Category Archives: Random

The work

Today was one of those days when I sat down to work on my next novel and didn’t feel like doing it. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen much – if it did, it would be a sign that I needed to find a different craft. But it happens.

But I sat down, and wrote. I will probably never use what I wrote; it was not a productive writing session. But the problem with not writing one day is that it becomes more difficult to write the next.

In any art, the key is to work at it every day.

The work is not always pleasant; but it is always essential.

The Invisible Beast

The political moment of today in the United States is so bizarre, it gives us Europeans cause for mirth. It does so because our worlds are an ocean apart. But that’s a mistake. They are much closer than most realize.

We should treat it with concern, not mirth.

If I have noticed anything during my life, it is that the USA is “patient zero” for socio-economic fashions and ailments alike. Everything that affected them in the past reached the old continent in less than half a dozen years. In this era of super-fast dissemination of information, this timescale will certainly be shortened.

What we saw was a country deeply divided along an ideological line, almost flawlessly to its center. The tiebreaker was forced by the hand of the beast, of the semi-conscious structure formed by the political, media, and corporate triad. This is a semi-invisible creature, one who likes to work behind the scenes, with Machiavellian refinement, but this time it was forced to reveal more of itself than ever before.

It doesn’t matter whether we like the result or not. The difference between a renowned illusionist and a charlatan is whether we can see the invisible strands.

And millions saw the strands.

The Year of the Old: Failure and Analysis

In early 2020, I decided that it would be “a year of old things.” 

The plan was that I would avoid new things, so as not to get carried away by current trends and, instead, be able to properly appreciate things that were no longer under the limelight. 

The project failed badly, at least as far as video games are concerned. Here is a brief account of my failure, and an analysis of why I failed. 

When it came to books, everything went well. I spent the year reading several books that were waiting for me, some of them decade-old. (Favorites: “Life and Achievements of Alexis Zorbás” and “Christ, Recrucified” by Nikos Kazantzakis.) 

Regarding cinema, I admit that I completely forgot about my decision, but damage only happened come December, when I received a free trial period for Disney+, which I used to see the last season of “The Mandalorian” and the new Pixar film, “Soul,” with my wife. I had spent the previous months exploring Netflix’s archive, without feeling any major loss. 

Life clashed with my plans in the video game landscape. It turns out that my friends (and brother) convinced me to resurrect a long-dormant project, ene3cast; ene3cast was the first Portuguese podcast on video games. 

The goal this time was to finally turn the hobby into a business. We set up a subscription system, and went to work generating content. It quickly became clear to me that the Portuguese market is not big enough to support a program focused on the “games of the past” niche. Whether we like it or not, selling an audio program — especially when competition is free — requires one to be up to date on current trends. 

And that was how 2020 ended up not being a year in which I played only older games, but in reality, became one of the years in which I played the most recently released games. 

All in all, it was a good decision. Sometimes projects come into conflict, and we have to choose which to proceed with. In this case, what I gained — a source of alternative revenue, many hours of fun recording with friends, and the experience of setting up a micro-business — far exceeded the satisfaction that fulfilling my initial decision would bring me. 

Don’t be afraid to change course. Sometimes, more attractive destinations appear.