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What is "other" on my phone's storage? How do I handle my life being thrown off track? What's the policy on renaming a fostered fish? Are mushrooms a vegetable? How do I smile from behind a mask? Can I run through people's sprinklers? How do I start a conversation with my roommate about enjoying your work? How do I navigate bookstore genres without consulting someone in person? Hank Green and John Green have answers!

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[Dear Hank and John intro music]

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John!

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

Hank: It's a podcast where two brothers answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. John--

John: Yes?

Hank: What part of the human body is long and flexible and is about-- is about two feet long, and it contains the letters P, E, N, S, and I?

John: [laughs] I'm just gonna say "what?"

Hank: It's the spine! 

John: Ah! The spine.

Hank: The spine, John!

John: The spine.

Hank: [laughs]

John: Hey, Hank, so I found out something really interesting this week. This is gonna blow your mind. 

Hank: Okay.

John: You know our Uncle Mike? We don't have favorite uncles, but if we did.

 Hank: [laughs]

John: You know our Uncle Mike, our famously--

H: Our famous Uncle Mike, yeah. 

J: Our famously quiet, reserved, brilliant, impressive, imposing, intimidating Uncle Mike? 

H: [laughs] Yeah, I know. I know Uncle Mike.

J: I just found out that Uncle Mike listens to this podcast. 

H: And he just listened to me make a spine joke, John!

J: Not my favorite spine joke of all time, but--

H: I'll have another one for you next week. 

J: I can't wait. Anyway, hi Uncle Mike, if you're listening.

H: Yeah-- he was very sweet, he said some very nice things about the podcast, and my book! In an email to me, which is a nice moment to get an email from Uncle Mike. 

J: How many words were in the email, would you estimate? Under 50?

H: Oh, yes. 

J: Yeah.

H: Yeah. He's— he can say a lot with a few words. 

J: Indeed.

H: Unlike us.

J: [laughs] I know, you would think that we might've gotten a modicum of his ability to speak with some precision, but no.

H: [laughs]

 Question 1

J: We're about to ramble on for god knows how long, beginning with answering this question from Bryn.

H: Okay.

J: Hank, I wanted to ask this question because I actually know the answer.

H: Oh?

J: Like, I know the answer in such detail.

H: Mm-hmm.

J: And as you know, I almost never know anything. So this is really exciting for me. Bryn writes, "Dear John and Hank, the other day my sister and I were trying to record a dumb video, and my phone ran out of storage mid-video, and I went to my settings to try and free up some room, and it said that over half of my storage is being taken up by this category called 'Other.'"

H: Oh gosh.

J: "If it isn't pictures, or videos, or apps, or messages, or my system, then what is it? Is it my FBI agent?" Hank—

H: What is it?

J: First off, we got at least twelve questions this week that referenced "my FBI agent", which I assume now is like a meme—

H: It's a thing, yes. Kids are saying that. Yeah.

J: —like, I assume it's a thing where everyone imagines that they have their own FBI agent. So I'm glad that we've reached that point in the dystopian story. Anyway, Bryn, you know what that "Other" is? I'm almost positive that I know exactly what that "Other" is. Do you know what it is, Hank?

H: No, actually, I don't. And I'm super curious.

J: It's Netflix downloads. 

H: Ohhh, it just goes into "Other".

J: If you download something off of Netflix so you can watch if offline, it counts as "Other". And I had this problem with my phone and my iCloud where I was like, "I don't understand. I have like 4 terabytes," and it was all— it wasn't even good Netflix shows, it was like Barbie Dream House—

H: What!

J: —that I downloaded for Alice. 

H: Oh. Yeah. [laughs]

J: Not for myself, although they do have some jokes for grown-ups, which I appreciate. Shoutout to the Barbie Dream House writers, they're looking out for me.

H: [laughs]

J: It's Netflix downloads, Bryn. You just gotta get rid of those Netflix downloads.

H: John thinks it's Netflix downloads. Let's hope! I actually, this week— I have a lot of space on this computer, and it popped up with a little "you're out of disk space." And so I go onto my footage dump folder, and I take all the old Vlogbrothers files out. And I'm like, "That'll fix it." And then the next day, it came back, and it was like, "your computer's full again." And then— and if you want to write and tell me what happened here. So I opened it up and I searched my entire hard drive for big files. And there was a file—it was a MOV file—123 gigabytes.

J: Wow.

H: And it just kept getting bigger. Every time I gave it space, it would make itself bigger.

J: Like a koi in a fish pond. 

H: Yes. Yes! It's doing something. I don't know what it was doing. I don't know what program was creating it, but it was continually creating it. So I did a full reboot of the system and deleted the 123 gigabyte file. And now I'm good! Now I'm good.

