kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Very sorry to hear that Tom Magliozzi, the one who laughed all the time on Car Talk, has died. I have actually three different pretty strong associations with Car Talk, which is impressive considering that I've never done anything more with a car than add windshield wiper fluid. First, the two years in New Haven when Chad was doing a post-doc and I was in law school; NPR was his alarm clock station and whichever morning Car Talk was on, was timed perfectly for lazy weekend waking-up. (Especially as they've moved into re-runs, the show's occasional but very tired sexism has become more grating to me, so it's weird to have my principal association be soft-focus romantic contentment.) Second, around about SteelyKid's birth I went back to listening to the show, this time as a podcast, and blitzed my way through quite the backlog up in the nursery with her (this association is less strong because I was so out of it during that time). And third, continuing up to the present day, I start my week with Click and Clack: the podcast is released over the weekend, and I default to listening to it on Monday's commute to and from work. In fact, I did that today, but I came home early (more on that in a moment) and had already finished it when I heard the news.

I have spent literally hundreds of hours listening to these guys. I knew what I was hearing was exaggerated personas, but I still enjoyed their company. And hey, their show taught me enough that I knew to take my car in for service for what turned out to be a bad wheel bearing, before the wheel actually fell off: so it was useful too.

The reason I was coming home early is SteelyKid had a tooth out today (she's fine) and Chad had class. But irresponsible though it would have been, I would have been not-so-secretly happy to stay home with her the whole day, because we realized a little bit ago this was the perfect opportunity to show her The Princess Bride for the first time—it's too scary for the Pip—and it was done by the time I got home. I asked her about it after the bleeding stopped and her mood improved (both of which happened at the same time, almost like flipping a switch; it was incredibly bizarre though of course welcome), and we agreed that Wesley's head flopping around on the castle wall was very funny, as was when the Prince got tied up; she also liked Fezzik and the horses, and "the ninja" (the Man in Black) fighting, but thought the Machine was too loud, especially when it went to 50. Chad tells me that Fred Savage's character was a note-perfect stand-in for her, not that this was a surprise; and that she spotted the Man in Black as a good guy right away, which is interesting. I'm sorry I didn't get to see her face—I'm calling dibs on showing it to the Pip now, though we'll have to do it solo so SteelyKid doesn't spoil it all for him—but now I'm flashing back to countless weekends watching it on UHF in my childhood, and feeling warm and fuzzy that I've passed along something so great to her. (Also feeling like a rewatch is due; I know what I'm putting on during stitching the next couple of sessions.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

So I'm catching up on This American Life podcasts, still, and I get to a rebroadcast episode from way back in the day, #27, "The Cruelty of Children." Act One is David Sedaris telling a story from his youth and is fine. Act Two is Ira Sher telling a story about how when he was a child, he and some friends found a man trapped in a well and decided not to help him. It was absolutely chilling . . .

 . . . and at the end, the host says, oh, just to be clear, that was fiction.

Dear Reader, I was livid. I have only been listening to This American Life for a few months now, and all this time all their stories have been very much not fiction: straight-up investigative journalism, interviews, personal narratives, and so forth. And so I was very much not expecting fiction.

(It was introduced as "a story by writer Ira Sher," which is ambiguous; Sedaris was also introduced as a writer and his section was called "a story." It's clearly labeled fiction in the website summary, where you can listen to the episode, however.)

I point this out not to criticize This American Life, but to caution writers of all kinds: this is the power of reader expectations. Trifle with it at your peril.

Podcasts

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008 08:39 pm
kate_nepveu: closeup of two stacks of paper (buried under piles of work)

For reasons too long and boring to mention, I'm only just looking at this whole new-fangled podcast thing. And today I was inordinately delighted to discover the Car Talk Podcast — Click and Clack! free and without any effort on my part!

I also discovered, through iTunes, a free Cook's Illustrated video podcast (which doesn't appear to be available through their website). And behind the cut are a bunch of audiobook-like things that I'm going to try:

audiobook-type podcasts )

Any other recommendations? Note that I prefer to read my news, and don't have time to watch more than short videos (the Cook's Illustrated ones are in the five-minute vicinity). Things like audiobooks, radio plays, and other entertainment listening are best.

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