Awards

John receiving the Seattle Weekly's Best of the Web Award 2010 for Tweet of the Year (RL187)

John won the award for Tweet of the Year 2010 as issued by Seattle Weekly where John had a column at the time (news article desribing it (link defunct), mentioned here). It is a hilarious white ribbon that he would never display.

"My new cat is a girl cat, and I haven't had a girl cat in years. Should I watch what I say around her? Will she ask me what I'm thinking?" — @johnroderick

Not having received any podcasting awards (RL179)

Every once in a while the US realizes that because of systemic racism they never gave any Medals of Honor to African-American soldiers in World War I. They then try to right that injustice by posthumously giving Medals of Honor to four different African-American soldiers, handing them to their grandchildren in a ceremony at the White House and "Thank you for your service!", which is called retroactive continuity: You rewrite the story and say that Magneto actually was at Auschwitz, or as the Mormons do, you retroactively baptize all your dead relatives into the Mormon church so they can stop being in whatever Mormon purgatory and can enter into the kingdom of heaven. They continue to talk about Mormon culture, carnival, the invisible dog and Coke mirrors.

John feels that they are retroactively going to get some kind of award as soon as their fans get off their asses, stop sending them weird tweets, and instead putting their energy into giving them iTunes recommendations. Nobody wanted to buy a Segway until they turned the Segway into a Hoverboard! There are guys driving around on those things in John’s neighborhood who wouldn’t be on a Segway to save their life! Take the handlebars off it and now that’s the mod! This show is the Hoverboard of the Segway of podcasting, but don’t wait with giving them awards until they are dead!

Merlin and John do not toot their own horn, but the people who should be tooting their horn are not tooting loud enough and they are tooting to people who already know about it. Instead they should go down to the student center wearing a sandwich board that says Roderick on the Line, handing out flyers. People are walking around with All the Great Shows T-shirts all the time!

The Headphoney podcasting awards (RL187)

see The Phoney Awards

John has never gotten any awards, applying to the Army War College (RL270)

Military academic and long-time listener Colonel Ed Kaplan has been the head of the history department at the Air Force Academy and is now teaching strategy at the Army War College, doing all kinds of military thinking. He submitted John to go to the yearly National Security Seminar (NSS) at the Army War College that takes place right before a new crop of Colonel-level Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines war-fighter graduates from this college where they are taught to think strategy. They always have some civilians come in to talk about big ideas like the use of military power in the geopolitical sphere. They intentionally want people without military background from a wide variety of civilian life who are interested in talking about that stuff. John is a good example of such a person who wants to sit with a bunch of colonels and talk about the use of American power. He had to fill out an application form online that had a whole section where he was supposed to list all his diplomas and awards, like Legion of Honor or things like that. If you have been awarded the Iron Cross with Diamonds, put it here!

John was thinking hard about it and noticed that no-one has ever given him any awards! The Seattle Weekly gave him a plaque for ”Tweet of the year” in 2010 (see above in RL187), he has a ”Thanks for your service” certificate for being on the board of The Recording Academy for eight years, but the only thing he could put in that box was King Neptune! It was the only honor he had ever received together with a certificate with a gold star, but that doesn’t mean anything to them and they won’t realize the full statue of King Neptune and how John helped to redefine the role and how many people are there who are king and also redefine what we mean by king. Merlin rejects the narrative that life is about a series of arrivals. At one point in 2006 John’s album was just under the Top 10 of the Indie Charts. Merlin’s band Bacon Ray was mentioned once in CMJ on the same page as Archers of Loaf, which made him happy for like two years! Although we live in a culture of award inflation where everybody gets an award, nobody has ever given John an award, which surprises him. He doesn’t want a fake award, but he would accept a Phoney award because he and Merlin invented it and there should be The Phoney awards.

