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  1. Lunch Box, featuring Ed and John

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    In a surprising turn of events, dear reader, I don't just spend the whole of my life listening to podcasts.  Sometimes I pretend I'm a writer!  And what's the best way to pretend to be a writer?

    Wait, what do you mean 'by writing'?  Oh reader, you so crazy.

    No!  You spend your time thinking about writing!  That's the ticket!  At least two hours each day are spent visualizing an increasing word count, which typically leaves me so exhausted that I spend the rest of the day watching Netflix.  When I can muster the energy I also do things like find podcasts that features two authors, who are friends, talking about pretty much whatever comes into their heads.  Sometimes they even mention writing.  Welcome to Lunch Box, featuring Ed and John


    LUNCH BOX is an episodic conversation about coarse dining, literature,
    cultural amusements, and escaped zoo animals.
    Relevant Links:
    Main Site!
    RSS Feed!
    Ed Skoog's website, featuring the best WordPress background I have ever seen.
    J. Robert Lennon's website

    Hosts Ed Skoog and John Lennon have pulled up a third chair to the two-top table they've been sharing and invite you to sit down and listen in to their chats.  These two gentlemen wish to relate to you the trials and tribulations of their day to day lives as authors, and will make sure to take plenty of tangents along the way. 

    Here are some things they've written that aren't podcasts!





    [For those of you that Adblock my site and can't see the links:  you're all bastards.]

    Content RatingCleaner than some?  From what I've listened to there isn't a massive amount of swearing, but I guess they could talk about butts and that might offend your delicate ears.

    Average Episode Length:  An hour with a few extra minutes sprinkled on top, just like grandma used to make. 

     Bonobos hate Jane Austen. 

    Drinking Game:  Find one of the food items that are invariably discussed by the hosts.  Then go get a beer and drink that while you eat the food and listen to the podcast again.

    Release Schedule:  According to the release dates on iTunes the episodes are released sporadically, usually within two-three weeks of that last.

    Ed:  I just changed the baby.
    John: Into what?

    Music:  What might be the best podcast theme song I have ever heard.  It fits the feel of the podcast perfectly, it's quick, it's adorable, and it has the podcast's title in it.  Boom, all ya need. 


    John:  What do the Scotts call mashed potatoes and mashed turnips?   Tatties and tweeps, or something like that, tatties and neeps.  Neeps and tatties!
    Ed:  Is that true?
    John:  Yeah, neeps and tatties with haggis.
    Ed:  Is that true or is that just what they told you?
    John:  No, it's actually printed on menus!
    Ed:  You didn't ask a lot of questions and they just said this to dismiss you.
    John:  They have special menus printed for the American to seem more regional.


    Unexpectedly Good Part:  You will get tons of reading recommendations just by checking out the names dropped through the course of conversation.
    Unexpectedly Bad Part:  As per usual with a podcast that features Friends Talking About Stuff, it is for a niche audience.  If you don't care about what these two fellow have on their mind, you are out o' luck for this podcast.  Which is a shame.
    Unrelated rating:  Two chipped diner coffee mugs that you stole back in college and refuse to throw them out due to nostalgia out of two. 
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  2. How To Play

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    You damn kids these days with your XBox360s and your smart phones and your technological cocoons from which you pretend to have a social life despite any actual interaction beyond a "Like!" or an amusing meme.  Back in my day, if you wanted to play a game, it had to exist in a physical manifestation!  Oh, those were dark days, back when we were forced to walk uphill, BOTH WAYS, just to have the chance to play a tattered game of Monopoly.  We lived for the days that the Game Wagon would roll into town just for the chance to find a Uno deck with most of the cards still in it.

    And we liked it!  We loved it!

    But now brighter days have returned for table top gaming.  Nerd Messiah, Wil Wheaton, has a YouTube show all about them called TableTop.  BoardGameGeek can point you in about a thousand directions that all lead to great games.  Thanks to this newfangled Internet, people with cool ideas can get their games funded through Kickstarter and send them straight to the people who want them.

    All you have to do is know how to play.  That's where, go figure, the How To Play podcast steps in.

    Relevant Links:
    How To Play Main Site
    Support the Show!
    Episode Archives

    How To Play podcast doesn't throw up any smoke and mirrors when it comes to its premise:  each podcast covers a game's rules and gives a thorough explanation on how to play.  Host Ryan Sturm takes it upon himself to explain a veritable plethora of games to his audience.  A teacher by trade, Sturm's language and method of introducing and explaining each piece of a game are clear, understandable and obviously thought out.  There is a good deal of effort put into How To Play and I think it pays off really well.

    Content RatingClean, and tagged so in iTunes.  It's a bit funny to imagine this show with explicit language though.  "JUST MOVE THE #&$*@ PIECE, IT'S NOT THAT HARD!"

    Average Episode Length:  I don't want to give you the normal median time for How To Play.  It really depends on what kind of game Sturm is describing.  Simple games require less time, while more complicated games take more time.  You can probably judge the intricacy of a game just by checking the episode's time. 

    Drinking Game:  Pick one of the following words, and drink each time it is used:
    • Dice
    • Card
    • Hand
    • Banker
    • Board
      That should get you there pretty quickly.

    How To Play is a podcast of great use to anybody who has ever tried to learn, or teach others how to play a game.  This is a great way to break down what can be daunting instructions (I'm looking at you, Fantasy Flight) and lists of errata into a functioning rule set.  If you have trouble explaining rules, How to Play can help you by either teaching you how to teach others, or you can just play the episodes for your friends while you set the game up.

    On top of that, you also get to learn about strategies for how to win each game.  Uh, you don't have to let your friends listen to that part of the episode if you don't want to. 

    Music:  A little guitar music that I believe is performed by the host.  Very nice!

    Release Schedule:  Monthly, with more episodes if there are expansions to a game that are covered.


    Unintentionally Good Part:  Honestly, I really like the guitar music.  It's calming.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:  If you don't have, or are not interested in a particular game that is covered by an episode, you're not going to listen to it.  Shortens the library of possible episodes considerably for me, but this really isn't a fault of the podcast in the slightest.  I just need to buy more games!

    Unrelated rating:  Three top hats out of three scottie dogs.
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