125: It's Been A Weird, Weird Time
 transcript  February 7, 2017 8:14 PM   Subscribe

This episode of Best of the Web, jessamyn and I catch up on the last month-ish on MetaFilter, and I mostly manage not to lapse into grumpy ranting about the state of the world, mostly. Also, we get voicemail from Greg_Ace, Wordshore, wenestvedt, and a mystery caller with an update re: bananas. This episode covers January 3rd through February 7th and runs about 90 minutes.

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- 125 is a cube and two distinct sums of squares (100 + 25 and 121 + 4). Good job 125!
- the 54-year marathon
- fuck you cat fingers
- individual groundhogs, rodents, and mammals
- ReadMe? More like UpdateMe amirite

- Icelandfilter: Can someone send me a phone book? by The Pluto Gangsta
- PHP Coder to convert/implement an administrative dashboard by sandra_s

- Two Asians talk about all of this shit. by Errant
- Trailer for Ginevra by tessmartin
- I built a multi-plane animation stand by tessmartin
- Inauguration Livestream by cortex
- You are personally inconvenienced by a protest action you support. How should you react? by duffell
- Wikinaut by Operation Afterglow
- Super Whippy by Grangousier
- Transona Five Deluxe Remaster by Annika Cicada
- Free fonts from the 90s! by ardgedee
- Reaction GIF Generator by loquacious crouton (MeFi Post)

- Reaction GIF Generator by phunniemee
- "Drink plenty of water and use moisturizer every single day." by Sokka shot first
- IMDB message boards RIP by Clustercuss
- a comment by cms
- I thought these were jeans! by Mchelly
- i lik the bred by yasaman
- They Shut it Down by Joseph Gurl
- "He just died, that's all" by jessamyn
- oh no by HeroZero
- Pressure!! by vibratory manner of working
- Putting My Foot Down by eotvos
- You wonder what the thing is that’s gonna be the moment you’re proud of by How the runs scored
- a comment by bluemilker
- moods are a thing for cattle and loveplay by cortex
- Can you see a pattern forming here? by chainsofreedom

Ask MeFi
- Please recommend The Best Cat Fountain EVAR. by misanthropicsarah
- a comment by jamaro
- a comment by Polychrome
- How Does Spaghetti Squash Do The Thing? by Rush-That-Speaks
- a comment by julthumbscrew
- I'm gonna move that rock by silsurf
- Quiet Books from Diverse Authors by Think_Long
- Hidden Gems of Non-US TV by forkisbetter
- Short American horror fiction by authors who aren't white men? by dersins
- Bio-horror tech sci fi thrillers of the past few years? by turbid dahlia
- Do Mice Eat Human Semen? by Anonymous
- Costume ideas featuring Roller Shoes (or at least including them) by Metro Gnome

- WomensMarch 2: Electric Boogaloo? by sciatrix
- Chill out in some Metatalktail hour posts
- You made it, you're proud of it; let's see it! by Greg Nog
- Let's have a Love-In! by billiebee
- Testing out a new US Politics sidebar widget by cortex
- This is what MeFite democracy looks like! by ignignokt (in which, barchan on quitting her job)
- the delightful side of MetaFilter by amnesia and magnets

- Come watch me wince in pain! by bibliogrrl

This episode features:
- Moon Patrol! by erikgrande
- additional Moon Patrol
- even more Moon Patrol

- Special Event: Superbowl LI: Patriots vs. Falcons by Eyebrows McGee
posted by cortex (staff) to MeFi Podcast at 8:14 PM (60 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

OMG am the cold open!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:18 PM on February 7, 2017

(And in the commemts, too! w00t!)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:18 PM on February 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

It was either you or Melissa McCarthy and I feel like she's already had a good week, so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:21 PM on February 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

Shockmount shocker!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:00 PM on February 7, 2017

and a mystery caller with an update re: bananas.

Is it Marlo Brando?
posted by bongo_x at 9:55 PM on February 7, 2017

New sockpuppet name: Sponsor of Ants (which I will not be using because of a history)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:05 PM on February 7, 2017

One has no recollection whatsoever of leaving a message and can only presume that, at some point, maleovent forces spiked one's tea.
posted by Wordshore at 10:29 PM on February 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

"quite butt-y"
posted by jillithd at 6:44 AM on February 8, 2017

"fuck you cat fingers"
posted by jillithd at 6:50 AM on February 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

I didn't realize people were still calling in. This is delightful!
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 7:07 AM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not for the first time listening to the podcast and feeling relieved that people the same age (Jessamyn is only a few days older, but thirty years wiser, than me) share the same issues in life.

