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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 31, 2017

Happy Superhero Friday! We welcome a new guest in this installment, Luke the Mad Scientist! Luke and Brian go way back to the days of radio and though they still game together, they haven't yet reunited on radio's most direct ancestor. For this episode of anything-goes, we really mean anything goes. From space wizards to elk meatballs to a health hack of the week... they cover it all.

In This Episode

  • Welcome, Mad Scientist!
  • Movies: Beauty & the Beast, Power Rangers
  • Mad Scientist & Med School
  • Overwatch and customization
  • Affogato and Elk Meatballs
  • Fill your mind with something positive, joyful & encouraging

Fun Is Overrated

Fun is overrated. Be responsible! Because here at the Real Brian Show, we're all business. Not monkey business, straight up business.

Yeah, that's sounds like us.

Not! We like to have fun here and advocate that it is far from overrated, but sometimes the world likes to tell us to "take a chill pill" and "come down off that cloud" while we're having fun. Take an hour today and just have some fun, detox with a little discussion about the cheese-factor of Power Rangers, the awesome customizability of Overwatch, and some great food and beverages our hosts have been digging into lately.

Inside, Outside

This week's health hack involves a practice whereby we take just 15 minutes a day and fill our minds with something positive, joyful and/or enriching. You know the adage, "You are what you eat!" Well, I'm a firm believer that eventually... everything that is inside of us comes out of us. What we put into our bodies, whether it's junk food or films that celebrate crass behavior or music that promotes drugs and violence, works its way into our minds.

Taking just 15 minutes a day as a start, step away from the usual stuff and find something positive to fill your mind. And maybe eat a banana while you do so! The mind is the most powerful tool we have in our arsenal; brawn can get us only so far, but will gets us the rest of the way. How else do you suppose the force works? Filling your mind with things that are positive and enriching will enable you to output those same qualities, and here at the Real Brian Show we are staunch supporters of encouraging behavior that will make this world a better place.

Fine. I'll do it. Where do I start? That's the spirit! Well, we're not just talking about positive self-talk (because it is important to show yourself a little grace now and then!), we want you to go after a spirit of positivity (optimism, can-do). This doesn't mean being unrealistically positive, but rather avoiding the tendency to be strictly negative about a situation and getting your mindset under control so that you have an accurate perception of that situation.

This is something I've been continuously trying to put into practice myself. With various stressors in my life, I've come to associate certain sounds or certain people with intense stress. As a result, whenever those sounds or people come up, my body has this immediate negative reaction and my mind spirals in a hundred different directions telling me about all of the most terrible scenarios I can fathom. To get a handle on this, I've started with simply one thing: get the facts. Take a deep breath, separate what I know from what I don't know, and then ask questions to figure out the things I don't know. Amazingly, I've come to see how many lies my brain tells me in order to initiate a freak-out and ultimately leading to unnecessary physical or mental anguish.

Sometimes positivity can be as simple as information-gathering. Take a step out of the sphere of negativity and enter into a world where things are possible through intentional application.

Links

Mar 29, 2017

We've got a sweet, on-location interview for you in this installment of The Real Brian Show! From the factory of Nuance Chocolate we hear the sound of delectable chocolate being made... in one of the most honorable ways you can imagine. Brian got the opportunity to talk with Toby Gadd, the co-founder and co-owner of Nuance Chocolate, a Fort Collins-based chocolate factory.

In This Episode

  • Welcome Toby!
  • How did Toby get started? Where did Nuance Chocolate come from?
  • A little on where the beans come from and how they're ethically acquired
  • An audible tour of the factory

Nuance Chocolate

An infatuation with chocolate which began in Costa Rica after visiting a chocolate museum, Toby and Alix Gadd decided to launch their own, rather rare, bean-to-bar enterprise. What's better, they're both committed to making this world a better place... which means they commit their business to purchasing the ingredients that they use in their factory in a fully ethical way.trbs-031-nuance-inside

Fully ethical? What does that even mean? I'm not just talking about a legal methodology of obtaining ingredients, but the actual examination of the process by which ingredients are cultivated and acquired. In order to reduce labor and/or production costs, all manner of approaches are taken by the entities which produce the ingredients necessary for a company to do what they do. Nuance Chocolate goes the extra mile to ensure that they are not enabling distributors from engaging in unethical behavior by purchasing only from sellers who also strive to make this world a better place.

