Men in Gorilla Suits (pop culture)
Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 20: Last Seen...Under the Influence

This week, we're talking about influences. Find out our earliest influences--and what/who later influenced us to write. Discover our strangest influences, and what influences changed as we got older. We take a detour and discuss creating under the influence of alcohol and drugs. It's easy to think about people and things that influence us, but we take time out to acknowledge that we all have the ability to influence others. Christopher shares a great story about somebody he influenced without ever knowing. And because not all influences are good, we talk about negative influences. Finally, we wrap up with our most recent influences.

As always, we'd love to know what has influenced you over the years; leave a comment and we'll reply!

Direct download: migs20.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:21pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 19: Last Seen...Predicting the Future

You probably didn't know this, but Shawn was once a reserve "mathlete" as well as a benchwarmer for his school's classical music team. (Those nutty Germans!) Christopher was good friends with the first kid on the block with an Apple II in his house. But that's all in the past...

This week we're talking about...THE FUTURE!!! More specifically, we're talking about fiction's importance on the future. From cyberpunk to warp drives (even penises drawn on the surface of Mars), we have it covered. Along the way, we discuss stories that got the future right -- and those that got it very wrong (including the movie that made Shawn almost fashion a noose from Red Vines and hang himself in the theater.)

While much of this episode is about the future as it pertains to science fiction, we also talk about predictions we got right, and what we think will happen to the world in the next 10 and 20 years. (Clearly, we are seers!) Also, our hopes for the future of fiction and for the real world of tomorrow.

We'd love to hear what you think will happen in the next 20 years; feel free to tell us in the comments. (We expect CMStewart to put us to shame!)

Direct download: migs19.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:49pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 18: Last Seen...Being Afraid

BOOOOOooOOoOoOOOOOooooOOOO!!!

This week, it's all about fear! Find out what things from childhood still creep us out--and what our greatest fears are today. Listen to us talk about how we've overcome many of the fears we've faced. Learn about how anger and fear are related. We all have a phobia or two, but what happens when we give into irrational fears? We talk about how statistically, most of us are safer than ever, and yet many people we talk to have never seemed more afraid. Many of these people watch a lot of "news." We discuss how the media, in a race for ratings, benefits when it can play to our fears and keep us on edge.

Fear isn't just about things that go bump in the night--the stresses of working in a time when layoffs are not uncommon leads to fear at work. We talk about how to break those fears, and most other fears you have (including how to use fear to overcome fear). Finally, sometimes we love being scared. We close this episode talking about why some scary things bother us, but yet we gravitate toward amusement parks, scary movies, and haunted houses.

Beta listeners have said this is one of their favorite episodes, and we won't argue with them. We haven't had this much fun doing the podcast...

Direct download: migs18.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:26am EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 17: Last Seen...Doing Research

Ah, microfiche! We friggin' LOVE microfiche, even today (especially today)! Libraries? Wonderful things -- perfect places for...research! This week, we're talking all about research: online, in libraries, and research obtained simply by living a cool life! More specifically, we're discussing writing research.

Does every story need to be researched? Shawn spins the adage, "Write what you know," on its head, making much better sense of the saying. Christopher gives in and is forced to admit that he researches much more than he thought he did. Along the way, Shawn mentions why cramming 10 pounds of poo into a 5-pound bag is not a good writing move, and Chris sings praises to Jim Lynch. We also discuss some of our specific research methods (Christopher: "ALL HAIL EVERNOTE!!!"), and it's revealed how Shawn's 47 Echo series is really all about tap dancing mimes!

Whether you research for writing, school, hobbies, or other reasons, we hope this episode has something that can help you.

Direct download: migs17.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:11pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 16: Last Seen...Working Obsolete Jobs!

Ah, to live the life as a National Hockey League rover, or to entertain the cigar-rolling masses as a lector. To pump gas or serve as the director of photography on pornographic movies. To open your own Blockbuster Video store franchise or manufacture cassette tapes. These are jobs...some totally obsolete, some on their way out...

This week, it's all about jobs that no longer exist: some long gone, and some we've seen die in our own time. We talk about jobs that are fading, many jobs shoved into one catch-all job, and even discuss why outsourcing may not be the evil many believe it to be. (We might not be in the majority on this one.) We discuss how the "Good ol' days," were only good for some, and why our jobs these days is to simply figure things out. Of course, Shawn works Star Trek into the discussion, and Christopher entertains what a future in which computers write novels might be like. (Smash Gerbils reference goes to Deacon McClendon.)

