Podcast 42 Transcript
From Mefi Wiki
A transcript for Episode 42, Elvis Costello is adenoidal.
(start to 3:52)
Mathowie: You know, I just clicked over to jobs, to look for jobs and I was like -
Jessamyn: Google Wave Developer!
M: What, really? Where? Wow! But I clicked over and I was like, "What happened to all the meetups?" because it kind of looks like the meetup site.
J: Oh. (Laughing) Yes.
M: Oh, it's an API job, not a Google job.
J: Yeah, and they're a law firm, or the Metafilter person who posted it works for a law firm so I'm curious if they're going to try to use it do some legal thing or I don't know. It's the only job I saw that.
Cortex: Yeah, that's anathema who did the legal stuff for the Metafilter Comp.
M: Oh right.
J: Ohhhhh. Hey, awesome. How many of those we got left, Josh?
C: (laughing) I actually have -
M: You have a basement now, so no worries.
J: Should we be giving them out at the tenth parties, speaking of?
M: Use them as coasters. Oh, I'm sorry.
C: We kind of could. Honestly, I feel like we've sold as many of them as we're going to sell. There's no reason that people are suddenly going to start buying them again and we've already fired off $1700 to charity at this point.
J: Sunk costs.
C: Yeah, so I'd be pretty much fine giving them away for the meetup stuff. The biggest cost there is actually getting them out to the various meetups. But if we want to do that I don't see any reason not to.
J: Maybe we should take the five or ten biggest meetups... because there's 60 people who are going to be in New Orleans, so I can definitely take delivery of those things at my hotel and then give them out to people. I think that would be nice.
M: Let's do it. I guess, real quick, proper introduction, this is episode 42, otherwise known as the answer to everything in the universe.
J: Life, the universe, and everything.
M: We covered jobs. Now we're in "Meetup Mania".
J: And the last podcast was May 18th or something?
M: Middle May, yeah.
J: A while ago.
C: It's been a bit.
J: Although Josh, your podcast just came out yesterday, right?
C: Yeah, it's done. I was ready to do it two weeks ago and I had done that interview with Infidel Zombie and it went really well, and we even managed to keep it pretty much to time so I didn't need to do a bunch of chopping done or anything, and then I kept putting off that little bit of work for a week and then a week and a half, and then we kind of had sort of a hell week on Metafilter so I stayed distracted, and yeah.
J: I'm sure none of us can identify with that problem.
C: Yeah, I know, you wouldn't understand man.
J: I switched my calendar to June yesterday.
C: Well done. I don't use calendars. I just click on the date on my desktop.
M: Man, the meetups are already way beyond our initial estimates. There are 81 -
J: Yeah, how many confirmed ones do we have?
M: So it's 81 total and I think it's a little over half, so 45 of those are confirmed.
J: And we had to remove the one from Mauritania, sadly.
C: Oh yeah.
M: But there's a couple that are only one or two attending, so those might not actually happen.
J: And I'm totally going to get those chuckleheads from the South Pole to write me back.
M: Oh, okay. You're going to have to wait until the sun is back in the sky or something for them to get the email.
J: But they agreed. I just have to get them to actually sign-up. I was like, "We will send you money for beer! Just click this link."
J: Yeah, they like beer down there.
M: Beer and suicide.
(3:52 to 10:44)
M: Umm, I guess Projects? What was your favorite project of the last month?
J: I had a ton of favorite projects. The one that I thought was the niftiest was the "URL shortener to end all URL shorteners" which actually ended up getting posted to Metafilter by filthy light thief who has had his name (her name?) on a ton of stuff that I've really liked. So basically it's using Unicode to take URL-shorteners down to where they're just one character dot WS.
M: Hasn't this been out for a month or so? I thought I saw it on Twitter a month ago.
J: Maybe? It was posted to Projects in June.
M: Yeah, a few days ago.
J: And it was Rezand, who's like a user who I don't know anything about, who basically, as near as I can tell, has posted three projects. But he's been a user! He/she/whatever since whenever 5000 was a user. April 11th, 2001.
C: Yeah, it's kind of funny. I saw someone the other day, I just tripped across them. I don't remember how I found their account, but they've got a hundred favorites and they flagged a few things and nothing else. And they've been around for a while. This is an account -
J: 2001. It's an eight-year-old account.
C: The people who just -- there's just some value-add to having an account for some people. They're not being bad or weird about it, they just don't really use it for much. It's just kind of interesting to see that when it happens, every once in a while.
J: And he or she responded to feedback in the Projects thread. So it isn't just a flyby spammy kind of thing. It was interesting.
C: Let's see, there was a nice Flash game posted to Projects.
J: Oh, really, a Flash game.
C: Yeah, go figure. But this also got a Metafilter post out of it. It's actually a nice sort-of classic feeling piece of work. The Metafilter thread about it turned into mostly a discussion of the games it resembles because the whole sort-of top-down explore-and-fight type game is something that's been done a lot of times. It's funny how many things people mentioned in the Metafilter thread where the guy JustKevin who made it was like, "I never actually played that one that you're saying this is an identical rip-off of but that's neat." The territory's been covered enough that it's hard to make something that's really totally original, but it's a nice piece of work that he put together and he put several hundred hours of work into it.
M: I loved "Can I Marry Gay?" which is like a single-use site which you'd think was pretty simple since there's only three places in the US where you can, but then there's all sorts of weird laws that are kind of like domestic partnerships in some states and it's actually confusing and this is actually necessary. Like Oregon gets a "No" with a star by it because there's domestic partnerships now.
J: Gay marriage is not required in Vermont, only optional.
J: That's a load off of my mind. I'm still holding off for marrying my refrigerator but good. I like that site. And it's nice. It's not unnecessarily dickish, just totally awesome and happy and everybody smiles.
C: I like this -- it's sort of a near and dear to my heart thing -- but theiconoclast31 made a Markov engine that works against Twitter histories so basically you can use it to grab a Twitter history and then generate new text like Markov filter does.
J: I clicked through it, and saw that it was a perl script -
C: Python, yeah. It's not super -
M: Yeah, I want a demo to see it work.
C: Well, a couple people did it and linked it, so... Yeah it's one of those things where you have to be kind of extra wonky to make it work.
M: The moment I approved it, I went, "Oh, I should just pick up a phone and call Josh right now, because this is exactly up his alley."
