Percy Jackson Vs. “Percy Jackson”

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I had a dream about blogging the other night. A dream in which I compared and contrasted Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Book 1) (Percy Jackson And The Olympians) versus Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

I noted that there are some book series where the series author and the movie’s director work hand-in-hand. Listing examples such as:

  • Harry Potter
  • The Hunger Games

And then went on to describe how bad the Percy Jackson movie is versus the book.

The movie is basically the story of a wannabe Zac Efron, who turns out to be the son of a god, who goes on a quest to save the world. Beyond the Zac Efron part (in the Lightning Thief, Percy is 12 years old), this lines up with the book so far. But then the movie strips out everything that made the first book special. Down the toilet. Flush. It takes names (literally), skimps on essential story and characters, and rushes to the films conclusion. The film borrows key elements from the book without ever owning them. Don’t even get me started on Pierce Brosnan’s character. Ugh.

If you want to watch a movie that misconstrues characters, plot, and has a bunch of CG, then this is the movie for you.

As for me, sign me up for author Rick Riordan’s Disney+ series. Should be good.

Don’t Make Me Go To Sleep

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I didn’t want to go to sleep last night.

My eyes burned. My body was telling me that it was time to recharge, but I didn’t want to.

The night before, I hadn’t slept the greatest. Had a dream where my family was at Disneyland. We were having a good time at the park. Somehow though, Disneyland twisted into a Nazi concentration camp. My dream was filled with dread and despair. And then things got worse when the head of the camp decided that I was going to be his new best friend. He tortured me.

Woke up with my heart pounding. I had no recollection of how I was tortured but instead had a deep sense that it had been awful. I didn’t sleep well after that, my dream had felt too real.

Where did the dream come from? What terrible combination of consumed media propelled my mind into such a nightmarish void? I haven’t read any accounts of torture in at least a few years since I read Unbroken. My family and I haven’t even visited a Disney park together.

I’m also not sure how Disneyland became a concentration camp. Maybe, for some parents, that is what Disney feels like?

Kickstarting ReElise

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Justin Fox is a longtime friend I met through Theology Gaming University (TGU). He just launched a Kickstarter for his game, ReElise, a Hip-Hop RPG. Justin hopes to not only fund his dream but start a movement.

How did your values influence your game, ReElise?

The game started out about race. Mostly a coming of age story. Just exploring culture and how people deal with them. When I got saved (gave my life to Christ) the story completely changed. It became a story about how God can make dry bones live again. However the theme of race still plays a role in that it serves no real role in the story. The main character is a black female…. that is all. Sometimes, it’s just not important in contrast to the big plot, and it shouldn’t always be a plot to insert a person’s views on an almost ageless problem so they can be the guy who “figured out how we can get along”. It’s a problem of classifying people as ” those people ” and that’s not going away. Ever.

ReElise

What exactly is a Hip-Hop RPG?

There’s a lot more to the culture of Hip-Hop than violence, money and abuse of women. There’s dancing, style, language, AMAZING art, and some would even say theology that’s not focused on quite as much. It was supposed to be fun in the early days. I like fun things. A Hip-Hop RPG is a game that  leans into the dopeness that is Hip-Hop. I love it. I wanted it in there. I’m indie… so I do what I want I’m grown and sexy.

How long have you been working on the game and what have you learned?

Steadily for 4 years. I’ve been tinkering with it for roughly 7, but those were entirely different builds.

For me, it’s been the power of belief. Believing that something good can come out of an idea that’s not really been done before, and seeing how the power of that belief carried me through for 4 years. It’s a crazy thing. Not to mention how drastically my belief in Jesus changed the core of the game. Belief is really something else.

ReElise-Hip-Hop-Battles

Engage in epic rap battles.

What would you like to say to anybody thinking about backing ReElise on Kickstarter?

This is more of a movement than it is about just one game. Traditional gameplay but with very non-traditional stories as well as concepts (I mean this is a 2D, hand-animated, Hip-Hop, turned-based, Mature Christian RPG… with sprinkles… definitely unconventional). I’d like to subtly offer deeper things to my audience. I’m giving my audience the chance to simply play a great game, and offer them a deeper story that I truly hope will be beneficial to their lives if they care to look. We’ve just gotta get the colorists, programmers, editors, travel expenses, and advertisements out of the way for this project first. That way we can make this first project everything it needs to be!  There’ll be much much more to come with the support of backers.

