This week’s geek:

It is that time of year and we love Halloween. How much more Halloween can you get than to dress up? And if you want to see some great costumes – New Orleans knows how to celebrate Halloween.

We talk about some of our favorite costumes based on puns, which is a skill all its own.

Music Recommendation

Music Recommendation of the week is Kiefer Sutherland’s Something You Love



[00:00:39] Alan: Yeah. How about all that? Okay, here we go. I’m blending into the the leaf scape here was my all shirt. I guess

[00:00:51] Stephen: you should’ve done your face up.

[00:00:52] Alan: At one point, this guy, we were on the way to the men’s annual gathering in Minneapolis, St. Paul. And we stopped by at circus [00:01:00] world in let’s see Delavan, Wisconsin, something like that, near Wisconsin Dells. And I got my face painted as a tiger because why not? And then I didn’t take it off there. I like drove across the face of Wisconsin, Minnesota and showed up at the age. And first people, I don’t know when you’re big and you’re looking and saying they don’t make fun of you. They steer away from you.

So I had to make a point of being extra smiley and so important saying, don’t worry, I’m not going to go on a spree. I’m actually just, I went to circus world anyway. It was I don’t usually get my face painted. And yet that was a good experience. What do you look like? Professional wrestler, what’s this, the Mexican Lucado where they actually have

[00:01:46] Stephen: the whole child.

[00:01:49] Alan: And that’s it. It’s cool to have just a different, that’s what Halloween coming up is all about is assume a different identity. You get a different reaction than your usual. I can’t make myself smaller, but I [00:02:00] can look like an animal. I can look, I can dress up as a woman.

I can dress up as a pirate. It might be, that would be different than my usual demeanor,

[00:02:06] Stephen: yeah. And the two places you can show up like that without getting too weird of looks would be wizard world. Or, if I showed up at my kid’s school like that, they might ask me to leave, yes, sir. Are there

[00:02:18] Alan: troubles at home? Do you want to tell us about why you have

[00:02:20] Stephen: this.

[00:02:20] Alan: As, as usual, just cause we’re running the topic. One of the things I thought that’d be fun to talk about because we’re heading into Halloween is I’ve always loved good costumes. And so when you see a lot of kids come up in a, I’m a pirate cause they have a little scarf on eyepatch, I’m a bomb cause they put some, smeared their face a little bit.

When you see someone that did full robot and they’ve got like a, a Borg level of LEDs running up and down. And they’re all I just love when people put some work, some love into a costume. And as there’s the big Mensa Chicago area, Halloween party of Halloween always has a big costume parade where the customers are often puns and [00:03:00] man I’ve been going there for 30 years and it’s really impressive to see the continual creativity and the love that goes into it.

And just with, so I dunno sometimes. There are certain ones I’ve seen serial killer for instance, where someone was dressed as a cereal box, but with some falls in it or something like that, or variations on that. And I’ve seen paradise, there’s some obvious puns if you will. But when someone comes up with after 30, 40, 50 years of mental puns, they come up with something new and topical and stuff like that.

I love those. They had like one of those, especially for the geek crowd, someone dressed up as a cling on and had all of his gear, his tackle box and his fishing pole and stuff like that. And he’d come up high on fisherman’s Wharf. And I just, there’s a certain crowd that wouldn’t care about that.

Get that, but it had a wonderful explosion of laughter. And so I, anyway there’s some legendary ones there. I remember there was one with someone dressed with [00:04:00] all kinds of hair all over him and a hypodermic, and that was a furry with a syringe on. Ah, the puns get more and more elaborate.

Great. There were a group of I’m trying to think what it was 27 different people that came out on stage and said, I’m civil because of the multiple persons. They just, I guess that I have certain favorites. I’m a Colleen and I have dressed up, before we knew each other, we offered, dressed up, but liked each other’s costumes.

And that’s one of the ways in which you can get an idea of, wow. That person’s really amusing smart. You know what I mean? They’re bold. Sometimes you wear a costume. It’s wow, that’s not flattering. That’s, I guess you’re going for the laugh. When I dress up with just a diaper on that’s a lot of me out there,

[00:04:39] Stephen: yeah. Definitely some brave people that you wonder about and what you were saying about the costume, do you know that we went to a hobby? Was it a hobby lobby? I think down like towards Canton and they had a whole cause player. It had certain paints and glue and the [00:05:00] rubber and the foam vital that you cut that.

And I was like, that is the coolest thing. But now with 3d printers, people are coming up with stuff that they wouldn’t have been able to really do before, or would have been very difficult, a

[00:05:14] Alan: weapon that actually has the ruins on it, that he is authentic to the movie or the story, or a board half face mask or something like that.

[00:05:24] Stephen: It’s definitely easier to do the 3d printer than to go through junkyards and, put them together and paint it. I, but it’s also creative. The ones that, I shake my head. We went to a costume contest with Jason a couple of times, and my kids when they were younger, Like these kids, they go to these stores and their parents buy them $150 costumes, they just walked in and tried it on and then they win the contest.

I’m like, that’s kind of bullshit. These other kids spend hours on their costume and it’s so cool, but oh, the same thing everybody else has. Yeah.

[00:05:57] Alan: And, as it’s not, of course it’s not only Halloween and [00:06:00] Mensa and every comic book convention that I go to, there’s a huge cosplay and contingent.

And I love that. And often, they’ll have the big one of the highlights of either Friday or Saturday night is the costume parade and they’ll have judges and so much what they’re looking for is. You bought the perfect Ironman costume, but how did you make that you really made it out of those specific you know, foams and clays and stuff like that, that it looks like authentically metal shiny, but it doesn’t weigh like metal, know, you couldn’t wear 150 pounds of armor, and so the judges are usually quite canny in getting the awards to win, at least in the questioning of them, the accolades to the people that put love into the costume, instead of, yeah, I backed the truck up, bought the costume and here I am as a dragon, that kind of thing. And

[00:06:42] Stephen: so that’s definitely one of the thing I appreciate about Benson is if you show up at one of those things, Halloween being one of the biggest problems and you bought a costume, people are gonna look at you like, who cares and they’re not going to eat.

It could be a thousand dollar costume. [00:07:00] That’s something straight off a movie set and it’s authentic. But you bought it and no one’s going to care, but the people that spent time will get more appreciation. And I love that about Manson’s. And I remember Gina, like a lot of people, the first time we went to something, I think Halloween was one of the first and she’s got okay, I don’t know these people.

I don’t, this isn’t my crowd. And she’s just nervous. And what do you guys do is just talk about rocket science and stuff like that. Usually, but after her first time, she’s oh my God, you guys, that was so much fun, loved it. And she’ll tell people, cause you probably run into this kind of the bias. At times people will say, oh, Mensa, everyone thinks they’re too good for each other, blah, blah, blah.

And Gina jumps in. And she’s you don’t understand these. That was so much fun.

[00:07:48] Alan: The, out of all the things I’ve done with Mensa, there must have been one out of a hundred where people were really wielding their IQs, like a sword. Most of the time, it’s just. Wonderful conversation. It ranges all over the [00:08:00] place.

People are very witty. They’re very accepting of, all the things, the odd things that people have picked up over the time, or if they don’t know about something, they don’t have any sense of vulnerability. It’s more. Tell me more about that. Everyone’s curious everybody’s game for trying a new game or having a different conversation.

And especially I don’t know, Colleen and I pride ourselves on what can we make? The things found around the house. I want to spend like a dollar on some makeup that I don’t have to happen to have, but otherwise it’s, let’s take a sweat. And I, at one time I took a sweatsuit and I put letter Ks all over it.

Did I, that block from a stick of letter that you can use to make a sign for your house or something like that. And so I was 640 K of Ram, and I had the Ram helmet on and sometimes when I go through the costume box, it’s that was really good costume.

