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Can you ruin your life in high school? How do you un-friend someone IRL? What video game world would you live in? Hank Green and Guest-John Felicia Day take on these questions and more in the final episode before John's return next week!

 Intro (0:00)

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

Felicia: Or as I like to call it, Dear Felicia and Hank.

Hank: It is the weekly podcast where I, Hank Green and usually John, I don't know if we can even say usually anymore because it has now been more not John than John, but anyway, this week the amazing Felicia Day, answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon, but first, Felicia, do you have a poem for us?

Felicia: Mmm yeah, I do in fact have a prepared statement.

"A couple of the sounds that I really like
Are the sounds of a switchblade and a motorbike
I'm a juvenile product of the working class
Whose best friend floats in the bottom of a glass"

Thank you.

Hank: Thank you for that lovely poem, written by Bernie Taupin, the man who wrote almost all of the lyrics to Elton John's songs.

Felicia: Tiny Dancer.

Hank: This is the final... This is the final Elton John lyric of Dear Hank and John because John's hiatus will be ending next week, so he will be back but this week, even better than John we have Felicia. How are you doing?

Felicia: I'm really good, how are you?

Hank: I'm good, we just did VidCon, so I'm a little bit exhausted and confused and not entirely sure what my purpose is in life anymore, but other than that, just dandy.

Felicia: You have postpartum, uh...

Hank: Yeah, I got...

Felicia: It's like depression.

Hank: I got a little bit of post-VidCon melancholia. Which is normal.

Felicia: I have that when I go to Comic-Con. Yes, and when I go to any television show that I have because I think when you're in any intense circumstance where you're just literally living moment to moment, when you stop to reflect the emptiness of life - or the positivity of it - you get a little bit down.

Hank: And that's what we're all about here at Dear Hank and John: pausing to reflect the emptiness of life.

Felicia: (Laughs) Cheery.

Hank: Let's just do that for the next... In fact, the rest of this episode is just gonna be silence but you are required as a listener to listen to these 40 seconds of,40 minutes of silence, during which nothing happens except that you reflect on the emptiness of life.

Felicia: But I think you should watch a timer as you watch that 40 minutes go by to really remind you of how fleeting life is, because that would make it more depressing. (Both laugh)

Hank: In reality, thank you viewer for, listener, I suppose, for sharing your time with us because we know that you have a limited number of moments on this Earth and you have chosen to spend some of them with us. Boy, is this just the best humor podcast on iTunes.

Felicia: It is under the humor category and I think we're channeling it.

Hank: Yeah, we're pushing that hard. So what've you been up to, Felicia?

Felicia: You know I've been really busy. I have been, I have my book coming out, so that's very intense, finishing a book, starting it, telling people about it. I admire your brother very much, having gone through this process one time, he is the eternal champion of Ginsu-ing his life into pieces in order to accommodate all the needs of a book.

Hank: Mhmm, mhmm.

Felicia: Other than that, Geek and Sundry's going along, lots of writing and just, I feel even keeled. I feel like my life is planned out enough so that I don't have to be anxious about it, I just have to live the moments.

Hank: Yeah!

Felicia: Um, yeah.

Hank: Well that's excellent news, I'm glad to hear that.

Felicia: Thank you.

Hank: I'm really excited about your book, it comes out, if I'm correct, August 11th.

Felicia: It is August 11th.

Hank: It's called You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) correct?

Felicia: Correct, and that was a title that took almost as long as the first draft.

Hank: (Laughs) I bet. I would love to hear your long list of alt titles, which I'm sure is very long and awful and annoying to even think about.

Felicia: There are some truly bad, yes. There are truly bad, truly bad options. "Geekerium" I mean just really awful.

Hank: That is how it tends to be. So here at Dear Hank and John, or as it may be, Dear Hank and Felicia, what we do is answer people's questions that they have sent us to the email address and we have a number of those to answer today so I think it might be time to just dive in and start doing that. Do you want to ask our first question?

 Question 1 (4:18)

Felicia: Yeah. I can do that. Annie asks "Dear Hank and Felicia. I'm about to start my junior year of high school and how do I overcome the overwhelming sinking feeling thinking about what's to come this year? I am terrified. Everyone says it's so hard and very important, and what if I screw up my entire life in a single year?" Good question.

Hank: Yeah. I will say that it is important but I don't know that it's necessarily so hard, but it is also not so important that if you have a rough go one year of any year of your life, regardless of the year, regardless of, you know, what year in school you are, boy can I guarantee you that that will not mess up your whole life.

Felicia: Yeah, I agree. I relate to this question a lot because I am definitely a perfectionist. I have a perfection syndrome, which a lot of my life disabled me into making the kind of choices that I think would have been good for myself because I was afraid of messing up. So, I'm not saying that it's go out and deliberately tank junior year 'cause it's very important to get into college and do well on your grades to prepare you for that phase of your life, but I will say that as an older person, relative to a junior high school person, the things that I have learned that are most valuable in my life have been the failures, not the amazing successes that I was able to brag to people about.

