RW208 - My Sober Birthday

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to December 10th 1994 being John’s anniversary for getting sober and quitting drugs.

The voices of John’s family are in my head and all the long dead members of his family are telling him that to purely survive is not enough, but you must strive to make the world a better place. One upside to the way things are right now is that there are lots of opportunities to make the world a better place.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

Having home-made brownies with butterscotch, adding unnecessary ingredients into food (RW208)

They briefly discuss if caramel might be pronounced ”karmel”. For John it depends on the context, but Dan will always say ”karmel”. The difference between caramel and butterscotch is that caramel is made with white sugar, butter and whatever else, while butterscotch is made with brown sugar with all the same rest of the ingredients. They also briefly discuss the difference between taffy, toffee, brittle and praline. Dan actually put those in the show notes.

Someone in John’s house made brownies last night, which is not usual, and John hadn’t had a homemade brownie in an uncountable number of years. The mysterious people that live in this house also put butterscotch chips in the brownie mix. If you had put an equal mix of butterscotch chips and chocolate chips, then we would be talking about a different thing. There are nuts in these brownies, too, which John used to object to and now he doesn't. A second ago he had to cough because a little fragment of a nut from these butterscotch brownies got caught tickling him in the back of his throat and he had to expel it. It was not coronavirus, but a butterscotch brownie nut.

He doesn’t have enough coffee and there are not enough chocolate chips in these butterscotch brownies. He would not pick butterscotch in general. He wouldn't kick it out of bed, but he would pick toffee because he likes a Heath Bar, and when he gets a Blizzard at Dairy Queen it comes with Heath Bar and Butterfinger because he very much associate getting a Blizzard with then spending an hour trying to get toffee out from between your teeth. Those are the best Blizzards!

Dan and John share a lot in common when it comes to being super-tasters and highly sensitive people. To Dan it is borderline offensive and quite jarring when someone adds an ingredient that is not necessarily meant to be there. For example Oatmeal cookies. Nobody wants just a plain oatmeal cookie, but you are going to put raisins in there. Then there are people who will put chocolate chips in there and Dan can't abide that and he is out because there is no reason for chocolate chips to be in an oatmeal and raisin cookie, or an oatmeal cookie at all.

The only thing you should ever put chocolate chips in is a chocolate chip cookie and if you really insist Dan might put some into your pancakes for you, but that is it! If you take a chocolate chip cookie and you start putting nuts in there, then it is no longer a chocolate chip cookie, but a rocky road cookie or something. Dan doesn't want unexpected nuts showing up in a desert of some kind, unless you know it is going to be there. It is too jarring!

John does not believe that there is any place that a chocolate chip does not improve the recipe, but it would never occur to him to put them in pancakes. He had them because he went to daycare, but he doesn’t want them now. Blueberries he can put in any kind of muffin or pancake, or John could have a chocolate chip muffin. To Dan there is no such thing, it is horrible. John is afraid that there are chocolate chip muffins and they are quite delicious, including chocolate muffins with chocolate chips in them and on them, which are Costco muffins that get bought by the pallet around here.

Costco is a Seattle company and a lot of people in the Northwest got in the habit many years ago of going to Costco. They sell a ubiquitous muffin that is bigger than a softball and they come in giant pallets and every cafe in the city has them, no matter if it is a fancy cafe or a shitty cafe - they all have the same muffins.

Dan argues that when you put a slice of ham into a grilled cheese sandwich, then it is no longer a grilled cheese. If you add something to a grilled cheese sandwich so that the ingredients are no longer just bread and cheese, it is not grilled cheese anymore. It might be a tuna melt, it might be a ham and cheese melt, but it is not grilled cheese anymore, but a ham and cheese sandwich that you grilled. John argues back that it is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. they don’t call those melts or toasties in the Northwest.