Every day we make a lot of decisions about what and where to buy the things we need. The more we know about the means a company undergoes to obtain the products they provide to us, the more it influences us as to whether or not we continue to buy from them. In American capitalist society, we have both the privilege and the duty to influence companies with our dollars. If you remember the Nike labor abuse scandal from about five years ago, you'll know that sooner or later the truth will come out.

Support good chocolate and good business practices by checking out Nuance's brand-new online store!

How Do I know?

Thanks to the internet, there is little we can't figure out about companies these days. However, it is the internet... how do I know if what I'm reading is a bunch of garbage or fear-mongoring versus the real thing?

There are a couple fantastic resources out there for you to do some simple fact checking. Here are a few to get you started:

Links

Mar 27, 2017

In this installment of The Monday Experience, Brian digs his fingers into the very real world of bullying. Bullying doesn't stop as we grow old; it changes, perhaps becoming more sophisticated or less overt (or not), but bullying does not discriminate by age. He takes a little time to lay out his definition of bully so that it might draw out what bullies might exist in our lives and give us a chance to get out in front of that bully.

StopBullying

bully (v): "use superior strength or influence to intimidate, typically in an effort to impose a will"

The word bully exists in two forms, as the noun (the person or entity that forcefully imposes their will on a weaker subject) and as a verb (the act of utilizing superior strength to forcefully impose that will). Back when I used to do the Stuff I Learned Yesterday podcast at Golden Spiral Media, I would often throw out a word-of-the-day at the top of my installment because I believe in the importance of understanding terms in order to properly talk about something. The truth is, bullies come in many shapes and forms... and we lose significant ground toward overcoming bullies when we make believe that someone or something is not a bully because they don't fit a classic stereotype.

Every bully has a different purpose. They each want something different, they're each driven by a different insecurity or developed an ineffective approach to getting work done. In addition to clearly defining what a bully is, it's helpful to take it a step further and put more definition around the bully in your life. Get specific, even to the point of trying to determine why you have become their victim.

Sometimes this level of introspection can be intimidating, because it's hard to admit some of our most poignant weaknesses, but I am a firm believer in naming my demons. When we give names to our weaknesses (or the people that push us down), when we focus and break them down into their core components, they become less enigmatic...and a fuller picture begins to form. And with that fuller picture comes opportunities to take action.

And that's what we're encouraging you to do here today! Take action against bullies. Sometimes fighting back is as simple as understanding the situation and standing up to someone, or something, that is trying to take advantage of you. Furthermore, be nice to yourself and stop the negative self-talk! If you do this analysis and determine that you are your own bully, stop it!

Yes, we know. It's not that easy. But we're here for you, we're a community here. So let us help!

Mar 24, 2017

Happy Superhero Friday! In this installment of Anything-Goes, I, your fearless blog post-writer, come out from behind the curtain and join in the discussion. I join Brian and Sarah in this episode and we cover a lot of material. Since I'm part of the discussion this week, what you'll find in the blog post is information you never really cared about in regard to manatees. And why they are our nemeses.

In This Episode

  • MADNESS! March Madness & the like...
  • Of The Week: TV Shows, music, movies, lifehacks
  • Presidential Debate: Gender Swapping

Manatees

Manatees, aka Sea Cows, are our nemeses. Why, you ask? We hate to totally blame it on rhyming, but that's largely why this phrase began to get tossed around. Interestingly, though they are often colloquially referred to as sea cows, they are more closely related to elephants. Their slow nature and tendency to be eaten by other animals is slightly contradictory to their ability to swim swiftly. I might label elephants as majestic, but certainly not graceful... And that might be owed to the animated Disney film Jungle Book which portrayed elephants trampling down through the forest.

Poor manatees. It's not their fault they look so goofy. Evolution has been incredibly kind to some creatures, and incredibly cruel to others. Isn't it funny how we can look at an elephant and think, 'How majestic!' or watch a panda in captivity for extended hours at a time via live stream... then there are also animals like the blobfish (named one of the top 20 ugliest animals on Earth).

trbs-029-Animals have such a different purpose than humans do on Earth. Their only fault is our perception of their appearance. Manatees spend 8 hours a day gathering food for their young and because of their slow-paced lifestyles, they only reproduce every 2-5 years. Their entire workday is spent ensuring their kiddos have enough to eat. And not just making money in order to buy the food to bring home the bacon, but literally bringing home bacon. Except... not literally bacon because manatees are herbivores. Imagine if we spent 8 hours a day gathering food for the people we were responsible for. Imagine acknowledging what we were capable of and living within our means.

