Two Vague
Episode 29 - Zodiac

Episode 29 - Zodiac

January 15, 2022

For the word zodiac, Ben talks about his hesitations when it comes to astrology, sitting in the broadcasting booth at the Oprah Winfrey show, Starscrolls, the game Hades, and the Rogue-like game genre.  Phoenix shares her thoughts on daily horoscopes, chart reading, the differences between Greek and Roman mythology, looking for purpose in life, her fascination with serial killers, fashion marketing, sharing feelings, people watching, and video games she used to play.

00:00:20 - Phoenix and Ben are hosting this week
00:03:55 - “… such a Gemini thing to do,” “we are not a sponsor of AstroFuture,” and irony
00:08:45 - Ben successfully fights the urge to sing the lyrics to a Shocking Blue song
00:13:40 - Is astrology a religion or a tool?
00:18:10 - People being interested in serial killers
00:23:09 - “Which is… strange to say,” profiling, the Baby Gap, and a small market segment
00:27:05 - Phoenix reads Ben’s chart and talks about Geminis 
00:31:15 - Hawaiian pizza is the devil’s pizza and 3 strikes again
00:35:20 - Gemini sun, Gemini moon, Pisces rising, and Phoenix is not a star racist
00:42:00 - Is Pluto a planet?
00:45:50 - Ben’s still loves listening to Phoenix explain mythology
00:51:20 - Hades spoilers and “Persephone and Nyx have beef” 
00:56:10 - Phoenix and Ben’s closing thoughts on the word zodiac and astrology

Episode 28 -Tarot

Episode 28 -Tarot

January 8, 2022

Tarot is the word for Jenna and Ben this week.  Jenna talks about her Catholic upbringing, spiritual experiences, and reflecting on the meanings of tarot cards.  Ben asks (MANY) questions about religious beliefs and rituals, but he has a couple of stories.  They also discuss using tarot as a guide, GTA, FIFA, and navigating life.

00:00:20 - Jenna is pretty good, Ben is fine, and the word is tarot 
00:01:53 - The swords, the pentacles, the cups… and the other thing
00:04:04 - Jenna talks about High School and the “mini morning mass”
00:07:41 - Jenna was in the newspaper for her religious participation
00:09:26 - Guy preaching at the bar in Yuma, and misconceptions about choice 
00:13:14 - The self centric nature of religion, and Ben’s King James Bible story
00:17:46 - Are mental illnesses caused by demonic possession?
00:20:20 - The three of nuns, Jenna considers being a nun, and a priest’s good advice
00:23:21 - Similarities between being a nun and being a therapist
00:26:16 - Jenna explains transubstantiation and the sacristan to Ben
00:29:30 - Ben asks about exorcisms, and Jenna talks about the exorcism priest 
00:34:28 - The “pick a side” pandemic and using tarot as a guide 
00:37:59 - Ace of swords, Jenna’s reflections, and self expression through tarot 
00:41:21 - Ben thinks it means Jenna needs to go to Las Vegas
00:46:23 - LBGTQ acceptance in the church, and what repenting is 
00:48:52 - “Level 2 sins,” tarot as a changing story, and Ben calls it “throwing down”
00:52:50 - Reading reversed vs. not reading reversed, and Jenna played GTA on her phone
00:55:26 - After leaving a religion, is there a recovery period?
00:57:43 - Jenna explains the Rapture to Ben and contemplates the universe 
01:00:45 - Jenna played FIFA and Ben talks about “Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions”
01:02:54 - The sports Jenna played in school, and reading as a hobby
01:05:43 - Ben thinks it’s too early to tell, Jenna loves philosophy, and closing the show

Episode 27 - Tool

Episode 27 - Tool

December 31, 2021

Closing out 2021, Ben is joined by Arden to discuss the word tool.  Ben talks about Alfred Nobel, remembering his father’s neatly organized tool areas, Eric Sloane books, the “infamous staircase of family legend”, fishing at Lake Julian in Cary, IL (which still operates today), and the band Genesis.  While Arden talks about his favorite tools, builders in the 1100s, thinking that fishing was scary and gross at a young age, his “jack-est” (soon to be a thing), and his enjoyment of the band Tool.  On the subject of video games, they explore the use of tools in “Souls-like” games, Death Stranding, Fallout, Far Cry, Mass Effect, Dig Dug, Dead Rising, and Beyond Good and Evil.

