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The Technician
No Imperfections Noted
The Jeff and Casey Show
Jeff and Casey Time
Casey Muratori
Seattle, WA
The Fine Line between Regret and Frustration
Original air date: October 11th, 2009
Topics. Art museums. The Road to Mecca. Chris Crawford. Games as art. Good/no-good. Listener mail. iTunes. The Programmer’s Challenge.
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Transcript
Jeff:
Hey everybody, and welcome to the Jeff and Casey Show. This is part 3 of our mega-cast, in which we dip in to our listener email, and try to clean up our inbox. and we are going to jump right in.
Casey:
So, the first one comes from Josh White
Jeff:
Ok
Casey:
OK, and he writes in- first of all, he butters us up. He just keeps praise on us by saying “I am disappointed that my previous suggestions have not been acknowledged or used, but I persist.”
Jeff:
right, well that’s like the reverse psychology.
Casey:
right, always wanting to grease shit up. He wants to hear our opinion of itunes vs. any mp3 player, for example. That’s what he said.
Jeff:
Ok
Casey:
And, he says that he would also like a review of memorable moments in GDC trivia challenge, which, of course, is something that we did not do as Jeff & Casey of the Jeff & Casey show, because we didn't have Jeff & Casey.
Jeff:
We were another Jeff and Casey.
Casey:
But that was another Jeff and Casey. And that was pretty much it in this e-mail
Jeff:
Ok, so have we talked about itunes on this show? Or have we just mentioned? I mean it’s the worst piece of commonly used software in the world.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
Like it’s worse than windows, it’s worse than vista. You can’t — I mean, there’s worse software out there. . .
Casey:
Per capita
Jeff:
but not in daily use
Casey:
Per person, per user, I don’t think there’s anything worse than iTunes, because it is worse- the other things that people use a lot are not as bad as it. It is the worst of the things that people use all the time.
Jeff:
And the funny thing is that even the people that are like “oh, iTunes rocks, man. I have a great collection,” and all this. They don’t know how to use it. They’re like “how do I put this in so that I don’t get two copies of the song?” I don’t know. They don’t know, either.
Casey:
That’s a disaster. I think part of the reason it’s a disaster is because they kinda did the thing where, with iTunes, it’s like- the person, or people who wrote iTunes, I don’t know who they are at Apple. Thank God, right, that I don’t know who they, cause holy shit, because that would be an interesting. . . What the fuck is wrong with you people?!
Jeff:
Yeah, right, exactly.
Casey:
They have some way that they process their music collection. I don’t know what it is. I’ve no idea, but I’m sure that if you do exactly what they do on their machine, with their ipod, it all does something. . .
Jeff:
work.
Casey:
It works, somehow.
Jeff:
I don’t even know, I don’t know how the sync works
Casey:
But here’s the thing. If you do anything else, if you don’t know whatever that magic thing is, like the thing is like God forbid you ripped a cd from some other program, or you bought it from some other download service- not them- or you had to reinstall iTunes to a different machine, and you didn’t use whatever important thing they probably have, that you can’t figure out how to use or whatever. Any of those things happen, it’s all over.
Jeff:
Pretty much.
Casey:
You will never ever be able to actually play any mp3s ever again.
Jeff:
I don’t know, see I don’t even get, like in some places, it’s device-centric, in some places it’s song-centric. and in other places it’s playlist-centric. And like photos are this completely other thing
Casey:
And it . . . another app, too
Jeff:
right, where you like, your photos work by directory, but songs, they immediately throw the directory information away.
Casey:
yup, no, it’s amazing.
Jeff:
then videos- it’s just like, here’s every video in every directory you’ve said, go for it, no directories at all. So some things have things, some things don’t.
Casey:
oh dude,
Jeff:
apps- you get on the phone and go back. I don’t understand what the hell’s going on!
Casey:
it doesn’t use the file names, right? It uses the ID3 tag. So, if there’s anything wrong in the ID3 tag, you open it up and you’re like “I can’t find like song four of this album,” and it’s because somehow in the ID3 tag, it had like a spelling error in the album title or something, and now it’s off in nowhere land. Like, you’re going to have to go find that shit. You can’t fix it there. You have to like do some crazy machinations to like reimport it after retagging the thing, or whatever.
Jeff:
I don’t get it.
Casey:
My current one is in this awesome state. So, basically what happened is that my iPhone worked for a little while, and then it stopped working. Like, I couldn’t connect to a computer anymore.
