Episode 132 – Nostalgic books, music, travel and wizards


If you like reminiscing about music in eras gone by, this is a great episode for you. We talk about music often because we are (as Alan puts it) omnivorous music fans. We recall how different music used to be and the enjoyment of getting new music from your favoite artists. Of course, this extends into the same with books. So, come journey with us to the past.

If you haven’t heard of the new Hogwart’s Legacy – now you have. This is an immense game set in the Harry Potter world, but taking place over 100 years before Harry and friends. The best part – Alan’s nephew was a part of creating this great game!

Alan recently took a cross country trip to deliver some comics. He recounts his trek, but we also discuss how doing that has changed over the years from the AAA Tritik to the Garmin GPS.

We had some tech problems and had freezes and drop outs. the audio may be a bit choppy.


What was the original group name for the group – War?


Cupboardmaker Books

COSI – Center of Science and Industry

Hogwarts Legacy – Home



Alan: Over. So I’m centered. .

Stephen: Can you

Alan: hear me? There we go. I can hear you. Okay, let me also get, I was turn on night shift on my display. Cause that way I tend to be a little bit less. Let’s see how that works. See? Oh, is that beautiful? Wow. There sure is a lot of sunlight

Stephen: coming. . Damn that sunlight wasn’t doing in Ohio.

Exactly. I’ve got some weird little colors I can do on mine. I never played with it much, but I know it’s got intensity and oh, there’re a a little more warmth. So before we start, I wanna hear all about your trip cuz it sounds like you had an adventure. Take. Take a look at my shirt.

I got this at Christmas.

Alan: Ah, there we go. The Ango Montoya. Very

Stephen: good. But the little design is the text of the book. It’s William Goldman’s book of the Princess Prize. To make the design. Exactly. I thought that was pretty nerdy thing.

Alan: and actually, so we should already start recording cuz we can talk about that you got it.

Okay. The I got a similar one for Colleen from the little house on the prairies books where it’s got the log cabinet and stuff like that. But yes, in whatever six point type it shows the entire first chapter. I don’t think it’s the entire book. No, I don’t think it’s the entire book.

Yeah. How much you can fit on a shirt, but and she was very tickled by that. You know what I mean? I just, that’s another one of those things that as technology marches on, as someone gets a bright idea and says, I wonder if we could do that. Because my fear would be Yeah, if they don’t find the good quality shirt and the good quality ink that it will last a couple of washings.

It would be terrible. Start to have dropout of the story where whole squashes are what I mean particle. I want it to last a while so that you really can tell what it is. I have rock concert t-shirts that after maybe like three washes cuz where did I buy them? Back in the seventies?

You bought ’em in the parking lots as you were, and some guys really made beautiful, like paint on t-shirt paint where it lasted. I had a Led Zeppelin shirt with the Swan Song logo that lasted forever. Whereas I had a Tark shirt from e L P that looked bad within one wear, it was like already flaking off. And so back then it was five or seven bucks, not 30, but still, if the concert cost you $7, it was like, wow I got roofed on this tee-shirt. The theater cost as much as the show, right? And these guys were just out there to fleece you, Yeah, one of my biggest regrets, not really a big regret, but I had this really nice.

Stephen: Def Leopard Hysteria, album sweatshirt. Comfortable. Just and I hadn’t worn it for a while, just because I didn’t wanna wear it out. And my son kept eyeing it and eyeing it, so I gave it to him for Christmas one year, and I’m like, man, I love you, but man, I don’t know if I love you. Hysteria, sweatshirt enough.

Alan: Actually I kept growing all through college and I used to wear like a medium t-shirt I liked it tight. So I when you’re a young man bound for adventure, you’re thinking, oh, I should show off what I think are muscles. But as I got just a little bit too big where they were uncomfortable, and when they looked silly, I gave ’em a weight.

My I introduced my younger brother’s friends to all kinds of good especially progressive rock groups their first yes. King, Crimson, e l p, whatever else it might be. And because I had this wonderful backlog of t-shirts, I actually had. One of those things where, okay boys come on over, we’re gonna raid the closet.

And they all went to good homes. They really appreciated. And especially because even back then I was seeing kind of obscure bands too, when you don’t just have what everyone has, the Beatles and the Stones and stuff like that. But when you’ve got, I dunno, I never had Gentle Giant, but I had Kansas from early on, and so it’s cool.

I hardly ever do that. I used to never, I never went to a concert in somebody else’s t-shirt, I didn’t show up at a an e l o t-shirt with a Kansas shirt on. But it was also I sometimes wore one that I knew was like an artifact. I had an electro led orchestra, one that was before the most known e l O logo is from New World Record where it looks kinda like a jukebox.

Brown jukebox type that. And I had ’em back to face the music and to Olay e l o and whatever else. And so it was cool to be like, especially. When you go on Prague Rock Cruises that I have done a couple times now, you’ll see people where they had that shirt is 50 years old.

That’s 72. You know what I mean? You really saw the Moody Blues early, like where they had just become symphonic and orchestral rock instead of go now and the softer version. Same with Manfred Man or something like that. I don’t know, I just, that’s I now have also, and maybe you’ve seen this, they have stores now that sell vintage.

Yeah. Prints, maybe it’s the old t-shirts, but maybe it’s just the design, but not so much. Even concerts, all kinds of old team jerseys and stuff like that from the older versions of the Cavaliers, the older versions of the Browns, that kind of stuff. Cuz they’ve changed that logo and that font and whatever else over the course of the years.

And I don’t know, that’s a silly way to be of fun and nostalgic, but if it really is. Wow, you really had that shirt for 50 years. It’s kinda amazing.

Stephen: You get the opposite with some of the classic band shirts. You’ll get this 20 year old kid wearing led Zeppelin or something. It’s do you like them?

It’s oh, I don’t know. I don’t listen to ’em. It’s just I’m cool because I got the shirt and it’s are you kidding me?

Alan: See that? That’s false. Exactly. This reminds me, I do have a trivia for you this week. Okay. You know the band War from back in the early seventies?

Stephen: Yes. They were a south Bronx ish, just almost Cuban rhythm that whatever that salsa or whatever. Rockish man. Yeah. Do you know what their original name was?

Alan: Wow. Maybe it’s something like war. What is it good for, like to borrow from Motown

Stephen: or something like that? I’ll give you a hint.

The original name. Also tells you who helped create the group that didn’t help you, but it’s, sorry, I

Alan: didn’t catch the last part of that. The original name also included,

Stephen: oh, I’m sorry. The original name helped tell you who helped create the group. So who was, so this would’ve been 60, so like an Andy Warhol thing.

Alan: A I’m trying to think who would’ve been like Velt underground, Lou Reid who was, who is forming groups back then war in Peace. It was Leo Tolstoy who created those No,

Stephen: they’re Russian.

Alan: No, not off hand.

Stephen: Eric Burden and the. Because the animals had broken down The animals.

Alan: Yeah. Oh my. That’s cool. think I might have mentioned this before. I love that, I love knowing a little bit about rock history, where as you see people’s progression through various different groups it’s not only Todd Rungren, you have to know that he was in the NAS before he was a solo artist.

And then he had his own group Utopia for a while and actually made a point of not calling it Todd run’s Utopia. He kinda wanted to be, I’m really in a band now. David Bowie did. That was Tin Machine and various things like that. Tin Machine. Have you ever seen the Rock Family Trees that Pete Frame has done?

No. And you still appear in Rolling Stone Magazine and there was an entire, a big album book I don’t know let’s see, probably a foot by two feet. But it really was like, here’s from Wence came the various different people that became Deep Purple. and then as they had side projects, you got a chance to keep track of.

Oh, okay. So who was the original De Purple guitarist, like Richie Blackmore. Then he went off into Rainbow and then they replaced the vocalist. And Ronnie James Dio came in and they had, and besides Tommy Bolan and just to see, I loved knowing that these guys actually had interesting careers.

Some of them. I don’t know. Bad company was pretty much the same guys for almost all of its time. So the tree is not that interesting. they were all from big groups bad company was a lot of big guys

and That’s right. So I, when you look at like King Crimson, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t fit on a page anymore.

