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Podcast 76 Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 76: "Slicing up a Menger Sponge."

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


jingle: theme music

cortex: Welcome to the feel-good episode 76 of the Metafilter Podcast. We've decided to not like each other for concision.

mathowie: (suppressed snort of laughter)

jessamyn: Just for a couple of days! Today's Thursday, January third, and we'll be covering stuff from the month of December, which had all sorts of great stuff happening, in addition to several major holidays.

mathowie: I think we, yeah, I'm pretty tired from--

cortex: It's been a busy month.

mathowie: --a week of a-wassailing, and then a whole week of Auld Lang Syne-ing. I mean, I'm beat.

jessamyn: And Hanukkah!

mathowie: Oh yeah, that too. That was earlier in the month.

jessamyn: Yeah, I know, it was earlier. It was kind of great to get it out of the way.

mathowie: So, where should we dive in?

jessamyn: Well, I think we should start with this terrific--I don't know how to do chats with all of us--

mathowie: Oh, it's here.

jessamyn: The terrific song for bondcliff from the ukelele... it's like the Quonsmas miracle story.

mathowie: Yes. Yes, that was so great.

jessamyn: That you guys must have seen. But basically, short story, bondcliff, who we all know and adore, made a cigar box ukelele for rouftop, not to be confused with rooftop, who's a music person, as the Quonsar gift, and then rouftop made a thank-you song, which is adorable, and then posted it to Music, and it's just this kinda catchy song, "You've got to be kidding me / I've got a brand new ukelelelele," and et cetera et cetera. So, we should use it as music for the podcast, and, as well, it's where I'd like to start off, because it's a super happy story. We had several hundred people participating in the Secret Quonsar thing. julen is knocking it out of the park with assistance from phunniemee, I believe, and yeah, it was a really nice little swap, and this was one of the high points.

mathowie: And I think there was a ten-dollar limit, so...

jessamyn: Twenty, I think?

mathowie: Making a ukelele--ah, whatever, cigar box instrument is kind of crazy and pushing the bounds--

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: --but bondcliff had a broken guitar and it basically cost nothing to make this, although it blew away rouftop and, yeah, like I told you guys over e-mail, I just got a frantic MeFi Mail message from rouftop two or three weeks ago going, "Um, some guy named Scott Andrew says he knows you and I'm going to go up--"

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Oh, right, right! We totally forgot the last part. rouftop, in order to record this--

mathowie: Needed a studio in Seattle, and my friend has--

jessamyn: Because he's got a kid and so there's no way he can really do a professional recording gig.

mathowie: Yeah, and my friend has a basement, you know, long-time musician Scott Andrew on the site, and he just went, "If I go into this stranger's basement, am I going to come out alive?" (laughs)

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: And I was like, yeah, you're going to be fine. And Scott's a weirdo, can play like 25 different instruments, so he played back-up everything on the song.

jessamyn: Sweet.

mathowie: And they made in one night, and that's really cool.

jessamyn: Thank you, Scott Andrew.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: And, that actually leads me to the other thing from Music that I was going to mention. Music often gets woefully ignored, poor Music, but there's this really great--

cortex: (chuckles) It's not willful.

jessamyn: What?

cortex: I think it's more of a passive ignoring.

jessamyn: Oh, I said 'woefully'.

cortex: Oh, woefully.

jessamyn: Woefully. That's your own conscience talking, Josh.

cortex: (chuckles) Oh, my God, the heart, the beating of the heart!

jessamyn: (laughs) But this is just a really great Music Talk thread on, hey, where are places you go for advice, reviews, technique about your music stuff?

mathowie: Oh, nice!

jessamyn: So this is a post from the_very_hungry_caterpillar.

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: Which then has lots of comments from other MeFi musicians talking about places they like to go. So if you are interested in music, and you want more than you get on Metafilter, or maybe you don't hang out on Music Talk very often, check out this thread because it's terrific.

mathowie: That's amazing.

jessamyn: Yeah, isn't it nice?

mathowie: Yeah. Huh. (clicks tongue) Do you want to move on to Projects?

jessamyn: Sure!

mathowie: Let's do it. I loved this goofy simple single-page site called Tipster,, and it just tells you what you should tip in basic...

jessamyn: By Bora Horza Gobuchul.

mathowie: Yeah, and it's--

jessamyn: Anywhere in the world.

mathowie: Yeah. Which is, essentially, the answer to almost everything is 'don't tip', except for... whoa, wow, Japan it's offending. But it's mostly--

jessamyn: They don't have any information for Romania yet.

mathowie: It's usually 0% tips except for America and a couple other small... like the UK, just certain things, like, yeah.

cortex: I remember when we were in...

jessamyn: People don't tip in Canada?

mathowie: People don't tip what?

jessamyn: In Canada?

mathowie: Really?

jessamyn: No, I'm asking you.

mathowie: No, I think--

jessamyn: No, you tip in Canada too. Okay.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah, that's pretty much America Junior.

jessamyn: Sorry, Josh, what were you saying?

cortex: I remember in I think Amsterdam and Germany, the one time I went out there, it was really, you don't tip, but just round up, I think it was a, let's just resolve the bullshit of making change in a nice way sort of thing, so instead of trying to calculate a tip on 11.5 euros you'd just pay 12 euros and then you'd say--

jessamyn: Right, keep the 12 euros.

cortex: Exactly. Which seems like a pretty good system. Yeah.

jessamyn: See, but then I'd feel weird about it, because I'd feel like it was like tipping 40 cents, which is basically like a "fuck you" move, so.

mathowie: I know, when I was staying...

cortex: You have to remove yourself from your cultural...

mathowie: Yeah. That's what I was saying, in Italy we might have had a big dinner with four or five people and the bill was like 100 euros because there was multiple courses, and then you'd give them 1 to 5 euros, at the most, you know, maybe 10, and it just felt like, "That's like a 6% tip, that's terrible!".

jessamyn: Right. "Thanks for nothing!"

mathowie: But to them it's crazy.

jessamyn: Right. They get paid real wages at their jobs.

mathowie: Right.

jessamyn: Oh, I didn't see this one at all.

mathowie: Oh, yeah, that was my other favorite.

jessamyn: Josh, what is this?

mathowie: Yeah, this is Spotmaps, this is by urbanwhaleshark, and this was--

jessamyn: Oh, these things! I saw Matt tweeting about this.

cortex: Yeah. Yeah, which I should just make a post out of this.

mathowie: I don't think there was a, yeah, nobody's posted it.

cortex: Yeah, I kind of assumed someone would.

mathowie: I didn't know it had a name. I think like a year ago maybe Kottke had linked to someone figuring it out.

cortex: There was the movie barcode things.

mathowie: Yeah. That was similar.

cortex: [??] reminiscent of.

mathowie: Yeah. And so this guy came up with basically a workflow to go through probably torrents of a whole bunch of famous movies and just figure out the color key for each frame.

cortex: Yeah, and this has just got a much more overall information-rich presentation of the whole thing. And it's really neat!

jessamyn: Nice-looking blog.

mathowie: Yeah. I wish he had better permalinks, because the Diehard world is fascinating, but Diehard 1, mostly in the dark, Diehard 2, mostly in the light, and I think Diehard 3 was mostly dark again.

jessamyn: They don't use tags?

mathowie: I can't... there isn't anything to just pull up Diehards.

jessamyn: Uh-huh.

cortex: Well, and he said he's added a list, at least, or a search function, but yeah, I get the impression the site itself is still a work in progress.

mathowie: Yeah, and it's all like, there's no... the URLs don't change, the whole thing's in a Javascript memory, so it's kind of wacky.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: But it's a cool... it's cool.

cortex: You should leave a comment to that effect requesting features.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Or just e-mail the dude.

I enjoyed the Metafilter people who went to Flavortown to review Guy's American Kitchen.

mathowie: (chuckles) That's right.

cortex: Yes.

jessamyn: I enjoyed the meetup thread. I enjoyed the MetaTalk thread. And I enjoyed the movie, made by The Whelk, about the trip to Guy's American Kitchen and Bar, as did many other people.

mathowie: I love that they actually did produce those buttons that said "Occupy Flavortown," that was--

jessamyn: I was gonna wear mine to the Nashua meetup, Live Free With Pie, and then I was putting it on and it fell under my seat and it was fucking 6 degrees outside and I did not.

mathowie: (chuckles) Awwh.

jessamyn: I thought Greg Nog would have enjoyed it.

cortex: That's pretty awesome. I've got one I need to--

jessamyn: Am I allowed to talk about my own thing, because it was the highest-rated thing this month? You know I normally don't do this.

mathowie: What? Where?

cortex: If you want, yeah.

mathowie: Oh, yeah! Cool.

cortex: Yeah, I think you should.

jessamyn: I was elected Justice of the Peace, and I have a Tumblr blog talking about what it means to be a Justice of the Peace, which is not much, it's one of those functionaries, like the General Accounting Office or the General Printing Office, like what do those people do? Who knows! There's no blogs by or really about Justice of the Peaces, Justices of the Peace, in this country, and so I just set up a cute little Tumblr blog talking about things I learned about this esteemed office, which for most people has to do with just marrying people, but there's some other stuff you can do.

mathowie: Did you start?

jessamyn: But it's fun to troll the Internet and look for pictures and look for stories of crazy Justice of the Peace things going on.

cortex: Yeah, it's been, you've been putting neat stuff up. It's funny, I followed you on Tumblr, because that's what you do, but I forgot that I did it at first, and I also follow Kate Beaton, who oftentimes is posting old archival stuff from the 18th and 19th century, so she does the "Hark, a vagrant" cartoon that is often historical.

jessamyn: Oh, right, right, right, yeah!

mathowie: Oh, right!

cortex: So it's like, "Weird, Kate Beaton posted this this thing about Justice of the Peace, I should send this to Jess... ohhh."

