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Podcast 49b Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 49b: "Snowplow Trains!" (2010-02-23).

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


jingle: (theme music)

mathowie: So, let's do Jobs and junk.

cortex: (laughs) An hour in.

jessamyn: I didn't look at Jobs this time.

mathowie: Let's skip Jobs.

jessamyn: But I have lists for everything else.

mathowie: Yes, let's skip Jobs.

cortex: I actually want to mention one Job thing, just because -

mathowie: Oh, the pickles? It's going to be the pickles.

cortex: The pickles?

jessamyn: I thought we already had a pickle job.

cortex: I don't think it's the pickles.

No, this is a thing that sleepy pete's doing.

jessamyn: It's sleepy pete's Job.

cortex: Yeah, he's working on a blog, or site, Circle Into Square Magazine, and just basically looking for people who want to do some volunteer writing and people who want to get involved with that sort of thing. Which, it's kind of a cool little site, so considering we had the occasional...

jessamyn: It's a really nice-looking blog, I think.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Yeah. Is he gonna-

cortex: And we have people talking about wanting to do writing stuff on Metafilter. There's never really been a good spot to do it on the site, but considering

there's people out there who seem to really want to have an outlet for writing, these sort of things always strike me as interesting.

mathowie: Yeah. Is he going to print it through that MagCloud service or something like that?

cortex: I don't know a whole lot about the details.

mathowie: Okay.

cortex: I just saw the job post, so. Plus there's a job post from woodblock100.

mathowie: Sweet. Yeah.

jessamyn: Oh, who I've been trying to encourage my friends to go take. Basically, he's got a website that he wants to trick out but at the same time make sure is backwards-compatible with all old stupid

versions of Internet Explorer, and he's willing to swap woodblock prints, which I can attest are awesome.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: For some people helping him with some of that stuff.

mathowie: Wow.

cortex: So yay, the one time we try and actually dismiss Jobs outright.

mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)

jessamyn: And, of course, there's the pickle job.

cortex: Yes.

jessamyn: Packing pickle jars. Pickle help.

mathowie: Yup. Pickle.

jessamyn: At

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: In Detroit. Dude, if you had a paying job in Detroit, you could live in a mansion! Houses are free in Detroit.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

jessamyn: They are!

mathowie: It's true.

jessamyn: Everybody just complains that there's no jobs.

mathowie: You could be loading pickle jars in your two-dollar mansion.

jessamyn: Right!

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: You could start a competing pickle factory.

mathowie: (chuckles) In your mansion.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: Alright, Projects? Everything that I saw in Projects that I enjoyed was somebody's personal project.

cortex: Tell us about some of them.

jessamyn: There are three of them. The David Gallagher Project-

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: -who is a guy named David Gallagher whose wife's birthday is coming up, and he wants other David Gallaghers in the world to send her birthday cards. So he's doing this kind of big campaign to find other David Gallaghers in the world to write postcards to his wife for her birthday? And he's done lots of creative birthday stuff for his wife historically as well.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: I posted something on Facebook and it turns out Ricardo knows a David Gallagher.

cortex: Excellent.

mathowie: Sweet!

jessamyn: I don't even think it's the same one.

cortex: Yeah, no, that whole project is such a fantastic, it's such a stupid little idea but making it happen is awesome.

jessamyn: Yes. It's awesome.

mathowie: What's-his-name, Dave... Dave... Dave... Gorman.

jessamyn: Gallagher? Oh.

mathowie: Gorman! Dave Gorman.

jessamyn: Dave what?

mathowie: Dave Gorman, a British slightly comedian kind of guy who writes books. He went around the world meeting every David Gorman he could find using Google.

cortex: (chuckles) Nice.

mathowie: He sort of circumnavigated the world going from David Gorman to Dave Gorman. It was great.

jessamyn: I got another e-mail for the other Jessamyn West this week. (pause) Not the dead one, the other live one, who's on the West Coast near you guys?

mathowie: Ohh.

cortex: Oh, I didn't know there was another live one who got e-mail.

jessamyn: There's another live one! She's a, I think a... yeah, didn't we talk about this? She's like a holistic horse massager or something like that.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Whaat?!

jessamyn: She's got a funny job!

mathowie: And you kinda, I mean, secretly kinda hope she's not going to get any more successful (laughing) at it on Google?

jessamyn: She's going to have a hard time attaining any Page Rank whatsoever, is what I'm concerned about.

mathowie: Well, what if she was really good? You just don't want any...

jessamyn: Or infamous. Infamous.

mathowie: There's a high school...

cortex: She could go on a killing spree.

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: Exactly.

mathowie: I think there's a high school football star named Matthew Haughey, exactly, and I'm like, I hope he doesn't go in the pros, I don't want to...

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: I don't want to be confused with him for life! I hope he peters out and goes to school.

jessamyn: That's right, I've seen his website.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Don't get more famous.

cortex: Who else can we wish ill on?

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: And then there's two other personal Projects, which is gomichild's photography site, which is awesome, and our friend Josh's music site.

cortex: Oh, hey, I was going to mention that one, too!

jessamyn: You were going to mention your own site?

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Well, I'm going to talk about my snowplow trains post, then, too.

cortex: Okay.

mathowie: Ooh, sweet!

