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Podcast 65 Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 65: Unreliable Wet Ware Factor.

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


jingle: (not the usual theme, but Fela Beat by Hoopo)

mathowie: Episode 65 of the Metafilter Podcast is a go! It's just me & Jessamyn today, like the old days.

mathowie: We haven't done a podcast since July. I was in Australia last time.

jessamyn: Yeah, and I was somewhere without a headset.

I was in Massachusetts, and I tried to get a headset, and my headset that I bought was broken and all this stuff. So Josh and Jeremy did it themselves. I thought it worked out well.

mathowie: I was just in Las Vegas, and I couldn't find a Mini-USB jack anywhere - in airport electronic stores...

I still think the future is -
what's the old William Gibson, "The future is here -- it's just poorly distributed."

jessamyn: Not evenly distributed.

mathowie: Yeah. They can't find a fucking USB card reader outside of a RadioShack or a Best Buy.

jessamyn: Well, that's one of those things, right? Because the Internet can deliver one to your door for 17 cents, there are... no need to be able to buy them in person.

mathowie: But every airport is like, headphones, headphones, headphones, Bluetooth stuff, wired headphones, chargers, batteries.

jessamyn: But you can't keep a mark-up on it to pay your airport rent.

mathowie: Eh, there's all this--

jessamyn: Ehhhhhh! [laughs]

mathowie: Well, there's all this phone-related crap for sale, but I was like, everyone's got a digital camera nowadays, just sell some cables or card readers!

jessamyn: Don't you have your laptop?

mathowie: I had no way to connect my phone to my laptop, so.

jessamyn: Your phoneee.

mathowie: I mean, not my phone, my camera to my laptop.

jessamyn: Your cameraaa.

mathowie: I forgot my cardreader.

jessamyn: But doesn't your laptop have a slot? Mine does.

mathowie: No, the eleven-inch doesn't.

jessamyn: Ohoho!

mathowie: Also I have Cold--not ColdFusion [jessamyn laughs], I have CF, the other CF, Compact Flash on my Canon, so.

jessamyn: Sorry, hot-shot telecommuter. You know, I carry this little walker bag around with me that has every single fricking dongle and accessory that I need, and it does add like two pounds to my travel weight, but....

mathowie: I was doing a really weird 36-hour trip with no luggage, so my backpack was basically all camera gear, and I took everything out of my bag including all the cardreaders, everything, even gum

was out [jessamyn laughs], I had to rebuild from scratch. So I basically had a camera bag with me, and I was missing a few key objects.

jessamyn: Rrar!

mathowie: Life is so hard.

jessamyn: I know.

mathowie: [makes musical noises]

jessamyn: So yeah, I don't think we've talked since July 13th.

mathowie: Yep.

jessamyn: Josh and Jeremy talked on August 13th-ish, and now here it is September 16th. We're actually doing pretty good with staying on top of these.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah, I guess we should have done this, I was thinking a week or two we should probably done this at the start of September.

jessamyn: Aaah, no, I was [slightly sing-song] busy! It's Labor Day.

mathowie: But then Dom's always here, and it was hard

to tell him to shut up.

jessamyn: It's my birthday.

mathowie: Yes! How old did you become?

jessamyn: 43!

mathowie: Wow! Awesome!

jessamyn: I know!

mathowie: I guess you already knew the answer to everything and the secret to all.

jessamyn: The life and the universe? [ed. note: 42 is a Douglas Adams reference.] Yeah, pretty good. 43 is actually my McNugget birthday?

mathowie: (stifled laughter)

jessamyn: There was - hold on a second. There's this thing called a McNugget number. It's a positive integer that you can obtain by adding together numbers -

jessamyn: - of orders of McNuggets? They originally came in boxes of 6, 9, & 20, so all numbers are McNugget numbers, except 1, 2, 3, whatever - here's the link from Wolfram Alpha.

mathowie: Can I say that Josh is not here today, but he is here today?

jessamyn: He is here in spirit!

mathowie: Well, he would say something about a McNugget number.

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: So what, I don't, what? I don't see 43 on this list of -

- possible numbers of n.

jessamyn: All integers - it's the highest non-McNugget integer. Sorry, I had that backwards.

mathowie: Oh, okay. Oooh.

jessamyn: It is actually what you - I don't know.

mathowie: It's a - froh-be-nin-ee-us number? What is that? Frobenius?

jessamyn: Frobenius!

mathowie: Yes, that's - you have obtained full Frobenius.

jessamyn: The largest value b for which the Frobenius equation has no solution. It's very exciting.

mathowie: There it is - 43!

jessamyn: Yup!

mathowie: Frobenius.

jessamyn: So Jim made me a card for my birthday that had all these facts about 43, and we all enjoyed them at the table, because we are nerds.

mathowie: Oh, man!

jessamyn: This is, of course - I didn't tell you this story - this was of course right before my friends brought out cupcakes. It was a weird hipster birthday. I had cupcakes, I got a ukelele -

mathowie: (laughs) You have a tattoo of horn-rimmed glasses as well?

jessamyn: (laughs) I know, I know!

mathowie: "And somehow I have a mustache! I don't know how that happened."

jessamyn: We didn't have any candles, and so they put sparklers on the cupcakes -

mathowie: Uh huh.

jessamyn: - which is great except -

mathowie: It's dangerous?

jessamyn: - it made the smoke alarm go off -

mathowie: Oooh.

jessamyn: - which is not a crazy thing, except if you're at my father's former house, you have one of those wired-in things -

mathowie: Oooh. The police show up?

jessamyn: - so all the sudden, there's this disembodied voice from nowhere - (mathowie gasps) - screaming, "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!" in the house -

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: - and I've never heard it before, and I didn't know what happened, and then the phone rings -

mathowie: Oh shit! The security company?

jessamyn: It is the security company being, "is everything okay?"

jessamyn: No, actually, they're like "What's the password?" I'm like, "What are you talking about, 'what's the password?'" And I didn't know the password, and so -

mathowie: Yeah, they buried it with him. Wow!

jessamyn: So there's a birthday picture of me, with the sparkling cupcakes, on the phone with the security company.