John does grilled grilled ham and cheese sandwiches all the time. Some people would make the sandwich, butter both sides of the bread, and then put it in the pan, but John puts some butter in, he melts the butter, then he puts the first piece of bread down. He often puts roast beef, more cheese, and while it is still open-faced when the pan is hot, right as the bread is crusting, he throws a finger splash of water in there and then put a lid on it, which steams the cheese, so that when you pull the lid off 30 seconds later your cheese has become melted before you put the second piece of bread on. Then you put the second piece of bread on, flip it, throw more butter in there, and then all your meltedness is taken care of.

John likes mayonnaise, which is a very divisive condiment, and at one level he wants it on this sandwich, but at another level there is no way to get it on this sandwich. If you put it on the bread before you put it in the sandwich, then you got hot mayonnaise, which isn't a thing you want, but you can't take that sandwich apart once it is all glued together to put mayonnaise on there, so in the end John doesn’t put mayonnaise on it, but he does like mayonnaise on a sandwich, which is a line in the sand for people. The bass player of The Long Winters, Eric Corson, didn't even want mayonnaise in the room. He couldn’t stand it, not even the sight of it!

Dan describes that making mayonnaise is really easy because it is basically just egg and oil. John might just go ahead and try that. These days, why not make your own mayonnaise? It is like prepping, almost. What else is there to do? We are just sitting around. Might as well!

Dan being impacted by the pandemic restrictions (RW208)

Dan has an office where he goes to work and Haddie is there in his quarantine bubble. Has his life changed, given that he and Haddie didn't have 5 other people in the office with them. Dan didn’t go to the rifle range every week, he works out in his own garage, but pre-COVID Dan had a gym that he went to 3 times a week, he would usually go to at least 1-2 group meet-ups per week, whether that was with local friends or business people, and occasionally, once every week or two, there might be an evening gathering or meet up or something. He would be running errands and taking kids out on the weekends or in the afternoon sometimes, but all that had to stop.

Compared to somebody that had a job in a big business that they went to, that had a bunch of activities that were very social, that went to bars, that went to church on Sunday, their kids were on the football team, compared to somebody who has been dramatically impacted by COVID, would Dan describe himself as being dramatically impacted? No, he has only been moderately impacted. Basically all of the recreational stuff is gone. He can't go to restaurants, he can't meet with friends, but he has a small office where anyone who would be working in here is in his bubble of safety.

Dan was doing a lot with his kids that they can't do anymore. All the activities that they were doing are gone. You can't meet anybody, you can't do anything. Dan is meeting a friend tomorrow and they are going to be outside, 300-400 feet away from each other, wearing full hazmat stuff so that they can get a coffee. That will probably be the second time Dan has done that since COVID started. His work or his necessary activities have not really changed. Now when he goes to the grocery store, the people bring it out to him in a cart and they deal with whatever crap produce they decided they should get instead of the good stuff.

John’s daughter reading Little Women in class (RW208)

The other day she was in tears, saying that they wanted her to read this super boring book. She is an avid reader, she reads all the time, and John had never heard her say a bad word about a book. It is called Little Women (by Louisa May Alcott) and it is so boring. John sat with her and offered to read a chapter aloud to her so they could figure out what it is about it.

The language is archaic in a couple of ways, there is a lot of vocabulary and cultural references that she just doesn't know because she is a 4th grader and it is a little bit above her pay grade, but she is going to a mixed class with 4-6th graders and the teacher is trying to have group assignments that work for everybody, but there are probably not many kids in the class at the reading level so that they can really absorb a lot of what is going on in this book.

John’s kid is used to reading books where the point is the story and you are only using language to get to the plot as fast as you can. The books are just designed around: Margie said: ”Hurry up, get on the horse!”, Jean said: ”The horse needs hay!”, like so-and-so says, and then action, so-and-so says, action, while in Little Women every sentence starts with a quotation mark and then the sentence is: ”Someone needs to tell the teacher that I would be humiliated if they ever noticed for a second that my pickled limes had fallen out of my desk and rolled across the floor!”, bemoaned Joe. You never know who is talking until you get to the end of a long involved sentence about some social problem that a 19th century girl is having in all girls school.

