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How do I achieve my dream fridge? What do Danish people call Danish pastries? Is the North Pole a continent or an island? Why are cartoon mice cute? How do cats purr? How does rounding up for charity work? Can I put your voice in a build-a-bear? Hank Green and John Green have answers!

If you're in need of dubious advice, email us at hankandjohn@gmail.com.

Join us for monthly livestreams and an exclusive weekly podcast at patreon.com/dearhankandjohn.

Follow us on Twitter! twitter.com/dearhankandjohn

 (00:00) to (02:00) [intro music]


Hank Green: Hello and welcome to dear Hank and John. 

John Green: Or as I prefer to think of it: dear John and Hank 

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

Hank Green: Joooohn 

John Green: Yeah?

Hank Green: Why whatever you go golfing, why do you always bring another pair of socks? 

John Green: Sooo that-

Hank Green: [Overlapping] just in case just in case, what is that- just in case so that you can... 

John Green: hm?... Just in case 

Hank Green: What is it? You can do this. Just in case..

John Green: You need a putter? 

Hank Green: Um, what do you get when you golf? Like a good outcome, right? 

John Green: I've never, uh, a birdie?? 

Hank Green: [Laughs] 

John Green: I've never golfed. 

Hank Green:  I have also never golfed [Laugh]

John Green: I've watched it on television a few times. 

Hank Green: Just think, if people- 

John Green: My friend Chris is really into it, so sometimes I see it on TV and he'll make all kinds of comments and it's and I'll be like, well, that he did hit that ball very straight and far. What an impressive achievement.

Hank Green: John

John Green: Yeah?

Hank Green: I think that the people at home have got it by now. It's just in case you get a hole in one. 

John Green: Ah, just in case you get a hole in one. Hank, I wonder how these sock related Dad jokes are going to play for like the whole eternity after December 11th, which is when https://awesomesocks.club/ closes to new members. 

Hank Green: Uh huh- well 

John Green: So then everybody after that is going to be horribly disappointed when they can no longer get a socks subscription at https://awesomesocks.club/dearhank or https://awesomesocks.club/dearjohn, thank you to all the people who have been using my promo code that doesn't really matter because none of the money goes anywhere except to charity. 

Hank Green: This is true and I-I don't care about the future, John. I care about now 

John Green: [Laughing]

 Hank Green: And- and the great news is the awesome socks club is doing amazingly well. We kind of sold through our initial guess at the upper limit of how many socks we would need… (02:00) to (04:00) Hank Green: so- 


John Green: We have beaten our own expectations. 

Hank Green: [Chuckle] The result of that is that if you- if you bought socks before, like, Sunday, November 29th. They will arrive as normal, but if when you were buying socks there was a notification that told you about this, you will get your first 2 pairs of socks in February and then one pair of socks every month after that. Because we just can't make socks fast enough for you folks, so that's exciting. 

John Green: It is exciting and we should impact that a little bit Hank because this is another example of Hanks, what I consider irrational exuberance, running up against my, what I consider reasonable caution. 

Hank Green: [Laughing] Uh huh. 

John Green: And I have once again- this does not happen all the time. 

Hank Green: No. 

John Green: It should be said, but I have on this occasion been proven wrong and your irrational exuberance was warranted when it came to the Awesome Socks Club and I would like to formally apologize to all the people who are getting two pairs of socks in February instead of getting one pair of socks in January and one pair of socks in February. That is my fault. 

Hank Green: [Laugh]

John Green: Because I set the number too low. 

Hank Green: Yeah, but this is kind of your last chance, so if you wanted to check out the awesome Socks Club, that's https://awesomesocks.club/dearhank  or https://awesomesocks.club/dearjohn  and you can see how you can sort of delight yourself once a month for all of 2021. Or you gonna have somebody get it for you as a present. Or get it for someone else as a present. Look John, there are so many options. 

John Green: It's just- it's endless. 

Hank Green: And also all the money goes to charity! 

John Green: And the very best part is that instead of having a .com domain name like every other website, it has a .club domain name which is very exciting. https://awesomesocks.club/ you've never been on the .club side of the web. 

Hank Green: [Laughing] But there's there's two things in .club side of the web. There are subscription services. 

John Green: Yeah 

Hank Green: There are clubs and then there are [marketing voice] The hottest new place where there's flashing lights and disco balls! 

John Green: Oh, right. 

 Hank Green: And you definitely cannot go there because of this pandemic. (04:00) to (06:00) John Green: Right, 


Hank Green: [normal voice] Yeah, 

John Green: have you- I want to get to questions from our listeners. 

Hank Green: Yeah-. 

John Green: But I dearly want to ask this question because, Have you ever been to a club? 

Hank Green: I don't think I have been to a club. I've been to venues, 

John Green: Right 

Hank Green: But I've never- It's Montana. I don't know that we have any clubs here. 

John Green: I have to say every time I've been to a club I've had a good time. It's just that I just feel like maybe that part of my life has come to an end. 

Hank Green: Yes, I agree, there's nothing wrong with, with this activity as long as there isn't the current pandemic. I have a related story, John that I want to tell you about the time that I was in New York City and someone said to me, let's go to a bar and I was like, OK, let's go to a bar and he was like how do you feel about going to a dive bar? And I was like I don't know what a dive bar is. He took me to the dive bar and I discovered that a dive bar is what in Montana we call a bar. 

John Green: [chuckling] It's true, I've been to a lot of bars in Missoula. Now that we're significantly into the podcast, maybe we should do what we do, which is answer questions from our listeners, and I want to ask you this question Hank, 'cause it reminded me of our childhood.

[Reading] Dear John and Hank. I'm 20 years old and I have two big dreams in life, both of which revolve around fridges. The first one is to own a smeg fridge because they are so beautiful. [talking normally]I have no idea what that is, but I guess it's a kind of fridge. [continues reading] The second, is to own a fridge that dispenses water because to me that is a symbol of success. So when I own one, I know that I will have made it. The problem is that Smeg do not sell fridges that dispense water. How do I reconcile these two incompatible fridge based dreams? 

John Green: [talking normally]I think you've got to get rid of the Smeg dream. It's no good and you've got to embrace the fridge that dispenses water dream because when we were kids Hank,

Hank Green: uhuh

John Green: Do you remember this, like going to other people's houses and seeing that their fridges dispensed water and being like Oh my God, the Southerlands-

Hank Green: Yeah. 

