We talk about Al’s upcoming cruise which no longer involves Jamaica. Coincidently, Stephen just saw the Bob Marley movie. Then we discuss a couple different games including the new Star Wars unlimited.




Stephen: [00:00:00] I thought you were today was a cruise day.

Alan: Actually, this is funny. I’m wearing a very bright green yellow shirt, but in this background, it looks boring. So I’m I did myself wrong. Anyway.

Stephen: Yeah. Can you hear me?

Alan: Yes, but soft. Okay. So if your volume is down, maybe mine is down. I don’t think so, but I have better.

That’s better. That’s better. Okay.

Stephen: Okay. So yeah, I thought you were cruising. I thought today was a cruise day.

Alan: It’s actually it’s tomorrow. We leave at a lift tomorrow at 3 in the morning to get to the airport by 3 30 for a flight at 5 30. So unfortunately, a bad way to start off, sleep deprived, but Without going into it a ton, sometimes things just don’t cooperate like time wise.

And we, my first flight that I had scheduled months ago down to Miami got canceled, like literally canceled. No, Hey, we’ll put you on this one instead. [00:01:00] So I had to not really scrabble, but it had fit things perfectly. As I kept looking, that flight just created this gap, but there were no flights that we wanted to do.

So we ended up flying a day early down to Fort Lauderdale. Then we’ll take a lift down to Miami and each place overnight, and then we’ll get on the boat on Friday morning. That’s actually when the cruise is. I never spent any time in Fort Lauderdale and only one time before in Miami. We’ll see what we find there.

There’s always Cubanos to have and little museums of marine life or whatever else it might be. I’m not sure how far the Miami Zoo is or things like that. We’ll take the water taxi. I know Fort Lauderdale has a water taxi that when I hadn’t mentioned we’re going to Fort Lauderdale.

A number of people really like it there. Timed in with favorite restaurants, favorite attractions and stuff like that.

Stephen: Good. I hope you have a good time. And I know you changed it because Jamaica is a little unsettled at the moment. And

Alan: that’s funny. I, another thing that happened was exactly that, that we were scheduled to go to Jamaica and the Grand Caymans.

And so I’d actually gotten excursions from the boat to go climb Dunn’s river falls [00:02:00] and to go out at the cool, a catamaran and go swim with stingrays. Who doesn’t want to do something cool like that? Because Jamaica is having some internal unrest, and for a while it was only in Kingston, but now it seems to be everywhere.

And boats are very wise of, we can’t let 5, 000 people loose with all of their liability and let bad things happen. So they weren’t going to Jamaica. And then before they really, they canceled out of the Grand Caymans as well, because they didn’t find another compatible port that they could pull into in that section of the Caribbean.

So we’re going to Cozumel and for two nights, we’re going to go to Cozumel and circle the island and come back to it. And there’s things we want to see there. There’s some cool Mexican ruins. There’s a 3D museum of Trump loyals that I really love. But now we’re finding out. And it’s funny weather apps, I thought were relatively consistent between them, but my app says it’s going to be reading like all the time that we’re down there in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, on the boat, Cozumel, Colleen says not as bad.

And you know what, in order to go see, I want to go [00:03:00] see the ruins, no matter what. I’ll put on my weather gear and carry an umbrella and whatever else it might be. You don’t have to worry about, it’s an umbrella, illegal somehow on a flight or on a boat that it’s a missile like object or something weird like that.

And the ferry that takes you from the island of Cozumel over to Playa del Carmen and the mainland. It doesn’t run if the water is too choppy. And it’s not just rain, it’s supposed to be like thunderstorms in Syria. I never had that happen. We’ve had extraordinary luck with all of our hiking vacations and all that kind of stuff.

Only once in a while that we had like rain outs and things like that where we had to hide in the hotel or just today’s a museum day because you have to one that a brief aside, we were hiking in Arches National Park, and it started to rain and really had a wonderful hike planned and Colleen was really crestfallen.

But luckily, long ago in my backpack, I had stuff like these little ponchos that fold up to something the size of a portable cereal box.

Stephen: Like the one use [00:04:00] ones. It’s an emergency. Yeah. Exactly

Alan: that. And so I pulled one out for each of us and she just was so happy that we didn’t have to.

Bail out and they were indeed just flimsy, but enough to keep the rain off. So we actually had a great hike. Another cool thing that happens. And we did this in San Francisco as well. When it’s raining, everybody else does stay inside. Yeah, fools. So we walked the golden gate bridge, like all by ourself instead of it usually being crowded.

And please don’t bump into me. I don’t want to fall off the bridge or into traffic kind of stuff. The path was a lot clearer while we were braving it, we finally turned back where there was a section where you had to go up some rocks and with chains and the water had made the rock slick. And we’re like, nature is now telling us from this combination of features that we don’t want to do this trail at this time

Stephen: when I took the kids.

When they were younger to Disney. We had that experience at the park. It was raining, but we really didn’t notice it. We didn’t care. It was okay. So it’s raining. We kept going, [00:05:00] but I was like, wow, the park is really cleared out. Here it turns out there’s like a typhoon going across the state right over Disney and nobody went to the park.

So we had it almost all over. We waited 20 minutes for the, yeah. Toy Story ride, which is funny. That’s Toy Story background. And that was the longest we waited for anything. We would get on rides within two or three minutes, everything we wanted. And we got to do, go to Universal and do the Hogwarts ride twice in one day, which is just uncalled for.

It’s like a two, three,

Alan: four hour wait. Exactly. Yeah we’ve had, when we went to, I used to go to a place called Adventure Land in Chicago, and often that’s where I wanna go for my birthday. Me and my mom would be really nice and take like me and three of my best friends and we’d have a whole day there.

And once in a while, you can’t go anywhere any day except on your birthday. So it would start off raining and be like, oh, and then. We’d go anyway and the skies would clear and exactly what you were saying. It kept everybody else away. So we had the same thing. We went on 20 coasters that day instead of five, just like you could get off [00:06:00] the coaster, go back into the serpentine and be like two trains behind. So we had such a fun day, a little bit weird because with the rain, of course, some of the seats got wet and they closed some of the rides and yet. You’re like, once you commit to, I’m going to get wet it’s it used to be that you’d go on the flume rides, the big log rides because it was hot.

