THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU’RE RUNNING. Part 2: Podcasts.


So yeah. I'm promoting conspicuous consumption now. Deal with it.

WEATHER: A little hot, but really, conditions are perfect.

MILES:11

MILES THIS WEEK: 40

WHERE TO: Allllll over.

MOOD: The thrill of the mighty huntress.*

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

*…by which I mean I KILLED A MOUSE this morning.  So yeah, this has nothing to do with running, but it does have to do with badassery, so I’m just gonna roll with it.  See, the Irishwoman informed me last night, when the mouse scurried out from under the oven as I was baking cookies, that OH MY GOD THERE’S A MOUSE BY YOUR FOOT GET IT GET IT.

OK, sure, fine.

But anyway, I set out glue traps, and lo and behold, before my run this morning, there was little Mr. Making-You-Feel-Remorseful-for-Fantasizing-About-His-Death himself, yanking himself in a circle with his one, adorable, unstuck paw.

Long story short, after my run, the Irishwoman and the Yogi (other housemate) (both of whom I do love with every fiber of my being, including my hoo-hoos) left the room squealing as I took the largest cutting board, raised it high, and-

“SQUEEEEEAKSQUEAKSQUEAK”

Ohhhhh don’t EVEN.  <WHAM!> goes the cutting board.

*STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP* go my nice ladylike work shoes on the cutting board, on top of the mouse.

*BAM BAM SLAP CRUNCH BAM*

<I leave room, flapping hands in a girly fashion>

<…and then run back for good measure>

*STOMP STOMP STOMP*

I sort of was exhilarated.

So that was my morning.  FYI.  Now back to the running.

—————-

Anyhow, today we continue learning about what to do while we run by exploring the wild, wacky world of PODCASSSSTS! <crackle of thunder, flicker of lightning, tingle in your bosom>

Podcasts are not for the speed workouts.  I mean, think about it — does David Sedaris’ voice inspire you to sprint anywhere at top speed, aside from sprinting to the nearest ball peen hammer so you can beat the living bejeezus out of your iPod for having the nerve to relay such overrated, funny-to-humorless-east-coast-liberal-arts-majors drivel into your audio canals?

No, no it does not.

So you see, podcasts are there to drag you through your 5-hour Saturday death marches around (and around and around) Hains Point.  They deliver a fifteen-minute-to-hour-long narrative, a spinning of yarns that Ludacris usually can’t match. And so this week I will grade some of the most popular podcasts, helping you to determine what is essential and what is awful. So get your NPR donations ready, because your iPod about to ask you for money a half-dozen times per run.

Radiolab

My fave, by far.  Every week you get a new, giant, esoteric topic (“Time,” “Destiny,” “Boobies”) to wrap your mind around, which sort of helps the running along, because it’s hard to pay attention to the blisters and that forking seam on your shorts that is RUBBING, DAMMIT when your mind is being blown by the theory of relativity. Also, all the learning-ness further adds to your already-pretty-swollen-sense-of-badassery at hour three of your run, because — holy God! — you understand string theory now, AND you’re on mile 80.  Could you be any cooler?  No, you could not.  Download them all, feel smarter, run further.

Grade: A+.

——————–

This American Life

Well, it all depends.  I feel like this could work for some people and not for others.  So here is a simple test.  In your fuzziest, Ira-Glassiest, dead-panniest, poignant-yet-quirky voice, tell a poignant-yet-quirky story, preferably involving a dying parent.  Actually, know what?  Just say the following poignant-yet-quirky sentence after me: “I looked at my mom.  She looked at me.  We both knew we had to renovate the haunted Victorian mansion if it killed us.  Also, she was dying of cancer.”

Or maybe put on your 14-year-old-girl voice and have a snarkfest that would make Sarah Vowell wet herself with envy. “Yeah, I mean, I GUESS I could go get my MFA, if you’re into that sort of thing.  Also, I’m dying of cancer.”

And then maybe just deadpan a few of the most self-consciously inappropriate lines you can imagine, while throwing in a few semi-dirty words for the hell of it: “I pooped twice, right there in the Starbuck’s, and I prayed to God that he would plant a tumor right in my the barista’s brain.  Penis vajayjay mitten.  I am HILARIOUS.”  (Congratulations, by the way; you have just written half of “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” without really trying.)

Are you crying?  Are you feeling more misanthropic than usual?  No?  OK, fine.  Listen to This American Life while you run, then.  Jeez.

Grade: C+

——————–

“Speaking of Faith,” with Krista Tippett

…or you could stab yourself in the eye with this rusty awl.

Grade: F-.

