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Podcast 53 Transcript
A transcript for Episode 53: "Raw Milk Talk" (2010-07-22).
jingle: (theme music)
mathowie: Let me see, this is episode 53, I think, of the podcast, and we are interviewing ewagoner - Eric Wagoner - long-time Metafilter member, and are you a farm owner?
ewagoner: I am, yes.
jessamyn: Farmer! We call them "farmers."
ewagoner: Small town!
mathowie: Well, he's a Wagoner (pronounced: wagon-URR) so I think owner.
jessamyn: (exasperated uh.)
mathowie: Down in Georgia, right?
ewagoner: That's right!
jessamyn: On the border, right?
ewagoner: Close to South Carolina - that's right.
mathowie: And that plays well into the big story of you suing the USDA? And Ron Paul is your biggest fan.
ewagoner: It's actually the FDA. The USDA has been good to us all along, but the FDA has swooped in and caused troubles.
jessamyn: So they're the Food and Drug Administration, right? Not the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms or whatever.
ewagoner: (chuckles) Right, right. And the Department of Health and Human Services is also named in there for some other things, but they're not directly related so it's my action.
jessamyn: So give us a little backstory. The first time I was really aware of your farming activities, I think you did a... oh, maybe I'm getting this wrong, but you did some sort of project doing a farmers' market something or other, or am I confusing you?
ewagoner: I built an online farmers' market system for our virtual farmers' market here in Athens, and I posted that as a Metafilter Project in 2007.
jessamyn: How's my memory? Not bad.
ewagoner: Very, very good. So that's spread out to about 200 sites around the country since it's really taken off. But, again, we have a virtual market in Athens, and there's about a hundred sustainable growers that sell to several thousand customers, and we do it week-in, week-out
- for [??] weeks a year, and up until last October three of the participating farms were dairies inside South Carolina who listed various dairy products including raw milk, which is legal in South Carolina. You can go to the regular old grocery store there and buy it. It's regulated and tested and approved by both the state and federal officials.
jessamyn: And raw milk means specifically not pasteurized?
ewagoner: Unpasteurized, that's right, that's right.
jessamyn: And pasteurization is what? It's like heat treating, or is it any kind of way of removing, or whatever they call it.
ewagoner: It's heat treating. And they have several different varieties of ultra-high heat and for short periods of time, and low heat for long periods of time, and so forth.
jessamyn: What about that irradiated milk? I mean, that's clearly not raw milk, but, you know, the shelf milk? Is that pasteurized, or is that something else?
ewagoner: It's pasteurized, yeah. Yeah.
ewagoner: They pasteurize it to boiling point and maybe even then some, and yeah, it kills everything [??].
mathowie: How long does raw milk last on the shelf?
ewagoner: About three weeks.
mathowie: Okay. I know that ultra-pasteurized stuff is scary, it's like two months or something it's safe.
ewagoner: Yeah, yeah.
jessamyn: And it tastes kind of funny. But it's good to keep around if you're one of those people like me, you get home from a long trip and there's no milk in the house and so you can't have any coffee and you just lie on the floor groaning until you go out and get some.
ewagoner: That's right. Hoping you have a carton of [??], and there you go.
jessamyn: Exactly. It's disgusting, but it does the job. It has lumps, also.
jessamyn: So Eric, back to you.
ewagoner: Yes. So there were these three dairies that were listing their products, and the way the virtual market works, just like any farmers' market, the growers and sellers set up shop and [??] through the website, and the customers go buy what they want from the farmers they want and so forth.
- We have made sure to work within the regulatory rules for raw milk, which consist of an FDA rule--it's not a law, it's an FDA rule--that prevents dairies from crossing state lines to sell their milk. And the wording is something like "entering the milk into interstate commerce" or something like that.
jessamyn: So this is like a national law, like kidnapping, how you can't kidnap milk to another state.
ewagoner: That's right, that's right.
cortex and mathowie: (laugh)
ewagoner: So the dairies themselves can't, the South Carolina dairy can't bring their milk trucks into Georgia [??]. So one of the things that we did for the raw milk specifically was, various customers would take turns driving into South Carolina to pick up the pre-ordered milk for everybody that had ordered everything. And everything in the market is pre-ordered, so every single gallon had a name
- tied to it and everything, we weren't just going and picking up milk and bringing it back and offering it for sale or anything like that. It was pre-spoken for, and in most cases paid for.
jessamyn: Paid for, right? Yeah, okay.
ewagoner: Yeah, not always. We had what we called a shared cashbox, so there's a bit of a slush fund that folks can pay and personally pick things up, but most people do pre-pay through PayPal or writing a big check in advance, that kind of thing. And we've been doing this for many years.
- And everybody loved it, and we had lots of customers that were buying it, and the dairies were selling lots of milk and so forth. But then one day out the blue last October some state meat inspectors showed up to market to make sure that all of our meat was legal. And of course it was, but they walked into my truck and started opening the milk coolers and decided that something was up with the raw milk, and called
- back to the main office in [??] and impounded the milk and prevented us from giving it to the folks that had ordered it.
jessamyn: So which market is this? This is...?
ewagoner: This is Athens Locally Grown.
jessamyn: Okay. So this is... but this is a physical location, not just a virtual location.
ewagoner: That's right, that's right. There's the online component where people place the orders, and then there's the physical point where everybody comes together and the growers bring their stuff and the customers show up and things exchange and...
jessamyn: So that's what all the transportation was happening. You were picking stuff up in South Carolina and bringing to the actual market where people went and picked their stuff up that they had ordered.
ewagoner: Yes, yes. Just the milk, since they were prevented from crossing state lines themselves. All the other growers, [that would sell carrots ?] and so forth, they would bring their own stuff, yeah.
jessamyn: Got it, got it, got it.
jessamyn: But you could do it, theoretically, because you're just stocking your market or filling orders.
ewagoner: That's right. And since we weren't buying it for people or anything like that, we weren't reselling it to people, you couldn't just walk up and buy milk,
- we were bringing milk that people had pre-ordered. And it wasn't [???], a lot of times it was just regular customers, and we worked out a system where folks would take turns, and I owned the truck, but they would come to my house and I'd give them the key and they'd go pick up the milk and we'd meet them at the marketplace.
jessamyn: That sounds totally wholesome and normal.
ewagoner: You would think so.
ewagoner: Especially since these dairies are--I mean, I can't quite see them from my house, but it's pretty close.
ewagoner: And we weren't driving across country on dusty back roads with bottles of milk in the back or anything.
mathowie: (chuckles) With banjo music.
jessamyn: [??] (sings)
mathowie: You do have a tape of banjo music to play when you cross the state lines?
ewagoner: Oh, exactly, yeah. Oh, you have to.
jessamyn: And you say, "Yee-haw!" and there's that bridge you jump.
ewagoner: That's mandatory as you cross the bridge.
jessamyn: So! They show up and they start flipping you a lot of attitude and then what happens?
ewagoner: They were just there in a couple of sedans, so they couldn't haul the milk off themselves, so they put these little sticker seals on all my coolers and told me that I had to keep the milk on my truck, and that they were going to come to my house sometime in the next week to ensure that I destroyed everything. They said that in Georgia you couldn't sell raw milk
- and since this was South Carolina milk anyway, it had interstate commerce and there was just all sorts of reasons why we couldn't possess that milk. And so it sat on my truck and that was a Thursday, they came to my house on Monday, the state director of the dairy division of the department of agriculture, along with one of the inspectors who was there, and then they brought along an FDA agent, and it was under her authority that they ordered
- the milk destroyed under the FDA rule.
jessamyn: What does destroyed mean in milk terms?
ewagoner: They had us open the truck, after they made sure all the seals were still there they had us take the milk out and open each carton up and pour it out [??].
jessamyn: (grar-y noises)
ewagoner: So we fed my grass a hundred and ten gallons of milk while they watched.
cortex: Is your grass showing particularly strong bones after that?
ewagoner: It is, yes, yes. Very healthy. Nice and strong, yes. No curved spines or anything.
jessamyn: And if I'm saying I'm finding this all implausible just because wow, that seems so crazy that they would do that? You guys were there videotaping it, right? Or somebody did. That's where I kinda started reading about it on Twitter.
ewagoner: Yes. So they gave us several days' notice. We were able to call in the troops, so to speak. We had the customers, many of the customers that were there and folks who just couldn't believe this was
- happening, we invited them all to our farm. There was a professional videographer there who was getting some footage for an upcoming documentary on farm raids and this type of thing.
ewagoner: And then my wife had our household little cheapo camcorder and that's where the YouTube footage came from. So yeah, there's twenty minutes of YouTube footage of [??] dumping out milk and then trying to explain why it had to be
- destroyed. There was no legal process, there was no warrants, no search warrant to enter my truck and seize the milk or anything, the stuff that had to be done [??].
jessamyn: And do they need to do that? I mean, I'm sure you're totally learning about whatever their steps are supposed to be. Like, is there supposed to be a process? It seems like getting the kind of mucky-muck from the state agency means that they were kind of
- serious and pissed off about the whole thing.
ewagoner: Yeah, I still don't quite understand. You know, if we were a retail store and this was milk on our shelves, or we were a distributor or something like that, there's certain things that that they can do as part of you getting a license to do all of this stuff.
