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 (00:00) to (02:00)

Sarah:  Hey everybody! So John's supposed to be here, but like, right when we click the button to set this up, his high school best friend who he hasn't talked to in like, 10 years at least, gave him a call.  So they are talking, he's going to join, but ya right now you just got me. So sorry.  You were expecting, you were expecting John and me, and you've just got me.

S: Anyway, it's really good to see you guys in the comments. Hello, hello, and you'll get John in a minute, but you'll have to live with just me.  And greetings from Fort Wayne! Hello, Rachel in Fort Wayne.

S: So tonight John already opened the bottle and took some, but I haven't had any.  And it's an Italian, uh, Montepulciano wine, and so I'm going to try some of this.  And I do have my own channel, so if I had known that this was going to happen, I probably would've live-streamed from my channel, the Art Assignment.

S: But here we are.  Sometimes things don't go as you planned. But, I don't know about you guys, but during this whole insane crisis, which is a total and complete disaster.  I- my mood for the first two weeks was just sort of like blah, in misery, kind of like, automatic mood.  But now I'm finding in the past few days that my mood is entirely weather dependent.  Does this happen to any of you guys?

 (02:00) to (04:00)

S: So, so ya.  Today was glorious here in Indianapolis, it was like the perfect day, it was beautiful, and I had, I had like the best day yet since, since quarantine. Um, is it good? Did I have moments of despair? Sure. But uh, but it helps. 

S: So in case you're wondering what I'm doing down here, if you joined us for any of our other A Little Art, A Little Wine livestreams, we're making cosmic beans.  So this is, we painted before the first, the first time we did this we succeeded only in drawing a bean.  And I'll show you what that would've looked like. 

S: So, this is a bean and we are depicting like some, or trying to depict some portion of the universe within the bean.  So we drew it, and we made, uh we painted an outline of rubber cement around it, you can sort of see it there a little bit to confine our paint when we start painting.

S: So, and then the second time we did this we actually painted, and so that's where we did this, and it's dry now. So, what we're doing tonight is very exciting, uh why beans? Hmm.  That's a good question. This is something that happened during the Project for Awesome, that- John and I decided to make mystic pizza, I don't know if any of you have seen the, the movie, the 80s film Mystic Pizza, one of Julia Roberts' first films, I don't know if you'd really call it a film, it's really a movie, called Mystic Pizza about a town in Connecticut called Mystic and they all work at a pizza shop. 

S: So we made some mystic pizza, and then somebody- somebody suggested making some beans, so now we're making- we're calling these cosmic beans.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

S: So now we're making-- we're calling these cosmic beans, and they are perks from the Project for Awesome; raising money for charity. So, were we supposed to get this done in January, or December? Yes. Yes, we were. And here it is, what? April now, and we're still in it. So yeah! Mystic Pizza is a pretty good movie. If you haven't watched it, nows as good a time as any. Go back, it's like, it's like,-- oh smokey says I grew up 30 minutes from Mystic, Connecticut. So if you haven't seen Mystic Pizza you have to watch it! So, (reading comments) "The cosmic bean is seriously out of this world" (speaking) Oh! (giggles) literally, no. So, I think they turned out really well. Each of them is a little different cause John and I collaborate on them and we paint at the same time and-- so you can kind of see the there's some variation-- and we could really get some better lights in here. But you can get a rough idea. It's dark out there, in the cosmos. So now what we're doing-- Oh! Oh boy!

J: Sorry, I came in real hot.

S: (laughing) Welcome John!

J: Oh, I forgot my glass of wine; I'm gonna need a glass of wine. I'll be right back.

S: Oh, false alarm. Alright. (sigh) So, he's coming back. SO, this time we are actually trying to remove the rubber cement border that we made and then we're going to finish it off with some stars, so it's pretty exciting. We're gonna paint some starts tonight. (reading comments) "Are they all going to be the same color pallet?" (speaking) Eh, roughly. But they're all a little different. Welcome, John.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

J: Oh my god, that was such an absolutely unbiddled joy.

S: I told them, I told them what happened. 

J: Oh... my good.

S: I'm so glad. Was it good to talk to him?

J: That's so good, I started crying like 14 times.

S: I said it had probably been at least 10 years.

J: I think more like eight, but I mean the thing is...

S: Cheers.

J: Cheers. Here's to old friends.

S: And new friends.

