The Last Crusade: Who Is Your Father?

There’s so much to share about the weekend at the Realm Makers writer’s conference, but the most important, brothers and sisters, may be a moment of clarity and revelation that was given early on in the conference to me, and one that the Lord compels me to pass along to you this morning.

A lot of what I’ve discovered this last year or so that pushed me along in my journey of seeking Christ, whether I wanted to or not, was tied into a sermon I listened to. Two things have gone on the last hundred years or so in the church that hasn’t happened before in history: 1. The church went out into the world and 2. The world came into the church.

The first started, as most things do, with good intentions. The church didn’t just keep to its elements along Mediterranean Europe, which most of Christendom has taken place through its history. With the expansion into the Americas, and then to Africa and Asia, the church pushed an outward focus. Which is a good thing, as the message has always been to go out and make disciples of all nations. The struggles came when there was a church established in nearly every nation on Earth, that we were spread to the corners of the globe. What happened was we wanted to reach outward still, and so we reached for the world in a different way – in that we changed ourselves to be like them, in order to fit in with the world.  We lost our confidence because we were so used to growth, that the only way to maintain that growth seemed to be to “update” Christianity, to make it palatable, so that we wouldn’t be criticized by academics or entertainers as being too strange.

This resulted in part two. The world flooded into the church. What we saw as a result is more and more of a talk about the church – less and less of a talk about Christ. We became hyper focused on “how do we look cool to bring more in”, which is not biblical in the least. Christ said it in John 15: 18 – “if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” I warn Christians all the time that if the world applauds what you’re doing, be very careful and reflect on that, what you’re doing is probably is wrong.

But why did we lose this confidence? What changed in our hearts that made us want to conform rather than want to be a separate beacon of light that shines as brightly as possible? That beacon that brought civilization to this Earth like had never been seen before, that made kings bow before the Lord?

We’ve been duped in a way, in our conforming to the world, that we’re not supposed to seek or see the supernatural influences of our world. We’ve been taught by the secular institutions that science, what we can observe and catalog, is the only truth. That there’s nothing else out there. So while we held onto the most basic messages of “love your neighbor as yourself” nodding to each other saying “that sounds sensible, no one can disagree with that,” we turned our backs on the Spirit.

There was a parable taught to me and others on Thursday, one which I’ll do my best to relay to you now. There’s no reason to lose that confidence. We shouldn’t fear. There is no fear in love, there is no fear in the Word. There is no fear in God. We can be bold, we can proclaim the Spirit, and God will do the rest.

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to attribute it, so I won’t, and this isn’t verbatim, but my four-day-later-recollection, so I’ve had to make my own changes to the story, but the message rings true:

The story goes about a boy in the jungle who’s following one of his village leaders.  They go out into the jungle and come across a hyena, and the boy panics. The older, wiser man stills him, and they walk along carefully until they pass the beast.  

The boy asks, “were you not afraid?”

The man said, “no, I know who my Father is.”

The boy, confused, asks again, “but what if the hyena hurts you?’

The man stops, reflects on the situation, and turns the the boy. “Suppose there’s a lion sleeping in the forest, do you think the hyena can prey upon such a great beast and hurt it?”

The boy says “yes, the hyena has a ferocious bite.”

The man frowns. He didn’t get the message across, but his Father is the Father of creation. He could do anything, and he needed a way to bring that point to the boy.  “Think of this, what if the Lion were grown to be twice as large?”

The boy shrugged. “It can still hurt the lion. If it came upon it when it wasn’t paying attention, it can still rip into its hide and bring it down.”

The man motioned to the forest. “What if the Lion grew to be as big as this tree, as this forest?” 

The boy thought about it a moment. “The Hyena can still nip at its Achilles heel and if it struck the right place, it could bring the lion down.”

Undeterred, the man made a great sweeping motion to the sky. “So what if the Lion grew so large as to be the size of this world? The size of the galaxy and the stars above, and the hyena was but a speck so small that the Lion couldn’t even see it. Would the hyena be able to bother it then?”

