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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Dumb Things For Your Earholes

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: March 2014

Maybe it’s because my parents were heavy-handed with the NPR in my house growing up, but I’ve always had an affinity for talk radio. I’ve talked at length (probably a bit too much), about how much I adore Coast To Coast with George Noory and Art Bell. And it’s not just the subject matter; I mean sure, lizard people and aliens and the vast expanse of conspiracies afoot are intriguing, but it’s more than that. Even now, the low hum of a droning voice will put me to sleep faster than a baby during a vigorous vacuuming session. Come to think of it, that’s probably why I had so much trouble in my physics class last semester. Also, that class was taught by a retired Hoover vac, so there’s that.

Lately, my love for talk radio has found a new avenue over which to obsess. The avenue? Podcasts. I feel late in discovering this, probably because I didn’t really fully understand the point, or the latitudinal freedom this medium can bestow. This week I’m disregarding the fact that I am 100 percent positive that you, dear reader, are most likely better versed in the many different podcasts available. Alas, I needed to produce a column, and podcasts are what have been on my mind. So the following is my list of top five podcasts I’ve been listening to.


Radiolab will always have a spot near and dear to my heart. Any episode ever of Radiolab is what I wish school was like. Not to say that there aren’t good professors at Chico State, there are. Matt Blake and Aaron Quinn, most especially. Radiolab is an infectious mix of philosophy, science and the human experience (my favorite). Best episode: “Oops!”

James Bonding

Being the unabashed Bond fan that I am, I couldn’t pass up this podcast. Every episode Matt Mira and Matt Gourley dissect another Bond film, with a special guest onboard to help them recount, dissect and analyze each movie. A fair amount of ridicule occurs, sure. As with virtually any movie made in the 1970’s and 1990’s, there’s plenty to poke fun at. And although the “Matts” don’t care too much for my favorite Bond (Timothy Dalton), it’s still endlessly entertaining for any Bond enthusiast.


Being the idiot weirdo that I am, I delight in discovering an unfettered account of how others live their lives. Risk is the perfect podcast for that. Featuring “storytellers” from all over, this podcast will have you moving from laughter to disgust in no time at all.

How Did This Get Made

If you’re a fan of The League, or watching terrible movies, then you’ll enjoy this one. Created by Paul Scheer (Andre on The League), Jason Mantzoukas (Raffi on The League), and June Diane Raphael (Zodiac, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), this podcast dissects a new terrible movie each week with the help of a special guest. It’s James Bonding without the narrow Bond scope.

Savage Lovecast

In this podcast, Michael Savage recounts his various sexual conquests… Just kidding. That would be horrifying. Dan Savage, author of the internationally syndicated sex advice column produces this podcast, which is essentially his column, in audio form.

Now go forth, and listen to dumb stuff! Dumb stuff for everyone!

Arielle Mullen