Some thoughts on the state of the podcast

The Everything2 Podcast has now been running moderately successful for over a year, and I would like to start improving its appeal to the noder masses a bit. The most successful one, last year's christmas podcast, was downloaded 451 times. The other ones are averaging in the mid 250s. So, something is holding us back. What might it be? The choice of nodes? The readers? The audio quality? My introductions or my accents?

While 250 downloads per show aren't bad for our small corner of the internet, I would like to push that number up a bit, so I am going to try to broaden its appeal.

My first idea was to try to do themed 'casts. Pick an issue or a theme, and then try to build the show around it: daylogs, travelogues, European noders, music, finnish death metal. You choose it, I'll try it. That way the cast might gain some extra listeners who hadn't tuned in before.

Another issue is the acquisition of new readers: I really don't understand what's holding you (yes, you!) guys back: what is so damned hard to dedicate 10 minutes of your life to read your favourite node into a microphone? If you're afraid what your voice might sound like, don't be: Nothing can be worse than my mangled consonants and my weird vowels.

So, as usual I'd like some feedback. The most interesting ideas I'll be posting here on the daylog.

Let's consult!

A word on stars to end the night. I don't like crossposting from my blog, but it's fair to warn people that've read it to skip this daylog. All three of you have been warned. I just like the way it came out. Sorry if I offended anyone.

Yo Britney dude, seriously. What the fuck? I mean, I follow the news as half-assedly as the next guy, but this piqued my interest, that dance of hers. A day later, I'd heard on the news that she'd "gone into hiding", but that probably this was a rumour. Either way, that's awesome. I am a fan of people who get fat with booze and drugs and hop on stage in their underthings and dance badly. I like watching a musician deep in the throes of heroin or whatever attempting to figure out the world. When I see this, I always think to myself that this society we have is in perfect working order. Homo sapiens is funny and intriguing on so many different levels, and all will be well in the future. But this Britney thing kind of sucks, bitch is talented, but it's just so funny watching that dance. It looked to me like she was trying to acclimate herself to brand new bipolar disorder medication. The Lithium ions coursing through her veins, it looked like to me, was disabling her acting DNA. No wait, it's more like she showed up and the crowd was there, and she instantly thought: "Oh, Christ. I thought this was the dress rehearsal. Fuck. Fuck!"

According to the repository of all necessary human knowledge and factual accuracy, Wikipedia-sama, it says that K-Fizzle is seeking custody of her children, and while I think it's hilarious that she allowed that waste of space to shoot his spunk into her vaginal cavity and then subsequently allow said spunk to germinate and fester there, it makes me wonder about her children. What will happen? I mean, she's far too wealthy to have her children taken away for any appreciable time. I envision the children, on their twentieth birthday or thereabouts, sitting around the house, eating a peanut butter sandwich, and then they show that performance? What a world-shaker that would be. In a way we expect Michael Jackson's children to be fucked from the outset, and I suppose I'd like to believe that Frances Cobain has a good idea that her mother's batshit insane. But these two? I dunno.

It's like...the honeymoon's over, you know? In 2001 or so we had Christina and Britney jockeying for that all-important trailer park slut position, Christina and Limp Bizkit performing at the MTV Awards, and Eminem rapping about killing his mother. That era of bliss, era of sublime peace, is forever gone, awash in a heady sea of rehabs and celebrity sex videos. Everybody has a goddamned sex tape these days, even Meg White! (Just Google for "Meg White sex tape", folks. Looks like her to me.) I mean, it was trendsetting when it was Anderson/Lee, but now? Paris/Fat Guy revived the genre briefly, but I suppose society-at-large thinks all others pale in comparison. And while I think it an important genre--you know, voyeurism/papparazzi to the Nth degree--I don't really need any more. There's enough gossip in the world, clearly.

I wonder if Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are pals. Like, do they chum around, snort cocaine off each other's toilets and do shots off each other's midriffs? That is a world I dream of. In much the same way that George Carlin likes a little disaster, or a lot of disaster, I like watching these people destroy themselves. It's neat! Well, maybe the destruction, in and of itself, isn't neat. Maybe it's that it's news that makes it A-OK in my book. I like that we all get so involved that we wonder if Ms. Lohan's new movie is going to be okay. Of course it isn't, she's fucked up the whole time, how do you suppose you'd act in front of a camera? I have acted numerous times, and it's hard enough for me to not crack a smile if someone tells a funny joke. Even if it's scripted. Even if it's my fucking line.

