We got lots of cool swag for Christmas. Alan got a ton of music and recommends all of them. Stephen is getting a cool handmade Star Wars wallet. Awesome.

Some COVID concerns due to people not getting vaccinated or masking. You want to be with family for the holidays, but you also don’t want anyone to get sick or even die.

Weekly Recommendations



[00:00:40] Alan: Good morning, Steven.

[00:00:42] Stephen: Good. You got the memo where black shoe. In fact, here,

[00:00:45] Alan: this was the new shirt. Keep calm and carry on my wayward son concert. So Coleen saw that it’s not a rock band, fancy and there’s something on the back. Let’s see. What does it say on the back? Let’s see. There will be peace when [00:01:00] you are done

[00:01:01] Stephen: that that could be for Kansas or supernatural

[00:01:05] Alan: because that’s true.

They did, they sure did embrace Kansas. They had all kinds of good Kansas during that show.

[00:01:10] Stephen: So carry on my way where sign it was like that theme song.

[00:01:15] Alan: Exactly. It is about persevering in the face of terrible privelation and that’s very much natural.

[00:01:22] Stephen: It was about Mary after Christmas. How was your Christmas?


[00:01:27] Alan: it’s lots of great swag, Colleen and I were generous with each other as was the family biggest thought tough news is we think that someone at Colleen family had the Rona feeling really Rocky this morning. I am not, which has amazing because Coleen has the immune system of all. She really usually fights everything off.

I forget blue or sniffles, like once a year, I really am pretty also impervious to harm. And yet, even though we’re both vaccines and boosters, she might have breakthrough. Without going into a ton of detail. [00:02:00] We of course, went looking for a positive test to make sure that she has it, and there’s nothing available until the fourth.

Everything is very, all the appointments are taken up, probably cause everybody wants to, if they can get together with friends from the years, even whatever else it might be. And the holidays themselves are very disruptive for getting the test in the first place, getting the lab results, processed, et cetera, et cetera.

We went instead of there being at one central site, Google tries to do it, but it still is that you have to go to each individual site and put in what day and what times might be available and whether you want the rapid or the full PCR test. And so I’ve spent an hour this morning looking for, is there anywhere that we can get lost reasonable driving distances, like 50 miles you ought?

I mean, it really doesn’t matter how far we have to go, but after checking CVS and Rite aids and Walgreens and triangles and most of the four, and then after that, it tails off into like individual. We could not get an appointment for her before the fourth. [00:03:00] So now we’re doing all the searching for how do you handle it?

If you think you have it, but what’s the home care he’s vaccinated. So it is her persistence warring it out. But when your system is fighting, the battle, your lymph nodes swell, you get fever and headache and cough and all that kind of stuff. So we’re monitoring her to make sure that she doesn’t need to go in.

And of course it’s terrible scary stuff there because where would she go in? The beds are taken. We’ve got an analysis from Cleveland clinic UHS, Metro, that they are no elective surgery. They’re already overstocked. So we’re doing what you do for fluid. Take some aspirin, drink, plenty of liquids monitor.

She’s coughing, persistently, but she’s not blocked as far as we can tell. And it might be that I come down with it next. You know what I mean? How was it the same? Of course she was all the same. People hugged the same, everybody. There was at least vaccinated though. Some were finding out we’re not both.

And maybe goddammit. That’s exactly what, when Omicron came out, it said [00:04:00] you really need to get the booster because that’s, what’s going to help you, especially if you were six months old. So without casting aspersions, not everybody in the family, they all work in different fields. They all work in different places and they have different senses of whether they’re safe enough or not.

And so I’m feeling pretty pissy about going into this situation that we skipped last year, because it was too dangerous. And we either, we didn’t check it off or we didn’t ask the exact questions we needed to, or other people just weren’t as safe as we are. They really aren’t in our bubble.

[00:04:33] Stephen: Oh God dammit.

I wish Coleen luck wish you luck, obviously. Yeah, we have the same thing. I was supposed to get Gareth friends and play cards and we canceled it. Just, people were too nervous. Exactly

[00:04:47] Alan: visit friends like later this week, because we didn’t want to do it the week of Christmas. So someone would just come out and visit, and now I’m going to have to call them and say, we really want to come see your Christmas lights, but not at the expense of we, we being typhoid, Colleen and Ellen.

You know what I [00:05:00] mean? I just can’t the lyrical,

[00:05:04] Stephen: if it’s any it’s it is frustrating because there’s so much disillusionment and people just denying Gina was on phones yesterday at the office she’s at, and there were two people on phones and they count it. They took 141 phone calls, gestures, and 127 of them were people asking either, where can I get a test?

I think I got co Corona or I do have Corona. What do I do? Or I got Corona. Can I get the vaccination? Oh my God. 127 phone calls of people asking that a year and a half year and three quarters into the.

[00:05:45] Alan: Exactly. I can’t get angry enough. The fact that this was handleable at the outset and we booed by not having the rapid response team.

And we bowed by treating it as if it’s serious. And now I hear that asshole Trump priming in with, Hey, I’m responsible for the rapid. [00:06:00] No, you did everything to impede it, but this is where you’ve been all your careers claiming credit, where it’s not due and avoiding all the blame that is dude,

[00:06:08] Stephen: he admitted he got the booster and got booed at a rally.

You should be proud of all the blinds we saved and all the hard work we did.

[00:06:19] Alan: Exactly that weird contrast too. He finally did a responsible thing and said, I got it. And you should too. And is his car. They’re not necessarily Trump crazy. They’re just crazy. And they were looking for an avatar, delete them some asshole.

That would be their head asshole. And so now the fact that they actually boot him because, oh, boss, you’re turning on us. The thing that you said not to do for the last year and a half now, you’re saying you’ve gone over to the other side. It’s like the Pope going in a different religion or something like that.

[00:06:50] Stephen: That’s involved here. Yes, absolutely. And even worse is that he doesn’t admit, he went to the other side. He changed the whole story retroactively. [00:07:00] We’ve always dive

[00:07:01] Alan: the good guy all along. And the fact that every decent rational person in the world can see what an incredible liar is. And yet he’s still building halls with rallies and still leasing his sheep money.

I understand he’s bringing in a million dollars a day. It is like any religion I can. I promise you nothing. I. Deny all the bad things have happened and claim all the good, and don’t worry, you’re still on your own, but if you give me money, so I’ll be the one that heads off the forthcoming apocalypse, because I have a direct line to God.

I have a direct it’s disgusting, the state of the world and the father, the fact that it’s penetrated our shield breaks my heart. You know what I mean? That now we really have to deal with all the questions that are going to come with will where you will lose where you unsafe everywhere that he asks, yes, we are vaccinated.

And yes, we did indeed get the booster and yet it broke through. And yet now we’ve got that terrible tarred with the same brush type thing of, we just couldn’t be careful enough. It’s so [00:08:00] everywhere. And if the people are still not being careful. And so I don’t know, we had no new year’s plans. We really have.

The only things I’ve done is like when I went to a movie at a matinee with only 10 of the people in the place and kept my mask on, though, I must admit I snuck some popcorn in and we were all decently spaced and all that kind of. But everybody just, not everybody enough people act as if you don’t need to do that anymore.

Just go to the movies from what I understand. So the Spider-Man where we broke the billion dollar mark office records that without sitting elbow to elbow with people in theater, you don’t get that without filling every show of, yeah. So the fact that we’re still avoiding all those crowd scenes and all those, you know, we’re the mass don’t social distance, et cetera.

And yet we wavered and we got caught. And for all the right reasons, family is so important. Family is wonderful. The food was good. The company was good, et cetera, and yet

[00:08:55] Stephen: brought it in. Well, she gets over it and I hope you don’t get it. [00:09:00] I don’t want to get it. We don’t want to get it around here. But Frankie and Collin, both work retail, they wear masks or so they say they do.

I trust they do. But not everybody who comes in does a call in, is always gotten into arguments and fights with people. Cause they walk in and oh, that stupid. I don’t have to wear a mask anymore. That’s our policy put a mask on and I was at the store. There was a guy that saw the sign and walked in without one, it calls it.

Oh, you need a mask is all, hold on. He walked out to his truck, pulled his mask out of his pocket. The truck walked in and said, oh, I don’t have to take one of these. So he would walk around the store and pull on it until it broke. Oh, this wasn’t broke. I must not be putting it on. I don’t know how asshole.


[00:09:44] Alan: Freedom fighter. I can see him exercising his rights as an American. To be the most irresponsible.

[00:09:52] Stephen: And if it’s any indication he was wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey. So I will make a [00:10:00] link there. You can find it without trying too hard, I would say so. Okay. Without all the quota stuff, what tools swag

[00:10:07] Alan: a lot.

For instance, I got some wonderful new music between my, my secret Santa Allianz family always does that because there’s so many of them, instead of everybody getting everybody gifts and of course the craziness of doubles or whatever else, it might be. People get each other, a C has a secret Santa for one other person, and then you can submit wishlist and people supply things off that list or random things if you don’t mind it and stuff like that.