ewagoner: But since we weren't doing any of that, it seemed to me that that this was privately-owned property that was not
- in the public markets or anything like that, or wasn't... it seemed like that they were just taking private property to me. And a lot of folks seem to agree with that. So that's one of the reasons why we're in--
jessamyn: So what's the status, now, of this...?
ewagoner: I'm sorry?
jessamyn: I was just--oh, well, go on.
ewagoner: Oh, well, that's one of the reasons why it's all important now, is just because it's so murky as to what's a thing we're allowed to do and if this was even
- something that they should have been able to do.
jessamyn: And so what's the status of what's all going on right now?
ewagoner: Well, we are represented by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which is a legal group organized around this issue a number of years ago, and [??] represented farmers.
jessamyn: I'm looking at their website right now!
ewagoner: That's right, that's right. So raw milk is their main thing, but they've also expanded for other farm and consumer
- rights, just supporting the notion that folks should be able to buy what they want directly from a farmer. You know, that you can go to a farm and pick things up or whatever. And so they're representing us, and they took our case and several other similar but not identical cases and grouped them together into a single suit and filed it in the northern district of Iowa? I guess that was a central place for all of the suits together. And that was filed
- several months ago, and of course the court system works very, very slowly, so over the last two months there's been a lot of pre-filings where the suit was filed, and then the FDA got a chance to respond, and then we got to respond to the response, and that's kind of where it sits now. I think we're planning on scheduling a physical hearing at some point, I have no idea when. On our side...
jessamyn: Is that something you're going to have to attend, or this is all getting handled by counsel right now, and...?
ewagoner: It depends on the judge, I think, on whether they would want me there in person or if my depositions are good enough. And if I were just to guess, I'd think I'd probably have to be there, because the FDA has called my deposition, me telling the story of exactly what happened as it's on the video, they've called it "bizarre allegations".
jessamyn: I read that! How do they get off saying that, I guess? I'm curious.
ewagoner: I have no idea.
jessamyn: Because you're like, no, here's a video of you guys doing it, right?
ewagoner: Yeah! Yeah. They said in their response that that couldn't have happened, because that's not what the FDA does. So if we don't do that, it didn't happen. And in my deposition there's links to YouTube videos, so they could have seen it--I'm sure they've seen it! Many thousands of people have seen it.
- But I don't know if they think I did all of that in Photoshop or Movie Maker or whatever.
cortex: (chuckles) They examined the pixels, so.
ewagoner: Yes, yes. Yes.
jessamyn: Well, that really is an interesting question, right? Because if they're claiming that didn't even happen, that's a completely different situation than, "Well, it happened, but that's because you're a jerk," or whatever, you know what I mean?
ewagoner: Right, yeah. And that kind of threw me for a loop, because I was expecting to have fight things on whether they had the
- right to do that to us or not, or whether we had the right to buy the milk in the first place, not did this thing even exist, or did this ever happen? That was not something I was expecting to have questioned.
jessamyn: Well, and if that's their argument this may actually be much, much easier than... I'm watching the video right now, but, you know, if their argument is what is shown in the video isn't actually happening, that may be easier to deal with than a larger kind of meta-raw milk debate.
jessamyn: Unfortunately, though, the conclusion of that wouldn't be as helpful as, "Yes, farmers have a right to sell direct to consumers, blah blah blah blah, et cetera, et cetera."
ewagoner: Yeah. One of the reasons they were saying that it didn't happen is because they don't want me to have [??] the court, if...
jessamyn: As an aggrieved party or whatever.
ewagoner: That's right, that's right. If I don't have legal standing to even be part of the suit, then the whole question on whether they had the right
- to [??] or not goes away.
ewagoner: Man. So I don't know what the next steps are. It's up to the judge, I guess, and [??] a busy circuit, so I don't know how soon that'll be resolved. In the meantime, there's no raw milk from South Carolina being sold to our market.
mathowie: So if I had to play devil's advocate, I think in some of the threads we've had about this, a lot of people
- have been worried about foodborne illness, and then you said in South Carolina they still test this for...?
ewagoner: Yes. A lot of the people who are against raw milk, they say that it's a threat to human health, and that's the [??] stance, that it causes disease. But in South Carolina, I think they've taken a more scientific approach, saying it's not the milk that causes the disease, it's potential pathogens within the milk.
jessamyn: Tuberculosis is the one I always hear about.
ewagoner: Yeah. Yeah, you've got the various bacterias and viruses, whatever, that are in there. And pasteurization [doesn't ?] transform the milk, it kills all the bacteria that's in there. Well, in South Carolina they say if there's no bacteria to begin with, the milk itself must be okay. So the raw milk is very rigorously tested. And in fact they set a whole separate threshold for raw milk, where the bacteria counts
- in raw milk have to be much less than the bacterial counts in post-pasteurized milk. So the pasteurized can have a whole ten times more E. coli or whatever swimming in it than the raw milk can.
jessamyn: Ho ho ho!
jessamyn: Does that vary from state to state? That's a state-level thing that's legislated?
ewagoner: It's a state level, yeah, yeah, that's right. Each state can set their own rules. And
- all the FDA can do is say you can't go from state to state with it.
jessamyn: And are there some federal-level rules that are overarching over everybody? Like, I think about gun control and how some states don't have much in the way of gun control legislation but there are some laws that happen at the federal level also.
ewagoner: Right. There is not for this issue. There is a suggested guideline, but it doesn't have the force of law. And many of the states, Georgia included, have just adopted that guideline
- without changing anything, so the limits [??] have some force of law. But it's not a federal law-law. There's no default fallback.
jessamyn: Got it. So if you literally had no legislation, there would be no legislation in your state about the thing, just a suggestion.
jessamyn: Interesting. Okay.
mathowie: Do you think raw milk is... like, let's say you win the case and transporting across state lines is fine, or maybe there's some federal law that allows raw milk. Do you think
- it scales up? I mean, I think of, I eat raw chicken eggs from a friend's farm because I trust them and no one's ever got sick, and I would buy milk from their cows fresh, but I don't know, would it... I can't imagine a national brand selling raw milk at major supermarkets in huge quantities safely. Do you think that's possible?
ewagoner: Not if it all comes from one place and gets distributed out.
ewagoner: I mean, it could be a brand that is composed of many hundreds of [??] farms, kind of like, was it--
ewagoner: Cabot is one. There's several dairy cooperatives that are like that. Peaceful... whatever. But no, you couldn't have one mega-dairy of thousands and thousands of cows sell raw milk all over the place. For one, just the conditions required to keep the milk clean requires a fairly small
- herd. It requires them all to be pastured; that's another thing that keeps the bacteria at bay in the first place. As soon as you confine them and start feeding them grain, that changes the whole nature of their digestive system that lets the E. coli, especially, get into their system in the first place. And there's a lot of reasons why, no, it couldn't scale to the industrial-type system of milk that we have now.
jessamyn: So is raw milk necessarily grass-fed milk, is that what you're saying?
ewagoner: It should be, yes. I mean, it's not necessarily. And that's one of the reasons why I favor some sort of regulation. I wouldn't want to drink just any raw milk. I certainly wouldn't want to drink raw milk from confined cows fed nothing but spent corn.
ewagoner: But yeah, pastured, grass-fed milk, I don't know if there's been any cases at all of contamination there, so long as the rest of the milking parlor and everything is all kept nice and clean.
jessamyn: Well, and farmer argument, right? I've got a friend here--you know, I live in central Vermont--who is working with a company that are doing microdairy kind of things, where they're helping smaller dairies get some sort of pasteurization option for them that's affordable because of anti-raw milk legislation, and one of the arguments, I guess, that
- a lot of people made against the whole pasteurization process is not only that you can have less healthy herds in the first place, but also just that pasteurization creates an additional set of possibly-unnecessary costs that make small-scale dairy farming more impractical because often you can't pasteurize on site, you have to transport your milk, you have to pay for it... I mean, is that, beside just foodie people who like raw milk, is that
- another compelling argument about it? And I don't have a particular axe to grind, I'm just interested in this topic, that pasteurization and laws about it can cause small-scale dairies to not be able to be profitable.
ewagoner: That's exactly right. And in Georgia, for instance, we do have a local dairy that sells to our market that sells pasteurized milk. And he, I think he started the first in the state of small-scale
ewagoner: on-farm pasteurization. And in order to get the actual equipment- there's nobody that's in the states that make this kind of equipment apparently anymore- he had to get it used from a shut down prison in Utah. Had to drive out there and pick up this thing and bring it all the way back. Just because the way the rules and regulations are written, they go so far as to specify the tank size and the kind of material being used
- and so forth. So if you were to buy a new system, you pretty much have to spend a million dollars, or half a million dollars, whatever it is, on this equipment that might be much bigger and... than you need, and complete overkill. In the rest of the world, it's common to have small pasteurization. There's apparently several manufacturers in Israel who make these small things that fit in your kitchen and pasteurize the milk
- from a cow, or a couple of cows, as opposed to getting one that's big enough for a thousand. But I know he had to go to some pretty great extents and jump through all kinds of hoops in order to find the equipment and to get it installed, and somebody who wasn't as tenacious as he wouldn't have been able to do that at all.