00:00:20 - Your hosts this week are Arden and Ben!
00:01:51 - A good tool for crowing or barring, and Arden’s problem with the word gif
00:04:20 - Drinking hot coffee out of your hands, buckets of iced tea, and soap
00:07:10 - Arden’s favorite tool is his self build PC, and Ben talk about the Nobel Peace Prize
00:10:45 - Writing and acting tools, believable dialogue, and acting aspiration stories
00:17:15 - Ben reflects on Ed’s tools and explains old label technology to Arden
00:20:55 - “Pillars of the Earth,” “A Reverence for Wood,” and the “Frank Lloyd Wright stairs”
00:26:20 - Arden’s father introduces him to fishing, and “the dream of fishing”
00:30:22 - Ben and Arden talk about the band “Tool”
00:33:42 - If H.R. Giger discovered a color wheel, and the original lineup of the band
00:37:22 - Ben is a “Genesis” guy more than a “Rush” guy, and the theatrical nature of music
00:42:42 - Arden talks about loving Bloodborne and the use tools in the game
00:47:21 - The tools in "Death Stranding," and game design creativity for it’s own sake
00:52:08 - Lindsay Wagner’s role in Hideo Kojima’s “Death Stranding”
00:59:01 - Don’t tell people about the animatronics, and ladders 
01:03:07 - Grappling hooks, elephants, and getting attacked by eagles or bobcats
01:08:08 - The iconic tool in Mass Effect, and Ben talks about his favorite remastered game
01:11:28 - Bicycle pumps, shovels, farming tools, and cameras 
01:17:33 - The Nintendo DS “job game” trend, trying to cure guilt, and cooking games
01:22:34 - “In that instance the couch is a tool,” and a show closer from Arden

Episode 26 - Religion

Episode 26 - Religion

December 24, 2021

Just in time for Christmas, Ben puts on his producer hat and hands the keys to the proverbial kingdom over to this week’s hosts Jenna and Phoenix who are excited to talk about the word religion.  No video game conversations this week, but there will be plenty of time for that when they each appear with Ben in January.

00:00:20 - Your hosts this week are Phoenix and Jenna
00:02:15 - Question 1: “There are numerous instances of violence and wars occurring in the name of religious beliefs, but what are the benefits of organized religion?"
00:07:36 - Mistranslations in the First Epistle to the Corinthians and the Book of Leviticus
00:11:45 - Jenna and the double edged sword of her previous religious community 
00:16:14 - Discrediting modern science, and is religion more harmful than helpful?
00:18:29 - Question 2: “Discuss things in life you have experienced that can not be explained by science.  Would you consider these religious events?  Why or why not?” 
00:20:30 - Phoenix and Jenna reference the words they discussed with Ben for upcoming shows
00:23:32 - Don’t feed the crocodile, and Jenna communicates with a deceased relative
00:31:44 - Guidance is guidance, Jenna is really in to rocks, and Phoenix is a raccoon? 
00:35:03 - Phoenix says, “Pluto is emo Hades” 
00:37:28 - Question 3: “Rituals are a major part of religious practices.  Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using rituals in religion.  Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using rituals in day to day life.”
00:39:31 - Jenna defines the word sacristan 
00:46:01 - Bash speaks up when he hears to word “cat” and “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell 
00:50:25 - When is something a ritual, and “is a cup of coffee in the morning a ritual?”
00:55:59 - A shout-out to Mason, and Phoenix explains Scientology to Jenna
00:58:16 - The fake book, and Phoenix’s Latter Day Saints story 
01:00:30 - Ben thinks the world needs more of Phoenix’s renditions of Greek Myths 
01:03:31 - Phoenix and Jenna close the show like pros!

Episode 25 - Language

Episode 25 - Language

December 18, 2021

This week, Ben is joined by Dr. Tahnee, a teacher of ESL, to discuss the word language.  Tahnee talks about teaching English and her love of languages.  Ben talks about the origins of the Sims game franchise and tries to answer Tahnee’s questions about the development of the Simlish language. 

