Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means of going backwards. – Aldous Huxley
As progressive as I might like to consider myself, I am incredibly
resistant to change. And technology. In comparison to all my friends’
Blackberries, Razors, Xun Chi’s and Pantech’s Mosquito Repellant
sliders, my cell is the equivalent of a rotary dial-up. My MySpace page
lingered online, photo- and profile-less, for the better part of a
year. I still keep more than 500 CDs in their cases, and I refuse to
get rid of my boxes of VHS and cassette tapes.
But recently some friends gave me one of those newfangled iPods,
which I immediately loaded up with iTunes and iPhotos. And then I
promptly iDeleted them. I have a new obsession.
Yes, a syndicated digital audio file broadcasted over the Internet,
much like radio, only you actually have more control over what bits of
information you hear on your “pod.”
Podcasts have really been popular for the past couple years or so.
Subsequently, nearly all online publications—newspapers especially—have
their own podcasts offering coverage of their printed content, so that
people can download specific programs onto their portable playback
devices. This allows the busy multi-tasker, the lazy reader, or the
computer-eye tired columnist with no cable TV, to listen to the latest
news, reviews and miscellanea while away from their screens.
These days, the podcasts that get the most “hits” are, ironically,
about science and technology. Of course, I have a friend whose husband
listens to podcasts on poker and sales techniques and a co-worker who
checks out Slate’s movie and political discussions. My most
podcast-savvy girlfriend regularly subscribes to NPR pods on pop
culture and world news.
I realize this newfound podcast fascination makes me incredibly
nerdy, especially given my aforementioned predilection for sniffing
books (“Nerd Confession #62,” July 14, 2005). But in addition to
NPR—Pop Culture for Tuesday, All Songs Considered for Friday, Music for
Saturday, Books for Sunday—and KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, I also
subscribe to the Radio Blowfish and Open Source sex talks. I am still
me, after all.
But my latest ritual, on those mornings when I am up before dawn, is
driving to work while listening to Coffee Break Spanish. That’s when I
get to brush up on my Castalian Spanish by conversing with the two very
Scottish hosts—Mark and Karrrrra. It’s not as embarrassing in the dark
to get that lisp going. Grathias!
Just over the past couple weeks, I’ve listened to the plaintive and
hilarious journals of Tennessee Williams and the elegant letters of
E.B. White, and became entranced with the story of Mr. Pusskins—a
restless, cranky kitty cat who learned to be content with domestic
love. I’ve also heard about the multi-cultural significance of Sundays,
discovered the profundity of “what if?” in Lionel Shriver’s
parallel-narrative The Post-Birthday World,
found out about a stage production in Hollywood involving nothing but
Christopher Walken impersonators, became addicted to the stand-up
routine of (the late) Mitch Hedberg, got to hear the music of this
year’s SXSW, finally figured out what the big deal is about Mary J.
Blige, swooned hardcore on Uruguayan crooner Jorge Drexler, joined
forces with France in solidifying our love of Edith Piaf, recognized
Patti Smith as a rock legend, realized why Bill Withers is so cool,
dissected the primitive pulse of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and
learned why recent sales of music CDs have dropped by 20 percent.
Just this morning on the way to work, in addition to my Spanish
refresher, I learned about Swedish bands The Knife (synth-pop),
Amandine (moody folk) and Dalek (hip-hop with orchestral strings), and
thanks to Lily Allen’s guest DJ-ing, remembered my fondness for Jay-Z,
Squeeze and Kasabian, and developed a Brazilian-lesbian crush on Cansei
de Ser Sexy. Me llamo Samantha—encantada!
And now as I’m writing this, I’m uploading Radio France’s
“L’horoscope.” No, I’m not fluent but I figure I’ll pick up a word here
and there, like “Poissons” and “compliques.” Who knows? Maybe later
I’ll move on to the pod “Knit Like the Wind.” I have always wanted to
be a hooker. But yeah… the possibilities are endless.
Anyway, this is my thing. For now. You know, until the next thing.
So be sure to check out how I do it, on our very own, brand spanking
new Maui Time Weekly podcast “Beyond the Ink,” online at www.mauitime.com.
Samantha Campos is currently in
production of a new podcast chronicling her former life as a
banjo-playing dominatrix in Barstow. MTW