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How do I mourn a mug? What if it had been Vlogsisters instead of Vlogbrothers? How do I navigate roommatedom? And more!

 Intro (00:00)


Hank: Hello and Welcome to Dear Hank and John


John: Or as I prefer to refer to it as Dear John and Hank


Hank: It is a comedy podcast where me and my brother John answer your questions, give dubious advice and bring you all the weeks news from both Mars and AFC Wimbleton. John, tell me about how you're doing?


John: I'm doing wonderfully Hank because of the AFC Wimbleton news. There's good and there's bad in the world right now Hank as is usually the case but right now the good is outweighing the bad for me. The bad being that I am in a lot of dental pain. Also the sun has not shown her in Indianapolis for like 73 consecutive days. It has been too long since Taylor Swift has played a concert here, obviously. But on the upside, Hank, AFC Wimbleton, I'm not even going to wait until the end of the podcast...


Hank: Wait, wait, wait, wait! That's the whole reason for the end of the podcast, you have got to make them wait!


John: I have tons of news from AFC Wimbleton for the end of the podcast. Just to establish this from the outset, AFC Wimbleton are in the playoffs, they are in the lead to playoffs. They have a 25% chance of having a 100% chance of playing next year in the 3rd tear of English football.


Hank: That is very weird and exciting. I cannot believe that hope is the thing with feathers. I have been following AFC Wimbleton a surprising amount. Since we have not recorded the podcast in couple weeks, I felt like I haven't been getting enough AFC Wimbleton news. And I am sure you did the same with the Mars news. That you've been there on Google news searching Mars, seeing what's up and you're probably up to date as well.


John: The nice thing about Mars news is that it is year round. AFC Wimbleton news really reaches this peak intensity once a year. But I have been following the news from Mars. In fact I have a guess what your news from Mars this week, is going to be. Anyway, How are you? You are about to go on tour to support your... I was going to say new album but in fact you don't have a new album.


Hank: No I don't. Uh though, this week I will be releasing a new song, uhm but no - no new album. Uhh too many things going on. I have enough new material for a new album, but we just haven't had the time to record it. Uhm. 


John: Uh. 

Hank: The, yeah - so we're just --

John: Too bad. I'm excited about, whenever -- whenever you're ready for a new album I'm very excited for it. 

Hank: Okay well we're going on tour in Texas, uh a little bit of Arizona, and California, and also Lawrence Kansas! Which remarkably, is one of our best selling stops. You wouldn't think 'Lawrence Kansas' among stops like Austin, and Los Angeles, and Dallas, and Houston, and, and, San Francisco would be one of our best sellers, but there it is John. 

John: You never know where Nerdfighteria is. It always surprises you. Uhm, can I read you a poem? 

Hank: Oh yes, of course! 

John: Hank, it will surprise and delight you to learn that today's poem comes from Emily Dickinson. 

Hank: Oh. 

John: There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul.
Emily Dickinson with a little love song to books Hank. 

Hank: It was a little, a little love song. That was a -- that was a short poem John. 

John: Well, I like them short. 

Hank: That's, I apologize for not having anything more intelligent than that to say. Uh, but, but --

John: That's fine, lets get to questions from our listeners. 

 Feedback (3:30)


Hank: First, I wanna, I wanna switch up the format a little bit, and do first a little bit of feedback from a listener. This is from Tom who says that uh last episode, or in a previous episode, you bemoaned that there was no band called toxic megacolon, but in fact there is one! Uh, there is a band that appears to be a University band on Columbia Medical University. Uh, and they have a few YouTube videos. Uh so Toxic Megacolin, it's a band of med students. 

John: Yeah you should search for it on YouTube -  But when you search for toxic megacolon on YouTube you must do so very cautiously.

Hank: Uhh agreed. Agreed. 

John: Uh another bit of feedback Hank, uh, our favorite podcast "My Brother, My Brother, and Me" mentioned us, in fact, called us geniuses! So thanks My Brother, My Brother, and Me!

Hank: Awe those McElroy brothers, they're geniuses too!

John: They're the geniuses. Uhm and our last bit of feedback before we get to uh questions from our listeners comes from Sarah, who writes "Dear John and Hank, I'd like to present a counter argument to John's frequent point that all of us and everything are destined for oblivion. According to physics matter cannot be created or destroyed, merely changed. That even includes the brain cells that form this thought, and when we die, the matter that makes us will be recycled back into the universe for as long as it exists and perhaps will be part of whatever follows it."  That's not good news to me Sarah. 

Hank: Nuh!

John: Because what you're basically telling me, is that like, later, like my thoughts will be turned into like poop and dirt. And I don't find that to be at all comforting. But good try. 

Hank: *laughs* It really all comes down to what identity is, and if you want to talk more about that, go over check out Crash Course, where I'm currently teaching philosophy at youtube.com/crashcourse. 

John: *laughs* Man, that was a, uh I have to say Hank, uh, that was a hard one plug.

