The Real Brian Show

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Apr 20, 2018

Be a nicer. It's the bitchin' thing to do! We're talking about remembering names and what rad verbiage cats are throwin' down these days. If it's cool with you, that is. If it's not, whatevs, we're goin' with the flowin' and jammin' with Shear Terror and Heroess Hannah. So pull up your britches, turn that frown upside down and have a little fun with us.

In This Episode

  • We're Really Excited About Life
  • Strategies for remembering names... (maybe Michael Scott should not be your role model)
  • IN phrases (e.g. boss, homie, bitchin'...)
  • Face glow techniques (tip: it's not dirt)

Remembering Names

There are only a few people whose names don't seem to stick for me. It always happens when I second guess myself once, and then I continually lack confidence in knowing I know that person's name. On the whole, I'm not terrible with it. I usually remember too much about the person, not just their name.

During the first day of orientation after I transferred colleges, myself and my peers were gathered in a large assembly room where we were getting the low-down on campus. I don't recall much about that assembly, except for when the person leading the assembly had us all stand up and turn to the person next to us. We were to shake hands, tell each other our name, and then stare into one another's eyes while repeating their name.

No. Joke.

It was pretty dang awkward and I honestly have no idea what they hoped would become of that little exchange, but it scarred me. Just kidding. It made me realize that I never wanted to do that again, probably, which is why I tend to remember people's name.

My name (Emilee) is spelled a little differently than the traditional name. I'm cool with that, it's been funny to see who has a problem remembering how to spell it. I've been tracking my receipts from restaurants where they take my name for an order... and far from getting the double e correct, I see emliy, emmily, emilie... It's funny. But because my name is spelled the way it is, I know how meaningful it is when people get my name right... and so I like doing that for others. I think names are important, so I will double check emails or messages before I send them, I will apologize and ask someone to repeat their name if I didn't hear it properly, and then repeat it back to them.

Just like remembering anything, really, it's a matter of finding a system that works for you and

Apr 13, 2018

Don't... fall... asleep... Though we can't imagine that will be a problem with this installment of the podcast! We're talking Ready Player One with Tony (Captain Influence) and Anna (Mangodroplet). If you haven't seen it yet, we give a clear spoiler warning for when that particular discussion begins. Here's a great excuse to go out and see it! Don't worry, we have a lot of other things to cover!!

In This Episode

Since I have not yet seen Ready Player One, my mission here will be to direct you at all the content we talked about on the podcast! Also, if you haven't yet discovered Brian's playlists on Spotify... click here and click here.


Apr 6, 2018

Eat your feelings! Then eat someone else's feelings. Or don't, that might not be polite come to think of it. It's better to share! So get a nice bowl of spicy Thai noodles, or whatever form your feelings take, and curl up with this installment of the Real Brian Show! We're so happy to welcome back Shear Terror and, new guest, Hannah (heretofore Heroess).

In This Episode

  • Welcome back Morgan! And first time welcome to Hannah.
  • What does your "perfect day" look like?
  • Sciatic remedy, you say?
  • British crime dramas on Netflix

Eat Your Feelings

I've probably mentioned this in blog posts recently, but I've been on a major Thai food kick for a couple months now. Once I started keeping regular Thai ingredients on hand it started getting easier to whip something up spur of the moment, or to just buy the more substantial aspects of a recipe when needed (fresh pork, chilies, you know).

If you like Thai food but don't really know where to start... here's a great recipe. It's simple: spicy Thai noodles.

What do you need?

Linguine pasta
Chili Paste
Soy Sauce
Sesame oil
Scallions, carrots, peanuts, cilantro, hot sauce

So simple, right? I add pork to this recipe. But here's what you do:

    1. Boil pasta while doing the steps below
    2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 1/2 C sesame oil with 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
    3. When oil is hot, strain pepper flakes and reserve the oil in a bowl. Add the oil back into the skillet, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili paste.
    4. Whisk together with 6 tablespoons of soy sauce and 6 tablespoons of honey
    5. Toss pasta in the skillet with the sauce

BOOM! Top with chopped scallions, carrots, cilantro... serve hot or cold.

I think I'm going to go eat my feelings now.


Mar 30, 2018

Let's be real: sometimes people say stupid things. I mean, we don't, but some people do. In this Superhero Friday episode, Tony joins Brian to talk about some of those situations in which we're confronted with a need to start a conversation in an uncertain environment. Since we live in an uber sensitive environment in which everything we say has the potential to offend someone, how do we go about having small talk with people we just met?

In This Episode

  • March Maaaaaadness
  • Pet cancer is real and getting realerer
  • Taking care of your pet(s)
  • Awkward introductionss...
  • ...topics to talk about with people you just met

Really dog?!?

We can't control how other people choose to engage in small talk, but we can manage our own approach. Tony and Brian get heavy into different options for starting up conversations with people we've just met or don't know well, that can help us avoid awkwardness of offense or bringing up sensitive topics, so instead I want to dive into the other side of this.

Since we can only control ourselves, we can make adjustments to handling introductory conversations. We can select questions, take a different approach, try to make people feel at ease. But we cannot control how other people choose to approach small talk. I wrote at the top of the blog that culture, as a whole, has become increasingly sensitive to comments people make, to such a degree that it sometimes seems better not to talk to anyone than to talk to someone and fear saying the wrong thing. The conversations that may seem innocuous to us are sensitive to others, and vice versa. The things we think will be fun will be uninteresting or annoying to someone else. It happens all the time.

There isn't a way to avoid it entirely (unless you become a hermit and only talk to frogs... but even then you'd better be careful, they make look happy but that's only because they eat whatever bugs them). So the best we can do is learn to control our own responses. I can have terrible reactions to things, and the reaction is almost never due to just what was said but of mounting stressors that precede whatever information I just got causing me to react badly. I was reading a little from Jerome Kagan recently, specifically about the three general categories of child temperaments, and I was surprised (and not surprised) to realize that we all tend to revert back to our child-like temperament under stress. Without honing our reactions, we are all a bunch of babies.

