Monday, December 31, 2018

With This One Weird New Year's Trick, People Won't Judge You

Whenever you do something different, people like to pass judgement and throw resistance in your path. It's annoying. I'm very familiar with it. Fortunately, you can score a win with people during times of expected change (marriage, death, graduation, new house, etc.)

Although full of nonsense, The New Year is a pretty standard time of expected change.

See, what usually happens when you try to change is that people will work to hold you back, even if they don't do so intentionally. This is something you should expect. The resistance to a new you is baked into society. Maybe we're just more comfortable that way. But the reason doesn't matter. Just be thankful that we have New Year's. Because during January and a few weeks in February, you can try out just about ANYTHING and get away with it. Here's an example:

Them: "What the hell are you doing?"
You: "Just trying out [insert weirdo-level action] for the New Year. Gotta change it up!"
Them: "Oh...uh...I see...well good luck with that!"

Or something similar. People will just assume that you'll just go back to being whatever they thought you were like before, so they won't give you too much flack for trying something different. But if you were to do something new and random with no holiday or occasion attached, you'd get complaints, unfounded concerns, and all manner of resistance.

There are even people that sound like they're on your side, but may not understand your attempt at true evolution.  They'll actually end up sabotaging you by being friendly. For example, your favorite donut-buddy might say "Oh, you're working out for the New Year? Keep it up!" Once a week goes by, they'll offer you some fresh and creamy donuts because "you deserve it".  Don't fall for that. It's a trap.

In fact, you should be working to associate your eating with people that despise donuts. Your donut-buddy might be a little upset at your choices early on, but if you're real about it, you should both go on with a happy co-existence.

Finally, when you actually end up changing for the better along the way, naysaysers won't really have too much to say about your upgrade. Since you'll have wrapped your change around a holiday or an event, they won't get too upset. The change will make sense in their heads, even if it doesn't make logical sense. People just need a 'why'.


Person 1: "Joey stopped eating at Taco Bell."
Person 2: "Really? Why?"
Person 1: "Dunno, but he stopped after he left that last job."
Person 2: "Ohhh...I think it's because they served tacos at work once."

Person 2 really has no clue, but will make up some bullshit rationalization about the job and Taco Bell. That's okay though. That's Person 2's problem.

You've made the change, and the people around you are going to go along with it. They've made up reasons in their head for it all to make sense. As long as you have a 'why' attached to it. The New Years is a great one.

Try making a change when your birthday comes around, when an election happens, when you have a child, when you relocate, when you join a group, when you change jobs, etc. You can add symbolism too. Get a haircut, buy new shirts, shop at different stores, rearrange your home, etc. And don't get too worried about what people think, at the very least, they'll think you're interesting while you're trying things out.

But times are changing, and so should you.
Happy New Year's everyone!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Give A Christmas Gift To Yourself

I never liked conforming. It hurts my soul to go against what my gut is telling me to do. Unfortunately for me, my gut rarely lines up with what a lot of people in my environment are doing. This is especially true during the Christmas holiday period. There's so much pressure to conform: say "Merry Christmas", smile at people, spend money you don't have, etc. I actually like having general holiday fun, and I don't mind the decorations and hooplah, but there's something that happens to people that really gets them down during the holidays because of the pressure. Hey, man...don't be stressed.

BUT I don't give a shit, so I'm doing what I want to this Christmas. That's my gift to me. This year, I'm not doing too much "Christmas-ing" and I'm doing some creation because I feel like it. In fact, I'm about to get dressed and go to a park to continue my creating. It's something different so it'll kick me into a different mindset.

So get good with the good people around you, make things happen, and give a gift to yourself.

I wish you all well.
- Mr Benja -

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Behind The Scenes Is My Scene

As much as I like culture, community, and groups, I really don't get down with a lot of social activities, I get down with popular energy. There's a difference. I really like the behind the scenes stuff. I like the process, the building, the construction, the planning, and the stuff that makes it happen. I also like to work with other people that are doing things that make sense. Discussing different aspects of development isn't work to me. It's fun. THAT would be my social work. All the yakkity yak of traditional marketing isn't my thing.

