We never tell our podcast guests what to talk about, and this conversation between Fred Armisen and Jason Schwartzman is the reason why.
Topics covered include: the nuances of American Sign Language, Icelandic stand-up comedy, fairies, trolls, superhuman athleticism, archaic medical treatments, and what Fred would do if he could travel back in time without altering history.
Speaker: Welcome back to The A24 Podcast. Our guests today are Fred Armisen and Jason Schwartzman, two actors, drummers and friends with a lot to talk about. Jason's been part of the A24 family from day one, and Fred now stars in our upcoming TV show Moonbase 8. We never tell our guests what to talk about, and this conversation is a great example why.
Fred Armisen: There's a thumbs up.
Jason Schwartzman: Thumbs up.
Fred: My name is Fred Armisen.
Jason: My name is Jason Schwartzman.
Fred: We'll do it again just to make sure. My name is Fred Armisen.
Jason: My name is Jason Schwartzman.
Fred: Real quick. My name is Fred Armisen.
Jason: I'm Jason Schwartzman.
Fred: Great. Just so we have those versions of it.
Fred: To the editor who's editing this, you can mix and match the first name, last name.
Jason: Yeah. Personally I would take two, first name for me two and then last name from three. One was ridiculous.
Fred: My one was not so bad. You can use my one just because, I think I wasn't thinking about it.
Jason: First and last?
Fred: First and last, yeah.
Jason: 60 years ago when they were recording podcasts they couldn't edit. These thing, they had to do it in one take. They had to introduce themselves in one take. Those were the old days. We're here and we're just going to do our best to pay homage to the original guys...
Jason: And to be thankful that we're in the long line of podcasters, and we're joining the... We're part of it now.
Fred: The tradition.
Fred: Whenever it started... Even going back to the whatever, 1930.
Jason: 30. Yeah, yeah.
Fred: They were recording, when they did their radio plays or whatever, or just people talking...
Fred: We just want to carry on the tradition. We have hope that after us they'll be some other people doing it.
Fred: You could think of it as a relay race, but I think of it more like a wedding...
Jason: A wedding.
Fred: Bringing them up to the altar...
Jason: That's right.
Fred: Someone brought us to the altar, and we just keep going. Should we say, A24? We'll mention A24.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah.
Fred: You're listening to...
Fred: A24. A, of course the letter A, and then the number 24.
Jason: Which, two goes into four twice.
Fred: We all know that.
Jason: Twice. That's... They named it A24, it was like, just... It's so obvious.
Fred: 24's one of those number where you could tell right away that, the math of it, it's one of those instant numbers.
Jason: It's like Tetris. You see that piece coming down and then you go, "I know where this is gonna go."
Fred: No question.
Fred: Double that two, you got that four.
Jason: I love a good... Yeah. When numbers fit together really nicely, it feels... Do you like numbers? You good at math?
Fred: I like numbers when they work out like that. There is a limit to how much I know about math.
Fred: Especially, when I really hear people talking about math in a very deep way. As soon as it starts sounding like gibberish to me, then I actually feel bad. I'm like, "I wish I could grasp that."
Fred: Even number are a pleasure for me.
Jason: The best.
Fred: With music and—
Jason: They're like the white notes on the piano.
Fred: I love it. 4/4 is such a great time signature. As soon as certain things get complicated, my brain starts to work. I appreciate it, but...
Jason: Oh, well, I would love to talk... Well, can we put that on the... I wanna talk about time signatures.
Jason: I would love to... I mean, we can just talk about it right now, if you want to.
Fred: Up to you. Also, to give some background...
Fred: Jason and I know this, but you might not, that we've talked a lot.
Fred: We've spent a lot of our time texting each other, meeting with each other.
Fred: In each other's company. We've experienced, just some wonderful, odd...
Fred: And fun. It's been great.
Jason: Yes. Yes.
Fred: Always. We're not meeting each other for the first time.
Fred: One problem could be that, we have so much to talk about, that we don't know where to begin...
Jason: Yes. Yeah, that's true.
Fred: In my opinion.
Jason: I'm glad that you... I have so much that I... I always... I never wanna overstay my welcome, but every time I see something or hear something in my life, I'm always like, "Oh, I gotta. I'd love to tell..." I think it's fun when you meet someone who you think would appreciate you see, and appreciate or like. That's the best feeling.
Fred: It's also a good feeling, when you tell me about something, which happens all the time, that I didn't know about.
Jason: Likewise. You too.
Fred: I'm always like... There's a little bit of light, and it's a good anger, anger that I didn't know. You'll tell me about a book or a rec... I think, "Oh, dammit, I wish I knew."
Jason: Well, I'll tell you...
Fred: I wish I had known.
