1161 – Writers Pack XL Unboxing and More
Scooter plays his cards from the newest Writers Super Helpful XL pack.
Writers Emergency Pack (XL coming soon) https://www.writeremergency.com/
Scriptnotes Podcast- website https://johnaugust.com/scriptnotes
open in podcast app https://pod.link/462495496
- Dot and Don Matrix
- Super Helpful Procedures
- Scriptnotes Podcast / John August
- Punch Drunk Love
Notable Talking Points:
- The Glory Years of Annoying Sounds
- Super Helpful Procedures
- Lucky Takeout Surprise Box from Archie McPhee
Episode 1161 – Writers Pack XL Unboxing and More
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time for the podcaster that’s here to keep you company and take your mind off of stuff so that you could fall asleep. You deserve a good night’s sleep; that’s why we make this show. You deserve a bedtime you could look forward to, not one you dread, and you deserve the rest you need so your life can be more manageable. You know, so you could be out there living your life tomorrow. That’s one of the reasons I make the show. The other reason is I know how it feels in the deep, dark night, tossing, turning. So do a lot of other people. We might not know exactly what you’re going through, but I can probably relate to it or someone out there can. The show is very different; it’s a meandering show where I just talk to you and keep you company, take your mind off of stuff so you can fall asleep.
The show starts out with support, then it has a nice, long, meandering intro to help you wind down, and then there will be a bedtime story. But it’s mostly a friend in the deep, dark night, me, here to keep you company. It does take a couple tries to get used to ‘cause I am a bit different. But if nothing’s worked for you, like you’ve tried a bunch of different stuff, that’s why this show is a bit different, ‘cause it works for the people it works for, but it works for almost no one on the first try because…you say, what is this…? Is this dude still…? I thought this was a sleep podcast. What is this…when do the bed chimes start? I say, bed chimes? There’s…I don't even know what a bed chime is, but maybe I’ll talk about it in a minute. But it’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. Thanks for making it possible, my patron peeps.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press Play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake. It could be thoughts on your mind, thoughts you’re thinking about, thoughts…yeah, thoughts about the past, the present, the future, a long time ago, tomorrow, yes…whatever. I do a lot of thinking. It’s incredible how my thinking ramps up. It’s like a…my brain’s like a supercomputer at bedtime.
During the day, it’s like a computer made from soup cans, where you say, that doesn’t make any sense. I say, exactly. So, during the day, I have a supercomputer made of super…you say, well, what is…? Son, what is that? It’s a computer I’ve designed from soup cans. What does it do? Well, when I push this in, I go bleep, blorp, and it begins its…it’s calculating that you shouldn’t be asking me questions with a passive-aggressive voice, imaginary parent within me, because then I’m going to turn this soup can ninety degrees and it’s going to activate my discombobulator ray. Oh, I thought you were trying to introduce a sleep podcast. Oh, you’re right. I was talking about thinking and I was interrupted by my thoughts, which I was trying to counteract with my imagination. What was it?
Oh, at bedtime my thoughts can be like a supercomputer. Also, my…can…my feelings are…if…how you would feel if you were trying to focus when a dot matrix printer is printing things. You may have seen one in a movie before. I know a lot of you, you’re lucky; you didn’t get to live through the glory years of annoying sounds. You say, I thought list…people talking on their phone…on speakerphone on an airplane or listening to music on their phone speaker was annoying. Oh boy, you really haven’t lived if you haven’t heard of dot matrix…it was a printer and whatever way they designed it, they said…I don't think they said this…I’m surprised they didn’t sell it. They should have had…that should have been…I don't know if…I don't think Don Draper was still selling advertising when dot matrix printers came around.
I have no idea…I guess it was a printer that just did dots, but it was like if you took a screeching bird and removed everything…like, every…what do you call that? Not everything positive. I mean, definitely everything positive, but everything enjoyable…even though you say, well, there’s not…I say, well, yeah, a owl screech is pretty decent. I say, okay, you…okay, give me…I’ll do the inverse; take all the bad parts of a bird screeching — which now we can agree, the majority of bird screeching — and put it in a…add some sort of high-pitched mechanical whirring. Also, normally it’s printing something, so it’s gotta be work or school-related, or the result…you say, well, these are the results of your examination. Just let this printer screech them out. So, there’s not…you don’t have a positive association.
I mean, maybe if they printed your refund check there…they should have done that, one. A printing company…here’s a couple…if I get a time machine, tuck…I’m the niche time traveler. Oh, what do you do with your time traveling? Well, I fix niche…I fix problems that…people didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a niche problem. It was only gonna be a problem shortly, and so, I fixed those niche problems, like the annoyance…for the printing company, ‘cause they sponsor my time…it’s a sponsored time travel. It’s the newest thing. You go back in time…oh, no, I don’t…some part of my brain just said, do you realize Don Draper’s imaginary? No. I mean, I do know that. I did not realize it, though. But I would say…’cause what does Don Draper do?
He says, well, take something annoying and make it the feature, or…not a bug; it’s a feature now. So, I don't know how Don Draper would sell it because I’m no…there’s been many things said to me before, and probably one of them is, you’re no Don Draper, including that part of my imagination that said, I’m familiar…it didn’t say, I know Don Draper. It said, I’m familiar with Don Draper, and you’re no Don Draper. I’d say, well, at least it was alliterative when you said it that way. So…oh, I…so, my feelings and my thoughts could be like a loud printer, which unfortunately most…those of you…unless you were in that little gap of whatever generation…I don't know, because it was two generations.
Now, baby boomers were at the helm of it, but those of us on the listening end, we were printing out reports…I mean, I guess they had to use it at work, so we could feel…we could…so, maybe some of you are also familiar with it. Oh, but one more thing my imagination wanted to…’cause I knew there would be some objections to the idea of niche time traveling sponsored by business, so I just want to say, where do you think the idea of a machine just to rewind video tapes came from? It was a niche time traveler. They fixed…they went back in time. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize it at the…I’ll only realize it in the future, which is now, but I’m doing all this in the past, that…you say, well, you were just doing that on salary, so you don’t actually own the rights to the…also, you’ll exist in the future, and we’ve already liquidated all the company’s assets.