You know what I mean? It’s one of those things that when you see Robert Fripp is the through line, but there’s all kinds of people and it isn’t just, oh, after King Crimson, they did a solo album, then faded away. No, Greg Lake went on into Emerson Lake and Palmer. Yeah. And bill Brard went on to be in Genesis and Yes.

Little group that kind of thing. So it’s . It’s very cool. I used to, we’ve talked about this a little bit before, one of the un joys of CDs and now streaming is that the experience of getting the album and it really had oh, a picture and beautiful artwork and if you left it out while it was playing, it really was something to look at.

Yeah. But also a lot of groups did. The back cover with who’s in the band, or they’d have liner notes on the sleeve inside, or even a separate insert. And I just loved knowing who were all the people in the band and being able to then track with, I don’t know, Phil Collins played in a lot of things besides Genesis.

So I discovered a group called Wilding Bonus and all that kind of stuff. It just was, I used to go to Rolling Stone Records. It really is the name of a place in Chicago. There were two outlets, one in downtown Chicago and one in Norridge, if I remember right. And I couldn’t get out of there in less than two, three hours , because I would not only just I’d go first.

You go to the bargain bins and you page through and see what you want. And it wasn’t only things that were obscure or that were like on the end of their life or something like that. They had a really cool policy of every day they’d go to the regular. And pick out a hundred albums or something like that and just slap a 3 99 instead of a 7 99 price tag on it.

And if you were the first one to the bins, you could discover all kinds of cool current stuff or big hit type stuff. And then of course, while I’m reading it you’re looking at the album and going, this looks interesting. And I think I’ve told you, what’s the prog rock test? You flip it over and you say, oh, this doesn’t have seven cuts aside.

This has three . It’s 15 minutes long. I’m already interested because it’s, I’m more of an epic. I discovered Meridian that way. The very interesting album cover called Script for Adjusters here. And you flip it over and it’s got three cuts on each of the two sides. And just the logo was really cool.

Like nightmare jester on the cover and all just, it was, everything about it was intriguing. I had never heard a second of their music and it was like, I don’t know, for 3 99 we’re gonna give this a try and that might be the luckiest, who knows who the heck this is. Pick that I ever made because I’ve loved them now for Yeah.

40 years at least. That must have been, I think they were maybe late seventies is when I discovered it was after I got out of maybe early eighties. Yeah. Trying to think when their first

Stephen: album might have. Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Somewhere at least 40

Alan: years. I’m probably going on 45. Yeah. So at that pilgrimage that I used to make I, I’d go to the local record stores and of keep track of what was coming out and search for prices and stuff like that.

But when I got Hey, I got a bonus from work what do I wanna do? I’m going to Rolling Stone Records and I’m walking out with a terrible number of back when it was LPs. Yeah. And I dunno if you, have you haunted big stores like this? San Francisco had two great CD stores one called Ameba Records and one called Rasputin.

and where other people had like a comedy section, they had a comedy aisle and they had imports and they had prog rock and all that kind of stuff. And the whole tribute album section usually they just kinda you don’t know where to put those, you sneak ’em in with the bend that they’re t tributing to.

But I regularly walked out a CD box. Have you seen how their shipped? There’s 30 in the box and I regularly had to be like can I have a box while I collect these? And it’s you really gonna, I really am gonna need the box. I swear . And I just, almost always, I’d go there and they’d say you’re buying hundreds of dollars of these things.

Would you like a bag? It’s Sure. You mean do I pay for it? Oh no, we’ll be happy to have you advertise for us. Yeah. Theba records bag. Exactly. I, as I remember right, the ABA records, it was in Ha Ashbury in San Francisco. Oh wow. And I think it was like a former bowling alley. So you can imagine the size of this place.

And same thing I would like, while I’m in San Francisco for Macworld, so all the Geekary ties together. Like I, I had, when I first went to Mac Worlds, it was of course, let’s go to Chinatown, let’s go see the Golden Cape Bridge, let’s go to the various different ride the cable cars. And then when you start to be there, like entire week and you’ve already exhausted a bunch of stuff.

And I would go to a couple tech parties and have fun with that. I remember seeing at the Exploratorium, which was one of the first cool hands-on kids museums that I’d ever been to where you. Wow, this is the tornado machine. You turn this handle and it makes the thing

Stephen: And you know how cool most people, it blows their hair around.

I wish I could experience that. . Exactly.

Alan: I was too streamlined. I was immune to the effects of the tornado machine. Back then I was, back then, I was actually quite the surfer dude. I had a full head hair. I

Stephen: had a, anyway, I’m impressed. You still remember those days, there.

Alan: So I know I, as usual, I just said, oh my God, I went off.

But have you had those experiences, things that you hit, use the bookstores and once in a while, it’s not just a used bookstore, it’s a treasure trope. Yeah. Any ones that you can remember that were

Stephen: particularly wonderful? Five. Yes. Two of them I’ll talk about. Over in Pennsylvania by some of my friends in Harrisburg.

There’s the Cupboard Board, cupboard Maker Bookstore. It’s also a cat shelter, rescue . And so you have Ninja Cats. They put boards up. So you have Ninja Cats walking these planks above you and they’re like, that’s hilarious. Be aware of attack ninja cats. Cause sometimes the cats will just jump down.

You’re there and all, some plop, geez, I’m in.

Alan: Especially when you’re not expecting. It’s like things are falling from the ceiling. But this is just one of those, you walk in, you’re like, I am overwhelmed. Type of bookstores. And they had news stuff too, so you could pick up some of the best news stuff, but they definitely had old stuff and things.

Stephen: It’s oh my God I’ve not seen this anywhere else. I’ve Exactly. I’ve been looking for this. They had a destroyer number one the last time I was there. So fantastic. Because that’s how I got my copy excellent. And there was another,

Alan: I’ve been in stores, just to interrupt real quick.

I’ve been in stores where like you find the treasure trove of what, once. If you had found all these destroyers, all these dock savages, I would’ve been like shivering with joy. But now I have ’em all. And so it’s kinda like I look around, Hey everybody, this is a great series. You should buy these 20. You will never see

Stephen: them

But don’t you walk in and you look at it and go, I know I own these, but I feel like buying them again. I just, I wanna reach out and get ’em. It’s just that Exactly. Because they were a grail for so long. I had searched everywhere for old Mad magazine paperbacks, old doc savages. Some things that the James Bon series was easy to complete because at the time I started buying it, there were only.

Alan: where there were already 70 doc savages and they had been already been published. And I’m talking about the Bantam paperbacks, not the original pulse. Cause those are really hard to find. Yeah. But and over the course of time, the old Lancer paperbacks that had the great Conan and the great Frazetta covers and I don’t know, when I was young, I really didn’t know lot how this worked.

When you see a series that’s oh, these are different covers. At one point they had the originals and then they had to reissue and they standardized. So they’d all look nice on the bookshelf. But, and sometimes I’d like those covers better, but there was also like, man, if you can find a James Bond before they did the normalization of how the covers look and everything like that.

Yeah. It was really, this is, there’s history here. People that read this, they read it in the fifties going into the sixties when this really was like, I don’t know, state-of-the-art spycraft and there really was a Cold War going on and stuff like that. And it helped you get that sense of place and the smell.

When you walk in one of these places and it has that old paper pulp not in a sour way, but in that man, I there’s a whole kinds of things that trigger me. . Yes. In all the good ways of walking into a good used bookstore. So is that still around the cupboard

Stephen: maker? Is that still Harris Cupboard maker books?

If you go over towards Harrisburg, look it up. It’s definitely recommended to go. It’s a fun little place. There was one place, and I doubt it’s still around in Toledo, me and the kids, we were just like, okay, we’ve done all the stuff we wanted to do today. Let’s find a bookstore. So we looked, and there’s one cl okay, it’s a comic book and pu it was kind what GameStop has become, but before GameStop.

Oh, let’s check it out. So we go, we show up. It’s in this kind of rundown, moish place the strip mall and looks like a little store. Okay, we’ll check it out. We go in. And it was one of those stores that we’ll always remember. So it was just stuff everywhere and hardly any organization things piled.