John submitted this application completely sincerely, but he was wondering if somebody at the Army is going to read this resumé and think about it as a joke application. They have people come in from universities and Think Tanks around the world and then there is also this guy who has recently been King Neptune of Seattle and who has done a series of short films for Visit Seattle. He also invented The Phoney Awards which he hasn’t won. His father shot a Japanese Zero out of the sky with his 45. John once had lunch on the USS Kentucky (see RW91), but no-one there will avow that he was there. Have you ever heard of Aimee Mann? John is friends with her. That guy with the song at the end of a video game is also John’s close personal friend. He was a 7-time JoCo Cruise attendee. There were a couple of things John tried to put on that application form, but the only thing he could say about himself was ”Attendee”.

Wanting to win a Grammy for best packaging (RW73, RW113)

John knows a lot of people who have Grammy Awards, some of them for best packaging, but you don't have to say that unless anybody asks. John would love to have a Grammy Award for best packaging because it would comport with his feeling of so many things. His records had amazing packaging, but nobody ever said anything, so it is quite unlikely that he will achieve that. Dan does have a record player and he plays vinyls, but he has never seen one of John's records in person. He only has digital versions. One of John's albums has a 23 page booklet which was very expensive and difficult to fit that into the cassette version. They were making works of art and while nowadays it is hilarious to try to make a CD packaging into something crafted, back then they really did want it to be a beautiful thing. (RW73) The first two Long Winters records should absolutely have been nominated for best packaging. They might not have won, but it is a grave oversight that they weren’t nominated. (RW113)

There was an era in the early 2000s where people were getting back into the art of bookbinding and people were making beautiful artifacts for their own sake. Dan should seek out John's albums in person! The most beautiful of them in vinyl is now out of print, but John is talking to the people about getting it re-issued. The three other albums you can still get on vinyl. This is something Dan had wanted to do. They have a great record store in town called Waterloo. They sold out of the albums in about 2013, but they could re-order them. Only just recently John's memories of his whole musical career life have started to go into soft focus. It was not very long ago that he felt very much present in that life and it had only been a while since he was in Austin, but it has been years, maybe 2009/2010! Now he really feels he is not in that circuit anymore. So many of the record stores have closed, so many of the clubs have probably closed. John's friend David Bazan continues to tour relentlessly across America now in 2017 as he was in 2003 and he has that connection still. John's direct connection has gotten very soft. (RW73)

John getting a Grammy certificate for writing a song on Aimee Mann’s album (RL276, RW113)

John avoids all media when the Grammys are on because although he is on the Grammy board (LINK?) and votes for them, he doesn’t want to watch the show. Aimee Mann won the Grammy for best folk album in 2018 and John wouldn’t even have thought about her as a folk artist, but she did win for the music and not for best packaging. (RL276)

John wrote a song on that album and while he did not ask Aimee where his parade was, he contacted his people at the Grammys and asked for a friend if hypothetically an album would win a Grammy for best in category and your friend had written a song on that record, what would be the story with that? You don’t get one of the little gold gramophones, but is there something? It turns out you get a very nice gold-embossed certificate suitable for framing that says that you wrote a song on a Grammy-winning album. It is not quite like if John won exactly something, but he did get a certificate. (RL276)

Jonathan Coulton wrote a bunch of songs on that album as well and he is also going to get a certificate which tarnishes it a little. His record Solid State was actually nominated for Best Packaging and he lost to Father John Misty with the deluxe edition of his album Pure Comedy, but he will get yet another certificate for that nomination. His wall of diplomas is once again much better than John’s and it almost looks like a dentist’s office. He might even get nominated for a Tony because he wrote some songs (several versions of "Bikini Bottom Day") on the new SpongeBob Musical. (RL276)

As John was contemplating receiving this certificate, which he probably will not open (reference to John not opening his college diploma), he realized that Kathleen Edwards won a SOCAN Prize in 2012, which is a major Canadian award, for the song A Soft Place to Land that John has a co-write on (see here). She was playing the song on John's piano that his cousin yells about as being a weird sounding piano and he told her that it was a wonderful song and all he would do was change this to that and add this and take away that. She gave John songwriting credit on it because it has a part that sounds very John, which was generous on her part because it is her song entirely. (RL276)