00:00:20 - Ben and Tahnee introduce themselves
00:01:00 - Tahnee talks about where her interest in language started
00:03:31 - The Mango and Bash love Tahnee mic sounds, and the school system in Brazil 
00:07:34 - How cats communicate with humans, and “The Secret Life of Cats” documentary 
00:09:04 - Creativity, sentences, syntax, and context  
00:11:05 - “…different parts of your brain” and differences in learning 1st and 2nd languages
00:13:43 - Ben hears it but can’t roll it, and Tahnee talks about differences in written and verbal learning
00:17:59 - Learning styles and discussing Japanese 
00:19:57 - Say no to banning cursive writing!
00:24:03 - Not all language courses are the same, and structuring coursework to standards
00:28:20 - The subject, the predicate, how to make sense, and “a lot more 20 letter words.”
00:31:22 - The profound end of the pool 
00:34:21 - A pitfall of learning a second language
00:36:29 - Ben’s hot take on people correcting grammar 
00:39:20 - Tahnee is more objective in English, and she talks about conceptual metaphors 
00:42:22 - Syntax, nuance, and using the passive voice 
00:45:57 - Tahnee anticipates her student’s needs based on their native language
00:48:04 - Research on interactive video games as a language learning aid 
00:52:21 - Ben explains “The Sims” franchise development and history 
00:55:34 - Ant not aunt simulator, and William’s tragedy inspires him 
00:59:40 - Tahnee has lots of questions and thoughts about Simlish 
01:02:42 - Originally, Simlish was entirely improvised
01:05:12 - Tahnee’s professor brain has questions, "The Jabberwocky," and the word baby in Simlish 
01:11:16 - Applying nonsense in a systematic way
01:14:59 - Katy Perry songs in Simlish, and Ben’s misunderstanding
01:17:46 - Tahnee’s brain starts looking for patterns… and so do players 
01:20:11 - The constraints of languages, and consonant clusters 
01:22:50 - Phonetics, Phonology, and baby talk (in all languages)
01:26:56 - Ben’s Sims story, have a wonderful life, and go learn a second language!

Episode 24 - Platform

Episode 24 - Platform

December 9, 2021

This week Cheyenne joins Ben to talk about the word platform.  Diving, water pipes, taking risks, platform shoes, cosplay, Booster Gold, and the movie “The Platform” are just a few of the subjects they discuss on their circuitous route to video games.  Then Ben and Cheyenne talk about their most memorable game consoles and platform games to close out the show. 

00:00:20 - Introducing Cheyenne, Ben, and the word platform
00:02:45 - Saying episode words makes Ben feels dirty, and then he talks about diving
00:05:14 - “… discontinued in 1937” and the origin fancy diving  
00:08:12 - “… a bunch of people on a couch” and “water pipes”
00:10:17 - Cheyenne proposes doing some research
00:12:20 - Ben explains diving competitions for Cheyenne… the tetherball queen!
00:15:49 - Ben (mis-)pronounces “de natation” as “de nation” 
00:17:05 - Cheyenne’s cliff diving experience, and Ben sounds like a diving nerd
00:20:36 - The Norm MacDonald joke about cliff diving
00:21:57 - Ben and Cheyenne talk a little bit about Generation Z and taking risks 
00:23:15 - “… that don’t involve Tide Pods,” and a friendly PSA
00:25:30 - Cheyenne’s challenge for Ben and the DC comics hero Booster Gold
00:30:17 - Capes… Cheyenne has experiences with them
00:33:40 - Ben’s brief Jet Set Radio interlude followed by “the hole”
00:37:27 - Discussing the premise of the movie, “The Platform”
00:39:15 - Shoes and stilts 
00:42:10 - Cheyenne’s first console and the PC game “Chip’s Challenge”
00:46:44 - Ben’s memorable console stories 
00:51:30 - Cheyenne loves Nintendo and Ben brings up the gaming stigma
00:56:45 - The definition of a platform game is a loose one
01:00:15 - "Guys, it's okay! He just wanted his machete back!”
01:01:46 - Cheyenne’s favorite platform games 
01:06:58 - The first platform arcade game and others 
01:09:41 - Gryzor sounds like Broforce to Cheyenne
01:12:05 - A couple of Ben’s favorite platform games 
01:15:05 - Ben’s favorite platform game and what he thinks a remaster should be