J: It made us all think of you.
J: And of course I've got to give a shout-out to the postcard project that was cedar's. Which is just like, whatever, postcards, they're pretty, it's cedar's website, it's pretty. It's kind of a really like stock. "The cards on this site were sent by members of my family between 1900 and 1917." So it's one of those projects where you swear you're going to get around to yourself and you never ever do and cedar actually put a bunch of postcards up on the internets and scanned them.
C: Nice. I totally missed this one. This is great.
M: Oh, these are totally in the copyright clear too.
J: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. They totally are and I don't know, if you're me, it's kind of neat old postmarks and old stamps because it's scanned both front and back. There's a bunch of Valentine's cards that are kind of neat to copy it. I sent people a lot of Valentine's card from the New York Public Library scanned images. But these are actually pretty neat too.
C: The Markhov thing reminds me, actually, that pb has been sort of helping tool on the Markov filter stuff. It came back up the other day when he had resurrected it, but then it was running like poop, and then started to run 500s so he took it back down. Much to the dismay of the people who were suddenly delighted it was back. But we've been talking about ways to make it work to get around the security issues with Perl. We came up with a two-stage process of caching stuff behind the scenes from the database and then letting the perl script just touch flat files that are in no way a security risk. It's kind of getting there.
J: that seems like a good idea.
C: Yeah. It seems to be working. It takes a hit up-front to generate the cache in the first place for a user, which is not really a problem. Like jonmc is my test case for these things and it times out currently but we're working on ways to speed that up. But yeah, that might come back sooner rather than later. And the infodump too. I was talking to pb and trying to make sure what exactly was and wasn't an issue security-wise and I think we can bring the infodump back pretty easily, actually, from the sounds of things. So, both of those will probably reappear. Which I'm happy about.
J: Yay! That's awesome.
(10:44 to 15:42)
J: Oh, hey, I don't know if we were going to talk about music other than talking about Josh's podcast, but this month's challenge, which wraps up in about a week-and-a-half is really, really one of my favorites in my recent memory. I spent all morning listening to all of the different versions of "Hallelujah" that different people have made, including two by cortex.
C: So far. I really have more.
J: But a whole bunch of other ones.
M: I just like the names. Oh my God, someone did a ska version?
J: It's really good too.
C: Yeah, that was really tight too. You hear people who are like, "Ha ha, I'm going to do a high-speed ska version of blah" and a lot of them can be sort of blah, like, you sure did syncopated guitar strumming there. But no, that one was really solid. It sounds great, the horns in it are fantastic.
M: I was just thinking the other day, there's no more ska, period, in popular culture. I liked it at the time, but it seems like a stain on culture from 1992 to 1996.
C: We've sort of come through that for now. Although in another 10 years it's going to come back around and everyone's going to be "S-word" again.
J: Ska? Just like my eighties t-shirts. Well, the skinny jeans are back, right? Right? Am I right?
C: I don't know. I don't really leave my house.
J: Yes, they are, the skinny jeans are back.
M: If you go to New York, yes, they most definitely are.
J: I was in Montreal. They totally are. And some people wear point-toed shoes with them. That's like ska. And fedoras.
C: Everyone in New York was wearing tights. That's what I noticed when I was there.
J: They're actually pants, Josh. They just look like tights because they're so skinny.
C: Things in that territory, yes. I guess what I'm saying is I went to New York and everyone seems to buy tights from American Apparel. That's the end of my story.
M: Josh and I live in a 30% obese state so we don't see a lot of skinny jeans.
J: How obese is my state? Can we set up a little Projects post for that?
M: Yeah, there's a map for that.
J: I want to see how obese my state is and what the average is.
M: There's an animated obesity map that's amazing.
J: "Fattest states." You know what's worse than watching someone look something up on the internet? Listening to somebody look something up.
M: I know. "I'm looking up something on the internet instead of talking."
J: "Oh, that's interesting."
C: "Going over to Google now."
J: Mine is in the second tier, only after Colorado. Colorado, those people eat meat six meals a day. 28%.
M: We're at 25.5 in Oregon.
J: That's not bad.
M: Is New York lower? New York's at 25% but Manhattan's askewed.
J: New York's at 23 in what I'm looking at.
M: I'm looking at 2007.
J: I'm looking at 2008.
M: (inaudible) 2007 cdc.gov
J: I'm looking at calorielab.com.
M: Oh yeah, you're looking at some digg-bait site that's just grabbing Russian photos.
C: Maybe Wolfram Alpha can tell us.
J: You wound me. "Digg-bait."
M: Oh, I was kidding.
J: Why are people in Colorado so skinny, that's my question.
M: Yeah, that's amazing.
J: Like they're a lot skinnier than everybody.
C: There's just not that much air up there.
J: You think so?
M: Everyone's skiing and people in Boulder are rich and I don't know.
J: New England's got 4 of the 7 skinny states in the whole country.
C: Wolfram Alpha does not know how fat New York is.
J: You know, I forgot about Wolfram Alpha.
C: I can't imagine why.
J: Is anybody paying any attention to it anymore?
C: Let me check with "qweel". "Cool"? "Quol"?
J: Oh God.
C: "How fat is New York?"
J: Fucking Internet Explorer has started sending my searches to Bing. Speaking of...
M: Speaking of things I've already forgotten. Bing. Oh, I did see the Bing commercials -
J: I just typed my name in to Cuil and got somebody else's picture back.
M: The famous author?
J: No, no, not even another Jessamyn. Oh, I found another Jessamyn West on the Facebook. Or not even on the Facebook, on the internet. She's a holistic horse massage therapist.
C: (whistle) Wow.
M: Because there's so many commercial heavy-chemical horse massagers.
J: That was Lore Sjöberg's Twitter response to that.
M: Alright, should we move on to anything else Metafilter?
J: Naw, I think we're done.
M: Oh, ok.
J: "This podcast is about 11 minutes long and we talk about fat people and short URLs." Yeah, we can go on to Metafilter or go on to Ask Metafilter. Actually, I've got a segue.
M: Sure, go. Segue.
(15:42 to 34:02)
J: Oh, my segue from fat people is the excellent strange cookie recipes Ask Metafilter thread. I realize it's sort of going out of sequence, but basically it's somebody going, "You know, I have to bring cookies to work all the time but I've kind of run through every single normal cookie recipe, and I want weird cookie recipes." So there was like ketchup cookies, and coconut shortbread, and chocolate baking cookies, and meringue mushroom cookies, and skillet cookies, and... it's just one of those fun cookies threads in Ask Metafilter.