————

The News from Lake Wobegon

“The Tolleruds walked out <deeep, heavy breath> to their gardennnn, and discovered that–overnight!–their plants had developed <breeeeeeeeattttthhhhh> bright, crimson, beauuuuuuutiful tomatoes…” <pause> “Which of course a Lutheran can’t enjoy, because Lutherans hate life.” <puzzled laughter from audience>

Good for nap-fests and missing-Minnesota nostalgia-fests, bad for run-fests.

Grade: C-

——————–

Jack Black Reads the Bible Aloud (with improvisations)

Don’t even pretend that this isn’t a great idea.

Grade: A+++++.

————

Savage Love

It’s not like RadioLab, in the sense that you can’t listen to three in a row without getting sick of it (well, yeah, and also in the sense that on RadioLab they only rarely talk about scrotums). I mean, while it’s true that every situation that comes up on the show is different and often entertaining in its own way, eventually you just sort of get numb to it.  “Yeah, yeah, another story about getting a completely random inanimate object stuck in the wrong orifice.  What else is new?”  But the guy does have wonderful, earnest (two words I rarely use together) angry-fying rants about acceptance and openness and gay pride and how we should all firebomb Focus on the Family headquarters (I’ll see you in HELL, Rev. Dobson, only I’ll be there for cussing and stomping on Fievel’s lifeless body, not hating on everyone, ever) (But I digress).  Anyway, angry-fying rants are one of the best ways, next to the promise of 2 bowls of Reese’s Puffs for breakfast once you get home, to bring your pace down by a good 20 seconds per mile.

Grade: A-

————————–

Running with the Pack

OK, I’m not going to lie.  I’ve never listened to this one before tonight.  I just typed “running podcast” into my iTunes and found this. Now, their description says they have a “conversational, non-competitive, and welcoming tone.” Which is exactly the tone that I go for in my blog, so naturally we’re a perfect match.  Actually, right now I’m listening to them — one dude, one lady, talking about running, and ooooh they’re interviewing an ultra-runner right now.  <swoon>  And, yeah, it’s not teaching me about quantum mechanics or the nature of the universe or Lake Wobegon, and it doesn’t involve Jack Black himself reading the book “Song of Songs,” but now that I’m on the topic, OK.  Just think about the point when he gets to the line, “Thy two breasts are like two young gazelles that are twins, which feed among the lilies.” I mean, he can’t even do that without giggling.

Anyway, sounds promising (the podcast) (but also the Jack Black thing), by which I mean they sound like they know what they’re talking about, and also that they should totally feature my blog on their podcast.  For real.  Wink, nudge.

Grade: B

———————-

PTI, by ESPN

Man, how are you feeling about Favre’s quickness off the snap this season?  Because I’m telling you, man, I’m not buying it any longer.  I’ve been burned by him before, right?  Right on.  Maybe if the Vikings worked on their running game and set their backfield in motion blah blah blah.

More dull than running without an iPod. It involves absolutely zero snarky writers, discussions about latex-free condoms, Minnesotan tomatoes, special relativity, or Jack Black as God’s Chosen Vessel.  A sports podcast about every sport except running.  Pssshhh.  Whatever.

Grade: D.  Mainly because Krista Tippett is rarely a guest.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Other podcasts: Story of the Day (prepare to cry/get a lump in your throat that makes breathing difficult), Fresh Air (if the guest is good–requires some pre-research), Leonard Lopate (often overlaps guest with Fresh Air, NY-based), Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Sunday Puzzle (extra fun to try to do riddles without pen and paper), Gabfests from Slate (sports, culture, and political).

    Also: free audiobooks from your local library.

    Your blog is funny. Also it makes me feel lazy.

    Reply

  2. Posted by EmGusk on September 24, 2010 at 9:29 am

    My good friend, iEatDC, got me listening to podcasts while running, but I also use the Public Radio app on my iPhone because I am a east coast liberal elitist who lives in Bethesda so I obviously listen to streaming NPR on my iPhone while on the Capital Crescent. *deep breath* God, I am SUCH a cliche.

    But I recommend Wait, Wait as well as Car Talk and All Things Considered. I laugh out loud to Wait, Wait and Car Talk on Saturday mornings, so people on the trail think I’m crazy. But most people everywhere think I’m crazy, so I guess they’re right.

    Miss you and sorry I didn’t come hang out last weekend!

    Reply

  3. Posted by EmGusk on September 24, 2010 at 9:29 am

    AH misplaced comma on National Punctuation Day! Sorry.

    Reply

  4. Posted by molly on September 29, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Jack Black Reads the Bible Aloud (with improvisations)!! HAHAHAAHAHA!?!?!!!! oh so great. you just made my day.

    Reply

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