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Podcast 64 Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 64: Unsticking a dead mouse.


Intro: not the usual theme

Cortex: Welcome to the Metafilter podcast episode 64, with Cortex and Restless Nomad, because Matt is in Australia, and Jessamyn is having a crazy busy day and bought a headset to try to sneak this in and the headset was broken! And she was like, "why don't you two just do a podcast," so here we are.

Restless Nomad: Yep.

C: laughs I think this is going to be a winner.

RN: I think it totally is.

C: We're going to shatter some records in podcast amazingness. So I figure your big challenge here is, you were conversational but not super invasively talkative when we interviewed you a couple of episodes back, and now there's no Matt and Jess to stop me from talking constantly, so you kind of have to just lower a shoulder and dive on in there in this case so this'll be a real trial by fire.

RN: Yeah, it may end up being a complete disaster because I'm just about as big a videogame dork as you are so we may just feed off each other.

C: We can just talk about Bethesda for the next two hours if you want. Just, "Skyrim looking good, oh yeah."

RN: Oh man, yeah, I could in fact go off about Bethesda for a couple of hours, so, yeah.

C: We'll try and contain ourselves a little. Actually, it's funny, there's not a whole lot of videogame posts, in the stuff I have sort of picked out as favorites this podcast, which is kind of unusual. Although I'm sure I'll think of some.

RN: I did want to mention that we had four or five Game of Thrones-related AskMes just in the past month. With the season of the HBO show ending and the new book coming out, that's what's on everyone's mind apparently.

C: Yeah. I've been sort of avoiding it just because I want to avoid the new book potential spoiler stuff, and I already watched the season so what do I need?

RN: There were two or three that were like "oh my god please help me figure out what the hell is going on" and/or "keep track of all the names because I'm just totally lost."

C: It really is a series that needs a character map more than most do. I got halfway through the fourth book a while back when I was powering through two, three, and four, because I picked up four and I needed to re-read two and three, and it was going great, but about 2000 pages I was just worn out. So I put that down, probably a year or two ago, and I just picked it up again and tried to figure out where I left off, said "no," and just started reading it again from the start because there is no way I was going to pick that back up, because, "who are all these people?" and then you go back and start reading the beginning of it and in that little throwaway intro scene, there are twelve characters, almost none of whom you'll even hear from again, so yeah. Yeah, I can understand the panicky feeling there.


RN: It makes for good Ask Me questions, though, because everybody who does know something about it is super-excited to talk about it and show off their knowledge, and links, and details.

C: Well, we should start somewhere, why don't we start with Ask Me? I'm real proud of myself because I actually found one thread which is one more than I usually have, but I favorited something at one point. It was "how to unstick a dead mouse from the floor."

RN: Oh that's fantastic! I must have missed that!

C: So the question is "how do I get a dead mouse in a puddle of dried molasses off my kitchen floor?" And, I don't even care what the answer is. I'm just so glad that question happened. A bunch of people showed up and tried to be helpful, too. That kind of made my day when I saw that.

RN: Oh yeah, and they're worried about preserving the mouse in as complete a state as possible. I can't blame them because I don't want mouse parts - even less than I want a whole mouse. But, yeah, that's awesome.

C: It might not be the top priority at that point.

RN: (laughs) Yeah, I think "kill it with fire" might be the solution, really. Just get everything sort of caramelized to a black crust and then scrape it off. That's awesome.

C: If you've got a tiled floor, if it's all on one tile, you could rip that off and stick in a replacement, maybe.

RN: That would work too. Awesome. So, let's see - as usual, I have more Ask Me stuff. One of those ones from the beginning of July was the question is, "is there a term that specifically denotes a man involved in an extramarital relationship with a woman from within the context of that relationship," so not "cheater" or "philanderer" but "there, you have a mistress and her whatever -"

C: "Maestro?"

RN: As you have, "a wife has a husband" and there's really no - there are several suggestions for terms in other languages, but there isn't one in English. There just isn't.

C: That's interesting.

RN: Yeah, it was a neat question. And also, there's a fabulous Wikipedia page on "mistress" - just the concept and the terminology. That was a neat little language question.

C: That's super neat. I'd never thought about that.

RN: And I do like that one of the best answers is, "her Gingrich."

C: (laughs) "This has been the Political Humor Hour, with Cortex and Restless Nomad."

Both: laugh

RN: Pretty good one.

C: What else was good, on the ole Ask, on the Green?


RN: I've got to say, I was sort of a fan of the "mustache, yes or no" question.

C: I missed this.

RN: "I have a mustache. Should I keep it?" And it's sixty replies, for and against, with various pictures from ad hominem, who's the poster, and it gets pretty funny. Because the first picture he's like: "It's 4:30 in the morning, so it's a little rough." It's an interesting basis for choosing your facial hair.

C: I can never imagine asking that of Ask Me. If I'm going to have a mustache, it's because I decided, "you know what? mustache." Which is why I have the facial hair I have, because I tried with, I tried without, I shaved it off, a year and half ago or something, and I got a mix of people going "oh yeah, that's great," and other people saying "what the hell happened." And then my wife said noooo! And I was like, "yeah, I don't really, either." So we pretty much came to the important consensus there. I'm not sure Ask Me would get a say.