Hank: Yeah, I mean, there's this weird thing about screwing up that it feels like the biggest thing in the world when it happens, but it tends to, from both the perspective of time, looking back on it as me, but also from the perspective of people around me, that those things are fairly insignificant. Like, that's the real surprise. The surprise isn't so much to me that looking back on my past failures that I don't necessarily consider them as big of a deal as I did at the time, it's that even at the time the people around me didn't think that those things were so catastrophic as I did, and really what I was concerned about wasn't necessarily failing, it was being perceived as a failure, and that I think is a mostly, a usually irrational fear because often times, when I see people fail, I almost never think less of them, unless they failed for a reason that has, you know, it's not so much about the failure, it's that they have done something that I find that like according to my values is a little off or skeezy. So, it's often times when I see people fail in fact I find that increases my opinion of them and I try to think about that when I mess up or do something wrong and think about how do I turn this mess up into, you know, not think about the way that people are thinking about me as a screw up, but think about the way that people are thinking about me as someone who's dealing with a situation that isn't ideal. And so like yeah, I often... You know those are the moments where you learn the most about yourself and also the moments where other people learn a lot about you. And so, I mean, all of this is to say that that anxiety about failure is misplaced because usually the people who you think will be judging you are in fact right there with you and probably caught up in their our failure, their own anxieties and fears about the world, and think that whatever's happened to you is, you know, you're handling it well and you're being quite proficient.

Hank: This is my, yeah, all of my thoughts on this very brief question.

Felicia: I mean I think a lot of it, you're right, it is anxiety and as a very anxious person, I think it took a while and maybe just even in the last year or so where I can comprehend that no matter if the worst thing in the world happens, nothing ends. Your life will still go on, you will have different choices, but they may be even better choices in the long term. So you kind of have to think of your life as, I don't want to say it's a marathon versus a sprint, but that is a good analogy because it's true. It's like if you go to a restaurant that you love and one time you have a bad meal, but the aggregate of all the meals you've had at that place are pretty darn good. Obviously I'm not gonna say I'm never going back. There might be people who say I'm never going back but they might be missing out on the aggregate of an awesome thing and that's fine if you don't have that person or opportunity in your life anymore. I mean, I'm definitely not saying tank your junior year, but I am saying that life goes on and you will cope and you will have just as many options to you afterwards, they just will be different from the things that you're anxious about losing right now.

Hank: Yeah, and just more specifically, junior year probably isn't gonna be... I mean if you work, you know if you're conscious about how you learn and about wanting to learn then... A lot of people have gotten through junior year alright, so it's something that I think you can do, Annie. I have faith.

Felicia: Right and junior year I think you should be trying different things and be willing to fail, knowing that you might like those things or not like them. Like, this is the perfect time in your life to figure out what you want to do a little bit more and you have free reign to experiment, and right now there are lower stakes. It's not easy, high school, but this is a time you should branch out and feel out different opportunities that you might want to pursue more vigorously in college, so I would say embrace yourself and try two things that you might know that will go south, but will be worth trying.

Hank: (Laughs) Yeah. That's really interesting because we do put a ton of pressure on young people in high school and in college in sort of saying like, this is the, like you have to be serious about your future, but really it is great to think of it as kind of a more low stakes time of your life. And that's not what the establishment wants to tell children because we don't want them to make those giant mistakes that really can mess up your life, like that might land you in prison, for example, that might mess up your life pretty hard. But, yeah, it really, because you don't have people dependant on you, and you don't have to pay your own bills and in a way you're not even dependant on yourself, it's a time when I think that certain risks should be encouraged rather than prohibited against at all cost. It's just an interesting way that we treat young people in our country 'cause we don't, we're terrified and we don't trust them.

Felicia: Well, I think it's approaching... Other people's homework for you is important, but your own homework for yourself is super important as well and especially in that time of life, like that is when you should be free to do some homework, figure out who you are, and you will probably try things you don't like but unless you try them, you won't know. So that's why I always encourage people to jump headfirst into something and at least you'll be eliminating something, going forward in a satisfied way.

Hank: I feel really good about our answer to that question. What kind and thoughtful people we are, Felicia.

Felicia: (Laughs) I know. We are people who have made mistakes who are trying to be wise.

 Question 2 (12:23)

Hank: Oh God. Praise has a question for us, she asks "Dear Hank and Felicia. What are some of your good best friend criteria?"

Felicia: Oh, that's a good question.

Hank: Yeah, so if you're gonna have or be a best friend, what are we looking out for? That's interesting because a lot of times I've felt like in my life a best friend isn't necessarily something I've chosen, it's something that kind of happened to me like a brother. You know, it's just this person that I ended up with somehow. That's less the case now, as an adult who has made some more conscious decisions, but as a young person I often felt like I kind of just, this isn't entirely true, but in a lot of ways, just sort of ended up with the people who were nearby.