Jeff:
Right, I had that problem, too. It fixed in nine, though. They like reinstalled a driver or something.
Casey:
Mine did not fix it for me. So, I had to wipe my whole phone, and redo it or whatever. And this is what happens to me every time. So, each time it’s something new. So now, the new state I’ve got it in is pretty awesome. It sort of seems to be working with my phone for now. What happens is, I can like drag new music onto the phone, it’ll sync that music. So, I’m ok, and then is disconnects from the phone prematurely, while iTunes is still doing what it calls, quote unquote “determining gapless playback information.” Which I assume is looking at the beginning and ending of songs to determine whether they should be overlapped, or something like that. It gets to about number forty or that, I guess realizes that the phone aint plugged in anymore, and hangs. Every time, that’s just what happens. And it’s the same forty songs it’s looking at. It’s got like a — it’s one of eight hundred thirty nine, two of eight hundred thirty nine, three- gets to forty, crashes. Unrecoverable. Can’t close the app, like it’s just got to kill it. Force quit.
Jeff:
Oh, dude. . .
Casey:
Yeah, that’s where we’re at right now.
Jeff:
Do you know what song it is?
Casey:
It’s not the song, I think it’s just that’s how long it goes before it realizes that the phone isn’t connected or something. Like, I don’t know what’s going on. The phone is still plugged in, it’s just it stops the sync. The sync gets stopped at that point.
Jeff:
I now use iTunes. . . I kinda, I’ve got iTunes where I want it. Which is. . .
Casey:
That’s what you think.
Jeff:
. . . it installs the OS, and that’s it. Like I have another program that I put music on with, and then I have another program that I put movies on with, and I use your idea of using google contacts for contacts, google hookup for calendar,
Casey:
That’s important, you’ve got to do that.
Jeff:
If you do that- the one nice thing about that, is like. . . that you can switch to a new phone instantly.
Casey:
But I have to do that, because basically my phone, like I said, my iTunes will stop connecting to my phone thirty days from now. I guarantee it. I mean wiping it- I hate this fucking phone. I cannot fucking wait until I am done doing any dev work on an iPhone, so that I never have to see this fucking piece of shit again.
Jeff:
It’s crazy, it’s crazy .
Casey:
It’s terrible. You can’t even copy a file onto it! Who makes a fucking computer- a six hundred dollar computer- that cant have a file copied to it, without a third party app, and only that app can see the file. That’s where we’re at.
Jeff:
The one funny thing is if I stay on phone, like I download podcasts from the phone. If I get a piece of music I want on the phone, it works. It’s just keep iTunes, use iTunes to back it up, and install OS updates. So far, it’s been ok.
Casey:
That’s kind of part of the point too though, right? is that it’s got WiFi. It should never need to be connected to a computer. Why do I have to connect to iTunes to copy music onto my phone?
Jeff:
You don’t, if you order it on the. . . if you order it from iTunes on the phone, you just get it all.
Casey:
Right, but I’m saying why can’t I just copy my shit? Why can’t I copy my thing from the computer to my phone?
Jeff:
the problem is getting the rest of your. . . I understand. . .
Casey:
It’s ridiculous. And you can buy a third party app that’ll do it, but then you can’t play it in the iPod, and it says they don’t support multitasking for third party apps, so that means you can’t play something while you . . . it’s just like — shoot me now.
Jeff:
It’s a disaster. I think that there might be something where like if you made your entire music collection look like a podcast feed, then you could download that from that site, you know, from an external website to your phone. . .
Casey:
Right, by clicking through it eight hundred thousand times- download, download, download, download.
Jeff:
Well you can say download all. What I don’t think you get is like, you know, sort by top artists, and all that.
Casey:
Yeah, you can’t do any of those things. It would just be one big long stream.
Jeff:
But like maybe you can make like a lot of feeds that did all of the ones. I’m just- any way to get your computer-
Casey:
Just buy- the thing is, we need a new phone. Somebody, please God, ship a fucking phone that is just a computer. Just ship a phone that’s a computer. How hard is it?
Jeff:
All the other ones suck even worse.
Casey:
That’s what I’m saying. But why is it hard? It’s not a hard problem.
Jeff:
Apple does hardware nice.
Casey:
Slap Linux- fucking Linux on a palm pre or a fucking google phone or whatever the fuck, and just ship it.