Be excellent to one another! My challenge to you, and to me, this next week is to not make anyone feel bad for asking a question that they couldn't possibly know is a sensitive topic to us. Rise above and treat them with respect and kindness. Let's change the way we react, and change the way we converse!


Mar 16, 2018

That's quasi-nerd, not queasy-nerd... though we understand why you might make that mistake! Welcome back Captain Influence, aka Tony, to this mad March installment of The Real Brian Show! Our classic lineup of conversations includes music, movies, gaming, and, of course, a strong shot of espresso.

In This Episode

  • It's St. Patty's Day!! Tomorrow...
  • The Corrs. It's been too long, man.
  • What type of nerd are you? Quasi-nerd... apathetic nerd... full-on nerd...
  • Espresso Shot!
  • Chvrches (My Enemy). Sia (Magic).
  • And, duh... Alien: Isolation


The prefix quasi just means something that is almost, but not quite the thing that's being defined. Someone who is a quasi-nerd probably meets a lot of the parameters, but not all of them... or not in the classic sense of it. We've really pimped out the word "nerd" in our culture, tossing it around both as a compliment and as a dig, to the point where it has almost lost its meaning. We've glamorized the term. We use phrases like cute nerd.

Literally, of course, a nerd refers to someone who is socially inept, unstylish and unattractive. I experimented a little bit... wondering what the most popular references to nerd were out there on the internet, and I got some surprising results. In my circles of influence, I probably most commonly hear people use the word "nerd" in contexts outside its literal definition, though I know it's literal definition is still its most common usage. So naturally, I was curious.

The top hits for an image search for "nerd" in Google are facetiously-dressed people pretending to be an unstylish and unattractive social pariah, Steve Urkel and N.E.R.D. (amongst a smattering of images that could be featured next to the word in the dictionary). On Pinterest, however, I found that the search for "nerd" yielded results that were much more my sphere... cutesy, not-unattractive people wearing large glasses and holding books pretending like they hate people AND also a bunch of quotes about the superior intelligence of nerds that gives them a pass on being rude to the rest of humanity. To me, this discrepancy speaks more to the users on each of these platforms rather than the true meaning of the word... But that's just me.

So what kind of nerd are you? Can we really be a quasi-nerd? It's interesting, because a large part of the conversation in this episode centers around our surprise, and non-surprise, that opinions among friends about movies and music vary to a great degree. Tony really dislikes the JJ Abrams-produced Star Wars films, but Brian likes them. And both opinions, while being totally valid, are in direct competition with each other. It seems like, historically, nerds have risen up in areas where this direct competition lies but without the social skills that enable them to be... civil... about their differences!

And I think that's a large part of the reason we embrace the idea of being a quasi-nerd. We love the differences our community has, it's literally what keeps us going. Without the differences, we'd be super boring. But we don't want to be so foolish in our pursuits that we ignore the valid opinions of others. We don't want to be so boring in our single-minded pursuits that we forget to go out and have new experiences. So we continue to branch out! And we're so glad you want to join us in that!


Mar 9, 2018

For the second week in a row we're glad to welcome back Tony, aka Captain Influence! In our typical Superhero Friday fashion, we've got the fun and we've got the serious, but this week we want to circle back to reminding each other of how important it is for the two to overlap from time to time. We're a people of extremes, aren't we? We tend toward extremes and finding a balance can be our primary focus in life. But it's exhausting, isn't it? Sometimes we just have to take the fun when there is fun, take the serious when it calls for serious, and not force either when they seem a little too far out of reach.

In This Episode

  • Welcome back, Tony!
  • Dirrrty chai
  • Weekend of gaming and junky food
  • Show for the Almost Famous!
  • We all want to be someone
  • Alien Isolation
  • Moosik

Never Surrender

Realizations about the somebody we are trying to be can come in spurts over a long period of time. We learn a little bit more about ourselves, then express that part of ourself to the world. When we express ourselves, we unconsciously gauge reactions to our personality and those reactions can either make us retreat inward and stay the way we've always been or make us change ourselves. Neither reaction is wrong, they're both very natural, but one of the things we love to celebrate here at the Real Brian Show is the fact that you can continue be who you are in spite of the reactions from others if who you are is who you want to be.

Brian talks about being a somebody to other somebodies and how discouraging that can be when we're not immediately accepted. Changing ourselves to be accepted by someone else is still a rejection. We reject ourselves. Continual improvement, betterment, increase in emotional intelligence... these are all good things and I do not want to draw a fine line at never changing ever! Change is good, but changing to meet the expectations of others or because of someone else's dissatisfaction is not the good kind of change!

In our society which is quickly being eaten up by social media we seem to have reverted to a middle school mentality of pleasing others by striving to meet ineffable qualities and standards. The qualities and standards are subjective and fluctuate based on someone's mood or someone's circumstances. We like to celebrate individuality and having fun and nerding out while simultaneously exploring the realness of life because it only seems to be then that we start to capture the full picture of life.


Mar 2, 2018

Welcome back to The Real Brian Show! We're pleased to welcome back Tony, aka Captain Influence, to kick off the month of March. We're going to be hearing about a colonoscopy in this episode, but before you cringe and veer away let me assure you that it is definitely G rated. If you've ever been concerned about getting a colonoscopy or it's on your list of things to do and you've been putting it off... hopefully this will put your mind at ease. To balance out the fun, we'll talk some movies, tv shows, and the stuff we're nerding out about right now.