Hank: *laughs* Yes, well we just talked about that. We just talked about the Ship of Theseus, and how all of our body gets replaced, and yet we still exist, and what is, what is us anyway? And I can- I can tell you that "us" is not the atoms that make us up. 

John: Well Hank, I uh, I will tell you, that the Ship of Theseus is not, not, in my new book. 

Hank: *laughs* Alright, we want to do some questions John? 

John: Yes, let's answer some questions from our beloved listeners. 

 Question One (5:45)


Hank: This question is from Zoey, who asks "Dear Hank and John, I recently sent John a lot of snapchats, but he hasn't answered any of them, that yet. I wanted to know whether you answer your snaps yourself, or have some kind of Snapchat manager, or if you answer them at all?" 

John: Uh, I do not have a Snapchat manager, although I find that idea hilarious. I mean - the great thing about Snapchat is that you sort of can't fake it, you know? Uhm, you can't schedule snapchats, at least as far as I know, and you can't have like your uh, you know, your assistant Snapchat for you, because they can tell if it's your face or not. 

Hank: Right. I mean you could, you could give the give the phone to someone and have them like go out and point it at things and then write John Greeny kind of quotes on the bottom of them. Uh but, but no, uh do you - do you even know that you can get snaps from other people? 

John: I know that I can get snaps from other people because, I uh, Sarah and I send snapchats of the kids back and forth to each other quite a bit, using the hilarious filters. But I don't know much about snapchatting with strangers. That seems like a risky business, and one that I would do well to avoid. So, it's - it's truly nothing personal. 

Hank: Yes. 

John: I just uh, I don't really know how to do that, and I don't think it's something that I want to learn how to do. 

Hank: I think that there's - I think that you can actually - I have it turned off - I cannot get snaps from strangers. But I don't know that strangers can't send them to me, I just know that I can't see them. So it's possible that you're sending snapchats into a kind of, void. I definitely cannot see a Snapchat if you send it to me.

John: Yeah, so we're sorry that our snapchats uh have to be a one way street, but we just feel like that is, uh, the right way. 

Hank: That's a -- *chuckle* Yeah it is definitely the right way. 

 Question Two (7:24)


John: Alright Hank, we have another question. This one comes from Rachel who asks "Dear John and Hank, when I was a kid, my Mom told me not to look at the microwave while it was running, because it was bad for my eyes. Is that true?" 

Hank: No! 


John: No it isn't true, but I have to say, I say that to my kids, even though I know it's not true. 

Hank: *chuckle*

John: Uhm, and I also tell my kids that they can't stand to close to the television because it will be bad for their eyes, even though I also know that's not true. And there are times in fact when I say "Henry, you're standing to close to the TV!" and he just turns around and says "Why? Why is this too close to the TV? Why is there like a pre-set distance between the TV and me that is acceptable according to my father?"


Hank: *chuckles* 

John: And I don't really know the answer to that question, but I know that I'm right. 

Hank: Yeah I mean, I remember when I was a kid, I would wanna sit as close to the TV as possible. Which is very strange to me now." 

John: Yeah. 

Hank: Cause I, I experience pain when I get too close to the television. But I guess that pain is a kind of joy when you're a child. It's just like "Oh the stimulus! I am so stimulated! I can get ALL OF THE PHOTONS!" 

John: Mm. 

Hank: But uh, yeah uh, no, microwaves are pretty safe! Uh, and the uh waves that uh might be destructive, uh you would feel them as heat, because that's how uh, that's what they do. They interact with water, and if they were reaching you, you would think "Ah I feel warm." If you ever feel like you've turned your microwave on and uh, and you're feeling warmth coming out of it, like it's like radiating out of it... That's because there's something very wrong, and the screen has been removed - uh the metal screen that protects you from the microwaves. My grandfather actually once told me a story about how he would stand in Korea, in the Korean war, would stand in front of the microwave antennas to warm up. Which is not a good idea. 

John: Which grandfather? 

Hank: Uh, uh Mom's Dad. 

John: Really!?

Hank: Yeah. 

John: No, I don't wanna question your memory, but I'm reasonably sure that uh, our maternal grandfather did not uh, serve in the armed forces during the Korean conflict. 

Hank: Oh, well... *laugh* Then, then it is completely possible that this is a manufactured memory. But I, I do wanna text Mom and ask her. 

John: He did serve in World War II. I don't believe he served in Korea. But what - what do I know? I'm just his grandson. 

Hank: *chuckle* You, you know him better -- knew him better than I did. Uh, so.. so...

John: I mean, only barely. Just because he once gave me an extremely intense lecture when I was a junior in high school. Uh - the main way in which I was closer to our grandfather than you were. Uhm, because I went to boarding school, and he pulled me out one day in the middle of school and told me that I was not taking my opportunity seriously and that I was a disgrace.

Hank: Wow. 

John: Which actually turned out to be really helpful. 

Hank: *laugh* I've, I -uhh.. Yeah. It is often that we manufacture our memories, but uh, I know that that is a thing that could work, uh and I can't imagine, I can't imagine that I made that up. 

