Stephen recently went to see Collective Soul. Turns out, its a band that both he and Alan like.

Alan went to the Mensa AG. This is a big deal each year and there are just so many programs, talks, games, and events going on. Truly a highlight of being in Mensa.






Alan: Okay. Good morning. All right. Good morning.

Stephen: So I thought you went to Baltimore, not New Zealand.

Alan: Whoop, I can hardly hear you. Lemme see if I’ve got, it might be partly me. I think this mic you might have your volume way down. Yeah. Yeah. Still can’t hear me. I got my volume cracked up here or my speaker

Stephen: volume.

All right, let me make sure I’m hooked up.

Yeah, that’s the microphone. How’s that? That’s better. So I thought you went to Baltimore, not New Zealand.

Alan: What I wanted to remember to mention was the has a thing called the I B D on the international board. Directorate or something like that. And they moved that meeting around the year and have a friend in Australia named Kimberly that really pushed for us to come visit and see the I B D in Perth next year.

And one of the things he mentioned in particular was that besides the meeting, they do excursions and of course there’s things in Australia like wombats and kangaroos and caucas and stuff like you don’t see anywhere else. And of course there’s, seven of the 10 most venomous things on the planet.

Stephen: Yeah, I was gonna say, and everything else wants to kill

Alan: you. You can worry about that a little bit. But, so as Colleen’s retired and as we start talking about what are our trips, we got this cruise and that’s trip to Canada and stuff like that. Lemme turn on night shift cause I’m glaring here.

Stephen: Yeah. I look a little red today, but whatever. I didn’t shave either, so it’s fine

Alan: there. That should be better. Yeah. As if, yeah. I was worried about the light on my face. Not this ridiculous shirt. But anyway so how was your like We haven’t we had to skip last week. Weeks. I wasn’t two weeks exactly that.

Big events for you. Big, wonderful business. I

Stephen: wouldn’t say huge big events. I went to fireworks. We like to go to Packard Music Hall. Yeah. For the fireworks. They do a nice song thing I think I’ve talked about before in fireworks. And one of my buddies, dad is always there, so it’s like our yearly thing.

And I haven’t seen him for a couple years cause I haven’t gone. So I found him and he’s oh, you made it this year. I was wondering if you’re gonna be there. That it’s just, it’s, this is that little thing, but. While we were walking out, I’m looking at the big billboard and I see Collective Soul pop up and I’m like, oh, when are they showing?

I’m like, oh, it’s tomorrow night. And they had tickets for good price. And I’m like, all right, click. So coming back down. Okay. Very close. Yeah. So I don’t know if you’ve listened to much Collective Soul. You might have heard the couple pop tunes they had on the radio.

Alan: Actually, I really liked them, but they seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth for 10 or 15 years.

I, I, at least they weren’t touring, they weren’t doing things that I,

Stephen: you know. They really haven’t. Cuz when you go, look, they’ve had an album out every couple years. I think they just. They got where they wanted to be and it wasn’t as big a deal for ’em, is what I’m guessing. Three of the original members are still there.

Two of them have changed several times over the last 25 years. Okay. But I love Collective, so I’ve got all the albums, all the albums they’ve released, not all of them. They actually released on cd, so there’s thing. Okay. Negativity in my mind. But it was a good concert. It was fun.

I really enjoy Collective Soul. I’ve liked them a lot. It hearkens back to my doom and heretic days, listening to ’em while I’m hunting down, exactly.

Alan: Cult figures and stuff’s. Very heavy sound, about Shine, I think was their, yeah. And that had one of those, big course and then the crunch of, Yep.

Not quite a power ballad, but it had good energy to it. I, and I really do like them. I’ve never seen ’em in concert. I, wouldn’t have helped to find that out cause we were out of town. But now that I know that they’re occasionally touring, I can put ’em on my tickler list.

Yeah. It’s different ticket places and

Stephen: stuff like that. It was really a good concert. I’m glad I went. And like you said, that’s what they have. Almost every song has that catchy guitar hook, that thing that just Yeah. Earworms into your brain. Exactly. And and I mentioned, on the post I put.

They just have a, they love their fans and their fans love them. They’re very interactive with the fans at the concert and the people were singing over top of the band at times. It was just, a love fest. I love that. Exactly. Yeah.

Alan: Bands were, and not only did I like their radio friendly hit, but remember a band called Stabbing Westward?

Yeah. Counting Crows that seemed to have maybe not just a flash in the pan, not just one ear, but they were around for five or 10 years and then they went onto other things or the market just wasn’t kind to them or whatever. I really liked the Thompson Twins, a guy named Tom Bailey.

He did various other things after that and even more maybe like Gro Tech or something like that. And so that, but that particular thing, them in Tears for Fears really made great more complex pop stuff. It wasn’t just gumball. It was really good. And yet, I. And maybe also MTV bands. Yeah.

Somehow when mtv, they did did they, you know what I mean? So without the aggressive visuals and stuff like that, like in, well In Excess, lost their Lead singer. And that can take the win out of your sail a lot. Just a bit. Yeah. But they had half a dozen albums, every one of which yielded two or three hits.

So in concert you’re gonna get, two to three hours of great music and just that I. There’s a whole, this is a whole discussion of, what happens with bands like that? Where is it The one guy that’s the main singer songwriter, he pulls back like Jefflin did from e l o.

There was actually an e l O too where members of the band were continuing to play the music in concert, but Jeff Lind wasn’t involved, so it didn’t sound quite the same. But e l o tunes are so good that I didn’t mind seeing elo too,

Stephen: speaking of, there’s a band coming this fall, and they’re going to be a Blossom, but Pavilion tickets are like 140 bucks, but they’re also gonna be down at the Pittsburgh p pg arena.

And tickets are only like 40 bucks. So I’m like I guess I might travel. Yeah, it’s Duran is coming.

Alan: See I really like them and so do I. A couple years ago I filled in my collection where, I hadn’t I was current when they were coming out again, another MTV band, but then they kept putting out really quite good albums, a half dozen after that.

And I didn’t have ’em all. And in fact, they’re one of those bands, I’m trying to think of the name of the song perfect World or something like that. Oh, I love that.

Stephen: Yes. But what’s funny is that’s from the nineties, somebody

Alan: asked the question one time like, what’s a really good song that you don’t think it’s the band that you think it is?

To me that doesn’t sound like Duran. And yet it’s really got good crescendo building aspects to it and stuff like that. So I,

Stephen: I got, yeah,

Alan: right that question to Colleen and she doesn’t like him as much, so we weren’t gonna do the Blossom show. And because of the cost, now that I know that there’s a $40 option, Maybe I can convince her to Hey, let’s go to Pittsburgh.

You can get something for Panini Brothers and I can go see Duran Durant.

Stephen: And dur Duran definitely is one of those bands that I think have much deeper musicianship than they’re giving credit for. They’re that poppy dance band, but they’re really not even their popular songs aren’t necessarily poppy dance songs.

They, they’re they have a fine transition line. They walk. And I’ve always liked Dur DURs, seven in The Ragged Tiger. That album was just fantastic.

Alan: Exactly. And in fact, it’s funny because there aren’t any number of bands that I really don’t care for because they are, It’s too simplistic.