It’s like you’re looking behind things and moving things and things are leaning over you. And there’s a cat walking around. Yeah. But it was run by this older couple. They were like 70, 75 years old. And I imagine they, they were like some ch Chinese wisdom gods that were going to disappear if we turned our back, you know what I’m saying?

they like jumped up. They’re like, oh my God, somebody visited our store. We’re so happy to see you. And I felt bad because I don’t think they got a lot of traffic. There was dust on the stuff. They were older and things. It was cluttered and that, yeah. Yeah. So me and the kids looked around. We talked to ’em for an hour and a half.

I bought a couple things just because I have to, I can’t walk outta here without buying something from them. But I, it was actually things I wanted and was interested in getting. Yeah. So it wasn’t like a, just a pity buy. It was a couple really good things. But Colin will bring that up every now and then.

You remember that store in Toledo, Yeah. That was a, I like there’s a cool one down in Columbus called the Book Loft, if I remember.

Yes. The German, it’s

Alan: one of those places that they started with the store and then they kept on like buying the next stores over or renting ’em or whatever.

But now it’s, you really do wander your way through it. It’s not one big expanse and you can walk in and see everything. You have to, almost they should put the Ikea arrows in so that you’ll know. I tend to do things. I don’t wanna miss anything. So I like do the maze thing where I put my left hand on the wall and I make my way around and then I, until you reach the

Yeah, that’s and there’s things in the middle that if I only go to the outside, I’m not gonna see everything. And sometimes it’s two levels. So it’s okay, I think this is the staircase that I saw before, but what if there’s more than one staircase and ? And I make an adventure out of it.

Yeah. And I love when it is like those kinds of patrons that, that they. They’ve been doing it for a long time, so I’ve, I have walked in where they’re like, Hey, happy to see you. We get a conversation going, he goes, what are you looking for? And so it’s I have some pretty obscure things that if you have them, I’m gonna do the dance of Joy.

I’ve been looking forever. I swear this exists. I really like a comic strip called Rick Oche. It was by Stan lined a western comic strip and all the characters had fun names like Rick Oshe and hiphop percussion and Jubilee and things like that. Miss Kitty, whatever else it might be. There was a huge album again, an album book called The Celebrated Cases of Rick Oche that I checked out from the Elk Grove Village Public Library once, and then I, and returned it and I never saw it again.

I have looked for that in every single store. A lot of times stores make it easy for you. They have a big place where all the big books go because you can’t file your atlas and your coffee table books. They all, there’s a Not all the same kind of book. There’s a miscellaneous of things there, but if you check in, it’s not there.

It’s like curses still not. And I have looked for it once. Of course, Amazon and other a Libras and all those things became available. I have looked for it by name. I’ve looked for it. I don’t even know. I’m not sure what to make of this. I don’t even see it like in a publication record anywhere.

Wow. Not at stand lines website. There’s no references. I bought pretty much everything else he’s done. Not only the comic strip collections, but he wrote a series of like western detective books almost with Marshall. Let’s see, something Crenshaw, maybe Marshall Jubal Crenshaw or something like that.

And I’m a completist about standby. Then they had a terrible fire and he lost all kinds of stuff that he. Was selling through the mail, he and his wife and stuff like that, and now he’s dead. So my chances of ever finding this are less and less. But you know what, if that turned out ever, that I find that it’ll be like, again, I don’t mean to monopolize, I look for a Bill Cosby album that I had seen once called eight 15.

  1. I might have talked about this. Yeah. Tried in Kresge’s in Chicago and never saw it again until Sue and I went to New York for spring break, didn’t go down to the beach, went to wander around Manhattan, and we found ourselves in a record store. And I and it’s a very distinctive cover. It’s just eight 15.

1215 in big black letters on white. And I like pick it out and I’m like looking around saying, do you guys know what you have? This is, and it wasn’t in the sealed in plastic, $30 or whatever. It was just another piece of stock to them. And I like, I. Sue and I had gone there, we’d taken the train.

So I’m thinking, okay, I know I can get this home in my suitcase, but I gotta make sure I pat it. Because now what will happen is, yes, we have this thing and then someone’s gonna kick my suitcase under the train and it’s gonna get run overs. No. So do you have, maybe, again, not only bookstores, do you have artifacts that you’ve looked like for for something like that and then finally scratch the itch?

Because the, my, my examples are obscure and far between. I do, but it’s more like a missing book a missing comic in series that type of thing. But I was going to mention, you mentioned the Booklo down in Columbus. Columbus, John Scaly is going to be there coming up sometime in the next couple months.

Stephen: And

Alan: so I go hear him speak and read and stuff like that. He’s a very interesting author. Okay.

Stephen: I know him from red shirts. So I was like, huh, that might be where the two hour drive down just to say hi .

Alan: Yeah. And there’s other thing, it’s funny, whenever I do that kind of thing, I also as long as I’m in town, I don’t wanna make it that it was just the obsession over meeting John Scalzi.

But then you find out Columbus has COSIG a great museum that I saw the Marvel exhibit at. It has great pizza around the o Ohio University campus and whatever, it’s like when Colleen and I had great success where we just needed, like now in the February doldrums, we need to get out of the house, right?

And I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone to a little town and said this is the nicest hook wear store I’ve ever been in. I I don’t, I didn’t know they made an apple slicer that works just like this. And so we’ve had incredible success. So just as long as we’re here, what else is there?

A nice hike, a nice pet store, a nice whatever, a nice Amish buffet or something like that and you mention about finding things and stuff. Let me tell you in the regards of the joy of discovery and the search, the worst thing in the world is to have a son that works at a collector comic book and toy store , because he’s Hey, look what we got.

Stephen: And I’m like, oh my God. So micro knots, we live next to an old auction barn. It used to run when I was younger. And I went over there once with my dad and he had gotten a bunch of stuff and I was looking and there was a box of toys. And I started looking through it. It turns out it was all one toy, just many pe but it was like seven of them just all put, un put together.

And it was the microns figures, it was a battleship, and it split off into seven different little vehicles. And I put ’em all together and it was remote controlled and and he’s wow. That’s really cool. Okay. Yeah. And he says here take one as payment for putting ’em all together.

Great. So I remember that toy and I walk into the comic book store a while back, and there’s one of ’em sitting there and I’m like, oh my God, that was one of my best toys ever. Wonderful. And then they move stores and move things. Hey, where’d the ship go? Oh, we don’t know. Oh, . Oh, man,

Alan: were they, were, they don’t know just how much that’s of valuable or at least a, like a, an uncommon item Yes.

That they should have held onto that, so yeah, I read that kinda book. Pat Broderick had great artwork in there. He’s one of those guys that hardly ever gets mentioned in the pantheon of great artists. And yet his work was very distinct. And I remember it, he did microns, he did some Captain Marvel that nothing else looks like it.

It’s really good. I like to cartoony but very detailed and action packed and stuff like that. So hats off to Pat Broderick, ,

Stephen: there’s a namedropping. Okay. I what do you wanna touch on? Sorry. You’ve got, you’re cutting out a little bit down. Interesting. Harry Potter Game news. Oh. I don’t know what’s going on today.

May, maybe we’ll run back to Zoom if this isn’t gonna work. Whatever. . Keep trying I think we

Alan: both have good net connections and stuff like that. Yeah. As the Potter verse has existed ever since the first book. There’s really been incredible fan interest in anything that JK Rowling has and all the extensions.

It’s not only been the, whatever you would call it, the main seven books, but there’s always been there’s of course the movies and there’s like short stories released, a lot of fan fiction and that kind of stuff. They finally started to have video games and the Potter verse is that bringing it all together and the latest one to come out is called like Harry Potter Legacy.

If I remember correctly, Hogwarts legacy.

Stephen: There we go. It’s not Harry Potter. It’s

Alan: cause it’s exactly, it’s in the 18 hundreds before the events of the actual Harry Potter books. So you get to play with the, how did it come to be? Who were the main wizards back then? How did the houses start? How did, how do you, and just from I went on to learn more about the game.

And of course then you get sucked in. It’s oh, I get to find out whether, where the sorting hat would’ve put me. I get to find out who my patronus is and stuff like that. It’s pretty cool.

Stephen: Let me jump in on this because I give JK Rowling huge kudos because right from the beginning she encouraged things like fan fiction and her Pottermore website had tons of fan and it created this huge community.

You got all these corporate. Oh, you wrote fan fiction, we’re gonna sue you unless you take it down. That’s our property. Don’t touch it. here she is. She encouraged it. And it didn’t destroy them. It made it one of the biggest properties around. Absolutely. There’s a lesson.

