Stephen: All right. We got the great wall going on there. Nice colors. I thought you went to Toronto.

Alan: Yes, but I wanted, I was looking for the most fall that I could get and this was a nice orange. I’ll tell you driving up to Toronto not as much color driving back down already. Wonderful orange, yellow, red just we, Colleen and I have a couple things planned now to go to.

There’s a place called Pine River Gorge. If I remember right, it’s in the middle of Pennsylvania. That is their Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. And what really matters, of course, is it has beautiful fall colors and so does Shenandoah and so does upstate Michigan. So we have a couple little forays planned, probably just day trips, but just while.

While this is happening, I really love these colors and these displays and stuff like that. And there’s a famous quote along the lines of, autumn is where a second spring where every leaf is a flower. And that’s really, I just love it. I love there’s something very cool about as you drive along.

Seeing like the deep green of a conifer against the brighter colors and especially where it’s a mixed forest. So it’s really like a cool dotted random pattern. It’s just a burst of color like this.

Stephen: Well, on our property, we’ve got mostly pine trees. So a couple of the leaves turn yellow and fall, but most of them are stay green.

Alan: Okay. We actually seek it out, Lakewood is a big tree city. I think it’s one of those that is a tree city, USA, whatever that designation means. And so already probably a month ago, we already had one tree in particular. There was a big fireball of red. It’s I guess fall is coming early.

And so

Stephen: anyway, fall has arrived. All has arrived and

Alan: do we talk about this last time real quick, they have, they’re so sophisticated now with the data that they’ve collected and weather maps and past history maps that they actually, you can go online and where they show like the line of really.

Peak leaf post leaf kind of descending through the United States. And then there’s places where because of elevation, it’s earlier or later. And I just love that we can actually pull that map up and say, this weekend or this Wednesday, sure looks like going to Chautauqua in New York is a great idea.

And the fact that And, I don’t know, when I was growing up, he just knew October, you go around Illinois and Wisconsin and know that it’d be pretty, but you couldn’t really have this perfect pinpoint accuracy in terms of location and timing. And it’s another way in which computers have made the world better, that’s just so nice to have this knowledge. So anyway,

Stephen: yes, so let me start off. I ran into our friend, John Bruning, who’s been on the show. Yeah, he’s been on my Discovered Wordsmith. We were both at an author event together, which was a pretty cool event in a lot of ways. But shout out to John.

So the first thing he did, he says, I have a bone to pick with you. Okay, nice to see you, John. And he goes, what is this? I get on your guys’s show. We’re talking about. Pulps and we talk about new pulps and I say my books are longer and you’re like, Yeah, that makes sense blah blah blah and then you go to pulp fest and the first thing you say is Shouldn’t pulps be shorter and smaller and alan’s Yeah, and i’m like you guys just told me that mine were fine and then you go and say that and i’m like I was laughing.

I said we do enjoy your books and you had some great books But the original pulps really were Shorter and thinner and smaller, and I said in your books aren’t even the biggest one that one guy with king kong Who has a short story in a flinch? Publication mythology, right?

Yeah. Yeah. He had 350 page king kong book. I’m like, you know i’m like so maybe you really do need to embrace new pulps and then it covers it because Old pulps are thin, but new pulps aren’t. And he’s yeah, whatever. So shout out to John who has great books and everybody should go read them.

And we’re just joshing with you. And I think he knows that we had a good time up at that.

Alan: Exactly. I don’t, of course I never, I never remember our conversations perfectly, but I thought that it wasn’t so much whether it’s better or not. It’s just that old pulps really were, they were meant to be disposable things.

You buy them off the newsstand. You read them like. It was an overnight or a couple days and they were meant to be fast paced, hard hitting disposable, if you will. And the fact that he writes better books, that there’s more characterization and stuff like that. It’s Hey, Neopulp, maybe we learned that pulps don’t have to be disposable.

You can still embrace those wonderful themes of heroism and a team of people working together. And, his midnight guardian books, again, shout out to them. I really enjoy them. He really gets what makes pulp books good and the villainy and the mystery and the, and everything else. Please folks, don’t think that you’re going to be grabbing a tome and reading a thousand pages.

Steven Donaldson never gets to the fricking point. We can start naming the authors. They write. So wait, that, it really does affect the pleasure of reading. Colleen really likes John Irving, and once in a while she’ll be like I’m enjoying this book, but it’s a slog, , there’s just so much going on.

Whereas Kurt Monica was very good about seeing what you want to say. Just saying it not, I don’t know, elaborate prose and stuff like that. It’s still beautifully written, just not. Overly done.

Stephen: Oh, so he just shouted out. I told him I’d give him a shout out and correct the sentence.

And hopefully everyone goes out and gets midnight guardian for Christmas for everyone. There you go.

Alan: Exactly. And, the anthologies that he’s contributing to from flinch books. I love the fact that part of what makes a good author to me is that they’re not only I wrote a book and then I wrote the same book 30 more times.

It’s great that they can switch genres. And so he can write in the Western world and the horror world in our world. He’s really good. And so are many of his collaborators and they, as anthologizers are really good. When I’ve read the sometimes anthologies are based on, Hey, if we can snag one short story by a name, we can just trowel the rest of the stuff in there, and people will still buy the book.

And instead I have found any number of for instance the wild cards books, which is where George r. Martin went before he had such incredible success with by some fire, they were really Even many of the stories were very good. What I like about an album is where it’s not the hits and then a bunch of filler, but where they really found a whole bunch of people that understood what the anthology is about.

The thieves world books by aspirin or others. There were maybe not the entire series was like that, but there were any number of books. It was like 12 different authors. And yet. Every single one of them was good, just from different perspectives, different writing styles, different characters being involved.

So I like the fact that they seem to also have taste as editors, as anthologizers, they’re really good at finding people. And maybe you’ve had that experience with some of the horror things you’ve contributed to. Have you found that you’re in good company, that most of what you read besides what you contributed has

Stephen: been of quality?

Yes. I think so, but of course, like you said, it’s hard to do an anthology where everybody likes every story. The one, the witch’s one that I was in, my book was suitable for middle grade. It wasn’t a middle grade story per se, but there was nothing in it that middle grade couldn’t read.

And the focus character grew throughout was.

Others that were darker, there was a romance, there was an LGBTQ story. So you’re, with that wide a range, you’re not going to get every person pick up that anthology as well. Every one of these stories is wonderful. Yes. They’re going to read some and go, yeah, I don’t like this story.

Alan: But sometimes that seems to be a matter of what their taste as a person is not their judgment of the quality.

Exactly. You know what I mean? Because just that there, there could be a really great romance and there really can be lame romance.

Stephen: Okay. Yeah. So the other great thing there was some fun stuff at this, there were like 50 some authors.

Alan: Oh, it’s a big one, right? The Ohio independent book.

I’m trying to think what the exact title was. Yeah. Book expo.

Stephen: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So it was fun. It was nice. But what was cool that I love there is a lady, it started her husband and her started this independent bookmobile, essentially, they bought a. a panel truck like an old U Haul and they’re getting independent books to stock it up with and it’s not, George R.