Links

Mar 22, 2017

Meet Jason Hartman! trbs-028-jason-hartmanThis is one interview you're going to want to listen to because there are many takeaways for us all, whether you're on Wall Street or making good money or trying to be successful in whatever enterprise you choose. Jason upholds the definition of consistency, of slow and steady, and of working smarter (not necessarily harder) as an approach to business. We're so excited to share this interview with you and hope you will take a little extra time to check out Jason's websites.

In This Episode

  • Welcome, Jason!
  • The 2-track approach
  • Great mentorship yielded a successful slow and steady mindset
  • Investment: Thou shalt maintain control
  • Some excellent advice

Wall Street

You know what they say... When you mess with the bull, you get the horns. I took this picture of the famous Wall Street Bull on my first trip to New York last year. When my small, Northeast Minneapolis company was acquired by an international company, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of business. ny-wall-street-the-bullWall Street is no joke. New York City itself is no joke, at that. Our office in New York is a handful of blocks north of Wall Street, but well within smelling-distance, and close enough to see just how serious people are about trying to make it in the big world.

While it's not necessarily my scene, I do see the attraction to a life spent at that pace. I could never keep up with what would be required to live and work in New York, but it is stimulating to me in small doses. It's kind of a wake up call to the normal and steady pace that I like to enjoy. But my goals have never been around making money, they've been in trying to go places where I'm most effective, where I'm needed, and where I can make a difference.

Honestly, if Wall Street is your game, or if you want it to be your game, there is no judgment from us. But there are, inevitably, certain requirements, certain sacrifices, that will need to be made when playing that game. In a world obsessed with money and making it to the big time, Wall Street is just another cog in that machine. Whether it's the sacrifice of time, or something a bit more costly, there are prices to pay for playing on that scale.

But what if there was another way? A better way? A way that we could work with people and create a mutually-beneficial situation which enhanced the culture and the lives of everyone you touch! A dream, you say? I don't know. My belief has always been that the most effective gestures [can be] made at the 1:1 level, when goods and services are exchanged on a personal level. (Of course, with any sort of customer-facing services, we also run the risk of making very ineffective or detrimental gestures.) Like Jason, I am all for capitalism, but I have a huge heart for small business.

Because when you're known by someone, it makes a difference. Doesn't it?

Jason's advice to us about investment (Commandment #3) is "thou shalt maintain control". As much as he means this about investing our hard-earned money, I don't see any reason it should stop there. Monday's episode was about being responsible and finding solutions that create mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone whom policies affect, and that applies as much to the investment of our time and energy (involvement in business) as it does to the government "investing" in our lives.

When we start putting everything on auto-pilot, when we give more fuel to the bulls, we have fewer opportunities to wield the most important tool of business we have: the personal touch. I don't believe humans are inherently good, but I believe humans are capable of great good. Even more importantly, I believe that when we practice goodness we see inexplicable, wonderful outcomes that motivate us, and others, to do more good.

The truth is, New York is a crowded place... and the Earth we live on is quite large. Don't stop looking for what your niche is; pursue it and bring your unique skill set to an area of this world that needs it most.

Links

Mar 20, 2017

This week on the Monday Experience, Brian starts a discussion that is larger than any single policy change. While the provoking circumstance was related to homelessness, there is a pervasive entitlement idealism with an approach to policy making in this country that needs a makeover. As much as we should feel responsible for our fellow men, we should also feel responsible for the culture we're passing on to each generation.

Donations vs Government Funding

A lot of research effort goes into understanding the typical American's approach to charitable giving and the close coupling to tax breaks or perception of taxation (or lack thereof) of the money being given. Most people would respond to direct questioning about why they donate with affirmations around trying to make a difference or to feel good about doing good, but when there's talk around changing how that money given to charity is taxed there are some significant shifts in idealism. Tax breaks around charitable giving drastically increase the percentage of taxpayers who will give.

