RL348 - The Other Oregon

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

  • John’s daughter’s mother’s sense of hippie order (Daughter)
  • The mover who had an exotic car rental business (Currents)
  • The new Corvette mid-engine (Cars)
  • Cleaning up his daughter’s mother’s garage (Daughter)
  • John telling his daughter to sort out some of her shirts (Daughter)
  • Merlin's daughter preparing for middle school (Merlin Mann)
  • Merlin projecting his experiences from school onto his daughter (Merlin Mann)

The Problem: It was mostly pranks, referring to the YouTube channel of one of John's movers who in the past was renting out luxury cars but couldn't get a hold in the market in Seattle.

The show title refers to John's daughter's mother having two opposite sides to her personality, on one side being a professional person and on one side being a Hippie who doesn't have her boxes in order, just like there are two sides to Oregon. She is like the other side of Oregon.

It is early, although it is the same early as it always is.

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

John’s daughter’s mother’s sense of hippie order (RL348)

John's daughter’s mother is like his dad, a fact he tells her often: There will be a bill inside a box, making it look like a box of bills from 1996, but 5 bills down is their daughter’s birth certificate and 15 bills down is her original passport from 1991. It is impossible to pick up a box with old copies of the Thrifty Nickel that looks like a bunch of garbage and throw them out because the title to her car will be in between those. You have to go through everything!

She will put two pillows into a garbage bag that gets thrown into the corner and stuff will get piled on top of it until the corner looks like it is full of garbage, but it is not! Merlin doesn’t know her super-well, but he knows her personally, professionally and psychically, they have talked in a bar on several occasions and he thinks she is a delight, but this is not the MO he would expect from her. Professionally she is vice president in a company with a few hundred people!

There were always a handful of ladies at Rock shows and at parties who would be rocking out all night and who had a Rock’n’Roll boyfriend, but in the morning they would put on their pin-stripe suit and go to their job. Like John’s baby’s mother those ladies were fully in the Rock life: She went to High School with Josh Rosenfeld who started Barsuk, she knew everybody from the early days, she was part of the scene, but by the time everybody else was rolling around, trying to find some Tylenol, saying: ”I have to be at work at 1pm! How am I going to make it?” she was already at her desk getting stock options.

John's daughter's mother grew up on a goat farm on an island in the Pacific Northwest with Hippie parents, her mother was a textile artist, and they had no running water and no electricity. John doesn’t even know if the entire island had electricity at all. It is like with the two Oregons: She is in the other Oregon. One Oregon is strip clubs and frontier psychiatry, old-school lumber men, gun people and nuts, but the other Oregon are nuts and fruits and berries. Two Oregons! You got people juggling chainsaws, you got people growing weed up the road and there is a chain across the road and if you go across it you are going to step into a punji trap.

This is where Bellinghaming comes from (see RL27): The Hippie part of it brings a surface-clean element. She keeps things tidy, but she also has a Hippie "no-see-them side". Merlin adds that at McDonalds if you don’t have time for a full lobby clean you were supposed to do a quick sweep and just get the big stuff. "Leave the gun, take the cannoli!" (reference to The Godfather, see this explanation)

One great thing about her is that she is not shy about calling a handy person. Her job is in technology and she likes the apps that go ”Boom!” She is Tigre and Bunny and she likes the boom (lyrics from Cars That Go Boom by L’Trimm) One of the apps she likes is Task Rabbit.

The mover who had an exotic car rental business (RL348)

John’s daughter’s mother had called a young guy who looked like a model and spoke with a Russian accent although he claimed to have grown up and to have always lived entirely in Seattle. His style was from the Vanilla Ice school, not with frosting and highlights, but he was very chiselled and could have been in Sugar Ray at some point.

He looked like Dolph Lundgren, the blonde one who fought Rocky (in Rocky IV, John said Rambo) and who was Grace Jones’ boyfriend. They were naked in Playboy together (July 1985, John said Grace Slick, but that was the lady from Jefferson Airplane). She was in a James Bond movie, climbing the Eiffel Tower to Duran Duran (A View to a Kill).

