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Podcast 74 Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 74: "LobsterMitten interview."

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


jessamyn: So, welcome to the Metafilter Podcast. This podcast is number (pause) 74?

cortex: I think so - that sounds right. I'll go look. We never ever look it up ahead of time. Yes, honestly.

jessamyn: 74, and we're talking to LobsterMitten for a little bit, and then we're gonna - I don't even know what our plan is.

cortex: Probably then we'll just stop and regroup and pick up with Matt when he's around.

jessamyn: This will be seamless to those of you listening at home.

cortex: Yes. You won't even know, except we went and described it, so now you'll be listening for it.

jessamyn: Dang it!

LobsterMitten: You can throw to commercial.

cortex: Oooh, yeah.

LobsterMitten: And it'll cover the break.

cortex: Run some political ads.

jessamyn: Those are the dulcet tones of LobsterMitten you can hear, in whichever speaker she's in.

LobsterMitten: Hello.

cortex: Hello!

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: Because when restless_nomad started, we spent a lot of time talking to her without, I think, being really clear -

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: - that that's who the other voice was, and since she sounds and has the name of a young boy, it's sometimes a problem, so, this is LobsterMitten -

LobsterMitten: (giggles)

jessamyn: Who's one of our TWO new moderators, who started - when? ...

LobsterMitten: About a month ago -

cortex: Oh, a couple weeks ago? I think her first shift was a couple of weeks ago. I think.

LobsterMitten: Yeah we got announced about a month ago, and then we sort of were like lurking around behind the scenes but not actually taking any action.

cortex: Right.

jessamyn: (giggles)

LobsterMitten: Then maybe two weeks ago... and change... we had our first actual shifts where we took action.

cortex: Right because Jeremy was off on a conference and it was about time to have some, some extra help in there

jessamyn: And I had guests and, yeah.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: So cool! So you'll see LobsterMitten along with goodnewsfortheinsane who is our part-time overnighter one night a week. You will see LobsterMitten primarily on the weekends, though she is on the site a lot of the rest of the time, too. And , uh, we just figured we'd bring her in to chit-chat with her and we'll probably talk to goodnewsfortheinsane at some point in the future, too. I guess, right?

cortex: I'm sure we will.

jessamyn: He's chatty! I talk to him a lot.

cortex: He's a great guy! He's super friendly. He's super nice.

jessamyn: He likes skyping.

LobsterMitten: And he's Dutch.

cortex: And he's Dutch!

LobsterMitten: ... which is a bonus.

jessamyn: And he's Dutch and when I was talking to him on Skype he was listening to House Of Pain.

cortex: (Laughs) Excellent!

LobsterMitten: (giggles)

jessamyn: ... and it blew my mind.

LobsterMitten: (giggles)

cortex: I said he was Danish once back when ... Do you remember when I was doing the Aural Times? God, that was like six years ago... and he did a couple of guest contributions.

jessamyn: Was that a project? A project you had?

cortex: Yes.

jessamyn: What happened to that project?

LobsterMitten: (giggles)

cortex: It was an incredible drain of time and energy. I did it for a good six months and it was just hard.

jessamyn: Mmm.

cortex: Like, I would come home from work and then like try and write a song from scratch and create a whole fake news writeup for it and everything - you know - I was doing that three days a week and oh, it killed me.

jessamyn: That sounds difficult.

cortex: It was, it was a little bit rough. But he did some guest things, and I accidentally said he was Danish rather than Dutch in the first guest thing that he wrote.

jessamyn: I have that problem. So he lives in the Netherlands...

cortex: Right.

jessamyn: ...which is also Holland?

cortex: Right.

jessamyn: And they speak.. Dutch?

cortex: Dutch, yes.

LobsterMitten: Indeed.

jessamyn: Which is also German, except not really?

cortex: Yeaaah, they're, they're, they're closely related.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: Are they mutually intelligible?

cortex: Now, Dutch is not Deutsch, which is the German word for German.

jessamyn: Fuck!

cortex: Um... I...

jessamyn: Okay... but like..

LobsterMitten: Dutch is intelligible if you look at the way it is spelled and imagine pronouncing it in your mind.

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: Often it's just English words with the vowels changed.

jessamyn: I like that. I like that.

cortex: There's no tandem vowel shift there, so things get a little more lost I guess.

jessamyn: LobsterMitten, you speak any other languages?

LobsterMitten: I don't. I took um, Latin and Italian, so I sort of can limp along embarrassingly in those two. But I don't really speak them. Do you guys?

jessamyn: I limp along embarrassingly in Romanian, 'cause I lived in Romania for a year.

LobsterMitten: Ah!

jessamyn: And it's basically Italian, so you and I could probably have a full conversation -

LobsterMitten: a terrible conversation

jessamyn: - in what we thought was a language we understood.

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: And be speaking totally different languages.

cortex: Get some serious pidgin going.

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: I took - ah - a quarter of Spanish in middle school and a couple years of Japanese in high school -

LobsterMitten: Ooo.

cortex: - and I've retained slightly more of the Japanese, but that's like, yeah, it means I can remember like twenty words. Its - yeah, I'm very much an American.

LobsterMitten: (laughs) Yeah.

cortex: But yeah. So yeah, so you've done a little moderating now, you've gotten your hands on the big, ah, admin board.

jessamyn: Yes, on the tools.

LobsterMitten: Yeah, on the tools of power!

jessamyn: I forget, does she have all the tools that we have?

cortex: I think so. I think we -

jessamyn: I think we just gave 'em the full tools.

cortex: I think we decided that yeah.

LobsterMitten: Are there secret tools, that we don't have?

cortex: Well, when we first had, ah -

jessamyn: Vacapinta.

cortex: Vacapinta, ah, doing some volunteer work, we had created a sort of like simpler, stripped-down toolset so that he didn't have to - cause you remember, I went through that whole rigamarole with you -

LobsterMitten: Right.

cortex: -showing you all those Labs tools and stuff. We didn't want to make him even deal with all that stuff. We didn't have as much stuff at the time either. But so yeah, we made sort of a simple interface. We were thinking about doing that again, ah, for you and gnfti, but then we were like, you know, we trust you (obviously) so why don't we just give you the whole thing and you can just not bother with the stuff that you don't need to use, so.

jessamyn: Yeah, I mean basically vacapinta we wanted him to be able to like give somebody the night off if they were freakin' out, but we didn't want him to have to worry ab- or watchlist someone - but not like, oh, "do I give 'em a week off?", "can I ban somebody for life?", and mostly just looking at, you know, flag queue stuff that would hit the most flagged stuff, not having to check out every flag that came at night.

LobsterMitten: Yeah?

jessamyn: But yeah, I think we just decided not to do that, because every time we're like "oh let's give 'em this other thing to do", we're like, oh, well, why don't we just -

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: - give 'em all the tools then?

cortex: Yeah, "why maintain these two different views", so. So yes, no, you have unfettered access.

LobsterMitten: Mua ha ha.

cortex: You have just as much power as - as the rest of us.

jessamyn: Don't ban yourself -

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: - and think that you'll be able to undo it by hitting the "Back" button.

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: And, how do you know that?

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: 'Cause back before Josh was around, I tried that for some reason. And ah, then I had to wait for Matt to wake up to unban me.

cortex: Always use the buddy system for novelty bans.

jessamyn: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: Always have a friend with you, to make sure you're safe.

jessamyn: Oh and you know, one of the things I think we haven't ever talked about maybe is like the admin panel, one of the things that we sort of do as like a cheap party trick, is whip out the admin panel and show it to people and let them test-ban themselves if they want to.

cortex: Oh yeah.

jessamyn: Just FYI. It's not secret.

cortex: It's fun at a meetup every once in a while. Maybe use caution if someone wants to see their userpage, and they have a history of being a pain in the ass on the site, cause it's one of those things -

jessamyn: Cause there may be notes.

cortex: - where I feel like even someone who feels like they're a little bit of a troublemaker might still think "Oh yeah, I'd love to see mine, it's hilarious" and then they might feel bad if it's a note from us saying "Man, they're really acting like an asshole again" -

LobsterMitten: Yeeah.

cortex: - and, and you know -

jessamyn: Or like writing down like private information that they revealed in, you know, one Ask Metafilter comment eight years ago that's right there in their userpage.

LobsterMitten: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like occasionally I'll write down things that are interesting, like oh, "is an astronaut" or whatever -

LobsterMitten: Right.

jessamyn: -but, you know...

cortex: But if there was some sort of complicated drama we need to account for in the future or whatnot, in case there's like recurring behavior, you know.

jessamyn: Right, "used to date this other user, kinda bummed out that they broke up" -

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: - that kind of thing.


cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Watch the userpage thing a little bit.

cortex: But it's not top secret.

jessamyn: You can show it to people.

cortex: You can totally do the party trick thing with it, if people want to see it at a meetup.

jessamyn: But, if you're logged in on somebody else's computer, make sure you log out, because while they're logged in they'll be you on the computer.

cortex: (laughs) Yes.

jessamyn: I'm trying to think of every mistake I've ever made.

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: If - if you're ever not sure if you did that, what you can do is change your password.

LobsterMitten: Ooo.

cortex: And then it will try and reauthenticate, ah, next time they try and hit the site.

LobsterMitten: Okay.

cortex: That's your emergency shut-off switch if you realize that you went to the library and you know -

LobsterMitten: Yeah.

cortex: - and did some moderating or whatever.

LobsterMitten: Oh yeah, definitely I do that a lot.

jessamyn: I occasionally moderate from the library. From different libraries. That's good advice. Oh! and back in the hippie days - I don't think we even think we mentioned this, too - when we banned people, we used to just change their password to "banned".

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: That that's how that worked.

LobsterMitten: That's awesome.

jessamyn: This was waaay back - I mean -

cortex: Yeah, back

jessamyn: - we fixed this so long ago -

cortex: back

jessamyn: - probably -

cortex: it was years. Yeah.

jessamyn: Did that work when you were still here, Josh?

cortex: I think we were still on plaintext passwords when I started in early 2007, but I think it was pretty quick after that -

jessamyn: And you were like "I can NOT put up with this."

cortex: That was one of several things I was like, oh man, now that I can actually like not just be some guy in MetaTalk who's like making pony requests, ah...

jessamyn: "this clown-shoes..." (laughs) yeah.

cortex: this should change! (laughs)

So, so, you, how has, how has moderating been, for you? In these

jessamyn: And is there anything you'd like to share with the MetaFilter population about, ah, yourself? As we know almost everybody here has cats.

LobsterMitten: Yes.

jessamyn: Well, I guess Matt's cats all died.

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: Oh, that's sad!

jessamyn: Josh has cats, one escaped. Jeremy has cats, that I've taken pictures of. Um, taz has a dog.

LobsterMitten: Aoh.

jessamyn: I have a cactus.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: You've probably got a mossarium or two, right?

jessamyn: Ah, like, I can see nine from where I'm sitting.

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: So what's the mossarium-to-cat conversion rate? Like, how many do you-

jessamyn: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: how many do you have to have before -

jessamyn: Well, it's an excellent question, right? I think it's like one to five, ish.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: So you can have like another half-dozen before you're even trending on Crazy Mossarium Lady.

jessamyn: Yeaaaaaah! Yeaaaah!

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: But enough about me. LobsterMitten!

LobsterMitten: Yes!

I do have -

jessamyn: How do you feel about pets?

LobsterMitten: - a cat. He is, in fact, in my lap as I speak. Sleeping.

cortex: Excellent!

jessamyn: Nice.

LobsterMitten: Yes. Um, ah, I don't know what else. Ah, one thing that I would say is I think that I didn't realize before I started doing this, how effective flagging is. How, if you flag something it WILL get looked at -

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah.

LobsterMitten: -and also that... I think of myself as a person who more or less knows what's going on on the site, and that's much less true when

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: - when you're a moderator, because you're thinking about a lot of other stuff rather than, sort of following threads you're interested in. So it's very easy to miss things that are happening.

cortex: Yeah.

LobsterMitten: So people should flag.

jessamyn: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: That is something that I would definitely say.

cortex: Well yeah, it's interesting, cause the experience is so different in the - not the amount that's going on, but like you say, the amount that you're aware of. Cause like when you're a user, you're kind of aware of the threads you're paying attention to, and you don't have any reason to be aware of the ones you aren't. I mean, it's kind of tautological, like

LobsterMitten: Yeah.

cortex: - the stuff you're looking at is the stuff you're looking at - so you may know everything that is happening on the site, in the small subset of threads you care about. And then as a moderator, you still, you know, you've still got your user side, you've still got the ones you care about, and you've got the ones you're also aware of because of already-existing moderator stuff - but then there's the entire rest of the site where stuff could be happening and you don't know about it.

jessamyn: Well, and you have this zeitgeisty feeling, like "Not another thread about (whatever)", and people are like, "there's another thread about (whatever)?...

cortex: (laughs) Yeah.

jessamyn: ...who gives a shit?" You know? "If I see another gorilla thread.." "What?" You know, that -

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: That kind of thing. "Aren't you already reading the three really long Sandy threads?" "What? No, no."

LobsterMitten: Yeah, exactly. So if you're way down in a long thread or whatever, and you see something that -you know - (laughs) a moderator should probably be looking at, do flag it.

cortex: Yes. Yes, it is useful. And it's tricky cause like, from the mod side, we know that we can see the flags and we know that we look at the stuff, and on the user side it's trickier, cause you don't know if a flag is gonna do anything, and so it can feel like maybe it's not doing anything if it doesn't have the outcome you expected, but ah...

jessamyn: Well and I was trying to think about this - like on other sites? Like on Craigslist you flag stuff and who knows whatever happens. Um, but Craigslist also has like some - or they used to have - some automated flag-triggered stuff, so once a post got flagged some certain number of threshold times it would be removed until a human could look at it. And so it would encourage like flag-mobs.

LobsterMitten: Right.

jessamyn: You know, you and your five buddies could flag something off the site. Whereas you can't do that on Metafilter - even though people allege that it happens all the time, it doesn't. Ah, but I'm trying to think of like other sites... like on YouTube I guess, you can like thumbs-down something and then they won't show it to YOU anymore, but everybody else can see it?

cortex: (laughs) Shit, is that how that works?

jessamyn: Which I kind of think is nice. Like, does this offend your sensibilities? Quit lookin at it! Here's the button!