And it’s this is just, putting extra frosting on the cake. We’re already soft. So that turned out to be a couple of great days when the circumstances started off. Oh no. Here’s hoping that yeah, turns out that we wander around and get a little wet. I dry out. I’ll Yeah, gotta make sure we actually it’s funny when we thought we were going to be going on the catamaran Colleen found water shoes for us, you know That you wear particularly on boats and they got really good grip shin even in the water and stuff like that And then when it turned out we weren’t gonna do that.

We thought well, we’ll have we’ll save him for next time Maybe now I’m going to wear them on the boat most days so I can still go out on the deck. We want to usually do walks. You know what I mean? We go around. They have a little walking [00:07:00] track on, up on the 15th floor, 13th floor, something like that.

Get some steps in. And, but then not if I don’t think the boat’s going to be like a listing and stuff, but you just don’t want to be the guy that like, so you didn’t realize that the water would make it wet. You didn’t. And then you went over, that we will see if we can still survive.

Stephen: I did find it interesting that.

You’re not going to Jamaica because of the unrest because just last night, Colin and I went and saw the Bob Marley movie, which the whole movie is focused on that the unrest in Jamaica in the late seventies. And I’m like, wow, now’s an interesting time to bring that movie back out with the climate in our country.

And it’s that’s exactly what was happening. At the time in that their country, so

Alan: I’ll tell you, and it’s not only there like Haiti, another island in that same vicinity. They haven’t had a government for 6 months. Their president got assassinated and all kinds of gangs and bad guys rushed in to fill the void.

They have more firepower. Then the police [00:08:00] and even the military. So Haiti has been asking the UN and the United States in particular, some assistance to like restore order. And as you might imagine, the bad guys don’t do government things. They don’t keep the trains running. They don’t keep the water clean.

So Haiti might be harmed for years and years, if not a generation from this collapse of civilization there. And I’m hoping that we don’t see. Like we were in the theater seeing Dune 2 last Friday, and one of the previews was for Civil War. I saw that disgusting timing for a movie about, Hey, what if the United States goes to hell because we have such, division and We’re going to start killing each other.

We’re going to, I just, why would that there’s crazies and you’re going to bait them. You’re going to give them a formula. Here’s the targets to strike. Here’s to make sure you have these. Oh, I just this

Stephen: is the most disgusting use of, Hey, let’s cash in on things that I’ve ever seen.

And the topic make it worse is my son. When we were at the [00:09:00] theater, looking at all the posters, what we want to see, what we don’t and this child has, Criticized and stuff. Many things. I’ve said this, that, the other thing, that’s how I grew up. That’s what we’re used to.

You shouldn’t think I’m like, Oh my God. And then he says, Oh yeah, I want to see that. It looks good. I’m like, what the hell is wrong with you? Why are you supporting that movie? It looked pretty good, dude. After all the criticizing you’ve done with me and then knowing that the climate in our country, you want to support that movie.

What is wrong with you? 20 years. Yeah. You’re old. You guys need smacked upside the head.

Alan: I’ll tell you, we’ve had movies, as any number of times delayed, if not entirely canceled when they were a movie that featured the fall of a big building in New York. And after 9 11, one was scheduled to come out with that.

And they just shelved it because they didn’t want to look as if they were cashing in, they didn’t want to add to the trauma

Stephen: and Spider Man, they changed the whole ending and rewrote it because of that,

Alan: that’s probably exactly the reference that I was thinking. Cause it would [00:10:00] have been that I was reading about a nerd movie when I read about, but I just.

What happened to the studio execs that they’re saying, like you said, yeah, this is not a time to throw oil on troubled waters. This is a time to add, feed the flames. What’s funny is when we saw the preview, they said, Hey, the forces of California and Texas are now coming in on Washington where it’s like, Oh, California and Texas would never cooperate.

They’re deadly enemies. There should be a whole war zone of Arizona, New Mexico, et cetera, because the good guys from California and the a holes from Texas are having a war. And that we’re just what supplying them with arms. I don’t know. Anyway, I. There were some pretty, that was a really poor choice and seeing, you’ll see the previews that somebody again thinks, Hey, if you’re seeing Dune, you might also be interested in this.

There was all kinds of movies that like, I couldn’t care less about that. So maybe Dune is a wonder it’s a science fiction movie, but not a superhero movie. And no, or there’s only certain things coming out and they just put in whatever happens time wise to be coming out [00:11:00] soon. Not sure. Oh,

Stephen: the Bob Marley movie.

It was so prescient for what’s going on in our culture because it was about the unrest between two political rivals and how they destabilize the country. And I’m like, Oh my God, somebody said this needs told at this time. And it was done so well. A lot of these movies, you’re like, Oh, Bob Marley’s a legendary figure.

Let’s show his life and the struggles and the growing up and how he inspired the world. It wasn’t that at all. It started right with the conflict. Yeah. It was about a one and a half year time period and ended before he died. It ended with him doing his big concert down in Jamaica. So just focus. But I told Colin, I said, they did this so right.

Because a lot of times movies where they go on and on, trying to get you to feel something for the character or understand the character’s thinking, whereas other movies, they have a one. Little clip at the beginning that, oh, I get that character. I understand them and let’s move on with the [00:12:00] story.


Alan: he’s got those issues, cetera. Yeah. Showing that he grew up in that context of war all around him. And therefore he might be the guy that would say, how about peace? And right.

Stephen: But that’s the thing. He was already like. Almost 30 and a popular musical figure when the movie started so it wasn’t they did show some flashbacks that tied in I just thought it was very well done movie benzley king of dare.

Is that his name kingsley benedict? There you go. Okay his name Was fantastic. Okay It was a little difficult at times they had the Jamaican accents going on and the sound could have been louder and clearer, but it was Kent theater and 5 a day. But yeah, I recommend

Alan: that. Yeah. But your 5 a day is entrancing.

We were a member of the cinema art club. And so we go as if the movie is free, but no, you’re paying like 9. 99 a month for each pass. And we’ve accumulated enough from. During COVID that now they’re free to us. But anyway, [00:13:00] we need to look into that. I think all the Cleveland cinemas, Cedar Lee and Capitol and stuff do it.