I say, terrific. But oh, I was saying you missed out on the glory days of annoying sounds, which you should be thankful for. I was hoping that some part of my brain would think up other annoying sounds that existed between, whatever, 1979 and 1999, but…there probably are a lot of them and they…oh boy…oh, those of you that thought it in your head, my brain also agreed with you. I say, speaking of those sounds, your voice…I say, hilarious. You really got me, brain, and all the listeners that thought of that joke. Say, speaking of annoying sounds existing, that’s…began their existence at that time. But it continues on. So, thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, changes in time, temperature, routine, you could have something coming…whatever’s keeping you awake, I’m here to keep you company and take your mind off of it so that you could fall asleep.
God forbid you are time traveling and listening to this. I mean, holy mackerel, but also hearing…you’re in a situation where you’re trying to sleep, but the…I don't think you could with the dot matrix printer. I mean, maybe if it was consistently printing and it was muffled by three or four rooms…I say, man, I could put a lot of people to sleep, but I don't know if you’re in the vicinity of a printing dot matrix printer, especially if it was printing at irregular intervals. So, there’s something we could all be grateful for, except for probably…maybe there’s…we have to be open to the possibility that someone is in that situation, and we feel empathy and compassion for them, but for the rest of us, you say, put it on your…you didn’t have a gratitude list? Now you do. Now we all have something to be grateful for.
We’re not try…you say…’cause I mean, if you listen to this podcast, a gratitude list is not…making a gratitude list would be at the bottom of my gratitude list, right? You’d say, that’s why I burn gratitude lists. But if we did need to do it because it’s been proven to be good for us, eye-rolling emoji…but it’s true. You say, today I’m grateful I’m not trying to sleep in the vicinity of a dot matrix printer, which I’ve only…a lot of you that are listening say…that I’ve only been made aware of because of that one movie. I don't know. I mean, it would be a rom-com, probably. You know, where the dot matrix printer played a huge part in the film. I guess it could be…I mean, it could be a stock sound effect for something else. What? Oh, a stand-in for Scooter. There you go; my brain just said, a stand…how about a stand-in for your voice?
Okay, but we could all be grateful that we’re not trying to sleep in the vicinity of an incredible…a printer that essentially screeched, but without any of the redeeming qualities — there you go, vocabulary — of a screeching bird. No, I mean, I’m not here to make a dot matrix printer…dot matrix printers cry. I’m just speaking…it’s only a metaphor. Don't worry about it. If you’re a dot matrix printer and you’ve become sentient, I mean, you get…you got a lot on me, so don’t feel bad. It’s only a metaphor. Is it a metaphor for my creaky, dulcet tones? That’s my voice, or pointless meanders that I send across the deep, dark night so you could fall asleep. So, this show is a bit different. Like I said earlier, it does take some getting used to because if you’re trying to sleep and you’ve tried a bunch of stuff, of course you’re skeptical or doubtful.
This show, it just takes some getting used to because it is very…structured different, I sound different, I go off topic. So, let me give you that…that’s one thing. This is a podcast you kinda just barely listen to, kind of like a background noise that’s pleasant, like a fan…consistent background noises that aren’t annoying, you know? I don't know. I don't have a list of those, either. I’m not good at lists except when they’re pouring out my brain, like about four hours from now when I’m trying to go to bed. Then I’ll have a list of everything. A list of melons…a list of seedless melons. I say, what the heck? I’m trying to go to bed. Well, I just wanted to think of…I think we need to have a list of…well, remember that time you spat watermelon…? I say, oh boy, here we go.
They said, do you realize you made a promise to your sibling that you would spit watermelon seeds until a watermelon patch grew? That never…what kind of person does that? I say, I’m trying to go to bed. I was just spitting water…I was just making talk, idle talk, while I was spitting watermelon seeds. Oh, well, geez, idle talk…sounded like a promise to me. Okay, maybe I’ll google ‘growing your own watermelon patch’, but I don't think I’ve ever lived in…I don't know if I’ve…yeah, so…but I’m…actually, I’m trying to introduce a sleep podcast and I’m already swimming in metaphors. So, I really don’t have…and oh, no, this was a metaphor about trying to go to bed and the thoughts, and that’s why this is a podcast you just barely listen to.
You could kinda listen to me like a mumble or a murmur, or you can listen, but there’s no pressure to listen. I’m kind of a friend here to talk about nothing and keep you company so that you could fall asleep. But that’s the other thing; there’s no pressure to fall asleep at all. This show is over an hour. If you can’t sleep, I’m here to keep you company because there’s people that listen to this show that can’t sleep. They can’t fall asleep. Or the people that listen that need a break during the day because they’re feel…they need a little distraction from how they’re feeling. So, I’m here to keep you company whether you’re awake or asleep. I’m here to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-sib, your bore-bud, your bore-bestie, your neigh-bore, your bore-bor, your bore-bud, your bore-friend to be here while you fall asleep, but not…I don't really put you to sleep.
I just keep you company. So, that’s one thing. The other thing that probably most people…oh, if you loathe the show…I mean, you may have already given up on it ‘cause we went…we’ve gone far afield. Obviously not a field of watermelons, because my brain has let me know that later it will bring this back up and say, I can’t believe that; just another…once again making…talk about no follow-through. I say, are you sure this isn’t a…are you sure this wasn’t a scene in the dot matrix printer rom-com action film? How about this, is there a…here’s the thing — and again, I do take full credit for this — I’m offering it freely for you to take…make something of it. Give me a bunch of dough and free credit. I may follow…I probably will follow through on this, but there you go; a AI narrator, Dot Matrix. Dot Matrix.
I just said ‘Dot Natrix’. That’s a whole different film. That’s printing after dark. Okay, so…oh yeah, so…oh, structure of the show. Oh, if you loathe the show, sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou…’cause it doesn’t change the fact that you do deserve a good night’s sleep, and there’s a bunch of other sleep podcasts on there, and you could check them out. Hopefully you find something that works. But the structure of the show also throws new people off. It is very intentional to benefit the most amount of people we can, and then you can kind of adjust how you listen. But the show starts off with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, so you feel seen and welcomed in and you say, I could check this show out.
