Captain’s Log LB•11: the Primacy of Vidya

After several days of consideration and a day walking ’round in chilly weather with a cyborg eyepatch and a cockatiel, I have settled on some conclusions for Bunny Trail Junction and my various projects going forward. Chief of these is this:

Vidya is Prime

Vidya is my prime medium. Comics, children’s books, internet videos, and so forth are all fine ways to tell stories, and I should use them, especially when vidya is unsuited to a specific story. But most of my alternative media should be vidya first, and then derived from vidya.

LB1•11

Now, there are arguments against vidya being prime.

Vidya is Bad!

I’ve been listening to a podcast called A Brief History of Power, and it has been recommending that we disconnect as much as possible from screens in general. Your life will, it is argued, be more functional without TV, Facebook, and Mario. And I agree. I try to limit my kids’ screen time and advocate the whole family limit theirs.

But I do not believe the technology is intrinsically evil. I believe it is a usable tool that has been made into a glowing idol before which men bow and receive propaganda from their gods. Christians ought to be wary of the tool because that is its primary usage. But we can and should use it to our ends by our means.

In A Brief History of Power, especially BHOP 063, Rev Fisk and Dr. Koontz make a distinction between media intended to be integrated into life and most media, which is design to wholly absorb your attention and suck you into its world. This is regarded by Fisk and Koontz as an unhealthy thing, especially in excess.

I am a proponent of Tolkien’s Escapism.

Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!
– J.R.R. Tolkien

That is, I agree that Escapism to the extent that you run away from the real world when you could be making it better is at some point a vice, and it is a vice that is clearly endorsed especially by the Pop Cult, one of the Secular Cults of my area and era.

The Pop Cult is devoted to movies, video games, and other franchises. It is the religion of Disney, Marvel, and other forms of mass media. Men escape their sad lives into fantasy worlds. The Pop Cult is offered up to the population by the Death Cult as a narcotic, and the media therein is intentionally laced with Death Cult propaganda. However, practitioners of the Pop Cult are not necessarily conscious Death Cult Members.

However, I believe that attention absorbing, escapist media is good, right, and salutary for two purposes, hinted at by Tolkien.

  1. For Christian Rest. That is, for escape from this world, this vale of tears, with all its woe, toil, struggle, and incessant Death Cult propaganda.
  2. For escape from cults. That is, Christian men should create media that permits refuge for their fellow believers, and a doorway to freedom from evil cults for the trapped cultists.

Consumption of non-Christian-made entertainment is not wholly contraindicated here. I’m not making a law saying “don’t watch TV”. Nor are Fisk and Koontz.

Fisk and Koontz, (and I) would recommend, rather, that you consider what the media you consume is doing to you, and consciously decide whether you want that to happen.

And what is indicated is the production of media by Christians.

Reasons FOR the Primacy of Vidya

  • can make it. While the barriers of entry are lower than they ever have been, and continue to plummet, not many men can.
  • It combines all the skills in my talent stack, making it both more valuable and harder to duplicate.
  • Distribution is solved. While I can (and want to) make physical copies, I can give away a game to Kickstarter backers for 25% of the final intended cost, or as a free add-on for subscribing to my mailing list. These things are not possible for paper children’s books.
  • It is easier to derive my other media forms from vidya than vidya from the forms. I have already solved the problem of making black and white print comics from pixel art. I have not yet made motion comics for YouTube, but I suspect a game->video pipeline is simpler than a video->game pipeline.
  • It is much more likely (IMO) that I will build a game business that puts out books and comics than that I will build a book business that puts out games.

Conclusion

My new plan is to finish out December in Bunny Trail Junction, then go on indefinite hiatus while I roll up a video game business. That game business should quickly start leaking into videos, comics, and books as well. I hope in time to end the hiatus in February with a bimonthly format that carries through 2022, so that the 2021 annual and the 2022 annual are roughly the same size, but the Vidya is Prime.

Captain’s Log LA·K1: I need to do one thing.

So, here’s the updates I should have done on Monday, except I was pushing the game to completion, and yesterday, except I was power-recovering from a head-cold.

Awesome Moments

I promised to upload the third draft by last weekend. I have failed because I don’t yet have my pastor’s notes. I will be getting them today, inserting (I think) two more pages into the story to really hammer home the centerpiece of the plot, and keeping my promise.