R. Martin or Stephen King. It’s indies that they run into that are at these types of things, trying to encourage people to read indie books and of course I’m all for that, I’m moving to I went out to talk to him, but this was like, wow I’m not sure what to say now, because when they were advertising it showed a picture of the bookmobile and her husband and talked about what they were doing and stuff.

And I go out to see about it. And there was another guy there says, I’m just running it right now. She’s inside. And I’m like, oh, I, I wanted to talk about, find out about blah, blah, blah. Hello.

Alan: Oh, you froze up there for a minute.


Stephen: Okay. Anyway. So he says yeah. Unfortunately her husband just died recently and I’m like, wow, that’s horrible.

I wanted to go talk and, oh, this is great. And now it’s I feel, but she’s still doing it. So kudos to her. So I donated some books. She’s we’ll fill out the forms and do commission. I’m like, Come on, this is three books. It costs me 12 or something like that.

So here, if it helps the indie bookmobile, if people buy my book and leave me a review wonderful, so I’m more than happy to donate. And then the other cool thing was the guy that was running it for her that day. He does skunk rescue, and he had a deep scented skunk with him that I got to pick up and hold and pet, and it was most adorable thing.

It just snuggled right up in my neck, and I was petting it. It didn’t freak out or claw me. It was like a big kitty just, I was petting it. Nice coarse fur, a little bit of a musky scent. He said they’re really actually closer to ferrets than you would think. And I was like, wow, there’s

Alan: give off mosque, besides this think sacks that they can spray and stuff like that, they just have musk glands everywhere.

And that’s how they mark their territory, right? I have in college that had ferrets and you didn’t have to wonder whether they had ferrets, right? They had the scent on them a lot. Yes. Yeah.

Stephen: So that was really cool. And he had a baby squirrel. I got to hold a baby squirrel that he rescued. And so I was like, okay I need to help support him when I can too.

Yeah, it was a good day, really an

Alan: interesting, uncommon thing. Like how often do you go to make little noises for a skunk. You usually steer well clear of a skunk because you don’t want to have to take a bath in tomato juice or whatever the tails solutions are, so that’s interesting.

You can close, I

Stephen: hear they make wonderful pets once you can get. Get them from a baby and get rid of the scent glands. Here they make great pets. It was fun, Colin was jealous. Skunks are one of his favorite animals. So he was very jealous of that. I didn’t have an

Alan: idea as to, like you said, course for, I didn’t know if they were furry, like an otter where the fur is so dense that it’s actually very smooth because that more course, and that’s as a side note, everybody sees these means like an otter, just a rabbit otter.

Just bit somebody like dozens of times. And in my idea, otters are like the crowd clown princes of the animal kingdom. They’re totally cute. And they roll and tumble around on each other. And I’m always picturing if I ever met an otter, that they’d be doing that up on my shoulder and trip, that kind of stuff.

And now, unfortunately they can get crazy, like any other animal from rabies. And then they go nuts,

Stephen: you gotta watch those cute white killer bunny rabbits, you know that? Speaking of no, our October 27th. John Cleese is coming to the Ohio theater or something like that. I believe that’s, I didn’t

Alan: get tickets for that yet because we’ve seen him once before doing these, show the movie or the show and then comment on it and stuff like that.

And I really like him as a speaker, but I think if I’m trying to remember exactly what Halloween is, if it’s Wednesday night, it’s we’re already leaving Thursday. There was just a confluence of, instead of jumping on it, I’ve held back on, are we going to do it or not? And maybe we will, but.

I think Python, it’s

Stephen: I think it’s a Friday night, the same weekend as Halloween.

Alan: That’s why I won’t be going.

Stephen: Yeah. And I can’t make it the Halloween this year because animals and other people won’t be around to take care of them. So I might go to this for the night. Okay.

Alan: That’s, we just had like us we just were in Toronto, as for 10 days and it was amazing how many other cool things were happening here in Cleveland while we were out of town.

You know what I mean? We miss clinda was on their ware farewell tour and had to miss that. I don’t wanna go into the litany because it’s painful, but sometimes that’s what happens. You make a, put a stake in the ground and then you find out, oh, There’s even, we’re going to have tickets to go see Ryan Hamilton or Jimmy Carr, if I remember right, and it’s exactly the same night as another great comedian that we’d like to see.

And like, why don’t you guys cooperate and coordinate your schedules? You know what I mean? I can see if it’s a comedian versus a dramatic performance or something, but really you’re going to put two comedians on exactly the same night within 10 miles

Stephen: of each other. Oh we get that a lot. With Colin with the comic and toy shows that they really watch that they don’t overlap a whole lot, except there’s this one down in Florida that’s been trying to knock out some of the other ones.

So it’s been at literally on the same weekend on purpose. So then it makes it hard for the vendors.

Alan: Yeah, I think it’s funny. You should say exactly that. I’m going to Prague stock this weekend, which is a progressive rock thing in New Jersey. And I have often gone to Prague Tober fest in Chicago for their thing.

And by October fest people who I, Kevin, who I got to know relatively good, Kevin Pollack was actually talking about. Why in the world are they coming too close to us? Why in the world wouldn’t they say, how about like first and third or first and fourth weekend in October, instead of directly competing?

Because you’re competing not only for attendees, but for the artists. And if you have it close enough, then people will come over from England and go to one and then the other, and you can encourage the tour. But if you have exactly the same weekend and they got to make a choice, why in the world are you hurting each other?

There’s only so much in a particular sub genre. Of like ticket money to go around and there really was competition where it was obviously meant to be head to head and nasty instead of cooperative.

Stephen: What I mean? You’re right. That stuff doesn’t make sense. So many times I’ve seen things like that and I’m like Are you guys just idiots?

We’re like, Oh it’s, we could branch out on this topic. That’s our culture and the American attitude. I’m better than you. So I’m going to beat you and I’m gonna hurt both of us instead of, Hey, you know what? We could both survive and help each other, and we think about this with the soaps and stuff that we’re selling.

We’re like, you know what? Instead of competing against these other vendors, like the cookie guy and stuff like that, it’s Hey let’s talk. If someone buys cookies we’ll give them a discount on soap. Or if they buy soap, give us a coupon that we’ll send them over for cookies or, instead of that competition.

Alan: Yeah. So a couple of things real quick. I actually, at one point at a Cincinnati RG, went to a similar bookmobile that you had talked about. And one of the things I loved about it, this was a lady. I don’t think it’s the same thing. I think it’s one down there versus up here. I made a point of buying stuff from her because I want to support her efforts and independent authors and so forth.

But what was really cool about what you’ll read about librarians, you can walk into a librarian and say, there was this book I read 40 years ago, and it had somebody in a red shirt. And they’ll go, Oh, you’re talking about Dandy Goes to Town. And she was encyclopedic in her knowledge of what she carried.

And so I said, it was early December, so perfect for Christmas shopping. Hey, my wife likes these authors, these kinds of books. And she like started pulling things off the shelf. She might like this. She might like this. And I really got. Books I never would have found on my own, that I gave her, just under that thing of, Hey Pook, someone recommended these wonderful things for you, hope you like them.