Felicia: Well that's why putting yourself in situations and social spheres is super important and not settling for one where you... I think the core of it is being able to be yourself effortlessly and not have to pretend or hide anything you are because that person, in order to be "best" should know the barest you and still want to like you. I think that's important for a boyfriend, girlfriend, or a platonic friend. You, yeah. I mean, I think you shouldn't have any sense of shame about yourself with a best friend.

Hank: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, like there's something so wonderful about that moment where you realize where, where you realize that people like you despite the fact that you, in my experience, that I don't like me that much, because I'm all up inside of me and analyzing my own thoughts and then having someone be like, "No, yeah, all those things are really great." Like that Bridget Jones' Diary moment, and for all the people out there who aren't children and have seen that movie, and yeah, that's such a great way to think about it.

Felicia: Yeah, I know that... And I think when you think about it like that, you allow yourself not to have everyone like you, and I have a, I am of course, a pathological please-like-me person, I don't know what it is about the way I was raised, but when I feel the most acutely rejected when I don't, you know, it doesn't seem like I belong or I do something that messes up with someone or I show them an interest that doesn't fit with them and I get, I feel in my mind that I get rejected, which may not be the case, so I take that to heart very, very closely, but when I realize that you're not gonna like everything, I don't like beer, that doesn't make me a bad person, but that just means, like, that's just not for me, and every person is not for every person, so... And it allows you to let go of things where you're clinging to them and might morph yourself to be inauthentic and therefore, you're always acting, which is not comfortable or in the best friend realm at all.

Hank: Yeah, and so, I think that as, if... I think the right way to think about this is like, how do I be the best best friend, and really that's about trying to coax out the real person from the person that you love, you know, this friend that, like coaxing them out and like, letting them be exactly who they are, and hopefully, really, really liking that person. If it turns out that you don't really, really like that person, don't try to change them, don't try to, like, mold them into the thing that you want your perfect best friend to be. It might just not be that you two should be together all the time. It might be that there are other better people that have more similar perspectives and interests to you. But like, that's the thing that I'm, you know, it's such a tremendous gift to someone to try and help them be more themselves and be more comfortable with themselves, and that's a role that I, you know, that I am very grateful to people in my life for having done for me, so if you can try and do that for other people, it is something that they will probably be tremendously grateful for and love you for.

Felicia: That was very interesting, because, as you were saying that, I'm thinking about acting, and of course, don't be an actor in a relationship in real life, but I trained in Meisner a lot, which is a lot about not necessarily putting on a character, but being yourself authentically in the moment with a script about the other person, and I know the best acting I've ever done was getting out of my own head and about my own performance and about what I'm going through, and just focusing on what the other person was going through, and that really is what the Meisner technique is about, where you're putting all your focus on the other person, and then you're reacting and allowing yourself to react naturally, caring about that other person, and that's when you really forget you're acting and you're in the moment and I think the best acting is you're creating a relationship with that other person, not acting that you have a relationship, so it's an interesting analogy you talk about, because that is sort of the real life version of-

Hank: Cool.

Felicia: -Meisner acting.

 Question 3 (17:31)

Hank: We got another question, this one is from Cyprus who asks, "Dear Hank and Felicia. I've been having trouble as of recent with a person who's been a bit too friendly. I used to consider him a friend, but after a bit of a falling out, I realized that he wasn't a person that I really wanted to be associated with, so it's been a few months since then and he's reached out to me and apologized and asked if we could be friends again. That all seems fine and dandy, but frankly, I just don't want to be friends with him. I don't hate him or anything, he's just not somebody I'd like to hang out with. TL;DR, how do I go about telling someone that frankly, I don't like them and don't want to be friends with them again?"

Felicia: Ooh.

Hank: Ooh.

Felicia: That's tough.

Hank: I mean... Yeah, it is. And it's certainly something that I've dealt with, and usually by being like, "Oh yeah, give me a call" and then not answering when they call. You know, like, it's the ghosting.

Felicia: Yeah.

Hank: You gotta ghost 'em. But that doesn't always work, and also, it's a little crappy of a thing to do.

Felicia: It's really hard and I know that I've tried... I mean, this is not the same as friendship, but like, in a business level, it's always the most persistent people that you're like, "I don't wanna have lunch with you. I don't wanna have lunch with you. I don't wa... Okay, fine, because you won't go away." You know, you tend to reward the people if you're busy who are most persistent, and I frankly, being honest with people, and I've been like, "Listen. I just don't have time to do this or do this favor for you or whatever, I don't have time to give you what you want from me." And the push-back I've gotten has been just so bad, and I'm a very non-confrontational person, so I don't know. Ghosting is my backup plan, I guess, in life, in business and personal, 'cause I just don't know how else you deal with it and not leave a tainted sort of taste in your mouth with another person's feeling who just won't get the hint.

Hank: Yeah, I mean, there's a certain amount of, you have to be careful and make sure that this person isn't basically trying to manipulate you and being disrespectful of you. If you are, if you think you are being clear that they, that you don't want to chill with them anymore and they aren't taking the hint, it may be that they are trying to wilfully manipulate you, and that is, you know, in business, that's a kind of thing that you sort of have to deal with. In personal life, that shouldn't be a thing that you have to deal with. 

