Pop My Culture



John Hodgman interviewed on Pop My Culture Podcast

John Hodgman (author of “That is All” and the resident expert on “The Daily Show”) and surprise drop-in guests Aimee Mann (Oscar-nominated singer/songwriter and front woman of ‘Til Tuesday) and John Roderick (singer/songwriter of Seattle indie rock outfit The Long Winters) join Cole and Vanessa at the Chateau Marmont to discuss The Hunger Games, young adult fiction, Zork, Justin Long, Battle Royale, Dick Gregory, early computers, the Tripod Trilogy, stickball fights, hobo bindles, and the anniversary of John Belushi’s death in the very hotel they are recording in.

Leave your answer to the firsts question (the first computer you ever had, and what you primarily used it for) on our website for a chance to win a copy of “That is All” or “More Knowledge Than You Require” signed by our favorite deranged millionaire John Hodgman!

Freshly Popped


John Hodgman with hosts Vanessa Ragland and Cole Stratton
Aimee Mann and John Roderick with hosts Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland
John Hodgman book signed giveaway


  • Comment by JJ — March 26, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    I just discovered you guys recently and love the podcast!
    In response to my first computer and what I used it for (is this even where I’m supposed to respond?)it was a hand me down laptop the my brother gave to me after he finished college (in ’99). It was a gigantic brick of a laptop that got so hot I’d have to rest it on at least 3 pillows in order for me to use it. And even then sometimes it would smell like burning plastic and I’d be forced to shut it off.
    I used the laptop for my ‘writing’ and by ‘writing’ I mean the sad, pathetic and depressing poetry only a sullen pre-teen would write. I also wrote my Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction, that mostly centered around Spike.

  • Comment by Mattamatics — March 26, 2012 @ 10:30 am

    My family was on the cutting edge of computers. When I was 7 or 8, we had a Packard Bell computer that ran Windows… I want to say version 2.0, but I could be wrong. I used it to play such phenomenal games as Operation Neptune (side-scrolling puzzle adventure where you pilot a submarine and fight monsters… or eco-terrorists… or both?) and Bugs Bunny’s Hare-Brained Adventure. It was awesome.

  • Comment by Jack Revette — March 26, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    First computer we ever owned was a circa 1975 Altair 8800 that we had to assemble ourselves. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_8800).

    It came with essentially nothing. You could purchase Altair Basic for it (written by a young fellow – Bill Gates – pre (or at least very early) Microsoft, and definitely pre Windows). The Altair newsletter has a rant from Bill Gates about software piracy and how if folks paid for their software, instead of being a 2 employee company, he’d be able to hire 10-20 people and really be able to do some great things.

    We still have the computer in our basement.

    We used it to do payroll for the Regal House, a place that Cole’s familiar with.

  • Comment by Rob S. — March 26, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

    I bet Elliot donates a LOT now. My mom got me the 1st Tripod book. That was before I was into reading. My 1st computer was a Compaq. It 20 lbs and I played moon lander on it.

  • Comment by Joe Cuffe — March 26, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

    My first computer was an Apple IIE,and we used it mostly for coding games. Once we entered all of the code, the games were usually a huge let down once completed (except Choplifter, that game was the bomb).

  • Comment by dreamysusan — March 26, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

    My family’s first computer was a Tandy 1000, I believe. (Or was it 2000 as if to imply The Future?) We typed up our school papers and printed them out on our dot matrix paper. Long after my schoolmates started handing in laser-printed essays, I still had the painfully apparent raggedy edge from ripping off the edges. The thing is, once we got a laser printer I kind of missed ripping off the edges.

    We also had an old Wheel of Fortune game on it. Vanna was green and red…very stylish.

    I think John Hodgman is a delight and would love to get a copy of one of his books!

  • Comment by Jober — March 27, 2012 @ 6:31 am

    My first computer was a Tandy TRS-80 Model III, fully tricked out with TWO 5.25″ floppy drives and DOUBLE the standard RAM – rollin’ deep with 640k, bitches. Awwwww yeahhhhhh. I used it to play Zaxxon. Lots of Zaxxon.

    Dreamysusan is totally right about the simple pleasure of tearing off the feed-wheel paper strips from the side of the dot-matrix printer paper. I enjoyed the finality of the gesture. Nothing says “I am DONE with this book report!” like a pair of 3′ paper ribbons.

  • Comment by Maerlyn — March 27, 2012 @ 7:34 am

    Our first computer was the Commodore 64C, which I think my mom bought at a garage sale in the early 90s. I know I submitted a couple school reports typed on that computer but for the most part we used it for games and learned how to enter commands.

