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Podcast 69 Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 69: Internet History Whooshing Over My Head

Pronoiac set up a Fanscribed page, and most of this transcript came from there.


jingle: (Theme Music)

cortex: That was my favorite thing to do to myself, was to bounce wrong and land on the big metal pipe that was the structural -

restless_nomad: Uh-huh.

cortex: Yeah. Trampolines, man.

jessamyn: Trampolines!

Welcome to podcast 69, the Metafilter podcast. Our last podcast -

jessamyn: - was January 2nd, and we mostly talked about the contest. So it's been a while!

cortex: So we haven't done a normal podcast since the beginning of December, basically.

jessamyn: Gosh.

cortex: It's intimidating.

jessamyn: Yeah, I mostly was looking at stuff from January, so there may just be this crazy dead zone from December but I did find a couple things that I liked in December.

cortex: Yeah, I got some stuff. I know there was stuff that I didn't mention in the last one because we were just being mission critical -

cortex: - about the contest, but I don't know where all those notes are so I'll just have to recreate them organically. And, Matt is in New Zealand right now, I believe. Is that where he is?

jessamyn: He's in New Zealand speaking at Webstock, about "How I Run My Community Good" or whatever it is he talks about when he's over there. He is there and he is antipodal to us and so I go to bed at 11 and he's hanging around in a New Zealand afternoon and it's summer time there.

jessamyn: So, the sunsets at like 9:30. It's crazy.

cortex: It's nuts! And so we've got Jeremy, restless_nomad is sitting in on this podcast.

jessamyn: Who's also known as Jeremy, who's also a girl! Just let's get that out of the way.

restless_nomad: Just to be totally clear, yes.

jessamyn: Restless_nomad/Jeremy and Josh and myself is Jessamyn and this is the podcast.

cortex: All right. Well, why don't we start with Metafilter and talk about things that we like that were posted on -

- that site that we work for.

jessamyn: Cool!

cortex: I've got this all figured out.

jessamyn: I like things on the internet and Metafilter is no exception. Actually we should see - can we hire anybody, does Metafilter Jobs have anything that looks interesting, because sometimes we start there because there is very little to talk about.

cortex: Someone wants a Web Development Jedi. I don't think they want an actual Jedi though, so that's kind of a - feels like a bait and switch.

jessamyn: I do have to mention to my librarian peeps that Bookhouse, who's also known as Jordan Harper, who's a real writerly writer -

- type of person, is looking for research on criminal activity and organized crime in America, which was the only thing where I was like, "if I were really looking for a job that would maybe be a cool one." And of course the Wikimedia Foundation, as people may know, I’m on the Advisory board of, but I know nothing about this particular job -
(cortex & Jeremy laugh)
- is looking for an Interaction Designer, and as everybody knows, Wikipedia could be much easier to use. Please help these people.

restless_nomad: Yeah that is a pretty neat job. I wish there were more people who were hiring people to specifically make sure things are easy to use.

jessamyn: You know, I just spoke to another Metafilter person, and when I say spoke I mean typed, who shall remain nameless who works at a hospital? And he says to be able to do user testing they have to get like human subject clearance, or whatever the hell it is? Like just to work with people to

work with people just to try and make their websites better, they have to work with them as if they were experimenting on them medically.

cortex: Huh.

restless_nomad: Yeah that's not going to make things simpler.

jessamyn: No. No. So I feel like we're still in the sort of preliminary hurdle stages of user interface design. And it's too bad because web sites could be better. I mean ours could maybe be better but other websites really could be really a lot better.

restless_nomad: Yes.

cortex: Do we want to talk about projects?

jessamyn: Well, Projects had some pretty neat stuff in it, I thought. I mean, it always sorta does. When I'm having some sort of day where I'm like "I've seen everything on the internet, and I'm tired of it, grumbles" - I always go to Projects, and I'm excited that people are looking at things that are cool. I don't know about you. My favorite thing was the Commons Image Browser, which is basically something that jsturgill made, which lets you just browse through Creative Commons and public domain images -

Through flickr, I think. But you can like type in tags, or you can look at different sized-thumbnails ... and so if you are looking for a picture that's actually yours... that you are able to use? You know what I mean? So like, I need a picture I can legally include in my power point presentation, this is actually a really good way of doing it. And jsturgill got a lot of feedback in the comments and was able to tweak things a little bit
and make them easier. So I thought it was cool.

cortex: Yeah it was nice.

jessamyn: I believe the most popular project in projects may have been yours, Josh [cortex]

cortex: Uh. Maybe

jessamyn: [chuckles] Would you like to talk briefly about Mapstalgia?

cortex: I could do that. Ah .. well, it's a blog that collects hand drawn maps of video games, but from memory. Not like people sitting around doing a doting portrait of a screenshot. Just like sit down-and oh man- what can I

remember from world one one of Super Mario Brothers or Zelda or Doom or so on. And yeah, just actually it started as a little joke in a metafilter thread and then it completely exploded on the internet. The blog has like twenty-five hundred [2,500] followers on tumblr now, which dwarfs anything I've spent the last two years trying to cobble together by hand on tumblr [laughing]

jessamyn: That's cool! Even your foot by foot .. uh .. whatever that thing is?

cortex: Yeah that's got like twenty-four [24] followers.

jessamyn: Yeah and one of them is me. [laughing]

cortex: Yeah [everyone laughs]

But yeah, it's been huge. There's like three hundred [300] maps posted now and it just keeps sort of slowly cranking along, so. It's been super exciting.

jessamyn: It's cool! When I clicked through it, I thought it was super fun! Somebody did one for pong ..

cortex: [Cortex laughs]

jessamyn: That was the only one I could actually remember, myself.

[Cortex and Restless Nomad laugh]
But it seems really great and it's been over a month and you're still updating it!

cortex: I know, crazy, huh?

jessamyn: It's awesome.

cortex: It's like when other people send in the content, I can really stick with something.

jessamyn: Yeah!

cortex: So yeah, that was fun.

jessamyn: And it popped over to Metafilter and .. uh .. it got eleven [11] comments ..

cortex: [laughing]

jessamyn: ... which wasn't actually a lot but

[Cortex and Restless Nomad both laughing]

cortex: It was so weird because there was the projects post and then there was the metatalk thread and people were like basically got all of the talking out of their system in metatalk.

jessamyn: Oh right! I forgot that it was also in metatalk!

cortex: Yeah. And it happened there first, and then someone posted it to the front page, and it was like Uhhh.... and then yeah people like ...

jessamyn: It's still great, thanks!

cortex: Yeah there's nothing new to say, it was like a day later, so. But yeah it's been really great. It's a lot of fun. I like seeing all of these different approaches people have

to how they sort of try and render their [sometimes very] fractured memories of video games. And some people have crazy eidetic memory and are doing these super detailed maps and other people are like drawing a squiggle and said, "I think there was a bomb here." You know?
[Jessamyn and Restless_Nomad laugh]

cortex: So the range is really fantastic.

jessamyn: Have you made a song about it?

cortex: Not yet. No. I should do that.

jessamyn: Cause I think maybe you need to go for the six pack and hit every-single ...

cortex: [laughing]

jessamyn: ... part-of-the-site

cortex: [laughing] Maybe I can ask about ...

jessamyn: You can hire your brother to work on it ...

and put a thing in Jobs ... and then make a song.

cortex: So just run the.. run the full circuit.

jessamyn: Yeah. But what else did you like in projects? There's the new thing by Horace Rumpole. But, of course, I am a sucker for anything that has to do with ... anything that has to do with libraries?

The Houghton Library has a "You've Got Mail" letters at the Houghton Library blog, which is adorable.

cortex: Nice.

jessamyn: Yeah. I mean, just a little . OH!

cortex: I liked ... I liked ... and I liked this for a while but I just finally

..she finally put it on projects and then it occurred to me that I could actually make a post about it: desjardins cardophile which is a tumblr blog that just collects nice, essentially, maps and map-related art. And it's super keen. You know, I had actually forgotten that it was her blog. It was just some tumblr I was following for the last however-long. And after one of the big Metatalk-tumblr-sharing-threads ..

jessamyn: Show us your tumblrs!

cortex: Exactly. And I was like holy shit- that's desjardins ... so.

cortex: But yeah, it's really nice stuff and she's been doing a great job on the blog. So. I actually made a post about it.

jessamyn: Whoa! Now I am just looking at it. It is amazing. Whoa.

cortex: Yeah. SO you can really kill a lot of time there.

jessamyn: Whoa .. Actually the trivia group that I am in just has a maps -- just images-maps- mini-league that was all about map trivia. And I was all like, "Ah! Fuck-it! I am terrible with maps...Grrr!" But Jim's been doing it and actually

I only think.. I'm just bad at geography. But like I am actually pretty good at maps, you know? Like looking at a picture and being like, "Oh it's Tennessee or whatever the heck it is." This is great! It's like crib sheets for that... What were you saying, Jeremy?

restless_nomad: Oh. No, this is just fantastic. I have .. my entire living room is covered in maps. Mostly of places that don't exist. So, um ... I think this is ...

jessamyn: They don't exist in real life, ya mean?

restless_nomad: Yeah I have a lot of like video game and fantasy novel maps and then an 8 foot by 8 foot [8'x8']

census map of the Austin area, which is my souvenir from my temp job a couple of years ago.

jessamyn: That's a nice souvenir! And by souvenir, do you mean you stole it?

restless_nomad: I stole it, with permission from my boss.