Jeff:
I don’t think the hardware is good enough. I think you’d have to get- somebody needs to break the iPhone action, and get the OS off there, so you can use that hardware. That’s what has to happen.
Casey:
Well, you can jailbreak an iPhone
Jeff:
You can, but they haven’t loaded any new OSs on it yet.
Casey:
Oh, ok
Jeff:
I don’t know, maybe they’ll get the-
Casey:
Just for the love of God people, please just-
Jeff:
That’s how much we hate iTunes. We would rather replace our phones than continue to use iTunes.
Casey:
Yes, yes. That is absolutely true.
Jeff:
Now, nine came out, and is supposed to have some sort of weird support for external libraries now that I haven’t looked into. Maybe they’ve fucking fixed it.
Casey:
I doubt it. Well, iTunes 9 now will let you drag MP3s onto the phone without also having to put them into some library concept, that is on your computer, which you don’t care about.
Jeff:
Oh, I see. I haven’t tried that, I’ll have to try that.
Casey:
So that at least sort of makes it work more like copytrans, or one of the third party softwares that just puts music on the phone.
Jeff:
unbelievable.
Casey:
Can we say another thing while we’re on the iPhone subject? It would take probably an hour tops to make the fucking browser, explorer, whatever you want to call it- the finder on iPhone, run in landscape mode. All it would take is rotate the icons ninety degrees. Leave them where they are, just rotate them ninety degrees. That’s it. In place, just every icon rotates ninety degrees. Done. Now, it works in landscape. Yet, for a phone that is supposed to be usable, in all orientations, every time you switch applications, you lose your landscape setting because the fucking finder doesn’t support it. How- who doesn’t take that hour?
Jeff:
They, you know, they’ve got bigger fish to fry, you know, they’re working on stuff.
Casey:
What?
Jeff:
I don’t know, there’s stuff.
Casey:
Yeah, the cut and paste that doesn’t fucking work? There’s that. That’s always a good one.
Jeff:
Yeah, I never was a fan of cut and paste on the devices anyway. I think those always suck. On Alicia’s Palm, I hated it, too.
Casey:
I used to use it all the time on the Palm.
Jeff:
Yeah, I just don’t do a lot of- my e-mails, I try to do my short e-mails on the phone, and then I put off the ones that require a lot of work.
Casey:
You just can’t type on that thing.
Jeff:
You can’t type and it’s also like, I want to be able to refer to things and documentation. GDC, like you should really go onto your site cause you have some videos up of them. . .
Casey:
That’s true. . .
Jeff:
and I think we have transcipts out there of the questions
Casey:
So, up on mollyrocket.com, if you got to mollyrocket.com/casey, where all my shit is, there’s a section. There’s a whole heading for programmers challenge.
Jeff:
And that was a game show we did four times? five times?
Casey:
I think there’s five of them
Jeff:
and you did the hosting, and then we’d write up the questions a few days before it. They’re funny
Casey:
They’re pretty funny, and there’s a video
Jeff:
a lot of work, and it’s a lot of like dealing with GDC people that drives us insane, and then incompetence, so I don’t think we’ll do it again. If we do do it, the other thing is we’re making all this content for this corporation. . .
Casey:
Yeah, I don’t like anything about it.
Jeff:
If we did it, we’d do it, and then put it online or something. . .
Casey:
Here’s the thing- if Penny Arcade wanted to do it sometime, I’d absolutely. A good organization that’s cares about the people that come to their conference, and it keeps prices low for their attendees, and like actually gives a shit
Jeff:
Yeah, maybe we’ll see if somebody
Casey:
I would put up with an arbitrary amount of stuff going wrong to do something a conference that I liked. Whereas, doing something at the GDC, I don’t even want to show up for that conference, so let alone like add value to their commercial bullshit.
Jeff:
The frustrating thing about GDC is there’s so much good content there that you actually would like to see, but it’s all worked up by this third party that’s not paying-
Casey:
Isn’t paying what the street value should be for that content, right? I agree.
Jeff:
yes, it’s a huge disaster. GDC was cool at one time, but now it’s like just locked up, and commercialized, and all the same stuff. Alright, what’s our next e-mail?
Casey:
Poor Chris Crawford, you know?
Jeff:
Hey, that documentary you sent me with him and Jason was terrific.
Casey:
I love that documentary. Thank John Blow for that, because he gave it to me.
