Tag Archives: Risk

Podcasts

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The first time I ever heard a podcast was when I moved from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. My traveling companion had loaded her MP3 player with music and words for our journey. At some point we listed to an episode of Stuff You Should Know about fluoride.

Me Talk Pretty One Day
SIDENOTE: On that road trip, we also listened to David Sedaris read essays from his book Me Talk Pretty One Day. My favorite story in that book is “Jesus Shaves.” We had to stop playing it before it was over because my traveling companion was laughing so hard she was crying, making driving dangerous. (The image to the left is connected to my Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it to shop, I will receive a commission from your purchases.)

If you don’t know, a podcast is

a digital audio or video file or recording, usually part of a themed series, that can be downloaded from a website to a media player or computer.

The first podcast I really, really liked was RISK! Here’s what the RISK! webpage has to say:

 RISK! is a live show and podcast “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public” hosted by Kevin Allison, of the legendary TV sketch comedy troupe The State. The award-winning live show happens monthly in New York and Los Angeles…The weekly podcast gets around a million downloads each month. Slate.com called it “jaw-dropping, hysterically funny, and just plain touching.”

If you want to hear people tell true stories about sex, drugs, feces, humiliation, and sketchy parenting (among other things) while using lots of curse words, RISK! is the podcast for you. It is not a lie, cliché, or hyperbole when I say I’ve laughed ’til I cried while listening to the stories of RISK!, and sometimes I’ve just cried.

If these are the kinds of stories you like, you can listen to RISK! for yourself.

I like to have a podcast on while I’m doing work with my hands, typically work that doesn’t take too much brain power. Washing dishes? Podcast. Making hemp bracelets and necklaces? Podcast. Creating hats from yarn? Podcast. Cooking a meal? Podcast. Folding clothes? Podcast. Gluing little bits of paper into a collage? Podcast.

I revisited Stuff You Should Know a few years ago while house sitting in a secluded location. The house had no television, and it was just me and the dogs out there. I missed human voices. Hearing the banter of the hosts of the podcast, Charles (Chuck) Bryant and Josh Clark, made me feel less alone.

Stuff You Should Know led me to Stuff You Missed in History Class since both programs are produced by the same parent company, How Stuff Works.

Stuff You Missed in History Class has gone through a series of hosts since its beginning. My favorite hosts of the program are the two current smart and sassy women, Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey. I enjoy their comfortable presentation style while feeling confident they did their homework before hitting the record button. The amount of reading and research these women do for each episode is amazing. Holly and Tracy give us more than just the history of rich white dudes. I appreciate their inclusion of episodes about feisty women and LGBTQ folks fighting for civil rights.

While downloading podcasts from iTunes, I discovered Death, Sex & Money. The show’s website calls Death, Sex & Money

[a] podcast hosted by Anna Sale about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.

I appreciate the way Anna Sale asks really personal questions while managing to express deep kindness and intense curiosity. She really knows how to get root of the matter without seeming pushy or mean. Of course, many of the episodes are heart-rending, covering topics from dead mothers and fathers (sad) to dead infants (super sad). The episodes focusing on sex and money tend to be a little more fun, although no less thought-provoking.

One of my favorite episodes of this show is an interview with Lucinda Williams. Lucinda starts off honest and raw and stays that way for nearly half an hour. Also fantastic is the five part series about New Orleans ten years after Hurricane Katrina.

My newest favorite is Myths and Legends, featuring my podcast boyfriend, Jason Weiser. (Shhh! Jason doesn’t know he’s my podcast boyfriend. Neither does his wife.) Not only do I enjoy Jason’s calm, soothing voice and his snarky-funny comments (he holds nothing back when he talks about The Little Mermaid), but the stories from around the world are fun to listen to. Sometimes when I’m stressed out, I put the volume of my phone down low, start this program playing, and let Jason’s tranquil voice comfort me all night.

Here’s what Myths and Legends has to say for itself:

This is a weekly podcast telling legendary stories as closely to the originals as possible. Some are incredibly popular stories you think you know, but with surprising origins. Others are stories that might be new to you, but are definitely worth a listen.

That’s what I’m listening to these days, when I’m not listening to music. I hope these suggestion inspire my readers to listen to some new, educational podcasts. Feel free to leave a comment about your favorite podcast.

