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Season 4

Episode 10: “The fact that I felt uncomfortable made me interested.”: a conversation with James O’Brien

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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Lionel James and Jim recording episode 10 of season 4

Podcaster, musician, songwriter, artist, writer, thought leader, and our somnolent listener, James O’Brien joins the pod to talk about his many projects and how he gets it all done. We talk about his podcast, All Your Days, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Pump Club project, and his documentary about Betsy Siggins, Long Ago Way. We talk about the Wes Anderson film, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, Roald_Dahl and the evolution of children’s stories, and The Cement Garden, by Ian McEwan, which James has recently finished. James describes the taste of Paxlovid, and we close with an excerpt from the song Rabbit Run from his album Careful In The Future. This was a really fun conversation, and we hope James will come back to the pod in the future. An hour and a half seemed too short.

Transcript (assembled by an automaton)

James O'Brien (00:00.835)
I'm in a strange six o'clock lighting thing because of the way the sun comes down over the Hudson. So for the next 10 or 15 minutes, you're gonna get this weird ray of light, but it'll pass shortly.

Lionel (00:14.634)
It's your aura. You're just being modest. You're cool. What? No, we don't. This again?

James O'Brien (00:17.511)

Jim Infantino (00:17.575)
James, I'm sorry. On this podcast, we start with the intro.

Jim Infantino (00:25.787)

Jim Infantino (00:31.411)

Lionel (00:33.93)

Jim Infantino (00:42.955)
I am in DKI am hell. I am dealing with SPF records. I don't like email. I don't like email and it's Google's fault. And that's where I'm at. Just telling you.

Lionel (00:58.126)

Jim Infantino (01:01.188)
We have a guest on the pod, our friend James O'Brien. I don't know how to describe James. James is a multi-hyphenate. He is a podcaster, a musician, a writer, an artist, a visual artist. He is kind of a thought leader among certain business types. And he's my long time dear friend, and I'm so glad you could join us on the pod, James.

James O'Brien (01:28.719)
I like the last part very much. Thank you very much. And Lionel, so good to meet you. I feel like I know you. I've been listening to your thoughts and your ideas for like a year or more now. And yet here we are for the first time alive and in person.

Jim Infantino (01:30.439)
There you go.

Lionel (01:38.221)

Lionel (01:45.098)
I'm sorry, your honor. I had no idea anybody was actually listening to the podcast, your honor.

Jim Infantino (01:50.775)
Well, we knew we knew James was listening because he told us. And now that he's on the podcast, I'm not really sure who is listening. I think I think we're just. Oh, yes. The listener, the one we spoke to all the time, all these years.

Lionel (01:58.855)
Was he the listener? Capital T, capital L? Wow, oh my...

James O'Brien (02:05.136)
I don't believe any of this. I don't believe any of this. This is all fakery. You have listeners. I'm sure you do. And I'm just a member of that.

Lionel (02:11.242)
I'm sure we do. There's pathetic people all around the globe. Ha ha ha.

Jim Infantino (02:16.498)
That is demeaning and mean and puerile, which is the proper pronunciation.

Lionel (02:18.706)
I'm sorry, that is me. Sorry. OK. No, it's not. Don't start. Don't start with that. OK.

Jim Infantino (02:24.947)
Okay, all right, fine, fine.

James O'Brien (02:28.117)
I feel like the word puerile gets used on this podcast maybe statistically more frequently than any other podcast that exists or has ever existed, but now that you say it, I do, a sense memory comes to me as I've been drifting off of the word puerile.

Jim Infantino (02:45.266)
Yeah. Do you have do you have a an example of it in use in the real world out in the wild? That's probably it.

James O'Brien (02:51.911)
I think just on your podcast.

Lionel (02:54.39)
This is the last bastion of pueril, by the way, which is how educated folks, anyway. Ooh, touche. Monsieur. Okay, enough wordplay, enough Algonquin round table. Let us get back to the business at hand.

Jim Infantino (02:59.183)
Yeah, not how it's pronounced. Oh, oh, I'm sorry. You're pulling your higher education. Thank you very much.

Jim Infantino (03:11.887)

James O'Brien (03:14.319)
We almost entered into Merriam-Webster territory. That was pretty close, pretty close.

Jim Infantino (03:14.331)
James, your podcast is called... There is another podcast that is great called... Is it Literary Valley? No, it's Lexicon Valley. And I forget the host's name, but it's great. And he goes into some deep details over the use of various words and the way people speak and the history behind it. It's fantastic.

Lionel (03:41.943)

James O'Brien (03:42.495)
I have a mispronunciation tick. I do notice now and then throughout my life that there have been certain words and I don't have any examples that I'll bring to bear right at this moment so don't ask because I'm not interested in self-flagellation. But I am aware of the fact that occasionally I have in my life said words completely the wrong way in the right context. Oh, that's an interesting one. No, that's not been one that...

Jim Infantino (03:44.728)

Lionel (04:03.03)

Missled somebody thought that miss Yeah, somebody I met and thought that MIS LED was missled and it really perplexed the living daylights out of her Misled

James O'Brien (04:15.46)
But what is it?

Oh my gosh, that's a good one. That's a good one. Yeah, you've been, you've been misled, my friend.

Jim Infantino (04:20.255)
It sounds like a Christmas word, mizzled.

Lionel (04:22.73)
And then there's, you know, nave. You've been misled, buddy.

Jim Infantino (04:25.623)
Yes, the cranberries. The cranberries were mizzled on the stuffing. Yeah.

James O'Brien (04:31.471)
Well, I feel like I fit right in already, so I'm glad that we're having this conversation. I was worried that I wouldn't.

Lionel (04:31.502)
And then there's...

Lionel (04:35.09)
Yeah, then there's Dave. I was so naïve at the time. Yeah, there's a little thing loud over the eye. That means you pronounce them as two separate vowels. Yeah, there's a thing loud over.

Jim Infantino (04:39.381)
Nave, wow.

Jim Infantino (04:44.551)
The thing load.

James O'Brien (04:46.883)
But there's almost there's almost a Shakespearean bridge between naive and naive. So I think that person may be brilliant, and they just don't have they just need affirmation.

Jim Infantino (04:51.867)
Ah, I love it.

Lionel (04:55.882)
Oh, I'm the one. I'm the one who's out of step with everything. They're going back to the source. So there's Nave and then there's Unique. That's an old Jerry Lewis joke. You see good old Jerry Lewis.

Jim Infantino (05:03.289)
Oh yeah.

James O'Brien (05:04.776)

See what I've uncorked Jim? I told you not to have me on.

Jim Infantino (05:11.107)
No, this is just what we needed.

Lionel (05:13.63)
Well, the problem is when you know how to pronounce the word, but you're completely wrong about what it means. I was thinking about this just the other day, which is, um, in one situation, I thought the word nonplussed because it has the word not, it begins with non as in not and not plus, I thought it just meant you didn't care. I was nonplussed. Who cares? It means exactly the opposite. Uh,

Jim Infantino (05:39.023)
Right. One would have to be plussed to not care.

Lionel (05:43.086)
with very dire results in this case. Fortunately, it took place like 40 years ago. So it has sort of died down a little bit since then. But using the words in exactly the wrong meaning can be dangerous. Okay, that's it, I'm done.

Jim Infantino (06:03.111)
James, I want to talk about your podcast for a moment. So you have been doing a podcast called All Your Days. You started around the time we started, wasn't that right? It was around to... No, it wasn't around 2000.

James O'Brien (06:16.235)
I think you might have a couple months on me. No, I started putting it out in February, maybe the very end of January, 2022.

Jim Infantino (06:27.875)
Yeah, I said 2000. I meant 2020, of course, because I'm in denial about the previous the past 20 years.

James O'Brien (06:31.467)
Yeah. I was a post-pandemic baby. So yeah, no, this was only, it's been around for going on, well, it would be almost two years at the very start of next year.

Jim Infantino (06:48.719)
And you started out producing, and I wanna ask you about this, you started out producing them, sort of a high level of production, story form with backing sounds, like the opposite of what we do, which is basically put the mics up, start recording, and what you get is what you get. But you produce these fantastic episodes early on, and a lot of them centered around your life, how did you get where you are?

And then also the people you met along the way, and you talked about all of those things. And then the format switched or it changed in season two. Are you in season three or four now?

James O'Brien (07:29.287)
It's just the sixth now. Yeah. But it's, so, yeah. No, I mean, there's, I don't really announce it that way, but I keep track of it. I mean, there's, so, it was an accident. The whole thing was an accident. It was meant to be a way of addressing an album, a record that I had released in January of.

Jim Infantino (07:30.651)
Six, okay. I am a listener, I just don't pay attention to the seasons.

James O'Brien (07:54.103)
maybe it was December of 2021, January of 2022. And I had started by talking to some people that had worked with me on the record. And when I listened to what we were saying, it was just awful. I was like, nobody, I don't want to even listen to this. So then I realized, yeah, so we didn't. I mean, that was the thing is I just scrapped it all. And I said, what I really need to, so like the operative question, Lionel, to that point was like, who the?

Jim Infantino (08:07.143)

Lionel (08:09.058)
So let's put it on the internet.

James O'Brien (08:20.495)
Who cares? Who cares what I have ever done in my world? I have to make an argument, some sort of argument, an essayistic argument for why anyone would talk about this. So I just started speaking my story into a microphone as a person that's worked in the creative world for a quarter century now.

had absolutely zero zilch in the way of expectations. I just thought, well, this will be good to put all this down, and then I can just store it all here. And what happened was that people started to say, I'm listening, and I'm interested in this, and there's a kind of vulnerability and a kind of authenticity to it. So keep it going, which was very surprising. So I did. And then I reached the end of that story, Jim, as you write me note. And I thought, well,

Lionel (09:12.233)

Jim Infantino (09:16.732)

James O'Brien (09:20.683)
Okay, so this either ends right now because I've completed the project or I have this group of listeners who said to me individually here and there, it's not actually what you're talking about. It's just the way you sort of talk about it. So do you want to just keep giving us that? And I said, okay, yes, but now I'm done. So it has to be a lot of other people. So we switched the microphone around and I started to pick people using the thesis of all your days.

