It is after Thanksgiving and we have our holiday report. Lots of family time.




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Stephen: Oh, hey, microphone .

Alan: In fact, hey, I got the actual BALs thing showing. Let me get a better backdrop than this. Let’s see. Got that. I know that package at some point. It’s kind funny. Zoom is one of the worst for I’ve downloaded multiple times and loaded multiple times, various different things and it just doesn’t seem to retain them.

You know what I mean? I’m I continually have to download their package again or things that I know I like, went and hit the net, sought out zoom backgrounds, loaded a whole bunch of stuff, especially seasonal stuff like for summer, fall, winter holidays and that kind of stuff. And yet, so here I am with my Northern Lights, cuz all my Christmas stuff, no not available apparently.

I will figure out why that is. It might be that when reinstall their package. Just what you shouldn’t do. They overwrite all of their subsidiary files, their parameter files and stuff like that, including the folder into which I put all the Zoom background. Wow. Yeah. That’s zoom, get with it, I guess so.

Okay. Maybe

Stephen: may I, not actually not picking this time. Maybe it’s a more Mac thing cuz I’ve not had that problem. It will hold my background and it hasn’t deleted

Alan: anything, so it might be that too. Let me where am I? Here? I want to go to displays and turn on my, I do a whole bunch of usual prep.

Like I turn on night shift on the Mac, which gives you here, behold how I look more lifelike now by getting the glare of the screen not be as bright as it is. So it, it’s

Stephen: amazing what radiation does for your complexion.

Alan: True enough. Exactly. I just, you given all the phosphors that I regularly sprinkle on my face so that I glow in the dark.


Stephen: So how was your

Alan: Thanksgiving, sir? It was very good. It’s funny, everything changes. When I first joined clan Fitzgerald, there was like 30 people at Thanksgiving because it was the entire, Colleen is one of nine kids and they all have their families and you mom and dad, her mom and dad were still around.

And so it was like multiple tables in multiple rooms with, who gets to sit at the adult table and who’s at the kids table, even youre a kid at or something like that. But it’s gotten smaller, but multiple siblings now have kids of their own, multiple nieces and nephews have their kids.

And so there, there’s kinda like everybody is beset. Doing the shuttle diplomacy of going to multiple Thanksgivings. And oftentimes then, depending on, you’re raking a ton of food, but not everybody is sitting down to eat both of those turkeys that you’ve made. I made, laugh about this joke before, first time I ever heard the phrase bring out the first Turkey because there was a second Turkey, that kind thing,

So it was smaller, a dozen of us instead of 30. But it was that way, everybody gets to sit at the same table and have real conversation instead of being only, the cl of silverware on plate and stuff like that, right? It was wonderfully pleasant. One of Colleen’s sisters, Erin, was the host for it, and she has, all the food gets laid out on the counter and so that’s not true.

Desserts were on the counter, but everything else was actually like, passed around family style or hey, gimme a spoon of that. All of her brothers and sisters are good cooks. It’s the sisters the brother actually is the one that brings like the sodi papa and the napkins, they John has given light duty because I’m not sure what he made or what he didn’t make. , that was like not up to a Fitzgerald family snuff. I, Colleen usually makes a big salad, all kinds of ingredients, and so it’s and party salad, if you will. And I usually bake a couple breads, a dinner bread, and a couple dessert breads.

And those manage to find my little niche in the family. In other words, instead of intruding on somebody else’s pumpkin pie or somebody else’s green bean casserole. One year I did make Lithuanian food. I made Googles, which is kinda like a German baked potato pudding with like bacon bits and stuff like that.

It’s the kind of stuff that you. Eat in the winter to carbo load as if you’re a bear, as if you’re gonna be sleeping for the rest of the winter. It’s wonderful. It’s really good. But man, is it heavy. And that was I made the mistake cause I had never made it before. When you, you have to create a ton of potatoes, like dozens, and if you don’t keep potatoes underwater, like in the air, they go from nice, happy white to like gray.

And so my stuff looked like a slab of concrete. Instead of being like nice potato with brown on the top, it was like, what exactly am I eating here? It looks like zombie flesh. What the hell? And I, it just wasn’t as appetizing as what my my al donna used to make, my . So sometimes people like they, I don’t know what’s.

A lot of people make the traditional same stuff. They’re really good at potatoes, they’re really good at sweet potato castro, green meat, cash roll. When we bring the salad, I make a point of bring in four dressings so that there’s a variety, who wants the basic Italian, if you will, or the ranch or whatever else it might be.

And everybody just channels down and we play games and the boys, it’s funny sometimes it’ll be so the boys will go in the other room and watch sports ball and the ladies will, chatter in the main room. Aaron has given up all the sports channels and instead of searching around, do we get it on Fox or Hulu or where do we find it?

The boys actually talk too, instead of only commenting on the Chicago and Detroit used to have a Thanksgiving game, right? I’m not sure if they’re still doing that. And and there’s the we do secret Santa. Instead of everybody in the family buying gifts for everybody else, which would be just this, a torrent of games and difficult to manage.

As long ago, we started doing it where everybody is secret Santa for one other person and everybody puts out wishlists and then people get, I’m secret Santa for this person and I satisfies many of their things as I feel like being Santa about. And I don’t know I’m usually pretty much clear the list unless it’s I want a car as well as some skis.

It’s oh, I might not be able to get the car with a box maybe. And that I should, there, there have been any number of times where people have wished for something and got the gag version of it and stuff like that, but I dunno, I’m a good shopper. So when somebody asks. A good dremel, a good power drill.

I like go hit consumer reports and find out which the best version of that is and which for the money and get ’em the extra bit set and stuff like that. I, nobody, I don’t think nobody’s ever been unhappy that I was their secret Santa, I always get ’em. And not only what they ask for, sometimes I find surprises.

If I know someone in particular has their bathroom is decorated with frogs, and if I can find a fun froggy thing, then I’ll do that, or whatever else it might be. John and I have a habit of exchanging lounge pants, we both are willing to wear lounge pants. He’s been more with me than I with him, but he also doesn’t get that.

I don’t just wear ’em as pajamas at home. I wear ’em out in public tiny pockets and I need to draw strings so that if I put things in those pocket, They don’t skin it down to my knees while I’m in Costco. You know what I mean? So I’ve had to put some advice when I’ve occasionally asked for that.

In fact, I just mentioned I wouldn’t mind getting lo pets. I have to go and amend that with, and by the way, I really do need pockets that I really, et cetera, et cetera. So having said that, wonderful camaraderie in the room, but it’s also everybody exchanges, you wow. Someone’s had covid three times.

Wait, what? If you ever had covid once, didn’t you do everything you possibly could to not get it again? But some people don’t have that luxury. They work in a public facing job. Nobody else there is taking care of themselves. So that as each of the various different variants have come out, apparently, the vaccines work, but they’re specific to the stuff that’s going on.

And I guess also, just depending on your constitution, I’m very happy that I’m five time max. But I think that when we got it last year from Christmas with the Fitzgerald plan, Colleen and I fought it off in five days. And that’s with no plod. And other things like that. We just kinda took our aspirin, got our bed rest in liquids and we seemed to fight it off.

So I’m very conscious of that because, hey, I’m gonna go visit my mom again and I don’t want to come be typhoid out. And so hopefully you’re doing the same things. If you’re gonna be get together with family, you don’t wanna be Steven gave it to everybody, you know what I mean?

Stephen: Yeah. We, I agree with you that things have changed.

This year my sister came over in her family, and that’s the first time we’ve had Thanksgiving. A good 12 years. So that was nice. Yeah. There were times when I didn’t have the kids on Thanksgiving, I got ’em every other Thanksgiving. So we started doing Thanksgiving on Saturday and they would invite friends and those actually turned out to be almost better because nobody’s doing anything.

They’re like, oh, great, we’ll go have Thanksgiving at the Schneider’s. And we had lots of people and lots of, so I said, Hey, how about next year? We just do Saturday again. Do something light and easy on Thanksgiving and invite people over on Saturday.

Alan: You’re not conflicting with other schedules.


Stephen: I was a little disappointed in my Turkey this year. I have a really good roaster and I’ve got stuff I put in it, and I screwed up and put it, left it on high a little too long, so it got a little dried out and, oh no, I was very, very sad.

Alan: Okay. It’s funny, if there’s anything that everybody has the legendary family way of doing it.

