Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A break for podcasts

Yesterday I took a break from audiobooks to just zone out with podcasts. I usually have a few podcasts as a part of my listening diet, but yesterday I caught up with a lot of shows I had not heard in awhile.

For those of you who are mystified about what a podcast is, it is simply a down loadable audio program that is attached to an rss feed, so you can subscribe to it and be notified of the latest episode. Some will argue that the rss feed is not required, and I can understand that, but I have to admit that I don't listen to such podcasts. Everything I download is part of someone's rss feed, and the podcasting community all seems to agree on this, so I think I will let them define themselves.

Relax. I know I just numbed your brain a little bit with a bit of geek-speak, but you don't have to have a clue about rss feeds to enjoy podcasts. It's like your mp3 player: you don't have to understand it to use it. But if you want to subscribe to podcasts, it will be helpful to use a program or application to track the ones to which you want to subscribe. Forunately, some sites like yahoo.com and google.com provide a means of doing that through their "mypage" portals. (Yahoo's is called MyYahoo, and Google's is My Account, but you get the point.)

Here are some of the websites for some of my favorite podcasts that are a good jumping off point. You can find recent episodes, get subscribing information, etc.

Scott Sigler's "The Rookie" This one is a podcast novel. As he says in the intro, "you can't peek at the end!" I am not a science fiction fan, as a rule, but Sigler is a very good writer, and that comes out in any genre. It takes place in a future where an alien race has conquered the known universe, but has the same governinng problems that come with any overextended empire. In order to channel the aggression of all these alien species into a less destructive venue, the victors have encouraged athletic competition, and American Football is the overwhelming fan favorite. So, you have receivers and cornerbakc who can jump 25 feet in the air.

Another thing you have in a huge empire that tries to control everything is organized crime. Some of these criminal elements own football teams, and use the team spaceships to move contraband. And on the teams themselves you have issues of racism. This sounds like a crazy book, but I have to tell you that I am hooked! So, here I am waiting eagerly for episode 13.

The Daily Breakfast Father Roderick in the Netherlands does this English language podcast with upbeat music, humor, and a touch of spiritual inquiry. I am not even Catholic, but this show is a pleasant diversion that anyone could enjoy. Fatehr Roderick is a 38 year old priest who watches over 3 parishes in the Diocese of Utrecht, and he makes the time to produce a half hour program with podsafe music, geek news, movie reviews, and even an ocassional Latin segment that begins with a sound clip of Bart Simpson praying in Latin, followed by Homer yelling, "Bart, what in hell are you saying?"

There are many others, but I have to go to work! Happy listening!

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