We talk a bit about health, but focus on Parkinsons disease and ehlers-danlos syndrome – issues Alan and Stephen don’t deal with. We touch of issues that affect us more as we get older.
Stephen attended a writers retreat with J. Thorn and got a new series started (spoiler alert: in a couple episodes we talk about it more).
Like a lot of people, A.I. is on our minds and we discuss our use of ChatGPT.
Who is the director of Nightmare on Elm Street?
Stephen: good morning, Alan. Good
Alan: morning. Sorry, I know you it took me a while just to get out of all the other stuff that I had looking, that I was looking at this morning and get to where I could give this my full
Stephen: attention. All right, good.
Alan: Okay, so what’s our background here? That looks like
Stephen: it is Galaxy’s Edge from, it’s a concept drawing, I believe.
Okay. Down in Disney.
Alan: See below, right there. I think this is the actual Machu Picchu, but close enough that I can see where people get their inspiration from, so yeah. Okay,
Alan: So it works. Clean up my shirt. There we go.
Stephen: Empty. Oh my. I’m arguing. I’m just explaining why I’m right.
Alan: Why I’m Right.
Exactly. I think I need to get that as a tattoo, not as a shirt, because it might be a permanent thing for me. Exactly.
Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. So I always used to wear it just to pick on the rest of my family. There you go. And they were very much So there goes Steven again, I’m just telling you,
Alan: yeah. There he goes with those facts and knowledge again, how rude of him Yeah. To actually know what he’s talking about.
Stephen: That’s, yeah. Some people really don’t like that, but whatever. Hey, I got a trivia before we get talking about everything else. Yes. This should be an easy one for a Jeopardy champion.
Okay. Here’s hoping, who was the director of Nightmare before Christmas? Tim Burton, right? Nope. He was the producer.
Alan: Wow. I so much associate that with him. Yeah.
Stephen: So it was a man named Henry Sellick.
Alan: Wow. Has he done anything else that I recognized from the stop action
Stephen: world and stuff like that? It’s I’m not sure.
I didn’t look it all up. I heard it on something on I think 1 0 5 0.7 over the weekend. They do five random facts. Got it. Okay. I heard it and had to look it up and it, he was Burton was just the director. The producer. The
Alan: producer, yeah. So it was cause always, almost always, when you see it listed, it often says Tim Burton’s nightmare before Christmas.
And so that’s often not the producer or the owner, if you will. It’s the director. So that’s kind. Why,
Stephen: why, yeah. Henry Saltlake also did James in the Giant Peach, another Stop Motion anime. Poor Line. Another Tim Burton. Stop motion. Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman.
Alan: I to, that was Neil Gaiman even more than Burton because it’s, his work.
Stephen: And then the new Netflix film, Wendell and Wild.
Alan: Don’t know those. Okay. No. But yeah, Wendell might be one of those, like a kid gone wrong, kinda he’s evil, but you don’t want to admit it a thing. I’m not sure about that. I, that’s the, that’s what I associate in my head with. It could be that it’s like a, an afterschool movie and it’s all about wonderful Wendell, so sorry if I’ve defamed you, Wendell,
Stephen: but you take it in context.
But the other stuff he’s directed and that’s the first Yeah, I agreed. Same thing ins right? My head so’s. Yeah, that’s,
Alan: It’s again, not to get immediately sidetracked, but it’s kinda cool that horror movies and horror directors and so forth are not now immediately relegated only to horror.
Just like it used to happen for sci science fiction or for porn for that matter. Then now you since Sam Ramey came over and did Spider-Man, it’s I guess there really is some craft, some smarts that goes with being a good director no matter the genre. And now like we just talked about this, the guy who did midsummer and that you just saw yeah, Gary Aster.
There we go. Exactly. Didn’t he just do one with j Joran Phoenix that you
Stephen: liked? Yes. Bo is afraid.
Alan: Bo is afraid. Exactly That. Yeah. And still unsettling because it’s about mental illness and so forth. But it’s not meant to be a horror movie, a shocker like that. It’s more meant to be, this is reality.
This is how you have to learn to deal with people that are differently abled. You know what I mean? Yeah. That are that or differently. That’s funny. It’s unfashionable to talk about disabled nowadays, but I just watched still with Michael J. Fox and, oh, I wanna say that amazing guy and he’s everybody wants to say, how courageous, how brave, but very much how he presents it is, this is just my life.
This is how it happens. You know what? It’s not brave to just say, I’m gonna keep on living. I’m gonna do the best with what hand I’ve been dealt. It’s a very unfortunate hand because he was energetic and agile and so forth. And then to get Parkinson’s, which really robs that. It robs your muscular coordination and your ability to be still.
And, but he’s, the way he is courageous is that he just talks about it, he still has an incredible sense of humor about it. I could see, I know people that are very much, wow I’m just down in the dumps over, I got a diagnosis, my life is over, et cetera, et cetera. And it really is not easy to deal with this kind of stuff.
And yet they show, sessions with his his therapy guide that’s like teaching him how to walk, where he won’t injure himself. Part of what happens is it’s not a constant thing. It comes on you and all of a sudden your muscle locks up and then if you’re in the middle of a step, you can easily catch a toe on something, go down and you don’t.
You’re not coordinated enough now to catch yourself. So he talks about, yeah I broke a whole bunch of bones in my face and that kind of stuff. When you fall hard, and yet, whatever that spark that determination of, make as good a life as you can. Be good to your wife, appreciate your wife who’s been in sickness and in health with you through all of this stuff.
Absolutely. It’s a very heartening movie. What’s her name? Tracy. So if you get a chance to
Stephen: see it, Tracy Pointer. P Paul P
Alan: something. Yeah. It was who? On family Ties. Yeah. Who he first co acted with and they fell for each other. And so they, he’s, I think that he got it when he was in his late twenties and it wasn’t, they got married before it started to evidence itself, but she’s been around for, not only the first time that the Pinky wouldn’t
Stephen: ob obey him on one of, one of the movies.
Alan: Exactly. All the degenerative stuff. And he talked about, the movies he made and how he hit it and going through spins and I’m not, it’s funny. It’s not a matter of spoilers, it really is. A lot of this is, I. The record of how he was able to, because he’s willful and an actor and so forth, do things like if you’re having a problem with your left hand, then make sure that when you’re in scenes, always have something in your left hand, like clutching a briefcase or, holding onto a newspaper or something that’s with your character, but, don’t have a coffee mug where it shaking would be quite apparent.
And he, for I think seven or nine years, Hollywood did not know that he was re progressing through this difficult disease. And when he finally came out, it was a surprise to everybody, including me. But he had made, big TV theories and stuff like that. I don’t know, man, it it’s sobering, because one of the things of course you get is there, but for the grace of God, go, I, I’m trying not to be complaining about, oh no, my sitis, but I don’t know Russ bk one of my friends in Mensa Got it. And it. Absolutely took his life off track. You know what I mean? He got it so severely that he often had to check into the hospital, and it’s one of those degenerative diseases.
It doesn’t just affect your muscle control for, Hey, I can’t hold a pen anymore. You don’t breathe anymore correctly. Your heart doesn’t do things correctly. It really affects all kinds of skeletal, muscular, and nervous system type things, and I just, it must be so weird to have been a capable person, and then I can’t feed myself.
I can’t, yeah. Oh boy. Oh boy.
Stephen: And I feel pretty lucky. I’ve been healthy, oh, yes. I am displaying some health issues that are mostly genetic, inherited from my father, which, I was basically told long ago that was gonna happen. The best I could do is stave it off and limit the impact it would have.
