RL170 - The Wilder Universe

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The Problem: They billed John $300, referring to John’s trademark / copyright lawyers who were the only lawyers he ever had who every time they sent him a letter they charged him $300.

The show title refers to Laura Ingalls Wilder who had a book called The Long Winter and who wanted to develop a universe of things around it, but had to talk to John because he had the trademark for The Long Winters.

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 Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first!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.

John and Merlin going to XOXO (RL170)

Happy slightly belated birthday! John is not a big birthday-celebrator, but he has a family, so he is obligated to allow them to celebrate him and so he submits to being celebrated. He was in Portland, one of his favorite Northwestern river towns, it was in the middle of the XOXO festival, and he saw Merlin in person and they ate ramen together and had a high-level conversation in a hotel lobby. They saw a lot of Internet people, a very nice man gave John a very nice book. He is a wonderful fellow from Baltimore and he gave John a book that he thought John would like and it was wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string, like he knew how to do things.

Later John was sitting at a table with Marco and Tiffany Arment and the @biorythmist Matt and a couple of Andies, and John had this package wrapped with brown paper and everybody was speculating what it was, but John didn’t have to reveal. There was some talk that maybe John just came with a book in brown paper wrapper, just waiting for somebody to come whom he could give it to. Maybe there was a card in there addressed to John with a nice note, but nobody believed that.

John getting a book about design patterns, having several libraries in his house (RL170)

There is a railroad down the street, the Burlington Northern, who also bought the Santa Fe railroad a long time ago and now it is called the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF, founded 1994) and they park their locomotives way out to the airport and drive the engineers, the break-men and the coal shovelers out there in vans and the company that owns the vans is called something like Professional Transportation Inc and it looks like an FBI van. That sounds fake, but John took the time to google it and that is really what it is called. It is a subsidiary of United Companies LLC., which means people working for railroads need to jazz up their game a little bit!

This book has a similar title, it is a very big book called A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander from 1977 and it is about how you make spaces. Like a cookbook, you wouldn’t read it all the way through, but it is more like a reference book with things like ”Place to sit by a window” or having closely grouped houses with access to retail, things that tend to work when we make public and private places. Merlin continues to describe the book. John got another book while he was down in Portland and now he has two very thick books. There was the orange room and the purple room and the gold room, and John picked up the book in the pink room. They had to go to a disused top floor where only the cranky people work where the carpeting stopped and it was just metal doors clanging. ”Where the carpet ends” is one of Merlin’s very favorite self-esteem books. It is called Brazilian.

John had been curating several libraries and the one he spent the most time on recently is the library for the downstairs bathroom in the back by the kitchen that has now sort of matured and if you spend any time in there you will find something to engage you and thrill you. That library is complete now. This new set of books, they are both a bit took heavy for the night table because it is going to be hard to sit in bed and read either one of them because they weigh 6 pounds and it is not something to put yourself to sleep because you have to say focused and read them with good posture. These are both going to end up in the kitchen library and you are going to read it sitting at the dining room table with a mug of something.

Tiff tore Merlin’s outfit apart because he was way overdressed in terms of layers for everything and she gave him a very serious brown beam for wearing a Pendleton shirt when it was 84 degrees (29 °C) and pointed out that his Cloggs were made of Suede and that is actually a fall shoe. Labor day is come and gone! What she doesn’t understand about the Northwest is that the Pendleton shirt is a year-round shirt because the wool really breathes and they just wear it all year, even when it is 90 degrees (32 °C).

She is from the East Coast and they have different ideas about things there. She probably has things to say about Ultrasuede and John doesn’t even know what that is and could not tell you about a single time when you are meant to wear that. It might be as Pleather is to Leather. His mom is from Ohio and used to have all kinds of things to say about Ultrasuede and to John’s eternal shame he tuned it all out and still doesn’t know what it is. It sounds like a band from 1995. There was this other band called Suede, but that doesn’t dissuade other people who like to copy old band names, including bands in the Northwest who have called themselves Western State, even though John already had a popular band in the Northwest called Western State Hurricanes and was almost on a label.