He had a very fancy truck and was in the exotic car game with a really successful business in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He was renting exotic cars if you wanted to go to the prom or a cool-ass party in a Lamborghini Diablo and some other Lambo he mentioned (probably Gallardo). He scoffed at Maserati and said that they used to be cool, but now they were basically at the same level as BMW.

He had tried to move his business to Seattle because he was having a baby, but you are not going to rent a lot of Lambos in Seattle because the people in Seattle already own the car they want and buy their Lamborghini in cash! There are not a lot of people who want some flash on the weekend. If he had been renting Subarus that said: ”Wag More Bark Less!” on the back bumper he would have been a millionaire. Nobody up there is going to rent a Lambo to look cool on a Friday or to go to the public radio recording, it is just not the way it is done.

Apparently he lost everything and now he was moving John’s boxes full of old belt-buckles and a statue of two bears fucking that was made of an oosik. His car thing was bankrolled because YouTube stopped monetizing his videos. Merlin had hired a Task Rabbit to clean shit from the drain in his garage which should have taken 8 minutes but took 1:20 hours because of all the things that the guy had to share. He didn’t even notice that Merlin got Pho delivered for his family and wanted to eat. The whole time Merlin was ”Chop Chop! Mach schnell! Raus!”

John's guy was working his butt off and he was moving. He didn’t stop and wipe his hands on his rag while talking to John about his business, but he was saying all this out of the side of his eyes while he was working. John was interested in why his YouTube channel got demonetized and how he went from high-rolling down the street, looking down his nose at Maseratis to working as a Task Rabbit as a mover.

He had a little daughter of 1 year old and said he was happy with it. His YouTube channel was not about exotic cars, but it was mostly pranks, about how to get girls, how to be a player, and how to be a dude bro. YouTube shut him down because some of the pranks were a little mean. John’s sense is that it was in the negg’em-to-date’em school, the pick-up artists, the seduction community, but with some side-pranking.

YouTube in their infinite wisdom had somehow decided that this sculpted guy was no longer going to make money on his channel and the whole empire fell apart. He was fairly sanguine about his lot in life because he couldn’t have been a day older than 25. Now he was moving stuff and he was trying to do a good job. Also he had a brand-new truck and he had just ordered a new Corvette with a mid-engine and was pretty proud of it.

The new Corvette mid-engine (RL348)

Merlin had heard John Siracusa talk about the new Corvette with the mid-engine on ATP. Corvettes have always been an old-man car, but in the late 1970s the Sting Ray became a fairly bloated car that seemed ridiculous and was not very fast anymore. If you thought a TransAm Firebird with a screaming chicken on the front was too subtle, you might get a Corvette.

Ever since the early 1980s Corvette has been trying to position itself as the American Supercar. For a long time their tag line was that they would give you $250.000 worth of performance for $85.000 of American money, which is not entirely wrong. It is the American model of going fast, which is putting a large engine with a lot of torque and a lot of displacement in a light car that sits very low to the ground. On first glance the new Corvette does not read like a Corvette, but they are finally doing what they have been saying forever, which is that they made it look like a supercar.

Up until this iteration there was no mistaking that a Corvette looked like a Corvette. For a long time it looked like it had taken too many steroids. The owner is not listening to Bob Marley or Fastball, but to the whole Steve Winwood catalog, to the James Gang, to The Long Run (by the Eagles), or to Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and he is driving around in his car, feeling like he used to feel.

The new Corvette looks super-duper not like a Corvette except for some of the styling and some Corvette heritage at the tail. It looks like a fucked-up Mustang from the back and has the same back-end as the new Chevy Camaro, which is a fucked-up Mustang. John is just making fun, bless your heart! Those are fun cars and if you own one everything is surely going great for you! John would love to go for a ride in somebody’s new Corvette because they seem like fun. A mid-engine car really feels planted.

John Siracusa loves foreign supercars and had a poster on the wall of his dorm room, but he is never going to own one of those cars. He waited 10 years to buy a new Mac and he is still very happy with his Accord. He can get $250.000 worth of performance for $89.000 in the form of this brand-new Corvette, which is a good deal!

