I've recently invited two new things into my life that are so nerdy (even for me), I feel the need to confess.
I have all but given up on listening to music in my car in exchange for listening to podcasts on my new fancy iPhone. I'm almost guaranteed that no one will want me to drive them anywhere anymore.
Apparently I'm not the only one - when I mentioned to several friends I've rediscovered talk radio, they were quick to give me suggestions on ones to download -- Clark Howard, Freakonomics, Dave Ramsey, Alec Baldwin's "Here's the Thing," just to name a few. A couple of Saturdays ago, I cleaned my entire house listening to Baldwin interview Lena Dunham, Lorne Michaels, Judd Apatow and Brian Williams.
I've always loved NPR's "This American Life," but almost never remember to listen when it comes on locally, so now I've subscribed to its podcasts so I can get each episode right on my phone.
The hour-long broadcasts are always entertaining - but a two-part series the show did recently stuck with me and I feel compelled to tell you about it.
For five months - reporters embedded inside Harper High School on Chicago's south side. The historically violent school is filled with gang members and had 29 of its current and former students shot last year.
As the host Ira Glass points out, if that amount of violence happened anywhere else in America, it would make national news. Gun violence at Harper, however, is expected, and no one seems to know what to do about it.
I was completely riveted - and captivated - by the characters in this broadcast. I cut phone conversations short and looked for reasons to drive places so I could listen to it and when it was over (and at moments during), I cried.
If you have a couple hours, I promise you will not be disappointed. There's no agenda - just excellent storytelling about a reality that exists that is completely different from my own. Here are the links to both parts:
If/when you listen, I'd love to know your thoughts on the program. And if you love any podcasts that you think I should download, let me know that too - I'm always looking!
#2: My New Quilt
In addition to being a huge nerd, I'm also a borderline hoarder.
Parting with mementos from my life has always been difficult, if not impossible, for me, which is fine when it's ticket stubs or birthday cards or photographs. But my hoarding has also carried over into items not so easy to stash in a shoe box. Things like clothes - especially t-shirts.
I've been collecting t-shirts since high school: from clubs I was in (seriously, 15 years ago and I still have them), places I've visited, races I've run, concerts I've been to, jobs I've had. In college, every sorority and fraternity party I ever went to wasn't really legit unless I also had the shirt to go with it.
My t-shirt collection is, if only in quantity, impressive
My hoarding came to a head when I couldn't close the door to the dresser drawer all of my t-shirts were stuffed in, I knew I had to do something. But I couldn't give them up.
Like a divine intervention, Living Social offered a deal late last year for Mominizer and I had no choice but to buy it and do what I swore I'd never do - I had my old t-shirts made into a quilt.
It's a little tacky and a LOT dorky, I know. I promise never to pull it out in mixed company and explain the significance of each shirt represented on the quilt, or worse, hang it on the wall like a shrine to fun times gone by.
But it's the best way I've been able to get rid of my t-shirts without actually getting rid of them at all . . .and it's also keeping me warm in these unseasonably cold temperatures. Seriously, what's up with the weather?
So far I haven't listened to podcasts while lying under my t-shirt quilt, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.
How do you channel your inner nerd?