It’s you put it in a paper bag or you get the special roaster tray, or you waste it every 20 minutes, or whatever else it might be. And our, my mom’s best success was always the paper bag that I talked about, fahrenheit 4 51, you don’t set the oven to four 50, it’s at three 30 or what I don’t even know, it always turned out that cooks the meat all the way through. It even gets the stuffing cuz that’s another you read about from, I don’t know, health alert, that if there’s anything that’s gonna make people sick, it’s cuz the stuffing didn’t get cooked all the way through. And depending on what you put in the stuffing, it could be like no main city.

You know what I mean?

Stephen: And wrapping it up, it keeps the juices in. And that that’s something my father and I conflicted on. He was of the old school where you get up at four 30 in the morning, you put the Turkey on really low, like you said 2 50, 3 50. And then every 15, 20 minutes you open the door and you base it.

And it was so funny because he had two. Sheets of aluminum fo he laid on top. And I’m like, what is that doing? It’s not doing anything whatsoever. All the heat outta

Alan: the

Stephen: oven, not only the heat, but that’s the steam is where the juices are. You’ll put it in the roaster and you cover it really tight.

Keeps all the juices in it, just steamed right in. Keeps it That’s right. Moist. And every year I’m like, I need more gravy. This Turkey is so dry, I’m gonna choke. But he’s oh, this is really good. So that was one of our conflicts. And the first year I did a Turkey, Colin remembers this.

I, I had it wrapped in grape leaves, I put it in the roaster, wrapped it tight and wow. I left it and walked away and my father’s like, why don’t you go paste it? It needs to be moist and blow, and all that. Cuz he did his own Turkey. We both had to have our. And then when I opened it up and I cut all the meat, like literally slid off the bones, just did not do anything.

And I’m like, oh, this

Alan: is so wonderful. That’s, yeah. We always take the bag off like the last 30 minutes cuz that way you do get brownie. And some people, they love the brown skin, of all the Turkey, the least healthy thing you could eat bone marrow, it’d be healthier for you than the fatty, Turkey or even dark duck skin.

But we don’t usually do that. And the big highlight for us is we get the carcasses, Colleen and I always get the, to make soup that you make soup. And we have a big old cauldron, honestly, it’s just a big old pot and you put those in there and that you let heat on simmer for hours and hours.

And then same the meat slides off the bones. It’s just got, and it’s got enough of the what are bones made out of, not gluten, I’m, why isn’t coming to me? It has, it’s really rich broth because it really has to.

Stephen: I think some of the bones are made out of litanian paste gray paste, I think some of that.


Alan: And Colleen’s really good at adding all the veggies. And so it just is this, it’s the perfect, and it’s a ton of soup. And so we have that now for the next two weeks. We freeze portions, we have regular portions that plus like any kind of pasta, quinoa, whatever might be going into the soup.

It’s just, it’s the heart thing for lunch and. So that’ll be, and I’m sure it will be like by the fourth time, it’ll be, Hey, how about a pizza? Because I’m, I really love this soup, but soup, you you can love something into death and get tired of it. . Yeah. My, my,

Stephen: I made Aztec hot Coco to go with dinner which is a new tradition covered head floating around in there.

What? Yeah. , no, it’s spicy hot cocoa with dark chocolate. Very thick. Okay. My, my greatest. Achievement was, we also got a small little ham, which my gosh, ham is like outrageously priced . It was more than the Turkey and it was smaller, but we had our dinner, we were talking and with my sister and they were going through a few things of my father’s since they were here, and she mentioned something about ham or she mentioned something about Christmas and in my mind popped the old South Park thing where they go, I learned something today Christmas and car goes is about ham.

And they’re like, no, not ham. And that popped in my head and I went, oh my gosh. I was supposed to take the hand outta the oven two hours ago. Oh,

Alan: so that dried

Stephen: out. Yeah, it was a little dry bit edible. It was edible. Just a little dry .

Alan: I don’t know. We, I always, to, to geek it up a bit, I love America’s test kitchen.

You know what I’m talking about? There’s a place that has said, we’re gonna figure out the perfect way to make a Thanksgiving Turkey. Yeah. We did 500 variations on what’s the heat, how long basting or non based thing do I put it in a smoker, whatever else it might be. And we follow their directions for all different kinds of things.

How to make the perfect pumpkin pie, how to make the, and often what they’ll do is, it’s a little weird because what’s the joy of green bean casserole? You take some cre mushroom soup and some green beans and put some dirk’s onions on top, boom, you’re done. And it’s delicious. They like, how about if we do that with gray air cheese?

How about if, and they start putting exotic interesting you should brown the green beans before you put ’em in blanch or whatever else it might be. And it probably is better. But that part of the thing is you’re making, if you’re making eight different dishes, not a potluck, where everybody’s bringing things.

You really have to like it kindies on time, everywhere you can. And that miracle, everything coming out like at the same time, all of the edible temperature and all that you brings the oven and all that kind of stuff. It’s, I really so shout out to atk. It’s not only having to watch the TV show and take copious notes.

They have all kinds of cookbooks that really say, here’s our hundred favorite recipes, here’s our holiday recipes, here’s all about meat, all about bread. They’re really good at taking what they know from Wow. 30 seasons at this point. They’ve been around for a long time. Yeah. And doing all the different slicing and dicing of things so that you can focus in on if you want to, like how to cook with wine, with alcohol.

Just it isn’t just a matter of pour some brandy in there. It’s like what, how much and what kind and when and everything we’ve ever done where we followed the atk. It really is this really is the best version of a. Grilled cheese sandwich that I’ve ever had. It might be that it’s not, mom’s love two slices of wonderbread and some craft singles.

Maybe that’s where I got that they used green or cheese. It’s like what mom has greener cheese just laying above the house.

Stephen: For our green bean casserole this year we used funions instead of the Dirks.

Alan: Oh, . That’s a blast for me, man.

Stephen: We have a great green bean casual story from a couple years ago.

This was one of the Saturdays when friends were all over. The kids had friends and we went up to the pantry. Oh yeah, we got some of this, onions put it on and oth and we’re eating and we’re. It tastes like plastic. And then we’re like, oh, this expired four years ago. It’s been sitting up and our pantry is connected to the attic and not really to the main house.

There’s a door, but there’s no heat, there’s no cooling. So it got 300 degrees in the summer and negative 20 in the winter, so it cooked inside and it was like, okay, we’re throwing

Alan: that out. . Yeah I’m really not that great about it. Colleen is really good about checking the expiration date that we, I don’t know.

I tend to have everything we might need in the kitchen, but that also means that you have six different choices for pasta. And if you start to we, we don’t have pasta every single day, and so eventually something’s age out of the program. Pasta’s one of those things that I hardly ever noticed, even if it’s old, that it’s stale, if you will.

We just had some with our Turkey soup that Colleen noticed. I was still fine with it, whole Wheaty or something like that, but she noticed that it was, Not as good as if we had just gotten it. So I, especially for Thanksgiving and stuff like that, not only about taste, but about danger, we never use a can that’s like bulgy, botulism can or anything like that, but it’s for the salad for instance, we make a point of buying it like the day before so that this is, this Christmas. It can be, and I’m not sure why I don’t have that attitude towards everything, if I’m using jerky’s onions might be one of those things that’s exactly.

Often the culprit. When do you use dorky onions? Once a year, twice a year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And otherwise, unless you like, seal that bag and make sure that it’s in the humidor where it’s controlled temperature and humidity. Yeah. I could see those guys going south. Yeah. Okay. Wow. Okay.

Stephen: And you, you mentioned how than changed too. I remember, not Thanksgiving, but I remember New Year’s Day. We used to go to my great-grandmother’s in Akron and she literally imported from Hungarian in the twenties. Wow. And she still made her own homemade pasta, so when you’d go visit, there’d be pasta hanging up that she was drying.

And so we always had thanks or we always had a New Year’s day as a family up there. And I, that’s another one of those things I of miss going down to my grandmother’s on New Year, on Christmas Eve trying to do some new things with the kids through the years. But that was difficult.

My aunt, my dad’s side of the family, we used to do a big Christmas party, but that’s gone away. People not coming. It used to be, like you said, 30, 40 people. We’d walk over to Lake Erie, see it all frozen. Wow. We did a white elephant gift exchange where you would just bring something.