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: And everybody of course laughed like hell, because it all worked out fine. The fire department didn't show up.

mathowie: You've got to paste that in the notes. That's a good one.

jessamyn: Yeah, I know, and I still haven't figured out -

mathowie: Sparklers seem dangerous indoors. I could see them smoking like crazy.

jessamyn: Well, that's the thing. They smoke like crazy, and they started in the kitchen, and so... but who knew? I didn't know the house had a disembodied voice that yelled, "Fire, fire, fire!", and now I do, and-

mathowie: The eyes are always watching.

jessamyn: I know. And now I need to learn to play the ukelele.

mathowie: Sweet. It's only, what, four strings, right? Can't be hard.

jessamyn: You'd be surprised-

mathowie: I know.

jessamyn: I'm pretty inept. But I'm doing the best that I can.

mathowie: It's much harder. I just got that three-string guitar for Fiona, it's pretty cool.

jessamyn: Three-string guitar.

mathowie: Yeah, the lute, it was a Kickstarter project.

The guy made a guitar sized for kids with only three strings, because that's what kids can handle and figure out, so. It works out pretty good.

jessamyn: Mmm. Well, when Fiona gets a little older I'll trade her my ukelele, because I'll probably need some help.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: Yes!

mathowie: All right! What should we do? Other stuff?

jessamyn: I don't really know. Since Josh isn't here, we don't have Josh with the music report.

mathowie: Yeah. [sings] Doo-doo-doodle-loodle-doodle-loodle-loot-doot-doot!

jessamyn: But you might want to talk about the

Project that I heard you tweeting all over the place, that was evocative of Josh?

mathowie: Which was... oh, the Josh Signal?

jessamyn: Yes.

mathowie: Oh, Roguelike Radio, a weekly podcast specifically about roguelike games. I mean, this is probably produced from Josh's desk and he doesn't know it, it just happens while he sleeps.

jessamyn: I think it may point out the fact that roguelikes are actually possibly more popular than maybe--

mathowie: No! Don't encourage him.

jessamyn: --we give Josh credit for? Nope? [laughs]

mathowie: Nah, don't encourage him. I'm trying to think... there's been a billion cool projects. There's some that I liked I just tweet because they're so awesome and then of course they end up--oh yeah, the Monsters of Grok, that was like the biggest thing ever.

jessamyn: I looked at Monsters of Grok, and I think I talked to you guys about this, that I saw it making the rounds and was like, "Ohhh, this is just clickbait," like, you know how these infographics we talked about, how the infographics

turn into just these ridiculous clickbait things.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah.

jessamyn: "Ohh, this is totally clickbait, err," and then I'm looking at it and I'm like--

mathowie: It's a t-shirt.

jessamyn: "Actually, it's incredibly funny."

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, i's much more astute than any other clickbait. Who are these clickbait people, they're really good at this. And then it turned out to be our own Jezztek, who always makes terrific t-shirts.

mathowie: Oh! Yeah, I did see that it shows up as, what's BuzzFeed and every wannabe BuzzFeed version, where they

just take things from other people in order to show them off, you know? So I saw these images on things like BuzzFeed, which are just clickbait. He's added new ones! There's some I didn't see two weeks ago.

jessamyn: Hey, cool! And here was one more little blog Project that--I always sort of like it when people are like, "Hey! I'm trying to do this self-improvement project! And part of what I'm going to do is blog along with what I'm doing! And here you go!"

And so there's this really basic, "I'm not going to buy clothing! I'm going to be creative with my wardrobe. Here's my outfits and inspiration. This is my thing," by two lights above the sea, who I think we've talked about in some other way. I get confused with two [or three] cars parked under the stars, two lights above the sea...

mathowie: [chuckles] twoleftfeet? I think there's a twoleftfeet.

jessamyn: [chuckles] twoleftfeet, yes. But that was another--

mathowie: This is the same person? No, this isn't the same person.

jessamyn: The same person as what?

mathowie: In all the blogs. Oh, she has other guests. I was like: sometimes her hair is blonde, and brown. She has a good aesthetic, that works with thrift store clothes.

jessamyn: Well, exactly! I mean, I think a bunch of people do, if they put it together right.

mathowie: But, she's attractive and not too old, 25-ish, so she could wear anything.

jessamyn: Is this going to turn into one of those weird things -

mathowie: No! Yeah, I know.

jessamyn: - where I have to tell you to stop talking about women, Matt?

(both laugh)

mathowie: I'm just saying, she would look good in anything, yeah, it's getting creepy already.

jessamyn: (laughs)

Oh, and one more that was a little earlier - I guess it was before the last podcast, but I just totally loved it anyhow, is "I have a big book of science, & I blog one excerpt from it every day," by user mismatched, who's not one of the usual suspects.

mathowie: Wow! Is this my favorite science fact of the day? Well, thumbing through an encyclopedia.

jessamyn: Yeah, and the design is really nice, and it looks cool, and it's a tumbleblog, in kind of a neat way. There's a picture of the actual book, called, "Scientific Side-lights" from 1902. That whole turn-of-the-century time of the world had a lot of interesting stuff going around. You could read the whole book online at Google Books, and the project is neat.

jessamyn: I thought it was neat.

mathowie: Oh, no way! Huxtable Hotness was on here? Oh, man!

jessamyn: That was the Cosby blog?

mathowie: Yeah. Does it count for the last podcast? Probably not.

jessamyn: Well, we didn't talk about it!