I started to pick people from all my days. And they were people that had been curious to me, artists, musicians, painters, writers, chefs, whatever they might've been. But I knew that they had all been through different kinds of cycles. And I suspect that this is a pretty standard way that people in a creative space operate. They have, you know, we had, I had sort of like an operating thesis, right? So like,

early days, twists of fate, vanishing acts, resurrections, things that people go through in life in general, but they're particularly focused, if you think about it, in terms of their creative work, and I just started asking those questions. I literally meant it to be like a seven question interview where I just asked each one of those stages, tell me one story from each of these stages. The thing is that I got on the line with this guy named Michael Devon at the very beginning of that second phase.

Jim Infantino (10:21.23)

Lionel (10:23.273)

James O'Brien (10:46.091)
And Michael came with what appeared to be a very thought out and ready to roll life story, which started with him being thrown into a cult at a certain point in his teenage years and having to escape from it. And I spent three and a half hours interviewing this person and came out of it saying, oh, like there's a whole, maybe there's a whole vein in people.

that this particular format could help with. And over time, I think that's true. I think it has been more or less helpful to people to place their stories. I think of it as a house and there are all these rooms and I'm giving people the room in the house and then they can put their stories there. And that's what it's been. It's been a very unusual, to me, a very unusual.

process, something I didn't expect. And it changed once again, very recently, just to close the loop, which is that I, it's very, very time intensive to talk to people that way. And after a very intense period of five, eight episode seasons of doing that, I felt a little toasted. And so I thought, well, I'm gonna take.

the fall and either not do this at all, or I'm gonna shift it to a sort of short form 20 minute segment where it becomes a little bit more like the first season, a couple of essays about things I care about in the form of 20 minute monologues, which is kind of what I'm doing right now. And then, you know, a couple of short form check-ins with people, how are you doing since we talked? What has changed? Do you have a new album? Do you have anything going on? Let's put that in there. And I'm now booking some, another like,

set of what will be eight or ten long-form interviews with the next batch of people. So a very long-winded answer to your question, but that is the story of all your days.

Jim Infantino (12:46.319)
That's great. No. Yeah, so are you moving back to the format, the longer format with the seven questions, do you think? Mm-hmm.

James O'Brien (12:54.243)
It'll be interspersed, I think. I may or may not chunk them off into whole seasons. I may begin to intersperse the long form ones with the short form ones, because I'm really trying to retrain the audience to expect almost anything, in terms of which format you're gonna get during a given week on a Tuesday. And I think that's probably to the benefit of the overall project, which is to say, it can be 20 minutes.

It can be two hours. It is not dependent upon a structure that's been imposed, but upon thematically what the last story and the next story might say to each other. I think that's what it is.

Jim Infantino (13:37.415)
Great, well that's all the time we have. No, I'm kidding. Uh. Yeah. Sorry. No, I remember one thing you said about all your days when you were, when you were doing the, the big story. Uh, in the first, it was, might've been in the first season. You said, I named it all your days for one reason, but maybe you want to finish. What do you remember saying this to me?

Lionel (13:39.114)
Yep. Thanks. Roll the outro.

James O'Brien (13:40.3)
I feel that way too. Absolutely intolerable.

James O'Brien (14:01.731)
But I mean, it takes up all my days. It really does. It's very difficult to take people's life stories and deal with them in such a way that you are credibly capturing them. And that means that the post-production on these requires writing. It's not just put someone up for three hours and have them chat. It's figure out a way to tell their story within the context of.

Jim Infantino (14:03.831)

Jim Infantino (14:25.168)

James O'Brien (14:31.299)
narrative. And I love that, but it also, you know, it's, it's a, it's a full time job.

Jim Infantino (14:40.143)
Yeah, yeah, no, ordinarily it'd be like, you know, Ira Glass would be a team of people putting together the clips and making it all make sense. But here we are as podcasters kind of winging it. And I guess I'm trying to loop myself in with you, but that's not at all what I do. Although, you know, it does take a little while. One of the things I really like is that you have these very complete substacks for each of the episodes. And so if you listen to the episode, you can also read the it's like you read like an article.

And it listens like a podcast. It's really well done.

James O'Brien (15:14.711)
It's very new. I'm trying to figure out a way to sort of create different ways to access the story. Some of the newsletters have nothing to do with the podcast. They're reviews of a film or a book that will never show up on the podcast. It was at this point and other times it's a roundup on the weekend. There's a format of sort of go give, cook, read, like four things that you can do this weekend. Go somewhere.

Jim Infantino (15:28.22)

James O'Brien (15:41.911)
support something that's meaningful to human progress and existence, cook something that's relatively within the realm of anyone's capabilities and read something, which is usually an article from the Atlantic or a thread on Twitter or something that I think that really captures the zeitgeist of the week for me anyways. That has nothing to do with the podcast, but then on Tuesdays there's a sort of article format where...

Jim Infantino (16:04.124)

James O'Brien (16:09.155)
Maybe like this week you're listening to Hamill on trial speak in a short interview on the podcast. The interview doesn't show up in the newsletter, but the video for the new song that Hamill's releasing does. And so you're getting a little bit of a yin and a yang kind of relationship between the two. I don't know why I've done this because what I've said before is that it was very hard to make the podcast in and of itself. So I've

Jim Infantino (16:35.299)
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you seem to. Yeah, this is what I do because of my brother, Johnny, got to do, who's always like, you know what you got to do? And then I have to do it. But you seem to be able to do that all by yourself. So on top of which you are making music, producing your own music, writing songs. Doing artwork, making videos.

James O'Brien (16:38.287)
That tends to be the way that I operate. When things get hard, make it harder.

James O'Brien (16:48.66)
Ugh. I love John.

James O'Brien (16:54.468)

James O'Brien (17:03.119)
Yes, true. It's true. I mean, look, I don't know what else to do, do you?

Jim Infantino (17:11.831)
No, I don't. I mean, that's true.

Lionel (17:12.566)
You could go into insurance. I hear you make a lot of them. I mean.

James O'Brien (17:17.075)
I just need something to do with the money Lionel. So I will fully confess, I'm a full-time advertising person in New York. I work with marketers and advertisers Monday through Friday on top of doing all these other things and that is the resource. That's the money that allows me to say yes to any project that might seem interesting. But

Jim Infantino (17:19.76)

Lionel (17:21.358)
spending on stuff.

Jim Infantino (17:22.855)

Lionel (17:41.786)
Oh, I was just joking. I mean, so you are.

James O'Brien (17:46.439)
I'm not some like trust fund kid. Like, you know what I mean? I absolutely am a day-to-day weekly earner. It's just that you find efficiencies.

Lionel (18:01.794)

James O'Brien (18:02.895)
You know, as you have Jim, I'm sure, working with your clients and Lionel, I'm sure you do working within your structure at the university. Like you find efficiencies to like create space in your life to pursue passions with keyboards or synthesizers or, you know, make your own music, Jim, or go to Iceland and do your things. Like these are pathways that open up if you actually like lay the groundwork for a...

sustainable life. I don't know how you do it with children, Jim. I completely, absolutely am stunned at the level of output that you've maintained given the time constraints that can come with a two child family. I personally don't have that particular factor in play. So I'm stunned when people are still highly productive and creative with that as part of their lives.

Jim Infantino (18:56.827)
Well, I was not productive and creative except in maybe my writing during the first, during the first 10 years of my eldest daughter's life. But it gets a little easier when they get past 10. They really have their own interests and there's a little more space.

James O'Brien (19:14.535)
Thank you.

Lionel (19:25.526)
Gets a little easier when they hit 22. They get their driver's license.

Jim Infantino (19:27.724)
Yeah, probably.

Yeah, and then they're gone all the time in the world. Of course, you've lost your mind at that point. Drew drooling in the corner. I was thinking, you know, that I'd like to pursue a new, a second career. I just came to me the other day when I had to go to the printers and pick up some material for the album release. And I'm biking back with this bike messengers pack on my back full of like a, something I picked up at the printer. I said, I want to be a geriatric.

bike messenger. Is that a career choice? Can I do that?

James O'Brien (20:06.215)
I mean, it's a challenge. You're still definitely electing.

Lionel (20:06.402)
What do you mean being geriatric and a bike messenger or being a bike messenger for delivering things to older?

Jim Infantino (20:07.958)
I think it might be.

Yeah, just an elderly, just an elderly bike messenger that you're like, Oh, here comes Jim. I wonder if he's going to make it. Look at there.

James O'Brien (20:17.883)
He'll get there. He'll get there. Just hang on. That's the log line, Jim. I'll get there.

Lionel (20:21.01)
There's going to be a lot of them, dude. There's going to be a lot of old people.

Jim Infantino (20:23.303)

Lionel (20:26.998)
Yeah, it's gonna happen. I mean, there's gonna be a lot of old, there's a lot of old people already, and they're only getting more of them as every day goes by. So yeah.

Jim Infantino (20:34.243)
Yeah, that's true.

But yep, I just said it again.

Lionel (20:43.362)
Ha ha ha!

Jim Infantino (20:43.591)
James, you're able to avoid that. It's surprising. Did you train yourself not to do the but? I've just been hearing it in my voice all the time. But constantly.

James O'Brien (20:46.275)
What? Avoid what?

James O'Brien (20:54.135)
It's endemic to most conversations. I mean, people who use these as, they don't use them at all. I mean, it just happens in their voice. The most intelligent people I speak to, many of them are bottomers, you know, like, that's the thing. The bottomers are out there. But I don't even hear it, to tell you the truth. I don't hear it at all.

Jim Infantino (21:06.031)
Now, butters.

Jim Infantino (21:13.167)
We usually filter it out. There was a long time ago when Arianna Huffington was writing against Arnold Schwarzenegger and the governor of California at the time, for governor of California, there was a debate between the three of them. And someone noticed that Schwarzenegger, his ums were like machine gun bullets, they're like, uh, uh. And...

And they sampled it, right? I think it might've been an NPR story. And then Ariana Huffington had zero, had silence, no ums, no you-knows, nothing. She just spoke in complete written sentences. And I find that just kind of amazing.

James O'Brien (22:02.091)
He's having a tremendous, I don't know if it's a fourth act now, but what he's doing right now is just, I find, really inspiring and incredible. The story of Schwarzenegger's late, late in life resurgence as a no-bullshit, take-care-of-yourself advocate with extreme vulnerability, sort of radical vulnerability as the way that he's telling the story.

Jim Infantino (22:06.205)

James O'Brien (22:29.399)
has been highly interesting to me this year in particular. I started this project called the Pump Club, and the Pump Club is a exercise app at its core, and a newsletter at its core. But its thesis, and it's working with two other people, its thesis is let's just cut through all of the bullshit and all of the marketing and all of the garbage that gets wasted upon people that are trying to take care of their bodies and their minds later in their lives.