And whichever one’s there, there’s, they’re the same movie on the same big screen. You just have to be that you’re the guy that’s going out Monday or Tuesday. Yeah.

Stephen: I told Colin though, I said, dude, I don’t want to go to later afternoon, evening movies on 5 a day. It does not attract the highest quality people.

There was one guy that was like actively dying. He’s the whole movie. I’m looking to come in the room. It’s yeah, there were these two ladies that came in 10 minutes late and they walked like in front of everybody and they’re near the front row and they’re standing blocking part of the view and talking about who’s going to sit on what side and do you want this drink?

It shut up, sit down and sit down. 20 minutes later, they both got up and left, but they like went this way. Then they went that way. It’s get out of the screen. And they were gone for 10 minutes, came back with more food and did it all again, and then left [00:14:00] before the movie ended. I’m like, what were you doing?

I don’t know

Alan: what it is. Some people’s mind doesn’t like, they think they’re in, their living room and go to the bathroom and go get another stack. And especially no consideration for anybody. Yep. So we I used to do that much more. Colleen, my schedule has often allowed me to take a day off to play hooky and then go and see two movies and, get a popcorn refill and everything like that.

And I really got spoiled by you go on a Tuesday afternoon and there’s like you and maybe two other people, right? And now you’ll get right in the middle and make sure that okay, buddy, if you’re going to sit there, you can’t be on your phone because I’ll still see it from this angle.

Yeah. And oh I’m glad that we’re able to do that. Now, more often, we really have started a time shift where we’re going to dinner on different nights and to movies on different days and stuff like that. And just I didn’t think I don’t think it’s kicking in out of yeah. I’m old and I can’t hear as well, or I don’t like crowds, but my tolerance for jerks has gotten less and less.

And instead of my going there and having an argument with them, I’d [00:15:00] rather just go to the non jerk times, and so maybe that’s four o’clock, not at the Golden Corral, but at our favorite buffet or whatever else. Oh that’s funny.

Stephen: So the other big thing for me was over the weekend was the pre release for the Star Wars.

Card game and played multiple games against multiple people at multiple locations. Very cool. On the

Alan: previous weekend before, to actually get to the thing. But now that this was the official, not pre release, but official release. So

Stephen: official releases this week. This is what, before I did the demos.

Then it was the pre release last weekend. Now it’s the official release. But

Alan: you do have an escalating rollout because it’s a big thing in the gaming community. Good for you. It is

Stephen: much bigger than I think a lot of people thought. And I know a couple people I had talked to about it that were like, yeah, I don’t want to do that.

They’re like, Hey, can you pick me up a pack? I want to check these out. I want some cards. So I’m in a couple of groups, people like, so anyone playing the night? So anyone want to get together [00:16:00] this weekend? So where’s the, and that’s cool. That’s what those types of games are.

Alan: Right.

Instead of it only being the collectible aspect of a CCG that actually now you’re saying, Hey, this actually plays well, I really do want to experiment and try different strategies and. and find other people that enjoy it. It’s, it can be a rebirth of your interest in this kind of stuff. Good for you, man.

I was

Stephen: talking to my buddy, Mike Jundy, who used to have a game store. That’s how I met him. Went there and played Magic and Colin played Pokemon a lot. And he played and we were discussing it and It really, there have been hundreds of CCGs through the last 35 years, most of them sucked to one degree or another.

Most of them were just rushed out the door because they want to cash in on it. That’s our

Alan: word for today, cash in. Yeah, cash in. Today’s

Stephen: word boys and girls is cash in. The letter C. But we played the Star Wars one and it’s wow, it just, Everything about the rules and the [00:17:00] playing feels perfect.

It’s like they, I heard they spent some time adjusting this play, testing it, trying it out, getting the cards and plans for expansions already made, they really like

Alan: a five year plan, which yeah, they

Stephen: planned it out and it felt that way. Everybody I talked to loves how the rules and everything play and what the cards do.

And then the. How you can change things up based on the card you choose. It really seems to have variety of play style built into it a lot. And and that’s very exciting because nothing since Magic has really captured that. Pokemon’s popular, but Pokemon’s not that strategic and complicated. This one has that.

Alan: Games, one of the difficult things to build in is not like, how do we make the path to excellence proper and like the appropriate phasing and stuff, but how do we find balance? Like you said, there’s different play styles. People [00:18:00] gravitate towards, I want to be bold. I want to be stealthy. I want to be smart.

I want to be a resource user. I want to be a resource hoarder. And the fact that you could win. With each of those different styles, depending on how you learn to utilize them. That’s really

Stephen: cool. And magic does that really well, but they did not do it really well at first. It was like 10 years after they had started that they revamped it all and they said, okay, we’ve got 10 years of.

Practice. Here’s what we’re doing now. And it restarted with number six. This felt like it really allows multiple thinking of play styles. And the coolest thing was in magic, when you build like a black deck, all your cards are black. You can’t play a white card, whereas in Star Wars, you have what are called aspects.

And I might have a red, a green and a blue aspect to my leader and base. And that’s what I can play. But I can play a yellow aspect. It just costs more to play that card. So you might be able to get [00:19:00] some combo that normally isn’t seen with your color choices because you’re spending that extra money to play that card.

So I really think there’s a whole lot for lots of players. And it’s so hard to get a balance with these CCGs, knowing that not. Everything is in that first set. I got the firefly game. It’s static. It’s done what I have, what the rules are, what the cards say, that’s it. But star Wars come July or May, July, one of those, there’s going to be another set with new keywords, maybe new strategies and ways to play it.

And then come December, there’s going to be a whole nother set with new kids. So it keeps changing and to do that is so difficult. And I think they’re off to a

Alan: good start. I hope that they prove themselves, because a lot of times, like you said, you can, when you have expansion sets come out, sometimes it’s everything I learned before is not useless.

Sometimes it’s that’s disruptive, but I could see how that adds to changes here. Yes. And what you said about your multiple aspects, it’s cool to not have [00:20:00] to commit to only one, but to start to say, I don’t know what a weird analogy, like a chromatic dragon. Part of its power is you don’t know what it’s going to hit you with.

