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Podcast 46 Transcript
A transcript for Mefi Podcast 46: Help, I'm trapped in my room.
Time 0:00 - 3:00
Jessamyn: Here's the two songs that I like: Kimyo did this incredible, cello-backed version of Don't Fear the Reaper -
Cortex: Oh yeah!
J: - which is amazing!
J: And es_de_blah, who is just kind of a personal favorite of mine ever since he called me the day before the meetup and asked where everybody was, has done this very wonderful Halloween, lo-fi song about Massachusetts and all, so.
J: It pushes my particular buttons and I think it's nice.
C: Nice. I need to get caught up on Music. I dunno.
J: I've been getting caught up over the last couple of weeks, because I'm tired of all of my own music, finally.
J: I mean, how can you get tired of thirty-one days of music, and I'm tired of all of it.
Mathowie: All right. Let me see.
J: Both of them are really good, and Kimyo's got a really good Flickr stream too, if anybody's interested.
M: Let me start it, oh, it's 46. Okay, this will be it for real. Welcome to episode 46 of the Metafilter Podcast. Thanks for listening.
C: Guys, I can feel it: This is gonna be a good one.
J: Well, the last one was September 14th, and we haven't done one of these, like everybody talks on the phone, since August.
M: People are mad at the last one. Did you pick up on the couple of comments?
C: They were mad at the last one?
J: Just 'cause it was us, sitting around, bullshitting?
M: Yes, they said "please -"
J: C'mon dude, you could give people a thousand dollars, and they'd be grumpy because it wasn't a thousand and five. Honestly! Ignore that.
M: Someone said there was no links or Metafilter discussed, just us bullshitting, and that wasn't great, so, sorry. Where do we usually start? Projects or Jobs? It's been so long, I completely forgot. Josh! How did your trip go?
C: It went well.
M: In thirty seconds.
C: It went well, I didn't get very sick...
Time 3:00 - 6:00
and not very early, and I had a lot of good fun, and I would probably have to measure the beer in gallons, and it was great!
J: Pimp your little movie! Pimp your little preview!
C: Oh and I just made a little demo reel, playing with some of the video footage, in the last couple days. People seemed to like that. It's just a sorta-fakey little credit sequence.
M: Was that your idea, to bang out one city a day, for the next month or so?
C: I was thinking of doing that, taking one city's footage and trying to put together a little thing out of it and then maybe go back to that once I've played with all the stuff and try to put it into something cohesive. But we'll see, I dunno.
M: Was that three - four hours of work?
C: That was a couple hours of work. Most of it was trying to figure out the toolset. The clips, I've got reasonably well-organized, out of the gate, so I knew what was there already.
J: What are you organizing it with?
C: It's just organized by date at this point, and I'm using Final Cut Express, because I didn't want to try this in iMovie because that would've been like pulling teeth. I just edited that against, pulled up that song by Chococat, because it had this sorta nice folky-but-driven feel that I thought might make nice.
J: Chococat - everything he touches is gold.
C: Pretty much, yeah.
J: He's totally talented. Did he give you permission?
C: I didn't even ask. I wrote to him later -
C: - and said "hey I just did this, by the way!"
M: Oh wow!
C: Well, I figure it's a random little demo I'm posting on Youtube, not, you know, anything I'm seriously putting out there, so, I gambled that he'd be okay with it. I guess if he'd been uncomfortable with it, I could've just pulled it down, or audio-swapped it.
J: I'm still fighting with Youtube about copyrights on other videos now.
J: I don't understand it, right? My videos have been up forever, and they take the music away? So you don't even know what the music used to be. You just see your video without any music, and I'm like "I don't even know whose copyright I violated, what am I supposed to do now?"
C: Yeah. I'm trying to avoid even having to wrestle with any of that. So I think any music that I use -
J: I'm waiting for them to take me to court, motherfuckers! It's fair use!
C: I don't think they care, is the problem.
M: You could probably have the case that they're not interested in solving the issue, just smacking it down so it's just pleasing the copyright holders.
J: I think it's a strategic lawsuit against public participation, is what I think. Fuck those guys. And their free hosting!
C: It's a problem because Youtube's so big that it becomes sort of a problem but at the same time they're a service provider. They don't really have any particular requirement to accommodate random bullshit from both sides of the copyright debate, so it's kind of like the way Paypal can get away with having this sort of shitty customer service about disputes, because it's not like they're a bank, necessarily, they're just this service provider, but at the same time, they're so big that it's kind of bullshit that they -
J: That they're kind of bankish, Paypal is.
C: Yeah, so it's all kind of weird. But anyway. I have a hard time getting too riled up about Youtube going the takedown route on the audio stuff, because, you know, it's just Youtube...
Time 6:00 - 9:00
J: Because you're an artist. Yeah, you can just go put it up on video - on Vimeo? My problem is I don't have the original video, I don't even know what the song was. And some of it was me talking. And Youtube has my sounds. And they won't give it back!
J: They won't even let me listen to it!
M: Google's not supposed to be evil, and they're supposed to be this neutral service provider, but they're also supposed to do the right thing, and the right thing would be "contact this guy, or this lawyer - you were reported by Legal@WarnerBrothersMusic.com" - so at least you have something to start a conversation with whoever is filing a complaint against you. They should have a dispute system or something.
J: Well, they have a dispute system, and basically you -
M: You lose!
J: - can fill out not only, a fair use claim, but then you have to type in a box, it's so stupidly punishing. "I promising I'm not making this fair use claim just to steal music" - I don't even know what it is - then you have to wait, and I actually got them to give me back my music for one of my videos. Because it was a video of me in the car, listening to the fucking radio. And it matched some of their song-matcher thing.
M: Yeah, it's true. Fuckers.
J: We still haven't talked about Metafilter yet.
C: Okay, so, one of the projects that I liked, actually just went up a few days ago -
M: Good segue!
C: - and it's cog_nate's "Post-Apocalypse Dead Letter Office" project, which is -
J: I didn't see that! Link!
C: I just linked it.
C: In the chat. Window. It's that.
C: It's right there.
C: Jesus Christ! laughs
J: Oh, it's experimental novels.
C: Yeah, so he wrote -
Jessamyn imitates the Sideshow Bob Rake Sound.
C: - the thing, and then, he distributed various letters from it, because it's an epistolatory novel, essentially.
J: Does that mean it's a letter novel?
