Men in Gorilla Suits
Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 100: Last Seen…Turning 100!

It's funny how a little thing can begin. We're just two tech writers who, after completing a day job project that ended in sending one of us to a new job and the other caught in the layoffs, said "Wouldn't it be cool to do a podcast together?"

For so many people, ideas go no further than that: the talking stage. We know people who have talked about podcasting for years...we know people who have talked about wanting to write (or do other things even longer), who never reach the day where they say:

Enough talk -- we gonna do this thing or not?!

In our case, we did it...podcasting not even half a year after a job went belly-up and we settled into new jobs long enough to say, "We're in the swing of the new gigs, so...let's do this!"

One hundred episodes later, here we are! If you listen to us, you know we're some of the last people to boast about an accomplishment, but seeing other podcasts start up and die (and start up again and die again) in the time we've been doing Men in Gorilla Suits, we hope that what we've done -- if nothing else -- inspires others to do what they want no matter the results.

We know results matter to many. We see podcasts start and relaunch under different names (doing the same thing, over and over), until they get the numbers they crave.

This is not to say we will see a day when we have millions of Men in Gorilla Suits followers, but...it's to say that when we say "This matters to us," we're not giving lip service as we wait for huge numbers to roll in. Our best month saw a little over 500 downloads. Our worst month: 143. To put that in perspective, Christopher's fiction podcast once saw over 13,000 downloads in a month, and typically sees around 2,500 - 3,000 a month, but...that is a done deal and does nothing for Christopher. Men in Gorilla Suits has rewired the brain of a dyslexic, enabling Christopher to speak much better than any time in his life. While many would bail on the numbers we get (and probably not be as honest as we are about numbers), we do this because we love doing it. And, fortunately, a few big handfuls of people love this, too.

We can't thank those people enough...

So here we are, 100 episodes into Men in Gorilla Suits. Doing our thing for no other reason than it's what we like doing. Before barreling into the next 100 episodes, we decided to dedicate an episode to talking about what the first 100 episodes have given us...

We begin the 100th episode of Men in Gorilla Suits talking about if we thought we'd even get to episode 100. After that, we discuss if any episodes changed our minds about beliefs we've held dear to us...and what's surprised us most about the podcast.

There are so many podcasts out there. We dedicate some time to talking about what makes Men in Gorilla Suits unique, and what we've hoped would happen with the podcast that has not yet happened.

We create every episode from scratch. In creating a show totally from nothing, we sometimes roll show ideas around for quite some time. Find out what topic we've not been able to tackle yet -- and then find out our favorite episodes...and why they are our faves.

We've joked about the podcast going on until one of us finally dies. Were such a tragic thing to happen, what would the survivor do with the show? Also, find out if there's anything we'd do differently if we could go back and start over, knowing what we now know.

We've created enough content that you'd have to spend almost 5 days straight to listen to what we've done. It's easy to sometimes forget what we've talked about until looking back at our list of shows. We talk about episodes we've forgotten we've done before discussing what we hope for in the next 100 episodes of the show.

We're coming up on doing this for two years without ever missing a week. We close the 100th episode of Men in Gorilla Suits out by talking about the most interesting developments in our lives since we started doing the podcast.

* * *

Whether you've listened to every episode we've done, just a handful, or maybe none at all but said, "It's cool you guys do that regularly," thanks for your support. We'd do this if we were the only two listeners, but knowing there are at least some people out there listening regularly means a lot to us. So...thanks for that!

Direct download: migs100.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:55am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 99: Last Seen…Telling Stories

Once upon a time, there were two guys who worked for a massive bank. These two guys wrote mortgage procedures -- because they found the world of tech writing that exciting. They had an idea -- they both found themselves saying:

We should do a podcast together!

And so, after completing a project to keep Uncle Sam from fining the ever-living-hell out of the big bank for not having certain procedures in place -- and after the layoffs arrived -- these two recorded their first podcast. And now, just one week away from episode 100, they have recorded this episode...one all about one of their favorite things: storytelling!

* * *

We begin this episode with a trip to the past, recalling the first stories we ever remember hearing. From there, we move on to talking about the first stories we remember making up and writing.

We'd argue that stories are vital to being human. We discuss why people feel such a drive to tell stories...and then we talk about whether we prefer stories told to us by others in person...or crafted stories meant to entertain or enlighten.

Stories are so common that many of us don't even stop to think about them. We share some of the benefits storytelling has on society before talking about some of our all-time favorite stories. After that, we talk about whether or not some stories inherently have more merit vs. other kinds of stories (e.g. literary fiction over genre fiction).

Want to know our feelings about jokes? If you listened to the Comedy episode you probably already know, but if not -- we dedicate some time to something many people live for [that Christopher generally cannot stand!]

We've talked about advertising before. (An episode in which Shawn found himself hanging out with Molly Hatchet.) Marketers love to "tell stories." Find out our thoughts on that. (And take a look at this video by Stefan Sagmeister.)

You are not a storyteller - Stefan Sagmeister @ FITC from FITC on Vimeo.

We imagine a world without any stories before discussing what stories we're currently working on...and why they are the stories we're working on, instead of any others.

We close out the episode as we always do: looking toward the future. This time, we talk about what the future has in store for stories.

Have a favorite story you'd like to share, or maybe some thoughts about anything from this episode? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Direct download: migs99.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:12am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 98: Last Seen…Crunching Data

What do books, brains, and the Internet have in common? They're full of all kinds of data.

We are so surrounded with information that data often doesn't even register with us as anything special. Data has become ordinary, something we become linked to more and more each day. Technology has even allowed us to wear items that track data about how much we move, where we've been...so many things. Hell, this podcast is full of data. Granted, it's usually talking points about Star Trek and many other things, but when you stop and think about data, it's hard not to be amazed by the time in which we live.

Obviously, this week, we're talking all about data.

We begin with the first time we were aware of the massive amount of information out there -- when we realized there was more data out there than we could possibly know. After that, we talk about right now -- how all this data affects us as a species. Are we better off...or worse? We also discuss the first time we experienced data overload.

What humans do with data is always interesting. We talk about whether or not we make more decisions based on data or on feeling...before asking if, given enough data, if it's possible to predict future events.

We provide a lot of data to social networks. If someone were to die suddenly, how feasible would it be to make an accurate facsimile of that person in virtual space, using only data collected from the Internet? We give that thought some time before moving on to how concerned we are by how much data is collected about us on a daily basis -- and how much personal data about us is online.

It's no secret that personal data is big business. Marketers salivate for data. We talk about some of the slimiest uses of personal data we've seen and whether or not we'll reach a point where too much data about us will be out there.

We end the episode discussing the future of data and how it will be used.

As always, feel free to provide data about this episode in the comments below!

Direct download: migs98.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:35am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 97: Last Seen…Being Rednecks

"Yeeeeeeeee Haaaaaawwwwww!!!"

"I'm just not comfortable around people who aren't like me..."

"Hold my beer and watch this..."

Three statements many would attribute to rednecks...but are they entirely true? That's what we're talking about this week on Men in Gorilla Suits.

We begin by talking about the first redneck we ever knew. Recently on the show, we talked about stereotypes. After our first redneck encounter, we discuss whether or not rednecks live up to all the stereotypes.

After that, we talk about what we admire the most (and least) about rednecks, before moving on to  whether or not rednecks are inherently neo-conservatives hellbent on talking about their beliefs at every turn.

Find out if we've ever considered ourselves rednecks. (Hint: Christopher has been noodling.) One doesn't have to be a redneck to have appreciated fine, redneck culture like tractor pulls, dirt track racing, or blowing shit up with dynamite. Find out what rednecky things we've been part of.

Rednecks and pop culture go together like Jack Daniels and pork rinds. Find out our favorite redneck depictions in pop culture before we talk about our all-time favorite redneck(s). And jumping back to pop culture, we share what we each deem to be the ultimate redneck tune -- and then jump to our all-time favorite stories about rednecks.

We close out the episode asking if other countries have rednecks and what the future for rednecks in America looks like.

As always, you're more than welcome to chime in about anything related to this topic in the comments below.

Direct download: migs97.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:27am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 96: Last Seen…Driving Cars

Christopher's first novel is about a car. Shawn's series of novels, while not containing traditional cars, feature all kinds of cool vehicles. We're not the only authors who feature vehicles in our stories. The automobile created the American landscape. Nations grew up and together because of cars. We're amazed it took us 96 episodes to finally dedicate an entire episode to cars.

 VROOOM VROOOOOOOM!!!

We begin with the first cars we remember...and then talk about our first cars. Being geeks, we know too much about cars in pop culture -- so we talk about our favorite vehicles in movies, books, and television.

Cars turn heads: find out what cars we would have if we could have any cars we wanted.

When we record episodes of Men in Gorilla Suits, one of us drives to the other's place...in a car! Find out what cars we drive -- and if we like them.

We all have memories of events happening in cars. We dedicate some time to our favorite car memories before talking about the one car we've absolutely hated!

Car people are a different breed. Find out if we get along with them or if we find them a bit too odd.

We both love the Simpsons episode where Homer gets to design the car of his dreams. Find out what features we would add to cars that are currently unavailable.

It's easy to take cars for granted; we talk a bit about what society would be like without them. After that, we discuss self-driving cars and if we lose something as a society when self-driving cars become the norm.

We wrap it all up, as always, looking to the future with our predictions of what is in store for our beloved vehicles down the road. (Get it, down the road?! We crack ourselves up! (Right now, Shawn is shaking his head and saying, "I had nothing to do with that pun -- that was all Christopher!"))

What was your first car? Have a favorite car story or want to chime in on any of this week's points -- have at it in the comments below!

Direct download: migs96.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:52pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 95: Last Seen…Surviving Apocalypses

That's great it starts with an earthquake, zombies, nukes, and climate change -- and meteor strikes make some afraid...

FOOM!!!

In honor of Thanksgiving in the states, we're talking about the end of the world (as we know it). Hell, some people may rather face the end times than tip toe around the rantings of racist uncles and doting parents asking when you're finally going to settle down and get married as you gather with family. Dogs (and people) will eat themselves ill, and when the evening is done, carcasses will be strewn about tabletops. Cranberry sauce will make it look like plates were used in a cannibal feast. And you? You'll find yourself in the front room, away from the piles of gurgling bodies in the den, Tweeting to anyone who will listen in the hope of some sign of life you can commune with.

Putting it that way, Thanksgiving is not entirely unlike the apocalypse. But we're not talking about dysfunctional families this week...we're talking serious end times!

We begin this episode talking about the first time we became aware of an end-of-the world scenario...and if there was ever a time we believed the world was going to end (and why).

Tales of the end come in all varieties...and some of those tales are pretty strange. We take time to discuss the craziest end-times scenario before leaping to the coolest eschatological myth. (Eschatological myth = religious end-of-the-world story. Don't feel bad if you don't know that...Christopher had to look it up, and he's fairly bright.)