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: But I'll do it later.

mathowie: Oh, I loved the photo site. It was very cool. I wanted to steal the crazy Flash thing, even though I don't like Flash.

jessamyn: Well, she's been taking amazing photographs on the Internet forever, and she finally put them together in a completely awesome website that everybody was just super thrilled about, so.

cortex: Yeah, her stuff is great. I mean, I think of I guess MetaChat and Photo Friday, which just came up the other day too.

jessamyn: Yeah, yeah.

cortex: And so yeah, it was kind of interesting seeing that all of a sudden land in one nice place.

jessamyn: Yeah, it was cool!

mathowie: Something about context when you put all your photos on a page that says 'photography'...

it suddenly looks real, you know?

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: And more serious. Josh, you should talk about how extensive your crazy thing was.

cortex: Yes! So the site--

jessamyn: And how busy you've been all week.

cortex: Yeah. Yeah, no, it's been a very musical going on a month now, actually. I had started, back in 2006 when I was still doing The Aural Times, I had decided at some point near the end of that project that I should really put together a music site for myself, because I'd never really done that. And then I stopped working on it for about three and a half years,

and then last month I decided I should really get back to that, I think partly because I was thinking about this whole album in a month thing that was coming up this month.
And so yeah, I got back to it and I basically took every MP3 I have of myself and chopped up a bunch of old band rehearsal recordings and live shows that I had with bands I've been in and I got everything tagged, spent two weeks organizing and dating and tagging MP3s and uploaded them all up to the site and created this WordPress site that's just got basically a dedicated page for
every song that I've written or recorded, and stuff organized into collections from this live show, or stuff that I recorded in 2006, and so on. And it's just a big old archive. And it's also, I'm trying to turn it into my blog that I can just use to update what I'm doing with music stuff and whatnot, because I felt like, I don't want to drown Metafilter Music by updating every goddamn thing I do. I don't really want to try and take over that site, and plus I want to have a little bit more
control over the long-term archival stuff than what we've designed just for general purpose for the whole music audience.

jessamyn: Sure.

cortex: So yeah, it's that. It's kind of a... it's weird, because after spending a couple weeks getting the whole thing built together, stopping and saying, okay, well, this is kind of done, and yay, I've built a giant monument to me and it's kind of a...

jessamyn: Heheheh.

cortex: ...(laughs) slightly weird feeling. But I'm really happy to have it. It solves a lot of archival problems that I'd never really solved before. So yeah.

It's really cool.

jessamyn: And it looks nice!

cortex: Yeah! I think so. I'm pretty... (laughs) pretty minimal design skills. But I think it works pretty well for now, so.

jessamyn: Well, and what's the... I think you're using the same template that I use on my blog.

cortex: Yeah, it's one of the standard WordPress themes. It's called Very Plain Text.

jessamyn: Very Plain Text.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: That's exactly what I use.

cortex: That's real stripped down, so it works kinda nice, because there's not a whole lot to futz with. Although the CSS, if you've poked into the style

.css file, it's such a weird, ugly, super-compressed file. Like, he put everything without any extra white space, so every declaration is like a label--

jessamyn: I had to go in and add a bunch of carriage returns, yeah.

mathowie: Aww.

cortex: Yeah, it's kind of a nightmare to get through. But it works, and it looks pretty nice.

jessamyn: It looks great!

mathowie: Did you mention how many music tracks, or hours of music, you have now?

cortex: There's...

mathowie: This is an iceberg, this site.

cortex: Yeah, well, it's everything I've written since I was 14, plus stuff that I've covered and stuff of work done with other people, so there's I think

285 distinct songs, and somewhere upwards of 400 recordings, because there's more than one recording of a bunch of the stuff. So yeah, it's a giant pile of music. I'm still working on ways to make it more navigable. I'll keep updating the site with more views into specific pieces of it so that people don't just have to stare at it and say, oh my god, where do I start?

mathowie: Oh, yeah, that's what Jonathan Coulton does. He has a monster music page with 200 tracks, but at the top it's like, listen to these four.

jessamyn: Heh.

cortex: Yeah, I kind of want to do that sort of thing, like saying, here's some quick context, you can spend 15 minutes listening to these three or four things instead of trying to figure out which of these several hundred to go at blindly.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: So. But I also liked, talking about something other than me, user 256 put together a seven-day roguelike, which is this wonderful sort of stunty programming challenge that happens on a yearly basis, I think, at this point.

where basically you try and program a roguelike game, which, if you don't know what that is, I probably shouldn't take the time to explain it, but it's an old-school sort of text-based graphic game--

jessamyn: Aughhhhhhhhhhh!

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: Can't we just insert the last time Josh explained this to us?

mathowie: I don't remember.

cortex: Anyway, things like NetHack are roguelikes, and if you don't know what that is, go look it up, because it's a giant time suck.

mathowie: I usually black out.

cortex: But anyway, he made one in seven days that's, it's a roguelike, but it's also an interactive fiction game. So it's a text adventure that's also a

cheapo NetHack clone, which is just an amazingly, amazingly bad idea, and that's pretty much what I said in the Projects thread is that, you know, it was a terrible idea, and I'm really, really happy that he did it. But yeah, that's totally awesome, so that bears taking a look at.

mathowie: Is this something I'd need a 20-sided die to understand?

cortex: No, no.

mathowie: Okay.

cortex: Because, see, the game uses a random number generator to handle the die rolls for you.

mathowie: (descending whistle) Sweeet.