In This Episode

  • Setting fear aside and take the probe plunge
  • You get a colonoscopy. And YOU get a colonoscopy.
  • Black Panther
  • The Tick has returned
  • YouTube TV


Googling "colonoscopy" yields these top 4 questions:

  • Does a colonoscopy hurt
  • What can I expect from a colonoscopy?
  • How long does it take to get a colonoscopy?
  • What happens during a colonoscopy procedure?

Well, guess what? We're going to touch on all of these questions AND have fun doing it! Take THAT Google. Colonoscopy is one of those medical procedures that yields a lot of clarity, but is dreadfully unpleasant to think about. Examining the colon is necessary, but the methodology by which it is accomplished makes everyone cringe.

Have no fear, our conversation is not graphic. In the same vein of learning how to live healthy, we're advocates for taking care of the body even when it seems uncomfortable or unpleasant.


Feb 23, 2018

Does this beard make me look fat? You never quite know what to expect from an episode of the Real Brian Show, but you can expect to enjoy being dragged along to wherever we venture! I have the privilege of co-hosting with Brian, once again, and we go from what's in our cups to discussing the awesomeness happening at the Olympics to realizing some hard truths about social media. Join us for the fun!

In This Episode

  • Miss Ice takes over.... again
  • Body hair. Trust me, you'll have to listen for more
  • Olympics & amazing people
  • Finding a social platform for conversation
  • Social media...arg!
  • Endorphin rush! Where does yours come from?

Does this facial hair make me look fat?

The title of this week's episode comes from another conversation he and I had about two years ago! Randomness in the form of Emilee and Brian at its finest. Living in Minnesota, I see more than my share of beards. Some of them are epic, some of them need to be shaved yesterday. But when they're done right they really suit a man and I can appreciate them for their bizarre uniqueness. Not uniqueness in the way they're maintained or shaped, but uniqueness in just considering that human men naturally grow hair on their face. It's so awesomely weird, and still... totally natural.

But isn't it more weird to NOT have a beard? Maybe not in this day and age, but consider generations past. Consider a time before razors and blades. Today, shaving AND not shaving is a decision. It was Alexander the Great who sort of established the norm for shaving in western civilization, but shaving wasn't a concept he invented. Think about classic photographs of noble Egyptians, who strategically shaved their faces and their heads.

Back and forth, the scale was tilted in favor, then not in favor, of shaving. Alexander the Great established shaving as a norm in his time (300s BC), but then the leader of the Roman world, Publius Aelius Hadrianus, intentionally pushed back, grew a beard and established facial hair as a new form of manliness. Historical records account for the resurgence of beards in what they call "Beard Movements", which is interesting because I could find the inversion of that. I couldn't find "Shaving Movements".

It's fascinating. With just a little searching on the interwebs a learned a lot about beards I've never thought of. What side do you come down on? Beard. No beard.


Feb 16, 2018

Whether Valentine's Day is your thing, or you enjoy celebrating love every day of the year, we are happy to welcome you back to the Real Brian Show and an installment that will hopefully satisfy the broad spectrum of our listener base! We're not much for Hallmark Holidays here at The Real Brian Show, but we do love the fun history of the internationally-observed day of love. Mangodroplet joins the Real Brian and they chat about all sorts of wonderful, nerdy things...

In This Episode

  • I wish I wasn't SO DANG SWEET!
  • Watching the heck out of the Olympics
  • Staad Backpack
  • Torchlight Society
  • Nerve conduction study
  • Espresso shot: the more you know...
  • Music, TV and Movies

The Staad Backpack

Looking for a backpack that is both practical AND professional? Plus excellent quality? Check out Staad Backpacks. We are SO impressed with The Staad. Brian had a chance to review and talk about the Bolt Backpack back in August and, while he also really enjoys The Bolt, The Staad is absolute perfection in a backpack! Ok, well, maybe it's just perfect to Brian. Ergonomically, The Staad is fantastic. Not too heavy and just right on the shoulders for even distribution. It's also exceptionally well-made with waxed canvas that looks better as it ages and full grain, high-quality, leather. Truthfully, this bag (as long as taken care of) should last Brian's entire life. If you're wanting to look professional (wearing suits, nice clothes, etc.) and you need something ergonomic, then ditch the high school look and GET A STAAD! :D

Torchlight Society

We've talked about, and even spoken with, the brilliantly talented Brian C. Roll a number of times and here we are again raving about his art. Torchlight Society is an art subscription club, in which you receive a ton of perks on artwork produced by Odyssey art AND receive quarterly shipments of all sorts of sweet stuff. Here's some of the art that Brian has received:


Feb 9, 2018

Welcome back to the Real Brian Show! With episode 100 in the bag, we return this week with a fresh dose of realness from crowd favorite, Mangodroplet (aka Anna). There's a lot on the docket for this episode! Brian has some quality Chinese coffee; Owl City and Plumb top our Now Playing list; and the Greatest Showman comes highly recommended.

In This Episode

  • Espresso Shot!
  • Healthy foods... you are what you eat!
  • Netflix: Altered Carbon and The Cloverfield Paradox
  • Music: Owl City, Plumb, Lights
  • How real can we really be?

How Real

We want to be real, but we don't want to overwhelm everyone around us with hardships...nor do we want to alienate people with updates that have distasteful sense of boasting. Does striking a balance prevent us from being really real?

As I was thinking about this idea, and listening to Brian and Anna discuss, a couple things occurred to me. As they mention, social media does a lot to distort our perception of other people's lives and to affect the way we present our own. Our online persona is the person most of our associations actually see - isn't that bizarre? I interact with an entirely different group of people on Facebook versus "in real life" (i.e. at work, church, neighborhood). For many of the people who know me, what I put on Facebook is all they really know.

How about that phrase lying by omission? Just because we didn't put it on Facebook doesn't mean it didn't happen. I know, I know, crazy! And just because we put something on Facebook doesn't mean we've accurately represented something that happened. Social media is just filtered perceptions, and then comments on those perceptions. It's exhausting.