jessamyn: Are large dairies in any sort of
- threatened position because this? Like, are you finding that besides FDA/USDA people, you're getting pushback or that the idea is getting pushback from larger dairy concerns, or do they just not care about this kind of thing?
ewagoner: It seems they do care, but I've not been personally involved in that. I'm not a dairy man. I know in Wisconsin recently there was this whole kerfuffle where the legislature approved raw milk sales and the governor said that he was going to sign it and after
- while it was on his desk he got all of this intense lobbying from the large Wisconsin dairy associations and ended up vetoing it, going back on his word. Milk is a strange, strange thing where there's these distributing--they're co-ops, in name, but they're not very cooperative--where [??] truck out to the dairies to pick up the milk, they buy it from
- the dairy and then the dairy has to pay, on top of that, transportation costs to get the milk off its farm to the processing plants and the prices are set on a state or region level, depending on all these weird formulas. And it got to the point where [??] this farmer that I was telling you, he sells milk off his farm, and he was, since he belongs to this cooperative, and pretty much
- if you sell any milk wholesale, you have to by law belong to one of these cooperatives, he was having to buy back the milk that he was selling himself, and they were still charging him transportation even though it never left his farm. And there's just all of these weird, arcane rules that have been put into place over the years, that are very hard to escape from.
mathowie: Yeah, I was thinking--
jessamyn: Yeah, we definitely have aggressive milk lobby people in Vermont on both sides of this issue figuring out how to deal with price setting and that kind of thing.
mathowie: The moment you said this doesn't scale, I was like, oh, but as soon as there's any sort of economic impact on milk sales, my God, raw milk will be banned. Like, the moment it's at all a threat to the bottom line of ultrapasteurized milk. I think, yeah, you're gonna see stuff like you saw in Wisconsin, unfortunately.
jessamyn: Where their cheese is orange, for God's sakes.
mathowie: (laughs) Madness!
cortex: If there was one thing you could tell the kids today about milk--
jessamyn, ewagoner, and mathowie: (laugh)
ewagoner: You don't want to know what the bacterial allowances are in pre-pasteurized milk.
ewagoner: They really don't care how much bacteria it has in it so long as it's all been killed one way or the other, and of course they don't filter that stuff, it's still there, it's just not alive anymore.
- I didn't really even think about that until I started getting into this testing what the rules were.
mathowie: Well, thanks for being with us and breaking it all out and good luck with the whole case. (chuckles)
ewagoner: Thanks! Yeah, it's a pleasure chatting with you.
jessamyn: Yeah, thanks very much for making the time for us.
cortex: Yeah, thanks for being here.
mathowie: Well, we're back from Raw Milk Talk.
jessamyn: I find that whole thing so interesting.
mathowie: I know!
jessamyn: It's like a state-to-state thing, but you still get knocked around by the feds. Fascinating stuff.
mathowie: I just love--
cortex: It's kinda weird that we let Lucerne sponsor this podcast, then.
jessamyn: You're not funny.
cortex: I'm hilarious.
jessamyn and mathowie: (laugh quietly)
cortex: People send me e-mail all the time saying, "Josh, you're just the funniest guy ever."
jessamyn: "Oh, Josh, tell more jokes!"
mathowie: "Every time you speak I'm laughing at..."
jessamyn: "That 'your mom' thing cracks me up, say more of it."
cortex: "No one lols butts like you, Josh."
mathowie: lol butts never gets old.
jessamyn: This is the Podcast 53. The last podcast was on June 14th, so this is covering a month and a little bit of stuff on Metafilter. That's usually where we start.
mathowie: Yeah, I think this is mostly June-ish, July-ish. All of July. I think mid-June is when we did our last one. God!
jessamyn: I said June 14th! You're not even, it's like you don't even listen!
mathowie: Wow, it's been a while!
jessamyn: To the words coming out of my mouth.
cortex: We're going to call it Julerne.
mathowie: I'm speed-listening. Speed-listening.
- You are the worst.
mathowie: We just had our 11th anniversary. Whooo!
jessamyn: Oh, yeah, how was that? How was it?
mathowie: Went to the [One Diggity ?]. It was good.
cortex: It was great!
jessamyn: I'm sorry I missed it. I was stuck in New York watching the site.
cortex: Bosh. Flimshaw.
mathowie: I can't believe there wasn't a Portland, Maine meetup. We should always have sister power-out meetups that...
jessamyn: That's a good idea.
mathowie: And yeah, we should fight somehow.
jessamyn: It's been really hot here.
mathowie: That's true. So yeah, the meetup was fun, and it was fun, lots of people--that was a big one.
cortex: That was good-sized. It was actually slightly smaller than I think we had on the roster. Including the maybes.
jessamyn: So how many people showed up-ish?
mathowie: Maybe 40?
cortex: Yeah, yeah, it was somewhere upwards of three dozen, I'd say.
jessamyn: Oh, nice! That really is good-sized.
mathowie: Oh, but what was the IRL size? Someone said it was like sixty were supposed to show up.
cortex: Well, we had like 34 yeses and like 15 maybes, I think.
mathowie: Oh, okay.
cortex: And we had a few people who were out-of-towners who were definitely coming until they definitely weren't, unfortunately.
cortex: So we peaked and then dropped by a small amount.
mathowie: Though we did feature out-of-towners Afroblanco and rtha [ˈɝθə] and people like that, right?
cortex: Yeah, rtha [ˈɑɹθə] and gingerbear came up--
mathowie: It's not rtha [ˈɑɹθə]?
jessamyn: No! It's Red-Tailed HAwk. Haven't we talked about this?
mathowie: I forgot what the final...
cortex: (laughing) She's pretty much declared that she doesn't have a canonical version as far she's concerned, I think.
cortex: So you can say it however the hell you want.
mathowie: So we can make them up. Sweet.
cortex: But yeah, it's from red-tailed hawk, because they're birders. And yeah, jacalata came down from Seattle and there were other people too. You know, it's always a problem trying to discuss these things after the fact, because they're also places where I drink a lot of beer, so. But there's photos on Flickr.
jessamyn: Okay. Do you want to start with Projects or Jobs? There's actually some interesting Jobs! Jobs is starting to pick up.
cortex: There are! It's been a fun month.
mathowie: Oh, hit me. Come on.
- I haven't seen any.
cortex: Okay, so this one I like, and it's one of things where it's--
jessamyn: It's another one of those great total category-breakers and yet at the same time totally interesting.
cortex: Yeah, it's not really a job-job, but as a volunteer thing it seems like people might be interested in "Looking to interview avid FPS players for academic research," which just sort of made me explode.
jessamyn: Where FPS is first-person shooters, for all you other people out there.
mathowie: Yeah, if you know what it means, you know what it means.
cortex: User a sourceless light is looking basically to interview people via e-mail or in person about their experiences with
- first-person shooters and mod community stuff there with people who do modifications for stuff. So if that's you, go send an e-mail!
jessamyn: Go contact this person.
mathowie: That would be very... it seems like it would be very easy to court students on campus with just a giant "Do you have an Xbox?" kind of flyer.
cortex: I expect so. It's possible that she's looking for people who have a little bit more old-school experience. I mean, she's talking like '93 onward as a starting point.
mathowie: Oh, yeah.
cortex: So kids who are in school right now know Doom as a crappy game where you can only use your gun or your flashlight that came out a few years ago.
mathowie: This reminds me of, my wife has done some perception research in cognitive science, and we've all seen that goofy video of the people passing a basketball--
cortex: And the gorilla dancing through, yeah.
mathowie: Yeah, and the gorilla dancing through it. And when you present that to people with no prompting, something like a third of the people, at most, see the gorilla. So my
jessamyn: Because you've gotta count the number of times the ball's passing, so you're focusing on a certain thing.
mathowie: Right, yeah, you're distracted. So my hypothesis was, avid Xbox FPS players would probably see the gorilla twice as often as regular non-gaming people.
cortex: There actually has been some amount of legitimate formal research showing a number of general above-average tendencies in perception and detailed tracking.
mathowie: Yeah, I just wanted to see actual data, because you always have to be looking everywhere when you're playing those games.
cortex: Yeah. Yeah.
mathowie: And you just get used to it, so. Pretty cool! FPS research.
cortex: So that's mine.
jessamyn: Yes. I enjoyed this help be this dude's personal trainer, only because I like his username, which is Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell--
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
jessamyn: Which is from Dr. Seuss. But he just wants to start working out at the gym, and wants to have somebody who lives on the Upper East Side who can go to the gym and help him work out.
mathowie: You know, I thought that was awesome as an outlier kind of job, but--
jessamyn: They're all outlier jobs lately, it seems like.
mathowie: Since I actually pay a trainer, gyms are really weird about this! I had no idea. They all have their own cottage industry of trainers in-house.
jessamyn: I assure you, my gym does not.
mathowie: Well, a friend got busted for taking his parents to a gym, and he was my trainer, and he was just like, "Dad, do a squat. Dad, go do pull-ups."
mathowie: And the manager of the gym walked over and goes, "What the hell is going on here?"
jessamyn: Oh, man.
