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Hey! Let's talk about Patrick Rothfuss's beard! Also, talking with Nathalie, falling asleep instead of singing, and how to run a press junket. It's a pretty weird and varied episode of Dear Hank and John! A comedy podcast about death.

 Intro (0:00)


Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.


John: Or as I prefer to think of it, Dear John and Hank


H: It's a comedy podcast where Hank Green, who is me, and John Green, who is my brother, give you dubious advice, answer your questions, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon.


J: That's true. How are you, Hank?


H: I am good! Oh man! I... My hair is out of control and I can't find the time to get a haircut. It's a disaster, John.


J: Mmm, I mean...


H: It's so, it's so hard to be me!


J: Haven't you gotten to a point in your life where you can just call someone and have them cut your hair while you work?


H: (Laughs) I had not thought of that. I imagine that's how the President does it.


J: That's exactly how the President does it. He's, like, on the phone with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Prime Minister is like "I'm sorry, is there some background noise?" and he's like "Oh no, I'm just getting a haircut."


H: Yeah, I actually went to see the President, you may remember, not to brag or anything, but I was getting my makeup done by his personal makeup person and I asked her, you know, "What is it like to cut the President's hair?" And she was like, "Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I do not, I do not cut the President's hair. He has a barber." So it's two separate people, just...


J: So he has two, he has two people: he has a hair person and a makeup person. 


H: Yes.


J: I also have two people.


H: And the hair person comes into the White House and cuts his hair. As far as I know, in the Oval Office. So apparently if you, like, just look at the carpet of the Oval Office, there's hairs from every President.


J: I think...


H: They have never replaced the carpet.


J: That's amazing, nor have they ever vacuumed it, apparently. Well, I mean, since you brought up the fact that you met the President, Hank, as we are recording this podcast, I am hours away from what could be the most wonderful moment of my entire life. Of course I have two beautiful children, I had a wonderful wedding day, going to your wedding was one of the highlights of my life. I've had so many great days, the premiere of The Fault In Our Stars movie and the premiere of Paper Towns, both wonderful nights. But tonight Hank, here in Indianapolis, I have to tell you Hank, there's maybe 8 or 9 properly beautiful days a year. It's usually a little too cold or a little too hot or a lot too cold or raining, but today the sky is a cloudless blue, the temperature could be no warmer or colder and be more beautiful, it is just absolutely perfect and do you want to know why Indianapolis has chosen today to bring out its best self?


H: Yes, John. I do.


J: It's because Taylor Swift is coming to town. Taylor Swift is here tonight and Hank, I may meet her.


H: Oh, like you're going to a Taylor Swift concert and you will watch her and yell "TAYLOR!" and then she'll look in your direction?


J: No, no, no, no, no. I mean I am going to go to a Taylor Swift concert and watch her and yell "TAYLOR!" by all means but also, I may meet her. 


H: Oh wow. Is she gonna bring you up on stage to sing a song with her?


J: I sincerely hope not. As my brother you are well aware that when I am brought up on stage by musicians to sing along I perform poorly. (Hank laughs) Hank always kindly has me come out for the encores when I'm, when we're doing shows together and, oh my God, I'm just the worst, am I not?


H: You're not great at singing. It's kind of remarkable, and the funny thing is you're always like "No! I did the thing!" and I'm like "Well, you did the thing, it's just, you didn't sing any of the right notes" and you think you do! Which is fine, like it's fine to, you know, to not have one of a million skills that humans are capable of having. It's just...


J: You know, like all novelists, I desperately wish to be a rock star and it is true that I can't sing but I do genuinely believe that when we sung that song New York City by They Might Be Giants at Carnegie Hall, and I sung the Statue of Liberty Staten Island Ferry part, I truly believe I was on key. Was I not on key that night? (Silence) Your silence, your silence has broken my heart.


H: Yes you were. You were on key. (Laughs)


J: Are you lying to me?


H: Is it OK for me to lie to you in certain circumstances?


J: No, just tell me the truth. Just tell me the truth, I can handle it.


H: No, you weren't, you weren't on key. No, it's...


J: Oh! That's devastating! (Hank laughs) I can't believe you told me that. I specifically asked you never to tell me that.


H: (Laughs) Well tell me more about how you're going to meet Taylor Swift. Are you gonna be, like, backstage? Are you gonna get to, like, take a selfie and, like, high five and ask her how she's doing?


J: Hank, I do not know the details but believe you and me, on next week's Dear John and Hank you will hear about them. You will hear about them in excruciating detail. I don't even know for sure that I'm going to get to meet Ms. Swift, but regardless, I am going to enjoy the concert because, as you know, I am a massive fan of 1989, both the year and the pop album. And I am just so freaking excited. I am over the Moon. I would like to thank Taylor, by the way, for making room at her concert for me in advance. And not to hijack the whole podcast but there is also other news in my life that I would like to share with you.


H: Oh my goodness.


J: Which is that I, I have gone on a social media hiatus. I've stopped the posting on the Tumblrs and the Twitters and the Facebooks so the only thing I'm really doing work-wise, social media-wise is Vlogbrothers videos on Tuesdays and then Dear Hank and John, our comedy podcast. And it's so that I can write a novel. And I'm only two days in so far but I have to say it's kind of great.