That kinda makes me feel a bit misaligned in today's climate. It seems like the product matters so much less when the modus operandi is to steal flavor and market hype. Of course, this is a result of the power of the Internet. I'm not mad at it, but I would be lying if I didn't state that

It's like church. I used to like the scriptures, the free breakfasts, the songs, the sermons, and everything that goes into the production. But standing around talking about what Jenny Mae did last week? Miss me with that. Worrying about how nice your car and outfit is? Bullshit. Lying to the congregation? You can go to Hell. Give me the nuts and bolts.

So do I want to be a hermit? Nah. I'd just like to see a different type of community that isn't so reliant on the nonsense side of the extrovert lifestyle.

I confuse a lot of people with that kind of talk, but I don't give a shit.

Well, I'm just putting thoughts out there. Maybe we can start building some type of communities where the hype about the thing doesn't have to be the thing at the end of the day. Or maybe I need to work harder at understanding what's going on in the world now. My mother saw the direction I was going in and warned me, but I didn't understand what was going on. Now it's painfully obvious that she saw me for what I was: a cool-ass loner that would be okay with leaving a situation instead of working within it.

P.S. I'm currently thinking that a YouTube page would be more effective than typing words into a blogspot page, but I'm not ready for that level of...uh...creation.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Case for Multi-Tasking (aka Creative Rollover)

In 2019, I am going to try running three projects simultaneously: The Trap Vector (art), The 8BitCubist (merch), and Transcendent Press (writing). Seems to be going well so far.

Let me know how this sounds, because I know the studies on focusing and multi-tasking. The common logic is that you go with one topic and stick with it. That's a simplified version, and it makes sense. But there's room for some experimentation. What I'm thinking about is the sort of balance people do naturally, but with a more productive intention. So I don't see it as multi-tasking, but more like a change of pace in order to keep the system humming. I'll call it Creative Rollover until I come up with a better term.

While working on large and small projects in the game industry, I noticed that it's almost impossible to stay hyper focused on one narrow slice for too long. After a few days or several days, attention needs to be turned to something else. If that doesn't happen, then people are just spinning their wheels without making significant movement forward. If they don't get a mental change of pace, then their productivity falls off and they start to wander.

So what if we could keep ourselves engaged by jumping to different aspects of a project? That sounds more productive than going into a complete state of disconnect. Completely shutting down means that you have to take significant energy to re-engage and do a cold boot all over again.

What I've done is started cutting off unnecessary feelings of fatigue by jumping from one creative/productive mind to another. This way, I can get into modes faster and get more net work done.

What tends to happen with me is that I get bored out mentally doing one thing over and over again without getting any new perspective. With different projects, I can relax one mind while the other one takes over. Maybe it's like cooking a complete meal.

Take games for example, after a few of plowing into the animation system, we'd go work on the combat system, then on to the pathfinding system, then on to the character backstories, etc. Rolling from one creative focus to another was the only way the large picture could be effectively realized. In fact, we got large gains when we pulled people out of their caves to get a little involved with what was going on with other parts of the project.

One reason I think this this worked was because creative rollover avoided the problem of people running out of fuel during a given task. When that happened, they became completely disengaged. When that happened everyone got thrown off. Another reason is that we let the environment adjust to the changes.

I've been playing around with this type of development for a couple months now, and I think I've found a way to cook up a marvelous meal of creativity.

I'll explore this more later.
And I need a better name than Creative Rollover.

Any thoughts?
Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Doing When Something Tries To Deflate Your Dreams

I don't know what it is exactly, but with creative ventures, there are a lot of things that come along and try to deflate whatever it is I'm doing. Maybe you don't have this problem, but I know that I do. It could be some comment online, a piece of advice, a bit of confusion about why someone else's venture seems to be working, etc.