And she said that every single one of the ones, maybe three out of four, were just what she would have wanted to read, but no way you would have stumbled onto them. So no matter what’s going on with Amazon taking over the world and all the various different recommendation engines and stuff like that.

There still really is nothing like you and me or Bookmobile Lady saying, Hey, if you liked the boys, then you’ll also probably like this series, not just Gen V because it’s the obvious successor or prequel or whatever. I just love that. I love that. We can’t lose sight of the fact that learned opinion, good taste is really something that ain’t going to do real quick.

Oh, recommendations have come real close, but I know that when Netflix had the Netflix prize that they said, can people rate things and they say, can you predict, use what you know about people’s ratings to predict things that we could recommend to people. So it’ll be.

More and more true, and they were able to bump it like by two or 3 percent not by 50 percent that maybe because films themselves are multi genre, there’s all kinds of things going on, but that it’s really hard, like to, figure out. From past things, what future things might be, and that may be really hard is not the right way to say it.

It’s not a given. You really have to get like your, the data set that you start from someone might say like I did my wife likes these, how about these authors and how about these things? And she was able to make wonderful, quick connections in her mighty brain to get to that. Whereas depending on how you’re training things on various different data sets Usually the more data the better.

Though you can overtrain certain algorithms, but you really have to have statistics, have to run the show to get you to what’s the statistically significant amount of data that I have to make it so that my prediction is statistically valid. And for a person that’s three, and for an algorithm, it’s like 3000.

And I’m just. We’re jumping into AI, but that’s one of the things that I’m noticing is that we, of course, we have people talking about, hey, let’s not get dangerous and those kinds of things. But in some ways, it’s just. The practicality of don’t discount how mighty our brains are that we really make we’re very good at soft fuzzy logic amorphous things, and that sometimes when even just say, tell me a movie that unless you told me about it, I would never know about it.

But you thought it was really cool. And people can pop things out immediately like that. But what kind of. Selection criteria is that how does a movie, how does an algorithm judge? This movie is obscure. I guess it could look for days. It was in the theater and amount of copies that it sold or something like that.

But people have a feel for whenever I try to talk about this movie, nobody’s ever heard of it. So I know it’s obscure. I got my own little test set going. I haven’t talked. And that’s just with regular people, but with other film buffs, there’s actually something about. How people work, if I’m talking to someone who’s really knowledgeable about movies, like if I was right, if I was able to ever say anything about Star Wars that you didn’t already know, I would be amazed and it would make me feel like warm glow inside of Oh my God, I brought something to Steve’s table, Stephen’s table that I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t even bet that I could, things going on there.

Stephen: Speaking of that you mentioned the new Star Wars series, the Ahsoka show. I don’t know if you’ve watched it, but Alan, this has been some of the best Star Wars ever. Not just in the last couple ever. It has been so good but It’s really only best if you know what came before it, and that’s the Clone Wars cartoons and the Rebels cartoon, not just the movies.

Because Ahsoka’s story was in the Clone Wars cartoon, continued in the Rebels cartoon, and this is like the third part of all of


Alan: The live action after the cartoons have gone, exactly. Yes,

Stephen: and there’s so many things in the show that are referenced. From the cartoons and they’re not beating you over the head, explaining everything.

They’re just assuming, what’s going on. So I’ve heard so many people come I have no idea who these people are, but they’re acting like they’ve been in here forever. And then you get the real star Wars geeks going. Yeah. You need to watch the clone wars and rebels cartoon idiots. And people are just complaining and I’m a star Wars fan.

I don’t know what’s going on. No, you’re not. If you I don’t watch cartoons. You really should because the stories are fantastic and this show is just wonderful. It looks so good. The story has been so good. It’s so Star Wars, yeah. And they do new technology. They have those new wraparound effects screens.

I don’t know. I think we may have talked about those instead of just a green screen. It’s literally a movie. Screen that they’re running behind the actors acting so it looks really good. The lightsabers is new technology. It’s not just drawn on. It’s actually a glowing sword that they’re holding and then they enhance it with CGI.

So it has real

Alan: weight when they move. That’s fantastic. I have read many reviews. It’s funny only because we’ve been visiting with other things. Have I not watched it yet? So I, and I know you had mentioned before that you really thought it was great. So I kind of segue boy through that your way.

So you’d have a chance to glow about it, but I really, some series are based on, it’s an entry point for new watchers and they make a point of maybe explaining a little bit more at having not be other things are for. True fans, and they really do make all the references and all the Easter eggs and whatever else it might be so that people can say the Star Wars universe is big.

And because I’m one of the ones that’s watched everything, I can really appreciate what’s going on. There’s some rewards so that’s very good.

Stephen: Okay. And David Tennant does the droids voice. That guy gets around, doesn’t he? That guy gets around. He is so good in it. There’s been a couple.

surprises. And Thrawn is in it. If you know who Thrawn is. I do not. See, Thrawn came from some Timothy Zahn books back in the day and became a huge character, but then he’s only ever been in the cartoons. So if you haven’t watched the cartoons, you have no idea who Thrawn is and why we’re. We’re why he’s in this other galaxy and why we’re trying to get to that other galaxy.

And what are these big space whales that Ahsoka is on? And who is this droid that’s talking about knowing Anakin and Obi Wan and every, who is this droid? It’s all in the cartoon. So yeah.

Alan: And actually I really do love that. I love. Like bumping into something and finding out that there is a whole bunch of backstory and sometimes I like to watch things in order.

So maybe I should put off watching this new thing until I watch all those. But sometimes it’s really nice to watch the thing and then go and back, watch those other things and say, Oh, that’s what they were talking about. This is that guy. And sometimes it’s an old young versus an old version. Or whatever else it might be, but I, the mind makes mosaics out of things.

It takes all those different pieces and puts it into the pattern. And sometimes it’s very satisfying to read new and then go back and fill it in. It’s like that explains everything.

Stephen: Yeah. Very good. Yeah. We did that. How many not you got everything from the game in order, but how many times when I was younger discover a comic book and it’s this is 168.

Now I got to find these other ones and read the story, you

Alan: know. That’s right. It’s funny. Doc Savage was exactly like that for me. When I discovered those paperbacks on the racks, there was a great bomb of covers. It was already up to I think number 66 since you’re saying 168. And I love finding out like, wow, now there’s a treasure hunt that I can do.

Now I got to go find those things. And then the interesting, but frustrating thing for me was. So I go back and I start finding all the Bantam things, and it really was a treasure hunt. There were some things that were so hard to find. Number 19, Pirate of the Pacific, was just impossible to find anywhere.

And then, after you start, I started reading them, and especially though I had started reading with number 66, when I got like number 1 through 12 were reprinted. And so it’s great, I can go back to the start and get all the, and then you read something you like. Number three, that’s like they’re talking about this isn’t right.

I haven’t read about and it has to be a number one or two. And then you find out that they had published them out of order. Let’s tie it back to the pulps. So Bantam was the devil in terms of, if I remember right, like number one and number two were the first two published, and then the number three paperback published was like number 68 in the pulps,

Stephen: it really covered years.