John: Whether or not our grandfather actually warmed up near uh microwave radio towers, he could have. 

 Question Three (10:35)


Hank: He could have. Absolutely could have. We got another question from Anna-Katherine who asks "Dear Hank and John, I dislike showers! Showers are bothersome. They take up time that I could be using to read or watch a TV show or doing my college work, practicing an instrument, or listening to your podcast. It just seems like a waste of time. Do you have any tips for how to enjoy a shower you might be able to share?"

John: Do I!? 

Hank: Oh man! 

John: Yes! Yes I do! 

Hank: I do not know how to NOT enjoy a shower. 

John: I completely agree with Anna-Katherine. Showers are intensely unenjoyable, because you are alone with your own thoughts. You are aware that your self is a prison from which you can never escape. It is an awful awful thing, AND you're being pelted by water. You're essentially being like attacked by very low level, watery gunfire. 

Hank: I, I should not even have asked the question, because I should've know that it would've immediately been a uh, you are uncomfortable with your own thoughts moment for John. 

John: *chuckle* 

Hank: I don't know -- I don't know that this is as common as you seem to think it is. 

John: *laughing* 

Hank: Maybe it is. 

John: Oh boy. 

Hank: But, uhh yeah. I do sometimes, uh lament activities that should be enjoyable because I need to get other stuff done. But I - I uh, maybe sing? 

John: Yeah! 

Hank: Sing some songs in there? Maybe uh maybe have an agenda before you go in and say, "I'm gonna think about these three things."


J: Yeah.

H: "I'm gonna deal with some issues."  But more than anything, what helps me really enjoy a shower is being cold beforehand, 'cause there's nothing I like more than warming up, and I am often cold, because I live in Montana.  

J: So here is my answer, Anna Katherine. Stop taking showers. Do what your ancestors did and bathe in stillwater. Then, you can listen to a podcast.  If you're willing to risk it, holding your phone over the bathwater, you can even watch a show while you're taking a bath.  All the things that you don't like about showering, you can fix by bathing.  

H: I don't really understand baths, but uh, but is it just the process of laying there that gets you clean?  You must actually have to scrub and stuff.  What's the--the laying there portion isn't--

J: Oh, sure, at some point, you have to soap up, but you're listening to a podcast, it's--you're--

H: Right, okay.  So, yeah, but you can't have like, your hands holding a phone.

J: No, I like to read for the first--what I usually do is, I usually read a book for the first 20 minutes of my bath.

H: 20 minutes?!

J: Yeah.  

H: This is not helping Anna Katherine save time!

J: Well, I mean, she's trying to save time so that she can do the things she enjoys doing, like reading, watching TV shows, and listening to our podcast, all of which you can do in the bath.

H: Yeah, I--uh...okay.  But I don't think that you're actually getting clean during that time.  You're just laying in your own filth.

J: No, at that part you're just soaking.  You're just letting the day's stresses just leave your body.  I recommend a nice bath ball from Lush.

H: I do--I--

J: Not to advertise, but um, and just let all of the stresses of the day leave your body as you read your book and listen to your podcast or watch your TV show, and then, once you're in this sort of like, beatific state that accompanies a good perfectly-temperatured bath ball, bath bomb kind of bath, then, then you start the scrubbing and the shampooing and everything, and it's almost, by then, you're so relaxed, you don't mind.

 Question Four (14:00)


H: Okay.  I don't understand baths and I'm never going to.  We got another question!  It's from Naomi, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I'm going to college next year, and I found my roommate through Facebook.  We've only met briefly one time in person, and I'm nervous about becoming friends since we're both introverts.  How do I become friends with my new roommate, and how were your college roommates?"

J: Well, I think, uh, Hank, have you ever seen the movie "Speed"?

H: Uh, the one with Keanu Reaves and Sandra Bullock?

J: Yeah, Keanu Reaves and Sandra Bullock share a very intense experience and they don't have a lot in common, but because they're shared this really intense experience of being on a bus, that if it went below 50 miles an hour was going to explode, at the end of the movie, they end up dating, and they aren't dating because they actually liked each other or anything like that, they're just dating because they did this amazing weird thing together, and I think that's kind of what having your college roommate is like.  You become friends just because you're doing this weird intense thing together.  Now, hopefully, you also turn out to be like, well-matched and have a good long-term friendship, but the initial connection is just like, can you believe that we're doing this?

H: Right, yeah, no, I think that's a really good point.  I think that there are ways to foster it and to o--and opening yourself up can be very hard, but I generally think that people respond to trust with trust.  They respond to being trusted by being trustworthy, and I think that, like, opening up and saying, like, "I am going to trust you with some bits of me" that will cause them to open up and then it, like, then friendship is sort of a foregone conclusion at that point.

J: Yeah, you know, I actually remember the very first conversation I had with my college roommate.

H: Me too!

J: We're not in great touch now, but we were very close friends for a long time.  I said, I believe it was one of the first things I ever said to him, I said, "There's something that you should know.  I smoke cigarettes.  I won't do it in the room or anything."  And then he said, "Well, there's something that you should know.  I know the middle names of all the US presidents."  And I was like, I think we'll get along fine.  

