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  1. Skim over this list of words/terms:

    roll vs. role
    character sheet
    skill points
    hex grid

    If you cannot recognize a single item in this list, then you are excused from this review.  Go on and play at one of the nicer parts of the Internet. 

    As for the rest of you social delinquents, it is time to read up on Haste:  The Official Obsidian Portal Podcast.

    Before I get into this, I'll admit that I am a big fan of Obsidian Portal and would love if you became a big fan too, dear reader.  This website is a massively useful tool for anyone who plays tabletop RPGs.  With an easy to use interface, players and GMs can create/list/display/organize/edit/use any places/NPCs/PCs/Items/Documents that are used in their game.  A fantastic replacement for a stuffed, disorganized binder that can be lost/burninated/eaten, Obisdian Portal can hold an entire campaign ready to go on any computer or mobile Interweb device.

    Beyond that, you can view other campaigns on Obsidian Portal to take inspiration from other people's games and see who's doing what in the RPG world.  It is free to sign-up, and while there is a paid membership that grants extra perks/functions, the basic account is still a great tool.  I've used it before in a previous campaign and it works for a document heavy game, or even a short, month-long exploration into a gaming system. 

    Okay, that's my sale's pitch!  Who'd have guessed that when I find something I enjoy, I want to tell other people about it?  Let's move on!

    Relevant Links:
    Haste Main Page
    Obsidian Portal Main Page
    Twitter Page

    Average Episode Length: Twenty-one minutes.  EXACTLY.

    Music:  Intro and outro, both credited to LukHash.  I am not entirely sure what a LukHash is, but there you go.

    Content RatingClean for everyone except Jack Chick

    Haste:  The Official Obsidian Portal Podcast is you brief but beneficial dip into the world and whims of tabletop RPGs.  Hosts Jerry and Micah are ready and willing to relay all the most recent and relevant news that relates to this hobby.

    Each podcast brings mention of any relevant news, such as anticipated rule book releases and corporate doings that affect current systems.  The hosts are knowledgeable and experienced on the whole, and it is clear that tabletop RPGs are their thing.  If any interesting items that relate to gaming have crossed their paths, they will be sure to let you know about them.  This is a good way to hear about rule systems or gaming aids that you might not run across on your own.

    There are topics... which... are pretty self-explanatory.  The hosts will bring up a topic related to tabletop RPGs, and then discuss them.  ...ta-da!  The topics are varied and the hosts' thoughts are fun to hear.  At the very least, they'll give you something to disagree with at some forum somewhere. 

    Haste:  The Official Obsidian Portal Podcast (I like typing the whole name out, ok?) also asks listeners to send in questions via their Twitter account. 

    Finally, Haste:  The Official Obsidian Portal Podcast recommends a tip to better use your Obsidian Portal account.  What part of "The Official Obsidian Portal Podcast" are you not getting?

    Drinking Game: Drinking Quest.  This is A Thing.

    Unintentionally Good Part:  If you are a user of Obsidian Portal, which you should be, it is just the cherry on the cake to see that not only does this site support a huge community of nerds and their games, but works to add more useful content beyond the base purpose of their site.  Yay, effort!

    Unintentionally Bad Part:  The short format and the fact that there are only two hosts leaves little in the way of lively debate.  Considering longer podcasts like Fear the Boot and The Podgecast, you may find this one a bit short for your style.
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  2. Mike and Tom Eat Snacks!

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    Dear, sweet, [DEITY OF CHOICE] I love eating things that are horrible for me.  If it were up to the conspiracy that is the part of my brain that deals with pleasure and my tongue, I would eat nothing but junk food for the rest of my life.  I would become so innudated with BHT that I would have to be buried in a lead-lined coffin to prevent the Twinkies and Slim Jims that would sprout from the earth around my grave.

    Snacks are so good!  What's your favorite snack?  I think mine might be Starbursts.  Happiness in a wax-coated wrapper.  Mmm.

    Let's talk Mike and Tom Eat Snacks (MATES).

    "On the Mike and Tom Eat Snacks podcast, if it's not already apparent, what you and I do is:  we pick a snack, each podcast, we eat it, we talk about it, we rate it.  End of podcast."

    Relevant Links:
    Main Site!
    Get the podcast!
    MATES Twitter!

