After being frozen in carbonite for an unspecified amount of time in an undisclosed place, Miss Ice emerged! In a world dripping with options, it wouldn’t hurt us to be picky and choosy from time to time! Miss Ice joins The Real Brian to talk about broadening our perspectives and how being selective isn’t really a bad thing.
We should be picky and choosy. The first time this was said to me was at work, when we were under a barrage of requests to get certain aspects of our applications enhanced or built-out. The department's product owner started saying this and at first it was really hard to dispel the angry, frustrated voices who'd been trying to push their own agendas and were falling flat. But then, as we became pickier and choosier, it finally gave us time to start flexing our muscles and show our internal clients that we hear what's causing them pain, but provide them with solutions that address a more holistic need.
Watching this process happen at work made me start thinking about this in other aspects of my life. The most obvious category was my media intake. When I stopped and thought about it, it was like there were dozens of angry people yelling at me, demanding my attention, and I didn't care about ANY of them. I wanted to care about something again... and by stepping back, thinking critically about what I want out of my media, it made me see that I don't need to consume everything. I can look for the shows and movies that grab my attention, and turn off the ones that don't.
Amazingly, I don't miss it! I do a lot of other things now that I was just kind of ignoring before. Shopping for clothes to replace all my old crappy ones. Spending oodles of time with my 2-month old nephew! If I could only incorporate grocery shopping into my routine...
We crush a lot of topics this week with the help of crowd favorites Lord Thunder and Mr. What! From Tesla to Subnautica to marriage advice, nothing is out of scope for what we like to talk about. And yes, you'll learn just why our biceps are bulging with power. There's also a special appearance from a very special person in Brian's life....
How about this guy, huh? Here's Lord Thunder, once confused about what this newfangled device is... used to speak to others across time and space. No, Mr. Thunder, that is not what the microphone is for.
Like Lord Thunder, I have a big voice-crush on Matt Bellamy of Muse. As if I need a real reason to think so, I find his style of songwriting to be extremely clever and unique, something that is impossible for another band to reproduce. If you're interested in songwriting, check out this video released by Holistic Songwriting earlier this year... he does a fantastic breakdown of Bellamy's style.
I totally resonate with Lord Thunder... sometimes we'll hear a voice that just rings perfectly to us and it's hard to shake or really explain why we think so. Thunder does a very good job of it, and I would agree with him that it's a reason I love Muse, but I always feel that what makes use love a particular voice is more ethereal than we can put any explanation to... part of what makes music so genuinely incredible.
Here's a list of my voice crushes (in order) and a link to a video that showcases their incredible talents:
There's more, but these are the notable mentions. Whose voice makes you go weak at the knees? Leave a comment!
Can you see the good in bad? It can be one of the most difficult and rewarding challenges in life. Not to live in the past, but learn from it. Not to obsess over mistakes, but grow because of them. Brian and Tony dig into the meat of this concept and also into our other, familiar nerdy topics!
"Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses."
Sometimes we get sucked into negativity and before we know it, we're going along with the hoard. The hoard can be horrible and the mood of that hoard contagious. We throw out quotes, like the one above, or idioms like 'is the glass half full or half empty?' in order to glean some insight into someone else's mindset, but often the bad can creep into our lives and minds in ways we're not expecting.
Before you go and say, 'Well, everyone is just getting meaner. And more cruel.' Let us remind you of a couple pretty horrific events of human history: Nazi Germany. World War I. World War II. Rwandan genocide. Maybe your rebuttal is, 'Yeah, but those are the worst of them.' The fact is... no. Those events were the culmination of evil and hatred in human hearts, not a random rebellion against human nature. Some pretty terrible events have taken place before we were born, and still not that long ago. Are things really getting worse? Well, we certainly have more visibility into the atrocities happening, thanks to the internet connecting us the entire world.
What's the point? The point is that we're flawed beings. I believe that someone's intentions can be good, but our inner nature is not good. It is our responsibility, and our challenge, to rise above selfishness and put the needs and interests of others ahead of our own. And in everything, try to find a balance! It isn't that we ignore our own needs and only focus on others, but that we learn how to co-exist with others. Share the road! Smile at people when you pass by! Hold the door open for the next person. And beyond those we can see, think about the people who have yet to be born by conserving resources and recycling! The little things we do to notice other people in our day-to-day lives open our minds to a whole new form of existence.
We're looking for game suggestions... that aren't repetitive or horror-themed. Got anything you're playing now that we should try? Leave a comment!