And like I said, that cost five bucks. And sometimes you find a way if I can use that, Ram’s head something else. Then now the cost per costume is two 50. I got two and [00:09:00] I have sweatsuits that I’ve turned into a cow pattern or the six 40 K of Ram. I don’t know. I think maybe one of them I’ve worn out in public because I was just amused as hell.

People will say, where’d you get those? CALPADS like actually I’ve made them,

[00:09:17] Stephen: I entertained myself. I remember clear back like third, fourth grade even back then we always had the thing at school. We had the little parade costume and all that, and I wanted to be Spiderman, but even back then, I didn’t want to just go buy a Spider-Man costume.

So I made my own we had made little spiders in class for Halloween, whatever. So I took some cheese clock pull over my face and then just a brown paper bag. And I decorated it with spider webs. All of,

[00:09:49] Alan: exactly. Especially, I’ve been to not really, of course, mental health parties, but others where then when you.

We aren’t the only people that appreciate [00:10:00] puns. And so when I showed up as a one-time, I dressed up as a big Viking and I had a Sigma on my chest. And so I was a Thor sob, I stood out like a sore thumb and some people got it and others, they had to even be explained, they don’t know that Sigma is a summation symbol and stuff like that.

But then when they got it, there was like that’s pretty cool. You out of two things, you made a costume instead of having to do full pirate or full robot or full star wars action figure type stuff, so I’ve always gone for that. I’m not, I’ve never been a great artist, but I’m a great caricaturists because I can look at something and say, if I’m going to try to portray Elton John and there’s games that do this, the who, what, where type games where you have to draw this thing, this person in this place doing this thing.

I’m not going to try to make a person that looks like, hell John, I’m going to draw a big stick figure with like glasses and high-heeled shoes and that boom, Elton John. And so that’s what my costumes. What’s the most obvious thing about me. And then, that’s gotta be part of the name of the costume.

And so I don’t know I’ve really had good success with, [00:11:00] is it like my, so this is, again going on tape. I did a costume. It’s funny. We’ll talk about that. How to date yourself, we’re okay. Roll the tape.

Glued feathers all over me and had a big owl mask. And I also had one of those blow up Mylar fish that you can buy us a balloon. I had that like duct tape. So it was jutting from my groin. And so I was Hootie and the Blowfish

[00:11:30] Stephen: and

[00:11:31] Alan: four years after that, Medicines. That was like the example they gave of their favorite costume. So when you’re not only funny to yourself, but people actually get some memorably funny, I’m just so proud of that. I know it’s vulgar or at least edging on vulgar, but it just is that to get people like, again, the big uproarious laugh when I walked up, people hadn’t figured it out.

And so I stepped to the mic and we’re like, Ooh, what are you in blow fish? And that explosion of laughter was [00:12:00] like, man, I have never felt better about myself. This is so

[00:12:03] Stephen: cool. And that, that’s funny you say that, cause that’s the other thing. There, a lot of mentors, they get that bordering on the sexual thing, but it’s always that subtle bordering.

It’s not explicit. It’s not the naked half naked nurse, the naughty nurse and all that. It’s more subtle and explicit and it’s just a sign of. Something, this sounds elitist, but something a little higher think, it’s not so base level. Okay. Exactly. I think

[00:12:32] Alan: that’s true.

You know what I mean? I try not to be abrupt, overt, offensive. Like I never wear a t-shirt with a swear word on it. I might swear out loud, but there’s something different where you don’t have the choice of who am I talking to? What’s the context. And then my choosing to say, fuck is a different thing than everyone that sees me in that day from the little old lady to the child to the store clerk is going to say this guy has fucking shirt.

It’s like blunderbuss instead of rifle shot or something like that. I want to choose how I’m going to use

[00:12:59] Stephen: my words. [00:13:00] Y I want a line of t-shirts that has Victorian swear words because we don’t use them any Arfin, that’s my, one of my favorite like that

[00:13:08] Alan: you see the good Shakespearian insults, about codswallop, that kind of stuff.

[00:13:12] Stephen: It’s like some of my favorite shirts. I remember there’s no place like one 20 Yeah, or the other one was oh, there, it looks like there are only 10 people that understand binary. It’s one, zero,

[00:13:29] Alan: exactly. That I’ve seen where you’re like, there’s two kinds of people in the world.

One people who can extrapolate from insufficient data and then nothing else really is pushing the border of geekery. But that’s exactly, you’re finding your crowd by who laughs and who goes, what the hell does that mean? You know what I mean? It’s going to have a good conversation with the first, maybe not.

[00:13:50] Stephen: And it’s so funny because if I do have a shirt or something like that, there are certain people, especially family that I don’t associate with [00:14:00] very much. I don’t get along with too well. And I notice when I wear those types of shirts or I was like what’s that. And I’m like, how do I explain this? Okay, hold on.

Let’s take a half hour. So I could give you the whole basis here. And some people find it

[00:14:12] Alan: funny, it’s it’s kinda funny. It’s not only like a smarty than not Smarties, even in the Smarties. There’s some people that they’re smart. He is very pedantic and they’re very much like depth, definitional and so forth.

And so any number of time, and this is, it’s a pet peeve of mine. And yet it’s only funny, like when you tell a joke and part of a joke is it’s not meant to be literal. It’s meant to be a little variation on what was being talked about. There’s a different use of the word. So it’s parapros dokey in it.

You start off in a certain direction and then make a left turn. And when someone insists on saying the reason that joke isn’t valid because I’m a tick, there’s like a, what’s the difference between, lawyers and, blood pixel blood-sucking insects without going into the. And if someone then jumps on as, ticks are insects, they’re arachnids.

And it’s wow, [00:15:00] you not only managed to not get the joke, but you’re trying hard to spoil it for everybody else. You could just listen to everybody else and pick up on why it’s funny instead of insisting that and that kind of dissection or that kind of, I don’t know, man. It, I, there’s certain people that whenever you know, that they’re literal.

And so they’re a little bit of playing a game with them. You know what I mean? If you’re going to talk about a certain topic that, they know something about, and they’re not going to be able to resist then offering what you know, they’ve talked about before. And so there was one guy that it was about hot and sour soup.

And if you said hot and sour soup at any dinner, they launched into their story about hot and sour soup. It was a button that you could push. And it was like, this is, I thought. People weren’t like that, that they go from context or they go from, has everybody else here already heard my story and therefore, I don’t need to repeat it, but they’re not.

There’s a certain, I don’t know, maybe it’s along the spectrum, maybe it’s that they are [00:16:00] insecure in creation and one off type things, but they know if they told a story, they did get a certain amount of laughter that like any stand-up comic, do you have your tight 10 that, these are your sure-fire good lines.

And if you have to improvise it automatically throws them into a, I don’t, I’m not as confident. I’m not as witty, but I’m just having to create things instead of I’ve had a chance to perfect this, to tighten it up. And I don’t know I feel bad for reciters instead of improv, because most of the world kind of calls on you to be an improper.

You know what I mean? You’re always thinking of the situations that you don’t know what to do next, and keep trying to slot things into a pattern. It’s a very limiting thing to me that we’ve talked about this before, when I speak, I don’t recite, I tend to have an outline and I speak to it. I have so much stuff that I want to say that it never comes out the same way twice, but it doesn’t come across as fragmented.

It comes across as well. That framework is enough structure to hang the entire talk out without having to be okay, [00:17:00] I’m going to start reciting. And then if I get interrupted, Ooh, I’m jarred. And I have to come back to where I was. And I don’t know, some people recite where it’s still very smooth and you don’t know that it’s until you see them like two nights later.

And it’s exactly the same act. You don’t realize that even the pauses, even the little spontaneous quips were like waiting for that to happen. And I don’t know, I just, I tend to not have as much respect for recitation as I do for, and I’m not as good at it when I’ve been in productions, like the Mensa show or something like that.

