Episode 79 – It’s Christmastime

Argh! We start off – by missing the first 10 minutes of our conversation. Totally my fault. We didn’t even notice that it wasn’t recording. At least it was only the first topic, which was the disappointing concert we attended on Saturday night. Definitely wasn’t as good as a couple years ago.

Then we talk about how the city of Lorain seems to be trying to make itself better. We know a lot about urban planning and improving a city because we play Simcity. 🙂

We start discussing our decorations and Christmas plans. Next year we’d like to have a contest to create the coolest light display that we program ourselves.




What was the real name of the Jetson’s dog?

What planet did silver surfer come from?



[00:00:37] Alan: they’ve made a point.

[00:00:39] Stephen: We missed our whole talk on first snow. Forgot to record. Go on. It’s we’re talking about first snow, which we didn’t completely enjoy and yeah,

[00:00:50] Alan: if it was coming in late, yeah. We went to see first know, which is TSL covered. And they were good, but not great. And so we were happy that we paid less than what you pay for TSL, because it was worth that.

[00:01:02] Stephen: So anyway, but you were talking about Lorraine. I love where you’re going.

[00:01:04] Alan: I mean, a whole bunch of things to talk about here. I’ve always loved little downtowns. I grew up in Chicago and where each of the downtowns we lived in the Chicago suburbs and elk Grove didn’t really have a little downtown, but some of the older suburbs, like Arlington Heights and display and so forth, had a nice downtown and it was worth taking the train to it or drive into it.

[00:01:23] Alan: And especially now, like for Christmas, where. Four or six blocks. You just had all kinds of fun, little boutique-y stores. There was almost always a bookstore, a toy store, places that worked for my geek case. They had what I wanted. There might be an ice cream story of in the middle of winter. I’ll go and get a basket of Robbins.

[00:01:38] Alan: I seen whatever was wrestlers around here in Ohio. That was in Chicago too. Anyway, I love when they, that we’ve been in a number of them from our travels all around the United States. Sometimes you really find a town that’s cut down on its luck. And it’s always a little bit sad. There are some places restaurants or, or the one car dealer that are hanging on, but they didn’t make that big plan as a community.

[00:02:00] Alan: You say, we’re just not going to let this happen. We’re not gonna let Walmart hollow out our downtown, come on everybody. We need a coffee shop. We need a clothing store. I don’t know how they do it. They support it. They do cross selling between the various different stores. They have a kind of a civic fund or whatever, and some of the way you do that.

[00:02:17] Alan: And you don’t just depend on only local business. You say events let’s have a doggy costume festival, Halloween let’s have a Christmas lighting ceremony. And so I love finding those places that are still doing that because it has all that like wander and discovery of my youth. And one of the reasons I said, this goes everywhere is I’m really discovering.

[00:02:37] Alan: So someone just posted, there’s a number of wonderful books coming out where here’s classic science fiction from the fifties to the eighties. It isn’t a very prototypical stuff that happened from Vichy Wells and Jules Verne. But what really grew the field was all this kind of stuff. And a lot of that stuff is now being lost.

[00:02:53] Alan: It’s not carried by Amazon or a Libra or bookshop. It just seems to be on the shelves and little used bookstores. And unless you know enough about it to even pick it up in the first place, it’s really easy to pass it by. But when I saw this cover, which happened in oh six by 6 36, I’ve read about half of these and loved every one of them.

[00:03:13] Alan: But I also haven’t seen them in 30, 40 years. I’m reinspired to go to those little used bookstores and we’ve got a couple in Lakewood. There’s a couple of other ones sprinkled around Cleveland. And in fact, when I first got in town, one of the things I did, how do I get to know a city is I’m going to the bookstores.

[00:03:28] Alan: I’m going to the music stores, I’m going to the game stores. And it took me all around. So I learned, oh, that’s where Middleburg Heights is. That’s where Cleveland Heights. And I have gotten away from that. Like all the world has because Amazon makes it so easy for everything modern and even everything devastate to do that.

[00:03:44] Alan: And yet not currently, there’s any number of things that I added to my queue, honestly, 10 or 20 years ago, because I am so omnivorous. I hardly buy anything when it first comes out, I wait for prices to drop. I wait for used verses to come out, but now what I’m finding out. I can’t outlast him. It doesn’t drop in price.

[00:04:02] Alan: It goes away. It becomes unavailable. And so this puzzle that I really would like now it’s not even available the manufacturer, doesn’t restock it. Oh, I need to get back into the habit of looking for certain things that I really would like and make it a treasure hunt again. And actually that’s again for the nostalgia, but really true, man, when I was growing up, was there anything that I love more than walking into a used bookstore, right.

[00:04:26] Alan: And there’s that smell of old paper and there’s just treasure everywhere. It’s sorted, but not exactly. And I laughed about it. What am I going to do? When I come? He was bookstore, come out with a sore neck because I’m going to have to tilt my head like this, to read all this plays in the books this way and look specifically, okay, we’re going to start with, what were they misfiled?

[00:04:45] Alan: AAE van Vogt. His last name is van, but they put it under NCA. It was, you really had to go hell by island shelf. But I would always walk out of there with 3, 4, 10 things for good prices that were treasurer. And I miss that. I want to do that again as if I need to have more things in my life. And yet I’ll tell you, it’s also, there’s a whole bunch of good stuff coming out, but there’s also a whole bunch of direct coming out.

[00:05:10] Alan: Sturgeon’s law to name science-fiction wise is that 90% of everything is crap. And I really am discovering that. Then I might have, like, I go online at, Hey, give me some recommendations for new stuff. And I’ve tried for instance, reading why a fiction. I really, when I was a young adult, I like reading certain things that were in veterans, Newburgh, calling of age tales or whatever, but now any number of things that I’ve tried, they’re like these aren’t young adult, these are just like stupid defied books.

[00:05:36] Alan: There’s not much difference at plot the plot. There’s not, there’s so many stuck characters. The startlement the wonder that I used to feel for reading a really good experimental, interesting book. And maybe it’s because the field is so well plowed that you just don’t get that kind of thing. But then I do want to go back to where what’s the first book about cyborgs.

[00:05:55] Alan: Let me read man, plus by Frederick poll about the first time that we talk about human enhancement and what kind of impact that might have on society. And one of the cool things about reading old 50, 60 seventies books is what came true. And what did some people really were smart in their extrapolations and some people went into right field.

[00:06:12] Alan: And then, so I, I guess I love, I’ve always loved that when I read polyps, how about, how did I learn so much about the thirties, forties, fifties of the United States, not from history class, but by reading these books that had the everyday life, the everyday crime life, the scientific discoveries that when they first had working jet planes, when they first discovered that things fluoresce under black.

[00:06:34] Alan: It was the coolest thing. What about when I dunno, antibiotics first became available that they were miraculous, not just, oh yeah. Go get a script, but take your Z-pack and your dog. There’s a sense of wonder that. I guess I’m got to go back to get the Tarzan and the doc Savage and the shadow and all the cool old science fiction.

[00:06:53] Alan: Sorry, I haven’t let you get a word in, but I had this all in me.

[00:06:58] Stephen: No, I agree. I that’s why with my kids, when we went on vacation, we always looked for a bookstore or two, and that’s why on my author website, I’m putting bookstores. I visit putting pictures, descriptions, links,

[00:07:12] Alan: and our support

[00:07:15] Stephen: connection.

[00:07:15] Stephen: Exactly. Absolutely. And what I want to do is meet up with some of the authors I’ve interviewed at the bookstores and do like a walkthrough. So we’ll share the Brisbane

[00:07:26] Alan: local to the place I’ve been out. Maybe Yellowstone or grand Tetons or something like that. There were some authors there that worked particularly in that drawn road, Hardy, a thousand outdoorsmen adventures and stuff like that.

[00:07:37] Alan: And I know with Calvin and how’s bill Waterson still lives in Cuyahoga falls. And if you go to the bookstore that’s in Cuyahoga falls, you’ll often find he comes in and signs books for them. How cool is that? That it’s not the big signing event. It’s more like nobody really knows what he looks like, except he has caricature himself.

[00:07:56] Alan: And now at 20 years since he came, went away from public life. And so you just see this pleasant older man, not older, my age, our age, we’re not older. We’re still in the prime of life. That the magic gift that he gives from living there. And I love finding that Colleen has a book from like 18. I don’t remember exactly, but it’s signed by one of Napoleon’s lieutenants.

[00:08:20] Alan: Like she checked into what does this signature mean? And it was like, so what’s the provenance of this was this given as a gift that someone say, Hey, you’re featured in this book. And so you are at the same, what would call it signature fever that we sometimes have nowadays that must have existed over the course of time.