C: Yes! laughs
J: Like "Griffin and Sabine?"
C: Uh, yeah.
M: I didn't understand this. I am a simpleton.
J: I didn't either. Cortex please!
C: laughs Let me try this again. So what it is is, he wrote a novel that's essentially a series of letters, and then he took the letters and he sent those -
J: He wrote it. cog_nate wrote it.
C: Yes, he wrote it. He wrote it in the form of a bunch of letters. And then he took that writing, and he sent that to various volunteers, a lot of whom were Metafilter members, some of whom were not, necessarily.
J: Oh! I remember this! Okay, god, sorry.
C: And each of them wrote down one of those letters as if they were actually writing that letter at some point in this post-apocalyptic future. And then they sent those back to him, and the whole collection is the end product. And this is one of many projects where I was interested in participating, but then totally flaked out on. So I'm really happy that other people were less flaky than me about writing the notes.
Time 9:00 - 12:00
J: So wait, when did he start putting this together? I remember hearing about this somewhere else when it was getting started.
C: It's been going for a while.
J: But did it start on Metafilter? Was it in Metachat? Or, how would I have known about this previously? Can you read my mind?
C: Uh, yeah, I can't.
C: cog_nate, I think he wrote to me via MefiMail (ed: pronounced meh-FEE-mail) when he asked me about it. And I imagine he did that with a lot of people that were on Metafilter. And he's good friends with Sleepy Pete and Melissa May. I think he's ??? as well, so I was aware of him via them as well.
M: So, again, I'm as dumb as a stump:
M: He sends out, let's say, chapters one through ten to people, they send a response to that, out of context?
J: They write a letter.
C: He writes a chapter, which is, say, a letter. And he sends that chapter to a given volunteer, and the volunteer takes it and they transcribe it in the form of them writing the letter.
J: In their own handwriting. All they do is do the fucking handwriting part.
C: They turn, essentially, his script into an actual written artifact, a handwritten one.
J: It's not like the momma bird chews it up so the baby bird can eat it -
J: - and it's something different. It's just handwritten. Re-handwritten.
M: Oh, okay. I thought it was, they just got a weird letter -
J: In the mail! laughs
M: - and then they wrote a response, and that's what's he's posting, is the response to his story, is the new story. I thought that would be crazy.
J: I think we call this "too clever by half."
J: I'm really glad that it all works.
C: I thought it was really fucking simple. I think maybe we just explained it badly.
M: That blog design is also too clever. I didn't know it linked to PDFs, I just thought they were images of incoming mail, and I was like: "what's happening here exactly?" But if you click each one you get their transcription.
J: Speaking of something that's not Metafilter-related, has anybody noticed the Library of Congress is now doing an exquisite corpse book?
J: I know, right? I felt that was for weird, esoteric, geeks and postmodern people, but now it's right up there on the Library of Congress. That's all I had to say about that.
C: It's like they've been reading my dream journal.
J: What? Shut up!
C: Nono that's serious -
J: No it isn't!
C: It's insane! And that's really awesome.
M: I like the comic book cover.
J: It's good. They're doing it kinda weird, but of course they're, you know, weird, but yeah, it looks interesting. It's supposed to be kinda YA oriented. Before we go on to your next one, Josh, I want to talk about mine, which is only thematically related to yours, because yours has the word "dead" in the title, and mine has the word "zombies" in the title.
J: But it's not your typical zombie project. It's by Buried Next to You, which is eponysterical at some level, and he works in a college library, which of course is why I think this is awesome, and they have to do these kinda dorky "Here's how to use the print servers" videos...
Time 12:00 - 15:00
J: - which nobody really enjoys but you have to do them because you have to do them. But he did it with zombies and now it's adorable.
C: That's awesome.
J: And now I know how to print stuff at the College of Dupage Library - if I ever go there, and bird next to you likes his job.
J: And I saw it on Facebook, originally, and I didn't even know he was from Metafilter. So I was kinda psyched.
J: And then he writes a "making of," "how he made the video" blog post, which is adorable.
C: That's cool!
J: It is cool, and it's a really nice little video, actually, I think.
M: I'm waiting for the bacon guy to my local city hall.
M: Just take any internet meme plus something tedious that you have to document, and then you make something new. That's the formula for this.
J: Oh, I see what you mean. So, like, bacon, rake the leaves.
J: Or, "I made a rake made of bacon, and now raking the leaves is so much better."
M: A "welcome to jury duty" video featuring Tay Zonday.
J: Who's Tay Zonday?
M & C (together): Chocolate Rain.
J: Oh, that guy. Oh, okay. I thought, like, T-Pain, so that the oldsters among us know what you're talking about.
M (singing): Jury Dut-aay!
J (singing): Short-ay!
mathowie & cortex laugh
M: I love the Balloon Boy physics paper - it was fuckin' awesome.
J: Oh my god I loved it! We all loved it!
J: Especially those of us who have that sort of physics sense in our brain, and we're just yelling at the TV that whole weekend, you know?
M: Well, yeah, you know there'll be a Mythbusters episode in about six months, but, yeah. It seemed pretty far-fetched.
J: It was totally far-fetched, and it's only Wolf Blitzer's incredulity that made it even last longer than a thirty-minute, "there's nothing fucking in there" news cycle.
M: And I love the idea that you can just attack anything stupid with math.
J: Yeah. Except - yeah, I'm gonna stop right there.
J: Except for fights that you get in, but at any rate, yeah. No, and it's great, and it's beautiful, and it has nice little pictures in it, and I just thought it was terrific. Also: As far as Metafilter meme navel-gazing, Metafilter memes that turn into projects, I have to say that Jofus, who -
C: Dammit! I was just going to link that.
J: Whose, well, I'll say you linked it.
C: No, no, it's okay.
J: Jofus, who is just, you know -
J: - one of my more favorite mefites I've never met, have you met him?
C: I have not met him.
J: He's got this new adorable baby, and at the same time, he has done a "this is just to say" blog of everyone making jokes about the "this is just to say, your plums were in the refridgerator, and I ate them" poem.
C: Yup, it's like he read my mind.
Time 15:00 - 18:00
C: I'm so happy he did that. I said something like that in a thread.
J: Great! It's like something Josh would do if he had more time, but he doesn't.
C: Also, Jofus is responsible for one of my favorite songs which I didn't put on the MefiComp, back in the day, Diamond Joe, which was really great, but the levels were just impossible to work with on the CD. But it's a really great song.