mathowie: "Who the hell are you? Where are you from? You can't be training in our gym, you know, you're not one of our trainers." Like, yeah. I had no idea they were so territorial.
jessamyn: Sketchy! I had no idea either.
mathowie: Yeah. So I'm just saying, New York, you know, big money.
jessamyn: Good luck, guy, yeah.
mathowie: Could be problematic. Sorry. Sorry to shit on Jobs.
jessamyn: No, that's fine.
mathowie: Alright, let's move to Projects, because I didn't see anything.
mathowie: There's a lot of weird Wordpress jobs, but yeah.
cortex: There were a few things I liked.
jessamyn: In Projects?
cortex: Yes. Ooh, one of them--
jessamyn: Name one.
cortex: This got a post to the front page, but that will never stop me. Full Glass, Empty Clip is a new collaborative blog from the folks over at MeFight Club.
jessamyn: And it's stavrosthewonderchicken's thing!
jessamyn: Everything he does always looks so good.
cortex: Yeah, no, it looks great, it's been fun reading it.
cortex: It's a bunch of the folks over there on MeFight Club--which, for people who haven't heard this the last dozen podcasts, is basically a group of Metafilter people who
- also enjoy video gaming, so they put together a little spin-off site for it, and they shoot each other online and lots of fun.
cortex: So yeah, this is a blog for everybody who is sort of interested to blog about video games in short-form, long-form, whatever. And I've been really enjoying it.
jessamyn: It's very good-looking.
mathowie: Dude! stavros did the whole design? I kept meaning to click on it, but my God, it's fucking gorgeous.
cortex: Yeah, no, it's great.
jessamyn: He is incredibly talented. Everything he does looks really nice.
mathowie: This is fucking gorgeous!
jessamyn: He's just woodshedding over in Korea doing awesome stuff.
mathowie: Oh, man. Custom fonts, crazy.
jessamyn: I know it!
mathowie: That's a sexy blog. Are you guys playing... is MeFight Club all web network gameplay of shooting each other in the face?
cortex: Yeah, there's lots and lot of online play. People, you know, PCs and XBox, PS3 to some extent too.
mathowie: So what's this Redemption Dead thing?
cortex: Red Dead Redemption.
jessamyn: Red Dead Redemption! Even I know that.
mathowie: Yeah, people won't shut up about it, so it must be fun.
cortex: It's Grand Theft Equine.
jessamyn: You steal horses?
cortex: Well, it's from Rockstar, and it's the same sort of overall feel in terms of game structure as the Grand Theft Auto games. You know, short mission based, NPC-related, wide-ranging, but instead of being in some made-up analog of New York City, it's sort of like the frontier Southwest, sometime on the
- late end of the Wild West period.
mathowie: Do you play poker in saloons or anything?
cortex: Oh, yeah, there's pokers--
jessamyn: Are there any girls in it?
mathowie: Yeah, prostitutes.
cortex: There totally are. There a number of women of questionable repute.
jessamyn: They're all hookers, is what you're telling me.
cortex: Well, not all hookers. One of the major early characters is actually a rancher's daughter, more or less runs a ranch with her father. So... and I haven't finished it, so I don't know what all is in there. But it's fun.
mathowie: I can imagine walking in the Rockstar gaming headquarters, and somewhere over the doors must be, "If you can't shoot a hooker in the face, it's not a Rockstar game."
mathowie: Because that seems to be a stupid-ass trend with them.
cortex: Well, honestly, this is more Deadwood than GTA in terms of the tone there.
cortex: A couple of people have made the point in just Metafilter conversations about this that one interesting difference from GTA is almost all the background characters
- in the game tend to feel a little bit more real and part of the setting. So it's not so much go on a crazy violent spree--
jessamyn: Eye candy kind of stuff.
cortex: --so much as, yeah, this is the window dressing, this is the setting. You have whorehouses because it's the Old West and they had whorehouses.
mathowie: "I'm not being misogynist, it's 1880!"
cortex: Well, I mean, I'm not even going to try to go there.
jessamyn: "Sign of the times, man! That's all women did! Don't blame me that it's true."
cortex: More of, like, you know, there are brothels because there were brothels rather than there are hookers because you can go hit a hooker with a baseball bat. So it's a small step up for them.
jessamyn: Let's talk about something else.
mathowie: Alright. Very cool.
cortex: I also liked Astro Zombie's putting all his plays online thing.
jessamyn: That was very cool.
mathowie: Yeah. And what was--?
jessamyn: I enjoyed, this is my own--oh, did you want to say more about that?
cortex: No, that's it. Hey, Astro Zombie put his plays online. Go look at them.
jessamyn: My own nerdly thing: there's this show The IT Crowd, which is on BBC4? And one of our users, long-time user malevolent, who is around sometimes--he's a web developer, game person, whatever--got to make this game for the website for The IT Crowd, which is this completely hilarious TV show about basement-dwelling IT nerds
- on BBC? And so they got to make this awesome game, which is The IT Crowd Game, which is on the channel4.com. So I just thought it was really cool. And some people say the game is actually pretty nifty also.
jessamyn: It is! The IT Crowd is funny. It's one of those, there's nerds and they're actually funny.
mathowie: Ehh... aughhhh.
mathowie: I got in so many fights over this at the meetup.
jessamyn: Over what?
mathowie: Because I can't--so here, okay: I tried to watch The IT Crowd, I downloaded a few episodes way when it first was announced, because Cory Doctorow was like, "Oh my God, it's the funniest thing ever." And it has a laugh track, and it's the most annoying thing in the world to me. It's unwatchable because of the laugh track.
jessamyn: That's so funny. I don't even hear the laugh tracks anymore.
mathowie: I guess I'm so used to The Office and comedy for the last five years just not having laugh tracks or whatever. It was the first one I heard--because I don't watch CBS comedies.
jessamyn: Yeah, yeah.
mathowie: This was the first one I heard where, yeah, and it was nervous chattery annoying laughter, where the scene opens and it's just like, "Hey, whatcha doing? Hahahaha." "Oh, fucking around the web. Ahahahaha!" And I'm like, "Oh, shut up!" Like, I'll figure out when to laugh. Augh, it drives me crazy.
mathowie: It's unwatchable to me. I really want to enjoy it, but I can't.
jessamyn: Maybe you should watch it with closed captioning on.
mathowie: No, maybe I should use one of those anti-vuvuzela thingies, you know, those audio filters. Someone's gotta make one to kill, you know, kill the audio--
jessamyn: Laugh tracks?
mathowie: Yeah, laugh track audio output. Augh. Drives me crazy! I'm being a weirdo about that, but.
jessamyn: Just kind of a nerd, but, you know, it's okay! It's your feelings.
mathowie: I just want to concentrate on the jokes, and it's irritating.
jessamyn: Huh. This is like one of those people where they announce to you that other people's chewing makes them crazy.
cortex and mathowie: (laugh)
jessamyn: Or like, I know that's very real to people, and at the same time it's mysterious to me.
mathowie: You know, that's, yep, yep, yep.
jessamyn: Oh, speaking of chewing, that leads into my other Project that I really liked.
jessamyn: Which was stratastar, who, I believe, is emilyd22222's partner-in-crime, or maybe real-life partner, or I don't actually know.
mathowie: Oh, right!
jessamyn: And somebody's been putting gum on their bicycles?
mathowie: Oh, yeah. Whoa, they got him!
mathowie: It took a month, but they figured it out.
mathowie: Oh, they had dummy bicycles, and they were filming it.
jessamyn: Yeah! Basically, they wanted to catch the dude who was putting gum on the bicycles outside the apartment building, they asked an Ask Metafilter question about it and set up a whole thing to go trap the guy, and they had some questions about how to do the spy camera and what's going on and whatever,
- so yeah. It was just interesting. I liked it, and I thought it was good content and a fun project.
mathowie: I'm so glad when there's a resolved story. I was wondering about that.
jessamyn: Yep! Yep. So yeah. Made me happy.
mathowie: And crimes against bikes, you know, hit me--
jessamyn: I know!
mathowie: Hit home, and I was like, "Oh, God, I hope they catch this fucker."
jessamyn: I know!
mathowie: I'm so glad they got it. Sweet.
jessamyn: So. Those were my major Projects points.
mathowie: They need to put this poster up all around the city, or their block. They need to do it.
jessamyn: The shaming poster.
jessamyn: Where do they live? Are they... I don't even know where they, I didn't even look to see geographically.
mathowie: I would guess New York based on the sidewalk.
jessamyn: Yeah! And they used Derek Powazek's Wordpress theme.
mathowie: Yeah, it's pretty nice-looking.
jessamyn: I liked it. I've always liked it.
mathowie: So, should we...?
jessamyn: Move on!
mathowie: Yeah. Metafilter? Metafilter.
jessamyn: Metafilter. I had a lot of the usual suspects, but I had one that I don't think anybody else picked.
jessamyn: Do you guys want to go first? Do you want me to go first?
cortex: Blow us away. Come on. Bring it on.
jessamyn: I'm not blowing anybody away or otherwise.
