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Posts Tagged ‘charity’

The guys over at the Ironman Mode: The Blog sent a random email to me over the weekend, asking for a bit of airtime.  (Or whatever the digital blog equivalent is.)  I don’t usually care about such requests, but this one is worth writing a bit about.

I’m actually not all that interested in Ironman challenges in my own gaming, but I appreciate their aim of blogging about self-imposed hardcore gaming and trying to use that as a platform for some humor and Child’s Play donations.  It’s nice to see players playing games their way instead of following the golden path, and doing a bit for charity en route.  I’ve thought about doing a “MMO travelogue” blog before (gotta use those 5000-and-counting screenshots somehow, right?), so I can totally understand the impulse to get out there and share a themed blog.

And hey, Minecraft is their most popular title so far, so that’s some bonus points right there.

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Big Bear Heart

Raid From The Heart

See you tomorrow.  I’ll be there as a Tauren Druid, Tishtoshtesh.

‘Tis for a good cause, with some good people.

Oh, and I made the logo, used in the shop (and below), in which all profits go to the American Heart Association.

Tally ho!

Raid From The Heart 2010

(Yes, I had great plans for some really stellar, awesome desktops, but I’m running out of time to do all the things I need to.  Alas.)

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I’ve seen this pop up in a few places, and figured it might interest some of you.

DriveThruRPG is offering a package of PDF downloads for various RPGs as a way to generate funds for Haitians dealing with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.

If you’re a cold hearted capitalist, this is a fantastic deal to get some good source material for tabletop RPG play.  Take advantage of the situation, you big meanie.

If you’re one of those soft-hearted bleeding heart carebear nice guys, the money they are taking in for this promotion goes to help people who need it.  You selfless prig.  (Oh, and they are donating to that unwashed bunch of hippes, the Doctors Without Borders.  Internationalist dogooders.)

So, for $20 you can champion your cause, whether it’s selfish capitalization of tumultuous times, or trying to help people when all you have is a checkbook.

Who said gamers only want to kill things?

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This year, I find that I am especially thankful for warmth.

We needed to replace our furnace last week, and were without heat in our home (aside from some space heaters) for three nights.  Temperatures around here that week were below freezing (around the mid twenties Fahrenheit).  It was an uncomfortable few days.

My personal thermostat is generally about 10 degrees cooler than that of most people; I’ve always liked it cold.  Still, I have little children and a wife who likes it warm, and I couldn’t help but feel incompetent for not taking care of them better.

So now we have a new, much more efficient furnace.  Nobody got sick because of the time in the cold, but it could have been a lot worse.

I’m thankful for the pair of guys who put the new furnace in.  It might have been easy to look down on them as they did their “grunt” work, but they were professional, competent and performed a service I couldn’t have done.  To be honest, they probably have far better reason to look down on me for sitting at a desk all day, making a game.

I’m thankful none of us got sick.

I’m thankful for a kind wife who didn’t yell at me, even though I felt I deserved it.

I’m thankful that I have a job that allows me to have the money to pay for the new furnace.  We’re not top wage earners, but we have enough for our needs, and we live within our means.  I’m thankful that is possible, and that my family has a history of financial prudence.

As always, I also have tangential thoughts.

One, it’s always nice to be thanked.  There’s a rush of satisfaction and warmth that comes with genuine thanks, and it can warm the soul like few other things can.  There is also the personal peace that comes with living a life worthy of being thanked.  There’s also a special kind of warmth that comes from doing things worth being thanked for, but doing them anonymously.

Two, I remember a moment of contrast that reminds me of those cold nights.

I was a missionary for the LDS church in Alabama for two years.  (My little brother is going to the same mission here in a couple of weeks, curiously enough.)  I spent a few months in the bowels of Birmingham.  A couple of white guys in the inner city of a Deep Southern town just didn’t fit in.  There were genuinely scary moments, and some genuinely threatening people.  (Of course, some saw us as a threat as well, albeit in a slightly different light.)

I was young, preoccupied, and somewhat scared the day that we walked past a fellow sleeping in a doorwell.  He looked rather disheveled, and probably asleep.  It wasn’t cold at that time of the year, but when you’re sleeping on cement in the shadow, with only a single blanket, you’re not going to be comfortable.  His skin happened to be darker than mine, his appearance far less presentable.

And I was afraid of him.

I don’t know his story, and I may never know.  We walked on by, and didn’t bother him.  We didn’t speak of it, so I can’t speak for my companion, but there were warring factions in my mind and heart.  My mission was to uplift and serve.  I wanted to help the fellow in whatever way I could.

But I was afraid.

Perhaps he was a drunk, sleeping off a binge.  Maybe he would wake up blindly swinging.  And what would he think of a couple of white boys in Sunday attire, rousing him from his nap?  We had more than our share of racial tensions to deal with when people saw us coming from a distance.  Up close and personal might be even more dangerous.  As missionaries, we also had our share of religious bigotry to deal with, and layered on top of racial and sociopolitical tensions, we could be in some very tight situations.  A guy sleeping in a doorway just presented a lot of unknowns.

I wanted to help, but I was afraid.

I didn’t remember Paul:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)

I didn’t remember the lessons of the Good Samaritan.

I was just afraid.  And now, over a dozen years later… I am cold.

It is a terrible, bitter cold, when one is left to wonder “am I that Levite?” or “why didn’t I help?”  As I’ve noted elsewhere, charity to me is a way of life, a set of actions guided by a pure love of your fellow beings.  As one man put it:

Charity is the pure love of Christ

It’s not a check to an Organization, or a handful of coins in the Salvation Army bucket on your way out the door with a hundred dollars’ worth of food.  It’s not something done for attention, tax breaks, or donor perks.  It’s simply something you do because it’s the right thing to do, it’s very personal, and it’s more about the giving than the receiving, even receiving thanks.  It’s about doing the right thing, no matter what.