The boy looked up to the cosmos, seeing the blue sky beyond. “No, I suppose not.”

“Then why would I be afraid? My Father is infinite. He is bigger than this world, bigger than the galaxy, he stretches to eternity, and he will protect me.”

It’s such a simple message. God is Infinite. God is so much bigger than anything else, beyond space and time, beyond anything we can possibly imagine. The world, evil, are such small specks to him that they can never bother Him, they can never influence Him, they can never chip away at Him. He is so vast and so great that we have nothing to worry about.

It means we can live bold as Christians. It means that we can proclaim Christ as loudly as we can, and we should. We don’t need to conform to the world in order to get fake butts in seats for pews. We have a higher purpose, and are worshipping a glory that goes so much more beyond the here and now, that it’s awe-inspiring just to think about.

When I heard this message, I felt the Spirit move. The Spirit is everywhere, of course, but in moments when we draw His attention, I’ve noticed in my life that there’s a change in the room. It’s almost like an air pressure change, but something vast, not-physical. A heavy burst, full of light and joy rushes over the room like a tidal wave. It’s hard to put into words, but I know when I feel it. I know when we’re in His presence and His focus is on us.

We need more of those moments. We need to make our entire lives their moments to be able to proclaim His kingdom. And that means we cannot live in fear of the hyena, or what someone thinks, or the insults that will get flung at us. It’s all something to laugh off, because our Father is infinite.

I hope that brings inspiration to your day like it has to mine. It is written much more succinctly:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Realm Makers Conference

Meant to have a blog up for a review of Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade today, but I’m a bit busy at the Realm Makers conference in Reno, NV. It’s a conference dedicated to Christian speculative fiction writers and is really cool, worth looking at and attending in the future for writers.

Ted Dekker gave a really great and inspirational talk last night which I need to dedicate more blog space to as well. I’ll get the details of that to you when I return.

Cheers!

SJW Star Wars Authors Form Online Mob To Harass… William Shatner?

You read this right. William Shatner, in recent months, has boldly gone where almost no Hollywood actors have gone before (because if they’re not retired they’ll lose jobs and be blackballed from the industry by the fascists in control there) by speaking out against PC culture, mobs, and the drive-by hits that ruin people’s lives. He’s been very funny and light hearted about everything he’s done, of which nothing drives the SJW hate brigade crazier — as their entire goal is to make everyone as serious and miserable about everything as they are.

I did an analysis on Marvel Comics’ writers awhile back, but it looks like the vast majority of Star Wars authors under Disney’s banner are of the same ilk.  In fact, they seemed to do a coordinated assault on the seasoned actor:

And note how the last one ends it — they put out a public demand that anyone who has a different political view than them never be hired. It’s par for the course of what we’ve found in their culture of blackballing and attempting to ruin individual artists who don’t believe like them. This kind of mindset is across the gatekeepers of all forms of entertainment, and it’s extremely frightening. This is real fasicsm. Why does it all come from a company with a smiling mouse that aims at your cihldren? Makes you think.

YA vs. “Real” Sci-Fi and Fantasy: It’s about Mindset

I’ve been watching the trends in the publishing industry for the last several years, and it’s interesting to watch the way that readers and fellow authors respond to different works and the like. The divide between YA and “adult” fiction (I use the ironic quotes because YA really doesn’t mean less adult content or themes in terms of reading) actually comes down to a little bit of a mindset element like I was talking about between new indies and old guard publishing a couple weeks ago.

Now the YA community environment is heating up politically to some extent, with sensitivity readers and reviewers labeling books as problematic, which has caused quite a stir there, but for the most part, unlike adult fiction, the readership itself hasn’t been drawn into this jaded war of ideology. I don’t see regular readers shaking fists at messages, demanding more messages, or the like in YA. Some of the editors may be going off on “cultural appropriation” but I see it as the adult fiction trying to get its greedy fingers into the pie and corrupt the genre with their jadedness more than the genre itself lending itself to that. Most the YA readers I find want to sit down, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and read for fun. And that mindset is actually pretty refreshing.