They got a little like whatever, 16 key keyboard, and you’re there, you’re tainted. Love. That’s it. That’s all they have. Flock of seagulls. It’s one guy with one finger.

Stephen: Oh my God. That video flock of seagulls. The whole time he’s sitting there with one finger going like this, like a whole top, and I’m like, oh, what doing you look like Aron?

He goes, one finger and then he goes, It hits another key. What,

Alan: so when syn became available cheaply, there was all kinds of bands like that Human League, flock of Seas that just, I don’t know, they didn’t have much going on, but instead of being punk, they went the other direction. I,


Stephen: oh yeah. I’m just surprised. Yes. Didn’t replace Wakeman with that guy from Flock of Seagulls. Exactly.

Alan: But wait for that sear solo.

Stephen: Anyway, I did that jokingly. So the Weird Al concert, I remember going to the Weird Al concert and they I don’t know if you’ve ever been to see him. Another fine performer.

That’s amazing. Many times.

Alan: As a matter of fact, he might be like, him and George Thurgood are like one, two, which, how many times I’ve seen him, right? Yes. Kansas, there’s a bunch of other, but anyway, so their

Stephen: drummer, they, they go, he, we now yells in the mic. He goes, drum solo, and the drummer going,

and then they continue on. It’s no drums solo. So I used to do that in the band just cause they were taking too long in between songs, yaking or whatever it was. I’d go up to Mike, go that solo. And then I’d walk away.

Alan: That’s right there. Not every band has to have all virtuoso musicians.

It really is okay to have a guy that’s a human metronome that just keeps the beat. Yeah. And lets everybody else kinda solo over

Stephen: him. My god, it’s so weird you say that because the past couple of weekends I’ve been pulling out like all my instruments and just playing a lot of the old songs. I used to play bass and guitar.

Oh, not guitar drums and piano and playing along with album stuff. And one of the early bands and musicians, I played a lot was You too. Because at the time I could handle most of his parts. But when you listen to it, Simplistic and, but go listen to with or without you and don’t tell me you’re not moved at the end.

That’s just an uplifting song. It’s four chords and they don’t change at all through the whole,

Alan: the Edge did a whole bunch of continued not is, it’s not our appreciation if it’s not that fast. But he just does Yeah. That repeat a lot. But they find the right pattern and that’s still a great song.

Stephen: Yeah. You know what I mean? You know the song with or without You, it’s four chords. It’s got Mullins or yeah. On the bass. And it’s just Don. The whole time. The whole time. That’s all he’s doing. And you hear a high pitched sound and it changes throughout the whole song.

Okay. And I ask people, what instrument is that you’re listening to? Do you know?

Alan: My guess is it’s still a guitar. But it’s the National Steel guitar where it rings instead

Stephen: of No, it’s even, it is guitar. Okay. But The Edge got feedback and he got the feedback on Google Control so he could hit the right notes with the feedback and it’s feedback from a guitar, the whole song not the whole song, but those parts.


Alan: Yeah. Yeah. Pat Metheny has done things like that where he and Neil Young did it terribly like you ever heard, I think it’s called Trans or something like that, where it’s just like leaning the guitar into the speaker box, the entire freaking album and assaulting your ears. But Pat Metheny does stuff where he really has such control over what he’s playing and what the guitar is gonna do if you overdrive it and stuff like that, that it made.

Like his own accompaniment and stuff like that. Things came outta nowhere because he knows just how to push it. Very cool. Yeah.

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, back to Collective Soul. I highly recommend listening to him if you haven’t. Plus Duran, possibly.

Alan: Exactly. Honestly, now that I’m gonna say this, every single time we talk to these, now the client’s retired, our schedule is so much looser.

It’s not only that we can we have time, we can do it whenever we want. It used to be that it was just weekends and then always creates its own problem in terms of traffic and higher costs and stuff like that. But now we can go, if a band’s playing like Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, we really can go drive, still get home, like at midnight, one o’clock.

We don’t have to stay overnight, we don’t have to do all that kind of stuff. So I’m all the ticklers that I have for the Cleveland area, I’ve always had little tickers for certain venues in Pittsburgh and Columbus and Detroit and that kind of stuff. And now I’m gonna cast my net wider because it really might be worth doing that little drive.

Especially if it’s we like driving, it’s pretty out now. It’s all green and stuff like that. It, we, we’ll have to see. We’re also, it’s not unfortunately concerts, like when you say, Hey, it’s only 40 bucks, that’s still, every time you go to a show it’s a hundred dollars now.

And that didn’t used to be the case. And so it’s, we have, we’re doing okay on money. We probably could do all the a hundred dollars shows that we want to. But we’ve also talked about is we had a couple times where we had so much stuff going on that occasionally Friday night was we just don’t wanna do anything.

Even if we have, is there a way that we can change things? Because there was a whole bunch of whatever we build up to the week, and if you’re seeing 2, 3, 4 shows a week, it was never that, maybe two or three. Sometimes it just, Builds up in terms of, wow, I’m still on a schedule. I still have to be somewhere at a certain time.

It’d be okay. We’re trying to pace it out, I guess

Stephen: is what I’m trying to say. The travel hint and you probably know this going down to Pittsburgh, cuz for me it’s an hour to Cleveland hour and 20 to Pittsburgh, so it’s not. A whole lot of difference. Exactly. But if you’re going to do it, don’t go on the toll roads.

Take the longer back roads because oh my God, for me to drive on the pay roads, it saves about 15, 20 minutes, but costs $30 in tolls to go to Pittsburgh.

Alan: Exactly. They have jacked that up too. We have, it’s funny, they did this just right. They have the easy pass. Yeah. We’re not like, I dunno, 30 states accept or something like that.

You don’t keep track of every single one of these totals. It’s not 35 cents anymore like it was now it’s six bucks at eight and 13 bucks go across Ohio. It’s like 20. And across Indiana it’s like 15. So every time we go to Chicago, we’re paying 70 bucks total. Just for the privilege of driving and.

If they kept the roads up beautiful and perfect and they were better than the other roads, I wouldn’t mind that I liked the time savings. But nowadays it seems that when, for me, those big drives, there’s all kinds of places where it’s down to one or, two lanes and trucks and concrete barriers and everything.

It’s this isn’t easy and peal, this is crappy, this driving that we’re doing. So just the usual complaint about however they worked it out that once you had it, that as soon as we we put this toll in place to pay for the road and once the road’s paid for it, we’ll, they never lift it.

Then it goes towards the refurbishment of the road. Or they make it so that, now this provides education funds for our schools. I’m not gonna screw the kids over. I’m gonna pay the toll. You know what I mean? Once the government has revenue coming in, there ain’t no way they’re giving it up without a tea party.

Stephen: And let’s be honest, if they’re already working on the road, It’s paid for or sitting in an account to be paid for. So your money is not gonna to that.

Alan: I know we almost digressed. I was in a year in Cleveland, maybe two, when they had a thing that they wanted to build a medical center.

Maybe they passed a levy that there was gonna be tax collection. They had no firm plans. There was no, here’s this beautiful building, here’s why it’s really worth it. They just created the slush fund and taxed everybody for it so that they could do something with it. And there was no what if you want to change it to now it goes into swimming pools for the top 20 bureaucrats.

