Episode 77: The Last One

We’ve got some bittersweet news. The sweet part: Spencer and Jordan rejoined us for another terrific episode. The bitter part: it’s our last ever Off the Chain. This week, our old friends and frequent guests Spencer and Jordan come back for one last ride, in which we give some pro-level small talk advice (including, for the first time ever, a list of topics to avoid), do a segment of Lost the Plot with the classic rom-com Death Race 2050, answer questions from our beloved listeners, and play conclusion worthy music by Beck, Blue, The Beatles, Tom Brosseau, and Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.

Our deepest thanks for following us over the past few years, everyone. We’ll be back soon with a new podcast, which we’re planning to call Theme Song.

Links

Small Talk

Topics to Avoid

  • ‘My kid has lice’
  • ‘So, it turns out it wasn’t a mole it was a tick’
  • ‘So, let me guess that person’s ethnicity or country of origin’
  • ‘How do you feel about your mother?’
  • ‘Make America great again’
  • ‘Your teenage daughter is very attractive’

Topics to Address

Unchained Melodies — Songs about things coming to an end

Book Wisdom

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

–James P. McCartney

Featured image: Dave and Spencer in the Santa Cruz Mountains earlier this summer.

Episode 76: Physics Hair

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Dave’s physicist friend Jason. Together the three of them discuss proton therapy, Jason’s top three physicists of all time, describe the new “Physics Hair” calendar they’re working on, answer Dave’s questions about fringe physics concepts, give parenting tips, play science-themed music from The Flaming Lips, Elton John, They Might Be Giants, Modest Mouse, Coldplay, and William Onyeabor, and share a classic story from Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.

Links

Great Physics Hair Gallery

 

Episode 75: Ken, Yakov, and an Ornamental Hermit Walk Into a Bar …

Cartoon by Sigrid Peterson

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Steel’s friend Sigrid. Together the three of them discuss transportation options for families with tons of kids, Dave and Sig’s shared loved of drawing and illustration, play a few rounds of Indie Band Name Balderdash, present another edition of Small Talk, share great nighttime driving music by De La Soul, Lisa Hannigan, The War on Drugs, Phil Collins, R.L. Burnside, and Phosphorescent, and drop some book wisdom from the late, great David Rakoff.

Links

Small Talk

Unchained Melodies: Music for a Long Drive at Night

Book Wisdom

Sig shared a passage from David Rakoff’s novel (in verse!) Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish .

Featured image by Sigrid Peterson

Episode 74: Lawyer Up

This week Dave and Steel by Dave’s high-rent lawyer friend Grayson. Together the three of them discuss quick favorites from this year’s NBA playoffs, do a special legal-themed edition of Ask OTC, rank the on/off chainness of various categories of things, play angsty music from Bleached, Fugazi, The Misfits, The Hotelier, PJ Harvey, and Teenage Bottlerocket, and share some immortal book wisdom from JD Salinger’s much beloved Holden Caulfield.

Links

Unchained Melodies: Angsty Edition

Book Wisdom

This week Dave shared a brief passage from J.D. Salinger’s classic coming-of-age novel The Catcher in the Rye.

Episode 73: Mark Davis’ “Rube Do”

Mark Davis

This week Dave and Steel were joined by Jack Bangerter to talk about the best haircuts and best names of the year, share spring musical memories from 2007 and 1997 by Okkervil River, Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, Rihanna, Wyclef Jean, Ben Folds Five, and Soul Coughing, and share a moving springtime poem by William Carlos Williams.

Links

Name of the Year

Unchained Melodies: Embarrassing Spring Jams from 2007 and 1997

Book Wisdom

Steel read the first section from William Carlos Williams’ 1923 book Spring & All.

Episode 72: Market This!

Stadium Pal

This week Dave and Steel are joined by their old friend and marketing professional Alan Stoffer, who fills us in on top-level marketing strategies, what it’s like to live in Silicon Valley, the joys of having your garage rented out to a guy named Darrell for $1000/mo, and why he’s so relieved not to have to talk about sports at the office anymore. We also do another segment of Lost the Plot (this time it’s a romantic comedy!!!), share great music to train to by The Who, Flo Rida, Cold War Kids, The Japandroids, The Very Best, and J Roddy Walston and the Business, and drop some book wisdom from a western novel by John Williams.

Links

Unchained Melodies: Workout Edition

Book Wisdom

This week Dave shared a passage from John Williams’ 1960 western Butcher’s Crossing.

Episode 71: We’re Baaaack!

It took Steel three weeks to get this episode edited (which explains all the Valentine’s Day references in early March) but we’re back! This week Dave and Steel make a new induction to the OTC Hall of Fame (congratulations public libraries!), give you some new topics to discuss in another installment of Small Talk, praise two everyday heroes, shared six great songs from Esmé Patterson, Graham Parker & the Rumour, Saintseneca, Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam, Dr. Dog, and Keaton Henson, and drop some book wisdom by the satirical French novelist David Foenikos.