When I released For Steam And Country, I was able to see this divide firsthand in authors/readers who checked out the book. I’ll start by saying I’m not intending on criticizing my readers or saying anyone’s wrong, but there is a mindset differential in the way that people responded based on their reading preferences. YA readers ate up the book, almost zero complaints about it, and it was incredibly well received. The more “hard” science fiction readers who came over to me from my last book for the most part enjoyed it as well, but usually there was a caveat or two with that enjoyment where I found a lot of nitpicking and criticisms of different elements of the book (sometimes people reaching totally opposite critical conclusions about the exact same things!).

A good author friend of mine, for example, said he didn’t buy into the book because the whole concept of a farmer girl going and being given command of some aerial weapon of war without any experience didn’t ring true to him.

I may have lifted that concept from somewhere. 🙂  It was an interesting complaint to receive. I don’t think he’s wrong, by the way, but the height of great fiction to me has always been ordinary people doing the extraordinary. But that level of critique when compared with something like Star Wars, again fiction meant for a YA-ish audience if we drill into it, would probably receive similar heavy criticism from a sci-fi literary audience if it were released now under a different name.

It actually is a change from the way Sci-fi used to be from prior to the 80s to now. In the old days,fun adventure, exciting characters and their circumstances used to be what was dominant in the field, and was subsequently replaced by extreme vetting of what “could really happen” that began with jaded industry insiders, and trickled into the ever diminishing SF/F reading public. This is the exact reason why science fiction has been bleeding readers for years — as most people who do want to read do so for escape, and for fun, they don’t want to be bogged down in perceived real world problems extrapolated into space and made into dark, gritty, angry messages that revolve around heavy scientific concepts that may or may not be feasible anyway.

YA allows the adventure to flow. At the start of reading Sarah Maas’s Throne of Glass, it’s easy to see that she has a few qualities: 1. She’s set up a character you get attached to 2. the pacing is near-frantic and completely unrealistic, but fun 3. it’s got compelling action both in the fighting sense and in the romance sense. It leads to something that someone wants to devour. If I scrutinized every single aspect of every element of the culture and world, I’d find something wrong that I could pick apart as “unrealistic”, but because it’s YA, we get a pass where we don’t have to do that. I’d posit that this story is as good or better than anything in the “real” SF/F field even so. And by the number of readers she has vs. the number of readers the more jaded SF people have, the public agrees.

The focus on character and driving plot is essential. YA does this with a big goal in mind: evoking an emotional response in the reader. The authors, by the way they write, appear almost care about nothing else. They’re not so wrapped up in their world building exercises that they bog a story down, they don’t focus so hard on metaphors and social engineering to try to create faux-literary nonsense which doesn’t stand the test of time anyway. They’re not caught up in the politics of the moment, but they’re out to create something enjoyable that they can relate to and so can their readers.

The mindset of these YA authors I’ve met and talked to is very similar to the #PulpRevolution crowd. They’re excited for fiction, in love with the work. They gush about other authors in the field and it’s really nice to see rather than the constant in-fighting of the science fiction community who seem to have this fear that there’s only so many slots for “real writers” and therefore tear each other down. These attitudes come across in the fiction as much as they do in the internet world.

I think that writers have a lot they can learn from YA, and should check out some of these authors for the sake of using elements to incorporate into their own fiction. It’s imperative if they want to survive in this ever competitive world, where YA fiction. because of its fun-factor. takes up an increasingly large slice of the pie. A few recommendations:

Laurie Forest – Wandfasted

Sarah J. Maas – Throne of Glass

Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games  (the series that really got this genre going!)

Brandon Sanderson – Steelheart 

All of these books incorporate fun, have action + romance, and really make you feel for their main characters. The worlds if you break them down all the way might not be “realistic” but as a backdrop for the story, which is all worlds are meant to be, they are intriguing and help propel it along.

