Wed, 28 August 2013
Reality TV: people seem to love it or hate it. People also seem to forget how long it's been around...and that even its critics have probably enjoyed some kind of reality programming. This week, we're all about versions of reality on television that succeed and fail, often in very strange ways.
We start out talking about early shows we recognized as "reality" programming before talking about the opposite ends of the reality TV spectrum. Is reality TV legitimate, or is it just lazy TV? We discuss the shows that have pulled us in, and those so bad, we were almost turned off to the medium entirely. We talk about the character of reality TV -- those we've loved, and those we loathed. The part that surprised us both: does reality TV have value? The answer may make you think twice about knocking reality TV and realizing it's like anything: there's good and bad and everything in between...
We'd love to hear about which reality TV shows you've loved, and even those you've hated...
Wed, 21 August 2013
In a time when smart phones and TV screens are everywhere, it can seem so hard to focus. This week, we discuss why people seem to yearn for these kinds of distractions in their lives and what they can do to regain focus on the things that matter to them. How has technology of all sorts made it easier than ever to procrastinate? Do programs and apps meant to keep people offline and away from distractions really work? If not, what can people do to keep their priorities before them?
The more we use quick and satisfying technology like social media sites, text messages, and email, the more we physically rewire our brains to crave more instant gratification. How do we wire our brains to focus on the things that matter in our hearts more than playing rounds of Words with Friends or Candy Crush?
Some people have gone as far as saying distractions have robbed us of our culture -- we address that and how it's really all a matter of priority. After discussing distractions in the workplace, we talk about ways people can focus more. As writers, we talk about how we focus on something as big as novels in an age of distractions -- and how those tips can carry over to anything people do.
We spend a bit of time talking on the power of solitude...how being alone and free of distractions for long periods of time leads to wonderful things! After that, we ask what's more important: focus or action...before finally wrapping it all up by asking if focus, priority -- or something else entirely -- is the most important thing when it comes to getting things done?
We're almost to our 30th episode. Without focusing on priorities, we'd have never gotten this far.
Wed, 14 August 2013
There's a fire burning inside some people. We see the spark turn into a blast of heat in an instant when certain topics are brought up; just like that, the most normal person can let loose with a barrage of extreme views.
This week, we're talking about extremists: what constitutes an extremist, why people become so extreme about certain things, and...what we can do about it. Whether it's an angry group in the streets or people spewing anger on Facebook, extremism comes in many forms. There are the stereotypes: Islamic terrorists and other religious zealots hellbent of destruction and hate; eco-terrorists and racists. These are the extreme of the extreme, but everyday people are not immune to extremism.
Angry Christians and angry atheists are doing battle right now, online. Same thing with political battles and so many other topics. Ask for a long discussion about classic art online and you may not get a single reply, but type "Gun control: yes or no?" and watch the floodwaters rise. (And yep, we talk about gun control in this episode!)
We ask if there's an increase in extremism, or if it only seems that way because it's now so easy to be heard online. Are the most extreme people on different sides of an issue that different, or are they united by that fire burning deep within? We ask if there's ever a good reason for extremism and even ask ourselves if we have any extreme views. We chat about extremists many don't think to be extremists before discussing what we think is the most dangerous thing about extremism. Finally, we close it all out by asking what can be done to curb extremism.
Dare we say it -- this might be the most important episode we've ever done...
Thu, 8 August 2013
This week, it's all about movies! The first movies we remember seeing, and a bit about the people who got us into movies. There's talk about drive ins and multiplexes; the times before the rise of the blockbuster and what followed after blockbuster films became common. We discuss the difference between film and movies as well as the movies that made us both want to write screenplays one day. Are movies better or worse than they used to be? Yep, we cover that! Along the way, we talk about our favorite movie characters and the worst -- and best -- movies we've ever seen.
Quick Note: We recorded this over Skype, each running our own sound. Shawn doesn't have a buffer between his desk and recorder, so there are some bumping sounds throughout the podcast. In the spirit of this week's show, just imagine it's the footsteps of the t-rex from Jurassic Park!
Wed, 31 July 2013
Defend the wicket and pile up the Atlas stones -- this week, we're talking sports! Obviously, we're talking about some more obscure sports in that opening line (to Americans, anyway), but trust us: there's plenty of talk about football, baseball, and that other sporting event Americans clamor for: lumberjacking!
Wait -- basketball...we mean basketball. (Even though hockey's probably mentioned most...because hockey is BEST!!!)
But don't think this is a talk all about games and stats and players because...well, we probably couldn't sustain sports radio-esque chatter like that for an hour. (At least Christopher couldn't.) Instead, listen to Shawn talk about striking out at T-ball and find out what Christopher once did to get much more than a red card in a soccer game. At the same time, we chat a little bit about the sports we have actually succeeded in pulling off...sometimes to levels of actual proficiency. Shawn talks about the sport that saw many broken bones for him, while Christopher talks about the sport in which he's "pretty fast, for a big guy..."
Sure, we talk about athletes and teams that have impressed us, but we also talk about some weird sports -- and things some argue are sports at all. We wrap it up talking about how sports geeks aren't much different than geek geeks; in fact, Christopher makes the argument that anyone playing in a fantasy league of some sort just might be more of a geek than someone playing Dungeons and Dragons.