Jim Infantino (22:36.661)

James O'Brien (22:56.291)
And let's just get down to brass tacks here. Like what is it that you need to do to increase your longevity, you know, game for a longer life, but also be healthier and more satisfied while doing it. And he's been a very powerful voice in this for the past, especially 10 months or so. If you haven't checked it out, I suggest like to start with his ex slash Twitter.

Jim Infantino (23:04.475)

James O'Brien (23:26.327)
page, but then check out his Pump Club website. It's not meathead stuff. It's really balanced, important information for people that says they're going to try to sell you supplements and diets and exercise programs. What you really need is a mindful approach to your own near-term health and then long-term healthiness.

Jim Infantino (23:32.965)

James O'Brien (23:53.419)
And I think he's really achieved something there. I'm a huge proponent of it. I've mentioned it on my newsletter. I think maybe the first podcast I did in the new format, I mentioned it. I think it's one of the most remarkable transformations of a persona, again, by somebody who just seems to be brilliant at doing this over and over again.

Jim Infantino (24:13.207)
It's true. I mean, he has he has reinvented himself a number of times. I remember when he was running for governor, I found that laughable. And then the more I heard him, he's not at all laughable, that man. No.

Lionel (24:21.738)
Yep. Not anymore. Man, not anymore. Intervening what, 20 years? I'd long for those days. But I remember when he announced, I was like, OK, this is like a stunt, right? This is like a joke from MGM Studios or something. This is an onion story. And in retrospect,

Jim Infantino (24:30.631)

Jim Infantino (24:40.001)
Right, right.

James O'Brien (24:40.439)
Yeah, yeah.

Lionel (24:45.462)
He wasn't, I don't remember reading any articles about him being a disaster as a governor of California. Quite the opposite, not quite the opposite, but again, um, by the way, since we're talking about onion articles, I just have to remind you guys that I reread one yesterday, just made me laugh out loud, which was when George W. Bush was elected the article, the onion ran a headline, which is, uh, Americans.

James O'Brien (24:45.751)
It was a...

Jim Infantino (24:51.729)

Jim Infantino (25:03.354)
Let's go.


Lionel (25:11.894)
Your eight year nightmare of peace and prosperity is at an end. It was so prescient. You got to reread, you've got to reread that one. It's amazing where he says, you know, I'm going to get us engaged in some pointless war in Iraq or somewhere like that. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's absolutely chilling, but I love that headline. But anyway, I digress. Yeah. No Schwarzenegger. Um, yeah, I remember when it came out, I was laughing. I was like, this is ridiculous, but in retrospect, no.

Jim Infantino (25:15.475)

Jim Infantino (25:21.625)

Jim Infantino (25:28.247)
Wow. So they.

Jim Infantino (25:41.556)
Yeah. Well, his YouTube videos have been, you know, whatever his social media posts have been really on point and really on target. And I know he has a book coming out. Might be one we would read. Be useful.

James O'Brien (25:53.763)
called Be Useful. And I haven't read it yet, but I do have it queued up. But that's been his thesis for the run that he's on now, which is that his tagline is, how can I be useful? And he's kind of taken social media under this approach. He's directly interacting with people, and very plainly so,

many people of his career would never do, you know, where he, it's clear that it's him. And it's clear when it's not him, but it's clear when it's him directly interacting with people and saying, you have survived this, you're doing this, you're changing your life, and I'm proud of you. And I know that sounds a little bit quite a bit cultural, a little bit goopy, but the way that he's doing it to me seems to be important on a number of levels that I'm still thinking about and processing.

Jim Infantino (26:53.839)
Yeah, very cool.

Lionel (26:54.97)
Well, it's interesting to mention that because you were also talking before about themes, themes of your podcasts about resurrection and redemption. I'm fascinated, I'm fascinated by stories of people who gave up. And then at the very last moment, and so my favorite ones are, and one just came out recently, and since we're on the topic of California politics, Dianne Feinstein.

James O'Brien (27:13.54)

Jim Infantino (27:23.111)

James O'Brien (27:23.196)

Lionel (27:23.57)
She had made the determination. The afternoon had come, if I remember correctly, the afternoon had come when she was going to announce that she was exiting politics forever. And that afternoon, Harvey Milk was shot. And Moscone was shot. And people came running down the hallway and said, Diane, can you fill in? Can you handle this? Because it's a nightmare. And she said, OK. And she showed up. And she gave a talk that afternoon.

Jim Infantino (27:37.552)

James O'Brien (27:37.744)

Jim Infantino (27:44.976)

Lionel (27:52.51)
Amazing. George R.R. Martin. Yeah, George R.R. Martin was a science fiction writer and was going to give it up. And he said, I'm going to write one last thing called Game of Thrones and see that. And then I'm out. The other one I love is Paolo Bacciagalupi. Oh, yeah. Did you really?

James O'Brien (27:53.687)
Yeah. Thank you for bringing that up.

Jim Infantino (28:10.555)
Really? He has one of those too? No, I don't know his life story. And hang on, James, have you read any Paolo Boccialupi? Right up your alley. Oh my God. So first you have to read, there's a short story called Pump Six. We started this entire podcast. I think we called the first episode Pump Six. It's so good. It is a story for our times, unfortunately. But tell me, so what was Paolo's resurrection story?

Lionel (28:14.622)
Oh, you got to watch the video where he talks about that. Go ahead.

Lionel (28:25.137)

Lionel (28:38.786)
Well, he has a YouTube video. You can watch it where he talks about it, where he said, I wrote one, I wrote a novel and my publisher said, no, um, nobody wants to buy it. I wrote a second novel. The publisher said, I'm not going to even show this to anybody. I wrote a third novel and my agent said, don't send me any more novels. Um, and he said, and he said, at this point, I figured I have a family, I have a wife and I have some kids. So this is it. So he wrote, he wrote a short story. He'd been writing novels up to that point. He wrote a short story and it won.

Jim Infantino (28:40.817)

Jim Infantino (28:46.386)

Jim Infantino (28:55.879)

Lionel (29:07.754)
every award in the world. And of course, my favorite one, which I mentioned before, my favorite, favorite loser, because this is about losers, people who have lost, is Ulysses Grant, who was a stunning loser. I mean, a catastrophic, I mean, he wrote it himself. He wrote what's considered one of the greatest books of American literature, which is his autobiography, which was, he had enormous help from Mark Twain.

Jim Infantino (29:08.924)

Jim Infantino (29:18.343)

Lionel (29:37.258)
It's a great book. It's a great book. And he doesn't go into this. But if you read a biography of Ulysses Grant, he at the beginning of the Civil War, he was a complete and utter failure, complete. And he was, he was, he had problems with alcohol. He, he had been out of work multiple times, had to beg friends for money, had to, had to beg for a job from his, I think his, his wife's parents, who were

Jim Infantino (29:38.956)
OK, so.

Lionel (30:05.83)
slave owners who he hated. I may be mangling this quite a bit, but I love you. I mean, I don't love you. I love this story. I think redemption stories are some of those powerful stories in the world because we all feel that in our heart. We all believe that we have not lived up to our promise. And we all, I should say we all, I do. I think a lot of us walk around with that secret hope that the day's going to come.

Jim Infantino (30:34.795)

Lionel (30:35.274)
when I'm going to get the call. The day's going to come when something's going to happen and people will get to know what I can truly do. It's kind of a childish thing. But every now and then it happens to people and you're like, yeah! It's like you won the lottery, congratulations. Some people win, but Diane Feinstein.

Jim Infantino (30:47.6)
Right. And it's a great story.

Yeah, some people win. Yeah, some people win. I just want to say I feel left out here. James has the blue gin. I noticed that. And Lionel, you have an IPA. And I'm empty handed. So can I leave you two for a moment? I want to grab a beer and come right back. You can keep talking.

James O'Brien (31:11.915)
Sure, sure, sure. Yeah, this is all good. All right, do your things. I'll hang right here.

Lionel (31:12.014)
No, I'm gonna get another beer. I'll be back. Pause, tape. Yep.

Jim Infantino (31:14.512)
All right, short break.

Okay, I will be right back.

Lionel (32:27.766)
Yeah, it's sad that, you know, Dianne Feinstein's career had to be resurrected through a disaster and a tragedy.

James O'Brien (32:36.259)
Yeah, I mean, I have a hard time separating her significance from that Harvey Milk moment. I think that it's indicative of our consciousness of people over time that for many, Diane is, was encapsulated by the last several years of her life and not the first 25 or 30 of them.

Lionel (33:02.044)
Oh yeah.

Jim Infantino (33:03.001)

Lionel (33:05.122)
or 120, yeah.

James O'Brien (33:05.355)
And I think it's straight up ageism. I think it's what we do to people that inhabit a body that represents something to our eyes that doesn't necessarily communicate the history of that person, which is a mind within that body doing.

And I think that while it was frustrating for sure that Diane Feinstein.

created complications within a structure are the complications she created more problematic than the ones that we've just seen happen in the House of Representatives now and so on and so forth.

Lionel (33:43.126)
Oh, please. Yeah.

Jim Infantino (33:45.563)
Right, right.

Jim Infantino (33:52.955)
May you live in interesting times.

Lionel (33:54.762)
No, may you not. We live in very interesting times. I take a little less interesting right about now. Anyway, but so that's an interesting theme. Is that sort of like the Arnold theme?

Jim Infantino (34:01.383)

James O'Brien (34:11.267)
I think it's easy to characterize people.

Lionel (34:11.33)
You know, it's interesting because he's so tied up with his fair, he's so tied up with his physical instantiation. Let's talk like computer programmers. He's so tied up. I mean, he's so tied up with his physique.

Is he anymore? I mean, you're the one who seems to have been paying more attention to this than I have.

James O'Brien (34:28.072)
I mean, he's a person in the last third of his physical life. And he doesn't look like a bodybuilder, so to speak, at this point. But he's doing fine. His body is breaking down the way that people's bodies break down. And he's revealing that in ways that are instructive and helpful, I think, to people that are maybe even not

he happens to be at this point, but that have problematic bodies and that, and that are trying to be healthy within the shapes that they were given within the diagnoses they may have been delivered. And to his way of writing about this right now for people, it's about not having 0% weeks. So you might be challenged in a number of ways to be healthy and fit.

