A Personal History of Thanksgiving

I come by my love of Thanksgiving honestly.

In 1621, the settlers of Plymouth Plantation held what is widely regarded as the First Thanksgiving, under the second Governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford.

In 1624, William Bradford had a second son, his first to be born in the new world, also named William Bradford.

In 1651, William Bradford (the younger) had a son, Thomas Bradford.

In 1693, Thomas Bradford and his wife, Anne, had a daughter, Jerusha Bradford.

In 1716, Jerusha Bradford married Hezekah Newcomb.
In 1717, Jerusha Newcomb gave birth to a son, Silas Newcomb.

In 1752, Silas Newcomb and his wife, Submit, had a son, Paul Newcomb.

In 1776, Paul Newcomb and his wife, Martha, had a son, Silas Newcomb.

In 1806, Silas Newcomb (the younger) and his wife, Betsy, had a daughter, Eliza Newcomb.

In 1832, Eliza Newcomb married Jerry Williams Pierce.
In 1844, Eliza Pierce gave birth to a son, Jerry Williams Pierce (II).

In 1872, Jerry Williams Pierce and his wife, Polly, had a daughter, Minnie Sophia Pierce, born here in Michigan (as was every person mentioned hereafter).

In 1899, Minnie Sophia Pierce married Jesse George Wilson.
In 1902, Minnie Wilson gave birth to my grandmother, Mildred Leona Wilson, who compiled all of the information herein prior to the existence of the internet.

In 1926, Mildred Leona Wilson married Manley Russell Seelhoff (my grandfather).
In 1941, Mildred Seelhoff gave birth to Gerald Norman Seelhoff, my father.

As you can see, I descend directly from the founder of our American Thanksgiving, as documented in his journal, Of Plimoth Plantation.  For this, I am also thankful.

I Resolve – 2010

I Resolve

To do what I want,
and to make a living,
To enjoy myself
for a long time.

To have priorities,
and to stay on task,
To keep in touch
with friends and colleagues.

To learn my craft,
and to teach what I know,
To help when available,
and reach those I can.

To be safe and secure,
and to remain aware,
To have clean surroundings
for a simpler life.

To take care of myself,
and to watch over my family,
To find the energy and integrity
to be true to me.

Compartmentalization

Separating business matters from personal issues

Recently, I received the first newsletter of the year from (friend and former colleague) Steve Pavlina.  For those of you who do not already know about Steve Pavlina, he founded Dexterity Games (now defunct) and published Dweep, an award-winning puzzle game.  He was also the President of the Association of Shareware Professionals and was inducted into the ASP Hall of Fame in 2005.  After this success, he left the game industry to pursue a career in motivational speaking and personal development, writing the book, Personal Development for Smart People.

Anyway, the meat of the newsletter, nestled in between the various sales pitches and recommendations from which he earns his living, was a section entitled, “Living by Your Own Rules“.  This intrigued me, as it seemed to correspond nicely with my personal plans for 2010, so I read on.  However, I quickly discovered that his ideas did not mesh with my own in this case.  It had little to do with the actual content of his writings, but his radical ideas of sharing his personal life (specifically, his sexual preferences and desires) in the place in which he does his business.

Specifically, Steve made a blog post with his 2010 goals in which he reveals his personal goal of pursuing “Alternative Relationship Styles” and goes into detail (for which you will need to read his post).  I have no problem whatsoever with his choice to pursue this lifestyle, but I do question the wisdom of presenting this in a forum in which he currently (by his own numbers) sells six figures a month; it seems risky to the point of potential self-destruction.  More to the point, I wonder what benefit to his business (not to mention personal reputation) he seeks to gain from this pursuit.  (I do see a great benefit in finding compatible sexual partners, though.)

Steve is good at taking things to the extreme, completing college in only three semesters, ramping up his healthy eating through vegetarianism to a vegan diet and finally raw foods, and now personal openness to a radical degree.  He calls this last part “courage”, which it certainly takes, but I am not sure that courage is always the best choice.  Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean suggests that the opposite of cowardice is rashness, and this might apply here.  The more common idiom is, “All things in moderation, and moderation in all things.