J: Oh wait, I'm sorry, he doesn't have a baby, he has a sonogram.
C: That's like a baby.
M: laughs That's a recipe for a baby. I like that more of the world is picking up on your dream waves, Josh, and making things you think of.
C: They're making it happen.
J: I'm doing the best I can, but all I do is sleep in. I think that's my part, right.
C: That's a good thing. So yet another project that I liked, just really for the concept -
J: This is really a great time for projects. People get ornery and sometimes they actually make things. Is this about vi?
C: It is.
J: Aaaooowww! I feel like I was suckered into even clicking on this!
C: It's just an arcade shoot-em-up about vi and emacs, and I just think that's awesome.
J: Can you do a dramatic reading of the first couple sentences?
C (dramatically): "In a world divided by two editors, one man sets out to face down his destiny in an epic battle to the death to save his lost data files from being destroyed by the system. It's a dangerous game - did I say dangerous? I meant ridiculous." - is how his writeup starts.
J: It's awesome!
C: We really need Don LaFontaine - wait, is Don LaFontaine dead? Is he the one who died?
C: Okay, sorry! I didn't mean you were dead, Don LaFontaine!
M: I think one of them died. The "In a world" guy died.
J: Wait - Don LaFontaine did die on September first.
M: He has many copycats.
J: How quick is my Google? My Google is quick.
C: Well done.
M: I was supposed to repeat everything you said - I can make it extra-dramatic. "One man! One man!
J: "Word War VI!"
M: "The system!"
J: So did you actually try this - what is this? It's a game?
C: I haven't actually tried playing it yet, but I saw it -
C: - and it made me - I can't not mention it.
M: Yeah, it's pretty funny!
C: Someone even going there is enough for me to be pretty happy.
M: It looks like Defender, in the little demo videos.
J: pew! pew pew pew! I think that's where pew pew! comes from.
M: The Star Wars Universe.
J: Defender! pew.
C: Well, those were all my projects. Did somebody else have any projects?
M: I don't - I think we're good.
J: I had mine already. I gave you two. You mean "anybody else," you mean "Matt?"
C: Does anybody else have any more projects?
M: Oh no, I think you guys picked out two I liked. I think, this is people going inside in the Northern Hemisphere. And they either fight with each other, or they make something, so we're getting the benefits of both.
J: Totally. Agreed.
J: Over to Jobs. Jobs looks exactly like Jobs kind of always looks.
J: Although there's jobs on it, which is nice. And I did like the recent "Freelance Writer in London" job, only because you basically go to trade shows and get to write about it.
Time 18:00 - 21:00
J: - which I think might be fun. Maybe. If I were in London I would take that job.
M: There was a weird -
J: What are you laughing at? Why is that funny?
C: I'm just a jolly guy.
J: You are not.
M: There was a weird "paint my portrait" job?
J: (trying out pronunciations) Ocherdraco! Ocherdraco?
M: Yeah, that was interesting. Wasn't there a book designer - yeah, woodblock100, but it was some sort of cool guy in Tokyo.
C: Yeah, woodblock100.
M: Woodblock100 is needing some book designer help.
J: Oh man, I buy stuff from him every year around Christmastime. His woodblock prints - they're amazing! I'm really hoping to get him to send me one of the Catbus prints that they made when they did printmaking over at his place for the tenth anniversary?
M: Oh, wow!
J: They did those "Totoro Catbus," and it says "Metafilter" underneath it.
J: makes a very weird sound
M: That's pretty cool.
J: Yeah! What are you - God Almighty!
C: That was a very weird sound, is all. The noise you made there.
J: I'm going to make it into my ringtone.
C: That'd be good!
C: Every time someone calls you everybody's like "what the fuck is this?"
J: makes another very weird sound, and C & M laugh
M: I've gotta tape this! I've got to tape this.
J: Coming from your pocket! I think the portrait idea is neat - getting people to actually paint pictures of you?
J: My mom's whole family got their portraits painted when she was a teenager or in her early twenties. And it's really cool to have oil paintings of my grandparents, and of my mom and my uncle. They just look really cool, in a different way than having a blowup of a digital photograph looks cool. Maybe I'm too twentieth century.
M: I think it's just so mired in old aristocratic history that I think I could only do it ironically these days, but still, yeah, it's pretty cool.
J: Oh, funny! See, I don't think about it that way at all. Maybe it's an East Coast / West Coast thing too.
M: Yeah. Right, everything on the West Coast is only fifty years old, so we find five-hundred-year-old technologies ridiculous, in a way.
J: Right, right right. Any other jobs, anybody else saw?
M: Nope, everything else is subtly a web job.
J: Or not so subtly a web job.
M: If you know a little bit of PHP and you need a job, it's possible.
J: I always feel like I should go learn some PHP and then I'm reminded I don't actually need a job.
M: (stretching) Yeah, you're good. Ahhh!
J: I'm good.
C: That's the sound of Matt getting high right in the middle of a podcast.
J: Pft! If only! There was a really good post today, actually, about CAPS LOCK DAY.
Time 21:00 - 24:00
J: About one of the dudes who's a - he's got some different job, but basically he's the Drug Czar in the U.K., saying "Pot's actually not that dangerous and we should really be talking about harm." Because they're talking about moving it from a Schedule C to a Schedule B, or a Schedule B to a Schedule C - they're talking about making it less bad legally. And everybody's like (ululates) and who knows. At any rate, forget it, you can cut this whole thing out of it. But I thought it was an interesting post.
C: Well, I was just throwing the CAPS LOCK DAY link out there, because it was CAPS LOCK DAY and we had that whole discussion on Metatalk about people: "why is it that it's okay to do CAPS LOCK DAY, because isn't that sort of a stunt post?"
J: "How come certain kinds of stunt posts are all right?"
C: Which was an interesting sort of discussion to have again, but also, you know, crockety bloat. So that's all.
J: That said though, CAPS LOCK DAY was really fun this year!
C: It was!
M: How did you do that? Did you abuse the admin controls?]
C: I totally do!
J: He fucking did! He totally fucking did! Maaaaaatt! Josh -
M: I was: "Is that two marquee tags or something?"
C: It is. Nested marquee tags. Yeah.
M: That's what happens? Wow!
C: You set one to vertical and one to horizontal.
J: Where is it? I didn't even - oh, there it is, the fucking yellow thing.
M: It's hypnotic!
