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Awful (un)Paid Advertising, Brought to you by Broadcouching

8 Feb
"You're not having fun time if commercials are your favorite part of anything." - Jennifer Lawrence on Conan 2/5/13

“You’re not having fun if commercials are your favorite part of anything.” – Jennifer Lawrence on Conan 2/5/13

Posted by: mthep

In case the Super Bowl was successful in fooling you into thinking that commercials could be cool, listen to my (imaginary) friend up there, and let me remind you that even at their best, they still deserve to be qualified as “pretty good… for a commercial.” They’re loud, obnoxious, and always break into your show just as it’s getting good.

The Super Bowl may be the one time of year commercials are celebrated, but just like your socially conscious hippy aunt reminds you about the real Thanksgiving when all you want to do is eat some mashed potatoes, I’m here to remind you about the real commercials when you’re just trying to watch Amy Poehler work her magic in an attempt to revive a dying mega corporation.

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It’s Mix Time: Year in Review

25 Jan
Outdated technology makes excellent furniture.

Outdated technology makes for some fancy furniture.

Posted by: mthep

Once upon a time, for my 26th birthday celebration, I decided to hand out mix CDs as party favors to everyone coming out. Just a little thank-you to all of those kindhearted friends (and friends of friends), who opted to leave their cozy, warm homes in mid-January,  to come out to the bar and help me celebrate.  I set two rules for the mix: 1)  to only include songs that I had heard for the first time in the last year, and 2) the songs had to have stuck with me somehow; be they meaningful or just catchy. Of course, I was also worried about appearing super cool, so I tried to keep the “obscure indie music”  ratio pretty high (Sorry pop music! We both know I can’t quit you).

Surprisingly, I’ve managed to keep this tradition going, and this year marks Party Favors Mix #7.  Thankfully, I’m much less interested in impressing people now – and it’s a good thing, because I also have more trouble finding new music with every passing year. I’ve gotten into a comfortable rut, listening to lots of the same bands I’ve listened to for the last decade, but having this annual challenge in the back of my mind helps keep me on the lookout for new music all year long.

These mixes have become time capsules for me, although I certainly didn’t set out to accomplish that. When I listen to old versions, I can still remember what most of the songs relate to; relationships and break ups, live shows and road trips – like an auditory trip down memory lane.

Thanks to the wonders of Spotify technology, I’m happy share this year’s version with you. I make no assertions that these tracks would be on anyone’s annual “best of” list, but it’s pretty representative of the soundtrack to my life for 2012.

spotify:user:mthep:playlist:7cVb8B5uSfyiBKPcsQToPk

And as a bonus, here’s my favorite music video from the last year/the only music video I’ve watched in the last year;

Are any of you out there sentimental music scrapbookers too?

Podcasts: Beyond Ira

11 Jan

The soundtrack to Ira’s life.

Posted by: mthep

I get the impression that, with the exception of a few notable productions (cough This American Life cough), the wide world of podcasts goes pretty much unnoticed. And I get it; there are a lot of options out there – and most of them are pretty terrible. But if you know where to look, I swear you will find some of the most entertaining free* content available on the internet. (*Most podcasts don’t cost anything, but if you find a few you really like, throw some money at them when they ask for it. And they will.)

To save you guys the trouble of wading through the sea of poor audio quality and lackluster content that is the iTunes Store Podcast category, I’ve listed some of my favorites below to get you started. First, some ground rules;

  1. Reserve judgement on a show until after you’ve listened to at least a few episodes. Even with the shows I really enjoy now, it took me a while to get a good sense of them.
  2. That’s all, really. It would have just sounded weird to say “ground rule” instead.

Advice

I have this problem where I am constantly offering advice – and it’s almost always unsolicited. Instead of taking responsibility for my actions, I am going to blame the media. Savage Lovecast, to be exact. I’ve basically grown up with Dan Savage’s advice, ever since discovering his written column back in junior high. For me, his podcast is like icing on the advice cake.

Mr. Hodgman’s show is consistently delightful, and his verdicts are often surprisingly profound. You should probably never follow MBMBAM‘s advice, but their show never fails to make me snortle while listening at my desk or riding public transport.

The face of sound advice.

Interviews

I love these comedians-interviewing-comedians shows because they’re usually interviewing friends, so there’s a comfort level there that’s rare in other interview formats. You basically get to be a fly on the wall for some funny and interesting conversations between famouses, that most of us normals wouldn’t have the opportunity hear anywhere else. That, and thanks to listening to Nerdist, I now know the appropriate way to greet Nathan Fillion whenever I meet him in person, and I consider that an important life skill to have.

These are not the hammer.

Science & Learnin’

You know how some people say that they want to go back to school because they love learning so much? That’s not me. I strongly disliked school, I got through it, and I will never look back. But somehow, these podcasts accomplish an unthinkable feat for me; they make me enjoy learning. If I could go back to school for a major in Radiolab, I totally would.

