How to Fight Back

Allexander Hellene is one of my favorite dudes on the internet, and I endorse everything he’s written in this blog post.

But especially:

Enjoy the battle. This fight will never end. There will be losses, but there will also be victories. Celebrate the wins and keep going. Morale is important, so don’t spread despair. Blackpilling does nobody any good.

One of the things I enjoy (yes! enjoy!) about living in Corona times is that it has stripped away the illusion that we do not live in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I came to terms with this reality a year or two ago, and it sucks to realize that this world will always be a battlefield and Satan will have the upper hand more and more right up to the moment that Christ comes back…

But once you embrace it, it’s freeing. You start to put your hope in the world to come. You start to really understand how trivial and light is death.

It’s the paradox of Ecclesiastes. Everything is dust in the wind. But once you realize you’re building castles out of soap bubbles, the proper joy of building castles out of soap bubbles is revealed.

When you cannot win, you are free to do as you like. When you cannot lose, you are free to do as you like. And the Christian gets to live under both of these realities at once. This is how the martyrs go singing to their own executions. And when we win (and we have won from time to time), it is how we win.

Lessons from Mario Maker

I’ve been trying with various levels of success to make video games for forever. I’ve settled on kids’ books as the ideal match of my talents to the world’s needs, but my love of coding hasn’t gone away, nor have I given up on the concept.

So I spent some money I shouldn’t have on Mario Maker 2 to see what I thought of building levels for an existing game.

And I have learned something. I can kind of get into level design, but not really.

I have a notion of game design that video games have three legitimate foci:

  • The Toy: The mechanics, the physics engine, the RPG elemental rock/paper/scissors, the deck of cards. What many call the mechanics.
  • The Challenge: The win and loss conditions. The levels, and their differences. If a game has a boss rush mode, what you have is different challenges with the same toy.
  • The Experience: The art, the music, the story. What the creators are trying to make you think or feel as a result of playing the game.

I maintain that a game may legitimately be focused around either the toy, or the mechanics, or the experience. You should when making a game try to make all three as good as possible, but one of these three must be prime, and the other two exist to serve its needs.

go on

How to make a living as a kids’ book author?

My custom, every year, is to take the week of my birthday, the first of February, off, and to spend that vacation, after a couple of days sleeping and playing vidya, analyzing how the previous year went and deciding what I want to try with the next year.

My version of New Years resolutions, as it were.

I can’t actually do that this time round. See, I’ve worked at the same retail establishment for 15 years, so for the last several years, I acquired Paid Time Off at a frightening rate. But last year, I quit, and was unemployed for several months. Then I applied for my old job back and got it — but not with my 15 years of accumulated raises and benefits.

I did get three days off in a row this week, which was intended to be spent recording audio for a digital pop-up book. But life circumstances in the month between when I requested the time off, and when the time off occurred meant I was not ready to record. Indeed, I did not accomplish anything on the pop-up book really at all. So I’ve rested and prayed and pondered, and I’ve decided I’ve given up on paper kids’ books too soon. This year, minus January, but plus January of next year (as though the year started February), I’m going to produce a new kids’ book each month. And while I do that, the question I’ll explore is: is there a way for me to make a living producing illustrated children’s books?

Continue reading “How to make a living as a kids’ book author?”

Building Castles out of Soap Bubbles

I recently ran across a take by C.S. Lewis on eschatology. His concept of the end times is that the point of end times passages is not so that we can play Pin the Tail on the Antichrist, but to put our actions in perspective. Christ might return in a thousand years. We’d better make long-term plans and brace ourselves for the long haul. Christ might return tomorrow. We’d better not neglect our neighbor today.

His point was that it is good to plant oaks in whose shade you will never rest. But if you prioritize the long game to the point of actively harming those around you, and Christ decides to end the show tomorrow, that would be pretty embarrassing, wouldn’t it?

Lewis was writing before Eugenics was a dirty word. When everyone thought “if we only let science do whatever it wishes, we shall cure death and suffering in a few years,” instead of having the general distrust for boffins in white coats which the technocrats have earned for themselves in the intervening years. At the time, the idea of breaking a few eggs to make a civilizational omelette was in vogue in a way it isn’t now (though sadly, as a culture, we’ve rejected it not because it is wrong, but because of the teh feelz).

His take, however, ties in quite well to thoughts I’ve been entertaining of late.

Continue reading “Building Castles out of Soap Bubbles”

A Brief History of My Faith

I mentioned once on Twitter that I am a conversion risk to Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, but I hesitate because I am convinced of Sola Scriptura.

My Catholic brethren did not hesitate to offer up many arguments against Sola Scriptura that, while interesting, have no use against what I believe. I have refrained, so far, from offering a vigorous answer to their arguments because it would take a lot of time and effort.

In fact, in my drafts folder are two long, meandering blog posts attempting to do just that. This is my third attempt.

Let me explain where I am coming from, and perhaps you will see why each time you act on your God-given mandate to preach the truth, instead of converting or else rebutting, I merely shake my head and move on.

Continue reading “A Brief History of My Faith”

31 Days to Masculinity: Day 1

Did 31 DtM in October. Let it fall apart about 2/3rds of the way through and I never did the pushups. I tried. On day 1, I did 30 of 100 pushups, which is when my arms gave out. On day 2, they continued to not lift me. On day four or five, I managed some inclined pushups.