It didn’t have to be, I actually wasn’t supposed to be new and it didn’t necessarily have to work . And it would, you’d randomly take stuff. And that was always fun. And my father got an elephant and painted it white and that got passed around from the family. And it just so happened the very last year we went to the party, I got the gift with the white elephant and kept, so you have

Alan: the memento?

Oh yeah. That’s pretty cool. My family, my, my family has done that a couple times where we do white elephant and we do a weird variation where, everybody gets a gift and then you so there’s a pile of gift. Someone opens a gift and then the next person can either get an open gift or they can steal the first one and then the other person has to, and so we have a pig, a little wooden sculpture pig that is the same thing.

It got stolen again and again in a family. And I think that my younger brother is the one that ended up with it. And I’m not sure that it was fair. I’m pretty sure that it was like subterfuge that he threw it at his luggage and then escaped the house, not, but we I always had the bad luck, like I would end up.

A club, you know that thing you used to put on your, the car steering wheel? That was, somebody brought that because nobody was doing that anymore. All the cars, locks and everything are so much more sophisticated. But as you might imagine, nobody was looking to steal that from me. So here I was with, oh, I got a bludgeon for Christmas.

How nice. For No, what you really Years I got the

Stephen: Zo. I was gonna say, what you really got was the gift for next year to give . And,

Alan: I some not with my family, but with a good friend John Nolan, they have gifts like that, like maybe anom that has circulated into the party every single year and for dozens of years.

So now if it doesn’t show up, people are like who broke the tradition? Where’s the new that everybody doesn’t like, but it keeps on rearing its ugly head, that kind of thing. So yeah. ,

Stephen: You were mentioning a couple weeks ago about us talking about what do you want for Christmas?

What’s your gifts? And. I honestly don’t know. I kinda hit that point. It’s I’m an adult, I’m getting older. I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted and more, I’ve got so much junk everywhere, and so I don’t, it’s like, what do you want? I don’t know. But what I always made sure with my kids was, it’s about giving.

It’s not what you’re getting. It’s giving. So we always made a big point of focusing more on what you wanna get for other people. And I noticed this year it really has kept up with my son because he’s mentioned several times. I got this gift for Danny. Look at this. And oh, I got this really perfect gift.

He’s oh, I got something for you. I can’t tell you. He’s really excited and really thought about something really great to give for somebody in the family. We’ve got some other people. Hey, niece, nephew, Hey, what did they want for Christmas? Not really sure. Just get ’em gift cards.

And I. That is the worst. And what’s that? Teaching the kids is totally abdicating.

Alan: Like you never had a conversation with them. Yeah. You don’t have any idea of what music they like, what books they like, what clothing they wear. Like I, there’s no, no better joy than when somebody says something like in February and they don’t realize that you put it in your head and then come the end of the year, you’re like, I hope you didn’t get this for yourself yet, but didn’t you want like the next book in the Harry Potter series?

And they’re like, oh yes I did. And here it’s so I know many times for Colleen and other family members gotten things like that where, and. And it’s funny because we all live separately now. We don’t get the entire, my family, the entire family together. I’ve gotten to more. So for instance, we send out advent calendars each year, pre Christmas and everybody seems happy to get them, not everybody immediately.

Oh, thank you so much. But enough people have done it and it isn’t about whether they acknowledge it. I don’t need a thank you note. I need that Colleen, and I like this wonderful tradition that I got from my mom and that it really does help you build towards Christmas, open the little windows each day.

For Christmas. I often get, what do I know about, what kinds of things they wouldn’t mind having on the coffee table to eat? So who gets coffee? Coffee or chocolate or nuts or I try to get those kinds of things. A couple times I was like, oh, I got a whole bunch of chocolates. And then I find out that they’ve just gone keto.

No, they’re not eating those. And so I do try to take notes. About not getting someone the same things each year, though I’m sure I blow that once in a while, but just and I always was the one that would fry our pets, get the cats, some cats and the dog a couple bones or a Buddha bone

Stephen: or something.

Our animals have stockings.

Alan: Exactly. So I’m trying to start doing that now. You know what it means. And I know that a number of my nieces and nephews have cats and dogs and that, it just seems like a cool thing to get Luna or Daisy or I’m trying to remember all the names, just, I don’t know. Is Cat n illegal to send through the mail?

what? I

Stephen: It’s a no officer. This is Cat N.

Alan: Exactly. And we, this is no lie. We really did have the occasional disaster where the first time I ever put catnip. How could I not think that the cat would smell it and tear the thing open to get to it? So there’s my cat split out drunk on Christmas morning cause he found his way into the catnip after that.

I kept it like in a drawer. And I would put it out beforehand. And of course the minute you put it out, the cat like comes around the corner into the, their cats and dogs smell pretty well. They are mighty hunters. And was always happy to include the pets sand And so I’m trying to think about doing that now.


Stephen: So lemme tell you, I agree

Alan: with what you said. No, just, I have pretty much everything I ever wanted, and yet my tastes are so omnivous and there’s always new stuff coming out. So we put together our secret scandal and honestly, I had no problems coming up 30, 10 CDs, 10 books, 10 puzzles, and we’ll see.

It’s not, Hey, get me everything on the list. It’s nowhere near that, but it’s Hey, if anything that you find interesting by title or that you like this group too, we’ll listen to it together. The books, we might have to read serially, but otherwise we can play with the same puzzles and stuff like that.

What’s. Just if you had to put things on your list or if you’re thinking of what would be a perfect gift for, name, the type, then what have you thought about this year?

Stephen: So Colin and I, for my mother, she’s got a swing. She likes to sit in outside during the summer and read, watch the birds.

We have bird feeders up and she, likes to sit in the sun comes up and that’s sweet. And now that papa’s gone. She can do that more. She was always afraid to get too far away in case he tried to get outta bed and fell or something. She can enjoy it more, but the swing she has is falling apart.

So we got her a new swing and we’re excited about that. It’s,

Alan: The installation for next spring kind? Yes.

Stephen: But we made sure it was one. See, the problem with the wood swing is it is super heavy and to move it you have to unhook it and move pieces of it, reassemble it. You need two people.

So we got something a little lighter, something that’s put together so it doesn’t come apart because really that is hugely important when you have to mow

For Colin he went to Ireland a couple years ago. He talked about moving there, but he still likes Ireland. I found Vicky and I found an Irish shop that has like hats and all sorts of stuff, and he’s been drinking a lot of tea, so we got him this tea organizer box. I hope he doesn’t listen to this episode

Alan: at least not in the next four weeks. Tell.

Stephen: I’ll block it from him

Alan: and then have one of those, like a Tea Cady, where Colleen has a bunch of different things in there. So she has her herbals and her caffeinated. Yeah. Whatever else. Okay.

Stephen: Yeah. . And so the couple things I’m super excited about is I didn’t do this last couple years, but I got back into writing a Christmas story.

So I’m part way through writing a Christmas story to give the Colin and anybody else that wants it at Christmas, but even better, Vicky told me this story. Something that happened to her once, that she was eating lunch by this fountain and a bird landed and chirped at her and then she held out a fry and it took the fry from her and ate it.

And I turned that into a book and I got somebody to illustrate it and I’m gonna get it published with hardback cover and everything. And it’s her story I illustrated. So that’s, I’m super excited about that gift.

Alan: There is nothing like that kind of personalization that’s very sweet. It almost the opposite of that.

We, we used to send out Christmas cards with a little note to each one of them saying, Hey, see you soon, or et cetera, et cetera. And we just, we send hundreds of cards out each year because we have wide ranging family and friends. And nowadays I write a big Christmas letter and I, so it’s the story of our year.

And I include like photos, with little captions, hopefully. Funny enough. And. We get lots of compliments and lots of, Hey, don’t ever leave me off the list. I love hearing what you guys are doing. Also, comments along the lines of, aren’t you guys exhausted? You sure a lot into your year?

The last couple of covid years were pretty lean, we really were, Hey, we’re staying at home. What TV do you like? That kind of stuff. This might have been one of the first years where we did return to going to our plays and our comedy shows and hiking and stuff like that. So it’ll be a return to multiple page letter, multiple pages of photos and it’s funny.

It really is that we don’t wanna look at all we’re doing. It’s meant to be an inspiration for. Look at this beautiful place we were. You can go here too. You can go to the bad land, you can go to the Grand Canyon, you can go to Great Smokey Mountain, and especially like that great Smokey Mountain National Park.