Then there’s support for the show so it can be free and come out twice a week with everybody that works on the show, and then there’s an intro which we’re twelve to twenty minutes into, and it’s usually twelve to twenty minutes long. That’s separate from the support. I just don’t want you to miss out on that, ‘cause when people feel…for some reason, they object to the support for…and then they lump the intro in with it. You’re missing out. I mean, you don’t have to miss out. You’re missing out on the…a lot of people’s favorite part of the show, ‘cause it’s really the only part of the show they’re awake for. Some people aren’t even awake for the whole thing of the intro. But the intro’s kind of a friendly time where a bunch of stuff pops up in my brain and I talk about it.
I mean, this is like a history lesson of stuff that will never be glorified in history except here on this podcast. Dot matrix printer; possibly one of the most annoying sounds ever…by human…made by human means. I would put…I would say, a klaxon…I would put way less annoying, unless it’s in your vicinity. Things as annoying as dot matrix printers that…I’m not trying to hurt their feelings…a air horn, dot matrix printer. Can’t think of anything else right now. I’m talking about generally annoying. Everybody’s got something that’s specifically annoying. But generationally, we still got air horns around, so that’s, again, another thing to be grateful for. Out of the two most annoying sounds I can think of at this time produced by human kind, only one of them is still around and used on a regular basis.
Even then, a air horn can be used in times that it’s not annoying. You say, okay, cool, I like that. Like, on the challenge when TJ does it, I kinda like it. Okay, so, holy mackerel, I was trying to…oh, so, the intro goes on and on and on. Why does it go on and on and on? Great question. Because it’s part of people’s wind down routine, or it eases you into bedtime. It’s a transition period between getting bedtime and sleep time. That’s what’s been shown to work, is having some kind of wind down so you could get ready for bed, you could be in bed getting…in getting…in bed getting comfortable, you could be drifting off, or you could be doing some other relaxing activity. Or if you don’t like the intro, you just start the show at, whatever, twenty, twenty-five, thirty minutes.
So, those are different ways…but the intro is really a landing strip. Then after the intro is support, again, so the show could be free, and then there’s a bedtime story. It’ll be a nice bedtime story. I’m not even sure right now what it’ll be. Then there will be thank-yous at the end of the show. So, that’s the structure of the show, that’s why I make the show, and really, I hope I didn’t hurt any…I hope I didn’t…I know I missed a lot of annoying noises, but those are two of the…those are two of them. I don't know, dot matrix printers…there was…what would Don…Don Matrix; there’s another one. Dot and Don Matrix. I’m gonna go over to their house. That’ll be like…can somebody call Jordan Peele and let him know? There you go. There’s your next film. Scooter’s a guest at the home of Don and Dot Matrix. He has no idea.
They say, you’ll be sleeping here on a regular basis for a while. Then they just chuckle. Then every time my head hits the pillow…and I’d say, you know what? You don’t need to do any screeching. I got a internal screeching that is way more effective that literally cuts to the core, so you don’t have to make dot matrix noises. So, if you could relate to any of this, I’m so glad you’re here. I work really hard and I really…I yearn and I strive and I really hope I can help you fall asleep. Thanks again for coming by, and here’s a couple ways we’re able to do this for you for free twice a week.
Alright, hey everybody, it’s Scoots here. We’re doing a double unboxing. We’re starting with something that I did not get to…I think we did episodes with it and we’ll probably use this for some stuff in future episodes, but I just got it in the mail. It was such a surprise ‘cause I had forgotten it was coming. A lot of times you hear me talk about Scriptnotes podcast and John August and Craig Mazin, and they…not to go on a huge tangent about Scriptnotes, but it really…Sleep With Me owes a huge debt of gratitude to John and Craig. Also, life has been watching Craig’s show, The Last of Us, and then my daughter was just in Big Fish, the musical, which John did the book for, which is based on the movie that John wrote.
But the reason it’s such a big thing is like, Scriptnotes was not one of the first podcasts I listened to, but I started listening to Scriptnotes about a year or two before I made Sleep With Me, and I just remember…so, John and Craig are screenwriters and they do a show called Scriptnotes, which you can listen to. They’re wonderfully generous ‘cause they don’t have any reason to do this show other than to be a service to people that are either in screenwriting or aspiring screenwriters or wherever you are in between, or that like listening to people and hearing about the process. I mean, or for people that like that, because they’re not doing it for brand or consulting or even to promote their projects or get work.
They just do it, honestly, I think, because they know how it feels and they’re just interest…like, how it feels to be like, oh, this is something I want to try to do. How do I do it? Or people that are in the process of being like, well, how do I make this story work, or what is it about this story that brings me back every time? I was in a place where…and I guess…I have to really retrace my steps, but at some point it was…a lot of the advice they were saying about the show, I was trying to write a couple different things and…but I wasn’t in a place in my personal life where I was making decisions that weren’t necessarily…where I couldn’t build a foundation to develop the skills to become a screenwriter or…other than…I was half-way in trying, as a hobby, to create stuff.
Listening to Scriptnotes, they kinda talked about the process of doing it and just…I don't know, I just got so much out of it. I didn’t write out a thing of what to say. But so, John August makes a product called The Writer’s Super-Helpful Pack. We’ve talked about it on the show before, and I’ll try to link to the old episodes where we used it or talked about it before. But John recently launched a version of it called The Writer’s Super-Helpful Pack XL. Of course, I signed up to get it. So, on the front cover, it’s a…larger than a…it’s…well, we’ll go through it. But I’m holding it in my hand right now, and I would…it’s a nice matte finish. Holy cow. I think this is an early release that I signed up for, or a first printing. I probably shouldn’t even have opened it, but I’m gonna use it, so…but it’s called The Writer’s Super-Helpful Pack XL.