J: I mean, that seems like it was almost definitely your FBI agent.

H: Yeah! I'm worried.

J: You should be.

H: [laughs] I mean, I think that-- John, I think that my FBI agent is hopefully entertained by all of the things that I do. At least, I hope that my FBI agent is really into microbes, because he's getting a lot.

J: Yeah, I think my FBI agent is probably like, "Oh my god, this guy will watch anything on YouTube at 1 o'clock in the morning. Nothing is below his standards.

H: [laughs] Well, I've noticed!

J: [laughs] I know! You see my watch history.

H: Yeah.

J: And after 11 PM, I'm just-- I'm completely unreliable. Like, will I watch somebody build a swimming pool with a stick in the jungle? Yes.

H: [laughs] Those are amazing. They're so good. You watch a lot of-- I'm surprised by the number of boat videos you watch.

J: I just like to look at the ocean, Hank, okay? And I can't do it from Indianapolis, so this is my way.

H: [laughs]

J: Let's move on to another question.

 Question 2

H: Okay. This next question comes from Eliza, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I'm a first year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a.k.a the Clusterf*ck University. This is a reference to an editorial that was published in the student paper that did not bleep out that word. I'm being kicked out of my dorm today, and as I was packing, the overwhelming feeling of loss came again. I say 'again' because not too long ago, I was a high school senior, ready to go to prom and to graduate, when suddenly everything was ripped away. I arrived on campus thinking, 'Finally, I can see people again!', only to be proven wrong just two weeks later. It's hard not to feel like my class is a little cursed at times, and I was wondering if y'all could offer us some hope? I'm starting to feel like nothing will ever be the way I planned, and maybe that was a pipe dream from the start. I just can't help but feel lied to and robbed of the 'best years of my life. Don't get me wrong--"

J: I'm gonna stop you right there, Eliza.

H: [laughs]

J: I'm gonna stop you right there. I understand being upset.

H: Yeah.

J: This does suck. I don't want to minimize it. I do not know where the insidious lie came from that the ages of 17-21 are the best years of your life, but it might be the worst lie that we collectively believe in, which is really saying something.

H: Yeah.

J: Of course it's not the best years of your life! It's a time of constant uncertainty and change and yes, there are wonderful things but there are also terrible things. It's-- it's very big years of your life, and you're having an extremely big version of them, and I'm sorry that it's big in so many terrible ways. But this morning I was talking to my kids, and they were talking about whether summer is better than winter, and my daughter observed this deep truth that I had never crystallized for myself before in the way that she crystallized it, which is that when it is winter, you feel like it will never be warm again, and when it is summer, you feel like it will never be cold again.

H: Wow.

J: And because it is now, you cannot imagine what the future will be like. But it will not be like now.

H: Yeah, it will not always be like this. So there is that. And I think one reason why this hurts is because it feels like there is a clear path that you've been working toward, and now that path is much less clear?

J: Yeah.

H: And maybe it will clear up in the future, and like it will basically just sort of restart, you know, and maybe you'll get three years of college instead of four. Which, admittedly, is certainly not ideal. But there's also the fact that, like, there are many times when paths will look clear and they will be set out in front of you, and suddenly they will not be available. And...the thing to do in that situation is, of course, you know, if you can, of course there is grieving and frustration that comes along with that, but there is still a path there that you're still on. You just have to figure out what that one is.

J: Yeah. Yeah. But you do still need to grieve, and it does still suck. And there are gonna be a lot of times in life when you think you're on a path, and it doesn't happen, or at least it doesn't happen the way you imagined it. And right now, one of the strange things about this historical moment is that most people are having some version of that experience. Obviously, some people are having extreme versions of it, some people are having minor versions of it, but a lot of us had imagined the summer of 2020 or the fall of 2020 a little differently than how it's gone. And that loss is real.

H: Mm-hmm. But I think we also have to be good at identifying paths when they are not necessarily clearly set out in front of us, and that's part of becoming better at being a human.

J: You know, even after talking about this with you a bunch, I just keep coming back to what Alice said. When it's summer you think it's never gonna be cold, and when it's winter you think it's never gonna be hot, and you're wrong. It is-- it's gonna be warm again.

H: And maybe we can--

J: The light-soaked days are coming.

H: And you know, John, another thing is that Kristen also emailed us, who also has just been sent home from UNC. So maybe we can hook you two up!

J: [laughs] We got a bunch of emails, actually, from people who have been sent home from UNC. It was very sad to read all of the emails this week and see so many.

H: [laughs] Yeah.

 Question 3

J: Kristen writes, "Dear John and Hank, I just moved into my dorm 12 days ago and now they're sending us home. Thanks for the $23,000 two-week vacation!" I feel like there's a little bit of anger, as well grief?

