Alex Cox, Senior AV Producer at Cards Against Humanity and prolific podcaster, joins Brett to talk about gender, bipolar disorder, and the wonders of virtual reality.
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- Don Schaffner
Top 3 Picks
- Why Fish Don’t Exist
- Virtual Reality
- When Did I…?
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[00:00:00]Brett: [00:00:00] My guest this week is Alex Cox, senior AAV producer at cards against humanity and a prolific podcaster. Welcome to the show, Alex.
[00:00:09]Alex: [00:00:09] Hello. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:00:12] Brett: [00:00:12] Again, actually, this is I think your second time, right?
[00:00:16] Alex: [00:00:16] yeah, the first time I was on, I threw up before and after we recorded, because I was so nervous and listening to that episode last night, I’m like, well, you know, it’s not the best, but you sure can’t tell how I want to vomit. And I should say the reason is. Because this has been such a formative show for me and to be on it a couple of years ago was just wild.
[00:00:42] And it’s still wild to be here. Thank you so much.
[00:00:47] Brett: [00:00:47] I love hearing that from you because you are an amazing, uh, con content producer. Um, my girlfriend has actually, you, you guys met briefly in Chicago,
[00:00:58] Alex: [00:00:58] Oh yeah. It was so [00:01:00] fun when people were allowed to hang out.
[00:01:04] Brett: [00:01:04] right. In large, large groups. But, uh, but she became a huge fan of yours. I shouldn’t make it sound like she’s the crazy fan girl, but she, she follows you very closely.
[00:01:15] She loved you. Um, she actually helped me come up with some of the questions on my slate today.
[00:01:20]Alex: [00:01:20] Oh, Oh boy.
[00:01:22] Brett: [00:01:22] So say hi, Elle.
[00:01:24]Alex: [00:01:24] Hi. Hi L I, I miss you. And I hope that one day we get to hang out in real life again.
[00:01:31] Brett: [00:01:31] That would be so much fun.
[00:01:32]Alex: [00:01:32] In 20, 29.
[00:01:35] Brett: [00:01:35] I literally just, I just started going to Comicon in like 2019,
[00:01:41]Alex: [00:01:41] Yeah. I mean, I don’t miss it yet for sure, but that’s because a, it’s very much part of my job, your job, but, um, I mean, yeah, it’s, it’s pretty wild.
[00:01:56]Brett: [00:01:56] So, let’s see right now, [00:02:00] you, in, in your podcast life, you have a couple of really cool projects. Uh, the first one I want to mention is two headed girl. which is a podcast you do with your partner, Matty. And, uh, tell us a little bit about what that project entailed.
[00:02:17]Alex: [00:02:17] Girl is a podcast. I like you said, I make with my spouse, Maddie, and it’s all about transitions and. Some, some what? Uh, notably it’s about gender transition and he’s a trans mask person. Um, yeah, and I am, who knows what the heck I am a gender queer. Non-binary some people would call me trans. You got to listen to the show, I guess.
[00:02:48]Go to two headed girl.transistor.fm. Um, but we have for the past, maybe three years just been, um, [00:03:00] recording our own like small, personal interactions about how we feel. About gender, um, and our mental illnesses. Uh, we’re both bipolar. Uh, and yeah, it’s kind of just an exercise in being vulnerable and an exercise in, um, documenting like our young adulthood into what I hope is medium adulthood.
[00:03:31] As we both turned 30 this year. And. Uh, I mean, I don’t know. It’s, it’s, it’s very much like, uh, it’s very, very good, but that’s because of Matt, not, not because of me, it’s, it’s kind of a, uh, sort of journal personal journal type show. So yeah.
[00:03:51] Brett: [00:03:51] Yeah, I think it’s been, I think it’s been really informative for a lot of people inside and outside of the trans community. I think there’s a lot [00:04:00] to relate to there for everybody. You might need to help me out. What is trans mask mean?
[00:04:05]Alex: [00:04:05] Uh, just, uh, well, when you say just, and then related to gender that’s that’s that doesn’t ever,
[00:04:14] Brett: [00:04:14] It’s
[00:04:15] Alex: [00:04:15] uh, Well, as you, as you know, Bob, um, but I don’t want to speak totally for him, but, uh, trans mask person is just someone who is traditionally very far to the more masculine side of sort of the gender spectrum, but not fully like a doesn’t fully identify as a binary man.
[00:04:42] Does that sort of make sense? Yeah. It’s and the thing is it might not make sense to some people and that’s okay because, uh, you know, who cares it, it shouldn’t, uh, I, it’s not that gender shouldn’t interest people, um, [00:05:00] it’s that most of the time, gender isn’t relevant, relevant, uh, but part, part of the reason we also did this podcast is because there’s a lot of, uh, tone policing.
[00:05:11] And nervousness around asking questions about gender, um, and still sexuality, honestly. And we’re kind of like, no, ask us the questions that you think are problematic. Uh, like learn, be good allies. Nobody is perfect. Like c’mon like, it’s okay. It’s okay. So that’s kind of, um, another thing we, we try to hit on because I have my own, uh, internal, you know, like, uh, Internalized transphobia and stuff like that.
[00:05:43] So it’s, we try not to preach to the choir too much, um, except in terms of our bad, bad jokes and puns. Um, but I mean, yeah, there’s a lot of things that don’t make sense and that’s okay because the [00:06:00] world isn’t fair or logical and neither is gender.
[00:06:03]Brett: [00:06:03] What is in your opinion, one of the more interesting questions that you’ve, uh, you’ve tackled.
[00:06:10]Alex: [00:06:10] Oh, yeah. Oh, that’s I mean, there’s interesting. And then there’s embarrassing. My favorite question that has ever been asked was about, um, the literal growth of a penis. Um, which was an absolute delight because people truly don’t know how the human body works, which is also like, okay, because I don’t know how the human body works.
[00:06:39] The president of the United States doesn’t know the human body works. Uh,
[00:06:43] Brett: [00:06:43] a low bar
[00:06:44]Alex: [00:06:44] I know. Yeah, not theirs. Uh, there’s only up from there really, but I think the most interesting questions we get are the ones that related to sexuality versus gender, because they are two [00:07:00] very separate things. Um, it just so happens that they.
