Thu, 26 December 2013
Is an education what many believe it to be -- formal schooling -- or is it something more? It seems like something more as we begin this episode talking about our first memories of education...it didn't start with school. But, obviously, one cannot discuss education without [mostly] talking about school. After our early memories of being educated about something, we move on to this question: "Did you have any teachers that inspired and changed your life like you see in movies?"
Maybe we did; maybe we didn't...you'll have to listen to find out, but we definitely had teachers who soured us on schooling. So often, teachers are held up in high regard, but is it justified when so many teachers aren't all that great? (Not saying for a moment that a good teacher should be lumped in with the actions of poor teachers, but so often you hear things like, "Teachers should be paid more than athletes," and, truth be told...there are a lot of shitty teachers out there who probably don't deserve what they are already paid!)
After that, it's on to standardized testing and the money that's tied to it. Is standardized testing good or bad? Is one who tests well "educated" -- is it possible to solve problems and be smart and not test well? (You can probably guess where we stand!) Does more money solve problems in districts, or are there bigger problems with education that money alone can't solve? Hell, why not just ask if the public school model is outdated altogether?
We take a different track and ask how we'd see our own children educated before stepping into home schooling/unschooling. Is homeschooling and unschooling bad? What about the arguments about socialization: is a school a good place for socialization, or can it be like Lord of the Flies for many, destroying the confidence of so many kids who would otherwise be social in other environments?
While most of this episode focuses on primary and secondary education, it's off to college...but is college worth it? Does a traditional education and college prepare younger people for adulthood and the real world, or is it more about discipline and then wondering why the person who previously had to ask for permission to use the restroom isn't suddenly the problem-solving adult they are expected to be after graduating high school?
Breaking from tradition, we move on to other interesting ways of educating people. After that, we build a time machine and go back with the ability to shape our own educations -- find out what we would have changed and how we'd have preferred to have been educated. And, as always, we wrap it all up by discussing the future...this time, what the future of education might be like...
If you're stuck in detention and looking for something to do, tell us some of your thoughts and feelings about education in the comments.
Thu, 19 December 2013
MWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! This week, we're all about...SCIENCE!!! (Imagine a flash of lightning instead of exclamation points and it's soooooooo much better!) But really, that's kind of the Hollywood/Frankenstein version of science. We're a bit more grounded than that...although we DO love a good mad scientist movie...
We begin as we always do: discussing our first memories of the topic; in this case, our first memories of science. We obviously wouldn't talk about science if we didn't find science fascinating, so after that, we move on to the first field of science we ever loved. Also, find out if we were good students in science classes in school.
But enough about the past: find out what we feel are the most fascinating scientific developments right now! Then we roll into the weirdest science experiments we've heard about...and the most horrific! Some people think most science has the potential for harm...who should decide the limits of what we do with science: scientists, government, or something else? Or...should anyone have a say?
Next, find out what we feel are the most ridiculous assertions backed by "science," and listen to why we feel so many people put stock in pseudoscience. It all wraps up with where we see science going in the future.
So put on the lab coats and headphones and then head to the comments to talk about one of the best things ever: science!
Mon, 16 December 2013
Regular listeners know we always put a snippet of our pre-show babble at the very end of each episode. We decided it would be fun to give your ears a peek behind the scenes and let a longer-than-usual babble-fest loose on the world. No editing, just straight-up pre-show talk.
So...what do we cover in 10 minutes?
Wed, 11 December 2013
We kick it off talking about our earliest memories of collaborating, before jumping right in and answering the big question: Do we like collaborating with others? Find out our best experiences working with others...and the worst!
It's hard not to talk about collaboration and not talk about work. How much do our jobs rely on collaborating with others? How do you work with that person who refuses to work well with others? Should employers even encourage collaboration; if so, how can they best get people to work together well? Does any one person (or group of people) have the upper hand when collaborating?
Find out if we prefer leading groups of simply being part of groups when we have to collaborate on a project. Can people collaborate and still have their own voice be heard? And, finally: what's the best collaborative effort seen in history?
Feel free to collaborate by sharing your thoughts about collaborating in the comments.
Wed, 4 December 2013
Ever watch TV? Bet you have. Man, do we have a podcast for you this week -- one of those, "I can't believe we haven't done this one, yet!" shows. This week, we're talking about that great American pass time: television!
We kick it off talking about the first TV show we remember watching, before jumping to how important TV was to us when we were young. How does TV from the past (we focused on 80s TV) compare to things today?
Somewhere along the way, the mini series became a popular thing. We discuss the first mini series programming we remember watching before moving to our all-time favorite mini series. Probably because the mini series at least shot for something more, we jump to talking about the shows that seemed to be forerunners to the more intricate story arcs, characterization, and chances taken with TV today. Also: the most out-of-the-box TV shows we've ever seen.
With the rise of cable, viewers (and creators) have more channels to choose from. Is this better or worse for creators? What TV shows do we feel have had strong writing? And you know you want to find out the most embarrassing shows we'll admit to liking!
In the homestretch, we ask how relevant TV is to today's culture...before calling out the best TV shows of all time (and the worst). We wrap it all up with this question: What is the future of television?
So grab that remote and flip to Men in Gorilla Suits. As always, we'd love to hear your feelings about anything discussed in the comments.
* * *
(Wow, we succeeded going this entire description without saying boob tube! Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh...)
Mon, 25 November 2013
With Thanksgiving on Thursday in the states, we decided to release this week's show early...
This week, we're talking about celebrity, and we begin the episode like we begin most episodes: discussing our earliest memories of things (this time, of celebrities). When did we realize there were these things out there called celebrities, and who were the first celebrities to get our attention?
Why are people so enamored with celebrities, and is there something sad about the name dropper...the person who talks about all the celebrities they've met? Is there a difference in the way people view the status of famous musicians, athletes, actors, or even writers -- or is celebrity the same for all? Then the big question: who are our favorite celebrities?
