Dead Sara, Gritty & Cultural Speed

October 9, 2018

Your hosts recount a somewhat harrowing return trip from Montana and the hilarious Yacht Rock episode from the summer. Michael complains about the lack of instruction manuals in modern video games, and the hosts transition to discuss a recent concert they both attended to see Dead Sara. Michael talks about his appreciation for the band and thorough enjoyment of the intimate venue while Chris explains the "Minnesota Nice" politeness of Twin Cities' concert crowds. We review the Gritty phenomenon, and examine the costs and benefits of pop culture and news cycles moving so - damn - fast. Michael shares his initial shock at the adult themes and sexism that are presented for one character early in Octopath Traveler, and we close out the show by lining up future episodes.

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An Ode to Yacht Rock

August 8, 2018

A special on-location episode from gorgeous West Glacier, Montana! Your hosts sit down on a porch just outside of Glacier National Park to enjoy a drink and talk about a shared family vacation. We discuss how each night of the vacation was given a musical theme, and how everyone was looking forward to Yacht Rock Night. Mike talks briefly about preparing a session of Dungeons & Dragons for a group of 8-12 year-olds, and then our special guest joins the pod to talk about his appreciation of Yacht Rock. Our guest details an elaborate 50-point scale for determining just how smooth a Yacht Rock song can be. A summary cannot do his scale justice; you just have to listen to take in the magic and majesty. We unironically talk about our newfound love of artists like Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and how the meaning of songs and music changes for us over the years. Listen as we celebrate our special guest's birthday, and swim in the wake of Yacht Rock's glory!

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The Greatest Toy Store There (Was)

July 5, 2018

Chris and Mike briefly catch-up during the early minutes of the episode this week, and (2:00) Mike talks about his efforts to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention around the one-year anniversary of his brother's suicide. The hosts turn to (6:00) the demise of Toys R' Us, and talk about their memories of the store over the years. They explore (14:00) why the store failed, and lament (18:00) that they will not be able to take their kids through the store. A long discussion (28:00) starts about how Chris and Mike played with various lines of action figures over the years including G.I. Joe, Transformers, M.A.S.K., and He-Man. We celebrate the decades spent in Toys R' Us, and wonder what might come along that could replace that feeling of walking into a HUGE store of so many toys.

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Social Justice’s Fallout

June 18, 2018

We return after another hiatus to talk about Father's Day and discuss the challenges of handling open-world games like Fallout 4 (6:00). Mike talks about his roadblocks in Horizon Zero Dawn while Chris laments his long history of leaving games like Grand Theft Auto unfinished (9:00). The hosts share tales of getting owned in Fortnite (17:00), and briefly provide some background on the State of the Pod (27:00). Mike details how he had to use Dungeons & Dragons to sweet talk an internet technician (30:00), and Chris looks for a reaction about the Chris Hardwick news (34:00). A long conversation about privilege and fandom ensues (49:00) including the limitations of online communication (52:00). We discuss how the current political climate overlaps with recent developments in fandom, and explore how responsibile we are as consumers of the same nerd/geek ecosystem.

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A Little Bit Unnecessary

March 27, 2018

The hosts catch up after taking a two-week break from recording the show. Michael talks openly about his brother's suicide last year, and describes how he is contacting family and friends to gather stories about his brother's life. At the 15-minute mark, the conversation turns to the new album by Jack White. The hosts express their confusion about the album, and ponder the motivations of Jack White for making it. A long discussion about fandom's relationship with art and artists ensues, and touches on numerous other performers. 

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Ready Player Gender Unicorn

March 15, 2018

The hosts talk about recent games they have returned to playing - Magic: The Gathering for Chris, and XCOM for Michael. The hosts explore how stress produced by a game relates to their level of engagement and enjoyment. At the 14-minute mark, the conversation turns to Ready Player One, and stays there for most of the episode. The hosts express their original reactions to reading the book years ago, and detail the growing backlash about the author and elements of the book. The hosts talk openly about being two privileged, White, straight, cis-gendered men, and how that creates blind spots. Other questions are posed during the episode. Can you enjoy a piece of art while disliking the artist? Can you listen to a song by Ted Nugent or John Lennon, and block out the problematic believes those men held? The show closes with another installment of What's On Chris' Turntable - and this week it's St. Vincent. 

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Curling, Breweries, and Gaming - Oh My!

March 2, 2018

Michael talks about his excitement (and sleep deprivation) that resulted from the Olympic gold won by the Men's Curling Team. The hosts discuss how Michael's tabletop roleplaying game charactes seems to draw Chris' ire, including his most recent creation - a human Bard named "The Stone." A major topic for the show is the delightful combination of breweries and tabletop games, and the hosts explore how fans of games and beer can get the most out of this combination. Another installment of What's on Chris' Turntable? concludes the show with a review of The Grateful Dead.

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An Artifact of Our Friendship

February 22, 2018

Michael talks about completing Battle Chef Brigade, and the perils of getting stuck on a final boss and trying to watch endgame credits in a timely manner. Chris talks about recent success in the Eternal card game, and transitions into a conversation about the unbannings in Magic: The Gathering. Michael explains how he is focused on building a character for a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and decide that combining elements of D&D and MtG would result in a wonderful gaming experience. Chris speaks about growing up in the South in a culture of gun ownership, and Michael talks about the death of his father to a firearm, which is the foundation for strong beliefs about gun control. The discussion about guns in our culture starts around the 25-minute mark and lasts for some time. It is an important topic, and the hosts believe everyone should be open to communication about the subject - and take action like the survivors in Florida. The show concludes with another installment of Be Kind, Rewind!

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Fandom’s Dark Side

February 9, 2018

Chris and Mike talk about Super Bowl week in Minneapolis, and delve into the haftime show of one Justin Timberlake. Mike grew up in South Jersey, so he offers some commentary on the mentality and behavior of Philadelphia fans - how it can be horrific, completely inappropriate, yet celebrated. The hosts talk about their passion for sports, and how that has mellowed with age, and then transition into how nerd fandom also shares some characteristics with irrational sports' fan behavior. They ponder the new trailer for Solo, and explore the vastly different reactions to the casting choices for Han and Lando. This week's show is closed with some suggestions for television shows - Atlanta and Alterd Carbon. 

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Enjoy Bad-Movie Night

February 2, 2018

The hosts talk about recent explots with video games; Chris talks about reaching an achievement in the digital card game, Eternal, and Michael relays his excitment about a new game, Battle Chef Brigade, which he describes as a strange alchemy of Dr. Mario, Shinobi, and American Idol with roleplaying game elements. Chris presents his tradition with friends of setting aside a night once in awhile to watch bad movies; he highlights specific bad movies and talks about the allure of dissecting the films. The show concludes with a new edition of What's On Chris' Turntable? 

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