Jim Infantino (34:59.92)

James O'Brien (35:23.415)
eat well and drink well and exercise well. And you may have ups and downs within the course of a given year based on those circumstances, but the goal here is not perfection, it's not to have 0% weeks. And so you've done 0% of what is good for yourself during the course of the week. So don't have 0% weeks. And I think that that's a very helpful starting point for most people.

Lionel (35:38.881)
0% weeks.

Jim Infantino (35:43.075)

Lionel (35:44.01)

Jim Infantino (35:47.992)
W E A K S weeks as in opposite of Strong's. Oh, weeks as in timeframe, okay.

Lionel (35:52.307)

James O'Brien (35:52.375)
W-E-E chaos, weeks, and the timeframe. No, no, no. The timeframes, yeah. So don't have a 0% week. Like, have a week where you did 20% of what you meant to do, but not 0%, yeah.

Lionel (35:55.955)

Jim Infantino (35:59.459)
I am zero weak. I am zero percent weak.

Lionel (36:03.618)
something. You do something right.

Jim Infantino (36:06.175)
Right, right. Yeah, no, I relate to that. I definitely feeling that. And I don't know why I never had this, you know, philosophy most of my life. But everything's better if I'm like doing something like swimming, running or yoga or biking. And, you know, just doing some of that every day is it just makes everything better. And I sound like an idiot. But yeah, it resonates. It resonates.

Lionel (36:30.451)
No, not at all.

James O'Brien (36:34.887)
I'm not going to say anything to you at all. I think we're often plagued by what I refer to as sort of the child mind. And the child mind wants pure pleasure and access to all things that are wanted, not necessarily that are needed. And I think that the creative mind in particular is subject to the child mind, that the seduction of the creative process, the seduction

Jim Infantino (36:41.683)
Talk about this.

Jim Infantino (36:58.844)

James O'Brien (37:04.583)
process is powerful and often replaces getting up from your workspace and going down to the bike or the gym or the pool. And you can justify it even more specifically because it's productive to some extent, like you're making something. So I gave my day to making this thing. I didn't go to the gym or I didn't jog or I didn't do the things that would be helpful to sustain this body, this vessel over time. And I think that's probably

Jim Infantino (37:31.015)

James O'Brien (37:32.967)
pretty common story. But I think that other things do it too. I think that parenthood can do it to people for sure based on what I've observed. And I think that even your job, whether it's creative as you think of creative or not, just like being passionate about your job can replace your deliberative mind with the child mind that says, I can't do this. I have to just, I have to go with what's available right now and just like follow this. And if you think about the way, I don't know.

way that I was as a child and maybe the way you've observed your children to be. Like they follow the thread that's right in front of them. Like they stick with like whatever's giving them that like pleasure response. Yeah. We do this.

Jim Infantino (38:13.547)
Dopamine, yeah, hit. Yeah. Well, it, yeah, it resonates. I mean, I think I think there's something about, you know, what was in that, that movie, Barton Fink, the life of the mind, I'll tell you about the life of the mind, the, that the when you're always in your head, it's easy to get, it's easy to ignore the body, it's easy to think of the body as separate.

James O'Brien (38:38.704)

Jim Infantino (38:41.295)
and I'm living in my world of ideas. And that gives me pleasure. And that's what I'm focusing on. And I am being productive because I'm churning out these ideas and I'm making them into things. But, you know, the body and the mind are not really so separate. And...

James O'Brien (38:44.135)

James O'Brien (38:58.887)
I think that for many of us, the quarantine, if people experienced it as I did, which was a true quarantine, without intrusions, probably set us back. I mean, I was at a certain place in physical fitness before the quarantines that was pretty remarkable in terms of my weight, my body mass index, so on and so forth. The first time in my life I had been in such good shape.

since probably I was 20, 25. And the quarantine's definitely produced the perfect environment for ignoring the process that got me to that place. You know, the sort of discipline and the rigorous mental application of task over time, time over task. I'm not sure which. I think the quarantine's sort of

Jim Infantino (39:41.863)

James O'Brien (39:55.331)
created that space for many of us who were doing pretty okay or fine to enter a space where we were set back by five or ten years in terms of whatever we had built up. I had been working on my regimen since 2016 or 17 and in 2020 I weighed 147 pounds and it was pretty much all muscle. And by the time I got to 2022 I was back up to 170 pounds and it wasn't muscle muscle.

Jim Infantino (40:12.253)

Jim Infantino (40:17.499)

James O'Brien (40:25.339)
that was a direct function of letting go, which is on me. It's not really on the pandemic or the quarantines, but it was a perfect space for the child of mine to say, eh, I win. It's me, I'm back. Thought I went away, but here I am having a lollipop.

Jim Infantino (40:38.675)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right, right.

Lionel (40:47.138)
Ben and Jerry's. It made me the man that I am. That's a Bobloism, but yeah.

James O'Brien (40:49.095)

Jim Infantino (40:50.259)

James O'Brien (40:54.099)
It's unfortunate, you know, like, you know, all of the all of the pleasure response stuff is actually very fucking wonderful. It's just terrible for you after the age of like 35.

Lionel (41:01.931)

Jim Infantino (41:03.771)
Yeah, I mean, I think it's the excess, the excess of it that tends to get us. Well, you know, I've also kind of gone through a weight loss thing and it's really not about avoiding, thank you, it's not about avoiding, I wrote a sub stack about dealing with the scale and I know I told you this story, but yeah, the way I deal with the scale is I translate it into a year and then I look up the year, yeah. That way I don't feel like crap every day. And-

James O'Brien (41:15.779)
Yeah, you've done very well.

James O'Brien (41:27.811)
No, I think it's very brilliant, yeah.

Jim Infantino (41:33.911)
Yeah, so I'm in the Napoleonic era and I was pre-revolutionary. So, you know, I'm still hovering above even you at your heaviest, but that I forget where I was going with this. I had a really great tie-in.

James O'Brien (41:53.099)
But it's a fairly meditative approach. I mean, by creating a story around a quantitative instance, it's kind of like what people do when they turn a tarot card over in the morning or something like that. It's something that's clearly not related to science in any particular way. And it's not related to anything that's quantifiable. But you're taking a

Lionel (42:16.586)
Hmm. What's this? What's this about? People turn over a tarot card? I this is the first I've ever heard of this. What's this?

Jim Infantino (42:19.489)

James O'Brien (42:22.887)
Yeah, sure. There's different mechanisms people use to sort of isolate their spot during the day into a place which allows them to frame bad information or worry some thoughts. So in Jim's case, it's standing on the scale and looking at a number that suggests progress or regress, right? So those are the two options, or like stasis. So those are the three ways that the...

Jim Infantino (42:46.735)
Right. I'm going to regress. Yeah.

James O'Brien (42:51.087)
is the way that the scale works. And you're saying, well, instead of it just being a piece of information, it's going to be a prompt. I'm going to use it to think about other things. I'm going to use thinking about those other things as a motivation to change the number. And even if the number goes in the direction I don't want it to, I still get a reward, which is a very, like, in the moment kind of like explore the feeling kind of thing, which I think that some meditation practices emphasize. Like, it's about inhabiting the discomfort and under.

Lionel (43:10.734)

James O'Brien (43:20.219)
understanding the parameters and the size and shape of it. And I think that other people do different things. You know, they might, I've been doing some reading about these things recently, and some people might turn over, they might have a deck of tarot cards on their bureau, and they might turn over the top card and look at the information that card suggests of a metaphorical storytelling it's trying to communicate. And...

use that to think about their day or think about their week or think about their place in life. Oh sure, and especially going through life, I've always dabbled in different kinds of storytelling tools.

Lionel (43:48.662)
Have you tried it?

Lionel (43:59.786)
I mean, do you keep the tarot card deck by your bed? And have you tried it? Sounds really fascinating to me. I got to try that. It's cool.

James O'Brien (44:02.999)
Yeah, I do have one there. I do have one there. I don't view it as in any way, shape or form anything to do with what people refer to as magic or the occult, but the story of the dec, the tarot dec, is not that old, first of all. We're talking about the 1600s, the early 1700s, maybe back to the 1400s in some respects, but it's essentially a storybook that has had different.

authors and people use it in different ways, but in general, each of the arcana within the deck, the minor arcana, the major arcana, the different kinds of cards, they all kind of fit together in a sort of tree of life sort of progress, sort of these are the characters on the pictures that do things across the course of the cards that they inhabit. And as a way of...

framing human moments, it's really no different than reading a novel or a poem where you, you know, inhabit a fictional space for X amount of time and then maybe that prompts you to think about your reality for X amount of time. And I meditate as well. I don't, it's not transcendental meditation. It's more of a mindfulness practice around sensory check-ins, you know.

focus forward and backward, outward and inward on sounds or on sights. It's not, I think, Jim, the way that you meditate. But, okay.

Jim Infantino (45:39.483)
No, that sounds actually pretty close. It's not that different because if I can just, I'm sorry, I went about it just because when somebody says meditation, I'm like, I just wanna talk and talk and talk because my mind just starts going and I can't stop it. The practice that I do is meditation on the body. The practice that I teach is meditation on the body. Body includes all the sense perceptions. So the body includes sight, sound.

James O'Brien (45:45.444)

No, take it in. Get in it. Yeah, it's your court.

Jim Infantino (46:08.855)
smell, touch, et cetera. And also the six, which is the mind, the thoughts. And those are perfectly good objects of meditation. There's, you know, that's certainly part of mindfulness as far as the school that I was brought up in. And I did want to mention, we had some meditators on the podcast in a different episode earlier. And one of them, Catherine Pilfery has published on Shambhala Publications, the I Ching Oracle.

James O'Brien (46:10.574)

Jim Infantino (46:37.883)
which is a 64 card illustrated deck of the I Ching. So if you want to try something other than the tarot, that was sort of her intention as well.

James O'Brien (46:42.831)
Yeah. Another mechanism, yeah.

James O'Brien (46:50.359)
I think that there are all kinds of mechanisms. I mean, you could also do this with Joyce's Ulysses. You could just open a page of Ulysses and read it and use it as a way to make notes about what you're thinking that day. Anything that's a fairly metaphorical or abstract approach to.

Jim Infantino (47:09.378)
Oh yeah.

James O'Brien (47:17.631)
a start or a moment during your day, I think is helpful.

James O'Brien (47:25.703)
Putting what's critical to you maybe in a kind of frame for five or ten or fifteen or thirty minutes, whether that's meditation or turning over a tarot card or opening a page of a tome, whatever it is that you're doing, I think that these things, for me anyways, are ways to intentionally approach what happened yesterday, what I'm doing today, and what I think might happen tomorrow.

