The Soul Forge Podcast The Soul Forge is a place of silent mystery, quiet contemplation, and outright mayhem! Shawn Vanderloo guides you through the adventures of living, but mostly talks about stupid things he has done because of girls. Topics include life and love, sex and dating, joy and heartache, memories and loss, and so much more! Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as pretentious as it sounds.

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Soul Forge Podcast Welcome to the Soul Forge, a place of silent mystery, quiet contemplation, and outright mayhem! Shawn Vanderloo guides you through the adventures of living! We all want to love and be loved. Am I normal? Are you normal? Is happiness possible? Let's find out together!

  • Marc Maron's Cats - 127
    by Shawn Vanderloo on November 14, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Random updates, general thoughts, and feedback. This week Shawn is here to provide you with some much needed updates. He figured it was time to just check it on the situation and fill you in. General chit-chat is never a bad idea! We start the episode with a mini tribute to Shawn's uncle Frank who recently passed away at the age of 84. You will get a brief background on Frank and the Vanderloo clan. Shawn will then talk a bit about work. How is he coping with the recent changes? Does he enjoy his new route? All this and more! Feedback! The feedback section is the largest part of this week's episode. You will find out about Marc Maron and his cats. Listeners were really affected by the clip we played of Marc talking about his cats on WTF episode 993. The Ghosting episode also inspired a lot of people. We received feedback from Karen, Jarman and Richard. Shawn reads those comments and responds to them. And these comments lead to a discussion about podcasts in general, Jarman's podcast A Play On Nerds, and Shawn's former podcast, Sci-Fi Waffle. This week's podcast promo: ESDCU

  • Jokes, Comedians, Laughter - 126
    by Shawn Vanderloo on November 7, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Laughter really is the best medicine. Jokes, comedians and laughter are on the agenda for this week's Soul Forge Podcast. Shawn and Tracy are telling jokes, and trying to make each other laugh. They are discussing some of their favourite comedians. Movies that they find funny are also mentioned. Shawn's brother Robin has dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. Or at the very least, going up on stage and giving it a try. If this actually happens, you can be sure we will have a recording on an upcoming episode! On the topic of comedians and comedy, we talk a bit about comedy specials on Netflix. Some of the comedians we mention in this episode include: Trevor Noah, Jeff Dunham, Marc Maron, Amy Schumer, Arsenio Hall and Ricky Gervais. But there are more discussed. Tell us about your favourite jokes or stand-up comedians. You can always email the show via Jokes, comedians and laughter! Shawn's favourite comedian made him cry. This week's podcast promo: Nerdlanta

  • Online Dating, Sex & Ghosting - 125
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 31, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Ghosting! The Non-Hallowe'en Special! Everyone is in love, falling out of love, or looking for love. Or maybe it's really just about the sex. Whatever you are looking for, perhaps you've tried your hand at online dating. There are many apps to help you do just that. Sex, love, marriage and heartache can be yours with a few quick swipes. Our episode begins with a look at the world of online dating. Plenty of Fish is one of the most common sites. It is free and easy to use. Some people use Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Elite Singles, but there are many others. We have a brief discussion about our own experiences. Ghosting is not just for Hallowe'en anymore. You can ghost and be ghosted at any time. Most often, ghosting occurs as a result of online dating. It is much easier to dismiss and block someone if you don't know them in real life. As part of our look into ghosting, we talk about conversation and rapport. We talk about the need for honesty and how this can be difficult for many people. Reading profiles of potential partners is an important part of getting to know someone's intentions. It is tough to meet people in real life. This week's podcast promo: Earth Station One

  • In The Meme Time - 124
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 24, 2019 at 10:00 am

    We love memes. Memes are how we communicate, and how we express what we are feeling. They often say things that we think but cannot put into words of our own. So, here we have In The Meme Time. It's kind of a play on words. And it's a freaking hilarious episode. I will be telling you what I think each meme means. Also, I will be using my own personal experience to make many of these memes relatable. Be aware that while this episode is amazing and hilarious, there are some bad words in it. Also, near the end, I left in a blooper that I thought was super amusing. So, put your feet up and relax. In the meme time! This week's podcast promos: Terminus Doctor Who, ESO Patreon

  • The Happiness Equation - 123
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 17, 2019 at 10:00 am

