Kristi Williams- ep 9

I was really excited to talk to Kristi Williams.  Kristi is super cool and she has a super cool husband and a super cool kid.  I’m friends with her on Facebook, and I feel like I know her, but I really don’t.  Kristi is married to Marc who was friends with my wife, Jen, first.  I know Marc pretty well, but I think I had only spoken to Kristi at her wedding, many years ago.  Until now anyways.

Kristi, or should I say Dr. Williams, is a real-life family demographer, medical sociologist and college professor.   She’s responsible for papers and studies with titles like “Promoting marriage among single mothers: An ineffective weapon in the war on poverty?” and “You Make Me Sick: Marital Quality and Health Over the Life Course.”  I love this kind of stuff and am so impressed by the academics who do it.

She’s also a Senior Scholar at the Council on Contemporary Families, , and Editor of Journal of Marriage and Family.

It was a pleasure to chat with her.

Note: She mentions this book during the conversation:

Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town

Larry Rigdon- ep 8

My friend Larry Rigdon and I go way back.  I’m talking “Wonder Years” back.  We went to the same elementary (primary) school and we were good friends during those formative “Stand By Me” years  from 12 to 16.  In fact, as you’ll hear in this conversation, 16 was kind of a hard cut-off point, because that was the year Larry had to move away from Plano, where we grew up.  He never got to finish high school with our class of friends.  It just so happened that I called Larry when he was feeling nostalgic and had been looking at YouTube videos and Google Maps and stuff of the places he grew up, so that really colors this conversation.

Plano is a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

According to Wikipedia: The city’s population was 269,776 at the 2010 census, making it the ninth most populous city in the state of Texas  The city is an affluent hub for many corporate headquarters such,  Dell ServicesDr Pepper Snapple GroupEricssonFrito-LayHP Enterprise ServicesHuaweiJ. C. PenneyPizza HutTech Mahindra Americas Inc and Toyota Motor North America, Inc..

In 1983 it was dubbed “The Suicide Capital of America,” as nine suicides among Plano high schoolers drew national attention to the town

There was also an epidemic of heroin abuse among young people in the 1990s.

In his book, “It’s Not About the Bike” Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who grew up in Plano, described the city this way:

“It was the quintessential American suburb, with strip malls, perfect grid streets, and faux-antebellum country clubs in between empty brown wasted fields.  It was populated by guys in golf shirts and Sansabelt pants, and women in bright fake gold jewelry, and alienated teenagers. Nothing there was old, nothing real. To me, there was something soul-deadened about the place…”  “It’s home to Plano East High School, one of the largest and most football-crazed high schools in the state…”  “In Plano, Texas, if you weren’t a football player you didn’t exist, and if you weren’t upper middle class, you might as well not exist either.”

I’m not saying Lance’s description is the only way to describe Plano, and we all know he has a rocky relationship with truth, but it gives you a taste.

But it was also just the neighborhoods where Larry and I grew up.

So that’s the background, now on to Larry Rigdon.

Mike Simeone, revisited- ep 6

My friend, Mike Simeone was the first person I interviewed on this little podcast…there’s only been five so far…I chose Mike for a couple of reasons.  One was that I knew he had experience in radio and audio production, so I actually consulted him a lot getting this thing off the ground.  The other reason was that I knew we had this odd backstory that we could delve into together.

If you’ve happened to listen to episode one, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t maybe you want to check it out first…but anyhow…there is one more element to the story I want to share.  Ever since I reconnected with Mike on Facebook, we’ve been chatting on Facebook messenger, and a lot of that is Mike sending me voice messages.  Many, many voice messages.  Starting about December of 2016, he’s sent me about 3 hours’ worth?  All recorded in 60 second clips or less.  They will just come in these sporadic bursts.  Sometimes I’ll have time to respond immediately, sometimes I’ll be asleep or at work or dealing with family stuff and I can’t even listen to them for a while.  Most of the messages are NC17 too, so I can’t listen out loud unless I’m alone.

But I realized these clips make up some kind of unique audio document.  Listening back to them it reminded of me of those weird times that maybe you are driving on the highway late at night, and you would tune in some random AM station, and pick up an unknown talk radio show out of the ether and just become fascinated in someone else’s manic drama.  Or maybe back in the day, you found some homemade cassette tape at a yard sale and you’d give it a listen.

So I wanted to share them with you.  Not all three hours of course. I’ve edited them down.  They are random, often times there are dozens of text messages in between the audio ones that are not reflected here, but it doesn’t matter.  I think they flow in a performance art kind of way.  These are all in chronological order except for a few that I’ll get to later.  Oh and these are explicit, for sure, so you’ve been warned. I hope you like them.

Hnin Wint Nyunt Hman- ep 5

My friend Hnin is a really interesting person.  I haven’t known her all that long, we met because we briefly worked for the same Group.  Most of our friendship is based on one long conversation at a company party, which she references later.  I called Hnin and we had recorded one conversation, but in the end, she sounded too uptight and not quite herself.  Part of that was my fault for not explaining exactly what I was going for, so anyhow we had a second conversation where everything was much more relaxed and went as planned.  Ok, so that being said I hope you enjoy this longer, more relaxed conversation with Hnin where we seriously geek out.

Rodrigo Rivas- ep 4

I think everyone probably has at least one friend like Rodrigo Rivas. He’s kind of the scrappy, likeable guy, whose heart is in the right place, but he can also rub people the wrong way. The kind of guy who maybe is a bit too honest and abrupt. Most of the time that works in his favor, but not always.

Rod calls himself a citizen of the world, and that seems about right. He’s from Mexico. He’s lived in the US, Japan and Singapore. He’s also a jack of all trades, kind of like me. He even designed the logo for this podcast.

Jess Herbst- ep 3

Jess Herbst is someone you may have heard about.  Or you may have heard about the “first openly transgender mayor in Texas as well as the first openly transgender elected official in Texas” that’s Jess, and she has been getting a lot of press, especially in her role as an “accidental activist” for LGBTQ rights.

I first met Jess as Jeff Herbst back in the late 90s.  We were professional colleagues.  I was an editor and also in charge of all the video equipment at ZEE TV, the Indian Satellite Network’s US Headquarters in Arlington Texas.  Whenever I had a technical problem I couldn’t solve on my own, I would call Herbst, the smartest, most logical video and software engineer I’ve ever met.  After we did all the troubleshooting, we would invariably end up chatting about who-knows-what for an extra hour or so and became quite friendly.  And since I had a lot of technical problems we met fairly often.

Flash forward about twenty years, and we reconnect on Facebook, and then last year I notice, Jeff has become Jess, and she’s also entered politics.

Kyle Reynolds- ep 2

Kyle Reynolds is one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.  I met him years ago when he worked at Half Price Books and Records in the Dallas area. He’s always been a musician and creative person.  You may have heard about an event he organized called the Open Carry Guitar Rally, which was a light-hearted response to Texas gun activists.  He also went off and started an online political cartoon called The End Times found at slugnuts.com and more recently launched the Slugnuts Radio Hour Podcast.

Mike Simeone- ep 1

Mike Simeone is someone I met at a very important stage in my life…that small window when you are out in the world as a young adult…struggling to “make it.”  That was ages ago.  We were very close, but lost touch as time went on, and of course, we reconnected much later on Facebook.

Mike is outrageous, he’s outspoken, and a bit odd.  He’s done a lot of things, he’s been a DJ, a film and video producer, and he hosted his own radio show for many years.