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RG 168 – Tiny Epic Holidays

I

Stephen: love you. I like the shirt, , nice shirt, got

Alan: spam wear. I think I’ve mentioned that Colleen and I have been all over Ohio and we ventured down to Johnson Woods, which is a beautiful stand of old growth forest that we take hikes in. And Orville is, it’s right near Orville. And Orville is where the I’ve already got the story wrong, the Smucker’s family stories and stuff like that.

And I, that I was gonna say. that Spam is one of their brands. But no, I think I actually got this at the Spam Museum, believe it or not, in Minnesota. So yeah, I don’t mean to start telling stories like, Oh yeah, back when that church was on the corner before they tore it down, you turn there, so anyway.

But people always notice the spam and everybody has something to say about spam. You know what I

Stephen: mean? How many times do they start singing?

Alan: Exactly. They got to give you the monkey Python thing. And I know they used to have like little straight out of the can and they’d stick some clothes in there and that’d be like dinner.

You know what I mean? Everybody has, I know that it’s hugely popular in Hawaii and in the far East, from what I understand, it really is almost like. Gourmet things are done with it, whereas I always thought it was one step above. Anything that the G. I. S. can carry the environmental conditions. You can eat meat.

You know what I

Stephen: mean? So I’ve had family members that think it’s the greatest delicacy to make macaroni and cheese, put spam on top and put spam

Alan: in it. Exactly. By going to the spam museum, they had a wonderful history of it that it really was developed for the war, something that for sure would not spoil.

And they found a way to yeah. Cook it and then under pressure, see that in cans so that it would not, otherwise meat starts to rot and go gamey and stuff like that in days and they found a way to make it that our troops could eat meat and keep their strength up, you know what I mean?

Stephen: Yeah, because it’s questionable what meat they’re using and they put so much salt and chemicals in it that it’s gonna last as long as Twinkies. If I remember right. Oh, did I die? Okay,

Alan: sorry, you’re freezing a little bit. Oh, really? Yeah, you’re freezing

Stephen: a little bit. No idea. They actually, at

Alan: the museum, make a big point of saying it really is mostly pork shoulder and like identifiable animals.

It is not, three quarters pound varmint that we happen to get off the road or something like

Stephen: that. Which actually may sell well in some parts of the country.

Alan: It’s funny, I don’t think we’ve talked about this before. It’s worldwide. And they make different kinds of spam based on the culture so that you’ll get like in Hawaii, it probably has like pineapple combined with it, but if there’s a spicy version and it Thai flavor, Mexican flavor, Australian, maybe there’s some Vegemite involved, whatever else it might be, but they have two, three dozen different spams to try.

I actually got, they had little spam singles, a single slice of spam in a sealed pouch. And I bought half a dozen of them just ’cause I was really curious as to what is each country’s spam like. And of course I suggested they should call it a pingle and they didn’t, they haven’t gone with that yet.

It really should. A spam single should be a sp so I, another neologism that, if ever comes, just throw me a nickel world for coming up ale. So it, I just the museum was so much cooler than I expected it. I really I didn’t know anything about spam except, hey, it’s got that cool little key that goes around the can.

But there’s actually technology involved in doing that. And that the whatever that weird jelly is that goes with it. It’s what I mean, they actually had this is part of the process that you know how things are in order to make it perfect. It costs a ton of money in order to make it excellent. It ratchets back.

And so they said, if we’re going to make a billion cans of spam and a little jelly gets in there and people, it isn’t inedible. It just looks odd. That was we’re just going to go with this. We’re going to, what do we need? We need a hundred thousand cans right away because we’re fighting the war.

You know what I mean? And so all that kind of stuff. Yeah, so there are enough about spam, but it’s cool,

Stephen: It’s like going over to Hershey PA with all the chocolate because you don’t realize until you go through the whole system, which I was disappointed that they only had pictures of the factory.

You couldn’t go stand on a platform. But anyway, that there’s. like coffee and other things. There’s different types of cocoa beans that provide different flavors and they actually have different mixtures for the different products. And I’m like, I never thought about that. So then you start tasting that does taste different than this one, you

Alan: know, we’re bitter more in effect.

I, Colleen and I are not really food tourists. We don’t go specific places to be able to get a certain meal, but I always, while I’m out of town, I love trying the odd, interesting things that they have not only around the United States, but around the world, so I was in Germany with my parents.

This is like back in the late seventies and I had like wild boar and wild boar, it’s not pork. It really is a different beastie and it, and because it’s wild, it doesn’t taste like grain fed or whatever we do for it here. It I love things like that where you get to try, where would I have gotten that besides somewhere in Europe where it’s still served like that or and all the spice combinations and stuff.

So I, chocolate is one of those things that whenever I’m trying to think of who first discovered it and then brought it back to Europe was like an Aztec thing, right? They used it almost like an additive for coffee, if I remember right. And as you might imagine, not only by taste, but by. Wow, that’s loaded with caffeine.

And people love that kind of stuff. So just to try that around the world, and maybe even certain odd things, like I just mentioned, Vegemite, I’ve had Vegemite and Marmite, and they’re not to my taste. You know what I mean? If that’s part of the culture, I when I was in Again, Europe with my parents, we were all around the Scandinavian countries and I tried herring every day for breakfast.

Because when, they don’t have it here in the United States. Same with, they don’t have the little mushrooms that are part of an English breakfast now. And I kept wanting to like herring because I really like food most of the time, but it’s like preserved herring. So it’s really. Like chewy, like rubber band chewy.

And no matter whether they creamed it or mustarded it or pickled it or whatever they did after the initial taste of the sauce, then it was just like ying, trying to chew this thing. And I never, I’ve never taken to herring and I don’t seek it out. Whereas like sardines and kipper snacks and stuff like that, they have a distinctive taste.

And once in a while, we never know. I think your body is wise in that when you need something chemically, it’ll tell you. Wow. I need magnesium. And so go get me some spinach or something like that. I don’t know if that’s really the one of the ones that’s rich in it. Vitamin K. I know that spinach.

And then all of a sudden I’ll have a taste for like sesame chicken. Now, I don’t know what’s in sesame chicken, but it must be that my body says you need some trisodium sesamate. And so it tells me go get some sesame chicken, so that’s gotta be around the world too, is that. As people needed citrus, the limeys were actually named that because in order to make sure that they didn’t get which one is lack of citrus goiter is iodine scurvy is lack of citrus.

So for all those long ocean voyages or bad situations, like the Germans had sauerkraut and the English had Limes and whoever at the various different places have done on the things that they needed to do based on the chemicals that they needed to put into their body. And in some cases, it was so linked to them that it became a nickname.

You know what I mean? I don’t know. I don’t think the Jamaicans are called pasta farians because of pasta. But anyway,

Stephen: so how’s Thanksgiving? It was,

Alan: it was yours good. Mine was wonderful. It was my family is scattered. My older brother in Florida, my younger brother in Indiana. So we got together with the Fitzgerald family and Colleen is one of nine.