It’s just a couple hours south and it’s amazingly beautiful and you don’t have to hike to the chimney tops. You can just take the fun trails, the easy trails, and you’ll still get spectacular vistas. So that’s always what I’m hoping for is and like Nick and Kelly, after reading about our North Dakota trip, planned a North Dakota trip, or the Dakotas, I should say, because it was and I guess I really like that.

I like that it’s not just the travel stories it’s meant to be an inspiration and a sharing, if you will. You know what I mean? So I always love that when people share their stuff and I’m like I never really thought of going to, I didn’t know those canyons existed. Those, that cave system, that museum, and I just am continually taking notes so that my big, I don’t know, bucket list database.

Colleen and I are gonna both be retired relatively soon and we’re starting to look at, while we’re still fry, while we’re still able to climb up, walk up a mountain, I don’t know where we’re gonna be, pythons and crampons and all that kinda stuff, but you wanna do that early.

And so where are we gonna start planning our cool trips? Gotta go to. The Galapagos and Machu in Tsu Falls in South America. Gotta go to Australia. I’m sorry if I probably have talked about some of this before, but it’s because I’m actively starting to plan that now. A good friend Beth, put together a wonderful trip of the Baltic Sea, a cruise, it’s like Baltic Sea.

How can I not go to my city? . But it’s like all these places I’ve, I think I’ve been to Stockholm and Copenhagen, but otherwise it’s Helsinki. It was gonna be St. Petersburg, but they pulled back from that because of difficulties with the Russians. But all these other wonderful places, Lithuania, Estonia, Lafia, Germany it’s gonna be one of those trips of a lifetime, and I wanna make six of those.

You know what I mean? There’s places I’ve always wanted to go to and I wanna be able to say finally, I got to Machu Pichu. That’s a little bit stray from our Christmas gift thing, but once you start talking about it, it’s funny how I’ve gotten people like guidebook when they said, Hey, we’re going to New York.

It’s get ’em the cool best things to do in Manhattan. Then. Unless this book told you about, you never know. Get the Moon Guide, the Lonely Planet Guide. So I guess I am throwing off, boy, I just don’t use photos, Andros and stuff. I love. Like a things, you

Stephen: know, Neil Zucker’s one tank trips that he used to put out AB when

Alan: I first got to Ohio and I found out those existed, I went and bought like half a dozen of them, all the old ones.

Cuz I really was like, this is gonna be my way of getting to know Ohio. And Colleen had done some of them with him, but not enough. And so just how do we discover what’s in Amish country where the cool gardens are, where. Lighthouses are Neil Zuckers won tank trips. Yep. Very cool

Stephen: books and all these things you’re mentioning.

I know I’m a little behind the last couple weeks, just been busy getting all the website updated, but we always try and go through our episode and put links up and recommendations to all this stuff. And you even said people have told you, oh, I make notes and all that. So on the website we try and have all this linked up so you can get to it easily.

Exactly. Then and since I’m mentioning it, we’re starting to put t-shirts up on the website that people can get .

Alan: So you can wear RG wear, geek wear. Exactly. Yeah. I

Stephen: actually, that looks like us. I took our logo and I changed it from purple to orange cuz we mentioned doing multiple colors. You like orange?

So I’m wor but the thing is the. Item was purple. And I’m like, okay, I gotta figure out how to make that match the orange. So we should have relentless geeky in like a array of colors soon. And

Alan: my stores like a haw orange orange. Okay. Very good. Very.

Stephen: They’re great. Christmas gift for anybody.

Alan: It’s funny. I don’t know what we’re gonna do to are we ever gonna be a million podcast type thing? When I read about the the serial killer ones or the, this young star has 3 million TikTok followers or something like that. I don’t know that we’re, I don’t know that I’m looking for that.

I don’t think that we have That mass appeal, but for the people that care about our stuff, yes, I would love to be that resource for every single time they listen or go to it, they’re gonna be, wow, I didn’t know about that. That’s a great series. I should read that. That’s some great music.

That’s a, I’ll I, if that’s what we do is for our particular, our people, that we actually have some fun stuff for them. I’m all for that. And I don’t know, nowadays you can do it. This is funny, they’ve always had with Amazon, Hey, if you make a recommendation and someone follows your link to get there, you get a micropayment.

And I know that micropayments are. Wow, I earned $5 after 10 years. It’s never going to matter to us. The reason we make these recommendations is not to juice you and get money into our pockets. It’s because these cool things, you really should watch ’em and read ’em and do ’em,


Stephen: And honestly, most of our links are not affiliate links because there’s no affiliate link for it.

We mentioned some service. We link over to it and that’s all we got. Because like you. We’d rather just enjoy it and share it with people. That’s absolutely a hundred percent agree. But if anyone wants to go get a t-shirt and help any of the cost for hosting and all that, we’re more for that too.


Alan: our brand. You,

Stephen: so after Thanksgiving, and you mentioned this too, it is like a plethora of named days now. So we’ve got Black Friday, then we’ve got small business Saturday. That’s right. And then we’ve got Cyber Monday and then giving Tuesday. It’s almost like a exhausting thinking about all of that.

Alan: Yeah, a number of people seem to have said, that’s a good idea. If that’s really when spending season kicks in. For a long time, black Friday really had bad connotations cuz it was when. Get up at six in the morning, get up at midnight, right after Thanksgiving dinner.

Yeah, go to Walmart. And boy, I hated the fact that they made people work then. I hated the fact. Agreed. Like breaking up family gatherings. We really seem to have found, I hope, some kind of compromise in there where the people that are working want to work and the people that wanna spend the money, they’re not wrecking other things to do.

So people are not so desperate for a big screen tv. Maybe we finally saturated the United States with big screen TVs and that’s why it’s not as necessary.

Stephen: Let’s be honest, if you really look at those ads, I think Walmart had a lot to do with that. They pushed the Black Friday thing and everyone had to compete with Walmart, get the money before everyone spends it at Walmart.

But if you look at those ads, oh my gosh, there’s a 75 inch TV and it’s only $150. But it says, Maximum of two per store. And it may vary from there. So you might even have a store that has none. I went a couple times and I refused. I’m like, first of all, I don’t agree with places that are open on Thanksgiving.

Let there be some family time. If you’re open on the 26th, sometime reasonable, not midnight. Okay. There’s people that will work. There’s people that’ll spend. That’s great. But I went to one at Toys US years ago. I showed up a half hour before the doors open and it was mobbed standing there, and I’m like,

Alan: yes, I won’t do it.

I just don’t, I don’t want to be caught in the crush. I don’t want to elbow anybody. I don’t wanna be elbowed. I just, I don’t need anything. 20% off. As much as I need to just have,

Stephen: well, what it was at the time, they had Star Wars figures for 50 cents. And I’m like, oh, cool. If I could grab a couple Star Wars figures for Colin that would be great.

So I stayed near the back. I’m like, I am not going to push and shov, but I walked steadily into the store, walked to the back, dodging people maybe five minutes after the doors open, I got to the back where the bin was empty. They were all gone. There wasn’t a single one left.

Alan: And I’m like, already happened that, you know, somebody pulled up a curtain and just said, I’ll take ’em all.

Yeah. And that’s terrible

Stephen: too. Okay. And I was like, what is this, all I’m doing is. Oh my God, it’s so important to get this stuff for my kids. I’ve gotta get up early, I’ve gotta ruin my day. I’ve gotta fight people for stuff and saving a couple dollars. Really. I’ll just get my kid less stuff and pay regular price for one figure instead of five.

And that’s when it, really hit me. I’m like, what am I really teaching my kids?

Alan: Yeah. It’s, I maybe cuz I shop all during the year, sometimes for Christmas. Yeah. I just got some stuff for Colleen already. The secret closet has stuff, that’s building up and stuff like that. And I don’t know that I have any, like on small business Saturday we didn’t make a point of going to every small shop boutique, but we want to like, just the season to get more advent calendars.

We went to an Amish buffet, Hey, after, we had delicious Thanksgiving dinner and it was kinda nice to have somebody else cook for us and stuff. It was just and the nice drive but. Cyber Monday, I really, this is, I looked around at what do I really need that I think that I’m gonna finally pull the trigger on 20% off or whatever.

So I’m going to get, I’m in doing a lot of research a NA network attack storage, that’s gonna be many terabytes. And when I looked at the reviews and so forth and I was ready to pull the trigger and then I saw it’s gonna arrive, while I’m out of town visiting mom, I don’t want that.

