FW Presents – Meanwhile… #5

After almost a year, MEANWHILE... is back for a fifth installment with Shag, Rob, Ryan, and newest network all-star Stella! We discuss what we've been up to since the last "Meanwhile" show and answer your Patreon questions!

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45 responses to “FW Presents – Meanwhile… #5

  1. I’m turning 40 and I’ve never been married or have any children. I have not been in a relationship in over 12 years, and the only time in my life that I did it was an extremely toxic relationship with a psychologically abusive narcissist. I am on the autism spectrum and am diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and in my experience everyone I know with similar experiences of romantic failures are also neurodivergent and/or struggle with some form of disability. But I understand that people like me are easy targets, so go ahead and have your laughs.

    1. Not to devalue your perspective Chris, but I’ve got you beat in terms of age and number of years and I’m not on the spectrum or anything like that – sometimes things just don’t work out (nor do I think that coupling is the be all and end all of life – I’ve got a full one regardless). And I really don’t think the comment you’re referring to was attacking or mocking you, neuro-atypical people or the differently abled – sounds like it was teasing nerds who are obsessive about niche topics, and the two direct targets are either married or about to be, so… You have every right to be offended by certain comments, but also, I think you may have misread that one.

    2. Hi Chris – Thanks for your comment and I apologize if any offense was taken. I see you’ve been listening and commenting on our shows for a while, so you’ve probably been exposed to our good-natured, sarcastic humor in the past. To echo what Siskoid said, you have every right to be offended, but please know that no genuine offense was intended. I’ve met literally dozens and dozens of listeners of our Network, and I adore them all. We all tease each other mercilessly, with no true malicious intent. That’s what I was doing, teasing my friends. Again, I apologize if you were offended.

      1. Its okay. I found the comment itself upsetting, but I don’t believe that your intent was to be demeaning. I forgive the whole thing. You guys are still awesome.

  2. Hi All. Great hearing from you all in this Meanwhile… I’m at one of many crossroads in my life, and the Fire & Water Podcast has been very good for me during these exciting and turbulent past decade. I was thrilled to hear all of you chatting with one another!

    1. Rob & Shag: of course, you guys brought me into the network before the network began. Who’s Who was an affirmation of an important part of my geekdom, and I thank you for it.
    2. Ryan: your work both on Secret Origins AND the music-related podcast posts have been impressive in terms of the formats and insights; glad to hear you’re doing well. Sad to hear about the eczema. My dad suffers from something similar; hope you figure out what’s causing it.
    3. Stella: I discovered her separately, and several years ago was surprised to hear her mentioned all of a sudden years ago in the podcast. Glad to hear her adding her interests and insights with all of you.

    Here’s to all of you, all of the other members, and to the network itself. May this coming 2022 be better for all of us.

    1. Its weird sometimes how we all “met” (often separately). I was a fan of the Aquaman Shrine, while Shag was a fan of my Doctor Who card game before we ever talked. You and I first interacted on Google+ of all things, I think, Alexander (possible?). Who’s Who led to Secret Origins which led to my working with Ryan. Stella never returned my messages about doing a voice on Lonely Hearts.

      1. Hello Siskoid, you’re correct about Google+! (R.I.P. Google+, you were great for my gaming news & community.)

        And I only put together that you were the same person when I heard your handle & the shared fandom on the podcast(s)!

  3. I will say what saddens me with living in Denmark is having the opposite “problem” with maple syrup. First in a restaurant syrup might be a simple syrup or agave instead of maple if they even have maple. Second is you are stuck with only grade A instead of some of the better lower darker grades. At least in Germany after looking hard I could find some grade B.

    1. I live in California, where there’s no denying that we don’t take “real maple syrup” so seriously and no doubt DO use “fakes” all the time, but even I heard Ryan’s theoretical question and my immediate response was “what a strange question, why WOULDN’T I choose the real thing when it’s available? Who even asks that question?”

      (Cue someone posting the Admiral Ackbar “It’s a trap!” meme.)

  4. Rob mentioned a possible episode on logos. May I suggest Rian Hughes’ great book “Logo-a-GoGo” that could be a good launching pad for such a discussion.

  5. Hi Guys. I always really enjoy listening to the Meanwhile episodes. Sadly I missed the chance to ask a question mainly as I get too many Patreon e-mails. I swear they are hourly.

    I most identified with the question about what hurts and I am shocked and disgusted that I appear to be considerably more infirm than all of you. Like Shag I also have bursitis, but it is in my knees and is probably my biggest pain. It’s not helped by working in retail and therefore spending at least 40 hours a week on my feet. I also have arthritis in my knees because why not have two painful conditions in one joint. The pain is particularly bad as I can only take painkillers occasionally as they seem to disagree with my stomach.

