Tue, 20 January 2015
Poor, poor Christopher. New Year's Eve he felt it...a slight scratching in his throat. The thought went through his head: "That EVIL family that came in late to the last Hobbit movie, sat up front, and THEN...saw the seats next to me and SAT IN THEM...the hacking girl who should NOT have been out an about...IT'S ALL HER FAULT!!!" (Not even knowing her Christmas must have been spent being miserably sick summoned compassion from a very compassionate individual because...poor, poor Christopher began the new year SICK!!! As in, missed two days of work sick...when I didn't plan to take ANY time off until late April.)
But let's talk about Shawn and all his broken noses. His cauliflower ear. A semi-professional fighter in all kinds of fighting styles in his youth, Shawn is not a stranger to injury. Hell, in this very episode...he friggin' bled all over the place from the side of his head! Not kidding...we were chatting away and he rubbed at a shaving injury. BOOM! It looked all Helter Skelter! Were Christopher not used to goofy, bloody injuries himself, he would have insisted on Shawn stopping and cleaning up...but Christopher's only regret was that he did not get a photo of all the blood.
"What the hell?" you might be thinking? "This is no way to begin show notes for an episode!" But you have probably figured out by now that we are talking, this week, about sickness and injury...
We kick this episode off talking about our earliest memories of being sick or injured...before jumping to the sickest we've ever been. (Christopher apparently ate a shit sammich in Chicago in the mid 90s...)
Injuries. It's not like we plan them. We discuss our most surprising injuries before talking about...surgery! Find out if we've ever had surgery and, if so...why we let someone cut into our bodies.
Medicine. Some say, "Great stuff -- LOVE medicine!" Others...not so much. Find out where we stand on medicine and, if you've ever really wondered, find out what medications we take on a regular basis.
Many who are not fans of medicine push holistic cures even more quickly than the most prescription-happy doctor. Find out where we stand on natural remedies (although we probably just showed our hands with that last line).
Do we consider ourselves sickly or healthy? Find out before we jump to mental health. Is mental health an illness, or all in the heads of those who experience it? Find out where we stand on that and then...find out if either of us are hypochondriacs.
After that, we talk about the illness or injury that most terrifies us.
We close the episode out talking about our weirdest health boasts and what the future holds for illness and injuries.
Want to chime in? Feel free to talk about anything in this episode (or anything we missed that you wished we talked about) in the comments below...
Wed, 14 January 2015
If you listened to our episode about sports, you know we like sports well enough. We have games and players we like, and we enjoy watching these games and players...but if sports one day ceased to exist, life would go on for us. The thought of a world without sports, for some, is the thought of a world they could not live in. We've argued before that sports fans have the potential to be more geeky than any comic book fan, and with the rise of fantasy sports, that geekery is taken to new levels.
There are fantasy leagues for so many sports, but the biggie -- by far -- is American football. So much, that we're dedicating this week's show to fantasy football. (Also because we played fantasy football this season.)
We begin by talking about when we first got into football in general, and then jump to when we first played fantasy football. Who roped us into playing? Find out!
There are people who live for fantasy football, to the point that some speculate it costs workplace productivity 13 billion (yes, BILLION) dollars a year. Find out how often we checked our lineups and how much time we lost playing. Fantasy football consumes weekends for some; we talk about how invested we were in our teams on game days.
It's clear fantasy football isn't going away. We talk about why we think it's only grown in recent years before dedicating some time to our own strategies: how we decided what to do. (Were we into stats, or did we play from the gut?) We also talk about the lessons we learned from our season of fantasy football.
For some, fantasy football is all about winning -- and as silly as it sounds (especially when playing friends) -- a win can feel good. We talk about our best wins (and most heartbreaking losses) of the season.
Anyone listening to Men in Gorilla Suits knows we are fascinated by why people do things. We talk about the appeal of fantasy football to non-football fans and the most die-hard fans...which really comes down to this question: do you even need to be into football to enjoy fantasy football?
Many sports fans equate sports to life, so...we wrap up this episode equating our fantasy football season to a life lesson. (Because SPORTSBALL!!!)
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode in the comments below...
Tue, 6 January 2015
You hear a lot of people say that people don't go outside anymore, but whenever we go outside, whether it's a state or national park, or just a walk around our neighborhoods, people are always out and about, enjoying nature. We hear people at work say things like, "I wish I could get outside more." We've seen backyards that, while they may be a bit manicured, fall away into wide fields with views of nothing man made. It's our experience that humans crave being outside.
So that's what we're talking about this week: nature!
We begin by talking about our earliest memories of nature, and then jump right into what we love best (and hate most) about nature. (Spoiler alert: Christopher hates these possibly more than stinging insects. And THIS is the most accurate image of a wasp ever created!)
After that, we discuss how important nature is in our lives -- and talk about some of our favorite memories in nature. If we had complete dominion over nature, find out what we would change about it...and find out the scariest things that have ever happened to us outside. Next, we jump to our favorite natural places visited...before talking about where we would visit (and what we would do) if time and money were no object.
While it's sometimes just "You kids get off my lawn!" curmudgeony hype, it's true that -- at least in America -- kids are urged by busy parents to stay inside more. Latchkey kids were once more an exception than the norm, and we discuss what kids who don't get to go outside frequently lose in the trade for what is often only perceived safety. And adults aren't immune; after all, they are usually the people telling their kids to stay inside...and as busy as they are (or have at least convinced themselves they are), they also gain something by being outside. We talk about that for a bit, and at least Christopher urges you to go check out Alastair Humphrey's blog and, ESPECIALLY, his #microadventures YouTube videos.
We wrap up this episode talking about what the future has in store for nature.
As always, we'd love to hear about your favorite places, best (and worst) experiences outside, and your favorite things about nature in the comments below.
Tue, 30 December 2014
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:
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!
Wed, 24 December 2014
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:
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.)
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.
Thu, 18 December 2014
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!
Thu, 11 December 2014
"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.
Wed, 3 December 2014
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.
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!
Thu, 27 November 2014
That's great it starts with an earthquake, zombies, nukes, and climate change -- and meteor strikes make some afraid...
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!)
Thu, 20 November 2014
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.