8 Of The Best Podcasts Out There (Other Than 'Serial')

8 Of The Best Podcasts Out There (Other Than 'Serial')

Podcasts are still a niche interest.
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As if over night, Sarah Koening's multi-part podcast "Serial" became a cultural phenomena. And with good reason -- it's fantastic. Adnan Syed's innocence, or lack thereof, became a global discussion, and Koening was even parodied on "SNL." Yet despite "Serial's" mainstream popularity, podcasts are still a niche interest.

Before "Serial", I didn't even know what a podcast was. I owe a lot to Koening. She introduced me to the wonderful world of podcasting, despite having the handy app on my phone for, well, as long as I've had an iPhone.

Woe is pre-podcast me. I was missing out on a goldmine of entertainment. But you don't have to.

I've compiled a list of eight podcasts that I've enjoyed immensely, and am hoping you will too.

1. "Lore"

Author Aaron Mahnke offers bi-weekly scares with "Lore", a podcast about "true life scary stories." Mahnke's narrative is smart, spooky and stunning; he will likely leave you on the edge of your seat.

Suscribe to "Lore" on Itunes.

2. "The Cracked Podcast"

Funny and surprisingly pensive, Jack O'Brien's podcast is an auditory extension of his website. O'Brien and a myriad of fellow "Cracked" writers dissect pop culture, debate ideas and debunk myths -- and they have a whale of a time doing it.

Subscribe to "The Cracked Podcast" on iTunes

3. "Sword and Scale"

If you're a true crime nut (like me), then this podcast will be right up your alley -- your dark, scary alley. "Sword and Scale" bills itself as an "immersive audio experience covering the underworld of criminal activity and demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions..." This podcast will make you lose faith in humanity, but in the most entertaining way.

Subscribe to "Sword and Scale" on iTunes.

4. "The Black Tapes Podcast"

This performance art podcast from "Pacific Northwest Stories" is in the same vein as "Serial." That is, if "Serial" was about demons and apparitions. Hosted by fictional journalist Alex Reagan, "The Black Tapes" follows her investigation of "literal and figurative ghosts." Do you believe?

Subscribe to "The Black Tapes Podcas"t on iTunes.

5. "Welcome to Night Vale"

If there had been a local radio station for David Lynch's "Twin Peaks," then it would've sounded a lot like this. "Welcome to Night Vale" is a faux radio drama about a peculiar town where there are weird lights in the sky and hooded figures in the town square. It is beautiful and bizarre.

Subscribe to "Welcome to Night Vale" on iTunes.

6. "Criminal"

The concept is simple: true crime reporting. However, it's not "the 'if it bleeds, it leads' kind of crime," or so states that show's description. It's a bit more complicated than that. This show is stylistically similar to "Sword and Scale", just writ small. Host Phoebe Judge (could she have a more fitting name?) offers weekly morsels of crime, each one less than 30 minutes long.

Subscribe to "Criminal" on iTunes.

7. "Limetown"

This performance art podcast follows investigative reporter Lia Haddock as she explores the disappearance of the entire population of "Limetown", a small town with a dark secret. Gripping and eerie, this podcast will leave you craving more. But it may keep you up at night.

Subscribe to "Limetown" on iTunes.

8. "Mystery Show

Irresistible and quirky, this podcast features host Starlee Kine as she attempts to make sense of a senseless world. Follow Kine as she delves deep into Britney's Spears' reading habits or as she locates the owner of an unusual vanity plate. If "This American Life" and Nancy Drew made a baby, "Mystery" Show would be it.

Subscribe to Mystery Show on iTunes.

Cover Image Credit: theeverygirl

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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The 7 Best Food Places Near UCLA You Need to Try ASAP

We have great dining food AND restaurants around us? Wow, we are #blessed.

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Westwood is the home to UCLA and offers plenty of interesting and diverse dining options for students and locals alike. Since the area is firmly Bruin territory, you will find lots of on-the-go, affordable eats along with a mix of more modern and upscale restaurants.

Though I definitely haven't had all the food Westwood occurs, being here two years now (omg already!?), I think I can safely recommend certain places to eat.

1. Shamshiri Grill

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South Westwood Boulevard is often referred to as Little Tehran, so most of that area is just Persian restaurants. Shamshiri Grill just makes the best meat and whenever I go there, I always order my meal with their special hot sauce, that is to DIE for. A must try.

2. Gushi

I can not tell you how many times I've been to this place. Located near Fat Sal's, you may be tempted to just miss it but let me tell you that is a mistake. I always get their Gushi Bowl which is just heavenly and the right amount to make me feel satisfied without being too filling. Be generous with the Teriyaki and Sriracha sauces on your meat and you are guaranteed to have a good time.

3. Pinches Tacos

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I know Mexican food is very common wherever you go but Pinches Tacos is aesthetically pleasing and their food? Even more so. It just tastes so good! I definitely recommend the Asada fries and any tacos.

4. Saffron and Rose

Saffron and Rose is a Persian ice cream parlor like 10 minutes away from Shamshiri Grill and the quality and variety of ice cream is truly impressive. I would not have known my weakness for Jasmine ice cream if I hadn't tried this place and as always, the Saffron and Rose (it's namesake) deserves to be the name of the restaurant because of how rich in flavor it is.

5. Maharaja

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I am very particular about my Indian food but the buffets in the afternoons at Maharaja definitely passes my checklist. I actually went there for my birthday so that just tells you how the food doesn't disappoint.

6. Nekter Juice Bar

I found out about this place very recently and I'm so glad I did because their bowls are so good. They also serve smoothies which I haven't had the pleasure to taste yet but I expect the same kind of quality. I am very partial to the Bruin Bowl and the Dragonfruit Bowl.

7. BJs

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They have $3 Pizookies on Tuesday.

I am always there on Tuesday.

Are these two facts connected? Maybe.

What can I say? I just love the restaurants here.

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