It’s from Quote Unquote Press. It’s by John August. On the cover is…it’s some oranges and…I don't know what you call that. I don't know. My vocabulary is so limited in colors. But it looks like a sun and then a pinkish…is that mauve? Is that a word, mauve, mauve? But so, there’s a person, a astronaut person, and they said, oh, my ship is having a issue. So, that’s the cover. Let’s see, on the back side…if you were buying it in the store, it has…it says, when your story gets stuck — quoting this — Writer’s Super-Helpful Pack has the tools you need. Fix plot holes, spice up stock characters, rethink your themes. Writer’s Super-Helpful Pack gives you the questions that lead to great answers. This pack contains fifty-two illustrated cards with helpful suggestions and specific tips to try, and instructions for individual and class use, plus a bonus story game, Cards Against Normality.
It’s $20.22 from Quote Unquote LLC. Oh, wow, and it’s bigger cards. Cool. ‘Cause I didn’t know…the box is about the size of two decks of playing cards, so I was like, oh, is there two decks of playing cards in here? But no, they’re double-sized cards. For me, that’s…helps because as…my eyes change as they become more vintage. So, cool. So, I just opened the box, and the nice thing for me is the cards are not wrapped again; there was only one set of wrapping. The first thing that I found is the Cards Against Normality. There’s a card that describes it; it’s a game for three to six players and you draw three cards. At the end of each round, you should have three cards. The oldest player goes first. Each round…you could do this with a bedtime story. We could try it in a episode.
With each round, each storyteller begins telling a story. Could be familiar, an anecdote from real life, or something made up. When the storyteller’s finished, other players have fifteen seconds to choose one of their cards and…fifteen seconds, then moving clockwise, you reveal your chosen card and retell the original story based on that card’s theme, describing their version in as much detail as required. After hearing all the versions, the group chooses their favorite and then the role of storyteller switches to the next player, clockwise. So, you could definitely do that to put people to sleep, or I could. Here’s a group activity. It’s found in thousands of classrooms and writer’s groups. One fun way to use it is…choose a premise that includes a hero in a general situation.
For example, this is number one; a mountain-climber discovers a mysterious cave. Then you hand out one card to each player or team, and then players have a set amount of time, maybe five minutes, to figure out a rough story that uses the premise and their card, and then players present their rough stories to the group. So, that’s fun, too. Okay, now I’m gonna spill the cards out. We got…okay, so when I spill them out, that’s when they come out. There’s also a big card that says Blank: Please Pull. So, that’s cool. I got a little collector’s card. So, we’ll start. The cards are organized. Again, I’ve changed some of the language on this to keep it sleepy, but…Super-Helpful Procedures. So, one, focus on the moment in the story that’s causing a issue. Draw a card at random. No cheating.
Then read it along with detailed selections on the back. Then it says, the card might…you choose might not seem to apply to your situation. Don’t panic. Let the artwork, title, and suggestions trigger new ideas. This is kind of how…when I talk about meander points in Sleep With Me, because I’ve used the Writer Super-Helpful cards in the past for this. Most of these ideas will be…so, maybe we’ll just do random cards and I’ll kinda give you an example. I don't know. Most of these ideas won't work; that’s okay. The goal of the pack is to get you asking what if? Wrong turns are useful if they get you headed somewhere interesting. Okay, on the other side is a writing exercise. If you’re looking up…to limber up your writing brain, you could try this.
Pick a well-known story, movie, fairy tale, choose a card at random, read the suggestions, and then brainstorm how to apply this…the idea to this story. Then four, start writing. Could be a scene or synopsis. The point is to get some words down. Okay, so, I won't…we’ll…what I’ll do is…so, this is interesting ‘cause I’m working on Episode 8 or Episode…yeah, Episode 8 of the…our ongoing episodically modular series, Make Great Pets. So, this will be kind of meta a little bit, because I don't know if that episode is…when I’m recording this, I haven’t recorded Episode 8. I just started writing it on…when I recorded it on Friday, so Saturday…or did I record it on Saturday? Oh no, Thurs…so, I recorded the episode on…episode…the previous episode on Thursday, so I started writing on Friday.
Now it’s Monday and I’ll have until…I have about a week-and-a-half more of writing, but I’m just kinda coming up with…oh, what is gonna be the general story of the episode? I have a loose idea of the episode, but…so, let’s just randomly take a card and go. So, I’m going about halfway through the deck. You gotta be kidding me. So, this is funny ‘cause the title…but it doesn’t have to do with it. Sandman; sometimes your best friend is the one you make yourself. It shows two children playing in sand, but then there’s a giant sand sculpture person. Looks like a gingerbread person a little bit. Sand is actually running through their hands and one of the kids is playing with it. Okay, so, let’s go through Sandman. This is Card 27. From magical snowmen to troublesome robots are countless tales of creatures given life in unexpected ways.
They can be true allies or they can be causers of toil and trouble, or both. Sandmen are also often organizations rather than individuals. A bee colony, Borg in Star Trek, composed of millions of pieces…are amorphous and hard to defeat. A Sandman can also be a natural force such as a building storm or any persistent irritant that wears down your hero over time. So, okay, so here’s the questions; how could your hero create an ally? What would they be made of? Consider how your hero’s tactics would change if they were battling countless tiny things instead of one big boss. Sand slips through your fingers. What item or achievement might slip away from your hero? We’ll use these cards in the future, so I don't know how…where this will go.
So, I’m working on this episode, right, of…and the main character…well, this is what’s interesting, is Ren is the main character for the series, but Ren’s there to help someone. Where I’m at in the writing process is kind of trying to define who it is Ren’s helping, and I have a general idea of that, but I don't…really haven’t gotten to know who the person is, ‘cause I was kinda more going through some of the choices they would make, because Ren is in somewhat of a…competition’s the wrong word, but there’s also Cinda who’s there also trying to help the same person, but Cinda and Ren have kind of different value systems that they’re trying to help the person with. So, a couple questions come up, is…I don't know, I guess Ren is the hero of the story. I mean, [inaudible] would be all humble if…on Ren’s behalf.