J: And new friends. And spouses. I love- I love him, you know like we have a...

S: You have a deep bond.

J: A deep, deep bond like. we- we have- I mean he held me together when we were in high school.

S: Yeah.

J: And...

S: What inspired his call? Just Coronavirus?

J: I emailed him today.

S: Oh you did!

J: Yeah, so I hadn't emailed him in a long time and I emailed
him today because I was talking to heavy weight-

S: Yeah.

J: To Jonathan Goldstein of the great podcast Heavy Weight.
S: God, it's such a good podcast

J: So good, and Jonathan said "Is there anybody in your life you haven't talked to recently who- who you're going to be miss?" And I immediately thought "yeah."

S: Yeah.

J: And then Jonathan of course wanted me to call him for the  podcast, because that's great tape and he's not- he's not above that. 

S: No...

J: But I did it!

S: You're a journalist! I don't know how they do it!

J: Well also I-

S: They're like, "I want to make you feel uncomfortable, and I want to ask you to do something uncomfortable, and I'm just gonna go-"

J: I'm just gonna ask. But he did, so to be fair I did try to call him and I just didn't have the right number, because it had been so
many years. So I sent him an email.

S: Weird... just so you know while we're listening to John's great story, we heard we are removing rubber cement- dried rubber
cement from around this cosmic bean.

J: So the idea is that the rubber cement....

S: They know.

J: Right.

S: Return to the story.

 (08:00) to (10:00)

J: Yeah, so I was just like- and also I've been writing about Todd because I've been writing this piece about high school for The Anthropocene Reviewed, and um...
S: Oh, I didn't know that.
J: It's about academic decathalon...
S: Oh, right! Right, right, right, right.
J: ...but it's basically about high school.  It's such a good (?~8:11) I gotta take a picture.
S: What? Oh, beyond our screen?
J: Yeah, yeah, yeah, the one people can't see.  But it's really good, trust me.
S: They are.  Yep, it is a good view.
J: Like, it looks kind of like a painting.
S: Yeah.
J: Um, so, yeah I've been thinking about him a lot, because I've been thinking about like, difficult times in my life, and how I got through them.
S: Yeah.
J: Um, and I mean, to be honest, you know, there no- if somebody asked you what was the worst day of your life...
S: Mmm hmm
J: I kinda tend to think that there's sort of two people - two people - two kinds of people in this world.  The people who, when you ask them what was the worst day of their life they've got to think, because there were a bunch of days that are good candidates...
S: Mmmm
J: ...and the kind of people who are like, well, I know.
S: Yeah
J: And I definitely know the worst day of my life. Um, and, you know, it's something that Todd and I went through...
S: Together.
J: Uh, together, and um, but also many of the best days of our lives, and, uh, I guess like, um, I just am...
S: How is he?
J: Great. He's doing great.  His kids are great and adorable...
S: Where does he live?
J: They, they use Crash Course.
S: Oh my God
J: They're sweethearts
S: Wow.
J: I don't feel like I want to reveal too many identifying piece of information, so maybe I'll stop it there. But, um, but yeah.  It was just really, really, really lovely...
S: Good!
J: ...and something I needed. And I just wanted to say, if you, if there is someone out there who you love, who you miss, and you haven't talked to, and they are still available, you know, do it.  Tonight's the night.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

J: It can be so hard, because after, after you dump...
S: (laughs)  Somebody says... sorry...
J: Somebody says what?
S: Somebody suggests "Cosmic Butt." I mean this is sort of a butt...a wide flat butt.  If you could, like, draw legs...
J: That doesn't look anything like a butt to me.
S: Well, I mean, okay.
J: I feel like you and I have just seen a completely different set of butts in our lives.  Um, what I was gonna say is um, yeah, if there's someone out there that you thought, like, oh man, I miss this person, but I don't know if it's right to, like, get in touch with them.  I don't... it might be weird, I don't know, life has changed, whatever.  Just do it.  That's what 2020 is all about.  It's all about the only time being now. 
S: I think I'm in touch with the people I want to be in touch with.
J: You totally are.  This doesn't apply to Sarah at all.  Like Sarah...
S: No I'm sure there are people who I don't get to see.
J: Sarah's never let a relationship...
S: No, that's not true.  I have plently of, like, friendships that have fizzled and faded.
J: Yeah, well, and sometimes you need to reinvigorate them.
S: Yeah
J: But I think you do a very good job of that.
S: I've done a good job of that with my high school friends.
J: Yeah, and the other thing that made me think about it is that I gotta call my friend Shannon...
S: Yes!
J: ...from college and my years after college.
S: Whose idea was that?
J: It was your idea.  Um, but yeah, I just, I miss my friend Shannon so much.

