Character Matters

Week in Review - November 8, 2020

Disclaimer: This week’s newsletter will cover some political views. If you are uninterested in that, feel free to skip down to some a pico8 giveaway I’m currently running on Twitter.

What a week!

I watched way too much news this week. There wasn’t a moment in the house where a computer or television wasn’t tuned to a news station, waiting for a state to make a call that would end the excruciating crawl to announcing a winner.

And it finally happened.

Of all the post-announcement coverage, nothing felt as raw and powerful as watching Van Jones. I’m a very privileged person. I cannot relate to some of what he said, but the words, “character matters” hit hard. Character should matter. How you treat other people should matter.

There’s a large swath of the country who feels like they can finally breathe.

Everyone slips up and makes mistakes. They hurt someone they barely know or even someone they love with all of their heart. I try not to judge people on their mistakes, but I do judge people on their response. When Trump was elected, I told my partner, “Let’s give him a shot.” Then, for four years, I watched a man blame others for his shortcomings, hurl insults at people who disagreed with him and incite hatred through his words. But Donald Trump is not the cause of divisiveness in America, he was a symptom and a catalyst.

A new President will not be a silver bullet that cures America’s problems. There are real issues in America that need to be solved. Problems that people on the right and left can benefit from if fixed. Progress is about working towards a better future for ourselves, our children, but just as importantly, for your neighbors. We are never all going to agree on the path to get there, but that doesn’t mean we can’

Shout out to John King of CNN, who somehow managed to keep his coverage interesting and informative. John, I hope you are getting a break this week.

Biden’s Address

I am not an enthusiastic supporter of Joe Biden. Although I’m just a Canadian with a keyboard, I found myself overrun by US politics in the last four years. I’ve probably come to understand more about how the US government operates than my own Canadian one.

Because of this new hobby, I ended up watching the Democratic primaries very closely. My top three shifted over the course of what felt like years of jockeying for the top spot; however, throughout it all, Biden never hit the top spot in my books. I’ve always been sort of, meh, about Biden.

It seems to me that President-elect Biden has a low bar set in regards to what people are expecting of him. He is the sorbet round of a four-course meal; a palette cleanser. But as I think more about it, Biden has a rare opportunity. The bar is set so low that if he can somehow unify, even to a small degree, the right and the left he could go down in history as a great President. That is yet to be seen and Joe Biden enters a political climate that makes an online video game chat seem civil.

But his speech on Saturday night left me with hope. It was refreshing to hear an address with a message of unity. Where blaming others was not a focal point of what was being said. There is work to be done, but everyone needs to be involved.

History will be the judge of what Biden can accomplish; if he can unite a fractured nation, or if his mark on history will end with the appointment of the first female, and the first black Vice President. Which is, in my opinion, something we can celebrate. It shows many people a door they never thought existed and that is progress.

A Pico8 License Giveaway

If you’ve been following my Twitter or reading my pinned post on Substack, you’ll know that this year I found a new love; the Pico8 fantasy console.

Following a lot of other game dev enthusiasts have shown me a side of Twitter that I usually just ignored. Giveaways! They always felt fake or rigged, but as they kept popping up, I kept finding myself joining in the fun. I even started watching some twitch streams where people were giving away game codes. And then my name got picked to win a game code; however, I found out after I got back to my computer from changing a diaper and they’d already given it to someone else.

But I’d caught the giveaway bug and this week, I decided to run one myself. My goal was to share some love for pico8 and give out a few licenses to wannabe game devs who weren’t ready to pull the trigger.

What’s happened so far

It’s no wonder influencers and run these things. This little giveaway is easily my most engaged tweet of all time. I’ve gained over 50 followers, which I’ll be interested to see how many stick around and the tweet itself has 71 retweets. In case you didn’t know, people really like free stuff!

Connecting FTW…Again!

When I started this contest, I reached out to Zep, the creator of Pico8, to see if there was an easy way to buy bulk licenses. I didn’t hear back for a while but figured I’d start the contest anyway.

Then, after the contest had been up for a few hours, I got a message from Zep. He donated another 5 licenses to giveaway! It just struck me how important taking any action is to getting any real results. I could have waited, and he may have gotten back to me or the idea for running the giveaway could have been relegated to the “someday” pile of things to do. Albeit, this is a low-risk opportunity, but the lesson of moving forward regardless of the outcome is one worth relearning again and again.

Another interesting connection made was one person who shared the contest was contacted by one of their followers who just ended up buying them a license for pico8. It was a really nice random act of kindness to see.

Running this giveaway has been way more enjoyable than I imagined. The winners aren’t being picked until November 15th, so if you are reading this newsletter and want to get in on the action, please do!

Support Thoughtless Opinions as a Paid Subscriber!

This newsletter has been sparking a lot of joy for me (thanks Marie Kondo for that phrase). So much so, that I’m trying to add in some more pieces to send out each week. But in order to spend more time writing, I do need your support. It would be an absolute dream to be able to focus on writing full time. If you are picking up what I’m putting down, become a paid subscriber. You’ll gain access to some of these experimental newsletters

Fiction Friday

Each week, I’ll be sharing a new piece of fiction. This may be in the form of a short story or a couple of pages of a novel.

Market Makers

Once a week, I’ll take a look at a marketing campaign and break down what made it successful, or what made it flop.

Thoughtless Books

I started writing personal book reports for novels that I’m reading, in the hopes that they’ll help me remember what I read. Not sure how often these will come out, but I’m hoping to do at least one a month.

Game Lab

So many games, so little time. I’ll be sharing my reviews on games, new and old, asking questions about the gaming industry, and hopefully hearing from you about what brought you into the world of video games.

All of these newsletters will be experimental in nature and are subject to change. I’m hoping you’ll join me and help make these happen.