C: I like to think it's a yearly tradition, every year we have a CAPS LOCK DAY thread, and every year I abuse my admin powers to embed some sort of HTML that's not allowed.
J: I like how you said "admins,'" as if any of us had anything to do with any of your nonsense.
C: Well I, you know. I dunno.
M: CAPS LOCK DAY -
J: You and Vacapinta?
M: On Metafilter, people start working on their CAPS LOCK DAY post in June.
J: It's like our version of the Memorial Day Parade.
C: Every year's "when is the post going to go up?" and there's various people who are kind of excited. And this is one of the things that remains a connection between the IRC channel and the site, even though more and more, it's two separate cultures, is CAPS LOCK DAY on Metafilter is a thing and people debate what it should be and who's going to do it and keep an eye on each other to try to not get beat to making the post, and it's kind of a silly thing, but it's kind of adorable and watching it happen was fun.
J: And tarheelcoxn was the one who actually did it, which doesn't ring a bell as one of the usual suspects, or am I wrong about that?
C: I think he's relatively new to IRC. He's a regular there.
M: Someone blew it. Someone in, I dunno, New Zealand always blows it. So this is seven hours early! I dunno what was up with that.
C: He was just not going to be outdone.
J: Oh that's right! Because then somebody posted it the next day, because they were like "whoo-hoo!" and they were like "no dude, sorry."
C: Oh did we? I didn't even see the double go up.
Time 24:00 - 27:00
M: It was actually 5pm, the day before, on West Coast time, server time.
J: Right, so Crash Davis is too early, and then he says, "I am in Reykjavik in spirit," which I just wanted to mention, because I actually know how to pronounce Reykjavik.
C: Well done.
J: Thank you.
M: almost off-mic, tries pronunciations for Reykjavik, then "I got it now!"
C: There was an awesome post, and I just posted something that came out of that awesome post, but I'll track down the original post too, about a guy who built -
C: - basically, a vocoder out of an actual mechanical piano. Here's the link.
J: Whaaa? Again, I cannot follow a thing you are saying.
C: It's kind of a mathy thing.
J: But I understand fucking math!
C: Well, the idea behind a vocoder is it takes -
J: I know what a vocoder is.
C: Okay. Well, basically, he built a vocoder out of a piano. He built little actuators over each key to press a key to generate stuff in that specific bit of a range.
J: Wait, it's a piano with robot fingers to play it?
M: Wo -!
C: And then he -
J: Aaah! And then it sings David Lee Roth's voice?
C: That's what Speicus did with it, yeah. laughs
J: Fucking hell! Josh, all you had to do was click the fucking link to this piano - oh, you did it. It's transformed a child speaking, played as a MIDI event, on a - agggh!
C: Yeah. It's pretty badass. It's some serious fucking geekery.
M: But he just hooked up a MIDI controller to an electric piano, not a robot.
J: But then a robot plays it!
C: Speicus did it without the mechanical stuff in between, which is a huge undertaking.
C: But the theory works just as well with MIDI, and it's easier to pull off and you don't have to rig up an entire piano, but it's badass.
J: So he made kind of a soundboard, or what are those things called? The webpages that have buttons you press, and they play little sounds? Soundboard?
C: It's not even anything like that, it's a MIDI thing.
J: Are they called soundboards, though? What are those things called?
C: Those things you're talking about are called soundboards, and they really don't have anything to do with this.
J: And this isn't that, is what you were telling me.
C: No, this is more, just a more wonky electronic processing thing.
J: Spiecus is a genius, and I'm getting to feel like we mention him every podcast?
C: He does good stuff.
J: He's friends with klangklangston, and they play Foursquare together.
C: And I met them! I met them in L.A.
J: How was that?
C: That was good. It was a good time. We drank a lot.
M: Did they literally play Foursquare?
C: We played some fucking Foursquare.
J: Or that stupid iPhone Foursquare?
J: Or Foursquare Foursquare, with a bouncy red ball.
C: No, we had a ball and some chalk and really bad lighting, and we were all holding our drinks and making up rules. It was a good time.
J: Yeah, Foursquare - real Foursquare.
M: I don't know if I'd be good or bad at it, at this point. Probably better.
C: You'd probably be okay. You've got reach, which helps.
J: Well, depth perception. You have some depth perception problems.
C: It could be tricky.
Time 27:00 - 30:00
M: I'm a juggler, I have great eye-hand coordination.
C: Yeah, you can compensate for that...
J: Meaning you've learned to juggle...
M: Yeah... no, I'm a professional juggler who just does internet stuff on the side now...
J: Suddenly it's all making sense.
M: I would like to enter in Exhibit A of my sparkly top hats.
[C and J laughter]
J: Oh my god, Matt, you should go as a juggler for Halloween, you need a sparkly top hat and like 3 rubber balls.
M: And a unicycle.
J: Yeah! Can you unicycle?
M: I can, but I don't own one right now. [laughs] I'm between unicycles.
J: [laughs] I'm sure there's a nice $4000 unicycle you can buy somewhere.
C: [laughs] Titanium frame...
J: Titanium! [laughs] jinx!
M: You know what, today's the 40th anniversary of the Internet. Of the very first network thing... moved a packet across the network.
M: I was at the 30th year celebration, and six months before it, I knew it when I took these photos, and I took them off the camera, I went, "some day I'm gonna show this to my children, and it's gonna be like photos of playing on the Spirit of St. Louis or something..."
J: Oh my god Matt, I love this picture of you so much...
M: I was like, this should be a shrine -- it was sitting in a technical library, and there was just some bored student there at the door, making sure we didn't steal books. I was like, "this is the origin of the Internet, you idiots!" and they didn't care. And it was me and a friend goofing around. And if you can't tell...
J: I totally love this! I love this!
M: ...he was an actor. If it's not entirely clear...
J: I can kind of tell, yeah.
M: Yeah, he got into the moment pretty well.
J: And you gave directions, and it's in a library?
M: Yeah, it used to be at UCLA... here's a picture of the door -- it's got a horrible interface, there's no back button.
J: No, I looked, I started at the beginning, I know how to top up the...
M: Yeah, it was just sitting in their technical archive library. Now it's probably got a shrine, and it's something special, but...
J: So, great! Way to go, starman! Great post!
M: Yeah. That was just a couple of hours ago. A half an hour ago.
J: Yeah. Cool, so far we've managed to talk about a whole bunch of posts from today!