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: Which we've, you know, refused to implement on Metafilter, though it's - you know - it's still a -

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: It certainly works for me on YouTube! I forget - "what was that horrible comment? Who knows." Life's too short.

cortex: Yeah but... yeah, there's the distinction between trying to help guide the... the health of the overall culture on Metafilter and just trying to survive the raw sewage that is the YouTube commenting hellscape.

jessamyn: My assertion is that YouTube could hire enough people to solve that problem and they don't - so fuck 'em.

cortex: I am certain that Google has the resources to change that if they had the financial and management will to do it, but I also understand why they would not -

jessamyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

cortex: - because it would be a lot of money to properly moderate, and it would be a huge investment in a chance in sort of the cultural direction of YouTube, ah, interactions.

jessamyn: Well, it's the Reddit problem too, right? Like, as soon as you decide you're actually gonna commit resources to it then people critique the way you do that, as opposed to now, where people are like "you do nothing" and they're like "yup, at least we all agree."

cortex: Yup.

LobsterMitten: (laughs) So that is an interesting -

jessamyn: That's where -

LobsterMitten: - thing that happened this month, was that big Reddit thing -

cortex: Oh yeah.

LobsterMitten: - blew up. And you -

jessamyn: Well I -

LobsterMitten: - it sounds like you were following that more closely than I was.

jessamyn: Very closely. Well, cause it was actually a very - unlike most things that have to do with disgusting people on the internet - it actually, the thread was super interesting.

LobsterMitten: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, lots of interesting discussion, very little "fuck you" "no, fuck you" stuff, and you know, links to stuff where you could learn about what was going on that wasn't just focused on "let's learn more about this gross person." Like, I felt like there were a lot of people who were willing to, um, who were basically willing to talk about how Reddit operates, which was something I kinda knew, but didn't really know quite as well, and it was interesting to read it. Ah, wait a sec, where's the chat window? See? And then we can like [audible chat "bloop"] send that link to the chat window and then everyone can see it.

cortex: Yay!

jessamyn: And then we use that as, ah, just, a little meta-discussion. We use that to generate the list of links that goes in the podcast post.

LobsterMitten: Okay.

jessamyn: But yeah, I thought it was interesting, I was active in it. Jeremy was really active in it, and ah, Josh, you were in it a little bit on and off.

cortex: Yeah, I was more reading than commenting for the most part, but ah, I followed the whole thing.

LobsterMitten: Yeah, no, I was reading along with it, but I haven't really spent much time on Reddit, so... do you have a sense, like, where do things stand now with that? Like do - are - is Reddit like coming to a unified position about it, or is there a lot of internal debate still over there?

jessamyn: I think they're praying it will go away. (laughs)

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, I don't think they've made any changes whatsoever except, you know, they banned the creepshots - well, they didn't even ban it, right?, they - ah -

cortex: Well, they banned the reddit and it showed right back up again, you know -

jessamyn: They banned the subreddit, and somebody else -

cortex: - under the guise of a fashion criticism subreddit instead. Yeah, I mean, there's nothing you can do, short of going nuclear on that, other than sort of cutting the momentum that the established name has, you know, restarting the new subreddit means they have to sort of do some rebuilding, you know, and the only people who will immediately go to that subreddit are the sort of creepy faithful, so yay (laughs) -

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: - you've managed to distill the awfulness of the subscriber base. Um, so yeah, they did that, they banned violentacrez, but they didn't ban the guy from the site, they just banned the account - or he quit? I guess he quit is what happened. But he's still active under his mbrutsch account, and he's, you know, moderating threads, so it's a - yeah - it feels very much like there was a big freakout, the attention sorta came off now, and probably everybody involved directly is hoping that the attention just stays, like, "okay, the media has taken their interest, they've lost their interest now, we'll just go back to trying to keep things steady." Ah, Reddit did -

jessamyn: And "we don't really intend to change anything cause we never wanted to in the first place."

cortex: And they put out some kind of clarified stance on doxxing and what's permissible and what's not, so I think in a sense they at least somewhat more codified in theory what the line they draw is on what's permitted and what's not, but yeah. It wasn't a huge change or anything, so it's like eeh. And even that got a huge bunch of criticism. And a bunch of the volunteer moderators are still essentially banning Gawker links on general principle, which is kind of a weird outcome, but whaddaya do. So yeah, I feel like yeah, I feel like it didn't really, nothing really went anywhere, but it did at least shine enough of a light on it that probably - I'm guessing - the Reddit admins will at least be more... I don't know, proactive about thinking about how they want to handle future shitstorms and maybe that'll effect a longterm change. It's kind of hard to say.

jessamyn: But I think for a lot of sort of casual users, which is definitely what I was, I'm just kinda like, wow, I didn't kinda realize how icky a lot of - not just some of the subculture was, cause of course you get that kinda everywhere that's an unmoderated forum - but how much Reddit doesn't give a shit about that kind of stuff.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: Which doesn't really affect me, and my "I post, you know, one comment a year" interactions with it. But the difference between somebody who's just like "oh, I wonder what Reddit's all about," you know, their public face is now, I think, like a little more icky than maybe it was to the average user... three months ago, for instance. And so, you know, it's - people in the Metafilter thread were talking a lot about like, well, it's one thing to be like "I read the website". Whatever, I read TMZ sometimes too. But it's another thing to be like "I'm a Redditor". Even though technically, I - anybody with an account could be, I think? But it's the, you know, "I identify with this" really does lump you in with a bunch of people you may or may not want to be lumped in with. And that seems more clear now than it was a couple months ago. Even though there's lots of perfectly great conversations that happen on Reddit all the time. But what their kind of public face is, and what their very public response to the very public controversy was, was interesting, to me.

cortex: Yup.

jessamyn: But that's another website!

LobsterMitten: Yeah.

cortex: (laughs) They can get their own fuckin' podcast!

jessamyn: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs) Sorry!

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: No, no, no, that's fine, that's fine.

cortex: I was gonna pepper you with questions -

LobsterMitten: Ooo.

cortex: - but I didn't actually come up with the actual questions I was gonna pepper you with, so now I'm failing to pepper.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: I could look for the ones that I -

LobsterMitten: Well, so what were you guys for Halloween?

cortex: I was at home. I was the guy who answered the door and managed to at one point say to a kid, "Merry Christmas." (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: Oh I loved that!

cortex: I, ah, yeah.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: He just kind of looked at me and he's like "Yeah, Merry Christmas," and I'm like "Yeah, Happy Hannukah" -

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: - but they left, with their candy, and so, you know.

jessamyn: Speaking of which, this has nothing to do with anything, but has everybody seen the pictures that Josh put up on the internet of the paint job he did on his bedroom?

cortex: Oh, the bedroom!

LobsterMitten: Yes! That's amazing.

jessamyn: Can you talk a little bit about that? [chat "bloop"] It has nothing to do with LobsterMitten, and has very little to do with Metafilter, but it makes me so cheery just to look at it.

cortex: Well we got, we had some remodeling done. There's some energy efficiency rebate stuff in Portland, and our house is like 1910, so it really really needed a bunch of stuff done. And one of the things that we did was get some drywall put up on the ceiling and some of the walls upstairs, cause it was like no insulation and the roof couldn't even be insulated in any non-crazily-expensive way because of the way it was built. So we just had drywall put up on the ceilings to make it, ah, actually flat, and look like a nice ceiling but also have some sort of thermal layer. And so we had to repaint the bedroom.

And we were thinking about ideas and we ended up thinking, hey, you know, it'd be kind of - a sunburst would be cool. And so we ended up picking out some colors, and I printed out a 24-segmented circle as a reference and taped that to the middle of a window, and just carefully taped out, ah, tape lines for all twelve of the rays and for the negative space in between them, and then just spent a couple days getting that painted. And now it's this super-bright orange and yellow sunburst in our bedroom. And it's just... it's super awesome. It's like, hey, this is a neat room! You know.

jessamyn: It's amazing. It looks so amazing.

cortex: I'm looking forward to when we can actually -

LobsterMitten: Yeah, you

cortex: -actually move back in.

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: We're still sort of -

LobsterMitten: Oh, you're not -

cortex: -sort of working on stuff up there -

LobsterMitten: Oh man.

cortex: -so we're still sleeping downstairs.

LobsterMitten: So you haven't yet woken up to this.

cortex: No, no. That's - I'm looking forward to that. Although it's technically facing west, so it's like you know, we'd wake up to -

jessamyn: sunset!

cortex: -sunset, yeah.

LobsterMitten: You gotta do what you can, I think, in Portland.

cortex: Yeah. It still gets plenty bright, so you know, so that'll work. But yeah, no, that was a lot of fun.

jessamyn: Cool! Yeah, no -

LobsterMitten: So how'd you keep your tape lines straight? Did you, like, just.. with a yardstick? Or..?

jessamyn: That's you, Josh.

cortex: Oh, I'm sorry, I was looking at a thing.

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: Yeah, I used painter's blue tape, um. And ah, I did a lot of eyeballing from a specific point in the room using just like a, actually, I grabbed a paint stir-stick cause that was the nearest straight-edge at hand. And just literally eyeballed it

LobsterMitten: pshew!

cortex: - like running from the little segmented circle on the window, for each of the 24 lines I needed to make, like, figured out where it was supposed to be on the wall, went over, put a little piece of masking tape to mark it and then ran straight tape lines to each of those. So it was a little bit tedious, but it went actually pretty quickly. And -

LobsterMitten: That is really impressive.

cortex: - yeah, it came out looking pretty nice. I was pretty happy about it.

jessamyn: It looks, it looks awesome. Super awesome.

LobsterMitten: It does.

jessamyn: Inspiring, even.

cortex: Thank you.

jessamyn: But so! Back to LobsterMitten.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: You're another one of our eastern, ah, eastern time zone mods.

LobsterMitten: Yes.

jessamyn: And you were okay in the storm?

LobsterMitten: Yeah. We lost power, for... we lost power at 6:00 on Monday night and we were without power overnight, and we got it back sometime in the morning, I'm not sure when. So we were without power for probably at least twelve hours, um, which was fine. You know, we had candles and flashlights and we played some boardgames and... it's, in a way, that level of effect from a storm is sort of a little fun adventure, right?

jessamyn: Right.

LobsterMitten: Um, so we have, I have relatives that have been affected by it and stuff, but our area is basically fine. It.. the storm tracked north of us, and so we didn't get the worst of it. But yeah, I mean, I've talked to people - I know somebody in Takoma Park, which is just sort of on the north side of Washington DC -

jessamyn: Right.

LobsterMitten: - who had her whole basement flood - or rather, she lives in a basement apartment, and her whole apartment flooded.

jessamyn: Aah! Yeah.

LobsterMitten: So there were definitely people in DC who had bad effects from it, but it's nothing like what's happening, you know, in New Jersey and New York.

jessamyn: Right, right, right. It's sort of your standard flood thing, not "a neighborhood burned down" thing.

LobsterMitten: Right, exactly. Yeah. Some of those - the posts in the check-in thread have been, you know, just really sad. I mean I'm glad that those people are able to post now, you know, showbiz_liz who lost all of her bees,

jessamyn: Oh, yeah yeah yeah.

LobsterMitten: And uh-

jessamyn: [chat bloop] Sorry that's not the thread.

LobsterMitten: - you know, I'm blanking on the name of the person who's been organizing the kind of get-together in her church. Um.

jessamyn: Oh, um.

LobsterMitten: Look at the rowboat thread, because some of the people in there are, you know, in the middle of this and they've got things to say. And I bet that we've got members who are still out of power who haven't checked in yet, you know? So the people that are most affected, I'm sure we're gonna hear from them in a couple of weeks.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Right. Like, "you were really not my priority, but". Yeah. In fact I think the woman with the church was in the main thread, cause I think I read that last night. Um... lemme go... well, I'll let it load in the background.

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: Yeah, I'm sorry that I've missed out the name. Um, and the woman who -

jessamyn: No, it wasn't -

LobsterMitten: - or the person, I don't know if it's a woman, who works at the garden in Battery Park?

jessamyn: Oh, scientistgeek!

LobsterMitten: Yeah.

LobsterMitten: Yes. Who, prior to the storm, was saying "I work at this garden, I'm really nervous what's going to happen in the storm", and you know, as the thread goes -

jessamyn: Was it scientistgeek? sciencegeek? I forget.

LobsterMitten: - you know, just following along, and it turns out that the gardens flooded, but it sounds like they're still there? Or some of them are still there, and they have to see if the plants are going to survive the salt water that was inundating them.

jessamyn: Right, right, cause that's what a lot of people have been saying, that the salt water just kind of kills and eats everything. So in addition to every other problem that you have, um, and the marathon running by your window -

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: - ah, you also have... Man, still loading! still loading!...

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: - ah, you also wind up having this corrosive effect, which is bad for plants and everything else. And if you're on the shore you have sand in everything, which is bad enough when you go to the beach on purpose, very bad when the beach comes to you.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: And I don't know how they're gonna clean out the subway, right? And all that electrical equipment and stuff, which has now been saturated with seawater, yeah.

jessamyn: No, I'm just fascinated, fascinated to see how that's gonna go.

cortex: I think there'll be some interesting post-mortems on that, yeah.

LobsterMitten: Yeah.

cortex: In - in the sense of analysis of thing happened, not people being dead in the subway.

LobsterMitten: Yes. Gotcha.

cortex: Hopefully that won't be as much of an issue. (laughs)

LobsterMitten: Right, more of the, ah -

cortex: I'm sensitive.

jessamyn: Oh, booksherpa! That's who it is.

LobsterMitten: Yes!

jessamyn: booksherpa's the one. I'll uh, I'll find the actual post, cause I think you and I are referring to the same ones.

LobsterMitten: Yeah. Yeah, and I mean there's lots of other people that have shared their stories in there too. I don't mean to be, you know, neglecting them. I've been appreciating reading all of those things that people have said.

jessamyn: Yeah, no, it's interesting to read about people who are actively involved in the recovery efforts in addition to people who have just been affected. And of course, my heart always goes out to all the people who are like, "look, we've got SOMEthing, anyone who wants to come to our house to get-

LobsterMitten: Yeah.

jessamyn: -whatever, charge your shit, take a shower, that kind of thing -

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: - is a really big deal. And I'm always pleased when people are do-gooder helpful like that. I mean, not like they shouldn't be, but it's nice that they are.

cortex: LobsterMitten, is there any exciting -

jessamyn: sciencegeek!

cortex: - or banal -

jessamyn: Female. sciencegeek's a lady. (oh, sorry)

cortex: - story about your username? I realize that's...