But Ren’s who we’re trying to root for because Ren’s gonna be trying to help someone in a additive way, where…I mean, and I guess you could root for Cinda, ‘cause Cinda’s trying to help the person in a way where they get what they want now. The general idea around the episode so far has been…’cause I was just working on a little more specifics…was that the character…I haven’t taken time to brainstorm yet, but they are possibly…so, this will be kinda really interesting ‘cause I don't know what will end up coming, ‘cause we still have a long…for Sleep With Me time, two weeks is a long time, so we still have the majority of our writing time left. But the idea is, possibly the character is…what do you call that? A influencer or a YouTuber.
Maybe, maybe not, ‘cause I’m trying to see, how does that add to their wants and needs. But there’s someone who really is good at taking advantages of situations to save money, and they’re kinda going through this…’cause I was like, oh, should this be a twenty-four-hour period or a little bit longer period we’re spending with this character? Ren is their pet. Ren is a tortoise, which is a nod to some of the tales that this is based on that just influenced the idea for these stories. But so, this character is kind of…they would be like…if they were going out to dinner…and I used to do this all the time; I would be…I would pause before I reached for my thing, or I’d go to the bathroom when it’s time to pay the check. I’d be like, oh, I don't have my wallet, or oh, you want me to…are you sure you don’t want me to get it?
If you say that, then the person’s always gonna be like, no, I’ll get it. It’s the kind of person I’ve been a lot of time in my life. So…or some of the tales that I was reading where it’s like, oh, well, I have one ingredient, but if you give me the rest, we’ll do the…I think Stone Soup was like that. That’s one of the tales. There’s a few different tales that I was reading that had a tortoise in it that were African folk tales. So, but this character is kind of in between. That’s the way they’ve normally done things, right? But they’re in our modern world, so I’m kind of thinking that Cinda will be someone like a manager where it’s like, okay, how can we make the most of this for you if you already had a YouTube channel where you’re like, here’s how to save money on food or meals, but it’s somewhat of a gray area way to do it?
Like, use…here’s how you use expired coupons. Normally you’d…that wouldn’t be popular. But again, this is fiction. Cinda’s kind of encouraged them to be like, hey, what kind of sponsors can we have for this? They’re kinda caught up in it too, because maybe it’s bringing them more certainty. Ren is there…and again, we’re early on, so this will be helpful, I hope. So, Ren is there, kind of like, well, these choices aren’t very additive. Really, you’re just kind of…you’re in this…maybe this gray area. But is this what you really want? Or why do you want this?
These are the…this is…when I’m working on it…this doesn’t normally come up in the episode, but it helps me when I’m a little bit stuck for me to be…for Ren to ask, since Ren does have a very specific viewpoint, or I’m try…that’s what I’m trying to do, to be…to ask the character…even…this is just in the process, not in the result; hey, is this what you really want? Hey, why do you…what do you get out of scamming people, or…and they say, well, I’m not scamming people. I’m just taking…making the most of the…oh, okay, well…but mostly, I think a lot of this is…from Ren’s perspective, is like, is this how you want…is this what you want the rest of your life to be like? If it is, that’s fine. But Ren has a sense deep down of like, I don't think this is how you want the rest of your life to be.
You’re gonna kind keep going and use…and then the…so, then the idea that they’re doing this as performative, too, so they’re building a career on, is like, do you really want to be using expired coupons and promoting that or whatever, promoting loop holes? This isn’t based on anything; it just came…it came out of this general idea of the stone soup idea and try…so anyway. So, I don't know, that’s really all I have thus far. So, how could…so, a sand-person…it could be a colony or small pieces that are hard to get over, could be Olaf, the magical snowman, or something like a robot that’s not on your side, beings given life in unexpected ways, true allies or non-allies. Then, so, the first question is, hey, try this; how could your…I guess maybe we’ll just answer these. They don’t have to be a part of the episode.
I mean, I’m putting myself on the spot but that’s the whole purpose of doing this, right? So, how could your hero create an ally and what would they be made of? So, so far, we know that Ren…and if you haven’t heard, Make Great Pets is hard to explain in the middle of a episode, but basically, Ren is a post…in a post-Earthly existence, has been given a job as a part of a training program where Ren will be projected into a pet — or spiritually inhabit a pet or whatever — at a turning point in somebody’s life, and Ren’s supposed to help them through their turning point. But they don’t have total control over the pet like in the movies, so they’re trying to subtley influence the person through their pet. Then this episode, Ren is probably gonna be a tortoise.
Ren is up against Cinda, who takes human form, so…and is able to seemingly fully control her human form in trying to help the person in a different direction, which is…again, this is not about right or wrong. It’s just kinda more about like, hey, this will help you in the short term; let’s not worry about it. Their world philosophies do come up a lot of times in each episode, ‘cause what’s better for Sleep With Me than a long speech about life philosophy? Okay, but if Ren, who is a tortoise, could create an ally, how could they create an ally and what would they be made of? So, Ren needs help. So, Ren’s a tortoise. A tortoise is, as far as…my knowledge of tortoises is very limited, but they have a shell, they go slow.
We’ll put aside that they’re supposed to be knowledgeable, or they have Toots…when I was a kid, they were in a commercial for Tootsie Pops, where the kid would ask the owl or the tortoise, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Which I was never a big fan of. I just found the two flavors of a lollipop and a Tootsie Roll not contrasting in a way that I enjoyed, but that’s just me. So, there was something there where my brain…it’s like, okay, Toots…could you make an ally? What would the ally be made of? So, if we were making an ally…so, there’s a couple things there; Tootsie Pops, pops…sticks, candy, wrappers, Tootsie Rolls or commercials. So, what are those old TV commercials…? Then I’m thinking of…okay, so what would they be made of? They can be made of one of those things.
What would be most likely to…a tortoise could do? A tortoise could probably do basic video editing or You…looking up stuff on YouTube. So, Ren probably could look up YouTube videos of old commercials, or Ren could definitely push candy or move candy or candy wrappers. Okay, so then that kinda makes sense in a sense of like, there’s…sometimes you have to collect stuff, right, to…or it used to be. So, when I was a kid, there was a couple different things you had. You could raise money for your school — which I think they still do — with these different corporations that had multiple food brands, you could have labels from cans and box tops, and then if you sent them in, your school or whatever, they would get money from this company.