It’s not only this is a creature and all I have to do is worry about the cold. It’s very cool to see that when you’re playing with someone like that, it really might be they have these aspects these capabilities and I can guard against them. But if they’re willing to pay the higher price, they might do something at just a critical time.

That’s beyond what I had prepared for. And that’s very interesting. Yeah, I always hope that’s the case that. For something that’s a mature technology or game or something like that, that they actually are aware of what has gone before, and that they’ve learned from what works and what doesn’t, and that they embrace the good and get rid of the bad.

And it doesn’t have to be the narrowing to a certain point, but it’s just that they’re aware of that’s what tanked this game is. too powerful too soon. And you don’t want the game to be over after three turns because they’ve created those games. So anyway,

Stephen: and it’s very [00:21:00] exciting in the CCG realm of gaming because last year, Disney Lorcana came out.

Now this year is Star Wars is coming out and both of them show some very long play testing and some very Rigid thinking on getting gameplay to be right. And both of them are popular and playable and fun, not so many past CCGs. So it’s an exciting time. Again, if you’re a CCG player, magic has been strong.

It’s still strong. What’s he’s done a few mistakes, but what are you going to do after 35 years, but they’ve changed magic. In ways that you wouldn’t have pictured 10, 15, 20 years ago, I’m thinking more for the good, even though I don’t play as much. The problem is magic has gotten so overwhelming. Try if you start new, there’s just so much complexity to the cards.

It makes it really difficult for someone new to start. Or for like me to get back into it after I’ve been out of [00:22:00] it for a couple years. I’m just like, I don’t even really feel.

Alan: Are you too like, all right, I’ve already, I don’t want to buy this twice. So I know that there’s been times when, it isn’t only the world of gaming, there’s business concerns here, but since you just mentioned wizards of the coast.

WOTC for those of the when they bought SSR to get magic, I think it was TSR, tactical simulation, right? Resources, Guy Gax’s company, right? And so I have SSR.

Stephen: That was a, the, one of those bookshelf game companies that made SSI,

Alan: SSI, exactly. Strategic simulations. Yeah, pretty much exactly.

It’s like you want them to, okay, now there’s money behind it so they can do more things with it, which, and you want to you don’t want them to wreck it. Now that they bought it, is this guy going to put his own imprint on it and take away what Gygax and his friends had all done to make it what it is already?

You want it to be a Getty acquisition. You want it to be, like, not just a sequel, where there are Caching in and milking it and stuff like that, but you also don’t want it to be so disruptive that it’s didn’t they understand what made this game great? Because they’re [00:23:00] picking it apart.

Yes. So here’s hoping that, so we talked about this last two, three episodes ago, there started to be in the gaming world, like names that I started to follow the, where I trust them enough in making a good game and whether it’s like. I just died that made a whole bunch of German spieler, and I had become so successful that he got like 50, 000 people at his funeral and stuff like Reiner Kinsia, something like that.

Thank you very much. It’s my names are not popping out today. I’m not sure why that is, but I start like the reason that I not only played civilization, but tried colonization and pirates and other things is because the same guy, Chris, somebody, again, it’ll come to me. Is there anybody associated?

Do you know who’s the heart of Lorcana that you say, Oh, that’s because this guy has made a career out of this kind of games. He really gets it, and therefore I trust him to explore the Star Wars thing and the Disney thing. Do you have names associated with that? Or is that still in the bowels of Disney?

Stephen: Yeah. This, they [00:24:00] do. Put the artists on each card. Almost all CCGs do that now. And those artists have become, but I love some of the art about

Alan: the game designer than the artist I’m talking about. Yeah. I

Stephen: don’t know any names off the top of my head, but it’s so funny you mentioned that because I’ve been listening to Howard Scott Warsawski’s book about called once upon an Atari.

He was the guy. So Howard’s One of those guys in the early days of Atari, his very first game was Yars Revenge, which we just talked about this. That’s right. Yeah. And then he went to do Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I think is amazing game and they did E. T. and then the whole industry tanked and they all blame him.

But one of the issues they talks about was, These developers started saying, Hey, we’re like rock stars. People love us. We want our names associated with it. And Atari said, no, you’re just a commodity. Developers are nothing. And so that’s where several of them left the form [00:25:00] Activision and then several formed a magic.

And both of those companies put right on the thing, where would we be without? A will write game,

Alan: an analogy to like the comic book world, Stan Lee in a couple of his biographies talks about he often like when he was at a party and they asked him what he did for a living, he wouldn’t let on that he wrote comic books because it was for a long time, a little embarrassing.

It’s not an adult thing to be doing, but as as that caught on and as he was known as If not the father, one of the main fathers of all of the Marvel universe like that, then he was their goodwill ambassador all the time. And I like that when there’s, it isn’t only a segue to this. So Will Shortz is in trouble.

He just had a stroke and he’s so much associated with the crossword puzzle world. There’s lots of past names as well. There’s the. Stanley Newman’s and Eugene Maleska and various different Kathleen Rafferty, the various big editors or creators, constructors. And yet, this is the guy that like [00:26:00] from young said, I’m going to be an enigmatologist.

He created his own degree at Indiana University. He has run the New York times, cross the puzzle, the biggest, most respected in the world for decades, I think 30 years plus. And so when I heard that bad news, it was like, Oh, that’s going to be the end of an era. Whatever it is that he brought to it about his smartness, his playfulness, his just his taste in what makes for a good puzzle.

How do you separate it? The Monday through the Saturday of your easy to hard, all of that. It’s going to be, is there another real shorts? I can’t name another. I know that he has a clutch of people that he works with a half dozen that are his. Posse that review things and, that big pyramid had to have a whole bunch of flowing upwards to get to that.

He’s the guy that kind of gives it his imprimatur when it comes out. But sometimes, I don’t know, people don’t necessarily do succession planning and those kinds of things. You got to hope that there’s an apprentice or an equally knowledgeable guy. There was a guy. Why am I dropping names [00:27:00] today? New York Times, there was a New York Post, Peter Gordon, and.

They were a rival puzzle. And I like, he did such a good job with those puzzles being of quality that you’re like, I didn’t think I’d be able to think of anybody but Will Shorts when you talk about great crossword puzzles. But this is a guy that has done this for years, if not decades. I think now he does things where there’s like a crossword puzzle subscription, and a lot of his were collected into books.

