Friday, November 27, 2015

She's Reading, Watching, Listening to…

By Megan M. Seckman

Erin Carson is young, in-tune and plugged in. After earning a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, she settled in East Louisville to write for the CBS Interactive site TechRepublic, where she covers all things technology. “Though I used to write mostly about music, these days I’m a technology reporter — multimedia editor, if we’re going to be fancy about it,” she says. “Writing has always been my favorite pursuit. At some point I realized it was the only thing I could stomach doing every single day. So, here I am. Writing about tech is fun and a little weird. My main beat is virtual reality, so if you need to know anything about head-mounted displays and immersive environments, I’m your gal.”

So what wires this 26-year-old techie? Click to see what she’s reading, watching, and listening to...


Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson — I started reading this book because I cover virtual reality, and it’s basically a holy text in the VR community. Snow Crash has to do with the idea of a shared virtual reality called the Metaverse. So, am I reading it for work or pleasure? The lines are blurry.

McSweeny’s Internet Tendency This is the best spot on the Internet for (wry) humor writing.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein — Carrie Brownstein does a lot. She’s one-third of the influential Riot grrrl band Sleater-Kinney; she writes and acts in IFC’s Portlandia; and now she’s published her memoir. Normally, I don’t want to commit to one person riffing about their life for a few hundred pages, but I’d gladly have Brownstein go on for as long as she wants.

The Guardian’s Blind Date series Imagine that you had to fill out a questionnaire about the last awkward date you went on. And now imagine that it and the one your date filled out, naturally, ran on an international newspaper’s website. Diabolical. Endlessly interesting. Impossible to read just one.


BoJack Horseman (Netflix) — Initially I assumed this was a crass, adult-oriented cartoon. To an extent, that’s accurate. What’s more accurate is that it’s an exploration of one formerly famous (horse)man’s midlife existential crisis. The voice cast includes Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, and any other delightful famous person you could want. It’s funny and filled with Hollywood humor. Also, it will devastate you.

Code: Debugging the Gender Gap The tech industry has a huge diversity issue, which includes a dearth of women in not only technical roles but leadership roles. Code is a great documentary that lays out a situation that’s complicated, but not beyond rectification.

Catastrophe (Amazon Prime) — It’s not a new concept — boy meets girl, boy gets girl pregnant. What makes this six-episode comedy more than worth watching is how the very funny Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan play a pair of strangers who made a baby and now have to make a relationship. The refreshing thing is that they’re adults about it. Most of the time.

Listening to:

Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits — I recently snagged this 1975 live Tom Waits album on vinyl. Sometimes I play it and read along because the writing is so dense and I don’t want to miss a phrase. My favorite line: “The coffee wasn’t strong enough to defend itself.”

Switched on Pop My mid-20s arrived with a bursting love of podcasts. My most recent addition is Switched on Pop, in which a musicologist and a songwriter dissect pop songs and explain how things like a key change or certain chord progression communicate an emotion or message. All of that is to say, sometimes an episode ends and you’re like, “Whoa. I had no idea Ke$ha was so complex.”

Pop Culture Happy Hour PCHH is basically this feature (what they’re watching, reading, and listening to) in podcast form, delivered by NPR staffers you wish were your witty, culturally literate friends.

Gilded Oldies by Cataldo Gilded Oldies is 37 minutes of right-in-the-feels songwriting that will please anyone who loved Death Cab for Cutie once upon a time.

Erin Carson writes about all things high tech. Here she is with virtual reality 3D glasses that she recently experimented with for her job.

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