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My Favorite Podcasts

It has been a while since I have written as often as I did when I began this blog. It seems as if I said what I needed to say and now I only write about something that sparks my thoughts. Today’s post isn’t about religion, it isn’t about about work, it isn’t even about my family; it’s just about me.

What do I do to entertain myself? This is the post that will answer part of that question. I intend to do a series of posts explaining what I like. Certainly they can be used as gift ideas for yours truly but these posts are more for memory sake. I want to be able to reread these in the years to come and see how my tastes have changed (or not) and to be able to share memories with Sariah and Sophia as they grow. You know those old people and their stories. We’ll all be there one day, might as well get my stories ready now.

If it’s in my list I would endorse it for you to listen to. Enjoy.



Dessert For Your Ears

A comedy podcast hosted by Matt Donnelly (@SweetMattyD) and Paul Mattingly (@TheFamousPaul) with Jacob the AudioGuy on the wheels of steel. Matmatt_and_mattingly_by_jon_estrada_WEBt and Paul are godless improv comedians in Las Vegas who chat about life and news, respond to ScoopMail from listeners (aptly called “Scoops”), and compete in Jock vs Nerd quizzes in this twice weekly cast.

I’ve been a listener since episode 1 and it has been a favorite ever since. From legal issues with their first design to their recent weight-loss journey, the show is a must listen. A “Voltron of hilarity” it says on their homepage; as Matt is co-host of Penn’s Sunday School and Paul is co-host of the Ugly Couch Show and Geek Shock.

Tune in for Matt and Jacob’s take on sports or Paul’s feelings about nerd news, either way, tune in and get lost in a world of inside jokes.

Admittedly, this the place (along with Penn’s Sunday School) that sparked my drive for weight-loss currently.



Preaching the Love

Penn’s Sunday School was one of the first podcasts I downloaded when I became aware of what podcasts were. Honestly, it has slipped down the list of my favorites as of late because he has gotten away from the interviews I so enjoyed, but I keep it on the download list in hopes he’ll hook me once again.

penn-sunday-schoolPenn Jillette (@PennJillette), of Penn and Teller fame, Matt Donnelly (@SweetMattyD), Dustin Knouse (@DustinKnouse), and Michael Goudeau (@DamnedJuggler) host a weekly podcast in which they talk about the week’s news and speak to special guests.

Hopefully it is obvious but I will put the warning out there: the listeners are called the “Congregation” but this show is by atheists for atheists, it is not a sunday school for the church-goers. This does not mean this show is dedicated to religion bashing!


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Bringing Pop Culture and Cult Geekery to the Masses

Geek Shock (or The Ugly Couch Show or The Paul Show) is the epitome of geek culture put into one show. The guys are currently: Master Torgo, The Famous Paul, Kommander K, 80’s Jeff, Maple Leaf Matt, and Fact Check Andy, among others. If you thought the other shows on this list had inside jokes, it’s nothing compared to those associated with the Ugly Couch Show and Geek Shock.

“This Week in Geek” and “News You Don’t Give a Shit About” are major features of the show and you can always count on The Famous Paul to bring out a character (Mumm-Ra the ever living apparently lives in a cellar under the bathroom) or two and bring the entire show to a halt with laughter.

For news and information on movies, games, comics, TV shows, games, and geek culture this is the show for you.




The Atheist Experience is a show that has been going since the late 90s as part of the Atheist Community of Austin. They produce a weekly show that is on public access tv, streamed live online, uploaded to YouTube, and placed up as an audio podcast for download. The show is dedicated to develop and support the atheist community as well as field questions from theists.

It would be much too long a list to list all the cast and crew here but they are all identified on the Atheist Experience website. I enjoy this show because they not only speak to atheists but to theists and everyone in-between. As it is a public access show,language is censored but not ideas.

The Non Prophets is a live internet radio show airing on the first and third Wednesday of every month. Jeff, Russell, and Denis make their way through atheist news, events, mail and “Shit Internet Apologists Say”.

Both are outreach arms of the Atheist Community of Austin.