So my brother-in-law John Coleen’s brother had me this year and he got me a wonderful Zappa album, no telling got me down. So tell me the latest deep purple. And they’re still vital. They’re still making good music. And Steve Morris who he’s there he’s their current guitar has been for like 10. But Steve Morris is like, he’s an amazing guitar.

He’s the guy that guitar magazine, like who came out of competition for guitars of the year, because he won five years in a row and they just said, we need you to retire because nobody can [00:11:00] compare with perfect and fluid and creative and everything else he is. And so if it sounds great, like he got me the latest Rick Wakeman album, the borders from yes and multiple other things called the red planet.

And it’s all instrumental, but it’s wonderful. Moody is cereal. Like here’s his impressions of various different features of Mars because we’re going there soon. And that’s excellent. What else did I get? Sorry, but I’m trying to remember who was who’s from Colleen? I got the Frank Zappa, his last live show in the United States, before he, the band broke up, he retired and he was going to go to Europe and I think that didn’t happen.

And then soon after he died of lung cancer, so the band is unbelief. He often refers to it in other writings as like the best band. You never know. It was a great, not only bandwidth ensemble yet horns had backup singers, that kind of stuff. And they do a perfect selection. Tampa has an incredible catalog that any live concert is like the choice of 150 songs a of play.

So this is that perfect. Pithy 30 [00:12:00] let’s say, and they do covers cause it was because it was a special celebratory show to do a cover of a stairway to heaven. They do a cover of whip and post. They do a cover of America, the beautiful, and just like how cool, weird Al Yankovic band, they can play anything and sound really good doing it.

And so the fact that he was like personable and snarky throughout in his music, So that was wonderful. Let me just go ahead. What else do I have here in the magic bowl? Also, the Kansas, it should be pulling these up. This is the library or the point of no return, which has the first time they’ve recorded lonely wind lives since two for the show.

And so it’s a beautiful way to end the show. It’s a very

[00:12:38] Stephen: soulful song that looks like a yes. Cover. Was it done by that artist? Um, I don’t

[00:12:43] Alan: think so. They’ve had an artist for the last couple of Kansas albums, licit and others, but it does have that kind of feel swirly, multiple images joining together and stuff like that.

This was meant to evoke the sea dragons off the cover, a point of no return from long ago [00:13:00] about X scoring. And it’s funny. So here’s that Zappa last live concert ever. Here’s the deep purple. And then it’s funny. This is like eclectic music tutorial. I got his gift. These I’ll be successful. I got his gift fees.

I also had, I ordered a bunch of stuff because as I was going through my wishlist, I was like, wow, I lasted. Instead of it coming out at 15 bucks now, Less than seven bucks because somehow my magic price point and not only seven bucks, but seven including posted. So it was worth getting. And I don’t mean to be glaring here, Adrian Ballou, young lions from his catalog and the winery dogs who Mike Portnoy and like a couple it’s, there’s a whole bunch of pseudo supergroups.

It seemed to come out of like dream theater and flying colors is another one. Here’s the dream theater. I don’t really know. I don’t know why I’m getting such

propolis, [00:14:00]

[00:14:00] Stephen: really good editing. We can just put the cover up over top of the course.

[00:14:04] Alan: We’ll fix it up. Here’s flying colors on one of those super groups. And boy, this was much tastier than I expected. I’ve thought of getting there spree of flying colors now and because the players were so great, I’ve wanted to get them, but they have been like that weird persistent, like 15 bucks and then they don’t come down.

But this one finally. And it’s incredibly tasty rock, jazz, speed metal, just amazing plate. A lot of notes, many notes in the density of this guy. I got the government mule who are a couple of guys from the almond brothers. I couldn’t remember all the names, but great damn band rock. You know what I mean?

And gym bands, aren’t all the same. You can have your fish or your bowl or your unfreeze muggy government mule just has that ability to have a great roof kind of Southern fried style. And I don’t know that I can tell you individual songs of theirs that I really love, but every time that I put the CD on, it’s like you just start moving [00:15:00] in your chair because they really know how little feet such a great band for that, so that they just, they know how to do the group and then find it also Martin Barre, who is Jethro toes guitarist.

And this is him and his band doing 50 years of Jethro Tull. So all kinds of, it’s funny when you hear a tall song, very much expecting Anderson’s voice because it’s one of the great voices in rockets. And the flute playing and so forth. And he has a lot of that, but the vocals aren’t quite right, but his guitar on locomotive breath, Aqua my God in 43, it’s just, I know I just need a whole bunch of stuff off and there’s a whole bunch of more recent stuff.

That’s probably, I’ve always loved called under wraps, but just really affects me without being able to, to tell you why, but so wow. What treasure I got? What treasure

[00:15:45] Stephen: music listed.

[00:15:46] Alan: Exactly. And of course I do the whole thing with like digitize everything. And then I, I know Amazon has wrong. I still have apple music.

Instead of Ron, I have the app from apple [00:16:00] instead of subscribing to apple music where you get all the music that you want for a different price per month is that I still digitize mine and I have a whole big library in, but they have totally abandoned. Trying to get the right cover to match the album because they used to tap into their own DDB, which I either they acquired, or they at least had rights.

Are they going to Amazon? So half of the ones that I just put on were just lots of tall album cover, and it’s not even Martin bar, that’s a, it was terrible. And so I am, I really don’t like that. That’s why I then go seek out and I find it on Amazon, take a snapshot of that cover, save it, put me, luckily you can paste it in place and replace it.

But then I’ve actually had this happen in the past where I did all that work and then apple does an upgrade and it seems to revert to whatever its internal pointer system is. And so it’s really irritating to not see for this cover that this is what the album looks like online. When I [00:17:00] know that I’ve seen that it actually does have a reasonable CD cover.

I don’t know if you go back to, as far as I do with the CDB, it was a brilliant idea that somebody had when people first started music that every album had a fingerprint. The prac lengths of each of the cuts was most often unique. And so you really could from just digitizing any album, you would go fetch from this database and say, here’s all kinds of meta information of the name, the composer of the year.

It came out the publisher and all kinds of stuff. And of course the names of the tracks. When you do anything with a turntable, we have a USB connection and you play the album captured. You still have to supply all that information. One of the things I did early on was I’m pretty consistent and exacting in.

I really want what’s on the CD to match what’s in the CTB. People were putting things in where they were spelling, all the things. They didn’t have a standard for capitalization. They, it was, it has been terrible for a long time. They cleaned up a lot of it. And that seems to [00:18:00] be another thing that’s gone to hell.

Apple music involvement and so forth, or maybe CDB because it’s now owned by someone Wikipedia, generous, where all the fans keep updating it. You actually have to submit it for update because there were people that were changing. It wrongly you and I. There was a kind of a battle back and forth for certain things that they want it to be a certain way.

So now I have to continually deal with, am I going to go through the hassle of fixing it, sending it for an update? I hope it gets accepted. And then see if it transforms my back on base. Sometimes when you update things, it stops thinking you have that thought it doesn’t find it in whatever black magic it’s now using to find the album by the tracks and the track names that you get and stuff like that.

Things go away because it’s not available as single or something like that. So it, it very much this incense you from making it better than the dog’s dinner. And yet I really like to have, I just, I can’t stand to see [00:19:00] something misspelled. That’s a weird thing. I’m not really weird in terms of I’m the guy that comes at you online because people make it typo.

What about this? Something that’s available to millions of people and it’s wrong. It just sucks.

[00:19:10] Stephen: It seems it picks up the wrong one more often than the right one. Even if there’s both choices and worse, I had have had an apple iPod. One of the nanos love, absolutely love those. I wish they kept making those but

[00:19:27] Alan: 10,000 songs in a pack of cigarettes and gum.

[00:19:31] Stephen: Yeah. Without all the extra garbage it’s just the little wheel. You’ll see the song you took. And it always worked beautifully. It kept things organized by album or artists I get and playlist, but it broke, died. Got warrants. And so I was looking for something else and they have lots of new and B, three players with a lot of capacity, et cetera, like great.

This one looks good. I checked all the features. This one looks really good. And then I imported some music. I [00:20:00] don’t know what the stupid player is doing. I checked my tags are fine by album, by artists, by each track. And it goes into this thing. And then it like says there’s seven albums that are named the same.

And this one has tracked three and seven. This is one is track. Two is one of those tracks, five and six. And I’m like, what the heck? And you can’t. And I went literally an hour after owning it. I tossed

[00:20:26] Alan: I’m not going to be able to live. Like I, if I know we’ve had discussions like this before about the standards, we’re naming things.

When you have a address database that you want your Christmas cards to get. The government kind of standardized out here’s the abbreviations for various different street names and how you present the zip code and stuff like that. And yet some places are really persistent. I still see things with a, a letter date abbreviation where it’s like they standardize on too long ago, even for the Canadian provinces.

