Posts Tagged ‘night vale’

Trying Podcasts Again

I like podcasts, squiders, at least in theory. The biggest issue is finding time to listen to them (or remembering to listen to them).

I don’t commute, so I don’t have transportation time. Sometimes I’ll remember to turn one on if I’m mowing the lawn or mopping the floor, but that goes back to the whole remembering thing again. And I can’t think and listen, so I can’t listen to them while I’m working (and am in awe that anyone can).

I had some marketing/writing ones that I used to listen to, but the issue was that invariably I would be doing something else while listening, so I’d have to stop both the podcast and whatever it was if I wanted to write down notes on the podcast content.

So, they’re not the greatest fit for me, or at least, I haven’t figured out how to fit them in. But I’m trying again. Not sure why. It’s like…I was standing there one day, and I thought, “Wow, I haven’t listened to Night Vale in forever,” and opened my podcast app on my phone (apparently never before opened on this particular phone, so I had to remember passwords and sundry), and here we are.

(I was over three years behind on Night Vale, so, wow, it has been forever.)

But for the last three weeks or so I’ve been listening again. When I was working on the consignment sale stuff, it was easy to listen to a few episodes here and there while pricing stuff, so I made some good mileage there. And the podcasts autoplay whenever the car and the phone pair, which is a little annoying (for example, if it’s a five-minute car ride and the small, mobile ones want to talk to me, and I’ve got to figure out how to dig my phone out of my pocket and pause the podcast, or if I don’t have the sound on, so it just autoplays itself with no one listening) but does mean that I’m not forgetting them.

So here’s what I’m (for the moment) listening to:

Welcome to Night Vale

Everyone knows Night Vale at this point, I suspect. On the off-chance you don’t (really?), it’s the community radio for a town somewhere in the American Southwest where every conspiracy theory is real.

I can see why I stopped listening–it’s a bit formulaic, which makes sense, so it gets a little old after a bit–but it is nice to see what I missed. I mean, I’m still 50 episodes behind, but I’m catching up. Also, every now and then there is a truly great episode. Episode 79 (Lost in the Mail) may have made me cry.

Myths and Legends

My spouse recommended this to me, because he knows I love mythology (and also he’s caught up on Night Vale and several other stories he’s listening to, and has time to poke around), and so far, so good. Every week the host tells all or part of a myth/legend and includes a creature of the week. I’m about six episodes in, I think, and so far we’ve covered one of King Arthur’s knights (Yvaine), Aladdin, and are part of the way into the Volsung saga of Norse mythology (apparently a major influence for Tolkien).

Tanis

My podcast app very quickly caught on to my particular brand of madness, and so keeps recommending me horror/mystery/supernatural docudramas and stories. Now, going back to the fact that I am bad at podcasts, I’ve mostly ignored said recommendations, but I did listen to the first episode of Tanis, which is a mystery horror podcast that presents itself as a journalist searching for this ancient idea of “tanis,” of which there are hints throughout history (Wikipedia tells me it’s “deep fiction” since nowhere does the show or its creators acknowledge it’s fictitious).

The first episode does a good job of dragging you in, so I’m going to give a few more episodes a try. They’ve also got a sister show, The Black Tapes, which is also mystery horror presented as reality, except having to do with ghosts, I think.

Listening to any good podcasts, squiders? Thoughts on these ones? Thoughts on how I can stick to/make time for listening in a way that doesn’t eat sections of my day?

General Media Update

Today’s been rough, Squiders, so for the sake of my poor brain, I’m going to keep this simple and go through some of the speculative fiction stuff I’ve been consuming lately.

