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Who does my cat think I am? Is listening to music a waste of time? Should we get a new coconut? And more!

NerdCon: Nerdfighteria: www.nerdconnerdfighteria.com/
Email your questions: hankandjohn@gmail.com

 (00:00) to (02:00)


Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.


Katherine: Or as John likes to call it, Dear John and Hank.


Hank: It's an advice comedy podcast where we give you dubious advice and dubious comedy, uh, what else do we do?


Katehrine: talk about death? and the uh the chipmunks?


Hank: Yup.


Katherine: Apparently.


Katherine: And John isn't here today.


Hank: No.


Katehrine: So, I am filling in and I am, I'm Katherine.


Hank: This is Katherine, my wife.


Katherine: Katherine, Hank's wife. That's how you designate me.


[Hank laughing]


Hank: And do we also bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon though I don't know if we are going to get any AFC Wimbeldon news today.


Katherine: Eh. Are they doing anything? Interesting?


Hank: Uh, I bet, sure. Maybe?


Katherine: Erm


Hank: I just, I often google league one table and I see if AFC Wimbledon is-- ooh, well I just did that. It's less good than it was the last time I did it.


Katherine: Ok well there you go.


Hank: But we'll--


Katherine: If you're interested--


Hank: We'll get there at the end of the podcast, so we won't talk about that yet. Um, but uh, then I ask how you doing Katherine?


Katherine: Katherine is okay, I just noticed that my computer has thirteen percent battery so I'm doing better than my computer.


Hank: uhhm


Katherine: But, um I'm currently growing a human.


Hank: Yes.


Katehrine: Outside of my body now.


Hank: Uh huh.


Katehrine: After having done it inside of my body for, don't let them tell you it's nine months, it's nine and a half, sometimes ten. And it's draining let me tell ya.


Hank: Yes, literally.


Katehrine: The whole thing.


Hank: Yeah


Katherine: is just from start- top to you know, start to finish, draining. And then there's the, the person


Hank: Yeah


Katehrine: They come out, and they still,


Hank: Need you.


Katehrine: Need you. Literally. Like, you know, I mean,


Hank: They still subsist on your body.


Katehrine: Yes, it's different.


 (02:00) to (04:00)


Hank: Yeah.

Katherine: I wouldn't say I love it.

Hank: You love him!

Katherine: Yes, but the thing of, like, having to be his only...

Hank: Uh-huh.

Katherine: It's weird.

Hank: It's goin okay because he keeps getting bigger.

Katherine: Oh! He's huge.

Hank: He's Big – he's big O.

Katherine: Which is fine. I – I, I'm... Pleased and proud to be doing it.

Hank: Yeah.

Katherine: I guess enjoying it because it's this... Crazy Experience that is...

Hank: Mhm.

Katherine: ... Is like nothing else.

Hank: --Yeah.

K: But... It is not easy.

H: Yeah.

K: And, and it is not one hundred percent a joy all the time, you guys.

H: Nooooo, this – oh man, there's so many--

K: -- Don't let any one tell you--

H: -- There are so many things that you will read and, we were, ough, There were, oh man – So many things you will read that will make it seem like some -- I don't know, maybe this is the case for some people, that it is this like, org -- like, almost, like, physically joyous... Thing, at every step of the way.

K: Mmm.

H: And maybe that is the case for some people!

K: Yeah.

H: But --

K: Those are -- I, those are, those people gotta be rare.

H: Yeah I think it's the minority, and I think if --

K: Yeah.

H: Uh I think that it's hard and I think that that's fine.
K: Oh totally.

H: Like I just, I --

K: I'm, I'm not --

H: Don't like the idea that --

K: Like --

H: People try to sugar coat it.

K: Well yeah, I mean you don't do things 'cause they're easy.

H: Right. All the things that are worth doing are hard.

K: Well, I mean, whatever.

H: Except, for... Patrick's question.

K: [Katherine chuckling]

H: If we just want to jump right in.

K: Sure, let's --

H: 'Caus Patrick has a great --

K: Let's answer some questions --

H: Has a great, uh, a great sk -- Uh, take on what I just said maybe not being true. Patrick says, "Dear Hank and John, yesterday I received an email that is semi-troubling. Spotify sent me a 'Year in Review' email that revealed several facts about my consumption of music on their platform, the main fact being that I spent over 27,000 minutes listening to music in 2016.

 (04:00) to (06:00)


H: "That's 19 full days. I can't help thinking that while I enjoy the music I listen to immensely, it has been a waste of time. Again, I would like to say that I love the music that I listen to, yet I can't help but think of all the things that I could have done - how much time I could have spent with friends, or how much time I could have written. I think what I'm asking is: how can I, for the new year, try to put more thought into what I consume or find a better balance?" Well, before I answer that question, I wanna go back and say that if you find joy in a thing-

K: Yeah.

H: Wonderful. 

K: Yeah!

H: So, no! There are many things that are worth doing that are not hard.

K: Just because you enjoy them.

H: Yeah.

K: Um, also, like 19 days isn't that large a portion of the year.

H: Yeah. I mean, I spent 19 days doing boring-er things than listening to music -

K: Probably pooping.

H: I wish - yeah, probably. I wish that I spent time, that much time listening to music. I love listening to music myself, I think that it gets you in touch with, like, a human thing that is very sort of visceral and like, I miss having the time to spend lots of time listening to music and discovering new music. And also I will say that, Patrick, you probably did other things while you were listening to that music.

K: Well, that's my question. Like, when he's listening to music, is he just listening to music? Because I feel like that is not what most people's experience of listening to music is.

H: Even if you are just sitting there with your headphones on, and that's all you're doing, you still, like your eyes closed and you've got a blindfold on, headphones on, you're submerged in a tank, you can sense no other sensations - you're still doing other stuff.

K: Sure.

H: Like you're listening to that music, you're thinking about your life, you're -

K: Uh-huh. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's gotta be -

H: It's reflective, contemplative time.

K: Yes, and it's, uh, right. It's giving you time to become a more of a person.

H: Yeah.

 (06:00) to (08:00)


K: Whatever. ...I don't think you should be worried about this at all.

H: So - I mean you say that, "for the new year I wanna try to put more thought into what I consume or find a better balance". Again, Katherine said, 19 days in 365 isn't actually all that many.

