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The Real Brian Show

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Dec 14, 2018

What do you get when you pack the Queen of Ice, a Real Brian and a Captain of Influence in the same podcast? The most random opening to an episode you will EVER hear. That is a promise. But we’ve got a lot to talk about together, including Netflix’s Christmas Chronicles… Tom Cavanagh… and the balance between encouragement and criticism.

In This Episode

  • The most random crap you'll ever hear
  • Christmas Shopping: Online or in-store?
  • 3 degrees of Tom Cavanagh
  • Christmas Chronicles!
  • Balance between encouragement and criticism
  • Deep Thoughts with Captain Influence

Faking It

Let's be honest... sometimes we just don't know what we're doing. And sometimes, instead of owning up to it, we pretend like we do know what we're doing. "Fake it until you make it" is a saying for a reason... sometimes by faking confidence or competence, those qualities can become a reality. I used to wield this tactic a lot, and in hindsight I think I recognize that I knew I was capable of doing something but just hadn't learned it yet. So whenever I pretended to know something, I would leave the situation and throw myself into learning it.

Faking it isn't always a bad thing, but it shouldn't be a replacement for gaining knowledge. With the right kind of optimism and motivation, we should never be content to fake it in lieu of learning!

Encouragement & Criticism

In case I wasn't clear on the podcast, since we talked about a lot regarding this espresso shot, I do think encouragement is essential to growth. If we aren't given any clue as to whether we are are the right track, or praised when we do well, there is no motivation to continue doing that... nor to push ourselves harder.

In that same vein, I believe that when encouragement exists entirely without criticism, arrogance and egoism prevent us from seeing other perspectives. It is difficult, in any situation, to see things outside the scope of what we know... but when we close ourselves off to feedback, especially when that feedback can be hard to hear, we make our circle of perception even smaller. Criticism can make us stronger, but it takes practice. It's something we both have to open ourselves up to and receive enough of before its true benefits can start to take effect.

I focused more on balance in the discussion, rather on the benefits of encouragement, but I do think encouragement is important! In fact, one of the habits I've come to adopt in my own practices of providing feedback is to always begin with the positives of my analysis or assessment. What was good? What worked? What did someone do well? And then jump into observations about what needs to be improved upon or fixed. Whenever I begin my feedback with negatives, it actually derails the whole conversation because (quite often) the recipient of my feedback perceives that I am attacking them. Even if that was not my intention.

None of us are perfect! While some people are good at providing feedback, others are not. Just because someone, or many someones, are bad at it does not mean we should close ourselves off to it completely. It is as much our responsibility to develop tough skin, sort through the criticism, and understand what was meant to be beneficial and what was intended to harm. Hopefully in doing so, we can become better at providing feedback to others.

Links

Dec 8, 2018

We're not here for your entertainment, you really don't want to mess with us tonight... Actually, scratch that. We ARE here for your entertainment and, even better, to talk about the entertainment we love, share, and consume. We consume entertainment like it's Christmas morning, and that alone is entertaining. With us entering the Christmas season there are plenty of seasonal entertainment thingys to discuss, including Netflix's newest plethora of Christmas movies, but we've got the old faves for you too! So sit back and relax and let Brian and Tony navigate you through the black void of (fun) decisions.

In This Episode

  • ENTERTAINMENT
  • A story about cheese
  • Enjoying the day without the holi
  • Stiger's Tigers, Divine Dungeon
  • Sequels out... Wreck it Ralph and Creed

Emilee's new favorite soup recipe

I love soup. I also know that squash soup is an acquired taste, so this soup isn't for everyone. But it is souper good for you and souper easy to make.

