Podcasts I Listen To

I listen to a lot of podcasts right now. Generally, I’m only listening if I am driving somewhere or working out. So here are the 34 podcasts that I currently listen to and where they rank in my personal favorites at this moment in time.

  1. Radiolab
    My favorite podcast. It comes out sporadically, but I always enjoy new episodes. They make them memorable. The very first episode I listened to was “Normal” about how wolves and dogs evolved and how a group of monkeys had their social hierarchy. The most recent fully new episode was “Debatable” about a team of gay black men who rather than debate on the chosen topic, decided to talk about how the way the debate was happening was disadvantageous to them. They won the national championship. Again, huge fan of this podcast. Jad, Robert, and the team do an amazing job.
  2. Rob Has a Podcast
    I’m a Survivor fanboy, and there is no better podcast about Survivor than Rob Cesternino’s. He does a great job getting former contestants on the show to talk and analyze Survivor. I enjoy almost everything he does on this channel that deals with Survivor.
  3. The Poscast with Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur
    This comes out sporadically (last episode as of right now was the beginning of January). It usually has a bit of a discussion with Joe and Michael which is interesting and I wish they would spend more time on. Then they go about a random draft of some sort. They might draft balls, or sports plays, or superheroes. I’m a big Posnanski fan, so this is right up my alley.
  4. The Bill Simmons Podcast
    Great interviews at times. General sports podcast. Been reading him since around 2000. He recently made the move to HBO, which has brought different guests on. Big fan of this podcast.
  5. Freakonomics
    An economics podcast that I really enjoy. Always enlightening. In the early days that I listened to this, there was a lot more “Wow” moments. But now it’s just interesting.
  6. Hello Internet
    The podcast where CPG Grey and Brady Haran (both of them are Youtubers) discuss whatever they want to discuss. I actually really enjoy their back and forth. They get pretty deep into things at times. They also always follow up on things that may have changed or things that they have to add about past stories. I do enjoy this one.
  7. The Tim Ferriss Show
    Interview podcast. I’ve been a fan of Tim’s for a while now. His conversation topics have a huge range. I’ll probably learn something if I listen to the podcast though, so I look forward to this. They tend to be on the longer side though, which gets kind of annoying.
  8. Serial
    The big hit was huge for podcasts. I liked the first season (with Adnan), but didn’t love it like others did. This second season (following the Bo Burgdall trial) is a bit of a dud. The music is great. Interested to see what they’ll have in store for season 3.
  9. This American Life
    One of the pinnacles of radio/podcasting. It’s a collection of stories around a theme. It’s very well done. It tends to be a bit on the depressing side, but still one that I look forward to listening to.
  10. Planet Money
    It’s a podcast about money/economics. It’s relatively short at 20-25 minutes an episode. The issue that I have with this show is that there isn’t an episode that I really really enjoyed. It’s always interesting though. It’s just not a deep dive.
  11. The James Altucher Show
    This one is an interview podcast. Though, unlike other interview podcasts, James has really interesting people on and he asks really good questions. Regardless of whether I know who he’s interviewing or not, I’ll probably listen to the episode.
  12. Ask Altucher
    I just realized that this hasn’t come out since October. It was James and his wife answering questions daily. For whatever reason, this has stopped. I listened to almost every one of the 300+ episodes.
  13. Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project
    Adam Savage from Mythbusters and his gang chat about various things. They’ve given me some great recommendations on books (The Martian, Seveneves). The chats aren’t super long, so it doesn’t feel like I am giving away too much time to this podcast, which is good.
  14. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
    As of this writing, I just am getting into this. I recently listened to a couple of one-off episodes. Now I am right in the thick of World War I (with “Blueprint for Armageddon III”. These are very thick pieces of meat and it’s not something that I can just have on in the background. I really have to be listening to them. I feel like I will rip through the available episodes pretty quickly. I only have to finish the BfA, King of Kings (1-3 so far), and the Wrath of Khans. Don’t think that’s easy though. All of that is probably 33 hours of listening.
  15. Dear Hank & John