And I really had to recite somebody else’s life. I don’t mean to hurt their feelings, but once in awhile, often I would come up with, there’s a better line here, but I don’t want to throw off the scene because the scene counts on you. You get on the train and you ride the train and you get off at the end.

And if I go onto a sidetrack here, literally and figuratively I’ve just spoiled this segment of the show. And yet my mind has always been blessed to like, have those, a whole bunch of choices to make. And then when you say one it’s because you thought, what is my [00:18:00] context? It could be the wittiest.

What if people heard before? And you’re almost trying to like. Make myself laugh, build on. I often, if people that I hang out with, I’m like, okay, I’m sorry if you’ve heard this before. And if enough people say, yeah, we have it be like that, let’s move on. I don’t need to see it one more time.


[00:18:19] Stephen: definitely getting loose from my family. Cause I make myself laugh quite often, but they look at me like, what the hell is that it’s okay. They gotten used to it now. And you were talking about the people in meds and I’ve made the observation that if you take any large gathering of bent and you like squish them all together into one person, you would have somebody with super autism because just about everybody has some little quirks and eccentricities and ticks and this and that.

Would false, very high on the autism spectrum scale, but they don’t have enough of them being completely autistic, but everybody has three or four different ones. So it’s a [00:19:00] super interesting diamond. Sometimes you get the personality quartz from just about everybody. It’s who is going to want to discuss something, speak very strictly, somebody who’s joking on everything and somebody who’s into the games, and that’s a thing that a lot of people don’t understand is Mensa isn’t because we can memorize history and we have all the dates.

There are people like that. I’m not one of them. I know general,

[00:19:25] Alan: knowing the dates really funny and interesting.

[00:19:30] Stephen: Yeah. They, they don’t get that. The IQ part of it, there’s different layers and levels of it that different people have different things. They’re smart in just I could be a fast runner, but maybe not as strong rower of a football,

[00:19:44] Alan: that kind of thing.

We’ll tell you, this is a story that I told early on in my Mensa career, but I’ve stopped telling it as much because I’ve said it too many times. My early mentor meetings were very exploratory. Even though I knew I was a smarter from early on, I didn’t discover mints until the [00:20:00] mid seventies.

And I didn’t really, I dipped a toe in with like when I went downtown because there were specific monthly meeting on chest. And that was really into chess and into crypto zoology, which, you’re a collar would be very happy to hear that yet. I was into it early on

[00:20:16] Stephen: crypto means more than just big, fun.

[00:20:21] Alan: Yeah. I remember going to a Mensa meeting and it was like, I also had no idea what it was going to be like, is it going to be okay, everybody share your big IQ is, and let’s all compare our patient. It was instead why ranging conversation. But I also had there was a guy that was really into Sherlock Holmes.

He was one of the baker street irregulars that ran the local chapter in Chicago. And no matter what you were talking about, that’s what he talked about. You talking about something on TV, I’d be like, yes, that also occurred in the sign of the fork. And that level of a little bit of hijacking conversation, a little bit of obsession was a little bit weird.

And so that’s, I I had that taste [00:21:00] out there is that segment of Mensa that there really are two into Legos, two into Sherlock Holmes, whatever else it might be. And that I love Sherlock Holmes know that I was happy to have a conversation with them. But after a while you notice that some other people are checking out of the conversation because they aren’t as into it as a Sherlock Holmes candidate.

And that he can’t stop himself. And so then the next time that I’m with him, maybe I’ll get a little dose of Sherlock Holmes, but he’s not the guy who I’m going to spend the entire gathering with. I want more variety than that. And so that’s just something that you learned that the people that are really into NASA, the people that are really into cooking it’s okay.

My polymathic interests are enough that I can have conversations with each of those people. And I know this is an odd thing to say. I probably have lots of people that think I’m a big friend of theirs because I’m one of the only people that will talk to them. They’re so obsessed in some ways.

And I don’t know that’s only autism. Some people are just really they’re fanatic, they’re [00:22:00] siloed in what they care about. And I like it. Let’s talk about old Woody Allen movies if you’d like, but then after you had that conversation, I’m going out a little bit too long. There are those people and not only immense it, but in the world, when you sit down with somebody and all they want to do is talk like bar trivia about sports and wow, I’m cool that I actually know a couple of these, but that’s not enough.

It’s not enough for all of what you’re out there to be doing in the world. You know what I mean?

[00:22:26] Stephen: And that’s also makes the Mensa gathering so interesting because you will have those people totally into Sherlock home, but you’ll have the other people totally into cryptozoology and other people who read three books a day and other people that are making movie.

That’s the great thing. There’s so many interests. And I think the thing that’s reddening to some people is that because I look at other people and what’s what, what’s their interest. While I go to work, I come home, eat dinner, watch TV till I fall asleep. And [00:23:00] then I watched the game on the weekend.

That’s their whole. And then most of us would kill ourselves and oh my God, I’m so done with this life,

[00:23:08] Alan: yeah. That, that early discovery about Mensa was that, especially your, I really am. I am so curious about everything that going to a place where you did have, I don’t care about having a dozen different obsessive people.

If I get a wonderful conversation with each of them, I’m still, wow. Tell me more about Banff Canada. Tell me more about submarines. It just, I love that kind of thing and it, and in fact, the some part of, one of my super powers is in a crowded place, instead of my having to tune in on a specific conversation, I can go into full receiver mode and catch all of what’s being said, and I can jump in and out of various different conversations.

Pulling a thread from what somebody just said to get them to come into the group. Cause I try to be very welcoming. It isn’t the only a series of one-on-ones. It is cool to have everybody at the table talking about, and there’s a flow to it, of how things go in and out [00:24:00] of what you’re talking about.

The people that insist on bringing the conversation back to only one topic can be disruptive to that. But otherwise it’s cool. I was trying to be an orchestrator of everybody has something to offer, tell us more about you have an ethnicity and cat. That’s not a common cat breed and they would sometimes there’ll be a little start where they go.

Wow. I didn’t realize that he was listening. And what mentioned actually caught that and called me on it, Helen. Cupper where she could tell that I was really picking up on all these little pieces and I gave her that shy smile. And this is funny, what she said was that was the least autistic person that she knew.

And so that’s funny because you and I have talked about where we might be on the spectrum, but actually I guess I have that ability to go wide or narrow focus instead of only being the one or the other. And when she saw me doing that, she was like, really, impressed or at least amused by how has somebody keep all that in their head going on?

[00:25:00] And we’ve it we’ve been in real time into a cool conversation. I don’t know. I’ve always had that, I don’t, I often have music playing while I’m doing other things I have TV on in the background. I, in some ways having something else going on actually helps me to concentrate better on the thing that I’m working on because in the act of tuning this out, it gives you focus on another thing and.

We had a whole list as usual things we were going to talk about. But one of the things that I just said this last week online was my height took, sent me. Hi, just passed away. He’s the author of flow, the psychology of optimal experience. And I’m glad that I thinking about it now because I would have been sad if I had missed it.

That book shaped me incredibly when I read it the way I’m a little Caribbean online with, besides my parents. I can’t think of many things that have had more of an influence on me. He talks about how that flow state of being your master of all the things you’re thinking of and working on you can [00:26:00] keep more in short term memory.

So you’re making connections. You might not ordinarily, you’re so absorbed in this cool, interesting thing you’re working on at that time seems to fade away and you come to two hours later without realizing two hours have passed. I’m really good at that. One of the ways in which I’ve been hyper productive at coding or writing or playing music, making me whatever else it might be.

If I can create that atmosphere of avoiding interruptions, not having it be that there’s other things on my mind that you’re the hyper productivity that you experienced when you’re really good at this thing. And you go into a database and you make it perfect in terms of how it works, how it hangs together, how it talks to the outside world.

