A Podcast Showcase

My bike is still in the shop and I can only do so many recaps of the various hikes or the couple of bodyweight workouts that I’ve done this past week. Thus, I thought I’d share some of my favorite podcasts since if I’m not listening to audiobooks while I train, I’m probably listening to podcasts.

(Nerd alert ahead…But if you’ve decided to follow this blog, I’m sure you know by now that I’m a pretty big nerd).

Video Game Podcasts

Triple Click is a brand new podcast hosted by  Jason Schreier (author of Blood, Sweat and Pixels), Kirk Hamilton, and Maddy Myers, all of whom are former Kotaku employees. I started listening to them when they were all still at Kotaku and their podcast was called Kotaku Splitscreen. 

Kotaku Splitscreen was my very first podcast so I'm thrilled that the trio were able to break away into their own video game podcast outside of the video game journalism realm.  Overall, these three discuss all things video games and as a life-long gamer, I really enjoy the content and the hosts. 

Codex: History of Video Games is a new podcast for me. I found them on Spotify during the initial COVID outbreak because I was burning through my usual podcast episodes at an alarming rate.

This podcast is hosted by Tyler Ostby and Mike Coletta who are two of the most positive guys that I’ve ever heard. Their podcast is devoted strictly to the history of video games and each episode either focuses on a specific video game franchise, video game system, or video game adjacent theme.

Their deep dive into the Legend of Zelda series is especially interesting and I highly recommend this podcast to anyone who enjoys video games.

The McElroy Family Podcasts

My cousin Eddie introduced me to the McElroy family a couple of years ago, I started listening to The Adventure Zone and I was instantly hooked. I binged their first season of The Adventure Zone (TAZ) (which is 69 episodes that are around 90 minutes each) within a week. After I finished TAZ, I did a quick Google Search on these guys and discovered that the three brothers Jason, Travis, and Griffin, and their father Clint began podcasting together as a way to keep in touch and spend family time together. How wholesome is that? Now the brothers’ families are involved in the podcasting business and I am a loyal listener to everything McElroy. (Now I just need to snag some tickets to a live show once this quarantine is lifted)

At its core, The Adventure Zone is a Dungeons and Dragons podcast.  Griffin learned how to DM (a.k.a. the dungeon master who controls the game, writes and describes the universe, and guides players through their fantasy world). But it's so much more than that.

The first season of TAZ started off as a lark -- three men and their father just playing a table top RPG -- but it ends in a masterful and emotional narrative that will keep you wanting more.  The 'middlest brother', Travis, is the DM for the new season (vaguely Harry Potter themed) and I'm excited to see how he guides the story.
In between TAZ, I started listening to My Brother, My Brother & Me (MBMBaM) which was the first podcast that the McElroy brothers did together. 

The entire series features a highly sarcastic and often highly hilarious advice column in which they pull questions from the infamous Yahoo questions.  They will also take listener questions and give their glib advice.

The podcast is really just three brothers goofing around and I love everything about it.
Shmanners is hosted by Travis McElroy (Previous image: middle) and his wife Teresa.  Their podcast is like the modern version of Dear Abby.  They cover all things social etiquette, manners, and general guidelines.

They cover everything from when to write thank-you notes, to engagements/weddings, and even how to be chivalrous in this modern age.  The hosts are very LGBTQ+ friendly which I appreciate because topics around etiquette and manners are relatively heteronormative.

I've learned a lot from their podcasts and I think Travis and Teresa are adorable hosts.
Wonderful is hosted by Griffin (pictured above: right) and his wife Rachel.  The podcast started out as a Bachelor/ Bachelorette response podcast and then it turned into something way better.

Their podcast focuses on all things joyful, cool, slightly weird but still neat, and ... well ... wonderful!  These two just gush about random topics.  I don't care what they have to say because their enthusiasm is contagious and they put me in a better mood.

Essentially this is a podcast made my positive people about positive things.  How wonderful!
Sawbones is a podcast hosted by Justin (pictured above: right) and his wife Dr. Sydnee McElroy and they cover a variety of medical topics from a historical standpoint.  This podcast is well-researched, factual, credible, and engaging. Sydnee's knowledge as a family doctor and Justin's overall goofy demeanor makes this a show where you'll laugh and you'll learn.  I was never interested in medicine but I am interested in history, and this show has taught me so much about all things medicine, health, and just how much Pliny the Elder did for medicine.

Mental Health Podcasts

The Hilarious World of Depression is hosted by MPR's John Moe and is sponsored by Health Partners and Makeitokay.org (an organization trying to destigmatize mental health).  I stumbled across this podcast while they were still in Season 1.  This show is one part comedy and one part therapy.  John has famous folks of all walks of life: comedians, authors, actors, singer-sonwriters, ect.  And he asks each one of them the central question: "Is depression funny?"

Because of this podcast and the stories that were shared by people whom I admire (namely actor Wil Wheaton and author John Green), I decided to go on an antidepressant and be more open about my own mental health struggles.  

Movies and Literature Podcasts

Unspoiled: The Dresden Files is my companion podcast as I actively listen to the book series The Dresden Files.

Hosts Natasha and Roshawn read through The Dresden Files together.  Natasha has read the series before while Roshawn has not.  This podcast is amazing because I like to live vicariously through people.  I live for Roshawn's reactions to major plot points in the books.  

These awesome ladies discuss the plot, the writing, the characters, and they often go off on hilarious tangents.  Although they are not the most "produced" show out there, I appreciate the passion that they bring and I live for each and every Wednesday when new episodes are out.
I started listening to You Must Remember This because Kirk Hamilton (Kotaku Splitscreen, Triple Click) recommended it in his podcast. 

Each episode is like a little distilled nugget from the Biography channel or Turner Classic Movies.  This podcast covers "the secret and/or forgotten history of Hollywood's first century."  This podcast appeals to classic cinephiles, but if you aren't interested in old movies, I would still recommend their whole series about Disney's Song of the South.  Especially now, it's important to understand where the roots of institutional racism took hold and Song of the South and Disney's connection to offer long-buried and illuminating details.
I started listening to this podcast on Sunday because a Youtuber recommended it to me.  The three female hosts spend about 90 minutes discussing a book that has made it on the Bestseller list despite being considered "the worst."  I'm not sure how they decide what is the worst as some of the titles they talk about are not generally 'disliked' by a mass audience, but I listened to their discussion Rachel Hollis's book Girl, Wash Your Face and I decided to add them to my listening library for now.

What I like about this podcast is that these hosts don't just jump into the criticism or hate.  They try to find at least some redeeming content in what they are reviewing, and one of their hosts is a librarian so it gives them an added layer of credibility.  I'm a new listener, but so far, these women provide interesting and detailed analyses for some well-known books.

All in all, these podcasts and my audiobooks are what get me through long workouts, bike rides, and monotonous daily chores. I’m always on the lookout for new content, but I know that the world of podcasting is vast and filled with content that might not gel with my interests. If you have recommendations, I’d love to hear them, otherwise thanks for indulging me and for reading this far.

Hopefully my bike can get fixed up soon so I can get back to the fun training. Until then…

Today’s success: 3.5 mile hike on the Ice Age Trail

Tomorrow’s plan: Bodyweight workout and Snap Fitness stationary bike

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