Having a registered trademark for The Long Winters and getting inquired by Laura Ingalls Wilder (RL170)

There is a band called A Long Winter and a Metal band called Long Winters’ Stare. Merlin calls that namespace pollution. They were a viable Metal band for a time and John may even have intruded on their space because they may have preexisted The Long Winters and John might be on thin ice complaining about it. Later on some other dumb non-viable Indie Rock band called themselves A Long Winter and that forced John to get a copyright attorney and to register the trademark The Long Winters, which then cost a lot of money and caused him to deal with attorneys and you have to update them, which is the biggest eel of all. Merlin’s friend Leslie Harpold used to say he doesn’t like buying toys for his toys, like buying a phone and then a cable and stuff: Ultimate eels.

Then John got a registered letter from the estate of Laura Ingalls Wilder (see RL231, OM197) who wrote a book called The Long Winter as part of her series of books about life on the prairie and they said that they had forgotten to copyright that because he didn’t occur to them because they are her estate and they are just a room full of lawyers, too, but now they were thinking of developing that book into some various products, maybe a movie, like the Marvel Universe, except it is the Laura Ingalls Wilder universe, and they wanted to make sure they have all the rights. They said they didn’t think there will be any confusion between The Long Winter and The Long Winters, so they are just hoping that John won’t mind and they asked what it would take for him to not mind.

Then they proceeded to list some of the other things they wanted to do as they were exploring the new Wilder Universe, maybe they wanted to do a Broadway show The Long Winter. It is like the Apple problem: All of a sudden they get into music! What if John wanted to do a Broadway show? What if they had a Broadway show that had a soundtrack, that was a musical set in the prairie. Now John’s team of lawyers that had been sitting dormant inside their Krisalis (?) ”struggled to open on stage, they were inside, trying to play the bass”, eventually were animated and said that if that estate of a famous American author wanted to use The Long Winter they would have to come through them and pay them a Fuck You Amount of money. That is like having a bodyguard that picks fights!

She is a beloved American author, loved by people everywhere, and John is not the thug in this story, he just got the trademark for the band name because of these dorks who decided to call their band A Long Winter and he wanted to send them a letter that said: ”Hey, shut it down, dopes!” and now he is dealing with the ghost of Laura Ingalls Wilder? John presumes that they don’t have $500 million, they probably don’t even have $5 million, but they saw that John owned it and went before a hearing officer who told them that it might be a problem.

They came to John with hat in hand because they had already talked to somebody, and so John’s lawyers all looked up from their meal of raw meat that they were having at some giant table in New York City. They were the only lawyers John ever had, and he has had a few lawyers, including some that were indicted in Federal Court, who every time they sent John a letter they charged him $300. John would call them each time and yell at them that they couldn’t charge him $300 to send him a letter, but they would just forward him to billing and let him go back and forth. A couple of time he got it credited, but they surely charged it back to him somewhere else.

They told John that for the low price of $12.000 worth of registered letters they could probably get them to give John $20.000 for the rights. John didn’t register this trademark to squat on it and exploit people like those domain squatters that we used to think that was a really low class thing to do. They probably owe the guy who invented podcasting hundreds of thousands of dollars (see podcasting patent)! Some of Merlin’s friends received letters about that and there is a This American Life about patent trolling that is amazing. John holds the patent for farting in a short glas and people are doing that all the time and John is not getting any money for it. He has been to Germany and knows people are farting in shot glasses world wide and he is not getting a fucking cent!

John eventually called these lawyers and told them to cease and desist because if Laura Ingalls Wilder’s estate wants to make a broadway musical based on The Long Winter, the Godspeed!, that is going to be a fucking flop. That is just a room full of lawyers also farting in shot-glasses because they are just trying to justify how many billable hours then can come up with by looking around who has any competing copyrights with all of the books she wrote and the charge the estate for all the registered letters. John told them to stop, but got a couple more $300 letters from them. John feels like he has established himself as The Long Winters and people know what it is and if other enterprises intrude upon that space, let the chips fall where they may! John does not want another remora attached to his soft, white, underbelly. ”Go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut, you lawyers!” and they presumably did and went back in the Kristalis (?).

XOXO (cont)

Merlin had two funny Portland things happen at the airport yesterday. John says that Merlin is a huge deal at XOXO and a massive star in that environment. Merlin sometimes gets overwhelmed. He is always ready to leave and close to leaving all the time, he is near the door. In this case he walked up to the venue to get his badge he knew so many people. Just standing in line he knew 4 people. He got up to where you get the badges and the guy greeted Merlin with a catch phrase, proving he knew one of Merlin’s shows. While Merlin was standing there, another guy walked up, wearing a Roderick on the Line shirt, and Merlin learned from his friend John Gruber to walk up to the guy, give him a pat and say: ”That is a really handsome shirt” - ”Oh, you are Merlin Mann! I am Andy McMillan, I am the co-founder of XOXO!” It was boner-town, are you kidding me?