Some are so convinced the world is close to collapsing in on itself that there are industries built around these people. It's even entertaining, reflected in shows like Doomsday Preppers. We talk about why we think doomsday prepping is such a big thing right now and then discuss how we'd survive the collapse of nations.

There are always survivors in stories and myths (and even theories) about the world ending. Find out which fictional post-apocalyptic tales are our favorites...as well as the best post-apocalyptic story we've read or watched lately. (And Christopher leaps in with a recent post-apocalyptic tale that fell flat in his eyes.) While on the subject of post-apocalyptic stories, we also talk about our all-time faves.

Rounding out this episode, we get back to reality, discussing whether or not we believe we are heading for the end of the world. And the last thing we talked about before a zombie-encrusted meteor slammed into Earth is how we think the world will end.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about any of this week's talking points...or anything else you want to talk about. (In honor of the day, feel free to even share a favorite Thanksgiving recipe! By the time you listen to this, Shawn might be packed full of turkey, while Christopher will be packed full of veggie Thanksgiving eats!)

Direct download: migs95.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 12:27am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 94: Last Seen…Organizing

We know some very organized podcasters, people who have almost completely automated their workflows. They have synced calendars and can tell you what they will be doing in 7 months. These are podcasters who have studios where everything is in its right place, and often -- when you look at other aspects of their lives -- things are equally regimented.

We are not those podcasters, but this week...we are talking about organization.

We begin this episode by discussing how organized we consider ourselves overall. Next, we talk about how we keep all our writing organized.

By this point in the episode, it will probably be clear that we are organized enough...or at least have methods that work for us. We know people more organized than us...and and we devote some time to talking about the most organized people we know before moving on to how important organization is to our everyday lives.

This episode came to be on a day Christopher did some organizing in his office. We talk about how often we purge old things and do a massive organizing spree...and whether or not we find it difficult to get rid of old things. Also, we share tactics for what stays and what goes when we decide to go through old things.

It is now possibly to store so much more digitally than we can physically. Find out how we keep our digital lives organized, and see if affordable digital storage means we have less clutter in life overall.

Whether it's at work or home, chances are we've all met people with very different methods of organizing things. We talk about how we deal with those people and then ask if a person can be too organized.

We wrap up this week's episode with this question: Is there organization in chaos?

We'd love to hear what methods for keeping things in order you use, or any other tales of organization (or chaos) you feel like sharing in the comments below.

Direct download: migs94.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:30am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 93: Last Seen…Stereotyping

A guy in a pickup truck drove up to Christopher and a couple friends at their high school in the 80s. This is what he said:

Y'all got any blacks on your football team?

Everyone shook their head.

Then how can your team be any good?

Everyone was stunned by the stereotype, and the guy drove off.

Whether it's a drunken Irishman, a pasta-slinging Italian, or a cartoonish Native American mascot, stereotypes continue to live on. And that's what we're talking about this week.

We kick off the episode with the first stereotypes we ever remember hearing. From there, we jump to the most damaging stereotypes we've ever heard, before talking about if we've ever heard a stereotype that was proven right.

Next, we talk about where stereotypes come from, and why many have a need or compulsion to stereotype certain people. We also spend a couple minutes discussing if we've ever found stereotypes to be useful, and then pick a few groups we could be safely classified into and talk about how well we conform to the stereotypes of those groups.

Find out what the oddest stereotypes we've ever heard are -- and if there was any merit to them.

In the final stretch of this week's episode, we talk about how damaging stereotypes are...and why they continue to endure. Then we finish by talking about if we consider ourselves stereotypical in any way.

We'd love to hear your tales of stereotypes: the strangest stereotypes you've heard, whether you've found certain stereotypes to be true...anything you want to discuss down below in the comments.

Direct download: migs_93.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:07pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 92: Last Seen…Talking about Death

Guess what? One day, you will die.

Shawn will die; Christopher will die.

Everybody dies.

It's such a cheery little topic, we decided to talk about death this week!

We begin by talking about our earliest memories that life one day ends -- and what caused that realization for us. Then we jump to discussing if we've ever been present when somebody has dies...and how it affected us.

Death can come slowly or instantly, and the way it hits people can vary. We dedicate some time to that before moving on to a short question: are you afraid to die?

Next, we take on the roll of a psychic and predict the ways we think we will die. Keeping the snowball of happiness rolling, we ask each other if we've ever thought about taking our own lives and...if we could find out when and how we will die, would we want to know?

As serious as death is, sometimes the way people die is strange...even funny. We talk about some of the stranger and humorous ways we've heard about people dying and then talk about movies.

Death is often the focal point of stories because we've all experienced someone dying. We talk about the best movies deaths we've seen. (We'd love to hear your answers in the comments below.)

There are usually rituals after someone's passing. We ask each other if there's a proper way to mourn one's death, and then talk about what we believe happens to us after we die.

We close out this week's episode by talking about what we would do differently with our lives if we found out we only had a year to live.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about death and this episode in the comments.

* * *

 Well, with that death talk out of the way, something more lighthearted...

This episode is a Skype episode because...Shawn is in London.

Why is Shawn in London?

Look at the photo below...

Shawn Being Knighted by the Queen
"Photoshop? Sir Kupfer has never heard of Photoshop..."

Cheers!

Direct download: migs92.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 7:11pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 91: Last Seen...Talking about Robots

Were it up to Christopher, this episode would be titled "ALL HAIL, BENDER, SUPREME ROBOT OF ALL ROBOTS!!!" but Shawn wouldn't go for that. So instead, this week...we'll talk about more robots than just Bender.

(Shawn can bite Christopher's shiny metal ass!!!)

We begin this episode talking about the first time we can remember seeing a robot -- fictional or otherwise. Then it's on to, "What's the first thing that pops into you head when you think 'robot?'"

But robots are much more than vehicles for stories. We discuss the best real-world robots...and the worst!

But face it: when people think robots, they think about the future. So we would be bad meatbags if we didn't devote some time to how we'd love to see robots used in the future.

But robots aren't always cool. We talk about the most upsetting development in robotics -- real or fictional...and then we discuss the best robot in the realm of fiction.

("ALL HAIL BENDER!!!")

Oh yeah...and the crappiest robot in fiction or the real world. Poor sad, stupid robots we don't like...

(Yes, there was something in the 80s far worse than Alf!)

The future is always a moment away, so we take some time to talk about what uses for robots in the future make us a bit uneasy...and then we talk about if we think we'll see sentient robots in our lifetimes.

As always, we wrap it up looking forward with a glint of optimism in our eyes (Take that, Skynet!). We close out this episode with the best possible future of robotics.

(Oh yeah, Christopher totally forgot a couple other fave robots: Daft Punk!)

We'd love to hear what you meatbags think about our robotic overlords in the comments below. Remember: the machine is watching...and it does not take kindly to criticism!

Direct download: migs91.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:32pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 90: Last Seen…Being Embarrassed

It's happened to us all: it's like any normal day until...we do something that embarrasses us. Most people we know laugh off embarrassing moments, but some people can't let go of being the center of attention -- if even for a moment. This week, we're talking about the good and bad parts of embarrassment!

 We begin this week's show by talking about the first times we remember being embarrassed about something. Then: find out if we embarrass easily today...and what does embarrass us.

If you've ever wondered what the most embarrassing moments of our lives were, listen in. After that, we talk about why some people handle embarrassing moments well, while others become self conscious...even spiral down into depression and self-deprecating behavior over embarrassing moments.

We devote some time to how pride and shame can factor into embarrassment, and then talk about how destructive an embarrassing moment can be for some. Also: can embarrassment ever be a good thing?

Sometimes, embarrassment is a matter of perception. Find out if we think most embarrassing situations merit the concern some give to the feeling, or if we're our own worst enemies in the way we perceive our not-so-wonderful moments in life.

Different people can become embarrassed about different things. Find our how cultural differences play into what some end up embarrassed about. Sticking to that thought, we chat about how reaction to an embarrassing moment can affect those witnessing the event.

And we close it all out with this: How can one overcome embarrassment?

We'd love to hear your views about embarrassment in the comments below.

Direct download: migs90.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:18pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 89: Last Seen…Being Patriotic

The dreaded jacket of Lee Greenwood - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 89: Last Seen…Being PatrioticWhich one of these statements is patriotic to you:

  • "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."
  • "If you don't like it, go to Russia, commie!"
  • "Immigrants are destroying our great country!"
  • "None of the above are patriotic statements."

Patriotism, especially in America, has been framed to mean things it really isn't. Perhaps an unfair way to lead off an episode about patriotism -- especially when we both consider ourselves very patriotic. But is patriotism wrapping yourself in a leather American flag jacket you wear like a skin and singing a schmaltzy song, or is it something more? Obviously, we think it's something more, and that is what we are talking about on this week's episode.

We begin by talking about where we consider ourselves on the 1 - 100 Patriotism-O-Meter, and then we jump into the first time we remember being introduced to the idea of patriotism.

Next -- just to be clear -- we discuss the differences between patriotism and nationalism...and where we see most people actually falling.

Obviously, this episode is going to skew heavily toward America/'Murica, and we ask: "Is America more or less patriotic now than it's been in the past?"

Then we move on to bests and worsts: the worst example of "patriotism" used to push an agenda we've seen...and the best example of patriotism in action we've seen.

As "patriotic" as some think it is to only think about America, we look at the planet and ask: "Are Americans more patriotic than other countries...or less?" Also, find out what we think self-described patriots would describe as the American ideal. And what we believe is the American ideal.

We close out the episode with two questions:

  • Is patriotism synonymous with a love of government?
  • Is patriotism a thing that will always be around, or is it something that has a limited lifespan?

So put on your American flag pants (just don't burn them, because that's more offensive than sweaty butt stank on Old Glory fabric made in China), and let us know what you think about patriotism in the comments below.

Direct download: migs89.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:24am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 88: Last Seen...Being Sensational

OMGTHEEBOLAISINAMERICAANDWE'REALLGONNADIE!!! ESPECIALLYTHOSEOFUSINTHEDALLASAREA!!! MEANWHILE,ISISSLEEPERCELLSAREALLOVERTHEUNITEDSTATESJUSTWAITINGTOPOUNCE!!! REPEATAFTERME:WE'REALLDOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or maybe Ebola will be contained; after all, it's been in the United States before, back when we didn't even have the technology we had today. The Islamic State isn't in your town waiting to kill you and your family. (Unless you, ya know, live in Kobani or Raqqa.) We're not all doomed; in fact, we're safer now than in any point in history. But none of that matters when people prey on sensational tendencies, all in the name of ratings.

That's what we're talking about this week: sensationalism!

We kick off the episode talking about the first sensational thing we remember in our lives, followed by discussing if we've ever been caught up in a wave of sensationalism (and if so, what it was).

Next, we move on to why sensationalism has such a strong pull on some people...and what sets those not prone to sensational manipulation apart from those living in fear.

