This weeks episode around three main topics: the 10th anniversary of the Firefly game, the show True Detectives and traveling to the Caribbean. The Firefly game discussion involves Alan and Stephen discussing the details and expansions of the game, the associated Gamefound campaign and the overall gaming culture. The conversation then transitions to discussing the show True Detectives which is characterized by its unique plot, quality, and complex narratives. Lastly, they discuss traveling to the Caribbean with Stephen sharing his planned trip to islands including the Grand Cayman and Jamaica, and the activities he plans to engage in.







Stephen: [00:00:00] Good morning.

Alan: So I’m writing up the invitation to the death to the sun event that Cam is gonna have because Cleveland is 1 of those big cities that’s right in the path of the upcoming solar eclipse. So just figured I’d throw the moon on there. There we go.

Stephen: Okay. Nice. Yeah. Before we destroy it or something.

Alan: Exactly.

Stephen: Okay. So where do we wanna start? We got it’s each week you say, okay. Let’s hit the things that we didn’t get to this week. Here’s my new list of things.

Alan: It’s an ever going list. And yet, we let our whim be our guide, whatever is the fun stuff to talk about, whatever is interesting, I’m sure we’ll hit it. So I 1 of the things that you shared was You got a big update like a treasure chest update, the Firefly game. So was it a Kickstarter project, or how did this

Stephen: come to be? It was basically Kickstarter, but it was gamefound, which is like Kickstarter but focused on games.

And so the, Hopefully, everybody [00:01:00] listening to us knows Firefly. That’s you know, let’s just go there. If you don’t know Firefly, It was 20 some years ago. Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, and a whole other cast, great people. It’s A

Alan: single season.

It said I’ve heard it described as wagon train in space. And

Stephen: in a little bit Yeah. That’s how Roddenberry describes Star Trek to get the pilot, mate.

Yeah. Okay. But, yeah, it’s Space Cowboys is what it is. And so there was a firefly called Firefly The game, very original that was out 15 ish years ago. And it was 1 of those that I’m like, oh, that does look interesting.

Just not the right time of my life to be getting a game. And they came out with a whole bunch of expansions over time. And, of course, it went out of print And, harder to find. And so I’ve been wanting it for quite a while. And a year and a half ish ago I ran into a thing where it was this company, Gale Force 9, that said, hey.

It’s the tenth anniversary of [00:02:00] the Firefly game. We wanna create something for all of you. Here’s a rerelease of the game with all 8 expansions and a big treasure chest. You get everything. And I was like, oh, cool.

Now, of course, then I started going, oh, what are these add ons that they have? And it’s like

Alan: It’s kinda funny. It really just a little bit Firefly was never a big thing. It was only a single season. It really is kinda culty.

A lot of people in it went on to do great things. Like you said, Nathan Fillion has been in 5 successful series since then or something. And yet, there are people that are fanatically in love with this thing. You know what I mean?

They really do continually write the studios. Hey. Can we revive this? Could we even get the cast back together? Had it been died off?

I don’t think no. It’s basically, book. Book. Exactly.

Oh, I can’t think of his name. He’ll come to me. It so already, there’s you know, sometimes you could wait too long, and the Beatles aren’t getting back together.

Stephen: Here’s my thing.

Why don’t they do an animated series of it? Because you [00:03:00] it would be easier for to get all the cast wherever they’re at to do their lines, record it, and then put it all together. It’d be great, yeah, to have them all on screen and all that, but it’s 20 years different. They look different.

I think animated would be the best way to go, and I’d be all for it if it’s a don’t treat it like it’s Corny like the old D and D cartoon. Keep it the same feel.

Alan: Honestly, enough of the characters have very distinctive voices. So it really would be that, animating them, it wouldn’t be well, just that.

It would be it that’s a very good idea to stave off the ravages of time, if you will. You know what I mean?

Stephen: So I got the thing. Oh my gosh.

Just imagine whatever game, the main game and 8 expansions with all the pieces. And it’s just a lot of cardboard. Now the add ons, this was the thing. So it comes with these little plastic ships, they’re like singular colored, but you could get the add on where it had unique ships that were, like 3 d printed or lead or whatever the pieces are. You can add that on, and you could add on instead [00:04:00] of the cardboard that you’re popping out, you can add on a bag of plastic chips, and you get a little more weight to them.

And I looked at it, and I’m like, yeah. With all the add ons, this is 750 dollars. I am

Alan: never going I hesitated to ask. I thought, is this a hundred? Hundred?

Oh god. No. Good lord. It really but you’re just that. If each of the things could 50 bucks?

8 expansions really runs into money quickly and upgrading the quality of things so that if you wanna play it a lot, it doesn’t immediately start kinda like fraying around the edges. You know what I mean? Things don’t necessarily hold up that well. All it takes is 1 spill, and you destroy things.

Stephen: Yeah. But, I think the the whole Kickstarter you know, these sold for 50, 60. The expansion’s maybe 35 50. So it’s a good 2 53 well, 3 to 400, but I think the Kickstarter was, like, 2 50. So I’m like, that’s not outrageous to get everything.

I have plenty of games in there that I’ve spent 60, 80 bucks on and then bought [00:05:00] expansions for another 50 or whatever. So don’t realize

Alan: how you could do keep adding to it. There’s a game called cosmic encounters long ago. Oh, yeah.

First ones that actually had I think 4 up to 4 ex expansion packs. And each 1 of them changed the game enough that it was worth revisiting the game and incorporating these things. So how are you gonna do it? Are you gonna play the original game and then kinda add them in chronological release order? We’re gonna throw them together and have this much expanded universe.

Stephen: Now what do you have to do? It’s so funny you say that because that’s what I would do. I’d be like, okay. I need some people to play. Here’s the basic great.

Let’s add the next expansion. They don’t wanna but it doesn’t really separate them. The rule book And the pieces, they’re all in there together. So you don’t really know what all the expansions are. It’s just all the stuff.

But the game itself and, honestly, I have never played it. I’ve always wanted to. I’ve read over the rules, and I’m like, This is 1 of those games that is not overly difficult to grasp. The [00:06:00] rules are fairly simple. It’s okay.

Here’s a map. You got planets. Here’s job cards. Here’s your crew. You see what upgrades you have on your ship.

Here’s the stuff you’re carrying. It all makes Logical sense. When you

Alan: read it railroad game where you decide what are you when you’re laden and what destination is, and you’re gonna get money from the continent.

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah.

That’s it. So you don’t have to it’s Easy to grasp the concept. Oh, if I move my ship to that planet, this job is where I pick up something. Now I have to go to this planet to

Alan: deliver. Crystals are now worth

Stephen: thing.

Yeah. Yeah. So the basic rules aren’t Okay. Just, crazy or anything. So I’m like, this is a game that is probably a good transition game.

If you’ve played things like maybe Dominion or Splendor or something that wasn’t complicated and you had fun with, This is the next step to much more difficult games.

Alan: Okay. And it’s kinda funny. When you do any kind of railroad mapping game, it’s that, the country is only so big. Space?

Really big. Just ask Douglas Adams. [00:07:00] Really on mindset. Big. And

Stephen: It’s So I compared.

So okay. Now I did have the original game. I got it at Barnes and Noble. Actually, this kinda I went. So I was at Barnes and Noble, and it said, here’s the Firefly game, but it’s the Barnes and Noble edition, which adds a fifth Character.