America is one of the most generous nations in the world. We are greedy and arrogant and sometimes the generosity is tinged with a bit of self-righteousness (i.e. tax breaks, making ourselves feel good), but it doesn't change the fact that charitable givings in the United States is somewhere in the $260 billion range, which increases in single digits each year. Interestingly, however, many studies show that when the government gives a large amount of money to a charitable organization, private donations decrease significantly. There's even a name for it, it's called "crowding out"; the perception of the people is that the government "has it well in hand" and that private donations are not necessary.

The government staying out of funding all together for private charities is not a great solution either. Charities are highly localized, supported significantly more by their immediate community than communities at a distance. It's not always, the case, of course, but it is more the rule than the exception. Thus, if a charity is based out of a small town with limited resources, that charity tends to struggle more than a charity in a wealthy community. Funding from the government helps these charities survive when it might otherwise fail.

Responsibilities vs Burdens

Brian talks a lot about responsibility in this episode and coming alongside those in need in order to help resolve a more fundamental problem instead of creating policies which enable a sort of non-responsibility. While none of us would disagree that everyone should have a place to sleep or should have access to the care they need, the basic core problem seems to be this idealism that we, as human beings, are entitled to these things. And as a direct result of this mentality, policies are created to purport that entitlement, removing the responsibility from those who should be helping to support those in need and those who are in need.

But as the government intervenes and creates policies instead of trying to bolster community support for struggling cities or towns, the interest in providing support by members of that community decrease. Bitterness and resentment crop up toward those who are protected by the policy and the divide increases.

So what are we trying to say? What's our big solution? It's not as simple as refusing to support policies, such as the one Brian brings up in today's episode. It requires a response from each and every one of us. We are not entitled to luxury. We're not entitled to making more than we earned. But in this life we've been given, this one shot at being a human, we do have a responsibility to be decent to our neighbors, to support our communities and care about what goes on. When we back off and leave it up to the government, we're left with a bunch of can-do and can't-do laws that make little, practical sense.

Making laws and policies does nothing to change the hearts of the people it affects (whether the affect is good or bad). If you didn't read my blog post from Friday (or didn't listen to the podcast), you'll have missed my rant about how attitude is the outward expression of the inner mindset. Policy is like forcing an attitude, regardless of mindset... and until those two concepts become more intertwined, we won't ever truly see the change we hope for.

Mar 17, 2017

Welcome to the Real Brian Show! We're here wishing you a Happy Saint Patrick's Day AND a Happy Superhero Friday with another installment of anything-goes. trbs-026-whitney-brianWe are not raising our rates for this double feature, but hope you will find twice as many reasons to share the show. This week we made it into the Top 200 on iTunes, and that is all thanks to YOU! Thank you for listening and being part of this community. In this episode, Brian chats with Whitney whom he met at Happy Lucky's Tea House (which we got to hear a lot about on Wednesday this week!).

In The Episode

  • Irish, Irish, Irish
  • ...and a little of Japan
  • Music
  • Drinks & Food (Tea, Wine)
  • Logan
  • Male Modeling
  • ATTITUDE!

Saint Patrick's Day

I would be remiss not to share some of my favorite Irish pleasures on this Saint Patrick's Day. Irish culture is one of my favorites to read about, rich in its history and its distinct culture. For a nation that has seen so much suffering, they've given the world some of the most distinct sounds in Celtic music and possess some of the most incredible landscapes in the world.

I don't joke around when it comes to Irish music. My proverbial music library is full of incredible Irish musicians, many of whom I learned of through Marc Gunn's The Irish and Celtic Music Podcast over the last 7 or so years. From Socks In The Frying Pan to Gaelic Storm, from Sean Macdonnchadha to FullSet, I don't discriminate. Every chance I get, I make people listen to Foreign Lander. And not just listen, but really listen. One of the reasons I love Irish music so much is because they often tell incredible stories or love and loss and unashamed, drunken stupidity.

Do you know the difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd's Pie? Other than both being delicious, Cottage Pie is traditionally made with beef whereas Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb. Lamb provides a very different flavor to otherwise traditional ingredients, if you're not used to it, but you might try this super yummy recipe.

Let's Talk About Attitude

Brian and Whitney have a great conversation about how attitude is so often driven by circumstance. The situations we find ourselves in drive our outlook and affect the way we perceive the present (and, in turn, how we treat the people around us and closest to us).trbs-026-whitney

Attitude and mindset are tightly coupled concepts. Attitude is an outward expression of the inward mindset. A change in one influences the other, positive and negative. The fake-it-til-you-make-it concept isn't just an old adage, it actually has some merit! It's amazing how much a difference walking around with a smile on makes in your day than walking around with a scowl. And likewise, filling your mind with positive thoughts, encouraging thoughts, as opposed to self-deprecating thoughts, will directly affect your own perception of what you are capable of.

