People always write to me and say how interesting my life is. I am flattered, but honestly, I am usually just alone in the attic, wearing a mechanic’s jumpsuit, sewing all day. Yes, I have logged plenty of miles around the globe, but the simple truth of running a one woman sweatshop is that I spend a lot of time in solitude, lost in my thoughts and working. I am pretty much a hermit.
One thing that I have found to be an indispensable part of keeping me motivated through the ebb and flow of inspiration is listening to good radio shows. I do have some purely music days, but in general I am more of a podcast girl.
Listening to so many hours and hours of podcasts and documentaries every day, makes me fear sometimes that I will exhaust my supply. The reason I am writing this blog post is to ask you guys for suggestions. What do you listen to? I need some fresh material!
Since I work by myself all day long, I have come to think of the reporters at NPR as my coworkers. I give a sleepy morning hello to Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne. And then try not to feel sad as they tell me about the world.
I know I can turn to Ira Glass to make me feel better about the humanity. I love Ira Glass. Somewhere along the line I have lost track of the fact that we are not actually friends in real life. Come on, let’s hear it – who else has a crush on him? I’d like to think that if this was all just an 80s movie, Ira would be my super awesome best friend with the quirky sense of style. It would be obvious to the viewer that he and I were destined to find true love in each other’s arms, but it would take us 4/5ths of the movie to figure that out for ourselves, because our friendship was just so real. I love Ira. I wouldn’t recognize him if he were sitting next to me, but his voice is woven into my soul.
My other podcast best friend is Dan Savage. I listen to the Savage Love advice show so much that no kink can shock me. I love hearing other people’s relationship problems. After so many years with Dan as my mentor, I now dispense advice with unwavering confidence. (Hint: 9 times out of 10 you should probably dump that motherfucker already). (Also: It gets better.)
A while back Ira Glass was actually a guest on Savage Love. It was like the characters of a portrait were walking behind the walls into one another’s backgrounds. I was enraptured. It was illuminating to hear Ira Glass talk candidly about sex and use bad words. He even matter-of-factly admitted that if anyone ever made him an indecent proposal of a million dollars to have extramarital relations, that of course he would do it. And, just like that, I had a brilliant idea for a Kickstarter. (Just Kidding) (Sort of).
But Ira and Dan are just two men, and I have many many hours to fill in my day.
Thus, I have listen to so many TED talks that I can’t blink my eyes without feeling an inspiring call to action.
Radiolab makes everything fascinating, and I borrow its stories liberally to make me seem more interesting on the rare occasions that I actually leave the house.
The Planet Money team keeps me abreast of the invisible forces at work in our economy. I have listened to every single episode. It makes me feel smart.
Do you think Adnan Syed is guilty? I’m not sure, but I am inclined to be on his side.
I am ready to raise my fist and follow Russell Brand into battle against economic injustice. I know he is imperfect and has a questionable history with the ladies, but dammit, I adore The Trews.
And when I am not in the mood to be uplifted, I know I can always find a great curmudgeonly companion in Marc Maron. I feel like I spend a lot of time in his garage, and I care about his cats. I suspect that even if his podcast was nothing more than him angrily reading the phone book, Marc Maron would convey so much raw emotion that I would probably still relate.
If none of my regulars are available for a chat, I will scour the internet for BBC documentaries on just about any topic. My inner voice is starting to have such a British accent, and I catch myself using words like “Plantagenet” and “Cromwellian” in casual conversation.
It occurs to me that if I had dedicated even a fraction of my podcast time towards learning a language, I would for sure be fluent in Mandarin by now, maybe even Cantonese too.
Actually, does anyone have any good internet language learning sources to recommend? It would have to be mostly audio/non participatory because my hands are full of sweaters and I don’t care for homework. But I would be stoked to learn Bahasa as I iron.
Oh, actually, what do you know about Esperanto? I hear it is super easy to learn. We should start an Esperanto club. Do you want to learn it with me? Think of the great impression you could make on William Shatner at the next convention! Ni Lernas Esperanton Kune! (according to Google translate, that is how you say “Let’s earn Esperanto together!”)
So, yes, if you have any enriching podcast suggestions, please send them my way. I just told you mine. If you listen to the above mentioned programs while wearing a jumpsuit in your attic, you will basically be living my life. (But stay away from Ira Glass, he’s mine.)
I confess, not everything I listen to as I work is enriching. Or rather, it is enriching in a rare and exclusive sort of way. I have been on a tear of watching Dynasty. I don’t know why. I just clicked a link one day in December, and it is still happening. I found a Youtube channel that had all 9 seasons uploaded, and each video had zero views. I was literally the only person watching the Dynasty channel, and it made me feel like a kid running across a field of virgin snow. The 80’s angora sweaters on Dynasty are
AMAZING. Plus, for a couple of seasons you can’t make it through an episode without at least one character showing up for no reason in a high cut leotard worn with a belt and sateen stockings. I am invested now. I watch back to back episodes.
Once in a while I must leave my attic sewing dungeon for a breather. Dear Mason will look up from his work and say, “How’s it going, Sweets?”
To which I invariable reply with some version of, “I’m fine. The sweaters are good. But I am worried about Crystal Carrington. She is caught in a raging house fire in Steven’s sex cabin, and she has to choose between saving herself, or risking her life to save her arch enemy, Alexis, who just prior to the fire had offered her a million dollars to leave Blake Carrington’s life for good, even though Alexis herself had, unbeknownst to Crystal, just had an affair with Mark, Crystal’s tennis pro ex-husband who is also sleeping with Fallon, the daughter of Crystal’s current husband, who it turns out Crystal isn’t actually married to because the quickie Mexican divorce from Mark was not valid.”
This has happened enough times that I have gotten that Prince song stuck in my head for weeks. It occurred to me that this is a great opportunity for a sweater collection theme. I would totally do a Dynasty theme, but judging by the number of views on the Dynasty Youtube channel, none of you would care. Therefore, how about a Prince theme? Everyone likes Prince!
This is perfect, because just yesterday I went thrift shopping in Pennsylvania and I hit the motherload of tacky 80s sweaters. Here, I will make Mason model some of them for you:
I don’t know how big the February sweater collection will be, because we are leaving for a hitchhiking trip across Oman tomorrow. But like Prince himself, the small stature will (hopefully) embody disproportionately huge awesomeness.
(I just laughed at myself because I started this blog saying that my life is one of cloistered monotony, and I ended by casually mentioning that I am leaving tomorrow to hitchhike across Oman. I am not quite sure what to make of that!)
Starfish and Coffee anyone?
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