Exactly. But still, even now, I was with some family and I pulled up my laptop, I set it on a little coffee table. I didn’t bend over. I just sat down on the floor on my, folded my knees on your me and sat on the floor. And they’re like, how the hell can you do that? Are you gonna be able to get up?
I’m like, yeah. Why? I couldn’t ever do that. And they’re like 15 years younger than me. And when I had all my step kids, we were at camping once. Yeah. And we did the stupid, all right, last one, back to camp has to wash dishes type thing, so everybody took off. Who won out of eight?
Eight kids at the time. The 50 year old beat them all back to camp. And in fact, the last little bit I turned around and was running backwards. I’m like, what the heck are you wrong with you people? Exactly. You letting the old guy beat you. And this actually I’ve always loved Michael J. Fox and I’ve kept up with the Parkinson’s and, been like, thank God I haven’t gotten that, I don’t wish it upon anybody.
But that said, my daughter just got diagnosed with ler Dan Lost disease syndrome, something like it, it is new to me. I’m still trying to figure it out. Colin’s going to go get tested for the same thing. And I, so we’ve been trying to find out more about it. It’s not I don’t know all the ramifications and stuff yet, but what it is, it’s a bone and joint problem.
And the symptoms we were looking at Colin’s oh yeah, that’s I’ve had that, I’ve had that, but sore, achy bones, joints and it progresses to the point where it could be degenerative and stuff. And so we’re looking at it because it’s genetic, so it’s nothing they ate, nothing. They did, nothing.
Alan: theirs. Exactly. Conflicted in
Stephen: any way. Exactly. Yeah. They now, if they had been eating, living on a desert island, eating just coconuts and fruit and running five miles around the island every single day, it might not have been displayed until a little later, but. They were still, even when younger, we see now looking back that they were displaying issues with it.
So we’re trying to find out more about that. It’s not gonna stop their life, I’m concerned that how it is going to affect them and what we can do to help out as much as possible.
Alan: It, what I always hope for is that, even like you said, it might be a condition that they can’t get rid of, but they can, I had a friend that had MS and she had good and bad days, but she could make the bad days less bad and stave them off in terms of the time and duration by eating healthier, doing certain exercises.
You know what I mean? It’s it, there’s always ways that you can incrementally affect it and honestly that’s how it is for every lifestyle disease. It isn’t even that you have a condition that you have to get better about. If we stopped eating the classic western diet of Yeah.
French fries and. Crap. We wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. We wouldn’t have so many things that are self-inflicted, smoking, drinking things that are really like poisonous and evil. So whenever you read books about the blue zones around the world, it sure seems that, wow. Very elemental things that you were just saying.
Eat healthy, stay active. You know what I mean? Have friends, be in a community. That kind of stuff is so basic. And yet, how many people either disregarded or discarded entirely because live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse. They’ve got other addictions. Some people that taste of alcohol is just wonderful.
I thank God that I’m not one of them, cuz my taste tends to diet Dr. Pepper. You know what I mean? But it, I don’t know there that all of those things about it doesn’t really take miraculous. Here’s the pill that’s gonna cure all your ills. It’s more man, just don’t go to McDonald’s every day.
Don’t, there’s certain things you can do that I can do that are helping my conditions. And every time that Colleen and I get to the top of a mountain and we’ve been doing it, it’s like 40, 50, 60. It feels really good to be, huh? Still got it. I was able to get to the top of chimney tops, and it might be that I’m slowing down a little bit and that the next day I have a little bit of, Ooh, I really like that hot tub.
That kind of eased the aches, but we’re not incapable yet and we don’t intend to get that way. And it, other people don’t seem to have that as a desire. They don’t really care about ever hiking, they’re, they care about being able to be, to go up and downstairs in their house or whatever else it might be.
But somehow that’s really important to me that I. Can be on my feet for an unlimited amount of time, and not just the act of walking erect such a human being thing that, that hurts me. I just, I can’t face it. I can’t do that to myself. So
Stephen: The thing I see, and I know this is preachy. I get it.
And I can’t say that I’ve lived super healthy life, with everything. I do better than a lot. I try to, and sometimes I just want a bowl of ice cream, but that’s a right known choice. But I, the people that bother me are the ones that say I am trying, I’m eating healthy. What do you mean you’re eating healthy?
We had this prepared meal. I’m like, yeah. You know how much sodium is in there and how many calories that is. Yeah, but it’s healthy. People think healthy is just something that’s not junk food, and that’s not always true. Boy, is
Alan: that a way to put it? You know what I mean? Or you start off with healthy, Hey, I love broccoli, and then you lather it with cheese sauce, right?
It’s you know that it’s not, broccoli isn’t magic, it’s not the antidote to all the cream that you’re putting on it and stuff like that,
Stephen: And it’s oh, I would exercise, but I just can’t. I just, I it hurts too much. Yeah, that’s because you haven’t been exercising, just and we, as Americans, the whole thing I’ll just get a pill. And I’ve, I know I talked to somebody about this, that I had lost a couple pounds and I was working out a little bit and looking at the healthier, I’m like, wow you’ve lost some weight? And I’m like, yeah. What’d you do?
Oh the doctor has these new pills that you just take ’em within a week. You’ve lost 20 pounds. Oh my God. What’s it called? And they’re like, I’m like, why would you believe that? Why do you believe that? But not the, what the real thing is? Diet and exercise. Exactly. I said, yeah, I, I track when I’m eating better stuff and I’ve been exercising, walking jogging other exercises every day, and I lost the weight.
Oh. And they like, didn’t wanna pay attention that it’s like, why is that our thinking? Yes. And let me tell you, okay, I’m go, I’m going to preach a little bit more so people can say, no, you can’t do it. That’s too difficult. It’s just, and that’s a complete lie. I spent the weekend, and we can talk about that too later, but I spent the weekend with an author friend Jay Thorne, and this man in the last five, six years he had led a frat boy kind of life.
A lot of drinking. He was in a band, he was a little overweight, not obese, but a little bit more than he should or whatever. And he developed gout. And he went to the doctor and they said, oh yeah, we can take care of this. We’ll give you this medicine. And Jay’s great, how long do I have to take that?
Oh, for the rest of your life? He’s what? They’re like, oh yeah, the symptoms don’t go away. You still have it. And he’s yeah, I don’t like that. So he changed his life completely. He eats healthier than anybody I know. He eats healthier than almost any doctor I know. Wow. He really cut out the bad stuff.
Eats the good stuff. He cut down the amount he eats. He gave up the sugar, the carbs and he runs and he exercises and he is six foot six two and he must weigh 150 pounds. And the G symptoms are completely gone. And he takes no medicine.
Alan: I’ll tell you that it’s the testimonials are there, there really are people that have done that same kind of Columbus wow, that’s such a drastic alteration.
It’s that time I used to spend like eating too much and playing video games and sitting on the couch watching tv. If you transform that time into the right choices and the right activities, I’m hardly a poster child for it, but I want to be, whenever Colleen and I go for our walks and stuff like that, and we, you need that reinforcement of this really feels good.
The air smells clean out here. I need an air bath and this wonderful forest I need to not be sitting on my butt. There’s proof further and further that a sedentary lifestyle is as bad as any number of other, like smoking really evil things. Yeah. And it’s yo, some people, I don’t know how this is.
And there’s a bracketology system in people’s heads where they want a yes or no. If there it’s often, there’s a term for it, right? The That they don’t get percentages and increments and everything else they wanna make, I’m all in or I’m not. I’m like, maybe it’s called like bipolar thinking, but it’s not exactly that.
But like reasoning always has to be yes, no wrong, true, false. Instead of being if you want to hedge your best, do the thing that’s got a 70% chance of being correct instead of a 30%, and they think automatically that’s too much work. How do you figure that out? It’s because that math that you were determined not to learn.