So it it’s not as big as it once was used to be like 30 people because everybody would gather and all their kids and stuff. And now Various of the kids have, and nieces and nephews, have their own families. So they start their own tradition, or they have to split time because there’s both a husband and wife, or wife and wife, whatever it might be.

And they, so I think we started off with nine people at the table, and it expanded at one point to 15, because people stopped by. We were their second round, if you will. But everybody was just like what you want Thanksgiving to be. Multiple turkeys. They still made two turkeys, because that’s just Fitzgerald family tradition, and then. Everybody brought side dishes. So we had the green bean casserole, which I learned is actually older than I am. It was first created in 1955 on a Campbell’s soup label and it swept the nation. It became hugely popular because that was their way of selling more cream of mushroom soup. And Dirky’s onions also, I think made an empire, made a fortune out of it because that’s what you sprinkle

Stephen: on top of the casserole.

And my mother will not do Thanksgiving without it. We got to make the grand Michael. Why? Let’s do something else. It’s not the pilgrims didn’t need it. She’s it’s tradition in the sense, like it’s old world

Alan: squash. It’s not turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy.

And they had you like not squash sweet potato casserole and things like that. And I, as usual, Colleen made a huge salad. I helped by chopping, but she’s the maestro of this wonderful big salad with all the different ingredients in it and make sure we bring along a choice of dressings so that everybody gets the French or the thousand or the whatever else they might like, Italian, is so standard for people.

I like ranch. I made a couple of dessert breads, so I had, and that’s always, Accepted not only because they like it that night, but lots of people will take the leftovers home. So they have like things to have with their coffee in the morning. So I try to make like lemon poppy seed and banana and pumpkin and cinnamon and they all die.

It’s funny. They’re the simplest thing in the world to make. I don’t really make them. I make them from a box. You know what I mean? I get a little mix and just add like eggs and applesauce and stuff like that instead of oil, which makes it a little bit healthier, but they turn out. Great and tasty and moist every single time.

And so I every time when the family has a little powwow to say who’s bringing what, as you might imagine, a lot of people say I’d like to bring my usual mashed potatoes or whatever. And they always asked me for my breads because apparently that. Next morning thing is a real good thing, so I’m proud that I was able to, you joined a big family and everybody’s already got their niche and I’ll make green bean casserole.

Oh no, sweetie makes the green bean casserole. You know what I mean? So it was nice that I was able to find a way of being able to contribute that wasn’t. In duplication or competition, have you ever done this? I have, my ethnicity is Lithuanian and German and they’re Irish and Italian.

So you try to bring in a couple things that you had growing up. So I made kugelis one year, which is like a baked potato. Pudding casserole. It’s really good. Got some bacon in it. It’s like the, it’s so much not healthy. It’s got, like it’s all the starch plus the bacon plus whatever butter is involved and stuff like that.

And unfortunately my, my great aunt Aldona used to make it and it was just so great. It was one of the things that we never had at home. So I look forward to it every year. I discovered there I am I’m grinding up a whole bunch of potatoes because you take potatoes random down and make it into this thing.

If you don’t keep potatoes underwater in the air in two minutes, they go from like nice white to gray. Yeah, I made what looked like a concrete slab in this oven pan, and it’s How appetizing is gray? Not, it’s not at all. So some people tried it boldly because I built up, hey, you got to try this.

But other people were just like, I don’t want ashes in a pan. I don’t want. So some things that I’ve tried, either German or Lithuanian. They haven’t made it. They, I don’t make them well enough or they have their traditions and everybody has an idea of what they want their Thanksgiving. So is yours traditional like turkey and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Oh God. Yes.

Stephen: Okay. My father. always, had to be traditional. And we talked about that actually, how some families do like tacos or something like that, so we had our turkey, we had pretty standard stuff, much more quiet. We didn’t have large amounts of family, like we have in the past.

So it was nice. Relaxing Thursday.

Alan: Very good. And as usual, I think you guys do this too, after the food gets cleared, it’s time for games. And we discovered the Fitzgerald’s like usually Maureen, Aaron, others, they buy these little like box games or like 10 or 15 bucks, and they have different, they’re party games.

They’re more like to get people talking and that kind of stuff. But we discovered one I think Aaron got it called hot seat where it’s One of those things that, a person answers a personal question, and then everybody else around the table tries to think of what that person, how they would have answered it.

And then you see who matches and who, if someone gives a false answer, did they lure anybody else to that false answer? So like perquackery or one of those things where you try to give a believable enough answer in their voice that they might say it. And so it’s funny, I was not good at predicting other people, but I was really good at giving things that would lure people to agree with me that they should have said that.

And then, of course, it’s funny, we were having a really nice time because It engenders discussion, it’s it triggers a memory and people talk about it. Oh yeah, you’ve always liked, Raggedy Ann and Andy or whatever else it might be. And then of course the answer started to be not just really trying to predict what they would say, but teasing them a little bit, try to say what they should say or try to say something that’s very odd, very much the opposite of what they would say.

And it just, it went on for hours. Oftentimes those games are worth a good half hour, 45 minutes. Then you go to the next one. And instead we were just having such a nice time. And it really was. Nobody drops out. Nobody. It’s not like risk where, okay you’re out. Go sit in the other way like that.

Everybody gets to play every round. It just was unexpectedly I don’t know, for 10 bucks or whatever, like that. What a nice time. It may. Yeah. Great replay ability because once you’ve done the questions. You got to hope that maybe there’s enough questions left in the box or that they’ll do extension sets, and stuff, but really fun.

Stephen: Transcended being a game and just became a social activity. Absolutely. Yeah.

Alan: And, as we go to mind games, Mensa does their event called mind games, where you get a chance to play test games before they’re out on the market. And almost always, you can tell what’s going to be like the party game winner of the year, because it’s the one that.

Open a table in the corner, there’s eight people at the table, and they’re just cracking up, or they’re singing, or they’re doing things that party games sometimes demand. And this, as simple as it was, I could see how I would have voted a lot for this, because it’s got, easy rules, good replayability.

If they have the extension sets, it’ll be even more replayability. It just was I don’t know, we got to playing immediately. Sometimes, Colleen, one of Colleen’s favorite gripes about that is here’s an 18 page manual, make it a multiple of four, it’s 20 page manual, and you don’t even know what the first turn is like until you read the entire thing, get the board all set up, who, who chooses to be an elf versus a dwarf versus a troll, all that kind of interesting stuff.

This was just crackle box. It’s a little two pager away we go. So we like that too, that it’s not in fact. Colleen and I have occasionally brought games, post mind games, that we really thought were fun. And man, did I get mocked, for instance, for one where you’re like, Oh, it’s a coral reef. And you’re putting cars out in a little five by five array so that your reef will be ecologically balanced.

And there’s octopi and plankton and whales and all that kind of stuff. And I thought it was pretty and I thought it was fun. Everybody else was like, what’s the point of this? This is, I just, and so now when we talk about, what game is someone going to pick? It’s I have Coral Reef, or you can just tell me to stick it up my ass again, if you’d like.