[00:07:05] Oh, overlap with one another. So, um, I’m trying to think of a specific example, like, uh, Oh, uh, folks will ask. So did you, what part of queer did you know you were first, did you, did you know that you were queer in the, like you typic, typically liked women or did you know you were queer in terms of like trans or gender queer and.
[00:07:29] My answer to that is usually like, Hm, I’m still figuring that out. Let’s just Gus that, uh, because I think the way that we have mushed gender and sexuality together is, uh, interesting, but also can be damaging for, for folks.
[00:07:51]Brett: [00:07:51] Um, I’m not sure. I think answering that question would depend on the person and at what, at what [00:08:00] point they learned about spectrums. Cause I think most people don’t. Don’t come to understand gender, spectrum and sexuality spectrums at the exact same time.
[00:08:10]Alex: [00:08:10] Absolutely. Yeah. And I, I did not. And also that, that, that penis question actually came as a, uh, like, like was. Asked, uh, in a healthy good, good way. Like I w we often invite these questions because, uh, normally don’t ask anyone what’s in their pants when it’s not appropriate. Uh, but on this podcast, uh, we attend, we intentionally do Q and A’s where we’re like, yeah, Go for it.
[00:08:41] Go buck wild because you know, there’s, there’s a dad sitting in the middle of camp, Kansas, uh, who has like somehow around my work through either cards against humanity or Merlin man. And then it’s like, Oh, I understand this a little bit more. [00:09:00] Or, uh, he might be like, I don’t understand this at all, but I see now that it doesn’t really matter.
[00:09:06] Okay, cool. So, I mean, I don’t like to say that it’s an educational show, but that’s how some people have described it.
[00:09:18] Brett: [00:09:18] I hate to tell you, but it really is. Uh,
[00:09:21] Alex: [00:09:21] Thank
[00:09:22] Brett: [00:09:22] it, yeah, no, it serves as a really good resource. Uh, you. Not too long ago. Uh, I don’t want to say documented, but, uh, discussed, uh, Maddie’s top surgery,
[00:09:33] Alex: [00:09:33] yeah.
[00:09:34] Brett: [00:09:34] was, I mean, for someone coming from like way outside of any of that, I have a lot to learn there.
[00:09:41]Alex: [00:09:41] I mean, I had a lot of book, both of us had a lot to learn, um, because it’s not something that’s talked about often. Um, not just because of the stigma of being trans, but because there is a [00:10:00] stigma amongst trans folks who, um, They, they have opinions about what is consent centered, the quote, right way to transition to female, to male or male to female.
[00:10:16] Uh, and, and there are some folks who are like, if you don’t get full. Like a w w what they would call it a full transition, like be on hormones, get all sort of gender. Like every gender affirmation surgery, you can get a, if you don’t do that, then you’re not really trans. And that is the. Narrative that I know, not that I believed, but, um, that I heard until I was in my late teens, probably early twenties, actually.
[00:10:48] So, uh, we really wanted to document that process, especially because this happened after we had been, um, Together said I, Oh gosh, I [00:11:00] don’t know. Uh, but, but w we are married and we’ve been married for three years, I think. Oh, no four. Cause we got married after Trump was elected because we were scared. Um, and I think that’s also kind of an interesting component of the show.
[00:11:16] Uh, and I’ve, I find, um, couples who have transitioned later in life. Really interesting and can, uh, like I get along well with them because there aren’t a lot of, um, adult trans narratives just because are ones that are like visible that, uh, aren’t aren’t some buddy, like, uh, who’s why. See, that’s the thing where I’m like, who’s a famous binary trans person, uh, who isn’t problematic.
[00:11:53] Uh, yeah. That’s like most people think that like Caitlyn Jenner is the only trans woman that [00:12:00] exists just sucks. And I’m like, The here here’s a, an then I direct them to one of my favorite YouTube creators, Contra points who talks about gender as well as fascism. Um, some and, and it’s, it’s great. Yeah. I’m babbling more than I did the first time.
[00:12:21] You said you had questions.
[00:12:22] Brett: [00:12:22] I do. I
[00:12:23] Alex: [00:12:23] It’s your show.
[00:12:24] Brett: [00:12:24] that. You you’re doing great.
[00:12:26]Alex: [00:12:26] Thank you.
[00:12:27] Brett: [00:12:27] before we leave the topic of two headed girl, Um, you, you mentioned, and I hadn’t realized that, uh, you’re both bipolar. Is it, is it safe to talk about this?
[00:12:39] Alex: [00:12:39] Oh, for sure.
[00:12:40] Brett: [00:12:40] Okay. Cause I’ve been, I’ve been trying to be more open about my own bipolar disorder, uh, as of recently what’s it.
[00:12:48]So in my relationship with L um, I’m the only bipolar person, but we’ve kind of learned to. Recognize mania prepare for [00:13:00] depression and, uh, kind of ride that roller coaster together. how complicated is it to have two different rollercoasters, probably peaking at different times in a relationship.
[00:13:13]Alex: [00:13:13] the roller coaster analogy is, is perfect. Um, but yeah. I beat because, um, for me, at least sometimes roller coasters are a good and maybe not fun, but, uh, they D doesn’t have to be a terrible experience, both of us. Um, like we, and in fact, when we met, I think we, I don’t know how the topic of mental illness came up, but, you know, we went to art school and feelings just happen all the time, but.
[00:13:48]We vary because we were so open about it. Um, we kind of learned what each other’s, uh, like peaks and valleys [00:14:00] look like and what were kind of the signs that a manic episode might be coming and how to prepare for that. And also, um, we definitely, we’ve definitely noticed that, um, When one of us is in a more extreme, low, um, or in a really high point or mania, uh, w it’s.
[00:14:31]We’re able to be self aware enough that it’s like, okay, we are both in bad places. So let’s find outside help. Whether that means like, Hey, I like you should make an extra therapy appointment or, Hey, did you take your meds on time? So really little stuff like that, honestly. And sometimes there, there can be like big flare ups and it sucks a whole lot, but really communication has.
[00:15:00] [00:14:59] Been key and, uh, not, not just for like maintaining a good relationship, but it has made both of our lives better. Like even if it was not a romantic partnership, like having, uh, having my best friend know what is inside my brain a lot of the time is just super helpful and I’m very, very lucky.