H: Yeah, you think?

J: "But the real problem is that one of my suite mates brought her fish..." [laughs] This is terrible. Oh my god. "Brought her fish to the dorm and can't bring it back because she has to fly back and she can't bring it on the flight. One of my other suite mates is taking custody of the fish for the semester, but the fish shares the name with her sister's ex-boyfriend."

H: [laughs]

J: "What is the policy on re-naming someone else's fish?"

H: [laughs] Well, here's the situation. I think a fish name can be pretty malleable.

J: Yeahh.

H: So while it is in your other suitemate's home, that fish is named Manhole, and when it returns, it's named Derek again.

J: Yeah, I think that's fine. I think you can call your roommate's fish whatever you need to to get through this experience. I would argue the bigger concern is that in terms of keeping a fish alive, four months is a long time.

H: [laughs]

J: And so your main job is to return with a fish, regardless of that fish's name.

H: Speaking of which, John, five fish names in five seconds. Go!

J: Uhhmm, err...

H: Good one.

J: Aaaahhh...

H: Great.

J: ...and Lizzo.

H: [laughs] That was three!

J: [laughs] One was "uhhh", one was "oooo", one was "ehhhh", one was "errrrr"...

H: [laughs] Oh, okay.

J: Yeah, no, that was four. And Lizzo was my fifth name.

H: All of them were just sort of, like, noises of frustrated thought, and Lizzo. Okay.

J: Right.

H: Whichever one of those you want.

J: Ah, you're welcome.

H: John, you gotta put yourself-- you gotta lean out over the edge! Gotta see what happens! Gotta be like, "Plate! Nocturne! Animal! Plant! Danger!"

J: [laughs]

H: There, see!

J: Those were good. Mine are better.

 Question 4

H: John, this next question comes from Annabeth, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, are mushrooms a vegetable? They're a fungi. They're not even plants. How could that be a vegetable? Not a Chase, Annabeth." What? Not a Chase...

 (12:00) to (14:00)

J: What's the opposite of a Chase?

H: Not a Chase...Oh, Annabeth Chase-- Annabeth Chase is from the Percy Jackson books, John.

J: Oh, I was thinking very literally, like--

H: I was going for a pun, yeah. [laughs]

J: Yeah.

H: Okay. So first of all, obviously the category of "vegetable" is made up. This idea that there are--

John: All categories are made up.

Hank: [laughs] Yeah. Sure.

John: This is, like-- the underlying problem is, any time you come up against these weirdnesses in taxonomy, the thing that you have to remember is that, like, the's not like vegetables came to be based on a category.

Hank: Right.

John: The category came to be based on our observation of vegetables, and then as our observation of vegetables got better we were like, "Oh, turns out this category is, like..."

Hank: Yeah.

John: "...a little oversimplistic."

Hank: It's not good. But I will say that taxonomically, there are all kinds of things, like there-- scientifically, taxonomically, there are fruits, and fruits are a  certain kind of thing, and then vegetables are a kind of-- other kind of thing? But vegetables is the one that really doesn't really mean anything, and so--but. I brought this question up because...Deboki and I looked it up, and the USDA has thoughts on this...

John: Oh.

Hank: ...which I'm a big fan of.

John: Okay.

Hank: So the USDA categorizes mushrooms under "other vegetables". And here are the categories of vegetables, John: you've got-- this is according to-- like, for now. This is what we have arrived at. "Dark green vegetables"...

John: Mm-hm.

Hank: "Red and orange vegetables"...

John: Sure.

Hank: "Beans and peas"...

John: Yup.

Hank: "Starchy vegetables"...

John: Yup.

Hank: ...which shouldn't count because they're basically just bread that grows.

John: Right.

Hank: And then you've got "other vegetables". And "other vegetables" includes, it includes: funguses...

John: Mm-hm.

Hank: ...summer squash...

John: [laughs] Wait, what?

Hank: ...avocado, and iceberg lettuce.

John: [laughs]

Hank: [laughs]

John: Avocado is a weird one. It's really hard-- avocado...

Hank: It is!

John: Avocado is probably the most interesting food that humans eat.

Hank: Mm-hm.

John: Iceberg lettuce, though...I think they put iceberg lettuce in "other" in the first attempt in a multi-decade process to hopefully remove iceberg lettuce from human diets.

Hank: [laughs] No, John, no. I love salad dressing, and iceberg lettuce is the purest way to get it into my mouth. With a little crunch.

John: Poor summer squash, though. Like--

Hank: I know!

John: What about all other squashes? Why do they get to live happily in either dark green vegetables or red and yellow vegetables?