RN: Yeah, I think the spouse gets the deciding vote, always. I always thought my dad would look great with facial hair, and my mother disagreed, and therefore he has always stayed clean-shaven.

C: So it goes.

RN: Oh, this one was fun. It's "Can you tell me what this blog is, written by a woman named Annie in 2000, it was pinkish red.

C: laughs

RN: And someone found it!

C: Holy shit! That's fantastic!

RN: In less than an hour, somebody's like, "oh, do you mean this one? Here's the Wayback Machine link." Like, "yeah, that's it, that's exactly what it was."

C: Wow. Go Ask Me!

RN: Yeah. I worked at a bookstore, and you get that - the person walking in's like, "there's this book my friend told me about, it supposed to be great, it's blue. Can you tell me what it is?"

C: I never actually worked in a video store, but I always thought that I would be good at it, if it came down to that. I figured maybe I'd have just the right sort of pattern recognition to be able to say "oh yeah, that action movie starring that guy who is in that thing," somehow it would just coalesce and I would say "clearly, you mean such and such."

RN: It's really fun when it does, because people are always like, "wait, you actually read my mind?"

C: It's kind of great, because you're harnessing, with Ask Me in particular, with a bookstore or videostore, you've got whoever's on staff there. If someone doesn't happen to get it, it's not going to happen. But with Ask Me, you've got all these, great big pile of people who've been reading the Internet for the past 10 years and, if there was something that was on the Internet that anybody at all read, there's a chance that someone read it and will see this. So Ask Me is great!

RN: It really is. It's so much fun.

C: It sure is a resource.

RN: In the vein of talking about our embarrassing bodily functions, morning breath!


RN: Question one: are there any movies where their characters acknowledge that this exists and number two, will you kiss your partner with morning breath. And it's predictably entertaining.

C: I would imagine.

RN: I think they're consistently entertaining. I never get tired of people's talking about their embarrassing bodily odors, I don't know why.

C: It's one of those things that doesn't come up so much in casual conversation, so it's kind of entertaining when it does, because there's that sense of this unusual access, this insight to the human condition, as it were. You got any more Ask Me?

RN: Well, I've got to say, Saturday I'm on the board of directors for a nonprofit, and the board meeting is usually pretty boring, so I just brought my laptop and was refreshing during the board meeting, and a flag came up for Ask Me and I click on it, and it's in the anal bleeding thread and it's a very small table, and the problem is it's a link to a video. And so I'm sitting at this table with five other people, trying to decide if I should click on the link to this video that presumably has some relation to anal bleeding.

C: (laughs)

RN: I decided to delete it just to be safe. It had gotten flagged, people are usually pretty good, but I clicked on it, saw the title, it did appear to be related to anal bleeding.

C: Oh, you know what it is, it's a Don Hertzfeldt cartoon. And, it was correct to delete it because it has not a goddamn thing to do with answering the question, but it's a great little bit of animation, with the happy cloud character saying, "everything's great! whee!" and then you cut away to some other dancing clouds: "oh, I'm having fun!" and then the other dancing cloud's: "my anus is bleeding!" and then more dancing and so on and then the whole thing goes red. Yes. That should not have been in that thread, but it's a great piece of animation. I just found out that Don Hertzfeldt is like two years older than me, and I'd always imagined that Don Herzfeldt was some fifty-year-old guy who sort of broke into animation in middle-age, because his stuff was so bitter, and it's wonderfully funny, but I just had this image of him as this guy with a potbelly, wearing a trucker truck, scrawling up angry, bitter animation, and then I found out that he's basically just my age, and all of a sudden, he's just this clever, talented jerk, and that sucks because all of a sudden I'm just not doing as well as him.

RN: Seriously. I'm also getting to that age where people who are doing important and awesome things are my age or younger. Like Felicia Day is my age. And she basically rules the geek world now. Was it the New York Times that proclaimed her the Queen of Comic-Con? And she's my age and I'm, you know, sitting here, at my computer, some more. (laughs)


C: What about - what about Metafilter?

RN: Well, why don't you start on Metafilter, because I'll bet you have more stuff than I do.

C: I do have a passel of stuff. Well, one thing that happened just two days after we recorded the last podcast, was the site's birthday, and, and Matt of course registered - actually, acquired - the domain lo, these many years later, and turned it into a site where people could post their memories of Metafilter, and had been collecting these for a couple of days before the anniversary happened. So he was actually sitting, waiting for someone to make the inevitable catscan post, which usually just goes to this broken link, and then people are like "man, this link's broken," every time, except the people who get it, and instead he was sitting there waiting for it to happen, and then he tweeted about "someone make the post so I can go to bed" and no one knew what that was about, and then he actually replaced it with this proper site.

RN: That was fun. A lot of entertaining stuff in there.