K: Yeah, that's not - I don't think you're having trouble with balance.

H: No. But, but I do think you should put thought into what you consume, and I also do think that spending time creating stuff is also really important. A thing that I can get trapped in sometimes is I can consume a lot of content that's very very good, and I feel like I'll never make anything that good, and so I won't even start. 

K: Mmm.

H: And forgetting that of course everyone who created something that I really love, the first song they ever wrote wasn't a master work, you know.

K: Sure, yeah, yeah. And also -

H: With songwriting sometimes I feel like it is that way.

K: Well, it can be.

H: The first song they write, I'm like, "What?! This is your first album? Stop! Leave! Go away!"

K: Well, it probably wasn't the first song they wrote, though.

H: Right.

K: They probably wrote those songs in middle school that nobody gets to hear.

H: Oh, man, would I love to hear some juvenalia from, like, Adele.

K: Right.

H: Well, at the same time, like, Taylor Swift - what is she, fourteen? She's writing amazing stuff. She's a child.

K: She has help.

H: She probably has help.

K: Let's, let's be honest. Um, anyway. The thing about, you know, making stuff, is...the more you do it, the better you are at it, generally.

H: Yeah. Right.

K: Or at least you'll find more joy in it, or you'll find a better direction to - I think if you're having a good time listening to music -

H: Do that. 

K: Do it.

H: Definitely do that, Patrick.

K: Have a good time.

H: All right, we've got another question, it's from...nobody. I didn't write down the name. It says, "Dear Hank and John" - they'll know who they are - "As I was celebrating New Year's Eve with some friends, one of my friends said that 'they'" - in quotation marks - 


 (08:00) to (10:00)


H: "Added a leap second to the end of every year to match up with the Earth's rotation, which is slowing down over time. Who is 'they'? Is there an International Time Society that decides what time it is across the world? How would that decision have been made?"

K: Yes. Um -

H: This is a fantastic question because you don't think about the fact that somebody decides what time it is.

K: This is important because it is New Year's Day when we are recording this.

H: Yes. Well, also we should have started the podcast by saying happy New Year to the first podcast of 2017.

K: Probably should have started the podcast by saying that. Happy New Year! It's the first podcast of 2017.

H: 2017. Woo woo woo! Brrrrrr - noisemaker!

K: Pow, pow, pow, pow pow pow pow!

H: (laughs) That was good. That was good. All right, well, we've got that done with. Uh, but yeah. So there is a thing.

K: We didn't plan this very well.

H: We didn't plan very well. There is a thing. So who do you think cares most in the whole world what exact time it is?

K: Um.

H: Sorry to put you on the spot here.

K: The...stock market.

H: They care, but not as much as...

K: Some sort of international monetary fund.

H: It's not the money people. The money people are -

K: Not the money people?

H: - more abstract. No.

K: It's - oh, okay. Um, it is then, give me a hint.

H: It has to do with space.

K: Silence.

H & K: (laughs)

H: It's the satellite people. 

K: Oh, okay. I went a lot of places, yeah. I didn't get there.

H: It is the, uh - it's okay. It's the, uh, the telecommunications people, oddly enough. So the International Telecommunications Union does a bunch of different things. They define a bunch of different things, they help create standards for telecommunications in a bunch of different ways, but one of the things the International Telecommunications Union does - which is probably based in Geneva, Switzerland, I'm guessing - 

K: Sure.

 (10:00) to (12:00)


H: They decide what time it is. And that is very important for things like GPS, for cell phone, for cell phone - like when the towers are gonna be working and when the satellites are gonna be working and figuring out all that junk.

K: So it's not as much about where the satellites are in space? And, and -

H: It's about where the, you would need to know exactly where they are.

K: Oh, okay. So it is about their locations.

H: So you need to know when they are. Need to know where they are in time and space.

K: Ah.

H: So, yeah. They also divide up, like, the bands of, you know, radio frequencies. Stuff like that. So there's this organization and theyjust, they desi- yeah, they are in Geneva, Switzerland. No, they're in Birn. No, they're in Geneva. (laughs) And they have existed since 1865 and, uh, they're kind of now part of the United Nations. And that's - and it's sort of amazing to me that like, everybody agrees on that. Nobody has a different time, the way we have difference distances - 

K: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

H: We have different years, even, but we have the same time. Because it was a relatively late addition to our, like, to the metrics of the world.

K: I mean, kind of, though. But, like, in China they have the same time but it's not like actually relevant, depending on where they are.

H: They have the s- Well, it depends on who you are, I mean time might not be relevant for you. Is that what you mean?

K: I, I don't know. I, I just - it seems like - hmm. I don't know. I mean it's arbitrary, obviously, but yeah.

H: Yes. It's totally arbitrary, but it's important to be able to keep perfect time.

K: Okay. So what was the question? Who are 'they'?

H: Who are 'they'? They are the International Telecommunications Union, we all agree -

K: That's who they are.

H: - to allow those people to decide for us what time it is. Tacitly.

K: Well, yes.

H: Without having any idea that they exist. So I just wanna say thank you to the people of the International Telecommunications Union for doing all that hard work. 

 (12:00) to (14:00)


H: And it is interesting, because you always hear, like, "we're adding a second" - but like, who's we? Who's they? Who is them?

K: They are them. They have done it.

H: Indeed. Do you want to read a question, Katherine?

K: Um, yeah. I'm looking for one. Uh, here's a question from Olivia: "My family has an odd Christmas tradition of putting a coconut under the tree that originated when my grandmother was a child."

H: Oh, neat.

K: "We haven't replaced the coconut for several years, and simply store it with our other decorations. I was wondering what happens to the milk inside of the coconut."

H: Ohh.

K: "Does it dry up, as my mom guessed? Does it turn into coconut cheese?"

H: (laughs)

K: "How would said cheese taste?"

H: Oh, God, coconut cheese.

K: "Should we get a new coconut?"

H & K: (laugh)

H: I...you know, I wish I knew the answer to this question, but I certainly do not. I think it dries up.

K: No, I didn't, I did not do any investigation into this question. 

H: Well, then we're just gonna say it turns into coconut cheese.

K: I mean...coconut cheese it is.

H: Coconut cheese is definitely what it is.