Hank: I don't know! Right? Where do the winter squashes go? Like, winter squashes, to me-- are they starchy vegetables? I also was amazed by this fact: they have mushrooms, summer squash, iceberg lettuce, avocado, et cetera. How do you put "et cetera" at the end of that list of things that have nothing to do with each other?!

John: [laughs] Right. "And other things like mushrooms, and iceberg lettuce, you know..."

Hank: And avocado! Iceberg lettuce and avocado are the most opposite foods!

John: [laughs] Right. Nobody's ever like, "God, I really feel like some iceberg lettuce toast."

Hank: [laughs] Actually, with a little honey mustard, I could see it.

John: I bet you do. I bet you would like it with some mustard.

Hank: Yeah.

John: Yeah. Alright. [laughs] So there's your answer. Fungi, avocados, iceberg lettuce, et cetera.

Hank: Et cetera.

 Question 5

John: Alright, Hank, let's move on to this question from Christine, who write, "Dear John and Hank, I've been wearing a face mask because reasons, but I miss smiling at people. What gesture can I make to people I don't know to let them know I see them and what they do..."

Hank: [laughs]

John: What -- what is happening out there?

Hank: I'm just laughing at this question.

John: Oh, okay. It was such a weird laugh that I got confused.

Hank: [makes strange noise] Uuuuuu...

John: Yeah. [laughs] It sounded like a door creaking open.

Hank: [laughs]

John: "What gesture can I make to people I don't know to let them know I see them when I'm wearing a mask? I don't want to just, like, say hi all the time."

Hank: Yeah.

John: "DFTWAM, Christine."

Hank: Easy enough. Obviously, you just have to be wearing a cabana hat, and you just do a just pick it up a little.

John: Oh, a little tip of the hat?

Hank: Yeah!

John: Nothin' like a tip of the hat. Like, "Hello there!"

Hank: Do you think I can-- I'm 40. Can I wear a cabana hat yet?

John: No. No. You're, like, at least 20 years and 42 Jimmy Buffett concerts away from being able to wear a cabana hat. That's the rules.

Hank: Ahh. Ahh...I do want to wear a cabana hat, but I don't want to go to any Jimmy Buffett concerts ever. I think I could do it.

John: I'm sympathetic to your plight, but those are the rules. I don't make them.

Hank: [laughs]

John: Anyway, Christine, the answer to this is extremely simple, which is that you can actually tell that people are smiling via their eyes.

Hank: Yeah.

John: They're -- you know.

Hank: Just gotta let it get up there. You gotta let your cheeks do the work.

John: You can tell. Yeah. Yeah, you just -- but -- I saw a great TikTok about this when somebody was like, "When coronavirus is over and I'm smiling at people and it's-- you're just smiling with your eyes?"

Hank: [laughs]

John: Because I do find myself doing that now, like, when I'm wearing a mask and I'm trying to be expressive with my face, like -- it's all in my eyes now? So I'm like, here's me with very wide eyes. Here's me with happy smiling eyes.

Hank: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

John: And I do feel like at some point I'm going to take off the face mask and people are going to be like, "Why don't you smile with your mouth?"

Hank: Yeah, I also sometimes will recognize someone, and they will be like, "Okay, you're gonna have to tell me who you are", and then I'll tell them, and they'll be like, "I'm so sorry", and I'll be like, "No, I've covered my face. I'm wearing a hat and a mask. You've got, like, three square inches with which to figure out who I am."

John: Yeah.

Hank: Not fair.

John: Yeah, I personally...I mean, I obviously want this to end on every possible level, except for the level where I can't recognize anyone and no one can recognize me. I kind of like that level.

Hank: [laughs] Just gotta move through the world without ever -- Whereas I am the opposite, and would like -- I feel like I should start wearing a cabana hat so people will be like, "That's Hank."

John: Oh.

Hank: He's the guy who wears the cabana hat.

John: Oh -- I mean, you just had a moment of real, deep self-realization. But I don't know if it penetrated as deeply as I need it to.

Hank: [laughs] I'm gonna -- Hank, we're gonna stop recording the podcast for a sec, we're gonna let you sit with that feeling --

John: [laughs] Yeah, if you could go call your therapist real quick --

Hank: -- learn about how you're thinking about your cabana hat, and then I'm gonna just need you to spend 15 solid minutes alone with that.

John: [laughs] Yeah. By the way, Hank, that's a feeling that you share with everyone who has a cabana hat and wears the cabana hat out on a regular basis.

Hank: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, probably true. Oh, this one's not that expensive, though...

 Question 6

John: Okay, let's move on before Hank starts online shopping. This question comes from Maya, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I've been going on bike rides around my neighborhood in the evenings, and sometimes I see that a few of my neighbors have their lawn sprinklers going, and I get pretty sweaty from biking and the weather is very warm at the moment, Would it be acceptable to get down off my bike and run through their sprinklers?"

