Let’s Finish Catching Up: ODO 195

Published by Odd Dad Out on

In the last episode I started to talk about all of the things that I’ve been up to during the hiatus, before getting thumb deep into a bloody mess. This time the plan is to give you the rest of the update that I meant to give last time. And oh boy! Do I have a lot of stuff to share with you! I’m not gonna cover everything right now. We all know that would take hours and I’m completely capable of doing it. Instead, I’ll hit some high points, and if you want to hear more about something, you can just let me know.
And finally, an update on how the featured podcast segment is changing, and my first rebooted podcast review feature is going to, my very first audio drama love, “Welcome to Night Vale.”


Let’s Catch Up, Shall We?

So, for those of you who aren’t aware, (what a weird place to start in to the show) I’ve had the show on hiatus since August for what can only be described as “covid related too damn busy.” Long story short, my regular recording schedule was blown to bits by my wife needing to use my office to work from home in the hours where I would normally be recording the podcast. And my kids are all doing school from home for the foreseeable future, so I have to be supervising them in the day while I still work overnights. I think that sums it up. But, just because the show has been on break doesn’t mean nothing was going on.

Garden Successes

If you’ve been following along with our gardening journey since the springtime, you’ll know that we haven’t had the most success. Come to think of it, I don’t think we had much success with anything. But that was because we were planting based on what traditional gardening wisdom would say. But we live on the surface of the sun, and traditional gardening rules don’t apply to us. Stuff that grows in the summer everywhere else, bursts in to flames with our summer weather. So we planted a fall/winter garden and wow has it taken off. For the first time, we have actually been regularly harvesting vegetables from our yard. I’m picking cucumbers, peppers, and lettuce regularly, and our tomatoes are slowly beginning to ripen. I’ve even been able to slice a few up for burgers once in a while. Our cucumbers are doing so well that I’ve had to learn how to make pickles, and that is something I never thought I’d do.

Change of Vacation Plans

So, every summer, we make the epic drive back to South Texas to visit our family there. Unfortunately, financial strains and the damn pandemic put a stop to that idea real quick. But, that also meant that by mid October, when the boys were off for their Fall break, nobody but me had left the house more than a handful of times (like I could literally count them on one hand) since March. Saying that everyone was getting a little on edge is putting it mildly. So, what was our solution to cabin fever? We rented a cabin! We drove 5 hours into the forests of northern Arizona and spent 3 days in a bare bones cabin with little more than a roof and beds. All of our food had to be stored on ice in coolers, and I had to cook all of the meals over campfire. We we took the boys hiking and played in a nearly frozen lake. (I was the only one brave/stupid enough to actually go for a full swim.) And we all loved it so much that we’ve already booked our next lake trip for springtime.

Of course, we had to cook hotdogs over a fire pit

Oh Yeah! We Got Another Dog!

Mystik

Back in the spring we had decided that it was time for us to get another dog after the loss of Emmitt. The deal we made was that, after vacation, we could get another dog. Well, vacation kept getting pushed back. But finally, at the beginning of November, we found a listing for a young husky/ coyote mix who was in need of a home. After a little bit of screening from the previous owner, we added “Mystik” to our family. She still needs a lot of training, and she still hasn’t gotten on good terms with the cats, but she has made herself very much a part of the family. In particular, she’s become very attached to me. Even as I am typing this, she is laying behind me at my desk. My wife says she’s defective since she likes me more. My bad I guess…

Of Course, That’s Not Everything

In this same time, we also had some holidays come around. As always, Halloween and Thanksgiving were nice. This was our first year in this house for both. We learned that there are a metric crap ton of kids in this neighborhood, and Halloween here is bananas. Just this week, a local off-roaders club brought their annual holiday light parade right down our street. We’re quickly discovering, (I say quickly but we’ve been here a year now) that this is a very active neighborhood that really likes to get together and do stuff. So much so that *gasp* we actually know our neighbors’ names!!
THE HORROR!!



Recommended Listening

Welcome To Night Vale

Is it still a great podcast? Absolutely.
But is it still as great as it once was?
Not necessarily.

3 and half stars

Full Review

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local “weather,” news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

Pros:

  • In the early seasons, the story arc that flows through between episodes really adds depth to the world
  • Excellent writing and character development over the years.
  • Cecil’s voice and narrative style draws you in and makes you trust him, until you learn that he may have a little bit of bias.
  • The complexity of the story after 8 years of building is amazing. So many things have changed in this world since the first season that it’s hardly even the same world anymore. *wink*
  • The little running gags and dark humor will have you questioning what you just heard while also laughing your head off at the absurdity.
  • It’s got a taste of Lovecraft inspiration, but not directly .
  • The original musical score by “Disparition” sets the tone perfectly.

Cons:

  • You really can’t just jump in at any time. You’ve gotta go all the way back to the start.
  • The “weather” segments are very “hit or miss.”
  • There are way too many ads at the start of each episode. (I know it’s shitty to complain about this, but after a while it gets really annoying to listen to.)
  • The later seasons start dragging out and become difficult to follow.
  • The main storyline in later seasons is less cohesive. It is obvious in the storytelling when the writers stopped focusing on this show.

In short, I really do love “Welcome to Night Vale.” The weirdness of it all is right up my alley. The character and lore development over 8 years is phenomenal. The contrast of the macabre with the humor is perfect. But after 8 years, the writing quality is starting to dip and the stories just aren’t as engaging as they were in earlier seasons. Is it still a great podcast? Absolutely. But is it still as great as it once was? Not necessarily. 3 1/2 stars.


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