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Podcasts I have loved

In 2016, I broke up with NPR, but missed the storytelling segments and learning about things I didn't otherwise know about. Thankfully, there are podcasts. I listen to podcasts when gardening — it's better than the traffic noise on my busy street — or doing chores, or while doing the world's most boring physical activity aka running.

Current must-listens

Queery with Cameron Esposito — Cameron interviews queer people about their lives, work, and more.

Keep It — About the same time I learned to read, my mom started subscribing to People magazine, and I read it cover-to-cover weekly until I left home at 18. Keep It is everything I loved about celebrity gossip. But is more critical with in-depth looks at why pop culture matters and is led by diverse voices.

Pod Save America — Super popular political podcast from Obama's former communications folx. Sometimes they lean on humor a little too much. I do find it most fascinating when they talk about how the White House works (when functional), what's going on inside the Democratic party, and when they interview political candidates in different states.

You Must Remember This — Covers the first 100 years of Hollywood, looking at how the entertainment industry both shaped our culture and became our culture. A fascinating history for sure, and how our history comes back to bite us again. I binged all 170 episodes in like a month.

Nancy — Kathy Tu and Tobin Low explore queer culture. They cover everything from hair cuts and forming a gaggle to Harry Potter and your "Ring of Keys" moment.

Women at WarpStar Trek from an intersectional feminist lens? A million yeses. Even if it makes me realize just how much of my brain Star Trek has occupied since my childhood.

Pop Culture Happy Hour — NPR's pop culture team talks about media — mostly movies and TV — and I tend to only listen to the episodes about media I care about. They typically don't spoil anything. One of my favorite segments they do is their yearly predictions around summer box office hits and misses.

Buffering the Vampire Slayer — I've probably watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer at least 7 times through, and this is a full nerd-out of all things Buffy. Two married queer ladies review episode by episode without spoiling for future episodes. They've also interviewed several of the actors. Each episode ends with a unique song.

Dear Sugars — If you miss Cheryl Strayed or Steve Almond doing the Dear Sugar advice column in the Rumpus (yes, I know there's still a print one), this is for you. The Sugars tackle major life issues with compassion, advice, and experts who've either lived it or work in mental health.

Star Trek Discovery Recap Freqcast — An episode review show from Feminist Frequency. They do not like the show, and while I have some different feelings, I do like to hear their point of views as a lot of negative reviews about the show have more to do with gatekeeping, misogyny, and racism than real criticism.

Sporadic listens

Feminist Frequency Radio — I'm usually behind on this because when the Feminist Frequency crew reviews pop culture media (film, TV, books, games, etc.), they typically spoil it. And always politely warn so. Which means I like to have consumed said media before listening.

Our Opinions are Correct — A scientist and a sci-fi writer talk about sci-fi and other related pop culture.

Out On the Lanai — A Golden Girls episode review podcast that I wish was somewhere besides embedded on their site or iTunes. Like with most episode review podcasts, you should only listen if you watch them.

The Hidden Brain — All the time, scientists are finding out new things about the way our brains work. This podcast looks at both the science and the practical implications in our lives.

Community Signal — Interviews with community professionals (work-related).

Racist Sandwich — Food is often how people first encounter other cultures. But food can be gentrified and colonized. This podcast typically interviews people of color working in the food industry.

Stuff Mom Never Told You — A variety of deep dives into various topics through a feminist lens from shaving to action figures to history.

Pounded in the Butt by My Own Podcast with Chuck Tingle — Gay erotica author Chuck Tingle's short stories are read by celebrity guests. Explicit in content, hilarious, and completely irreverent. In episode 2, "Han Solo" and "Darth Vader" (who's a robotic unicorn) get it on.

Former listens, or must-listens in production limbo

Another Round — Heben and Tracy look at race, pop culture, and more. They interview fascinating guests and talk about the realities of being black women.

With Friends Like These — More cultural and political intersections looking into what makes America tick.

Bad With Money — Gabby Dunn's podcast about finances, personal, small business (especially actors and other creative jobs), and just money in general. Explores our cultural relationship with money and has some focuses on added challenges for queer and other marginalized people.

The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars — This has been on a long break, but it's a political one looking into different US issues, talking with voters, and looking into lobby efforts. For instance, I learned that tobacco lobbyists moved from tobacco into the anti-climate change lobby, which uses similar tactics.

Let me know what you love to listen to! Especially if they are about gardening. 🌱🎧

Bookworm corner

I've fallen off my attempt on a #52Challenge. Not because that's a lot of books to read in a year, but because I started one book not included in the challenge, and it messed me up. I'm going to have to think more about future challenges. I'm also sooo far behind on reviewing…well…anything.