For those of you who caught the reference, you'll appreciate this!
Dark vs light is just one preferential pairs we debate when it comes to our media consumption. Do you like it miserable and edgy like Mr. What and Lord Thunder? Or uplifting and positive like Brian? Oh, and welcome to Jason Cabassi!
Interestingly, it's not a conversation we've had a lot on this show... even though it's totally right up our alley. This trio of hosts provides an ideal makeup of individuals falling on both sides of the spectrum and the guys have an insightful conversation about what it is about movies and television with dark thematic elements that draws them in. Brian shares why he prefers lighter, more positive content.
Before we make Brian sound like a delicate flower, let's make it clear that we delineate horror and suspense. There are some tvs and movies that have dark themes, but don't go evil... and that's largely where Brian [and myself] draw the line. I'll let you listen to Brian in his own words, but from my own perspective, I'm very sensitive to depressive, obsessive themes and internalize them far too deeply. If you've listened to any of the TRBS shows I've been on, you'll know that I tend to go deep pretty quickly. I'm very introspective and most of my daily activities take place inside my head. At some point I just recognized that dark themes affect me negatively... and stopped consuming them.
That perspective really only ever seems to be vocalized in that direction, however. Have you ever heard someone say, "Yeah, I just can't take all the positive vibes?" More often it's the lack of depth or lack of reality in some content we'd consider "light". And light doesn't even have to mean overtly positive, it could just mean like... Arrow versus Walking Dead, right? Arrow is dark in its own right, but it's a different kind of dark from the Walking Dead.
Ironically, even Arrow got too dark for me. Remember that time when I quit Arrow Squad? Yeah...
Even when we think we can clearly define our overarching preferences, there are still exceptions and limitations depending on peripheral preferences. Maybe we like dark themes, but can't stand a particular actor... meaning we won't watch a film even when it is something we'd otherwise totally enjoy. Or - this happens to me a lot - I won't watch a film that checks all my boxes because it has an actor who I associate with a certain typecast. I feel bad about that (sorta) but... It's we're having salad for dinner one night and I say, "I love cheese! Pile it on!" Then you make pancakes for dinner the next morning and pile it high with blue cheese leftover from the salad the night before. That's not what I meant!
Talking about preferences is interesting, and ends up revealing a lot more about ourselves than we realize. Where do you come down on the dark vs light debate?
Do you like grenades and ham? Do you… wait, what? No, not grenades. GREEN EGGS. We sort out this confusion and much more with Brian, Tony and Rob! Got some more dentist stories and updates on No Man's Sky... plus a meaty discussion on how the opinions and advice of others can affect the way we do life.
We are all victims of our environment! Or, are we a product of our environment? Nurture vs nature, the age-old question, is greatly influenced by our perspective on whether we are victims or products. It's like, is the glass half-empty or half-full? Brian's three personal pillars, of what he wants out of life, have driven him and focused him in his pursuits, which ironically (and appropriately!) means not getting boxed in. This show is dedicated to people who have a variety of interests, who like the feeling of turning on a podcast and just hanging out with friends, and nerding out about the things we love.
Our environment and past greatly influence how we respond and behave in the present. Sometimes we just can't help the perspectives we've accumulated and our opinions spill out as advice and fact-like, despite them being rather particular to our own experiences. Ultimately, it is our decision whether or not to listen, but as we undoubtedly to it to others we must recognize that others will continue to do it to us.
How do we combat it it? Dialogue. Discuss. My big one lately is to not let it get a rise out of me. Acknowledge, going into the conversation, that what the other person is saying is a product of their experience. Though we might consider them victims of their environment, that is just a matter of perspective! One of the things we love doing on this show is getting to the heart of the matter. What is more at the heart of a person than the unadulterated humanity of every person? Looking past the layers of "advice" and seeing the human and the experiences of that human, can be challenging, but it is way more rewarding than harboring anger about their own perspectives speaking into our lives.
We’re pleased to welcome back Robbie, aka Dr. RobDog, the dentist saving everyone’s smile and embodying that positive force for good. Don't worry, when we talk about cavity searches... we're talking literally. We've got a lot to nerd out about in this episode! Gluten-free living, thoughts from re-watching a beloved superhero film, and more dentistry awesomeness.
"I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times..."
