Sway, sway, baby, you're so audio
April 30, 2011 5:13 AM   Subscribe

What can I put on my MP3 player to get me through hours of much-hated housework & chores, particularly now that I'm packing up to move house (not long after I finished unpacking after the last move, dammit, so I haven't much motivation)?

The only podcasts I've downloaded are the Mefi mods and I played them on my PC while I had time to kill. I don't have time to kill anymore, so today I got really brave and downloaded the latest Mefi podcast onto my MP3 player. The time just flew by as I listened and got stuff done at the same time. It was kind of a revelation, "oh, so NOW I understand why Mefites rave about podcasts!".

I have to be in the mood for political/scientific/comedy/music podcasts... I don't want something I 'have to be in the mood for'. I want to listen to chatty cheerful stuff, maybe occasionally funny, maybe occasionally educational.

I've googled audio books, but the sites that come up either require payment (out of the question at the moment for this broke single mother/student/part-time-worker) or seem to be the equivalent of Limewire.

I enjoy reading lighter, easier classics like Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men. After 8 hours of studying accounting textbooks, I don't need War and Peace, I need Jackie Collins, Stephen King, trashy entertainment. I've been given a copy of Alice in Wonderland but I can't justify the time spent reading it, when I could be packing our 4 bookcases full of books while listening to Alice instead.

Oh, and my local library doesn't offer podcast/audio book loans. That was a very popular answer to previous questions. Welcome to rural Australia, she says sardonically.
posted by malibustacey9999 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The TED podcasts are superb. Very smart people talking about what they're smart about.

Also NPR's Fresh Air, a series of interviews with fascinating people.
posted by musofire at 6:04 AM on April 30, 2011

There are some podcasts that do short stories. Pseudopod does horror stories. I think there's one somewhere that does older sf stories. The CBC has a bunch of podcasts available on their web site. (sorry I'm nit hunting up links - I'm on my phone at the moment. If you're still shy if answers when I'm on a real keyboard, I'll add more.)
posted by rmd1023 at 6:11 AM on April 30, 2011

My husband says that when he was a kid, his whole family used to clean house listening to ABBA. It's very invigorating music.

For more content-full cleaning, I like comedy podcasts like The Bugle or the News Quiz. I have dozens of other podcasts - newsy, history, politics, economics - that I flip between because I don't know what my mood will be. The History of Rome podcast is excellent - just stories of ancient history. For the rest, I raid NPR, PRI, CBC, BBC - there are so many good podcasts including non-newsy ones like "In Our Time" (BBC- academics discussing and issue like the English reformation), "Radio lab" (WNYC - science & social science documentaries presented in the most well-designed podcast ever bc one of the makers is a composer), "Ideas" (CBC - documentaries on history, literature, philosophy, etc).
posted by jb at 6:15 AM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Jordan, Jesse Go! and and Stop Podcasting Yourself are mostly just chatty. They tend to have guests who are comedians/writers/etc but really that just means that they're creative, irreverent, free-associating chat sessions. It's what I listen to when I need to fill my head with interestingness when I would otherwise be engaged in a mindless physical task.

Bonus: both of the above-mentioned have more than mostly-timeless 150 episodes, so if you like even one of them, you're set for a good long time.
posted by mumkin at 7:00 AM on April 30, 2011

erm, make that "more that 150 mostly-timeless episodes." mornings, sheesh.
posted by mumkin at 7:20 AM on April 30, 2011

The Joe Rogan Experience.
posted by pwally at 8:41 AM on April 30, 2011

I think this is what This American Life is for, it's not chatty, but it's got a bunch of interesting stories each week, very slice-of-life.