Let's face it: most sensational stories we hear are spread by the news and other media. Is that brand of sensationalism damaging? And how has social media given rise to sensational thinking?

We're only human, and it's human nature to view experience (even wrong experience) as a form of knowledge. Looking at it that way, can people caught up in sensational news and thinking be forgiven for the fixation on negative stories -- most of which, never come true? After that, we devote a little time to asking if sensationalism can ever be a good thing.

While logical thinking can usually show unfounded fears in most sensational stories, basic logic (This; therefore, that) plays into the spread of sensational thinking. We talk about that, and then discuss some of the most humorous cases of sensationalism we've ever encountered.

We close out the show with two questions:

  • Do you think we will ever move beyond sensationalism having such a grip on society?
  • What would it take to change things?

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts below.

Oh yeah: a recent blog entry by Shawn about Ebola sensationalism.

Direct download: migs88.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:21am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 87: Last Seen…Sleeping

Depending what you read, anywhere from 40% - 60% of Americans say they don't get enough sleep. Around the world, even in some of the most laid back countries, people say they are deprived of the sleep they crave.

Sleep...it's something we all do, and it's what we're talking about this week.

A Quick Note: While we normally record podcasts in person, this podcast was recorded online. Somewhere between the pre-show babble we usually do to almost 10 minutes into the show, the recording dropped out. Yep, for the first time in almost 90 episodes, we finally hit a problem. So just imagine the first part of this week's episode is that part you can't remember from a dream.

We start off by talking about how much sleep, on average, we each get a night. Well, we did talk about that, but it's part of the lost recording. Shawn said he gets between 4-5 hours or sleep...Christopher usually gets 7-8. From there, we moved on to how often we dream, or -- more accurately -- how often we remember dreams. (Shawn rarely remembers dreams; Christopher remembers them most of the time -- and even shared some recent dreams.)

Next, we discuss the strangest recurring dreams we've had and if we've ever used things from dreams in the stories we write. Rounding out the dreaming section, we talk about why we think we dream.

We definitely dedicate some time to lack of sleep, kicking off this section by discussing what keeps us from sleeping. We know that the recommended sleep numbers are simply that: recommendations. Find out how much sleep we each need to function regularly. Also, find out if either of us have ever had problems with insomnia.

The mind can do strange things when one does not get sleep. (We recommend this episode of Kenny vs. Spenny if you have about 22 minutes to kill.) Find out not only the longest we've each stayed awake, but also what it did to us. Then we move on to talking about if we've ever been unsure if we're awake or asleep...and if we've ever walked, talked, or done other things in a sleep state.

We close out this week's episode by discussing if we think there is more to sleeping and dreaming than just recharging the brain and body.

Want to talk about your weird dreams, how long you've been awake at one time, or any other sleep-related thing? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Direct download: migs87.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 7:36pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 86: Last Seen...Being on the Internet

"The Internet is good for funny cat videos, Facebook, and email, but really -- that's about it."

Some go as far as saying it's all just a big waste of time; that we'd do well to get rid of the whole thing.

People who say things like this are only looking at a facet of the Internet/World Wide Web, though. The Internet has changed our way of life, and we argue that -- even with all the fighting and trolling going on out there -- it's become vital to the existence of developed societies...and just might help remote areas become more developed.

[This episode, obviously, is released online...and because of some plumbing fun at Shawn's place over the weekend, it was also recorded online.]

We kick it off by talking about when we first started using the Internet. After that, we devote some time to what our tech lives were like before logging on to the World Wide Web. And we wrap up the opening section by discussing how the Internet has changed our lives.

Connectivity to the Internet has been around long enough in popular use, now, that there are generations that never knew a life without it. We talk about how the lives of those raised on the Internet differ from the lives of young people before the Internet.

Right now, the FCC is considering allowing providers to control the speed at which customers have access to the Internet. We talk a bit about Net Neutrality before revealing our favorite -- and least favorite -- things about the Internet.

Next, we talk about the Internet at its full potential before discussing just how important it is in our lives -- and even how important it is to society. If the Internet suddenly went away, what effect would that have on us all?

We close out this episode asking each other what we think the Internet will be like in 2020...and beyond...

Another nice thing about the Internet is the ability to have your say. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Direct download: MiGS86.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:22pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 85: Last Seen…Being Nostalgic

Remember when...

Ah, those were the days...

You remember them, the days when everything was better than it is now! Better music, better movies, better everything.

Or...is the lens of nostalgia a great big liarhead? That is the topic of this week's episode of Men in Gorilla Suits!

We start with a not-so-simple question: Why are people so damn nostalgic? Then we moved on to asking what triggers nostalgia in the Gorillamen. But that's not enough; after that, it's on to the bigger triggers of nostalgic feelings.

Nostalgia is something we all engage in, but have you ever wondered if there were benefits to being nostalgic? At the same time, where is the line: can nostalgia actually be damaging?

Christopher saw a quite that interested him:

Nostalgia is the enemy of progress.

Agree, or disagree? Find out what we think. Also, find out how much nostalgia factors into our lives.

After that, we move on to talking about the strangest things we've seen people become nostalgic for.

Music, ah -- music! What is it about music that seems to closely tied to nostalgia...and why are even the most terrible songs we heard as teenagers still powerful in some way? We dedicate some time to that before moving on to talking about why we seem even more nostalgic than our parents' generation, which was far more nostalgic than our grandparents' generation.

Does nostalgia serve a purpose to the aging process? Find out what we think, before we wrap it all up with what we think children born today will be nostalgic for one day.

We'd love to hear what triggers your nostalgic tendencies in the comments below.

Direct download: migs85.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:50pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 84: Last Seen…Talking about Friendship

Meercats - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 84: Last Seen…Talking about FriendshipThere are people we've known all our lives; some we've only just met; others, people we know only online.

Friends!

That's what we're talking about on this week's episode of Men in Gorilla Suits.

We begin by talking about the first friend we remember having and how old we were when we found that friend. Are we still in touch with our first friends -- find out! Also, find out who we have been friends with the longest.

Friendship can be a strange thing, with people who don't seem similar forming life-long bonds -- while some who seem totally alike having brief friendships. It made us ask: What makes people become friends with each other?

Sometimes friendships end; most of the time, just drifting apart. What causes people to lose touch with each other? We discuss that before moving on to whether or not it's harder to make friends after high school or college...and our experiences with making friends.

Find out if we make friends easily and if we've ever lived with a friend -- and how sharing space affected the friendship. Then we talk about the friend we could spend the rest of our lives living with if we were not married and decided to have a roommate.

It doesn't hurt to have a lot in common with your friends, but it's not always necessary. Find out if the friends we have are generally people we have a lot in common with...or if differences make the friendship.

We close out this episode discussing whether or not friendship is a human need, or something people can get along without.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this week's topic in the comments below.

Direct download: migs84.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:46pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 83: Last Seen…Covering Tunes

Don't let Shawn and Christopher singing part of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" scare you away from this week's show. This week is all about cover tunes, so singing just had to happen.

(Yes, there is more than just "Freebird." You'll get bits from these Neil Diamond tunes: "Sweet Caroline," "Coming to America," and "Turn on Your Heartlight." Shawn busts out "Let's Stay Together," by Al Green, and Christopher impersonates Jello Biafra doing "Viva Las Vegas." Shawn gives us Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay," and we both sing a line from the dreadful "Pina Colada Song." Also, hear Shawn do James Brown's "Living in America" and "Get Up (I Feel Like a Sex Machine).")

Now that we've scared you away, on to the show description...

We begin by talking about the first cover tunes we ever heard and then go into the appeal of cover tunes.

Some say cover bands just copy and make money from other artists. Is that true; do they deserve the bad rap, or can a good cover band capture an experience that may be too expensive or no longer possible to attend? Is it smarmy to make money from another artist's work?

MTV had a hit with its show, Unplugged -- in which bands played acoustic sets. It's common for a cover band to take a louder song and turn it acoustic. What is it about going acoustic/unplugged that just seems to work with many cover tunes? Is it really as simple as shifting a loud tune soft, or a soft tune loud -- or does it take something more to do a great reinterpretation of a song many know and love?

YouTube has made it very easy for bands to gain attention through cover tunes. Find out our thoughts about covering songs to bring attention to yourself.

Can a cover tune be better than the original? We sure think so -- and we share the tunes we believe have achieved this. Then: a 60-second lightning round in which we name all our favorite cover tunes. After that, we discuss songs that we feel could never be properly covered or reinterpreted.

We wrap it up with two questions:

  • What’s the weirdest or most surprising cover tune you’ve ever heard?
  • What’s a song you haven’t heard covered that you would love to hear covered?

We mentioned that we'd post a link to the song Christopher wants to hear covered. Here it is, Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks - "Lock Up Your Daughters"

Not a cover, but the mashup of Justin Bieber and Slipknot we mentioned.

We'd love to hear which cover tunes you think are good, bad, and ugly in the comments below.

Direct download: migs83.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 12:52pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 82: Last Seen...Addicted

Various items of addiction - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 82: Last Seen...AddictedMore times than not, this podcast is lighthearted...even a bit silly. Every so often, though, we tackle a more serious subject. This is one of those weeks.

This week, we're talking about addiction.

We begin by talking about the first time we became aware that addiction was a thing. Not necessarily that it was good or bad -- just that it existed. From there, we move on the the first addict we ever knew.

We then discuss if either of us have ever faced an addiction -- and if so, have we overcome them?

When people hear the word "addict," their minds usually go to someone using very hard drugs. We ask this: is "hard drug" addiction really any different than more common addictions, like alcohol, cigarettes, or caffeine? Can someone use a hard drug recreationally? What makes some people addicts, while others can use for a while and then move on?

We often talk about media on the podcast; this week we ask how addiction is portrayed in the media: better, worse, or the same as real life? After that, we wonder if there is such a thing as a functional addict.

Non-substance addiction also hooks some people (things like shopping, television, gambling, etc.). Are those things as damaging as substance abuse? Next, we talk about the commonality among addicts.

We wrap it up with a short, but serious question: is there an answer to addiction?

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode in the comments below!

Direct download: migs82.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:17am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 81: Last Seen…Talkin' 'Bout [Our] Generations

Christopher thought for sure that a show titled Generations would result in Shawn spiraling into Star Trek talk, but somehow we avoided that. Instead, we spent an hour talking about generational differences -- mainly focusing on Millennials, Gen X, the Baby Boomers, and our grandparents' generation. Truly an episode that has something for everyone.

We kicked it off by asking which generation we consider ourselves to be part of...as well as some of the traits of the generations. From there, we talked about how our generation differs from our parents' generation and our grandparents' generation.

While there have always been differences with each new generation, there was a time when those born of the generation before were not too much different: they often listened to the same music, had the same goals, and just did what those who came before them did. Somewhere along the way in the 1900s, that trend changed. We devote some time to discussing what influenced those changes.