The Kickstarter is 1/3rd funded! Right now, I’m not pleased with the options I have available for people to back it. This weekend, I hope to tweak it a bit so people can get, e.g. coloring books, or something else that I can price relatively low and have the book itself have a large enough markup I can actually use the funds for more than production and shipping.

I have mixed feelings about Awesome Moments. I am 100% on board with making it, and it being the greatest thing I’ve ever created, for the sake of my children. But as a product I offer the world, I am hesitant. So I am praying that it funds or not based on God’s blessing the project as a whole.

I am not hesitant to share the project with the world, however. I love it. I believe you should love it too. I am excited about it. And I am going to be putting up posters, arranging to speak at churches, and so forth. The trick is, how do I balance that with what I said I’d do in October and November before I decided to try

Bunny Trail Junction: The Comic

November has been assembled all month. So according to my normal process, I should have it uploaded to Amazon, right?

Wrong. I’ve been tearing my hair out all month trying to simultaneously do the Awesome Moments Kickstarter and get the game that also launches in November done. I haven’t even kept up on producing comics.

Technically I have, as the pixel art comics…

… are so easy to produce that I have 24 comics already done this month. The problem is, that’s not what I want to run. I don’t want to offer my Bunny Trail Junction readers me blathering about what I should do or not do. That’s what this blog is for! I want to offer the readers stories!

Moreover, Hat Trick is picking up traction at least as much as Awesome Moments, thanks to all the work I’ve been putting into the game. Although neither is getting the kind of traction I need to make a living yet.

Currently, I have a couple of ideas for the comic. All of my ideas involve finishing out December strong, then maybe changing it up.

These ideas can be mixed, matched, and stacked.

  1. Cut Back Next Year: The current favored plan is to reduce the comic to 3 strips a week instead of seven, and release bimonthlies instead of monthlies. This frees up enough time for me to work on games and videos while keeping the comic on life support.
  2. January Sabbatical: No comic in January while I focus on retooling everything. This would be really helpful because even if I cut back to a bimonthly, I still have to have January and February both done at the beginning of January. Unless I take a one-month sabbatical. And then, if I do the full 31 comics for Inktober next year, with every other issue being every/other month, the 2022 annual will be roughly the size of the 2021 annual.
  3. A Story In Pixel Art: This is my favorite plan, but it’s also the newest, and I haven’t let it marinate as long. If I can devise a story that works as a sprite comic, in the style that I’m doing for the games, I can generate enough comics to cover the gap between months where I draw and months where I work on games or books.
  4. Story Books As Web Comics: And finally, if I just do a two-page spread of the 5×8 as a single day, like the prayers I’m going to be including in December, that totally counts, and it fits certain story beats better.

3 and 4 are the newest, but most awesome notions. Sprite comics allow for awesome animations. The title screen I’ve got for my game has already convinced me that I want to do comics that look like this. And if I can make storybooks for Bunny Trail Junction that later lead to larger, illustrated books, so much the better.

Just look at that title menu! Comics that look like that would kick ass! And the more I weave my comics and games together, the better for each of them.

November will have two or three comics that straight up have animations in them on the website. And that rocks. Putting that stuff in stories will be super cool.

Anyhow, today I’m going to try and polish off the last edits to November and get that submitted to KDP today.

Hat Trick: Prelude to Nightmare

I spent Saturday and Monday neglecting all my other responsibilities to make Hat Trick: Prelude to Nightmare a complete game. And it is done.

That doesn’t mean it’s a good game, or even the game I wanted to make. To get close to what I want, I need to add:

  • Enemies that fight back.
  • Health and health drops
  • More combat options like dashing and parrying.
  • More world to explore and waves of foes to fight.
  • Nice sound effects to menus and the like.
  • Spawn animations of goblins bursting from the ground.
  • Music changes when exploring Vs. Fighting.
  • Arthur’s portrait changing based on the situation.

But, it has a win condition, a lose condition, an options menu, and a controls menu. If I get only partway through the things I want to add by November, and then have to cut it off, at least I will cut it off a finished, if sub-standard, product.

I want to make a whole blog post about what I’ve learned from making the game, and how I’d like to tweak things moving into the next one. So stay tuned for that.

Going Where My Audience Is

I have rebranded my Jump the Shark YouTube Channel as a Bunny Trail Junction Youtube Channel.