Hank: [laughs]

John: "How can I pass this off if I get caught? P.S. I am an adult."

Hank: [laughs]

John: Which is...helpful background.

Hank: That is definitely -- yeah, sometimes Orin will, like, run through peoples' sprinklers, and then he'll be like, "Come with me", and I'll be like, "I don't think I can? I think that you can and I can't."

John: Yeah, that's --

Hank: And he's like, "Why not?" And I'm like, "I don't know! But like --"

John: I don't make the rules, buddy.

Hank: But that's what it feels like to me. And I will sometimes lean my arm out over the sprinklers and like, get some. Just like, get a little sprankle.

John: Yeah.

Hank: And then maybe, like, splash it on my face. But I feel like -- if someone was doing it in my yard, I think I'd be okay with it.

John: I wouldn't, at all. And here's my take on it. If the sprinkler, because of the way the person set it up, extends out of the yard into a street --

Hank: Or across a sidewalk.

John: -- or across a sidewalk, you are allowed to stop on the sidewalk --

Hank: And get sprankled.

John: -- and let the sprinkler "sprankle" you, to quote Hank, several times. Because that is the person who put the sprinkler in basically saying, like, "I am allowing for this possibility."

Hank: Uh-huh.

John: But I don't think you're allowed to, like, run through someone's lawn while the sprinkler is on. Now, there is another question here, which is why are we using perfectly potable water to sprinkle on grass that cannot be eaten.

Hank: [laughs] Mm-hm.

John: Which is a question for a separate podcast called The Anthropocene Reviewed Episode 3.

Hank: Okay. Glad we got that one settled. No problem. John, have you noticed --

John: Oh, Hank, that reminds me.

Hank: Okay. Does it remind you of the same thing it reminded me of, 'cause we're gonna find out. You go.

John: Uh, it reminds me that I have a major announcement that I forgot to make. [laughs]

Hank: Oh, okay. [laughs] Oh, it's -- yeah. It's different. But I know what it is.

John: I have a new book coming out. It's coming out next May, I think, and it's a collection of essays -- it's my first book of nonfiction. It is called The Anthropocene Reviewed and it's a mix of episodes of the podcast that have been expanded and revised to turn into a book, and also new reviews. It's my attempt, I guess, to chart what it felt like for one person to live in the Anthropocene at one moment in history. So, yeah, it's available for pre-order now, and also I will be signing every copy of the first printing -- in the United States, if you are ordering it in the United States. I guess that won't surprise anybody who's familiar with my past books, or with the episode of The Anthropocene Reviewed where I talk about the artwork of the Japanese artist Hiroyuki Doi. I like to make repetitive marks on paper, so I'm excited.

Hank: And he will sign anything! 

John: [laughs] I'm really excited for the book, and also quite nervous about it. But yeah, I am really excited, and I hope that you like it.

Hank: Congratulations, John. I'm excited. I'm excited to see it.

John: Thank you. Thanks.

Hank: John, this next question--

John: It's been a few years since I published a book, so it'll--it'll--eh--I--ahh.

Hank: Hahh.

John: I hope it's--ahh.

Hank: [laughs]

John: Let's move on. I hope people like it! Oh god! 'Kay! Go!

 Question 7

Hank: This next question comes from Caroline, who asks: "Hello, Mr. & Mr. Green." That's not what the name of the podcast is, though that would be fun.

John: That would be a great podcast name, though.

Hank: Then we would have to lose -- we'd have to end our bet. It seems like time is slowing down, John, and that maybe we will get to Mars by 2028.

John: Do you want to double down? [laughs]

Hank: Nooooo. "I just moved into my dorm and my roommate is pretty great. We get along, and I enjoy living with her. But, there's one thing I haven't been able to talk to her about. On her whiteboard, she has written 'DFTBA'. I want to ask her about it, but starting conversations is not a skill that I'm great at. I have been waiting for her to notice my DFTBA pin that I have on my backpack, but it's been three days and she hasn't."

John: [laughs]

Hank: "What do I say to bring up the subject? I don't know if she listens to the podcast, but if she does, hi Lucy, it's Caroline. Any dubious advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm an empath and care a lot, Caroline."

John: This is very sweet, but I think it's totally possible, Caroline, that she did notice and she just also hasn't said anything because she's also nervous.

Hank: Yeahhh, it seems likely.

John: I think it was a great move to write in to the podcast. That's a very passive choice, my kind of move. I really like it.

Hank: [laughs] Yeah.

John: But I do think at some point you've gotta say, like, "Hey, I know what that initialism means."

Hank: Yeah. What's the opposite of aggressive? So you can just like, passive-aggressive. But then there's, like, whatever this is.