Jason: First of all. Usually, in those cases, I've just found out about it too. I'm sharing it with... I'm the same. I'm five minutes ahead of you. You know what I mean? That's all it is.
Fred: Okay great.
Jason: It's not like I... I know that feeling. I absolutely know that feeling, especially when people know a lot about movies, it's really hard for me, because I don't know how... At a certain point, I don't know how I would be able to catch up. I can't watch. I don't have enough time. There wouldn't be enough time to do it. Music, of course is not enough time. My feeling, when I hear about a band I don't know about is a bit more... I'm more excited, because I think I can take it in more quickly.
Jason: Whereas, if it's a book or movie, I get kind of angry. Just a little. It's just like, "Ugh."
Fred: Yeah. Especially because I feel like music is ongoing. We can enjoy a song over and over. A movie, if someone tells you about a movie, and then you take the time to watch it, it's like talking to a ghost, because, am I suppose to call you back and say, "I finally saw that movie."
Fred: We've already had the conversation.
Fred: It died already.
Fred: I always lost. If you tell me about a movie I haven't seen, you already know how great it is and then I'm like, "I'll catch up."
Fred: Then, if I came back to you and I say, "Hey. I finally saw this movie." You'd be like, "Why are we talking about this still?" Music, I feel like it stays a live.
Jason: Right, right, right. No. That is interesting what you're saying. Do you ever have this thing where you see a movie, or hear music, and you want to watch the person watch it?
Fred: Oh yeah.
Jason: I would think that would be... I have not seen a lot of movies in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes if I talk to my wife for instance... She has the same thing, where she'll find that I have='t seen a film. She can't believe it. She wants to see me see it.
Jason: I wanna see her... I would love to find out what, our 10 movies, we each haven't seen and then I just wanna sit with you and watch. You know what I mean? I would like to do that.
Fred: That's different. That sounds great.
Jason: I'm gonna stop talking. I'm just—
Fred: No, No.
Jason: Note to editor. Can we just cut me out of everything? I'll replace my parts later. Keep off Red's stuff.
Fred: Can we ADR our own parts? God, that would be so great.
Jason: Can we just change the whole interview? I'm gonna take off these things. I feel like they're rattling around.
Fred: Just so everyone knows out there, Jason is wearing two rings on every finger. They're all identical to each other. It's not an array of different kinds of rings. It's all identical.
Jason: That's one. Ring finger. Okay.
Fred: There we go. We were thinking of time signatures, but then...
Jason: Well, why don't we talk about stuff we wanna learn about? I feel like you are always interested in things. I would like to know, what you are excited about, and what you wanna learn about. If realistically, and also unrealistically...
Jason: even just something that you know would be a life's work, but you wish you could do or learn.
Fred: This will go both ways. I'll ask this this...
Jason: Please. Yes, yes, yes.
Fred: Well, I really wanna learn American Sign Language.
Fred: I've learned a few words along the way...
Fred: but, only in a sort of self entertaining kind of way.
Fred: Look at this cool sign. Look at this cool sign.
Fred: As opposed to really studying it and being as fluent as possible, as I can. I think, in general, it would be a good language for everyone to learn.
Fred: Whether or not you can hear is...
Fred: Why aren't we learning this extra way of talking to each other?
Jason: In fact, I met a girl who knew American Sign Language. I asked her how she learned it. She said it was offered as a language in her school.
Fred: How could you not take that class?
Jason: Yeah. Isn't that interesting? Yeah. My middle child, she learned sign language. She's a special needs child and has trouble with speech. She understands everything she hears. I don't have to speak sign language to her. Communication and talking is very challenging for her. Sign language became a very incredible thing in our lives actually. My older daughter, she was two and a half or three when my daughter was born, Una. She was about four when we started to have to learn the American Sign Language.
Jason: It was amazing, because my daughter, my elder daughter learned it so quickly. It's really... Our little kid now does it. What I'm so curious about, is... I'm only in the very basic stuff. Again, because I don't have to use sign language to communicate with my daughter. I know it, so that I can kind of understand what she's saying to me. Also, I didn't ever put all of this together. Sometimes, her fingers aren't as dexterous, so she... You kind of make your own home signs, in a way. You have your own language.
Jason: I'm curious how nuanced sign language gets. For instance, if I was to ask my mom now, something about life or death and she was to have, say, kind of, a more poetic or metaphoric answer, I'm curious to know how poetic and metaphoric you can get with sign language. Right now I'm just in that... I'm in the very beginning where I'm learning, this is happy, this is sad, this is... I'm curious to know, is there a word for bittersweet? I'm just trying to figure out how nuanced it gets. I do think it is a beautiful... It's so beautiful. It's an amazing language.
Fred: It really is.
Jason: It's incredible. I love it.
Fred: I took like ...
Jason: I love it.
Fred: I've taken a couple of private lessons, right?