K: As to whether you should get a new coconut, I don't think so. Uh, it's not bothering you. If the coconut does not seem to be turning into something you don't wanna keep around anymore -

H: Does it - yeah, does it smell? Does it smell like coconut cheese?

K: Then keep the coconut.

H: Definitely. 

K: I mean, who needs more than one coconut?

H: Yeah. No. Where do you even get one?

K: My real question is -

H: Do you, can you get coconuts from the grocery store?

K: I have no idea. My question is, why?

H: I know.

K: That's the real question here, for me.

H: Right? You can't just - 

K: What does the coconut symbolize?

H: You can't just send me an email -

K: Is it an allegory for the baby Jesus?

H: Yeah, it's - course it is.

K: Uhh, yeah.

H: It's the seed of God. I don't, like I can't - 

K: It's full of the nutrient milk of his forgiveness.

 (14:00) to (16:00)


H: How do you, how do you send an email to someone being like -

K: Of sin.

H: The nutrient milk of sin. "We have a tradition, we keep a coconut under the tree, it dates back to my grandmother, not gonna tell you anything else about it though!"

K: 'Splain.

H: Do you even know? Maybe it's just - but it's not a super old coconut. It's just a fairly--I'll, like--

K: No, it's not like her grandmother's coconut.

H: Why not?

K: It's just this coconut has been around--I don't know, maybe it got lost in the war.  Sometimes you have to leave your important things behind.  

H: That's true.  It's been a long time.  

K: I don't--well, you know, maybe--

H: Katherine, what happened to the coconut??

K: They had refugee crises and they had to leave Hawaii.  

H: Wherever else they have coconuts.  Oh, well, I bet--I'm glad that everyone has their own tradi--I think everybody should have something special that's their own Christmas tradition.

K: Sure.

H: I don't really feel like we have one of those.

K: Us?

H: Yeah.  Just shoveling the walk.  Feeling nauseated, which I have for the entire time since Christmas.

K: Still going.

H: Still going.

K: Still feeling nauseated.  I have this collection of Santa that I'm putting together.

H: Yeah.

K: But it's not--that's not like a specific to me kind of thing.  

H: I have like, the put together the metal earth laser cut thing that I've been doing for a few years.

K: Yeah.

H: It's like, ah, Christmas morning, I get to put together a metal earth thing that Katherine bought me.

K: I get to be frustrated for three days.  Gonna give myself a headache and make my fingers hurt.

H: It's so strange.  Like, I'm just sitting there and I'm like, oh, are you serious?  That now?  If you don't know what I'm talking about, Google "metal earth".

K: They're these tiny metal sculptures.

H: Yeah, there's so cool, and I just scream for a day and Katherine's like, this is really what you wanna be doing?

K: This is fun?

H: And I'm like, yes, exactly!

K: This is called fun.

H: This is the best thing.  

K: Because it's, you know, you work hard on it, it's a challenge, but then at the end you've done the thing.

 (16:00) to (18:00)


H: Yes.

K: And there's that thing you did.

H: And you never--

K: You can look right at it.

H: And it's never perfect.

K: Nah, but it is the thing you did.

H: It is the thing you did.  We've got another question, this one's from Megan who asks, "Dear Hank and John, As I was out on the town with a few friends for New Year's, we came up with a question.  Is there a specific name for the clothes someone is buried in?  We tried Googling it but to no avail.  I'm a huge fan of the podcast, and when we couldn't find an answer, we knew that you were the ones to turn to.  Please answer my question.  Megan."  Well, you came to the right place!

K: Really?

H: Yeah.  Do you know what burial clothes are called?

K: Um.  Should I?

H: Well, there's a thing called the burial shroud.

K: Yes, the shroud.

H: We don't use that anymore.

K: I knew about the shroud.

H: So there's--it's the shroud and there's also, I think, what else do they call it?  It's like, the winding cloth, so it's like a big, long sheet that they can wind around a body.

K: Sure.  Sure.

H: So we don't have those anymore.  We have regular clothes, mostly, that we bury people in.

K: Yeah.

H: And that is called the grave clothes.  That's the actual technical term for the clothes that you wear when you go into the grave or, or as a matter, you don't have to be being buried if you're cremated in them, they are also still your grave clothes.  My question is, 'cause I--we haven't talked about this.  If you die, what do you want your grave clothes to be?

K: If I die?  

H: Yeah.

K: Uhhhm.

H: Like, 'cause the thing is, I feel like if I died, you guys would--somebody would have to get me a new suit, because don't bury me in that one that I have.  It's not very nice.  It's too big.  

K: Uh, okay.  Um.

H: I think it's too big for me, but.

K: Boy, I can't seem to muster any real care.  

H: Right.   But--

K: About that specifically, so like, whatever you want to frickin' dress me up as, if you--Princess Leia?

H: So like what--oh my God.  

K: Not the bikini!

H: Okay, that's the first thought.  

 (18:00) to (20:00)


I was like, Katherine, that's a bad idea. 

K: Like, the white first outfit that she comes out in.  

H: Right, right, the white.  

K: The princess Leia outfit.

H: Sort of a shroudy thing.

K: Not the slave Leia outfit.

H: Got it.  

K: But not really.  I mean, I don't have--I don't have--I don't care.

H: Do you wanna be comfy?  Do you wanna wear like, a hoodie and pajama pants?

K: I'm dead, man.  It doesn't matter.  You're gonna burn up my body anyway, so who gives--

H: You don't burn--

K: Put me in something that, when it burns, causes the least amount of--

H: Do you want any, like--

K: Damage.

H: Like, any items?  A book or?

K: Don't do things at my funeral for me.  

H: Right, right.

K: Do things at my funeral for the people that are still around.  

H: Right.  Well, sometimes I feel like it's good to have specific instructions so people don't get into arguments and then they spend the next ten years being like, I can't believe you buried Dad in that!

K: Okay.  That is a good point.  That is the only reason that I would care about these things.

H: Yeah.  Alright, well, let's talk about it in like, 30 years.

K: Well, I mean.  Sure.  How old am I?  30 years.  Maybe 20.  Who knows how long I'll last.

H: Who knows?  

K: I'm feeling real tired these days, Hank.  

H: That's not okay.  I got another question for us, Katherine. 