jessamyn: This one is called Don't Let The Taco Win, and it's this great post by Leezie about this kid... it's one of these baseball games where they have this intermission thing where the kid does a race with some stuffed mascot,
- and the kid always win, and everyone in the audience is like, "Waaah!" But something happened, and the mascot, who happens to be Henry the Puffy Taco, which is a really weird mascot to begin with, actually beat the kid in the minor league baseball game seventh-inning race, and so that happened a long time ago, eighteen years ago, I guess, and the kid started to cry in front of everybody, and it was terrible, and then,
- on June 24th, 2010, the kid, who's now 29 years old--
mathowie: 25. (laughs)
jessamyn: --got his revenge, and they redid the race with the kid as an adult person, and the kid, who's now an adult man, won. And it's just this, it's a perfect post for Metafilter, I found, because it's a weird story, it's got this puffy taco in it, it involves linking together a bunch of disparate stuff to tell the story,
- and I just thought it was the most wonderful post.
mathowie: YES! He just took down the taco. Yeah! He fucking took down the taco and put his foot on top of it. Sweet. While winning the race.
jessamyn: See? It's kinda great.
mathowie: That's satisfying.
jessamyn: And it was just this great post by Leezie, who I don't have much of a sense of. She's made a couple posts, and seems to hang out mostly in Ask Metafilter, and I thought it was terrific.
cortex: That is pretty great.
jessamyn: And it only got like ten favorites for no reason I can figure out, so I want everybody to read it [??] how awesome it was.
cortex: Well, it's one of those things where you could easily skim past it and not know there's anything going on there, but then holy crap, [??].
mathowie: That thing is all kinds of awesome.
mathowie: This is why we have the podcast! This is why we're here today!
jessamyn: (laughs) Okay.
mathowie: To bring things like that to the people. That's amazing.
jessamyn: So what is this?
cortex: I liked this post about DJ Earworm. I mean, the above-the-fold is nominally about a recent mash-up he did involving Justin Bieber, and this way we can make sure to mention Justin Bieber in the podcast.
mathowie: (chuckles quietly, then mutters) Bieberbieberbieberbieber.
cortex: But it's also got a great big collection of other mash-ups by the guy. And I hadn't heard him before, I guess people do know who he is and his yearly Billboard Top 25 mash-ups are pretty great. But it was totally new to me, and so I've been coming back to this post periodically listening to random tracks
- throughout the day over the last week or so. I thought it was really fun stuff.
jessamyn: This is great! I enjoy mash-ups.
cortex: I'm a big sucker for well-done stuff. I really love the hell out of Girl Talk, too.
jessamyn: But I have mash-up fatigue. Right? Sorry, go on.
cortex: Oh, I just, I don't listen to a whole hell of a lot of them, because I think a lot of them are not super great.
jessamyn: Well, that's the problem, right? You really want to find good mash-ups and not listen to a whole bunch of really stuttery nonfunctional ones.
cortex: Yeah. People sometimes mash things up that just don't mash that well, and I think it's all about having patience if you really want to make something that really
- kicks ass as far as that goes. Because the juxtaposition in its own right is entertaining, but yeah, it sort of gets old. But stuff like this guy's stuff is consistently good. I really love Girl Talk's stuff. His albums always make me smile. So yeah, I just thought it was fun stuff to listen to.
cortex: And the fact that I'm only just now hearing him makes me like the New York style section article on DJ Earworm, which means I've just ended his career.
mathowie: I loved this Firefly: '80s edition--
mathowie: --fan-cut intro that's pitch-perfect, like Knight Rider-esque introduction.
cortex: Yeah, that was nice.
mathowie: It was on io9 or something, and it's just great. If you liked Firefly--
jessamyn: I did!
mathowie: --and you grew up in the '80s--
jessamyn: (louder) I did!
mathowie: --you will love it.
jessamyn: Great! I like liking things.
mathowie: Yeah. And I like that it's just a weird... I mean, god, Firefly was canceled, what, eight years ago or something?
mathowie: And someone took the time to re-cut an intro.
jessamyn: It was barely on TV at all, as near as I can remember.
mathowie: I know.
jessamyn: I didn't even hear about it until it was already canceled.
cortex: Yeah, it went pretty quick.
mathowie: Yeah, and somebody comes back to something eight years later and makes a crazy awesome intro. It's a cool project.
jessamyn: That is nice. What have you got here, Josh?
cortex: So I liked... this was a post about speedruns combined with large video game
- maps. A speedrun, in a video game, is generally speaking just a recorded attempt to beat a game as quickly as officially is possible.
jessamyn: So it's not speeded up.
jessamyn: The whole point is, okay, now that you know how the video game works, you want to get from the beginning to the end the fastest.
cortex: Yeah, how quickly can you beat Super Mario Brothers, or how quickly can you beat Quake and whatnot. It's a whole wonderful fun--
jessamyn: And nerds do this?
cortex: Yes, yes.
jessamyn: (sighs quietly) Ahh.
cortex: Well, sort of competitively/collaboratively. It tends to be a thing where the few people who really want to knock a speedrun out as fast as possible will tend to be in constant communication and even collaboration with each other to try and figure out how to shave another three seconds off something. It's a lot of fun--
jessamyn: Neat! Okay.
cortex: It helps if you know the games, but, in this case, you don't necessarily need to know the games, because the interesting thing with this post is someone took the idea of speedruns, or at least relatively quick runs through games, and then combined that with full-sized maps of the entire map of a game. So you usually see a TV screen
- worth at a time, but people have assembled the entire map of a number of games.
jessamyn: Oh, I get it.
cortex: And so they'll show an entire level as someone plays through it, which is just nifty to watch.
jessamyn: So you just see a little dot? I'm going to watch one now.
cortex: Well, if you watch it full screen at large resolution, you can see it pretty well.
mathowie: Oh, yeah.
cortex: And yeah, you can really see how the whole world is put together in a way that isn't necessarily apparent when you're just playing through the game as a kid. So I thought it was really neat. And there's some good discussion and backlinks to other stuff in that thread as well.
jessamyn: This is amazing! I'm watching this Mario something-or-other, Super Mario Brothers 3, speedrunning through the thing, where you can see the entire map at once. Just the whole map at once is actually pretty amazing.
mathowie: Did anyone watch the Stephen Fry video of what he wished he knew when he was 18?
cortex: I didn't see it.
mathowie: I didn't... this is my to-watch list and I never got around to it, but it was one of our most popular posts and Stephen Fry is super-awesome,
- so gah, I gotta watch this today.
mathowie: Thirty-minute video. It's hard to make time for a thirty-minute Vimeo session.
cortex: Yeah, I don't go through a whole lot of those.
mathowie: Just sit there and stare at it.
jessamyn: I've been busy--oh, sorry.
mathowie: Oh, I was thinking I could send it to Boxee and then watch it on a TV on my house or something, but eugh.
jessamyn: Come on, Matt, you're home alone, right?
jessamyn: You eat food and watch it.
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
jessamyn: I think that's how it's supposed to work.
mathowie: Okay, I'll do that.
cortex: Get yourself a pint of ice cream.
jessamyn: I was going to say, I've been watching these four-minute Louis CK videos.
mathowie: You haven't seen the whole show?
jessamyn: I don't have a television!
mathowie: You can download... just search Louis on certain places and certain places have copies of Louis.
jessamyn: I will get it, then.
cortex: I hope you're not advocating some sort of illegal violation of intellectual property rights.
mathowie: No. I'm not talking about state lines here.
cortex: (laughs) As long as it's not pasteurized.
jessamyn: We're talking about national lines.
mathowie: "You pour your torrents on the floor! Pour those torrents out on the grass!"
jessamyn: At any rate, this was a Rhaomi post that brought together a whole bunch of stand-up clips in addition to some information about the TV show and whatever.
jessamyn: I mean, I kind of discovered Louis CK late, but a lot of his stuff is a) really funny and b) he's from Massachusetts, so he sounds like everybody I went to high school with, which I love.
mathowie: I don't even pick up on an accent with him. It's so weird. (laughs)
mathowie: Yeah, I don't even hear... I mean, I've heard him for like 15 years, and I'm stoked, like, in the last two years
- his career's blown up.
jessamyn: Yeah. Yeah. Well, totally, because--
mathowie: What was his--his long-form piece he did... augh, I don't know, a year or two ago, he has an hour and a half movie that's really good, except he talks about his wife in the whole thing and then he gets divorced right after the movie comes out, it's just sad.
jessamyn: He's divorced?
mathowie: Yeah, he's divorced.
jessamyn: Oh, god. I didn't even know that.
mathowie: Oh my god, you haven't even opened the can of that? He has a whole, I mean, he has hours of material on being a divorced dad and being a single dad, you know, weekend dad.
jessamyn: Good God, that's gotta be totally crazy. No.
mathowie: It's like having, I think, it's a two-year-old and a five-year-old. You have to shit with the door open. That's one of his lines.
mathowie: You can't leave a two- and five-year-old running around yourself and have privacy. You have to have the door open and be like, "Are you guys playing with dolls down the hall? Is everything okay?"
jessamyn: Right. "What are you up to?" No, I'm still up at Loneliest Hand Job level.
