Tag Archives: Creativity

Jason’s Tshirt on top of Google

I recently sold another “GLHF”-themed shirt on Zazzle. That’s 8 so far, which is not bad considering I’ve done virtually no advertising or promotion.

Being rewarded for pure creativity. Imagine it.

The sale prompted me to wonder how easy it is to find my shirts; there are several where “GLHF” sets up a punchline.

I typed “GLHF shirt” (without quotes) into Google and was pleased to discover my products form the top 3 results. Awesome!

So now, if you have friends that play SC2 or other RTS games where “GLHF” is a common expression, instead of telling them “my friend Jason has a thing on zazzle if you go there and search open door and go to this store”, you can just say “Google GLFH shirt”.

Did I mention Christmas is soon?

Critically Examining the Sims 3: Excellence is outdated

MediocrityThe folks at Maxis have got to be some of the WORST game programmers on the planet. They have high and lofty concepts for gaming but their delivery — to be quite frank — sucks.

When Sims 3 was released, registering for it gave you access to a “free town”. A month of troubleshooting, emails, and phone calls still has not enabled my game application to download objects from the Sims 3 website. These are objects that are being SOLD, by the way.

Maxis has just released patch 1.05 for Spore, finally introducing asymmetry. Let’s be honest: I’m thrilled with asymmetry. Anything that puts more control and creativity at the hands of the player is a win.

What I’m not thrilled with is that every time a Spore patch comes out, it causes my game to crash immediately upon loading, or “forgets” to include one of my installed expansions. The fix is usually a manual uninstall including editing the registry followed by a full reinstallation.

Patches are supposed to FIX annoyances like these, not cause them.

I have been trading emails and forum posts with Game Cam. Previously I have been impressed with Game Cam, using a fully paid for registered version for all my game-recording needs.

Currently, Game Cam will allow me to register but will not remove any of the restrictions imposed on unregistered users. The lady who tracks registrations insists she has no records of me EVER registering even though I have done so multiple times in the past — long before this problem arose.

Manual uninstalls with more regediting were advised as fixes, and a whole new version of the application was posted on the website. Nothing corrected the problem.

On the forum, I asked if my correspondant could recommend a more reliable program. He responded that I might have success with Fraps, but he did not know of a “more reliable” program.

Here’s a clue, guy: If Fraps works (so far it has, even though I’m out another $37 for the exact same type of software) and Game Cam doesn’t, that means Fraps is more reliable.

Wizards of the Coast announced their game-changing suite of software tools for release with 4th edition in June of 2008. As of July 2009, they have only released ONE of those tools, and have freely admitted abandoning two of the others.

Each of the above companies required purchases up front before it was possible to discover these problems. That’s how they remain in business. Even with shoddy workmanship, they keep my money.

How to write amidst the endless barrage of life

Thank you, Broaddus, for that much-needed kick in the pants to get me arse in motion once again. That is EXACTLY the reason I started this site; to get my friends to grab me by the arm and say:

“JASON! What are you working on now? Is it done now? Will it be done soon?’

Whether my work is good or bad, published or unpublished, lauded or hated, the only true failure is if I don’t keep writing.

The Excuses

They aren’t necessarily good excuses. But they’re still excuses.

I worked 9 hours of overtime last week; to some people, that’s going to sound like nothing. To others (those who log 40 but spend 20 of them at the coffee machine) it may sound excessive. To me, it’s just tiring. And when my workday is long, when I come home I kind of need to recharge my batteries. I can’t dive straight into writing unless I still have some energy.

Weekends are obviously a great time to catch up, but we had company Saturday…pretty much all day. I was also up until 2 AM, which is 5 hours past my normal bedtime, making Sunday a wash for any productivity.

New Hobbies and Old

The gathering Saturday was to create characters for a new 4th edition campaign, and one trying out some new house rules. It’s a different sort of campaign for me in that I’m trying to NOT DM — at all. My friend Rich is, for which I am very grateful. The hope is that this will leave all my creativity for writing.

The two new episodes of South Park so far this (13th) season have not disappointed.

Wizards of the Coast, with D&D Insider software tools for tabletop gaming, have disappointed. More on this soon in a full post on the subject.

A co-worker got me into Battlestar Galactica; I’m about halfway through the first season (no spoilers please) and so far I am monumentally impressed. Those who know me know that I am not easily impressed, especially by television, so this rapidly puts BSG in contention for one of my favorite shows of all time.

I finished Drood by Dan Simmons. It was really good but it could have been a lot better. There was loose ends that Simmons did not tie to my satisfaction. Still, Simmons’ real strength is his incredible ability to narrate extremely complex characters, and this shines through from the first sentence to the last.

Upon re-recommendation from dad, I have decided to give George R. R. Martin another try, so I am reading A Song of Ice and Fire from the beginning (A Game of Thrones). If I remember correctly from before, Tyrion was my favorite character. I still like Martin better than David Eddings or Terry Goodkind. (Sorry long-time fantasy buffs.)

The Writing

Most of the recent writing energy I have expended recently has been spent outlining Fragile Gods. This is an odd sort of process for me, intermingled with a lot of “wait and see.” I don’t just sit down with MS Word and outline a story end to end.

Instead, a thought occurs to me. “What if I did this?” I will ruminate and ponder the idea for several days, and it will spawn several sub-ideas; sometimes for characters, sometimes scenes, sometimes themes. If I like where these stray ponderings take me, I work them into the outline. Rinse and repeat until I feel like I have “enough”.

When is that? I don’t know. It’s the sort of thing I know when I know.

I will tell you one theme I am considering is abortion. Writing on modern topics can be deadly, and abortion is the most polarizing issue I know. “Handle with extreme caution.”

In my opinion, a good writer should not simply be pedantic about his own viewpoint. Rather he should explore the issue as fairly as possible from all angles. Straw Vulcans hold little appeal to me.

My idea for abortion in Fragile Gods is to combine the two types of magic in the world of the Drim and put them on opposite sides of the issue. It’s important that you know up front that neither the Drimmi priests’ magic nor the Sight is upheld by the story as the “right” magic over/above the other. There are good and evil practitioners of both.

My idea is that those with the Sight are sometimes called upon to See the mind of unborn children, and at early enough development when there is no neural activity, the Seer sincerely reports that the child has no mind to read. The proponents of abortion in this fantasy world cite this as evidence that abortion does not destroy human life.

The Drimmi priests, however, have a kind of pantheism which includes honoring all life; including unborn life. Their own power over the elements and the Drim lends credence to the idea that they may know more about the inner workings of the unseen universe than the common man, too.

This (if done correctly) can be moral dilemma at its finest. Two credible parties on opposing sides of an intense issue, each with dissenters among their own ranks.