Felicia: Yeah.

Hank: And in that circumstance, then, you know, you might wanna look out for a sort of a pattern of manipulation in this person to make sure that they're just trying to be friends again and they're, you know, have good motives rather than they're trying to control you, because when people are trying to control you, that is very much a situation where you wanna be like, "Look. I'm just cutting this off. It's not gonna happen."

Felicia: Yeah. Also, it's, it sounds like it's driven by their ego, whether they... I mean, what is it that they want from you? Are you really, was it a very special friendship? Like, I guess this is a question of like, how, what level of intimacy of friendship was there, and what was the motivation for falling out and was it a situation where you've grown past that person and that circumstance for being close to them, or something, you know, bad happened and you wanna separate yourself and they're just desperately trying to cover their own ego by redeeming themselves, regardless of what your feelings are and needing space to get over it, like, it sounds like, when somebody is like that, either they have a true problem in reading other peoples', you know, reactions in which you might actually just have to be honest and say, "I can't hang out. I need time." or "I'm just really busy." Or they're just driven by their own ego and you shouldn't feel bad about just kind of not responding, because hopefully eventually, they'll move on.

Hank: Right. If they're trying, if it feels like they're trying to control you, then you should have no qualms about controlling your own destiny and basically just ignoring them, and if it goes beyond that, if they keep bugging you, then that's like, a legitimate circumstance where you need to be, you need to be straight up and be like, and basically say, "Look. This isn't a relationship that I'm interested in having. I've got lots of stuff going on and you're not part of it and it's just going to have to be that way."

It's very... That is extremely hard, I've had to do it a couple times, it's extremely unpleasant, there's nobod... I don't know that anybody's good at it, except for maybe people who are just, just have zero anxiety inside of them, but those moments where you say, "Look, this is how it's going to be" and that's a little bit like, you know, a breakup, where you're saying, this, like, "No, we can't be friends. We have to break up. We're friend breaking up, and I don't need to explain why, because I'm living my life and you can live yours, but whether or not I am a part of your life is my decision, just like whether or not, you know, like, you can't have, you can't, you know, like, your desires do not affect my desires and so I don't need to tell you why this is over. It just is and you have to accept that." And a lot of times with particularly manipulative people, if you give them a reason, then they're just gonna be like, "Oh, well, we can fix that." But it...

Felicia: Yeah.

Hank: It might not be about there being a reason. It might just be about you not wanting to chill with them anymore, and that's fine. Like, you not liking their values, you not liking them, you sensing something off about them that you don't want to have in your life, and that's fine, and you should totally go with your instincts, and you should not feel a responsibility to tell that person all the reasons or to like, cushion that blow or whatever. It's, you know, it's your life and you should be able to control yourself.

Felicia: I feel like just listening to your strengths is making me, a) what you're talking about is making me anxious just thinking about a scenario where I'd have to do that.

Hank: Yeah, no, totally, right? Yeah.

Felicia: I mean, I've never broken up with a friend like that, I've never had a business thing that I could ever say to somebody's face, "I just don't want to do this anymore", like, and that is a... And I think that's part of my being homeschooled, like, I did not deal with confrontation or rejection as much as I should have as a kid, and I love the fact that you're encouraging that in everyone to be strong enough to stand up for yourself really and control the relationship strings that are attached to you in life, because if not, you know, it weighs you down, and I think especially in modern times, where we can't get away from our friends from college or high school or elementary school, because we are tied to them in an online fabric that is easy to cut off, but persistently there, where people can enter your life again. I think it's even a bigger issue to talk about so, thank you for lending me strength and Cyprus as well.

Hank: Yeah, and it's, I mean, it gives me anxiety, too, to talk about it and not even having to do it. It's not something I've had to do in a long time, which is nice. Yay.

Felicia: Yeah. Yay, strength!

Hank: There, but there, I mean, there are definitely like, business relationships I have where I would love to say that, but in business, it's different, because it's not, like, 'cause everybody sort of shares business, like, everybody shares an industry, and we all have to, you know, live together inside of our industry, but with personal stuff, it isn't. Like, it has to be a, you know, a mutually agreed upon relationship, and if one person doesn't want to be in it, then the relationship doesn't exist anymore. Like, that's how relationships work.

Felicia: Yeah, but as you know, it's, we are in a weird world and when you're in entertainment, business is personal and personal is business frequently.

Hank: Yeah.

Felicia: And as someone who's gone through a lot of iterations of what I do and having personal relationships move on and business relationships move on in various good and bad ways, it is very difficult and you know, if something goes wrong, everyone's the hero of their own tale, and you're not going to be the hero in everyone's tale, and so, the only thing you can do is what your gut is telling you is the right thing for you, and that includes your moral fabric and that you're not really messing somebody over or really hurting their feelings. So it's complicated, but yeah, it's even more complicated when business and personal mix.