Jeff:
It’s a documentary about Chris Crawford and Jason Rohrer . . .
Casey:
Yeah, there’s some French t.v. program that was really, I’ve never even heard of. . .
Jeff:
And even if. . . it was just a good documentary, which is kind of unbelievable
Casey:
about the game industry
Jeff:
Yeah, they did an interesting documentary that was well made. Ignore the content- it was actually a well-constructed documentary, which is kind of cool.
Casey:
I agree. I wonder- is there a place- I wonder if there’s a place for viewers, for listeners of the show, to go watch that documentary, because I really enjoyed it. I think especially because. . .
Jeff:
It was recorded off French t.v., right?
Casey:
Yeah, well it’s some French t.v. show, I don’t know if we can get it, because I mean, because it’s copyright, I’m assuming, so I can’t just post the show. But, I don’t know if that company, that French company, ever put that up on their internet site, somewhere we can reference it, or something
Jeff:
I’ll e-mail Jason
Casey:
We’ll see if maybe they can get it, because it would be nice to be able to point people to it. Maybe on our Facebook page, or on the site or something. But the interesting thing about that documentary to me, because like Chris Crawford is really- I mean- he’s really kind of fascinating, right? Like, it’s really interesting to sort of see how things went in- and this is how it started. Me and John Blow were actually talking about this. You know, kind of like what happens to people who sort of end up losing confidence in the game industry altogether. And you know, potentially- the Chris Crawford thing is going a pretty bad route. He kind of then hasn’t really done anything since then. He’s kind of been sort of working on stuff, but then it never became relevant.
Jeff:
Well, you lose touch with the way the industry works, and then maybe you lose some of the talking to smart people, and helping you think things through, and it’s this weird thing that happens where you can’t go totally insular, even if you don’t like the industry you’re in. Or, you end up wolfram-ing it, where you end up with these things that are out in left field, that may or may not be useful, and you don’t know, because you don’t have the way of measuring it yourself. Whereas, if you had more colleagues within the industry that you despise, might go “eh, you know, this has been tried a hundred times, or this is kind of trite,” and that kind of thing. It’s weird.
Casey:
Well, maybe- I think I kind of read it slightly differently, in the Chris Crawford situation, anyway. It seems to me, that it like- I think Chris Crawford has the intelligence to look at the situation with games as a medium. And actually see a number, make a number of important conclusions. Quite a bit, perhaps, before other people did. But, what I think is also true is- and you’ve said this a number of times- where you’ve said like programming is a trade skill. Like, there’s a certain degree of craftmanship necessary to push certain boundaries technologically. And he doesn’t have those. There’s kind of this. . . I think a great deal of confusion around what being smart has to do with whether or not you can accomplish certain programming tasks, or development tasks. And they’re not related, I think, as what some people think. You can be phenomenally smart, and can’t program for shit. But, that’s just kind of the way it is. Sort of like, you can be phenomenally intelligent, but you can’t make a good tiled walkway, or something. There’s just like, there’s some amount of craftmanship that isn’t necessarily about whether or not you can like think through problems.
Jeff:
Yeah, it’s different than just being smart, cause there’s aesthetic, and there’s other degrees of- there’s just like skill of being good with your hands, only in code. And then there’s also like, being able to look at something and like “Oh you have two paths you can go down, and this one is aesthetically better,” and you somehow know that before you’ve written both ways.
Casey:
There are just a number of things I don’t think we understand about it in that form. And so, I think the Chris Crawford situation is actually more like it’s less that him not being in touch with the industry didn’t guide- was a detriment because it didn’t guide his though processes. I actually think that he correctly identified what we probably should be working on, and does not have the skill to work on it. I think what he actually needed from the industry is people to do the work, because he doesn’t know how to do it. His approach to interactive story telling isn’t going to work, I can tell you that right now. And so, I think it’s more that. The conclusions he came to, I think are correct. Games right now have a fundamental problem, which is that you cannot convey any kind of artistic message from you to the audience in a game. It is a broken medium, and I understand the fact that like Jason Rhorer, for one, or John Blow, for two, believe that game play as a communication medium is going to work as game play. I don’t believe that. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I think that’s a fool’s errand, to some degree.
Jeff:
Well, I think it. . .
Casey:
Just, I’m not — you know, I’m totally prepared to be wrong on that, but just my gut instinct is that’s not true. I’m actually on Chris Crawford’s side on that. I think we need a fairly drastic change in what people consider an interactive media experience, to happen before someone with something to say can sit down and efficiently say it to somebody else in game form. And vice versa, right?