Sorry, a little bit of a cough still. And so I like that. The family is willing to play new games and we played a lot of traditional stuff. We played Pinochle when it’s like a foursome and things like that. But it’s also, I love it when it’s multi generational. Once in a while, you’ll play like Taboo or Encore or something like that.

And it’s very funny to have people that are what lyrics do I have in my head? All the rap music from the last 20 years, not all the progressive rock from the last 40 years like Al does. And you can’t even really call each other on whether that’s a real song or not because could be that it’s a, it could be that it’s a, I love

Stephen: some of these family social games.

Like you said, with the multiple generations, you get the teenagers, but then you get like the 80 year old grandparents and stuff. And then you say something and it’s like a. A sexual innuendo or something and grandma and grandpa are laughing, or they’re the ones making it and everybody else oh my God, stop, You

Alan: never did that.

No, you were always going to

Stephen: church and making friends. Especially as you get closer to that age you start going. Yeah, that’s not that weird, I guess

Alan: This is I mentioned this online actually so At one point, I was like, someone the thing was like, what would you do in five minutes to impress people?

And someone said for a guy who was in good shape, that he should take off his shirt. And then of course, somehow the conversation turned to, they always picture Jesus Christ as being like ripped. And someone made a near blasphemous joke about, oh, yeah, that, the crucifixion workout that you get really gives you great abs.

You’re like, Jesus had an eight pack instead of a six pack. And I said the pun joke, Oh yeah, that was, those Pontius Pilates. aNd then every laughing or groaning or gasping and whatever else it might be. I said, Oh yeah, his trainers really whipped him into shape, but I just, I wouldn’t let it go.

And when I mentioned that online, some of the girls goes, yeah, nailed it. And it’s just blast me after, but it’s. Sorry, it’s funny. There’s no, we’re not bad people that, God reached out and smite the house because he made a joke about the Christ. But it was just, it’s funny.

It’s funny to do that kind of thing. You don’t, we really do have some people that are more serious about that or more serious about if there’s kids at the table, don’t say any swearing and stuff like that. But you know what, after the kids are grown up from 12 to 22, I don’t really hold back on fuck anymore.

I just talk and I’m not, I have, I don’t think I’m words. Gratuitous is often the term used. I’m not saying mother fucker all the time, but it’s just sometimes for the humor of it, the shock value of it, the, you’re just quoting a movie, you don’t censor yourself. You don’t blue nose yourself.

You just, you’re like all the adults. And it’s. One word out of the thousand that I said that night. I don’t think I’m a bad guy, right?

Stephen: So speaking of all the games we played there’s a whole series of games called tiny epic something or other and they’re in little boxes about that big, maybe two inches thick.

And so they’re very easy to carry. Literally you could stick them in a pocket of your winter pocket. Yeah, and every single one of them has a different theme and when you open it, you have to stop for a minute because here’s this little box and when you open it, there’s a baggie with 300 little pieces of stuff in it and then you have the, you unfold this board that ends up being like huge and then the little box, right?

And while the instructions aren’t epically monumentally big they’re thick enough with enough in there. Every single one of them is definitely fun. I haven’t played one that I hated and they have, they’re that fine balance between, okay, there’s a lot of instructions, but once we get rolling, it’s oh, this makes a lot of sense.

You just got to dive in and start doing it and playing it. All of them are strategy, a lot of worker placement type stuff, putting the pieces around a certain amount

Alan: of resource scarcity, a certain amount of strategy and tactics. Yeah,

Stephen: but they’ve got pirates and Vikings and zombies and epic galaxies and epic quest, which is an adventuring one and some unique components.

We played the epic quest, which is like a dungeon questing one, but. Yeah. I, at first I was like, oh, okay, thinking adventuring, I’m gonna move here and I’m gonna try and build up and stuff. No, you got six turns every turn. You move your little guys out and you’re trying to get through stuff because at the end of every turn, you all return to your castle.

So you’re not going on extended campaigns. So your strategy is your movement and there’s. Four movement cards. So I choose this movement and we both move that way. And then they chose that. So you can’t just move however you want. Part of your movement depends on what the other guys pick.

Nice shoes. Exactly. And the best part is it has a weapon rack or an item rack with all the little pieces stuck on. So if you get a special item, you pull it off the item rack and it sticks onto your guy. They got little holes to hold. So that makes it cool. But it’s, these little games. Now, when they first came out 10 years ago, they were like 20 bucks.

Now they’re up to 30 or 40 just because of production costs. But still well worth it. Cause like I said, you can carry three or four of these easily to someplace.

Alan: That’s very cool. And it sounds like the guys who make these really understand gameplay, instead of having a theme, it’s all about pirates, it’s more.

We know what makes the good balance between movement and resource and like a competition and cooperation, all those things might be a certain amount of luck, a certain amount of skill. I love that they’ve been able to make, half a dozen of them with various different themes and make them all.

Kind of like work. How would be pirates be different than Vikings? Because they’re both on boats, but this one’s about, I’m just trying to think of sitting around the table and brainstorming and capturing all the cool things and then playing it until it’s balanced enough, you talked about with games that you’ve developed that you got to play test it a lot to see how does it work?

Does it get to a victory or does it bog down somewhere? Does it, are people like not only you, confused, but they actively pissed at how, wow, I really got bad cards. And now there’s nothing in this game for me or whatever else it might be. So I love people that have that game sense,

Stephen: So we played one that was dinos and you’re a dino rancher.

So It’s got certain rules about penning them up and which ones are together and feeding them and getting, so again, it’s enough strategy to really keep you interesting without being access and allies or something,

Alan: exactly. So it’s funny. Jack when our my nephews talked about that when him and his friends don’t know what else to do, they play Catan.

And I will thought that was a gamer’s game. You know what I mean? It came out. It was one of the. Sorry, I need to where, German Spiele have a certain style to them, if you will. The fact that it came out with how did it initially catch on? Because that was probably the first one, right?

Compared to Puerto Rico or Carcassonne or whatever, right? One of those things where you build your own map with your hexagonal tiles and stuff. They I always hope that those things will do well, even with people that are used to moving around a board on a known trail or something like that.

It’s I’m always heartened by that. The world says, actually, this is cool. A little bit what you said, it isn’t maybe right at the start. You have to figure it out, but once you get it going, you go, Oh, there’s cool ways in which you can hedge your bets in every way about what resources you have and who you’re cooperating with, who you’re competing on all that kind of stuff.

And that. Every single game is different. You know what I mean? There are some games that after a while, certain people play a certain way, or you do, and that it’s just refining it, but there’s enough randomness about everything, about resources and tiles and everything, that there’s always little surprises, you know what I mean? That you really have to pay attention, just even The relative placement of your guys on the table, and depending on who you’re in front of and who you’re behind, there’s people that really play like you, and so it works together, but there’s other people that screw every plan you have up, even without actively trying to do it.

They just play in a different style.