K: Oh God.  Uh, this question is from Celeste who asks, "Dear Brothers, I am 13 and cat-sit in my building regularly for my neighbor.  She has forgotten to pay me for my last couple of gigs, but made it up this weekend.  I noticed that she gave me $20 more than I am due.  I would normally give it back to her, but it came in a holiday card and may be a little bonus because of the season?  Should I keep the money?  Butternut squash and flamingos, Celeste in NYC."  Okay, you can't just put two weird things together.

H: That's like pumpkins and penguins.  

 (20:00) to (22:00)


K: I get it. 

H: It's a squash and it's a bird. 

K: Sure.  

H: Squashes and birds!  So, I have a concern, which is that this is 100% present and 0% payment for previous gigs.  

K: Uh, yes, exactly.  I'm wondering if there was actually an arrangement to be paid for cat-sitting ever. 

H: Oh, really?

K: By this neighbor.  I mean, a lot of times--

H: Well, it seems like sometimes they were paid and sometimes they weren't.

K: Yeah, it does seem like.  But I think that um, I mean, it's difficult 'cause you're 13, so it's like, you're not really an employee but you're doing a favor for someone.

H: Yeah, you should get paid if it's a thing that they said they were gonna pay you for.

K: Yes.  That is #1.  You should probably, if you're doing this regularly and you're doing a good job, make sure that you get paid everytime.  

H: Mhmm, yeah.

K: But this is definitely not back payment for missed previous payments.

H: You don't think it's possible that it's back payment plus a little extra?  'Cause I feel like there's a chance that it's the one and it's a chance that it's the other.   The chance that it's back payment plus a little extra, chance that it's 100% present.  

K: I think it's present.

H: You think it's 100% present?

K: Yeah, because, I mean, but it may be present with guilt associated.

H: Right.  

K: Because they realized they forgot to pay you those other times.  

H: Maybe.  Well, yeah.  The only way to settle it is to ask, but I will say that it's definitely not accidental extra money.

K: Exactly.

H: You got a bonus.

K: Yeah, yeah, don't give it back.

H: But make sure that you--but make sure that also--

K: If somebody has an extra, like, puts an extra $20 in your--

H: That's a tip.  

K: Yeah.  They didn't do that accidentally.

H: Yeah, but I would have, before this happened, been like, Mrs.--

K: Stephanopolous.

H: Stephanoplous--I was trying to go with a name that was not definitely one particular nationality and you totally did that.

 (22:00) to (24:00)


I didn't wanna be like, the cheap Greek in your building.

K: Oh my God, that's not even where I was going.

H: I know, it's also not even a Greek stereotype, I don't think.

K: I wouldn't know.  The only stereotype I have about Greek people is that they make excellent Greek food.  

H: That's all I know.

K: Is that good?

H: Yep.  Yeah, they seem very nice.

K: Democracy!

H: They're having a little bit of trouble with their debt.  That's what I know about Greek people.  So yes, you gotta be like, Ms. Lady, pay me.  Like, you gotta have it come up before Christmastime and then suddenly--

K: Yeah.

H: But you're 13, I understand that might be weird.

K: Sure, that's hard, yeah.

H: But if you the thing, you know, you should bring it up.  Maybe just leave a note?  You know, it's in your building.  Maybe if you just happen to see her or him.  Said lady, I think.

K: Uh, yeah, I think it said just neighbor.  It was gender neutral.  I just deleted the question.

H: So it's gone.  We don't know what it was.

K: Because we're done, we're done with that one.  

H: Usually not how John and I do it, but okay.

K: Yeah, well, I--there's too many things in the document so I had to--have to get rid of them.  Anyway, yes, I think this is definitely not an accident, so don't give it back and in the future, maybe just a little reminder.

H: Yeah.  

K: When you schedule these things, oh, okay, so three days?  

H: That'll be--

K: That'll be however much it is per day.  

H: Yeah.

K: You know?  Just a reminder, or like, when you leave a note at the end of the sitting, if there wasn't money when you--just be like, you can drop that off at my apartment anytime.  

H: Yep.  This is my apartment number.

K: Yeah.

 (24:00) to (26:00)


H: Here's my phone number.

K: Just slide it under the door or knock it down or whatever, you know, I could use that cash for Pokemon cards.

H: I really love noodles.  Noodles the Cat.  Really sweet cat.  Where's my $20.  Alright, we've got another one.  We've gotta move on.  That question is not even in the doc anymore.  Juliana asks, "Dear Hank and John, What is the best way to be emphathic toward your partner's insecurities?  I love my partner very much but I find myself often not being able to relate in the way that they need and I say the wrong thing.  I want to protect their feelings and I also want to be honest."  It's a good question for Katherine and I to answer, 'cause we're different.

K: It's real hard.

H: We're different folk.

K: Sure.  Sure, sure, sure, sure.  Empathetic toward your partner's insecurities.  Mm.  Mmm.

H: It sounds a little bit--it sounds alm--it almost sounds condescending just in the question.

K: A little judgy.

H: Yeah.

K: But, but I understand what you're trying to say.

H: And that's--yes.  And you have to think about these things and consider it well.

K: Yes.

H: Which I think you're doing a good job of doing already.  

K: What is the best way to be empathetic toward your partner's insecurities?  Uhhh.  

H: How are you empathetic toward my insecurities?

K: I don't know, I'm trying to think of any.  I gotta say, I'm really often not, because I feel like they're--

H: I need some?

K: Yeah. 

H: Give Hank a couple extra insecurities 'cause he doesn't have enough?

K: I mean, the thing that is coming to mind right now is just like, your competitiveness with John.  

H: I am not competitive with John.

K: In his success level.

H: No!  

K: Uh, uh, yeah.

H: Nah.

K: Okay.  Well, there you go.  Just bring 'em up.  Um, acknowledge them.  No, yeah, acknowledging them.

 (26:00) to (28:00)


H: Yeah.  

K: Without judgment, obviously.

H: And allowing--I have a hard time doing this, but I al--like, I want to create good situations and spaces for you to talk about things.

K: Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Yeah.  

H: And just like, that--and like, get you speaking of words.

K: Right.

H: Because--

K: And--and--in addition to that, not always needing to offer a solution.

H: Right, and like, you're talking about it, I'm understanding it, you're understanding it, it's out there now.  'Cause I think the, like, you're not--

K: You don't have to, like--

H: Fixing.