The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran ⭐ 5/5 stars

Dense — but easy to understand and written with the intent to make it accessible — and hard to read from a subject matter point of view. Baradaran traces the racial wealth gap for Black Americans from slavery to current times. If you want to see systemic oppression and how society supports that oppression, it's right here. I learned a ton, and the book made me think again about some commonly politically held ideas about how to end the racial wealth gap.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ⭐ 5/5 stars

My post-The Color of Money read that was supposed to be "light." Hahahaha. This is what I get for never reading the backs of books as they can be spoilery. This fictional book is about being a young black teenager in America, and deals with layers of identity, trauma, growing up, and current societal ills. Thomas' writing is so engaging that I definitely stayed up too late to continue reading. I both personally understood Starr's trauma so deeply — we both lost close friends as teens to hate — and didn't at all — my white privilege. I loved her family, and how she learned about her voice. It was in many ways a great complimentary read to The Color of Money.

Ruin and Rising (The Grishaverse #3) by Leigh Bardugo ⭐ 5/5 stars

This was my happy book choice. I was talking to David Spinks in our work 1:1 about how I was reading a book where a woman had to choose to save the universe or [spoiler in white text — text-only folks look away!] kill the man she loves as my "fun" read post-The Hate U Give. In general, this book was a strong wrap-up of the trilogy, even if I still hated the tacked-on YA love triangle and what it did Alina's emotional state.

This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose and Josh Shipley ⭐ 4/5 stars

Cute kids' picture book about a squirrel who loves tacos.

Things I wrote recently

On Patreon:

Other places:

Reviews on my comics blog:

Political days [on Facebook]

I've tossed Facebook to the wolves. My Facebook inbox featured two things: angry community members and estranged fathers. The former over a specific situation caused by my carelessness, and the latter, an evergreen tide best left for therapy.

If the rotting core of Facebook wasn't enough to turn my nose, this was icing on a poo pile. Or maybe that butter and jam Zuckerberg never figured out how to put on his toast because he's just a little boy who's a year younger than me and never had to make his own toast until his PR company wanted to show his humanity.

One of the estranged fathers sent me an "urgent message from President Trump." (I still taste bile in the back of my throat when I type those two words together.) A message from the wastelands of propaganda sold on either the world's worst advertising network that couldn't sell tuna to cats or an overly effective psychology tool that caused a white man to shoot up a pizza place because Hillary Clinton is "evil."

But we're just making money, right? Because this is what this all comes down to cash and wealth hoarding. Trump isn't rich, Putin is, and so is Zuckerberg. Don't forget, fan of Costco's $1.50 hot dogs and soda Paul Ryan (rich for Wisconsin) and his kickbacks from the Kochs (more real rich people) for giving them more in yearly tax breaks than you'll ever make in your lifetime.

I might've kept Facebook if they hadn't gotten into the work game. When Facebook became work; when Facebook became the lazy shortcut to emotional labor; when Facebook became a machine for propaganda that even when I pointed to Snopes' articles debunking it, my brother still told me it was "interesting"; when Facebook became a walled off place in its own browser instance and a place I only visit for work. Figures that it started as a Book of Faces so Zuckerberg could rank the hotties at Stanford who didn't want anything to do with him as he appears to have little to no personality.

This hottie doesn't want anything do with these men, and it galls them. It kills them. The estranged fathers, Trump, Zuckerberg, Putin: they're still trying to figure out how they can get back to the "good ole days" where white men could own people. Where they can hang anyone who tries to get an abortion or steal and lose 1,475 children. [I'm not linking to the first bit of leaky puss, use Google if you must read.]

That's the next step; that's the first step, the current step, and the last step in this game.

Green thumb update

The garden is doing it's thing. I've harvested cilantro, radishes, peas, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, and carrots. The cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins are flowering. I need to dig up the spinach as it's bolted (gone to seed). I went on a short work trip for four days, and my tomatoes plants got so much bigger.

Sadly, my arugula struggled, got aphids, and then bolted. I might get one salad out of it. I decided not to net my cherry tree as a cold snap right after it flowered caused 90% of the fruit to die. My sunflower died, so I just planted a new one, and I'm pretty sure my second go-around with a watermelon was plucked away by a bird or squirrel.

Speaking of Doreen (the squirrel), I keep finding filbert trees she's "planted" all over my yard. Anyone want to grow some hazelnuts?

My garden bed #1
My garden bed #2

Other Things

[POLITICS] Congratulations to Senator Tammy Duckworth, who's the first sitting Senator to give birth, and thankfully the Senate has passed new rules that allow her to bring her newborn to the Senate so she can continue to do her job. Thank you for paving the way, Senator Duckworth.

[POLITICS] The Questions Mueller Wants to Ask Trump About Obstruction, and What They Mean (NYT). I believe these are actually the lines of inquiry. Regardless, I sit on my hands eagerly waiting, and if they find the crew guilty and Congress doesn't impeach him, then we do like Canada in the War of 1812.

[ANIMALS] Bobcats chilling on cacti.

[PUBLIC SPEAKING] A Tactical Guide to Effective Public Speaking for Marketing, Content, and Tech Events, my friend Ronell Smith put together 23 tips on how to do better at public speaking in these three industries.

Keep your chin up!


Erica McGillivray

Copyright © 2018 Erica McGillivray, All rights reserved.

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