My top 5 podcasts right now

I've been listening to podcasts since I was probably 12 or 13 years old.  Sure, listening to people talk on a radio show is pretty far from a regular tween practice, but I couldn't get enough.  No one really understood what a podcast was, and that's why the only podcasts that existed were for nerds like me. I used to listen to Engadget, Gonintendo, and a few others.  I listened to them while riding my bike or while laying in bed at night. My iPod nano probably had more podcasts than music on it.

In the past few months, we have entered a podcast renaissance; they have finally joined the mainstream.  Podcasts are for runners, commuters, and people doing menial tasks at home.  Part of the reason I have a 128 GB iPhone is so I can fit as many as I want on my phone.  (My drive to work is typically about 30 to 40 minutes) I'm probably juggling 15 or so different shows on my phone, and they are all extremely different.  Here are the top five you should be listening to now:

(be aware, a lot of these have language and some crude humor since some of them are guys just being funny and shooting the breeze. If you're cool with that, then you'll probably enjoy them.)

#5 The Nerd Machine: Picking Favorites

If you ever watched the show Chuck, you're probably pretty familiar with Zachary Levi.  After his hit network show, he went on to work on a company that talks about all things nerdy and fun.  Recently, probably about 3 weeks ago, he and others started a podcast where they introduce categories (movies, favorite places to travel, pretty much anything) and everyone goes around picking their favorite things in that category.  Pretty simple premise.  It's new so it isn't perfect, but I could see it becoming really great in the future.  Definitely something to look out for.

#4 /Film

I love movies and talking about movies, and that's what these guys do.  They discuss a movie that have come out recently, and go around talking about what they like an don't like about them.  That's about it.  I find myself agreeing most of the time, but I just like listening to other opinions from time to time.

#3 The Nerdist

You've probably heard of Chris Hardwick, because he's pretty much everywhere you turn nowadays.  (The Talking Dead, @midnight) He runs a podcast where a famous guest comes on the show, and he talks to them for about an hour. He's had guests like Morgan Freeman and most recently, Adam Savage from Mythbusters.  The shows range from really funny to really interesting, because the types of guests he has had differ every episode.  (Hilary Swank came on a couple days ago)  It's not necessarily just for nerds, I think most people can enjoy it.

#2. Start Up

Alex Blumberg is trying to start a podcasting company, and he records his process.  He shows us the things that you don't typically hear about when starting a business like pitching to investors, finding a business partner, and coming up with a name.  He records conversations about his business with his wife, and is extremely honest about everything.  It's very much like an audio documentary, and it's pretty dang cool.  If you're interested in starting a business, I don't see how you could miss this one.

#1. Serial

Who isn't talking about Serial? It's like bingewatching a show, except you're just listening.  A woman essentially is trying to solve a real murder through journalism and interviews with the people involved. The case was closed in 1999, but it's being reopened because it was so thin that Sarah Koenig isn't convinced they got the right guy.  It's incredibly interesting, and you won't be able to wait until the next episode.  I think there are 8 episodes out now, so you better get started.  

Snow in November (free smartphone wallpaper!)

Today I walked outside, and it was snowing. Not my favorite weather for sure, but there is a beauty that comes with it.  Anyway, I took it as an opportunity to give my two wonderful readers a little something.  

Here's a smartphone wallpaper I made this morning with the weather. Hope you like it! You can just right-click and save it. (Or tap and hold if you're on an iPhone)

The Avengers 2 trailer was fantastic, but I'm still not sold

*This blog post does contain spoilers to Iron Man 3, Avengers, and the Avengers 2 trailer*

The title seems click-baity and weird, especially since I absolutely loved Avengers and the vast majority of the Marvel Cinema Universe films.  If you've followed my blog over the past couple years however, there's one Marvel movie that makes me furious to think about: Iron Man 3. 

You know why? The trailer was incredible, and totally hinted at a deeper, darker direction for my favorite Marvel character.  It had dramatic narration, and the appearance that the arrogant billionaire, Tony Stark had lost everything at the hands of a terrorist played by Ben Kingsley.  

Due to my love for Iron Man and Tony Stark as a character, I was highly disappointed by the end product.  The movie was riddled with uncomfortably frequent humor, failed to fulfill the promise of a great villain, and really didn't strip Stark of all his riches, just his suits (kind of).  Ben Kingsley's talents were wasted on a goofy character who was an actor pretending to be a villain, not the terrorist we saw in the trailer.  The writers attempted a twist that resulted in the plot being based around Guy Pierce's vendetta against Stark (and eco-terrorism?).  In regards to the plot, it was all over the place, trying to bring an almost noir feel that just didn't work.  

If Iron Man 3 gave us what the trailer promised, it would have been awesome, however the writers just didn't have the restraint to leave out some humor in exchange for something actually a little dark.  All the one-liners and jokes between characters lighten the mood, making the situation far less weighty, yet Stark has panic attacks after the events in New York in Avengers.  Marvel was a little better at balancing serious with funny in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, so maybe Avengers: Age of Ultron will be all it says it will.

I will hand it to Marvel; they know how to make a damn good trailer.  The James Spader-voiced Ultron gave me chills in the last couple seconds of the trailer, as did the Iron Man vs. Hulk smackdown.  I think the movie will be great, and even Iron Man 3 wasn't bad film, just not nearly to the standard of other films in the Marvel Cinema Universe.  

Speaking of which, here is my list of the Marvel movies from best to worst (if you were curious):

Guardians of the Galaxy

Avengers

Iron Man

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Iron Man 2

Thor: The Dark World

Thor

The Incredible Hulk

Captain America: The First Avenger

Iron Man 3

Thanks for reading my rant.

Taking photos with the iPhone 6

You may have or have not noticed that I have been using my iPhone quite a bit for the 365 lately.  That, my friend, is because I'm trying to see how far I can push this camera, and see what it's capable of.

Unfortunately, due to some technical issues, I'm not able to upload my videos to my blog just yet, but that's coming.  I've been doing some moving pictures lately (shocking, right?) and it's been pretty fun and new.  Here's some stuff I've been able to capture with the awesome camera of the iPhone 6:

I have more coming and I don't think I've come close to pushing it as far as it could go, just wanted to share.  I want to do some studio portraits with it (probably not as cool as Jeremy Cowart's iPhone photoshoot, but I can try can't I?)  

I'll try and get my video content up soon, and I'm working on more as well.