Ingredients
fresh thyme
1-2 lbs of butternut squash (use less if the squashy taste isn't your fave)
1 white onion
6 gloves garlic
6-8 long carrots (you can use carrots to offset squash, if you want)
PLUS 32oz carrot juice (if you have a juicer, all the better)
1-2 cups of vegetable broth
(Optional: sometimes I also throw in green peppers or jalapeños and roast them with the carrots and onion)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375
  2. Chop butternut squash into chunks, spread olive oil all over every piece.
  3. Arrange in foiled cake pans.
  4. Do not peal or chop garlic, leave in skin and set in foiled cake pans.
  5. Lay thyme on squash
  6. Roast for 90-120 minutes

...meanwhile

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil
  2. Peel carrots and lay on baking sheet
  3. Chop onion into 4 pieces
  4. Sprinkle with olive oil, pepper
  5. Roast for about 30 minute

...then

  1. When squash is tender, pull out of oven
  2. I personally do not leave skins on the squash, but some people do... so optionally peel the squash
  3. Place squash into slow cooker (remove the thyme sprigs)
  4. Take garlic out of skins and add in slow cooker
  5. Add carrot juice and broth
  6. By this time, the other veggies should be done, so pull them out
  7. Chop up veggies and add to slow cooker
  8. Leave slow cooker on high until contents start to bubble
  9. Immersion blend that stuff up! Or use a food processor, whatever your tool of preference is.

After blending the contents together, the soup is ready to eat! It freezes and re-heats well.

Links

Nov 30, 2018

Hold onto your stomachs, folks! Captain Influence has a list of crazy REAL beverages drank 'round the world that will make you turn a little green. And I'm not talking with envy. We're talking... You drank what, now?!? November is officially at an end and as we look forward to another holiday season, we're growing sensitive to the fact that it may not have the same effect on everyone. We're going to look for ways to encourage everyone to find joy and peace in the next month, so please send in your own personal stories, suggestions and traditions!

In This Episode

  • Fake news
  • Go to the SOURCE!
  • The grossest drinks you'll ever hear about...
  • It's Christmas time! -ish
  • Holiday season: love it or hate it?
  • Media hiatus... and it's effect

You Drank What?!?

I am not a risk taker. I like doing, eating and drinking things that I've tried and verified. That's why I basically order the same thing every time I go back to a place. Even when I'm at a new place, I find dishes that I know I like. Easiest example is that I try a Reuben everywhere they offer one... partially because I like them so much, but also because every restaurant usually has a unique spin on the sandwich that makes it just a little different.

If you can keep your dinner down after hearing the drinks that Captain Influence found, I commend you. I had a hard time, myself! On the spectrum of "unique" drinks, my experimentation only comes with tea. There is a local resource for tea here in Minneapolis that I love to buy from: Mrs. Kelly's Tea. I'll browse through the teas and try things I've never had before, but it's hard not to also buy a tea that I know I love in the same order. I always order the Berry Sage, but with my last order I stretched and bought an Earl Grey Oolong that is both VERY strong and VERY delightful!

What is the craziest tea you've ever bought? We'd love to hear it! Leave a comment or send us an email.

Links

Nov 23, 2018

There is much to be thankful for this season, and we'll brush over a few in our lives! Also, tune in for a review of Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald! And there's no better way to have that conversation than to welcome back the Green Butterfly. Isn't it appropriate that the day after we over-indulge on food, we then follow it up with over-indulging on shopping deals?! What deals are you looking out for this Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

In This Episode

  • Fantastic Beasts: the review you've been waiting for!
  • Thanksgiving Traditions
  • Health Benefits of GRATITUDE!
  • Our Thanksgiving favorites (hint: food is amongst them)

Thankful

Here's my Thanksgiving shortlist! These are the things I love the MOST about Thanksgiving:

Links

Nov 16, 2018

Our favorite dentist steps back into the ring to exchange friendly jabs with Brian! In this episode we’re talking about how sometimes we see something unfolding in front of us and think, hey… I can do it better! When we encounter something we dislike, do we quit and turn away... or crack our knuckles and get down to business?

In This Episode

  • The Doctor of Nitrous Oxide
  • Sci-Fi November Continues!
  • R.I.P. Stan Lee
  • Retro vs New
  • That Sucks! I can do better!
  • Expanse, Cobra Kai
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

That Sucks!