It was so rigged. I couldn’t stand it. Like I thought I escaped some of that crap outta Chicago. Come to Cleveland. Nope. That’s, that system of government is alive and well here. And I think they’ve gotten away with that again and again. That they keep on, you know what?

Stephen: Politicians really make the mob look good.

Alan: Honestly, at least you know what you’re getting. I’m supposedly getting pro attention,

Stephen: I think I need to put that on a t-shirt right there.

Alan: So Colleen and I had a wonderful time. Yes. Want we went. Mensa had an, has an annual gathering every year, hence annual. And we haven’t gone to a bunch of them because Covid hit and one got canceled entirely in Kansas City.

Another one in Houston went on. But we, there was still in the not enough people were vaccinated and there was just, the rates were still going up, not down. And indeed, when we didn’t go to that, when we found out afterwards, it had been a super spreader event. And out of 1100 people, a hundred people, it came out with Covid.

No matter how much you much, you mask up and so forth. And this happened also with the mind games for Mensa, what am I gonna do? Sit at a table in close quarters with people and touch all the things that they’re touching, the cards, the maples, et cetera. And even if you keep your mask on, you gotta raise it to eat or drink, and the room is filled with people, the mema of people are spewing out.

So that’s why we haven’t done a lot of these. In fact, unfortunately last year we were scheduled to go to the one in Reno, and my mother’s conservatorship hearing got scheduled right in the middle of right and just couldn’t do it. So finally, a triumphant return. We got to go to the ag. And it was in Baltimore, which is a cool city and I didn’t know enough about it except that most east coast cities have like history and cool old city infrastructure and Coastal is different than Midwest and stuff like that.

I knew Baltimore had Edgar Allen and Poe. I knew it had John Waters, certain things that just that, and funny, this gathering included those things. There were multiple speakers that were experts on Edgar Allen Poe, his books and his gothic tradition and various different people, the real people that figured into the characters and so forth.

That’s cool. He actually took a walk, a hotel was the Hilton Inner Harbor and it was like three blocks from Edgar Allen Poe’s grave in an old cemetery that has all kinds of other luminaries from Baltimore. So that was kinda cool. And we also, John Waters was the. Gala dinner speaker, and I don’t know if you’re a fan of his, but he’s quirky and has been for 40 years.

He said all of the movies in Baltimore, instead of Hey, I know I’ve made it. I’m going to Hollywood. He loves Baltimore and has continually featured Baltimore. So if you’ve seen his famous or infamous ones like Pink Flamingo hairspray cereal mom let’s see, pecker crying and Shame.

He was our keynote and boy was he a delight. Nice. He’s so fast. He’s really, he’s obviously menal. He’s very sharp and not only the questions that he must have been asked many times before, but just the back and forth with him. And Tabby is, was the ag chair and she got to interview him and they had a delightful time on stage and the whole audience was laughing and appreciating and stuff like that.

We were very lucky. A friend of ours that was part of the ag committee had two seats open up at her table, like one of the front three tables. And so she gave us a call and said, Hey, you’re going to the gala? Yep. Do you wanna move up to the front table? It’s yes, we would like to do that.

Nice Looked like John Waters. And so I sat one table over, didn’t really get to partake in the conversation at the table, but there’s a little bit of seeing him from up close instead of adopt far away on the stage and stuff like that. It was just cool. And then besides that, we went, we we went to the colloquium.

Menzo does a really cool thing where many gatherings have a whole variety of programs for various different people, but the Colloquium usually focuses on one big topic. So we’ve had it in the past on weather and on. Wow. Video games and their effect on people. This one was on neurodiversity, and it’s a big topic not only in Mensa but in the world because we’re catching onto the idea that people that have autism or Asperger’s or a D H D, it isn’t necessarily a disability in some cases.

It’s really a for power. They have the ability to hyperfocus they, things come to them. They might lack, in some cases, in social skills or in face reading, or various different aspects of those things. But in exchange for that, they get to be almost like a savant level mathematician or organizer or stuff, right?

So in the computer field, I dealt with any number of people that really weren’t that great socially, but they were really good at their job. And if you. Find that out. If you don’t, because they don’t interview well, you don’t dismiss them, but you just kinda get to where they can shine. And so this colloquium was a lot about that.

They’re learning more and more about how the brain works, how it works in different ways that we’re not at all a single species with a single, and it’s not only right,

Stephen: there’s there, there’s no normal and

Alan: Exactly, yeah, just, like a statistical pattern. It’s not that you strive to be normal and in some cases it can be debilitating.

You can hold you back if you really can’t, you’re not you’re so uncomfortable with people or with touch or, there again, those aspects that it can hold you back. If you’re trying to be in a, we’re a social animal, we travel in packs, we have parties, that kind of thing, but they have four really good speakers and really good discussions after each thing about.

What the state of the art state of the science is about, what we understand about this and what efforts are being done by both public and private concerns to make sure they’re okay in school, to mainstream them into society, to have education about what that’s so that people don’t immediately react, maybe even overreact to someone that counts everything.

Do you know what I mean? It’s for, it was. For a number of mens that have aspects of that, and you and I have talked about that. I dunno, I’m a pretty high functioning human being and yet I like symmetry. Perhaps more than normal. Things should be stacked smallest to biggest. Or it’s oh, lemme just fix that for you.

And but my superpower of being able to go into flow and be hyper productive for hours at a time has served me very well in my career. That ability to hyperfocus and maybe it’s tuning out the rest of the world, but the people who can’t do that, they’re always at half speed. They really can’t concentrate enough to do a deep, difficult thing.

And I’ve been able to do that all my life. Maybe sometimes falling into a puzzle, but also falling into a computer program, debugging things in ways that are miraculous to other people. You know what I mean? So that was a great day. And then that night it was fireworks on a cruise ship.

We went out in the Chesapeake Bay and there’s just something really whole hundreds of us were out on this boat. So that wonderful Fourth of July-ish thing. And what asked, oh, and there’s also the Mr. Mensa pageant. So for those who are, outside of Mensa, it’s not that we just sit around doing cube roots and comparing IQs and bullshit like that.

We really have a wonderful time. There’s lots of laughter and hugging and conversation. And there’s 24 hour seven day a week. Food and drink available in hospitality. And this event is people coming together to it’s like a little bit of a talent show, a little bit of a beauty pal.

Stephen: It’s almost a parody of the Miss Universe pageant or something like that.

Alan: That’s what it was meant to be when it first started off. It was, very, it was Mr. Menzo when it started off no, miss Ss, where it could be, there was both male and female contestants. So how cool that were progressive in that way. And it was meant to be a mockery of that, but a gentle mockery, not a savage one.

And maybe that’s another cool thing is that when you have. You’re smart enough to have a sense of humor and you can see both sides of something and that you can tease without digging in. It’s a delight sometimes to have the wind taken out of the things that other people taken very seriously or that we take too seriously.

Seven great contestants are really good host and hostess. The behind the scenes they had and I should be naming names because, Tommy and Terry were the host and hostess and very gracious and good at moving. Pardon me, moving things along.

