How to Reboot Your Burnt-Out Brain

LG: That’s a good one. I have found the screen time limits to be too easy to ignore, frankly. But like any habit, probably just takes a little bit of effort. So when you get the notification that your time limit is up, you should probably just start paying attention to that and pick up, as you put it, use your hands to pick up something else.

AH: Your cat will thank you.

LG: Yes, very much so.

MC: All right. So we’re going to take a break right now and when we come back we’re going to talk about some specific gear and products that you can get to make your life easier while you’re stuck at home.


MC: Welcome back. At this point in the pandemic, chances are you’ve realized that buying a thing won’t necessarily solve all of your problems, but still there’s some gadgets and gear that can make it easier to manage things around the house. And since this is a show called Gadget Lab, we would be remiss not to mention them. Alan, excluding alcohol, what is the thing that has helped you get through this dark timeline?

AH: Excluding alcohol? That’s a tall order.

MC: I’m sorry.

AH: It’s OK.

MC: We talk about alcohol so often on the show, I feel like it’s like we should get sponsorships from, I don’t know, Jack Daniels or something.

AH: Fair enough. So I’ve actually had this for a little bit, but it has meant a world of difference for me. I bought a popcorn maker and not just any popcorn maker, it is The Original Whirley Pop. It is a big old pot. It’s like an aluminum pot and it has a top and a handle, and you turn the crank and obviously it’s a podcast, so no one can see that the hand motion I’m making. But you turn this crank and it continually agitates the popcorn kernels at the bottom of the pot that’s on the stove. You put the pot on the stove, obviously. And in about two or three minutes, you have freshly popped popcorn, just a half cup of popcorn kernels, and a little bit of oil or butter or whatever, and you just keep turning the thing until you can’t turn the handle anymore because the bowl is full of popcorn.

It’s freshly popped, it’s ready to salt, it’s fantastic. And also, it’s not the healthiest, depending on the oil you use. I use peanut oil because peanut oil is delicious. But you could use a normal oil and you don’t have to salt it. I do salt it. I put spices and seasonings on it. It’s delicious. I make my own homemade popcorn all the time and it’s great, and I’m addicted to popcorn.

MC: That’s awesome. I have the Salbree microwave popcorn maker.

AH: Yeah, the one like the plastic one?

MC: Yeah. It’s like really soft silicone.

AH: Yeah.

MC: Yeah.

AH: I have that too. And you just put the popcorn in it and put it in the microwave and it goes.

MC: It literally cannot be easier. I love it.

AH: That’s that’s what I use when I want healthy popcorn, because it’s completely air popped.

LG: How much do these things cost?

AH: The Whirley Pop is a little pricey. I think it’s close to $100. The Salbree is like $18, $19 if that.

MC: Yeah. It’s pretty affordable. Under 20 bucks on