So yes, I am grateful for a lot of things.  I’ve tried to live a life where other people can be grateful for my existence.  I don’t always get it right, and I’m thankful for those who forgive me when I mess up.

You have to move on in life and not get stuck in past mistakes… but you have to learn from them, too.  So what would I do today in the same position?

What would you do?

Hopefully, something worth being thanked for, even if nobody ever actually thanks you.  Something to bring some warmth to someone else.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

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So, let’s see… there are the Oscars (Academy Awards), Emmys (I worked extensively on Lemmings, a short film that got a student Emmy a few years back), Peabodys and Nobels.  Before today, though, there were no Teshes.

I hereby present the first not-quite-annual-really-whenever-I-feel-so-inclined Tesh awards for fine bloggery and upstanding personality.

Yup, this is another story of how I took a meme that someone tagged me with and bent it to my own slightly less than nefarious designs.

The parties at fault here would be Ysharros and Pete, a fine pair of writers who alternate between reading my mind and making me wonder what they were thinking.  (In the best possible way, of course; that’s merely a comment on the sometimes bewildering shifts between topics I wholly agree with, and those that I never would have thought of, but am happy to read.)

Apparently, I’m supposed to thank my taggers (thanks, you two!), and then list others who I think do a great job, and then tell others to do the same.  These things could run the risk of going the Oscar “navel-gazing-pat-yourself-on-the-back” route, but I’m taking this as an opportunity to thank some people and offer some recommendations for fine reading.  (And plug my new Merc page, which uses the logo design below for some merchandising.  Yay for commercial tie-ins!)

First off, there is the basic level of the Tesh awards (Teshes), which is merely the Tesh Seal of Approval.

Tesh Seal of Approval

Tesh Seal of Approval

If you’re on the blogroll over there, you get this award.  You wouldn’t be there if I didn’t like your work.

A step above and beyond that, though, nets the coveted Golden Tesh award.

Golden Tesh

Golden Tesh

These are hereby awarded to the following authors for various reasons:

Big Bear Butt, Phaelia, Wolfshead and Muckbeast for the inspiration to start blogging in the first place.  BBB really started it all, expressing appreciation for a bit of moral support I offered some time ago in a comment thread.  Phaelia also engcouraged me to write, and Wolfshead and Muckbeast share an irrereverent critical take on the MMO genre that has prompted many of the thoughts that I’ve expounded on hereabouts.  We’re all coming from different directions, but without these four especially, I’d probably not have even bothered with this blog thing in the first place.

Chris and Capn’ John for being early adopters, as well as their continued good humor and kindred thoughts.  These are the guys I’d have a blast playing volleyball with… even if they can’t play (I don’t know if they can, actually, so it’s the thought that counts).  That’s high praise, actually, for those who don’t realize it from how… pithy it looks.  These are the guys that I count as friends, or at least kindred spirits… and that’s not something I do lightly.

Big Red Kitty and Phaelia for their recent rededication to their families, at the cost of their blog.  They have give much to those in the WoW blog world, (and WoW gave back to Phaelia in a great way), and their works will be appreciated.  Even more than that, though, I heartily applaud their respective choices to put family first, and I wish them very, very well.

Tipa and Saylah for their tireless championing of Wizard 101, and their challenges to the DIKU establishment.  Also, it’s always a pleasure reading their work, on whatever subject.  (Tipa’s comics are a great bonus, too.)

Ysharros and Wiqd for prompting the most interesting thoughts that have changed my own personal game design projects.  Alpha Hex is only the start, and if it works, well… there’s more to do.

So yeah… apparently I’m supposed to also tag others to do the same sort of thing, but that’s never been my strong point.  I’m an evasive Explorer, not a Hunter-Killer.  If this sort of thing appeals to you, by all means take it and run with it.

Oh, and there’s a third thing… I’m supposed to write ten honest and/or interesting things about myself.  Again, I’m evasive, so I’ll just point out that I’ve probably written at least that many things over the last few months here on this blog.  For those latecomers, though, here’s a cookie crumb:

I’m a technical artist in the game industry by trade, and my Bachelor’s degree is in Computer Animation (Pixar-level stuff).  I could be working for Rhythm and Hues (they wanted me for the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe movie) and maybe even Pixar (they love my alma mater) by now, but I will not live in California.  So, I work in games at small local studios close to my extended family.  I’m an artist, scientist, writer and teacher.  Maybe one of these days, I’ll find out how to get paid for all of them at the same time.  In the meantime, I just write and think about game design, which I find is a bit of a mishmash of all of them.  Renaissance thinking makes me happy, and finding ways to express and utilize all of my interests makes me happier.

My family is the most important thing in the world to me, starting with my lovely and wonderful wife, two beloved children, and extending to my extended family.  They are why I work where I do, and why I work as hard as I do.

…and ultimately, it’s thinking of them that made this post even relevant.  See, a week and a half ago, I taught a bit in church about “Finding Joy in the Journey“, and was reminded once again just how important it is to connect with the people you love and respect.  I quote from that article:

“Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”

If you care about someone enough to let them know, if wish to offer gratitude, if you feel any impulse whatsoever to offer a bit of kindness, do so.  In a world sometimes gone mad, it’s the little kindnesses that will keep people alive and well.

Thanks, all, for stopping by, and for your kind and thoughtful comments around here.  May your lives be a bit brighter every day, and may you find ways to share that light.  Even if you have to put your tongue in your cheek for a bit, or dance around the “sentimental stuff”, the kindness will come through, and we can all use a bit lot more of that.

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