Spotlight on: Stuff You Should Know

More than five years ago, I worked as a data entry processor. It was a good job, way better than the one I had before, but there was a massive downside.

It was painfully boring. We were allowed to listen to music, but even my favorites grew tiresome and stale.

That’s when my buddy Nathan, creator of the online comic Heaven Gate, told me about podcasts and about series that you can listen to online or download. There were loads of different kinds, from news commentary to interviews with celebrities. Some are hilarious improv groups telling a serialized story, and others investigate social issues.

But the one Nathan sent me was Stuff You Should Know.

stuff you should know

What is it about, I hear you asking. Well, my friend, let me tell you that it’s about everything.

Seriously. Everything.

Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant have been sitting down twice a week for over ten years to try and explain everything. They’ve covered subjects like police lineups, Barbie dolls, diabetes, black holes, and even how grass works. I have found that the more mundane the topic is, the more fascinating it ends up being. Like ballpoint pens.

Listening to their huge backlog of episodes helped stave off office madness. And now, while I’m not in an office anymore, I look forward to their updates. For some reason, they’re really good to listen to during a workout.

Josh and Chuck just have this easygoing attitude that exudes friendliness. They readily admit they’re not experts in anything, but they’ve done their research and are willing to correct themselves. Josh can get passionate sometimes but Chuck is there to calm him down.

Chuck has a saying. “Don’t yuck my yum”, meaning everyone likes something different so don’t bash on my salsa-topped Oreos, okay?

Many people are put off by their constant tangents. One moment they’ll be discussing how colorblindness works and the next they’ll be discussing animal behavior. I enjoy them getting off topic, though. It makes the show what it is. Endearing, personal, and honest.

Thanks, guys. Keep doing your thing.

Josh and Chuck, probably explaining how Thermos mugs work or something.

Josh and Chuck, probably explaining how Thermos mugs work or something.

Josh and Chuck:

Spotlight on: Nerd Fitness

This is part of a series highlighting blogs, podcasts, and sites I find helpful, motivational, or downright funny.

A few years ago, I was growing frustrated with my efforts to get in shape. All attempts at a diet failed. I would stick with a weight-lifting routine but then abandon it because I’d hurt a knee or shoulder. I tried running and that wasn’t any fun, especially in my neighborhood where ‘creepy’ is a regular weather forecast. And yoga just didn’t seem to be enough.

I don’t know what I typed in the search bar one day but Nerd Fitness popped up. “Hey,” I figured. “I’m a nerd. I’m awkward. I’m a reader. I play the D&D. Why not check this out?”

Lol, that’s not what I thought at all.

Instead, my nerd rage kicked in. “Oh, I betcha this guy isn’t even a nerd. He’s just some bro marketing to a subculture that happens to be ‘in’ right now. I have to see how awful and cringy it is.”


Yeah, the hate was really that strong.

One of the most popular workouts the website offered was ‘The Beginner’s Body Weight Workout’. It was all exercises I knew I could do and best yet, I could do them at home. I figured, if I can stick with this easy Level 1 basic routine, I’m not a total failure and Nerd Fitness isn’t so bad.

The site also offered advice on healthy eating. It covers different diets, why they work, why they don’t work, and encourages a good amount of skepticism. It’s not advocating for any one diet but to question everything you’ve heard about nutrition and figure out what works for you. The most consistent advice is just to shove more vegetables in your face and maybe cut down on the soda. Easy enough.

I stuck with just doing the basics. I didn’t use any of the forums or tools. I didn’t pay for their Academy or private coaching. I just did the Beginner’s Body Weight workout and read the free blog whenever they updated.

Over a year, I lost 60 pounds.

That’s me on the right. Dude on the left is my excellent husband.

That’s me on the right. Dude on the left is my excellent husband.

I finally had the self-confidence to go to an anime convention and cosplay one of my favorite characters, Major Kusanagi. And it wouldn’t have happened if my indignation hadn’t led me to check this website out, to help instill some really good habits, and stop relying on motivation alone.

The creator of Nerd Fitness, Steve Kamb, seems to be a pretty cool, sincere dude who stresses small changes done consistently and that’s what I needed more than any gimmick. If you’re struggling with your weight, I’d recommend checking out this site.