I have observed before my audience is kids. To reach kids, I need to go where kids are. Which is not twitter, or bunny-trail.com. It may be YouTube.

My current idea is to take my Kids’ Pulp Formula, write a bunch of stories, and upload one or two a week to YouTube. I’d draw one or two pictures for the story, record myself reading it, and thus build the audience for my books, my comics, and my games. For the same purpose, I’ve created a branded SubscribeStar.

My intention is to create a family-supporting setting and cast using my Piqha for the majority of the stories, although doing my existing books and comics is also fine. But Piqha, man, they’re so cool, and so far none of my finished work is strongly counter to modern propaganda pieces. I want a Berenstain Bears but with a respectable Papa. And the Piqha can do that.

But I haven’t put a single penstroke down for this project yet. Fulfilling my comic promises and advertising Awesome Moments has eaten all of my time! And right now, I’m not even feeling it. I’m feeling my game.

Man, getting my comic to look like this would be so cool. Heck, using bits like this rendered in-engine for videos would be so cool.

I’ve never edited videos before. I’ll need to record myself reading stories and edit the audio as well, and I’m not sure how I’ll find the silence necessary to pull it off on this farm. Right now, as I write this, my sister’s dogs are barking, and there are baby chickens chirping directly under my window.

These are all rather niggling excuses. I can overcome them. But that leads me to the one all-encompassing problem that I have with my projects.

I Should Only Do One Thing At A Time

I am able to do a great job getting funding for Awesome Moments, telling people how great it’s going to be, doing updates for the Kickstarter, and tweaking the rewards to generate interest.

As long as I do nothing else.

I am able to do a great job inking beautiful comics with intriguing stories to run on Bunny Trail Junction every single day for months ahead of time.

As long as I do nothing else.

I am able to build a retro game that looks super fun and exciting and slowly build up hype for it as I put in more and more cool features.

As long as I do nothing else.

I suspect the same is true of the YoutTube videos. The reason my mind is coming up with a slew of excuses is right now I am in game-development mode, and my mind doesn’t want to switch to advertising mode or to video mode or to drawing mode. But somehow, I’ve developed a plan of action where this month I’m doing all four at the same time.

That has to stop.

I can present all four at the same time. I’m presenting Inktober right now, although it’s certainly not getting me the eyeballs I had hoped for. But I’m not doing Inktober right now. I did Inktober last month.

I have to be doing one thing at a time. If I am making videos and games and comics and childrens’ books and funding, I have to be working on only one of these at a time for multiple days at a time. I may do one per month. I may do one per week. But I can’t do two per anything ever, ever again. I am making it work half-ass right now because I promised a game in November, and I promised the comic would come out every day this year and I’m doing the Kickstarter right now and I owe it a fair shot.

Tomorrow I have an appointment to work on a business plan. My business plan has to be to make one thing at a time. And it has to be something that gets my work to my audience and starts up a cash flow.

So today, I figured I had better sort my ducks out. Here they are. Now it’s time to ponder on how to line ’em up.

Against Apologetics

I love apologetics. I love the study of why, in fact, Christianity is true. I love piling up historical evidence after historical evidence. Of understanding Textual Criticism.

My faith was preserved in my youth, when I deeply desired to apostate, by the writings of C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer. The wounds my college teachers inflicted on my faith were salved by the balm of Peter Kreeft and James Patrick Holding. And to this day, I think Irenaeus’s Against Heresies is hilarious.

I think every Christian child should be armed with an understanding that our Myth is the True Myth. That they should not be going out in the world unprepared for the attacks that will come their way.

So why am I coming out against Apologetics?

I am not. But I would that my brothers would put it in it’s proper place.

Every apologetics ministry cites as its theme verse 1st Peter 3:15. But let’s look at it in context. It’s a long bit. But please, please, read it all. We’re going to start partway through 2, and go into 4. But if you want to do even better, read the whole letter. I triple-dog dare you.

Therefore subject yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evildoers and for praise to those who do well. For this is the will of God, that by well-doing you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the wicked. For it is commendable if someone endures pain, suffering unjustly, because of conscience toward God. For what glory is it if, when you sin, you patiently endure beating? But if, when you do well, you patiently endure suffering, this is commendable with God.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps, who did not sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.” Who, when he was cursed, didn’t curse back. When he suffered, didn’t threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously; who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were going astray like sheep; but now have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

In the same way, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; so that, even if any don’t obey the Word, they may be won by the behavior of their wives without a word; seeing your pure behavior in fear. Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious. For this is how the holy women before, who hoped in God also adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children you now are, if you do well, and are not put in fear by any terror.