Jessamyn and restless_nomad [laughing]

jessamyn: That's not stealing. That's getting!

restless_nomad: [laughing] Yeah. I think it's illegal for me to own it, but he's okay with it.

jessamyn: I think that sounds nice. Yes. This is great and now I have to bookmark it for later so I don't

spend the whole rest of the time looking at it.

jessamyn: Which of course, is what I am doing right now.

cortex: [smiling] Yes. It's what comes from our natural organic podcasting process. The lack of rehearsal and preparation.

jessamyn: Wait a second. You didn't prepare?

cortex: What? No. You know. We don't discuss a head of time, is what I am saying...

jessamyn: [laughing]

cortex: Some podcasts, some people actually seem to create some sort of game plan. It's like, "Oh I am going to talk about this ... and you are going to talk about that .. " And we just - we just show up.

And I think it's a charming aspect of how we do what we do. Uh .. I liked this project called Meme Pool.

jessamyn: I liked it just because of the name. I saw it.

cortex: Yeah I liked it in part because I saw it and was like, "What the fuck?! Who's doing something called Meme Pool? Meme Pool's think captain! Memepool's .. " Even though it's been functionally dead for ten years. But ah.. The thread is immediately people sort of doing spit-takes, but then saying, "Oh! It's a neat project! " You know.

jessamyn: Yeah who are ready to be like, "WHAT?!" [laughing]

cortex: [laughing] "How dare you! Motherfucker!" [laughing]

jessamyn: And notice, I read it but did not click through.

cortex: Yeah it's essentially sort of genetic algorithm sort of approach to posting images on a tumbler blog. So, it posts an image gotten by doing a flickr API search (I think) for creative commons images that have a couple of tags. So the two tags used to search for the image are it's genotype. And then people do things like

reblog and like it on tumblr, and the more of THAT that happens, the higher the fitness score of that given posts gets. And things with the highest fitness score ..

jessamyn: [interrupts] Oh! Oh! Oh! Wow! Okay!

cortex: .. then "breed" by, you know, taking one of the tags from each of the "high fitness" parents and doing a search with THAT, to grab a new image! And so, yeah, the idea is that you can sort of

climb the most genetically fit...

jessamyn: Come on! That's awesome ...

cortex: image tag combinations for the slash tumblr ecosystem [laughing] which is

... it's a great idea.

jessamyn: I love that! Though now I don't understand what it means as far as what I am looking at?

cortex: You have to sort of fluff with it a little bit. The guy describes it a little bit in there, in the projects post. But I think there was a link to more.

jessamyn: [unintelligible] Wow! What a neat idea!

cortex: Yeah! It's a ....

jessamyn: [interrupting] And of course ... oh sorry! Go on.

cortex: No, I was just ... it's a great sort of application of a fairly simple idea. So.

jessamyn: And his adorable comment?

His? Is it a dude? Sorry. (barely audible) "I am the worst"

cortex: I don't know actually. I did not research..ah .. the gender identification of the poster.

jessamyn: c; (Laughing)

Well let me go and check and make sure before we keep going .. E.C. Mendenhall ..
from TURKEY! Yeah EC Mend ... well ... E.C. Mendenhall could be .. a lady with short hair.

cortex: Well anyways, they made that thing!

jessamyn: (Laughing)

restless_nomad: (laughing)

jessamyn: Yeah. And may have actually spawned the phrase that should probably be the title

of this podcast which is: "That sound you hear is internet history whooshing over my head."

cortex: (Laughing)

restless_nomad: (Laughing)

jessamyn: Because obviously he didn't know anything about memepool at all. But whatever! That's great!

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: It was very nice. Adorable.

cortex: I don't think I mentioned last time.. or did I? Did i mention the MetaQuilter quilting bee? On the last podcast?

jessamyn: [making some sort of VT thinking sound with her mouth]

cortex: I guess I didn't because I don't think we talked about projects ..

jessamyn: I knew it was together and I knew they had a blog and I definitely looked at it.

But I don't know if you mentioned it.

cortex: Okay. Well it's a thing. It's a thing that's happening. And I .. full disclosure ..

jessamyn: [interrupts] Are you quilting?

cortex: I am not. But uh .. Angela is.

jessamyn: Oh! Nice!

cortex: So I'm aware of it. It seems like it's been a fun thing so far. I like that. That whole collaborative creative projects thing. So ..

jessamyn: How does it.. How does it work? I mean quilting is a real life thing.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Is it just people who like "I am" while they are quilting?

cortex: Yeah they have like a discussion group on Google groups which deletes the regular chatter I think and it's a bunch of MetaFilter people

cortex: - and each month is a different person's month, and they send out materials, and basically, a statement of intent, and then all the quilters do up a 12-inch by 12-inch quilting square with those materials, according to whatever that thesis is, then send it back, and the person will assemble that into their own quilt. So everybody ends up with a quilt of their own, and they make two squares -

jessamyn: Oh, and everybody does squares! That's so cool!

cortex: It's neat, everybody collaborating, within -

cortex: - some sort of aesthetic rubric, that can change from month to month. So, somebody might be really abstract, and say "okay, do something that looks like something out of a history book," or someone on the site might say, "hey, make this pattern" - you can give people instructions. Yeah, it's a neat project. I'm looking forward to seeing all the output from it.

jessamyn: Nice! Super nice! Jeremy, anything else you like from Projects?

restless_nomad: No, I'm totally obsessed with maps, so my two were covered.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: (laughs)

You're like, "nope, just this one. Just keep looking at this one. Thank you."

restless_nomad: (laughs)

jingle: (music - Fortune's Son by tunewell)

jingle: (continues)

jessamyn: Move on to Mefi next?

cortex: Let's do it!

jessamyn: Metatalk?

cortex: Let's move right along! Metatalk!

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: You guys never want to talk about Metatalk.

restless_nomad: Oh, there's great stuff!

jessamyn: There's a couple nice things to talk about.

cortex: By all means, you know what, let's talk about Metatalk.

jessamyn: Well! If we want to talk about Metatalk, since it is, at least where we are here, the day before Valentines Day, and there's talk of a big Forever Alone get-together in Google Groups, but there is the "show us your OKCupid" thread, which is actually mostly fun, although -

jessamyn: OK Cupid thread which is actually mostly fun although a little bit not fun, of course, like all MetaTalk threads. But I think for a lot of people who don't see OkCupid as I need to meet someone to date and be with but are just looking for interesting people to hang out with, activity partners... and OkCupid's kind of fun for, y'know, answering lots of questions and looking at people's pictures and stuff, that thread has been enjoyable just for chit-chatting about that kind of stuff. And, secondly, for me, the music torrent is up!

cortex: Oh hey, yeah!

jessamyn: Which is great. I mean, I don't know if everyone sort of knows how that happens, but it's basically a torrent of all the Metafilter music songs from 2011. So it's about 2 songs a day, it's about 3 and a half gigabytes, it's up on BitTorrent and you can go get it, and I got it and I've been listening to it for the last week, I guess, and, you know, some of the stuff's really good. I heard one of your songs today, Josh, it was great!

cortex: Yeah, well, thank you!

jessamyn: I just can't remember which one it was, because I know that you put up a lot of them.

cortex: Oh, they're all great.

jessamyn: No, no, no, this one was special! Special great. But of course, the way I have iTunes set up, it's like, Recent Songs, so it's like all the songs that I added at one dump but then as soon as they've been played they just go back into the All Songs things.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: How do I find the song that I played?

cortex: I can't help you because I do very little truly random listening with iTunes. I usually go grab an album that I want to listen to, so.

jessamyn: Well, maybe I can just...

And the one thing that I had to say about this besides it's great and thanks to Pronoiac for doing it is, and I think Jim is hosting the tracker or something, is, "Get better metadata, people!" There are so many...

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Oh, "Quit Hogging All The Crazy" was the name of the song.

cortex: Oh yeah, that one!

jessamyn: So good. It was so good!

cortex: If I was doing, like, open mics or shows, that would probably be in frequent rotation.

jessamyn: It's very good and very funny. But people should add better metadata so that when we listen to your songs on iTunes, we know who to go and say thank you to. Because that's what I've been doing: every time I hear a song I like, I go over to MetaFilter Music and I'm like, "I like this!", and since the comments stay open forever, I think, right?, anybody who uses Recent Activity will see them.

cortex: Yep. It's kind of an awesome feature. I like that that happens every once in a while, that someone will just pop into a song and is like, oh, hey yeah, that's still-

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: Because, I mean, it's not like the song stopped being good because a couple years ago. Every once in a while someone will pop up an old chococat song and say, "Oh my God, this is the most amazing thing." And you know, it is still kind of the most amazing thing, so.

jessamyn: His stuff is great! And chococat's wife is learning to play the ukelele, and he plays the autoharp. And Jim and I were just playing autoharp and ukelele songs this weekend, so we have this bond.

cortex: Nice.

jessamyn: It is nice. It's nice. I mean, wintertime, whatever, you go for whatever you can get, right.

cortex: [Laughter]

jessamyn: I mean, I don't know what it's like in Portland, but here it's just not really snowing, and people don't know whether to complain, and people are like, maybe spring's coming, and other people are like, "Remember the Valentine's Day blizzard from four years ago?", and people just have the fidgets and don't know what to do.

cortex: Yeah, in Portland winter's just either cold or colder and either raining or not, you know. It's like the chi squared of those possibilities, pretty much.

jessamyn: Didn't you get snow last year?

cortex: Yeah, yeah. We usually get a little bit of snow at some point. I don't think--

We had snow that stuck at some point, I think. But it goes by so fast that it becomes a hazy memory, like you wake up from a dream, and you're like, I think there was snow, and then a monkey yelled at me-

jessamyn: [Laughter] Right, right, right.

cortex: It's not a real memorable event most years.

jessamyn: Jeremy, are you having normal weather down there?

restless_nomad: Uh, yeah, as far as February just always sucks everywhere. I think that actually at some point-

jessamyn: And by sucks you mean-

restless_nomad: It's gray and cold and it's not spring yet.

jessamyn: And by cold you mean-

cortex: 70-

jessamyn: [Laughter]

restless_nomad: We actually had sleet yesterday. It froze.

jessamyn: That's like freezing.

restless_nomad: Yesterday evening I went to go lock my door and realized that I'd never opened it.

jessamyn: I did that yesterday too!

restless_nomad: I'm not going outside in that. It's terrible!

jessamyn: I had friends who came to pick me up, and they're like knocking, and I'm like, "Come in, you idiots!" and then I'm like, "Oh, right, the door's still locked."