John and his daughter worked on this, trying to decode not just the language, but the patterns of the language. When you start reading a sentence, if you are not clear who is reading it, it is okay to look ahead and see who is speaking and then reflect back and read the sentence again. This is a style of reading that the book is not just about the plot. We are not going from action to action, it is not adventure to adventure, but this is a book about manners and it is a book where the plot is a peer of just words as a wonderful thing. You are just here for the words and the way the words dance around each other, which is a new style of reading for her.

It is exasperating because she can't just glide over it like with Beverly Cleary. She has read so many books where the little Ocelot children go to the moon. There are 42 books in the Ocelot children's series, but there was going to come a day when you have read them all and it was time to move to the next thing. She is extremely sensitive about books that don't have female protagonists. She is not going to take that lying down.

When it comes to Tom Sawyer she doesn’t want to read a book about a guy named Tom, although there are girls in Tom Sawyer. It was one of the reasons she didn't want to read Lord of the Rings because there are no girls in Lord of the Rings. They are the elves! She loves Star Wars and there are barely any girls in Star Wars, but she said that was not true and ran down all the girls in Star Wars.

How the quarantine affected John (RW208)

John does not have many daily routines. Having your kid not be in school definitely is a dramatic thing as a kid owner, but after the initial four months of concentrated trauma, watching the school districts figure out how to do distance learning, trying to help his daughter through learning how to be on computers, it is now running very smoothly. Whether or not she is getting an education is a different question. John did not get an education in 4th grade of any kind, so she is getting a way better education than he got.

A huge part of his life was going out at night to see shows, to perform shows, going out with friends that are making shows, and talking about shows and whose shows are whose. He woke up this morning to a text from a friend who asked: ”Before Jim Roth joined Built to Spill, what was his band?” - ”Voodoo Gearshifts!” - ”No, the other one with Denise” - ”Oh, The Delusions?” - ”Yeah, the Delusions, right!” He is doing a show where he wants to talk about people that are doing shows, but he doing it online on somebody else's podcast.

That is a conversation that they would have once had at a bar, whether or not it makes the world a better place, who knows! All the stuff around shows has been John’s whole life since 1991, at least. Shows, shows, shows, shows! And he got zero shows, this last nine months was the longest he has gone without seeing a Rock show since he was 15, and the longest he has gone without seeing a Rock show times four. When he went on his long walk he didn't see any Rock shows for six months, but the first thing he did when he got back to Seattle, the second night he was back, he went to a Rock show.

That has changed John’s life in a major way, but it doesn't feel like it has changed his life in the way that other people's lives have been completely interrupted. It is not like he doesn't go to work anymore, or he doesn’t go to church anymore, or his life is completely upended. It doesn't feel like it. It feels like they turned a corner. In a way it just feels like he moved to the suburbs.

How far outside of Austin does Dan live? How long does it take him to get to 6th Street? From his office 10 minutes, from his house 18 minutes max. Dan lives a bit north of downtown, and a little northwest. When he moved here he was considered the outskirts of Northwest Austin and now he is borderline central. He lives Northwest of the college, and before COVID he was going Downtown very frequently. Headed up to his house he doesn’t take Red River, but he would jump on Mopac and head North, not far from the river, maybe 10 minutes. He is not far from Northwest Hills, not in the suburbs, but in Austin.

How far is the nearest record store? That would be the only record store Dan even knows about anymore, which is Waterloo, of course. There used to be a record store up there in Rosedale, a good record store. John did an in-store there one time and there was a guy there coincidentally, and he was an arch nemesis from years prior. John didn't even know he lived in Texas. He was playing this show and he looked up and here was this person that he hadn't seen in years, and he saw John and it was one of those strange moments. When you are playing an in-store in a record store the lights are up, it is different from playing in a club and you can see everybody's face.