They didn't talk about it!

mathowie: It's this ridiculous, over-the-top fashion blog, about old Cosby episodes. It's hilarious!

jessamyn: That was always the thing, right? One of the things the Cosby Show brought into our consciousness -

jessamyn: - besides all the other things, was, him and his crazy sweaters.

mathowie: He rocks the sweaters.

jessamyn: Lisa Bonet and her crazy - there were a lot of people who wore really interesting things, that you wouldn't see anywhere else on TV.

mathowie: And this goes way, way deeper than those obvious points, and it's really funny. I mean, they mock character development -

jessamyn: It's not all about sweaters.

mathowie: It's so much better than it seems. "Oh, it's going to be someone making jokes about his wacky sweaters." No, it's way, way better. It's just so fucking funny.

jessamyn: Right. I know, I love this. Which actually, it's kind of a weird segue, but it segues into one of the Metafilter posts I like.

mathowie: Alright.

jessamyn: Do you have other Metafilter Projects you would like to talk about?

mathowie: Nope, let's move on to posts.

jessamyn: This was from actually just the other day, which was interesting both because I think it's a really good post, but it was interesting because it brought out some interesting things about Metafilter in different ways, but it's basically this woman Issa Rae who's like, "You know, I'm this black woman, and I don't really identify with the women I see on TV. I'm actually kinda weird and nerdy and

awkward," and instead of just being like, RAR RAR RAR, here's my blog where I complain about it, she actually made a little webseries called The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which--I'm like, people are like, blah blah blah, hilarious webseries, and you're like, whatever, please, no, life's too short.

mathowie: [chuckles] That's not... yeah.

jessamyn: But it's incredibly good, very funny, little bit of not safe for work swearing, but she's got this dead-end job, she broke up with her boyfriend, or he broke up with her,

she's on the dating scene, there's this white guy she's interested in, but also this kinda smooth black guy at work, and it's just incredibly funny. And the discussion, which started out a little bit like, "I don't know why it matters if you can relate to people, rrr,"-

mathowie: Ughh.

jessamyn: -actually turned into something fairly interesting which wasn't Invisible Backpack 101, and turned out to be a lot of different people talking about, "Well, why does it matter that you see people like you on TV?" You know, because a lot of us don't see people like us on TV

even if we watch TV, and other people are like, "Is this something I would need a TV to understand?" [mathowie chuckles] Well, no, really, actually you don't. You can just understand representation of things. But I remember when people were kind of pissed off that big beer companies and whatever would or would not advertise in Pride Parade brochures and stuff like that.

mathowie: Mm, yeah.

jessamyn: That people were like, "We want Miller Beer to advertise to us," and other people were like, "Well, why?"

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, that just means you're part

of the awfulness that is American capitalism, and they're like, "Yeah, but we're American like everybody else, and so..." et cetera. So I felt that this was an interesting discussion, and people talking about why that kind of stuff matters--without people mostly hollering at each other--and, seriously, the webseries is really funny. And she's just wicked smart and interesting. But, you know, she's a weird twitchy nerd at heart, which I think a lot of people on Metafilter can relate to.

mathowie: Awesome.

jessamyn: So I enjoyed the discussion that was in that thread

starting on the 14th.

mathowie: This is in my To Watch Later pile.

jessamyn: Yeah. And the first ones are like three, four, five minutes long. The later ones are like eight, nine, ten. She did a Kickstarter project, got a ton of money, so she's actually going to produce more of them. The last one at this point was a cliffhanger, like, what happens? Does she date the one guy or the other guy? What's going on?

mathowie: [chuckle] Is it mostly talking head, or scripted? Oh, I guess it's kinda scripted.

jessamyn: No, it's scripted, it's like, "This is me going to work at my office, this is me

blah blah blah blah blah."

mathowie: Oh. Dramatizations of shit that happened?

jessamyn: Yeah. I mean, it's made up, it's fiction. But it's actually pretty interesting, I thought. So that was my first shot over the "this is what I liked on Metafilter" vow. How about you, Matt?

mathowie: Oh my God, she covered white people saying, "Can I touch your hair?" [laughs] Which totally covers another thread.

jessamyn: Yes! Well, the thing is, she has a groovy boss, who's this heavyset white woman who gets cornrows

[mathowie laughs] and uses black vernacular, and it's kind of a type that I think people have heard of. And she's not the villain.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: She's just the slightly clueless, well-meaning white lady.

mathowie: Honky.

jessamyn: Yes, it's very funny.

mathowie: Didn't we have a huge post about black hair last month that turned kind of contentious? Yeah, we did, we had a whole post about "Can I touch your hair?" and stuff.

And people on Metafilter who are black say, "Don't ever ask me," and other people going, "What? It's just the fear of the unknown, or interest in the unknown, like, I'm white and I'm doing Peace Corps work in Mongolia and everyone wants to touch my skin, which is weird, but I roll with it." And it was interesting. I think it was from last month. I'll find it.

jessamyn: Yeah, find it. I do not remember seeing that, but I was a little more MIA than usual last month.

mathowie: I guess, what counts here for... when was the last podcast?

jessamyn: Last podcast was August 13th with Josh and Jeremy, but if there's something you think was really super terrific.

mathowie: Okay, cool! I have some some stuff from August. It was the first day of the March of the Juggalo gathering, which I probably don't even want to highlight.

jessamyn: I can't even remember--what? I thought we didn't even allow juggalo posts anymore.

mathowie: I know! I think we deleted two or three before we let one stand. Oh, it was the woman who went to the jug--it was the dumb Gawker post of the woman who-

jessamyn: I thought we didn't

allow Gawker posts anymore! What is going on? Quality control!