LobsterMitten: There is not. No. There is no story at all. (laughs)

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: I, I

jessamyn: Not like, greekphilosophy was taken? or something?

LobsterMitten: Right (laughs) No, I was knitting more then than I am now, and one of the things that I really enjoyed about knitting was the kind of engineering aspect of it - where you can make any shape you want. And crochet is better for this. Crochet is more flexible in terms of what shapes you can make. But with knitting it's also possible to make a lot of shapes by getting clever with your increases and decreases and, you know, knitting in a tube versus knitting in a straight line. And so I was making mittens, and it sort of occurred to me that it would be funny to make them in the shape of a lobster claw. But there's no story of me actually encountering...

Actually, well there's the story of, um, one of the things that led me to be vegetarian. This is a warning for parents.
When I was a little kid my parents one time had, decided, they were, I guess they were gonna have a cookout or a dinner party or something and they were gonna have lobster. And so they got these live lobsters, as you do, and brought into our house these live animals - which we were gonna eat.

jessamyn: (laughs) Right.

LobsterMitten: And they... I mean, I must have been, you know, four years old or something like that. And they set them down on the floor, and let us kind of play with them.

cortex: (laughs) Oh, big mistake!

LobsterMitten: Watched them move around and so on. We named them. -

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: - We named them after my greatgrandfathers -

jessamyn: Aah! (laughs)

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: It's terrible!

LobsterMitten: And we played with them and whatnot, and then eventually, my parents were like, okay, well, we know what comes next in this story even if you don't, so they, you know, put them in a pot of boiling water... in which they struggled...(laughs).. um.

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: Yeah. So lobsters. I have never eaten lobsters. I have in fact never eaten any seafood.

cortex: Really!

LobsterMitten: Yeah. And that is part of why. (laughs)

jessamyn: Hooray! A fellow no-seafood-eater!

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: I'm like a regular eater with the other stuff but seafood and me just, uehhh.

LobsterMitten: So why is it for you, that you don't like it?

jessamyn: It just tastes nasty and it feels weird in my mouth. I mean, I have many funny little food things, most of which I'm getting over, now that I'm finally hitting middle age.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: But like, it just feels greasy and tastes off. I'll occasionally eat stuff with tuna salad in it, which is ridiculous, because tuna salad is like the grossest, fishiest, grossest stuff.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: But like, I grew up eating that, so it's normal to me, whereas, you know, scallops and whatever. My boyfriend is a very omnivorous eater, and so he likes the grossest, squid-ink-est, (cortex and LobsterMitten laugh), octopus-eyeball-est stuff. So the good news is, when we go out, you know, he can eat whatever the gross octopus beak [?] parts that I don't want.

cortex: It's like a whole Jack Sprat deal.

jessamyn: Yeah! Yeah, it's exactly that, actually, except neither of us is particularly fat or lean, or uh -

LobsterMitten: But is one of you more, like, fish-resembling?

jessamyn: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: Cause that would be the analogous divide.

jessamyn: That's a good point. He looks like a pumpkin and I don't look like a pumpkin...

cortex: So do you not even touch like sushi? Is sushi gross to you too? Is that like a -

jessamyn: Me? Yeah. Ewwwwugh.

cortex: Oh man! It's a good-

jessamyn: I know, I know!

cortex: - good sushi is -

jessamyn: I've heard it! I've heard it!

cortex: - so NOT fishy, it's just, oh man.

jessamyn: I know, and I try it every now and again, just to make sure that like 6-year-old me isn't determining middle-aged me's food preferences.

cortex: Yeah. It, it's a good policy.

jessamyn: And sushi appeals to me from like a nutrition perspective, like you know, lots of protein and not a lot of fat, and like some little mouthful of stuff that comes with rice, it's awesome.

cortex: I've been steadily eroding a lot of those. Like, me and Angela made some squash-ginger muffins the other day that were actually really good -

LobsterMitten: Ooo.

cortex: - despite the fact that, you know, the core ingredient was squash, and I'm kind of eeeeh on squash.

jessamyn: I've been eating nothing but squash, basically, for the last two weeks. So I encourage you to, ah, find some squash that you find delicious.

cortex: I, I'm makin' progress. Zucchini I'm totally on board with now, so that was a big move. I used to be like "cucumber yes, zucchini go fuck yourself".

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: Me too!

cortex: And now I'm like, I've really crossed that threshold, so that's progress.

LobsterMitten: So you don't -

jessamyn: Asparagus - how do you feel on asparagus?

cortex: Oh, I love asparagus. I don't think I really had an opinion about asparagus. It had always been sort of, not something that came up so much. And then, at some point, Angela like grilled some asparagus or boiled some, and it was, it was darned good. So yeah, I'm all about the asparagus now. Plus it makes your pee smell funny! And I enjoy the simple pleasures.

jessamyn: Some people's pee.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: No, no, no, everybody's pee smells funny, some people-

jessamyn: some people can smell it

cortex: -can smell it. Yeah.

Yeah, it's there. Even if you don't know it's there, it's there; you just don't have the nose for it. Which, you know, it's probably not a bad thing.

jessamyn: I thought it was a chi-squared thing, where it was like some smells, some doesn't, some can smell it, some can't.

cortex: No, I'm pretty sure everybody's pee smells.

jessamyn: All right.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: I don't know how we would test this, and we probably should-

jessamyn: Sorry, LobsterMitten, you were gonna say something, but Josh and I are -

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: I was gonna castigate Josh for not liking squash.

jessamyn: Well!

cortex: Well, it's a texture thing, you know? It goes back to pumpkin as the core thing, and I still have trouble with some pumpkin stuff -

LobsterMitten: So like, pumpkin pie?

cortex: Ah, you know, I was talking to Angela about this -

jessamyn: Pumpkin pie IS gross!

cortex: Yeah, it totally is -

LobsterMitten: Are you communists?!

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: (laughs) Probably!

LobsterMitten: Pumpkin pie is nature's perfect food.

jessamyn: Unless you make it disgusting, and it's like custard and it dies in your mouth.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: There's good pumpkin pie and bad pumpkin pie.

LobsterMitten: Woo, I don't know about that. Do you guys like bananas?

cortex: Oh, I love bananas.

jessamyn: Love bananas.

LobsterMitten: So, squishy is okay when it's bananas but squishy is not okay when...? -

jessamyn: But ask me how I feel about quiche!

cortex: Oh, quiche is great.

LobsterMitten: How do you feel about quiche?

jessamyn: It's disgusting.

cortex: Ach.

jessamyn: I won't eat quiche.

LobsterMitten: Oh no!

cortex: You and my wife both. You know -

jessamyn: Josh-

cortex: No, I love quiche, quiche is great. I'm a big fan of eggs [eɪɡz] in general, so quiche is basically egg [eɪɡ] pie. and I'm like hell yeah!

jessamyn: I like listening to you say it. Say it again!

cortex: Quiche? Quiche.

jessamyn: No, the "e" word.

cortex: Uh, egg? [eɪɡ]

jessamyn: Yeah!

cortex: Oh, are you one of those "egg" people? [ɛɡ]

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: Tss...

LobsterMitten: I can't even hear the difference between what you're saying.

cortex: I, you buy an egg [eɪɡ], and you put it in a bag [beɪɡ], and you take it home, and you then you drop it, and there's a mess and you have to get a rag [ɹeɪɡ].

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: It's, you know, it's -

jessamyn: Josh is like from the Pacific Northwest.

cortex: - if you're trying to convey this over the internet... And yeah, well but the thing is I'm not even sure that that long A sound is a Pacific Northwest thing. It might be some weird little hyper-regional -

jessamyn: tic? family?

cortex: - thing, yeah, from my family. I don't know.

jessamyn: Family tic? Yah, yah.

cortex: Cause I think that may actually correlate more to, ah, somewhere in the Midwest, one of the dialectal regions there. But for whatever reason, that's very firm in my head.

jessamyn: If only we could look this up somewhere.

cortex: But Angela's mom's from New York, and so she, and Angela to some extent, sort of say "milk" [mɛlk], instead of "milk" [mɪlk], I remember was one of the first things that sort of struck me, looking at language stuff there.

jessamyn: Right, my dad says "milk" [mɛlk], said "milk" [mɛlk].

cortex: Yeah. All these little bit of idiolect that... ah, it's neat stuff. We have now made iamkimiam's day, by discussing linguistics.

LobsterMitten: Yeah -

jessamyn: Oh! Speaking of iamkimiam! (Sorry again, LobsterMitten.)

LobsterMitten: No -

jessamyn: Did you get a box of stuff from her in the mail?

cortex: I did! I did.

jessamyn: I did too. iamkimiam, thank you for the box of snacks. I just finished the whiskey-flavored fudge this week, which I think was supposed to be in your box, Josh, unless-

cortex: Oh, I got that as well.

jessamyn: Okay.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: She sent us a little thank-you for helping her out with her research.

LobsterMitten: That is cool.

jessamyn: Yeah, she's nice. So wait, I think you may be the only - does taz knit? LobsterMitten may be the only kind of knitting-crocheting -

cortex: I don't know if taz does.

LobsterMitten: I bet she does. She sounds like it.

jessamyn: I don't, you don't -

cortex: I don't, no. Angela does. I've just - it's like one more hobby and I've never felt a strong, ah, attraction toward it so I haven't sat down and done it. But maybe one of these days I'll have a fallow period and I'll just need to try something new.

LobsterMitten: Actually my husband was just at a math conference where they taught them how to crochet -

cortex: Oh yeah?

LobsterMitten: - because it's a good way of modeling some mathematical objects -

cortex: I -

LobsterMitten: - So he came home with a little, you know, crocheted... There's this big crocheted coral reef project?

jessamyn: Yes! I'm familiar with that.

LobsterMitten: Yeah. So it was people who had been involved with that, who came to this math conference. And they were saying, okay the geometry of the corals is... such-and-such math thing, you know, and you can model that for your students, right? Students sometimes have a hard time, you know, picturing this stuff, and it's nice to be able to work with physical models, um...

cortex: Yeah. Sort of topology or graph theory?

LobsterMitten: Mm, we've exhausted my knowledge.

cortex: Okay. (laughs)

jessamyn: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: It's mathematical objects, I cannot say more without getting into inaccurate territory.

jessamyn: That's okay, we're inaccurate all the time -

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: it's sort of one of the things that makes the podcast discussion threads so useful -

cortex: (laughs)

LobsterMitten: (laughs) For p[...]ing!

jessamyn: - cause we'll just be like, "oh, I don't know, it's like this," and somebody'll be like, "ugh, jessamyn, it's actually this other, you know, thing".

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: It's the "well, actually" thing.

cortex: Yeah, people -

jessamyn: But I learn a lot!

cortex: - yeah, they do a good job of correcting all the random bullshit we toss out because, ah, we don't care.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: I do so care!

cortex: Well, now, you need to go in a few minutes, LobsterMitten, if I remember right?

LobsterMitten: Yes, yup.

cortex: So guess, do we have any other, ah, wrap-up questions? Team Jessamyn or Team Cortex? I think you know which the correct answer is.

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

jessamyn: How do you say M-E-F-I?

cortex: Ooh, yes.

LobsterMitten: Wait, what now? Sorry, say it again?

cortex: M-E-F-I, the name for the site.

LobsterMitten: Ohhh. MeFi [mifaɪ].

jessamyn: Yeah!!

LobsterMitten: [laughs]

jessamyn: Team Jessamyn!

LobsterMitten: Do you really not say it that way, Josh?

cortex: I say MeFi [mɛfaɪ].

jessamyn: And he always has! And he will not be bullied, which I respect.

LobsterMitten: That's amazing. Yeah, that's good.

cortex: Yeah. I respect the difference of opinions. But, yeah, no, I'm steadfast in my MeFi-ness [mɛfaɪnɛs].

LobsterMitten: I think it's a really cool study that she's done. One of the coolest aspects of it to me is to me, the pronunciation I use is unquestionable. It is obviously the right one.

cortex: Yeah.

LobsterMitten: Just from reading the word, it comes out that way. I had never thought there was an alternative way to pronounce it. And I get the sense that that's true for people across the board.

cortex: Yeah. I mean, it's interesting, she broke down the degree to which part of the process is some people do sort of engage actively with the idea of deciding what the pronunciation should be based on external data, but a lot of people have, yeah, this very strong sort of like, "No, I know this is the correct way to pronounce it," you know. Even when exposed to the fact that other people know that that's not the correct way, they are still certain, because yeah, it just--it feels right, it, you know. So yeah.

jessamyn: And I have buddies here who also say MeFi [mɛfi].

cortex: Yeah, that I don't understand at all. That one...

LobsterMitten: (laughs)

cortex: I thought that was a joke, I thought people were making a joke when they said that, that like, they couldn't figure out how to write out phonetically, unambiguously using lay phonetics, and then people were like, "No, no, really. I'm talking about a dog."

jessamyn: Yeah, he's from DC, so who knows?

cortex: "A dog named MeFi [mɛfi]. That lives in my purse."

Well, all right!

LobsterMitten: Well okay, on that note...

cortex: Why don't we, yeah.

jessamyn: It was really great talking to you, LobsterMitten. I'm glad you could make the time.

LobsterMitten: Likewise.

jessamyn: And this was super fun.

LobsterMitten: Yeah! Good. Right on!

cortex: Alright.

jessamyn: Right, good, right on! Cool.

cortex: Take it easy, see you on the site.

LobsterMitten: Okay.

jessamyn: Bye!

[this is the part where mathowie fell out of the mix]

jessamyn: What?