Stephen: I really love that kind of stuff. I had an experience with Catan. It’s funny you brought that one up, which by the way, I think the creator just died this year. If I remember right. Yeah. So hats off to

Alan: him for creating a whole genre. You

Stephen: know what I mean? Yeah. But I have some friends who, whatever, had some issues with Catan and said it, it wasn’t good enough.

And they made some modifications like house rules and stuff. And I played it and I’m like. Yeah, I’m bored as hell. This is there’s no challenge here. There’s no conflict. It’s like I talk about the stories. You’re going to have that challenging conflict. And all it really was everybody what they changed it to is everybody building up all their stuff and resources as you could build as much stuff as you wanted.

And the 1st 1 to get the most stuff wins. And I’m like, yeah. Yeah, that’s just boring as hell. They were like, so what’d you think of the modifications? I’m like, yeah, cool. Keep working on them. Yeah.

Alan: Yeah. The juice out

Stephen: of it actually. Exactly. But that, but I’ve said it before this same group of people, when they play games, they have the same thought and strategy, no matter what game it is.

And if they can’t use that thought or strategy, they don’t enjoy the game. My one friend, we played dominion. And he thought it was a fun game. We played the original base set where has a lot of combo cards where you keep drawing and playing cards. Then we played another set up that included witches, which have curses, which give you negative 1 and he got almost done with the game. We were this close. He goes screw it. I’m not playing this anymore. If you do, which is with curses, I refuse to play because it took away from his strategy of build up. He’s building up strong and I kept giving him curses and he just didn’t like that. You

Alan: know, to bring him back down.

Stephen: Exactly. Yeah. So I did also play. Sorry. Go ahead.

Alan: No, I think I’m the one that said it first, almost, you can learn from an hour of gaming as much as if you had five hours of conversation. People really do show what their problem solving thing is, what, whether they’re, greedy or vengeful or like building.

They, some people are automatically cooperative until you betray them. And then they go after you. There’s various different ways in which people play games. My mom used to play risk where she liked. Taking over Australia, and then like building huge blockades to stop anybody from ever getting into Australia.

Because as there’s only one way in from CIM. Whichever Western Australia, Malaysia, maybe whichever one it is up there. So it was if mom’s in the game, we know that’s what she’s going to do. And once in a while, she like, we often randomize what cards you draw to get your starting countries as if the people choosing them.

So she would start off not in Australia. She’d be scattered around the world. Is she going to do a similar strategy for South America? Or is she going to like. work her way through to get to her Australia. And it’s funny, my mom is German and, she doesn’t have any business liking Australia, if you will.

But she knew that was the defensible castle, if you will. And that’s what she did. So it’s, as compared to people that are more adventuresome, and they’ll exhaust their armies trying to take things, or they’ll be strategic and say if I take it up to here, then I get another set of cards.

Get my next run against so that we used to have often bought this New Year’s Eve when the family was all together, we’d play, who runs the world next year by seeing who won risk that night. And that was an okay night to play that because if you got eliminated. You would just go watch, like laugh in the new year movies with the Marx brothers and Laurel and Hardy and stuff like that.

You didn’t sit over there in the corner, like nursing a beer or just being sad, you actually, it was okay to lose, if you will. And some people were very serious about how much they needed to win. And that was an early thing that I, it’s never mattered to me. It matters to me that okay, my plan worked or Hey, I was lucky with the dice.

But. I just don’t invest a lot. Once in a while I’m really astounded that a big plan of mine didn’t work out because it really had to be like the one in a hundred odds that undid me. But once in a while, just like when you play hearts. Distribution is against you and your perfect plan was like, there’s no way that nobody else should have had space except me and this guy.

I’m going into too much detail, but there’s just things where it’s wow, that’s just so against the odds of the universe in general. Why did I get the short end of the stick? So spectacularly.

Stephen: And that’s part of that balance and playability that there are a lot of games that rely a little bit on that random luck factor.

And I know some of my buddies hate those types of games. They want everything planned and they can do it all. But I like that little bit of randomization and sometimes it’s against you, but I like playing variety, which is why I like dominion. Give me a different setup every time. Give me stuff I’ve never played before.

Love it.

Alan: Exactly. It’s funny and games are meant to parallel life. So it’s like when you play Monopoly and most people don’t anymore, because I know that’s like an all night game and it leads to fights and whatever else it might be. But early on, was there anything as satisfying as someone’s doing well, they’re taking over the board, they got all the deeds, and then they get assessed, they get one of the chance for community chess cards that makes them pay a lot because they are so successful.

And isn’t that like life, there should be, if you’re doing well, that you got to put back into the community. By taxes or by other things, the reason for that. And when you see that people find a way to try to snake out of it and stuff, it’s that’s like the real world too. You know what I mean?

People don’t only become successful. One of the things they start working on is to change the rules so that their situation can’t change. I don’t know. I am okay. Once in a while with it, isn’t that successful people should get brought down, but it is that. You have a, what’s the famous, you didn’t build that by yourself.

You know what I mean? If you’re like a big trucking company, no matter how intelligently you loaded your trucks and did all this stuff, you didn’t build the roads. You didn’t build the docks at each of the companies. You have to understand that you live in an interconnected world and there’s no, Problem with that.

It’s just accepting reality that’s the way the world is. And to talk about it as if it’s not the case that you single handedly split the atom. I don’t think you did. You might be standing on the shoulders of giants as they also say. So anyway, that’s so much of the fun of games is finding out, especially once in a while, when people are concealing about what they’re like, and then once in a while, they just.

Boy, that was like the greediest thing you could have done. I didn’t see that side of you before, but now I know it’s there. Opportunistically, you really would try to take it all! That kind of thing,

Stephen: saturday, I also went up to the local game store and played the new Disney Lorkana.

It’s a CCG that came out in August or July. And at first I was like, man, I don’t want to get into a CCG. I know there’s a bit of commitment, there’s some time and money and I’m just like, but I heard some more.

Alan: Give some background on it. In other words, it’s using Disney princesses. I don’t know.

It

Stephen: is Disney through the years. It’s all new art. So that’s, very fascinating to look at, but it’s everything Disney and it’s. Very family friendly. Instead of Pokemon, this is a very good choice to play a CCG with kids. Because it’s not

Alan: the addictive things of there’s always more cards coming out and you the better cards are what you want to get in trade for.

Yes. The things collectible card game, by the way, of our listeners.

Stephen: So I’m you. Assuming a lot of people are familiar with magic, which is you against somebody else and your creatures are attacking them and they can get blocked by the other creatures and the creatures fight and go away. So I’m trying to hit you and knock you out of the game.

This one. We could play a whole game almost solo. It’s funny because

Alan: not interacting with the

Stephen: other players. There is some, but it’s not the way to win. So that’s what makes it interesting. Now it is a new game. So I got to play with a guy and we were talking about it and We’re like, yeah, this is a new game.

