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Colin's Last Stand: Fireside Chats

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Fireside Chats, Episode 97: The Future is Now

Meet Jeremy Goldman, an expert in computer learning algorithms and AI who has worked for some of the world's biggest tech companies. And boy, does he have a ton of insight into what's going on with Google, Uber, and many others who rely a great deal on knowing and understanding you. Yes, you! For what may seem futuristic and still on the horizon is quickly drawing near at an unexpected and unsettling clip. But one thing's for sure: The likes of Facebook know you a whole lot better than...


Fireside Chats, Episode 96: Dog World

People either get dogs or they don't. Heck, sometimes a person doesn't get dogs, and then suddenly, they do (like yours truly). But one way or another, they're an essential part of human life, and have been for thousands and thousands of years. Today's episode of Fireside Chats focuses on our most trusted animal companions, but through a random lens: The world of grooming. Nakita Jenks is an Arizona-based dog groomer, and she comes packing tons of industry stories and a lot of expertise into...


Fireside Chats, Episode 95: Trading Toys

Toys are an integral part of childhood, but for quite a few of us, they remain relevant in some way, shape, or form long after they probably should. Then again, that's what's so fun about toys as we get older: They're plastic encapsulations of a simpler time, before bills, relationships, jobs, and reality took over. Today's guest, Kenny Koepnick, works at a toy and collectible shop in Ohio, and not only does he get to live in a world of nostalgia, but he knows a whole lot about what makes...


Fireside Chats, Episode 94: Judaism

We've spent a lot of time on Fireside Chats discussing the ins and outs of Christianity, but we never ventured into the territory of its sister religion -- or perhaps parent religion, more accurately -- until right now. Judaism is a fascinating point of conversation, because unlike many other global religions, it's both a religious identity and a cultural identity, many times in excess of Irish or Italian Catholics, the Russian Orthodox, and pretty much any other similar fusion (save maybe...


Fireside Chats, Episode 93: The Anorexia Gambit

It's incredibly uncommon for people to hurt themselves out of the clear blue sky and for no reason whatsoever. Even if we can't comprehend why, or understand someone's motives, or make sense of any of it whatsoever, people inflict pain on themselves because they're already hurting. It's one of life's harshest paradoxes. Our guest this week -- John Rossi -- seeks to explore that paradox by telling the story of his years-long struggle with anorexia (a severe eating disorder that sees its...


Fireside Chats, Episode 92: Porn Addiction

People can find themselves addicted to almost anything, whether it's to alcohol or to benzos, to shopping or to gaming, to this or to that. But what happens when your chronic overindulgence happens to align with one of society's biggest taboos, something virtually every adult enjoys (whether regularly or occasionally), yet rarely speaks about earnestly? In short: What happens when you can stop watching pornography? Today's guest -- Matt Plaster -- speaks honestly about his addiction to porn,...


Fireside Chats, Episode 91: Teaching America's Youth

The American education system is pretty unique, especially compared to the rest of the modern world. Instead of having a totally top-down governmental approach, schools in the United States are left largely to the whims of state and local bureaucrats, and the outcomes are as varied as they are fascinating. One such teacher in one of America's thousands of school districts is today's guest, David. David's a middle school history teacher, and I got to pick his brain for about an hour about...


Fireside Chats, Episode 90: The Passion Project

In a strange sort of way, this week's episode of Fireside Chats is all about reality. The reality of living your normal, everyday life while also trying to pursue your dreams and passions. To talk about such a common (yet seldom-discussed) situation is Brian Penaloza, a CLS fan who works by day at a car dealership, and by night growing his tabletop RPG Twitch channel. How does Brian balance the necessities of life with the things that make life worth living? And how is he slowly turning a...


Fireside Chats, Episode 89: The Stay-at-Home Dad

Stay-at-home moms are some of society's most unsung heroes. Raising kids is a tough job, after all, and motherhood comes at a cost. But what about society's fathers? Hell, what about society's fathers that bear the brunt of of parental responsibility while their wives go to work? It's not a terribly common situation even in modernity, but it does happen more often than you might think, and that's what today's episode is all about. Chad Lewis is a stay-at-home dad with a professional wife who...


Fireside Chats, Episode 88: The RPG YouTuber

Being a successful content creator is all about finding your niche, and I must say, my friend Matt Schroeder -- aka MrMattyPlays -- has one of the best niches there is: Role-Playing Games. Matt is a popular YouTuber and podcaster, and he's built his audience by honing in on a genre he loves. But being an online personality isn't all roses; it's a lot of hard work, too. Today, Matt and I talk for about an hour about what he does, what we do, and everything in between. Our chat provides...