C: Vinegar cookies?
J: Yeah, they're much better than you would think. I think I'm going to make curry snaps today -
C: I think they would have to be better than I think because -
J: "because I'm thinking they're pretty bad."
M: These recipes are like way... I've never had anything remotely similar to any of these. These are crazy.
J: It's one of the things I kind of like about the fact that internet dorks are also food dorks, is that you can find recipes, so if you're kind of a stay-at-home cooking nerd like me, you can be like, "Oh, I should try that." Me and Greg Nog have been swapping yogurt tips over email.
M: I was thinking the strangest cookie I can think of was a friend's awesome recipe for cranberry and white chocolates and some sort of nut and it tastes amazing.
J: I've had those. They are really good. It's not that strange. (laughing)
M: I guess if you'd already gone through every standard recipe, you'd hit that one.
J: Yeah, these are like the cookies for people who make more than a hundred different kinds of cookies.
M: You should try the outer reaches, like the honeycomb brittle stuff, that's kind of like a cookie.
J: that's a good idea. There's a lot of honey around here so...
M: It's that puffed sugar cookie stuff.
J: Delicious. Delicious. I'm making cookies this afternoon for a porch party so I've been digging around in this particular thread.
J: What else did you guys see in Ask Metafilter that you thought was interesting?
C: In a related sense, I've been spending a lot of time playing RPGs on the DS and so I've been digging through this Ask Me thread on how to find easy tactical RPGs.
J: RPGs, role playing games?
J: It's like you're a little wizard running around in 2-D?
C: That sort of thing, yeah. It's a pretty broad spectrum. I've been really enjoying, specifically, RPG stuff for the Nintendo DS, which is like the current Gameboy. Which tend to be a little simple in scope and so they tend to have a little more focus on the specific gameplay, which is really nice. One of the things that is kind of common with RPGs at this point is that a lot of them are like, Final Fantasy is the gold standard here, games where you press the X button until you win. Like there's a whole bunch of story, but battles are relatively straightforward and it's mostly you just keep hitting things the same way.
J: Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. Move on to next hitting.
C: And the storytelling can be nice, and the gameplay itself can be kind of engaging in a sort of semi-autopilot kind of way, but there's also these games where they don't have the grand, huge story-telling aspect so instead they've got more complicated actual gameplay. Where you actually do more thinking and every little move counts, and some of the stuff that comes up in this thread is that sort of thing. It's more tactical and you're really fighting your way out of novel and difficult situations, instead of just riding the tiger of the big narrative. I've been really enjoying this. It was kind of nice to see this as another way to find some leads. Because I don't really pay attention to this genre so much, but lately I've been getting back into it.
J: And if you play things -- this is going to be a totally dumb question -- if you play something on the DS, do you have to go purchase it, or is there a whole underground-y ports of other things that you can put on your DS, or is it more-or-less a locked system?
C: You can certainly find the stuff on the internet. It's pretty much the cheapest platform out there. Games run $20-$30 retail new, so there's less incentive for piracy, but at the same time, it's a platform where the games are pretty small so they're really easy to pirate. So it's kind of doing both. They seem to be doing very well on sales, and it's nice to see some of these import games coming over. There's a company named Atlas that does a lot of translation and import of Japanese titles into Europe and the US. And they're doing a bunch of stuff that I really love, the games they're putting in there. But I do wonder about that -- how many people are actually buying these games in this genre that traditionally hasn't done super well in the US vs. how many people are like, "Oh, sweet," and then they go and download and that's all that ever happens. It's interesting the tension there.
M: Have you played that plankton music app?
C: Electroplankton? Yeah. That was almost a launch title for the DS. Yeah, it's a fun little -
M: It was Japanese only for the longest time.
C: Really? It's a nice little app. It's very abstract but you can just kind of kill time with it. If you have an abstract musical bent, it's a very fun toy to play around with.
M: My favorite Ask Metafilter event is, "I have a newborn son, what kind of long-term art project can I do with his childhood?" And people come up with, the classic is to take a photo every month in the same place, or every year for the rest of your life in the same fashion, and those are really awesome long-term projects. Some people come up with some pretty cool ideas, like a sculpture that grows as he grows all his life, so he always knows how tall he is. He can tell how tall he was at every year, because it's all marked up. It was all sorts of crazy stuff.
J: And the best answer gets to name him. That was my favorite part of that particular thread.
M: You do not want Metafilter users naming your children.
J: You don't even want them naming your cat, as near as I can tell.
M: Just based on their own choice of usernames, it's going to be... complex.
J: I feel like we need to start "what's your favorite username?" now that we're up to 94,000-some-odd users, with a whole bunch of new wacky usernames. Like I saw a new lobster username the other day. I told Josh about it. I think we have new usernames that are ready to be evaluated. Maybe the next podcast we can have people call in with their favorite username over 90,000 or something.
C: If we get the infodump back up and going, people can sort through the usernames more easily too.
J: Yeah, yeah, totally. I think that would be fun. This was the other Ask Metafilter thread that I really liked, "what is that song they always use?" which is basically, canonical songs from every time everyone runs around on Benny Hill, they do that. It's Yakety Sax, but not everyone knows -- most people on Metafilter -- but not everyone knows that's a song with a name. And so jfrancis posted a couple other examples and then the thread took off with a whole ton of other -- like "Enter The Gladiators" from the circus -
M: You know what's super-fun with this thread? It was also flagged a zillion times as chatfilter. But I could tell in the first five answers that it was going to be something great so I sort of ignored it. But the best thing to do is to bring your laptop into the room with someone who can't see it, and -
J: And then just start clicking it and saying, "What's going on on my screen?"
M: No. You read them, and then you click it in a new tab, and people are nice enough to link the Youtube so they autoplay. So I just go, "British classic where someone is walking down a hall. Let's try that." And I just click it in a new tab, and we're both sitting there, and you just listen to it, and you go, "Oh my god! Totally!" "Japanese robot wars," and you click it and you go, "Oh my god, that's great!" It's an awesome way to pass hours.
J: (laughing) Hours and hours of car rides.
M: It's amazing how uncanny they are when you just sit there and listen to them.