[00:08:36] Alan: That if you have not only Frankenstein, but Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Oh my that’s pretty cool. She touched

[00:08:43] Stephen: that book, uh, Indiana Jones get Hitler’s signature on the diary, right. Going back to Lorraine for a second. And the buildup, that’s what we noticed with the restaurant, because it wasn’t a layout of a typical restaurant and it looks like the walls.

[00:09:01] Stephen: Yeah. The walls were newly painted. There were still some holes in the ceiling and stuff. So it does look like it’s revitalizing him. I’m excited. I like when that happens and we joked about it because yeah, we know about this. Cause we played SIM city. If your little area starts with the D on the down client, you got to put in a park, you have to widen the road and

[00:09:19] Alan: make it more livable, making people want to come downtown.

[00:09:21] Alan: So they have Christmas lights up and funny. And Colleen and I really still do that as an exploration when we go to not only national parks, but state parks, like in Ohio, there’s all those little towns nearby. And instead of going to the outskirts of town and having crap from McDonald’s, we make a point of going to the mom and

[00:09:37] Stephen: pop restaurant.

[00:09:39] Alan: And I don’t know, Vermilion for instance is a really nice older town. They have a winter festival every year. And so it’s like not only we get to see the cool ice cultures, but let’s go in and have a place where they still make a real molted shake, where they put like malt powder in it. It tastes dusty.

[00:09:57] Alan: And you know what I mean? We have had so many good experiences that it’s no wonder that we now do that even more because we just love discovering those places a little, not at all a family business, that’s been in the family for three generations or candy. That’s still made when I was in Champaign-Urbana for school.

[00:10:14] Alan: One of the cool things was just campus town. Then all you got to do is go to downtown champagne or downtown or Abana. And you find out that these people make candy canes by hand, these people were the first ones that didn’t just let popcorn B, but decided to caramelize it or cheese eyes or whatever else it might be.

[00:10:31] Alan: And that was just like, they, these families had these innovations that it wasn’t craft that decided to make popcorn co and then enough. So I’ve always. Doing that kind of exploration. And sometimes when you’re there, you don’t just buy things. You like talk with the owners and they are so happy to tell you about, yeah, we’re in a building that’s, we’ve been in this building since 1860 or whatever like that.

[00:10:54] Alan: You know what I mean? Just the other day I found some civil war Grapeshot or something like that. Push on a wall. I love all of that kind of history. And, um, I love the persistence. You want to have so many, you were just talking about it the other time about anything that breaks. It’s just disposable. And I like it where people said, no, we’re going to keep this tin ceiling and we’re going to like fix the plumbing instead of tear it out because it’s cool to have exposed venting or piping or something like that.

[00:11:25] Alan: As long as it doesn’t sprinkle on the customer. And if anything, we’ve learned a lot of man, something that was built a hundred years ago, a lot of like cast iron. It is no wonder that it’s lasted a hundred years. Meant to like, have to be, to be replaced in 20 years, barely enough PVC pipe to hold the pressure kind of things.

[00:11:45] Alan: Sometimes they said, if I’m going to live in this house, I’m going to make this staircase that it’s not ever shifting. Perfectly built those older places, the

[00:11:54] Stephen: architecture and the pride of it. And we’ve got here in Ravenna, they over the last decade or so, they’ve been revitalizing it, but trying to make it that old timey feel they, they got some standards for the facade on the front colors and the way it should look, they’ve got awnings over things.

[00:12:14] Stephen: They put some murals back on the sides of some of the buildings and they put up lights that looked like gas lamps, but they’re electric and they turn them on at night doing free movies on the courthouse lawn doing, they actually have a group called main street. And they organize his activities throughout the year.

[00:12:31] Stephen: Thanks for kids things for families, the local sports team, but that kind of thing. It’s, it’s nice. Especially when we went and saw some of the movies out on the courtyard, when the lights come on and it’s just, you’re looking at this as pretty much just a rundown garbage heap, like it used to be there’s businesses.

[00:12:48] Stephen: We have a popcorn business, an ice cream business, a new little winery, one of those hippie smoke shops, just lots of cool little stuff to go downtown

[00:12:58] Alan: often like Connie and I, we were not funny. We really spent almost all of our time while we’re on our trips, hiking and doing outdoorsy things, but you’d go to dinner and then you just take a walk through the neighborhood.

[00:13:08] Alan: And I never mind like small places don’t often have the cut rate prices of category killer type stores, but I don’t mind paying a little bit more because I am helping them stay open and be like, here’s this, I’ve got to show all the things they did to lure me here. Make me comfortable what a cool awning, what beautiful.

[00:13:26] Alan: I want to pay for that ambulance. I’m willing to pay that little extra because you made the experience nice. Instead of walking into a faceless Walmart, Kmart target, they really have their uses. Of course, what do I buy? Bundles of six pairs of white socks. I go to those kinds of places, but for kitschy little cool stuff.

[00:13:44] Alan: I don’t know. On our honeymoon, we went to bar Harbor.

[00:13:46] Stephen: I have a totally,

[00:13:48] Alan: it’s a touristy place. So there’s nothing of substance there, but every place you go into, they really have, I don’t know. Here’s about the Atlantic and maritime stuff. Here’s the kitschy little candles. It’s all kinds of stuff that just, that all those stores that I don’t know what I’m going to find.

[00:14:05] Alan: So you just walk in and once in a while. So we just on our, let’s see, we ended. Why am I not thinking of the name? It’ll come up. Maybe near where we went to the world’s biggest cuckoo clock, eight town has a standing cuckoo clock that actually were there for high noon. So got to see the little show where they come out and they do the whirling twirling and the own pop band is going and stuff like that.

[00:14:27] Alan: And there was a store nearby called something like every season or something. And it was extensive, had all kinds of cool stuff, but we just didn’t find anything that captured. Do you know what I mean? I don’t want to just spend money to spend money when I was like, well, my usual equation of, I want this place to stay open.

[00:14:44] Alan: Surely I can find an ornament. Surely I can find something that I like here. And instead we just didn’t, I don’t know if we felt rushed or whatever, and I, wow. I felt bad. You know what I mean? Whatever that little equation that deal that you make over, you’re going to go to a small town and support it. I think we were on the way back from Marietta.

[00:15:02] Alan: If I remember right. Anyway, it’s when we’ve been to Marietta, when we’ve been, there’s all kinds of places around Ohio that it’s just worth that extra. One of the things that breaks my heart is there was a huge used bookstore that opened in Dayton called like Mike’s books. But apparently it was a warehouse and stuff.

[00:15:20] Alan: Never got a chance to make it down there in all it, because it opened three more months before COVID clamped down. And as much as I was like willing to try and two and a half, three hours to Dayton put on a mask, spend two hours in this place. We never did it. And now I think it didn’t

[00:15:35] Stephen: make it. I think it caused, they did.

[00:15:37] Stephen: We’ve been to Mike’s books. They did, they were closing the law. They were trying to stay open and they were trying to do some things, uh, was

[00:15:46] Alan: a little bit, but just that concentration, they had everything. They had a whole sections of humor and science fiction and history. What I would have been interested in murder mysteries, film, noir tech.

[00:15:56] Alan: So I’m glad you made it. I’m

[00:15:58] Stephen: sorry that we didn’t. There’s another, have you been down by Cincinnati Dayton, the dollar books. No,

[00:16:07] Alan: it’d be very dangerous. Cause it’s only a

[00:16:09] Stephen: dollar. Tell me in Collin went to this. It was at one of the RGS. We said, look, I found this bookstore that everything’s a dollar. Let’s check it out.

[00:16:18] Stephen: It was overstock from other places. Okay. Let’s check it out. So we GPS it. We get over there and we’re driving through what looked like abandoned warehouse, district. Everything was run down and where we find, okay, this is the address, but it looks spooky and we’re driving potholes to go behind this building.

[00:16:38] Stephen: Are we going to get shot or something? So we get back there. There’s no other cars back there, but there’s a warehouse door open and it had the plastic sheeting, like you see for the beef and stuff froze. They got to keep the coolant, but then we’re like, let’s go check it out. And he’s you go first? So we walk in and it’s dark.

[00:17:02] Stephen: There’s a little pathway and there’s stacks of pallets, of boxes of books. And there’s a narrow pathway to walk through it. It’s like a haunted house

[00:17:12] Alan: and it’s pennies on the dollar

[00:17:16] Stephen: for a dollar and it’s dark. And we’re like, okay, this is a little spooky. And then we come around this corner and there’s a whole section of the warehouse cleaned up lit and they have bookshelves up and there’s people browsing.

[00:17:28] Stephen: And what it was is they were one of the drops for Amazon clear back in the day when it first started. And so they had, when you order books alive, it says there’s a thousand available. Like they had those thousands of books. And since they don’t sell as much of that older stuff, they put it into this dollar bookstore and as well, but we really thought we were going to die.