Yeah, to hell with it, stay inside, sleet.

cortex: So other nice MetaTalk stuff. There's the Reddit/Metafilter London trivia rematch.

jessamyn: Which Metafilter won, sort of.

I mean-

restless_nomad: Beat Reddit, anyway.

cortex: Yeah, yeah. Our official Metafilter teams beat Reddit's official teams-

jessamyn: And then everyone was beaten by a team of normals, that happened to have a Metafilter person on the team.

cortex: Yep. But who apparently wasn't there representing, so, so yeah.

That was a good time. I like that that's becoming a thing. I hope that it becomes a regular thing. That could be the most healthy possible running rivalry we could have.

jessamyn: [cortex and jessamyn laugh]


cortex: It's like, let's go take turns being smart at a fun thing, you jerks!

jessamyn: Well, and the thing about trivia that's really kind of neat, is it actually, despite the way you might think it would work, it actually gets people off the Internet, because you literally have to not look at your phone for an hour, or whatever.

cortex: Yeah, when people were liveblogging in the MetaTalk thread, it's like, radio silence as soon as the round starts and everybody disappears for an hour and then comes back, or half an hour, or whatever.

jessamyn: Yeah, like, there's a regular--I know there's a regular trivia group in Boston, and I keep being like, "oh, I should go and play with them!" but I never do, but they meet every other week, once a month, twice a month? And do regular trivia. And so it's like a great meet-up, it's an excuse for a meetup, it's great for nerds, because you get to go be nerdy, but at the same time, ah, yeah-

jessamyn: -you get to be offline and hang out with people in real life and eat food and it's cool. I don't know if there's other trivia-type meetups. It would be fun to have, like, a Metafilter trivia meetup thing [laughter], you know, where we wrote a bunch of questions but everyone did them at the same time. I don't even know if you could do that but that'd be neat.

cortex: Yeah, I don't know how that would work. But that'd be fun. I feel like if we did a proper Metafilter trivia thing, like with actual Metafilter trivia, it would need to be open book just to not be unfair to the people

who aren't completely old-school obsessees about the site.

jessamyn: Good point, good point.

cortex: I think that if you can research it quickly enough that counts in this case. It's not like looking up who the President is; if you're looking up some weird bit of site drama from 2008 you can do a site search. It could even be-

jessamyn: Right. Or you could just pronounce users' names out loud [cortex laughs] and people could try and figure out how to spell them, like jjjjjj--like what the hell, the guy whose username is almost all 'j's.

cortex: With one 'i' in the


jessamyn: Is it? Is it just 'j's and an 'i'?

cortex: Yes. It's like six 'j's, one 'i', six 'j's.

jessamyn: That's hard.

cortex: Or something. I don't know if the number's right, but-

jessamyn: jjjjjjjijjjjjjj.

cortex: Another fun MetaTalk thing I liked was the now sort of becoming an annual thing: comments that didn't get enough credit for how awesome they were.

jessamyn: [with great enthusiasm] I love this every year!

cortex: It's always great. Because it's like, oh, yeah, there is all these wonderful little things that may not turn into, like, 100-favorite

phenomenons, but, you know, people are funny and clever and they say excellent things on this site, and it's nice to have that whole, sort of, going through and digging up all the stuff that's worth smiling at again.

jessamyn: Yeah, well, and lots of people participate, and they're fun, and, Greg Nog, wasn't--didn't he go away for a while, and then came back, and then-

cortex: Yeah, he's been sort of on the DL for a while, but he's been more active again, so.

jessamyn: Yeah, yeah. And he had been gone

for a chunk of last year, or it seemed to be, or he had another account, but--I don't even know. At any rate, it was good to see Greg Nog around too. And this thread is always super fun. And it's fun to see what other people like. You know, like, some people like the jokes, and some people like the super-long stories, and some people like--there was the more recent thread about the comment fables, or whatever-

cortex: Oh yeah. [laughs]

jessamyn: -the comment fiction, that kind of went in sort of a lateral direction, because some people really hate them!

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Which I was a little surprised at, but sometimes I really hate them too, so I guess maybe I just need to-

cortex: Well yeah, and I can understand--as much as I think it's probably part of how you encounter them, because, like, I love coming across them when it feels like someone really has a sense of the room, and they make a silly, long, comment-fable type comment, but it totally fits, you know, and they're not, like, you know--it's not like they ran into the middle of a party and told everybody, shut up, so that they could play this awesome record; they saw the exact moment-

jessamyn: That was, like, the story of my life in college.

cortex: Yeah?

jessamyn: Like, "Listen to this, listen to this!" kind of thing. Ugh.

cortex: Were you the aggressor or the victim?

jessamyn: Are you kidding?! No! I was like-

cortex: I don't know what you were like!

jessamyn: "Come on, we're going to the movies!" "Wait, I gotta play this new Game Theory song!" And I'm like, "What, we're, like, getting in the car!"

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: I also appreciated the flip side of the overlooked comments, which was the "Why did this comment get so many favorites" thread?

cortex: Oh, yeah.

restless_nomad: That was fun.

jessamyn: Oh, oh, oh, the thing that you made that got favorites but you thought it was kind of, not particularly funny. [laughs]

cortex: Why do people like this? What the hell?

jessamyn: Or bad, right.

restless_nomad: Uh-huh.

jessamyn: [chuckles] Or completely confusing. In fact, I just e-mailed somebody, not about favorites, but I was like, "Hi, I saw you made a comment in Ask Metafilter, but then you flagged it?, only I don't know why you flagged it? And is something wrong with it?" Like, you know, I read it, and I didn't know if they were like, "Oh my God, delete it, it's got my phone number in it," or something. And she was like, "Oh, no, I was just on my phone, and-

[all laugh]
-I must have been trying to click on my username, and whatever." Because, you know, people flag stuff for all sorts of reasons, and I sometimes feel that way with favoriting, you know, like, maybe you favorited this by mistake? I don't know, I don't know what you did!

cortex: There was also the thread about if you've changed the default fonts on your profile, what do you change them to. It was just everybody talking about what specific font set-ups they use. But then pb specifically did a little bit of research and found

out the most popular fonts and sizes for all users on the site, which was kind of awesome.

restless_nomad: And that one of them was Veranda.

[all laugh]

jessamyn: That was my favorite part! The punchline of that whole thread is: eighteen people picked Veranda!

restless_nomad: [chuckles]

jessamyn: Which, for those of you who are not font geeks, Verdana is the actual font, but Veranda is the misspelling that becomes a word in English, and so

it's hilarious.

cortex: But because Verdana is the default font for Metafilter, changing your font to Veranda just keeps it looking the same, so--

jessamyn: Changes it to Verdana! Or whatever.

cortex: So yeah, yeah. So you are still legitimately using Verdana, but you've decided- Basically, make any fake font name, and you can make up a new name for Verdana in your Metafilter experience.

jessamyn: And isn't that the same thing with URLs on Metafilter? I mean, it's not

the same thing, but you can have a URL where as long as the post number is there--

cortex: Yeah, everything after the slash after the post ID is free-form, and we have the canonical stub that the site will apply to the URL, but you can put anything else in there, so you can create terrible-sounding links or commentary--

jessamyn: It's one of those paths to harassment that I'm always surprised that Metafilter users don't take more often, you know?

cortex: [chuckles] Well, it's one of those things that

it kind of has to be pretty inside baseball for anybody to care, like, you have to find someone who does read Metafilter, you know, enough to have a sense of what would likely be in a URL for Metafilter, and then, you know, get them to see your forged version for any humor to work, because otherwise, if it's just a stranger, they're going to be like, "I don't care, it's some URL, it says some shit, I don't know."
Yeah, if they even notice at all.

jessamyn: If they even know that. Well, it's kind of like adding somebody as a sweetheart through the contacts to bother them.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Where you have to notice and care, and yeah.