Jason: You have.
Fred: Yeah. One thing that I couldn't wrap my head around was, how exaggerated everything has to be.
Fred: They were like, "Don't be shy about making a face.
Fred: Don't be shy about making a noise and hitting a table...
Fred: You're not making too much noise."
Jason: Don't be shy about it, meaning don't...
Fred: Meaning, in my being self conscious, I don't wanna make that much of a racket.
Fred: I kind of wanna...
Jason: It's like, don't be shy about having a French accent when you're trying to speak French.
Jason: Don't hold yourself back.
Fred: Exactly. That's not an affectation. We're not being pretentious. This is, "I don't know what you're saying otherwise."
Fred: We can't hear you. I love it. I can't get enough of watching it.
Jason: Yeah. It's so beautiful.
Fred: It really is. I don't know how long it takes to get...
Jason: Why do you want to learn sign language?
Fred: I just love it. Seems so useful.
Jason: Yeah. I am interested, because of, going, experiencing Una's communication and... I've become so fascinated, pay a lot of interest to how people connect through jokes or music, how you... I was in a foreign country. I was in Germany. It was a woman. It was an event, a preview before a group of people. She was the host, and was making jokes and kind of, loosening up the crowd. It was so interesting, because I had no idea what she was saying. You could feel the cadence. You could feel...
Jason: She was communicating, "This is serious. This is serious. This is serious, but this part's a joke." Everyone would laugh. It was like, "Wow." Why do I know that was supposed to be funny, even though I don't understand a single thing she just said?
Fred: Yeah. I went to Reykjavik.
Fred: I went. I just sought out seeing stand up comedy.
Jason: Oh my gosh.
Fred: I video taped, or whatever, taped it on my phone. Watching Icelandic standup comedians... It was also like, an underground, cool comedy club. It wasn't any place tremendous. I did not know one word that they were saying. It's exactly as you said. I could hear... The way people laughed, it was so similar to the way we do comedy and stand up comedy. I think I could feel them saying, "Why does that happen? What does that happen?"
Fred: They just...
Fred: There's are long parts, exactly, where there's no laughing.
Fred: I'm going, they're telling the story. And then, bubbling of laughing, bubbling of laughing. And then, something a little loud at the end. This must be the funny part of the joke.
Jason: Oh my gosh.
Fred: This is what I'm fed up with about the world. Why? Why?
Jason: That's so great.
Fred: And then everyone's really laughing.
Jason: You sought out specifically, stand up comedy? Like, "I want to see standup comedy."
Fred: Oh yes. I made it my business. I was like, "I need to go see standup comedy."
Jason: I was in Reykjavik this year.
Fred: You went this year?
Fred: Were you working?
Jason: I was working there. I did a short film there. It was really fun. The people were so kind, very kind.
Fred: Something about Iceland, I feel like their thing is like, "We're doing great—
Fred: —We hope you enjoy it. If you don't, that's okay."
Jason: Do you know they were gonna build a freeway or a new road from the airport to Reykjavik, but it would have bisected a mountain, or a hill that is believed to be inhabited by trolls?
Jason: And so they went around it.
Fred: Yeah, there's a strong belief in all of that.
Jason: I love it. I love that built a road. They said, "We will build around the mountain." They didn't put the thing, because they felt that the trolls... That is so... I love that.
Fred: That's the way to go.
Jason: I think so.
Fred: It makes life worth living, that in government and in politics, you have... It should be like that.
Jason: I agree. There's also a place... I don't know where it is, but thy have fairy doors. It has the most amount of fairy doors.
Fred: Is this in Iceland?
Jason: No. It's here in America, I believe.
Jason: They have the most amount of fairy doors...
Fred: You mean those little teeny doors that are—
Fred: ...at the foot of a tree, kind of?
Jason: And also at the foot of a door. Like there'll be a door into a restaurant and then down below it is a miniature version of the same door all over. I swear.
Fred: It's so sweet.
Jason: I know.
Fred: It's the kind of thing that I'd want to explain to aliens—
Fred: ...to say like, "Actually we're kind of interesting that we do all this stuff, that you don't see right away."
Jason: You know, my daughter, Marlowe, she's really like, she goes to fairy camp and she's really into her fairy. And she has a fairy, and we were talking about fairies and I basically started telling her I was like, you know, I think she said maybe someone said they didn't believe in fairies. And as I was talking to her I realized, I think they're wrong. Maybe there are fairies. I mean, I'm just kinda like, when you're talking to a child, it was kind of exciting to me. I was like, you know, I mean, I don't actually, I mean... If you asked me 10 minutes before and she wasn't in the car I'd be like "She goes to fairy camp." But I don't know, it was—
Fred: I'm with you on that.