[00:17:51] Alan: I love those Oz moments. You know what I mean? It’s again, talking about older theaters. So first time we went to the Akron civic theater, when you go in, it’s really rundown in the entrance hallway, near the tickets and all that of stuff. And then you enter the actual theater and it’s totally restored, beautiful old Baroque theater, cherubs, and the clouds floating across the ceiling.

[00:18:11] Alan: But getting in there you’re like, man, is this going to be where my seat is at an angle? And there’s Springs popping up that I love when that you turn a quarter and it’s good.

[00:18:21] Stephen: So it being Christmas, I know you do a lot of things like with cards and you send stuff out. We pulled all our stuff out, getting ready to decorate.

[00:18:30] Stephen: And we did. I’m surprised we didn’t this. But I found, we went to and crane ax a couple of weeks ago, talked about that at DAF fins. I was looking at the Christmas ornaments and they had star wars and star Trek, Christmas ornaments, new ones. Yeah. The star Trek ones was the whole, like the whole cast crew in the mirror, universe, outfits and Spock with that van Dyke

[00:18:54] Alan: and everything.

[00:18:54] Alan: Yeah, exactly. That’s

[00:18:55] Stephen: funny. But they were, they talked, you pressed a button and they talked, but they were all Bluetooth and interactive. So you’d start one and others would respond and they would play out the whole scene. Through the ornaments,

[00:19:09] Alan: the more fingers that you had, the more you could get all the addictive is that

[00:19:18] Stephen: and the droids and obiwan, and it was talking on that two lane and I was like, oh my gosh, this is so cool.

[00:19:25] Stephen: That’s

[00:19:25] Alan: very good. Wow. We have our, we do a Christmas tree every year that we had a wonderful tradition that started. It’s funny in the earliest days of Colleen and my marriage, we discovered that we love state capitals. Cause we stopped in month junior on the way to bar Harbor. And it was like this picture.

[00:19:43] Alan: Perfect dome, perfect garden was perfect steps going up, you get a picture on the steps, prove you were there. And we really said, this is where restate really like struts it stuff. It puts its best foot forward. We should do this everywhere. And we’ve now seen 48 hours. We’ve seen everywhere, but Alaska and Hawaii.

[00:19:57] Alan: Cause they’re not an easy drive,

[00:19:59] Stephen: especially if you could drive it. I’d love to find out how

[00:20:04] Alan: exactly, but I know the thing that was that we found ornaments in bar Harbor and was like, we got married in September, our first Christmas coming, who else in Ohio is going to have a lobster on their tree. And that little it’s turned into, we have ornaments from everywhere.

[00:20:20] Alan: Some people collect a plate of spoon, something that’s a little momentum of where they. Ornaments have turned out to be one of those things that many places carry them. I never knew that because I never looked for them before in that way. But we have cactus with lights on it from Sedona. We have the loves are from Baja.

[00:20:36] Alan: We have a little Manatee. We love going to Christmas stores in specific, like the one in Franklin. Wasn’t just the season here where, like you just said, they have all the star wars. They have all of the, how the Grinch stole Christmas. So we have a crunch on our tree. We have Herbie, the elf from Santa Claus is coming to town.

[00:20:55] Alan: So every time we trim our tree and not only is beautiful because it’s not just all the same red, green ornaments, it’s this wonderful walk down memory lane of look, all the places we’ve been. Look how rich our life, our marriage together has been. This one’s from Texas. This must be North Dakota. This one’s from, it’s just been such a good idea and a much better idea than we knew what we were getting into when we started.

[00:21:18] Alan: You know what I mean? So if an Elvis from Tupelo got up, you know

[00:21:22] Stephen: what I mean? It’s I got, I love the different Santa closets. I, I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional Coca-Cola red suit Santa, uh, which is where that came from. If people didn’t know, I don’t other countries with the outfits that they envisioned Santa and I have a whole collection and they’re gentle

[00:21:41] Alan: with animals and they come off the sixth as well as on the 25th.

[00:21:47] Alan: And there’s Krampus, there’s the kids in the sack and beat them if they’d been

[00:21:52] Stephen: w which, by the way, me and Reese on the horror movie review podcast, Krampus is the next movie we’re reviewing because it’s timely. How perfect exactly. This year, I found you seen those like little gnome guys wear the hats all the way down and you just see the beard under the hat.

[00:22:11] Stephen: I got one of those skiing. So that’s why I’m saying that this year, last year or two years ago, I forget what Gina got me a Santa. It wasn’t because of what it was. It was just, I didn’t have anything that looked like that he was in a, the striped pajamas carried a mugga cocoa with a Teddy bear. But it was a black Santa instead of a white Santa.

[00:22:31] Stephen: And that’s the first one like that. And I’m like, do they have like native American, Indian and something? Or give me something different. I love that. And it’s so funny though, because when I saw it, I picked her up, said, this is really cool. And somebody goes, are you getting it? Cause it’s black. I’m like, oh, I actually didn’t realize it was, I didn’t enter my mind that he black.

[00:22:50] Stephen: It just looked really cool,

[00:22:52] Alan: but it’s not the most important part of

[00:22:54] Stephen: it. Exactly. He’s got a Teddy bear. We actually had some people come in and they’re looking at our decorations. They’re like, why would you have a black Santa? You guys aren’t damn what is wrong with you?

[00:23:05] Alan: Honestly. So we’ve noticed that we’ve been going to Christmas stores for a long time.

[00:23:10] Alan: I think it’s wonderful that they’ve started to have, everybody’s represented with Santa Claus, with nutcrackers, with ELLs. You know what I mean? That it’s just, it shouldn’t be that everybody just like they made crayons so that everybody can get like flesh is not.

[00:23:23] Stephen: Caucasian flesh all I love though.

[00:23:25] Stephen: Everybody can get there the world Crans. Yeah, exactly.

[00:23:30] Alan: And I think we personally, we have a couple of Santos, like one in Bermuda shorts. I don’t know that we have a black staff there, but it’s not. Cause it’s only because we haven’t found one now because we, oh, we cut out.

[00:23:40] Stephen: They’re not out there, but they should be anytime around the,

[00:23:43] Alan: of the year that you should all come together and not Christmas fascist way, but like how, what a wonderful thing that all of what this reference.

[00:23:52] Alan: That there should be, if it’s not Santa, then it’s three wise men. You know what I mean? In fact that I know that’s where we, I guess we have darker skin, you know what I mean? , we’re not three guys from Cleveland.

[00:24:03] Stephen: Exactly. Why are they always white guys? They weren’t, that actually bothers me more than they put a light.

[00:24:11] Stephen: It’s supposed to be. Of course we could go on and on about what Jesus would really look like. But, um, and that’s

[00:24:19] Alan: for any, naitivity seen that again, out of Coke, Coca-Cola product Santa’s or Jesus or worries, or baby Jesus,

[00:24:29] Stephen: something really cool with a celebrity type comment. So what it was. Battle duo said it was something out of China, those weird little stuff you get, but it was a Godzilla doll and a Jesus doll.

[00:24:42] Stephen: And it was a verses battle. And they had like army tags and all sorts of stuff with it. And yeah, Jason Hawes, who is the main guy of ghost hunters on TV, all these people were making comments like bad, negative, mad, blah, on and on. He goes, you know what? I grew up Catholic. I went to school on Sunday and Sunday school.

[00:25:04] Stephen: I went to a mass on Wednesdays. I would get all that. He’s like people, Jesus would make this as funny lighten up

[00:25:16] Alan: south park became famous. They’ve got their first big break because they did that versus

[00:25:22] Stephen: Jesus Christmas card. Watch it every year. You know what I mean? And

[00:25:26] Alan: just, I don’t know. It isn’t even worth talking about this.

[00:25:30] Alan: The war on Christmas is ridiculous. I, everybody, that really is like determined to take this wonderful, joyful, everyone sharing holiday and make it into that. There’s only one way. Well, there’s a standard. There’s a rigorous, terrible yelling at you standard for what? I don’t know. It’s such a litmus test for me is if I say happy holidays or Merry Christmas or happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanzaa and someone barks at me and tells me, Nope.

[00:25:57] Alan: Wow, your terrible fascist Christianity is showing boy. And as you just said, Jesus would like, turn your tables over at me

[00:26:07] Stephen: saying Merry Christmas.

[00:26:09] Alan: Exactly. So stop being affairsy and start being,

[00:26:13] Stephen: oh, well me saying Merry Christmas is not the problem. It’s you getting so mad and yelling at me? That’s the problem.

[00:26:22] Stephen: That’s right.