 

The Last Crusade: Letting God Work Through You

I have a confession to make, readers. A year ago at this time and before that, I was not walking the faith in the way I should. Sure, I believed that Jesus Christ rose from the dead to forgive our sins, but I compartmentalized my faith into a “something we do on Sunday” and did not consider God every day. I didn’t pray every day. I didn’t read scripture every day. I was like the person who is trying to lose weight but eats junk food every meal but one protein shake and won’t do anything else. But Christ said “You must serve the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matt 22:37). He didn’t say to make it a once a week thing.

It sounds pretty daunting to do. But it’s actually very easy. The Bible has a running motif: “Do not be afraid.” It’s said over and over in awesome, divine instances, but it’s also commanded to the church in our day to day lives not to be anxious or afraid. And often times, we do let the fear that society will reject us dictate our walk with the Lord. It results in casting our faith in the shadow of our lives rather than making it something central and bright.

The way to change that is a very simple thing indeed: 1. Listen. 2. Let Him work.

As much as that is something so small, we all, myself included, think of ways to evade both of these things. “But I’m so busy today…” is an easy one. “But what will people think of me…” is another. I struggled with the latter, a compulsion to have everyone like me that pushed me into shyness about what proclaiming what is right. Most knew that I called myself a Christian, but most also couldn’t see me doing anything different than they were doing. It was very easy to fall into that lull, and it still is. It, like almost everything else we’re supposed to do, requires vigilance and daily work/prayer.

The incredible part, is that God plants the seeds and is here to help us grow. Once you see the beautiful interconnectedness of God’s plan, the way that this universe fits together like a puzzle, the vast intricacies of everything he designed, it’s impossible to stop. And that simple observing is enough to change you and me.

I reflected on the last year in my life, and I saw a big change. One that God put in the works for a long, long time, but I failed to see.

God has long called me to witness to the entertainment community, especially in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields. This industry is full of pure worldly vapidity, and full of not only a disinterest in the divine, but a flat-out disdain for God and Jesus Christ that is painful to see. It’s a very scary place, and the prospect of being shunned/rejected is very real. If you just scroll back through some of my comments, you’ll see that there’s plenty of folk who want to make sure that rejection stings as much as possible. It’s pretty awful and painful at times to get that treatment, especially from people who I revered and respected as heroes. I won’t sugarcoat it and say that’s not there.

So naturally the first thing I did was ignore it. God was in the back of my head for years telling me to do something. I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought perhaps I was supposed to write an allegorical Christian fiction, or something more straightforward… and even that I put off. For years I said next to nothing, letting myself be a quiet Christian who fits in with the world.

And what happened? The world rejected me anyway. I wasn’t making much headway. Even though I had a book contract and was working with some big-name industry insiders on a pretty well-known property, people didn’t come to read. God did not bless that course of action in the least, because it was a worldly goal with a worldly end. I was ignoring my calling through all of that. Because I was afraid. Because I wanted acceptance.

Around that time (last summer), God was planting seeds within me and I didn’t even know it. I’m not sure what caused me to start reading Vox Day or reach out to him, but as I look back, I see that God moved in that. I wrote Vox a message, concerned about something that was going on in the church, as I observed that the messaging, the work being done, was moving toward a focus on pleasing the world and being accepted here, rather than following Christ no matter what it took. It’s ironic that I saw this in the church and not in myself, but it’s just another way that God connects stories and builds his vision. Vox wrote back with sound advice, blogged about the church and being vigilant in faith, and though I filed that away to some extent, it did one important thing: got me thinking about God’s will more often.