Jason: I wanted to, I wanted to—
Fred: Also because there's no way to really, like, weaponize them. You can't use them...
Jason: A fairy?
Fred: ...meaning, yeah, to use your argument as to about the way things should be—
Fred: ...or, morality or anything like that. It's just sort of fairies and trolls. I just, in my, from what I know about them, it's just sort of, they don't, there's no bad purpose to believing in them.
Jason: Right, right. What's the, right.
Fred: We should call them for, or colonization or anything like that. There's a sort of a, "Hey, they're there in the trees and," but that would be, yeah.
Jason: That's like, yeah. I mean it would be amazing if I really were fair- ... but, anyway. What are other things that you want to learn?
Fred: Um, what else do I want to learn about? I want to learn about the real workings of my house.
Jason: Okay. Yep.
Fred: So I wish I could have a person who wasn't working for me or trying to, you know, somebody who could walk me through and say this, "These, all these pipes are for gas."
Fred: "And they lead to this."
Fred: I don't like looking at things in my house and not knowing immediately what it is. "What is this beam, what is this beam really doing? What is this?"
Fred: And in just a very simple way, someone going through, "This is what this does, this is, this is where the electricity comes from."
Fred: Just a simple walkthrough just to know my house. I love my house so much and I just really want to know it. I just want to dedicate a full day. Let's walk through this house, show me what this is.
Jason: You know who could basically do something like that, is someone who basically walked in and say, "See all this. This is all drop maple," you know, and "This is, this is fine, you're on sturdy ground, this is all sturdy. But here, this is the kind of soil you don't want."
Fred: I love it.
Jason: Or whatever. Like I know I, it's a, maybe that would be, maybe that would be like, that's like a general tutor.
Fred: I know exactly—
Jason: ...I mean really, it's, but can I say something which is really silly, but I recently wanted to learn about something involving finances and I was asking somebody and I, I didn't even understand their explanation.
Jason: I was just, and I realized how far away I was from understanding the thing.
Fred: Oh, boy.
Jason: So I went on the For Dummies, you know those books For Dummies? They have so many books for dummies. I was—
Fred: Wait, did you order a physical one or did you look at it online?
Jason: I got both, I went online and then I got, I ordered the ones I wanted.
Fred: Like what's the finances one you did?
Jason: I got two of them. One of them's like Economics for Dummies and one was like Home Management for Dummies, I think. I got Wine for Dummies.
Fred: This is great.
Jason: It's actually, I think it's an underrated, how... I don't even know if it's underrated because it's, it's everywhere and people know them, but they're really actually incredible books and they are very helpful.
Jason: For when my daughter was diagnosed with her thing, which is DNA related, I bought a book called genetics for Dummies and uh, and I learned, you find you really don't know so many things—
Fred: So many things.
Jason: ...especially when someone tries to explain it to you. That's when I really am lost. I mean I can't, I mean I want to go on the website after this and just look-
Jason: ...but it was like, it's divided like, I mean, it's almost like a furniture store, like how it's like Home and then you click on that, and there's like Home Management For Dummies. How to Build a House For Dummies. So many subcategories underneath each. Oh, if every—
Fred: And I feel like everyone needs that.
Jason: I wish I could, I wish I could have the whole collection.
Jason: I'd never get through it.
Fred: My accountant tried to explain stocks to me and I think I still don't understand them. I hear their words. I hear it—
Jason: But it is very confusing. I mean, do you think that everybody should have a basic understanding of those types of things, or some people just cannot get it? Because, I know what you mean, I lose things at a certain point.
Jason: I am lost. What's best for the world?
Fred: I mean I guess any kind of knowledge is just better for the world.
Jason: But do you think, like, people who work at a bank or find, encounter people who don't know the answer to something, do you think that that is more common or do you—
Fred: Yes, it is.
Jason: ...right, yeah. I would think so too. I mean it must be. They must be like, "Don't worry, a lot of people don't know the answer to the," that's what I think.
Fred: Right, right, right.
Jason: It's very complicated, man. I'm—
Fred: It's almost like, I mean, I feel like money is such a serious topic, but if someone, you know, for all their strengths of say a banker or a mathematician or what is it, a financier an economist, I think that someone would also be just as impressed and curious about how you do what you do. We don't need to go into it—
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Fred: ...but they, they, there is a part of them. It's like, well, I think that um, the things you do or have an impact on my life, I'm just... I wonder if they are even curious about learning lines or—
Jason: Right. Do you think that um, this is a total side step, but it's related to me. When I, I went to a football game once, I was on the field before the game started. The Jets game. And the players were so huge that I just couldn't help but think, "Oh my gosh, are they so frightened right now? They're going to go in and play," and then I realized, well, but they're all this big. So when they're all this big, would this be like me on a field with a bunch of people like me-
Jason: And I was just thinking about, like, what's it like for them? Like an athlete or someone who's an ultimate fighting championship? Or boxers, you know, I love, I don't watch as many anymore, but I always liked those like training, where they showed two fighters getting ready for one fight and I love watching it because they go, "On the 24th, he's going to run into a freight train and it's going to be me. One of us is going down and it's going to be him," you know? But they both say it.