    This podcast combines Michael Ian Black, Tom Cavanagh and a sheer passion for snacks.  Each episode there is a snack, there is intense discussion, there is commentary and insight.  The hosts stay almost disturbingly on topic of discussing the episode's snack, but rest assured that they managed to sneak in plenty of tangents and conversational shenanigans. 

    Music:  There is a jamming intro song.  They also have a soundboard, and are not afraid to use it.

    "Oh, how you do me Mallomar, how you do me."

    Content RatingMildly Explicit.  I'm listening to the podcast now and to be honest, I can't find any specific uses of bad language.  However, the topics can wander into playing with ideas and stereotypes that you might not want to float out of your speakers at work.  Headphones are suggested in public places.

    Average Episode Length:  A sample size of 8 episodes (randomly selected) gives us an average time of  thirty-nine minutes. 

    I... man, I don't know what to say.  This podcast displays a stunningly earnest and singular attempt to bring snack foods into the mainstream discussion of the world. Packaging is mentioned, the quality of the snack food upon being removed from the packaging, appearance and aroma, the taste of the snack throughout the eating process, and any lingering, chemical aftertastes that might crop up.  And I honestly think you'll enjoy listening to all of this!

    The pattern of the hosts' conversation takes an episode to get used to, so give it a few episodes to see if it is a good fit for you or not.  There are some fascinating theories and ratholes surrounding their ideas about snacks.  MATES is ready and willing to fill at least a half-hour of your day with its delightful ramblings.   

    Drinking Game:  Drink whenever -
    • You can hear a host chewing
    • You find yourself nodding in agreement with one of their points about a snack
    • EXPRESS MODE - Drink each time they rattle/crush/crinkle the packaging

    Unintentionally Good Part:  I really, really just like listening to people talk about food.  It is almost like I'm eating it, but without the caloric intake.  Possible new diet fad?

    Unintentionally Bad Part:  You will be unexpectedly upset the first time they are totally wrong in their opinion of the focal snack.  It will ruin your day until you go eat the snack they have spoken against, and restore its good graces in your mind.

    Go forth to your listening devices and vending machines!
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  3. Uke Hunt Podcast

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    For Christmas, I recieved the following:

    A chocolate bar with a picture of a kitten on it (no actual kitten used in the chocolate bar)
    Comfy pajamas (an annual favorite)

    A soprano ukulele, to be accurate.  And it's great!  The ancestral Viddy manse has been filled with the gentle plink-a-plonk-a of my attempts at trying to learn songs.  Did you know there are tabs for all the songs you can think of?  There are!

    Now when most people think of a ukulele, they think of something like this:

    Yeah, yeah the ukulele can do that.  But it can also do this:

    And even this:

    The river of the ukulele runs wide, and it runs deep.  You're going to want a guide to get to the best ukulele-related content on the web.  You're going to need Ukulele Hunt.

    Relevant Links:
    Main Site!
    Get the podcast through iTunes!
    A Tumblr!  All the cool kids have Tumblrs these days, right?

    The Ukulele Hunt website is just chock-full of information from reviews to tutorials and a really swank logo. 

    Music:  Funny I should have this category!  Turns out that the Ukulele Hunt podcast's main feature is a veritable buffet of ukulele-utilizing performers.  Classical, silly, pop, sad, saucy, there's a tune for every genre and a few minutes to spare on this podcast for all of them  Host Bossarocker (ain't lyin') leads her listeners through a guided tour of ukulele-related music, pausing along the way to let people stretch their legs and take pictures at scenic parks.  And by "scenic parks" I mean "interviews with people who play the ukulele."

    Content RatingExplicit.  See "Unintentionally Good Part." 

    Drinking Game:  There ought to be a good one for this podcast, shouldn't there?  Okay:
    • Drink for each ukulele solo
    • Drink each time a song changes, and you didn't realize it until a minute and a half into the new song
    • Drink when you're drunk enough to be surprised and charmed by the host's accent.
    That should keep you going.  

    Average Episode Length:  Approximately 48 minutes (over two thousand seconds!). 