[00:15:24] Brett: [00:15:24] Yeah, it’s communication. I would say is the number one, uh, strategy that Elle and I have for dealing with my own manic and depressive episodes. Just being able to clearly, and honestly communicate what we’re seeing and what we’re. Feeling and having, for me, having someone there to say this isn’t real, not, not that my, my disorder isn’t real, but what I’m feeling, especially in my depressed, uh, episodes that what, the way that I’m seeing the world at that point, isn’t real.
[00:15:57] And it is so helpful to have someone who can [00:16:00] just tap me on the shoulder and say, you know what, you’re depressed. Like th things aren’t th the, the world is not as agonizing as it looks to you right now. I promise. Although in 2020, you never know.
[00:16:13] Alex: [00:16:13] exactly. Exactly. It’s it’s uh, yeah, I always appreciate another person’s perspective in with the two of us, even if we are both in a really bad place. And, you know, in 2020, it happens more often. It happened in, you know, more often than not, um, But, uh, such a good point, having another person to say, um, this isn’t real w whether it’s me, um, like sometimes I will have auditory and visual hallucinations and.
[00:16:47] I’m lucky enough that usually I can tell that it is just a manifestation of an anxiety, uh, but to have a be like, don’t worry. [00:17:00] I know that that this fear is real right now, but that is not real what you’re seeing or hearing. And I can say to him, um, When he has misperceptions about his body or the way people feel like, Hey, this is okay.
[00:17:15] Just you’re you’re spiraling and yeah. Wow. I’ve never thought about it like that before. That’s great. Thank you.
[00:17:24] Brett: [00:17:24] Yeah. Yeah. I’m happy to share what I go through because literally if I don’t document, um, in some form or another, the things I figure out, I will forget them the next week.
[00:17:36]Alex: [00:17:36] Do you track your mood at all?
[00:17:40] Brett: [00:17:40] I was really good about it for a long time. And then I found that using a sleep tracker was almost a perfect indicator of my moods. And well, it was for a while. And then that stopped working and I didn’t go back to manually [00:18:00] tracking my moods, but, uh, multiple times over the last few episodes, I said that I was going to start tracking my moods again.
[00:18:08]Alex: [00:18:08] The well, and, and that’s, that’s why I asked because I’ve also kind of fallen off the wagon with that. I used to be really good too, and I am really good at tracking my sleep. Uh, and it’s, it can kind of correlate, but right now I’m just doing like the old. Fashion like journaling, like how was my mood today?
[00:18:33] But I want that I really like, you know, graphs and pie charts. And I want to see the data, the, the, the, the, the data that my irrational brain is putting out.
[00:18:46] Brett: [00:18:46] Yeah, for sure. I, I really, I had a couple years where I was tracking all of that stuff and, uh, was able to look and kind of see patterns and peaks and [00:19:00] it. It helped make sense of a lot of things. I think it actually helped me get better treatment by being able to share that with my doctor. And as I’m saying this, I realized I really do need to get back to that.
[00:19:11] That is good data to have. Do you, when you have manic episodes, do you still sleep?
[00:19:17]Alex: [00:19:17] It’s a pen. I mean, I have. Uh, but, uh, bipolar one. And I think we talked about this a little, a little bit before. It’s like the more there’s bipolar one and there’s bipolar two and bipolar one is typically the difference is like really extreme forms of mania. Like not sleeping for days. On end. And that very much used to be me.
[00:19:48] Like it used to be me in terms of, um, one not sleeping too, hallucinating a whole, a whole bunch. And then three having like the [00:20:00] most irrational thoughts possible. Um, now I’ve gotten to sort of a state where I am. I’ve got. But I’m pretty stable and high functioning on the meds. I’m on. Luckily, uh, But even, so I have what people consider hypomanic episodes, where else sleep, but like for two hours, two to four hours a night and that’ll happen for a couple of weeks.
[00:20:30] And then I’m just destroyed. And I kind of slip into a depressive period, which this all sounds very sad, sad to people, or it might sound sad to some people, but like it’s actually a lot. Better than it used to be. And that, uh, for, for me also the data of, Oh, these months went by where you didn’t track your, uh, mood is it’s become almost as important as my sleep tracking.
[00:20:59] Cause [00:21:00] it’s like, ah, yes. Is the sleep tracking as I get less and less sleep, I am tracking my mood less and less. So I mean, even a lack of data has been helpful, I guess.
[00:21:10]Brett: [00:21:10] Yeah. I, uh, my, my episodes, uh, over the last, probably couple years, they have been consistently only, uh, between three and six days long. And, uh, and I, I generally will sleep between zero and two hours a night during. A manic episode. And I, by the end of it, like, I will be, my brain will be working at manic levels, but my body will be so tired out that I ended up just kind of like staring at look, I’ll, I’ll want to sit in front of my computer and I’ll want to code.
[00:21:51] Cause that’s, that’s like my favorite thing to do when I’m manic. My brain just wants to write code. And I’ll end up just sitting and staring at, uh, [00:22:00] my text editor for hours. It’s, uh, I hate it. I really do. I really want to, I don’t. So then I get like depressed and, and I, I expect that to happen and things are awful for another three days to a week.
[00:22:17] Uh, so relatively short episodes, but then I get stable. And after a week of being stable, I miss being manic. And I don’t, I don’t go out of my way to try to trigger manic episodes, but I definitely have this thing in my head where this would be so much more fun if I were manic right now. and it didn’t, I didn’t use to think of it in those words, because I didn’t always realize that it was mania. That it, that was what I was making it enjoyable for me. I thought I just had. Um, good reactions to my meds or something. I don’t know what I thought, but yeah. Anyway, that’s my story.
[00:23:00] [00:22:59] Alex: [00:22:59] What happens after you come down in, in your stable? How, like how long does it take you to get back into a regular sleep cycle? And like, does that affect your body? Uh, physically? Well, you can say you’re just sitting at, uh, the tech center or, uh, staring, but what about just. You know, like, do you get sick more often?
[00:23:28] Or what do do you just kind of just completely shut down so that there’s really nothing that your body has to do.
