In this week’s episode I welcome my delightful sister, Emily, back on for the second time. It was so much fun to get to record a conversation with her, that in many ways is just like an everyday conversation we might have while going on a walk or just hanging out. During our discussion we talked about memes and internet memes as a subset of them, the beauty that was the social media platform Vine, how corporations are capable of coopting internet culture to sell us things, and much more.
Before beginning the episode, I have a bit of explaining to do regarding why this episode is a week late. As some of you may know, especially if you listened to the episode with my fiancé, Viomar, we had been separated for over a year with no clear end in sight due the craziness of our two countries, and, due to travel restrictions put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time of recording the main part of this episode we had just purchased tickets for each of us to leave our countries and to be together in Ecuador as we await the next step in the process to get her a US Visa, and, I am ecstatic to let y’all know that I am recording this intro in Quito with Viomar by my side! I do not believe in making excuses, I missed my goal of publishing a new episode every Monday, but guess what? That isn’t going to stop me from re-dedicating myself to this project and to do it with even passion than before. So, keep an eye out for an extra special episode next week and now, without further ado, I present, Emily.
Memes, Vines and other cultural references from this episode:
It’s Free Real Estate
Mr Toucan breakdown of It’s Free Real Estate
Michelle Obama Sweet Potato
Will Sasso Lemon Vines
Click Clack Blassem
Don't Touch That Poster or You'll Become a Frog
I Don't Need No Degree to Be a Clothing Hanger
Irresistible by Adam Alter
Know Your Meme
In this week’s episode I welcome Rachael Reichenbach who is, among many things, an organizer and facilitator of change work projects. It was a joy to spend some time talking with her, and to understand her viewpoints and how she got to be where she is. During our discussion we talked about how she ended up currently living in a beautiful community called Wild Hydrangea, the importance of healing in systems change work, the difficulty in deep self reflection, and much more. You can find out more about what she is up to at her website www.resistreimagine.com and I will posts links to other resources that came up during our conversation in the social media posts for this episode. May you enjoy my conversation with Rachael.
- Rooted Resistance (https://www.rootedresistance.com/),
- Wild Ground (Wild Ground Alabama Instagram Account),
- Jen Willsea (https://www.jenwillsea.com/),
- Resource Generation (https://resourcegeneration.org/)
- Grace Lee Boggs : The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
- adrienne maree brown : emergent strategy
- Valarie Kaur (See her powerful speech here)
In this episode I welcome Nina and Yvan who are two Houston-based community organizers that I found through the social media account of one of their projects. That project is the HTX Community Fridge Project (https://houstonfridges.cargo.site/) which is an amazing community based effort to provide solutions for people in need of fresh food. It was an absolute pleasure to spend some time talking with these powerful women, to better understand their Community Fridge project, and to better understand what makes them tick. Their energy, drive, and dedication to caring for those around them is truly inspiring. During our discussion we talked about how the community fridge project works, other community based food insecurity solutions, the importance of grassroots direct action, the major influences in their lives and much more. I will be posting links to both their website as well as a few other’s that came up during our discussion in the blog post and the social media posts for this episode. This episode was a call to action for me (as I would like it to be for everyone who listens) and will document my commitment to volunteering in a blog post later this week. I continue to see these conversations as valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. Please enjoy my conversation with Nina and Yvan.
Links to projects discussed in this episode:
- HTX Community Fridge social media links (https://www.instagram.com/htxcommunityfridges/ - https://twitter.com/htxcommfridges/)
- Food Not Bombs (https://www.facebook.com/houstonfoodnotbombs)
- Houston’s Free Grocery Delivery Service (https://twitter.com/jamaiya_miller?s=09)
- The People’s Liberation Front (https://www.instagram.com/tplfofficial/)
In this week’s episode I welcome my dear friend and former high school English teacher, Mary. It was such a pleasure to get to spend some time talking with her after so many years of not being in touch. I am so grateful for the time she allowed to record the show, and even more so for the impact she had on my life as an educator. During our discussion we managed to find our way to many different topics, including, the state of education from her viewpoint, the difficulty of dealing with negative self-image issues, the importance of being kind and even a bit of how we see the sociopolitical landscape. In listening to this episode to edit it, it became clear to me how brave Mary is in her life, whether she sees it or not, and I quite proud to know her and to have had her for a teacher. I continue to see these conversations as valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Mary.