So you have a few new cards, a new ship. So instead of 4 people, you could play with 5, adds, more to it. And I’m like I can’t pass that up. So now that I got but I never played it. And then literally 2 weeks after that, I found this tenth year anniversary Kickstarter.

And I’m like, are you kidding me? But I took the unique fifth player stuff out of the original and put it into the Tenth edition. So I could play 10 before play. And stuff.

Alan: Yeah.

It sounds you know, it’s 1 of those things that it isn’t that you sit down to play the game. You’re almost thinking there’s so much game here. I’m gonna have to play this 10 times in order to explore, in order to The possibilities. To get all the possibilities because, infinite [00:08:00] diversity.

Diversity and combinations. Makes these things explode, combinatorial explosion.

Stephen: So Yeah. And the original map cardboard map out of the original game, it’s whatever. It’s a certain size.

This tenth anniversary came with a neoprene mat that lays out real nice, but it’s like this big. You go from this to this, and it’s oh my god. There’s just so much here. And the box, like you said, you saw the picture. It’s like a treasure chest, and I put the original box next to it.

And you could probably fit at least 7 to 9 of the original boxes in the Into this thing. Wow. It’s huge. So I will bring it to an r g I’ll announce first. Tell me if you wanna play this because it’s a bit to lug it around.

And they do say, everything I’ve read, that if you have 4 people, even people that have played it, it’s at least a 2 hour game. It could be up to 3 hours for people that are still kinda learning. So it’s a longer go off

Alan: to a corner of the game room and really kinda commit. There’s people, we are [00:09:00] we’re both in MENSA.

There’s people at MENSA events that used to play rail games. That’s what they did. Everybody else was going to multiple programs, playing multiple games, hospitalitizing. And a clutch of 3 or 4 people, they just were so fascinated by, build your rail lines, move your cargos, get rewards, and so forth. And that’s they had found kindred souls because mentally, is a good place to find Yeah.

Not just gamers, but people who really will dig into a game, maybe a little fanatic about it and stuff like that. So so So what’s the what’s your mindset? What’s your confidence level to spend hundreds of dollars on a game that you haven’t played. Okay. So because I kinda like when I buy a series, I buy I just bought a series of of 8 books and then an additional 4 if I remember right. And just from the little ads on Facebook from this woman who’s writing this series, like a revenge fantasy. Women are getting it pretty badly nowadays in some ways, and 1 woman gets tired. And I just because I like the theme, because I like her. And like I said, sure.

I’ll [00:10:00] throw a hundred dollars at that, not having read except cover blurb. And I like what emboldens me to do that? You think I’d try 1 and then say, good enough. Let’s go. Because I’ve had a couple series where I bought a trilogy, and the first 1 wasn’t good enough to complete.

It’s Oh, I shoulda had a little caution there. Yeah. Tell because you love Firefly, because you Yes. Is I don’t mean to put words in your mouth.

No. No. No. No. Inspired.

Stephen: Yeah. We’ve talked about the games, and I have kick started quite a few games over the last couple years. But mostly, it’s games I’ve already had or played that it’s like the new revision, the big deluxe and whatever. So Sentinels of the multiverse. I’d played it multiple times and loved it.

They came out with a new edition with some additional stuff. So it was from a company I knew, Trusted, and I knew I’d played the game. Yeah, I did this brand

Alan: awareness that could lead you to Yes. Do good over here. It doesn’t really matter what the theme of the game is.

I trust their Yeah. Their game dynamics.

Stephen: Absolutely. It’s a good game with the quality of the materials [00:11:00] and stuff. And it was the same with the DC deck builder, the same with Star Realms.

I’d already played them. I had the, beginner or played someone else’s. And so it’s here, in 1 fell swoop, I get everything. I that’s my OCD.

If I’m gonna get a game, I can’t get just the game in expansion number 3. That just does not work for me. It would keep me up at night and give me an ulcer. So

Alan: I really am the guy that I need to have when I have 1.

I wanna have that there’s end Exactly. Them all in. And I have a friend, Jeff, that, like I said, while a series is coming out, he doesn’t by it and read each book as it’s coming out. He has to know this I came to a conclusion because he had a traumatic event when young of author dying while they were still writing it. And it really bothered him that it didn’t come to the author’s satisfying conclusion.

So now he doesn’t trust. Now he always waits until they’re all out and then buy him and back read. You know what I

Stephen: mean? And, Yes. There’s some risk with a Kickstarter.

It may not come out, but it was an a company that has [00:12:00] games. They already are established. It was a property I love, and it was a game that I’ve heard a lot about. People say, oh, yeah. That’s fine.

Oh, yeah. I enjoy it. It must be popular enough that they said, we’re gonna put it all together, and people are gonna spend a couple hundred dollars to get it. So and before I even Put my bid in to pay.

They had already Mac gone over their what they needed. So I’m like, okay. So it’s funded.

Alan: It did actually when you meet gold, then you’re pretty sure there’s gonna be something coming out.

It isn’t like this is just, if I don’t meet gold, then I pull, I kinda pull up the tents and go to the next town. You know what I mean? Okay. So we I you we’ve been to mind games, which is menses event that they do play testing of all kinds of games. It’s in April.

And then you get to know what’s gonna be coming out for Christmas time and you can get good games for your friends and family. I think that it’s still restricted in terms of they go to all the various different game manufacturers and say, hey. What’s your latest? And they take submissions. And so they both solicit and accept submissions, [00:13:00] but I really don’t I’ve never seen anything there that I thought was they searched Kickstarter and looked for the ones that are, like, most successful or reached goal in the least number of days.

But that would be a good way of turning people onto that underground of games because they’re still nicely produced and stuff like that. But

Stephen: That really I mean, I totally get what you’re saying and agree to a point, but that really opens up a can of worms is Without having an established publisher and distributor there are so many hope fools that are on Kickstarter that don’t know how to make a game, that don’t have the resources to make it look good and play test it. They’re like, Hey. I have this great game idea. Let’s go do this.

Let’s go do this. Let’s go do this. I only need 20000 dollars. Everybody give me money, and I’ll make it. But they have no clue how to make a game.

They don’t know how to write the rule. So that really would be

Alan: I was saying a little bit of what you just talked about. You buy from an established vendor. This is the fourth they’ve shown that they’ve done it before.

Kinda like when I [00:14:00] buy comic books via Kickstarter or any of the other funding, GoFundMe’s and stuff like that. It’s because they’ve prove they can ship. They really get to get something for my money, not just that and most of them are like, you won’t get charged until this comes reality. But because there’s a time element to mind games, they have to make sure, yeah, it’s available.

Come early April to make sure that we have these things to play. So I get it. It just is that seems like a any number of vets that I know love the I wouldn’t even call them underground. They’re crowdfunded. They’re high quality games, but for more and more specific niche market that you don’t see them in Barnes and Noble and various other big retailer stores, but there’s 10000 copies of it out.

So I don’t know. That’s something that I’ve talked about, but haven’t really gone to the right people and proposed it and stuff like that. And it 1 of those things where do they have someone on staff that can take on that gig? All they’d have to do is put a little advertisement in the bulletin saying, hey.

We’re looking for someone to survey the world of Kickstarter and GoFundMe games and make some recommendations. And the first year, you try 2. [00:15:00] And if that works out, then you try 6. And that kind of thing.