From there, we talk about some of the celebrities we've met...and celebrities we just don't get! It seems many love celebrity scandals -- we discuss why that is before talking about a type of celebrity many don't even consider: the Internet celebrity. There are bloggers, people with YouTube Channels, and podcasters -- some of whom have larger followings than traditional celebrities. Is this new kind of celebrity a step down from what most deem as celebrity, or is it just as valid of those on the red carpet at a movie premiere or awards ceremony?
We then take a turn into the realm of reality TV show celebrities: do they deserve the credit, or are the Kardashians and others the worst of the worst?
This podcast was done at the request of a friend, who pitched a couple questions. The first one: who are our man crushes? (Apparently the Gorillamen have similar tastes in male celebrities!) The second: who are the five celebrities we'd put on our laminated list? Finally, we close the episode out by answering this question: "Would you want to be a celebrity?"
As always, we'd love to hear your answers to any of the topics discussed on this week's episode.
Thu, 21 November 2013
A week from tomorrow is Black Friday. It used to have more meaning, but in recent years, the sales kick off on Thanksgiving Day. Each year, it seems advertising for holiday sales begins earlier than ever before. People complain about seeing Christmas decorations in August, but it apparently works as advertisers push the limits of what the purchasing public will accept.
This week's podcast is all about advertising, starting with the first advertisements we remember seeing. From there, we confess to what capacity we've each worked in the advertising world. (If the podcast had chapter titles, this part would be "Shawn Hangs Out with Molly Hatchet!)
Even with digital recorders, TV still seems like the place for advertising. We discuss whether we even watch ads on television anymore (if we really ever did), before discussing ads that annoy us...and ads we like. (So, obviously, ads do get through to us.) Then on to the big question: has an advertisement ever convinced us to actually buy something? Has an ad annoyed us so much that it's turned us off from purchasing something? Are there right and wrong ways to go about advertising?
We then take a moment to discuss the best and worst ads we've ever seen before discussing if we've ever tried advertising our books. (Answer: no and no!) And then we close it all out discussing the future of advertising. How invasive will it get?!
We'd love to hear about your favorite and most-hated ads in the comments, so jump in and have fun! (You'll make the ghost of Earl Scheib sell his soul for just $99.95!)
Wed, 13 November 2013
What music did our parents listen to when we were younger, and what was the first music we ever owned? Find out right at the start of this week's show. Also find out if either of us ever played a musical instrument. After the trip to the past, we leap to the future, discussing the musician or band that never lets us down...and the band that, when on it, is as good as it gets, but has also recorded some of the worst music out there.
From there, we delve into dislikes, leading off with the band or style of music it seems everyone says one must like, but we don't like. Then: it's time for a moment of hate...find out what band or musician we could do without. (And yes, we said hate. Normally, not our kind of thing, but once Christopher opened his mouth and discussed is irrational hatred for a particular musician, things took a bit of a dip into Negativeland.) You know we usually lean toward positive, though...to the point of ridiculously positive at times. We leave the dislike and hate behind and talk about music's effect on our writing.
Music is a time machine of the mind -- we then talk about the musician or band that transports us to the time we listened to them most. Find out what songs we can't help but like, as well as our guilty pleasure tunes. (Not that we are ones to really care what people think of our musical choices, but we all have those songs that are considered bad that we instead love.)
What do we listen to most these days? How has our tastes changed -- what musicians or bands did we once listen to all the time that we have simply left behind? Find out our biggest music 180s, the bands we once couldn't stand that we came to love. Then it's time for the one-minute lightning round as we rattle off some of our favorite songs (and forget so many others)! The episode closes with what effect music has on us.
We'd love to hear your answers to any of these questions in the comments.
Thu, 7 November 2013
It may sound like a high school civics class, but this week...we're all about government!
We jump right in by asking if America has the best system of government, or if others out there have better ideas? That leads to a discussion about what form of government is the best...and what we feel is best. Of course, we also discuss the worst kinds of governments that have existed and are still out there.
Then, a bit about education: how much government was taught to us in school, and how involved were the classes? Were they biased or open to all kinds of ideas? Did they help us, or have we forgotten all we learned? Do we feel like we learned something, but still ended up lost in a sea of people who didn't?
Next, we get a bit more philosophical. Does a transparent or secretive government best serve the people? Could a complete lack of government actually work? And because Shawn led the charge with this epsisode, could a government like the one in Star Trek ever become real...and if so, could it work? Sticking to fictional governments, we talk about how close or far we are from Orwell's 1984, before wrapping it up with the ideal government we would create, were we put in charge of the world.
(In the end, it is decided: Facebook and dance fighting are the only systems that work! Okay, maybe not, but we do mention dance fighting and the structure of social networks like Facebook as a system of government.)
Wed, 30 October 2013
We begin the Halloween episode of Men in Gorilla Suits as we begin most episodes: by discussing our earliest memories of the topic. Find out when Halloween memories stuck in our brains. from there, it's on to our favorite costumes from our pasts. (This section had a beta listener rolling with laughter at Shawn's choice and our discussion of those cheap, vinyl costumes popular in the 70s and 80s.) The costume talk doesn't stop there, though...we reveal what we'd consider our ultimate costume if we had the talent to make them, and what creature we would want to be if we could change into a monster just like that.
But let's be honest: for many, Halloween is all about the candy! We discuss the best -- and worst -- things people dropped into our Halloween bags when we were younger. Find out if our candy was ever stolen from us [by a band of thugs dressed like the baseball gang from the movie, The Warriors], or if we were ever the ones doing the stealing.
For some, Halloween is about destruction. Find out how many pumpkins we've smashed in our time and any other mischief on October 31st we got into. For others, Halloween is all about entertainment. Find out what books, movies, and music we recommend for Halloween.
In recent years, Halloween has returned to its roots for some, and become seen as evil by others. We take a moment to discuss the religious side of what is largely a secular holiday, before wrapping the episode up with a couple favorite stories from past Halloweens -- and our plans for this year's festivities.
We'd love to hear some of your favorite Halloween memories in comments, so please share.