Personally, I think that it is still wise to compartmentalize to some degree, especially keeping business issues separate from (potentially) controversial personal issues, such as politics, religion, and sexuality.  Discussing the particulars of these in a business context has the potential of alienating people with little chance of significant gain.  I do not have a problem seasoning my business posts with personal items, and I definitely have business friends with whom I share more, but any proclivities I may (or may not :)) have should remain discrete.

Ultimately, I guess that I am intrigued at Steve’s attempt to alter societal norms, and I wish him the best of luck, but I am also glad that it is he, rather than I, who is taking the risk of falling flat on his face.  (Ridicule I could handle; starvation, not so much.)

What do you think?

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

Much for which to be Thankful

This day is traditionally for reflecting upon those things that make us thankful, a tradition that has been in my family, literally, for 388 years. [*]

Our company begins the holiday season by taking the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving away from work and, instead, hosts a game party for employees and guests, with board games, card games, food and drink.  In truth, we have in recent years included some party games on game consoles, but given the nature of our business…

For the business, I am thankful that our development efforts in recent years are starting to bear fruit, that we have successfully completed several projects over the past year, and that the economy is on the upswing without the bottom having a devastating impact on our company.  Personally, I am thankful that, despite a number of health issues over the past year, my family is relatively healthy, that we have made financial progress over the last year, and (to be trite) for friends and family.

We are now in the process of preparing the feast, which will include turkey (x2), ham, potatoes, beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, apple pie, and (non-traditional, but yummy) cheesecake.  I was just about to insert a picture here of the “camp cooking” apparatus that was to be used to prepare one of the birds, but word just came down that a structural failure has destined the turkey for oven roasting instead.  (“Christmas!  We will do it at Christmas,” I am told.)

Anyway, here are our best wishes to all of you, whatever the day (and season) may hold.

[*] My Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather is credited with the First Thanksgiving.  Here is a small snippet of his account:

They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty”  — William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation

Second place in Class A1

The ice racing season ends with a good championship position.

The points championship in MIRA (Michigan Ice Racing Association) is over, and I finished in second place in my class. I raced in Class A1, which is front-wheel drive cars, racing rubber-to-ice, first driver. (The A1/A2 split allows two different drivers to participate using the same car for more fun!) I finished the year with two wins (which is two more than my previous total for all 12 previous years of ice racing), and I was competitive, especially toward the end of the year.

2009 MIRA Series Points – FINAL STANDINGS

Going into last weekend, I still had a chance at the championship, but with the cancellation of the Saturday event, there were not enough points left for me to either win the championship nor lose second position. This turned out to be a blessing, as [ob Game Development] the recent beta version of Pretty Good Solitaire Mac Edition, version 2.0, expired, so I stayed home and worked for the whole weekend instead.

Rumor has it that the person who won the championship has been racing (in various forms) for 35 years and this is his first ever championship, and he did beat me more often than not, so it was well earned and well deserved. (I have won a TSD Rally Championship before.) This year was my best showing in MIRA since I first raced back in 1985, when the group was only a few years old.

There would be some non-points racing this weekend if it were to happen. A few hardy optimists are still holding out hope for one last event, but it is currently almost 60 degrees here (in the overnight hours), and the forecast calls for temperatures well above freezing until Monday (and beyond), so it is very unlikely.

Festivus (and the rest of 'em)

The end of year holiday season is in full swing!

Today is Festivus, or as my friends and I used to call it as children, Christmas Eve Eve. I will definitely be airing grievances during the feast, and my current feat of strength (of will) consists of keeping most of the annual disappointments out of this post. Actually, if we seriously followed this Festivus tradition, the holiday would continue year ’round; nobody pins this head of household.

A busy week for celebrations (a.k.a., “Seven Holidays for Seven Days”):

  • Sunday: Winter Solstice (7:04am local time)
  • Sunday: Hanukkah began at sunset
  • Tuesday: Festivus
  • Wednesday: Christmas Eve
  • Thursday: Christmas
  • Friday: Boxing Day
  • Friday: Kwanzaa begins

On Friday, our social soccer club also has our annual friends and family soccer game. (Since somebody actually asked: We are playing indoors at Lansing Indoor Sports Arena, and definitely NOT outdoors.)

We officially left the office last Friday for a two-week break, but unofficially I have been working extended hours every day since then. I will either quit for the year or collapse soon. In either case, I wish all of the readers of this blog a…

Happy New Year!

Thanks for your support in 2008.
Signing out until 2009.