H: Well I've identified a problem with your two pieces of news which is that you will meet Taylor Swift and not be able to do anything with that. You have to, you have to, you have to snap that, John.


J: It turns out you don't have to mediate experiences through social media in order for them to have really happened. That said, I suspect that if I do meet Ms. Swift that I may Instagram that event. But we'll see. Life is long and who knows. But I'm really enjoying my social media hiatus because I have missed writing so much. It's been so long since I've had two or three writing days in a row like the two or three that I've had here and obviously you need, you know, a couple hundred of those to write a novel but yeah. I'm feeling, I'm feeling excited. 


H: Good. Well in among your social media hiatus I will say that I am hankgre on Snapchat, hankgreen on Instagram, hankgreen on Twitter, and right here at Dear Hank and John on iTunes. So if you would like to follow me, I will not be taking a social media hiatus - oh, and edwardspoonhands on Tumblr - and I'll be just, I'll be making all kinds of interesting and well-composed, filtered pictures of my dinner, and don't you want to see that! Follow me. Snapchat. 


J: I don't understand your obsession with Snapchat, you really seem to believe that Snapchat is going to be the thing that breaks you out of your cult following into the proper mainstream success, that, like, you'll be on The Tonight Show or whatever and Jimmy Fallon or, I literally don't know who hosts The Tonight Show so I hope it's Jimmy Fallon, but whoever hosts The Tonight Show will be like "So Hank, you know, you had a big following on the YouTube and of course the big hit comedy podcast that was full of ruminations about death and Mars, but it wasn't really until your Snapchat hit it big that the world knew about you." 


H: So John, the thing is, that the only following worth having is a cult following because...


J: Oh, I could not agree more. 


H: Yeah, like mainstream success is just really unpleasant. So Snapchat is very good at cultivating that cult following, and it's just, you know, it's just a couple tens of thousands of people. Yeah, it's just, it's a nice place. 


J: Now that you've explained it that way I realized that I was completely wrong and I apologize. Speaking of which, before we get to the questions, Hank, we need to apologize to our listeners who like Mario Kart characters other than Luigi and Donkey Kong. 


H: There was a substantial amount of controversy about that. Also we spent a lot of time talking about it, so let's spend a little more time talking about it. 


J: People were tremendously angry and hurt by the way that we dismissed the likes of Yoshi, Princess Peach, and even Bowser, and I would just like to state for the record that, you know, I am a novelist, Hank is a whatever Hank does, like, we are not professional Mario Kart players and I apologize for giving advice as if I were an expert.


H: Also, as if we were, just to be clear, talking about Mario Kart circa N64.


J: Yeah I was talking about the Super Mario Kart that I played on a yellow couch in 1994, when there was no functional world wide web, (Hank laughs) so just remember that I grew up in a different time, I'm from a different era. Hank should we answer some people's questions? 


H: No, but John, wait! Don't you have to read us a poem? 


J: So Hank you'll recall last week's short poem was by William Carlos Williams who was a physician, often wrote very short poems on the back of prescription pads, This Is Just To Say "I have eaten the plums that were in the ice box" et cetera? Well this is a slightly longer poem that I really enjoy, it's by Kenneth Koch often associated with the Beat movement, somewhat unfairly I think, but anyway, moving on, it's called Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams.


"I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
And its wooden beams were so inviting.


We laughed at the hollyhocks together
And then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do no know what I am doing.


I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years.
The man who asked for it was shabby
And the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.


Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
Forgive me. I was clumsy and
I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!"


Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams, from Kenneth Koch. That poem's from 1962 and one of my absolute favorites. 


H: (Laughs) That's nice, John, I liked it. 


J: I knew I could find a poem you would like if I tried hard enough! 


H: I'm coming around, I'm coming around. I don't know that you're gonna sway me into becoming a hardcore AFC Wimbledon fan but you may yet make me enjoy poetry.


  Question 1 (10:56)


We have a question, John. This question is from anonymous who asks "Dear Hank and John. I have a very annoying housemate. She doesn't do her part of chores unless someone tells her. She doesn't have a job so her parents pay her rent, but she still gets money from the government and yet she can't pay her bills on time. She just sits around all day watching TV or singing. How can I get her to do her jobs and pay her bills and generally be a better housemate without sounding like her mother when I ask her to do these things?" Oh goodness, oh goodness. Well we've all...


J: Well, having been that housemate, I feel like I'm a bit of an expert in this. (Hank laughs) So for many years I lived with my best friend Shannon James in the great city of Chicago. Shannon and I are still extremely close friends, in fact she's visiting this weekend, and I was a very messy person. I mean, I have obsessive compulsive disorder and so I have, like, some weird compulsions that in general make it difficult to live with me but also, like, I'm just not a very clean person and for many years I didn't recognize what messiness was. So I would be, like, sitting watching TV or playing Super Mario Kart or whatever, and Shannon would be like "Is there any way that you could pick up around the house a little bit" and I would be like, I would look around and I would be like "Uh, no everything's good here, I don't even, I don't know what you're talking about" and she would be like "Well, your pants are currently on the coffee table, and that's not ideal, and also there's 17 cans of Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi on the living room table as you might notice" and I would be like "Oh that stuff!" And slowly over the course of many years, Shannon trained me to have a better understanding of what messiness is. But that was an act of extraordinary generosity and love between two absolute best friends, this person doesn't sound like your best friend, you should just kick her out. 


