RW233 - The YMCA

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John going to the YMCA gym because they don’t require a yearly membership.

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 Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first!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 still having problems with his headphone adapter (RW233)

Dan sounds pretty enthusiastic, he got a little caffeine and had been up early. John also sounds incredibly enthusiastic, he is raging! John still has a problem with his headphone adapter and is trying out another one that also does not work right, which means that it seems like the problem is in the box, which is irritating, but he is going to have to live with it because he made his bed here with his bad tech. It could also be his old Beyerdynamic headphones that he bought several years ago, it could be that somebody bonked it as it went into the Apogee Quartet and he is going to have to live with it because there is no way to troubleshoot it at the moment and he always forgets to do it.

Matt Haughey of Oregon bought a Universal Audio analog to digital converter that he couldn't use and he sent it to John in the mail, but that Universal Audio has whatever Firewire 3 or super-jacked up boosted new connection that does not work with John’s mid-2014 MacBook Pro Retina 3 GHz dual core Intel Core i7 and so forth. Even though a Universal Audio 1176 that was made in 1972 would plug in just fine into any piece of audio equipment you could name, we no longer have the technology to make something like that.

You can't just plug it into the wall and have it work, it has got to have all the right drivers and then it is obsolete of course. John has a couple of different ones that were state of the art in their time that couldn't interact with a computer, even one that was made in 1999. Those are just stacked up in a bin somewhere with all the old cameras that John can't retrieve the media. There is probably some AD/DA in this great bin.

Everyday Carry (RW233)

John is not somebody who carries a water bottle as part of his everyday carry, neither does Dan. Dan has a very small Tanner Goods wallet, the kind that nothing folds on it, that doesn't have a place for you to put cash into it, but it has a place for two cards on each side and a little middle part for you to put it in, ostensibly a front-pocket wallet. He also has a separate money clip, which is a very Texas thing with a little turquoise thing on it that he uses if he needs to take cash, which is a planned thing. He is never just walking around with cash except when he knows he is going to buy something in cash, which is rare.

Then Dan also got his keys and a pocket knife, depending on the day and what he thinks he is going to be doing, he does put a little bit of thought into that in the morning about what he is going to be doing that day and if he is going to be killing and processing a Half-Ton Buck, he has maybe 4-5 to choose from. The latest one is from CIVIVI, a lightweight folding knife. He also got a Spyderco Delica 4, a couple of Buck knives that are really straightforward lock-back Buck knives, he has a Kershaw that he like off the top of his head, and there is one he had for 25 years and doesn’t know what it is called.

Dan keeps them in the valet tray, but not in an OCD fashion, they are just being thrown into there at the end of the day. His watches are a different thing because they are expensive and there are watch boxes with a slot for maybe 10 different watches in it and a pillow-thing that the strap fixes around. He has two watch boxes and overflow watches that he just keeps in a drawer because he doesn't have room for a third one of those. The overflow watches are also in circulation, but they are the lesser used ones and are just swept into a drawer.

People have the impression that there is a lot of organizing and knolling and positioning of things on surfaces, but Dan does not believe in that because it is a huge time-suck. His goal is to not have anything on any surface ever. All surfaces should be bare, but that is not always possible. Where is your toaster oven going to go? You got some stuff! Life is a compromise! It is not that if he has five knives that he is going to position them just so on the fucking top of the dresser.

He has priorities in life and that is absolutely the furthest you could go from a priority in his life. However, he does believe in organization, so the knives will always go in one place, so he knows where to look for them and doesn’t have to think about that. In his kitchen there is not going to be a spoon in the slot where the knives go or the forks go, he is not insane, the silverware is organized, but that is because it is silverware. It has got to be organized!