Merlin didn’t get more than 10-15 paces in in half an hour because he kept seeing so many people he knew and hadn’t seen in 8 years, it was so fun! As wonderful as it was, it does get a little overwhelming. Obviously the programming for this event is fantastic and it had a high-quality crowd. It was an extremely low level of dingelings at this thing! John had that experience where they say that if you look around the room and can’t figure out who the dingelings are, then maybe you are the dingeling, and John was wondering if he was the dingeling because there were so few dingelings there!

The guy who created Adventure Time, Pendleton Ward, was there for the second year in a row. John wanted to meet him but didn’t get a chance. Merlin’s friend John Gruber studiously avoided meeting John. Merlin didn’t see Gruber and Amy until he was in the airport, he walked down the C-Terminal, flipping a bird at them both, just walking down the airport. Gruber is a camper-outer who likes to camp out and have people come to him. John thinks Gruber deserves that John comes to him.

Merlin rather wants to focus on getting John and Siracusa together, that really needs to happen. John recently ran for office where he was dressed down every day by various constituencies and on one hand he has a bit of a thick skin now, but he feels like John Siracusa has a very long list of things he wants to talk to John about and he is worried he is going to get excoriated.

Merlin didn’t go to that many events, he was there mostly for the people and the one performance thing he did (live show with You Look Nice Today), but it was really great!

The vibraphone player in SEATAC airport (RL170)

Portland thing number 2, which Merlin talked about on the Twitter (find it!), but John accidentally unfollowed Merlin months ago and couldn’t have seen it, is that in the terminal there is a vibes (vibraphone) player in the C-area. John is part of the Seattle Music Commission and they have made the SEATAC airport a safe place for vibes. Merlin has seen that player about a month prior when he was also there. They volunteer and they get tips, but it is a lot of Nutcracker, which is a perfect thing to play on vibes in an airport, also Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, and this goes on and he played a lot of classics and swinging jazz stuff. Then he was playing Needle in the Hay by Elliott Smith, exquisite, perfect, dolorous, a song that is more intense than most metal songs, as quiet as it is. Merlin gave him $5 and thanked him for playing that song. Turns out, he played at the premier of Heaven Adores You, the pretty good Elliott Smith movie, and wasn’t a drier in the house (?).

John knows a vibes player here in Seattle and their good friend who has never listened to this show Sean Nelson dated her for a while, she is a spectacular vibes player. He might also listen to every episode and just sit in a wing-back chair, clenching his fists and gnawing at the end of his Meerschaum Pipe, but he probably can’t stand listen to John and Merlin talk like they do. It is like listening to two of your ex girlfriends have a show.

Merlin seeing Carrie Brownstein at the airport (RL170)

Merlin’s Portland story number 1 he didn’t want to tweet about because it is creepy. He likes the Portland airport. The TSA people are sometimes a little too performy for Merlin’s liking and it won some phoney-baloney award as an airport. Like the Who is Who of American High School students who just want you to buy the book. That book is in John’s bathroom library in the edition from 1978. Merlin was in the line and there was one woman who considers herself extremely funny as far as TSA agents go and she was cracking wise, talking to people and Merlin heard Carrie Brownstein and he saw this wisp of a woodland creature with a roller bag sprinting toward this screaming woman, taking a card out of her hand and saying: ”Thank you very much!”.

Basically she had gone through TSA Pre and had left her driver’s license and this woman in Portland with somebody who is kind of a private person, was screaming ”Carrie Brownstein!” She is so cute, she would fit in a vest pocket. Merlin adores her, he loves Sleater-Kinney, he loves Portlandia, she is amazing, and she was tearing ass to get somewhere far away from where this happened, and the woman who was yelling, someone whispered something to her and she was: ”Oh, I didn’t know!” and of course, half of the people in line strained their necks and turned. If you are in Portland, you want to see Carrie Brownstein walking around!