It seems like a an untapped area for a crowd that really would be pleased by those being available. Not sure. Not sure. But

Stephen: Yeah. That I really think because, the other problem is Hasbro or Galeforce 9, the these companies come out with maybe a game or 2 a year or, Yo.

A gamer 2 family, a gamer 2 strategy, whatever. Or if you go on Kickstarter and just look up games that are currently looking it’s 9000. So you’re always going to miss a good 1. You’re always going to pick a bad 1. And if you pick too many of those bad ones, how many mind games people go, yeah.

That game sucked. Don’t even bother playing it. And how many before you avoid it? And then it’s like it that slot could have been used for a better game, but we just didn’t see it.

Alan: True enough.

What I wonder about is what I just said about do they really check Kickstarter? I’ve seen some things from such small publishers where it was like their first game, then maybe they did find it through there. I’m just not aware of the [00:16:00] process. I don’t know. Going back and some of them have really been, like, the laughed at losers, rat a tat cat, and stuff like that.

Sometimes, obscure places really come and they hit a home run first at bat, and

Stephen: other times Exploding kittens is a great

Alan: example. Like that. Exactly. And sometimes they’re very derivative or they’re very poorly produced or, they didn’t bother to spell and grammar check the rules and stuff like that. So that’s what publisher agreed to publish this without having a certain amount of quality control?

So I maybe they really already whatever sources they’re using. I think it’s because there’s an open call. If you look on the website, they are accepting submissions from various different places. And my guess is they’re always looking to get the numbers up, so it’s not I don’t know that there’s a limit. You know what I mean?

It really is that we just had, I don’t know, 80 a hundred games instead of 60 or 70. They just have the randomizing would just have more people playing multiple things. And I think that it could still work out. Getting quality up would still be an issue or at least but I don’t know. Like I said, There’s not always that expectation [00:17:00] of everything is of quality.

Every year, there’s been half a dozen things where people were like, Man, this was such a waste of time. This was, and that rumor kinda goes through the hallway the hall. You’re not always you’re not supposed to talk about to prejudge anything, to prejudice anybody else against it. And yet, when you hear this quarter is full of laughter and delight, and this quarter is full of people going, what the heck? You know what I mean?

You can kinda tell just glancing over there. Oh, that’s that stinker. I gotta play it. Oh, no. No.


Stephen: the quality with there’s so many places now that you can Print on demand and with high quality products. So if you got good graphics and you get it printed, it’s hard to tell the difference. And like you said with the trusted, so I kick started the third version of Thunderstone several years ago Because I absolutely loved version 1 and 2. I played them all the time. So I wanted 3. This was 1 of those That was huge. Literally, I [00:18:00] got another foot locker size thing. But the Kickstarter was, look.

We wanna come out with this game. We’re planning on this and this as the first 2 mini expansions. You get it all in the Kickstarter. Plus, We’re going to give you little figures, which you won’t get in the store. Plus, we’re going to give you these cards and so it was like, if we hit this certain number, Now you get this. And if we hit this number, now we get this. All the

Alan: stretch goals are actually sometimes very convincing. That would make a better game.

You know what I mean? Tool. I want them to do this.

Stephen: Okay. And now they’ve done several other follow-up Kickstarters.

So if you don’t have the original, You don’t wanna do this 1, so they always offer the original with it a packet. They do That makes sense. Known game, known company, and I Yeah. Kick started 3 or 4 sets. I have 3 locker boxes sitting on a low shelf that are all thunder stone.

Alan: That’s pretty funny. Yeah. I when a certain vendor starts to dominate the shelves, that’s okay. They’re putting out good stuff or they’re putting out big stuff.

Stephen: Yeah.

That’s a lot. [00:19:00] And I know people get overwhelmed, but Gina and her kids, when I first pulled it out, she’s like, Oh, dear god. That I don’t know if I could handle playing that game. And I’m like, hold on. This is you don’t play with everything at 1 time.


Alan: it’d be intimidating. Exactly. Yes.

Colin and I are looking for interesting games. We play we have family game night with her sisters a couple times. And But they really they’re not gamers. That but they aren’t taking on learning dominion or learn not only that whole process that you go through mind games of learning and judging quality and that kind of stuff. They really just it’s a social thing.

They want something to do with their hands while we talk and goof off. They wanna play something they know how to play well, like card games, like Pinochle and stuff like that. And but having said that we a lot of those little 10 dollar box games that you see hanging on those, at racks at Target. Some of those have proven to be very funny because they’re social. You get people, revealing things about themselves, making little jokes, best thing you can.

A friend just recommended, Tom, recommended let’s see, vents fens with benefits, where it’s like [00:20:00] making Venn diagram things. And, of course, the they’re supposed to make it funny as if everyone’s a meme, that kind of thing. So we’ll we It’s 1 of those things. We keep trying things, but trying things for 10 dollars and having it work or not is different than trying out a 50, a hundred dollar chest game and being, oh, I who am I gonna play this with? The only regular gaming thing that I have going on is this.

Cam, unfortunately, doesn’t have a regular games night anymore. And so I have not regularly added to my game collection for a while now because of that, not being near my brothers who were always up for a game or just, I kinda like knowing that there are friends who are gaming fanatics. I kinda just like to see come out at the RG and say, so what you’re playing lately, Oriel? What do you think, Steve? And they’re always happy to share, here’s my latest discovery.

You know what I mean? So

Stephen: I know ecom has started doing some gaming nights, gaming Saturdays or whatever. And Amber has been a big part of that. I might have to

Alan: drive now because I miss it.

I think Me too. More than Colleen. Colleen doesn’t necessarily like all the kinds of games, all the kinds of [00:21:00] games I like and stuff like that. So that might be 1 of those things where, okay, hon. Why don’t you go play your games?

Then I’m gonna take a bath. You know what I mean? She also do lady things around the house and stuff like that. It’s nice to get me out of the house once in a while so she just has some alone time. Yes.

You know what I mean? These are happy couples.

Stephen: And our library, Ravenna Library, in association with the local game store, They offer games you could check out of the library. So that’s something, that some don’t. Our library also, you can check out cake pans, Which doesn’t happen very often at a library.

Are those

Alan: jigsaw puzzles? There’s a couple of libraries that have started doing that, that it’s not just books. So Yeah. 1 1 thing that COVID really hurt was there were a whole bunch of gaming cafes that had opened up.

We had SideQuest right here in Lakewood, and it just couldn’t survive. It stayed open for a long time. It wasn’t the initial um, surge of COVID that killed it. It was years and years of just not being able to, like, how are you gonna make rent if you’re not getting enough customers, if they’re not staying for long enough, if their business model got torn apart by [00:22:00] Gaming is automatically a social thing, and you gotta have things that will have people stay there for hours, not to I don’t know, like a sports bar. You know what I mean?

The whole point of having a sports is because that way people will stick around for 3 hours while the game is on and drink some beers. And I think that there’s some that survived or some that have reopened since then, but I it’s hard to not have that available easy walking distance. You know what I

Stephen: mean? So Yeah. There’s a game store in Akron called Full Grip Games, and I’ve been very impressed by their shelves and what they have for sale.

They have quite a Few shelves and lanes and lots of games. I’ve been able to pick up several things there that I’m like, oh, I haven’t seen this, and I’ve wanted it. Let me grab it. And they are now opened up the Green Dragon Cafe upstairs, which you can go get some food and play with people, and they have a back room you could rent out If you have a larger group or something.