And it might be that some of them don’t make any sense because they had to get all the M states to have unique. And so Maine is indeed M E [00:21:00] or whatever, and then was taken by Minnesota. You know what I mean? I understand the why of it, but having said that, all that stuff where I want to be really much more albums listener that a singles list and maybe the world has changed and that’s why they don’t give this, but I want to be able to at least force it to be, if I’ve got a meatloaf album and it’s got 10 cuts, but three of them have a special guest on them that somehow it makes that into a different house, a different collection of music, and I have to rename it or give it a different short name or something.

To make it so that it’s only meatloaf. And then I have to put like the featuring thing into the comment field and wow. It, it shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that their album should have integrity and that the way it comes off the CD is exactly in this order. And it, you sort of, because this one features it doesn’t matter.

And especially there, I can’t imagine what it’s like for route where everything feeds somebody’s

[00:21:58] Stephen: country. Now[00:22:00]

[00:22:02] Alan: shows up everywhere and then breaks the sequence of what was on the album before. So there’s this what maybe a golden 20 years was a really satisfying thing of, I have lots of music. I can digitize it, put it on my, my iPod, what a wonderful thing to carry my entire wall of CDs in my hand. And it has over the next 20 years is in it’s aerated.

It’s just the music isn’t right for the COVID. I get Martin bar has a two CD set. The first one is named like you’re Martin Barre, 50 years of Jethro tall. The second one is CD two disc. You have to make it this one and disc correctly. And you have to like, whenever it does the treat, which one did I just see it did.

Your blue album is not Adrian Ballou. It’s various artist because he has enough other, no, it’s clearly an avian blue album. So the med information, shouldn’t say various artists tipping pointed where it says, well, now you have enough. And in his case, I don’t think he was, he had a whole [00:23:00] bunch of featured and yes, stars, if you will.

It just because there was any other one than his name associated with it made it a various artist as if it’s a tribute album. When you just want to queue up something and listen to an album you’ve always loved. And now there’s damage impediments in the way of that. I have to create my own playlist to duplicate song for America by Kansas.

It’s the weirdest

[00:23:22] Stephen: situation. Which is not a problem. When you have a physical platter or a cassette, it doesn’t have these sorting issues. It doesn’t have the that’s right. When I put it

[00:23:33] Alan: in the machine, it’s

[00:23:35] Stephen: exactly what I would. I have my comment, orange amiga I never worried about a virus because every single time I turned it off, put a different disc in and turned it on.

And there was no sharing of the operating system from this

[00:23:47] Alan: that’s right. I still have, like at one point I got a hundred CD holder because I listened to enough stuff that was okay. Instead of getting up to change the CD again and again, I’m going to put in my favorite hundred or something like [00:24:00] that. And then when I’m done with those, I’ll put in another hundred and it had a little, your, uh, remote control.

You could type in after a while, you got to know 46 is that Thomas Dolby album that I always listen to astronauts and heretics. And so you could go to not having to just page through the little name up here. I really miss that. You know what I mean? It was a lot of hassle to, uh, load and unload and it was the, whatever the speakers I had to attach.

I had to do all that. It was just not. To be able to sit at your desk and bring up these things in, play them. But I also miss, I don’t know that I want to have the sound come from my monitor or from my speakers as a desk. I liked them being how I had them in like those speakers up in the corners of the room and the turntable or the player enough so that there’s no rumble, there’s no bleed through from any of the sound and just the ambient sound of good speakers, filling a room, the sound, instead of jetting it directly at you.

It’s a different cooler listening experience. Just like what I used to do in the dorm. You know what I mean? So [00:25:00] there’s some things that people also have comments, as you know about CDs are a little teeny compared to the warmth of vinyl because they really sample and they really do flip highs and lows and they lose some of the dynamics.

And I am not discriminating enough here who have noticed

[00:25:15] Stephen: that that’s gotten better from 30 years ago. I think it

[00:25:18] Alan: has. They started to do PD extended and that kind of stuff. The sampling rates went up like nowadays, when I rip my CDs, I ripped them apple loss. In other words, it’s still a compressed format.

So you save a whole bunch of space, but it isn’t the wholesale slaughter that MP3 is where it really is noticeable on a good pair of speakers that it’s missing. It’s missing there’s things that are in the gaps that are gone. And so I guess I, I, I said that convenience is worth it. And yet there are certain things when you listen to it, that the perfect Mannheim steamroller album that they used to play in cereal to show you the difference between Bose and presage and Ray speaker brands.[00:26:00]

And this one really has those sparkling eyes and this one has the base everywhere else. It might be nowadays. No, it’s all in that compressed zone. You know what I mean? That clip. And when they started to put, I’m not sure about the details of this. I know that there was lots of complaints when they actually started to put out albums.

So they’d get appropriate airplane on radio. They really only have. Reasonable band. They want it to immediately be punchy and loud so that it attracts your attention. You won’t, there was a rush out, came out that was way compressed. So that the envelope that it was in was very unrushed. You know what I mean?

It didn’t have a serial mole. It didn’t have Getty’s lead screech. It didn’t have all the good stuff that they’re great at. And the other bands aren’t so why rush? Why did they make that concession? I got a feeling that who’s their longtime producer, Harry, somebody that he likes snuck the tapes over and said, Hey, make this radio friendly.

And that the band never would have agreed to

[00:26:53] Stephen: it if they would have what they did. That was a permanent waves. I think wasn’t it. I guess

[00:26:57] Alan: it is. I guess if you can name exactly one word, let [00:27:00] me, this just sounds so

[00:27:02] Stephen: about that. And it was also when they first started getting into keyboards, the move and change it away from the old fantasy they did into the more modern, yeah.

[00:27:14] Alan: Even like the tourist pedals that get used, they used to be not only the base of satisfying rumble under. And that was also like, well, no, I’m not getting any of that real phone. What’s wrong.

[00:27:27] Stephen: I want to listen to rush

[00:27:29] Alan: through, but what I, Larry, it’s funny. We have some really interesting people, right. In our local group, I’ve been to get one point, did a great presentation about that, about music production and what they did the explanations for, why they did it and the concessions that they made and stuff like that.

And in fact, Larry Wise, just tomorrow night is going to do a presentation on Cintas so that we, like, I heard switched on Bach early. And it was like, wow, this Carlos guy can do an entire orchestra of stuff

[00:27:59] Stephen: on his own. [00:28:00] He is a guy or a girl. It was Walter

[00:28:02] Alan: Carlos. And this was a brief aside. I mentioned Walter slash Wendy Carlos, because the album still says brought it, but he is not windy.

I have no problems with that, but someone told me, oh, you shouldn’t use the dead name. That’s a kind of a broad brush term. I wasn’t meaning. Oh, yeah, that’s what this is. The album has Walter on it. It’s a fact, the eye, all of that synthesis stuff is what liver’s going to talk about. Like when moves rolling, it’ll be much me.

What I did. I had, uh, I cried doing music. I’m very, never been a great player, but if you’re one in the morning at the lab where nobody else wants to studio time and you have access to stuff, I did experiment with all different kinds of synthesizers and wave tables and the first few boards where it’s not just, you really had a tax statement, that things can sound good.

If you get a chance to play them a hundred times over [00:29:00] and fix your mistakes. So I actually have an album that from Play-Doh I think I’ve mentioned before the playful music system actually had excellent polyphonic synthesis that a guy had worked on there that was ahead of the rest of the world. And so there’s a couple albums of Play-Doh music that he had worked on that they sound a little bit like old synthesis music that you see in a movie where they were trying to say, oh, the computers have taken over, and this is what they think.

Music sounds like what’s there. Actually, there’s still human humanity. There’s still a composition. There’s still melody and warmth and so forth. And there’s one album, a song called Bigfoot that I remember my friend, Tom Cortese, who was made of music. He invited me up to the fifth floor where the elevators only went to four and you actually had to take an additional staircase to get to the fifth floor of the Play-Doh building.

And that’s where he had a bunch of people have their area, their, their lab that they could work in. And he played Bigfoot on these big old planar speakers. It just was like, this is as good as anything I’ve ever heard from him. Yes. Jenna says other big guys, but it’s still [00:30:00] doing it this Hudl in a row, but he understood how to make something really dynamic and interesting.

[00:30:06] Stephen: Wow. Those are nowadays, you get a keyboard and they use SD cards and you can buy banks of sound by 60,000 sounds and all that debt. But there’s something about, which is what Carlos did with playing with the sounds and then playing a classical music. And it was like mind blowing because of how cool it was.

But there’s something about messing with the attack that the K the sustain, the, and all of that. And you learn so much. You don’t get that when you buy the sounds pre-made.

[00:30:36] Alan: I used to play, I don’t remember all the time we’ve been doing this for a long time though. And I’ll remember what stories. I had a guy named Phil that I worked with at the office of resource analysis for my assistant.