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: And I did it like three or four times before my brain caught on that, no, that was actually just your blog. So.

jessamyn: Yeah!

mathowie: Do you start the day after the election, or is there some grace period, does it start January?

jessamyn: You don't start until February 1st.

mathowie: Awwh.

jessamyn: Like, so right now I'm not a Justice of the Peace, though I could go be a notary right now, I think? Well, and it's funny because in some states, Justice of the Peace are appointed and you're a Justice of the Peace for life. So in Massachusetts--

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: --you can just, I think, just be a Justice of the Peace forever. And so those people have websites and established, we've married 400 people, whereas in Vermont, when you're elected every year, if I'm lucky I'll be a Justice of the Peace through, I guess, two or three years. But then after that I've gotta run again, and if I don't run again, and even if you run again you might not get elected, and so it's a lot more malleable. And in some places you get to sit, in some states you get to sit in traffic court and do court things!

cortex: Huh.

jessamyn: And in other states you just don't get to do anything. So it's one of those really interesting, the states all evolved the office differently.

And so Justice of the Peace in Vermont is very different from Justice of the Peace in Maine, which is one of the things I was so interested in.

mathowie: Hmm.

jessamyn: Huh!

I had one more thing I liked from Projects, which is one of those small little, nice little things. This was by device55, and it's something called Archie's Recipes, and it's basically a handwritten recipe book by this guy's great-grandfather that they photographed, scanned, transcribed, and put on the website! So you can read old recipes in a really nice-looking format, and I just thought it was cool.

mathowie: Oh, wow! I couldn't get the site to work before because of the weird layout, but if you go really, really wide it works. Huh.

jessamyn: Yeah, it's a little... it's a little tough on ancient narrow computers. But I thought it was just a nice little Project.

mathowie: It's something I think everyone's talked about, I think my grandma, same thing.

jessamyn: Right. We've all got, yeah, exactly. So I just thought it was neat, and I liked the way the whole thing was put together.

cortex: Yeah, that's very cool.

mathowie: Sweet!

cortex: I had one other one, Light Amplification.

jessamyn: Ohhh, griphus's blog!

cortex: Yeah. Which--

jessamyn: I don't understand this, can somebody please... (laughs)

cortex: It's just a mélange of imagery from a specific futurist--

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: --point in the past, basically what today or tomorrow is going to look like according to the vague imaginings of the--

mathowie: 1980s.

cortex: --first-wave cyberpunk 1980s, and maybe early '90s.

jessamyn: Now I can't load it and it just looks like a big blank page.

mathowie: And it takes a while. But it's funny that people complain that all movies of the last five years have been orange and blue, and I think this is so--

jessamyn: Oh, that teal and blue, Michael, or whatever, Bay.

mathowie: Yeah, Michael Bay, yeah. Everything took on that look, and then now, this... I do remember 1986 being like, everything's going to be purple and blue in the future and have lasers.

cortex: Yep. Magenta/neon with a blue effect.

mathowie: He described the concept of the blog to us over e-mail, going, "Hey, is this good enough to be a Project?", and I was like, "That's so wei... how would you find more than three of those images?"

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: And there's like a hundred on the first page, and they're awesome. I don't know how you find these, but it's incredible.

cortex: You just scan for tags and yeah, I guess. I never really tried to do a blog that was just a focused reblogging thing, I'm always doing the original content side, but a ton of people do these, and it seems to work pretty well. I think they just search a lot of tags for the candidates and pick out the best.

jessamyn: Or search for similar stuff in Google Images--

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: --is one of the things I tend to do a lot, not for this but when I'm looking for, I don't know, this morning it was Larry the Vomiting Robot, where did those pictures come from?

cortex: (laughs) I saw those.

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: You know, we're the weirdos when it comes to Tumblr, right, for creating anything? I mean, I can't...

jessamyn: For making a blog, you mean?

mathowie: Yeah. I keep reading people's, "I interviewed a 15-year-old", "I interviewed a 12-year-old", or "I did a comprehensive review of everyone's Tumblr use at my high school," and everyone talks about, hardly anyone uses Tumblr, I even thought I was going to crack up, I'll dig it up, there was thoughts from a high-schooler, and they were saying, "Tumblr's for middle-schoolers," which I was like, what?!

cortex and jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: All of them, uniformly, when they talk about Tumblr, it's just like, they use it like I guess Pinterest, like they just go, "Oh, that's a cool picture," all they do is reblog cool pictures and that's all they do. And they don't write anything at all. Like, some people said, "I did not know you could blog in Tumblr. I thought it was just..." It's fucking crazy.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Like an image reblogging...

jessamyn: A hot potato picture.

mathowie: Yeah, like hot potato picture.

cortex: I can't just reblog shit on a blog on Tumblr because... I've actually kind of wanted to for a while, I was like, I should set up a little Tumblr where I'm literally just saying, "Oh, hey, this was neat," and whatnot. But Tumblr ties your reblogging and your blog where all that stuff shows up and the username it's tied to to the first blog you set up.

mathowie: Right.

cortex: And that was, I set up Meeting Metafilter as an experiment on Tumblr because I didn't know anything about Tumblr at the time, you know, three years ago.

jessamyn: Oh, right, right, right!

cortex: And so now I can't fucking do anything because it would all be from Meeting Metafilter and showing up on the Meeting Metafilter blog. And they don't let you change it! You cannot change your fucking--

jessamyn: I think you can make a way that you reblog stuff to the other blog, I just think it's annoying as shit.

cortex: Yeah, that seems...

jessamyn: Because I had, my Justice of the Peace blog isn't my main blog either.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: A lot of times when I reblog stuff I end up reblogging it to, yeah, my holding place blog, and then I have to reblog myself?

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: I hate that! I hate, why can't...

jessamyn: I am an old, is what they say.

cortex: It's crazy bullshit.

mathowie: Every other blog service lets you click a button and say, this is my default blog.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Like, this is my new default.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Oh, God, drives me crazy.

cortex: But yeah, the kiddening on Tumblr is totally a thing. Mapstalgia sort of blew up last February, that launched and it got a bunch of attention, and it ended up on Tumblr's, like, they've got a directory of recommended blogs across a bunch of different varieties, so they listed that in the games-related stuff.

jessamyn: Dude, sweet!

cortex: And that immediately led to, yeah, it's pretty awesome.

jessamyn: That and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: Exactly. Because you know what, I've got fucking 80,000 followers on that blog, and I think like 79,000 of them are 15-year-olds who just clicked the button because it recommended some blogs at one point.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: So I've got this giant pile of followers that means basically nothing other than when I post a random animation of Mario it'll get a hundred likes and reblogs.

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: But there's nothing that comes out of that, you know. I even threw a little ad bar up at the top of the site a while back, and it generates something like a penny a day. There's no front-page traffic on Tumblr, either. It's all through people's dashboards. So it's such a weird, yeah, it's not the milieu that I was expecting from a blog service when I first started using it years ago.

mathowie: That's the other thing about Tumblr--

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: --is it's a two-headed beast, right? Like, and I think there are parallels with Metafilter here. To some people, all... and I'm not a big Tumblr user, I follow Tumblrs through RSS like an old person.

jessamyn and mathowie: (chuckles)

mathowie: So I read Tumblr blogs through Google Reader, mostly. But I know that the dashboard is Tumblr to almost everybody, and that's all they do, and then, but then the tumbleblogs, like, that's this thing that regular people on the Internet stumble upon, and to me I'm like, some people just live in Recent Activity on our site, like, they don't even look at the front page much...

jessamyn: That's me, pretty much.

mathowie: Yeah, so, I was thinking, we have the same, like, Recent Activity is a whole application into itself.

jessamyn: We had the dashboard before the dashboard was a dashboard, man.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: No, it's just hard for development, right? Because you have to think of your--

jessamyn: Sure.

mathowie: --two specific audiences, like, how is this going to look...

jessamyn: Well, and because Recent Activity's such a monster, right?

mathowie: Yeah, right.

jessamyn: I mean, you've got to find ways to, I don't know, put ads on it or make it less painful or, you know, have the never-ending bottom thing that Facebook does that makes me all nuts?

mathowie: Yeah. (chuckles)

jessamyn: Like, you keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and you're like, "When does it... bleuhbleuhbuhbleuh!"

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Yep.

jessamyn: Alright.

mathowie: Alright, let's go. Metafilter?

cortex: (chuckles) High and tight. High and tight. High and tight!

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: Let's go to Metafilter. I got a billion favorites, let me try... the December Best Post Contest, the whatever, non-serious one was great! Oh my God.

jessamyn: What do you mean, non-serious? It's serious business!

mathowie: It's super-serious business on the Internet.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: But like, we didn't do it as a strict crazy contest with... but I loved it, like, the fan-run kind of thing.

jessamyn: Yeah! It was super great. Basically, for people who haven't been living in MetaTalk, the Metafilter choice post--we wanted to basically run a contest without having big prizes and to have the userbase get a little bit more involved in this? I have some ideas for how to do it next time, because there was still, like, "prize for best blah as determined by the mods!", and I'm like, no, fuck you, I'm taking the month off judging!

But people gave out some cool prizes, people were really into it, the fact that nobody could win multiple times meant we had fifteen or twenty prizes to give out, and they were all kinda different, and ocherdraco for instance gave out prizes for women doing awesome stuff, and so it was fun to go look through and basically be like, "Oh, yeah, here's a cool post about women, here's another cool post about women!" Although there was one week that DaveyDarling gave out something for a post about woodworking, and I think we didn't have a post about woodworking that week--

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: --so we gave it to a metalworking... I don't remember, Josh, you were the one who...

cortex: Did I do that one, or did I do the hockey-related one?

