BULK Bag! is the newsletter of’s program, Back to Work.
It features literally unique internet content from the show's hosts, your pals, Dan and Merlin.

Back to Work's 'BULK Bag!'

Five Things About BULK Bag! № 5

  1. Welcome…again!
  2. BULK Bag! № 5 is presented (mostly) in the style of Merlin’s site, 5ives.
    • Merlin wrote all of ’em, except where noted
  3. Our thanks to MailChimp for sponsoring BULK Bag!
  4. Please share our gratitude by signing up for a free MailChimp account
  5. I Love You™
Merlin's Signature

Five Most Common Mispronunciations of BULK Bag!

  1. “BOOK Bag”
  2. “BUCK Back”
  3. “BIRKIN Bag”
  4. “Methuselah”
  5. BURK De Derp Barg

Five “Terrible Fake” 5ives

  1. Five terrible fake David Blaine endurance stunts
  2. Five terrible fake Dickens characters
  3. Five terrible fake Morrissey songs
  4. Five terrible fake names for an aging bluesman
  5. Five terrible fake names for villages in England

Five Awesome Jean Grey Panels

Five YouTube Videos Merlin Watches at Least Once a Month

  1. Zack Galifinakis, with Tim & Eric - “A Vodka Movie” (Unreleased Absolut ad)
  2. The Who - “A Quick One” (Rock and Roll Circus; December, 1968)
  3. Guided by Voices - “Game of Pricks” (Live at Amoeba Records in LA)
  4. Pixies - “Gigantic” (Live in London; 1988)
  5. Van Halen - “Unchained” (Live in Oakland; 1981)

Five Best Back to Work Sponsor Songs

  1. “Go Through Hell” (for Mailchimp | Link | MP3)
  2. “Just Fine” (for Squarespace | Link | MP3)
  3. “Then, When?” (for Mailchimp | Link | MP3)
  4. “Staying Up” (for Squarespace | Link | MP3 | GarageBand)
  5. “Just Dan” (for Mailchimp | Link | MP3)

Five Cool Brett Terpstra Projects

  2. NVAlt
  3. Markdown Service Tools
  4. Blogsmith Bundle (for Textmate)
  5. TextExpander Tools

Five Fast Email Productivity Tips

(43 Folders, 2005)

  1. Shut Off Auto-Check
  2. Pick Off Easy Ones
  3. Write Less
  4. Cheat, but, also,
  5. Be Honest

Source + Details: Five fast email productivity tips - 43 Folders

Five X-Men I Could Take or Leave

  1. Dazzler
  2. Jubilee
  3. Gambit
  4. Maggot
  5. Toad

Five of Merlin Favorite (Non–5by5) Podcasts

  1. On the Media [feed]
  2. musicForProgramming [feed]
  3. NPR’s Planet Money [feed]
  4. The Fireland Podcast [feed]
  5. The Writer’s Almanac: Podcast [feed]

Five Star Wars Movies to Watch

(in Rod Hilton’s proper “Machete Order”)

  1. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
  2. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  3. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
  4. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  5. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

Five Popular Remodeling Projects in Northern California

  1. shaving porch
  2. koi barn
  3. crying trellis
  4. grudging fellatio pantry
  5. remodeling room


Five Cool Avatars of Dan

Dan Benjamin New Avatar

Five Inspiring Videos (That Don’t Involve Merlin)

  1. John Cleese - “A Lecture on Creativity”
  2. Elizabeth Gilbert - On Nurturing Creativity
  3. Pablo Picasso at Work
  4. 10,000 Singers - Beethoven - Symphony No. 9, Fourth Movement - “Ode to Joy” (Osaka-jō Hall, 2011)
  5. Cyrano’s Improvised Duel Ballad

Five Things I’ll Bet Can Be Hard for Pirates

  1. getting decent disability insurance
  2. rum allergies
  3. sexual harassment from that fancy new bosun
  4. irritable bowel syndrome
  5. finding one-legged pants that won’t make your hips look too broad


