True stories about modern humans.
info_outline New Show Announcement 11/08/2018
New Show Announcement I'm announcing a whole new podcast, and giving you a listen to the first episode. The podcast is called Before It Had a Theme, and on it, Britta Greene an I discuss and deconstruct old episodes of This American Life. On this episode, we discuss the very first episode of that show, as well as why the show is worth discussing, how we and others became fans of the show, and why we love Ira Glass’s mother. Clips from following were used in this episode: Coffaro’s Theme by Bill Frisell Episode of Tape with Jonathan Mejivar Episode of Tape with Ben Calhoun Ira’s talk at the Third Coast Audio Festival Longform Podcast, Episode 159: Ira Glass This American Life, Episode 1: New Beginnings Ira’s talk at the Gel Conference Rob's Twitter Britta's Twitter Show Twitter Review us on Apple Podcasts
info_outline If You Could Do Anything? 05/11/2016
If You Could Do Anything? Sometimes in your life, you reach a crossroads, go on a men’s weekend, spend too much time alone in the forest, have a mid-life crisis, and start thinking you can change the world with your podcast. This episode is about that happening to me. Part one of a three-part series. Support Anxious Machine on Patreon Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes Links: Startup Music: Opening Credits by johnny_ripper Divider by Chris Zabriskie Audrey by johnny_ripper Mario Bava Sleeps in a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie Black Book by johnny_ripper The Dark Glow of the Mountains by Chris Zabriskie A Void by johnny_ripper Program Reverie by Podington Bear Massive by Podington Bear
info_outline Pay Attention All the Time 09/28/2015
Pay Attention All the Time Parents of young children have an especially fraught relationship with their smartphones. On the one hand, these devices are indispensable tools for getting things done and staying connected to the adult world while in the midst of childcare. On the other hand, the culture is constantly telling parents, and particularly mothers, that they’re too distracted by these devices, that smartphones are stealing precious attention away from our kids. But the idea that parents should be focusing so much attention on their kids is itself a modern invention. In fact, our current understanding of parenthood and childhood is, in a very real way, the product of technology. Support Anxious Machine on Patreon Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes Links: Moms, Let Go of Your Smartphone Guilt Siobhan Adcock’s website Amy Shearn’s website Music: Opening Credits by johnny_ripper Spring Solstice by Podington Bear Cylinder Three by Chris Zabriskie The Dark Glow of the Mountain by Chris Zabriskie Walkin Flags by Sealadder Button Mushrooms by Podington Bear Stuck Dream by Podington Bear 88 by Podington Bear What True Self? Feels Bogus, Lets Watch Jason X by Chris Zabriskie
info_outline Do You Feel More Like Gods? 09/14/2015
Do You Feel More Like Gods? This past week, my kids went back to school. Summer vacation has come and gone. And that’s gotten me thinking about the very idea of summer vacation because every summer, for the past several years, my wife, her sisters and our families have had this tradition of going to a cabin for a few days to get out of the city. We don’t own a cabin. We have to rent one. And this year, the process of finding it, looking at pictures of all the possible cabins on all the possible lakes, made me wonder about this particular, middle-class American ritual of going into the wilderness for vacation, where that ritual came from, and what it says about our relationship to modern life. Support Anxious Machine on Patreon Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes Patrons: Special thanks this week to new Patreon supporter Matt Holliday. Links: Where Was the Birthplace of the American Vacation? Thoreau Leaves Walden Pond Why Fire Makes Us Human Working At Play: A History of Vacations in the United States Music: Gentle Chase by Podington Bear Arrival by North Hive Tam by LJ Kruzer Electron by Podington Bear Halflight by Podington Bear Tamz by LJ Kruzer 88 by Podington Bear
info_outline Bringing Wes Home 08/31/2015
Bringing Wes Home Since the wide-spread adoption of embalming in the United States, most Americans have turned the process of handling the deceased over to experts in the undertaking business. On this episode, the story of one family who decided that they wanted to be the ones to wash and prepare the body of the son and brother they’d lost. This episode was previously aired on the podcast Neighbors, one of the podcasts in The Heard. Support Anxious Machine on Patreon Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes Music: Cylinder Five by Chris Zabrinskie 88 by Podington Bear
info_outline A Horrible Experience 08/17/2015
A Horrible Experience My older brother Scott lives almost completely outside the network of modern life: he has no internet, no email address, no cable TV or satellite, not even an antenna for his television. Until recently, he didn’t even have a bank account or a telephone. In this episode, I try to get to the bottom of why he hates computers, and especially the internet, even though the internet helped him solve a question he’s had since the day he was born. Support Anxious Machine on Patreon Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes Music: Heavy Flutter by Podington Bear I Am Running with Temporary Success from a Monstrous Vacuum in Pursuit by Chris Zabriskie The Sun Is Scheduled to Come Out Tomorrow by Chris Zabriskie The House Glows with Almost No Help by Chris Zabriskie The Theatrical Poster for Potergeist III by Podington Bear The Dark Glow of the Mountains by Podington Bear 88 by Podington Bear Patrons: Special thanks to Eric Keys, Cam Hudson, Bradley Dunham, and Gordon Delp for their support of this podcast.