Links

Off the Chain Hall of Fame

 

OTC Hall of Fame

This week we’re inducting the public library into our Off the Chain Hall of Fame! The greatest idea in the history of Western civilization? The last bastion of pure idealism in the United States? Yes and yes. We think you’re great, public libraries. Thanks for everything!

Small Talk

Everyday Heroes

  • Bike Batman, this otherwise pretty boring normcore guy in Seattle who confronts bike thieves and returns the bikes to their rightful owners [Steel].
  • Scott Mills, the man who stood inside the U-Haul truck while we emptied my house and somehow found a way to fit all of my family’s possessions inside this truck [Dave].

Unchained Melodies: Songs for each other

Book Wisdom

Steel read a passage from David Foenikos’ hilarious satirical novel The Erotic Potential of My Wife [thanks to Ewa Miernowska for the recommendation!].

Featured image by Jan David Hanrath

Episode 70: 2016 in Review, part 3

Here’s the last of our 3-part year in review for 2016. In this episode we bring on our old buddy Spencer Gardner to talk about the year in sports. It’s pretty much only for the hardcore fans (there’s a lot of nerdy talk about the NBA, among other things), but we had fun. Happy New Year to you all. We’re really holding our breath for 2017 …

Links

The Year in Sports Hair

Top ‘Do Nominees:

Most with Least Award Nominees [Bald of the Year]

Best Sports Moments

Kabaddi!

The coolest sport you’ve never heard of. Check it out:

Featured Image: Collage made from Robert Beck‘s images of Steven Adams for Sports Illustrated

Episode 69: 2016 in Review, part 2

Painting by Jack Bangerter

Here’s the second part of our 2016 year in review podcast. Think of it as an early Christmas present from us to you! On this episode Jack Bangerter joins us to talk about the year in art, culture and food, and Aaron Peck comes to talk about all things film. We’re pretty happy with how this one turned out, so please enjoy!

Links

Art & Culture with Jack Bangerter

Jack’s Hairstyle of the Year:

The Last supper [La Ultimate Cena]

Jack’s Art Show of the Year:

John Kilduff’s Art Basil LA

Our TV Recommendations from 2016:

  • Trailer Park Boys [Jack]
  • HBO’s Night Of [Jack]
  • Detectorists [Steel]
  • Maria Bamford’s Lady Dynamite [Steel]
  • Stranger Things [Dave]
  • Rewatch 30 Rock [Dave]

The Year in Film with Aaron Peck

Top 5 movies this year that you probably didn’t see

    • The Witch

    • Krisha

    • Swiss Army Man

    • Cameraperson

    • Manchester by the Sea

Best performance by the Rock in 2016

  • Central Intellegence [the misspelling here is soooo fitting, Dave]
  • Ballers (HBO) [Aaron]

Surprising film you really enjoyed

  • The Shallows [Aaron]

Family film that you were into

  • Pete’s Dragon [Aaron]

  • Trolls [Dave]

What are you looking forward to in 2017

  • John Wick 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [Aaron]

  • Fate of the Furious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [Dave]

Featured image: Photography of a recent oil painting by Jack Bangerter. Jack writes: “There are spirit/shadows of the players represented by chess pieces. I was inspired by images of Ajax and Achilles playing a board game/planning a war on some Greek amphora pots.”

Episode 68: 2016 in Review, part 1

This year we’re trying something new (and awesome). We asked six of our friends to join us for a recap of the year that was, with each of them covering a subject that they’re an expert in. We’ll be bringing you our 2016 in review in two episodes (this week and next), but this week we were lucky to be joined by Rosie (the social issues that defined 2016: populism, political rhetoric, violence, and environmentalism); Jordan (the year in music, featuring songs from Mick Jenkins + BadBadNotGood, Camp Cope, Mitski, Big Thief, Pinegrove, and Snarky Puppy); and Rose (the year in books & reading).

Links

Social Issues

Political Rhetoric

Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 DNC

Theresa May setting out a vision of Conservative leadership as socially responsible and humane (gasp!)

Violence

Subscribe to journalist Torie Rose DeGhett‘s “This Week in War” newsletter for weekly updates about violent conflict around the world.

Unchained Melodies: Favorite Songs and Albums of 2016

Book Recommendations

Our Top Children’s Books of the Year

Steel’s Poetry Tips

Finally, Rose has been writing a young adult fantasy book, Lesser Demons. Check it out on her site and share your feedback!

Featured image: Basil Bunting, from the cover of The Poems of Basil Bunting.