John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 59

by on Feb.11, 2011, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Welcome to Rum Doings Talk Radio, edition 59.

I’m far too busy to tell you what’s in this episode. We’ve recorded a couple in advance – this week’s and next week’s. Amazingly Nick has been told by the doctor he must not speak for two weeks. At all. That’s how come you’ve heard those angels singing. So I imagine we probably talked about some drink, radio, probably wittered on about TV at length, and Nick probably accused John of being something terrible. You know how it goes. Very entertainingly. That’s how.

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33 Comments for this entry

  • Nick Mailer

    And I think you can hear why the doctor told me not to speak. It sounds like my voice was made of rusty razor blades. Just as well we pre-recorded.

  • Sean

    Thoroughly enjoyed that.

    I think when you talk about your lives pre-Doings is when I most enjoy the podcast.

  • Alex B

    Heh – I watched the first episode of Season 3 of Castle, and your method was correct. There have been subversions though.

  • James

    The bishop of Croydon is soon to become the bishop of Bradford. He follows me a Twitter. I’m choosing to imagine that’s where he got the link to your piece on Stephen Green.

    When Nick interrupted you, you were about to name a bad game that Valve have made…?

  • Gassalasca

    Just to plug it here as well:

    Torrent^ to Rum Doings episodes 1-50. If you find yourself in need of such thing, of course.

  • Carl Howard

    Johns shock at the increase in public transport prices is well spoken. I live in Manchester, and the prices seem to be consistently increasing. When I was a younger man, the bus went from being 37p, to 40p, to 45p, then to a bizarre 85p. Nowadays, as a non-child, it costs £4 to go from one end of the tramline to another, it’s outrageous. I’m not sure if it’s like this where you two gents are, but I assume that in the North, because the transport services are privately owned, they can just decide when they want to increase the prices.

    Which is very often, it’s silly!

  • Arthur

    To be honest you’re voice doesn’t sound that bad.

    Did you guys prerecord because you had an inkling that your throat was going to go out, or was it for an unrelated reason?

  • devlocke

    Valve doesn’t make particularly good games, they just make very POLISHED games. The Half-Life games are kind of dull, in my entirely-subjective-but-sincerely-held opinion. Portal was amusing because of the dialog, and I’m hoping Portal 2 will be as amusing or moreso, since it seems to have a lot more dialog, but Portal is the only Valve game I really had a good time with.

    Sorry; didn’t mean to mention video games, but you guys brought it up!

    Re: Dollhouse, after hearing it was bad everywhere from everyone, an ex told me it was the BEST THING EVER, which confused me, so I watched the first season and… it’s somewhere in between. The premise IS retarded, but John’s complaint that there’s no character progression because the characters reset with every episode is just not true. The whole point to the first season, at least, is that enough is sticking to make things complicated for everyone involved. I wouldn’t recommend it, and my ex was just wrong, but it was much better than it had any right to be, or gets credit for. Haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the second season, so I have no opinion on that.

  • thants

    I’m still convinced that casting Eliza Dushku as a chameleon-like person who becomes a different person each week is some kind of elaborate practical joke.

  • Jambe

    You sounded fine, Nick. Except where you implied that you wouldn’t like to see more Robert Downey Jr as a smug, snarky Tony Stark. What a horrible suggestion! It’s entirely possible that The Avengers will suck, though; Samuel L Jackson stars in it, after all. I’m actually sorta annoyed that they decided to use him in the role. The Ultimate continuity is all crap from what I hear (haven’t read it myself).

    The big morning zoo radio personality out of Chicago calls himself Mancow (and his show is Mancow’s Morning Madhouse). Terrible is gross understatement. He’s half Stern wannabe, half pseudo-intellectual conservative masquerading as a “libertarian”.

    Speaking of series that shouldn’t have been cancelled, the SciFi Channel (now SyFy, ha ha) showed The Dresden Files, which ran for twelve episodes and was summarily cancelled. It was cheesy but the scripts were tight and the characters jelled from the outset. I’m a fan of Jim Butcher’s universe anyway, though, so I’m biased.

    The only shows I sometimes “tune in” for are Anthony Bourdain’s and The Venture Bros. When I think about it, I don’t really watch much TV. I don’t get why people are fascinated with these mob shows… I haven’t liked any of them. And I’m not huge on The Godfather. It was beautifully filmed and the story was interesting but it wasn’t earth-shatteringly fantastic.

    It was a couple episodes back, btw, where there was an abnormally-high amount of talking over each other, usually Nick over John. I don’t mind it personally, as it amuses me to imagine the looks on your faces as the palaver intensifies… then one of you throws a pie.