I don't really know how it worked, but I think it was…it was significant enough that sometimes the schools would do it as part of a fund-drive or a fund-raiser, they called it. But there was also things like…you remember…or maybe you don’t ‘cause if you’re new…so, there’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, right? Then there’s…there was Mallow Cups. Don’t do this, because Mallow Cups do have a…I don't know if they have an expiration date but they do expire, because the last time I talked about Mallow Cups on the show, which was at least six or seven years ago…maybe it was less than that, but let’s just say that…I bought…not an extreme amount of Mallow Cups, but I was like, where can I get some Mallow Cups?
I went to a couple websites and then I said, oh, I could buy a box of them, just the size of a box you’d see on display at a store. But that’s like, too many Mallow Cups for me to eat, except over a six or seven-year period, especially when I move and I put them away and then I forget where they are. Those are no longer edible, ‘cause every once in a while I’ll find some and then I’ll try to eat them, and I say, okay, these are no longer edible. But Mallow Cups, in their box or in their…so, it’s packaged the exact same way as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; a two-pack, and you would…but it’s yellow. They’re marshmallow and coconut or something. I don't even know, even though I liked them. I was always a big fan of them.
Don’t exactly know what their flavors are, but so…I mean, it’s marshmallow and coconut, I think, but not a overwhelming coconut flavor. Mostly marshmallow with chocolate, you know, on the outside. So, okay, but they had mallow bucks in there or something, kinda…oh, I’ve talked about Kohl’s Cash. Wow, that’s weird, a Scriptnotes episode just got…came out on my watch. I think it comes out on Mondays, but it’s…it might be…it’s a Sidecast episode. Okay, so, to go back to where I was talking about…or like gum or something. It would come with…you’d…or soda’s done this before, where they say, hey, keep our soda top or some…or…you know what I mean, I think. You can follow me, right? So, it would seem like this character could…so, this could be actually…so, there was just…I did not watch the whole thing.
Somebody told me about it and I started watching it. There’s dude’s…Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? But there was also the movie Punch-Drunk Love, which was based…Punch-Drunk Love was based on this guy that figured out the pudding cups…and I think it was Frequent Flyer Miles, and he kinda figured out a loop hole in that, like the cost of the Frequent Flyer…the value of the Frequent Flyer Miles versus the cost of pudding cups, and that’s…was a basic influence, somehow, for Punch-Drunk Love. That’s what…anyway, and then this movie, Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? is similar, but it’s like a…I don't know if it’s a…I don't know what you call it. It’s a doc…it’s a halfumentary? I don't know what…if that’s a word. It’s a documentary, but it has reenactments in it.
So, I don't think it’s…I think it’s non-fiction, but…anyway, so that make…those two things would say…so, what if this character that Ren is working with…the reason they got into all these short-term scams or whatever…scam’s the wrong word because those two…both the Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? and the Punch-Drunk Love thing is not a scam; it was realizing there was a legitimate loop hole. But how…when…did this person ever have some sort of quest like that? Like a deep, down quest where it was like…that maybe they had given up on or they had stopped…they said, well, these are easier. Oh, just eating free samples, going to get free samples for lunch, or the other things that I had listed…kind of…I was brainstorming. It’s like, crashing holiday parties.
Like, this is something you shouldn’t do, or weddings. But if you go…if you live in a urban area, especially at the holiday season, if you just go to…into every hotel lobby, there’s usually a holiday party. You shouldn’t do it; it’s wrong, but I’m just saying this character, that’s one of the things they do, and they’re gonna…maybe they’ll talk about how, hey, my advice is…you don’t go back to the same hotel, or whatever. Then the movie Wedding Crashers was based on that idea, too. But that’s just one more thing that this character…maybe for this episode, is like, their thing. I don't know if it’s important or not that they’re doing it as a performative thing on YouTube, like I said, or not, but whatever. But what if they had some sort of other long thing that they were doing?
Because the cool thing about the Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? you can see in the first episode…or the person from Punch-Drunk Love that influenced that movie, is that they were kind of like…it was something that really took a lot of grit and seeing it through. So, it was like, is this…had this character had an experience like that…or maybe it was something even different, like they had a collection. Maybe they were collecting, whatever, Bazooka Joe’s and other gum. I don't know if it had Bazooka Bucks, but let’s just say it did have Bazooka Bucks, and then…so, if there was like…if they had been collecting Bazooka Bucks since they were a kid…and again, this is the stuff that happens more on your subconscious level or whatever. But that was…they didn’t realize it was one of their dreams or that it was important to them.
Then something happened in another earlier turning point where they…either the collection was lost or damaged or maybe they were embarrassed by somebody or they had…they…there was a switch in their values. Especially for this tale, it’s kind of important that as a part of their…switching their values — and all this happens before the episodes, usually — they became more…less available to hope for long-term things and more susceptible to being like, no, the short…these short-term…I need…I want to feel this way now. That’s what Cinda’s good at, is saying, oh, if you want…if these are the feelings you want now, I can help you get those feelings, and we don’t have to worry about long-term gains. We’re interested in satisfying these feelings now.
So, I think that is…there is something there because…and there is something like this collective thing, so it isn’t…it could be a character in the sense of a large number of wrappers. So, maybe Ren discovers the wrappers somewhere, ‘cause I can see that. Even though this is a sleep podcast, that could be very tactile and visual, because usually when you’re doing this…’cause I did go through phases like this, so I guess it’s also relatable. I never got…I never collected anything longer than four weeks, but I can remember smoothing out those wrappers. Also, the Bazooka Joe ones had…the Bazooka Joe gum…here’s a…well, there’s two different kinds of…Double Bubble; that was the other one.