I’ll order it later and have it show up. And if I end up not saving the 10%, I, it’s okay. It really was like I have, there’s any number of things that I have put off buying for a while because we had more important things that Colleen and I, we had to get outta debt. We had to pay off the house, we had to make sure the house was in good shape.

And as much as I have a whole row of hundred and $20, like 4, 6, 8 terabyte drives that I’ve bought over the course of time, but I’ve also had some failures and. And so I’m ready to do something where I can put all my music and all various other things on there and never worry about it again because of their, it’s a rate array and I can hot swap his drive, get bigger and that kinda stuff.

But it’s a month not a have and they’re not small. They’re, 600 to a thousand dollars. I just said, even though we’re doing okay moneywise, maybe just hold onto that money. Maybe I’ll just I don’t know, we got trips coming up, but maybe I’ll just be whatever it is, cuz of my age.

Also, like you were saying, I, Steven, you and I both won. If he who dies with the most toys wins, I’m a winner like 10 times over, I’ve already got Sudoku, I’ve got more books that I’ll be able to read in my lifetime and that’s a, there’s a joy to that. I’m having a library that you can browse and, pick new ones to read and follow current series, but there’s also, now there’s overhead associated with it.

I got a house full of stuff, storage locker’s full of stuff. I’m looking to actively sell some of that stuff. Whatever that hunter gatherer that I was when I was in my twenties and thirties and was fir, making good money when I was in college, I was still living so lean, I really was eating grilled cheese sandwiches and two for one, burger King and stuff like that.

And nowadays I what, Colleen and I laugh about do you guys have this discussion? There’s levels of rich, I’ve always been candy bar rich. You can always spring for a candy bar. I’ve probably got quickly to meal rich. I can get any meal I want and not really worry about owner, then I don’t make my rent.

But I’m not island rich. I can’t go buying my own private island and I don’t know that I’m, where am I now? I’m not super expensive car rich. I can’t buy a hundred thousand dollars car, but I can. I could, but I have to make other sacrifices to do that, right? But honestly, every time that we’ve bought like a $30,000 car, it just was easy.

What a terrible way to put it. Either we bought it outright or we. Bought it used or we bought it on payments, but it hasn’t been, oh man, I’m making a commitment that I’m just gonna strain myself. And it’s nice to get to that place of, as we have money come in now, it really is it’s not already spent.

It’s not already okay, then we go to regular expenses and you don’t, we’re not quite at that place. Collie and I laugh about this. I wanna get to that place of, oh, just throw it on the pile. You know what I mean? We’re not quite there yet, but it feels really good to have the mental health, the sense of security and options available to us that when we heard about the Baltic crews, it was like a matter of can we do those dates as opposed to can we afford it?

We really are okay and safe. If I make $5,000 trips and I have, I don’t know, a million dollars, I can do, let’s see, carry the one 200 of those trips, will I be able to do 200 of those trips in the rest of my life? It’s cool to have. And I can have anything I want, just not everything.

And that we don’t wanna do that anyway. We wanna be for all the time that I’m away. I also like to be just at home and cuddling on the couch with my sweetie,

Stephen: And I think, like you said, a large part of it is not only working for the last 30, 40, whatever years and building up to that point, but it’s age too.

Cuz I know the comic store has a 50% sale and they are open on Thanksgiving, which I don’t care for , but 50%, they do a lot of business in one day. Okay. But they have a, there’s something, in the one case it’s carded, so it’s like almost brand new, but it’s a very rare tie fighter. It’s metal and it’s from 77, 78.

Wow. I had one when I was a kid and I look at this thing when I go in and I’m like, man, I have such fond memories of. And it’s $200. And I look at it and call’s like you can afford that. I’m like, yeah, it’s not a question of affording it, it’s is that little metal toy that’s going to sit on my shelf worth $200 or can I do something else with that 200?

And then it’s, 50% off and it’s now it’s only a hundred dollars. A hundred dollars. I used to spend that much taking the family to a movie with pop and stuff that way. More so could I do that? And I’m like and Ethan even said if you don’t have the money, I’ll loan it to you.

Which I thought was hilarious that this kid who’s still in school thought I like, needed the money and was so desirous of this item that he would give me the money to get it. And I’m like, little enabler. . Yeah, exactly. . I’m like, that’s not it at all. It’s more, the memory is very fond and I love remembering that.

But I’ve got other things that I like, oh my God, I had that, I loved it. Here’s my money. Now it’s on a shelf in the back dark closet, and I don’t see it. It’s what was the point? What was the point of doing that? That’s, I could have taken a picture and enjoyed it just as much, so I

Alan: love how I shop.

It’s kinda would I be embarrassed to tell somebody about this? You know what I mean? I know I got my things like what’s the most expensive thing I ever bought? I probably bought like a Frank Zappa vinyl box set for like a hundred bucks. And when, the time when that was a lot of money to me.

And people were like, do you really love Zappa that much? And it’s yes, I do. And I’ve never seen this before. And I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see it again. And it really was like performances that these are legendary performances of when his band was at its tightest. And I. Once in a while. It’s cool to give yourself, the way that I got my black leather duster was, I’d always wanted a kind of a coat like that.

Cause I had seen it in a movie maybe, like with Jerome Krab and he is in New Orleans and stuff. And I saw it in a store in like at the border of Illinois and Wisconsin. And I just was like, man, I would cry with the memory of I saw the coat I wanted and I didn’t get it. I went home and I said, I’ll save up.

And then I went back and it was gone. And finding a coat that fits me is kinda like how many cows had to die so that al could got a coat. And so I bought it when I shouldn’t have, and yet I love that thing and the minute it gets gold, I’m like, Al gets to wears a Citi coat. The one that looks like he’s a total hard guy and he’s got a so up shotgun in the long pocket.

And I just, some things. It really might be, put it on the shelf and maybe have almost a little bit of regret to go with the joy. But other things are like, I just, we did it, we went to a Vegas comedy festival with v i p tickets after I got over my cancer, because some part of that was just like saying to the universe,

Stephen: I’m still here.

Yeah. This is the I, this

Alan: is the thing I love doing the most in the world is going to good comedy. And we treated ourselves and in the long thing it wasn’t. Oh, and what did you have to do out for that? It’s more, we have all the fond memories and not the, Hey, I might have done less Chipotle for a couple months in order to have afforded this.

Yeah. It’s old trade offs like that,

Stephen: and talking about the giving, talking about the things you want. I spent, I. A video game. I bought the disc because at some point the digital won’t be available, but it was, I mentioned to you that the Back for blood game, I got a copy for me and a copy for my cousin.

And I don’t normally buy games brand new because I’ve got so many and I don’t play ’em enough to make it worthwhile to be 60 or 70 bucks. But, and you can

Alan: out wait the market, it’ll go on sale and you didn’t have

Stephen: to have it that day. Exactly. But this one is something I’m gonna play with my cousin over the winter and it’s enjoying time with him and stuff.

So to me that was worth spending the extra money. And Collin will probably play, that type of stuff. So I was like, I’m going to get this and that’s that I will spend the money on. And I spent more money buying those two games than I would’ve to buy that tie fighter.

Alan: Yeah. But it had all the other connotations that went with it.

This is bonding time between me and the cousin and stuff. It’s. One of the reasons that I’ve accumulated so much stuff is because I’ve always been kinda like frugal and bargainy about that. When I was in college buying vinyl, it was always the cutouts. I didn’t need to have the 10 to $15 album.

When it came out. I haunted the cutout bins and got ’em for three to five and that was just fine, especially when we’ve talked about this before. Once in a while, like whole catalogs of stuff would go on sale that all of a sudden all of Santana appeared in the cutout. Just I love him. I haven’t, I’ve got two, but I can get 10 more now for so little in comparison.

Same with David Bowie say I could start naming all the things just how can I scrounge enough together so that I get all the ones that I want? And even this is just the thing of mine. You go to a place and it has a whole bunch of mad paperbacks that you’ve always wanted, and it isn’t necessarily the one that you want the most.

It’s the one that there’s only one copy compared to 10 copies of this one. And if I don’t get this, It’s gonna be gone. I buy on scarcity as well as on desire, if you will, and that has served me really well. So a lot of what went on to my Christmas list this year is all the CDs that came out at 15 bucks and they haven’t come down enough in price for them to hit like my $7 Magic place

But I really wanted, I want the latest Yes. Or Kansas or Genesis or Death Rotel or whatever else it might be. And so if someone got me that as a gift, I’d be just so happy cuz it’s not too expensive a gift that’s 15 bucks. It just is outside of my weird habit of save money, you can get two sevens instead of one 15.

