Guest Post of Holding: Ross from Oh No, Ross and Carrie!


(c) Ross Blocher

(c) Ross Blocher

Meet Ross! Ross Blocher is co-host of Oh No, Ross and Carrie! and a steering member of the Independent Investigations Group.

1. What has been you most favorite episode of your Oh No, Ross and Carrie! Podcast completed so far?

For anyone unfamiliar with the podcast, my friend Carrie and I join fringe groups, undergo alternative medical treatments, investigate paranormal claims, and humorously present the experiences to our podcast listeners. Without any doubt, my favorite investigation still has to be our time with the Mormon Church. We usually get in, do our investigations, and then go on with our daily lives. With the Mormons, the people we met were so nice and really made an effort to include us in their community. All told it was about 7 months that we were actively attending class and church. Aspects of that investigation continue to this day, as I maintain some of my connections within the church and continue to play Circleball (every-man-for-himself Dodgeball) with the young elders whenever I can.

2. What podcast episode revealed the more than you ever wanted to know about Carrie?

So…. Yeah. The idea of the Oh No, Ross and Carrie! podcast is that we show up so you don’t have to. This can often land us in some uncomfortable situations, and we often end up revealing more about ourselves than most people might want to know. I think the most obvious example is the episode where I try out a bunch of penis “enhancement” pills, lotions, and a torturous stretching device, plus a pill that is advertised to “increase your load”. Hard not to reveal TMI when talking about that. A close second would be my trip to the colonic hydrotherapy clinic. They had me put a tube in my rear and then flushed a bunch of water inside to wash me out. Enough said, unless you want to know more, in which case you can listen to the episode.

3. Do you have a preference for hot drinks?

Hot drinks are a passion for Carrie, and we unofficially rate many of our investigations based on how generous the subjects are (or aren’t) with the hot drink dispensation. While I am pleasantly surprised and happy when someone offers me a hot drink, it’s not something I regularly think about or crave. My wife often brings me a hot drink at night, and I’d have to say my very favorites are caramel apple cider and peppermint tea. I don’t drink coffee. Not just because I’m nominally a Mormon; I’ve just never wanted to rely on the stuff for energy.

4. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one getaway vehicle to get you to safety: a 4WD pickup truck that runs on diesel, the Tesla Roadster that runs off of electricity, a school bus that has been converted to run off of vegetable oil, or a Smart City Coupé that runs off of regular gasoline?

Here I was all ready to explain why the aluminum baseball bat is my choice weapon for the zombie apocalypse (no reloading, light to carry, doesn’t splinter, doesn’t get lodged in a zombie skull, etc.). I hadn’t really given my getaway vehicle much thought. These are really tough choices. I’d be tempted to take the Tesla Roadster because I’d be driving in style, and you might as well go out with a bang. The downside is I wouldn’t be able to go off-roading and I’d have very limited range and a long recharge time (if there’s any power, which is unlikely). So that’s out. I live in LA, so likely I’ll need to get far away unless I plan to go the Omega Man route. Definitely not the school bus; I abhor large vehicles like that, at least when I have to drive them and navigate turns… I want to be more nimble. In real life I drive a 2WD pickup truck, and the 4WD truck would give me some additional options when the roads are strewn with abandoned cars and living corpses…. So I’m going to choose the truck narrowly over the Smart City Coupe.

5. Pepsi or Coke?

Historically I’ve been more of a root beer man myself, and was never a big fan of cola. I’ve warmed up to it in the past few years, though, and I’d probably grab a Coke before I’d drink a Pepsi. But it’s really not a clear distinction for me; they’re close enough that I wouldn’t turn one down for want of another. Do like that Vanilla Coke, though.

6. Since I happen to be a college buddy, what is one thing you miss the most about the good ol’ college days?

Funny you should ask about college; I’ve just recently returned a couple times to our alma mater, Woodbury University, and walked around to see how things are changed. Those were good times, and I definitely miss long nights in the Animation lab with midnight runs to Jack in the Box to keep us [unhealthily] working till the break of dawn. It’s mainly the students and teachers I miss having around all the time.

7. What is one thing you were happy to be rid of once college was over?

Y’know, nothing comes immediately to mind; college was good times all around. I guess I was happy to be rid of a teacher name Elesby, because she was a jerk and not a very good instructor. I still cringe every time I hear the word “specificity”.

8. What was one of the stand-out college experiences you had?

We did some really fun stuff in Cel-Art, our Animation student organization. We had an annual haunted house that we built from boards and black plastic sheets, and it was pretty awesome. We’d also bring in guest speakers and screen movies every week, and college was a good time to expose oneself to bizarre things like Fritz the Cat.

9. Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever. Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?

I love how you state that Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever like it’s a proven fact. Because it is. I have you, Jon and Charles to thank for insisting that I watch the series. I put it off for a long time, but my wife and I instantly fell in love with the show at first sight. My favorite episode is probably The Train Job, because I love that scene where Mal kicks the guy into the engine. So cavalier, so brilliant, so brutal.

10. You have been married 12 years, congratulations! What is the secret behind a successful marriage?

Thank you! It’s hard to say exactly which factors have kept Cara and I going strong all these years and past our various hurdles and different personalities. We married when I was 18 and she was 19, and we were both Christians then, so we’ve gone through a lot of changes together. I’ll venture a few guesses. First of all, I married someone I find incredibly attractive. That sounds shallow, but I think it’s very important, especially in a monogamous marriage, to be smitten with your mate – which has been no problem for me. Communication I think is one of our secret weapons. After all these years we can still find stuff to talk about for the duration of a six-hour car drive. We talk about things we’ve seen or read, things we’ve done, gossip about our friends, or whatever is on our minds. I always assume that when I tell one of my friends something that he or she will share it with his or her partner, and am often surprised later to learn they don’t share everything like we do. Part of that has to do with honesty, as well; poor Cara has to hear most everything that goes on in my brain. This has gotten me in trouble a few times, but I’d still say honesty is the best policy in the long run. And when I complement her, she knows I’m not bullshitting. We tease each other mercilessly, too, which makes for a lot of fun, and still feels like we’re flirting with each other after all these years. And while we enjoy lots of things together (movies, TV, theater, walks, etc.), we have separate lives and friends and interests we can pursue from time to time. Oh, and we have a kid, too – we can bond over ganging up on him.