You can learn enough to be able to say, out of 10 things, what’s is it seven or is it three? You don’t have to be like, Mr. I can now do the calculations and all of a sudden I have to do calculus. It’s just so easy to be. In every way. Hedge your bets in every way, make a slightly better choice. And that incremental advance advances, it has incredible power over the course of time.
But instead, people want the pill, they want the silver bullet. There’s all kind of folk wisdom that I just want the one thing that’ll make it all better. And it’s unfortunately there isn’t one thing that life is not like that. Life is messy. Life is complex and has a hundred things going on all the time.
You don’t even have to be excellent. You just have to carve away the 10 worst things you’re doing and you’ll see improvement
Stephen: And it’s not even, it’s not easy. It’s a massive overnight change. And that’s our way of thinking quite often. I’ve been, oh, January, oh wait, January 1st resolutions and I’m gonna do it this year.
I’m gonna quit smoking, I’m gonna lose weight, I’m gonna eat better, I’m gonna exercise. And for that first three days of January, man, you’re eating salads, you’re getting to the gym. And then, oh, now I don’t feel like getting up now. It’s too hard. Pretty soon it’s March and Yeah, maybe I’ll do that again.
And then I guess I better wait till next January for resolutions, just, walk. For five minutes. You don’t have to walk for five miles or run for five miles on this day. Just five minutes and you’re done. Move on. Exactly. If you’re going to the mall or a
Alan: restaurant, park three lanes away and walk to it instead of cruising around trying to find the closest possible parking
You know what I mean? Basic stuff like that. Kids. That’s right. I would make them walk up the steps, three or four flights instead of the elevator, and they just hated that. Jason, I’ll tell you, he thought that was absolute torture. Why are you making us walk the steps? The elevators right there. I’m like, you know it.
It’s someday you’ll say. Wow. Maybe I should have done that. Yeah, I’ll tell
Alan: you. As always, to bring it back to geeky, there’s all kinds of people that that geeks are often, if you will, stereotypically, if they spend all their time on the computer, if they spend all their time reading they also know how to do a spreadsheet.
And any number of people, websites all based on this. They’re like, I made a spreadsheet of, I was tracking what I was eating, calories in, calories out. I was tracking my activity. And so I know To, to the 0.1, what my calories in and what my calories expended are, and then I could see that turns into weight loss.
And once you see that little chart going down, you’re like, I like that pattern. I like that chart. Let’s keep that going. And you can actually see where you’re plateauing and you’re like how long is this plateau gonna last that for whatever reason, my body is now fighting it. Body goes into survival mode if you lose weight too quickly sometimes.
And so it, it just, looking at data there, there was a whole, now it’s dated maybe 20, 15 years ago, there was a whole big movement about everybody collecting as much personal data about themselves as they could cuz it led to lifestyle improvement. When you saw. How am I saving my money? How am I watching my calories?
You know what I mean? What are the good things that I’m doing? And they to very much geek it up to gamify things, there’s, I don’t know about, in particular, there’s a number of different now, kinda like app-based weight loss things, right? Some of them are helping your mind get right, to be able to think of the choices that you’re making in some others really are just, Hey we’re gonna give you a gold star if you able are able to make it.
You know that you don’t eat, that you’re gonna eat within 12 hours, from seven to seven every day, and you get points for doing the right thing and you and they just make it into a game where it’s amazing from little kids on up getting things put onto the refrigerator because they, they ate every day and they brushed their teeth and they took a bath and whatever else it might be.
People respond to that even if you’re a crusty old adult, that you just see how it’s helping you see the pattern and like you get a little gold star. Yeah. So I don’t always use that enough on myself for as much as every time I play civilization, I’m aware of. That’s why you build your infrastructure because you improve your land and you make it so you have roads and you can get resources to where you need them.
And overall it might not be that every single battle with every single other opponent that you win, but in the overall, it’s a crushingly good way to, you’re going to win, you’re going to win. In the end, it’s just a question of are you gonna win in 1700 versus 1750 versus 1800, if you know what I’m trying to say.
Then it’s based on what the terrain is or what resources you find earlier or something like that. And again, tell me that isn’t life. You know what I mean? To the best you can where you are with what you got. You know what I mean? Make yourself as happy as you can while doing it. And the gamifying of.
Dungeon crawls. I’m continually upping my equipment, I’m upping my stats, I’m becoming a stronger, faster, smarter, et cetera, et cetera. And that’s a great feeling to be able to say, I, it all these experiences really did good by me. They added to my capabilities. Now I, if I would’ve faced that dragon, at level one, I would’ve been crushed like the pu that I was.
And instead now I’m a level hundred Strat guy with plus five everything. And I’m dating myself with old d and d terms nowadays, it’s so much more complex now it has, do I have the legendary armor or do I have the immortal armor, et cetera, et cetera. So I think that’s if you were to start, let me see how to say this.
I’m in this place of, I want to do things for me and for my friends and kinda put a lot of the crappy world aside. I don’t want to go to the bars. I don’t want to go to the wrong. Situations. And some part of that is not only not going to those, but creating those better situations for yourself and your friends.
So if I was to like side quests here, a cool gaming place, and you’ve talked about the Green Dragon is closed, it couldn’t make it through Covid, but one of the things that would’ve been cool is, not on Friday and Saturday when it’s hot and heavy with the gaming, but how about Tuesday night be, hey geeks, let’s lose some weight together.
Let’s put 50 bucks in a pot and after eight weeks, 12 weeks, so there’s a little skin in the game and here’s how we’re all gonna do it. And everybody gets your spreadsheets out. Everybody’s got a phone or a laptop and some of that. I know I’m jumping around, but it really all has the same thread.
Colleen and I did cool salon called Penny University for five years in Mensa, where we discussed the big issues of the day from every aspect that we could think of. I put a whole bunch of different questions that I had thought of in a bowl and we’d pull ’em out randomly, and then the group would have a nice discussion.
And a lot of it was not only discussing the issue, it was how to discuss it, what do you know and how do you know it? Like how do you get to facts? How do you get to more than opinion, to alerted opinion and stuff like that. And after we had done just the good discussion groups, which sometimes were very useful, something about it was also what’s spur us to action here now?
We should do like nickel workshops. Now we should do, shouldn’t everybody know how to. Change a tire fix a leaky faucet de fragment their drives back when that mattered. You know what I mean? We, I had all kinds of ideas as to, there’s all kinds of people that they don’t know how to do it, and they’re embarrassed that they don’t know by age 40.
So they never learn. And it really would be worth saying something as basic as, so how do you pick, watch which cleaning products you use? You know what I mean? We know that like bleacher pneumonia and so forth. But if everything is hype, how do you get to cutting through the idiocy of it and say, this is the one that really is best against grease or, and for personal hair care products, like
Stephen: to me, I always have problems with
Alan: that. Exactly. Let’s see, for the printing and printing that I do every day for this magnificent of mine, I wanna make sure I have the good stuff. But I think that in fact, Now, nowadays, as we both speak often, almost follows at the end of my talks.
It’s not I used to be. So what have we learned? And that was my big close, if you will. Let’s do a summary. And nowadays it’s and so now that I’ve learned this, what am I gonna do with this? And it’s a call to action. It’s a how do I take this and make my life better? Make the world better, be a happier person, whatever else it might be.
It’s It’s actionable, you know what I mean? And so that what makes things actionable is data. So much of what we wanna do as geeks is really no, really, not just have a feel for it. I’m feeling a little bit better, but it’s I was 180 pounds and now I’m 170, or I really can walk faster than I used to.