Patrick Steward Captain Picard
That's right, folks, Captain Picard is making a live-action return to the small screen! Patrick Steward will reprise his role as the iconic Star Trek character and, as such, has since had a lot of positive things to say about the opportunity. As much as we all like to say we enjoy the dark thematic elements that Netflix has inundated us with over the past five years, taking full advantage of the TV-MA rating, there is a whole different draw to content and to people who bring us joy. It is comments like these that inspire me most! And I don't even know that much about Star Trek!
As the guys talk about in the episode, sometimes ignorance is bliss... particularly in this day and age where social media has taken over how we consume news and how we react to it. AND how we absorb the reactions of our peers and role models. I recently watched the local, nightly news for the first time in a looong time and it was one story after another about death, about loss, about people being taken advantage of. I was exhausted at the end of the hour. However, it was a different kind of exhaustion. It wasn't an exhaustion that doubles as exasperation from endless opinions about current events. It was a pure exhaustion from the reminder of what reality is. It was nice that I didn't have to read comments from anyone with a Facebook account about each news segment.
But as James Halliday wrote in his memoirs... reality is real. I would much rather be exhausted because of reality rather than be exhausted by the opinions of reality. (FYI - that quote was from Ready Player One.)
The major question coming out of this episode is: how can we be a positive force in a world riddled with such negativity? Negativity inspires negativity. What goes into our heads will also come out of our mouths. We each have such unique talents and perspectives that my version of being a "positive force" will probably look different from yours, but it has to start with a decision. A decision to rise above the negativity. We've got to fight for it! Every day.
That seems pleasantly ironic... fighting for positivity. Fighting... implying violence. Maybe the word "struggle" is better. A struggle can imply violence, which is not what I mean to suggest, but more the idea that it is difficult and that we encounter resistance. In the end, because we've grappled with that difficult thing, we understand the value in what we've accomplished and overcome and will hold onto it much more tightly.
Lemon pledge might solve your furnishing polish needs, but we recommend you stop there. We do not recommend sniffing it to relieve pain! The truth is, we're all a bit like Consuela... we all need more lemon pledge. We also need to nerd out on stuff, right? So we've got a great lineup of topics for you in this episode, courtesy of Brian and Tony!
This product has a long history. One of the earliest televised advertisements appeared in 1966, the tagline for the product being "beauty of waxing with none of the work". The purpose of it is to dust and clean furniture, and really not much about that has changed in the last 60 years.
Unlike technology or fashion, the only things that have changed about cleaning products from generation to generation are the active agents that make it do what it's designed for. (And branding, I suppose!) Products become safer, and with the internet we have a greater demand for transparency on what these products contain. For example, SC Johnson (the creator of Lemon Pledge) provides the full breakdown of all the ingredients in their products and an explanation of what those ingredients are and their acknowledgement of the effect it might have on people and the environment.
Lemon Pledge is one of the more unique cleaning products, in my own personal opinion/experience... because it has such a distinctive smell that it's almost like you know how it tastes. So distinctive that people use phrases like, "Blech! Tastes like lemon pledge!" (even though eating, or inhaling, it would probably kill you - or maim you).
So... like we said. We do not actually recommend snorting lemon pledge. But for all your furniture maintenance needs, well, I guess we'll let you decide for yourself.
I'm a pretty big soccer fan, in case there was any question. I had the awesome opportunity to go to the Tottenham/AC Milan match at U.S. Bank Stadium on Tuesday night. Minneapolis built U.S. Bank Stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, but in its two years of existence I've actually only ever attended soccer games at this stadium! It's an incredible venue and runs so much more efficiently than the Metrodome ever did.
Here's a couple pictures from the night. I immediately jumped on the best seats I could find... we were behind one of the goals, off to the side. The one goal that was scored in the game was scored right in front of us. So it was basically an awesome night!
There is an art to dentisting, did you know? Well, now you will! A special welcome to Dr. RobDog, long time friend first time host. We're going to hear some awesome stories about going to the dentist, tips for keeping those chompers in decent shape, and of course... venturing deep into the nerd world with some chatter about Ant-Man and the Wasp and gaming.
It's quite a coincidence that Dr. RobDog is this week's guest host. I was recently informed that my dentist of 31 years (aka my whole life) has just retired and now... I need to find a new dentist. My dentist was also the dentist for most of my family... everyone who lives relatively near Minneapolis anyway. He sold his business to his daughter, who also consumed his clientele. My problem is, I was really only going because I've always gone to that dentist, but it's not very convenient for where I live.