C: All the musical cultural shorthand that you're just not aware of, but that once you hear it and see a name put on it, you're like, "Holy shit."
J: They always do that for that. Right.
M: And I'm skipping the actual name and who did it. You just go, "Proposing marriage when it's all shadowy." And then, what's that sound like? You click it and, "Oh, totally."
("Proposing marriage when it's all shadowy" clip.)
J: Creepy circus music. Cue creepy circus music.
C: You should really use that music as bumpers for the episode. Just grab various little ones and throw them in.
M: Oh, and I was reacquainted with The Typewriter, which is the awesome (dah-dah-dah imitation), which has got the typewriting sound in it with the bing and everything. It's something I haven't heard in 20 years.
("Typewriter" music clip)
J: Wait a second. I have to now find this. "For showing typists in the drudgery of office work."
M: The Youtube video is of a guy playing the 78.
J: I've said this before, but I really wish I could search YouTube for videos that are videos and videos that aren't videos. Like this is at least a video, right? But sometimes you're just looking at a picture of T-Pain while somebody plays "I'm on a Boat" and you're like "C'mon!"
C: Yeah, just something nominal in the background.
J: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Ha!
M: And where is this app that creates Powerpoint to Youtube? Most of these users you can tell are on a Windows box with basic fonts and everything is blue -
C: You can do that sort of thing with Windows Media Maker.
J: Is that it? Windows Media Maker?
27:00 - 33:00
cortex: Or Movie Maker, whatever it is.
jessamyn: Well, I think it makes decent-looking movies.
cortex: Well yeah. But the point is, someone with zero effort with the default application on any of the major OSes can create something with a static background or a few images slideshowing through.
mathowie: On a Mac, you have to know your way around and you gotta use screencap software of some sort, and I'm like, "That's kind of advanced. What are people doing?" I think you're right, they use Microsoft Movie Maker. Lets you do titles or something.
mathowie: And so they just match a music track
- with whatever basic titles they have.
cortex: Yeah. And I mean, seriously, you can do that pretty bonehead easy with iMovie as well. Just throw in a song file...
jessamyn: But it doesn't look as shitty with iMovie!
cortex: Well, yeah.
mathowie: Well, Google's full of smart people, they should figure out a way to separate videos from non-videos. They should call those, I don't know, "Moving Illustrations," or something.
cortex: Like, search for lack of change in the... yeah.
jessamyn: "Still Photography With Music"? Yeah.
cortex: We could autodetect it by looking for changes in the
- image. Search for keep frames. If there's three of them...
jessamyn: Yeah, dude, if they can tell what song is in my movie enough to send me a shitty letter telling me to knock it off, they should be able to tell if a movie's not a movie at all.
cortex: Yeah. Heck, they should be able to tell at encoding time, since they re-encode everything that you upload, right?
jessamyn: Have you guys seen those guys who do comedy videos on YouTube, where they know exactly which slice YouTube takes for the preview panel, and they do a
- one-second girl in bikini picture?
jessamyn: At that point.
mathowie: YouTube now totally randomizes because they knew people were hacking that.
jessamyn: It was very, very funny. So you'd be like, "Oh my God, that looks like a lady in a shower!" And then you click through and it's these dweebs making dweeb jokes. And then there's one second lady in a shower
mathowie: Yeah, so the thumbnails are all randomized now. This last YouTube thing I played was when I asked in that thread, "What's the song about riding home from the Civil War battlefield
- to your dearest Martha?" and then someone had the absolute perfect song.
sfx: [Musical underscore: Ashokan Farewell (Jay Ungar) performed by Joe LaMay and Sherri Reese]
jessamyn: Ashokan Farewell.
mathowie: Yeah, it was like the sad violin and ploinky guitar.
sfx: [Music ends]
mathowie: Yeah, it's like 1895.
jessamyn: Oh yeah, like the Ken Burns music and everything goes sepia tone.
cortex: I could not fuckin' believe it when I looked in iMovie and found out that one of the default transitions that applies to stuff is called "Ken Burns".
mathowie: Ken Burns.
jessamyn: Uggggh. I know, I know.
cortex: I was like, you know, it's handy shorthand, but at the same time do you really want to admit that that's actually your default way to get people to use your software is to have them pretend that their shitty vacation snapshots are a Ken Burns documentary?
mathowie: It's a way to, if you ever watch law documentaries and they only have photos for an event.
cortex: Well yeah, it gives it some movement that keeps the screen from just sitting there totally static.
jessamyn: Especially when you're writing about the Civil War or whatever, where there just isn't any.
cortex: Yeah. Not a lot of people had DV cams at the time.
jessamyn: I mean, I'd rather have that than re-enactments, any day. [cortex and mathowie laugh] I pretty much can't watch re-enactments anymore on the TV.
mathowie: The other documentary shorthand for a still photo is they 'cut' it, you know, like the foreground from the background, they have it pop out like it's a fake.
jessamyn: Oh, and they do that 3D awfulness that After Effects lets people do?
mathowie: Yeah, it's super fake and cheeseball and I hate it. Just like, we can't show a photograph on screen, that would be too boring.
jessamyn: So here's a cut-out
- of a Civil War guy in front of a cutout of...
mathowie: Floating above the background.
jessamyn: Yeah, horrible.
mathowie: That someone magic stamped him out, yeah. Were there any other Ask Metafilter posts?
jessamyn: I have a couple, "Hey, I'm becoming not who I want to be. How do you deal with the fact that you're mediocre?"
jessamyn: Which, of course, gets predictable answers. And "How do I get back
- the creativity that I had?"
mathowie: Yeah, that was on my list.
jessamyn: They kind of went together.
cortex: I feel like there's almost like a spate of that in the last week. I feel like I've seen four or five different things where someone's like, "Hi, I'm within five years of 30 and struggling with X."
jessamyn: "I'm 30 and not married, how did you deal with that and being such a failure?" kind of thing.
mathowie and cortex: [chuckle] cortex: Yeah.
jessamyn: I'm like, "What, what, what?" But people have been pretty decent, most of them, anyhow. There hasn't been
- a lot of that, "STFU GLAR GLAR GLAR" stuff that you sometimes...
mathowie: I was telling someone the other day that I totally freaked out at age 30. Just totally, it was sort of, I don't know... Some people, it's no big deal. It was a huge deal. Whew. That's all I'll say.
jessamyn: I thought 30 was all right. Well, and here you are, Matt, having powered through it!
jessamyn: Seems a little insignificant now, you know?