It’s hard to explain that to other people that like you make connections that aren’t obvious, but they’re true. They’re real. They bear out to be true a little bit. We’ve talked about with debugging. You know what I mean? It isn’t only that you brute force it. You just have this kind of gestalt understanding of what might it be.

And your first, second, third [00:27:00] guests are very often, right? So that after a while people wow, I don’t know how you do it, but you do it. It’s true that you do this as well. And so hats off to me, high chicks at me. Hi, and all listeners, if you want to get a copy of this book to flow the psychology of optimal experience, it’s a really good.

The presentation of what that is, how it works, how to summit it more into your life. It does have a dark side because sometimes when you over-focused, you really oh, I shouldn’t have played that game. And I played it for three hours and now I still got stuff I should’ve gotten done. So you can’t let it master you, but it has been so much the source of great accomplishments in my life.

When I was working on a Moscow commodities exchange when I was doing gambit and I created my atmosphere of here I am and I’m working at night. So there’s no interruptions in that way. And I got my music on and what most of the people at my shirt office suites were gone. And so I, every night I was like falling into this cool thing of learning a ton.

I’m experimenting a lot, I’m getting calm and just no wonder I was able to [00:28:00] put together something really cool. Maybe even an amazing in about a year that is other people’s like lifetime work. And it was very satisfying, not only in the result of it, but in the. Going into that cool state and to just know that wow, I’m roofs is really working.

I can’t believe, anyway, I hope that you have that too. You have some of the same experiences. I think probably when you play music, now you’ve talked about it. Isn’t only about what you’ve memorized. It’s being in the group. It’s listening to others. There’s a certain motto. It’s not only being by yourself that when you’re in a Janice trio and there’s almost telepathic communication between people that you really do exactly the right shifts and chord changes and teaching just at the right time.

There’s a very satisfying thing too. I took myself out of it. My subconscious, my other mind is doing this instead of my conscious, but I’m creating something new. Improv it’s like that something beautiful. Where did that come from? [00:29:00] I dunno, but I seem to be able to do one on a regular basis. How cool is that?

[00:29:05] Stephen: We talk about that a lot with writing, getting into that flow state and how you can get so much more done in it so much better work. But it’s something you actually have to sometimes work to get to like music, like you said, very good example. I can’t get into that state. I can’t just start letting it flow and expressed until I’ve got the basics mastered until I know the fingerings.

I know the chords, I know the whole fret board, then I can play with my eyes shut because I don’t need to stare at it. Exactly.

[00:29:34] Alan: It’s beyond fundamentals. Yes, absolutely. It’s mastery and the effortlessness of mastery when you’ve already got the 10,000 hours it took to get there.

[00:29:42] Stephen: Yeah, exactly. And same thing with martial arts.

I always, kids who were struggling to get some of the. Form and do those properly and they would just work the right. It’s a little structured in exactly where, how you’re moving at time and they would be very sloppy. [00:30:00] And I would be like, okay let’s go back and let’s work on kicks and punch it.

I know how to do those. You need to do those when you’re, don’t think about it. And you can always see you learn how to fall because we do various self-defense things and we throw people, we take it easy, but you have to know how to fall, so you don’t get hurt, but you have to do those falls so many times that you do it without even thinking and asked my wife, I still do.

I’ve fallen in the dark. Just walked over a little. Cliff almost right. And she’s oh my God, he’s dead. And I stood up, brush myself off. She’s oh my God. Nope. Because instead of putting my hands down and falling on my face, I twisted and no correctly. So I didn’t even get hurt and she’ll grab my arm at times.

And I don’t even think about it. I just flip it around and she’s stop that. And I’m like

[00:30:51] Alan: in your muscle memory now,

[00:30:55] Stephen: the way you don’t think about it, same with this. I just do it. But yes, the flow [00:31:00] state with anything creative and there’s a book out called big magic that touches on that a little bit.

And how you have your creativeness in that. But okay. So I was going to real quick, make a comment of hi on the spectrum or camouflaging, you hide all your autistic stuff, that your spectrum. So

[00:31:21] Alan: it can be that, that those things that are like that I’ve actually learned to put humor to it.

And then it’s more acceptable. If I was only the guy that knows things, he shouldn’t know, and I was wheeling it as a weapon, it wouldn’t be as funny as it. I made a pun out of it and maybe the punt sources of fewer. So that really might be, you’ll learn to,

[00:31:39] Stephen: and there are times I will say something and the people I’m with, look at me like the hell are you saying?

But it’s a little like dry, British humor, a little more Tewari, dark humor, and if I said it to you, you’d probably laugh. I said data meant together. Most of them were gone. Forget it, but sometimes I say it to other people and they don’t always get it. [00:32:00] And I have to watch myself because then I get looked at you’re weird.

[00:32:03] Alan: Yeah. Colleen and I love going to stand up as and one of the interesting that happens at standup is that there are some comedians that are they’re trying out new material, or they know that the material isn’t for everyone. And when we’re sometimes the first people to laugh or the only people to laugh, sometimes they really love, okay.

Someone really got that joke who knew that a joke about moly air would go over in Cleveland, Ohio, but if they make a good enough whatever, and it has nothing to be good enough just has to be, not to everyone’s taste that they’re not expecting to have something be double and triple layered and stuff like that.

But then they start to pay attention to you a little bit more. We usually sit like first, second, third row. We tend to, we don’t mind being near the stage because we are good laughers and we give them good feedback. So they’ll have more fun with their own. And then, it’s kinda funny.

They don’t usually, we’re not the young couple out on a date, so we’re not perfect grist for the mill, but when they talk to us and we don’t try to be funnier [00:33:00] than them, that we just try to give them material to work with. We’ve had a number of people that really seem to be, they don’t mind us being there.

They don’t think that we’re the plant that’s trying to wreck their act. You know what I mean? Or so drunk that they’re insisting on. Give me the mic I’ll do with this show.

[00:33:15] Stephen: Yeah, I can do that. That’s easy. That’s a whole conversation. So you mentioned music. Let me tell you my weekend, I went to new Orleans seat, my vampires in new Orleans vampires in

[00:33:30] Alan: new Orleans.

I knew this was coming. So this was the big world-building workshop, the big shared

[00:33:35] Stephen: okay. Fantastic weekend. First of all our group what it is J thorns, echo Hannon. Create these world-building events with a theme. I went to the one in Salem for witches, and this one was vampires in new Orleans.

And you take a couple extra days, you explore the city, you gather and soak up the atmosphere

[00:33:57] Alan: just to be in a hotel because they [00:34:00] put it in Salem for a reason.

[00:34:03] Stephen: So the highlights of the whole thing, and I have a really cool story. I’ll make sure to share that when the anthology comes out, but the highlights were the very first day kicked off.

It was a zoom call, but Dacre Stoker got on and talked to all of us about the research Bram Stoker related ran nephew. How cool is this? Wow. He so Dacre has researched his it’s his great grand uncle Brahm into his writing and that, and he does talk and he’s fantastic. As. He actually got a first edition that his uncle had and his uncles, his side, and he got those replicated.

So I’m trying to get one. I didn’t know they existed until recently, but anyway, so he actually has worked with JD Barker was mentioned, and they wrote the S the pre-qual, the Dracula using notes that Brom hat trading they figured out where the castle would [00:35:00] be on a map. And they use some of the cars, like in the preface to the Swedish edition of Dracula.

It was longer than English. And he talks about Jack the ripper. So they include Jack the ripper in their pre. A little

[00:35:14] Alan: bit of your Wolf Newton type things where y’all literary giant figures are actually, wow. Did they know each other? Is there a shared world between them? Very interesting.

[00:35:22] Stephen: And he, he didn’t just throw something together.

They literally went to libraries in London in special archives that they’d get permission to get to

[00:35:34] Alan: oil and all that kind

[00:35:35] Stephen: of stuff. They had the actual notes and stuff. And in the margin from made notes of research book, they found research books at the library with his writing in them that he made notes.