And he was a great musician, but it had duty come a whole human being. He had a wife and children. It had to be responsible musician that I kept thinking when I get mad at sheen money, I want to like, let him return to cause he and I used to talk about [00:31:00] music, what I was doing at the synth lab. And he did.

Totally drank it in and like, well, I, I wish I could invite you, but it’s I get lab time, one or two in the morning when nobody else wants to there. And, um, I used to, we talked about making sound in the wave table so that you can have the sound of a crackling fireplace and you gate it so that when you played on the keyboards and it sounds like crackles break through, I went, this is, you talk about this kind of stuff, like big artists, but I actually did some of this.

You go to the stadium and you hit one end of a metal bench and the song goes like you it’s like the Doppler or fact, or whatever’s the real weird, interesting, the wave formation of a constrained metal thing on concrete. So it should sound terrible. And yet I just kept experimenting. What does it sound like if I brush a fence, what does this all like when the leaves are rustling and high wind and have all kinds of just captured?

Sounds like boy, I’m pretty good. The pig Floyd, you know what I mean? But I was fascinated. [00:32:00] What does that look like? When you look at it on a silver scope where you try to break it down in a mixture, there’s nature has amazing me, complex things going on with the whoosh of wind or whatever else it might be.

And then if you take something out, it’s now it sounds alien because the way nature does it, you’re used to that whole play of it in your ears. And you take out the low and it sounds, oh my God, there’s an alien thing, screeching. It was just a very interesting, I learned so much about what’s what makes it sound

[00:32:27] Stephen: well?

One of the things I remember doing in my electronic music class, and this was, we didn’t use computers. Apple did have some of the stuff on it that we could use, but this was all just our boards and wires and microphones, and it was old school. But one of the things we did was play a sound and cut off the attack.

So it just started at the sustain. You could not tell the difference between a Piccolo or a violin or a trumpet, uh, cut off.

[00:32:58] Alan: That’s a great way to put it. [00:33:00] You know what I mean? That I think thing, people that have the ear that can do arrangements that can tell you the reason I need this sound is because it’s not only the instrument, it’s, it has the lead in and the way you like the way that you’re picked up it not only hears it, he starts to anticipate what that instrument is capable of.

And there’s all kinds of sound does exist in a vacuum it’s that are listening to it is what makes our understanding of all those instruments and stuff like that. So suddenly the keyboard, I really can’t play woodwinds brass. I don’t have anywhere near like the lip correctness to get anything, but I, you know, when you hear someone do it, well, you can.

Wow. That’s what an interesting thing that he’s keeping the notes as they come out. I don’t even know how to explain some of the things, but the different you will, the different parts of the orchestra brings have a family of noise that they make compared to. Percussion compared to, you know, uh, other winds and [00:34:00] brass and stuff like that.

And I I’m pretty much not an expert, but I started having much more of an appreciation for there’s a reason that the French horn is shaped as it is that the people who knew what they were doing, they were first reading these things. There’s a difference between a competent, a Coronet and a frugal horn and a trombone and all the kind of stuff.

And just understand that, like, how do you make up a famous violin, like a Stradivarius or an a body or something like that. They really had to know, oh, sound work inside a constraints based. Here’s your holes. Here’s the resonance of the wood Ash. You had to understand material science. You know what I mean?

The, I only work with L station for, because that’s the one that makes this perfect resonance.

[00:34:41] Stephen: Oh, I got the coolest Gina got me. It’s not here yet. It was one of those that got held back. It’s a custom leather wallet. That’s embroidered. To look and styled like R2D2 and BBA. So it’s going to the local event and it’s got my author name on.[00:35:00]

So that’s very custom cool. The coolest game. We got several, we got wizard, which we’ve never had before. Believe it or not. We got the Marvel Thanos version of splendor, which was really cool. I don’t know anything about that. Okay. Yeah, it’s basically splendor, but, but they are the gems that you’re trying to collect and it’s got a few changes to the rules.

It was a lot of fun. We got an escape room game for the family to play at home. And the coolest one we got was called mystic market. It’s a simple game where you’re trying to craft potions and you get muddy and it’s got a little rack with actual little potions. And the value in the market of the potions when something is crafted, they change.

So they slide around on the rack. So if I went several times to turn in something, I’m like, oh, I’m going to get $15 for this. [00:36:00] And then Gina laid something down and it shifted everything at all. Now I’m getting $5. That’s the price we had. We’ve had a good time with that one. It’s pretty simple. It’s oh my gosh.

There’s so many cards, but once you get plane, it’s one of those where on your turn, you could buy, you could sell or you can swap or, and then you can craft potions at any time and that’s it. Once you get going, it’s okay. Make sense. And you just play. So

[00:36:27] Alan: I didn’t go big on games as here because it’s only the two of us and even with the family.

So what we did do was we got a cribbage for honestly, we haven’t had a cribbage board in house, or if I have one it’s like in the boxes, in the storage locker and we haven’t played in forever. Fans of, and always wants to play it. And so when I’m rusty, I can’t tell you about the,

[00:36:47] Stephen: that gamut. I haven’t played backgammon in 35 years, literally.

[00:36:52] Alan: And then we also got another little, like a word card game. Another variation on you can make anagrams what the cards cost different amounts. And so [00:37:00] it’s things that we can always play swindler and scrambled the two of us and have a nice time

[00:37:04] Stephen: still doing it. Sorry. We played, tested my elf card game, like a whole bunch of times in a row.

And we made slight adjustments of the cards and rules. And the last couple of times we played it, it flowed well and seem to play well. So


[00:37:21] Stephen: doing a big test. Now there’s a person that Gina works with. They have two small kids. So I wrote out the rules, we got a set of cards. We’re sending it over to them saying, here’s the game, play it.

Give us feedback.

[00:37:37] Alan: That’s great gamers, but naive, first

[00:37:41] Stephen: looking at it. Oh, I’m sorry. And one of the cool things I was thinking, I’m like one of the focuses families, the demographic for the game is family with kids. Mostly it’s not going to appeal to a Mensa gathering for the most part. And I’d like, so I need that something that kids can play and be.

So we thought [00:38:00] of these special cards that you can leave out play without, but put in, if you have little kids that when the car gets played, it’s like all the parents lose a present and all the kids deliver. So it’s a kids bias cards. I remember when my kids were little, when they would play something that just made them like all powerful that for that term, and they’d laugh and giggle and love.

It has not played a game where they’re like, yeah, I could win the game right now, but oh, I don’t have that card. So this is built into the game for the kids benefit. I’m working on some of those as a special add on package. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:38:40] Alan: We broke out cards against humanity, but we hadn’t played that in a while and they keep adding that’s a things.

And of course they’re hilarious and they’re vulgar and it’s somehow it always seems that the shyest person at the table is the one that keeps having to play all the cards. We had a lot of fun with it, but then sometimes people play it hours and hours. No, we needed a taste of this and now [00:39:00] let’s play peanuckle let’s

[00:39:01] Stephen: go to, okay.

We’ve been planning this for an hour and a half. Let’s move on and cards against humanity is how Jason found out. There was no Santa Claus. Oops.

[00:39:13] Alan: That’s very good. We also, we’ve discovered this when we get together with Colleen sisters have game nights and we besides, if you will, formal games like card games or workload or whatever else, it might be.

There’s all kinds of little box card games nowadays that 10 bucks, 15 bucks at target or various different game places, Barnes noble. Um, and, and some of them have proven to be like so much fun that we played them. Instead of being one time is enough. There’s one call something like sink or swim, S Y N C.

And it’s where you have, here’s a topic. And then you have four different questions that you ask about it and you and your partner have to say after you’re like, okay, it’s it’s food and name something that has butter in it. 3, 2, 1. And then you both have to say [00:40:00] something that has butter in it. And you’re trying to say.

And it’s amazing how many times that happens and how it doesn’t happen based on who wouldn’t say, if it’s opposites time, if someone says black, you say white, right? Oh, some people say red because it’s checkers or something and you know what I mean? And so sometimes it’s hilarious. Sometimes people are really pissed if you feel like no, there’s only one right answer.

No, actually there is, there are multiple answers. There’s too many right answers. And so you can’t say name a cat and am I going for lion tiger? Or am I going for Tabby version?

[00:40:38] Stephen: You’ve probably played apples to apples, which is the like friendly verse shit of cars. It gives community, I’ve played that game for hours. And it was an eye-opener to sit down with a group of people and play it. The people get mad and tell you that is not an appropriate answer for that. What do you mean?

It’s not, it’s funny. Well, no, that is not described that word appropriately. You need to get up here. We’ll pull out the [00:41:00] dictionary so you can use it. Okay. Look.

[00:41:06] Alan: I’ve said this before. I can learn more about a person in an hour game playing that in five hours of conversation. Who’s the rules Nazi. Who’s the dictionary user. Who’s the person that they just don’t, they’re doing it because they want to be with friends and they’re doing something to do with your hands while you chat.