cortex: And it's an obnoxious thing, but it's like one of those--

jessamyn: Aggressive sweethearting.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah, but I was surprised that, like, the MetaTalk stuff that was of note was much more interesting and much less fighty-fight-fight stuff than usual.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: But I just may have my fighty-fight-fight blinders on, and that's fine with me.

cortex: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I tend to mostly not mention MetaTalk stuff unless there was something, like, super unambiguously awesome in the podcast, just because I kind of don't want

to be like, hey, now let's talk about this pain in the ass that we dealt with. Because, I mean, I still think--I still find it, like, very much a core very interesting part of the site for me as a reader, even if it's a pain in the ass sometimes, as, you know, a mod. But at the same time it's sort of that thing where do you really want to be like, "Oh my God, you gotta check out what I got on my camera, I filmed a car accident!" It's like, "No! [jessamyn laughs] That's--why would you share that?"

jessamyn: Right. Keep that at home!

cortex: So it's a source of conflict for me.

restless_nomad: I did like these two sort of complementary

threads, one of which is "show us your books", which was inviting people to take pictures of their personal libraries and talk about them and--

jessamyn: Good point. Loved this.

restless_nomad: and then the "show us your desk," which was also--

cortex: Yes.

restless_nomad: I just really enjoy seeing random pictures of people's living spaces and the stories behind them.

jessamyn: I do too, and one of the things that is always so interesting to me is, you know, the people who warn you about the dystopic [dɪs.ˈtɒ.pɪk] future that we're--dystopic [dɪs.ˈtoʊ.pɪk]? How is that word pronounced?

cortex: I say dystopic [dɪs.ˈtoʊ.pɪk].

jessamyn: I don't say it out loud! Well, then, I'll say dystopic [dɪs.ˈtɒ.pɪk].

cortex: [laughs]

jessamyn: [chuckles] But, the way people worry, that, like, oh my God, Google or whoever is assembling dossiers on you. And, you know, on the one hand, I think that's a real concern, and on the other hand, you've got a whole bunch of people here who's like, "Here's basically every book I read! Here's a photo of inside of my house! Here's--whatever." And I think the fact that those don't turn into anything more menacing is always my-

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: -my anti-Big Brother argument.

cortex: It's the fact that the baseline behavior for humans is to be like, "Oh, hey, this is neat." It's like, you know, you can imagine or contrive the bad outcome, but most of the time people are just being awesome and sharing stuff.

jessamyn: And you can voluntarily share, and, if you don't want to, that's great. I signed up to pay my doctor bill online today for the first time, and of the four security questions that they offered me as options, three of them are

answerable via my Wikipedia article.
[all laugh]
So I was just like, "Oh, God, really? You've got to do better than this." And they don't let you write your own, you just have to pick one. So I'm going to make up a fake--And the fourth one is answerable through Flickr photos.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: So there's no non-answerable one. I'm going to have to make up a fake first pet.

cortex: That's the thing to do. Just come up with an answer that can't be researched because it's totally false, but you remember it.

jessamyn: Right.

restless_nomad: Yeah, that's what I almost always do.

Like, I have fake birthplaces and parents' names and everything just that I always use.

jessamyn: I have a fake birthday and that's the only one I've actually used, which I just found out recently is some other famous person's birthday, which was somewhat interesting.

cortex: Huh.

jessamyn: So it will help me remember it.

cortex: If you ever forget what your fake birthday is you can remember it by looking it up.

jessamyn: Right, right, right. "Oh, you know, it's the same as--"

cortex: Identity theft by proxy, sort of.

jessamyn: Right. [chuckles] Well, and the thing is it's one of those numbers that's easy to remember, so I feel like it's not the

celebrity's real birthday either, but they do the same hack as me.

cortex: Ah.

jessamyn: That's what I like to think.

cortex: Yeah.

I have many, many fake birthdays, because--and Jeremy will know where I'm coming from with this. As a video gamer-

jessamyn: Oh, because you had to be older back when you weren't older?

cortex: Well, no, no, because these days, if you want to go look at a site for a game that's anything other than G, there's probably going to be a splash screen that asks you what your birthdate is. It's like trying to look at a website for beer.

cortex: gonna be a splash screen that asks you what your birth date is. It's like trying to look at a website for beer. If for some reason you do that.

jessamyn: The beer problem is what trips me up all the time, yeah.

cortex: Yeah. So it's like - I really kind of - I want to know if they keep track of those data in aggregate cause I want to find out what the most common fake birth years are. I figure it's about one throw of a mouse wheel is the year that everybody was born in.

jessamyn: Right, 1/1/1900.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yes, I'm 112, fuck off.

restless_nomad: I don't - I have never worked on a site where we really care about that data, it's the thing

restless_nomad: I have never worked on a site where we really care about that data. It's - The thing is the ESRB, which is the ratings site - the ratings board for video games

cortex: yeah.

restless_nomad: is what's demanding that. If you have a 13 and up rating, you have to - you either have to get the ESRB to separately rate your website with a different rating, which means you can't like include screenshots from the game and stuff, or you just throw in that splash screen and just assume everyone's gonna lie and we're all happy with that.

cortex: Yeah. Which seems to be what everybody does for everything.

cortex: Which seems to be what everybody does for everything anyways. So.

restless_nomad: yeah

jessamyn: Lie, on the internet. That's not my real desk. Those aren't my books.

restless_nomad: [chuckles]

cortex: The weirdest thing is it's more understandable on like random websites, but on like Steam, like you know I have continuity of identity on Steam, you know, and yet still every time even within their interface in I go and look at one of those, it like "Oh, I have to lie to you about my birthday again because you can't just retrieve my actual birthday that you have on record, in the system I'm using to look at this content, to remember that as far as you know I

cortex: record, in the system I'm using to look at this content, to remember that as far as you know I am in fact, you know, an adult in my thirties." Yeah, it's a weird thing. And that's birthday talk on the MetaFilter Podcast!

jessamyn: You know, I actually like put myself to sleep the other night like trying to think of the birthday game thing? You know how you have 23 people in the room there's a 50% chance or whatever.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Trying to backwards figure out - figure that out, cause I forgot the math that made it true in the first place, and it knocked me right out.

cortex: Yeah, that's a good way to go.

jessamyn: yeah

sfx: music

sfx: music, continued

sfx: music, continued

cortex: Well, should we talk about Metafilter?

jessamyn: Yeah, we should!

cortex: We only have a month of Metafilter stuff, because

we did the Best Posts, so this will be the dry well of the podcast.

jessamyn: This would be everybody who couldn't get something together in December?

cortex: Exactly. [laughs]

jessamyn: Come on, there were a lot of great posts.

cortex: No, there was. I've got a bunch, so--so yeah.

jessamyn: Here was the first one I liked, which was the one that DarlingBri [ˈdɑːɹlɪŋ ˈbɹi]? DarlingBri [ˈdɑːɹlɪŋ ˈbɹaɪ]? made, which is--it's kind of a neat little story of a post, which is basically about a guy who writes books and self-published and he wrote a story that he uploaded to Kindle

jessamyn: Marketplace, and it, like, TOOK OFF!, and, like, tons of people bought it, and it became the most popular top 20 science fiction book on Amazon's Kindle whatever whatever whatever, and so she wrote, like, a nice little post about it, which was cool, but then the dude himself showed up-

cortex: Oh yeah.

jessamyn: -in the thread, and it was like, the nicest dude, just to be like, "well, thanks guys, you know, la la la la la la la!", and it's just, you know--that's kind of the way to do it, right, like you're the

jessamyn: guy. He commented, what, 30 times?

cortex: Yeah, no, he totally doesn't--

jessamyn: [talking over cortex] And we haven't really seen him since. But whatever! I thought it was cool.

cortex: Actually, it looks like he just left a comment a couple days ago, it looks like: "Sales are still great, going back and forth--"

jessamyn: [talking over cortex] In that thread. Which is just barely open; it's going be open for two more days.

Yeah, and that turned into a MetaTalk thread of its own, actually.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: But I just thought it was neat, because it told me a little story, it was something I totally didn't know anything about, DarlingBri put together a terrific post

jessamyn: and, yeah, just all around kind of neat. I learned something. I like the "I learned something" ones.

cortex: Yeah, it's nice. There's an educating effect of spending all this time on this website.


jessamyn: We like to say.

cortex: I like to--I'm a sucker for this stuff. But Miko made a post back around the beginning of January about the corpus of American historical English, which was just a big searchable index of word usage in American printed material from 1810 to 2009. So basically

jessamyn: I didn't even see that. I didn't even see this. I am now crazy.

cortex: Yup.

jessamyn: Wow. Wow!

cortex: So yeah, it's awesome.

jessamyn: Can you guys just talk to each other for a while? I'm going to search for my own name.