The last instore that Death Cab ever played, John’s played with them, and it was like the Nirvana record release party at the old Peaches in the University District where it was very clear that they were now too big to play an instore in a record store, it was basically like a riot. John played this instore and the first row of audience were standing on the other side of his microphone as far away from it as he was from the microphone. It was just a face right there and it was impossible. If John hadn't been tall, it would have been terrifying.

What is nice about being tall is that you see that first face, but then you can see over people. John can always see the exit, that is what is nice about being tall. Even if you can't get to it, you can see it! The scariest thing for John about not being tall would be not being able to see clearly the path to the exit. It is not like you are tall and then suddenly you are not tall unless you are injured and then you are in a wheelchair and all of a sudden you went from being tall to not being tall, but for the most part you are the height that you are and you are used to seeing the world that way. Being able to see the path to the exit is very important to John.

John’s life continues to be improved by the quarantine, and that is taking into consideration all of the ways that the quarantine is terrible and things are worse. For his daughter it is not better and John wishes to God she could play with her friends. She needs it so desperately! But for himself, it has even changed his vocabulary, he now feels like he has to go to shows and now he doesn’t have to go to shows, and he doesn’t miss that at all.

Shows are not convenient for you. Your friend's band comes to town when they come to town. If it is a Tuesday night or if you had something else going on, or if you were tired that day, your friend's band is in town and they are not going to be in town tomorrow. You can't reschedule. Shows happen on their own time and you have to deal with that and John doesn’t miss that. He doesn’t miss going to the grocery store.

Still paying his YMCA membership, getting subscriptions as gift for somebody (RW208)

John has been paying his YMCA membership this entire year and he has not been one time. He felt bad about canceling it at the beginning of the year because it just seemed like so chintzy. It is the YMCA. For years he resented even having to pay for the YMCA, but now he doesn’t want to pull his money out of the Y and he just kept paying for it. Now it is going to be coming up on a year and he hasn’t used it one time. John is paying a lot of bills for things that he is not using right now just because in general it feels like he can and also that he should. The Y is probably not going to go out of business, but other things might go out of business.

Back when Dan would still have regular coffee he had a subscription for coffee, he has done the same thing with tea. He had one for different meats, they would send you different sausages and venison and that kind of stuff. But nothing now. John is trying to think of things to get for the holidays as gifts for people, and he is thinking to get them subscriptions to things, like Coffee of the Month or Wine of the Month, something that shows up all year. Dan wonders if John was thinking of him. John knows Dan likes meat and is very particular about meat and John would have to get him a high grade of meat. 6-7 years ago Merlin sent Dan some venison once that was really good.

Gift-giving for the holidays (RW208)

A few years ago here at the house John’s family had a thing where all the relatives came over for Christmas and everybody bought a bunch of presents for the baby because she was six years old and everybody loves a little girl. Everybody bought presents for each other, too, out of a feeling of: ”Well, granddad is coming, so everybody was going to get him a pocket knife, a keychain flashlight and a set of wool socks!”

By the end of the day they realized that they had engaged in an orgy of consumerism where they just bought too many presents and most of them weren't needed and it started to feel a little perfunctory, like. ”Oh, thank you for this!”, but none of these things are things John would have bought himself and they all went in a drawer. There are only so many keychain flashlights that he can carry, so they said as a family several years ago that they were going to do a Secret Santa thing, everybody just gets one present that they buy for one other member of the family, and you don't get to pick who that is, grandma is going to make the list and she is going to assign everybody a person to buy one gift for, and then everybody is allowed to buy one gift for the child.