John Green: have got it figured out

Hank Green: Well, not just that, but chipped ice oh, not only dispense ice, but there was a, there was a giant motor in there that just just ripped it to shreds on the way out. 

 John Green: But even a refrigerator that would dispense ice… (06:00) to (08:00) John Green: ...I mean, I'm 43 years old and I don't have a refrigerator that can dispense ice


Hank Green: Me either.  

John Green: Because it's almost like it would be too good. You know, like sometimes you don't want your dreams to come true because you want there to be something that you're out there reaching for. And for me, like I'm out there, reaching for a fridge that when I push a button will give me ice 

Hank Green: Yeah

John Green: And I- I worry that if I got it I would just, I would stop being ambitious.

Hank Green: right, well or you just find something else to want. This is a thing that I think is useful as I try and hold on to the ones that I'm like, OK with and I know that if I satisfy them, they'll just get replaced by something else, so I might as well stick with the ones that I currently have because I know it. I know the shape of it. I know how bad it is, and I can sort of like manage it, Sophie I have better advice for you though, are you ready for this John? 

John Green: Yeah

Hank Green: Now you have big dreams.

John Green: I do,

Hank Green: No- 

John Green: Oh Sophie does,

Hank Green: Sophie does-

John Green: But I do too. Can we talk about mine? 

[Both laughing]

Hank Green: What you need is a third dream, so one of your dreams is to get a Smeg fridge one is to get a fridge that dispenses water, your third dream is to become the CEO of Smeg 

John Green: Yes!

Hank Green: and then you’re in charge of whether or not water comes out of that baby! 

John Green: By the way I've Googled Smeg fridges and they're really cool and I'd like to rescind my earlier comment that you shouldn't work on getting a smeg fridge- 

Hank Green: [Laughing]

John Green: You totally should. 

Hank Green: Yeah

John Green: But it should be part of your larger dream, which is to become the sole owner of Smag,

Hank Green: Right 

John Green: So that you can announce you could have a press conference and you could say I bet you wondered why I gathered you all here today. It's to make a major announcement about the future of Smeg, we’re in the water and ice distribution business now baby. 

Hank Green: [Laughing] That's right, and you could say to you can look down on the grave of Vittorio Bertazzoni who is the current CEO of Smeg. I'm just assuming that like,

John Green: [Laughing]

Hank Green: You both lived good long lives and he's done with his time and you can look at his grave and you could say I know that you hated this idea, and I know you're spinning in there, but it had to be done my friend, we had to. Move into the future Vittorio!

 John Green: We had to take this retro brand into the 22nd century, V-Vittorio... (08:00) to (10:00) John Green: ...What a phenomenal name. 


Hank Green: Yeah! 

John Green: For a CEO of Refrigeration and Oven Company and by the way I know Vittorio Bertazzoni is a listener to the podcast, so I just want to say hello, thanks for listening. Sorry for making fun of your fridge earlier, that was before I googled it and realized how cool your fridges are, but if you want to make a really great fridge, I'm just going to tell you right now it's gotta be able. It's gotta be a situation where I push a button and it gives me ice. 

Hank Green: Yeah 

John Green: And I realize this is not the biggest problem in the world, but I open my freezer after reaching and get the ice and the problem is that the first 3/4 of ice is all frozen together and so there's only about 6 to 8 pieces of ice at any time. And if I'm not careful, if I don't have a pretty good, if I don't make a point of going in there every couple of days, then I've just got a big frozen block of ice. And then I've then I'm in a situation where I've got to take the whole thing out- but

Hank Green: Yeah,  

John Green: You're right Hank, you need dreams in this world

Hank Green: That's right. 

John Green: You need to, you need something that you're reaching for, that's like the green light across the Bay in The Great Gatsby, that- that you have to push yourself toward despite being born back ceaselessly into the past. And that for me, is a freezer that dispenses ice.

Hank Green: Well, Vittorio- 

John Green: That's it, that's it. I don't want to go back into the past and marry someone else. 

[both laughing]

John Green: I just want a better freezer. 

Hank Green: You'll get there. Vittorio Bertazzoni has been the CEO of SMEG for 72 years!

John Green: That’s a good run 

Hank Green: Since he founded it in 1948. I think that he's kind of taken a bit of a back seat to his son Roberto Bertazzoni, and I'm not saying this 'cause I think you can do it Sophie, but it would be best if you may have left out of detail that you might be the child of one of the Bertazzoni's. 

John Green: Yeah, that does seem to be the fastest way to get into Smeg, hierarchy. 

Hank Green: Yeah, but there's other ways. 

 John Green: Yeah,what I think you should do, Sophie, is you should… (10:00) to (12:00) John Green: ... Become a venture capitalist or some kind of I don't know, I don't know how people who move the big pile of money around and make the pile of money bigger, I don't understand how any of that works, but you should become one of those people. You should devote your whole life to moving the pile of money around and making it bigger as you go and you know, siphoning off some percentage of the money you move around until you are like in control of a large venture capital fund that owns like 4500 different companies and then you should go to your board of directors and you should say we're making a new investment: it's Smeg and they're going to be like it's what? And you're like it's Smeg, we're not buying it so that we can make money, we're buying it because this has been my dream all along, this has been the whole point-  Hank Green: [Laugh]


John Green: Of moving the pile of money around these last 45 years was so that I could buy Smeg and make them make a refrigerator that dispenses ice. 
Hank Green: Boom! Done. John, this next question comes from Matt. [Reading] Matt says dear Hank and John, what came first people; from Denmark being called Danish, or the sweet baked good being called a Danish? In the grand scheme of things, none of this matters. [Normal voice] Matt well- 
John Green: And it's so true. 

 Hank Green: I didn't think that we would need to answer this question, because obviously the Danish people came first and then like this is a Danish Danish, so we're going to call it a danish. Except! but if you're in Denmark, they don't call it a Danish they call it, they call it Vienna bread because… (12:00) to (14:00) Hank Green: ...it's not from Denmark. 


John Green: Ohohoho wow. It's like how everybody had a different name for syphilis. You know, like the Germans called it the Italian disease and the French called it the German disease and the Poles called it the Russian disease and so on. 

Hank Green: Yeah. 

John Green: Yeah, well it's like that, but for Danishes

Hank Green: Yeah exactly, no one wants to take credit for Danishes. 

John Green: [Laugh] 

Hank Green: If you go to Denmark and you ask for a Danish they will look at you weird, because they're like why are you just saying that you want a person from Denmark- 

John Green: Don't you want an Austrian? 

