Metafilter Podcast, Episode 125: "It's Been A Weird, Weird Time" (2017-02-07)

This transcript has not yet been fully transcribed.

Please help transcribe episode 125 of Best of the Web, the Metafilter Podcast! Why? Because it's awesome! Also: It's a text-based site. The hearing-impaired have full access to the content, except this one aspect.

Thank you for your volunteer efforts, Metafilter producers!

Transcript

wenestvedt:
Hi, this is Will, online as wenestvedt, and just want to say thanks to everybody for being there since November and January 20th. It's been weird and kind of awful, but you guys have certainly made things a little easier. Thanks! Keep the faith!
Jingle:
(theme song)
cortex:
Well, shall we do this thing?
jessamyn:
Yeah, yeah! Let's do this thing!
cortex:
I've got an idea. Let's record a podcast.
jessamyn:
Let's--let's.
cortex:
Do you want to do that? Do you want to record a podcast?
jessamyn:
You and me?
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
Sure.
cortex:
Should we just do it?
jessamyn:
Sure!
cortex:
Alright. Well, hey! Welcome to the Metafilter Monthly Podcast: Best of the Web.
I feel like this intro disintegrates every time I do it. But this is episode 125. Today is February the 7th, and we're covering basically the start of the year through today, I think we recorded the last one on the 2nd of January.
jessamyn:
Yeah. Yeah.
cortex:
I am Josh Millard a.k.a. cortex.
jessamyn:
And I'm Jessamyn.
cortex:
And I'm excited to announced that I have somewhat repaired, in a very hacky fashion, the mic I use to record this, which has been previously--
jessamyn:
I didn't know there was something wrong with your mic!
cortex:
It was a subtle thing, but there was a little bit of noise coming through, a little bit of hum sometimes, because--it's a fancy mic, this is a mic that, it's a USB mic, a Rode Podcaster that Matt handed down to me years ago.
jessamyn:
I remember, yeah.
cortex:
And it's a nice mic, and it rests on a suspended shock mount. You know, there's an inner ring that the mic's attached to, and an outer ring attached to the mic stand, and then there's a bunch of elastic running between the two that holds it just floating in the air there.
And that's great, because that eliminates a whole lot of noise transfer from the desk that the mic is sitting on, and it means...
jessamyn:
Oh, I was always wondering what that was for! Okay.
cortex:
Yeah. It's like, it's shocks. It's a shock mount, and since a microphone just turns vibrations into noise, if you don't have some sort of shock protection between a desk and mic knocking on the desk will make noise in the mic, you know. A computer humming on the desk will transfer its hum into the mic. And the last few episodes, at least,
have had some issues where I was noticing there was some noise after the fact, and I finally took a look at the mic and realized, well, the elastics had just given way enough that it was just sitting on the fucking outer ring. So the shock mount was doing *nothing*.
jessamyn:
Oh no!
cortex:
Yeah. Which, again, like, there's not construction going on in my office when I'm recording, so it's not a huge deal, but like, I was like, oh, that's why that sort of [??].
jessamyn:
You're just getting a little weird sounding...
cortex:
Exactly, you know?
jessamyn:
Well, it's funny, right? Because I'm sort of the, oh my god, where is that sound coming from, person about a completely different part of my life? You know, like, the podcast, I'm like, eh, whatever, bleh.
cortex:
(chuckles)
jessamyn:
Like, I could turn off my humidifier, but other than that, whatever, you take your chances. You get what you get. But, like, you know, when I'm trying to go to sleep, I'll sit here in a hotel room and be like, "What is that noise?" Like, there's something, right? Maybe there's a refrigerator that hums, or maybe there's a... like, I stayed in an AirBnB with a fan in the bathroom that, just, you couldn't turn off?
And so I had to get on the Internet to learn how to take it apart?
cortex:
(chuckles)
jessamyn:
You know, like? (laughs) So I know what you're talking about, only not in that example.
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
Like, in a completely different example, but.