Jim Infantino (47:50.927)
What can you say more about your meditation or is it sort of just personal private?

James O'Brien (47:55.947)
I view it as not very personal and private. I was inspired by my wife, Kara, who has been meditating for some time, and I would occasionally, especially during the quarantines, come out into the common space in our apartment and startle myself because she'd be meditating. I'd be like 6.30 in the morning or seven o'clock in the morning. You kinda, you know, you're like, I just crept off to the, you just like, I just, I would.

Lionel (48:15.05)
Hey, what are you doing?

Jim Infantino (48:16.627)

Lionel (48:19.949)
Are you meditating? Am I interrupting you? Are you meditating again?

James O'Brien (48:23.591)
slung back, you know, and so I'd go hide, you know, and then I was like, well, I love the intentionality of this and I'm inspired by the way that this person is sort of exuding this deep focus. You know, the fact that I felt uncomfortable by encountering it made me interested in it. I was like, what is going on?

Jim Infantino (48:24.707)
Do you mind if I grind some coffee?

Jim Infantino (48:45.727)
Mm. Boy, that is so that is such the essence of mindfulness. So that's I love that you just said that because you encountered it, it made you uncomfortable. And that became it became a motivation. I was saying this to the people who come to mindful, aware of the meditation I do twice a week. And I just said when there's an antidote to a lot of things that annoy you, boredom, there's the antidote to boredom is curiosity. Start to wonder.

Why are you bored? The antidote to being offended is, what is it about this that is threatening my ego? And get curious. And that's just fantastic that you could see that and not just be like, that's not for me, I'm not doing any of that bullshit. You're like, I'm uncomfortable by this. That's interesting.

James O'Brien (49:36.711)
Oh, it was an interesting doorway. I mean, it was effective, not an interesting doorway. It was an effective doorway. And so I did my research and found some resources in the meditation space that allowed me to approach it from the perspective of neuroplasticity and sort of more scientific, if not scientific, angles.

Jim Infantino (49:56.537)

James O'Brien (50:04.691)
and then began my practice, I'd say, in about February or March of this year. And I'm pretty good. I mean, I stick to it mostly. I'm about a 10 to 15 minutes a day person, and I try to do it outside. There's a community garden around the corner from us, so I'll finish up. So Arnold's thing taught me to take three 10-minute walks a day, minimum, on top of whatever I might do in the gym, because you're getting in a mile and a half.

for walking by just taking three 10 minute walks. And on one of my 10 minute walks, I'll stop in the community garden and add 10 minutes of meditation. And that's been really interesting to me. And from there, it sort of unlocked my older associations and interactions with things like a tarot deck, where I was like, well, it's the same thing. It's the same exact idea. It's about setting an intention and then using a piece of information.

Jim Infantino (50:32.673)

James O'Brien (51:00.995)
to create a series of mindful moments throughout the day. Oh, this reminds me of what that card has to do with. And the same thing with meditation. You know, if you're working on a sound or a sight or a smell kind of week, then you try to find places throughout the day to stop. Maybe before you have a meeting with somebody or while you're cooking is a nice way to do it too.

Jim Infantino (51:28.402)

James O'Brien (51:28.799)
and just enact a few minutes of that particular practice. So I've been open to that in maybe a way that I wasn't in a sort of structured way ever before. And I give all the credit to the fact that I walked in on this person that I care deeply about doing this. And it made me feel like, what do they got that I don't know? What are they doing? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jim Infantino (51:47.746)

Lionel (51:50.134)
What do they got that I ain't got? Courage. Yeah.

Jim Infantino (51:53.651)

James O'Brien (51:54.859)
Oh yeah, courage, because it's vulnerable to put yourself out as a meditator in a public space.

Jim Infantino (52:00.407)
Yes, that's it's powerful. It's powerful to meditate in public, actually. It's sort of a deep practice. It's considered a deep practice in the Buddhist lineage to go out and do that. Oh, no.

Lionel (52:03.415)

James O'Brien (52:09.419)
I feel the eyes of the Upper Westsiders upon me at the Westside Community Garden. When I sit on a bench, I don't cross my legs, I'm not like holding my hands up in some sort of, but I just sit on the bench and put my palms on my knees and engage and I can feel the attention shift from other sitters in the garden.

Jim Infantino (52:17.219)
Yeah, no need.

Jim Infantino (52:34.083)
This is how Eckhart Tolle started. He started outside in Central Park. He was sitting. I don't know, oh, it might be The Pain Body, right? He just wrote the power, he wrote the book The Power of Now, which was sort of a cult, you know, classic. Yes, The Pain Body, right. I read a little bit, I read a little bit of it. It's good, certainly good. But yeah, great, great practice to meditate in public.

James O'Brien (52:39.555)
You see the guy who says the pain body comes up.

the pain body comes up.

James O'Brien (52:52.72)
pain body comes up.

James O'Brien (53:03.463)
Well, it's the one I got. So it's been doing what it does for me. And I'm interested in it because it's very fresh and very new in my short biography.

Jim Infantino (53:07.195)

Lionel (53:16.566)
I have a different theory about the tarot. Not a different theory. Well, you said it's a framing device, which is true because you wake up, you look at the card, you think about the interpretation of the card or an interpretation of the card, and you say, okay, I should be on watch for this in my day. Maybe they're the same theories. The thing I love about the...

James O'Brien (53:19.099)
Okay. I have no theory.

Jim Infantino (53:19.322)
All right.

James O'Brien (53:25.028)

Lionel (53:43.054)
card which is the reason why Brian Eno came up with oblique strategies which is basically a tarot deck and the I Ching also is the exact thing is that it kicks you out of the rut you pull a card and it's a bolt out of the blue and you say oh maybe that's what my situation is because the human mind is fabulous at saying oh.

James O'Brien (53:56.263)

Lionel (54:09.186)
The situation I'm going through is not that, it's this. We can reframe what's happening to us in a million different ways. And the great, that's what I think it does, is it jostles things. It kicks things up and it resets the counters and you're free to go, oh, it's not X, maybe it's X, but it might also be Y. Oh, and so your brain gets released because the problem with the brain is that we get in this rut.

We decided it's this situation. And it's not, maybe it is, who knows what it is. I mean, that's a whole other discussion. But the great thing I love about the Tarot and about the I Ching and all that stuff is that, oh, maybe that's what's, if I think about this way, and sometimes you're just trying to find a way to get out of a bad mind thought. You know, you're in a head space that is not going anywhere, which is, I don't know about you guys, it's...

Jim Infantino (54:41.063)

James O'Brien (54:59.525)

Lionel (55:05.278)
is about 98% of my daily existence. And so you're looking for anything. That's why we spent a lot of time flicking through different pages. It's like that is to distract ourselves. I do. But the nice thing about an I Ching or a tarot card is like, oh yes, I know what you're talking about. This is why newspaper horoscopes are such a persistent art form. Everybody knows they're total nonsense, but people love them because it's like, oh yeah.

Jim Infantino (55:27.047)

Lionel (55:32.998)
Maybe I should rethink this thing. And it gives you license. It gives you permission to rethink what is going on around you and allow your brain to rewrap itself. That's a very sort of pretty flowery way of putting it. But I'm fascinated by that. I'm fascinated about the things you do to change your perspective, the things you do to get yourself out of ruts. Anyway, that's my little.

James O'Brien (56:00.667)
Sure. No, I hear all of that. And I think that there are even like, Jim, you can speak to this as well. There are people that we know and things that you yourself have done that are about creating random instances of selection and then speaking to the things that those selections make us think about in relation to the near and immediate term.

Lionel (56:02.445)

James O'Brien (56:27.855)
experiences that we're having, right? So whether that's, you know, somebody's radio eight ball or another person's ego in the Oracle, like these are constructs that we are attracted to because I think that we're generally, and some other people go to therapy and other people do all of these things. Like we're attracted to constructs that allow us as Lionel, you say, to escape the immediate confines of

Jim Infantino (56:34.043)

Lionel (56:55.554)
Yeah, kick us out of orbit.

James O'Brien (56:56.539)
frustration and the feeling of stasis and to say, oh, it's me, like I'm here, I'm thinking. I just needed this moment to sort of remind me of what that sounds like when I'm thinking.

Lionel (57:01.046)
The rut.

Jim Infantino (57:10.247)
Well, I love that you brought up oblique strategies, Lionel, because that's precisely, I feel like, what Eno is after. There's a Pema Chodron quote. She says, when I'm meditating, whatever arises pure delight, the moment is fresh. And that is something we lose when we, let's say, go in the studio with our band and we start doing our regular things with the band because that's what the band does.

because that's the story we all have, probably the whole band has in their head, slightly different, right? You know, Bono's an asshole or whatever it is, but there's a story going on and it's unraveling and Eno is presenting this card and saying, you know, drop the story, drop the story. Be right here and see what happens. And you know, the truth is anything can be your tarot card. I mean, it really, it doesn't matter.

what you're looking at, you have to actually just drop the story and see it for it to push you away from your chosen narrative and take you into the moment. We've really gone, we've gone totally bonkers here.

Lionel (58:23.986)
No, no, this is wonderful.

James O'Brien (58:28.011)
Other people I've talked to recently have brought up hypnosis as something that they're experimenting with and how powerful that's been for them. And I think, again, it's a construct, like a construct into which you enter willingly and you allow somebody to prompt or provoke and then attempt to incorporate after the experience, you know, whether that's something you feel like someone made you do or that you did yourself. I don't think it's really important.

Jim Infantino (58:32.933)
Oh wow.

James O'Brien (58:57.603)
I think it's that you made the intent of saying, I'm releasing control to Lionel's point. I'm releasing control for a moment or a half hour. And on the other side of that release, I'm going to move forward. There's a guy named Eric Davis who refers to himself as a psychonaut. And he works with psychedelics. And

Jim Infantino (59:02.536)

Jim Infantino (59:22.823)

James O'Brien (59:25.663)
I watch them occasionally here and there on different lectures and such. I'm not a person that partakes in these things at this point in my life. But same thing, which is, you know, by creating a less controlled, but parameter bounded experience, life on the internal side moves forward a couple of notches. One hopes. And I think that that's what most people are in some way, shape or form. If they're at all.

conscious of themselves and not just locked into the routine imposed upon them. I think most people are attempting to create those structured moments of release and then trying to use them as ways to improve.