Whatever the case, there's always something that seems to put a dent in the spiritual momentum of the creativity.

So what can be done? The obvious answer that people from afar like to say is "don't give up". That's easy advice, and not necessarily bad, but just plowing into a problem without the right mindset can cause resentment and things may start to go sour.

My dad used to ask me, "Well,...what *can* you do?" My mom's version of that was, "So what do you *want* to do?" These are both very good questions. But they aren't questions to ponder, they are questions to act upon in order to keep the momentum flowing. Because the most damaging thing to me as a creative is the lack of momentum in ANY direction.

Draw a picture.
Read something.
Try new music.
Go to a museum.
Make a dumb Facebook post.
Reply to a thread.
Help a friend.
Try a new angle.
ANYTHING that helps me let go of the resistance and get my mind back into creative mode.

Whatever the problem, I can't let myself lose the drive to keep moving. I have to get re-aligned and I have to keep going. That's just the person I want to be. Because once the flame goes out...poof.

The flame must be kept alive.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Why Are You Online Withholding Likes? Click That Shit!

When I see a post I like, I LIKE it. There's not much thought going on with it. Spread those good vibes. Sometimes, I realize, "Oh...that person is a fucking bane on society. I shouldn't have done that. *UNLIKE*" But for the most part, I'm only following people deserving of my goodwill, and I don't usually resonate with bums enough to actually enjoy something they've posted.

Well, there was that one time a racist bum I happened to be following reposted some cool art, so I had to retract that Like. But even in that case, I was able to learn about a new artist that I could track down and follow. See, something good out of the dumb shit.

Anyway, don't hold back on Likes, they don't cost you anything and make whoever spent the time making the post feel a little better. Besides, you also get a signal boost and you have positively added yourself to the Big Data algorithm in the World Wide Web. Clicking that Like means you are one step closer to a better world...or maybe you aren't. Maybe you shouldn't even be online that much. So click or don't click. It doesn't matter that much.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The 8BitCubist Returns

In 2010, I created an art initiative called The 8BitCubist. I'm sure many of you reading this are familiar with it. The friends and I . It was a good four-plus years of art-making, events, podcasting, and generally having a good time with friends.

But things evolve, and the band went their separate ways all went our separate ways. Personally speaking, I was pushed to the forefront of the art side of things, and that caused me to spin off into making my own art brand a much bigger thing than I originally intended.

But there is a part of the philosophy and idea of The 8BitCubist that I want to keep going, so the site will be relaunching this week with that in mind. I'll take time to build it up, but I just wanted to let everyone know what was happening.

And while I'm here, I'll also go ahead and thank Jeff Junio, Raphael Phillips, Marcellus Barnes, Theo Harvey, Ryan Dormanesh, Josh Lange, Daren Bader, Andy Lowe, Andrew Wilson, Cleo McKeever, Ashphord Jacoway, Aubree Miller, Tiny Nightmare, MegaRan, Aly Mayhem, Shayne Anigan, Keisha Howard, Thumbprint Gallery, Gam3rCon, The 10th St Theatre, Brian Bielawski, Lauren Selman, Jennifer Schumaker, Walter Meyer, JoJo Brazell, Amy Fan, Tony Hulse, Aloha, Brendan MacNeil, Annalice Heinz, William Morgan, Josh Stolze, JC Mendez, El Gun Legro, MC Lars, and a whole slew of other people.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Don't Talk About It, ____ About It

"Don't Talk About It, Be About It" has been a little mantra of mine for a while. It came from a rap lyric. Today, I had a good idea, and my first thought was, I'd better post about this. Then, an altered version of the mantra popped in my head as, "Don't Talk About It, Tweet About It."

Hmmm...I felt like my subconscious is telling me that nothing really matters unless I post about it online and someone engages with the post. Seriously. That's a real thought I've been having. (The idea of a tree falling in the forest comes to mind.)

But I'm not mad at that state of things.  I suppose that's just me just coming to grips with how things work. Maybe I should just change my mantra to, "Don't Tweet About It, Be About It." Nah, that won't get me any Likes.