So, I was pleased to hear that it is not just me who has gotten up in the middle of the night to dismantle a noisy fan in an adjoining bathroom. I've had to do stuff like this on a regular basis over the decades; people who have slept through an earthquake/gunfire/a bat whirring around the room/their own loud snoring (I've known all of these) always seem amazed. This was the catalyst to a relationship ending, uh, about two decades ago when I had no other option but to deactivate my ex-girlfriend's mother's extremely loud and mains power operated bedside alarm clock:

Now ex-girlfriend: OMG I cannot believe you went into my parents bedroom in the middle of the night.
Me: Their alarm clock was so loud it shook the crappy ornaments in my room next door.
Ex: OMG you took their alarm clock apart while they slept next to it?!
Me: Yes! As you said yourself: while they slept next to it. Even when I was hitting the damned thing with a hammer. Never woke them once.
Ex: OMG.

Oh, also remembering that fucking clock in a Chicago hotel I was staying in; not just me but other librarians at the same conference ended up sleep-deprived. Why?!? Why would a hotel bulk-buy a load of clocks that do not shut the fuck up and cannot be altered by guests and require the hotel to spend more money on calling out an engineer to alter them?

Oh, also - the one time I refused to leave a review for an airbnb was - and this is not a coincidence - the one time I discovered on arrival that the bedroom included a fucking Swiss fucking cuckoo fucking clock that could not be fucking moved.

To wrap up this mini-rant against unnecessary night-time noises, there's a long list of useless things I learnt at school, and a longer list of things they didn't teach me about reaching this age of life. Namely, and I can confirm this speaking to many peers e.g. people in the same year at school, that when you are closing in on fifty, the two things you are mostly likely to desire every single day above all others are:
- a good poo
- a good night's sleep
Get both of those and you have a good chance of enjoying a splendid day.

(Previously: fucking owl)

Note: Everyone needs a hug.

No they don't. They need a fucking decent night's sleep.

From this grumpy comment you can probably tell I didn't get either yesterday and I am currently living on coffee and prunes.
posted by Wordshore at 7:19 AM on February 8, 2017 [12 favorites]

I protest that the Fight Club FanFare, which was incited by Cortex, is not on this list!
posted by INFJ at 7:31 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Re: Wordshore and loud noises keeping you up.

Get a smart watch and earplugs. Smartwatches can be set up with vibrating "silent" alarms. There might be some not-a-smatch-watch option out there for the hard of hearing too.

I wish you the wonderfullest silentest of sleeps. and a white noise machine.
posted by INFJ at 7:49 AM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you people. I needed this today.

PS: Moon Patrol is catchy af.
posted by DigDoug at 8:06 AM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Haha, I'm going to have to change the tagline to Race Invaders: two non-squeaky Asians talk about all of this shit. Thanks for the shout-out. We're up to episode 21 (releasing today), and I think the last few have been some of our best.
posted by Errant at 8:26 AM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

OMG, a FPP of mine made it to the podcast! I feel all excited and honored and stuff. :-D
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:28 AM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

Do Mice Eat Human Semen?

The sequel to Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? never lived up to the original.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:55 AM on February 8, 2017 [6 favorites]

Moon Patrol is catchy af.
posted by DigDoug


posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:01 AM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

That tablet recipe looks amazing, but all the warnings have me convinced that if I tried it I would burn myself horrifically, then end up with a burned-on concrete pot, then taste the tester and burn myself up again. And possibly catch on fire. Why can't I have nice things?!?
posted by Mchelly at 10:14 AM on February 8, 2017

Recipes: spaghetti squash lasagna

That escalated quickly - lasagna table flip at 1:07:25
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:21 AM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hot dang Moon Patrol is super.
posted by greenish at 10:50 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

the bedroom included a fucking Swiss fucking cuckoo fucking clock that could not be fucking moved.

this just made me so enraged that i had to lay down on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor while hissing furiosly to myself in at least 3 languages

i know so many swears
posted by poffin boffin at 11:16 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

mchelly: this looks exactly like making caramel with a fudge-making-step added in. You might burn some sugar, but sugar dissolves in water. If you did have a disaster you could just boil some water in the pot and it should all come loose.
posted by INFJ at 11:19 AM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

the bedroom included a fucking Swiss fucking cuckoo fucking clock that could not be fucking moved.