    Is Obsidian really “controlled by EA” John? afaik it’s entirely private (as opposed to, say, DICE, which is one of EA’s subsidiaries). I dunno how much influence EA has over them, but I suppose it could be a lot given that their console market is so large.

    I think much of my Valve-appreciation stems from their company ethos, and that ethos is largely possibly because they’re a mostly self-sufficient private company and are not beholden to a giant brick and mortar publishing behemoth. They don’t iterate on shooters with the rabid zeal of EA or Activision (Call of Honor Modern Battlefield: Company Sixteen) and seem to genuinely care about continual support of existing titles. I suppose they’re like a regional organic co-op to EA’s corn-subsidy super-grower… although Steam really changes things.

    Good episode.

  • John Walker

    James – It’s Ricochet.

    Jambe – That’s the one. I learned of him when I used to listen to Steve Dahl’s show, back before WCKG learned what podcasts were and stopped him from releasing them.

  • mister k

    Good stuff. I enjoy a back and forth: indeed some of my favourite moments of rum doings are when Nick tames some extreme position on some issue and John makes outraged noises, I just dislike it when you’re attacking each other, even if only in jest. I actually find it exceedingly annoying on Collings and Herring as well- Herring’s insistence that its what makes the podcast work is, to my mind at least, wrong, as my favourite parts of the podcast is when he acts like himself rather than the annoying character he’s concucted. Basically I like my podcasts to be interesting people talking about interesting things, which is why I tend to enjoy Rum Doings so much.

    On Dollhouse, while the central conceit is terrible (primarily what bothered me was that the Dollhouse was clearly absolutely, entirely evil, and we were expected to like the people RUNNING it), when plot finally hits, and its about the dollhouse rather than the clients it became a bit more interesting. I have yet to see season 2, however.

  • Xercies

    Dollhouse I thought was terrible, it had bland monster/crime of the week episodes and the story wasn’t really that interesting. i didn’t watch it after like 3 episodes.

    Actually i can’t believe Fringe is still going because that was another bland monster of the week show that was trying so hard to be X Files with JJ Abrahms interesting yet probably would get ridiculous storyline.

    I like The Sopranos and I’m very interested in Boardwalk Empire but I want to watch that after i have finished with The Sopranos.

    I would like you to write a bit more about TV on your blog actually…you seemed to start like these big blog posts about them but then you don’t really finish them. The Walking dead is probably my favourite new show at the moment.

  • James

    Ah, I have that sat in my Steam account, but I’ve never actually played it. I’d forgotten it existed.

    On Dollhouse, I just finished watching season 2 and I thought it was an improvement. We finally get to see some actual character development, some of the trademark Whedon humor is back, there’s excellent moments like the one you mentioned with Topher, and the seriously questionable gender politics of season 1 are tackled much better. It does feel like they rushed two seasons into one when they realised cancellation was inevitable and Dushku, like David Boreanaz before her, isn’t really strong enough to carry a show herself. Hopefully next time Joss will look outside of his mates for some fresh talent.

  • Jambe

    Oh wow, Steve Dahl. I wasn’t aware that CBS had stopped him podcasting. I thought they just co-opted the podcasts with adverts and such.

  • Alex Bakke

    Re: Firefly

    Weren’t there 14 episodes? Unless you’re discounting Hearts of Gold.

  • John Walker

    Jambe – this was years back – maybe six or seven? He would release the entirety of his WCKG show as an mp3 every day, ads and all, until Comcast found out what podcasts were. It was their being given a popular name that prevented his doing it.

    Now he’s releasing a daily podcast from his basement, but it seems to lack a great deal without the tension of conflict. He’s not having to fight against the co-hosts/station/Comcast, and his co-host is sycophantic to the point of repulsion. When it was Wendy, Spike and Buzz, it worked because they clearly struggled to get along. With no one being a prick like Spike, I don’t feel drawn to listen.

    Here’s one of my favourite Dahl bits:

  • Jambe

    I see. Yeah, he peaked before my time, really. But I was aware of the fellow, Chicago being a haunt of mine.


    “Hello, I can talk to dead people, who are you?”

    Also, “You ever had somebody go psychic on your ass?”

    Oh, something I meant to say was spurred on by a second listening-through of the podcast (this time with a friend). It was about immigration (oh god). I’m pro immigration but I’m not entirely pro-multiculturalism. I’m fine with all the new incoming culture as long as it’s not ethically abhorrent. So no auto/theocracy, screwed up patriarchy, horribly strict gender roles, gross sexual inequality, militant behavior, etc.