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
mathowie: Yeah. He's got tons of divorce stuff now.
jessamyn: Oh, man.
mathowie: And I guess some of the Louie show really even touches on that. Like half of the show.
jessamyn: Huh. Okay. God, being Louis CK's ex-wife has gotta be tough, right?
jessamyn: Like, you just want to stay married to him so he didn't talk about you constantly.
mathowie: Well, I mean, his comedy movie, he's talking about how much he loves older women and he hates young women and there's this thing about, he doesn't like girls anymore, he likes women, 40-year-old women are hot to him now, 25-year-olds are idiots with problems, you know, they're like children to him.
jessamyn: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
mathowie: But he goes on and on and on about
- all these 20-year-olds that are hitting on him all the time after shows (chuckles), and I was like, oh, that must be creepy for his wife.
mathowie: And then I hear about the divorce right after it, and I was like, oh, God, yeah, that's... wow.
jessamyn: (laughs) Oh, my.
mathowie: It's like the shit he's talking about on stage he wasn't talking to his wife about, like she was... oh, yeah, I can see that being a problem. Alright, what comes after Louis CK?
jessamyn: Josh had something about--
cortex: I wanted to add as a quick addendum to the previous Super Mario post, another Super Mario post--
mathowie: (descending whistle)
cortex: --that's a similar idea that just got, it was like the same day or the same week
cortex: ...at least. A guy did, he basically did that same sort of full level long run of Super Mario Brothers, plus with some clever animation to animate the parts where Mario isn't, which was its own conversation in the thread, but took all that and used motion tracking technology to project it virtually on video footage of like a kerb, or you know, a low wall on the sidewalk as you walked along. So it's just a really clever little
mathowie: Oh, wow.
cortex: pile of technology hack.
cortex: So. Watching it... you watch all five minutes, because it's a full speedrun of Super Mario Bros, which you can do in four or five
jessamyn: Oh, I'm seeing it! Holy crap!
cortex: And like two minutes in, I was like "Well, this is pretty neat, but it just sorta keeps going", but at that point, I was like "Oh, but he's totally doing a speed run, isn't he?" And I know it's only going to yskr a few minutes, so I have to watch the whole thing anyway.
mathowie: Wow, the underground part's in the street, that's so cool.
mathowie: ...with the kerb...
cortex: It's a very cool little video, so [it's turned out well?]
mathowie: So the next version of this will be like a guy in a moustache
- wearing red overalls running through the streets doing this stuff.
cortex: Hopefully, yes. It'll be a sequel to Run Lola Run.
mathowie: Yeah, that'd be cool.
jessamyn: That would be pretty terrific.
cortex: Plumb Mario Plumb.
mathowie: Run Mario Run.
jessamyn: I have one more post that I liked, mostly because it's one of those posts where we link to somebody's blog and then the person who we wrote about showed up and actually stuck around and asked a bunch of questions.
cortex: Oh, yeah!
jessamyn: I think I tossed this on the sidebar at some point. But gman linked to a guy who has
- couponing strategies, which, you know, I'm not much of a couponer, but I guess if you are, you can, if you plot things right, go to the right stores, and do whatever this crazy Catalina is, you can save a shit-ton of money! And so he bought six hundred dollars worth of food with twenty-seven bucks and whatever, and that was sort of interesting, and people were like, yeah, maybe you did, maybe you didn't, but then he shows up, signed up for an
- account, and actually stuck around in the thread to answer people's questions, which was really cool and made the thread more than just, hey, here's some guy's blog. So I thought it was great.
cortex: Yeah. It was neat.
mathowie: Sweet. And then another great comment that we sidebarred that has to do with food was this...
jessamyn: I loved this! This was my favorite thing probably from all month.
mathowie: Yeah. The her.. herrdoktor [ˈhɝ.dɑk.tɚ]? herrdoktor [ˈhɝ.dɑk.tɚ]! And he actually wrote--
cortex: herrdoktor [ˈhɛɚ.dɑk.tɚ]!
mathowie: herrdoktor [ˈhɛɚ.dɑk.tɚ].
jessamyn: herrdoktor [ˈhɛɚ.dɑk.tɚ].
cortex: He's clearly German.
mathowie: He wrote two awesome posts in the same day! I can't find his Ask Metafilter comment. So his... (smacks lips, proceeds to be musical) doo doo doo doo... his awesome post here on Metafilter, which I will link up and you've got to read if you haven't, is all about about being told he was allergic to apples his entire life, and then at some point he realizes, "I think I might just be allergic to," what, the apple skin?
mathowie: "So I'm going to try..." and any time he'd ever eaten apples, it was almost a medical emergency situation, so he's a doctor and he's sitting in a hospital and he goes out and buys a couple apples and...
jessamyn: And tells his friends.
mathowie: (laughs) Yeah.
jessamyn: "I'm just going to just sit here in the hospital, the safest place."
mathowie: "Get the EpiPen ready. I'm ready to go into convulsions. Let's go, let's fucking do this," and then he takes off the skin and it's fucking great, like, the greatest apple he's ever eaten.
jessamyn: And it's--
mathowie: And he's fine, so he goes and buys a basket of apples of every variety you can possibly have.
jessamyn: And he's got a special knife that he uses to peel them that has a name.
mathowie: (laughs) Yeah. And so he's way into his apples after being denied his whole life. It's so great. He--this could be a good segue to switch over to Ask Metafilter if we're done with Metafilter--
jessamyn: I am.
mathowie: He posted in the "What did you get wrong?" thread.
jessamyn and cortex: (groan)
mathowie: Hey! Hey-o! Stop! (laughs)
- He posted in that thread, his was one of the most favorited threads. It was a really touching nice comment he made, which I
- can't find right now, but I will by the time I publish this, about how he never asked for help in his entire life, and he was always the dependable one in the family, as a kid, and he was in medical school and had a job and a family and his dad died and his mom had cancer, there's some crazy, he had the most shit-upon moments in his life.
jessamyn: Here it is.
mathowie: And he's stumbling through medical school and his grades are slipping, he's ready to get kicked out, and everyone's asking him, "Are things okay?" and he keeps saying, "Yeah, they're fine." But then he finally, some doctor guy just goes, "Look, dude, you're a good student, and your life's going to shit. What can we do to help you?", and that was his first time he ever accepted help.
jessamyn: He says, "It's okay to ask for help," and he's like, "Maybe I need to see a psychiatrist?"
jessamyn: He's giving plasma at multiple places or whatever...
mathowie: Oh, right, to make ends meet, yeah. And it was a revelation to him that you can ask for help,
- you know, that you don't have to have all the answers all the time for everybody and hold the world together by yourself, and that was a really good, good... I mean, let's not talk about the chatfilteriness of the thread, but did you guys enjoy that thread? I mean, I saw some hilarious stories in that thread that I loved.
mathowie: My favorite was a woman saying in high school she was told by all her friends, "Always wear a black bra
- under a t-shirt and no one will see it, even white shirts." And she did that her entire life until she was 25 or something and looked down and noticed, "Oh, wait, all my high school friends had dark skin, and I'm a white girl, and this is terrible! You can see my bra a mile away!"
mathowie: She did that for a decade without even noticing that all her friends are black.
jessamyn: Oh my god.
mathowie: I thought that was hilarious. Just stuff you never thought about.
jessamyn: Yes. Between that thread and the MetaTalk thread about that thread I have no perspective on that thread.
cortex: Yeah. Let's just talk about something else.
mathowie and jessamyn: (laugh)
mathowie: That was a... I mean...
jessamyn: Shut up!
cortex: It was definitely some seriously quality Lifehacker-bait-filter.
jessamyn: But Josh and I would have deleted it if we had been awake.
cortex: Yeah. I mean, there's, it's, yeah.
jessamyn: I know it was wonderful.
cortex: There's some serious Prisoner's Dilemma shit going on in trying to do a rational analysis of this in terms of categorical imperatives. But, in the meantime, it was a fun thread and people liked it, so whoop-de-doo.
jessamyn: Most people liked it.
cortex: Great for them. (laughs)
mathowie: There was something like fifty favorites for every flag it got, so I don't know, sometimes it works itself out. I'm okay with once a year...
jessamyn: This is one of those things, Matt, where maybe you just have to be quiet about it.
jessamyn: Or you have to moderate Ask Metafilter a lot more.
cortex, mathowie, and jessamyn: (laugh)
jessamyn: I love you very much, but as the guy who's in charge of the site, we're now going to get a bunch of people coming to MetaTalk being like, "MATT SAYS IT'S OKAY!"
mathowie: You know, I'm a big exception guy--
mathowie: --like, once a year, you know. I used to... remember, the self-link rule used to allow for really good self-links.
jessamyn: It still does! If you would shut up and not say it out loud.
mathowie: Ehh, I don't... eh.
cortex: Just go to Projects! Just go to Projects!
mathowie: No, I gave up! I gave up years ago, yeah. We have Projects now.
cortex: Projects I think is an excellent solution to it that has worked out very well.
jessamyn: Correct. As is other spin-off sites where people can talk about either their own stuff or more chatty topics.
cortex: I liked this thread from Ask Metafilter, "When an adult says, 'I wish I could play piano'"--
jessamyn: Oh, I loved this!
cortex: --"what specifically is that she wishes she could do?" Which just, a whole bunch of people giving really good takes on their personal experiences as someone who may have said that or someone who thought they wanted to learn to play piano and what happened when they tried to do that and things other than piano as well, talking about other sorts of...