    As I get nearer to fifty I’m increasingly having to take medications for the side effects of the medications I take for the side effects of my primary medication. My Mum takes 25 pills a day and I see the same happening to me.

    Onto the more fun parts of the discussion you spent quite a bit of time on Jane Eyre and also on theatre trips. One of the greatest parts of living in London is having World Class theatre on the doorstep and one of my favourite shows of the last 10 years was Jane Eyre at the National Theatre. I know that the NT put it on their YouTube channel during lockdown so I’m sure you would be able to see it from the US.

    Last week I went to see Cabaret in London starring Eddie Redmayne, Jessie Buckley and (rumoured future Dr Who) Omari Douglas. It is one of the greatest stage productions I have ever seen. If you are in London or it transfers to Broadway you must try and see it. It’s a phenomenal show but they are also meticulous about Covid security. You have to have a negative test result to be let into the theatre. If you don’t have one they make you do one before entry. And masks are compulsory throughout. I have been to a few shows since theatres reopened in the summer and most audiences have been pretty good about masking up even when it wasn’t legally required. I haven’t been to the cinema yet (I’m going to see West Side Story tonight) but I’m hopeful it will remain strong.

    By the way Shag needs to know that many of your listeners are gay men so may have gone decades without feeling the touch of a man. It’s important to be inclusive when you’re slagging off your followers.

    It amazes me that you all manage to remain so kind and give out so much love in such an online World. It’s so heartening when I see so much bad behaviour exhibited by fans. Thank you and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

    1. I take blood pressure tablets, which gives me mild kidney disease, so I have a tablet for that. Then there are blood thinners after having that pesky heart attack a few years ago, and statins. I think it’s seven tablets a day I’m on.

      But you know what? I’m fine, thank you the NHS!

      1. So just to round out the trio of gay Brits, let me say that all I’m hearing from your comments and the responses to the “What Hurts?” question is that the Network desperately needs the return of the Fitness and Water show. One of the problems with potent modern medications is how we manage the unwanted adverse effects. That can lead to a cascade of medication, and – with the elderly cohort of patients I look after – I spend almost as much time “de-prescribing” as I do prescribing!
        On a separate note, I was very happy to hear that Rob enjoys Gardener’s World; it’s a Friday evening treat for me too!

  6. Thanks for an enjoyable episode, and of course for taking my question toward the end. While Gallifrey One will indeed be my first major convention since the pandemic started, I confess I was thinking less about that (I’ll also be doing TF Con LA about a month later), and more about the various pictures I’ve seen podcasting folks post of being at local conventions over the past few months.

    As to the wider “re-entry” question, it’s been rough for me. While I don’t want to sound like the pandemic was (in general) a good thing, I really did enjoy having an excuse to stay at home (I envy Rob and others who now get to work from home permanently. I’ve had to return to my office since August) and NOT having to interact with people quite so much. Specific friends and convention events notwithstanding, I didn’t miss the interactions much at all, and knew that everyone else would be ready to “return” well before I was. Couple this with my continued irritation with the vast numbers of people who apparently don’t know how to wear a mask (I’m not here referring to folks who object to masks for some reason… that’s a different conversation. I mean that, if you ARE wearing a mask, I should never be able to see your nostrils!), and my re-entry is characterized far more often by frustration than by relief.

  7. Loved this episode! I felt like I was present for it, even though I wasn’t on it (which is weird)!

    I’d like to clarify a few points. My comment on Dune being “gibberish” was not a “shot” at Shag. I was indeed quoting his daughter and agreeing with her. There’s a lot of glue to wade through for Dune. A lot. There’s a nugget of a story there that’s great, but it’s not an easy read AT ALL. I guess I was a bit flip in my tone, but never did I mean it to be interpreted as an insult.

    Secondly, I wish I’d known Stella was going to be on. What a breath of fresh air she is! I would have asked about she ended up joining F&W. I love that show of hers and she’s a great audio personality.

    Thirdly, I wasn’t trying to mine anything personal by asking about hidden or otherwise unknown habits of our hosts. I loved learning that George Harrison was into gardening; that Tom Hanks collects vintage typewriters. That’s the sort of thing I was going for. I guess it didn’t land for everyone.

    Great show, all! Loved the line-up! More Stella!

  8. You know, I wasn’t going to comment on this one because it’s all about your answer and not mine, but Rob forced my hand. New Jersey doesn’t have a region specific food? Seriously, Rob? How is Pork Roll not a New Jersey specific food? I get that you’re a vegetarian, but you’ve been in a NJ diner before.

