The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #386: The Marginal Utility of Time, Reflections on 2022, and Future Goals

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #386: The Marginal Utility of Time, Reflections on 2022, and Future Goals

Happy new year, and welcome to 2023!  This first episode of the new year is all about time.  Though time exists independent of all of us and will go on and on regardless of whether we exist in it or not, it is a finite resource for us living creatures.   I think of an expression (which I might be paraphrasing) that my mother, who studied economics in college sometimes used (one I thought was humorous due to the extravagance of the words) – “diminishing returns of marginal utilities.”  If I’m getting this correct, the “marginal utility” part describes the satisfaction that one experiences by consuming one unit of something.  While economists are usually referring to “utility” in terms of as a product, I think the concept applies to some nonpurchasable items as well, including time.  In some cases, the more time you have, the less you value it; yet when you have less, it becomes more and more precious.  Gaining even a bit more would yield a net positive marginal utility.  But none of us, regardless of our station in life, can get more of it.  We all have however much time we are given, and none of us know how much.

There is a quote from the novel “The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles that is inscribed on Brandon Lee’s tombstone (it came up in one of his last, if not the last interview he did prior to his death) that is particularly poignant and gets at this idea:

“Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens echoed similar sentiments when it came to his own work in ways I think many artists will be able to relate to.  In the podcast, I include a segment from one of Dave’s journals read by Billy Campbell from the documentary Dave Stevens: Drawn to Perfection

When I was initially writing The Thirteenth Hour as a teenager, I think I was trying to put these idea into words in my own way.  I suppose I had a different view of time since I was younger, but looking at it decades later, I think that is one of the underlying messages of the book – taking life by the reins and making the most of it, that the world can what you make of it if you believe in your dreams and don’t sit passively by, letting time pass you by.

Interestingly, the Buddhists have a slightly different take on this since they believe in do-overs.  Life, from a Buddhist perspective, is about suffering, and escaping this cycle of birth and rebirth is to finally find peace (a.k.a. nirvana).  But for those of us still in the world, there are some interesting insights in this drawing below of the samsara (wheel of life).  There is a segment of the wheel below (the one with the animals in it) that is called, not surprisingly, the animal realm.  The Buddhist view of non-human animals is that they are not as evolved, not as intelligent (human-centric, I know) and so creatures born into this part of the samsara earned their lot in life though past negative karmic action.  I don’t know if I agree with that, but I think you can also use aspects of this as an analogy for parts of human existence.  When we are in the animal realm, we are focused on survival – just getting through the day.  But when we get a breather and have better resources, we can enter into the higher realms where we have increasing ability to reflect on our situation and focus on more than day to day needs.  Times like the new year sometimes give us cause to stop, pause, and reflect on where we want to go.   So in this episode, I not only reflect on some of the positives of the past year and some goals for the one to come.

The Wheel of Life - Samsara | Thangka Mandala

Thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #367: Custom Action Figure Updates, Final Faction, and Rocketeer Video Game Updates

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #367: Custom Action Figure Updates, Final Faction, and Rocketeer Video Game Updates


This week, I talk a bit about a few concurrent projects such as making 3.75 inch Rocketeer figures from a 3.75″ Iron Man toy as well as the Rocketeer video game I’ve been working on.


The Rocketeer prototype so far with the mold for the pack as well as one of the resin casted packs and the helmet (ironically, the same size helmet that I used for the Lego Rocketeer minifigures).


I did successfully get a separate stock figure cracked open and will be sculpting some clay over these parts to look like the prototype to allow for making a resin copy.


Looking forward to painting this guy and adding some details.  Speaking of painting …


I’ve been repainting The Thirteenth Hour figures (even parts that didn’t need to be painted) to reflect a simplified color scheme with more bold, primary colors.  Also reworked Logan’s arms to hopefully fit better and be more stable.


I recently went to a Dollar Tree and found the Final Faction line of toys – only $1.25 each!  It’s a surprisingly good value for the price.  There are accessories, comics, and apparently, even a cartoon show.  They may be good bases for making future Thirteenth Hour figures if I can get them apart (which I think should be easier than something like the Iron Man figure since there are screws in the back).


This is the first issue of the comic …


Someone writing it clearly had a sense of humor having a back page like this … 


Just like in GI Joe, the back of the packing has a short bio and some stats.  There’s also a QR code for the cartoon!

german soldier

Progress of the Rocketeer game …  Did a bunch of pixel art and story creation this week, adding to aspects of the world of the game, like this NPC enemy, a German foot soldier.


I finally figured out flying and shooting straight and added some backgrounds.  There is now a full fledged short story behind the game as well.


More coming soon!  Will get back to reading Dragon Fall next week.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #363: Starting to Make Video Games Again!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #363: Starting to Make Video Games Again!

This week, I talk a bit about two upcoming projects – starting to make video games again after a few decades of not doing it!  Though I’ve used a number of the animations and sprites I made in various things, most recently the music video of Logan using the music Jeff Finley and I made, for the most part most of the work I did making games using engines like Klik ‘N Play and The Games Factory sat mostly unused all these years.  But every now and then, I’d take a look at the games making software out there, since the dream of making a Thirteenth Hour game in some capacity has never really gone away.  Fast forward to now, and I discovered a freeware games making program called GDevelop, which seems to have the abilities of the programs I used before with more user-friendliness.   So, I decided to learn how to use the program by making a simple, one level game of the Rocketeer where he runs, shoots, and flies to escape from a facility where he’s (almost) been taken captive.  Turns out, I’ve been able to reuse some of the animations I did in the past, which has saved a lot of work of creating everything from scratch.

rocketeer idlerocketeer run

So, more updates to come as I learn the program and advance the game!  

Speaking of games, the second project I’m working on is learning more about becoming a DM to be able to host DnD games set in the Thirteenth Hour universe for Patreon members.  So far, I’m looking at modifying some of the existing systems out there to fit the world and the ideas I have.  So stay tuned!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #298: Welcome Game Creators Paul Korman and Ric Highbury, of The Phantom Fellows

 The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #298: Welcome Game Creators Paul Korman and Ric Highbury, of The Phantom Fellows

This week, Paul Korman and Ric Highbury from the Classic Gamers Guild Facebook Group and Classic Gamers Guild Podcast join my brother, Jeremy, and I to talk about a point and click pixelart adventure game they are making coming out next year.  We had a great conversation about a number of wide reaching topics related to game design – story creation, influences, pixelart, art, music scores, and more.  They sent me an advance version of the demo (which is coming out this week), and it was great fun – a throwback to some of the adventure games we played as a kid.  Here are a few screenshots:


If you’d like to learn more about The Phantom Fellows, check out the following:

The Phantom Fellows Instagram

The Phantom Fellows Twitter


The Phantom Fellows on Steam


If you’d like to learn more about The Classic Gamers Guild, check out the following:

CGG website (with all the episodes) – also available on most major podcasting platforms

CGG Instagram

Support the CGGuild and The Phantom Fellows by joining the CGG Patreon.


Paul does the intro and outro music to the CGG podcast, by the way.  Listen to more of Paul’s music on Bandcamp.  Read more of Jeremy’s thoughts on games on Tumblr.  And if you have a desire to experiment with game making and introduce game making to children, check out Pixicade.

The built in physics with it allow you to make some fun and surprisingly advanced games.   I made a Thirteenth Hour archery game with it.  The set has you make everything with makers (different colors for different game mechanics), though can also do it on the computer and print it out in color.  I made the archery game with pixels.  You can play it here. 

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!




There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up ( and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!