    The weekly podcast that Hank and John Green put out. They are the Vlogbrothers on Youtube. I’ve been watching them since about 2011. Thoughtful commentary in general. It’s just a question podcast pretty much, so it’s not one of my favorites, but it passes the time.
  16. Invisibilia
    I’m still kind of waiting on this one. There hasn’t been a new episode since July. It’s a highly produced show, so I think they are taking their time on things. Apparently, a new season is coming out in June. I guess we’ll see. This is a podcast about the invisible things in our lives.
  17. What’s the Point
    It’s a half hour (or so) show about various statistics. They try to dive into stories that stats bring up. It can be pretty interesting at times.
  18. FiveThirtyEight Elections
    A podcast about the election season. I’m not sure how much longer this will last after the elections this year, but the commentary they provide helps me stay in touch with what’s going on. It’s election statistics porn, basically.
  19. WTF with Marc Maron
    Much like the Nerdist, it’s an interview show. If it has good guests, I listen. Otherwise, I don’t. Marc is able to get pretty deep with some folks though. It’s a good listen when it’s good.
  20. The Nerdist
    Chris Hardwick and his crew do interviews the majority of the time. This one is really hit or miss, but generally you know what to expect going in. I will listen to it if it’s an interview that I want to hear. It’s really easy to just scrap an episode (which I do a lot) if I don’t feel interested in it.
  21. Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler
    Another interview show that heavily depends on the guest. The format of this one gets a little old though. Aisha doesn’t really do any research ahead of time and they basically talk chronologically about the guests career. It can be good, like with Gabby Reece (which unfortunately is in the archive now). Recently, I haven’t enjoyed it as much
  22. Startup Podcast
    This was very interesting at first as it followed the startup of Gimlet Media. But now that Gimlet is a thing, there isn’t a whole lot to report about, and I don’t really want to hear about other companies. So this has definitely slid down my rankings.
  23. 99% Invisible
    It’s usually a quick episode that I can get through in my walk to the gym. I don’t love the podcast, but it remains interesting. It talks about the hidden structure of things.
  24. PTI
    Around the Horn
    They are ranked the same, but PTI is the one that I enjoy more. They are just audio versions of the ESPN shows. I don’t listen to them religiously, but when they are talking about some big sports story, I am interested to hear their take.
  25. Effectively Wild: The Daily Baseball Prospectus Podcast
    It’s baseball, daily. Very easy to just skip an episode if I don’t seem interested in the content. Can get pretty dry at times. But they put up interesting discussions as well.
  26. Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney
    This one is much the same as Effectively Wild: daily baseball chatter. I like the conversations in this one as I am much more familiar with the folks who come on the podcast, but Buster tries to do too much with this one. There are a lot of recap audio clips that I just don’t care for. The baseball conversations are what keeps me coming back.
  27. Talk is Jericho
    It’s a wrestling podcast. Chris get’s into some good conversations with folks as he has a good head on his shoulders. It’s easy enough to skip the podcast if I don’t like the guests. But he ventures outside of wrestling at times, which I enjoy.
  28. The Steve Austin Show
    The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed!
    These are together because, honestly, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which is which (the Unleashed allows unfiltered language). Some interesting interviews, but I really like when Steve does match breakdowns where he comments “live” on matches. Very easy to skip these interviews, but some goldmines pop up every now and again.
  29. Off Camera
    This one was recently added. I’ve enjoyed their Youtube snipets. Some of the episodes are interesting, but it really depends on the guest. Very much a Hollywood interview podcast.
  30. The Moth Podcast
    It’s a podcast where regular folks tell stories. Because of that, it’s hit or miss. Due to it being hit or miss, it’s not one that I really look forward to every time it comes out. Hence why it’s near the bottom of my rankings here.
  31. Post Show Recaps: Live TV & Movie Podcasts with Rob Cesternino
    I subscribe to this solely due to their Saturday Night Live commentary. Otherwise, I just delete all the episodes. I do enjoy the banter about SNL though.
  32. InsideTV Podcast
    I subscribe to this only because they have the Survivor interviews the next day after the show. I’ve never listened to a whole show. I normally will just fast forward to the Survivor interview.

