Getting Back Into New Stuff (Podcast Edition)

I’ve been listening to mostly the same podcasts for the past two years. To be entirely fair, there’s been a lot for me to catch up on, since I got into podcasts late in general and very late in regards to some of these longer-running podcasts, specifically. That said, I hit a point last summer where I was entirely caught up and had listened to or watched all of the Patreon bonus content I cared for, but I wound up starting a string of full-series re-listens that I’m still working through now instead of trying something new. I needed something familiar and comfortable, so I just listened to stuff all over again. Some of it was nice, since I missed things here or there the first time and a second listen-through cemented the stories and characters I loved so much more firmly in my mind. Most of it, though, was just something I enjoyed to fill the silence of my evenings, combat the tinnitus I’m developing, and drown out the constant thumping, bumping, and creaking of my upstairs neighbors. Over the past few weeks, as I’ve pushed myself to start trying new things again, I’ve finally started making progress on my “to-listen” pile.

You see, while I haven’t listened to anything but the six podcasts I listen to in weekly rotation (My Brother, My Brother, and Me, Wonderful, The Adventure Zone, The Empty Bowl, Friends at the Table, and Not Another D&D Podcast), I haven’t stopped collecting new ones. I’ll admit I got scared off new things a bit when I tried to give Hello From the Magic Tavern a try and wound up disliking it (it’s not meant to be binged, clearly, since most episodes are kind of just the same thing over and over again, and I don’t personally care for anything that is repeatedly mean to a character who clearly doesn’t like being treated that way even if I know both the cruelty and the protests are all a bit). Stepping away from that sent me on a series of other podcast binges as I worked through a collection of Actual Play podcasts and wound up not liking any of them for one reason or another. I wouldn’t say that most of them were particularly bad or anything, just not something I cared to spend my limited time on. There’s a lot of lingering, casual fantasy racism stuff out there that just is not something I care to spend my time listening to when there’s so many more people creating stuff that either grapples with it, subverts it, or avoids it.

Now, I’ve got a much stronger line-up, based on more informed opinions and a better sense of the media landscape than I did two years ago when I had this unfortunate run of podcasts about which I felt neutral to mildly negative. I haven’t listened to most of the new ones yet, since I’m still struggling to overcome the intimidation factor of trying to catch up on yet another years-old podcast, but I’ve started dipping my toes into the less story-centric ones. I mentioned in a post a while back that I heard about my most recent favorite game (Chained Echoes) on a podcast called Axe of the Blood God: an RPG Podcast, so I’ve continued to listen to that, skimming through the episode descriptions for anything that sounds interesting to me before I commit to listening. I haven’t dug into it too deeply yet, but I’m having a pleasant time. I’d probably have listened to more, though, if I wasn’t frequently looking for a bit of story-based media when I’m going on my daily walks or attending to mind-numbing chores. For news, review, or sort of talk-show feeling podcasts, I need something that keeps me a bit busier than walking or driving does (which is also why I never listen to MBMBAM or Wonderful when I’m going on a road trip).

Instead, I’ve been listening to Worlds Beyond Number. It’s a relatively recent project, releasing it’s first episodes just this year (along with a massive slew of Patreon content). I’ve had to parcel these episodes out a bit more than I’d like because I just haven’t had the emotional fortitude to take on a bunch of them at once, but it’s been a really pleasant experience and, so far, it scratches that story itch unlike anything but Friends at the Table. It has me thinking that maybe I should just start listening to the Dimension20 audio-only/podcast versions of the various Tabletop Roleplaying Game shows rather than waiting until I’ve gotten through enough Anime and whatnot to justify subscribing to Dropout. I’ve tried listening to only the audio of a streamed show before, back in my early Critical Role days, and I did not enjoy it. I always felt like there was something I was missing (a feeling that was frequently correct), so I’m most-likely going to wait until I’ve got time to watch rather than merely listen. After all, catching up on streaming stuff is the next thing, after I get through podcasts and anime. Books are going to need to wait until I’ve moved into a quieter living space, but I can start watching streamed stuff any time since that usually makes plenty of noise.

I’m still trying to find a decent podcatcher app, though. I’ve tried two, but they’ve both left me wanting more (since my phone doesn’t really have the space to handle a bunch of downloads). I used Spotify for a while, but I’ve been trying to kick the habit. As soon as I find something that gives me as good a means of managing my podcasts, streaming episodes, and downloading what I want available to me without internet access, I will drop it in a heartbeat. That’s my project for tomorrow, actually, since I’m hoping to get that figured out before I go on my trip. I hope it will be as fruitful as listening to new podcasts has been [it was and I now use Podcast Addict].

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