Going to the dentist is really the only semi-regular doctor trip I do. I recently went for the first time in 3 years, had a minor cavity to fill and otherwise nothing outstanding. Like Brian, I was brought up being taught to brush and floss regularly. The time when my teeth were the worst was the spring after I graduated from college (I graduated in the winter semester), because I spent my final months of college living off of Sour Patch Kids and Mountain Dew. I'd like to say it was worth it, but yeah, I had something like 6 cavities filled over the course of 2-3 trips.
Like most professions, it takes a special breed of humanity to be a dentist. Not many of us would say we'd like to peer into open mouths every day or deal with people who have those deep, gutteral fears of getting their gums prodded. But teeth are fascinating, aren't they? Sometimes the only time I realize my teeth are there is when I accidentally bite my tongue or my lip (to which I subsequently envision my teeth more like fangs and convince myself I'm transitioning to a vampire state). But when someone sets a nice, juicy steak down in front of me, I couldn't be more pleased that my teeth are there.
Here are some fun facts about teeth that I found spread across the internet. Feel free to bring them up at your Fall Mixers:
The more you know!
A big welcome back to Green Butterfly! Our hosting trio has an amazing discussion ready for you… We’re talking STAR WARS! Specifically, the Disneyworld experience. We promise we won’t ruin it for you, only help guide you toward a rewarding visit!
In this week's episode, Green Butterfly dials it up a notch by giving us a full rundown of her experiences at Disneyworld's Hollywood Studios. Turns out, it is TOTALLY possible to have a good time and have a full experience without forking over $100. If this trip interests you, you're going to want to take notes.
Also, because they're talking about homemade ice cream... I figured I should leave my personal favorite ice cream recipe here. Because... it's July. The best part about this recipe is that after it comes out of the ice cream machine (and sits in the freezer for an hour or two) you can literally throw in your favorite ingredient(s) to give it ANY flavor. I love throwing oreos in... but you could do raspberries, strawberries, chocolate chips. Just use an immersion blender to get it all nice and mixed in. FYI - there's a lot of whisking involved.
This is it! The episode you've been waiting for... the episode where we really break down the marvel movies and think about what is essential viewing. You won't be surprised that there are several approaches from our various hosts. One method will undoubtedly be the flavor you're craving. A special welcome to SpiderPan who brings a unique flair to the episode's quartet!
In the immortal words of Robert Frost... Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both. Every path through a massive movie epoch is different, particularly when we don't buy into the fad right away. Perhaps you come to the marvel movie franchise having seen a handful. You liked Iron Man when it came out, then that first Captain America movie was awesome, but you didn't see another until Guardians of the Galaxy (because curiosity). Or perhaps you are a Marvel Virgin (no worries, we don't judge).
Unlike the decision of the narrator in Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken", there really isn't a path through the Marvel movies that is "less traveled". Everyone does it differently. Many will try to convince you there is a "right" way, but let's be honest... these movies are about entertainment. It's not gospel. You've got to enjoy the experience, otherwise why bother?
Every source you Google will have a different suggestion, a different opinion, about the path through the Marvel movies. Our quartet of hosts each have a unique perspective on the movies and lend their various experiences, or knowledge about the movies, to help you choose the right path through the woods!
What approach did you take? Share in the comments!
Our episode this week is a little shorter than usual due to Independence Day here in the U.S. We've still got plenty of good content for you, including some opinions on the new Jurassic World and the TV series we're into right now.
It's safe to say that fireworks go off whenever we start nerding out about something! Wherever you are, we hope you're enjoying your Friday. Here in the United States we are observed Independence Day on Wednesday, so many of us are traveling or prepping for travel. But that doesn't mean we can't take a half hour and nerd out!
The guys talk about Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom, Salvation and Lost In Space, so I'll let them talk about those. I am super psyched because 12 Monkeys is airing its final season. This weekend will be the final 2 installments (they aired over the course of the previous 3 weekends as well). The final season, for me, is totally nailing it. They upped the ante without taking away from the science fiction or the relational drama. They took some risks, answered questions, and still I'm scratching my head wondering how the heck they're going to wrap it all up. Episode after episode I think, 'No, this is my new favorite episode.' The last time I did that was with the show I call my favorite: Fringe. It's been a long time since I've been happy with a show's final season!
On top of 12 Monkeys, I've been getting my mom hooked on The Office. We started in Season 2, because I didn't think she could handle season 1 yet... and I'm proud to say that she is loving it! Last night we ended on the episode where Michael Scott burns his foot in a George Foreman grill. Wow. Just wow. There's just nothing like this show. Awkward comedy at its finest.
Sipping with the ambiance...
