Friday, March 6, 2015

In a Parallel Universe, I Might Be an Investigative Reporter

"OMG! I was just listening to the best podcast!" is often the first thing I say to my officemate in the morning. I spend a lot of time in the car. My office is one hour away from my home, but I also visit schools all over southeastern Washington. We have 23 districts in our region, which stretches about 150 miles across. Needless to say, I have become a podcast aficionado.

Some of my favorites have been WTF with Marc Maron, Serial (NPR), and Working (Slate). While these seem like pretty different shows, they all have one element in common. When I listen to each of these shows, I get to peer into the life of another person. Marc Maron, a stand-up comedian by trade, has proven to be an outstanding interviewer of his brethren. He asks real questions with genuine interest in the human condition and, to my delight, his guests answer with such transparency, it's a treat to hear an authentic conversation. His episode with Louis C.K. has been listed as one of the best podcast episodes ever. When I listen this podcast, I always think, "Maybe I should become a comic..."

Serial is one story told episodically. The first season followed the plight of an investigative reporter trying to uncover the truth about a murder. We get to hear from the alleged murderer. We get to hear from his friends, his victim's friends, their families, police, lawyers, and anyone else remotely connected to the event. It's exciting, and brain-teaser right to the end. When I listen to this podcast, I think, "Yes. My second career will be investigative reporter."

Working is a new binge diet I've been recently. The host just interviews people about their jobs. What it's like day to day to be a screenwriter, computer programmer, school principal, day care director, fruit farmer, and so on. With this show, I imagine myself in a different life every episode.

I'm not sure what this quirk in my personality means, but I constantly fantasize about living different lives. Don't get me wrong, I love my current life. I live in a nice community, have a wonderful family, and find my work engaging and fulfilling. But... what would it be like to do/be something totally different? I've been told I'm addicted to experience. That I want NEW experiences (good or bad) all the time. Maybe. Or, maybe, like many of us, I just know that sometimes it's more fun to stare out the window and daydream than pay attention to the lesson in class.


  1. I think it's fate that I found your blog today; I'm working my way through the SOL spreadsheet, but decided to work in reverse order for a while. I'm thrilled to get some podcast recommendations, but can anything top "Serial"? I binge listened to it last December when I had a conference in Washington D.C. I'm going to the U.K. and Europe for a 13 day trip later this month and want to download more podcasts for the long journey. I think your interest in podcasts simply says you like good stories. Don't we all!

  2. You've sold me on trying them all with your tantalizing explanations. Got any more tips? :)

  3. I had the same thought as Glenn about working backwards on Stacey's spreadsheet. I thought the starting at the top was a little to easy. I have dirty little secret, I go to the grocery store on Saturday morning just to listen to the serial podcast. I love them. I also think about changing 'jobs', but only change grade levels to give myself a new challenge. I get bored easily.

  4. Hm - I haven't tried the podcasts need to add that to my to do list.