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: I think I did the one where we had to come up with a hockey-related post.

jessamyn: And you were like, "Here's one about metalworking"?

cortex: Well, no, I think I found something about Canada.

jessamyn: (chuckles)

cortex: Or a post about Canada and I found one about hockey, I think that's the way it went.

jessamyn: Uh-huh.

cortex: The metalworking may have been the next week. Yeah, that was an interesting unexpected side effect, like, we designed this partly to make it really hands-off for us, so it's like, hey, let's make it so it's super simple, it's just, we count fantastic flags, and then people get prizes and that's all there is to it and everybody's doing all the work except for us. And then people started inventing conditions, and it was like, okay, but now let's review all the posts for the last week--

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: --and find which ones fit this unexpected eso... yeah. Which, I mean, wasn't terrible or anything.

jessamyn: Well, and the thing that was still really weird to me is that even though we promoted the crap out of it and told people about it, it was really kind of a superuser thing, like some of the posts, goodnewsfortheinsane and I were talking about this yesterday, like, some of the posts that got the highest number of fantastic flags still got ten times as many favorites.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: I think that favorites are just a lot more normal and accessible as part of people's interactions with the site.

mathowie: Well, they're public, yeah. They're public and the fantastic flag is hidden.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: And it's also buried in a tiny submenu that's only accessible via--

jessamyn: Yeah, yeah.

mathowie: --a single character and you had to read MetaTalk to even know this was going on, like...

jessamyn: Didn't we put it on the banner for a while, or did we have the Mall up there?

mathowie: No.

cortex: I think we had the Mall up there.

mathowie: We had the Mall up.

jessamyn: Yeah, maybe next time we'll put it up in the banner. But at any rate, I mean, it was super fun--

mathowie: It was fun.

jessamyn: --I was just surprised that we didn't get as much voting as I thought we did, but I was happy anyhow that it went as well as it did.

mathowie: Yeah, like, let me see, the basement... I don't think this showed up... I was just thinking, my favorite post of the entire month, I don't think it even shows up in the list. Ahh, let me see, the 20th... yeah, it doesn't even show up in the top 10. That's amazing. Anyways, the basement--

jessamyn: I did not understand this at all. It's just a fucking basement.

mathowie: Okay, let me walk you through it.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: I've walked through the basement! It's just a basement! Haven't you guys... is this this East Coast/West Coast thing?

mathowie: No, let me walk you through it! Oh.

jessamyn: Alright, alright.

mathowie: So this is Cabel from Panic Software, who makes lots of software I love. He's going to his

colo, like, where the servers are stacked--

jessamyn: I know what a colo is.

mathowie: Colocation facility.

jessamyn: Eugggh.

mathowie: That's where you stack servers up.

cortex: Please explain again?

jessamyn: Did you just tell me that twice?

cortex: It's not just you.

mathowie: Somewhere in downtown Portland, the place where you park your servers, he's going to visit, I think he just takes a wrong left and is playing around the basement and goes, "Holy cow, they have a whole bunch of old technology here," and he's looking at all the old tubes that fiber is coming out of a wall where newspapers used to be printed--

jessamyn: No no no, I remember, like, I saw it, I just, it was, again--

mathowie: Oh yeah, it's fiber-optic links.

jessamyn: It's like the mlkshk girls in their underwear.

mathowie: Yes, yes.

jessamyn: I don't understand why it makes people so... wow!

mathowie: (chuckles) So yeah, he finds a room where all these pipes are coming out of the wall, the fiberoptic, but there's all these pasted-up old bathing suit ladies on the wall, and then by asking around he figures out that, oh, this is the press room where they did the actual printing of the Oregonian a hundred years ago, and when the guys working the press line saw it, a cute woman in a bathing costume in 1921, they would cut it out, paste it up on the wall, and that was their beefcake calendar, sort of, on the wall.

cortex: (chuckles) These things are here.

jessamyn: Cheesecake. Beefcake's dudes.

mathowie: Yeah, cheesecake, right. And it's a hundred years worth of stacked up cheesecake photos that are still up there, and then there's giant fiber-optic cables coming out of the same wall delivering today's information. It's just, it's amazing. Fascinating. It's fascinating that there was this world of dudes working in a basement that this is their highlight to save the best girls from the newspaper, and yeah, that it's still there a hundred years later. It's fascinating.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: I don't mean to be all "I don't have a television" about this, but I just, I'm mystified... like, I get that other people were super into it, but like, I just feel like I see one of those every week in New England, but it may just be like a, you guys don't have a sense of what a hundred years ago, like, you don't find as much hundred-year-old stuff?

mathowie: Oh, right. Nothing, yeah, that's...

cortex: There's never...

mathowie: Yeah. Like, we have rain and earthquakes and volcanoes and mudslides...

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: We got started much much later, too, is part of the thing.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Yeah, like, nothing is over thirty years old here on the West Coast. That was the thing that struck me when I went to San Francisco first as a teen, and when I went to New York as a 20-year-old--

jessamyn: Well, New York is amazing like that, yeah.

mathowie: Yeah. I'm like, "There's a 300-year-old church? Really?! There used to be cows here on Manhattan?! Are you crazy?" Like, that blew my...

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: I was used to, nothing is over 30 years old in California. Like, everything is new.

jessamyn: Yes--

mathowie: So that's part of it. If you stumble onto something a hundred years old, that's pretty rare.

jessamyn: Especially where people were living and doing stuff...

mathowie: Yeah. And then being this goofy little thing that guys were doing, like saving... yeah, and the irony of, the newspaper used to come out of here, and the same room now delivers the Internet, which killed the newspaper, is kind of weird. I don't know. It's mostly like, there's nothing old out here, so that's super fascinating.

jessamyn: Right, I mean, I saw it and I thought it was cool, I just... the fact that... yeah, I...

mathowie: I guess the East Coast equivalent would be a 500-year-old wood etching of a naked lady or something...

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: ...being randomly found in a farmhouse, you'd go "Wow, that's pretty spectacular!"

jessamyn: Right. Smutty daguerreotypes or something like that.

mathowie: (chuckles) Because that's how old it feels for out here, like, oh my God, something is a hundred years old, it's insanely ancient here.

jessamyn: Right, right, right.

mathowie: So that was cool.

jessamyn: Cool! Well, yeah, and I enjoyed seeing people talking about it, I just was confused by it. One of the dudes we haven't mentioned so much in recent podcasts but who's really been stepping up his game lately is y2karl did a y2funkysoultrain post--

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: --on the 21st of December that was just tremendous, just a really great compilation of stuff on Soul Train that was just fantastic, just fantastic. And he's been knocking a couple posts out of the park generally speaking, but I enjoyed this one just because I really like a lot of these songs, I like Soul Train, I miss Don Cornelius, and I thought this post was just fantastic.


mathowie: Sorry, yeah.

jessamyn: I assume that silence is you guys watching Marvin Gaye.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah, I need to not just listen to [??] the fuck right now, but it's...

jessamyn: (laughs) Because I can't hear you watching them?

mathowie: There should be... is there an extension for a browser that's like, playlist all the things on this page? That would be great.

cortex: There should be. I bet there's something like that, but it seems like something that did a slick job of just extracting YouTube links and throwing them into a sidebar playlisting that you could [??] would be perfect.

mathowie: Yeah! God, I wonder if Paul...

cortex: Because I don't want to make an effort, I just want the music to happen.

mathowie: Yeah, I wonder if Paul could do that over on the sidebar, just a one-button click that goes to YouTube already with all these things loaded up for me, and I don't have to do anything. I don't think they would be that nice to let you do that, but that might be cool.

cortex: I don't know, I wonder if you could generate a playlist on the fly like that. Just some horrible URL.

jessamyn: Here's one that does a click-and-drag version of it.

cortex: Oh, that's not bad.

mathowie: Yeah, it's like, we have all...

jessamyn: YouTube Enhancer...

mathowie: We have the information on our side, I just wonder if you could feed it to the YouTube API. I'll ask Paul.

cortex: Yeah, that'd be interesting.

jessamyn: Yeah, I bet you could!

cortex: A post I really liked was Nimona, a post by mokin, that's just a new webcomic from Noelle Stevenson, who is this crazy excellent sketchy cartoonist, sort of Beatonesque, possibly traveling in that Beatonverse, I don't know. But she's on a mission--

jessamyn: What? What?

cortex: This lady named gingerhaze, well, her handle is gingerhaze--

jessamyn: No no no, but Beaton is...?

cortex: Beatonesque, Kate Beaton?

jessamyn: Oh, this is that lady you talked about before. I don't know who she is. I'll do some Googling.

mathowie: Oh, Hark, a vagrant, yeah, yeah. I was going to say, oh, sorry, that's [??].

cortex: It's a whole Internet subgenre at this point. But anyway, it's a really great little comic, starting at--

jessamyn: Oh, that lady!

cortex: Yeah. The Hark, a... yeah.

jessamyn: Sorry.

cortex: So this lady's stuff looks sort of like--

mathowie: Wow, it looks exactly!

cortex: [??] But yeah, it's really great! And it's pretty new, so there's only 20 or 30 strips so far. But it's really great, and I recommend people go read it, because the very short version is that a girl who is a shapeshifter volunteers herself as the new sidekick to a villain named Alistair Blackheart and then has trouble grappling with their differing ethics on villainy, since he doesn't seem to want to kill people or blow their shit up. And it's adorable! So yes. You should read Nimona.

jessamyn: Cool!

mathowie: Very cute.

jessamyn: Great!

mathowie: Man, I couldn't explain why running a regular expression against IMDB's top hits--

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: --and replacing the word 'heart' with the word 'butt' is funny, but it is the funniest thing in the world.

jessamyn: Who couldn't you explain this to? Isn't that clear?

mathowie: But if you told someone this, they would go, "That sounds juvenile and stupid, how is [??] funny?"

jessamyn: Well, it depends who you told.

mathowie: If you look at the list, you've got to look at the list. The list is amazing.

jessamyn: 'The Butt Is Deceitful Above All Things'. 'Two Fists, One Butt'?