Alan: I don’t know. Pulse were virtually weekly or bi weekly then, so not years, but multiple issues, if you will, number 68. And then you find that you see how they’re jumping around. And at one point, me being me, I not only had the banter paperbacks lined up, I had made a little like the real number on a sticker and put it on the sides so that when I found the new ones, I really tried to read them in order.

And only once Oftentimes I could wait while I was looking for the other one and read them in order. Sometimes I was just, no, I need a doc, I got to read a doc. And so I would move forward knowing that I was still missing number seven in the real order, and I would find it eventually. So that cool thing of being rewarded, and also like that, all you talked about was Star Wars, that it was like, I was so happy when I It’s like scratching an itch you had for years that you finally read the thing.

That’s where Ham first got his pet pig. This is the book. Finally, I guess this is the origin of, Ham and Monk each had A, a pet of to mock the other. They were wonderful bickering rivals. And so one had a little ape and one had a pig. Anyway, . It’s

Stephen: good. For speaking of that, just reminded me so the Loki show starts this week, the season two, so that’ll be exciting.

But also over this past weekend there was a Hall of Fame City Comic Con in Canton. Colin was ecstatic because he got to moderate a speaker asking questions and that Ron Mars, who created Kyle Rayner, who is Colin’s absolute favorite. Green Lantern. So he was ecstatic. He got to sit up there and talk to Ron Mars.

It was funny because I was sitting up front and they come walking through and Colin’s Oh Ron, this is my dad. And I’m like, Hey, how are you doing? Nice to meet you and stuff. And he goes, Oh, nice to meet you. And we’re chatting a bit. I had my deaf leopard hat on. He goes, Oh, leopard.

That’s my favorite. So me and him are talking classic rock and Colin’s kind of my dad just stole my idol. I was like, oops, then he’s up there talking about, what he’s done lately. And he has been writing one of the 10, 10, I’ve brought this up many times, but 10 story writers on the new Diablo four, they have 10 people dedicated to writing the story, the anthology history and everything of that Diablo four.

And when I’ve talked about this before, the guy I talked to, Evan Skolnick, who did a couple games, it was like, there’s one or two of us. Now we’re up to these, they’re hiring ten people to, and that’s all Ron does is write story.

Alan: Because the mythology is huge now. It’s it’s funny. I am a little bit when am I going to have to buy a Windows box so that I can play Diablo 4 because it won’t even run on my Mac.

And eventually. Parallels will catch up and that’s what I should, I’m going to have to get something because I’m jones. And I really, I love playing Diablo two and three have played far too many carpal tunnel amount of time, with killing things. And I, when will I finally break down? You know what I mean?

Because I, it’s funny boy. Please go

Stephen: ahead. I was going to say you can get an Xbox, a used Xbox one for 160, maybe 200. And there’s a lot less. That you have to worry about running it, if you have another machine, it’s just true.

Alan: Yeah.

Stephen: And then, we, and then I’ll friend you and we can play some of these games together.

I’ll get online and play with you.

Alan: We, we have talked about what a rabbit hole that’ll be going down. It’s like, all right, we’re going to play every Wednesday night forever. You know what I mean?

Stephen: So real quick with Ron. Oh, I’m sorry with Ron when he was talking, who got him into the job with Diablo 4?

My friend, Evan Skolnick. He, they know each other. So I was like, small world. I emailed Evan said, Hey, I ran into Ron. He says hello. And I told Ron, I said, I know Evan. So I got to talk to him at the table for a while with video game stuff, which was cool. Of course. I’m not a big, let me get signatures guy.

And after that, I’m like, crap. So I went over to Adam’s booth, found a comic that Ron had done and bought it and took it over from the sign. So I can stand there and talk to him about video games a little bit more.

Alan: Exactly. Boy, a bunch of things there, I don’t even know that they’ll remember this way long ago.

I was in a Mac user group in Chicago called the rest of us. And it was the biggest thing in the city. We really had tons of members and we used to have speakers from all through the Mac. We had no lie, the guy Kawasaki, who was Apple’s first evangelist. We had Bill Gates when Microsoft office came out for the Max.

Getting Bill Gates as a speaker was a big get back then. It was really cool. We used to have the boys from Bungie. They started off like one of the first network games that had such low lag that you really could play it on shared Macs, even the back then it wasn’t even Ethernet.

It was on Apple talk. If I remember

Stephen: Oh my gosh. Another special cable.

Alan: Another cable. So oftentimes we would have them for our Christmas meeting because they almost always had either a new game or an extension to an existing game. So it was pathways into that it was marathon and all kinds of good stuff.

And I, if I remember having a conversation with them going to story like they had thrown names of mythical weapons like Mjolnir and Gungnir and stuff into that. And I was like, I read a lot of Norse mythology and like you guys are like playing fast and loose with what these things are really supposed to be capable of.

And so I was like, I’d be happy to help. You know what I mean? You don’t need to pay me any, anything. Just if you want to have me bring me in to talk about the world that you’re creating here. And they were doing an interesting combination of what it did with, Quake and stuff back then, master boss, master chef, whatever else it might be, they were doing their own version of that, but they had all kinds of Mixed mythology, if you will.

It’s like there’s nothing wrong with mixing between mythologies and folklores, but you can’t make Loki act like Someone who’s not Loki, you can’t just grab a name or you shouldn’t at least. And so we never went beyond that talk with me. And back then everybody in Bungie was named Jason.

There’s two main guys for Jason, right? This is going so back, but even my memories are fuzzy because, sometimes when you have a conversation where there’s a hundred people at the meeting and everybody that they’re all chattering and asking questions and stuff like that, I don’t always remember who said what.

Or all that kind of stuff. But I remember this thing of, it would be better if you really did have a little bit of, don’t just grab a name that you happen to see in a book, be true to it. Go with the background because it’s got, anyway, that enough about that. Anybody who has done like the Ron Mars type stuff, he’s got to be coming in knowing there’s already Diablo mythology, the book that he has to follow.

But Diablo 4 is a big expansion. So you can do things, and this is, comic books in general. His skills as a comic book writer came in very handy there because you’re always coming into that situation of, I’m not the first guy to do this. Sometimes you are with, you create a character and the whole universe that you’re going to have it play in.

But most of the time, if you work for the big two, the big five. You got a there’s a continuity cop that’s going to say that’s not what Green Lantern would do any Green Lantern. You know what I mean? So it’s it must have been boy. I would love to have been there for some of those conversations.

That’s cool. There

Stephen: was some really good talks. Colin was like, wow, there’s some good stuff. I only made it for that 1 because we were doing our we were set up somewhere else. But he was a great guy, and people are and this is the thing. First of all, bungee, this shows you how the video game industry keeps changing.

Bungee was huge back in the late eighties, early nineties. If a bungee game was coming out, man, people were getting it lighting up. Yeah. And now they’re gone. That’s just how things have changed. Electronic arts back in the eighties made a declaration. They were going to be an all Omega, all Commodore Omega company.