Pleasure, Tom. Thank you Tom. Sch, Norberg, keeping all the ducks in a row backstage, everybody’s gotta come out and can’t drag. It has to be good TV, if you will. Peter Ek who I’ve worked with before, did a fantastic job with video big screens on each side of the stage, and he had great special effects and they had done previous video recordings for each of the contestants.

So it’s I wanna be Mr. Meza and. It was just so professionally seamlessly done. Anybody coming in would say, whoops, this is not amateur hour anymore. This is really good. Gary Reimar playing piano, a little bit of piano accompaniment for various different things. And while the judges were tabulating their votes, he was doing a piece by David Beis.

That was really beautiful. So the big shift since how it started off when it was just a tease, they’ve always collected money for the American Mensa Foundation. I should say the Mensa Foundation. I don’t think it has American entitled. And that has become quite a push. They, each time, each year they try to set a new record, but it’s not just, Hey, I’m gonna sing a little song.

It’s, if you like me, contribute to my campaign. And there’s a crowd favorite award, if you will, that’s based on how much money did they bring in, suddenly what the judges thought. And so I don’t think it was that bad this year. It’s been even worse last year where they really were like, Huckstering.

And in fact, one of the things they’ve stopped doing is at the end of the shows, in the past years, this is a weird mess thing, they used to have a data auction, right? Where for the rare contestants, it was all men, ladies could have been on them. And the f first time I saw that.

I was like, I don’t think something human being is a good idea. What the hell? I don’t think this leaves a good taste in my mouth at the end of the show. And it was it got money. And a number of the people were, when they described the date they’d take you on. And oftentimes it was just, on site there.

But they were fun and interesting and witty and handsome and all that kind of stuff. So I could see how it was a good sell, but then it started to have a little bit of a weird thing to it, especially in modern times. And it modernized meaning, yeah. Since emancipation. How about that? Since, how about the last?

So now they don’t do that anymore, but overall such a nice time and. Like a packed room, hundreds of people there to have fun with this and stuff like that. And the towns were like, you know what, it enough, it just really was fun to see men who were brave enough to get up on stage right?

And risk being judged. Ooh, dress up in their finery, dress up in costumes, that kind of thing. It was a very nice, fun time. And here you get to be proud of me on this one. Oh, but was a thing called the Trivia SmackDown. They actually brought in a professional trivia guy and they had the things where everybody has their smartphone.

And it’s not only that you know the answer, but how quickly you get it buzz in and it’s all being coordinated wifi wise. So you could have hundreds of players. And Colleen and I were consistently doing well, like number, out of probably a hundred people were allowed to play more than a hundred people in the room.

We were like number 12, number 18, but hardly have they have the top 10 on the screen and we’re like, oh, scroll down, we’re over here. Scroll down. But finally, The final. One young man, Brian was unbelievable. He was kicking everybody’s butt so fast and so accurate that if the scores range from, I don’t know, 500 to a thousand, he was at 1300.

He was consistently wow that next quantum above even a whole room full of smarties and a whole bunch of people that are often quite good at trivia and stuff. There was a jeopardy person, there was, people that are in learned league, all that kind of stuff last round. And this isn’t meant to sound too weird.

Me, I don’t really, I don’t over compete about those things. I know it’s trivia not significant. So Colleen and I had been just doing what we could, but still doing pretty well. The last round I really applied myself and I was in second place. Nice. So except for this guy, this stellar Brian, who like, maybe that’s.

What I was when I was 20 years, a little bit more hair, honestly. Exactly. That. Don’t take that wrong. But I, I could do kinda avante amazing things when I was young. I was really good at chess and cryptography and that kind of stuff, ed at trivia. So having said that, then they have, it isn’t that I took second because they have the top five and then the top 10 people go up and compete in front.

And I, many people will get until the sixth answer in 20 seconds or something like that. And I only made it to five. So I dropped to the second tier, but I’ve probably had 20 years on lots of the other players. Yeah. 40 years on them. So there’s a great scene in one of my, one of the Gore books where there’s a Tarn race.

Tarns are huge, like rock type birds and a bird that had been. Falling off trailing that was no longer the mighty ubar of the skies that he had once been in this final race. He comes back to life. He is a new young bird again and wins the thing. And that’s, the story that I wanted to say was I guess I’m not to be dismissed quite yet.

I’m a white hair. I know. I’m a geezer now, and yet here I am competing with all kinds of other really cool, smart people. And I was up there on stage. I

Stephen: was never going in. That’s good. That’s

Alan: okay for me.

Stephen: No. Good. So self validation on the drip.

Alan: Exactly. That, and besides that, They had an enormous games room, games from A to Z, probably 300, 500 different games.

So whenever Col and I went in there, we could always find whatever we wanted to play. So we played our usual Scrabble and Quibbler and anomia and trivia and that kind stuff. We had a couple games of double deck cancellation hearts, which without going into it on the podcast, is a very mental specific game.

It’s not just hard to play with two decks and the two people play the same card, they cancel each other out. And it just adds a whole nother level of not only complexity to the game, but you can have more people at the table. And that’s what it’s about is right, something to do with your hands while you chat with your friends.

Stephen: You know what I mean? And the other thing I love about the game rooms at the ag at Weem with those really big ones where there’s always somebody playing something is, yeah. Even if you’re just walking around looking at the games you have, people say, Hey, we’re playing this. You want to come play, we’re free.

You may have never seen this person. You may be from opposite sides of the country. And it’s just, if you’re in here, you wanna play games. How about playing? And it’s a very friendly atmosphere.

Alan: We were welcoming in that way and we’re welcomed in the same way. We played code games for people that we didn’t know from Adam.

And then you get to know him through the game and whatever, just that I love that aspect of it, that you’re already a gamer. Hey, come on. Let’s do something. Yeah. You know what I mean? Yeah. Love that Consistently up until one or two in the morning, and then you want to get to the nine o’clock programs.

You’re like, okay, if I get this much sleep and take a shower, I can get back out and be

Stephen: human. I walk through the bathroom when it’s misty, after Colleen’s done me down, know

Alan: it was a wonder. And besides, of course, doing all those cool things in the hotel, we ventured out every day. In Baltimore. It’s a good Eaton town. They have all kinds of seafood. Yeah. And seafood. But every place we went that I got myself a crap crab cake or rockfish or something like that, never had rockfish before.

That was cool. She was always able to find a steak and that’s kind some kind of a dangerous thing. You go to a seafood place and get a steak and they’re like, yeah, it’s the one that we had holding the door open. You know what I mean? It’s not sometimes not a good thing. But she had a great strips steak and a great ol and stuff like that.

So we and we found a place called the Lexington Market that’s kinda like Cleveland’s West side market. Big old hangar of a place with many booths of all different kinds of food and not just for eating, but for a real butcher and a real green grocer and stuff like that. So people produce, people come in from the outside of the city, come here and sell their wares.

So in the overall really was an easy place to get around. And I think I alluded to this. And in conclusion, if you will, it used to be that to do this you had, you have a big map of the hotel so you know how to get around and you have sheets of all the programs and what’s that, what time in what room.

And that way you can see if I choose this, there overlaps with this. So I don’t get that and I still like that visual, but this wonderful era that we’re in now of, you can’t get lost in Baltimore. If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve got a gps, you’ve got a mapping device that you can’t, and it you, if you.