Tue, 22 October 2013
Oh, hello there, you wonderful, magical being, you. What's that sour face for -- don't believe us? You are magical...and...if you have just $99.99 to spare for our 20-cassette self-help system, you'll realize your full potential! Don't buy it, and continue to be miserable: the choice is yours. Salvation is just a credit card number away...
This week, we're all about self help! Now, we should clarify that there's nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself...even pay for help if needed. It's just, if you're going to take that step, it would seem a professional therapist might be a bit better than someone making up a pile of bullshit about how quantum physics works in an effort to sell you on yet another self-help system...
We begin the episode by talking about what image comes to our minds when we mention "self help." Then, we discuss whether or not any self-help book or system has ever helped us. After that, we leap into self-help things we've been subjected to in some manner. (It's probably pretty clear at this point that we're not the biggest fans of people preying on desperate people and selling them "help" in Holiday Inns across the country. In fact, Christopher is one degree away from someone fairly well known who "helps" people, but is really just out to take people's money...so we speak from some certain experience.)
While on the subject of self help, why not talk about Scientology and other religions that are little more than a pyramid scheme? Are they really out to help people, or is it all about pushing their own agenda? On a smaller level, we ask if there are self-help gurus who actually want to help people more than they want their money. Then we ask if self-help systems have a high percentage of success, or if they are just a scheme to help those running a system make a lot of money.
Then it's time to talk about some of the more outrageous claims made in the self-help industry. You could probably call this section of the podcast, "It's no secret how Christopher and Shawn feel about The Secret!" While hammering those who know nothing about science (but use junk science to back their claims), we roll all over certain health gurus who also make ridiculous claims in their grab for cash.
But while we don't spare the majority of an industry from ridicule, we do acknowledge the marketing machines behind the self-help industry...and how they have used social media to expand their empires. After discussing how easily people are swayed by "facts" that aren't facts, we ask the biggest question of all: "Is there any value at all in the self-help industry?"
We'd love to hear what you think about self help in the comments, and...we hope this episode of Men in Gorilla Suits helps you. If nothing else, we offer it for free!
Thu, 17 October 2013
Recently, Louis C.K. was on Conan O'Brien, talking about how smart phones destroy one's empathy. We begin talking about that, asking each other if we agree with Louis C.K.'s thinking. Then it's on to the physical ways smart phones make us feel when we ask each other if we've ever felt separation anxiety when not able to use our phones.
Like it or not, the Internet (and easy access to technology) has changed the way we do so many things. We talk about why we're online and, as writers, we take a few moments to ask if online promotion has been worth it for us...or if having a "brand," "platform," whatever we're calling it this week is all hype.
Speaking of hype, a lot has been written about how always having access to information has degraded human focus. We ask if we had more focus before or after technology became such an available thing. By reading this online, it's clear that on some level, the gorilla men are okay with technology, but what technology makes us cringe? Do we feel the need to keep up with everything? Can we make it through a lunch without checking for or answering a text message -- find out!
Back to technology's physical effects...we take a few minutes to ask if checking Facebook and other things is a reflex. Do we play games on our phones, or is that the line we draw where we say, "Nope, that eats up waaaaaaaay too much time!"? Then it's on to our biggest tech weakness and a discussion if we can -- or even want to -- change it. Have we ever been so connected that technology has affected our sleep?
Thoreau had Waldon; now, simply taking a one-week social media break is cause for writing articles...we discuss taking social media breaks and ask if we could sit in a cabin all weekend without any tech. Finally, we wrap it all up by asking what is gained (and lost) by always being connected.
If you're reading this and listen to the show, you obviously have feelings about technology and the way we've all come to use it. We'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode in the comments.
Tue, 8 October 2013
Don't walk beneath that ladder, and do be careful with that mirror -- you wouldn't want to break it and find yourself dealing with 7 years of bad luck! This week, we're all about superstitions and luck!
We begin the episode asking each other if we're superstitious and what was the first superstition we remember hearing (it's probably pretty common, and we bet your mother's back was not broken by your actions on a sidewalk). Were we superstitious when we were younger? Find out! After that, we ask how our perceptions of things have changed over the years.
Then we get a little more specific: can superstition be a low-level mental illness, like a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder? Or is it just a thing people do? What influence do different cultures have on superstitions (we give examples we've seen). Then...we move on to luck!
Find out if we consider ourselves lucky people and if there are ways to avoid "bad luck." Is bad luck just a person's lot in life or can things be done to make our own luck?
We close with the silliest superstitions we've ever heard and answering this question: "Who's the most superstitious person you know?"
So avoid the black cats, pick up a penny, and listen to this week's show! (And let us know if you have any superstitions in the comments.)
Tue, 1 October 2013
We're loading this week's show (all about art) a little early. The episode begins by asking the question: what is art? Is writing, photography, film, and dance art? What about video games? (Okay, so those specifics come a little later in the episode.) After establishing what art is, we discuss our earliest memories of art, including the first great works of art we ever saw.
After that, we get into actually creating art. Does one have to be creative in order to make art? Can art be taught? What's more important: creativity or ability? Then it's back to specifics: who are some of our favorite artists? What are our favorite works of art? What's the strangest art we've ever seen?
Then we stroll through the modern art gallery of the mind, asking if modern art deserves the reputation it gets from some people -- and we ask if art critics are good or bad for art? We wrap it up chatting about what we think art will be like in 100 years.
We'd love to hear who some of your favorite artists and works of art are in the comments!
Links to some of the artists and works of art mentioned in this episode:
Thu, 26 September 2013
What compels some people to never leave their hometown, while others crave a nomadic life without a home the moment they can take off on their own? That's how this episode begins; find out where the Gorilla Men fit into that spectrum. Hometowns are common things for most of us, but some people move about or travel so much, answering "Where are you from?" is difficult. We discuss that for a bit before traveling to our next point: the benefits of travel...
Are there benefits to traveling even a little bit? How about traveling a lot? Obviously, there are -- and we discuss them...but we also discuss the drawbacks. Then we get personal as we talk about other countries we've visited and the most interesting places we've seen in our travels. Of course, as writers, we take a side trip into this question: can writers believably set stories in places they have never visited...and how writers can go about doing just that. Then we hit the road!