Jeff:
Well, I think just right now..
Casey:
I think he’s right about that.
Jeff:
yeah, and the hard thing right now is it’s really easy to get across trite stuff. And stuff like, you know “war is bad,” and that silliness that is first order symbolism, and first order stuff like that, I think is easy. But, you can do- anybody can do that.
Casey:
I wouldn’t even agree that you can get across “war is bad” in a video game right now. I think you could get across “war is bad” to one percent of the population tops, and not just because only one percent will buy it, but just because I don’t think most people can have the experience with, say a war game, or with a first-person shooter, necessary to make them think war is bad through that experience. I just don’t think that it’s true.
Jeff:
Yeah, I think you can actually get that kind of stuff across, I just think that stuff is the easy things, it’s not that interesting. Like it’s more like “war is bad” is part of Saving Private Ryan, but then there’s the deeper things of like, hey what is one person’s like worth vs. another? and like how many people are worth it? and that kind of thing- and like a lifetime of regret and guilt over whether somebody has died. Whether you were worth it in your life, and your children are worth it, and all that shit. That kind of second order stuff, which is really what awesome fiction, and just media is about. I just don’t think we’re so far away from. But, I think we can get across the stupid shit, like oh yeah you know what, you go with these soldiers, and then you get shot, and you barely make it, and all your friends die. I think we can get across that. It’s just that’s just not the more interesting thing. Now, I mean, Braid obviously tried to do a lot of other stuff there, and I’m fully prepared to say I didn’t understand a lot of Braid, and maybe it’s trying to do some of that. So, I don’t know, I don’t know, it’s a weird thing.
Casey:
Well, and Jason’s game is trying to do a lot of that, too, right?
Jeff:
Jason tries to do a lot of stuff . . .
Casey:
and I understand how they’re trying to do that stuff, and it’s considerably better in terms of like making an attempt at those kinds of things than we’ve had in the past, but that’s not going to get there. I just don’t see the legs there.
Jeff:
I think it’s cool that somebody is trying to do those things. Like, here’s a way to feel regret in a game, but I don’t feel playing it as regret, I feel it as frustration, which is not what you want. And having those emotional differences is really hard when you don’t know how somebody is going to play your game. Like, it’s very difficult to, ahead of time, know that when you want someone to feel regret, like Jason did in one of his games, where you like earlier actions affected what you could do in the game, is- it’s a very small difference between regret frustration, and yet, we can- that fine line is very evenly drawn in prose or in movies, it’s very simple to make that, if you’re any kind of craftman at all. In games, I don’t know how you do it, so . . . so yeah, yeah. I think it’s cool that people try, but it is that. Now, I don’t know enough about Chris’s stuff now to say whether it’s going in the right direction or not. I know it’s a new one, so. . .
Casey:
I mean, I just don’t like looking at the way he chose to approach it, cause, I mean. . .
Jeff:
You saw a couple years ago, you flew down to one of those
Casey:
Many years ago. Yeah, I did go down to one of his get-togethers, and you know, even at that time, I was just like I don’t think this is- this is not
Jeff:
you went down with Ron, right?
Casey:
uh, it was a bunch of us. There was, I mean people that i knew anyway, was you know Ron Gilbert was there, I was there, Chris Hecker was there, Doug Sharp was there, and also I guess there were other people who now I sort of know as people. At that time, I was like, I don’t know who these people are, cause they hadn’t really sort of been as active in the game stuff. Like Raff Coster, and stuff was there. But, in general, I think there’s sort of this approach toward story telling as simulation, which was also kind of what they did with Facade and so forth. And, it’s just I mean, I’m glad someone’s working on that, I guess, but I think they’re wasting their time. Like I mean, you know, we’ll see what happens, but you get a lot of people who are like, ok- we’re going to make these actors, and they’re fully autonomous, and all this kind of shit, and it’s just like eh, you know. It’s not going to work out. I mean that’s just not, you know- it doesn’t really make any sense when you think about it up in the other, kind of in a. . . it’s like trying to build a story like in a Sim City game. It’s kind of ludicrous, is all.
Jeff:
Yeah, I haven’t thought enough about that stuff yet to have a good opinion, other than just knowing that if I was building something with these tools, it wouldn’t be the right. It doesn’t represent how I want to build something emotionally, so. . .