Do a little bit of research. You can find, I don’t just want a crab cake. Where’s the best crab cake within walking distance? Where’s the best ice cream? Where’s the out and good breakfast and stuff like that. And if you’re trying to get together friends to go to that thing, it’s just so easy to do a little texting and to announce something on Facebook or whatever else it might be.

And you don’t have to do a whole bunch of pre-planning. And sometimes that means that people do no planning and so they miss out on things or we, they don’t catch up or whatever like that. But man, compared to the olden days where you’d had everybody kind of milling in the lobby and then clumps would break away cuz people had enough had found each other, but not too big of a c clunk where you’re not gonna be able to find a table for 12.

It’s just so easy nowadays to be. Sociable and safe and, i, it, we had a delightful time. So hats off to Baltimore, nice inner harbor to the hotel. The, all the Mensa the A M C had their meetings and they so much don’t figure into this as the AG Committee does. So like Jennifer and Beth Ann did those programs.

Another thing I need to say is oftentimes it’s been a combination of MENSA speakers and local speakers, and there’s a different level sometimes of professionalism, if you will. They had such a ability to tap into the Washington market, only an hour away that they had. Heavyweights from nasa, from the ccia, from Department of Agriculture, from the Weather Service, really knowledgeable people.

And honestly, I saw some of the best talks I’ve ever seen about the history of this and what’s the current state of global warming and all that kind of stuff. It was, they found such a great variety. I almost always was only in the games room and hospitality stuff in the evenings because during the day hour, all in a row and I run back hospitality to get, a cup of gummy bears and a soda pop.

You know what I mean? That’s my diet for the week. It, it was just such a great immersion in the immense way of so much to learn. Everybody in the in the seat in the presentation is having a great time and they’re asking questions and they’re not just like dunning Kruger questions. They’re, and maybe sometimes, There’s people that they don’t ask a question, they make a statement to show how smart they are, and then they say, what do you think of that?

And that gets annoying after a while. They’ve solved that, where not only does the speaker do that, but they often have a speaker Wrangler that introduces them and then also handles the q and a. And they’ve got real good at shutting down the worst of those time monopolizes and self aggrandizers, you know what I

Stephen: mean?

And it’s one of the new things. Cause I know there’s an app that goes with the ag and you can look up all the speakers by day, by speaker, by room. You can get a map to the games. You can see when the tournaments are, and you can click and say, okay, add this to my personal calendar.

And then it, buzzes and reminds you That’s exactly, yeah. All that stuff. That’s one of the. One of the things I’ve seen in our January conference for work which does all of those things, but now it also has a moderator. So you set, tap your question and it goes to the moderator and they have a list and they can choose what question is going to get asked.

Alan: And not let you do the preamble to the question, but just the question they’ll trim it bit that kinda stuff, right? Yeah. And if, and this is, I used to do tho those bridges that I talked about with the visual, I used to do them all the time. And this year I didn’t and I wasn’t asked to do but I had given my templates to Matthew Needham, who’s the IT guy at the national office, and he did a great job of, the data behind the schedule is you can put it out as a flat file.

He scrapes that flat file and created the diagram that I used to. Long ago I did it where I had programmatically done it in fourth dimension for the Macintosh. And then as they kept changing the format of that, I had to do a ton of work to rework it so that it would do, it wasn’t just putting the name of the program in the slot, it was all as well.

I have to make sure that they’re all the same size so that they, the time schedule and what abbreviations do I standardize on so that the chance of it slopping over is the least. And depending on what day different rooms were used, I had a whole bunch of stuff to clean it up and his was the things got a little tiny fonty because it was all the rooms being shown, even if you didn’t need to.

So I, I don’t mean to be the jerk and say pretty good try. It was really the fact that they had, it was wonderful. And maybe I can help with here’s what I did programmatically that I backed away from because it was becoming a little crappy. As you change the volunteer the scheduling system each time, and I can collaborate with him hopefully for next year to do whatever’s going on in Kansas City or something like that.

You know what I mean? And sometimes they don’t need to collaborate or they know what they’re doing. He’s a really wonderfully sharp young man and the fact that he did them at all, when I hadn’t heard back as to what they were going to do with it, when I saw them being put out on the tables, I was like I really like this format instead of only the app.

Everybody’s in their phones nowadays, and I use that. But I really like that quick visual look. What I want. Put little stars next to. And as you might imagine, every hour there’s here’s the three programs that I wanna see, right? What I do is I put the big star next to the one I want once in a while from the program description.

It doesn’t turn out to be what you thought it was going to be or the speaker’s really dismal and so then you wanna bail out, you know what I mean? You wanna say, if I don’t go to this one room over is another talk I wanted to see. And then you just slink away and go to the other room, disruptively. So it, that worked out okay. The scheduling of things and it’s, I don’t know what other things are like that. It’s not quite a comic-con or a science fiction con because they do have programming, but a lot of it is the show floor. There’s really not that Barter. There’s and honestly, there’s certain people are dressing up, but it’s not cosplay.

You know what I mean? Just everybody has a funny t-shirt, everybody in Mensa has a witty t-shirt that they

Stephen: wear and stuff like that. It’s almost a competition, you gotta wear the shirt that people will remember notice point out, exactly. It’s like you get, it’s like that, that sci-fi Orville story, oh, someone liked my shirt king. I get a little pop-up point.

Alan: Exactly. It what I will say is it’s a wonderful reunion. I’m, I’ve been in like maybe three different mentor groups in the course of my life, and, but I’ve met so many good people, not only online, but then you get a chance to put a face to the name.

But also just at past ags, you had a nice game with them. You had a nice meal with them, and then when you see them again, it’s like, Barbara, how are you doing? And whatever that thing is, I’ll have people like, Really quick, catch each other up, so it’s Colleen’s retired and I’ve got investments and that kind, it really is funny to see how people, what they compressed down into what they wanna mention.

I got comic books, that, that kind of thing. It’s just a delight. Meds is a hug and group, not all of it. There seems to be also a generational transition, but for the people that have that, that have read about it and know it’s really healthy for you, it really lowers tension and gets rid of cortisol.

And as long as the people doing the hugging are not, they’re not creepy old

Stephen: guys. They’re and.

Alan: Be being progressive guy. And then they have to get rushed off to the side. The bad guys and the bad girls. There’s, they’re not guys. They’re not the only ones holding out a little bit too long or letting their hands stray.

What the hell? You

Stephen: know what I mean? It’s, and we’ve been progressive in that. We got the dots. So you very clearly put a dot of the color green. Yep. Gimme a hug. Yellow asks first, red stay back. Exactly. And it’s not, I don’t wanna talk to anyone. I don’t, it’s just I don’t want hugged, I don’t want touched.

You know what we just said about the whole having some autism thing, it’s I can’t exactly stand the feel of that. It’s not anyone personal that, that’s right.

Alan: They didn’t have the hug dots out this year from the committee, but people kept putting them out. Like I said, this year was very much a, I think a Gen Y ish committee.

And they are looking to change some things, some traditions they maintain, some things they start anew. Some things they actively. Abandon or suppress, and then the market gets to vote. You know what I mean? So the hug dots have been a useful enough thing that for those who want to wear them and say, I’m huggable or I’m not, then it’s useful.