Interestingly, when I first listened to Brian introduce the Espresso Shot, this idea of thinking: "That sucks! I can do it better..." I started singing Carly Simon's Nobody Does It Better. Don't you want to be called out as someone who does "it" better than anyone else?

The point isn't to do everything well or do everything better than everyone else... that's a lofty, unattainable goal! But there will be some things we do better than others, and instead of perceiving that as arrogance, we should embrace it. And when we find those things that we are really good at, we should work at them. We've talked a couple times on the show how working on your weaknesses has its merits, but not insofar that working on them keeps you from excelling at the thing you were born to do.

Embrace it! Share it! Just don't tear others down in the process. Excel because you are passionate.

Links

Nov 9, 2018

Sci-fi November continues with the Dynamic Duo at the helm and accompanied this week by our friend SevenBlueSeven! Curious about what we mean by emotional continuity? Don't worry, we discuss at length and we think you'll deeply resonate with our sentiments. Plus, as always, we salt it up with some of those discussions you love about the games we're gaming, drinks we're drinking, and healthy stuff we're.... healthying...

In This Episode

  • Sci-Fi Drink: Vulcan Spice Tea
  • Spices
  • Essential oils
  • More sci-fi November!
  • What we're watching
  • Emotional continuity...

Emotional Continuity

Flow. Pace. Cadence. Call it what you will, storytelling is an multidimensional art form. It requires close attention to detail, and the depending on the medium there are different dimensional aspects that are more fragile than others. None are necessarily more important, they can just be more obvious depending on the medium.

The concept of emotional continuity that the guys talk about in this episode isn't contained just to storytelling. They bring it to a broader scale, applying it our daily lives and how our own emotional stability impacts those around us. In the words of Katy Perry... "You're hot 'n you're cold. You're yes, then you're no. You're in, then you're out. You're up, then you're down. You don't really want to stay, you don't really want to go." She just doesn't know how to love this guy in the song, because it's hard to understand someone who doesn't really know themselves, or know what they want. It might be a funny song, or a funny idiom, but it's also true!

In all seriousness, emotional stability is something we don't really know to strive for, but we're curiously attracted to. It's called confidence! Not always. Sometimes confident people are crazy and not all that stable. But very often confidence translates into stability... because when you know, you know. You know?

Links

Nov 2, 2018

The only good show is the Real Brian Show! We are the voice of the nerdy eclectic, the repo for the renaissance nerd. This episode kicks off Sci Fi November! Yes, we will be nerding out about sci-fi, but don’t worry… we’ll throw in a little bit of everything you love about the show.

In This Episode

  • What Sci-Fi drink are you downing?
  • What is Sci-Fi November?
  • Favorite Sci-Fi movies, games, music...
  • Gaming, twitch
  • Brian's DC TV realization

Good Show

It's sci-fi November! If you're not into sci-fi, we're really sorry... but kind of in the sorry not sorry sort of way. Truth is, science fiction has a very wide spectrum. Some include "fantasy" inside of it, but they're usually pretty distinguishable. Then you get to something like Firefly or Star Wars and the line is blurred. But that's OK, because science fiction slips into most of our mediums now... sometimes without our realization.

Think about it: Babe (pig in the city) is science fiction. The pig is a mutant! The Lego Movie. (Do I need to explain that one?) Fight Club. Realities that vary from our own, either in a forward or backward thinking sort of way, could be considered science fiction. Like all good story telling, science fiction asks the "What if?" question and tries to stretch the human mind beyond it's comfortable little bubble in the present.

Every science fiction story leans heavily on another genre. It isn't solely rooted in science. Even though science fiction is a genre itself, it cannot stand on its own. Without the war story in Terminator, what would you have? The underlying war on Skynet coupled with an advanced race of robots gives us Terminator. Without the child abuse and bullying in Carrie, what would you have? Carrie's horrific treatment from her mother and school chums coupled with the development of telekinetic power (a term Stephen King invented, btw) gives us a memorable horror story.

