Cynthia and Hatsune: Fictional women who became real

Cynthia Gaba was a celebrity in 1930s high society in New York. Hatsune Miku is a singer with a global fan base who has even gone to space. But here’s the twist: Cynthia was a mannequin and Hatsune is 100% digital!

How did two women, who are clearly not “real” in the traditional sense, become so successful and what does that say about the nature of celebrity and even of reality? What is real?

BTWs include William Gibson’s 1996 novel Idoru which predicted Hatsune Miku, men who fall in love with fictional women, Thor Ragnarok and ragging on Game of Thrones. As usual.

The moment of meta

In the moment of meta we propose the next enthusiandment: You don’t have to participate in something to be enthusiastic about it.

Links

Ultramarathons: Extreme running and the nutcases who enjoy it

Mark Dowds was out of shape and nearing 40 when he discovered ultra-marathons and has now run several dozen of them. Mark tells us what it’s like to run 50km (or 75 or 100 or more!) in steep terrain and challenging conditions, the extreme emotions you experience and how he maintains his enthusiasm for both training and competing.

Mark originally hails from Belfast and built a career as a tech entrepreneur in Toronto, Vancouver and Silicon Valley.

BTWs include Guinness, gummy bears and the monarchy.

Moment of meta

In the moment of meta Katie gives three tips for how you can enjoy being bad at stuff.

Links

Cosplay: Going Hard With Hot Glue And A Dream

Our guest in this episode is Agent Colbert, a very enthusiastic cosplayer who’s known for her vintage aesthetic, rocking Agent Carter and the marvelous Mrs Maisel cosplays but who has also done everything from Ty Lee from Avatar the last Airbender to Velma from Scooby Doo.

Learn what it takes to cosplay, what it’s like to go to conventions with 1000s of other cosplayers and how to find out what character you should cosplay as!

BTWs include perfectionism, badass Asian women and The Lake Wobegon Effect. Also – The Muppets!!!

The moment of meta

In this episode we talk about being enthusiastic about yourself even though you’re not perfect.

Links

Niels Bohr: The Man Who Played Dice With The Universe… And Won

Alex gets his hometown pride on and celebrates the life of fellow Copenhagener Niels Bohr, a man who revolutionized physics twice over. He may be the smartest person in physics… and he was definitely the nicest!

Hear about Bohr’s epic feud with Einstein (drama!) and get a very short intro to the weird and freaky world of quantum physics.

BTWs include:

  • Nerd humor
  • The world’s smartest cat
  • Dead people. So many dead people.

This episode was co-written by FDC Willard.

Moment of meta

In the moment of meta we talk about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation and which one is better for enthusiasts.

Pics

Links

Dune, The Novel: 1000 Times Better Than The Movie(s)

Now that Villeneuve’s Dune movie is finally coming out in America, it’s time for Alex to try to convince Katie to read a book that is notoriously long and complex… but ultimately worth it.

Dune is the best-selling science fiction novel of all time. It was written by American author Frank Herbert, and came out in 1965, over 50 years ago, but contains themes and ideas that make it relevant to this day.

This episode has NO SPOILERS for either the book or the movies.

BTWs include:

  • What Tolkien thought of Dune
  • Connections between Game of Thrones and Dune
  • What went wrong with David Lynch’s AWFUL 1984 Dune movie
  • Why it’s a good thing that Ridley Scott’s attempt to film Dune failed

In the moment of meta we talk about the concept of FLOW and how it relates to enthusiasm.

Links


Cha Chaan Teng: Hong Kong’s Bizarre East/West Fusion Diners

In this episode we talk food and that gets Katie REALLY excited as she shares her enthusiasm for Hong Kong’s Cha Chaan Tengs – cheap informal eateries that serve a bizarre but delicious Asian take on the western food that the British served in their restaurants.

Hear about the pineapple buns that contain zero pineapple, the deep fried peanut butter french toast and Katie’s mom’s favorite midnight snack: macaroni soup.

Katie even gets Alex to make some Hong Kong milk tea and try it on the show… hear if he likes it.

BTWs include:

  • The most disgusting food Anthony Bourdain ever tasted
  • Why you never drink the first tea they bring you in a Cha Chaan Teng
  • Impulsive tattoos
  • How to make straight people come out as straight

Moment Of Meta

In the Moment Of Meta we talk about the research that shows that enthusiasm is good for you and can lead to more happiness and a better sex life. Katie and Alex also take a test that reveals their top strengths and biggest weaknesses.