Absolutely. And the other video games they have had were based on the movies more and Lego based on the movies. Okay. So this one is very unique in that it’s like an open R p g. It’s exploring the world and it, but it’s not Harry Potter or even the prequels based It’s before all of that.

Alan: That’s right. That’s right. Thank you. You know much more about this than I do. I really have enjoyed the series in the movies, but I didn’t participate in Pottermore. And I don’t know, it’s almost, I really like them, but it hasn’t become religion to them for each generation. They really have if, whether it’s Star Trek or Star Wars or Harry Potter or whatever, there’s just amazing, an overflow of love.

And because I am too. Omni’s. I don’t have, I have series like I want other people to read cause I think that they’re good. But I don’t have I don’t know, I have a doctor who’s scarf, but I don’t have my entire wardrobe based on stuff like that, so having said that, and what’s the cool big news?

So I got a nephew named Nick, my younger brothers his and his wife’s son, and he worked on that game. That’s awesome. And you pull up the credits, you go to there’s all kinds, there’s hundreds of people that worked on it, if I remember correctly. . But he’s if right in the engineer, like they Chris my sister-in-law posted, Hey, now that the game is on, I’m allowed to reveal this.

And it says engineers and there’s 10 of them and right down here, Nick Baldes. Nice. So how cool is that? That’s awesome. Awesome. the family has good geekery in it out of my nieces and nephews we have. Real, they’re all bright, they’re all accomplished.

They’re all but and not to take anything away from anybody else. It’s this is so close to my heart. You know what I mean? I’m such a geek. And you can be a great pilot, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a geek. It makes you, you have amazing skillset and nerves of steel and stuff like that.

And having said that, I’ve got someone that’s working in art for video games now he’s working in the tech of video games. It’s very cool that’s a big enough industry that people who have loved those growing up and said, I wanna do that when I grow up. And then they really have, it’s a dream come true. I thought when I first went to a a place that had a ton of pinball and I don’t know, I, I. Lots of pinball and video games that U of I down in Champaign Urbana, the union had it. And let’s see, spaceport and Aladdin’s Castle, all that kind of stuff.

And I really, even from then thought it really is someone’s job to design these. It really is someone’s job to play test these. How do I get that job my going in every day and getting wow, your hands are really callous. Do you work in the garage? Nope. Pinball, . You know what I mean?

it would be, yeah, it would’ve been just such a delight. And I, maybe I’m painting the illusion, wow. If you’re forced to play pinball, maybe it’s not as

Stephen: much fun. Okay. The game before I even knew you knew somebody that helped work on, which I think is the coolest thing. The game looks really interesting, and I have a got a friend who’s been playing it and I asked him and he says, oh man, I put 12 hours into it on Saturday.

And I’m like, really? He’s yeah, it just kinda sucks you in and you just wanna go this next place the next place. And I don’t know what the story is, I don’t know any of that, but he said, there’s always just something new to go look at and check out. So

Alan: Just think of how perfect like for a long time, as the way that they do dungeon crawls and any number of open world games is what you just said.

You, there’s a, there’s the perpetual skill tree that you’re always getting better at what you’re doing and adding new things. There’s the search for items whether it, and in this case not so much swords and armor as it is, lawns and brew sticks, stuff like that. Or maybe cloaks of invisibility or whatever.

And it’s a, it’s the Hogwarts castle. How can you not have an unlimited number of magical rooms, right? Little partial dimensions and stuff like that, that you can forever be searching. And so I, they really have. The intermittent reward thing. They’ve got that down to a nanoscience as how do you keep someone playing forever?

How do you keep them like they can’t wait to play again? It’s in their thoughts. I don’t know, people talked about that early on where they were done playing Tetris for the day and then while they’re falling asleep, little blocks were dropping in front of their eyes, so your brain gets rewind.

You know what I mean by that? Very good risk reward thing and everything like that. It craves the dopamine.

Stephen: But the really, the interesting thing about this one is, as far as I know and can tell, it’s basically a single player game. It’s not an open world multiplayer game, which I found interesting because that’s the trend to do big things like this as open line,

Alan: multi Exactly.

That. To have a party, to have a tribe, a clan, et cetera, et cetera, and like you can’t take on a chromatic dragon without having. 30 people ready to

Stephen: rock instead of yourself. what that tells me, and I’ve been doing the video games storytelling talks and workshops and working on building that up, but what this tells me is that they wanted to focus on story, which is what the whole Harry Potter thing is very story focused rather than people getting to the groups to adventure and fight the mentors and do the it was a story thing.

So I’m even more intrigued by this game now, even though Harry Potter’s not my top favorite ip. I was beyond that time, my kids liked it but yeah, this game looks really good.

Alan: I am gonna, I haven’t bought it yet and as you might imagine, because it’s available on all the consoles and for pc, but not for Mac yet, but because I have my really, the, my Parallels right?

Emulator is really high quality. There’s very few things that if it runs at all on Windows 10 or 11, , it’ll, it really does emulate everything you might need. Video card, everything. Everything. And my, my M two Mac is mighty enough that it doesn’t get 30% lag because it’s doing all that translation.

It’s actually amazing, these zips. So I think, if I remember right, it was like there’s a regular and a deluxe edition and they’re like 60 or 70 bucks, and that seems like a lot. But if you get hundreds of hours of play, absolutely. That’s not a lot. You know what I mean? That’s, yeah. It I’m looking forward to trying it.

And I, and that’s, having said that since you and I have recently talked about the, is it the left or dead series we haven’t

Stephen: yet. Yes, we

Alan: exactly. I was looking forward to also doing that maybe in the metaverse, but what you just said that it’s a solo adventure. Maybe they’ll do it like World of Warcraft, various or other things that it starts off being solo and then they add that layer of, okay.

Now you’re all in the same world. An addict blows

Stephen: the good, check it out. Know what I mean? But yeah, we do have to jump on back for blood. Me and my cousin and another friend the friend that plays Hogwarts we’ve gone a couple things and it is relentless. Even my cousin, who is definitely better than me at console f fps games, he is not like overpowering me as far as how great his stats are at the end of any run.

And it is very relentless, but it’s very,

Alan: I’ve explored it. It’s seems to be all about one of the first things it says is like, this is not a game where you can like, take a sniper’s roof. That’s

Stephen: my fault. We’re gonna have a jumpy episode It turns that’s one of the things that we talk about over relentless Geri, is, hey we’ve been doing this for a couple years.

Alan: We started off with Zencaster, went to Zoom, we decided to go back, but. It wasn’t still what we wanted. And it could be that we can try Skype, we can try meeting whatever the other things are to find that sweet spot of how dependable is it? What formats can you

Stephen: do? Zencaster is really good because it, it records locally, which usually helps alleviate issues.

It’s a higher quality recording than Zoom for audio and everything. But then you’ve got the video separate. So when I process it, I could put ’em side by side or stack ’em and depending on where you go put the video, I could change that around. And then with the script app that I use, I could pull clips out of that easily.

It’s just a nice, smooth process. It works well. But what, going back to the Harry Potter thing or the Hogwarts thing I love the fact that somebody in the industry that’s done this because that’s what my whole push and talk is People look at me like I’m crazy. It’s what do you mean?

My kid could make a living Writing stories for video games, that’s ridiculous. But if you think back, go back a hundred to 120 years ago, people said the same thing about script. Writers go into Hollywood to write movie scripts, but nobody would blink an eye anymore about that. It’s because we’re so early in this part of the video game thing and it is happening.

Yeah. And if you look, video games are a bigger industry than our football industry. And how many people just spent a whole day on Sunday with pay-per-view, with sub sandwiches with pizza? They bet that how much time and money was spent for the Super Bowl on Sunday when we’re getting even more without people realizing it for video games.

Case in point, and I think I mentioned this a couple weeks. High school kids in Ohio can now join an eSports league and get a varsity letter and a varsity jacket and, yeah. You mentioned that a couple episodes ago, and that really is, that’s exactly right there. And it’s integrated into people still think I’m

crazy when I say this stuff, but think about it.

How many hours do people spend with their freeze up? I, it was still recording, so I just kinda kept going. . But how many hours do people spend taking their kids to little league baseball practice or JV football practice? How many hours do these kids spend practicing football and baseball?

