Hi there. I'm an explorer, rogue academic, natural historian, athlete, anarcha-feminist and mystic. So naturally this means I write about video games, Star Trek, the 1980s, Alice in Wonderland and Garfield. My column is Wednesday morning, Eastern time.

My biggest project to date, and probably the one you're looking for, is Vaka Rangi: A self-described work of comparative mythology examining the motif of the voyaging starship (namely Star Trek) through the lens of post-scarcity utopianism, myth cycles and anarcha-feminism. I'm also working on a deconstructive heretical exegesis of The Legend of Zelda series called Hyrule Haeresis, and a semiregular critical exploration of the comic strip work of Jim Davis called Permanent Saturday. I sometimes write about other things too.

Permanent Saturday: Oracle Bone

“There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit-love.”
-Morihei Ueshiba
Simple pleasures for simple minds, so the saying goes. Many a joke over the years has been made at the expense of Odie's celebrated idiocy, surely to the delight of Garfield's Cat Person target demographic everywhere. And truth be known Odie is not a particularly complex being: Not so much irrational or prerational as nonrational, Odie is guided by mere existence. He doesn't stop to let his superego overanlyse his actions largely because it's not entirely clear he has a superego. Certainly Odie will never be in any danger of being paralyzed by an overactive mind. Within Garfield's Funny Animal satire of modernity, Odie offers the biggest challenge by being the biggest diegetic commentary on the strip's fundamental artifice: Odie is the one animal character who acts in accordance with stereotypical Western ideas about animal minds-Pure, unthinking, instinctual being.
Certain schools of Taoism and Advaita Vedanta Hinduism would probably find a lot of commonality with Odie. As the embodiment of pure “I Exist”, his character lends itself well to being read as ...

Tom & Jerry Classic Reading Guide (V.1)

I spent all weekend writing, recording and editing the video I wanted to share this week, but seeing as how I left my laptop on for 12 hours straight to upload it to YouTube and it only ever got 29% of the way there (and then I lost the Internet, deleting all of my progress), I'm not especially in the best of moods right now.
In the meantime, here's a rough draft of something I've been playing around with lately.
My sister and I have been rewatching a lot of older cartoons recently and I've been thinking a lot about the history of animation. I used to watch theatrical shorts all the time on Cartoon Network and I have a real affinity for that genre, but I think I've come to the conclusion now that Tom & Jerry is probably my favourite out of all the Golden Age series. Naturally, it's the most controversial one.
Some of the criticism I find perfectly understandable. Some of it I find utterly preposterous and born from media illiteracy. But to take the more valid complaints, while there are certainly some pretty appallingly racist shorts ...

Sonic Superplay: Aquarium Park with Blaze the Cat (Modded Sonic Generations)


Cheating a little bit this week as I teased and released this video two weeks back, but because of E3, the Elder Kings livestream and Zelda (not to mention the effort it took to record this video), plus some personal stuff, I couldn't get a second video out in time for today. I wanted to do a video on Titanic: Honor and Glory's new demo, which just came out, but given that thing is 6 gigabytes and I have joke Internet, downloading, installing and learning it in time to record, edit and upload a video on it wasn't going to happen in a week. Did get some stuff on the Steam Summer Sale, and hopefully some of that will show up on the channel someday soon.

But hey, this should still be new to many of you.

A "superplay" is what we used to call a tool-assisted speedrun without the tool assits. It's what we did to hone our focus back before people could add hacking tools to video games. It is a finely tuned runthrough of a video game level based on personal familiarity with and mastery of a game's mechanics and layout ...

Hyrule Haeresis 7

Do you ever wonder why Celtic music always sounds so sad? Because it is always lamenting something it lost so long ago it can't even remember what it is longing for anymore.

The Celtic-infused sea shanty that scores the intro sequence to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the overture. Singing its own microcosm, The Wind Waker's opening gives way to a declaration of its rights and standings amongst the unfolding Legend. A tapestry of recap. No mere retelling, this Legend. This is the next part of an unbroken, continuous story. A serial. “Act 3, Scene 1” is written on the script of our experiential lives.