- Josh, you turned 30 recently.
jessamyn: It was okay, right?
cortex: I'm doing fine.
mathowie: You already got the marriage and house worked out before that, though.
cortex: Yeah, but I wasn't trying very hard, so I...
jessamyn: Really? You?
mathowie: [laugh] Well, your wife didn't come home tonight.
cortex: Believe it or not, things mostly came fairly naturally.
cortex: Unlike my usual nose to the grindstone. "Hi honey, how you doing, not trying very hard."
mathowie: That's the best compliment.
jessamyn: "Hi, secretariat."
mathowie: Best marital compliment ever. "Whoa! I didn't even try!"
cortex: It's in a good way. It was natural. We've always sort of totally got along, which is nice.
mathowie: Wow, it is strange.
cortex: It's weird, isn't it?
mathowie: Yeah, totally.
mathowie jessamyn and cortex: [laugh] cortex: What the fuck is wrong with us?
jessamyn: Oh, you people.
cortex: But yeah, I don't know. Thirty was kind of like, hey. I mean, yeah, things are going well, so maybe that's the difference, but I don't know.
C: I didn't see it coming on the horizon to get too worried about it because it's like eh? It's just a round number.
M: No regretting how many game consoles you might own at age thirty?
C: Regretting not owning more, am I right?
J: And then you hit forty and you'll start getting rid of every single one of them. I got rid of four computers over the last week-and-a-half.
J: I know.
M: Oh wait, you'll hit middle-aged nostalgia soon, and have a Sega Genesis 32-bit.
C: You know, we've got a Super Nintendo in the closet. And Angela won't let me get rid of the Gamecube, actually. We've still got a Gamecube, but we've got a Wii, and it's totally backwards-compatible, and I don't really understand it, but it was the first console we bought together, I think, so maybe it's got some special emotional value that way.
J: I've got an Atari 2600 at my sister's place.
J: Talk about an un-fun game.
M: Not a lot going on. We should move to main Metafilter.
starts at 34:07
J: Main Metafilter?
J: Perfect! Go ahead. I have like three or four (???) that I really liked, but I bet some of them overlap.
C: I liked this comment in particular from a thread that I kinda liked too, just because I tend to like threads about words. Thread about the fifty most-searched-for words on the New York Times web site, with their stupid "select to automatically popup a search" functionality, that makes their website run like butt and breaks the interface, but other than that...
J: Oh, I hate that stuff! It breaks the internet and it breaks my head.
M: Yeah, I hate it.
C: But Combustible Edison Lighthouse -
J: Another wonderful, wonderful user name.
C: Yeah, that's a hell of a user name. But, he went through and searched old Elvis Costello reviews, on the New York Times, and pulled up nine different reviews over twenty-five years, every single one of which called him adenoidal.
C: He thought that was pretty fantastic. Like that's something in the manual style at the New York Times editorial house or something.
M: I'm thinking about writing a script at this point. If, you know, Elvis Costello appears in print, then, add, adenoidal.
C: laughs. Exactly.
J: And then, Josh chimes in later, with the, sh! How do you even pronounce it? ShiBBOLeth? SHIbboleth? That's one of those words I never -
C: It's SHIbboleth, as far as I know, but it's one of those words that I deal with in writing more than speech, by such a large margin that I can't be absolutely sure, but I think it's SHIbboleth.
J: Yes, I just like that quotation. Because it reminds me of Lovecraft, as well.
M: Read the quotation of the people that can't see everything in front of us.
J: Oh, sorry, sorry, where Josh says, "the word shibboleths always bothers me, it makes me think of H.P. Lovecraft's 'Shuggoths,'" which I'm probably not pronouncing right, and then your response was, you have the same issue, but instead of "bothers," swap out "delights," which I think means you actually like that word and how it reminds you of Lovecraft?
C: That is, yes.
J: If I can overexplain, slightly more.
C: Yes, you have aptly and exhaustively laid out the humorous intent of that statement.
M: That was a nice way of saying, "fixed that for you," without the snark.
M: Oh! I was gonna get ColdChef to read his awesome hug story, but he didn't have time.
J: Call him on the phone! He's around.
M: Oh yeah, I should just dial him up.
J: Sure, I called him yesterday. He was on Twitter like, "I'm stuck in an airport, call me," so I called him. We talked for twenty minutes about MaxFunCon.
M: He's back at home. He's probably catching up on being away for a week.
J: Probably. Get Merlin to call him so that he can be all (ululates).
M: Hodgman can call him. I'll get the Big H. I think the highlight of his weekend was Hodgman telling him, they were doing something -
J: Remembering his name.
M: Yes! They were doing improv together, and they both started something at the same time, and he went, "uh! excuse me, G.J., please, go ahead."
M: It's just how Hodgman says it in his dry tone, was the highlight.
J: Wonderful, wonderful!
M: Meeting ColdChef was amazing. He's got tons of great stories on the site, as you know, but even more after you get a few beers in him, like, oh my god, there's so many amazing stories that he can't share or print that are just - he can kill you in a "I've got something more tragic than anything you can ever imagine, just in the past couple of weeks." He told us some amazing stories, so that was a blast.
J: So yes, see if you can get him to read his Hug Club comment.
M: Yeah, it's just funny, and simple, and light-hearted, and not snarky at all. I'll try to get him to read it.
J: Speaking of adorable and, oh wait, go ahead, Josh.
C: I like this post Stavros made, it's a site, it's nothing but a Tumblr blog that posts three-frame-long looped animated gifs of scenes from movies. So he just takes three consecutive frames from a given scene in a given movie and puts them on a fast loop. And it's weirdly hypnotic. This is a guy who's done a bunch of other projects like this before too, as Stavros notes in the post. It's just great, it's just a tiny little, totally recognizable moments.
J: This post is so weird though, because it only shows five per page, which means it's always looping the wrong way.
C: Yeah, no.
M: Someone had a name for this, when you take three shots with a digital camera on burst mode, and then you loop those into an animation, there's a name for it, with a slight shake of the people. People would do this with photographs, basically, any sort of modern point-and-shoot could do two a second.
M: So you take five shots and you can make these -
J: This is totally captivating. I'm totally freaked out by them.