Despite failing the program from day 1, it had multiple beneficial effects. I quit soda pop entirely. I did more pushups than I’ve done since I was actively enrolled in a martial arts school three or so years ago. I finished Hat Trick 1. I began filtering my projects based on how vital they were.

I also quit social media for a month. This time ’round, I’m not doing a social media fast because I’m trying to build a media company. But I’m going to limit when and how I’m on social media. Half an hour before 3PM to compose the sweet, sweet content, and half an hour after 3PM to socialize.

So let’s get into the new round of 31DtM:

Continue reading “31 Days to Masculinity: Day 1”

Trojan Mice

Yesterday I read The Trojan Mouse: How Disney is Winning the Culture War by Samuel Lively.

One of my constant contentions is that the serious plays in the culture war are to play the long game by building families and making entertainment. So it seemed this book would be up my alley. And it was and then some. The book traces both the physical and ideological histories of Disney. It is of peculiar interest to me because I grew up during the Disney Rennaisance in a Baptist-adjacent family. So I caught both the Baptist Boycott denunciations of the Mouse, and the average Joe’s apathy to that boycott.

When I analyzed Disney movies for myself at the time (as a teenager, mind you,) my conclusion was that the more wildly occultic and salacious accusations were overblown (which in turn made them easy to dismiss), but the philosophical trends were real. There were no secret pentagrams in the animation, but the Mouse had switched from a default of honoring the parents to a default of undermining them.

To this very day, though, most people will look at me like a crazy person if I tell them I don’t want to take my kid to the latest Disney flick, let alone something so old that present day Social Justice Warriors find it problematic.

The Baptist Boycott didn’t work. Audiences naturally rejected the more explicitly subversive Disney Renaissance flicks organically — Hunchback and Pocahontas did not do comparatively well — but Aladdin and Mermaid did extremely well despite (despite?) having as their core value the idea that horny teens ought to ignore their parents.

To a certain degree, people will choose what is bad for them. Humanity is fallen. But to a certain degree, people will choose the good over the bad. Even the most depraved sugar addict will choose steak and vegetables over a plate of manure. People won’t, in mass and as a rule, choose nothing at all. Audiences favored Toy Story over Pocahontas. Was it because of the shiny new 3D, or because it was more in alignment with core American values? Hard to say. But Aladdin didn’t really have that kind of competition.

I’ve already made some kids’ books, and will continue to do so, but books are seeds of the culture war; the fighting happens on screens, with music and animation and acting and drama. It may be best for me to stay behind the lines planting seeds. It may be best for me to try and charge for the front line and use my animation skills. I don’t know. But in the spirit of putting that conundrum to the test, I’ve begun work on a video game, which is the best route for my skill stack to reach the screens.


Hat Trick 1: the Death of Arthur is the start of a dark Christian scifi/fantasy serial. And it has pictures! Check it out now on Amazon.

How to use Alphabeasts

I made a book that’s designed to help teach the alphabet and even basic phonics!

The main idea is just to have a character for each letter that is cool and fun and interesting so that kids memorize the characters for the sheer joy of doing so, just as they memorize the characters on their favorite trading cards.

And toward that end I hope to one day make Alphabeast trading cards and individual books for each Alphabeast where that character has an adventure in a six-minute bedtime story. No attempts to educate. Only to entertain. Just to make each character maximally fun.

But suppose you want to educate. How do you teach your kid the letters using Alphabeasts?

I’ll tell you how

Oxygen

Rawle Nyanzi recently proposed Brand Zero. Namely: don’t promote major media. Don’t talk about them even as negative examples, because doing so promotes them and increases their brand. Nyanzi extends this not just to subversive and disgenic brands like the Mouse, but even brands he likes and respects. From his comments on Brian Niemeier’s blog:

Anime has a lot of mainstream visibility… Big, well-trafficked sites discuss anime, and it is a frequent topic on social media. Those companies need no help getting the word out; if you want to recommend an anime to someone, do so in private conversation…

The flip side of Brand Zero is Oxygen. Do talk about the little artists who can use the exposure.

Jon Del Arroz makes comic books and steampunk. Brian Niemeier does science fantasy horror and, recently, mecha military books that are Gundam meets Battletech. Rawle Nyanzi has released a mecha book with strong Sailor Moon influences and is trying his hand at pixel art animations.

Bradford C. Walker wrote a mecha book that’s Robotech, except instead of Zentraedi you have demons, and instead of the UN you have Medieval Catholics.

The Last Ancestor is about human refugees fighting for survival on a planet of dog men.

Adam Smith has Christian Paladins engaging in fisticuffs with demons in post apocalypse America. And of course, I have a dark magician bunny fighting the Night Mare.

It’s not enough to reduce the big names to Brand Zero. We’ve got to give each other oxygen.

Nanokidmo is cancelled.

My golden rule: from the moment a project is started, it’s locked in, Hell or high water.

My silver rule: until that moment, it’s not.

I’m going to be making a videogame prototype in November. An ugly prototype, though I am capable of non-ugly art. It’s gonna be awesome. I am hereby committing to that project. It is officially as good as done.

And then in December I will probably make Jump the Shark 2. But do remember my silver rule…