Stating the Obvious

Traveling from my island to Hiroshima this last weekend, I found myself with a lot of time sitting on a bus (four hours) or ferry (two and a half). Being the dedicated writer I am, I’d planned to work on my book or critique.

Of course, being the dedicated procrastinator I am, I ended up reading the news.

Some of you might know that, in addition to my dream of being a super rocktastic published author, I also want to be a foreign service officer for the shiny US of A. Guys, it’s the coolest non-writing job ever. If I get into the consular cone, they’ll pay me to live in a foreign country and and and protect the rights of American citizens. Eeeeee! And people will stop teasing me about my excessive patriotism! (Being a slightly-leftist thinker, I tend to hang out with folks who can be revolutionary/critical of our admittedly imperfect government. Which causes me grief when I defend it. HAHAHA.)


In order to apply for the foreign service, you must take a test on US history, the constitution, international politics, economics, and geography, management, and English. If you can speak a foreign language, there’s a telephone test, too. I plan to take this test in February, so I’ve been attempting to keep up with the news whilst also brushing up on all those subjects I haven’t much followed since graduating university. (Uh… Everything but English.) I haven’t much been looking forward to the amount of books I’d have to buy…

…and then I discovered podcasts.


  1. They’re free
  2. iTunes U! Suddenly I’m not so nervous about the economics portion of the exam.
  3. They’re short! Most Economist and NPR podcasts run about five to twelve minutes.
  4. They cover a variety of current event topics.
  5. But in a way that I understand.
  6. I can listen to them on my iPhone using 3G.
  7. And feel like I’m being productive even when I can’t get my fingers to write a single good word! And I’m just staring out the window!

This is so awesoooooome.

SO MINIONS: Got any favorite podcasts? Recommendations for the book industry? (I know Nathan Bransford has one–anyone listened? What do you think?) And, if you have some recs for anything foreign service related, that would be awesome! Must pass that test! 😉