Yeah, did we talk about that last week? No?
They're not even all towns - they're towns or geographic places. So, my town has three villages, and that would have three places, so it's not like North Dakota has nine hundred towns, it has nine hundred named geographic places.
Right, it's impossible. And, I funded his Kickstarter. I think you did too, right?

cortex: Whoa, you know, but that seems almost...

jessamyn: It just means he gets to save the money for him.

cortex: Yeah, I mean, that's almost more like... it's weird. I have no complaints about the fact that I can basically pre-order games from trusted developers for cheap via Kickstarter, but it seems kinda almost more in the spirit of Kickstarter to say, "Hey, give me more than the retail cost of this to help support me do this project I need to--"

jessamyn: Significantly more.

cortex: Yeah, you know. So it's like, I'm not necessarily gonna go for it, but I don't have a problem with people asking for that, because I figure they're trying to see if there is a market for supporting this idea. So.


jessamyn: Right.


cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: You got a nice print, I think. Because I donated less, and even I'm getting a postcard. (laughs)

Yeah, and, making all those photo books. I don't know, whatever. I agree with you in your assertion, but I also kinda totally understood. And, I was just psyched that he got funded, he did get funded, I think? Yeah. Because--
Well, because he's doing a serious business deal of it, where he takes an identifiable, recognizable photo from... Like, I'm trying to take pictures of all of Vermont's 251 towns, and some of the pictures I take are just like, whatever. Some little road that goes through the corner of some town that's impossible to get to, and so you see a picture of a tree, and I'm like, "This is... that town," but he's taking pictures of, if there's a thing to see in the town, he takes a picture of the thing. Which is significantly more work.
That must have been fun!
I would love to do that for a job, though. I mean, sort of, wouldn't you? I don't know, I think nerdy completionists really, like, this is really... it's like getting all your shit lined up the right way. I don't know. It would make me very happy when you're finally finished.
Like, I want to do a project with the local public access people to do a short 2-minute video about every town in Vermont. And it's a stupid amount of work, but just getting to do it and then be done with would really be cool. You'd think it would be cool. It wouldn't actually be that cool.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: And then it'd be, and you'd be, "I finished! It's awesome!" And then nothing happens, and you're like, "Fuck!"

cortex: That's my biggest problem with creative projects is I'll sort of get into this... like, I'll get an idea, I'll really like it, I'll execute it, and you know, ideally I'll execute it and that's sort of the most important thing, because hey, I'm doing a thing! But then I get to the point where I've kind of done the big hard work on whatever I'm doing, and then--

jessamyn: Well, I think you think that's the big hard work.

cortex: --the universe fails to realign...

Well, it depends on the project.

jessamyn: Like, you think the big hard part is launching it, but the big hard part is maintaining it.

cortex: Yeah. Well and some projects it's like doing a bunch of work and then it's essentially done when it's launched and some are something that needs to keep going.

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: But yeah. Either way I always have that sort of like, the big reveal, and then... I oftentimes, I'm just sort of like down for a couple days, as soon as that crests, because then I'm like, oh, the universe did not fundamentally realign itself to celebrate this thing.

jessamyn: Well, it does, but not enough.

cortex: Exactly. It's a weird part of the creative process.

jessamyn: How's your MapSanity [?] website?

cortex: Oh, man. It got pretty quiet a few months ago, and I've actually been doing nothing with it since then, because I've been working on other stuff.

jessamyn: Okay, I didn't know. I'm not trying to pick that scab. I was just curious.

cortex: No, no, no, yeah, it's kind of a, it's a scab at the moment. (laughs)

jessamyn: I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

cortex: I actually, I have plans to get back to it, but yeah, I haven't at the moment, yeah.

jessamyn: I promised I would quit teasing you about projects you weren't doing, so.

cortex: Oh, it's kind of a neat thing to do, so.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: But yeah. That one I'm definitely struggling with the current state of non-updated-ness.

jessamyn: What's your current project you're working on that you're stoked about?

cortex: You know... there's NaNoWriMo. Should we start the podcast properly, I suppose?

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: Sure! You know, why don't we just--

jessamyn: Welcome!

cortex: Hey! And this is--

mathowie: It's episode 74.

cortex: I guess we sort of did anyway. So yeah. Here we go still with (mathowie laughs) Episode 74 continued. We talked to LobsterMitten earlier, and now we're talking like we normally do about stuff, so yeah.

mathowie: We should splice in--

jessamyn: Our last podcast was recorded October 1st.

mathowie: October.

jessamyn: And so this is the last month of nonsense and whatever.

cortex: Because we're totally doing this monthly thing now successfully.

mathowie: Sweet.

cortex: We've done it multiple, so it counts!

jessamyn: Because I put it on the calendar.

cortex: Yes!

mathowie: Therefore it exists.

jessamyn: Yeah!

cortex: Organization. It's awesome.

jessamyn: Calendars.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: Yeah! You've heard.

mathowie: So I guess let's just launch into favorite Projects, as we've been talking about.

cortex: Yes. There's been some good Projects.

mathowie: Tons.

jessamyn: So, what we started to talk about was the Mr. North Dakota.

mathowie: Right, yes.

jessamyn: Does anybody have a link to the actual thing?

mathowie: Yeah. Oh, dang, where's the link? Chat window... (types) (laughs) Gargh!

cortex: We'll discuss it, Jessamyn, while Matt gets in a wrestling match with Skype.

mathowie: Whaat?

jessamyn: Well there's a guy, and one of the things that he does, for fun, is he goes to a bunch of places in a place and takes photographs of them and then puts them all up.

mathowie: Whaaat?

jessamyn: And so the thing... What?

mathowie: It says, I cannot send you text... oh wait, now I can.

jessamyn: For fuck's sake, Matt!

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

mathowie: Dude, I just got a crazy Skype error saying you guys were using legacy clients, 'cause you hate the new UI.

cortex: That's good. Every time I have to Skype it's all fucked up.

jessamyn: Of course we do!

cortex: I thought I was using the new fucked-up one.

mathowie: Oh, God.

jessamyn: I'm not getting new Skype. Fuck new Skype, and fuck you, too!

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

cortex: Fuck everybody!

mathowie jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)

jessamyn: What? (laughs)

mathowie: Didn't eBay buy Skype? Don't fuck me, fuck eBay.

jessamyn: (laugh) So, Metafilter user afiler generally likes to go to places and take pictures in a sort of completionist way. And he finished taking pictures. He's got a website called Everydot, and he does a whole bunch of stuff, he's got a fun little website. But Everydot is basically going to every named geographical place in North Dakota. Every town in North Dakota plus every named entity in North Dakota. And then he put them all up on Flickr, which was cool.

And then, he made a Project out of it, which was crazy because it also links to all the towns, which is crazy, and then it got posted to Metafilter by capricorn, where they make the obligatory Buttzville joke, and people talked about it. So it was fun. And it was great, and afiler was great, and then he did a Kickstarter project, which got funded, and... I think he knows fake, from back in the day, in North Dakota?

mathowie: Hm. Yeah! I was just about to say. I see it on his blog sidebar.

jessamyn: Yeah. They are friends. And so that was just badass, and I think people really liked it, and it's kind of the spirit of nerdy projects by nerds. So I think we really enjoyed it.

mathowie: Obsessives.

jessamyn: Obsessives. Completionist obsessives.

mathowie: Yes. Quick Rotten. Huh. Wow! So, one of my other favorites was this one called Quick Rotten, which is just sort of a tiny one-page version of Rotten Tomatoes of current movies, no ads on it whatsoever, using their API. So if you go directly...

jessamyn: So you can just basically click on it and see... let's take a look! I haven't--

mathowie: Just really quick. Yeah. Blue or red, blue or red. I'm standing in line at the movies, it's just a one page of what's playing right now.

jessamyn: All I get.

cortex: Bullshit, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D getting a 5%? That's at least a 7% film. It's...

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: Hotel Transylvania! I started watching that yesterday. Shaky cam version.

mathowie: Oh wait, where's the... what's the one that's confusing people? Oh, there it is. Cloud Atlas. 63%. It's so weird. I went and saw it, and I don't know if I love it or hate it, it's--yeah.

Oh, Wreck-It Ralph, 85%.

jessamyn: I'm not even gonna... Oh, Looper, people seem to like.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Yeah, that was super.

jessamyn: Perks Of Being A Wallflower, don't even know what that is.

mathowie: Sweet! I can't wait to see Wreck-It Ralph. Awesome!

jessamyn: Wreck-It Ralph's been getting a lot of play on the television, so yes, I think that'll be fun. Perks Of Being A Wall--oh, it's what's-her-butt, yeah.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: But that's neat. That's a cool little...

jessamyn: It's a fantastic, useful, mobile thing.

cortex: Yeah. If you're going blind and make a quick snap decision, that seems like a...

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Created by kcalder, which is another first-initial last-name. And these are both like super-low user number project people, which is always gratifying to see.

mathowie: Yeah, and this is a--man, this is a killer app for, I was in Seattle and I had four hours to kill the other day, so I went, I was like, "What's playing? And I wonder what's good?" And, you know, this would be a perfect screen to have on your mobile.

cortex: It's almost [??].

jessamyn: It's like, I always go to IMDB to figure out what's new on DVD, to figure out what's new to steal from the Internet.

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: And, you know, it's helpful. Because I don't know what--like, without having a TV you have no idea what's going on in the world of movies.

mathowie: Yeah, sure.

cortex: I just go into grand wandering voyages through Netflix Instant, which is always complicated.

jessamyn: Oh, see, I'm not a Netflixer person.

cortex: I'm very lazy, so it works out well. Like, their selection is really problematically small compared to absurdly large selections, but it's still way more stuff than I can watch, so.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: I like having it being the one-stop shop and not having to do any extra work. It's like I'm a consumer who's actually willing to pay a little bit for the convenience of conveniently delivered media.

Eh, major studios? Eh? Yeah.

jessamyn: Right. Me too! Sort of. In fact, we have a movie theater in town that's closing. We have a one-screen movie theater in town that's closing because we have to get a digital projector.

mathowie: Oh. Awww.

jessamyn: And so there's gonna be this cooperative starting so that we can all buy the projector together.

mathowie: Sweet!

jessamyn: It is kind of adorable. I mean, I wish it kinda didn't have to happen. This is probably the worst website I have ever seen, but whatever.

mathowie: Oh my God.

cortex: (laughs) Wow.

mathowie: Dude, you know, there's the guy with the Moxie Cinema in St. Louis or Kansas City?

jessamyn: Right, right, right.

mathowie: Like, that was all basically Ask Metafilter-powered. I wonder if you could revisit those to get the cheapest, biggest projector. Like that guy's movie theater is expanded, I think he has two locations in--

jessamyn: Springfield, Missouri, yeah.

mathowie: Like, that's such an awesome... I tell people about the story of the guy who used Ask Metafilter to outfit a movie theater that people liked so much it actually expanded, which isn't something that happens in the movie industry.

jessamyn: Right. Well, I'm a little afraid that if I show up and start being a micromanaging pain in the ass, everyone in town is going to be all pissed off (mathowie chuckles), so I may just send links along. They're having a meeting actually in like half an hour that I'm not going to, because I don't want to be one of those, like, "Have you tried this other thing?" (mathowie chuckles) Because they're like, "We're gonna buy this, it's gonna cost that, and blah bluh blah blah blah."

mathowie: Yeah, so I just posted the link to the Firefly Chinese Tumblr.

cortex: Oh, yeah!

mathowie: That was really cool. Someone's going through, there's all this--

jessamyn: Oh, nice! Were either of you guys Firefly watchers?

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah, totally. I tweeted about it, and people dug up an original, I guess someone else had already translated it? But, I mean, you know, I knew that Joss Whedon was cool and good, but when you hear random utterances of Chinese, I thought it was like, you know, just making a joke out of it in the future, China takes over Earth and everyone speaks some flavor of Chinese, and I didn't even know if it was accurate, and someone breaks out, these Chinese speakers break out every utterance in Chinese. And they're absolutely spot on, the pronunciation is even correct, and it's amazing how much extra thought went into something that was basically invisible to most viewers.

cortex: Yeah, it's just a nice little throwaway detail to get right, so.

mathowie: Yeah, like, it didn't have to be right, you know. And it's like perfect, and like... a tonal language still blows my mind, how they talk about if you pronounce it this way it's like, "Fuck you", if you pronounce this way it's like, "Fuck this", and those are completely different, you know, if one's offensive, one's self-deprecating.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: So good.

cortex: I liked--

jessamyn: Yeah, we asked--

cortex: Sorry, go on.

jessamyn: Oh, sorry. I was going to say, we asked LobsterMitten if she spoke any other languages, and she knows a little bit of Italian and what, Spanish?

cortex: She said Italian and Latin, she took.

jessamyn: Oh, Latin. Latin. Do you speak any other languages, Matt?

mathowie: She saved Latin, what did you do? No, nothing.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Okay.

mathowie: Un poquito Español (cortex chuckles) and enough to understand written Italian, kind of, but yeah.

jessamyn: Just so you can watch bike races?

mathowie: Oh, yeah, I know enough French to watch a bike race, but that's about it.

jessamyn: Cool!

cortex: I'm fluent in Esperanto, but no one can prove that I'm lying, because no one else is either. So.

jessamyn: My dad was in the Esperanto club at college.

cortex: Oh yeah?

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: He and William Shatner.

cortex: Yeah, big Shatner fan?

mathowie: Esperanto movie.

jessamyn: Ahh... What?

mathowie: Shatner did a movie.

cortex: Shatner was in a movie, as far as I know, the only studio feature-length--

jessamyn: Oh, that movie!

cortex: --Esperanto language film, yeah.

mathowie: Do they have to have a film festival every year with that one movie?

jessamyn: (chuckles)

mathowie: What was your favorite, Josh?

cortex: I liked--this is sort of a Metafilter related thing, as a Project goes--

mathowie: Ohh.

cortex: --but the Metafilter Podcast Transcript project is ongoing, and I think we've probably mentioned that before, but now it's got a Project! So.

jessamyn: Well, and it's really taken off, kind of. I don't know if we've spoken about it at length, except in the threads themselves.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: But they use this thing called Fanscribed, which means that people can transcribe the podcast 30 seconds at a time, and then somebody else goes through and sort of sews those all together, and it's amazing. The technology's amazing, and it means that people can then read the stuff we talk about, Lord help them (cortex laughs), but because--you know, for people who are hearing impaired, it's useful to be able to know what we're saying, and to search it, and all that other stuff. And it's just cool, and Pronoiac has been really--

mathowie: Ohhh! So there's no website, Fanscribed, link to GitHub, so you load it locally?

jessamyn: He has a locally loaded version, and he loads up the podcast files into it himself. That's why it's a Project and not just...

