CW Survivor – Challenge 10: Seemingly Useless Superpower

Give a character a useless superpower, but make a good story out of it.

The video display sprang to life in the KZZZ news room. Lester cued up the most recent footage from Stephanie, the newest journalist on staff. The story started with her standing in front of a trailer that appeared to be parked somewhere in the middle of the woods.

“My attempt to interview the reclusive Mr. Smith went about as I had expected.”
(footage of the door being slammed in Stephanie’s face)
“But my intuition told me that there was a story here and so I pressed onward, attempting to shout my questions through an unlocked window on the other side of the trailer that I managed to work open.
(footage of a window being slammed closed in Stephanie’s face)

Stephanie continued to document her dogged attempts to interview the subject, but Lester’s mind had already wandered. He couldn’t use this. If this was the kind of crap that they were teaching in journalism schools these days, he was going to have to get out there himself and show … Wait. He stopped the tape and rewound a couple of seconds. Stephanie’s makeshift contraption consisting of a remote control car, and a camcorder, slipped into his house through a ventilation shaft had managed to catch a glimpse of Mr. Smith’s face. With the screen frozen on that oddly familiar visage, Lester moved to the archive room, he knew which tapes he was searching for and soon he had a pile of them carried back to his workstation. He worked his way through each tape methodically, comparing the subjects of countless old human-interest pieces that were never aired with the footage of Mr. Smith.

They were all the same person. How could that be? This guy was uninteresting (although clearly very concerned with his privacy), and none of these pieces had anything remarkable about them. What was this power he had over investigative reporters?

Lester thought about calling in the Z-team and making this their next project. But, who could be better suited to do this than a journalistic veteran like himself? These were his reporters that were falling victim to this man’s strange power over them. It should be his story to break. He grabbed his notebook and a jacket off the back of his chair, and bolted out of the room.

K: I read this one a few times to get the full effect. I’m definitely interested in seeing more, although I worry that the superpower is too useful. It feels more like a film than anything. I don’t know how to score this one. So many good things, so much more I’d like to know about it.

3 points out of 5


4 points out of 5

This is one of my favorite ideas that I’ve had this game.  The useless/impotent superhero theme is something that I’ve always been fond of (see my final entry in the first version of this game), so that’s probably why.

March Madness, For Real This Time (3rd Annual)

See the post above this one for the exciting conclusion to this prestigious prognostication proceeding.


North Dakota beats a tired Denver team to lock up the third Frozen Four spot.  That finishes off quite a few brackets and eliminates Spookymilk from title contention.  We’re down to 3 with a a chance to win it outright (Rhu_Ru, Buffalo, Mom) and Freealonzo,  who can still tie for the top spot if things break right.

By the way – this means I went 0 for 8 in the basketball final four and the hockey frozen four.  Please observe the ‘horrible prognostication’ tag.

Notre Dame wins over New Hampshire to complete the field for the Frozen Four (beginning 4/7).  Buffalo and Freealonzo are thus eliminated from contention.

Congrats to Andrew and Rhubarb_Runner who each correctly called 3 of 4 Frozen Four teams.

Standings – (Bracket graphics updated through Day 3):


  • If the Championship game is Notre Dame v. Michigan, Mom wins.
  • All other scenarios result in Rhubarb_Runner winning the pool.


In a game that almost everyone picked for UND, they were comfortably ahead 5-0 after the second.  They sail through pretty easily.

There goes another of my Frozen Four teams.  Miami loses 3-1 to New Hampshire.

If Western Michigan beats Denver, my Frozen Four is all eliminated in the first round (they’re in [edit: double] overtime).

Denver wins in double OT.  I still have a chance to get a Frozen Four team right! (no one else seems very excited about this).

Notre Dame gets kind of a fluky goal in overtime (4 of 8 first round games went to OT) to send them onward.

Your first Frozen Four team is Minnesota-Duluth defeating Yale.

The second Frozen Four team is Michigan holding off Colorado College.

Standings – (bracket graphics updated through Day 2):

  • Mom (8 points | 28 possible)
  • Rhu_Ru (8 points | 28 possible)
  • Freealonzo (8 points | 22 possible)
  • Spookymilk (8 points |  16 possible)
  • Andrew (7 points | 15 possible)
  • Buffalo (6 points | 26 possible)
  • AZSioux (6 points | 24 possible)
  • Beau (5 points | 7 possible)
  • Me (4 points | 6 possible)
  • DK (3 points | 5 possible)
  • AMR (2 points | 2 possible)


UM-Duluth wins the first game (and I lose my first Frozen Four team).  And we’re off.

Nebraska-Omaha loses to Michigan on a ridiculous replay review in overtime. (Will I get any games right?  Stay tuned!)

My picks finally get off the schneid with Yale’s OT winner.