[00:26:23] Alan: And by the way, if you were to show me giving the beatitudes, I really prefer that to you showing me on the cross. How about that? You think I want to be reminded that I know that’s well, my territory amongst any number of cartoonists and stuff, and yet that has all, was it just, it makes me sad that instead of all, the number of times that the word love is mentioned in the Bible, love that neighbor, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:26:44] Alan: And yet what they refer to is old Testament. So blaming God that was going to destroy whole cities or tell you all the things you’re not allowed to do. And back then, it wasn’t a matter of God’s will. It was a matter of social things that say, you know why you don’t want to eat shrimp because you’ll die because we don’t have refrigeration.

[00:27:03] Stephen: I mean, around here, we don’t even say God anymore. We just say, Chuck is, that was what his name was on supernatural. So we’ll go check it.

[00:27:14] Alan: I think I mentioned set up gazuntite I say. Because it’s funny. And I first, they look at you, did you just say, is that he, she didn’t correct me with God, bless you. You know what I mean?

[00:27:23] Alan: Don’t want to fight about this. It’s I’m wishing you good health. And I’m being such a decent guy about a seat, and this is your opportunity to jump on me. Wow. You’ve got bigger problems than a common cold, my

[00:27:34] Stephen: friend. And they don’t realize it. That’s the problem. So speaking of Santos, I am pondering something for this year.

[00:27:44] Stephen: So my father has a Santa suit and he used to play Santa for like my aunt’s Christmas party for us kids. And he actually did the Santa for the choir concert down at the school when I was in middle school. And so I have the suit to suit up. Yeah. Gina has a couple of friends. Steven,

[00:28:05] Alan: you’d be great. You got the whole,

[00:28:07] Stephen: you got well, okay.

[00:28:09] Stephen: So I want to test it with a couple of her friends from work that have little kids. We want to try and set up. But here’s my thing that I’ve thought of for years. Why is it that Santa watches? You knows every kid and everything about you, but when you go up to sit on his lap, he says, so what’s your name?

[00:28:27] Stephen: Don’t you know that

[00:28:29] Alan: instead it should be right. The mom whispered and you get to say, Billy, have you been good this year? And Billy’s eyes will go. He really knows. Of

[00:28:37] Stephen: course, there’s a geek solution for this.

[00:28:43] Alan: Even

[00:28:43] Stephen: better than that, you always have a line going up to Santa and they have a path and there’s elves, blah, blah, blah, all Santa needs as an earpiece. And you have your elves talking to the parents, what’s their names and what do they want and then opportunity

[00:28:57] Alan: to overhear and then pass that info along to the, yeah.

[00:29:02] Stephen: So cool. So I like that. That’s if revet is doing. That’s what I’m going to work up to. I’m not going to try and get overweight. We’ll figure something out for that. But I’ve seen SANAS now that aren’t big fat overweight. Cause people like the health push. So they he’s a little tremor.

[00:29:19] Alan: I haven’t been eating all those cookies.

[00:29:21] Alan: They put out for eating carrot sticks now.

[00:29:24] Stephen: So I might test it this year and just see, cause it is a really nice suit. He spent three or 400 bucks on it in the eighties.

[00:29:31] Alan: Yeah, I know. There’s like Santa’s colleges apply all of the department store Santa is and all the parades and stuff like that. They really have a thing of here’s how to be one.

[00:29:41] Alan: Here’s how to get the right clothes. And here’s how to pay attention to the kids. When they say they want a bike, you like, what color would it be? Engage and make it. So that first experience is magical for the

[00:29:50] Stephen: CAS. Absolutely. I think you’d be great at

[00:29:53] Alan: it, man. Okay. And not, not at all to steal your thunder, but people have said that I should try it to you.

[00:30:00] Alan: You

[00:30:00] Stephen: got the bill, you got the right guy.

[00:30:04] Alan: All I got to do is grow out the white. Now that I really have prodo, Santa’s grow the beard out. And not at all. There’s a couple of people that just like we have people immensely, it looked like Albert Einstein or that looked like Santa. I don’t know that. I want to go see it the full time.

[00:30:17] Alan: I’d have to like, okay, it’s September, first time you get to work on the beard.

[00:30:22] Stephen: Oh yeah. Here’s a good story with my kids. One when I hop or whatever, came out with the eggnog pancakes, we were like, okay, we’re going to go. And I hop in in the morning and I said, you guys are going to be late for school. I don’t care.

[00:30:35] Stephen: It’s Christmas time. We’re going to hop. So it was the 23rd. It was like their last day of school. Two days before Christmas. And we go to, I hop, we were getting the eggnog pancakes, which sucked horribly. We hated every bit of it sitting there. And this guy comes walking in. Big guy, roundish long white beard, and he’s in a ups outfit and Colin goes, daddy did Santa’s sleigh break ups guy.

[00:31:02] Stephen: I’m like, maybe that’s how he gets them all stationed at delivered. So I have had that in, we started joking is like my one series story with the kids, the one I do at the supernatural and the kids in it. I have an idea for a story and I should have wrote it already of them finding Santa that his sleigh is broken down.

[00:31:22] Stephen: They have to help save Christmas. And so they hooked the reindeer up to a ups truck to help deliver the yes and I should have wrote it. I’ve had it in my head for years, but it was so funny. I got a picture of the guy. He looks like freaking Santa and a ups.

[00:31:38] Alan: This is what he does. The other element. One side of the year, he’s already got the whole delivery mentality.

[00:31:44] Alan: He knows what he’s doing, right.

[00:31:48] Stephen: And before we get off Christmas, we’ve talked and we didn’t do it this year, but we’ve talked about doing a little contest for programming to make Christmas lights displays. And I’ve got a guy that does it in a website. I’ll send it over to you. So we should plan that for next year so we can take whatever time we need fences.

[00:32:07] Stephen: Exactly. Yeah. I get the stuff. Bless you.

[00:32:11] Alan: Ever since I went to a maker fair and someone was showing videos of what they had done is I just, I haven’t invested, I haven’t invested the time or the money into getting, cause it really is not just your standard strings of lights. So if you do a little bit of an investigation, you have to get the programmable lights and often they’re like a 10 by 10 or a hundred by.

[00:32:26] Alan: Scheme that you put on various different things within each of those individually addressable. So you can do your washes of color, your snowflake flittering down. And I really want to do that. The fact that we have a fence that we could have on the other side of the fence, this display, I want to cause a traffic jam because we have the cool Christmas train that goes along.

[00:32:45] Alan: We have a pool snowflake display. It would really be a fun, like contribution to the community to keep my programming hand in. You know what I mean?

[00:32:56] Stephen: That’s the thing. We’ve talked a lot about the raspberry PI and I’ve been thinking about it and I’m like, oh my gosh, when my brain starts turning on it, I’m like, I’ve got half a dozen cool things I can do that you don’t see on the ones you buy at the store.

[00:33:10] Stephen: I sent you a message for the one. What about people write on a piece of paper, their name, and the camera reads the name and then puts their name up in lights better yet. What if it detected voices? And

[00:33:24] Alan: yeah, it

[00:33:26] Stephen: does the face that talks back to you and let the magic mirror stuff. Or you could have people that you could do a touchscreen display and you’ll pick your combination and they could pick these four combinations and save it as Ronnie’s thing.

[00:33:43] Stephen: And it would play

[00:33:43] Alan: those a segue to something that we just talked about last week, but didn’t go into. Time magazine had his list of other inventions for this year. And one of the things that’s making the miraculous real are things like that, that you can do. Real-time voice recognition. I remember pursuing an OCR optical character record and being like, wow, you’re 90% of the way there, but still the amount of time that you do to fix things, it’s I should have just typed it in myself.

[00:34:10] Alan: Voice recognition was like that for a long time. And now that chips are fast enough and AI is good enough that they actually have machine learning behind it and stuff like that. You’re not only can have voice recognition. You have near instant cramps translation from one language to another it’s. All those things we laugh about.

[00:34:27] Alan: If I want to make a better future, just make everything, make everything on star Trek. Real. I got a tri-quarter that’s going to check your medical. I’ve got to get computer that listens and gets you a cup of Earl gray, hot. You know what I mean? I love this real risk radio as you were just pointing out.

[00:34:45] Alan: And so that kind of thing, that in your hands in a raspberry PI or Arduino box with a little chip that does voice recognition, hundred bucks, you can have it be that a little kid’s going to walk up and is going to say, Hey, Billy, welcome. I hope you liked the lights and he’s just going to be, maybe it won’t be that amazing now, because maybe it’s becoming common to have devices talk to you, or, but, but there’s gotta be this cool transition period of 10, 20 years where it’s still amazing.

[00:35:14] Alan: Me walk up and did it read the chip in my arm, did it do my, I didn’t touch it yet. So it’s not fingerprints. Didn’t read my retinas, voice recognition, spooks. So people, but I just love that idea of going to a restaurant and saying, Hey, Al, last time you have the sauerkraut and ribs. Did you like that? Again?