So folks are like it doesn’t do this. It doesn’t do this. It doesn’t do this. And I could bet that it’s oh my God, calm down. You’re comparing this brand new game with one or now two sets to a game that is literally 30 years old. It’s got three

Alan: decades behind

Stephen: it. Yes. Yeah. So chill out folks. But the way to win.

Is you have to collect lore, Disney lore, and different cards have different amounts of lore on them. Obviously, how higher price cards have more lore. So you’re getting those out. So the way for me to stop you is my characters can challenge your characters. And basically they fight and they, what they do is they de ink.

So when you play a card, it has the ink has to dry before it can activate. And then when you hit another card, you don’t kill it. You de ink it. And it. Leaves the board. So I can hit your characters, knock them out. So they’re not producing lore, but I can’t hit them until they’ve been tapped. So you actually have to use it before I can hit it.

So I can’t just, yeah. So I can’t just sit there with some creature and just, Oh, he brought something out, it’s dead, you can’t do that. And

Alan: Snipe them off as they, that’s, classic. Why people don’t like a lot of online games is because there’s someone sniping right at the entrance.

You know what I mean? So anyway,

Stephen: okay, if you, and the other thing that really got me to say, okay, I want to get into some of this is number one. I heard that they spent five years in development, really tweaking the game and coming out with what they wanted it to do and play. And I can see that in the rules and the keywords.

It’s oh my gosh. There was a lot of room for expansion in this game. There’s a lot

Alan: of new things where they wrote. It was like, Oh, we got to account for this and this. And they got all those possible. Okay.

Stephen: They already have a five year plan. They have all the sets planned out for the first five years.

So it’s not going to be most of the games where they come out, maybe an expansion and then they go away and nobody ever plays it or you come out and

Alan: you don’t even know if they’re going to expand it. It’s only based on high sales. So they go, Hey, we could do a version too.

Stephen: Things like that. And the other thing that really.

Endeared me to the game was when they first came out, only small local game stores could get it. You couldn’t find it at target or Walmart, or even on Amazon, only small game stores. Now the problem is

Alan: I mentioned it before because of that, that it released in a very specific way to bring the gamer influencers, the lovers in early, but just be,

Stephen: okay, now the two problems are they didn’t have quite enough.

Inventory stock when they first came out due to demand. So all these are like, Oh, you can’t get it online. I want 10 boxes of it. And then they turned around and sold it on eBay and Amazon for six, seven times what they paid for it. The black

Alan: market for Disney product. Oh

Stephen: yeah. So if you just wanted to play it, it was very difficult to get into it.

Cause all the product disappeared like day one. But there, they are coming the first set. They’re doing a second run and doing more to release. So I don’t care if it’s first run, which will be worth more in the collector market or second run,

Alan: slightly different border. And you can tell it.

Stephen: Okay.

Okay. Whatever. It’s the same card. I want to play it.

Alan: I, what turned me off to magic early on. I was in for the first couple of years was when people really started to get fanatic about it and. Pay too much money or be willing to like screw other people over to I remember going to a gaming convention in Chicago, and like they had all kinds of people all kinds of things to do their lines out the door with people lining up just to get and it was rationed like you were saying, a certain box of the next probably version five or something like that, but it was just Wow.

All this other cool stuff to do here and people giving all that up because nothing matters more than them being in line to get the next. And I don’t tend to be fanatic like that. I really love certain things but dealing with fanatics and knowing that, people are going to be like cutthroat elbowing each other.

What I just don’t like that weird. I tend to not get involved. And if I can foresee that it might turn that I tend to not even take the first step. You know what I mean? It’s that they seemed like they were aware of people like me who had that experience and said how can we do this? So it’s a softer release.

How can we do it? So that, anyway,

Stephen: and I love the fact that they’re coming out with all the stuff again, because anyone that was interested and missed that first set and doesn’t want to pay 600 for a box, they can just wait until another month or two and you’ll be able to get the same stuff.

So it’s

Alan: Disney characters, and so one interesting thing is you’re going to have it’s not only the classic of Mickey and Minnie and Goofy and Pluto and whatever, but they’re going to be interacting with I had, I’m trying to make sure that I know

Stephen: which studio. Yeah, I had Gaston and the dwarves and there is a lad and I didn’t have him in this deck.

And it was some smaller characters. We were even talking. It’s what’s that character from? We had to I think it’s from this. Is that, that type of thing. Exactly. And I know people

Alan: are making a lesser movie or something,

Stephen: right? Okay. Yeah. And I know some people like they didn’t put so and so in and they didn’t put so and so in.

I’m like, oh, my God, it’s 1 set. There’s 200 cards. That’s it.

Alan: Geez, but it’s funny. Some people’s knowledge of Disney is encyclopedic that they’re looking forward to. I wanted that one talking bird and it’s not the penguin, and it’s not the parrot. It’s, I really enjoy animation and I see pretty much all those things, but I’m not a kid that watches them a hundred times where I really know the land that time forgot, like to recite the lines with them or something like that.

I don’t retain. I just don’t, I don’t see them multiple times. I just really like the animation and the craft that goes into each ones, and you can see the world moving forward. The animation in Tarzan when he’s like surfing through the trees, was just amazing compared to Right. Theier stuff from, honestly, 80 years ago now, when was right.

Oh yeah. Early forties, so yeah, we’re going 80 years. That’s just amazing. Wow.

Stephen: Okay. And the really cool thing is I know there’s people that. Want to play these games, but always, I don’t want to spend the money. And I always tell them, so if you’re playing casual, you don’t have to keep buying everything new, so with this one, it’s easy enough. If you just grab two starter decks, you ever have a friend that likes Disney and likes card games here. Let me show you this one. It is not difficult to get started and get going. It’s easy enough to understand the cards aren’t complicated. There’s not such like I was playing.

The there’s a new Doctor Who magic set out. Yeah very think about this. Okay yeah, my son got them all. I was looking at him, but it’s like it’s a commander decks, which is a style of Doctor Who and I’m looking at going, man, that’s 65 bucks a deck and I’m like, I don’t play enough to even make it worthwhile.

So I played his and they were kicking my butt because every card and this is where people complain. I get it. Every card had so many things to read and then think about how it interacts with all, and I’m trying to figure all this out. But exhausted

Alan: just from playing the game.

Stephen: Yeah. By the time it got back to my turn and they’re like, it’s your turn.

I’m like, I haven’t even read half of what I got. What’d you guys do? I didn’t pay attention, so I’m just like behind the whole game, which is fine. They’re very happy with it, but I was in the magic. And played magic a lot. I would know my deck. I wouldn’t have to read every card. That’s part of the pro level thinking.

Yeah. These. Cute Disney character. I love and oh, look one line tells me what it does. I’m gonna play it. We chatted plus the guy I played with was about our age and he was talking. We were talking about old CCGs and I mentioned. Stargate and he goes, I didn’t know about that one. I’d love to play.

I’m like, I will bring them next week. And he goes, I always played the decipher Star Wars. I’m like, do you have a deck? He goes, yeah, I’ve got several make bring those. I’ll bring mine. It’s we’re set. And it’s funny because you’re going to the store to play. And I’m like, we set up play dates, right?