C: It was a good thread. And I love - I shouldn't take significant pleasure in people not necessarily getting the joke so much, but I do like the fact that every time this bizarre, broken, dumb post produces people who rightly recognize it as bizarrely dumb and broken, but don't know why everybody else isn't having a fucking cow about it.

RN: Yeah, it's that you're standing in a room, listening to a bunch of people talk, and all of a sudden, they start laughing, and you're just, not.

C: Yup. Good stuff - there was a huge post about Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

RN: Oh yeah! With 288 favorites.

C: Big monster thing. It was enough of a monster that it actually broke badly the first time it got posted, pb had to go in and alter the way the backend works for some stuff, to even make it possible for - it's huge! It's ridiculous! It is a massive, crazy thing.

RN: Oh yeah, and it's seventeen billion videos, which is what broke everything, if I recall.

C: Yeah, the site actually basically crawled to a stop because the Youtube inline player was trying to grab information for each of these for everybody loading the post all at once, and the computer was not doing well with it.


(via Fanscribed page)

But yeah, it's just ridiculous - there's a hundred comments in the thread, and fully half the vertical length of the thread is still the post text. It's kind of wonderful as a thing, but it's also one of those things that should happen once every three years, maybe. Not that anyone's just going to start casually throwing out these gigantic posts, because who has the time to put it together, but still. That was kind of awesome. Bill Nye is one of those people, it's nice to know that he actually had a TV show -
because it was almost impossibly, correctly nerdy?

restless_nomad: Um-hmm.

cortex: You know, you don't really see TV that's just straight up "Hey, I'm a nerd and I've got a production budget. Let's do this thing!", the way-

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: -the way Bill did. Or I guess, does.

restless_nomad: Yeah. At least not about traditional nerdy things. I think there are definitely cooking shows, like Alton Brown really -- if he was into Star Wars the way he's into cooking, he would be just as much a nerd as anybody else.

cortex: Yeah, definitely.

restless_nomad: But cooking is just not considered nerdy enough.

cortex: I always kind of thought of him as the Bill Nye of cooking.

restless_nomad: Mm-hmm.

cortex: Which Bill Nye would probably say, just makes him the Bill Nye of organic chemistry or something.

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: Yeah, I thought that was pretty great, and obviously so did a billion other people, so-

restless_nomad: Yeah. This "I do not have an eating disorder" comic, was-

cortex: Oh yeah.

restless_nomad: -really neat, it's not a topic -- it's a topic I sort of shy away from? Just because being female and sort of generally interested in health and fitness and nutrition

it just intersects in really unpleasant ways with everybody's life? And I just don't like reading about unpleasant things. But this was a really interesting, well done, honest comic. And really a pretty good thread about it.

cortex: Yeah, that was -- I was a little bit nervous that it was going to...because it's one of those things that could go in a tricky direction? [Restless Nomad agrees] But the fact that it did not was kind of a big relief.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: And yeah, it's actually a nice comic too, not to say that it wouldn't be a valid thing for someone to do even if they had really mediocre artistic skills, if it's a way for them to work, it'd be fine? But they can draw perfectly well too, and they've got a decent sense of composition and it really works well a piece of sequential art, rather than just as someone sort of scrawling on a napkin.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: But yeah, that was a nice thread.

restless_nomad: Yeah. Definitely on the list of threads that I sort of cringed

at when it came through my inbox and then was really pleased to see, it went-

cortex: Yeah.

restless_nomad: -in neat directions.

cortex: I really liked the CheapAss Games thing. As much as anything for just the general games thing but also because I know a lot of people know about CheapAss but not everybody does.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: But there was a post based on the fact that they're putting out a lot of their stuff for free as just pdf's you can download. Which, I'm always a fan of that sort of thing when you can just literally "I have a printer, let's play a game,-

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: -if you have nothing else to do".

Seems like a nice bit of social glue. But also led to people talking about the various CheapAss games they like, as well as other fun sort of...that sort of low-fi gaming thing.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: Yeah, just a neat little post from JHarris.

restless_nomad: Yeah I've a couple of friends who are really into the boardgames, and it's not really? I don't know, maybe I'm just a child of my generation, and if it doesn't have sound and animation I'm not interested?

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: -But I never really got hooked on it?

But there's definitely a sort of, underground circles of people who just totally dig on board games, and they'll play anything that looks remotely interesting.

cortex: Yeah. I've been really getting more into the boardgame thing again lately, and there's actually been a number of Portland boardgame meetups. It's become sort of a ongoing thing which is great, because everybody can get together, bring the game that they like, and teach new people who don't really know the deal with it. But then, after a few iterations of that, more people know these various games

so you can just sort of fall into it.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: But yeah, I mean there's a ton of good board games out there too, and especially if you're willing to drop money there's a bunch of really interesting things being commercially produced. More at the, forty dollar, fifty dollar level than the CheapAss thing if you want to go in that direction.

restless_nomad: Man, I keep looking at these threads and being like, "That was really only a week and a half ago?"

