8. Having a Baby.

“Not all of my friendships have survived the transition into motherhood, which is unfortunate, but enough new people have come in that it doesn’t feel like a loss. It feels like an enrichment.”

Becoming a parent changes to your identity, and the way you relate to other people, in fundamental ways. In this episode, I talk to two of my friends about their experiences with childbirth and new motherhood, which, although it’s perhaps the most conventional of the many different ways of becoming a parent, brings challenges that still aren’t talked about much.

Beth wasn’t sure she really even liked kids, and she was afraid of becoming the kind of boring mom who “doesn’t get the Simpsons.” Allysun was looking forward to motherhood, confident she’d just carry on as usual with her baby tucked under her arm. When they had babies, both of them—in different ways—found the experience harder and more enriching than they could have imagined. They talk about the vital importance of friendships with other new moms; how different the social expectations still are for moms vs. dads; how those of us who don’t have kids can be supportive and stay connected, and how much it means to them when we make the effort.


Beth Martin has just completed a PhD in English literature and is currently working in research at the University of Toronto. She’s also a co-host of It’s Just a Show, another Megaphonic podcast. She has a four-year-old daughter.

Allysun Welburn is an elementary school teacher in Wakefield, Quebec. She has three daughters aged 10, 7, and 5 months. And she is currently obsessed with embroidery.

Show Notes.

The CBC story I mention is a segment of the radio series Out in the Open: “‘It’s not something we talk about…but it’s a real issue’: The isolation of new motherhood”.

Social.mom is a social network for moms.

Pierre Robin Syndrome.

The sad story of Sesame Street’s David.

The New York Times story, “Motherhood in the Age of Fear”.

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7. New in Town.

“I kind of grew up on the internet, with a lot of friends in different places all over the world. I don’t see a distinction between internet friendships and ‘real’ friendships. So when I moved, most of my friendships didn’t change at all, because they were already based on internet communication or on phone calls.”

You’re moving to a new city! It’s an exciting chance to start fresh, maybe re-invent yourself a bit with a whole new social circle. But are you going to lose the friends you made in the last place you lived? And how will you start meeting new people? Eva always brings her violin with her; she says “orchestras always need violins”, so she can usually find one to join just about anywhere. Daniel doubled up on re-inventing himself the last time he moved—he became “Dan” and “Professor Price”, with two very different corresponding wardrobes. We talk about how landing in an academic department makes moving easier, as does growing up and becoming more confident; how people used the internet to meet each other before social media was invented (blogs! Meetup groups!); and how one or two dedicated extroverts can hold a group of friends together even when they scatter geographically.


Eva Amsen is a former biochemist who now works as a science writer and communicator. She has lived in Amsterdam, Quebec City, Toronto, Cambridge (England), and now London, where she plays in orchestras, browses bookstores and wanders the city.

Daniel Price is a preacher’s kid and former zoo-keeper from New Brunswick who is completing a PhD in medieval religion at the University of Toronto, where he studies the weird and violent world of Merovingian saints. He has held positions as a lecturer in history at the University of Saskatchewan and a volunteer god of chaos in a large online text MUD, and he spends his free time helping to develop equity and accessibility policy for his union local. He lives with his delightful partner and a handsome cockatiel who never stops whistling.

Show Notes.

“Making a New City Your Home.” New York Times article citing Melody Warnick, author of This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are.

The blog of Brett Lamb, featuring the last of his famous photo stories.

The London Euphonia Orchestra, Eva’s current orchestra, performs Georges Bizet “Les Toréadors” from Carmen Suite No. 1.

The Doctor Who Fan Orchestra performs “Donna’s Suite”.

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6. Parties for Non-Partiers.

“When you walk in, and you're looking at people, and they give you that vacant look—for me, that determines how long I stay at a party. Like, is this worth exerting my energy and trying to be social?”

Neither Chris nor Diane went to parties as kids; they were bookworms with inconveniently timed birthdays. Chris doesn’t like fun, at least not of the roller-coaster, wild-party variety. Diane went through a carefree going-out-a-lot period in her twenties, but sometimes feels like she’s getting less sure of herself as she gets older. Naturally, these were the people I thought of for an episode about parties.

After all, a lot of us are a bit ambivalent about the whole party thing. So, for non-party people, what makes a party actually enjoyable? Is it better to show up early, or late? When you realize you’ve been talking to someone for too long and you want to circulate, what do you do? All this, plus an analysis of “friend flirting” as opposed to “real” flirting!


Diane Campbell is an associate producer at CBC News. In her down time, she’s one of the co-hosts of Sip & Bitch, a podcast pairing generous servings of alcohol with a variety of topics related to culture.

Chris Piuma has done a lot of different kinds of creative work: music, poetry, graphic design, photography, and more. He’s a co-founder of the Megaphonic podcast network—and one the hosts of You’re Not Funny, a podcast about NOT doing comedy.

Show Notes.

The Northeast Blackout started on August 14, 2003, which is relatively recent in geologic time.

You can listen to Sip & Bitch on Soundcloud, iTunes or Stitcher.


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5. Talking to Strangers.

“At some point, wasn’t it easy just to walk up to someone in the playground? It wasn’t a struggle to say something appropriate.”

Anesh never lets a language barrier stop him from talking to anyone he meets, and he doesn’t think you should either. His Toronto ESL students become confident English speakers by starting conversations with strangers in public places.

When a multiple homicide in Robbie’s Florida community hit close to home, he wanted to do something to help. So he began a foundation to encourage strangers to talk to each other—to comfort and support each other, and to find solutions to problems like gun violence. He believes he’s not “training” people to talk to strangers so much as reminding them how to do something most of us instinctively understood as children.

We chat about the great things that can happen when people start talking to each other; the things that can go wrong, and how to handle them; and the best way to start a conversation out of the blue (a simple compliment goes a long way!).


Anesh Daya has been teaching, managing, and developing English as a second language (ESL) programs in Taiwan and Canada since 2001. In 2009, he started On the Spot Language, an innovative activity-based English language immersion program, which he developed to help students effectively use their English outside the classroom. On the Spot Language has won several awards, including the Jusoor Disruptors Lab Competition. In 2017, students voted it BEST ESL school in Toronto.

Robbie Stokes Jr. holds a degree in Management Information Systems from Florida State University. After graduating, he launched Stokes Consulting Group; he also assisted the national president of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, in Atlanta, GA. He relocated to Washington, D.C., where he was an event coordinator for a congressional delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Finally, Robbie decided to follow his dreams, and founded “I Talk to Strangers”, a social movement whose philosophy encourages and challenges individuals to create genuine relationships through meeting new people. His motive is to push a new idea: that meeting new people increases personal and professional opportunities, experiences and lessons learned. Robbie has traveled the world, meeting people, documenting his journey through a soon-to-be-released film and book, participating in numerous speaking engagements, and encouraging everyone he meets to talk to strangers.

Show Notes.

On the Spot Language, Anesh’s Toronto-based ESL program.

The I Talk to Strangers Foundation.

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4. Social Awkwardness.

“As I tell this story, I’m so red! Me being naked... well, it rarely helps a situation, but it definitely didn’t help in this situation.”

Ah, social awkwardness: Where would comedy be without it? I think it happens when the scripts our social interactions follow get disrupted, and nobody knows what to do next. Rebecca has some theories about it, and also the funniest stories. Michael thinks it has to do with an excess of caring and self-awareness. What separates awkwardness from worse things, like bullying, is that the latter involves deliberate malice on someone’s part. But being bullied can make you more self-conscious, and therefore more awkward.

[This episode includes a discussion of bullying and homophobia.]


Michael Collins grew up a weird kid in a small Newfoundland town. He moved to Toronto in 2009 to pursue a Ph.D. in English literature, but eventually the scales fell from his eyes and he left academia. Now he is a personal trainer whose life goal is to be Julia Child, but for lifting weights. He is good at his job but still suffers from an impossible-to-suppress inappropriate laugh. He hosts the Megaphonic podcast This Is Your Mixtape.

Rebecca Norlock grew up in Brantford, Ontario, moved to Toronto to pursue a degree in social work and has now been a social worker in downtown Toronto working in homelessness and mental health for 25 years (so she is obviously very wealthy and has very low blood pressure). She is a single mother to two and a half kids (the half being her daughter’s boyfriend, who has lived with her since he was 17).  When not working or parenting, she is making out with her cats Hero and Pepper, hanging around her many weird friends, or reading.

Show Notes.

Selfie Bee on Tumblr.

A handy roundup of all the Selfie Bee strips we talk about in this episode.

Fleshlights [NSFW].

Bunz Trading Zone.

Three’s Company.

Mary Tyler Moore.

Kate & Allie.

Famous Comedians vs. Hecklers.

Zach Galafinakis.

Socially Awkward Penguin.

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