So anyway, he talked to us and that was pretty spectacular. Thursday night we went to a private vampire speak easy. You had to hear about it, had to find the right person to get the [00:36:00] password to get in. Wow. That was fun and special really good drinks some of the best drinks.

[00:36:05] Alan: Vampires seemed, in other words, a plasma cocktail or whatever else it might be. I don’t know why

[00:36:10] Stephen: they had that all over the

[00:36:12] Alan: bloody Mary of course, et cetera.

[00:36:14] Stephen: Yeah. We took a couple tours. You couldn’t get into the cemeteries because of COVID, which made no sense you can’t go into a cemetery because they’re worried about COVID but they had a parade that we were packed in sorry, whatever.

Yeah. The parade was crazy. We really didn’t say but it was the first parade in 18. Yeah. Wow. And you

[00:36:35] Alan: were there for that mean that I don’t know, as I’d be a little worried because you don’t know everybody there is going to be safe and you’re worried amongst them and stuff like that. But as long as you were maxed and boosted and all that kind of stuff or mask or whatever you were doing,

[00:36:47] Stephen: most of the places you had to show your card that you got vaccinated.

There was that but just the atmosphere, the. Building and the architecture and all the bumps and everything, [00:37:00] but talking about music, there was a really good street musician and really good. So if you ever go down, this is the tip there’s people all over asking constant there’s people performing on the street.

I said, okay, you know what? That person is working hard. They’re giving me a great song. Whether it’s guitar singing, I gave him some bucks. You’re just coming up saying, Hey, I need some money. Give me some money. No, I’m not doing it. I’m not getting all that. My personal choice, honestly,

[00:37:30] Alan: once again, we’re quite parallel, I haven’t in all those a couple of times and had noticed that same thing and not only Nolan’s, but everywhere, I tend to feel what I don’t have to abase themselves, but I really want it to be that if they’re a busker and they’re doing something to earn money, I encourage that activity, not just the UB done on my lock and I’m not even trying to get any better.

So I tend to be much more generous and [00:38:00] yes, exactly what you’re saying. Okay.

[00:38:02] Stephen: So I got to visit William Faulkner’s house. He lived in new Orleans for awhile. I bought some Faulkner books, which I’ve not owned that he faulted her before. I visited an Rice’s house. So it was an author trip in

[00:38:14] Alan: that regard.

Exactly. And she bases a number of her books on like recognizable scenes, also out in new Orleans, the vampire books. And

[00:38:22] Stephen: the other fun thing for me was I got to visit some of the places they use for settings in MCIs newer with Scott back ULA. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched that show.

They have this. Okay. They have this weird entrance to the. Headquarters and I went to the spot and I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s it. I took a picture of it and I looked through the gray. It was just somebody who. For the apartment. So they always filmed that. So you didn’t see that. So it’s interesting because you think, oh, I go through here and there’s the office and it’s not at all.

It’s not connected.

[00:38:55] Alan: Exactly.

[00:38:56] Stephen: So that was fun. And there was other sites. [00:39:00] I got pictures where they filmed some interview with the vampire. They did the third season of American horror story. And one of the houses Mike Tyson was filming something there. And we were down there

[00:39:12] Alan: studio. I know that when he was doing a like a couple of albums, I think he did based out of a studio.

[00:39:17] Stephen: Yeah. He had a house down there. They point I didn’t see that one, but they told about it and they said, does anyone know who Trent Reznor is? Yeah. He’s from Cleveland. Jesus

[00:39:26] Alan: Broke out of here.

[00:39:27] Stephen: Yeah. So it was a good weekend. I’m excited. We’ve got a lot of good stories. Everybody is excited.

So good vampires. And I picked up way too many books. I said I need to do some good research cause I want to do vampires and Buddha with my story. So I really do need these 17 books because I can’t get sufficient research unless you have 17 bucks. Exactly. Yeah. So

[00:39:51] Alan: I’m hope you don’t mind them.

I’m very curious, like when you guys are deciding what stories are going to be told, is there like negotiation, I guess [00:40:00] multiple people are going to say I want to tell the origin story of this character, but I already have an idea for that. And then they decide who gets what or how they’re going to interlock or do you want,

[00:40:10] Stephen: it’s not that, and that’s really interesting because we want to put all the books are all the stories in the book in a shared world, but we don’t want to force everybody to use the same characters the same time.

So it’s a balance like for the. We said, we want to set it in Salem at any time period. And we were trying to figure out how to connect it because the different people had different aspects of witches they wanted to use, but we didn’t want to limit people. We wanted them to tell their story, it was basically you need widgets.

That’s the whole idea, so we came up with a few conventions, like every story has to involve a spiral that there was a spiral connecting all the different stories world. So it was very loose and open this one wasn’t quite as much, but it didn’t [00:41:00] feel uncomfortable. What we did was we said, okay, we want to set it in the French quarter.

Everybody is in the French quarter with vampires. And then we define what a vampire is. So we would all have similar. If everybody agreed, yes. Reflection that was in our world. Part of I mean there are people sending it contemporary that’s in the two thousands. Mine is like 1700 is when mindset

[00:41:23] Alan: with empires, you can do that because they are indeed immortal, practically.

And so you’re, there really shouldn’t be that there’s a procession through time or that there’s things that happened in the past that might still impact now and generationality and stuff like that.

[00:41:35] Stephen: So it’ll be interesting. It is different because we’re not sitting down all the time.

Like I like TV, people writing for a TV show, they have a Bible, they all follow. I might be writing this episode and you’re on that one, but we’re, we have the same characters, the same works,

[00:41:50] Alan: the show runner. That’s making sure there is continuity and correctness, if you will.

[00:41:54] Stephen: Okay. This is a little bit looser.

Yeah. Let’s everybody have their own [00:42:00] style, their own. Cause I liked right. Middle grade, but other people like to write thrillers, other people like to write contemporary this, so it

[00:42:07] Alan: allows fantasy and on historic fiction and whatever else it might be. Yeah.

[00:42:11] Stephen: Yeah, it’ll be good. So I’ve got both of those books should be coming out next

[00:42:15] Alan: year.

Very cool. Anybody in there that you felt particularly simpatico with? Like sometimes it’s not only that a dozen of us got together, I’ve often had it on projects. That’s me and this person go really easily into aligned Melton. So I have a tighter project. That’s why I would work with first because we’ll be hyper productive together or at least have a ton of fun doing it together.

You know what I mean?

[00:42:36] Stephen: Yeah. Actually several of the people here were also at the witches, but some of the people at the witches one were not here, but some of those same people, I meet with a mastermind group on. And all of us, regardless of the mastermind or these were all in a slack group together, we do a lot of specials.

So there’s various levels of knowing people like this one guy over in California we get along great. Cause [00:43:00] we’re very similar, both nerds. We liked B science fiction, star wars, so when we’re together, it’s Hey lawn, how you know, we talk we’re good old friends. And I haven’t seen him for two years and there’s other people that we talk a lot of author stuff, but I haven’t really worked with a whole lot.

It’s just one of those things being in the room, talking author stuff all day, it creates that bond between people

[00:43:25] Alan: shared experiences and that you all have a vested interest. No, we want these, the anthology to do well. And so you want it to be everybody raise your game. You know what I mean? When you join a new band, you want to be like I don’t want to be the show off, but I also don’t want to be the laggard.

How do we all create something that’s greater than the sum of the parts? You know what I mean? That very cool. Okay. So I’ve never done anything like that. I’m fascinated. You know what I mean? Because I’ve done improv, I’ve done things that were very much a shared activity. And I always, I don’t know.

I am nowhere near a published author as you are. I have magazine articles, I’ve read, done essays. There’s nowhere near a long form type thing. [00:44:00] So I really am respectful of that. But with that also to see the confidence that comes from, it’s not only me running by myself, you’re like opening the kimono to who else you’re going to work with and what your writing style is.