C: There was one... an article, this was a post about a write-up a guy did, trying to analyze management theory in the context of the show "The Office". This was a week ago or something like that.
J: I did not see this.
C: It's a nice read. There's plenty to argue about, about his theory, and it's kind of a lark to do it in terms of a TV show anyway, but for all that it made actually for a really interesting discussion as people sort of hashed out whether or not and how that gelled with their own experiences in...
Time 30:00 - 33:00
J: ...and whether there's a whole consistent... was that part of it, whether there's a consistent set of policies that's actually... I mean, I can't get the page to load...
M: Yeah, the blog is down right now...
C: It's sort of looking at... there's this classical, somewhat... I don't know if sarcastic is the right way to put it, but sort of "dark arch theory" about distribution of people within a corporation that puts them into three categories in a pyramid... and the top of the pyramid is sociopaths, and the bottom of the pyramid is losers, and in between is the clueless. And the idea is, the losers are people who have basically struck the crappy bargain with the corporation... they're working a job that really doesn't compensate them for the amount of raw revenue generation they do, but at the same time, they know what their position is...
J: Surplus value.
C: Yeah, they're basically the production line of any sort of company. And then, at the top, the sociopaths are the guys who are actually unscrupulous enough to actually effect change in the company and make things happen... and insulating the losers from the sociopaths are the clueless, who are people who end up being used as padding to keep the losers from killing the sociopaths and vice versa...
C: ...so they're sort of like the management that keeps the people who are producing all the value from having too much friction from the people who are causing that production of value to happen. And the article does a much better job of explaning his take on it, but it pitches all that in terms of "The Office", which is kind of nice for anybody who's seen it, 'cause you've got these reference points to sort of see why what he's saying makes whatever sense it does make. So, anyway, it was a fun read.
J: Do you think Ricky Gervais is hilarious?
C: I think he is; I think he's a very funny motherfucker.
M: I think he is funny, but he lacks humanity.
C: [laughs] Do you think Ricky Gervais does, or do you think it's just the character he plays? I mean, David Brent was awful...
M: He truly... I've observed tons of his work over the last five years, six years... he truly is kind of an asshole at his core. He's a great comic actor and stuff, but this all came from, "do you like Steve Carell better, or the British "Office"," and I'm like, Steve Carell, you're kind of one percent or five percent sad for, and the UK...
J: ...and the Ricky Gervais character is a bad man.
M: Yeah, David Brent is just a sociopath, like an idiot sociopath...
C: Well, to some extent the article I linked to, it sort of addresses that and talks about it in terms of the American version, partly because there's a little bit more nuance in the characters...
J: Americans needed that in order to be able to relate or something. Ricky Gervais has dead eyes.
Time 33:00 - 36:00
C: Ricky, if you hear this, you know... call me.
M and J: [laughter]
M: What was your owl thing?
J: Allright, moving on to other jobs... I really liked Horace Rumpole -- I mean, once again, right? It's weird -- I don't have to talk about Horace Rumpole during every single thing. He just posts really good stuff all the time. So this was basically the diary of a blacksmith and the American Antiquarian Society set it up as a blog. And then you could read this guy's -- I mean, it's sort of like the Samuel Pepys diary, you know? You could basically read these guys' posts and figure out what the hell a blacksmith is doing in Massachusetts, which is near where I grew up... only a hundred years before I was born. I thought it was interesting.
M: That's awesome.
J: Yeah, I thought it was kind of cool. Horace Rumpole also had the incredibly fun and successful "Who Wants to See My Johnson" meetup -- because he's doing a major exhibition at Harvard, at Houghton Library, of Samuel Johnson's stuff, and me and Not on Display got a tour of it early, because we weren't going to be around that weekend... but he had a bunch of Metafilter people to go see his exhibit and then they all went and had beer.
J: Yeah, it was cool!
M: On an admin back-channel note, I noticed he's a "gift account" from you... what's up with that? Did he send you five dollars in the mail, or something?
J: Yeah, he sent me five dollars in the mail before I even knew him.
J: Yeah, it was a long time ago, and I don't remember what the deal was.
M: Was it through an inter-library loan? Hi-ohhh!
J: No, I think he didn't have PayPal... I don't remember what the deal is. I didn't know him, but I think he e-mailed me, and I was like, "oh yeah, I'll totally flip you an account," and then he, yeah, sent me money in the mail. It was weird.
J: Yeah, whoever the newest person was that I signed up at the Iowa meetup, I just signed him up for free.
J: So you can take it off my tab.
M: That's a'ight... one of my favorite posts was this Eichler Home post... and I thought I knew everything there was to know about Eichler Homes -- these modernist, mid-century houses from the Bay Area...
J: Oh! God, I love those!
M: ...but there's still tons to learn if you followed all the links in this post, and if you'd never heard of them, it was an awesome introduction to the whole thing.
J: And it's mattdidthat, who turned his account off?
M: Is he still using it, or did he stop using it?
J: I don't know -- it says "this account is no longer active," but I've seen him on the site. I don't know. At any rate, I think mattdidthat does quality stuff, and I was just getting an OCR typeface so that I could fill out my Metafilter Identification Badge... you know, the ID badges that he made?
Time 36:00 - 39:00
M and C: Oh yeah...
J: And I had to get OCR, or OCD, or whatever the heck it is... a special font. And I was just trying to show it to somebody, but I couldn't look at any of his Flickr photos. This is a great post.
M: Let me see if I can find it... "Metafilter ID badge..." we have to link that in the podcast write-up. I'll find it...
J: And, as an aside, he did sign up the George Clooney account a couple days ago... which, don't put in the podcast, but...
M: I think people thought it was real or something... yeah, I was hemming and hawing whether to enjoy that in the namedropper thread.
J: It was pretty funny...
M: The whole namedropper thread is, like...
J: Oh my god!
M: I don't know... I wrote my favorite story of namedropping, but I don't even know if I enjoyed it, you know?
J: And the thing about namedropping is, it's only kind of fun if you have incidental run-ins with people, it's kind of weird if you actually... I don't know, it's weird for me because my uncle's actually kind of a movie star, and we hang out... it's only good if you're not related to somebody, or you have a boring famous person in your life, you know? Not that my uncle's boring, but you know what I mean? It's only good with that, "I was standing behind Bono in line," not "I went to Sean Penn's..."
C: Yeah, it's sort of a "you'll never believe what happened" thing...