    I’m aware that America has plenty of its own ethical problems eg a perennially globe-trotting army, nonsense fiscal policy, abhorrent social infrastructure, etc. That we have our share of horridness doesn’t mean we need to import more crappy behavior. I just think that it’s very much worth pointing out that there are things about Western culture that are very good and very much worth upholding and defending, even if it means demanding that newcomers undergo difficult adaptation.

    Some very-leftist people I know espouse a strange “we’ll accept all new people and all new ideas” view which reeks of naive moral relativism. Melting pot this, cultural soup that. Again, I’m very much in favor of new people and culture as long as the people aren’t, say, druglords, and the culture isn’t terrible. I’ll take the mind-boggling variety of a big city (I love Chicago and Austin) over samey ubiquity of “small-town America” any day (provided I can escape to some wildlands and relax from time to time).

  • Vagabond

    @Xercies – it took maybe half of season 1 for Fringe’s metaplot to get going, but by the end of season 2 so much is happening in that space that there isn’t room for much of anything that doesn’t relate to the meta plot. The story does of course get quite ridiculous, but I’m enjoying it. Mind you, I enjoyed the X-files until it turned out they didn’t have a coherent metaplot, and I enjoyed Lost until it turned out they didn’t have a coherent metaplot… I guess I live in hope.

  • Alex

    Fringe is the best science fiction show on TV right now.

  • Blackberries

    The price of my monthly Oyster travel-card has increased by a little over £15 in the last couple of years. They’ve been consistently raising the price every New Year – I imagine that’s what caught you out, John. It’s getting pretty ridiculous. Were I not a student my monthly travel-card would be well over £100. As it is, I get a third off. Though if Ken Livingstone were still mayor I’d travel for free. Cheers, Boris (and all who voted for him).

    I’m almost certain you can obtain Oyster cards from regular ticket offices at any station, where you can pay in a sensible fashion. Though they’ve been closing down offices all over the place and cutting staff, so perhaps none were manned while you were there. Failing that, I think some shops which offer Oyster top-ups also sell the cards.

    Or you could just order one online.

  • Nick Mailer

    I agree re: multiculturalism, Jambe. Any culture’s welcome, so long as it pertains to some minimal ethical standards. I am not a racist (I don’t believe in race) but, by golly, I’m a culturist! I judge!

  • Xercies

    @Vagabond and Alex

    Hmm I have been hearing good things about Fringe recently actually and I’m tempted about going back to it but i kind of stopped about episode 8 of Season 1 and kind of want to go back to the juicy bits. Should I just grudge through the episodes to get to the interesting bits or is there any point I should start on?

    Also I loved Lost even when it kind of got into the ridiculous with its meta plot.

  • Thants

    Yeah, Fringe got really good when it started being more serialized.

    The AVClub had list of recommended episodes to catch up on here:,45183/ (At the end of the article)

  • John Walker

    Nick – who defines those minimums?

  • Nick Mailer

    I do. And they include the word “minima”.

  • James

    You can buy Oyster cards online and they’ll post them to you. Well worth planning ahead if you’re going to London. Not that it helps you at all if you’re already at a station, of course.

  • Arthur


    Does London not have a day long or week long pass like the CTA or New York Subway? Can you only pay by the ride?

  • Nick Mailer

    Tsk. You didn’t listen properly to the podcast where we explicitly equate the travelcard with New York’s “Fun Pass”

  • Vagabond

    I read somewhere that the current season is going to refer back to stuff in Season 1 that seemed at the time to be unrelated to anything, if that’s true then it would be worth watching them all.
    Also, worth mentioning, at some point they held over an episode and showed it later in the run. I don’t know why, as this results in some apparent major continuity errors and there is no explanation provided as to what is going on. I thought I was going mad when I first watched that one.

  • Vagabond

    Oh, if it’s not too late, don’t read the AV club article, just skip to the end for the episode list. It’s full of spoilers for the meta plot of the first two seasons.

  • Arthur

    :( I’m sorry Nick.

    It’s just that the travelcard sounded like something you kept a balance on, rather than something that gave unlimited trips for a certain period. I guess I misunderstood.

  • Nick Mailer

    Hi Arthur,

    You did understand, sort of :-)

    Basically, the Oyster Card is an RFID chipped card on which you can indeed get a balance. If you travel around London, your first trip will be charged at a single rate etc, but when it reaches the price of a “travel card”, you will not be charged further. So there’s an implicit “reach the level of all-you-can-eat” about it. You can also buy a paper “travelcard” ticket too, although that costs more these days, because they’re trying to convince people to use the Oyster Cards.