K: No, no, nope.

H: Just understanding.

K: Yeah, you don't have to be like, okay, great, what do we do about this problem you have.

H: Right.

K: Because that's not--that's not your role.

H: No, not really.  Probably you shouldn't have to be your partner's therapist.

K: No.

H: I think that there is, like, therapeutic action to conversing.

K: Sure, yes.

H: That it can be very helpful for everyone involved to have a good, like, hearty conversation and I think we don't have enough of those opportunities these days, and there's a lot of, like, like, feeling isolated and lonely now.

K: Yeah, 'cause it's easier to just watch another YouTube video or something.

H: Even when you are in a relationship.  Yeah.

K: And ignore it.

H: But creating some space, and whether that's like, going out to dinner and being like, in a place where you're not gonna feel okay looking at your phone, or if it's like, just scheduled time.

K: Yeah, totally.

H: Where you be like, okay, we're gonna have like, next Tuesday, Katherine, can we have some, like, phone-free conversation.

K: Yeah.

H: And not have that be like, because like, because there's a big problem happening in our life, because there's a money thing or just being like, we're--like, scheduling this for the future.

K: Creating space for those conversation to happen.  Not trying to solve problems as you see them.

H: Yeah.

K: Maybe just reframing like, even just how you're thinking about these things.

 (28:00) to (30:00)


Not as problems but as challenges?  I don't know what I'm trying to say.

H: Yeah, like, I think--

K: 'cause--

H: I think--

K: You say you love this person.

H: Yeah, I think reframing from 'problems' to just understanding.

K: Right.

H: Like in the way that Mr. Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennett because of all her quirks.

K: Right.

H: Not in spite of them, and so like, like, loving a person in that way that like, encompasses all their, like, the things that you kind of don't like about them, and I guess like, you have to understand that there are going to be things that you don't like about your partner.  

K: Yeah.  Yeah.  And and and, but, so you say you also want to be honest.

H: Yeah, that's--

K: Mmm.

H: That is a little bit of a worry word.

K: Because why?  Like, what is it about being honest that you feel you need to express some like, is it because you want them to change, is it because you are worried about how these are--how this is impacting them.  

H: Yeah.

K: You know, like--

H: Is it an unhealthy behavior that you're trying to get them to recognize.

K: Right.  What is the honesty?

H: Yeah, because it--

K: Or is it just because you're like, I don't like this about you.

H: Yeah, and--

K: So you gotta look at that.

H: Yeah, and sometimes I have found in my life--you can't just walk away and keep talking.

K: I know.  

H: You can walk away.  Sometimes I have found in my life that what I see as someone's problem is just them living in the way that they want to live that is different than the way I want to live and I'm like, you're not productive, and it's like, well yeah, Hank, you praise that highly.  

 (30:00) to (32:00)


K: Right.

H: Like, that is the thing that I am into.

K: Right, but it's maybe not--

H: But it's not for everybody.

K: Yeah.

H: It's not the same for Katherine.  

K: Oh, yeah, no.  I mean, I do stuff, but I'm not like--

H: But it's not like, not like the way that I get really obsessed with like, maximing productivity.

K: Yeah.  Right.

H: And then like, if I'm then like, you know, if I have this, like sort of hang up on one particular, like, aspect of like, how to live a good life--

K: Right, right, right.

H: But I'm not hung up on some other stuff like, that doesn't mean that you aren't living your perfect, you know, best life.

K: Yeah.

H: Just because you don't have all of the exact same anchors that I do.

K: Yeah, I mean, the thing is, you are living with a person who is not you, Juliana.

H: Yep.

K: This is--you gotta just--you know?

H: But, if it's unhealthy and if it's like, if it's something that's making you uncomfortable, like, then you know--

K: It's a challenge.

H: Then that is a challenge that you either have to work through and have them recognize the way that it's effecting you, and if they aren't willing to move beyond having an effect on you that's making this relationship unpleasant for you, then you might also find comfort in solitude.

K: Right.  Yeah.  Anyway.  Uhhh.  Yes.  This is an advice podcast by two extremely unqualified people.

H: YAAAY, dubious!

K: I'm gonna answer a question that is less important.

H: Okay.

K: This one's from Cary, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I was sitting at my desk at work the other day when a highly distressing thought occurred to me.  I know my cat's name.

 (32:00) to (34:00)


He clearly knows his own name, but does he know mine?"

H: No.

K: "I live alone and don't generally refer to myself in third person, so it's not like he hears it that often.  Who does my cat think I am?  Am I just an anonymous conglomeration of smells and features to his brain?"

H: Well, okay.  

K: It's not that your cat knows his name either, anyway, but it's just like, that's a word that you say--

H: That means, hey, you.  

K: Yeah, I don't know.

H: Look.  Attention.

K: Right.

H: Like, if that was my cat's name, my cat's name would be pspspspspss.  That's the thing that works most of the time.  

K: Yeah, it's psspss, or kitty or Cameo in a specific tone of voice.

H: Yes.  The other thing that I'm worried about, Cary, is that you think that you are your name.  

K: Yeah, and also--

H: And that if your cat doesn't know your name, then your cat doesn't--then your cat, like, who does my cat think I am?!  Does my cat think that I'm some other person because I'm not Cary?  No, your cat thinks you're you.

K: Yeah.

H: Just doesn't think of you as your name, by your name.  He thinks of you as that thing that lives in my house, that very large cat, without the fur who provides me with food.  

K: Yeah.

H: Mommy cat.  That's what your cat thinks of you.

K: Yeah, I don't know, I think that, yeah, it's a funny question.

H: I did think it was funny.  Am I just an anonymous conglomeration of smells and features to his brain?  Isn't that what we all are to everyone?  We're just anonymous conglomerations of smells and features to each others' brains.

K: Well, as humans, we are extremely into naming things.

H: We do love naming things.

K: And categorizing them.  

H: CATegorizing.  

K: Ah boy.  Dad joke in full effect.

H: Oh God, I'm so sorry. 

K: So, yeah, you know, your cat doesn't think like you think.

 (34:00) to (36:00)


H: Your cat does not think like you.  It is hard to figure out exactly how a cat thinks.

K: Caaaats.  Right?

H: Cats, right?

K: They--that's the moral.