Every week, every year. And then they get to high school and they’re on the team. They get a varsity letter, but then how many of ’em actually get scholarships and move on to. College, how many of ’em play in college? How many of ’em have a career? That number keeps going down. And I am not saying that right.

The eSports is really going to be that much different because obviously if there’s competition the cream of the crops going to rise and those are the ones getting the,

Alan: but that’s right, the 1% will still be the ones that are drafted and make it outta the teams and stuff like that. Yeah. This

Stephen: opens it up to more kids than would’ve ever been possible was baseball, football golf is accept.

Alan: That’s really true. Cause then there’s this like the genetic lottery Yes. Doesn’t always make you I am a strong, I am swift. You know what I mean? And it’s, I, it really is cool to see, I guess there’s still, there’s a certain amount of do you have quick twitch muscle? you, Do you have thumbs of steel?

Do you have great eyesight that you really track? I know I’ve played with someone, multiple people that I really knew I had just some kind of physical edge because. I pay attention differently, I focus differently. I was always ahead of them in terms of if you have something pops up on the screen, I’m gonna be the one that shoots it or grabs it or shoots them first.

And I’ve had that happen to me where it’s man, no matter how much I’m trying to understand this game and look for the little hints as to what’s gonna happen next, someone’s always ahead of me. And so there’s, there really are still some, there’s brain capacity, there’s muscle factor that really will make it, that it’s all focused perhaps into how dextrous you are on your controller and stuff like that.

It’s just a different set of skills instead of you put on your cleats and your helmet and you have to have. Whatever your body does that it can really fake somebody out, that it can do a movement and then re recover from that. It’ll be like that. Yeah. For a video. I

Stephen: think it’s cool and yeah.

More and more people. I’m probably going to name Drop . Hey on my geeky podcast my partner Alan, his nephew, helped make the Hogwarts game. So I personally know people not personally know, but one step removed, a little closer than Kevin Bacon . Yeah.

Alan: Yeah. It, and again I don’t know, I’m such a, and you too, we’re not only geeks about the Potter verse.

Like I said, some people really seem to just immerse himself in it, and that’s the only thing they do. I’ve had such great luck all my life with what I like, comic books and science fiction and d and all kinds of things, and when you just dip your toe into that a little bit out of the public, When I was first going to GenCon nowadays GenCon is like a hundred thousand people at a convention center in Indianapolis, but before that it was in Milwaukee, a little bit smaller.

And before that it was just guys getting together at the Whitewater campus of University of Wisconsin. And so I can go back where it’s I’m talking to Gary Gek, like the guy that did it, the guy that created it and the Werna Andrew, I can’t believe, I can’t remember his name. Any number.

Like the people who created Ultima, the people British who created besides Dungeons and Dragons, there was also Lord British. Exactly. Thank you. Tunnels and trolls and the Empire of the Pedal throne. And like someone had to do all those things. And as you might imagine, they’re not like necessarily in the hallway.

You can tell when it’s LeBron James because he’s a superhuman giant. Whereas people that do this kind of stuff, they could be walking down the hallway and unless you just happen to have seen. Something in Dragon Magazine or something like that was a picture of you’re the guy, you’re the guy that this amazing cool thing burst outta your head and now millions of people play it.

That’s a wonderful legacy. Yeah. You know what I mean? To be able to say that I really did write the book, do the game, et cetera, et cetera, that, that has brought so much pleasure to so many people. So it, I’m looking forward there’s, it’s now becoming like I haven’t heard yet from Fan Expo here in Cleveland as to whether we’re speaking of, or podcasting, but someone just asked me if I’m gonna go to C2 E two, which is coming up in Chicago, and it was it I don’t know whether I wanna be away in doing that for two weekends in a row.

And yet if that’s when it is, if it really is that if I don’t do those two, then it’s a whole nother year before I get a Wizard World or whatever the current, there’s been consolidation in the industry and be like maybe I will. There, it’s funny doing it here. It’s a matter of, I don’t know drive downtown and enjoy the show in Chicago.

It’s okay, you’re gonna be at McCormick Place. There’s the hotels nearby are jacked up in price because, and I, what, how am I gonna spend my time? And all that kind of stuff. And yet it’s an immersive thing. And so I was saying depending on who’s there will determine whether I go or not.

And so maybe it really will be that it’s who would I go to see who haven’t I met that I really would love to meet? That just doesn’t emerge John by or somebody like that, or

Stephen: Collin will be at C two E two. I know he, he knows who’s gonna be there and he knows what he needs to get signed.

Alan: Okay. Very good. . So let’s see. So that’s coming up. Pinball segue real quick. I just talked with a friend about are the best pinball games of all time? And if I was gonna get one I’ve been I’ve been exposed to probably hundreds of games by going to replay FX multiple years.

And so I was like I really like scared stiff, the Avira game. I really liked Theater of Magic. I really liked Twilight Zone. And as I just kinda off the top of my head remembered there was one like where you’re whitewater rafting. And then I look, I go to the website that has micro reviews of everything about various different games.

I think it’s called like IP DB or something like that. International Pinball database maybe. And they had here’s the top 10 list. And honestly, the games that I had named were like, five was the top 10. It was hilarious. I guess I am a pretty good distinguisher between what makes for a good pinball.

especially if you’re gonna buy one, it has to have replayability. It can’t be that like in a month you’ve played it enough that now it’s a pushover or it’s, I’ll never get to that next level. So now I’m disenchanted with it and stuff like that. So I if ever I really get the space and the gumption to set up a pinball game at home, and a friend Mike Cox had actually done that and it’s whoa, so which ones did you have?

And what did you get next? And why’d you let it go? And Replayability was a big thing of that. And reason for saying that is that whole there are similarities in that field to other things we’ve talked about. There really are giants of pinball game design, company-wide and people wide. And a couple times when I went to one here in Cleveland and then at Replay fx, they actually had those guys being interviewed.

And that’s a real uncommon curtain being pulled aside. Like you never see the guys. Face advertise with the product. It’s always because pinball games are meant to be wow, Zam Zoom, lots of lights and the big splash the back panel and stuff like that. And they don’t have his little face over here on the side saying, designed by Bill Johnson or something like that.

So it was just very cool to hear his stories. And maybe going back to what I talked about earlier, he was that guy that said, I really wanna do this for a living. How do I do, I go camp out on Stern or Midway or Bally’s doorstep and say, please let me I’ll take out the trash, just let me be in this place.

And then they designed and worked their way up and became a giant, a legend. And the transitions that they’ve been through from electromechanical to solid state and stuff like that. There were some people that really were good and embraced it, and others were like, I guess my time is done. I know everything there is about how to do it.

Wires. I don’t know. And I don’t want to know computers. And so there was a changing of the guard there. And I don’t know, there, I’m sure there’s great pinball history books that tell much more detail and drop all the names and stuff like that. But I really love that kind of stuff. When something that I’ve enjoyed for a long time, you get a chance to say if I ever meet Alex Johnson, then I’ll be able to say thank you so much, because boy did you take quarters outta my pocket when I was in school and I in Cig,

Stephen: So I got that 50th anniversary Atari set and they had a lot of history videos and stuff in there. And they were talking about the first not Pong, maybe it was the Space War game. They made the tabletop version and they had a bar. They took it to the try it out and yeah, I think it was Pong, it was tabletop pong for the bar.

And they, the bar called the next day. . They put it on in, on a Friday night and they called the next day to say, come get this piece of crap outta here. It’s not working. It hasn’t even been here a day. So one of the engineer guys who, I can’t remember his name off the top of my head the name from Atari games said, okay I’ll go out there and check it out.

So he went out to check it out to see what was wrong. What was wrong with the machine? There were so many quarters stuffed into it. It had stopped accepting new quarters in a day, accepting quarters. That’s when wow. Was it Nolan Bushnell? He goes, yeah, let’s make more of these

Alan: Nolan Bush.

See. Yeah. Yeah. When you talked at last, or tweet about AB testing, there must have been that there’s a certain leap of faith from any inventor, any innovator that says, I really like doing this. I can’t be the only one that likes doing this. Let’s just put it out there and see how it goes. And then when they find out that wow.