Hank Green: [overlapping] It's called Viener- [Laugh] It's called Vienar bread, which is Vienna bread in Danish and in Vienna, they call it “Copenhagen plunder”, which means bread from Copenhagen which is made danish, danish bread. So the people in Vienna think that it's from Copenhagen, the people from Copenhagen think it's from Vienna, and we're not entirely sure what happened here, but it's possibly due to the fact that Danish bakery workers in 1850 went on strike and then a bunch of Austrian bakery workers came into Vienna and they brought their own recipes because no one was baking. And then suddenly there were Austrian people making these Danish Danishes or they were making Danish- they were making Austrian pastries in Denmark and then they became very popular in Denmark and then when they started to send them other places they were like oh these are great Denmark treats. 

John Green: This is kind of similar to how in the United States we have a kind of meat that we refer to as Canadian bacon- 

Hank Green: Yes

John Green: and you would think that in Canada they would call it bacon,

Hank Green: [Laugh]

John Green: the way that the rest of the world calls our football American football and we just call it football, but no, in Canada they call it by its proper name, which is back bacon and it also isn't even particularly popular there from what I've heard-

Hank Green: [Laughing]

John Green: like, I think Americans consume more Canadian bacon per capita than Canadians do. 

Hank Green: Well, it's like the fact that we have French fries, which are the most- they should be called American potatoes,

John Green: They really should. 

Hank Green: because they're the most American thing that exists! 

 John Green: It's really our only major contribution to global cuisine. (14:00) to (16:00) Hank Green: [Laughing] They're very good,  


John Green: They are, although hilariously, as with our other major contribution to global cuisine, the hamburger, the best ones, are not from America. 

Hank Green: No, well hamburgers, hamburgers are also not named- they’re named after a place in Germany. What is wrong with us? 

John Green: Are they? 

Hank Green: Well Hamburg 

John Green: Oh, they are. 

Hank Green: It’s a place, in Germany. 

John Green: Ohhhh yeah. 

Hank Green (?): They're named after- 

John Green: Do people from Hamburg refer to themselves as hamburgers? 

Hank Green: [Laughing] Ich bin ein Hamburger,  

John Green: Isn't it, ich bin ein Berliner like, not actually… what Berliners would say? 

Hank Green: Well, I think a Berliner is in is both a person from Berlin and also a pastry, so we come full circle! 

John Green: [Laughing] People from Hamburg call themselves Hans Eaton (?). 

Hank Green: Oooh. It's like how in Indiana you don't call yourselves Indianians, you call yourselves Hoosiers just 'cause. It's like I picked the word. 

John Green: [Exasperated] Oh, it's not my favorite thing about Indiana. I was recently emailing with some people who work in the state government and they kept referring to like Hoosier things and I just I wanted to be like is there any? I know that it's a little late for a rebrand,

Hank Green: [Laugh]

John Green: because I know we've been a state for like 140 years. I know we've been calling ourselves Hoosiers the whole time, is it, is there any way we could just quietly consider just being people from Indiana. 

Hank Green: Yeah, I actually think that it's really weird and great because everybody else is a Montanan or a Californian, or a Floridian, and you're like: no! I think it’s fantastic- do you think is there any other state like that? Where you just picked a word? 

John Green: Yeah, I also like that the etymology of Hoosier is unknown and everyone who's ever like tried to establish the history of the term, it has, like failed upon closer inspection, which I think is- I-I'm fine with it. I'm going to-

Hank Green: [Laugh]

John Green: Let's move on, let's answer another question. 

 Hank Green: He's caught up, everybody he doesn't want to make the Indianian's mad at it.  (16:00) to (18:00) John Green: I am worried about it 'cause it's a very divisive thing and I just don’t want to get in the middle of it, you know. It's like how I try to stay out of Irish politics because of our relatives. This next question comes from Amanda who writes [Reading] Dear John and Hank- [normal voice] I don't even know what the question is, I'm just trying to change the subject- [continues reading] I've been trying to convince my sister that the North Pole is not a continent, but the more I think about it, the more I realized I don't know if it is a continent. Is it a continent or is it an island- what is? Continentally confused, Amanda. 


Hank Green: It's not an island or continent. Or is it?? Now I've said it out loud and I feel like maybe it is, but it's the North Pole is ocean, though it often in fact, I think always has ice on it, hopefully anyway. So yeah, you can go and stand on the North Pole, but only because there's ice there and that leads me to the question, is a giant floating raft of ice a continent which no, no but ice is a mineral and continents are just minerals that float on top of the magma ocean of the mantle so...  

John Green: right?

Hank Green: Who says? 

John Green: So kind of the only thing we know for sure, Amanda, is that like- and this has become a recurring theme in Dear Hank and John, like all other categories, this one is artificial and constructed, and so we decide what is and is not a continent and we have to remember, that we are deciding that because you know, these are constructs where we're trying to fit a bunch of things into boxes, when you know like the universe doesn't fit neatly into boxes. The only thing we know for sure, Amanda, is that Europe is not a continent . 

Hank Green: [Laughing] 

John Green: That's the *only* fact about continents. 

Hank Green: Yeah, but we can definitely say that one- I think this is confusing because Antarctica is so clearly like we talk about it as a continent- 

John Green: Right.

 Hank Green: and it is, but when we look at it on a map, it's just a bunch of ice, just like the North Pole is just a bunch of ice… (18:00) to (20:00) Hank Green: …when you look at it on a map, but under the ice- 


John Green: [Overlapping] Well, but that's partly a fault of the map, right?

Hank Green: Yeah

John Green: Like I, this is one of my longtime issues with world maps, like why is Antarctica white when all the other countries and continents are not? It's partly because like it doesn't technically belong to anyone,

Hank Green: Which is cool-

John Green: but why not just make it pink? 

Hank Green: Yeah.

John Green: Why is it white? 

Hank Green: Well, it's good- yeah, it is confusing, but underneath the ice in Antarctica there are mountains and rocks and it's a whole continent. It's just- 

John Green: Yeah, there's a bunch of stuff going on there. 

Hank Green: Just very right down at the bottom of the earth which is kind of neat. We had like we got a weird bottom continent which you know we didn't- wasn't- you know, guaranteed or anything. Congrats earth. 

John Green: Good job. 

Hank Green: Sometimes I think about the fact that none of the- there's no reason why anything is shaped the way it is and it's very upset- it's not upsetting, it's just disorienting. 

John Green: I mean there are reasons… . 