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: [laughs] Just crazy.

cortex: I feel like I should use favorites more...more for the temporary bookmarking

but I usually like my favorites to be favorites for good.

restless_nomad: Yeah, I've never done the bookmarking.

cortex: Like, if I favorite something it's because it's going to stay. Yeah. I should have a little text file where I throw "Oh hey, this was a fun thread at the time", but it all becomes -- it's such a day to day thing, I don't know how the experience is for you, dealing with Metafilter, and whether this has changed as you've been doing mod stuff more, but it's like, Metafilter's always there, it's there every day, it's sort of flowing along, there's always some stuff that I'm interested in because it's interesting, and there's always some stuff that I'm keeping an eye on

because it's, stuff I feel like I need to keep an eye on, you know?

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: And it kind of flows together to the point where when a months comes around I can remember specifically what I was looking at over the last three days, but I can't remember what was going on three weeks ago. So if I don't take notes, I kind of have no choice but to scan through the archives page, and try and find things that look familiar, something that was interesting even if I didn't leave a comment or a favorite or whatever.

restless_nomad: Yeah, it's just, it is totally just current events for me. Even AskMe,

which I read, I have been reading more consistently for pleasure for years? And Metafilter is sort of, "Am I interested in this topic or not?" whereas AskMe it's "Are these people going to be interesting or not?",

cortex: Yeah.

restless_nomad: -which is sort of a broader range. And even now, I'm ws just looking through, looking for threads that I wanted to mention. And I get past three days, and I'm like "This was a hundred years ago!"

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: [chuckles] And how did I not see like three quarters of these threads?

I guess nothing was flagged then, on that weekend.

cortex: Yup.

restless_nomad: Here was one that I particularly thought just blew my mind. The Murray Hall thread?

cortex: I don't know if I saw that.

restless_nomad: Apparently, this is a New York City politician who for, was a politician for twenty five years, and it came out when he died that he was in fact a woman. And Noone except his wife and daughter knew about it. Totally blew my mind, I've never heard of this.

And it's, there's some really interesting links, about how it came out, and finally he got breast cancer. Which is, his doctor, eventually after trying to treat it himself to try and keep a secret, he finally went to a doctor and, couldn't quite pull off the illusion all the way through death.

cortex: Yeah. Huh.

restless_nomad: Some neat, it's just a neat-

cortex: Yeah, some old history.

restless_nomad: Yeah, and this was a while -- this is, 1800s.

cortex: Yeah.

restless_nomad: It's a long time ago.

cortex: Yeah, I totally missed that one.

restless_nomad: Yeah. It's fascinating.

cortex: There was a paper, and this is one of those "I like this even though I haven't gotten through it" things, just because I haven't had time to read through the whole pdf, but there's a paper about doing corpus analysis of rock harmonics. Basically some folks took a bunch of, top ten rock songs and did analysis of the chord momement within, sort of "C goes to G, G goes to F", and so on.

restless_nomad: Hmm.

cortex: Which is's something that had been done a number of times, in various ways about music and there's been a ton of it done about classical music in particular, which is where a lot of some of the guidelines of music theory come from in terms of what you see as plausible versus implausible chord movements, is based in part on looking at what people had been doing for hundreds of years as the music developed. But yeah, to look specifically at Rock and saying, "Well how does this differ" from sort of that common practice

classical music, and the results were, it differs in some interesting ways, which was kind of cool to see because, there's a lot in common still, but you listen to rock music and it's got a different overall feeling to it.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: But yeah, so it was a nice look into that, and it got people talking about music in the thread, which was fun, and talking about Markov chains-

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: -which of course, made me happy. So yeah, it was pretty neat.

restless_nomad: I see the "Are you trying to summon Cortex?" comment. [laughs]

cortex: But there was some nice discussion by people in there too, explaining sort of what's going on in a way that was a little bit more accessible than jumping into the paper, which is kinda, it's not crazy but it's kinda dense, so.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: So if you're a little but curious about some of the music theory stuff they're talking about, a few people do a good job of trying to open that up which is nice.

restless_nomad: Do you remember, man this must have been six or seven years ago, somebody had come

restless_nomad: out with a piece of software that would analyze a song and predict whether or not it was going to be a hit?

cortex: That sounds familiar, but I can't remember where it was.

restless_nomad: That was back in my roadie days, and I remember looking at that thinking that would entirely change the industry, and unless somebody bought it and is using it totally on the down-low, I don't think it did.

cortex: Yeah.

restless_nomad: But now I kinda want to find out.

cortex: Well, it's a fun idea, but it's one of those things where it's like, anything that's going to magically create a hit is, why is it not... At a certain point, you can be very reductive about the underlying structure of something

and say, well, these are features that we find in stuff that does well, but the distance between that and actually having a hit is so complicated because of all of the other different issues involved. It's kind of like those things that tell you whether, you give it a sample of writing and it tells you whether it was written by a man or a woman. Maybe we'll find some correlates that actually have some sort of significant findings, but you're not going to find anything that actually can break down the problem to the point where you can actually
specifically, definitively say one or the other.
Oh, I see you found the software.