Too many quarters that it jammed the machine, the photo booth ran out of film or whatever else it might be. There must just be that wonderful Monday morning after that first thing where it’s man, we have light in the bottle here. If we do this right and some things are bad, e you know what I mean?

That you have to strike while the iron is hot and then they’ll fade with time. But certain things, I think people still play Tetris. Yeah, I got really good at Tetris and after a while it was like, okay, I’m, I’ve put enough time into this. I’m not getting any better and I’m not getting anything out of it except, Hey, I’m really good at packing trucks.

I will say , when I packed the truck for my trip, it really is Andy to be really good at looking at disparate peace sizes and going, okay, boo. And it all fits like nobody else could do it. Maybe 1% of the population works

Stephen: our minds. You probably go okay, I can’t do this unless I’m under pressure.

So time me go there. .

Alan: Exactly. Make sure the music keeps on getting .

Stephen: Another thing, you just went on a huge cross country trip to bring back a big comic book collection and I saw little bits of it where you got there was some traffic jams and things like that, and I was thinking about that. People all the time complain on computers that are ruining the world and it’s you don’t know what you’re talking about.

They’re not. But the whole g p s thing is humorous in many ways because my kid’s generation, They have no idea how to take directions and follow directions to get somewhere. They have no clue. And if they go somewhere right out of GPS range, they’ll just stop the car and sit there. They have no idea wh what to do to get anywhere.

you tell ’em a road name. Yeah, they don’t know. Where’s that at? They no clue. What do you mean you go north? What do you, how’s that not go north? They don’t get that so used to it now I’m the same way, but I, the other day I was going somewhere arou I’ve taken before, but I was like, okay, just put it on the g p s some jig jogging through areas, I don’t know so well, and it’s said, rerouting you to because of road closures.

Now that is something that if you get directions and you don’t know the area and somebody says, go here, and you’re like, the road’s closed, I can’t go there. Then you’re like, what do I do now?

Alan: How far outta my way do I have to do? Hopefully they’ve marked a detour. But otherwise, I’m hoping that.

I’ll hit the river and I can’t go into the river. So then I’ll turn left there and hope that I catch the main road. And

Stephen: the GPS has definitely gotten better 20 years ago, eh, I always printed it out just in case the g p s wasn’t right. And I remember the directions. The one time the g p s lady goes turn right and go off road, turn right and go off road.

Whatcha you talking about? ? How’s that giving me direction? . So

Alan: it’s exactly. Just start driving across the field until you get to

Stephen: the fence. So did you, did it, I know you got stuck in some traffic. Did you get rerouted at some point? So

Alan: it turned out that I was going to like when there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff going on here.

So first of all, even to plan the trip, I was gonna go like 2,400 miles in four days. So 600 miles a day is a lot of driving. , but I was able to then like, do you know, using mapping software, say, okay, about how far is 600 miles, what’s a reasonably sized city where there’s gonna be enough hotels that there’s competition.

So I’ll be able to find a place to stay that’s safe, but also not super priced. And I really was able to find Holbrook, Arizona, Sayer, Oklahoma, Collinsville, Illinois, not staying in St. Louis, not staying in Albuquerque, whatever else it might be. And it, and so that was first a really cool use of g p s to just be able to plot the route out and say it wasn’t exactly 600, but I can do five 80 or six 20, it wasn’t keep going until I’m exhausted and then look for a hotel. Cuz there used to be people that would take road trips like that. They just I’m heading west and when I can’t go any further when the sun is down or whatever. So that gave me lots of reassurance. I always like knowing that I have a destination and when I get there, long as they don’t give my room up extended stay America did.

Damn you forever and I’ll never use you again. So I knew that. And then once you know where you’re staying, you can like just put up, let’s look nearby. Is there a pizza place nearby? Is there a good breakfast place nearby? Is there an Asian buffet nearby? And I was able to have little things to anticipate because of that.

While you’re driving, it really is, it’s very cool to be able to see, okay, I started off with 620 miles. Then it counts down miles wise and time-wise how much you have to go. And so it’s heartening to be able to see progress. Used to be that you’d pull out the map and you’d be able to say okay, I had to go this far and I’m here and I’m here and I’m here.

And that was a visual way of knowing that. But all that really helped. And especially then when it helped was I was in Northeast New Mexico when I’m driving along and it’s sky. and then all of a sudden it’s getting cloudy. And then I see the lines of rain coming down and then I’m into it and it’s not rain.

It’s like wintry mix terrible where your windshield wipers are struggling to keep up. It really was bad quickly. And I’m on the interstates and so it’s not only cars, there’s lots of trucks and everything slows down like to a stop. So you know that it’s not only that it’s bad driving, it’s that there’s been an accident, some kind of disaster, and it took three hours to get past that at one point.

Another thing that’s cool about GPS is nowadays is they are not only I looked at it in the morning and now I have where I’m going in the evening in real time during the day, it’ll tell you what’s going on. It’ll tell you about there’s a speed trap coming up, that there’s an accident coming up, that kind of thing.

Indeed, I was using apple maps because my very cool car had CarPlay and my phone could. Go right into that. And so instead of only having the little phone screen to look at, I had the big screen in the car. And and CarPlay is very well designed to give you a lot of information without having to keep glancing over or touch a lot of things.

It’s meant right. Keep your hands on the wheel. So it actually did say Route I 40 is close and we’re gonna route you on a, there’s a 10 miles up, there’s gonna be a detour on three heading south that’ll take you south and then east on smaller roads in New Mexico and then up to Tuum Carey. So you can, wow. Does anybody know where Tuum Carey is? Only if you heard the song Willin By Little Feet. . So yes, I’ve been from Tehachapi to that day. While I was it, a lot of not moving at all or then crawling forward and stopping again while all that was going on it they cleared the road. Whatever happened on my side of the road.

And as I was going along, I was seeing trucks really are jackknifed. They’re in the ditches, they’re in the median. There’s whatever accident there was, they had cleared it on my side. And then in anticipation of all this traffic that’s backed up behind, they had actually really well plowed the roads so that at least two lanes were mostly cleared.

And then began to have all my truck buddies in front of me. I just followed trucks until I got, and once I went going. My other problem was I had not I had like 82, 92 miles of gas when this all started and it’s winter and oops. It wants me to reload the site. I’m gonna cancel out that, nevermind I, no and, but it was chrome instead of zoom.

Cause I was zencaster because you’re using that. So as I’m sitting there in my car, inching forward, I’m watching that go down, it tell you, it tell there’s a little range thing and now I’m 80 and I’m 50. And I’m like, okay. I, when I stopped right, I turned the car off and I put on my hat and gloves so that I’m letting the car get cold.

As long as it can restart, I’m gonna be okay. But I got to where it’s okay, I got this turn off at 10 miles and then it’s taking me south, but onto like, how small are these roads? Is there gonna be a gas station along here? Luckily, I, the car has 500 plus range miles. I got gas when I had 17 left.

There was a gas station on right off of 40. And it wasn’t even at an exit, it was just they help you all these little and it was like the wa, hachi, Hitchin post and gas that kinda thing. and I was not the only guy that had this great idea. So it was quite busy and a little bit of waiting and getting gas there.

But it was, of course not only gas. I went to the bathroom and I was enough time in that I had to use a trucker’s friend in the car. And so that was it. I haven’t done this since like college road trips where it was just like, we’re driving 18 hours, we’re not stopping. It just, there was all kinds of it wasn’t unpleasant, but it sure was Wow. A whole bunch of things can go wrong. Come on, T p s come on. Gas holding out. You know what I mean? And luckily then once I gased up and once I, and actually it’s funny how you just all that could have gone wrong?

Didn’t, and so you’re just like, yeah, , and it’s the watch you, I don’t think that’s the real name. Here’s the thing, it’s like I go to the lady at the counter and I go do you have any Christmas ornaments? And she goes, yeah, we have a couple right over here. And I found a nice Christmas ornament for Colleen and I for this coming year.

To commemorate. I think I’ve talked about when we decorate our tree, we often have all these wonderful memories of places that we’ve been this will be a memory of, oh yeah, this is where I was dripping with fear, sweat, and having to pee into a cup. Remember how much fun that was for me.