A Summer of Infinity Scarves

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I know summer is no time for infinity scarves. Most people living in the Northern Hemisphere are not going to bundle up anytime

These are four scarves I made for some of my lady friends back at the Bridge.

These are four scarves I made for some of my lady friends back at the Bridge.

between June and September. However, summer is when I had to time to make scarves, so after initial hesitation when I wasn’t sure I’d remember how to do the last steps of the infinity scarf process (I remembered!) I went on what I can only call a yarn bender. I didn’t want to go to work. I didn’t want to read. I didn’t want to clean the van. I didn’t want to cook, although I did want to eat. Mostly I just wanted to listen to podcasts and make infinity scarves.

(Read about the first two infinity scarves I made this summer here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/08/26/two-new-infinity-scarves/.)

The yarn bender started when the Chile Lady sent me two skeins of yarn. The yarn was thick, the sort of yarn intended to be used with my round looms. (When using the thin yarn that’s  more readily available at thrift stores, I use two strands at a time. The thick yarn requires only one strand at a time.) One skein of yarn was a charcoal grey. The other was a deep red, nearly a burgundy.

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Esmerelda is modeling the infinity scarf I made for Elsa.

I had missed Elsa’s birthday, so I decided to make her a scarf using the yarn the Chile Lady had sent. I decided instead of using alternating rows of colors, I would keep it simple and use the colors in two blocks. The thick yarn and the large blocks of color made the scarf-making go fast; I had the scarf ready in no time.

I don’t remember which scarf I made next. I just know I made scarves for Mariquita, Dawn, and Rose in quick succession. I remembered how Dawn had most liked the brightly colorful hats I’d had at the Bridge the last time I was there, so I made her a brightly colorful scarf. Mariquita is quiet and somewhat

Esmerelda is modeling the scarf I made for Rose, with a color scheme of rosy pinks and browns.

Esmerelda is modeling the scarf I made for Rose, with a color scheme of rosy pinks and browns.

reserved, so I made her a scarf with a more restrained color scheme of blues and seafoam greens. The color scheme for Rose’s scarf included rosy pinks and browns.

While I made infinity scarves, I listened to podcasts on my phone. One advantage to moving into the current decade where cell phones are concerned is that I can now put music and podcast episodes on my phone. While I made scarves, I listened to Risk, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff You Should Know, and a new favorite Death, Sex, & Money.

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Esmerelda is modeling the scarf I made for Mariquita.

I also did Pimsleur Spanish lessons while I made scarves. I’ve been doing Pimsleur Spanish lessons off and on (mostly off) for about two years, since Tea loaned me the Pimsleur CDs her friend burned for her. I put the lessons on my laptop before my disc drive jammed. Before I realized I could transfer the lessons from my laptop onto my phone, it was a big deal to take out my laptop everyday, do my thirty minute Spanish lesson, then quickly turn off the computer to save as much battery power as possible. The charge on the battery in my phone lasts a lot longer than the charge on my laptop battery, and the phone is a lot easier to charge using an inverter and the van’s battery, so having the lessons on my phone has made my Spanish studying much easier.

These four scarves are not the last I made. Oh no! I made five more scarves after these. But I’ll save those for another day.

 

L-E-Os

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The big fire was still burning, but word was the smaller fire—started by a lightning strike—was under control. Word was the one route back up the mountain was open again, although the road I found the quickest and easiest way from civilization to my campground (although not exactly quick and easy) was still closed.

I began the slow, curvy drive up the mountain late in the afternoon.

When I got to the area where the lightning had struck and started the fire, I didn’t see any flames and very little smoke. What I did see were firefighters. The firefighters who weren’t actively fighting whatever fire was still burning were milling about on the road’s narrow shoulders, eating sandwiches, drinking water, catching a little rest. I reduced the van’s speed even further. I don’t ever want to hit anyone with my large motor vehicle, but I particularly did not want to be the asshole who hit somebody working to save the forest.

As I got through the main congestion of firefighters, I noticed a truck was behind me. At the next turnout, I pulled off the road so the truck could pass me, which it did. I noticed it was a Forest Service truck, which didn’t concern me. I’d just passed at least a dozen Forest Service vehicles and wasn’t surprised to see one on the road with me.

I hadn’t gone far when I saw the same Forest Service truck parked in another turnout.