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: He didn't make Fanscribed, he made the...

mathowie: No, no, well I'm saying, like, if he's done 38% of a podcast, how do I jump in and start it, I have to know.

jessamyn: Click the link, Matt!

cortex: It--(laughs)

mathowie: I did! It's a wiki!

cortex: Yeah, go check it out. Basically, you can grab any segment that hasn't already been done, and what it will do is it'll start from like five seconds before that, the audio, so it runs up to the transition from the previous segment to the current segment that you're transcribing.

jessamyn: Here is a link. Click this link, and you'll see how the system works.

cortex: Yeah. It's just really nicely designed, it works well, and people have been powering on through, and it's pretty great.

mathowie: Holy cow! And you can see which users did which chunk? That's amazing.

cortex: Yeah, no, it's really nicely designed.

jessamyn: And you can do like three minutes. And so you can help a lot by doing not that much work, and then everybody sort of works together, it's kind of great.

cortex: Yeah. It's totally the black--the backtagging.

jessamyn: The blacktagging.

cortex: The blacktagging, yes. (laughs) Ten-foot pole. I can't even come up with a joke that I'm not going to make.

mathowie: Not get [?] all racial. Oh, wow! That's neat.

jessamyn: See? It's totally hot. It's really--

mathowie: So you don't have to run it locally, you can use these little chunked-up, you can use this website, kind of?

jessamyn: You personally don't have to--

mathowie: Right.

jessamyn: --but the website is set up by Prono [ˈpɹoʊnoʊ]--Pronoiac [ˈpɹoʊnaɪ.æk].

mathowie: Yeah. Pronoiac. [ˈpɹoʊ.ni.æk]

cortex: Pronoiac [pɹoʊˈnɔɪ.ɪk].

jessamyn: Fuck! Pronoiac [pɹoʊˈnɔɪ.ɪk]. Thank you, Josh.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: Because it's running on his server.

cortex: I don't know if I'm right, I'm just confident.

jessamyn: Who cares?

cortex: Just sound like you know what you're saying.

mathowie: I just approved one this morning that's half fascinating, half the most annoying thing on Earth.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: And it's called Windchime.

jessamyn: I noticed the name of it while I'm waiting for it to--

mathowie: Yeah, it's called Windchime, it's generative music that just is based on your typing, so if you're a coder and you're writing Javascript code all day, it's basically a GitHub install to launch it locally, and it just like, and there's a, play the little video on the site, and it's just like, (sings) "Clong clong clong clong clong clong clong," while you're typing, like, it's sort of making music.

jessamyn: I might like that. Let's take a look at this video.

cortex: I am a fan. This is a nice purpose. [?] This is definitely my sort of thing.

mathowie: Yeah. And it doesn't sound bad. I mean, it sounds pretty good, but I could imagine it being cool for five minutes, kind of, but if you have a silent--I actually--

jessamyn: I got eight seconds into it, I'm done.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

mathowie: I was just thinking, imagine me in a cubicle farm and just cranking up the speakers, that would be kind of awesome to inflict on your neighbors.

jessamyn: Sadist. Sadist. Isn't it great to just not work in a cubicle farm at all? Ever?

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: It's really nice.

jessamyn: We're such lucky people.

mathowie: Yeah.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: A moment of silence for everybody who works in a cubicle farm.

jessamyn: Awww.

cortex: I never forget.

mathowie: Everyone listening in a cubicle right now... oh God, I'm so sorry.

cortex: (chuckles) I don't know if we mentioned this last time; it was right on the cusp, because this got posted on the first of last month, but--

jessamyn: Oh, yeah!

cortex: iamkimiam put up some data from her survey work she had been doing on MeFite [mɛfaɪt]--MeFite [mɛˈfaɪt] pronunciation of the m-set, and made a preprint paper available too, so that was pretty cool. I think there was a MetaTalk about that as well.

jessamyn: And her article is published in Names, a journal of onomastics, special issue on names, naming, and the Internet.

cortex: How awesome is that?

mathowie: And to cut off--

jessamyn: And she sent us a box--what?

mathowie: Oh, I was just saying, just to cut off all the common things people mock, like, "Someone made a PhD out of Metafilter, how do you pronounce Metafilter?" But it's actually interesting to language research and linguistics--

jessamyn: Matt, you're roboting, Matt.

mathowie: Whaat?! Really?

cortex: Maybe he'll come back, it wasn't too bad.

jessamyn: Yeah, it might have just been scrolling or something.

mathowie: I'm on like WiMAX.

cortex: Yeah, you sound good now.

mathowie: Okay. So, hopefully the recording doesn't sound like "jjiii!" But what makes this thing interesting to linguistics is that we essentially created a new word in 1999 called Metafilter or MeFi [mifaɪ] in maybe 2000, 2001 before people started shortening it to MeFi.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: To--sorry, M-E-F-I, so you have this new word that's ambiguous, and it is actually interesting that there's like seven common ways people pronounce it, and what do you get out of studying that depth. That seems silly on its face, but--

jessamyn: Well, and she studied, like, how you might have figured out how to say it. Like, did you go to a meetup? Do you know a mod? Do you listen to the podcast? And so she controlled for a lot of different variables, which made it very interesting also.

mathowie: Yeah.

Sorry, I was just trying to head off all the criticisms at the pass, that it's actually fascinating if you just spiral out from, here's a new word, how's how people pronounce it, here's how they might have been influenced in that, and here's--you just keep going deeper and deeper with it.

cortex: Yep. It's very neat stuff.

jessamyn: And iamkimiam sent us snacks from London, and that was really cool.

cortex: Yes. That was very nice, thank you.

jessamyn: We mentioned that on the LobsterMitten podcast.

mathowie: They were weird, and one thing made me sick--

jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)

mathowie: --I can't figure out what it was.

jessamyn: Can't you just say thank you like normal people, Matt?

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Yes, yes. Thanks! I am terrified of British food.

jessamyn: (laughs) Look, she didn't send you a banger in the mail.

mathowie: I don't even--maybe it was the lamb chips? There was something strange, and like... euhh, I was deathly ill the next day.

jessamyn: Oh, I didn't get lamb chips, I got Worcestershire chips or something.

cortex: Yeah, I got onion or something crisps.

jessamyn: Crisps.

mathowie: Crisps.

jessamyn: Right, chips are fries.

mathowie: Any other Projects, or is that it on Projects?

cortex: Well, there was also a new album by the Harvey Girls.

mathowie: Oh cool, yeah.

jessamyn: Right. Very cool. And we all tried to vote for it on the Internet--

mathowie: Did they win?

jessamyn: And I don't know if we actually pushed them over the edge or not.

cortex: It was close, but, you know, the funny thing is, there was an Internet poll on one of the local music sites or newsweeklies, I don't even remember where it was. But yeah, ColdChef was putting the word out, "Hey, go vote for the Harvey Girls." It was close between them and another band. And I don't remember how that resolved--

mathowie: [??] eight votes?

jessamyn: [??] I've never heard of.

cortex: Yeah, whatever. Well, they're local, you know.

mathowie: Oh wow, they're playing a whole bunch of places.

cortex: But I won't mention the band, because this is a story about one of the band members being a dickass, and it's probably not fair to tar their name.

jessamyn: Not just a dick. (laugh)

cortex: But yeah. Guy shows up on Facebook and basically is like, "Oh hey, nice job on the poll. What's it feel like to be a cheater?"

jessamyn: What?!

cortex: And Hiram's like, "What the fuck are you talking about?"

jessamyn: On their webpage? On their Facebook page?

cortex: On the Facebook, yeah. And the guy's just like, he's like the drummer from the band, and I don't know what his deal was other than that he was acting (mathowie laughs) like an asshole, and yeah, he showed up and basically asserted that they had cheated, had absolutely nothing to base it on but the fact that they had won but hadn't been active enough on the social media accounts that he prefers (jessamyn laughs), and I think what happened is another member of the band ended up showing up and being like, "Dude, shut the fuck up!"

jessamyn: Right, we're all friends.

mathowie: Yeah, that's awesome.

cortex: So it was really, it was a weird outcome. And, you know, there's times that I miss being in a band, and there's times that I don't necessarily miss being in a band, because it does feel like it's hard to get entirely away from (mathowie laughs) high school drama, just like being in contact with the scene and all.

mathowie: [??]

cortex: But anyway, the point is, they've got this new album out and it's nice.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: Cool! I have to go get it and listen to it. Love the Harvey Girls.

mathowie: [??] digital version.

jessamyn: Love my t-shirt. Mushi t-shirt.

cortex: Ah, Mushi. Mushi Mushi Gila Monster.

jessamyn: Yep.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: But yeah, no, I enjoyed Projects, but there weren't as many of them, and you guys already mentioned the ones I really like.

mathowie: Alright, cool.

jessamyn: Cool.

mathowie: There wasn't anything major in Jobs... as usual there's a Wikimedia Foundation job, and it's kind of interesting, but that's about it.

There were a lot of short-term--I think someone needed help moving, like, with one day's notice.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: I don't know if that's still there.

cortex: So if you have a time machine, you know--

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: --check that out, and go give him a hand.

mathowie: [?]

jessamyn: I thought writing a car obituary was kind of interesting.


mathowie: Uhhh.

jessamyn: It was the guy who was looking for people to write stories about cars. Not quite a job, though, more of like a spec thing. But I just liked the word carbituary.

mathowie: It's a good word. What is Everything Goes Media? Huh. I thought that was EGM, Electronic Games Monthly, and I was wondering why--they're making a new car game, and they need people for research?

jessamyn: (laughs) Right, right.

mathowie: I'm confused.

A friend of mine posted a job.

jessamyn: So, scooting over--what?

mathowie: I don't see it... a friend of mine posted a job, and someone volunteered--oh, it was for a volunteer thing. Oh, cool.

jessamyn: And they got a volunteer.


mathowie: It worked out. Yay!

cortex: The system works!

mathowie: The system works, people.

jessamyn: I mean, I told you guys the time I used the Jobs thing to find somebody to make me little badges for the people that helped me move, right?

mathowie: Mmm.

cortex: I don't know if you did!

jessamyn: It was like summertime, so I don't know if I mentioned it because I was too busy being all broken ankle, you know. But basically, a bunch of people helped me move, friends of mine, and I had some cool metal stars that were on these kind of vests that I had gotten from when I lived in the Odd Fellows Hall in Seattle, and I wanted them made into little badges, like little... you know, like everybody does, they make the little--what do they call it if you're in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, the whatever badges? Merit badges.

cortex: Merit badges, yeah. Merit badges.

jessamyn: I wanted them made into merit badges, but it involves using a serger, or a sewing machine, or something, and so I kinda knew what I wanted in my mind, but I couldn't really figure out how to do it, and so I put this job up, and--that's not that Job--oh, I didn't paste anything in there. I put this job up, and got somebody to do it for me, and the things that came out looked awesome! I'll have to find the picture on mlkshk. But she made a whole bunch of little badges and actually put pins on the back of them, and then I mailed them to everybody who helped me move, and they got a, you know, "I helped Jessamyn move," merit badge. Made like twelve of them.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: Yeah, it was really awesome.

mathowie: Suh-weet.

jessamyn: And I was just really happy, and she did a great job, and.


mathowie: Sweet.

cortex: That is super keen.

jessamyn: And I'm just looking up the picture right now, so you guys can talk about whatever it is that you talk about.

mathowie: (sings Jeopardy theme) Shit.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Is Glenn Fleishman a member of Metafilter? He was on Jeopardy last week, and he won two days.

cortex: Oh, was he?

mathowie: Yeah, I wonder if I call him--

jessamyn: Right, he's a friend of mine, and so I signed him up on Metafilter--

mathowie: Ohhh.

jessamyn: --just in time for somebody to insult him.

mathowie: Right, but then he's Metafilter's Own! Awesome.

jessamyn: What did you say?

mathowie: Then he's Metafilter's own, which is awesome.

jessamyn: Yeah! I mean, depending how you feel about that. (mathowie laughs) Some people were less excited than others. But I was very excited, I thought it was really cool. I mean, I think he's neat. We've been friends for a while. Internet friends and real life friends.

mathowie: Yeah, he seems like a real crazy nerd.

jessamyn: (mutters) Still looking for this...

mathowie: Can't find it? Alright. I think we're done with Jobs and Projects.

jessamyn: Well, now I'm like scrolling. It's fucking mlkshk, you know how it is.

mathowie: Yeah. Yell at Andre.

jessamyn: I can't search by date. And I went on a road trip in between this and that. Ah, here we go. All right.

mathowie: Oh, if you were on Flickr you would have known where it was.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: (makes a noise that only jessamyn can descibe) It's that Sideshow Bob rake noise.

mathowie: Yeah. (makes it himself)

jessamyn: See, look how cool those look.

mathowie: Loading, loading... ooh, fancy!

jessamyn: See?

mathowie: Wow, it's like bits of tools, or something, like, what are those? Washers?

jessamyn: They're stars! They're sequins.

mathowie: I know, but did you--you made this? Ohh, I see. Cool!

jessamyn: So they were on these little brocaded vests from the turn of the last century.

mathowie: Oh my God.

jessamyn: But they were falling apart, and so we cut those parts out, and then... I'll have to actually figure out what her username was so I can thank her by username. Everything's going kinda slow here.

mathowie: Whoa, if like one or two of us favorites this, or likes this post, we can get it on the Popular page on mlkshk.

jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)

cortex: You know, mlkshk is so much--I kind of assumed that mlkshk was, like, big. Like, I had assumed it was sort of like blowing up, but it feels like it's a fairly small userbase still at this point.

mathowie: No, it's super tiny. They're all nice people, though.

cortex: Well yeah no, it's great. It's like, there's nothing wrong with the people, it's just that I expected there to be more.

jessamyn: They're all Matt's people, though.

mathowie: What? (pause) Why are they mine?

jessamyn: What? Well, you just said they're all your people, and I said, yeah, they're all your people. I don't understand the conflict.

mathowie: Oh, oh, yeah. No, I said they're all great people, is what I said, nice people.

cortex: He said nice, not my.

jessamyn: Oh, I thought you were like, "They're my people!"

mathowie: [??] an asshole.

cortex: He keeps them in a shoe box under his bed. They're his people.

mathowie: Yes. [??]