I can lift more. There’s classic ways of knowing. Are you a more capable human being? If I’ve been getting glasses every year and my vision was worsening and then I did things that are supposed to be better for your vision, and then I go the next time for an eye exam, it’s Nope, same prescription.
Isn’t that kind of a triumph? You know what I mean? Maybe it didn’t necessarily make it better, but to arrest a downward decline is really a good thing if you were worried about it. Yeah. You know what I mean? Anyway, I, it if. I don’t have a family to do this with and experiment with. It’s just Colleen and I.
But we’re both game for what are the things that each of us wants to do, for eating healthier, for taking more walks, that kind of stuff, for getting our teeth better. You know what I mean? I, Colleen has never had a cavity and it really matters to her that she never had a cavity. Now you’ve made it this far.
If she was to go in and the doctor would say, Hey, what’s this here? It would be a traumatic event for her. You know what I mean? Whereas I got wow a sea of silver in there. I got the amalgam mouth. So now it’s like just. Maintaining what you have and having it not deteriorate it, it’s not only always improvement, it’s just like, how long can I go?
I’m 63. I don’t wanna be Mr. Gums when I’m 83. I wanna like still be eating corn on the club. You know what I mean? I wanna be able to do that crisp apple that it tastes so good when you bite it off. I want to be able to do
Stephen: that. I don’t wanna Without your teeth going with the apple.
Alan: With the apple. Like a cartoon.
Exactly. Okay. Okay. I know we digress a little bit, but Not really. That’s all prime geekary stuff. There really are all kinds of, I love reading the good books where the doctor talks about, Here’s how we know this is true because the studies say it is, et cetera, et cetera. When you read a book that just purports to be about health, but it’s all anecdotal and kind of woowoo, it really, I don’t know, this probably sold a hundred thousand copies and now every time I talk about this, people are gonna say, but Dr.
Oz says this. It’s unfortunately, he’s got that doctor in front of his name, but man, some of the stuff he’s put out there is not the best for you. Really the up your game in terms of being able to distinguish between woo and reality
Stephen: And a lot of our peers that would listen to something.
Geeky, nerdy type related. Yeah. Lead very usually lead very sedentary lives and end up having health problems. And, a lot of it, as we’ve been finding, a lot of it could be avoided. When I get a good bit of exercising and check my glucose numbers they’re usually lower just from the fact of exercising.
Nothing else. Okay. And I’ve determined that by checking after I eat in the morning with and without exercise and later in the day in comparing numbers, it’s all the data.
Alan: Absolutely. And yes, to be able to compare like apples to apples that you, it’s not just, there’s not one number that describes it, but you can see the sit situation, the circumstance that surrounds it and be able to see, yes, everything else being equal.
Cedars, paribus, this really had an impact and so I should do more of this good thing. Yeah. I can fix that into every other situation and it will be an incrementally better thing in fact, this is a sad thing to say because nowaday, I, so I’m some people really fight for fat acceptance, and I get that there really are people that they have an incredibly difficult time of it.
And I, I want appearance to not matter. I don’t fat shame anybody. I don’t wanna be fat shamed myself because I’m a big guy. But what I do know is that it’s not only a matter of appearance, it’s a matter of capability, a matter of health, and that I so much wish for the people that. Have resigned themselves to, it has to be this way, only this way that it really, you can still make incremental improvement if you’d like.
It might not be comfortable, like you were saying, oh my God, the stairs hurt. Why are we doing this? Every time you do the stairs, it’ll get easier. It’ll get better. And within, you’ll look back on yourself, your future self, if they talk to your present self, would say, see, we weren’t lying to you. We were trying to do the best thing for you.
Aren’t you happy now? Aren’t you happy that you’re incrementally better? That’s what I always hope for, is that people don’t think of it as oh my God, that was so hard. It’s more but I earned that. Now I can, if I’m late for the bus, I can run after the bus and catch it instead of there goes with 20 minutes.
I just, there, you know that I’m incapable. You know what I mean? And oh I, so just that police people, a lot of us, a lot of us are, Fat acceptance to me is not about appearance, it’s about capability. And I don’t know, I, when we, when me and my friends move our goods, our houses and stuff like that, don’t you wanna be the ones that’s I can grab that into the couch and handle it instead of I’m I incapable that I’m, I feel bad about myself if I can’t help.
Agreed. If I agreed, if I can’t pitch in as necessary, if there’s a bucket brigade and someone’s house is burning down and you’re huffing and puffing after the first five minutes and the house isn’t out yet, man up your game. You have to be for the community and for yourself, your own self worth, right?
You have to be. Okay. You have to be capable.
Stephen: Oh, oh, all right. So
Alan: we went to a writing workshop over the weekend. Did you get cool things out of it? Yes. Was talking I need to. I’m Hi. Sorry.
Stephen: It’s good. Yeah, it was a really good, it was a retreat, so there were four of us.
And it was mostly to focus on, Just writing. It wasn’t workshops, it wasn’t talks, but there were four of us. So we hung out at the same places. We’d go to lunch together and, talk a little bit. And some really great writer friends of mine that I used to be in a mastermind group with.
Okay. And the four of us got together and Jay Thorn, who I mentioned a minute ago he kinda ran it. And he’s a big inspiration because of everything he does, not just with writing, but helping writers and things. So it was a good time. We went to a couple really cool places to get atmosphere.
We went to the museum of Art, so we could sit amongst the creative artwork and get inspiration and get inspired. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And we were very free. It was like, okay I, my brain’s mush. I need a break in nice area. You’re walking around. So yeah, it was a really good weekend.
I took the time to outline so the series I’ve been working on the Town Magician with Magic and all that. I’m on book two. I’m just a little over halfway done. It’s coming along really well. I’m enjoying the book. I think it’s gonna be good. Okay. But I took this weekend to say, you know what?
There’s this other series that’s just been pounding me and that I just really wanna get out. I’ve got a short story, but that needs expanded. And I’d like to maybe start on that. So I said I’m gonna spend the weekend on that. I wrote a complete outline, went through and made sure it had all the points I wanted, start writing.
And I got well over 5,000 words for the weekend, which in a normal day, like this morning, I. I got 600 words, so
Alan: fantastic. So hyper productivity and very satisfying to those things that have been percolating to actually get ’em out on paper and capture things before they get muddled or before they go away entirely or something.
Stephen: So it was a great weekend. We had a great time. Some good people, a few misadventures. Like a lady backed into me in the parking lot. Luckily, not really any damage, A little scratch, but not a huge deal, some messed up rooms with the hotel and that, but, I was like, eh, if these are my biggest problems for the week, I’ve had a good week.
Alan: fact that part, some part of Gathering the focus to do the retreat, despite those little things that can derail you, that’s a very good thing to will it to be, that’s not the most important thing going on. This is, and I’m
Stephen: gonna work on this yeah. Yeah. Okay. And then do you guys trade each other’s
Alan: works back and forth?
Do you read and critique or is it step away from that where you’re talking about the doing of it? Yeah,
Stephen: It’s kinda a step away from that. It was more just doing, if someone had problems and we had a question, we’d read and help each other and give feedback, but it wasn’t so much a critique session which arguably I’ve found those not as helpful as some people think.
So it was mainly just writing. And we did have a good session, all of us sitting around. Jay. Who used to be really against all the AI and all the stuff going on with Bitcoin and all that has totally done a flip flop. So he’s been using chat g p t as a co-author and writing a whole book with chat g p t as the co-author, as an experiment.
Totally open. This is what I’m doing. And here’s the thing. This is, we’ve been involved with computers. Our whole lives. We, in the sector knowing, doing projects, whatever, programming. So I have gotten to the point where I realize now I’m pretty good at writing a good search string for Google to get what I want and get the best ones at the top, how I structure it and all of that gotten pretty good at all the little things you can do.