Jim Infantino (01:00:16.987)
Well, I want to try and land this awesome plane. I'm not sure how, but I do want to touch a little bit on some of the documentary work you've done and also on your songwriting. And so I feel like there's not enough time to actually go into all of it. I watched recently the video that you created, the documentary about Betsy Siggins and that piece of paper that Dylan left in her.

James O'Brien (01:00:43.94)

Jim Infantino (01:00:46.755)
typewriter. And it's fantastic. You can get it from, is it And it is listed there under your documentary films. It's really fantastic. There's this, I mean, Dylan, you can probably tell the story if you want, or I can summarize it, James. But it stuck with me. It's a strange piece. It's odd that people

James O'Brien (01:00:48.135)

James O'Brien (01:00:54.599)
Yeah, it's there. It's there.

Jim Infantino (01:01:16.079)
attribute various levels of meaning to what was left in her typewriter. But I mean, Bob Dylan was playing at open mics and he needed a place to stay. And he started typing at four in the morning and he left it there.

James O'Brien (01:01:31.683)
Yeah, all that's true. That documentary, to me, is a love story.

Jim Infantino (01:01:37.777)

James O'Brien (01:01:39.055)
It's about this person who was deeply in love with both Bob Dylan and John Baez and who is looking back through time at a moment that still feels very powerful to them. And this piece of paper is the bridge between the two temporal experiences. And now of 2011 when

Jim Infantino (01:01:45.906)

Lionel (01:01:53.826)

Hmm. Yeah.

James O'Brien (01:02:03.019)
that was made and then of 1963 or 64 when that piece of paper was left in the typewriter. Which I can relate to more and more as I get older. I can relate to more and more the idea that like certain objects and certain memories become bigger and bigger and bigger as opposed to smaller and smaller and smaller.

Lionel (01:02:07.31)

Jim Infantino (01:02:10.847)
I love that you went.

Lionel (01:02:14.258)

Lionel (01:02:22.526)
Yeah. Nobody would believe me if I didn't have this.

Jim Infantino (01:02:23.463)
Yeah. When you go back to the.

Jim Infantino (01:02:28.352)
When you go back to the apartment and Betsy is looking at the spot where the typewriter used to be, that's fantastic. It was really great.

James O'Brien (01:02:34.331)
Oh, I can't even describe the, sometimes the universe is very compliant. And the fact that we were able to locate that house and the way that we got into that apartment was that I hand wrote a note and slipped it under the door.

Jim Infantino (01:02:52.831)

James O'Brien (01:02:55.107)
and the person who lived there happened to be a pair of poets.

Jim Infantino (01:03:00.361)
Oh, wow.

James O'Brien (01:03:01.727)
and they were very fascinated by the fact that they lived in this spot that had these people inhabited in the, in, you know, 50 years prior, four years prior. So I couldn't have been lucky. It could have just been some people who were just like working. What the hell is this about? You know what I mean? Like these were these sensitive poets who were like, wait, you're telling me that Bob Doane came and wrote things in my apartment. Let me please allow you in to film in my apartment. That would be wonderful.

Jim Infantino (01:03:10.308)

Jim Infantino (01:03:18.539)
Right, right. We're we got to get to Google.

Jim Infantino (01:03:31.128)

James O'Brien (01:03:34.095)
Yeah, there's just times when things just line up, you know, they just line up and you just try to stay out of their way.

Jim Infantino (01:03:42.595)
It's a great film. It's a great, yeah, it's a short film. Check it out. James O'Brien HQ. I'll put a link.

James O'Brien (01:03:51.203)
There's so much more to tell of that person's story too, of Betsy Sigmund's story. It's been told in several ways and several times. I happen to be in possession of a really, really complete oral history of that person's life through a number of major moments in mid-20th century.

cultural and political and humanitarian history. And one of the things that I'd very much like to do, it just requires some permissions, is to put it together in the form of a multi-episode podcast, probably for all your days, it's perfect for it. And capture it all in one place with the kind of narrative structure that all your days brings to these things.

Lionel (01:04:16.822)

Jim Infantino (01:04:34.076)

James O'Brien (01:04:42.939)
I've been meaning to reach out and try to get the permission. I mean, people that I work with, these people are very much older people. Now it's not 2011, it's 22 years later and life has taken its course. But I'd like to get the permissions before. I'd like to get the permissions.

Jim Infantino (01:04:52.263)

Jim Infantino (01:05:02.031)
Yeah, yeah, fair enough. And anybody who hasn't subscribed to All Your Days, it's on all the different podcasting, I think. It's certainly on Apple podcasts, on Google podcasts, and everywhere. Oh, is it? Well.

James O'Brien (01:05:14.607)
I think it's everywhere. Although Google Podcast is going away. No, they're closing it down. It won't make a huge difference to people like you in medium I'm sure, but it is going away in the near future.

Jim Infantino (01:05:23.246)

Jim Infantino (01:05:27.823)
Well, Stitcher and all the rest. Oh, really? So they want the podcast to be on your tab. OK, well.

James O'Brien (01:05:29.007)
They want everything to be on YouTube. They want all the, everything to be on YouTube, yeah. I have no strong feelings about this either way. I'm just noting it as a technology geek moment. A podcasting geek moment.

Jim Infantino (01:05:39.367)

Yeah, all right, fair enough.

Well, definitely subscribe and check it out. James O'Brien has also released a number of great albums. And you're working, you sent me a new song. I am so privileged. You text me songs, it's fantastic. I love it. It's so great.

James O'Brien (01:06:01.063)
Cursed you mean? Cursed, cursed, cursed is the word you meant to say it. It's pronounced cursed. Yeah.

Lionel (01:06:02.794)
You're cursed. When is this guy gonna stop? Another frickin' song.

Jim Infantino (01:06:09.091)
No, I finally figured out how to play them so that they don't stop midway through because as soon as the screen goes dark, they stop playing. But I think I can copy, I copy them to something. I will play us out with one, to see if that's all right with you, James.

Lionel (01:06:12.887)

Lionel (01:06:18.734)
Can we play one?

Lionel (01:06:23.534)
Is that okay, James?

James O'Brien (01:06:26.319)
We can chat about it if there's one that you'd like to pick. They're pretty raw and vulnerable right now. I'm really sending you bedroom demos. Oh yeah, something released is fine. But yeah, I mean, yeah, there's, I always think it's over. Yeah, whenever I, whenever I can, well, when I complete a collection of songs, I'm like, thank goodness this isn't the last one.

Jim Infantino (01:06:28.931)
Is there one that you would like me to play? No, I'm sorry. It's something you've released. I wouldn't do that to you.

Jim Infantino (01:06:45.011)
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Lionel (01:06:46.422)
You always think it's... What? What does that mean?

James O'Brien (01:06:55.343)
Because for me, Lionel, I've said this, I think, here and there throughout life, and you probably haven't heard this, so I'll say it here. It's like there's a radio in my head. And it can be months, even years. There have been times when it's been a decade where the radio doesn't click on. But when it's capable and active, it's very distracting and impossible to not.

deal with. So, and it's become particularly acute over the last five years or so, where whole songs I have awakened from a dream with a whole song in my head and at four o'clock in the morning, sat across the room from where I'm sitting now and been able to just write out the whole song with the melody in my head, no instrument, and save it in the wet drive until the...

Lionel (01:07:30.648)

James O'Brien (01:07:51.535)
time is right, like the sun is up and people are no longer sleeping to take care of the business of setting it down. And it's just been that way sort of often on nonstop since 2017 in particular. And again, so you say, but it's also a bit, I think they're okay. I mean, they tend to arrive in the form that they're meant to be, you know, so I'm not. So I set them down.

Jim Infantino (01:08:03.408)
Oh, that's great.

Lionel (01:08:06.646)
Are they good songs?

Jim Infantino (01:08:08.557)

Jim Infantino (01:08:15.444)
Who are we to question?

Lionel (01:08:18.73)

James O'Brien (01:08:21.211)
And I've said this to you, Jim, and I've said this to other artists that I've talked to. It is like creating a little secret world, a secret world that I get to inhabit for a couple of months while I'm putting these things together and recording them, and that they exist. I do feel like it's life's work. It's part of life's work. Whatever these are, that's what I'm meant to be putting down. And I absolutely don't have any...

Jim Infantino (01:08:29.852)

Jim Infantino (01:08:36.688)

James O'Brien (01:08:52.647)
structured aspirations around these things. I'm not out there like trying to get gigs. A couple have come along over the past couple years and if they're good stories like the room matters, the timing of it matters, the person asking is important to some chapter of my life, I'll say yes and do an opening gig or something like that. But I'm absolutely not in the game of trying to be a working musician and draw people to shows. I'm just not. I just like, there's so many other things I have to do than that. And

Um, it's been an interesting half decade, six years now, just following the news and not attaching the news to any kind of marketing or, um, specific outcomes. It's been pure and it's been helpful.

Jim Infantino (01:09:37.102)
Yeah, that's refreshing.

Lionel (01:09:38.306)
Well, you speak of that. Just one thing I saw, because I live a hermit's life. But I did watch something recently, which was Wes Anderson's story of Henry Sugar, which was recently released. It's only 40 minutes long. It's on Netflix. And Wes Anderson sort of overstates his welcome a little bit with me. I love some of his films. I love The Life Aquatic with Steve Z. So I think that I'd be happy to.

James O'Brien (01:09:57.381)

James O'Brien (01:10:03.792)

Lionel (01:10:07.85)
That is one of my absolute feel-good films of all time. It's right up there with like the Fifth Element and Indiana Jones and all that stuff, the Life of Quack Steve. But there's other times where Wes Anderson really gets up my nose. But this one's interesting. This one's interesting, because he talks about Roald Dahl. Yeah, he really does. He really does. Like, he what?

James O'Brien (01:10:11.66)
I agree.

James O'Brien (01:10:15.911)

Jim Infantino (01:10:22.043)

James O'Brien (01:10:25.659)
You get up my nose, sir.

Jim Infantino (01:10:26.931)

James O'Brien (01:10:33.01)
He's insufferable at this point. Like the last several excursions, Atomic City and so on, I feel as if I'm being spoon-fed just tablespoon after tablespoon of sugar.