The Great American Road Trip: we're biased when it comes to road trips -- we love them! Christopher goes as far as making the argument that there is no shame in not having seen many different countries when there is so much to see in the states. We talk about road trips' effect on our writing and reminisce for a moment about the best road trips we've ever taken.
Then it's back to the big, wide world as we discuss our dream destinations and places we'd love to visit that would make others say, "You're crazy for wanting to go there!" Finally, we wrap it all up by discussing our favorite places to travel.
We'd love to hear your dream destinations or favorite trips in the comments!
Wed, 18 September 2013
This Just In: the apes behind Men in Gorilla Suits are talking about the news this week!
Breaking Story: Men in Gorilla Suits ask, "When did the news become interesting to you?" Then those nutty monkeys talk about whether they prefer their news televised or if they'd rather find it online. They also ponder this: "Has 24-hour cable news added to the news or damaged it?" This pundit says it's all about money and is clearly right because the Gorillamen ask what influence advertisers have on the news -- and whether it's good or bad?
"LIBERALS!!!" (Calm down, Tex!) Does the word make your flesh crawl, or are you one of them? ("Serpent!") Doesn't matter; all that does: "Is there a liberal bias in the news?" And...what effect have pundits had on "news"? Also: is news from other countries better?
These days, news travels faster than ever. In a rush to be first with a story, do news stories suffer? If so, how? Then: "Social media as news — accurate or not?"Why share actual news online when you can share...MISERY!!! Interviews with grieving families, court cases that have no real effect on your life, and sensational stories you'll forget by next week -- is that news, or just a sensational grab for ratings? (Probably pretty clear where the Gorillamen stand on this one-- watch out for their hurled poo!)
But "the news" is really an easy target. Is the news to blame for the shift it’s taken, or are we the problem?
"What's that? Some people avoid the news entirely?! HERETICS!!!" The Gorillamen talk about the movement to avoid the news. (Can you imagine that, avoiding the news? It's rumored one of the Gorillamen didn't even know about the Navy yard shooting that had the nation saying, "Oh, you wacky Mondays...does 12 dead even count as a mass shooting anymore?")
Really, it all comes down to this: does the news actually affect us, or is it presented in a manner to make us believe it does?
Is the news even important anymore?
If you don't listen, clearly...you don't want to be informed. So listen to this week's episode and express your rage, thoughts, or anything else you feel in the comments below. Because these days, the news is interactive, and even the slack-jawed knuckle draggers have a say!
(Views expressed are those of an unseen narrator and do not reflect those of Men in Gorilla Suits.
Thu, 12 September 2013
This isn't a boring history lesson, or an episode chock full o' trivial things like, "Hey, did you all know the first person to kill at the Battle of Hastings -- in 1066 -- was a juggler?" (<----- That's for real, right there! Don't mess with jugglers!) This episode is about our relationships with history. What many deem to be a boring subject really isn't when you consider how much the human mind lives in the past, whether it's a head full of nostalgia or thinking about your place in the universe...that's all history!
We begin the episode with a bit of personal history, discussing the first time we remember even thinking about the topic. Also, who (or what) got us interested in history? With that beginning, we move on to our favorite periods of American history and world history. Many "man on the street" interviews make it look like Americans know very little about history...we spend some time discussing if that's true before moving on to what history even is.
History takes hold more when it's presented as a story rather than a bunch of dates and events we must commit to memory. We talk about how this affects our perception of history, and then move on to how history is covered: is history really written by the winners, or are there places one can go to find all sides of a story? What are the best sources for understanding history -- and what are the worst? Where do we go when we're in a mood to take in some history? We close it out with the best representation of history -- and the worst -- we've seen in popular media.
If you're a history buff, we'd love to hear your thoughts about history...and if you think history is just a boring subject, we just might change your mind...
Wed, 4 September 2013
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Wed, 28 August 2013
Reality TV: people seem to love it or hate it. People also seem to forget how long it's been around...and that even its critics have probably enjoyed some kind of reality programming. This week, we're all about versions of reality on television that succeed and fail, often in very strange ways.
We start out talking about early shows we recognized as "reality" programming before talking about the opposite ends of the reality TV spectrum. Is reality TV legitimate, or is it just lazy TV? We discuss the shows that have pulled us in, and those so bad, we were almost turned off to the medium entirely. We talk about the character of reality TV -- those we've loved, and those we loathed. The part that surprised us both: does reality TV have value? The answer may make you think twice about knocking reality TV and realizing it's like anything: there's good and bad and everything in between...
We'd love to hear about which reality TV shows you've loved, and even those you've hated...
Wed, 21 August 2013
In a time when smart phones and TV screens are everywhere, it can seem so hard to focus. This week, we discuss why people seem to yearn for these kinds of distractions in their lives and what they can do to regain focus on the things that matter to them. How has technology of all sorts made it easier than ever to procrastinate? Do programs and apps meant to keep people offline and away from distractions really work? If not, what can people do to keep their priorities before them?
The more we use quick and satisfying technology like social media sites, text messages, and email, the more we physically rewire our brains to crave more instant gratification. How do we wire our brains to focus on the things that matter in our hearts more than playing rounds of Words with Friends or Candy Crush?
Some people have gone as far as saying distractions have robbed us of our culture -- we address that and how it's really all a matter of priority. After discussing distractions in the workplace, we talk about ways people can focus more. As writers, we talk about how we focus on something as big as novels in an age of distractions -- and how those tips can carry over to anything people do.
We spend a bit of time talking on the power of solitude...how being alone and free of distractions for long periods of time leads to wonderful things! After that, we ask what's more important: focus or action...before finally wrapping it all up by asking if focus, priority -- or something else entirely -- is the most important thing when it comes to getting things done?
We're almost to our 30th episode. Without focusing on priorities, we'd have never gotten this far.
Wed, 14 August 2013
There's a fire burning inside some people. We see the spark turn into a blast of heat in an instant when certain topics are brought up; just like that, the most normal person can let loose with a barrage of extreme views.