jessamyn: Because they're a piano player, and people are always like, "Oh, I wish I could play piano," and her response is always like, "Well, let me teach you!" But they don't always mean, "I wish someone would teach me to play piano," they just are kind of idly talking about it.
mathowie: How could you not understand the sentiment behind it, even if you're...
cortex: Well, no, I don't think she didn't understand per se--
jessamyn: She's not confused.
cortex: It's more like, knowing that she has a different perspective than people who are saying this to her, what sort of motivations are going on there? And it turned into a really nice collection of people discussing
jessamyn: And do they learn how to play a song? Do they want to learn how to read music? Do they want to learn how to... you know, what exactly are they talking about?
mathowie: I think of it in a nebulous way, like if I see someone tanning leather hides, something arcane that takes a lot of, you know, I just go, "Eh, I wish I could do that."
jessamyn: Well, the most favorited comment in the thread was, "She wishes she could play as beautifully as you, but without the years of study and practice."
mathowie: Oh, yeah.
jessamyn: Which I think, you know.
mathowie: Actually, I wish I could play the piano just so that I could noodle on a piano when I'm bored and know what I was doing and it sounds like a song.
jessamyn: I wish I could take music in my head and turn it into music that other people could hear, that's my feeling. And piano seems easier than other instruments for doing that. I mean, I can sing, but that's not quite...
mathowie: You sound like someone that hasn't heard the bomb track of the year, "My Town Is In A Lake," like I have, so.
jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)
mathowie: I don't know.
jessamyn: Was that last week? Or last month, is that the last one?
mathowie: (laughs) The last one.
cortex: Yeah, it was about a month, a month and change ago.
jessamyn: They sent me a crappy t-shirt.
mathowie: I think calendars from now on will be like 'before that song came out' and 'after that song came out'.
cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)
jessamyn: Post-Google. Here was the... oh, what did I do? This was probably my favorite thread of the past month, which was basically Ask Metafilter, alright, anyone with kids knows that kids have car seats nowadays. But what the hell did we do with kids after there were cars but before there were
- car seats?
mathowie: Oh, I played in the wheel wells, like the bottom, with cars, and [??] back.
jessamyn: A lot of people remember riding around in boxes, you know?
jessamyn: That babies were just put in boxes in the back seat. Somebody was in a hammock... I have a picture of me in some thing that looked like it was this metal and stuffing torture device. It was a very interesting thread, because it was a lot of people, especially in the late '60s, early '70s, who talked about just bouncing around in the back of the car!
- You know, kids just died in cars before car seats.
cortex: (laughing) I love this comment. "The rule in our car was no standing up in the front seat--"
cortex: "--only in the back seat, where it was safe."
mathowie: We used to play cars in the foot wells, below where you'd sit in the back seat. We'd just be sitting on the floor--
jessamyn: Right! Of course!
mathowie: --and I have a big bump on my head (jessamyn laughs) from a crash where I was sleeping in the back, no seat belt, and I just got launched against the doors,
- and my mom slammed on the brakes and hit my head really hard, because I was not even strapped in.
mathowie: Nobody wore a seatbelt back then. It was crazy.
jessamyn: And of course k8t [Katie]--
mathowie: Did babies go home from the hospital just in their mom's arms in the front seat? Is that what...?
jessamyn: Or they would put 'em in a box, that's what I'm saying!
jessamyn: It was so crazy. And k8t [Kate], k-8-t or whatever her thing is, she has a picture of her
- partner in a car seat that looks almost exactly like mine. Car seats were just a thing to sit in. They had no safety built into them at all, as near as I can tell.
mathowie: Jesus, yeah, wow.
jessamyn: Just dangerous. Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous.
mathowie: That looks like a high chair strapped to a car seat, sort of. But wow. Wow.
- I loved--this is the best resolved filter of all time.
cortex: Oh, yeah.
jessamyn: Yes! This is all stuff that I sidebarred.
mathowie: The donut cake.
mathowie: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, the donut cake--oh, that was just July, that was just a couple weeks ago. "I gotta make a donut-themed cake for a contest," and then everyone came up with strategies of how to stick donuts together, what you could use that would taste good. So they put cheesecake--they put a row, a circle, a bun cake with a circle of glazed donuts, they put
- cheesecake filling in the holes, holding the whole thing together, and then put chocolate over the whole top to make it one giant cake! And they won, and they got free donuts for a year! That was awesome.
jessamyn: Yeah, oh my god. I kind of was reading this with interest just because I thought it was an interesting thread, but once I saw the pictures, I was like, wow, they totally nailed it! You couldn't eat more than two bites of that crazy thing.
mathowie: It looks like a real cake, too!
mathowie: Crazy. And they won.
jessamyn: Totally delightful.
mathowie: Ask Metafilter showed them a way to win. That was great.
- Anything else from Ask Metafilter? We're already probably going long.
cortex: I had a couple.
cortex: They're quick, but just for reference. One is--since it's still warm, this will still be useful for people--"How can I make the best popsicle ever?"
jessamyn: Loved it. Loved this one.
cortex: So it's got a bunch of popsicle recipes and discussion.
jessamyn: "How do I make a really good popsicle?"
mathowie: Oh, we talked about that last time!
cortex: Did we?
mathowie: Yes, we talked about it last time.
cortex: Oh, it's that, well, fuck that. Hey, it's still pretty good.
jessamyn: Is your head calendar broken?
cortex: You know, I wasn't quite sure when I started putting down the links when the last one was.
mathowie: Do you not listen to what other people said?
cortex: I don't.
cortex: I don't listen to anything you guys say.
cortex: This is a write-only podcast here.
mathowie: I thought this thread, there was this thread on how do great writers create a story was interesting, because I had to come around to the first time I wrote a dumb computer book that
- was about more than a blog post in length. I had to think about the entire arc of the computer book and what you had to get out of it at the end of it instead of the front of it. That was hard to completely change the way you write, especially when everything's Twitter posts and blog posts where everything's just a paragraph long.
jessamyn: I did not see this thread at all! This is great!
mathowie: Yeah, it's great. It's strategies on how do you think of an entire character's arc, and what do you... if you're going to write one page today, how does it apply to the
- gigantic story and stuff. How do you wrap your head around that? It took me a while to get into that. It's pretty cool.
mathowie: There was a very sad... did you see the Skype one? Aughhh.
mathowie: The one, the question asking--
jessamyn: Oh! I stopped reading that after a while.
cortex: Oh. Yeah.
mathowie: Oh, man. I mean, there's sort of like a final final to it, that it just actually happened and he got broken up with over Skype and never talked to again.
cortex: And there was the... yeah.
mathowie: It's sad, but it's kind of interesting if you can divorce reality from it or something, take your emotions out of it. It's like a slow-motion breakup on Ask Metafilter as he's coming around to realizing that...
jessamyn: That basically the question was, I got this weird breakup message from my girlfriend over Skype, and now I can't get ahold of her at all, and is it possible that someone would hack her Skype account and fake-breakup with me?
- And maybe she's in trouble.
mathowie: Yeah. And then after a couple days, it's like, aah, I've been trying and trying and tracking, and then he hears her and she just hangs up on him, and then eventually it's like, yeah, no, that was real, I really just broke up with you, bye, never want to speak to you again, never does, and then he comes around. It's just weird.
mathowie: Like, it's so strange in the form of comments on an Ask Meta... that this is where it would unfold. It's an interesting relic, in a weird...
- His entire thought process is down here in all his comments. Strange. Sad.
jessamyn: It was sad.
jessamyn: Oh, and this one's got spoilers.
cortex: Oh, yeah.
jessamyn: For the movie Josh saw last night that I haven't seen yet.
cortex: Yes. I won't say... Kattullus just posted this morning, so I thought it was kind of funny timing, so I thought I'd mention it, but yeah, basically saying, I saw Inception last night
- and want to see it again soon, and what should I look for as far as details, because it's one of those "What am I missing?" things in spots, and so he's just asking for a bunch of detailed notions of things to maybe pay attention to the second time you watch Inception. Or, if you are that sort of person, I guess, the first time, if you wanted to read the thread before you've seen it. But yeah. I just thought it was cool. And given the nature of the film it seemed like a good question, so.
jessamyn: I'm not clicking it.
mathowie: Where was the link? Oh, there it is. Oh.
cortex: It was the one up there.
mathowie: Oh, yeah, I'm not gonna... bah. I'm going to see it.
cortex: Yeah. I would say stay out of the thread if you've not seen it yet and care.
mathowie: There are a whole bunch of Inception-inspired posts on Ask Metafilter, like what book should I read?...
jessamyn: Yeah, there was the one about the book, I didn't even see it. But what books should I read if I liked Inception?, that I think got picked up... actually, I guess by 'a bunch', Matt, we probably mean 'two'.