Hey, there it is! 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, and not since.

restless_nomad: [laughs]

jessamyn: I don't know what I've learned.

cortex: I'm not sure that's the primary application for it. [laughs]

jessamyn: Shut up! Well--so what did you

jessamyn: look up, smart guy?

cortex: I haven't looked up anything in particular, just bookmarked it. It's totally one of those things that if you're into the corpus of linguistics, it's like, "Oh my God, that's so great," but I didn't necessarily have an immediate use for it, but it's one of those things that will be in the big bookmark of amazing tools people have built on the Internet.

jessamyn: And who put it together? I suppose I could read more, or watch the little video.

cortex: Yeah, I don't remember, so--more information about it is available on the Internet. I also liked this post about Morpion solitaire,

cortex: which is a little-

jessamyn: What?

cortex: -real simple, ah-

jessamyn: Ahh, you know who made it? Mormons.

cortex: Really?

restless_nomad: [laughs]

jessamyn: Just so you know.

cortex: [amused] I did not know that. I-

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: Oh, the corpus. I was like, I thought it was a French guy, the Morpion solitaire.

jessamyn: Oh, the Morpion? [restless_nomad laughs] The Mormion, Mormion solitaire? [cortex laughs] Sorry, I'm a little behind. [cortex and restless_nomad laugh] I'm on a time lag in Vermont [cortex and restless_nomad laugh again], and all of my traffic goes through satellite. I'm sorry, Josh, go on.

cortex: No, it's okay. No, it's just a little solitaire diversion

cortex: that has attracted a whole bunch of crazy math attention over the years because it's one of those things that's proven to be hard. It's NP-complete, so you can't actually come up with a simple solution using a computer.

jessamyn: Can you please explain NP-complete again, because I've forgotten it since the last time you explained it to me.

No, seriously.

cortex: The really short version is that things that are mathematical problems that are NP-complete cannot be solved in polynomial time, which is generally speaking at least a manageable sort of level

cortex: of computational complexity-

jessamyn: So basically you can't know whether you can get all of the solutions or not?

cortex: Yeah. There's no clever, quick, complete solution for the problem that makes it easy to compute.

jessamyn: Got it.

cortex: Encryption stuff that currently exists at this point generally relies on being NP-complete, and if that ever changed, if someone somehow upset the nature of encryption to prove that it could be solved faster, it would have dire security implications for the next short while until people came up with something

cortex: else, but, ah.

jessamyn: I get it.

cortex: But it also means that things like this game can't be solved quickly by a computer, you know, there's a human element very much in play in coming up with clever solutions because the way the human brain manages to be good at things like chess and puzzles is still competitive with what computers can actually do with search algorithms, so.

jessamyn: As opposed to Scrabble, where it's just like, the robots win every time.

cortex: Yeah, yeah. Computer Scrabble's bullshit.

jessamyn: It is bullshit.

This is great.

cortex: So yeah-

jessamyn: Neat! Who is Morp?

cortex: Uh, I don't remember, I looked it up, but the name wasn't familiar.

jessamyn: [reading] "Morpion--a very old word." Hold on, there's a link, of course. Rabelais! Is French.

cortex: Yeah, I remember the Frenchness, but. It sounds like the original history of this is a little bit fuzzy too, because it may not have originated in--

jessamyn: [reading and translating] "Le mot français "Morpion" est très ancien--The French word "Morpion" is très ancient--puisque--because the premier--"

Wow, I can still read French!

restless_nomad: [laughs, with cortex]

jessamyn: Holy crap! [laughs]

restless_nomad: It's amazing how that stuff sticks around.

cortex: The worst part is, you couldn't before the accident.

restless_nomad: [laughs]

jessamyn: Right, right, right. Wow, okay, so, you've now linked to two framed websites, and it's 2012.

cortex: [laughs] Don't look at me. I just follow the links.

jessamyn: [chuckles] Great.

Jeremy, anything?

restless_nomad: Oh, I've got a couple of things. This one, of course, is my favorite, possibly my favorite ever.

jessamyn: Oh my God, this was the best thread of the month.

restless_nomad: This is the thread

restless_nomad: --you know, I didn't even click on the links in this one. It's about when you knew the relationship was over, and it's just a billion--almost 700 comments of people telling the stories of how their relationships ended generally in hilarious ways.

jessamyn: And it's not even the end--it's the moment you had the sinking feeling that your partner was all wrong for you.

restless_nomad: Yes.

jessamyn: A lot of these people continued dating these terrible-for-them people--including myself--for much longer.

restless_nomad: [laughs]

jessamyn: but it was the point at which you knew that it was just doomed. And, in fact, I clicked the links, and it's like, a blog, and the blog's okay but, like, not as great as this thread turned into, which was really delightful.

restless_nomad: Yeah, this is, I'm still--And I think this is where the OKCupid thread in MetaTalk was sort of spawned from, because showbiz_liz was like, "Well, clearly, we have a lot of single people here."


cortex: I missed this entirely, and I've been seeing the title pop around on Twitter on my Metafilter dragnet, so I've seen the phrase, "He cried during the last "Lord of the Rings" movie," like, I've seen that dozens of times over the last week, but I had no idea what the context was, so I feel like things are clicking together.

restless_nomad: Yeah. Oh, it's great. And I think the thread works really well because people on Metafilter have enough commonalities that everyone can sort of go, "Oh, yeah, that, I feel you on that one,"

restless_nomad: whereas there were a couple of people who were quoting from the actual links, where it was like, actually, you kind of look like the asshole there.

cortex: [chuckles]

jessamyn: Right, right, right! Like, some of them are just like, "He didn't whatever." Like, "He didn't pick up half the check," or "He didn't pick up the check," or, whatever the thing was, and people were like, "What? That makes no sense." My favorite, of course, is, you know, I mean, there's a lot of my favorites, but Jim had been reading the thread over the weekend while we were together and I was like, "Oh my God, you totally need to put yours in there,"

jessamyn: and his is, "I knew it was over when she got me a gift of a tongue scraper and a bottle of Scope."

And I don't even know what the thing is, I think this man's the most wonderful [restless_nomad laughs], so I don't know what--what was going on there, but he's like, "A tongue scraper. Thanks!" [laughs]

cortex: Maybe it was some sort of ironic, you know, gift, based on her assumption that he was really into David Foster Wallace or something. It was like, a complicated Infinite Jest gag gift or something.

jessamyn: No, she was from

jessamyn: the Sudan, and she was just like,

cortex: Yeah, okay.

jessamyn: "Brush your teeth." I don't know what the thing is.

cortex: [laughs]

jessamyn: But yeah, no, I thought that was pretty good. And that thread is the gift that keeps on giving, or has been, because you can just kind of dip into it and read some of it. And it combines Metafilter's kind of awkward dating scenarios with the fact that most people actually have a pretty good sense of humor about past episodes. Like, it's not like an angry thread for the most part.

cortex: Mm-hm.

jessamyn: You know, "I knew it was over when

jessamyn: RRRARGH!", you know, it's supposed to be kind of jokey-jokey, I mean, although some of the stories are scary and awful, but for the most part it's entertaining to read, and then every now and again you're like, "Wow, I'm so sorry your ex was a crazy person."

restless_nomad: Mm-hm.

Yeah, contrasted with, "I, you know, couldn't cope with the way he folded his t-shirts."

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: I totally don't understand at all. But okay!

jessamyn: I know, we had it actually inspire, like, a conversation about folding--because I fold my t-shirts, Jim folds his t-shirts, we've

jessamyn: talked about t-shirt folding together, but I, you know, it's just like a bad fit kind of situation, I guess.

restless_nomad: I guess.

jessamyn: Because I guess the opening salvo in this blog was that somebody folded their shirts too neatly, and somebody discovered this and just flipped out.

cortex: Maybe it's like a 'sleeping with the enemy' sort of thing, like, you know, if you have dealt with someone who was way too anal, the appearance of that in someone else's folded clothing may be a warning sign.

jessamyn: That's a good point, that's a good point. I'm sure there are many similar warning signs. There will have to be another--

cortex: So if you are Julia Roberts, and you have left your violin-obsessive husband, I can see why it might be a dealbreaker to meet a guy who folds his shirts too neatly.

I liked the post about the Tome of Awesome, which is just a--

jessamyn: I don't think I saw this. What is this?

cortex: It's so nerdy.

jessamyn: [laughs]

cortex: It's a four hundred and something, like, four hundred and thirty [430] page PDF that's a collection of a

cortex: series of articles kind of about fixing Dungeons and Dragons by a bunch of hard-core enthusiasts who nonetheless have objections to the way the game as it exists--the rulebook is kind of broken.

jessamyn: Oh my God, that's awesome. This is Dungeons and Dragons, it's been around since I was 10 years old, right, this is like 30 years old Dungeons and Dragons.

cortex: Yeah, well, and, it's--they've put out various rule changes over the years, you know, there was D&D, and then there was advanced D&D, and then there was advanced D&D, second edition, and then third edition, and 3.5, and fourth--

jessamyn: I kind of got off the bus at some point

cortex: and fifth is on the way now and it's--yeah, it's been a weird crazy ride over the decades.

jessamyn: But have you been following along? Like, were the changes that they made along the time substantive, or just...?

cortex: Yeah, it's complicated. I was never really deep in the weeds on it, but I have friends who are pretty avid gamers, and so they've been following it, it's been very tumultuous, you know, every time there's a rules revision it's sort of big news, partly because it means printing a bunch of new books that you have to go out and buy if you want to stay current, and partly because, you know, they're

cortex: changing the way the game works, and sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Usually more a combination of the two. Like, there's been a real move in the last decade in particular to move the rules to something that works better with other gaming properties, especially computer gaming. So you have a little bit more regularization of how combat works, and how movement through space works, so that it'll fit--

jessamyn: Okay.

cortex: --really well, with, say, a computer game built on the Dungeons and Dragons ruleset. Because that way, Wizards of the Coast, who bought it, is no longer TSR; it's now

cortex: a property of Wizards of the Coast.