You can follow me on

Friday, December 7, 2018

Being Negative Is Easy. Being Positive? That Takes Work.

The thing about being positive, is that it actually takes work. I used to take it for granted, but it's legitimate work that we need to practice at. (At least I needed to practice it.)

Now I'm not talking about ignoring issues, tolerating nonsense, or lying to yourself. That's not really focusing on the positive, that's just putting your head in the sand. I'm also not saying you should cut yourself off from negative emotions. They have their place in life, and you should be in touch with them.

Example: If there is a steaming pile of dog shit on the floor, don't spend all day fretting about the dog shit and who did it. That's easy, and it accomplishes little. Think about having a clean floor and get it back to that state. Then you can try to ensure that you keep a floor that's dog shit free. That takes a bit more work but is more satisfying.

I've spent days wasting mental cycles on some bullshit that I've seen online that I have no plans to address in any way. I was just wasting my mind's precious time and energy. I could have spent that time thinking about (and working on) the next story I'll write, the next painting I'll create, the next time I meet up with friends, the next time I travel and so on.

There's a ton to be said about this sort of thing, and people have devoted their lives to studying the power of positive thinking, so I'll come back to this post. I've been angry many times before, so I'm going to use that as a starting point to talk about becoming becoming better.

I'll come back to this topic.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I Printed A Short Story On My Biz Card

In order to fully proclaim myself as a writer, I created a super-short short story to fit on my business card. I have posted the whole thing here:

“Rabbit Tracks”
A Bearded Old Man of the Mountain Super-Short

Prologue: No one knows much about Bearded Old Man of the Mountain except that he left the city, went to the hills, grew a beard and things got weird.

The snow fell in a soft drizzle. The bearded man was unsure what the weather might do next, but for the moment, he could still make out the rabbit tracks weaving between the trees.They led to a small clearing.

As he stepped around two gnarled oaks, he spotted his objective. A cottontail rabbit was standing calmly in front of a muscled mass of mountain bear. It growled as it stared down at the tiny morsel in front of its nose. The bearded man wasn’t sure if either animal had noticed him, but he crept forward anyway. The rabbit twitched its ears but kept its stance. Slowly, the bear opened its jaws and began to lean forward. By instinct, the bearded man started to reach for the weapon in his pack, but then he paused. Something happened that he didn’t expect.

The rabbit turned its head towards him and raised its small paw. Speaking softly, it said, “Don’t worry, the bear is only here for me…The hour has come.”

The bearded man squinted slightly in confusion at this statement. He brushed the snow off his watch and checked the time. When he looked up, the rabbit was gone.

In 2019, you'll see more of my writing on my Transcendent Press website.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Most Dangerous Tool I Know Of

What follows is a test of my personal fortitude. If you don't want to read it all, jump to the END tag to see what the hell this post is really about.

------- BEGIN -------
The most dangerous writing tool.

Okay. This is a story about something called the most dangeouraous writing tool. I don' t know if you believe me, but it's the thing that has scared the shit out of me more times than I care to admit. You see, it works like this. You start typing. And can't stop until the timer comples. Because if you stop? Well then the tprogress that you've made is erased...forever. That's a pretty good motivation for someone like me, because I like to stop, think, smell the roses, ponder the meaning of life, research on YouTube, check Facebook to see what my friends might be doing, going for a walk, making a ham sandwich, taking a nap to clear the know, anything that will help me actually write. Just kidding, those things never help me write. The most dangerous writing tool is what actually helps me write. Like most things, tits. Like most things that are actually good for me, it helps me to simply "do" withoout worrying about being good or being correct. It's pure output without the bullshit in my head forcing me to derail myself somehow.

In fact, this entire post was written in five minutes timer.