J: What is it that makes it look all 3D? That's Arnold Schwartzenegger in a speedo!
M: Oh my god.
J: With his pants around his knees!
M: The cut-neck one is awesome.
J: Oh my god.
C: The sorta 3D effect is actually something that's kind of a known thing. There's actually been a couple experiments to do 3D without special equipment through a photography technique. There was a fad at one point - there's a Metafilter post about this a couple years back, I think - people were briefly toying with using this for actual movies on broadcast television where you'd take a camera and the camera actually leans left and right really rapidly while you're shooting and otherwise you use it just like normal.
J: Oh yeah, we were trying to do that when I walked in the woods together.
C: 'Coz your brain still processes the 3D information based on the movement rather than telescopic vision, and you see pigeons walking along, bumping their heads along as they go? As I understand it, that's actually them using the movement of their head to change their perspective on the scenery enough that they can extract depth information even though they've got stupid eyes on far sides of their heads and no stereoscopic vision.
C: This is the same sort of general principle as the difference in the movement of the different objects in the visual field creates 3D information in the mind.
J: Creates that illusion of 3D.
J: It's great! It's really neat and I like that set of posts, although there's a lot of really gory,
J: stabbed-in-the-neck, stabbed-in-the-eye, Schwartzenegger with his pants around his knees.
C: There's a bunch of stuff in there from Harold and Maude, too, so even aside from horror films there's also just the sort of horror schtick from Harold's weird outlook on life.
J: Overactive imagination, yes. Harold. I just saw him, Bud Cort, in another movie lately.
M: Oh, yeah yeah - someone sort of dug him up from the dead and he kinda looks strange and old.
C: Yeah, he shows up every once in a while. He was some sort of envoy in, what was it, "Dogma?" I'm trying to remember. I don't remember exactly what he was in the movie, if he was God -
J: He was in "Dogma," he was in "Superman," he was in - yeah, weird! He's been in a whole bunch of stuff lately, I guess. He was in "Coyote Ugly." Considering he was born in 1948, and we mostly know him from being a kid, yeah.
Oh, he was in the Steve Zissou movie, "Life Aquatic."
M: Huh, I guess that was the last time I saw him.
J: (Gallic) Honh, honh!
M: Weird. He's got a weird boyish face and an old man's body. It's really strange.
M: It's like Mickey Rooney. He's turning into Mickey Rooney, kind of. Did I get my Mickeys right? Yeah, I think that's right.
J: No, you're right. As opposed to who, Mickey Rourke?
M: The strange 80's drunk who beats people, or the 1940's guy who's really short? That guy.
J: I think Mickey Rooney is even older than that. But yeah, you're right on. Oh, speaking back of cute stuff I really liked, for some reason the Milk Toof has captured my heart.
Have you guys seen this?
C: I have managed not to click on that before now, and now I am, and oh my god!
M: I clicked on it, and I was like "huh?"
J: It's a little cute tooth and it wanders around, and its name is ickle and the other one's name is, something similar, and it's just a blog of adorable little tooth sculptures.
M: That's a lot of work. These are hilarious.
J: Oh, ickle and Lardee! It's just basically these two tooth sculptures and -
M: Photo stories.
J: - they take baths and wander around, and yeah, they're photo stories.
M: I think I looked at that on an iPhone so I couldn't scroll through five zillion photos very quickly.
J: Yeah, I mean it requires a certain level of dedication, but, it is pretty funny and cute, I think.
M: It's very cute. My favorite - I don't want to be boastful, but my favorite post -
J & C: laugh
M: - was my, the post I made -
J: Hey wait, I liked my post too, if we're talking about our own posts!
M: Yeah, let's bring our own posts into it.
J: Josh, have you made a post on Metafilter?
C: I don't know the last time I made a post. I'll have to look.
J: Okay, go ahead, Matt.
M: Nothing is about anything I'd ever seen before, so, it's got nothing to do with me, I was just pointing out some really amazing - there's like two guys on Flickr that obsessively collect 70's cereal boxes and then take detailed, hi-res pictures of them, and they just have these immense collections, and I found one guy, I happened to see him on Flickr, a friend of mine favorited one of his things, and then I went through his whole history -
J: I had an invisible ink monster pen! Oh my god.
M: Yeah, so it's like, 70's nostalgia. He just collects everything! And now he has a blog of the best of, but if you go to his Flickr there's like a thousand more, every gum wrapper, candy wrapper, cereal box, cereal box toys that came inside that he plays with.
J: I had those plastic terrariums! Ohhh.
M: Heh. Yeah!
J: Oh my god!
M: Back when Super Sugar Crisps had the word "sugar" in it, it's all gone now -
J: And gave away terrariums.
M: People are always debating what monster-themed cereal existed, I can't remember which podcast -
45:00 - end
mathowie: that someone I know who loved Fruit Brute, and I insisted it didn't exist, because I'd never heard of it in my life, and then I found a Fruit Brute, you know, Count Chocula. There's all the standards, Frankstein-berry-related, Frankenstein with a pink one, a blue one.
jessamyn: And the Freakies.
cortex: The major arcana of your cereal tarot deck.
- Alright, and then there was an edge case of Fruit Brute, and there were all these weird monsters that were only around for a couple years and gone long ago, and they actually exist, I found
- the box.
jessamyn: I wonder if it was an East Coast/West Coast thing, too? Because there was that Ask Metafilter question about "Who decides which Coke products get distributed in which places?" And certain things just don't get distributed widely, and probably even less back in the day than nowadays.
mathowie: That came up at a MaxFunCon--sorry to call that back one zillionth time, but
- Jesse Thorn gets migraines and can't do caffeine or chocolate or stuff like that, so his favorite drink on Earth is Dr. Pepper, but caffeine-free. And it's impossible to find. Someone brought a half-case of it, this guy John brought a twelve-pack of it, because he came from Salt Lake City, where everything had to be without caffeine.
jessamyn: Heyyyy! That was actually a totally other Ask Metafilter post.
- About "Who doesn't drink caffeine?" candyhammer, one of our adorable noobs, asked if there's an anti-caffeine straightedge group. And other people were like, "Well, Mormons don't drink caffeine," and other people were like, "Shut up, yes they do," and it turned into an interesting discussion about the Mormon policy on caffeinated beverages.