H: I just remember it being very like, I don't remember the content of the conversation, but I remember where we were sitting and how we were sitting and like, it was weird because we were in the wrong room.  Our room wasn't ready, so we were like, basically in a hotel room, and we just--yeah, we just chilled and like, were very open.  It was like, it was sort of like the most open we were in our whole relationship was that first conversation, and you know, he turned out to have very different interests than me, and so that first college roommate, we didn't become great friends, but um, but I felt a little bit like even though he had these really good friends that were like, you know, in his sort of like, interest areas, that when there was like, bigger stuff, he would come to me with that stuff, almost just because I was there and also not involved in all of that.

J: Right, that's a good point.  You're gonna be okay, is the long and short of it.  Um, I think most of our  advice boils down to you're going to be okay.

H: Yeah, no, I definitely think you're gonna be okay.

J: And then there's that little, there's that little like, ten percent of the advice that's like, you're gonna be okay, but uh, we're all gonna die. 

H: It's always good to throw that in.

J: So you're also kinda not gonna be okay, you know, like, you're gonna be okay in the short run, but in the long run, I am concerned.

 Question Five (18:00)


Um, Hank, we have another question, this one comes from Erica, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, Just recently, half an hour ago, I broke my favorite mug.  It was yellow and had a cute little handle.  It has no sentimental value, but it was undoubtedly the best mug in my apartment and I used it practically every day.  No other mug has ever measured up, and it feels so odd using the past tense here, because I can't believe that it's gone.  My question is, how long is the appropriate mourning period for a broken mug?  I feel like I lost a friend or something.  I cried a lot when it first broke, and I tear up every time I think about it."  Bear in mind, every time I think about it, this has only been 30 minutes.  "I wish I didn't cry so easily, but I think that might be a separate issue."  Yeah, I'm glad that you didn't write in about that.  I have no advice on crying too much, except that I also do it.  "Any advice on how to get over the loss of a truly unique and excellent mug?"  Well, Erica, I suspect that you are over it, that in the time that it took you--it took us to answer your question, you moved through all five of the stages of grief.  I know what it's like, though, to lose something that's--that you really like, and it's a stupid little thing, but you still miss it, it made your life better in a little way.  In fact, I still remember, Hank, you probably don't remember this at all, but one time, Mom had this cookie jar that she really loved.

H: Oh, it was Dad's cookie jar, Tuggle.  No, I remember Tuggle.  

J: Dad's cookie jar.  Well, okay, you tell the story, 'cause apparently, I don't remember any of it.

H: Well, I will just say that Mom just texted me back and indeed, Papaw served in World War II, so I--you were right about that, but I was right about this cookie jar, and uh, yeah.

J: Alright, I'm gonna text Mom about the cookie jar while you--

H: She's gonna be very confused.

J: While you tell the story.  

H: So yeah, it was--I mean, you have children and you have ceramic things.  You must know that there is a high chance that that ceramic thing is going to stop existing at some point, and uh, indeed, Tuggle the cookie jar, it was a cookie jar in the shape of a tugboat, did not survive our childhood, and I couldn't even tell you--

J: Ugh, that was a bad day, though.  I remember--

H: I--who did it?  Was it me?

J: It was a very bad day.

H: Was it me?  

J: I think it was kind of us.  I think it was one of those real shared blame moments.  

H: Uh, well, yeah, it was and indeed, you--I would not have thought that they would have been so distraught, that Dad would have been so distraught about the destruction of this tugboat cookie jar.  

J: But you never know, you never know what the thing is that you feel this deep connection to and maybe contains some memories, although Erica goes to lengths to point out that the mug had no sentimental value at all.  My, you know, my main advice, Erica, would be to go to DFTBA.com and get yourself a couple of brand new mugs, because they're affordable, they're excellent quality, and you'll find that they serve in almost exactly the same fashion as your yellow mug with the cute little handle.  

H: You answered this question purely so you could plug mugs on DFTBA.com, didn't you, John?  Just be honest.

J: I wouldn't say I answered the question purely so that I could remind people they could get excellent coffee mugs and t-shirts and other things at DFTBA.com right now, but I do think that it's an important part of the question, just to remind people that DFTBA.com is your home for excellent mugs, t-shirts, posters--

H: And et cetera.

J: Etcetera.  

H: Uh, what was that URL again, John?  I think I may have forgotten it.  
J: Oh, it's easy to remember, Hank, it's "Don't forget to be awesome", but just, you just shorten it into an initialism so that it's DFTBA.com, and once you go there, you'll just be overwhelmed by the consumer products that are available to you, all at such astonishingly high quality and yet, at the same time, surprisingly affordable. 

 Commercial Break (21:44)


H: I think, John, it may be possible that today's podcast is brought to you by DFTBA.com. DFTBA.com, where you can get all of the things that you might want--that should be our real tagline.

J: And today's podcast is also brought to you by toxic megacolon.  Toxic megacolon: not just a terrible disease, also a band in New York City.