Also, a million others will probably add on, but Radiolab is semi-chatty with a science theme, but it's very non-technical. Highly recommended.
posted by dnesan at 8:45 AM on April 30, 2011

I know you're asking for audiobooks, spoken podcasts etc. but I thought I'd throw in my two cents: many of the tedious, drawn-out tasks in my life (such as packing boxes) have been accompanied by Squeeze's Singles - 45's and Under on repeat.
posted by knilstad at 9:04 AM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Radiolab from NPR!
posted by nanhey at 9:05 AM on April 30, 2011

When I have tedious chores to do I listen to Answer Me This. I love it. The two hosts answer all the odd, quirky questions that their listeners send in. If you like reading AskMe, you will probably like Answer Me This, though there are more chatty questions in there--it's not just informational, though you'll learn lots of neat facts and trivia too. There are close to 100 free episodes available on iTunes or their website, and if (like me) you actually listen to all of those you can buy their first 80 episodes in 5-episode bundles.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:52 AM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding History of Rome. Also the Lars Brownworth podcast on Normandy (and I've heard a lot of good things about Byzantium as well, just haven't listented to it). Brownworth produces very, very slowly but has quite a bit of backlog.
posted by immlass at 10:04 AM on April 30, 2011

The How Stuff Works podcasts can be chatty (Stuff Mom Never Told You and Stuff You Missed in History Class are my favorites, with over two years of back episodes).

Wiretap has half-hour episodes with recurring bits and characters, but sometimes the host reads short stories.
posted by jenlovesponies at 11:33 AM on April 30, 2011

LibriVox Audiobooks Podcasts Free
posted by bjgeiger at 11:52 AM on April 30, 2011

For cheerful and chatty, I'll repeat what I posted here just yesterday.

For podcast excellence, I'll nth This American Life. Just the best thing every IMO. The podcasts are released weekly and there isn't much of an archive available thru iTunes. BUT, you can listen to almost all of their shows going all the way back to 1995 on the TAL website. If you want to laugh, I'd especially recommend the shows with David Sedaris. David Rakoff stories are great too. Scott Carrier's stories always have this weird, spacey quality that I love, due to his unique un-radio-like voice. And speaking of unusual voices, Sarah Vowell's is one of the most unusual voices I've ever heard on radio. She took more than one or two tries to grow on me, but grow on me she did, and she is also one of my favorites TAL story-tellers. Oh, and the ones where Jonathan Goldman retells Old Testament bible stories thru his own sensibility are wonderful. I could go on and on. I just really love TAL.
posted by marsha56 at 3:19 PM on April 30, 2011

You probably know about Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, but may I also suggest finding an ambient or light techno sort of internet radio station. Some are available through Winamp's shoutcast.com - typically wordless, relaxing, and personally help my productivity.
posted by chrisinseoul at 7:34 AM on May 1, 2011

Also, The Field Negro Guide to Arts and Culture. Vernon Reid is a geek of many and diverse interests, and the podcast is mostly him talking with W. Kamau Bell... sometimes about the Singularity, sometimes about the music industry, Martha Stewart, comic books... whatever you expect, it's probably not what you expected (ok, except when he's talking about the music industry).
posted by mumkin at 6:43 PM on May 1, 2011

How Stuff Works didn't do it for me. And a couple of other suggestions were too US-centric, I didn't get the jokes because I had no idea who they were talking about.

(Stop Podcasting Yourself caused my Firefox to crash. I gave up after 3 attempts. Maybe it's an intercontinental thing)

This is so very subjective, obviously.

Being an Aussie, I thought This American Life would be as boring as batshit but I was transfixed. I washed the dishes last night listening to the prom podcast and was almost sorry when the dishes were done but the podcast wasn't.

I'm still working through the rest of your suggestions.

Thanks to everyone.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:39 AM on May 7, 2011

If you like This American Life, I HIGHLY recommend The Moth Podcast and Risk! podcast. The Moth is shorter, usually 10-15 minutes per episode while Risk! are hour long episodes featuring several storytellers. Both are amazing and always interesting.

As far as light, easy to listen to audiobooks, I listen while I work and have found memoirs to be great. Try David Sedaris, Haven Kimmel, and Sloan Crosley. These three authors are my favorites and all are HILARIOUS!
posted by emilygraves05 at 12:54 PM on May 15, 2011

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