John: How do I deal with friends who hijack every conversation and make it about themselves?
—Aimee Mann, singer and songwriter
Roderick: I’m not going to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re talking about me, because then I would be totally proving your point. And I’m too smart and wise to slip on that irony banana peel.
The best way to deal with a conversation hijacker is to start playing Words With Friends whenever they start rambling about themselves. I’m not saying that will teach them a lesson or anything, but at least you’ll be doing something interesting instead of sitting there seething with resentment that they never ask you about yourself. Eventually you will either stop being friends with them, or you will become a tournament-level Scrabble player. Win/win.
Is there a knack to keeping your junk covered when you’re sitting in a bubble bath in a hotel and lots of strangers are walking by?
—Luke Burbank, host of the podcast TBTL. Burbank hosts the Sasquatch! launch party, Thurs., Feb. 2 at the Neptune.
Bubble placement is key, although it helps if you ask for a room with a deep tub. When Spencer Moody interviewed me in the bath at the Sorrento Hotel, the tub was very shallow and I spent most of the interview heaping bubbles up around my middle-area to avoid exposing myself to curious onlookers.
I don’t mean that Spencer was in the bath with me, by the way. It was one of those “art-happenings” that make Seattle such a fun and vibrant cultural culture-place.
Hey, John: What are the best and worst shows to take kids to?
—Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale
The best shows to take kids to are the Caspar Babypants shows of Chris Ballew, which have all the great songwriting and high energy of the Presidents of the USA, without PUSA’s adult sophistication and heavy emotional overtones. The worst are anything at the Tacoma Dome with a Disney logo, and GWAR.
What kind of unspeakable acts go on during these Nerd Cruises you’ve been going on with the likes of John Hodgman and NPR’s Peter Sagal?
—Luke Burbank, again
The Nerd Cruise, better known as the JoCo Cruise after founder Jonathan Coulton, is a seaborne opportunity for gamers, Wiccans, Utilikilt wearers, and webmasters to indulge their twin passions of human sacrifice and Dr. Who trivia nights without a bunch of “normals” looking on. I’m sure we could find a place for you, Luke Burbank.
Do you really walk naked around your yard? If so, EXACTLY when?
—Duff McKagan, founding bassist of Guns N’ Roses
I consider my garden to be a sovereign nation, and it’s written in our constitution that the whole great state of Roderickania is clothing-optional. Also, my street is a migratory pathway for certain rare breeds of South-end gangbangers, so whenever I see a Caprice Classic on 22s roll by real slow with the bass thumping, I go out to the garden naked and practice sword fighting. (Our national sport is not “fencing,” it’s sword fighting.) It reminds everyone who the REAL gangster is.
Many music folks, myself included, have left Seattle. What keeps you there?
—Krist Novoselic, founding bassist of Nirvana
I’m loyal to the city because I keep thinking how much better it would be for Seattle if everybody cool didn’t move out to Grays Harbor County and become chairman of their local Grange Hall. I’m not divorced, so there’s no reason to move to Oregon, and I can’t move to Los Angeles because my teeth aren’t weird enough. The only other reasonable option would be New York, where I could enjoy the sound of people screaming at each other through my apartment walls while the smell of frying cat entrails comes in through my air conditioner, but I’m not wealthy enough.
Is being a respectable elder statesman of the Seattle music scene an honor? Or just really depressing because it means you’re getting older?
—Last one from Luke Burbank
You can’t be depressed about getting older unless you’re callowly clinging to your youth by wearing skinny corduroys, podcasting, and hoping people don’t notice the grey hairs in your ears. For my part I embrace getting old, because it allows you to walk around with your fly unzipped and people think you’re harmless.
John Roderick is the singer and songwriter responsible for Seattle’s The Long Winters. He tweets @jroderick.
Send your questions and conundrums to email@example.com.