Casey:
So, I mean it’s just, that’s the thing, but his- I think that’s the problem, is that he’s not able to solve the thing that he wants to solve. He does not have the ability to do it, for whatever reason. It’s like, I want to go be a championship high jumper, or whatever the fuck. I want to jump higher than anyone has ever jumped before. I can’t. I’m not built for that. It’s not that I misidentified a task that we should be doing. Like, maybe that is the most important thing right now, and maybe it would lead to great things, but I can’t do it. So, if I think I need someone to jump over this thing, I need to go find people who can jump really fucking high, and start working with them, to get them to do it. And that’s sort of, I think. . .
Jeff:
You’d get them to do the moratory flop.
Casey:
Exactly. That’s kind of more where Chris Crawford’s situation is, is like I think he correctly identified what we should be working on, which is how to make interactive experiences where you interact with the story, cause I’ve always been on that side, myself. I just don’t think that his approach is going to get there, and that’s unfortunate, because I mean, that’s a lifetime of misery for him, essentially. Right? I mean, that’s essentially what that means, you know what I mean? Like, and that doesn’t feel good. And you know, it’s too bad. You know, he’s done a lot of important things, and he’s made a lot of like theoretical contributions, if you look at some of the stuff he’s written about other things, not about this. And he thinks pretty deeply about stuff, and come up with interesting stuff. It’s unfortunate that he happened to, correctly I think, identify a problem we need to work on. But, then not have the right mind set to solve it. So, now he’s basically spending all of that effort, and he’s not going to get anywhere, and that’s sad to me.
Jeff:
Ok, what’s our next e-mail?
Casey:
So, our next e-mail is from Matis.
Jeff:
Matis!
Casey:
Yes, who you know I think we even asked him how to pronounce his name, and then forgot.
Jeff:
So, where does, he works somewhere.
Casey:
Dude, I . . .
Jeff:
We had all of these, ok
Casey:
I don’t know. . . I can’t remember how to pronounce Matis. He’s the one who sent in a link before, and we didn’t know how to pronounce his name. And I think he posted it. He was like “Here’s how you pronounce it.” Anyway, yeah he does SDFSDF. So, it’s a good-no-good, for you.
Jeff:
Oh, good-no-good! It’s been awhile. I guess we should have some good-no-goods, if we’re going to take a break for awhile. Are we going to do a SeaQuest? Did you watch these SeaQuests?
Casey:
I can’t — I don’t have netflix streaming. . .
Jeff:
Oh my God, you don’t have internet.
Casey:
Yeah, I’d love to, I just couldn’t watch them. I didn’t get a DVD in time.
Jeff:
You know, maybe what we should do. . .
Casey:
Pause, and I’ll watch one?
Jeff:
Yes! Maybe at nine o’clock, we’ll throw it on, and we’ll watch one. We’ve never watched one together
Casey:
We have. . .
Jeff:
But not talked about it the next day. Ok maybe we’ll do that. We need to do that, if this is the last one. We’ll take a break for an hour. Maybe we’ll go get food, by then we’ll be hungry, and we’ll SeaQuest it. SeaQuest coming, everybody!
Casey:
Yeah, and so Matias wants to know
Jeff:
Yes, goo-no-good, I’m ready!
Casey:
If you were, for example, walking down the street. . .“
Jeff:
walking down the street.
Casey:
In a suburban neighborhood, let’s say
Jeff:
Ok, don’t do that very often, but I can imagine the situation. . .
Casey:
Well, when you were a kid, you probably rode your bike around or whatever. . .
Jeff:
I stayed inside most of the time, dude.
Casey:
You went from your condo, to your high school, and back. And nowhere else! So, and you come across a lawn that has stuff on it. for example, lawn chairs. or . . .
Jeff:
lawn chairs, this isn’t a. . .
Casey:
art projects, like carved wood. . .
Jeff:
Oh, God damnit.
Casey:
. . . a ton of like rusted metal sculptures or something. And so, Matias wants to know, when you come across a lawn with stuff on it, is that good or no good?
Jeff:
You know, ok so I would have said without this precursor, good-no-good, to like homeowner’s association would be no good. However, in this particular case, right?
Casey:
Here’s where it comes in handy.