Here are my science fiction lists for November!

Books

  • Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
  • The Martian (Andy Weir)
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K Le Guin)

Movies

  • Arrival
  • Gattaca
  • Upstream Color

Television

  • Stranger Things
  • Lost in Space (all of them!)
  • Eureka

Did you miss...?

Last year was a fantastic year for science fiction. If you missed Annihilation, go watch it. First Man was incredible as well.

Links

Oct 26, 2018

Welcome to a special fall installment of the Real Brian Show! What makes it special, you ask? Well, other than the fact that we have our eye-in-the-sky Green Butterfly gracing us with her presence, we totally nerd out about autumn and Halloween. Traditions, fall favorites, Halloween facts... this episode has it all. We're taking advantage of the themed episode, and our resident Harry Potter expert (ahem GB) to talk about the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film. There's a lot in here, you don't want to miss it!

In This Episode

  • Fall Favorites
  • Trick or Treating
  • Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald
  • Fun Halloween facts
  • What are you afraid of?

Halloween

A co-worker told me recently that he's committed himself to watching 1 Halloween movie every day for the entire month of October. This guy doesn't watch a lot of movies, so it was a surprise to hear that he's undertaking this challenge... but at the same time, I feel like I see as many movies advertised for Halloween as for Christmas. He says that the majority of the movies he's watched so far are what Brian refers to as "Schlock-Horror" (uber B-movies that take themselves too seriously and are poorly acted). Can you find 31 Halloween movies that you'd enjoy watching?

By the way, what qualifies a movie as a Halloween movie? Because it's scary? If that's the case, I know a couple rom-coms that have freaked me out. Because it's in the horror genre? I guess I could get behind that.

My October tradition isn't movies, it's H. P. Lovecraft. Every October I try to read a dozen of Lovecraft's best, since I've made it through them all now... The Lurking Fear is my favorite. I read that one every year, just because. Collapsing Cosmoses is good, too. They're all good, who am I kidding?

Speaking of fall activities, last week I had the privilege of escorting a friend's daughter around Minnesota. She got to experience some genuine autumn activities for the first time! We went to the apple orchard, made apple crisp. We shuffled through leaves and she wore mittens for the first time. It was so cool to see fall through the eyes of someone who never really experienced it first hand before. Fall is my favorite time of year... I love raking leaves and the fact that there are no mosquitoes. Minnesota is definitely one of the best places to be for fall colors. It does get colder here faster than a lot of places, but if you're prepared for it... it's great! I kinda forgot that I'm rather used to it... and my companion was like, 'How do people live here?!'

To each his own, eh?

Links

Oct 19, 2018

Do you like a lot of nerdy things, but don’t necessarily consider yourself a nerd? If so, you’ll fit in right here. Some of us nerds, some of us aren’t, but the important thing is where we intersect… because at that intersect is NERD NATION! Captain Influence is back to help Brian break down what it actually means to be a "renaissance nerd".

In This Episode

  • College Sports
  • Followin' the money
  • Renaissance Nerd
  • Not necessarily nerdy...
  • Manifest, M.A.R.S.

Renaissance Nerd

The Renaissance Nerd. Have you heard us throw this around before? If you've been listening long enough, chances are you have! I've heard Brian use it a lot and though at first it didn't strike me as in a particular way, it's growing on me. In my experience, Renaissance is usually closely followed by the word Festival (which to some is like saying Comic Con, eh?). And it isn't even that I've necessarily had bad experiences at Renaissance Festivals, it's just that I tend to associate them with a very particular kind of person. Not unlike those who attend a comic con!