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: 'The Butt of Christmas'? 'The Christmas Butt'? 'Kingdom Butts'? 'Any Human Butt'?

jessamyn: 'With A Song In My Butt'?

mathowie: 'Ever In My Butt'? Oh my God.

jessamyn: 'Burn My Butt at Wounded Knee'.

cortex and mathowie: (laugh)

mathowie: 'Kingdom Butts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.'

jessamyn: No, this was awesome. I think this was a winner, wasn't it, last week, in the contest, I believe?

mathowie: I think so. 'Bingo Butts'. 'Miracle of the Butt: A Boystown Story'. (chuckles) Oh, God. 'Butt of a Soulsurfer'? I mean, it goes on.

jessamyn: See, these are the kinds of posts that I think Metafilter exists specifically to have more than anywhere else, you know what I mean?

mathowie: Yeah, that's... yeah. It's just a funny, it's a dumb concept and it's so much funnier than it should be, but it is.

cortex: It just sort of, it accretes on you. Like, you can start reading it, and at first you're like, "Oh, yeah, that was [good ?]," and then one hits you and you're just fucking on the floor, and then after that you can't breathe and you... yeah.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: It's one of my favorite... I don't know. One of my favorite experiential phenomena in the world is just getting bowled over by something stupid that just manages to keep going until the stupid destroys you.

mathowie: Yeah. That was amazing. Jessamyn, do you have any favorites?

jessamyn: Besides the y2karl one?

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yes, of course. I have this one, which is the pandering post, a little bit, My Little Piece of Heaven, which is by growabrain, and it's all people posting photographs of their bookshelves.

mathowie: Oh, cool.

jessamyn: And it just, you know, my favorite one, of course, is Chromatic Coordination, which is the person who has the shelves that match colorwise with the side comment, "This was a horrible idea and now I basically can't find anything and it doesn't look that good."

cortex: I feel like I've seen that happen two or three times--

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Like, someone's like, "You know what I should do? I should organize my books by color." And then they spend an hour doing, and they've done it, and they're like, "Wow, it looks pretty good," and they're like, "Fuck."

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: And they just realize, "Yeah, what have I done? I've screwed myself."

mathowie: I think Peter Me did this in 2000, he said it was beautiful and pointless and impossible, so hard. This reminds me of a guy who worked as an intern at Creative Commons and now at Kickstarter. His girlfriend did a book called "My Ideal Bookshelf" where she interviewed over a hundred famous people and just said, "What's on your bookshelf?" or "What's your favorites?", like, famous people from all walks of life, and then he's a data nerd, so if you scroll down on that link I sent he crafts all sorts of metadata about the stats around everyone's backgrounds and the books they picked and stuff. You might want to get that book, Jessamyn! (chuckles)

jessamyn: Maybe?

cortex: (chuckles) That's neat.

mathowie: The Road House post was pretty much my favorite thing ever, just because I love me some Road House--

cortex: Oh, yeah, yeah.

mathowie: I think I stumbled onto it. I saw this in the theater as a... I determined I was 16 when I saw in the theater. It was the greatest movie ever, because it's basically made--

jessamyn: I have not actually seen this movie.

mathowie: Oh my God. It's basically made for the mind of a 16-year-old boy.

cortex: We should do an all-mod long distance commentary shared watching experience.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Road House MST3K video viewing of this?

cortex and mathowie: Yeah!

jessamyn: I just watched Blazing Saddles with Horace Rumpole, who has never seen it before, and there's really nothing like watching one of those classic movies with somebody who doesn't know all the jokes already.

mathowie: Yep.

jessamyn: Really super terrific.

mathowie: Yeah, I had a friend in college who was seriously, you know, in a middle of a sentence was like, "You know, like in Spinal Tap," I'm like "What?" and he goes, "You haven't seen Spinal Tap?". And we literally dropped everything (chuckling) and went to Blockbuster and got Spinal Tap and then watched it, and then I understood so many more jokes forever.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: But yeah, so Road House is like the epitome of ridiculous, over-the-top '80s action movies, and it rides a line towards parody, it's kind of like in a Dukes of Hazzard universe where nothing makes sense, you're like, "They know where the Dukes live! Why don't they just go arrest them every day? Like, how hard is it?"

jessamyn: (laughs) Right, right, right.

cortex: Yeah, it sort of feels like it could only have been made at the time it was made.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Like, you could make a modern remake of Road House, but it would never feel quite the way Road House must have felt at the time of its release, you know, sitting in the cultural context where you could get away with that 'we can't actually tell if this is parody or not' thing.

mathowie: Right.

cortex: Like, I feel like if someone made it today they'd have to either get really serious face on it to make sure you knew they weren't fucking around, or they'd have to do a really winking sort of, "Oh, man, this is a parody, get it?"

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: You couldn't quite ride that line anymore.

mathowie: Yeah, it's so weird, it's crazy, the violence is over the top, there's all these fight sequences where people are ripping out throats and stuff, and it's so crazy.

cortex: Well, technically there's only one throat-ripping. It's interesting.

mathowie: Augh, but don't they talk about it endlessly, like, 'with your bare hands you can rip someone's heart out of their chest in a fight.' Like, it's... augh, it's all so crazy. And there's monster trucks for no reason.

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: And the whole town's taken hostage by this millionaire, even though there's no businesses in the entire town, you can't tell where he's made his millions.

cortex: And it's Jackie Treehorn, so that's...

mathowie: Yeah, it's Ben Gazzara trying to be intimidating.

jessamyn: Wait, wait, Jackie Treehorn, is that where the username comes from?

mathowie: Probably, yeah, from The Big Lebowski.

jessamyn: Cool! I have learned something.

cortex: The villain, to be clear, the villain is the guy who played Jackie Treehorn, who's sort of a villain in Big Lebowski.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: He's got a different name in Road House.

mathowie: So yeah, that was an amazing, goofy, goofy goofy goofy goofy goofy thing. But yeah.

cortex: Speaking of posts that are kind of pandering, I liked JHarris' second annual memorial Zelda Day round-up post, which was a collection of some neat stuff about Zelda II, which is sort of the weird dark sheep, black sheep of the family.

jessamyn: Oh, is this one I made you put the thing on the Best Of blog, because I don't know what Zelda II looks like?

cortex: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, because nobody does, because it gets short shrift. Anyway, JHarris put together a nice post about some cool Zelda II-related stuff. There's a cool link about comparisons between the Japanese release and the U.S. release for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and some trivia about it, and a neat 3-D remake of portions of it, which is sort of a crazy project for someone to do, but yeah, it's got a bunch of cool stuff in there, and yeah, it had that great story from otolith that we put on the Best Of blog about never beating Zelda II 20 years ago but then a couple decades passed and he ended just going after it and beating the whole game in one life, and stayed up all night.

jessamyn: Overnight, staying at a friend's house.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: The friend found her there in the morning, like "What are you doing?" (chuckles)

cortex: Exactly. So yeah. And that was pretty great. And yeah, so this was specifically sort of a reference to a couple years ago, when there was one of those not intentional but then maybe became intentional theme-posting things where people declared it Zelda Day, I think as of maybe the second link, and filthy light thief put together a nice little collection of the posts and the comments on that subject at the time, so.

jessamyn: Oh, neat!

cortex: So yeah, it's sort of...

mathowie: I have friends blogging and tweeting about Zelda on the same day, so maybe it's an Internet thing? I don't know.

cortex: I don't think it's an Internet thing, but maybe there was just Zelda going around. I mean, everyone likes Zelda, right, so.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: I made a dumb little Zelda Christmas image for Mapstalgia, you know, I think it was just in the air, everybody was, you know.

jessamyn: Well, and don't you have a niece named Zelda?

cortex: I do. Which is pretty awesome.

mathowie: Wow!

cortex: Yeah. Best possible... like, except for all the times that I never got to pick the name of the band when I was in a band, it's like, my brother and his wife named their daughter Zelda, so everything's okay.

jessamyn: Oh, man, Jim came into holiday time some hang out, and I'm like, "How's it going?" and he's like, "The band changed the name."