H: Yeah, this person... In fact it sounds a little bit to me like you sort of waver in this question between being like this person needs, we need to come to a better understanding and insulting the person, which makes me feel like you have a bad relationship with the person.


J: Yeah I would just go ahead and sever the housemateness, there's a bunch of people out there looking for roommates.


H: Yeah, if that's an option. I mean the other thing to remember is that a lot of times what this activity comes from, and I also suffer from messiness blindness the way that John does which is a struggle for Katherine and she has also lovingly trained me to understand what messy is. But often times I had a roommate that was a lot like this and it turned out that he was, you know, struggling a lot with depression, and that can be, you know, like that's, you know, unemployment is a symptom of depression, you know, not doing things is a symptom of depression and, you know, not taking care of things that need to be taken care of. And so if you do want to keep this person as a roommate, or you have to, then the thing to do is to create a great deal of structure and try and have that structure be the boss and not you because one of the great allies of mental stability is structure and if you can create that and have it be something that this person doesn't feel like they have an option to avoid then they won't avoid it, they will do it. But that might mean being a little bit of a mom or... Someone has to be the authority in that case and if it's the kind of thing that this person is gonna be like "You can't be the boss of me", then, you know, maybe you find a different place or they find a different place, however it's set up. Whoever is the person on the lease makes that, is gonna have to make that call in the end.


J: Yeah, I agree with you. I kind of feel like if you can't have open lines of communication in a roommate relationship it gets dark and walking on egg shells-y and passive aggressive really, really fast.


H: Yeah. Oh yeah.


J: So you've got to just, you've got to... What Shannon and I would always say, because we had, like, other roommates who would come and go, and what we would always say to the other roommates is, like, "In this house you must be able to fight, like you must be able to fight lovingly and forgive each other because if things are not, like, open and honest around here then, like, it gets super weird super fast."


H: Yeah. Alright, I... That's actually something that we both have legitimate experience with.


  Question 2 (15:37)


H: John, do we have another question?


J: Yes. We do. And it's another thing that we both have legitimate experience with. It's from Kathy, she writes "Dear John and Hank. Who do you think would win in a fight: John's Puff or Patrick Rothfuss's beard?"


H: (Laughs) I mean John's Puff is, is amazing. It's elegant. It is...


J: Some people call it historically significant.


H: It is indeed historically significant. Patrick Rothfuss's beard is also all of those things and also much bigger than the Puff.


J: Yeah.


H: And I would say, you know, significantly more badass than the Puff.


J: Yep.


H: So I think that Patrick Rothfuss's beard would win. Patrick Rothfuss, if you don't know, is the author of The Name of the Wind, an absolutely beautiful fantasy novel that's part of a series that is in the middle of being completed, and...


J: Oh, he's a great writer.


H: It's beautiful, it's wonderful stuff. It's like, you know. If you like fantasy at all it's basically, in my opinion, the thing that happened in the, you know, since 2010 that matters a lot.


J: I mean, I don't know anything about fantasy. All I know is that, like, sentence to sentence he is a beautiful, beautiful writer. And I met him in real life at VidCon this year and, you know, I'd seen pictures and everything but meeting him in real life is interesting because almost immediately as soon as you start talking to him you realize that his beard is bigger than he is. And he's really the only person, he's the only person I've ever met whose beard is bigger than the person the beard is growing upon.


H: Yeah.


J: So yeah. To me Patrick Rothfuss's beard wins going away.


H: He's also just a lovely, lovely person. Just, I haven't met a nicer person in my life.


J: Couldn't be nicer.


H: Just so nice.


J: Me neither. He's, like, incredibly supportive and nice and empathetic but also doesn't take any of your crap. Like he's amazing. He's... You know how, Hank, sometimes you meet people and you don't know them well but you, like, meet them and you're like "I look forward to seeing that person again so much". You have friends who maybe, like, aren't your closest friends but you just, you love seeing them.


H: Yeah.


J: He's one of those people.


H: Yeah. We're working on a conference together so we're talking a lot right now which is nice. We get to be on the phone once a week or so and it's called NerdCon: Stories and tickets are available now. The agenda went live earlier, or last week I guess, and it's gonna be fascinating. It's in Minneapolis, and if you are around there or even if you just wanna come see a lot of amazing storytellers, authors, poets, musicians, that sort of thing, then come on over. John and I will be there, it's gonna be a good time.


J: I will be there, it's my only public appearance for the next year actually. Also Hank, I don't know if you know this, but are you aware of what Maggie Stiefvater, Stiefvader, Stiefater?


H: Yeah?


J: You know Maggie. Are you aware of what Maggie and I are doing? 


H: I heard a rumor but I don't know, I don't know if it's true.


J: We are racing each other in an actual car race with actual race cars on a dirt track.


H: What!?