Lionel (01:10:36.542)

Lionel (01:10:46.878)
Yeah, I just, I don't dig it. I didn't even like, I didn't really like Fabulous Mr. Fox, I liked like the first half of it. And then after a while I'm just like, oh, this is getting really tedious. But regardless, look, the guy's far more accomplished than I am, I loved Hotel Budapest. But that's a lot because of Ralph Fiennes' performance, the performance of the actors within that movie. But anyway, he comes with this 40 minute thing, which is the life of Henry Sugar. And what's interesting about it is that not, not.

the director and not the film, but the life of Roald Dahl, who's a very interesting guy. He's a very interesting guy. One, he was an RAF pilot. Two, I think he's Danish. He was an RAF pilot. Three, he was really not, I mean, not a really, I mean, he was just like us. You know, he wasn't a really nice, not a really cuddly person. He was...

Jim Infantino (01:11:20.33)

Lionel (01:11:41.93)
And he had this whole thing where he had like his shed, where he would write his stories. And there's all kinds of, you can read all kinds of things about how his children, he had lots of children, they're like, yeah, dad never talked to us. Dad didn't really want, but not that they disliked him, but the interesting thing that you mentioned is, the whole thing of the muse speaking to you, and having to do this stuff and creating these things.

Jim Infantino (01:11:53.148)

James O'Brien (01:12:06.503)

Lionel (01:12:11.766)
without any ulterior motive, just doing it and transcribing the muse. And Roald Dahl was sort of that way. He wrote fiercely bizarre books. Oh, Jim Hesto.

James O'Brien (01:12:18.023)

Jim Infantino (01:12:28.783)
No, I'll be right back. I'm sorry, guys. Keep talking.

Lionel (01:12:31.19)
Okay. Well, he did. I mean, they're fabulous. But they're complete. I mean, if it wasn't for Roald Dahl, I doubt that a lot of other people would exist because he really came up with books. They weren't Beatrix Potter. Okay, let's put it that way. You know, he's talking about children being threatened by other human beings. That's sort of like the big theme. And also,

James O'Brien (01:12:32.967)
Okay, we're all out. Seriously, bizarre books.

James O'Brien (01:12:49.641)
No, no, right.

James O'Brien (01:12:55.632)

James O'Brien (01:12:59.259)
But children trust that. Like that kind of, and adults trust that too. Like there is a universal understanding of that dynamic and those kinds of stories. And I think that especially in the 1960s and 1970s, but probably for decades beforehand too, there was permission within authors remit to say,

and within the remit to say like.

things threaten you, don't they? Like, things come to get you. Things live in a liminal space between good and bad, and you're aware of that, aren't you? And I think that Roald Dahl's one of the people that could do that. I think that Lewis Carroll could do that as well, and others, but in particular, I think you're spot on, that like the threat that's inherent in some of the stories that come from really post-World War I and post-World War II authors.

who were extensively writing for maybe younger people, were very much telling the truth to children in a way that was important, significant. And I'm not sure that...

James O'Brien (01:14:19.531)
I can't speak knowledgeably about it, but I'm not certain that J.K. Rowling's done the same thing in her books that are nominally for children. I think that they're more arch.

Lionel (01:14:29.006)
Well, the interesting thing you mentioned, Jake, yeah, the interesting thing about, but just to heart, just to riff off of what you're talking about, you know, world dolls, one of those authors, when you like, when you actually say out in a synopsis of the plots of his books, you're like, this guy's messed up. I mean, why am I allowing my kid to read this? I mean, they sound so bizarre when you read them out loud. Okay. There's this kid who's really, really poor and he's so poor that his grandparents all live in one big bed.

And okay, so there's poverty and there's Veruca salts and there's Mike TV. And so he's making fun of America. And it's just like, when you read out loud, it's like, boy, this sounds like a really unpleasant or unreadable book. But Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is fabulous. It's a fab. He had, he had good illustrators, but still it's a fabulous, fabulous book. And to a certain degree, the great thing about a great artist is that they can, they can realign your reality. Like.

There's pre-Rolled Doll and there's after Rolled Doll. And Rolled Doll did something really interesting. He could, you know, he made, you know, did he allow Captain Underpants? You know, did he allow a series of unfortunate events? I don't know, I don't know. Maybe we're making way too much more than it is, but I think children's literature is fascinating. We just had the guy on the show who did Bad Kitty.

Jim Infantino (01:15:47.293)

James O'Brien (01:15:47.886)

James O'Brien (01:15:57.359)

Lionel (01:15:58.227)
Children's literature is so, so fascinating. Who said that? He said, you can always find, I forget if it was Umberto Eco or who, no it wasn't, it was somebody, Deepu said, you can always find the most horrible things a society has to say. It's what we put in our children's books. But I think that's post, anyway, that's post-Royal doll. But I love, but anyway, it's worth 40 minutes watching the time. It touches on meditation. It touches on...

Jim Infantino (01:16:14.472)

Lionel (01:16:26.754)
uh, people, um, making, uh, resurrections. It's about people redeeming their lives. It's about meditation. Um, it's about stories within stories. And it's not as acutely painful as some of, uh, Wes Anderson's stuff has been recently. Um, it's actually a lot of fun.

James O'Brien (01:16:44.721)
Okay, I'm on it. I mean, I think we've re-upped our Netflix during the COVID weeks here to help cover some of the territory, so yeah.

Lionel (01:16:50.538)
And it's 40 minutes, baby. It's a discount time. It's an affordable time investment.

Jim Infantino (01:16:52.623)

Jim Infantino (01:16:58.151)
James, Lionel and I are always trying to grow our book list. Are you reading anything that you find interesting?

James O'Brien (01:17:04.535)
Yeah, I am. I mean...

Lionel (01:17:10.996)
I always get worried when you laugh. I'm okay. Load the other tape reel.

Jim Infantino (01:17:12.585)
How much time do you have? This is longer now than any other podcast we've done. Yeah.

James O'Brien (01:17:14.023)

James O'Brien (01:17:19.395)
Yeah, so actually the review of it will go up on the All Your Days newsletter tomorrow, but I just recently finished a really disturbing but fascinating book and it kind of ties into what we're talking about here, Lionel. I just read for the first time in my life, this is not a new book, it came out in 1978, it's called The Cement Garden by Ian McCune. And it's 138 pages in the way that novels used to be allowed to be before you had to like...

Jim Infantino (01:17:39.632)

Jim Infantino (01:17:47.204)

James O'Brien (01:17:47.979)
measure their weight in pounds. You're buying novels by the pound.

Lionel (01:17:49.216)

Jim Infantino (01:17:49.891)

James O'Brien (01:17:57.173)
It's, uh...

Lionel (01:17:59.699)
Ian McEwan the poet?

James O'Brien (01:18:00.28)

James O'Brien (01:18:04.027)
He may well be a poet. He's written several very written about novels. This is his first one, his debut. I-A-N-M-C-E-W-A-N, Ian McCune.

Jim Infantino (01:18:12.935)
Googling furiously.

Lionel (01:18:20.051)
No, there's a famous poet, McEwen, I think. But anyway, go ahead, go ahead, sorry, sorry.

James O'Brien (01:18:23.183)
Yeah. In short, it's a book about a group of children that go feral after their parents die. It's highly, highly infused with incest and regression and burying a mother and concrete in the basement. It's not a normal read. It is deeply weird as

Critics at the time referred to it, Ian McEwen writes these short, nasty, very English novels set on the very edges of English society. And yet, it's exquisitely beautiful. And in all the ways that maybe Lolita worked, this works. And in all the ways that Angela Carter works, this works.

and I was deeply troubled and I felt like I was reading something dirty, which you don't often feel at the age of 49 anymore, where you're like, this is fucking sick, like what is going on? But I don't mean in the way of like, Brad Easton Ellis and I don't mean in the way of Fight Club, not trying to beat you over the head with its brazenness, but rather it's infused with a kind of

Lionel (01:19:24.236)

Jim Infantino (01:19:27.356)
Mmm. Yeah.

Lionel (01:19:44.608)

James O'Brien (01:19:49.395)
otherness, outtrace, sort of human existence that to me just reawakened the senses as a reader. And so yeah, I have been reading something interesting recently. But then I was like, how do I even talk about this book? Like, first of all, it's not like it just came out. It came out in 1978. And everybody talked about it. Everybody wrote about this. Everybody fussed over it. Everybody accused it of everything it was. And and yet,

Jim Infantino (01:20:05.219)

Lionel (01:20:14.703)
Really? Aren't they amazing?

James O'Brien (01:20:19.011)
Here we are. I mean, a book is like a time bomb, right? It just sits there and waits for you to like trigger it. And I read this, it had been sitting in my queue for a long, long time. I forget, maybe I probably bought it in 2014 or 18 because there were some reissues of it that happened around then. So I probably bought it after reading a review in the New York Times review of books or the New York review of books. And it just sat there. And

Jim Infantino (01:20:23.728)

James O'Brien (01:20:44.619)
I've been trying to clean out my queue and there it was the next book in the queue and I started reading this thing and I was like what the fuck.

Jim Infantino (01:20:51.411)

Lionel (01:20:52.618)
Well, you know, it's fascinating to mention that because we were talking, you know, I think so many roads go through 1984. I think so many roads, so many railroads go through the train station of 1984 by George Orwell. And it really kicked off one of those great British traditions, 1984, um, uh, Lord of the Flies. Um, uh, who's the guy who did crash? Um, the

James O'Brien (01:21:12.839)

James O'Brien (01:21:18.843)
I know the story, but I don't know who wrote it.

Lionel (01:21:20.714)
Right, but it's the British, I think it's actually Canadian. Strangely, I think he's a Canadian, I'm sorry, there's gonna be, if we have any listeners other than James, they're gonna be sending emails right now. But what's the...

James O'Brien (01:21:32.136)
I know that the film was directed, if you were talking about the same crash, it was directed by David Cronenberg, who's a Canadian director. If this is the story about people that have sexual relations by getting into car accidents together. No, no, no.

Lionel (01:21:39.462)

Lionel (01:21:43.114)
Yes, yes. J.G. Ballard, J.G. Ballard, fabulous author, wrote a whole bunch of books. Same basic idea. Basically, Clockwork Orange, which is basically after Kubrick entered his Brit phase and was living in Britain. And like you said, Concrete Garden. And there's this whole and then I had to say as well as a movie, I had to stop. Even though there's no sex.

Jim Infantino (01:21:43.838)
J.G. Ballard. J.G. Ballard.

James O'Brien (01:21:59.077)

Lionel (01:22:12.65)
and there's no gore, children of men.

James O'Brien (01:22:15.803)
Oh my God, that's very brutal. It's a very brutal film. A very brutal, it's...

Jim Infantino (01:22:18.373)

Lionel (01:22:18.506)
I couldn't take it. It was like a third of the way through and I said, that's it. I'm out. I'm sorry.