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My Brother, My Brother and Me is an advice-cast for the modern era featuring three real-life brothers: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. For roughly five-sixths of an hour each week, with new episodes dropping every Monday, the brothers McElroy will answer any query sent our way, each fielding questions falling into our respective areas of expertise. We operate like a streamlined, advice-generating machine. It’s both terrifying and humbling to behold.



The Dead Authors Podcast is a comedy and faux-historical podcast hosted by Paul F. Tompkins in character as H.G. Wells. In each episode, he welcomes a deceased author via his “time machine” to discuss their lives and their work. The podcast was created in support of 826LA and all proceeds from the show are donated to the organization


cover170x170’s podcast, appropriately titled “MuggleCast,” is an informative talk show dedicated to everything Harry Potter. This show’s been around for years and years. I remember being a part of the very first few episodes, including my member status in the “Pickle Pack”.



Assume nothing. Question everything. And start thinking.

The Thinking Atheist is a website, radio podcast and online community which rejects faith as a suitable tool for living.

Far too often, faith (believing something without evidence) is celebrated, reason is distrusted, and people are encouraged not to ask questions, test the waters, demand evidence or think outside the religious box.

Host Seth Andrews wants to make sure everyone knows the Thinking Atheist isn’t himself; isn’t a person. It’s an icon. It’s an idea.



The Mormon Expositor is a biweekly podcast leveraging a panel discussion format and focusing on Mormon doctrine, practices, culture, and history.

Named after the publication of the same name from the 1800s. If you don’t know the story of the Mormon Expositor, especially if you are LDS, look it up. This podcast routinely has people who were deep into the religion and even those that aren’t entirely out of the belief system yet talking about the church, the beliefs, and personal experiences.



Keep Looking Up

StarTalk Radio bridges the intersection between Pop Culture and Science with clarity, humor and passion. Captivating subjects—such as space travel, extra-terrestrial life, the Big Bang, the future of our Earth and the environment, and breaking news from the universe—will all be explored. Hilarity ensues as Tyson is joined each week by comedian co-hosts, celebrities, and other special guests.

Favorites of the co-hosts include Eugene Mirman and Chuck Nice. This is a fun, science-filled podcast for all listeners.


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ER Cast is a focused discussion on the questions, quagmires and known unknowns we (they) face everyday in the emergency department. Each episode of Ercast covers a single issue and tries to tease out all the relevant elements that affect your practice without overstuffing your frontal cortex. It’s for physicians and anyone interested in a bare bones look at emergency care.

It’s directed at physicians but I love getting the insight and behind the scenes look at medicine from the eyes of the docs.



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Ardent Atheists Emery Emery and Heather Henderson talk with comedians, actors and friends about atheism, deism and the effects of religion on us all. Guests of the show are a mix of atheists, agnostics, deists, scientists, humanists and the occasional god-loving, scripture-quoting crusader. Discussions are deeply impassioned, mostly respectful and always funny.

Skeptically Yours is really just the same show, another way to make money I suppose but I like having more content to fill my ears.



Two Weeks Down

Second week done. This is hard.


I did lose but not as much as I know I could have, I’ve really got to double down. I have been having success by tracking my calorie intake with MyFitnessPal and limiting intake to around 1000 cal. I have been doing well with the calorie count but the food I’m eating isn’t as good as I want it to be. My family knows that I am doing this but the family gatherings are still centered on food and I simply don’t know how to deal with that; its the way its always been.

The potato only thing simply didn’t work. My intake of fruits and vegetables has been incredibly increased while I have cut meat and cheese severely. I just haven’t been able to go full vegan and I just don’t know if I will ever be able to. That being said, I can tell that I have made progress. At lunch today I thought I would be okay to have some chicken tenders from the cafeteria at work ( I haven’t totally conqured my will power yet). Bad Idea! I may not have turned my life completely around but it has been two weeks since I had some deep fried crap and my body utterly rejected the tenders. Though emesis usually has a negative thoughts associated with it, not this time. I am kind of proud that my body has made a change in such a short time.