Fireside Chats, Episode 87: Army Man

Who is Mike Honcho? Well, for starters, he doesn't exist. See, Mike Honcho is a pseudonym for a US Army officer who asked to come on Fireside Chats so we could talk candidly about America's current foreign policy situation. What's going on overseas from the perspective of those on the ground? How do our servicemen and women feel these days about the conflicts they're asked to fight on our behalf? And what's the future hold for an American military in a state of perpetual war? Will we ever...


Fireside Chats, Episode 86: An American in Germany

A few months ago, a 21 year old college student reached out with an idea for Fireside Chats, and his pitch was simple: He's an American who, because of his father's military service, pretty much grew up entirely in Germany. In one of his e-mails to me, he wrote, in part: "My experience at home was weird and still mostly American... but in all other aspects I grew up as just a regular German kid, despite not having German citizenship." That alone is a fascinating enough pitch for me, and so...


Fireside Chats, Episode 85: The (Eastern) World of Tattoos

In life, few things are as physically permanent as tattoos, and obviously, they're not for everyone. But they're most certainly for today's guest, Jordan. Jordan isn't only a tattoo enthusiast; he's exceptionally enthusiastic about the traditional method of Japanese tattooing, which is all done with hand tools in the most excruciatingly exact fashion possible, in accordance with some old, well-worn techniques. His goal is to one day be covered neck-to-toe, and he's well on his way. So let's...


Fireside Chats, Episode 84: The Southern Baptist

You may have noticed that Fireside Chats and religious talk go together like peanut butter and jelly, and thus, today's episode of the show delves back into questions surrounding God, belief, faith, and more. My guest is Micheal Bourdeaux, a Catholic-turned-Southern Baptist. Bourdeaux is a Southern Baptist minister, active in the church, and extremely knowledgeable about his craft. So I thought I'd pick his brain, challenge him with some inquiries, and get to know his beliefs better, too. If...


Fireside Chats, Episode 83: Hockey in Japan

I love hockey. It's my favorite sport, and -- having grown up playing it -- it's the one I relate to the most. You also may have noticed that I love Japan. So when it comes to today's episode of Fireside Chats, you'll have to indulge me. Meet Chase Matteo. Chase is a college kid from Maine, and he's a talented collegiate hockey player, too. But he doesn't play for UMaine, or UNH, or even my beloved Northeastern University. Instead, he plays for Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, and he's the...


Fireside Chats, Episode 82: One Man's Experience With Racism

Every week, CLS gets messages from could-be guests of the show, and when I received one such inquiry, I knew I had to make this conversation happen. Meet Tyler Bello. Tyler is an everyday kinda guy from South Dakota, but what makes Mr. Bello notable for the purposes of our chat is that he's black. He's pretty much the only black guy in his community, in fact. And what makes his particular story so interesting is that, according to him, he's never experienced a lick of racism in his entire...


Fireside Chats, Episode 81: Woodworking

When it comes to Fireside Chats, we don't focus nearly enough on art. Let's change that. Today, we welcome Daniel Vail to the show. Mr. Vail is an amateur (and very talented) woodworker, and he has a serious passion for it. So let's pick his brain. How does someone get into this unique form of art? What kind of tools do you need? What resources are out there for you to learn from? How expensive of a hobby is it? And how do the amazing results of woodworking (from furniture to fine art) help...


Fireside Chats, Episode 80: Battling Addiction

Around the world, millions upon millions of people suffer from addiction. It can be an addiction to pills, or heroin, or even sex. But this week's guest -- Kris Hall -- suffers from one of the most common, timeless addictions there is: Alcohol. Today, Kris tells his story, a story that begins normally enough, and then takes some fascinating (and harrowing) turns as he ultimately (and thankfully) finds his way to sobriety. But it was an arduous, uphill battle for him. Indeed, it's an arduous,...


Fireside Chats, Episode 79: The Future of Consoles

There's good news for gamers: We're on the precipice of a new console generation, and the possibilities are seemingly endless. But, as many of you know who have been following me for years, I loudly proclaim my technical ignorance, which is where today's episode of Fireside Chats comes in. Joseph Bateh is a computer scientist who is completely plugged-in (pardon the pun) to the world of technological shifts, particularly when it comes to computers and consoles. So, I picked his brain. What...


Fireside Chats, Episode 78: Helping the Enlisted

Here in America (and elsewhere on the planet), we have a really terrible habit of sending our brave men and women to fight in dangerous conflicts, but not sufficiently being there for them when they return home. Today's guest, Zack Gobie, has dedicated his life to trying to bridge this unfortunate divide, and he's doing so with The Salvation Army, the world famous, 150+ year old charity that does one thing, and one thing only: Helps the down-and-out. Zack was once such veteran that needed...