11. What have been some of the most rewarding father-son bonding times you have had with your son?

Andrew has always been a really good kid and a good sport. I could take him to movies or church services or boring lectures when he was young, and he’d just sit quietly through the whole thing. He’s 11 now, which means we can do all kinds of fun stuff together. Cara and I have always tried to include him in as many of our activities as possible, so we like to think he’s gotten some really good exposure to culture and fun things to do. We go to places like the Science Center and to see live theater, and that kind of stuff. I’ll also read to him before he goes to bed, and it’s fun to work our way through a book and then go see the movie together and compare notes on what we thought would be different. One really fun bonding moment for him and I was a few months back when he suggested that we go hiking in the middle of the night to one of our favorite spots, a peak overlooking LA and the San Fernando Valley. Why not? He and I made our way to the ridge that night, and it was a good time to talk and do something crazy on a whim.

12. What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite; I have a number of causes that I contribute to. I care about Science education, because I think it’s incredibly important for our culture, so I support the Center for Inquiry, the aforementioned California Science Center, the National Center for Science Education, the Skeptics Society, Camp Quest, the James Randi Educational Foundation, and some of the shows I enjoy like Skeptoid, Big Picture Science and Mr. Deity. I regularly donate blood, and recommend that anyone who can do the same. I’ve participated in the Aids Walk for years and various other races-for-cures. One thing I highly recommend, especially to my secular friends, is an organization called Foundation Beyond Belief; they can take your monthly donation and split it among a number of causes that will use the money for aide and not proselytizing. Charity Navigator is a great tool for seeing just how effective an organization is.

13. Are you still qualified as ‘one gorilla of a woman’?

You bet I am. So, the story is… I used to work with my future wife at the church we attended in Aptos, CA. Her dad was the head janitor there, and would pay us to help out. One day I was cleaning the ladies bathroom (which I found to be consistently messier than the mens), and a lone soap dispenser was dribbling pink soap onto the counter top. I tried everything to make it stop, but it just kept leaking. I figured I could detach it from the wall, and thus better find a way to fix the thing. One screw was accessible, but there was NO WAY to get to the other screw out from the wall. I rotated, I twisted, I squeezed, but nothing would unleash this thing and I was getting covered in pink ooze and very irritated. Finally, in desperation, I grabbed the whole unit and gave a rough tug. The dispenser finally came off the wall… along with a big chunk of drywall and a mounting bracket. Oh crap. I tried to put the thing back and then find Vincent, my future father-in-law, to tell him what I’d done. He found the dispenser before I could find him, and he came laughing into my future mother-in-law’s office to say, “You’ll never believe it. Some gorilla of a woman ripped the soap dispenser clean off the wall!” I had to sheepishly raise my hand and confess, “I’m the gorilla of a woman.” This has haunted me ever since. Just last week Cara handed me a jar and said, “I need your gorilla of a woman strength to open this.”

14. For those of us who may be interested in going to The Amaz!ng Meeting, can you tell us a bit about it and why it’s important to go?

The Amaz!ng Meeting! This is an annual conference held in Las Vegas, and is the premiere gathering spot for skeptics of all stripes. You hear lots of great talks form the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Carol Tavris, Michael Shermer, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Penn and Teller, and many others… plus you get to socialize with a bunch of people you’ve seen online all year but live in other parts of the country (or the world). And there’s usually some great performances – magic shows, music, and the like. It’s just a great time to learn new things and meet wonderful, intelligent people. There are other great conferences out there (CSICon, Dragon*Con, SETIcon, SkeptiCal, NECSS, and TAMs in London and Sydney), but TAM! is still my favorite and the one I have to be at every year. If you see me there, say hi and give me a high five.

15. You have been heavily involved with the Center for Inquiry in Los Angeles for many years, why is it so important for everyone to support and defend reason, science, and freedom of inquiry?

I got involved with CFI because there were so many opportunities there to be active, make a difference, and to socialize. I’ve been part of the book club, the Independent Investigations Group, the regular Feed Your Brain lecture series, the monthly Café Inquiries, and many other parties and performances. Having a social group is important, especially for secular people who aren’t part of a religious community. The friends I’ve made at CFI are the kind that you can call and they’ll be there to support you.
More broadly, it’s important to promote reason, science and free inquiry because there are so many bad ideas out there wasting precious time, brainpower, and money. Life is difficult enough to figure out without adding layers of superstition and faulty logic. There are a lot of charlatans who will take advantage of the sick and the emotionally vulnerable. They offer alternative medicine that doesn’t work, faith healings that do nothing, or pretend to talk to dead relatives. It’s real harm being done to people who deserve better. Plus, as Carl Sagan said, “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

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About Rhianna

Rhianna is a 30 year old first time geek mom. She hopes to raise her daughter, Sierra, with a love of reading, science fiction, fantasy, computers, gaming, and a love of the outdoors. Rhianna likes a lot of different geek genres, but doesn’t consider herself a die-hard fan of any of them…more of a lover of most. She is the author of the mini-blog BAG OF HOLDING.
  • Carrie Poppy

    Dig it.