Hank: Yeah, it sure is. Fun. 

 Question 4 (26:13)

Felicia: Carys asks, "Dear Felicia and Hank. I was wandering through a nearby forest and was thinking about Groot. Groot can only say one thing, but can express emotion when he says it. My question to you is would you rather only say one thing but express emotion as you want when you say it, like Groot, or say whatever you want but be unable to express any emotion?" Oh, boy.

Hank: Well the question is, can I say, like, "I am very mad right now," or like, can I express, can I... Like, I can say whatever I want, so I can, I can express emotion in that way-

Felicia: You would be a Vulcan.

Hank: -just I wouldn't be able to, like, it would be difficult to believe, for me to be like, "I am so mad right now, I've never been this angry in my life, and this is the most angry I've ever been," and no one would ever, no one could believe you. No one would bel... And it would be very difficult to say to someone like, "I love you," but without any emotion ever being shown in your relationship with that person, and they would just have to believe you. No one would know for sure whether you were scared or not. You'd have to be like, "I'm very scared."

Felicia: Yeah, I don't... I mean, that would be very Spock-like, in that you can't, I mean, because she says, or he, you would "be unable to express any emotion," which means your face, which is a vehicle-

Hank: Yeah.

Felicia: -to unspoken emotion, would not be able to express it at all, so you're completely expressionless in your face and body, I mean, if you're unable to express, does that mean you can't hug someone? So, that would be a very bad world, I think.

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I started out being, I would want to be able to com... to say whatever I want, but I've come around to the other perspective, especially because I, and I believe those around me, would be happy to learn sign language and express emotion that way, so boom! Check that out!

Felicia: True, and you...

Hank: I got around the paradox.

Felicia: And technically, in the question, you could write, "You could only say it like Groot", only one, you could, "Would you rather only say one thing but express emotion as you want when you say it," and then that... I mean, maybe I'm just parsing, maybe I'm being a lawyer. I've watched too much Good Wife lately, I'm parsing this question.

Hank: You should, you really should have phrased this question more carefully, because the way we read it, this, either way, could be either way. It's really, there's... It's full of loopholes!

Felicia: It's Swiss cheese, it's a Swiss cheese question, so I would say the Groot. Groot being able to say emotion and then be able to hug people. 'Cause I like hugs.

Hank: That's good. That's good. Though we are both employed as professional speakers of words, but what good would it be if we could only speak words without emotion? The, you'd get no more acting jobs for Felicia.

Felicia: Yeah. True. True, no acting, although writing, you could be, well, unable to express any emotion. Let's just theoretically say that you couldn't speak emotion, but you could write emotion, so then, actually, that limitation might make you the best composer or writer in the world, because you have to channel everything into your expression, your art, so actually, I don't know, now I'm on the fence again.

Hank: (Laughs) Turns out this is a really complicated question. I was just thinking earlier today, I was having a conversation with some friends, about how superheroes, we're talking about, I'm talking about superheroes right now that have special abilities, how they choose to make the world a better place is often, seems very... It's big and it's explosive and it's about like, you know, attacking and defeating evil, but it isn't really the way that good gets done in the world. And maybe there's something like, if we're talking about Superman, maybe there's something in the sort of morality of Superman that prevents this, but he has the ability to do so much good in just sort of like, infrastructure creation, and like, he could just, you know, heat up balls of stuff with his heat vision and then use that to power power plants without the production of fossil fuel, without the burning of fossil fuels and solve global warming sort of in one stroke, but I bet there's some like, weird mythological thing with Superman that says like, according to the laws of Krypton, he can't do that.

Felicia: I mean, I particularly, I am not a big superhero fan, I, because I find, I mean, this is ver... probably gonna be controversial, but you know, yes, they can do great deeds, but they are not emotionally mature to me as an aggregate.

Hank: They don't seem to be, no.

Felicia: They would be terrible dates.

Hank: And it's almost as if they all act like teenage boys.

Felicia: Oh, wow, that's, it's true. Absolutely. And they don't know how to express themselves so they just...

Hank: No.

Felicia: "Hey, I'm gonna move a building". I don't know, and that's why I'm not, I mean, in your, just at a cursory glance, would you say that any superhero has the emotional acumen to solve a problem with words and emotion versus just big actions? I wouldn't say that anybody particularly springs to mind in my mind.

Hank: I think that there's probably some X-Men that...

Felicia: X-Men, I was about to say, yeah, Rogue.

Hank: Yeah, yeah.

Felicia: I mean, some of the more psychological...

Hank: Kitty Pryde, maybe.

Felicia: Yeah, you're right.

Hank: Yeah. But, you know, that's a big... And I think a lot of superhero mythologies have come a long way in the last, like, ten years, or even five years, in terms of like, a more, a fuller view of the universe and of human interaction.

Felicia: True.

Hank: Just because a lot of comic readers have grown up a bit.

Felicia: Yeah, but if, yeah. It's almost like the evil ones have more psychological motivation, like, I can't imagine-

Hank: Yeah, that's true!

