Sorry this newsletter is a little late. This past weekend was Connecticon. It's kind of crazy, I've lost track of how many Connecticons we have done. Last year we had to depart directly to PAX AUS afterwards. While that's kind of a mad rush, I actually wouldn't mind doing it again. It's nice to rest after a crazy weekend, but I would rather have excitement than a return to the routine.

That being said, let's get excited! If you are reading this newsletter, you must care about GeekNights in some fashion. August is going to be the month with big time action. There is literally nothing big on my schedule for the entire month. We're going to do a lot of things, like biking (obviously), but will incorporate content production into just about everything. Then at the very end of the month, there will be PAX Prime to top the cake.


It seems we have gone from getting a bunch of replies to having no replies that I can respond to. I think this is because in the older newsletters I wrote about a topic that people could relate to on a personal level. In the last newsletter I wrote about the corruption in our government, to which most people are apathetic. It's hilarious in a way because that apathy is exactly the problem we need to solve.

Getting replies, even if they lack substance, is encouraging. It lets me know people are reading, which makes me feel like this is worth doing. It also gives me content for this section. Still, I can't let a lack of responses to one newsletter stop me. The subscriber numbers haven't gone down, so I know you haven't quit. I'll just write something that I know you can relate to, and I'm sure my inbox will fill right up. Right? 

Losing It

During my childhood, I would lose things very often. The big problem is that I would lose things that were so important that I put forth a conscious effort to avoid losing them. I specifically remember getting a fancy pen with my name engraved on it. I really wanted to use it, because what's the point if I leave it in a drawer somewhere? Of course, that meant taking it places, and at some point it was gone forever.

I lost wristwatches more than anything else. I remember having a bunch of Timex Ironman watches, which were all the rage in those days. They were a considerable expense for a kid. Even if they were gifts, they cost as much as an NES game. I have zero now, so they were all lost at some point. At least one of them was definitely lost at a summer camp. I don't think I ever went to summer camp, even as a counselor, without leaving at least one valuable thing behind. I should probably go into the woods near a summer camp in the offseason and see what kind of treasures I can find.

Right up until the year 2000 I was still just as careless with my belongings. I even lost a wallet in college. It was no big deal, but I was actually upset that I lost my anime club ID cards. I only have the ones left from the later years. Thankfully, since then I stopped losing things. Well, maybe I left some cheap sunglasses on the beach, or some crappy umbrellas in restaurants, but whatever. 

I stopped losing things because I developed a system. I couldn't rely on conscious memory. I had to unconsciously be aware of important objects. I started putting my wallet, phone, and keys in the same exact pockets, and same exact places at home, no matter what. Eventually it became a habit. If something wasn't in the right place I would notice it immediately, as if my arm had gone missing. Even today I will occasionally get nervous when my phone isn't in my pocket, because it's in my hand. I also get startled on days when I don't wear sunglasses. I desperately try to remember if I had them on that morning. My body now automatically keeps things from getting lost, and that is the best system. I haven't lost anything serious for over a decade with this method.

Just recently, though, as in the past week, I freakishly lost two things. I have a custom lanyard made for me by a friend. It gets tons of compliments at conventions, which is great. More importantly it's just way more comfortable than the lanyards that they give out for free. I store it in a pocket on my luggage, so I will always have it when traveling to conventions.

When I went to pack last week, and it wasn't in the usual pocket, it was a disaster. I spent over an hour searching for it. I checked my box of convention badges. The lanyard wasn't in there, but the badges from the last two conventions I went to were! That means it must be in my apartment. Wait a second, I used my luggage to go to my parent's house and also my friend's house between now and the last convention. Could I have possibly left it at either house? I don't know. I turned my entire apartment upside down, and I still didn't find it. I ended up using my backup Adventure Time lanyard.

On my new camera there is a little piece of plastic that protects the viewfinder. More accurately, it protects your face from the viewfinder. It came off, so I put it back on. When it came off again, I became conscious that it was loose, so I paid extra close attention to it. As I was getting out of the car in front of my apartment to go inside I noticed it fell off again. I grabbed it and took special care to protect it as I went inside. 

When I got inside I noticed I got some mail while I was away. It was a diffuser for my camera flash. After putting my luggage away, I opened it up and tested it out. If my camera was missing this piece of plastic at that point, I would have noticed it. A day later, my camera sitting on my desk, that piece of plastic is gone. I again looked all over my apartment and found nothing. I contacted the manufacturer to try to get some replacement parts, but I still haven't heard back from them. I predict I'll get a replacement later this century. Thankfully you can operate the camera without it, but it's a bit dorky. Kind of like having glasses held together with tape.

It might seem like there's a contradiction between derision of materialism and being upset about losing something. It's just a physical object. If it gets lost, life goes on. That's true, but there's more to it than that. First of all, you can only lose things that are important. If something wasn't important, you wouldn't be looking for it. The thing you are looking for is not only important, it's also useful right now. Not having it is an immediate inconvenience. To top it off, it's probably not replaceable. You wouldn't spend more than a few minutes looking for something like a toothbrush, which you can trivially replace.

Hoarding lots of stuff actually increases the chances that truly important things will become lost. If you buy enough books to fill all of your shelves, it will become that much harder to find the book you actually care about. Imagine what it will be like after some major cleaning. Look at each item and ask yourself this. If you lost that, would you replace it? If the answer is no, then get rid of it. When you're all done, look around. You'll see only the things you truly can't live without.