S: Oh, here's the one that we got a little stray ink on.
J: But on the other hand, like, it's overall my favorite bean.
S: It's nice, it's special.
J: Yeah
S: Is it?
J: Yeah
S: Okay
J: You don't like it as much?
S: No, I like it, I like it
J: I kinda, I kinda dig it
S: Yeah.  This reminds me of the artist Lauren Zoll, who's in my book.
J: Did you link to your book in the info of this chat?
S: No. 
J: Oh, man.  I mean, Sarah is not...she's not as passionate about self promotion as I am.  

 (12:00) to (14:00)

S: Hey! Well...
J: But Sarah's book is...
S: Wait a minute!
J: Well, actually, you get rid of it.  You get rid of that, I'll talk about this.
S: Get rid of what?
J: Get rid of the rubber cement.
S: Oh, ok.
J: Sarah's book is called You Are an Artist, and...
S: This is the...this is the real book!
J: This is the actual...
S: We've got the galleys.
J: This is the real book.
S: And the best thing about is that... art books tend to be very heavy...
J: Yeah
S: It was very important to me that this one be, like, sturdy and quality, but light.  And it is.
J: Yeah, it's's of a very pleasant weight, but it's also got really good high quality, full color illustrations.  It's hard to find paper that does really good printing that also relatively lightweight.
S: Yeah, yeah.
J: But, You Are an Artist has accomplished that. That's not the primary selling point of the book, but...
S: So, I will tell you that this is a book of 53 art assignments, and they're not art assignments that require you to have, like, canvas and paints, or even, like, the nice paper and paints that we're using for this sort of thing.  It's like, making a rug out of your discarded t-shirts, or, um, taking a photo of a screen that's off, or making, you know... a lot of them involve just your phone.  Or dressing up, or...
J: Yeah, can I have the book please?
S: Yeah, sure.
J: Thank you.  Um, yeah, so the... Really my takeaway from having read the book several times is that: A) all the thought that, like, art isn't something that I do, and art is separate from me is wrong.  And B) art is, at least in part, like, a way of paying attention.  A way of paying extremely careful, extremely thoughtful attention.  And so the book is a mix of art history, and art prompts from artists all over the United States.

 (14:00) to (16:00)

J: you learn about an artist
S: you learn about an artist
J: and about the assignment they came up with for you, and how they got there. And so, its its its, it's a series of ways of looking at making art, that I, that wil inspire you in these strange times.
S: Hopefully.
J: To really do something and make something. Don't undersell it, oversell it.
S: Well, ya
J: And it's called "You Are an Artist" and it's available for pre-order now and it comes out in 10 days.
S: Yaaay.
J: Obviously it would be great because, like, part of what makes this book so wonderful is being able to hold it and look at all of the great stuff, all of the great art assignment responses that the book includes, being able to look at uh Toyin Odutola Intimate, Indispensable GIF, and or gif that she made. That's part of what makes it so good is being able to look at it-
S: Yeah one of the assignments has you making your own animated gif so-
J: or gif. Yeah. And of course the people um who are going to buy it are not going to be able by and large to hold it before they buy it, which is kind of a bummer. Is it the biggest bummer of the last four weeks? No.
S: Oh no.
J: Um, but it is a little bit of a bummer because it is, it is such a beautiful book and it's a book that like people in bookstores will love to hold at and look at and then buy, but of course book stores are by and large -
S: Can I use it with my elementary school students? A lot of them, but not all of them, but uh, there's a this cool list in the back that sort of tells you like, these are assignments that are good to do with kids, these are ones if you want to make um something outside, versus inside
J: What is outside? Is that that place that existed until three weeks ago?
S: Well, we're all allowed some outside.
J: Not all of us, but yeah I hear you.
S: Most of us,
J: yeah most of us are. But there's ones that can involve painting if you want to, or sculpture or photography, or portraiture,-
S: or using technology or something sound based

 (16:00) to (18:00)

J: Yeah

S: So, anyway

J: Or writing

S: Writing, yeah, there's a lot of writing prompts

J: So there's some writing oriented prompts as well. It's just a lovely, lovely book and - um - and you should pre-order it because we can't go on tour for it so

S: Something...something's happened

J: That's looks great. It looks GREAT! Lean in, don't lean out.