I could sleep through it. There might be some noise that I could sleep through but I haven't found it yet. The only reason that I hear my alarm in the morning is that I wake up two or three minutes before it goes off.
posted by octothorpe at 12:16 PM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh god, I am having the total cortex reaction to the spaghetti squash lasagna. This is something my wife would make and I would eat a little bit to be polite, but I would have to tell her that future eatings would likely be off the table. I don't really hate spaghetti squash, but with red sauce and all? No, no.

Also Costco sells these black bean noodles? Which sound alright -- I mean, I like black beans, and I like noodles -- but holy shit, I couldn't even watch them cook in the pot. I had to leave the room. I couldn't even look at them on the plate. I did not eat them. It was a complete body horror situation.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:52 PM on February 8, 2017

I cannot view them in the pot.
I cannot watch them turn so hot.
I cannot see them on a plate.
They make me feel so agitate'.
I do not like my noodles black.
I will not, cannot eat them, Jack!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:50 PM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Any yard potato updates?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:02 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you for the podcast. I look forward to it each month! I have to agree with cortex - I like spaghetti, and I like squash, but spaghetti squash is definitely a texture yuck for me.
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:01 PM on February 8, 2017

Thanks for the Moon Love!
posted by erikgrande at 6:38 PM on February 8, 2017

I started laughing out loud uncontrollably at Jessamyn Googling "fuck you cat fingers."
posted by deludingmyself at 11:33 PM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

I mean, the cube of ANYTHING that's a sum of two squares is a sum of two squares in two ways. Just saying,

(a^2+b^2)^3 = [a(a^2+b^2)]^2 + [b(a^2+b^2)]^2 obv

but also

(a^2+b^2)^3 = (a^3 - 3ab^2)^2 + (b^3 - 3a^2 b)^2.

(See "Norm of a Gaussian integer")

e.g. 10 = 3^2 + 1^2 so

1000 = 900 + 100

but also

1000 = 324 + 676

and etc and etc.
posted by escabeche at 3:47 AM on February 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

It makes sense when you spell it out like that but somehow I'd never noticed that before. Wooo!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:41 AM on February 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

"No, that's not good math" would have also been a good episode title!
posted by ignignokt at 6:47 AM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Aww, I feel like I have to defend the honor of Grimm after hearing Jessamyn call it "terrible" in the podcast. I mean, it's not the greatest genre show ever, and it's not gloriously and enthusiastically over-the-top-terrible like Legends of Tomorrow, but it's been a nice middling kind of monster-of-the-week + gradual world-building show with an enthusiastic cast and a willingness to poke fun at itself. Anyway, it's midway through the 6th and final season, and there's a handful of us on Fanfare who are going to be sad to see it end.

(I also feel like I should warn Cortex that the series finale of Penny Dreadful is extremely dreadful, so he can lower his expectations now, unlike those of us who watched it live and were blindsided by the awfulness, as evidenced by our collective "WTF, writers?!" comments in the purple.)
posted by oh yeah! at 1:38 PM on February 9, 2017

Oof, noted, oh yeah! Secretariat and I will brace ourselves when we get there.

As for Grimm, I think we moved on before I really said anything about it but my criticism of it is basically identical to your faint praise, so I think it's just that it didn't stick for me. (I think we started watching it about the time we were burning out a few seasons into Supernatural, so that didn't help.) But Grimm bouncing off of me is a little worse in a personal way because they film a ton of it in Portland, and my neck of in particular, so I'd like to be into it enough to enjoy seeing my town showing up in fractured pieces from episode to episode.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:43 PM on February 9, 2017

It may be all about context. I got dropped into the middle of watching it with a stoner friend who sort of couldn't keep the characters straight so I got a muddled description of what was actually going on and maybe didn't give it a chance? I missed the fun-poking so to me it was just dreadful-serious and also occasionally quite cheesy which is a bad combo.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:53 PM on February 9, 2017

So glad there is a shout out to mefi poets (and their offspring) I lik the bred is fucking awesome.
posted by adamvasco at 4:31 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I listen to these podcasts in the car, on the highway. I can hear every word Jessamyn says with perfect clarity. I can hear roughly 30-40% of what Cortex says. Last month's phone call-ins were almost indecipherable for me, and all that came through was the general feeling of happiness and community but very few actual words.