Jason: What are they thinking? What does it feel like to be that? Are they afraid that, because that person would kill me, would kill me, truly. And I just, I wonder, like if I was about to go into a football game, me, there's a chance I might not be the person I am at the end of this game because these guys are so big. Uh, I would get creamed. But if you're a football player, you're not afraid. It doesn't make sense saying what I'm saying, but I'm just curious, like—
Fred: It makes so much sense. I'm just trying to guess if I put myself in their place like I feel like they, they have done it for so long.
Fred: That they know how to, you, this is guess work. I'm only guessing right now, that they know how to utilize that fear and they just are like, "Well there's a part of me that's scared of this and that," but they know the game so well.
Fred: That very little of it is a surprise. So I'm, I'm just guessing like.
Jason: Oh, uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah.
Fred: Let's say it's my job.
Fred: And I'm this, I'm this. Whatever it is, whatever position I'm in.
Fred: You could, I wonder if you can sort of pinpoint the parts that are going to be risky and so it's not like your whole game, you're just going to be beat up.
Jason: Interesting. Different.
Fred: I'm suggesting you go, "Well, I think after the first quarter I can, there's a chance that this might happen, but I think I'm going to be okay because I—"
Jason: I think there's different, there's like, because in football for instance, they always talk about in routes where receivers and they go and they go, especially if you've got to go up and in the middle and like you jump to catch the ball. There's like a common thing I hear, play by play. People say, which is like, "Look at him, he hung in there. He knew he was going to get pounded, but he hung in there."
Jason: There's kind of like a, I think there's a, that specific thing for wide receivers. They know, "If I go into the middle and I jump I'm at a disadvantage because I can't, I suppose if you're running straight, you know you're in front of the person maybe, but when you're going in the middle, you're turning your back and you could, you know, you really are vulnerable.
Jason: Going very vulnerable. I love the show called Hard Knocks. It's on HBO. It's been on for years and each season they show the training camp of a football team. It's just the day in and day out of a football training camp. And I, I love it. So-
Fred: And do they ever say I'm scared, or?
Jason: ...yeah, all the, I mean it's, there are so many nuances. Like all the players are, the majority of players always are wearing flip flops and have backpacks that are just the string, you know, where it's just a string. Yeah. It's like a little tiny workout one. And it kinda, and I realized it's just because they're tired. They train all day long. So every time you see them like walking around the offices, they're really tired. And there's something about their demeanor that I just, I love. And then, but there's always, they always start off with too many players and they've got to cut them down to make the roster and they show the players—
Fred: Oh, no.
Jason: ...getting taken off the team, and those are, wild to see their shot with a camera that's in a corner, you know, so it's not too intrusive in the moment. But just the way, just the whole system is fascinating behind sports. And I do think that I don't, I don't feel like I've heard people say they're afraid of anybody. There is just like a feeling of, "I'm amazing."
Jason: You know, I spent one day with Dan Marino and it was incredible, and it was amazing because we were, I was actually watching a football game and he, we were sitting next to each other like we were, we watched it.
Jason: And as the play would happen he would, he couldn't help but say under his breath, it wasn't really even saying it for me to hear, it was just like, "Cooks you went right, thirty five, five," like he was naming them—
Jason: ...and then you can hear the announcer say it two seconds after he said it, like, "Oh, they got him with the old post two thirty five and it was..."
Jason: And I was just like this, what is it like to be in your, to be your, it's like a musician-
Jason: ...like to hear perfect pitch, or something, just.
Jason: So when you watch something, for him, watching a football game is a completely different experience. To me, it's, there's, I see the strategy, I know, but on that level you are completely breaking it down to literally like diagrams. And even baseball, you know, they say apparently that to hit a baseball at a per-... you have to, you have to see the ball come out of the pitcher's hand and decide to hit it in less than a second after it comes out of the... like that, that's a super human, that's incredible.
Fred: That is incredible.
Jason: I mean, if you think of it. I mean it's just, it's. And then they were talking about why some pitches are harder to hit than others.
Jason: You know, like Clayton Kershaw who pitches for the Dodgers is such a, apparently what makes him such a devastating pitcher is that it keeps the ball in his glove for a longer period of time. But other pitchers take it out earlier and, and batters, if they're keen enough can see what, what their fingers are on the ball. If it's going gonna be a curve ball or fast ball, like, it's just that level of a kind of terminator-like, and everyone has it for every kind of job.