I realized that I was approaching chat g p t in a very similar thinking, similar way, but
Alan: keywords and
Stephen: okay. Yeah, exactly. Yes. Okay. But it is not, it can totally be different because it can actually get some inference of what you’re saying. And Jay was showing us what he, his prompts have been, and I was almost like blown away.
I’m like, Those are just way beyond what I would do. He was talking about, he was talking to the AI saying, okay, I want you to be my co-author to help write this book. And he said I’d like the tone to be something that reminds you of Nine Inch Nails. And then he said, do you understand what I mean by tone and who Nine Inch Nails is?
And Chad g PT said, yes, tone would be this of the story. And then you went like this. So if you’re choosing Nine Inch Nails, you want it to be dark and aggressive. And it said, here’s the qualities that people like in Nine Inch Nails music, and we can, and I’m like, holy crap. It, wow. It was like sitting with somebody and talking and working it out and totally changed even my viewpoint and thinking on how to use chat G p T for authors, but for work, for anything,
Alan: interesting. That’s, I have. The kinds of things I’ve done with it. I don’t, I don’t want to talk about, I’ve tried because I knew a lot about AI going in. I’m trying to see does it do. Like I would have or is it different? And what what are its limitations, if you will. And I’m as if I’m the guy that could really put it through its paces.
But that’s what matters to me is how do I integrate this with what I already know about AI and the things that I’ve done. Or is it that I need to toss aside what I had done as old school and that this really is a new school very much from my playing with it? Working with it, I got the impression. Do you know about Mathematica probably, right?
Stephen Wolff’s? Yeah. Oh yeah. Math program. And he long ago had what he called his inference engine, that it was, it’s a very similar thing to what we’re seeing now, feted, all the world’s knowledge. And you could ask it in freeform pretty much any question and it would give you 80%, 90% of the time, a pretty good answer.
What’s the capital of of Iowa Des Moines? And it has to know enough to know that, Iowa’s a state and et cetera. And it, and some of the questions you can ask it, were beyond just. Look it up in, in a fact-based way. It had already had some of these attributes and so as I’ve been seeing Chad, G B T and various other forms of this coming out, I’m surprised that we haven’t seen from Wolfrem and others them talking about how their stuff did similar things, but 20 years ago or that it’s, here’s what it’s doing that mine couldn’t and how did they make those breakthroughs because they fed it more information.
Here’s how I tried to avoid systemic bias, which is a lot of what still seems to come out. You can really set things up so that it will give you like, just that. If you said, I want the tone to be that of corporate America and it starts spitting out like Nazi sounding stuff, what data did it feed it with, right?
That it really thinks that the business of America is business and that the business of America is like subjugation and white supremacy. How the fuck could we think that’s a good thing, that the tool would actually work that way? So I, it’s interesting that authors using it, that they really get a chance to do that.
And if anything, like you guys did with you, go to an art museum to get inspired. Art is not writing, if you will, but there’s wonderful, interesting cross connections in your brain for how did the painters see the world and how did they portray it? And that does make little B, things going on in your brain that you’re inspired or you listen to music.
I listen to music all the time when I write. I tend to listen to instrumental music cause I don’t like to put words in my head. But why is it that listening to Oz, Rick tentacles or cool rave type music really gets my creative juices flow? I’m just typing away and I’m filling the page and it’s so easy.
And, but then you get to a point, like I often talk about with flow, where you’re like, Okay. I’m done. You know what I mean? Even if the music is still playing, you can tell where you get to, I think I’m empty now. Whatever interaction was going on there, it isn’t now. It’s gonna be not as effective, everything has its limitations. So I’m, that’s a very interesting experiment that he’s doing and already there. That’s funny. People are, I know that there’s lots of things that are just broad stroke. Hey, we need to put some controls, some guardrails on ai, because otherwise they, it’s gonna take over the world.
Like they thought about with nanotechnology, we’re all gonna turn to gray. Goo there’s authorizers. That’s always about that. But there really is something to be said for Playing with it, understanding what it does and what it doesn’t do. And anything else, do course correction.
Incrementally you’re finding out, wow, that’s an unexpected result. I don’t want it, if I’m telling you to write a romance story and it turns out to be that it’s more like an s and m thing course. What in popular literature is so prevalent, so strong that’s what it thinks romance is, right?
So you have to be not only aware of how the tool works, but you get to look society in the face. And say, what are we putting out there that it’s so available? But that’s really what this tool thinks is, sweet Savage, love Bodhi Ripper type romance. Did they always have like pseudo rape scenes?
That’s not reassuring at all. No.
Stephen: Wow. And there’s a big. Big controversy in the author communities with people like, oh, I’d never use any of that. And it’s okay, first of all, if you’ve ever done a search, if you’ve done things on your, you’re already using AI in some fashion, I almost guarantee it.
Alan: You’re flipping it through, you still, you’re not letting it do the work for you, if you will.
Stephen: But okay, but I, and then they’re like we might as well all stop because people will be able to make a thousand books a month or a year with AI and blah. And no, it’s not that way.
There’s a lot of work for him to sculpt it and craft it and get the prompts the way he wants. I likened it to back in the day you had music and it was just, People playing. And then they came out with DJs, with scratch records and stuff, and it didn’t get rid of the guitar players.
And now they’ve got the people that play music with the loops and samples and the synthesizer. None of that got rid of music. It just made a different way to make music. And the same with painting. People used to paint and draw and then you got the computers with the graphic artists.
So nobody draws an ad for the newspaper anymore. Now they’re using computers, and even animation Bugs Bunny was on cells, but now it’s Pixar uses giant computers.
Alan: It’s funny, as our discussions often like. Curl back around on themselves.
The thing that I was saying about bilateral thinking that there’s always one or the other that we all have to confront that’s just not the case. What you were just saying about if an artist makes use of the computer to draw something in the style of my own style. How is that, not just as if you had hired, we, there’s any number of favorite paintings that had the Hudson Bay School.
The Rembrandt school. I’m trying to think of which ones I can name like that. They had a apprentices and that they did the main figure work, but then everything in the background of, and I don’t know for sure the blue Boy by Gainesboro that he did, what would guarantee that people identified it as a gainsborough, but then he left someone else.
Kinda like comic book people. They have all kinds of backgrounders and finishers, right? He says, because they draw the foreground figures and the actual heroic poses and stuff. So we’ve already got a system that says it’s not only an individual arts work, there’s already a collaborative thing going on.
And in this case, instead of having a a lesser artist, a fluky do it, the computer is a skilled enough fluky that you can say, Hey, finish this off and clean it up for me. And whether it’s. Art or music or literature or poetry or whatever else it might be. It’ll be interesting when we, or not it will be, it already is interesting.
When I read, it’s like computer generated poetry and it really is either, it really is elusive and it knows that it’s making things, the words are not quite correct, but it ca captures an image in your mind or that it’s just totally wrong and it’s your brain that is still finding those connections that make it, oh, what a beautiful piece of poetry.
So indirect, so representational instead of straightforward. So I think that we don’t have to worry about it in terms of, it’s not gonna take over, but I think that we like, just like they’ve talked about security, there’s no way that we’ll ever have good security again. That cat’s already out of the bag, right?
By 20 years. And people that keep talking about trying to have perfect security, they’re like fooling themselves. And again to link back so much of when I developed gambit, my, my genetic algorithm based trading systems was explaining to them what it was doing and that it wasn’t an algorithm that was looking at patterns and looking into the future with those patterns and figuring out that it was a colony of trading creatures that all had their individual survival needs.
