RW120 - 1,000 horses

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John wondering how the unit "horsepower" does make any sense when you come to 1000 horses, because you can't possibly control 1000 horses and get any work out of them.

They start the show with a new pitch for their Patreon. They had thought about creating Bonus Content previously, but John rejected the idea of doing a live concert with new material every week. On the other hand, John likes to communicate and pay back all the feedback he got previously, so they propose a reader mail segment in the After Dark space where people can ask real questions that weren’t somewhat neutered for a broad audience, but questions about real things that could be talked about in a space that was reserved for people who really cared. Listeners can send an email to vt.5yb5|krowdaor#vt.5yb5|krowdaor or use the contact-form on The whole idea of this show is to talk about sex, religion and politics and listeners could ask about any of that. John might occasionally play a song, although he is not committing to it. He will certainly have a guitar around.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

Hurricanes and nature still dominating human kind (RW120)

John was looking at a video of some NOAA aircraft flying into the eye of Hurricane Lane (see for example this article). Dan is not sure if he has every heard about a Hurricane hitting Hawaii before because hitting Hawaii is like hitting a needle in a haystack, not like Florida that is hanging out there. There are a lot of bad parts about living in Florida, but for Dan the worst part was the constant hurricanes. It sucked so bad!

When Dan first moved to Florida he was in his early teens. Publix would give away photocopied papers with plotting points where the hurricane was that would line up with the coordinates they would read out on the radio every hour. Dan and his granddad would plot these points together and that would show you the track as it was going. They didn’t have the Internet and the only way to get coordinates from a hurricane is to listen to the AM radio station once an hour.

That set the stage for Dan’s tremendous hurricane anxiety until he finally moved away from Florida. It also let him want to be a meteorologist, not on TV, but working at NOAA and tracking hurricanes, which he obviously never did. As an adult, preparing for the hurricanes and dealing with them was a whole other stress and anxiety that Dan is so glad he left behind.

John is a little bit of an amateur storm chaser and the idea of a hurricane really excites him. He really likes storms in general and living in a place where storms would happen regularly would be so exciting for him! Dan agrees it is exciting, but not the good kind of exciting, but more the kind of exciting when a lion has gotten into your house at night and you are trapped in your bathroom. It would be exciting until it kills you and that is what hurricanes sometimes do.

Dan’s grandparents used to live in a condo on the beach and they always had to evacuate, which sucked! Dan is lucky that he never had serious damage done to his house. The worst thing that ever happened was tremendous water intrusion where they had to rip out carpets and repair walls. That kind of kills all of the interest or excitement you might have, you just want those hurricanes to go away and never come back again.

There are a few big storms a year in Seattle, but they are not at all like the big storms that other people get. The wind just knocks down some trees and a few people die from falling trees, usually because they are in a car. It seems very random and unlikely that you would be somewhere where a tree falls. There aren’t enough trees falling that it would just be a matter of time until one kills somebody, but it seems like a direct hit, like God has been waiting for this chance for a long time.

Dan doesn’t like the idea that human beings are shaping or pounding this planet into whatever bizarre unnatural shape we feel it should be in. We are covering it up, we are destroying it, and we have been doing that since the beginning. In many cases, nature and animals specifically can still defeat us and in some cases defeat us easily. Dan resents that!

Step One in our domination of the planet should be that animals don’t get to eat or kill us anymore. An urban person in a city doesn’t usually have to care that a lion, a bear or a hippo is going to kill them. Hippos kill a lot of people and as human beings dominating this planet and shaping it to our will and bending it to whatever we want to do we should be able to master the hippo. Hippo-eating should not be a concern for anyone right now!

We shouldn’t feel too accomplished as a species unless there is no longer a chance an animal could kill us. Viruses and things like that are a little bit trickier than fighting a hippo, because you can see the hippo and you have the remedy to get rid of the hippo or get away from the hippo. Dan is not including viruses when he talks about that.

The best way to die (RW120)

Dan has often thought about the best way to die. Having a wonderful life and dying very old surrounded by your loved ones would be a good way to go, but if you are going for something exciting, you kind of want to be eaten by a Great White (Dan has told that story in RW44). It has always been Dan’s goal to go out in the jaws of a Great White after he has outlived his usefulness as a person on the planet. If he is of no use anymore, there is no better way to go.