Alan: Exactly. It really is cool to find out like that. last forever. I have things that I played when I was 10 that I still enjoy playing now. You know what I mean? And so once in a while, because things fade, also, when you find out that someone really might want to play Rail Baron or Acquire or things that are like the games magazine classics, the reason that they’re classics is because they have great play style, they have great replayability and stuff like that.

And if you’re finding someone that’s equally fanatic about you, it won’t be I’m going to explain the game and then not to be a jerk, I’m going to have to calm myself down about going to victory, because I want people to not have the idea that I wanted to play it just so I can steamroller over them, even though I know the game so well that I have my heuristics, my strategies that might work well, you have to calm down and not be all about winning.

You have to be about making the game enjoyable. But if you have a guy who’s a good challenger, then you can really go at it and say, has he seen this gambit yet and see what works and see what doesn’t like playing when I play chess. I don’t play regularly anymore, but so much. I love going to tournaments because it wasn’t just playing chess.

It was figuring out who has seen what who’s got book knowledge, who has enough experience to be able to not fall for a gambit or something like that. Once you exhaust the easy gambit, things say. We’re really going to have a game that we’re really looking three, four, five moves ahead. And we’re really going to have to play chess.

And I always loved coming to that realization after five, 10 moves and going, okay, this isn’t going to be a cheat. It’s not going to be easy and cheap. It’s going to be a real game. And if you love the game, it’s very cool to get an immersive experience instead of a. A shallow one. You know what I mean? So very cool.

Stephen: So we’ll see. I’m going to go back on Saturday for a little while cause I’m in the league. So every week you can buy one pack and use that to modify your deck. So nobody is buying 10 boxes and taking all the. Big rares and throwing them in their deck. You get one

Alan: juggernaut deck. Can play exactly.

Stephen: Everybody has starts with a starter deck. So nobody has like anything different or more powerful and you get one pack a week to pull stuff. So you get one rare a week if you want, if it even fits in your deck, it may not. So managing

Alan: that, that gaming experience so that nobody could come in and buy their way to victory.

Exactly. So what’s the name of the game store again? Under the hill? No.

Stephen: No, Underhill’s up in Akron which is a great game store for anybody. Empire is in Streetsboro, which is another great game store for anybody. But this one is in Ravenna. It’s called Battlegrounds and they’ve been expanding and they had.

So many games on sale for Black Friday, and if you like RPGs and Warhammer, they have tons of that stuff. The whole wall, exactly. Yep, and they have tons of magic if you’re into magic. They do Magic Friday, or Friday Night Magic. They do D& D on Saturdays and stuff. They have groups that come in and play miniatures.

They have one whole room. If you look in it has all these great looking models for miniatures, all set up, people get

Alan: ready to play rules to interact with exactly the town to go through, here’s a mountain. Is there love that

Stephen: kind of stuff? Yeah. It’s 10 minutes away from me and I’m, and they’ve been around for six or seven years.

I’m like. Why don’t I go here more? I want to play more with people, and this is the place to go, and I haven’t been going. They need to know my name. They need to go north from when you walk in, really,

Alan: and that’s what, that’s wonderful that you’re a regular. Exactly. This, pardon me, we had a great gaming bar here in Lakewood called SideQuest.

I didn’t go to, same thing, five minutes walk from my house. I didn’t go too often enough, and it closed because of COVID, and I don’t think it’s coming back. One of the few Oddnesses that I had about it was if you’re going to run a gaming place, you have to protect everything. So every single card was in a little plastic sleeve and every, the board was.

All of it, like you couldn’t shuffle the cards in a way that you shuffle cards, you had to do different, almost go fish, swirling them around. And I don’t know what it is, but playing with family and everybody being able to like really touch the meeples and move things around. And of course, even at home, you risk somebody spilling a drink and Oh God, you wrecked it.

But because they really have to worry about that. I always felt that there was a, like a distance of really getting into the game when everything was. Sanitized and sterilized and like untouchable, I felt like I chew on the card or that I smell everything. It’s not a full sensory experience, but there’s just something about it’s not just playing with your friends.

It’s a different experience. So I didn’t. Take to certain kinds of games that were too much. The sound of plastic rustling instead of how the game is in the real world, if you will, in the casual

Stephen: anyway. So there’s another one. Let me do a shout out to a full grip games up in Akron. They have a green dragon in pub gang pub connected.

Okay. So I know Amber has gone there a bunch.

Alan: A regular seat post from our friends on Facebook and stuff where they’ve been to the various different. Game nights or sales or whatever else it might be, right?

Stephen: So my biggest problem with getting into this CCG card game, which is planned for long term and they want to do it is that March, there’s a star Wars, CCG coming out.

So now I’m like, I am really in trouble. That’s right. And I’m not. Getting into it like I did with Magic where I’m going and playing for hours a week, multiple people. I’m going to casually playing a little bit, but I got to do the Star Wars one because I’ve always loved all the Star Wars card games and a CCG that’s new and people are playing.

I missed that with the Cypher because when it came out. We were getting married and getting ready to move to California, and so I didn’t have time and money to buy tons of cards. I didn’t have, then I moved, I didn’t know anybody, so I missed out a lot on playing that with people. And it’s I, I don’t want to feel that regret regardless of money and stuff.

I, I just wanna have a couple decks I wanna play with people,

Alan: I hear you. It’s worth I love that a gaming store is one of those places you can go in and you don’t know them from Adam and you can have a nice experience. Yeah. Have a good game. You can have a nice conversation.

I’ve had a number of times where I tend to, when I’m in other cities that I don’t frequent, I will find those kinds of places, a bookstore, a CD store, if they still exist, a game store, and you can just start talking. And because, I’ve been around for a while, as you have, it’s very cool to have, make a little reference and hear them laugh about, I didn’t know anybody else knew about Empire of the Petal Throne.

And then you have this wonderful, interesting connection. It’s a Menson thing because Menson’s absorbed so much music and reading and that kind of stuff that to have that little bit of shared reference, that shared experience. It just it makes distance and difference fade away. And you’re like I love those kinds of things where we have a link, we have this.

And then when you play with them, I don’t know, I tend to be pretty jovial. And so it’s very nice to be like, we all had a really good time. There was no psycho that had to rule the table there. We all, I really love. Going away from a situation like that doesn’t have to be even a cooperative game like pandemic or something like that, where you could just tell that nobody was cutthroat and nobody had their ego involved.

And nobody they, because sometimes this is a sad thing. A lot of gamers, many gamers, some are on the spectrum. And sometimes things not going their way really unnerve them. And so you have to identify that early on of I didn’t mean to move the dice to the wrong place. Please tell me what you need.

And unless it’s crazy, I’ll be happy to do it. It doesn’t matter to me where those things go. But once in a while, when somebody’s Too much into it and it really matters. It’s oh boy I hope you don’t wig out. You know what I mean? You can see especially this kind of interesting sweeping, terrible stereotyping or whatever.