Instead of it having to be awkward or a negotiation or something like that. I hope that continues despite some people not liking it. You gotta be able to say what about the other 1500?

Stephen: And the great thing about the hug dots, the thing that I’ve never liked and cared for is someone who says, oh, I’m a hugger.

Come in. You’re like I’m not, a hugger. Oh, it doesn’t matter. I’m gonna do it anyway. What

Alan: the hell is you? That’s what it’s, they, some people have had a bad experience and then they really, they like what we often talk about. Not only do I hate this book, but nobody should read this book.

They had a bad experience with hugging. They really think that it’s weird. And then they want to not have to be that they’re always. Explaining themselves or avoiding it or something like that. If they take away hugging, then they don’t have to worry about it. You know what I mean? But that’s not that’s not thinking empathetically.

And as a group, it’s very much trying to make the world torque around you. And there are some times when you should say, it’s not about me, not only about me. You know what I mean? Yeah. So anyway, I’m enjoying. Ears here because I noticed that, I was thinking that my kangaroo, I have to keep dodging to the side so everybody can say it’s a kangaroo.

Alright. Or a wallaby. I don’t know how to distinguish between.

Stephen: So what else? I think you covered most of the stuff you mentioned for the Mensa.

Alan: Zoom What I wanted to, what I always try to do, like we, the geeky aspect of it is, it’s not only hey, smart’s getting together, which is its own kind of cool.

The conversation is different. The odd references are all there. I love the conversation. It’s so what are you reading lately? And I’m taking notes, hearing good books from Manson’s, good music, what, what movie they’ve seen play they’ve seen, I just come away with, okay, I got my next like 20 things that I gotta look into.

Definitely. That I might not have found out about otherwise. But I’ll, like I said, the geeky aspects of, if you’ve got a phone, you really never have to worry about being in a city and strain across the wrong tracks. I guess you, it could still be that you want to go to a place and you don’t realize that barbecue place is in a rough part of the city.

And so hopefully when we had that, when people were talking about where they were going, sometimes you’d hear people at New Baltimore saying, Yeah, take this specific route because if you go directly there, that’s through some touchy places. You know what I mean?

Stephen: Here’s a preview possibly something to talk about in the future that we haven’t talked about that fits right in with your shirt.

My buddy Casey and I are investigating printing t-shirts. Now, you and I have talked about lots of t-shirt ideas and we have some t-shirts on the website linked up that I, things we’ve thought of. But that’s, going through one of the online services dropship companies. Exactly. So somebody

Alan: likes and we don’t do it ourselves, et

Stephen: cetera.

Okay. Yeah. It’s hands off. It’s mostly if we wanna market it, which our marketing consists of putting it on the website and mentioning it here.

Alan: Exactly. That being the merch demons that we are, yes.

Stephen: I mainly do it cuz I like to get the shirts and wear them myself. That’s the biggest thing. But Casey and I are investigating doing our own shirts and the different methods for printing and on the shirts and what is good, what’s bad, and all of that, the cost.

So that’s something I’m investigating now that we could talk about in the future. Believe it or not, one of the better methods still is. Screen printing by hand, getting your screen made and pulling the ink across. That’s old school, but it prints well on the shirt. It stays and lasts long. The biggest is part of the fabric.

Exactly. Ok. Yeah. The down biggest downside is it’s usually like one, maybe two colors. It’s harder to do multiple colors, like the printed ones. Yeah. And stuff. So that’s just a future thing that’s worth

Alan: investigating, honestly. I I love this. You never know what your reach is.

I had any number of people that I don’t really know that well come up and say, really enjoy your Facebook posts, really enjoy your podcast. And I don’t know what our current viewership is like. Yeah. I check maybe a thousand, but there was 1500 people at this gathering, and it’s Mensa is right in our target audience.

And so had and not only hey, not just the the blank. I really like your things. They were like, I really like this episode. I really like when you talked about this. Nice. Had very nice memories of various different things. And so it’s an automatic, cool conversation starter, and it’s just, it’s nice to know that this isn’t just going off into the ether.

A long time ago I used to talk about this. I I’m full of myself today. I hope. I apologize a little bit. I was valedictorian of my high school and I got to give a speech at the senior graduation awards. And years after that, people from high school came up to me and said that what I said really rang for them, it resonated with them.

I talked about And you and I have talked about this in various different ways. In high school at least, you could be a jock or a drama person or a all kinds of things and get a claim. You know what I mean? There’s all kinds of awards and that you get to sit on this bench if you’re the best football player and stuff like that.

But just being a good student, kinda like what you’re there for, often still got kinda teased about, and luckily I had, by having a, I had developed a good enough sense of humor that I wasn’t only, voted most intelligent, I was also second place funniest. And so you’ll learn how to cope with that, that you’re not only the brain that kind of puts people off, but humor sets everybody at ease.

And having said that’s a little bit of what was going on here. It’s cool to find out. Years later that what you said didn’t just vanish into the mist, that it actually hit people and they got something out of it. It affected their life, hopefully in a good way. And sim similar situation when, now when we’re doing these things is you keep throwing things out there and you hope that some will stick.

They had a. A really cool program that was called name that movie. And it had tiny clips, short clips of all different kinds of things. And the team that Colleen and I were on with Barbara and Jim did pretty well, but in Mesa there’s people that really have like I identic memories. And so we were like seventh, the people that got it.

In fact, Dave and Shirley, who we love spending time with, she was, she’s really great about movies. Yeah, she was, she a movie reviewer and stuff like that. And so they came in first place. And I love going to immense events, not only in the way that I just said, oh, I get egos, strokes. It’s very cool to be amongst people that you’re happy to celebrate.

They really know their stuff. Brian was amazing at that one trivia thing. Shirley knows her movies. This guy that I’m a pretty good game player and yet Wow. I couldn’t keep up with him in like maybe code names or something like that. And, Let’s not keep up with, maybe that’s the wrong way to put it.

It is. I like being where for as much as I get a lot of positive strokes, it’s nice to be humble once in a while. It’s nice to know the world is wide and there’s all kinds of great people in it, and you get a chance to spend time with them. How cool is that? And part

Stephen: of that actually is another trait that a lot of mens have is that desire and ability to push ourselves and want to be challenged.

We don’t wanna like always rest on laurels and get accolades, it, it’s oh, I can go here and I can win that trivia every single week. Or I can go here and that guy’s go kick my butt, but I’m going to go there because it’s challenging and it’s, that’s much more fun most of the time.

Absolutely. I,

Alan: I love, I absolutely love playing with people that this isn’t gonna be a rollover, this isn’t gonna be walking through it. I’m gonna have to work hard and I’m, I don’t think I’m going to win. And then when you win, it’s sweet because it somehow things came together. I got lucky and skilled and that’s actually the kind of games I love playing the most.

It’s not where it’s deterministic, it’s where there’s always a little bit of luck involved. And then it’s how do you use it? How do you capitalize it? How does it turn against you? It’s like what? I did the best I could. And still, you can’t overcome someone drawing perfect cards three times in a row.


Stephen: Where’s the ag next year at?