This week, we're talking about extremists: what constitutes an extremist, why people become so extreme about certain things, and...what we can do about it. Whether it's an angry group in the streets or people spewing anger on Facebook, extremism comes in many forms. There are the stereotypes: Islamic terrorists and other religious zealots hellbent of destruction and hate; eco-terrorists and racists. These are the extreme of the extreme, but everyday people are not immune to extremism.
Angry Christians and angry atheists are doing battle right now, online. Same thing with political battles and so many other topics. Ask for a long discussion about classic art online and you may not get a single reply, but type "Gun control: yes or no?" and watch the floodwaters rise. (And yep, we talk about gun control in this episode!)
We ask if there's an increase in extremism, or if it only seems that way because it's now so easy to be heard online. Are the most extreme people on different sides of an issue that different, or are they united by that fire burning deep within? We ask if there's ever a good reason for extremism and even ask ourselves if we have any extreme views. We chat about extremists many don't think to be extremists before discussing what we think is the most dangerous thing about extremism. Finally, we close it all out by asking what can be done to curb extremism.
Dare we say it -- this might be the most important episode we've ever done...
Thu, 8 August 2013
This week, it's all about movies! The first movies we remember seeing, and a bit about the people who got us into movies. There's talk about drive ins and multiplexes; the times before the rise of the blockbuster and what followed after blockbuster films became common. We discuss the difference between film and movies as well as the movies that made us both want to write screenplays one day. Are movies better or worse than they used to be? Yep, we cover that! Along the way, we talk about our favorite movie characters and the worst -- and best -- movies we've ever seen.
Quick Note: We recorded this over Skype, each running our own sound. Shawn doesn't have a buffer between his desk and recorder, so there are some bumping sounds throughout the podcast. In the spirit of this week's show, just imagine it's the footsteps of the t-rex from Jurassic Park!
Wed, 31 July 2013
Defend the wicket and pile up the Atlas stones -- this week, we're talking sports! Obviously, we're talking about some more obscure sports in that opening line (to Americans, anyway), but trust us: there's plenty of talk about football, baseball, and that other sporting event Americans clamor for: lumberjacking!
Wait -- basketball...we mean basketball. (Even though hockey's probably mentioned most...because hockey is BEST!!!)
But don't think this is a talk all about games and stats and players because...well, we probably couldn't sustain sports radio-esque chatter like that for an hour. (At least Christopher couldn't.) Instead, listen to Shawn talk about striking out at T-ball and find out what Christopher once did to get much more than a red card in a soccer game. At the same time, we chat a little bit about the sports we have actually succeeded in pulling off...sometimes to levels of actual proficiency. Shawn talks about the sport that saw many broken bones for him, while Christopher talks about the sport in which he's "pretty fast, for a big guy..."
Sure, we talk about athletes and teams that have impressed us, but we also talk about some weird sports -- and things some argue are sports at all. We wrap it up talking about how sports geeks aren't much different than geek geeks; in fact, Christopher makes the argument that anyone playing in a fantasy league of some sort just might be more of a geek than someone playing Dungeons and Dragons.
It's more fun than SlamBall...and SlamBall's pretty fun, right?
Wed, 24 July 2013
Now we are 25! If episodes were years and the podcast were a person, we'd finally be getting lower auto insurance rates. We'd have enough years of adulthood beneath us to have the confidence to do bigger things. We might still get goofy on the weekends, but we'd have a better idea of what we wanted out of life. While the podcast isn't a person, it's a good analogy: we have enough experience working together to now look forward and know what we want out of the show. We'll always be goofy, but we're more confident and ready to focus on more than simply producing weekly episodes. We know we can do that -- now it's time to make things even better!
The episode isn't quite like a "looking back" episode of a sitcom, but it's all about the show: our favorite episodes and our favorite things about doing a weekly show. Our least favorite things about Men in Gorilla Suits. Things we'd change, and things we're proud of. The prevailing sentiment of this episode is just doing the things you want to do! So many times, we talk ourselves out of the things that stick around in our heads and later regret never doing them. In its own way, this episode has some inspirational moments. Along the way, we talk about our process for producing shows and how we decided who does what. (Hint: we let it all happen naturally -- we have never so much as had even a short meeting about the show.) We talk about all our mistakes and successes. In the end, this episode is a celebration of friendship and the benefits of making something on a regular basis.
So...Thank you to everybody who's listened to the first 25 episodes. We'd love to hear your hopes for the next 25 in the comments!
Thu, 18 July 2013
Break out the knives and get that fire and oven going--this week, we're all about cooking! We begin by talking about our first memories of food and move on to whether or not cooking was an important thing in our households growing up. (Spoiler: it was!) We talk about family recipes passed down through generations, and then talk about the first thing we learned how to cook. But this episode isn't all about the past--we talk about what we like to cook now and who does the cooking in our households these days. Then we get a little philosophical, asking if different kinds of foods can bring people together and give us a better understanding of the world. (Spoiler: we think so!)
In the middle of it all, we talk about restaurants: restaurants we've worked in, our favorite restaurants, and suggestions for some good places to eat if you ever find yourself in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. While singing the praises of restaurants, we'd be remiss to not mention our favorite guilty pleasures when it comes to going out and grabbing a bite to eat. Some of our heroes worked in restaurants...we talk about celebrity chefs before moving on to the effect they had on our cooking. And that's not all that affected our cooking--we talk about television and the Internet's effect on what we like to cook.
In the final stretch, we talk about our favorite late-night snacks, and devote some time to the best things we cook. There's a little bit about the last truly wonderful thing we've each eaten, and we wrap up the episode on imaginary death row, talking about what we would have as last meals.
It's a fun episode, all about one of our favorite things: cooking and eating!
Wed, 10 July 2013
Number one reason you want to listen to this week's podcast? Christopher figures out how much he'd have to weigh to have Godzilla's body mass index (BMI). From there, we talk about how food and shopping has changed and ask if it's possible to eat healthy on a budget any more. Is health what we see in magazines, or is it possible to be small and strong? Really, what is healthy? What can we learn about health from other countries?