- So we were talking about breakfast cereal and your post, and now I wanted to actually talk about my related posts
- which included the Cloud Society post, which was popular. But all the Metafilter posts I like have astronomy in common. So I liked my post because it was about this new cloud and the Cloud Appreciation Society and whatever, and then we found out that phrontist, who's a longtime Metafilter [member], phrontist's dad actually won, I believe it was
- a "Cloud of the Month" award, from the Cloud Appreciation Society, if that makes sense?
jessamyn: Well, it was cool, right? You would never know that otherwise, that he's one of these people who really likes to--hold on, I'll find it.
mathowie: I found it.
jessamyn: You found it?
jessamyn: He's one of those people who really likes to take pictures from up from the sky from balloons and something like that.
jessamyn: So that was kinda neat but I didn't want to sidebar
- it because it was my own post. [mathowie and cortex laugh] But there were two other terrific star and sky posts, one of which was just a single-link Vimeo post by Effigy2000, which was the night sky passing over a Texas star party. Star parties are when you go somewhere where it's really dark--
mathowie: Oh yeah.
cortex: Oh yeah, with the Milky Way.
jessamyn: Yeah, and you can see the Milky Way, and then later, filthy light thief, who we've mentioned earlier in the podcast,
- did another thing about being able to see the Milky Way with a whole ton of extra information about looking at the sky. So. They were really good, and that was all I wanted to say about them. If you like the sky and stars and stuff like that, check it out.
mathowie: Ooh, and the best part of the sky video over party is they do Strobist-style, "Here's what my exact camera settings were, if you want to copy this
- exactly and try it yourself."
jessamyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah! It's like EXIF data except totally extreme. People are like, "I did this, and then I did this, and I set it up like that, and blah bluh blah blah blah,"
jessamyn: And yeah, it was a cool camera, and it had some filters on it, but it wasn't a $20,000 camera.
mathowie: Wow, there goes the Milky Way. Wow.
jessamyn: Isn't that cool? The Milky Way is so awesome.
mathowie: Yeah. There's a--if you never heard of Strobist, Strobist is this online blog
- about photography, but it's kind of like the open source, instead of--some photographers are like magicians who will never reveal their secrets. And Strobist is the opposite of that, it's like open-source photography.
jessamyn: "Here's how we did everything." That's cool.
mathowie: "I put one flash here, exactly eight feet away, one flash over here..." It starts with flash, that's what Strobist is about. And multi-flash, when you're first learning, is completely technically difficult to figure out. So he will give you the recipe, basically, for taking a photo. And it's awesome.
cortex: Yeah, it's really nice.
- I'd never really gotten into trying to take photography seriously that I've gone out and spent money on flash gear, but I go there sometimes and read it just to hope that maybe someday I'll flip out and do that and then I'll just retain all these fascinating ideas. I find myself doing that a lot, reading blogs that are about a subject that I really don't have any intention of trying to undertake myself, but I just like the fact that someone else is paying this kind of attention and doing this kind of thinking
- about it. So I can eat this stuff up anyway.
jessamyn: And if you met somebody else who is really interested in it, you'd be feeling all smart being like, "Oh, you should check out Strobist, because blar blar blar blar." [mathowie chuckles]
cortex: Yeah, conversation fodder. So I liked this post. It didn't get a whole lot of attention.
jessamyn: This one was also on my shortlist, though. This was totally mine too.
cortex: The comics about mental illness by Darryl Cunningham. There's four or five comics listed, just five-six page things
- this guy illustrated, talking about little bits of stuff from his history talking as a nurse in a mental ward type situations. It's really nice.
jessamyn: In a locked ward kind of situation, too, and a lot of people with degenerative mental illnesses and what have you.
cortex: Yeah. And it just struck me, because one of the things that is always a tense thing in the overall discourse on the Internet is the conflict between stuff that's
- funny or weird or interesting or fascinating or disturbing because it's someone who's probably mentally ill doing it. And I think it's totally legit to look at that stuff, and I totally understand the motivation to post about stuff like that, even with some understanding of the implications, to laugh at that sort of thing. But there's also that danger that you're at the same time being really insensitive to what's a really tremendously difficult part of some people's lives.
jessamyn: Which was that Ask Metafilter thread that I just linked to, which got a whole bunch of people
- pissed off, like, "I really like weird crazy people websites," and then a whole bunch of people are like, "Oh yeah, this one, this guy's so crazy," and a couple people in the thread were like, "Oh my God, this is so not cool."
cortex: Yeah, exactly.
jessamyn: I found that this post on Metafilter was a really good response to that sort of thing.
cortex: Yeah, it was refreshing to see something that was actually very straightforward, here's some art and some work, taking it at its face and dealing seriously with the subject. Not by browbeating or anything, but the guy's got a very
- nice balance he strikes in the comics of being lightly informative and at the same humanizing what's going on with these things, instead of saying, ha-ha, look at this stuff. And it was funny, someone made a comment early on saying, "I don't like the fact that they were making fun of the feces-smearing nutjob," and other people came back, I think pretty fairly, saying, "He's not, he's talking about this guy who has weird issues with urination and defecation as a result of
- this serious mental illness he's dealing with." But the comic really doesn't make any light of it, it just draws a vignette of it.
jessamyn: This is true, yeah.
cortex: Which I thought was really nice and effective, so.
jessamyn: Yeah, that was really on my list of things I really liked as well.
mathowie: melissa may's comeback on the "Show me crazy on the Internet" was so great.
mathowie: "Thanks for asking this question. Because if there's anything today's Internet lacks, it's cheap mockery by overprivileged douchetards."
cortex: Well, and I think of her in particular because I know it's something she feels really strongly about, which is part of why I appreciated seeing that more recent post, because it was like, oh, okay, this is kind of it being done right.
mathowie: Wow, she actually closed her account after that.
cortex: Yeah. And that's something she's been very vocal about in the past on the site. So I saw that as, I can see where she's coming from.
mathowie: Yeah. That makes sense.
cortex: Another, on a lighter subject, Metafilter post
- that I liked for kind of meta reasons, but it was a post of a large a cappella group--
jessamyn: I love this song.