jessamyn: Right, right, right, I knew that.

cortex: It's easier for them to license it, and make money that way. So it's been--there's people who feel that it's a terrible direction to go, and there's people who like it better because it makes the mechanics easier to manage. Yeah--it's about what you would expect from a bunch of enthusiastic and sometimes upset nerds about major changes to something that they have strong ties to the canonical form they grew up with, you know, whatever edition you learned on is the correct one.

jessamyn: And so this Tome of Awesome is supposed to be amusing for--

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: It's both amusing and useful, honestly. It's useful enough that it's actually been kind of dry to read through in parts. Some sections are great because they're really sort of saying, Hey, let's talk about the broken mechanics of the economic world in which D&D exists, where you can find a genie and make them grant you unlimited wishes. So how does an economy where money weighs an incredible amount just to shift around even work? You can't even spend more than fifteen thousand gold in actual money on

cortex: anything, because the cost of transporting the money would exceed the value of the money. It's like--

jessamyn: Don't you get, like, holding bags that you can put anything in, though?

cortex: You can get a bag of holding, yeah, and stuff like that, and there's ways you can use magic--

jessamyn: [surprised at herself] Where do I know this from? Where did that come from?

cortex: I don't know.

jessamyn: This and my French. It's crazy!

cortex: That's kinda great that you pulled that out of the ether there. Or out of a portable hole, perhaps.

jessamyn: [laughs indescribably] Huh!

cortex: But yeah, it's awesome. It's awesome and dry, and if you're a hard-core D&D person, it's amazing. If you're a soft-core D&D person

or are just sort of interested, it's a fun read, but skip the bits that seem boring, because they actually are just boring attempts to provide extra content and ruleset stuff, that's just like, ugh--it's like reading a book on statistics if you don't care about statistics. But it's a funny, engaging book on statistics, but it's still a statistics textbook, you know.

jessamyn: And it's all on Google Code, so they've got a to-do list: "Find some free art. Seriously. This book needs pictures."

cortex: Yeah. They're sort of dressing it up. It's typeset in LaTeX

cortex: so, you know--

jessamyn: Oh, God.

cortex: [laughs] But yeah, it's pretty awesome. I like that. And it came out of a thread, someone mentioned it in passing in some other thread that was about a rules change or an upcoming edition revision in D&D, and someone mentioned that as a counterargument or something and that's how it turned into a post, because people were like, "Oh my God, that's amazing." Because they were like, "I don't know if I should post this. I mean, it's just a PDF, people hate PDFs." And everybody was like, "No, go make a post, it's awesome. Some people don't like PDFs, and they can suck it."

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: So yeah. The system working.

jessamyn: Hurray! That's cool. That's super cool. I also liked--I guess unSane just had all the posts I liked this month--

cortex: [laughs]

jessamyn: --because he also did this one called "Lick Me," which is basically the language of stamps--

cortex: Huh.

jessamyn: And so it's all about--it's just kind of a neat one-off blog post which talks about how putting your stamp on your letter when you wrote to your beloved

jessamyn: can send secret messages,

cortex: [laughs]

jessamyn: --but if you look at the post it's all this thing in tons of different countries. And I guess it was a thing back in the day--the language of stamps. So if you tilt your stamp in a certain way, it can send little secret messages.

cortex: I can see a lot of misunderstandings from people who just--

jessamyn: Hah!

cortex: --don't care about lining things up.

jessamyn: Absolutely. Or who just didn't know the envelope was upside-down, which is my biggest problem.

jessamyn: And I'm like, "fuck, I just!", and then I realize that the people at the Post Office are completely forgiving [cortex laughs] and are just happy to have jobs. [cortex is still chuckling]

But it was kind of one of those neat, "Hey, I found a blog post, it's a single blog post, it's really interesting, people will really like it."

cortex: Yeah, that's really good, I totally missed that.

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: Well, I had a somewhat more accessible bizarre--the post that I've wasted my [???] on, "YouTube Poop"--

jessamyn: What? I'm not... What?

cortex: [chuckles] It's a genre!

jessamyn: Aaaa! What?!

cortex: And it doesn't actually have anything to do with poop, necessarily--

jessamyn: Oh, thank God.

cortex: There may be poop jokes, fart jokes, that sort of thing. But no, it's, ah, for whatever reason, it's called YouTube Poop is the name of the genre, it's just like, really aggressive, weird remixed video, coming from a lot of, like, source material that got digested across lots of different entries in sort of a meme-y way. So you've got cartoon stuff like Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon for some reason comes up a lot, SpongeBob shows up, some

cortex: live action television stuff. It's very odd. There's some nice playlists of top 10 stuff in the post, but also some history that was put together to sort of put everything in whatever context can actually be gotten on this. But it's basically, it's just crazy, weird, turned up to 11 nutso YouTube editing, and it's good. I liked it. I think it's something that you're either going to like or you're going to really not like, but it doesn't take very long to find out.

jessamyn: I'm now looking at one of them to see whether I can figure out what this is at all.

cortex: [laughs] It is what it is. There's no real coherence available.

jessamyn: I don't get it. I'm glad you can't listen to what I'm listening to in my headphones.

[cortex and restless_nomad laugh]
But it's a little community of people? Maybe I need to click through and go to TVTropes so it'll explain.

cortex: Yeah, I mean you kind of have to read through to get a little more context. But yeah, it's just people running with a meme. It's like You're The Man Now Dog; it's not necessarily a--

jessamyn: But I love You're The Man Now Dog!

cortex: Well, but in the same sense if you have other people sort of running with each other's stuff and developing a specific form, you know, You're The Man Now Dog does the static image with the animated gif with the sound collage. This is a little bit more like a much more involved and sort of Dada approach to--

jessamyn: With video editing.

cortex: With video editing, exactly. But that same sort of thing, where it lunges around according to the whims of stuff that people do and other people play off it and it gets sort of recycled into a bizarre sort of

cortex: trends within the form.

jessamyn: This sounds like something that Jim would like and I've never heard of it, so--

cortex: [laughs] You should show it to him.

jessamyn: I'll make sure he sees this and then I'll make sure he's, like, on his way home or something so that we don't have to watch it all weekend.

I had the one more post that I really liked, was "Ceci n'est pas une horloge", which is, "This is not a clock", which is about the 24-hour movie called "The Clock"--

cortex: Oh yeah!

jessamyn: Which is made of thousands of clock samples

jessamyn: from hundreds of movies and basically for 24 hours the clock in the movie, I mean, speaking of mashups, is a clock from a movie saying that time, if that makes sense.

cortex: Yeah, I know, it's really fantastic. I mean, the bits that I've seen of the Guardian liveblog linked in there, or, not Guardian but Globe and Mail, write-up about a reporter who sat down and watched the whole thing all the way through.

cortex: And yeah, it just sounds like, fantastic conceptually. It's funny because it is--this was like, '95, I think, the guy who made this?

jessamyn: Yeah, long time ago!

cortex: And yet it's such a classic sort of like contemporary Internet thing, I was like, it's totally a supercut, it's a megacut. But before that was a thing on the Internet, when that was something you did because you were making an art installation, not because you were bored and playing with Final Cut Express or whatever.

jessamyn: Right, right, right, right. Yeah, I just,

jessamyn: you know, I sort of knew what the idea was, and then of course Ironmouth comes in with a very funny joke, which is, "before commenting, please watch the whole thing all the way through."

cortex: [laughs] Look, if you can't take 24 hours to exhaustively watch an art installation, you know, don't clutter up the thread.

jessamyn: Yeah, so I thought it was good, and now I want to go take a clock vacation and go, like, hang out somewhere and eat snacks and just watch this.

cortex: Yeah, no, that'd be neat.

jessamyn: And the post was really good, by storybored.

cortex: You could take that and actually, like,

cortex: put that, like, dedicate a monitor to it and stick it up a wall and that could be the clock, you know, in your office, just have it looping every day.

jessamyn: Right. Because it's real-time, that's the whole thing, right.

cortex: Yeah. The artist's request is that if you're going to watch it, you know, watch it in sync, even, so if you miss the start time for a clip you're going to watch, wait until the appropriate time on the next day to actually watch it.

jessamyn: Yeah, artists ask for a lot of crazy shit.

cortex: Yeah.

Oh! I like Jeremy's next post too.

restless_nomad: Yeah, I wanted to make

restless_nomad: sure everybody saw this because I lost, like, days of productivity, and I wanted to make sure everyone else did too.

jessamyn: And when you say 'productivity' you just mean working at Metafilter now, right?

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: Well, yeah, or, like, eating regularly, or sleeping--

jessamyn: [laughs]

restless_nomad: or... yeah, no, I haven't gotten anything done in weeks, it's terrible.

jessamyn: What is this?

restless_nomad: So Something Awful has a, I guess a recurring feature where somebody will say, "Okay, let's play this old game and I'm going to go through it and take screenshots and talk about the mechanics and talk about the game and then

restless_nomad: they collect them all, and there's actually an, I think, where they actually have them as web pages, rather than just Something Awful threads, and that's what has sucked up all of my time. But this is Final Fantasy VI, which is a game that many, many people have played, and it's also really badly broken in some interesting ways. If you know exactly what you're doing you can hack it and make really wacky stuff happen. So this is somebody going through the whole game

and showing up all of the bugs and the ways that you can make really crazy stuff happen. And it's not a short game, so it's pretty exhaustive.

cortex: Yeah, no, it's a bunch of content.

jessamyn: I keep clicking through to Something Awful and getting just the "You need to join" page.

cortex: Oh, yeah, it depends on what you're looking at.