restless_nomad: Yeah, and that was 2009, and I totally remember this happening a long time ago, but I'm sure that people have been trying to crack this since software was able to handle that detailed analysis.

cortex: Oh, sure.

restless_nomad: [chuckles] Because that would be still a reasonable money-maker even though the music industry is sort of completely screwed on backwards.

cortex: [chuckles]

I wonder if there's a post about that?

restless_nomad: It seems like the sort of thing there would be a post about.

cortex: Oh, yeah, I think I found it, or something like it. Yeah, it looks like this must be it. There was a post back in October 2009 from Lutoslawski.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: "Music Intelligence Solutions" is the name of the computer responsible for it, so that's-- [dissolves into laughter]

Well, I've got one more Metafilter thread off the top of my head. There was
an academic Internet thing posted a couple of days ago, Stanford's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course will be offered free to anyone online this fall. So they're basically just opening it up to anybody on the Internet who's interested in taking the class as well. And it's like an actual AI course. It's low-level AI, but as someone points out
prerequisites like "a solid understanding of probability and linear algebra will be required"--

restless_nomad: [chuckles]

cortex: --kinda means you need to at least have an interest in some of the math behind this stuff.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: But someone actually linked to some linear algebra course material from MIT in the thread, [laughing] so I guess we really want to get boot-strapping.

restless_nomad: Yeah, I guess. I saw the weekly graded homework assignments and quizzes and then skipped ahead to, over ten thousand students signed up, and my brain sort of melted.

cortex: [laughs] Well, they're going to do it all

apparently algorithmically graded. So it won't be like, write an essay, it'll be, submit solutions to problems, and those will presumably be graded by computers in a way that will scale to tens of thousands of students.

restless_nomad: Yeah. Well, it's an interesting experiment, if nothing else.

cortex: Yeah, I'm kind of curious to see how well it goes. Because it's the sort of thing that could really go badly if it turns out that they've got some mistaken assumptions about how it will work. But, at the same time, I'd like to think that it could do well, because

it would be a neat way to really get more people in some of this stuff. Because, I mean, I'm not going to go back to school just to learn more about some of the subjects I'm interested in, because there's so much involved in going to school above and beyond just learning things, logistically speaking.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: So something like this, if it actually worked and turns out to be a functional way to do ad-hoc education, would be really neat.

restless_nomad: Yeah. And it looks like Google

will have a lock on all of that information!

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: Which, yeah! That seems a relay, let's fund this course, use a bunch of our tools, we'll look at how they work and develop further tools.

cortex: Yup.

restless_nomad: Eventually sell them to universities. Yeah. That's a cynical view of it, of course.

cortex: Well, and someone made a joke in the thread along the lines of, the whole thing is actually part of a Stanford experiment in data collection, so

the output of ten thousand people trying to take an AI class online will actually be the data they will use for some sort of AI venture, which would be... [laughs] fantastic.

restless_nomad: I wonder if that would, like, "Next semester's AI class will be taught by the AI we developed using the output using the output of this semester's class, so if you take it in five years, it may be a really good instructor."

cortex: And 70% or higher will be a passing grade, and anything below that you're annihilated by a space laser.

restless_nomad: [laughs]


cortex: So you got anything else from the blue?

restless_nomad: I have one other human-interest-y one that I really liked, although I did not read the entire thread and it might have been a complete disaster. But this, things not to say to a depressed person, and things to say to a depressed person.

cortex: Oh, yeah.

restless_nomad: Led to some really interesting personal anecdotes and discussion of the cultural phenomena of depression and treatment

and how to deal with all of that. I know I have personal friends who've read it, and, like, yeah, it was really nice to look and see that there are people who have the same brain chemistry as me, and react to things in the same way.

cortex: Yeah, I was interested to see what would happen with the thread, but at the time it was just sort of like, you know... Some days I feel like reading a thread like that, some days I feel like, you know, maybe not so much. Because there's going to be a lot of frank and raw anecdotes

and whatnot. It's really fascinating and really useful to read through that stuff, but at the same time it's not a tower defense game, it's not exactly a light way to pass the time.

restless_nomad: Yeah, seriously.

sfx: [Music: Old Joe Clark, by tmcw]

sfx: [Music: Old Joe Clark, by tmcw, continued]

cortex: Well, I picked out a bunch of music.

restless_nomad: Cool.

cortex: Since I do a terrible job of that sometimes, so I'm going to run with the, here's some music that I liked off Music, thing

for once, which of course I didn't plan ahead and provide these, so you have no way of knowing what I'm talking about until such time as I paste a link--

restless_nomad: [laugh]

cortex: --But there was a really nice cover of an old bluegrass song, or folkgrass, whatever, called Old Joe Clark, that I think of more as a song [???] than an instrumental, but that's just a really nice short instrumental take by tmcw, with banjo and a little bit of guitar in there, and it's super nice.

There was a great cover of a Hoagy Carmichael song called Old Rockin' Chair, by koeselitz. Who I did not know played trumpet! I didn't know he was musical in general until I found out he was a couple ago, but apparently he's been playing the trumpet, he's playing it pretty well, and it's a nice sounding thing. I think I might even use that for intro at some point earlier in the podcast. So there may be time travel involved, with the trumpet!