J: A half-mile dirt track outside of Minneapolis that Friday night. So in addition to going to NerdCon: Stories, you can go and watch an extremely successful young adult novelist who is also a race car driver race me, a person who has not gotten in a car crash in a couple of years.


H: (Laughs) I didn't know about that! I heard something about that, I assumed it was remote control cars.


J: It's one of those things where like Maggie was like "Would you wanna do this?" and I was like "Yeah of course, that sounds hilarious" and then, but, you know, like, I didn't think she would actually set it up, and then she's like asking me the circumference of my head so I can get a helmet that's the right size, and I gotta wear a fire suit in case the race car catches on fire. And I'm just thinking like "I've gotta not get lapped. That's my goal. Just wanna not get lapped". So that's Friday night, and then Saturday and Sunday is NerdCon: Stories. It's gonna be an amazing weekend.


  Question 3 (19:47)


H: This one's from Natalie who says "Dear Hank and John. My name is Natalie, and I'm thinking about applying to college in the USA but I have absolutely no confidence in my speaking and pronunciation abilities since I'm from Ecuador and I speak Spanish as my native language. Do you have any advice for improving my speaking?" Yes I do. Let's come up with a hashtag on Twitter for talk to Natalie, and maybe you can find some people who speak English natively to talk to you. What should that hashtag be John?


J: #talktonatalie. So if English is your first language just use the hashtag #talktonatalie and then maybe Natalie will find out about this and then she can talk to you, but in general, Natalie, I have to say I think you're gonna be fine. Having read your email which was grammatically perfect which is extremely rare for a Dear Hank and John email, I think you're in good shape.


H: Yeah, absolutely. Yes, alright, that one was easy.


  Question 4 (20:39)


J: Hank I'm gonna ask a a question that's somewhat harder now. This one is from Isabella who asks "What do you do when your parents have a different political opinion than yours and they try to force theirs upon you?"


H: Oh man. John and I don't know because, like, the only way that this has happened to us, well it's happened to me a bit with my in-laws though they are very nice about it, but with our parents, it's like how far left can you go is often the topic at our dinner table.


J: Yeah. I mean I guess that I do have some different political beliefs than my parents, but first, like, they don't try to enforce their beliefs on me and they really never have even when we were little kids.


H: That's true.


J: You know, when I was, like, nine years old and I said that I thought Ronald Reagan should be elected President and not Walter Mondale my dad was incredibly supportive, in fact I didn't even know at the time that, you know, he'd secretly written me out of his will. (Both laugh) No, I mean, yeah. Our parents are extremely, I mean I wouldn't say that they're communists but I would definitely say that they are further to the left than either Hank or I and Hank and I are pretty...


H: Progressive.


J: Pretty liberal on the political spectrum. I don't know actually, I'm not as liberal as Hank. The order is, my mother, my father, Hank, and then me almost in the center. In some northern European nations Hank, I would be a centrist.


H: Oh gosh in some northern European nations you would be to the right.


J: I might be actually. So Hank, I have a good friend who is a Jesuit priest. He is a Catholic priest, and he and his parents often have political disagreements and he has been a real model for me in, like, how to talk about politics or other controversial topics with people who disagree with you. And it seems to me that what he does very well is listen. He listens very well and very openly and he tries to understand people's concerns who disagree with him. And then he states why he believes what he believes, you know, very strongly and clearly, and he doesn't apologize for it but he's also not aggressive about it. He doesn't assume that people who disagree with him are evil. He just, you know, like, has x, y, and z justifications for his belief system. And I also, of course, often disagree with him as well, although my disagreements with him are different than his family's disagreements with him. And I find it really kind of invigorating and refreshing to be able to have conversations with him because they aren't confrontational and it doesn't feel dichotomous. It doesn't feel like there's good and evil and I am always on the side of good and those who disagree with me are always on the side of evil. It's just really, really hard in contemporary American political discourse to have those kinds of conversations to embrace subtlety and nuance, and also to acknowledge the possibility that you might be wrong, which you might be. I mean as strong as my convictions are, I might be wrong. I've been wrong before.


H: That, what your friend does and what, you know, I think we should all attempt to do, is really hard. It requires great presence of mind and also great sort of understanding of your own perspectives and biases and it is important and such an amazing exercise in, like, in knowing yourself and understanding, understanding, you know, where, like, who, like how you became who you are. It's a difficult thing but if you can do it, even if you can just try to do it, it has dividends that are way outside of, like, proving your ability to discuss politics with your parents because it helps you know yourself and it helps you, you know, better understand not only where your opinions come from but why other people think the way they do. And that's, it's hard but it is a really powerful ability to cultivate.