mathowie: It was very anti-climactic. It was like, "I went to the crazy juggalo gathering," and it was just like that weird--was it Jezebel?--the post about, "I went out with the Magic: The Gathering star," and-

jessamyn: Oh God, that thread was crazy.

mathowie: I know, this was basically the same thing. There was a great big build-up. "I went to the fucking Insane Clown Posse gathering, I totally put face makeup on, drank, and there was a crazy druggie row, and people.." and then at the end you're like,

"Yes? Yes? Yes?", and then in the end it's like, "People were pretty nice, and it was a nice gathering, no one grabbed my boobs, even though many people asked." [jessamyn laughs] But she thought, halfway through it she's thinking she's going to get raped by a hundred people at once, but nothing came of it and everyone shared drugs or offered to. It turned out they were-

jessamyn: [laugh] And it actually was much nicer than the media depictions of it. Imagine!

mathowie: Yeah. And she saw very sexist bullshit happening all over the place-

jessamyn: Sure.

mathowie: But it wasn't as bad as it... And the same thing with the

Magic: The Gathering, like, "Hey, there was this crazy day I went on a date with a guy! ...And it was a pretty nice date and I'm kind of a jerk for making fun of it," you know? You're like, what, where's the point of it?

jessamyn: And that one, too--in fact, you should track down the link for that.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Part of the deal with the dude himself responded, "Oh, I don't know why she's gotta be that way."

mathowie: Yeah. I was with him the whole way there, I just thought the editor at Gawker that approved that, I mean, why didn't they tell her, go write a better... And there's no ending.

There's just, "I want this guy! And now I'm going to have two paragraphs making fun of guys who play Magic: The Gathering." Which I've never played, I don't even care, but it's like, you're into nerd subcultures! There are other nerds into other subcultures? Who gives a shit?

jessamyn: Right. This guy is a king among Magic: The Gathering players.

mathowie: And he didn't mention it on his dating profile?

jessamyn: So he's by definition got a posse.

mathowie: Yeah. Also, it's very minor celebrity, like, why would he mention it to a regular person who's never heard of it?

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Like, oh God. That was... [jessamyn laughs] best of the worst.

Oh man. I have this in my To Read When I Have Time After I Die pile.

jessamyn: "The Plural Noun For Tailors is a Disguisery." I have not seen this post, but it is by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey, who is someone I've seen doing interesting stuff before. What is this about, Matt?

mathowie: This is a giant monster post about Savile Row and tailoring and bespoke suitmaking, and how... what is it?

There's all sorts of internal conflict withing the tailoring world, because there's Chinese tailoring shops that they're wanting to put into this part of London. And I've heard of this happening with lots of things, like Italian-made clothes. They'll just, "Well, why don't you relocate a thousand Chinese workers into Milan or something, then you can claim it was made in Italy, even though it's basically your Asian operation, which was much cheaper, brought into..."
Like, where there's this weird geographic stuff happening. And it cheapens the "Made In Italy" label, so there's some weird stuff where, yeah.

jessamyn: Well, wasn't that obviously conspiracy theory, that there was a place in Taiwan called Usa, so you could print "Made in USA" on stuff? It's one of those urban legends, I'll have to go look it up.

mathowie: [laughs] That sounds so Scopes-y.

jessamyn: But that's a thing! But I mean, if you imported a hundred Chinese tailors in Italy, wouldn't you have to pay them whatever Italian prevailing

wages anyhow? I mean, I thought the whole economy of scale thing was because China has fewer labor laws that cover that kind of thing.

mathowie: Yeah.

FALSE! According to Snopes. Usa.

jessamyn: Of course!

mathowie: Oh, of course, yeah, it's ridiculous.

jessamyn: But people say it that whether or not it's true, yeah.

mathowie: I guess you could pay them minimum wage, so it's some middle ground between what a real Italian tailor would cost versus Chinese labor.

jessamyn: Right. A trained Italian tailor who came through Italian tailory.

mathowie: Yeah. And then the companies who do it want to be proud and say, "Oh, we don't have an Asian factory here, this was made locally." So yeah, some weird stuff happened here. But there's fifty links in this post, and I never got around to reading it, since I have a slight interest in clothing.

jessamyn: Yes! I've noticed you've stepped up your game a little bit, and that appears to be working well for you.

mathowie: Yeah. Yep! Did you see the crazy 30-second video of going to the store? It's probably a film student playing with

compositing and overlaying a crazy wacky human-like model walking down the street in post-production. It's just bizarro and awesome.

jessamyn: I do not even understand what you're telling me. But no, I haven't.

mathowie: Did you not see this when it came out two weeks ago?

jessamyn: See, two weeks ago I was in the throes of birthday revelry and I saw nothing. No, I'm looking at it right now. I don't understand. It's 48 seconds long, and I'm just looking at pictures of sidewalks.

mathowie: And then...

the magic happens.

jessamyn: There's magic?

Hey, it's a naked guy! Only he's not really naked! This is disturbing. What's good about this?

mathowie: It's awesome! It's so off-the-wall. Terrifying, disturbing, and awesome at the same time.

jessamyn: It looks like just something you could do with Photoshop.

mathowie: Yeah, it's some sort of human-like model.

jessamyn: I like the music.

mathowie: Yes, it's hilarious.

jessamyn: Well, it's like that scary puppet, you know? Like the Frequently Asked of Ask Metafilter?