S: Okay, but there's...our children have made something on the table that's cause - it's causing - 

J: Ehhhh it's looking better - it looks better each time that happens. You should just make more of that.

S: Haha, okay.

J: Yeah, so Sarah's book is called You Are An Artist, available for preorder now, I really hope that you'll get it. Of course, we understand that lots of people right now especially cannot afford to buy books

S: Yeah

J: And that is totally fine, and to those people I would say that Sarah has spent the last six years working to make really wonderful art assignments and art and creativity prompts available for free

S: Through the Art Assignment YouTube channel

J: If you have YouTube, so you can go to the YouTube Art Assignment

S: They have YouTube

J: They have YouTube. Probably.


J: I got stuck in a loop thinking about how they might not have YouTube and it took me like 30 seconds to get out.

S: "I want to figure out a way that you're wrong, Sarah. And I'm trying."

J: Yeah. Katie just called us her favourite couple

S: Awww that's nice

J: It is nice. 

S: If she only knew...

J: I feel like...I actually feel like in real life, we're better

S: Oh, than 

J: Like, we're cuter than we are on the Internet

S: Oh, I don't couple's cute all the time

J: No, of course not! I feel like we're not cute all the time on the Internet though

S: Or even now!

J: Yeah, so - I - regardless, I hope you will check out the Art Assignment on YouTube because it is a really great resource for, I guess, for me the thing that Sarah's work has helped me to do is to think about how to think about art, if that makes sense. 

 (18:00) to (20:00)

J: Because when I first met Sarah, I thought about contemporary art the way, in the like, cliched way of the emperor has no clothes, or, you know, all of the, um, TV commercials that you see where art galleries are ridiculous and, and curators are ridiculous, and art is ridiculous. And there is a lot of, like, total BS in the art world

S: Or partial

J: Or partial BS, just like there is in any world. Um, but, thinking about it as a way of thinking, as a way of paying attention, has been really helpful for me.

S: Just so you know, I'm using this opaque white paint, um, and this is what we're gonna use to, um - Copic opaque white - and I mixed it with a little water, and we're gonna use the - the wrong end of the brush

J: Yeah, the the

J/S: the non-brushy end

S: Uh, to dip it in there and we're gonna make our stars.

J: And I am using this Italian red. It's from 2016 and it cost $9, and it's - it's really quite good

S: How do you know how much it cost?

J: Umm because I bought it

S: Hmmm

J: Oh. How much did it cost? 

S: I don't know. I don't remember.

J: Can someone Google it

S: It's under $20, for sure

J: Yeah, we sort of feel that expensive wine is wasted on us

S: Mm, mostly, yeah. 

J: Occasionally - 

S: But for me - for me, wine need a hype man or woman or person

J: Yes, yes

S: A hype person. Like, I do, if you have somebody who is like, ahh this is really special

J: It's like going through a museum's collection with Sarah, there's all this stuff that you probably wouldn't even, like, notice or think about in your natural, like, walking through the Louvre, but if you walk through with Sarah, she would be like "ahh! Oh my God," and then she'll tell you a story about a work of art and you'll be like, oh I actually - that is very interesting, and I thought that that was a dumb waste of my time, but it turns out that's a cool thing. I almost think we're done? 

 (20:00) to (22:00)

S: I think we are.

J: Maybe one in the middle?

S: Mmm, they concentrate.

J: They do, they’re supposed to. So like constellations do.

S: So then its kinda hard to see, but we added stars.

J: Yeah!

S: And it really just makes the cosmic bean. Cosmic? Uh Oh. Is that a knock?

J: Definitely

S: I’ll go. *door opening*

J: I wonder who it could be. It’s *children making noise* Oh no. We got some issues. Got some, got some child issues. Now I’m gonna do one without Sarah’s permission. Um, I know that she, I know that she would do a better job of making the stars than I do. 

J: But yeah, sometimes the uh we made a deal with the kids, but that doesn’t mean that they’re gonna honor the deal. Hm. Also, sometimes they have problems, so one of us may have to go uh deal with that. But I’m gonna make these stars and then hopefully Sarah will be pleased with my star making when she gets back.