J: Yeah, "I went to Sean Penn's house..."
M: Actually, so we're talking about this thread, though, the link and the thing... I just like the stories around people's chance encounters or stuff you didn't know about someone famous... instead of just the bald-faced, "I walked Clooney's dog..." whatever...
J: Right, well, especially, yeah, "I'm an employee of..." you know, my cousin is Richard Belzer's personal assistant, that's my claim to..
M: Is that for real?
J: Yeah, really, that's his job... that's what he does for a job.
M: Does he just go back and forth to the pharmacy, getting the medication...?
J: I don't know! He was too discreet to really talk about it, but I was like, that's an interesting job.
C: You know, it's harsh comments like that, that have driven Richard Belzer to pharmaceutical...
M: [laughs] to anti-depressants...
M: But then, what would he talk about when he goes on a late-night talk show?
J: I... don't know! But we did run into Michael McKean when we were in a town car going to my great-aunt's funeral a couple of weeks ago, walking down the street in the East Village, and my uncle stopped the town car and waved... "Hey, Michael!" blah blah blah, you know, the guy who plays Lenny on Laverne and Shirley...
M: Yeah, yeah... he knew him? Wow.
J: They're friends, apparently.
J: I mean, my uncle's like a movie star, so he knows other movie stars.
C: I find it interesting that Lenny is the reference you go to for Michael McKean...
J: As opposed to David St. Hubbins?
J: Or the guy from Saturday Night Live?
M: Or every Christopher Guest movie ever...
J: I guess that's true. I'm kind of the old one, right? [laughs] Usually I'm doing it in the other direction, where I'm trying to explain something to my students, and they're all in their sixties and seventies... I'm like, "you know, he was on the Andy Griffith show as a kid..."
Time 39:00 - 42:00
M: [laughs] [in old man voice]: "oh, that delightful young boy..."
J: Exactly, exactly!
C: I did like one thing from that thread, or sort of the overall discussion, was the point people made about what makes a good... celebrity sighting story, is if it would still be a good story if it weren't a famous person, then, okay, it's probably a good story. If the story's completely nothing if you're not mentioning Bono... you know, save it. It's not that fascinating. It doesn't need to be told.
M: Sweet. We've got maybe twenty minutes left.
J: I have four posts lined up; two of them are the same -- well, they're not the same, but they're thematically linked... plus, they're sort or musical.
M: Ah, I saw this...
J: There's the brief musical history of garage, and the brief history of electro. And, as somebody who kind of knows about garage music and didn't know fuck-all about electro, it was kind of cool to see both of these posts with people who are really good at music, talking about their different kinds of musics.
J: Yeah. Empath and Loquacious.
C: I have to admit when I first saw "A brief musical history of garage", I was hoping it was somehow about... garages...
C: I couldn't figure out how that would work, and why that would actually be something anybody could do, but somehow they had done a survey of the use of garages for music making...
J: Like how they call.. oh, you mean... what?
C: Like garage bands, playing in a garage, and I couldn't imagine how it would work.
J: I bet somebody's done that!
M: That was my thought, too... that it was like... yeah.
J: Or like how they call them lanais in Hawaii.
M: Lanais? Lanai is like a back porch, or...
J: It's like a covered... yeah.
M: Yeah, not like where you can park your car...
J: You totally park your car there!
M: In a lanai? Nah, you just mellow out in your lanai. It's like a covered outdoor patio.
J: It's like covered outdoor parking.
M: [laughs] I think one of us is wrong.
J: Allright... maybe it's me. I'll go google it while you guys talk amongst yourselves.
M: No, hit us with your last two, and let's move on to Ask Metafilter...
J: No, those are my last two. My first two are my last two.
C: I have one... this is from yesterday, I think. I haven't even read the thread. This is a thread I'm linking sight unseen...
J: Uh oh.
C: ...just because it appears to be an epic discussion of Magic the Gathering, which was an instrumental part of my high school years. And it's gotten older now.
Time 42:00 - 45:00
C: It's a giant post where people are being complete nerds in there and it's pretty great. So just wanted to...
M: Why did I pass this over as "must be about Dungeons and Dragons" and I moved on?
J: "Full of nerds. Skip."
M: "There be dragons here. I'm outta here."
J: You know, I think this is an East Coast / West Coast thing. The lanai. Because out here, a lanai is a place you park your car.
J: Like a covered place to park your car.
M: That's a carport but in Hawaii...
J: Maybe there, West Coast man, but East Coast people say it's got a lanai instead of a garage. What do UK people call garages? Do they have funny name for them?
C: They call them fannies.
J: The boot? In the boot? Jumper?
C: Biscuit. They call it a biscuit.
M: I think that's it. Yeah. There is a word for it.
J: Yeah, I don't know what it is. UK people, please. What do you call your garages? I don't know why I'm even asking human beings when the Google knows everything. And now I'm on a UK garage wikipedia page which is all about music. Hey cortex!
M: Did you see that people are using Google Wave to play Dungeons and Dragons? If you've played with Google Wave, it's this inscrutable, weird, realtime IM-ey...
J: It doesn't seem like fun. Is it fun?
M: No. I hate it. But I could see it as a platform for remote boardgames or something like that, that's actually interesting when you need three people sitting at the computer making moves or whatever. Anywho, this Magic The Gathering reminded me of that.
M: Should we go to Ask MeFi?
J: Sure! I think that Ask MeFi has lots and lots of wonderful stuff but I think we can all agree that the most compelling post of the last month was, "Help, my doorknob is stuck and I am trapped in my room."
M: It's true. I'm not going to argue with you.
J: It was drama in real life, just like Reader's Digest used to bring us regularly.
M: Ripped from the headlines!
J: And she got out of her room. There was some ensuing discussion in MetaTalk which I am now trying to find. You know, it would be kind of nice to have forward and backwards linking MetaTalk now that I think about it.
M: Especially for admins who podcast. Yes.
C: Oh yeah. 100 comments by CunningLinguist and it also ended up being in MetaTalk once she was ok.
Time 45:00 - 48:00
C: And I saw that going around other places, too. I think it got picked up on reddit.
J: And what was the secret? Jiggle the handle!
M: Really? Huh.
J: Well, it was one of those fucking doorknobs where you have to push in and turn, she just had to push it and turn it the right way. But it's not so much that, it's that she needed to know that pushing it and turning it the right way is what she needed to do. If that makes sense.