Protein shakes, dietary supplements (RW233)

Dan has a lot of different containers for protein shakes and it is not like one of the containers is under the sofa in the living room and the other container is in the bathroom under the sink. They sit next to each other on the countertop, that is where they have to go. He has two main protein powders, one is chocolate, one is vanilla, and they are different manufacturers for different reasons. He got one for collagen powder, which is important, one for the carb powder, which is essentially like sweet potatoes, but it thickens the smoothie or the shake if you are making one and if you don't have time to eat anything with the shake or if it is a pre-workout, it is 100 calories of really good clean carbs that are awesome. The he got a Maca one.

He does not have Psyllium husks that scrape your inside, that is the opposite of what he wants. He used to take citrus cell decades ago, but today he has none of that. Acidophilus absolutely not. If he wants any probiotic, then that is in the probiotic in the fridge, but that is a pill. Dan suggests that someone like John needs to be taking some kind of supplements to get his zinc or magnesium, and John is sure he has enough zinc because he takes a Centrum one-a-day vitamins for men that has all the vitamins, but Dan says it doesn't give you enough of anything and that is the worst. John takes an extra Vitamin D because he lives in the Northwest, he takes a little NAC and some NAD.

Dan plans to make a picture of the pills that he takes every morning the show art for this episode. John used to take zero pills and then he had to take the one pill for his mental health. Then it became very clear that he needed to do some hypertension management, so he started to take a pill and then they gave him a second pill for that. Then the pill he was taking for his mental health the people around him were telling him that it was causing him short-term memory lapses and he ignored them for a while, it was easy to forget about it. This was a couple of years ago.

John went online into the comments section on WebMD where there are a lot of very brilliant thinkers, a lot of great scientists. Everyone there just landed from outer space. Somehow in John’s checking of the reference blogs he saw a comment thread that was talking about the supplement NAC. It is all anecdotal right. If you talk to a psychiatrist they are going to say that memory is not a side effect of this drug, but his doctor gave him ADD medication and John walking around incredibly pinched and irritated and he said that one of the side effects of this medication is irritation, but you also prescribe this medication to deal with irritation, which didn’t make sense and John decided to stop taking it.

John started taking NAC because it seemed like it was just a complimentary supplement, it is over the counter, it was used to treat bipolar depression at some point, it was cheap to buy, you could get giant jar of it for $15, and it seems to have helped. Then John was dating Millennial Girlfriend, she had moved from San Francisco to Venice Beach, California, and she was living in that world of hyper-performing tech-millionaires who were taking performance-enhancing drugs of every kind, they were all flying around on hoverboards, and they all had bionic eyes.

That was right when Elysium came out, there were 40 Nobel laureates that all were paid $50.000 to staple their names to this stuff, and that is NAD+, which is a different thing entirely, it is not an inexpensive drug. It is a beta blocker, it converts sunlight into protein, all of the sun's rays bounce off of your inside so you don't age, it basically creates a force-field around you so no-one can punch you. John started taking it because she was taking it.

It is like when Ben Gibbard married Zooey Deschanel he moved to Los Angeles and she had a lot of movie star friends and there was an expectation that Ben was going to develop some Hollywood friends, too. The Hollywood friend that he most gravitated toward was John Krasinski, the two of them started hanging out, going to ball games or whatever, but there is no universe in which Ben from Bremerton, Washington is ever really going to have a common cause with John Krasinski who even then was flying high in his Hollywood hovercraft. Ben is a normal guy, it didn't end up well and the marriage didn't work out. He tried to make it happen, he tried to be a Hollywood person, and he ended up moving back to Seattle and now he is here with his bros and that was an experiment.

The same is true for John living in Venice Beach, riding around, eating a low-salt diet. There was a place in Venice that made its own granola and if you didn't get there by a certain time you couldn't buy the granola at any price. It was $30 for a cup and a half of granola, for Millennium Girlfriend this was The Granola, but there is so much freaking granola in Venice Beach. They would go down and line up to get this granola, it was top-shelf granola, homemade hot off the granola baker right out of the toaster oven. John loves granola as much as the next guy, but pretty soon you are taking performance enhancing drugs and you are wearing ankle socks, but John never went that far. Everybody is getting tattoos and they are wearing cashmere T-shirts. What even is that? It looks like a Hanes T-shirt, but costs $1200.