[00:35:30] Alan: A little spooky, but it’s, I can offload so many things into the cloud, into this cloud. 2.0 3.0 where the whole world is AR augmented for my interaction and everywhere I go, it’s going to be like a little. Hey, it looks like your boots are getting worn. If you’re going to go on that hike that we know you have planned for the grand Tetons, but there’s a little bit, I guess it’s depending on what we do with it, right?

[00:35:55] Alan: If

[00:35:55] Stephen: it’s that benevolent or if it’s

[00:35:58] Alan: spooky weird surveillance,

[00:36:00] Stephen: we’ve got that. You’ve already got that in some ways with some of the Google stuff. If I get on Chrome and I do a search, I’ll go on my phone and suddenly I’m getting ads for what I searched for on that. So we’ve already got some of that

[00:36:14] Alan: commented on how that’s on nerving, because that doesn’t seem to be, it is a little bit of service to me, but it’s stupid, but just that assault, I just bought a pair of skis and then it keeps showing me skis.

[00:36:23] Alan: My friend, I guarantee you, if I bought a pair of skis, I don’t need to in three and four, I’m going to use these seasons and whatever other things matter. But then I lucky when it’s okay. I just bought, I don’t know this brand of clothing. And then it might show me, well, did you know that they also do? And so you can supplement it, add, and I don’t mind them learning some of them.

[00:36:40] Alan: Tastes I guess, and customize themselves to me, whatever that interesting. I’m not sure if the uncanny valley is not the right term, whatever that tipping point is aware. Now it’s not helpful. Now it’s spooky fine line that we have to be doing with AI nowadays, that it doesn’t come across as surveillance and control that comes across this helpful.

[00:37:01] Stephen: But the problem is with everything that Google and Facebook does with that info, it is surveillance in the secret service after you stopped. So that’s a rough thing. Yeah. But

[00:37:12] Alan: I’ll tell you what this was. I think it’s 25 years ago now I read a great article in probably wired magazine printing quote was by maybe David Gerald or something that pretty much said privacy.

[00:37:23] Alan: Yeah. If you’re fighting that battle, you’ve already lost. There’s no way that you’re going to get off of all the cameras that are surveilling you and all the things that are listening in and all the advertisement that you’re going to get served up to you to try to increase sales, because all that money, they could just sales up by a half a percent that’s coupon rate.

[00:37:39] Alan: We’ve been doing those kinds of mailings forever, that you can still be successful in something blunt. And the more that you can get rid of the course and go towards the fine, that really are going to seek that out. And so I think that what I want to do is if the world’s heading that way, I want to be one of the ones that says, how am I going to make that?

[00:37:55] Alan: So that it’s more useful than controlling that it’s acceptable to be like that. And maybe it’s going to be a generational change that whatever people of our age might’ve said, well, I’m not going to give you my email address because I want to avoid spam. Nobody thinks that way nowadays of a certain age or younger.

[00:38:14] Alan: They participate. They know that the cost of all this stuff being free is that little bit about me and you can serve up ads to me. And I didn’t want to give up the free, there’s another great quote. If you want to predict the future, um, create it yourself. You know what I mean? I like maybe that’s even from Steve jobs, I think.

[00:38:32] Alan: And so just that I still, I have not done much to impact the world deeply through coding for a long time now. But at one point I was, I was the guy that wrote the about commodity exchange, stuff like that. So like, how can I get in front of that and get back into the AI field? Which one point I was really pretty good at and start to say games.

[00:38:54] Alan: Aren’t the only ones that can learn and monsters. Aren’t the only ones that can respond to how you move and what weapons. You can start to make it, that kind of cool thing also applies to you go into a hardware store and it says, besides the can of paint, you’re here to pick up. You mentioned over the course of these last three months, a year also, we’re thinking of getting a new rake or getting that you’ve worked out some bulbs and there were particular kind.

[00:39:14] Alan: And so I wouldn’t mind my phone or even something in the store saying, Mr. Boldness, is that you? Why? Yes, I kind of don’t mind, like I said, and may, because as I get older, my memory is still really fricking sharp. I know that’s another thing that I don’t want to embrace the stereotype of I’m getting absent mighty because I’m not, I also realize is I don’t have a problem with offloading.

[00:39:37] Alan: Some of that. Why do I make lists? Why do I have particulars in my calendar? Because I don’t want to have to maintain all of that in my little brain. My little, my big brain wants to think about bigger things. And so the more that I can do to get that out there, where it’s going to be in service to me, I think that’s really cool.

[00:39:51] Alan: You know what I mean? Me and I already have you thought about going to the show. I’m going to buy tickets now, are you going to let it go? And I have my brain of my own set of ticklers. Apple just came up with cool notifications that kind of let you scale things. According to that, I’m working. Don’t let anybody interrupt me, but nobody cause I want my wife to be able to reach me and this emergency.

[00:40:07] Alan: And so hopefully the trade off between how much time I put into maintaining that set of priorities, those lists, whatever is worse by not missing things that I don’t want to, or my not being interrupted by things that I do want to keep out. It’s still a learning process, a juggling act, but I want to learn about it because I think that the far side of that is I’d love to have the world cater to me.

[00:40:30] Alan: I’d love to have the world always be benevolently talking to me. Hey, you’re taking your pills today. You’re really dependent on those pills for your health. And once in a while I, you, we went through breakfast. I didn’t hear the jingle of the pill. I know that sounds spooky, but in the privacy of my own home, I’m okay with, what am I going to name my computer?

[00:40:48] Alan: Hell exactly. It’s funny. Nothing immediately Springs to mind. And I would have thought like, I don’t want, I don’t want it to call me master. That seems weird. And I don’t want to call it slave. How about um, Hey pal, Hey buddy. I just like Siri. I could just go with the standard, but I couldn’t want it to be that I can have a relationship.

[00:41:08] Alan: You know what I mean? Maybe I’ll call it fender. That was my good dog. That’s my little doggy that I had to let go away. Maybe I’ll call it fender. So I was like, and of course I had to explain that’s the God of the wolves of Norse mythology. He’s the one that like bites, tears, handoff it right and wrong and stuff.

[00:41:22] Alan: Maybe not the best name, but I like it because he can also be fearsome. He’s my guard, dog, my cyber life, my possessions, et cetera, et cetera. So

[00:41:33] Stephen: there’s a lot of people are funny. There’s a lot of talk about security and a lot of talk about privacy and. And people, we talked about this, they, they cover up their camera.

[00:41:44] Stephen: Oh, Ooh. That’s scary. Someone’s go peek at me, the, my camera. But then they use the same password for everything. They never clean their browser cache. They send passwords and stuff through emails. It’s okay. You’re like, you put the lock on the door, but you left the key hanging off the lock and it doesn’t help that much.

[00:42:03] Alan: That’s right. Some people need to, whatever that locus of control that they have is they need to feel that they’re doing something. But the overall ton of work that it takes to really be right. They’re not willing to do it. And so I don’t know is halfway secure. It’s all incremental. Maybe it’s better than none.

[00:42:20] Alan: But then what I always try to, boy, I just have had this conversation for the last 40 years of my life, about how to be proportionate about how to have discernment that life isn’t. Yes, no length. Isn’t a series of bracket things where someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose theirs. I have a thing that I’ve called the choosing Nader for a long time.

[00:42:40] Alan: It’s a little spreadsheet where you say, I got to make a decision. What are all the factors that I care about in that decision? And what are the weights for those things? Because they’re not all equal, right? And then you see how much does I’m going to buy a car. I have these 10 things. What matters to me, the quality, the color, the noise level, whatever else it might be.

[00:42:57] Alan: And this is a one to 10, and then you had multiply all that through. And it says, comparing all the cars you’ve talked about, this guy is an 87 and this guy is a 63 it’s out of consumer reports because they often do this kind of reductive analysis. But boy, has it been handy for making a decision where a lot of people have a lot of opinions on the weights of various different things.

[00:43:17] Alan: And so you don’t want to say the only thing that mattered was this one fact we’d looked at all 10 of those things, but it turns out that one thing is not the most important compared to the overall, I think said that’s how the world is just in conversation with. People like get one idea and they fixate on it.

[00:43:33] Alan: It’s like what? The Wolf is messier. It’s more complex. There’s more to it than that. Please don’t let that one thing override everything else because raising a child, the only thing that matters is education. No, it matters about education and socialization and health and their sense of adventure or their sense of security.

[00:43:51] Alan: Like I can just start naming things they spring to mind without even trying hard that not happen for others. How do they just get shunted into a single you like one rail when there’s all these tracks that they could use to get to a solution? Like I’d come. I don’t even know an advocate. I continually bring that up because it weirds me out to have people have binary thinking instead of complex.