Like, "What's that video with the scary puppet?"

mathowie: Scary puppet...

jessamyn: The Charlie puppet?

mathowie: Charlie puppet... Charlie puppet?

jessamyn: Yeah, it's like these things where there's these vignettes, and maybe there's three or four guys chugging beer, and then there's this weird crazy bobbleheaded drunken puppet who's like the fifth person.

mathowie: Mm-hm.

jessamyn: And people always forget who that is. And so a question that comes up in Ask Metafilter

probably about every six months is, "Who's that crazy drunken puppet character name?" [mathowie chuckles] It's in the Metafilter wiki.

mathowie: Yeah, dig it up for me. I haven't seen that one.

jessamyn: I will dig it up for you. In the meantime--and that's, I did not see that post. What did people even talk about in that post?

mathowie: Just how awesome and terrifying at the same time it was.

jessamyn: See, this is one of the things that I love about Metafilter, is there's other people who love things that I do not care about.

mathowie: [laughs]

jessamyn: Here was another post that I really liked, and this may be like, you may have to be exactly my age to love this, but... 1984's Streets of Fire. In fact, it's kind of weird, because in a sense it's kind of a double of a post that was eight months earlier, but I don't care [mathowie chuckles] because I liked Streets of Fire. It's just this kind of stupid rock opera movie thing. It's very,

very kitchy, very, very campy, and I_Love_Bananas did a post about it. And the post itself is like, whatever, it's a good post, it's got lots of links. But what made the post really fun was lots of people being like, "Oh my God, I totally loved that movie," and just talking about, Rick Moranis was in it, and he decried it as the worst movie he'd ever done in his whole life, it was horrible. And it was just a lot of people talking about, "Oh, right, I remember that," or "I'm going to have to watch it again," or, "Don't forget about this part from the DVD."

mathowie: I've never seen it.

jessamyn: Oh, really?

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: It's kind of a--I don't even know what you call it. It's got music, it's kind of rock-and-roll, it's very glittery and glam-y, it's not taking itself too seriously, it's got Willem Dafoe and PVC overalls [??], I mean, what else is there?

mathowie: Everyone's saying Diane Lane's hot. I don't even know who Diane-

jessamyn: Well, she's 19, so I think it's just, the 19-year-old girl is 19.

mathowie: Oh, I was just thinking, who's Diane Lane?

Like, as the adult. Oh, but she's in everything as a mom now or a middle-aged woman, okay.

sfx: [Music: Song about a Homophobe by snsranch]

sfx: [Music: Song about a Homophobe, continued]

mathowie: Any other Metafilter posts?

jessamyn: Well, one of the things that I thought was kind of interesting, which was kind of a Metafilter-MetaTalk segue, which was actually kind of interesting to me in that the way that they came together, is this Metafilter post, which was about Hurricane Irene, which actually happened after this pre-emptive MetaTalk post by carter.

mathowie: The are we all okay? post?

jessamyn: Yeah! So carter posted this thing about making sure people were okay, blah blah blah, that turned into a MetaTalk thread that became giant, 2200 comments et cetera. And the actual Metafilter post about Hurricane Irene, which was also a very good post, put together by booksherpa and blah blah blah, wound up only having about 350 comments.

mathowie: Huh.

jessamyn: And it was just kind of interesting watching these two different approaches to dealing with the community

and this big weather thing, which turned out to be actually less of a big deal in New York, which they were expecting to be a deal, and a very big deal in Vermont, which we weren't necessarily expecting.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: It's very weird driving around here, because my town is mostly okay, but people in a lot of the neighboring towns, we went to a local meeting where the lady from Community Action was talking, and there's like 60 people who are up a road in Braintree, which is the next town over, it's next to

Brookfield, where that bridge was?

mathowie: Mm-hm.

jessamyn: And they're having their postal mail delivered by some guy in town because there's no longer a road there anymore.

mathowie: [pitch-descending whistle]

jessamyn: So they basically give the mail to the dude, and when he goes home by humping it the half-mile up the road, he actually gives all the people in the neighborhood, which was like 50 or 60 people, their mail, because the post office just can't get there and finish their mail delivery that day. Which is odd, because you know, you think, the post office, "Neither rain nor sleet nor whatever,"

and they're delivering as much of the mail as they can, but there's some places where if there's not really a road and there's a lot of people you have to deliver to, it's a little complex and complicated.

mathowie: I was walking through an airport yesterday, and saw, I think the cover of the USA Today something, it was like, "National Guard deployed in Vermont," like...

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Is it that much of a presence? Do you see green trucks everywhere?

jessamyn: It's a lot more happening in the south, where the places that are hit hard are also the population centers?

mathowie: Mm-hm.

jessamyn: So Brattleboro had a lot of very serious problems, and we've had a lot of very serious problems, but they don't affect a lot of people?

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: So they're estimating several thousand people lost their homes, but some of the larger damage is like, roads basically went away. So there are these places where there was a road between the river and the mountain, and the river came up and ate the road, and all you've now got is a mountain that goes straight into the river. And there's no place to put a road, so it's

really challenging.

mathowie: Oh, man.

jessamyn: Most of what the National Guard are doing are I think working with the Army Corps of Engineers and literally building roads back from scratch, so lots of dump trucks, you see a lot of dump trucks. The first couple weeks you saw a lot of power trucks. A lot of people had power out. There was power out in my neighborhood for about two days. I had it out for less than that because I live near the hospital. So yeah. And one of the big deals was they had helicopters going around surveying the damage, because you couldn't drive to it.

mathowie: Oh, wow.

jessamyn: And that was a thing because they had to borrow helicopters from other states and people were like RAR RAR RAR, that's because the helicopters are in Iraq.

mathowie: Boston. [chuckle] Ohhh.

jessamyn: Maybe that's a little true, but I think part of the other problem is that we just don't have that many helicopters.

mathowie: There's no need for helicopters in Vermont.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Like, remote syrup production?

jessamyn: It's very rare that this kind of thing happens, yeah.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah. [chuckle] Weird.