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
Yeah. Well, I'm glad you fixed it. Congratulations!
cortex:
Yeah. I rigged it up with a couple of elastic hairties that Secretariat suggested I try.
jessamyn:
Isn't she sharp?
cortex:
She is! She's a sharp one.
jessamyn:
She's the sharpest.
cortex:
But yeah. So anyway. Anybody who *is* a super audiophile who's been just curious about that the last few episodes, congratulations.
jessamyn:
I don't think we've gotten a bunch of negative feedback on that. Though I do have to say, you know, doing the big call-in show, I really feel like, sort of did exactly what we wanted it to do, right?
cortex:
It dragged some people in, you know?
jessamyn:
It got a lot more people in, a lot more people interactive, I think we should do that more often, because that was wicked fun.
cortex:
Yeah, I like the idea of doing that. And actually, you know, I've noticed a couple of voicemails come in since then.
I didn't think to check them before the recording, but maybe I'll slip them into the episode during [??].
jessamyn:
Nice. Well, because it didn't seem to kill you with work, either. Like, I mean, I know it was a lot *more* work.
cortex:
Yeah. Yeah, it is, like, it's definitely, I'm not going to do that every month just because it's *enough* more work.
jessamyn:
Sure. Sure.
cortex:
But it's totally doable. Like, *that* as a quarterly thing I think would be totally doable. And then maybe doing some other stuff on episodes in-between that's a little bit lower impact. So yeah.
jessamyn:
Yeah! Well, I think that's a great idea. And I enjoyed that one too, just, you know.
cortex:
Yeah. That was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that.
jessamyn:
Yeah.
Oh!
cortex:
And it was fun having everybody have a good time in the thread.
jessamyn:
Yes. Just a little grabassery. It's always good for everybody. Well, and I feel like Metafilter's been *really* trying, even from a specific kind of mod but also user perspective, to have there be stuff in MetaTalk that's positive.
cortex:
Yeah. (laughs)
jessamyn:
So that people can remember what it's like to feel joy.
cortex:
Yep. Yeah, yeah.
jessamyn:
But that's been a concerted effort that I do feel like has borne fruit. We can talk about that a little bit later,
too.
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
But I've enjoyed it as a user, and, you know, thanks.
cortex:
Yeah, no, it's something we're going to keep aiming for, because it's actually been pretty important for me. I've been... you know, as I... (chuckles) I've been wondering what sort of mood I was even going to be in when we recorded because it's like, it kind of varies day to day, and hour to hour, sometimes, these days?
jessamyn:
Sure. Sure. Yeah.
cortex:
You know, more than I'm used to. I'm very accustomed to being kind of blasé, chill, like, either energetically cheerful or
laid-back cheerful person.
jessamyn:
Right. Even keel, you are.
cortex:
Yeah. And it's been slightly less.
jessamyn:
(chuckles)
cortex:
You know, I mean, I'm not unrecognizable or anything, but I spend a lot more time being angry or occasionally despairing than I am accustomed to. So I wasn't sure if I was going to be just full of positive energy here, or just like, man, this fucking everything, what do you do, man?
jessamyn:
(chuckles) Right.
cortex:
We may be riding a line in between. And I feel like that's okay, that's probably about an honest representation of the site
zeitgeist (chuckles) right now.
jessamyn:
Sure! Well, and also, I feel like, you know, depending on the time of day we record, which is completely opaque to the people listening, usually.
cortex:
Oh, yeah, true.
jessamyn:
But late in the day I'm just tired or whatever. And I just got back from a big, long trip. Which turned out to be super fun, and I had a great time, and hi-ho, Toronto meetup people, you are amazing! But, like, sometimes I just come home and I'm [??], I just want to lie in bed and read magazines for like two days.
cortex:
Yep. Yep.
jessamyn:
But I'm in a pretty cheery mood, and nobody sneezed on me and gave me the crud on some...
cortex:
(chuckles)
jessamyn:
You know, I was on every form of public transportation there is! And hugging a lot of people at the s--, you know, not at the same time, in different times. But, yeah. Stood out in the cold too much. And stayed healthy. So I'm a little excited about that.
cortex:
You shot the moon. You shot the moon [??].
jessamyn:
And I left the country. Which I recommend.
cortex:
Yeah, yeah. (chuckles) With qualifications.
jessamyn:
If you possibly can. Right, right. Well, although, that was part of it, right?