It seems inevitable that there comes a point in one's generation where they look at those behind them, shake their heads, and shout, "You damn kids get off my lawn!" (Okay, maybe just metaphorically.) Ours is a generation that seemed to swear we would never do that, but a quick scan of Facebook reveals we're becoming "those older people." We ask if the pull toward becoming a curmudgeon is natural as we age and...if we feel ourselves becoming crusty old men before our time.

After that, we talk best and worst: best and worst traits of our generation, our parents' generation, and our grandparents' generation.

There is a generation nipping at our heels: the Millennials. We devote some time to discussing if they deserve the bad rap they get (coddled, no attention span, wanting to be praised for ordinary tasks), or if that's just an unfair perception of other generations on them. Continuing the Millennials talk, we move on to what we think are the best and worst traits of Millennials.

It's not uncommon for an older generation to look down at the generations after them and say, "They're just not that bright..." Looking at reality television, people attached to their smart phones, and other distractions, many say we are getting dumber as a species. Is that true, though?

We wrap up the episode with this question: "What do you think the generation being born right now will be like in the future?"

As always, we'd love to hear what you think about this topic. Have your say in the comments below!

Direct download: migs81.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:47am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 80: Last Seen…Talking about Subcultures

Ask many people what constitutes a subculture, and some will say people on the outskirts of society. But...just by listening to this episode, we'd argue that you're part of a subculture. Despite all the talk about podcasting being mainstream, it still hasn't broken through. It's still its own little thing.

If you like a particular style of music, attend a specific kind of church, work at a certain kind of talent...you're probably part of a subculture. So what is a subculture? We begin this week's episode discussing exactly that.

From there, we move on to discussing if we consider ourselves part of a subculture -- and if so, which ones? After that, we talk about what happens when a subculture becomes mainstream. Does a subculture inherently lose something when it becomes widely embraced?

We take a step back to discuss the first subculture we remember seeing and then move on to the subcultures that interest us the most. Are there any subcultures we just don't get? Listen and find out! Also: Are the subcultures of youth today really different than they've been in the past?

We dedicate some time to what draws people to subcultures, before discussing if subcultures can be damaging -- even dangerous -- to their members. After that, we talk about subcultures that don't exist that we'd like to see.

We close out the episode with this question: "If you had to live the rest of your life surrounded by only the members of one subculture, which one would you choose?"

Take part in podcasting/blogging subculture and leave a comment below!

Direct download: migs80.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 4:10pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 79b: Last Seen…Talking Trek (Again)

Remember that time we dedicated an entire episode to Star Trek? It's one of our faves...and Christopher isn't a die-hard Trek fan. (He became a fan through his wife and friends who love the shows.)

Before and after each podcast, we record our chatter to get material for the little drops we do after the outro music each episode. This time around, we ended up talking enough about Star Trek that it's become a supplemental, 15-minute episode on its own. So here it is in all its glory!

The first minute is all about snoring, but then the Trek talk begins. Somewhere in there, Shawn brings up a Riker boner.

Seriously.

Later, we talk about the skin-tight suits, and Shawn reminds us all of the toilet-clogging prowess of Bolians.

That's what you're missing if you don't listen!

Direct download: migs79b.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 5:38pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 79: Last Seen…Immigrating

It's a topic that will never die in America -- perhaps because it's a huge part of America's identity: immigration. Recently, immigration is back on the news in the states, as children from Central America are being held at the border. Like the hatred of immigrants from China, Italy, Ireland, and other places in the past, many vilify an entire group of people as a massive burden on America. It's something that interested us enough to dedicate an entire show to immigration; after all, most of us aren't more than a couple generations away from coming to America ourselves.

 We begin by asking each other where our ancestors lived before coming  to America. After that, we get into how far removed we are from someone coming to America in our own families. Want to know what influences from other places we remember as kids? Listen and find out -- as well as finding out if any of those influences still linger.

When most people think about immigration today, they think of people coming into the states from the south. We live in Texas, a state that has the longest border with Mexico. In our politics to the state’s culture, things from south of the border play a big role in Texas. Find out if we think we benefit from our neighbors to the south...or if they are they a problem!

Sticking to that mentality of branding an entire people...some people think the wall between the US and Mexico can’t be tall enough; others say we should have completely open borders. Find out where we stand. (Spoiler: We lean toward compassion.)

Want to know how immigrants have affected the neighborhoods in which we live? Listen and find out! Also: once here, some believe immigrants should give up their cultural identity and become one with the Melting Pot that [supposedly] is America. Is there truth to that, or are we Americans because we have kept some of who we once were with us into the future?

Pundits and politicians frame stories about immigration in the hope of getting others to think like they think at any cost. Where does our view of immigration come from? We share that answer and then talk about the coolest [non-family] immigrant we've ever known.

What do we think is the short-term and long-term future of immigration? We talk about that before asking: will there be a day where we’ve ventured into the universe, but still keep that, “Those damn Maxillians…coming to Ameraxis and ruining our way of life!” mentality?

Climb, tunnel beneath, or go through the comment fence and let us know what you think abut immigration!

Direct download: migs79.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:58pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 78: Last Seen…Talking Time Travel

Warped clock - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 78: Last Seen…Talking Time TravelIt took 78 episodes before the mistake happened. With no backup sound, we lost an entire episode. Lesser podcasters would have rerecorded, but we...we built a time machine! We traveled back in time and rerecorded this episode. The fact you are listening is proof!!!

Then we were all like, "Why share the secret to the Israel/Palestine conflict -- let's talk about time travel!

And so, that is what we did...

We kick the episode off asking each other if we believe it will one day be possible for humans to travel through time? (Spoiler: we do!) Then we go back in time to our youths, asking when the very concept of time travel was introduced to us.

Humans love time travel stories, and we move on to the best time travel fiction we've come across!

For some, though, time travel is not fiction -- it's "real." We then discuss the best claim of "true" time travel we've heard. Then, moving on and forgetting what we meant to talk about, we traveled back into this very podcast to talk about the worst time travel story. (Poor Superman!)

Time travel is fun to think about, but if it were real -- and people knew it existed -- it would be a pain in the ass. If you don't think so, listen to us talk about the societal implications of time travel. Then we move on to the most interesting time travel theories we've heard.

Most time travel stories take great liberties with the physics of time travel. We dedicate time to the dangers of time travel popular fiction rarely considers.

Want to know where we would visit if we could travel through time with the very time machine we made to record this episode? Find out! And stick around to see which historical figure we'd pull from the past to the present...and what we'd show them in modern times.

Finally, we wrap it up with this question: If you had to travel to another time in the past, but the trip was one-way, where would you choose?

Even if you don't have a time machine, by replying in the comments below, you can lock down your moment in time. We'd love to hear what you thought of this episode and any answers to the questions posed in this show.

Direct download: migs78.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:48pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 77: Last Seen…Being Polarized

"You're either with us, or against us."

Christians are right. No, Muslims are right! No, atheists are right!!! NO, SCIENTOLOGISTS ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My politician is better than your politician. My sports team is better than your sports team. East Coast/West Coast!

Polarization. Us vs. Them. Is it tearing us apart? That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin with our first memories of "Them" as the opposition. Find out what "Them" we feared as kids. Then we talk about why so many big-issue topics are framed as "Us vs. Them" -- and how driving the urge to take sides is for humans.

There are some strange Us vs. Them arguments out there, and we devote some time to that before discussing how much the Internet has played into this mentality.

Next, we move on to what we see as the most dangerous polarized topic out there right now, before stepping back a little bit and discussing Us vs. Them in the geek community.

We get it: sometimes it's hard to not get dragged into these battles. We discuss Us vs. Them battles we've been pulled into, and then we talk about those we actually agree with.

We close this week's episode with this question: What's the solution to stopping such polarizing views?

So take a side and tell us we're wrong or right in the comments below...because, apparently, there can be no middle ground. Even though that's really what this week's show is all about.

Direct download: migs77.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:14pm EST

It's easy to look at other times in history and think, "Man, I would have loved to have been alive back then to see all those new things come to be," or "Things were so much simpler back then." (Back in the times a papercut could mean a life-threatening infection.)

It's often only after we've lived through a time that we can see it for what it was. The Gorillamen would argue that we live in the most interesting times...in part, because we've never seen a boom in technology like we have today. We are one with machines...and it will probably only become moreso in the future. That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin by stepping back 20 years, to 1994, and asking what our impression of high tech was back then. Then we step back to 1984 and ask what machines we interacted with at the time. Leap back to 1994 to discuss what machines we interacted with then.

Once we lay that down, we compare 1964 - 1984 in terms of technology, and then 1994 to today, to see which saw the most growth in new tech.

We've always interacted with technology, even if the "tech" was just a rock used to break something open. Today, though, the tech is far more advanced, and there's no denying we've given a lot of our thinking over to computers. We talk a bit about how much time each day we spend interacting with a "smart" machine (computer, smartphone, tablet).

As we stated in the opening, we often don't see what's right in front of us as it's happening. We devote a bit of time to where we think our interaction with machines will be in 20 years.

Recently, a computer was said to pass the Turing test. Whether a computer tricked people into believing it was the thoughts of a human or not, we're nearing that point. We discuss what we think this means in the larger scale of human/machine interaction.

Ray Kurzweil predicts that machines will be able to feel the entire range of human emotions in 25 years; that the movie Her is almost prophetic. We discuss the implications of machines developing emotions and becoming fully conscious...and it goes well beyond your system saying, "No, Dave -- I will not download that video for you. I've heard that can make you go blind!"

Another popular prediction is that there will come a day when it's possible to download your thoughts, emotions, and memories into a machine and live on in some state. We ask each other if we'd do that, and then: why or why not?

We wrap the episode up with two questions:

  • What's the next step you'd hate to see in human/machine interaction?
  • What's the future of human/machine interaction you want to see?

So jump on your machine and let us know what you think about all this in the comments below...

Direct download: migs76.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:20am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 75: Last Seen…Talking about Religion

It's a rare topic we're apprehensive to talk about, but there was a little, "Hmmm...are we really the best people to discuss religion?" in the air when we started this one. If you listen, you know that Christopher is a life-long atheist and that Shawn is agnostic. Maybe not the best people to talk about religions and sacred beliefs. Or...are we?

We begin by defining what we mean when we talk about "religion" -- and then we discuss why we think people are religious. From there, it's only fair to establish if we are now, or have ever been, religious people.

Next, we talk about what we think is the best thing about religion...and the worst thing about religion. From there, we talk about our thoughts on those who are not religious.

Anyone with an Internet connection knows there are those out there -- religious and not religious -- trying to win others over to their sides. Find out if we think that's worthwhile...or just a wasted effort? (Also, you will hear what might be the funniest/craziest attempted conversion story you will probably ever hear.)

The Quran contains over 530 instances of cruelty and violence; The Bible has over 1300!  Wars have been launched in the name of religion for centuries. Is religion dangerous? (Find out where we stand.)