People who have been bitten by a shark always say that they didn’t feel any pain because their body was in shock as the Great White was chewing on them, which John vigorously disagrees with. Dan argues that you don’t feel pain because you are in the water and you just let go. Dan has been talking about this for decades and John can ask Dan’s wife if he doesn’t believe him. You could just go on one of those tours where you can dive for Great Whites in a cage and you could just slip out of the cage and be free. Dan is not planning on doing this until he is 90 or 100 years old.

Because John didn't believe him, Dan was investigating about shark bites on the show and they were talking about this website saying that the Great White only is the #11 most powerful bite in animal kingdom at 625 PSI. An alligator comes up to 2125 PSI and the crocodile on #1 is 3700 PSI. Dan is still going with the Great White, because when it closes on you, you are at peace and you have gone back to nature. If John has to pick an animal to die from, he would lick one of those frogs and die instantly.

John thinks that Dan is crazy to think that a shark bite would be painless. Dan knew somebody who got bitten by a shark, and he only felt the pressure, but no pain. Dan can deal with pressure, he is under pressure right now doing this show, which is very akin to being bitten by a shark. When continuing to look for facts online to convince John, Dan found an article about snake bites where the person says that it didn’t hurt at first and it felt like he was all adrenaline.

John did some research and came across an article about the most poisonous animals, all of which are in the ocean: The 5th most poisonous animal is the cone snail, an underwater snail with teeth that can penetrate a wet suit and one dose of the venom of this tiny little mollusk is enough to kill 20 humans. The 4th most poisonous thing is the Irukandji jelly fish, which is only as big as a finger tip. There is no anti-venom and it gives you excruciating pain and a fatal brain hemorrhage. The 3rd is the blue ringed octopus. It is the size of a golf ball and can cause respiratory failure within 10 minutes and death within 30 minutes. One bite can kill 26 men. The most deadliest is the box jelly fish, which can kill 60 adults with one amount of venom.

John finds that measurement ridiculous. It is like saying that a car has 1000 horse power. You can’t chain up 1000 horses to do any work at all! You would need a giant harness and you would always end up with slack because there is always one horse that is not going to pull its own weight. 1000 horses chained together can’t go 120 mph! What are they supposed to do? Pull a house down? What do you want done where 1000 horses are the answer? At the time they came up with the unit horse power, they used it because everyone understood the power of a single horse. That is all they had, but now there are very few people who can relate to that and if you ask the current generation of kids how much one horse can pull, a regular person would not know that.

John googled about the most painless way to die and the first thing he clicked on was a blog by Mani Karthik that is trying to talk to somebody before they commit suicide. John goes on to read parts of that blog post. It is the most novel anti-suicide website John has ever been to.

John's and Dan's light-hearted talk about suicide is in no way an endorsement and Dan continues to defend his shark plan for when he is 110 years old and of no use anymore. Although John is of the opinion that Dan is endorsing this, Dan makes it clear that this is only for himself.

John getting Steam login instructions (RW120)

John asks about the Steam Community and Dan explains that it is a gaming platform. Two years ago somebody tried to sign up for Steam with John’s email address. They might have transposed a letter or a number or something, and now Steam is sending John instructions how to log in. It started two years ago when John would get 10 of those letters in an afternoon and it still happens periodically. He thought about that because his google search for the most painless way to die returned a link to the steam community where somebody is recommending Carbon Monoxide.

Trolling, teasing and bullying (RW120)

Dan is no troller, not even a little bit. He is also no teaser and he never was, because he was way too teased as a kid and doesn’t want to make someone else feel the same way than he did growing up. He has been teased about being younger, shorter and weaker than everyone else, about wearing glasses, about being Jewish and about all of his interests like Dungeons & Dragons, where do you want to begin? Name something and Dan was likely teased for it, or bullied, if you want to call it that.

What happens with kids on the Internet nowadays where the entire school turns on a child and forces them to go to another school is probably much worse than what Dan and John had to deal with as kids. John teases Dan sometimes, but that doesn’t hurt Dan’s feelings because Dan knows that John doesn’t mean anything bad, but Dan wouldn’t want John in his bedroom without being present because of things John has said on the show before, but that is more his paranoia of a practical joke.

Water purifier in the shared kitchen (RW120)

Today Dan went to the shared kitchen in the shared office space they are in and he was chatting with a guy there. Dan was in preparation for the show and was about to make a hot beverage, waiting for the guy to finish at the sink so he could fill up a cup of water. There is a PUR thing attached to the faucet that purifies the water if you put the lever to one side. The guy was watching Dan and told him about the metal canister next to the sink where you can pour the water in from the top, it purifies it in another way and it goes through several filters until it comes out and tastes much better. If you are pouring it through the PUR and then through this thing, it appears to be twice as pure, but Dan has once seen people sticking the nozzle into their water bottle that they have previously sucked on and since then he never used that thing anymore. As the guy heard that, he threw his newly filled cup away and left the room.