J: Yeah, I mean I don't want to pretend that it's not hard though because I think on a day to day, minute to minute basis it's often impossible not to feel outraged, particularly when people are, you know, expressing outrage at you, it's very difficult not to respond to that by getting ratcheted up and, like, you know, getting angry and it's hard. And I feel like... I mean, I think it's always been hard but I certainly feel like the way that political discourse has become so, so black and white, that there are these two political positions in America, one of quote unquote "liberalism" and one of quote unquote "conservatism" has not helped our ability to have conversations because you are expected to be either one thing or another. And then you kind of don't end up having conversations about policy. And that's the other thing I'd say is that I find it much more interesting and... I find it much more interesting and helpful to have conversations about policy. Like instead of saying, "Should we tax the rich?", like, let's ask "Well what should the income tax rate on income over $500,000 a year be?" You know, should it be 34%, should it be 37%, that becomes a question about policy and about nuance, not a question about, like, the government is trying to take from successful people versus the rich have to do their part? I find questions about, like, specific policy considerations much more beneficial to me personally. 


H: Yeah, that being said, there's a complete possibility that your parents are just really mad and upset and scared about the state of the world and they think that things are going very badly and that makes them reactionary and upset and, you know, it's fear that's driving that outrage, usually. And, you know, personal fear but also fear that things are just going places where they shouldn't go and, you know, sometimes when I'm dealing with scared people, what I do is just sort of, like, acknowledge their fear and not engage with it because, like, what are you gonna do? Say you don't have the right to be afraid? Their fear might come from bad places, their fear might come from unconscious bias, their fear might come from, you know, just being exposed to people who are intentionally trying to scare them all the time, but there's not a lot you can do about that. 


J: Yeah, yeah, I totally agree with you.


  Question 5 (27:32)


Let's move on to the next question. Hank, our next question comes from Emily who writes "Dear John and Hank. I've been having trouble falling asleep lately, particularly because I want to hum and sing songs I get stuck in my head. Do you have any advice on how to get the song out of my head so I can get to sleep? Thank you for your dubious advice and don't forget that it's a comedy podcast." Oh Emily, I have already forgotten that it's a comedy podcast because all I see in front of me is the gaping canyon that is the endless misery of being unable to sleep until finally at last, death comes for you and you can do nothing but sleep.


H: Oh. I have a higher, sort of surface-level question here: Is it possible that you, a person who's having trouble sleeping, and is singing all the time, have a roommate who might think that you are really messy?


J: (Laughs) Emily, I just need you to double check that you are paying your bills on time and not really messy, because I think the underlying problem could potentially be that, you know, you're having a difficult time with the unemployment and everything. But if you're a different person, then yeah, I think we need to look at different possible solutions here. My number one go-to solution for an ear worm, which is a song stuck in your head, is Free Fallin' by Tom Petty. Once I just start singing Free Fallin', whatever was in my head goes away and I can just drift off to sleep, free falling. 


H: I have no ability to help you because I sleep really well, because I take medicines that make me very tired. So, you could take mercaptopurine, and that works for me. (John laughs) It's not without it's side effects, it's not intended to be a sleepy drug, but it sure does knock me out.


J: Yeah. Emily go ahead and get ulcerative colitis so you can take the pill that Hank takes to make him sleepy, it's worth it! (Hank laughs) You know, Hank, when Sarah and I first started dating, like, we would, you know well... Hmm, you know. When we first... Hank when Sarah and I got married and began to sleep in the same bed for the first time in our entire relationship, (Hank laughs) she would, she would often sort of be chatting with me toward the end of the evening and I would be talking back to her and I'd be talking about something and then I would look over and I would learn that she was asleep. And in fact, in the 11 or 12 years that we've been a going concern, I've never seen her take more than 12 seconds to fall asleep. It is the most infuriating thing about my wife. The idea that you can lay your head upon a pillow and fall asleep at the time of your choosing is so foreign to me and I am so intensely jealous of it I can't even explain it to you. So Emily I do empathize, my number one piece of advice when it comes to sleeping is to spend at least 30 minutes away from screens before you try to go to sleep.


H: Yeah, another important one is to have a really set schedule of sleep, which is very hard to do, but that's what the sleep scientists say. The number one thing for insomnia is going to sleep and waking up at roughly the same time every day, and who does that though? Really?


J: But, you know, the other thing, Hank, I can't help but recommend as a solution to this humming business, maybe listening to, you know, the sweet, sweet baritone of a podcast before you go to bed,. Like for instance maybe re-listen to old episodes of Dear John and Hank.


H: I don't know that that's a good idea. We're too engaging, John.


J: Today's episode of Dear Hank and John is brought to you by Dear Hank and John itself! (Hank laughs) That's right, we're sponsored by recursion.


H: Oh man! Listen to Dear Hank and John, it's available on iTunes or wherever podcasts are free.


J: Today's episode of Dear Hank and John is, of course, also brought to you by NerdCon: Stories. NerdCon: Stories, October, Minneapolis, race cars, stories.


H: Today's episode of Dear Hank and John is brought to you by Patrick Rothfuss' beard! Which is epic and glorious and historically significant, and would totally win over John Green's Puff in a fight. 


J: Today's episode of Dear Hank and John is brought to you by Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift, the most important country and pop musician of the last 15 years. Taylor Swift, on tour now. 


H: Ah! Taylor Swift, on tour now. I'd go see her if she came to Missoula, Montana, I'll tell you what.


J: Well she isn't because I have all of her tour stops memorized.


H: Yeah. I don't know that she would find a room that could be really suitable, though we do have a stadium, she could just play at the stadium. Some people do that. The Rolling Stones played. We had The Rolling Stones, John! We're a big metropolis now!