Freakonomics turns everyday topics on their head by looking at them through the fascinating lens of economics.  Yes, I said it; economics is fascinating. Or at least, thanks to Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner it is.  How to Do Everything is true to it’s name, and they often have an impressive array of celebrity guests to help answer questions. I usually only listen to two members of the HowStuffWorks family of podcasts, but if you explore everything they have to offer, you could probably find an answer to every question you didn’t know you wanted to ask.

‘Cause knowledge is power!

Square Pegs

I couldn’t fit these two shows in with any other category, but I didn’t want them to be overlooked. Dan Harmon’s show (creator of Community), consists of him drinking a lot, talking a lot, and interacting with the audience. It’s unlike any other show I listen to; it’s funny, crude, and for some reason, I keep going back to it. The show is currently on tour through January.

Throwing Shade is an award-winning hilarious/ridiculous “current events” podcast, and I adore it. The co-hosts, Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi, remind me of grown-up versions of Janis and Damian, in that they are awesome, and I would very much like to be their friend.

In my dreams.

Do you have any podcast favorites I missed? List your recommendations in the comments!

Maya Apocalypse Was a Bust, But There’s Always Zombies!

28 Dec

Posted by: mthep

We’ve survived the end of the world, again! I think this was the 4th or 5th time in my life the world was predicted to end, so I’m feeling pretty lucky.

However, I don’t expect to be so lucky when the zombie apocalypse hits. I’m quite certain that, due to a severe shortage of survival skills, and a lack of overall athletic ability, I’ll be zombie-bait within the first few hours. But after watching three seasons of  The Walking Dead, I’m starting to think that might be the way to go.

Beyond the break is a spoilery post about the series thus far. For those who care, and who aren’t caught up to the mid-season finale (season 3, episode 8; “Made to Suffer”), please enjoy The Walking Dead credits set to Growing Pains theme music.

The rest of you, shamble along with me beyond the break!

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Costumes for the Pop-Culturally Inclined

31 Oct


Posted by: mthep

We here at Broadcouching are wishing everyone, especially you east-coasters, a safe and happy Halloween. May your pillowcases overflow with full-size candy bars from the rich part of town!

Here’s a spooky scary story from my childhood to fill up space between here and the costume gallery below. Muwahaha!

When I was 8 or 9, I convinced my mom to make me a cat costume for Halloween. I was decked out from head-to-toe in the itchiest white plastic fake “fur” from Jo-Ann Fabrics imaginable, and I loved it. I was a painfully shy kid, and Halloween was the one time I could seek out attention in a way that still made me feel safe. The way I figured it, people wouldn’t actually be looking at me – they’d be looking at the costume instead.

I couldn’t wait to get outside and start showing off my awesome cat costume. One of the first doors I knocked on happened to be, in retrospect, a college house that was having a Halloween party of the drinking kind. The door opened up to a dimly lit, very crowded, and very loud living room scene. The girl who answered the door started drunkenly fawning over me, and somehow pushed me further into the house, for all the other party-goers to see. I was quickly surrounded by “grown-ups” oohing and ahhing at me, and I could even feel some hands petting my costume. The doorway seemed like it was miles away, and I was trapped. I was terrified that I was one step away from being kidnapped, but I also wasn’t about to run out of there without getting some candy.

By the time I was finally ushered back outside, I had started to feel overly warm and woozy from all the non-breathable polyester I was encapsulated in; and maybe a little dizzy from the attention, too. I made it safely back down to the sidewalk where my dad was waiting for me… and fainted at his feet. Thankfully, he was there to catch me, and carry me the half a block back home.

OOOoooOOOhhh! 

Nowadays, I turn to the internets for costume inspiration. I really enjoy seeing so many people putting in the time and effort to make clever, original, non-prepackaged costumes. I accept that there will always be a market for all of those sexy fill-in-the-blank costumes, but this gallery gives me hope that we’re not all doomed to wander the streets as sexy remote controls.

Do you have any fond (or not so fond) memories of your childhood costumes? Let us know in the comments!

All the fall TVs!

17 Oct

Posted by: mthep

Alex did such a great job covering all the comedies I’m looking forward to (Mindy! Liz! Leslie! Schmidt!), that I won’t take up valuable internet space with summaries of those shows too. But we know you need more shows to hibernate to, because it’s cold outside, and sitting inside where it’s warm is nice. Get yourself a pumpkin-flavored anything, and wrap yourself up in that old afghan that sat lonely and unused all summer long, because I’ve got even more recommendations to add to your Hulu queue.

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Cozy Music for Sweater Weather

10 Oct

Posted by: mthep

Science fact: fall is the best season. There’s plenty of potential for warm days, but the overnights are almost guaranteed to be crisp and chilly; better than any air conditioner could ever offer.

sam at explodingdog.com gets it.

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