Alright. Let me see. Where are we?

jessamyn: I don't know. [?]

mathowie: No more Jobs, no more Projects. Metafilter! Proper.

jessamyn: I like Metafilter.

cortex: (laughs) Metafilter's pretty good.

mathowie: Favorite posts on Metafilter for the month?

cortex: Oh, I--

jessamyn: homunculus's Mark Pauline's terrorism as art. I figured you guys might not want this one, so I figured I'd mention it.

cortex: Go for it. Tell us about it.

jessamyn: He's just a performance artist that if you're one of those people who's been paying attention to that kind of thing for the last 20 years makes these crazy giant monsters, and he blew off part of his hand, so he's kinda Keeping It Real guy from Survival Research Labs--

mathowie: (chuckles) Euhhh.

jessamyn: --but this was just a really nice article about him and the things that he does now that he's kind of a middle-aged dude, and I thought it was great. By homunculus, who makes many good posts, but this was one of them. That's it.

mathowie: Isn't Survival Research Labs that place in the Bay Area of burners that build things that build things that make fire and stuff?

jessamyn: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah. They make like robots that burn things.

mathowie: Oh my God, he has two fingers. Crazy.

jessamyn: One of them is a toe.

mathowie: (laughs) Of course it is.

jessamyn: Yeah!

mathowie: That's awesome! "Money is fuel, fuel you burn to do the next thing." That's awesome.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: So it was just a good post, and it was neat to hear people who kinda knew him and knew about his stuff to talk about it with other--Oh! Galadhwen. She has kind of a neat--G-L-A-D-H-W-E-N, is the one who did the badges, and thank you, it was awesome.

mathowie: Sweet. Nice!

cortex: [???]

jessamyn: But yeah, that was my favorite post for the month. I mean, I had lots of other posts that I liked, including the Hurricane Sandy post, and the debate posts, but, ah...

mathowie: Really? (laughs)

jessamyn: Yeah, actually! They were mostly pretty interesting and not a lot of fighting.

mathowie: Huh.

jessamyn: The Mitt Romney thread was shitty, but the rest of them were actually pretty good.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Well, and it's funny, because the Mitt Romney thr--well, you know, it's, the debate threads during the debates are the liveblog, and they were all like 1500 comments in 90 minutes.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: I think we discussed in MetaTalk recently, the nice thing about that is it takes almost no moderation, because no one can really get in a fight when everybody's commenting that fast, when there's like ten comments a minute, minimum, then you can't even get in a heated back-and-forth with someone, because it's going to be like 100 comments away by the time, yeah.

mathowie: It's scrolled.

jessamyn: Because it's not synchronous. You're not synchronously talking to each other, yeah, yeah, yeah.

cortex: So that's kind of nice. So it hadn't been like--it wasn't terrible, it was just like a non-issue, like, you know, nobody could get in a fight when they're actually flowing down a waterfall.

jessamyn: (faint noise of amusement) Right.

cortex: But then it was like 1500 comments and we instantly had a big thread, and then it would sort of settle down and people--that would be the new thread that people would argue about politics in. So it's been sort of a mixed bag, I don't know. Maybe there's a natural braking effect from the threads being longer so they haven't gotten as heated, aside from the one superthread that everybody wanted to break the record. Which we did, and I can't claim not to feel--

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: --a sense of involvement, I guess, in my use of 'we' there. But it's like 5,817 comments, is how that big Romney thread--

mathowie: Oh my God!

cortex: Which tops out the Palin thread, which was 5,555, four years ago. So.

mathowie: When I had to check the other--check something yesterday, it took 24 seconds of server processing time just to spit out the page for me.

jessamyn: Oh my God.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Yeah. So, I got talking to Jessamyn about this, like, Metafilter really breaks beyond 1,000-comment threads, and it's so funny that we just allowed the debate threads to survive (cortex laughs) and now suddenly 3,000 is a new normal.

cortex: Well, yeah.

mathowie: And I'm like, everything is broken at that point, I mean, like, how can we socially get people back down to under a thousand in the future?

cortex: Well, I think it'll help to have the election not be happening anymore, you know.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Be fucking over!

cortex: Yeah, yeah.

jessamyn: And maybe no more national disasters for a while.

cortex: Yeah. So those two things are a little bit of an upset.

mathowie: [??] election night Tues--

jessamyn: Which is the other thing. Sorry?

mathowie: So Tuesday it's over, right? It's Tuesday it's over, this Tuesday?

cortex: Yes--

mathowie: Okay.

cortex: --well, Tuesday is the election, anyway.

jessamyn: Assuming there's a winner.

cortex: Hopefully it's over.

mathowie: Of course.

cortex: You know, we'll see. (laughs)

mathowie: But there'll probably be a 5,000-comment thread that night, right? Like, someone's going to want one.

cortex: Oh, yeah, there's--yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah, Josh is working and I'm actually gonna (chuckling) cover a couple of hours for him just so he can go to the bathroom or something.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Because, I mean, it's really good for evening events like that, because we can tag in, and he can work up to the nighttime, and then I can work the late shift when nothing's really going on here, and neither of us feels like we have to work all--

cortex: Yeah, neither of us working all Election Day, so that'll be nice.

jessamyn: All damn day.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: But yeah. I'm sure it'll be a very big thread from that, but hopefully that'll be like the last of the big fucking elections until--

mathowie: The megathreads. I hope mega isn't the new normal.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: Well, we can regroup and work on that accordingly if it's feeling like an ongoing issue, so.

jessamyn: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

mathowie: It's probably too early to say, but I think it's okay. Like, Paul is testing a Jabber server right now.

cortex: Yay!

mathowie: And he said it's almost kind of--

jessamyn: For those of you who may not remember when we had one eight years ago (mathowie laughs)--I mean, how long ago was it?

cortex: Yeah, I think it was something like that.

mathowie: Yeah, it was forever ago.

jessamyn: Can you explain what that means to people who are like, "A what server?"

mathowie: Oh, yeah. Basically, instant messenger. You know, GChat is a Jabber server of all Gmail users. So we figured a way, like an open-source Java kit, that is a Jabber server, an IM protocol that's built into iChat and stuff, that bases it off of the Metafilter userbase. So you'd log in with your Metafilter credentials and then you would see--

jessamyn: Authenticate on the Metafilter server, right?

mathowie: Yeah. And then everyone who's online you would see in the buddy--basically, the buddy list is everyone else who's on, I think. I think. I think there's a way to do that.

jessamyn: I think that's how it worked before. I don't know if it will still work that way.

mathowie: Yeah. But essentially, people have--

cortex: People can IM, and you can also have essentially a chat room, group chat situation too, right?

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: So it'd be, yeah, sort of a chatter outlet. Which might be a good way to mitigate some of the huge thread stuff--

mathowie: Get rid of 3,000 comment threads, yeah.

cortex: --by porting some of that to something a little bit more ephemeral, if really what you want to do is bullshit rather than create an Internet artifact in a thread on the site.

mathowie: And we don't have to have bullshit like open threads, you know, for events. I mean, you know, if the--real-time chat is fun on time-based things, like whatever, Apple's having a keynote. Like, those are fun to chat, like, with ten buddies at the same time.

cortex: Yeah. But that could fit pretty well as more of a chat room thing rather than a thread.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Might fit the liveblog spirit better. And someone could always archive it and post it, you know, if people want to have a record, or we could find some way to approach that, but yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah, I think it's a neat idea!

mathowie: Yeah. Yeah, so ideally it would be great if it was up by Tuesday night, so we don't have to endure a 5,000-comment thread.

cortex: (chuckles) Yeah, if you can pull that off. Of course, then we have to deal with live-testing it instead, but that might be worth it.

mathowie: Right. But oh, on the plus side, we took it away last time because it sucked up so many resources it eventually slowed down the web server it was on. But now we have a second staging server that's sitting there idle, so.

cortex: So yeah.

jessamyn: Now we have more resources!

cortex: Yay!

mathowie: Yeah, so it'll probably be on its--

cortex: Now it's no longer a box in someone's closet.

mathowie: Yeah. It's basically going to be on its own dedicated box, so if it slows that one down, who gives a shit?

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: So yeah, that might happen. Let's continue... oh, October was the month that the Lance Armstrong garbage came out, which was great, and there's a post I just pasted in of the best thread about all that stuff, and it was good to....

jessamyn: I found that really interesting to read, as someone who doesn't really follow cycling that much but was vaguely interested in the Lance Armstrong drama.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: I thought that was pretty neat.

mathowie: Yeah, and it was hard to... I mean, you know, with the non-superfans, the most common response is, "Well, weren't they all doping?" And it's like, "So, like, he's not guilty of anything except being a normal cyclist, right?" But really it's all like, it's way worse. Like, he was the kingpin of the whole thing, he was always ahead of what the doctors did, he bribed people, he was leaked information about when he would be tested, so he knew when to stop. It's so much worse than it appears. So it was good.

jessamyn: And he was a cocky arrogant dick about the whole thing, which bothers people.

mathowie: Totally. And he sued anyone who said he ever took drugs, and he won a few cases, which is crazy.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Just because the laws around libel and slander are weird, especially in Europe, especially in the UK, and he won a few judgments against publications and people who claimed he was doping. So.

cortex: I bet the director of the comedic film Dodgeball now really regrets (mathowie chuckles) featuring him in a cameo role as an inspirational feature. I bet we see a director cut that's got him replaced with a CGI [??].

mathowie: (still chuckling greatly) Oh, yes.

jessamyn: I don't even remember that part!

mathowie: It was two seconds. Yeah.

cortex: And it's just a dumb little walk-on near the end that convinces Vince Vaughn that no, he should go back and he should fight and he should try and get his team, you know, inspiration, blah blah blah blah blah.

mathowie: Yeah. I forgot about that.

jessamyn: Ahhh.

cortex: It was just a short little thing.

mathowie: I forgot about that. Wow! And that post is made by one of my bike buddies, and the other bike buddy guy I raced with made another post this month. So crazy.

jessamyn: Yay, the bike buddies!

mathowie: Yay, they understand the Internet!

jessamyn: We just got a bunch of Livestrong spinning cycles at my gym, too, like this week.

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

cortex: (laughs) Timing.

jessamyn: And I was like, "Oooh, maybe they're trying to--"

mathowie: Discounted. Totally discounted.

I mean, everything about Lance Armstrong is shady and sketchy and weird. Livestrong, you know the whole Livestrong backstory, there was an Outside Magazine article about Livestrong is half, half of it is a non-profit organization for cancer patient advocacy, not research, and the other half of it is a commercial venture! Like, if you ever go to it's just demand media content farm of bullshit.

cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)

jessamyn: Well, and their SEO is really good, so I do some of this fitness and nutrition stuff and every now and again you're like, "How many calories are in, whatever the fuck, a squash."

mathowie: And you end up on Livestrong.

jessamyn: And you wind up with all this Livestrong stuff, like, bing bing bing bing bing bing! Like, the top fifteen results. And you're like, "What?" And some of the shit isn't even answering the question.

mathowie: It's like eHow articles, yeah.

jessamyn: They've just got really good SEO, and it's... ughhh.

mathowie: It's demand media.

cortex: Well, you can appreciate the situation, though. Nobody ever got kicked out of the SEO business for doping, so, you know--

mathowie and jessamyn: (laugh)

cortex: --it's a solid business model. Forward-looking.

Well, I'm glad you led with a bike-related thing--

mathowie: Someone told me... okay.

cortex: --because that makes me feel less bad about the fact that all I have is video game stuff. Like, we're both (mathowie chuckles) playing to type this month.

jessamyn: Heheh.

cortex: Because I really liked--if I had to mention just one post, it would be Frog Fractions, which is a Flash game called Frog Fractions, and it's amazing, and it's not obvious how amazing it is when you first start playing it, it's something that you need to spend like 10 or 15 minutes with, and maybe read a [??] if you don't get why it's interesting.

mathowie: Aaah! Makes too many noises.

cortex: But it's fantastic. Don't try playing it right now, because you'll seriously, you don't have time to get to the good part. But it's wonderful. It's a surrealist, horrible, non-linear mashup of different video game tropes and narratives in a way that's just--

jessamyn: Does it teach you fractions, or is that just, no.

cortex: No.

jessamyn: (chuckles)

cortex: It just started off with the façade of being edutainment and fairly quickly diverges, and then drops some acid and diverges a lot more, so.

jessamyn: Okay! Okay!

cortex: Frog Fractions. It's great!

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: I just liked the name.

cortex: My comment in the thread is that fuck it, I was gonna post this. Because I found it that evening, and someone had posted it that morning, and so I couldn't post it myself, because it apparently had gone around the entire Internet already.

mathowie: Oh my God. Awesome.

cortex: But yeah.

mathowie: Have you seen this, do you remember the meme of What I do, my friends think I do--

cortex: Oh, yeah.

mathowie: --what my parents think I do--

jessamyn: What I really do.

mathowie: So, yeah. Have you seen this offshoot of Tumblr blogs of, like, they're just animated GIFs, and they're like famous anime GIF clips from a movie or something, and then they have like, what my--and they're filled with jargon. And I've seen, like, there's ones for bike racers, it's like, "What my friends think I'm doing when I'm not training," and there's like Justin Timberlake standing there. And like, so this one--

jessamyn: Oh, yeah. I saw one about San Francisco... yeah. Living in San Francisco.

mathowie: It's like the latest thing. I don't know what you call this genre. Blasdelb posted one about research scientists. I showed this to my wife, who is a researcher and used to be a post-doc, and she was laughing her ass off at, you know, "What my research committee thinks of my last proposal," and it's like a prog--a monkey falling off a tree or something that you see a thousand times as an animated GIF. But the funny thing is, I've seen tons of these Tumblr blogs about whatever, like, they could be about any subject. And they're basically in-jokes where people deep in that subject--I think I've seen a librarian one somewhere before, too.

jessamyn: Yeah, there's a bunch of librarian ones. There was one about living in San Francisco that I clicked all the way through, which for whatever reason just totally cracked me up, which you wouldn't think it would at all. And now of course it's un-Googleable.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, "san francisco animated gif... stuff."

mathowie: This one killed my wife, the "How I feel at poster presentations," because you, aside from giving talks or publishing your publications, you, like, a lot of times--

jessamyn: You have to stand there next to your poster.

mathowie: Yeah. And you have these really boring three-panel posterboard with about 20 sheets of paper glued to them, and you stand there at a conference, and people just walk by, and there's this awesome animated GIF of a cat ignoring a human completely, so awesomely. That was absolutely spot on. That was sort of the thing that totally won this entire subject for me. But yeah. I wonder what those are called? Like the whole--it's like a meta-meme now of, you know.

cortex: Yeah. I don't know--there's gotta be some sort of name for it. But yeah. Recontextualized GIFs. Yeah.

jessamyn: This is one of them but not even the one I was talking about.

cortex: Castrogays.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: But I know what you mean, it's...

cortex: Yeah. There's gotta be... so many people have spent some time on this. Know Your Meme or whatever, there's got to be a name for this.

mathowie: I'm sure someone listening to this will post a comment, yeah.

cortex: I just don't know what it would be.

mathowie: For like animated Tumblr blog things about places and things. (chuckles)

cortex: Animated GIF use cases? I don't know.

jessamyn: Oh!