From there, a bit about whether or not there's a conscious effort to keep people unhealthy for profit. (Can that even be something done by design?) Are bad health habits really that bad, or can what some deem as unhealthy actually be healthy? Holistic health management: bunch of BS or is there something to it? And finally, as a society with a large percentage of people who work while sitting, what are some of the best things a desk-bound jockey can do for better health?
If you've been listening and enjoy the podcast, consider going to iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find the show an leave a rating or review. We're two episodes away from #25! Thanks to everybody who's been listening!
Thu, 4 July 2013
This week, we're all about failure! We kick off talking about our first failures in life and move on to how some people take failure so personally that they become terrified to try anything. (That's called failing at life!) We devote a bit of time to self sabotage as a ridiculous form of "defense" from the possibility of failure and why some people deal with failure better than others. For those who have a tough time with failing, we talk about how failure can lead to better things and offer some ways to not be so afraid of failing at something. What differentiates those who give up easily and those who stick with things? We talk about that...as well as devoting some time to if there are times one should give up on something. Along the way, we talk about The Cult of Fail: people who seem almost excited to get out and fail...and how that's good and bad. We close out the show by discussing our funniest failures because we believe it's important to be reminded that it's important to see humor in failure.
Fri, 28 June 2013
This week's show is all about criticism. While it leans heavily toward writing criticism, we do talk about general criticism and criticism as it pertains to the arts and jobs in general. So here we go:
We begin with an important question: is criticism even helpful for writers and artists, or is it counterproductive to creating "pure" art? Along the way, we discuss how to offer criticism and take criticism that comes your way. We share some personal stories about criticism: the best and worst criticism we've received as well as some other tales of being criticized. With anyone with an Internet connection able to review someone's work online, the review has become a type of criticism. We discuss ways writers and artists can use reviews to see how people feel about what they are doing and maybe even improve their work. We close by looping back to the beginning and asking if criticism is a necessary component of art, or if great work can be created with no outside influence.
Wed, 19 June 2013
This week, we're talking about influences. Find out our earliest influences--and what/who later influenced us to write. Discover our strangest influences, and what influences changed as we got older. We take a detour and discuss creating under the influence of alcohol and drugs. It's easy to think about people and things that influence us, but we take time out to acknowledge that we all have the ability to influence others. Christopher shares a great story about somebody he influenced without ever knowing. And because not all influences are good, we talk about negative influences. Finally, we wrap up with our most recent influences.
As always, we'd love to know what has influenced you over the years; leave a comment and we'll reply!
Wed, 12 June 2013
You probably didn't know this, but Shawn was once a reserve "mathlete" as well as a benchwarmer for his school's classical music team. (Those nutty Germans!) Christopher was good friends with the first kid on the block with an Apple II in his house. But that's all in the past...
This week we're talking about...THE FUTURE!!! More specifically, we're talking about fiction's importance on the future. From cyberpunk to warp drives (even penises drawn on the surface of Mars), we have it covered. Along the way, we discuss stories that got the future right -- and those that got it very wrong (including the movie that made Shawn almost fashion a noose from Red Vines and hang himself in the theater.)
While much of this episode is about the future as it pertains to science fiction, we also talk about predictions we got right, and what we think will happen to the world in the next 10 and 20 years. (Clearly, we are seers!) Also, our hopes for the future of fiction and for the real world of tomorrow.
We'd love to hear what you think will happen in the next 20 years; feel free to tell us in the comments. (We expect CMStewart to put us to shame!)
Wed, 5 June 2013
This week, it's all about fear! Find out what things from childhood still creep us out--and what our greatest fears are today. Listen to us talk about how we've overcome many of the fears we've faced. Learn about how anger and fear are related. We all have a phobia or two, but what happens when we give into irrational fears? We talk about how statistically, most of us are safer than ever, and yet many people we talk to have never seemed more afraid. Many of these people watch a lot of "news." We discuss how the media, in a race for ratings, benefits when it can play to our fears and keep us on edge.
Fear isn't just about things that go bump in the night--the stresses of working in a time when layoffs are not uncommon leads to fear at work. We talk about how to break those fears, and most other fears you have (including how to use fear to overcome fear). Finally, sometimes we love being scared. We close this episode talking about why some scary things bother us, but yet we gravitate toward amusement parks, scary movies, and haunted houses.
Beta listeners have said this is one of their favorite episodes, and we won't argue with them. We haven't had this much fun doing the podcast...
Wed, 29 May 2013
Ah, microfiche! We friggin' LOVE microfiche, even today (especially today)! Libraries? Wonderful things -- perfect places for...research! This week, we're talking all about research: online, in libraries, and research obtained simply by living a cool life! More specifically, we're discussing writing research.
Does every story need to be researched? Shawn spins the adage, "Write what you know," on its head, making much better sense of the saying. Christopher gives in and is forced to admit that he researches much more than he thought he did. Along the way, Shawn mentions why cramming 10 pounds of poo into a 5-pound bag is not a good writing move, and Chris sings praises to Jim Lynch. We also discuss some of our specific research methods (Christopher: "ALL HAIL EVERNOTE!!!"), and it's revealed how Shawn's 47 Echo series is really all about tap dancing mimes!
Whether you research for writing, school, hobbies, or other reasons, we hope this episode has something that can help you.
Wed, 22 May 2013
Ah, to live the life as a National Hockey League rover, or to entertain the cigar-rolling masses as a lector. To pump gas or serve as the director of photography on pornographic movies. To open your own Blockbuster Video store franchise or manufacture cassette tapes. These are jobs...some totally obsolete, some on their way out...
This week, it's all about jobs that no longer exist: some long gone, and some we've seen die in our own time. We talk about jobs that are fading, many jobs shoved into one catch-all job, and even discuss why outsourcing may not be the evil many believe it to be. (We might not be in the majority on this one.) We discuss how the "Good ol' days," were only good for some, and why our jobs these days is to simply figure things out. Of course, Shawn works Star Trek into the discussion, and Christopher entertains what a future in which computers write novels might be like. (Smash Gerbils reference goes to Deacon McClendon.)