We wrap it up by discussing how the Internet and nostalgia have brought some obsolete or dying jobs back -- kind of a grudging praise for...the Hipster! Also, wanna be a blacksmith? It's still a better option than many jobs that are on the way out! Don't believe us? Then give this episode a listen!

Note: This episode was recorded under the influence of copious amounts of caffeine (Shawn) and a couple Martinis (Chris). It's a bit frantic and wacky, and that, dear listeners = fun!

Direct download: migs16.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:30pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Episode 15: Last Seen...Building Character(s)

This week we're talking about characterization -- in particular, characterization in fiction. While the episode skews a bit toward writing, what makes a good character should interest everybody. We talk about some of our favorite characters, characters that don't work so well for us, and how we go about tackling strong characters in our own writing. No matter how grounded or out there a story is, chances are, one of the things that keeps you coming back to certain stories are the characters. Find out why some characters have such a strong appeal in this episode.

Direct download: migs15.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:05pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 14: Last Seen...Acting Peeved!

This week, it's all about those little things that get under our skin: pet peeves! What's the difference between a pet peeve and a complaint? We talk about that as well as how so many people inflate pet peeves into bigger issues. Is social media part of the problem, or does it all depend on how we use things? When is a pet peeve a sign of a bigger problem, and how can pet peeves actually be good? We talk about that as well as revealing our own pet peeves. Somewhere along the way, Shawn talks about eating chalk. Seriously. That part alone is worth the listen, but even beta listeners admit -- from start to finish -- this is one of the best episodes of Men in Gorilla Suits to date!

Feel free to share your pet peeves in the comments, or leave a rating or review on iTunes if you like this.

Direct download: migs14.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:44pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep.08: Last Seen...Being Fanboys

We've established that Shawn went to school wearing a Star Trek costume. "No problem," you say, thinking he may have worn it on Halloween. But he just wore it on a normal school day because...why not? We've also established that Christopher did everything in his power to use the Force to convince the world to call him Luke. It was a Jedi mind trick that didn't work.

These stories establish an early stroll into becoming fans of properties, which is what we're talking about today. This week, it's all about fandom!

We're not talking about past attempts at living a geeky dream (well, not entirely); we're talking about all kinds of fandom and how it's either all silly or all okay. We make the argument that the guy in the Klingon costume is no more odd than the guy wearing his favorite sports team's jersey. We talk a little bit about Rocketeer wannabe, Curtis Hart. (You may remember Curtis from an earlier entry.) All kinds of fans -- whether deemed normal or labeled extremely weird -- are the subject. About the only thing we don't get into is what's better: Star Trek or Star Wars.

We know better than that!

Warning: For those who listen to the podcast while driving...there's a section in the podcast (when we talk about Jodi Foster) that gets very loud, very fast. It's an accident Shawn had -- not a wreck or something about to hit you in traffic!

Direct download: migs08.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:26pm EDT

MiGS Ep.07: Last Seen...Building New Worlds

This week, it's a full-blown episode all about writing; specifically, all about world building. What is world building? Simple: it's a writer taking time to craft believable settings for their stories, even if their stories are set in places that don't even exist. But it's more than just creating a world -- it's the rules of that world and how everything affects the characters. Along the way, we talk about what ails literary fiction, Star Trek, Barry Eisler's mistakes, and plenty of talk about the power of Dungeons and Dragons. It only took seven episodes to get two writers to actually spend an hour talking about writing! Thanks for listening.

Direct download: migs07.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 12:56am EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep.06: Last Seen...Cavorting with Pirates

In last week's podcast, we ended up chatting quite a bit about copyright. Somewhere along the way, we mentioned it would be a good topic for a future episode.

The future is now!

This week, it's all about copyright, trademarks, and patents. Do they help the little guy as intended, or have they now become a method of coercion used by large corporations? In a world where rulings against people downloading a handful of music files illegally amount to greater penalties than a negligent doctor killing a family member, it definitely seems like corporations have the upper hand. But is that truly the case? What would a world without copyright, trademarks, or patents look like? And how do Creative Commons licenses factor into all this? Oh yeah, and we talk about piracy. Quite a bit.

It's a controversial topic, and we look forward to hearing what you think in the comments!

Note: Yes, Christopher knows he calls Disney's Steamboat Willie "Boxcar Willie." Twice! That's because he's never more than 7 minutes away from having hobos on his mind...

Direct download: migs06.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:22pm EDT