Five Great Long Winters Songs

  1. Car Parts
  2. The Commander Thinks Aloud
  3. Blue Diamonds
  4. Ultimatum
  5. Shapes

Five Terrible Fake Marvel Superheroes

  1. Cat Dog Bird Cat Boy
  2. Fire Plug Wrench Girl
  3. Don Rickles Man
  4. Dr. Envelope
  5. Maurice the Sanguine Vole

Five Pretty Good Nicknames for Marco Arment

  1. Money Boy
  2. King Marco
  3. The InstaBillionaire™
  4. Big Daddy Cashflow
  5. Bruce Waynement

Five More Things That Are Fine for Merlin

  1. access to shockingly-low wholesale prices on solid-gold diamonds
  2. getting to sit around reading freakin’ X-Men comics for a living
  3. egregious abuse of whitespace on Twitter
  4. masticating loudly on-mic during popular podcasts
  5. that idiotic hair

Five Good Things Merlin’s Written

  1. Cranking” (April, 2011)
  2. Better” (September, 2008)
  3. Making the Clackity Noise” (August, 2009)
  4. First, Care” (February, 2010)
  5. 43 Simple Ways To Simplify Your Life” (February, 2010)

Five Tips for SodaStream Power Users

  1. Use clean, new-ish bottles
  2. Only fill up to about 1/4 inch below the “Water Fill Line”
  3. Get the water as cold as possible (NO, colder!)
  4. Do short squirts (not long blasts)
  5. Capping super-tight is good; making it fresh is way better

[Treat yourself to a SodaStream home seltzer machine]

Five Handsome Photos from the 5by5 Flickr Pool

5by5 Official T-Shirt big-web-show 5by5 T-Shirts with my 5by5 shirt 5by5-shirt!

Five Mistakes Band & Label Sites Make

(43 Folders, 2004)

  1. Too Much Flash
  2. Crappy or Non Existent MP3 Metadata
  3. Too Artsy, Too Fartsy
  4. No Search
  5. One-Way Communication (Served One Way)

Source + Details: Five Mistakes Band & Label Sites Make - 43 Folders

Five Shows Not Appearing Any Time on 5By5

  1. Not So Picky (a show about how the stuff Microsoft makes is probably good enough)
  2. Data! (a show reviewing the latest developments in technology by rattling off long lists of numbers)
  3. Paleo Poop (a show about how to poop more like a caveman)
  4. The Not Talking Show (guests take turns eating, drinking seltzer and coffee, while Dan asks questions)
  5. Back to Sleep (a show about how to work 4 hours a week and sleep in a hammock)

—Submitted by listener, Dr. Donald Schaffner

Five Objects Other Than a Deathbed on Which One Could Die

  1. deathfuton
  2. deathraft
  3. deathtoboggan
  4. deathbidet
  5. deathtête-à-tête

—Submitted by listener, Eamon Doyle

Five Things Kim Jong-Il Misses About Being Alive

  1. Playing Draw Something with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
  2. Looking at things.
  3. Angering Jack Donaghy by sending videos of his wife Avery feeding the Dear Leader Klondike bars with her feet.
  4. The NBA Playoffs on TNT.
  5. Never having to poop.

—Submitted by listener, Joe Schmidt

Five Most Awkward Things to Have in Your Safeway Basket While Standing in Line to Use the Self-Checkout Robot at 11:30 pm on a Tuesday

  1. One (1) Whole deli chicken in the plastic thing
  2. Several cucumbers
  3. The largest container of mayonnaise the store sells
  4. Batteries
  5. KY Warming Lubricant

—Submitted by listener, Ted from the Internet

Five Extra-Fiddly Ways to Make Coffee

  1. Combination Stove-Top Aeropress Moka Pot Percolator
  2. The Pour-Over Pour-Over Method
  3. In-Home Barista (Live-in or By Appointment)
  4. I don’t know what it is, or how it works, but I saw it in SkyMall for five large.
  5. “Oh, you still drink coffee? How quaint. All the cool people drink Yerba Mate now.”