Food was my old standby friend when I needed something and I know what led me back to that point. I was dissappointed in myself over something that happened at work. I try to be a good example and hold myself to a high standard in my job but I made a stupid mistake and I have been very pensieve about the event ever since I was talked to about it. I don’t know if you are reading this but you know what I am talking about and I am sorry. I don’t know how it happened and I swear to you that it was not a puroseful act. I am making an attempt to be one of the best in our lab and I fall short sometimes. It hurt me more that you were put into the place you were because of my actions.

With my options opening as I open my mind to new foods that I’ve never eaten before or thought I didn’t like, I am finding foods that I acutally enjoy or at least don’t hate as much as I thought I did. For breakfast I am having about a cup of yogurt and an apple or a banana or some other fruit, or maybe a green smoothie. A great meal I discovered, at Panera Bread, Co., the Vegetarian Black Bean Soup with a piece of baguette is delicious and rings in at about 350 calories. Dinner is really my downfall. I’ve been cutting my portions to an actual portion size and making some better choices but I am having a hard time cutting out everything.

Overall I think I am headed in the right direction and try to embody the blue lanters and their light of the emotional spectrum, HOPE. If you are challenging yourself too, keep going and know…

~~~~~~~~~~THE NUMBERS~~~~~~~~~~

 I’m down another 5 pounds, a running total of 10.3 pounds in 14 days.


One Week Down


I was worried about cutting calories and food groups. I was worried about cravings and hunger pains. I was worried about support from family. I haven’t had much of any of these. Seven days down and I’ve got to tell you that I feel great. I have been amazed at how not hungry I have felt over this past week. I am oddly pleased with myself.

It’s is a strange sensation that I’ve gone a long time without feeling; pride. I am proud that I have done it and kept up with it. I have had some off diet eats but they have been very much fewer than pre-change. I feel no guilt about the meal I ate out with my wife and two daughters, nor the single bite of my daughters breakfast biscuit one morning. I haven’t been 100% potatoes. I’ll be straight up about that. They are hard to eat for EVERY MEAL, I think I made it three days though I continue to make them a large portion of my diet due to their low calorie and high satiety. Satiety was a word that I’m sure I knew before all of this but now I actually understand it.

Weeks ago, after I would eat I would either have eaten until I was sick and hated myself or I ate what I had and then still felt hungry. I simply haven’t done either of those two things in the last week and I am amazed and happy.

I am using the app MyFitnessPal to log my meals and keep track of calories. I haven’t used the sister app MapMyWalk yet but do plan to when I get into more exercise. I have the C25K app (Couch to 5K) to help with some cardio. I’ve used it before and like how it plays my music, or podcasts, and then it tells you when to walk/run/rest without stopping the audio.

Ray Cronise uses the saying “rare and appropriate” and a reddit user I spoke with said the change needs to be “manageable and sustainable”. Both of these statements are extremely useful when I am shaping the change to my lifestyle so that it isn’t just a short term change.

~~~~~~~~~~CONTENT WARNING~~~~~~~~~~

I wanted this blog to be an open and honest spot for me to share. I want to give information to anyone following behind my lead and advise about what I went through so they know what to expect. If you don’t want some gross information you may want to skip down the picture below.

So, the potato experiment may or may not have had a side effect that I had no clue about. Diarrhea. The thing is, it isn’t anything like the intestinal distress most of us associate with diarrhea. It wasn’t acid coming out of my butt hole. It wasn’t painful, it was just soft/liquid. I assume it was simply because of the water content of the potatoes, but may well be due to the extreme change in diet.