H: This podcast is additionally brought to you by stewing in your own filth for 20 minutes while reading a book, 'cause that's supposed to get you clean?  

J: Oh, man, I do not apologize.  And of course, today's podcast--I do not.  I do not!  And of course, today's podcast is also brought to you by Snapchat.  Snapchat: Hank is at hankgre and it really makes him happy when you follow him on Snapchat.  

H: Oh man.  I--I--I have so many thoughts on Snapchat that I'm going to move right on and not talk about any of them lest we talk about Snapchat for the entire podcast.  This question is from Piper.  It's very important, John.

J: Yep.

 Question Six (22:56)


H: Piper asks, "Dear Hank and John, Why is it that soft chunky chips," --chips as in french fries--,"taste so much worse than thin crispy chips?  It can't simply be because they're bigger, because I can put three small chips together and it will taste better than the mushy big chips.  Is there some sort of scientific answer here?  It can't possibly be personally preference, because everyone knows that small crispy chips are better!"

J: Well, I mean, part of it is personal preference, right, because some people like so-called "steak fries" or uh--

H: Right, yeah, steak fries, that's what they call them in America!

J: --or the large, crispy chips.  I personally enjoy what are usually known as "shoestring fries"--

H: Yes, yes.

J: --for instance that you get at Steak N Shake.   I like those, the shoestringier, the better, and I think it boils down to the same thing.  A few weeks ago, we talked about why regular M&Ms are, in our opinion, so much better than mini M&Ms, but many people like mini M&Ms better.  It all boils down to either candy to chocolate ratio or in this case, I think, fry to potato ratio.  

H: Right, yeah, yeah.  'Cause there's that crispy, like, just eating a cooked, like a baked potato, it's got its perks, but you're gonna put a bunch of butter and sour cream on there or chili or something, cheese, because it, like, just potato, while, you know, containing lots of nutrition, does not have a great flavor.  It's pretty bland.  But if you fry it, you get a little bit of that--some kind of chemical reaction going on, where you get the crispiness and there's also the added flavor, and also that added oil, which is basically your butter substitute, and oil's good. So you get that mix of both the starch and the fat, and I feel like there's like, an optimal ratio there, and you want, in general, more fat to starch, 'cause we're humans and that's all good, that's all good stuff for our energy needs.

 Question Seven (24:53)


J: Well, that's very interesting, Hank.  We're gonna move on to a serious question now, if we can.  This question is from Guiome --Giame?  I don't know, I'm not--I'm really bad at pronouncing French names.  "Dear John and Hank," --I only had three years of high school French.

"I'm a 34 year old guy with two kids, six and three. I've been with my wife for 14 years, and today, she announced she doesn't love me anymore and wants to leave.  I'm a bit of a loner and she's been almost my only friend in those years.  She's more outgoing and has always wanted to do more things with her friends while I've pulled back even more with the kids and all the things that we had to do and all the bad nights, that's what drove her away.  I wasn't doing enough, she lost some friends, and now she realized we're too different.  She feels like she's going to be more happy without me, with someone else.  I obviously don't want her to leave, but it looks like it's going to happen.  Winning her back seems hard, but letting her go seems harder.  I'm a very rational guy and I understand that I might find happiness in the future, but I see the road ahead and I'm not sure I want to face it.  Any dubious advice?"

H: That's a very serious question, John, you picked uh, I think maybe, the most serious question we got this month.  I--

J: Actually, we got so many questions about divorce in the last two weeks, Hank, that I felt like we should answer one of them, because I mean, the short answer for me is that you're right, that the short term road ahead is going to be very difficult no matter what, you know, and I don't know the particulars of your situation, I don't know if it makes sense to go to couples' counseling, I don't know, you know, what makes sense for your family. You guys are going to have to figure that out, but it will be hard, and sometimes, there's something really overwhelming about knowing that you're facing, you know, a hard year or two years or who knows how long, but at the same time, I think you're also right that you can find happiness in the future, and that this time won't be merely hard, it will also be many other things, um, and that's the best kind of hope that I can offer, I think.  It isn't going to be easy, divorce isn't easy, it's extremely, extremely difficult, but it's also--it's not the end of your life, it's not the end of your world.

H: Yeah, I mean, I--if I was in that situation, more than anything, I, you know, there are a lot of things to mourn there.  I think that it's kind of a grieving process and has to be considered to be, you know, like, understand that this is going to be tough for a lot of different reason that that's normal and natural and like, losing the stability that your life had and you know, having to go into this new, unknown future, is no fun, but--

J: Yeah, there's a lot of grief there for sure.

H: But I think knowing that that's normal.

J: And I think in some ways probably, yeah, treating it as grief is probably useful, you know, to understand that you don't like, when you're in a grieving process, you don't wake up one day better, you know, it's just--it's a slow transformation and understanding that yeah, I think not denying that is really important, but there's no, at least that I've seen from my friends who have been through divorce, there's no easy way to go through it, but um, there is another side, you know, like, there is--life does go on and life can be very fulfilling and good again.

