Hello there! I’m Ross Llewallyn, and I listen to a hell of a lot of podcasts. I often share them with my friends on social media, but often I don’t get around to each one. Sometimes the moment of interest is more personal, sometimes it’s a bit off the wall, and sometimes it feels way too late to share.
That’s why I’m starting a new experiment! I’ll collect over the month various podcast episodes that were especially funny, insightful, entertaining, or weird. This way I’ll have a dedicated place to put my reactions to episodes, and people will only have to be bothered by my enthusiasm once a month!
I’m tired of missing and skipping starting this because it’s not the first of the month or whatever nonsense. It’s true that I started this post late into the month, but it’s so easy to make excuses to not try something new. I think it just takes a little push to get rolling into it, though. So let’s get started!
Back around March of this year, I came across a Kickstarter for an art and event space in downtown Atlanta that moved me. It was an effort to fund needed repairs for the place, but the owners brought in larger themes about revitalizing a small part of downtown.
The Mammal Gallery (TMG) is on Broad Street, a spot I walked through while roaming around downtown and the Capitol last November. It’s a rough spot with few open storefronts or businesses in the evening, which I view as a marker of the effects of wealthier people leaving the area for Buckhead or outside the perimeter over several decades. The folks behind TMG say they wish to be an establishment that can bring business and culture back to the area.
Super Mario 64 is a 1996 Nintendo 64 classic that introduced to a wide audience the possibilities of the 3-dimensional platformer. It preceded and laid groundwork for Super Mario Sunshine and the Galaxy games. It was also one of the most important games of my childhood: I played it for hours, beat it multiple times, marveled at its depth and complexity, and messed with it with a Gameshark.
So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that about a month ago I took time to read Kotaku and AV Club articles on a recent development about the game. Frankly, though, it should attract attention that this game has any news at all, even without my rampant nostalgia factor. When was the last time anything exciting came out of Wave Race 64? C’mon!
The news? Scott Buchanan, or “pannenkoek2012” on YouTube, was accomplishing major feats within Super Mario 64 that had gone unresolved for years. Notably he had obtained the “impossible coin” through tool-assisted gameplay and significant experimentation. More recently he discovered a “mystery Goomba” and tested different methods to stomp it.
I watched two videos recently that blended nicely together on the topic of competitive or professional video game play. The first was a Rev3Games Casual Friday where the primary trio of hosts chatted about the president of ESPN saying esports weren’t “real sports” and whether that actually mattered. The second was the Top 10 TF2 Plays of July(1)It takes a month to compile/edit the content., showcasing the best moments in Team Fortress 2 competitive play.
TF2 was my primary game while I was involved with Couch Athletics from 2008-2012. I played in and ran multiple weekly events for years and logged over 3,000 hours in the game. I haven’t played TF2 much since then, but I still regularly follow eXtelevision, a YouTube channel dedicated to casting and highlighting great competitive TF2. This video in particular had several great clips from many of the nine classes in the game that inspired me to collect examples for each one and talk about what makes Team Fortress 2 a game of great depth and excitement for both player and viewer. Consider it a primer for an important game and its diverse gameplay, as well as a defense of its value as an esport, even if you won’t ever play it!
Matt Dillahunty started a Patreon campaign a few months ago and received significant support for it before even starting to put up videos. He’s a notable figure at conferences, in debates, and especially on The Atheist Experience, a weekly public access show out of Austin that is majorly responsible for my own deconversion. So I naturally supported his Patreon campaign when I saw it.
I finally took time today to watch the half-hour videos he created on Pascal’s Wager and the argument from design. I’m happy to support his efforts even without watching all the content immediately because I personally have heard plenty on these arguments already. What’s important to me is supporting clear, comprehensive, and articulate treatments of many religious arguments into the world. I find great value in videos like these becoming watershed moments or markers of the best place to have an idea addressed. I want really good discussions in an accessible form for everyone to be able to link to, learn, and straighten out ideas.
With that in mind, I have some thoughts about the videos I watched and some constructive criticism that I believe would help ensure that Dillahunty’s videos continue to be made and exist as educational milestones in religious argumentation.