J: We had The Rolling Stones play at the Indianapolis motor speedway on July 4th, it was magical. I was not actually in town because I was touring for Paper Towns but I heard that it went well.


  Question 6 (32:43)


J: Speaking of which, we have a question from Robert. Robert writes "Dear John and Hank. John has written in the past about the do's and don't's of meeting him or any well-known person as a fan. My question is what are the do's and don't's of conducting a press junket interview?"


H: Oh my.


J: "There are lots of ways it can go wrong, but what can make it go really well?"


H: Well I've not done... I've done a couple of press junket interviews but John has done a million of them.


J: Literally.


H: Also an added question to this is how can John Green not embarrass himself when meeting Taylor Swift. So let's do Robert's question first.


J: Hank, talk to me about what kind of fan interaction works for you? Like if you're in Target and you're meeting Taylor Swift, what... No, that's not, no. Like if you're in Target and someone comes up to you and says "Hi", like, what's the ideal way it could go?


H: I mean there's multiple ideal ways, like some people will just be like "Hey, thanks for the videos, that helped me with biology" which is great, like I like that a lot, because then I feel like I... It's immediately obvious the value I provided. Whereas, you know, I also like it when it's more sort of obscure and like "Oh my gosh, it's you! I like all of your things. You do so many things and I like all of them." That's also nice. I just, to me as long as you're not expecting me to do something, like, to, like, be, you know, like, funny or, like, to make, like, do some kind of performance then I'm happy. I'm happy to take a picture, I'm happy to talk, I'm happy to, you know, like, you know, I'm happy to be complimented in public by a stranger (John laughs). But there have been a couple of times where it's been, like, it felt like this person is disappointed that I am not doing, like, a thing and I'm like "Well, I'm currently just here to buy my, to get my suppositories from the pharmacy" so...


J: (Laughs) Yeah. I mean, I would say 99% of the time I've been approached by fans it's been awesome. Like, it is really encouraging to hear from people, to get to hear from people directly, you know, what kind of stuff that you make matters to them and how it matters to them and that varies from, like, the person at Target who pointed at me and said "Crash Course: World History" and gave me a fist bump and kept walking, you know, to people who come up and tell me that they're Nerdfighters and what, you know, the Nerdfighter community means to them and that gives me a chance too to talk about how much it means to me. So that's really lovely and I think, like, that's the perfect thing and that's what I'm going to try to do if I do meet Taylor Swift, I'm just going to say, you know, "I really love your work and I, when we were on the set of the Paper Towns movie it was long days and a lot of hard days for me and I listened to 1989 everyday and it was, like, the soundtrack of that part of my life and I'll always have wonderful memories because of it" not that I've practiced what I'm gonna say. (Hank laughs) But as far as... As far as press junket interviews go, I mean, nobody likes press junkets. The press doesn't like them. The people who are doing them don't like them. I think the people at the studio who organize them don't like them. I think the people who are running the cameras and the mics don't like them. I don't think it's fun for anyone. I think it's considered sort of a necessary evil to try to get the word out about the movie, or whatever the project is. I guess the only thing I would say is to try to remember that the people that you're talking to have been talking to people all day and that they've had a different interview every six minutes and that they are feeling probably pretty dehumanized and pretty exhausted. When I was on the press junket for Paper Towns, a hippopotamus escaped a zoo in Budapest, I think, and, between every interview, Nat Wolff would just show me a picture of this escaped hippopotamus and he would whisper "Someday that will be us." (Both laugh) And I found it tremendously comforting to think of the escaped hippopotamus, and on multiple occasions people would, like, test how well Nat and I knew each other and one of the questions would always be "What's your favorite animal?" or "What's John's favorite animal?" or whatever and we would be so specific. We would write hippopotamus recently escaped from zoo in Budapest. (Both laugh) Yeah, I mean the only thing I would say is, you know, if you have to get the quotes that you have to get then, like, go in and ask the questions that you have to ask and I guess probably don't have a particularly high set of expectations for what people are going to say because I think it's almost impossible to answer a question thoughtfully when you're so tired and feel so weird. But if you want to try to have a really interesting thing, then just do something that's completely different where you don't ask any of those questions and you just, maybe, allow them to play a game. Like I remember, when I was in Brazil, a reporter played a game with us where she was like, "Nat, you and I are going to create a new John Green novel together and John, you are going to provide the dialogue," and that was really, like, a really fun 7 minutes. In fact, at the end of it, Nat was like, "Can we please just keep doing this and stop the other things". So I don't know, it's not easy and, like, I think it's kind of inherently dehumanizing, it's really difficult in those situations for the people who are being interviewed to remember that the interviewer, you know, is a person who is having a very specific 7 minutes of their day and it's really difficult for the interviewer to think that about the people who are being interviewed. So my strategy moving forward is going to be trying to avoid them as much as possible.


  New from Mars (38:50


H: Alright, John, it seems like it might be time for the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.


J: It is, Hank, I think it is time. What's the news from Mars this week?


H: Well, in Mars news, on I think The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, no, it was with Stephen Colbert, the new Colbert show, which I don't know what that's called, it's very confusing because they all sound exactly the same to me.