Oh, and they closed this one down, those motherfuckers!

restless_nomad: Yeah, it was open when it went up.

restless_nomad: That's a shame.

jessamyn: Okay.

restless_nomad: I wonder if they archived this?

cortex: I wouldn't be surprised if they did put it somewhere. But yeah, it's really fantastic, because all the bugs in the game, part of the deal is--I mean, this was Super Nintendo era, and you had a lot of constraint on the space you could use to make a game. I mean, these days games come out and they're five gigs or fifteen gigs or something. You can put it on a bunch of DVDs or on a Blu-Ray disc and you've got tons of space, but back in the Super Nintendo era

cortex: you were trying to really fit a whole lot of stuff onto not very much memory, because you had to put physical memory on a cartridge, and it was expensive to fabricate it, and, you know--

jessamyn: So you'd hit the "there might be tigers" sort of place where everything just doesn't--

cortex: Yeah, there were--you had to make a lot of assumptions, if you wanted to save some space you just said, "Well, this will never happen, so we don't do error checking for it, we just don't handle it because we know that can't happen in the game, because we know how the game is supposed to proceed. And so any time you manage to find

cortex: something that is not satisfying one of those assumptions, you get into weird "Here be dragons" territory where nobody knows how the game's going to react to it, because they weren't accounting for that possibility. So this is sort of a great big collection of thorough, thorough messings-around with all these weird swampy shadowlands in the Final Fantasy VI programming, as a result of that. And so it's all very, very weird, and it's the sort of thing you could do with any game

cortex: and a Game Genie if you wanted to spend enough time messing around, because a Game Genie--the way the Game Genie--

jessamyn: What is a Game Genie?

cortex: It was an add-on cartridge for older systems that you would actually plug the Nintendo game into the Game Genie and then the Game Genie, the bottom of it was shaped like a cartridge as well, and you'd plug that into the machine. And what it was did was actually let you insert a few small programming modifications as just a hex string. And most people who used it had no idea what they were doing, they just knew it worked. It was a cheat code machine, mostly. You could put in the right

cortex: cheat codes so that you had infinite lives in Super Mario Brothers, or handy basic stuff like that to make it easier to beat the game, but you could also change the programming in weird ways, so there was a Moon Jump code for Super Mario Brothers, that just affected--

jessamyn: Whoo!

cortex: --some little bit of the gravity code in the game, you know, it made it so that you didn't fall the way you should, because they changed one variable in the code of the game when it was running. And so you do all these weird things and you could totally destroy games--like, not break the game cart itself, but the game would not function because

cortex: you inserted a fatal bug, or the game would look really weird because you inserted something wrong into the graphical handling routines and stuff. But this is a case of doing it just by exploiting actual bugs within the game by doing unexpected things--

jessamyn: The thing you're not supposed to do.

cortex: Yeah. Which is much more hard-core than just actually messing with the code directly. This is just finding the hole in the wall of the universe and stepping through, which is really fantastic.

jessamyn: And Something Awful does this regularly with different games.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: As a group, sort of.

cortex: Yeah.

restless_nomad: Yeah.

jessamyn: Wasn't this the post that we had somebody complaining about it because they thought it was Something Awful people trying to just promote--

cortex: That might have been it, yeah.

restless_nomad: We got an--

jessamyn: But then it turned out to be a wildly popular thread?

cortex: Yeah.

restless_nomad: We got an e-mail from the guy who posted it saying, "Would it be okay if I did this? I know it's a forum and that doesn't usually go up," and it was just--

jessamyn: And you guys were like, no, no, no, it's awesome.

restless_nomad: --cool. And it's a shame they locked down the thread, because it removes a lot of the utility for us.

jessamyn: But it will show up

jessamyn: on the archives, right?

restless_nomad: Presumably, yeah, I don't know what the turnaround time is, but they've got all the other stuff there, and there's--oh my God, games that I had forgotten existed.

cortex: [laughs]

restless_nomad: I spent literally eight hours that day in the lparchive reading all the [??? ???] they've done.

cortex: Yeah, it's a real sort of hole to fall into when I get back to that stuff, because I always forget about it. Or speed runs, I love watching speed runs

cortex: a speed run is just someone tries to play through a video game as fast as possible.

jessamyn: Once they know how to do all the things?

cortex: Yeah. Which could be anything from doing Super Mario Brothers really fast just because you hit every jump and hit the pipes quickly, and so you can beat Super Mario Brothers in, I don't know, like, five, six minutes, something like that? So that's sort of your classic, "I'm playing the game really well" speed run. But then there's speed runs that are like, they find glitches and holes and bad assumption, like, "Quake Done Quick" is one of the classic speed runs; they take the

cortex: classic first person shooter Quake and beat it in no time flat, because there's all these ways you can skip past what was supposed to be a puzzle in the game, like, instead of going downstairs, getting the key, coming back up the elevator, and going through the section and unlocking the door, you throw a grenade at the key, jump down, land on the key, jump again right as the grenade explodes and blast yourself up to the door--

jessamyn: [laughs loudly]

cortex: Things like that are just brilliant foundational crazy madness. There's one

cortex: level where you, instead of going all the way around a big complicated U-shaped area, you just literally make a leap that you just barely make if you do it just right, and so that level's over in, like, ten seconds instead of three minutes. It's fantastic stuff. I love speed runs. And it's the same thing as--I watch one because it came up, and so it's like, "Oh, this one's amazing!", and then I'm like, "Augh, I'm watching these things for the rest of the day," so.

jessamyn: Right. Speaking of, we should move on to Ask Metafilter.

cortex: I have one more [???] because it's the best thing ever.

jessamyn: You saved it for last, of course.

cortex: It's Alien, age 11.


jessamyn: Is this a neotenic alien?

cortex: What?

jessamyn: Neotenic--it looks like a little kid. No? Go on.

cortex: [laughs] I don't know that word. This is an adaption of the Ridley Scott film "Alien". Actually, it's an adaptation of the Alan Dean Foster novelization of the film by someone who was eleven in 1979 and hadn't seen the film, but he hand-drew a comic adaptation, and it's fantastic,

cortex: it's just fucking amazing wonderful kids doing art with all the awkwardness but also the crazy artistic creativity, the raw sort of, they don't know it's bad so they do it and so it's kind of great. And the guy's an adult now, and he's posting this. And he's been posting this for a while, and it didn't really get any attention, which, I mean, it's--you never know if something's going to, but he was going in the doldrums and losing interest in continuing the project, because it was like, no one was looking--

jessamyn: That's a lot of work!

cortex: Which I can understand. But then there was a post about it, and it exploded, and the guy has just been blown away that people are actually looking at this en masse. And it's one of those wonderful, the Internet doing its job, and Metafilter doing its job, and things that are awesome that no one's seen, suddenly people are seeing, so the whole thing was fantastic.

jessamyn: And he's an illustrator, and does really nice stuff still as an adult person.

cortex: Yeah. So I thought it was fantastic. But yeah. People should definitely go read Alien age 11, because it's amazing.

jessamyn: Cool. Great!

jessamyn: Yay, Internet!

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jessamyn: My Ask Metafilter stuff was mostly about snacks. At least some of them. The combination of "One minute desserts for lazy cooks", which was basically, "What can I put in a microwave that tastes like dessert?"--

cortex: [laughs]

jessamyn: You'd be surprised. There's a lot of stuff you can put in a microwave that tastes like dessert, some of which I

jessamyn: was completely amazed by. Basically, you can take four tablespoons of flour, four tablespoons of sugar, two tablespoons of oil, two tablespoons of cocoa, a tablespoon of water, mix it in a mug, microwave it for a minute, and it's like a brownie, similar to a brownie.

cortex: Huh.

jessamyn: Or you just have a spoonful of cream cheese with chocolate chips in it. Or you have... whatever. At any rate, it was a fun thread with a bunch of stuff, and you follow up with the, oh sorry I already posted that,

jessamyn: the four football foodies, which was basically, "Help me win my office's Super Bowl snack contest."

Which is what inspired me to have a Super Bowl get-together at my place. Although all I made was the Hidden Valley Ranch Oyster Crackers, which were probably like the fourth or fifth best food there, so they didn't get totally snatched up like I thought they would be.

cortex: Ahh.

jessamyn: I mean, I made most of the food, so it was fine, but bacon jam, homemade pizza

jessamyn: rolls,

cortex: Bacon jam...

jessamyn: pulled pork, brownies, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

cortex: Now, we've been doing a little bit more healthy cooking and whatnot in the last month of so. We started getting a weekly box of vegetables delivered from a local-grown place, so instead of having to remember to buy vegetables to eat vegetables, they're just thrust at us every week, every Monday.

cortex: So it's nice, because we're like, "Oh shit, we've got to eat all this green stuff." And yeah, so we made a bacon quiche, a Paula Deen quiche, which is possibly the least healthy way to do it, but it's like, six eggs, and some cream, and some cheese, and some bacon, and it was actually really good.