You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as being also joint heirs of the grace of life; that your prayers may not be hindered.

Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tenderhearted, courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing.

For, “He who would love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.

Let him turn away from evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Now who is he who will harm you, if you become imitators of that which is good?

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: having a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ. For it is better, if it is God’s will, that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison, who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you—not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.

Forasmuch then as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries. They think it is strange that you don’t run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming: who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.

Emphasis mine, verse in question in red.

In the context of submitting to authorities, and wives submitting to husbands, with the example of Christ suffering under the authorities, Peter tells us if we suffer for doing good, to count ourselves blessed, and be ready to answer anyone who asks why we put up with evil masters.

Namely: because Christ suffered for our evil.

This is not a verse that urges us to defend the faith against all comers. It is a verse that urges us to proclaim the faith when people ask why we’re acting weird.

For Apologetics

There are passages that, I think, would make good theme verses for an apologist.

Now I Paul, myself, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ; I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. Yes, I beg you that I may not, when present, show courage with the confidence with which I intend to be bold against some, who consider us to be walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full.

2nd Corinthians 10: 1-6

Spiritual warfare is the war of ideas, and we fight with ideas taken captive to Christ.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, as you go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to keep all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18

The mission of the church is to baptize and teach as we go.

Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-17

The Scriptures are our sword. The gospel our sandals. The truth our belt.

But should we always give a defense to every bad argument we see on Twitter?

The Nuance of God’s Wisdom

A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools!

Don’t answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

One who sends a message by the hand of a fool is cutting off feet and drinking violence.

Proverbs 26:3-6

Solomon endorses the old adage that when you fight with a pig, you both get muddy, but only one of you enjoys it. Nevertheless, he goes both ways. When you answer a fool, you are in a lose-lose situation; choose how you want to lose.

Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye;’ and behold, the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

“Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:1-12: Emphasis mine

I referenced this verse when debating this point and received the reply, “I take ‘pearls’ to be the deep truths of the Kingdom, not explication of the fundamental propositional truths of scripture. Whether a man is an honest truth seeker is frequently only revealed with time.”

Interesting, that this comes right after “Do not judge” and right before “Seek and you will find.” I acknowledge that this supports the idea that when deciding whether someone is swine, to not cast pearls before, you reserve judgement rather than guilty until proven innocent. A point to the man who occasioned this post.

However, I dispute the idea that when you are pondering whether to set Holy things before dogs, the fundamental propositional truths of Scripture are not Holy! The Scriptures do indicate that some teachings are milk, and some teachings are meat, but all Scripture is God-Breathed and how could the Breath of God be anything but Holy?!

It happened on one of those days, as he was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the Good News, that the priests and scribes came to him with the elders. They asked him, “Tell us: by what authority do you do these things? Or who is giving you this authority?” He answered them, “I also will ask you one question. Tell me: 4the baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men?” They reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” They answered that they didn’t know where it was from. Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Luke 20:1-8

I am not the Son of God, except in as much as He has made me. Nor, then, do I subscribe wholesale to “WWJD,” for Jesus has authority to do things He has not, in turn, given me. Nevertheless, Our Lord exercises discernment in deciding what to answer and what not to answer. Discernment He Himself commends in the passage I cited previously! So in addition to His example, we also have His command.

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt. They have done abominable works. There is none who does good.

Yahweh looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any who did understand, who did seek after God.

They have all gone aside. They have together become corrupt. There is none who does good, no, not one.

Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and don’t call on Yahweh?

There they were in great fear, for God is in the generation of the righteous.

You frustrate the plan of the poor, because Yahweh is his refuge.

Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When Yahweh restores the fortunes of his people, then Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. 

Psalm 14

When the decision comes as to whether to answer a challenge to the faith, remember: those who deny God are all fools, so you are in square in Solomon’s dilemma! To be sure, we should take pity on fools and bring them the Scripture. But we are permitted to exercise discernment when answering fools!

Conclusion?