24 Hours to Live

So I’ve given this some thought (the whole, if I had 24 hours left to live thing)…  I mean, I’ve thought about the question before, and usually would answer something along the lines of doing things that I have never done before.  But that’s a cop-out, because I wouldn’t do that.

Well, I WOULD, but only as a backdrop to what I would really do.

So let me throw a few restrictions out there that I am working with.  I am assuming that I have 24 hours and won’t be in fading health.  This means that in 24 hours, I basically just drop dead.

The 2nd restriction is that I find this out in the morning.  If I found out at 7pm, it would kind of screw my plans up (though, my plan would be similar).

And my third restriction is that this is happening now.  Obviously, in the future things will be different, so I can’t speak on what I would want to do in 5 or 10 years.  So here we go…

The first thing I would do would be to call my parents and let them know that I have some good news and some really bad news.  The bad news is that I obviously am not going to live for more than a day, but the good news is that they are going to help throw a giant party.

When my great uncle died in 1999, he basically had money left for his funeral with the instructions to have the funeral, but then have a big gathering afterwards.  He wanted people to celebrate his life rather than mourn it.  I always thought that was a great idea.  Aside from the sadness of losing a loved one, I’ve loved the fact that funerals bring together so many people.   I just wish funerals weren’t such sad events.

So while my parents are busy helping to organize, I’d work to get my retirement savings out.  I’d use whatever money I had to help bring in the important people in my life; my brothers, my sister, my aunts, uncles, and cousins, my best friend John, and as many friends that I could pay for.  Then I would send out an e-mail/mass text to everyone else who is a part of my life and basically say that this is my last day on earth and I want to celebrate with them.

Once that is all taken care of, I’d start the drive home.  And I wouldn’t worry about the speed limit.  Obviously, I would be safe, but I wouldn’t worry whether I was a little or a lot over the speed limit.  Hey, I have less than a day to live, I don’t really care.

But then I’d spend the rest of my life with the people who mean the most to me.  We’d party late into the night.  There would be coffee and tea provided so that people could stay up.  Maybe buy a case of 5-Hour Energy drink.  But I wouldn’t drink (well, not a lot).  I’d want to be completely present during this time.

I’d see my last sunset/sunrise.

Assuming everyone said their goodbyes and went home, I’d love for my final moments to be with my immediate family and only the people who were closest to me.

I hate goodbyes (as I believe more in the “I’ll see you at some point in the future, so it’s not really good-bye” theory), but this would be a time of goodbyes.

And it would be awesome.

Beautifully Different

A sly smile when the going gets tough.

An open ear.

A big old bear hug.

For a very long time, I’ve tried to not be different, but only to be the best that I can be as a person.  I think a good place to start when talking about how I am different would be with the second half of the previous sentence.
For a few years now, I have been on a huge personal development kick.  It started with just ways that I could improve little things about me.  I was reading about how to have lucid dreams and how to move to polyphasic sleep.  I was picking my mom’s brain about some of my favorite recipes that she made.  After a bit more reading and conversing with people, I read “The Game”.

Neil Strauss was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine when he decided to learn more about the seduction community in an effort to become a “Pick-Up Artist”.  He also is the author of “The Game”, a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.  There is a lot in there, but some of the biggest lessons that I got out of the book were that it was of utmost importance to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone else (working on the inner me) and that you can and should treat women the right way (yet you can still maintain your ground and not have to heed their every beck and call).  I guess, in a way, it allowed me to sort of get a class on some of the specific social behaviors that I wasn’t able to pick up before.

The fact that taking care of myself is of utmost importance may sound like all I care about is myself and nothing else matters, but nothing can be further from the truth.  Taking care of myself allows me the flexibility and the ease of mine to put a lot more effort into caring for others.  If I am broken, how can I fix someone or something else?