James O'Brien (01:22:24.099)
I oddly just, I mean, I remember watching it back in 2006 or 2005 when it came out and thinking like, this is a extreme, you know, presentation of a situation. And then just coincidentally, as much of this conversation has been, there was a clip of it somebody put up on social media that I ended up watching and I was like, very few people have made, it was a scene in which the character, the main character is running into a building that's being attacked.

Jim Infantino (01:22:28.528)

James O'Brien (01:22:52.203)
and running up a staircase, it's sort of a long tracking shot. There's blood that's been splattered over the lens. And I thought, you know, I don't think anybody's made a movie quite like this in the last 20 years. Like there's something about this, this story that is just, it looks like Ukraine is frankly, it's just makes me, it just looked like, it looked like, like somebody was looking forward in time and saying, what will the streets of Ukraine look like from 2006?

Lionel (01:23:07.95)
deeply unhappy.

Jim Infantino (01:23:14.427)

Lionel (01:23:17.854)
Yeah, it just drove me nuts, but it's that Brit thing. They have this thing. 1984, Lord of the Flies, they have this fascination with unbelievably grim futures.

Jim Infantino (01:23:32.754)

James O'Brien (01:23:32.779)
There's a lot of Lord of the Flies running through the feeling of the cement garden. It's very much, that was one of the most called out, you know, reference for it is that like, you know, you're watching society within a very small structure break down. It's just that this one does it in such a way that it doesn't have that construct of us versus them. It's more of a construct of wallowing in your own domestic.

Lionel (01:23:39.618)
That's what I heard.

James O'Brien (01:24:03.207)
poison for 138 pages and it's children who are doing it without parents because their parents have died and they don't want to be discovered because they're going to be broken up so they bury the mother in a trunk in concrete in the basement and then create this very, very fucked up version of a domestic situation amongst themselves, four of them. I'm not sure it's for everybody, but that's that you asked what I've been reading.

Lionel (01:24:04.428)
Uh huh.

Jim Infantino (01:24:22.515)

Lionel (01:24:24.902)
on that happy note.

Jim Infantino (01:24:26.615)
Yeah, it's totally for this podcast though. Yeah, we should we should that's when we should read Lionel. Yeah, great It's quick

James O'Brien (01:24:33.807)
138 pages, I mean, you don't even have to set aside that much time.

Lionel (01:24:35.402)
Hey, it's like, it's like, it's like, it's like Wes Anderson's latest one. It's, it's not a big investment. Go ahead. The worst that happens is you're out 138 pages.

James O'Brien (01:24:45.827)
No, I'm out of my mind. Like, this is one of those things, it's like the taste of Paxlovid I'll never forget. I just had COVID a week ago and I took the Paxlovid and one of the interesting side effects of Paxlovid, which is kind of like nuking the virus from space. Like it absolutely, like, it leaves no doubts. You're taking care of this virus. It's going to be gone. But.

Jim Infantino (01:24:48.531)

Jim Infantino (01:24:53.168)

Jim Infantino (01:25:04.844)

James O'Brien (01:25:08.543)
It makes your mouth someone wrote to me and I had a very apt description This is not my interpretation of it. I had a different I thought it the first the first time I noticed the taste of Paxlova which builds up in your system over the course of four days and just stays in your mouth it actually becomes part of like the Substance of your of your mouth feel for the time you're taking it. I thought oh, this is what it would be like to get like a blast of cremation ash into your mouth

Jim Infantino (01:25:22.842)

Jim Infantino (01:25:27.357)

Jim Infantino (01:25:33.404)

James O'Brien (01:25:34.767)
But it's not really accurate. Someone else said it to me more. It's soapy grapefruit. It's like having the taste of soapy grapefruit in your mouth for four days, and you can't ever get, the only way you can get rid of it, the only way I was able to get rid of it was with Jolly Rancher candies, which I hadn't had since I was a child.

Jim Infantino (01:25:42.762)

Lionel (01:25:49.482)
and gin.

Jim Infantino (01:25:49.734)
Oh, they're right.

James O'Brien (01:25:53.111)
Yeah, so. No, it's a, it's a, it's a, it's a three pill, twice a day course that you take for, uh, for, for four days. So like two of it's called Pax Lovin.

Lionel (01:25:54.205)
Is it an injection?

Lionel (01:26:04.654)
I've never heard of this, what is this?

Jim Infantino (01:26:06.475)
Oh, yeah, it's yeah, it shortens the symptoms of COVID.

James O'Brien (01:26:11.647)
I mean, completely eradicates them, is what they meant to say. Like it, within eight hours, you are like, I no longer feel sick at all. This can't be, I'm going to have gills growing on the arches of my feet within like, you know, two years. Like, there's no way that this is a, this is a well tested, like, like piece of, of pharmaceutical, but works like, works like a charm.

Jim Infantino (01:26:13.271)

Jim Infantino (01:26:25.441)

Lionel (01:26:36.526)
Contains one or more of the following. Right? Contraindications. Breathing. Go ahead.

Jim Infantino (01:26:39.185)
Right? Designed during wartime.

James O'Brien (01:26:41.255)
I'm gonna say.

It does the trick. Paxlovid, it does the trick. Like it really, yeah. So I just kept thinking of the scene from Aliens where they were like, we just gotta nuke it from orbit, man. It's the only way to be sure. And like, that's pretty much how I felt about this drug. It's like, whatever this is doing. And in fact, it works so well that it kind of fucks you down the line. So one of the things that's happening to me this week is that it so completely suppresses the virus.

Jim Infantino (01:26:49.859)

What are you doing?

Lionel (01:26:57.15)
Nuked, yeah. Let's go back to the mothership and nuke it from orbit. I love that line.

Jim Infantino (01:26:58.545)

James O'Brien (01:27:14.191)
that your own immune system is sort of like, it's pool time, baby, I have nothing to do. And so what happens is when you stop taking the drug, you might still have some viral material in you and your immune system is like, wait, what? Like I have to, what? No, wait, I have to do something? So you have, they...

Jim Infantino (01:27:18.544)
You know?

Jim Infantino (01:27:32.827)

Lionel (01:27:34.722)
Who left that shit over there?

James O'Brien (01:27:36.771)
So it's like a little bit of a rebound where like off and on for a couple of days afterwards, you might have a little tickle at the back of your nose, you might get a little bit of a fever, feel woozy. This is all uncharted territory, my friends. Like we have entered into like, like they just gave them the Nobel Prize and I'm all for the vaccines, but we are in way uncharted territory in terms of like turning around these injustables.

Lionel (01:27:39.278)
Ha ha!

Lionel (01:27:42.816)

Jim Infantino (01:27:48.079)

Lionel (01:27:58.434)
That's your new podcast, unchartered territory with James O'Brien.

James O'Brien (01:28:03.107)
I mean, I'm a huge supporter. Get your vaccines, take your packs a little bit if you feel sick, but also, you know, risk versus, it's a risk management, like you're saying, like, yeah. Yeah.

Lionel (01:28:13.514)
Make sure your will is up to date. Make sure you have a power of attorney.

Jim Infantino (01:28:17.591)
Make sure you are nowhere near a phone operating at 9,950. What is it? 9,9500 kilohertz or you will be very dead, very fast. Yeah.

James O'Brien (01:28:23.166)

Lionel (01:28:27.854)

James O'Brien (01:28:28.999)
You're gonna go in the dark. You're gonna be able to breathe underwater, but you won't have COVID.

Jim Infantino (01:28:32.615)

It won't last. Yeah. Make sure you're not at the bottom of the East River when it wears off.

Lionel (01:28:41.409)

James O'Brien (01:28:41.724)
And I'm just glad that I'm not procreating any time after this. I've spared some child some sort of like spinal bifida like future, which is terrible for me to say. Yeah. We live in very, very liminal times, my friends.

Jim Infantino (01:28:45.549)

Lionel (01:28:52.936)

Jim Infantino (01:28:53.799)
Thanks to CRISPR in capsule form, we can now offer... Yeah.

Lionel (01:28:56.492)

Lionel (01:29:00.112)

Lionel (01:29:03.986)
Yeah, read Pump Six. It's only like about, it's only about 20 minutes of your time and Pumps. Yeah, but Pumps Six, it's, it'll take you half an hour to read the, read the story and it is magn, it's not a great story, honestly. I don't think he's like the best writer in the world, but he just, he has sort of that, that way of like children of men. It's just like, you don't like it. You don't like it in any way whatsoever, but you can't forget it.

Jim Infantino (01:29:05.935)
Oh, oh, yeah. Hello, Bocs Galupi. There is only one.

James O'Brien (01:29:06.406)

Jim Infantino (01:29:20.479)
It's fantastic though.

James O'Brien (01:29:32.847)

Lionel (01:29:34.07)
Like it's just like, amazing. Anyway, I forgot that.

Jim Infantino (01:29:39.207)
James, we have kept you an hour and a half. Yeah, yeah. And now, can you suggest which song I should, I can't play it immediately, but can you suggest which song we should close with, or shall I pick one?

James O'Brien (01:29:42.571)
Yeah, it's been a good conversation. Thank you. I feel like we delivered on the promise.

Lionel (01:29:43.524)
Yeah, good.

James O'Brien (01:29:57.371)
Since we've been talking about books and literature and things you can't forget, I'd go back to 2017 and check out Rabbit Run, which is on the album Careful in the Future. So it's named after the John Updite novel. And yeah, and it happens to be one of Kara's favorites. So I always try to think about that. The way that you're Los Angeles is one of Kara's favorites. Rabbit Run is one of those for her. And I think that it...

Jim Infantino (01:30:05.009)
Rabbit run.

Jim Infantino (01:30:08.943)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lionel (01:30:10.986)
the uptake thing, yeah.

Jim Infantino (01:30:20.225)

James O'Brien (01:30:26.851)
It captures the vibe that we've been kind of riding through here. A little pensive, a little scary, a little messy, a little weird, a little dark, a little spare. Those sorts of things are in there. So Rabbit Run is the one I think of.

Jim Infantino (01:30:40.427)
Excellent. Here is Rabbit.

James O'Brien (01:30:41.571)
And the other default is just grab All Your Days from the All Your Days album, because that's sort of like the baseline for everything that's happened since.

Jim Infantino (01:30:49.208)
from yep

Jim Infantino (01:30:53.659)
I'm going with your first thought. Here is Rabbit Run.

James O'Brien (01:30:55.376)