Episode 23 - Perspective

Episode 23 - Perspective

December 2, 2021

Prepare yourself for a debate!  Ben and Eric have their own perspectives on what makes a great game, but first Ben tries to throw Eric off his rhythm by explaining perspective drawing.  They have similar views on what makes great movies, but when it comes to enjoying games… well that’s a different story.  Does Ben’s ploy work?  You’ll have to listen to find out!  

00:00:20 - In the beige corner… Ben & in the green corner… Eric… always special 
00:01:25 - Ghost Obi-Wan Kenobi’s truth… from a certain point of view
00:04:00 - Reflections on the Star Wars franchise / universe and Eric talks Tolkien 
00:08:40 - Old movies, practical effects, computer graphics and filming techniques
00:11:10 - Ben’s counterpoint; fantasy universes vs “real” universes 
00:15:45 - Ben’s perspective in art and drafting “tutorial”
00:19:10 - Examples of video games that represent various visual perspectives
00:22:50 - “… not the muscle group”
00:25:50 - Ben’s favorite class in High School 
00:28:20 - Eric explains his struggles with drawing 
00:31:00 - The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the use of forced perspective
00:34:40 - Eric apologizes for you thinking Episode 2 is a good movie
00:38:45 - The Star Wars “de-specialized” editions and Lucas snubs the National Archives
00:42:30 - Ben thinks that editors are the unsung heroes of Hollywood
00:47:10 - Starting the video game debate…
00:49:01 - Eric talks about why he enjoys Diablo 3, Skyrim and Fallout
00:52:25 - Ben generally likes story more than game mechanics
00:55:05 - “Don’t force story on me” and “selling that replay value” 
00:59:40 - Ben loves Warframe because it is “free to play”-ish and highly customizable 
01:03:10 - Ben thinks that City of Heroes “died” too soon and Eric likes the “Battle Pass” 
01:06:50 - Season passes past and present 
01:11:10 - The game remaster discussion
01:14:13 - “Do you play ‘Soccer Cars’?”
01:16:10 - Improvising Pac-Man’s backstory and talking about “point and click” adventures
01:19:20 - Myst is dumb, and Eric and Ben agree on the Portal games
01:23:20 - Trophy hunting, bookends, and Eric’s perspective has changed  
01:26:05 - Wrapping up the show with a summary of their perspectives on games

Episode 22 - Familia

Episode 22 - Familia

November 24, 2021

This week Ben is joined by Marily for a special episode for the holiday season; it’s all about family (or familia en Español).  Instead of focusing on the negative histories of the holidays they choose discuss the food, traditions and personal stories associated with family get-togethers.  Marily shares her thoughts on family gatherings, making tamales, Mario Kart, and the Christmas gift she wants this year.  Ben talks about the biological classification of organisms, the Pointer Sisters, stand-up comedians, his first console, and cross-play functionality in games.

00:00:20 - Introducing hosts Ben and Marily 
00:01:47 - Ring Tailed Lemur yoga in Florida
00:03:10 - Gender of nouns and societal norms 
00:05:50 - Celebrating Marily’s heritage and family in multiple countries 
00:09:20 - Changing personal perspectives on the questionable origins of holidays
00:10:49 - Michelle Wolf’s joke about smallpox and people being offended
00:13:00 - Technology, communication and being human  
00:17:45 - Having a conversation with someone in a sea of millions of possible participants
00:20:03 - Ben’s ‘Cool Hand Luke’ interlude and… balls
00:22:18 - CFO or CEO? 
00:25:45 - Unconditional love, family, mental health, boundaries, and nuance
00:30:00 - A field of big juicy melons and the biological classification of organisms
00:33:33 - Dogs, legumes, cats, and the book ‘Systema Naturæ’
00:35:46 - The Pointer Sisters and Beverly Hills Cop
00:37:35 - Stand-up comedy: dirty or clean?
00:40:56 - Ben’s Scooby Doo impression, and “why are there so many masks?”
00:42:51 - Marily’s family food tradition… Birria and Chicharrón tamales!
00:48:34 - Fun fact: Hawaiian pizza was invented in… 
00:49:13 - More tamale talk
00:53:43 - Ben’s holiday food favorites, and signature family dish favorites
01:00:30 - Potato salad, Paul’s sausage stuffing, Ben’s weird quesadillas, and tuna salad
01:05:50 - Ben and Adam’s Atari 2600 plan… SUCCESS! 
01:08:57 - Families of game consoles 
01:10:40 - Marily’s childhood game console memories and the joys of Mario Kart
01:13:51 - Marily wants a Nintendo Switch for Christmas
01:16:01 - Talking a little bit about cross-play making console families larger
01:18:15 - Marily provides the “correct response,” and closing the show 