And the idea is we’ve talked a little bit about this. It isn’t that you have a shortage of ideas and the ones you haven’t got to hold onto dying are just more I have so many ideas going through my head, like a meteor shower that I got to pick the ones that are the best out. And sometimes it’s.

Talking to others that you’ll see, which are the ones that really immediately got somebody else’s attention and which are the ones where oh, that didn’t, I didn’t land that didn’t resonate. Maybe I know that one of their conventions for writing is the knife, the baby, the thing that you think is just so precious and so perfect.

Maybe that’s where your blind is about your own self review and that you really might need to have a feedback from other people.

[00:44:50] Stephen: Yeah, definitely better authors figure that out. Now, there was a vampire boutique [00:45:00] down there. And the lady that runs it was going to talk to us, but she just had knee surgery and she just wasn’t up.

But a lot of good stuff in the boutique, I emailed her find who I was. So as an Easter egg in my, so my story is going to involve zombie army. That’s controlling the French quarter and I’m going to use the character. Of this lady that runs the boutique, she led, she’s going to let me use her name. She wants to take over the French quarter.

So she makes a falsey and Thiel raised vampires to fight the zombie army. That’s basically what my story is.

[00:45:35] Alan: Very cool. Thank you for the preload. That’s very cool. All right.

A quick compression of knowledge. I was down there for a tech conference and I remember I might’ve gotten a view. Like of course everybody goes out, you almost become part of the nightlife because you go out when things are hopping. I went out sometimes during the day too. We wandered the city before the tech conference kicked off and I stayed right in the French quarter.

And you know what, seeing the French quarter in broad daylight, not really as intoxicating as [00:46:00] when it’s at night and beads being thrown out for various different. And so I was like, wow, this is maybe a lady of the evening, the morning after a little aged, a little, not quite as impressive as when all the glamour is on from, the excitement and the alcohol and the night.

And it had a certain, like they’re cleaning up from the previous night’s festivities. There’s a certain amount of trash and a certain amount of urine scent and whatever else it might be as like, wow, I wish I hadn’t stayed here because now I’m getting the behind the scenes view that this isn’t magical.

It’s actually, depending on what when you show up, you know what

[00:46:34] Stephen: We do hear a lot of good bands. We went to a couple bars just to hear some pants. There’s a bar down there that is in the oldest building being used as a bar in the country from like seven. And so that was cool. And I did go to a bookstore and I found one of Bill’s books that I didn’t have.

So I held it up and sent a picture to him and Bria. I said, I went to new Orleans. All I got was this book.

[00:46:58] Alan: When he’s got like [00:47:00] dozens of books, it’s fun to find one that maybe is even out of print, but there is still in this school bookstore. So for them, yeah.

[00:47:06] Stephen: So I’ve got most of his stuff by now.

So it’s harder to find

[00:47:10] Alan: good for you for going to music when you’re in a town that like is made out of music, he got to go to the bars in Austin. He got to go to the bars in new Orleans. Cause that’s such a great music town, so good for you.

[00:47:20] Stephen: Music is wonderful. That’s one of the things I wanted to go hear some good jazz and and it’s actually hard on bourbon street.

You have to go to Frenchmen street for the jazz and blues, all that stuff. Bourbon street. This is how it was explained to me that after Katrina in 2008, a lot of the old time places that were there left, the people were done and they didn’t come back. It was very modern. And so there’s a lot of rock bands, cover bands, and it’s not the traditional feel and style.

[00:47:56] Alan: Interesting. I was actually, I was going to ask about that, sometimes CDs go through [00:48:00] dramatic changes like that, where there’s a big fire and they start over, like they did in Chicago. There’s a big flood. And like you said, people leave or things that were, are washed away or made at least unusable.

And so sometimes seeing those levels of Troy that kind of build up over the years. It’s very interesting, but can also be heartbreaking. It’s man, all my life I wanted to go to, I dunno this particular on Bleecker street in Memphis. And then just before I got there, they had a fire and burnt out and it’s now all I have is the rolling stone references.

I never got a chance to go to it. And that’s,

[00:48:31] Stephen: that’s tough. So I did see.

I will say advice

[00:48:37] Alan: by the way.

[00:48:37] Stephen: My advice is when you get there, there’s a sightseeing bus port, the double Decker bus called hop on hop off site, seen tours or something like that. Just buy tickets, make it for two days or more, if you can, just because from our hotel, we could jump on a bus within a block and it took us down to the French quarter with cafe.

Which is [00:49:00] big for the coffee and the vignette. And we didn’t have to walk. It was only like 0.8 miles. But if you’re walking 0.8 miles there and back, and you do that two or three times, you’re like, okay, I’ve done. Okay.

[00:49:10] Alan: So depending on temperature, depending on how much time you have to put into it, just that I, Colleen and I have done things like that in multiple cities or Austin, Toronto, and so forth. We tend to walk everywhere we go. But after a while, you’re like if we’re going to get six things done today that we want, but I didn’t want to pair it back before. Let’s find the easy way to get around in that old metal staple.


[00:49:28] Stephen: I CA I looked at my Fitbit, I put in 37 miles.

[00:49:33] Alan: So hats off, man. That’s great.

[00:49:35] Stephen: Hiking. All I needed was a backpack. All right. So we talked Halloween, we talked new Orleans. What else is on our list? Oh

[00:49:44] Alan: Actually, so here, it’s funny. We really will do not just a non sequiturs, but segues one of the things that like the shared world thing a variation on that is where sometimes things have gone on for a while and the original, the creator passes, but [00:50:00] there really are a desire to keep the series going.

There’s rational inheritors to that. So dune is on TV right now. And Frank Herbert wrote the initial dune books, but there’s actually, besides the, let’s say half a dozen in the initial dune books. There’s another half of those and that were written by his son. And I think Brandon Sanderson,

[00:50:18] Stephen: Michael J or Kevin J.

Anderson. Kevin J.

[00:50:21] Alan: Anderson. Thank you exactly. Yes, I should have. Yes. They fill in like more about the money. Gesserit more about the, how spice and space holding was first discovered and Dunkin, Idaho. And they, the fact that I really liked the fact that they were able to capture the not only.

The universe of it, the characters of it, but that the writing style was similar enough that it wasn’t jarringly well, before I was doing jazz and I’m doing rock and roll, that kind of thing. And there’s been any number of things where sometimes they try to continue it and maybe it is jarringly different.

But for instance, I love the Robert B. Parker wrote us a number of series. Spencer’s his most well-known creation. The tough guy, [00:51:00] private, I probably 40 in the series, at least three dozen, something like that. And he passed away 10 years ago, but the books about Spencer and about Jesse Stone up in paradise and about Sonny Randall have continued to come out.

And the foundation that, that is, the Robert B’s, Robert B. Parker, I dunno, trust continues to find authors that seem to have a good feel for how they were written a good feel for the characters. And that there’s been very few books that were like, oh, okay. The series is dying now because they, James Bond has been on and off with people that followed Ian.

I could read it. We can start naming them. Sometimes it seems like it’s a certain model. There’s money to be made. And sometimes it’s they made a movie that wasn’t based on the books, but someone’s going to do a serialization and adaptation of that. Anyway, maybe they could write original James Bond books.

And so I have my favorites for what seemed to really be like in the spirit of Phil Jose Farmer or Ian Fleming or whatever else it might be. And that’s a shared world, where there’s the guy sound like [00:52:00] Parker would have written Spencer. Yeah, it’s got that same.

Terseness kind of a Hemingway ask, it’s all dialogue, it’s all very, there’s very little exposition, it’s all action and movement and key things happening as opposed to the loving descriptions of breakfast and whatever else, and so I’m impressed with the people that can do that, that they know that so well that they can fake being another person.