Can all the rest of you hear what Cortex is saying? Do I need better car speakers? Most podcasts I listen to don't have this issue, but I also imagine that the cross-country nature of the Metafilter podcast exacerbates the difficulty of the enterprise.

also agree with adamvasco above. It's a treat to find a poem in these threads.
posted by Vatnesine at 4:25 PM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cortex has gotten more mumbly over the past few podcast episodes. I think it's a combination of 1) talking into a microphone so maybe he moves away sometimes (or just gets really quiet), and 2) he's talking to his old friend Jessamyn, and he sort of forgets that he should be speaking loudly enough for people to hear him. I typically listen to the podcast in a delivery van driving 70mph using the sound system of the van (no headphones while driving, people!). It's not an ideal environment for when cortex gets all introspective and mumbly.

Podcast protip: remember, you're basically doing a radio show.
posted by hippybear at 5:10 PM on February 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah I have the same problem listening through earbuds on a bus: either cortex is mumbly or I can hear cortex but jessamyn's louder syllables are piercing. Right now in my quiet apartment, I just turned on voice boost in my podcast app and both of them sound fine.

posted by clavicle at 6:52 PM on February 10, 2017

Both Jessamyn and Mr Cortex sound clear to one, listening on both a MacBook and an Amazon tablet. The latter maybe more reticent these last few podcasts - one suspects trying hard to restrain from yelling "Everything is fucked!" followed by a wish or oath which would result in the Cortex Compound being surrounded by Feds within 30 minutes. Which, under recent circumstances, would be entirely understandable.

tl;dr - perhaps cut our head mod a little slack.
posted by Wordshore at 9:33 PM on February 10, 2017

Probably what I should do is just bump myself up another 3 dB every episode until people start complaining.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:33 PM on February 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

> Cortex has gotten more mumbly over the past few podcast episodes.

A penchant for undertalking generally is a problem. But I think it's specifically a problem of listening to the podcast while driving. Cortex' voice is pitched at roughly the range of the sound the tires make on pavement at 65-75 mph (which I guess puts it somewhere in the 700-1400 Hz range, per this presentation), while Jessamyn's is higher, and therefore easier to distinguish from ambient sounds. I don't have as much trouble with the podcast when listening on headphones or when the car is moving slowly or stopped.
posted by ardgedee at 5:24 AM on February 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am really glad everyone else is having the "Can't listen while driving" issue because it was vexing me and we've been doing more sound checks but I basically had to stop listening to it in the car (loud enough to hear cortex would make me seem shrieky and too loud). If it's just the way Josh's pitch works, there may not be a lot we can do? He sounds perfectly understandable and non-mumbly when I listen to the podcast anywhere but the car.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:34 AM on February 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think part of a fix might be if Josh can add more treble to his part of the conversation? Cars sort of swallow bass sounds because of road noise, but treble can cut through that mix a bit. Men's voices have this problem in general. I don't know exactly what the difference is between the male voices on, say, NPR and the male voices in a lot of the podcasts I listen to, but I find myself reaching for the volume knob a lot when it's not broadcast radio.
posted by hippybear at 9:33 AM on February 11, 2017

> I don't know exactly what the difference is between the male voices on, say, NPR and the male voices in a lot of the podcasts I listen to...

That's mostly a product of a system with more moving parts... NPR announcers tend to have better radio voices, in the sense that they can speak loud and clear while still maintaining a conversational-seeming tone. But NPR show production also tends to use compression and limiting among other processing effects to bring speakers' voices up to similar perceptual levels without making any of them seem shouty. "Perceptual" is a key term, too -- we tend to be more sensitive to certain frequencies than others, but using EQ to bring all voices to identical levels makes people sound weird because we don't hear anybody talk like that in person (CBC Radio announcers in particular always sounded chesty and boomy because their production standards boosted certain frequency ranges; it's a variation on the classic top-40 DJ sound). "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" is an interesting show to listen to, production-wise, because it's a call-in show with panelists, and some people undertalk, and some panelists are shouty, and the host has a baritone voice slightly above cortex's, but everybody comes through pretty clearly and nobody's overwhelming anybody else.

Anyway dialing this in is do-able but time-consuming to manage in more than a rote way, especially while trying to figure out what works without the benefit of references. So it'd be wonderful for the podcast to get more production love but I also realistically think it can end up being a hell of a request to make.
posted by ardgedee at 10:00 AM on February 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'd vote for cortex making himself (at least) 3 dB louder. And maybe increasing treble?
I've been chastised for being too quiet at work. Things that helped: standing up while talking and imagining that the real audience is at the back of the room.
Josh - your audience wants to hear you!
posted by Vatnesine at 10:10 AM on February 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

ardgedee: thank you! I'm actually listening to Wait Wait right now! Thanks for your comment.

