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.


Great Physics Hair Gallery


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.


Unchained Melodies: Workout Edition

Book Wisdom

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

Episode 65: The Art of Photography

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Steel’s sister-in-law Jennie Bastian, an artist and professional photographer. Together they talk household pets (cats. vs. dogs), take questions from listeners throughout the great state of Illinois, ask Jennie a bunch of questions about her upcoming show on Fear and her photography practice generally, share great music from Mulato Astatke, Gasper Nali, American Wrestlers, Smog, Tim Maia, and Camp Cope, and Jennie shares some dreamy book wisdom from Gaston Bachelard.


Unchained Melodies

Book Wisdom

Jennie shared a brief passage from Gaston Bachelard’s 1958 classic The Poetics of Space, which examines the phenomenology of architecture in beautiful and moving ways.

Featured image: Jennifer Bastian

Episode 61: That One Time at Band Camp …

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Steel’s old friend Liz Feezor. Together the trio discusses the recent political conventions leading up the US presidential elections, ask Liz all about her career in HR, recent misadventures in Colombia, her past life as a member of the University of Oregon marching band, and her ongoing expertise as a style/fashion blogger. We also play great drum music by Wilco, James Brown & Clyde Stubblefield, Beyonce, Radiohead, Fela Kuti, and Van Halen, and Liz shares some book wisdom about the art of writing from Stephen King.


On Cargo Shorts & the RNC


On Cargo Shorts Generally

On Khizr Khan

Unchained Melodies: Drum Line Edition

Also, this:

and this:

Book Wisdom

Liz shared a brief passage from Stephen King’s classic writing memoir On Writing.

Featured image: Liz playing caixa (a Brazilian snare drum) at Trolloween in Seattle in 2011.

Episode 60: Art Talk with Jack Bangerter

Switzerland's Steve von Bergen w/ hair by Jack Bangerter

This week Dave and Steel are joined by the artist Jack Bangerter, who many listeners have long suspected was merely a figment of Steel’s imagination. This week’s episode proved for once and all that he is, in fact, a real human being. Together the three of them discussed their great summer vacation memories, discussed some ideas for meaningful social change, talked about art and creative processes with Jack, who makes his living as a painter, played music to make art to by Barry White, The National, William Basinski, The Beach Boys, Mutual Benefit, and Rostam, and Jack shared some book wisdom from the 19th century French painter Paul Gauguin.


OTC Social Change

Art Talk with Jack Bangerter

Unchained Melodies: Music to Make Art To

Book Wisdom

Jack shared some inspiring words from a 1885 letter from the artist Paul Gauguin to his friend and fellow artist Emile Schuffenecker found in the book Writings of a Savage.

Featured image: Steve von Bergen, with hair by Jack Bangerter

Episode 54: Everything You (N)ever Wanted to Know About Babies

This week Dave and Steel bring back their old friend Amy (Scott) Anderson. Together the trio discuss epic meltdowns, some amazing things that have they’ve been dying to share with each other during Dave’s paternity leave, talk (for a long time) about babies and parenting, share great music they’ve been digging recently by AURORA, the Strumbellas, Pinegrove, AdriAnne Lenker & Buck Meek, and Whitney, and Amy drops some impressive book wisdom from Paul Kalanithi’s touching memoir When Breath Becomes Air.


OTC Quick Hits

Assigned Reading

Unchained Melodies: Songs We’re Into Right Now Edition

Book Wisdom

Amy read a moving passage from Paul Kalanithi’s memoir When Breath Becomes Air, in which a dying father gives his final message to his infant daughter.

Featured image: Things not going so well for golfer Jordan Spieth, whose Masters collapse inspired our epic meltdown opening segment on this episode.

Episode 53: #ToniBraxton

Dave is out for a bit because his wife just had twins, so Steel hosted this episode solo. To remedy Dave’s absence, he brought on two old friends: Kate Kelly and Ashley Sanders. Together the three of them discussed the Virtues (Night) that initially brought the three of them together, shared small talk stories touching on staged child abductions for TV morning shows, dental dams, and failed sperm banks for geniuses (genii?), talked about their current obsessions (changing our minds, the Internet/AI, Charles Rezikoff), had a segment of expert testimony in which we discussed Planned Parenthood, ghostwriting for a legal firm, revealed where Kate gets her iconic cat-eye frames, parsed the definition of style, and gave our male listeners six life-changing style tips, among other things. As if that wasn’t enough, we also played great music by powerful women like Sia, Toni Braxton, Matson Jones, Dar Williams, Nina Simone, and Thunderbitch, and closed with some powerful book wisdom from Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook.