    For those not in the know: https://jerseyporkroll.com/pork-roll-history/

    Since I got that out of my system, if anyone travels to Pittsburgh, I would suggest trying a sandwich at Primanti Bros. Really good stuff.

  9. Fun discussion guys!

    Some great questions there, and I learned a lot about all of you folks I never knew.

    Shag, I have had those panic attack moments during Covid. I have also noticed hardly anyone around here now wears masks indoors, unless they work at a place that requires them to. It’s very troubling, but we mask up and go on. We’re all vaccinated, a huge chunk of them probably isn’t.

    Stella, I have questioned where masks are on fictional characters. Smartly the MCU decided to skip 2020 and 2021 (and maybe 2022) so we don’t have to suspend our disbelief as much, unless Galvatron 3000 is the next variant or something.

    And of course, you might all want real maple syrup, but you didn’t have real Adam West in that clip at the end! That’s Dick Gautier in West’s costume as Batman in that classic Equal Pay PSA!


    1. Your comment reminds me of an observation that Ryan (I think) made toward the end, about it seeming that the folks who wear masks seem most likely NOT to be vaccinated. This comment comes off as extremely strange to my ears, and I’m wondering if this is a regional phenomenon. I’m in CA, where there are far more restrictions in place than elsewhere, but (contrary to popular belief) the politics are far from monochromatic. Here, it seems like the folks who might need to wear masks (that is, the unvaccinated) are the most likely to fail to do so (usually for political reasons), and those of us who wear masks probably actually need them the least (being vaccinated already).

      Myself, I’m vaccinated (and boosted), but have always thought that, for as long as the pandemic is a thing, it’s best if everyone wears masks indoors, since you can’t tell just by looking at a person if they’re vaccinated or not, so it’s best to be safe and to do our part to avoid spreading the disease to others. Like Chris, I find it very troubling that (even here in CA) this seems not to be a universally-held stance.

      1. Mark, in our area, I would say that as of right now, the masked people I see in public are probably like us, vaccinated (possibly boosted) and very conscientious about it. The unmasked are a mix of vaccinated, and those who flatly refuse to do so. This area is unfortunately full of people like that. They would only vaccinate and mask if forced to. I’m making generalizations, of course, but it seems to be the case around here.


        1. Same here, the mask wearers are the people considerate enough to have been vaccinated yet wary of passing anything they might have to the unvaccinated. Our local shop is full of idiots who won’t wear masks… they generally claim to be asthmatics, but somehow forget their exemption lanyard every single time they leave the house. One sad asthmatic lady last week bought 40 cigarettes…

  10. Great episode.
    Glad to have Stella in the fold!
    One of the problems of listening while driving is you forget the comments you want to make.
    So things I did remember.

    I love Dune. LOVE IT! I speak the gibberish.

    Like Rob, I find that fatigue is a problem more than pain. I can do all nighters (job necessity) but at some point I need can’t withdraw from the Sleep Bank and need to deposit.

    I do cry at things but it is often when I am overtired (as above). Most recently, I cried at the end of Brief Encounter, a movie I have seen a billion times. I find Toy Store 3 emotionally manipulative and sneered at it rather than laugh.

    Local food – Rhode Island pizza strips – thick focaccia bread, red sauce only (maybe a dusting of parmesan), greasy as all hell, served at room temp or eaten cold out of the fridge. Shouldn’t taste good but is ambrosia.

    Earth 2 Anj has a podcast about Supergirl, also hosts Supergirl ’84 Movie Minute, also co-hosts The Mirror Factory (I told Max I wanted to do a Dune passage, interestingly enough).

    I have been swimming in Covid for 2 years and get emails after nearly every shift that someone I saw has it. I am vaxxed and boostered. I mask and don/doff as advised. But I don’t get weirded out any more. Inured to the whole thing.

    Looking forward to upcoming F&W events and hoping to be at as many as possible. And always available to be a guest host!

  11. This was such an enjoyable listen. One of the highlights of the past several years, for me, has been discovering this network, and even getting to meet both Rob and Shag and being honored with guest appearances on a couple of their shows. Hope to do more soon.

    Rob, your observation about the pandemic making you more inclined to be nice to people: I’ve been feeling similarly. Since even before the pandemic—starting in, oh, around November 2016—I’ve realized that I was naive concerning the kindness and generosity of Americans: Lots of people are just flat-out dicks. Not to pat myself on the back, but I’ve taken some slight comfort in the understanding that I’m nicer than most people, and I’ve been inspired to lean into it, by doing those small but significant gestures that have a measurable impact on a person’s day (if not their life). So keep it up, we all need more of that.

