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 stuffyoushouldknow.com.

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 artofmanliness.com.

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.


Pelagic — Monday Song of the Week

Hey Vladi,

Gorillaz is always a safe choice. “Let me Out” is indeed a well-balanced effort. The verses provided a welcome depth to the song. Overall, a good March debut, and a great welcome back to our regularly scheduled programming.

For this entry, we’ll be diving into the unorthodox and hypnotizing world of Math Rock with “Pelagic”, by Covet.

Covet is a California-based music trio that, in their own words, “…are 3 friends that just want to play music, travel, and have fun.”

Their music reflects their passion, particularly in the song “Pelagic”. With a beautiful cascading riff and intricate instrumentals, this is a solid introduction to the genre.


March List

“Let Me Out” by Gorillaz

“Pelagic” by Covet

Let Me Out – Friday Song of The Week

Dear Chris and Listener,

Thanks for sending Gone Molly’s track my way. I do love me a good Irish sound, and I hold a special place in my heart for old folk songs. A good story, emotive voices, and just all the right vibes – the song had it. Cheers!

This week’s band needs no introduction. They aren’t below the radar by any stretch of the imagination. But the track I stumbled upon was simply too good and fresh not to share. I am talking about Gorillaz’ Let Me Out.

To anyone already familiar with Gorillaz you won’t be surprised when I say there’s a flawless blend of five or so genres in this track. There’s three sets of vocals taking turns on the wheel of the song, the percussion is constantly in motion between the verses and choruses. I love the Soul and R&B movements in the track, they contrast the heavier hip hop elements beautifully.

Their new album, Humanz, echoes the creativity and quality of some of their best stuff, like Demon Days. It’s great to see such creative and talented artists back on top of their game. I can’t wait until I see them this summer!

March List

“Let Me Out” by Gorillaz

One Day I Wish to Have This Kind of Time

By Chris

It didn’t take me too long to stumble across this little gem on Bandcamp.

This dizzying little electronic romp (with an exceptionally long title) is the opening track to the album “Mir” by artist Ott. As I continue to branch out my musical taste, I’ve made sure to bookmark this artist for deeper exploration.

I often find the dialogue placed into songs to be somewhat jarring (though, admittedly, most culprits are on the lofi playlists I have in the background) but this song seems to pull it off without being too invasive, and it even sets me in the mood for the rest of the song.

Click here to give it a listen to, yourself, and I hope you find some joy in it.