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

jessamyn: His band changed his name while he was out sick.

mathowie: Awwh, what?

jessamyn: Changed the band's name. I don't know! Because...

cortex: That is classic tactical band.

jessamyn: I mean, it's not his band, sort of, but he does play lead guitar and now they're called, they used to be called Slow Wave and now they're called Ghost Flowers--

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: --and he's like, "I just don't know what's going on."

mathowie: Well, it's about the same.

jessamyn: Speaking of, Matt, what's your new cat's name?

mathowie: Oh, Fiona named him Pumpkin.

jessamyn: Pumpkin is a great name. I used to have a Pumpkin.

mathowie: Except it's a boy, I don't know, it seems kind of feminine.

jessamyn: Our cat was a boy.

mathowie: Okay.

jessamyn: Totally normal.

cortex: Pumpkins are actually generally considered gender neutral, I think.

jessamyn: Male.

cortex: You know, they're vegetables.

jessamyn: A lot of people don't know this.

cortex: Squashes. Gourds.

jessamyn: (chuckles)

mathowie: I've never gotten a cat from an animal rescue, so it's six months old, and it already had a name, but it was kind of a dumb name, so yeah, I don't know what the, he doesn't know his--

jessamyn: What was the dumb name?

mathowie: It was Hamlin.

jessamyn: Hamlin's dumber than Pumpkin? (chuckles)

mathowie: I don't know, it just doesn't seem like a thing, but...

cortex: (chuckles) I feel like we can't go too much to town on Pumpkin here, because it's your daughter's [??].

jessamyn: No, I like the name Pumpkin! I'm just saying, from a relative perspective.

mathowie: But like, a six-month-old, I think, anything under a year is it okay to rename them, like...?

jessamyn: No, cats don't know their names ever, actually.

mathowie: (chuckles) They don't care to know their names, even.

cortex: You could just give them a yearly naming ceremony, where you'd pull--

mathowie: That's true.

cortex: --three slips out of a hat and that will be its new long-form name.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Well, or like the movie Cats, you can... or the movie, listen to me, the theater production Cats, you can... you know, that's its secret name.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: It has a secret name and a public name.

cortex: I've never seen Cats.

jessamyn: What?

cortex: I've never seen Cats.

jessamyn: Yeah, there's a...

cortex: I'm holding a line against that.

jessamyn: What are you holding a line? It's great, you would like it!

mathowie: There's a lot of things I'm holding a line on.

cortex: No, I've managed to maintain a grudge against Andrew Lloyd Webber, as a Pink Floyd fan, because there was that one time that they both used a similar five-note phrase in different musical works, so. Lifelong vendetta.

jessamyn: Good Lord.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: We need a word for mainstream stuff people purposely avoid, like, there's you know, I've never seen Titanic, never seen E.T., never will.

cortex: [??] a word for it?

jessamyn: Dude, my uncle's in E.T.! You have to see it.

mathowie: I will never see it.

jessamyn: Ugh.

mathowie: Just the things that became--

cortex: Well, her uncle was in E.T., they photoshopped him out and replaced him with a walkie-talkie a few years ago.

jessamyn: No, I was the same way, I wouldn't read Misty of Chincoteague, my mother was like, "Aaah!" It's a girl horse book, you know.

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

cortex: I think the word we're looking for here is hipsterism.

jessamyn: Shut up!

mathowie: Awww.

cortex: I'm just saying, I'm just saying.

jessamyn: I wouldn't read A Wrinkle In Time.

cortex: Really?

jessamyn: Because I thought it was stupid! It had a unicorn on the front or something.

cortex: Oh, well yeah, the art...

jessamyn: That was before I got into sci-fi and got over it.

cortex: Yeah. The marketing on that was definitely not super great. But she wrote, yeah.

jessamyn: This is not a high and tight podcast.

cortex: (laughs) Another post I liked that was just a cute little thing was this discussion of what happens when you slice a Menger Sponge along the diagonal plane. Which...

jessamyn: Details, please.

mathowie: Is this some sort of math thing?

cortex: A Menger Sponge is a solid fractal where you take a cube and you cut a hole out of the middle in each of the three directions.

jessamyn: Oh, right, we saw the person who made one out of playing cards once.

cortex: Yeah, yeah, I think so. But anyway, so it turns out if you slice it across the triaxial diagonal plane--

mathowie: What does that mean?

jessamyn: Exactly, exactly. Whoever knows.

cortex: Just watch the video, there's no way I'm going to explain it clearly. But basically, if you slice it across the correct diagonal, all the holes inside turn into stars, six-pointed stars. It's really neat and awesome.

mathowie: Whaat?

jessamyn: How is that possible?

mathowie: There's probably... because math.

cortex: The video does a nice job of visualizing it. It totally makes sense when you see it.

jessamyn: Shut up! Who's got six minutes to learn stuff?

mathowie: Fast-forward button!

cortex: I'm just saying, it's fucking amazing.

jessamyn: I'm going to cut ahead.

(pause) They're just holding the thing! Where's the part where they cut it?

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: 2:30 or so, it starts to cut, and they look at the cuts... oh, here it is! He has a 3-D model of it around 3 minutes... come on, pull it apart already!

jessamyn: Awwh! It won't let me fast forward. I'm going to Google it.

mathowie: Oh, wow!

cortex: You guys just stand in front of microwaves cursing at them for not being faster, don't you.

mathowie: Yes. Three minutes and forty-nine seconds.

jessamyn: I don't even have a microwave!

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: I have whatever that problem was you were talking about before.

mathowie: Wow, that's amazing, they make six-pointed stars.

jessamyn: Ohhh!

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: Wowww.

mathowie: That's fascinating.

cortex: Like I said, it's neat.

jessamyn: That's really great.

mathowie: Although I would... that reminds of--

jessamyn: Here's a picture on Flickr.

mathowie: --sitting in class in a calculus class and a fifteen-year-old being able to visualize that in his head before any of us wrote down.

cortex: Oh, yeah, I'm sure some folks got there themselves. I was thinking hexagons, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about Menger Sponges because I think they're awesome--

mathowie: [??] a hexagon.

cortex: --and so I felt kind of justified, I was like, yeah, maybe it's a hexagon! But then the star thing totally blew me away, because I didn't [see the implications?].

mathowie: That's crazy.

cortex: Yep.

jessamyn: Sorry if we spoiled it for people.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

cortex: Suckers!

mathowie: Any... oh, I had a cube at home I was going to cut.

jessamyn: I also enjoyed this post about Key and Peele just because I liked the excuse to talk about Key and Peele with other Metafilter people--

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: --because I enjoy Key and Peele on Comedy Central.

cortex: They are super great.

mathowie: Yes.

cortex: I've only seen bits on the web, but I've seen ten or twelve sketches now, and yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah, I mean, you know, they don't always knock it out of the park, but it's a sketch comedy show and it got brought back for a second season, which means they've been able to do stuff that's a little bit more interesting than their first season when they were just trying to be popular, and Jim and I both watch it and think it's hilarious. But with comedy it's really nice to see other people who like your guys, sort of. So the thread was just fun talking about it and the sketch about the football draft pick is one of the funniest things. Like, do you ever have comedy things that you watch when you're just kinda in a bleh mood that cheer you up?

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Where you're like, "Ohhh, I don't feel good, I'm going to watch, whatever, a skunk eating a banana."

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: East/West Comedy Bowl is my version of...

mathowie: Oh my God, it's the greatest.

cortex: I liked this post from just maybe the other day, just maybe yesterday even, about the Amiga being emulated in a Javascript and WebGL and HTML5 browser context.

jessamyn: Oh, I just enjoyed watching people talk about this, I didn't understand this post at all.

cortex: Well, yeah, it's just...

mathowie: I never had one.

cortex: It's an emulator for the old Amiga desktop system, which is what I grew up on so it always has a soft spot in my heart for it. But this is not the first emulator anyone's ever written, but it's definitely the first one that just fucking runs in a browser window, and it kinda... it doesn't run super well, like I've got a reasonably beefy computer and it consistently ran slow for the stuff I was running. But still, it's really neat, and you can see the promise of them polishing it up a bit and having a pretty awesome in-browser emulation experience.

mathowie: I never used a Amiga in my life, so I missed out on this stuff.

jessamyn: Yeah, me neither. I skipped to mainframes. Like, there's different... I mean, different people started from different places, right? And I think some people started with the PC thing and some people started with the mainframe thing.

mathowie: I started with the Commodore 64 and the 128, but then the late '80s just stopped, and that would have been the time to jump on that bandwagon. I think Windows 3.1 was everywhere by the time I came back to computers in the early '90s.

jessamyn: Pew-pew!

mathowie: Any other Metafilter posts, or do you want to move to Ask Metafilter?

cortex: There was a post--

jessamyn: That was it for my Metafilter. Oh.

cortex: There was a post yesterday about dim sum.

jessamyn: Is this just an excuse to link to your comment?

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: No, no, this was...

jessamyn: Aughhh.

cortex: No, no, the dim sum, a ton of people having a freaky-out good time in the post about dim sum, because dim sum's fucking delicious!

mathowie: Yeah, this is pretty good.

jessamyn: Can somebody talk to me about dim sum as somebody's who only gone out for it once in Australia so I'm not sure if I have the authentic dim sum experience or not?

mathowie: Oh, wow.

cortex: It's like Chinese food... well, it is Chinese food.

jessamyn: (chuckle) [??] similar to.

mathowie: Delivered by cart.

cortex: It's an amazing simulation. Yeah, usually you bring it around on carts, and it's sort of like an a la carte thing, where they're like, "Hey, do you want this?" and you have to make sure to say no, otherwise they'll give you everything. But it's just a bunch of various different little tasty dishes of Chinese food, and you take what you want and you eat it, and usually it's pretty awesome to do it in a big group, so you have a giant table full of food, and yeah.

mathowie: The famous... I think the ladies, it's famous for having ladies with lots of attitude pushing the carts.

cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)

mathowie: And them being all sorts of various levels of pushy, like that's sort of my... I've been about ten different dim sum places, and I remember in west LA they were just belligerent. Like, "You like, you buy! You like, you buy!" Like, that's, I mean, I'm not doing a voice or anything, but that's exactly they would... and they hold shears over a thing, and as soon as they cut it, you bought it. So they're ready to cut, they just, they would just go, "You want this? You want this? You want this?" And they're half cutting through the thing, so you had to pay for it.

jessamyn: That sounds very stressful.

mathowie: It's super stressful.

cortex: You gotta bring a person who knows what they're doing along, is the...

jessamyn: Well, I went with my friend who was Chinese-Australian, and his whole goal was to get me to eat some disgusting fish that I didn't want to eat.

mathowie: Eugh.

jessamyn: So he kept trying to be like, "Oh, well, have this bao thing," and I was like, "No, it's got squid in it!" and he'd be like, "You'll like it!" and I was like, "No, I won't!" and the whole thing was just awful, so.

mathowie: Squid bao.

jessamyn: I'd like to go again and have a better experience.

mathowie: Yeah, and the other thing that's famous with dim sum is, a lot of things look similar, because they're all steamed buns, and you never know if that's going to be pork or chicken or fish, and so this guide is pretty good to break them off into major categories, at least you know kinda what to look for.

jessamyn: Uh-huh.

mathowie: I like shrimp things, and I just look for a little bit of orange in the middle, and...