[00:23:36] Brett: [00:23:36] Um, so like right after a manic episode
[00:23:40] Alex: [00:23:40] Yeah. Like to get rid of sleep debt and
[00:23:43] Brett: [00:23:43] yeah. Which I’ve learned is not, not a possible thing to do, but, um,
[00:23:49]Alex: [00:23:49] right.
[00:23:50] Brett: [00:23:50] on, on the day that it ends and I can feel it ending. I can, all of a sudden my brain will just. Relax. [00:24:00] And we’ll know that the mania has done and I’m about to sleep and I will sleep hard and I will sleep most of the time for like three days and eventually get back to a pretty normal sleep schedule.
[00:24:16] And, uh, as far as getting sick, I, I wouldn’t say I am the healthiest person in the world, but I, I. I do yoga regularly. I keep myself going despite, uh, emotional and mental circumstances. And, um, I couldn’t run, uh, uh, I couldn’t run more than a mile without dying, I don’t get ill very often.
[00:24:43]Alex: [00:24:43] No, that that’s. That’s awesome. Um, one thing I realized, uh, during, you know, this pandemic is how much mania has affected. My [00:25:00] physical health, because I really haven’t gotten, I got maybe like one sinus infection in April. Um, and typically I it’s just like a genetic thing. I get a lot of sinus infections every, every single year.
[00:25:16] Um, But now that I’m not around human beings, uh, it, I don’t get sick anymore. And that the only time, uh, that, that I got sick, it was because I didn’t sleep for, I don’t know, four days it was getting up to the point where I was like, all right. If I, if this keeps going, like I have moved some, something’s got to give, um, But I mean, yeah.
[00:25:43] Um, I think I’m going to be like a mask lifer now. Uh, because I am like, Oh, this is, so if I stay away from people’s germs, I’m not going to be all sniffly. This was, this was awesome masks all the time.
[00:25:59] Brett: [00:25:59] I [00:26:00] think, uh, when you met Elle, she was, she was already wearing a mask. Wasn’t she?
[00:26:04]Alex: [00:26:04] Oh yeah, yeah. Go ahead of the curve, man.
[00:26:08] Brett: [00:26:08] Wait. And as soon as, as soon as her health improved enough that she didn’t have to wear a mask anymore, she had to wear a mask again because of, you know,
[00:26:15] Alex: [00:26:15] Oh, that sucks.
[00:26:18]Brett: [00:26:18] at least she already owned cool looking masks.
[00:26:22] Alex: [00:26:22] trill. True. Silver linings.
[00:26:25]Brett: [00:26:25] Um, but by the time I get to the end of a manic episode, though, I am physically a wreck. Uh, I. I’m delirious. I don’t communicate. Well, I shake, um, um, just basically extreme sleep deprivation without the like quiet mind. Yeah. It’s okay. I’m a wreck. I should document better what it’s like at the very end, because I wrote a post for my blog, uh, basically from the middle of a manic episode.
[00:26:59] Uh, [00:27:00] fully knowing that I was in a manic episode and wanting to document it. Um, and then I wrote it, I was going to write another one from the depression side, but then I was depressed and I was not writing. Um, so I waited until after that passed, I asked and then wrote about it in retrospect, but that I’m way better at documenting the mania though.
[00:27:26] Because it just kind of pours out of you. Like a,
[00:27:29] Alex: [00:27:29] Oh,
[00:27:30] Brett: [00:27:30] I just want to talk, talk, talk, talk, doc, tell everyone everyone wants to hear everything I have to say. Let’s do it. Uh, it’s a very different mindset.
[00:27:38] Alex: [00:27:38] I mean doing a weekly podcast for the past. Um, Oh gosh. I don’t even know for here. Oh yeah. Four years. Um, having to, I never like fake. Enthusiasm or happiness on, uh, [00:28:00] shows at least I hope I don’t. Um, but I’ve noticed that people can absolutely tell when I am depressed or more often they can tell when I’m, you know, hypomanic during a due by Friday episode, because I’m like just talking real, real fast.
[00:28:19] And I’m stammering more. I bet other stammering more than usual or not stammering at all, neither of them, but I it’s, it’s kind of an intro interesting way of being held accountable because there’s always that tiny temptation in the back of my mind of like, yeah, I could get to that manic state that I find to be productive really easy if I just, you know, avoided these few white pills and then I.
[00:28:47] I I’m like you, I, when I am depressed, I don’t talk about how happy I am that I have medication and how it keeps me from not feeling like this. So, uh, [00:29:00] yeah, I guess once again, important for me to have the data and I need to track it more myself.
[00:29:08] Brett: [00:29:08] So how, how much time do you have tonight?
[00:29:11]Alex: [00:29:11] Oh, um, however much you need.
[00:29:15] Brett: [00:29:15] Okay. Cause I’m realizing that I had not planned for the bipolar discussion and that took up a big part of the show. No, it’s awesome. I’m really, like I said, this is something I’ve been wanting to talk about more. Uh, but I have this whole list of questions. Um, did you know that Alex Cox directed repo man?
[00:29:34] Alex: [00:29:34] Oh, I do indeed. And sit in Nancy. Good. It’s good stuff.
[00:29:41]Brett: [00:29:41] I Googled. I was just trying to make sure I was caught up on, on you and, and your public persona and it can repo man came up and I love that soundtrack. It was such a good movie. Nice job on that.
[00:29:55] Alex: [00:29:55] It’s I know I worked a little lot on it. Um, and like 10 years [00:30:00] before I was born too, it was, it was quite a trip.
[00:30:03] Brett: [00:30:03] about mania. So here’s a question, a post, when I was brainstorming questions with Al uh, to ask you one that we thought would be interesting is simply, do you think technology can save us?
[00:30:19]Alex: [00:30:19] no, uh, Yeah. Well, I think, uh, I think people you’re going to save us and technology is going to be a big, big part of that, but I don’t think tech in itself is going to save us. In fact, when it’s. When technology is implemented to solve problems, it, uh, I mean you’re a year, a big computer person. You note that it can often break things more than it solves problems.
[00:30:52] Uh, and often that’s due to, uh, user or manufacturer error, [00:31:00] uh, because whether it be a single person or an entire team, A lot of times, uh, there’s not a lot of diverse input. And when you’re designing like a, an entire, um, the potential artificial intelligence, it’s kind of important to have a lot of different people on that.