It spiraled from there, and it wasn’t any of my doing. When times got tough within the worldly side of science fiction, Vox was there again, and gave me a voice, a very loud one through his blog which I’m thankful for to this day. Having that voice, taking the steps to not be afraid paved the way for me to be able to speak about God and Christ in an open manner. To shout His praises from the rooftops and have no fear.  The connection is a small one, a kernel of concern about the church, leading me to a person (if you look at the Bible, almost every story is God leading those who follow him to people, and connecting his people and the Body of Christ so we can do great things together), that on the surface didn’t seem like anything other than an industry contact. It was a whole lot more.

Because of that, I met up with Superversive Press. Again, little things, but this group is one that talks about Christ regularly, listens and prays for each other, it’s an edifying group online that cares and will hold each other accountable when we’re stumbling. It’s about the biggest blessing ever. Through them, I met my friend L. Jagi Lamplighter-Wright, who probably will be embarrassed to hear this, but she, along with some of the blogs by her husband, has been the primary driving factor in encouraging me in my faith and speaking out about it.

Now the cool little way God worked again? Jagi helped me edit my piece for Vox when I originally spoke out. In fact, that’s how I met her. She was compelled to do the little help with this, even not knowing me, probably without even knowing why or what it would lead to. He connected us all in very small ways, and that led me to finding and reading The Last Crusade blogs, which led me to a renewed spiritual enthusiasm.

All of this stuff was not my doing! It was other people working in the faith who just sprinkled their impact on me. If you ask both Jagi and Vox, they’ll tell you that it wasn’t much of their time or thoughts for this matter, but they were happy to lift a brother up. God compels them to work in the way they work as well. All caused at the onset by God telling me to be concerned about the church, which led Him to showing me that concern needed to start inside me to make a change.

Little things. All connected. It just takes opening our eyes to see it. And we won’t even see it at all unless we 1. Listen. 2. Let Him work. Pray. That little inkling telling you to walk the path is God letting you know what’s right for His plan. Don’t be afraid. You’re not alone. He’s always with you.

And that’s the good news, brothers and sisters. When you do reach out and find out what God wants you to do, and start doing it, He WILL bless you in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. The moment I started down this path, the moment I started putting Him first above all else, my career in this field changed. Sure, I had the shunning and I get the name calling by some, but that doesn’t matter in the least. God’s blessed me with tremendous support from far more of His people who care, who want to see me grow in the faith, who want to grow in the faith themselves. We build each other up and it only compounds from there. Look at what He did with just 12 followers, after all. He’s instilled far more than 12 into my life since this time.

I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t have any regrets in dedicating more of my time, more of my energy, more of my prayers and more of my life to Him. It fills me with great joy every day and keeps me going when times are tough. It’s amazing grace, for real.

He’ll do the same for you. All of your troubles, all of your pain, lift it up to Him. God wants to help you. There’s nothing more that I’d love than to share this journey with you.

If you’re reading this for the first time and haven’t encountered Christ. It’s amazing what he did, far more so than my little story of receiving his blessings. God came down to earth, lived the only perfect life in existence, and sacrificed himself at our hands, using his own blood and pain to wash away all of our sins and evils. The amazing part of it all is that he rose from the dead three days later, and came back to proclaim the good news to all of us. Here’s here for us, and He’s listening.

If you want to know more, if you want prayer, if you want friendship, I’m not just here to blog. I want to help you like the others helped me. You can leave a comment, I can get your email off of that. Or find me on social media and I’m happy to talk more about this. We can change the world together and it starts with a prayer.

Mega-Corporate Fascists Target Independent Content Creator

Earlier today, YouTube, subsidiary of the monopolisitc mega-corporate Google, Inc., removed a video by independent artist and political analyst Bre Faucheux, flagging it for “content.”