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: You may already have heard it before I even talked about it, we'll see.

restless_nomad: Excellent.

cortex: There's a song called Public Transport Fashion Explosion, by dunkadunc, which is just this very fun thumping electronic thing. He may or may not have said something about dancing your ass off in the thread, I can't remember.

sfx: [Music: Public Transport Fashion Explosion by dunkadunc]

sfx: [Music: Public Transport Explosion by dunkadunc, continued]

cortex: There's a nice piece of work by MajorDundee, who always does nice work, called Charlie Citrine, Superhero.

We're doing a riff thing, is the challenge for August, in Music, is do riffology. Do some sort of song that's all about a riff, it's got to have a serious hook in there. And Dundee's got a good sense of riffs in the first place, so I've got the feeling he'll be posting a number of things throughout the month.

sfx: [Music: Charlie Citrine, Superhero by MajorDundee]

sfx: [Music: Charlie Citrine, Superhero by MajorDundee, continued]

sfx: [Music: Charlie Citrine, Superhero by MajorDundee, continued]

cortex: Long returning after, I think, two years since he's posted anything, armoured-ant posted a new song, that's apparently off of a new album, and it's super-nice. It's a great slow-build song. It starts out real quiet, him singing, and then brings in octave-doubling vocals from some female singer, and

hangs around there, and seems super comforting, and then builds up into a bigger thing, and then comes back down at the end. It's called "Hey, It's Okay," which is the theme of the whole song. I really liked that.

sfx: [Music: Hey, It's Okay by armoured-ant]

sfx: [Music: Hey, It's Okay by armoured-ant, continued]

sfx: [Music: Hey, It's Okay by armoured-ant, continued]

cortex: And then, to finish it off, "Boron Rod" by chococat. Who apparently was doing SongFight, which I've done in the past as well. It's a place kind of like Music, insofar as it's Internet music posting and there's a bunch of people there, but it's more of a literally every week

there's a, this has to be the title of the song, you have a week, go! And then everybody submits, and then they all critique and vote, and there's a winner every week. Anyway, apparently the prompt was "Boron Rod", so he managed to do a very earnest chococat-style lush-sounding, nice harmony vocals, everything, thing, that just happens to be a song about boron rod, so [laughing] it's pretty great.

restless_nomad: [laughs] I love that he also included

a link to what the hell a boron rod is and what it does, because I wouldn't know.

cortex: Yes. A thoughtful man, chococat. He didn't post the lyrics in there. I mean, I could mostly make them out, but I admit I get lazy when I'm listening to music to the first time and it's nice to have the lyrics just to read along, because otherwise I make totally wrong assumptions about what this or that word is.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: But in this case it wasn't too much of a challenge. And boron rod was pretty easy to pick out, so.

But yeah, there's the Music.

restless_nomad: Awesome.

sfx: [Music: Boron Rod by chococat]

lyrics: [You still say things look fine.

I can see that they're not.
There's a way we can stop it,
and save what we've got.
Like those spikes
of old wood
so the house doesn't rot
I think that we need a boron rod.
I think that we need a boron rod.]

cortex: But yeah. Projects. We would have usually talked about Projects. I forgot to look at stuff. Were there any projects you liked?

restless_nomad: I will confess I very, very seldom read Projects, so I really don't have anything handy.

cortex: Ah, there was...

restless_nomad: Oh! There was this Which Fish site. I had actually come across it before. The question of, "Is eating this fish contributing to the destruction of our oceans?" is a convincing one, particularly since I live near the Gulf and can't bring myself to eat bottom-feeder fish from the Gulf anymore, which is a damned shame, because there are lots of tasty ones.

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: But it's really complicated, because all of these

different kinds of fish are caught in different ways, and some of them are sustainable, and some of them are totally destroying the ecosystem in the oceans, and sometimes it depends on which region it's from, or which particular variety of fish, and it's just this huge stinking mess.

cortex: Yeah, so, like, king crab from the US is okay, king crab from other places is not okay.

restless_nomad: Right.

cortex: Organic farmed king prawn is fine, but otherwise no.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah, no, that's interesting.

restless_nomad: It's nice to have it in a handy little--

cortex: Yeah. [laughs]

restless_nomad: --big vivid green or red, sort of lay it out. So that's pretty cool. And that had gone over to Metafilter as well.

cortex: That reminds me of, somebody has a site where they keep track of--eh, this has probably come up in a podcast before--but things that will either make you ill or cure you of your ills in the Daily Mail or something. It was a similar sort of thing: green is, "This will totally make you healthy," and red is, "This will totally make you

unhealthy." It's broken down by category, so there's 20 different entries for alcohol, half of which are, "Oh, alcohol will totally help prevent you from dying, but it will also kill you!" Yeah. Same sort of thing. This might be a little bit more useful.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: There's a really neat iPad app that MeFite idontlikewords was involved in, from a company that I was actually already familiar with, so I think I have another

app, called Tabletop. It's just a music production workstation for the iPad, and it was five bucks or something, it was crazy. So, so someone who likes to occasionally muck about with recording on my mobile devices, I was really pleased with that.

restless_nomad: Nice. Oh, that's the You Are Listening to Los Angeles dude.

cortex: Oh, okay!

restless_nomad: Yeah, that's really neat.

cortex: What's the thing. Tim McCarty--mccarty.tim. [laughs]

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: I'm just gonna go ahead and reverse his username, and he doesn't have a choice.

