#126 | Snorting The Ashes Of The Dead: An Unproductive Conversation w/ Tom Aiello

In this episode, I speak with Tom Aiello, founder and lead instructor at the Snake River BASE Academy. Tom has travelled all around the world pursuing his passion of BASE jumping, and in this episode he shares his rich depth of experience and knowledge, as well as some truly fascinating and engrossing stories well worth listening to.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Tom shares some the numerous experiences he has had in his years of traveling the world. One example, among many others, is the experience he shares of BASE jumping at the legendary Sótano de las Golandrinas (Cave of the Swallows) in the jungles of Mexico, “the largest known cave shaft in the world and the second deepest pit in Mexico. The cave gets its name from the green parakeets and white-collared swifts that live along its walls. Each day the birds fly in concentric circles up the cave shaft before the flocks come spilling out of the of the hole into the jungle.”* Tom also shares some very interesting stories involving the (mis)adventures of other BASE jumpers (including a story about snorting the ashes of a deceased BASE jumper in a diner in rural Oregon, just to give an example). 

Tom and I touch on a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to an examination of: the very diverse subcultures that exist within the broader global BASE jumping culture; the pros and cons of mixing drugs (psychedelic or otherwise) with BASE jumping (and other novel experiences); the diverse, eclectic, and fascinating individuals that make up the BASE jumping subcultures Tom has spent time with; the camaraderie and tribal qualities that exist within the world of BASE jumping. 

I’m very thankful Tom was willing to have this kind of conversation with me, for being open and willing share these experiences for this episode. This episode is an "Unproductive Conversation,” a label intended to convey to the listener that this conversation is free-form, both in its structure and in the topics discussed.

*Source: bit.ly/caveofswallows

Episode Notes:

- Tom was featured in episode #87 of the podcast, titled “Snake River BASE: Higher Education For Lower Free Fall.” To learn more about Tom’s backstory, as well as learn more about Tom’s BASE academy, listen here: https://bit.ly/2LEJO3A

- You can learn more about the Snake River BASE Academy at the website: http://snakeriverbase.com

- The song featured in this episode is “Face Tat” by Zach Hill from the album Face Tat.

#99 | Unproductive Conversations: Pillow Talk (Under The Identity, Our True Role)

After a sharing a delicious dinner, my good friend Robby Fox and I sat down and shared a conversation that covered a whole variety of topics, including (but not limited to): manhood, initiation rites, visionary experiences, embodying our roles in life, abrupt climate change, the modern education system,  Robby's experiences in China, identity, connections that bind us together, being a foreigner in a strange land, and friendship.

The overarching theme of our conversation is that identity is a construct, and that beyond our identities exists the true roles we are meant to embody. I thank Robby for sharing his beautiful thoughts with me, and I thank him and his wife Emma for being so generous and kind to me. 

This episode is apart of my "Unproductive Conversations" series, a label that is intended to give you the idea that this episode is a free-form conversation in regards to its focus and structure. 

Episode Notes:

- The songs featured in this episode are "Mash" and "Stepson of the Clapper" by J Dilla from the album Donuts.

#91 | Unproductive Conversations: It's The Economy, Stupid

In this episode, I have an off-the-cuff conversation with Daniel Hill. Daniel is a school teacher and friend, an individual I've known most of my life. After engaging in some online conversations/debates, we decided to meet up and have a conversation that ultimately covered a wide array of topics, including but not limited to North Korea, the "Alt-Right," America and immigration, social media, and our ideas regarding corporatism, capitalism, socialism, and anarchism.  

This episode is apart of my "Unproductive Conversations" series, a label that is intended to give you the idea that this episode is a free-form conversation in regards to its focus and structure. 

Episode Notes:

- It's worth thanking Elly Loman, our former History and English teacher during our time in middle and high school. Elly was a wonderful and engaging teacher, and loves to start discussions on social media in a very thoughtful and meaningful way. This was what caused Dan and I to reconnect and record this podcast episode.

- The song featured in this episode is "Structure No. 3" by BADBADNOTGOOD from the album "IV." 

#84 | Unproductive Conversations: Between Friends

My guest for this episode is a long time friend. We discuss podcasting, how to deal with the "normalization" of the rhetoric and actions of the Alt-Right, nonviolence versus more direct and potentially violent confrontations with racists, the short-term and long-term effect the internet and technology is having on the development of human beings and society, cultural relativism, the service industry and the economy post-WWII, the decline of the Empire, and getting through your twenties. 

When I first started this podcast, I would often rely on my close friends to converse with when it came to discussing the various subjects and issues I believed to be worthy of exploring on this medium. Lately, I been fortunate to be able to contact and interview people from a wide range of interests and fields of research, but I miss having close conversations with people I know well and love. There is nothing like having a conversation with best friend.

#70 | Unproductive Conversations: Damn, Daniel!

I speak with Daniel Gardner, a man with a lovely, rumbling voice I love listening to, and I hope you do, too. Daniel has been performing on stage most of his life, and has experience in competitive debate and improv. We discuss this, as well as many other topics in this episode.

This episode is apart of my "Unproductive Conversations" series, a label that is intended to give you the idea that this episode is a free-form conversation in regards to its focus and structure. 

Episode notes:

- Features the track "Wash My Hands Shortly" by The I.L.Y's