In this week’s episode I welcome my dear friend, Hans, with whom I used to work with in Long Beach, California. I am grateful to him for his kindness and his openness in sharing during our conversation. We covered several different topics, including, the importance of seeking fulfillment in what we do, the value of having principles in life, the power of being able to re-frame problems on the fly, and much more. During our talk, I express many opinions which I believe come from my own particular place of privilege. For instance, my view on being selective in what I do to earn money, is only possible from a distinctly advantageous position compared to someone who does not have the same support system I do. I believe it is important to understand privilege in the effort to cultivate empathy for those who have less privilege. I continue to see these conversations as valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. Please enjoy my conversation with Hans.
In this week’s episode I welcome my dear friend, Nithin, whom I met while we were both living on the Galapagos Islands. We have been fortunate enough to travel with each other along the coast of Ecuador and continue a fascinating friendship that grows in depth and meaning. I am immensely grateful to him for his time and his openness in sharing during our conversation. We found our way to talking about many different topics, including, his current work at a start up with an interesting vision, some struggles he has faced in life, meditation, dealing with the expectations of society, and, cultivating a rewarding relationship with parents. I continue to believe that conversations like these are valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. Please enjoy my conversation with Nithin.
In this week’s episode I welcome my uncle-in-law, Germán Marcano. Germán is an accomplished cellist from Venezuela who continues a prestigious career playing both classical music and music inspired by his homeland. It was an absolute pleasure to get to spend some time talking with him about various topics, especially those that took us a bit outside of his musical career and into his personal story. During our discussion we talked about where motivation comes from, the influence of his parents on his life, the importance of being able to make use of difficult situations, the double-edged sword of high personal expectations, and, the transcendental nature of music. I want to thank him for his time, his openness and his contribution to what was an enjoyable and rewarding experience for me. I continue to believe that conversations like these are valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. Please stay tuned to the very end of the episode for a couple of songs from his recordings. I hope you enjoy my conversation with tío Germán.
In this week’s episode I welcome a dear friend of mine, Arthur. This is yet another episode recorded remotely from the Bad Brownies studio in Houston, Texas. Arthur and I met each other way back during our high school days and it has been nearly 15 years since we have been able to catch up. Interestingly, to me, this gap in time seemed not to matter much as we were able to dive into some deep and interesting topics from the word “go”. During our discussion we talked about his experiences living in a monastery, the effects that a meditation practice can have on one’s life, the difficulty in confronting one’s own personal paradigms, the importance of finding time to self-reflect in an increasingly chaotic world, and, how to maintain a hopeful position in regards to what may come. Just as a fair warning to listeners, I let loose some of my perhaps wonkier theories in talking with Arthur and he graciously gave me some feedback on them. I want to thank him for his time, his kindness and his openness in what was an enjoyable and rewarding experience for me. I continue to believe that conversations like these are valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. I hope you enjoy my talk with Arthur
In this week’s episode I welcome my good friend, Maria Jose, or as all our friends lovingly call her, Miss Majo. This is yet another episode recorded remotely from the Bad Brownies studio in Houston, Texas to her house in Quito, Ecuador. I would like to thank her for her time and her bravery both in life and in sharing with me in our conversation. During our discussion we got into a variety of topics, including, the effect of empathy on students in their learning environment, her path to becoming an educator, the importance of purposefully creating communities within classrooms, the role of schools in modern education, and, she shared some of her personal learning in living with grief and loss. I continue to believe that conversations like these are valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Majo.
In this week’s episode I welcome comedian, actor, podcast host and good friend, Gerard Cole (You can find him online at his website: http://gerardcolecomedy.com/ or Instagram: @iamgerardcole https://www.instagram.com/iamgerardcole/& @tcidpodcast https://www.instagram.com/tcidpodcast/). This is another episode recorded remotely as part of what is the new normal in the time of Covid-19. I want to take a moment to thank him for his time and his patience with me during our important conversation.
As I continue to grow with this project, I also want to thank all the listeners for their support and patience. I find it fascinating that as I have these conversations and especially as I edit them, I see so much of my privilege and my own bad brownies that are hiding in my head. My commitment is to keep learning more about myself and the world so that this project can reflect the future I dream to create. During our discussion we covered a wide range of topics, including, how he came to be a comedian in LA, the reasons behind him becoming a podcast host, the difficulties of relationships when disagreements arise within them, his experience regarding the current conversation around race relations, and some of our mutual hopes for the future. I continue to believe that conversations like these are valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. Now, without further ado, I present, Gerard.