Remember that? But now I got a, and it was a, the ornament has really cute hot peppers, a whole array of different colored hot peppers from New Mexico . So that’s why I souvenir from this. And then I got on the road and drove and drove. Cause I wanted to get out of the weather, ahead of the weather and had further east and slightly north.

And I didn’t even make it to state or Oklahoma. But while I was having nothing to do, I had been like regularly beep poop on my phone. Hey, here’s what I’m seeing. Here’s a couple pictures. It’s really and then I drove for three hours and my brothers cursed me out and people online were like, oh hell, are you okay?

Because we, you dropped off after getting a play by play for like hours. Now we got nothing. Are you like in the ditch? Did you go off the cliff? What happened? And so I had to do all the apologies though. No. Once the opportunity arose, I just drove my pants off until I got to see . That’s good. So but having said that, it without the GPS of it giving me real time like where, how far ahead the gas is and where you might have to take a detour.

And I really was not only pleased by it, I was counting on, if I take that detour and I put in not only on the maps, but gas buddy or something like that, it’ll say Yes, gas is in 17 miles. Okay, I got 27 miles of range left. Don’t lie to me machine and say that I really don’t have that cause I,

Stephen: this is

Alan: so in every other way.

Colleen and I, we started to do our driving vacations. We used to really I got all the maps from AAA and we’d keep them up she was the navor tricks and I’d be driving and we’d follow our progress up to Dakota, over to Denver, down to New Orleans or whatever else it might be.

And we would use the G p s kind of for the last couple miles. Now that we’re off the expressway and we wanna be able to get to our hotel, it’s not always obvious. It’s a little bit tricky, but most of the time if you’re traveling on interstates especially it, you really can’t take a detour because there’s not another good way to go.

Hopping off 40 to go up to 70 would’ve been hours, crazy hours out of my way. And it’s nice to have the combination of those things to, to have the experience with the one and the skill with the other. And GPS has especially, and I, again, sorry, I’m going on and on. The other thing I wonderfully discovered was,

Once I had CarPlay, and once I discovered that the car had Sirius xm, I’ve never had satellite radio before. Sirius XM has eight pump. And then I love I, I love driving, I love doing the sightseeing, but there’s a lot of nothing. There’s a lot of desolation in Arizona, New Mexico, so you could get highway hypnosis or just whatever get bored.

And with constant comedy from dozens of my favorites, all kinds of people I had never heard of, as well as all my favorites. I just, the hour okay, here’s our, how many hours? Another two hours have gone by time for a tink in a drink. I don’t try to push through, I regularly get off every two hours to make sure that I get a little blood flow.

Don’t get don’t invite hip lockup or lymphedema or anything like that. You just relieve yourself. And that way you know that I got gas. Liquids out of me. I’m not going to get in trouble on the road unless I hit a snowfall for three hours. That was . My oops.

Stephen: You mentioned Triple A and the trip tick and all that.

Believe it or not, the first long distance trip I took that I didn’t go to AAA and get a trip tick. I just used the G P s I was like nervous. I felt uncomfortable. It’s wow. I’m just depending on the g p s what if it’s wrong? And it’s it seems crazy now. I was just so used to, oh, we’re going on a trip.

Go get a trip. Take follow the trip, take, and they wonderful devices that AAA still does. But people would say, what do you mean you were worried about the g p s? You use that paper thing, , that it’s how you come

Alan: from No. Absolutely. If you were an early adopter, there were any number of times.

I remember going to the mind games in St. Louis and it putting me on a loop near the airport. My hotel was near the airport instead of at the thing cuz I was trying to save money and okay, it, there’s my hotel. And I passed it once, not knowing that’s where my hotel was and it just routes me back.

So there really were artifacts and mistakes Yeah. In early GPSs that they weren’t anywhere near perfect, especially maybe airports, maybe malls, maybe places where it’s not just the roads, but all those just off the road. But there’s it’s not it’s private property instead of public where they hadn’t fully satellited everything by then.

I’m very happy now that they really seem to be dependable. But having said that, once in a while, Colleen has been in the mountains of Pennsylvania where she has high on Pennsylvania clients and she will get. So why did it get me off the expressway and take me through all these terrible mountain roads when I can see at the client that the next exit from the expressway is like a half a mile that way.

But I would’ve had to go to it and come back. And there were times when the algorithms were never retread, always minimize the distance. And I guess there were some times where you could set the parameters, the preferences that you had, but there were other times that if you didn’t know, if you said, Hey, no tolls, it’s gonna take you like an Oki fki swap to avoid the tools.

Yeah. You know what I mean? So we’ve had various different things, even here in Lakewood. Once in a while it’ll be, it thinks it knows more about traffic than I do, but I’m pretty sure that I got a feel for what’s traffic like at nine or 11 or one or three. And when it tries to guide me into more obscure things, like I don’t want to go on the cobblestone street.

I’m pretty sure if I stay on the regular street, you’re not gonna gain me. Is it worth taking a minute out of my way in order to be like, Wow, this is just not as fun driving, right? There’s two more, there’s more people coming on and off the road right in front of me, not wi, not expecting traffic. And here I am, traffic we like to argue with her.

Stephen: So a, it’s a miraculous. We like to argue when we don’t wanna follow her, cuz it’s no, I’m not turning here and then down that street I get to the same spot going here. I know I do. And she’ll say at the next thing, turn right. No. And we argue and it’s oh, we’re gonna piss her off.

She’s gonna direct us. We’re gonna end up somewhere clear over there.

Alan: we have, as you might imagine, because we use Garmin, we’ve named our devices. So one is Garmin, Electra , and one is Garin Miranda. And once in a while, when they’re giving us what we think our incorrect directions, it was like, yeah, . We don’t have a Miranda in our lives. There’s. Behind that. It’s

Stephen: I like changing the voices. You can do that with Google. And I put like the Australian British voice on there. .

Alan: Exactly. John Cleese actually had a set once when, not Garmen. Yeah. Tom maybe that they made a John Cleese voice available and I was like, man I could do that, but could I do that all the time?

You know what I mean? Do I wanna be snark that all the time? And actually I’m gonna do a quick thing here. Ah, I have a question for you today. Ooh, . This author was also one of the founders of the Society for Creative and Acronyms. The group that does the recreation of the Middle Ages and has the joust.

And I, a friend of mine just talked about how she’s saving up to go to the pens wars this year. And in college I went to the pens, wars and got. Muddy and drank meat and all that kinda stuff. And it, it’s any idea Eric Idle oh, that should that would be good for the singing.

Exactly. This author wrote The Mists of Avalon.

Stephen: I know the book

Alan: And I’m being candy because of course this author re and nobody uses that term Really? She wrote The Myth of Avalon, which is a really cool book about the Taylor Camelot from the perspective of Gwe and Morgan. You know what I mean?

So it’s it’s Mary Zimmer breath. Yes.

Stephen: Mary famous sci-fi writer.

Alan: Oh, exactly. And she’s you’all got the Grand Master Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award and stuff like that. But he was actually, They’re at the creation funds at Orgo for the Society for Creative Anachronism. And I knew it had to start somewhere, but I, and I knew early people when I was in, in 77, had only been around for maybe three, five years or something like that.

So I knew Moon Wolf, I knew early Kings and Queens of the Middle Kingdom and that kind of stuff. But she was really one of the ones that was like we should have festivals and like we should have vintners and brewers cyber guests and make our little, if you look at the script writing credits for the Empire Strikes Back it’s another female sci-fi writer Lee Bracket is Lee Bracket.

Stephen: I love the work. Yeah. My mother went to, was at nursing school with somebody who wa went to school with Lee Bracket. Two steps remove. Okay. And I always thought that was pretty cool.

Alan: Yeah it’s fun. Like again, movie titles, screen credits and so forth are much like the album flipping Over that we just talked about, read about the same guy that worked like Lawrence Kaden worked on I think one of the Star Wars movies, I think Silverado there’s various different people that actually were like, if he didn’t write it, he was the script doctor that was called in to tighten it up. And you can tell people’s work because they have a certain sense of humor or a certain way of dealing with scenes. And so it’s like Larry Gelbart who wrote Mash also worked on all kinds of other stuff, and there’s a little underground river there of no wonder I liked that because it was Gilbar esque, without knowing it at the time there was still perfect Paul Simon Turner phrase or whatever else it

Stephen: might yeah. And casting was involved with Empire too, all right

Alan: There you go. Exactly. That’s, that must have been what, in my mind, spurred me to think of it. Yeah. Is because I knew that there were, it wasn’t only George Lucas, there were other people brought in to, to do it, to work out. So

Stephen: he should have done that a little more at the prequels, but, eh,

Alan: And it’s funny, once in a while it’s the guy that was doing was really good, but now they think that maybe they shouldn’t have him do all of them, so they want new blood. But wow, did you not compare between the works of the new guy and the old guy because the older guy would’ve still done better

Please don’t put people out to pasture when they still got great books in. Real quick

Stephen: before we go, did you see any of the new trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy or Flash?

