John Siracusa and Merlin Mann try to figure out exactly how they got this way.



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#201: Look Behind the Potato

February 3rd, 2023 · 109 minutes

John has questions about Merlin's fraught history with drawing.

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Links and Show Notes

Things kick off with a consideration of John's theoretical funeral. Merlin can't understand why John won't adopt him.

In Follow-Up, your hosts briefly consider their recent bicentennial and agree that words about parts or multiples of a thing are way too confusing.

What's it take to get good at a thing you care about, and what motivates us to stick with it?

Things end up touching on grit-adjacent stuff like consistency and tenacity. But, whether or not one is gifted, it does seem like we naturally tend to pursue things we like doing. Which just as naturally can make it difficult to stick with the things that don't come so easily. Gotta really pile up that paper.

Comparisons between the habits of making music and writing are made, and differences are easily reconciled regarding the genius work of Jonathan Coulton.

John thinks Merlin missed the focal plane on a photo he used to think was pretty good. Merlin recalls a movie poster whose Renaissance-era optical trick first made him wish he could draw better.

(Recorded Tuesday, January 24, 2023)


“I Was a Starter Wife” - Inside America's Messiest Divorce
John's Destiny character drawing, by EmilyMeganX
Some of John's childhood artwork
Spud Webb
Merlin's video game tweet
The Chapman Stick
Jazz Guitarist Stanley Jordan Shows “Touch” Technique
John’s original “Hypercritical” article
Lessons on How to Draw by Hokusai
Jonathan Coulton’s song, Shop Vac
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, Original Stephen Spielberg Movie Poster – Original Vintage Movie Posters