Girl In Space

Alright guys, it’s time I rave a little about a podcast I have been obsessed with since the day I discovered episode #1 last September. Do you love space and sci-fi, exploration into the depths of human loneliness, Jurassic Park, and cheese? If so, then PLEASE download episode one of Girl In Space right this second.

Often, what I look for in a podcast is gripping narration that holds my attention in such a way that I can escape mundane everyday life for a bit. Girl In Space absolutely fits this bill. Told in a first person narrative of X, aka the girl in space, the story kicks off with a regular update of everyday life aboard a spaceship, The Cavatica. The recordings are introduced as being regular audio logs from the only living resident of the ship. These audio logs include maintenance of the internal ecosystem, thoughts on X’s own mortality and mental state, arguments between X and the ever malfunctioning and always sassy robot Charlotte, and favorite scenes from the only movie available on board the ship: Jurrasic Park.

Things begin to change for X when a fleet approaches, making unprecedented contact with her own ship. These are the first humans X has spoken to in many years since the death of her parents, and the awkward and stilted interactions are both painful and entirely too relatable. Suddenly, what was simply an audio diary of a lonesome (but not lonely) girl in space shifts to a survival story of sorts; a fight to preserve the life she has always known, as well as maintaining her own sense of self and worth. Discoveries regarding her own past and who she knew as her parents create the kind of heart wrenching suspense and action that can only be delivered through an extraordinary audiodrama.

Creator Sarah Rhea Werner showcases her considerable creative talent through writing and production, and even does voice acting for the main character. The writing is honest, real, and provoking, while still managing to be snarky and comedic, and the production quality is top notch. Sarah’s voice acting is not as theatrical as what you might find in other audiodramas, and this serves the podcast well, making the main character feel sincere, even familiar. When you are listening to this podcast, you feel as though you are in this podcast, fighting and thriving alongside the enigmatic and alluring X. Without giving away any spoilers, it is also important to note that later characters are favorites among fans of the show, and the voice acting from all of them is superb. I personally love the short narration that precedes each episode, giving a glimpse into either the coming episode or mindset of X at that time. Even for those who do not consider themselves to be sci-fi fans, this is a story that crosses boundaries and raises questions about humanity, existence, and cheese-making in space. (As a former cheese monger, I am VERY fascinated by this idea.)

Not only is the podcast a fantastic stand-alone piece, Sarah is a wonderful resource for aspiring writers and podcasters alike and is incredibly proactive when it comes to interacting with her listeners. She is more than willing to answer questions about her own podcasts, help out new podcasters, and entertain any fan theory that comes her way. She is a true gem within the podcasting community, and deserves recognition for everything she has accomplished.

Because this is an audio drama, I would absolutely suggest that new listeners start from episode 1. The story is consecutive, and the quality of production has been solid from the very beginning. Sarah knows how to spin an engaging story into a masterpiece that will have you instantly hooked, and impatiently waiting for each new episode to be released.

[[This review has been written and approved by Caldwell Enterprises.]]

Poop Culture

Relevantly irrelevant

If you think this show is going to be all about the history of defecation and how humans have dealt with it through the years, or a modern interpretation of the societal views of “bathroom culture”, then you are very wrong. It’s weird, it’s random, and it’s hilarious. You never know exactly what you will get each episode, and you wouldn’t have it any other way! You feel like you are one of the guys shootin’ the shit in the garage, with a combination of pop culture, sports, and movies, as well as varying guests that provide engaging interviews. A variety show of snorts and giggles, these guys are seriously funny and deserve a listen.

 

Each episode is around an hour long, and has the feel of a morning radio talk show, but with hosts who actually enjoy each others’ company. A memorable episode I listened to spent the first 20 minutes discussing and sharing their own man-boobs with each other, and I will admit I was ugly laughing after a while. They are just funny, with serious cases of diarrhea-of-the-mouth. The show progresses at a good pace, with both provocative questions and joking interspersed throughout.

 

I started listening to episode 11 (Killer Pinatas) and was hooked. The audio is a bit spotty in these earlier episodes, but stick with it! The sound quality improves while the guys also start to feel more comfortable in their banter. Not to mention, the notoriety of the guests increases with the show. You hear from the creator of Sharknado, porn stars, and plastic surgeons; there is never a lack of variety!

 

Yes, sometimes there is poop. And a serious case of fart sounds, but should we expect anything different? In a dark and depressing world, Marc James, Rick Mancrush, and friends serve us steaming piles of laughs and jokes. And don’t worry, this show has been going strong since 2013 and appears to have plans to continue for many more years. There are over 120 episodes on iTunes alone, and even more on the website (www.poopculture.com); these guys will keep you laughing for hours to come!

The Vocal Fries

The Vocal Fries

Hello, all! This is my very first review on this blog, and there is no better first podcast to review than The Vocal Fries, a current favorite of mine.

At its core, The Vocal Fries is an informational linguistic podcast that seeks to broaden the world’s knowledge of how much linguistic discrimination affects our daily lives. If it sounds at all boring, I am here to tell you that it is one of the most relateable and timely topics that everyone should learn more about. Each episode ends with a simple call-to-action, one that I think we can all truly get on board with: “Don’t be an asshole!”

Carrie and Megan are both trained linguistics with a long history of work in the academic field. However, their back and forth banter is not one of unintelligible academia, but rather of two friends sharing a topic they are passionate about. Being from two different countries and backgrounds, one American and one Canadian, their input is both varied and inclusive of global issues. Each and every episode is very easy to follow and understand, and the topics they cover are utterly fascinating. I will say that this is my first time delving into the fascinating world of linguistics and I have already found myself subscribing to more podcasts on the topic simply because of Carrie and Megan’s work. Language is such a unifying force throughout the world, and linguistic discrimination is unfortunately just as widespread (and I had NO idea!!).

In their first episode, they tackle what is called “vocal fry”, a term used in linguistics to describe a particular speaking pattern that is very common but often more recognizable in women. Because of the association with women, it has become a taboo in industries that require voice usage, such as radio hosts, news anchors, and actors, that honestly has no grounding in fact. A person is not of lesser intelligence simple because of the way they speak, despite what you hear and see in the media.

Starting with this topic, Carrie and Megan systematically proceed to dismantle everything I thought I had known about language and the way we speak and interact with other humans. From swearing to southern accents, grammar nazis to French-speaking Canadians, even a very well done and respectful episode on the usage of the singular they/them as a pronoun identity, these women make you completely rethink how you interpret the way others speak. Each episode includes a guest, sometimes other academics but often not, who have specialization in a particular type of linguistic discrimination. Carrie and Megan lead the guest through very thoughtful and interesting questions and ensure that everything is easily understood and explained while also joking about and throwing in some of their own personal anecdotes.

Some particularly fascinating episodes that I would suggest starting with (although they are all great):

Episode 1 – Uppity Women

Episode 4 – Grammar Not-zi

Episode 9 – ChicaNO? ChicanYES!

Episode 18 – Don’t be an Accenthole

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of language and how it can positively and negatively affect the world around us, I would absolutely start listening to The Vocal Fries. It is so important, especially in the current political climate of anger and hate, to understand how our words and judgments can affect others. We can work to dispel hurtful judgments that can have real-world implications for so many people every day, and in doing so can contribute positivity and politeness.

That does it for The Vocal Fries, as always check them out on iTunes and follow their twitter for future updates: @VocalFriesPod

Remember: Don’t be an asshole!

– Sarah