Jason: That's what I love. I mean, I love—
Fred: When someone's great at something. It's—
Jason: It's the best.
Fred: ...yeah, it's the best. And when it's something especially that I absolutely cannot do when I don't, when I don't know how to do something—
Fred: ...well, I want to hear about it forever. And I like it when they have ease about it.
Jason: So relaxed.
Fred: So, you know, it's not a big deal to them. Oh, even better.
Jason: I know, I love it. I love it to be, I also love, that's like on an airplane. I liked when...when I, you know, I just know nothing about what the person does and if, and especially if it's something like tinting or sprinklers or lights or—
Fred: Car mechanic stuff is, is great, too.
Jason: That's one thing that I, that, that's on my, well it's not really on my list, but it's something I'm insecure about that I never knew a car. You know, like fix a car. To be able to, when you're talking about looking around your house and knowing what everything is, um, to hear people who talk about cars, who really spend time fixing their cars and loving... and I drive, you know, I drive by someone's house in their garage is open on a Sunday and the guy's in there working on old truck, or something. That seems so nice, to just know the tools, know the instrument, work on it, maintain it.
Jason: So curious.
Fred: But I didn't ask you what you want to learn this year.
Jason: Oh, I, well we could keep talking about this forever. But, what's one thing I want? Well, I, two things. I would like to, I would like to know more about my house. That was one of my things. Was like just to know where the breakers are, where the—
Jason: I want to learn about um, earthquake kit. Like, I want to get my, I just want to get everything together and uh, like you were talking about, like I want to have like, I don't know like what. I've been researching generator, water, get you know, wanting to just, wanting to be able to protect my family or at least help my family if there was confusion.
Jason: Well, one thing I really want to do is puzzles. I, I've, becoming very, like I get relaxed when I see a puzzle just on a shelf, like a box for a puzzle you could buy. I go, "That looks nice, to do that."
Jason: And so I recently bought a puzzle and I also bought this thing that they sell now. I was like, "Oh, what a great idea." It's a green felt blanket and you do the puzzle on it. But if you, you know, if a puzzle takes a very long time, you stop, "Oh, you've got to go do something? Okay." And you roll it up in this thing. It doesn't come undone. So you can unroll and keep working on your puzzle. Isn't that a great idea?
Fred: What's it made out of? I don't understand.
Jason: It's a green sort of felt fabric, but you, you put the, there's like a little corner holders that situate the corners, and—
Fred: This is great.
Jason: And I was like, "Ah, this is so great." But I'd like, like model building. I would like to, like I would like to now I'm starting to do things that I would like to do that would also benefit me when I'm older.
Jason: Like, things that I can work on for my brain now... things that I could work on for my brain now. Like model building or fine motor skill type things that... I would like to just start to prepare myself to have some hobbies for later.
Fred: Yeah. I'm just shocked about how much you think like I do... I might have said those exact words, maybe just to myself.
Jason: Yeah, right. Well when you said... I was like, "Oh my God. This is crazy." But I will say one thing that I also would like to do, is... just inventory everything in my life. I don't have that much stuff, but all of a sudden... I couldn't find something recently. I thought, "Where is that? Where did it go? It's here, but where is it."
Jason: But I thought what if I could just sit down for a month, two weeks, whatever, and 12 hours a day... and I just made a list of every object in my home.
Fred: Oh, this is great.
Jason: I was like... I would give me a weird piece of mind to say, "Okay, I didn't lose those headphones. They broke, and that's why I hid them behind the thing in the thing, so I wouldn't have to see it and be reminded that I broke them."
Fred: This is great.
Jason: I would like to do that; I would like to inventory everything.
Fred: You might find some surprises, too.
Jason: Oh my gosh—
Fred: You might find that you've got three of something. You're like, "I did not need three of whatever it is." There's some things you sort of buy by mistake—
Jason: I have many things... just... Oh, multiples of the exact same thing.
Fred: Yes. There might be a couple of those. I've surprised myself with that. I'm like, "I bought this already."
Jason: What do you have?
Fred: They're ... some jackets. And, I know this is drummer-ish. But I think one too many kick pedals. I'm like, I did not need that many.
Jason: What kind?
Fred: The DW...
Jason: It's the one.
Fred: It's the one, but I'm like... somewhere along the way, I just thought I needed this extra one.
Jason: But there was one thing I really... oh I know what it is. I was at the hobby sho ... I live near a really great hobby shop. If you're ever in The Valley, go to Kit Craft. It's been there forever. They just have everything. Anyway, they have... there's a whole part of the store that's mosaics and tiles. And there's a book there that was just mosaic for beginners. And so I got this book, and I've been reading about it. I'll never probably mosaic anything.
