Before we get to the list, here are few things I’ve made since the last issue went live:
Haunted Hotels, Homicidal Monks, and Shapeshifting Nazi Reptiles // My April 2021 Book Wrap Up
I’m playing around with YouTube again. Did you know there’s a whole community on YouTube dedicated to book lovers? They call themselves BookTube. I was inspired by their monthly wrap-up videos, where they talk briefly about all the books they’ve read in the past month, and I have been doing my own…well I’ve done one so far. In a week or so when this month ends, I’ll be doing another. So far it’s a lot of fun.
The podcast returns. Just when I thought I was quitting the podcast game my desire was suddenly replenished. Returning to the show after time off has really wiped all the facade off of the show and left behind something informal and genuine. The people I know in real life who have heard this episode tell me that that it sounds like the same me they know in the flesh. I’ve never felt this good about the show. This episode explains a little about how long-term sleep deprivation and anxiety destroyed my creative drive, and I share some of the ways that I’m working to pull myself out of the swampy mental place.
I’m late to the game because…well, I’m a middle-aged white dude. Did you really expect me not to be trailing behind everyone else culturally? Anyhow, I’ve been playing around with TikTok. It’s crazy and I totally get it. I have no idea what I’m doing and I don’t care.
Just my ongoing reminder that the best way to support It List, the podcast, my YouTube experiments, my writing, and all the other creative work that I do is to hop on over to Patreon.
On to the list!
1. Dopes To Infinity - Monster Magnet
In the last issue, I shared an episode of The Blindboy podcast where he talked about how the environment of the dessert shaped the sound of the band Kyuss. That lead me to explore a couple Kyuss albums (I’d skipped past them previously and went straight to Queens of the Stone Age.) Kyuss lead me down a more general path of stoner metal—and that eventually dropped at the feet of Monster Magnet. I remember when the Dopes To Infinity album came out and “Negasonic Teenage Warhead” was a popular song. (I can’t believe that was almost 30 years ago!) Monster Magnet didn’t really click with me at the time. I didn’t dislike it, I was into much heavier music like Cradle of Filth and Emperor. But listening to it now, I’m really into it. It’s been on repeat for the past few weeks. (And as I write this, they’ve just dropped a brand new album that I have yet to dig into—that might show up in the next issue.)
2. Polyphonic - Echoes and the Psychedelic Underwater
I absolutely love video essays on YouTube. (Have I mentioned that already? I don’t remember. I probably have.) This channel, Polyphonic, does great essays on music that are both enlightening and visually stimulating. (Pay attention to the kaleidoscope effects used. It fits so well with the vibe of Pink Floyd.) This is a video breaking down the sonic palette of Pink Floyd’s epic song “Echoes” and how this is the moment that they fully became Pink Floyd.
3. Van Neistat - Sobriety
Speaking of YouTube, one of my current favorite YouTubers right now is Van Neistat (brother of famous YouTuber Casey Neistat.) Van’s style is really unique in that it’s not something anyone else could do with authenticity. There are no airs to it. No pretense. His videos feel like peeks into someone’s pocket notebook. It’s a view into his internal world in a way that doesn’t reek of validation-seeking whore-mongering that’s sadly become the norm of most platforms. (Nobody wants to see a photo of you crying. Nobody.) It was hard to decide which of his videos to share so I just chose the most recent one at the time I added it to the list. Be sure to check out 3 or 4 others!
4. Caliper CBD
I used CBD for years to deal help with anxiety, but after 2020 I gave up on it because I wasn’t having much anxiety at the time and it just got too damn expensive. After my anxiety returned and my finances improved a minuscule amount I knew I wanted to start taking CBD again BUT I didn’t want to continue using oil.
CBD oil was frustrating because I never really understood what the right dosage was for me. It was also difficult to figure out how much I was actually dosing myself when you often get measurements for the entire bottle and then you have to divide it by the estimated number of droppers in each bottle (and droppers aren’t exactly precise.) I was reminded of all of this when I started researching CBD several weeks ago, and then I stumbled on Caliper.
Caliper is powdered CBD. It comes in packages that look like wet wipes for your glasses and in each package is exactly 20mg. The powder is flavorless and dissolvess in water, tea, or any liquid. (You can also just sprinkle it on food.) It reduces the effort involved in taking CBD down to near zero.
They claim the powdered form is 30x more absorption than oil. I don’t know if that’s true. What I do know is my skin and body tingle after I take it, and since making it a daily habit I’ve been experiencing actual moments of joy. If you listened to my anxiety podcast episode then you know that I physically haven’t been able to experience pleasure for a long while, so it’s exhilarating to see my endorphin & dopamine systems coming back online. CBD isn’t responsible for all of that but it does play an important role.
5. Dr. Scholl's Float-On-Air Insoles
Another contributing factor to actually being able to experience happiness again has been my foray into jogging. I have decent pair of ADIDAS running shoes but one of the built-in insoles came loose. Every time I would put on my right shoe it would bunch up the insole into the toe of the shoe. Annoying and uncomfortable.
My solution was to go to the drug store and grab the simplest insoles I could find. I wasn’t worried about padding I just wanted to replace the liner insoles. Without debate or comparison, I grabbed these insoles. The first time I ran on them I realized how lucky I was to have grabbed these. As I said, they are simple and they aren’t very thick but the difference they make is tremendous. I wasn’t looking for cushion but I should have been. Running with these makes the whole thing even more of a joy.
6. Stuff You Should Know: The Appendix: No Respect
Maybe my expectations were low because it’s an episode on the appendix but I was really surprised by this episode. It’s worth listening to just to find out what the appendix is possibly for—for decades it was believed to be an evolutionary leftover that did nothing. Not likely.
7. Ask Yourself These Questions When You're in a Sticky Situation
I’m a big fan of self-examination through questions because I’ve seen the way that the brain responds to simple questions. When you begin to see the effect the process has on your internal world then you really start to understand the brain is built to deal with questions. Because of that, I’ve begun collecting good questions. I want to be able to analyze any situation I’m in and then pull up the most useful questions for myself. Here are three I’ve added to my collection. Give them a shot.
Madeleine McCann: An ID Murder Mystery
My love for true crime finally pokes its head. The 2007 disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann while her family was on vacation in Praia da Luz, Portugal is both tragic and baffling. The media storm that followed was epic and initially stirred up by the parents in hopes of helping to find their daughter. They did not expect that the same storm would eventually whip back around and attack them.
I already knew about this case yet the way it’s presented in this special had me glued to the screen. (Don’t be deceived by the title: there’s no murder involved. Nobody has any idea what happened to her yet.)
Bonus: After you watch the special, check out this video where four of the world’s leading body-language experts analyze the first interview with Madeleine’s parents.
10. Home Town Takeover
Let’s end on a positive note: I watch a fair amount of home renovation shows. I acquired the interest as a kid watching This Old House on PBS, and it has only increased as I’ve discovered my adult fascination with architecture. There aren’t a lot of shows about architecture but these kinds of shows at least tickle the same parts of my brain.
What I love about this particular show is that they have selected one American small town that’s facing hardships and they show up with the network’s money to renovate 12 businesses and homes in hopes of stimulating the life of the town.
I love this!
As a kid I also loved shows like The A-Team and Kung-Fu: The Legend Continues where characters traveled from place to place helping people. This reminds me of that. Queer Eye also gives me the same feeling, which is why I love it. I think all renovation shows should do this!