John started taking this NAD+ then, but didn't buy the Elysium because it is like a gym membership where they will try to sell you a membership for the whole year. John solved all this problem by going to the YMCA that doesn't care whether you live or die. They are happy to help you live, but they are not trying to sell you anything. Dan took Judo at the Y when he was a kid. He previously went to some Gold’s Gym or 24 Hour Fitness, but they were selling him too hard on this thing because he is exactly the guy who is going to join a gym in January and then never go past February 10. No way is he buying a year membership.

That is what Elysium felt like. You sign up and you get a new bottle every 32 days and this that and the other. You can just buy this stuff on Amazon! Sometimes he runs out of it and doesn't want to spend a bunch of money on it and leaves it alone, but then something in the back of his head is thinking about the oxidation: ”John, are you going to sit here at 52 years old and just let free radicals radicalize you or you are not free or whatever it is that happens with those!” Then he buys it and takes it and he does absolutely not feel a difference, but maybe it is the only thing that is keeping him alive! The guy that played Omar on The Wire (Michael K. Williams) just died yesterday (September 6th 2021) at 54, he was just a year or two older than John. What was he dying for? It might have been the free radicals!

John has the vision of still being somewhat adjacent to the world of Southern California tech millionaires and if he can cling to the hem of their garment as they ascend directly to heaven, maybe they will drop him off somewhere along the way on a cloud somewhere halfway up. That is pretty much John’s regimen now. His psychiatrist, every time he goes see him and he has to which is the real racket because they won't keep re-upping his prescription forever and he is a junkie now for this stuff that just makes him feel like a normal person, there is no jazz to it, except the jazz is normality and if you have not had normality in a long time, normality feels like a little jazz.

Every time John talks to him he is telling him: ”Well, there is a drug that combats anxiety, but also is a blood pressure medicine, but also inhibits the production of Guanfacine” - ”I didn't know I had Guanfacine” - ”Actually, it increases the production, but it has the same effect as reducing the production!” - ”I don't know, man!” He gives John a different prescription every time for a different thing and John generally just lets those bottles stack up in the corner because all he was talking about was some existential problem, it wasn't that he needed a drug for it, but he also doesn’t want to disappoint him. Just because somebody prescribes something for you doesn't mean you have to take it. They prescribed ADD medication and Bipolar medication many times to John over his life and he never took it until he realized he is bipolar and he could have been taken Lithium for 20 years, but he is glad he didn't.

Water bottles (RW233)

Dan got kids, which means he must have water bottles around the house. His son has one that he uses every day in his lunch. His daughter has one that she uses for her lunch. Dan has a couple of them for the gym because you got to have water to drink in the gym. He usually puts some tablet in it because water tastes disgusting and you have to flavor it with something.

John just drinks it straight out of the tap. It smells like pipes, but in Washington they have reservoirs up in the mountains where the water is recently melted from the snow and then comes down through pipes that are made out of giant cedar logs and at a certain point it goes into concrete pipes and it has to go through some lead at some point. In Normandy Park, Washington it goes through some underground spring and it imparts just the faintest hint of sulfur to it and then it goes through the PEX that John has installed in his house and comes right out of the tap.

John has so many water bottles because water bottles are a thing, they are a piece of swag, and John has at least three water bottles from the XOXO Festival where Dan and John met, he got ones from different organizations, every time you go to a conference people are handing them out, plus the ones that you buy along the way, but John doesn't use them. He doesn't take a water bottle with him and doesn’t think about one. If Dan is going to work out in his garage, which is where his gym is set up, then he fills up one of those things and takes it out there with him. The garage is not physically attached to Dan’s home, but it is not a barn but a detached garage 10ft away from the house for whatever reason. It doesn't make any sense.