There is only one real child in this family now, there are not even two kids, let alone six kids, so let's keep a lid on it, and that made Christmas feel peaceful and you didn't have that feeling at the end where you just had a bad taste in your mouth, like: ”Wow, all that did was ruin this child!” As a kid John felt a sense of responsibility when he got presents and you hadn't even begun to play with this present before you were unwrapping that present, and how can you possibly play with all these things? It takes you two months to rediscover all the stuff that you got on Christmas! Even if it is all small beer, it is still stuff you have to interact with and integrate.

This year they were talking about Secret Santa and gradually they realized there is nothing else to do. There has not been any fun, nobody has gotten any rewards, they haven't gone to a single birthday party in a year, they are not allowed to play, they are not allowed to hang out with their friends, why would they restrict Christmas? If you want to get a present for somebody, go for it! Why wouldn't he just get presents for everybody he knows, everybody he has an address for, send them something! Keychain flashlight, something!

Today is the first day of Hanukkah and Dan does a hybridised Hanukkah Christmas thing where they don't do Hanukkah presents, but they do the candles each night and then the kids get Christmas presents on Christmas. There was a while where they were trying to do both, but the kids really want big Christmas gifts, so it didn't work. When Dan was a kid they did Christmas a couple of times, but mostly it was Hanukkah and they would always save the last gift, the big gift, the one you really wanted on the last frickin day, the 8th day.

You knew the Q*bert Atari cartridge wasn’t going to come until the eighth day and in the meantime you got some Hot Wheels cars, some junk gifts for the first 6-7 days, and on the last day you get the thing that you really wanted, the land speeder or whatever. Eventually it would just be: ”Here is your Hanukkah gift!” and it was the one thing!

Dan tried giving his kids little things, like Hanukkah gelt or something like that, and that was fine, but now they just do the candles and there is an allure to the fire aspect of this. Their kids love the idea that they are burning stuff and lighting stuff and they fight over who gets to light it and who gets to light the other candles. They do not get into the prayer aspect at all, the blessing, they don't like that. They don't want to do it, they don't learn it. Dan has them repeat it back to him, but they don't want to do it anymore and he doesn’t know how to encourage that.

Holiday traditions (RW208)

Dan does not have a lot of family traditions. They have breakfast tacos every two weeks, little things like that, they take the trash out when it gets full, which is an important tradition in Dan’s house that was started when his great grandparents first came to the country. Dan sees John as a person who cherishes tradition and truly enjoys passing the traditions down as the way that the Rodericks do this, like every 7th Sunday the Rodericks go out on a rock hunt and find the smoothest pebble from the crick and bring it back and then eat the crawdad, that kind of thing.

There is a lot of that in John’s family and a lot of it is ad hoc. You remember a tradition as you are doing it and then go: ”Oh, this is a tradition! This is how we do this!” They don't wake up on March 1st, put on their golden smocks, go to the top of the lighthouse, and sing their song, but the family has some traditional songs that they sing and it doesn't take much to remember some family way of doing certain things.

John’s sister is really into that stuff, various members of his family will remember that this is the way and of course John is full of that stuff. He is also somebody that looks at the calendar and goes: ”Wow, is it December already?” - ”Well, yeah, it has been December for a week and a half!” - ”Oh, cool. Wow!” John just remembered that today is December 10th, his sober birthday. On December 10th 1994, 26 years ago, he quit drinking and had his last drug. It is a perfect example: That should be a traditional day of celebration and his friend Sean Nelson used to get him a gift every year. Dan would have gotten him something if he had known. Sean would remember it and John wouldn’t.

John’s dad's birthday was October 29th and leading up to it for a week beforehand he was thinking he got to remember Dad's birthday on Thursday, and then Thursday came and went and he didn’t remember and the next day you are like: ”Oh, yesterday was Dad's birthday!” You should go to your dad's grave and eat a banana, which is a which is a tradition that they have.

John, his sister, and his daughter go sit at his dad's grave and eat a banana in celebration of him and the way that he used bananas as a shorthand for so many emotions. His answer to most problems was: ”Have a banana!”, and everybody entering or leaving the house was offered a banana. He wasn't being funny, but it was unconscious. Bananas in his estimation were the perfect food. Dan’s grandfather was the same way and the first thing he asked you was: ”Want a banana? Have a banana!” This year they didn’t celebrate John’s dad’s birthday, they did not have a banana, they didn’t go to his grave.

A banana is easy to eat, it got potassium, and if you don't want to eat it right this second you can put it in your pocket and you can carry a banana around. You can a banana on the seat next to you in the car and drive home and eat it there. You can take a banana and eat it while you walk. Also, with a banana, unlike an apple, an apple can look great, but be not very good. It can be mealy and gross, an orange can look great, but when you peel it all of a sudden it can be one of those oranges that is no good. It is hard to peel, it got another little mini orange inside of it that screws the whole thing up, but if a banana looks good, it is going to be good, even if it is one of these tasteless modern bananas, you know what you are going to get. The color of the banana’s skin is going to tell you what kind of banana resides inside.

John’s 26th sober birthday (RW208)

Today is John’s 26th sober anniversary and he has no plans to celebrate it, he would not have noticed it if it hadn't come up in conversation, and he doesn’t know what he would do and what tradition he would have around it. For a long time it was a very private holiday and John was embarrassed when other people knew about it because he maintains that kind of privacy. John has very little privacy in terms of telling Dan or their listeners about the troubles he has had, the things he has been through, and there are very few things that he keeps private from people.

A lot of the things he talks about are things no one would normally say to an open microphone, but John is not shy about it and sharing it makes the world a better place. The fundamental principle of these shows and why podcasting is good is that we are so governed by shame and so many people feel shame that they are not even really aware is shame, about normal things that have happened to them or other people, feelings they are having that other people also are feeling.

There are feelings that we have that are unspeakable, even John, there are lines you don't cross, and these days people are a lot shyer about expressing even commonplace feelings because they are afraid of how the world is going to chastise them for having commonplace feelings, but for the most part we all have feelings within the same range. Why not talk about them?

John is an extremely private and even secretive person about a certain class of things, and it usually is something like his sober birthday. He would never put those words together for himself because he is not thinking of it that way. He is saying it that way because it is a shorthand for what it is. John would never normally reveal it and for many years nobody knew about it and Sean Nelson only knew about it because it came up in conversation one time early on and he just bookmarked it in his mind because he is a generous person. Sean gave John an engraved brass lighter once that had his sober anniversary engraved on it back when they were all smokers.

Why would John keep that a secret? To have that date be known by people would feel more intrusive to him than talking about that he had been in love with somebody who broke his heart or that he had been covered in shame a thousand times or even talking about the actual alcoholism and how hard that was. That is easier to talk about and has been widely known than something like the anniversary of quitting. Why?

John doesn’t understand what the types of privacy are and why you feel a sense of privacy about certain things and not other things. A lot of the Internet privacy stuff that people are so worried about, beyond just: ”Please don't steal my credit card information, please don't impersonate my identity, and please don't show up at my house!” John is not super-concerned with Internet privacy. There is a lot of stuff, a wider net, that all boils down to those three things, but John doesn’t think that hard about it and it doesn't stress him out.

Personalized ads on Twitter (RW208)

Personalized advertising is going to be a thing that drives John freaking up the wall, targeted advertising that addresses him by name, that Minority Report level of ”Hey, John! Have we got a deal for you!”, a movie that takes place in the near future starring Tom Cruise and in every direction there are little eye scanners that are scanning you and instantaneously identifying you based on your retina scan. So you walk in and it goes like: ”Hi Mr. Roderick, would you like to get another pair of Gap jeans to match the ones you bought last week?” and as you walk down the hall there is some other store that sees you and says: ”Come on in, we got a special on baseball caps!” or whatever.