So Yeah. I know people have been there, and I’ve been there, and it’s fine. My only slight complaint was I went with 2 friends. There were only 3 of us, and we were playing the [00:23:00] DC deck builder. And that much on the table took up pretty much most of the table.

And then we had drinks and stuff, and I’m like, man, something’s gonna get spilled all over my cards. That just makes me nervous. The table’s gonna be just a bit

Alan: bigger. Yeah. It honestly, it’s kinda funny.

This really isn’t the new thing. I remember I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and there was a place in Mount Prospect. I’m pretty sure it made this place. That was the first gaming store that wasn’t just selling games, but had that back room, maybe back 2 rooms where, there was a regular gaming group that would get together. And not so much me, but my younger brother’s friends regularly went there and took part in D and D campaigns in the first the communal games where you get people playing access and allies or diplomacy. And not just your group of friends, but learning people’s gaming styles. And we used to go I think I’ve mentioned to, all the different GameCons when Gen Con was like a little tiny thing at White Water campus at University of Wisconsin. It was a whole different thing than now the hundred thousand people version, first in [00:24:00] Milwaukee, now in Indianapolis. I it was fun to discover those things in those days.

And even then, there was so my younger brother and his friends played many more miniatures than I did. They used to have amazing steady hand painting ability to on a little, lead figure, be able to paint different sigils on each shield for different regiments and stuff like that. And really cool. So they sent away for a lot of stuff and quality varied. You always had to cut things out and take the little flashings off and stuff like that.

But even then, there were better mold makers than others. So 1 day, I discovered this place called the emperor’s headquarters, and we drove into the city. And, like, 1 of those where you open the doors to Oz. It wasn’t just a little place. It was 2 stories and a whole 1 floor was all the games for sale, and the next floor up.

And he kinda had to be invited up there that it was just as many things of those kinds of things he specialized in, not just, any not just revolutionary war, but civil war, but Napoleonic. So every there [00:25:00] are a whole section for each of these various different things. And they were in there for hours and them going through I didn’t bring enough money. I usually go in knowing I’m gonna find a couple, blister packs of stuff and, like, How can we borrow money? We, we need to get these things.

We might never see them again. When I learned the background, he was the emperor was a guy that was actually also in my Mac user group. I used to be president of a thing called The Rest of Us in Chicago, the big downtown Mac user group. Pretty cool. And he had inherited money.

And of all the things he wanted to do in the world, he wanted to open his game or the ultimate Oh, nice. Especially for figures. And so all the world benefited from this guy’s cool love of this stuff, and, you could find everything you wanted there. You could special order everything. It he had great events there.

It was the fact that it was just into the city, It was 45 minutes to an hour to get there. Parking was difficult. I remember if it was, like, on north in Irving Park or something like that. I don’t know that for sure. Anyway, it I know it was on Irving Park.[00:26:00]

So so I just even though we’re there’s game stores now that also seem to be recreating that cool as they the emerald dragon and stuff like that. It gaming is 1 of those things that inspires a certain amount of fanaticism where They’re not only their best customer. They kinda wanna be the purveyor because they love being in early on all those things. They want to sell the magic cards. And that was a big event.

And just who are they gonna hang out with? All their gaming friends. And while they’re playing, then somebody I’ll just step to the register for a while to check this guy out. You know what I mean? You’re you’re I used to love hanging out with those guys because and we laugh about this all the time.

That kind of gamer, probably a lot of them are on the spectrum because they love the rules and they love knowing everything about it, and they love all the calculation know, the focus that goes into it. But because some any of those games are social, they still had to know, like, how to deal with human beings, how to negotiate a treaty, how to

Stephen: You know what I mean? Isn’t it [00:27:00] interesting? So real quick Shout out to Battlegrounds here in Ravenna because they just recently had a playtest group come in for a game that some guy’s working on. People, look out for playtest games because developers, it’s very hard to make a game.

It’s very hard to make a good game. It goes through many iterations, and it always needs feedback and people playing it. Check local game stores more often. But what you said about the autism thing, that’s you know, we’ve talked about autism last week, and I think That there’s probably a good group of people that if you tried to talk to them, engage with them, put them in a group or whatever, they’d be Awkward. They wouldn’t know they’d say the wrong thing, not know what to say.

They’d stand out. Oh, yeah. That person’s definitely on the spectrum. But you put them in a game situation with a group of gamers, And you don’t notice that difference that they click, that their focus is on the game, and they open up a bit more maybe. I’ve seen that a lot.


Alan: own people and stuff like that. So [00:28:00] funny. It’s, there were girls there. And for all of there’s a lid for every pot. It was very cool to see the sweet, smart, librarian stereotype girls that they liked those guys.

It wasn’t about are you the big man on campus and stuff like that. It was like, I like this guy that can Think this well. That can plan ahead. That can make a difficult game easy to understand. They like playing those things too.

And as you might imagine, when it is, I don’t know, 70 percent guys, the ladies that come in, all the guys are like, like Wow. Meerkats. There’s a girl there. At first time, nervous, but now it’s she sure is nice and pretty, and maybe I have hope. Maybe there’s hope for me.

Stephen: So Another thing the big bang theory gave us all is a little hope for that there is a girl in everybody except for Raj. So what else is on our topic of discussion here?

Alan: Let’s see. I’ve been watching True North that is the true detective and night country.

I don’t know why I put those together. There must be a true north mentioned [00:29:00] there or something like that. But Synapse inspired. Series. Exactly.

It’s an old series of true detective, and they’ve all been quite different. Different stars and different settings and plots and stuff like that. And the reason I think this 1 is interesting is because the previous ones have been variations on procedurals, where there’s sometimes terrible crimes being done and they have to figure out either because it’s over the course of time and witnesses have faded or because he has really a master criminal that has hidden his tracks well. But this has a supernatural element. It’s set up in Alaska.

There’s automatically that intention of it’s an Alaskan research station. So there’s only so many people there and only so many places they can go. And how did people get killed. And there’s an element of If you don’t know what else to try, you kinda go to the spooky. You know what I mean?

If it really is like that locked room mystery, there’s always that little bit how? How did it happen? And sometimes people go, in the absence of facts, to woo stuff. There’s enough in how they’re filming it that it really might be and it’s also there’s [00:30:00] interaction between the Inuits or I don’t know American Indian tribes and exactly, but I think it’s Inuits or other Eskimo, what we used to call up there. And they have their own culture and their own they circle the wagons when, you can’t be on our land.

You’re you might be an inspector, but, this guy might have participated in it, but you have to get not just a warrant, but We have to invite you to come on onto our land and continue this investigation. And they have their own culture and their own superstition and their own sets of gods. And when it starts to look like someone had from the white world had stumbled onto some of that woo stuff, and then maybe they didn’t know what they were doing. So it’s kinda if I decided to learn voodoo. But I really don’t know the downside of voodoo, and so I put some sigils on things.

And then, oh, that invited an evil spirit. There’s indications that it might be that or it might be that because you’re up there isolated, you kinda go crazy a little bit. You know what I mean? And so they’re playing it really well with the people who are hard evidence, hard science people, but they [00:31:00] can’t quite explain it. But then do they embrace the woo, and other people that leap to it, but then they find out it can’t be that.