[00:31:21] So, yeah,
[00:31:23] Brett: [00:31:23] con conversely, and I think it would, I expect a very similar answer, but do you think technology will destroy us?
[00:31:31]Alex: [00:31:31] no, uh, I think
[00:31:33] Brett: [00:31:33] will destroy it.
[00:31:35]Alex: [00:31:35] I do think, um, yeah, people, people will destroy us. And I, and I don’t want this to sound like, uh, the only thing that can stop a good guy, bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Um, but I think just destroy as an interesting word, because I think some things. [00:32:00] Should be destroyed.
[00:32:01] So like what, what do you mean by us? Like, uh, technology has destroyed a lot of things. Good, good and, and bad. Um, hopefully it doesn’t destroy democracy. Um, but you know, uh, what, what do I know.
[00:32:17] Brett: [00:32:17] actually, I think I, I hadn’t considered the us in that sentence. Um, but I, I do think that in my head, when I asked that question, um, I’m wondering about America and American democracy. And I guess that’s where my head goes right away. That’s not to say that’s where the question was intended to go, but I think you’re right about that.
[00:32:40] Alex: [00:32:40] Yeah. I mean, that’s sort of, this thing is like, okay, the. Biggest news stories of the day, almost always break off on Twitter, which is where, what my friends used to. We used to text each other in high school [00:33:00] because you know, not everybody had unlimited texting yet, so we would just use Twitter and then check our phones or computers later.
[00:33:08] Uh, And, uh, so yeah, it’s, it is how we use it and I actually, Hmm. I’m gonna probably get in trouble. Oh, it depends. I don’t know. Uh, but I it’s somewhat similar to the goal. Gut gun argument is, is regulation and how we are handling check. I mean, Facebook. It sure has been in the limelight along with Apple. Um, I hadn’t, I don’t know.
[00:33:43] I don’t think tech has the ability to destroy us. Basically. It’s going to be the humans using tech poorly.
[00:33:52] Brett: [00:33:52] Yeah, that’s fair or, or, uh, or, um, maliciously even.
[00:33:57]Alex: [00:33:57] well, I mean, even, even if they, [00:34:00] I really, I do think Facebook was started with malicious intentions. In fact, I mean, canonically, it has been, it was created with malicious intentions, but I don’t really think.
[00:34:11] That’s how Twitter was created, but, uh, here we are. Uh, and now literally the most powerful man in the world is, goes on what may or may not be psychotic or diluted episodes. And it’s very frightening. Uh, but. We see that Twitter has the power to change that. And they sometimes they, they usually don’t make the right call in my opinion, but maybe that’s how baby the next Twitter could not save us, but put it push us in the right direction.
[00:34:54] Brett: [00:34:54] Hey, if you wish death on a white man,
[00:34:58]Alex: [00:34:58] I’m sorry. That was [00:35:00] the scene that tweet go around was wow. Twitter really forgot about Gamergate. Well, I, um, I, I mean, I, if people, some, for some reason don’t know that, uh, Twitter. Put they put into place, the practice of removing content that not even wishes death, just wishes, harm on the president. Uh, like, uh, you might be suspended and it’s going to be taken down.
[00:35:35] And one of my friends and in fact reply it like, uh, wasn’t that, wasn’t your stance when you sent me this. And it was somebody sending him a death threat or, or something. And, uh, then just the, literally that was sons of replies then to that tweet of just screenshots of Twitter, uh, saying, Oh, Nope, [00:36:00] this doesn’t, uh, violate our terms.
[00:36:02] Yeah. Oh, all those. Yeah. Um, the, the community standards on Twitter really. Really want women to kill themselves, but not white men.
[00:36:16]Brett: [00:36:16] So you’re pretty well known, uh, maybe not famous for, but known for, um, uh, researching some odd things, uh, going down rabbit holes as they say. Uh, so I’m curious, what is right now, the weirdest thing in your browser history without getting, you know, weird, weird.
[00:36:39] Alex: [00:36:39] The,
[00:36:40] Brett: [00:36:40] the, let me see, let me phrase it as what’s the most odd ball thing in your browser history.
[00:36:47] Alex: [00:36:47] I don’t even know. I mean,
[00:36:49]Brett: [00:36:49] Define odd ball.
[00:36:51] Alex: [00:36:51] Yeah. Like that’s the thing is like, even if I had some, like, Intro. If I had some like spicy porn up here, it wouldn’t be, [00:37:00] it would be like, look at these queer people, kiss it. Like it would be boring. Uh, let me, let me pull up my history here. Um, Oh. Oh. Why did I hit command a no, no, no, it’s not.
[00:37:15] It’s it’s not bad. I just got, I’ve been changing key bindings around and messed it up. That would be, I mean, there is always, typically actually some thing in my. Browser, uh, like I’ve tried to really lock Firefox down, but there’s typically something really like some crazy conspiracy theory from Q Anon or the alts.
[00:37:41] Right. Um, I guess eight Chan yeah. Eight Chan is up here. Okay. So I guess that’s the, the, the weirdest, just one, I think that is more, uh, in line with like, My, I won’t say my values, but, [00:38:00] um, the things that won’t make people sad are the current meta statistics of Pokemon goes, uh, go battle league teams and the.
[00:38:12] Basically like an analysis of the current numbers of each Pokemon and how to either win or ch it’s a C it’s so embarrassing. It doesn’t make sense. Basically. Video game crap. It’s what’s up here. I re uh, D during the pandemic. I mean, I. Really didn’t want to like start a bunch of new ones, hobbies, because I didn’t want to make myself pandemic busy as, uh, Mike Hurley says, so I’m like, alright, I’ll just do a deep dive on the one thing that I can’t turn into a job, which is playing video games.
[00:38:59] You [00:39:00] absolutely can turn into a job, but playing this specific video game, you cannot. So I’ve just. I’ve been kind of obsessing over that. Yeah. What’s the weirdest thing in your browser history right now.
[00:39:10] Brett: [00:39:10] Oh, geez. Let’s see. I honestly, I should have been prepared for that to be turned around on me, but somehow I was not. Let’s see history. What’s weird. Roller Derby COVID protocols.