Welcome back to The Real Brian Show! We're excited to have Mangodroplet back in this episode, now fully transplanted in LA, joining our regulars, Tony and Brian! Steep a nice cup of tea, sit back and relax, and join us for another Superhero Friday ride with The Real Brian crew.
Welcome back to The Real Brian Show! Before getting started, I'll just take a quick moment to apologize for not communicating about no episode last week. It was on both our radars to blast something somewhere, but it got away from us! Brian made a trip to Vegas for HxGN Live (Hexagon International Conference) and will have some stories to share, and for good measure we're also throwing in the usual frivolity from Captain Influence.
Finding relief from stress in Vegas might not be exactly how you're expecting! Generally, the whole "let's go to Vegas for the weekend" bit is more specific to the casinos or endless nighttime entertainment. But in the case of our own Real Brian, the relief likely came on the heels of anticipation. Between extended alone time, dealing with crabby and rude drivers, and preparing for HxGN Live, stress bubbled up to the surface in the form of heart palpitations and a general uncertainty of health (and thus feeding back into the stress).
I don't usually qualify my posts, but I do recognize that talking about stress is very personal and provokes in us a feeling that no one really understand what we're going through. I just want to share some of what I've learned about stress over the last 20 years as my own symptoms have changed since childhood.
Stress manifests in different ways for everyone, and because of that... sometimes it's really hard to tell what's wrong or that you're even stressed out in the first place. When I was younger, my stress took the form of incredibly painful sores on my tongue. Any time I would get over-emotional (excitement, nerves, embarrassed, anxious) I could feel the sores start to come back. And then it would take forever for them to go away.
It's interesting because even as I'm writing this I'm only realizing that it was one of the contributing factors toward a strive for balance, melancholy and stoicism. I still come up against strong emotions, but there's an aspect to stoicism that changes my perspective about receiving these emotions. Sometimes it's unhealthy (suppression) and sometimes it's limiting (not getting excited about things), but until I experienced grief (which was totally new) I found that I wasn't surprised by my emotions. The lack of surprise was a considerable help in managing stress.
At the beginning of my grief, these tools were helpful. But at a certain point, my reactions stopped maturing and it became mostly suppression - which then began to manifest in TMD. Three years later... I'm definitely suffering the long-term effects of not adjusting my dose of stress relief accordingly.
So Brian is totally correct when he says that this is a cyclical process and we keep learning and keep adjusting. And he's right that I was going to say as much! This is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating aspects to human nature, because we expect consistency in how we anticipate things, but it is so easy to neglect the third parties that feed into our circumstances. Society changes, people change, we ourselves change... and thus circumstances are constantly in flux. We recognize pain and stress, find a way to deal with it - we focus in and make sure it won't happen again - only to be shocked by another aspect of that experience which causes us stress.
Stress relief is multilayered and transitory. It is a theory that can be applied, but also must be applied appropriately, with varying degrees of emphasis, and then adjusted and tested for every future use. Otherwise we'll just end up being frustrated that the old methods to relieve stress don't work and find ourselves in a vicious cycle of being dominated by our circumstance.
The most difficult aspect of stress relief, for me, has been trying to find the motivation to dig down deep for the root of my stress AND make the necessary adjustments to relieve it. Sometimes it's easier (or it SEEMS easier) to just push through. But the long-term effects can be incredibly damaging. So I'll leave you, at the end of this long-winded diatribe, with a little encouragement to take the time to deal with it when it comes up... don't let it get out of hand, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.
What do Star Wars, LeBron James and mind over matter have in common? We talk about them all in this installment of the podcast! It's time to talk mind over matter with Brian and Tony!
Since the majority of the conversation in this episode is specific to the new Star Wars movie Solo, I'll let Brian and Tony lead the way on that excellent discussion! My personal reaction to the movie was... too predictable. But, like Brian points out, that was likely due to lack of character depth in Kyra's character. Or, maybe not. If they'd gone more in depth into the character, it might have been more predictable.
To be clear, I don't mind predictability. I don't like last minute, where-did-that-come-from twists that make no sense. I like a healthy balance of mystery and shock, where we can understand character arcs without actively wanting to predict the outcome of the movie. When the movie moves too slow, I find myself tagging characters and saying, 'Next they will say [this] and do [this].' Great premise... execution was lacking.