J: Did he not change his name to Colbert (Col-bert) now? Is he still Colbert (Col-bear)? 


H: I would assume. That he didn't stop...


J: Oh I thought Colbert was just the act but is that his real name?


H: I think that's his real name.


J: Okay. Nice guy by the way.


H: Yeah, he seems like a great guy. 


J: No, but I've hung out with him.


H: Oh! Right, you did! Yeah! Yeah. I have not. I just hung out with the President, so...


J: That was a total brag, I apologize, I wanna apologize to my friends and family for that clear, unadulterated brag.


H: That's fine. No, nothing wrong with bragging. Well, Elon Musk was on Stephen Colbert's show, and they were talking about Mars! Mars came up.


J: I hate to bring this up but I've also hung out with Elon Musk.


H: (Laughs) Did you get to go to the White House and hang out with the President, John? 


J: No, no, no, but only because I was like, "Eh, I think my brother should do that. He hasn't had a big, big media hit in a while."


H: Uhuh. Yep. That's how I remember it as well.


J: Alright, I'm sorry, what did my friend Elon Musk talk about with my friend Stephen Colbert?


H: They were talking about Mars, and how to potentially make Mars habitable or more habitable for future visitors and Elon Musk proposed the fast way to make Mars a little warmer and give it some atmosphere would just be to drop a bunch of thermonuclear bombs on the poles of the planet! Which...


J: What!? 


H: Yeah, so Elon Musk, you know, noted Tony Stark impersonator, creator of many amazing things including PayPal, which no one talks about, and Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has proposed that we drop H-bombs on the poles of Mars, so that the-


J: Would that work?


H: -the carbon dioxide and water that is stored in the poles of Mars would be released into the atmosphere then there would be a quote "runaway greenhouse effect" which would warm the planet further which would create more carbon dioxide and water being released into the atmosphere which would warm the planet further, et cetera. This is a legitimate idea, there are a couple of problems with it. One, if there is an ecology on Mars, it would be the largest scientific discovery in the history of mankind, and we don't wanna just really mess up that ecology really fast before we study it. Two, you're dropping a bunch of thermonuclear weapons on Mars, which might be, you know, there are ways to design nuclear weapons, like, particularly fusion bombs so that they have less fallout, but there's still going to be some fallout, that's not ideal. And of course, you are just releasing carbon dioxide and water into the atmosphere, which is not the kind of atmosphere that humans would really enjoy breathing. But it would help shield astronauts from radiation. And it would increase the pressure of the planet which is good because it would mean, you know, less vacuum to immediately kill people who are on the surface. It does not solve a lot of the problems that Mars has with regards to habitability but it's not a that far out there idea. You know, it's certainly not within the next 100 years though. Yes, John.


J: Now as you know, I am not an expert in science or in Mars or anything but what would, if we did that what would happen to the dinosaurs on Mars?


H: Well, the dinosaurs that are on Mars in our...


J: Jurassic Mars!


H: Our movie Jurassic Mars would have to be specially designed to function in that atmosphere, whatever that atmosphere is which, that doesn't seem, like that doesn't seem outside of the realm of movie science which is completely fake anyway so let's just design dinosaurs that can breathe water vapor instead of oxygen, which of course chemically makes no sense but who cares, and we'll be fine. Jurassic Mars, coming to theaters.


J: So it has not affected the box office potential of Jurassic Mars.


H: Not at all. I think that introducing the possibility of thermonuclear warheads into Jurassic, the plot of Jurassic Mars can only be a positive.


J: I actually completely agree with you because whether it's at the beginning of act one or the end of act two, there is definitely an opportunity for nuclear war on Jurassic Mars.


  New from AFC Wimbledon (43:37


J: So Hank, I don't know how much you know about the history of AFC Wimbledon, but you're about to know a little bit more. As you do know, back in 2001 the club was moved by rapacious owners to the town of Milton Keynes, a hundred mile away from Wimbledon, the historic home of this football club that had been together for 120 years. And then Wimbledon supporters in protest started their own club, AFC Wimbledon. But they couldn't start at the historic home of Wimbledon, which is actually, you know, in Merton, the stadium called Plough Lane. So, in fact, on the closed, sad gates of Plough Lane at the very end of its history before it was destroyed in the early 2000s, someone spray painted "Womble till I die!" because the Womble is the mascot of AFC Wimbledon and the fans are often called Wombles. And so now they play their games in Kingston at a... in South London, at a stadium that also houses a non-league side called Kingstonian, but the dream has always been to get back to Plough Lane. In fact, AFC Wimbledon fans sing a song "Show me the way to Plough Lane". The dream has always been to get back to the historic spiritual home of this football club with a new stadium that can support permanently, you know, a club of AFC Wimbledon's size and maybe even allow them to make more money and have, you know, more concession sales and stuff so they can maybe get up to League One or even higher. And so they're trying to build this 11,000 seat stadium that's directly across the street from where Plough Lane was, Plough Lane is now houses, and it's been a long effort, it's really beginning to take shape now and as part of that they're selling Kingsmeadow, their current stadium, to Chelsea Football Club, one of my least favorite, possibly my least favorite football club, owned by Roman Abramovich who bought the club Chelsea literally with the blood of Russian peasants. He just sent a large amount of Russian peasant blood to London and then was given Chelsea Football Club. So anyway, Chelsea, it looks like, is going to buy Kingsmeadow to help fund the building of the new AFC Wimbledon stadium. And this is great news because for the club to really, really exist long-term they need a stadium, they need a place of their own that's in the community of the football club and this is a huge, huge deal to Wimbledon fans. I mean, for instance, Hank, MK Dons fans, you know, the team that Wimbledon, that stole Wimbledon away and made it their new team in Milton Keynes, you know them?