The reality is, the Scriptures do advocate teaching, and advocate contending for the faith. But there is no command to always answer any challenge you see anywhere. In fact, there are proverbs and commands that caution us against doing so.

And, in fact, such Scriptures as I know that talk about contending for the faith don’t primarily talk about defending the truth of Scripture in public.

They talk about defending yourself against false teachers.

And they talk about proclaiming the truth into the world.

I believe (but will not exegete here) that the role of Apologetics is self-defense.

And that those verses that even I use to support Apologetics aren’t meant to support the defense of the faith. They are meant to support the offense of the faith. We are not meant to be on the back foot, we are meant to be storming the gates of Hell.

Okay, Then Why Did You Make a Big Deal of This?

Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don’t you listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the free woman. However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

For it is written, “Rejoice, you barren who don’t bear. Break forth and shout, you that don’t travail. For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband.”

Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.

However what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the handmaid and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman.”

So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the free woman.

Galations 4:21-31

Jesus did not commend the Pharisees for piling law upon law upon their brethren. Nor did Paul commend the Galatians for adopting circumcision.

The way of men, of Christian men, throughout all history, is to see God’s requirements — which we do not even keep! — and say, “that can’t be enough. There needs to be more rules.” And when Christ pays with His life for the sins we committed — the sins against His law, not the sins against our made up laws — we get antsy. “Can’t tell people about Grace. They might get the idea it’s okay to start sinning.”

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

Do you like that you don’t tell your neighbor about Jesus? Do you like that you are shamed into silence when God’s word says unpopular things like “Wive’s submit to your husbands”?

If you’re a Christian, it eats at you. If it doesn’t, your faith is fading. (Stay tuned: I can tell you what to do about it.) You want to be good. Even though you aren’t doing good things, you want to do good things.

The solution is not to make up new laws, to go beyond the words of Scripture, and make a laudable act, such as defending the faith, into a requirement. By taking Scripture out of context, no less!

When you try to be holier than God, you fail. Period.

The solution is easy, and yet in this demonic age, oh-so-hard.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man doesn’t remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you. “In this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; and so you will be my disciples.

John 15:1-8, emphasis mine

When you make up a new law to try and keep God’s Word better, you add the leaven of the Pharisees.

When you look at your life, and realize that you are not doing what is good, and you flee to Christ’s sacrifice, and to His Word, you abide in Him. Eat the Bread. Drink the Wine. Hear the Scriptures. Pray the Scriptures.

Do not elaborate on the Law. Meditate on the Law. Your pride, your cowardice, whatever mountain is standing between you and the good you would do? You will not move that mountain with your own cussedness, let alone with verses taken out of context to create laws that do not exist.

Mountains are moved with faith. And faith doesn’t come from trying. Faith comes from asking, and from hearing the Word of God.

But seriously, every Christian teen should read Mere Christianity and The Case for Christ at minimum. The night is dark. Don’t walk out without some decent armor.

This is wisdom; not a commandment.

My third post today: Considering the Plan

The following section now breaks Hat Trick into two pieces in the November Monthly. It’s a little ad-hoc and hastily assembled due to precise constraints on how many comics I needed…

Some of these are Frankencomics, single comics assembled from panels of multiple different previous comics. I’m not 100% happy with them. They mostly make sense and say what I want to say in the space I was given. I may make some additional comics to try out different ways of saying what I mean to say more intentionally rather than reuse the old ones or use frankencomics.

I’ve got about a week to figure it out. No big deal. If Bunny Trail Junction isn’t perfect on its first outing, well, that’s how I learn the skills that will perfect it.

So let’s think about some stuff I’ve largely already covered on this blog:

Sadly, it’s late, and I’ll have to consider course corrections tomorrow, which is irritating because my aim was to reach a conclusion today. But describing the question is half the answer.

Captain’s Log LA·41: ADHD and Making a Living

It has been about three weeks since I went to the psychiatrist and asked for ADHD treatment and got it. And yes, I just a minute ago said I distrust the industry. That doesn’t mean I think they are wrong about everything, it just means I have to take ownership of my symptoms and treatment.

The doctor gave me two drugs. Stratera and Adderal. The first is supposed to treat the symptoms all day on a single dose, but takes a month to start working noticeably. The second is a stopgap to treat the symptoms in the meanwhile. I was told after two weeks to spend a day off the Adderal and see if the I could sense the Stratera operating.