So it’s got great tension not only between solving the crime, but the clash of cultures, the clash of science versus superstition, and very interesting. Jodie Foster is in it. There’s a couple bigger names in it

Stephen: and stuff like that. Streaming on?

Alan: I should know.

I think Max? Probably Max. My

Stephen: Is it 1 of those 8 or 10 episode for that reason?

Alan: Each of them, I think, has been I think has been e each 8. And the previous 1 had been where there’s a, 2 policemen that had seen terrible things happen in very racial down south.

They’re having to come to terms with, I kinda can’t die without revealing the truth of what really happened. But there’s all kinds of forces that are saying, no. That can never come out. And 1 of the guys even has Alzheimer’s and is losing his memory, so he’s not dependable. And it just is it was very much the do people really have a conscience?

And even if they did a terrible [00:32:00] thing for all the right reasons and suppressed it for all these years, there’s something that comes from expiating yourself, from just finally saying, I this can’t stay hidden. And that was also very well done. Multiple suspects who could’ve done the thing and, of course, The town is ready to lynch somebody because it was children that were harmed, and yet they kinda make a couple mistakes. And then it’s don’t lynch the next 1. You’ve been wrong 4 times.

What the hell are you doing? You know what I mean? So

Stephen: Process of elimination. I like that. Oh, look.

You sunk and drowned. You must be innocent.

Alan: What’s funny is, these we’ve laughed about fiction. It’s often just a reflection of what’s going on in the world, and you can’t comment on it directly without getting people all up in ours, but you can tell the story. And so what did we do?

We World Trade Center fell. Wow. Terrible people did it. Who are they associated with? I’m not quite sure, but I’m going after this guy because I just hate him.

And there’s a little bit of that going on here. There’s always been a lynching spirit where it’s like the town wants to rush to get somebody. The police wanna rush to [00:33:00] close the case. And people, Sometimes they really are so loathsome that they would be better if they were removed from the world. But sometimes, that’s not Right?

You can be a really unpleasant person, but you don’t get to be sacrificed on the altar. Yes. You have to kill someone for this.

Stephen: You know things are about to get wild if David Duchovny shows up.

Alan: Exactly. So it I really recommend that there in the past ones the very first 1 was Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. And there’s often been Real good tension between the lead actors. I think the next 1 was it doesn’t matter.

Each of those has had its own the title, true detective, is the only link between them. It’s not an ongoing story. It’s actually a series of

Stephen: vignettes. Like a series of miniseries.

Alan: Like that.

Exactly. And so I guess it’s a brand because it really they’ve all been high quality. They’ve all been tricky. You know what I mean? They’ve all had they’ve all been complex.

It’s not just, find the guy from the fingerprints and get him. It’s all been lots of other stuff going on. Billy Bob [00:34:00] Thornton was in the second season if I remember. Trying to think who else. So just that day, maybe it’s 1 of those things where they’re attracting people like, hey.

We’ll leave you alone. Tell the best story that you want. We’ll give you a budget. You know what I mean? We’ll go let you do a local shooting and all that kind of stuff.

And so this is just churn episodes out, it’s really make a quality

Stephen: thing. So you know, HBO, which is where Max comes from, even though now I have no idea who owns the main company, and I have no idea how many other companies they’re a part of all of that. They got discovery and whatever else. But, HBO was, like, 1 of the first to put on a TV show that you wouldn’t see on 3 5 or 8, way back in the day.


Alan: If it was a little bit more out there, a little bit more niche. You know what I mean? I don’t know. We have 300 channels. You can have a whole bunch of niches that you’re filling.

That’s you know, 1 of the things that has struck me about I think you’re in on episode 4 out of 8, it’s being released, and so I haven’t been able to binge watch it. I’ve been I just caught up. The um, the show [00:35:00] is really good at capturing how people are very internal and that they can act in society as if they’re fine. All is well, and then they go and do something crazy.

Stephen: Okay.

Okay. Now I’m writing the note. Let’s be fair there. There’s enough crazy people out There nowadays that even crazy fits in, and you don’t notice it.

Alan: Maybe that’s part of it. Oops. Sorry. They some part of what’s going on is It they used to have it be, hey.

If you’re gonna be like a Dick Tracy villain, you were terribly disfigured. You had the brow. You had flat top. There was, like, ding ding. That guy’s a bad guy.

Look at him. And then they started to have that they kinda couldn’t help themselves. That they might be able to act a little bit like they fit into society, but eventually, they’d start raving. They take that lizard mask that mask off and be the lizard underneath. And If

Stephen: it wasn’t for those darn kids.

Like that,

Alan: And this is really interesting because it’s not only the evil people that are like that. There’s all kinds of people that are you just can’t [00:36:00] tell how much they’re hurt, how much they’re damaged by things. And so when someone seems to be holding it together, and then you don’t even know what it was that made them snap.

What made what was finally the straw that broke the camel’s back. And there’s, I don’t think I’m giving anything away to say, when you’re in that kind of isolated, dark, etcetera, suicide is a problem. And it’s not only on Arctic stations, it’s in Finland and stuff like that. Higher than normal rates because of seasonal affective disorder, whatever it’s called, to the end.

And that’s 1 of the things that happens here is that people are investing so much into making the kids safe, making their family safe, making the community safe, and then they kinda betray them by no matter how safe you try to make them, they might still find a way to wriggle from your grasp and jump in the Arctic Ocean

Stephen: or whatever. I was like, What? Why?

Alan: It seemed that things were going so well. So there’s a whole series of gut punches of even while you’re being a good person and trying to be a protector and be a crusader and stop bad things from happening, some people are just drawn to [00:37:00] the flame.

They just it’s very disconcerting in that regard. You know what I mean? That it isn’t just that the villain keeps taking care of people. Some people take themselves out.

And if oh, oh, it’s

It’s not the It’s not a happy go lucky series. It’s not a laugh a minute. You know there are there’s good humor.

There’s good interactions between characters that give you that safety valve, if you will. But I love series where I really don’t know what’s gonna happen next, and this is 1 of them. I’m watching close, and I’m trying to put together this. Who is that? And what do they have to do over here?

And They’re good at leaking little hints and oh, that looks like an ice cave and stuff like that. But it’s unfathomable currently, and I’m halfway through. You know what I mean? It isn’t like how many times have I seen honestly within the first 20 minutes, let’s find that guy.

Right? And then, of course, the rest of the thing is just watching the noose titan around the bad guy. So I thought I’m digging

Stephen: it. My mother discovered a couple series because she likes the crime stuff and, whatever.

So she discovered Murdoch Mysteries, which are Victorian era, [00:38:00] a little James or not James Bond, but a little Sherlock Holmes a little, sciency. It they prove things by fingerprints and stuff. It really wasn’t

Alan: First advent of those things. Exactly. Okay.


Stephen: So she loves that series. Then there are the other 1 is, I think the Midsummer Murders or whatever. Subtitle. Exactly.

Okay. So it’s from my understanding, it’s a little bit like a murder she wrote where it’s A town, and it’s got, your central figure that figures stuff out, but everybody in the town keeps dropping dead. And I guess I’m laughing because it’s a small quaint town, kinda like Murder, She Wrote was, but it’s on its 20 third season. I’m like, Why have these people freaking moved out? Oh, look.

There’s another murder today. I’d be moving.

