Podcasts!

When you spend 4-6 hours a day cycling you have a lot of time to listen to stuff… or, I guess, a lot of time to be stuck in your own head. I certainly spend some time without earbuds in, but most of those hours I am listening to music via Spotify, books via Audible, or podcasts via Podbean. Podcasts are my current favorite and I thought I’d share what is currently bouncing around my speakers. In no particular order…

Practice of the Practice: This is one of the newest additions to my lineup. PotP is a podcast about the inner workings of running your own private therapy practice. I am still considering therapy as a future career field and I’ve found this to be incredibly informative.

On No Ross and Carrie: Currently my favorite podcast. Ross and Carrie investigate claims of the supernatural, paranormal, and fringe science. They personally get involved in cults, try out “alternative medicine”, and join religions. They’ve joined the Mormon church, Scientology, tried cleanses, tarot cards, and a whole mess of other things. They are funny and scientific and it has really inspired me to explore more religious practices myself.

TEDTalks: A bunch of these are available on Podbean. The quality varies but I find the Science and Medicine category to be pretty solid. My only real complaint is that they are videos instead of audio, which means you can’t shift away from the screen without pausing it and it sucks up a bunch of memory.

The Tim Ferriss Show: The podcast for Ferriss, the author of the “4-Hour Work Week” (one of the most influential books I’ve ever read) covers people who are the best in their field. Chess prodigies, neuroscientists, adventurers, fire fighters… every angle of maximizing human potential is explored. It is rare that I am not incredibly fascinated or inspired by the subject and interviewee. Ferriss is also a strong Stoic who published “The Tao of Seneca” on Audible.

Waking Up with Sam Harris: The podcast by the (controversial?) atheist and neuroscientist is similar to Ferriss’ podcast. It doesn’t come out nearly as often but I do enjoy them when they come out.

The Joe Rogan Experience: Man, Rogan is kind of an asshole sometimes and he is wrong on a lot of stuff but he gets into some fascinating conversations with incredible guests. Because Rogan is so prolific (he comes out with a 3ish hour podcast several times a week) I usually just download the ones with guests that I know of or subjects I’m interested in.

My Brother, My Brother, and Me: This is an advice show for the modern era and the flagship podcast for the McElroy brothers. They are freaking hilarious and I have had to pull my bike over several times while listening to them because I am laughing so hard that I’m crying and I can’t see the road. If you love comedy podcasts give this one a try… it can take an episode or two to get a feeling for the three guys and their contribution to the show.

Getting Curious with Johnathan Van Ness: Another new podcast to my list. Van Ness is an infinitely curious guy who investigates the random subjects that crosses his mind. His excitement during interviews can’t be contained, and it provides a comedic effect. The show is only about thirty minutes, which is a nice break from the other podcasts which can run over an hour. Some of the subjects he has covered includes menstrual cups, what was the first Christmas really like, what is gender identity, and who were the Romanavs?

Bunker Buddies: This is a McElroy podcast put on by Travis and his friend Andie. They discuss various end of the world scenarios and survival situations such as surviving a zombie apocalypse or surviving an airplane crash. Part funny and part informative.

Sex Nerd Sandra: Probably the most informative podcast about sex subjects that I’ve ever listened to. Sandra spends an hour or so interviewing experts on specific sexual subjects including swinging, anal sex, and asexuality. She is a fantastic sex educator who also puts on online classes weekly.

The Adventure Zone: This is the first McElroy production that I was introduced to. The McElroy brothers play D&D with their dad. It is a nerdy kind of funny and I anxiously await each new episode of this more than any other podcast.

The Isaac Morehouse Show: Morehouse is an entrepreneur and freedom advocate who explores what it means to be free in today’s world. There is often a particular focus on education and entrepreneurship, but it can get downright philosophical in the best possible way. I’ve found this podcast to be the most personally rewarding to listen to and it inspires creativity.

Sawbones: The final McElroy production that I listen to. In this show Justin and his wife Sydnee (a medical doctor) explore the wacky, crazy, and sometimes disturbing, world of medical history. They walk you through the relatively logical Greek/Roman era to the batshit crazy dark era to the enlightenment into modern times. It is the one Anna and I listen to the most together.

 

If you have any podcast recommendations feel free to send them my way and I’ll check them out.

 

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My Musical Evolution

Music is magical. There is something about it that can transport me anywhere. I takes just a moment for me to get lost in the past, present, or future.  If the soul exists, music is the purest form of communication between different souls. Listening to music (sadly, I have yet to find any musical talent within myself) has always been important to me throughout my life, though the genres that I listened to have varied widely.