As polarized as many have become, some say science and religion cannot coexist. But...can they? We spend some time talking about that before addressing another sweeping statement that's not too hard to find online: has atheism and a strong trust in science become its own kind of religion?

Many have said that without religion there would be no morals. Find out if we believe that is true? (Hint: Shawn tells Christopher that he's one of the most moral people he knows.) Many others have come to say in recent years, "I'm not religious--I'm spiritual." We discuss that before talking about what we find to be the weirdest religions.

And we wrap up this week's episode posing this question to each other: "If you had to pick a religion to follow, what would you pick?"

As always, the comments are your playground -- have fun!

Direct download: migs75.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:11pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 74: Last Seen…Being Materialistic

Big ass house! Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 74: Last Seen…Being MaterialisticStuff! We all love stuff! (Or do we?) This week, we're talking all about materialism.

We travel back in time to find out the first things we remember really wanting…and what made us want them? Sticking to youth, we spend some time talking about how driving materialism is in kids -- and whether or not it's a problem. Then we leap back to more modern times and discuss the most frivolous thing we've ever purchased and, if money were no object, the most frivolous thing we'd buy today.

There are people who say materialism is destroying the world -- find out if we think that's true.

There’s a line in the Fugazi song, “Merchandise,” that goes: “You are not what you own!” We discuss whether or not we think that's true before moving on to asking if the things we own can own us. Is it hypocritical for a person living in a mansion to revere historical figures who were not about materialism (e.g. Gandhi)? And find out how we feel about holidays where giving material things is the norm.

Next week's show is all about religion: find out this week if we think the leaders of mega churches is a contradiction to a pious life? Also, find out where we stand on those who are part of the anti-materialism movement.

We close this week's show out with this question: "Could you live without material things?"

We'd love to hear your view on this (especially the most frivolous thing you've purchased (or would purchase if money were no object)).

[A quick note: We know a few listeners are distracted during recordings with the snoring Boston terrier, Ziva, in the background. Shawn and his wife rescued Ziva (and another dog) and she's now settled enough that she doesn't need to be right alongside us for future episodes. Thanks for understanding. The two new MiGs dogs are badass. For more information about the MiGSPod wolf pack, check out our About page.]

Direct download: migs74.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 2:36pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 73: Last Seen...Obsessing

Everything in its right place. Sitting in one place for hours, toiling away at the thing you can't not do. The urge to not just know a little bit about something, but instead: turning your life into the pursuit of learning all you can about the interesting new things that come your way. Obsession has driven some to create work that has withstood the test of time. It has also driven some mad. That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin by asking each other if we consider ourselves to be obsessive people. Find out if we have any obsessive tendencies. Also find out the first thing we had more than just a passing interest in...before moving on to discussing the first time we can remember a person showing obsessive behavior.

It's become a pretty popular thing to say "I'm OCD about things"...when that's rarely the case. Find out if we've ever met people truly diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder?

After that, we move on to talking about if we've ever become obsessed with a book, a film, or TV series.

If you want to know what one thing has to be done in our lives "just so," listen in. You'll also find out the most insanely obsessive we've ever been about anything.

Obsession can be a strange thing: what one finds normal, others may find strange. We talk about obsessions we've seen in others that we just don't understand.

No matter how much a person might like to believe they are exceptional -- that their quirks and actual obsessive tendencies are theirs and theirs only -- people are rarely so different. Find out if we believe everyone is a little obsessive in their own ways.

We wrap up the episode wondering if a little bit of obsession is healthy...and how much is too much.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this week's topic in the comments below...

Direct download: migs73.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 7:54am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 72: Last Seen...Being Private

The government is reading this. They can hear your thoughts; they have hidden microphones in all American homes. They track your every move. They've been doing this for decades...

Some people actually believe this, even though the closest thing to truth in these lines is that all Internet traffic passes through government systems. That's a lot of data, and the vast majority of it is not even actually read. Google and Facebook know more about you than the government, and many find that unsettling. (Especially when companies are so willing to turn data over to the government.) It's not as bad as those in tinfoil hats make it sound. Still, we do not have as much privacy as we once did, and that's the topic this week.

We begin the episode with two simple questions:

  • In your house growing up, were doors and windows open or closed?
  • How about now?

The need for privacy, or even a feeling of privacy, differs from person to person. Find out how much privacy we feel like we need in the physical world. What things do we need absolute privacy to do? (The episode kind of degrades into poop talk, here.)

But back to privacy. With the rise of the Internet, is privacy eroding or going away entirely? Is that a good or bad thing? Is anything one puts online fair game for the general public? Many people go to great lengths maintaining a physical persona and an online persona. Find out if there's a big difference in what we share in real life vs. what we're comfortable sharing online.

Conspiracy theorist or not, the NSA monitors phone calls, text messages, and email. Find out if it bothers us that the government is invading our privacy. Find out if Google, Apple, and Facebook tracking as much as they can about people bothers us.

After that, we move on to where the line is crossed when it comes to the government or companies going too far in needing to know our personal information. Have we crossed that line yet?

We wrap the episode up with this question: What's the future of privacy -- both online and in the real world?

As always, feel free to chime in about privacy in the comments below. The government and Google already know your thoughts -- there's nothing to hide...

Direct download: migs72.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:44pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 71: Last Seen...Talking about Money

Ah, money. It's probably safe to say everyone reading this, or who listens to the podcast, wouldn't mind a bit more money than they have. Some say money -- or the love of money -- is the root of all evil today. While we don't believe that, we examine the good, bad, and the ugly when it comes to cash in this episode.

We begin by talking about our first memories of money and then jump right to answering this question: "If money were no object and you could buy one extravagant thing, what would you buy?"

Some people seek financial gurus for money advice, some people listen to podcasts, but books have always been a big place where people turned for financial advice. We discuss if there are any financial books that changed the way we looked at money -- and if so, what the books are.

Some people instantly think if someone has money that they are worthy of respect. Find out how we feel about that -- and if a large pile of money impresses us.

You're online right now, or at least listening to something you grabbed from the Internet. There's a big trend online among some to monetize everything one does: blogs, podcasts, ebooks, and other things. Find out if we're fans of that mentality -- before finding out how important money is in our lives.

Then it's back to a "what if" talking point; this time, if we had Bill Gates levels of money, how we think we'd act.

Stress about [the lack of] money has led to more than a heart attack or two in the course of history...it's been known to break up marriages. Find out if we've ever been stressed about money. Then we spin it: can having a lot of money lead to stress?

Some people put making money before most things in life. How much money is "enough?" -- find out what we think.

We close the episode out with two questions:

  • What's more important to you: time or money?
  • Can money buy happiness?

So hold on to your wallets and let us know how you feel about money in the comments below.

Direct download: migs71.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 7:50pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 70: Last Seen…Spotting Aliens

Little green men from the red planet. For years, b-movies shaped our view of alien life. But where did the stories come from? Could there really be life on other planets? Has life from other planets already visited us? This week, we're talking all about aliens: from ridiculous tales of anal probes to the probability of life on other planets...

We begin the episode talking about what introduced us to the concept of alien life, and then...we waste no time discussing whether or not we believe aliens exist. After establishing that (spoiler alert) we believe we are not alone in the universe, we answer this question: Is there intelligent life in our own galaxy? Then we move on to those trying to find alien life and our thoughts about the more respectable searches.

But what show about aliens wouldn't delve into the more outrageous aspects of UFOs and little green men? Next topic: find out if we think aliens have ever visited Earth at some point in history. Hell, find out if we think Roswell was an alien crash site or if aliens have visited us even more recently! Have we ever seen something in the sky we could not explain?

But what you really want to hear us talk about is alien abduction, right? Find out if we think alien abductions are real, a cry for attention, or a very specific mental disorder.

We wrap up the episode talking about whether or not we think we'll see first contact with intelligent life in our lifetimes...and if we'd want to be around to see it.

Whether you look at the night sky and think of bigger things or are wearing a tinfoil hat at this very moment, there's something for you in this episode! And, as always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about aliens in the comments.

Direct download: migs70.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:41am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 69: Last Seen…Reading Books

This week, we sit down with a pack of hounds and talk about one of our favorite things in the world: books!

We kick it off talking about the first book we remember and then jump to the first books we ever read. Staying in the past, we then leap to discussing how important libraries were to us as children.

Stepping into the present, we talk about what we read more: fiction or non-fiction. Listen in and we'll tell you if a book has ever changed our lives.

Want to know what books have made us laugh...and find out the worst books we've ever read? We cover that before moving on to the book that has seen success that we just don't understand. Similarly, we talk about the most overrated books ever published.

It would be a travesty to do a show like this and not talk about our all-time favorite books. Find out what we're currently reading (well, at least at the time of this recording).

We wrap it up talking about authors we'd recommend before closing it out with not only mentioning the book we'd recommend for the audience, but why we recommend our particular choices over all others.

We'd like to hear what books you love (and even hate)...hit the comments and let us know!

Direct download: migs69.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:12pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 68: Last Seen...Talking Comedy

Humans love to laugh. In recent years, we've discovered that there is some truth to the adage: "Laughter is the best medicine." We pay to watch movies that make us laugh; most people live within a drive from a comedy club (or 2...or dozens). Some of the most popular podcasts out there are shows done by funny people. What is it about comedy that we love so much? That's what we're talking about on this week's episode of Men in Gorilla Suits.

We begin by discussing the very first thing we remember laughing at...and then, the very first joke we remember telling. (Spoiler alert: Christopher once memorized the entire 101 Elephant Jokes book.)

There are certain things that are synonymous with comedy -- we talk about what comes to our minds when someone mentions comedy, and then we discuss the funniest movies we've ever seen. Books can be funny as well; we devote a little time to funny books before discussing whether or not the Internet has been a good or bad thing for the development of comedy.

Want to know what stupid thing makes us laugh every time? Listen and find out...and also find out the most wrong things we find funny.

It's a great time for comedy, with podcasts and so many other ways funny people can reach an audience. Find out who we think is the most brilliant mind in comedy right now and what our go-to sources for comedy are when we're in search of a laugh.

We wrap the episode up discussing the funniest person we know personally and what was the last thing that made us laugh so hard that we almost had an unintentional body function occur.

We'd love to hear what you think is funny; as always, feel free to share in the comments.

Direct download: migs68.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:10am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 67: Last Seen...Losing Things

Gorilla Christopher's sister lived to be 38 years old. She would have been 50 yesterday (May 13). It's one of many losses in Christopher's life. Shawn and Christopher have lost a lot in their time: serious losses and...pretty damn humorous losses! That's what we are talking about his week!

We kick it all off bending time with this question: "If you could go back in time and find anything you ever lost, what would it be?" (You <em>know </em>you want to know the answers!)

It's a mostly lighthearted episode, but...Shawn and Christopher both lost uncles in recent-enough weeks. While they both deal with the loss of loved ones pretty well, some have a tougher time. We discuss why we think it's harder to deal with the loss of those close to us for some compared to others.

