Yellow, Orange, White
Halloween was yesterday, so let's talk about candy corn. There aren't too many things more polarizing than candy corn. Personally, I am pro-corn. Much deliciousness. Wow. Eat a bunch or just a few. Such convenience. It's also so cute and festive in appearance. Only eat it during Halloween season to avoid getting sick of it. Far from the best candy. It's not butterscotch, but it's still terrific.
I hear two major complaints against candy corn. Some people say it is tasteless or waxy. These people are buying inferior corns. Brach's standard candy corns only. All other brands and varieties are poison. This is not a paid endorsement from Brach's, it's just the truth. The other complaint is that it is too sweet. Of course it's sweet. It's not too different than just eating pure sugar. I've never understood how any food can be too sweet. Sweet is the same thing as tasting good. It makes no sense to me when people say that a food is bad because it tastes too good. What next, the slower race car is better than the faster one?
Newsletter #33 had just one response. Newsletter #34 had like eight responses. Rather than having nothing to put here, I have the opposite problem. Please send just one or two really good responses to make my life easy. Just reply directly to this newsletter, and I will see your message.
La Poste Geek
Let's see what some of these eight responses had to say.
Just going to throw this out there. Maybe what you need but don't know you need it is someone to give your time to. Someone like a pet. A big shaggy dog or small furry kitten. Someone to care for other than yourself. Yeah there is responsibility and it cost monies. But it can be very life fulfilling to have animal to care for. You might also consider volunteering as a Big Brother. I'm sure you make a great big brother to some not so fortunate kid. Take them out to all the amazing museums in New York or just hang out at the comic store and play Netrunner with them. Food for thought.
Pets are not allowed in most NYC apartments, including mine. Obviously, people break those rules. Even if I did break those rules, what is the pet going to do? Sit in my tiny apartment for over eight hours a day while I'm at work? And what when I leave town? I see the hassle my friends and family have finding someone to take care of their pets whenever they go away even just for a weekend. No thanks. At this point in my life I need the freedom to travel without worrying about what my pet will do while I'm away.
If I did get a pet, I think I want some really smart dog like a border collie. Because they are smart and active, they need even more attention and space to play. Not a good city dog.
Did you know I mentored a kid all the way through high school? He just started college, and has managed to not fail yet. Been there, done that.
Also, I edited this email. Each sentence should end with a period followed by one and only one space. Get it right.
Now that you point it out, the ambition disparity between you and Rym is very noticeable in the content that you produce independently of one another. For example, the Geek Nights newsletter is sort of your blog, and Rym's rants on Patreon are Rym's equivalent. If your description of Rym and yourself is accurate, then the differences between the two make sense, mainly that Rym's rants have a stated goal while the newsletter simply talks about the real stuff.
As a person with panic-evoking levels of ambition, I can only guess that — for you to have absolutely no aspirations — you are not scared of death. Most of my forward momentum comes from having death on my mind and thus being constantly furious. I don't have a Wikipedia page yet, and I will probably continue to be furious until I do. Memento mori or whatever.
I think I heard you guys mention a board game project on the podcast. How is that coming? One's life goals are unlikely to change, but you can still come up with large projects by trying out a bunch of small ones.
I can't say that I'm completely unafraid of death. If a car is coming to hit me, I am getting the fuck out of the way. I'm also not preoccupied with my own death, though I am always thinking about the death of other people and things. I think this started when I was nine and Freddie Mercury died. I never had a chance to see him perform live in person. He would be 70 now.
If something isn't going to be around later, I try to experience it while I still can. I've seen favorite video games go offline, bands break up, buildings get demolished, etc. I consciously try to take advantage of short-lived things while the opportunity is still there. I paid a lot for World Series tickets since it is possible the Mets might never be in the World Series again for as long as I live.
I am indeed occasionally working on a board game. It keeps changing quite a bit, but the core idea is still in there. Playtests of some initial variants had moments of fun. The problem with that is the same problem I have with all my projects. Even if I don't shit talk and actually work on them, I don't work on them enough to finish them. I spend too much time sleeping, eating, watching YouTube, and doing nerdy things, to actually complete a project. When I do spend time on projects, I keep switching between different ones. No single project gets enough time to reach completion. I was just talking to Rym yesterday about all the videos and photos I have taken, but not uploaded. I like shooting video and photos, but don't like editing. When I sit down at the computer I usually open up Steam instead of Premiere or Lightroom.