Jason: But, I did get some tiles, some grout, a cutter. I was like, "I would like to make a little mosaic just to learn how to do it." But it was so... it was so interesting. And then I bought this drawing book, because that's something I really want to do actually. That's a deep one. I'm blown away by people who can draw. So I bought this book called "Anyone Can Draw." I'm reading it, and it's so great. I'm like, "Oh! I didn't know that." And I'm like... it's just so wonderful to be... I don't know if I'll ever really be able to learn these things because you have to practice them. It's harder to do that. But...
Fred: But you don't strike me as someone who—
Jason: Daniel Day Lewis became a cobbler, right?
Fred: I didn't know this. I was about to say that I did know it, and I didn't know that—
Jason: He stopped acting. You know, he retired for a little while?
Jason: And became a cobbler, shoe cobbler, in a professional, high, high level shoe cobbler. That is... we're saying I would like to learn this, or I would like to learn this. But he's a master of one thing, and he became the master of another thing.
Fred: That's so serious, too. It's like a real craft.
Jason: Yeah. I love it. I love it. You know my favorite thing is if you go to a tailor where you get your pants altered, at the cleaners? Just when they have their pins in the mouth.
Jason: Mm-hmm. "How's that? Maybe a little more." It's the best. I just love they look at the clothes, they're just seeing where they can cut it and ... I love it. I wish...
Fred: Sometimes they—
Jason: "Just take it up a hair."
Fred: You put a suit jacket on. And I say, "Oh this looks great on me." And then they just sort of pinch the back of the sleeve or something and, "What about this?" All of a sudden it looks great.
Jason: I know. I love it. I love it.
Fred: I don't know... My instinct is always like, "No. I just want a big, loose, baggy thing so I don't even feel it when it's on." And they just do a thing... I'm pinching the back of my shirt by the way.
Fred: "Let's see, hold on a second."
Jason: "How about that?"
Fred: All of a sudden—
Jason: "I just take a little in here."
Fred: Little thing.
Jason: You didn't see it.
Fred: How did they know?
Jason: I love it. And you know what I really love, too, is when you disagree with them. Because that, they feel like... they're like, "I still think we should go shorter." "Shorter, okay..." "How about that?"
Jason: I just love... I know what you mean. They see a thing that you wouldn't normally see.
Jason: I think that's the theme of what we're talking about today, is people who see things that not everyone sees. Those are great people. But I wonder, do they know that that's a special thing? No.
Fred: No, 'cause they're just going through their day.
Jason: Yeah. I have... yeah. We could just go on and on.
Fred: I know. Here's my last .. I promise I'll stop.
Fred: But I have one more thing of a person being a good professional. I heard a story about someone who had... He was diagnosed with Parkinson's. The way he found out is he was at the airport... I don't know this person; this is a third person story.
Fred: Walking through the airport. A doctor stopped him. He said, "Hi. I actually work with Parkinson's a lot, and the gait in which you're walking... the way you're walking. Just go get a checkup to make sure—
Jason: Come... no way. And he had Parkinson's?
Fred: Yep. But that's great that the doctor made it his business to be like, "Sorry to bother you—
Fred: I don't want to end on a bummer though.
Jason: Actually can I say something?
Jason: It's actually not a bummer. I think that's an amazing... what an amazing time we live in. I mean I know there's so many terrible things, but that something like that, that that person was able to know that kind of information, be able to tell the person. It was... I mean it's sad, but there's something incredible about it, too. Just... the fact that the doctor felt compelled to stop a stranger and tell. I mean-
Fred: Right. As opposed to saying, "Well it's not my problem," or, "He didn't make an appointment with me."
Jason: Because he could have really... that's going on a limb. At the airport... you're putting something in a person's mind. That person is about to get on a flight and now is thinking I might have Parkinson's. It's very reckless... somewhat reckless to do just do that.
Jason: So he really must've been... but that's kind of an amazing thing to have some... he really had some intuitive sense about it and could tell.
Fred: It is for the good of someone else. It's...
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. Oh man. I could get into bloodletting. That's the next thing I want to get into, but we could do that later.
Fred: Well I'm glad we did this.
Jason: Me too. But leeches... I am curious about leeches. You know people really are getting in... leeches are back.
Fred: It's back.
Jason: And I was so curious about it because I watched all these videos of medical leeches. They'll put a leech on a person, it sucks the blood out. But then the leech is full of all this blood. They put turmeric on the leech, and the leech throws up the blood it just took out of you. It just seems pretty fascinating.
Jason: I was... got a massage from this person. I had never gotten a massage from this person before. I don't typically get massages, and... I asked about leeches. I said, "So what is this?" Because it's like, you know this is... what's up with the leeches? She stopped massaging me and said, "Do you have some?" I said, no. I'm asking you. "Can you find me leeches?" And I said, "No I'm saying I don't know."