There's an old saying... "Only those who are inside the convent know what is going on inside." Being a nerd, attending your flavor of festival, is not overtly exclusive. They're actually remarkably inclusive, welcoming anyone who wants to come (with... some exceptions... Brian mentions on the podcast our first foray into podcasting for the TV series "The Flash"). We embrace this idea of a renaissance nerd, acknowledging that we all enjoy nerdy things, but might not necessarily be "nerds". However, some of us are... and it's where these interests overlap that make having this show so much fun. Our variety of guests brings different flavors to the show and we learn all sorts of interesting stuff.

In case you are curious... polymath is the Greek term for someone whose expertise spans a wide variety of topics. Polymath and "universal man" were commonly used... until the Renaissance era came about and due to the cultural explosion that took place during that time, and the likes of Leonardo di Vinci, the term Renaissance Man eventually fell into popular use, but mostly in referring to those who were "gifted" and didn't just enjoy a wide variety of things. But I think that the term still accomplishes what it sets out to do... by the nature of the term nerd (someone who takes a more-than-casual interest in something), we don't just taste hobbies... we devour them. And that inadvertently makes us experts.

Whether you like it or not, you probably fall into this category because you're listening to the show! Do you agree? Leave a comment to join the conversation!

Links

Oct 12, 2018

We pull them back because there’s never enough time to get through everything! Welcome back Lord Thunder and Mr. What? to chat about Tesla, new movies and video games!

In This Episode

  • Mr. What? has a brand new TESLA!
  • Venom, A Star is Born
  • Spending time on the Keto diet
  • Remember SeaQuest??
  • GAMES! Spider-Man, Rise of the Tomb Raider

Tesla

As Tesla cars are in such high demand, it's always cool to hear someone talk about getting behind the wheel of one for the first time! One of my co-workers has a Tesla and riding in it never disappoints. He's got the full solar hook-ups, as it sounds like Mr. What? is intending on installing, so it basically costs him nothing. He plans trips based on charging stations... and gets around Minneapolis in style!

Despite whatever weird news is circulating about Elon Musk, the Model S is quite the vehicle. High safety ratings, all-time high ranges between charges... sleek design. It is thrusting us into the future in a way I wasn't really expecting. For so long, we all kinda laughed and shrugged about "self-driving cars". How could that be safer than a person? (But, c'mon... are people really all that great?!) The way the future is unfolding is much different than many of us really expected, and it's kind of nice, isn't it? It's nice to be surprised and impressed by technology, as opposed to fearful of it or not excited for it.

Time to get excited people!

Links

Oct 5, 2018

Happy October! And welcome back to The Real Brian Show where after over a month, Captain Influence is finally gracing us with his presence... and a full cup of gag-worthy Folgers. But we love him and his silly drink preferences because he brings a fun and energy to rival Brian's! Other than professing our love for this time of year, we dig into some movies, some games, and talk a bit about our observations in watching people {try to} communicate.

In This Episode

  • Fall is HERE!
  • Communication... and lack thereof
  • Love yourself, love others
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Movie review
  • Predator

Ice Cream

Ice cream? Ice cream in October? I drove 2 1/2 hours north yesterday, to spend the rest of the week working from my family's cabin, and it was snowing on the way up. Tornado warnings in Minneapolis, snow 155 miles north. Yessir, this is Minnesota. No, I will not be eating ice cream...

...unless it is served with APPLE CRISP. Yes, this is my favorite time of year because apple orchards and apple crisp.

The key to every apple crisp recipe is - wait for it - the APPLES. They need to be quality apples. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or freshly-picked apples... they've got to be juicy, a little tart, and nice and firm. (Because, c'mon, no one likes a wimpy apple.) It matters how you handle the apples, too. Getting them as THINLY SLICED as possible makes a huge difference in how the crisp bakes.

If you're doing a large batch of apple crisp, you can sprinkle some lemon juice on the apples to prevent them from browning while you're cutting them all up. But before arranging them in the pan, coating them in a delicious cinnamon spice sauce makes a TON of difference in the final product. This sauce is usually butter and flour with some cinnamon, milk, vanilla and splash of lemon juice (unless the apples have been soaking in lemon, of course).