When the SOCAN awards for best song were announced, they said that Kathleen Edwards and John Roderick won this award. John was not in Canada and he never asked them for a certificate, but this is another participation for something where he was standing next to the person when someone won. It starts to feel like he has half-won a couple of things! John also sang the background-harmonies on Transatlanticism. Sean sang on a handful of songs on that record and has a gold record on his wall and guess who doesn’t? It is John! John doesn’t have one because when they were sitting with their notepad out, deciding whom to send these to, Sean was very helpful because he sang on several songs. Then they also gave one to the producer Chris Walla, to the mixer and to Josh Rosenfeld & Emily Alford from Barsuk. (RL276)

John did not get a thing for the wall that he could put next to the bathroom. Maybe he wouldn’t even open it? His trophy room would just be unopened boxes in a display case, a bell jar on it and a plaque with a question-mark, stuff he got in the mail that might be an award. It will be so Yoko Ono, a strange room full of beautifully framed and mounted things in envelopes that for all he knows could be a Big Mouth Billy Bass or they could be a Grammy. Because no-one is saying that it is not a Grammy it would be a Schrödinger’s Grammy! Right in the center there would be a really big box that is probably a platinum record from Death Cab for Cutie. It wouldn’t cost a lot to send one to everybody who worked on it and who is to say how many people ended up learning about them because they came to see the opening act? It is pretty safe to say how many people did because John can look at his own record sales. John’s metaphysical trophy wall has a lot of these award-adjacent envelopes. (RL276)

In June of 2018 John was down in Los Angeles and had a little party in his hotel when Aimee came and gave him the foam packaging that her Grammy Award came in. It looks like a negative space Grammy Award and it is the nicest award John has ever received. It is now sitting on his mantel in the same place that a Grammy would go. If John would win a Grammy, he wouldn’t put it in the center of his mantel, but he would move it over to the side. Until now he hasn't even been nominated. A lot of very talented people have never won a Grammy Award and arguably people who are not very talented have won Grammy Awards. (RW113)

People winning EGOT awards (RW113)

There is a picture of Barbra Streisand sitting in a room with all of her awards. She got Grammys, Emmys, two Oscars and every other kind of award you can receive in plenitude. Only 12 people have won an EGOT competitively, while Barbara Streisand and Liza Minelli have an EGOT with one honorary award. John and Dan continue to talk about different people who almost have an EGOT, but are missing one of the awards.

Emmy Award Party (RW113)

One time John went to an Emmy Award party with John Hodgman, hosted by HBO in Los Angeles. As he was walking around after the ceremony, he saw all these people with their Emmys in their hand walking around like schlubs. The were normals in tuxedos who were probably writers, because even if you are only one of 25 people on the writing staff of a show or you bring papers in and out of the room of the writing team of a dumb sitcom, you get an Emmy if the show wins an Emmy. If you are one of the people who wrote a great song on an album that only has 10 songs, you don’t get a Grammy.

Winning awards in John's second career (RL219)

John follows many sitcom writers and after the Emmys of 2016 he saw a picture of someone taking a knee with 30 other dopes all holding Emmys. He couldn’t believe that this person he knows won an Emmy for that show, because he knows what she does on it. If you can just win an Emmy like these clowns on that photo, then John has made a terrible choice in life to not be sitting in one of these rooms sharpening pencils or throwing cards into a hat when somebody waltzes in announcing that everybody in this room has won an Emmy because it is not one person specifically, but it is the room that won an Emmy?

Maybe John’s career is not going to start before he is 60. After his current career he might be sitting in a soda shop having a malted when somebody is going to waltz in looking for the new Lebowski or somebody to play the old trapper. Silicon Valley types will have aged 15 years from now and instead of the trope being a 20-something callow and striving Stanford-grad, all those entrepreneurs will be thrashed from all those years drinking Soylent and never seeing the sun. They will look 60 when they are actually 40 and because John has vitality and stamina, he is going to read as a thrashed 40-year old when he will be 60.