The second thing that I realized was that in order to really be real, we have to be honest with ourselves... and not just by posting a variety of information. It isn't entirely about striking a balance between sharing hardships (but nothing too serious) and sharing wins (but nothing overtly braggy). It's about resetting our brains to count our blessings when we are hurting the most, or to remember those in need when we are particularly happy. As the authenticity of our online interactions increase, each story we share doesn't become about qualifying our pain or excusing our glee, but about sharing something genuine, without transforming it in order to control the narrative.

I'm very honored by Brian mentioning the anniversary of my Dad's death, and in that spirit I am not sorry to say that I've had to take a serious look at this approach to Facebook myself. For many years, my mantra was "pain is gain" and "suck it up" or "rub some dirt in it". Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people. We all deal with stuff. But I've grown much more compassionate since having to deal with the grief of losing my dad, which has forced me to look for joy even when it seems so far away... and then to also accept the pain of grief as it bubbles up. But it doesn't matter, ultimately, what anyone else thinks about my pain or my joy, what matters is that I don't lie to myself about it. After I quit lying to myself, I quit sharing very cultured stories on Facebook. I quit the random little comments that made it look like I was always having a ball, and I quit posting every time I was feeling sad.

We don't need the validation of Facebook. We should not look to these mediums for validation or relief. It is a massive network, now, that seems unstoppable in terms of what it enables us to do with "community", but the fact of the matter is that if we feel a need to cultivate a persona... it should not be considered community. Several weeks ago I talked about finding a tether - someone, or several someones, who bind you to the earth. That is where it matters to be really real. Everywhere else is just a smokescreen, no matter how much people try to convince you otherwise.

In the words of e.e. cummings: "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." Fight the battle for your own identity by fighting against that tendency to carefully craft every outward-facing story and comment. You be you, and I'll be me. I'd rather not try to be you.


Feb 2, 2018

We've arrived at the 100th episode! It's a milestone for any podcast and few make it all the way. We're so thankful to everyone who has made this show possible and to the amazing participation of our community. In this installment of the podcast, Brian goes solo in order to reminisce on the last 100 episodes and play some sound bites from the community. If you didn't get a chance to pipe in, leave a comment on the blog post!

In This Episode

  • 100 episodes!!
  • Where we started... embracing your inner nerd...
  • Still nerding out, but rebranded
  • Two sides to us all
  • Podcast journey closely paralleled with personal journey
  • Sound clips from the community!
  • Keeping with variety

100th Episode

In the television world, 100 is an important number. It means that a show is viable for syndication. I was reading a bit about this and it's advantageous because the network can run consecutive weekday reruns for a longer period of time without having to repeat episodes, meaning that viewing audiences will feel like it's less repetitive.

However, there are a handful of shows which purposefully ended their run early to avoid being put into syndication, realizing that it is possible to over-saturate the market or that the value in each episode might decrease if they're overplayed. Reaching 100 episodes is difficult. In America it typically requires remaining on the air for five seasons (because there are 22-24 episodes per season). And then, even when that 100 episode mark is reached, there's no guarantee that syndication will be successful.

The point being, there are a number of factors that go into determining success. And though we love quantity, we also value impact and quality. Had we, at The Real Brian Show, valued sheer quantity and an unrelenting consistency, we actually might have reached the 100-episode threshold sooner. We acknowledge that this is an important milestone, but also acknowledge that numbers mean nothing without the quality of each one being met to the standards our community expects. As we look ahead to the next 100, 1000 or 1M episodes (a girl can wish), we strive to deliver content that is encouraging, beneficial, humorous, serious, nerdy, smart, clever, mouth-watering and memorable.

Thank you for being part of this journey! We look forward to sharing much, much more with you in the upcoming years.

Jan 26, 2018

Welcome back to The Real Brian Show! We're excited to have Anna, aka Dr. Mangodroplet, join us again for another riveting discussion. With Brian's coffee roaster in full swing now he is adequately caffeinated and enjoying Papua New Guinea beans from the Sigri Estate. These two have a lot on their watchlist, including the Shannara Chronicles Season 2 and Star Wars Rebels. We're going to talk about pizza places in Fort Collins and an Australian company that is making video game hologram rooms!

In This Episode

  • Welcome back Mangodroplet!
  • Coffee roaster is up and running!
  • Shannara Season 2, Star Wars Rebels
  • Fort Collins conundrum: Mod Pizza vs Pizza Rev
  • Espresso Shot: back by popular demand

For Your Protection

Did you know that coffee was originally chewed and not drunk? Yeah, a cool little piece of coffee history is that some East African tribes used to grind coffee cherries (some sources call them berries) and roll them into animal fat. They were used to provide energy for their warriors going to battle.

West African history has some fun coffee history, too. One story, from Yemen, claims that farmers noticed their goats were full of "pep" after eating the berries of a particular plant, who's properties had never been assessed before. The people described the goats as "dancing" due to intoxication from the berries. So, naturally, they had to try for themselves!

There are dozens of stories of different groups of people around the world discovering coffee, and its effects. There are even more stories about coffee concoctions being used to cure diseases and connoisseurs planting beans in areas of the earth where it didn't grow naturally, only to see it thrive!

So yes, we drink coffee for your protection! Drink coffee: do stupid things faster with more energy.


Jan 19, 2018

Welcome back to The Real Brian Show! It's our privilege to welcome back Mangodroplet for another amazing Superhero Friday installment. We've got a taste of everything for you this week... Brian's new coffee roaster (and tips on getting started yourself), the opioids craze, the new film Jumanji, and, of course, five things you can actively do to make your 2018 great!

In This Episode

  • Welcome back, Mangodroplet!
  • Coffee roasters and roasting coffee
  • Managing Pain...
  • Opioids Crisis in America
  • 5 Things to Make Your 2018 Great!
  • Jumanji!