We wrap it up by discussing how the Internet and nostalgia have brought some obsolete or dying jobs back -- kind of a grudging praise for...the Hipster! Also, wanna be a blacksmith? It's still a better option than many jobs that are on the way out! Don't believe us? Then give this episode a listen!
Note: This episode was recorded under the influence of copious amounts of caffeine (Shawn) and a couple Martinis (Chris). It's a bit frantic and wacky, and that, dear listeners = fun!
Wed, 15 May 2013
This week we're talking about characterization -- in particular, characterization in fiction. While the episode skews a bit toward writing, what makes a good character should interest everybody. We talk about some of our favorite characters, characters that don't work so well for us, and how we go about tackling strong characters in our own writing. No matter how grounded or out there a story is, chances are, one of the things that keeps you coming back to certain stories are the characters. Find out why some characters have such a strong appeal in this episode.
Wed, 8 May 2013
This week, it's all about those little things that get under our skin: pet peeves! What's the difference between a pet peeve and a complaint? We talk about that as well as how so many people inflate pet peeves into bigger issues. Is social media part of the problem, or does it all depend on how we use things? When is a pet peeve a sign of a bigger problem, and how can pet peeves actually be good? We talk about that as well as revealing our own pet peeves. Somewhere along the way, Shawn talks about eating chalk. Seriously. That part alone is worth the listen, but even beta listeners admit -- from start to finish -- this is one of the best episodes of Men in Gorilla Suits to date!
Feel free to share your pet peeves in the comments, or leave a rating or review on iTunes if you like this.
Wed, 1 May 2013
If you think you don't have time to listen to this episode of Men in Gorilla Suits...you probably need to listen to this episode of Men in Gorilla Suits. This week it's all about time management!
We'll tell you how to find the right time management system...for you! We discuss how having a day job can help you find time for your creative endeavors, and we praise the smart phone as a time management tool. (But probably not in the ways many "time management gurus" would tell us to use our phones.) We chat about time management tools and systems -- including how some can take up more time than they may be worth for your needs. We share ways to identify bad uses of time, and how sometimes you just gotta suck it up and not do the things you want to do because other things take priority in your life for awhile. Hell, we even discuss the importance of allowing yourself to occasionally give in to being lazy (i.e. the Netflix Marathon).
Christopher shares the big time management tip that helped him tame his to-do list, and Shawn's big tip for time management feeds itself each time he's busy. There's even a little Zen moment when we discuss if we're like concrete or water in the way we create. Also: is waiting for "The Muse" a good idea, or is she a massive time management killer? (Spoiler: she's really a succubus out to drain you of time you should just be creating!) Finally, we talk about the difference between multitasking (ick; you can't do it, even if you think you can!) and task stacking (Hooray for task stacking!!!).
We know it's asking a lot for an hour of your time, but that's the length of a commute for most of us. We hope that by the end of this episode, you'll get that hour back...and then some...
Wed, 24 April 2013
Last week we talked about the independent pursuit of creative endeavors. Before you can get there, though, you have to make something -- and that usually means dealing with some level of creativity.
For many, creativity is an ominous thing, the fickle Muse that may or may not show up and shower you with inspiration. We're here to tell you that the Muse is BS and that creativity, like anything, can be attained by simply working hard. Some highlights from this week's show:
It's our hope that anyone doubting they have some creative ability in themselves will see that's not the case by this episode's end. As long as you're willing to work hard, it's amazing what's possible.
Wed, 17 April 2013
This week, we talk about the benefits and pitfalls of independent pursuits and the benefits and pitfalls of going the traditional route. Some sides are all or nothing: extolling independence over all, or shunning anything remotely done completely on one's own. With recent leaps in technology, though, the lines are blurred -- even people who have spent decades going the traditional route with the things that matter to them are finding success blending working with established companies and doing it themselves. In many ways, there's never been a better time to do your own thing, even though it might be harder to be seen in the crowd.
We'd love to hear about (or see) the stuff you make -- feel free to share stories and links in the comments.
Wed, 10 April 2013
This week's podcast is all about the creative power that comes with being positive...and negative. This episode is about much more than just attitude's effect on productivity, though. We talk about the power of apathy as it can relate to happiness (or at least reducing stress from one's life). There's a bit about Pollyannas vs. Doomsayers, and how being extremely positive isn't always a good thing. We ask if one's attitude really is as simple as making a decision to be a certain way; also, how people use social media as a platform for their moods. Finally, the episode wraps up with a simple conclusion about life.
Disclaimer: We make a very clear distinction between negativity and depression in this episode. We know that negativity and depression are not synonymous, even though they sometimes move in each others' shadows. When we speak of negativity in this episode, we are talking about learned behavior or making a choice to be a certain way -- not the clinical reasons for some people's moods beyond their control. At various points in our lives, we have both struggled with depression. At various points in our lives, we were simply negative. We know the difference and do our best to make that distinction in this episode.
Wed, 3 April 2013
This week, it's all about hobbies! Are they inherent things we're coded to do, or something that came about in more recent times? We discuss how people look at hobbies at different times in life, and how they can enrich all we do. We also talk about the downside of hobbies: when we become too involved in them or try making them a career and see that we sometimes lose the joy when a hobby becomes a job. Shawn and Christopher share their childhood hobbies, current hobbies, and talk about what hobbies they may find themselves doing in the future.
We want to know what hobbies you love -- please take a moment and tell us in comments.
Wed, 27 March 2013
We've established that Shawn went to school wearing a Star Trek costume. "No problem," you say, thinking he may have worn it on Halloween. But he just wore it on a normal school day because...why not? We've also established that Christopher did everything in his power to use the Force to convince the world to call him Luke. It was a Jedi mind trick that didn't work.
These stories establish an early stroll into becoming fans of properties, which is what we're talking about today. This week, it's all about fandom!