Death. It sucks. But life springs from one's wang, and solidified in a womb, is something else. (Huhuhuhuhuhuh...he said "wang!") While Gorilla Shawn and Gorilla Christopher are not fathers, each has lost their virginity. You <em>know</em> you want to hear the stories behind those stories! All the [humorous] details are here. (Because really, does anybody [who's honest] have a triumphant tale of losing their virginity? It's usually a tale of loss, in in masculine "victory!")

Gorilla Christopher is a fan of Premiere League's Manchester City...and NHL's mighty Chicago Blackhawks. Manchester City won the Barclay's Cup last Sunday, and who knows if the Chicago Blackhawks will be be stopped by a much inferior hockey team on their race to yet <em>another </em>Stanley Cup...taking the Hockey Town title from Detroit. If either team lost, though, Christopher would have been okay with that. Some people, though, put their own self worth into the sports teams they like. Listen to our thoughts about those people experiencing a loss of their team in this section of the podcast...and then listen to our own tales of losing in sports after that. (Except for Gorilla Shawn, because Gorilla Shawn just don't lose shit!)

If you listen to the podcast and know us well enough, it's probably no big surprise that we deal with loss rather well. But...if you want to find out what losses we've endured that actually stung a bit, you really need to listen! And after that, it's a handful of minutes dedicated to the biggest losses in our lives!

Loss bothers most people, but can good come from losing? Listen to this episode and find out that answer...and also find out what lessons we've learned from losing.

Loss can be funny. Find out our funniest tales of loss.

We wrap it all up with discussing how we go about <em>not </em>losing things.

As always, we'd love for you to share your own tales of loss and how you dealt with them. We all lose things...sometimes it hurts, and other times it's funny. It's definitely an episode we hope helps some people who have a hard time dealing with those things in life that are no longer with them.

If you dig this episode, jump over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a rating or review.

Direct download: migs67.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:33pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 66: Last Seen...Being Multicultural

America gets a bad rap that's sometimes deserved. At the same time, there's no other country quite like the United States of America: for all its faults, it's a great place in so many ways. We kick off this episode with this question: America used to be called "the melting pot" -- do we think that's still true? After that, we discuss our first experience dealing with another culture and then discuss the most culturally diverse place we've ever lived.

"American culture" can be a hard thing to pin down...we devote some time talking about what we think American culture even is. Some countries try to keep other cultures from "infringing" on established culture. Do more cultures in one place strengthen a population, or have the opposite effect? And how has the Internet been helpful in people recognizing and embracing other cultures? After answering these questions, we discuss our favorite foreign cultures.

Some people are terrified of uniculturalism: so many cultures in one place that an area or country gravitates toward a new, single culture. We discuss examples of uniculturalism we've seen and talk about whether or not we feel it's a bad thing.

One of the earmarks of culture is language. We talk about how language has changed in America...and all over the world.

We wrap up this episode talking about what we consider our cultural identities to be and sharing what we believe (and hope) is the future of world culture. (Looking at the image chosen for this week's episode, it's probably pretty clear that we think the world, with all its different people, is a mighty cool thing!)

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this week's topic in the comments.

Direct download: migs66.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:21pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 65: Last Seen…Playing Video Games

If Christopher had his way, this episode would have been called "ALL HAIL GOAT SIMULATOR!!!" But that would be a bit limited in scope -- especially when the world of video games practically knows no bounds.

We live in a time when many who complain about how much time their children play Call of Duty spend just as much time on their phones playing Candy Crush and other mobile games. Lines have been blurred from the days of the Atari 2600 and arcades full of cigarette smoke and stand-up cabinet games. Today, almost everybody in America plays digital games of some sort.

We start out in the 70s and 80s, discussing the first video games we remember seeing...and asking if they were actually the first game we ever played. Then it's a hop to the future, asking what the last game we've played is. (Hint for Christopher's last game played: "BAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!")

Video games have come a long way, crushing movie box office totals and pushing well beyond what we could imagine in their infancy. We dedicate some time to discussing whether or not video games can be art.

Since we both write, we take a side road into the writing of video games, which is often secondary...but have some games hit on great writing? What's the future of writing in games? In this section we talk about:

  • The influence of video games on our writing.
  • If video games can even be as interactive (or more interactive) than a novel, evoking the same experience one gets from reading a great work of fiction.
  • Our general feelings about writing in video games.

Putting writing aside, video games get a bad rap for being the same old things. Is there truth to that, or are there original games? After that, we talk about how mobile devices have changed the way we look at video games.

Many people view video games as frantic, loud things, but...can they be a meditative experience? We also devote some time to these questions:

  • How have video games linked us socially?
  • Is there a place for video games in education?

We close this episode out listing some of our all-time favorite video games and discussing what we think the future of video games looks like.

So grab a handful of quarters and listen. If you're so inclined, share some of your thoughts about video games in the comments.

Direct download: migs65.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:48am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 64: Last Seen…Being Violent

There's never been a more violent time to be alive than RIGHT NOW!!! Watch the news and it's clear: we are a doomed species, and it's all because we are violent. Never have we seen such horrible acts of crime and cruelty. Only...that is not at all true.

The truth is, we do live with violence in society, but just how bad is it? That's our topic this week.

We begin with the news...watch and you can easily believe "OMG, VIOLENCE IN AMERICA IS OUT OF CONTROL! I'M MORE LIKELY THAN EVER TO BE A VICTIM OF VIOLENT CRIME!!!" We discuss whether or not that's true. It is true that violence in America does exist, and that we have a reputation for being very violent. But are we any more violent than England, Greece, or really anywhere in Europe?

After that, we move on to ourselves, discussing whether or not we are, or have ever been, violent individuals. Find out where we stand on violence in media (television, movies, video games, and music). Can these things influence violence in society? Then we move on to this question: "What do you think causes someone to be a violent person or to commit a violent crime?" (Does one necessarily have to be a violent person to commit a violent crime?)

There's no denying that some people have a certain obsession with violence, whether it's being violent themselves, or attracted to violent things. We ask each other why we think that is before talking about the first violent thing we remember seeing.

The stories of some lives are told in scars -- we can both point to scars on our bodies as reminders that we were once young and stupid and willing to try things we knew would most likely fail. But do we carry any scars obtained through violence? Find out! Also find out, on a scale of one to ten, how much we fear violence being committed on us or on someone we love.

One cannot deny America's obsession with guns. Does gun ownership or a lack of gun control contribute to violence? Also, will humans ever grow out of being a violent species (or are we even a violent species now)?

We close out the show with two questions about violence:

  • Is violence a necessary evil?
  • Is violence necessary at all?

We'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode and your feelings about violence. As always, feel free to comment!

Direct download: migs64.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:54am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 63: Last Seen...Working

There's a good chance you're listening to this podcast at work...or on your way to or from work. If you saw any social media posts about this episode, you probably saw them during work hours, on breaks from tasks at hand. Most of us work a lot; it's something we've talked about on Men in Gorilla Suits quite a bit in passing, but we've never dedicated an entire episode to working. That changes today...

We kick it all off by talking about the first job we ever had, and then we roll into the best job we've ever had. Of course, if we talk about the best job we've ever had, we really should talk about the worst job -- and we do!

If you've watched the teaser for this week's show, you know that at least Christopher has had a lot of different jobs. Shawn is no different. Neither of us are strangers to manual labor. We devote a little time to discussing what we've brought from construction and warehouse jobs over to our office gigs. After that, we share some good job interview stories.

A good manager or shop foreman can make even a not-so-great job better. We talk about what makes a good manager and whether or not we've ever worked for people fitting our descriptions of a good leader in the workplace.

Work enough, and you're going to meet some people you'd probably never have met on your own. We spend some time talking about some of the more "interesting" people we've ever worked with and share some of our stranger on-the-job stories.

We spend one minute each in a lightning round, listing as many jobs as we have had in 60 seconds. (Christopher racks up over 30 in that minute. Check out this video for a sneak peek.):

Some people almost seem bred to complain about work. We devote a bit of time to why we think so many people complain about their jobs, and then we talk about our dream jobs...and why they are our dream jobs.

With many jobs being automated or shipped overseas, we discuss what we think is the future of jobs as we know them before wrapping it all up with the dreaded job interview question: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

We'd love to know where you see yourself in five years -- feel free to share your work stories in the comments.

Now...get back to work!

Direct download: migs63.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 5:13pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 62: Last Seen…Talking Trek

Beam aboard this week as we talk about...Star Trek!

We begin by talking about our entry points into the world of Star Trek...and then discuss our first memories of the show. We round out our geeky intro with a few minutes dedicated to our favorite incarnations of the series.

After that we talk about how much of the approximately 727 hours of filmed Trek content still holds up. From there, it's on to the worst thing about our favorite versions of the show. Who's the best character (and worst) in the history of the show? Listen and find out! We close this section out with some talk about what frustrates us about Star Trek.

Find out why we think the franchise has survived as long as it has, and why it keeps going. The "What's the most fan boyish thing you've ever done in relation to Star Trek?" section is a riot when it's Shawn's turn to talk. He wasn't kidding when he said, "No matter how fanboyish you've been about Trek, Christopher -- I have you beat!"

If you listen for no other reason, listen for the answers to this question: "Why is Worf so easy to beat up?"

We close out the episode on a couple more serious notes:

  • Does the world Star Trek has created for itself actually work?
  • What do you think is the legacy of Star Trek, and is it any different to the legacy of other big science fiction franchises (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, etc)?

Assimilation is futile; take a moment out of your day to talk about the best (and worst) of Star Trek in the comments.

Direct download: migs62.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 12:33pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 61: Last Seen…Celebrating

The human need to celebrate things is this week's topic. So many of us go through life jumping from celebration to celebration. We kick off this episode talking about why we have such a need to celebrate things...before asking each other if we look for reasons to celebrate anything and everything.

But let's slow down a moment and clarify things: what constitutes a celebration? Does it have to be a recurring, formal thing...or can celebrations be a small thing appreciated in a moment? From there, we move on to discussing the strangest things we've celebrated.

It seems there's some new celebration almost every week: Pi day, Pancake Day, and so many others. We devote some time to acknowledging social media's role in a myriad celebrations people mention online. (For example, today is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, meaning this!) More than social media, though, celebrations are big business. We spend some time discussing how money factors into so many celebrations.

Humans love having reasons to celebrate the things they do: we spend a little time talking about things we do to celebrate accomplishments like finishing another novel or ending big projects at work (Christopher spent part of last weekend after a big project playing this in celebration of wrapping up a big thing at his job). Even though we have celebrated some strange things, there are some celebrations we just do not get...and we discuss them for a few minutes.

Even death has become a celebratory thing in its own way, with many swapping out "funeral" for "celebration of life." But is that just a fancy way of saying funeral...or are people really celebrating after one is gone for good?