You know what I mean? Having said that what’s that like for the person that’s the author, and maybe you have bumped into this and some of you have interviewed various different undiscovered authors, but I always thought, boy, I would really if I was going to have a series to have it be just mine.

Part of what comes on in comic books is we wrote a really good dirt a series, but you didn’t create it. You know what I mean? Frank Miller for all that, he wrote a fantastic run on Daredevil. You didn’t originate that character. And what is it like to come into something where it’s not only yours, that you stepped in, wrote some great dude patrols and then step back out.

There’s a [00:53:00] different mindset to that. How much of a stamp can you put on?

[00:53:02] Stephen: I know there are a couple people authors I know that work in or created share. I haven’t done anything other than this vampire, which has stopped, which is a very loose definition of a sheriff world. We’re not trying to create actual history that everyone stays within Canon.

There’s no. The one that I know Kindle used to have a shared worlds thing where you could write your books and put it in this Kindle world, and then other authors could write in that world and it would put it all together. So if your

[00:53:34] Alan: world was convincing enough, you would actually attract people to also contribute.


[00:53:38] Stephen: And there’s an author, a Michael Angela, who does that a lot. He’s very much like James Patterson where just about every book that comes out with is with a co-op. So here’s this world to theory and a world believe that as essentially he’s written some books in, but then there’s three times as many authors have written in [00:54:00] that world with interesting, Michael Angela is one to look up.

He liked that thing.

[00:54:07] Alan: I will. In fact, the whole world of fanfiction, we haven’t really talked about this before. You’ll be signed to the real world of books, getting published by publishers and making it into bookstores. There’s been fan fiction for a long time. And a lot of self-publishing on the net started because someone had written a really good star Trek book, but the star Trek publishers wouldn’t do it.

And they were like, there, of course we’re all is matters of copyright. And you can’t just start talking about Kirk and Spock and especially fanfic because a certain amount of, Ooh there’s stuff going on there that would never been approved on DB, alien romance and whatever else it might be.

But there I like the fact that people love those things well enough that they’re going to write more Firefly episodes. They want that world to continue. And so they do it and sometimes. The originals, the owners of such copyrights really clapped out and don’t want that. And another case is they have an awareness of the network effect that said, if we want this to continue to be in the public [00:55:00] consciousness, doing this for free.

Wow. Why not? Whatever the entanglements of you might loosen your copyright a little bit, but you’ve got twice as much material for people to know that it exists in the serenity and Firefly. Yeah. That’s an

[00:55:14] Stephen: interesting trade-off. I think sometimes the big corporates don’t get the world in that way.

The way the world is now and the way kids and younger people think about it. A big example is star Trek because there’s been fanfiction on the net since the net was created with star.

[00:55:31] Alan: Absolutely. All you could download was texts. That’s what

[00:55:34] Stephen: there was. And not only that, we have the a Starfleet.

That was totally based on star Trek, that uses the same, the cling ons and everything else that they throw. And it wasn’t, it was overlooked for a long time even when they were doing next generation and all of those, but then when the new movie were coming out, they clamped down on it and the lawyers sent out cease and desist and [00:56:00] they closed down all these websites.

[00:56:02] Alan: And that’s what it can be once there’s real money involved. Now it is time to tighten things up. And also sometimes it’s just a matter of quality. I read a lot of fanfic that was like, it is no wonder that this didn’t get published. You know what I mean? You need an editor, you need to have a better grasp of the characters, whatever it was that, that it wasn’t of sufficient professional quality.

It was loving, but it sure wasn’t great,

[00:56:21] Stephen: right? The reason they clamped that. Sometimes it’s erroneous that they say we don’t want people to get confused as to what the official stuff is. I don’t think people get confused. And I think it’s almost like kicking the fans in the teeth. We know you love it, but we want you to pay us for it, with some of this stuff.

But if you let the people go, let them write those stories. And in fact, George Lucas encouraged that for years with the videos. I don’t know if you ever saw they had a yearly fan movie award where I have seen

[00:56:56] Alan: this and he was one of the guys. Thank you for mentioning him because I knew that there [00:57:00] were some that still had enough of the rebel spirit.

Enough of the, this universe is big enough. I like I’ve already made a skillion dollar. I don’t need to make the next skillion. It’s okay to loosen the reins a little bit, but I’m saying that and the money lawyer, et cetera, people saying that not automatically

[00:57:16] Stephen: matching, I think what he realized that like a paramount.

Is this, the people writing the fan fiction and lovey aren’t hurting your brand. It’s not making people go, oh, I’m not going to watch the new star Trek movie. Cause man, I have fan fiction. It’s that keeping it alive. These people love it and they want to keep it alive. And that’s the same as going to concerts.

You remember back in the day, you tried to smuggle a recorder in how you’d get kicked out and banned and your ticket ripped up and all sorts of stuff. And now everybody has a cell phone and they’re finding that the more people record, the more they want to hear the music by the shirts and this, that, and the other thing, that’s

[00:57:55] Alan: exactly what a while to get to that.

You know what I mean? And there’s been, it hasn’t been [00:58:00] smooth. There’s been all kinds of fits and starts. That’s not that’s piracy. And if you’re really are not only recording it, but selling it as if you’re the authorized misrepresenting is a different thing. And that’s always what I thought the cases were about.

It, wasn’t just about that thing exists. It’s more how you’re representing it as if it is the real thing. Could it be mistaken for the real thing? If people didn’t know any better, it’s how much income or you’re really taking away or how much a brand, it’s not only a matter of money, it’s a matter of Goodwill, if you will.

If it can’t be mistaken for that, even if it uses exactly the same names, then it doesn’t really violate copyright or at least arguably it doesn’t. And so that’s what some of the cool cases have been about is trying to say, there’s no way that someone could have mistaken. The fact that you’re worried about I don’t know, a book series about Hellmann’s and you’re saying people will not buy mayonnaise because of your books.

Come on. You’re being ridiculous. You know what I mean?

[00:58:50] Stephen: And it’s funny because we get. Higher up corporate gets so worried in America about all these stomping on [00:59:00] copyright, but you know how many countries there are, where they have bootleg CDs, you buy on the corner and movies, and it’s the wrong covers.

[00:59:08] Alan: There’s whole three blocks districts, Tokyo, where that’s all it is a bootleg. You know what I mean? Not only their own stuff, obviously it has been that way for a long time. And I don’t know, I’m a big believer in intellectual property. I really want the people that did create it or were instrumental in its existing at all.

They should indeed get a, just recompense for that. But then the reason that they have copyright law was because they said, okay, it exists in the author should be rewarded. And at first it was like 17. Then it was 31. I’m trying to think of the exact numbers. But when they tried to make it okay, that’s going to be for like 91 years, three generations of people that the deal that you make with society that, okay, now it’s in the public domain and other people can make use of your good ideas.

The more you break that deal. The more it doesn’t acknowledge that society has a [01:00:00] vested interest in having a good artist community and in participating in that art as well. And the more that you tilt the table towards one or the other, the more it’s sure, you’re going to have the copyright for 90 years, but I’m willing to bet that it won’t last more than 30 because people are going to stop caring about it.

If even the act of saying it, somebody is handing them a subpoena,

[01:00:18] Stephen: So no longer say Heimlich maneuver, they copyrighted it and they enforce it and it’s okay, but did they really, is that, yeah, you didn’t hear that. You have to call this out. That makes me vomit have to call it an upward.

It’s like the Rocky horror picture shell,

[01:00:37] Alan: As I love words and study of words. And when you find out all the eponymous things that have become like aspirin, wasn’t always just taken aspirin. It was originally a brand name, you name it, cleanups, there’s all kinds of things. And those were some of the first cases that were about it.

Isn’t only like that you want to protect your brand name as well. Aren’t you proud that if anybody in the world thinks of something [01:01:00] for the headache, they say aspirin, we couldn’t get better brand

[01:01:03] Stephen: penetration. You know what I mean? The vampires in new Orleans, here’s a, here’s an example of fanfiction and copyright and everything.