The podcast that makes the most furious is The Frame. Again, listening in a vehicle, the host segments are fine to listen to, the interview segments begin to wash out, and while the interviewer usually is minimally audible, the guests' voices get lost entirely. I either just extrapolate what they're saying from the words I can hear or play with the volume knob constantly because the perceptual volumes are so disparate. And we're talking about a show produced by KPCC!
posted by hippybear at 11:29 AM on February 11, 2017

Ahh! Someone just told me I had made the podcast! OMG. (I haven't listened because me and baniak usually listen together and AHH this is so cool.)

ANYWAY here is my new tattoo that I got as part of a Field Museum exhibit.
posted by bibliogrrl at 3:23 PM on February 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yeah, bibliogrrl, that's so damn neat; if I'd been in Chicago for some reason I totally would have come by.

And I'm really curious about the logistical details of that, like how they deal with scheduling given it's an event with a live audience, whether and how much negotiation there had to be on like scope and design for any given tattooee so that the work could get reasonably done in the timeslot even accounting for a little fudge factor, etc. Which I'm probably overthinking since the artists were presumably solid pros who can feel that sort of thing out pretty easily, but somehow the public performance aspect of it feels like A Thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:48 AM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

So, what I know is they worked with 6 local artists and each artist worked 2 days. They drew flash exclusive for the event that was attached to the bios on this page (scroll down). I went to Joel Molina (who I have other work from, he's a good artist and a good human being). Each appointment is 1.5 hours, and the flash roughly corresponds to the amount of time they had to work.

baniak was talking to the docent at the event - they set this up in the museum so people who would not normally be comfortable going into a tattoo studio could see how it was done.

I got in by SHEER LUCK. A friend of mine dm'd me on twitter in October - "Hey did you see this?" I was like OH NEAT, hey the phones are open, I'll try to call! I got through on the second try. I had to pay at the time I got the appointment. (it was not cheap - $250, which isn't a bad price for the experience, but was a bit more than you'd pay for a similar tattoo just in a studio, from my personal experience).

I later found out that I got one of 36 appointments, and that there were over 4,000 people on the waiting list within a week.

Also, as I was waiting someone from the health department showed up to make sure everything was above board. Later in the appointment someone pointed out that the health department usually shows up at your average tattoo studio once a year... they'd already been there 8 times since the exhibit began.

I need to go back and spend time in the actual exhibit - I was so keyed up before and after I didn't get a chance to look.
posted by bibliogrrl at 6:36 PM on February 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

Joe Posnanski does a podcast with Michael Shur that I keep trying and failing to add to my regular rotation because after 100+ episodes, one of them finally bought a microphone. Unfortunately, Posnanski -- who I do dearly love listening to -- has a passionate voice that just blows out his crummy mic on every sentence, making the whole show unlistenable.

On the other hand, Jason Snell is an old Mac World editor who runs a whole bunch of podcasts, and he edits his show well, and also must require his co-hsts to use a real mic because they all sound very good. Lots of guys, plenty of low-talking nerds, but I can't recall ever having to turn off his shows because I couldn't hear them. And Australian Patrick Gray does a podcast about infosec called Risky Business that's only nerds, half of whom have non-American accents, and it also sounds awesome every week.

So cortex, I am OK with you bumping up the volume every show until we all scream, because I really want to hear what you have to say! :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:52 AM on February 13, 2017

Whooo opened the transcript? (who who who who)
posted by Pronoiac at 8:13 PM on February 18, 2017

Rad, got that added to the post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:31 PM on February 18, 2017

"Whooo opened the transcript? (who who who who)"

My five-year-old came home from kindergarten this week going, "Who makes the sound buh? BEE BEE-BEE BEE! Who makes the sound cuh? CEE CEE=CEE CEE!" and on through the entire alphabet and it is literally the most annoying thing in the history of the universe.

Like I may actually file a complaint with the principal about it.

I mean this song was already annoying but I think it has been permanently ruined for me.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:33 PM on February 18, 2017

Who ate the bananas then?!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:15 PM on February 23, 2017

posted by moonmilk at 3:22 PM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

A late update: the most recent episode of Race Invaders may interest some people here especially, as I interview once and hopefully future MeFite maxsparber about Jewish culture and antisemitism. https://raceinvaders.org/2017/03/02/episode-22-mazel-tov-cocktail/
posted by Errant at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hey I listened to it on my long drive up to Montreal! It was really good.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:52 PM on March 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

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