H: That's the moral.

K: Cats, right?  I was just watching that video of all the cats getting brain freeze again this morning.

H: What?  Cats getting brain freeze?

K: Oh, it's so good.  They're like, licking real cold yogurt or something and they all just have this moment where they freeze and spaz.  Yeah.  Pretty much like that!

H: What?

K: At the very end, there's just this one and he's like gaaaaaah.  He makes a noise.  You could just--

H: Oh, there's a whole compilation of it.

K: Yeah, this is the one.  

H: This is the one.  This-aaaahh.  They don't like it.  They don't like it.  We'll put this up on the Patreon.  Ahhhahaha, they don't like it.  

K: They do that thing, where you're--where you're like, you've gotta aaahhhh.  Like the paws and like, clench all of my muscles while this is happening.  

H: Anyway.

K: Cats, right?

H: Cats, right?  Here's another--

K: Back to the advice.

H: Here's another question.  I don't know if you can count this as advice, but Anonymous asks, "Dear Hank and John, Why are commercials so loud?  Or is it just me?"  It's not just you.  Commercials are loud because--

K: They want you to pay attention.

H: No.  I'm gonna be completely honest here.  Commercials are loud because television is ending and they're trying to squeeze every last cent out of it before it implodes.  It's the same reason that when you watch television now, all of the commercials are terrible for things that are embarrassing and probably just, like, oftentimes fraud television.  I watched some TV the other day.  There's so many ads.  

 (36:00) to (38:00)


There's like, 300 ads per minute.  It's so much.  I can't handle it.

K: And they are only for people like, over 60.

H: Yes.

K: Who still watch TV the way that TV used to be.

H: Right.  That's why they're so loud, because a lot of those people are hard of hearing and it's like, hey, HEY!  

K: You need this button to push when you fall down.  You need this button.

H: Oh man.

K: Get this button.

H: I--oof.  I don't like--I really wish we could've based our content ecosystems on something except ads.

K: And this isn't to say that like--Yeah, I mean, and this isn't to say that like, content is ending.

H: No, no, no, no.

K: But television the way that it has existed...

H: Right, and to be clear, I don't watch TV at the moments when, like, good advertisements are happening, like, I don't watch The Walking Dead.  Like, I'm sure if I watched an episode of The Walking Dead or some other, like--

K: The Superbowl.

H: Ad-supported piece of content that lots of people actually watch.

K: Right.

H: But, usually when I watch TV, it's like I'm stuck in a hotel or something.

K: Right, right, right, right, right, right, right, right, right, yes.

H: And it's nighttime and I'm sad and alone and looking for connection and it's just like, here's the world's top ten air disasters.

K: Right, and it's like, you know, local--

H: Yeah, a lot of local stuff.

K: --stuff that is not relevant to you and has just very low commercial value which is fine (?~37:37)

H: No.  I got a response here, it's not a question.

K: Oh.

H: It's from Amanda who asks, "Dear Hank and John, Excuse me, John."  This question is for John, I'm gonna take it though.

K: Oh, that's excellent, because he's not here to defend himself.

H: "But you expressed in the recent pod recording at NerdCon: Stories that you aren't allowed to name your dogs similarly to the names of your family members.

 (38:00) to (40:00)


I would just like to point out to you that your dog's name is Willie and your brother's name is William.  Would you maybe like to rethink your terrible mistake?"  

K: Ooh, somebody got called out.

H: So, Willie's name is Wilson, not William.

K: Uh, yes, it's Fireball Wilson Roberts, but they call him Willie.

H: But--

K: But everyone assumes--

H: When we were looking at baby names, like, William was always gonna be high on the list, because my name is William and my grandfather's name is William and I, like, and I--I'm not saying that Willie's existence affected that, but yes.  

K: But it--ehh, it did a little bit.

H: Did it?

K: No, not really.

H: No, it didn't.  It was mostly that I didn't want to name my son directly after me.  

K: Yeah.

H: 'Cause that seems like a weird thing to do.  But anyway, we just wanted to let everyone know that John was a hypocrite and made a terrible terrible mistake in his dog naming and/or in his criticism of other peoples' dog naming, so it's one of those two things.  Definitely one of those two things.

K: Yeah, I mean, yeah, anyway.  That--the situation, as you said, is a little more complicated than, Anna, is it?

H: Oh, who asked that question?

K: Thinks it was, but also don't name your animals after your children or, you know, unless that's what they wanna call 'em, I guess.

H: Yeah, it's fine.  Do whatever you wanna do.  

K: Sure, right, sure, yeah, there you go.  There's--that's the right answer.

H: It's a pet.  I say, name it after some food.

K: They're not gonna (?~39:53)

H: Just like, I say there are infinite number of pet names available, so don't go for a human pet name, because you could name the pet Panatone and it would be great.

 (40:00) to (42:00)


K: Sure, yeah.  That's a great name.

H: You could name it Oreo.

K: Yeah, or Pears.  

H: Pears!  You could name it Noodle, like that cat earlier in the podcast.  You could name it Gatorade.  That's fine.  All pet names are pet names, like you could--Glitter!  That's fine!

K: Sure.  

H: Yep.  2x4!  Sure, why not?

K: Absolutely.  

H: Yeah.  You call it Twobie.  

K: Lamps.  

H: I love Lamps.

K: Yeah.  Who doesn't?  

H: Yeah.  Yeah.  There's just an infinite number of names available to pets.

K: Yeah, I mean, so, so--

H: So why give it a human name?  That's how I feel, but also, do whatever you wanna do.  I have an Amazon employee who has written in to me.

K: Oh, okay.  I would like to hear about this.

H: So in our last episode of the pod, John and I intentionally tried to activate people's Alexas.

K: Right, right, right, right, yes, yeah.

H: And their Google Homes and Richard says, "I'm a computer science student in a university in the same town where Amazon is," (?~41:18) "the same town where Alexa was developed.  Naturally, at some point, I came into contact with an employee who was on the Alexa team.  They were telling me a fun story that during Amazon's big Superbowl commerical, when Alec Baldwin and company asked Alexa to do a thing, there was a massive spike in Alexa queries due to peoples' Alexas, in their living rooms, being triggered by the TV."

K: Yeah.