And those were some of Colleen’s and my favorite. I hope. That crossword puzzles doesn’t take a couple years of interregnum while they figure out who’s actually like when Jon Stewart left there really Trevor Noah was great but did they have the same. Everything that Jon Stewart was now that he’s back on Monday nights, boy, it’s really, boy, I missed this.

I missed how smart he is. I missed how he really has the ability to not only just say the obvious, but to look at things from multiple sides, both in a funny way, while still having a strong sense opinion, he’s really good [00:28:00] at the whole idea of sifting through things to say, here’s how much of a hypocritical lie and fucker this guy is, and maybe that’s not only him, it’s his support staff that does all that. But it’s all that, that we really need a time when somebody has to continually say, the emperor has no clothes. When are you going to wake up? The emperor has no clothes. You know what I mean? You’re talking about how this guy’s too old when this guy is obviously Lost it.

He can’t put together a coherent sentence without a lie, without a, without any, the one coherent thing is the lie that he was fed to repeat. So that, so I, I don’t always mean to bring politics into it because it really is a better world. If we don’t have to worry about seeing evil come to life, but it really is.

I have just certain standards. I appreciate someone who speaks well, it’s a sign of intelligence. I appreciate a sense of humor. It’s a sign of like, How you deal with the world, and that you’re not letting yourself get worn down, that you still have that ability. This is, I wish that there [00:29:00] was more of it.

Let’s put it that way, because there’s so many people that are such bold, yelling bullies, that they don’t have any sense of humor, especially about themselves, and their idea of what to do with you is, how about if we poison this guy? You know what I mean? The Putin’s of the world, that I can’t take any criticisms at all.

And I’m not going to let it roll off me. I’m going to silence them. That’s insane. There’s enough insane right there. This guy should be nowhere near the reins of power.

Stephen: You mentioned changing and what you’re used to like when Bob Barker left the price is right. I remember thinking it’ll never be the same, but now Drew Carey has been there so long.

There’s people that don’t know Bob Barker. Remember him? That’s right. I think, Oh, he’s so great. And who was it before? Alex on jeopardy art link letter Fleming for a long

Alan: time. Exactly. In fact, the whole first incarnation of jeopardy when it went off the air for a while, it was Alex Trebek that they brought back to break syndication, but there’s people that indeed all they ever knew is Alex and now even with Ken Jennings.[00:30:00]

And yeah it’s just Ken now it’s just him. But every generation will have who was your doctor? Who? Who was your exactly? Yes. There was

Stephen: a lady on Jeopardy a while back that it was a repeat championship thing going on. She had been on with Fleming way back in the day, and now she was back on with Ken, but never was on with Trebek.

Back in between.

Alan: Yeah. And she was still, it’s not I don’t know, I’m 60s, and I haven’t gone towards dotage yet, and yet to have someone that really, 50 years later, still has The command of trivia and significant the crisis. That’s hats off to her, man. That’s what I thought. Wow, that’s, historical there.

Yeah, that was I was a little worried that my quick twitch muscle was not going to be sufficient compared to 20s and 30 year olds and stuff like that. And it turned, I was really good at buzzing again, timing the speech of what’s going on and looking for the light that comes on and stuff like that.

So that didn’t prove to be. [00:31:00] That I had lost the step, like physically muscularly, if you will, it’s all the video games that I got, I’m ready to go with this. So I’m glad I was glad about that because I really was like, wow, I got a lot of stuff in his head, but if you don’t get a chance to share it, then you’re gone.

That was fun.

Stephen: And, you’re talking about the video games and the names and you start following, Richard Garfield with magic. He’s had other games out and it always says a Richard Garfield game. But I was thinking also, we’ve gotten into playing the tiny epic games.

It’s not one developer, but it’s. A series of similar package games. They’re all the pieces are tiny. The boards fold out and they’re,

Alan: exactly. The box is just a little thing, exactly how much game they fit into the little box. Yeah,

Stephen: exactly. But the thing is, they’re all. Much deeper than you would think from a little box game, because it has just as many pieces and playability and rules as some of the big 80, 90 games.

It’s just in a 25 [00:32:00] box. We’ve got image

Alan: of that is it’s been like four, maybe six guys that have been playing together forever, right? That sensibility of what makes a good game and what does not. And they said, we could do. A good werewolf game. We could do a good castle defense game. And they just started to put together their idea of what’s a right.

I can’t, and I want it to not be an eight hour thing. Let’s make it an hour and a half game. What will accelerate towards conclusion and all the right way,

Stephen: and that’s exactly what they are. And they usually are. Like from 1 to 5 players, they actually have solo modes that you can play and how to use it up to about 5 players because a lot of games are 4.

But you know how many times it’s we have 5 people, right? You get the guy who’s playing. He’s the moderator and just helps guide everybody else.

Alan: The snack getter.

Stephen: Yes. Yeah. So that was another thing I thought of it. Gaming there, then this is I was thinking about that today.

I’m like, wow, Phil was right. The weather is getting nice for spring and early year. And I’m about to start doing some yard work. I’m like that sucks. Cause that beats into [00:33:00] my gaming time

Alan: to go back to the cruise for a minute. Yeah, I’m one of those guys that so they released the schedule and there’s 30 acts on board and they’re all going to play at least twice.

But if you want to see everybody, you have to do a little bit of manipulation to make sure that the big acts, you have two teams, red and blue, the different colored lanyards. And that’s, what’s going to appear on the big stage at certain times. And so we’re blue. So the first thing you do is look at okay, here’s Meridian.

And then I’m not going to miss them for whatever. So then, oh, that collides with the Goblin show here and the Steve Moore show here, whatever else it might be. So then you say if I can’t see it here, then I got to go grab the other Steve Moore or Goblin. And so it was this nice little puzzle of make some choices, follow the cascades.

And I put together a really nice schedule for Colleen and I, that We really, I think, are going to be able to see almost everybody that we want. And we made all the choices. And then it was like, oh, but what if we’re in Cozumel and we can get off the boat? Then we can’t schedule a 10 a. m.