That's good.

jessamyn: So it was interesting, and also I have to give a shoutout to rollbiz, who is a guy who does some work for the Red Cross, and was kinda good at updating people what the disaster response from the disaster response people is.

mathowie: And most everyone I talked to from Vermont, besides you, also was like, "Check out this Facebook group."

jessamyn: Everything was happening on Facebook.

mathowie: Yeah! So is that what the Red Cross and disaster people just sorta said, "Hey, keep doing

that, just keep the thread open"? Or do they have search tools for Facebook? Does Facebook have a Red Cross task force to give them... how do they find every little Facebook thread?

jessamyn: I think they probably have some public information officer people whose job it is to do that. I mean, Red Cross is really boots on the ground in a disaster, making sure people have a place to sleep, something to eat, that people aren't just abandoned right when disasters are happening.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: FEMA works to help people rebuild, which is a little bit of a

joke, but whatever. [mathowie chuckles] And so I think the coordination between people who were communicating with each other, like they were on Facebook, and who needs food and a place to sleep, was kind of what they were doing. So I'm not totally sure.

mathowie: Huh.

jessamyn: But I do know that from a Social Media Perspective, people were mostly talking on Facebook. And then people started setting up other things, like the Vermont Response page and stuff like that.

mathowie: Yeah, I saw some of those at the place that I went to last summer with the swimming hole, and it was completely obliterated.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Yeah, it did not look good. And then Meg showed me, "Oh, check out this Facebook thread!" And it was like every building that we loved washed away from the downtown, like, there was this little photography studio right next to the river that completely washed away.

jessamyn: Was that down in Rochester, or was that further north?

mathowie: Tur- What's the... I can't remember, the one with the....

jessamyn: Oh, Turner Falls?

mathowie: It was like, you could swim under a big bridge where kids are jumping off the covered bridge?

jessamyn: Oh, good question, don't know.

mathowie: Yeah, I can't remember. It was just down the road from Red River, whatever, Rock... rock river? What's their ski river? [laughs] What's that place called?

jessamyn: What? What are you even talking about? Mad River.

mathowie: Mad River, that's it.

jessamyn: Heyyy!

mathowie: Down the stream from Mad River.

jessamyn: See, now I'm trying to figure out where the disturbing puppet is, and boy, you don't want to type 'disturbing puppet' into Google Images.

mathowie: [laughs]

jessamyn: I tell you what!

mathowie: Oh man, I'm tired. We should probably finish in the next twenty minutes, I'm so starving.

jessamyn: Alright, I've got a five-link thing in Ask Metafilter. But what else did you see in Metafilter that you liked? Anything you thought was completely 'please, do not miss'.

mathowie: Nothing, really. And I'm looking at the most popular things, and none of these are in the things I wished... that I put in my To Check Out Later pile.

jessamyn: Well, it's interesting. One of the other things that I think was interesting about Metafilter is, there was a lot of

pre-emptive, "Oh God, please don't let September 11th become some clusterfuck because I just can't actually deal with it."

mathowie: Oh, yeah!

jessamyn: And I have to say, number one, it mostly didn't, and number two, I got the feeling, though I'm not sure if this really happened or if it was just confirmation bias, that people made an effort to make other cool posts on that day that weren't just...

mathowie: I saw something--I thought it was a quieter day than I thought, and then I looked at

the... I was like, "Oh, I thought it could possibly be worse." And then, you know what it was, looking at the actual traffic on the server, was way down on that Sunday. So I think people were purposely trying to avoid it. [chuckling slightly]

jessamyn: Going away.

mathowie: There were people in MetaTalk who, I mean, they have a point, "Is there any way I can turn off all mentions of 9/11 junk?" I didn't look at TV for the last two weeks, knowing what was coming.

jessamyn: Sure.

mathowie: So they're like, "Can I do that to the Internet too?" And everyone's like, "Mehhh, we can't really." But I think people turned off their computers on that day, and TVs, just to avoid it.

jessamyn: Yeah, I mean, if you look at the posts that were made, there were a lot of really interesting posts--kind of a wiseass post from the artist formerly known as wendell [mathowie chuckles], but a bunch of really kind of interesting--something about transgender songs! And there were a couple poet things! Trurl did one about Iraq but that had nothing to do

with that kind of thing. There was a neat art post. There was a global game of Monopoly. There literally wasn't a, "Here's where we all talk about 9/11," and I think that actually worked out okay.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, some people did 9/11-themed stuff, but that wasn't specifically about it, and I feel like that was okay too. So I was kinda like, hey, thumbs up! Thumbs up, folks!

mathowie: Yeah. The only 9/11 thing I noticed was the guy who faked the tourist guy

on top of... [unintelligible]

jessamyn: Yeah, that was oneswellfoop's.

mathowie: Like, it's a slightly fun [chuckles] take on the past, like, oh.

jessamyn: It's easy enough to skip if you don't like that sort of thing.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: I mean, flapjax at midnite also made a slightly wiseass post about commemorating and honoring... Grandparents' Day!

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: Which is funny if you like jokes about that sort of thing. But otherwise easily skippable, and I didn't see anything that was tasteless or awful. So that was kind of nice, both coming off of

Hurricane Irene stuff, which was really difficult around here, and my personal birthday, which was fine, but I just didn't want to dive into a bunch of that stuff, so I don't know. I was like, thumbs up, hey, way to go, folks.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah. Alright. What was your favorites from Ask Metafilter?

jessamyn: Wow. My favorites from Ask Metafilter--this one was, I actually saw this on Facebook, a post that grumblebee put up, but, "Hey. My wife's staying in New York and bought a weekly MetroCard. She leaves in the night, but I'm showing up two hours later. How

can she get me her MetroCard so that I can cheap out and use the same MetroCard and not have to buy another one?"

mathowie: Wow, that is awesome. It's like an intellectual challenge, yeah.

jessamyn: And they talked about... and it has a wrap-up, you know? She...

mathowie: Inside a greeting card, ohhh. I would-

jessamyn: They left it inside a greeting card at a thing that was open late enough. Inside a Husband Appreciation card, on the theory that no one would be likely to buy it.