M: Did you remember my long ago story about being trapped in PeterMe's bathroom in 2000?
J: Yes! I loved that story.
M: It was like he had an ancient San Francisco apartment where nothing fits right. The bathroom door half-closes. And I was kind of like that's kind of gross, there's 50 people outside and they might approach a half-open door and pull it while I'm peeing or something.
J: Sure, no one likes that.
M: I was like, I bet you if you just lift this, it will go. It took some pushing and it did work, but there was no way it was coming back out. We ended up, someone went outside with a butter knife, fished it through the tiny window to me, and I dismantled the handle. I undid the flat-head screwdriver screws and we destroyed the handle and pulled it out.
J: Wait, so they gave you a butter knife because no one had a fucking screwdriver? Or was it like the window wasn't open enough?
M: I think a screwdriver's too big. Or I don't think Peter had one.
J: Oh, you need one of those flat keychains that looks like a key but it's a screwdriver at the end.
M: Yeah. So that's how I got out of it, and I never closed that door ever again.
J: And then he moved to Oakland. The End.
M: Always a happy ending.
C: I liked this question about a book that I remember...
J: Oh I loved this! I think I sidebarred this. See that's the thing: now that I do the sidebar more regularly, the sidebar is all my favorites. Who's got time to wait for podcasts? I loved this and I'm fairly certain this was on the sidebar.
C: Yeah, I think it was.
J: Why don't you describe it, I'm sorry. I notice that Matt twitters a lot of the stuff that I put on the sidebar.
M: Do I?
M: I think of twitter as a way to get a bigger audience. I don't think that we should twitter as a MetaFilter account that people should follow.
C: I think the informal version of that we have going on now works pretty well.
M: Yeah, I don't want to be a human, actively posting twitter as an organization.
J: Yeah, none of us do that, although Josh is good at letting people known when there's going to be downtime, and I'm good at letting people know the Awesome answers that I give people. Like the ibis. Who knew that people thought that cranes give themselves enemas? Why don't you go on?
Time 48:00 - end
cortex and jessamyn: [laugh] jessamyn: Sorry!
mathowie: I just know all my jaded A-lister blogger friends think Metafilter is so 1999, and they're so over it, so I try to point out the diamonds in the rough to them. That's why I do that.
jessamyn: Right. And that's what they like, right? They really like the Matt Haughey filtered version of Metafilter.
mathowie: Yeah, exactly.
jessamyn: Oh, here's the stork enema thing.
mathowie: Stork enema? Wow.
jessamyn: Don Quixote was talking about storks giving themselves enemas, and the person asked the question, "Why do we think that's true?", and apparently that used to be something people really thought was true. I know.
mathowie: Huh. I do remember a Choose Your Own Adventure book that felt impossible.
jessamyn: Well, there was one! That's what this thing is, that Josh was linking to.
mathowie: Yeah, maybe I had that one.
jessamyn: What was the answer, Josh, what did it...?
cortex: There was no--I mean, the whole conceit of it is,
- the book, it's a Choose Your Own Adventure story--
jessamyn: About a utopia, right?
cortex: Well, the story's about a UFO, and you get sucked up on the UFO, and then your adventure is how you resolve the fact that you are now on a UFO. Maybe you get back to Earth and maybe things go well, maybe things go terribly and you die in any of a number of ways.
jessamyn: As usual.
cortex: Yeah, per the normal Choose Your Own Adventure experience. But there's several references throughout the book to this utopian place.
- And in the book there's two pages in a row, it's like a two-page spread with an illustration and a description, of this utopian place. But there's no way actually following the page-turning order instructions in the book to get to that page. So it's in the book, but you can't get to it.
jessamyn: That's fucking great.
cortex: Yeah. It's...
jessamyn: It's very meta!
cortex: It's very meta. And it's more interesting because these were totally kids' books. It may not be any great conceit to pull off in
- serious literature if you're looking at the whole realm of experimental fiction and whatnot, but for a fuckin' kids' book that's basically a video game on paper, this was some pretty heavy shit. So it left a huge impression on me as a kid.
jessamyn: Right. Loved it. Loved it.
- Yeah. And it just made people happy in the thread, too. It was a great combination of geeky topic, real question, couple reminiscences, real answer, POW! Very good.
cortex: Any other Ask stuff?
jessamyn: I liked this one, which is a question by Sully, who--I can't keep straight Sully and sully75, like capital-S Sully and small-s sully75, and I won't say any more of that because we're recording, but he asked this great question about, well, you know how there's kind of the tradition that dudes are supposed to walk on the outside, closer to the road, when they walk down with the road with women, so they don't get splashed, or people don't dump
- chamber pots on their heads, and he was just wondering, is that true for which side of the bed that you sleep on? And it was kind of a survey question, but it was also just kind of interesting, because people were like, "I do this," "I do this!", "Well, I think this is better because of this!", "Well, this works for me because of whatever," and some of those things you don't really talk to your friends about, like, I don't think I know what side of the bed any of my friends sleep on.
jessamyn: And yet, it was interesting. But it's not a secret. It's just one of those things you just don't know.
- So it was interesting watching people talk about it and why they'd made the choices the choices they made.
mathowie: Aeeeh, I remember the first time... [jessamyn laughs] Sorry, I was yawning.
jessamyn: That was a scary noise, Matt.
mathowie: Yeah. I remember the first time I was setting up a single bed for my now-wife and I, twelve years ago or something when we moved in together, and I was like, "A gentleman is supposed to be by the door, just in case an intruder comes in."