Hank Green: Yeah, but it doesn't *have* to be this shape. Like nothing has to exist. Florida didn't have to exist. There could be like an island, just like floating in a place where there isn't an island and we would have lived in that world with all those people who would have been from there and it would have just been very different, but it's this way instead.

John Green: Yeah, and we would have had all these weird things that we said about those people where we would be like, oh, you know those people living in the mountains. That's the different kind of person out there,

Hank Green: uh huh, yeah well and in some ways it would be a different kind of person, and they have different cultures- 

John Green: I know because culture and geography and human consciousness are all extremely weird. 

Hank Green: It's true. 

John Green: Alright Hank, I think we have another question, this one is from Lindsey who writes [reading] Dear John and Hank, rats and mice are notorious for spreading disease throughout history and when one scurries through the home, mouse traps are set to catch the little critters. Why then did cartoon mice become cute and lovable. The mice in Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, the great mouse detective Jerry from Tom and Jerry, Pinky and the brain, Steward Little, Remy from Ratatouille

Hank Green: [Small chuckle]

 John Green: They're all so popular. Why did we start adoring cartoon mice when real mice are so reviled? (20:00) to (22:00) Hank Green: For clarity, rats and mice are different, and Remy is a rat, not a mouse. 


John Green: Oh, ok

Hank Green: So- and in general, in general we find is that, like, mice are portrayed as good and rats are portrayed as bad and I think that that is interesting,  

John Green: Yeah. 

Hank Green: and has a number of factors. But if you the main thing is if you look at a mouse, they are cute. 

John Green: Yes. 

Hank Green: It's like why things are cute as complicated, but mice are cute and so even if- even if you really don't want to have a mouse in your house 'cause they're pooping in your cabinets and they're eating your rice, they're still kill- You do want to kill them, but they're still cute, and so I think that that's why they end up playing roles in as lovable characters. 

John Green: I think there's also something else going on here, but I can't prove . 

Hank Green: Ok

John Green: I do agree that the cuteness of a mammal is a huge determinant of how it is treated in popular culture. 

Hank Green: Uh huh. 

John Green: This is actually explored brilliantly in the greatest film of all time, Penguins of Madagascar, which is like the best film about the Anthropocene and the way that humans are selecting organisms for- for cuteness, but I think something else is happening too, though, which is that the animals that we fear and that have historically been tremendously negative forces in human life are cutified at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, almost on mass. So we see the emergence of Teddy bears, the you know probably the most dangerous animal of all time to humans, becomes the most lovable childhood plaything. We see the emergence of Tigger, the Tiger, the lovable, rambunctious, completely undangerous tiger

Hank Green: [Laughs]

 John Green: We all of these animals become cute in this moment when we are becoming so much the dominant species on earth that suddenly instead of those animals being threats to us... (22:00) to (24:00) John Green: ...we are becoming aware that we are a threat to them. Instead of the world being a thing that is attacking us, the world becomes this thing that we have to protect.


Hank Green: That’s interesting John 

John Green: And, I think that's why we made those animals cute. 

Hank Green: Yeah, it's also an expression of power, to be able to say like this extremely powerful thing actually is just adorable, that's how powerful we as humans are. 

John Green: Yes.  

Hank Green: And like that- that is a sign that- that the consciousness- at least of like this particular part of the earth, switched over and was like we get how powerful we are. 

John Green: Right 

Hank Green: We are in control of this Earth. 

John Green: Yeah, there's an Anthropocene reviewed episode -not to plug my own podcast- about Teddy bears and the history of the teddy bear, and that's a big part of the actual story of why Teddy bears became teddy bears was a story of like humans having so much power over bears that, we decide whether they live or die. We decide whether they're cute or threatening. 

Hank Green: Uh huh. We are in charge of the image of the bear now. 

John Green: Yeah  

Hank Green: Wow what a power move,

John Green:  A weird one. 

Hank Green: [Laughs]

John Green: But then again, like the 20th century was really weird. I think we’re only really beginning to engage with how weird it was now. 

Hank Green: It was very weird. 

John Green: What a weird time. 

Hank Green: Yeah, it's very weird for sure. But- but rats really didn't get, didn't really get that treatment. We've continued to kind of hate on rats and even around me like the idea of -not that I've watched Ratatouille several times recently for any particular reason-

[Both chucking]

Hank Green: But I have, that kind of idea of Ratatouille is that, like, he- he has to overcome the fact that he would be seen as disgusting in his dream job-

John Green: Right 

 Hank Green: And that is a very difficult thing, it's like one of the main tensions of the movie. So even in the case of Remy which is the cutest, best rat. He's still being- like, the reality of him not being cute is being contended with. (24:00) to (26:00) John Green: But I wonder…


Hank Green: [Interrupting] It’s a very good movie

John Green: It is a great movie. But I wonder and I don't know enough about this to have an opinion about it, but I wonder if rats became rats like in the sense you know, even now we talked about like ratting someone out as, you know telling on someone. I wonder if rats with all those negative connotations predated, the awareness that rats were what spread bubonic plague, which was- 

Hank Green: Yeah

John Green: You know, kind of the worst thing 

Hank Green: Well it's yeah, that they've done. 

John Green: In human history. 

Hank Green: Yeah- 

John Green: ehh

Hank Green: I think that it’s in the top- 

John Green: Bottom five, bottom five- 

Hank Green: It’s the worst thing rats have done, I would probably venture,  

John Green: To humans, yes. 

[Both laughing] 

John Green: Probably not to individual rats

[Both laughing more] 

Hank Green: Yeah, like I think it's important- like rats aren't just bad because they spread disease. They also were a pest, they would eat your food, which is like people needed that. 

John Green: Oh yeah, no, they were a huge pest, it was a huge press problem. 

Hank Green: Yeah, yeah. 

John Green: They remain a huge pest problem. 

Hank Green: Yeah, when I was in Haiti, I was like why are all these buildings up on stilts and they were like, so that the rats can't get into them and eat the food and I was like oh. 

John Green: Yep, big issue. How do cats purr? 

Hank Green: Actually, weirdly, we're not entirely sure. Now we have some ideas, but like- 

John Green: By the way, that question is from Lydia, thank you for your question, Lydia. 

Hank Green: [Chuckle] So they have a muscle in their larynx, they dilate and they constrict their glottis, which causes the air to sort of like, you know, rumble as it goes through. And we this like, but the actual like location and like the specifics of how the purring organ functions isn't entirely clear. It's hard to get a cat in an fMRI, and I have them sit there and get- 

John Green: Him real calm and happy. 