It was terrible. I wandered around in a haze and got nothing done. My wife assured me that I was behaving as I normally behave.

So, at this point I think it’s at least safe to say that whatever ADHD is, I have it, and the medical treatment for it is therapeutic for me. Which is both exciting and unnerving. It means so long as I can get treatment and the treatment is effective, I can get my life under control, get my debts paid, build a business that is suited to my needs and personality.

It also means all this functionality is subject to the winds of politics. I live in the proverbial interesting times. If the Empire collapses I may not have access to Adderal or Stratera. I may also have cheaper, easier access. Who knows?

Well, last week I got most of the work on the Kickstarter done for Awesome Moments. I also got some new tech rolling in my game:

The first draft of the November Monthly is finished, though I’m not 100% certain I want to play it the way it is going now. Moreover, I have a lot of thoughts swirling in my head about what the best plan is moving forward. The plan I’m working right now was made when I was under the thrall of my worst symptoms, but with the assumption that the treatment would work. Now that the treatment is underway, I have new information about how my symptoms are affected, what I can and can’t do via the treatment.

I am confident I can make a fantastic solution. I am not confident that the current plan is that solution.

So today’s project is to reflect, digest, and analyze. I’m 99% sure I’m going to finish Hat Trick: Prelude to Nightmare (that’s the game) because I’ve already talked about it so much. And I can keep Bunny Trail Junction running even if I’m “not in the mood” to draw Hat Trick because I can do pixel comics or anything else I feel like. But the question is, what can I do, and what would be the best of those things to do.

Brainstorm incoming in the next blog post.

Doctor’s Note

I do not give nor promulgate a stance on the medical effectiveness of masks or vaccines.

I am a cartoonist. Not a doctor. I am more logical and analytical than the average man, and so it is reasonable for me to do my own medical research and come to my own conclusions. But it is also reasonable for me to say “that’s not my job; I have this other way I need to spend that time.”

From a legal and political standpoint, it is quite clear that specific measures against Covid 19 are being used to institute petty tyrannies. There is no slippery slope fallacy to be had. Australian police beating men for daring to leave their homes and Canadian police arresting pastors are cut from the same cloth as the governers and business leaders demanding masks and vaccines in America. They themselves admit that they are of the same cloth. That they have not yet dared the same level of action does not matter.

As for whether I will wear a mask or get the jab, I offer this stark, bare fact.

The medical and pharmeceutical industry should have come out strongly and universally against the murder of unborn babies fifty years ago. They did not.

The medical and pharmeceutical industry should have come out strongly against pretending men are women and women are men five years ago. They did not.

These are two political topics where the science is so clear and obvious you do not need to be extremely educated or do a lot of research to take an opinion. And the result of both topics is that the medical and pharmaceutical industries are perfectly willing to ignore hard science, even it it results in the mass death of innocents, in order to have the right politics.

Therefore I do not trust them. And I hold that even if I die of not trusting them, if I refuse some simple, lifesaving treatment that is obviously the right choice out of blind distrust, that is on them and not on me because they have plainly allowed millions of innocents to be murdered rather than dare to speak the truth.

They have earned distrust.

Captain’s Log L9·R1

Three days left in September. I’ve got my plan.

I work on the Awesome Moments Kickstarter as my primary project every day until it’s good to go. Target Launch Date for the Kickstarter is October 9th.

Let’s GOOOO!

Once it’s ready to go, I return to Hat Trick: Prelude to Nightmare. At this time, I might start streaming my development on Twitch or YouTube.

Yesterday I made a brush holder so I could ink vertically.

Image
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And inked a Hat Trick with it. End result: good idea, didn’t actually make things easier overall.

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ONWARD!

L9·O2: Too many things

Progress progresses nicely. Sometime in the next handful of days I shall upload some new Hat Trick comics, and we will do another compare and contrast between the different drawing techniques.

The game prototype is also coming along. I went from not having enemies:

…to having enemies you can attack and kill in a single day.

I’m still stumbling along slowly because I don’t know the language or the engine, and yet it would take me as much time or more to do this in Unity, and I do know the language and the engine.

Over the next day or so I want to generalize the character physics. Next week, we’ll add some enemy AI.