Alan: It’s in Kansas City. Okay. And that’ll be, that’s I think the Colleen just like we drove to Baltimore, like a five and three quarter hour drive, but we make it about seven cuz we stop every two hours for a tank and a drink, stretch our legs, get whatever road food there is available.

KC is still to me within reasonable driving distance because there’s all kinds of things I wouldn’t mind seeing along the way. We have friends that we can visit in Illinois and Missouri and Ohio. There’s like Merrimack Caverns are along the way

Stephen: in Missouri. Oh yeah. Or Ingles

Alan: Wilder things that Colleen likes Mansfield and other places.

He might even go to Branson, Missouri and go see Ko Smirnoff, there you go. Nice. And the trouble about doing it around the 4th of July is, that Branson, Missouri is gonna be a freaking parking lot. Yeah. All of our time just getting into the city and then pulling over and having barbecue, or something at Culver’s or whatever else it might be.

And yet when you’re in the area, don’t you wanna take, I don’t know,

Stephen: the

Alan: Opry house. Exactly right. The, I think that Kansas City is like the first city in the United States that Google said wifi for everyone and not wifi files, highest level, right? And so I’m looking forward to seeing what a city is like where everybody’s had zippy fast internet access for a generation and what does that do with how did the city build out and stuff like that.

There’s, in the same way that I’ve talked about, another Colleen and I have our little, maybe frontier in other places that we’re gonna go to all kinds of cities that we don’t know anything about except, that they have to have a cool museum and a cool zoo and stuff like that. I’m gonna learn a lot about Kansas City and just like we did Baltimore, where I want to eat, what are the places, instead of just going there for the duration of the event, put a couple days at the starter at the end or both, and then have touristy things to do.

You know what I mean? Yeah. So I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the little drive and and the company of Mesons. It’s a cool thing.

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. Let’s, think about maybe doing our podcast or a talk about the podcast or something, exactly. That’d be fun.

Alan: Yeah. We, as soon as they start accepting things I’ll put in, I don’t think it’s only based on getting in early. It is based a little bit on quality and who’s done it well before and stuff like that, but I’m hoping that the, that. Big thing that pushed I didn’t speak this year, even though I offered to do so because they had so many quality outside speakers.

I don’t know that Kansas City is as much a hotbed for high quality outside as being next to Washington dc

Stephen: you don’t get as many like sports related talks less attended at these events.

Alan: That’s exactly. So we should put in for a podcast and do that. And you and I had mentioned offline from the podcast, geek Fest is coming up over in Ash Ula.

Stephen: Gotta check that out a bit more. Yeah. Out to

Alan: see if it’s worth do they want us, is it worth our time? You know what I mean? I mentioned the one geekfest I did on in Akron, it was not organized well and I suffered mightily. Yeah. I had no publicity. I wasn’t even on the schedule even though I gave them all the information they needed weeks before I, it was a total waste of my time.

And they have to, I need to see that the people organizing it are perhaps different. Or that they’ve learned a lot as to how to do this better cuz it was galling and distressing.

Stephen: Yeah. There’s no reason to do

Alan: anything. I’m ready to go. Why is there nobody in my room? It sucked. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty good crowd if they know about it.

Stephen: Exactly. Yeah. And that, so do you have any scheduled talks coming up this fall? Like classes or anything like last

Alan: year? No, nothing like with local universities though. I’m seeking, I’m starting to seek out libraries now that Covid really is managed. It’s still around and hurting people and stuff like that.

But it sure is that we’re all vaccinated, et cetera, et cetera. So I’m seeking that. I know I’ll be speaking at. Halloween you know that’s the Chicago regional gathering and hosting pretentious drinking there as well. And I talked to Robert Goldsmith, who’s one of the main guys in Pittsburgh, and you’re doing a whole bunch of stuff there.

I will see if he need, if he has a slot, if he needs another talk. And then we don’t, I think you got so much going on that I don’t know that you need to throw the podcast in there. We talk, like that would be. And I, Colleen and I have to have a talk about in the past, we’ve not gone to this often because we often have other things going on Labor Day weekend, and this year it might not be right.

And so I wouldn’t mind spending again in the company of Manson’s, 150 of us or something like that, playing games, goofing off enjoying each other’s conversation and stuff like that. And I’ll probably do either. Like my drinking from the fire hose talk, you know about, there’s so much stuff out there.

How do you choose what you’re gonna read so that in the course of your life you took a good shot at reading the best of the best, watching the best, playing the best, et cetera. And that, that I am enjoying doing that talk because as I find more and more lists and sources, it’s like now I gotta follow this.

I’ve only done 70 out of a hundred here. It means 30 cool things I get to explore. Yeah. I made a discovery.

Stephen: I’m doing this fall right now. I’m scheduled in Aurora to do the video game storytelling workshop twice. Very good. And I believe also possibly up in Lakewood at the rec center.

Cause there’s not a lot of rec centers in the area that have classes and adult type things any longer. Back in the nineties I used to teach a keyboard class and they were all over, you could contact any rec center and get, but now it’s pick and choose cuz there’s only a few.

Lakewood I’m on the list to be talked, get on the schedule and get more info. So I might be up at your area doing that class.

Alan: And you wanna be in, in moral support. Exactly. That’d

Stephen: be cool. And all the stuff in The Western Pennsylvania, maybe I’ll go to Weem again.

I went last year and had a really good time. And I really Weem cuz it’s longer and I like the bigger, longer ones.

Alan: Okay. As I recall last year, there was a lady there that was like, really interested in you as that

Stephen: cooled. I don’t hear you talking. Yeah. A little bit. Yeah. That’s a outside the podcast story to bring that up on the

Alan: podcast.

Exactly. Yeah. You seem to be having a nice time. And then, I don’t know, I just, I wanted to maybe celebrate who was doing well, but sometimes there’s weekend relationships versus forever

Stephen: relationship. Yeah. Let’s put it this way. I’ve learned from the past, so how’s that?

Alan: Okay. That, and that’s, boy Col and I had conversations about this recently that, we, she and I really get along pretty well except that apparently I’m a bad driver.

But anyway and actually I’m not, but she has sensitivities that I’m now having to. Incorporate that into my driving so that if the kind of vision that she has is that anything that’s alongside you looms as if it’s coming towards you. I don’t want her to be scared while I’m driving. I want her to be relaxed and enjoy our little vacations.

And so having said that, somehow that’s also come up for, what has it been like that, when there’s been, and I have had past relationships and sometimes those things surfaced early, and then when you see how drastic it is, it’s wow, I don’t know that I want to like totally transform myself.

I’m for someone to work on I’m already me. I’m pretty happy. That’s who I am. And so you get a chance to see how much of that is them or you and how much you’re willing to, I don’t know, change, compromise. Compromise isn’t changing 180 degrees, people are really good at being.

Stubborn and persistent, and it’s I don’t want to have everything be a conflict, right? I don’t wanna continue to talk about how it could be better and different. Maybe we could just go see a movie and now, anyway. Anyway.

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah, but so if I come, it’ll be me. That’s fine. I’m good with that.