    The happiness equation was born out of a feeling of being doomed to unhappiness. As if the universe would not allow joy to exist. The technical name is cherophobia or fear of happiness. It is an attitude towards happiness in which individuals may deliberately avoid experiences that invoke positive emotions or happiness. There is the belief that when one becomes happy, a negative event will soon occur that will taint that happiness; as if punishing that individual for satisfaction. There are 4 reasons for this feeling. (1) a belief that happiness will cause bad things to happen; (2) that happiness will cause you to become a bad person; (3) that expressing happiness is somehow bad for you and others; and (4) that pursuing happiness is bad for you and others. We’re designed to suffer in a sense. Natural selection also designed gratification to evaporate and designed us to keep pursuing it desperately after it evaporates. And to try to cling to it, even though that’s impossible. Our reactions and emotions make us worry. Happiness is the consequence of taming the wild horse that is our mind. The journey to happiness requires looking into the face of reality. Buddhism focuses on taming the mind and its various delusions, misunderstandings, and cravings. To attain equanimity — a deep sense of well-being and happiness — requires daily learning and practice. Happiness is not just a dreamy state of mind. It creates measurable outcomes, as demonstrated by various studies: Happy people have stronger immune systems and tend to live longer. Happy people are more creative. Happy people are more collaborative at work. Happy people are more successful in their personal and professional lives. Happy people do better in social relationships. Happy people effectively bounce back from adversity. Happy people are more accepting of themselves and others. This week's podcast promo: PWR Spot Show

  • That Made My Day - 122
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Talking about those things that make your day. The small, seemingly insignificant moments that add up to so much. Those things that make you say, "that really made my day!" On this week's episode, Shawn is joined by Deidre. They laugh and carry on and discuss all the things that help us get through our days. Deidre has an amazing practice she calls Priming. She wakes up early, but stays in bed. She spends the time reliving moments of joy in her life. And she finds 3 moments of gratefulness. Picking goals and envisioning them as already done, and feeling the healing light and sending it out into the world are also parts of Priming. The episode is made possible in part by the assistance of Rene and Heather. They have both been on episodes of Soul Forge before. Their moments 'that made my day' are included in the show. We finish up by learning about the Hawaiian prayer Ho'oponopono which can help anyone let go of resentment. This week's podcast promo: NerdBliss

  • Climate Change Crusader Girls - 121
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 3, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Who are the climate crusader girls? They are not a superhero group, but they are super in their own ways. These are young girls who are doing everything in their power to try to save the world. Whether it be fighting for water rights, or preventing climate change, they all have strong voices. This episode is going to tell you a little bit about several of these climate crusader girls. For more information you will need to hop on Google and YouTube. There is a lot of information out there. After a brief preamble about the latest happenings in my life, I talk a bit about my own thoughts on climate change and saving the world. I also read a Facebook Note that I wrote 11 years ago regarding my worries about oil and gas and the end of civlization. The episode continues on with a bit about some of the climate crusader girls and their lives and what they are passionate about. The episode concludes with the speech Greta Thunberg gave at the recent UN Climate Action Summit. The Climate Crusader Girls: Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist, has become one of the most visible faces of the climate activism movement. She’s had a particular gift for articulating the seriousness of the climate crisis. She's getting older generations to understand that young people will pay the price for their irresponsible decisions. Autumn Peltier, a 13-year-old Anishinaabe girl from Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Canada, has been a vocal advocate for protecting water. Mari Copeny, an 11-year-old from Flint, Michigan. She has been advocating tirelessly for the government to pay attention to the water crisis in her town since she was 8. Artemisa Xakriabá, a 19-year-old from the Brazilian Amazon, spoke at the climate strike in New York City about the increasing destruction of the land in her part of the world, pointing out that the indigenous people are overwhelmingly affected by climate change. There’s also Ridhima Pandey. She's an 11-year-old from India, who is among the group of 16 young people around the world (along with Thunberg) who filed a United Nations complaint against five of the world’s largest polluters. This week's podcast promo: CasterQuest