You know what I mean? Anyway, some of those games are fun. I also, I got lots of books probably here. This is I’m going to go on. I’m going to go on tape. I know I say that in acronyms myself, I’ve always liked the gore series. They’re a series of fantasy novels about a counter earth on earth on the far side of the sun, so that it kind of rotates as we do.

And we never see it. And it’s, there’s some things that have restricted technology. So it’s much more sword and combat than it is Ray guns and so forth. The biggest thing about this series is John Norman, the author, as the thing about males or masters [00:42:00] emails, And it’s not just a little thing. It’s the mainstay of these books.

And so they are much reviled by anyone that knows that females are not slaves. That it’s, that I, the books are good enough in terms of the daring do the lots for like sometimes there’s nations at war, here’s all the things that are happening. Someone’s going to get assassinated. There’s a, there’s another, an invading race called the core that are big.

They are like creatures and how those all kinds of elements that are worth reading. And I just skipped over the descriptions of what diaphanous silk he was wearing. And how’s a master. It gets way. And yet, boy, now that I’ve mentioned it, every lady, friend of mine is going to be, oh, you’re such a pig because they really are.

If you live anywhere in the book, the odds are, you’re going to be within a couple pages of another scene, bondage of slavery.

[00:42:53] Stephen: Isn’t the main character. Uh, the main character from earth, he gets transported there and he like, he comes back. [00:43:00] He’s only there for a book or something. So

[00:43:02] Alan: the first books are like, then our old cabinet is the guys that, and indeed he’s a relatively conventional guy on the planet, but there, he finds out that you’re going to have to become ardor, become a harsher, more of a warrior.

If you’re going to survive on this planet and integrating himself into the ways of the world, he learns that there’s not only females that are slaves. There’s males that are slaves. When a battle is lost, often the, the losers are made slaves and sold, and then they have to fight in the arena. So there’s a gladiatorial aspect or all kinds of stuff.

If that’s a big thing of the book is, and people own people, it’s terrible. It’s a terrible thought. And yet the whole culture is based on that. And so he has to integrate himself into these stays over the course of time because he becomes, because he’s had big losses, big failures in his life, the priest Kings actually.

Use him as a good agent because he knows what it is to feel [00:44:00] despair, to feel, you know, my God, I, everything was stacked against me. And yet he’s able to, he’s left standing at the end. He’s a guy that won’t give any people. That’s their superpower. They don’t get to the finish line first, but at the end of the race, they finish every race.

I’m kind of more like that. You know what I mean? Not my, my secret animal powers. I’m an elk. I don’t know that I have a great punter or a great flyer, but you know what, when I have to get to my wintering grounds, I’m not the one that drops. I make it all the way to the end of everything. So anyway,

[00:44:30] Stephen: I remember reading those Tarn gore books, 13 or something, so totally different perspective on those older describing what’s different.


[00:44:42] Alan: that’s true too, when you’re a young man bound for adventure. It’s oh, this is okay to read. Have any more lurid sex scenes than a James Bond did or. But it was it this that they compared to the executioner where it’s loving descriptions of guns. This was loving descriptions [00:45:00] of sorts

[00:45:01] Stephen: series. I remember because it wasn’t quite fantasy.

It wasn’t quite scifi

[00:45:07] Alan: the underpinnings. And it’s not only about male versus female, not even versus integrated. It was very much about what kind of government works. How do you use your resources logically conscience long before the

[00:45:22] Stephen: earth day as heavy handed as do it go, the 30 pages of government intervention, stuff like

[00:45:28] Alan: that.

Exactly. So it’s funny. I haven’t been reading them all my life. They stopped being published for a while because whoever was publishing them, there was such an outcry that they actually, they were one of first band in the field of science fiction because there was such a. He became a self-publisher and now they’re available if I Amazon and like from a real publisher that puts nice covers on them and stuff like that.

And so he got me a whole bunch of the series that like, it’s up to 36 now, and I have lost track of that. And I, he got me like 29 to 36. He got me, everyone [00:46:00] that I was missing because I had long ago on my wishlist. And so it’s okay. I don’t know that I’m going to read them all in a rush. I’m going to read them like I do in between other things.

I’m going to read my urban fantasy book and I’m going to read my comfort with spoken it. I’m gonna read my latest and Robert B. Parker or whatever else it might be. So that was, it’s like a foot of book, nice and thick. There’s a lot to them. So when I got this big box and I’m like, oh, is it, I don’t know a new computer?

No, it was the stack of these books and the fact that Colleen got them for me, another it’s funny. I hope this isn’t that he does protest too much type stuff. One of the reasons that I’m pretty sure that they’re okay. Yeah, pretty decent guy. I didn’t become a raving, um, male chauvinist pig. They’re like, I can differentiate between fiction and fact, I can, there are only Tennessee and not even necessarily a great fantasy.

I guess there’s a whole world of function disciplines. It doesn’t mean Mack masochism. And I don’t, [00:47:00] I’ve never been in that world, but there are really are people that enjoy it. And when they find each other, it’s really an interesting thing because with all the rest of the world, looking at scans, they’re safe with each other because they found someone who’s thinks math and there’s all sex love is tricky

[00:47:16] Stephen: there.


[00:47:18] Alan: yeah, we’re such complex creatures and that vanilla is, it’s not the only flavor. It’s not even necessarily the best flavor for some people

[00:47:30] Stephen: problem with banning books, or we think this is bad, so you’re not allowed to read it. Hold on. Oh, my God. I could make that choice. Maybe I won’t like it, but it’s in the country we live in.

That should be my choice. Even banning Hitler’s book and stuff like that. I don’t think you should do that because I’m not going to turn into Hitler and genocide, a whole culture of people, even though I think the virus has done [00:48:00] that for us, but there’s reasons intellectually and to read it and understand that and see that.

And there’s just, people are banning. They banned the Harry Potter books because it was teaching kids out of cast magic. Seriously, they tried

[00:48:18] Alan: them and they didn’t work. Maybe the kids caught on that. This is only,

[00:48:22] Stephen: these are like the most ridiculous spell names. Luminoso, something turned a light. Come on. If you can’t figure out the roots of

[00:48:30] Alan: earn more Latin and Greek, all my life, all of the last thousand years of literary humanity has been what’s publishable.

What’s allowed to be published. All of a sudden my sweeping statement is most of the time that people that are anxious to be dispensers are exactly the ones you don’t. Exactly. They just have such a poor version of what’s right in the world. What’s good. And that thing of, I don’t like it. I’m not going to read it when it transforms into, I don’t like it.

So you’re not allowed to read it. Think of that arrogant. Think of the, [00:49:00] the fanaticism that goes into a twist like that. And always want to have to say is, as I’ve learned more about. There really might be something that ideas are viruses of the mind they transfer quickly. They often are more potent than truth.

How much of a population, again, through there really might be some things that we really should stop from being as thoroughly as out there as they can be. And yet the ones that I see people going after, it’s not in using the N word, it’s not a Luminoso in Harry Potter. It’s the most tiny, ridiculous little things that people go after.

Instead of this guys for hosing an entire world where there really are differences between the races and that there should be no order. When we go to race war, that’s an incredibly dangerous thing compared to, oh, no little Billy is discovering his sexuality was he’s 13.

[00:49:55] Stephen: Oh my God. The huckleberry Finn comes up all the time.

It’s one of the first things that always pop into [00:50:00] my mind. For the time period for the w where Twain lived and. It was, it wouldn’t be published today and they make them change it. But for that time it shows what things were. And we can’t forget that because then you say, when you’re so horrible, now we’ll wait a second.

Look at this. That’s just one of the things that always comes back and even, and I don’t think Norman necessarily is doing this, but the thing with women’s slaves and men domineering that if that was a star Trek episode, there’d be. Weight to it for our society.

[00:50:36] Alan: The story, exactly. That it’s enough. Like it, that it’s disturbing, but that it’s not real.

It’s not. And if it is real, we want to stop that. We don’t realize it slavers. We don’t want girls being put into prostitution that can’t get out of Thailand or Croatia or wherever the

sorry if I just insulted two countries. [00:51:00]

[00:51:01] Stephen: Yeah, but that’s, I’ve heard interviews because of star Trek. They said there were things we did for story that we couldn’t have done. If it was a little house on the Prairie or if it was some cop show set in the modern world, we got away with it because it was a future world.

It was so people are like, oh, that’s different. But

[00:51:20] Alan: oftentimes they not only call it science fiction. They call it speculative. And even that, not only all of its power, but its all of its responsibility is this. If you go down this weird path, black mirror, FP, every episode is like that. Like, what if you’re really became too obsessed with social media and ranking?