So I love, we, I love the Western Pennsylvania one. I’d love to go to an ag. It’s been many years. Last time I went, the kids were both still in school, so that’s been a couple years. Kansas

Alan: City is next year, two years after that, Chicago. So maybe nice and close and it’ll be a blowout. Chicago has always done a great RG and I, they’re actually, they’re not trying to take the people that are doing Halloween and bring ’em into this entirely because it’ll burn ’em out.

And then Halloween will suffer. That’s what kept it outta Chicago for decades. And they’re trying to find the compromise to have it not be that case. But, Just that, if you’re looking for something that’s within reasonable driving distance, Baltimore might have been, Chicago will be, et

Stephen: cetera, et cetera.

The last time I drove to Kansas I was helping somebody move and nobody else, everybody’s afraid to drive the big moving truck. So it was me and it was during a blizzard snowstorm in Kansas and I had a broken right hand from martial arts. So it was a trip and a half, let me tell you exactly.

Alan: I fond memories.

I see. Exactly. Yeah. We had some weather on the way there and if you’re already, like construction often happens around the 4th of July, so it’s already got the concrete up and then you throw some rain in and then you throw some trucks outta the road cuz it, it just, it was really paying attention.

At length for a while, and then you get to where you’re out of it and you gotta peel your hands off of the steering wheel. You didn’t realize how much you were white knuckling it. It’s not scary, but you’re just, you’re really making sure that you’ve got quick reactions.

You’re primed to do the thing if it’s necessary.

Stephen: The bridge up in Michigan the big bridge that goes to the upper peninsula area, I’ve driven that a couple times and it’s never swamped. It’s not like bumper to bumper and people aren’t doing 3 million miles an hour. But when I’m like going like this and I’m like, oh God, it feels like everybody’s like this, and I’m like, ah, how come these lanes, they’re narrow. They shouldn’t be this narrow.

Alan: We we can end the cast with this. We moved my younger brother from San Diego to Kalamazoo when he was gonna be doing his grad school and put a whole bunch of stuff in the truck and we’re going over one of those big bridges that even before he get on the bridge, it says gusty winds.

Be careful. And you’re in a truck where it wasn’t like totally full, so it was bottom heavy. But the truck is acting like a sail. And I am getting moved like a little bit outta my lane. Yeah. And Bruce goes, yeah, what’s going on? It’s Bruce, I am not trying to scare you. I am turning the wheel like 45 degrees to stay in my lane because the wind wants to take me over the side.

And I was luckily in the middle, so it wasn’t like I was bumping up against the guardrail, but man, that was the most scared I’ve ever been. Maybe the mokey dog way. That was another, I think I’ve told you about that, where we’re going down a series of hairpins on like pressed gravel and like one mistake, and we’re just, we did not, nothing happened, but while you’re doing it man, I just don’t want to die.

Stupid. Yeah. I don’t wanna

Stephen: die. I driving to Michigan once to go see the in-laws years ago. There’s a bridge on 80 that, it’s like the first bridge leaving from here. It’s within an hour or something, and it’s just, you turn a little bit and then it’s, a couple football fields long, but it’s like high.

It’s like nothing around you. Exactly. There’s the whole valley below. Yeah. And the one time it was just super windy. I was in my Mustang, I was alone. And I’m driving and there was someone going way slower. So I moved over the left lane to go around them and as I go around them, a wind gust caught me and suddenly I’m in the right lane again.

And I’m like, oh my God, did that just happen? Get me off this bridge. Get me off this bridge. Exactly.

Alan: I I have been to Key West by having stopped there on a cruise ship and, but I still wanna go there cuz Colleen and I were like, we’d like to, Hey, have a little list of things. I wanna go to the farthest north, south, east, west of the United States and maybe it won’t ever happen.

North really, because we’re not going all the way to the top of Alaska. But having said that, like going out to Key West and doing that for an hour on those bridges where there’s nothing but water on the sides. I’m gonna have to be like, I hope I can do that. I don’t have a problem with driving and yet there’s a little bit of like weird highway hypnosis or something that goes on.

It’s like this

Stephen: really is, there’s nothing underneath Yeah. For miles. Exactly.

Alan: Yeah. There’s not nothing. There’s very convenient sharks in the water. Oh

Stephen: yeah. Some alligators if you’re close to land, some alligators. Exactly. When I worked on the cruise ship, we were based out of Key West. Okay. Okay.

That was a fun time.

Alan: We Colleen’s retired. Her birthday is this week and I swung two punch. I got her some cone of coffee because she’s a coffee hound. And just that some nice little things, Amazon having Prime day, it’s like really what I want is nice things for my wife. Not all the prime Day special, so please stop trying to make me buy the latest Koi rig or whatever

Stephen: else.

And I must say the prime day specials seem a little less and a little disappointing to me this year. I’m glancing through the list, I’m going, eh, there’s nothing really that’s screaming out to me that’s oh my God, that’s a great deal. Right?

Alan: We might be getting good Lord to enough capital, enough.

You know what I mean? I got the TV that I want. I got the, we don’t have a Roomba yet, but I don’t know that we’re gonna get one cuz we’re in a three level house and it’s.

Teaching how to go down the stairs? I don’t think so.

Stephen: I, my Kindle, the screen is all cracked. It still works fine, but the screen is cracked, so I’m like maybe I’ll replace it. And it’s just one of the cheaper seven inch ones, because all I use it for is podcasts, and reading books occasionally.

So I don’t need anything super, but I’m looking at my going, man, that thing is like on sale. It’s about as much as what it used to be without being on sale. And I’m just like, man, I don’t know better. That’s,

Alan: that’s some things I’m getting to that point of replacement where it’s wow, for 80 bucks, 200 bucks, whatever else it might be for certain things I know I’ll get five years out of it.

That’s not a lot. Five years for an 80 bucks thing is 16 bucks a year. That seems like nothing to get a really nice state-of-the-art device. Even though I have loyalty to my things, as you and I have both talked about, it’s still working. It’s still working fine. Why would I abandon it? Because this guy’s got faster.

Stephen: What. Whatever it might be. I’m doing that with my phone right now. My phone works fine. I’ve had it for a little over two years. It’s a three year old model, but it’s getting loose on the charger, so I’m like, okay, let’s see what’s out there. I’m very impressed. This is a lower end Samsung, but they upgraded the OS from version 12 to 13.

You don’t get that a lot. Usually they stay within the OS and I’m like, what’s out there? I went and looked and my screen is just as big as almost everything out there. I have just as much memory and the cost of for the bigger ones is like a thou, I’m like, I’m not paying a thousand dollars to get one more version of OS because honestly, Google, Android OS versions are not so changed that I have to have the next one.

Alan: That’s right. As I mentioned or whatever multiple podcasts go about the worldwide developer conference, that Apple really does seem to add. Not only evolutionary, but revolutionary things once in a while. And so that’s how they lure you to get the latest thing. And usually it isn’t that only the latest thing can make use of it, but th that on the nicer screen, the faster CPU and stuff like that, it can be persuasive.

And I don’t know, $300 is America’s Sure. Why not point 700 is the that’s funny. Yeah. You know what I mean? That’s like a tbi, exactly. Exactly. Gotta crack that. Alright. Okay, man. Okay. See you in a week. We’re

Stephen: back on schedule. Yep. Tell Colleen happy

Alan: birthday. I will. Thanks.

Always a pleasure.

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