Everything because Commodore Amiga is the future we have for four or five years. Maybe, electronic guards is a completely different company than they were in the eighties. They were hippies back then. Now it’s a big corporation. So

Alan: it’s, Bungie got bought by Microsoft, as you might remember.

And I got a feeling that’s If you’re, if these guys were wacky they really were, they were very young. They were like out of high school. I think they’d heard college because they were doing this company. They had when Dave and I, good, my good friend, Dave Addis we did a lot of stuff for the Mac users group together.

We, we went a couple of times to help play test their games. They, we got to be friends enough that they would invite us into that cool inner circle of this is really alpha, this isn’t even beta. So we’d go to their office, and what could young guys bound for adventure afford? Worst section of the south side of Chicago, one of these things where, it’s a building and it has like razor wire around the fence around the parking lot, because otherwise you would come out and find that your car had been broken into.

It was really a bad area. And so I going in there and what would have nothing but Crap snacks on the shelves. Nothing but this is before Red Bull. So I think it was like Mountain Dew and whatever the most caffeinated available drinks were back then. And a startup, the tables were like doors put on top of cinder blocks.

It was just classic and Sometimes you like you walk in. It even smells like a stand up. It smells like someone spilled Mountain Dew here. It smells like people have worked, 24 hours and maybe forgot to shower for a while because they were so much into what they were doing. I’ve never, I think I mentioned I did some stuff for Play Doh and stuff like that, but I’ve never gotten into the cool deep coding of a Twitch game of a fast response and big world.

So I, I believe me my little thing about, Hey, you should make Mjolnir be more like Mjolnir so much. They did it all themselves. Whatever Dave and I might’ve contributed would have been the tiniest little tweaks compared to these beautiful things that they created. They did a game called I think myth, right?

Where it was. We me and my younger brother’s friends used to get, I had an office where I was developing Gambit my artificial intelligence way back then based trading systems, and we used to get together for Friday night Until dawn on Saturday parties, we had a big conference room and everybody would bring their various different machines in everybody had copies of myth.

We would have the same thing, Doritos and powder doughnuts and all this, the total, empty calorie world of snacks and. Myth was such a great game for being able to do things individually or as parties, and you could choose various different maps. And it was one of the early ones where it had all kinds of, not just what the company put out, but a lot of people embraced it because it had the extensibility.

You could have regular people like you and me making these different modules you could add into it. And man, I don’t think I can think of an activity where I’ve ever lost track of time as deeply you could start off playing like at seven at night after everybody maybe all had dinner with the families kissed their wives and kids good night and they came to play music going and you’d like to walk about and then.

Oh man, we should all take a bio break. It’s already 10 o’clock. And then you dive back in and be like, Oh no, it’s one o’clock. It’s okay, anybody got to leave? Nope. And you go until Dawn was coming through the slats of the windows and be like, Oh, all right we better go home and crash now.

Stephen: Like that for me, that was my hours at a time. People still have that experience.

Alan: It might be that because you can do everything online with such low latency. That you don’t have to gather, but so much of what was going on then, and there’s like a chat function, you can do stuff, but chatting is not the same as in real time, get some and all the various different things that you would just rag on each other and yell in triumph or Oh, you

Stephen: were on somebody.

Yeah. When you nail them with a rocket launcher. Yeah.

Alan: And the infinite replay of I’m going to respond. Exactly. Somebody got you with the BFG or something. You know what I mean?

Stephen: So myth was, those are

Alan: fond

Stephen: of memory. Myth was one of the first games. And this is, not something people think about, but it was one of the first games that you could change and rotate the camera around your characters.

Alan: Absolutely. So just that so much of that game was making use of the available terrain, whether you’re in a castle or out on the field and being able to do that, to pull back, be able to see. And then I’m going to go just around here and I’ll just be able to get line of sight on him.

Or if I, if he’s on top of the hill. I’m going to pay because running up the hill at a foe is very much to your disadvantage. But what can I do? Soften up with some grenades or puss bombs or whatever we had back then. It’s yeah, okay. Everyone puss bombs really were a thing. I swear. I’m not some of these weird things up.

I can send my zombies at them and then they will die, but they’ll, each of them will eventually explode. People were a friend of a shout out. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned him on the show before Vic Santos.

Stephen: Yes, I’ve seen him.

Alan: There you go. Exactly. He was uncanny in terms of how much he was able to take things we’d ever knew about the game, but find a different way to use it.

So that everybody was like where did that come from? What’s that? And he was so perfect and precise. Mike Cox was great. Dave Redman was great. A whole bunch of people are really good at playing this game. But Vic was the one that was continually like, I was really course I really, As much as I tried to get better at, exact movement control and making use of available things and not running out of ammo just when I shouldn’t, he was so hard to beat one on one or when he was on the other side, because he really had.

situational awareness. He really had like awareness of what things you have left and how to apply them, how to make sure that while he’s retreating and you go, ah, go get him. He’s like dropping the little bombs behind him. And then all of a sudden your legs are blown off. So I just shout out to Vic for humbling me many times with how smart he was and precise he was in his movements and stuff like that.

And I guess you’ve talked about e sports. There really is a certain amount of. I would, I’m curious as to how I would do if I tried some of those things, because I’d be a pud. I’d get totally killed by people that could really snipe across an open space. And you think you’re just poking the tiniest eye out around and boosh.

You know what I mean? There, there really are people that have that level of precision. And I’m trying to think what’s there’s a word for maybe catechesis or something where when you. I’m always aware of my body in space, but when you pick up a lightsaber, some people, they wield it, some people, it becomes an extension of them, and they’re very good at, it’s now part of their weight, and they’re very good at, how long will it take to bring it around, and how can I extend my reach, or how can I get it back quickly to block, And I don’t know that I have that greatly certain things extend for me.

But not everything. And some people, they just really have that ability to extend their senses and their haptic feeling and stuff like that. And Vic was one of those guys that the entire world became, I have my little. Tentacles out in everything really can make use of everything about the terrain, everything about the timing of a bomb.

You know what I mean? There’s a difference between whether it’s a two, three, four, five step explosion as to when you throw it down. So that you’re anticipating he, even if he sees it, he won’t be able to stop in time before it gets him. I just, I’m a hats off to people that have that in, in the real world, as there really are.

There’s people that are great warriors in art, in an army situation, great. Policemen, great cops, that kind of stuff that they just, they are uncanny in how they can extend themselves like that. That’s

Stephen: cool. And you mentioned eSports when I talked to the coaches for the local eSports team over at Biomed it’s not just the Call of Duty first persons.

They do Super Smash Brothers maybe Mario Kart, but I don’t know if our region has Mario Kart. The fighter games killer instinct, stuff like that. And I asked the coaches, I’m like do you guys get your butts whipped if you play the kids? And the one coach said I grew up playing super smash brothers, so I can hold my own except for our top three players.

I cannot be our top three players. And they really do treat it like any other sports practice. They’re, what they’re good at and they practice getting better at. Certain moves and learning the button combinations and helping each other. The coach, not the coach, but the You might say the star quarterback of the league he will watch and evaluate other players and look, instead of that, grab, you should have done this and how not, go do it and practice doing that.

