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John Hodgman: A brief digression on matters of lost time
October 26, 2008 7:54 PM   Subscribe

John Hodgman: A brief digression on matters of lost time
Perhaps the sweetest discourse on the subject of aliens & earth that you will ever hear — from a 2008 TED talk. (via BoingBoing)
posted by spock (50 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Heh.

I liked Dune.
posted by Artw at 8:14 PM on October 26, 2008


me too.
posted by geos at 8:20 PM on October 26, 2008


that was pretty meh to me. Was the last 3 minutes any better?
posted by troy at 8:28 PM on October 26, 2008


Touching and oddly suspenseful. The kind of talk that makes TED awesome, as opposed to someone gushing about the lastest nano-gadget which is going to change the world, likerealsoonanydaynow.

On that note: Cliff Stoll's talk always makes me tear up a little at the end. What is it about an earnest geek?
posted by Panjandrum at 8:29 PM on October 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


also in the avclub (including gnome boobage)
posted by kliuless at 8:32 PM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


that was pretty meh to me. Was the last 3 minutes any better?

The abusive part of my personality loves it when people reveal volumes about themselves like this.
posted by spock at 8:35 PM on October 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


He was also talking about U.S. presidents on NPR today.
posted by Caduceus at 8:44 PM on October 26, 2008


I saw his book signing last week, and it was great! His new book, More Information Than You Require, is pretty much along the same lines as his last one, so if you liked The Areas of My Expertise, you should definitely pick up the new volume. Both his books of trivia are among the very few things I've ever read that have made me laugh until I cried.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:54 PM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Apparently these TED Talks are available in podcast form. itpc://www.ted.com/talks/podtv/id/374

Hmm. Handy.
posted by device55 at 9:04 PM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Make it so.
posted by mandal at 9:07 PM on October 26, 2008


He has such an engaging speaking style. I'd love to be able to share it. I'd also love to have been in the audience so I could laugh at the jokes the audience responded coldly too - c'mon, dudes, get with it!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:14 PM on October 26, 2008


To this day, I have always been a fan of movies that depict desert planets.

Heh Heh
posted by captainsohler at 9:15 PM on October 26, 2008


There are some people you really just want to be loved--in a loving relationship--and it uplifts all of life to know that they aren't alone. John Hodgman is one of those people for me. This was a good talk.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:22 PM on October 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Hey, wait a minute! According to the AV Club, he's going to be on Battlestar Galactica!

That sure will be...something.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:25 PM on October 26, 2008


My favorite John Hodgman thing, by the way, is "flight vs invisibility" on This American Life.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:44 PM on October 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


My favorite John Hodgman thing, by the way, is Metafilter.

But the list is long.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:46 PM on October 26, 2008


My favorite John Hodgman thing, by the way, is the audio book version of An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by myself, John Hodgman, a Professional Writer, in the Areas of My Expertise, which Include: Matters Historical, Matters Literary, Matters Cryptozoological, Hobo Matters, Food, Drink & Cheese (a Kind of Food), Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels, Haircuts, Utopia, What Will Happen in the Future, and Most Other Subjects.

I'm waiting for the audio version of More Information Than You Require.
posted by Rictic at 9:51 PM on October 26, 2008


This of course is MetaFilter's own John Hodgman.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:54 PM on October 26, 2008


.... whose top tags include alien and abduction.
posted by emelenjr at 10:07 PM on October 26, 2008


This entire presentation is transcribed on page 461 in his new book. I just finished reading it today. Like his first book, he starts off with reasonable facts and makes a sharp left turn into Crazytown.

If you like dune, he makes a tiny shoutout at the end of the book (which is essentially obscure namedropping and injokes) to this video.
posted by amuseDetachment at 10:16 PM on October 26, 2008


My wish is MeFis command it seems. Now someone make a FPP about Terence Trent D'arby! You know you want to.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:35 PM on October 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's hilarious that Hodgman was asking Metafilter for the name of the artist who painted the alien from Communion in Feb. 2008 (when he gave the talk at TED). I imagine him desperately trying to get this name that morning just before the talk. But if you read his Ask Metafilter post you'll see that he immediately and apologetically supplies the answer - Ted Jacobs. What's hilarious is that in the talk itself (at 10:55) he screws up and calls him Ted Joseph.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:42 PM on October 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Scheduled appearances are on his recently relocated blog.

Bummer: His appearance in SF has sold out, apparently, though he'll be in the North Bay the next day. I might actually bus up to the secoond one.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:43 PM on October 26, 2008


Oh! I didn't mention that I've gone to a reading of his before & enjoyed it thoroughly! (and recorded it. The video I link there is probably preferable.)
posted by Pronoiac at 11:50 PM on October 26, 2008


Rather: "There is some good video of this event, from kwc.org (the first 40 minutes!) & from Violet Blue (some short segments)."

I have hodgmania, all right?
posted by Pronoiac at 11:56 PM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now we know what this ask metafilter was about.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:06 AM on October 27, 2008


Does this count as my first FPP? :)
posted by rokusan at 1:58 AM on October 27, 2008


mrzarquon -- I had the same thought at I was watching the talk.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:46 AM on October 27, 2008


Whoa he has a user number of 3700. That's like... old.
posted by PenDevil at 5:53 AM on October 27, 2008


I believe this discourse included the first use of the term "dogbitten" that I have ever heard. Similar to "frostbitten", but by a canine. I don't know which I enjoy more: Hodgman's nerdily use of language or his ability to keep a straight face.
posted by spock at 5:53 AM on October 27, 2008


I love Hodgman, and bought his first book, and hated it. For some reason, reading absurd facts just doesn't do anything for me. It needs the straight-faced delivery to work.
posted by smackfu at 6:18 AM on October 27, 2008


smackfu: I experienced the same disappointment, though with the vitriol turned down a few notches. And then...
posted by Sys Rq at 6:40 AM on October 27, 2008


Glad to see I wasn't the only one who didn't like the book, but usually finds his talks funny.
posted by genefinder at 6:59 AM on October 27, 2008


The book was a bit meh. The audio-reading of it, golden.