The environmental impact of paper towels (RW120)

John does not identify as a germaphobe. He will drink from somebody else’s glass, but he is always watching closely how people treat their water bottles or their drinking thing. If somebody is just taking sips off the edge of a glass, there is a 70% chance that John can take a sip out of it and place his lips on another place. He is going to accept the tiny amount of liquid that has gone into their mouth and come back out, because every time somebody farts there are particles in the air and you can’t escape it!

There is a little bit of sharing that has to happen, but putting the bottle all the way into the mouth and then offering it? You have been licking it, why would you even offer it? That is the problem with having a child: Of all the things John has to teach his daughter, one of the things he still has yet to teach her is to not lick a thing all over and then offer a bite of it to somebody else. She hasn’t figured that out yet.

Dan’s kids use a towel in the kitchen to clean off their hands or their mouth, and their best job of washing their hands is what Dan would consider the bare minimum. This towel is disgusting and Dan is not using it, but he uses a paper towel despite paper towels being the thing that is going to wreck the environment. He feels guilty about it, but he is not going to stop doing it and he recycles everything else.

The big environmental scientists in the New York Times say that we are drowning under paper towels and they are the reason we are cutting down the forests. Dan doesn’t use a lot of paper and doesn’t have a lot of products that are in packages, but then there is all the paper towel use. If you would show him all the paper towel he uses in a year in one place, he would be mortified.

John thinks that if you would really crunch all those paper towels down, they would probably fit into a Quaker Oats can. Dan disagrees because you can only fold paper 7 times. John says that if you would return all of Dan’s paper towels to their natural state, they would not comprise a very large proportion of even one tree. Meanwhile all the coal-fired electric plants in China are spewing the equivalent of Dan’s yearly paper towel use in Chlorofluorocarbon or whatever every second.

There was a panic for so long that there was a hole in the ozone layer and that we were all going to get skin cancer and die. We took the CFCs out of everything, but Dan hasn’t heard about it in a long time. What he also hasn’t heard about lately is killer-bees. John was talking to his mom the other day that people were talking about peak food. We are no longer able to produce enough food on planet Earth to feed the people and we are all going to starve to death in a mass-famine!

The Ban of CFCs came into effect in 1989 and ozone-levels stabilized by the mid-1990s and began to recover in the 2000s. Recovery is projected to continue over the next century and the ozone hole is expected to reach pre-1980 levels by around 2075. The CFC ban, called the Montreal protocol, is considered the most successful international environmental agreement to date. (John was reading from this Wikipedia article)

What an encouraging piece of news! John was assuming that, like everything else, this was still an awful and looming catastrophe that we now just don’t talk about anymore, but in fact it was a simple matter: They identified CFCs as a problem, there was a whole peanut gallery saying that CFCs weren’t the problem and it was God’s will or whatever, but they still banned these things, which didn’t keep us from having spray cheese, and it fixed the problem.

The movie Nostradamus - The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, narrated by Orson Wells, is now on HBO. It came out in 1981 and scared the crap out of Dan. It was talking about the end of the world and it was horrifying. Then you would turn on the TV and they talked about the ozones going away and we were not going to have enough food, so Dan was convinced that we were really hard-core on track and on the verge of apocalypse at all times.

Now people are offended by everything all the time because they don’t have the fears that Dan and John grew up with. Is the ozone going to be a problem? Is the sun going to explode? Is there going to be a nuclear war again tomorrow? Any second something could happen that could destroy everyone! If people today have fear, it isn’t the same existential fear that everything is going to end suddenly and it is going to be really bad and you are going to be walking the Earth post-apocalyptically.

Dan’s anxiety (RW120)

Dan has generalized anxiety disorder, but he has done great work and made lots of progress in his life. This is not to say that he doesn’t feel anxiety anymore, but it is so much better and it is a whole different world we live in now. Dan is pre-disposed genetically for it, but the life he had was also very conducive to the full-on development of that kind of anxiety. Think of the most chill person you know and put them in the same situations Dan had been in, they might be a little anxious, but Dan was absolutely primed to feel that way. The peak time was probably about 10-15 years ago when Dan was a working adult and they had their first kid. He was doing software development for a company in another state while telecommuting, meaning working at home.