This is a pussy-wagon and you have to wipe the babes off the side with a stick. It gets harder and harder to date as you get older. This car is going to revolutionize the motoring industry. It looks like an assistant manager car, but it is actually a limited-run car where they put a tuned V10 motor in.

Marco (Arment) and Casey (Liss) went to the Nürburgring (John said Bildensburg Ring) when Marco bought his BMW M5. "Of all the supercars in all the world you had to walk into mine!" (reference to Casablanca) The one that did the lap the fastest is a Dodge Viper and no-one talks about it, not even Dodge. It should be on billboards in Times Square. The Dodge Viper is one of the uglier cars right after everything Pontiac made after 2005. Marco and Tiff drove their BMW around it because it was a thing that you are supposed to do. He took a minute off from reviewing microphones, seltzer water and headphones and drove his car real fast around the corner.

Cleaning up his daughter’s mother’s garage (RL348)

John fully moved in at his Baby Mamma’s house and he is living out of the same small bag that he keeps packed and that he always lives out of. He recently switched over to ”always here” and a tiny portion of his stuff that had nowhere else to go ended up in the garage. Baby Mamma doesn’t usually see Peripheral Corner Mess or Side Mess, but as John’s stuff went on top of Side Mess in the garage it became Visible Mess.

As a way of trying to amend for it John suggested to address Side Mess to allow his mess to occupy the space that Side Mess had occupied, to pay some psychic dollars into the psionic Bitcoin account and pay some rent on his boxes that are going to occupy former Side Mess territory. John Siracusa would call it refactoring the code.

John gave himself a two-day job to clean the garage and the utility room and he almost got in on time and under budget, although not quite. He would walk up to a wall with Side Mess and Corner Mess and see half a bucket of dried-up spackle. She is not like John who would say: ”Oh, that is the spackle I built the spackle-man out of! I need this for art! What about all the artists who are working only in spackle?”, so he was moving that spackle out into the junk pile.

She had only moved into this house about a year ago, but there was stuff in the utility room from the storage space and all the closets of her old place that she hadn’t dealt with for a decade, boxes that had been moved without being opened or sorted and had been moved from prior locations without being opened or sorted and John decided to go for it!

John would be thrilled if someone would help him to go through his junk, throw stuff away, buy little bins, put stuff on shelves, and arrange all the pencils so that the led-tips are facing one way and the erasers are facing the other, so that they no longer were in there with broken crayons and some key to a house he doesn’t own anymore, even though it would be a lot of work. His daughter's mother on the other side would rather have that stuff in all those boxes and never think about it than have to deal with it.

They did successfully almost clean the entire garage and the entire utility room. They rearranged them both and she was participating. John would find a thing and would tell her that only she could sort this box and prevent forest fire (reference to Smokey Bear): ”Go take this box and sit cross-cross applesauce over in the corner and sort through it while I move these 15 things out into the street!” She would be distracted by the box and say: ”Oh look, I found!” while the dried-up half bucket of spackle went out to the corner where the Task Rabbit was going to get it before anyone had second thoughts. Merlin calls that ”to disappear some stuff”.

If you gave John a concrete floor and a push-broom he will be perfectly content for 2.5 hours and there will not be any noise in his head except for the broom going ”Shck, shck, shck” He will go over the garage and then he will go back and do it again to get the little stuff and again to do the polish. John loves a broom and he has a good method for scooping! Baby Mamma has a lot of dustpan finesse, but she always zigs when John would expect a zag and she does it with so much confidence that he feels like she has evolved her dustpan English over many years. That is not a thing you are going to dislodge in a person!

She created a little pile of: ”Look at this picture! OMG! Can you believe that this ever happened?” and he would move a couple of more pieces of what she thought of as her antiques out to the street. They got all the way down to the level of the bins of unsorted connectors, adapters, remote controls, battery chargers, wall warts, and coax-cables.