In Seattle in town garages are very uncommon. Almost no house has a garage. Some of the old ones had garages built into their basement, but they were built to accommodate a Model T and no modern car can fit in them. You have to actually get out to the suburbs to even find houses with garages. John’s house is the first house he has ever lived in in Seattle that had a functioning garage and he filled it up with boxes so immediately it stopped functioning as a garage.

Taking the water bottle from the Dim Summit at the Shake Shack (RW233)

About 5-6 months ago, still during sketchy COVID times, sort of like now, John’s group of guys that go out to Dim Sum every once in a while at an event they call The Dim Summit started sending messages saying it has been a year since they had a Dim Summit, which was too long and they had to figure out a way to do it. One of their crew suggested Din Tai Fung, a steamed Chinese bun place. When they first opened it was very fancy and you couldn't get in. Now it has been here long enough that it is still really difficult to get in.

It was a bad idea. It is not Dim Sum and it is not conveniently located except for the one guy who suggested it, so they all had to drive hours and hours to get to this place and John arrived, walked all the way around it inside the restaurant, looking at all the tables, his friends aren't anywhere, and he gets a text: ”Oh, we are at the Shake Shack!” They fell precipitously to Din Tai Fung, but now they had plummeted into the darkness of Shake Shack, which started as a standalone hamburger stand in Union Square in New York City and there was a line around the block to get a freaking hamburger and a milkshake although there are probably 15 places within within five blocks of the Shake Shack where you can get a hamburger and a milkshake in New York City, but this one is making the hamburgers differently. They are putting Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on it or something.

Then they opened a Shake Shack in Brooklyn maybe, there was one in JFK, and as soon as it was in JFK in the Delta Terminal everybody that is flying Delta is having a Shake Shack because there is a long line there and now it is a chain and they are everywhere. They went to the Shake Shack, which is just burger and fries, there is nothing about it. Dan has a Shake Shack in Austin and he has eaten at the one in New York and it was fine, he doesn’t know what the big deal is. Why do people talk about the Shake Shack like it is something that we should care about? He is legitimately asking: ”What is it about the Shake Shack that makes someone pick that over something else?”

In-N-Out Burger in Southern California, all over Los Angeles, is a good burger, it is not amazing, but if Dan wants a hamburger and there is one nearby he will go to that, it is fine. In John’s neighboring town of Burien in Washington there is a hamburger joint called The Little Chicken Burger, and they don't sell chicken, it is just a burger and milkshake place. You can get fried mozzarella sticks there, that is as close to chicken as they have. They call it Little Chicky Burger, because that is what happens and it ends up transmogrifying. There is a chicken restaurant in Burien called Bok a Bok. They make great chicken, but Little Chicky Burger makes great hamburgers and milkshakes. There are two guys that work there probably from Lebanon, they are very friendly, and they always get your order right.

You order five burgers, this one no pickles, that one has Swiss cheese, this one with the this. In John’s little crew that orders hamburgers everybody got some thing that makes them special and when you go to pick it up the guy sits and reads it off to you and they always get it right. You are never: ”I said no onions!”

John is at this Shake Shack with these Dingdongs, thinking: ”Why the hell am I here? I didn't drive all the way across town to sit at a Shake Shack!” They don't even take your order anymore, but you walk up to a computer screen, they don't even want to talk to you anymore. The first time John ever saw one of those was at a McDonald's near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, an area where in the space of just a few blocks the character of the neighborhood can change significantly, and New York is the quintessential place where you can walk for a block and now it looks like a completely different part of the world.

John was there one time, he likes the park and he likes to go out the South Side because there are some killer neighborhoods over there that all the people over in Park Slope don't know about neighborhoods, There was a McDonald's, he hadn't been to McDonalds in a long time, it was a hot day, and he decided to go into a McDonald's and get a burger and a shake. It was in Leopard's Gardens, somewhere over there on the other side. They had video screens where you were supposed to put your order in and then get in line and by the time you got to the front, your order would be ready. John looked at this interface and people were coming and going and punching in their burger orders and he was so freaked out he ran out of there and ran to some neighboring Bodega and got a coffee regular and a roast beef sandwich.

