(orignally posted here)
Well, this summer I discovered a new way to waste time… I mean, to relax and enjoy an hour while knitting, traveling, etc. It came in the form of podcasts – just before going home, I listened to a few “PotterCasts,” a podcast put out by The-Leaky-Cauldron.org, and now I’m hooked – on the show, and on the whole concept. Being in a foreign country where I don’t understand the radio, and having a 40-60 minute bus ride twice a day, 4 days a week, to the campus where I teach, it’s been great to have podcasts to listen to! Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself – I hadn’t had the money and mental energy to shop for an MP3 player last year. Lori, an Aussie girl my age who was here last year, bought one, and after seeing all the data she had to go through to pick the best one, I didn’t feel up to it. But my wonderful “didi” – that’s Chinese for “little brother,” though as he’s 6′ or more I should call him “gege”! – anyway, he gave me an iPod shuffle he wasn’t getting much use out of, bless him, and I am now wired for sound while on the road! On the way to and from school, or on the public bus headed downtown, or just sitting in an apartment that has no power (that was a looong weekend, but it’s another story), it’s wonderful to have a private music source.
So, what do I listen to? Well, as mentioned above, PotterCast. In the same vein, Mugglecast (by Mugglenet.com) and Leaky Mugs (which are joint shows by Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron). I recently decided it was time to branch out, and found that a basic Google search was a great place to start. I also found Podcast.net, which has a nice long list of podcasts – unfortunately, their categories are too vague, resulting in too many unorganized results to sift through, but they might be helpful for some general interest listening. I’m still new to this – anybody out there have a favorite podcast, or a good site to search for podcasts on? I really enjoyed a new-music podcast I found, and am currently downloading several episodes; I’ve also listened to a few NPR shows in the past and may download a few of those. Some sites, like NPR’s, just want you to subscribe and don’t provide a list of archives – you have to use iTunes to get older shows, and then hunt through your hard drive(s) for where iTunes stored them so you can put them with your other music and listen with other programs. But if the show’s good enough, it’s worth the hassle.
Some friends of mine who are also Harry Potter fans wondered aloud about what on earth people would have to talk about in a weekly podcast about the books. Well, let me tell you, there’s no shortage of fodder. Not only are there the 6 books (and the 7th to speculate about), there are the 4 movies (and the 5th in production), all the real people attatched to the projects, all the allusions to real mythology and history, and all the many, many theories about how things in the series tie together. The fact that we don’t know how it all ends yet leads to much speculation, especially with such a well-written series where seemingly inconsequential details have later proved important and characters have turned out to be quite different from their first impressions. This (and more) keeps the PotterCast, MuggleCast, and plenty of other podcasters quite busy.
Now, if all that can come from Harry Potter, what might be out there about gardening, or childcare, or Jane Austen, or the guitar, or cars, or whatever interest you may have? Get looking!
And, since they’re having a contest, here’s a nice little link for you:
You can just click on the links in the text above if you want to check out the other sites, they’re not giving things away for free!