Thanks, Justin, for giving us a slice of ReElise pie. We can’t wait to get a taste of your Hip-Hop RPG goodness.

If you’d like to back Justin’s work, check out his Kickstarter page.

Where I Have Been/ Where I Am Going

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There comes a point where words must become actions in ones life. Failure to turn those particular words into actions will lead to those very words holding you captive; Haunting your waking thoughts with regrets of “what if” and “if I had only”. Trust me, I know.

For over five years I have worked for a company that offers me zero chance of career advancement. Short of going back to school and obtaining a degree in something I have little interest in, I simply cannot go any further in my current place of employment. I am in a way stuck due to the current job market and salary. Compound that frustration with frequent poor treatment, and you often have an irritated and sometimes depressed individual. I feel like I lost myself somewhere when I was told in a mocking tone, “this is so easy a third grader could do this”. Whatever level of college graduate optimism died within me the day those words were uttered. In my mind, I had become another worthless cog in the system, one that could be replaced on a whim. Reality had drop kicked me at the door.

Sometime last year, shortly after my Grandma died, I came up with a plan to move forward. I excitedly told others about this plan and began to set it into motion. I was going to go into web/graphic design. In the midst of the frustrations of learning/ moving toward my goal (acquire skills, get hired), I abruptly quit. I learned that letting go of a new found dream is easy when you lack the will to really work towards it. In a way, I hadn’t quite hit rock bottom yet. I was still comfortable pressed up against the glass ceiling of my job. What I needed was some fresh perspective, some truth spoken into my life. Little did I know that an email, a link, and a purchase were about to radically shift my way of thinking.

One morning, I received an email from Dave Ramsey. Well not a personal email but an email from his site. A link and a click later, I found myself reading about a book entitled Quitter. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this book was about to change my perspective and my life.

Quitter, by Jon Acuff, is all about pursuing your dreams while remaining firmly planted in your day job. Your day job, no matter how terrible it may be, provides a firm financial foundation for you to move towards what you want to do with your life. Truthfully, I had never thought of my job in this way. I had always seen it as something that brought in a paycheck, that had to be endured.

Jon Acuff goes even further in talking about how your attitude in your current place of employment will carry over into your future job. In other words, practice today the attitude you want for yourself in the future. This was a revelation for me.

The Bible talks about how Christians need to be faithful in the small things:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10 (NIV)

Which got me thinking about my attitude and how I needed to be thankful for all that God has given me. This has required me to shift my perspective, which I admit is not always easy. It is easier to give into the norm and not rise above it.

In the midst of God working on my perspective, He also reminded me of my web/graphic design dream. I was finally ready for it. Almost a year after I first set out to change my career, I was finally in the right frame of mind to pursue it.

Two weeks ago, I started on the first phase of “moving forward”. I began working once more on redoing my churches web site. I have set rewards in place to help me achieve my goals. I have also limited the distractions in my life (video games) that I felt were keeping me from working hard.

My goal right now is to finish the church web site, show the church what I’ve done, and give them a list of possible hosting options for the site. Then, I’m going to find a new project and continue working/refining my web/graphic design skills.

Changing our perspective is hard. Words must become actions; actions must become a lifestyle.

  • What dreams and ideas do you have that you keep putting on the back burner for later?
  • What do you need to change so that you can move forward?

I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. Thanks!

Quitter

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A few weeks ago I downloaded the audio book Quitter by Jon Acuff. Ever since then, I have been slowly making my way through the book. As each chapter unfolds, I have found God using it to attack lies I have accepted as truth. Quitter has made me re-realize that:

  • Our American culture celebrates those who quit their jobs to pursue their dreams. What about those that stay and persevere? What about the day-to-day realities of supporting oneself and family?
  • Blogging at work, doing anything besides what your paid to do, is stealing from your employer. Not sure I’ve ever thought of it like that, but Jon tells it like it is.
  • When pursuing a dream, coming up with a plan is not always the first step. Jon talks about  the importance of looking at what your passionate over, practicing on that, and then charting out/ planning where you’d like that passion to go. Makes sense to me.

I have really enjoyed what I have listened to so far. I have also enjoyed listening to the book being actually read by the author. Seems to add more authenticity to what is being said.