Merlin once tried to prepare for a garage sale and found himself in a great Yak-shaving moment when he was untangling wall-warts he didn’t know what they went to and that he hadn’t needed in 5 years as well as SCSI-cables for hard-drives from the 1990s: ”What are you doing? You are untangling garbage! You are alphabetizing recycling! Get a fucking life!” The problem is: What happens if you ever find the camera where this is the only adapter to get the information on that camera off into the world?

After John was done with the utility room you could eat off the floor! He got every single cobweb and the spiders around there talk about him in hush tones because he has destroyed their villages and has swept them out to the point that they will never return. ”I am legend!” All the cobwebs, all the little dirt and detritus is all gone! You almost want to go into the utility room and marvel. In the garage there is so much space you could buy a new car, for example a mid-engine Corvette.

The overrun happened because there are now 14 piles of adapters and face-filters for dry-wall-work and bins and bins of shit in the middle of the floor of the basement. At the end of Toy Story III they are headed into the incinerator and all the toys get saved, but this stuff should have kept going into the incinerator and should have fed the beast. John Siracusa says: ”Things need to leave my house!”

One of the things you never think with Toy Story III is that although all the toys get away, the inferno gets denied. Who feels bad for the fire? All the fire wanted was to gobble up those delicious toys, it was promised those toys. John thinks he could go in there - a new broom sweeps clean - grab John Siracusa by the ankles and push him around. He could gobble up everything and when his daughter's mother came home she would notice the absence of dirt and clutter, but she would not notice having lost any adapters. Merlin thinks this is a form of benevolent gaslighting because she doesn’t need to know and what she doesn’t want to know is what she doesn’t know. Nobody wants to know that!

After the cleanup the house has largely absorbed all of John’s boxes which have now become almost invisible. One of the things he brought with him was shelves meaning his things came basically on shelves. John was Gaia-bombing or terraforming or rebooting the garage and the whole lower half of the house!

John also said that they needed new bins, he was terraforming at the level of ”type of bin”. You can’t have a bin in today’s world that doesn’t have an snappy interlocky toppy! John doesn’t want a Tupperware bin, that fucking container barn kind that crack and break and are bullshit, the Wallmart-y, or the one with barn-doors that are supposed to interlock like teeth. Those can’t support the weight of boxes on top of them! You want a snap-on like a Hefty. You put the top on and go ”Cluck Cluck!” and stack another one on top of it, like the ones made by Rubbermaid, but John also likes a clear box so you can look into it.

What makes today earlier than the regular amount of early is that John was doing this work until very late last night after everybody else had gone to bed. It is also back-straining work.

John telling his daughter to sort out some of her shirts (RL348)

When John was cleaning his daughter's mother's garage he was cleaning the baby’s room at the same time. He asked her to go through all these shirts and pick out the ones that didn’t fit. She said: ”They all fit!” - ”It is not possible that all these shirts fit. There are some that don’t! But if they do all fit miraculously you have too many shirts! Some of them have to go!”

It got quadruply complicated when she asked at one point: ”Does a shirt feel bad when you get rid of it?”, which is the way John thought as a kid and still thinks now. Her saying the same thing struck John to the bone!John's reply was that right now the shirt is in a drawer and she was not choosing it because it is too small, which isn’t her fault or the shirt’s fault. The shirt instead wants is to go down the stream and meet another little girl who is going to wear it.

John told her to set the shirt free and let it to continue on its path and she could see that. Merlin once had a girlfriend who was crippled by this! Over the course of this process she didn’t say ”Keep!” and ”Go!” anymore, but she started to say ”Sleep!” for a shirt that she wanted to keep and ”Slow!” for one that she wanted to go. John would hold up a shirt, she would say ”Sleep!” or ”Slow!” and he would put it in the right pile.

Crucially he did not challenge her in the process. If she said ”Keep!”, even though he knew that shirt was too small and it had holes in it and was covered with spaghetti sauce he didn’t then do what his mom did, which was set up an entire process and then second-guess him and doubt him and fight him the whole time, or jump on his toys. To establishing their going-forward working dynamic it was crucial that if she said she could absolutely not give that away, he would without question just fold it and put it in the keep pile.