[00:39:26] Alex: [00:39:26] Oh, that’s not weird at all. That’s soup. Oh gosh. Yeah. Oh, man, that made me sad, but, well, you know what I mean? That’s
[00:39:37] Brett: [00:39:37] you know, do you know about this? Um, I think it’s Texas. Uh, there was a roller Derby league that had a couple of, uh, trauma workers and, uh, health professionals on it.
[00:39:52] Alex: [00:39:52] Oh,
[00:39:52] Brett: [00:39:52] the li no, it was it’s all good. The league came up with a plan. Uh, Wired’s article on it is [00:40:00] titled women’s roller Derby has a plan for COVID and it kicks ass, and they came up with this, like, I remember nine to 12.9 tiered system of like, this is what we can do when these criteria are met.
[00:40:14] And it’s so like clear and unambiguous and it’s flexible so that if this, we go back to this tier and, uh, yeah, it is such a professionally through plan that, uh, people from all over the country are contacting them and implementing it. Um, yeah, I’ll add that way. It’ll be in the show notes from the overtired that will have gone up a week ago already, but.
[00:40:42] Um, the, yeah, that was, that was what, the weirdest thing in my browser history today.
[00:40:48]Alex: [00:40:48] and it is now in my browser history. And I’m stoked to read this later.
[00:40:53] Brett: [00:40:53] It’s cool. Uh, vice did a piece on it too, if you, uh, if you’re on the vice YouTubes at all. all right. [00:41:00] Okay. So let’s, let’s switch here and do top three picks because yours I’m absolutely certain are going to be. If not fascinating, at least interesting.
[00:41:13] Alex: [00:41:13] they’re, they’re definitely not fascinating and fiction. In fact, I had to go and make sure that I didn’t copy. The, uh, your past few guests, especially Merlin with descript, which I’m just going to say, if you’re an audio person at all, uh, or a video person, if you work in any type of nonfiction production, uh, you want to try out D D script.
[00:41:40] Uh, but my first pick is my favorite book. I’ve read this year and is already probably one of. The best books I have ever read in my life. Like I’ve already, I’ve read it three times this year. Um, it’s called wife. Why fish don’t exist by [00:42:00] Lulu Miller? And I don’t really want to say a lot of bout it, except that it is a book about life that will make you cry.
[00:42:13] And it. It’s by a woman who is the co creator of an invisible Invisibilia, which is a one of my favorite podcasts. And it’s a science podcast. So this. Book is kind of like that podcast encapsulated, which is a researching something very scientific and then unraveling it to the point where you try to figure out like the nature of the universe and yourself.
[00:42:50] But it’s also very short and sweet and funny. And I don’t want to say anything more.
[00:42:56] Brett: [00:42:56] I could go for short, sweet and funny. I just [00:43:00] started black, black leper red Wolf by Marlon James.
[00:43:04]Alex: [00:43:04] Ooh, what’s that?
[00:43:06] Brett: [00:43:06] it was recommended to me as a queer as fuck. I’m going to
[00:43:11] Alex: [00:43:11] I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re allowed to swear. I’ve been good. I was very good.
[00:43:15] Brett: [00:43:15] I know. So I basically, I have this, this new, new, if a, if a guest swears more than twice, I just leave it. And Mark, the episode is explicit, but if we get through without swearing, then I can, uh, I can Mark it as not explicit. And I don’t know what effect I haven’t done the research to know if that actually affects any of my listeners or not.
[00:43:39] But, um, Anyway, the book was recommended to me as being a very queer book that I might enjoy. And I’m still, I’m still figuring out what it’s about. Uh it’s. I seem to be, it’s being told from the first person of [00:44:00] a black man in some kind of, yeah, I, I don’t, I don’t want to say too much about it until I figure out what is going on here.
[00:44:09] Um, So I’ll just, I’ll put a link to it and anyone wants to check it out. Can I have a feeling when I have a Mary Jo Klinker on the show, again, this will be a topic of discussion. So stay tuned for that.
[00:44:24]Alex: [00:44:24] Oh, that makes me so excited. Yeah.
[00:44:27]Brett: [00:44:27] Okay. All right. So what’s your second pick then?
[00:44:31]Alex: [00:44:31] Virtual reality. Uh, just in general, when. Lockdown started in March. I immediately ordered an Oculus, uh, not an Oculus rift in Oculus quest, which is the VR headset, unfortunately made, acquired, and now made by Facebook. Um, but it has [00:45:00] like VR to me has gotten to a point where we’re really at like, okay, This is soon going to change the worlds.
[00:45:09] I haven’t felt this excited about something since the rumors of an iPhone and the, like the idea of having a computer in your pocket, like the eye. So I ordered my VR headset in, in March, I said, but it didn’t get it here until, um, I put it on my calendar too. Uh, wait. Nope. Yup. Uh, July 8th, I marked it down because it was such a monumentous day where I’m like, Holy heck, uh, is going to change my life.
[00:45:45] Yeah, it has like, I’ve used it virtually, virtually every day since then. Um, barely to play games, actually, a lot of times I am just going into. Uh, Google earth, they have a great [00:46:00] VR app, um, and just like walking around the rain forest and like looking at beaches. Um, and I’ve been really, I mean, I could list.
[00:46:14] A million things, but like, um, I’ve been reading a lot. Jared, Jared Lanmyer, Jerry Lee. I heard J Jared, the virtual reality guy, highly linear, um, his, his stuff. And I think I’ve always liked the idea of VR in abstract, um, and especially, uh, AR um, augmented reality, but. Being able to use it every single day is like all it’s it’s mindblowing.
[00:46:48] Like, I, I am still one of those people who rarely leave my apartment, um, just for convenience and like health [00:47:00] reasons. And this is the only, like I put on a stupid hat basically. And my. Uh, my, my brain is transformed. Like not just not it’s, it’s so hard to articulate because it really is unlike any, anything I’ve experienced or whenever I have someone try it, they’re like, what the heck was that?
[00:47:29] Even if they have tried a VR headset in the past, like five years, um, Being like, we’re really close to a place where like, yeah, offices are just going to be, uh, in our goggles or glasses. Have you ever tried VR?
[00:47:48]Brett: [00:47:48] No. Uh, my, my impression of VR, anytime someone talks about it, you ever see lawnmower, man.
[00:47:56]Alex: [00:47:56] Wait. Oh, yes, yes, yes. [00:48:00] Yes.