I don't know why I'm telling the story, I just really liked that quiche.

restless_nomad: [laughs]

cortex: No, but we had it at a not-a-Super-Bowl party,

cortex: we made one and took it to, ignoring the Super Bowl meetup in Portland. It was a good time. We did it over at Greg_Ace's house, he's hosted a few meetups, and it's very nice. We played Cards Against Humanity, which is basically Apples and Apples except for, instead of you really having to make an effort to come up with terrible things to play, it's sort of designed to encourage them, so it's got prompts that are really

cortex: easy to make terrible things out of and include answers that are really easy to fill in those blanks. So, "I killed X with Y," and it turns out that I killed the Pope with my collection of high-tech dildos.

jessamyn: Aaack!

restless_nomad: [laughs]

jessamyn: Speaking of that, how about that Nicki Minaj?

cortex: I don't know what's going on with Nicki Minaj.

jessamyn: She brought the Pope to the Grammys, and then she did some crazy thing that pissed off the Catholics. I'm like, way to go!

cortex: Wait. She brought the Pope to the Grammys? Like, she picked him up and was like, "Hey, buddy?"

jessamyn: She brought a dude who looked like the Pope to the Grammys.

cortex: Ohh, okay, that's much simpler.

jessamyn: Yeah, I don't know if the real Pope would be, ah--you can Google 'minaj' and 'Pope' and you'll see some photographs of it.

cortex: Was she angry that MIA flipped off national television and she didn't think to do that, so she had to step it up?

jessamyn: I don't think so. Saturday Night Live did a very funny thing about MIA. But there's a picture of her and the guy that looks like the Pope. What a great gig, right?

cortex: Yeah. [laughs]

jessamyn: You get to go to the Grammys...

cortex: Put that on Craigslist: "Needed: Pope impersonator for offensive stuff."

jessamyn: Right. To hang out with Nicki Minaj!

[restless_nomad and cortex laugh]
I think it would be cool.

restless_nomad: I do like the descriptor--

jessamyn: I didn't really see the Grammys, but I caught that part.

restless_nomad: I like "wannabe controversial rapper". That's excellent. Good description.

jessamyn: So yeah, mine was all about snacks, Ask Metafilter. There was probably one other post that I liked, but what else did you guys see that you liked?

cortex: I as usual have been terrible

cortex: and don't have anything ready to hand for AskMe--

jessamyn: The e-mail that I gave you saying to find some things, you didn't read that?

cortex: Yeah, no, no, I think I've established at this point that I am not as regular a leisure reader of AskMe as I am of other parts of the site. I don't always have something that jumps out, I don't know.

jessamyn: All right. Jeremy?

restless_nomad: Well, there was this hidden rooms post, I think? Five artists, and--

jessamyn: The best. The best.

restless_nomad: Oh yeah, just crazy. It's about,

restless_nomad: you know, "Help me find more evidence of hidden rooms in different buildings and houses," and a million people were like, "Oh yeah, here's this reference for this place that I lived near", and, "I used to live in a house that had one of these," and it's just really neat stuff.

jessamyn: Yeah, I enjoyed this thread great, because it was just the gift that kept on giving, like, people had funny stories about their own houses, people had funny stuff plucked from the news, I also love the sort of mystery house

jessamyn: stuff, so yeah, 219 people marked it as a favorite, it was crazy. Did that top out the popular favorites in Ask Metafilter? It must have, right?

restless_nomad: I think it did. I think that's where I was reminded of it, because I never remember to favorite stuff, and then you guys are like, "Hey, do you want to do the podcast?", and I'm like, "Oh, great, yeah, I have tons of stuff I liked," and then I can't find any of it, so.

cortex: [laughs]

jessamyn: I favorite completely sparingly on posts, and so

jessamyn: I go look at my favorite posts, and there's six, and I'm like, okay, there's my--

cortex: I'm trying to do that better, it's just that it's a hard pattern for me to get into.

jessamyn: February is difficult for everybody, I totally understand.

cortex: We're all struggling.

restless_nomad: It's a rough month.

cortex: [laughs]

jessamyn: The one other thing that I--what did you say?

restless_nomad: It's a rough month.

jessamyn: [laughs] Totally, it's horrible, it's the worst. But my last thing that I really liked was this other funny, it was another kind of cryptic-ish thing. Like, so you know how, and you may not know, but if you're like, in Alcoholics Anonymous and you're like, trying to

jessamyn: figure out, is this the Alcoholics Anonymous group, you can, instead of being like, "Hey! Are you an alcoholic?" you can say, "Hey, are you friends with Bill W.?" because he's the guy who founded it, and so if you're an AA person, you totally know that, and if you're not an AA person you probably don't or you don't care or it's not like walking up to somebody in a bar or in a meeting place and being like, "Hi, I'm an alcoholic!"

cortex: [laughs]

jessamyn: And so saradarlin basically asked, "Are there other self-identity

jessamyn: things that outsiders might not know but insiders know?"

cortex: Well, there's like, friends of Dorothy, but I don't think that really has any currency these days?

jessamyn: Yeah, no, exactly like that! Friend of Dorothy, Jerry's kids, member of the tribe--

cortex: Jerry's kids was just, like, a charity.

jessamyn: Well, it's like, yeah, but then there's also, like, deadheads say it.

cortex: Oh. Ohh. [unintelligible?] I did not know that.

jessamyn: See. See?

jessamyn: Jehovah's Witnesses have things, Reddit community has things, "Do you smoke?" "Cigarettes? No," is a way of telling people that you smoke pot. The whole thing is great. I really like it. It was a fun thread.

cortex: You know, I do remember one now.

jessamyn: [laughs] As we've been talking.

cortex: From December, yes. Aided by my wife's favorites. "Celebrities with hidden talents", basically.

jessamyn: Oh, this was great too! I enjoyed

jessamyn: this.

cortex: Yeah, just a nice big collection of, "Oh yeah, this too," people remembering just bits of odd fallback talents and whatnot.

jessamyn: Senator Franken can draw the US map from memory? I think we mentioned that on a previous podcast, it's amazing.

cortex: I hadn't seen that.

restless_nomad: Dr. Ruth was a sniper? Wow.

jessamyn: There's a photograph of her, actually, in her sniper outfit. Let's see if I can find it real quick. Now I'm writing Dr. Sniper,

jessamyn: that's going to work out well.

Yeah, she was not only a sniper, but kind of like a cute gun-toting sniper. And here is Snopes with the verdict: Is true! It happened. And I'll see if I can find the picture because the picture is so cute. Oh, yeah, here it is.
[singing] La-la la-la-la-la la-la-la la-la!
Yeah, check this out.

restless_nomad: Okay, wow, yeah, that's...


jessamyn: I know, right? Dr. Ruth was a sniper, Harrison Ford is a cabinet-maker, Neil Young is a model railroad guy.

restless_nomad: Yeah, it's a great thread.

jessamyn: Rosey Grier does needlepoint--I guess I knew that. Mike Rowe is an opera singer. Although I don't know if David Bowie having an acting career is that much of a surprise, I think we already know that.

cortex: [laughing] It's not really a very hidden thing.

jessamyn: But, you know, I don't know what people know and what they don't know!

restless_nomad: Well, yeah, having an acting career is not a hidden talent. Had he been able to act, well, that would be a huge surprise.

jessamyn: [laughs] Now, shut up.

cortex: He's good when he's cast well. Like, he was totally fine in--

jessamyn: He was good in God Bless You, Mr. Lawrence, or whatever that one was.

cortex: I don't know that one.

jessamyn: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. He was, like, a stuffy British dude.

cortex: So he seems to be able to pull that off pretty well. He was great, if very brief, as Pontius Pilate in Last Temptation of Christ.

jessamyn: Ohh. I didn't see anything besides what's-his-butt in that movie.

cortex: Will Defoe?

jessamyn: Defoe, yeah.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Besides, it's a lot easier to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior when he looks like Willem Defoe.

restless_nomad: [laughs, along with a bit of cortexlaughter]

jessamyn: Any last words?

restless_nomad: No, I really... I read AskMe for the relationshipfilter, and that stuff generally, when it rolls off the page, it should probably stay rolled.

[jessamyn and cortex laugh]

jessamyn: That's often my feeling. Especially if it's made it all the way to MetaTalk, I'm like, you know, they don't need any more help from me highlighting them. Maybe it's time to have another call-in show or another guest so that we can have other people talking about it, but I feel it's sometimes impolitic if we talk about it.

cortex: Yeah. Throw the spotlight.

Well, okay, I think we may have covered the site pretty well there then.

jessamyn: I think that's a wrap! Well, good. I hope Matt's having a good time in New Zealand, and that everybody's okay with this Matt-less podcast.

cortex: Thanks so much to Jeremy to hopping on here with us.

jessamyn: Yeah, Jeremy, we're glad you could make the time to chat with us on this Monday--afternoon, I guess by now, morning for Josh.

restless_nomad: Yeah. I'm always happy to happy to help.

jessamyn: Cool!

cortex: All right!

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  • beryllium - 17:00 to 32:30, 35:00 to 78:30/end (wow!)
  • Lily Romano - Minutes 0 to 3
  • night_owl - 16:30
  • Pronoiac - 0:00 to 2:30, 4:00, 14:00 to 16:00
  • tangerinegurl - 3:00 to 3:30, 4:30 to 13:30
  • yuwtze - 0:30 to 1:00, 2:00 to 2:30, 33:00 to 34:30