So Brahms Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897. He died in 1912 and during his, he was already in his forties. He wrote that it wasn’t like you wrote it. Live the life of luxury based on this property for hit because during his lifetime, it was not that popular. I think I think baker said they sold like 2000 copies of the book, which is actually quite a few,

[01:01:37] Alan: not exactly the copies for the Potter books.

[01:01:42] Stephen: And now Dracula is in the public domain. There are go look on Amazon, just look up Dracula and count how many books use Dracula this, that how many movies they made, Dracula’s daughter ride seven brides of Dracula and all that. And it’s in the public domain. I can go to Gutenberg and [01:02:00] download the full text of Dracula and read it for free.

But Dacre said since it was published, it has never gone out of public. So it’s still being purchased, still being bought. And I saw a, an annotated copy. With an intro by Neil Gaiman, I’m like, oh my God, I’m on vacation. I don’t want a big ass book of $80 for this, but I’m glad to look that up, cause you know, when you’re really into it, that’s the type of thing you want to get that. So I just I, it’s a win-win everybody likes Dracula. It’s still super popular because it’s good and busy. You may have heard about this recently with Disney, when Disney bought Lucas film and all the star wars property, they stopped paying the author for the books.

They still sold the books, but they stopped paying the author. And none of the others were big enough until Kevin J. Anderson said, [01:03:00] wait a second. I’m not getting paid. And he had the clout

[01:03:03] Alan: to go to court. This that, now you should just say cut them off.

[01:03:07] Stephen: You know what they said? They said we bought the property, but we didn’t buy the responsibility of.

[01:03:14] Alan: So just that saying that out loud, doesn’t it make you like, you get to go to hell. You know what I mean? Everyone in the world would say that is the sneakiest thing you could possibly have.

[01:03:26] Stephen: Wow. It is Kevin J. Anderson going want to write a other star wars books? No, Chuck Wendig wrote some really great star wars books in the new Canon.

And I heard him on an interview with Jay. He said, yeah, I don’t want to go do that again. It was miserable to work in that environment. And it’s hello, you’re destroying the property. You just paid $4 billion for

[01:03:50] Alan: that’s a great way to put it. It, isn’t only a matter of them being, if you will decent people, it is a matter of you.

You have this asset don’t you want to retain the value of the asset. And part of what you want to do is [01:04:00] have every one of those authors could be your Goodwill ambassador. If you treat them decently. And if not, then they’re actually like, like everything that goes on with any review on. When I don’t get my car fixed correctly, it isn’t only that you lost my business for the rest of my life.

You’ve lost the 20,000 people and I’m going to be, makes me very well aware of what fucking cheats you are. You know what I mean? And I don’t know how people don’t, especially in this interconnected world that people just blindly don’t seem to care about that. And yet that, I guess there is some proof that public sentiment is, they got the attention span of a house fly.

They really don’t retain from one thing to another.

[01:04:40] Stephen: And I think what’s sad for me. Whoever is in the board room, looking at the chart and the spreadsheets it’s oh, this book only brought us in a hundred thousand dollars. That’s not enough money to make it worth it, but what they totally miss is that book then led to a sequel and another sequel.[01:05:00]

And that book led to kids buying costumes based on those characters. And that book led to it’s more of a, there can be things that don’t earn as much money, but support the things that I guess that’s why I’m not running the corporate boardroom because I’m open-minded about it or something.

[01:05:21] Alan: I dunno, it’s a sad way to close if you will. But one of the things I always talk about is when that decision gets done, it isn’t only that one person who said that there must have been 10 other pairs of eyes, the lawyers, the merchandisers, the marketeers, whatever else it might be. And they all said, yeah, time to screw these people.

Yeah. Do you want, the w what’s the great quote from dune, the the power to destroy something is the power over it. And sometimes that’s what people think is they want to not only have it so they can make use of it and make it better, but now they have the control over everybody else that says, if you don’t do what I say, I’ll just destroy it.

I’ll take my ball and go home. And that’s a sick way to look at the [01:06:00] world. And increasingly co-mingled collaborative world. And yet, as if that’s new, there’s all kinds of people that have always tried to corner the market on a commodity that everybody needs, whether it’s gold or trees or insulin or whatever else, it might be that’s how they get power is by scarcity.

Artificial, sometimes created scarcity and their ability to, they just want the one that someone has to come to them and ask, and they love, there’s a visceral love of being able to say no, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it in people where they really, I wish I wasn’t making this. Where someone like shuttered as if sexually, when they made a decision that they knew had a big impact on another person.

That weird power thing is really true for some people they’re like, wow, I just, I don’t have that. And I think it’s sick that really, you’re not pursuing this to make the world a better place to make more cool things exist to make your fair share. Nope. You want to be the decider [01:07:00] and not decide that you want to be the monster, the authority monster.

[01:07:05] Stephen: You’re here. Here’s your real quick two things. One defiant. This just sums up the whole world when I can go buy a sugary that is unhealthy for me. And it is cheaper than getting water that doesn’t explain the world right there. Number two, before we go, my music recommendation of the week Kiefer Sutherland has come out with his second.

It’s a very, almost country, a little, maybe Bob Dell is shit. It’s just a lot of tunes that you can pick up in a two-state guitar and start strumming and sing. And he has the first, I don’t know, first song or not, but one of the songs I’ve heard called something I love. It’s just stuck in my head.

I love the theme of the song that it’s, there’s nothing like outrageously cool about the song other than it really is inspirational. And that’s cool. That’s my music of the week. I’ve had it on [01:08:00] repeat for a while, listening to it. Cause I’m wanting to get all the lyrics down. I want to learn how to play the, it’s got three chords.

It’s not a difficult song. Yes.

[01:08:08] Alan: So actually thank you. I hope you don’t mind. One more minute. Just on the net before we started to talk, came on. Announcement of Robbie Steinhardt, Zoe has passed away, has a new album. Called not in Kansas anymore. He was the lead violinist and co vocalists for Kansas for there for a long time, went away, came back, et cetera.

And I don’t have it yet. So I can’t vouch for its overall equality, but of course they have enough teaser, little bits of music. Cause it sounds like Kansas, it’s wonderful and overblown and lyrical and pompous. And the, and the violin as a lead instrument can be very emotional and evocative. And I just, if this was what he was working on before he passed it, it sure looks like not only are Kansas albums still a great, the absence of presence is great, et cetera, primitive person, but Steve Walsh, his solo album, especially one called glossolalia is one of my, I returned [01:09:00] to that album when I don’t know what else I want to listen to again and again, because it’s so good in terms of, it sounds Kansas city enough, but it’s different enough that I get a new experience.

Having said that Colleen and I were. Starting to come out into the world. Again, we’ve been very careful about comedy clubs and concerts and stuff like that about making sure we were fully vaccinated and what the place is like the people’s bank theater down in Marietta, Ohio has Kansas coming up the weekend before Thanksgiving.

And I they’ve always done a great show and the live albums that they put out when they were doing like the complete leftover show in the cleat point and overturn sound fantastic. And so I wanted to go see them and we just, that tickets weren’t inexpensive. And yet I was going to be like, okay, let’s go down there for Thanksgiving.

We’ll do a little bit of Christmas shopping and it’ll be crisp fall air, and we’ll go to the glass museum and whatever else is in cool Marietta, Ohio. But the overall thing is I just can’t wait to hear Kansas live again. They really, I love them. I really love that they are hearing the wall live [01:10:00] just, it is inspirational and transporting and the way that you just talked about something to love.

So I, I love that experience, man. That’s another flow activity. I go to a concert. Through lay my air keyboards, see when every song. Okay. All right, man. It was a pleasure. Steven, take care. I’m glad you’re okay.