    Unintentionally Good Part:  From their FAQ (children look away):

    Did you know ‘Uke Hunt’ sounds rude if you say it out loud?
    No, and anyone who thinks that has a filthy mind. I’m far too innocent to have any idea about that sort of thing.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:  Unlike the kazoo, the ukulele is not a magical device that makes any song better.  Given the wide variety of songs, you are bound to hit on some that don't match your taste.  Luckily for us, you can fast-forward through podcasts.  Yay!

    More YouTube!:

    Ukulele Hunt.  Give it a try!  I promise you'll experience it.
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  4. Tweet Me Harder

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    The world's first, best, only, and last talkback-enabled interactive audio podblast.  

    The Internet is inescapable these days, as you are already aware.  You use it for entertainment, study, pretending to study, ordering pizzas, posting bizarre Craigslist ads and so much more!  If the Internet isn't already a part of every facet of your life, it soon will be.

    So why not embrace it?  If you're ordering your pizza online, why not demand that you be entertained during the process?  If you're going to listen to a podcast then darn it, that podcast should be able to interact with its listeners!

    Wherein we turn to Tweet Me Harder.  Per the quote at the top of this review, you can (or could), not only listen to people talking, but talk back.  Not going to lie, it's pretty rad.

    Relevant Links:
    Tweet Me Harder Main Site!
    ... and uh, usually I put a ton of links up right here, but these guys did a great job with their site.  All their social media, where/how you can download to the podcast, store, and updates are easy to find.  Who would have thought that two guys who make a living on the Internet would understand how to put a site together, right?

    Tweet Me Harder is a podcast that allows the listeners to guide the conversations of the host, Kris Straub and David Malki(!).  Kris and David are already well-practiced in the art of the klatch and have little need beyond themselves, a talking point, and a mic to record it all.  More or less your basic Two Guys Talking style podcast.

    But wait, there's more!

    This podcast was originally streamed live to an audience that was encourage to participate.  People could respond to questions and calls for fresh subjects by the hosts, as well as record stories that would be later played on the show.  Whatever the audience threw at them, the hosts would take in stride and try to incorporate it into the show.  Usually, this brought about some very interesting topics that get spun into funny conversations.  It also lead to some very interesting topics:  

    MALKI!:The human body is only tethered to earth and subject to gravity by virtue of the life force coursing through it and when it dies, it becomes buoyant so you gotta rush that away!  You've got to take that to a funeral home, you gotta pump all that blood out-you can point that nozzle up-what do you think they do with that blood?  Do you think there's a barrel like an oil change place?  No they just put that nozzle out the window and it goes up and seeds the clouds and later on it rains your father.

    They're all over the place. 

    Music:  A goofy little accordion tune when they change topics, and Kris Straub raps the intro.  I would like to state that this may be one of only a handful of raps-made-for-the-Internet that don't make me cringe.  It's quite good!

    Content Rating: Moderately explicit.  To be honest, I can recall any particular swear words, but the topics can be odd enough that you might want to use headphones if your listening at work.

    Drinking game:   Oh, let's see... take a drink every time one of the hosts groans at a bad listener contributed pun.

    Release ScheduleTweet Me Harder is officially complete!  So...there really isn't a release schedule to speak of anymore, is there?

    Average Episode Length:  'Bout an hour. 

    Unintentionally Good Part:  The sub-genre of grading bulk rate mail:  Junk Me Harder.  Here, they assign arbitrary values from a made up point system to articles of junk mail sent into them.  There is only one existing entry, but it is a fantastic study in the stupid, stupid minutiae of junk mail. 

    Unintentonally Bad PartTweet Me Harder is reliant on listener contributions to steer their conversations.  That's pretty much all the structure that goes into this podcast.  It is a very loose, random talky-talk podcast to behold.  If a current conversation thread in the podcast doesn't catch your attention it can be easy to lose interest slogging through an episode until things pick up. 

    As it stands now, Tweet Me Harder is a complete podcast.  No more episodes, all done!  If you haven't heard of it before, this may be somewhat of a bummer as the "interactive" portion of the interactive podcast is now removed.  That being the case, I still really enjoy this episode, despite never hearing a live episode.  The artifacts of this podcast are worth listening to and I highly recommend it.  If you like esoteric humor and social media, then make sure to check out Tweet Me Harder.  Give it a chance, maybe even give it a second chance, and see if you like it.

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