Monday, January 31, 2011

... listening

one of my favorite things, when i get ready to sit down for a few hours of sewing, is to queue up some podcasts to accompany me. so i thought i'd share some of my favorites with you, and then you can tell me what you like to listen, and perhaps we can all discover something new?

[now, don't get me wrong, i do love music, but sewing usually puts me in a quieter, more meditative mood, one that enjoys being talked at. music i save for housecleaning, driving, showering and grading papers (not all at the same time, duh).]

selected shorts

ooh boy, do i love a good short story. i used to read them all the time in high school and college and then got completely burned out because i discovered that most modern short stories follow this pattern: funny, funny, sad, sad, sad, sad, poignant, sad, heartbreakingly sad. and that can get tiresome. but there's something about the stories that they select (ha! see what i did there?) because they are usually quite good. many funny, some sad, some crazy, and sure, some that are poignant. not to mention the amazing actors they get to read these stories! there is nothing quite as dreamy as hearing david rakoff or alec baldwin reading you a story in the comfort of your own home. and the theme music is so lovely is gives me goosebumps every time i hear it. i heart you, isaiah sheffer, i really do!

the best show on wfmu

actually, wfmu has many of my favorite shows (downtown soulville, sinner's crossroads), but this is my all-time favorite. boy howdy, do i love tom scharpling and the best show. at first i hated it. i'm sure you did/will, too. tom comes across as rude and egotistical and i couldn't figure out why everyone loved him so much. but after listening for a while, i found him hilarious. i love the regular callers (spike, laurie, julie, fredericks) i love the scharpling/wurster segments, i love all his good friends who call/come in regularly (paul f. tompkins, patton oswalt, john hodgman, ted leo, aimee mann)... i love it all. and you will, too, if you give it a chance.

the pod f. tompkast

and speaking of paul f. tompkins, you can now hear him on his own podcast! the intro part where he's kind of babbling strangely with noodley piano music in the background is almost disconcerting before you realize it's terribly funny, and then it just gets good. you get to hear a regular call with jen kirkman, segments from the paul f. tompkins show, and all of his ridiculously awesome impressions of celebrities like the cake boss, andrew lloyd webber, ice t, and john c. reilly. super fun good times. if you are a fan of comedy you should be a fan of paul f. tompkins.

this american life

sure, everyone loves this american life, and you probably live in a hole if you don't know it. but honestly, it makes for the best sewing listening. i like the short segments that let me stop for a while if i need a break. sure, sometimes the stories can be a little predictable (as a good friend once put it, the intro should go something like this: "i am ira glass, and this week on this american life i am going to break. your f*$%ing. heart.") but many times they are just so very good. and yes, i heart you, too, ira glass.

the splendid table

i usually reserve this one for when i'm going to be doing some baking, but since i eliminated sugar from my diet recently and haven't been doing much baking (but not forever, only for a little while!!) i find i want to listen to this whilst sewing sometimes, too. i just love lynn rossetto kasper's obviously unrestrained love for food. and just listening to people talk about food and cooking and travel makes my mouth water. which, these days, happens pretty easily.

seven second delay

this was the first show we started listening to on wfmu and is still a favorite. it's probably not to everyone's taste, but if you like stupid jokes and listening to figurative trainwrecks happen on air, this one is for you. one of the hosts, andy breckman, likes to pretend he's the star, but really, ken freedman is the perfect straight man. their chemistry is pure magic. or alchemy. or whatever. i love the show.

ok, so now you tell me: what do you like to listen to while you sew?


  1. I agree 100%--I love to listen to talk while I sew. My favorites are The Splendid Table and This American Life. Also books on tape. My daughters listen to books on tape when they drive, especially long distances, but I can't follow the story while I'm driving. But while sewing, it's perfect.

  2. I do the same thing. Thanks for sharing your favorites. I will definitely have to check these out. My husband and I are huge fans of "This American Life". I love short stories, so I will have to check out that podcast.

  3. if you like "the splendid table", you might also enjoy "good food" from KRRW: i listen to it while i cook. for sewing, i like to listen to music or to have "house hunters" on the teevee.

    - salmon

  4. In the NPR vein, I love Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and Planet Money. For fun I love the Manic Mommies is hilarious!

  5. I listen to NPR all the time. We have a great station here in Chicago. I particularly like "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," "On the Media," "Bob Edward's Weekend" and "Weekend Edition Sunday." (Most sewing happens on the weekend.) Love Terry Gross' interviews, and my husband likes to listen to "Prairie Home Companion." I'm also enjoying "Q" from the CBC, which airs on our public radio station.

    I'll have to check out some that you mentioned that I haven't heard before, such as Selected Shorts. Thanks for the tip!

  6. thanks everyone! i i agree, i love pretty much anything on npr (prairie home companion, fresh air, wait wait don't tell me) and find it makes for terrific sewing music.

    salmon: i will totally check out "good food"!

  7. Speaking of short stories. Have you ever read Jeffrey Archer's short stories? He writes novels but he also has a couple of short story books. I remeber reading them and never ever being able to pick the ending. i think I will have to see if the library has them and re-read them. Thanks for reminding me about them.

  8. I just found your blog and quickly got sucked in. I love listening to podcasts while driving/working/sewing/ cleaning. I ususally listen to The Splendid Table while cleaning/cooking on Sunday afternoons. Another favorite is Car Talk. LOVE THESE GUYS! They are hilarious and really enjoy how they banter back and forth with callers. They cover everything from "what's this noise my car is making?" to "can you please judge my bf by the car he drives!"

  9. Well I don't sew, but just like you, I do love listening to pretty much most things on NPR. Some favorites: This American Life (of course), Prairie Home Companion, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me...also Car Talk. Like LeeAnn said, those guys are really fun. I listen to podcasts in my office at work, in my home office/study, at the gym, while I'm driving, etc. I don't sew, but I do knit and crochet, and find that I can listen to either podcasts or some types of music if I'm on a pretty easy pattern that I can just fall into. However, if I'm working on an intricate or advanced pattern, (like a pair of fair isle Norwegian style mittens I made at Christmas), then sometimes I do actually need to unplug 100% from everything (computer, tv, ipod, etc so I don't mess up. I'll have to check out the Splendid Table. Sounds like something I'd like quite a bit. I like to cook/bake, and also love hearing people talk (or seeing people write) about their own food and travel adventures. I'm going to have to check out some of the other things people mentioned here.