Make 2018 Great

On the whole, what we talk about in this episode can be applied to any year, not specific to this year, but in the spirit of setting intentions it helps to call some things out, give them a name, and give ourselves something to strive for. How do we make 2018 great? Well, what's most important in your life? Work. School. Family. Business. Hobby. Maybe it's a combination of all those things. Start thinking about what you know of this year, already, some of the things you know are coming, and apply the five points to those things.


Jan 12, 2018

Happy Superhero Friday! We're so glad you're joining us for this Miss-Ice-Takeover installment of the podcast. Over the last couple months we've talked a lot about different aspects of community and about being involved in the process that brings people in and makes them feel like they're part of something. This week is no different, except that instead of talking about community in the abstract, Brian and I get really real. Ready?

In This Episode

  • Sports... Pro vs College
  • Fantasy Football and the MASSIVE MONEY MACHINE
  • Spotify (did you know Brian's public playlist is collab? Yeah.)
  • Real and Deep Q&A

Real and Deep

While it is never our intention to make you feel uncomfortable, we hope that you can appreciate that sometimes it means getting a little uncomfortable in order to break down the barriers of conversation. Over the last couple years, really since my dad died, I've been noticing the array of topics people won't talk about (even outside of politics and religion). They're often unique to each person, or subset of people, but almost always have the common ancestor of requiring vulnerability.

Being vulnerable is difficult. By its own definition, it makes us vulnerable. It's like putting on armor to go into battle, then taking it off right when the fighting begins. The interesting thing I've found as I've learned to be more vulnerable is that part of what is so liberating about it is that I'm not lying to myself about what I'm capable of. Armor makes us feel safer, even though it does not protect us 100%. Removing that armor reminds us that we are only human and that there are a lot of things we are susceptible to. And as a result, we live (or we fight) differently. Without armor in a battle, we'd take a different approach than we would if we had that layer of protection armor offers.

The intention with our discussion in this episode was to give you all a glimpse in to how Brian and I see community. We see it filled with open discussions about difficult topics. We see it as being transparent and honest about actions and thought processes, and then letting one another speak into our lives so that we can grow from where we are.

We hope you enjoy our discussion!

Jan 5, 2018

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018 and the year of intentions! It's not that resolutions are bad, but new year's resolutions can often carry a relatively negative connotation. It's something you resolve to do at the beginning of the year which ends up getting discarded a couple months later. In this episode of The Real Brian Show, Martin (the Flash) and Brian talk about their intentions for 2018. They also talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Christmas music classics, and all the good nerdy stuff you've come to love from this show.

In This Episode

  • Happy New Year!
  • Welcome back to The Flash (aka Martin)
  • Delivering the BEST for 2018
  • Young at heart mentality
  • Christmas Music: Everything or the classics?
  • Getting back to eating healthy
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi


Last year, my new year's resolution was to drink a gallon of water everyday. The cool thing about that resolution was that the more water I drank, the more my body craved it, and it ended up being something I carried with me the entire year! I can't say that I've experienced that very much. Wrapped up in this resolution, however, was a desire to be more intentional - whether I realized it or not. I wanted to make a change that would positively impact my health.

The results of that resolution have motivated me to make another one. I looked at something "simple" (not a lot of overhead) that I could do consistently, which would greatly impact me without also requiring significant change on top of it. The best thing about drinking more water every day was that it encouraged me to do other healthy things. So this year, I'm going to intentionally eat breakfast everyday.


I know. I have not consistently eaten breakfast for almost 12 years. I'm 31 years old, if that gives you some context for when this nasty habit began. I don't usually leave myself a lot of time in the morning to do anything else other than down a pot of coffee. My argument is that I'm usually not hungry until 10 a.m., but by then I don't eat something light and healthy, I go for whatever is on hand (which is usually the snack closet at work, let's be honest). Similarly to drinking water, I think that I will develop an appetite in the morning by consistently feeding my body good nutrients within an hour of waking up. We'll see! I'm excited to look back on this in another year and see the impact it has on my diet and general health.

What is your intention for the new year? Drop us a line in the comments or leave a message on our Facebook Group!


Dec 22, 2017

Welcome back, for the last installment of the podcast for the adventure that has been 2017! We're excited to cap off the year with Scarlet Synapse and all the joy she brings to our ears. Even though we listen to music all year long, we eat cookies all year long, and lights are displayed in one way or another all year long, there's just something about this time of year that makes it all fitting. Which is why we're taking some time in this podcast to talk about them all (because there are a lot). Check out the LINKS section of the blog post to get redirected to the music we talk about in this episode.

In This Episode

  • Welcome, Scarlet Synapse!
  • Spiritual Plague: God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
  • Christmas Lights (massive displays)
  • Christmas Traditions
  • Oconomowoc Christmas parade
  • Tree woes.... and LED lights
  • Christmas Cookie Preferences


Looking for all that fabulous music played during the podcast? And maybe a few more for good measure? You'll find everything you're looking for below.

Dec 15, 2017

It's Friday! And we're one week closer to Christmas. It's all too easy this time of year to get sucked into the vortex of presents and shopping, so we encourage you to listen to this podcast while you're doing something non commercial-holiday related. Maybe it's time to vacuum the spare bedroom... or clean out that closet you said you would clean out last year. With Brian and Anna (aka Mangodroplet) at the helm, we're going to be talking about a pretty heavy, and very relevant, topic. Sexual harassment, and the "Me Too" phenom, is a vital conversation to have and I think you'll find that our hosts do it justice.

