Introducing Grimoire

TL;DR: I’m building Deckbox but for Pokémon cards. Headless WordPress app with a Next.js/React frontend. You can browse the catalog now; you can also request a beta invite if you want to try it out. Want to learn more? Read on!

My first job out of college was for Blackbaud working on their next-generation platform. It was a software-as-a-service built with an API-first design: every action taken by a user, even through the official app, went through the API. During my time there, the primary app went from a Windows application to a Javascript application (something that made my Mac-loving heart happy), and this was possible because the user interface was decoupled from the application logic.

I think this architecture has stuck with me more than I realized. As headless WordPress took off, I had the chance to learn how to properly build a API-based application. Now all I needed was a problem to solve…

A problem like the massive amount of Pokémon cards in my collection. I’ve started selling some of them on TCGplayer, and while they have a decent app, it didn’t quite fit my needs. I needed an application I could store my catalog in and quickly check it for cards that have increased in value. It also needed to be able to tag different versions of the same card for when it came time to build a deck.

I’d worked on something for this before, even wrote a blog post about it, but now it’s time to finish the job. To that end, let me introduce Grimoire.

Yeah, it doesn’t look like much. In the interest of finishing, this is a minimally viable product. In this case, lots of Bootstrap. But let me show you what there is!


The Optimist Still Laments

In September of 2020, I published a song called “The Optimist’s Lament” that was one-half a listing of everything going wrong with the world and one-half a desperate prayer to God to help. Today, I lament more.

Today, right-wing insurrectionists stormed the capitol of my country in an attempt to stop the certification of an election. This is horrible. Yet what hurts me the most here is seeing the multiple instances of Christian imagery in the attack.

Check the “Proud American Christian” in this flag:

via Anthony B. Bradley / @drantbradley on Twitter

Or the more classic Christian Flag in the background of this one:

Image may contain: one or more people, beard, hat, closeup and outdoor
via J. M. Giordano photo / @jmgpix on Twitter

And I’m not surprised. Honestly, I’m not even angry anymore. Just sad. I’m sad that my faith—the part of me that I can hold on to when literally nothing else makes sense—is used in this way.

I was angry about this once. But this already happened in 2020:

After having police and National Guard units disperse protestors with flash-bang and tear gas munitions, President Trump posed for media with a bible in front of St. John’s Church.
via Doug Mills / The New York Times

Not to mention 2016:

via Christianity Today

But this is just politics. It goes all the way back to the late 70’s where many prominent Christian leaders were galvanized into politics by the Supreme Court verdict in Roe v. Wade the loss of tax exemptions by Bob Jones University based on their segregationist policies:

Although a few evangelical voices, including Christianity Today magazine, mildly criticized the [Roe v. Wade] ruling, the overwhelming response was silence, even approval. Baptists, in particular, applauded the decision as an appropriate articulation of the division between church and state, between personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior. “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision,” wrote W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press.


The IRS was not placated. On January 19, 1976, after years of warnings—integrate or pay taxes—the agency rescinded the school’s tax exemption.

For many evangelical leaders, who had been following the issue since  Green v. Connally, Bob Jones University was the final straw. As Elmer L. Rumminger, longtime administrator at Bob Jones University, told me in an interview, […] “That was really the major issue that got us all involved.”

Randall Balmer, “The Real Origins of the Religious Right,” Politico

But I don’t have the energy to be angry about that. Because while some have been using the name of Jesus to justify abhorrent political views like locking undocumented immigrants in literal cages or promoting the rich at the expense of the poor, others have just been using symbols of Christianity to justify… stuff.

Picture of the founder of My Pillow with his cross necklace enlarged
via MyPillow
via DaySpring

So yeah. I don’t have the energy to get angry about images of Christ’s sacrifice—the time that the crowd chose to execute an innocent man instead of the violent insurrectionist—being used to sell a fascist coup.