These were sugared gums and they literally…they were bubble gum, so you could blow bubbles, but they literally had…the only thing…and again, if you owned a gum company, please, these…this is only satire, but the only gum that flavor lasts less than those was Fruit Stripe. Fruit Stripe; best-tasting gum. Flavor lasts like, one minute. It was an amazing gum, but it was the most temporary, which…now we’re in a metaphor by accident, but…about this whole stuff. But so…so, I think that makes it sweeter, in some sense. That was a accidental pun. But so, maybe it is one of these gums that doesn’t last very long. So, something like Bazooka Joe gum, which…oh, so those had a comic and a joke, usually. Maybe they were a collectible. I don't know. I’ll try to track some down.
But I think this kinda falls into this, is that would be the ally. The ally isn’t a…it’s…because…but so…oh, but so, it could be tactile, it could be visual, that something a tortoise could handle, and…but it would also be hard for a tortoise to handle. It’s like, first, Ren would have to discover it, then Ren would have to see that there’s this emotional vulnerability related to the character. Maybe her name would be Joey? I don't know. Is that too on the nose or…? Dubal…Double Bubble, Fruit Stripe, Z…maybe Z, maybe Z…something like…’cause there was a zebra on Fruit Stripe gum. I don't know. I don't know if I’ll even remember this stuff when I go to write tomorrow, the character name stuff. But let’s just say for now it’s Zee, though I think we already used…but…Zeeb…Deborah? Maybe Deborah.
Zebra, Deborah…anyway, not important. But so, the character has a collection of gum wrappers. There’s some…and then what I have to brainstorm…what is their emotional vulnerability related to these wrappers, or how does it play into them changing their focus? I mean, I guess it could be they…this was a shared activity with someone they loved, and that is…that relationship doesn’t…isn’t a functioning relationship anymore. But yeah, that the character or the asset or the thing is that there is this…’cause it would be…it would have to be a massive amount, right? I guess the wrappers…oh, ‘cause you would flatten them out; I think that was another thing I was trying to explain and then I went on a tangent. I can remember that tactile activity of flattening out wrappers, or…and so, that could be a discovery.
Maybe then there could be another discovery, like…Ren’s like, holy cow, there’s a lot of wrappers here. Then it’s like, well, go in this other room. That would be something that’s also…creates the contrast, ‘cause it’s so child-like and childish that Cinda could use that to be like, what is this? This isn’t…if it was somebody trying to be edgy on YouTube, it’s like, this isn’t edgy at all. Also, I think…thinking about finishing the…closing those episodes. It’s always nice to have something…a soothing, calm image. So, spoiler alert, but it’s like, now I’m thinking…being with your tortoise, snuggling with a tortoise in a giant bed of gum wrappers…’cause again, they were…the gum was…it wouldn’t…they weren’t sticky at all. But lying down in a bed of gum wrappers would be pretty nice. So, yeah. This is cool.
So, that kinda really did help and really carried us somewhere with just one thing. So, that…there you go. That was just some John August magic there, helping me crack…I mean, I’m not even kidding…so, this is the one thing I needed. So, I guess this is the example of how it works, is a little bit of brainstorming based on the question, which was challenging. You can’t see my insides, but my insides were like, I do not know how this is gonna work. Just like John said in the instructions. I was like, oh boy, this is gonna…I was like, at least I make a sleep podcast, so people will be falling asleep, but I was like, man, this is gonna be tough to figure out. That’s usually a part of it, is don’t figure it out. Let it figure itself out. Then by me kind of accidentally hitting that thing about the candy and the Tootsie Pops, that kinda led us to wrappers, which is what I needed.
So, yeah, Card 27 worked its magic. So, you should get this up…I’ll put links to The Writer’s Super-Helpful Pack XL in the…and you can also purchase them for classes and stuff if you don’t want it for yourself. You can kinda be…what do you call that? Do a scholarship purchase, I believe. So, I’ll do links to that and I’ll link to Scriptnotes, and yeah. I’m so glad you got to join me. I’m gonna…Scoots is gonna be coming up here with a unboxing of something else we got here in the climb-in closet, too. So, yeah, take it away, Scoots. Alright, everybody, this is a new kind of unboxing. This is the most traditional unboxing we’ve ever done on the show, and it’ll be interesting. It’s based on a catalog episode we put out on Patreon to $10 and $20-patrons based on the Archie McPhee catalog from this year.
So, if you want to listen to me going through the Archie McPhee catalog, you could check that out on Patreon. It came out in February of 2023. But this one is…let me look up the price. So, this is…I bought three of these, so we’ll see how long this episode goes. But we’ll also price things out, ‘cause this is the Lucky Takeout Surprise, which in the catalog describes, wow, so cute. What value. These takeout containers are stuffed to the flaps with Archie McPhee products at an incredible discount price. In fact, it’s over $30 in products for less than $12. Content does vary from container to container, but these are very similar. It does not include a fortune cookie. So, we’re gonna go through them and see. They come in takeout containers that say Thank You.
They’re large takeout containers, so it looks like they’re thirty-two ounce containers. Yeah, I’m gonna open one. You won't hear any of the opening or the paper-folding or anything, and we’ll kinda go through them, have some fun, see where this goes, maybe price it out. Okay, looking in from the top, I see an impressive…a lot of finger friends. That’s something that’s been popular. Yeah, so the first thing I see is a…oh, this one…so, this is a finger puppet. It’s not a…yeah, I guess you could put on a show with it. It’s something you put on your finger, and it’s a possum. I guess we’ll maybe price it out later, but it’s a finger possum and it’s actually reach…it would be good for a thing, ‘cause it’s reaching out to give someone a hug. Is it posable?
Not posable, and I have it…let’s see what fingers it fits on; my pinky if I push it all the way, ring finger, yes, middle finger, yes. What’s that? Index finger; yes. Thumb; not…kind of. So, yeah, it’s a finger possum. It’s actually much thicker, the base of it that you put your finger in, so it’s very high-quality. Okay, this next thing is an action figure. I’m laughing ‘cause I don’t remember seeing this in the catalog, so it might be from another catalog. It is a…I don't know, what would you call this? It looks like somebody that works for a tech company or did. What does it say on the back? Oh, that’s just some code numbers. So, it has a red hoodie sweatshirt and then blue jeans or…I mean, blue slacks. Knees are bendable and its waist is bendable, so you could have it sitting at a desk.