Felicia: -Captain America)or Superman would be able to have a really good relationsh... you know, relationship discussion, but you know, somebody who's a bad guy, I'm sure you could, like, deal with your issues. He probably wouldn't come to your side, but at least you know you can have a good conversation about it, 'cause they're a little bit more savvy.

Hank: Well, yeah, I mean, it seems as if, you know, villains... Writers need to create more motivation for villains, and so they sort of create their, the sort of internal mythology of the villa... like, the villain's internal mythology more fully than they create the hero's, because the hero, the motivation is more explicit, it's more obvious to the reader.

Felicia: It's, yeah. But it's externally motivated.

Hank: And because of that, I... It's interesting, I often hear people saying, like, I kind of identify with the villains more than with the heroes, because like, I, you know, I get that. I get where they're coming from and like, ugh, like, the world is so messed up, and why not just, why not just destroy all of it? Which, you know, it's r... it's always great when you see a hero dealing with that, when you see, you know, Watchmen is a really good example of a comic that has just a ton of, a ton of like, really deeply flawed heroes who despite the fact that the world might be coming to an end are basically just like, I could fix this problem, but boy, am I sad and I don't want to.

Felicia: That may be why I love Watchmen.

Hank: Yeah. Watchmen is pretty great. That was a complete non sequitur that had nothing to do with any of the questions that we were asked, so we're gonna ask another one.

 Question 5 (33:49)

Hank: This one is from Lauren who asks, "Dear Hank and Felicia. I recently read that the Curiosity Mars Rover is programmed to sing Happy Birthday to itself once a year. I'm feeling too lazy to research this. Could you confirm whether or not this is true, and also, do you think you would sing Happy Birthday to yourself if you lived all alone by yourself on another planet?" I can, in fact, confirm that the Curiosity Rover does sing Happy Birthday to itself once a year on the anniversary of its landing on Mars, which is just adorable.

Felicia: That's really adorable. I want to hear it. Is it a... What kind of cute little voice is it? Or is just like a chiptone thing?

Hank: Yeah, it's a chiptone thing, yeah, exactly.

Felicia: Oh my gosh. That's adorable.

Hank: I'm pretty sure. I mean, that's what I imagine. I don't know. Maybe it's just the, a recording of a child singing Happy Birthday, which would be way creepier.

Felicia: Really creepy if you're an alien.

Hank: I just think that was such a great like, afterthought kind of thing, it's like... Well, I mean, why is there even a speaker on it? I'm sure there's a reason that it has a speaker, there's probably a really great scientific reason that the Curiosity Rover needs to have speakers, and I don't know what that would be, but I'm sure there is one, and so once you have it, you could be like, hey, you know what would be great? You know what would like let people talk more about Curiosity? Like, give us another opportunity to have a press release go out? Let's have it sing Happy Birthday to itself!

Felicia: It would be great if you were able to submit your own, you know, voice. Remember in the old days, they had that computer voice that you could program in, and you would just make it say things if you typed them into the browser? I mean, that was amazing.

Hank: Mhmm, yeah, totally, yeah.

Felicia: So, if you had people bid for charity in order to be able to say, "I'm gonna have the Curiosity speak on...", you know?

Hank: I love it. I love it. Yeah, just like, send a message to Curiosity Rover and have it be like, "butt fart fart butt fart fart fart fart fart butt fart butt". And that would be, that would be so good. I would totally... How much money would I pay to have Curiosity Rover just say the word "fart" three times on the surface of Mars?

Felicia: Fart fart fart. Um, I would pitch in for that. 

Hank: Yeah.

Felicia: If we could make that happen. I'm a donor.

Hank: How, what's, what's your number, though? Like, how m... like, what's your highest number? I would pay $1,000 for that.

Felicia: I was thinking $1,000. I was thinking somewhere between $500 and $1,000.

Hank: Okay.

Felicia: I mean, that's an upper limit, but if we went in $500 each, $1,000, that's, that's...

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, my first thought was like, was $500, but then I was like, would I pay more than that? Yes, I'd pay $700. Would I pay $800? Yes. And then I got to $1,000 and then I was like, yes-

Felicia: Nope.

Hank: -and then $1,100 I was like, uh, yeah, so, I feel like around $1,000, I would pay to have the Mars rover just say "fart" a few times, and apparently Felicia wants the same thing, so we can just, it's $500 each, so it's even better.

Felicia: We really should pull some strings and make this happen. I think we know enough people collectively that we could definitely...

Hank: Yeah, if anybody listening to the podcast right now has the ability to get Curiosity to say words for us, we've got $1,000 for you.

Felicia: To charity. To charity. I think it should go to like a, you know...

Hank: Oh, okay, it should go, yeah, right, right, not for you, one person, but yes, we...

Felicia: One person. We don't want to encourage like, you know, under the table trading.

Hank: Well, honestly, I don't care what it goes to. I'll g... anything. If it's for charity, I would pay even more, but $1,000, I'd pay just, you know, Jeff from NASA to do that for us.