It's more fun than SlamBall...and SlamBall's pretty fun, right?
Wed, 24 July 2013
Now we are 25! If episodes were years and the podcast were a person, we'd finally be getting lower auto insurance rates. We'd have enough years of adulthood beneath us to have the confidence to do bigger things. We might still get goofy on the weekends, but we'd have a better idea of what we wanted out of life. While the podcast isn't a person, it's a good analogy: we have enough experience working together to now look forward and know what we want out of the show. We'll always be goofy, but we're more confident and ready to focus on more than simply producing weekly episodes. We know we can do that -- now it's time to make things even better!
The episode isn't quite like a "looking back" episode of a sitcom, but it's all about the show: our favorite episodes and our favorite things about doing a weekly show. Our least favorite things about Men in Gorilla Suits. Things we'd change, and things we're proud of. The prevailing sentiment of this episode is just doing the things you want to do! So many times, we talk ourselves out of the things that stick around in our heads and later regret never doing them. In its own way, this episode has some inspirational moments. Along the way, we talk about our process for producing shows and how we decided who does what. (Hint: we let it all happen naturally -- we have never so much as had even a short meeting about the show.) We talk about all our mistakes and successes. In the end, this episode is a celebration of friendship and the benefits of making something on a regular basis.
So...Thank you to everybody who's listened to the first 25 episodes. We'd love to hear your hopes for the next 25 in the comments!
Thu, 18 July 2013
Break out the knives and get that fire and oven going--this week, we're all about cooking! We begin by talking about our first memories of food and move on to whether or not cooking was an important thing in our households growing up. (Spoiler: it was!) We talk about family recipes passed down through generations, and then talk about the first thing we learned how to cook. But this episode isn't all about the past--we talk about what we like to cook now and who does the cooking in our households these days. Then we get a little philosophical, asking if different kinds of foods can bring people together and give us a better understanding of the world. (Spoiler: we think so!)
In the middle of it all, we talk about restaurants: restaurants we've worked in, our favorite restaurants, and suggestions for some good places to eat if you ever find yourself in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. While singing the praises of restaurants, we'd be remiss to not mention our favorite guilty pleasures when it comes to going out and grabbing a bite to eat. Some of our heroes worked in restaurants...we talk about celebrity chefs before moving on to the effect they had on our cooking. And that's not all that affected our cooking--we talk about television and the Internet's effect on what we like to cook.
In the final stretch, we talk about our favorite late-night snacks, and devote some time to the best things we cook. There's a little bit about the last truly wonderful thing we've each eaten, and we wrap up the episode on imaginary death row, talking about what we would have as last meals.
It's a fun episode, all about one of our favorite things: cooking and eating!
Wed, 10 July 2013
Number one reason you want to listen to this week's podcast? Christopher figures out how much he'd have to weigh to have Godzilla's body mass index (BMI). From there, we talk about how food and shopping has changed and ask if it's possible to eat healthy on a budget any more. Is health what we see in magazines, or is it possible to be small and strong? Really, what is healthy? What can we learn about health from other countries?
From there, a bit about whether or not there's a conscious effort to keep people unhealthy for profit. (Can that even be something done by design?) Are bad health habits really that bad, or can what some deem as unhealthy actually be healthy? Holistic health management: bunch of BS or is there something to it? And finally, as a society with a large percentage of people who work while sitting, what are some of the best things a desk-bound jockey can do for better health?
If you've been listening and enjoy the podcast, consider going to iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find the show an leave a rating or review. We're two episodes away from #25! Thanks to everybody who's been listening!
Thu, 4 July 2013
This week, we're all about failure! We kick off talking about our first failures in life and move on to how some people take failure so personally that they become terrified to try anything. (That's called failing at life!) We devote a bit of time to self sabotage as a ridiculous form of "defense" from the possibility of failure and why some people deal with failure better than others. For those who have a tough time with failing, we talk about how failure can lead to better things and offer some ways to not be so afraid of failing at something. What differentiates those who give up easily and those who stick with things? We talk about that...as well as devoting some time to if there are times one should give up on something. Along the way, we talk about The Cult of Fail: people who seem almost excited to get out and fail...and how that's good and bad. We close out the show by discussing our funniest failures because we believe it's important to be reminded that it's important to see humor in failure.
Fri, 28 June 2013
This week's show is all about criticism. While it leans heavily toward writing criticism, we do talk about general criticism and criticism as it pertains to the arts and jobs in general. So here we go:
We begin with an important question: is criticism even helpful for writers and artists, or is it counterproductive to creating "pure" art? Along the way, we discuss how to offer criticism and take criticism that comes your way. We share some personal stories about criticism: the best and worst criticism we've received as well as some other tales of being criticized. With anyone with an Internet connection able to review someone's work online, the review has become a type of criticism. We discuss ways writers and artists can use reviews to see how people feel about what they are doing and maybe even improve their work. We close by looping back to the beginning and asking if criticism is a necessary component of art, or if great work can be created with no outside influence.