December 15th, 2019

Anya final stand, S7

Talking meme: podcasts for skygiants

talk about podcasts! Other favorites, how you discover them, when in your day you listen to them... for [personal profile] skygiants

The short answer is I don’t really listen to podcasts, as a regular thing. It takes a lot of effort for me to listen to a podcast, since I have trouble focusing on audio input unless I'm doing something else, too, so my listening is pretty much restricted to my 12-minute commute (if I listen while I walk from the parking lot, too, I can usually finish three TMA eps in two days) or while I’m either doing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, or cooking. (Someone at work pointed out that “Listening to podcasts while chopping up vegetables for soup” was peak stereotypical Pacific Northwesterner activity, and he wasn’t wrong, lol.)

In terms of subject matter, I prefer fictional podcasts (almost exclusively horror) or informative ones. I really cannot do comedy podcasts at all; the hosts always seem to think they're way funnier than they are, which means the podcasts tend to be really rambly and not edited nearly tightly enough, and that's aside from the fact that the popular comedy podcasts seem mostly to be hosted by guys. My tolerance for listening to guys laughing at each other's dumb and frequently insensitive jokes is pretty much nil at this point.

The one podcast I've been faithfully listening to for a long time now is The Magnus Archives, which I binge during the hiatuses. I found that one via, of all things, Smut Swap signups, and then it turned out I didn’t want kink or shippy stuff for it much at all for it anyway, but I am deeply smitten with Jonathan Sims, who’s started trying real hard to figure how to be a good human just as circumstances seem to be taking that goal forever farther out of reach.

For kitchen chores, I’ve been listening to a ton of Todd in the Shadows’s videos, which basically function as podcasts for me, unless there’s some indication that I really need to look at something on the screen. I’ve been through all his Trainwreckord videos and am now bouncing around his One Hit Wonder videos; at this point I’m just listening to whichever one the YouTube algorithm suggests to me next.

I listen to the Dead Meat podcast intermittently, which is a horror podcast where a guy and gal (now engaged) talk horror movies together. I appreciate how much they enjoy a wide variety of horror while being sensitive to things like cultural context, and sometimes I just learn a lot, like their episode on The Final Girl. Also I have a huge crush on Chelsea, because she’s adorable. I found that one courtesy of [personal profile] lionessvalenti, who mentioned their episode on The Perfection was good.

Speaking of horror podcasts, thanks to [personal profile] fenellaevangela I just discovered Now Screaming, which I look forward to listening to more of. I checked them out via their The Perfection episode, too, I just realized, so I guess that's the way to get me to listen to your horror podcast, although they loved it less than I did. I don't really feel that movie is one that readily submits to conventional analysis. They're going through Netflix's entire horror catalog "so you don't have to," which should make for entertaining listening.

This summer I also tried The Throwback Podcast, which is two longtime friends talking through the music of their youth, aka the 90s. I enjoy this one largely as oral history of an era of pop culture I was completely tuned out of. I found it via f_fa. This one also fulfills my entire quota of "guys talking to each other" podcasts.

I have a bunch of other recs for music history podcasts and fictional horror podcasts, the two topics I apparently am into lately, but haven't gotten a chance to really go through them yet.

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Anya final stand, S7

horror DNF

It seems awfully soon for another of these posts, but it's been an unlucky couple of weeks.

Lavender (2016). This Canadian film is a pretty lazy ghost (?) story about a woman with repressed childhood memories. It was fairly low-budget, the acting and script was deeply mediocre, the costuming felt cheap and weird (the lead is dressed like she's always about to go to some rural evangelical church, except she's got too much makeup on for that setting), and the plot moved soooo slowly.

The only reason I cared about this movie enough to even mention it in a post and what kept me going a lot longer than I otherwise would have is the score by Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld, which is MUCH too good for the movie it's in. Strings that make you cry are like movie scores on easy mode - see also The Village - but I'm weak for them anyway. The main theme gives you a pretty good idea what you're in for.

Catfish Lullaby by AC Wise (2019). A young black boy ends up with a white foster sister after her house burns down, possibly by her hand. Another novella in my Hugo reading. This was supposed to be fantasy/dark horror, but I never got there, because this had like twice as many words as it needed for the story it was telling. The author explained the emotional significance of everything after showing it, which ended up feeling like they didn't trust the reader at all (and also it made for tedious reading). It was also split up into lots of little chapters (for some reason) and every chapter began with an epigraph from a 2016 non-fiction book on local folklore (for some reason????). I think there was the seed of an interesting story here, but the chaff/wheat ratio was way too high.

I can't say that a single novella I've read so far felt like a complete story that was told in the number of words appropriate to that story. The Monster of Elendhaven probably came closest, and this one was the farthest away. I'd worry that this was a me problem, except that I've read plenty of older SFF novellas that felt both complete and unpadded, and also, maybe more importantly, I've read a shit ton of successful fanfic in the novella range. I know 15-40k is a wordcount range you can tell good stories in! But so far, the pro authors I've tried haven't quite managed it.

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