Sure, this is a Legend that has been passed down “from generation to generation”. All Legends must be. But this Legend is specifically The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Elevated to the status of myth itself, Ocarina of Time's version of The Legend of Zelda has become a story from a distant Golden Age. The new Ur-Zelda and its vaunted status etched into the fabric of the Legend itself. But of course, it would be. Why wouldn't it be? Ocarina of Time was the greatest and ...

Elder Kings (Crusader Kings II mod) with Ben Knaak



Over at my YouTube channel, I recently had friend of the blog Ben Knaak on to play and talk Elder Kings, a fanmade modification for the game Crusader Kings II that changes the setting from the medieval crusades period to Tamriel from The Elder Scrolls. Over the course of the 2 hour video, we discuss the Grand Strategy genre, The Elder Scrolls Online, musō, eSports, E3 2017, historical fiction, video game violence and the Marxist conception of history.

This was originally going to be a livestream a week or so back, but due to cascading technical problems involving CPU usage and YouTube's own livestream algorithm it went disastrously. We offer our sincerest apologies to anyone who tried to tune in for that. As a result, we recorded this offline session instead and turned it into a normal video with all of our commentary intact and 100% less "Can you hear me now? Let me try this". If I livestream again, which I hope to, it will probably have to be on my end and I'll have to test the limits of my rig and Internet connection.

Once again, if you want to hear me and ...

E3 2017: Nintendo

Strengthen your body. Staying in good health is the basis of everything

My first thoughts upon watching the opening to Nintendo's E3 2017 showcase were that their new demographic seems to be athletes. We opened on a montage of weightlifters, strength trainers, boxers and sportspeople all passionately getting ready for their next event. Much as, I would guess, Nintendo themselves do to prep for E3. But then there were those who seemed to not be training for anything in particular, just groups of friends hanging out at the beach or downtown. Maybe those athletes aren't all career players then. Maybe some of them just do what they do for the love of it.
This is a message that speaks to me.
There are many schools of faith for which total body fitness is a matter of spirituality, especially in east Asia. You take care of your body, mind and soul because all are emanations of the same sacred whole: Health and wellness of the body is the same as health and wellness of the spirit. This is an ideal to which all of us can work towards, and when we train to improve out bodies ...

E3 2017: Bethesda

E3 this year has been weird for me. At first I wasn't even going to watch it, resolving to put modern games behind me (except Samurai Warriors) for the foreseeable future, but then the Nintendo Switch started selling like Nintendo stuff does on eBay. So then I was just going to watch Bethesda and Nintendo, and wound up watching Ubisoft and Sony too, the former of which actually did some pretty cool stuff. And yet even so, as I write this, I'm not sure I could point to anything I've seen at this year's E3 that makes me terribly enthusiastic about upcoming releases for the next 18 moths or so, or makes me want to shell out the 300 big ones to get a Nintendo Switch just yet (and “XBOX One X”? Ha. Haha. Hahahahahahahahaha). We're not getting much in the way of reveals and announcements, more “here's a thing we announced last year. We're still making it. Here's what it looks like now and when it'll be out”.
But none of that, weirdly, actually matters, because, in giving us a more understated and intimate show, E3 this ...

To The Future

With the publication of my essay on Ill Wind Part 4 and my Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reading Guide (which just went up earlier today here, in case you missed it), Vaka Rangi has officially left the TNG/DS9 period.

I said it before (in the Species essay), but this means my positionality is gone from Star Trek more or less for good. And I'll be honest, when I was first planning Vaka Rangi in 2013, my initial plans for the project were *limited* to this 1987-1994 (and a bit after) period. I had no intention of covering the Original Series, the Animated Series, the movies, Voyager, the Dominion War or anything else. That I've managed to stretch the project out for this long still quite frankly amazes me. The fact of the matter is I really don't have many more places to go with Star Trek. With Ill Wind, I've basically said all I wanted to say. I did what I set out to do.

I do have some stuff to say about Enterprise and I'm working on the early stages of a rough outline of an ...

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