Links

Swing Guitar: Preserving A Legacy With Enthusiasm (And Spite)

Swing music is amazing but real swing music that actually sounds like it did in the 30s and 40s is depressingly rare these days. Modern jazz musicians tend to look down on swing jazz and even when they do try to play it, they don’t do it right and it ends up sounding more like modern jazz.

Our guest enthusiast in this episode is Jonathan Stout, a band leader and guitarist specializing in pre bebop jazz guitar. He leads eight different bands, but is best known for Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five and the Jonathan Stout Orchestra, both of which he co-leads with Hilary Alexander. His bands have been heralded as some of the world’s premier swing dance bands.

Jonathan is incredibly enthusiastic about preserving the legacy of swing guitar and honoring the people who created and developed the genre.

Hear about:

  • How Jonathan went from heavy metal electric guitar to jazz music
  • His main idols in swing guitar, especially Charlie Christian who only ended up recording for two years
  • His incredible collection of vintage guitars and what “white whale” guitar he dreams of getting his hands on
  • The time he got the thumbs-up from Norma Miller, one of the original swing dance performers
  • Jonathan’s one simple trick for becoming the best in the world 🙂

Jonathan also plays for us and it’s INCREDIBLE!!!

BTWs include:

  • Racism in jazz
  • The producer who discovered Billy Holiday, Count Basie, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and MANY others

In our Moment of Meta we talk about the fourth enthusiandment: Thou shalt not fake enthusiasm!

Links

Avatar The Last Airbender: The Cartoon That Will Save The World

Avatar The Last Airbender is on paper a kids cartoon show… but it’s also so much more than that.

Over three seasons it tells a story that is poignant, thrilling, funny and – above all – hopeful. Pretty good timing of Netflix to get it onto their service in 2020, just when we all needed a dose of positivity.

Hear all about this amazing show, including:

  • A redemption story that beats even Kylo Ren.
  • Uncle Iroh’s life lessons.
  • Kickass female characters.
  • What kind of bender Katie and Alex would each love to be… but what they probably are instead.
  • Why the live-action movie sucked so badly.

BTWs include:

  • The Aristotelian world view
  • Whatever happened to M. Night Shyamalan?
  • The concept of redemption and the tragic story of an Amish school shooting.
  • Avatar sightings at the recent Olympic games in Tokyo.

And yes, we do end up ragging on Game of Thrones. Again.

In your moment of meta, we explain the 3rd. enthusiandment: Make sure to share your enthusiasms.

Links

Modesty Blaise: 1000 Times Cooler Than James Bond

Modesty Blaise kicks as much butt as 007 but she does it with way more style and way less borderline rape.

Meet the coolest action heroine of the 60s who began her adventures in newspaper comic strips before making her way into novels and some shockingly bad movies.

Hear about how feminist the stories are for their time (or any time), including sex positivity, nudity and consent-based sex and how incredibly rare and awesome it is that Modesty was the clear leader and Willie was her faithful follower (not slave).

Alex also delivers a heartfelt plea for Netflix (or someone… anyone) to make a Modesty Blaise show. Both so he can watch it but also to annoy the hell out of all the Men’s Rights Activists and conservative pundits.

BTWs include:

  • Pulp Fiction and what Vincent Vega was reading on the toilet in Butch’s apartment
  • What Katie’s mom and Quentin Tarantino have in common
  • Shoehorned romance subplots and why they suck
  • Beverly Hills 90210 and Buffy The Vampire Slayer
  • The trope where every time someone enjoys something, bad stuff often follows

In our Moment Of Meta, Katie talks about the doll called Electric Enthusiasm, which to Alex’s surprise is definitely not a sex doll.

Links

The Banjo: Loud, Fun And… Sexy?

People have a TON of misconceptions about the banjo and often dismiss it as the instrument of hillbillies or rednecks. But did you know that it’s an instrument with a huge history and tradition that can be both loud, fun and… sexy?

Our guest enthusiast in this episode is Daniel Rodrigues, a Portuguese jazz musician living in Copenhagen where he plays in several different jazz bands and he is VERY enthusiastic about the banjo.

Daniel takes us on a journey of the banjo, that includes:

  • Why it’s the most fun instrument
  • How to find success and fame as a banjo player
  • The weirdest song he’s ever played on a banjo
  • The best jokes people tell about the banjo

And yes, the movie Deliverance does come up.

BTWs include:

  • A fantastic connection between the banjo and Harpo Marx, the subject from our very first episode.
  • Game of Thrones.

In our Moment of Meta we talk about the most important rule of enthusiasts everywhere: Don’t yuck someone else’s yum!

Links