• Rachel R

Distractions! - 2020 is Making My Brain Hurt

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

I think that we could all use a way to escape the literal firestorm that is 2020. I don’t know about you guys, but I started this year feeling positive that 2020 was going to be a big year. While we weren’t exactly wrong, I was certainly hoping for a big year of positive things, not a pandemic; Let alone a pandemic that some people believe isn’t real. Now, six months into the pandemic, the whole west coast is on fire, the south is being beaten by hurricane after hurricane, and the election is drawing near. I’m fine, we’re fine, everything’s fine.

Everything is not fine. So, if you are like me you have been trying to distract yourself. It can be a serious challenge though with all the stuff happening around us, so I decided to put together a short list of what I have been doing to keep my brain from exploding from bad news. If you have other suggestions send them to me!


· My Favorite Murder – True crime, comedy with Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark

· Hall of Shame – Sports scandals with Rachel Bonnetta & Rachna Fruchbom

TV Shows:

· The Office – classic, hilarious show you must watch if you haven’t already

· Pitbulls and Parolees – show about rescuing animals and people, heartwarming


· I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – True crime book about the Golden State killer, by Michelle McNamara

· Leaving Time – Fictional novel about elephants and a mother’s love, by Jodi Picoult

These are my go-to choices when I need a mood boost, or to forget all the scary shit going on. Let us dive into some details on each of the items listed above:

My Favorite Murder is a true crime, comedy podcast hosted by two very funny ladies, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. This was one of the first pods I fell in love with. I have very few friends that enjoy true crime like I do, so it was exciting to find this podcast. While the stories that they tell are intriguing and terrifying, I also really enjoy their banter. A few giggles before and after the crime stories add to the overall stress relief you get from listening. The story telling itself is a bit informal, more of a conversation type of retelling over a fact heavy, serious retelling. One of my favorite episodes is full episode #149 – Lifestyle and Feelings where Karen and Georgia talk about the Missoula Mauler and the Forest Park Killer. You can listen to them anywhere you get podcasts.

Hall of Shame is all about sports scandals, including Olympic scandals. While I’m not necessarily the biggest sports fan this podcast is hugely entertaining to me. I love the way the hosts, Rachel Bonneta and Rauchna Fruchbom, tell the stories in a way that includes all of us who may be lacking sports knowledge. Though some of the stories are a bummer, the overall vibe is lighthearted and funny. I love a podcast that can make me giggle while telling a story worthy of a face-palm. I love any scandal around the Olympics so naturally my favorite episode is #29 – Run for Your Life (1904 Olympic Marathon). Check it out and give it a listen anywhere you find your podcasts.

The Office is one of the funniest television shows that came from the early 2000’s. It can be cringey and awkward in its humor but for some reason it never gets old. After a while you almost wish your job was in an office like The Office, even with how insane that would be. You feel bad for Michael, empathize with Dwight, and root for Pam. Something about it feels calming, almost reliable. Even the drama makes you laugh, which these days is definitely a relief. If you have not seen it, give it a shot, but hang on until at least the end of season 2. If you have watched it, watch it again. You can stream it on Netflix, YouTube TV, Sling and many other subscription streaming services and you can purchase episodes on Prime Video and Google Play.

Pitbulls and Parolees is one of my absolute favorite reality type television shows ever. It could be my intense love for dogs, especially pitbull type dogs or my need to know there are still amazing people in the world, but it always makes me happy. I love watching the Parolees start to believe in themselves and come out of their shells. No one should be judged forever based on their worst day. I also learn a lot from watching the show. You can learn a bit about dog behavior and basic training from watching Tia and the crew do what they do. It gives you a peak inside the complexities of running a rescue and may inspire you to become a donor or adopt from an animal shelter. You can watch episodes on Animal Planet and donate at vrcpitbull.com

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a true crime lovers dream. It is wonderfully written and may give you nightmares. It is about the Golden State Killer, a man who terrorized California between 1976 and 1986 and wasn’t caught until 2018. His heinous crimes caught the eye of Michelle McNamara, a true crime writer, and she became obsessed with figuring out his identity. Michelle and her colleagues worked tirelessly on trying to unveil who the perpetrator was, and even though Michelle wouldn’t live long enough to see it, her work was instrumental in his capture. This book is the story of her journey to catching the rapist and murderer known as the Golden State Killer. Find it in print at Barnes and Noble. Target or your local bookstore. Also available in audiobook.

Leaving Time is an entertaining mystery that has a twist so surprising I had to stop reading for at least 15 seconds to process it. Intertwined with the main story are the stories of elephants and their behavior. Elephants are my favorite animal, so it was a fun surprise for them to have a small background narrative within the bigger story. The story is about Jenna, a young girl, and her journey to find out why her mother, Alice, abandoned her when Jenna was three years old. Jenna recruits a psychic and a private investigator to help her solve the mystery of her mom’s disappearance. Right when you think you have it all figured it out, BOOM, twist. It is an easy but entertaining read by one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult. Find it at Target, Barnes and Noble or your local bookstore.

I hope that you find some brain relief from at least one of these recommendations, they have been life savers for me.

How have you been distracting yourself these days?

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