Q& A or a show or something like that. And they were smart about that, that most of the things that are happening first thing in the morning are the Q& As and the photo [00:34:00] experiences and the paint class taught by a rock star, which is I couldn’t care less myself. We really do have it.

I hope it all works out that. We’ve really optimized everything. We’re going to see, wow, Martin Barr and Adrian Balu and Goblin, like I said, Goblin, it’s like they’re an Italian prog rock band that did the soundtrack for Suspiria? Suspiria? Suspiria! Oh really? Yes! Now that you say that, me and Rhys talked about that.

So I’m going to mention that to you, knowing that you just did the horror lasagna talk. Yeah. For Ecom, right? Yes. There’s some places that specialize in. These are. The medieval sounding guys. These are the very synthesized math rock. These are the spooky music guys. And so I, and having said that almost always what happens is you get on the boat and they post a thing that says we’ve had to move this from here to here.

It’s Oh, this whole fucking cascade of that throws everything I put together. I hope that we can make all the right compensating things, but I guess we’re going to have to miss Dave Kirshner or you

Stephen: need to try to do [00:35:00] this. Yeah. You need to feed that document into chat. GPT say, here’s my priority things here.

And tell me, yeah, tell me what my schedule should be.

Alan: Another thing that I noticed is that, there’s any number that we’ll see, there’s a, the Stardust theater and the Spinnaker and the bliss lounge. And they have six different venues that they go to. And sometimes. Once you know the boat, it’s it’ll be really easy.

Even if this one butts right against this one, we can just run over from the spinnaker to the right. Sometimes it’s literally like opposite end of the boats and five, 10 levels different. So it’s you got to make sure I didn’t get worked right through the crowd. And then I also came to realize, we really have so many times when it’s show on Joe on show.

What are we going to eat? What are we going to pee? Oh, they make sure there’s food available quite often on those. I think that’s going to happen. They really do have 16 restaurants. It’s like a skyscraper side skyscraper on its side. So it’s just got tons of stuff. And we really do sitting down and Hey, if you happen to sit down next to a dream balloon, then you can have a nice [00:36:00] conversation with them.

But if we’re always on the run catching. The hot dog hamburger chicken salad sandwich, then we’ll have to see. Maybe we’re going to say, I really wanted to see this guy, but what I really want is to take just 30 minutes to go get a bowl of soup and a salad, which, and we’ll get there late and see what seats we can find.

You know what I mean? And a couple of overlaps where it actually is. Am I going to stay late? Am I going to leave early? What am I going to do? Who do I really love more? And what always happens, of course, is there’s some sliding, they’ve had things scheduled for like 10 and 11 o’clock, they’re not going to start until midnight or one, because there’s going to be that little bit of delay of transitioning from one stage set to the other and stuff like that, so midnight buffets are always good.

So they really are going where they had the ice sculptures gleaming in the nights and I’m not anticipating it being, if you will, a problem. If we really try to do everything on this cruise, it really is going to be, we’re going to need a vacation for months and be like, oh, I’m just going to collapse in bed for 12 [00:37:00] hours and let my body rebuild.

Stephen: I remember the one thing that astounded me. With cruising, when I worked on the cruise ship was you would always get the seniors, the ones that are like 70, 75 with their friends that cruising is just the thing they do, but they never leave the boat when it, that boat would dock, they would go into the gaming room and they’d sit there and play cards all day long cards.

Alan: Exactly. I’m like,

Stephen: if all you’re going to do is sit, you’re playing cards. You can pay me the money, sit in my living room and I’ll feed you all day long. You wouldn’t know. I’d throw water on you every now and then, and put a porthole on the wall.

Alan: We are determined when we’re in Cozumel to get off one, if not both days, even if it’s raining, even if the water is choppy.

I really hope because as I was saying, that’s what I really want to see the 3d museum. But having said that. I, people talked about this and I never really got it until recently. Sometimes there’s nothing better than canceled plans where you really had a commitment to something and then [00:38:00] you don’t, but everybody thinks that you’re there.

So you really have just nobody’s calling you. You have the whole world to yourself for a day. You know what I mean? And. And some part of oh no, the weather’s going to be bad. It’ll be like instead of feeling obligated to wring every single bit of tourism and music, love and food out of this, we really can just maybe relax on the boat.

And like we’re not going to sun ourselves in the rain and stuff like that, but it’ll be okay to just really make it a little bit. Tuning down as well as getting everything out of it. You

Stephen: definitely have the same mindset I do going to these things and like RGs and all that stuff.

It’s like, how many things can I go see and do and pack into it? And that was an issue with me and Gina all the time. She’d be like, okay, we’re going to this RG in Chicago. I’m like, yes, it’s Weem. It’s so cool. Or we go explore the city. Are we going to take a nap in the afternoon? I’m like. Hell no! I’m like, what?

Alan: If we’re going to explore the city, we’re adding a couple of days before and after. Yes! Weim to go do [00:39:00] those things. Exactly. And she never,

Stephen: we didn’t understand each other. She’s we’re in Maine. I’m like, yes, Colin’s doing a talk, we’re at the cryptozoology museum, we’re doing this. She’s okay, so let’s go explore.

No, we’re here for this convention. She’s we don’t want to be there all the time. Yes, we do. So there was a conflict with how we approached these

Alan: things all the time. This is very funny. I went to the Pittsburgh RG long ago. This must be 25 years ago, but I also had tickets to see Meridian since I’ve named them.

They hardly ever toured the United States, and so they were there in Pittsburgh that night, an incredible coincidence, and that was one of the years where I had actually, they were one of the first bands to say, okay, we’re not going through the studio and label system send us some money, we’ll make the album, and I was actually like, in the liner notes of the album, that I was one of the contributors, so I got to go, and I got a chance to get not the backstage, but like sound check tickets, and I was like saying to people at the RG, Okay, I gotta go.

I’m seeing this concert. They were like, What do you mean? Tonight is a double deck cancellation [00:40:00] hearts. Do you always do that? It’s there’s this band that I really love. And they’re over at the stadium or whatever it was. And people really couldn’t believe it was like I was abandoning them.