Bre’s content does not have any violence, no sex, nothing that would be considered over the line, nothing rated R to it. However, she has a political opinion that is unpopular with the hyper-SJW fascists that make up the Silicon Valley elite.  Someone reported it to Google, and Google abused its monopolistic power to shut down an independent voice that disagrees with them. They are the only platform for video content of this sort, and it is a pure abuse of power, it is pure evil. It is the way the publishing industry treats anyone with a different view. It’s the way that hedonistic Hollywood does as well. These monopolistic institutions believe they can get away with anything, and they’re starting to push the envelope even further.  We have to stand up to this kind of thing or it’s over, and the only way we can do so is to make sure that everyone is talking about people like Bre: brave artists who will not be silenced by the corporate hatemongers who wish to take away our livelihoods and our identities, and to make us slaves to their brand and their brand of thinking.

Right now, her youtube channel has been made private as she’s being targeted by the multi-billion dollar company. But she has other avenues to find her.

She is on Twitter:  @Bre_Faucheux 

Gab.ai: https://gab.ai/Bre_Faucheux

Bre has an upcoming that can be found here, bookmark it:

http://27crowsradio.com

And you can support her fantasy writing here:

https://www.amazon.com/Bre-Faucheux/e/B00ET4CQAK

Change starts with supporting the brave artists who stand up to this kind of nonsense. Help Bre and change the world!

Retro Review: Star Wars: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

Earlier this year I was pretty excited to find that Timothy Zahn had a new Thrawn novel out. The original trilogy was something I found exciting in my youth, and I was eager for more with this character, which they’ve actually done a great job of incoroporating into the Rebels tv show as well.  It’d also been more than 20 years since I read the original books, so I wanted to check them out and see if they held up to the test of time first. You can see my reviews of Heir to the Empire and Dark Force Rising to see what I thought so far.

The Last Command didn’t let down. It opened up in some nice battle that drew me right back in to the book. At this point, pages 50-125 perhaps, I think it dragged a little compared to the rest of the series. It fell into the standard trap I see in some books of “oh this needs to be a standalone book, so we’ll give you the lay of hte land” with a lot of dialogue really geared toward telling us how much Thrawn was some strategic wizard and how dangerous he is, which we already knew.

However once it got past that, this book flew. I couldn’t put it down for a moment. The development of Mara Jade was beautiful, and I would say that actually the character that ended up iwth the most development, and is most underrated from the series is Captain Pellaeon. His arc of training from Thrawn is really fabulous. It’s amazing that Zahn not only managed to create such a great villain in Thrawn but a sidekick villain I care to read more about. Expert writing on a level beyond almost everything else, tie in or not, ever written.

In a book like this it takes a lot to make you care about characters who aren’t Luke, Han, Leia, as we all come in for further adventures of our great heroes, but Zahn’s creations really shine and even sometimes outshine the originals. C’Baoth as a new dark jedi is actually more interesting than the Emperor in the original movies in a lot of ways as well.

The only character whose arc felt flat to me was Karrde, as he went through the same Han Solo/Lando arc that we’ve already seen with those characters. I vastly prefered the darker criminal elements to him in the first ocuple books than I did in this one where he’s all in on the Republic side. He ended up a little boring as did his segments from his perspective.

Even with that though, that’s minor. Zahn’s writing is so strong that even the parts where I didn’t like were fine. He has a nice descriptive sense that’s not too bogged down and communicates scenes well.

Not much to say about the main characters themselves. They felt real, Zahn could have written the scripts with them and i would have never noticed a difference other than the developments they’ve made in time. The dialogue between them was great, about as well done as can be asked for on that front.

The big epic finale conclusion battle is about as good as it gets in fiction as well. I usually skim through battle scenes hard because they overdescribe elements and tend to make something imminently skimable, but The Last Command is relaly battle done right. There’s character development mixed into it, tension and twists like I’ve never seen. Brilliant and beautiful, and once more, better than the original movies.

I may actually go read The Hand Of Thrawn series because I liked this so much, and apprecaite Zahn’s creations and contributions to this universe almost more than the originals, even though I wasn’t intending on reading more Star Wars books. One can only lament what could have been if Disney/Lucas developed this into film rather than the uninspired marketing-driven nostalgia pieces that they keep putting out that are devoid of feeling.