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: But up in super-authentic places in the Bay area in LA, but my favorite was the upper class nicer versions of dim sum in San Francisco the famous... what's the famous place called? Oh, Yank Sing. Yank Sing is like... it's like in the financial district and the problem there is... I once went to lunch with Merlin, Merlin Mann, and we were just talking the whole time and were just...

jessamyn: Because there's so many Merlins.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: What? You know, there's also Merlin,

mathowie: ...the Magician.

cortex: the Magician, yes.

jessamyn: Matt doesn't hang out with that guy.

mathowie: So Yank Sing, they have pretty nice people that work there, and we were just "I'll take those, that looks nice." And they weren't pushy at all. But the bill came, and I think lunch was like sixty-five dollars, when I was expecting, I dunno, twenty bucks? Like...

jessamyn: See, I can't... like, aaaah!

mathowie: But that's like super...

jessamyn: I'm just a tight-ass New Englander, tight person, I can't...

mathowie: No, Yank Sing is super...

jessamyn: stuff without knowing how much it's going to cost.

mathowie: Yank Sing is super upper-crust. Most dim sum, the plates are like two bucks, so it's pretty cheap eating.

jessamyn: And you kinda know what's going on.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah. This was just really weird, because we were at a high-class version of dim sum, that we were taken aback by the whole thing. But yeah. Dim sum.

cortex: There's this place in Boston that's pretty good, I don't know if it's particularly super great dim sum, but it's certainly tasty every time I've been there.

So if I end up over in Boston sometime, Jessamyn, and you're in Boston too, we could arrange just a dim sum outing with my friends who are very seasoned in navigating the whole thing.

jessamyn: Knowledgeable about those things?

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: That sounds great.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah, because I don't think I would ever go to dim sum just by myself, because I would be like, no, I cannot navigate this effectively.

mathowie: [??] constantly interrupted.

cortex: But if you go with people who know what they're doing, then they can direct traffic and that works out well.

mathowie: I've only been to one place in Portland, like, waaay out East, way the heck East, almost to the 205, and it was so-so. Like, ten years ago I went. (pause) Haven't figured out if there's any... is there any good places in downtown Portland, Josh?

cortex: You know, there used to be a great one that looked super sketchy on the outside, right down that little Chinatown area, but it was super great and super cheap, but then they closed down, possibly because they were super cheap and looked super sketchy.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: But for whatever reason they're gone now. But there's in theory, yeah, there's a place out in southeast that's supposed to be good. But nothing downtown that I know of, right now, that's good. There's a place in St. John's that makes really fucking tasty hum bao tacos, like, it's not an actual enclosed bao, but it's like bao dough in a big puffy taco with some pork or some duck inside and oh my God, it's fucking amazing.

mathowie: Hm.

cortex: So that's doing it for me. It's not the big spectacle of choice, but it's so fucking good that I don't care.

mathowie: Sweet.

cortex: And this is a place that started as a food cart, and then they shut down because they were going to move into the house that they were a food cart in the driveway of, and so they were going to shut down for a couple months and get that all set up, and then a year went by, and we were so afraid they were just going to fucking die, because, like, this is your business and your business isn't even operating for a year while you slowly renovate this house. It sounds like a recipe for death. But they managed to pull through and they opened and it's awesome. So I'm so happy.

mathowie: Oh, cool.

jessamyn: Nice! All right, team, over to Ask Metafilter!

cortex: Take it away!

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Well, I put this one on the Best Of blog, but I'm mentioning it here because it's just that good. I'm, this was... esch [iʃ]... augh, eschatfische [ˈiʃætˌfiʃ], can anybody pronounce this username? Basically, "Museums on the edge of insanity and brilliance." "I like the House on the Rock--

cortex: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: --the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and the Mütter Museum. What else would I like that's sort of part cool, part crazy, and takes a long time to appreciate fully?"

cortex: Nice!

jessamyn: Can you pronounce that username?

cortex: I don't know. 'fische' [fiʃ] looks like German to me.

mathowie: Ess [ˈɛs]...

jessamyn: Eschat [ˈɛʃat]... eschat [ˈɛskæt]?

cortex: Eschatfische [ˈɛʃatˌfiʃ], maybe? I don't know. Maybe it's ess-chat-fish [ˈɛs ˈtʃæt ˈfɪʃ].

mathowie: Is the Mütter Museum that medical odd--

jessamyn: Yes.

mathowie: Okay, I've heard of it.

jessamyn: Yeah, Matt, it's... and it's very cool. And for people who like those kind of museums, there's not that many of them, and so you kinda want to know where all the other ones are. So I loved this thread because it had lots of good advice for other places to look when you are traveling.

mathowie: Wow. Very cool.

jessamyn: Yep.

mathowie: Did you see this book, one came up, it's from a few months ago? I saw it on Twitter--

jessamyn: Oh, the one that popped up on the favorites list again?

mathowie: Yeah, about "What one book would give me a new useful superpower?" And it's from September.

jessamyn: Yeah! Was it linked somewhere?

cortex: Somewhere...

jessamyn: It was in September and it got 100 new favorites this month.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah, it's been flying around.

mathowie: And I saw people on Twitter, like non-Metafilter people, linking to it on Twitter, that's where I--I was like, "What? Really?" And I added it to my favorites and I went...

jessamyn: BuzzFeed must have grabbed it.

mathowie: What? Oh.

cortex: Oh, TedW says in a comment on the 25th that he saw it mentioned in MetaTalk. Did we have a 'great AskMe posts of the year' post around Christmas?

mathowie: Yeah, maybe so.

jessamyn: We did. We did.

cortex: That may have kicked it off. But yeah, I saw it going around everywhere on the Net, Hacker News and Twitter and a bunch of other places, so.

mathowie: Yeah, it was kind of weird how it came back.

jessamyn: Yeah. It was a great thread!

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: I mean, you know, the book threads tend to be really popular. But yeah, I noticed that too, and then I clicked through and was like, "Wait a second, this is from September."

mathowie: Oh wow, this one had a zillion favorites.

jessamyn: I also enjoy, for the book ones, 'I like fiction. I've read non-fiction and it's really dull.'

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: 'But there must be non-fiction books that are really good. Help me out here.' So there's a really good list of particularly grabbing and appealing nonfiction books.

cortex: Awesome.

mathowie: Oh, cool. I never thought of fiction as being boring.

jessamyn: Nonfiction?

mathowie: Yeah, yeah, nonfiction, I mean.

But I'm always--

jessamyn: Well, I think for a lot of people they equate them with textbooks and shit you have to read in college?

mathowie: Or biographies.

jessamyn: Yeah, like, "here, read this biography of John Paul Jones and his military history, bluhbulhubluhbluh," and you're like, "AAAAAAH!"

mathowie: Let's go through in painstaking detail over his boring 20s, when nothing happened." Like, yeah.

jessamyn: Right, exactly.

cortex: Well, yeah, I mean, if you think about it, you've read bad fiction books, there's got to be bad nonfiction books out there too.

jessamyn: I read a bad nonfiction book last year.

cortex: What was that?

jessamyn: But it wasn't uninteresting, it was just horrible.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: It was about the history of this almost extinct deer, but the author is this horrible twit and you hate him, and so basically he winds up talking about himself and the process of writing the book, and all I wanted to learn about was the extinct deer and traveling in China and all this stuff, and it winds up being this wanky rant by this horrible asshole person. And yeah, it was just the worst.

mathowie: Aww.

jessamyn: It was called The Extinction Club. It had great book design, everything, like, it looks like a book you would like! And it was awful. Awful. Just, I want that time back.

mathowie: Aw-haw.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: I only read one... like, I did my year-end book list and I only read one book that I didn't like last year, and this was it. And I read half nonfiction and half fiction.

mathowie: How do you determine your... I saw your list, your book wrap-up, like, you read about a book a week?

jessamyn: About.

mathowie: Yeah, and so... do you have a normal schedule? Is it like an hour before bed, or is it whenever?

jessamyn: Yeah, I usually read before bed, when I'm on public transportation, and in the summertime it's just a thing I do in the afternoons when I'm not working I just go out in the hammock and do whatever.

mathowie: Cool.

jessamyn: But, you know, it's really cold here, and so at night if I'm not working I just turn on the electric sheets and get into bed at like 8, you know--

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: And just read or fuck around on my laptop or whatever. And there's only so much laptop-ing you can do after a while.

mathowie: Yeah. I loved the Best TV Sh--what was this, "What TV shows have completely consumed your life?" and just being in--

jessamyn: Oh, this is, I totally bookmarked, favorited, I totally need this.

mathowie: Yeah, this is like... I don't know, I feel like I'm becoming an indoor person for the next three months.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: And there's nothing new on tele--like my TiVo is just, nothing.

jessamyn: Mmmm.

mathowie: Nothing new is coming in. And I feel like I've went through a zillion series, and Game of Thrones doesn't restart until the end of March, and so what are we going to do, and you know, it was good. So there's lots of great series.

jessamyn: Yeah, this is super important, because I'm now, I take the iPad to the gym and I watch an hour of whatever while I'm on the bike or the treadmill in the wintertime. And Downton Abbey's been good, because I've been like, "Oh, I wonder what happens next?" But it's also not horribly violent or rapey or just awful.

mathowie: Right.

jessamyn: You know, it's not like The Sopranos, which is just not my thing, I understand that other people like it, but so I've been trolling through this looking for the less creepy... but I'm all the way through The Office, I'm all the way through Game of Thrones, I'm watching Downton Abbey as it comes out for this season. So I'm looking forward to new hour-long shows that will get me to the gym.