Jeff:
Well, here’s the thing, like ok you’re a guy or a girl, and you’re at home, and you work this deadend job, and your life sucks, and you’re going to die in twenty years, and you’re watching t.v., and your only creative outlet in your life is the front yard. And so, you come up- and you know like some people just mow their lawn, they don’t give a shit, they don’t want an artistic thing. It’s a shame to me when you have somebody, cause like to me, the only thing that matters is creating something. You know, like I’m not believing in God, or like I don’t even necessarily believe we need to be good to each other. The thing is creation, that’s the important thing in my existence.
Casey:
So, you want proliferation of new combinations of stuff.
Jeff:
Right, and like most of it is going to suck, because like ninety percent of everything sucks.
Casey:
But, eventually something is going to be good.
Jeff:
There’s cool things that come out of it, and it makes you a better person, just making something. So, what’s a shame, is that these people pick their front yard for that. You pick somebody who’s like “Oh, I make sculptures out of beer cans, and there’s like, there’s the flamingo, and it’s a beer can. Or, they go- they sometimes do like a motif, like I’m really into little plaster statues, so I have like deer, and chipmunks, and they try to put it in like a natural history museum in their front yard, right? Those aren’t even good at the museum, and you have a shitty one in your front yard. So, I’m going to say that’s no good, although the intent is good. The end result is no good- why, you know, use your back yard for that shit, people. And like, when you get something awesome, put it out in the front yard. Don’t experiment in your front yard, okay? If you’re going to experiment, use the back yard. Once you’ve achieved what you think is success, then put it out there.
Casey:
That’s the scary part. Maybe the back yard is just filled with even worse. . .
Jeff:
I suppose that’s possible.
Casey:
Now, as you know, any time I decide to class up the podcasts, it fails. For any of your listeners out there, and I know you obviously don’t live in this area, or don’t know because I never confined anyone to go to the theater with me. I will simply point out the fact that there is a play about this concept.
Jeff:
Really?
Casey:
Exactly what you just said.
Jeff:
Really?
Casey:
Yes, it’s called The Road to Mecca. It’s about a South African woman, an old woman, who after her husband dies, she just decorates her lawn, and her house, and everything. . .
Jeff:
Just goes crazy
Casey:
Just full-on, bat-shit crazy. And since it’s South Africa, and there’s a fairly strong religious contingent in that town, they feel like this is idolatry. They want nothing more for her than to please just stop doing this. So, they want her to come live in this assisted living home, so they can kind of like make the house, sell the house to someone else, or like clean it up, or whatever the fuck. And there’s a woman, who is a teacher, who comes down to visit her, who is sort of like more of a feminist, and it’s basically a three-person play between the old lady, the feminist, and the sort of patriarchal Christian preacher.
Jeff:
Ah, that sounds kind of interesting. . . and this is a play? or like singing?
Casey:
No, this is a play, it’s called The Road to Mecca, and it’s actually
Jeff:
Come see my shitty shit, out in my yard today!!
Casey:
No, not that. It’s a play. And, actually, oddly enough, it’s a rare play, that most plays, or most theater in general, has a stronger first act than second act. Most of the time, I’m gritting my teeth when I come back from the act break, because I know that whatever we just saw, I’m about to see something worse.
Jeff:
Ok, whatever, it’s always downhill.
Casey:
Right, so you know hallmark, in my mind- the hallmark of a good theater experience, is when the second act is as good or better than the first act. Now, sometimes the whole thing sucked, but a lot of the time, if I walked out of the second act going “that was even better than the first act,” I’m- that’s good stuff. Almost never happens.
Jeff:
So, what we need to do is lower your expectations. For the Casey experiences always have a shitty first act.
Casey:
And, herein lies my comment on The Road to Mecca. That’s what they did. The first act- at the end of the first act, I was like “eh, that wasn’t that good.” Second act- good. So, I was like “huh, not bad, I see what you did there.”
Jeff:
Ah, so positive improvement. Well, you know, the funny thing about the whole yard thing is like sometimes it’s this self-expression thing, and it’s the only way they have to be creative in their life, or whatever. And then, for some people, it crosses like from there into a hoarding situation. And, to where there’s just . . .
Casey:
That’s no good.
Jeff:
Right, that’s definitely no good. When the art or the crazy things you’re doing there- when it starts to make people uncomfortable about your sanity, like the whole hoarding thing creeps the shit out of me anyway. And we actually have an acquaintance, who I’m not going to bring out. A distant acquaintance, I don’t even know if you know that they do this, but they are a hoarder in their house, and they like save everything. . .