Then the crumbly mixture that makes a crisp... crispy. Proportions here matter. Having too many apples and not enough crisp is like, "Why am I not just eating an apple?" So after you mix up the crumbler, if it doesn't seem like enough... add more. You won't regret it.

I'll finish off with the ingredients of my favorite apple crisp recipe... but please share your own if you've got one!

Crumb Mixture Cinnamon Spice Sauce (filling)
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 c unsalted butter (still cold, slice it up)
  • 3-4 large apples of choice (peeled, thinly sliced)
  • 3 T butter (melted)
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 T milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
** Preheat oven to 325... probably AFTER you slice the apples, unless you have some amazing apple cutting skillz
1. Combine crumb mixture with pastry cutter until crumbly.
2. Set aside
3. Peel, slice apples
4. Mix up filling: combine melted butter and flour until well blended. Add lemon juice, milk and vanilla and stir well. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
5. Toss apples in filling sauce until fully coated.
6. Arrange apples in an 8x8 pan
7. Sprinkle crumb mixture over apples
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes
9. EAT IT WHEN IT WON'T BURN YOUR MOUTH OFF!

Links

Sep 28, 2018

Old friend, but new to the show, we welcome Andrew Alliance and his dazzling personality to the Real Brian Show! Andrew co-hosts a gaming podcast called The Show Radio (links below) and a large focus of this episode is around gaming, but through a very unique lens. We're talking about why we do what we do, about the impact we have on the people around us, and why it's important to adopt the mantra "you do you".

In This Episode

  • Welcome, Andrew!
  • Andrew's story
  • You Do You
  • Destiny 2, Red Dead Redemption
  • Having an impact...

You Do You

My favorite line from Andrew in this episode is, "Play what you love and don't look for validation from someone else for why you play the games that you like." You do you! It's a statement that can be broadly applied to hobbies and interests... we apologize for what we love to do. Judgment will always come from the outside, whether it's from folks who think we're "not real fans" if X-Y-Z or think that if you love one game you couldn't possibly love another.

Nerding out and geeking out is a staple of The Real Brian Show. Whether you've been listening for one episode or 131 episodes, we are not shy about the things we love. Some people like drinking Folgers crystals... and though we ridicule it from time to time, we accept it! Because it's a losing battle. Just kidding. We love the breadth of personalities that are drawn in by the breadth of interests and it's endlessly interesting to me to see where interests overlap from people of all backgrounds.

Don't apologize for what you love! Embrace it. You do you!

Links

Sep 21, 2018

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.

In This Episode

  • Peppermint and Predator
  • Taking a break from TV
  • Sports!
  • Thoughts on perspective
  • Brian's on the Matt Bellamy bandwagon!

Picky and Choosy

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...

Links

Sep 14, 2018

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....

In This Episode

  • Whatchoo drinkin'?
  • Tesla
  • Takin' a drive
  • Subnautica, Spider-Man
  • Marriage insights
  • Lord Thunder is crushin'...

Bulging With Power

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!

Links

Sep 7, 2018

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!

In This Episode

  • End of Summer thingz
  • Steamboat Tread of Pioneers Museum
  • Are things really getting "worse"?
  • Nothing new under the sun!
  • Self-inflicted burdens
  • Gaming
  • We're looking forward to Predator!

Good in Bad

"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.

Game Suggestions!

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!

Were you paying attention?

For those of you who caught the reference, you'll appreciate this!

Links

Aug 24, 2018

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!

In This Episode

  • Welcome, Jason Cabassi and Lord Thunder
  • First things first... Jason needs a superhero name
  • Brief history on the Jason/Brian friendship
  • Why Walking Dead fell off the rails
  • Dark vs Light: what are we drawn to?
  • Revisiting the Enneagram
  • Virtual Reality
  • Red Dead Redemption 2, Resident Evil 2

Dark vs Light

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?