 Question Eight (28:00)


H: I have another question, John, this one's from Robin who asks, "Dear Hank and John, One of my favorite things to do every day is to listen to podcasts while I walk my dog, Murray.  When Murray and I are out, we are controlled walking, not smelling the flowers and definitely not chit-chatting with neighbors, but the weather is getting nicer and more people are outside and so many old people are trying to find people to talk to.  I don't like feeling obligated to smile and wave at these strangers, I just want to listen to my pod, but I can't help feeling guilty or worse, mad at them for making me feel guilty.  Am I being rude?  Am I the problem?  What's the best way to walk past my neighbors?"  This feels more like a John question, because I am totally the annoying talky person, and I feel maybe now for being the annoying talky person who is like, take your headphones out, let's make a connection, we're all experiencing this beautiful life together, we might as well talk about it, can I pet your dog?  I feel like you might be less of that kind of person.

J: Well, I don't totally disagree with you, Hank, because I do think that, like, you know, life is social and when you're in social spaces, it's good to smile and wave, even if it feels like an obligation, like, making those tiny social connections is a huge part of what a lot of people find fulfilling about being on Earth, and I think it's very difficult to have a life that's completely separated from all other people, like, humans aren't really designed to be islands, although, obviously, you know, lots of people have different ways of connecting to others, et cetera.  I will say that one time, I was on airplane, and um, the woman sitting next to me was very anxious, and I am also very anxious, Hank, and I don't know if you know this, but when you pluck a perfectly tuned g-string, the g-string on an instrument far away from that instrument, but not too far, will also begin to vibrate, did you know that?

H: Yes, I did know that.

J: Yeah, so, sometimes when I--when somebody who is a very anxious person, when they're string is vibrating, I feel that vibration very intensely, because I am also a very anxious person, and so this person was very, very anxious about flying.  I was sympathetic to the problem, because I am also a bit of an anxious flyer, but I was just trying to survive my flight, so I put headphones in as a way of saying, as politely as I could, I need this conversation to be over, and the woman reached over and she touched my ear, it was a stranger, we were not acquainted, and she touched my ear and she removed the earbud from my ear and I have never, in my life, come closer to just disappearing.  I very nearly just ceased to be.  

H: I thought you were gonna say, I very nearly like, literally physically attacked a person, 'cause that is--

J: No, no, no, no.  I didn't have any desire to hurt this person, I just had an intense desire not to be where I was.  

H: I mean, yes.

J: And I wanted it so badly that it almost happened, I almost wasn't where I was.  Um, anyway, long--all of which is to say that I am sympathetic to Robin's position about, you know, wanting to be left alone, but at the same time, like, when you go out into a social space, like, you have to understand that part of that is waving at strangers.  I think it's fine to have headphones in, and then you can just sort of wave and smile rather than having a whole conversation, because if someone starts to speak to you, you can just point at the ears and hopefully they won't reach over, touch your ears, and remove the earbud from your ears, and presumably if that does happen, Murray will be there to support you.

H: And I have to say that there is a adorable picture of Murray hiding in a bathtub, which we will attempt to put on the Patreon for everyone to see.  I have I think one last question before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, John.  

J: Okay.

 Question Nine (32:28)


H: It's from PX who asks, "Dear Hank and John, Thank you for the podcast, it's one of the highlights of my week."  Thank you, PX.  "My question is, in what ways do you think your experiences of the last nine years would have been different or similar if, instead of being the Vlogbrothers, you were the Vlogsisters?"   

J: That's a really interesting question.  I think the first thing--

H: I don't think we would have done it.  

J: I certainly don't think that we would have been able to build an audience and--in the same way, because much earlier on in the process, people would have started, you know, threatening us and and stalking and all of this stuff that happens to women on the internet disproportionately, and anybody who doesn't believe that that stuff happens disproportionately to women on the internet just needs to make some female friends who are on the internet, because I mean, I--almost everyone I know who is a content creator who has more than about 1,000 average viewers has experienced that kind of harassment, and Hank and I have had it to a much, much smaller extent and much, much later in our careers when we were better able to deal with it, you know, we had more resources, we had more support from people, professional and personal support, so yeah, I agree, I don't think we would have--I don't think we would have built--I don't think we would have built the same audience.  I think if we'd done it, we would have quit much sooner, and I--yeah, I totally agree. Unfortunately, I think that that's one of the many, many ways in which the internet is structurally misogynistic. 

H: Yeah, it is very hard to know exactly, but every female YouTuber I know has dealt with harassment and stalking, and like, legitimately threatening messages and things that we really, like, even now, kind of like, at that scale, haven't experienced and I have watched people disengage from the platform, amazing content creators who do great stuff, either take long breaks, which can really, you know, hinder your growth on YouTube, or just go away and stop doing it, you know, like get a normal job because of that, and I can't--like, ev--like, the people I know who have pushed through it, just done it, done it, done it, and like, I--when I hear their stories or like, I've even like, you know, like, talked to them about it, they've sent me e-mails of what, you know, like, like, forward me e-mails to be like, "Is this like, something I should be worried about?" Like, if I got an e-mail like that, I'd just be out, I'd just--I can't even imagine.