[00:44:17] Alan: Multitudinal thinking because it’s so much of the world is just that way. Oh

[00:44:22] Stephen: yeah. Different things. Some people are very binary on some things, but not on others. It’s like everything is complex.

[00:44:31] Alan: And if you even in that, how often do I play this thing? I don’t know, apply it to every single decision. If I’m looking at like candy bars, I’m going to be like, I feel like this one, I’m not going to take the time.

[00:44:40] Alan: What’s the, you know, think about how much you could get bogged down in analysis paralysis of why has to go through this rigorous process? No. Then it’s a matter of scale as to this costs.

[00:44:51] Stephen: Arguably, arguably you’re really probably still doing all those steps. It’s just quicker with less things on each side.

[00:45:01] Stephen: If you really sat down. Okay. You probably have done this where you have some tasks or whatever, as an exercise and programming class or in school and flow, chart it out every step of the way, like just making a pupil jelly sandwich, you could flowchart that out to a hundred steps with decisions, but we don’t think of it that way, but that’s what they all are.

[00:45:22] Stephen: We’re just choosing a candy bar is the same way. I know. I really like that, but I also like that with milk chocolate and all that, which do I feel like at the moment, that’s the one I’ll get it’s just quicker. More internalized. Yeah.

[00:45:34] Alan: It’s so even that how to make a decision is itself its own processed.

[00:45:39] Alan: The first thing I think of is how much time am I willing to put into this? How much cost is it? How much risk is it like if the cost of failure is next to nothing? Oh, experimental all over the place. If the cost of failure is high, I’ll say well, before I take that first step, let me at least clear out the worst of the possibilities so that I’m always working towards a solution.

[00:45:57] Alan: And just that I guess that’s life, right? That’s if people have experienced and indeed what you just said, if I’ve made a hundred peanut butter sandwiches before I don’t need to go through the whole process, I kind of. Get to that plate instead of opening up the fridge and getting the ingredient out and closing it again, and let’s make it a more complex sandwich, a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.

[00:46:15] Alan: You don’t open the fridge three times, you get three things out with the DOE group, but once you already your stuff. And so you learn how to do things efficiently or joyfully or less risky, you know what I mean? If you’re going to make a bigger list of big sandwich, but you can’t, some things I could make a peanut butter sandwich and leave it out on the counter for awhile, not something that’s going to spoil or going to taste funny because now it’s more or whatever else.

[00:46:39] Alan: So I guess it’s a little bit of codifying life, but then just asking those questions of how’d you make that decision once in a while I get Florida. I bought a car. So I like that. So you don’t care about its mileage. Don’t care about how safe it is. You don’t care about the quality of the company behind it, so that they’re not going to go out of business and leave you hanging

[00:47:00] Stephen: like the red one.

[00:47:01] Stephen: I know people that do that and yours when you’re crying about that hasty decision and yeah, they do, but that’s how a lot of people think. Why do you think there’s so many impulse buys in the checkout aisle?

[00:47:13] Alan: Absolutely. The fact that advertising wants you to do that and supermarkets are great about that.

[00:47:18] Alan: Malls are great about how they place their stores and what music they have playing. That’s going to say, go ahead and buy, go ahead and buy

[00:47:26] Stephen: the colors. What color is your product is and stuff.

[00:47:30] Alan: There’s all kinds of psychology. That’s working against thoughtfulness. And so I don’t, I’m not immune to it. I know there’s any number of times that I must have been.

[00:47:39] Alan: I don’t know why, but I feel like eggnog pancakes. I saw an ad and it sounded like I never had them before. So I, I have a novelty thing. Sure. I’m going to go try them. Once I understand that I’m as subject to that as everybody else. But I think that in that moment of decision, Kelly and I were just talking about this too, boy, I watched, it was very interesting courses in like the mid nineties about getting off autopilot.

[00:48:07] Alan: I had my marriage didn’t work out and I was determined to not make mistakes of that kind. Again, it was so painful and I hurt myself and other people and all that kind of stuff. And so some of these courses were just being more aware of who you are and what are your motivations and that they don’t just make thoughtless decisions.

[00:48:28] Alan: There’s always a moment of decision where you can take that time to say, for instance, people have. But they aren’t their emotions. I have them, but I can also shed them. I can flip them away. I can turn them off for a moment. So instead of responding in anger, responding in lust, responding in fear, you really get a chance to say, who am I?

[00:48:48] Alan: Who am I going to be in this moment? And I am not that thing. I might have that thing and I get past it. And that has proven very useful in all of those ways of just understanding yourself first, the fact that I know that I have no proclivities towards collecting things. I’m a hoarder that informs I have what, less at a lesser clip than I did all through when I was first making good money as a consultant.

[00:49:12] Alan: And it’s not going to have every kind of book in the world, Zen I will. And so all that I guess is to say, coming to now, it’s like Christmases, especially for that. I’m trying to find nice things for Helene and I’m giving her a wishlist. And in some cases, People talk about, wow, it’s really hard for me to make a wishlist.

[00:49:30] Alan: Not for me. I really have an endless number of things that I want, but even that exercise is so I put them in priority. I can really like these top 5, 8, 10 things. And then after that, it’s I would like to have those, but I don’t. I, why have I not bought them already now? Because they’re not in my price point, I tend to get CDs and seven bucks and things don’t come down from 15 nowadays because of all kinds of different factors.

[00:49:51] Alan: And so I’d like to have that. If someone gave me that as a gift, I’m going to be overjoyed. And yet somehow I didn’t give myself that gift. So this is a psychological, interesting thing. My standard. That’s been more than seven bucks. Sometimes it hurts me and I don’t get the Jethro tall album for three years after it’s issued because they wouldn’t lower the price, those bastards.

[00:50:11] Alan: I was used to being able to wear them down.

[00:50:12] Stephen: Yeah. You get that a lot, especially with the music and books and movies, because they have them digitally and they just, the prices never move except for the sales every now and then. And that like the books they’ve actually, when they release the publishers release books, they put the price up high and sometimes higher than the print book, because they want people to get the print book.

[00:50:35] Stephen: Cause that’s how it’s always been. It’s like the whole thing.

[00:50:38] Alan: We’re well aware of that whole curve that says the people who really needed to have it first, they’re going to pay the premium price. And then there’s a certain amount of, okay, now it’s a best seller. So people who like bestsellers, I like following other people’s tastes quality, then there’s this price.

[00:50:51] Alan: And then it goes on sale and eventually goes down to remainders and all kinds of things you talked about for the dollar warehouse. And so I kind of, and then the risk is like what they just said about, I dunno, calendar. I tend to go by calendars on January 1st. Cause a whole bunch of places have them for half price discovered is now they know that there’s, they only put a certain amount of all these various different things.

[00:51:12] Alan: And there’s all kinds of calendars. I used to like getting that. Apparently I’m not the only one that likes having those. And so they are not available. I have to go to four stores and finally find it instead of the calendar store, having all the things that I might want. So I guess the risk I take on is I’m willing to save seven bucks a calendar, but missed out on a few because my taste again is broad enough, but I feel bad about now that I know that the fractals one is going to sell out, I really want that.

[00:51:36] Alan: Am I willing to buy it for 15? When I first see it because my experience as well, so about three years in a row, I miss it. I’m going to, so I’m being trained and I’m finding myself, they are there’s this life of algorithms that they’re very smart. Like straight out of a foundation. People are individually quite unpredictable, but in groups they’re vastly predictable.

[00:52:00] Alan: You know what I mean? Human beings like to think that we’re all independent decision-making machines,

[00:52:04] Stephen: just like everybody else. We’re

[00:52:07] Alan: this thin veneer of civilization on top of a whole bunch of animalistic impulses. And that they’ve learned how to use that a little bit of what you said about broker’s brain, about our amygdala, our fear factor and our joy factor and stuff.

[00:52:20] Alan: There’s a whole kind of stuff about how to get right past your rationality and go right to there.

[00:52:26] Stephen: Anyway. Anyway, uh, I, I have some video game art and stuff. Updates. Do you have any investing?

[00:52:32] Alan: Actually, no. Let’s go to video games. I’m in the doldrums. Nothing has happened lately.

[00:52:37] Stephen: Okay. Well the Thanksgiving weekend, nobody probably was doing much.

[00:52:40] Stephen: You would think so. I found a new game console that came out the end of last year. It’s about a year old. I didn’t know about. But I think I might have to go get me. So some of that,

[00:52:53] Alan: and it’s not your standard

[00:52:54] Stephen: Nintendo or it’s not, it’s not, X-Box, it’s not PlayStation. You know what it is. It’s an Atari.