In This Episode

  • Welcome Mangodroplet!
  • What do you nerd out about?
  • Gaming community
  • Overwatch
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Anna's "Me Too" story
  • Andy Weir's new book "Artemis"

Me Too

Did you know #MeToo isn't all that new? It went viral in October of this year, but the phrase was actually adopted by a social activist on MySpace back in '06! Tarana Burke created the concept as part of her campaign, whose objective was to promote empowerment through empathy among women of color who experienced abuse. The origin of the phrase, in Tarana's usage of it, is quite revealing and still indicative of our culture today. A young girl confided to Tarana that she had been a victim of sexual abuse and Tarana didn't know what to say. Later on, she says, she had wished she said to the girl: Me too.

Talking about sexual harassment is difficult. There are so many victims, friends and family of victims. There are accusers who've been dismissed, and accused who are innocent. There is so much baggage that talking about it can seem fruitless or insurmountable or intimidating. But that often is the case for issues that have such emotional depths tied to them, isn't it? Wherever there are deep emotional wounds there will be issues that are difficult to talk about.

This is one of those issues that I like to say needs to undergo a "demystification process". Talking about it, opening the floor for discussion, and, most importantly, listening to others (particularly those who are trying to articulate how the abuse took place) are all important steps in helping to take the mystery and the insurmountable feeling out of the issue. Providing context for abuse can help others to recognize it, it can correct wrong ways of thinking. But we have to be willing to get a little uncomfortable in order to get anywhere.


Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

Dec 8, 2017

As we draw deeper into the season of giving, of love and good cheer, and, most importantly, of hope, our conversations lead to the heart of matters that affect our relationships and, as a result, affect our community. Here at The Real Brian Show we are advocates for having the difficult conversations, for breaking complex human actions down into smaller pieces in an attempt to understand them, and encouraging one another to be the best version of ourselves. So join us in welcoming Mad Scientist back to the show! We get serious with a talk about the value of sympathy vs empathy, have some fun talking about Stranger Things 2 and Destiny 2.

In This Episode

  • Tis the season...
  • buy, buy, buy!
  • Just kidding. It's the season of love and good cheer
  • Finding other things to do than get and give... DO!
  • Mad Scientist and His Med School Applications
  • Sympathy vs Empathy and when to wield them

Sympathy vs Empathy

Sympathy (compassion, pity for someone) and empathy (personally understand someone) are significant traits to have, but it is challenging to know when to use which one. Looking through the lens of a practicing doctor, the Mad Scientist lays down his observations for why a doctor emphasizing empathy may be less appealing than one who practices sympathy. It's a very interesting distinction and there are many aspects of life in which we may be able to exhibit either sympathy or empathy, but only one will be best for someone else.

Listen in! If you have your own response to the conversation, leave a note in the comments!

Stranger Things 2

Like the Mad Scientist, my cousins and I blew through the new season rather quickly. Not a day quickly, but 2 days over the course of two weekends. It was nice to have the week in between the first half and second half of the season. It gave me time to ruminate, reminisce, and anticipate what was coming. The season delivered on the suspense factor, it matched last season's dorky cuteness, and took some turns with characters to which I was pleasantly surprised defied the typical cliches they might otherwise be beholden to.

From the beginning, this show has reminded me, in all the best ways, of Fringe. This season brought up some themes that were even more strikingly similar. For you super fans out there, do you remember Season 4 Episode 3 "Alone in the World"? In this episode, a young boy develops a psychic bond with a fungus. The fungus saves him from bullies, leading to their untimely deaths. When the boy is connected to the deaths of these boys, our favorite FBI team is brought into investigate. Walter, ever so keen to the fringe sciences, hypothesizes that a psychic link formed between the boy and the fungus after the boy's gradual exposure to the fungi's spores. When the FBI tries to exterminate the fungus, whatever they do to the fungus has a similar effect on the boy. Including trying to destroy the fungus with blowtorches.

It's one of my favorite episodes from season 4, and I always thought the story was too fascinating to contain to a single episode, so this season of Stranger Things was a bit like fan fiction for me. It fleshed out this story of a psychic connection to a living organism, took bizarre and unforeseen turns... I loved it, through and through.


Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash

Dec 1, 2017

Under commitment, over commitment. We see it all in modern society. Carl, Brian and Emilee take a whack at dissecting what it is getting in our way, why we make promises we don't intend to keep or why we hold back from making any promises at all. It's Superhero Friday, though! Which means we're going to have a blast talking about all our favorite things, including Justice League (we promise only minor spoilers).

In This Episode

  • Emilee (Miss Ice) and Carl (CJ Thunder) join Brian!
  • Act your age, not your shoe size
  • coming. Peppermint mocha, anyone?
  • Emilee has never had Eggnog?!
  • Commitment: we over commit and under commit
  • Being intentional about promises, about things we commit to
  • Being willing to have uncomfortable conversations
  • Honesty versus a perception of sparing someone's feelings (this can be done in a respectful way)
  • Justice League!

Just Quit

Remember the adage, nobody likes a quitter? Sometimes when this is used, it takes an action completely out of context. As I thought more about it, I was curious to find a couple interesting ways to consider how quitting is used to define and entrap people from making decisions.

Being a quitter could be viewed in two ways. 1) Someone who quits one particular thing at a particular moment in time. 2) An identifier for someone who gives up too soon. When things get hard, do you buckle down, reassess and try to figure the situation out? Or do you bail? We talk about commitments in this installment of the podcast and how, as a society, we tend to inadvertently undervalue other people in the long term in order to satisfy an immediate need to please others. Example: saying yes to something when asked, in order to make someone happy, without any intention on following through.

Is there a solution? Likely there isn't a one-size fits all solution, but I do believe we make terrible habits out of saying one thing and doing another. Often we're not intentionally being hypocritical, we're just trying to be nice. But I do think it stems from a mindset of being me-oriented instead of others-oriented. I have been very guilty of this in the past, and it's taken significant intentionality to learn how to kindly and patiently be honest with others even if the answer I have for them, or a response I have for them, is not what they want to hear.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Leave a comment below!