John: Yeah, but this isn't passive-aggressive. It's merely passive, right? Like, it -- we've all had occasions like this, where you see somebody reading your favorite book, and you're like, "Nah, I'm not gonna say anything because, like, I--"

Hank: Right. Well, this is like--

John: "--I've seen movies where people say things, and the people who say things aren't people I want to be like." Like, we all have those moments.

Hank: [laughs] Yeah. It's passive-friendly. It's like, we're trying to create friend-ness, but passively. And active-friendly is great, passive-friendly is great, but I think that you don't need to bring up the DFTBA, you just bring up something around DFTBA. Like, you're like, "Are you excited for Pizzamas this year?" Or, "Have you ever gotten--"

John: No, that's -- no, that's a bad idea. That's a terrible idea.

Hank: No? John doesn't like it.

John: That's so creepy!

Hank: Awww, I like it.

John: It's so creepy to come -- if you're just like --

Hank: Yeah, it's -- I guess. I guess it's a little creepy.

John: If somebody -- because first off, somebody could know DFTBA and not know us. That is possible. They could certainly know DFTBA and not know Pizzamas, right? Like, the longer it goes, the weirder it gets, as is the case with so many things.

Hank: Right. True.

John: And so--

Hank: So you just gotta buckle down and say, "Do you follow TikTok star Hank Green?"

John: [laughs] I think you mean, "Do you follow TikTok star John Green?" Or, "TikTok over-user Hank Green."

Hank: Aaaayy...

John: Because you're obsessed with the total number--who has more followers, which I think is a very 2017 way of judging success on social media. I subscribe to the Uncle Mike theory of social media stardom, which is that really, the amount of your social media impact should be your number of total posts divided by your number of total followers.

Hank: [laughs] That's very good, you're very -- you're one of the tops on TikTok, then.

John: And if you have -- that means that if you have 1 follower and 0 posts, you are the most successful social media star of all time.

Hank: [laughs] Yeah, any time you're dividing by 0. That's the win.

John: [laughs]

Hank: Per unit of work.

John: Yeah, I mean, if you really -- if you want to win social media, don't use it. What were we talking about?

Hank: Uhh...trying to figure out...

John: Sorry, sorry, I was doing a Rubik's cube.

Hank: [laughs] I was looking at TikTok, sorry, I got lost.

John: [laughs]

Hank: Trying to figure out how to get Caroline, uh, i-in, on the friendship path, re: their common interest in, at least, the initialism DFTBA.

John: Yeah, so I think you just say, like, "I noticed you had DFTBA written on the whiteboard, and I have a DFTBA key chain. Did you know that John Green has a new book coming out in May?"

Hank: [laughs]

John: "It's called The Anthropocene Reviewed and it's available for pre-order wherever books are sold."

Hank: Yeah.

John: That would be my way in, Caroline, but obviously everybody has a different opening line.

Hank: Yeah. And you gotta do this soon, because you're probably not gonna be in that dorm much longer.

John: [laughs] God, no!

Hank: I hope not, I hope everything goes fine and you're in that dorm for a long, long time. But regardless, Caroline, you're probably gonna want to shoot your shot, because it may be that the people in your dorm are the only ones you're gonna get to hang out with.

John: Potentially, just you and your roommate.

 Fake Sponsors

Hank: [laughs] God. Which reminds me that this podcast is brought to you by COVID-19! COVID-19 has a sponsor message here, it says: "Don't wear a mask!"

John: [laughs]

Hank: So I guess we really will take money from anybody, John.

John: [laughs] Today's podcast is also, of course, brought to you by shutting down the economy. Shutting down the economy: don't wear a mask!

Hank: This podcast is also brought to you by cabana hats.

John: Oh, god.

Hank: Not masks!

John: No. [laughs]

Hank: They do nothing for you!

John: And also, this podcast is brought to you by The Anthropocene Reviewed book. The Anthropocene Reviewed book: John forgot to plug it until halfway through the podcast.

Hank: [laughs]

John: But now I've plugged it five times.

 Project for Awesome Message

Hank: There's a Project for Awesome message from Alex and Geo, to Ali, Allison, Goose, Sara, Skye, and Wiki: "Sorry, fam, we totally put this off until the last second and now we can't think of what to say. Y'all are really cool, and we're glad to have the cuckoo bombs. Maybe one day we'll all be in the same place." Maybe! Maybe, Alex and Geo! Maybe! Fingers crossed.

John: I do hope that one day I can be in the same place as my friends and brother, and, yeah.

Hank: Yep.

John: I miss that. I don't miss traveling as such, but I do miss seeing people I love.

Hank: Yeah, I miss being in the places.

