Newsletters are a thing?

You know what's funny? The last newsletter title was "This Still Exists." I forgot it for a time, remembered it, then forgot it completely. Well, now it's a recurring item on my to-do list again, so watch out! I think what I have to do is come up with some new format for this which is easier for me to create, while simultaneously being even more worthwhile to read. How do I do this? I guess you'll find out. Let me know what you think.

It's Warm!

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, another winter is behind us. I can already dread the next winter coming, so we're making the most of every warm day. Biking to all the places. That's going to take away from weekend time usually used for things like making GeekNights Presents: Utena and other videos. Also it's Netrunner regional tournament season, so that's going to eat up some weekend days as well.

Oh no! How will you get your fix of content from us? The answer is Connecticon. We run the panels department at Connecticon, so we will obviously be there in full force, as we are every year. I'm sure we will also be taking that opportunity to produce lots of panel recordings of ourselves and others. It's also probably your only chance to meet us outside of NYC until PAX Prime. Speaking of which, if you want to go to PAX Prime, now is the time to be following the @Official_PAX Twitter very closely for ticket and hotel availability.

Other than that, expect some amount of regular podcasting from us, interrupted somewhat by Rym's business travels.

Community Communication

Our forum is as old as our podcast. Every post is still in there going all the way back. Due to technological reasons, we switched from self-hosted Vanilla to having Vanilla host it for us on their servers. This is vastly more expensive. We're stuck with it for awhile, but I would very much like to find a way to switch to something else that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Alternatively, we could find a way to get money to pay for the forum other than draining my wallet directly. If anyone has any ideas or solutions, I'm open to them. I don't want to just take your money without giving something in return. I sure as hell wouldn't pay for nothing. We won't change anything in the near future, but we need to start thinking about the long term now. Also, if you are reading this newsletter, but aren't in the forums, why not?

I don't know if people realize this, but we have an official IRC channel. It's #geeknights on I set it up long ago, and hardly pay attention to it. Yet, somehow it continues to survive. It has a small number of users, but they are always there. They haven't given up on it, so I won't either. Chatting in real time is totally different and not-redundant at all with chatting on the forum. Come chat with us.


Way back at Connecticon 2007, there was some guy named davek approached us. He ran some Internet streaming radio, and was a little bit nutty. I'm actually slightly curious where he is now. He started a thread on our forums trying to start a beef with us. The thread eventually died, and, like most, it laid dormant for years. For some reason Rym decided to resurrect it, and talk about radio in general. That got me thinking about a lot of things.

Terrestrial radio is very weird. It's everywhere, but it's completely out of most people's conscious minds, like breathing. When it was first created, and before TV existed, it was a humongous deal. It was as big then as the web is now. Despite facing assault on all fronts from every other format of distribution, it continues to subsist. Thanks to the fact that so many people drive cars on a daily basis, and every car has a radio, radio shows get listeners. Even in Australia the one time we drove we went all around the radio dial to see what their radio was like. Radio is alive and well on all sides of the world.

You would think by now that everyone would just listen to things they already downloaded, and many do. But that won't give you live traffic and weather. A podcast you download in the morning is old news, as it was probably recorded the day before. You can try to live stream an Internet radio station, but wireless carriers in the US are not reliable enough for that. You'll also kill your phone's bandwidth limit, assuming your plan isn't unlimited. Also, most Internet streaming radio is music. There is very little talk radio that streams online. Those that do are often just streaming podcasts. I know of at least one streaming station that streams our podcasts days after we upload them. Satellite radio costs money that most people don't want to pay for. In the end, despite being full of horrible advertising, terrestrial radio marches on.

Personally, I have a lot of sentiment for radio, and my family cares about it quite a bit. Our sports teams will often be playing while we are driving to or from a family gathering, so we will listen to the game on the radio. We'll also always have pre or post game radio on when driving to or from a live sporting event. This year the Mets were moved away from the radio station they have been on for pretty much my entire life. It's quite upsetting not to hear this jingle anymore.

I also have a lot of memories of the radio being on Sunday mornings while waking up, eating breakfast, cleaning the house. Regardless of what's playing, it creates an atmosphere I am nostalgic for. I pretty much always put on some form of radio while cleaning my apartment on a weekend morning. Back when I had a car, but didn't have an iPod hookup, I went to the radio. I even sometimes listened to the crappy morning zoo in Rochester while driving to Wegman's.

My aunt, uncle and cousins are even more into radio. Discussions about the relative merits of various sportscasters are more common than they should be. On Thanksgiving they absolutely must find a radio to hear Alice's Restaurant at the exact time they play it. I guess playing a recording of it yourself doesn't count. I also can't remember the last time I was in a car with them where they didn't turn on the radio and sing along. I wonder how many other families are out there like this, where radio is a lot more important to people than anyone gives it credit for.

The reason I'm thinking about this sort of thing is actually pretty sad. When I first started listening to podcasts, one of the first ones I found and stuck with was Comic Geek Speak. I listened to it regularly, and was a major participant in their community for years. I went and saw them at a few conventions. I was to them the same way many of our listeners are towards us. Over time I listened less and less. Now I don't listen to them pretty much at all, as comics have taken a back seat to other geekeries. I know there are many listeners of our podcast who have similarly faded away from us.

This past week, one of the hosts of Comic Geek Speak, Jamie D. passed away. It wasn't a surprise, as he had been ill for quite some time. I wasn't close with him, but I met him a few times in person. He was the kind of person where everyone who knew him liked him. He had that kind of aura that someone like Mr. Rogers has where is is a person you can not possibly bring yourself to hate. Of course, there was a huge outpouring from the community, expressions of support and condolences. His passing touched me more than I expected. I cared about him, but did I care that much about someone I met maybe twice for a few minutes? I care that much about someone I haven't listened to or thought about in about a year or more?

The reason for this is clearly that in him I have seen myself. Obviously I don't share his aura, but there are still many people who feel a stronger connection to me than I do to them simply because they listen to me talk for hours every week. Up until now I have lived my life caring mostly for my actual close friends and family. Do I have some responsibility to the people who care about me as much as I cared about Jamie? Have I not fulfilled that responsibility until now out of ignorance of its existence? Should I approach the rest of my life any differently now that I am conscious of the situation? I guess I can at least start by not forgetting this newsletter.