mathowie and jessamyn: [laugh]

mathowie: "Take my wife, please."

jessamyn: But I thought it was funny, and hey, it actually solved a problem! And that was kind of neat. And it gets all the New Yorker people interested in, "Oh, here's a thing, la-la la-la-la-la!"

mathowie: Dude, that is awesome.

jessamyn: Yeah, it was awesome.

mathowie: 24-hour Duane Reade. Thanks to Kathryn Yu who did it, who came up with it, and yeah, it worked!

jessamyn: Fantastic. Way to go, Kathryn Yu! That was cool.

mathowie: Oh, hugs all around.

jessamyn: Hugs all around!

mathowie: That's so tough. Yeah, I was like, stick some gum and put it on the underside of something no one ever looks at that's near a subway entrance, but then...

jessamyn: Well, and I was totally like, well, drop it off at Lost and Found, only maybe they're not there, and, ooh, ah, er.

mathowie: Ohhh.

jessamyn: But yeah. Local knowledge matched up with a problem that needs to be solved: perfect. Totally terrific.

mathowie: Also he could have just, I don't know, told a Metafilter member to hold it for three hours and then text that person or something.

jessamyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

mathowie: There's 20 Metafilter people at every subway stop at this point.

jessamyn: [laughs] Right, exactly. And probably somebody that lives four blocks from there. But this was kind of nice, because you didn't have to rely on the unreliable wet ware factor.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Which is what we should actually call this podcast.

mathowie: [laughs] That's good!

jessamyn: Thank you!

mathowie: Let me write it down. Un-re-li-a-ble wet...

jessamyn: Wet ware.

mathowie: W-A-R-E?

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Fac-tor.

jessamyn: It sounds like the name of a Big Bang Theory episode.

mathowie: Oh. I don't watch that. I wish I watched it.

jessamyn: I enjoy it.

mathowie: I don't watch anything with a laugh track. I drew a line in the sand five years ago.

jessamyn: Well, maybe that's not serving your purposes anymore.

mathowie: I can't-

jessamyn: You can just watch it with subtitles on.

mathowie: It grates me so bad... yeah, I should just watch it, with yeah.

jessamyn: It's funny, because I couldn't tell you what shows have laugh tracks and what don't, because I just don't pay attention, and I don't know, so that's interesting to me.

mathowie: Oh, they're so rare to me that when it comes up, I can't stand it. Or it's just like, "What? Why it doing that? Why is there annoying audio all the time of people cackling?"

jessamyn: Right. "I'll laugh when I want to! That's not funny! I'm not laughing!"

mathowie: It just screams, "We're still rooted in the '70s! Or '60s!"

jessamyn: "Whoo whoo whoo whoo whoo!" Yeah, exactly.

mathowie: "Put on the light, people!"

This is probably the best question ever, but doesn't have a satisfying ending, but...

jessamyn: Oh, yes, I enjoyed this one too.

mathowie: So important-

jessamyn: Strong, fully-clad female superhero.

mathowie: Yes. "I want a strong, kick-butt, non-scantily-clad female superhero. Does that exist?" And it's everyone trying... It had a billion favorites. And everyone's like, "Yes! I wish there was one."

jessamyn: Right. Hot Head Python [?] is a pretty good one, though I don't know if that really counts as a superhero.

mathowie: This also reminds me of the--we had the post about the ridiculous superhero pose

with the people posing like the girl in the Spiderman comic, with the coffee cup?

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Yes. I'll have to find that too. That reminds me of THAT thing.

jessamyn: [chuckle]

Well, here's another female-related post that was also recent that I just really enjoyed. Somebody's writing a book that's set in a women's college: "I've never been to a single-sex institution. How would it be different that I wouldn't know about?"
And there's actually quite a lot of Metafilter people--I don't know if there was any dudes chiming in from The Citadel or anything, West Point, I think those both have women anyhow. But just talking about what it's like to go to Wellesley or Mount Holyoke or Smith or Bryn Mawr or whatever, and how it's different, how single-sex education can feel different, or how just the living environment is different when it's single-gender and what that's about.
I found it interesting to read.

mathowie: Oh, that's awesome!

jessamyn: Yeah!

mathowie: I totally want to read this. Because I've heard about it from high school, from a friend who pulled his daughter from the local high school when she wasn't allowed to be valedictorian or on the math-letics team or anything because she was a girl and it was all boys. [chuckle]

jessamyn: [distressed noise]

mathowie: So he was like, "Fuck this noise, you're going to an all-girls high school!" And it was night and day, she was getting praise all the time, and it sounded like the best

environment in the world. But college-level, it's probably way lessened, but there's probably still some benefits. Yeah, fascinating how this went.

jessamyn: Yeah. It was just an interesting thread, and it didn't have a goal, basically.

mathowie: Yeah. Does anyone say how different it was? What would grad school, would it be no different? I think-- She even talked about grad school, single-sex grad school, huh.

jessamyn: Well, and grad school's different. I mean, I know at least at Smith, grad school

is co-ed.

mathowie: Oh, okay.

jessamyn: Like, men can go to grad school. I know people who have gone to grad school at Smith who are men. So it's probably slightly different. And it also means that the campuses aren't entirely female. Obviously there's male and female professors and male and female staff.

mathowie: And is there all this ha-ha-ha, blah-blah-blah lesbian junk, probably.

jessamyn: Right. Well, but who knew that Mount Holyoke had milk and cookies every night at 9 p.m.? I had no idea. [mathowie laughs] That's a real thing.

mathowie: That's awesome.