 Question 8

Hank: John, this last question before the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon comes from Laura, who asks: "Dear Hank and John, I've recently been in a bookstore twice, and had issues finding my book due to looking in the wrong genre section. The first time I looked in the fantasy section, to find it was in a section labelled 'dark fantasy.'"

John: Oh!

Hank: "I didn't know that was a thing, but now I do. The next visit, I was looking for a sci-fi themed book of the month. Instead othe sci-fi section, it was in the mysteries and thrillers section! Normally I have no issues with asking help from the bookstore staff, but at current time in all that stuff, I'd like to avoid it. So how do I know which genre I should be perusing for books? All help is appreciated, Laura." I just went to Barnes and Noble to stealth-sign some copies of my book, and I went through the entire science fiction section and it wasn't there, and so I discovered it was in the "science fiction and fantasy" section, which was separate from the science fiction section!

John: Wowww. Wow. Yeah, the ideal solution to this is to ask a bookseller, and they'll almost always be extremely helpful and know where the book is, but I understand why that why that might be complicated in this current time. I have also had this experience a number of times. I think some of it speaks to the way genre is changing, and bookstores try to shelve stuff with other things that you might also like if you like this, right? Like, they try to do read-alikes of a kind, but that doesn't really work if you can't find the book you're looking for.

Hank: Right. Well, I mean, here's the situation. We can't even figure what mushrooms are.

John: [laughs]

Hank: We think -- we think iceberg lettuce and avocado belong in the same category!

John: Right.

Hank: It's just hard!

John: It's hard.

Hank: It's hard to categorize things!

John: It's hard. Taxonomy is hard.

Hank: Yeah.

John: And it's really hard when it comes to books, because there are a lot of books that are romance novels and literary fiction and science fiction, and there are some books that are romance and mystery and literature and SF and fantasy. And YA.

Hank: Mm-hm.

John: Like, it's endless. That's one of the things I always really liked about publishing young adult fiction, is that that all lived on the shelf together?

Hank: Right.

John: So Holly Black and Laurie Halse Anderson and Jacqueline Woodson and Walter Dean Myers could all live together.

Hank: Right.

John: And I always thought that was really really cool.

Hank: Yeah!

John: But obviously, it's really hard to do that at scale and just be like, "Here are all the books!" You do need some kind of taxonomy, and I get that.

Hank: Yeah, you do. And I think that these things are always in flux. So, like, dark fantasy kind of didn't exist, and then it did, and it may not exist in the future, and my Barnes & Noble in particular -- if you're listening and you work there, what's up? It looks great in there, by the way, you're doing fantastic work. And it looks like it is in a state of flux, where maybe science fiction and fantasy is continuing to be broken out from itself.

John: Yes.

Hank: But, there are books that definitely I wouldn't know which section to put it in if those weren't blended categories.

John: That's a great point, too, that a lot of bookstores are in flux right now, and they're obviously responding know, in many of their cases, the biggest challenge in their history.

Hank: Yeah. Yeah.

John: And figuring out how to do that well is not easy. And I feel like we should say, Hank, that this is a great time to support bookstores. It's always a good time to support bookstores, but this is a really great time to do it if you can. If you live in the United States, you can support your local independent stores by shopping for books at, but bookstores are just so important to publishing, and they support a lot of jobs, and yeah. So, support them if you can.

 News from AFC Wimbledon

Hank: Alright, John, do you have any news from AFC Wimbledon for us?

John: Hank, the stadium is really -- it's really coming together. It's not gonna be ready by the first game of the season. Of course, that doesn't matter very much because there won't be fans.

Hank: Right.

John: At the beginning of the season, or at least it looks like there probably won't be fans at the beginning of the season. The first game is currently, the first game of the third tier season is currently scheduled for September 12, and I know that because the fixtures list has come out. That's right, we have a schedule, Hank. A schedule. We know who we're playing.

Hank: Is that what the fixtures list is? Is that what they call it?

John: Yeah, so we know who we're playing and in what order. Or, I guess I should say, in the past we would have known who we were playing and in what order. In the past, when we believed in the future. In the current present, we know who we hope we are playing and in what order.

Hank: Mm-hm.

John: Because who knows what's gonna happen with the League 1 season this year, but assuming that things go according to plan, the season will begin on September 12, which is several weeks later than usual in an attempt to get the numbers of new cases in the UK even lower than where they are now.

Hank: Mm-hm.

John: So it'll start on September 12 and run through basically mid-May. The highlights of the season for me are obviously the games against Milton Keynes, those are important games. It does look like the game against Milton Keynes, the home game, the home version of that game, the game that we will be playing at Plough Lane, the place that they tried to take from us, and that Wimbledon fans have rebuilt, will be on January 30 of 2021. I've got that date circled in my calendar as the first time I get a plane, question mark question mark question mark?