You mean? Okay, I really. I, that’s one of the few times I’ve ever done it. Usually when I go to a thing, if I’m at the pin pinball convention, I’m playing pinball, I really don’t wander around and see what else, maybe if it’s like before the thing starts, but having said that, I tend to do the full immersion experience.

Just someone just said that they wanted to do a museum thing here. And I said I’m going to be at the Fan Expo here in Cleveland. And when I’m there, I’m really there. I’m there from 10 at morning until midnight. And I’m meeting the artists and I’m going to the programs and I’m looking at the cosplay and I’m just shopping my butt off and all that kind of stuff.

And it really is for three days. There’s no let up. There’s all kinds of cool stuff scheduled. And so sorry, I really like you and your event, but I’m not breaking away because it’ll be like. Three hours, four hours, and there’s, I missed so much. You know what I mean? I’m gonna miss [00:41:00] the chance to meet Alan Tudyk, who now has Resident Alien.

I don’t mean to tease you about it, but I’m really looking forward to hearing his talk and getting a chance to just say I really love this series and I really love his portraiture of, is that the right word? His portrayal of this character and stuff. And anyway, I’m just There’s all kinds of good people coming in from multiple the comic book world, the science fiction world, movies, TV, all that kind of stuff.

I’m going to be just when so long ago, we saw a video at a comedy festival that was Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Talking to people at a comic con, and one guy is dressed up as Darth Vader, and he comes up, and of course, people immediately start talking to the dog. Not to the guy who’s obviously the puppet, but he goes, Which one of these buttons is the one you use to phone your mom to come pick you up?

Every time that I go in, And Colleen comes and gets me at the end of the day, because sometimes buses stop [00:42:00] running because it’s going too late and all that kind of stuff. That’s what I think of is, okay, mommy, come get me now. I got lots of new stuff in my.

Stephen: It, you do get back in your childhood. And I think that, people miss that in life. And I think they’re worse off for it.

Alan: When I go shopping. It because I’m not, because I’ve got all the comic books that I want. I usually only buy like new independent things where I’m really trying to support the starving artists and stuff like that.

I’ll buy new books in the same way, maybe new games, but it’s also, they have all kinds of, I’ve never been a guy that like had to get all the Funko Pops. And so they have whole booze that I just walk past because I’m not looking at the fact that they have 10, 000 different little figures of all the marbles and whatever.

It’s just, I don’t have it. I don’t need any more t shirts. Though once in a while, I’ll see a t shirt that like makes me laugh out loud. It’s if you got that in 3x, you got me. You know what I mean? It’s I’ve been coming for 50 years to comic cons, and yet people are still witty enough to come up with something new, or a whole cool new design.

The [00:43:00] first time that it wasn’t just an emblem on your t shirt, but it was like the full shirt, like the Hulk is, oh yeah, shirt and stuff. I had to have One of those just out of this is just the coolest thing. I can’t wait to wear this that people go. Okay. Clearly you are a committed guy book for him because your whole body


Alan: Oh, when I go

Stephen: to the conference every year down in Florida. I always have a. Cartoon tie that I wear for the ceremony. The Flintstones, Bugs Bunny Hanna Barbera. My sister got me a whole bunch of them. This year I had a really, it was like, it looked like a business tie. It was a little shiny and it had a pattern and it was like a power business tie with Spider Man on it.

Like a little spider, exactly. My socks were Star Wars, so I always wear Star Wars socks. Nobody notices,

Alan: I haven’t gotten word that I’m speaking at Fan Expo yet, but I probably will. And so I’m hoping that just that I’ll break out the appropriate Marvel pants. It’s I probably should be there in like dark [00:44:00] pants and a white shirt and look like I’m an authority figure.

But really, I’m just like a fan boy that grew up and knows a ton about it. That I tend to dress casual so that I’m not Word about has my shirt come untucked. I just hopefully what I share with you. I will fill the room with my intelligence. You know what I mean? I’m just gonna my enthusiasm will make you not worry about what shirt I wore that kind of thing.

So we’ll see about that. The book fair this week doesn’t like Akron library has a big deal. Author book festival. Yeah,

Stephen: I didn’t get accepted for it. So to them don’t need to pull the scab. It’s very cool. And I only had the one book. I have a couple of books, but the one main book. So maybe next year I might stop in.

Cause I did meet a couple of good authors and stuff going to that. And I like to go to those. But it’s also release weekend with release events going on to the Star Wars game. So there’s the schedule that I’m torn, you

Alan: know, It’s funny, as soon as [00:45:00] we committed to the cruise, it’s amazing how many things started this weekend.

Just all the conflicts. It’s I can’t go see that comedian. I can’t go to the book fair. You know what I mean? It’s like you had to do this, didn’t you?

Stephen: I do that. Like on Facebook, I will interest a whole lot of things. And then I’ll get people going, Hey I see you’re interested in that.

You want to go together? And I’m like, hold on, let me check. I’m like, oh no, there’s this other thing going on. I’m going to go to that and say why’d you say you’re interested? Because I can then get it on my calendars. I can check my, all the choices and now Facebook knows I like those events and it gives me more of them and I don’t miss them.

So that’s right. And also

Alan: the reason you made a choice, you hit interested instead of going that’s why you shouldn’t count on me. Because I was still. Evaluating my possibilities, right?

Stephen: Yeah. And that’s how I use them. And some people don’t get that, as you mentioned, we talked about doing things when me and the kids were go to Disney.

My cousin said we’ve been wanting to go to Disney. Maybe we’ll all go together and have a big [00:46:00] trip. And we ended up breaking off and saying, no, we’re not doing it with you guys because they’re Idea was like you said is different. They wanted to stay outside of the Disney parks in a different hotel So it’d be a 45 minute drive through traffic paid for parking And not getting there until later and then there they were like, oh you know that Place we’re staying is right by the beach So we can leave disney at two or three every afternoon and go to the beach.

I’m like I’m not spending money on Disney to go sit on the damn beach and that cause conflict. That’s what we want to do. Fine. You guys go. We’re doing. Yeah. I’m paying to go to Disney.

Alan: We actually I made, I mentioned that last October, I believe it was, I went to Prague stock, another progressive rock festival in New Jersey and met.