Finishing with a bang, BC loses to Colorado College (only RPI got fewer picks than CC in our little pool). Beau, Andrew, and DK had BC to win it all.

Standings after Day 1 – (click on the name to see that person’s bracket):

  • Spookymilk (3 points)
  • Freealonzo (3 points + 1 Frozen Four team eliminated)
  • AZSioux (2 points)
  • Mom (2 points + 1 Frozen Four  team eliminated)
  • Rhu_Ru (2 points + 1 Frozen Four team eliminated)
  • AMR (2 points + 1 Frozen Four team eliminated)
  • Buffalo (2 points + 2 Frozen Four teams eliminated)
  • Andrew (2 points + Champion eliminated)
  • Beau (2 points + Champion eliminated)
  • Me (1 point + 2 Frozen Four teams eliminated)
  • DK (1 point + Champion and Frozen Four team eliminated).

The NCAA hockey tournament starts Friday afternoon, so hurry and download the NCAA hockey Frozen Four brackets (available below). Fill them out and confuse your friends when you complain about Merrimack busting your bracket.

I’ll take all comers in the third annual Daneeka’s Ghost Hockey Madness Sweepstakes. Winner gets … I don’t know … my undying admiration.

Last year’s winner: Freealonzo (Who only won because the Badgers are worthless.)

Will anyone unseat freealonzo’s deathgrip on the title this year? I hope so, because I’m awful tired of admiring him.

I’ll update my picks and keep standings and all that on this post, so put your picks in the comments (or email them to daneekasghost [at] and check back to see how things go.

CW Survivor – Challenge 8: Punch to a Quick End

Given two lines, write the shortest story that connects them.  The story must be coherent and complete.  The given sentences are in bold in my entry below.

Your stunned silence is very reassuring. I’m not the dad, the river card won you the baby.  Your look at your new son says “I will need lots of beer.  Better get used to these bars, kid.

I messed around quite a bit with this story idea to get it as short as it ended up.  Toward the end, I started to wonder if I was losing some of the meaning of the story by cutting so ruthlessly.  Judges?

K: It’s a different take on this, but the lines don’t work seamlessly with the story. It’s…awkward, though the story itself is interesting enough to warrant a decent score.

3 points out of 5

B: The grammar here is very awkward. It seems like the tense changes from 1st to 2nd person in the the second sentence. If the entire thing is 2nd person, then it’s not entirely clear. Either way, it’s creative but doesn’t really do much for me.

2 points out of 5

Character count: 149 (2nd shortest of 13; +1 bonus point)

So yeah, apparently my worries were not unfounded.  The idea is that it’s one narrator throughout, but at the end he’s narrating his opponent’s thoughts.  Confusing?  Perhaps.  Awkward? Definitely.

Non-submissions decided this one, so our team continues on with 6 members.

CW Survivor – Challenge 7: Create-a-Challenge Grab Bag

Given a bunch of challenge options (gathered from submissions to the previous challenge), choose one and complete it.

I chose to create a movie and then review it.

Life is Peachy

Given the fact that we have seen jukebox musical movies return to a viable genre in recent years (Across the Universe, Mama Mia!, etc.)  It was only a matter of time until someone took it too far.  Now we have “Life is Peachy” featuring the music of Korn.

The story follows Jonathan, a kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing child who is going insane (because of the pain in his brain).  To say that he has a rough childhood is understatement, and “Life is Peachy” makes no effort toward subtlety in dealing with his various trials and tribulations.  The pain (in his brain that’s driving him insane) doesn’t need to be portrayed by the actors because we are forced to see every bruise and indignity as it happens.

At the same time, this movie has the sheen and slick production that makes it hard to get inside the protagonists brain (that is in pain, and going insane).  Rather the whole thing seems like it’s a coldly calculated attempt to pander to disaffected youth.  The reader may ask whether disaffected youth of this generation are familiar with the music of Korn.  This critic would say that the makers of “Life is Peachy” missed their release date by about 10 years.

Unfortunately, Korn’s music really doesn’t translate well into any medium other than its original (case in point – and this movie is no exception.  The first song is “Make Me Bad”, which is a command the director seems to have taken to heart.  The music seems particularly unsuited for a musical due to its lack of narrative, instead just spewing a general feeling of anger.  That emotion comes through in this movie very well.  By the time I left the theater I was plenty angry.

Rating – I demand hazard pay if I’m going to have to see movies like this.

K: The runner with the song lyrics repeated in parenthetical form was pretty funny, but it seemed like this idea had more legs than it showed.

3 points out of 5

B: This was the first song I’ve ever heard by Korn, so hopefully there’s no inside jokes I missed. But I liked the running parenthetical joke a lot.

3 points out of 5

Conceived and written at the last second.  That’s becoming the theme of this version of survivor for me.  If I had devoted more time, I think there’s a much better entry in this idea.