I want it to get worse. I want it to escalate. I'd like to see some famous ex-teenybopper host Saturday Night Live and go into convulsions from excessive cocaine enjoyment, live, no tape delay. I want to see a well-known pop singer get an interracial, homosexual menage a trois going on and have it fed to the giant screens at the Superbowl, while Paul McCartney plays "Let it Be". I want to hear about some drunk musician plowing into a schoolyard brimming with children with his lowriding Lincoln Navigator, bathing the glossy white with blood. I want the news supersaturated with steroid scandals and civil suits. Get up in the morning wondering who's dead today, and afterward wondering how much the funeral costs. I want to see an Olsen twin get fucked up on PCP and get arrested for tying a noose around her dog-in-a-bag's head in the confessional of a Catholic church and then her publicist releases a statement that she is "being hospitalized for acute exhaustion. Her family asks that the public respect her wishes for privacy in this difficult time." And more marrying old billionaires please, that's fucking fantastic! Is it so awful, really, to get so much enjoyment out of all this? Is it so much to ask to get more of this on the news? I edited an offensive line here.

I watched the OJ white Ford Bronco chase live on television with a young woman named Juanita Bursey. I must've been thirteen or fourteen. I watched most of the trial, and I kept waiting for him to go to jail, and it never happened. Thanks, OJ, maybe now I'll get my wish! I understand that your life has been broken, but man. Armed robbery? A goddamned retinue to hand? That's fucking amazing. This memory of watching the chase is one of the fondest of my life, excepting things like my daughter's birth. I was in love, or as in love as you can be at fourteen (which turns out is quite a lot), and there was this incredibly interesting shit happening on TV. Both she and I watched with mounting interest. Now imagine if we'd been there to see Jack Ruby shot. We'd be happily married now. Hollywood catastrophe brings people together forever.

It keeps getting harder and easier.

.....

Weddings make people oogy, and holy cow, my sister is married now! Consider me oogy.

Everyone looked great, my mom looked so beautiful. My sister would be pissed to read this, but as they were doing her hair and everything, she looked like Shirley Temple sitting in the chair. Something about wedding dresses makes the girls in my family look like they are twelve again.

The mother of the groom caught the bouquet, and handed it off to my third cousin once removed by marriage, who was gartered by my other distantly marriage-related cousin's adopted daughter's boyfriend. She and my dad danced to Stevie Wonder's "Don't you worry 'bout a thing."

After it was over, and we'd come back to my parents' house to make an appearance at the "after-party," I sat in the car and started crying for no reason. Not emotional overflow, the kind of quiet crying where you just seep out the sides and smile at how silly you are. No. This was face scrunched, mouth-breathing, explosive crying, interspersed with frustrated laughter when I attempted to contain myself.

I don't even know why, maybe just that she was getting ready to drive away from my parents house for real this time. Never mind that she hasn't lived there for six months, or that I haven't really for nearly seven years. Never mind that her apartment is 10 minutes from our childhood home, and that she cooks breakfast for my parents every Sunday morning.

It's just different.

.....

Every time I leave, I feel like a traitor. Somehow though, we keep getting stronger.

I am in a hillside town, old and with historical buildings all around. There are vacant lots with trees, there are schools and museums and alleys winding through and between buildings. Leaving my friend at her campsite, I promise to return for dinner and overnight, then make my way downhill to where my family stays. On the way, I pass through a high school, the students are welcoming and friendly, hip and mellow kids. Showing one of them my broken Swiss Army knife, I advise him to stay away from the cheap models of this brand. I feel the warmth of carnal interest from him, and I feel close to him for a moment. He has a girlfriend to go find, and I head on, down the hill.

My phone rings, and it's my youngest sister, choking out the news that Mom has had a heart attack. She is in the hospital. My sister is overwrought, and can't or won't tell me what the prognosis is, or mother's condition. I become angry, my old default state of being, and hang up on her, heading home fast. An old family friend is there with my siblings. They fill me in on Mom's condition. If she survives she will have to wear some kind of device on her leg, changed daily, to regulate her blood consistency. The family friend reminds us that he wears one. I think of the stent in my own heart and that it rarely bothers me. (Even in my dream, I know I have no such thing) My siblings disdain me, my anger puts everyone off, and I am sad that I've been relegated to the status of my childhood, that my anger is all anyone validates or sees in me. Everyone is disappointed in me, and looks at me with trepidation and tsk-tsking. My youngest sister is not there.

Heading back up hill to the hospital, I cannot find my camping friend, who in waking life is the best friend I have. I call the hospital on the phone, no one will talk to me about my mother, and she can't speak on the phone. I know that she is going to die, and want very much to get there before she does. I am distressed at how my family perceives me, that my anger is all that defines me for them, that the rumor of it has reached people ahead of me. I try to get to my friend who is camping, but no luck. I locate the area of her campground, in a long dark hall with pillars and shadows, but she is not there.

I come to the house where the young man I met before lives with his family. Now, my siblings are traveling with me, we're all in the yard. It's Christmas, or some other family-gathering holiday, and the young man sits on the far side of the living room, half his face shaved. A relative speaks to me out the window, speaks to me about my mother, and about pain. I feel sadness at my anger, at my expected disruption of the family unit. I am the one to be upset with, my anger is the issue. I know that my mother will die, and that's all I care about, but somehow I can't get to the hospital. I know she will be dead before I get there.


I awake to remember that she is dead, took her own life back in January. I am angry.

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