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X-Rated Movies, Randomized Zelda, and a Free Idea For a Podcast Business
Plus: Cher Horowitz's closet, the future of passwords, and an ineffectual cupcake vendor.
Welcome to Follow Friday and a pre-emptive RIP to my blue checkmark on Twitter, 2014 - 2023. No way in hell am I paying for that.
The single best thing I saw online this week: This video of a sheep with a bucket hat. SOUND ON, trust me.
The best podcasts I’ve heard this week
I listen to way too many movie and TV podcasts, but the most popular one that has historically missed my ears is Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This, which explores “secret and/or forgotten” stories from 20th century Hollywood. I casually subscribed some time ago in the hopes of catching her next season, and that time is NOW: The 90-minute “prologue” to her upcoming miniseries, “Erotic 90s,” is a thorough and at times cringe-inducing look back at the state of porn, feminism, and conservative morality heading into the last decade of the millennium. I learned a lot — and really enjoyed Karina’s impression of MPAA boss Jack Valenti in the section about the “X” rating.
Speaking of 90s films … the latest episode of Articles of Interest was an insta-download for me based on the title: “The Clueless Closet.” In it, friend of FF Avery Trufelman figures how why we don’t all have Cher Horowitz’s iconic outfit-picking computer by now, and the answer certainly isn’t for lack of trying. Avery even gets writer/director Amy Heckerling on the phone to explain where she got the idea in the first place.
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help i’m addicted to another ridiculous gaming thing on youtube
I’ve finally caught the bug for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in recent months after buying it for $30 on Cyber Monday, which means I catch myself daydreaming about shrines and Korok seeds and Farosh the dragon fairly often. That SHOULD be all the brainpower I allot to Zelda, but I’ve discovered a dangerous new way to spend my lunch breaks: Watching a different game in the series get chopped up and mixed around on YouTube.
The channel is ZFG, who appears to be a big deal on Twitch but I definitely don’t have time to be watching his live streams all day. Helpfully, though, he posts edited-down videos of his streams, where he plays a heavily modified version of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The locations of the game’s hundreds of items are randomized, and sometimes he also shuffles dungeon and boss locations — i.e., trying to enter the Great Deku Tree can unexpectedly lead him to Ganondorf’s Castle.
I’ve probably lost most of you by now, but if you’re still with me you probably played Ocarina of Time back in the day, and I think you’d really appreciate the challenge this randomization creates. ZFG needs to know all the places an item might be in, whether he can get to those places, and how to re-route Link on the fly, all while bantering with his live viewers on Twitch. It’s weirdly compelling:
The latest from LightningPod
Here’s what I’ve been producing and editing this week. For more, follow LightningPod on LinkedIn.
On Grit, Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala joined Joubin Mirzadegan live on stage at the Chase Center to talk about about finding joy on the court, becoming a tech guy, and the trade-offs of pro sports stardom: “Basketball, I would play for free. I wouldn't play in the NBA for free. There's a big difference.”
On Lock and Code, Anna Pobletts from 1Password spoke with David Ruiz about the problems with passwords, and a better, easier option that does not trade security for ease-of-use: Passkeys. You might already be using them without knowing it; if you’ve been able to log into your bank’s app with your face or fingerprint, that’s a passkey.
And finally, on The Brand Publishing Show, Google’s Natalie Zmuda was interviewed by Shareen Pathak from Toolkits about how her team finds stories marketers care about, and how that connects to Google’s broader goals. Even small changes to the language they use internally & with partners has made a big difference.
Here’s a podcast business idea that someone should steal
This week, I watched the 2008 box office dud Speed Racer for the first time (really liked it, my new second-favorite Wachowskis movie after The Matrix). And right after I got out of the theater, I wanted to listen to a podcast about it.
I found one new-to-me pod on Letterboxd and gave it a try; it was just OK, which is why I didn’t recommend it in the “favorite podcasts” section above. And I suppose I could open each of the podcasts I know I like and search their show notes for any mention of Speed Racer. But this feels like it should be easier.
I want to open a website or an app, type in the name of any movie, and see at a glance all the podcast episodes about that movie. And each search result should tell me, is this a full review? A segment of a longer show? A passing mention? Shows I have starred or subscribe to should be at the top of the list, followed by highly-rated podcasts I don’t yet listen to.
(This is sort of possible by searching Listen Notes, but I have no idea what the “relevance” sort means, and it scoops up a lot of irrelevant pods that aren’t actually about the movie).
So, does this exist somewhere? If not, can someone make it? Please and thank you.
The best thing I’ve read this week
I’ve read several profiles of my former boss Kara Swisher over the years; there’s a quote in this one from 2014 comparing her to a honey badger, which became an in-joke for a time in the Recode office. But this new Vanity Fair profile really captures how she talks and thinks — and how she texts. And if you’re looking for some tea, it publicly spells out why her New York Times podcast didn’t pan out:
[…] she says, “I think it was that they didn’t hire the right people in the first place,” because “I do news.” I point out that Sway was a product of the Opinion side of Times audio, not its news division, which she dismisses as an irrelevant distinction. “When something happens, I want to do it right away…they just didn’t wanna move that way. I totally get it, I completely respect it, but I just didn’t want to do the slower show. I wanted to do the fast-burn show. And so it was a real struggle.”
Palate cleanser: “Could I have a cupcake, please?”
The little sigh kills me every time.