Did you see this one about the crippling shyness and the wedding? Someone--I mean, we've had so many crazy Ask Metafilter posts of "Should I eat it?" or "I'm standing here about to do this thing, everyone, here's a question about it." Here's someone like, "This is the morning of my wedding-"

jessamyn: "I'm freaking out, what do I do?"

mathowie: "I'm freaking out, calm me down." And there's a lot of actual good--I mean, people kind of flipped out a little bit. But there's lots of good advice.

Like, "Turn off your computer and go be with the friends you love, and they will help calm you down." You know, get away from all the stuff that's freaking you out, and real-life friendships really help.

jessamyn: Right. Well, I mean, that's one of the things about anxiety at some level is, the more you stay in your own head, the not-better it gets.

mathowie: Yeah. And she posted some follow-ups about how bad it went. That it was crazy and hard

but got through it, and... yeah.

jessamyn: Right, and was okay. Yeah, I saw that because I saw a post about the same wedding I think over on MetaChat, so it was interesting seeing the different communities have just slightly different approaches.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: This was the pandering link that I really liked, which was "Help build an awesome library."

mathowie: [laughs] Jessamyn signal at full power.

jessamyn: Whoo whoo whoo! But still, 89 favorites, so man, it's not just me.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: "Pretend you have a ton of cash. I want to get these beautiful books. Tell me what to buy."

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

Oh, just stuff to look at, like picture books.

jessamyn: Yeah, just eye candy, money's no object, go get Codex Seraphinianus, How To Wrap Eggs, The Complete Far Side. There's a whole bunch of different--I kind of like it because there's lots of different advice. Different people have different ideas about blah blah blah.

mathowie: I have to find--we have a

special place with just big, expensive picture books in a pile, next to some chairs. And I bought something, I think it was mentioned on some blog somewhere, and it was like, freakish undersea super-deep fishes, the kind with the lights hanging off their heads, and the weird bladders, the ones that are clear. And someone diving at 2000 feet in a submarine with a fluorescence camera...

jessamyn: Ooh, uh-huh.

mathowie: And it's a huge-format book, like two square feet. So you can fold out a gigantic page, it's basically posters of these crazy see-through fish with lights in them and shit. It's awesome. And it probably costs like a hundred bucks for the book.

jessamyn: Sure. Well, I mean, that's really the thing. It's one of the things that books, say, are still good for. Like, that looks like shit on your Kindle!

mathowie: Ha-ha!

jessamyn: It doesn't look like anything. Seriously, though! I mean, that's why the printed word isn't going anywhere necessarily, it's just going to shift, and if you just want to read words, hey, your ebook is fine,

but, yeah, invisible crazy fish? You're going to need some print for that.

mathowie: [chuckles] Yeah.

jessamyn: Until ebook reader technology specifically improves.

mathowie: Maybe you could replicate it on an iPad in landscape mode and swiping, maybe the photos would be pretty good.

jessamyn: Well, and the whole deal is, you'd really need to do the book digitally native, I think.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: You couldn't just scan pictures from a print book and call it a day. And so if you're doing that, it's a different thing, basically.

mathowie: Yeah, I have to find that book.

jessamyn: [laughs] Good!

mathowie: That's the only ones, I guess, recently that I tracked. Let me see if there's any popular.

jessamyn: Well, I have a couple more just tiny ones, this one from long-timer waldo, "What color was the sky millions or billions of years ago?"

mathowie: Hmmm.

jessamyn: Which is an interesting question, because--

mathowie: Why would it be any different? Oh, I guess atmosphere.

jessamyn: Because billions and billions of years ago, the chemical composition of the atmosphere

was different. And would that make it look different?

mathowie: Huh.

jessamyn: I mean, I have to say, I did comment in this thread, though I did not receive the Best Answer. That went to Bora Horza Gobuchul. But yeah, there was the Great Oxygenation, which was 2.4 billion years ago, and before that, the Earth was really kind of different. And, you know, Krakatoa eruption, la-la la-la-la, and I liked the-

mathowie: And we have no way to fossilize that. I mean, there's just no way.

But... huh.

jessamyn: Right. So it's people making best guesses based on science.

mathowie: I guess we have frozen air in ice cores, but that's not gonna go back millions and billions.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Although I am proud that they got a actual feather from a dinosaur. That's pretty fucking awesome.

jessamyn: Wasn't that great? Feather in amber! Feather in amber!

mathowie: It just seems like one of those things that would always be a what-if, because it would have to be destroyed, it would never make it through. But that was so great.

jessamyn: Yes.

mathowie: Plus it's something that's like, I only started hearing about it as a what-if hypothesis maybe ten, fifteen years ago, and like, boom.

jessamyn: Right. And then there it is. "Oh, we found the thing!"

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: And we can all now know about it, thanks to the Internet and rapid distribution, too.

mathowie: [laughs] Wow.

jessamyn: And I liked this post because it ended with waldo saying, "I liked the answers to the questions I didn't ask even more than I liked the answers to the question I did ask."

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Which I think is probably a good thing to wrap up on, unless you have something else.

mathowie: The most popular Ask Metafilter question is always a quick recipe for something easy I could make to eat. [jessamyn laughs] It's always that.

jessamyn: Which one was it this time?

mathowie: "Give me your best simple vegetable recipes with only a few ingredients." The constraints are slightly different, but it's always the exact same question at the top peg. It's like, yeah, everyone always needs to know this. There's never an easy answer for these things. So awesome.

Alright, I'll wrap up some music and wrap this up.

jessamyn: Good, yeah. You might want to ask Josh if there was anything he particularly looked at.

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: I haven't listened to much of the music lately, but I'm sure there was something good. I'll upload this, and, yeah, ba-da-bing ba-da-boom!

mathowie: Boo-yah!

jessamyn: Good talking to you, as always.

mathowie: Alright, see ya.

jessamyn: Bye.

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  • beryllium, 120 segments
  • Pronoiac, 13