No, this is not a metaphor about God. I’m talking about Steven Gilmour of Plainfield, Indiana.
I’ll start from last Christmas: instead of buying individual gifts, my brother, my wife, and I decided to pitch in and get my parents a new computer. We scraped money together, and I contacted a good friend whose high school career intersected mine and Ryan’s and who owned and operated a computer store for several years. He agreed to build a computer to my parents’ specifications, charging them whatever his expenses were above and beyond the check I cut him.
So one of the first things my father asked me, upon getting the new machine and a DSL Internet connection, was what podcasts were especially good. I had no idea; I had heard about such critters, but I’d never taken them seriously.
So in June, when we visited my parents in Indiana, Dad had me listen to some of the podcasts to which he subscribed, and the charm immediately hit me. Here were radio programs that didn’t have to care about a mass audience. These folks make shows about Superman radio programs from the thirties, about the Chicago Cubs, and about just about anything else. Beyond that, NPR makes .mp3 files and podcast feeds available for most of their programming, so for instance one doesn’t have to be next to a radio at 10:00 AM on Saturday to hear Car Talk.
To add to that, UGA this year doubled the price of a parking permit, and the oil companies doubled the price of a gallon of gas, but Athens Transit still lets UGA students, staff, and faculty ride the city bus for free. So I let my parking permit lapse and opted to ride the bus for the last two-thirds of what used to be my morning commute.
Thus I have half an hour to sit and do something four to eight times a week, a new source of specialized content that I can engage without trying to read on a bus (which always puts me to sleep), and, now that the prices of .mp3 players has dropped, a 2GB player that was $150 two years ago but now is available for $28.80 on amazon.com.
Podcast world, here I come.
I’ve already downloaded Amarok, a music manager program for Ubuntu, and I’m subscribed to Car Talk, Only a Game, and News and Notes from NPR; Theology Unplugged from Reclaiming the Mind Ministries; the Philosophy Podcast from LearnOutLoud.com, and TVO’s Big Ideas podcast. I know I’ll never have time to listen to all that (even if I’m on the bus four hours a week), but it’s nice to have the options.
So there. Once again, my Baby Boomer dad leads me into the world of 21st century technological culture. I’m not too proud to admit that.