Merlin's daughter preparing for middle school (RL348)

Merlin’s daughter started middle school today and there has been a lot of preparation. A listener had sent them a photo of a donut jam-up and Merlin was tempted to say that this was not breakfast, but a donut museum. There is a difference between food and musea!

Merlin needs all of the socks to be live, hot socks. He doesn’t want any stragglers and if you have not found the mate for this in the past year it is going to get disappeared. Your sock drawer is not a museum! He wants to be able to stick his hand in there and no matter what he will fucking pull out he wants it to be socks that she can and - importantly - will wear!

Merlin’s lady ended up taking all of the things out and filling a contractor bag with all of the things that need to go to the Goodwill. She made stacks of all the short sleeve T-shirts, the socks, the underpants, and the bras. By doing that she was able to create a living infographic, and even once they had done the quickening and the Highlander and the thinning they got to a pretty good fat stack of fucking T-shirts and they were good for that.

Merlin projecting his experiences from school onto his daughter (RL348)

John came onto the show today to hear about the new thought technology that Merlin had mentioned. It has been a very interesting and transitional time for everybody in Merlin's family with a new school and new stuff. This morning Merlin thought he was operating under one thought technology, but then he realized that he was mentally and psychically concatenating his own various experiences around Elementary School, Junior High, and Middle School into an imperfect template that he was overlaying onto his child’s life, which isn’t helping and he had to replace it with a different thought technology. He needed to swap it out!

Merlin went to good Midwestern elementary schools in Cincinnati Ohio under the tutelage of his single mother, which went to 6th grade in the late 1970s until you go into either Junior High (7th-9th grade) or Middle School (6th-8th grade). Life was pretty good, but over the summer between 6th and 7th grade in 1979 his mother met this horrible man from her past and ended up marrying him and moving to Florida, which was injury one, where Merlin’s stepfather put him into military school for 7th grade, which was injury two, a school with no girls, which was injury three!

Merlin hated it so much and was so traumatized by it that he went to a public school in Florida for 8th grade where literally no-one gave a fuck because it was just a bunch of angry Hillbillies. He did not know a single soul and he was weirdly and poorly socialized to be thrown into 8th grade in Junior High and only as he went to 10th grade in High School it was getting better and he was making more friends.

Merlin confused, conflated and transmogrified several different events and injuries into a feeling that middle school was a piece of shit. The 6th grade his daughter is now entering is not the same 6th grade he was in and his entries and exits do not have to be the same ones she will have and it is hard not to apply his rat king of memory, the mess of emotions that he is trying to overlay in a way that he hopes will be useful, but it probably isn’t.

For Merlin 8th grade was the worst year of his life and for John it was 7th grade where someone looked at his school photo and asked: ”Is that really what you came to school with to get your picture taken?” His daughter is now 5’4” (162 cm) at 11 years old, but there are also 8th graders who are taller than the tallest man he knows now, while other ones you can put in your pocket like a Pokémon. There are incredible disparities: Boobs and no-boobs, mustache and no-mustache, people who start to lose their fucking hair, a crazy range of difference, and all of that is middle school!

Each trip Merlin makes to this school he is confronting the realness and the transitions of this. He had raised her to like Wilberforce and on this weekend they watched The Avengers Endgame together, they stayed up until midnight and they both cried. It has Scarlett Johansson in it and was better than Merlin expected, he liked it!! The next day they agreed that this had been really fun and they had a real hug, which was an interesting transition for them. They have been doing Marvel things since before you could even remember and it is funny that that arc comes to an end with this movie they cried over. Two days later she started a new school!

Merlin asked: ”Is this the end of one thing or the beginning of another?” - ”What are you talking about?” - ”I am doing that dad thing, aren’t I? I am trying to ascribe importance to things like what movie we watched before school started. That is my trip!”, but she is not going to remember that. All she is going to remember is that when she will tell the others that she watched Vengies with her dad she is going to get flamed. People are going to call her "Vengie!" and she will remember that day for the rest of her life. You keep waiting for where the scaring happens, but what are you going to do? Is it going to be over calling ”Avengers Endgame” for ”Vengies”? You can’t CLEP out of Middle School!

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