I listen to are all about 50 minutes, it's a nice simple reminder of how long I've been playing that session: if a third podcast starts, it might be time to go to bed (or, if I have a rare lesiurely weekend day, it's probably time to stand up, stretch, and do 15 minutes of chores.)

I regularly listen to five different podcasts right now - all from Minnesota Public Radio shows that I normally don't get a chance to hear at the time they air. Midmorning and The Story are more or less daily (unless preempted by news programming or special broadcasts): I don't listen to all of them, but start with the ones I'm most interested in. I also listen to The Splendid Table, Speaking of Faith, and Wait, wait, don't tell me! all of which are weekly.

I've tried various other podcasts related to other interests at times - but I have trouble sticking with them. I'm a very audio-sensitive learner and listener in some ways, so getting used to a specific voice helps (and professional-level equipment also helps: I can find crackling and other sound issues hard going after about half an hour). Also, I'm interested in a lot of different things, so an hour of politics and an hour of new books, and an hour of deep sea exploration, and an hour of cooking is often more appealing to me than 5 hours of knitting. Or even 5 hours of book discussion.

I do continue exploring occasionally (and I have a few from this Thing I intend to take a closer listen to): if you're reading here and have any favorites, please share!

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