That’s almost always what I do, only once in a while when it’s like, wow, I’ve waited five years for this to come. I really have done without five years of listening to this music that I’m sure I’m gonna love. Follow the

Stephen: trigger. I’m gonna do this . Speaking of music, so I’ve got a lot of Christmas music I love to listen to.

I was, have you heard, you’ve probably have, but have you listened to Brian Setzer Christmas albums?

Alan: I haven’t. I have at least one. I dunno. Yeah. And it’s not Stray Cat Christmas. It’s like his big band orchestra. Christmas

Stephen: it, yeah. Boogie Woogie Christmas and Dig that Crazy Christmas.

Alan: Yeah.

I think I have Boogie Woogie. Exactly. And I’ll get more of those now that I know that there is more than one. There’s

Stephen: a, there’s a live, there’s a live one.

Alan: See, that’s cool. I have of course Manheim Steam Roller. I, and I think I mentioned, a whole bunch of my prog rock heroes have done a Christmas album.

So I’ve got Keith Emerson’s and I’ve Michael Oldfield and whoever else it might be. I, I’m trying to remember in fact, hey, if I pop into mine, doesn’t matter. I, instead of going I know that I was happy to see that they’re gonna give me the full overblown keyboard, bombast version of Deck The Halls and Silver Bells and Good King win lists and stuff like.

I have, I really still love the Manheims steam roller ones. Like they’ve got eight or 10 of those out now. And sometimes I’ll, I have made a little playlist of all of them, and I’ll just start going at the start of the day and be like, good. The day after Thanksgiving, I put on Christmas music for the first time, and it was mostly Manheims steam roller

Stephen: Some of those you mention. Christmas albums of some of those prog rocks and classic rock and all that, they are almost impossible to find because they haven’t come up. They’re not updated to digital and some of them weren’t even updated to CDs. So you look and you gotta find a used vinyl or cassette tape to get the album.

So its like, ooh, now I need to start collecting classic rock and frog, rock Christmas albums, . Cause it’s the hunt, it’s the finding it that’s,

Alan: and also I love, they like, I have a couple Mary Amus where it’s like guitar doing all those, and it’s Steve via just Satriani and Manasa and all the people that I love, Steve Morris, whoever.

And I have a couple acapella albums. Like I really like Pentatonics and Straight No Chaser and stuff like that. And them. Wonderful versions of the Christmas standards, so like a lot of complexity, but a whole different mood to it. It’s all voices and very beautiful. It’s beautiful music.

You know what I mean? It’s not necessarily energetic. It’s like you put it on the background and you’re, man, this just makes me so

Stephen: happy. one, one of my favorites growing up, it was a popular with our family, was the Harry Simeon Corral which is very rarely known nowadays. I don’t, I’ve never heard of ’em.

Okay. Oh, it is fantastic. I absolutely love the we. And the thing is, it’s been re-released multiple times and I, our cassette tape got wore out, since they don’t last forever. And it had clicks in it and it had dropouts and it was horrible. But my mother still listened to it. And then she got a car that didn’t have a cassette, and she doesn’t have a cassette that works at.

I got it for her. I ordered it, the CD and stuff, it was a different version. It had different songs on it, and they were in a different order. We grew up with this one cassette in this particular order. Now the whole

Alan: order is branded in your

Stephen: Exactly. Yeah. So I had to hunt down the same version to get that for her.

The original, exactly. The real one. for us. Yes. The real one for us. Yeah. So that’s another one. The Harry Simian Corral. You can still find those. I really recommend it. It’s a big choir and strings and stuff. It sounds wonderful. It’s probably one of my all time favorites. Of course.

Alan: I will look for that Harry Simian Corral.

Another thing I mentioned was, a while back, probably middle of the summer when I was regularly staying in the house, taking care of my mom out of California, I digitized all of my parents’ CD collection and I’m pretty sure that there’s some Christmas music in there. And they had the German baritone singing gold toilet on the, that kind of stuff.

So I have to. That all went into a separate music library than my regular stuff. Cause I wanted to make sure I could give that to both of my brothers. But now I have to go integr it into the collection cuz I want to be able to listen to joyous Noel or whatever else it might be. Yes. I know that weird Now Yankovic has a couple Christmas songs, two songs, but Yeah, but I don’t think it’s an whole album of them.

No. So I, but I’ll put those in, I’ll make myself a Christmas playlist. Long ago I used to make mix tapes for college parties. And the way that I knew that it was time to flip the tape, the cassette tape, was I’d put a Monte Python cut at the end. And while everybody was going, what the hell is this?

It was like, oh, I’ll go change the . What dance music it was, I like Chinese and it was, Finland. That kinda stuff. .

Stephen: I, a couple years ago, one of the gifts I gave my mother was I took her whole tape collection, digitized it, and then I bought an iPod and put all of it on the iPod for her to listen to,

Alan: put a gift, all that music and all that stuff from the past and Right.

That I did that with all of my Bill Cosby albums. I really was a huge Bill Cosby fan, and I still am if I look at that as beautiful. Frozen in Amber. Yeah. Funny records without Oh, what we were gonna learn later. Yeah, there’s still nothing like. Why is there air? And from Russell, my brother, whom I slept with and wonderfulness, he has half a dozen, maybe 10 great albums.

And I did that once. I put ’em all on tape for my brothers. And so they have that to listen to. Hopefully cassette tapes, like you said, they don’t last, but hopefully they’ve lasted long enough. I can still throw those in.

Stephen: Damn it. But Dad, I’m Jesus Christ . Yeah, love Bill Cosby back in the day. So now the new thing I’m trying to do this year, and it’s a little more difficult.

I found some old records that I didn’t know about and there’s a whole bunch of Christmas stuff in the records, so I’m trying to transfer those over to digital to put on my mother’s thing, how to get the USB turntable and yeah, it’s much harder. .

Alan: Yeah, I I did that with certain things that, so far as I know, they’ve never been reissued on c.

And the problem is, you put a seed in and it goes to the c d db, which uses the track links as a fingerprint, and it just loads all the information about the album, the meta information about track name or track title and stuff like that. You do that with a USB turntable and you have to fill all that in.

And luckily I got the album in front of me, so you just flip it over and say, okay, data of publication this. And, I was as complete as I could be if they had information about the producer or of course the record company and stuff. But I only did that for a half dozen like intergalactic touring band, which you might have never heard of.

One of those things. Like Alan Parsons project, his very first album, what he did was he wrote, him and Ver Wilson wrote their material, but they went and got excellent contributions from all different kinds of artists and it, and so it was like he just called all of his friends that he as a producer had, and it was like the best drummer and the best guitarist and stuff.

Intergalactic touring man was a similar thing where, who’s on it? Vocals from Annie Haslam from Renaissance and Meatloaf and Larry Fast, who is a fantastic synthesis, plays synthesizers and there’s just all these great names on it for as relatively obscure as an album as it was. So that’s one of those things that I used to try to turn people onto is the only way there’s gonna be an interconnect touring band two is if we buy a lot of copies of this, we go get this.

Stephen: So that just popped into my head. One of the things that’s great about being the age we are and that this younger generation, the new generation is going to miss, is getting those rip out plastic records out of National Geographic to put on and listen to. Mad

Alan: Magazine had them Mad Magazine, national Lampoon had them Exactly that.

The little flex of discs or whatever Yeah, it’s called. Exactly. , oh,

Stephen: that, that’s a joy that you just can’t recreate nowadays. Yeah. And

Alan: maybe. Having also thought, I’m gonna be getting my na, it’s time to really start consolidating my music library. I can’t believe I’ve let it get as bad as it is.

I’ve noticed we’ve talked about this, I got things on Apple Music that like cuts are missing. Apparently somebody sold the rice to somebody else and Apple doesn’t have anybody but I digitized the cd, I own that, right? I own that material. So I have to find a way, maybe not Apple Music, another music player, collectors, or I don’t know, wonder music.

I’m gonna have to do some research into finding out what’s the other one that I can get, lossless, ripping, and a good way of cataloging everything, be able to complete, have playlists, taps into cdb, all that kind of stuff. But without ever having to worry about what happened to Lonely Wind by Kansas, why in the world is that not part of that album anymore?