Nov 17, 2017

Welcome back to The Real Brian Show! On this installment of the podcast, before a brief hiatus as we break for Thanksgiving, we welcome Shear Terror (Morgan) back to the show. Did you know that Brian is 13" taller than Morgan? Yeah. Seriously. But height makes no different on a podcast, right? Our differences make us unique and give us unique experiences and give us a variety that makes life so well rounded. But our differences also cause bias, division and derision. Why? Oh, let us count the ways.

In This Episode

  • CSU Basketball
  • Guild Wars... and making money
  • What Feminism really means
  • Stop the hate!
  • Communication is suffering

Stop the Hate

Morgan and Brian (not to be confused with USWNT superstar Morgan Brian) have a great discussion about how the claws of feminism have turned something that is intrinsically good - the fight for equality in the value of human life, regardless of differences - into something that hurts the people who the cause claims is hurting them. Equality embraces differences, looking beyond what makes us unique, and valuing each person as a human being, as a unique individual.

Maybe you think that it's easy to say because I'm [fill in the blank]. Or it's easy to say, but harder to do. But just like everything else in life, how we treat others is a choice we make. If, when you think on it, you realize that the way you treat others is more reactionary than a conscious decision, then maybe it's time to step back and teach yourself some new habits. I'm thinking of someone in my life, as I type this, who I've developed a bad habit of snapping at when I can't easily convey my point. I'm very aware of the differences between us and even why I snap, but I become so impatient that it causes that divide between us to keep expanding.

The biggest takeaway from the episode, we hope, is an encouragement to acknowledge the differences between yourself and the people who surround you and learn how to work with them instead of against them. Maybe it means listening to a point of view you disagree with, maybe it means keeping your mouth shut when you were about to say something mean. Words can be used to create and destroy, and if they're doing both at once then something is not right. If by building one person up, another is brought down... a new approach needs to be had.

Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash

Nov 10, 2017

Welcome back to The Real Brian Show! This week we've invited Lee Stephen and Andrea Deck to join the discussion. We last spoke with Lee in Episode 86 and were eager to get him back. To add some flavor, we also recruited Andrea Deck, who is a voice, film and stage actor currently living in Great Britain. Together we chat about video games,what it's like being an American and living in England, voice acting, and Type-1 diabetes. Ready for some fun?

In This Episode

  • Thanksgiving in England
  • Questions about living in England
  • Currently nerding out about....
  • Video Games: Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Alien: Isolation
  • Voice acting
  • Type 1 Diabetes

Andrea Deck

You may recognize Andrea's voice before her face... Though she is known for film and television roles, she's also voiced a couple characters on well known video games! On Alien: Isolation she voiced the character Amanda Ripley and Martha Wayne on Batman: Arkham VR, as well as characters in Strike Suit Zero, Carol, and Star Wars Battlefront.

As a Type-1 Diabetic, Andrea shares some much-needed context for those of us who haven't been touched closely by this disorder.After being diagnosed at a young age, she needed to learn how to deal with something that would become life-long. Diabetes doesn't just present itself physically, emotionally as well. We get to zoom in on someone's personal experience with the disorder and how she's learned to work with it instead of fight against it.

Show her some love and follow on Instagram!


Photo by Adrien Ledoux on Unsplash

Nov 3, 2017

Happy Superhero Friday! In this installment of the podcast, I step out from behind the veil of the blog posts and co-host with Brian. We have a lot of fun with this discussion, including diving into one of my favorite topics... personality tests! There are several unmistakeable truths in this life: 1) the world is always changing, 2) sometimes things happen to us, and 3) we need to interact with people. Personality tests don't have an answer key, but they certainly produce tools for us to understand those 3 unmistakeable truths!

In This Episode

  • Wild Weather
  • Animated movies
  • Voice acting
  • Personality Tests (Enneagram, MBTI)
  • Learning to adjust with life changes
  • Sci-Fi November! Stranger Things Season 2, Dark Matter

Sometimes I Try To Be Normal

Let's be honest, whenever we try to be normal... there's usually some colossal fallout. Right? Oh, maybe you can be successful at it, but whenever I try to be like everyone else all I end up doing is making people feel awkward! One of the reasons I love personality tests is because I've been able to learn a lot about myself through them. And not just in the typical introspective way, but in ways that made me realize that how I am isn't wrong or bad or even abnormal!

Learning about ourselves isn't enough, though. We've got to learn about ourselves in order to take an interest in other people and learn about how our personalities can get along better with other personalities. And knowing our own nuances can help provide grace and understanding to other people's nuances.


Oct 27, 2017

Welcome to the Harry Potter episode of The Real Brian Show! From beginning to end, front to back, this is Harry Potter through and through We're drinking butterbeer, eating chocolate frogs (or nuance chocolate...), talking about our favorite (and least favorite) Harry Potter things. Basically, if you love Harry Potter, you're going to have a blast joining in this week.

In This Episode

  • Introductions all around!
  • What does Harry Potter mean to you?
  • Favorite characters! Least favorite characters!
  • Taste testing Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans

Harry Potter

If there was ever a conversation I wish I could have been a part of, it was this one! Harry Potter is such a unique book series in how so many different people from so many walks of life can connect to it in different various stages of life. In one of the most powerful world-building series ever written, we can completely lose ourselves to a story of misfits, of outcasts, and of severe friendship.

So because I want to join in on the fun, here are some of my favorite Harry Potter things!

  • Book: & the Prisoner of Azkaban (because we're introduced to Sirius Black and Harry learns the truth about who betrayed his parents. And there's time travel.)
  • Movie: ugh. If I had to choose one I like... Prisoner of Azkaban. It's the least awkward. And there's time travel.
  • Primary Character: Hermione. Duh. Book smart, goofy, she does her thing and always does what she says she's going to do.
  • Secondary Character: Remus Lupin. It's almost a toss up between Remus and Sirius, but in some odd ways I identify with Remus... and he's such an integral part to Harry's education (and continuing education)
  • Subject: if I could enroll in Hogwarts, I would spend all of my time in Transfiguration. That is so friggin' cool.