But sometimes there’s a certain age where like they’re young teens maybe, and they got dropped off by their parents and they really love doing this, but they don’t have a good executive function. You’re a little bit on eggshells, but you’re a little bit of when they’re having a good time.

They’re so smart and they’re so much like you enjoy that good time with them of seeing how encyclopedic they are, or like that they laugh about, they understand the odds enough that it wasn’t the dice had it in for them or that someone else made a really good move. They’re just like I tried what I did and it didn’t work out on.

We go. Some people don’t get stuck in the rut. So it’s cool to see. People’s minds who really work on deep strategy where it’s like you planned that five moves ago. That’s really good You think that they might be punks in gaming, I don’t know everything about every game I’m hardly like the commodore of everything and so it’s really cool to get challenged Not only expectedly so but more like you’re fucking stupid me good for you I thought I was pretty Horry in my understanding of H O A R Y, and you got me.

You totally took me. I kind of love being, because I am often not fooled. It’s very fun. Fooled is not even the right word. To be outwitted. Yeah.

Stephen: I got pretty big words. Outstrategized. I’m

Alan: outstrategized. Exactly. It’s you really wrote me in and you really kept me expending when I shouldn’t. And I just, it was, I really love what’s well being.

I guess I got more to learn. How cool is that

Stephen: as long as you do get the ones that are good. There’s too many. It’s not just teens. There’s lots of people, but they’re like, I’m superior at this game. I’m wasting my time playing with you. And they play something and they’re like, very. Dismissive of you.

And it’s okay I want and they walk away. It’s you’re no fun to play with. I like enjoyment and discussion. And you could kick my butt all day long. But if I’m enjoying playing with you, I’ll keep playing. But if you’re just there, it’s I’m playing this because I’m better than you.

Great. Go ahead. I’ll swipe and go away.

Alan: There is something in my psychology that really hates bullies. And that’s a kind of bully. Once in a while when they’re really It’s the opposite. Instead of my being jovial, but being relatively selfish, you crank it up that if they’re going to really think they’re going to beat me, no matter what, there’s nothing more satisfying than to play the jock fraternity in a pickup softball game and have a ragtag bunch of dorm people whoop them.

You know what I mean? I, we’d had that any number of times in U of I tournaments where we just, even though we had. Just door people. We had it was a co ed floor and we had a lot of the lady athletes and a lot of times in a co ed league the ATO jocks, that’s a big jock group, would be really good at what they’re doing, but they’d have like their bevy of beauties as their partners instead of the lady jocks.

And so we had a full team and they had half a team. And by just having a good pitcher and a good left fielder, you could shut down a great hitting team. And so any number of times you could just see them just spitting mad. Because we weren’t a rollover. In fact, we were taking it to them anyway. I, that’s, it’s just very satisfying to have someone that, that, that level of arrogance yeah, are you going to be okay?

We want to play again. Do

Stephen: we need to make it fair? We’ll tie our left hands behind our back.

Alan: If you want to, we’ll play without a center fielder. Would that be okay? We can even it up a little bit. Give you a handicap

Stephen: anyway. So what type of plans you got for the holidays or what are you getting for Colleen or what’s going on with all that?

Because we’re, it’s not even December, but it’ll go like that. So

Alan: For instance, first, we’re going to be down in Cincinnati come this next weekend. And I’m going to be doing my talk about drinking from the fire hose about how to. In the world of too much to read and watch and play and et cetera, et cetera, how do you choose?

So we’re going to do that. And then while we’re down there, we’re going to go to jungle gyms, which is one of those places that’s five Quonset huts big with all the different imported food from around the world. And so we’re going to do a little bit of shopping to see, for instance, my, my mom when we were growing up, we always got guilt.

It’s the little foil wrapped chocolate coins that you have. In your stockings, a very German thing. And so I’m going to look for specifically things that from our youth and from her youth were German Christmas specific. And we’re going to put together a little a little Christmas tree in the room and put together a little basket and all that kind of stuff.

So that’s one. We sent out. Advent calendars. I think we’ve talked about that on the program before. I just love that tradition of it builds the anticipation for Christmas. Every day you open a little window and oh, there’s a little angel and we send them out to all of our family. Every brother, sister, niece, nephew, all that kind of stuff.

So hopefully we sent them out on Saturday. And that should be enough time for them to get to the before December 1st. So there won’t be, oh, thanks for giving me on December 15th. I am going to, we found a place called Tis the Season down in Amish country that has a whole wall of them. So we can actually get a whole bunch of variety.

And then we really keep track of, okay Aaron and Maureen live across the street from each other. We don’t want to get on the same calendar. That’s going to be boring. So we make a point a little, keep track of. What did we get them last year? And who do we know that’s going to compare between and just, make sure that we get equal amounts of glitter for everybody and stuff like that.

And I think the people like them, nobody has said, Hey, stop sending that. I hope. And then already I’ve been doing from black Friday and cyber Monday and that kind of stuff. I have all kinds of. One of my favorite things in the world to do is because I really do listen and remember Colleen will mention little things throughout the year as to what she might be interested in or a book that she thought about that kind of stuff.

And so I just have my little lists on my phone or in my head. And I’ve gotten her. All kinds of fun stuff already, if anything, I’m like overdoing it, but that’s what I tend to do is, you can have a table full of gifts, but if they’re all like, this book costs 10 bucks and this CD costs 15, you can get a whole bunch of stuff for 200.

And we tend to overwhelm each other. She has tons of stuff and tons of stuff for me. And what I also got was. If we don’t always say a number as to what the right number of gifts is, I got things that we’ll both because often we get books that, Hey, when you’re done with that, let me read it. I got a bunch of stuff that if that’s the extra gifts, if you will, whoever’s got taking turns, opening gifts, as we do, there will be a whole bunch of stuff that we can do that just back and forth and say, yep, those are for the both of us.

So I got Colleen don’t listen to the podcast. Be a game. I really like trekking the national parks. I discovered it like five years ago, probably, right? It’s a really nice game where, you go to all the 63 national parks and monuments in the United States and enough little gameplay about how to move and you learn about each park and stuff like that.

And just, we love doing that. And we love being aware of where they are. We’ve probably only been to half of them. And so when are we going to make it to America and Samoa? When are we going to make it to, like I’ve been to Yosemite, she has not. Anyway I got her, she really liked Laura Ingalls Wilder things, The Little House on the Prairie books.

And I found a couple more things. That’s one of those things like getting her Kurt Vonnegut stuff. I’ve gotten her so much that it really is now I’m scraping at the bottom of the barrel because they’re still cool, but they’re not his works. They’re collections of his letters that he sent to his wife or that people are not writing anymore. So there’s no new works coming out. And sometimes when they find. supposedly new things. It wasn’t out for a reason. It’s fragmented and it was not their best or whatever else it might be. But having said that, got her some fun music. I, when I was at Prague Stock, there was a woman there, amazingly talented, can play things from Emerson, Lincoln, Palmer, and yes, and Genesis and that kind of stuff beautifully on keyboards and sings beautifully.