What if we could excise someone from your lifestyle completely, et cetera, et cetera. They’re really good at taking that grapple, handing it to that. Sometimes absurd, sometimes terrifying point of well, now that we’ve seen how bad it can get. How about if we put some safeties in place?

[00:51:52] Stephen: What about 1984? How close to that?

Are we, and, and where do we stop and have to draw the line? Who decides [00:52:00] what is good morally or ethically? And what is it? Where do you draw that line? Because what if I can’t play sports and I got bullied and teased. So it’s a trigger for me. Every time sports is on TV, it gets, puts me in a panic. Why don’t we ban sports on TV?

Everybody would say that’s ridiculous. Okay. But why is it ridiculous to ban this other stuff that

[00:52:22] Alan: yes, the band Dungeons and dragons, because exactly well, How, uh, mentioning Frank Zappa earlier, you will not only was he amazing and brilliant to the great composer, et cetera. He was often attack and he was often the guy who was articulate enough to say, here’s why your argument is so much, but yet, you know, I’m going to go in front of Congress.

Talk about record. Labeling is not what you think it is. It doesn’t work. It’s not going to work like you think it’s going to be. And the things you want to label, they are the ills in our society. And so Napa and Carla did any number of other artists and comedians and so forth. How often are they like the [00:53:00] gesture that we need to have this going to tell the truth as a king?

And like the prophet that’s saying that old prophecy, and it’s not working out for us. Here’s a new, better way. Jesus was such a man. You know what I mean? If we really follow Jesus and it was love your neighbor and how many times does the word love appear in the teachings of Jesus, the Bible, instead of the more vengeful old Testament, God, the world would be a better place.

And yet he’s getting edged out by the repetition. They’re not like us. So we don’t like that. Let’s find a reason to hate, instead of find all the ways in which we are alike in which we should cooperate and share the world. So I still revel in those kinds of speculative fiction because it really is. Wow.

So this, these books have been around for 50 years. Did the world get infected by them and become that? No arts of what he was saying. Some packets of information snuck out and there really are still goods and bads based on how much is the world like dude, publics, the world, like foundation, the fact that we’re having these big series [00:54:00] come out now that were for a long time considered, like unfilmable that they actually now have not only the special effects, but we as a society are able to talk about what would future history be like when you, when we talk about, and the mule is able to violate that by being a mind control and we’ve had any number of demagogues over the course of history, it’s like, how did they get away with it?

How did. I named the crazy that caught on because there is always a little bit of that 10% nowadays, we worry about whether it’s 40%, that’s willing to follow crazy because they get some benefit. They get some, then there’s some cases, terrible pleasure, animalistic pleasure. Out of, I, you know, I watched a purge movie a while

[00:54:42] Stephen: back.


[00:54:44] Alan: never intended to watch them. There’s a great quote along the lines of one sign of being intelligent is that you get to have two opposite ideas in your head and know that neither one of them has to win. We’re just being able to have an idea in your head that you don’t adopt. It’s like memetic.

Inoculation is [00:55:00] I really want to see what other people are getting exposed to. And in my mind is immediately would work in that’s ridiculous and that’s terrible. And yet, if I can’t, if I can’t speak to it, then I don’t want to be a hypocrite that says never having seen the movie. You know what I mean? How many people are protesting without it?

It was ridiculous. And yet I can see how for a certain segment of the population, what incredible wish fulfilled the guy. That’s got no power in his everyday life for one night of the week. He’s got a gun he’s a big, he’s crazy. He gets to be fully full on crazy that he usually has to hide. And that’s such an incredible desire for people that are otherwise.

[00:55:41] Stephen: That’s why grand theft auto is such a big gate

[00:55:44] Alan: so much. I get to pick all the shackles of society often go around killing and hooking and stealing, and then killing the hooker

[00:55:52] Stephen: and the owner. And that’s what, and that’s what made the movie free guy. So funny, I

[00:55:59] Alan: guess [00:56:00] that’s true. That’s the many people understand that thing.

It would be carnage if that was the world and yet it’s. So I don’t know. I often think of that. Ultra violence is not necessarily, people are going to turn off for violent. It really is a safety

[00:56:12] Stephen: belt. It’s a release.

[00:56:14] Alan: I got to see what it would be like to really run somebody over a lot. You know what I mean?

[00:56:19] Stephen: Carve again, did that 25 years ago.

I, the last thing I got was the Alan wake remaster game, which Alan wake is one of my favorite games of all time. It’s one of the inspirations actually that kicked me into wanting to write. And it doesn’t on the X-Box one. It does not look that much different. I think it really high Rez upgrades. If you have an Xbox X, which who knows where you’ll get one of those, but that was your, I was like, cool.

I’ve been wanting to play it again. It’s a great game. Got the achievements that I’ve set. Their achievements are popping up. She’s oh, you’re getting a lot of those. I’m like, yeah, I know where they all are now. [00:57:00]

[00:57:01] Alan: And through replaying a game that you had already played many hours off is sometimes I wish I had the surprise instead of efficiency of going after things like that.

[00:57:12] Stephen: And that’s some of the playability of games as well. I did. I only got 59% of the collectibles. Let me go through it again and get another 20% of collectibles partner to find areas I didn’t explore. Yeah.

[00:57:25] Alan: I like it. Whenever they add a new scenario to Diablo, it’s a whole nother area to explore and all that kind of stuff.

And that’s what, okay. I already know how most of the weapons and everything worked, but it’s cool to be surprised in these ways, new monsters, new territory, I can get stuck in the mire or whatever else it might be.

[00:57:41] Stephen: So what’d you think of hot guy?

[00:57:45] Alan: I haven’t finished it yet. Oh, no. I have been following it diligently, but I’m one behind on Titan’s Hawkeye.

A whole bunch of things that are so I’m sorry that I can’t talk about

[00:57:56] Stephen: it next week. Cause Boba Fett starts tomorrow.

[00:57:58] Alan: Okay. Very good. [00:58:00] I have to mention one other thing because we’re being all philosophical. Another thing that I got a couple of books. Oh, sorry. By a guy named John Brockman and. He’s not associated with Ted, but I think of him in that same interesting frame of mind in terms of, he asked a big question like every year and makes it into a book.

And he goes to the like, time magazine has the a hundred influencers of the world that tech people and art people and government people will never. And he’s like, so one of the questions is what big thought changed everything in your life. And he’ll get all the reflections from all those people. So there’s a game I played and it really just had me understand game theory.

Here’s a book I read. Here’s just a thought. And then he has one called what have you changed your mind about if you’re in a field where there’s an established cannon of information and then a vulnerable came in, how did you, how’d you feel about changing your mind? What was it that did that? How did you convince yourself that something you thought was established deep back and yet it’s [00:59:00] new now, but like the dinosaur bird thing or the, and the books are fascinating because, and maybe that’s why I think it’s.

You get some of the brightest people on a planet that apparently he knows them all. He’s the guy that has all these interesting connections and affiliations and stuff. And they’re all willing to have these speculative little essays with him. It’s just immersing yourself every year into the best spot going on.

And there’s nothing. What else I have over here? But they’re there. I’m like, what’s the scariest thought. What’s the thing in the world right now that you’re the most worried. And it just, so people are like, I love crypto. And so people like pupils the most dangerous. So when you see people who are really know a lot about a lot, and yet they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms they know technology, are we all, are we going to have wonderful medical advances or we’re all going to turn to grey goose because it gets out of hand and you know what I mean?

I just, I, every time I read one and it’s another one of those things that I had like fallen off, I got three new ones, but I hadn’t gotten them. [01:00:00] I used to be every year. I was like, okay, that’s my January read is whatever came up. I can’t recommend them highly. They are fantastic. And they really will expose you to the world at how the world has shifted the course of my life.

You know what I mean? Like here’s what the big thinkers were thinking back in the two thousands. But now my God, that’s 20 years ago, they’re like new millennium. The whole world is changing. We haven’t handled global warming really well have we we’ve had to work on that 20 years. And you also got me another book by Mihai chick sent me high, which I think I might’ve talked about before.

He’s the guy that does flow. And besides my parents, he’s probably the one that most wrote about, oh my God, this really explained me that how I met my most productive, my most pleasure, the pleasure that I get out of what I do for a living, falling into code, listening to music, playing a game where you just lose track of time.

And you’re the master of your surroundings and your resources. And it’s because of you’re able to. [01:01:00] Immerse yourself in it and not thrown it, but really just be really connected. And really, you don’t even know where your ideas are coming from, but it’s really how your mind works. And he got, he got me, he has half of those books and I was missing one and she found it for him.

So now I have, I think his last work, because he just recently passed away. So I got things to play with. I got things to read or listen to

[01:01:23] Stephen: you can’t go anywhere. You got stuff to do. And that’s

[01:01:25] Alan: where I got close to. Where inside the house, you got to be lots of wonderful stuff. And I tried to get. So I got a beautiful books.