...And my least favorites

  • Book: & the Sorcerer's Stone. It's just oddly written. If JKR was given a chance to produce a "second edition", I hope she'd focus on that one and clean it up.
  • Movie: just one? Uhm. Whenever Dan Radcliffe started drinking. Was that the 4th or the 5th? I also dislike the ones before he started drinking.
  • Primary Character: is it possible to hate a primary character? I guess in the movies I dislike Harry.
  • Secondary Character: Vernon Dursley. The fact that he was an abuser was never addressed, which is totally fine... but what a rotten person who never got what was coming to him. It was only because Harry was who he was that he even survived.
  • Subject: Divination. It's a wooly subject.

Interestingly, even though these books came out when I was a kid, I didn't read them until I was in college. I remember sitting in the cafeteria with a friend who was telling me about these "Harry Potter" books. The sixth book had just come out and she was in fits. I told her that I didn't know what she was talking about, but I wasn't planning on reading them, so she told me what happened at the end of book six. (And we all know what happened at the end.) Well, months later when I actually picked up the books and read them... I totally forgot about that conversation until maybe a chapter before IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. It didn't ruin it for me, I just started crying a couple chapters earlier.

Share your favorite Harry Potter memories, characters, movies or books in the comments!

Photo Gallery

Oct 20, 2017

When circumstances dominate us it is easier to notice how the things we think manifest in our lives. Let's talk about balance and how we can turn the negative outcomes into positive ones! Camron is back from the city that never sleeps, so he and Brian dive right into another fantastic Superhero Friday installment of The Real Brian Show.

In This Episode

  • Do you like Autumn? Hopefully more than the Nightfox...
  • Guinness and Gouda Bread, courtesy of Great Harvest
  • Will Smith's motivational sky diving speech
  • What we think about ourselves and about our situations manifest
  • Happiness is a choice
  • Alien: Isolation and Overwatch comments


“What you sow in thought, either useful or useless, manifests itself sooner or later in your circumstances.”

Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. It's a phrase people toss around like candy at an Independence Day parade, thinking there is so much pride in thinking and, thus, being. The phrase, originally penned by Rene Descartes (philosopher from the 1600s), was fascinated by the idea that in order to contemplate doubt our existence, we also must have the capability of doubting (thinking), which thereby negates any doubt we can have over our existence.

In the centuries since Descartes' day, many people have taken his words in many directions, have argued semantics and have been skeptical of proper definitions... but if we strip all that away for a moment and just meditate on the basic premise, we're left with a stunning realization that we're only capable of questioning the things we have enough knowledge on to know any different way of being.

Follow? It's kind of interesting. I had the issue as a kid of being well-read, but lacking formal instruction around pronunciation. I read a lot of stories and inferred many words from context, but the building blocks of language were only beginning to come together for me and, as a result, I didn't know how to pronounce a lot of the words I was reading. The one that I always remember most vividly is the word facade. Properly pronounced, it sounds like fuh-sawd. The way I pronounced it was more like fah-cayd. But I never questioned the word, or pronunciations in general, up until I said the word in public and was lovingly chided. I didn't know enough to question the pronunciation, but after I did... it became quite consuming and is still something I work on getting correct to this day.

Brian and Camron talk a lot about how our situations perpetuate our thought process, and vice versa. What we think about ourselves and our situations begins to manifest. Like biting the same spot on the inside of your mouth repeatedly, we inadvertently point ourselves to the things we think even when it stuff we don't want.

Inversely, as Brian points out, we are fully capable of producing positive effects from this tendency! When we can be confident about decisions, about who we are and why we know what we know, we can think about things that point us to what we want and achieve those goals. Having the capacity to question ourselves is a great tool, but it should be a tool we wield in order to grow and better ourselves and our circumstances instead of it becoming a road block.


Oct 13, 2017

Happy Superhero Friday! While the Nightfox is hittin' up the City that Never Sleeps, Brian recruits Lee Stephen to fill in his shoes. Great expectations is definitely a theme here, but we also venture into the traditional nerdy topics about video games and television. We talk about ways we relieve stress, pet peeves about storytelling, and inspirational health tips.

In This Episode

  • Fancy coffee is for GIRLS! Real men drink black coffee straight from the pot
  • Stress relievers
  • Pet peeves about storytelling
  • Great Expectations (no, not the novel)
    • When what we EXPECT is different from what happens
    • Mastering expectations.... is tough
  • Hugely impacted by Pain Reframed podcacst


Did you ever listen to Dashboard Confessional? I can still sing along to every song on the album A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. A couple of their songs are randomly integrated into a couple of my spotify playlist, so they're still relatively on my radar. Spotify does this thing where it creates a playlist for you based on artists you listen to, and I almost never listen to it because... yeah, I like having more control than that. But I was listening to it this week and a song comes on that is very clearly the lead singer of Dashboard Confessional (Chris Carrabba), but is not your typical Dashboard Confessional song. It's not emo, it's not punk... it's rock and a little rap.

At first I thought the band sold out, like The Killers or Panic! At the Disco. But it turns out that Dashboard was just featured on another artist's song. Talk about relief! Turns out I kind of like the band (nothing,nowhere). I don't usually like this degree of foul language, but they've got a good beat. So I'm not going to listen on repeat, but I've got a few more songs to work out to.

Brian and Lee talk about expectations in this episode, a really good discussion and one that we can all resonate with. Expectations are so strange in how they affect our perception of reality. Like taking a drink of something, expecting water and actually tasting something else can make it taste disgusting! Then in the next sip, when you realize what you're drinking, tastes totally fine. Or taking a bite of something expecting it to be sweet but it's actually salty! Oooh, bad surprise!


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