Episode 5: Small Talk, Diesel: Running on Gas, Ask OTC, Unchained Melodies, and Shantideva

This week Dave and Steel are joined by their old friend Jordan, a Las Vegas-based lawyer. Together, the trio talk about professional dumpster divers, meditating mummified monks, and the maker Jimmy DiResta, introduce a new segment focused on Dave & Jordan’s shared love of Vin Diesel, take a question from a listener about how to deal with boring lecture classes, share some of their favorite recent music, and explore the wisdom of the 8th Century Buddhist monk Shantideva.


Small Talk

  • Wired Magazine’s profile of Matt Malone, professional dumpster diver in Austin, Texas.
  • Story on the unidentified mummified Buddhist monk in Mongolia from the BBC. A more in-depth feature appeared in the Siberian Times.
  • Jimmy DiResta’s YouTube channel. Jordan recommends starting with these two classics:
    Making an Aluminum Hatchet Handle:

    Making an AK47-shaped guitar for Wyclef Jean:

Diesel: Running on Gas

Dave & Jordan discuss the 2013 film Riddick, the third in the Chronicles of Riddick franchise. Here’s the film’s trailer [warning: it’s pretty intense and probably not for children]:


Here are a couple of images Dave and Jordan have drawn in class to help them pass the time.

Geometric Patterns
Geometric Pattern sketch made by Jordan during a law school course.

Gentle Bear checks his mail.
In this drawing by Dave, Gentle Bear checks his mail.

Dave has published a whole book of Gentle Bear cartoons, called Gentle Bear: Gentle Honey which you can buy in eBook form.

Unchained Melodies

DakhaBrakha: Baby

Animals as Leaders: Lippincott

AC/DC: Thunderstruck

Liam Bailey: Stun Me
Stun Me by Liam Bailey on Grooveshark
Alash Ensemble: Bashtak

Book Wisdom

This week’s Book Wisdom was stitched together from various passages in Vesna A. and B. Alan Wallace’s translation of Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.

Episode 4: Food Kiosk, Men's Room Graffiti, Unchained Melodies, and the Brothers Karamazov

This week Dave and Steel are joined by their old friends Spencer and Jordan. Together, they discuss the best meals they’ve ever had, some graffiti Steel recently spotted in a men’s room, some of the best tunes they’ve heard recently, and Spencer shares some wisdom from Fyodor Dostoevsky.


Food Kiosk

The idea for this segment came from Stephen L. Peck‘s book A Short Stay in Hell, which Dave recently read and enjoyed. The premise for the story is partially based on Jorge Luis Borges’ famous short story “The Library of Babel

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino Recipe


Amounts are very approximate and not that important – you really should experiment a little, it’s a sign of culinary maturity and confidence — Spencer

  • Spaghetti pasta – 1 lb
  • Fresh garlic – 3 cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 1/3-1/2 cup
  • Red pepper flakes – to taste
  • Parmesan cheese – to taste

Start water boiling in a pot. There should be enough water to completely submerge the spaghetti. Add a generous amount of salt to the water. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until it has reached the desired consistency.

In the meantime, add the olive oil to a pan over low-medium heat. Crush the garlic and sauté with pepper flakes.

Combine the pasta and the oil/garlic/pepper flakes and toss. Serve with grated parmesan.

Men’s Room Graffiti

Check out the Men’s Room Graffiti Tumblr, where you can find a couple of images of the piece of graffiti which inspired our conversation.

Unchained Melodies

Timber Timbre: Demon Host

Shovels & Rope: Lay Low

Mikal Cronin: Made My Mind Up

Flume & Chet Faker: Drop the Game

Vulfpeck: Outro

Book Wisdom

Spencer shared a beautiful passage from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brother’s Karamazov. The passage he read appears in Book II, Chapter IV of Constance Garnett’s translation.

Episode 3: Small Talk, Lost the Plot, Ask OTC, Unchained Melodies, and The Little Prince

In this episode of Off the Chain, we introduce a new segment called Small Talk, in which we offer you some advice for improving your conversation skills and give you some rich content for your next informal chat with friends (Is it safe to read on the toilet? Coke vs. Pepsi? What does Ayn Rand think of recent children’s movies?), play another version of our Lost the Plot game, in which Dave asks Steel to describe the plot of a bad action movie he’s never seen (this week it’s Lockout!), answer listener questions in another installment of Ask Off the Chain, share some of our favorite recent songs, and drop some book wisdom from French adventurer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.


Small Talk

  • “Reading on the Loo” article in The Guardian
  • Why blind taste tests might be misleading & the Coke vs. Pepsi wars by Matthew Yglesias in Slate
  • Guide to open heart surgery from Healthline.
  • Ayn Rand reviews children’s movies by Mallory Ortberg in The New Yorker.

Lost the Plot

Unchained Melodies

Benjamin Booker: Violent Shiver

Pavement: Gold Soundz

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: No One Is (As I Are Be)

Foxygen: No Destruction

Book Wisdom

  • Taken from Chapter 21 of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s story Le Petit Prince [The Little Prince]

Episode 2: Castles & Coasters, Super Bowl Ads, Ask OTC, Unchained Melodies, and Beloved

In this episode of Off the Chain podcast, we discuss the Phoenix-based amusement park Castles and Coasters, talk about our favorite water slide rides, review the best and worst Super Bowl ads, answer listener questions in a new segment called ‘Ask Off the Chain,’ share some of our favorite recent music in ‘Unchained Melodies,’ and share some life-changing wisdom from Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved.


Castles & Coasters

The Sky Diver

Super Bowl Ads

Budweiser [Squeak E. Clean soundtrack]

Loctite Glue

Daddy [Dove Soap]

Grub Hub [Burrito abuse]

Like a Girl [Always Maxipads]

Skittles [Arm-wrestling]

Dodge Elders


Unchained Melodies

Little May: Boardwalks

Little May: Boardwalks [Karl K edit]
Gramatik: Just Jammin’

Gregory Alan Isakov: Amsterdam

Book Wisdom

Toni Morrison’s Beloved