Pete Brown Says is a work of creative nonfiction audio written and produced by me, Pete Brown, a man whose wife told him that it would be "over-the-top" to declare himself the voice of GenX.
But the more episodes I write and produce, them more I feel like this podcast lands solidly in the GenX wheelhouse. Because it revisits growing up in the 1970's and 80's in suburban Cleveland just as often as it unpacks modern dilemmas, from our limited attention spans to parenting paradoxes.
In our kitchen we have a wall-mounted avacado-colored rotary telephone that unfortunately does not work, but this fact does not stop me from taking pretend phone calls on a regular basis. What better metaphor is there for these pretty good stories: a man reaching out, trying to connect with his past.
These are the stories I have to tell, and I hope you will find them well-told. They are the stories that never quite fit in a novel or screenplay or short story, but instead cast about for years until the right medium came along. I think podcasts are the right fit for these tales, and hope you find in them something to love.
Here's what you need to know about me:
I've just entered my late 40s. I've been married for 22 years and am currently raising two teenagers in a leafy suburb of Columbus, Ohio. You will likely hear the voices of my wife and kids in various episodes. The pace of our lives doesn't offer up much free time, but when it does, I like riding motorcycles, writing and painting, and also watching the Cleveland Cavaliers. I don't read like I used to, and I'm always saying I'll get back to it. Making these podcasts has been my main free-time activity for the past year.
Stuff I Do or Have Done
In my day job I'm a creative director for a small-but-feisty agency in Columbus. I also host the Mindset Digital podcast, which is more or less about the digital communications revolution.
In my career, I've been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a reporter (both politics and sports), an editor (sports), a technical writer, a television writer, a director and a video game narrative designer. If you're interested, you can see my reel and portfolio at www.petebrown.me, or connect with me on LinkedIn.
The Animals I Live With
My wife and kids have a lot of pets that I help take care of, but am, as they say, over. Three dogs, a cat and a ferret at the moment.
Episode | March 4th, 2019 | Season 2 | 33 mins 29 secs
chocolate labs, dogs, dropping the deuce, family pets, labrador retriever, paul auster, pets, pooch, poochy mcpoochy, rescue dogs, timbuktu
We were already full-up on dogs when my wife and kids asked if we could adopt a disabled labrador retriever. I did not foresee how much our lives would be impacted by Timbuktu.
Episode | February 27th, 2019 | Season 2 | 1 hr 2 mins
90s, athens, burger king, burrito buggy, code, coding, college, drink and drown, foosball, french class, french fries, grand canyon, hoodoos, london, ohio, ohio university, pawpurrs, plasma, software, technical writing, the junction, the tube, whopper
I revisit some of the dicey decisions I made in my early 20s, and as my son prepares to head off to college, I wonder how I can help him not do the same.
Episode | February 14th, 2019 | Season 2 | 23 mins 45 secs
48, barack obama, battle of rostov, bluto, brutus, cars, chevy, cuv, el camino, hugh grant, julia roberts, notting hill, olive oyl, parkland, popeye, ranchero, risk! podcast, robin williamn, rostov-on-don, selfies, shelley duvall, tag team, travel bookstore, valentine's day
From the 1978 Chevy El Camino to Popeye's 'roid rage to Barack Obama to Notting Hill: I walk you through a series of phrases that I struggle to understand, ending, inevitably, at Whoomp! There it is! Along the way, an almost-selfie teaches me something weighty about myself. You won't believe what it is.
Episode | February 1st, 2019 | Season 2 | 36 mins 57 secs
chicago bears, new england patriots, nfl, risk podcast, super bowl, super bowl shuffle, telegram, western union, westlake high school
What's missing between WTH and WTF? The answer involves death metal, a corrupt vice principal, the Super Bowl Shuffle and an actual telegram from Western Union.
Episode | January 17th, 2019 | Season 2 | 40 mins 18 secs
blood pressure, bon jovi, cardiologist, context, dead or alive, empathy, facebook, ferrets, instagram, snapchat, social media, spam accounts, stories, twitter
I explore the connection between social media, my teenagers and my blood pressure. Along the way, I discover what connects J. Alfred Prufock, Snapchat, Instagram, beastiality, cat-eating aliens, blue monkeys, spam and ferrets. Believe it or not, the answer is Bon Jovi.
Episode | January 3rd, 2019 | Season 2 | 30 mins 10 secs
communications, f off, f you, f-bomb, f-word, flipping the bird, middle finger
When was the last time you flipped someone off? Or were on the receiving end of the bird? I explore my evolving relationship with this most basic form of communication.
Episode 012: Season 2 Preview: Everything from unholy doggos to the windy coast of Ireland to outlaw dirt track racing
Episode | December 21st, 2018 | Season 2 | 9 mins 34 secs
creative nonfiction audio, dirt track racing, dogs, giant's causeway, ireland, motorcycles, narrative, northern ireland, storytelling, wicklow mountains
Everything from unholy doggos to the windy coast of Ireland to outlaw dirt track racing...Get a sneak preview of Season 2 in this trailer.