Today I welcome a very special guest to the podcast, my fiancé, Viomar. At the risk of alienating all previous and future guests, I dare say she is my favorite guest. We recorded this episode remotely due to travel bans related to the ongoing global pandemic which we both know is affecting so many people around the world. I would like to thank her for all of the amazing qualities she brings into the world and into my life, not the least of which is a commitment to finding things to be grateful for, regardless of the situation. She was a bit nervous to record something for everyone to hear given that English is her second language, however, I feel that she did absolutely amazing and I applaud her bravery. During our discussion we covered a variety of topics, including, wisdom from our growth in our relationship over time, why we continue to fight for our love and our future, some of the strategies that have been successful in keeping us motivated during our struggles together, the biggest challenges we have faced as a couple, and why we think our story is important to share right now. I continue to believe that conversations like these are valuable to have and to share, with the hope that they inspire and encourage others. Now, without further ado, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Viomar.
We’re back! A freshly baked, just for your ears, new episode of Bad Brownies this Monday morning! I apologize for the long wait to get back into the normal routine, but here we are. In this episode I bring you a conversation I had with my close friend, Carlos, who I have known since middle school. We recorded this episode remotely due to Covid-19 stay at home orders in our area, however, I think the audio quality didn’t suffer too badly. I want to take a moment now to thank him for spending some time with me and for being super patient with me. In the process of making this episode my file system was corrupted and I lost our first 30 minute discussion, luckily, Carlos agreed to spend a bit more time with me to get this episode recorded and I am quite pleased with how it turned out. We discussed a variety of topics, including, how Civil Rights legend and long serving congressman John Lewis had just passed away and how his life inspires us, how the importance of education and educators is being evaluated right now, the effects of stress on both adults and children, and many others. As we all continue to figure out how to move forward in this world during what seems like an historically crazy year, I believe conversations like these are valuable to have and to share. Now, without further ado, please enjoy, my conversation with Carlos.
It is good to be back to working on the podcast after an extended pause. What started off as a two week pause ended up being four weeks and I am feeling energized and focused on continuing this project in a way that I hope will be beneficial to myself, my loved ones, anyone who listens and (in some small way perhaps) the world. In this episode I will talk about what has been going on my life during the pause, some of my reflections from that time, and the way forward for the podcast. Thank you for joining me.
Hello dear friends, family and Bad Brownies listeners,
Just a quick update instead of a regular episode today.
I am writing this update to inform you all that I am pushing the pause button on the podcast for the next couple of weeks.
This is in response to the current state of affairs in my country and in the world. This is also due to some events in my personal life.
My promise to you all is that this pause will be, in part, dedicated to planning the path forward for this podcast considering the the difficult situation many of us find ourselves in right now. Whether it be outrage in the face of injustice, fear in the face of a pandemic, frustration in the face of the current political climate, or any number of issues or combination thereof, the stress level is high right now.
The world is growing more complicated to understand at the same rate that our ability to transmit and recieve data increases. The shadow of doubt cast by reasonable skepticism is being exploited by many different actors for many different ends. All of this combines to create a confusing world where social media begins to feel like an actual representation of reality, when in fact, it is just another imperfect reflection of reality, viewed through each individual's personal lens.
I created this podcast as a way to explore mental models, with the main example being a cheeky anecdote about missing out on delicious desserts due to a prejudiced viewpoint. In light of recent events, it has become clear to me that if I want to continue exploring this concept, I will have to dive into topics that are much trickier to handle. To do this right, I am pushing the pause button, and committing to coming back with a podcast that will continue to explore the same mental landscape but will not shy away from difficult discussions.
In this time I encourage each of you to join me in exploring the idea of stepping back from social media, taking stock of how we make sense of the world, having more personal face-to-face (yet socially distant) conversations, exploring what it means to love one another, and asking tough but important questions.
Sending you all Light and Love,
In this episode I bring you a conversation I had with my dear friend, Teo. We sat down to record this on the afternoon of June 5th in the Arlington, Texas area. I want to take a moment now to thank him for joining me and for sharing deeply with me. We discussed a variety of topics, including, how he went from living in the Galapagos to being in isolation in a hospital in India, how he makes important decisions in life, and, we talked about the important historical moment we are living in right now. Regarding this moment in history, I want to take a moment and recognize how privileged I am in life, both to be able to make this podcast, and, to live life free of the worry my black and brown brothers and sisters have to deal with on a daily basis. I recognize that I will never know that struggle personally and all I can do is pledge my support to the cause of justice and equality. Having this platform, however small it is now, comes with a duty to speak what I see as truth to whoever listens to this show, and therefore it is important for me to let y’all know how I feel, that black lives do matter, and, that they are an integral part of the tapestry of American culture. Please see the links below for resources I have found educational in these pivotal times. Without further ado, I present, Teo.
Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
Books by Robin DiAngelo, especially White Fragility
Teaching Resources from Tolerance.org
In this episode I bring you a phone conversation I had with my close friend, Andrew. We sat down to record this on the evening of May 28th. I want to take a moment now to thank him for joining me and for sharing deeply with me. We discussed a variety of topics, including, how tricky it can be to decide on a path in life, the important role of educators in students lives, and, we did some sharing of mental models. Andrew and I have known each other for sometime and yet still we learned more about each other in just this short conversation. This is a reminder that no matter how long we have known someone, we can always know them better, understand them at a deeper level, or find another reason to love them. Please enjoy, Andrew.
In this episode I bring you a phone conversation I had with my cousin, Sarah and her husband Jake. We sat down to record this on the morning of May 16th, which just so happened to be their 11th wedding anniversary! I want to take a moment now to thank them for joining me on a special day, for sharing deeply with me, and, for creating a beautiful conversation. We discussed a variety of topics, including, their experiences being married and raising children, who were some of their strongest influences in life, how their life view has changed since becoming parents, along with some silly family anecdotes. As I was editing this episode I was struck by just how strong Sarah and Jake’s love for each other and for their kids really is and I am so grateful to count them as influences on me. Please enjoy, Sarah and Jake.
In this episode I bring you something a little different than the previous 3 episodes. As I mentioned in the intro of the last episode, my family recently lost an especially important person to us. Back in February of this year, my grandfather, Donald Weakley, passed away after a long battle with cancer. To this day, it seems so strange to not have him around to talk to, to ask for advice, to eat ice cream with, to do all the things that made time with him so special. Part of the impetus to begin working on this podcast was because I realized how badly I would like to have a conversation between him and myself recorded, to listen to and remember him by. In fact, I have received feedback from many of the listeners so far, expressing a similar sentiment about people who they wished they could have a conversation with, saved to remember them by. So, this episode will be a part of a series, spread throughout the more typical interview style episodes. In this series, I will tell you the story of an influential person in my life, from their beginnings, to our interaction, ending with lessons from their lives that we can learn from. Sometimes, in life, what we want most of all, is to be seen by our fellow humans, to be recognized as another unique soul. My intention of this episode and the episodes in this series, is to present to you with a small capsule of how these special people were seen, and, how they continue to affect those people that love them.
In this episode I bring you a conversation I had with my grandmother, Joann. We sat down for this recording on April 29th in her house at her dining table, and, recorded this conversation on an evening when we were in the midst of a possible shake up of our current situation. I had only recently moved in with her so that she wouldn’t have to live alone for sometime as we all deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. We thought our time together was coming to a close the next day, however, it became clear to me that I needed to spend more time with her and am still staying with her at the publication date of this episode. This may explain the sometimes somber tone in an otherwise joyful episode, in which, we discuss variety of topics, including, what she views as important during times of crisis, her reliance on faith throughout her life, some struggles she has been through and the importance of family togetherness. I am dedicating this episode to the memory of my Grandfather Donald Weakley, who married my Grandmother Joann when they were just 17 years old, and who only recently passed away late last year. He was, and many ways continues to be, the patriarch of this family and he deserves an episode all to himself which I will bring you in the near future. For today, I must say that I can’t believe how blessed I am to have such a loving grandparents.
In this episode I bring you a conversation I had with my sister, Emily. We sat down for this recording on April 23rd in our parents house at our big dining table. It was an absolute treat to get her takes on a wide variety of topics, including, this podcast, the power of sibling relationships, the value of generational differences, and the speed of change we are seeing around us in society. One thing stuck out to me in particular in this conversation and it was how gracious she is with me, even at times when I am blunt or forceful. I am truly blessed to have her as a sister, and I hope you enjoy our discussion.
In this episode I bring you a conversation I had with my parents, Bruce and Laurie Hutto. We sat down for this recording all the way back in February, nearly 2 months ago from the day that I am posting this episode. During these crazy times, 2 months can seem like a life time ago. I hope that you can all enjoy what seems like a time capsule from a simpler time, a conversation where we touch on topics like; the influence of family, the affect of our personalities on the world around us, and the differences between big city and small town living, all with some playful family banter.