mathowie: Do you want the entire third season plus the Christmas special? I've got it in...

jessamyn: No...

mathowie: Alright.

jessamyn: I've got a buddy who I'm actually gonna watch it with.

mathowie: Ohh.

jessamyn: I mean, otherwise I'd (chuckling slightly) probably already have it. But yeah. I'm gonna try and watch it in real-time with my friend to be a social person, but we'll see.

mathowie: My problem with this is I have to weigh the amount of time, so people, everyone around me is going, "Homeland, oh my God, Homeland's so amazing."

jessamyn: White people love Homeland, that's what Saturday Night Live tells me.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: But I sat down, I'm like, everyone says Season 4 is good. Okay.

jessamyn: Oh, no!

mathowie: How many episodes per season, how long is an episode, and I realized, I have to set aside 36 hours before I get to the good stuff, like, ouch! That sucks! So yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah, exactly. Well, and you want something that's gonna be appealing but not just totally... I don't know. Like, I really enjoyed watching Community, but it's kinda fluffy, and it's not like I'd go to the gym and be like, "I wonder what's gonna happen next?" Like, the vaguely soap opera-ish aspect of Downton Abbey kind of keeps me, you know.

cortex: Yeah, it's all those little bits of hanging drama.

jessamyn: Yeah, Game of Thrones, exactly the same way.

cortex: Yeah, yeah, Game of Thrones is--

jessamyn: The Wire was the same way.

cortex: We've been watching Enterprise, God help me (chuckles), the Scott Bakula Star Trek series that didn't even manage to run for its whole series run. And it's weird because Deep Space Nine, we watched Next Generation a couple years ago all the way through, and then we watched Deep Space Nine, and Next Generation has aged surprisingly poorly in some ways but still really charming, Deep Space Nine, really the strongest series they made, and it's got some of that ongoing arc to it, you know, it's not quite as cliffhangery as a costume drama like Downton Abbey, but they had it, you know, stuff would hang over from episode to episode, you'd have a sense of "Oh shit, we'd better watch the next one, because I wonder what's going to happen," you know.

jessamyn: Right, right.

cortex: And then Voyager they got rid of that again, basically, and Enterprise has not been doing it either, and it's weird, because I want to be really excited to see what's going to happen next even if the individual shows are sort of not super amazing, but there's not that sense of momentum, so we're moving through it more slowly than we did through Deep Space Nine.

mathowie: Ahh, TV.

cortex: Yep.

jessamyn: Well, and I liked Firefly for that, but there's not enough episodes--

mathowie: I know!

jessamyn: --so I need to find another, Stargate was good for that, or whatever it was. At any rate, I'm always looking for stuff.

mathowie: I guess British stuff is only usually like two seasons, and...

jessamyn: Well, and the good news about British stuff is it's just not rapey, you know?

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, Americans are fascinated by horrible violence and like, "Oh my God, they stole her daughter and what's gonna happen?" whereas you just don't see that as much with even the British kind of cop dramas. It's just different.

mathowie: Oh, someone also mentioned Archer in there.

cortex: Ohh, [?].

mathowie: I was thinking about, like, I love British stuff for, I feel safe watching it on a plane.

jessamyn: Right!

mathowie: Like, I hate accidental nudity on my iPad while I'm watching an acclaimed TV show on a plane, I feel so embarrassed. It feels like reading a Playboy in public on a plane. So, you know, that means all HBO shows, you never know.

jessamyn: (chuckles) Right. Game of Thrones. Noo.

mathowie: And so you know that Downton Abbey's gonna be safe, but I was watching, I was going through the entire series of Archer, which was so great, but my God, there's sex scenes. And they're hilarious, and I just felt bad when the flight attendant came up to me to ask me something right when, like, one of the final episodes Lana's wearing pasties with these huge boobs--

jessamyn: Aaah!

mathowie: And I'm like, "Oh God." It's just a cartoon, but still, it's super embarrassing.

jessamyn: Right, you're like, "I'm that guy. I'm that guy on the plane."

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: All right, moving forward, you dudes!

cortex: Yeah. There was a couple little things from MetaTalk that I wanted to mention, if we're done with AskMe.

mathowie: No, I got a couple more!

jessamyn: No!

cortex: Well, keep going, then.

jessamyn: The food... I mean, I feel like every time we need a cool places to visit, cool stuff to read, and a food post.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: This was basically, "Look. Me and my boyfriend eat out all the time, we spend a shit-ton of money, but I have no idea how to get my budget under control and start cooking at home. Give me some getting started..." Like, each of these posts are kind of the same, but kinda different, but they're always just full of good advice, and it's always good to read them over and over again, because you'll always find a thing that resonates this time if it didn't last time. At least, that's what I've found.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: So this was this month's 'help me with the cooking' kinda thing.

mathowie: Yeah, I was meaning to read that and I never got around to it, I saw it come over and went, "Oh, that's a great one." Like, I wonder what it's going to be about. I saw two good helper posts, which one was really cool. Like, "I used to be way into hip-hop, and I can't keep up anymore. What are some current acts that are really good?"

jessamyn: From shotgunbooty.

mathowie: Yeah, and there's just lots of, I haven't heard of 90% of the acts mentioned, but, you know.

jessamyn: Childish Gambino, that's Donald Glover's band.

mathowie: Yeah, right, I know that.

jessamyn: Yeah. (chuckle)

mathowie: But people keep mentioning... when you see three people mention the same guy, Kendrick Lamar, I have no idea who that is, but I'll note it and go look for a mixtape or something. I was amazed by how everyone's on YouTube, almost all the links are to YouTube videos and stuff. I thought that was cool.

jessamyn: Right, where you can see the people actually doing their stuff. Well, and those are great for these posts. And, another good reason to get the sidebar movie queuer thing working, because these Ask Metafilter recommendation posts are perfect for that.

mathowie: Yeah. What was the other one... there was a good self-help one--

jessamyn: Oh yeah, "Did you used to have bad self-esteem? Do you now have good self-esteem?"

jessamyn and mathowie: "What did you do?"

mathowie: Yeah. And there's a lot of 'exercise', and a lot of 'work on yourself', a lot of 'read some books', but yeah, a lot of... I think overall it's a lot of growing up and getting over it and sometimes--

jessamyn: Well, and ways of reframing whatever your situation is--

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: --and ways of minding less what other people do and say, I think, is part of it too. I enjoyed that thread a lot.

mathowie: Yeah, I thought it was pretty cool.

jessamyn: The one that I liked for a completely random, not-because-of-the-post reason, is this woman who's a little upset because her daughter's five feet tall, and whatever about that, but my favorite thing about it is it's basically a roll call for every short Metafilter person--

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: --to talk about, like, "Oh yeah, I'm short, and everything's rocking in my life!" Like, for the most part, because she's really worried that her daughter's going to have disadvantages because she's only five feet tall, and so a lot of people were just like, "Actually, no."

Like, I... what was it, griphus? You know, it's like, you never know who's not tall by looking at this stuff. But what was he saying? He's 5'6", and he's the tallest member of his family by six inches.

mathowie: Wow!

jessamyn: Like, I would love to go to a griphus family reunion.

mathowie: Oh, wow.

jessamyn: Because I mean, Matt, you're like what, over six feet, right?

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: So you're a foot taller than everybody in griphus' family, except for griphus, who you're half a foot taller than.

mathowie: Whoa, maybe.

jessamyn: I mean, he's still taller than me, but I was interested thinking about that.

mathowie: That's fasc--I didn't know Lady Gaga is 5'1"? Huh.

cortex: Yeah, I didn't realize she was so short.

jessamyn: Yeah, Prince is tiny. A lot of people are tiny.

cortex: Everybody knows Prince is tiny.

jessamyn: But, like--

mathowie: My wife is 5'2", so I'm used to, eh, five feet, that's not super small.

jessamyn: Yeah, exactly! That's my feeling.

cortex: Yeah, yeah, Angela's like 5'1", 5'2".

jessamyn: So the thread was a lot of people being like, "You're... overreacting," but it also had a lot of people just talking about like, "Hey! Short people unite!"

mathowie: I think these last two questions go together. Like, the whole, you know, every man I know who's 5'7" and under feels bad about it, but I don't even notice or care, it's like they have to remind me that they're short, and it's so much how you feel about yourself, and people talk--

jessamyn: Right, right, right.

mathowie: --what, the angry short man complex?

cortex: It's really easy to be thinking that everybody else is really lasering in on something about you that nobody else even blinks at.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Yeah. Like I was explaining my teenage depression to someone the other day, and I was saying, like, "When I was 15, I thought I had the biggest nose on the planet, and I thought everyone in every store I'd walk into was laughing at me," like, it's so ludicr--

jessamyn: Like, "Hey, look at that big-nosed kid!"

mathowie: Right, the thing that no one ever did, or like one kid did at school once, and who gives a shit what that kid thinks, like, and I walked around for three years going like, "Yeah, I don't know if I'm going to go to school today because of this big nose, I feel so bad about it."

cortex: (chuckles) Yup!

jessamyn: Right, right! But that's super real to you at the time, you know?

mathowie: Right, and then when you look at it even three years later you're like, "That's the dumbest thing in the--" I explained this to a friend, it was all because I was watching a movie, and Tom Cruise was in it, I don't remember what big blockbuster it was--

jessamyn: Another very short man.

mathowie: Yeah. And he was upside-down, so it was like weird camera angle, and he has the massivest nose.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Like, I just never noticed it. And I was like, "Yay, there's--"

jessamyn: Well, and he's really good at getting camera angles that make the best of his features.

mathowie: Yeah. Right! But I was like, "Hey, here's People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive of the Year 1986 or something, and who gives a shit?" Nobody, I never heard anyone say a word about his nose, and I felt better after that day. (chuckle)

jessamyn: Well, and meanwhile you're over six feet tall, which all of your short friends are probably like, "Damn. Damn!"