But that brings me to what I do want to discuss. I read an article this week about Kelly Marie Tran (from The Last Jedi) that broke my heart. One might argue that it was more apt to break because it is made of ice, but I like to think that it warmed up just enough in order to tear and bleed... feeling the pain for this actress who probably entered into the Star Wars franchise with eager anticipation of joining an epic story.
So here's what Star Wars, LeBron James and mind over matter really have in common.
LeBron on what it’s like to be an athlete in the social media era and how he deals with criticism pic.twitter.com/xFxxwPevyZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 3, 2018
Later in this same interview, he says: if the stuff that goes on in social media bothers you... just delete it.
Well said. Just delete it! I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone a couple months ago and am loving the freedom that comes from not being attached to notifications or cultivated news feeds. My dad used to always say, and I know a lot of dads say this, but what goes IN to your mind will undoubtedly come OUT of your mouth. If we're serious about our craft, about delivering quality or excellence, and we only listen to the LOUDEST source of feedback... we've no guarantee about quality feedback.
Mind over matter is this concept where we can use our mind to conquer physical problems. It's become more common to use it in terms of controlling pain, but historically it has roots in the evolutionary growth of the mind. What is most interesting to me, in this regard, is that sometimes physical problems are visibly evident, sometimes they're not. Sometimes they are the words said to us (or not said to us) that become "like" physical pain. Sometimes it's a digital blockade of terrible people on social media. Sometimes it is an illness preventing us from playing in an important game (Michael Jordan's legendary flu game).
In all cases, we have a choice: either we let something get us down... or we rise above. Good for Kelly Marie to delete her social media stuff, people don't deserve to have a peek into her life and she owes no one anything. With the dawn of the social media age, we as a people have yet to fully adjust to the large-scale impact words of this visibility have. We are like children, unable to help ourselves from abusing a new toy.
It's just a great reminder that when something hurts, stop giving it the power to hurt you. Regain control, do what you do, and fall back in love with the passion that brought you to where you are.
We live in a great time for television, and who better to help us navigate the crystalline waters than our beloved Podcast Overlord?! We're excited to welcome Kevin back to The Real Brian Show and catch up on his podcasts, his current watchlist, and what he's looking forward to this summer.
Listening to Kevin and Brian chat brought me back. Way back. When I first started listening to podcasts, it was The Fringe Podcast and The Irish and Celtic Music Podcast. That was it. But The Fringe Podcast was my gateway drug to a whole new world, one which led me into getting behind the mic myself. Along that road I had the privilege and the pleasure to meet and work with Kevin. I've never met anyone quite like him, and I highly doubt I ever will. He likes what he likes and isn't afraid to come right out and say it, disregarding what anyone else thinks! He can rally and inspire a fandom in ways I've never seen before and I think it's due to this unashamed passion for the stories he invests in.
As it goes, our time podcasting together came to an end and as I've sort of sidled out of the whole television-podcasting realm, I'm now struck with strong nostalgia for the old days. Kevin made talking about television fun and always had the acuity to remind us that it's just a story and that we're supposed to be having fun! Even when Arrow let us down, it was having a chance to get together with Kevin and Brian every week that made doing a podcast worthwhile (not to mention our incredible listeners).
I learned a lot from Kevin by working with him. I learned about etiquette and presence, about the importance of commitment and the necessity of passion. I'm sure at times he wished I would grow up, or settle down, or reign it in (Brian and I have a tendency to... take details and talk them to death...). But Kevin is cordial, pleasant, an incredible friend and an incredible inspiration. So it is with great enthusiasm that I encourage you to go check out Tuning into SciFi TV to witness the breadth of his genre-tv knowledge and his insightful, yet often whimsical, analyses. Check out the links below for more opportunities to see what Kevin is up to!
Are you sick of being told by "experts" or by "scientists" that you're too old to do something? We definitely are! If there's one thing we emphasize on this show, it's that you're only as old as you feel. Unless you feel like an infant, in which case we don't support that. In a world that like to complain that we're getting old too quickly, it seems that sometimes we confuse immature individuals taking part in an activity with the activity itself being immature. So with the help of CJ "Lord Thunder", we're going to dig into this shot of espresso and a ton more fun Friday stuff!
Epicurus once said: "Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance." As Lord Thunder accurately points out, just about anything we have access to in life, if over-used or abused, can kill us. And if not outright kill, then seriously damage our internal organs! Looking at how much acetaminophen you'd have to ingest in order for it to kill you or damage you might seem extreme, but the same could largely be said about gaming. When we reach levels of "toxicity", there is something else wrong. Talking strictly from my own experience, I resort to extremes when something is imbalanced.