I liked this, getting young women interested... oh, it's kind of like a Metafilter for
women, young women interested in science, technology, engineering, and math.

cortex: Oh, yeah!

mathowie: That's STEM.

jessamyn: Although there's a bunch of dudes on it too.

mathowie: Is there?

jessamyn: Did you notice that?

mathowie: Pshhh!

jessamyn: Yeah! There's a whole bunch of dudes. I mean, I guess you can't tell dudes not to use it, but I'm kind of curious about it now. I saw the original post and was like, 'Oh, that's cool!' and then I went clicking around the users and there's a whole bunch of dudes! So yeah. But I liked that Project. You can talk more about it if you want to, Matt, now that I'm through


mathowie: No, you know it's sort of self-explanatory and pretty cool. We should move on. Ask MeFi fav-or-ites.

cortex and mathowie: (chuckle)

cortex: Thank you, Michael Scott.

mathowie: (chuckles) Whaat? What were your favorites from Ask Metafilter?

jessamyn: Ask Metafilter has been great lately. Oh, this is the... you'll laugh.

Ask Metafilter has been great lately. I...

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: I think there's certain categories that everybody seems to like, and I've almost stopped talking about food categories, because people who like food are going to find these anyhow, and people who don't like food aren't gonna care. But jayder asked this really interesting question about, 'Is there really a difference between $100 men's dress shoes and $500 men's dress shoes?'

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: And if you go through and read what people have to say, they actually make the shoes completely differently. luckypozzo shows up and sort of explains the different ways they make them, and then mendl--not mendel, M-E-N-D-L, not M-E-N-D-E-L, comes in and puts a little bit more information on, yeah. And then, yeah, they link to Put This On, which has a really good longer discussion about the differences in footwear.

cortex: Nice.

mathowie: Yeah, I had no idea there was different cuts of leather and parts of the cow, I guess, that make up the leather.

jessamyn: Because I just assumed, like, eh, it's just brand stuff.

mathowie: Yeah!

jessamyn: Like the difference between expensive this and less-expensive that often is nothing. You know, $400 haircut and $100 haircut? They're the same damn haircut.

mathowie: (chuckles) Yeah, with shoes you'd think, fifty dollars, a hundred dollars, well, let me say, $40 shoes, $100 shoes, probably miles of difference.

But $100 and $400 shoes, probably no difference except for the product tag on the back. But, it turns out there's actual leather!

jessamyn: Yeah, leather differences.

mathowie: There's some guy in Portland who hand-makes shoes for something like $700 a pair, but truly, I mean, everything is absolutely cut out of the finest leather to your foot, and it takes like six months or something.

jessamyn: Bespoke.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Man, I grudgingly spend like 60 dollars on shoes every two years.

mathowie: Hahaha!

cortex: This is not a world that I see myself ever graduating into.

mathowie: I don't even know why I talk to you.

jessamyn: I spent thirty bucks on one pair of shoes this year and I thought I was gonna die.

mathowie: I am a VIP at Zappo's.

jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)

jessamyn: What does that get you?

mathowie: I don't know why.

jessamyn: Stickers?

mathowie: It gets me free overnight shipping on anything I ever purchase ever. For life.

jessamyn: How often do you even leave the house?

mathowie: Every day I try to see humans.

jessamyn: (chuckle) You live with humans.

mathowie: Shoes are just like... I don't know. It's just the one thing. I've always got like 30 pairs of shoes or so. I'm always tossing some out that I don't wear anymore. But it's just the easiest thing to change in your wardrobe that makes a gigantic change to how you feel and how you walk and et cetera. I don't know.

jessamyn: Hey, those thirty-dollar shoes I got changed my life! But still, I agonized.

mathowie: (laughs) I wish I could have two pairs of shoes! I just can't.

jessamyn: And rotate them. You have to make sure you rotate them.

mathowie: Yeah. Why do people [??]?

jessamyn: So, a couple of other 'tell me how to do things' is 'What do I need to know about the Kindle that's not in the manual?' where people swap some of their how to play Minesweeper on their Kindle and other stuff, which I would not have know.

mathowie: I didn't know.

jessamyn: Yeah. I don't know if I told you guys, but when I was in Florida, when I flew back from Florida, it's a big Air Force area,

and everybody on my plane coming out of Fort Walton Beach seemed to have Kindles.

mathowie: Huh.

jessamyn: I don't know if they're just standard military issue, or guys who travel a lot carry them, or whatever. But usually I see one or two older guys in the airport that have them, but everybody seemed to have them on this flight. It was very interesting.

mathowie: Hm.

jessamyn: So I enjoyed that, and I also enjoyed this 'Help motivate me to clean my house' post. I think that's what it was.

mathowie: Ohhh. That was great.

jessamyn: Like, 'I know I have to do chores. I don't like doing chores. I'll have a better time doing chores if I can motivate myself. What do I do?' And of course answer number one is "Smoke a joint, turn on the radios on to NPR,"--

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

jessamyn: But then people break out into slightly more creative answers, including my favorite one, which I actually accidentally deleted by mistake when I was trying to favorite it!