J: But yeah, the key with the stars is to make some big and some small because, of course, that is also the case with stars in our sky. Like, you know, some of them, like its not only because they’re further apart or they’re also at varying levels of luminescence or whatever, so that’s an important thing when you're making fake stars as opposed to when you’re making real ones.

J: I’m gonna make some real small dots now like almost invisible. Very quiet. Very quiet dots. Very quiet and then even a little quieter like barely even real, barely even real. Oh my God. Is that even happening? I can’t even tell if it’s real. It’s just barely there. 

 (22:00) to (24:00)

J: That's my kind of star. Okay. And then I think we’re done! So I’ve added stars. My stars are never as good because Sarah just has a better sense of how uh randomness works in the universe. So like, uh, look at Sarah’s stars, right the ones we did together. 

J: That’s objectively better than my stars. I don't know why. Because I'm not visually smart enough to know why. But I do know that she will come in and fix it. So, everything’s gonna be just fine. I feel like I should read the superchats. 

J: “Have you seen Flula’s homework series? It is amazing.” Uh, it is amazing, and I have seen it, and it’s great.  Um I was thinking of doing a similar series but not as funny where I help people with their history homework. But, uh, I’m a little busy at the moment.

J: “If we could figure out a gift exchange thingy some of us could donate a copy to others.” Oh that would be lovely. Um, I don’t know how to organize that, but maybe you could just do that in comments. Like, if somebody needs one, if somebody needs a copy of You are an Artist, and somebody else can buy one. 

J: And I guess I should say like anyway you buy Sarah’s great new book You are an Artist is welcome. We were so excited to go on tour for this book and like, I mean, because it is a very visual book, it’s an important part of how a book like that lives, uh, is through touring and, it’s a big bummer, uh, i mean, I know that in the scheme of things it’s not a big bummer because there's just so much loss all around and people are going through unprecedentedly hard times and this is not that this is just a book. 

J: But, uh, it is really sad to us that we don’t get to tour and that’s something Sarah and I had been looking forward to for a long time. We were excited to like go out and like share the book with people and get to meet people and get to meet some of the artists in the book along the way as well. 

 (24:00) to (26:00)

J: So that part’s sad, but um you know, there’s just so much going on right now. Ugh this never works when I do it. You see how these are not good?

S: yeah 

J: I know. So can you fix it?

S: Yeah

J: Thank you. And I’ll keep talking while you fix it.

S: What are you talking about?
J: Um, I was talking about how I’m kinda sad that we don’t get to go on tour together like we were planning next week.

S: Oh yeah. It would’ve been fun.

J: It would’ve been fun.

S: I’m not really dwelling on it, it’s, I’m not just saying that

J: I know, I mean it’s like the Partners in Health thing they say “think about the things you can do in this situation that you like to do and do them” which is good, which I think is good advice.

J: Any advice on how to be more reasonable with my expectations for life right now? Asks a senior in high school. Yeah, I mean, uh, this is a big period of transition anybody who’s in that situation, it’s just that you’re experiencing it in the weirdest possible circumstances that are completely without precedent in our lifetimes. So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself because you’re doing something that like no human being has done in 102 years. So, be nice to yourself. 

S: And well I think it takes time to adjust to different and develop different expectations you know, like if you’ve been looking forward to a certain thing for a long time it’s not like you can just shift immediately and be like that thing isn’t important anymore.

J: I know, like yeah. When I think about that with kids graduating from highschool like I've seen so many people on the internet like make fun of kids for being sad about missing their graduations and it’s true that there are bigger losses

S: Yes

J: But I mean its a huge loss

S: It is

 (26:00) to (28:00)

J: So that part’s sad, but um you know, there’s just so much going on right now. Ugh this never works when I do it. You see how these are not good?

S: yeah 

J: I know. So can you fix it?

S: Yeah

J: Thank you. And I’ll keep talking while you fix it.

S: What are you talking about?
J: Um, I was talking about how I’m kinda sad that we don’t get to go on tour together like we were planning next week.

S: Oh yeah. It would’ve been fun.

J: It would’ve been fun.

S: I’m not really dwelling on it, it’s, I’m not just saying that

J: I know, I mean it’s like the Partners in Health thing they say “think about the things you can do in this situation that you like to do and do them” which is good, which I think is good advice.