John knew she was there because during XOXO the Internet’s Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris of Maximum Fun, of the show Jordan Jesse Go were playing a show of their own podcast in Portland at the same time when John and Merlin were there, which seemed funny and John texted Jesse and asked if he was in Portland and Jesse said he was sitting at Powel’s Books or something, but John wasn’t going to come over there to see him if he didn’t make any attempt to see John, but ”Go screw yourself and up your nose with a rubber hose!” John said: ”I am sitting with some Internet people who are fairly prominent on the Internet, one of them has a pink iPhone that I am not allowed to touch” - ”Last night I was hanging out with Carrie Brownstein!” and John doesn’t know if that just meant he was in the same theater area of town or if they were really hanging out.

John getting used to spending time with Internet people (RL170)

Merlin is pleased about how comfortable John is spending time on purpose with Internet people, he seems to have come a long way with that. John has realized some time ago that he is a kind of Internet person and people recognize him from the Internet among other places, John can’t fight it anymore, and he is still not allowed to touch the pink iPhone, but he can sit around and talk about… for instance Marco sat next to John and told him about his microphone reviewing, he did a long series of reviews on headphones and now he has done one on microphones with a bend toward podcasters who famously don’t know anything about how things sound.

John has been in the pro audio circles for many years and has A/B tested some very expensive microphones that even the top-podcasters would never get their grubby little hands near, not even Marc Maron in his dusty garage. These are microphones that cost more than a car, built in pre-war Germany, das Weimar Mics, microphones that were manufactured in Japan after the war to be better than every other thing. John was able to sit and talk to Marco about microphones, a topic where he was coming from a knowledgable place, and he said: ”Give me your opinion of my tone, Marco!”, and he was uncomfortable because he thinks the SM7B is problematic because it takes so much to drive it that you have noise with it. Merlin has never heard the noise and Marco said two things: He has a different standard of noise floor, he likes the background to be completely dark and Roderick on the Line has a little too much noise for his taste. Somehow he didn’t believe that John’s cough button was just turning the mic 90 degrees and then turn it back.

Marco was going to talk to Merlin about rolling some of the bass off of John, but Merlin does it in Garage Band and Marco probably doesn’t even have a copy of garage band. That bass is some of the appeal for some people, the way John’s voice reverberates not just in their ear-bones, but also in their pelvic bones, and that is part of the reason they listen to the show, and if you took off the bass John’s voice might stop at their abdomen and that wouldn’t be far enough.

Merlin has a lot of sinus problems right now because he was traveling a lot, going to places with air conditioning and being in the fart tube which will really dry you out. These tech conferences are basically events where an entire group of people who by definition do not travel well are all asked to gather in a far-away place. Nobody knows how to pack or how to be around people. Veterans of WWII are more likely to get on a plane than some of these folks in their early 20s. You can see it in their body language. Still, everyone overcomes it.

Merlin flew with Alaska airlines, which is a great airline and he was able to upgrade from his seat in the back of the fart tube into a row 6 seat for $16. It used to be possible to upgrade to first for $50, which usually starts around $1200. Sitting in the front of the plane means that everyone else in the plane is behind your fart orifice because farts go backwards. Maybe John could license his shotglas idea to the airlines.

Collecting farts and memories (RL170)

John wonders whether at the back of the plane where all of the farts are accumulating and presumably condense, buttressed by the fact that people are literally ruining that bathroom every couple of minutes back there creates a fart sink. If we understand that farts do have an element of particulate, how many farts before you could actually condense them down to a product, to make a puck, and what would that puck be good for? They continue to speculate about that topic.

This is an adjunct of Supertrain thinking: The fashion in sports stadiums now is to destroy the multi-million dollar coveted sports stadium that your town built in the 1970-80s, to wreck it, and rebuild a sports-stadium that is open to the air and that looks old-timey. They did that here in Seattle where they tore down a perfectly fine cement bunker and built two fake-old open stadiums to replace it. Back when you had a concrete domed sports stadium with climate control, how much human moisture did you process and why were we not collecting that and studying it? The moisture-laden breath of 50.000 sports-fans and all that wet air was sucked into some duct somewhere and taken down to a basement room where it was condensed into buckets of everyone’s hopes and fears.

Merlin had a dehumidifier in his house, which used to be the size of a file cabinet with a big coil on the back, and it would take the moisture out of the air and it would drip off the little coils to a bucket. After a week of that you cannot even believe how much moisture is being pulled out. Are you noticing moisture around your home? You would never guess you could make a bucket, and now imagine you do that with farts and memories! At a sports stadium those farts and memories are probably 4% alcohol and at 50.000 people you basically got a dumpster of wet memories and fears. Are you just dumping that into the bay? Those memories are our patrimony!