We mentioned this sort of before we started recording, but in Boston, the airports were not full of people in trouble as much as they were full of lawyers ready for people in trouble, which was nice. By the time I left the country, and when I came back, certainly. So by the time this podcast goes up we may know something more about the actual sort of ban and its quasi-legality to begin with. But I was heartened to see that, and heartened
by the positive reception I felt like I got from the nice Canadian people who were just (Canadian accent) sorry. (chuckles)
cortex:
(chuckles)
jessamyn:
I appreciated that, a lot of that.
cortex:
Way to be, Canadians.
jessamyn:
Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. Oh, and? This month? We're back to numbers that are actually kinda cool?
cortex:
125 is great! It's a fucking cube!
jessamyn:
Yes! You can build a box out of 125, and it's awesome. *And*, it's a sum of squares, and I didn't know this, in two different
ways.
cortex:
Which is it? Let's see, 100 plus 25.
jessamyn:
Yep.
cortex:
144 and 9? No, that's not good, man. Uh...
jessamyn:
I mean.
cortex:
Well, that's *really* bad.
jessamyn:
(laughs)
cortex:
(laughs) You know, just add, add... yeah. What's the other one?
jessamyn:
Apparently, 11 squared plus 2 squared? So what's 11--but is that true?
cortex:
Ohh! 11 and 121.
jessamyn:
It is! Yeah. So that's kind of awesome.
cortex:
Yeah, that's pretty great.
jessamyn:
And then there's a whole bunch of other crap, and in fact there's so much other crap there's a Wikipedia banner that's like, "This article may contain indiscriminate, excessive, or irrelevant examples"--
cortex:
(laughs)
jessamyn:
So I'm going to fix that when I get off the phone, but. (laughs) You know. Wikipedia. I just enjoy it so much lately. Like, all the crap on Wikipedia is such low-level crap compared to high-level crap that...
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
So yeah. 125, kind of interesting.
cortex:
Good job, 125, you're managing to pull some weight for your neighbors. We'll see how 126 does, but... (chuckles)
jessamyn:
Yeah, I can already almost guess. Just... just not well. But we'll see. We'll see! Why borrow trouble?
cortex:
Well, exactly, exactly. Jobs--there's a, someone needs a phone book sent to Iceland. Okay?
jessamyn:
Oh. I saw that!
cortex:
So, uh...
jessamyn:
I was kinda hoping somebody had handled that, because it went up in the very beginning of January.
cortex:
Yeah. Well, yeah, yeah. January 6th. So it's been like a month, and presumably still no phone book in Iceland. Or from Iceland, rather. No, no, in Icel--yes. Anyway, go read the job description, phone book, Iceland, somebody can make this--just make this happen for the hell of it. Just go for it.
jessamyn:
Handle this!
cortex:
Yeah. Let's get that sucker nailed down.
Also, there's a PHP job, which is also good, so, you know. Somebody do that.
jessamyn:
Right! Oh, yeah, there's the little box where we can paste stuff in.
cortex:
Yes, yes. (chuckles) We've been recording for 20 minutes now, ten of which we're just throwing away. Now we remember how we do this podcast thing. But there are Jobs.
jessamyn:
Great! Yeah, so that's the sum total of Jobs, actually.
cortex:
Yep. I think there's... yeah, yeah.
jessamyn:
We're not just bringing out our favorites. We're discussing every last one of them.
cortex:
The unfilled ones. I think there were a couple more this month, but I think they've been successfully handled already.
jessamyn:
Oh, do you have some special admin view where you can see this?
cortex:
No, I just remember getting e-mails.
jessamyn:
Oh. Pff.
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
Because I was gonna say, why don't I have that?
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
Oh! I'm supposed to give someone a gift account, and I couldn't make it work on my phone--
cortex:
Oh, no!
jessamyn:
So I may have to kibbitz with you afterwards.
cortex:
Alright, that's fine.
jessamyn:
Because I was like, "Oh, yeah,", somebody came with a family member, and I was like "Let's sign them up!" And they gave me five dollars--
cortex:
(chuckles)
jessamyn:
--which I'll put in an envelope to you if you want.
I was like, "Really, not necessary." And they're like, "Give it to Josh!"
cortex:
(laughs)
jessamyn:
I was like, "fine, fine."
cortex:
Send me a five-dollar postcard, like, a fancy postcard. That'll work.
jessamyn:
Okay. Okay. But it just didn't work, but maybe it was my phone... I didn't even get a SIM card for this trip to Canada, because I was like, you know, noth--I don't need to be that in touch.
cortex:
Yeah. Just use wi-fi when you need it.
jessamyn:
Yeah, I just used iMessage for everything, but I was kind of in the iffy wi-fi. At any rate, we'll figure it out. But I was like, "maybe this is an admin tool that doesn't work anymore".