Hank: [laughs] Wow.

John: [laughs] That's probably a little ambitious, but it would be great to see Wimbledon playing at Plough Lane, especially that particular game, because I think it will be a sell-out. Also, Swindon Town, Hank, who you may remember --

Hank: Yep!

John: -- from years and years ago of playing FIFA with me, Swindon Town have been promoted up from League 2 to the third tier of English football --

Hank: Oh!

John: -- and they will be playing Wimbledon on September 10.

Hank: Wow.

John: So that's another exciting fixture for me. But on the whole, the schedule looks, I don't know. I mean, there's a lot of Wimbledon fans talking about, is it better to play the good teams at the beginning of the season or do we want to save the good teams for the end of the season when we're playing at Plough Lane and we've got more crowd noise and more energy, but who knows if there will be a crowd -- Nobody knows.

Hank: Yeah.

John: So, we know who we're supposed to be playing, which is a step in the right direction. We still don't know when any of it's gonna happen.

 News from Mars

Hank: I hear that. Well, John, this week in Mars news, we just got a little update on Perseverance, which has done a bit of a course correction on its journey to the Red Planet.

John: Is that normal? Should I be concerned?

Hank: Yes, it is one of the normal -- there are five of these, so this is the first of five.

John: Okay.

Hank: Fifteen days after liftoff, eight of the spacecraft's thrusters were fired, and a thing that is called a trajectory correction maneuver, which is exactly what it sounds like. And that is gonna launch it out of our orbit into Mars's orbit, and the next one is gonna happen at the end of September. There's also a backup plan for February, in case any last-minute corrections are needed as the rover gets ready to land in the Jezero crater, which is a wonderful, weird, cool geologic place to be on Mars, and so it's very exciting that Perseverance will, all going to plan, be there quite soon! You can see the full map of how all of this works at Perseverance's Twitter account, which is @NASAPersevere. And according to the account, as of August 15, the spacecraft has gone about 27 million miles already, with about 265 million miles to go.

John: That is mind-blowing.

Hank: Yeah. [laughs] It's, y'know, it's a distance. It's a distance. Not as far as we've ever gone or anything, but it's certainly farther than any person has ever gone.

John: Yeah, I mean, I've done a lot air travel.

Hank: [laughs]

John: I have some pretty -- not to brag, I have some pretty fancy medallion status.

Hank: Uh-huh.

John: But I'm not anywhere close to 28 million miles.

Hank: [laughs]

John: You get a really special medallion if you make it to 28 million miles.

Hank: They really -- I mean, Delta should get a sponsorship with NASA. Pay 'em. And then they'll just say, any time Curiosity or Perseverance wants to go on a flight anywhere in the world, free. Absolutely.

John: [laughs] God, I love Delta. I can't wait for the day, Hank, when Delta finally sponsors me.

Hank: Yeah.

John: I'll wear, like, a Delta polo in Vlogbrothers videos for the rest of my life.

Hank: Can I tell you and the tens of thousands of people listening a secret?

John: Yeah.

Hank: But it's a secret, so don't tell anybody.

John: Okay, yeah.

Hank: I was recently reached out to by a competing dietary fiber supplement brand to Metamucil.

John: Are you serious?

Hank: I was.

John: That isn't Metamucil?

Hank: Yes.

John: Can I guess who it was?

Hank: No, you are not allowed to guess, John.

John: Okay. What did you say?

Hank: I said, send me some of your product and I will see what I think of it.

John: Wow. I mean, I have to say, Hank, if you get sponsored by a supplementary fiber brand that isn't Metamucil, my faith in your seriousness as an ad pitchman is going to be in the toilet.

Hank: [laughs]

John: I will have no faith in you whatsoever. At that point, you might as well be the, like, guy who's on infomercials shouting about cleaning surfaces.

Hank: Well, look, maybe it's way better! So I'm just gonna let 'em send me some, and if I like it better --

John: Yeah. Right. And I'm sure that the prospect of financial compensation will in no way affect your relationship with the product, just as it never, ever does for anyone ever.

Hank: [laughs] We'll see!

John: Alright, Hank, I look forward to you selling your soul for a different supplemental fiber brand.

Hank: [laughs]


John: Thanks for podding with me. Thanks to everybody for listening. You can write us at, we really appreciate all your emails.

Hank: We're off to record our patron-only Patreon podcast that you can find at And that podcast is now called This Week in Stuff, where we talk about stuff that ideally made us a little happier than usual. This podcast is edited by Joseph "Tuna" Metesh, it's produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson, our editorial assistant is Deboki Chakravarti, our communications coordinator is Julia Bluhm, the music you're hearing now and at the beginning of the podcast is by the great Gunnarolla, and as they say in our hometown...

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.