Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Entry #5 or "The QR Code of Doom"

     I've been looking at the Call of Cthulhu Role-Playing Game, recently. It's kind of interesting-to me, at least-that in the 21+ years I've been playing Role-Playing Games, I've never given Call of Cthulhu or it's licensees much thought. Horror never had much of an impact on me, I suppose.

      Lately, however, I've been giving games and genres I'd normally not be interested in a chance. This is thanks in part to my friend Jason calling me out on it. Jason is big supporter of indie-RPGs and "alt-settings" and was always introducing new games to the group we both used to be part of. The rest of us were in the proverbial rut as far as our RPGs went and we usually blew off Jason's attempts at showing us new stuff. One night he became frustrated and chewed us out about it. Jason is usually a low-key type of guy, so this naturally caught us off-guard. He didn't (quite) guilt us into trying new games, but he did point out the problem.

     When I realized the problem, I started to wonder just what I've been missing out on. So we started to really get into the games he brought in. Not all of them were winners, but enough of them were fun to have me pay attention to indie-game more often.

     What does this have to do with the Call of Cthulhu RPG, which has been the industry standard for Horror RPGs for 30 years? Only that it's one of may games and/or settings I never gave much thought to recently. So I buy a PDF of Call of Cthulhu RPG and get The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft ebook for my nook and start reading.

     I read enough of the RPG to give Scenario writing for a shot. Deciding to place it in the modern era, (as opposed to the 1920s and '30s of Lovecraft's writings),  I set up an outline for "The QR Code of Doom". QR Codes are those funny looking labels you see everywhere that you scan with a smartphone and it opens a link to a website of some sort. I thought that would be an interesting jump-off point for a group of investigators or even "Ordinary people in Extraordinary Circumstances" that I to read stories about.

    I don't know if I'll ever get to run it, but it would be interesting to see how it would play out, for better or worse.

I've done enough rambling, need to start writing more regularly.

Until next time,
                      Josh (Sweeper) Brumley 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Entry #4 or "Classic Books and Classic Games"

     I headed to Sierra Vista last Sunday in an attempt to buy RAM for a few of the computers here in the house. My Dad's Laptop, which runs Windows Vista, was in dire need of an extra gig and I wanted to bring my own Windows 7 machine to 4gigs over the 2 I have in there now. The Best Buy in town has the ram needed for my Dad's PC (DDR2 Laptop), but for reasons only known to the district distributors, they don't carry the DDR3 desktop ram I needed. Really?

     To say I was unimpressed is to put it mildly. Fortunately, I can live without the extra ram as my desktop works fine. Unfortunately, I can't play Star Craft II with any decency just yet.

     Yeah, yeah. "Woe is me", I know. But during the trip, I also stopped by Staples to see if they had any Ram. They did, but not at a price I was willing to pay just yet. What I did pick up there was a 50 pack of CD-Rs and the Age of Empires Collectors Edition. The CD-Rs are for making backups of my ever-growing collection of audiobooks that I listen to when working. The AoE collection I got for both a bit of nostalgic fun, and to bone up on playing for when Age of Empires Online comes online this August. 

     Been having fun playing AoE I and II, they run well on Win 7 Home Premium for those curious. Just an odd color-shift of the ground tiles that, while it looks weird, doesn't affect the game itself. It makes me wonder about all this "backwards-compatibility" deal in Win 7 Pro and Ultimate. 

     But anyways, I did manage to get into the Age of Empires Online Beta. Turns out, MS had an overwhelming response when they put out the beta tester requests, so they opened it back up again. The Greeks are currently the only civilization playable, but I'm enjoying myself.

     As far as classic books, I've been reading through my ever-growing collection of ebooks. I'm currently reading The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold. It's the first-or third, depending on who you ask-book of The Vorkosigan Saga. I wont go into any detail about the book, but I will say It's has been a good read so far. Those interested can find the ebook version Here.

     Well, that's about all I have for now.
     Until next time,
                            Josh (Sweeper) Brumley

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Entry #3 or "Living la vida mobile!"