cortex:
(chuckles)
jessamyn:
Or that I don't have access to anymore!
cortex:
I feel like I've used it recently, but I feel like it might be somehow hitchy, so yeah, we should check it out.
jessamyn:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've got like a little scrap of paper (laughing) wrapped around a five-dollar bill.
cortex:
(laughs) Metafilter's, she's an old boat, you know. Sometimes the engine needs a little bit of greasing, I don't know, what do you do with an engine? I'm bad at boats. I regret bringing them up. Hey, you want to talk about Projects?
jessamyn:
Sure!
cortex:
There was a lot of Projects.
jessamyn:
I have a couple favorite Projects this time around. One of which went up right afterwards, and unfortunately, I would like this to be on my, "So, there's this podcast that I've been listening to and it's amazing," but instead it's like, "So, there's this podcast I am *gonna start listening to*, and I'm sure it's amazing". Which is Errant, who does a podcast with himself and his friend Tim Yang called Race Invaders--
cortex:
Yes.
jessamyn:
Which is basically like, social justice, politics, race stuff, geek stuff, and they're on like episode 16, so if that sounds really awesome to you, you should go listen to it, and he pulled out, Errant pulled out a couple that he really likes of the sixteen, if you're having a hard time picking among, how do I get started kind of thing.
cortex:
Yeah. Which is a really good idea for a podcast. It's one thing to say, "Well, you know, I mean , I feel like all the episodes are good," and it's, you know, "This one. Go listen to this one. This one you will probably like."
jessamyn:
Well, and wasn't that... I feel like that was its own blog at some point. Like, podcasters choose their favorite episode, kind of thing. Although, you know, this may be something that those guys who I came to talk to about podcasts when I came down to Massachussetts the last time were, originally they were going to take us out to dinner, but then we wound up having pour-over coffee in somebody's office, and it sucked, and I was mad.
cortex:
(chuckles)
jessamyn:
Because they wanted to interview a bunch of librarians, so they talked to me and DiscourseMarker and Horace Rumpole. And they were really nice, but they just basically, they're start-up dudes with an app, and they wanted some library feedback. And we gave them some library feedback. And I think that was one of the features they were thinking of, which maybe now I've broken some NDA that I never signed.
cortex:
(laughs)
jessamyn:
But like, where podcasters pick their favorite episode. Because I think for a lot of people, if you listen to a podcast regular, you can pick, like, "Ahh, this one, we were just on fire, and..." et cetera.
cortex:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, I feel like there was probably at least one blog like that, because that rings
a bell.
jessamyn:
Yeah. But more to the point, I like Errant's comments, I like listening to him, I think he really does a lot of emotional labor-type stuff in Metafilter race threads to try and make complicated issues understood.
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
So I'm really looking forward to listening to this, because if it's anything like the comments that he makes--I mean, maybe he's got a little squeaky voice, I don't know.
cortex:
(chuckles)
jessamyn:
I mean, that's my concern, right? That's my concern about all Internet people, before I met Jim.
My biggest concern was, "What if he has a squeaky voice?"
cortex:
Well, I've met him at least once at a meet-up in Seattle. I think I may have seen--
jessamyn:
Squeaky?
cortex:
No, no, actually. He has a perfectly normal voice.
jessamyn:
Yes!
cortex:
So I think you can (chuckles) rest--
jessamyn:
I mean, nothing wrong with squeaky voices, but I might not pick them for my podcast listening.
cortex:
Sure, sure.
jessamyn:
I think I may have a squeaky voice.
cortex:
I liked this update on a previous Project back in, oh, October of last year, I think.
tessmartin had posted about a multi-plane animation stand that she built.
jessamyn:
I remember we talked about that!
cortex:
Yeah. So now, just after the last podcast, she posted a trailer for an animated work called Ginerva. Ginerva? Ginervegerva. Ginevra.
jessamyn:
No, Ginevra.
cortex:
Ginevra.
jessamyn:
I was reading like Ginerva, and it's not.
cortex:
Yeah. You know, like Minerva's sister.
jessamyn:
I don't even know. What? Who?
cortex:
Yeah. Minerva? That's like a Greek goddess or something, I think? Or something. Something.
jessamyn:
Seriously, is your Google broken? Why are we having this conversation? Are you sitting in front of a computer right now?
cortex:
The worst radio in the world. Okay, hold--let's just be quiet while I type and read quietly to myself.
jessamyn:
Oh, no, I'm happy to rag on you while you type.
cortex:
Oh, *Roman* goddess. *Roman* goddess of--okay, well, then that's, as long as we can keep the chatter going. Yes, Minerva is a Roman goddess of wisdom, and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. I thought it said "sponsor of ants", and I was like *wow*. But yes. She was born with weapons from the head of Jupiter.