[Both laugh]

John Green: It's also hard to do that with me. 

 Hank Green: It’s also hard to have them be happy… (26:00) to (28:00) Hank Green: ...and not moving, 


John Green: [Laughs]

Hank Green: but also cats will purr in distress, so if you're holding a cat, that doesn't necessarily mean that their [laugh] that their purring doesn't mean necessarily that they're happy, 

John Green: hmm

Hank Green: They kind of comfort themselves with their purring so yeah- so it's a little- It's still a little bit of complicated structure in there, that we’re not entirely sure how it works and the fact that they can per both while breathing in and breathing out so they can purr constantly is also kind of a cute little mystery. 

John Green: Aw, that's really lovely, and it reminds me that today's podcast is brought to you by purring- a cute little mystery. 

Hank Green: [Laughs] This podcast is also brought to you by dive bars, dive bars, very special, very like you can find them occasionally in New York City or absolutely everywhere in Missoula, Mt. 

John Green: And of course, today's podcast is brought to you by Europe, not a continent, 

Hank Green: Hehehe, and this podcast is brought to you by Remy the rat. 

John Green: [Chuckling] 

Hank Green: Remy is not the ratatouille, Remy is the rat, which is a joke you only get if you are on Tiktok a lot. 

John Green: [still laughing] It's a good joke though 

~Ad break~

Hank Green: John, this question comes from Persephone who asks Dear Hank and John. I thought all the money from the Awesome Socks Club was going to charity. I went to sign up and there was an option to round up for charity and add an additional dollar to my total. Is that for administrative costs or is it a different charity? Persephone. 

John Green: No, it's just an extra dollar of charity, it's- doesn't replace any of the other dollars that go to charity,

Hank Green: [Laughing] Yeah

John Green: So the way that we've set up the Awesome Socks Club is similar to the way that, like Newmans own (?) is set up, if you live in the United States, you know anything about that salad dressing company? They also do other foods. All the profits go to charity, but there are still costs of course- there are costs to make sure that, you know. 

Hank Green: Yeah, well we get by your finer socks,

John Green: [Overlapping] Employees are fairly paid. And shipping costs and all that stuff so, that extra dollar if you choose to donate it, is just an extra dollar that goes straight to charity

Hank Green: Just gravy 

John Green: Yeah just gravy. 

Hank Green: Just charity gravy. 

John Green: That's a great way of thinking about it. I don't- I've never known what that phrase means- 

Hank Green: Me either. 

John Green: Just gravy, but 

Hank Green: [Chuckling] Do you- 

John Green: [Interjecting] it’s good. 

Hank Green: John, do you- 'cause I discovered recently that other people don't do this. Do you ever just drink gravy? 

John Green: Oh God, no! I don't- I don't even like gravy on- I don't like gravy ever. 

Hank Green: If you could- if anybody listening could write in, let me know if I am not the only person who does this that would be great because I started to feel real weird about it and like I'm a weirdo. 

John Green: It's very upsetting. It's really, really a bummer. 

Hank Green: [Bursts out laughing]

 John Green: I wish I didn't know that about you. It's like… (28:00) to (30:00) John Green: ...I just found out that you are a robot and that like the way that you- that's just, really upsetting, I wish I didn't know that about you. 


Hank Green: [Still laughing]

John Green: That must be how you feel about me eating cereal that's moistened with water. 

Hank Green: Yeah, nooooooo. Yep

John Green: Alright, I think let's answer one more question from Allie who writes [reading] Dear John and Hank, my best friend, Grayson absolutely adores you both. It's very endearing how excited he gets talking about you and his birthday is coming up shortly on the 3rd of December. So I have a small favor I'd like to ask. He said and I quote, “Honest to God, if Hank and John Green actually say, happy birthday Grayson, I will take the audio from that podcast and put it in a build-a-bear. I am so serious right now. I'd be buried with that bear”. [speaking normally] Grayson, do not get buried with that bear. Live a long and happy life. 

Hank Green: Forget all about it by the time you get buried.

John Green: Collaborate with many people on many wonderful projects but, Happy birthday Grayson. If you do not send us a video of that build-a-bear saying happy birthday Grayson in my voice I rescind the happy Birthday 

Hank Green: Can we do it together so that I get to be involved, at all. 

John Green: Great 

Hank Green: OK 

John Green: Ready? Three, two, one- 

Together: Happy birthday Grayson! 

John Green: Alright, I think that was good. OK, Grayson, we're going to do this, but only on the condition that you send us a video of this build-a-bear [laugh] saying happy birthday Grayson in our voices. 

Hank Green: So we're also going to need a picture when you die, which I will be dead already- 

John Green: [Laughing]

Hank Green: But when you die, you're gonna have to send a picture to one of my heirs of you in your casket with your bear. 

 John Green: Yeah. Don't- don't do that, Grayson. Hank, a lot of people wrote in to say that they share my complete inability to understand the difference between East and West, especially once they have memorized that they are East of something, and then if they move West of something, they're in trouble for the rest of their lives, and I appreciate it, thank you for making me feel less alone. Hank, I wonder if you could read the number 37 in our show notes here. (30:00) to (32:00) Hank Green: You got it John. It’s from Shauna who asks [reading] Dear Hank and John, I was listening to episode 267 and I did pretty much the same thing, although on a less public scale. During my year 11 final 20th century history exam, I referred to East Berlin as West Berlin in West Berlin as East Berlin and thankfully my teacher said because I was so consistently wrong he would overlook the error. Said with an Australian accent [Australian accent] Shauna. 


John Green: Oh, I knew it! I knew it, that's it. That's what I wanted. 

Hank Green: [Laughing very hard]

John Green: That's all I wanted. 

Hank Green: [Laughing even harder]

John Green: This is how I want it. 

[Both laughing even harder]

Hank Green: You suck 

[Both continue laughing]

John Green: I got what I wanted, thanks, thank you very much Hank 

Hank Green: [Weak from laughter] I was like, why- why am I doing this right now, why did you want me to do this?

John Green: Tuna send me a 10 hour loop of just Hank saying Shawna that way. 

[Both laughing]

Hank’s voice distorted and slowed down with echo: Shaw-na

John Green: All right in in less funny news. 