Alan: Yeah. Yeah. Isn’t this isn’t the city empty yet?

Stephen: Yes. There are me and you left, so I guess we know which one’s the murderer and which you

Alan: know? It’s really, to focus on the geekery aspect of it, 1 of the things [00:39:00] that I love doing is life isn’t just now. It isn’t in the era of cell phones and satellites and all that kind of stuff to be able to go back in time and say, what was it like when fingerprints were first coming out? What was it like before there were fingerprints?

And you just had to go with only eyewitness testimony, and you find out how flawed that is. And there’s all kinds of ways of being able to transport back in time. And the first Pinkertons, the the I like being able to have people that are able to recreate authentically. It wasn’t instant communication.

You had to send a cable across the ocean. You had to drive a car to the next town. You might be able to get there via Morse code and stuff like that, but it makes for very different pacing and very different, like, how do you not even just solve the crime? How do you have a relationship? You know what I mean?

They really did have mail order brides at some point that you hadn’t gotten a picture via your phone. You haven’t gotten a fax with a grainy image. It just was they sound nice on print. You know what I mean? Maybe they had the ability to send a daguerreotype via a letter and [00:40:00] stuff like that.

But it’s I’ve always I liked reading the pulps because it was like that. What was it like to live back in the twenties, thirties, forties when there was the first gen airplanes. There were the first automatic weapons. That’s not true. Not automatic, but like, cartridge versus revolver and stuff like that, and how each of those changes can really affect the world.

What when you what was it like before you could cure diseases? What it really was, if you’ve got certain things, and penicillin didn’t care didn’t take care of it. And that wasn’t until this 100 years ago with penicillin.

It wasn’t yeah. That requirement used to be sulfa drugs that you’d rub in a wound because it would stop gangrene and infection, but it Didn’t they didn’t have way of anyway, anyway, I like that. It’s a good mental exercise to me to put myself into those periods and say, So what would you do to pursue this to we just we tried watching we just watched the first episode of the series called The Gilded Age. And It’s [00:41:00] about the turn of the century United States when their railroads were still to rule, there were no cars. And so that’s really that people built amazing fortunes based on being the first ones to run railroads and carry, lots of goods from city to city.

And What did they use their money for? Did they use it to accumulate more money? Did they use it to build the biggest house? Did they had there’s a whole bunch of wow. With all that money and power, there’s only a certain number of that created libraries, and they did it at the end of their life to make up for how what Terrible, evil, rapacious businessman that he had been.

So it wasn’t like Carnegie was only a good guy. You know what I mean? The fact that and same with Rockefeller and same with There’s all guy so this it’s an interesting series, but I don’t think we’re gonna continue to watch it because you know how you wanna have you wanna care about some characters? There are so many bad characters in here that are really too greedy or too competitive or too they’ll do anything sociopath, psychopath. And the nice people seem to be like, are they just gonna keep getting in the neck? There’s there’s the are there just little boats tossed [00:42:00] around on this vast ocean of terrible circumstance?

Stephen: So that reminds me of and a show that Colin has watched and told me multiple times is hell on wheels. He says it’s really great show. It’s about the robber baron train, uh, conglomerates. But it’s a, a western because of the time period and stuff, and he recommends that. And, also, speaking of all the cop shows, did you see that they came out with a mister Monk’s final case movie on Peacock, I think?

I think I saw it,

Alan: but I and it’s out now? Because I think I read about it when it’s scheduled to come out. I don’t know

Stephen: it’s now out. Okay.

Alan: Yeah.

It’s out. I never watched the series, so I don’t have 8 series under my belt, and then I need to watch this TV. Oh,

Stephen: man. You never saw Monk? No.

No. I’ve been doing so much TV that I can do. Yeah. There always is, but Shalhoub is just so fantastic in that show, and it’s what I like it because I’m not big on the cop shows. I don’t watch CSI or NCIS or ZWP.

What I don’t know what all the [00:43:00] acronyms are. I don’t like care for those a lot, but I liked Monk and a few others because they had something unique, something different. He’s very Sherlock Holmes. He’s he definitely a lot

Alan: of OCD that he Exactly. Yeah.

You guys have to check the oven 3 times and things like that.

Stephen: Okay. And they do a great job. Some people, oh, after so long, why does is this still something that bothers him?

Blah blah blah blah. And it’s but that’s the character, and it’s a fun show. So I was like, oh, they came out the final movie. That’s ought to be cool. It’s 10, 20 years later, whatever it is.

I’m like, yeah. I’m gonna go check that out. So that’s another 1 to oh, great. Let me add it to the list because, I don’t have a Treasure chest of gaming to get to. Alright.


Alan: see. 8 hours times 13 seasons equals a hundred and 20

Stephen: for a while. If I could just win that lottery, I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I’d pay everybody to come over here and play my games and watch TV with me.

Alan: What I have is knowing nothing about the [00:44:00] show except that he’s OCD and has things about germs and things being in order and stuff like that.

What I did see was They put out the videos, the VHS tapes, and it was they all have monk. And then on the last 1, they put monk on the bottom and his face on the top instead so that everybody who wants to have it all displayed on the wall is gonna be, like, getting all the twitch going. Because that’s not right. Why did they do that? The show

Stephen: about the OCD guy.

Let’s mess with all the OCD people by Exactly.

Alan: He was my hero, and they wrecked it for you.

Stephen: So I wonder if they even realized they did that or if it was on purpose.

Alan: I’m sure that it was calculated. I’m sure that was this 1 final hilarious tweak to people who they that’s what the show is about is that monk would not be able to stand seeing his adventures on the show.

That’s pretty funny. Flip 1 over, but then the thought would be revert. You know what I mean? It’s like that’s just the kind of thing that would drive him

Stephen: bug house. Absolutely.

It would. That’s so funny. [00:45:00] I love that.

Alan: We’ll see what else,

Stephen: We’ll So you mentioned your some of your trip you’re traveling in May. So before I forget, FYI, I’m out all next week, so we won’t have a show next week.

I’ll be gone. So what is this really cool trip in May? Because I’m like, you’re gonna be doing

Alan: what? So so May is a visit to the Isle of Wight, which I think I talked about before. We could well, I’m 64.

March is actually our progressive Oh, March. March. Exactly. And what’s cool about it is that, we’re going to Caribbean.

We’re heading out of Miami and going down to Grand Caymans and Jamaica, Ocho Rios.

Stephen: And Be careful. There’s a warning about Jamaica travel right now. Is there really? Yeah.

There is. Just take check things out. Be careful. They issued a state warning or whatever.

Alan: Alright.

So maybe I’m happy because what we did was they have excursions that you can get. And almost all that we try to do is the things that are associated with the boat because that way you can’t be like we got too far away, didn’t make it back, and now the boat’s gone. So we [00:46:00] 1 of them is taking a catamaran, which is that cool, raised on to Yes. A sea thing boat that can go very fast across the water, and it takes you to a stingray bay We’re gonna get to interact with manta rays. Nice.

That’s cool. They’re gentle. They’re as beautiful and alien as they are. This big kind of flying in the water type guy. I never had a chance.

I think I’ve touched 1 in a petting pool at San Diego, whatever the water park is. SeaWorld or something. Yeah. SeaWorld. Thank you very much.