The metric system (RL170)

America should really go to the metric system, they are almost the only country who doesn’t do it and it is ridiculous. John tried and did his part in the 1970s, but it is so hard to be the only person doing something! They elected Reagan president on a platform of no metric system. Good look getting him even to understand the metric system, he was using imperial weights, like tonnes, he was measuring distance in furlongs. Forget it! America missed their opportunity! How many hog’s heads is it going to take to get one aircraft carrier. Now America is an anachronism, but they are the ones building a manned mission to Mars and they are going to take inches and feet to Mars and they are going to be confused up there!

collecting memories (cont)

The continue talking about collecting memories and spend some time on bad clown memories.

John is astonished at how poorly so many people search the Internet. Most things he wants to find it takes 2-3 stabs at most to figure out the magic combination of words that is going to get the thing he is looking for in the top 3 search results. The first search teaches you how the computer thinks about that and what words the computer is thinking. John is asking questions of the computer in full sentences for the most part, which is adorable, but John is understanding that the computer is learning and he wants it to learn good grammar and punctuation.

Finding an original 1950s suit in the Alberta neighborhood in Portland (RL170)

When John was in Portland he decided to go up to the Alberta neighborhood which he watched evolve over his 25 years of going to Portland from a street that had nothing of interest on it to a street that was rehabilitated and colonized and now it is a street where there are bars and artisanal ice cream places and places where they make handbags out of sails and places where they sell space pens and little books of waterproof matches at quadruple the price it should be because it is all locally sourced. Places where they sell Zippo lighters that were carved out of wood, which seems like a terrible idea, mustache wax and all the above things.

Seattle or San Francisco can’t do this anymore. There used to be a whole sub-economy for people who want to spend all their time in thrift stores and pick something for $2 and sell it for $20 and open a little store and sell their vintage stuff. Now that a typical store front in San Francisco is $70.000 a month and in Seattle it is $17.000 a month you can’t have a store like that anymore, but in Portland you still can, pick up other people’s garbage, spend your weekends at garage sales and not even clean it, but arrange it artfully on a store front on a cool street and sell it for $30 instead of $13. There are still enough of those and John was wandering around and they make him mad because they are all curated by someone else which means that their aesthetic is always wrong and the shit they chose and think is cool is not cool.

Then John thinks he should have a store and he is day-dreaming, imagining himself working at a store and he gets super-depressed because anytime you open a business you are giving yourself a bad job. You wouldn’t take that as a job in somebody else’s store! Why would you want to do this on your own? Every friend John ever had who wanted to open a café: ”Really, do you like working in a café?” - ”No, that is why I am going to open one!” - ”You are giving yourself an 18-hour a day job at a café! The fact that you are the owner doesn’t change the fact that you are working there, and you are working more than anybody else and you have to work there anytime anybody else is sick, but also a normal shift every day and at the end of the day when it is not profitable you are the one who cries! Do not open a business unless that is the best job you ever had!”

John walked into one of these stores that had a bunch of wool-rich shirts and a bunch of Timberland shoes that are pre-owned. Come on, those should go right in the big shredder, the one you could put a washing machine in and it just shreds it. New Timberland shoes are fine, but once they used they should go right into the shredder and become a park bench or some tarmac. John was walking around the store, sneering at it, and in the back he saw a rack of men’s clothes that had some Pendleton shirts and he went over to see if there were any for Merlin. John can see a Pendleton shirt from 150 yards away just by looking at it, he can see a Pendleton shirt moving in a car on a guy who also has a jacket on and he can tell probably within 10 years of its era. He should just be uploaded to the borg where all of his acquired knowledge could be useful.

John has an idea of the Pendleton shirts he was going to get for Merlin, but these were not them. Then he saw this fabric at the end of the rack and it was a very curious suit, the one suit in the entire store. John wondered how this survived here and he immediately tried it on and it fit him perfectly. There were no visible tags and John was trying to discern it, suit-whispering to it, rubbing his hands on it, wanting it to tell him its stories. John’s friend who was with him looked at the suit and said: ”Oh, it is an 1980s suit!” - ”I know why you think that, but the suits in the 1980s were imitating a kind of 1940s/50s suit and this is one of those!” - ”No, can’t be, it is in too good a condition!” - ”I know, but there is enough about that is vibing me, reverberating, that it is real truth!” John took this suit, brought it home, fondling it, fucking with it, trying to figure it out, and he found sown in the pocket a union-made label with a code and because there were no other identifying marks he was ready to figure it out.