J: Any advice on how to be more reasonable with my expectations for life right now? Asks a senior in high school. Yeah, I mean, uh, this is a big period of transition anybody who’s in that situation, it’s just that you’re experiencing it in the weirdest possible circumstances that are completely without precedent in our lifetimes. So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself because you’re doing something that like no human being has done in 102 years. So, be nice to yourself. 

S: And well I think it takes time to adjust to different and develop different expectations you know, like if you’ve been looking forward to a certain thing for a long time it’s not like you can just shift immediately and be like that thing isn’t important anymore.

J: I know, like yeah. When I think about that with kids graduating from highschool like I've seen so many people on the internet like make fun of kids for being sad about missing their graduations and it’s true that there are bigger losses

S: Yes

J: But I mean its a huge loss

S: It is

J: To have looked forward and I mean it’s the same thing with your book deal, like it’s a huge loss to have looked forward to a book tour that you're now not gonna go on and for kids graduating from high school its a tremendous loss to have that taken away from them when, you know, they’ve seen it in movies, they’ve read about it in books, they’ve imagined that moment of wearing the gown and everything and being with their friends and having a chance to say goodbye.

S: Yeah.

J: Like,  I remember in high school saying goodbye to the cafeteria and saying goodbye to people I didn’t know very well and I knew damn well I would never see again and

S: What’s this money going toward?

J: Oh, the money, it’s uh we’re spending it mostly on hard drugs. No, it’s going to 

S: For sick people

J: Well, no its not. Unfortunately there is no proven pharmaceutical intervention. Its going to support efforts to fight Covid-19 in impoverished communities around the world. So we’re really concerned and I think a lot of people are really concerned about how coronavirus cases are exploding in impoverished communities

S: Yeah

J: From South America to sub-saharan Africa, um, Ecuador is a huge site of exponential growth of the virus, so is Kazakhstan and Russia where Partners in Health does work. They also do in Peru and Mexico um where there are a lot of problems and in the navajo nation where there is also a lot of risk 

J: so all the superchat money will go to support those efforts to help Covid-19 get better testing and get better testing equipment get better tests, more tests, faster tests, to those communities where i mean our healthcare system is going to be tremendously taxed by this and is in some places already tremendously taxed, but you can imagine

 (28:00) to (30:00)

S: In places where there's barely any health system 

J: Yeah I mean there's in places where there might be 2 or 3 ventilators in hospital instead of 200

S: Or you live 

J: Or you live

S: Three and a half hours

J: From a hospital

S: By motorbike 

J: So it doesn’t matter

S: Or from a clinic. Yeah

J: How can I buy the book for people who were planning on ordering it but can’t because of the lockdown? Well, they can still get stuff delivered, right? 

S: Oh, yes, and 

J: Also

S: A lot of local booksellers are still selling books

J: Yeah! So if you call your local bookstore they’ll they will usually order the book for you and get it to you

S: Ship it to you 

J:Either ship it to you or

S: Hold onto it

J: Toss it into your driveway

S: Yeah

J: If you call them they’ll be surprisingly accommodating

S: Yes 

J: But then also there is an audiobook

S: Oh yeah

J: Which is really lovely. If you want to just get the audio book then that’s available for an instant download

S: No grad school this round. Any wisdom?

J: Oof

S: Well

J: Sometimes that’s a blessing? 

S: Uh, sometimes it’s a blessing, sometimes it’s not time yet. Sometimes  you need to do something else first.

J: Yeah. That’s what Sarah did. 

S: Yeah, uh, I also, when I went to grad school I applied to many schools and got rejected from many of them and then got into one good program that was great

J: Yeah

S: But I had totally prepared myself for the eventuality that I wasn’t gonna get into one and then I was pleasantly surprised, but I think you know but I also think like if I hadn't gone what I might’ve done in the interim year

J: Yeah, we could’ve had a fun year

S: Yeah 


S: Yeah

J: Yeah, so 

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J: We, who knows

S: Yeah

J: Maybe it would’ve been better

S: So we’ve starred

J: Yeah

S: Our cosmic bean

J: So what are we doing now?

S: We gotta make more beans

J: Are we retired? No

S: No

J: We aren’t quite retired yet?
S: Yeah

J: Ay-yi-yi

S: Do we need to paint some more?