The other day John was trying to imagine being cast in a film as the wise but stoned and sage friend of the protagonist. Being slightly stoned contextualizes the sageness, because you can’t just have the friend of the protagonist be flat-out sage and there has got to be some chink in his armor that makes him relatable. In this case he is a burnout. John was practicing his burnout eyes because they can't be as burned out as the white guy stoner in all the Dave Chappelle skits. Instead your eyes have to communicate that you have smoked a lot of weed, but maybe you don’t smoke it anymore, or you are just taking it in pill-form and it is not hindering your ability to be smart and present, but it has given you insight into the sea. John understood that stoner eyes were supposed to be heavy-lidded, but with the eyebrows up. You are in the game, you are not just asleep and you are talking softly, but not in a stoner-voice. You speak elliptically, sometimes accidentally something brilliant slides out, and everybody in the room will be floored, which is the whole reason why you are part of the plot. It is not exactly Shaggy, Lebowski or Morgan Freeman.

It will be a serious film, not a stoner-comedy and the wise stoned friend is actually the Caddie or the limo driver. There are real stakes and the person is somewhat mystical. Is he really there? Did he come through the cloud or not? At the same time it is like a Good Will Hunting situation and maybe there is an Oscar in it for John? He would be Robin Williams because it is too late for him to be Matt Damon. There was a window where he could have been Matt Damon, but he was doing other things then. Merlin says he would enjoy that movie.

John's musical friend group being in the middle range (RW110)

In May of 2018, John went to see his friends Nada Surf play the 15-year anniversary of their breakout Indie record Let Go, their first album on their mutual record label Barsuk. During the show, John realized that his whole culture as an adult and as a musician happened within the middle range. None of his friends were big stars, but everybody was just kind of a middle star. The biggest band in their group is Death Cab for Cutie, but in terms of all the pop stars of the 2000s, Death Cab for Cutie were never huge. They are a huge band by any reckoning, but they never had a #1 song, they never were on everyone's lips for a year, and they never won a Grammy. Portugal. The Man is having an explosive single right now (Feel It Still) and just the strength of that one single is carrying them around the world. The Presidents of the United States of America had that in the early 1990s and they had some big hits that everyone still kind of knows. There is a wall of platinum records in Jason Finn’s bathroom. Jonathan Coulton was just nominated for a Tony Award (for SpongeBob Musical) and if he wins that, it will be a major event in John’s whole friend group. John Flansburgh has a couple of Grammys and Aimee Mann just won one, so there are some award winners in John’s gang, but none of them has an Oscar.

John’s friends are typically in that range where they can sell out a theater, but nobody is a mammoth and they can still check into hotel rooms under their own name. When Aimee Mann is traveling, there will sometimes be fans who want to talk to her, but no-one is really waiting outside of the hotel making her life uncomfortable. Ben Gibbard was married to Zooey Deschanel and there were people waiting outside of hotels for her, but she is really good at dealing with them. They started checking into hotels as Anny Oakley and Wild-Bill Hickock, because you don’t want somebody waiting for you in the hotel.

Sean Nelson once had a stalker during the Harvey Danger years. While most of those are not stalkers, but just over-enthusiastic fans who don’t know where the boundaries are, Sean had a legitimately scary stalker who believed she was married to him. When she was finally confronted with the fact of Sean’s wife, she said ”Oh, I’m married to Dead Sean!”, which was the moment where everybody got really cold in their fingers. Sean yelled at her, was rude to her and made her feel bad every time he saw her until she finally transferred her fandom to John. She was never married to Dead John, who has more wives than Live John, and her fandom for John was less passionate than for Sean, partly because John was more accessible to her. He wasn’t mythical, but he talked to her and accepted her little gifts. Eventually she moved on and she is probably running a fan-site for some other band right now.

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