John went to the computer-machine and asked it some questions in full sentences and very quickly he was at a specialist site where nerds, haberdashers, any group of nerds who have decided that they are interested in fashion, which a group of those are called a fedora, and anytime you see a fedora of nerds you know they are probably sitting around talking about… they are either all wearing dusters or they are twirling their handlebar mustaches.

A fedora of nerds had made a website with all the union labels that have ever been sold at any American item of clothing and how to date things by tiny little variations in these labels. In 1948 the label changed and then in 1961 they added a tiny Registered Trademark symbol (for example this site). John found that his suit was made between 1948 and 1961, it was an old but somehow meticulously cared for speckled wool black suit that he got for $35 up on Alberta. Now what is he supposed to do with that? He has another great thing, but the world doesn’t care and everybody else is wearing yoga pants and are farting in shot glasses and are not even paying John his royalty.

Maybe John has rescued that suit from that dumb store full of used Timberland boots and Woolrich jackets. He found this thing that was a little Fabergé Egg that was in a store called Eggs And Such (reference to RL168 where there was a store Strings And Such) and the people who owned it said: ”Look, a pretty egg! We will put it in our Eggs And Such store!”, but this was a real thing, this didn’t belong here with you and your wooden lighters! It belongs with John in his curated hermetically sealed men’s wear closet of stuff that there is no appropriate place to wear it.

John and Merlin also went into a fancy shoe store where they met a very nice man named Jordon who was very enthusiastic and asked if this was their first time here and he wanted to tell them how it works. He explained that this was actually not exactly a store, but more a show room where you couldn’t buy any shoes, but you had to go on the Internet for that. The company was headquartered just a few miles out of town in Tigard, Oregon, those are locally sourced shoe purchases. The shoes are from China, but they are purchased not very far from here.

John wanting to open an eBay store (RL170)

The have previously talked about how to curate what John has. He has talked about eBay, he was had the idea of having an assistant coming in and capturing some of his stories and putting them somewhere. The primary challenge John has identified is that if he went on Etsy he could put up some things for sale with some stories. John has researched the story of some of the things, but some of these garments have John’s own stories. He has watched the C-Beams glitter off of Tannhäuser Gate in this shirt, he was wearing this shirt watching attack ships burn off the shoulder of Orion (Tears in rain monologue) and not only is this a cool shirt from the 1960s, but John has filled this shirt with his own crazy shit that he wants you to know about and you can buy this shirt just because you think Gantt is a cool men’s wear label for people who like Ivy League preppy shit, but also there is this other element.

The problem with Etsy is that you price the thing and when John goes on Etsy he feels like everything is overpriced and very rarely does he see a thing with the correct price for this item. On eBay it seems much more like the actual proper price can be determined because it is a market place and as we know, in America the market is the highest moral order. The market will decide and if two guys who are members of different fedoras of nerds both decide they want this particular thing and they want to bid it up to $7000 because they are both fans of Roderick on the Line then that is what the market will bear.

But attaching the stories to the items within eBay is a violation of the eBay unwritten terms, which are: We are here, schlepping stuff, we are a trading town. eBay people do not want to be bothered to wade through some guy talking about all the shit he has fucking seen wearing this shirt. No one gives a shit and you will get some 3-star ratings and be ejected from the communities and sent to a prison barge.

How can John get the ”crafts fair at an elementary school where people are selling the garbage they made and boring the shit out of you with their long stories” vibe of Etsy with the ”Let the market decide what this thing is worth” vibe of eBay? Some of John’s items there might be two nerds bidding for it, but then there could be some clothes nerd who doesn’t even care about the story. This is why it has to be more of a museum and less of a store.

There are so many people out there who could help John. Somebody needs to come up with an app that comes pre-loaded on your pink iPhone 6s that connects the underused nerd with the person who desperately needs the one nerdy skill. Who is the video editor who needs to get paired with the person who has 10.000 hours of footage? There is somewhere in the world who wants the shirt that John saw Edie Brickell & New Bohemians in, it might even be Edie Brickell herself, but how do we match the thing with the story with the person who wants it? Maybe that person is not a giant man and does not need a shirt with a 17.5” neck, but maybe they want a sleeping shirt that smells a little bit like John and a lot lese like Edie Brickell? It smells a little bit like a meatball sandwich and a little bit like someone’s burning sage.

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