Casey:
This is someone I know?
Jeff:
Yeah, someone you know. And, they’re not in the industry or something. Just a friend we know here in Seattle, and it’s a crazy- it’s weird, cause they have no more control, like so you’re like “go throw that away,” they have no more control over it than you do. It’s the weirdest thing!
Casey:
Yeah, well that’s why I said- it’s a decent play. It’s exactly talking about that issue. It’s like what’s the line between creativity and insanity? What’s the line between the external presentation of your domicile, and the community. Like, what is the relationship. So, I thought, at first, it wasn’t really going to have that much of a punch there, and it ended up pretty- I was actually pretty satisfied with it, at the end. I’d recommend it.
Jeff:
Ok, you’d recommend it. I’m saying creativity good
Casey:
Front lawn, no good.
Jeff:
Right, well, no experimental stuff on the front lawn. Use the back yard. Alright. . .
Casey:
Maybe here’s, if I may. You kind of want the front lawn to be curated. That should be gallery space.
Jeff:
Yeah! That’s a good point, because it’s a public . . .
Casey:
You should have like five or six pieces in the front. They should be laid out by someone- not the artist- should be like invitation
Jeff:
with a little placard underneath
Casey:
yeah, a placard underneath, like here’s what I was going for here, right. Little bit about the artist. Don’t just throw everything out there. Curate that space. Backyard is the storage area, front yard is the curated space. That’s what you’re asking for.
Jeff:
Checker always had that joke, where’s he’s like -I think that the- you know I used to go to the art museum when he used to live up here with him. And, like you with the play, I could never get people to go to the art museum with me.
Casey:
Oh, ok.
Jeff:
He used to go with me, and he always had the thing where like the placards should be the size paintings, the paintings should be tiny, because everybody sits and reads those very carefully, then goes “oh, oh oh! He was crazy when he painted it!” and then they go on, and like. . . Do you remember when the painting- no. Anyway,
Casey:
So, this is interesting, because I am the worst person to ever to go to a museum with- art museum, I mean.
Jeff:
Yeah, I tried to- when your dad was here, we were like let’s go to do it, and then you said- I think your thing was, this was a couple of years ago, you said “If you can tolerate me making fun of everything for three or four hours, then I’ll go.” and I’m like that doesn’t sound good!
Casey:
Because, here’s what
Jeff:
No, it isn’t good. You admitted. You were like “ I’m intolerable in museums.
Casey:
Yes, I like maybe one percent, maybe a fraction of one percent of all art that’s in museums. I don’t do the thing where people walk around looking at the paintings, and considering them. I walk in there, and I’m like “Everything in this room is shit,” I walk in the next room. So, it’s like, I lose- my whole party is gone. Like, whoever I was with is still on floor one, and I’m like what what the fuck?
Jeff:
In the cafeteria.
Casey:
Exactly. And then, I find one that I like, and I’m there for like thirty minutes. I’m like oh ok, I kinda see. . . I literally focus all of my time on the three paintings in the museum I like, and everything else I just blow by. And like, I don’t read the placard- I don’t give a shit who painted it, because you want to know what? Talentless fuck, alright, as far as I’m concerned.
Jeff:
Alright, that’s just it- Mr. Fuck.
Casey:
I don’t need to see what he had to say, I don’t need to know when he painted it, don’t need to know what he was painting, cause it looks like shit. I don’t care what you think a person looks like impressionistically, or realistically. I don’t need to hear from you again. I don’t need to see more of your paintings, because you’re done. You are done, thank you for playing.
Jeff:
You’re dead to me. You’re dead to me.
Casey:
Yeah, so no, I would be a very bad — I am the kind of person to another person’s museum experience, as most people are to my theater experience. I will go and seriously consider a play that is not worth shit, right. And I’ll be thinking about it quite a bit. As I go, I’ll wonder if maybe they’d changed that if it’d be better. I don’t really like what they did to me in the- right, and other people are just like “Why am I here? Why am I sitting through this?”
Jeff:
Why are we watching Shrek sing?
Casey:
Yeah exactly, why are we watching Shrek sing? You know, it’s like I don’t have an answer for you, I just don’t.
Jeff:
That’s awesome. Ok, so that’s a little good-no-good.
Casey:
That’s good-no-good, right there, from Matis.
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casey muratori
the jeff and casey show - season 2 - episode 21
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