I got her the latest Adele and I got her. We hadn’t been watching the Beatles yet back series. So I got her two Beatles compilations, so that she’ll have, we, I have many of the Beatles albums, but I wanted to get her those highlights, which she doesn’t know what else you want to read. You can’t go wrong.

Read, listen to you. Can’t go wrong with the beat, that kind of stuff. And there’s some beautiful clothes. I’m always, she has lots of nice clothes, but I’ve been able to like sneak in on her because he might have for a long time [01:02:00] business conservatives, he really looks beautiful and business closed, but I’m the one that will put some color in like some animal prints, one snakeskin, one street or something like that.

And she liked one enough to wear to Chris for the night before Chris. So just that, um, we really had the stuff ridiculous. And yet it’s because we share each other’s lives and we know there’s little hints drop or there’s little. You don’t even realize that she was listening when you said it. And she, I especially try to surprise her in that way.

Something that you mentioned last February, it was like, uh, I got her a cute little book by Sandra Boynton called this little poopy. I didn’t know that anybody else really called anybody Pooky, except for those hedgehog to those German cartoon. And yet I found her something that says,

[01:02:52] Stephen: well, I got Gina. Um, we’re as long as everything doesn’t get locked down, but in March, Josh [01:03:00] gates is going to be at the Akron civic.

So we got tickets to go see him. He’s one of her favorites and I nailed it on jewelry this year. I got her some little Pearl earrings with cat ears on it. So it looks like a little kitty and other earrings with dried flowers that were real dead. So she was super excited about the very cool

[01:03:21] Alan: I’ll try me and I also, I had found a very cool Irish stool replaced and nothing like emeralds and real, super expensive, but beautifully done.

Combination of stones and woods and metals that are like more earthy, almost like hippy, almost in results, fare type stuff. And I didn’t find her just one. I got her half thousand because they were, I just was like, wow, this is really nice. And so this is like for going out, and this is for going to a game and I don’t even know that I chose directly in that way, but I got her a nice variety.

And again, you weren’t one of those the very first time she got a chance. So symbols pre of life, or the little, a little turquoise [01:04:00] desk. Right? Um, same thing. I got her without breaking the bank a whole bunch of beautiful adornment for my beautiful Dina appreciates that ones that I hope they clean. That’s cool.


[01:04:13] Stephen: did get something else. It wasn’t a Christmas present though. A site story to go with it. It’s a coincidental, but not associated directly. So I told you a windows, computer, weird issue. I’m having that. When I click on my Google drive, the one drive folder will pop up and I used to have one drive, personal switched to Google, but I still have one drive with work.

And when I click on it, it pops up and overlays my Google folder every single time. And

[01:04:42] Alan: I’m like, what is going on with that? I think

[01:04:46] Stephen: it’s windows trying to redirect you to buy one drive. It’s only one drive. That’s gotten me a little help, but the weird thing was I had, if you’ve ever mint Linux on my laptop, I [01:05:00] was having some trouble getting a few things working installed.

And I read that fedora, which is an older version of Linux that I’ve used before. It was really focused for developers. So I’m like, okay, let me throw that on there. And see, and I was playing with that, getting everything set up so I could do unity. I could do twine. I could do Stuart or Nova, all these developments.

Fantastic. And I went to log in and it wouldn’t let me log in. And I’m like, what the heck? Then I type in my password. I was like, okay, well maybe it was this other password. I tried a couple of different passwords and it, it would flash all the passwords that I’ve written I’ve typed in on the screen and then go back to the screen.

I’m like, oh, that’s not good. That does not look right. And that’s so weird. Cause I don’t know of a virus or malware or anything or Linux that would do that. So I wiped it and re-installed it. So [01:06:00] like I’m just having all sorts of computer issues lately, but I went and got one of these. Are you ready?

[01:06:10] Alan: Oh, by

[01:06:10] Stephen: the Mac mini.

Yes, it’s an old one, but there’s a reason it’s not my everyday machine. And I’m not one to say, oh, you should use PCs or, oh, you should use Mac PCs worked for me. They have everything I need. I’ve always worked on them, but to do manuscript publishing to the apple store or to do iPad and phone games to the apple store, you have to go through a Mac.

So I can do all my development for games or writing on my PC, but I have to route it to the last

[01:06:44] Alan: leg.

[01:06:46] Stephen: So I’m going to put vellum on this. I’m going to put all my credentials on it for the store and the keys and set all that up. It’s like the oldest slowest Mac I could get that runs the monitor. Oh, [01:07:00]

[01:07:00] Alan: it’s gotta be 200

[01:07:01] Stephen: bucks that wasn’t it was like 160 bucks.

[01:07:05] Alan: Computing has all kinds of. Refurbished and of there’s multiple variations of the Mac mini. I think I mentioned if I haven’t before, I can’t believe I haven’t, I’ve used Mac minis for 10 years now. It’s such a perfect price point for get the so powerful. It doesn’t involve you always getting new peripheral.

I’ve got very much the monitor keyboard mouse, all my hard drives. As long as it’s got the ports that you need, you can plug it right in or have one small adaptor that doesn’t seem to be too expensive or too, like it’s the impediment that it slows things down. If you’re trying to go with a throughput for USB or something like that, I have one macular that was my big celebration from last year.

At this time, it was the first time once coming out and it, for the first month they were doing okay, it’s not perfect. So we’re fixing it. And it has been running without fail, like a dream perfect for 11 months out of 12 and as [01:08:00] fast as anything I’ve ever owned as good a graphics as anything I’ve ever had, it’s just this little workhorse that.

It’s the size of a cigar. Yeah. It’s just amazing. The miracle they worked

[01:08:10] Stephen: in this bar and this machine, th the thing we want to try and do is with my raspberry PI and this, I want to get them mounted somewhere out of the way, cause I’m not going to use them a lot and then route it into the same monitors so I can switch when I need to, without going elsewhere and without setting something up every day and all of them use USB keyboards and mouse.

So I could just switch between whatever I need.

[01:08:36] Alan: And they’re all sensing ESP sensing nowadays, so that it isn’t, I plug it in and I have to reboot, or I have to tell them, Hey, there’s a new mouse there. They all the devices talk to each other and holidays. And so I have, I do that regularly with whenever I plug different things into my laptop, depending on what presentation I’m doing, I carry a whole bunch of my own adapters to make sure, but most things are, if you’ve got any kind of HTMI or USB, or even like an old [01:09:00] VGA, I have an adapter for.

I so much. Don’t have to be okay, restart this, but have this off when you do it, because it really has to do with nowadays that whole live handshaking is really so much better. How I, my early career was the wizard that got people’s presentations to

[01:09:19] Stephen: work so much. I love that. So with the computer stuff, I was at micro center the other day, if you want a raspberry PI forget about it, they had nothing in the store.

Like totally nothing. But what I was really looking at was the 3d printers. We’ve talked about that. So they had the Realty ender. They have a lot of those. It seems to be the right price point performance for what. But the version one they’re gone sold out. They have a version two, and then they have a few other one upgrades of pro or whatever.

But what I found was I’m like, okay, now let’s start to get to the [01:10:00] point where I was willing to spend $250, but here’s this $320 one.

[01:10:07] Alan: Yeah.

[01:10:09] Stephen: So I met still looking at a cruelty ender, but this, the one that’s in the $320 price range has an extended closure. And it’s a little bigger. So we have dogs, we live in the country, you get dust, you get hair.

And these things run for 72 hours. I’m like, that might be a worthwhile investment. The sound, if we’re watching something, because I’m probably going to have the 3d printer in the living room. Cause it’s, I could put it on the piano. That’s like the most solid base I have. So it doesn’t jiggle around. So I don’t want to make a noise for a whole weekend if we’re watching TV or playing a game or.

[01:10:46] Alan: Cool. I was actually, I’m not sure about this. They use the various different rosin wires to form their things. And if I’m sensitive to those scents, for some reason, whatever, come off of those. And so maybe from my days of doing thing, maker stuff, remember [01:11:00] way back to them. So I want it to not be in the same room with me.

And I was actually thinking, putting it in my garage and that’s weird because the garage is not insulated. So it definitely will change temperature over the course of the year and in winter, I’m not sure that being in a 40 degree garage is the best way for the operations. They usually have a band of correct operations, but my wifi reaches out to there.

And I really could, but I’m still working on what would be the best place for Mike. I’m looking at Bruce up there. They might be a little bit more expensive. They’re probably in an 800,000 range, but. Um, and the ability to work with multiple colors, they have granularity. If you will, the kinds of things you can do.

I’m in my mind when I’m really going to use it for making puzzle puzzles like that I’ve mentioned that are actually like they got broken, or I don’t want to replace a certain piece, or there’s all kinds of cool. Now CAD cam drawings, there are certain kinds of files that everybody does for how to run these 3d printers.

And there’s lots of cool stuff. That’s [01:12:00] fallen into the public domain that I really would like to have my own version of. I dunno, I, so I think when I start, I’m not really going to get a starter one, actually going to get one. That is the one that is the least amount of overhead and hassle. There’s some actually like when you buy it, you have to build it.