Alan: Yes. It’s funny. It is so us to say, oh yeah, there was a Super Bowl too. Oh yeah, that’s right. That was a big thing.

So I really. Guardian to the Gala Galaxy looks really great. The one that I was the most intrigued by was, yeah, was the Flash, because Marvel has been making a big thing about the multiverse, spider-Man, Dr. Strange, et cetera, et cetera. But I really go back to when the Justice League First Hat, so first Flash of Two Worlds was the first one to talk about how there really might be both modern heroes and going back to the Silver Age and the Golden Age, the versions of those heroes, and that they’re just separated by a vibratory plane.

They’re in a different dimension or whatever else it might be. And then every year in Justice League, they used to have a two-parter. That was the Justice League meeting, the Justice Society, or the Justice League meeting, the Crime Syndicate, which were the evil versions of the Justice League. And then it was like, okay here’s Earth One and Earth Two.

That’s Earth A. And now it’s now it’s Earth captain Parrot, or whatever else it might be. But the fact that DC really hasn’t. DC hasn’t done what Marvel has done in terms of making everything integrated, but that thing of the latest Flash movie and that his involvement in and in the comic books, it’s flashpoint endpoint, I’m trying to think of how they did the flash averse, if you will.

That is how all those kinds of things changed and that he became responsible for drastic change, like destructive change and so forth. That’s pretty much what’s gonna be seemingly part of the next Flash movie. And so when they had somebody come up and say, I’m Batman, and it wasn’t Christian Affleck, it was Michael.

Yeah. It wasn’t that Affleck, it wasn’t that humor all the way back to Keaton.

Stephen: How cool was that? That was very cool. And and I’m just super, I said a Superman because followed the flashpoint pretty well there, so I was like, wow, this looks really good.

Alan: Yeah, I think a lot of what’s gonna be happening, I know that James Gunn is now the guy that’s doing like the DC universe, maybe multiverse, let’s call it.

And he really, I really like when you find someone who has such a sensibility that should matter. So I’ve worshiped before at the feet of John Favreau, when you watch the Mandalorian in comparison to and other things, he’s been involved in the Star Wars universe. Kathleen Kennedy has been instrumental in getting these movies made, but she’s not the gal that has the deep understanding and the love, and they just, they’re so wooden in comparison to fav rose’s work where it really is.

Wow. This is just, it has the feel, it has the right thing. And I think it might be Jamie Gunn having defected from the Marley universe to come to the DC universe. I hope he works the same magic that if he’s been an overall comic fan, I’d never been only Marvel or dc Yeah. I liked everything and when I read that one of the new movies is gonna be the authority, which I can’t recommend that comic book highly enough.

Warren Ellis, one of my heroes that just, yes, everything he’s worked on, kinda like Alan War, he had a different take on what had gone before. Didn’t throw it out, didn’t start over, but definitely had that. He gets what makes comic books great. He gets the pageantry and the micro interactions between the various different people.

And there really is love and there really are rivalries and there really is evil and that kind of stuff. And if they do the authority right, the world is gonna lose, its over. How cool

Stephen: that world, I really hope that James Gunn turns things around, cuz honestly, for the past 10 to 14 years, DC has been completely floundering and trying to figure out what they’re doing.

So I, I’m really hoping that James Gunn.

Alan: They have some good movies, but it’s nowhere near the body

Stephen: of work. Yeah. So I hope things turn around really cuz I’d like to see some better movies, but they really haven’t been impressing me with overall everything now in individually. like most of the movies, but it’s not the world.

Alan: I hear you. And . It’s kinda funny, I don’t know why this is I saw Fast and Furious acts. Yeah. There’s 10 in the franchise and the latest one was gonna be Ben Diesel and Jason MoMA. And Jason Stadium was like, they really got great action heroes, villains, tension, the ridiculous stunts of the plane, drops the car on the Key West Bridge or whatever’s going on there,

It just, I just, I wanna see what they’re gonna do even though I know that they’re ridiculous. They’re foolish, they’re stupid. And yet I’ve watched all the John Wick, I’ve watched, I’ve, there’s all kinds of things that are just like, for what it is. Yeah, it’s perfect.

It’s just that what it’s is hope it’s meant to be disposable, Like ridiculous. So well in the Furious 10. It’s like they every movie they added one or two new characters, but they don’t get rid of anybody. They just keep ’em all in. So it’s just, except for the rock he was done so he’s not in it.

Stephen: But everybody else, oh, that’s right. You were in one movie and you raced. Yeah, we’ll bring you back which is great, but it’s over the top ridiculous popcorn entertainment, . Don’t try and read anything more into it, .

Alan: And it really is, it’s funny I really do, what I wanna see in the big theater is often the things that have the big right screen and the big sound and stuff.

And that really might be one of those movies. If I’m gonna watch that movie, I want to be over overwhelmed by the noise of the, this tortured scream of metal when things crash.

Stephen: I love that franchise and all those movies in the series. I have fun with them. I’ve watched them, but I’ll be honest, in number nine, when they put a rocket booster onto a car, a Toyota, and they shot it into space.

And they were giving it gas and using the steering wheel to fly around in space. I was like, okay, this is this the most ridiculous I’ve seen. The internet was happy to mean them to God. That

was how ridiculous. Who thought of that? God I could get in behind all the ridiculous car jumps and crap, but the car in face, you give it gas and you use the steering wheel.

No, , that’s just right. I hear

Alan: you. All right.

Stephen: And

Alan: I actually on a last note was it, wasn’t it like, not the, it wasn’t the losers. It was the team. Isn’t that where they dropped the tank out of a plane and it’s I just have to see it. I have to see what it’s to be in a tank and somehow survive.

Falling 10,000 feet and not turning into a puddle at the bottom of the tank. Cause physics, that’s

Stephen: If you drop it in the ocean and then you just drive out, that would work. That’d be better. Cause it’s exactly

Alan: making tank Exactly. All the weight of a tank. It’s got little flippers that can

Stephen: All pieces all.

Alright, I think we covered pieces, some of the previous talk about

Some of the books. We’ll hit those next

Alan: week. Okay. Exactly. Next, next week. It’s, yeah. Orphan X and yeah. Yes. And Joy Giant man Abercrombie. Oh man. If you’re not reading any of his works, if you haven’t read the first law trilogy and now this is the Age of Madness and things that are said in that world.

Yeah. We’ll talk about next time. To tie it into Harry Potter. And one of the JK Rowling’s wonderful things is she’s great at naming things. Yeah, naming characters, naming butterbeer, naming whatever else it might be. Simon Green is another one that I just love how they bring things to life because the names are so evocative and memorable.

And Abercrombie is great about that too. The heroes, the villains the mouth feel of a villain like Gors. You know what I mean? It just is. It’s, they’re great.

Stephen: They’re great. And don’t forget Antman comes out this weekend.

Alan: Oh man. I actually had I’ve seen so many ads leading up to it that I had lost track of which weekend it is.

So I better be there Thursday night, you know what I mean? If that’s one of those things that seven o’clock gets available I’m gonna get tickets

Stephen: now. I gotta go. We’ll probably go Sunday. Cause that’s when it works out for a bunch of us.

Alan: So here we go. Marvel’s next big bad King man. King is in this when King the Conquerors and

Stephen: Loki two is coming out.

So I hope that all ties together. See, it’s .

Alan: All right. I have, we have a good one, man. Talk about there’s so much good stuff coming out. Steven . Alright, take care. Take care.

Stephen: Have fun. Yeah. Happy Valenti. Happy Valentine’s Day call. I said hi, .

Alan: Okay, I’ll do so all.

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