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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

It’s busy here in the Tesh household.  Scrambling for work and finding ways to pay the bills is less than the easy breeze through the holidays of years past, but so it goes.  In the finest online Black Friday tradition, though, I wanted to note that we’re now selling the Tinker and Rusty Tinker decks (featured on Pinterest over here) at our newish SquareUp shop over here:

Project Khopesh Square Shop

I also have a few other shops, like this one at Shapeways, where the Tinker Dice and Gearpunk Dice started and still feature, as well as a smattering of other goodies like the WoW Druid rings (some of which I need to update, so if their system freaks out, please let me know):

Tish Tosh Tesh Toys

The Zazzle shop, with goodies like the Fishbowl Aggro shirt, Mousemech and Battle Bards:

Tish Tosh Tesh Toyz

And even a few items over here on CafePress:

Tish Tosh Teshirts

…and yes, I was stretching for some of these shop names.  Sorry.  Sort of.

Anyway, goodies abound, and if you do happen to pick something up, thank you!  I’d love to make more goods available, but time will tell if that’s worth spending my increasingly stressful time with.  I’d love to be able to pay the bills with creative endeavors like these and Kickstarters, but it’s just not happening at the moment.  Maybe someday.  (If I wasn’t afraid of copyright infringement, oh, the fun that could be had with selling fan art and mashups…)

In the meantime, here’s hoping you had a great Thanksgiving, and that December treats you well too!

I’ll make a better post or two as the end of the year approaches, it just seemed a good time to get these out there.

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My daughter loves movies.  I’m still hoping I can parlay that interest into teaching her about animation and how to create it, since Couch Potato still isn’t a real career, unemployment reform attempts notwithstanding.  Still, she loves animated movies, as most children are wont to do.  My own childhood fascination with animation turned me early to the part of art and creativity, and despite my lifelong fascination and competence with math and the sciences, I simply find it more personally satisfying to do something artistic with my time.

I’ve had more than one occasion to wonder about the nature of work and welfare, and to wonder just what it is that I should be doing with my peculiar and particular talents.  As I watched a bit of Disney’s Beauty and Beast with my little ones, I found my love for books framed in a new light.

As the Beast and Belle build their friendship/romance, Beast shows Belle to the castle library and tells her reverently that it’s now all hers.  There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books there.  It’s a great scene, as Belle adores books, and Beast clearly wants to do something nice for her.  Beast is starting to understand the joy of giving, even as Belle takes in the sights.

I had to wonder… what if I had a library like that?  What if I were a monarch, with a castle full of retainers, trained to cater to my every whim?  What if I had no real purpose in life but to consume and be coddled?  Would I spend all my time in that library?  I think I would spend a lot of my time there, though I’d want a nice science lab next door and perhaps an orrery and observatory in the highest level of the library, maybe a foundry for some nice steampunk experimentation a little ways off, next to the wood shop.

I love books.  I devour data, and am almost always reading a few books at a time.  I love learning and thinking, finding new interconnections between bits of data.

And yet… I don’t think I’d be content with a life of pure consumption.  At some point, the itch to create would grow unbearable, and I’d have to go paint, draw, build, sculpt or write.  I just can’t life a life only comprised of taking, I have to give; I am driven to create, to contribute, to turn my energies to constructive ends.

Like Gordon’s “word monkeys”, the thoughts and ideas that are prompted by the education represented by consuming those books just have to go somewhere other than the recesses of my grey matter.  This is why I blather at length about game design (and other tish tosh) rather than just letting myself get sucked into WoW or the latest Civilization game.  Sure, I like consuming well-crafted pieces of gaming almost as much as I love reading… but I have a deeper itch to give, rather than take.

And sometimes, I have to wonder if perhaps games, of all forms of entertainment, might not be the best suited to scratch both itches at the same time.  Ours is an interactive medium, after all, and we really can let the player do extraordinary things in fantastic settings that just couldn’t happen elsewhere.  To me, that’s the strength of games; the ability to facilitate exploratory and investigative thought in situations that might not otherwise be available.  Perhaps we might not harness gamer impulses to cure cancer or Save the Universe… but I do think it is very possible to let games foster creativity and constructive impulses rather than be mere passive entertainment.

This is why I write here on the blog, it’s why I pontificate about making new games and explore new ramifications for fictional constructs like magic, it’s why I’m not working on movies like I was trained to.  I see something here in the medium of games… and I want to explore that potential.  I want to contribute something positive to the world and my posterity, even though I’m a mere artist with delusions of adequacy.

Time will tell if I manage to do so, but in the meantime, please forgive my protracted blathering here and there; I’m muddling my way through like any good muggle with only a foggy view of the more expansive reality around me.  Here’s hoping I can poke through to the light here and there, and show others some of the sights.

In the meantime, thank you for all of your comments and conversation.  As much fun as it is sending these blog posts out into the digital ocean in little WordPress bottles, it’s gratifying and humbling to see when someone lobs a message back, and all of us learn a little more.

Best wishes for Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it!  If you don’t, well, here’s hoping you have a good weekend anyway!

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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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I’m in an introspective mood today. Must be the stormclouds outside. Or the economy. Or maybe the articles like these and sites like these that I’ve been reading lately. Maybe it’s the leftover Thanksgiving turkey I ate for lunch.

I’ve resisted the siren call of World of Warcraft for at least three years now. (Giving in a few times to the ten day trial, of course, and plenty of reading.) It’s not because I think it’s a bad game. It’s because I don’t have time for it. (Which drives my extreme distaste for the subscription model.) I’ve all but quit Atlantica Online, an excellent free game. I almost never play Puzzle Pirates any more, despite being a huge fan. I’m playing Guild Wars lately, and hopefully soon with my wife and friend and brother in law… but I can’t see that lasting for terribly long. I just don’t have the time. Oh, it’ll be great fun while it lasts, and I doubt I’ll ever get burned out to the point of disliking the game, but there’s just so much else that I would like to do. (more…)

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