It's easier said than done, but most of the best things are. It is my sincere belief that attitude and mindset are habits that need to be formed. Attitude is reflected in behavior, and behavior, though we can control what we do, is so often rooted in memory. We behave a certain way because that's what we've been taught, or we behave in a certain way because we've been trained. We can train ourselves to be more vigilant about attitude and mindset, but it isn't something that can be accomplished with half our attention.

I've been noticing lately, and this week in particular, that when I can see the results of effort it reinforces a good, behavioral response. When a new workout has a positive impact, or a change in dietary habits improves your health, or doing a renovation on the kitchen makes a huge difference in usability, it makes us more inclined to continue exercising aspects of those behaviors. But sometimes it's hard to get started, even though we always have to start somewhere.

Start by smiling! Seriously. If you know you need to change your attitude, start by choosing to smile. Whether you're around people or alone, just smile!

Mar 15, 2017

People who drink a lot of tea every day tend to be on the chattea side, if you know what I mean! In this case it pays off well because George Grossman of Happy Lucky's Tea House shares his wealth of tea knowledge with us in the latest on-location interview of The Real Brian Show. Whether you hate tea, casually drink tea, or consider tea one of the major food groups, we hope that this episode will be enlightening as to what the big deal is around the most popular beverage in the world.

In This Episode

  • Introducing... Tea House royaltea George Grossman!
  • Steeping, oxidation, flavor
  • Why we slurrrrrp
  • All roads lead to Oolong
  • Why tea caffeine is different from other forms
  • George's time as a photographer
  • Employee retention
  • Training your palate is key to a healthy foundation

Tea House

The interview in this episode takes place at Happy Lucky's Tea House, nested in downtown Fort Collins, CO. If you can't map your next road trip through Fort Collins, try taking the virtual tour on their website! Brian sits down with George Grossman, founder of Happy Lucky's and tea aficionado, to pick his brain about the many health benefits of tea, what makes teas so distinct, and understand what drove George into the tea business in the first place.

If you fall into the "tea is gross" camp, chances are good you haven't properly tried a cup of tea. Like cooking, there is a method to the madness. Brian and George talk about some of the key aspects to brewing tea, including how (and how long) to steep tea and how to develop and train your palate. I like to compare drinking properly brewed tea to the difference between canned asparagus and fresh asparagus. Have you ever had canned asparagus? Apologies if it's your favorite, but honestly, in my opinion it doesn't hold a candle to the fresh stuff. When I first tried fresh asparagus, the vegetable suddenly made sense to me. It was delicious! But the differences between canned and fresh makes them nearly incomparable.

A lot of the pre-packaged stuff you can buy in the stores is actually quite tasty, but if you want to get a taste for tea the way it ought to be drunk, we'd encourage you to find a tea house near you and have someone, like Andy from Happy Lucky's, brew it for you. If you're in Minneapolis, I'd highly recommend The Northern Lights Tea Co! If you're neither in Fort Collins nor Minneapolis and are uncertain of where to go, leave a comment and ask for recommendations!

Links

Photo Credit: Vee O

Mar 13, 2017

Welcome to another installment of The Monday Experience! While playing the video game Overwatch, and consequently getting my butt kicked, a lot of things fell into place for me in a matter of seconds. Confidence or fear? Playing it nice or going after what I want? I want to share that story with you and provide a few insights on my observations.

Confidence or Fear?

Recently I was playing Overwatch and found myself in a situation where my team, and I personally, were getting trampled. I was getting shot at and quickly losing health and found myself just running away from the fight, licking my wounds and searching for a health pack.trbs-overwatch But I realized I wasn't just running away to find health, I was trying to save myself. I was running away in fear rather than as some strategic ploy.

Here's the kicker: the guy who was shooting at me followed me in my attempt to run away. He hunted me down and still killed me, even though I was running away. At that point I thought the match was over.

In that moment it struck me; I was scared (in the video game sense of scared), ready to run away and find safety, and yet I still died. What the heck? Over the next couple seconds, a lot of thoughts went through my head.