And that of a raptor is different than that of a, a slow moving herbivore is different than that of a scavenger and all that kind of stuff. But that the confluence of all of those things says in this environment of a nice fertile prairie, here’s what the trading algorithm says is the best thing to do out of all those.
But don’t only do that because then you’re gonna have all your wolves eat all your deer and then you’ll colon will die off bec. You know what I mean? I, and so that explanation that I had to get good at that, it wasn’t my perfect algorithm and me as the programmer doing it figured it out from simulated.
Natural selection to get to this cool thing. The whole world is having to confront what I had to try to explain 20, 25 years ago. So it’s interesting that I’ve already got a lot of that in my head. The words for it, and here’s why. It’s not magic, it’s not a mystery, but it still isn’t straightforward.
So you’re gonna have to get used to the ambiguity of it really is thinking in different ways. It really is finding different patterns than what you might see. It’s not just chaos and it’s not just straight line. It’s a wonderful, interesting combination of of turbulence of chaos, theory of things where you can’t tell exactly what each ATO in a situation is going to do, but in the overall, you can still say we’re gonna cohere enough of this light that it’s gonna become laser.
Directed and that has power. I know I’m mixing between metaphors, but that’s how we have to get to it, is because we have analogs, metaphors for how we can think of this, and none of them fit perfectly, but we have to bring in 3, 4, 5, 6 of those in order to get to what’s going on. You know what I mean?
It isn’t a little imp in a box that’s smarter than you that’s typing away for you. It really, it’s, it, I’m fascinated by it as, as, and I’m hoping that we don’t get scared of it like we did with stem cells like we did with, there’s a, I don’t know, an anti-science element or religious element that is determined to have man be the yardstick of all things.
And it’s important that we make use of tools that man has created, even if what they’re doing is. A little bit scary to us because there’s benefit to be found there. The benefit that we can prove of absolutely. This is gonna figure out how to cure cancer faster than we would experimenting with Petri dishes.
And an array of a hundred or 10,000 or a million Petri dishes is not as fast and as perfect as if we simulate that in a model and figure it out with thousand times protein folding a thousand times a million times. Exactly That. The fact that we already got things that can think as fast as we can synaptically it’s fascinating to me how will we learn to harness that as opposed to we immediately get scared of it and say no, let’s not do that.
So maybe that’s the thing I have to really get into is not only I need to learn about it enough to become an explainer and an advocate and I already have, but it, the feed mo field moves so fast that I’m like, wow. 10 minutes ago, this is what was true. Exactly. Now, with, especially with the heavyweights, with Microsoft and Google and Facebook, Oracle, whoever is working on all the various different versions of this, open AI means the entire world can make use of these kinds of things.
And what was one of the things that exploded in encryption was not trying to keep it secret, but making it so that we’re gonna talk about the math of this and we’re gonna be able to prove that given this math, as long as we don’t have quantum computing quite yet, it’ll take at least 34 years to break this password.
So that’s why you want to have 2 56 or five 12 kk, 5, 5, 12 bit encryption and stuff like that, right? And we’ll see the battle back and forth there, that is ai. When AI starts to develop its own next version. That’s gonna be scary and cool. So
Stephen: about your poetry example with the AI doing that, all I’m gonna say is bogan poetry, so we’ll leave it at that to a small piece of
Stephen: And the thing you were mentioning so version two of chat, g p t, they released open source that anyone could download it and the training models Yes.
And things, but 3, 3, 5, and now four. They haven’t yet. But they’re in, they’re talking about to do that, how to do that, what to do, because people need to understand these training models. I’m interested in it for work because we wanna use that for all of our stuff. And I explained to ’em, here’s what we could do.
And their eyes kinda lit up really We could do well, but to do it. And I’m like, it’s not quite ready yet. We gotta get. A W S Amazon we could do it with right now and start working on it. But so we’ll see how that works when it’s released. But these training models, even on two, the one training model is like 750 meg, which for a lot of people, that’s a lot.
If you have a laptop, me, that’s just half of a hard drive down here, but the new ones four. I can’t imagine how big four is compared to what two was.
Alan: Yeah. And I’m sure someone’s gonna start putting together the chart that says, based on the sheer size of data sets are, what’s the incremental improvement that we’re getting?
And is there a place where it’s not worth going above eight gig? Because then you start to get corruption instead of perfection. You know what I mean? Sometimes there were like, that was absolutely. You could be it. Back in my days of gambit, you could overtrain a model by giving it too much data that was either conflicting or duplicative and you didn’t know going in necessarily, which was which.
So you what you became good at was the algorithms are working correctly now what do I feed it? And I guess that’s like nature, if you give things that are high nutrition, again, circling back to our earlier discussion, they’ll become a more capable creature just by definition of they got better nutrition and that produces better cells, et cetera, et cetera.
Stephen: I think that needs to be our episode title. Nutrition for ai. There you go.
Alan: Exactly. And I, there’s gotta be, I have so much proof that not everybody is a good person. That there really are. It doesn’t take many, but you got the James Bond villain type people that are thinking, how can I use this to take over the world?
How can I use this to corner a market? Yeah. How can I use this to eliminate things I don’t like? And so the reason, especially the danger of putting it out there where everybody can use it is you’re gonna have the nuts get access to it as well. But the way you’re gonna be able to stop the nuts from getting ahead is because the nuts don’t work for Microsoft.
Everyone has these things and there’ll be soon a competition, a comparison between all the different AI models and what data sets we’re used to trading and stuff like that. And you’ll see that there really are better ways, like what’s the overall In my case for Gambit, it was a survival mechanism, but really it’s an optimization that what I wanted to do was say what I want is not only can I make money in the market, it’s can I make money using some of like Nepal’s Happiness Index so that the kinds of things that I’m doing to the world is not only resource exploitation, it’s making better use of resources.
It’s using things like artificial intelligence is seemingly only a matter of electricity and Nvidia chips. You know what I mean? It’s not deterioration or using up of resources to get to a known result. And so what are the kinds of things that I could put in place that’ll say what’s the right way to run a country, run a government run, run a society?
And that’s where I worry about exploitation is the first thing you gotta do is get rid of this group that I don’t like. Really out of all this amazing majestic power, the first thing you did was hate. You gotta have the love things in there too, to be able to compete with them.
You know what I mean? That there’s gotta be a way to say the carry in capacity of the planet is 7 billion people, and we already hit that. Not if you have AI that says, if we just fixed transportation algorithms so that things don’t get stopped at the border because of wars or conflicts or moneymaking or religious or whatever else it might be, you really might be able to do amazing things with better crops, better distribution of those crops, better, like they’re less eaten by rats and bugged because we managed to do the right amount of genetic engineering without it being, oh no, now we’re scared. Now we’re not gonna have golden rice anymore, even though that saved a billion lives by making sure that people got iodine, anyway, I’m like, there’s got be. I hope that’s the role that humanity takes is that they get to look at some of the results as they roll in and say, yep, do more of that, and less of that. I think if we talked about this before, global Business Network, a very cool kind of behind the scenes group, has always done great things with scenario planning.
They don’t try to make it so that the world goes one direction, but they look at all the possible outcomes and they look at what are the leverage points for, do more things that are better for the world, more stable, more betterment for humanity and steer away from the lesser things. And I hope that’s what we start to do with AI is that we’re like benevolent desperates, right?
That we want to do the right thing. And now we’re getting feedback as to, I just ran a model that says if we continue to all the rainfall that hits the Himalayas it’s, is gonna go to only China or only India because they’re both vying for it. And it’s it can’t be either one of those, right?