[Hank saying “Shawna” still playing in background but fading]

 John Green: Oh God. Hank, as you know AFC Wimbledon have really struggled this season in giving up goals immediately after scoring them. There is no organism, institution or manufactured good that is as fragile as a one-nil AFC Wimbledon lead and Wimbledon have developed some really fascinating strategies for dealing with this. Of course, a couple games ago we scored in the last minute of the game, with essentially the last kick of the game, brilliant strategy won that game one-nil. Then in our FA Cup first round game which is a knockout competition, we had an even better strategy which is what- what if we don't score at all and we just take it to penalties and then we win the penalty shootout, brilliant and then AFC Wimbledon went back to their old bad ways in the second round of the FA Cup playing fourth tier side quality town AFC Wimbledon scored to go one nil up. Beautiful goal from Joe Pigott and then within… (32:00) to (34:00) John Green: ...I don't know 5 minutes it was tied and then I don't know, 15 minutes later we were down to one because we had scored far too early. 


Hank Green: aha

John Green: I don't know how to get the message to manager Glenn Hodges and the boys that we gotta stop scoring in the first half. 

John Green: It just it-it doesn't work. We've got to figure out a different strategy. We're just scoring way too early. And so AFC Wimbledon are out of the FA Cup. There will be no dream tie against a huge Premier League side this year. Instead we will focus on maintaining our League One status, hopefully through the end of the season and into next year, so that actual fans will be able to celebrate the really beautiful stadium that I got to watch- I got to see pictures of during the FA Cup game and the stadium looks so good, I just wish there were fans in it. 

Hank Green: There will be John, there will be. 

John Green: Yeah, it’s true. What's the news from Mars this week? 

Hank Green: The news from Mars is so cool, John. So according to some data from the Curiosity Rover, there were once mega floods in Gale Crater where Curiosity resides and the- the indication is very cool and about four billion years old. So researchers from Cornell, Jackson State University, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the University of Hawaii have been studying data about the sediment inside the crater, and they've been able to find these huge weird 30 foot tall wave shaped features called Mega Ripples, also called Anti Dunes 

John Green: Woah!

 Hank Green: And we have seen similar features on Earth and they were formed 4.2 million years ago on Earth because of melting ice and on Mars these are much older, about four billion years ago and four billion years ago a meteor crashed into Mars, and when I say a meteor we're not in- we- were talking like the thing the size of a small planet… (34:00) to (36:00) Hank Green: ...So this was a very big event for Mars. You can see it basically the entire Northern hemisphere of Mars is an impact crater. So 4 billion years ago there was this massive crash geologic event and the heat from this melted like all of the ice on the planet, and released a bunch of carbon dioxide and methane that was trapped in the surface so, not only did you get a bunch of liquid water from the melting ice, the carbon dioxide and methane warmed up the planet so the atmosphere was warm and it was wet and that created a big like water vapor cloud and then a lot of it rained down in this massive giant mega flood where the rain mixed with water travelling down mountains to create all these flash floods. This adds to previous research that found evidence of these floods on Mars, including rock data from the Pathfinder Mission. So it seems like this, like potentially now we're not entirely sure that this is like the only thing that led to this warm, wet Mars, but potentially this impact, which was absolutely devastating to the planet and would have obviously killed anything that currently lived there, ended up making Mars for a long time, habitable by throwing up all of this carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere and also creating- like at first it was just extremely cataclysmic and like you know, obviously not a good place to be, but after some time could have meant that there was this longer period of fairly stable, fairly warm Mars,


John Green: hm

Hank Green: How that interacts with the like what we know of is a fairly long period of standing water on the surface, we don't know for sure, but it could be, that those things are related 

John Green: Wow, I mean all of that just reminds me of how ridiculously vulnerable atmosphere is. 

Hank Green: I know, I'm so sorry that I've given you this new worry about atmosphere, but it is a tenuous little thin wisp of gas that is very necessary. 

 John Green: Yeah. Well, it's just a- It's a thing that we've been messed- you know we messed with for a long time without understanding that we were messing with it and now we're messing with it understanding that we're messing with it. (36:00) to (38:00) Hank Green: Yeah [sigh]


John Green: It doesn't mean- to be clear, I'm not proposing like a day after tomorrow scenario where, like overnight, there's a cataclysmic event as a result of changes to the atmosphere. 

Hank Green: [Chuckle] Yeah 

John Green: But the slow motion, many layered catastrophe. For me all of this research just underscores how real that is and how critical it is to the future of the human story to take it seriously. 

Hank Green: Yeah. It's hard because I think that we often forget that gas even exists and that we're constantly like- 

John Green: Yeah. 

Hank Green: You know we would die immediately without it. A thing that I didn't really know until fairly long into my, you know, education that is my life, is that that, like air pressure actually forces oxygen into our lungs. So like all of the atmosphere that is sitting on top of us right now is pushing down on us and in on us in all directions and that's what- like that pushing pushes oxygen into our blood without that pressure, we wouldn't- we wouldn't be able to do that, which is why when you are in a low pressure environment, not as much oxygen gets into your blood. It's not just that there's not as much around, it's that like the pressure isn't there to force it in.  

John Green: Now I'm moving my hands around. 

Hank Green: You can feel it! 

John Green: I'm feeling- I'm feeling the gas and feeling the-

Hank Green: Feel the gases!

John Green: Feeling- feeling the fact that I'm on earth 

Hank Green: Yeah

John Green: I'm in a weird soup that I don't see or think of as a suit that it's still there. 

Hank Green: Uh huh, this was swimming through this weird gas soup. 

John Green: Thanks for podding with me, now I live in a different universe. I have to leave. 

Hank Green: [chuckling] All right, John, thank you for making a podcast with me as well. If you want to- 

 John Green: Hey, before we go we're gonna end this episode with a 10 minute clip. That's the first 10 minutes of my brother Hank Green's first novel: “An absolutely remarkable thing”. It's the audiobook which you can get at all the places where you get audiobooks. And I love this book so much and I wanted to do this this week… (38:00) to (40:00) John Green: ...because they discovered a monolith in Utah


Hank Green: [Laugh]

John Green: That reminded me that Hanks books, have a way of becoming ever more relevant and present in my life, even as time passes like, they become better predictors of the future as things unfold that Hank saw that I- I couldn't see when he was writing, so enjoy this 10 minutes of the audiobook after the credits and please consider getting an absolutely remarkable thing for your friends and family this holiday season.