Its arms are opposable…moveable, but then not at the elbows. Then it has green sneakers on there, but it’s a…its head is a doggy-poo. It’s a pug. So, this could actually be a Make Great Pets action figure from our series, Make Great Pets. Even though this isn’t what I envisioned, it could be. Oh, next up is a…I don't remember seeing this in the catalog, either. It’s a human hand waving or saying, hey, stop, or hello. But it has feet, so it’s a wind-up, walking hand. It’d be very fun and silly. I just got a great idea, which I will follow through on…is just randomly putting some of these in my daughter’s lunch for fun. Oh boy, next up, speaking of lunches for fun, I didn’t even realize this; there’s a finger…a…what is this? A spork, right? Yeah, this is a spork, a blue spork that goes on your finger. So, a finger spork.
I can imagine this would be useful…it would be useful. It’s also silly, but…yeah, I mean, don’t eat…yes, eat with your fingers, eat with your hands, because you’re eating with your finger spork. We have another finger spork, which is yellow, and it’s the same thing. So, I guess you could…I guess I could toss a salad with these, a small salad, with my…a finger on each hand. I gotta remember to take these off if I get a itch or something. Wait, hold on, though. Okay, you could also sell them as a back-scratcher because they add some length, and…yeah. Also, so, so far in the picture of the container, it does show two finger sporks and it does show a person with a pet’s head. So, that’s interesting. So, so far we’re getting some of the things. Next up is a…is that a finger pick…?
This one turns your entire finger into a pickle, and there are two of them, which is kind of wild. So, I have two finger pickles. I will try to…I’m gonna take some pictures. I’m gonna load up my fingers — ‘cause right now I have five things — and take a picture, and then I guess post…hopefully I’ll remember to post it. Okay, I got a deep…the pickle fingers are really interesting. They’re pick…they’re very textured. There’s two of them that have a different look to each one, too. Next up is a bobble…it’s one of their friends from outer space, and what is…is this an otter? I guess so. It’s more of…it’s on a spring which I think has double-sided tape, so I could put it in my car so it’ll bounce around. It has a big, purple mouth. It’s green. It has two arms on springs and then four eyes on springs.
It’s a green…with a purple mouth eater, and it says, hey, I’m from outer space. I got a big mouth to kiss you with. Then holy cow, jackpot. This makes it worth…this is the pay-off. It’s a thing of mints. It’s cupcake mints and frosting flavored, which is one of my favorite frostings. So, that’s cupcake mints. It comes in a tin. The tin is really nice, too. So, even when I don’t want the mints, it’ll be cool to have the tin. It has one ounce of cupcake mints. The tin is shaped like a cupcake and looks like a cupcake, but two-dimensional. So, the only issue is I think most of this stuff is on their website, but we should do this just as a full experiment, right? Really see what we’re doing here. So, really price it out for fun. But yeah, let’s see how we’re gonna do this. Can we search? Yeah, we can. So, we’ll search…we’ll start with pickles.
Problem is I’m on my phone, so this may not work. I’m not seeing a place to type in the search box. Okay, let’s shop by theme? Is there a pickle theme? Yeah, there is, so we’ll start with pickles. Yodeling pickle…if you listen to the episode, I was really describing it. Oh yeah, pickle fingers…I got a set of two. Maybe I’ll get a set of five. They’re $7.50 for a set of five. So, $7.50 divided by five…I have no idea. Let’s see, it’d be five dollars…there’s $2.50 left over, which is fifty cents, right? Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, you know, twenty-five. So, what is it? $1.50 each? Let’s see, three, six…yeah, $7.50. So, I got $3 worth of pickle fingers. So, there we go, we started with that. Next up, I wonder if there’s a…shop by theme…can we find mints? We cannot. Okay, shop by item? Category; candy. That’s probably what we’re looking under. Yeah, mints.
Okay, so mints…and it looks like they don’t have any mints in stock online, which is fine. Okay, so we’ll just…we’ll have to price that out. Okay, next catalog or next item…alright, well, let’s…I don't think it’s gonna be possible for us to look all this up just ‘cause…mostly because I’m on my…oh no, wait, here we go. Hold on. Alright, maybe I just had to…cupcake mints; here we go. So, we at $3? Cupcake mints must be out of stock, so that makes them even more valuable. So, that kinda makes sense. This is a lot of stuff that they had overstock of or is discontinued. So, I do believe we got $13 worth of stuff, though. We’ll say…we’ll put the cupcake mints at $3. We’re at $6. The finger possum; I’d say a dollar, maybe? So, that’s three, six, seven. Each spork put at a dollar, then the action figure’s probably $4 to $5.
So yeah, we’re not gonna keep track of money, though. The nodder is like the Archie McPhee…kinda sim…like a current…it’s the current thing. So, that’s box number one. I got two more boxes here. So, we’ll kinda see, and then we have…I have something else we can open if we…okay, we got really good news here because…very similar…so, we have another possum. We have another action figure, but she’s a…has the head of a otter, and it’s a young woman. So, she has the head of a otter? Yeah, I’d say that’s an otter. We have another Archie McPhee nodder, we have two sporks, a blue and a yellow, we got two pickle fingers, and a wind-up hand. So, now me and my daughter can have wind-up hand racing. Then another tin of cupcake mints. This one, we have…so, this is the third box. So, now I have six pickle fingers.
So, now I can give one pickle finger away. We have another otter person, we have two spork fingers, another hand, and another tin of cupcakes, and…yeah. So, very similar, like they said, and very fun stuff. So, that’ll be…that’s it for the Archie McPhee stuff. So, if you want to listen to that, you could check it out, the whole catalog. We’re doing for our subscriber summer…I don't know if you’ve heard about it or where in this episode it’ll be released, but we’ll be doing a bunch of catalog episodes and other stuff over the summer of 2023 for patrons and subscribers. So, sign up. You get to support the podcast that puts you to sleep, and you get a bunch of cool extras. Thanks so much and goodnight, everybody.
[END OF RECORDING]
(Transcribed by Leah Hervoly)