I had thought about needing to start a multivitamin with this diet, but some knowledge was given to me…

I can only imagine how deficient I was in everything on my old diet…

That really spoke to me and enlightened me. Why would I need a supplement when I am going to be eating much better for me, fresher, more natural foods than I was before? That has got to show the mindset I was in. I had normalized the shit I was eating so much so that I thought I would need to supplement  when eating better food. I’m ashamed of that but proud that I am beyond it.

~~~~~~~~~~THE NUMBERS~~~~~~~~~~


It is now 147 days until my birthday. I am down 5.3 pounds in just one week. I really am amazed at that number. I have lost that much weight in a short time before, it’s just something that happens when you weigh as much as I do, but I have a much better feeling about this loss. I am doing it a much better way that I ever have before and I’m pretty sure it’s not just water weight. Also, I am proud that I didn’t celebrate the achievement by turning to food! I decided instead to write this post and share my accomplishment with you fine people.

I’m not going to commit to a daily post or anything because I just don’t think I can keep up with that. My life isn’t that interesting. Find me on Twitter or Facebook if you want more info that isn’t just about the diet.

I’m sure you can tell but I’m not the best writer. These posts are for me to get stuff out of my head, sorry if it messes with yours to read it.

Becoming Less of a Man

~~~~~~~~MY INSPIRATION~~~~~~~~

It is time.

Sophia just turned 1, Sariah about to turn 7, Crystal and my’s 7th wedding anniversary coming up (wonder what kind of wool/copper gift I could get), and worst of all 150 days or so until my 30th birthday.

I need to lose weight and the time has come. Following the actions of Penn Jillette (PSS) and Matt Donnelly (ICS) and the tips/advice of Ray Cronise ( and Joel Fuhrman (Dr. Fuhrman) I am beginning a diet lifestyle change. I will need the support of everyone I know to get through this.

Read about Penn’s incredible loss in this article by People magazine.

This is simply my beginning post, with this post I declare myself to be a Cro-Nut (ICS/PSS fans will get the reference). I hope to blog throughout my journey but won’t set a schedule of posting because I likely won’t stick to one. I contemplated making a new, anonymous blog for this purpose as I will be posting pictures and very personal information in these posts, but thought through it and want to be open and honest in my journey. This is a big shock to us all; It is going to be a big change for us too. I have zero doubt that it is a change for the better and invite anyone reading this to join me (even you future people!).


In this preliminary entry I am going to lay out my plan. Ray (Cronise) hasn’t put out a book yet so we don’t know his entire plan of attack but I’ve pieced together a plan of my own based on podcast episodes of Penn’s Sunday School and Ice Cream Social, posts on Reddit by other scoops, and reading and Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman. It isn’t a complete set of instructions and will likely change along the way but this is where I am starting.

~~~~~~~~MY PLAN~~~~~~~~


-Walking, daily, my route is about 1.5 miles around the neighborhood behind our apartment

-Contrast showers, morning and night at least


-Water, water, and more water. I will be drinking tea (unsweet) but mostly I will be drinking water. I plan to use our Soda Stream to carbonate it whenever I feel the urge for that tingly feeling a coke gives us all and also by drinking my favorite drink, Perrier.

-The biggest change for me will be limiting myself to around 1000 calories daily.

-My plan begins with a potato-centric first two weeks. This is explained as a time of meditation and showing how much we actually think about food. In addition to that it can be seen as a period of cleansing your palate for the big change in food you will be eating.

-After the first two weeks the diet is basically vegan nutritarian; no animal by-products, no added salt/sugar/fat, no processed grains. Basically, lots and lots of fruits and veg, grains, legumes, and nuts.

This diet will no doubt change over time as I learn more about Matt and Penn’s ever secretive diet and about myself; what I like and what I don’t like.

Similar to the scientific worldview, changing your mind isn’t always a bad thing when you have new information to affect your thoughts.

~~~~~~~~MY SHAME~~~~~~~~

IMG_0623 IMG_0624

This is me, currently, as I write this post. 154 days until my 30th birthday. 400 pounds. That number makes me very sad. I hope, with every fiber in my being, that by my birthday I can be at a less emotion-enducing point.

I am not becoming a vegan person. I like eating meat and I could care less what you eat. I will not be preaching to anyone about this and will not be listening to anyone preach to me. I hope to get to a more healthy place and then ease into eating a more full diet with meat and dairy.

It’s very embarrassing being at this point and putting myself out there. This post isn’t goint to be publicized on Facebook like most of my others have been. You are one of the few who will see it. Share it if you must, but please understand the gravity of my placing myself out there with this very sensitive information. Thank you for your support.

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