Introduction — Monday Song of the Week

Hey Vladi,

Today I want to present the introduction to a lovely little electronic album called “Healing” by French artist In Love with a Ghost. The track is only 36 seconds long, but I included it in hopes that you would let the whole album play on at your leisure.

The songs on this album are brief, whimsical and pleasant on the ears, so I hope you enjoy, and I hope your April bears the aforementioned qualities.

April tracks

Introduction” by In Love With a Ghost

Weekly Podcast Plunder #3

by Chris

This week’s stand-out podcast comes courtesy of National Public Radio’s “Planet Money”. In this episode, entitled “Worst. Tariffs. Ever.” hosts Kenny Malone and Sally Helm discuss the ramifications of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act on the American economy.

As a citizen of voting age, I find myself obliged to learn as much as I can about the economy, which is a herculean task when grafted onto the day-to-day obligations of my life. Given that the economy ties our loves together, however, it is important to be able to put the latest economic news in proper context. This is exactly what this podcast does, having been published amidst news of tarries and trade deals. While the case study used here is American, there are universal elements of toxic politics and shortsightedness that serve as an important cautionary tale to us all.

So, if you’re ready to remember how woefully unprepared you are to vote responsibly, click this link to visit the podcast’s page.

Further Reading

A few years ago, I picked up a book called “Economix: How our Economy Works (and Doesn’t Work) in Words and Pictures” while visiting Montreal (because I KNOW how to let loose on vacation!) In this book, the history of world economies (with a heavy focus on the American story) is explained in comic form. As economic theory can be a contentious issue (as the book, itself, even covered,) you may not find yourself agreeing 100% with the analysis, but I found that author Michael Goodwin does a great job of giving you a crisp and accessible overview of how the economies have morphed over the ages.

If you find learning about all of this daunting, you’re not alone. I’m still terrified of my own ignorance. It’s like my own Jason Voorhees, except instead of a machete, he’s chasing me with my high school report card.

Floors o the Forest– Friday Song of the Week

by Chris


Here’s a second tune to help close out the week. I’m continuing my folk kick, so get ready for something earthy.

This tune comes from Glasgow folk singer Lori Watson, and is beautiful rendition of a traditional Scottish folk tune. The track is somber, and complements Watson’s enchanting Scottish voice.

Hope you enjoy, and here is the March list.

“Let Me Out” by Gorillaz

“Pelagic” by Covet

“Eliza Lee” by The Longest Johns

“Floors o the Forest” by Lori Watson

Looking forward to April.



Learning How to Learn, a Review

by Chris

I am a lifelong learner. Well, more accurately, I am a lifelong start-to-learn-then-slack-off-but-maybe-go-back-to-it-in-a-few-months-…er. I’m only human, after all.

As many of you probably know, leaving the comfortable womb of the classroom environment (yes, you are welcome for that mental image) presents a horrifying lack of ongoing accountability to instructors that made even the laziest of us get the coursework done.

So, how did I begin to counteract the horrors of my own inability to commit to a basic education routine? Luckily, Coursera hosts a UC San Deigo online course I took a while back called Learning How to Learn.

The course teaches you how your brain works in different modes of thought, how to optimize your mental performance and also gives you techniques like the pomodoro technique, which can help you digest larder workloads. Think of the course as an orientation to adult learning, though I wish I had taken this as early as high school.

While going through it once gave me a foundation on which to build my education habits, I am making an effort to review this course on a regular basis, just to make sure I have the key concepts internalized.

There are many materials out there to help you improve your productivity, and I will be looking at many of these in the future; however, I found that this course was particularly useful at instilling in me the fundamentals of learning in a clear and straightforward way.

Keep in mind that this course can’t carry you to the finish line. At the end of the day,  it’s up to you to build these techniques and insights into your routine.

Weekly Podcast Plunder #2

by Chris

In our second podcast to be recommended on Grog Boat, Stuff You Should Know hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark bring us to New England in the 19th century, where locals nailed down what ills were afflicting their households: fucking vampires!

It’s a wonderful romp through the superstitious landscape of our past. After all, it’s not like folks in our modern culture fall for nonsense.

Right? Guys, right?

The casual banter between the hosts and the overall laid back atmosphere of the podcast highlights the humanity that first endeared me to podcasts and YouTube hangouts. That being said, the hosts do keep the episode to under an hour and stay on point, for the most part.

Click this link to visit the episode’s page on

Further Reading

Anne Rice’s “Interview With a Vampire” or any other modern vampire tale will do. The hosts actually touch on the cultural influence of the vampire scares, and it’s interesting to see how our works of fiction have added to the mythology of vampires.

See? I even refrained from making a hacky “sparkling vampires” joke.

Why are you still reading? Go! Listen to this week’s podcast pick.

Eliza Lee — Monday Song of The Week


I realized, just this past week, what I have to do before I die; I have to be involved in a drunken round of singing in a pub. Granted, I totally smashed “Jailhouse Rock” in that Narita bar (or maybe that’s what all the sake remembers), but I’m talking about a beautiful a capella romp over some good old fashioned beer.

To that point, I’m going to be memorizing this Monday’s song, “Eliza Lee” by The Longest Johns. This Bristol-based group with an awesomely suggestive name (whether intentional or not) makes spirited seaside tunes, and I feel I must dedicate at least this song to the memory bank. You never know when the gods may call upon me to save the world with obnoxious drunken singing, though I probably won’t be able to replicate this band’s vocal quality.

Such is life…

Anyway, March list:

“Let Me Out” by Gorillaz

“Pelagic” by Covet

“Eliza Lee” By The Longest Johns

Weekly Podcast Plunder

By Chris

Thank god for podcasts. They have taken over music as my go-to company for long road trips, and their convenient format lets me easily engage with fascinating interviews and listen in on the minds of comedy geniuses at work (looking at you, Monday Morning Podcast!)

I wanted to keep an ongoing record of my favorite podcast episodes on a weekly basis. Every Wednesday, I’ll be adding a podcast from the previous week that I enjoyed, be it due to the episode’s utility, comedy or a fascinating subject matter. So, if you’re bound for an arduous journey, and are in need of accompaniment without having to subject yourself to the horrors of an occupied passenger’s seat, check in to see if there’s anything you’d like.

This week, I wanted to feature an episode of The Art of Manliness Podcast. On this episode, entitled “Why Group Culture is so Important to Success,” host Brett McKay interviewed author Daniel Coyle about the nature of group culture, and its importance to our performance. The conversation touches on group cultures ranging from Pixar creative teams to the trenches of WW1.

I found the focus on group culture provided a lot of context to the teamwork and self-improvement books that have read over the years, and it should be an interesting supplement to your teamwork development, as well.

Click this link to visit the episode’s page on

Further exploration

Daniel Coyle wrote “The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups”. Those looking for more insights from the author can start there.

Aside from the author’s work, I would recommend a book called “Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALS Lead and Win.” This book was written by Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, and focuses more on the individual experience and its effects on group dynamics.