He made this silly Deleted Post simulator, using Markov stuff, speaking of Markov again.

restless_nomad: Oh, seriously. That was fantastic.

cortex: Yeah.

restless_nomad: I think the MetaTalk thread is really the best part of it.

cortex: Yeah, everybody's playing with it and going nuts with it. But yeah, I thought that was super brilliant, and he really has come close to building something that I kept putting off building, building an actual Markov thread generator, so I'm inspired to maybe try and get back and do that again now.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: We really need a Markov emergency system, for whenever things on the site get crazy [restless_nomad laughs]. We just need to introduce something else that uses Markov chains and Metafilter text, and everybody will suddenly chill out and wander over to that.

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: Just a big button we could press. We could break some glass.

Speaking of the anniversary stuff, there was also Matt got interviewed in the local alt-weekly, the Willamette Week. There was a nice
medium-length article in there, and I've got a copy of it sitting on my desk, Matt just smiling goofily and... [laughs]. I remember he talked about being sort of horrified about the pictures they took, and was like, "Uhh, yeah, I don't know!", and I was like, "Oh, you're not going to be on the cover anyway," and then they put him on the cover anyway.

restless_nomad: Uh-huh.

cortex: He's got a classic Matt looking like, I'm not gonna take you taking this picture seriously enough, I'm just going to do-do-do because I know you're not going to use this, right? sort of look on his face.

cortex: And that was on the face of Willamette Week. So that was pretty great.

restless_nomad: Yeah, that was a neat little article.

cortex: There was another issue of the MeFi Mag came out. They're taking submissions for further ones, so that continues to look good.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: I've been really pleased with that. They've been doing a great job with it. For something that could have gone anywhere from trainwreck to really nice, they seem to have landed firmly on the really nice side of the continuum.

restless_nomad: Yeah, lots of neat stuff.

And the picture of Jessamyn is hilarious. It's a great t-shirt.

cortex: That really is fantastic. Oh, and there was the haiku thread! Jessamyn had an idea that we should follow through on, which was, do a call-in thing with the voicemail box Matt has and have people read haikus into that. We could have incorporated those. But yeah, so this was--and I feel bad about it, because I deleted a thread, it was a double, and I often make stupid jokes with the doubles, because it's so low-stakes, but

I didn't link specifically to the double in the deletion reason, and dash_slot didn't happen to know the George Strait song which I was making a riff off, which was "All My Ex's Live In Texas", and so he rightfully was like, "What the fuck does All My Ex-Posts Live In Tex-Post?" mean?

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: And it was like, if you don't know, then that's totally inpenetrable.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: So he posted about it, and we explained it, and then eyeballkid, I think, knew what he was doing when he said it was a good thing I wasn't posting

haikus of country music. And I was over at a friend's house point, and had a couple beers, so I posted a couple dozen haikus in there, I think, and a bunch of other people jumped into it, and it turned into this huge 300-something comment thread full of bad haikus of country and other music. Jessamyn had a great one up there; someone said, do Rawhide, and I think a few people took a shot at it, but Jessamyn's was:
on, up, up, out, on
out, out, in, in, out, out, in
Move, head, count, ride, cows.

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: Which was just about perfect.

restless_nomad: This is great.

cortex: So I liked that thread. It was nice having a fun thing happen in MetaTalk.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: It gets a bit heavy at times.

restless_nomad: I did enjoy the one comment in the middle of those haikus that is like, I looked at the reason for the actual post, and was like, how are there 250 comments,

it's just not that contentious an issue!

cortex: [laughs] And every once in a while some sort of policy discussion would try and break out briefly, or someone would try and do something other than post a haiku, and then that just never--it didn't seem to last.

So that was good, that sort of made my day. I need to go back and post a couple more. The thread's still over, I figured there's time.

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: I ran out of country music songs that I could think of that I hadn't done and no one else had done, that anyone would recognize. I mean, I could do really obscure stuff, but it's kind of no good if

no one has any idea what you're paraphrasing.

restless_nomad: Yeah. Although I suppose you could make a convincing case to listen to a new song, if you have a link to it, by writing it.

cortex: True. And that could have been an interesting way to take it. That could be a good blog, someone could do a music blog where it's a track-a-day sort of blog, but every entry is just a haiku, trying to capture the spirit of the song.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: Someone other than me should get right on that.

restless_nomad: [laughs] Yeahh.