It’s just weird to be like you said in your mind, you’ve got the playlist and it goes from one cut to the wrong cut. Cuz they skipped, they said what, where did my song go? It’s funny how that really, I hate that. That’s corrupt somehow that Yeah.

Stephen: They’re like, when they don’t have Living Loving Made as part of the, Zeppelin, it’s like that.

Alan: Or D Purple had a couple things where, I don’t know if it was a matter of licensing, but it was a matter of, it was different songs on different albums and then they cut it for length on the cd, but then they put out a different CD that had them all in and then you have to know it’s not marked as to, this is version one, version two, version three.

I’m gonna try to consolidate so that I really do. If they had bonus cuts. I’ve got the version that has the bonus cuts, don’t want the one that they remixed, releveled so that you got clipping of all the dynamics because they wanted to make it radio friendly instead of stereo file friendly.

So it’s a whole weird world to go down that and who knows enough about rush albums to make sure that I’ve got the best one of each.

Stephen: I was just gonna say rush Farewell to Kings, when they first put it on cd, the CD wasn’t quite enough to hold everything from the double album set, so they cut one song off.

So for a long time, the only place you could get it was vinyl. I’m like hit goodwill until I find that album. Uhoh.

Alan: Am I dead? . So I you were shuttering a little bit. Okay.

Stephen: Oh, okay. Hopefully we’re not having big issues. I was gonna mention something else and now I totally forgot

Alan: So what’s on your so first I should mention I got you something for Chris. Okay. , I’ll, we’ll have to see when we’re next. Yes. When you go to any of the cam monthly gatherings or e-com or you are we gonna have dinner sometime? I have a little something to hand off,

Stephen: Yeah. So do I So yeah.

we’ll figure

Alan: that out. Yeah. The, like, when I look at, when I, this is funny, maybe like a little fingerprint I have like there’s a band called Frost, followed by an asterisk that they make great music that nobody knows about them. So their latest album called Day and Age is one of the ones that I put on my Please want list for Secret Santa.

I don’t wanna buy it at 15, but I really want it. And it might be one of those that if I don’t get it for Christmas, I’m gonna break down and get it. Because I really, and same with Yes, has a live album called The Royal Affair Live in Vegas that I need Alan Parsons has a new one. Bruce Springsteen has a new one.

A lot of these are like, they put it out before Christmas, so they’ll take advantage of the Christmas buying rush. And so just that, I

Stephen: summer here’s a new one. Yes. Here’s a new one. Debbie Gibson has a Christmas album out. Oh

Alan: my. I didn’t know she was still around. Yeah, she is.

You know what I mean? I’m sorry to be, that’s so terrible. I don’t wanna be ever a rumor starter, but hasn’t been in the public eye for

Stephen: 10 20. It’s been a while. Yeah.

Alan: Time. Okay. Alright. I’ll, I’m curious. Cause she has a great voice. Even if she was like a total pop confection, you know what I

Stephen: mean?

Listen to it on Spotify, we listened to it and we went, yeah, this really isn’t that Ooh. A of an album. It’s it’s okay. I don’t mean the dispar her, and I’m not a big critic or anything, don’t take my word for it, but listening to it, it was just kinda there, there’s just bland recordings.

There’s no like straight note chaser when you listen to their 12 days of Christmas and you can feel the

Alan: energy. Absolutely. Boy, that, that’s a great one to point out. Yeah. They really do things with that. That’s not just like working your way through, the 12 days until you drop exhausted at the end.

They do lots of fun stuff with that. Yeah. Yeah. That’s good.

Stephen: So listen to it before you just run out and buy that one. But I was like, wow, she’s still around and has a new album out.

Alan: Yeah. So that’s what I, that’s what I should do, is I should look for a whole of different Christmas albums, buy ’em, and then send them out to various different people saying this fits them perfectly or it totally doesn’t fit them.

And see what they say . You know what I mean? So look at the Debbie Gibson and the, what’s the most shred Christmas album I can get and what’s, I don’t know, it’s I’ll have to look for that because it does seem, a lot of places seem to do it. Like their agent must go to them and say, that Christmas albums sell like hot cakes, Dolly Parton, if you want to have another billion selling album, do a Christmas record.

You know what I mean? She does have a couple, if

Stephen: she should, because she did one with Kenny Rogers. I believe they did an album together. I think that sounds

Alan: good. Okay. So I’ll have to look, Christmas albums, that’s the, it’s I’m trying to think what else. I, and it’s of funny for a lot of the books I had there’s a whole bunch of history being written now.

It seems to be based on, talk to the people interview, get the fact before we lose them. So it’s Appalachian people, it’s comic book people, it’s jazz people, it, you know what I mean? There’s certain people that are aging out and we’re not gonna. Stand Lee to tell stories anymore. We don’t have Jack Kirby, we don’t have, so there’s a, there’s all of the marbles a journey to the biggest story ever told.

That is like all about the Marvel universe that I talk about that in my talks all the time. This is mythology. This isn’t a single story or a single character. There’s a whole universe these guys have created and they had enough sense early on of continuity that all hangs together and it’s been expanded and then broken and contracted and then expanded again multiple times.

So that’s part of the universe is they went through Ragner Rock and there was a rebirth of the gods and they’re in, whatever universe 2.0 and stuff like that. And so I just love, I love reading about it because I love tales of all those people. My heroes are that the, not only the Stan and Jack, but like Roy Thomas and Jerry Conway and people that follow them and all the boy, I just, I like hearing about.

What was Steve Dico like? What did Don Heck do besides draw great art? How about John by and John Bussom and et cetera, et cetera. So that our God’s wear spandex, the secret history of comic book Heroes. Another one of those that I have to have, and this is a guy named a Lee Martinez, has written, I think I’ve actually given him a shout out before.

He does great humor books that he takes kinda like the Tropes of Fantasy and says, I’m gonna do a funny book about witches, about ghosts, about elves, about interstellar invasion and whatever else he has emperor masque versus the giant pulsing brain or something like that.

And it, they’re hilarious. He started, and those were individuals. There’s one shots and they of take place in some of the. Locales. And so they’re loosely linked, but he has a series called Constant Severity. It’s the perfect female teen hero that she’s just amazingly accomplished, but of course she’s a tortured dean and all that kinda stuff.

And the latest one in that is constant severity destroys the universe. So I like I read the first two and I’m gonna get the third, but if someone wants to get me the third, I one’s like, here’s my hope for Christmas. Richard Cadry, I think I might have mentioned the Sandman Slim books.

Oh yeah. Like the first nine. And I, I kept buying ’em from Amazon when I would get ’em like on sale. And then they started to do things. This is now a six month old Amazon started to do things during Covid where things that people labeled as like new, they weren’t. And the bargain that I used to be able to find, I hated getting something that I had paid, like New Price.

And it’s got like the dog shoot on this. This is a terrible copy. So I haven’t bought. The last three in the series because I was waiting to see, am I really gonna get Buffalo again by buying it like new? If I’m gonna buy it new, then I got to commit to buying it at 15, 18, whatever else it might be, right?

Hey, they’re on my wishlist. I really want them. I wanna read ’em and complete the series. But I just didn’t, wasn’t finding, wasn’t giving it enough time to get a used copy and wasn’t confident in my ability to get right used copy. Let’s see. Annie Duke has a couple books thinking in Bets and Quit and it seems like so quick background.

She’s a poker player. She’s a really bright lady who is the daughter of Richard Letterer, who’s one of our men star who’s written like 30, 40 different books, right on all kinds of wordplay stuff. So she’s taken what she learned being a. Poker player and a business consultant and so forth and parlay it into these books.

Haha. See the poker term I used to be like, here’s how she thinks. And that, that thinking is not conventional in the population, but that it’s a really handy skill to be, how do you make a decision when you don’t have full information? But you have to make a good bet, not a certain thing.

And in fact, waiting for certainty, it’s own paralysis. You’ll never get there. And also how do you like, oh, I put a lot into this, a lot of money, a lot of hope, and it’s not gonna work out. But how do you know that? What’s the internal thing that allows you to do that? And what’s the signals that you get from the environment that say it just isn’t worth throwing good money after bad at this point.

And so I just, I respect her a lot for what else I’ve read of her. And I, like I, and I wanna support her. Another one of those things is I tend to find authors that I like, and then I tend to like let’s get ’em all, let’s get all the Simon Green, right? Let’s get all these Sanford, the John Sanfords and stuff like that.

