Men in Gorilla Suits (general)
Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 28: Last Seen...Being Extreme

There's a fire burning inside some people. We see the spark turn into a blast of heat in an instant when certain topics are brought up; just like that, the most normal person can let loose with a barrage of extreme views.

This week, we're talking about extremists: what constitutes an extremist, why people become so extreme about certain things, and...what we can do about it. Whether it's an angry group in the streets or people spewing anger on Facebook, extremism comes in many forms. There are the stereotypes: Islamic terrorists and other religious zealots hellbent of destruction and hate; eco-terrorists and racists. These are the extreme of the extreme, but everyday people are not immune to extremism.

Angry Christians and angry atheists are doing battle right now, online. Same thing with political battles and so many other topics. Ask for a long discussion about classic art online and you may not get a single reply, but type "Gun control: yes or no?" and watch the floodwaters rise. (And yep, we talk about gun control in this episode!)

We ask if there's an increase in extremism, or if it only seems that way because it's now so easy to be heard online. Are the most extreme people on different sides of an issue that different, or are they united by that fire burning deep within? We ask if there's ever a good reason for extremism and even ask ourselves if we have any extreme views. We chat about extremists many don't think to be extremists before discussing what we think is the most dangerous thing about extremism. Finally, we close it all out by asking what can be done to curb extremism.

Dare we say it -- this might be the most important episode we've ever done...

Direct download: migs28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 27: Last Seen...At the Movies

This week, it's all about movies! The first movies we remember seeing, and a bit about the people who got us into movies. There's talk about drive ins and multiplexes; the times before the rise of the blockbuster and what followed after blockbuster films became common. We discuss the difference between film and movies as well as the movies that made us both want to write screenplays one day. Are movies better or worse than they used to be? Yep, we cover that! Along the way, we talk about our favorite movie characters and the worst -- and best -- movies we've ever seen.

Quick Note: We recorded this over Skype, each running our own sound. Shawn doesn't have a buffer between his desk and recorder, so there are some bumping sounds throughout the podcast. In the spirit of this week's show, just imagine it's the footsteps of the t-rex from Jurassic Park!

Direct download: migs27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33am EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 21: Last Seen...Being Critical

This week's show is all about criticism. While it leans heavily toward writing criticism, we do talk about general criticism and criticism as it pertains to the arts and jobs in general. So here we go:

We begin with an important question: is criticism even helpful for writers and artists, or is it counterproductive to creating "pure" art? Along the way, we discuss how to offer criticism and take criticism that comes your way. We share some personal stories about criticism: the best and worst criticism we've received as well as some other tales of being criticized. With anyone with an Internet connection able to review someone's work online, the review has become a type of criticism. We discuss ways writers and artists can use reviews to see how people feel about what they are doing and maybe even improve their work. We close by looping back to the beginning and asking if criticism is a necessary component of art, or if great work can be created with no outside influence.

Direct download: migs21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 13: Last Seen...Managing Time

If you think you don't have time to listen to this episode of Men in Gorilla Suits...you probably need to listen to this episode of Men in Gorilla Suits. This week it's all about time management!

We'll tell you how to find the right time management system...for you! We discuss how having a day job can help you find time for your creative endeavors, and we praise the smart phone as a time management tool. (But probably not in the ways many "time management gurus" would tell us to use our phones.) We chat about time management tools and systems -- including how some can take up more time than they may be worth for your needs. We share ways to identify bad uses of time, and how sometimes you just gotta suck it up and not do the things you want to do because other things take priority in your life for awhile. Hell, we even discuss the importance of allowing yourself to occasionally give in to being lazy (i.e. the Netflix Marathon).

Christopher shares the big time management tip that helped him tame his to-do list, and Shawn's big tip for time management feeds itself each time he's busy. There's even a little Zen moment when we discuss if we're like concrete or water in the way we create. Also: is waiting for "The Muse" a good idea, or is she a massive time management killer? (Spoiler: she's really a succubus out to drain you of time you should just be creating!) Finally, we talk about the difference between multitasking (ick; you can't do it, even if you think you can!) and task stacking (Hooray for task stacking!!!).

We know it's asking a lot for an hour of your time, but that's the length of a commute for most of us. We hope that by the end of this episode, you'll get that hour back...and then some...

Direct download: migs13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep.12: Last Seen...Being Creative

Last week we talked about the independent pursuit of creative endeavors. Before you can get there, though, you have to make something -- and that usually means dealing with some level of creativity.

For many, creativity is an ominous thing, the fickle Muse that may or may not show up and shower you with inspiration. We're here to tell you that the Muse is BS and that creativity, like anything, can be attained by simply working hard. Some highlights from this week's show:

  • Tips for people who doubt they have creative abilities.
  • Rethinking what creativity is -- The Creative Physicist and Programmer.
  • The power of breaks from creative pursuits.
  • How to take breaks from the things that distract you from finding time to create.
  • Why we're not so enamored with those labeling themselves "Creatives." (Hint: actions speak louder than...well, you know...)
  • How to deal with those wanting to exploit your creativity. (What we really mean: those who want to exploit your willingness to actually do the work!)
  • Some of our creative heroes. (Including a bit about Shawn getting email from his hero.)

It's our hope that anyone doubting they have some creative ability in themselves will see that's not the case by this episode's end. As long as you're willing to work hard, it's amazing what's possible.

Direct download: migs12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 11: Last Seen...Being Indie-pendent

This week, we talk about the benefits and pitfalls of independent pursuits and the benefits and pitfalls of going the traditional route. Some sides are all or nothing: extolling independence over all, or shunning anything remotely done completely on one's own. With recent leaps in technology, though, the lines are blurred -- even people who have spent decades going the traditional route with the things that matter to them are finding success blending working with established companies and doing it themselves. In many ways, there's never been a better time to do your own thing, even though it might be harder to be seen in the crowd.

We'd love to hear about (or see) the stuff you make -- feel free to share stories and links in the comments.

Direct download: migs11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:22pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep.10: Last Seen...Being Positive (And Negative)

This week's podcast is all about the creative power that comes with being positive...and negative. This episode is about much more than just attitude's effect on productivity, though. We talk about the power of apathy as it can relate to happiness (or at least reducing stress from one's life). There's a bit about Pollyannas vs. Doomsayers, and how being extremely positive isn't always a good thing. We ask if one's attitude really is as simple as making a decision to be a certain way; also, how people use social media as a platform for their moods. Finally, the episode wraps up with a simple conclusion about life.

Disclaimer: We make a very clear distinction between negativity and depression in this episode. We know that negativity and depression are not synonymous, even though they sometimes move in each others' shadows. When we speak of negativity in this episode, we are talking about learned behavior or making a choice to be a certain way -- not the clinical reasons for some people's moods beyond their control. At various points in our lives, we have both struggled with depression. At various points in our lives, we were simply negative. We know the difference and do our best to make that distinction in this episode.

Direct download: migs10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep.09: Last Seen...Having Hobbies

This week, it's all about hobbies! Are they inherent things we're coded to do, or something that came about in more recent times? We discuss how people look at hobbies at different times in life, and how they can enrich all we do. We also talk about the downside of hobbies: when we become too involved in them or try making them a career and see that we sometimes lose the joy when a hobby becomes a job. Shawn and Christopher share their childhood hobbies, current hobbies, and talk about what hobbies they may find themselves doing in the future.

We want to know what hobbies you love -- please take a moment and tell us in comments.

Direct download: migs09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EDT