And as I can save myself 300 bucks, but then I’m, well, if I get it right, if I run the salary, correct, whatever is at my feet, my, I don’t know my price point be. Weirder because I have,

[01:12:29] Stephen: yeah, I just want to make little figures and stuff. And now what type of material does that use? Cause there’s two main types.

There’s the resident. And then there’s the other, I forget, but I know the one actually takes more work curate in. I think

[01:12:45] Alan: mine is still the resin pools of little plastic wire because they come in probably not going to Pantone for like 48 different colors. We have quite the array that you can do. And so many of any other printer nowadays, and the printer doesn’t cost as much [01:13:00] as the consumable supplies I was trying to look at, I really want to have that 48, but those are different colors.

How much do I have to invest in that set of reels? And if every one of those is another hundred dollars, I’ve doubled the.

[01:13:20] Stephen: Bigger printers get more expensive. The material I was looking

[01:13:23] Alan: around in centering it doesn’t do like methyl. It doesn’t do simulated wood. It still looks plasticky. If you will.

[01:13:32] Stephen: And that’s the for a school they’re like 20 bucks and you can get a dozen, two dozen figures depending on out of it. I’m like that’s super cause.

Cause I was looking around online and people that have on they’re, like I printed all of this out with one school and it cost me like 40 cents a figure. So considering their five, $7. What’s funny is

[01:13:55] Alan: I’ve been looking at me thinking about doing this for a long time, honestly like five years now. And [01:14:00] when, before we went to digital camera, that used to be that and maybe computers as well, no matter what camera you bought, three months later, something better came up for less.

And it may like if there’s a certain amount of consumer reports, analysis paralysis that happens. If I just keep waiting, I’m going to get more. But then you’ve lost three and six and 12 months worth of capability. So I have to pull the trigger events so much research and continually said, oh, new contender, new brand, a new edition of an existing brand.

And how many times it was like, ah, I’m going to wait a little while longer. I don’t know. I don’t think I’m frozen about it, but maybe that will be a journey that you and I will start on at about the same time. It would be cool comparisons.

[01:14:45] Stephen: Okay. Before we go, did you ever back in the day play the hero quest game or game?

I did not know what

[01:14:52] Alan: it is.

[01:14:55] Stephen: Comic book characters, the old it’s seventies. I hear a request it’s [01:15:00] D and D as a board. The coolest parts about it were that you built the dungeon as you went. So if you were in this room until you open the door, you can’t see what’s in the next room.

[01:15:10] Alan: Really exploring

[01:15:11] Stephen: exactly the booklets.

They have campaigns and scenarios. So the dungeon master can see the whole layout. So he knows what items to put in each room as you go and you progress, your hero can get better abilities and things. What really made it cool was all the pieces, because they actually had 3d pieces that you put in the rooms of rats and doors and cauldrons and books, and then all the monsters as the modular mapping

[01:15:38] Alan: and all the different.

Okay. It’s a great,

[01:15:42] Stephen: great board game, a super collectible now because nobody has all the parts. I mean, they sell, if you have one with all the parts, it’ll go for four or 500 on the back and that’s not.

[01:15:53] Alan: Because they were well-played and they got beat up. If it was two in the morning and somebody stomped the rack because they were angry or

[01:15:59] Stephen: [01:16:00] whatever.

Yeah. Oh, it’s a kid’s game. Nobody took care of it as they moved around. So now here’s my dilemma. We have one and it’s missing a few parts, not the scenarios, not the characters, but some of the plastic pieces. And I know there are places out there I could get 3d files and just print those ones off, which would be an incentive DAF, the predator, they just rereleased the game with slightly updated graphics is rule fixes that fixed a few

[01:16:29] Alan: things and intellectual property contention.

Yes. You don’t want to take money out of their

[01:16:35] Stephen: pocket. Exactly. But is that

[01:16:39] Alan: still

[01:16:39] Stephen: okay. They want 125 bucks for the. And I’m like, but I have three quarters of the game. I only need these couple pieces. Then you’d have a whole brand new board game, which is all shiny and

[01:16:55] Alan: well, there’s been a pendulum swinging back and forth as to the right to [01:17:00] repair and even the right to customized and computers and board games and stuff like that.

So it really might be that that was out. You don’t have to have any guilt about making your old game work again. I really think that if you just, if you were to like take a piece of wooden whistle, a new rep, it wouldn’t be that they would violate any of their,

[01:17:20] Stephen: but still I think it w why I questioned so much is just because man, I’d really love to have the new version that looks, but it’s $125, you know, is it worth buying the whole new version?

Yeah, probably cause like we got betrayal on house on the hill, which has a lot of parts and stuff and we loved playing it with the family. It’s something we can, all, this is like that it’s a continue building game that changes. And then

[01:17:44] Alan: depending on how much gameplay you get out of it and how many people participate 125 seems smaller because it’s spread out over multiple players multiple times.

I often think of that as something that I’m going to buy up front, but I’m going to get a hundred uses out of it. That’s really only a buck, a [01:18:00] shot. That’s not much at all, but

[01:18:02] Stephen: I probably, if I really wanted, I probably could sell what I do have on eBay for 50 bucks. And then that makes the

[01:18:09] Alan: game with

[01:18:11] Stephen: everything.

So we’ll see. Yeah. So

[01:18:17] Alan: Steve Yates has done all kinds of like, let’s see, exploring the national parks he made with his three D printer, like little stands that made it. Whenever it was about the game that was a little flimsy or a little poorly thought out, he made them better. And so then when you play with them, as you should have been this to game central, whoever owns this thing and say, I got an idea that I experimented with on my own, and hopefully they will be embracing of it instead of call the lawyers kind of

[01:18:46] Stephen: thing.

I know a lot of people make like cardholders that are upright, so you can easily slide off the next card or just holders and things. Some of the pieces, like you said, that are flimsy or fall over, you make a better [01:19:00] base for it. And since then, yeah, I see a lot of improvements on

[01:19:04] Alan: exactly. I know I’ve seen everything being in baggies.

I’ve seen people where they actually built a little compartmentalized box that all that stuff goes into so that you put it away and it doesn’t get damaged. And you can tell, am I missing any pieces? Cause no, there’s six here and there’s three here. And that’s exactly how many things. So people are. They do a lot of stuff to be like, I love this game and I want to play it forever, which you have to do a little.

Preventative maintenance. If you will, to make sure things don’t go missing

[01:19:31] Stephen: for the elf game that I do, you’re trying to build and deliver presence. And we have cards that represent the presence, but I’m like, why don’t we just print off 50 little present pieces and you collect the presence. That’s what probably kids would like that a lot better.

[01:19:46] Alan: Always be cobbling. Did you ever see that skit with Alec Baldwin on at the north wall?

All was a pleasure happy days after Christmas,

[01:19:59] Stephen: new [01:20:00] year.

[01:20:00] Alan: Exactly. That good new year. We’re going to be nice and quiet. We’re going to, we’re going to pull up the cattle, corn and watch. Let’s see. What’s white. What’s our natives. We got some John Sayles movies last time. So we’ll see what we’re going to hide.

We’re going to get Colleen better.

[01:20:16] Stephen: Yeah. Feel better. Take care of real quick. Just as something to think about. My cousin just got an Oculus quest one for him and one for his. And they’re pushing us to get one. And I found out if you get the quest too, you can play the quest games from the store, but also hook it up to your computer and play all the steam games and all that.

So Alan, think about it. If there were four or five of us that had these, we could play star Trek, bridge crew,

[01:20:46] Alan: even like latency from far away, places would be okay with the se that’s, we’ll be,

[01:20:51] Stephen: it’s like a lot of these games, they don’t send graphics, they just send the info. So all the graphics are on your side.

So it’s just sending little bits of info. [01:21:00]

[01:21:00] Alan: It’s the change is not the entire file each time, if you will. I think I mentioned I’ve gotten a whole bunch of invitations again and again, from Emily, from Judy, from people that already have them and they really love them. And they’d love to have me join their Mary band as well.

So another one of those things know a couple hundred bucks and I get to have this whole. Not authoritatively, but then when I talk about what I like, and don’t like, it’s not just what I’ve read it’s because I’ve wanted to think

[01:21:29] Stephen: thing with it. Do you know how many board and card games they’re putting on bees, Oculus VR game, they’ve got Katon.

You can play good time with people in remote cities and have them sitting at the table

[01:21:42] Alan: with you. As I mentioned before, I have the old Google cardboard. I really have some experience with this, but it’s nowhere near busy or has advanced leaps and bounds and leaps and bounds last 20 years as well.

There’s really cool

[01:21:54] Stephen: stuff. Kind of like those old stereoscopic where you put the postcard in glasses and look at [01:22:00] the postcard compared to the movies that they made.