We're all about taking care of ourselves, here at the Real Brian Show. We talk about healthy lifestyles, anything from staying active to learning how to eat right to socializing and friendship. We'd never advocate for isolation or eating nothing but pizza. There's a reason Brian talks about eating healthy, but also eating the frickin' cookie!
Scientists provide us with vital insights into the Dos and Donts of life. They share common pitfalls that humans face or risky behaviors, and they share what will help us, make us healthier and happier. Below I linked to a video that goes into some detail about being "too old" for gaming and the video makes some excellent points, excellent and accurate. However, we very well know that gaming itself isn't immature, gaming itself won't rot our brains. It's a compilation of things, and we're all responsible for seeking a good balance between having fun and taking care of ourselves.
Gaming isn't the only thing people tell us we're "too old for". The biggest resurgence I've noticed over the last couple years is coloring. Adult coloring books are making a comeback. In fact, after my dad died... I received multiple coloring books as gifts from people saying, "You might not believe me, but this is really therapeutic."
Reader's Digest agrees. They created a huge list of things we're never too old for. On this list? Watching fairytales. Crying. Dyeing your hair a different color.
Sometimes we need the child-like activities in order to stay sane, to let loose or loosen up, but there is nothing about these activities that inherently has age attached to it. In the end... the warning is to always be careful! Remember that we're prone to addiction and developing bad habits, so seek balance and moderation over total immersion. Learn how to love being healthy!
2 of us survived Thanos. Did you? Actually, 3 of us survived Thanos because I, Emilee, survived. I was spared. We've got a full house to discuss Avengers Infinity War! Plus, we get the low down on Mangodroplet's trip to Florida (Epcot! Disney World! Harry Potter World!), some more convo around Should vs Could and Will vs Can, and learning how to learn from someone we've chosen as our mentor or coach.
If you're reading this, you may not have survived Thanos. How can you know for sure? Click here. In the event you were, or were not, spared by Thanos... we hope that you enjoy the riveting and animated discussion about Avengers: Infinity War. The majority of the discussion in this episode is about the movie, so if you have not seen it yet... first, what are you waiting for? And second, go see it! Then listen. It will be much more rewarding.
Interestingly, I didn't quite enjoy it as much as the folks did discussing it on the podcast! It was funny, had a lot of action and more depth to the villain than we're used to in these Avengers movies... I think I'm just reaching my peak of superhero films, the mass devastation, and the reliance on big-budget, eye-popping, CGI-driven screen antics. Call me a cynic, but was there a single shot from the movie that didn't have to be filmed with a green screen? (Of course, I'm being dramatic.)
It was so much fun seeing worlds collide; Thor with the Guardians, Tony Stark going head-to-head with Dr. Strange. But I am not a fan of movies that are split in 2, the first leaving a massive cliff hanger, and no semblance of resolution or hope at the end of the first movie. This is not a complete story. If I wasn't so cynical, I might think that this was a way to make all the drama more exciting and to tell a bigger story than they could in the span of 150 minutes...
In any case! Chances are you won't dislike it for Marvel's natural charisma, humor or ability to transport you through the galaxies for a couple hours. (chuckle)
The Real Brian Show is a full house this week with Captain Influence, SevenBlueSeven and JonnyPistol at the helm with The Real Brian. We're talking gaming, Black Mirror, chokolat, non-spoilery Avengers stuff, and... did we mention gaming? It's the game of life!
In true Real Brian Show fashion, the conversation this week hovers around various games in life that are both highly connected and don't really have anything to do with each other. There are the fun game-games, like Alien: Isolation, Overwatch, Battletech, Divinity... But then there are the real-games.
We play a different sort of game every day. The foods we eat, the drinks we drink. The people we talk to, the people we don't talk to. Our lives are a complex network of interactions that shuffle us along the platform of life, where we level up or proverbially lose lives and find ourselves back at square one.
This isn't The Truman Show. People don't watch our lives like they can watch a Twitch channel. But sometimes the way we live is put on display for all to see, and when that time inevitably comes... what are people going to see?