10/10

More Sci-Fi Fake News Dishonesty

I conducted fun poll about whether you are blocked or not by a very public science fiction author personality who seems to block more than 50% of people who are in the industry or are readers of the genre. My point was this was a very bad marketing plan for someone in the field. It seems to be true at that.

What does the fake news post?

Rounding up people to harass? They lie so hard it’s unbelievable. If anything, Mike Glyer rounds up people to harass me, and rather intentionally at that. It’s been done over and over since he first discovered me. People who  follow his program of harassing me and trying to besmirch my reputation then get really mad when I fight back and don’t just take it.

I exposed the heck out of his little operation, and he’s bitter now. By the way, he used to chat with me and pretend to be friendly before that happened and he suddenly blocked me.

At some point, these people need to get with the times, come to the table, realize we’re here too and we’re gonna be taking a bigger share than them because we’re 1. fun 2. write well and 3. aren’t just negative all the time. Blocking that percentage of potential readers — in a good sample size — is not productive to a career. It’s also not harassment to point that out.

Stop lying, fake news!

 

Dragon Awards -3 Days Left To Vote

I don’t have time to blog much today. My Seattle trip mid-week put me behind on both work and fiction writing, so I want to get all that done. However, Dragon Awards close Monday, and i need to make this last push.

If you want to support me and my efforts here doing independent journalism with a focus on free speech in the entertainment industry, as well as producing excellent science fiction and fantasy, please read and review my fiction first and foremost. Second, awards like the Dragon are extremely competitive, and it’s a huge profile boost just to get nominated. Star Realms: Rescue Run has tremendous support for best military science fiction or fantasy category (the 4th one down) and needs your help to put it over the top.

Vote here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

You’re welcome to leave everything else blank if you want. However, I do have a nice slate of nominees I think are great for each category if you don’t have other ideas and want to support some great people:  http://happyfrogs.org/2017/06/23/happy-frogs-official-dragon-award-recommendations/

Thanks all. you’ve done a ton for me already and I recognize that and appreciate it. Let’s put it over the top! 🙂

Linkin Park / Chester Bennington

This is an interesting and sad topic. I know I posted about Chris Cornell before, and I don’t want to get into the trap of blogging every celebrity death as if we’re close personal friends of the deceased, because I’m not sure that’s really a good thing to do with someone’s memory, and second, I think these flood of social medias for every single one, and then forgetting them 2 days later is a bit tacky.

However, I did spend several hours with Mr. Bennington and his band in 2003. For those that aren’t aware, I had a band for awhile. We recorded around that time, and played a lot of shows up until I got a bit too busy to do so in 2008. Probably my most noticed thing i’ve ever done is actually selling a song off that record to MTV’s Real World: New Orleans, which played in the background of the show and made a nice check.

Linkin Park was actually in the same studio while recording that, working on a remix album or something, I can’t recall exactly. We shared a lounge at the time. Usually the lounge was filled with food, drinks, fun, people running in and out, but it was kind of a strange night, as it was the night that the USA was first bombing Baghdad.  It was a somber atmosphere, and we kept it on CNN, watching in awe  as the bombs went off, the overwhelming force applied, and the swift movements of our military. It was hard to actually focus on recording that evening, for both bands in the house, and so we ended up spending a lot of time together, just hanging out, as musicians.

Bennington was a super nice guy in my experience. We didn’t really say much of substance that I remember to this day, as the scene of war really drowned out any other memory, but he was relaxed, humble, nice and I was impressed with him. I’d never really gotten into their music, as it’s a bit too dark for my tastes, but as a human being, he was someone I wanted to root for.

It’s really sad to think about having spent time with someone, even if it was only a few hours, and even if he probably likely never remembered me, and to think that he’s gone now, and had a bout with struggles I’ll never even begin to comprehend. I wish his family love and the strength to get through this, and pray that God will provide for them.

There are probably far better eulogies for this man out there, but I will remember him for the duration of my life certainly, and hope this paid him the respects he deserves.