This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

cajun_fried_turkey.225190203_stdThanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It combines three of my favorite things: football, family, and food. The Leon Lett fumble — and my grandpa’s reaction to watching one of his beloved Dallas Cowboys make such a stupid mistake — ranks among my favorite Thanksgiving memories.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve added a fourth item to my list. Sadly, it doesn’t start with an “F,” so I lose the alliteration. It’s gratitude. I understand that being grateful on Thanksgiving isn’t anything special — isn’t that the point of the holiday, after all? — but this year, I’m a little more grateful than usual.

And part of the reason is because of Bitmob.


2009 has been a rough year for many people. It’s been difficult for me, too. I loved my former role as the copy chief of Ziff Davis Media’s Game Group, and when ZDM sold the group to Hearst, that job (and dozens of others) disappeared. I took it better than others; I’ve been working in journalism for a decade and had a lot of contacts. I had my experience as a sportswriter/editor to fall back on as well.

bobbylabonte96askcar1I was out of work for only two months, which I thought was pretty remarkable considering how wretched the job market was earlier this year. I landed outside of journalism, but I was still able to put my sports background to good use as a content analyst for’s NASCAR coverage (I covered NASCAR in my sportswriting days).

That job evaporated in July.

Family life has also been rough. After months of trying, my wife was pregnant. But our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and I’m still a little choked up about it. Happily, we conceived again, and our first child is due February 15, 2010. While we can barely contain our excitement, part of me is still sad about the miscarriage — that child would’ve been born right about now had it survived.

I also lost two of my favorite people: my last grandmother died a couple of weeks ago, and last week, my favorite uncle passed away. All but one of the family elders — the generation that came to California during the Great Depression from Oklahoma and left Texas after World War II for the growing prosperity of the West — are now gone. The family elders are now my parents. The adults are my brother, my mostly no-good cousins, and me. It’s a change in roles that I’m still not used to.

During my first layoff, I purposefully didn’t freelance. I just looked for work. The goal was that I would spend my time working on my weight, volunteering, and housework until I found a job.

Instead, I sulked. I grew increasingly depressed. I sat in front of my PC for most of the day, checking the same job boards for positions that didn’t exist. I gained weight. I was testy, and when my wife got home, I nearly drove her insane because I was so desperate for human contact that I hovered around her from when she walked into the house until she went to bed.

I vowed that I wouldn’t get like that should the economy decide my job was “redundant” again. And, of course, the economy continued to worsen, and my job at Ask disappeared.

Bitmob_peopleBut this time, I had Bitmob. When it became clear that Bitmob would need a new managing editor when Greg Ford went off to school, I stepped up. And Bitmob’s kept me sane (well, as sane as a big fat neurotic Jew like me can be).

Bitmob has been one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my life. It goes beyond working with people that I have so much respect for. My favorite part of Bitmob is the community that we — the readers and the staff — are creating.

I didn’t really participate in the community while at Ziff. I hate gaming message boards — I don’t need to explain the sad level of discourse on NeoGAF. I love that Bitmob encourages you to develop your thoughts into a story instead of some two-sentence post on a board. The result is that you’ve written some interesting, stimulating pieces.

I’m thankful for the puzzles and games from Jay Henningsen; the RPG musings and comprehensive, timely reviews from Bitmob’s resident robot, Brian Shirk; the Demon’s Souls and strategy love from Rob Savillo; the daily discussion topics from Toby Davis; the Twitterviews and fictional interviews from folks like Lance Darnell and J. Cosmo Cohen; and the excellent analyses and insights from Davneet Minhas, Andrew Hiscock, and Omar Yusuf. And that’s just a slice of the great pieces and interesting authors that are popping up on Bitmob.

I’m most thankful for everyone that reads and comments on Bitmob stories. The comments can be constructive without devolving into flame wars. Some comments inspire others to write even more insightful stories.

Thank you, Bitmobbers, and I hope you’re getting as much out of Bitmob as I am. Happy Thanksgiving. I hope all of you enjoy a safe and enjoyable holiday.