Marine Animals – Why Sea Otters Are The Assholes Of The Sea

Guest enthusiast Jo Gudman Rasmussen shares her passion for all kinds of marine animals from nudibranchs (giggle!) to whale sharks.

Alex has all his dreams shattered when he learns that sea otters are not adorable – they are in fact the assholes of the ocean.

BTWs include: Quitting your job to follow your enthusiasm, the fly named after RuPaul and how to eat a still-living octopus (hint: chew it REALLY well).

Olympic Weightlifting: First you clean it, then you jerk it

Alex loves weightlifting and Katie is completely uninterested in sports. Will he manage to infect her with any of his enthusiasm? Hear about the drama, the poetry and the history of this niche sport.

It’s also probably the most corrupt sport in the world and is trying to go clean after decades dominated by a man who was almost cartoonishly evil.

But how can you not love a sport where the two lifts are called the snatch and the clean and jerk.

In the moment of meta Katie reveals a deep, shameful secret: She’s been keeping a gratitude journal… and it works!

The Wayfarer Series: Hopeful Sci-Fi For Squishy Marshmallows

The Wayfarer Series is a trilogy of four(!) science fiction novels by Becky Chambers and Katie’s all-time favorites. They are a great example of Hope Punk, i.e. works that make you feel positive and optimistic about the world.

In the Moment Of Meta we introduce a new enthusiandment: You don’t have to be an expert in X to be enthusiastic about X. There’s also a corollary: But usually, diving into a topic only deepens your enthusiasm.

The Vorkosigan Saga: The EPIC Book Series by a Sci-Fi Grandma

In this episode Alex talks about his absolute favorite sci-fi book series, The Vorkosigan Saga by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold.

This series is thrilling and creative but so is a lot of other science fiction. What really sets it apart is how progressive and ultimately hopeful Bujold’s books are. That and the amazing characters.

BTWs include Hope-punk, vegan gravy and the world’s longest running sci-fi series which started in 1961 and is still going strong.

In the moment of meta we talk about sharing your enthusiasm fully with no shame.

Christmas Food: Traditional Weirdness From Around The World

Food is amazing and Christmas is amazing – so it just makes sense that Christmas food is all kinds of amazing!

In this episode Alex and Katie team up to talk about their favorite seasonal dishes plus also weird Christmas foods from all over the world.

BTWs include traditions, commensality and Slovakian bathtub carps.

We keep the theme going In the moment of meta and talk about being enthusiastic about eating (as opposed to being ashamed about it).


Disordered eating support:

Billy Strayhorn: The Unsung Hero Of Jazz

Everyone who knows jazz knows Duke Ellington. But did you know that many of the Duke’s most famous songs were actually written by a gay black musical prodigy called Billy Strayhorn?

In this episode Katie celebrates the life and music of Strayhorn who received little recognition (or even money) for his work but who still lead a “lush life.”

BTWs include the Baader-Meinhoff effect.

In the moment of meta we share a tip on how you can use enthusiasm to connect with new people.


All the songs:

BONUS songs: 

Piet Hein: Poet or pirate? Why not both!

Piet Hein was a Danish philosopher, mathematician, designer, poet and all-round smart cookie who did amazing work in both science and arts. Be warned: This episode has POETRY!!!

BTWs include Piet Hein (the awesome pirate) and why Danish is the worst language.

In the moment of meta, Katie talks about closing feedback loops and proposes a new enthusiandment: Thou shalt always tell your friends what you like about them.


The Art Of Drag: Blowing up gender in STYLE

Drag is not just men dressing as women – it’s a playful and enthusiastic art form that messes with our preconceived notions of gender and identity.

Katie – who is about to do drag herself for the first time – shares the history of drag, the most iconic performances and which seasons of RuPaul’s drag race to avoid.

BTWs include best drag names, backronyms and why there is nothing more fake than reality TV.

The moment of meta

In the moment of meta Alex proposes a new enthusiandment: It’s OK to be enthusiastic about something that is flawed.


Hallelujah: The Prettiest (And Most Abused) Song In The World

This amazing song took 7 years to write and was then roundly ignored. Only after a cover version and the untimely death of an artist did the song finally become popular.

Since then, Leonard Cohen’s masterpiece has been covered at least 300 times and was used in The West Wing, Scrubs, Watchmen, Shrek and much much more. Everybody treats it like a sad song, but it’s not – Cohen’s intention was much more joyful.

BTWs include death of the author, communication in relationships and ice cream chords.

In the moment of meta, Katie talks about a challenge that enthusiasts everywhere must face: When someone says that you’re “too much”.