A couple that are also going to be on the cruise to the edge. Nice. And so we, it’s immediately it was you guys got red and I got blue. So we’re not going to see the big shows together, but we’d love to see other shows, save seats for each other, [00:47:00] get dinners and stuff like that. But I really don’t know them well enough.

It really was for those couple of days at Proctor. They seem to be like me where they went to everything. They stayed up late to go see, Chester Thompson. So I think that they’re hardy in that way. But. Could be that all they want to eat is Mexican food and Colleen really doesn’t like it. So we’re not going to the, El Cuchina restaurant and stuff like that.

It’s funny. There’s, friendships are like wonderful, but they can be tentative. You don’t have to be joined at the hip, right? The more you and each other’s company, then do more together. But it’s okay to say, my wife and I are also here. Second honeymoon. I’m being silly, but it’s okay. Just spend us time me time. And that’s, the cool thing about the balance. That’s right with

Stephen: knowing that you only really see them at events like this and that you’re on a cruise. It’s hey, We have plans to go do this, but how about if we meet up later? And that’s usually acceptable to everybody because you both get it during the thing.

It’s not like you’re like now we’re three cities apart. Hey, it’s a deck or two.

Alan: I know one of the things that’s going to happen, like I met, the [00:48:00] way I did the schedule was. A series of spreadsheets, one per day that has everything. And I got it like, okay, the blue is the best and the red, I can’t go to that.

And then I did color coding of here’s the greens that I want to go to. And the yellow is tentative. And I know that when I pull that out, people are going to be, where’d you get that? Because that happened all the time at RGs and AGs when I did that for Mensa for many years. And I want to bring extra copies, but I don’t want to be that guy that now I’m committed to do it the next.

It really is something that helps me stay organized. I’ve always liked not just looking at a listing of time and room and act, but to see it visually. So you can see, is it right opposite each other? Is there an overlap? So I could run from one to the other and still catch the second half of it. Yeah. And it just, it really helps me at a glance to know.

I really have everything covered. You know what I mean? There’s no, and if there is a gap, it’s maybe that’ll be spa time, hon. You want to go get like a mud wrap? You don’t, we don’t tend to do those things, but I could use a good, massage. Way long ago when I was in [00:49:00] Jamaica, we actually did go to a couple’s massage.

And I’m a big guy, but they brought in a big Jamaican lady that boy, did she, she rolfed me, it’s that deep massage where she was like, like that. And I really, I got knotted a lot because they brought in the big guns to work out the big guy. Maybe they’ll have that. Maybe it’ll just be, let’s go sit in the hot tub for a while.

And just, a little bit of sits bath, a little bit of put your feet up on it. And that vibration, I’m hoping that my feet will stay good. As I mentioned too many times, I have a little bit of plantar fasciitis, and depending on how much we walk and how much I have to be on my feet, I really want to be seen for most shows.

I’m not a mosh pit guy. I never have been. I hate it. Which is probably good for everybody else. And it’s true. I’m an engine of destruction. When I’m enjoying myself, I tend to clear a little room around me. Exactly that. If I’m going to play air guitar, I got to do a little beat sounds and windmilling, and then I hit people.

So anyway. Some another, [00:50:00] I don’t mean to go into this too much, but I hope that some of these are shared experiences. You have much experience on boats. This is a new one for us. It’s Norwegian Pearl compared to anything we’ve been on before. And so they have a big pool stage. I used to have the perfect place to sit, which was like There was a revolving door that kept the air conditioning in over here.

And then when people come out, they can’t just stop there because there’s all these people coming out. So it’s don’t like when you get off an escalator, don’t stand at the bottom of the escalator because there’s people coming along. So by my being behind that, but a full view of the stage, this was always kept clear because of the way that has to work.

The circulation has to work. Now, I don’t have that. It’s not the same situation, at least so far I’ve been able to discern from the photos that they have posted. And so we’re gonna end up scoping out where’s a good place near the pool. Are we gonna have to be in the pool to see the thing? Colleen and I have the consideration of, I can look over most people’s heads.

So if I want to stand, I really can almost always find a place to stand and fully see the show. That isn’t the case with her. She gets belt buckles and elbows. You know what I mean? Because she’s a petite lady. We have to find a place that we’ll get [00:51:00] there and we’ll claim our table and we’ll put our, you know what I mean, whatever you do to claim a table.

While I go get us drinks, she’ll sit there and fend people off and stuff like that. And we’ll scope out what it is for each of the various different venues. Also, if you’re going to be like, okay, I’m going to see this, but I might have to leave early. Then you don’t sit in the front row and disrupt things.

You sit off to the side in the back and then you sneak out of the place. And so we’ll, we’re going to learn all about this boat and we’ll see how it turns out. If this is the same boat for the next cruise, or at least for that series of five days of shows, we’ll get wise early.

Stephen: So when you come back we’ll probably miss next week’s obviously.

But the following week, we’ve got Jim Beard. We’re talking to the other half of Flint Publishing, finally. That’s right.

Alan: Yeah, I’ll be ready for that. That’ll be fun. It it’s we talked early on about doing this with some regularity. I think this will be only like our fourth guy. We really can start like thinking, who would we want to talk to?

We have all kinds of people in the industry, on the periphery of the industry, and just other big fans that it would be [00:52:00] very cool to start having a little bit of, what’s your experience of this? What are you really looking forward to? Or do for the fall movies and stuff like that and drag people into our world, okay, cool.

Okay, wait Good to go Other quick recommendations now Star Wars card game I finally got the final book the constant severity series by alien martinez a very good humor writer and I had the first two And what? I say this too often now, I refuse to buy things over seven bucks. It helped me to amass a big collection without overspending.

But now I’m really getting to that point of, I have a little extra money and I’m willing to spend the 10 instead of the seven. So a whole bunch of I got a whole bunch of Charles Strauss books. This A. Lee Martinez. I’m what am I going to bring on the cruise? Things that I’ve not only want to read, but that I’ve waited 10 years to read.

So I’m going to devour them in the airport. You know what I mean? So I’ll, we’ll talk about that a little bit. Have a great next week, and we’ll come back in the following Monday. Have a

Stephen: great trip, man. Tell Colleen to have fun. I will. Thank you. Okay,

Alan: bye bye.