J: I’m happy to paint some more

S: Assume the worst and hope for the best. That preventative worry.

J: Yeah. I’m a specialist in preventative worry and I can tell you that

S: But this is like the theme of now

J: I think it’s overrated 

S: Well no, no it’s not

J: It is 

S: It’s what social distancing is, it’s what self-isolation is, it’s preventative worry, it’s like being suitably worried about what could happen.

J: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that’s an appropriate, that’s an appropriate level of worry. Also

S: Yeah

J: like, in the case of social distancing, it’s what people can do to support the people who cannot socially distance because of their work, you know, if you want to support health care workers or pharmacy technicians or people who work in grocery stores the main thing you can do is reduce the number of transmissions so

S: Yeah

J: I think that’s the right thing to do.

J: Billy asks, “as a creative/artist how do you know when you're good at something? When do you listen to others and when do you listen to yourself?” 

S: Mmm, that’s a good question.

J: I find that when other people offer me criticism it hurts my feelings and I get mad and resentful and defensive and usually they’re wrong. But they’re not wrong about there being a problem, they're usually just wrong about the solution that they've proposed to the problem.

S: And the delivery. The delivery is often not

J: Yeah the way they deliver it is sometimes a bummer. But I guess like that idea how do I get good

S: Or how do I know if you’re good

J: Exactly, exactly like inherent to that is this idea that there’s this objective “good at the thing”

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S: Or its like a point of arrival its like something that you like arrive at

J: Yeah

S: And just are rather than something you're constantly striving to be 

J: Yeah that, it, mastery being like a train station rather than the train

S: Right

J: But in fact it’s the train and you try to stay on the train as often as you can and for as long as you can and to keep learning as much as you can

S: Right

J: Also

S: Right, so I guess the short answer is that it’s, uh, there you never know

J: You never know. That’s true.

S: I mean sometimes you feel good and comfortable in your work, I think, and sometimes you don’t 

J: Yeah

S: I mean I remember the painter John Courren I saw an interview with him once where he said “any artist worth their salt knows uh believes they’re the best,” and I was like, ehh

J: Myuh, I totally that’s, that’s

S: I mean, uh, I don’t, mm it’s very much like a machismo like

J: Yeah that’s so like individualistic and masculine in it’s construction 

S: Well, I mean, part of it is like yes you have to have enough confidence to do the thing

J: Yeah

S: You have to have enough, enough confidence and belief in yourself to do anything

J: Yeah, for sure

S: Um, but I also think that doubt is part of it 

J: Yeah, I think that doubt is part of it. I also think that like some of this idea that we have of like some things being objectively good and other things being objectively bad and some things being better than others is partly based around this really quite new system of ratings, like that we rate things on a five star scale and things that are 4.9 stars are better than things that are 4.8 stars and they are objectively better and things that are A’s are better than things that are B’s and all of that is total BS and it’s also extremely recent BS. Like

S: Well

J: It is! It’s like less than 30 years old.

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S: What? What?

J: The five star scale.

S: The five star scale, yes, but not like, like, the anointing of masterpieces.

J: No the anointing of mastery is very old

S: Yeah

J: But is also like a different kind of the same sickness to me where instead of saying, like, “I found this good and useful” you have to be able to like defend it as “great.”

S: Yeah

J: And like, I, if you liked the Cats movie (I didn’t), but if you did, pff, great, like, fine. I don’t understand, like, why you liking the Cats movie makes my life worse.

S: Yeah. How did we get here?

J: Just that I don’t think we should grade things on a five star scale, like, the... 

S: But it is helpful. I mean, when, when you’re looking at like what, uh, what movie to watch or what show to watch

J: Yeah

S: You wanna, you wanna see a review

J: Yeah but I think, I think what you really wanna see is a review my Emily Nussbaum that doesn’t include a number of stars but instead is just an extremely thoughtful review.

S: Yeah

J: About what, what the thing is and who it’s for

S: Yeah

J: And who it might benefit

S: Yeah

J: That’s what, I just wanna read Emily Nussbaum reviews, I don’t wanna read, like, 88% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. 

S: I wanna read a review that, that has nothing about the plot or the people or what it is, cuz I’m always like plot review, plot review, summary, blahblahblah, where’s the review?

J: Yeah, I agree

S: You know, I’d like to cut that all out.