  • This Version of Reality - 120
    by Shawn Vanderloo on September 26, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Are we living in the best possible version of reality? Did the decisions that we made when we were younger result in the older version of us being the most content? How can we ever know if we made the correct choices? Can we imagine what life we could be living right now if only we had made a different decision? Obvioulsy there is no way to peer behind the curtain of reality. We cannot ever hope to know what the alternate reality version of us is doing right this minute. No way to know if that other us is living the life we wish we had. All we can do is speculate and wonder. On this episode Shawn and Trish talk about the decisions that were made that resulted in the lives they are living now. 16 years ago, Shawn was faced with 3 choices: stay in Timmins, go back to North Bay, or head home to Sault Ste. Marie. Ultimately, he stayed in Timmins and fell in love with Trish and had a family for 9 years until he left. But what if he had moved back to the Soo, or if he had never left Trish. It's speculation time. Are we living in the best possible version of reality? This episode covers life lessons and the decision to leave Trish. The inability to talk about and process emotions. Also, wanting to take charge of your destiny and be the hero of your own story. We also discuss matching your words to your actions and how this is not always easy to do. And we end the podcast by ruminating on the meaning of love. Are we living in the best possible version of reality? This week's podcast promo: ThunderTalk

  • At The Crossroads - 119
    by Shawn Vanderloo on September 19, 2019 at 10:13 am

    My ex-fiance gives me some insight and advice while I stand here at the crossroads. Trish and I were together for 9 years. She has seen me go through quite the transformation over the years. There is probably no one who knows me better. On this week's episode, she tells me like it is. Trish has never been one to hold back on anything. One of my issues is that I've always felt as if everyone else is better off than I am. This has lead to a certain amount of envy. And also a good amount of self-pity for poor life choices. Trish gives me a fresh perspective on this line of thinking. We also talk about the feelings of misery and doubt that come when you are at the crossroads in life. We talk about me wanting to update my resume. If I do that, what is the next step? Where will I find a job that gives me the same benefits and advantages that I currently enjoy? I tend to abandon ship and just do anything I can to escape when I feel like I'm at the crossroads of life. I need to consider all my options instead of just closing my eyes and leaping. And finally, Trish quotes my grandfather's words of wisdom. My Bumpa always said "Make plans, but don't plan the outcome." When you're at the crossroads, these words are important to remember. This week's podcast promo: Double Edged Double Bill

  • Time For A Change - 118
    by Shawn Vanderloo on September 12, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Yup, it's time for a change. When things become stale, old or boring, we must look for a fresh perspective. We cannot continue to live by our old patterns. Like a snake that sheds its skin, we too must start over, begin again. This episode of the Soul Forge will take on the topic of change. Your host Shawn is joined by his brother Robin, and together they discuss and examine the changes in their lives. Robin has recently changed everything about his life. He had a job, a car, and a house in Sault Ste. Marie. Due to certain circumstances he lost all of those things. He needed to make a change. He could have remained in his hometown, or he could start fresh. Start fresh is what he did. Moving in with his brother Shawn helped Robin financially and emotionally. Shawn recently turned 43. The seasons are changing. The postal routes are also changing next week and Shawn is forced to change his shift. It is time for a change. Everything needs to change. Shawn would like to leave Timmins. He wants a new job, a new car, a new house. Winning the lottery is not an option, and yet something drastic needs to change in Shawn's life. Perhaps this is a continuation of his recent existential crisis. What changes will Shawn make? Will he stay stuck in familiar patterns? Only time will tell. This week's podcast promo: The Nerdy Laser

  • DragonCon 2019 - 117
    by Shawn Vanderloo on September 5, 2019 at 10:08 am

    DragonCon 2019 is over, but it was an amazing experience. On this episode, Shawn talks about all the adventures experienced, incredible people met, the panels attended, and so much more. DragonCon is held in Atlanta, Georgia over the Labor Day weekend. This was the 33rd event. To get to Atlanta, Shawn drove his little black car from Timmins, Ontario. He crossed the province of Ontario, and then drove through 5 states. Each way, there and back again, took approximately 22 hours over 2 days. Would he do it again? He certainly would! 4500 kilometres is a long way to go to get your geek on, but totally worth it. On this episode, you will hear about the celebrity panels Shawn and friends attended. The number of people Shawn met is beyond counting. One of the highlights was meeting Kine Corder from episode 41 of the Soul Forge Podcast. Other highlights include Jarman Day, Mike and Judy Faber, Robert J. Sawyer, Mike Gordon and the rest of the ESO Network crew. Sweet Tea is amazing.Don't stay at the Motel 6 in Findlay, Ohio.Check out Shawn's Facebook page for the DragonCon photo album: This week's podcast promos: ESO Patreon and Earth Station Who

  • Roots Run Deep - 116
    by Shawn Vanderloo on August 29, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Geek roots run deep. What is the fake eyeball sneeze story and how does it provide the jump into this episode? You can thank Chantale for this.... Shawn has always been into the worlds of science fiction and fastasy. He also strives for deeper meanings and connections in the world. On this episode, Shawn takes you on a journey into the heart of himself. You will discover why his geek roots run so deep, and where these roots came from, and how they took hold. Through poetry, collecting, work and the like, Shawn discusses how he has tried to reach other people. The world is a scary and lonely place, but he believes that through common experiences, and a bit of communition, connections with others can be made. For the benefit of self, and the rest of humanity. This episode is wide ranging. There are so many ideas and topics covered, but some of these are collecting, selling, television, podcasting and toys. This week's podcast promo: Earth Station One  

  • The Skeptical Atheist - 115
    by Shawn Vanderloo on August 22, 2019 at 10:05 am

    In conversation with Jarman, the skeptical atheist and co-host of A Play On Nerds Podcast. Friend of the show, Jarman, whom you all know at the voice of the opening narration of this very podcast, sits down for a chat with Shawn. They engage in an animated discussion regarding the world the atheism. We learn about Jarman's religious upbringing, what changed, and where he is today. Topics includes morality, prayers, dating and so many other things. You'll also learn something about Shawn's spirituality. Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god nor does it answer any other question about what a person believes. It is simply a rejection of the assertion that there are gods. Atheism is too often defined incorrectly as a belief system. Despite the fact that atheism is not a religion, atheism is protected by many of the same Constitutional rights that protect religion. That, however, does not mean that atheism is itself a religion, only that our sincerely held (lack of) beliefs are protected in the same way as the religious beliefs of others. Similarly, many “interfaith” groups will include atheists. This, again, does not mean that atheism is a religious belief. This week's podcast promo: Flopcast

  • Move Along Home - 114
    by Shawn Vanderloo on August 15, 2019 at 10:10 am

    It's time to move along home. This week on the Soul Forge Podcast we are talking about moving. We mainly focus on what it is like to move as a child when you have no choice in the matter. Of course, we also touch on moving as an adult, although this is usually not as traumatic. So get ready, pack your bags, and join us on a journey into the unknown. Our guest this week is Steve. He comes to us from the A Play On Nerds podcast. This is a great podcast and if you haven't checked it out yet, you owe it to yourself to do so. Steve's mom was a pastor. As such, they were required to move every few years. These moves were often across the country. Steve found himself in a lot of strange situations. What is it like to be one of the only white kids in your class? You'll find out on this episode. So listen to us chat away about our various moving experiences. This may not be a 'lessons' episode, but you'll be highly entertained as we move along home. This week's podcast promo: DragonCon Khan Report

  • Tactical Minis or Quick Shots - 113
    by Shawn Vanderloo on August 8, 2019 at 10:10 am

    With this experiement of an episode, the Soul Forge Podcast presents something wholly new. Whether we call them tactical minis or quick shots, each segment brings you on a journey. While most podcasts invite you to experience a single topic, this episode presents several different ideas. A tactical mini is an idea. It is an idea with such focus that it cannot be expanded upon. Each mini will touch on a feeling that is unable to be contained. Single ideas. Single topics. Focus. Depth. Call them quick shots or tactical minis -- the name has not been locked down as of yet. The basic idea is that something has come to my attention and is intruding upon my mind. I need to get it out of my system. Therefore, I drill down into the heart of an issue and get it off my mind, and I free my soul. These tactical minis or quick shots are only three to five minutes in length. The concept is such that the topic of the mini is too small to become an entire full length episode. Therefore, I have recorded 4 minis and put them into this one episode. It is the first of its kind - an experiment of sorts to see if this whole idea is workable. Your feedback is encouraged and appreciated. What do you think of this idea? You are more than welcome to record a tactical mini of your own to be played on a future episode of the Soul Forge Podcast. Send your emails to or tweet your feelings on the show to @soulforgepod This week's podcast promos: Cigar Nerds, Pop Culture Cosmos, The Monster Scifi ShowRusted Robot Podcast

  • Faith and Magical Thinking - 112
    by Shawn Vanderloo on August 1, 2019 at 10:10 am

    What is faith and magical thinking? On this episode of the Soul Forge Podcast we take a deep dive into the world of the unknown. Faith is something that you just have, or have not. And we are not talking about religious faith in a god of some kind. No - this is the faith you have that things will work out for the best, even though you don't necessarily know how this is going to come about. Magical thinking is related to this concept, but in a much more basic way. We start by discussing superstitions such as wishing upon a star, or birthday cake candle wishing. This form of faith and magical thinking is where we get our beliefs about the world. We all want to impose some type of control over events which cannot be controlled. We all want control. Magical thinking is the idea that 'if I do this, then this thing will happen.' The episode moves into the idea that we don't always get what we want, but somehow we get what we need. The universe has a way of providing for us. Some of us have an absolute unfounded faith in things just working out for us. We provide several examples from our own lives as evidence. We round out the topic by covering how we are connected to nature. And we wonder if we are all in some type of simulation. Are we somehow controlling aspects of the simulation without knowing or realizing it? This week's podcast promo: The 42 Cast

  • The Cheryl Saga - 111
    by Shawn Vanderloo on July 25, 2019 at 10:08 am

    The Cheryl saga started about 4 years ago. Although we had known each other for about a decade longer, the actual start of anything resembling intimacy began in August of 2015. As most things do, this began with flirtation and a great sense of fun. Shawn was looking for that indescribable feeling that he lost when his marriage fell apart. Cheryl was willing to stand by Shawn's side no matter what Shawn said or did to push her away. On this episode, Shawn and Cheryl discuss many aspects regarding their 4 year cycle of on-again, off-again relationship. You'll learn about the good times, the bad times, and the interference they faced from those around them. Sit back and get ready for a tale you won't soon forget. It's the Cheryl Saga! This week's podcast promo: Earth Station One

  • Drunken Fun - 110
    by Shawn Vanderloo on July 18, 2019 at 10:09 am

    It's drunken fun with Shawn and Stephanie. And Karen. And Jason. This is the fifth of the 5 episodes in the Stephanie cycle. At the end of February, my old pal Stephanie came for a visit and we recorded 5 episodes back to back to back. Starting with episode 90 these shows have been released every 5 weeks. So for the complete experience, you'll want to listen to episodes 90, 95, 100, and 105 before listening to this, episode 110. However, you do not need to have heard the other shows to enjoy this one. As we recorded, we tried several craft beers that Stephanie brought with her. This episode, unlike the other 4, does not have a coherent theme. You could almost consider it pure chaos, except for the fact that it is hilarious. It turns out that when I (Shawn) am drunk, I become a raving loon. There is a certain amount of structure to the episode, but most of it is people trying to keep me on topic. Enjoy this episode for what it is. Raw and unedited. This week's podcast promo: Myopia Defend Your Childhood

  • Booze, Babies and Motorbikes
    by Shawn Vanderloo on July 11, 2019 at 10:10 am

    What do booze, babies, and motorbikes all have in common? They fill out the background of this very special episode. Our friend Whit returns for his third time on the Soul Forge. He's already talked with us about sex and virginity. Now he has a few things to tell us about his life before podcasting. The first thing we do is get an update on where Whit is currently, and what he's been up to lately. This episode was recorded just a couple of days before the birth of his first child. You will get to hear about his thoughts and feelings on the upcoming birth. Learn about his fears and his excitement. I will provide you with all the baby details at the end of the episode. 2016 was the worst year of Whit's life. After years of people who were close to him dying, he had had enough and was completely over life. Too many deaths lead to depression and feelings of helplessness. Whit had been working out and trying to lose weight. After a particularly difficult death, he began drinking heavily. Drinking lead to some drug use. Destructive behaviour was on Whit's menu. He tells the story of his drinking and drugging and how he heard the wake up call. Almost trying Meth snapped him out of his dark behaviour. Find out all the details on what Whit learned. This week's podcast promo: Nerdbliss

  • Now Entering High School - 108
    by Shawn Vanderloo on July 4, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Grade 8 graduation and entering high school is a major milestone in a young person's life. On this week's Soul Forge I sit with my son Bishop to get his take on this life changing time. We do this episode in two parts. We recorded the first half before he graduated, and before he went on his year end trip to Toronto. We then followed this up with a second recording after his return, and after the graduation ceremony. These two conversations are melded together into this podcast. You will learn what Bishop's thoughts and hopes and fears are. He will regale you with stories from his Toronto trip. Toronto is a big place and the school kids went to many places and experienced many events. And we top it off with his hopes for the future, and how he felt about graduation day. Grade 9 is only two months away, and he has a few thoughts about this as well. This week's podcast promo: Watchalon of Rassilon