Looking back, he probably didn’t need to feel any of that, but the crux of anxiety is that anything can trigger it and if you are in an anxious state it is hard to see outside and around that. Eventually he developed anxiety-related physical issues and he was having GERD, aka heart-burn that doesn’t go away ever, for weeks and months at a time. He was having heart palpitations and other physical issues until his body finally told him loud and clear that he really needed to do something about this. It let him to go to some therapy about it and he started making lifestyle changes, meditating and exercising and other things that took a long time to help, but eventually helped.

Dan was probably about 11 years old when he became conscious of his anxiety and his OCD and when it started to interfere with his life. It peaked and stayed there for a while until it developed into a whole different thing when Dan was in his early 30s. Looking at other people and understanding that they didn’t feel that way told him that it was not normal, and it didn’t necessarily fill him with hope that there would be a time when he wouldn’t feel that way anymore. These people didn’t feel that way and he was the only person he knew who felt that way! He had always been determined to try everything before relying on a pharmaceutical to feel better.

Dan went to a therapist for a while and asked her if this was normal. She explained that there are a lot of people who feel like Dan, which is why they have a term for it, but most people don’t necessarily feel this way. The things Dan did to address it were pretty difficult and challenging, but on a fundamental level, he is now much less anxious and stressed than he was even just a few years ago. He was a wreck. It was bad!

There was no magic bullet. People will give you advice like to go on a jog or to get more sleep, but what Dan had to do was very different: He had to try things out and some things worked and some things didn’t. It was a long road and there are a lot of things that worked for him that wouldn’t necessarily work for someone else. What had the most effect on Dan’s life was starting a meditation practice. He got into it because his therapist recommended breathing exercises that he could do in a moment of stress.

There was a CD about relaxation by Dr. Weil, which worked well for him and he thought that there must be more to it and there has to be a science to this. As he started to research, it seemed like the Buddhists had this market cornered and that let him to learn him about Buddhist meditation, become a full-on Buddhist and make meditation an integral part of his life. Dan doesn’t do it very much anymore which is currently one of his biggest regrets. He doesn’t make enough time to do it as he used to. After doing it so consistently for so many years, it fundamentally changed his brain.

Being sensitive to emotions, discomfort and smells (RW120)

Dan is not emotionally sensitive to things people say really very much at all, because he doesn’t care what other people think unless they are very close to him, but that was not always true and is a benefit of meditation. One of the big tenants of Buddhism is non-clinging, meaning it is not important to compare yourself to other people or to compare other people to you. Comparing is an unskillful thing to do. When it comes to food, Dan likes to eat a lot of different food and he doesn’t have a lot of limitations, but he tastes flavors that other people don’t taste and it brings the whole super-taster thing into it. He is just wired up that way!

It seems unlikely that John would be able to make his podcasts in the way he does without a certain large amount of sensitivity. When it comes to physical sensitivity, he thinks of himself as hail and hardy and he can withstand any amount of discomfort because he always has his eyes on a bigger picture. When it comes to smells and sounds, a tiny pea under a stack of 40 mattresses drives John bananas, and Dan as well. If John goes into a hotel room and it smells cigarettes, bleach, air conditioner or some kind of air freshener or fabric softener, he will ask for a different room. John doesn’t like this about himself, because it feels too fuzzy, but he is fuzzy! At the same time John still rides around on motorcycles with his buddies sleeping in tents and enjoying it.

Whatever his sensitivities are, John can not let them intrude on his opportunities. If he has to get a room somewhere and the only available place is a cheap motel where he already knows by looking at it from the outside that there are going to be some weird smells like mold in the air conditioner, or they use some sort of heavily scented detergent or there is mold in the floor or there is bleach, there is nothing he can do about it.

John is thinking back to all the different motel rooms that had one or another of these. He stayed in a motel in the UK one time that smelled so strongly of bleach that he had to lay in bed with his head on the window sill with the window open to try to have fresh air. There was nothing he could do. The room had been arranged by someone else and he arrived there at 1am when everyone else was asleep. There was a key under the mat and all he could do was lay down, curse you for 1000 years and hope that whoever it was who cleaned this room also cannot sleep some time when they desperately need sleep. Even when John knows that those things are coming, he cannot put those concerns over the long goal, which is ”Do everything, see everything”

John is very sensitive to smells and he is kind of ashamed of the number of nights he has gotten zero sleep, simply because his body could not relax in a place where the smells were wrong. Dan is struggling with the same kind of stuff. He has the wrong image of John as being some sort of lumberjack who as long as it is not torrential storming rain could push some mulch together to make a pillow and sleep outside in the cold underneath a mountain.