Despite the fact that I strongly believe in loving, respecting and valuing the next person, I had to acknowledge that playing it nice was getting me nowhere. But I don't believe loving, respecting and valuing others equals being nice. I've had numerous situations in my life recently, and even over the past decade, where I've been timid, nice, fearful, hesitant and... guess what happened? Nothing good. Nothing.

In business, friendships, leadership, life, boundaries, health, playing it nice or being timid, fearful, or scared never got me anywhere. And in that moment, when I was getting hunted down in Overwatch, it was clear that just like with animals... when someone is weak or timid or scared or fearful, others will take advantage and prey on that weakness. It's primal, instinctual.

trbs-play-nice-signWhile we hope that others are far wiser and more enlightened than to act on such primal instincts, what I've seen from life is that it doesn't often happen in favor of the weak. I realized I needed to be strong, set aside fear, and seize the confidence I know is within me. Not just playing Overwatch, but in everything.

After getting a little mad at myself for being so weak, I jumped right back into the game when I respawned and pushed full speed ahead with no fear. I took down a ton of players on the other team and we won the match! By the end of the game, the other team was running away from me!

Everything I ever learned, I learned from video games. Sure, it's just a game... but this is a valuable life lesson. It doesn't matter where I learned it, it matters that I apply this mentality in other aspects of my life. So, while keeping in mind that I need to make smart choices and don't do something too drastic or stupid, I still need to stand up. Be courageous. Be strong. Be a leader. Be confident.

Mar 10, 2017

Happy Superhero Friday! The dynamic duo of The Real Brian and Miss Light are joined this week by friend Kim for another installment of anything-goes Friday! We talk about how terrible wind is, how amazing finding new music is, what games are getting played and what movies are being watched.

In This Episode

  • What's up with the episode title?
  • New music!
  • What are you drinking?
  • TVs & Movies
  • Getting out and being the best me!

Viscerally Vicious Vegetation

Enough about vegetation! Let's take a close look at this fricken chicken. A gift from Kim to Brian (which, as you can see, is actually a rooster... not a chicken).trbs-023-fricken-chicken

Really, we just wanted an excuse to show this rooster-chicken to you. And, really, as Brian and Kim said, it brings to our minds the simple fact that sometimes all we need is simple, every-day humor. Sit and laugh at that rooster-chicken for a while and tell me you don't feel better. Interestingly, there is a restaurant in Michigan called the Frickin Chicken Shack. Road trip, anyone?

Since we're on the topic of chickens, did you know that the wings have become the most expensive part of the chicken? Chicken wings have exploded in popularity over the last 50 years, becoming a staple at football game parties or easy crockpot finger food for a potluck. A mere half-century ago, however, the wing of a chicken was considered throwaway food, the least desirable cut. The origin of the popular food can actually be traced back to a restaurant called Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY where, in 1964, the use of wings in an appetizer was a necessary by-product of a mistake.

What a great mistake! I love making chicken wings for parties. Put them in a crockpot with your favorite BBQ or home-made Buffalo sauce for a couple hours; then, to get that nice glaze, broil them for about 15 minutes at a high temperature. So easy and so delicious. Sorry, Sarah, but sometimes I just can't help being so carnivorous!

Recipes Mentioned

We heard from a couple listeners that they'd like to get their hands on a recipe or two talked about on the show. This week there were a couple mentioned (Oatmeal Cream Pie, gluten and grain free fudge), but Sarah is sharing the seasoned shrimp avocado lettuce wrap recipe. Try it on for size and then let us know how it went!

Parmesan Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Avocado

Source: The Wild Diet by Abel James Buy It!
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 lb raw medium shrimp
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 medium or large avocado
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 T grass-fed butter
  • 1 head green- or red-leaf lettuce
  • Hot sauce
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese

Prep Day
TIME: 15 minutes
Tools: Knife, cutting board, strainer, mixing bowl, garlic press, measuring spoons, storage containers
1. Chop the onion and store in a small airtight container for up to 1 week.
2. Rinse, peel, and devein the shrimp. Place in a large airtight container and set aside.
3. Peel and mince the garlic cloves and place in a small bowl.
4. Add the paprika, cumin, oregano, chili powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and
salt to the bowl with the garlic.
5. Toss the seasoning into the container with the shrimp. Close the lid securely and
shake to coat. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Feast Day
TIME: 10 minutes
Tools: Measuring cups and spoons, knife, cutting board, pan, large skillet, storage container