And then got a nice e-mail from Cold Lurkey, who said, 'Why did you delete my question?' And I said, 'Oh god, because I was trying to favorite it.' And she has a bird that sits on her shoulder and goes 'pew pew pew!', like he's helping her clean.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: With lasers.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: (descending whistle)

jessamyn: I know. I know. It's awesome. It's awesome.

mathowie: Where's that one about feeling trapped? This would be the second order of not cleaning your house. The person who didn't open an e-mail for three months, and doesn't open mail...

they were wondering what's that called, and how do they get out of that.

jessamyn: Oh, yeah! And everybody's like, 'It's called being me, because we're all like that!' Let me see, I saw that.

mathowie: Yeah, I was just reading... I mean, I've been reading so much anonymous stuff now it's all blurring, and now I'm having a problem... there it is! "Too afraid to look" is what it's titled. This was when I was like, I wish there was a name for this syndrome, it hits me once in a while, I have a pile of unopened tax documents I refuse to open and

I'm kicking myself every day. I haven't even given you guys your W-2s, Paul told me? That apparently is in the pile and you should get them Monday or something.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: I was actually gonna ask you about that. (laughing)

mathowie: I think Wells Fargo never sent them to me, so I requested them yesterday and they said they'd get here today or Monday, but yeah.

cortex: Nice.

mathowie: Because I can't do my taxes until I get that, either, so... but yeah, I hate this whole thing about how you avoid real life and then it comes to bite you in the ass and then you have no one to blame

but yourself.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Well, and I think the big shame comes from the fact that you feel like you're the only person who does this and everybody else is this totally high-functioning mail-opening e-mail-reading person.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: And every time in Ask Metafilter you get ten, fifteen, twenty people who are like, 'No, dude, I have the same problem.' Or better yet, 'I had the same problem, and this is what helped me open my mail.'

mathowie: Yeah, that's what I want to hear. But yeah, if you go online, fucking Lifehacker and Get Rich Slowly, everyone's so crazy and on top of it. 'I have a landing zone when I come in the door. I write checks that night so I don't have to worry about it.' And it's like what?! I've never been that kind of person. I wish... augh, it's hard.

jessamyn: See, I'm kind of that kind of person, except instead of being a Lifehacker person I just have a very slow and boring life, so mail is like, 'Woohoo! Something to do!'

mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)

jessamyn: And, you know, then I do it, and then I'm done.

But I think if I had a big, busy life, yeah, I would never open my mail. And then! I told you also that somebody used my credit card fraudulently on the Internet somehow to spend money on Mafia Wars, and the credit card company mailed me one.

mathowie: (descending whistle)

jessamyn: So, you know, I check my mail anyhow, but I had to be checking it every day because my credit card's supposed to come in the mail, and it just never showed up. Never showed up!

mathowie: Augh.

jessamyn: So now I'm worried that I threw it away by mistake.

cortex: D'oh.

mathowie: I hate it when that happens.

jessamyn: It was crazy!

mathowie: My parents have a hard time getting anything money-related mailed to them. I don't know if it's their postman skimming or people look in their postbox, but yeah. I've sent them several checks that never arrived. It's weird.

jessamyn: Sketchy! Sketchy!

mathowie: It's sketchy when it's just money, right? Like, when it's just your PIN code for your new credit card, or just your credit card never shows up. It's happened to me, my credit cards have never showed up.

I mean, someone in the chain probably notices this really obvious, there's a plastic thing in that envelope. Bummer. But yeah.
I loved this super-chatty, super-enjoyable, 'What are things that only happen in movies?'

jessamyn: Yeah, that was on my list too! I loved that one.

mathowie: It's good for a laugh. You think, oh, yeah, you can think of one or two, and then you read through it and you're just blown away by hundreds of things people talk about. The one that blew me away that

I've seen in every movie that I'd never thought about was the phone.

cortex: Yeah. (laughs)

mathowie: In movies, people just go, 'Hey, want to go on a date?' 'Yeah, we'll pick you up at 8.' 'Alright, bye.' Bang!

jessamyn: 'Pick me up on Friday.' Right.

mathowie: There's nothing about where we're going, where we're meeting... there's no details, ever, in a movie at all.

cortex: Yeah. Well, yeah, you don't want to eat up two minutes of screen time with the actual niceties of phone conversations.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: 'Well, but I don't eat fish, so can we go someplace that doesn't have peanuts on the menu, and...', right.

mathowie: 'Do they smoke there? It's gonna stink. I don't want to go there. Let's try another...'

jessamyn: 'There's never any parking...'

cortex: And even the slow, awkward wrap-up of a conversation, the way you sort of navigate your way to a mutual agreement to end the conversation and the goodbyes and whatnot.

jessamyn: 'So, uh... I guess I'll see you then?' Right.

cortex: Yeah. The necessity of the medium. There's things that have to give so you can actually write a script that moves along at a reasonable pace.

mathowie: Yeah. That was good.

cortex: Unless you're Larry David, in which case having a three-minute-long agonizing phone call trying to figure out where to eat lunch is the script, but that's kind of the exception.

jessamyn: I can't watch him. I can't watch him.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: I can't either. He's unwatchable.

jessamyn: He upsets me.

mathowie: He makes me punch into the TV.

cortex: That's why it's so good!

jessamyn: And then the last one I wanted to mention is, 'Did people wear vintage clothes back in the '20s? Were people wearing clothes from the turn of the century?'

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: (laughs) Dude! I never thought of that!

jessamyn: It was a neat question, and people had some really neat answers!

mathowie: I can't believe--(laugh)

jessamyn: Like some people did, but rich people were really the only people who experimented much with fashion, and clothes were more expensive. So you didn't really do it, and I don't know. I just really liked it.

mathowie: I just loved the idea of yelling at a 14-year-old in 1920, 'Why are you wearing those bloomers? It's not 1880!'

jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)

mathowie: 'God, I went to high school in 1880. Come on!'

cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)

mathowie: Yeah, I guess it's just, yeah, unless you were in the elite you didn't really have the opport--there's no such thing as Goodwill to go get old clothes from.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Right, right! You didn't have a lot of change of clotheses.

mathowie: Clothes just broke down and totally, you wore them until they wore out.

cortex: Should we move on to the Blue? Matt, you said you had to go in like twelve minutes.

mathowie: Sure!

cortex: Well, I liked a bunch of stuff on the Blue.

jessamyn: I did too. I did too.

cortex: So I'm just going to do capsule summaries to not take too long.

mathowie: Lightning round!

cortex: But one of the several things I liked, I liked the Chatroulette post.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Warning to anybody who doesn't read carefully first: you're probably going to see a lot of cock.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: So if you don't want to see the cocks of random strangers, don't go to Chatroulette.

jessamyn: Wait, what? Really?

cortex: Really, yeah.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah. I tried it for five seconds.

cortex: No, there's a lot of... a lot of it is cocks.

jessamyn: It's not just text?

cortex: No, no, no, see, it's webcams.

mathowie: No, it's a webcam.

cortex: Randomly connecting two different users, both of whom can in theory have webcams, and then you can chat if you feel like it.

jessamyn: Ohhh!

cortex: Or you can just say, 'Oh, that's a guy masturbating,' and move on to the next one. And you do that a lot.

mathowie: I clicked through, I was on it for ten seconds. Five people cycled through me, because they just go, 'Oh, no webcam,' click, 'No webcam,' click, so you get one second with those people with the webcam.

jessamyn: Because you didn't have your webcam turned on?

cortex: Yeah. They've gotta look at someone else to figure out--

mathowie: Yeah. I was on my desktop. I think there was two cocks out of five.

cortex: (chuckles) That was my rate, too.

jessamyn: What?!

cortex: Just go read the post. It's all there.

mathowie: It runs at 40% cock, I think.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: Aaaaah!

cortex: I also liked this post that was the Make Your Own David Campbell Poster. I don't know anything about UK politics, so it was kind of an abstract thing, but it was still people making funny posters with a template, which I always find pretty fucking hilarious. So that's pretty good, if you're looking for people making fun of David Campbell or random things just for the fun of it.

mathowie: I think it's funny overly serious subway posters, which every city tends to have. That's what the source of that was.

cortex: Yeah.

There was also a post that I actually managed to do horrible things to in trying to edit it to make it work because it had ASCII control characters or whatever.

jessamyn: Boy, you fucked that one up like good.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: I saw that. You edited that post five times.

cortex: Yeah. That was kind of rough. I feel bad about not doing a better job.

jessamyn: I think it looks great now, though.

cortex: Yeah, it works fine now.

mathowie: Yeah, it's beautiful.

cortex: But it started out with nice ASCII drawing characters. The only problem was that they didn't work in all browsers, so in some browsers they looked like complete shit. And I fixed it, but I fixed it wrong several times, so. But yeah, anyway, it's an interesting post about non-transitive dice,

which is really cool.

jessamyn: Why don't you explain that to us, Josh?

cortex: I don't have time to.

mathowie and jessamyn: (laugh)

cortex: But basically, it's a neat way to take the imbalanced circle of trials that you get with something like rock, scissors, paper, and sort of capture that in dice format. So it's very neat.

jessamyn: I hate when that happens.

cortex: Yeah. It's rough. It's rough when that--(laughs)

I also liked this post from 2008 that I only discovered--

jessamyn: What?!

cortex: --recently, because it's a post about the Shaggs, and I saw a video of the Shaggs doing My Pal Foot Foot on YouTube the other day, and I was like, 'Man, this is fucking amazing, I'm going to make the most awesome Metafilter post about it,' but then it turns out that not_on_display did.

jessamyn: Hey! He'll be happy that you enjoyed that.

cortex: Yep.

mathowie: Oh, yeah, there it is.

jessamyn: He just made a post about Charlie Nothing that was underwhelming that you would probably like.

Oh, yeah! That was a great post. On the Shaggs. I read about the Shaggs in the New Yorker. They became briefly popular.

cortex: Yeah, it was weird when I saw the YouTube video. I really couldn't decide whether or not it was a spoof.

jessamyn: That is my feeling about the Shaggs entirely.

cortex: But nope! Which is really kind of amazing.

jessamyn: Alright--

cortex: And also, one other--

jessamyn: What?

cortex: I'm telling you, there's just tons of stuff. I'm excited about Metafilter lately.

mathowie: Yeah.

But Die Antwoord, which is another example of me being, 'Oh my god, this is amazing, I gotta make a fucking post,' and then it turns out someone made it earlier this month. But yes, it's this weird persona Afrikaans South African duo or trio or whatever.

jessamyn: Ohhh! This was on BoingBoing. Yeah.

mathowie: Yeah, with the weird wife and the crazy old young guy and the weird DJ that lives with his grandmother. It's so awesome.

jessamyn: Yes.

Yeah, and Ninja is this guy who looks like Vanilla Ice died and came back as South African punk. But it's also probably totally a pose, because they had a previous band that looked completely different as well, but at the same time it's sort of compelling in its own weird way. So yeah, those were five things I liked in five minutes.

jessamyn: I have three things I liked. That wasn't five minutes.

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: I have chat transcript!

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: Mine are: Harry Truman's post-presidential road trip.

mathowie: Oh, that was awesome!

jessamyn: Where he went driving around the country with his wife after being the president, and this was before the president got any money, like, had a pension or anything, and so he was driving around with his wife with a whole bunch of boxes of shit in his car. Like, as the post-president--

mathowie: Making in today's terms like 3 grand a month, maybe, was your pension.

jessamyn: No, yeah, yeah, yeah. He took home 700 a month from his Army pension.

mathowie: Yeah. Maybe that's like 4-5 grand, like, it's an okay living.

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: No, I think it's like 700 bucks in adjusted terms.

mathowie: Oh, wait, in today's dollars!

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Holy shit, yeah. Wow. So he's RVing as an old president -

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: So it wasn't until 1958 when they actually had annual payments that went to former presidents, and basically the post says that Herbert Hoover, who was a millionaire, didn't actually need it, but he accepted it so that Truman wouldn't feel bad for basically being

a broke ex-President. And it's a completely awesome post.
Other post that I really enjoyed was the lonely whale post.

mathowie: Ohhh.

jessamyn: "For the past 21 years, across the limitless expanse of the North Pacific, a lonely whale has been singing, calling for a response. There has been none, and there never will."

mathowie: (chuckles softly)

jessamyn: Because it's a whale of unknown species, and there is no other matching whale.

mathowie: It doesn't sound like, yeah.

Oh, so sad.

cortex: It's so sad that I'm glad that the first comment specifically name-checked Star Trek, though.

jessamyn: Yes. And, last for me, just sort of a my age, my generation filthy light thief/not_on_display-style post--

cortex: (whistles high note, low note; high note, low note)

jessamyn: --was this one about 3-2-1 Contact from zarq, which was sort of an educational TV show in the early '80s? Children's Television Workshop aimed for slightly older kids?

mathowie: "It's the answer!"

jessamyn: Yep!

mathowie: I loved that show.

jessamyn: And so it's just lots and lots and lots of YouTube and additional videos, and lots of reminiscences of people who watched the show, and I just thought it was great.

cortex: Speaking of awesome shit and filthy light thief, also there was the drum and bass post filthy light thief made.

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

cortex: Which was amazing, and I've only barely started cracking into.

jessamyn: God, everything he touches is amazing. Why is that?

mathowie: Yeah, this is like... a month was probably burned into this post.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Good God. It was on Twitter, if you do a search for Metafilter on Twitter...

cortex: Oh, yeah, that's how I noticed it. I didn't even see it on the site originally.

jessamyn: That everyone was like oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Yeah, everyone was like, 'I love drum and bass, oh my god, it's the entire history of it ever.'

cortex: Well, and some of the tweets that came across, this post is like ten fucking paragraphs long. I don't know how many links there are. It's exhaustive. And then some of the tweets I saw were like, 'And it's not perfect, but this is a decent round-up of drum and bass.'

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: I'm like, 'Fuck you, buddy! Fuck you in the ear. Jesus.'

jessamyn: That's like little man Internet syndrome.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Or, you know, maybe it's...

jessamyn: In fact, we can see just how many links it has. It has...

cortex: It could be someone who's not so much an Internet dork as a drum and bass dork, and so it was imperfect the way that any non-infinite roundup would be imperfect from a true bass aficionado's perspective or something like that, who knows.

jessamyn: Right. But I think for the 196 links it did have...

mathowie: 296. Jesus.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: It was probably okay. Well, and I would just like to mention my post, since we're all talking about our own posts. (excitedly) I did a post about the trains! And about rotary snow-blowing trains that

clear snow off the tracks, and I had a very good time with it because Snowpocalypse is happening in the southern U.S. And that's it.

cortex: That is neat. I did not know about that.

jessamyn: No, I didn't either!

mathowie: Although it's obvious what exactly are they plowing except just for other trains? You think of plowing as helping people out.

jessamyn: People ride trains, Matt.

mathowie: I know, but you think of it as being around homes, and they're far away from those.

jessamyn: What?

mathowie: But it makes for awesome YouTube videos.

jessamyn: The funny thing about the Snowpocalypse is one of the reasons it's so snowpocalyptic is because there aren't enough plows to clear the roads? Like, we get snow up here and it's just part of the drill that you have to pay a shit-ton of money to keep these plows around so that the rare times when it does snow, everybody can get on the roads immediately.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: (mutters) Contact.

Let me blow through mine super fast.

cortex: (chuckles) That's what she said.

mathowie: (dismissive noise)

jessamyn: Shut up! I want another girl mod.

cortex: (laughing) I just watched all five seasons of The Office in the last month, and I'm kind of overdosed.

mathowie: Oh, Jesus. So, let me go through these super fast. Acoustic guitar solos, a Brazilian guitarist who just does covers and all these lovely YouTube videos and they're all instrumentals, all songs you've heard, they all sound great. It's hypnotizing, it's great background music to just run them in a tab on YouTube.

jessamyn: Lovely.


mathowie: Hatch Posters, Hatch Show Print, from I think Memphis? Nashville. These rock posters hand silk screen printed still to this day since 1879, it's like this wood-cut, crazy... it's a very distinctive style you've seen in rock show posters.

jessamyn: Wow! This photo tour is amazing.

mathowie: There's whole books of this... yeah, there's whole books of their work that have been around for eons, and it was just awesome to see a post about it. They do cool multilayered, here's a crazy bunch of posters to look at. But just, that was an awesome post. Awesome thing about a thing I knew kind of about, and it was fun to see it on Metafilter.

jessamyn: That's cool! ocherdraco [ˈoʊkɛɹˌdɹɛɪkoʊ], ocherdraco [ˈoʊt͡ʃɛɹˌdɹɛɪkoʊ]? ocher [ˈoʊkɛɹ]?--I don't know.

mathowie: (chuckles) I've been threatening to make inappropriate Playmobil blog for the last year or so, since I've got a child into Playmobil, and I've seen--

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Like, there's a Playmobil hazmat set, and there's an airline scanner set! And there's always something disturbing and funny, like, I think the designers in Denmark who come up with them always put a little bit of humor in it for adults, like there'll be cow poop with the cow set, stuff... it's just, there's a lot of inappropriate

Playmobil sets, and this is a cool round-up of them, even though--

jessamyn: Policeman and hobo.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah, the cop and the drunken transient really kinda--

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: That cuts to the chase right there. That's not someone not quite thinking an idea through, that's someone green-lighting that shit. Totally self-aware.

jessamyn: And the cop's got one of those pointy things on the top of his cop helmet.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Which I haven't seen since Nazi Germany.