—Submitted by listener, Richard A (yes, THAT ‘Richard A’)

Five Things of Which I Think You’re Thinking

  1. Abe Vigoda
  2. Abe Lincoln
  3. Lincoln Logs
  4. Logorrhea
  5. Diarrhea

—Submitted by listener, Daniel Warshaw

Five Words That Would Sound Great Only When Said by Morgan Freeman

  1. Moist
  2. Bulbous
  3. Mullet
  4. Jowls
  5. Prolapse

—Submitted by listener, Joe Whitman

Five British Meat-Inspired Alt-Rock Bands From the 80s You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

  1. Das Rïnderbratën
  2. Brisket Brisket
  3. The Furious Porkloins
  4. Andy Rourke and the Blood Puddings
  5. Self-Basting Turkeys Of Mercy

—Submitted by listener, Sid O’Neill

Five Cool Things Dan Has Made

  1. Hivelogic Enkoder
  2. Playgrounder
  3. Cork’d
  4. Amazing OS X Tutorials
  5. Two kids

Five More Awesome Jean Grey Panels

Five Rejected Names for “Cooter” on the Dukes of Hazzard

  1. Daniel Poon
  2. Mr. Strange
  3. Steve the Sleeve
  4. Snatch Adams
  5. Ol’ Vag


Five Things I’d Ask Every Supreme Court Nominee if I Sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee

  1. If you knew to an absolute moral certainty that you could capture and consume a live infant without being caught, how many do you suppose you could eat in a weekend?
  2. Have you ever been spanked erotically by someone who was not your current legal spouse? Just yes or no, please.
  3. Nominee, do you regard these slacks as accentuating my basket in an un-senatorial fashion?
  4. Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about…your mother.
  5. Kindly rise, and sing the 1979 hit, The Piña Colada Song, also known as Escape.


Episode 70: “Expectation Zero”

5by5 | Back to Work #70: Expectation Zero

June 5, 2012 at 3:00pm • 1 hour 25 minutes • Wiki Entry

Download: MP3 Audio (39.6 MB)

TOPIC: Recalibrating Expectations

This week, Dan and Merlin talk more about struggling with expectations. Everybody’s expectations. Including yours.

Why it’s worth recalibrating your own expectations, managing others’ expectations, and accepting the impossibility of knowing—let alone meeting—the expectations of the entire world.

Because, that’s monkeyballs.

We also learn that Merlin likes his buttons touched very gently.


This episode of Back to Work is sponsored by our friends at MailChimp and Igloo Software.

Show Notes

Show Notes & Links Presented by HelpSpot

Inscrutable Texts With Dan: June 3, 2012

RSS Feed: B2W PLUS B2W 'After Dark'

New Bonus Feed: B2W PLUS B2W After Dark

Here's a neat new thing Dan's done.

If you want to theoretically simplify your listening and organize the spice shelf of your life, you can now subscribe to a new feed that will bring you both Back to Work and the bawdy and uncensored Back to Work After Dark

All's you gotta do is subscribe to this new feed, and you're good to go. No potty mouth—then lots of potty mouth. Boom.

"Oh, Sandy? I loooooooove him."

BULK Bag! Credits & Thanks

Header Image by Brandon Leedy On Twitter

MailChimp Patronage by Mark DiCristina & Team On Twitter

5ives List Submissions by Our Awesome Listeners

Content Czar-ing by Merlin Mann On Twitter Imagineering by Dan Benjamin On Twitter

We'll be back after the break.

Dr. Phil-ism of the Week

There’s a genie for that!

"Alligator in the Bathroom"

Back to Work

High Five, Nerds

Thanks, again, for subscribing to BULK Bag!–and for listening to Back to Work. We really love doing it and hope it’s fun and occasionally useful to you.

And, hey, listen. Maybe do us a big favor? If you enjoy the show and want to help other people find us, please consider favorably rating the show and leaving us a little review on the iTunes store.

It really does help a lot.

Copyright © 2012 Back to Work, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp