Stressing Out, Lightening Up

I’ve been feeling brittle, emotionally. Nothing particularly bad has happened, just all the little things adding up and putting their own tiny weight on my anxiety, so that I don’t realize it’s ready to break until it’s near happening.

Just like the little things stress me out, the little things lighten the load.

I got my library copy of I Hate Fairyland vol. 4 by Skottie Young. Nothing like candy-colored massacre to cheer anyone up.

Cheryl Strayed’s soothing voice giving advice on Dear Sugars. She and Steve Almond released their last episode, but I think I’ll go back and listen to some of the ones I missed.

My baby toddler dancing to the concert scene in Sing. It is a sight.

This closeup picture I accidentally took of the wood on our deck. It was a pleasure to find on my phone when I was flipping through videos of my dog and kid.

And writing. Anything I can get it, getting out a chapter while she naps, scribbling a few sentences in my car before walking into work, madly typing up a blog post after she’s gone down for the night and I’ve finally finished those chores.

Salamanders and Podcasts :: Some Favorite Things

Here are a few of my favorite things from this week.

Raised by TV. A very funny podcast where Lauren Lapkus and Jon Gabrus talk about television they watched as kids. It’s like being in a conversation with my favorite friends, which is fantastic, though it’s hard when you’re trying to surreptitiously listen to a podcast at work, and Lauren Lapkus saying “One time the computer turned on by itself at school and I thought it was a leprechaun” makes you choke-laugh.

Axolotls. I already knew about this animal, but I processed a children’s book on these little Mexican salamander things this week and I was reminded how adorable they are.

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My writing group. I was just mentioning offhand a problem I was having with a story, and they managed to convince me to keep trying, and got me excited to start working on it again. Proof that it’s always, always good to get a group of writers in your corner.

What I’m Listening To: Murder and NPR Disney

I keep trying to listen to audiobooks, and I’ve been listening to more music, but when walking the dog and doing the dishes, podcasts are still my favorite way to pass the time.

My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia HardstarkMy Favorite Murder

My newest favorite podcast is My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. This is a true crime murder podcast where two ladies from LA describe their favorite murder (or murder attempt survival) stories that I found after the hosts had a guest appearance on the Cracked podcast. It’s a bit morbid, I know, but murder stories are fascinating (it’s why I have a hard time changing the channel when I come across a Law and Order marathon) and Kilgariff and Hardstark are having so much fun talking about everything that I get almost as much enjoyment out of just listening to them talk. Some of it gets really brutal (like Episode Seventeen, oh my god) so be prepared for that if you go to listen to this.

I’ll also just add that listening to a story about a pregnant lady fighting off a would-be murderer/baby snatcher is really good motivation while you’re running on the treadmill.

Disney parks American Icons Studio 360American Icons: The Disney Parks

Studio 360 recently replayed their episode on Disney and the Disney Parks on NPR, so I downloaded the whole thing for a car trip with my husband. Because if you didn’t know, we really like Disney Parks, and my husband particularly loves learning about the history of WDW and the like. If you have any interest at all in Disney, it’s a great listen. There are sound bites from people who love and hate Disney (Carl Hiaasen refusing to take his grandchildren to Disney World is kind of great), a story from a woman who played Snow White for years, and a gay love story involving a Disney dancer and a Prince Charming.

What podcasts are you listening to? I’m trying find some book podcasts, but I have trouble finding anything that I’m able to get really into, so any recommendations on that end would be fantastic.

Other podcasts that I loved can be found here, and here.

Airplane Bag (Walt Disneyworld is Trip is Coming!)

We go to Walt Disneyworld on Friday — that’s only two more sleeps away! Which means I’ve been packing. My suitcase is most of the way there, stuffed to the brim with enough shirts for a trip three times as long (I like to layer my tank tops…also I really like tank tops) but I have to make sure my carry on for the airplane is all set, too.

My Animal Kingdom Bag. It’s a little small, but I like to use this as a park bag, so I keep it on hand on the airplane. It can fit quite a bit inside of it, and I’ll have our tiny suitcase for things I like to have on the plane that I won’t be using during the flight.

Nook and Notebook.jpgNOOK. Having a Nook has been really handy for trips. I can buy books, load library eBooks, and basically carry a whole library to suit my reading whims while I’m in that metal tube for a few hours.

Paper Book. Of course, technology fails us sometimes, so I like to keep one paper book in case my Nook freezes, or if I need the feel of a “real” book in my hands. Pictured below is a Terry Pratchett novel, but I might bring something else from the library book sale…

Notebook. Gotta have one of those! NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I’ll be behind when I come back, so I want to get as much of the plot hashed out as possible, and I may need to write some of the story by hand.

Water Bottle. This is also more specifically for toting around the parks, but a Hank Green video also gave a good tip about bringing an empty water bottle through TSA and filling it up at a bubbler once you’re in the terminal, so you don’t have to buy expensive bottled water before boarding.

