Setting the Mood

Our daughter was excited to drive us around the Olympic Peninsula when we visited in July. She was equally excited to explore Olympic National Park, not only for the rain forest and the moss, but because of the podcast she chose for us to listen to as we drove.

Daughter thought that a podcast about true stories of people murdered by serial killers in National Parks would be entertaining. It really was, I must admit. There was very little traffic, and we were in pretty remote areas, and it seemed cozy, somehow, like listening to ghost stories in a nice warm room with a fire going and a storm raging outside.

How do you set the mood? What do you like to listen to when you drive or work around the house?

23 thoughts on “Setting the Mood”

  1. Definitely not with serial killers.
    When I am just driving around doing errands, my car radio defaults to the music on my phone via bluetooth, shuffling randomly through about 1000 selections.
    When I am working in my office/studio and not doing something like writing, which demands a certain kind of concentration, I listen to podcasts like Gastropod, about aspects of food history, The Allusionist, about language, general and varied topic podcasts like The Kitchen Sisters Present, Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford, Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History and Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible, about aspects of architecture.

    When Robin and I are driving on extended car trips, we often listen to Radiolab, or for something light and silly, Spilled Milk, another food-related podcast. Robin has a couple of fiber arts related podcasts she likes and I find them interesting as well.

    If you really want ghost stories, Jim Harold’s Campfire is a podcast that mostly consists of people calling in and relating their own creepy paranormal experiences.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hey Bill, have you read Roman Mars’ 99%? It’s very similar to the podcast but the book itself is quite nice. A different size and sturdy pages and instead of lots of jarring photos of the infrastructure that he talks about, it is all hand drawn illustrations. Can we call a book about urban infrastructure and architecture charming?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have not read it and until you mentioned it the other day I was not aware of it at all. I certainly think a book about architecture in the hands of Mars could be charming. I recently read a book, a collection of columns written by Lewis Mumford, called Sidewalk Critic discussing various ventures in architecture and art in New York City that I found entertaining despite the fact that none of the buildings were familiar to me, mostly because I enjoyed Mumford’s attitude so much. In fact, I followed it up with another Mumford book, The Golden Day, in which he discusses the work of several early New England authors—Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman—and managed to have an original and insightful point of view.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Most of the time I’m in the car these days I’m listening to a book on CD. I do not like creepy. In fact the older I get, the less stomach I have for creepy. When I think back to my teen years when I read Carrie and The Exorcist, I just recoil. I could no more read those today than I could fly. When I am at work sometimes I listen to Accuradio and one of my favorite “caln-me-down” artists is Enya.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Music, music, music. Best mood setter there is. The right music with the right people in the right setting (dinner, party, celebration) can elevate the mundane to the excellent.

    While driving, I mostly listen to MPR News & Info. For road trips, it’s either CDs (on the car that still has a CD player) or Pandora (on the new one with no CD player–can you tell how old I am??) or we listen to audiobooks. We’re partial to mystery-detective-thrillers (of course) mainly because they tend to keep me alert better than some old literary “masterpiece” that is as dense as a flourless chocolate torte and just as sleep-inducing.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I will not “set the mood” when expecting company because that was almost an obsession with my mother and . . . aww, hell, let’s not go there. Suffice it to say I do not play music when entertaining.

    Setting my own mood is a whole nuther story. I usually want to be surprised, so I favor radio, either MPR News or Fresh Air (an internet folk station). Otherwise I put my beloved band, Tuba Skinny, on a repeating loop.

    When I drove, mysteries on tape or CD were great fun. My daughter and I adored Tony Hillerman novels read by the author.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I remember reading something by Carlos Casteneda while riding in a bus through northern Mexico on the way to Mexico City. It was an overnight ride, and I couldn’t sleep, and I remember how eerie the world looked as the sun came up over the desert as I read.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I remember many examples of hosts trying to add “atmosphere” when entertaining by playing music in the background. Invariably the music volume was too high, making conversation difficult. When VCRs were just becoming popular a couple invited my wife and me to dinner. They had set up a TV with a VCR to play Holiday Inn. It was hard to ignore it, but watching Holiday Inn made conversation impossible. Using music as a background tone setter makes as little sense to me now as altering the smell of a home or room with gizmos that add artificial odors.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I am late to the party today, Baboons,

    Like everyone else, it is news or music, or for a long trip an audio book. Those make the time fly. A driving favorite author is Michael McGarrity with his Kevin Kearney series. It is set in New Mexico, so it is topical when we drive to AZ.

    Recently I re-listed the playlist I lost in my computer change. I missed having my favorites on one list. I had missed it a lot, but even when I had the time during COVID, I did not re-do it.

    I have set the mood in my garden for pollinators. The flowers, the Joe Pye Weed, and prairie plants lure the bees and butterflies into the garden. I have been watching a big ole swallowtail all day today.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. OT: when it was announced that Tokyo would go forward hosting the Olympics, I was cynical about a decision driven by economic considerations that ignored medical wisdom. We’re now near the end of this Olympics competitions. I’ve changed my mind. So far it seems holding the Olympics in this limited way has not triggered a spike in covid-19 infections. And frankly, it has felt good to think about something other than Trump’s intended coup and the new virus variant.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ditto! It’s been a godsend to have something out of the ordinary over in Husband’s rehab room!

      He’s considered “independent” now, at least, and can go on his own to the jigsaw puzzle room. And I just took him out to an outdoor music show here in downtown Winona.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks to YA, I have Alexa in the kitchen. So I often listen to Radio Heartland there while I’m puttering about.


  9. I’ve been working on a show about 1/2 hour from home. It’s a good distance to unwind on the drive home. And whatever music I pick to listen too just has to be LOUD. Full blast. One night It was the band Rush, the Moving Pictures album. But several night it was the sound track of the movie ‘All That Jazz’; Bob Fosse’s semi biographical rather jaded look at show business. Usually, near the end of every rehearsal process, I need that in my head. Loud. Always good.

    I have some podcasts I enjoy, but it’s tough to find the time to listen when I’m able to really listen and pay attention.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I often have public radio on in the car, although I’ll do an audiobook on occasion. Recently I listened to Cloaked, a sort of fairy tale for young readers that I picked up at the library, stamped “Withdrawn”. It didn’t occur to me at first that it was a YA novel. I thought it was very entertaining.

    Working around the house? Reminds me of Dale’s reminiscence about his mother vacuuming to Harry Belafonte.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have the library app on my phone that allows me to download audiobooks and most recently I have listened to an Lamont who is kind of a spiritual motivational list I love a good mystery and have enjoyed Tony Hillerman in the past steve I agree Pandora allows me to tweak my choices
    Lots of podcasts with Ted talks leading the pack followed by spiritual stuff with Krista Tippett on being network and al franken. and a bunch of not stuff as well

    fell asleep

    must be done

    Liked by 1 person

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