I have a pretty good plan to roll up an indie game business, and I’m fairly confident in it. Problem is, it won’t pay me before November, and it won’t be self-sustaining before February assuming I do nothing else. But I’m aiming to do other things. Maintain and get ahead on Bunny Trail Junction, which after all, ties into Bunny Trail Junction. Oh, and launch a crowdfund for Awesome Moments.

I’ve made zero progress on that front.

I’m confident. I’m energized. I’m more productive and focused than I’ve ever been. (I’m medicated). But… I’m trying to do too many things. I don’t think I can launch the crowdfund if I work on the game at all next week. I don’t think I can get the game done in time if I work on the crowdfund at all.

And my family is hard up for cash, me having lost my job. If the crowdfund works, I’ll get money in mid-November. If the game makes any money, I’ll see that in mid-November. If I get a day job, it’ll be all I can do to keep the comic running.

I think I’m going to prioritize the crowdfund, try to launch by October, and as soon as it’s launched, go back to working on the game.

Hard choices. Pray for wisdom.

I’ve been considering how to get ahold of my audience. The six-year-olds. The people who want to read Jump the Shark and Hat Trick.

The easiest way is YouTube. Launch a new channel. Dramatic readings of my books complete with illustrations on the screen. I could produce weekly content if I went back to the Kids’ Pulp system I’ve previously outlined. Of course, that one extra ball in the air would definitely cause all the others to fall. But maybe it’s something I can bring into fruition once I’ve safely landed Awesome Moments 1 or Hat Trick: Prelude to Nightmare or both. Anyway, I wanted to get the notion written down before it escaped me. Write one bedtime story a week. Make one illustration for it. Read it out loud for YouTube. They can’t all be stinkers.

Each of those stories becomes a seed that can turn into Bunny-Trail comics, children’s books, games.. It’s a great idea. But I need to decide if it’s the great idea I’m going to go for.

Got a lot of compliments the other day for my piqha. I miss my piqha. I want to do something with them.

Captain’s Log L9·A1: The Dismal Science

Yesterday, after doing my Inktober stuff, I put together an interface mockup and (therefore) the interface graphics for the game I’m making over the next couple of months. I’m pretty proud of this, though it doesn’t run in-engine yet:

Couple of worldbuilding notes: I’ve decided in my game engine/game world that magic/stamina/special attacks use Star Points and life uses Heart Points (nothing too extreme here). Heart Points can be split into quarters and Star Points into 5ths for finer-grained HP/SP applications while keeping the interface readable at a glance.

Money is measured in chips. Which, in universe, each contain one dram aether, with a direct conversion of 12 chips/gil if I want to measure things in a game via gil. It’s a nice way to unify my various fantasy settings. A chip is just a 1 dram coin in the game world.

There are some pleasing coincidences. In my comic, I’ve been bopping back and forth between 320×180 and 160×90 for screen resolutions. The first is the obvious 16×9 retro resolution, the second I did half-size (and with the initial Rainboy palette) and called it the handheld version because I felt production was taking too long.

Anyways, I felt 320p was too big and 160p was too small, so I threw a dart at a resolution splitting the difference. I was aiming for 240p, but I hit 256p by accident.

You’ll notice in this gallery (at least on desktop) that the middle picture is shorter than the other two. That’s because the mockups were done in my tile editor, and assuming 16×16 tiles (which is most convenient for this style), 320×180 and 160×90 are vertically 11.25 and 5.625 tiles respectively.

But 256×144 is 16×9 tiles. Nice. In fact, I’m kicking myself for never thinking, “I wonder what would happen if I multiplied my tile size by the aspect ratio” before today.

Another nice coincidence is I made the interface panel the size that “felt right”. I was originally aiming to make the playable area a square, but that meant the interface would take up almost half the screen, and that was unacceptable.

I landed on doing 4 tiles wide of interface, which reduced the play field to 12×9.

12×9 is one off in each direction from 11×8, which are Fibonacci numbers. Which means the playing field vaguely in the ballpark of a golden rectangle.

Okay, to be honest, I’d want 14×9 to get as close to a golden rectangle as possible. But you know what? I like this rectangle. I find it aesthetically pleasing. I’m going to pretend that’s because it’s in a golden rectangle ballpark.

So here’s some sword animations before I get to the economic bit for which this post is named:

Continue reading “Captain’s Log L9·A1: The Dismal Science”