That is the future and it is happening already and John hates it. Twitter just rolled out a new program where every 4th tweet that you see is an ad. Both Dan and John tweeted about it on the same day and it is the worst! Somebody @-replied John and said: ”Just block every Twitter account that feeds you an ad!” and he started doing it and at first it felt satisfying. He doesn’t usually block people anymore, he just mutes them if they are rude, but every single ad he blocked, but he started to realize he just blocked McDonald's and he is never going to see anything from McDonald's anymore and he felt nothing, which is great.

Twitter isn't throwing these ads up, but they are throwing up tweets from the social media account of Chase Manhattan Bank. It is a promoted tweet, so if you block the Twitter account of Chase they can't get another Chase ad to you no matter what. Then John got a promoted tweet from the chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank because his social media account is also promoting tweets, and John blocked that, too. It turned into a game of whack a mole, but there has to be a finite number of companies willing to pay Twitter for promoted tweets.

John’s feed is already starting to be like: ”MIT's Department of advanced math has a new puzzle!”, the promoted tweets are starting to be weird. Twitter is not going to let this happen for long, this seems like a bug that hadn't occurred to them, but eventually they are going to say you can't just block every company, or maybe they won't and just display it as a straight-up ad right in the heart of your thing. At that point John feels like he has to get off there, and he is already feeling it.

That Minority Report business. John bought a thing from Nordstrom Rack six months ago, and they sent him an email every couple of days: ”Hey, we found a shirt that we think you will like!” - ”Oh, fuck off! No, you didn't! No!”, but John doesn’t want to put an email filter that blocks stuff from Nordstrom. He emails with Pete Nordstrom all the time, he can't just keyword the word ”Nordstrom”. This is Seattle, the Nordstroms are all around and you can't cut yourself off from the Nordstroms or nothing is going to get done around here! The Nordstroms are running the show in a way. John would have to block the word ”Nordstrom Rack” in quotes, but sometimes John is looking for those good deals.

Dan tells John about the options ”I don’t like this ad” on Twitter. John is afraid that he is helping them figure out the ads he wants, which is not a thing he wants to help Twitter do, help them refine their ad platform.

What generation of podcaster is John? (RW208)

They discussed this topic also in the aftershow of RW163.

One time a while back John was asking Dan ”What generation of podcaster am I?” and Dan wrote back and said: ”You are definitely not the first generation of podcaster, not the second generation. Dan was confused because somebody tweeted at him that Roderick on the Line originate from when John guested on Back to Work, but he thought it predated that.

Dan would say John was either second or third generation. John had read that there was a sense of podcasting as generational and people were talking about shows being a first generation podcast, which interested John, but according to Jochen’s Roderick on the Line episode page the first episode was Back to Work episode 31 on 2011-08-30 when Dan was out John was a guest, called ”You Can Polish AC/DC all day long”, and then the first Roderick on the Line show was little more than a week later, 2011-09-09, episode 0 ”Suit of Vomit”.

Merlin beforehand had a short-lived TV show The Merlin Show, which was a online video with him interviewing someone in a lawn chair. It was a video podcast. John was a guest on The Merlin Show more than once, but one time in particular, maybe it was only once, but it was absolutely proto John Roderick on the Line, just that you could see them both sitting in Merlin’s backyard. John just stumbled over Merlin’s wikipedia page, which his interesting.
He started You Look Nice Today in 2007, Dan started in 2006, but there was nobody listening to it and there was no way to listen to it, you have to download the file, copy it to iTunes, plug in your Diamond Rio, drag it manually over, this was before Apple integrated podcasts into iTunes. That happened somewhere in 2007/2008 that made it real.

If you were doing it before Apple integrated it into iTunes, you are generation zero, if you did it around that time or shortly after you are generation one. Dan thinks John was early enough that he was at least generation two. We are in generation 10 now. This next year will be the 10th anniversary of Back to Work pretty early on in the year and John will have the 10th anniversary of Roderick on the Line in the autumn, that is another anniversary that John is a little shy about, but less shy of course.

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