Small Talk

  • I am on an email listserv for media stuff in NYC and the other day, an email came over the server from The Today Show asking for parents who would be willing to to let their kid be pretend-abducted on national television while a child abduction expert watched and analyzed what the kid did so he could give the kid and parents TIPS later on how to … be abducted better? Anyway, they were offering 15 minutes of fame and maybe, they didn’t know, a couple of martial arts classes if they could swing it? The response was amazing. [Ashley]
  • In another galaxy, on another podcast far, far away I explained what a dental dam is to a pretty large live audience. So, that is my life now, I guess. [Kate]
  • Robert Graham, super insane millionaire shatterproof eyeglasses magnate who tried to start his own utopian island and The Repository for Germinal Choice, a racist sperm bank for people with super high IQs. [Steel]

Unchained Melodies: Powerful Women Edition


#ToniBraxton #4eva! #ThnxAshleysDad!

Book Wisdom

This week Ashley shared an inspiring passage from Doris Lessing’s classic The Golden Notebook.

Episode 52: Mornin' Mark

This week Dave and Steel are joined by one of their oldest friends, Mark Eliason. Together the three of them discuss Mark’s untreated tuberculosis, wow each other with some great small talk topics ($100,000 trash men, the long history of professional farting, and intermodal freight transport), ask Mark a bunch of questions about Bane & Company, his three advanced degrees, and his longstanding love affair with Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr., play six songs by U2, and hear some Wright brothers inspired book wisdom from David McCullogh’s biography of the aviation pioneers.


Opening Segment

A list of great lives felled by tuberculosis.

Small Talk

Expert Testimony

Adam Clayton
Adam Clayton in full Jetsons regalia

Unchained Melodies: U2 Edition

Book Wisdom

This week Mark shared a passage from David McCullough’s biography of the Wright Brothers.

Featured image: Mark Eliason performing at NoiseFest 2K5 (Provo, UT).

Episode 51: Hey, Sister!

This week Dave and Steel are joined on the podcast by Dave’s older sister Melissa. They talk parenting, discuss some fantastic business ideas(OTC Shark Tank, basically) that will be sure to revolutionize your life, especially if you’re a discreet midget looking for meaningful work, have a segment of expert testimony with Melissa in which we discuss mothering and postpartum depression, play hauntingly sad songs by Patty Griffin, Bon Iver, Fountains of Wayne, Noah and the Whale, Daniel Johnston, and Dar Williams, and share some classic Arnold Lobel Frog & Toad book wisdom. Enjoy!


Unchained Melodies: Depression Edition

Book Wisdom

This week’s passage of book wisdom was Arnold Lobel’s classic story “Cookies” from the book Frog & Toad Together.

Featured image: Melissa and Dave and their siblings as children. You can probably guess which one Dave is.

Episode 45: Everybody's A Critic

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Steel’s old friend Aaron Peck, a real-life professional film critic. Together the three of them recap their holiday adventures with children, talk with Aaron about his expertise in running, reading, and reviewing films (Aaron shares his perspective on the best films of 2015), play great movie soundtrack music from The National, Van Morrison, Bill Conti, R. Kelly, The Who and Radiohead, and Aaron shares some book wisdom from Roger Ebert’s memoir Life Itself.


Expert Testimony: Aaron Peck


Aaron’s Best Books of 2015:


Film recommendations
Aaron’s Best Films of 2015:

All the new releases Aaron saw in 2015, ranked (1-120!).

Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, 2013) [for Steel]

Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-Ho, 2013) [for Steel]

The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2011) [for Dave]

The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011) [for Dave]

Lost the Plot

Daylight (1996)

Unchained Melodies: Classic Tracks from Film Soundtracks

Book Wisdom

This week’s book wisdom came from legendary film critic’s Roger Ebert’s memoir Life Itself.


Featured image by blondinrikard