Trying to be the best that I can be also forces me to be aware of what I could change about myself.  It has given me a whole new sense of awareness about myself and how I come off to others.  I’ve learned that perception truly is reality in many cases (for better or worse).

Going back to the beginning and how I’ve tried not to be different, for the longest time in my life I just tried to fit in.  I wanted to be what everyone wanted me to be.  I still suffer from this somewhat, and it has been the biggest transition post-college.  There was no one to guide my decision-making.  I feel like I have always leaned heavily on that guide.

“Que Sera Sera” or “What will be, will be.”

Great quote, but I think I am done with it.  If I learned anything in 2010, it is that I make my world.  If I am having a bad day, I can change it.  It all depends on where my mind is at.  True, you do your best and things will fall as they may.  I haven’t lived like that.  I never really took full responsibility for my hopes and dreams.  This year, that will change.  I want to be one of the lucky ones who chases and achieves his dreams.

So in 2011 I am going to go out and DO.

Note: This is a response to a #reverb10. #reverb10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. I mentioned in a previous post that I would come back to this.  So here I am, coming back.  Today’s prompt is: “Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.”

Think of me as a Refinery

What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?

I had three different reactions to this #reverb10 prompt (the last one of the year).  My first was echoing what many reverbers have been saying, and I think Dr. Crazy summed it up best:

Jesus H. Christ.  I’m just going to pretend that the whole “core story” business is not part of this prompt, because if I have a core story (and I’m not saying that I do, because eewww) I certainly don’t think that’s public property and I don’t intend to share it with the world.

I love what the internet is and can be, but I also learned long ago that I would rather all of my private thoughts stay my private thoughts.

But then my second thought was that my first thought was such a cop-out.  I totally understand not sharing.  My thoughts are not always public property.  But in the deep recesses of my mind, I just didn’t really want to have to think about my core story.  It’s the last day of the year, things are happening, and it would be easy to take the easy way out.  I could get really deep and share some pretty personal stuff or I could stay relatively shallow and come up with some sort of fun story to finish off 2010 with.

My third, and final, thought was, “Just do it”.  So that’s where I am now.  As I’ve been writing this I’ve realized what my core story is.  It didn’t take a whole lot of digging, as it truly is the essence of me.  It is the secret to understanding how I think and what I am.

Unfortunately, there is no way that I would be able to explain it all in one post.  But I’ll try.

Sometime over the summer, my office had someone in another department come over to our department and do some sort of team testing to see what roles we played within our department “team”.  I am simplifying here for the sake of brevity, but there were four different outcomes of the type of person you played on a team.  There was the big idea person, the person who promoted the cause, and the person that got things done.  I was in none of those categories (though, I do tend to slide more towards the executor side).

I am a Refiner.

What does that mean, refiner?  Well, it basically means that at the heart of me, I question things.  If you say that we need to have a big party for this celebration, I immediately think of how we can get to the details.  Do we need a tent?  How many people will we invite?  Do we need food?  It’s kind of like being a details person, but not exactly.

It basically means that it takes more effort for me to be a cheerleader for a cause, or to just brainstorm ideas without nitpicking them than it does for me to think about where things can go wrong.

Though I am a refiner, I’ve never liked being put in that box.  I don’t enjoy the fact that I refine all the time.  I am constantly checking myself to not do this as my first instinct.  Being a refiner has it’s place, but I try to keep it in it’s place as much as possible.

Obviously, this little team exercise isn’t the be all end all of me.  I can be any of the other three roles, but at my core, this is what I am.

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It has been a pleasure interacting with the #reverb10 crew.  I have enjoyed reading responses to the prompts when I’ve had the time.  Have a safe and happy New Year!  See you in 2011!

Note: This is my final response to the #reverb10 prompt (which just happens to be the last day of the year). #reverb10 is  an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Each day has a prompt. Today’s prompt is: “Core Story.  What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?  (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Author: Molly O’Neill)