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: Seriously! They don't wear those!

mathowie: No.

Filed under history shit I did not know existed was a U.S./Australia battle? I had no idea that U.S./Australian relations weren't that great during World War II, since I thought they were pals. But there was a Battle of Brisbon, and I had no idea this existed. There's so much World War II stuff I just don't know existed shows up on Metafilter once every two months.

jessamyn: That's great! An Effigy2000 post.

mathowie: Yeah! And he's over there, so he knows.

I loved this, lastly, the Paul Rudd and Jason Segel's seemingly high as a kite goofing around during the interview. I only love it, it's pretty fun, wacky, eight minutes of celebrities goofing around and improv-ing. It is great because--where is it? They start singing Les Mis, someone mentions... where the hell's the Les Mis? Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel do the confrontation scene out of Les Mis, and it's the best thing

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: And NPH knows his way around a musical, and it's fucking fantastic. Here it is. It's pro quality, it's good stuff.

That's it! That's all.

cortex: I thought there were a few interesting things in MetaTalk that I'll just throw in as a really quick thing. There was the post about Aardvark and how it would compare to Ask Metafilter in terms of

some of the community engagement stuff.

mathowie: Did anyone ever run numbers? Did anyone--?

cortex: I'm not sure that they did.

jessamyn: Since that was posted, Google bought them.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Google bought them for 50 million dollars, apparently?

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Crazy.

cortex: They may have the money, but we've got the heart.

mathowie: (laughs) Well, I mean, they're Internet-scale. I'm surprised [??]--

cortex: Well, yeah, and they're trying to do an engine-type thing, you know.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Which is part of it. I mean, they probably got exactly what they were aiming for there, so.

mathowie: Right. If Google bought us, they'd go like, 'Can we have 200 Jessamyns?'

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: No! Noo!

mathowie: 'And possibly scale it up to 2,000 Jessamyns?' Like, no, it's not possible.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Jessamyn doesn't scale!

mathowie: Right. Nothing scales here.

jessamyn: No.

cortex: There was the request a few days ago if we could have related posts on the Blue like we've had on the Green for a while, and we talked about it and pb made it happen.

mathowie: Success!

cortex: And so now at the bottom of every post on the Blue there is a Related Posts box that has some things that may or may not be particularly related to the post you're currently reading! So that's awesome. In case you were having trouble wasting enough time on Metafilter.

jessamyn: Yeah, and that was pretty amazing. That was one day!

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: One day between question and implementation.

cortex: Well, it was nice that we could basically adapt what we had. I think the biggest delay there was I was too busy recording demos to actually do the little bit of work that I told Paul I would do (laughing), so.

jessamyn: Euhhhhh!

cortex: Otherwise it might have been the same evening.

mathowie: Why were you--were you recording demos because this is album of the month thing?

cortex: Yeah, yeah. February's album of the month.

mathowie: But you did them in one week, the entire album?

cortex: Most of them.

jessamyn: Euhhhh!

cortex: I've got ten songs down, I'm still working on some of the details, but.

mathowie: I was just curious.

cortex: Yeah. It's going really well, but we'll talk about that next time once I've actually got the album done, I suppose.

And other people on the site are doing it.

jessamyn: Next time we should do a podcast from South by Southwest!

mathowie: Yeah, totally!

jessamyn: We'll be in the same room together.

cortex: Ohhh. Maybe so.

mathowie: Or we could just record while we're out at the... we need to do a meetup, and then we can, yeah.

cortex: Well, I can bring my little field recorder along.

mathowie: Or you can just use an iPhone or something. (chuckles)

cortex: Ehh. Field recorder's--

jessamyn: Do you have an iPhone, Josh?

cortex: I don't, no.

jessamyn: I don't have an iPhone either.

mathowie: I know. I need to supply one.

jessamyn: Requisition one from corporate.

cortex: You know, at this point, I kind of want to just get an iPad instead.