As long as the pack of wolves keeps its distance, John has no fear, which is the mountain man image Dan has of John. It is nice to hear that Dan is imagining that. On the other hand, some of the best nights John has ever spend were with a pillow of mulch laying down in the pouring rain. It is not discomfort that is the issue, but pollution. John has this sensitivity to atmospheric pollution, like chemicals, but also sound.

It there is a rock under him when John is laying in the dirt, he can just wiggle, but obviously there are times when it is just too uncomfortable to sleep, and sometimes when John is sleeping outside by himself he has a certain amount of primitive fear, even if there are no bears and it is very unlikely that a bad person would find him. Those are the two fears: Animals and bad people. John hasn’t slept outside alone in several years and his fear of sounds in the night got more pronounced.

There are probably zero serial killers and there are absolutely no carnivorous beasts, so John can just relax! If something creaks or cricks, it is either a tree in the wind or even if it is a deer: A deer doesn’t care! John made the mistake of not recognizing that wild boar were dangerous and he learned that the hard way, but even in a place with no boars, he just can’t convince his body not to react to a twig breaking in the middle of the night nearby when he is alone.

The motel where John stole the key fab (RW120)

One time John was supposed to pick someone up at the airport in Miami at 8am and he had arrived himself at 11pm. He didn’t just catnap in the car, but he wanted to get a hotel room and get a full night’s sleep so he could be up in the morning, pick this person up and get on with the adventure. It was in a time when he did have the Internet, meaning it was only 8-9 years ago. He didn’t have an iPhone, but that little Blackberry Pearl thing that had a browser of some kind.

John got a recommendation for a hotel and he drove up to a wonderful-looking 1950s motel called The Paradise with a neon sign and that sort of atomic look which John loved. The cashier was behind a bullet-proof glass and it turned out that this was not a cool, hip 1950s motel that had been converted into a groovy thing, it was not the Dug Fur in Portland, but this was a sleazy motel which was not what John wanted at that moment.

He was not on tour with the band and he had money, he just wanted a hotel. He would have stayed at a Marriott, but this thing had been recommended to him and rather than follow his good instincts, he didn’t have much time and just wanted to get into a room and get to sleep. The person slid the key to him, which was an actual key on an old-fashioned plastic key fab that said Paradise Motel in Clearwater. John opened the door, sat down on the bed and under the sheets there was a plastic mattress protector that crinkled as he laid down.

John didn’t pull the blanket back and didn’t get into the bed, but he just laid down on top of it and turned on the TV, which only had closed-circuit porn, not channels that come from the outside world like the Playboy channel, but five channels that were playing porn of different kind on a constant loop from a VCR in the basement. This was a hotel that was paid by the hour and John could maybe have gotten a better deal if he had booked it for 6 hours, but this was awful. He was paying for something he was not going to use, but it was too late to go to another place.

The guy behind the bullet-proof glass had made a big deal about the key fab getting stolen, so when John left the next morning, he took the key fab. Whatever amount he paid for that room, he was really buying this key fab and he was buying the memory of this guy looking for the key fab and curse him. It is a classic 1950s key fab and John has it on the wall in his downstairs bathroom. Every time he looks at it, he is reminded to follow his instincts. If you roll up to a hotel and it looks like it is going to have plastic sheets and smell like bleach, you got to turn around!

John often feels a commitment when he already made his choice, some weird voice that he wants to resist. His sister will send her Egg Benedict back three times and it doesn’t matter to her that her breakfast is going to take 1,5 hours, but she is not going to settle for the Egg Benedict that are wrong, but John stayed in this shitty motel and got the creepy crawlies. He had not a bad time imagining what had happened in that room before.

Fabric softener (RW120)

John’s enemy in the world is fabric softener and he hates the smell so much! It is the pinnacle of unnecessary pollutant and there is no reason for it, because it doesn’t soften your fabric and it doesn’t do anything but make your clothes smell like garbage. Dan says it prevents cling, but John says what prevents cling are dryer balls. Also, is static cling a big issue? You pull your things apart and hang them up on hangers. Does the cling even last like a week? Are you putting those clothes on immediately? It makes John feel like people are throwing their mohair sweaters in the dryer. He has not experienced static cling as a major feature, he can’t even remember the last time two socks stuck together. It might be his dryer balls.

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