[00:48:00] Brett: [00:48:00] what I think of. And it’s, it’s not good looking. Um, so I, you’re making me very curious to find out what modern VR actually looks like.
[00:48:11] Alex: [00:48:11] That’s the issue too is like the best. It had set in my opinion right now is owned by Facebook, which is de yucky. And I am sure that, uh, eventually Apple, I mean, that’s my, you know, new beat now wish, wish to all was still still around to cover the potential AR glasses that are going to be coming up. But, um, I mean the ability.
[00:48:43] For people to spend, just not, I say just as if it’s nothing like $400 is just a while old amount of money, but it’s also kind of a wild amount of money when you’re like, Oh, $400 and then I can. Be almost [00:49:00] anywhere every day. And I mean, that’s, I don’t know. People are like, what game console are you getting?
[00:49:06] I’m like, I’m just, I’m done with that. Let me walk around on my virtual beach.
[00:49:13]Brett: [00:49:13] Yeah, I could see that. Um, when the pandemic’s over, I’ll come use yours. No, I’ll buy my own. Can, can you like meet people in virtual reality? Can you like hang out?
[00:49:25] Alex: [00:49:25] No. I mean, yes you can, but it’s, it’s not at a place where everybody can afford it or that everybody can
[00:49:33] Brett: [00:49:33] I know, but if I.
[00:49:35] Alex: [00:49:35] Facebook.
[00:49:35] Brett: [00:49:35] If I had an Oculus quest and you had an Oculus quest, could we have a virtual coffee?
[00:49:42] Alex: [00:49:42] yeah, but we wouldn’t we’d have to use like, um, What app could we use? Unfortunately, we couldn’t like see each other. We could see each other’s avatars. Um, we’ll well, no, but we’re, we’re close to being like, yeah, this is a [00:50:00] hologram of another, another person, which is what I’m, I’m stoked for. So, I mean, like having a coffee in, in VR right now is.
[00:50:09] Kind of the same as having one over zoom. Uh, and so I’m, I’m excited for like, you know, we’re gonna like the haptics of when hugs are like legal. Again, it, if they never are obese, I’m all for putting on a suit and you know, our, uh, our armor elbow bumping with people virtually, it’s going to be cool.
[00:50:34] Brett: [00:50:34] Yeah. Um, there was, uh, an Amazon show, uh, and I cannot remember the name of D download. No,
[00:50:42] Alex: [00:50:42] Oh, I think upload
[00:50:44] Brett: [00:50:44] maybe it was just called upload. It was good, but they had these, uh, Like conjugal visit suits, uh, like the,
[00:50:52] Alex: [00:50:52] yeah.
[00:50:53] Brett: [00:50:53] premise was when you die, you get uploaded into this kind of, uh, uh, virtual [00:51:00] reality and you continue to exist as an avatar, uh, who can then communicate back with living people.
[00:51:08] And, uh, you could get, you could rent a suit, uh, and I have a contract we’ll visit with your, your dad dead,
[00:51:16]Alex: [00:51:16] yeah. It’s. Yup. Uh, ghost boning. It was very, it, it was, it was super interesting. Uh, I actually really, um, uh, this is my 2.5 pick is, is the show upload on an Amazon? It’s definitely not for everybody, but, uh, one thing it does illustrate really well, I think is. Uh, the pool, the dark places, we can go with wealth disparity when VR become like real fast, it’s gonna get into like, all right, how much can you pay to subscribe to this virtual world where you need [00:52:00] to work or play or, or whatever.
[00:52:02] Um, and it, but it does it in a humorous way as well. So it’s not like full on black mirror.
[00:52:07] Brett: [00:52:07] Yeah. Uh, I want to Gibson’s recent William Gibson’s recent novels was I have
[00:52:14] Alex: [00:52:14] Oh, Oh, just yes. I mean, same. I’ve been reading a lot during, uh, the same pandemic is just weird still for me. Um, but during the pandemic, uh, I’ve been reading a lot and sometimes the dystopian. Fiction kind of gets jumbled up. Even if it is someone as good as William grip gets them.
[00:52:37] Brett: [00:52:37] Yeah, for sure. All right, so we’re on 2.5. What’s three.
[00:52:43]Alex: [00:52:43] the iOS app.
[00:52:45] When did I? So this is, I don’t know when I found this, but the, I wish I remembered the name of the woman who [00:53:00] develops it. Um, I’ll definitely send it to you for notes, but it’s just an app where you can create a list of things. Um, for example, get a haircut, change, a razor change sheets, uh, by Pokemon go coins.
[00:53:18] You know, examples that are, everybody can relate to. Um, And whenever you do a certain thing, you just select, I’m like, yep. I changed my sheets today or, yep. I got a haircut today. So now, um, you now, you know, the last time you did something, so I called my grandma six days ago, so I should probably am like, Oh, I should probably, uh, do that again.
[00:53:46] And what I sort of like about this is it. It is a habit tracker
[00:53:54]But I don’t know. It was, it’s still hard for me to [00:54:00] articulate why this has worked for me more than habit trackers have. And maybe it’s like the negative reinforcement of like, Oh, I haven’t changed my sheets in how many days, what now? Uh, but I just use this, um, with the series of, uh, iOS, uh, shortcuts to, you know, no Mark, like Mark off my regular stuff of like, I took this medication six hours ago.
[00:54:30] So if I’m. It it’s it’s like, uh, Oh, here’s a good way to do it. It’s a good way of like tracking feelings almost like what is the, I do have like last manic episode. Like I have that in there as well. Like stuff you don’t want on your mind constantly, but stuff that it’s still in, like this liminal space that you can’t like GTD at, it is kind of always in your head.
[00:54:58] Like, it is always in my head [00:55:00] of like, when did I. Go call my grandma. Well, when is the last time I changed the, that pillow case? It’s just been really, really helpful. Yeah.
[00:55:11] Brett: [00:55:11] Yeah, I built a whole command line system around this premise. Uh, it
[00:55:17] Alex: [00:55:17] Oh, of course you did.
[00:55:18]Brett: [00:55:18] It was a little script app called doing, and it let me, while I was at my computer, uh, just write down what I was doing or what I had just done. And then it gave me a task paper formatted file that I could search and see if, and when I last did something, uh, and I designed it pretty much specifically for manic episodes, uh, when I would be.