1. Halve the avocado lengthwise, remove the pit, and use a large metal spoon to scoop out the flesh. Slice the flesh. Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedge over the avocado and set aside.
2. Coarsely chop the cilantro and set aside.
3. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
4. Sautê the seasoned shrimp in the butter for 1 to 2 minutes, turn, and cook the other side until the shrimp has turned pink and the flesh is firm.
5. Plate the lettuce leaves and top each leaf with shrimp, onion, avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, and Parmesan.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Mar 8, 2017

Welcome back to The Real Brian Show! This week we have the pleasure of welcoming Brian C. Roll to the show. Brian (the real one) and I had an opportunity to meet, talk, and share a delicious Giordano's Pizza with Brian (our guest) and discovered an extremely talented, passionate artist. Brian Roll found an incredible niche in producing beautiful art for comic book and genre television and movies. Checking out his website is an absolute MUST!

In This Episode

  • Meeting at Heroes & Villains
  • Welcome Brian C. Roll of Odyssey Art
  • Learn more by doing
  • People are looking for PASSION!

Learn More by Doing

Planning and thinking has its place in every process, but without action there is no product. In the wise words of someone in the past: "Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." Most people attribute this statement to Thomas Jefferson, but there's really no record of it. It would make a lot of sense as to why Jefferson might have said it, though, when taking a serious look at his life. Thomas Jefferson was constantly in the service of the public, from practicing law to helping draft the Declaration of Independence; public service requires a lot of planning and thinking, but without action it's not easy to retain one's position.

So whether you're the creative type or the technical type or the public service type, this interview has a lot to inspire you. We can learn a lot from study and observation, but nothing quite maps true learning like the practical execution of a skill. We learn more by doing.

Brian's Art

Since Brian C. Roll's talent is so visual, I thought it would be a crime not to show you a bit of his amazing work. Please, please use the links at the bottom of this post to go check out Odyssey Art and learn more about Brian's passion!

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Links

Mar 6, 2017

It's Monday! That means a new week is upon us filled with fresh opportunities. In this installment of the Monday Experience, I share why the phrase "I got your back!" means so much to me and how I think we could all do with stepping up our game. In the spirit of encouraging those around us and standing up for what's right, this concept bears more weight now than ever.

Got Your Back

Have you ever experienced someone getting your back? Literally, standing up for you in a fight or ending a gossip train that was speeding a hundred miles an hour? Or maybe you are that person. Maybe you get someone else's back in a fight or put a stop to a degrading conversation. From the military (got your six) to sports teams, the concept is nothing new.

I've been blessed to experience people who get my back when it's truly needed, but I also have to admit that it is a rather rare occurrence. Instead of standing up for me, these people who know I need them leave me high and dry. I know I'm not the only one who's experienced this and I'm here to say one thing: it ain't right.

Regardless of who you are, where you're from, what you did (to quote the Backstreet Boys), it's time to step it up.

In the mystery of why we don't stand up for each other, I find that it generally comes down to two things: 1) it will hurt us (maybe even physically), and/or 2) our reputation might take a hit (or we won't be respected). Of course, our perception of taking a hit might need a bit of an adjustment because I personally believe that standing up for others increases the respect of others. Perhaps our popularity will dive, but is that what we're after in the first place?

Here's what I'm doing:

I'm looking out for those people in my community. I am doing everything I can to get their backs. I'm not going to throw them under the bus even if it makes me look better, feel better, or helps me fit in.

When someone doesn't get my back or throws me under the bus, I will confront the situation and the person, but I will not retaliate.

I want to inspire others to stand up and do the same in leading by example.

My hope is that by doing these things I find healthier relationships, stronger friendships, and, perhaps, help stop bullying in the process. Doing the right thing, even when it's unpopular, is how I want to live my life.

Mar 3, 2017

Happy Superhero Friday! In the latest anything-goes installment of The Real Brian show we get another peek inside the lives of Mr. and Mrs. The Real Brian. From the health benefits of turmeric and chocolate to the importance of dressing nicely (and the incredible challenges at Brian's size 14 shoes!) to exploring the differences of personalities with the help of personality tests, we cover a lot of ground today.