cortex: Doing 'Africa' by Toto. And I love it too. I'm stupid for it. I think it's kind of a ridiculous '80s pop supergroup ballad as far as that goes, but God I love it anyway. But the post kind of suggested this is--the whole text of the post: "Toto. Africa. Like you've never heard it before," which
- I guess that's true if you've never heard it before like that, but it turned into this discussion in the thread about all the things that were not new to people about it, and this whole sidebar that I think I sorta helped start up, and I don't know if I should feel proud or guilty about that, about how the whole using an audience's hands by snapping and clapping and rubbing their lap and whatnot to simulate a rainstorm, like half the people in the thread were like, "Oh my God, that is so amazing," and the other half, and I'm in this camp, were like--
mathowie: High school.
cortex: "Oh my God, have you never been to a group function where someone
- needed to do an icebreaker with a crowd of people?" Because I've heard that happen--
jessamyn: Did you ever go to youth group? Youth group. That was like a youth group thing.
cortex: Oh hell yeah. [jessamyn laughs] That's what I ended up mentioning. Because it's funny, those of us who were like, "I've heard this a bunch of times," and other people were like, "Oh, I guess I never went to summer camp." And I was like, "You know, I didn't really go to summer camp either, but my mom was a fricking youth minister growing up a lot of the time, so I heard this shit a lot!"
jessamyn: It's youth ministry stuff! That's where I got it from.
mathowie: Did you guys have cheesy motivational speakers at your high school every year?
cortex: No, but I did go to a thing that had a motivational speaker-type person opening up a function, and they did the exact same thing.
jessamyn: We had Up with People.
mathowie: Wow. Maybe that's a West Coast thing? Every year in May--it was always right before we were done with school--we'd have this unknown guy show up and just tell us to go be more awesome. Like, he would take an hour, don't pick on fat kids and go be the best you can. And one of them did the rain with the clapping, and that blew my ninth-grade mind.
jessamyn and cortex: [laugh] mathowie: But even the people who had seen them a million times, most people were blown away by the thunder by jumping on the temporary stage. I'd never heard that part.
cortex: I accept that I'm perhaps an unusual curmudgeon on the subject from unusually serious exposure to the whole shtick.
jessamyn: And I missed this entire post, so it's new to me right now!
mathowie: I hate that song and I love this post.
jessamyn: I love that song!
mathowie: I... don't. But it's amazing re-done. Like, holy cow. It was an awesome, awesome thing.
jessamyn: It's now the time to bring up my favorite single-serving site from roughly that decade.
mathowie: Oh, right.
sfx: [faint music plays in background, apparently on one of the mods' computer speakers]
mathowie cortex and jessamyn: [laugh] jessamyn: It's really loud. [laughs]
mathowie: Oh my God, heatofthemoment.asia , that is my best single-serving site.
jessamyn: I think so.
mathowie: I think that's about it for this week?
jessamyn: I... yeah.
cortex: Pretty much, yeah. I'm trying to remember if there's anything.
jessamyn: Except for the fact that there was tons and tons of political intrigue on the website that's finally dying down.
cortex and mathowie: Yeah. jessamyn: I kept looking through what was getting favorites and what was getting flagged. It was Dr. Tiller being murdered and the shooting at the Holocaust Museum and we're very happy that arco who works at the Holocaust Museum is okay. There's a fund set up for the family of the guard who got shot, which I think would be interesting to people, although probably you've seen it in MetaTalk already
- but yeah, I'm really hoping people are going to be able to.
mathowie: People were asking me a lot, "Oh, what's going on in Metafilter these days," and I was going, "Well, it's pretty heated," and they're like, "Really? Why? What's contentious about today's news?" And I'm like...
cortex: [laughs] "Have you been reading the news?"
mathowie: The Tiller thing, I think, was very positive, there were a bunch of amazing stories, we didn't even touch on that awesome--someone's actual personal experience of members working--
jessamyn: Which got totally picked up all over the entire Internet
- because we sidebarred it, which is a little scary, and I was really, really happy that--I don't know how to pronounce his username, but werkzeuger was as polite about the whole thing as he was. Like, he shared a really personal story about him and his wife getting a very late-term abortion, and it got picked up by the New York Times, Andrew Sullivan, Salon, et cetera.
mathowie: So that happens, and then something horrible happens a week later, and then we launch into conspiracy
- mode, and are they linked, and are they not linked? And then it turns into political theater, and it was horrible. And I was trying to explain to someone. I guess it just brought back all the anger of the last eight years of Bush, you know?
cortex: Yeah. The Tiller thing seemed like a real flashpoint for everybody amping up on the site, I feel like. Not that there's necessarily a causal thing--
cortex: But I think to some extent that did get a lot of people into a more upset place, and then everything else that's happened since then that has
- given people an excuse to chew on something may have sprung from that to some extent.
jessamyn: And we went nine days without a banning or a time-out, which is, I believe, a site record.
mathowie: Yeah. [laughs]
jessamyn: And then all this stuff happened.
cortex: Yeah. It's like the levees broke.
jessamyn: cortex and I both mentioned it on Twitter, and then it was all over.
mathowie: Yeah. It's always darkest before the dawn, and conversely, we found, it's always brightest before the Internet fucking nightmare.
jessamyn and cortex: [laugh]
mathowie: So this is a last bit for Music.
cortex: One last thing: in MetaTalk, right at the beginning of the month, Karlos the Jackal announced the completion of a very long-running project serial collaboration done in the style of Exquisite Corpse, which has come up a couple times before. But basically the idea of continuing a piece of artwork through a series of people where each person only gets to see what the last person did, but doing that with musical tracks, so
- someone records a track for a song, and someone else hears that and records their own accompaniment to that, and then the next person only hears the previous person's accompaniment, and it ended up with like 20 different pieces that got put together, and he did a great job of mixing the whole thing into one continuous thing, but he also provided all of the raw tracks so people could remix them if they want. And it came out really great! I was really skeptical of whether this could work when he brought it up last year at one point. But I think it really came out fantastic, and he did a great job of corralling
- and putting together a final mix that actually feels really cohesive. So yeah, I think the finished product is something--I had meant to put that in the Music podcast, I just did, but I forgot about it. So maybe we should run it at the end of this one, because it's really great. And it's a wonderful example of people on Metafilter working together to build a really neat creative thing that could only happen with a big group and the kind of time that this sort of format allows people to take.
jessamyn: That's awesome, let's use it as
- an outro.
sfx: [Music: Pandora's Music Box by Metafilter Orchestra]
sfx: [Music ends]
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