info_outline Teleportation Device 08/03/2015
Teleportation Device Humans have been reading for thousands of years, but ever since the invention of television, people have been worried that reading is in decline. The latest worry is that, even if the Internet has caused an uptick in the quantity of our reading, we're reading on screens instead of paper, and this seems to degrade the quality of our reading. On this episode, technology writer Clive Thompson talks about the history of reading as a technology, why we’re worried about its future, and what happened when he tried to read War and Peace on his iPhone. Support Anxious Machine on Patreon Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes Links: Clive Thompson’s essay about reading War and Peace on his iPhone Clive Thompson’s essay about the novelty effect Clive Thompson’s book Smarter than You Think Hanna Rosin’s article for The Atlantic about children and screens Amaranth Borsuk & Brad Bouse: Between Page and Screen Music: Curious Process by Podington Bear Oxygen Garden by Chris Zabriskie Deeper by Phlox.s Rythn by Podington Bear Mensa by Podington Bear Steppin Intro by Podington Bear Program Reverie by Podington Bear Euphoric by Podington Bear Respiration by Podington Bear 88 by Podington Bear
info_outline These Things Is Miracles 07/19/2015
These Things Is Miracles When she was growing up, Adrienne didn’t want to believe she was losing her hearing, and she didn’t want to wear hearing aids. This is the story of how she decided to embrace the technology that restored her hearing, and what happened when she did. Support Anxious Machine on Patreon Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes Patrons: Mark Bramhill Music: Cylinder Five by Chris Zabriskie There Are Many Different Kinds of Love by Chris Zabriskie Cylinder Six by Chris Zabriskie The Sun Is Scheduled to Come out Tomorrow by Chris Zabriskie I Am running with Temporary Success from a Monstrous Vacuum in Pursuit by Chris Zabriskie Heavy Flutter by Podington Bear Brethren Arise by Chris Zabriskie I Need to Start Writing Things Down by Chris Zabriskie Androids Always Escape by Chris Zabriskie 88 by Podington Bear What True Self? Feels Bogus, Let’s Watch Jason X by Chris Zabriskie
info_outline A Piece of Paper (S2: E4) 07/06/2015
A Piece of Paper (S2: E4) When I heard the news of the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage between same sex couples, I wanted to go back to an interview I did in 2009 with two women who decided to get married before it was legal in their state. It’s easy to forget what couples like them had to go through back then — traveling outside of their state to get a document that would have no legal standing at all where they lived. I wanted to know why that piece of paper mattered to them. This is their story.
info_outline Looking at the Wall (S2: E3) 06/29/2015
Looking at the Wall (S2: E3) Amelia’s childhood was largely devoid of technology. But when she got a computer and the internet in her own bedroom, she found the new mode of communication through chatrooms and email utterly addictive. She’s struggled ever since with how much technology she wants in her life, especially now that she’s a mother.
info_outline All My Days Have Been Guns (S2: E2) 06/15/2015
All My Days Have Been Guns (S2: E2) Bernard did not get along with his father, who expected him to work like a full-time employee in the family gas station starting when Bernard was just eight years old. But then Bernard went off to the army, and when he came home, an incident with a gun changed his relationship to his father, to society, and to himself.
info_outline Didn't Want to Be Conscious (S2: E1) 06/01/2015
Didn't Want to Be Conscious (S2: E1) Humans have been getting intoxicated, and finding new ways to get intoxicated, for thousands of years. On this episode, I explore the history of intoxication, and how that history played out in the life of one young woman.
info_outline The Question is Ridiculous (Interim Episode 4) 05/25/2015
The Question is Ridiculous (Interim Episode 4) I recently decided to ask a big question at a cocktail party. This episode is about asking the question, some of the answers I got, and how that question is shaping the stories I’m trying to tell in the second season of this show.
info_outline Every Other Fight (Interim Episode 3) 05/11/2015
Every Other Fight (Interim Episode 3) I’ve always loved telling the story of the first (and only) time I got punched in the face, and not because I won the fight. I lost, by a long shot. But it’s a story about standing up to one of the toughest scariest guys in my high school, and it made me feel like a hero.
info_outline Completely Clueless and Completely Paranoid (Interim Episode 2) 04/27/2015
Completely Clueless and Completely Paranoid (Interim Episode 2) Sara thought she knew her son, but then a medical diagnosis left her questioning everything. This is the story of how she coped when the medical treatment turned him into a completely different child.
info_outline The Letter (Interim Episode 1) 04/13/2015
The Letter (Interim Episode 1) Fewer and fewer people writes letters anymore, especially by hand. It’s a dying technology. But for this episode, I have a story from the 20th century about how a single, handwritten letter changed the course of a life.
info_outline Inbox Time Machine (S1: E6) 03/30/2015
Inbox Time Machine (S1: E6) Sarah’s parents got divorced when she was little. She and her siblings stayed with their mom, even though Sarah preferred her father’s company. She only saw her father for dinner once a week and stayed with him every other weekend. When she got to talk to him on the phone, her mother often stood nearby and listened.
info_outline The Window Seat (S1: E5) 03/16/2015
The Window Seat (S1: E5) Mohamed fell in love with air travel at a young age. He lived in Kuwait, but he would fly with his family back to Egypt at the end of every school year, so air travel was imbued with the pleasure of summer, vacation, family, and fun.
info_outline I Had No Instinct (S1: E4) 03/02/2015
I Had No Instinct (S1: E4) Kate Hopper had dreamed of a totally natural birth, with no drugs and no medical interventions. But when her baby was born two months early, Kate had to enter the unnatural world of the neonatal intensive care unit, where incubators, tubes, and monitors kept her daughter at a distance, and where Kate had to struggle to find her own identity as a mother.
info_outline Not a Phone Person (S1: E2) 01/19/2015
Not a Phone Person (S1: E2) Andria Williams met her husband Dave when they were in their first year of high school. They’ve been together now for almost two decades, but they’ve also spent a significant portion of that time living apart, conducting their relationship over a long distance.
info_outline Protect My Family (S1: E1) 01/04/2015
Protect My Family (S1: E1) On this episode, my guest is Stephen Hackett, who publishes the website 512 Pixels and co-hosts the podcast Connected. We talk about what it’s like to put the life of someone you love, someone you would protect with your own life, in the hands of medical experts.