- She always goes by, "Give me the window side, because I sleep hot." Which is what we've usually gone by. But I remember thinking to myself, there's probably some gentleman thing I'm supposed to sleep by the door.
cortex: That never occurred to me.
jessamyn: Well, I think that's what Sully was basically asking, you know?
jessamyn: And a lot of people do have, like, the dude sleeps by the door. I always sleep by the door, because I'm always getting up in the middle of the night to pee or I get up early. Now I sleep on the s--but then when I get up in the morning, I move to the other
- side of the bed, because I bring my laptop with me and that's where the night table is to put my coffee on.
jessamyn: Yeah. I mean, this is when I have company, that is.
cortex: I just sleep on my side of the bed. I can't remember any sort of decision-making process. I think we just figured out which side of the bed each of us slept on, and we're pretty consistent about that.
jessamyn: But when you guys travel, do you keep the same sides, or do you orient to something else in the room?
cortex: Well, we don't really travel very much, so I can't really speak to it. [jessamyn laughs] Because we just haven't done that much to
- really pay attention to a system.
jessamyn: Yeah, you had your old apartment and your new house.
cortex: Yeah. I mean it makes sense that we stick our own sides in part just because Angela wears glasses when she goes to bed, because she wears contacts during the day, and so her glasses need to be where they are because she's blind as a bat without them. Whereas I don't, so that's one of those things that pretty makes it that's gonna be her side of the bed just so she knows what to grapple for in the middle of the night.
jessamyn: Wherever the table is.
mathowie: Your eyes are perfect.
cortex: And I wonder if that's a compelling thing for people. Because some people mentioned switching, which strikes me--
jessamyn: No, Josh wears glasses!
cortex: I wear glasses, but I don't need them very much. My distance vision is a little bit blurry.
jessamyn: He just wears them like a hipster.
cortex: Yeah, yeah. It makes me look cool.
mathowie: I always think nerds lose cred points if they have perfect vision.
jessamyn: I have perfect vision!
mathowie: You do?!
jessamyn: Yeah! And I'm middle-aged. It's awesome.
mathowie: That's so weird! You're such an outlier.
jessamyn: I know, I know.
cortex: Maybe you have two different severe optical problems but they balance each other out perfectly.
jessamyn: That's sort of what I think. I think staring at a screen that's
- like nine inches away from my face basically all the time overcorrects for whatever my other problem is.
jessamyn: And so I'm perfect. Perfect forever.
mathowie: It hasn't gotten worse from all the computer use? Like, Paul has perfect vision.
jessamyn: And all the book reading that I do.
mathowie: Yeah. Paul has perfect vision, it drives me nuts, that just a nerdball can have perfect vision.
cortex: We should beat him up.
mathowie: Yeah, I should take his lunch money. Teach him a lesson.
cortex and jessamyn: [laugh] jessamyn: You actually probably could take his lunch money. [laughs]
mathowie: I love the, "Were black-and-white
- movie sets painted black and white?" because it just sounds like the question I would have asked as a child or something.
jessamyn: No, that was a great question!
mathowie: But it was awesome, yeah.
jessamyn: And what's the answer?
mathowie: No, they weren't, because there's reasons for it, the way it looks on film, it had to be.
jessamyn: But they were painted specially with black-and-white film in mind.
cortex: Yeah, they weren't necessarily painted the way they'd be painted if they weren't being used as sets for black-and-white film, because they were going for a specific effect.
cortex: Even if they weren't literally using just grayscale paints.
jessamyn: It's like the way they would use chocolate syrup as blood because it didn't matter if it was brown in black-and-white movies.
cortex: Yeah. It had the right look. It didn't need to look like blood not on camera.
cortex: Well, the one other thing I wanted to point out real quick, and I know we're getting close to time here--
mathowie: Oh, wow, yeah.
jessamyn: And then I have to upload the file, so yup.
cortex: But lewistate's survey thing that he's doing for his.
jessamyn: It's actually Lewis Tate.
mathowie: Lewis Tate.
jessamyn: Like, I thought it was Lewis State, you know?
jessamyn: Like Lewis State University? But it's actually a dude's name. I asked him to pronounce it when I met him.
cortex: Good call. Anyway.
jessamyn: Sorry, go on.
mathowie: He mentions college so much in the post, I assumed.
mathowie: I was prompted!
jessamyn: Yes! Go on, Josh.
cortex: I'm excited to see what happens with it. And that thread has also turned into an alphabet thread at this point, which is kind of funny, since it's kind of a thread--
jessamyn: "Names for all your orifices," is where it's going.
cortex: [laughs] And this is what his dissertation committee or whatever is seeing.
jessamyn: It's got 440 comments.
mathowie: Oh my God, there it is, yeah. Wow.
cortex: It took me a while to remember that that's what thread that was, too. It just kept showing in Recent Activity and I didn't pay attention, and I was like, "Oh, it's an alphabet thread, okay, joining in," and I was like, "Oh wait, this is his thread about his PhD research."
mathowie: I'm personally happy--
jessamyn: And it's totally great! Oh, sorry, go on.
mathowie: I'm happy it's gotten so long just because it downplays the few...
cortex: The weirdness in the middle, yeah.
mathowie: Augh. Yeah, weird protests that started. Like, I thought--
jessamyn: Oh, God, that was really strange. I don't think that user has come back? Since that point?
mathowie: I told this researcher person, "Be braced for someone's not going to like this. It seems innocuous, but someone somewhere's not going to like it, and brace yourself."
cortex: Yeah, but you end up expecting a little bit of criticism.
cortex: Like, "I'm not sure I agree with the directions."
jessamyn: Not like, "You should be fucked in the ass
- whether you want it or not."
cortex: Yeah, yeah.
jessamyn: Which for some reason is the Metafilter response to people they don't like. I had to tell people to stop telling Joe Lieberman he should get fucked in the ass. It's so tiring.
mathowie: Jesus Christ.
jessamyn: I don't understand!
mathowie: Kiss your grandmothers with that mouth, Metafilter users?
jessamyn: [laugh] But yeah. I told lewistate I would buy him a drink when I saw him in Iowa, but then it turned out I didn't have to because Homeskillet Freshy Fresh bought our pizza for us.
cortex and mathowie: [laugh] jessamyn: I know!
mathowie: That's just a beautiful sentence.
jessamyn: We went to a hipster pizza joint called
- Fong's Pizza, which is a pizza place in an old Chinese restaurant.
mathowie: Oh, interesting.
jessamyn: It was totally fun. Iowa meetup was so fun.
jessamyn: Yeah, it was.
mathowie: All right. I think we can call this a go.
jessamyn: Alright, dudes.
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- Minutes 15 to 18 - pronoiac
- Minutes 18 to 21 - pronoiac
- Minutes 21 to 24 - pronoiac
- Minutes 24 to 27 - pronoiac
- Minutes 27 to 30 - Crane Shot
- Minutes 30 to 33 - Crane Shot
- Minutes 33 to 36 - Crane Shot
- Minutes 36 to 39 - Crane Shot
- Minutes 39 to 42 - Crane Shot
- Minutes 42 to 45 - Smackfu
- Minutes 45 to 48 - Smackfu
- Minutes 48 to 61 - beryllium, 41 segments