1) Forever
Forever is a crime procedural/supernatural show on ABC. I started watching it because a friend is obsessed, and I’m glad I did. I did binge the whole season (the finale is on next Tuesday) in about a week in a half, but I really like it. I like all the characters, I like the way they’ve twisted the crime procedural and supernatural plots together (especially since so many shows keep them separate, for some reason. Why mix genres if you’re not actually going to mix genres?), I like the writing. It’s one of the best scripted shows I’ve seen recently, and the cast is brilliant and I love them all. Unfortunately, the show is in a dead time slot and ABC has done a crap job advertising it, so it seems like a lot of people have missed it. But I highly recommend it, and I also recommend starting from the beginning so you can watch the story unfold.

2) The Queen of the Tearling
The Queen of the Tearling is a fantasy (???) novel that came out last year by Erika Johansen. My BIL recommended it to me at Christmas, and I finally got around to reading it (well, my library got a physical copy for me to check out). I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s very much a set-up novel, but there’s enough hints of stuff happening in the background to keep you interested and reading. I’m very much intrigued about the world-building. The setting and the plot are very much fantasy, but there are hints that it might be science fiction, or possibly alternative history. And I admit that it annoys me that I can’t tell, but I did enjoy the book enough that I will pick up the next one when it comes out.

3) Welcome to Night Vale
I was all caught up on Night Vale as of last October or so, and then I stopped listening. Not sure why–easily distracted, partially, and I think it may have been because they had a really interesting story arc going for several episodes, leading up to the 50th episode, and then, afterwards, they went back to their normal format, and I found it kind of a letdown. But I’ve started listening again (picking up where I left off), and either because there’s some distance between me and that story arc, or because they’re dangling the occasional tie to past events, I’m enjoying it again. Give me a week or two and I should be caught up to present day.

How about you, Squiders? Anything interesting you’ve read/seen/listened to lately? Any comments of anything I’ve read/seen/listened to?

Night Vale

So, for the uninitiated, Night Vale (or, technically, Welcome to Night Vale, or WTNV for short) is a bimonthly podcast. The show itself is the community radio of a fictional desert city somewhere in the southwestern part of the United States. Sounds pretty normal, right?

Night Vale Twitter

A sample tweet

No. You are wrong.

You see, Night Vale is not a normal city. Here’s Wikipedia’s description of the show: “The show has been described as “the news from Lake Wobegon as seen through the eyes of Stephen King”, and Christopher Wynn of The Dallas Morning News characterized it as “NPR meets The Mothman Prophecies.” The Daily Dot‘s Gavia Baker-Whitelaw compared the podcast as being “caught somewhere between Weird Twitter and ‘Tales of the Unexplained'” and that it is “well worth a listen—although possibly not after dark, if you live in a small town yourself.”

One of the writers has said that he wanted a place where all the conspiracy theories are real. So there you are.

And the results are excellent. I actually really like it from a storytelling point of view. Something that’s an offhand news piece in one episode will be followed up on later. There are very few dangling threads in Night Vale, so kudos to them.

As a denizen of the Internet, I’ve been aware of Night Vale for a while, but I’ve only been listening to the podcast since we got back from Japan. And I am all caught up now, and we’re going to go to the live show next month, which promises to be a good time. Each episode is between 20 and 30 minutes (with the exception of the most recent, which was half of a live show and ran about 45 minutes) so it’s easy to listen to one or two a day (I do it while I’m vacuuming or mowing the lawn).

The characters are quite interesting too. The main character is Cecil, who is the radio DJ. As time goes on, other characters start showing up on the show as well, such as Carlos the scientist (who has perfect hair and teeth like a military cemetery–and also isn’t from Night Vale, and so is always a bit surprised by what’s happening), The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, Hiram McDaniels (literally a five-headed dragon–the green head is my favorite), and Intern Dana. (I ♥ Dana.)

I recommend giving it a listen if you like things like Lovecraft or Poe, even if podcasts aren’t usually your thing. There’s transcripts available to read along with if, like me, you have problems picking things up aurally.

Have any other fun story podcasts to recommend, Squiders? I have free time while I wait for the next episode to go up. Listen to Night Vale yourself? What are your thoughts? Who’s your favorite?