24 episodes

True stories about modern humans

Anxious Machine The Heard

    • Personal Journals
    • 4.7 • 134 Ratings

True stories about modern humans

    The News

    The News

    I’ve always had a problematic relationship to the news, and I’ve struggled to navigate that even more since this pandemic began. I talk to my father about the night I yelled at him over his insufficient fear of the virus, and I look back on a 1954 essay by E.B. White about the disparity between his experience of a hurricane and the coverage he hears of that hurricane on the radio.

    • 17 min


    Like most people, I imagine, I've been having a lot of anxious thoughts lately. And I’ve been wishing I could get those thoughts out of my head. And then I remembered that I used to have a podcast called Anxious Machine. So here’s my first episode in three years: some thoughts about looking back on how this virus entered my consciousness, and how it felt to watch the movie Contagion with my daughter, and what it means to try to stay awake to what's happening.

    • 10 min
    New Show Announcement

    New Show Announcement

    I'm announcing a whole new podcast, and giving you a listen to the first episode. The podcast is called Before It Had a Theme, and on it, Britta Greene an I discuss and deconstruct old episodes of This American Life. On this episode, we discuss the very first episode of that show, as well as why the show is worth discussing, how we and others became fans of the show, and why we love Ira Glass’s mother.
    Clips from following were used in this episode:
    Coffaro’s Theme by Bill Frisell
    Episode of Tape with Jonathan Mejivar
    Episode of Tape with Ben Calhoun
    Ira’s talk at the Third Coast Audio Festival
    Longform Podcast, Episode 159: Ira Glass
    This American Life, Episode 1: New Beginnings
    Ira’s talk at the Gel Conference
    Rob's Twitter
    Britta's Twitter
    Show Twitter
    Review us on Apple Podcasts

    • 49 min
    If You Could Do Anything?

    If You Could Do Anything?

    Sometimes in your life, you reach a crossroads, go on a men’s weekend, spend too much time alone in the forest, have a mid-life crisis, and start thinking you can change the world with your podcast. This episode is about that happening to me. Part one of a three-part series.
    Support Anxious Machine on Patreon
    Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes
    Links: Startup
    Music: Opening Credits by johnny_ripper
    Divider by Chris Zabriskie
    Audrey by johnny_ripper
    Mario Bava Sleeps in a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie
    Black Book by johnny_ripper
    The Dark Glow of the Mountains by Chris Zabriskie
    A Void by johnny_ripper
    Program Reverie by Podington Bear
    Massive by Podington Bear

    • 36 min
    Pay Attention All the Time

    Pay Attention All the Time

    Parents of young children have an especially fraught relationship with their smartphones. On the one hand, these devices are indispensable tools for getting things done and staying connected to the adult world while in the midst of childcare. On the other hand, the culture is constantly telling parents, and particularly mothers, that they’re too distracted by these devices, that smartphones are stealing precious attention away from our kids.
    But the idea that parents should be focusing so much attention on their kids is itself a modern invention. In fact, our current understanding of parenthood and childhood is, in a very real way, the product of technology.
    Support Anxious Machine on Patreon
    Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes
    Links: Moms, Let Go of Your Smartphone Guilt
    Siobhan Adcock’s website
    Amy Shearn’s website
    Music: Opening Credits by johnny_ripper
    Spring Solstice by Podington Bear
    Cylinder Three by Chris Zabriskie
    The Dark Glow of the Mountain by Chris Zabriskie
    Walkin Flags by Sealadder
    Button Mushrooms by Podington Bear
    Stuck Dream by Podington Bear
    88 by Podington Bear
    What True Self? Feels Bogus, Lets Watch Jason X by Chris Zabriskie

    • 24 min
    Do You Feel More Like Gods?

    Do You Feel More Like Gods?

    This past week, my kids went back to school. Summer vacation has come and gone. And that’s gotten me thinking about the very idea of summer vacation because every summer, for the past several years, my wife, her sisters and our families have had this tradition of going to a cabin for a few days to get out of the city. We don’t own a cabin. We have to rent one. And this year, the process of finding it, looking at pictures of all the possible cabins on all the possible lakes, made me wonder about this particular, middle-class American ritual of going into the wilderness for vacation, where that ritual came from, and what it says about our relationship to modern life.
    Support Anxious Machine on Patreon
    Subscribe (or write a review) in iTunes
    Patrons: Special thanks this week to new Patreon supporter Matt Holliday.
    Links: Where Was the Birthplace of the American Vacation?
    Thoreau Leaves Walden Pond
    Why Fire Makes Us Human
    Working At Play: A History of Vacations in the United States
    Music: Gentle Chase by Podington Bear
    Arrival by North Hive
    Tam by LJ Kruzer
    Electron by Podington Bear
    Halflight by Podington Bear
    Tamz by LJ Kruzer
    88 by Podington Bear

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
134 Ratings

134 Ratings

victactoe ,

Entertaining, enlightening and all around great

I love everything about this podcast! Each story is so random and different (in the best way possible), but somehow circles it’s way back to the big and little anxieties people face in life.

PineTrails ,

Brings poetic voice to the new age of podcasting

This is a show that really embodies the unique, multi-sensory method of storytelling in the unfolding golden age of radio. I started listening because the title, “Anxious Machine,” caught my eye, and kept on listening for diverse topics and Rob’s soothing, intelligent voice and crisp editing that brings clarity and perspective to my day. I’d recommend this podcast to anyone who is looking for a moment of meditative inspiration in their busy lives.

Allissa. ,

Intriguing and addicting

This podcast is fantastic. It makes you think about yourself and the world around you. Helps you appreciate all of the things and all of the people around you.
Each episode leaves me with a great sense of satisfaction and a little bit more hope for the sometimes dark world we live in. I love it. Please make more episodes!

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