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: So yeah, everybody's got a thing. For me, in the sort of girl realm it's either worrying that your breasts are too big or too small, but the curly/straight hair thing?

mathowie: Oh, yeah!

jessamyn: If you've got straight hair, you want curly hair.

mathowie: Right.

jessamyn: If you have curly hair, you want straight hair. When you're, you know, a younger girl agonizing over stuff like that.

mathowie: And if you ask any dude, it's usually like, a) I don't care or b) what it naturally looks like looks the best on you, and that's never--

jessamyn: Right. Who gives a shit, basically.

mathowie: Right.

jessamyn: It just doesn't, because it's like, "Which do you like better, blue or red?" Like, it doesn't matter. It's preference.

cortex: I feel like I've had a conversation regarding straight vs. curly hair with Angela in the past couple weeks. Because she's got naturally curly hair, which is awesome, and I've got naturally very pretty straight hair once it's long, and yeah, it's like, I think we were both sort of like, "Oh man, that must be great."

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly! Exactly. And once I realized that everybody's basically like that, that it's just a, yeah, a litmus test for esteem and anxiety issues.

mathowie: We just saw my niece go through this, she's probably like 8 or 9, and the Christmas card showed up, and her and her mom have this crazy curly hair that's awesome, it's so awesome. And they both had perfectly dead-straight hair.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Which, my wife noticed it and just went, "Oh my God, they straightened their hair." And I was like, "Oh, yeah, what?! Why would they--"

jessamyn: And that's a lot of work, too.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: If you've got super straight hair, if you've got super curly hair, getting it straight is difficult.

mathowie: Yeah. And I'm like, "I love her curly hair!" And the kid always had the funniest curly hair and now... augh, such a bummer.

jessamyn: Well, it'll curl back, I mean, you know, nice.

mathowie: Yeah, but they'll constantly straighten it back, and bleh.

jessamyn: Bleh!

cortex: Bleh!

jessamyn: Don't you do that body policing. See, and that's the challenge, right? You want to be like, "Hey, you look great!" without being like, "You looked better," whatever.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: It's almost impossible not to give young girls a complex by mentioning that they have physical form.

mathowie: Right, right, yeah. That is what I would say. Don't ever mention physical forms.

jessamyn: Minefield.

mathowie: And on that note... (chuckles) Sorry.

jessamyn: Off to MetaTalk?

cortex: Off to MetaTalk!

jessamyn: I think?

mathowie: So, anything cool in MetaTalk?

cortex: Eh, there was a couple of things.

jessamyn: Well, there was a lot of great holiday stuff. I was really happy to read stavrosthewonderchicken's Child's Play charity fundraiser, they raised whatever, five--

cortex: I think 5500 dollars?

mathowie: Yeah, that was pretty impressive.

jessamyn: Yeah. This was the post that I just... why doesn't it say?

mathowie: It's like 4500 or something?

jessamyn: Oh, that's at the beginning of December, and then they just posted the--

mathowie: Yeah, they just posted the update the other day saying where we ended up.

jessamyn: 5500 dollars. I donated, I was very happy to do so, they even got their little logo on as a corporate sponsor, which is kinda cool.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: And it's just neat. I like MeFight Club, I like that they do neat stuff, whatever, it was cool. Way to go, people.

mathowie: Oh, there was that weird post of the guy stuck in an elevator (cortex laughs) and all he could do was post to Metafilter from his Kindle, and it was actually real, like we didn't know if it was a real thing. The funny part is, we didn't quite help him out (jessamyn laughs), but he made it out and then left it as a comment in a thread. It's just so funny and random and weird and fun. And someone at the New York Times said, "Leave it to Metafilter to actually help. I couldn't depend on my own New York Times commenters to get me out of a stuck elevator."

cortex and jessamyn: (laughs)

jessamyn: Right, right.

mathowie: Which I thought was just about true. Yeah, I doubt they would.

jessamyn: Well, but that's because newspaper comments are horrible, we all know.

mathowie: Right. Augh. Anything else?

jessamyn: BitterOldPunk loves all of us, that was the very nice New Year's Day post. Josh, did you have other things that, you had implied there was...

cortex: Oh yes, I wanted to mention the datawankery post from aheckler, who just took a nice bit of data visualization software and made some cool graphs, which I'm always a sucker for. So yeah, that was neat. Not a whole lot to say other than, hey, go look at the pretty graphs, but it always warms my heart.

mathowie: Oh, yeah! That was, yeah, I'd never heard of this Tableau Desktop, and then I think someone that works for them posted a job for them.

cortex: Maybe, yeah.

mathowie: But it was really cool. It was really cool, the things it can do. I didn't know... yeah. Is it some sort of magical Excel that does stuff for you, or do you have to be adept at that stuff?

cortex: I haven't played with it directly. It sounds like it's a pretty nice sort of powerful tool for digging into this stuff without having to be super terribly wonky about it, but it's also, I think that's also part of the cost of the software.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Because someone mentioned in the thread, hey, maybe we could make this be a thing that just happens, and I think the guy who actually works with or knows it was like, "Euhh, that would be expensive."

mathowie: It's like, everything looks like a cool business chart, so it must have obvious business uses.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Right, well, and it makes everything look more serious business and professional and that kind of stuff, which I enjoyed too.

mathowie: Yeah. Fewest comments... I loved the words per category, and it's like, relationship questions by far have the most words.

cortex: (chuckles) Well, no one goes on six paragraph digressions about trying to get the driver installed for their CD drive, you know, so.

mathowie: Right.

cortex: Yeah, like talking about their previous CD drive, and how they really liked it but it just wasn't working out, because the CD drive moved to Portugal and they didn't want to... yeah.

mathowie: I kind of liked that post because it looked like at least it was somewhat accessible, whatever software that was, and in the past we've had crazy graphs produced by a Python developer in processing (cortex chuckles), and you're like, "Holy cow, there's five levels of crazy in there," so.

cortex: Yeah, "just edit the raw code in this script written in R and put it on a Linux box..."

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: Yeah, [it'll spit out ?] a LaTeX file, and then... yeah.

cortex: Yeah. It's just really cool.

mathowie: Yeah, it's very cool.

cortex: But another thing that was super delightful was in a post earlier in the month in MetaTalk, griphus made a joke about someone writing a history of the last few years of Metafilter in the style of "We Didn't Start The Fire", which Chrysostom [ˈkɹaɪsəˌstɑm] then sat down and put together links to a bunch of [??].

jessamyn: That's how you pronounce that name?

cortex: That's how I've just pronounced it! (laughs)

jessamyn: Nice! I've never said it out loud before. Sorry.

cortex: Chrysostom [ˌkɹaɪˈsɔstəm]? Chrysostom [ˌkɹaɪˈsoʊstəm]?


jessamyn: Chryso [ˌkɹɪˈsoʊ]-- Chrysostom [ˈkɹɪsoʊstəm]? I don't know.

cortex: Chrysostom [ˈkɹɪstoʊstəm]?

mathowie: Oh, wow!

cortex: Chrystostom [ˈkɹɪsoʊstəm], please send us a cassette tape--

jessamyn: A message.

cortex: --with a recording of you saying your username. We'll play it on the official Metafilter boombox.

jessamyn: Yeah, no, this was amazing.

cortex: Yeah. Super great. Just, he went through and, yeah, every word from the verses of "We Didn't Start The Fire" he went and found a post to tie it to.

jessamyn: Most close, some distant.

But very [graceful ?].

mathowie: But fascinating, yeah. Crazy.

cortex: Yup. It was super great.

mathowie: Awesome. Anything else?

cortex: We mentioned the weekly posts earlier in MetaTalk, so I guess we've sort of covered those already.

mathowie: Yeah, and it'll wrap up tonight, probably, with the last post?

jessamyn: Yeah, yeah, goodnewsfortheinsane and I sort of talked over, because we wanted to have a different mod doing each weekly thing so that each person didn't have to, so that I didn't have to do them all, and it worked out really well! So he's gonna post it I think tonight, or his daytime, and then that'll be the end of the MeFite Choice Awards for December. But they were good! I'd like to do them again.

cortex: Yeah, that was fun.

mathowie: Yeah, that was fun. Yeah, that was great.

cortex: There was one cool Job, too. Well, I mean, maybe there was more than one cool Job--

jessamyn: There were a couple cool Jobs!

cortex: There was one that jumped out at me, which was the, "Build me a treehouse," which someone with carpenter skills--

jessamyn: In the DC area.

cortex: Yeah. This is your chance to fucking make it happen.

mathowie: Oh man, my stupid brain, I thought it was in Washington State for some reason. (laughs)

cortex: Whir-whur!

mathowie: Oh, it says VA, and I thought it said--

cortex: So Reston in WA, you know?

mathowie: I was thinking Renton, WA.

cortex: Ah.

mathowie: Not Reston, Virginia. Oh, wow. Wow, that's a pretty cool treehouse! Huh. Very cool.

jessamyn: Very cool. I enjoyed that.

mathowie: That about it for December of Metafilter?

jessamyn: I think so. It was great! Happy New Year, everybody. Thanks for contributing to our wonderful December of good posts and not getting too holiday cranky. We appreciate your efforts.

cortex: Yeah, yep.

mathowie: Yeah. Awesome.

cortex: And here's to 2013.

jessamyn: Whoo!

mathowie: Sweet. Alright, talk to you later. Adios!

jessamyn: Bye!

sfx: (Music: Brand New Ukelelelele by rouftop)


  • beryllium, 192 segments
  • zamboni, 2
  • Pronoiac, 1