Growing up I was only allowed to listen to Christian and Country music. I guess this was to prevent me from being dirtied by the secular world. In a way this makes sense, my home was “god and country”, Christian music reinforced the religious foundation and Country is very American nationalism. I didn’t mind country but I was more in tune with rock during my teenage years. My cassette tapes were mostly Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Petra, and dc Talk. I proudly wore their t-shirts to high school which, in retrospect, probably didn’t help my decidedly unpopular and nerdy persona.

Aside from occasionally listening to the radio (KNRK Portland – The New Rock Alternative!) I didn’t have a lot of secular variety in my music until I discovered MxPx. MxPx is a punk band that was (is?) also Christian. Their music had some religious aspects but they weren’t in your face about it. God may be mentioned but the focus was on being a teenager and surviving the world. The lyrics spoke to me at a time in my life when I was trying to figure things out as a Christian teen. By listing their influences on the back of their CD cases MxPx also introduced me to non-Christian punk bands like NOFX, The Ramones, and Misfits. I started to realize you can be influenced by artists who have different political and religious views than you. At this point I was no longer young enough for my parents to control my music.

When I joined the Army I had shifted pretty strongly into punk, pop-punk, and emo. Again, I think this is a reflection of the lyrics. The words always came first to me, regardless of musical genre. Bands like Fallout Boy, Tsunami Bomb, Blink-182, Green Day, and The Ataris filled my harddrive (thanks Napster!). While I was still pretty conservative at the time these musical influences were decidedly not. Around this time there was a lot of anti-war sentiment within music, particularly when Bush sent troops into Iraq. My only interaction with non-Conservative thought at that time was within music. It was a strange time, I would be listening to American Idiot by Green Day while reading a book by Sean Hannity.

Punk was my primary influence for most of college until I was introduced to EDM. EDM was more than just music, it was a community. Being at a rave with tens of thousands of other people dancing and enjoying life was a surreal experience. It was pure, beautiful anarchy. I particularly love artists like Krewella who mix lyrics I can relate to with music I can dance to (Dance, much like playing an instrument, is an art that is traditionally lost on me). I have come to believe that EDM is the newest example of music reflecting the newest generation of a culture. It is often hated by “old” people who see it as noise instead of music. There is always a view that music “used to be good”, but really it is all good for the people involved in it. Music is how youth show their independence and create something unique. It adapts new technology, criticizes old institutions, and is an outlet for frustrations and love. It is how we connect and create a new world.

At this point in my life I love EDM and Kesha and music that inspires revolution (Rise Against, Flobots, et al). I love female voices and lyrics I can relate to. I love being in the crowd, feeling the sweat and tears of a thousand friends, and making eye contact with strangers that express pure love. I love when music allows my soul to talk to another soul. I’m sure my musical tastes will continue to change and evolve with the times (at least I hope so), and I’m excited to see what new generations create.

Just Dance

Aside

EDM. Electric Dance Music. There is just something about the drop… that “womp womp womp” that has come to bring out passionate cries for censorship from the haters and bring the lovers into a nearly orgasmic trance. Recently on Facebook I posted this article, and like many articles I share I didn’t actually read it because I trusted the source and was at work with little time to slack. I’ve read it now and it does a great job talking about the history of EDM, something I know little about, but it did get me thinking about my own experience with raves and the music that takes over the heartbeat of thousands of glowing and fuzzy fans.

In truth, I don’t listen to that much EDM. I can’t tell the difference between dubstep, drum and base, trance, or whatever. I just call it all dubstep and find I prefer my music a little grimy. What I love is the community. My first rave was Beyond Wonderland and my normally introverted self was cautiously curious at the environment. Beautiful colors, sounds, and lights overwhelmed the senses. To be at one of these shows is an experience that the word “concert” doesn’t do justice. I had truly stepped into a new world where how you danced meant nothing, as long as you were being true to yourself, it was a place where strangers hugged, said hi, complimented each others outfits*, and were generally polite. I’m sure that the drug going through most people’s systems was MDMA or mushrooms instead of alcohol had a lot to do with it.

Regardless, there was a sense of community. Everyone was there to have a good time, and that often meant making friends, performing light shows, and loving your neighbor. Coming from a military world where you are trained to hate the different and see anyone as a potential enemy this was a pleasant culture shock. I felt comfortable enough to wander alone, explore the sounds and different stages, dance around, talk to girls (trust me, this is a shock), and enjoy sitting alone. It seemed to be a judgement free zone. Certainly there were drunks and troublemakers, but these seemed to be the exception not the rule. In fact, there were more problems, aggressive people, and drunks at a Lindsey Stirling concert I went to recently than any rave I’ve been to.

Unfortunately, things aren’t always peaceful. Most ravers have stories about the police doing drug busts and shutting down raves. I’ve even heard rumors of undercover cops hanging out near DanceSafe (an organization that tests drugs at raves to make sure people don’t OD) and arresting people who go to them for information and tests. In fact, Assemblywoman Ma from California attempted to ban EDM and seemed shocked when she found out it was unconstitutional to ban a type of music, so she worked to ban LED gloves and pacifiers instead. What this really is is an attempt to use the government to ban what is not understood. And the result is raves moving underground or leaving states where they feel unnecessary pressure from the state.

