Photo: StuffEyeSee, Flickr Creative Commons
Earlier today, I went running for the first time in a little more than a week. It felt good to get moving. I did an extended version of my usual route around the family property, running to the county line and back before running the regular loop in reverse, running between the giant bales of cotton across the field before plunging into the pines to spook up a wild turkey. In about a month and a half, I'll have been a runner for a full year. I honestly can't say that I've ever been devoted to anything that required more than monetary sacrifice, or at least didn't reciprocate the interest, for that long in my life. Beer is easy, as I assume maintaining dedication to all drugs is fairly easy. My wife seems to reciprocate my feelings. I'm apparently legally obligated to maintain a certain level of dedication to my son. Running, not so much. It's actually pretty cheap, but it's at time difficult to find motivation to go outside and get myself tired and sweaty even though I know I'll have a slight runner's high and sense of satisfaction to make up for it at the end. This short hiatus caused by cold and holiday travels is one of the longest breaks I've taken from running during this time, the other breaks being back in the spring to help with a shin pain problem that seems to have disappeared now. I'm pretty proud of myself and I'm about 15 lbs lighter than I was this time last year. Not too shabby, that.
Anyway, I was updating the tiny mp3 player I keep loaded with podcasts for my running and I'd apparently been sloppy recently with maintaining a current playlist. I couldn't remember exactly which podcasts I'd listened to just from the titles in my computer's media player, so I had to play snippets of each one to spark my memory. It's funny how my memory works. After only a phrase or two into each podcast I could instantly identify not only whether I'd listened to it or not, but I also recalled the exact view I had while listening to that section of the podcast. That bit of The Moth podcast about the pen pal? I was running down the dirt road in front of my house at the end of my last run. It was sunny. That Radiolab about cities? My wife, son and I were in a very empty section of two-lane road on our way to the the mountains for Thanksgiving. That Science Friday segment about beer? I'm running past the chicken pens at the back of my house. I have no idea why I seem to automatically store unimportant visual information with my memory of these podcasts. After all, most of these memories are of very unmemorable vistas, portions of my running routes and scenes of interstate highways.
It's a shame I haven'd found a way to put this power of memory to good use. I could use the additional income.
In case you're curious, here's a list of my regular podcasts:
- WTF with Marc Maron - This is a new addition to my collection. Maron is a stand-up comedian and his show is mostly about interviewing comedians. It's not exactly meant to be funny, but I've found it interesting enough to stick with. The shows are actually pretty long, so when I have weeks when I run more than usual I don't run out of stuff to listen to.
- Radiolab - This may be the best radio show on the planet, and that includes This American Life. Because this show is so good, it's technically supposed to be reserved for road trips with my wife. It doesn't always make it that long.
- The Moth - I recently discovered that The Moth, a story telling project and radio show, was actually founded in Savannah, not too far from where I live. It seems to be based more in New York now, which sucks, especially considering that everyone knows that the literary heart of the United States is the Deep South.
- Science Friday - I don't listen to this one regularly. I'll download a segment when it catches my interest, but usually I've already read about most of their topics before the show is released.
- This American Life - This is the other podcast that I'm supposed to share with my wife. It's also the reason that I started listening to podcasts.
- Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - These are very long podcasts. The most recent one is an hour and 42 minutes long. They're also very good. Stop being such an ADD pansy and listen.
- Stuff You Should Know and Stuff You Missed in History Class - SYSK is one of the most downloaded podcasts in the world. It's a general knowledge podcast that takes a specific topic each show and explains it. It's good and I listen to every episode during my planning period at work, but I don't really understand why it would be so popular. Stuff You Missed in History Class is basically the same thing (both are a part of HowStuffWorks.com) but only does history topics.
I have to admit I'm surprised that I don't have a single beer or sports related podcast on that list. If you know of any high-quality shows, feel free to clue me in.