J: Yep.  Yeah, I know, me too.  I think that--yeah.  I think that it's really--it's horrifying, and it's a huge problem and it's an under-discussed problem.  You hear all the time, why aren't there more women making YouTube videos, and I think the answer is pretty clear and pretty straightforward, which is that it's not a safe space for a lot of women and a lot of women don't feel safe making YouTube videos, and with good reason.  I have great admiration for those who continue to make videos in spite of it.  I also have admiration for the people who just say this is not gonna be part of my life, because I have to stay safe and do work that--where I feel comfortable and not constantly threatened.  

 News from Mars (36:00)


H: Alright, John. Well, I imagine that you have some news from AFC Wimbledon, but would you like me to do the news from Mars first?

J: Yeah, sure, whatever.  

H: Yeah, sure, whatever.  So SpaceX, you know SpaceX, John?   

J: Elon Musk.  

H: They not only have had now two successful reusable rocket landings, the second one coming from a much higher altitude than the first, where these rockets have come back to Earth and landed themselves on drone ships at sea, which is just remarkable to see and kind of feels impossible to me, but there you have it, it's happening, um, wants to send a probe to Mars, a large probe to Mars, larger than--a lander that would be larger than Curiosity, which is I think the largest thing we've ever sent to Mars so far, by 2018, which is, I mean, I--Elon Musk is very optimistic often with his timelines, so I'm not saying this is gonna happen in 2018, but that is really soon for a mission that hasn't even--like, the lander hasn't even been designed yet, the rocket that would launch yet hasn't ever been launched to space, so this is like--it's a modification of an existing rocket, but it is a rocket that's never been tested, and like, just so ambitious, but also very exciting and I think that the--it hasn't been discussed too much, but my guess is that this would be a sample return mission, we're talking about the kind of mass that they want this thing to be, that's probably because it would have to have enough fuel to then launch back off the surface of Mars, and that means that they want to collect some rocks and some dirt from the surface of Mars and then launch it back off the surface of Mars and have it land on Earth so that we can get those rocks directly from the surface of Mars and do research on them, which is so cool and I've been waiting for a Mars sample return for my whole life and if we had one by 2018, which would mean we would be studying those rocks back from the surface of Mars, you know, in the early 2020s, that would just make my dreams come true.

 News from AFC Wimbledon (38:00)


J: Well, Hank, speaking of dreams coming true, you may recall that just 14 short years ago, AFC Wimbledon was playing in the 9th tier of English football, the combined counties league, and that today, they are a team in the 4th tier of English soccer, they are in a football league, they are a full-time professional team again.  The goal this season, you'll recall, from the early podcasts, was to stay up, to stay in the football league.  I never dared to dream that AFC Wimbledon might find themselves in the playoffs with a 25% chance of going up to league 1, the third tier of English football, they're just too underfunded, they're owned by their fans, not by some rich person.  They don't have--yeah, I mean, you know, they don't have like, some fancy new stadium, although hopefully someday they will, and yet, and yet, after winning five straight games, AFC Wimbledon found themselves in a very good position to get into the playoffs.  They then lost to Portsmouth, which was a disappointing result, then, they were playing your beloved Stevenage, Hank, you'll recall, is a Stevenage fan.

H: I know, this couldn't have gone better for me, frankly, because if Stevenage had won, it wouldn't have helped them out at all.

J: No.

H: But it would have been terrible for Wimbledon.

J: Correct.

H: But if Stevenage had lost, then, you know, it would have been like, ohh, they lost, that's kind of sad.  But instead, what happened?

J: Instead, they tied 0-0.

H: The most exciting football score!

