RW49 - Listening in the Stock Room

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to a listener who works at an Apple store and who sent a greeting to John because she always listens to his show when she is working in the Stock Room.

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

Starting the show with a high pitch (RW49)

Dan starts the show sounding very chill to avoid the overdrive that John sometimes experiences, an effect that Merlin had told Dan about. Merlin experiences the same thing, but only with Dan. When John calls his mom, she will pick up and say ”HEY!!!” and even though he knows it is going to happen, 9 out of 10 times it goes into John’s ear like a bullet and no matter what mood he was in, he is starting this conversation in pain and annoyed that it has happened again.

Once John called her attention to it, but it just got weird and now she has forgotten about it and sometimes he forgets about it. Dan has really high quality audio equipment, his microphone goes through 5 tube Macintosh amplifiers, going out over an old short wave antenna mounted on the roof of Dan’s house and therefore it sounds amazing and it goes with the turf. Merlin seems to think it is a Skype artifact of some kind, but he said it didn’t happen recently because Dan is in a new office, but he still didn’t want to take the chance.

Gas giants (RW49)

John has been feeling a little edgy. He doesn’t know if it is the product of something chemical or something in the astronomy realm, maybe there is some additional gravity, like a Jupiter ascension. On Jupiter, a jug of milk weighs 40 pounds, but Dan interjects that it is a gas giant and there is no ground it could hit. John speculates that there must be something at the heart of Jupiter, like a hobgoblin or some kind of little rock that everything is spinning around, with a bunch of paperclips and all the detritus of the universe stuck to it. Just a bunch of lint balls and stuff on this rock that is the size of a medicine ball. It is covered with paper clips and other little shit that you drop on the floor of your car, and it is surrounded by a 100 million cubic miles of gas, which is kind of like it is to be in bed with John, lying next to him, covered with 100 million cubic feet of gas.

Tooth picks (RW49)

Flossing at the dinner table is not okay!

Using a tooth pick is not appropriate at the table, but John picks up a toothpick on his way out. In his own home he doesn’t keep them on the table. In South Korea it was considered okay to use a tooth pick at the table, but they would cover it with their other hand. At the same time in the late 1990s, it was considered rude for women to be seen smoking, so if they wanted to smoke a cigarette, they just covered it with their hand. If John was in a culture where they would pick their tooth at the table, he would have dabbed to that culture, because he likes picking his teeth, it is very gratifying and if everybody did it, he would follow along.

John’s cousin’s wedding (RW49)

see Family

John’s dysfunctional family (RW49)

see Family

Dan’s family (RW49)

Dan’s family was all about education and bettering yourself. His mom was a college professor, his dad worked at a university, Dan has the least education of anyone in his family going back 3 generations, even his cousins have masters degrees, but he has just a puny Bachelors degree. It is smaller than other Bachelors degrees because it is an English degree, not like a Bachelor of computer maths. Dan read Beowulf and Chaucer and his English degree is mostly worthless, but at least he had some kind of family cohesion. He understood where he came from and what he is all about and everybody more or less agreed.

John’s college radio talk show (RW49)

John had a radio talkshow in college called Talk Soup. One day there was a snow storm on campus and nobody but John could make it to the studio. Someone had previously called the university and criticized John for being irreverent by some member of the community. It was a catholic school and he was supposedly reverent about Catholicism. At the time the big topic was that Yusuf Islam was calling for a fatwa on Salman Rushdie and the people who were programming this radio station said they would no longer play any Cat Stevens, but John was still playing him on his talkshow because you cannot judge the art that way.

Cat Stevens had become a religious zealot, but if we went back in time and decided whether or not to consume art based on whether or not the artist was a good person, then we all would be looking at Thomas Kinkade paintings of light or Peanuts comic strips, but John doesn’t even think that Charles M. Schultz was a nice guy. They told John that he couldn’t do what he was doing and so he read Beowulf for 3 hours. It is the kind of sophomoric thing you do, he is not proud of it now, but at the time it seemed really witty. In reading it aloud for so long he realized that it is like the Bible, where everybody claims they have read it, but nobody has, because this it is just like Jabberwocky.

2016-December: 10 o’clock whiskey (RW49)

There is a new movie in the Harry Potter universe, but Harry Potter is not in it, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, written by JK Rowling. Dan took his son to the Alamo Drafthouse where you can get beer and pizza and sit in theater-style seats with tables in front of you. John not long ago went out with a girl who worked as a concessionaire at one of these places. Dan and his son like it very much. They went to a 10am show and there was a guy with his wife and two boys. The guy looked like a regular clean-cut shaved guy, but when people drink enough they reek alcohol and it almost comes out of their pores. When he sat next to Dan there was this strong aura of liqueur coming out of him. When they took the drink orders, he ordered a whiskey, which really surprised Dan. We assume about a lot of things going on in the world that they are rare things to happen, but it is all around us! 10.000 stories in the naked city!

Sponsor: Mack Weldon

John was just up in New York. He had a couple of outstanding invitations to visit corporate offices, but he didn’t really take anyone up on the offer. Instead he did quite a bit of puttering around and a bit of huckledy buck and never made it to visit anybody. Mack Weldon is up there in New York.

The hoodie is the techworker tuxedo. For a long time John was wearing just the typical Russell Athletic hoodie and he gauged the quality of a hoodie on how burly it was, but as time went on and John became a little bit more of a fancy person, he realized that a smooth, lightweight hoodie is much more versatile and somewhat difficult to get your hands on. Now John’s whole tune has changed! He wants a smooth hoodie, a tech tuxedo!

Listener greetings and listening habits (RW49)

Dan met a listener today who asked him to say Hi to John. She is a big fan, she loves ”All the great shows”, her name is Ronda and she works at the Apple store. She had her headphones in and had just come from the back stocking or whatever it is they do there. She is listening to all of John’s shows and she was just listening to Roderick on the Line. Dan was looking at the new MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar and she recognized him as the Internet’s Dan Benjamin and said that she is a really big fan.

John always wonders how many listeners of podcasts listen to them in junks. If you are filing away some Macintosh Rumblestrips and somebody calls on you to clean up on aisle 4, you got to pause and you don’t get to chose where you pause. That must sure change the podcast experience. Dan thinks that people are pausing and resuming all the time. John imagines some people at a stand-up desk in an office where it is not intrusive to actually listen to it on speakers. Maybe they are a taxidermist and they are probably not using power tools, because that would drown out the podcast, or they have a 45 minute commute every day and they are just listening to the podcast all the way through. For a lot of people it must be 20 minutes at a time. When Dan was first working in a corporate environment they would have the local radio station on in the background, but you couldn’t pause it when you would have a meeting or go to the bathroom, but with podcasts you can, which makes it a different experience.

John working at a Checkmart and Kells Irish Restaurant (RW49)

At every normal job John ever had they had the radio on and the question was just if they would have the Classic Rock station on, which was John’s vote, the Alternative Rock station or the R&B station, which could also be the soft contemporary pop station. There was always a radio going! That is how John heard Seal’s A Kiss From a Rose, TLC’s Waterfalls, and Cher’s Do You Believe In Love, which were all on the radio at the same time (in 1994) as John was training to be the assistant manager of a Checkmart on 1st Avenue in Seattle.

John went through the whole extensive training process because you have to be able to identify fraudulent financial devices and conveyances, tell a forged cheque and counterfeit money and other bad instruments. Then he worked at the Checkmart for about a week and a half until he realized that this was a dismal life, because their Checkmart was also the place where people cached their SSI cheques. It was like a mailbox for people on government assistance. People would collect their cheque and cash it immediately, paying the usurious Checkmart fees, because no-one had a bank account. John's coworkers hated everybody who walked in and they would call people names behind the bulletproof glass until they stuck their head into the little box, which made it a very negative place to work.

One day John’s girlfriend at the time, who was working as a bike messenger, wheeled her bike into the store with her hair all wind blown and her face all rosy cheeked and she asked him if he needed a break for lunch and ”Do I ever!” and he never went back. What are they going to do? Sue him? They can’t even withhold the money they owe him because there is some law about that!

John walked out of a lot of jobs. He used to work at Kells Irish Restaurant. The scuttlebutt, the whisper campaign, about it was that they were actually protestants who came to America to do this whole Shillelagh act, but in fact they were from Belfast from the wrong side of the wall. The woman John worked for there was just awful and one day he had enough. He walked over to the bartender and said ”I’m outta here!” and he was like ”Alright, whatever!” A couple of people John knew had happened to come in from out of town just by happenstance to get a beer and they talked for a little while. They were on their way to Alaska throwing hatchets at a hay bale, which was a job that paid $11 an hour, so John quit and followed them. He only made it as far as the ferry terminal before he thought that this felt weird and those guys were probably be sold into slavery up there.

John driving from Portland to New York (RW49)

The drive from Seattle up to Alaska depends on how agro you are. If the passenger seat reclines all the way and one person can sleep while the other person is driving and both people are agro, which means being ready to rally and go full board, you can do that drive in agro fashion in 48 hours. Both people need to be able to go and when they are just about to drop dead the other person wakes up from their weird uncomfortable sleep and is ready to go. You can also drive across America from Portland to New York City in 48 hours if you are really hauling ass, which John has done both. The record for the Cannonball Run is 32 hours 51 minutes.

John once did a trip across the country which was unique because the guy he was driving with was a kid called Fugees, a friendly guy who did merch and tech for bands, but he seemed young and fairly inexperienced and he did a job that didn’t require a lot out of him. John liked him quite a bit and they were both contracted to drive a box truck from Portland to New York. John had a lot of miles under his belt at that point. They were leaving at 11pm and Fugees wanted to take the first shift. He starts to drive and they chat and John went to sleep and when he woke up at 6am or 7am, Fugees was still doing fine. He just kept driving like 16 hours before John forced him to let him drive because he could still keep going.

Then John didn’t want to surrender after 8 hours either and drove 12 hours until he was completely trashed. Fugees took over again and would easily have driven the remaining distance, he would have driven 36 of those 48 hours if John hadn’t forced him to let him drive. John had never seen anything like this. He complimented him and told him that for a professional driver this would be illegal, but he could be a bootlegger or a smuggler or otherwise a person who doesn’t need to sleep, but for him it just seemed normal because he liked to drive. It is a talent that you would never know about if you wouldn’t tell him to drive this truck across America for $500.

He is out there somewhere right now, probably still able to do it, he is probably 42 now and telling people to not call him Fugees, or he has just adopted it. In Rock ’n’ Roll people have all kinds of nicknames, like some guy gets called Catbutt and after a while he adopts it and is just happy with it. Wow, Catbutt? That is the name that stuck? That is the thing you are going to have embroidered on your jacket?. Catbutt!

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