They both have a billion people. We can’t. Let people die because of that. How are you gonna negotiate that treaty? How are you gonna get to, and so already AI can be feeding into what sure seemed like such huge world problems that humanity couldn’t even step up to start solving it because you knew that there was immediately going to be ego involved or greed involved or whatever else it might be.
And again, I hop around, but Bill Gates, one of the great things that he did for, with his money and his smarts was we’re gonna cure certain diseases. It was gonna, let’s cure river blindness. Let’s cure malaria. And instead of being the conventional wisdom here, really did a freakonomics approach of let’s look at the data and see what works and do more of that and less of the others.
And so you’re finding out that. While you’re working on the malaria vaccine, you can also be distributing next to everybody. Keeping mosquitoes off of you, outside of your living space is the one of the key things you can do and cost effectively. Just like that, we’re gonna have better fires. TED talks are all about this, right?
Instead of people burning dung where it’s got all kinds of health complications. Make it so they can make brick hats out of other things. That’ll will produce cleaner fires. And I guess all that thing about curing diseases, like it’s important that we get to it’s not only a matter boy, this is a terrible thing to say.
It’s not just. Quantity of life. It’s quality of life. That if have scarce world resources, that you’re gonna apply the vaccine first in the right places. You gotta go to the places where their survival chances increased the most. But that their quality of life, if they’ve survived, is also reasonable.
That it’s not just will we cured rear blindness and then they went down from the 10 other diseases that we haven’t cured. Because it’s really off the track in the wrong part of the world for good nutrition and good communication and good distribution. And so you can’t just say, oh, they gotta die.
But if you’re trying to maximize the number of lives saved, you have to have some defensible way of putting forth the proposal instead of I started at a in the country names and I weighed my way towards Z and I guess, sorry, Zimbabwe, but you’re fucked. Yeah. Please. Don’t do that as the name better.
Of course. I don’t mean that, but it sure seems that some of the choices we make are that Nebulous. Silly, nebulous foolish. So how do you make a better choice without it being that’s just because you’re Lithuanian and you wanna make sure Lithuania gets fed. But no, we can prove that this really is on balance the right way to do a really tricky, difficult thing.
If we want to use the data and the smarts to do it, or if we want to do it that, nope, I’m the decider. I’m the guy, I’m the God. I’m the one that decides who lives.
Stephen: Maybe we should let AI decide cuz that’s all it deals with is facts. And I know there are a lot of people pushing back against it. Oh, I’d never used that.
But again, you don’t have to go to open ai. To use it’s getting in everything. Word already has it and is going to have it even more. The new Facebook Pro goggles, Microsoft teamed up with that. They’re integrating it into their teams, which is on the goggles. And it really is everywhere.
It’s gonna be on our phones in so many apps that people won’t even realize it what’s going?
Alan: That’s true. Whatever it was used to be, it was just a matter of looking at data. Then it was a matter of crowdsourcing to see what’s the best restaurant in Cleveland? Am I gonna use Yelp or other review sites to do that?
Or can they be game? Am I gonna use just on the basis of the vast preponderance of four star reviews or whatever else it might be? And I’m looking forward to seeing how we put all those different things together and say, What’s the, I’m gonna do my talk about drinking for the fire hose. What’s the best books and music and everything to listen to?
And right now we’ve got the Hugo Nebula Awards were voted on by comic, not comic, by science fiction fandom. And so there it is. And after actually they look back in time now and say based on influence and based on quality of what we knew then, a lot of those Hugos nebs were for the time, the right thing.
But the book that really outlasted them is kinda like when an Oscar winner that should have won didn’t. And now when you see its influence over the course of time Yeah. You’re like let’s throw out, it happened one night getting the Oscar and it really should have been, you know what I mean? Yeah. Yep. It so I’m looking forward to the integration of, there’s a cool book called Concilience by Edmund Wilson. Edmond, I think I a noted Edward that talks about how a certain kind of genius of brilliance is bringing together different fields of knowledge in a way that you still understand how they tie together, how there’s Venn diagram crossovers, if you will.
And I think I have a little bit of that. I have, I’m so widely read and I know a little bit about a lot of different things that oftentimes the way I think of a solution is not because I know a lot about lawnmowers. It’s because a lawnmower’s kinda like a blender in this way. And so if I was trying to fix a blender, here’s what I’d try, I’ll try there for my lawnmower and I’m hoping that’s what AI will do is it isn’t only one body of knowledge that can impact all kinds of interesting, especially value judgment things. Not everything is solving a problem. Some things are just. What’s the best use of my time? Maybe? Yeah. And I we do different things, right? We talk to a good friend who, has good taste and say, what are you reading?
And then you get a good book idea and you listen to bands and you go to the place that has, if you liked this, if you like Def Leopard, then you’ll also and the recommendation engines. And I think there’s gonna be an amazing cross pollination between those various different things. Where it really might be, if you read these kind of books, you probably will like this kind of art.
Wait, what? But, you know what I mean? It’s gonna be really cool when you start to get that kind of cool crossover because the way that people’s brains are wired or the way that people like, Character based things mean you also like things that have people in instead of landscapes vast, who, off the top of my head, that’s what my mind spa out as to why that might be.
But that’s hopefully AI will say, you had a good guess. You are indeed 76% correct. It’s yes I am, but not perfectly correct cuz there’s variation. You know what I mean? Anyway,
Stephen: all right. Tell us about your comedians. You always have great comedians and you just saw a couple while I was writing.
Alan: laughing. Exactly. We went to see Tom Papa at Playhouse Square one night and Bill Maher at the MGM Northfield the other night.
Stephen: I didn’t even realize Bill Maher was still around actually.
Alan: Yeah, he’s he has had his TV show for a long time, and I think that it’s still around, maybe it’s syndication.
I’m not sure what channel, but he continues to write books and do occasional standup and. The biggest, they’re both very smart and very witty and good word choice. But like Tom Papa is warm and reassuring to people, you’re doing great. You know what I mean? Here’s little foibles of humanity.
Whereas Bill Maher is more like, here’s how things are fucked up. You know what I mean? Yeah. And you need both the blunt truth tellers and the reassurers and the way, for instance I felt much better coming out of the Tom Papa show, even though I laughed equal amounts. You know what I mean?
I, the world needs to have Bill Mar, where when someone like Heckles from the audience, he doesn’t like say, are you okay buddy? Tom Papa might have be like, you know that no one wants to hear you. They’re here to hear, the a hundred dollars they paid for this ticket. You know that.
So he, it’s I guess it’s a way in which you use your humor, your or your intelligence and, the background that they come from, whether it’s West Coast or East coast or those kinds of things. It was very interesting to get a one-two punch of differing comedy styles cuz they’re both like, at the top of their game, they’re both really vital and have a lot of good material that they cover and stuff like that. And I think that’s one of the reasons that we continue to see comedy is cuz you get so much truth told in an hour or two. Yeah. Yeah.
Stephen: Yeah and I like what you’re saying about the differences, similarities, yes, they’re both comedy, but they’re, they speak to different people.
And that’s one of the great things we’ve talked about with comedy is you can find the comedian that makes you laugh, that speaks to you. But folks, if you don’t like a comedian, if they’re offensive to you in some way or they just not funny to you. Who cares? Move on and find someone different. That doesn’t mean you have to condemn them, that you have to destroy their life and career and tell everybody else how horrible they are.
No move. That’s
Alan: right. I hate this so much. I’m gonna have to wreck this show for everybody else here. Yeah. Or I’m, like that just that we went to bear with me. Previous to this, sorry. My mom, Samantha b, we went to her last week. And she is very political and very feminist and in all the right ways.