    Ryan, I’ve been having a similar hands-dryness problem during pandemic (sounds like not as bad as yours), and I have a theory: It’s due to excessive hand-washing. For whatever reason, our hands are more sensitive to some common soap ingredients, and with greater anti-corona hand-washing vigilance comes this annoyance. Alas.

  12. This was tons of fun, everyone! It was great to hear everyone’s experiences since the last Meanwhile…. It was great to hear Stella, as the newest member! Stella, if you happen to do a Kitty Pryde show, I’m sure you would have ton of listeners!

    I just bought the Camelot 3000 series and finally got read it after all these years. Rob, it’s fantastic! I can’t speak to how well the trans situation was handled (not being a trans person) but I thought it was an interesting twist and it was interesting comment on what it means to be a “manly man”. And the fact they try to speak about it in the ’80’s seems so ahead of it’s time. I would love to hear what other people think about the series.

    Rob and Stella, as a runner, I hate the treadmill, too, but I take my bluetooth earbuds, crank on the tunes, and it doesn’t seem to take as long. I try to get a lot of pop and dance music as the beat can help you keep a good rhythm. And like Shag said, I’ve seen people bring their tablets and watch shows while running/walking. I’m not sure that’s something I could do as I would trip over myself, but if it works, seems like any easy way to pass the time.

    I don’t understand this problem with “real” maple syrup. As a Canadian, real maple syrup just comes out of the tap. We use it to shower, wash our dishes, have syrup balloon fights, etc. And I’m on the West Coast! Siskoid, does it just rain maple syrup where you are? Though with all this usage, maybe that’s why some people aren’t getting “real” maple syrup? Good thing Canada just released more maple syrup from it’s emergency maple syrup reserves! (That’s a real thing, I wish I was making a joke).

    I really enjoyed this interaction with the questions from Patreon and it was great to hear that everyone is doing somewhat okay (Ryan, I hope the eczema isn’t too bad and you will be able to get it looked at and have it clear up soon.). Until next Meanwhile…. I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy holidays! Keep up the great work!

    1. I adore classic Kitty Pryde. If Stella does start a Kitty Pryde show, i volunteer to be a guest on the Kitty’s Fairytale episode, explaining why it’s a horrible overrated bit of tosh.

      1. I love classic Kitty, too! I also really liked her during her Shadowcat time with Excalibur. It taught me everything I needed to know about British culture. I can only assume that it was all true?? Also, if Stella starts a Kitty podcast, there will have to be a spin-off podcast about Lockheed.

  13. Great episode gang! Enjoyed meeting Stella and will have to look up her work on the network now. I have a serious backlog to work through, may as well make it longer.

    In my area of Canada, real maple syrup is rarely served at major restaurants, instead you find fake syrup which seems to be labelled as “table syrup”. Smaller places or more upscale/fancy places have real maple syrup, often locally made. I always prefer the real stuff, but tend to buy small bottles of it as I don’t use syrup that often. The best maple syrup is sold on the roadside out of the back of mennonite carts.

    Stella labelling the JLI “Blah Blah Blah” podcast nearly had me do a spit take. Well done!

    Movies moments that make me cry? Poor Artex sinking into the Swamps of Sadness. It made we weep in the theatres as a boy, it makes me weep now. My childhood hero, Optimus Prime, dying after his calamitous fight with Megatron in the 80s Transformers movie. Nick Nolte delivering a line in the Ang Lee Hulk film so well it chokes me up every single time (“she and the knife…. merged”). I get invested in characters, and seeing them suffer and experiencing their emotions often resonates very personally with me. Shatner choking up when he tries to deliver his final line about his friend in Star Trek II invariably chokes me up with it.

    I first encountered Dune in the older film treatment, which I harbour a strange love of despite it’s flaws. I went on to read the novel afterwards and had no issues with the jargon, but I think decades of RPGs had prepared me for assimilating fictional jargon with ease.

  14. Only a very few movies have made me well up a bit, and Rob, I kid you not: two of the most notable in that regard are Schindler’s List and Star Trek IV – at the exact same points you described.

  15. Cheers for a great show, having Stella present made it even more fun. I’ve just been cracking on as usual, working from home, patting cats and actually having the occasional holiday (the joy of being triple jabbed – or jagged, as we say in Scotland).

    Random comments… Shagg, DD Born Again was in the book, it wasnt a mini-series or one shot, so you get to choose something else!