That’s weird, I thought. What kind of game is the driver playing?

I passed the truck and it pulled out behind me.

It’s just going to have to go slow while it follows me, I thought, because I’m not pulling off for it to pass me again.

I slowly made my way through the mountain road’s curves while the truck followed behind. Just as I approached a large turnout, I saw the truck had lights on its roof, and those lights were flashing.

What the fuck? I thought, as I realized the truck was carrying at least one L-E-O.

“L-E-O” stands for “Law Enforcement Officer.” L-E-Os work for the Forest Service and carry guns. They’re tree cops and I think of them the way I think of any cops: don’t trust ‘em—don’t like ‘em.

Immediately after maneuvering the van into the turnout, I fumbled around to silence the podcast playing on my phone. I was listening to Risk, and I didn’t want a bawdy story or salty language making the upcoming interaction unnecessarily awkward. I also didn’t want to have to shout to be heard.

The second thing I did was put my hands on the steering wheel. I didn’t want to get shot because a tree cop thought I was reaching for a weapon.

There were two L-E-Os, actually. One came to my driver’s side window. He was probably in his early 30s, tall, with dark hair and beard both clipped short. He would have been handsome but for his chosen profession.

I told him through the small triangular window on my side of the van that the main window on that side doesn’t roll down. He said he’d go around to the passenger side, where the window goes down halfway.

Right off, he asked me if I were alone in the van. I told him I was.

He said, Because I can’t see in there. I don’t know if someone’s in there pointing a gun at me.

I thought, If I had a job that made me constantly worried about being shot, I’d get a new job. I succeeded in keeping the thought to myself. Instead, I repeated that I was alone in the van, and I told him I had no guns. Then I told him I was a camp host heading back to my campground.

I thought I’d probably been pulled over because there were so few people headed up the mountain. Maybe I looked suspicious by virtue of being on a road currently barely traveled. I thought when I said I was a camp host, I’d immediately be sent on my way, but no.

First, the L-E-O wanted to know what campground I was the host at. Fair enough, so I told him. Then he wanted to know the location of the campground. He was new to the area, he said, and he didn’t know his way around. Riiiiight. I know when my story’s being checked out. But I went ahead and explained the campground’s location.

I suppose he had to justify his reason for hassling me, because he told me he’d pulled me over because of the cracks in my windshield.

Really?

Those cracks have been in my windshield since I bought the van. They do not obstruct my view. No city or county or state cop in New Mexico or Arizona or Nevada or California had pulled me over because of the cracks in the windshield, but suddenly a tree cop was worried about it? Is a cracked windshield really a federal issue?

I was both annoyed and trying not to laugh at this guy. I told him I was working as a camp host so I could get the windshield replaced as soon as I returned to my home state. (I didn’t bother to tell him I’d planned to get it replaced last year but the $500 of transmission work, the four new tires, and the installation of a new fuel pump had blown my windshield budget.)

The entire time I was talking to L-E-O #1, L-E-O #2 (a young, short, bald guy) was walking around the van, looking underneath it, trying to peer into all my windows.

Then L-E-O #1 asked if he could see my driver’s license, if I had it handy. (I wonder what he would have said had I told him in fact it wasn’t handy.) It was in my bag next to my seat, so I fished it out and handed it to him. He walked off with it; I think it’s a good bet he took it to his truck to call in my name and license number. Surely L-E-O #2 had already called in the number on my license plate.

When he returned my license to me, L-E-O #1 said that while having a cracked windshield was a ticketable offense, he wasn’t going to give me a ticket since that doesn’t seem to be what you need right now.

(Does anyone jump into her or his vehicle and think, What I need right now is to get a ticket because I have a cracked windshield I haven’t been able to afford to replace?)

Then L-E-O #1 thanked me for driving carefully around all the firefighters. To me this meant he and his little tree cop buddy had to make up a reason to pull me over since they hadn’t seen me violate any traffic laws.

When I got back on the road, the L-E-Os followed me for about a quarter of a mile. I thought they might follow me all the way back to my campground, but they must have gotten bored with my slow and careful driving, because they turned around and headed back toward the firefighters.

No one else has had anything to say about the cracks in my windshield since that afternoon. Getting the windshield replaced is as the top of my list of things to do, just as soon as I get out of super expensive California.