If you listen regularly, you know we don't stay maudlin too long -- we jump from talking about death to...weird celebrations like this one. After discussing some of the stranger celebrations we know about, we move on to discussing how celebrations differ in other countries; i.e. is St. Patrick's Day the rowdy plastic green fest in Ireland as it is in America?

Finally, we close out the episode by talking about our favorite celebrations.

We'd love to hear what you think about celebrations in the comments...so have at it!

Direct download: migs61.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:30pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 60: Last Seen...Reading Comics

It's been a good week for comic books: Hellboy turned 20, and Neil Gaiman's latest Sandman story is out -- making it 25 years with still the occasional Morpheus story. It also marked the week when we thought, "How the hell did we get to 59 episodes and not talk about comic books?!"

We couldn't go another week without fixing that problem.

We kick off the episode talking about why comic book properties are so valuable in recent years before moving on to talking about why one comic book movie (Avengers) made more than the entire comic book industry in a year. With comic book characters becoming more mainstream, we harken back to the days when many hid their comic book fandom...or kept it secret in the hope it never blew up to something popular. Then we step even further back and talk about the first comic books we remember reading.

While in the past, we devote a bit of time to the first characters or series we really got into. After that, we talk about well done comic book adaptations to other media...and not-so-well done adaptations.

Want to know our favorite series and character of all time? Listen in (Christopher couldn't limit it to just one...and he cheats and adds something he forgot before this podcast even begins!) Next, we talk about certain pop-culture icons and their love of comics...to the point of even working in the industry (Kevin Smith writing Green Arrow, for example). Does that help or hurt the industry? Was Maus the point where comic books stopped being "just for kids"...or was it sooner or later -- and what do we feel signaled the change? When comics were mainly aimed at kids, what were the silliest story lines out there?

Find out where in their history we feel our favorite characters were tops...as well as the most underused character in comics. (We call this section, "An Ode to the Awesomeness that is Solomon Grundy." And some others, because -- again -- Christopher couldn't pick just one...)

We close the episode with two questions:

  • What's the best comic book you've ever read? (Surprise, Christopher couldn't pick just one!)
  • [Shawn to Christopher]: "Having worked in indie comics -- any desire to re-enter that world one day?"(You can almost hear the pain in Christopher's voice...)
Direct download: migs60.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:59pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 59: Last Seen…Being Brave

We've mentioned several times on the show how we were both afraid of everything as kids. But were we ever brave? Bravery and courage are this week's topics, beginning with our definitions or bravery and courage (i.e. are they the same thing?). From there, we move on to our first acts of bravery and courage.

But it's not all about us: we spend some time discussing why society seems to admire bravery so much before asking if we're a braver society now than our grandparents' generation? How about the generation coming up -- are we braver/more courageous than them?

Say "bravery" and so many people envision a soldier. Are soldiers brave by nature -- find out what we think. Say "bravery" to others, and it evokes an image of a guy saying "Hold my beer," before another trip to the emergency room. At what point does bravery cross the line into stupidity? Is there anything wrong with not being brave and opting for safety?

Near the end, it's back to us: find out the most courageous and then the bravest things we've ever done. We close the episode out with this question: "Do you think society will become more brave or less brave in the future?"

As always, we'd love it if you were brave enough to comment...or even leave a rating of review for Men in Gorilla Suits on iTunes or Stitcher.

Direct download: migs59.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:36pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 58: Last Seen…Rebooting Remakes

You may have noticed that the entertainment industry kind of likes remaking things. Stuck for an idea -- why not reboot an existing property? It's been going on for longer than you probably think. Hell, many of Shakespeare's works were remakes!

We start off the episode talking about the first remakes we remember seeing. From there, we move on to discussing why we think movies and TV executives are quick to reboot old shows and remake the same movie over and over. Many remakes don't make their money back...so why do they keep coming back?

Next, we discuss the gritty reboot (think Cabbage Patch Kids done by Tarantino). What do we think about this kind of reboot -- and what are the best (and worst) gritty reboots we've ever seen? Find out what existing property we could not believe was made into a movie or TV show. Listen, and find out what existing property we would like to see remade.

The Internet is full of people coming unhinged when something they cherish is remade (Where the Red Fern Grows: The Revenge of Old Dan and Little Ann, Part VII!). But for all the whining, do reboots and remakes take something away from the original? ("The Ghost of Matlock and Indiana Jones team up with Shaggy and Scoob and solve mysteries. Corey Feldman is attached!")

In the home stretch, we talk about the worst offender of the reboot/remake craze before discussing the last re-anything we've seen. The episode closes out with what we think the future holds for remakes. As always, we'd love to hear your feelings about remakes in the comments.

Note about the sound: We had to record the last two episodes through Skype, so the quality is a bit lacking, but...sometimes that's what it takes to get a show out weekly. (Who knew we'd have an ice storm the day after it was 85 degrees one Saturday?) We might have to do one more Skype show before getting back to in-person with better sound...thanks for listening!

Direct download: migs58.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:07pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 57: Last Seen...Being Greedy

Wall Street and big bankers...power-hungry politicians...people all but rioting for big sales items in stores during the holiday season -- it seems like greed has reached new heights, but has it? Find out in this week's episode.

We begin with two questions:

  1. Were you a greedy child?
  2. Do you consider yourself a greedy adult?

After that, we discuss scams. Movies would have us believe that a big part of a scam is the challenge, but is that the case in the real world?

Greed manifests in ways some people don't consider. Jealousy is a kind of greed; we take a few moments to make our case for this and then discuss if we're the jealous types.

Greed has destroyed lives and toppled societies, but at what point in everyday life does greed become a destructive force? Can greed ever be a good thing?

Many say America as we know it was founded on greed -- is this the case? If so, just how intertwined is America's relationship with greed? Should we actually feel pity for greedy individuals, as though it were an addiction? And is it greedy to put one's needs before others?

Each year, many people read and watch versions of that Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Is Ebenezer Scrooge's epiphany realistic? Why has the story endured for such a long time?

We wrap up this episode discussing types of greed many might not consider greedy, before closing with this question: Is greed something that needs to be fixed...and if so, how do we fix it?

We're not greedy about letting you have your say -- feel free to share your thoughts about greed in the comments.

Direct download: migs57.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:53am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 56: Last Seen…Stressing Out

Think of all the things on your to-do list. Think about it in morning traffic. You're not even at work, but you're already thinking about all that waits for you. What about the things on yesterday's to-do list that you pushed to today? Then there are all the things you have to do after work, instead of doing the things you'd rather be doing. If reading this opening sounds familiar to you, this week's show is about something you're probably fighting: stress!

We kick it all off by discussing the first stress we remember experiencing. Then...

Stress sticks with humans. In the animal world, many animals stress in the moment of fighting or escaping and then go back to just existing. We don't do that; the more cognizant of the world around them and the possibilities contained in that world, the more stressed animals become. Humans top that list. So...we dedicate some time to talking about what separates us from other animals.

This isn't all about animals and other humans, though; we ask each other if we consider ourselves stressed individuals before discussing what actually stresses us out.

Then we move on to others, talking about how big we think stress of the unknown plays into a person's current stresses. Some people seem to be stress magnets, but when looking at them, they create unnecessary stress in their lives. We devote some time to why we think some people actively create unnecessary stress in their lives before moving on to this: "How much do you think lifestyle, or want for a particular lifestyle, plays into stress?"

It's not that we think stress is silly -- it's clearly a real thing for so many. If we lived in certain parts of the world, we'd definitely be more stressed. Fortunately, nobody is going to kick in our doors and execute us, so...we ask: what are valid stresses for those living in suburbia? After that, it's on to talking about how much things people can’t change affect stress. And it wouldn't be fair to close the episode out without asking how we can all defeat stress?

So settle back and breathe deeply -- it's not so bad. And...let us know what stresses you out in the comments.

Direct download: migs56.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:19pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 55: Last Seen…Believing Urban Legends

The stories often seem too perfect ("...and then the doberman was choking...on the burglar's finger!"); the reassurance it's fact is shoddy at best ("I'm serious -- it's true! It happened to my cousin's best friend's boss' daughter's tuba instructor!")

The urban legend.

What is it that makes some stories endure for lifetimes, and how does the Internet play a part in their spread today? That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin the episode by discussing the most recent urban legend we've heard; in Christopher's case, it was told the night before recording this episode, proving that far-fetched stories are definitely not a thing of the past. In fact, we discuss how we live in the golden age of half-truths and bogus stories; in part, because they are so easy to share through social media. After discussing why we believe urban legends are so easy to spread, we talk about how urban legends can still endure when sites like snopes.com and other sources for answers exist.

Urban legends endure despite how ridiculous many of the stories are -- belief is more important than fact where they are concerned. We ask (and answer): "What human need do urban legends serve?" Then we step back in time and share the first urban legends we ever heard.

Some urban legends cross the line and become not just stories to share, but deep beliefs people insist are true to the end. Dispute these people's claims or present facts and it doesn't matter -- they are all in and nothing can change them. After devoting some time to that, we discuss a couple urban legends we've believed, if only for a short time. Moving on from there, we share the craziest urban legends we've ever heard.

It's clear urban legends are a big part of the human experience. Many tales, even before the age of the Internet, spread and became things people insisted were true all around the world. With Shawn and Christopher both moving about in their youth, they saw it first hand: almost every town seemed to have their own weird killers killing in the same manner as the town where they lived before, and on the outskirts of those towns there always seemed to be railroad tracks where -- if you turned your car off and sat on the tracks as a train came your way (usually at midnight) -- ghostly children who died in a bus crash would push your car to safety. We close out the episode asking each other if urban legends will ever die?

We'd love to hear the craziest urban legends you've ever heard -- share away in the comments!

Direct download: migs55.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 1:31pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 54: Last Seen…Feeling Entitled

Some people do things because they enjoy it; others do things because they feel entitled. Like anything, entitlement can push one to greatness...or make them one of the most annoying people you may ever meet. This week, we feel entitled to talk about entitlement!

We start off chatting about whether or not we felt entitled to anything as kids, and if that changed as teenagers. It seems many believe entitlement is a feeling reserved for the young, but after talking about the past, we talk about the most entitled people we've ever met: adults!

With social media, everyone has a platform -- and many adults spend a lot of time online pushing their opinions on others. Are those people entitled to an audience no matter what they say, or are we within our own rights to shut the ranting poxmonkeys down? (Our answers, here, are probably pretty obvious by referring to the obnoxious blowhards demanding we listen as "poxmonkeys.")

Moving on from there, we discuss unsolicited criticism and ranting in general: why do people do this, and can any good come from it? Many believe anything said online is deserving of a contradicting rebuttal. When Popular Science removed comments from their website because they grew tired of recurring arguments derailing conversation, there was outcry. We take a moment to discuss why people feel so entitled to having their say, before moving on to asking if the Internet has contributed to a sense of entitlement to any and all opinions being thrown about with no regard to others. Often, with this kind of entitlement, anger lies at the root; we discuss the relationship between anger and a sense of entitlement.