And they really do treat it like that. And these are kids. They’re going to be way better. I said, Hey, you guys bring up space invaders. I’m, I got it. I can I can take those kids out on that.

Alan: It’s funny. There are, I played a lot of video games while I was in college, back in coin operated arcade type stuff.

So I guess there was always a limitation. I couldn’t sit there at home for free doing it. But I know that there were certain games that like you really get down to the pixel level where you really know. I used to play a game called Moon Patrol where you’re continually accelerating and decelerating and jumping over things and shooting things out of the sky.

And again, that’s another one of those flow activities of when you’re really into it. No matter what they’re throwing at you, you’re ready for it. You know exactly what to do. And people would watch me and it would be like, like, how did you get through that? It’s I’m not sure, but between finger memory and mind memory, you just, you don’t even think about what you’re doing, but you’re doing it in perfect time so that it doesn’t become a menace.

And I think that I, boy, I think I mentioned, I used to go to the big Replay FX, the pinball show that was in Pittsburgh. Tons of pinball and video games and all that kind of stuff. And was watching when someone broke like the Donkey Kong record. And, that’s one of those things you have to play, I think 64 screens perfectly in order to break, all that kind of stuff.

And, How many is the time that I, to me, I was like, just running up a little lamps and blundering around and hopping a barrel. This guy knew like just where to stand so that the thing would like just must his hair as it went by. It was so close quarters, but he knew exactly how to do it. Time things wait.

It was like really humbling to be like that guy really knows how to do this. How much time did he have to put into this? Because I don’t just play Donkey Kong. I play. 50 different games, right? And the jack of all trades thing, I was only great at the ones that really fascinated make tracks or pac man or whatever.

I was able to get all the way through pac man and get it to be where it stops. You know what I mean? There’s a particular the various different little dances. And having said that, I just I really am in awe of people and pinball. I’m pretty good, but am I like, Top 20 in the country. Good. No, I’d have to have an extraordinary game to even be get on the board and then I’d get killed in the second round because I couldn’t do it consistently.

I’d have a great game, a great round, and then I’d revert to I’m just a casual player. You know what I mean? I don’t even go over to super electric often enough.

Stephen: That’s because to be a wizard, you have to do it by smell.

Alan: I guess that’s it.

Stephen: Blinders on the the games are so different though.

Back then, those games were patterns. If you learn the pattern, you can make it through it. And there’s. Plenty of stories of people getting through like the first two levels of pac man with their eyes shut because you know They know exactly how long and the pattern and they can do it and they don’t have to worry about it but now when you’re doing these multiplayer ones that the esports do well That’s you’re playing against real people so that’s variable and things change, it’s totally different video games

Alan: I this is funny.

I had one of the good things that the boys from Bungie did was they really started to have sound to be a big part of the game. As you were going through a dungeon, you’d hear like little noises off in the distance, little screechings, little whatever. And after a while you got to know, Oh, that’s probably, the armored crabs or whatever else it might be.

And it was really cool to be like, I’m not actively trying to learn these things, but I guess survival trains hard. You know what I mean? If you’re, you really got to know the difference between whether it’s going to be a whole bunch of little guys or a big boss or, and what they each sound and what their attacks are so that you can prep for when I jump around here, I’m going to immediately open fire low, not high, whatever else it might be.

And it’s, I think it’s, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know how my brain always works. I’m just glad that it does. And when you get, sometimes you come to the realization of, huh, I really did that. A little bit of what I talked about with movement role without thinking about it first. After all, you just know this is going to be the amorphous blob and you don’t want to get caught in it.

You have to like use fire instead of bullets, whatever those things might be. You find yourself like changing weaponry. Without even making the decision to do that’s cool that various different actors, various different stagings in your brain, and sometimes they just take care of it for you.

Stephen: And you mentioned sound doom. Doom was big with sounds and there was a couple of creatures in doom. You’d hear the noise. You’re like, Oh, there’s something around the corner somewhere. And there was one creature that was just. The big goat headed demon lord and I would hear it go And literally the one time me and my brother in law were playing and I went down an elevator and I thought he was with me and he’s I didn’t get on.

I’m like, oh, man. So I get down and step off. The minute I do, I hear that screech and I, it scared the crap out of me. I stood up, knocked my chair over. I’m like, let me on. And I’m screaming. And he’s like trying to, oh, Get on the elevator. He’s I’m coming. I’m like, it’s after me. And it was a scene because literally my heartbeat’s and my wife and my sister, his my wife is his or my sister is his wife.

They come running. I was like, what is going on? And I’m like, let me down. They’re like, okay, you guys need to take a break. You need to stop. Your heartbeat’s 200 right now.

Alan: That’s isn’t that what a testament to the immersive nature of those things? I know I’ve done a number of times where you’re like, you can see yourself sweating.

Yeah, you’re like 20 minutes worth of getting through a really complex level. And your body is getting all the fight and flight and all the adrenaline and all the signals are as if you’re really doing this. So it’s no wondering that you’re drenching yourself in sweat. It’s no wondering that you’re getting

Stephen: twitchy.

Yeah. You know what I mean? No please continue.

Alan: Everybody must have had this, right? You get through all that. You survive like a 20 minute thing, and it is just you get the, not the heebie jeebies, the shakes from the adrenaline is coursing through your system, but now you don’t have a place to apply it.

So you’re like, and you gotta calm yourself down. What a testament to, and you feel all I did it. I’m all, I’m so butch that I made it all these kind of things. And of course, some of them are really good at how, after you get through, then you find like the ultimate treasure, the huge, locker or chest or whatever, of all the things you might ever want.

And so you’re just like a little, you’re all these things and you’re like, oh, I can’t carry it all. It’s going to be here when I get back. What do I have to do? Do I have to survive getting out? I might, they really, I love games that were. They very much understand human nature and they really get, you get to give that breather and that movement of triumph, but then you also have to like, okay, you put your hat back on.

It’s now I got to get out and away you go.

Stephen: One of my favorite games and actually one of the games that helped push me into being a writer was Alan Wake. Clear back in the day is 12 years ago or whatever. Love that game. I got the remaster when it came out a couple years ago, but they just announced Alan Wake 2 and it’s coming out at the end of October.

I did, I pre ordered it and I never pre order a digital game. I’ll wait and I’ll go get the disc a couple months later for 10, 20 cheaper. I pre ordered this digitally, the deluxe version, not just The regular way. Yeah, that’s cool. And I’m playing Alan Wake one again. And let me tell you, it’s a good, scary horror.

And I’m sitting there, I realized last night, I’m getting all tense. I hear the music and there’s no audio cues. I know there’s gonna be a taken and where is he? It’s a great game. And I was noticing this because people bitch, it’s I can take them out if I was able to pick stuff up, or if I could hold that door shut and blah, blah, blah.

And I’m like, but I love it. The game, because it doesn’t have hold this button, hit this button and up, and you do this, hold this button, press this button and down. And you do that. And it doesn’t have so many combinations. All you do is you have a flashlight and a gun. You shine the flashlight to knock the darkness and shoot them.