I don't know just how well this will turn out, but what the hell, right? I am currently writing this entry on the new Droid Pro I just purchased with my dad. It's part of an effort to make the jewelry sales my step-mother operates more profitable. This means I can blog, tweet, and Facebook pretty much anywhere I have a cell or wi-fi signal. To be honest, I find that I'm missing my full sized keyboard already. I can type just fine on the keyboard of the pro, but that doesn't make typing any easier. I suppose I'll just reserve using my phone to post blogs for when inspiration strikes and I'm away from my PC. Yeah, that'll work. So, until next time, 
Josh (Sweeper) Brumley

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Entry #2 or "Outlines and the Writers that Love/Hate Them"

As it turns out, I didn't dig any post-holes yesterday, which was just fine, being a damned-hot day. I instead did some more landscaping, this time around an in-ground fountain we have on the front patio. I had a small stack of the paver-stones I was using to build the walkway on same patio, so I used them to line the front of the fountain to give it a more interesting look. One of these days, I'll pry one of the cameras my family owns out of the bin and take pictures. But that day isn't today, dear readers.
During the Spring Semester at <a href="">Cochise College</a>, I took English 101. There, I learned how to do a formal outline. For those who aren't sure about what I mean, a formal outline is a method of gathering ideas for a written work, such as the research papers I wrote for the class, and organizing them in a fashion that makes it easy for the author to take the ideas and&#160; put them on the page. The formal outline method helped a lot, especially when I had to put off writing the paper until next-to-the-last-minute. Got an A in the class when all was said and done, so I can't knock it's effectiveness as a writing tool. To those interested in just how to use a formal outline, check out <a href="">OWL at Perdue</a> which has all the tips and tricks for college and above witting.</p>
<p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; That isn't to say I wasn't cursing the formal outline and it's heritage more than once. As useful a tool as it is, I became stuck on setting the outline up as often as not. It seemed to me that more of my time was taken up by writing the outline than performing research and writing the paper combined. Frustrating is probably the kindest word I could think of during those times.
<p>&#160; &#160;&#160; In retrospect, though, I can understand why it took so long to set up the outline. You have an idea you want to expand upon, but are having a "helluva" time giving it form. I've lost count of the many ideas I had that I couldn't expand upon, mostly due to not knowing how to organize it into something coherent.
Being a technically-oriented person, spontaneous writing comes in slow, rare, spurts. It's not for lack of creativity, (at least I don't think so), but the fact my mind has been working a certain way for quite a long time. Add to the fact that I'm a pretty crappy typer means it takes me awhile to get whatever it was down on paper. I do believe using a formal outline, at least initially, will help me take those spurts of ideas and give it needed framework to expand upon. Who knows, I may finally finish a freaking story one of these days.
So with all the in mind, I'll be using that to set up a short story idea I've been toying around with. I may even post parts of it here for critiques. Don't when I will post them, but I will at least start posting the outlines as I write them.
Until then,
Josh (Sweeper) Brumley

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Entry #1 or "Write, damn you, write!"

     Hey all, my name's Josh Brumley, sometimes known as Sweeper in several places around the web and this is my Blog. It is interesting to note that this will be my 3rd, (and hopefully best), attempt at writing a blog. Life according to Jake may or may not still be out there and I'm not too inclined to go looking for it. I did an unbelievable amount of complaining on the blog. I also have a blog on the Hero Games discussion board, but I rarely use that these days. I may go back and start updating it again, so I may begin to link it here and vice versa.

      I am currently living with family here in Willcox, AZ. Had to move in with them as I could find any good paying work. Unemployment for a year did a job on me, stress-wise. Make no mistake, unemployment sucked big time. Not enough to even pay the rent on time,causing late fee after late fee, further putting me in the red. Something had to be done. So I broke my lease and moved in with family to get out of that hole.

     I am now a full time college student who finished up a mostly successful Spring Semester and am doing summer courses right now. I have an income courtesy of the Montgomery GI Bill and the Fantastic Pell Grants have been paying for tuition and books. So I have a positive cash flow for the first time in a long while. I pay the rent by helping around the house with cleaning and construction. Life is alright.

     Wont say all of my problems were taken care of. Oh hell no. There are a lot of things that need doing around the house as it's going to be put up for sale soon. So my days have been long and exhausting. Yesterday, I came close to finishing up a stone walkway I designed and layed-out. Today, I expect to be repairing some fence posts that have been damaged by high winds. A lot of hot-sweaty-work to look forward to.

     Now that I've briefly reviewed my recent life, I suppose I should get to the biggest reason why I started this blog.  I listen to a podcast called I Should Be Writing by Mur Lafferty. She's a  fiction author who shares her experiences through the podcast and one of the suggestions she gives for getting in the habit of writing is to start and regularly maintain a blog. I've always wanted to write, for fun if nothing else, so this is my attempt at it.

     I'm not going to say I'm a good writer, heck I'm really not a good typist, but I do want to get into the habit of it. I may need a swift kick in the ass from time to time, so if I am blessed with folks who actually read my posts, I hope they'll give me that swift kick when it's needed.

Well, I've spent enough time with said ass sitting in front of the computer, I have post-holes to dig.

Until next time,
                        Josh (Sweeper) Brumley