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
mathowie: That's a bunch.
jessamyn: It seemed like a lot. Two in three days?
mathowie: From one piece of media.
jessamyn: But it got picked up somewhere, Lifehacker, something like that.
mathowie: Oh, Reddit, I think, maybe.
cortex: I think I've actually gotta throw a comment into that thread, because there's an old Stanislaw Lem story that does the some sort of story within a story type thing that no one's mentioned yet.
jessamyn: Of course there is.
mathowie: If you're a very dumb person and you're watching Inception--
mathowie: --is it still good on one level? Because everyone--
jessamyn: What if you were really drunk?
mathowie: Yeah. Do I have to be brilliant and have fucking English... augh, theory of the last two hundred years of story structure to be able to go hmm, that is interesting?
jessamyn: Does it work at a level that doesn't require a ton of...?
cortex: No, no, it's totally accessible. Honestly, my biggest complaint about it is it is not as philosophically complex and robust as I would hope as someone who's a total nerd for stories about questioning
- reality and dream and whatnot.
jessamyn: So if I'm less of a nerd than you, will I like it more?
cortex: I think you will enjoy it.
cortex: Maybe, yes, maybe. Maybe. I enjoyed it a lot.
cortex: My complaints are all really formal, and they aren't really complaints so much as, well, this film that isn't the film that I would have imagined it would be, it wasn't that film.
jessamyn: Got it.
cortex: It's fun to watch, it's well done in terms of tense, pacing, storytelling, and whatnot, and I think it's
- a kick. I think enough people are going to like it so much that there's going to be some serious inevitable nerd backlash from people who don't think it's the second coming. It'll be sort of like with The Matrix, when people who can't stand other people having their minds blown by things that aren't totally mindblowing in their mind being like, "Well, it's... bleuhbluhbluh."
cortex: I think you'll see a lot of that dynamic over the next couple weeks.
jessamyn: I got out of bed this weekend to look up IMDB on my iPhone because Jim didn't believe that Cornel West was in The Matrix.
mathowie: Oh, where is he in The Matrix? (chuckles) I'm a fan of Cornel West, I would have noticed that.
jessamyn: He's that really tall dude when they're having the big rasta party. At least, that's how I remember it.
mathowie: Oh, yeah. Oh, that's right, he was on stage. Yeah. That weird episode 2 or whatever.
jessamyn: But Jim was like "No way!" and I'm like, "Well, maybe it was some other movie?" But I looked it up, and sure enough. Yay, iPhone to the rescue.
- Sweet. Alright, that's episode 53.
jessamyn: That good, team?
cortex: Hey, hey, hey! We didn't even talk about MetaTalk.
mathowie: What? Oh, is there anything? There's a lot of GRAR lately.
cortex: Yeah, well, no, no, there were a number of positive... I'll mention real quickly, I won't necessarily go in detail. But one of the big ones is lewistate [Lewis Tate]...
jessamyn: Oh, right.
mathowie: Oh, yeah!
cortex: Finished his dissertation research and successfully defended. He's now--
jessamyn: Or lewistate [Lewi State], as I called him.
mathowie: Lewis State?
cortex: So he's now Dr. lewistate. So lewistate did that, and that's awesome, and you can go read his
- paper, which is really accessible. The abstract might scare you away, but don't pay attention to it, because he does a really good job of explaining what he's actually talking about in terms of the rhetorical concepts. So go him! Congratulations, and it's a neat paper.
jessamyn: And it's super interesting and readable. I read the whole thing start to finish. It's good.
cortex: Yeah. And there was a thread from someone saying--oh, amro was saying--how do you explain Metafilter to people who are unfamiliar with it? Which is a thread, I feel like we have that every couple years in MetaTalk, but it's always fun when we do, so I thought that was a good read.
jessamyn: Did I even read this? I didn't...
cortex: I don't know if you did.
jessamyn: Oh my god. I missed this thread entirely somehow. I don't know where the hell I was. Wow!
mathowie: I didn't read it because I have to fucking live it!
mathowie: All the time.
cortex: I always like getting other people's perspectives. Because I know to some extent because I've been around for a long time I don't have a newer person's perspective, and because I'm a mod I don't to some extent have as much of a just pure user perspective, so it's nice to see how other people try and characterize this stuff and give me different ways to
- look at it myself.
jessamyn: "I pretend that you are all my personal friends so that my mom thinks that I actually have friends."
jessamyn: (laughs) Oh, my.
mathowie: I have to... aw, man, I have to explain Metafilter once a month, at least, to somebody.
jessamyn: Oh, Josh! We were going to get through an entire podcast without you linking to something you had done yourself.
cortex: It was getting pretty close. It was getting pretty close.
mathowie: (sings) Self-Link Corner with Josh!
cortex: The Says Who? game. But really, we've all made this as contributors to Metafilter.
mathowie: Oh, right.
cortex: Yeah, I made the little Says Who? game. I just wanted to throw a link in to it. But basically going in and trying to guess who made the comment when you go and see a random comment dished up from the database. It's actually based on--
jessamyn: Oh, this looks awesome! I haven't seen this since you were beta-testing it.
cortex: Yeah, yeah, no, it's actually live now.
mathowie: Oh, so you have the back-end data. Have you done any... like, is anyone actually good at this? I mean, I'm terrible! I'm like one-third right, at the most?
cortex: That's actually pretty good. I mean, if you're doing one-fifth right, that's good as random, so anything better than that, anything better than 20%, is actually showing some actual human capability to recognize posters.
mathowie: But can't you look in the database of answers and figure out...?
cortex: Yeah, I've looked a little bit. I need to work together some proper scoreboard-type stuff.
mathowie: You should do a fucking leaderboard! (laughs)
cortex: Something. Something. I--
mathowie: Oh, wait. No, don't do a leaderboard, because people will Google the phrase and figure it out and just cheat.
cortex: Well, yeah, yeah, I'd rather look at more specific interesting results rather than just who's winning, because that's the least interesting thing to me
jessamyn: I got one talking about my body and one talking about boobs.
mathowie: Ooh. Ouch.
cortex: (laughs) It's random, I swear.
mathowie: Oh, you know what I got on my second try was like, "Matt, you fuck your fucking... just make the fucking ColdFusion server fucking work, you dumbass!"
mathowie: And it was from 2005, when the uptime was an hour at a time, it would be, the site would go down.
cortex: I guess I should, yeah, provide a trauma warning there, in case people yell at you.
mathowie: Yeah, and it was re-opening all these MetaTalk hatefests on me, like, "For fuck's sake, Matt, why don't you redo it in Perl or PHP or Ruby?" Oh, it was crazy.
cortex: One interesting thing that I have seen looking at some quick and dirty data is the two most recognizable people in the game are pb, by far, people recognize pb like--
jessamyn: Because he's always like, "This works like this!"
mathowie: Or "I fixed that."
cortex: Yeah, I know, it's a MetaTalk comment from a guy explaining how the site works or that he fixed it.
- So yeah, 68% of the time, people correctly guess him.
cortex: Which is huge! The second most is jessamyn, at 47%, is about where you are hanging?
mathowie: Whaat? Huh.
cortex: Which is also pretty big.
cortex: And then there's a bunch of low forties and high thirties. I've been wandering around into the mid to high thirties in terms of recognizability. But I'll try to get some of this out into an actual proper...
mathowie: What's my recognizability? I mean, the mods should be super recognizable.
cortex: I think you're up there too.
cortex: I was really only looking at the very top stuff because my score stuff is really, really rough at this point. The people who are least recognizable seem to mostly be, shockingly enough, people who were active a lot eight years ago and since haven't really been around so much.
jessamyn: Right. You'd have to really know the whole corpus going back historically in addition to just being able to recognize people nowadays.
cortex: Yeah. But there's a bunch of cool data analysis I could do with this, so I'm going to try and start digging into some of that.
mathowie: I would be careful of leaderboards.
jessamyn: No leaderboards, please.
cortex: Yeah, yeah, yeah, pure leaderboard seems like meh.
mathowie: Seems so easy to game this.
cortex: Yeah. No, there's any number of ways, least of them being just Googling it and then saying, oh, well, I know [??].
mathowie: Yeah. Oh my god, I love that pb is the most recognizable voice. (laughs)
cortex: Yeah. It's pretty great.
mathowie: That's so rocking! (laughs) It's probably like "blahblahblah SQL, blahblahblah fixed it."
cortex: And one other thing I wanted to plug real quick--
jessamyn: (sighs quietly)
mathowie: (descending whistle) This being the DVD extras.
cortex: Is the Metafilter Film Club that a few people, I think starman and East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94--
mathowie: (descending whistle)
cortex: --were the two people primarily organizing it. So a little spin-off site for people to just talk film and to some extent TV and just really have a place where they can have monthly film club discussions and a place for people to just chatter at length about film even if there doesn't happen to be a Metafilter post about a specific thing. So yeah, it looks neat.
mathowie: Oh, ye olde school reference, is that why they picked Filmic.org?
jessamyn: Oh, no! Hush.
mathowie: That's a classic, baby!
mathowie: Filmic storyteller...
jessamyn: Did you just call me 'baby'? Jackie!!
mathowie: Aww, I meant it in the... (pause) hilarious sense.
mathowie: Oh, man. Alright. Sweet. We're done.
jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)
jessamyn: Nice talking to you guys!
mathowie: See ya. I'm going to hit hang up, bye.
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- beryllium, 189 segments (whoo!)
- zamboni, 4
- Pronoiac, 2