Competitive Microsoft Excel, Trolling Romance Scammers, and Trance Music
Plus: J.R.R. Tolkien's dinosaurs, Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64, and a great prank to play on a teenager.
Welcome to Follow Friday, where this week I’m trying out a slightly new format that includes some of the podcasts I’ve been working on this week. This is to coincide with my new newsletter on LinkedIn, Follow Friday Podcast Recs. It’s an abbreviated version of what you’re getting here, but I’d still appreciate it if you’d follow me over there.
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The single best thing I saw online this week: “Excel’s so much more violent than I anticipated!” I loved this video from People Make Games about the Microsoft Excel superfans who have turned their mastery of formulas and keyboard shortcuts into a legit, competitive eSport, with cash prizes! Quintin Smith keeps it light and visually interesting, and the segment where he and his coworker Chris Bratt decide to try it for themselves will leave you laughing … or maybe yelling at your screen, if you’re an Excel power user yourself.
The best podcasts I’ve heard this week
At a time when AI is getting better and better at imitating voices, I hope we don’t lose the art of voice acting, which over the years has been a frequent subject of Twenty Thousand Hertz. Their most recent inlet to the craft is through “soundalikes,” voice actors like Jim Hanks who — when his more expensive brother Tom is unavailable — can step into roles like Woody for the sake of toys, video games, and theme park rides.
Speaking of theme parks: I clicked download right away on this Underunderstood episode about Virtual Magic Kingdom, one of the many online games I played as a teenager that kept me away from drugs, and homework. The gang finds out why the game was shut down after only a couple years, and explains why (at least for the sake of the Disney corporation) it’s probably a good thing that it did. Let’s see how long I can resist the fan remakes…
A lesson for podcasters: Always tell other people about your show, even if you only have 15 seconds with them. At Podcast Movement Evolutions, I bumped into Garret Kruger, who told me he was there representing his podcast I Know Dino: The Big Dinosaur Podcast. He had a new subscriber by second 16, and this week I listened to, “Tolkien’s interest in dinosaurs and how it shaped his writing.” I confess that I am not so into dinosaurs anymore that the other segments got their claws in me, but I loved Garret’s interview with professor-turned-Tolkien-impersonator John Holmes.
Don’t miss: This TikTok about personal finance podcasts
help i’m addicted to this mashup
It’s already well-established on the internet that the music for Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64 had no right to go as hard as it does. DJ Cummerbund took Grant Kirkhope’s arrangement of the Bond theme that plays when the game is paused and mashed it up with another icon of the 90s: One of my favorite bands, The Cranberries. MY GOD, I cannot get enough of this. Maybe it doesn’t work as well for you as it does for me. Too bad. Get your own newsletter!
The latest from LightningPod
OK here’s what’s new format-wise: A space to talk about what I’ve been producing and editing at my real job, LightningPod. If you want more frequent updates on these shows, please follow LightningPod on LinkedIn. I’m making a habit of posting new episodes there as they come out.
On The Smart Home Show, Adam Justice and Richard Gunther convened a panel of experts to help Adam design and build the home theater of his dreams. That panel includes Seth Johnson and TJ Huddleston from the HomeTech Podcast, and Cinemaworks owner Owen Maddock. I don't have the space in my rental apartment to consider a home theater of my own, but if I ever do ... I will 100% be returning to this episode.
On Grit, Zapier CRO Giancarlo 'GC' Lionetti joined Joubin Mirzadegan to talk about constant paranoia, “fitting the mold,” rethinking meetings, and more. I loved GC's candor about being an anti-remote person at a fully-remote company, and this quote: "If you asked me in every single experience what my next experience was gonna be ... I wouldn’t have guessed the one that I ended up doing."
On Lock and Code, David Ruiz interviewed Becky Holmes, aka @deathtospinach on Twitter, who has mastered the art of trolling romance scammers who pretend to be celebrities, soldiers, and oil rig workers. It's a hilarious and schadenfreudelicious recounting of how she has made some shady actors question their life choices. Sometimes with fake dead bodies.
And finally, on the Brand Publishing Show, Toolkits co-founder Shareen Pathak spoke with Jennifer Leigh Parker, the editor in chief of a new business magazine from the global design firm Huge. Parker is a former reporter at CNBC and Bloomberg, and is directing the magazine as a journalist would, to focus on the narratives that will transform creative businesses.
The best thing I’ve read this week
My partner found this comment in /r/VisibleMending, and it is a VIBE for 2023 if I’ve ever heard one. Someone in that subreddit posted a picture of a pair of jeans with a hole above one of the pockets, asking how difficult it would be to repair them “if I’ve never sewed anything before.” A user named thc_vampire replied:
Think about it like this. You’ve intuitively understood how to navigate intricate online spaces. You navigate technological interfaces with ease almost every second of the day. You make deductions and predictions and understand niche digital spaces representative of a niche tangible slice of the world. This, is merely a thread and needle operation. We did this before we knew what a wheel and axle was all about. U can put a patch behind the surface, and sew all around it with simple back and forth hand stitching. This is your world to conquer and on the sliding scale of difficulty this is near the prehistoric border. Put ur needle in, pull it out. Make it look the way you want it to. Good luck!!!
I would like to hire thc_vampire to give me pep talks whenever I am discouraged.
Palate cleanser: Their first time hearing trance music
My partner also found this one, so fair’s fair — I’m giving her half of the money I make from this newsletter ($0). If I were a musician or DJ and I saw just one person in the audience enjoying my work as much as these guys enjoy their first taste of trance music, I could retire happy.
… And the rest
Why Anker won’t ship to Rhode Island
“When you discover your teenager has been sneaking shots…”
Incredible Futurama cosplay (I have watched this video five times and had a stupid grin on my face by the end each time)
Just getting a drink, don’t mind me
Michelle Yeoh’s mom and friends reacting to her Best Actress Oscar win
A genius invention that you can 3D print right now
You can be evil in Hogwarts Legacy with basically no consequences