[00:53:05] Alan: I thought that they were all in a landfill in Utah, somewhere

[00:53:08] Stephen: brand new Atari console.

[00:53:10] Stephen: It’s called the Atari 800 VCs. It’s black. And it looks similar to the old woodgrain Atari 2,600.

[00:53:18] Alan: Exactly. We had to blow on the yes to make them

[00:53:22] Stephen: work. Here’s what I think is cool about now, is it like the most spectacular console? Let’s go blow away PlayStation. X-Box not for our modern gamer that wants the highest resolution and that’s all they care about is the best picture for a first person.

[00:53:36] Stephen: That’s not it. It has. A lot of the old Atari, twenty six hundred fifty two hundred and seventy eight hundred and arcade games in it through

[00:53:46] Alan: this a little bit, because now they can include not cartridges. They can include 64 of these crises

[00:53:53] Stephen: in the device itself. So they got it in there. They redid the old joystick and released it with that.

[00:53:59] Stephen: So it’s got one button and it’s a joystick, but it has like a whole button and stuff like modern. And it also has a game pad for newer games. Got it. It connects to, and you can play games from ant stream arcade, which I hadn’t heard. I’ll put a link in the show notes. It’s a cloud service that they offer old games, old arcade games, old Atari games, old.

[00:54:22] Stephen: I don’t know about Nintendo. I played space invaders the other day for awhile. Wow. Okay. But they added challenges. So you get, uh, your little bonus points to put on social media and they have tournaments that you can play like mortal combat and stuff against people move up the ranks. So it’s kind of cool.

[00:54:41] Stephen: I like that would be fun. And they have their own Atari store, so you can buy it. They release new games every Friday and they’re like old game.

[00:54:51] Alan: Yeah, exactly. But no code in their upgrade.

[00:54:54] Stephen: That’s very cool. But it gets even better for my viewpoint that I’m concerned. They have their store is in the friendly.

[00:55:03] Stephen: So if you program a game in unity, you could get it put on the Atari store or as long as it

[00:55:09] Alan: meets their

[00:55:10] Stephen: requirements. Exactly. And I’m like, that’s cool. And they even show on the website, they push Linux and unity for programming on Linux. So you don’t have to have Mac or windows and that’s cool.

[00:55:22] Alan: Then some shares of unity.

[00:55:24] Alan: So, yes. Good idea. I’m only

[00:55:26] Stephen: using the free version cause I haven’t made a hundred thousand on my games. You’re not getting anything from me. Um, but then it also, you can hook up an external hard driver, a USB stick and you can boot windows or you can boot, Ubuntu and run. You could run windows with Microsoft office and everything from this little console

[00:55:47] Alan: off of this little council, this the cigarettes, Casa Gar box.

[00:55:51] Alan: Yeah. That’s

[00:55:52] Stephen: very cool. I might get me one of those

[00:55:55] Alan: tech miracle. What a great idea. We’ve talked a little bit before about steam and Gog and all those games that are being revived. And some of the ways like you just said, they’re being extended. It’s not only, Hey, you can play this. They actually now have here’s all the 34 different challenges for, can you get all these things away from the tools in the least amount of time or whatever else it might be.

[00:56:12] Alan: So the fact that there’s active interest and additions and improvements to it is it’s not only an astrology fast, it’s actually, it’s a whole different game. Not only because of the higher resolution, but because they’ve got different, cool dynamics that no matter. And I like the ingenuity that goes into that.

[00:56:29] Alan: So very interesting. So the VCs to 800 VCs,

[00:56:33] Stephen: and one last thing I forgot about, um, it will connect and play games from other companies, cloud stores. So Google stadia, PlayStation cloud, and X-Box cloud games. Yeah, you could get a subscription to X-Box cloud gaming. There’s a hundred games on there and you can play every single one of them through this concept.

[00:56:53] Alan: Yeah. I love that. Whatever they’ve got was the API and the connectivity that lets you do that. I love having all my stuff in one place, instead of right. Remember where did I buy Bard’s tale again? And those kinds of things. So. All right. That’s that? Maybe his Santa’s going to get you

[00:57:06] Stephen: one. Gina. I got my birthday and Christmas.

[00:57:09] Stephen: I got a good chance.

[00:57:10] Alan: I never know when your birthday was. It’s coming up in December.

[00:57:12] Stephen: It’s a week before Christmas. Beethoven’s birthday.

[00:57:17] Alan: That’s very cool. That’s my mind being in August. This all has been there’s no other holidays around me. I always got to like, kind of make it into a fun little cookout, birthday and stuff.

[00:57:25] Alan: Sorry, if you ever got partially Grinchy by being so close to,

[00:57:28] Stephen: so it’s so funny. It never bothered me a whole lot. It was just a, that’s what it is. Cause my aunt was on the 24th. My other aunt was the 31st and my uncle was the 21st, first day of Christmas or winter. So yeah, so we used to celebrate one big birthday with all of us.

[00:57:46] Stephen: But the funny thing is you always get those people that here’s one gift you gave all my cousins, two gifts, birthday and Christmas. I’m getting. Whatever you want for Christmas, but my mother did the opposite. She so wanted to separate my birthday and didn’t want me to feel bad that she refused to let us put up Christmas decorations or Christmas music or anything.

[00:58:07] Stephen: Finally, when I got old enough, I’m like, why can’t we put up Christmas decorations? Like everybody else. She said, I didn’t want to take away from your birthday. I’m like, you’re taking away from Christmas. Let’s get them off. It was

[00:58:18] Alan: very sweet that she was that thoughtful, but

[00:58:22] Stephen: yes, exactly. You got a music or movies or books or anything this week.

[00:58:26] Stephen: Um, so

[00:58:27] Alan: I, I just finished reading doomsday clock, rereading doomsday clock, and boy, I can go on too much. I will say it’s perfect for the, um, as to SQL to Watchman. And that is a everyone’s top 10 list, best stuff ever done. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. What a great story. This is the intrusion of the Watchman universe into the DC universe and interactions that.

[00:58:53] Alan: And it must have been intimidating as all hell to have somebody like who’s going to follow Alan Moore on this. Jeff Johns and sorry, Gary Frank have done a fantastic job at these characters and they were so thoughtful about what’s the way to do this. That it’s not only a big event. It’s got all kinds of the right character interactions and little mysteries.

[00:59:13] Alan: And yeah, I always wonder what would happen if moments, some new characters introduced some wonderful return of things that you’ve gone before. It just it’s a riveting read. And it really is such a Testament to the richness of the mythology that is in the DC universe, that they were able to make all kinds of reference as to the multi-verse the metaphor.

[00:59:36] Alan: And how much of a role Superman plays in all of it? That he’s such a, at one point, they, I don’t remember who it was. Maybe aren’t you a Goodman, somebody that said the essence on Superman’s chest doesn’t stand for Superman because there wasn’t an S on Krypton. That’s the Kryptonian symbol for hope. Yeah.

[00:59:52] Alan: And this book goes really well into that. The limitations of writing that character is that he doesn’t get to get gritty like Wolverine or something like that. He’s a decent God. That just happens to be the most powerful man on earth. He’s a big boy scout that talks about that. The captain America equivalent, if you will.

[01:00:11] Alan: And they really go into that, Dr. Manhattan being an all powerful guy who can see the future and actually maybe is creating that future. But then he’s also trapped because he was already seen something happen. Is, does he have to be that way? Or now that he’s discovered the multi-verse, is it that there’s, this alternatee that every time you make a decision, it splits it calves off new universes.

[01:00:32] Alan: And how does. Work within that. How does he keep track of it? Who does he want to be in each of those different, so such big issues and ideas to discuss, and they do it with such excellent storytelling and intriguing. Like here’s, what’s come before and here’s how to explain it. And then especially the last issue where they talk about here’s things that are going to happen in the future.

[01:00:58] Alan: By 2025, we’re going to see this and by 2028 and it’s things like here’s where the DC in the Marvel universe are going to meet because the big green defender that dies holding off all of this enemy. Well, you mean the hook? This is DC. Wait what? And so he did this as a challenge to those companies and I don’t care what corporate moguls you are now owned by.

[01:01:21] Alan: You might want to get together and do this ultimate Marvel DC crossover because I’ve laid the seeds so well, August, it was like reread. It really is. I knew of course it was going to happen. But then seeing the craft rewatching, a mystery movies, he really was fair. He looked all these clues. I caught some of them.

[01:01:40] Alan: I missed others. You get so much of that admiration for the craft that went into this. I just recommend it to anyone folks, if you haven’t read the doomsday clock and you enjoyed Watchman, ask Santa to bring this, go check it out from your library, whatever. It’s just an amazing, it is the equal of Washington in so many ways.