And she also happens to be blind, which makes it. All the more amazing. So they had her whole set of things that she has released there and I got all four of the Rachel Flowers CDs for Colleen because I think she really likes them. And of course I might too. I’m always looking for, she really likes not only is it big bombastic stuff, but a lot of her stuff is more piano and a voice and it’s just beautiful.

So I, I got some nice music for her there. I’m still working on clothings, again, don’t listen, Colleen. I got We have a quirky thing going on where she really likes when she goes. Now she’s not doing it as much because she’s not going to work conventions anymore. They will often as part of a work convention go to the local.

Ball club and see a game and sometimes it’s, it’s the St. Louis and it’s the main team. Sometimes it’s Charlotte and then it’s a triple A or even a double A team and often triple A, double A smaller teams have funnier names, so it’s not the Cubs and the Sox and that kind of stuff. It’s the banana slugs and it’s the isotopes and stuff like that.

So at one point, having heard when she was traveling. On the radio, a game being called, and hearing the line the most productive rumble pony of the night is this. It’s rumble ponies? So I sought out that shirt, and that kind of started this funny, getting her more and more hilarious. And after I had investigated all the double A, triple A, et cetera, and had gotten her pretty much all the ones I thought were Not just the captains, boring.

It doesn’t matter where they’re from a place called moonshot if I remember right does defunct teams, like from the 1800s into the hundreds. And so I just got her a couple shirts that. Like they weren’t always politically correct back in the day. So I got her shirt. It says the Hungarian rioters. Who knows what history it is in that small town that they had that happen.

But so once again like the spam shirt, when she wears these shirts, especially to those kinds of events, people will often say, where in the world did you get a mud hens shirt? Oh, that’s to lead those team right here in Ohio. And then over the course of the years, we’ve gotten, I think it’s the Binghamton.

Rumble ponies, for instance, and stuff like that. And I think I’ve gotten her like Wolf rats, and it’s more and more so I got her a couple of those, and of course I always have to check in. You’re a medium if you’re going to do something that you’re going to wear when you know if we’re going to go taking a walk or something like that.

Yes. And do you like ladies cut. Or if it’s not available, do you want the full sleeve or the three quarter sleeve? Because a lot of times you can go to these places and get based on color and sizes to find out exactly what you want. And so I hope that I got her some things that she’ll really like. I didn’t get her a ball gown.

I didn’t get her something fancy, but she seems very tickled by, I haven’t quite exhausted that this is a funny, cute thing to do yet. And okAy, that’s a little bit of shopping.

Stephen: Yeah, so for my, my looking forward to gift, I always usually find something for somebody that’s I just can’t wait to give it to him, and so this past year, my mother always had this what, not a weather clock.

It was a clock with temperature had indoor and outdoor temperature and you had to have a digital thermometer outside. She always had that. Cool. I broke it this year. So she doesn’t have that working anymore. Yeah. So I was

Alan: like you’ll make that right. You’ll get her.

Stephen: Yeah, it seemed cheesy to buy a replacement and make it a Christmas gift.

So what I did is I upgraded. So I got her a full weather station. It’s got the nominator and the. A barometric pressure and it connects to an app. It’s got the rain gauge and all of that with a big display with all sorts of stuff on it. And so I’m like, okay, she’ll love that. And I got her and I got her a log book.

So she can keep for 5 years. Keep the log of the weather.

Alan: There we go. And I did. I mentioned, I also got, besides those boring goes wilder. In fact, here, I might even have a prop to show you. Let’s see. In fact, I I recommend this to everyone.

Stephen: Here’s a

Alan: Here’s the latest from Maria Bamford. Let’s see.

Can I get in camera? Yeah, sure. I’ll join your cult. If you don’t listen to Maria Bamford, she’s an amazing comedian. And she’s she acknowledges that she has like mental health issues. And yet she doesn’t let that stop her from. Being bold enough to go out on stage, having really hilarious material, sometimes so revealing about the difficulties that she’s been through in her life, that so brave and wow, I don’t know that I’d be that brave.

You know what I mean? So the book is about that. She has sometimes been. Like looking for someone that would accept her. She knows she’s an odd duck. And this book is about that journey of trying various different groups that and apparently some of them a little crazy, a little culty. And so I know that Colleen will appreciate that as well.

In fact, like we’ve talked about this, besides what we’ve been particular to our family and stuff like that, there’s There’s all kinds of cool things coming out that if you’re a fan at all of, for instance, Keith Emerson, they have a box set coming out called Variations that’s got 20 CDs that collects all of what he ever did, all kinds of rarities, all kinds of live things, that kind of stuff.

And I suspect that Colleen got that for me, even though it’s pretty expensive. And Rick Wakeman has a similar thing coming out that’s even more expensive than that. That’s 30 CDs. And it’s sad. Keith Emerson is gone. And so it’s a career ending retrospective. Whereas Rick Wakeman, he actually got to contribute to here’s what I see on it.

So the fact that they’ve done that with like gentle giant, and I didn’t buy it when it came out, and now it can’t be found. I, as much as I am we’re, being fixed income frugal, even though we’re okay, we’re safe. There’s some things like I, okay. I’ve always had this, if I see it in a store and I don’t buy it now, I might never see this again.

So I have to buy it. There’s a couple things that are coming out right now, and we’ve talked about this a little bit in the past, Rhino and Burning Shad and various different compilation people that isn’t just collecting the music. They interview all kinds of people. They put together a beautiful 70 page book of all of the history of what went into this band or this person and stuff like that.

And I really It’s been a big part of my life. I really love learning and reading and having that kind of stuff and filling in the gaps of what I didn’t have from all those rarities and stuff. So it might be that I’m going to be a little goofy and spend a hundred dollars, 200 on some of these things.

Cause even though I, all the places that I’ve been cheap. I’ve saved up all that money so that when I have to do the Weird Al accordion box set, then I’ll be able to get it. You know what I mean? So I, and of course I’ll be over to the jewelry store and finding a shiny for Colleen and stuff like that. You know what I mean?

We, I think I’ve really gotten the Roy G Biv Spectrum of all the different colors. So she has earrings and little pets. I, last year when I was visiting my mom, even a year more ago, I guess it was last year, I in at the Carlsbad arts and crafts fair in California, found the cute little sea turtle pendant.

And I found three or four other things as well. She totally loves this thing. Once in a while, you don’t know it, but you’re going to hit it out. And not only does she love it, but everybody that when she wears it, everybody compliments her on it. And I’m just so happy once in a while to be like, I want to get her things that I think match her or her color that she’ll find pretty and stuff.

But it’s so satisfying. Like you say, when you get, you can’t wait to give it to her. Cause you know what I mean? It’ll be like that.

Stephen: Yep. All right, man. Very cool.

Alan: As always a pleasure. And we’ll let’s do more like top 10 shoppy lists and stuff like that over the

Stephen: course of recommendations.

And exactly. All right. Talk

Alan: to you later. A pleasure. All right.

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