    I enjoyed the Haunting of Hill House, but had problems with the storytime – it took several episodes before I could quickly tell whether we were in the present or the past as scenes shifted back and forth, because the ladies of the cast looked so alike… Which makes sense as they were all close relatives, but it doesn’t help comprehension. I really loved that episode, though, that had the camera spinning around the set in a supposedly single shot. I found the series an immersive watch, but nowhere near as scary as the original Robert Wise Haunting.

    Steve and I love Six, i was sad not to hear Stella give her House of Holbein.

    Rob, you and Kelly are in luck, there are some Gardeners World winter specials coming up.

    Stella, you can’t do England without doing the rest of the UK, and I say that as an English person… we have a spare room here in Scotland! And two lovely cats.

    Rob and Chris must do a logo show, trust your powers of description and the gallery! I want to talk mastheads. Patrons could offer some faves… heck, you might even ask the great Todd Klein on to talk about his logo studies webpage.

    Funnily enough Rob, we were due to see the touring West End production of White Christmas tonight, but finally decided against it as we didn’t want to risk getting the all-new, all-different Covid, or we’ll not be allowed into the US in a couple of weeks (Tampa, if you’re interested!). We’ve seen the show previously, and it’s very similar to the movies. That production starred Ken Kercheval of Dallas fame and Lorna Luft (who was staying with a couple of pals, she is lovely – shaking her hand puts me just one step removed from Judy Garland).

    I’ve never seen any of the National Lampoon films, it’s so weird they’re even called that over here, no one knows that magazine… I think it’s a magazine. But I adore Scrooged. Which, thinking on, never came up.

  16. I declare this, in my arrogant and self-important opinion, to be the best Meanwhile episode ever — not because of the particular crew talking, because they’ve all been awesome, but because of the profound questions and the answers they generated, both on the show and in the comments.

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled evenings (or mornings for Sontaron and Paul Hix).

  17. Rob, I’m right there with you on Gardener’s World. I don’t garden, but enjoy watching the show with my wife. She, on the other hand, idolizes Carol Klein. I also suspect that my wife has a bit of crush on Monty Don.

  18. I love listening to these Meanwhile episodes. I think they work on a number of levels, but I think one reason they work really well is because you guys are just so dang nice! After listening to you guys for years and years, it’s always fun to pull back the curtain and listen to you talk about yourselves a little bit. We listeners wouldn’t be listening if we didn’t feel like we had some common interests to begin with, so of course that should extend to this as well.

    Some random thoughts from the episode:

    Ryan’s Eczema – Ryan, I’m almost 50, and when I was your age, that’s when the eczema hit me, too, and I’ve been living with it for these last ten years. Word of caution – STOP THE HOT WATER treatments. It’s the worst thing you can do. Trust me, I know. Yes, the relief is fantastic for a couple of minutes, but you’re effectively burning your skin off. Eczema is attributed to your skin drying out, and not producing enough oils. And burning the skin is making the problem even worse. The itchiness is your skin attempting to grow back. What has worked for me is using a skin cream (Walmart’s Equate brand, similar to Gold Bond), called “Eczema Relief Skin Protectant Cream” with 2% Colloidal Oatmeal. I keep a bottle with me all the time. Also stop using regular hand soap and use a gentle skin cleanser, like Cetaphil. You may also want to take some Iodine supplements. We as humans are lacking in our Iodine intake (no, salt isn’t enough), and that has helped as well.

    I’ve been were you are, and I’ve suffered for a long time, and I’d hate to see you suffer like this.

    Working from home – I love it! Like you Shag and Rob, my relationships with my family has only grown stronger. It’s been amazing to be so close to them all the time.

    About Running – I’m with Rob and Stella – I would much rather run outdoors, in the cold, in the rain, in the heat – whatever! – than be on a treadmill not going anywhere.

    The Joker/Wuthering Heights podcast isn’t an Earth-2 Stella production; that’s got to be the Earth-3 version.

    Rob – I adopted a dog August 2020, and I call him my COVID dog. Best dog I’ve ever had in my life, and I attribute it to being with him 24/7. Very rarely do I ever have to leave him alone, because I’m with him every day, now that I’m working from home.

    Location based food – I lived in San Diego up until a month ago, when we moved to Orlando. I can’t speak to Orlando food yet, but for San Diego – it’s got to be a California (or Cali) Burrito. Basically French fries alongside carne asada, guacamole, pico de gallo, and cheese. Yum!

    Thanks for another great Meanwhile episode!

  19. Wonderful conversation! Since it has been more than a few weeks since I heard it, I confess that all I seem to remember is Stella talking about her butt and hips.
    I’d rather think about that, despite having no idea what Stella looks like, than the various aches and complaints of the gentlemen panelists.

    Maybe irredeemable-ness is contagious.

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