In this Episode

  • What have you been drinking?
  • Music recommendations! (Check out Jamiroquai and Ellogram)
  • Turmeric, chocolate and eating healthy
  • John Wick 2
  • Don't judge me by my shoes!
  • Personalities make the world go round.
  • Groot

Unicorn Stag

Unicorn's Horn

The unicorn's horn is steeped in legendary mystique. There are early writings about unicorns that originally assigned healing properties to it. (It's a story about a snake poisoning a lake which many animals were drinking from. The unicorn makes the sign of the cross with its horn before drinking from the lake itself. The poison becomes harmless and all the animals can drink again.) In general, though, unicorns, though myth, have a lot of symbolism attached to them; wild, but full of grace and representing purity. There is also something to be said about the historical accounts of hunting for unicorns and the fake evidence around alleged sightings.

Unicorns have come to represent a new concept in our culture, that of some higher form of idealism. As an picturesque creature whose presence has evaded eyewitness account, no one loses hope that it's still out there somewhere. They also bear a connotation of over-the-top happiness (i.e. ever heard someone say, "I hope unicorns fart rainbows all over your day?" Me neither.).

So what's the big deal? Some forms of mythology, in modern culture, are not only accepted but celebrated; perhaps not necessarily accepted as truth, but accepted and discussed nearly as though they are so. Talking about unicorns or the Greek gods are useful tools in order to represent abstract concepts in a more concrete way.

We like to have fun here at The Real Brian Show, but we also want to help you form concrete thoughts around abstract concepts. Sometimes trying to eat healthy sounds like a big job with many moving parts. Well, just about every week we have some bit of information that can help you make a healthy choice instead of an unhealthy one. Sometimes fighting with a best friend or significant other can make the world feel too small and too complex, but just about every week we have conversations about how people are different and the decisions that are made to help bridge those gaps.

Focus on the unicorn's horn, for a bit, and think about what sort of healing properties you need to bring into your life. Those properties are so different from one person to another, there is no one-size-fits-all. After you've done some soul searching, come back and tell us about it!

The Shadow's 514 Mix on Spotify

Looking for some new music? Check out The Real Brian's spotify playlist.

Mar 1, 2017

We are excited to welcome Dr. Tim Flynn to the Real Brian Show! The doctor is in the studio with Brian in this installment and together they walk through what it really means to manage pain. Pain is not a disease, it's a symptom of something your body is attempting to draw your attention to. Using stories from Brian's life, and interesting encounters Dr. Flynn has had over his career, we hear a well-rounded discussion of how pain management is a body, mind, and brain battle.

In this Episode

  • A little about Dr. Flynn
  • Nerding out about the body
  • Everything is so connected
  • Pain management the wrong way
  • Mind over matter and visualization...

Manage Pain

Dr. Tim Flynn is a leader in musculoskeletal physical therapy and has an extensive background in evaluating, treating and helping patients to manage pain in the thoracic spine and rib cage. He is board certified in Orthopaedic Physic Therapy (OCS), Dr Tim Flynna Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT), and a frequent research presenter at state, national and international meetings. In addition to seeing patients like Brian, Dr. Flynn is involved with the company Evidence in Motion and teaches musculoskeletal management, advanced manipulation skills, and evidence-based practice to Doctor of Physical Therapy students at South College in Tennessee.

Whether you're dealing with chronic pain or perhaps just deal with the occasional injury here and there, this discussion is a great, comprehensive view of the many factors that go into pain management. Pain is the body's way of alerting us there is a problem, and just in the many ways we can react poorly to alerts raised in other aspects of life, there are right and wrong ways to respond to pain.

More than just a discussion about pain management, Dr. Flynn and Brian draw out just how prevalent and relevant the topic of understanding our bodies is in modern culture. With Google and WebMD at our fingertips, it's easy to freak out about the wrong thing, right? Have you ever plugged symptoms into WebMD and it tells you something along the lines of having a rare form of abdominal fungus? Me neither.

Every body will respond differently to treatments and exercises, so it's not a one-size-fits-all sort of application. This is a great area to build confidence in because without at least a baseline of understanding, we can often focus our time and money into the wrong things. We still may do so, in the end, even if we do have an understanding, but we give ourselves the best chance by taking the time to familiarize ourselves with options for pain management and with whom we are deciding to trust our health.

A huge thank-you to Dr. Flynn for joining us this week! Use the links below to find out more about Dr. Flynn and the organizations he's involved with.

Links

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