Links

Aug 17, 2018

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.

In This Episode

  • The smoke! Ahhh the smoke.
  • Stories from the Molinator
  • Project 1999 Everquest, No Man's Sky
  • Serious question: should we buy gas masks?
  • Curiosity didn't kill the cat, Brian did!
  • Grow up?

Grenades and Ham

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.

Links

Aug 10, 2018

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.

In This Episode...

  • Dr. RobDog IS Batman
  • Fanmail for Dr. RobDog
  • Madame Grey Tea
  • The Dark Knight - a rewatch
  • Anger: handling it

A Positive Force

"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.

Links

Aug 3, 2018

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!

In This Episode...

  • Lactaid milk
  • Health tips from around the community
  • Brainstorming "themed" episodes
  • No Man's Sky
  • Star Trek Discovery
  • Black Lightning

Lemon Pledge

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.

Tottenham vs AC Milan

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!

Links

Jul 27, 2018

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.

In This Episode

  • Welcome Dr. RobDog!
  • A Brief History of Friendship
  • Dentisting
  • Stories from the field
  • No Man's Sky... redeemed?

Dentisting

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:

  • Teeth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body.
  • Twigs were the original toothbrush!
  • Crocodiles have their teeth cleaned by crocodile birds. No joke.
  • Snails can grow over 25K teeth.
  • Cotton Candy was created by a dentist (dude name William Morrison) and was at that time called "Fairy Floss"

The more you know!

Links

Jul 20, 2018

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 Episode…

  • Welcome back, Green Butterfly!
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Likeability and relevance
  • Birthday in Disneyworld
  • The low-down on Star Wars in Disneyworld
  • Twitch

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.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • pinch salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Whisk cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the milk until smooth (set aside)
  • In a medium saucepan, combine remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, sugar, honey, and salt and WHISK!
  • Add in the milk and cornstarch mixture. WHISK!
  • Heat on medium high heat until it begins to bubble. Don't boil!
  • Whisk egg yolks in separate bowl (use a large bowl)
  • Pour about 1/2 of the hot milk mix into the egg very slowly and whisking rapidly as you do. We don't want to cook the eggs.
  • Make sure saucepan is on medium heat
  • Pour the egg yolks plus milk mixture back into the pot and stir constantly (if you don't, it'll curdle)
  • When mixture reaches 170 F, pull off stove
  • Add heavy whipping cream and vanilla
  • Pour into separate bowl (something that won't melt from the hot liquid, haha) and cover loosely with plastic wrap - press the wrap against the custard
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (the longer the better)
  • Churn in ice cream maker
  • Return to freezer for an hour or two
  • Eat or add more yummies with immersion blender!!

Links

Jul 13, 2018

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 This Episode...

  • Welcome SpiderPan!
  • Marvel Movie Showdown: Paths through the darkness
  • Essential Marvel viewing
  • Espresso Shot: We become more of what we focus on
  • Star Trek Bridge Crew

Marvel Movie Showdown

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!

Links

Jul 6, 2018

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.

In This Episode...

  • Fireworks
  • Folgers Crystals
  • Jurassic World
  • Spiders?
  • Salvation, Lost in Space
  • Gaming

Fireworks

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.

Folgers Crystals

The packaging...

The mug...

The sniff...

Sipping with the ambiance...

Links

Jun 29, 2018

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.

In This Episode...

  • What we're drinking...
  • Giving energy, getting energy
  • Virtual Reality... and other games
  • Lactaid ice cream
  • Milk...milk...milk...
  • Electric bikes
  • Lost in Space, Salvation
  • Jurassic World, Oceans 8, Uncle Drew

Links

Jun 22, 2018

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.

In This Episode

  • Yeah... about last week...
  • VEGAS!
  • A lesson in preparing trout
  • Stress = Dizziness & heart palps??
  • An emphasis on stress
  • Lost in Space, Salvation, Altered Carbon

What Happens in Vegas...

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.

Links

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