We're not talking about past attempts at living a geeky dream (well, not entirely); we're talking about all kinds of fandom and how it's either all silly or all okay. We make the argument that the guy in the Klingon costume is no more odd than the guy wearing his favorite sports team's jersey. We talk a little bit about Rocketeer wannabe, Curtis Hart. (You may remember Curtis from an earlier entry.) All kinds of fans -- whether deemed normal or labeled extremely weird -- are the subject. About the only thing we don't get into is what's better: Star Trek or Star Wars.
We know better than that!
Warning: For those who listen to the podcast while driving...there's a section in the podcast (when we talk about Jodi Foster) that gets very loud, very fast. It's an accident Shawn had -- not a wreck or something about to hit you in traffic!
Thu, 21 March 2013
This week, it's a full-blown episode all about writing; specifically, all about world building. What is world building? Simple: it's a writer taking time to craft believable settings for their stories, even if their stories are set in places that don't even exist. But it's more than just creating a world -- it's the rules of that world and how everything affects the characters. Along the way, we talk about what ails literary fiction, Star Trek, Barry Eisler's mistakes, and plenty of talk about the power of Dungeons and Dragons. It only took seven episodes to get two writers to actually spend an hour talking about writing! Thanks for listening.
Wed, 13 March 2013
In last week's podcast, we ended up chatting quite a bit about copyright. Somewhere along the way, we mentioned it would be a good topic for a future episode.
The future is now!
This week, it's all about copyright, trademarks, and patents. Do they help the little guy as intended, or have they now become a method of coercion used by large corporations? In a world where rulings against people downloading a handful of music files illegally amount to greater penalties than a negligent doctor killing a family member, it definitely seems like corporations have the upper hand. But is that truly the case? What would a world without copyright, trademarks, or patents look like? And how do Creative Commons licenses factor into all this? Oh yeah, and we talk about piracy. Quite a bit.
It's a controversial topic, and we look forward to hearing what you think in the comments!
Note: Yes, Christopher knows he calls Disney's Steamboat Willie "Boxcar Willie." Twice! That's because he's never more than 7 minutes away from having hobos on his mind...
Wed, 6 March 2013
Remember when there were only three TV networks (no cable) and not as many spots on the radio as there are now? Remember when bookstores were smaller, and underground bands were truly underground? All that changed with the Internet.
Today we're talking about the democratization of content. What does that mean? Well...this podcast is all about the good, the bad, and many things in between that come with being able to do it yourself in ways we never dreamed of when Evel Knieval was falling into the Snake River and one of the bigger local syndicated TV shows was in the hands of a clown named Bozo!
The gatekeepers are gone; today -- whether what you do is great or...not so great -- you can get it out there and at least have a shot. And it's not just traditional entertainment that's available. Wanna see a group of guys make a living making 20,000+ calorie gut-busting culinary nightmares? It's out there right alongside the angry guy who sits at his dining room table in the dark unboxing electronics and talking about them. There are also people making their own entertainment empires with reasonably-priced gear many of us can afford.
So have a seat and listen to two people who never dreamed of a day like this talk about the ups and downs of a world where everybody has a shot -- and not even Jamie Farr's Gong Show mallet can stop the madness!
A quick note: This episode is an hour and a half long. Yep, it ran much longer than intended. We considered breaking it up into two podcasts but figured, "Just run with it." And in a way, that's the very thing we're talking about. There is still so much content forced into an allotted time or space, but now there are options to occasionally run longer than normal if necessary. We promise not to make long shows a habit.
A quick note...Part II: Check back tomorrow for a big list of links to many of the things discussed during this episode...and maybe even a bit more!
Wed, 27 February 2013
This week, we engage with our synergistic dynamic by eating our own dogfood in the audio-podding arena to leverage some low-hanging fruit in order to fashion a new paradigm to bring convergence to multi-platform ideas and solution all that ails corporate speak. In simpler terms: we're talking about clear communication and the abuse of buzzwords. Along the way, we talk quite a bit about office attitudes in general -- going as far as revealing secrets that might allow you to work less, but appear to be doing more. But this episode is mostly about the way people talk -- and why we'd do well to consider direct communication, instead of talking above the bar in an effort to further our brand-attitude as an outlying linguistic ninja thinking outside the box where the rubber meets the road, but really...just not caring about the message.
Thu, 21 February 2013
This week, we're all about conspiracy theories. Or...are we?!
Why did we choose conspiracy theories for episode #3? Because aliens.
Okay, enough of that...
Join us as we talk about the strange things people believe and how we all have a little conspiracy theorist in us. Listen to Christopher talk about the time he picked up Nano-Jesus in a parking lot and attempted to drive him to his ultimate destiny in North Texas. Shawn talks about his strange trip to Area 51...well, as close as one can get to Area 51 without bad things happening. We also talk about living in Dallas, where people still debate about who really killed Kennedy. Somewhere along the way, we even talk about how beneficial conspiracy theories can be to one's writing. It's the podcast the government doesn't want you to hear! (Not really, but that sounds better than, "It's an hour of conspiracy madness!")
Thu, 14 February 2013
First, thank you to everybody who listened to the first episode of Men in Gorilla Suits last week! Really loved the comments, too. There's always time to comment on last week's episode before commenting on this week's.
Speaking of this week...today we're talking about building one's own reality. No, not like Dr. Manhattan in the Watchman -- this week it's all about creating spaces that suit your personality and finding spaces while out and about where you can do your own thing. And realities aren't just physical space anymore; we now have the ability to create virtual realities -- we talk about that for a bit...as well as talk about how people create realities with role playing games and video games. All that's rounded out with talk about fitness hacks, meditation, and lucid dreaming. There's really no excuse to not have fun with the real world!
Hope you enjoy this week's chat and let us know in comments. Come back next week when it's all about...Conspiracy Theories!
Thu, 7 February 2013
Learn the secret origins of hosts Shawn Kupfer and Christopher Gronlund...when the geek bug bit and what was to blame for the lifetime of geekery that followed. Find out what Shawn almost did in a space suit and what name Christopher insisted even teachers call him after he saw <em>Star Wars</em>. But it's not all about us -- it's as much a discussion about how it's become acceptable for adults to embrace their inner nerd as it is about the nerdy things that have become life-long obsessions for so many.