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Stop saying that out loud.

cortex: Use cases? You know, use cases?

jessamyn: Stop it!

cortex: I'm just trying to be proactive.

mathowie: (laughs) Any other favorites, Jessamyn?

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Most of my favorites were from Ask Metafilter this time around. I mean, to be fair, I did like the--hold on, we were talking about this with LobsterMitten.

sfx: (A cross between a bird chirping and a horse whinnying)

cortex: What on Earth--

jessamyn: That's my phone.

cortex: --is that? Your phone is a howler monkey? What's that?

jessamyn: A bird. It's a bird. Hold on just one second.

cortex: It's an owl. Plovers?

mathowie: (laughs)

sfx: (bird ringtone stops)

cortex: (radio announcer voice) You're on with 1-800-PLOVERS.

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: (on phone) Yes.

Good! I'm recording a podcast. I just wanted to pick up and say, hello, I'm actually here.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh greatly)

mathowie: Doesn't the new phone have respond? Respond?

cortex: Long-time listener, first-time caller. I just wanted to say I love your podcast, and I wanted to say, who are the jokers running this MetaTalk? I don't get it. You know, I, uh....

mathowie: (laughs) You're on with SportsTalk Radio of Metafilter.

cortex: (laughs) We really need to do a bad AM radio sports call-in show.

mathowie: "When are they going to fire Taz? Taz is blind! She's missing so many things!" That'd be great.

jessamyn: (no longer on phone) What are you guys saying? Fuck y'all!

cortex: No, no, no, we were saying we should do a podcast in the style of an AM radio sports talk and sports talk.

jessamyn: You call in to scream?

cortex: Yeah, where you call in and say, "Yeah, yeah, so, you know, first-time caller (jessamyn laughs), long-time listener, I just wanted to say, you know, what was with deleting that post about the circumcision? That was a great post! You know, I--"

jessamyn: That might be a good idea for April Fool's, actually.

mathowie: Oh, God, yes!

cortex: We gotta get rid of these replacement racks, I'm just saying, you know, thanks.

jessamyn: But see, the thing is, I have friends who don't really use the phone that much, and so if they call me--

mathowie: Oh, someone died.

jessamyn: --and they won't leave a voicemail, and I won't know why they called, but maybe they want to hang out with me, and I really like to hang out, and so--

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: --if I want to hang out, you have to answer the phone. So I'm going to go for a walk with my friend Rachel in half an hour or some time like that.

cortex: Well, that's excellent.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: Which is good because it'll nicely bracket the amount of time we're spending podcasting.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: But the thing that I was going to say is, I really enjoyed, just from a "I learned a lot," and we talked about this with LobsterMitten, the Predditors--

mathowie: Oh, God.

jessamyn: --thread about the crazy shit going on at Reddit. It did not turn into a crazy shit going on at Metafilter post, for the most part, and I just learned a lot about how Reddit operates and I found it very interesting.

cortex: Yeah, it was actually a pretty good read.

mathowie: Oh, this is a megathread, right?

cortex: Yeah.

cortex: Like 1600--

jessamyn: 1600 comments... (laughs) that used to be a megathread.

mathowie: That just took twelve... that took twelve thousand milliseconds to process.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Let me see how long it took me. That's 1.2 seconds.

mathowie: Stop with the chatting! It's 12 seconds.

jessamyn: 13 thousand, yeah.

mathowie: Yeah, wow.

cortex: Man, speaking of loading things in browsers, I finally, I've been (jessamyn laughs)--Firefox has been running kinda like shit for I don't know, a year, a year and a half now? Like steadily worse, it feels like. Like Gmail was getting consistently laggy on basic UI interactions. It's like, what the fuck is that about? So I finally switched over to Chrome, and I had put it off because I didn't want to have to fiddle with logging back into stuff, but in retrospect that was a dumb reason to put it off so long. And Chrome has been so great. It's been running like a fucking dream. I am thrilled. So there you go. Fucking Firefox.

jessamyn: If I could make the favicons go away, I would switch.

mathowie: What? Favicons are great because you can get rid of all the words.

jessamyn: They take up lots of space, so you have to look at them and their colors that don't match.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: See, this doesn't bother me.

jessamyn: Don't you make fun of me!

cortex: No, no, no, if anything I will make fun of the fact that I have no color sense whatsoever.

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: Like, I'm useless--clashing? Clashing just means you have a bad attitude!

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: They're having fun.

mathowie: I can fit more in a smaller area without words, though. Yeah.

jessamyn: See, my words are all a single letter.

mathowie: Oh, that's funny. How do you--! You're complaining that a little blue f square takes too much space, but the letter 'F' means Facebook to you? Like, that's hard.

jessamyn: The letter 'L' means...

Yeah. Yeah. That is exactly what I'm saying, Matt.

cortex: Augh. I do that with my microtool stuff.

mathowie: I prefer pictures.

jessamyn: What did you say?

mathowie: I prefer pictures.

jessamyn: Yeah! Well, so do the people who work at McDonalds. But...

mathowie: Ohhh!

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

cortex: We're not doing SportsTalk.

jessamyn: I'm just saying, everybody has their system, and I can't get it to work with my system yet.

cortex: Yeah. I fortunately haven't had any dealbreakers, although I did learn that I had to go into the OS X system preferences to get F5 to refresh the page in Chrome, because even though--

mathowie: Oh, really?

cortex: --apparently it works correctly on Windows, that doesn't work correctly on Chrome, and F5 is so much simpler to hit than, you know, Command-R or whatever.

mathowie: Command-R.

jessamyn: Or finding the button.

cortex: Yeah, yeah, or, yeah.

mathowie: I like Command-R. Command-R reminds me of pirates.

cortex: So. Command-Arrrr.

jessamyn: You know, I did until just right now. So maybe I have learned something.

cortex: Well, there you go.

mathowie: Whoo! I loved this--this is a, a couple people thought it was a sketchy post, Hallowindow.

jessamyn: Oh, yeah!

mathowie: You know, it's slightly sketchy when people post a link to shit you have to buy, but it was a--like, these short, looping videos of slightly spooky effects that you play on a laptop, or you play on a big monitor, or you can reverse-project them onto white curtains like I did. And this was posted a couple of days before Halloween.

jessamyn: Awesome.

mathowie: I saw the examples, and I was like, Oh my God, this looks magic, this is so... And I realized I have an unused projector sitting in my office (jessamyn laughs) that I could totally rig up, and then I rigged it up and it worked beautifully, there was a demo of it.

cortex: (laughs) That was pretty fucking sweet.

mathowie: Here it is on the--

jessamyn: Between that and the full-size candy bars, Matt, I, you know, you should be running for mayor.

mathowie: I know, I won at Halloween, like, kids love the shit out of this.

cortex: If we hadn't actually been watching movies on a projector on Halloween night, we would have done this.

mathowie: Yeah, you have a projector, and you have a picture window.

cortex: Well, yeah, but we had [???] over and we sat and watched movies together, so, you know, that projector was occupied.

mathowie: You have the perfect set-up! Right next to your door, you've got it.

cortex: I know, that's what I'm saying! You're telling what I'm--oh, God, we're an episode of Seinfeld now.

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: Yeah, so I, my windows are like, there are two windows side-by-side with some wood in between, so I couldn't use most of the videos on the site, but I eventually found two eyeballs that could be projected on each window when you get it just right.

jessamyn: Nice!

mathowie: And someone does mention that some of the videos are kind of scary. There's zombies coming out of the mist and stuff, and that kids were afraid, like, didn't go to those houses when they saw that down on the street.

jessamyn: Awww.

mathowie: Because they're kinda creepy. So I picked the eyeballs are just kind of mild.

cortex: Startling, but they aren't going to give anybody nightmares, probably.

jessamyn: Nobody thinks you have a giant dog or something.

mathowie: Right, right.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Right, it's not gonna eat you if you walk by, so yeah, we have plenty of kids, but yeah. It was the coolest thing.

cortex: There was this one guy in my neighborhood when I was a kid who would, he had a big, big bass speaker, like a big bass cabinet, that he would put outside and obscure in a bush, and then talk into a mic through a voice modifier.

jessamyn: Nice.

cortex: (makes scary monster noises) [?] You could always tell it was coming, because there were enough kids going by that you could hear this from a distance a bit.

jessamyn: You'd see the other kids, yeah.

cortex: But then you'd go up anyway, because you're like, "Fuck, I'm not afraid," and you'd leap out of your fucking pants. It was pretty great.

jessamyn: This was the first year I haven't given out candy, because I live up a ton of stairs--

mathowie: Yeah, no one's going to go...

jessamyn: --and so I never give out candy at my house, I always go to somebody else's house, which is like on the major landing strip where all the kids come. Because we have downtown candy give-out, you know, so the little tiny kids will just go to the bank (laugh).

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: And get candy from the bank. But then the kids who are a little older then go up into the neighborhood that's right next to the downtown, and so you get like 200-300 kids in an hour, an hour and a half. And so I usually go hand out candy, but this year they didn't do it so we just walked the dog instead, me and my friend.


cortex: Oh, man.

jessamyn: Took pictures of a ton of little Spidermen. Thank you for working for me for a little bit so I could do that.

cortex: Yeah, no problem. That worked out really timing-wise.

Okay, we'll keep it moving along. So I really, this post about Skate 3--

mathowie: Oh, Skate 3 glitches!

cortex: --silly videos.

mathowie: Glitches!

cortex: Completely killed me.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: It's just this guy making videos of various things going wrong in various way in the video game Skate 3, which is the third Skate game.

mathowie: Which is the best skateboarding game on any platform.

Oh, it's so great.

cortex: And, yeah, and the videos are good, the ones in the post are good, there's a comment--

jessamyn: (laugh)

cortex: --just a little bit into the thread--

jessamyn: (laugh)

cortex: --that mentions his--

jessamyn: (laugh)

cortex: --fifty best tricks compilation, and that's a great condensed....

jessamyn: I'm looking at the pictures on this guy's own page, and this is already hilarious.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: I didn't even look at this post.

cortex: I just, I, this kissed [?!] me, if you have ten minutes and want to completely lose your shit, this is a... This guy may, you know, Matt, you let me adopt your PS3 since you weren't using it, and you had the Skate games, and I had played the demo for Skate 1 years ago, and hadn't been very good at it.

mathowie: Oh, it's so much better.

cortex: There was a shooting time on the demo where you didn't have enough time to even figure out the mechanics.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: So I'd never gone back to it. But after I watched this I went and played some Skate 3. It turns that I, too, am bad at Skate 3, but not in a very interesting sort of way. But yeah, it's a fun little game.

mathowie: (chuckles) No, these aren't even glitches, like, this is actually what you can do in the--like, there's, they put all the crash physics [??] are available.

cortex: Yeah, yeah, they've got a physics simulator, and it's just got, it's rough around some of the edges. So you can induce these things--

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: --by playing just right. Well, I guess just wrong.

mathowie: It's very--

cortex: But yeah. I laughed so hard.

mathowie: Some of these are like, when you crash, part of the game is, when you crash, you start scoring points as you crash harder and harder, and you keep rolling, and it's really stupid and pointless, but these make for very funny videos.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: To show someone crashing for half a mile, basically.

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: Ah, these are great. Awesome.

Where was, I had a favorite, where did it go? I lost ma favorite! Oh, the TEA NOW, did you see that? I had no idea these things existed in Europe, alarm clocks that also make tea.

cortex: Oh, yeah!

mathowie: And there's just a great post of totally breaking down how they work, where to buy them, how to convert the voltage, various designs over the years... and it's all by Metafilter member dansdata.

jessamyn: Oh, yeah.

mathowie: Wrote the post. Because it's actually written from an Australian perspective, but the voltages kind of work, and yeah. So you wake up to tea. Basically, boiling water is what wakes you up, the noise.

I had no idea these things existed. They look really cool. I'm surprised there isn't, like--oh, I guess there is coffee pots, like Mr. Coffee, but people don't put them next to their bed. (chuckles)

jessamyn: Well, and this time of year you hear about people who are waking up to their sunrise alarm, you know, the thing that makes the little boopily-boopily noise, and the lightbulbs get brighter and brighter and brighter?

mathowie: Yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah.

jessamyn: The sunrise alarm.

cortex: Which seems like it might have some--we've never really experimented, we just got a clock-radio that goes off and we turn it off and then we roll over for a few minutes. But yeah, I've always wondered about those. Would I enjoy that, or would it just be weird and disorienting in its own way?

jessamyn: I think you'd enjoy it. I mean, if you have problems getting up in the dark, like some people in the Pacific Northwest just adjust.

mathowie: Oh God, yeah.

cortex: Yeah, I mean, I mostly just kinda get up, so it's really not a practical problem. And actually, I get up and put on the tea, so it's sort of the other way around.

jessamyn: That's you.

cortex: But then the teakettle goes off like ten minutes and there's a whistle, and so that's another sort of, "Oh, hey, the morning is beginning," sort of thing. So. It's a process.

mathowie: This could happen in your bedroom!

jessamyn: That's what we forgot to ask LobsterMitten! If she was a tea or coffee person.

cortex: Oh, tea or coffee? Yeah.

jessamyn: Or Red Bull, I guess. Jeremy's a Red Bull person.

mathowie: Oh, did you get the "cat or dog"?

cortex: Let's assume LobsterMitten is a blood of kittens person, she just...

jessamyn: Alright, that's fair.

cortex: Okay. She can correct that in the thread if that's not correct.

jessamyn: Maybe doesn't listen to the podcast, we'll see.

cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)

mathowie: What? LobsterMitten has never heard the podcast?

cortex: There's a great little post about a guy who did his best to rewrite Pac-Man to actually not be shitty for the Atari 2600.