[01:01:59] Alan: You know what I mean? It just is such a great extension of that and leaves such cool new things to happen. Wow.

[01:02:06] Stephen: I got doomsday clock, but I haven’t read it. Colin has it loves it. It’s those are definitely his top. One of his top sets.

[01:02:15] Alan: It’s really good. That’s one of the things I don’t know, I’m going to repeat it every five years out of real appreciation for the dark Knight returns and a certain just top of the line comic books.

[01:02:25] Alan: It’s just so great to revisit grant Morrison’s run on new patrol. Okay. Every issue, this kind of knocked it out of the park, taking things we already do. And then adding all these crazy, odd, weird things. What a fountain of ideas, what else crazy. But it works. This guy was, and for years that extended burst of creativity, I just have such admiration for people that can do that they can take.

[01:02:48] Alan: And you’ve got 60 years worth of book history and yeah. Made it even better. Oh man. How cool is that? Can’t recommend

[01:02:57] Stephen: it highly. It’s mine. It’s a series by a lay lady writer named Anne Charles on the Deadwood series. It’s I interviewed her and it was so funny because she’s a USA today, bestselling author.

[01:03:10] Stephen: And she was that way for two years before she found out. Can she not

[01:03:15] Alan: know she’s really that much of a,

[01:03:17] Stephen: like a reckless, I guess, or unfold. They don’t tell you, they don’t ring up the authors to say, Hey, you’re on USA best. So she never checked because she’s an independent author and just never thought about it.

[01:03:27] Stephen: Just nice flurry of events, all collided to give her enough sales across the board. That

[01:03:34] Alan: would have been a big clue. Residual check is pretty nice

[01:03:38] Stephen: and she didn’t think about it. And so she actually did a BookBub deal and they wrote up a little blurb and said USA today, bestseller. She called them and said, Hey, you need to fix that.

[01:03:49] Stephen: They said you are. And they sent her a screenshot of from two years ago, but she’s, I didn’t even know, but she was also a jeopardy question. So they did on her stuff.

[01:04:02] Alan: Interesting. So like Deadwood is not the town in South Dakota. It is,

[01:04:07] Stephen: oh, it is. She lived there for awhile and bases it on that. She said, so what she describes him as is a cozy mystery, but there’s more swearing and sex in it than most cozy mysteries and a touch of supernatural.

[01:04:23] Stephen: And if you look at the covers,

[01:04:25] Alan: these sound

[01:04:26] Stephen: fine thinking, the covers are fantastic, though. They’re drawn and they’re in that kind of that Mexican Southwest style with the skeletons and the hats and all that. It’s all work around the sides

[01:04:40] Alan: of them. Maybe I’ve

[01:04:40] Stephen: seen these, I’ll put some links up, but that’s all right.

[01:04:43] Stephen: It was wonderful to talk. And Charles and Deadwood got it. And she just came out with a Christmas special in that series on Friday.

[01:04:52] Alan: So we were talking about every one of our next episodes. It really shouldn’t be. What are our recommendations for what’s new, what we have love, so people can get it for our beloved mate.

[01:05:04] Alan: You know what I mean? While they should be reading this, they should be listening and playing and that kind of stuff. So

[01:05:08] Stephen: go hog wild

[01:05:09] Alan: for Christmas about shopping

[01:05:11] Stephen: recommendations. Two weeks, I propose we get a guest on Collin is going to next week for Chicago. So he’ll see the review of those state

[01:05:23] Alan: of

[01:05:24] Stephen: the arts.

[01:05:25] Stephen: Very cool. As long as you don’t have to go to work. Cause like today he had to be at work at nine. So we’ll have to see

[01:05:31] Alan: shift our podcast to accommodate his schedule.

[01:05:33] Stephen: That’d be cool. Or we could do a section with him at a different time and tack it on, uh, if it doesn’t last all the time. So yeah. Okay. All right.

[01:05:42] Stephen: Before we go, do you have a trivia for the week? I didn’t get one. I was going to look one up and forgot.

[01:05:47] Alan: I should’ve made a note. Yeah, let’s see. So what are some of my favorite things? And I often so does it have to be like, I don’t know, geeky what’s Rembrandt’s last. Because everybody thinks it’s Rembrandt.

[01:06:00] Stephen: Wow. I don’t even have a clue. I don’t think I’ve ever heard

[01:06:03] Alan: that. It’s van Ryan. I hope I pronounce it with the right sounds in there. Van Ryan is his boy. So that was here’s. Here’s the geekiest thing. I know. And honestly, if lists I’ll fall out of my chair, what’s Jetson’s Astro what’s Astro’s real name because they adopted him or found him really to be a sole owner, had a different name for him.

[01:06:32] Alan: Nobody I know has ever gotten this. It was like one episode of the Jetsons of course, from 50 years ago. Why did it stick in my fevered brain? Cause that’s just the weird

[01:06:41] Stephen: that I am. I remember Ellroy but now I have no idea. It’s prowl

[01:06:47] Alan: fast.

[01:06:49] Stephen: Wow.

[01:06:51] Alan: So that, that might be the, you get a drink at every bar with this one.

[01:06:55] Alan: Those are the Jetsons are nowadays

[01:06:57] Stephen: some from Terry Pratchett. Honestly,

[01:07:01] Alan: I just, I there’s, I’m sure there’s all kinds of obscure, single episode references in the Simpsons or in, you know, south park or something like that. But Jetsons, any cartoon that made it in the sixties, it really was like everybody watched the Flintstones.

[01:07:15] Alan: Everybody watched the Jetsons. Super obscure. It really was mainstream. And yet with time and with specificity, they’re not always easy. So that’s

[01:07:25] Stephen: what definitely pulling one out there. Now I gotta find something to top that

[01:07:31] Alan: I’ll try to find good stuff each week we can make the same feature. Very good.

[01:07:35] Stephen: The funny thing is, I know you used to do trivia nights at the pub and I read some trivia here and there.

[01:07:41] Stephen: So there’s a million of them and I probably know answers to a lot of what was just at the, oh man, I got to think of one.

[01:07:47] Alan: Right. And if there’s any number of times, as you might imagine, you know, boy having been on jeopardy and had any number of things that they didn’t come in 15 seconds, they came in 20.

[01:07:57] Alan: It’s very frustrating when you know it and that’s all that. In fact, maybe you, I don’t know if you’ve done it. Mensa has a thing called culture quest and they it’s really not only privy it’s significant if you will. It’s the things you really should know to be a cultured person. And as they’ve done it many years now, it has gotten more and more obscure.

[01:08:15] Alan: So it’s no longer what it once was, where it was based on the books that said, what should you as an adult be aware of in the seven lively arts and stuff. Having said that first time in my life, I really mean this a couple of years ago, there was a comic book question and I, it was, we read it early on and you have an hour and a half to do this, and I could not get to the answer in 90 minutes, 85 minutes.

[01:08:39] Alan: I couldn’t believe it. I have this thing where oftentimes you and I will be talking. And then the answer will pop up because as I’ve mentioned, my little file clerks are going through my brain and they’ll come out with it. I could not summon this. I couldn’t actively think of it. I couldn’t let my amazing.

[01:08:54] Alan: Remember everything, Orn brain think of it. It’s one of the most frustrated I’ve ever been in my life because it’s, so what’s the name of the silver surfers home planet. And I just fall in, would know that it’s not only been once it’s been throughout silver surfer war where Galactus threatens the planet, takes them on as the Herald and save his planet.

[01:09:17] Alan: And I just, I couldn’t believe I couldn’t submit it. I couldn’t believe

[01:09:20] Stephen: it

[01:09:23] Alan: so on humble, but I really, that was the first step I thought of man, I lost the Nora, everything else. I can remember things for when I was a Saturday morning cartoon shows when I was five. I remember so much of everything I’ve ever read.

[01:09:39] Alan: I don’t have an identic memory, a photographic memory, but I often can recall, like that was on the left side of this page and about two thirds of the way through, if I had to find it, I could. So I don’t know how my mind works, but it really has been incredibly dependent. How about getting to those kinds of things up until that moment.

[01:09:54] Alan: And I just was like, oh no, it’s flowers for Algernon time. I’m going to start fading. Dammit.

[01:10:02] Stephen: All right. We’ll hold that one. I’m going to think about it. We’ll talk about it next week. Cause I know like you, I know that one. I’m not calling. I’m not going to look it up. I want to really remember it. All right, man.

[01:10:14] Alan: Pleasure. Sounds good. Welcome to December. Enjoy the advent calendar that tomorrow

[01:10:19] Stephen: first day we have it already. Thank you shirts for everybody over there. Exactly. But missed it.

[01:10:26] Alan: Here we go. And get all the way down to the pump. Oh, that’s cool. I go up to purple screen or whatever

[01:10:33] Stephen: later

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