Check out the app. It's pretty good and will get you past whatever writer's block taht you need, because if it doesn't. Your idea is goign to be erased. And if that happened, well...that'd be a shame now wouldn't it.
fuck...those typose wrere there because my hand slipped and I got nervous. Point is, the thing was written and I've left this point in tact with minimal editing. I've only moved a few things around because I don't write in a perfectly linear form.

This is all an exercise in getting things done. Sometimes I wonder how people get so much done in a short amount of time. Then I apply the concept to do the most dangerous thing for mostpeople to do ...put things out into the world.

------- END -------

Whew. Okay. The timer ended, and I can stop typing now. What I have above was created with The Most Dangerous Writing Tool, which can be found at

If you've ever had writer's block, it will cure that. What you write might be shit, but since you have keep writing, the blockage will be out of you. I like the tool because basically follows the "just do it" mindset, and allows you to actually get things completed. I've put this methodology to use in other places as well with good results. And yeah, putting yourself out there freely and without pause to edit feels really fucking dangerous.

Try it. I really want to know what you think about it.

Note: I mentioned in the text above that there were minimal edits, but in reality, I left the text alone. I was only said that because my brain wanted something to fill the time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

WTF? My First LOL Comedy Dream?

I have dreams from time to time, but I've never experienced full-length situation comedies that have me laughing so hard that I wake myself while wiping slobber from my mouth. What the fuck was that about? After forty years of living, I don't know that I've ever woken up in such a cackling, mad state of mind. ("Mad' as in crazy.)

Is this what happens to writers when they really start thinking about writing? Because the night before, I had gotten a story sample from a friend and was having fun thinking about story structure and putting together a good tale.

It's basically about some some heroes running into a villain, but neither side can really use their superpowers blatantly and no one takes their standard identities seriously as they're trying to outdo each other.

I might whip that up into a short story one day.

Moral of the story? Write down your dreams.

Monday, December 3, 2018

It Rained Here In LA A Few Days Ago. It Never Does That.

It rained here in LA a few days ago. 
It made me reminisce.

Everyone was talking about it
Rain doesn't usually fall out here in any appreciable amount.
People were getting ready.
Target sold out of umbrellas.
Then it happened.
The rain poured down.
Right on cue, people got a kick out of talking about the flooded roads and stinky runoff near Ralph's.
People crashed on the highway.

Unfortunately, I hate talking about the weather.
It's always been pointless to me. 
Who the fuck cares?
We aren't farmers that need to bring the cows in.
No talk of weather has ever very useful or entertaining or useful to me.
LA Traffic (aka LA weather) is only mildly useful to discuss.
Waze and a glance at pretty much takes care of that discussion.

But...the weather does one thing extremely well.
It creates an instant connection. 

My dad used to start conversations by talking about the weather.
He would try this with me.
I would get frustrated when he did this though.
I always wanted to talk about some deep aspect of the socio-political landscape. 
Or maybe I'd try to talk about some heavy art world shit.
Well, he'd been through enough deep shit.
The weather was something easy for my dad.


I wouldn't mind talking about the weather one more time.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

I Have No Startup Momentum

Second blog post of December and I don't know what to talk about. I hate this problem. It's always this weird little period in the start up phase of any creative venture where the big picture feels clear as day, but the next logical step feels like a completely foreign action.

So now...this post. It's me thinking out loud. I figure I should do what I do when I'm creating a work of art: Look back at all my sketches and previous works and create something from that. I mean, if I want momentum, I suppose that's a good plan. It works for other things, why not for a blog? Huh...that should work. Maybe I'll start from my earlier post about sketching. That should help me write this post. Yeah...

P.S. Is there a name for this early speedbump? I want to get better at plowing through it.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December Is Beta Testing For The New Year

For the past several years, I have been using December (and October/November to some extent) as a trial period for resolutions that I wanted to keep in the New Year. This year is no different. I'm only blogging about it this year because I will be attempting to blog more. Like...a lot more. I don't know why I've chosen this outlet instead of something more visually apparent like Instagram (where I do like to post), but this is what I'm going with for now since it seems to make sense.

Let's see what happens.

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