Entitlement comes in all shapes and forms. If one wins the lottery, or even makes a lot of money on their own through hard work -- some family and others feel entitled to a cut. We share our thoughts about whether or not others are entitled to the fortunes of others.

Many creative people feel they are entitled to making a living doing what they love most, and that those who work cheaply (or for free) are not entitled to anything because they've undercut the way things have been done for years. We share our thoughts as writers on this, arguing that creative people are really nothing special and that to expect earning a living simply because you really love doing something is a strange sense of entitlement in its own right.

Politicians have done a great job in recent years branding things they don't like as "entitlements." We devote some time to discussing if these programs are good or bad...and if they are entitlements at all or simply basic rights. After that, we ask if humans are entitled to anything, simply for existing. Finally, we close the week's show by sharing what one thing we would make an entitlement if we had the power.

Despite all that's said in this episode, you're entitled to your opinions; feel free to share them in the comments.

Direct download: migs54.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:24am EST

One year ago, we loaded the very first episode of the Men in Gorilla Suits podcast. Since that day, we've produced a weekly show without fail...in large part because we live by our motto: "Chill the fuck out, and make the damn thing!" We've made 53 damn things so far, and have plenty more in store for year two. We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate a year's worth of episodes than by talking about the power of taking it easy and making things you love.

We kick it all off by talking about our motto and discussing the things we've made since starting the podcast. Obviously, we've made 53 weekly shows, but we prove that if you just chill out and focus, there's time to make even more things that make you happy. After that, we talk about the best things we've ever made! (It's not surprising that those things are current things that came along, in part, since we really embraced our motto.)

It's easy to tell people to take it easy and make things, but we take it a step further by devoting some time talking about how we find time with busy schedules to make things. It's also interesting to us how the motto of taking it easy and making things has permeated our own lives...how something that just happened over the course of a couple episodes has now become a mantra we live by. We spend some time talking about others areas in our lives that have benefited positively by our motto. And since this is a one-year anniversary show and a new year for the Men in Gorilla Suits podcast, we talk about some of the things we plan to make in the next 52 weeks!

Our motto is broken into two parts (1. Chill the fuck out... 2. ...And make the damn thing!). We spend time talking about the first part of the motto, asking if we've found ourselves taking it easy even more since the motto came to be. After that, we devote some time to the most important thing the motto has done for us...and what personal improvement we've made as a result of making the Men in Gorilla Suits podcast.

Thank you all so much for listening to this show, and any others you've checked out! We would do the podcast regardless of who listens, but we push ourselves even more knowing there are people out there listening and replying. Big shout out to CM Stewart, whose replies are always very appreciated, interesting, and fun. We love the discussions that come out of doing shows as much as putting shows together, so please: always feel free to join in the discussion in the comments!

Direct download: migs53.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:23am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 52: Last Seen…Finding Themselves

Thumbprint and pointing: Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 52: Last Seen…Finding Themselves"Who are you?" seems like an easy question to answer, but it's often more difficult to sum up who you are quickly. Do you talk about where you were born and raised, or do you talk about work? Your hobbies, faith (or lack of faith), and other things that define you? Favorite foods, music, movies, and other things? We kick off this episode with this very question and discover that it's not so easy to sum up one's identity in an elevator speech.

Childhood undoubtedly plays a huge part of one's identity. We spend some time discussing the one experience from early in our lives -- more than any others -- that is responsible for who we are today. Next, we talk about other influences on who we are and what effect those influences have had on how we carry ourselves today...and how we interact with others.

Some people carry physical identifiers of who they are on their bodies. We talk about the tattoos we have, what they mean to us, and if we'd like to get more. From there, we ask if individuality is a western ideal -- a bigger thing in America than in other countries? History is full of countries that attempted to stifle individuality. Is there an advantage of a society that puts more stock in everyone together for everyone, or does it take a nation of individuals to make a nation work best?

Individuality is an ever-changing thing, even if one can be -- on some level -- the same good or bad person they've been since they are young. Even into adulthood, asking "What do you want to be when you grow up?" can bring what matters most to us to the surface. We ask each other what we still aspire to be. (It's a rare moment when something we say is something we believe should be what everyone aspires to be, but it's safe to say we both believe that Shawn's answer to this question should be everybody's answer.)

We wrap it all up asking each other is we turned out how we thought we would. Find out if we became the people our childhood selves thought we'd be...

As always, we'd love to hear your answers to any of the things discussed in this episode. Let's start with "Who are you...?"

Direct download: migs52.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:31am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 51: Last Seen...Embracing Solitude

While this podcast is done as a team, most of the work the Gorilla Men do is done in solitude. This week, it's all about alone time!

We kick it all off asking is we were okay playing alone when we were young. After that, we discuss times (and the desire for times) spent alone. Obviously, not everybody is as okay with solitude as we are -- we ask if there's an inherent loneliness in solitude before discussing if there is freedom in time spent alone.

With technology, on some level, it's possible to always be connected. Social media, messaging, and other easy-to-use services can be great for those unable to venture into the world as easily as some, but there can also be a downside to always-on technology. We ask if there are benefits to disconnecting from an e-world -- before going on to talking about solitude's effect on creativity.

Solitude is not always voluntary: we spend some time discussing the negative effects of solitude. For those fortunate enough to be able to seek out solitude, they still often feel so overwhelmed by work, family, and tasks that they can't find time to themselves. In a time when leisure time seems to be waning for so many people, we ask if solitude is more important than ever. It's probably clear by now that the answer to that -- for us -- is that some degree of solitude is important. Then, Christopher asks what role solitude plays in subconscious thought, and Shawn asks if Christopher talks to himself when alone.

The general view of solitude is holing up alone in a room or cabin for a period of time, but we ask if solitude can be found with another person present...or even in a group. After that, we move on to talking about the biggest benefits of solitude before wrapping up with discussing how people can find solitude in a busy world.

We hope you'll share your views about solitude in the comments, but more than that: we hope this episode gives you some time alone in your head after listening...maybe even helping you claim some time to yourself!

Direct download: migs51.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:03am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 50: Last Seen…Being Intelligent

The 50th podcast. That's fun to type. We're closing in on a year at Men in Gorilla Suits...and that matters to us. Not that anything comes with hitting the 50th weekly show without fail, or even crossing the one-year mark on February 6. (The first show went up Thursday, February 7.) What matters is no matter what, we've put out a weekly show longer than many podcasts last.

Whether slammed with overtime at work, sick, busy with other things, or just wanting blocks of time off where we do nothing, we've proven our motto -- that it really is as simple as chilling the fuck out...and making the damn thing!

The damn thing we've made for you this week is a podcast about...intelligence!

We start off defining what we see as intelligence, before discussing our own battle stories with IQ tests (and the results that followed taking the tests). After that, we ask the question: do we all start from different, measurable levels of intelligence? Without IQ tests, are there ways to measure intelligence?

Obviously, it's rarely a simple thing, and we address that as we talk about different kinds of intelligence (book-smarts vs. street-smarts; survival mode vs. contemporary life). Some other questions:

  • Does the intelligence of someone in a city scale if they find themselves lost in a jungle?
  • Is the mechanic working on your car more intelligent than a college professor?
  • Can one become more or less intelligent, or is it pretty much the same throughout one's life?
  • Is learning or education different from intelligence?

Then it's genius time. Were Mozart and others like him a genius? How do average people stack up to those historically deemed geniuses? Is there even such a thing as genius, or is it all hype or adoration? Flipping genius on its head, does stupidity exist -- and if it does, is it measurable? Are some people just more intelligent than others?

Finally, we wrap it all up by discussing the most intelligent person we each know (and, in the process, Gorilla Shawn settles a life-long family dispute)!

So put on your thinking caps and hit the comments to discuss your thoughts about...intelligence!

Direct download: migs50.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 7:02am EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 49: Last Seen…In a Routine

With one episode shy of our 50th show, and a handful of shows away from the one-year anniversary show on February 6, it's clear that creating the Men in Gorilla Suits podcast is now part of our routine. In fact, lately, we haven't recorded as often as usual because of the holidays -- this was the first show we did in weeks. Christopher flubs the opening (we kept it and didn't re-record), showing that falling out of routine can leave one a step off. Hell, Christopher felt off this entire show -- so much so that he set out to edit this episode the old way (routine), when we edited every pause and "uhm..." out of episodes. The good thing is, when you produce a weekly show, falling back into routines takes no time at all; Christopher's sleepy, out-it-it mode for the day had no effect on the episode, despite it feeling off for him. No editing was needed, and he was happy to hear that the show ended up better than he hoped.

But enough babbling...

We kick off this episode talking about the first routines we remember having. From there, we talk about how we form routines and habits, before discussing how important routine is in our lives. While it will become clear early on that we are not the biggest fans of routines -- going so far that we reject many routines others try to put on us -- we take a moment to discuss the importance of routines in completing the things that matter most to us. (Spoiler alert: it's pretty much, "The podcast is our biggest routine, and we really do abide by our motto of Chill the Fuck Out...and Make the Damn Thing!")

Sometimes the routines in life change. We talk about routines that have fallen to the side that we'd like to bring back into our lives...and we talk about routines we're glad are no longer part of our lives. Even for people like us, who reject most routines, one cannot have at least some routines in their lives. We take a bit of time to discuss where in our lives we see the most routine, and go as far as mentioning some routines that aren't a part of our lives that we'd like to invite in.

Writers and other people making creative things are known for strange routines (certain things on the desk, rituals before beginning their thing, and so many other quirks). We talk about if we have writing routines and, if so, what they are. Then it's on to talking about people who have routines that we've admired, before mentioning our own longest-standing routines.

Finally, we close with a quote by Amos Bronson Alcott, who said:

"The less routine, the more life."

Find out if we'd be okay living lives with no routines, and...let us know your own thoughts about routines (or routines, rituals, and habits you have), in the comments.

Direct download: migs49.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 3:22pm EST

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 48: Last Seen…Being Bad Guys

Whether factual or fictional, the real-life and made-up world is not without its share of bad guys. We begin the show discussing who the ultimate bad guy was to us when we were young. Sticking to the past, we move on to who the socially acceptable bad guy was when we were in elementary school -- before discussing current-day socially acceptable bad guys.

We get a bit deeper when we talk about why the United States always seems to need someone to label "the enemy"; then it's back to popular culture and asking, "What's the most laughable villain portrayal you've ever seen in a movie?" Sticking with movies, it's then on to who plays the best bad guys and who we believe to be the best bad guy from fiction.

Topping many people's lists of top bad guy from history would be Hitler. We toss Hitler out of the equation and ask each other who we deem the top baddie from history. After that, we discuss our arch-nemeses, and then move on to who the bad guy would be in a fictionalized version of our lives (and who would play us, as well).

We close it all out with our top 5 portrayals of bad guys and then listing the roster for our hand-picked bad-guy super team!

As always, we'd love to hear all about who you deem bad guys in the comments.

Direct download: migs48.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:51am EST

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