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Just look at those troublemakers…

If the state must exist the resources should be used to protect those that are weak, not punish those that are different. Every dollar spent going undercover to make low-end drug arrests and shut down raves is a dollar not available to investigate rapes and murders. Any person who thinks that this is an appropriate use of tax-dollars should find the victim of a crime and explain to them why the murder of their loved one or their rape should have resources taken away from it to stop an adult from dancing while wearing a fur vest. We have homes for abused woman and mental health facilities severely underfunded but we have kids going to underground parties because you can’t celebrate life in the open without fearing arrest.

I may not be the biggest fan of EDM but it is a community that has shown me love and I do hope it is here to stay. These are people who embrace peace instead of war, love instead hate, and communication over passive-aggressiveness. It is simply discrimination to punish those with legal action for celebrating a life in a way that is new or isn’t understood.

Extreme Futurist Festival

Today is the Extreme Futurist Festival. a hodgepodge of technology, philosophy, science, and club music. It’s gonna be awesome. As a strong proponent of science and believer that we may see the option for immortality in our lifetime I am really excited. In fact, I’m sitting at work crazy distracted and not able to really get much done.

There is a great line up of speakers including Aubrey de Grey, Brian Doherty (glad to see the libertarians stepping up), Anastasia Krylov, and tons of others. I wish they announced the subject matter of the speakers but with specialists in science, technology, longevity, non-traditional relationships, and a variety of arts it is going to have something for everybody. If you happen to be in the LA area this weekend you should totally check it out. I’m going to be there with a few friends from DC and the more the merrier.

More info can be found here.

“Warrior”

kesha-warrior

Seriously… who wouldn’t wanna make out with her?

As my friends on Facebook know, I have a decent celebrity lust for Ke$ha, I would love to meet her and I am not really one that gets celebrity crushes. I guess some of my blog followers may not know that, I’m not exactly sure what the FB-to-WP cross-over is to be honest (if we aren’t FB friends we should be… I am pretty loose with my FB friend accepts and I love “meeting” new people). Anyway, her new album came out this week and I really enjoyed it. After reading a review of the album in The Atlantic (see: Ke$ha Is the Last Great Rock Star) I was pretty excited for it. So, here are my thoughts on the album.

I really like the whole thing, there is a certain righteous rebellious streak that  runs throughout the songs. She rejects social norms and the tradition of our parents generation. Instead of embracing a cynical skepticism she calls for an acceptance of how things are and a desire to make the most of it.

I think that people who were raised in the 80’s and 90’s are rightfully fed up with the “holier than thou” mentality that is always shoved in our faces. We are told that we are selfish by a generation that has spent our money before we had it, that has rejected any type of real reform in exchange for cute words like “hope” and “change”. And then we are told that we don’t care enough.

The generation before us protested Vietnam but seem okay with two political parties that start wars across the globe and kill scores of innocents with drones from the sky. They smoked pot and embraced a hippie culture but have no problem imprisoning thousands for drug possession and continuing a failed prohibition policy. Our parents continue to try and control our bodies and decisions with antiquated views of morality that they ignored, and then call us lazy when we live in a destroyed economy that they created.

So yes, Ke$ha basically says “fuck it”, this is who we are and we are going to have a good time. She encourages everyone to be proud of who they are, live a life of love, and to stop pretending. The rallying cry of “fight for the fuck ups, stand up for true love” spits in the face of the facade of the previous generation who preaches love from either the pulpit or the hippie commune but usually practices selfishness, destructive politics, and war.

At least that’s my rant about the whole thing… Her album is art open to interpretation by anyone and if Ke$ha read this she may disagree with everything. Regardless, I like the album and my coworkers are kind of stuck with it drifting softly out of my office door for the next little while.

Some other songs that I either found really catchy or had a good message: “Die Young”, “Dirty Love”, and “Gold Trans Am”… but just listen to the whole thing on Spotify or something.

“One Day” by Kottonmouth Kings

Love.

 

 

“One day I am going to invent a new drug disconnect from the system just unplug.
Buy a pop gun; shoot a peace love drop a love bomb and give the world a hug.
One day I won’t have to fear a cop, or a security guard what a dope beat drop.
One day I want to body surf a rainbow, swim through a room of clouds blow an end-o.


I want to elevate and unify mankind. Everybody is just walking in the sunshine.
One day there’ll be a block party for the world and I’ll never have to be away from my girl.
One day I plan a cherry orgasm infiltrate the atmosphere so everybody has one.
Come together, a global climax, just imagine a universal sun splash.”