I don’t even have the energy to get angry about images of Christ’s sacrifice—the entire means by which I can gain some hope in this bleak life—being used to sell questionable political beliefs.

Because I spent too much energy fighting off images of Christ’s sacrifice—an event so traumatic Jesus literally sweat blood in anticipation of it—being used to sell sub-par, half-quality merchandise that I’m “supposed” to buy instead because it’s “Christian.”

So yeah, I’m sad. Sad that the symbols of my faith, rather than being a sign that I am welcome and safe, are now warnings for me to stay away.


Headcanon for Lego Batman

For the unfamiliar, a “headcanon” is a fan’s interpretation of an aspect of a work that does not necessarily align with the work as generally accepted. In a sentence: “It’s canon in my head.” What follows is my personal interpretation of The Lego Batman Movie.

Not sure if Batman spoilers but definitely Lego Movie spoilers so have a break:


So I Picked a Fight With CarMax

It started with an email:

Email from CarMax saying "Evan, remember that Mini you sold us?"

Let’s see, do I remember that Mini?

Picture of sky-blue 2009 Mini Cooper hardtop with white roof, mirrors, and stripes

Yes. Yes I do. Story time: I bought that Mini February of 2009. Custom-built: no sunroof or automatic A/C, but I added in bonnet stripes, fog lamps, and sport seats. 6-speed manual transmission.


Satoru Iwata

My first great garage sale find was an original Nintendo Entertainment System with all the cords, 2 controllers, and 4 games including Super Mario Brothers 3 and Contra. All for seven dollars.

We sold Contra for seven dollars. I later heard about Contra and all it entails, but I don’t really regret that sale. We didn’t enjoy that game a whole lot (mostly because it was super hard), and it meant we basically got the NES for free.

Now, this was back in the days when GameStop still bought/sold classic games. We picked up original Zelda and sold it back. We found a copy of Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt and might have sold it back; I can’t really remember.

And then we found Kirby’s Adventure.

When the Virtual Console for Wii was announced, I explained why I was looking forward to playing Kirby’s Adventure again:

First, Kirby’s Adventure is fun. Plain and simple. Not many games from this time period let you fly to get around puzzles, let alone absorb abilities from your enemies. Second, the game is expansive. There are at least six different worlds, each with several levels and minigames to boot. Third, powerups. One minute you’re throwing razor-sharp boomerangs, the next you’re a fireball, and the next you’re a floating UFO shooting laser beams. Don’t like what you’ve got? Press select and find a new one. But my personal favorite is the surprise ending, where [spoiler deleted] and you find out that [spoiler deleted].

Kirby’s Adventure is one of the best games of the 8-bit era. It has an unusual game mechanic, plenty of secret areas to discover, save files, a surprise ending, and one part even has parallax-scrolling backgrounds that most games didn’t see until the Sega Genesis / Super Nintendo era.

Satoru Iwata was a producer on that game. He’s most known for working as a programmer at HAL labs, working on games like Kirby and Earthbound (and even doubling the size of Pokemon Gold/Silver!) before moving on to become the president of Nintendo. He was there for Nintendo’s release of the Nintendo DS and Wii which were responsible for the company’s massive successes last decade, and when the 3DS and WiiU didn’t sell as planned, he himself took a pay cut. And when news of his death was released yesterday, it took so many people–myself included–by surprise.

He was an authentic president, a skilled coder, and he will be missed. Rest in peace, Iwata.



I’ve largely been silent on the issue of Ferguson, MO. Most of what I’ve “said” on the topic have been retweets and reblogs of what other people have said. Since I’m not on the ground there, I’ve ceded my voice to those that are. Since this doesn’t feel like my story, I’ve ceded my voice to those who it is.

Though I’ve been developing opinions of my own on the subject, I was waiting for the evidence and the investigation to be made public before saying anything. I feel that I need to be serious with my words; firing off half-baked opinions about a controversial topic based on shaky evidence is not what I want to be known for. I trusted our justice system to conduct a complete investigation and give Officer Wilson a fair trial.