Episode 21 - Context

Episode 21 - Context

November 18, 2021

Due to Ben’s aging issues, there was a “pain delay” on the week’s episode, but to make up for that, it’s a jumbo sized one that goes many interesting places.  Cheyenne joins Ben this week to do some critical thinking and to talk about the word context.  Before digging in to this very dense subject, we address a pressing question from Norah about current gaming platforms.  Then after discussing social media applications, they talk about a very interesting college course Cheyenne is taking.  Ben and Cheyenne’s conversation then turns to the news… quite literally, when they critique a newspaper article on Internet Gaming Disorder.  Finally, they close the show with the topics of Dungeons and Dragons, tabletop games, LARP-ing, collectibles, and context aware gaming.

00:00:20 - Cheyenne bought a vacuum 
00:03:34 - A lengthy discussion about a game system recommendation as a “starter” for Norah
00:15:20 - Cheyenne’s thoughts on Xbox Game Pass and developer
00:17:55 - With or without the comma, “I hope that helped Norah” and on to context
00:20:10 - Cheyenne talks about the “big picture” and zooming out
00:23:00 - A side conversation about social media applications past and present 
00:27:25 - The internet “mob mentality” and ethical concerns of misinformation  
00:31:20 - The breeding ground of trolls 
00:33:45 - “… comedy, discomfort or misunderstandings”
00:38:55 - Blue’s Clues’ cousin and Cheyenne’s Engineering course  
00:42:45 - Context and software development 
00:45:50 - Bad journalism and decision quality information
00:48:40 - The impact of Mr. Thiel’s Journalism class on Ben’s critical thinking skills
00:52:03 - 1 in 20 College Students has Internet Gaming Disorder, Research Reveals
00:55:39 - What is Internet Gaming Disorder?
00:58:46 - False correlations, singling out gaming and not citing your sources
01:01:37 - 3000 students were interviewed for 75 minutes, now that is depressing
01:10:17 - How do you prefer to play video games?
01:11:45 - Ben’s D&D pickup line
01:13:47 - Cheyenne also likes playing tabletop games
01:16:55 - Cheyenne explains PvP and PvE to Norah
01:17:57 - LARP-ing and Evermore Park
01:21:40 - Amibos, Skylanders Figures and the Square Enix Lord of Vermillion arcade game
01:24:25 - Context aware, virtual reality and augmented reality games
01:28:10 - Signing off

Episode 20.?? - Supplementary Soliloquy

Episode 20.?? - Supplementary Soliloquy

November 14, 2021

On this supplemental episode 20 plus your favorite fraction less than 1, Ben soliloquizes about Ghostbusters, comedian Jake Johannsen, getting older, the psoas muscle, yoga, Goat Simulator, Guardians of the Galaxy, Psychonauts 2 and what words are coming in future episodes.

00:00:45 - Gozer worshipers and a slow moving Torb
00:02:35 - Ben’s “athletic type injury”
00:04:00 - The Suez Canal and cat yoga by proxy
00:06:25 - Odd animal yoga and Goat Simulator
00:09:00 - GOTY games for 2021- Guardians of the Galaxy or Psychonauts 2? 
00:13:10 - Coming soon to the Two Vague Podcast…
00:16:05 - Thank you for hanging in there!

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