I did enjoy, because I am a relationshipfilter addict, where somebody comes in and says, I posted anonymously, and you told me to dump the motherfucker already, and I did, and it was totally what I needed, thank you all.

cortex: Oh yeah!

restless_nomad: You never get that feedback, because there are all these anonymous relationshipfilter threads. It's very rare that we get any feedback at all, and we really never get the retrospective.

cortex: Yeah, exactly.

restless_nomad: And there were a couple

people who came back in, like, Yes, that was in fact the information I needed. So, it's not super-long. Just happy.

cortex: Yeah, it was just a nice little thing. That's good.

Oh, and we haven't done the dutiful looking-at of Jobs.

restless_nomad: Oh yeah, where we all look at Jobs at the first time in a month, and go, hmm, there are a couple jobs.

cortex: Well, we get an e-mail for every post, just to make sure we can keep an eye on particularly weird ones coming in every once in a while. So there's never anything super surprising to me, but I guess if I go back after a month and

look... There's, loquacious is trying to find a mobile, Android, and iOS games graphic developer, which seems like there's probably a few people on Metafilter like that. He's got an idea for an app that he's trying to develop. Yeah. And it's all tech-y jobs, of the sort that seem to show up on Jobs.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: So there you go, there was Jobs.

cortex and restless_nomad: [laugh]

I think I may be out of stuff. And I didn't even link any Flash games!

restless_nomad: [chuckles] There was at least one that was awesome, but I'm not sure I remembered to go back and favorite it, because I immediately went and played for 17 years.

cortex: Well, there was Kingdom Rush. That was kind of fun.

restless_nomad: That wasn't bad. I'm fond of tower defense games, and that one was pretty good.

cortex: Yeah. But I had already found it when it came along, so.

restless_nomad: I don't know that I would call it the best tower defense game ever, but it was definitely--

cortex: It's serviceable.

It's well done. It's well put together.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: It marches along steadily.

restless_nomad: It's oddly short for a game that really should be pretty dynamic, and it's really like, there's x many maps, and that's all there is.

cortex: Yeah.

restless_nomad: I think my favorite tower defense game ever is still Desktop Tower Defense.

cortex: Yes.

restless_nomad: You can go any direction with it.

cortex: Yeah, it's such a nice stripped-down implementation of the concept.

And the maziness of it, I've never really seen quite recreated in the others. And the whole path-based tower defense thing is okay, you can make it work in a way that's interesting, but I love the fact that Desktop Tower Defense was all about, you are essentially establishing the game board yourself, you are the navigation.

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

cortex: So there we go! It is resolved, Desktop Tower Defense is the best tower defense game.

restless_nomad: [laughs] That should start at least some contention when we post this.

cortex: [laughs] This has been the Tower Defense podcast.

restless_nomad: We could totally do one.

cortex: We could.

restless_nomad: Would not take all that much prep, to go into infinitely detailed discussions of all the tower defense games.

cortex: We'll do a little pre-produced mini-episode for future podcasts where we take on some gaming topic.

restless_nomad: Uh-huh.

cortex: Well, I'm all out of Metafilter.

restless_nomad: Yeah, I think I am as well.

cortex: So I feel like this was at least a qualified success. We seem to manage to talk about stuff

to each other.

restless_nomad: Yeah! And it lasted fifty whole minutes, so it's at least not going to be ten minutes of, uh, yeah, so there was stuff!, right?

cortex: Yep. I'll see if I can cut out those awkward pauses and whatnot, slap in some music.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

cortex: It'll be a fucking podcast. People will be like, man!, this, that I'm listening to, is a podcast!

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: I'm being cast pods as we speak.

restless_nomad: Uh-huh.

cortex: Alright. Well, okay!

restless_nomad: Alright!

cortex: Good work, and I guess we'll speak again when Matt is back in

Australia and Jess is back in Vermont. And another several weeks of Metafilter have transpired!

restless_nomad: Fabulous.

cortex: All right!

sfx: [Music: Hey, It's Okay by armoured-ant]

lyrics: Oh, let it go stay

And I regret that to this day
There must be something in the world
That I can sing,
So what do you say?
And we try another day
There was all that we had gone to waste.
Chorus: Now I need you to say
Hey, it's okay.
You didn't mean it that way.
And in a couple of days it'll blow away.
[Repeat Chorus]
[instrumental interlude]
Baby, I can explain.
I didn't mean ya any pain.
I just wanna put things back the way
they used to be
'Cause it's such a shame.
But I take all the blame.
Just tell me one thing to change,
and I will.
[Chorus x 2]
Because you know we never brought things right
We only put them away.
Livin' in hiding from my mistakes.
Oh, we never put things right.
Ohhh, we only put them away.
But I hope that someday,
Someday, someday,
You can say, say, say,
Hey, it's okay,
You didn't mean it that way.
And in a couple of days, it'll blow away.
[Repeat Chorus]
[Repeat Chorus x 2, fading out]
It'll blow away.

Credits / Dibs

  • Minutes 0 to 15: Pronoiac

From Fanscribed:

  • beryllium - 96 segments
  • ceribus peribus - 24