J: Yeah. I never had that problem with Emily Nussbaum

S: I’m like, “yeah, yeah, yeah” 

J: Yeah. It’s great, or it’s bad.

S: “How are you doing with homeschooling? Any tips for occupying children as a single mom to a five year old? I’m finding that more challenging than I think.” 

S: Well, as you can currently see, we are live streaming, um, while our children are awake.  

J: Yeah. They’re just like. They’re like wild animals back there, Polly Anna. We have lost complete control over this household.

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S: *Laughs* Well, we have a, we have a ten year old and a six year old. Uh, and homeschooling goes up and down. Um…

J: Mostly down.

S: Well our son has a lot of remote learning, and our daughter

J: Our daughter is err

S: Who’s six, so closer to your five year old, we’re sent a great daily summary of possible, but not required, activities to do with her

J: It’s great

S: It’s actually really, it’s really fun. I mean, does it try my patience?

J: Yes

S: Yes.

J: It does. 

S: Yes, and John and I switch out the day. 

J: Yeah, so we each, we each homeschool half the day, and you’re not able to do that, which, I would imagine, is not twice as exhausting but instead, four times?

S: Yes!

J: Four times as exhausting. 

S: Yes.

J: It’s very much an exponential thing. 

S: Yeah

J: So, my main tip would be that the five year old will be fine.

S: Go easy on yourself.

J: Go easy on yourself. 

S: Yeah.

J: Um

S: Yeah

J: Like, what they learn when they’re five, that’s not like the make or break moment. 

J: “Are you planning on doing ‘Vlogbrothers,’ ‘Dear Hank and John,’ ‘The Art Assignment,’ etc. until you’re super old or do you plan on retiring at some point?”

S: Instead of like, quasi old.

J: First off, first off, I’m already super old. Um, I don’t know. Um, I, I like my work, and I feel really, really lucky to have it, especially at a time like this. And, um, it’s hard for me to imagine saying no to good work. And being able to make good work with people I care about and, you know, um, I’m really lucky in that I don’t work on anything I don’t love. 

S: Yeah.

J: So

S: I’ll say I would do it until I don’t, I don’t wanna do it anymore. 

J: I will do it after I don’t want to do it. Because, because I know myself. 

S: Yeah.

J: *Chuckles* I will keep doing it 

S: Uh, yeah

J: Umm “how do you find a college major that makes you happy?” Pfff

S: Or happy enough?

J: Happy enough? Grant, we have no idea.

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J: We majored, I majored in Islamic history. I'm the last person to ask this question to.

S: Yeah. 

J:Can I tell you?

S: I majored in English and art theory and practice, which I’m using.

J: I was reading, I was reading about, speaking of Islamic history, I was reading about plagues today

S: Of course you were 

J: I know.

S: Yeah.

J: Um, can I read to you this beautiful, this incredibly beautiful hadith? 

S: Please.

J: Um, there is uh there are a number of versions of this, so I don’t want to mess it up. Uh, the hadiths are the um the sayings and like recordings of the actions of the prophet Mohammed. Um, by his companions and friends and stuff like that. 

S: Mmhmm

J: Uh, this is a very long list of all of the things that the prophet said avoi-uhuhuh-about, uh, this, here we go!

S: Okay

J: This is it. It’s so simple! “If you hear of a plague in a land, do not go there. If it happens in a land where you are, then do not leave.” 

J: But, like so many of my favorite religious invocations, it starts out easy

S: Yes.

J: It’s like, oh,e asy, I don’t go to the place if I hear about 

S: Right

J: Like, a neighboring town has the plague, I don’t go there. I can handle that part.

S: Right.

J: And then it gets harder. Then it gets to the sacrifice part in the second half.

S: Right. Well but, I mean, no judgement for people who are like leaving certain, I mean, anyway

J: no judgement.

S: We’re not saying anything

J: We’re, we’re not here to 

S: We’re not here to judge your

J: Everybody’s, everybody’s getting through this the way they can. But don’t um, don’t spread the virus. 

S: Yeah.

J: If you can avoid spreading it.

S: Yeah.

John: That probably goes without saying.

S: “Advice on turning around a bad day in isolation.”

J: Phew, Eric, it’s not easy. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don't know.

S: I’m finding that once a day starts bad, yeah, um, I mean, I think, like, you know and I, it’s cliche to say the things that I do, and sometimes I do those things to try to turn around the day and    

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