    The most memorable game was called Madam Fifi’s Whorehouse, a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style erotic story game where your character visited a brothel. I use the word erotic loosely; I think one of the women you could sleep with had an acidic pussy that burned your dick. It was pretty amusing to my tween self, but a couple years later we got WebTV and the computer was given to my aunt.

  • Comment by jennifer and the beans — March 27, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    My first computer was a Timex Sinclair ZX81 that my dad bought for me in 1981, when I was 11. I used it mostly for typing in BASIC programs out of magazines. The playing/using of the programs was never as interesting as the typing in, as I recall. These programs were of course saved on cassette tape. About a year later, I got a TRS-80 Color Computer, which was of course vastly superior in all ways. I used the Coco for game play (some typed in from magazines, some loaded from cartridges that plugged into the side of the machine — favorites included Popcorn and Poltergeist, which was a movie tie-in and was awesome!), and connecting to my dad’s BBS and writing reviews of music videos for no one to read.

  • Comment by Erin — March 27, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    My first computer was given to me (and my siblings) for Christmas. It was some sort of IBM in the late 80s. We did have a VGA monitor, which I thought was the coolest thing, since my father’s computer was colorless.

    I played Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? on it a lot. (I tried playing Where in TIME is… and failed. Not good at that one.)

    I also made ridiculous looking cards with our dot matrix printer. I still have some of these.

    And Math Blaster. (the original) I can’t believe I found that game fun, but oh I so did.

  • Comment by Gale — March 27, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    My first job I had to learn to use the IBM Office System 6 stand-alone word processor, and it still used Mag Cards. Anybody remember those? The ink-jet printer attached to it was huge, but was the best printer I’ve ever used. First computer I ever personally owned was the first iMac in Bondi Blue! I guess I had to wait until they designed one stylish enough for me.

  • Comment by Juliet — March 27, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

    Our first computer was an Atari PC-5. I did play a lot of Zork II on it! We also had a sound file in WAV format that was one line of a Van Halen song. It took up a whole floppy disk and was extremely low quality. But we were really stoked that we could play music on the computer so we listened to it over and over.

  • Comment by Jesse — March 27, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    My first computer was a 386 and I used it primarily to play sesame street based educational software.

  • Comment by corinne — March 27, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

    My family had an Apple IIGS. My brother and I used it to play some Roger Rabbit game (side scroller? I don’t much remember), and my dad played Thexder, your standard robot-that-turns-into-a-plane game…

  • Comment by slander — March 27, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

    My family’s first computer was a Tandy 1000. It was solid, weighty, and beige. It had only one floppy drive and even now the sound of old-school floppy drives can send me into minutes of nostalgic spasms.

    My grandfather had eight children, of which my father is the third, and when my grandfather decided to by a computer, he decided all of his children should have one as well. That is why I will always remember the Christmas of 1986 as The Christmas That Papa Had Nine New Computers That Cost $1000 Each Stacked Up In His Office And He Gave Us One Oh My God. I was blown away and could not fathom how he could spend so much money at one time.

    In our house, we used the computer primarily to play Sierra games — your King’s, Police, and Space Quests. I also used it to learn some basic DOS commands, and some basic BASIC. The Tandy also taught me Advanced Material Yearning, because I so desperately wanted another floppy drive (to make loading King’s Quest 3 much less tedious) and my parents wouldn’t spring for one.

  • Comment by Joey — March 28, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    Awesome podcast! And I loved the surprise guests of John Roderick and Aimee Mann!

    My first computer was a Compaq of some sort, running Windows 3.1, when I was about three years old. I used it primarily for DOS and Windows games, and I especially remember Lemmings, DinoPark Tycoon, and the Chex cereal game Chex Quest, in which you are a piece of Chex cereal fighting against an alien invasion with a spoon and various projectile weapons.

    (and yes, I may be unintentionally buzz marketing Chex cereal here. But Chex cereal is delicious. Just saying. Chex.)

  • Comment by Kevin — March 28, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    Commodore Vic20–used for Radar Rat Race–what else could I use it for? Okay, I spent thirty-seven hours copying lines of BASIC so I could watch a stick figure do jumping jacks and programed an access code to protect my secret military identity.

    But what I really wanted it to do was everything they ever did on television’s Whiz Kids.

    Did not work.

    P.S. Did not agree with the good Mr. Hodgman’s analysis of the Hunger Games and ended up spending too much time yelling, “Yes. Oh, Yes there are plenty post-apocolyptic warnings in the book!! You, you Hodgman, you,” into my iPhone. (By the way, there really is no established acceptable amount of time for yelling at a phone. Yelling into a phone that you are not currently using as a phone is just silly.)

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