H: "They also said that this wasn't a surprise to the Amazon employees, as someone had actually thought of this beforehand and they had provided extra servers and employees to deal with the spike."  So, it is a known phenomenon and the question is, can I buy a television commercial and steal a bunch of stuff from people by activating their Alexas and making them send me things.

 (42:00) to (44:00)


K: Yeah....

H: With my very loud television commercial that I put--

K: Right.

H: --on some television show.

K: Alexa, mail Hank Green 900 Snickers.

H: Snickers.  I was thinking something more valuable and easy to sell, just like, like, can you get Alexa to send me--

K: Everybody wants a Snickers.

H: Gold.

K: No.  What?  Everyone knows it's so easy to buy gold.

H: On Amazon.  Right?  Just send a small amount of gold, send it to this address and then I'll just, I'll get it and I'll run away and I'll finally have--

K: No.

H: I worry--I'm worried about Alexa hacking in some weird, like--

K: Oh, yes.

H: Like, somebody's gonna like, walk up to your back window with--and like, scream at the Alexa to make it do stuff.

K: Yeah, and you should be.  I don't feel good about those things.

H: We have one. 

K: I know.

H: We got it for free.  Google sent it to us.

K: Sure.

H: They were like, here, YouTuber, here, have Google Home.  Okay, Google.  You wanna say something to the podcast?  She likes our style!

K: Yeah, she said "I like your style."  Okay, guys.

H: I like your style, too, honey.  

K: I don't like how Okay Google doesn't have a name.  

H: Yeah.

K: She's like, you can call me Google Assistant and she just said something because I said Okay Google again.

H: Yeah, she just said something.  

K: But like, yeah.  I asked her what her name was and she said--

H: Yeah, yeah, we couldn't--it wouldn't let us rename--

K: Yeah.

H: But there's probably complicated reasons why that is, why they can't rename it easily, but I don't--like, I would much prefer to call it the name of a thing.

 (44:00) to (46:00)


K: Yeah, instead of having to say Okay, Google all the time.

H: Okay Google Okay Google Okay Google.  I'm just like, oh God, I understand.

K: I mean, I realize that you want me to say Google a frickin bunch but I don't want to.

H: Yeah.  I don't--I don't.  

K: Can I please just call her Pizza?  Lady Pizza.

H: Lady Pizza.

K: Can you play me the news?  I would like to--

H: (?~44:25

I don't wanna, I'm not saying that everybody should be able to rename their Google Homes anything they want, but I think that you should at least be able to choose between Okay, Google and Lady Pizza.

K: Those should be the two choices.  Alright.

H: Okay.

K: Give us another question, Hank.

H: This one, it's from Sarah, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I was recently watching a vlogbrothers video entitled 'Why are few people studying science and engineering?' and I started to feel guilty.  I have a STEM degree.  I have a BS in Mathematics.  Post-college, I accepted a job at an industrial supply company and while I do not use my degree every day, I do use the problem solving skills my degree has taught me, but I still feel guilty.  Have I turned my back on my fellow STEM comrades?  Should I get a job utilizing my degree more?  I'm happy where I am, but I still feel like I'm not living up to my potential, that I'm doing a disservice to the world because it taught me all this skill and I chose another path.  Any dubious advice would be welcomed.  Not a Ryan, Sarah."  Don't be silly.  It's so--it's so interesting what we can get caught up on and feel guilty about and get like, feeling we have this obligation to like, what we used to want or what the world needs, but like, obviously, the world needs someone to do your job, or no one would pay you to do it, and if you like it, then that's great, and also, you proba--like, as you say, you use your problem solving skills but you probably also use all kinds of the skills that you learned in your STEM degree and probably that degree helped you get that job in a number of different ways, so--

 (46:00) to (48:00)


K: Yeah.

H: If you have a--also, if you have like, a abstract mathematics degree, you're not gonna get a job doing absract mathematics unless you're teaching it, like, I-wow.  We're having a weird blizzard outside.  

K: Well it's just--it's very windy.

H: (?~46:22

K: And the snow is very light, so it's blowing around.  It's--

H: So--I--don't feel guilty and also I'm worried now that that video is making people feel like they should feel like less of an American or less of a person if they didn't study or work in those fields.  The reason a lot of people are trying to get more people into those degrees is because it helps you get a job.

K: Yeah.

H: And if you got a job, then good job, you did it.  

K: Yeah.

H: You achieved the goal.  It's also because, of course, like, you can solve problems and make the world a better place, but you can do that at all kinds of different jobs.  You do that when you're a writer and you do that when you're--

K: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, there's no--there's--yeah.  I don't know.  

H: --working in service.  Like, people at every level--

K: Your job doesn't have to change the world though.

H: Yeah, you do that when you're like, are helping people, whether that's like, making them food or making them healthier or taking care of them when they're old.  Like, all of the jobs we do are solving problems for people and I am loathe to think that people think that I don't think that.

K: Right, yeah.  It's not like you are, you're like, this is a better job than that other job.

H: Yeah.  Though I think there are a lot of people who feel that way and people notice that.

K: Sure, there certainly are.

H: That pressure.

K: But um--

H: So I see, Katherine, that you are looking up AFC Wimbledon news.

K: I was a little quiet in that episode, in that, answering that question while you were answering that question.

 (48:00) to (50:00)


H: Yes, well, I--

K: I was a little quiet while you were answering that question because I was trying to find some interesting news from the AFC Wimbledon.

H: It does seem like it's time to do that already.

K: It does.  Well, yeah.  

H: Well, I'm just gonna watch these cats get brainfreezes while you do that.  Aaaahh.

K: Oh, God, I can't not watch the brainfreeze video though.  Okay.  Let's see.

H: So what happened with AFC Wimbledon?

K: I don't know.  But I'll read you the most recent article on the AFC Wimbledon News site.  

H: Okay.  Do that.

K: David Fitpatrick played a starring role on New Year's Day for (?~48:43) United. Is that how you say that?  

(?~48:49)

H: No, it's fine.  They're not real places anyway.

K: And--pfhhh.  And--I mean, I even know where it is, but I couldn't tell you how to say it.  I am surrogate-John, and his thing is mispronouncing words wrong.  I mean, mispronouncing--words.  

H: Can you mispronounce something wrong?

K: Saying words wrong.  Mispronouncing them.  Anyway, here it is, David Fitpatrick, apparently a--

H: Sports player.