Felicia: Jeff from NA... you're gonna get him fired. Now it's gonna be some kind of extortion ring at JPL.

Hank: Alright, there's the second component to this question was, "Do you think you'd sing Happy Birthday to yourself if you lived all alone on another planet?"

Felicia: Yes, because I saw Castaway, and Tom Hanks got crazy hair from loneliness, and I think that benchmarks are important in life, and if I were to just say, "To hell with it," I would probably be a dirty, very unkempt lady at the end, and just kind of die, sadly, without any sort of highlights to my, my island.

Hank: Yeah.

Felicia: Planet.

Hank: I think it would be hard to keep track of the days if nobody else was around, but I guess if I had a smartphone, you know, it would do it for me, 'cause one assumes that if you're on another planet, you've got like, you've got stuff keeping you alive that has like, the date and time on it. So yeah, I don't know that I would sing Happy Birthday to myself, but I would definitely celebrate my birthday, if I was mentally together enough to do that. If I was in my current state, I would, but probably by the time my birthday rolled around, rolls around next May, if like, suddenly I was by myself on another planet, just the solitude probably would have gotten to my head by that point and I wouldn't be in the state to be able to do much of anything. I don't know, though. Maybe I'd keep really busy on Mars. Maybe I'd be super into Mars and just like, look at rocks all day. That's, eventually, I probably would get tired of the rocks, but not for a while.

Felicia: I mean, I would carve in the rocks, because, I mean, I guess if I always get angry at people who carve in trees when I'm hiking, I'm like, "Who are you? I don't care about your love," but if I was on Mars, I would be vandalizing some rocks to say like, "I was here," and nobody would care who came after me, but I would feel satisfied to leave my imprint there.

Hank: Oh yeah.

Felicia: For a, yeah.

Hank: Yeah, I'd probably, you know, you just build like, giant cairns of Mars rocks so people in the future come along and be like, "What on Earth?" and you'd be like, "Look, like there was this hypothetical on a podcast and somehow it came true and like, I got here, I can't explain all of that, I just..." or just, like, write, like, a basically a novel with rocks, just like, setting out pebbles to be like, here's, to explain the entire thing, here's a 5,000 word essay written in pebbles.

Felicia: That would be a life chore worth living.

Hank: Yeah, absolutely.

Felicia: That would be a life chore worth living.

Hank: Absolutely.

Felicia: I wanna read your pebble-novel.

 Question 6 (39:36)

Felicia: Our next question, Sarah asks, "Dear Felicia and Hank. If you could be transported into the world of video game, which game world would you most like to explore and why?" So, I love this question. This is hard, because...

Hank: Yeah, I put this question in because I thought that you would enjoy it, but I completely forgot to come up with an answer for myself, so you're gonna have to go first.

Felicia: Well, I mean, I actually forgot to come up with an answer, even though, when I read the, it in the email, I was like, "Oh, this is very exciting". I mean, it's gonna be hard because most places in video game worlds don't have toilets ever so...

Hank: Yeah.

Felicia: You go in and you're like, "There's no toilet here, how do they go to the #1 and #2?" I think, I would be very torn between two diffe... I would be torn between a fantasy world and a science fiction world, so, you know, and every video game has disaster happening all the time, so like, for instance, Mass Effect, if I were in Mass Effect, sorry, and I, people were trying to blow up my planet, that would be an unpleasant experience, although I would have to be a very rich, lucrative person in there, so I would have my own ship, I would have a very diverse peer group of different species, I would be able to travel around all the time, but if I were to be sort of an alien just on a ship, I don't know, that seems appealing, but not 100%, so I probably would want to live in a fantasy world like Skyrim or even World of Warcraft, because it has bright colors, and even though I don't think there's, there's not a lot of bathrooms in there, but I think we can, we could fix it. We could craft some.

Hank: Yeah, yeah. It's the main concern is, do you guys have soft fluffy downy toilet paper? That's...

Felicia: That would be super impo... and, and down pillows.

Hank: Yeah.

Felicia: I mean, if you, yeah. If you take out the chaos that is inherently in video games in that there's always confrontation and war and explosions, if you take that out and just say, "Okay, you're just living in the world like a regular person" it would be a tie between Mass Effect and probably World of Warcraft.

Hank: I was just thinking abou... do you remember the game Space Quest?

Felicia: Oh, I loved that. Where you played the janitor?

Hank: Yeah, yeah, so like, Space Quest 6, I think, was the last Space Quest, and it was the sort of most involved one, and...

Felicia: Oh my gosh.

Hank: So we could, like, the good thing about Space Quest is like, it's really, like, this is just a bunch of dopes in space being dopey, funny jokes, bright colors, you know, like, pixel animation, and there's just not a lot, like, the worst thing that's gonna happen to you is you're gonna get kicked out space school, like, it's... Oh my God, now that I'm saying this, I really wanna Let's Play this game. Um, it's, so like, yeah, that, I'm into that. But the other thing is that like, most media properties have video games, so like, my immediate thought is like, take me to the Star Trek universe, I will live there.