You know what I mean? She really tells the truth a lot. And the truth is not always pretty in these United States. And we saw a couple get up after the first 10 minutes and leave and it was like, so you didn’t know going in what Samantha B was all about. She said maybe they won tickets. Yeah. Maybe that, but I also remember going to see the south Park movie. I think we may even have talked about this at one point. And like they got up and left as soon as the Uncle Fucker song broke out. And it’s like you didn’t know. You didn’t know. Going in that South Park is. Like rigorously vulgar. Yes. It’s hilarious in terms of how much they push the envelope and yeah.
And I guess if you can’t handle it, then you don’t wanna sit there and be sad, angry for two hours, but you didn’t do any research before going in that you didn’t know this is what you’re
Stephen: gonna get. And that’s a totally another part of this too. I love South Park. I have been watching South Park since before It was a TV show when they had just the Jesus versus Sam Park.
Alan: The little videos they put together. Yeah. There’s a Christmas
Stephen: card. Exactly. And I love South Park. And then the movie came out and I went, saw the movie. And you know what? I did not find the movie funny. I thought the TV show was funnier. Do you know why? Let’s
Alan: see. To extend it of a bit, instead of being sharper in its focus.
Stephen: Maybe. Maybe. Okay. It was because in the TV show, they had to beep out all the swear words. You knew what they were saying. Oh. But to me, that was much. More creative and clever sometimes where the beeps would fall in what they’re saying than to just let it go. It was almost like now we can do anything we want.
And it didn’t come across as,
Alan: and it wasn’t better. Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. That is a, sadly a common complaint. There are a lot of com comedians that think that the shock value of a swear word is why it exists. Not that it’s a word like any other. And if you use it like. Correctly, appropriately and so forth that it’s not that vulgar.
It’s perfect for the amount of emotion or impact that you want it to have. But there’s others that they just pepper their thing. It’s a lazy use of motherfucker, they, it I don’t like that. I don’t like it where they don’t have good word choice. That they’re just like, wow. You a moment’s thought and you would’ve come up with a better word that isn’t gonna alienate a certain part of your audience just because they are blue noses and they don’t like that word.
Stephen: looking at you Andrew Dice clay like that. Or
Alan: Maybe Eddie Murphy early on was very much about that and I think he’s gotten better. Some part of it was of an urban comedian, and I’m going to speak to my people and there is a certain amount of like vulgarity that goes with that.
I don’t like it. Where, boy it’s that and the repetition that once, it’s like a little kid when they see what reaction that they get, then they say it again because they wanna see the parents get stung again. It’s wow you’re lazy. You’re just not putting enough into this.
Stephen: my. The other thing that people need to realize is, Swear words have changed over time. So what? Is a swear word now may not be a hundred years from now. And we’ve talked about, I’ve talked about, I wanna do t-shirts with Victorian swear words on it, because That’s right. Nobody thinks they’re swear words anymore, but back then Exactly. And other countries, other cultures have totally different swear words. They’ll hear an American swear and. Okay. Whatever. It doesn’t mean anything that’s but to them. You say something else and Oh, you, oh yeah. That’s not good. So
Alan: if I remember right in Firefly, a whole bunch of stuff that they speak in Chinese was meant to sneak it past the center.
Yes. But they didn’t realize how much of a bastard or whatever they were calling the other person. Cause they did it in Chinese.
Stephen: That’s funny you say that. Cause one of those scenes in the one book I was just working on I put that in there. It’s a goblin and they’re trying to get information from the goblin.
So they get the one guy that said, oh, he speaks goblin. He’s huh, my uncle only taught me swear words. I don’t know anything else. You know mean golin. Its guy like the joke. So that’s
Alan: very funny. Exactly. All right. Okay. So let’s see. What else? I don’t know. We’re done. Yeah,
Stephen: we’re done.
Turn us over.
Alan: We’re talking about crosser puzzles next time and also not this week after Memorial Day, but the next week after that is the Worldwide Developers’ Conference from Apple where they’re, I think, expected to reveal their time, a ar vr goggles. And I am very interested. Oh, that’ll be great.
I really, and it’s not, from what I understand, it’s not necessarily goggles. They’re like glasses. And so we, at the Bill Marshall, they made. Two or even three announcements about, there is absolutely no recording or taping of the show and so forth. And what do already, what do you do when p everybody has a, a cell phone they can bring out for two seconds a smartphone and take a picture, and what are you gonna do when it’s the glasses on their head?
How are you gonna monitor that? It doesn’t have a little light that’s saying, I’m recording. Pretty soon they’re just gonna have to say, we’re, we have to accept a certain amount of this. There’s no way to stop it. Which actually take your glasses
Stephen: off what they’ve found in today’s world that actually creates more interest in the product.
If lots of people have videos or pictures and stuff, that’s, I be before we go. Two quick things. So one we’ve got this on our website and you and I talked about it long ago, but we really haven’t said anything. But we’ve got an area, we’ve got some t-shirts, a few of the things we’ve said, and we put up some t-shirts.
Our heads, our memeing
Alan: Exactly that,
Stephen: yeah. So people go check. So when’s the phone kick in and stuff like that. Yeah, exactly. I got a new picture for that. So I think it’s cool. But and then the other thing, do you have any good plans for the weekend? I know it’s Memorial Day.
Alan: Actually we not big by that meeting. My brother was supposed to be here a couple days this week to drop stuff off. And now boy in brief COVID just penetrated Martin Courts where my mom is staying and my mom got it. So she’s asymptomatic, but they’ve, they’re monitoring her and she’s isolated and that kind of stuff.
I need to stop by and drop off like some Pedialyte and a TV and stuff like that so that she’s not just alone in her room, if you will. And the reason for saying all that is that all of whatever, we had small plans for the weekend and they’re all predicated on how is mom doing you know what I mean?
We, the only plans we had for the weekend really were, let’s go for a nice walk in the forest. Let’s go play some mini-golf and get some ice cream. We really made a point of not making a big cookout plan or anything like that, and. And now with Covid, once again having entered our lives, I need to test and make sure that I didn’t get exposed to it.
Cuz then I gotta isolate. Okay. So reason for saying all that is that we know we don’t have big plans. We don’t know. Yeah. Do we have cool plans
Stephen: coming up? Oh man. So we’re, if it’s not too cold and this has been a very cold spring, we’re thinking of doing Raiders of Lost Ark on the side of the house since up on the house.
Alan: Yeah, see that would be great. Especially if you do the lead up all four films to big number the new one. Yes.
Stephen: We’re probably going to rent a theater and invite a lot of my mother’s old coworkers for the new one for her birthday, cuz her birthday’s in July. Oh my. We’re thinking it’s a crane for her.
That’s very cool. Ok, I’m going to go set up an author table at Hartville Flea Market and see what happens. And then we’re, a picnic with. Some family and friends. That’s about it. I got the lawn mode cuz my stupid tractor finally got fixed and man, I was like, oh, it’s gonna take me forever.
Good tractor. I still got everything done in less than three hours. So I was like, all right.
Alan: Which is an indication of how big your property is. Three hours. Exactly. This, my lawn, it took me like 30 minutes and getting everywhere. You know what I mean? Much less property than you. Okay. Yeah.
Stephen: Yeah. It’ll be a fun weekend.
I’m really looking forward
Alan: to it. That’s, we always do some kind of cookout. If we’re not gonna do it on the grill, we’ll do it inside if the weather’s crappy and stuff like that. I haven’t even looked at the weather that makes such, you know what, we’re gonna play mini golf in the rain. Of course not.
We’ll have to see what goes on. Okay. All right. All right, man. Take care, Steven. Have a good week. The pleasure. Okay. Bye-bye.