We'll all slip up from time to time. Perhaps it comes in a heated moment during traffic, or at just the wrong moment after a long day. Learning to control our reactions to situations under pressure is an important tool in anyone's belt, and that doesn't mean suppressing emotions, but possibly learning how to separate emotion from circumstance. The guys talk about getting into the mind of someone you're butting heads with and it started me down this path of the different places I become irritated by people. The most obvious is while in the car. Why does someone choose to go 10 mph under the limit? Why did that car have to swing wide left in order to turn right (causing ME to nearly drift into oncoming traffic)? But then there are other places... like at the grocery store when someone with with 100 items chooses the "self checkout" line.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Where do these irritated reactions come from? After all, I can't control other people. I can't control whether someone loves me, needs me, remembers my name, knows what I'm dealing with, or even grasps what implications their own actions have on everyone around them. We all only have so much time in the day, so maybe part of the problem is that we don't give ourselves enough padding, enough space, to accomplish the things we need to in a single day. As a result, we're behind in our own schedules. That makes us anxious, short, selfish, and narrow-minded.
Maybe in order to do more, we have to do less.
We're sharing and caring this week with recipes, stories and chocolate from Brian, Tony and Morgan. Also, we have an interesting discussion about SHOULD vs COULD and the mindset that accompanies approaching decision making starting from these two launching pads. By the by, did you ever notice how strikingly similar jawas are to minions? May the 4th be with you all!
Ever heard someone say the phrase "woulda, coulda, should"? In fact, there are six different "common" combinations of this phrase that people employ, based mostly on a subconscious ordering of the words.
Shoulda, or "should have", implies that a path of correctness was known, but unexplored. Coulda, or "could have", is less concrete... implying something more of a possibility, rather than a certainty. Woulda, or "would have", is even further removed than "coulda", where there is some condition under a banner of possibility.
Whichever word we put first when dismissively uttering this phrase ends up revealing a lot about our perspective! And likewise, using should versus could reveals a lot about how we view the decisions we're confronting. Saying we "should" do something carries along an implicit stressor, one that carries the weight of a particular correct path. Conversely, saying we "could" do something opens up the element of possibility, creating a sense of freedom for the choice at hand.
What do you think? Have you been restricting your decision making to "should"? Do you need to open yourself up to the "could"? Let us know!
In typical Real Brian Show fashion, we've got an exciting discussion for you that goes from Tony's odd love for Folgers' coffee to "cuddle puddle" to some of the foundational concepts of healthy eating. Join Brian, Anna and Tony for another riveting Superhero Friday installment!
If there are any takeaways from this episode, it's that being healthy isn't just about eating or just about exercising or just about community. It is a combination of lifestyle choices that intimately affect each other. Think about it... the things we eat affect the energy we have, which influences exercise. Exercise affects stress levels and mindset. Stress levels affect sleep patterns. And sleep patterns affect the way we eat! Have you ever, when finding yourself hungry and awake at 1 a.m., said, 'Oh, I'll just make a nice green salad.' No. It's ice cream. Pizza. Or, in my case, cheese tortillas (filled with CRAP).
Self-care is continual and cyclical. The better care you take of yourself, the more you want to take better care of yourself. When self-care is de-prioritized, we develop a lot of habits that are convenient due to circumstance and exacerbate the lack of self-care. I have a terrible habit of putting self-care on hold while I take care of other things (usually work things). I'll put off so much that, eventually, something will happen that stops me right where I am and forces me to take care of what I've been neglecting. It used to be that I'd get really sick. My body would collapse and I'd spend three days puking my guts out and running a fever of 102. Lately, it hasn't been my health that takes a hit but other, peripheral things... like this week I was leaving for work and found standing water in my HVAC closet! 24 hours, and several dozens of gallons of mopped up water, later I have a brand new water heater, a declogged emergency drain and a stunned feeling of, 'What the heck just happened?!'
I've been reading a book that really digs in to the reasons behind why we neglect and put things off and how to turn things around. There is so much I'm guilty of, and so much I ignore... knowing that I'll eventually get to it, but right here and now I have to do what's right in front of me. Thinking about self-care, and especially thinking about health in a holistic way, I know that a great deal of my effort needs to go into how I can prioritize sleep and downtime (true relaxation) and learn to delegate responsibilities in order to achieve that.
There is no trick other than to figure out the lifestyle choices that work for YOU. That work for ME. We can share tips and tricks, but frankly the solutions we apply won't be the exact same as someone else's. And that's OK, right? That's why we have these discussions. The more you know, the more you can prepare for.
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.
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.
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
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!!
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.
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).
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?
Scallions, carrots, peanuts, cilantro, hot sauce
So simple, right? I add pork to this recipe. But here's what you do:
BOOM! Top with chopped scallions, carrots, cilantro... serve hot or cold.
I think I'm going to go eat my feelings now.
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?
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!
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.
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!