With Monday’s announcement that there would be no trial (at least at the state level), that trust has been shaken. And so I write.

I firmly believe that there is enough doubt around the circumstances of Michael Brown’s death that a trial is deserved. The solution to conflicting reports is to bring them out at trial. The solution to conflicting evidence is to investigate it. There is a lot of noise around this event; we need a real investigation and a real trial to cut through the noise and find the truth.

Many people have bemoaned how the court of public opinion has already found Officer Wilson guilty of murder. The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney could have taken the judgement to an actual court, but chose not to. Perhaps I am being unfair–after all, it was a Grand Jury that chose not to indict Officer Wilson. Yet Attorney McCulloch had a simple job and failed to do it.

These events have shaken my faith in the justice system in my country. I’ve always believed that the system was fair; I see now that it isn’t. I have thought that the disproportionate targeting of African-Americans by police was a factor of wealth or some other circumstance, but now I’m wondering if racism in the police force is a bigger problem than I first believed.

Even if Michael Brown was a thug that deserved to die, Officer Wilson did not have the right to make that decision. The death penalty, even where it exists, can only be given out by a jury, not a single officer. If Michael Brown did not deserve to die, then this is a crime. This needs to be investigated. We need the truth.


This Kony 2012 Stuff

Having kept track of or been involved with Invisible Children in one way or another since 2006, I’m excited to see their latest video getting so much attention.

Having kept track of or been involved with Invisible Children in one way or another since 2006, it’s easy for me to believe the recent accusations against them.

I do not have a firm opinion on this nor the time to properly formulate one.


The Late Unpleasantness

Have a few brief thoughts on this whole Bin Laden kerfluffle that are too long for twitter, so here goes.

  • At the Phillies/Mets game the news broke in the bottom of the 8th, prompting a spontaneous chant of “USA! USA!” that got the crowd excited and utterly confused the players. Why one of the players didn’t turn around and ask someone in the stands is beyond me (unless there’s an MLB rule against it or something).
  • There’s lots of scripture being tossed around twitter right now. Most of it is a variation of God not taking pleasure in the death of the wicked, but there is also the occasional “when the wicked perish there are shouts of joy.”
  • The most balanced take so far is probably Derek Webb’s:

don’t celebrate death, celebrate justice

And now I should get back to work.


We Are Hiring… O RLY?

In the spirit of John Gruber I am going to bring the smack to this unsolicited e-mail I was just sent because some company is trolling a popular job search website.

Hi, my name is Andrew W. King and I am the President of United American’s Branch Office Division.

I believe we have a winner for the “Most Obscure Yet Oddly Professionally Sounding Name Of A Company” award!

I found your resume online and wanted to contact you.

If this wasn’t an obvious form letter, I’d appreciate that. But it is, so I don’t.

We are now hiring applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and we believe you are an outstanding match.

In other words, I have a pulse.

We have immediate openings for motivated individuals like you.

You could tell I was motivated just by my resume? Then you obviously didn’t catch that I’m living at my parents’ house.

First year earnings can range as high as $100,000 for new representatives and management positions are awarded for excellence, regardless of prior experience.

So, if I “award” you the award mentioned above, will you “award” me a management position?

If you are goal-oriented with good communication skills and have a desire to succeed within a company that has a well-known industry reputation for financial stability, quality products and streamlined services, then I would like to speak with you at your earliest convenience.

Rule Number One for Evan: NO SALES POSITIONS I’m sorry, but this is not negotiable. Unless you’re Apple.

We are a part of the Torchmark Corporation.

Found them. Do not want. I mean… really do not want.

Moral of the story: don’t spam. You’re wasting the time I could have spent trolling craigslist.



I may or may not have attempted to grill pork on the stove.

I may or may not have set off the smoke alarm.

The local fire department may or may not have been called.

This may or may not show up on my student account.


Update: I did. I did. I did. It won’t.