My Personal Pharmacy. Not pictured. But, my husband and I have a history of feeling…ill…on the first day of a trip (traveling, dehydration, lack of sleep…hooray!) so I’ve got my ibuprofen and a whole slew of stomach meds packed away. I’ve also got my sunscreen so I can shield my pasty, pasty skin after we land, and hand sanitizer since other humans are disgusting.

wpid-dsc00108.jpgMy Phone. Duh. But really, I use this for podcasts, audiobooks, music, games…it’s an entertainment necessity.

Portable Battery. New addition! On our last trip my phone konked out before the end of each day. While I won’t be using it for pictures this year (yay new camera!) I still want to use the Disney app and creep on Twitter if we’re stuck in a line. Plus that first day, we likely won’t be able to charge our phones after playing podcasts for 3 hours, so we’ll need to keep the phones alive somehow.

So, is this overkill for a flight? What do you stuff in your airplane bag?

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Weekly Finds: Plant Burgers and Disney Cats

The Good Stuff, a Youtube channel sponsored by PBS that I occasionally watch, is doing a series of episodes on the future of food. Right now they have two videos, one on making meat from plants and one on eating bugs (both are far less gross than they sound). They’re really interesting, and now I want to try a Beast Burger.

 

Did you know there’s a whole population of feral cats that live in Disneyland in California? I did. Did you know that there’s a Cats of Disneyland twitter feed that someone updates regularly? I didn’t. But now I do. Now I do.

 

The Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast had an episode on borderline personality disorder. They’ve done a few on different mental disorders, like OCD, and I always find them fascinating. These things are so poorly portrayed, education on them is not good, so it’s nice to listen to something talking about them intelligently and sensitively, and it reminds me not to default to “insane” or “crazy” when talking about how a person is acting, and to not blame someone for being ill since they probably can’t help that behavior. I also enjoy learning about how the human brain works.

There’s some cool stuff I’ve found. What do you think? And what have you found around the Internet and the world at large?

 

What I’m Listening To: Writing and Disney Animals

Here are a couple more podcasts that I’ve been getting into lately.

Writing Excuses. This one’s short, about 15 to 20 minutes per episode, where the four hosts — Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Mary Robinette Kowal and Dan Wells — give their writing advice on specific topics. I haven’t delved too deep into their backlog, but the episodes that have come up new since I’ve started listening have been wonderful. Last month was a lot of help, focusing on middles and why you need to let your characters fail, since I’m working on filling out the middle of my current work-in-progress. Really, I’ve found them all helpful to some extent, if only that hearing people who know what they’re talking about talk about writing inspires me to sit down and write. Like I said, they’re short and to the point, so if you write at all I would suggest you go listen to them.

 

Radio Harambe. I recently added this to the list of Disney World podcasts I listen to (wow, that’s a nerdy sentence). I’d been hearing it mentioned on other podcasts and my Twitter feed, but I’ve put off listening to it for a couple of reasons: they’re a little long, and besides, they focus on Animal Kingdom, and how much can you really say about one park? But, Animal Kingdom is almost evenly tied with Epcot for Angela’s Favorite Park, so I had to try it. And it turns out, there’s a lot you can say about one park. They pack a lot into each episode, which explains the length. There’s the focal point — where’s a good place to cool down in Animal Kingdom, what they wish the park would do with the big cats (in homage to Cecil) — but that’s just the end. A whole chunk of the beginning, if not most of the episode is taken up by “World News” (All of Walt Disney World and other parks) and “Local News” (Animal Kingdom specific). Because Disney parks always seem to have a lot of news going on (it’s amazing and ridiculous) it’s nice to have a regular podcast that spends so much time talking about it. Also, they regularly play a fun game, How Much Does It Cost, where one of the hosts guesses how much a new tour/package/whatever costs, highlighting how ridiculously overpriced some Disney bonuses really are.

So, podcast friends, what are you listening to?

What I’m Listening To: Podcasts

A little while ago, being someone who suddenly decided to get into podcasts but sick of not having an easy way to find them built into my listening device, a.k.a. phone, I dug up an Android app — Podcast Addict — and started digging around. What started with me just wanting an easy way to listen to This American Life and some random nerdy stuff turned into a whole page of subscriptions that keeps growing. Here are three of my favorite things to listen to, in order of how they show up on my list.

Dear Hank & John. Hank and John Green, whose videos got me into Youtube, started their own podcast shortly after I began devouring them. It can be funny, but mostly it’s deep or just interesting, and it’s fun to listen to them go back and forth rather than in their separate videos.

Enchanted Tiki Talk. Three dudes talk about Disney World. I started to get into this one more over WDW Radio because they seem like only slightly older versions of me and my friends, and as much as they love Disney World they tend to take a realistic look at everything, which I appreciate. Also they talk about the food a lot, so yaaaaaay.

Stuff Mom Never Told You. This funny and infinitely fascinating feminist podcast has taught me about transgender and bisexual people, female carpenters, OCD, and dad bods (a day on the internet I totally missed). I don’t listen to every new episode, but I’ve gone back over a year through their catalogue to find some really interesting stuff I didn’t even know about.

Do you listen to Podcasts? What are your favorites? Any suggestions for a nerdy feminist lady who loves cartoons, comics, and food? Let me know!