And this will be like you’re really standing waist deep water, and they kinda come around, and They’re gentle. Wow. Nice. I don’t know how do you feed a manta ray. Their mouth is on the underside.

So I well, I’m sure that I not only just, hey. Let’s try that. You read the little reviews and you find out, yes, the people really know what they’re doing, and there’s no abuse of the animals, and there’s no abuse of you. You know what I mean? You will be safe.

So that’s 1. And then in so that’s let’s see. That’s the 1 for the Grand Caymans. In Jamaica, it’s actually we are gonna be on the [00:47:00] island because we’re gonna climb the waterfall at Ocho Rios. There’s this beautiful Wow.

Cascading series of things, and It they’ve made it so that you really can go kinda tier by tier and sometimes slide down little shoots into the next pool and stuff like that. And I’m this is a terrible thing to say. I’m hoping that despite what might be going on in Jamaica, they really have care about their tourist industry because that brings in so much money Yeah. To be certain places like Ocho Rios and the Dung River Falls. They kinda have to keep them safe.

I hope. I really I’m feeling really foolish. I was not I would have thought that my cruise place would say, hey. Be really careful. Do not take unauthorized

Stephen: bus rides off the road.

Too. If they lose 1 or 2, it’s want your collateral damage. That’s

Alan: right. So I when I was there a long time ago, I it really maybe we’ve talked about this. I was really struck by I don’t have handle poverty well, like the [00:48:00] crushing kids pushing postcards into your hands.

They might not eat that night unless I take care of all of them. You know what I mean? It just I really don’t handle that well. It makes me cry and it makes me not want to be there because I know I’m not handling it well. So I’m hoping that this is still gonna be sheltered enough from having to interact with All the folks I’m happy to buy 1 or 2 things in native art and you know what I mean? A little trenchant bracelet or something like that, but I don’t wanna be mobbed. I don’t wanna be

Stephen: Right. Nah. Okay.

When I worked on the cruise ship we birthed in Grand Cayman Island and and 1 or 2 others. But, yeah, it was the kids would jump off the dock, come up with a shell, and, pass it off and that but I never felt unsafe. We were walking around the streets, back streets away from the tourist area to go to this 1 bar. Midnight, 3 AM. Just a couple of us walk around.

Never felt unsafe. So that was, 30 years ago. Things Obviously, seemed to [00:49:00] have changed to have something like that in Jamaica. I would have never said, hey. Jamaica is unsafe.

I always thought, yeah, Jamaica was a nice, safe place. It wasn’t industrial built up, like you said, but for a tourist, it was a safe place. It had to be because that was the industry. I know

Alan: that Haiti Haiti and or the Dominican Republic are really They don’t have the rule of law. They don’t have enough policemen and military to overcome the gangs that are now running things.

They had the assassination of their president 6 months ago, an order has not been restored. And so I was aware of that. I hadn’t read about Jamaica. I’m hoping that I didn’t well, put it this way. If it is that between now and then, a month away, I read more and I really get disconcerted, I’m pretty sure I can’t get a refund.

But, I would say that’s the price of safety is to not

Stephen: go do that. Yeah. You know what I mean? So Yeah. Yeah.

Check it out. I saw that on the news a couple days ago. Okay. So something that Very good. But if you do go, I definitely wanna see good pictures.

Alan: Yeah. That’s we definitely [00:50:00] you know, it My biggest it’s kinda funny. My biggest hazard is I need to stay out of the sun. And, there’s not a lot of there’s a lot of sun down in Equatorial

Stephen: You’re this far from the equator.

Alan: Exactly.

So I’m gonna have, my Tilly hat and my sunscreen and my SPF shirt and all that kind of stuff. And yet still, if you’re out there for 3 5 hours, that stuff wears off. I gotta make sure I bring it so I can reapply. I have been so scrupulously careful about not reinviting melanoma into my life that I really don’t wanna be, and then I was I blew it. You know what I mean?

I went into the ocean, and the ocean washes that stuff away, and I’m gonna be really careful. Yeah. I hope that this will be okay. So Yeah. If it turns out that we just stay on the boat and, sip fruit tales.

Fruity cocktails, I should say. That’ll be okay

Stephen: too. I remember working on the cruise ship, and I asked the 1 director. I’m like, What the heck is up with this? We have a this open game room every single cruise.

Didn’t matter if a 3 day, a 4 day, a 5 day. It didn’t matter. You would always get the [00:51:00] 80 year old group of seniors in there playing cards And never get off the boat never go on the shore. And I’m like, why would you pay all that money? And they’re like, that’s just what they do.

They have money, and they wanna spend it, and that’s they do, I’m like hell, if all they’re gonna do is sit there and play cards and eat food, they can pay me to sit in my living room. I’ll bring them food all freaking day For the amount of money they spent.

Alan: Yeah. I my guess is there’s gonna be, like some people go because they want the gluttony of the food because they want the, like

Stephen: At night buffet, man. That’s the ticket.


Alan: that. We’re looking forward to it, like so she, it’s kinda funny. We’re also we’re not big cruise people, and yet this year, 2 cruises came together that we really wanna do, the progressive rock 1 and this cruise of the Baltic coming up in September. And by the Baltic meeting, we’re gonna stop at 10 different ports of call and go to all these different countries that are around the Baltic Sea. So I always wanted to go to Lithuania and Estonia and Latvia, the Baltic couple.

That’s cool. Go to Germany and Poland. We’re gonna go [00:52:00] to the various different Scandinavian countries. The

Stephen: Baltus Baltic cruise.

Alan: Exactly that.

Hey. I’m it’s on something special. Look at my name. We I’m hoping that the food on the boat will kinda reflect the country in whose port we are.

That would be great. We’ll get the pierogi parade, and it will get, good German food and good Lithuanian food and all that kind of stuff. That it’s not just I don’t know, opulence, then it’s actually a little bit of reflection of where we’re going because I think that’s gotta be of interest. When you’re a diner, that’s often what you’re looking for is What’s the experience that I haven’t had before? And if you’ve never had Estonian food, I really couldn’t even name what’s their national dish?

Exactly. Yeah. Did they try to do that? A little bit of representative sampling

Stephen: That’s And that area the great thing with that area is you shouldn’t have super bad weather, where that is at and all that. Hopefully, That 1, you won’t get turned over and seasick and stuff.

Alan: Exact and so and now kinda funny since what we just talked about, part when we first signed up for this cruise, it included Saint Petersburg. Not [00:53:00] anymore because the Russians are they’re They’re not safe. It’s not safe. Bombing the

Stephen: tourists.

Alan: They’re bombing the tourists. And I know this is a terrible thing to say. If we don’t take care of Ukraine, It’s not only that I can’t stand the thought of that, that the Russian bear expands and that they’re trying to recreate the USSR and all the horrible life lost and the sovereignty of nations. It’s that I don’t know that I wanna go to that section of the world if Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia are now once again, the Russian tanks are rolling in to reattack them. I just at the time, it could be terrible.

I care much more about the world, and I care about our visit and our little cruise. But it would suck if by coincidence Yeah. This bad thing happened just when we were gonna go there. You know what I mean? So I’m hoping that there’s a certain amount of stability that goes with they want the tourist dollars and they’ll etcetera, but the countries are gonna try to keep it that way.