Or you run away and that’s all you do doors open automatically. You can’t pick stuff up and throw it, it’s simpler controls. But that’s what makes it so scary is because you’re so limited on what you got to do. So the tension actually ramps up even more. And I was sitting there last night and I’m playing, I’m like, Oh, I hear him.

I’m I see light and I’m running. And then they pop up in front of me and I’m like, and dodging and trying to shine my light on my note. And of course you run out of batteries because you’re hitting the high beams and I’m trying to hit the wide. Get more batteries. Instead, I hit a flashbang, which is good.

But I’m like, that was my last flashbang. I

Alan: don’t have the nuke to throw at them. Long ago. I know we’ve talked about this a little bit in Plato. I used to play lots of D and D games and the graphics were nothing compared to what we have now. There really was that same level of tension where.

You’d be like 10 levels deep and you’d be wandering around and occasionally you’d fall down a chute and if you go from level five to level eight, there are seriously harder monsters down there. So now you’re trying to like, hopefully you have some of it mapped out. So you have a ghost of a chance of getting to a staircase out or you just wander and you hope that you’ll find a staircase.

And me and Stu, me and my younger brother, Bruce, we used to play right next to each other, do tag playing. And that level of every step you take, you look, you’re looking around and you’re and things jump you and you open the door and you really don’t know it, it was as tense as if going through a haunted house, like you’re describing, it really was, it’s just, Tiny, rude graphics on the screen, and yet it really was envelopingly well done. They really can do this. They can simulate what it’s like to be, I could die down here. I could die. This is not me going for a hike in the woods. This is me going for a hike where there’s like funerals on all sides of me.

And I’m like, you know what I mean? So

Stephen: sentence. Halloween season. My other favorite horror game is the Silent Hill series. They’ve got some really scary moments with a really good story. That’s what draws me in, which is why I’m so invested in this video game storytelling stuff. It’s a good story. If it’s, yeah, okay, great.

I love Space Invaders, but what’s the story really, but if you’re Interactive in the story like Alan Wake. It’s very much a story based game. And I think that draws me and even more in Silent Hills the same way. I don’t know if you’ve ever played any of the Silent Hill games, but they can be very spooky.

Alan: I am so much a computer game guy instead of an Xbox or any kind of console, that there’s a whole universe of things that I’ve missed out on. And in some cases for good reasons, I know that I have, if not an addictive personality, I know that I really enjoy things while I’m trying to conquer them. And it’s like, all right, I have a job.

I have a family. I need to take care of not just falling into this game again and again. As long as I’m already doing for computer games, I still play Civilization, still play Diablo. That’s like a break from doing other things. Instead of, if when Alan becomes available to you, you know that you’re going to fall down the rabbit hole for a couple hours, days, weeks, whatever else it might be.

You’re going to have to discipline yourself. So that’s why I’ve never gotten into any of the big consoles, because I know that I’d be like, Oh, now there’s so many good things to draw and so it’s it’s so easy to just oh,

Stephen: Oh you say that yet. I know you have a gog account.

You want to talk about going down. Oh, look, God’s having a sale. Wow. That’s all 9 myth and magic games for a dollar 24.

Alan: I have, of course, bought any number of those things, and some part of it is, I don’t know, they opened up gambling in Illinois, and I had to go a little bit of, at first it was only riverboat gambling, fake, but I, the way that I knew that I really wasn’t An inveterate gambler, unable to control myself was that even though those things were available, I wasn’t going there all the time.

There was a time when I really loved playing blackjack and loved beating the house. I was, I learned how to count and was pretty good at it, but it wasn’t the only thing that I liked doing and I didn’t want it to become that way. So I disciplined myself. And so I have so many things lined up on GOG on steam.

You know what I mean? That. I haven’t even, I got him with the point of now I’ll work my through all of the myth and magics, now I’ll work all the wizardries. And I just haven’t, because I have other things going on in my life. And I guess that’s good, even though now that Colleen and I are both retired, we really have all the time in the world that we want.

And I, once in a while, I really say, I’m gonna. Take this weekend off and just fall into this game that I’ve been meaning to explore. You know what I mean? So yes, I’ll join you for meals or I’ll, you’ll see me take bathroom breaks. But otherwise, the way to do this is to really immerse yourself in it.

Even if that seems weird to people that don’t get how immersive and fun it can be,

Stephen: And just, my typical thing before anyone starts. Of course, most people listening to Relentless Geekery podcast get it, understand it, and it’s cool but, I’m just going to say, how is that any weirder or different than sitting on the couch with hot dogs and nachos for six, seven hours on a Sunday, watching guys run around on a green field with a ball, two, three, four,

Alan: how’s that different?

You’re exactly right. Everybody has their thing. Colleen will fall into a book and and not be able to stop reading it before she goes to sleep at night. And we each have our thing and definitely the sports thing is strong in people. We were up at in Toronto and we saw people like on the days that there was a Toronto Blue Jays game.

You could tell because we were staying right downtown and all of a sudden all around us was a sea of Blue Jays jerseys and stuff like that. And so it’s it’s cool. Okay, they’re all going there, which means that the restaurants right around here are going to be very busy, but I can go anywhere else in the city and it’ll be less populated because everybody’s at the game, like Cleveland is on a Sunday, right?

Like in a national park, and it’s not crowded because everybody’s at the game on a Sunday. So it’s very handy. Toronto, great city, so much comedy. We saw 25 shows in 10 days, so 2. 5 a night, 11. We often out of the way the schedule was arranged, we didn’t make it to a late show, or we just chose not to because there’s nobody we wanted to see, but we tried to use.

Our pass up. The reason it’s possible to do that many shows is what’s one of those things where you get credits and every time that you see a show the credit gets returned to you. So then you get a reservation for the next show. And of course I had done the master spreadsheet of all of who’s in what place.

At what time, and then you can see we can make it between the comedy bar and the garrison relatively easily, but it’s not easy to make it back to meridian hall or something like that. Between the, what we, when the schedule first came out, we had 13 credits. I already had probably seven or eight of them lined up at the shows we really couldn’t miss.

The Michelle Wolf, the Tom Papa, the Neil Brennan, all kinds of like big names, even though they were just one out of this set of credits. Our headliner was Sam Morrill, who I didn’t think was, he’s really good, but is he the guy that I would most wanted to see might’ve been Tom Papa. So then besides the ones we had already lined up, then we’re opportunistically always looking three or four days ahead, because as we roll through.

The three shows that night, we could get the next one. We ended up seeing no duplicates or repeats. The ones we blew off the most were where it’s we’re not gonna be able to make it by 1130 and I don’t want to walk in late to a show that is a little bit disruptive. Plus it’s the farthest away. So getting out at one 30 in the morning when maybe the trains and buses and streetcars have stopped running, and now you have to take a Lyft or an Uber, we really.

Did it perfectly this year with how many shows we saw but very low stress. When do you fit your meals in? I’ve talked about this before, like the joy of going to Toronto or Vegas or anywhere. If you’re willing to use public transportation, you can get around with your mighty Presto card. And the idea of when things are running, the map, mapping software in your phone tells you which ones you want to take.