But that's fine. The man is cooler than his words on a page!
posted by rokusan at 7:23 AM on October 27, 2008


Hi John, remember me? I dropped my backpack on your foot in the subway and then apologized frantically.


That is all.
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on October 27, 2008


Sadly, I think John will never have a close encounter as ID4 taught me the aliens only communicate via Apple Macs.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:18 AM on October 27, 2008


Yeah, if you don't like the book but normally like Hodgman check out the audio recording. It even has music!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:43 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was thoroughly charming.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:58 AM on October 27, 2008


I had skipped this one when it first showed up on boingboing, because one can only watch so many TED talks. But then it started showing up in a few other feeds I follow, and then here, and I finally decided to watch it after all, and I'm really glad I did. I'm a little teary now.

troy, yes, the last 3 minutes are better. I often get impatient with videos, and wish they'd just transcribe the thing so I could read it at my own pace, so I sorta hear where you're coming from -- but this is different. The delivery is important. (I, too, much preferred the audiobook version of The Areas Of My Expertise, and not just because it included Jonathan Coulton.)

Did you even get far enough into it to learn that it isn't really about aliens?
posted by ook at 9:27 AM on October 27, 2008


So I guess bb got him post violet blue breakup?
posted by Artw at 9:32 AM on October 27, 2008


I saw him speak at the Brookline Booksmith last week. It was a good time all round. Coulton showed up too, which was an added, unexpected bonus (as was the duet). I waited around for like an hour to get him to sign my copy of his book (plus a copy of my Guide to the Granary Burying Ground - I gave him a copy too, but expect it became scrap paper after I left).

The only bad part of the evening was being stuck behind That Guy who after getting up to the signing table, suddenly produced 346 things to sign as if by magic. These people should be dealt with. They should be forced to wear signs saying 'WARNING - I AM ACTUALLY 346 PEOPLE - ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS ACCORDINGLY' and should be pariahs, scorned and spat upon, loved by none.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:44 AM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Rictic notes the audiobook version of Areas of My Expertise, and it really needs to be mentioned again. I've got a copy of it, obtained free when iTunes was doing a promotion. I just want to say:

-----> IT IS AWESOME. <-----


Imagine John Hodgman himself reading much of his audiobook to you, acted out as a comedy performance, WITH JONATHAN COULTON ON HAND TO SING A BOOK THEME SONG AND ACT AS HILARIOUS AUDIOBOOK SIDEKICK throughout substantial sections. I cannot believe they did not hype the fact Coulton is on the recording more.

Now see what I did? I completely embarrassed myself by gushing about John Hodgman. John Hodgman is one of those people that tends to get gushed over, like I just did now, and until listening to the audiobook I kind of wondered why.
posted by JHarris at 12:25 PM on October 27, 2008


The talk is hilarious, of course.

I can understand people preferring the audio book over the book book version of Areas, but ... Well. I'm not one of those people? I see them as equivalent (abridging aside). I mean, the whole time I was reading it and my internal voice was giving it more or less the cadence and pacing that he would, and it was fine.

Maybe I just have a better Hodgman Voice Recreation module in my head?
posted by sparkletone at 12:26 PM on October 27, 2008


I cannot believe they did not hype the fact Coulton is on the recording more.

Normal People(tm) know who Hodgman is. Normal People(tm) don't know who Coulton is (their loss!). And the audiobook for Areas I think was before Coulton really took off in terms of Internets stardom. I can see why at the time the thing was new they didn't really consider it something worth advertising heavily.
posted by sparkletone at 12:29 PM on October 27, 2008


I very much enjoy his work, and this video was no exception.

I do wish he would spend more time here; I have dreams of my favorite celebrity Mefites getting into really heated discussions with each other while we look on in awe:

Did Adam Savage just question Hodgman's geek cred on the fact that he's never built a remote controlled fighting robot?

Yeah, but John retorted by asking how many times Adam had been on the Daily Show, and then Woz came to Hodgman's defense and pointed out that at least he hasn't ever gotten drunk and fallen off a treadmill!

But on the other-hand, John doesn't have any footage of himself getting slapped hard in slow motion, so it might be a wash.


It would be the single greatest thread... ever.
posted by quin at 12:44 PM on October 27, 2008


Normal People(tm) know who Hodgman is.

The guy from the Apple commcercials!
posted by smackfu at 12:47 PM on October 27, 2008


I think John Hodgman just transmitted some kind of alien technology kernel of lasting exuberance into my spiritual heartspace, but all I remember is watching a movie.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:51 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


: Yeah, but John retorted by asking how many times Adam had been on the Daily Show, and then Woz came to Hodgman's defense and pointed out that at least he hasn't ever gotten drunk and fallen off a treadmill!

That is some freaky new kind of fanfiction, I gotta say.

posted by JHarris at 7:01 PM on October 27, 2008


John Hodgman appeared on the new You Look Nice Today, by the way.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:40 AM on November 13, 2008




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