~credits~

Hank Green: Thank you, John. I hope that everybody enjoys that!  This podcast is edited by Joseph “Tuna” Medisch, it's produced by Rosiana Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. Our communications coordinator is Julia Bloom. Our editorial assistant is Tabuchi Chakra Vardi. The music you're hearing now and at the beginning of the podcasts is by the great Gunnarolla and as they say in our hometown: 

[Both]: Don't forget to be awesome! 

[Music]

Hank Green: Alright, here it is, thanks for sticking around. An Absolute Remarkable Thing by me Hank Green, read by Kristen C. 
~Audiobook of An Absolutely remarkable thing plays~ 

Audiobook reader: Penguinrandomhouse Audio presents An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. 

Chapter one. 

 Look,  am aware that you're here for an epic tale of intrigue and mystery and adventure and near death and actual death. But in order to get to that (unless you want to skip to chapter 13, I'm not your boss) you're going to have to deal with the fact that I April May, in addition to being one of the most important things that has ever happened to the human race, I'm also a woman in her 20s who has made some mistakes. I am in the wonderful position of having you by the short hairs. I have the story and so I get to tell it to you the way I want. That means you get to understand me not just my story, so don't be surprised if there's some drama. I'm going to attempt to come at this account honestly, but I'll also admit to a significant pro me bias. If you get anything out of this, ideally… (40:00) to (42:00) Audiobook reader: ...it won't be you being more or less on one side or the other, but simply understanding that I am (or at least was) human. 


 

And I was very much feeling only human as I drag my tired ass down 23rd St at 2:45 AM after working a 16 hour day at a startup that (thanks to an aggressively shitty contract I signed) will remain nameless. Going to art school might seem like a terrible financial decision, but really, that's only true if you have to take out gobs and gobs of student loans to fund your hoity-toity education. Of course I had done exactly that. My parents were successful, running a business providing equipment to small and medium-sized dairy farms. Like, the little things you hook up to cows to get the milk out, they sold and distributed them. It was good business, good enough that I wouldn't have had a lot of debt if I'd gone to a state school, but I did not do that. I have loans. Lots. So after jumping from major to major (advertising, fine art, photography, illustration) and finally settling on the mundane (but at least useful) BFA and design, I took the first job that would keep me in New York and out of my old bedroom in my parents house in Northern California. 

And that was a job at a doomed startup funded by the endless well of rich people who can only dream the most boring dream a rich person can dream: being even more rich. Of course, working at a startup means that you're part of the “family,” and so when things go wrong or when deadlines fly past or when an investor has a hissy fit, or just *because*, you don't get out of work until 3:00 in the morning. Which honestly, I hated. I hated it because the company's time management app was a dumb idea and didn't actually help people. I hated it because I knew I was just doing it for the money, and I hated it because they asked the staff to treat it like their whole life rather than like a day job, which meant I didn't have any time to spare to work on personal projects. 

BUT! 

 I was actually using my degree doing actual graphic design and getting paid enough to afford rent less than one year out of school.  (42:00) to (44:00) Audiobook reader: My work environment was close to technically criminal and I paid half of my income to sleep in the living room of a one bedroom apartment, but I was making it work. 


I fibbed just now. My bed was in the living room, but I mostly slept in the bedroom- Maya’s room. We weren't living together, we were roommates and April-from-the-past would want me to be very clear about that. What's the difference between those two things? Well, mostly that we weren't dating before we moved in together. Hooking up with your roommate is convenient, but it is also a little confusing when you lived together through much of college before finally hooking up and have now been a couple for more than a year.

If you happen to already live together, when does the “Should we move in together?” question come up? Well, for Maya and me, the question was “Can we please move that second hand mattress out of the living room so that we can sit on a couch when we watch Netflix?” and thus far my answer had been “Absolutely not, we're just roommates who are dating.” Which is why our living room still had a bed in it. 

I told you there would be drama. 

Anyway, back to the middle of the night that fateful January evening. This shitty app had to get a new release into the App Store by next week and I had been waiting for the final approvals on some user interface changes, and whatever you don't care- it was boring work BS. Instead of coming in early, I stayed late, which has always been my preference. My brain was sucked entirely dry from trying to interpret cryptic guidance from bosses who couldn't tell a raster from a vector. I checked out of the building (it was a coworking space, not even actual leased offices) and walked the three minutes to the subway station. 

And then my Metro card got rejected FOR NO REASON. I had another one sitting on my desk at work and I wasn't precisely sure how much money I had in my checking account, so it seemed like I should walk the three blocks back to the office just to be safe. 

 The walk sign is on, so I crossed 23rd, and a taxi cab blares its horn like I shouldn't be in the crosswalk. Whatever, dude, I have the walk light. I turned to head back to the office... (44:00) to (46:00) Audiobook reader: ...and immediately I see it. As I approach, it becomes clear that it is a really…REALLY exceptional sculpture. 


I mean, it’s AWESOME, but it's also a little bit “New York awesome,” you know? 

How do I explain how I felt about it? I guess… well… In New York City, people spend 10 years making something amazing happen, something that captures the essence of an idea so perfectly that suddenly the world becomes 10 times clearer. It's beautiful and it's powerful and someone devoted a huge piece of their life to it. The local news does a story about it and everyone goes “Neat!” and then tomorrow we forget about it in favor of some other ABSOLUTELY PERFECT AND REMARKABLE THING. That doesn't make those things unwonderful or not unique... It's just that there are a lot of people doing a lot of amazing things, so eventually you get a little jaded. 

 So that's how I felt when I saw it- a 10 foot tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor, its huge barrel chest lifted up to the sky a good four or five feet above my head. It just stood there in the middle of the sidewalk, full of energy and power. It looks like it might at any moment, turn and fix that empty, regal stare on me. But instead it just stood there, silent and almost scornful, like the world didn't deserve its attention. In the street light, the metal was a patchwork of black-as-night matte and mirror reflective silver. And it clearly was metal… not some spray painted Cardboard cosplay thing. It was stunningly done. I paused for maybe 5 seconds before shivering, both in the cold and in the gaze of the thing, and then walking on.  (46:00) to (48:00) Audiobook reader: And then I. Felt. Like. The. Biggest. Jerk. 


I mean I'm an artist working way too hard at a deeply uninteresting job to pay way too much in rent so I can stay in this place- so that I can remain immersed in one of the most creative and influential cultures on Earth. Here in the middle of the sidewalk is a piece of art that was a massive undertaking, an installation that the artist worked on, possibly for years, to make people stop and look and consider. And here I am, hardened by big-city life and mentally, drained by hours of pixel pushing, not even giving something so magnificent a second glance. 