Wait, so how do I finish this newsletter? I'm doing this shit at work! Nothing to compete for my attention here.
This Isn't Even My Final Form
Halloween 2016 is exactly the eleventh anniversary of the GeekNights podcast. I believe there was a previous newsletter about how meaningless it is to celebrate arbitrarily round numbers. Even worse when they are based on the arbitrary amount of time it takes for the earth to orbit the sun. If we lived on Uranus, GeekNights wouldn't even be two years old yet. Why yes, I could have used any planet for that example.
Anyway, Rym is listening to and commentating on the old beta episodes of GeekNights. In the final beta episode, which I haven't listened to, he tells me I was excited about Obama's podcast and politics and such. Scott in 2005 really cared about something Scott doesn't care about at all in 2016. Rym complains to me that I've changed, as if that's a bad thing. Then he arrogantly brags that he hasn't changed, as if that's a good thing.
Do I really need to write the rest of this newsletter? Reasonably intelligent readers should be able to fill in the blanks.
Fine, I'll do it.
Let me start by telling the story of the Citgo Sign in Boston.I've told this story many times before. That's because I like it, and it is frequently relevant. This sign goes up way back in the day, and people are not happy. They say it's ugly and ruining the neighborhood. Then when they go to take the sign down, people are all upset that such a historical landmark will be taken away. I saw the same thing happen in NYC. Just a few blocks from Rym's apartment is a gigantic Pepsi sign. People were fighting to preserve it as a landmark at the same time people were fighting against a brand new JetBlue sign that was going up a couple blocks in the other direction. All these signs are up, so I guess signs always win?
The point of the story is that there are people who oppose change for the sake of opposing change. Someone in a comfortable position doesn't want their cheese moved. Doing some archery they finally get a bullseye. Then someone has the nerve to move the target. They could have gotten more bullseyes, but now they have to adapt. That's an understandably frustrating scenario.
People are forced to adapt to a changing world. This is what creates the illusion in their heads that the past was always a better time than the present. Adaptation in itself is not pleasant. The past is a time when they were more comfortable because they had undergone fewer changes. It doesn't matter if things actually get worse or better. Change of any kind rarely makes people feel good.
Granted, it is still very possible to change things for the worse. What is most difficult is being able to tell if a change is actually for the better or not. When I see myself opposing a change of any kind, I try very hard to figure out if I'm opposing it just because I don't want to deal with the change, or if it's actually a bad change. I can come up with convincing arguments for any situation, and it becomes the source of many doubts.
Wait, this letter is supposed to be about changing people, not changing signage. I feel perfectly safe saying that a person who changes more is better than a person who changes less. As long as they are healthy changes, even extreme ones are preferable to stagnation.
What does it mean for a person to change? It means that the person is learning, exploring, and discovering themselves and this universe. They are seeking new experiences. It's a sign that they are trying to better themselves by consciously making decisions, as opposed to simply living on autopilot.
This is exactly what GeekNights is about. Above all else, we encourage people to go explore the great cornucopia of geekeries that the world has to offer. Even after spreading out, one must always spread further. There is no end. There are already more books than any person can read in one lifetime, and that is just books. As a person explores the world in this way, it is inevitable that they themselves will change as a result. All the varied things they experience will reshape the fabric of their being.
Whether or not Rym or I have changed, or by how much, I can't say for certain. It's not empirically measurable. What I can say is that if I have changed, that's terrific. Younger Scott definitely had problems. It would not be a stretch to imagine a much younger Scott in high school, or even college, naively being taken in by some bullshit. High school Scott even believed in aliens and conspiracy theories. What a dumb kid.
That's really the most exciting part of all. If 34 year old Scott is the kind of person who writes this newsletter, what kind of person is 44 year old or 74 year old Scott? Will we develop enough medical technology to bring about the all-powerful and all-knowing 144 year old Scott? There's only one way to find out.