And things just sort of go from there, as you might imagine with Roman and Greek mythology.
jessamyn:
Great!
cortex:
Anyway, so that's kind of a, it's neat, here's the post about making the tool and now here's something that came from that tool, I think that's a nice follow-up.
jessamyn:
Awesome!
I do have to say, because you probably won't mention it, I really did enjoy your Project.
cortex:
Oh. (chuckles) Yeah. I... yeah. That was one of *many*--
jessamyn:
Josh made an inauguration livestream, right the day before the inauguration. I don't--did anything--I mean, what was it like, being the guy who owned that domain during the inauguration?
cortex:
It was a non-issue. I mean, the fact that the domain was available sort of speaks to the fact that it was unlikely anything was going to come of it. I mean, it's such a flash in the pan domain joke. And it's not something where like, I showed it to several people, like, oh, man, I really thought it was going to be, like, a picture of someone just taking a dump.
jessamyn:
Auugh.
cortex:
Which in retro--
jessamyn:
Thank you for it not being that.
cortex:
You know, something like that, you know. (chuckles)
jessamyn:
Yeah, I know what you mean.
cortex:
I could see that, I mean, I think that may have been someone's specific example. But you know, instead it's just me sort of being angry and sincere about shit being fucked up and Trump being awful [unless ??] take care of each other, but yeah, it was sort of a weird little instinctive thing. But I was glad I wrote it up.
jessamyn:
Yeah.
cortex:
But there was a bunch of essentially activist and
solidarity stuff of Projects this last couple weeks in particular. Which, I mean, no surprise, but still. It's nice to see visible signs of that along with everybody... because you know, people are, people are worried, they're scared, they have lots of genuine really good reasons to just kind of be on edge and on the defensive, and it's nice to see people managing to also sort of go on the offensive and sort of say,
okay, what do we do now? What's next? What can we accomplish? How can we get this stuff together? So.
jessamyn:
Yeah! And I was just looking at duffell's post, because he had mentioned in a--
cortex:
Oh, yeah.
jessamyn:
--in a thread, one of the threads about stuff, that's basically a essay, and the title is, "You are personally inconvenienced by a protest action you support. How should you react?"
And it's nice, because it is kind of a thing that's worth thinking about. Like, maybe you're not a protestor, and maybe you're not an activist, maybe you're not out carrying a sign, but you're just going around your day today, and maybe there are other protestors or activists around you doing things, and maybe they get in your way, and it's easy to kind of be like, "grump grump gump, those protestors don't understand how much I'm inconvenienced, grump grump, maybe I don't agree with"--whatever. People, you get irritated and you kind of start feeling weird.
And so this is a little kind of pregaming to think about, well, what would you do? And what's important? And how can you make things go a little better for everybody, especially if you agree with the protestors?
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
And I appreciated that. So I, you know, that kind of thing, I mean, I keep telling people, because there's a lot of people on Metafilter like, "euhhh, I don't know if I'd go to a protest, or it's not safe for me to go to a protest", or a whole bunch of other things.
So it's nice to be like, well, maybe you can just kind of help other people not have a bad user experience when they're
et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
So. It's cool!
cortex:
Yeah, no, I liked that. It was a nice, thoughtful piece, and definitely, like, that's part of the reality of like, wanting everybody to be sort of fired up and getting out and whatnot is really understandable, and I sort of feel that way to some extent, but it's also, everybody's also got to live their lives, and not everybody's going to be able to do everything or feel up to doing every kind of thing, and so yeah, just sort of being--being part of the collective whole
in terms of sort of supporting what's going on, even if you're not actually doing it, is definitely a good way to help.
jessamyn:
Yeah! But it's not necessarily what would come naturally. So I do appreciate him actually writing it down in words, so you can kinda think it through.
cortex:
Yeah.
jessamyn:
I thought it was well-put.
cortex:
Yeah, exactly.
Man, yeah, there's a bunch of stuff. I mean, there was also like stuff that's just nice projects and stuff too.