The Russians might not care about that stability of those countries at all. So so I’m What a world. What a [00:54:00] world that you can make these wonderful I’m pretty sure that our Isle of Wight trip is gonna be safe because I don’t think the Isle of Wight is rebelling against Great Britain and stuff like that. But when we had friends that went on a big African safari, and I was worried about COVID and about ongoing border conflicts there. And then they just want 1 to the Middle East, and it really was, like, 2 weeks after it was enough time proximity and people proximity that was like, maybe it’s not gonna be safe to go to those pyramids.

Maybe you’re not gonna go to Jordan and see Petra because that there’ll be a lockdown. They really will say you will not be safe there. If you go, you travel at your own risk, and you might get kidnapped for ransom or whatever like that. And, the world could be that it’s better than that.

That it’s not so much conflict and so much fanaticism and so much greed that I’m happy to go there and share my tourist dollars with you. I just don’t want you to ring every 1 of them out from me

Stephen: throw me in your prison for a while. Colin, a couple years ago went to Ireland, and there are [00:55:00] definitely areas they were told, we’re not going there. You can’t go there.

And my sister went to Russia for a student school trip when we were younger. And it was definitely stay with the group. Don’t even think about going anywhere else. So you gotta be careful sometimes. Yeah.

Alan: And, Colleen and I now being, like, retired, all the travel, we’ve been all over the United States and occasionally to North America, Canada, and Mexico, but we’re looking to expand from there. And I don’t want it to be that that part of the world’s closed off for the next 5 years. May not be able to make it while you’re still bright enough to go walking up. We’ll see what happens with South America.

I wanna go to Iguazu Falls. But if it starts to be that there’s difficulties there, difficulties in Ecuador, Colombia. You know what I mean? I wanna go to Machu Picchu. What if Peru?

All of those things. It’s like there doesn’t have to be a lot of unrest to still say, I guess I’m not going there. I guess I’m not

Stephen: going to risk. So I’m going to Florida next week.

That’s enough of a foreign country to me for right now.

Alan: That’s it’s funny. We get to complain about what a crazy place [00:56:00] that is, but at least they’re not taking active captives and stuff like


Stephen: Yes. That we know of right

Alan: now.

That we know of. Exactly. So okay. I’m sure we got a whole bunch of things that usually we didn’t get to, but Yeah. The geekery aspect of hey.

Truth is good. Hey. 1 of the joys, in brief because they’re now about to end, it used to be that if you’re gonna do this thing, you had to look at brochures and call people and find out a place to stay and stuff like that. And it is so nice to be able to go onto the net and look at a hundred different hotels and narrow down using filters as to my wife likes a bathtub.

Let’s get a bathtub, not just a shower. We wanna you know? And quickly, you can say now I have 9 to choose from. What’s the reasonable 1 with 7 stars or above that’s a good price? And boom.

You can really make a really good choice out of all the hotels in London without having to call around the 50 of them intercontinental. You know what I mean? So Hats off to this era of easy information and near instant communication and all that kind of stuff so that we’re we with confidence are staying in Pretty good places over there. And I really [00:57:00] realize we’re going. I’m hoping that will continue to.

I like having that kind of information. And in fact, that’s funny. I just did a big furnace search. I’m doing a little bit of investing. 1 of the joys of that is not just I don’t know so I’m gonna make a guess.

And when the guess is 15, 20000 dollars for a new HVAC system. It sucks to have to make a big decision blindly. And nowadays, you don’t have to. It is just who’s the salesperson that’s gonna shine you on. You really get to compare between what brands of things and what’s costs are included and not and what the warranty levels are and that kind of stuff.

And on balance, kind of consumer reports wise, like I always talk about, you can make a pretty good decision. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be better than a guess. You know what I mean? You’re hoping that you did your due diligence that made I’m going to do a bunch of hours to spend 15000 dollars wisely.

You know what I mean? So it’s kinda and so I when I started this off, I didn’t know how much that was gonna be. I really am 1 of those older people that says back [00:58:00] in my day, movies cost a nickel. You know what I mean? So every time that I do a big thing like putting a house a roof on our house or doing HVAC, it’s the last time I looked at this was 20 years ago.

Yeah. Things do change. And not just better technology, for the pricing that goes with it and the inflation and the all the you can go into option glut. We really don’t know, do I really need that or not? And is that When you move from 90 percent to 92 to 96, is it this curve or is it this curve?

And, what are you getting for your money? And After a while, you just kinda say judgment call time. I’m gonna say this was the best I could do at the time and then pull the trigger. So Absolutely. Having said that, I wonder how many people are just like, I know a guy that my brother-in-law used, and I’m gonna call him and get ours done.

And I’m sure there’s a certain amount of that, but I got a feeling that there’s all kinds of car dealers and HVAC dealers and everybody else that Just make a living off of the information asymmetry, [00:59:00] the ignorance of the consumer compared to someone who’s really, Hey, capitalism. Compare between your alternatives and what the cost is and pick the best 1. I don’t think that you get a lot. Anytime that I’ve heard someone say he’ll take care of you, really, really Yeah.

Stephen: I will

Alan: say next pigeon.

You know what I

Stephen: mean? This new Mazda, um, which I talked about a while back, the lug nuts getting loosened on the car. They, checked it over, tightened that up for nothing and there was Oh my gosh. There was something else. Oh, the battery.

The battery went dead from the bat the cold weather. It had it for 2 weeks, took it in. And it’s yeah. I know it’s not your fault, and I know you don’t necessarily change it and blah blah blah, but, it’s a little disworthy, Yeah.

That we came in 2 weeks later. And they actually comped the battery. They said, we put a new 1 in. No charge. Go have a great day.

So it’s okay. I did not trust you guys. I did not like you guys. Now you’ve done a couple things for us made [01:00:00] me feel a little more better and confident. So Maybe I will go back to you next time.

It’s that little difference.

Alan: Absolutely. People can act to build trust or to just say, Sorry, but you’re screwed. You know what I mean? And that you that’s information too of I guess I’m never going back here for business because when I needed you to be decent about it Yeah.

You chose the path of devil tree.

Stephen: That’s why we didn’t go back to the last place because the Side mirror was still in the trunk. We’ve been waiting 9 months for them to get the side mirror, and there were some other things happening. And they just it’s There’s no way we trust you guys anymore. You we used to be great.

Now it just seemed like you’re doing nothing and scamming us. We’re not going back there. How long does a place do that before their reputation is shot especially in today’s world?

Alan: That’s what I always hope for too is that part of what this not only am I looking at the cost of things, but I always go read the reviews.

And once in a while, there’s a real, nasty review that tries torpedo a place. And it’s almost obvious that’s what they’re trying to do. But if you see a [01:01:00] concerted pattern of, hey. Don’t buy this washer because it broke in 3 months. And then 5 other people say that it doesn’t have initial quality.

It’s I even if I kinda think that Consumer Reports knows what it’s doing when it tests, Apparently, the real world says that there’s enough lemons that I don’t wanna go through the hassle of installing this twice. I wanna have a good 1 that is second down in quality supposedly, but it works. Works out on a box and stakes are off for 20 years. So I understand what you’re saying. You know what I mean?

That We’ve had good experiences like with our car dealers, whoever else that have been good to us when we needed them to be. And then it’s now you’re my friend. Now at least I trust you in order to do this transaction. So Yep.

Stephen: Alright, man. Okay. Take care. See you in a couple

Alan: weeks. Very good.

Take care.