J: --and at the end of the game, it appeared that that was not enough, but then, something amazing happened, which is that some team, I can't even remember who, I think that they are maybe--all I--Plymouth, maybe?  Plymouth's Rock?  I don't know.  All I know is that some team scored against Cambridge United in the last minute of that game, and because that game was a tie, AFC Wimbledon then qualified for the playoffs, which created this hilarious and surreal situation in which AFC Wimbledon players, two minutes after their game ended, were suddenly celebrating like crazy, having tied Stevenage.  AFC Wimbledon qualified for the playoffs in the 7th spot, the last of the four playoff spots, they will play Accrington Stanley, another fan-owned team, Hank, by the way, in the semi-finals, it's home and away, so first Accrington Stanley will come visit AFC Wimbledon on May 14th, which will be after this--or before this podcast airs, so you people who are listening to this now know of a future that is either very good or very bad or possibly neutral, and then they will play at Accrington Stanley in the 2nd part of that home-away two-game series and then the combined score of those two games will decide who goes to the playoff final to be played May 30th at Wembley Stadium, Hank, this is like a 80,000 person stadium, it would be just--it's just unbelievable, the whole situation is just--it's beautiful, it's unbelievable, it's overwhelming, it's terrifying, it's--it's everything that human life can be, and the last thing I wanted to say on the news from AFC Wimbledon is that Wimbledon just played--so their last game against Newport County of the season was essentially, you know, there wasn't anything to play for. They were already gonna be seventh, it didn't matter whether they won or tied or lost, but they won that game, they won it 1-0, because they got a penalty, and Adebayo Akinfenwa, the 34 year old largest and greatest, both in terms of mass and quality of professional soccer player in the world today, was handed the ball to take the penalty, and it might be Akinfenwa's last game playing for Wimbledon, it might even be the last game in his career for all we know, he may be retiring, it's very possibly his last game playing for Wimbledon though, and you know, obviously, you wanna score in your last game and he's a legend to AFC Wimbledon fans, but he chose not to take the penalty. Instead, he handed the ball to an 18 year old kid who was making his debut that day and let him take the penalty. He scored, AFC Wimbledon won 1-0 and I think Adebayo Akinfenwa showed that young man and everybody who supports AFC Wimbledon what it is to be a good leader and to be a good mentor and to be a good teammate, and I am so, so proud of this team and I'm so excited.  I just hope that they beat Accrington Stanley on May 14th.  The playoff, the second leg is on May 18th, so Hank, that means that on May 19th, which will be probably before we next record a podcast, isn't--won't it?  Oh gosh!

H: It may be, unless we figure out a way to do it while I'm on the road.  

J: So before we next record a podcast, I will know whether I will be spending May 30th in London or not.  

H: Wow.  That's super exciting.  I--

J: It's pretty crazy.

H: I--am very pleased and if you guys win this, I--oh, it's too scary, and I just--the idea of kicking that penalty kick, too, after Akinfenwa gives me the ball, I don't know how professional sports players do that!

J: I know, I would have definitely missed!

H: I wouldn't even have hit the ball!  I would have just--just--whiffed, kicked a bunch of grass.  


J: Yeah, I mean, I do--so these playoffs, you know, they can go to extra time and then penalties, in fact, it was, you know, because of playoff--it was in a playoff final that AFC Wimbledon made it back into the football league in 2011 on a penalty shoot-out, I cannot imagine taking a penalty shoot-out, you walk up there and you put the ball on the spot and you know that if you miss, your team will not, like, be promoted.  It's just--I can't--I would--you're absolutely right, I would not hit the ball.  I would--I would kick the air, and then the referee would have to make a decision as to whether that counted as an attempt.  

H: Alright.  Well, John, what did we learn today?

J: Hank, before we wrap things up here, I have a quick update from the future.  This is John from the future here.  AFC Wimbledon has played the first leg of their playoff semi-final against Accrington Stanley.  It was the home leg.  It was nil-nil in the 90th minute, it had appeared that the game would end that way, but then, Adebayo Akinfenwa got a ball right on the touch line, passed it into the middle, there was a bit of a scrum, and who should emerge from that scrum to score a goal but Tom Beere.  You've never heard me say that name, Hank, because Tom Beere had never scored a goal for AFC Wimbledon. In fact, he'd never scored a goal in the football league.  He's an AFC Wimbledon youth academy graduate who was recently on loan to a 6th tier team, who scored in the playoff semi-finals for his hometown team AFC Wimbledon.  It was a miracle, it was beautiful, everything was beautiful, nothing hurt.  Now, on Wednesday, they will play Accrington Stanley in the second leg of that semi-final.  If they win or tie, they go to (Wembley, and that would mean that I would also go to Wembley, so that is the update on AFC Wimbledon. Incredibly exciting stuff, Hank.  All I'm saying is that I think that we've learned that AFC Wimbledon, win or lose, is probably the greatest collection of human beings in the history of this planet, possibly even Mars.

  Outro (46:25)


H: Probably.  If--yep, anyway, we learned too that skinny fries are just better because of the starch to oil crispiness ratio.  

J: We learned that toxic megacolon is not just something to be feared, but something to be listened to.

H: And we learned to never, ever, ever, ever, under any circumstances, but especially when containing an earbud, should you touch John Green's ear.  

J: Really, just don't touch the ears of strangers.  I think that's pretty, like, fundamental human fact.  

H: Never, never do that.

J: Thanks for listening to our podcast which is edited by Nicholas Jenkins, our intern is Claudia Morales, Rosianna Halse Rojas helps us out with the questions, our theme music is by Gunnarolla.  You can e-mail us at hankandjohn@gmail.com if you'd like to ask us a question or you can go to the Twitter and use the hashtag #dearhankandjohn.  I'm @hankgreen on Twitter--no, I'm not--I'm @JohnGreen on Twitter, Hank is @hankgreen, you can also follow us on our preferred social network, Snapchat, where Hank is hankgre and I am johngreensnaps.  
H: Johngreensnaps!  And we have, if you would like to help us produce the podcast, to help pay our intern and Nick, our editor, you can help us out at Patreon.com/DearHankandJohn, and as they say in our hometown...

H&J: Don't forget to be awesome.