Jason: She said, "If you can find me leeches, I will give you 15 free massages. I'm looking for good leeches, high quality leeches. I cannot find any. Just if you come across any." And it was such a... that was early on in the massage. So the rest of the massage I was like, "I don't know what else I should bring up now that I'm gonna have on my to do list." But it was a weird... the reaction to the leeches, it was kind of amazing, too. And I was like, "I want to find this person these leeches just to see what she'll do with them." But it's become... yeah, it's crazy. It's become a thing.
Jason: You talked about surgery. Not just now, but earlier you talked about surgery. But I just got a book about the history of "Gray's Anatomy."
Fred: You did?
Jason: How they wrote the book of "Gray's Anatomy." Yeah.
Fred: That was on our text list of things—
Jason: I'll send you a picture of it. But... because the same guy who wrote it. He wrote this book... he was Oliver Sachs' boyfriend when Oliver Sachs died at the time. And... but they had met because he had read this book I think about Gray's Anatomy... and then but he also wrote this book that I've only read parts of over the last year. By parts I mean really few parts.
Jason: But it's about the history of blood in culture and movies. And it's about... it's called "Five Quarts" I think is the name of the book. It's all about how blood has been thought of through medicine, evolved through the years, and ... George Washington, he was blood let to death. He was sick, so they were just taking out blood. Trying to... this will help, we've gotta take some more out. They just killed him. But it's fascinating.
Fred: I did not know that!
Jason: And medical treatments, old archaic medical treatments. Like what people believed about stuff, it is pretty amazing. I mean it's interesting, and it's for another time. But—
Fred: I just can't get upset at them: they didn't know any better.
Jason: No. They were... they were not trying to hurt him.
Fred: There's nobody to do it, but it really makes me wish for time travel to go back and tell them, "Okay you guys are close."
Jason: "Just take a beat."
Fred: "Take a beat. We can't give away too much. We can't give away too much... we want to let history play out the way it does. But, just... you're on the right track. Maybe not so much bloodletting. Just don't forget—"
Jason: I wish I could see a video of you going back to 10 historic moments and not changing them, but getting as close as you could to it without altering history. Like, "Keep going but don't... " Basically how close could you get to changing the world, but you can't interfere.
Fred: You can't interfere.
Jason: But you want to let them know.
Fred: "I just want you to know you're doing great."
Fred: "Don't forget that you have to keep doing great for another couple of years before something new might or might not come along. Just hang on..."
Jason: Just be there when someone like John Lennon is writing a song. He's like, "I think I'm gonna give up." You're like, "Just keep going with this one. This one's gonna mean—"
Fred: "I can't dissuade you. Record it, and if it goes in the garbage, great. That's fine. I would say record it... I think you should just—"
Jason: "You're here."
Fred: Yeah, exactly. "Just record it for now."
Jason: "Just have it, and then make the decision. My experience with these things is just write it, record it—"
Fred: "Forget about it."
Jason: "You don't always have to love it when you're doing it."
Fred: "It'll help you move onto the next thing, so just..."
Jason: "Yeah. It just really... it's worth it."
Fred: Especially with the early explorers, too.
Jason: Oh my gosh.
Fred: "Keep going."
Jason: "Just keep going. A few more miles."
Fred: Yeah. But you can't say it.
Jason: No, right, right.
Fred: "I wouldn't turn around just yet."
Fred: "I can't tell you too much."
Jason: Can I tell you my last story? My last thing... I was calling, I had to call a company because I lost a credit card. So I called... I had to call all those things and my credit card was automatically paying... I had to update it.
Jason: But I failed all the questions.
Fred: Oh my God.
Jason: ...to answer for myself.
Fred: Of course.
Jason: And one of them was a question that I apparently requested as my ultimate final access thing. I failed it. I couldn't get my own thing. But the person on the phone was so sweet. She was going... "Nope, that's not right. Keep going, though."
Fred: Oh, that's sweet.
Jason: And I was like... what do you mean? She was like, "I could lose my job. But I'm telling you, don't get off the phone right now. Just keep going down this thing." And she stayed on the phone with me for 15 minutes until I finally got it right.
Fred: That is great. That's sweet.
Jason: Isn't that amazing?
Fred: That's the human touch.
Jason: It was the best thing because my daughter was next to me. This person was on speakerphone. I was like, "Do you see how great people are?" This is great people. Why is she being so... this is so nice.
Fred: That is good.
Jason: It was the best. Well... should we record it?
Fred: Let's record it.
Jason: Let's record it, let's start.
Fred: Let's start it.
Jason: Let's take a break.
Fred: Let's take a break. That was the intro.
Speaker: Thanks for listening. The A24 podcast is produced by us, A24. Special thanks to our editor Thom Wyatt and Robot Repair, who composed our theme.