And she’s, I have any number of authors that I read one book. It’s oh, you didn’t make my must have list. I’m sorry. Maybe if I get it for a book, I’ll read you again because there’s so much good stuff out there. Yeah. And in fact boy at the end of this month, I’m gonna be talking at our cam our preliminary, immense monthly gathering.

And the talk is about drinking from the fire hose. It’s, we live in this world where there’s an amazing amount of cool stuff available. It’s option glut, it’s drinking from the fire hose. All my life has been a study in how do I choose from the moment I was born. I wasn’t gonna be able to read everything.

Tesla was the last guy to know everything. What am I gonna do to use curation and knowledgeable critics and my own tastes to get to when I’m done? I really want to have said I read 80% of what I really wanted to. I’ve started any number of great books lists, and sometimes it’s it’s not contemporary anymore.

It’s in service to the past in some ways that it’s important to know that this book was written, but maybe I wanna read the cliff notes for the ideas that are in the book instead of slogging through something that is a difficult read where there’s other things like no matter what Alan Moore has written comic book writer.

I wanna read it because I really think that his mind goes to places that nobody else goes. And I like that. So it’s the talk is gonna be in an hour as much as I can cover of how did I do that about movies and television and books and games and puzzles and everything. Where am I gonna go? You know what I mean?

And there’s, we are luckily in this place of, it doesn’t have to just be. Guessing. It doesn’t have to just be word of mouth from your friends, cuz I’ve got some great friends, but I’ve also got, if you have five great friends and they have differing opinions, what do you do then? , right? So how do you get to that curation of AFI says these are the hundred best movies of all time.

We watched them all. It was like they were pretty good. You know what I mean? Whatever my knowledge of movies or my taste in movies was well covered with the filmic. College degree that I got from watching their hundred best movies. And I’m looking for that in every way. And I wanna share that with other people of if you want science fiction, it doesn’t just have to be start at a, it can be what won the Hugos, what won the nebulous, right.

What are the ones and it’s cool for each year, if you really want to take a walk through the history of science fiction, you’ll read those and you’ll say, boy, that’s from like 52, kind of corny. But that was the first time they talked about faster than travel. That’s a breakthrough thought.

Yeah. How would that work if you were able to change the past or whatever else it might be? And so there’s education to be found, not just enjoyment. And I the inside of my head feels better when I’m not only enjoying the vocabulary of it, but I’m getting, I can see how this all fits. That Heline really broke through and so did Clark and so did Asimov and certain of the old guard that they might be not.

Contemporary, but there’s value in what they wrote. But I also wanna read the latest contemporary, because they’re talking about science fiction in a much more human way. A much more like now we’re extrapolating about nano tech and about, it isn’t we’re close to teleportation and stuff like that.

And the little changes that you make to go into a non, a predictable future, even though you don’t know when it’s gonna get here. It’s very cool to see the craft that people have, like Vern of, and Greg Baron, whoever else. Were really good at hard science fiction of saying, here’s the future plus 10 years.

And it really, this all makes sense in a way. I always give STRs. Charles STRs is just one of those guys that almost man, this guy has really thought this out. And this really is both a really cool book and a cautionary tale because the cool things that could happen and the crap things that could happen, we have choices to make.

We have to stay ahead of this. You know what I mean? So anyway, I that’s

Stephen: cause I like what’s going on in the MCU right now with everything kind of revolving around multiple universes with different dimensions in the quantum world. Dr. Strange and Spider-Man and now Aunt Man’s coming out and they’re all quantum and I think.

We had a whole bunch of Jurassic Park from Creighton. He’s great with that. Where it was looking at science and speculating and what could happen. But I don’t feel there’s been as much of that because people kinda feel we know everything we’ve got, but quantum physics is still new and there’s so many possibilities.

I had a discussion the other night. We went to dinner with Ethan’s parents and we talked a little bit about that cuz Colin and I talked, started talking ghosts and I said I think ghosts could be just some bleed in from some other universe or something. Okay. And he rolls his eyes at me, but I’m like, you can’t disprove it.

He goes but you can’t prove it correct, because we don’t know enough, back and forth .

Alan: That’s when we finally get to where, how does Deja work not work? How does near death experience worker not work? How do ghosts, how do, there’s all kinds of things that we, part of what you do is apply science to it and see what you can do to find out what are the parameters around it, what’s the, it isn’t yes or no.

There’s probability levels of. Is that a good guess or not? You know what I mean?

Stephen: That’s not even true in the quantum world,

Alan: but see, but exactly it is that the way you get quantum collapse is to say what’s the most probable thing? And it came down to, that’s now the choice of the universe. But yeah, there’s a little trickle off somewhere else where someone else chose differently and the universe proceeded on that separate timeline, if you will.


Stephen: Know,

Alan: been convergence instead of certainty. You know what I mean? Anyway, .

Stephen: So before we go starting to run I was something when we were talking about digital music in that one of the things a warning, I really miss and wish that Apple still made all their different iPods the little narrow I, that was my favorite.

Put tons of music on it, just listen to great music,

Alan: have it in the car, headphones, whatever work.

Stephen: And I know people say, oh, there’s a lot of MP3 players out there. Here’s the problem I’ve had with MP3 players. I’ve tried multiple. Apple was really great. You could hook it up to your computer.

I could drag folders over to iTunes that would put it right on my iPod. Nice for you. Exactly. Yeah. And work great. You can do the same with a lot of the new MP3 players. I’ve tried several and they’re very large. They can hold tons of stuff. The problem is they don’t seem to organize it as well as Apple always did.

I pull stuff in, I’m like, oh, there’s the album I want, but it’s only got tracks three and 11 and then it’s got the same album again and it’s got tracks one and two and 12. And I’m like, what the heck? You can’t just easily go and listen to it. I check MB three tags, I make sure they’re all the same dragon and it just does not sort and organize them as eloquently, elegantly, and wonderful as Apple always did.

There’s a cautionary tale if you’re getting somebody, an MP3 player for these huge music collections. Right?

Alan: It’s funny, once you’ve had a really good way of doing it and you see somebody do it cut rate, it’s really tough to take a step back. You know what I mean? When I’ve had multiple time collection softwares over the year and it really is collectors that I’ve got now.

Pretty much state of the art, but I compare it to, wow, what if they, there are limitations to it, and sometimes the choices they make is how to overcome that limitation is not the direction I would’ve gone. So it’s oh, am I a different kind of collector than everybody else using this software?

I don’t know. I don’t know. It’ll be worth as a closing thing maybe it’s, I often say, the future’s here. It’s just not evenly distributed. , I’m having problems now with every time I go into a bathroom okay, do I press a button or do I hold my hands under, do I have to move my hands under to get something to work?

I just had the first occurrence of, we got a new toilet seat. It’s one of those air pressure gravity toilet seats where instead of having to put it down, you just tilt it forward and it gradually lowers itself. How nice. You know what? If you go into a public toilet and you put one down and it doesn’t have that clock, it really and oh, I guess everybody knows that I’m in the bathroom now.

So nice. I have to kinda get used to, the sinks are different in different airports and different restaurants and everywhere, and so are the hand dryers and so are the toilets and stuff. . So I’m, I don’t need it to all be the same. I don’t want it to be that there’s one law about it and stuff like that, but I’ve had to put overhead now into what version of a toilet am I working with.

Where there was. Universally the same toilet for a long time. ,

Stephen: right, right there. There’s technology advancing.

Alan: It’s funny. No but I am, I’m just totally digging the, I will never have a cl in our house where we’re about like, startling Colleen, because now the gravity seat takes care of that for me.

Stephen: It’s amazing

Alan: how this is, I like this now that I have, how did I live without this?

For as long as I do,

Stephen: We should research and talk about the Japanese toilets, about how

Alan: I still prefer the western toilet compared to any hole in the floor. Any bid day. I, it’s kinda funny, some people told me that they swear by the B day and I actually got one that I haven’t installed yet because I’m still not sure that I.


Stephen: which I, that’s a cultural thing I think too, largely, you grew up with it. That’s what you’re used to. It’s hard to really make a big not really a big change when you look at it, but it is, ,

Alan: oh as always a pleasure and we’ll see you next week. I’m, I think I’m not traveling until Thursday, so we’ll be regular time on Tuesdays.

Perfect. Ma. Good. Thanks Steven. Okay.