I remember this moment pretty clearly, so I guess I'll mention it. I went back to the sculpture, got up on my tiptoes and I said, “Do you think I should call Andy?” 

The sculpture, of course, did nothing. 

“Just stand there if it's OK for me to call Andy.” 

And so I made the call. 

But first, some background on Andy! 

You know those moments when your life shifts and you think, *I will definitely, without a doubt, continue to love and appreciate and connect with all of these cool people I have spent so many years with, despite the fact that our lives are changing a great deal right now,* and then instead, you might as well unfriend them on Facebook because you ain't never going to see that dude again in your whole life? Well Andy, Maya and I had somehow (thus far) managed to avoid that fate. Maya and I had done it by occupying the same 400 square feet. Andy, on the other hand, lived across town from us and we didn't even know him until junior year. Maya and I, by that point we're taking most of the same classes because, well, we really liked each other a lot. We were obviously going to be in the same group whenever there was a group project, but Professor Kennedy was dividing us up into groups of three, which meant a random third wheel. Somehow we got stuck with Andy (or probably from his perspective he got stuck with us). 

 I knew who Andy was. I had formed a vague impression of him that was mostly “that guy sure is more confident than he has any right to be.”  (48:00) to (50:00) Audiobook reader: He was skinny and awkward with printer paper, pale skin. I assume he began his haircuts by asking the stylist to make it look like he had never received a haircut. But he was always primed for some quip and for the most part, those quips were either funny or insightful. 


The project was a full brand treatment for a fictional product. Packaging was optional, but we needed several logo options and a style guide (which is like a little book that tells everyone how the brand should be presented and what fonts and colors are to be used in what situations). It was more or less a given that we would be doing this for some hip and groovy fictional company that makes ethical fair-trade jeans with completely useless pockets or something. Actually, it was almost always a fictional brewery because we were college students. We were paying a lot of money to cultivate our taste in beer and be snobby about it. 

And I'm sure that's the direction Maya and I would have gone in, but Andy was intolerably stubborn and somehow convinced us both that we would be building the visual identity of “Bubble Bum” a butt-flavored bubble gum. At first his arguments were silly, that we weren't going to be doing fancy cool shit when we graduated, so we might as well not take the project so seriously, but he convinced us when he got serious. 

“Look guys,” he said, “it's easy to make something cool look cool. That's why everyone picks cool things. Ultimately, though, cool is always going to be boring. What if we can make something dumb look amazing? Something unmarketable awesome? That's a real challenge. That takes real skill. Let's show real skill.” 

I remember this pretty clearly because it was when I realized there was more to Andy. 

 By the end of the project, I couldn't help feeling a little superior to the rest of our classmates, taking their skinny jeans and craft breweries so seriously. And the final product did look great. Andy was- and I had known this but not really filed it as important- an extremely talented illustrator, and with Maya’s hand lettering skills and my color palette work, It did end up looking pretty great.  (50:00) to (52:00) Audiobook reader: So that's how Maya and I met Andy, and thank God we did. Frankly, we needed a third wheel to even out the intensity of the early part of our relationship. After the Bubble Bum project, which Kennedy loved so much, he put it on the class website, we became a bit of a trio. We even worked on some freelance projects together, and occasionally Andy would come over to our apartment and force us to play board games. And then we’d just spend the evening talking about politics or dreams or anxieties. The fact that he was obviously a little bit in love with me never really bothered any of us because he knew I was taken and, well, I don't think Maya saw him as a threat. Somehow our dynamic hadn't fractured after graduation and we kept hanging out with funny, weird, smart, stupid Andy Skampt.. 


Who I was now calling at 3:00 o'clock in the morning. 

“The fuck, April it's 3:00 A.M.” 

“Hey I've got something you might want to see.” 

“It seems likely that this can wait until tomorrow.”

“No, this is pretty cool. Bring your camera... and does Jason have any lights?” Jason was Andy's roommate- both of them wanted to be internet famous. They would stream themselves playing video games to tiny audiences, and they had a podcast about the best TV death scenes that they also filmed and uploaded to YouTube. To me it just seemed like that incurable ailment so many well-off dudes have believing despite mountains of evidence that what the world truly needs is another white guy comedy podcast. This sounds harsh, but that's what it seemed like to me back then. Now of course, I know how easy it is to feel like you don't matter if no one's watching. I've also since listened to Slainspotting and it's actually pretty funny. 

“Wait... what's happening? What am I doing?” he asked. 

 “Here's what you're doing: You're walking over to Gramercy Theatre and you're going to bring as much of Jason's video shit as you can, and you're not going to regret it, so don't even think about going back to whatever hentai VR game you're playing... This is better, I promise. (52:00) to (54:00) Audiobook reader: “You say that, but have you played Cherry Blossom Fairy Five, April May? have you? 


“I'm hanging up… You're going to be here in 5 minutes.” 

I hung up. 

Several people who weren't Andy walked by as I waited for him. Manhattan is less legit than it once was, for sure, but this is still the city that never sleeps. It is also the city of “Behold the field in which I grow my fucks. Lay thine eyes upon it and see that it is barren.” People gave the sculpture a quick glance and kept on walking just as I had very nearly done. I tried to look busy. Manhattan’s a safe place, but that doesn't mean a 23 year old woman by herself on the street at 3:00 AM isn't going to get randomly harassed. 

For the next few minutes, I got to spend a little time with the structure. Manhatton is never really dark, there was lots of light around, but the deep shadows and the sculpture’s size made it difficult to really understand it. It was massive. It probably weighed several 100 pounds. I took my glove off and poked it, finding the metal surprisingly not cool. Not warm either exactly... but hard. I gave it a knock on the pelvis and didn't hear the Bell ring I expected. It was more of a thunk, followed by a low hum. I started to think that this was part of the artists intentions... that the goal was for the people of New York to interact with this object... to discover its properties. When you're in art school, you do a lot of thinking about objectives and intent. That was just the default state: See art-> critique art. 

 Eventually I stopped my critique and just took it in. I was starting to really love it. Not just as a creation of someone else, but the way that you love really good art… just enjoying it.  (54:00) to (54:33) Audiobook reader: It was so unlike other things I'd seen. And brave in its “Transformerness.” Like I would be terrified to do anything that visually reflected Mecca robots in any way… No one wants to be compared to something that's *mainstream popular*. That's the worst of all possible fates. 


But there was much more to this piece than that. It seems to have come from a completely different place than any work I've ever seen before, sculptural or not.