Episode | December 28th, 2017 | Season 1 | 31 mins 36 secs
christmas shopping, costco, groceries, holiday shopping, narrative, shopping, story, tire salesmen, tires, tyres
In this bonus Season One episode, Pete faces his greatest challenge yet: buying a set of tires at Costco. Can he do it, or will it devolve into an absurdist folly? I think you know the answer to that. Plus: Reflections on Season 1.
Episode | December 18th, 2017 | Season 1 | 30 mins 52 secs
billy idol, catholic school, catholocism, ccd, cleveland, curriculum, eighth grade, middle school, middle school news, psr, rebel yell, religion class, rosa parks, seventh grade, singing, tape recorder
Pete shares four stories about odd assignments in middle school religion class, and wonders about the ready-to-retire teacher who assigned them.
Episode | December 12th, 2017 | Season 1 | 25 mins 33 secs
apache chief, aquaman, batman and robin, black vulcan, brooklyn nets, buckwheat, buckwheat assassination, buckwheat sings, chief wahoo, cleveland cavaliers, cleveland indians, eddie murphy, el dorado, flash, green lantern, hawkman, little rascals, luis scola, napoleon dynamite, otay, pedro, puddy, samurai, saturday night live, seinfeld, snl, superfriends, superman, tonto english, toronto raptors, tribe, twitter, vote for pedro, wonder woman
From Napoleon Dynamite to Buckwheat to the Superfriends to Power Forward Luis Scola to Chief Wahoo: Pete connects the pop culture dots to arrive a deeper conclusion.
Episode | December 3rd, 2017 | Season 1 | 24 mins 42 secs
bully, bullying, caddy, caddying, caddyshack, country club, curse, cursing, golf, hazing, mopeds, wealth
Pete's been telling a lame joke about golf for years. In this episode, he traces it back to the summer he spent caddying at a country club.
Episode | November 27th, 2017 | Season 1 | 37 mins 2 secs
alma mater, animals, busties, civil war, couch fort, dogs, endwar, fireworks, humans vs zombies, hvz, joseph conrad, literature, nerf, nerf darts, nerf guns, novel, ohio university, parakeets, pets, pillow fight, pillow fort, red badge of courage, smoke bombs, sock ninjas, stand up and cheer, stephen crane
What does it mean to be the cool parent? How did Stephen Crane write so convincingly about battle? A weekend-long game of Humans vs. Zombies holds some answers.
Episode | November 13th, 2017 | Season 1 | 35 mins 27 secs
1972 olympics, 1976 olympics, 1984 olympics, bed linens, branding, childhood ephemera, flashlights, grocery lists, head lamps, mark spitz, mark spitz art, markspitzusa, merch, merchandising, munich olympic, olympic merch, olympic swimming, olympics, pillowcase, pillowcases, pillows, spitz, swimming
An item from my childhood resurfaces in my adult life, awash in mystery. I attempt to get to the bottom of the Pillowcase Mystery.
Episode | November 6th, 2017 | Season 1 | 32 mins 36 secs
cleats, cleveland, columbus, columbus crew, jersey, kit, major league soccer, select team, shin guards, soccer, travel team, u5 soccer, u7 soccer, westlake warriors
Pete wrestles with an unruly essay about soccer and wonders why there are some things he just can't let go of.
Episode | October 29th, 2017 | Season 1 | 24 mins 40 secs
american football, bad calls, calls, fall, fall sports, flag football, football, freelance, hang gliding, head ref, officals, officiating, omfg that call is unbelievable what game are you watching?, parks and rec, rec sports, recreation, ref, referee, referee gear, refereeing, rowing, san marcos daily record, sanmarcos baptist academy, sports, sports gear, sports journalism, sportswriting, terrible, touch football, volleyball, youth sports
Is there something you always thought you’d be good at, but never have actually tried? Well, there was something I thought I’d be good at, and finally went out and tried it. Like Fall? Like Football? Like Foibles? This is the episode for you.
Episode | October 22nd, 2017 | Season 1 | 25 mins 42 secs
baseball, bon jovi, bonjovi, chocolate beers, game ball, high school basketball, hit by pitch, hypnotism, jon bon jovi, k-mart, kiddie rides, lies, little league, lying, meijer, ponies, race car, sandy, sociopaths, why we lie
Why do we tell lies? And once you tell a lie, can you just move on with your life? Or does the canard haunt you?
In this episode, I explore lying by diving into a few corkers that I've told over the years. Plus, what it takes to get hit by a pitch in baseball, and listener stories about a basketball career that should have been and a man who may or may not have believed himself to be Jon Bon Jovi.