You’re standing there at the thing. It says next one is in two minutes. I don’t mean to go on, but man, the world is so different than when I was young. And you really, did I memorize the bus schedule? Never. But nowadays it’s always at your fingertips and it’s just so amazingly convenient and reasonably priced.

And in Toronto, it’s clean and safe. You’re not a nice city broken light, at a thing where everybody is suspicious around you. You’re like places where there’s tons of nightlife and we’re, we might be the oldest people there, but we’re not spry. You know what I mean? We’re not looking Hey, I’m a victim.

Come get me. We just had the nicest time, and Toronto is amazingly cosmopolitan, like Chicago, New York, or LA, where it’s got every ethnicity represented, every sexuality, the restaurants of every kind, the neighborhoods are strong, where you can really say, here’s a demarcation point between Hispanic and Korean, or whatever else it might be.

We just love it. I don’t know why we would not do this every year until we can’t anymore. It’s such a great break at the end of September. Like I mentioned at the very start, driving back, leaves are changing, totally beautiful around Niagara Falls, et cetera, et cetera. It’s just never even a vacation.

It was like a trip. You know what I mean? Now that we don’t have to worry about, Oh no, Monday morning. Anyway, so my quick plug to Toronto folks. It’s a beautiful city. Go to Just for Laughs and a beautiful city. Everywhere we walk, we were like, their city hall is beautiful. This park is beautiful. Even just I don’t know we kept discovering things.

If I was even being, one of the interesting things for us nowadays is we’ve been there probably eight times now. So the very first times we were going, we really were touristy. Let’s go to the CN Tower. Let’s go to the zoo. Let’s go to Casa Loma. And now that we’ve done all those things. Some things I wouldn’t mind doing again.

But a lot of it is, I don’t feel the need to make it to every museum and every art gallery and all that kind of stuff. A lot of what we did during the day was, just relax. Go for a leisurely stroll instead of being on purpose. Go out to Center Island and see what the city looks like across the bay there, honestly, it’s the best trip we’ve ever had in terms of the all the great stuff we got to do, but being very low stress in doing it. Wonderful. I yeah, it’s only six hours away. It’s less time than Chicago.

Stephen: Right.

Alan: Kind of got to, you got to go around a couple of great lakes to get there, but. Easy. And the dollar is strong against the Canadian dollar.

So everywhere that we were going, we got like a 30 percent discount for every meal. We bought a book or two. We it’s just it emboldens you to be like, I’ll try this. Maybe I wouldn’t have ordinarily gotten something that’s expensive, but it’s a third off. Let me give it a go. So we Italian and Asian and Egyptian, all different kinds of ethnicities.

I might be going on too much, but anybody, if you ever want to do a great festival, Just for Laughs occurs in both Montreal and Toronto. And now we’re actually looking at, there’s one in Austin, there’s one in Vancouver. Are we really crazy enough? We’d go to Vancouver to do this? I don’t know.

We’ve not explored Vancouver. That’s maybe on our list. You know what I mean? You

Stephen: know I thought of you, so I saw an article and I didn’t read it. I saw the headline didn’t read the rest of it, but It was basically this guy retired that didn’t want to pay the fees for a retirement home because how expensive they are.

So he booked contiguous cruise ships and he’s been like 15 cruise ship voyages in a row because he said it’s cheaper than a retirement home. Wow, that’s

Alan: kind of amazing, really, because cruises are not a,

Stephen: No, but you get an interberth and you can 1, 500 and you get a 7 to 10 day cruise,

Alan: unlimited food and always a little bit of entertainment or just go sit on the deck in your and enjoy the ocean, the bay, whatever.

Yeah. That’s pretty cool. That’s Colleen talked about taking so we are next year, we’re doing the one progressive rock cruise, which goes down to like Jamaica and Grand Caymans. And we’re doing this really cool cruise that’s going to go all around the Baltic Sea. So we’re going to see 10 countries in 10 days.

And it’s I don’t know, I usually enjoy going to a place and kind of wandering and immersing in it. So we’ll have each of those days during the day, but then every night. You go there, you have a great meal, you go to sleep, you wake up at another port, another country, it’s going to be really cool.

I’m looking forward to, Kalina and I made this agreement, we want to be able to say hello, thank you, where is the bathroom, in every language that we’re going to be going to. So I’m going to be a little bit of Lithuanian, and Estonian, and Latvian, a little bit of German, and Finnish, and Danish, it’s going to be really cool. And of course, if you speak any, then you get they come at you. It’s Oh no, I am an Americana or I did

Stephen: not really speak enough to me long enough to learn. Hello.

Alan: But I think that people like you better if you speak enough of their language, make the attempt, like when I was in France, I did say one diet Coke, see who play.

And they laugh because I don’t sound at all. Like I really am a French speaker. But They’re okay with you, not just being the ugly American. Hey, can I get a diet coke? Like everybody there does speak English, but there’s got to be a joy at you’re trying to fit in instead of I brought my American assholeness with me.


Stephen: know what I mean? When I go to a restaurant that’s obviously run by some native speakers of whatever the ethnicity is, I’ll ask them, I’m like, How do you say that? And I’ll try and say, did I do? Okay. Did I do good? And usually they chuckle and laugh, and I know some people are like, Oh, those asshole Americans are usurping our culture and blood.

No, I’m honestly trying to do honor to it. And I want to learn. You speak American. Why shouldn’t I learn a little bit speaking whatever your tongue is? Exactly.

Alan: I know I’ve been like mad magazine used to have things about this, that if you make the attempt, you’re like sir, that was a good try, but you just ordered a well done tractor.

Yeah. So it’s cause the languages are tonal and there’s different endings and all that kind of stuff. And so there’s a different discipline learning a whole bunch of different languages. I will still give it a try. And totally embarrassed myself by, yes, that’s no, we don’t serve earmuffs here, sir.

You know what

Stephen: Me and Reese just did a a movie review yesterday. We were talking about that where, and I forget the language, but the person we were talking about has, oh, Argentinian dialect and she speaks Spanish really well, but everybody, all the other South American countries hate Argentinian dialect and their accent.

So I’m like, so it’s like Texas act, it’s that Southern accent to the Spanish. And I was like, you don’t really think about that. You think, oh, there’s Spanish, but it’s not there’s mobile accents.

Alan: Exactly. I, that really must be the case in Canada. There has to be a different way of speaking in the cities versus the country or the east versus the west.

And I don’t know, London has 30 different accents in London. You know what I mean? You speak, whether it’s Posh or Cockney or, and I will be foolish if I try to name them all, but there’s a whole bunch of. How you treat other people, class consciousness and so forth, based on, do you speak proper or are you more wide and what

Stephen: you’re trying to say?

You know what I mean? I just,

Alan: It, oh, it’s okay. Conference for my mom at noon. So I’m going to break away. Yes. I’m glad. I’m hoping your last week was Yeah, easy. Mine was, as and we’ll reconnect next week. We’ll just say

Stephen: you had a much better week than I did. We’ll leave it at that.

Alan: That’s I feel for you. Okay. Yeah, it is what it

Stephen: is.

Alan: All right. All right, man. Take care. Later.