Why I Don’t Need College

It’s a season of transition for many, as students graduate and prepare for the next stage of their lives. My cousin and brother have both graduated from high school. Many high school students will go on to college/university.

But this cultural edifice is not for me.

Be careful how you share this online, so my grandparents don’t see it (!) but in spite of their repeated entreaties, I don’t feel the need for more than my 4.0 Associate of Arts degree. In case some of my reasons resonate with you, I’m sharing them. Continue reading

Distance and the Heart

My brother just spent nine weeks at the International ALERT Academy Basic Training in Big Sandy, Texas. The fall-out has been interesting.

I didn’t miss him as much as I had suspected, seeing how close we are. A little background: we are the only “real” siblings in our family. While we had several foster siblings off and on growing up (that we love in a different way) he and I have a special bond, especially as we’ve grown older and more mature. We still get on each other’s nerves, but we’d die for each other in a heartbeat…

Anyway, the way I missed my brother was not a deep, pangy missing – rather, I missed him in the little things like, “Oh, he’d enjoy seeing that,” or “He’d be talking about this here,” or “Ha! He’d react like this.”

In that way, while I did “miss” him, it was more “it’ll be great to share this with him” than “oh, I wish, I wish, my throbbing heart…”

My dad is the sentimental/techie one, so he camped out on the organization’s Facebook page for most of the nine weeks, poring over every new video or picture they posted to find Jack. That meant we could sit back and wait for him to show us which seconds were personally interesting, or point out which of the uniformed, buzz-cut young men was ours.

My mom showed love in her characteristic way. She wrote notes, sent snacks, and prayed. We all prayed, I know.

Jack’s grown incredibly. We had to smile as each evaluation from his superiors pinpointed exactly his personal faults and struggles, but going through this crucible – a crucible designed to make you fail, then succeed in God’s strength – has challenged him and stretched him in important ways.

It’s funny how quickly I’ve gotten used to his presence again. While I didn’t lie awake at night thinking about how our house was missing a person, bringing Jack home we fell right back into our family patterns.

He is changed, and yet he’s the same. He talks incessantly, laughs, geeks out about Destiny, and is his same-old enthusiastic self. Now, however, he calls everyone “sir”, stands with his hands behind his back, yells out, “Yes, sir!” if he thinks he hears his name, and had to be re-taught to use first-person pronouns.

I know it’s been rough for him, but anything worth having is hard to get. We’ve all been challenged, and I pray that each of us hold on to what we’ve learned.

When everything you clung to is stripped away, when you’re 14 hours into the 24 hour hike and your feet are all blisters, there’s nothing left to do but lean on God’s strength.

Praise the Lord, my brother leaned, and came away with something far greater than physical fitness!

(I’m still prying my grip loose…and letting go… God is faithful…)

Diversity in Games

The YouTube team ExtraCredits creates short, thought-provoking videos about the craft of game design, story creation, the philosophy and psychology of building and playing video games, and other cool stuff.

One of their videos discusses Rust by Facepunch Studios, a multi-player survival game. In Rust, the physical appearance of every player’s character is randomly generated: specifically their skin color. The format doesn’t allow for re-rolling, so whatever your character looks like is what you’re stuck with – what you’re “born with,” as it were.

Continue reading

10 Things I’ll Miss Post-Apocalypse

I’m facing the imminent collapse of my nation. “Imminent” might mean (hopefully means) fifty or seventy years from now, but the full end of the United States is inevitable. It happened to Rome, to the U.S.S.R., to the Ming dynasty, to Babel…

Image credit : christinprophecy.org

But I’m not here to talk about cultural suicide or political theory. I’m here to offer a eulogy of sorts to ten things I will miss when civilization as I know it takes a turn for the worst. It’s how I cope, okay? 😛 Continue reading

Reflections on “A Christmas Carol”

Three Things to Think On This “Holiday Season”

51ycpilxgcl If you’re like me, you’re pretty familiar with the mythos of A Christmas Carol, but have never actually read the original. This year, I remedied that.

Charles Dickens’ original story of rich, cantankerous, “Bah-Humbug” Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas, and the joy of celebration is available on Project Gutenberg and on Amazon as free ebooks (or as an audiobook!), so there’s no barrier to enjoying this classic tale.

As I read Dickens’ version of the story, three things jumped out at me. Continue reading

Trump’s Victory Illustrates Self-Publishing

What the Vote Tells Writers About Ourselves

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Image credit: ABCNews

Much has been said of Donald Trump’s recent election as president of the U.S.

I think it can be used to illustrate the self-publishing environment, with some worldview implications that are very interesting.

The ebook market of the last decade or so has been deluged in material, especially from small-scale authors. It’s no longer necessary to get an agent or sign a publishing contract; all that’s needed to get your words in front of people is a few basic tech resources and a document of text.

Authors (typically) like this, and I think one of the reasons is they can do what they want. Continue reading