Essays Archives

Orks in Space, Chinese Folk Religion, and the Power of Belief

Orks from Warhammer 40,000 and Chinese Folk Religion

No, seriously. Before you turn away and call me a loon or a bigot, do take note that I’m Chinese who was raised on this stuff. I grew up with this hodge-podge compendium of beliefs and superstitions that forms this syncretic religion. However, what I experienced may be a distilled version of it since we live in the Philippines. Our take on it may not be similar to that of Taiwan and mainland China, but I know enough to make connections with other things that may be like it. I also know enough about Warhammer 40,000 to write about wild green men in space. This has to be the most deranged blog post I’ll ever write in 2023, so let’s go for a ride. (more…)

Assess Your Goals by Examining Your Surrogate Activities

Ted Kaczynski on Surrogate Activity

The term ‘surrogate activity’ was coined by the American mathematician and domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, in his 35,000-word manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future. It was his critique of modern civilization and society as it became during the late 20th century. He was noted not only for his opposition to technology, but also what he saw was pointlessness in modern living that the masses engaged in. Instead of living meaningful lives supporting each other as a society, they immerse themselves in surrogate activities to distract themselves from existential dread and keep them from partaking in things that may matter more in the long term.

Kayfabe in Politics and Media Manipulation

Eric Weinstein and Donald Trump

After getting word of videos about Eric Weinstein’s interpretation of kayfabe on Twitter, I found Frame Problems after a brief search and gave these three videos a watch. I found them interesting as they stretched the application of kayfabe to politics, economics, and mainstream media as far as they possibly can. I had always been interested in Eric Weinstein’s opinion of kayfabe being a crucial component of the cognitive toolbox. As a part of the pro wrestling industry, I wanted to take a closer look at this take on kayfabe and how understanding it can enhance how one interprets mainstream media and public consciousness. (more…)

The Stone and the Shape: Philosophy for Finding One’s Purpose

Dwarves in Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura

One of the most profound pieces of philosophy I’ve ever encountered comes from a computer game, which happens to be my all-time favorite. Arcanum takes the best of old Fallout, brings it into a steampunk setting, and douses it with tons of lore and philosophy that even games by FromSoftware would struggle to compete against. This particular moment in the game would continue to fascinate me even as an adult, which is why I wanted to share it here in this blog post. (more…)

Russophilia and Slavsploitation

Russophilia and Slavploitation

As I was writing the draft for this blog post, the Wagner Group — the Russian mercenary group led by former Putin stooge Yevgeny Prigozhin — was staging a mutiny against the Russian military and government. Events were being documented on Twitter as they happened, including this sitdown between Prigozhin and Russian defense officials. No one knew what would happen and if it would affect Putin’s reign and the war in Ukraine, but they were doing it in a city that’s over a thousand kilometers from Moscow. In any case, I’m taking this opportunity to talk about something that has always bugged me about all things Russian. (more…)

Telegraphing for Better Storytelling and Gameplay

Half-Life HECU Marine and F.E.A.R. Replica Soldier

While watching a recent video of Errant Signal, where Campster talked about Half-Life and how the HECU marine was and still is one of the most compelling enemies in video games due to how its AI was way ahead of its time in 1998, it made me think about how they communicated. Of course, being computer-controlled enemies, they don’t actually talk to each other. They communicated to the player on what they’re about to do, which isn’t something that truly realistic enemies would do. But in this particular case, realism should give up some space to better storytelling and gameplay. (more…)

Finance is the Magic of the Real World

Finance is Magic of the Real World

Bear with me while I ramble about an analogy that may take at least 2,000 words to explain. This is a world I’ve been exploring for the past three months, and I’ve been having fun learning about it thus far. Coming into the game this late, I believe I’ve been seeing it in a unique light, different from how most people see it. Money — the thing which makes our world go round — is much like the forces that govern fantasy worlds. Many seek its power, but few harness it. (more…)

Deliberate Practice and the Importance of Struggle

Deliberate Practice and Myelination

This was a really old draft that I sat on for about five years or so that was meant for a video, but I got lazy and never finished it. I should’ve made it a blog post first to workshop it, so I’m doing so now — better late than never. This follows up on my ramblings about “the revolving door”, which is about my observations of people’s warped perceptions about talent and skill. Let’s take a look at the learning process and the deliberate practice necessary to become proficient at anything under the sun. (more…)

The Battle of Alesia Continues to Inspire Me

The Battle of Alesia

I’ve written a good bit about military history on this blog, comparing generals to martial artists and professional gamers. Since I’ve been learning more about them and their battles, perhaps it’s time I specifically focus on them to expound on what made them tick and what interests me about their motivations and leadership. Each has their own motivations and styles of leadership, but there was one who was way ahead of his time and displayed a quality similar to entrepreneurs and world leaders of today. (more…)

Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Coping

Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing

If there’s one character in Elden Ring that I both get annoyed and can relate with, it’s Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing. That combination makes him insufferable, and that’s what also makes him a memorable character, especially near the end of the game. But I didn’t have to finish the game to get his schtick since that had been spelled out by the intro. The epithet of “All-Knowing” is not to be taken lightly, and it’s also his undoing. (more…)

Playing “Lame”: On Hitting and Not Getting Hit

Floyd Mayweather

Since the fallout of the so-called “Fight of the Century” between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather due to how the latter won, which drew minimal amount of excitement in the actual match compared to how much hype it created, I had to finish writing this post sooner than planned. I had planned to talk about cheese and unpredictable play first, but it seems that lame play is more in vogue at this moment, so here’s a look into it from different angles. (more…)