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: Whoa!

cortex: Which is a great goal, because

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: --the port of Pac-Man for the 2600 was really terrible, but you know.

jessamyn: (makes Pac-Man noises)

mathowie: Yeah. They were just cashing in.

cortex: People were working in different contexts than they are today. And so yeah, this guy's been trying to, within the confines of what you could actually put on a 2600 cart, make a much, much better, much more faithful version of Pac-Man. So that's kinda neat. I thought that was great. It's got some good video game history in there.

jessamyn: Neat! Very cool. Yeah, I just wasn't--I stayed involved

mathowie: Lots of flashy.

jessamyn: --with a couple really long threads all month and then didn't spend as much time nerding around the rest of Metafilter proper. Though if we could move that--

mathowie: Whoa, you can buy this game, though. That is crazy.

cortex: Yeah, yeah. It's the whole game.

jessamyn: It's cool. It's super cool.

cortex: You want to hit some Ask Metafilter, is that what you're saying here?

jessamyn: I'd like to!

cortex: Let's do it.

mathowie: Yeah. Oh, wait, very last one!

jessamyn: Because then, you know, have to wander out the door, there'll be a nice dog in my house at some point, too.

cortex: Oh, yeah, true.

jessamyn: So, question that I enjoyed the most, just because it plays to sort of my button stuff, is "Is there any place on Earth that gets the most moonlight?"

mathowie: Hmmm.

jessamyn: And so there was a terrific answer from flug explaining how moonlight actually works. You're looking for the intensity of light multiplied by time, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But it's just one of those, like, somebody asks kind of a "just wondering" question, and somebody else is like, "Hey, by the way, I know everything about moons that you could ever imagine," and so there's some really neat answers in that thread that I enjoyed.

cortex: Huh. That is neat.

mathowie: Wow.

cortex: I never really thought about the math behind that at all.

jessamyn: Yeah, or that there was math behind it as opposed to just space math.

cortex: Yeah. Well, you know, I mean, I've thought a little about the solar side of it, but it sounds like part of what flug is saying is that it's kind of isomorphic; you can use the same reasoning for insolation as for the moon. That's neat.

jessamyn: Right.

So yeah.

cortex: Because it's a little bit--it's not totally, totally--what's the word? It's not totally obvious, it's not totally intuitive, because the moon isn't on the cycle as the sun, so you've got that whole twenty-day off-shift.

jessamyn: And doesn't have its own light, so it's all reflected.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: And so that's part of goes into it.

cortex: Yeah. So that's neat.

mathowie: It's not just long nights, it's also latitude you're at and stuff? Sweet. Cool.

People loved the "What's your job like, really?"

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Yeah!

mathowie: What are you doing? What do Metafilter people do all day? And I sadly posted a joke answer that got a zillion favorites.

jessamyn: I was gonna totally... oh, God.

mathowie: I should have deleted myself there.

cortex: (laughs) I think someone may have written to complain about it, actually.

jessamyn: No, that was me writing you on instant messenger to complain.

cortex: Oh, okay, that's not so bad, then.

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: I was like, "Please, can I delete this?" And you were like, "Not if you value your job!"

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: And I was like, "Aaaah!". (laughs)

mathowie: Ohh, you should have told me over IM. I felt bad, like, a week later I went back--

jessamyn: Pandering.

mathowie: --and it had like 65 favorites or something, I went, "Oh, God, I made a terrible mistake."

jessamyn: Yeah, I went into a long explanation of what I actually do at Metafilter for a job, and Matt said he fixes other people's bolds and unbolds.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: No! "I unbold things all day," is a joke on Gmail, I just read Gmail and make sure everything's archived and read Google Reader and make sure I've read it--like, it's just my job.

jessamyn: Oh, I didn't even understand that at all. I thought you meant you fixed Metafilter people's HTML.

mathowie: No! My core competency is making sure things are read on the entire Internet, basically, it feels like, most days.

jessamyn: Ohhhh! See, that's not as awful.

mathowie: Like, oh my God!

cortex: This is why you've gotta explain at greater length, you gotta elaborate.

mathowie: Yeah, I know, I should--

jessamyn: This is why explaining the joke doesn't always ruin the joke.

mathowie: Like, you know, the little--I don't know, these aren't unbolding, but on a phone, you know, the little red, like, you have three things in this and two things in that....

jessamyn: Mine says, "Please update to iOS 6," and I'm like, "Hells no!"

mathowie: (laughs) I prefer to know where I'm going.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: I live in a rural area, and I need a map for it.

mathowie: God, I'm gonna drive through New Zealand in like two months, and I hope to God Google releases a Maps program in the next 60 days or I'm fucked, like, I'm not going to be able to find anything.

cortex: Can't you downgrade? Like, clear your phone and then... no?

mathowie: No! It's iPhone 5--

cortex: Ohh.

mathowie: It doesn't even--

cortex: Ah, sucker.

mathowie: I don't even think it runs the old OS.

jessamyn: Buy an old iPad.

cortex: Suck on that, early adopter.

jessamyn: Yeah, I can send you an old iPad that still has the old iOS on it.

mathowie: I think I did update all my iPads, too. Oh well.

jessamyn: All your iPads?

cortex: Are you enjoying that extra half an inch on your screen on your iPhone 5? Is it making a difference for you?

mathowie: It's mostly the faster networking in Portland and the faster processing. Me and Andy Baio put our phones side by side and loaded up a major site we've both never been to on our phone, and it was Huffington Post, and we timed it, and mine came up in--it was done rendering the front page of the Huffington Post in three seconds, and his took thirty.

jessamyn: I'm happy to know you've never been to Huffington Post on your phone.

mathowie: Yeah, I hate it.

jessamyn: (laughs) That's very nice.

mathowie: Any Ask Metafilter favorites, Josh?

cortex: I have one.

jessamyn: Is it about gamifying your life? No! Okay.

cortex: No, no, it's the one about the Daily Show and the lid on the--

jessamyn: Oh, right!

mathowie: Oh, I was going to mention that! That was one on my list.

cortex: And it's one of those weird situations where I got a billion favorites for someone else's answer because we were posting it by proxy.

mathowie: Oh, right.

cortex: So I'm like, yay, 222 favorites for blockquoting. I rule.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

jessamyn: Often I'll e-mail the user back and just let them know that they would have gotten 222 favorites if they had posted it themselves.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: Well, and it's someone who's reading the thread, you know. They read the thread, they want to answer. So I'm assuming there's--especially since I think we Best Of'd this, so if they missed it they have just gone away from Metafilter entirely since they e-mailed me.

mathowie: The tweet?

cortex: Yeah. The cover on the mug for the President when he was on The Daily Show and this is a person who works there. So they actually had the inside scoop on what the deal was with the Secret Service and managing that, so. It was neat.

mathowie: It's just sort of one of those...

jessamyn: Yeah it was a neat little bit of information that we would not have gotten otherwise and I was curious myself, so, 'cause I watched Obama on The Daily Show and it was interesting.

mathowie: I watched it and I didn't notice it. But then, like, reading the story kind of reminded me, "Oh that's right. People want to kill him." (Laugh) That was a sad realization.

jessamyn: Right, oohh.

mathowie: That, like, oh my God.

cortex: (laughing)

mathowie: They have to monitor every aspect. And Kevin Sko... Skovo....

jessamyn: Skomsvold?

mathowie: I've never. Yeah, I've never had to pronounce that ever. He talks about working on Reverend Jesse Jackson's campaign and how they had to supervise every balloon being filled for a Democratic National Convention drop of like 10,000 balloons. Someone had to monitor every single balloon being blown up to make sure nothing was, you know, hidden inside of there.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: It's so crazy. And these are like things I never think that's... I mean... they are so good at it that it is invisible to me and to the point where I've never even thought for a moment how much work it takes to protect a high-level official.

jessamyn: Right. Well to make sure you're totally protecting them. Not just, like, to act like you are protecting them while you are not protecting them.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Serious business protection.

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: Yeah. It's cool.

mathowie: Any, uh... Do you have any other favorites? Or do you want to cut it short and let me plug something something else? (Laughing)

cortex: (Laughing)

jessamyn: Are you going to plug the t-shirts or are you going to plug something else?

mathowie: Yes! T-Shirts!

jessamyn: That's what I was hoping! I was going to talk about the t-shirts. You go talk about the t-shirts!

mathowie: Uh, t-shirts. Yes t-shirts are doing good. I think we've sold like a hundred and fifty so far? Total? Across all four kinds.

cortex: Nice.

mathowie: We actually ran out. There was a... they were accidentally on American Apparel for the first go. And now they are going to be moving to Royal Apparel, which is American made and stuff.

jessamyn: Sorry about that.

mathowie: Eh. There's three designs. One is just a basic logo. One is made by a metafilter member. One's just some guy I found on Flickr who did really cool stuff and so he designed basically this poster out of blue_beetle's famous "If you are not paying for it, you are not the customer."

jessamyn: You're the product being sold.

mathowie: That's been passed around the internet. So, uh, yeah. Just a ... they are cool. They are fun. The weird thing is Topatoco is doing it all and they do all of the like online comic book artists and MC Front A Lot and Jonathan Coulton stuff. They are great. This basically removes every headache I had with printing and packing and inventorying and shipping shirts on my own and it doesn't ... I think I actually make a dollar more per shirt by paying them to do it all.

cortex: (Laughing) Awesome.

mathowie: It's kinda unbelievable, but yeah.

cortex: Well they are in the biz. They know what they are doing.

mathowie: They've just, yeah, they've stream lined the process where I was being lazy and paying too much for postage and doing all sorts of stuff. But yeah, it's very cool.

cortex: Well, I am so glad that we have that. It will be so much easier to sort of add and restock now. Presumably compared to...

mathowie: Oh God, yeah.

cortex: The one-off stuff every time last time.

mathowie: Yeah the best thing is on my end of things? I send an illustrator an .EPS file to an email address and suddenly it is a shirt. Like that's all the work it requires from me. Yeah, it's great.

jessamyn: Perfect! That's how it is supposed to work man. We should make more shirts. And stickers!

mathowie: Yep.

jessamyn: Next time, stickers. And we are going to ramp the Metafilter Mall up real soon now in the next couple of weeks - which I have not talked to you guys about but I assume we will just turn it on again.

cortex: That's what I figure. Yeah.

jessamyn: So that people can buy stuff from other Metafilter members, which I always enjoy.

mathowie: I did make some vinyl stickers, and they worked out pretty good, and they were about a dollar each--

cortex: Nice!

mathowie: --so I need to figure out a way to sell those.

jessamyn: Wait. Wait, where are they? Are they on the website?

mathowie: Nope! They're in my hands.

jessamyn: Can you send me one in the mail?

mathowie: Yes, I can send you like ten, probably. I will send you something.

jessamyn: Send me ten in the mail, please.

mathowie: It's like those vinyl window stickers, you know, with the backing and the fronting and all that, where you rub them onto stuff. They work out pretty good.

cortex: Nice.

jessamyn: Badass. I totally want one. Cool!

mathowie: Maybe like eight-inch? Eight-inch wide by an inch or two tall, like, they're nice. They are nice. I think that's that all I got.

cortex: Alright.

jessamyn: I just wanted to... there was a couple of efficiency questions, like always, there's always the gamification question, there's always the, "How do you hack your life?" question, and the simple things you did to make you different. But I sort of liked this one, which is A Terrible Llama, who is a long-time MeFite who's got a family and she's like, "We work all the fucking time! And I think maybe we're doing more shit than we should be doing. What are the things that you can do to save you time, not like hacks, but like, what shit should we just not do so that we have more time together kinda as a family," you know, they've got a kid and a dog, and they get up early and stay up late, and they're not super-cleaners, but just kinda talking about, and a whole bunch of people are like, "Well, you know, why don't you... whatever." Not make the bed. Make your own convenience food. Do this with the dog. And there was a lot of sort of making--doing more with less in a slightly different direction than I think a lot of these threads go. And I found it really interesting.

cortex: Yeah, I actually, I liked that one. Why didn't I favorite that? I could have totally mentioned something.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: What? I've fallen down on the favoriting job here, it's--

jessamyn: Yeah, well, and I liked the title, which was, "The campaign for more slacking off as a family."

cortex: It's a good way to frame it, you know. Slacking off is good. It's nice to have the slack.

mathowie: I like one of the Best Answers of just not folding your kids' clothes, just having, "Here's your pile of clean shirts," and being okay with it. Like, the dirty shirts go in this other pile, we just wash it, we put it back in the clean shirt pile, they're just gonna mess them up anyway, like, that's pretty... that's pretty crazy and awesome to get away from the toil of folding everything and putting it away and stuff. Like, it's crazy, kind of, on one level, but it's really cool.

jessamyn: Right. Your kid hates it, you hate it, and honestly, once they get older they can make the decision if they want to be rumply.

mathowie: Yeah, a six-year-old doesn't care if they have a wrinkled shirt. Jesus.

jessamyn: And you shouldn't care, as a result. Right.

mathowie: It's awesome. Yeah. Very cool. Man, there's a lot of good advice ideas here.

jessamyn: Yeah, there were a lot of sort of random advice. And LobsterMitten did send us a list of links she liked, which we then didn't wind up talking about because we've been just talking all day about everything else, but we could include them as a little coda or something when we put the podcast together.

mathowie: We could.

jessamyn: But yeah. I'm going to go for a walk. Josh, if you can drop LobsterMitten a note about how to upload her files, I think she's got a question about it.

cortex: Yeah, will do.

jessamyn: And I'll upload mine when I get back, but it doesn't seem like anybody's going to be doing a ton of work Friday night anyhow.

cortex: Alright. Well.

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: Good podcast.

mathowie: What? Yeah.

jessamyn: Great talking to you guys, as always.

cortex: Yay for another month that was only a month.

jessamyn: Yay!

mathowie: Yay! See you next month. December.

jessamyn: Yeah! Back post-Thanksgiving, I think.

cortex: Post-fucking election. Augh.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: So happy Thanksgiving, happy election!

mathowie: Yep. Yeah. So...

jessamyn: Strength. Courage. What is the thing Dan Rather would say? Courage.


  • beryllium, 193 segments
  • LobsterMitten, 159
  • tangerinegurl, 23
  • Pronoiac, 3