At this particular Shake Shack in the University Village, which is a hoity (?) shopping area, he punched in his order, which is of course a hamburger and a milkshake, and he wanted a water. Then you go sit at your table and they bring it to you as though it is some sort of table service situation. There is a restaurant on Capitol Hill called Little Oddfellows started by Linda Derschang, a real high-powered medium-level restauranteur and bar owner. She started several very popular restaurants and bars that are not fine-dining, but they are not rinky either. They are places that you are meant to go hang out, very neighborhoodie. Little Oddfellows became a place where people at every table are writing or reading, it is a meeting place.

Linda couldn't decide whether she wanted it to be a restaurant or a cafe. Seattle got a lot of cafes where you walk up to the counter, you order your food, you take a little number on a stick and you go sit at your table. In a restaurant of course you sit at your table, the server comes over and takes your order. But Little Oddfellows she couldn't decide and sometimes you walked in and went up to the counter and ordered, and other hours of the day you sit down at the table and someone would come over in a white shirt with an apron and take your order. Sometimes you would order at the counter and pick up your food at the counter, sometimes you would order at the counter, but they would bring you your food.

It was probably part of an overall plan. Some restaurants close in the early afternoon and then reopen, and it was like a reset, like: ”And now we are a restaurant. And now we are a cafe!” To John as a regular for a time it was opaque when you walked in what type of environment you are going to walk into, partly because he doesn't generally know what time it is. He would wake up and go down and walk in and whatever the cut off line was, maybe 3pm, he was always going to be right on one side or the other of this and either he went in and it was a cafe and while he was there they transitioned to a restaurant, or he would walk in and walk up to the counter and order a sandwich and they would tell him to take a seat, and because it was clear to the staff they didn't understand why it wasn't clear to John, and they would meet him with a: ”You are doing it again!” type of thing.

At the Shake Shack John order a water and the person came out with all of their food on a tray, as though they had ordered it from them instead of from a computer, the burger, the shake, and the water was in an aluminum screw-top can shaped like a water bottle with a big-mouth lid like a Mickey's Big Mouth except it was made of aluminum, and John realized they sell you the water, but they have a water fountain inside and after you drink the water you can go refill it at their refilling station. It is a reduce/reuse/recycle situation because aluminum is recyclable in a way that plastic water bottles only pretend to be.

John got to the end of the meal, he was satisfied with this arrangement, he drank the water, he filled it up again, he drank a second bottle of water, the aluminum can was pleasing with a green gradiated tone from top to bottom, and as someone who has collected 40 water bottles from every Comic-Con and every tech company he ever walked into he took the water bottle home with him, knowing full well that this aluminum water bottle was going to end up in a pile with all the other water bottles and it was just a piece of junk, he should have thrown it in the recycling right there.

But the strangest thing happened: He started to keep this Shake Shack Natural Spring water refill refresh repeat reusable recyclable BPA-free triple-filtered 7.4 pH spring water bottle on the counter top and use it every day: It became his drinking glass, it became the bottle that he used to water the plants, and it became the bottle that he used to fill up the coffee maker. Now he uses this bottle more than any other dish or fork. It is one of his primary interfaces! Every day he walks into the kitchen in the morning and fills up the coffee maker from this bottle, he takes his pills with the bottle, he waters the plants. Why? He got a Lazy Susan over here with 15 better water bottles and this thing now is dented and it has lived a life and he is drinking out of it right now. It is inexplicable!

It is like in Indiana Jones where he goes past the Knight Templar and looks at a room full of beautiful cups and the Knight Templar says: ”Pick the one that belongs to Jesus!” and it is a cup of a carpenter, the one that has been used, the humble one that is up there on the back and all these ones have gold and diamonds. Somebody had to impart it with the magic of the grail, it is not that eternal life just rubbed off of Jesus lips. He said: ”Abracadabra!” or whatever that would have been an Aramaic. This is John’s carpenters cup here and for all he knows, it is this that is keeping him alive!


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License