K: Sports player for the sports team--

H: (?~49:22) United.

K: FC Wimbledon.

H: Oh, he's from AFC Wimbledon.  

K: Yeah, he played a starring role on New Year's Day (?~49:28) United in a ten goal thriller at National League Title Chasers Forest Green Rovers.

H: Ooh.  Ten goals.  

K: So many words in there that I do not comprehend.  The Dons winger scored and set up four goals in the game of the day.  That's a lot.  A 5-5 draw at the new lawn, which is apparently the name of the stadium, because everything (mumbles)

H: I think this article was written--

K: This superb free kick from Fitzpatrick had put (?~50:00) 5-3 before Forest Green hit back to salvage a share of the spoils.

 (50:00) to (52:00)


Meanwhile, George Oakley also continued his prolific season after returning from serious injury with another goal during his lone spell at (?~50:17) United.  Why are these characters being loaned to other teams?  I don't understand this sport.

H: I'm also super confused.  This is an article--oh, this is a--he's not even playing for Wimbledon.

K: No, yeah!

H: He's playing for their team.

K: No, they are curently on loan to other teams.  

H: They're doing quite well.

K: Sure.  

H: Here's some players that aren't playing for Wimbledon.  They're doing good at other places.

K: I don't know what's happening.  I gotta say, English football is a--it is um, dense.

H: It's dense.  

K: There's--it's difficult to penetrate the--

H: Yes.  And we will never really know, we will never truly understand.

K: No.

H: Well, in Mars news--thanks for that weird update on Wimbledon, Katherine.

K: Sorry.

H: They lost a couple games.

K: That's what I heard.

H: And some of their players did well on other teams.  Good job.  In Mars news, China's goin' to Mars and by 'going to' I mean not their bodies, by 2020 they say.  China is aiming to have a robotic mission to Mars by 2020, which is quite soon.  It's 2017 now officially.  That's just three years from now.  That does not leave a ton of time for planning this, but that's exciting and they also want to be sending a robot to the dark side of the Moon in 2018.  They have been doing a bunch more stuff.

K: I heard about this news and it made me curious how collaborative all of these plans are.

 (52:00) to (54:00)


Like, do they follow the same standardized practices of like, making sure there isn't any Earth--

H: Stuff.

K: --information biology on these things.

H: Yeah.

K: You know, and like, what's the goal?  Do they share what they find there or are they going to be super proprietary about it?  Like, I'm just curious about how that works, 'cause I know that there are like, there's been Chinese people on the International Space Station.

H: Yeah.  

K: So...

H: Well, back in the day, it was--everything was open and it was very collaborative, like, all the stuff we had, they could have.  Russia could have.  Anybody could have in terms of what NASA was doing.

K: When is back in the day?

H: Until 2011, when Congress was like, stop sharing our military secrets to China, basically

K: But okay, but like, eve--but how about back before that day, when there was like, space race and stuff?

H: Well, yeah, I'm not talking about the 60s. 

K: Okay.  

H: So yeah, so the--during the, like, you know, space shuttle era, you know, 80s, 90s, 2000s, there was a lot of collaboration and a lot of like, the idea of being like, we can work together on these scientific enterprises and it will, you know, even when we are arguing about stuff.

K: It will benefit all of us.

H: It'll benefit all of us.

K: Yeah.  

H: The scientific data has still been shared, so when we go to Mars and like, all the stuff that Curiosity gets, like, it isn't controlled by the US Government.

K: Okay.

H: The data can be, like, what tends to happen is like an instrument--

K: Data is shared, but technology is not, is that what you're saying?

H: Yeah.  Yes.  Data will often come through the people who just designed the instrument so Curiosity will have like, 25 different things on it and so the data will come through whoever like, created the instrument and knows how to take the data in, but then hop--like, the idea is that then anybody can look at that data and do research with it.  

K: Right, right.

 (54:00) to (56:00)


H: And so hopefully that will happen.

K: Yeah.

H: In opposite directions as well and we can compare and contrast, and probably we will, but it is not so much the, you know, like, the designs for how to build these things, but we do still share that information with--some of that information with Russia and with Europe.  

K: Okay.

H: I think to some extent, with China too.  Just to increase the ability.  But there's like, a lot more concern now that like, China is trying to build systems that might be bad for our national security, whatever that means.  It is not something that I find myself to be tremendously concerned about, others have, you know in Congress and stuff, so, Katherine, what did we learn today?

K: Uhmmm.  We are tired.

H: Yeah--

K: And it is the new year.  Hooray.

H: Hoorayyyy.

K: Welcome, 2017 and beneficial probiotics to you all.  

H: And of course, we're just going to have two things that we learned.  So we learned that and we also learned that time is decided by people in Geneva, Switzerland.

K: Sure.

H: They make that call.

K: Those folks.  Those folks.

H: And if one day they decided to just change time completely, just add 15 minutes and mess us all up, what would we even do?

K: Go along with it, dudes.  

H: I think we'd rebel.

K: No.

H: I think we'd storm the castle.  No, we'd go with it.

K: Yep. 

 (56:00) to (57:35)


We also learned that your cat doesn't need to know your name.  It loves you anyway.

H: Yeah.

K: Or whatever it is that cats feel.

H: And of course, we learned that television commercials are so loud because my brother John is a hypocrite.  Wait, I had my wires crossed on that one.  

K: Yep.

H: Well, Katherine, thank you for joining me on this podcast.  Thank you for going to get my baby, he's not crying anymore. 

K: He isn't.

H: Good job.  

K: He was happy to be here, thank you for having him on the podcast for this last moment.  Uh-oh.  

H: Uh-oh.

K: Spoke too soon.  

H: This podcast is supported by our Patrons at Patreon.com/dearhankandjohn.  You can send us questions at hankandjohn@gmail.com or #dearhankandjohn on Twitter.  We are here to answer your questions and give you dubious advice.  As always, this podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins, it is produced--

K: Rosianna Halse Rojas and Victoria--

H: Bongiorno.

K: Bongiorno helped us pick out questions.

H: Yes, and Gunnarolla does out theme music and I don't think I forgot anybody.

K: I don't think so either.

H: And so, as they say in our hometown...

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

Orin: *cries*
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