[00:55:44] Doing more things than I could possibly keep track of. and it would be suddenly 10 in the morning. And I wouldn’t know what, what I had spent the last eight hours on. And, uh, it w it [00:56:00] has proven very useful for me. And I can see exactly why an iOS app, like this would be a boon, especially to someone who does have.
[00:56:12] Uh, vastly varying States of mind.
[00:56:16] Alex: [00:56:16] Yeah, and for me, it’s super useful with the like audit automation stuff built in, but. If you just want like a very simple list, it’s incredibly accessible and easy to set up and I’m was super, super impressed by, uh, just, I don’t know, it’s an application with personality too. Like it’s not like skeuomorphic or anything, but I, I met, I miss apps having character, I guess.
[00:56:49] So. Yeah, I like that about it too.
[00:56:51] Brett: [00:56:51] Alright. Cool. Um, yeah, so we did it. We even with extra questions, we, we came in and around an hour, which [00:57:00] was always my goal.
[00:57:02] Alex: [00:57:02] Nice. Nice.
[00:57:03] Brett: [00:57:03] Well done. Um, we actually almost completely skipped talking about Dubai Friday and we should at least mention that that show is going strong with you and Merlin and.
[00:57:14]Alex: [00:57:14] Yeah, you should, you should, uh, come, come on some time and. Come up with a weird challenge for us to do that will inevitably fail at, and then you can tell us the amazing script you created to do the challenge for us. Uh, and it’ll, it’ll be great.
[00:57:31] Brett: [00:57:31] This is a serious invite. I’m totally down.
[00:57:34] Alex: [00:57:34] We Oh, yeah, dude. But like, that’s kind of the whole premise of, of Dubai Friday is, uh, obviously to pick a challenge each week and that challenge could be, um, you know, drop butts or re, or like reorganized your, your, to do list to three D print something.
[00:57:58] Um, but I mean, [00:58:00] really it’s an excuse just to. Talk to the people we like and the people who do and people who do interesting things that we kind of want to collect them and bring them into our, our friend circle, like, uh, our amazing friend, dr. Don Shaffer, uh, who hosts the food safety podcast. Like I dunno, I’ve just met so many.
[00:58:23] Interesting people over the past four years and learned so much, and that’s very much thanks to Merlin and the, honestly the Apple and tech unity at, at large, it’s been awesome.
[00:58:37] Brett: [00:58:37] Yeah, I, uh, I would be honored to join the ranks. I will, uh, I will start formulating a challenge for you. All right. Any other podcasts you want to link to? Or should we, uh, say two headed girl and do by Friday.
[00:58:52]Alex: [00:58:52] You have two, two headed girl and a two by Friday. And, uh, keep an eye out [00:59:00] on re relay FM, I guess.
[00:59:02]Brett: [00:59:02] awesome. Um, where can people find you? Should they wish to learn more or, and, or contact you?
[00:59:10]Alex: [00:59:10] I’m on Twitter at Alex Cox, bill Cox, not the other way. Um, and not the other way people ask me all the time, especially now over the phone. Oh boy. Um, but. You can also go to Alex cox.me, which is just a, Oh wow. I don’t even know. No, just follow me on Twitter, twitter.com/ Alex Cox. It’s probably my tumbler.
[00:59:36] Yep. It’s my tumbler. Oh boy. Oh.
[00:59:40] Brett: [00:59:40] All right. Um, and, and like you said, the podcasts, uh, 200 girls on transistor.fm.
[00:59:48] Alex: [00:59:48] Yes. Uh, I think, uh, yes. Yes, it is to girl.transistor.fm, but also on we’re on Twitter at two headed girl FM, uh, two spelled out [01:00:00] T w O M and. If you want to find Dubai Friday, it we’re also on Twitter at Dubai Friday, but it’s spelled D O B Y Friday. I’m not the many other ways you could spell, do and buy.
[01:00:15]Brett: [01:00:15] Awesome. Alright, well, thanks for, uh, thanks for coming on today. Thanks for being open about bipolar and for, uh, and for being just a terribly interesting person.
[01:00:24] Alex: [01:00:24] No, no, thank you.
[01:00:27]Brett: [01:00:27] All right. Hope to talk to you again soon.
[01:00:29]Alex: [01:00:29] Totally. Thank you so much. Uh, how can I send, Oh, wait, you’re doing the outro. Aren’t
[01:00:36] Brett: [01:00:36] No, I actually, so the funny thing about the outros is.
[01:00:41]Alex: [01:00:41] so that’s that’s I love the what, what have you, uh, what, what are you using for a soundboard? Just like a stream deck. Um, ma Oh man. I, Oh yeah. I saw that you got the, the big stream deck. Uh, yeah.
[01:00:56]Oh yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s what I [01:01:00] have. Uh, and it’s pretty much all your it’s just, it’s basically my, my Terp stra deck. It might as well be. Yeah, thank you for bunch. It makes, I mean, Anton veal, I don’t even think you for by computer basically. That’s usual. I am or no, or sorry. I am not, I don’t know why I said I am with such confidence because I don’t think I, no, I’m not, but also, I don’t know what, like valuable feedback I could provide except I broke it.
[01:01:32]Oh yeah. Thank you.
[01:01:35]Oh, yeah, totally. Cause I, yeah, I use a lot of drafts. Yeah. Yeah. I am. I am. Yeah. I’m really stoked to try this. Thank you.
[01:01:47]whatever works. If you want me to give you a server to upload it, that’s fine.
[01:01:51]Oh yeah. I’ll just, yeah. I’ll send you a Dropbox link to the, the file. I think I know shag about whatever it’s. [01:02:00] Called these days. Yeah. Yeah, I, I don’t ever have the links expire because I’m not because I am, huh. I actually do have to head out now, but thank you so much again, uh, I have very slow internet, so it might not show up for about a half hour.
[01:02:23] I’ll I’ll send you the, I know. Good. Perfect. Wonderful. All right. Have a nice night. And I hope that, uh, are you, are you doing doing all right, cook. Cool. I hope you guys are hanging in there and let’s, let’s talk soon and yeah, definitely. We want to have you on Dubai Friday. See you, man. Bye.