Felicia: Okay.

Hank: And there's plenty of Star Trek video games, so like, yes. Transport me to Star Trek land and I will live in the next generation. I will be an ensign on the Starship Enterprise and I'll be perfectly happy.

Felicia: You would look very good, yeah.

Hank: They have toilets there and there's... Everybody seems to be happy and fulfilled and adventures happen, but very few people die in The Next Generation, the whole, I probably would wanna make sure I was a recurring character, because I guess a fair number of people do die.

Felicia: Red... You would not want to be a red unitard, you wanna be a blue or a yellow or, yeah.

Hank: Yes. Yes, exactly. So that's my cheaty answer, which is that there are indeed Star Trek games and that's where I've always wanted to live my whole life. 

Felicia: That's funny, I wanted to marry Riker from a very young age, so...

Hank: I wanted to be Wesley Crusher.

Felicia: Really?!

Hank: Oh yeah. He was my fave. I did my hair like Wesley.

Felicia: Wow.

Hank: I, yeah, I... He was so smart, he knew everything, and everybody, like, respected him like an adult. He was the perfect character for me, I understand why other people were not a big fan of Wesley, but it was, I mean...

Felicia: Oh no, I liked him, I, I liked him and I wanted to be, you know, his mom was so pretty, 'cause I loved her red hair, I was just kind of in love with Riker that--in a way that no, there was no one else existing for me in, you know. And when I met Jonathan Frakes at a party, I was kind of intimidated, I was like, "Oh God, uh, hi. Can I get the Doritos?" I mean, I really was just, it was not...

Hank: (Laughs) That's beautiful. That's beautiful. I love it very much.

 News from AFC Wimbledon (44:18)

Hank: Alright, we're gonna move on to the news. This is gonna be the news from both Mars, the 4th rock from the Sun, and AFC Wimbledon, the 4th tier English soccer team. So Felicia, do you have any obscure British football news for us?

Felicia: I do, indeed. I was given this piece of news and just recently learned that football is soccer, so let me, let me... (Hank laughs) So this is super, super from my records not... Okay, so, Neal Ardley, Wimbledon's magnificent and talented manager, got a bit upset during a friendly game between AFC Wimbledon and the Spanish Granada FC due to some over-zealous refereeing. Ardley was quoted saying, "The ref started to book players for nothing at all, and the lads from both sides lost their heads a bit." He blew the whistle for the slightest touch and it was difficult to get any rhythm in the game. In all, it was a shame and I don't know how often both an English team and a Spanish team have been upset with a referee". That is the most sports that's ever come out of my mouth. So thank you.

Hank: Well, I'm proud, proud to have been responsible for all those sports that just came out of your mouth.

Felicia: Many, many sports. I've been to Grenada, and it is a beautiful city, so I did feel like it at least touched a little bit of home in my heart.

Hank: I really don't know. I wrote that, I just, you know, went to Google News, and I searched for AFC Wimbledon, and that was the thing, and it most, like, 90% of that was just a quote from Neal Ardley, which was exactly how the article was written in whatever publication it was written in. It was basically just, "This is the thing that a guy said," and I really, like, I still don't understand what they're talking about, so I apologize if I messed that up in any way, but for some reason, he was upset at a referee, and now you know that thing about AFC Wimbledon.

  News from Mars (46:09)

Hank: On to Mars News!

Felicia: Yay!

Hank: There was a lot to choose from this week in Mars news. I'm going to give you a story that podcast listeners might actually be able to get involved with themselves. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been taking a lot pretty fantastic pictures of Mars, so many that mission scientists are calling on volunteers to help them identify and classify fascinating and peculiar formations near the Southern pole of Mars, marking them for future rescher... Ah! Marking them for future research. These features... Ah. Ahpleh! These features are left behind during the Southern Summer on Mars when dry ice sublimes off of the surface leaving weird, spider-like formations in channels and holes. You can learn more about this project, including how to participate at the Planet Four: Terrains website, which is at And that's P-L-A-N-E-T-F-O-U-R dot org.

  Conclusion (47:06)

And that is our episode of Dear hank and John without John but guest hosted by Felicia Day, the creator of many wonderful things including the entire Geek and Sundry YouTube network, and author of You're never weird on the internet (almost) out August 11th and available for pre-order now.

Felicia: Yay.

Hank: Yay.

Felicia: Thank you for having me. I am delighted, I am always an admirer of you and to hang out virtually with you in audio form is a big treat. So thank you.

Hank: Oh, that's very sweet. It is a huge treat for me as well and it's going to be also a huge treat for our editor Nicholas Jenkins who's a big Felicia Day fan.

Felicia: Thanks Nick!

Hank: So thanks Nick. Our theme music is by Gunnarolla, Nick of course, Nicholas Jenkins is our editor. If you have any questions for us, you can send them to and as we say in our hometown, don't forget to be awesome.