H: Sure, yeah.


J: They sing to make fun of AFC Wimbledon, they sing "You're just a pub team from Kingston" to say, like, you're not really Wimbledon and you're not really a club, you're just a pub team from Kingston. To be able to be back in Wimbledon, in a stadium that's appropriate for a Football League club, really would be the end of this story and would put the club on a stable path where they can really, they can survive. And so it's a huge deal to be selling Kingsmeadow to help fund the building of the new stadium. But there's still a long way to go, and if you're a member of the Dons Trust, which, Hank, by the way you are, I just bought you a membership.


H: Oh.


J: You own exactly as much AFC Wimbledon as I do or as the chairman of the club, Erik Samuelson, does, all 5,500 of us own equal shares of Wimbledon. Happy birthday.


H: Oh, thanks.


J: If you're a member of AFC Wimbledon, you can vote, in fact you need to vote, if you're a member of the Dons Trust you need to vote to help move this forward, to sell the current stadium and then to invest to buy and build the new stadium. It's a really, really exciting time in the club's history and really for the first time, you know, in the last ten years it looks like the stadium might actually happen.


H: That's great. What's going to happen to the current stadium if Chelsea owns it though?


J: Oh yeah. So Chelsea is gonna turn it into a place for their women's team and also their youth teams.


H: Oh, OK.


J: So they'll play their games there and it'll be good for the development of their women's side and their, like, under-18's side. So it's great for them too, potentially anyway because Chelsea need a better developed women's soccer program. As I've talked about previously in the podcast, AFC Wimbledon has a really strong women's soccer program but many teams in the Football League, including very famous ones, don't. Like Manchester United doesn't have a women's soccer team at all which is just an embarrassment. And so it's great, I think it's great, potentially great for everyone, but the main thing from Wimbledon's perspective is, you know, gosh, how amazing would it be to have an 11,000 seat brand new state of the art stadium, you know, where they could play and grow into being the club that they could be if they just didn't have this very small stadium.


H: Cool! That's exciting, John.


J: I'm so excited, I can't even tell you. I can't wait to go... Hank, we're gonna do so many crazy sponsorships of the new stadium. I'm gonna get so many, like, bricks on the walkway to the new stadium dedicated to you. (Hank laughs) I'll be, like, "This is the Hank Green Mars sucks brick. This is the fourth rock from the Sun, who cares brick. This is the AFC Wimbledon is more important than Mars brick." I am gonna buy you so many anti-Mars bricks at the new stadium.


H: Alright. Thanks? I... You're a jerk.


  Conclusion (49:39


J: Ah, what did we lean today, Hank?


H: Oh, we learned that you can never really know why your roommate's being a bad roommate so you need to talk about it.


J: And of course, we learned that the key to taking Jurassic Mars to the next level is thermonuclear warfare.


H: We learned that a podcast can sponsor itself.


J: And we learned that if the song Free Fallin' by Tom Petty wasn't in your head, it is now. Hank, thank you so much for podcasting with me. This is my favorite part of the week and I also, I also want to thank everybody for listening. Their comments and responses on Twitter, I still check my at replies even though I'm not tweeting, they really do mean a lot to me so thank you guys for listening and we hope that you continue to enjoy the podcast.


H: Yeah. If you could hashtag your things on Twitter #dearhankandjohn so that we know that those things are there. Don't use #dearjohnandhank, that would be confusing. The show is called Dear Hank and John.


J: Hank, why don't they just use #talktonatalie and that way Natalie can also have more people to get in touch with.


H: Well, I think that if they have specific questions with regard to Dear Hank and John, they want to correct us on something, in fact we do have a correction which is that I said that the number one impact that you can have on the world is by controlling how much you heat or don't heat your place of dwelling, but in fact, I was corrected. The number one impact you can have is eating less meat which, there's a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases that are produced in the production of meat, especially the large animal meats of pork and beef. So that is a thing that you can also do and has a tremendous impact. So corrections such as those or just comments so that we can see what people are thinking. You can hashtag #dearjohnandha... Ah! #dearhankandjohn. Ah! #dearhankandjohn!


J: I prefer the hashtag #dearjohnandhank myself but I guess it's up to readers, listeners, whatever they call themselves. It's fine. Use #dearhankandjohn, that's fine. Today's podcast was edited by our friend Nick.


H: Yeah. The theme music is from Gunnarolla. You can send us questions at hankandjohn@gmail.com. And as they say in our hometown.


Both: Don't forget to be awesome.