You know, give me the iPad and I'll keep my stupid little cellphone and I'll use that for phone calls and the iPad for everything else, you know.

mathowie: Ooh.

jessamyn: I want to see you make a phone call with the iPad.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: It'll be like that you eating the giant donut picture.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: Pretty sweet. Do it with Skype or whatever.

mathowie: Yeah, you could do it with Skype. What is "hamburger. hamburger! hamburger."?

cortex: This was just a discussion that I thought was kind of fun.

jessamyn: Aughhhhh!

cortex: Because it's classic navelgazing, but the hamburger meme as a sarcastic way to express sarcasm that came out of a suggestion a while back, and then someone was confused about

what's going on with it these days, and people sort of talked about it, and so I think it's just sort of interesting life cycle of a meme and the way it sort of turns back in on itself, so for anybody who missed that and is fascinated by that shit like I am, it's kind of a fun thread.
And also, we didn't talk about this, and I don't know if we really have time to because of Matt needing to go, but the post about Jessamyn guest blogging over at Boing Boing the other week, so.

jessamyn: Euh.

mathowie: They misspelled Cory.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Euh.

mathowie: Sorry.

jessamyn: Euh!

mathowie: So what was that like?

jessamyn: What?

mathowie: Jessamyn? What was that like, to do...?

jessamyn: It was totally hectic! I made 28, 29 posts in a week?!

mathowie: Jesus!

cortex: That's ridiculous!

mathowie: Was that them pressuring you?

jessamyn: Most of them were really good. No, no! It's just me and my own internal pressure.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Though they post a lot! And Cory posts a couple times a day, Mark posts a couple times a day, Xeni was I think gone for part of it, but she posted a fair amount, and I just kept finding things that were really interesting!

And unlike a lot of the people on Boing Boing, I was finding things that were really interesting from books I was reading, or something else, so there wasn't a lot of overlap, there wasn't like, I saw something and was like, 'Oh, I gotta post this on Boing Boing before someone else does!' Although there was that lost Easter egg that was kind of cool that I found out on Twitter that was popular on Boing Boing. But no! It's just really fun knowing that you can put something together and have this kind of massive audience, on the one hand, but on the other hand they're kind of strangers, you know?

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like posting stuff to Metafilter, I kind of already know how stuff's gonna go, whether it's good or bad or whatever. But it was kind of interesting just to see what the Boing Boing crowd thought of it.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: And of course, I've said it before in MetaTalk, there's moderators on Boing Boing, but they don't really post, and then the posters on Boing Boing don't really comment that much? So it's got a completely different vibe than Metafilter, which I also found interesting.

cortex: Yeah, looking through... like, I was sort of following the various things you posted, and there's so much less engagement there with

something that struck me the most as, like, you know, some of the posts would get several comments, and some of them would get a couple, and people would talk about it a little bit, and I'm sure some of it's just culture shock from not knowing the crowd as well.

jessamyn: Sure.

cortex: But it just seemed like in general it was kinda, it was a desert compared to what I usually expect to see from a Metafilter post in terms of comment volume and engagement between people.

jessamyn: Yeah! I mean, the blog's really for something very, very different.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: And I really enjoyed myself, I had a good time, their back end is even a little clunkier than ours is, because it's a

kludge of Movable Type kind of purposed to do exactly what Boing Boing does, so I had a disemvowel button that I could have used.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: But I could never figure out how to make a black box around images, even though they told me how to do things, like it wasn't really... it didn't really work and whatnot. And I could never get over my Metafilter upbringing, which is, you don't post about your own shit! So I made one post that was like, hey, I grow these moss terrariums, they're awesome!

Which was popular, and people really liked it, and it got featured. But I felt really awkward about that.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: And so other stuff that I was kind of involved with, I was less likely to write a post about, even though I think for the people in Boing Boing, that's totally, you know, Cory's posting picture of his own kid at the blahblah event in the U.K., and I couldn't get over that in enough time. Plus, I was traveling and I was in Florida, so I wrote a bunch of posts ahead of time and kind of queued them to go live when I was on the plane or asleep or something.

Generally speaking, it was super fun. I'd do it again. I put a bunch of images up that I only sort of dubiously had claim to be able to re-use, and I worried about it. But people, it seemed well-received, and I had a good time.

mathowie: Yeah, I guest blogged at Lifehacker two or three times. It's fucking psycho. Like, twelve posts a day! Like, basically one an hour, you've gotta come up with something. I found it very stressful.

jessamyn: Yeah!

mathowie: Because it had to be like webwebwebwebweb stuff! So I'm reading five hundred feeds and Twitter and blaaaah! I gotta find something. It was stressful.

jessamyn: Yeah! I mean--

cortex: I've made like 12 Metafilter posts ever.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Boing Boing was basically just like, 'Post about what interests you.' And they were totally hands-off. Like, I could e-mail the editor, Rob, and ask him some questions, but generally speaking, it was like, 'Do whatever the hell you want! Who cares?'

mathowie: They have an editor? They have an editor.

jessamyn: They've got a managing editor, Rob Beschizza [ˌbɪˈskɪzə]? Beschizza [ˌbɪˈskizə]? Beschizza [ˌbɪˈskiːzə]?

mathowie: What does he do, like, edit for copy? Content?

jessamyn: He's kind of like a metamod, sort of.

mathowie: Weird.

jessamyn: Like, he manages me! Was as near as I could tell his job.

mathowie: Huh.

jessamyn: And he moves shit around on the site? So stuff goes up into the featured blocks and down the side.

mathowie: Oh, right.

jessamyn: And I get the feeling some of that has to happen by hand? I think he responds to e-mail, I think he... I'm not totally sure! But he's kind of like the guy who staffs the office, is my understanding.

mathowie: Yeah.


jessamyn: But I'm not totally sure. He's on Metafilter. He popped into the Boing Boing thread.

mathowie: Oh, cool.

jessamyn: Yeah! It was kind of cool. But yeah. We should go.

mathowie: Alright.

jessamyn: Matt, you gotta get to whatever you're going to get to.

mathowie: Yep. It's been fun, and I guess send me some Music links if you have any favorites [??].

jessamyn: The librarian song at the beginning, that's my choice.

mathowie: Yeah.

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  • beryllium, 112 segments
  • Pronoiac, 1