CW Survivor – Challenge 13: Cliche

Concoct a story that uses some overused cliches, but make it good.

It was the beginning of our third week in the jungle when we found the town. Mitchell went first (he always went first) down the empty space between the huts, peering into each of them as he passed until he finally turned and gave me the all clear signal.

Not quite believing him (I remembered his previous guarantees of safety, and had the piranha bites to prove it) I cautiously made my way through the deserted village. Once I was past all the houses there really wasn’t anything to see except the path that disappeared into the jungle as it continued up the hill.

In whispers we discussed our theories as to what had happened to the villagers. The place obviously hadn’t been abandoned for long, and there were no signs of foul play. If they had decided to leave, the path only went two directions and we hadn’t passed them on the way in …

Mitchell took the lead as we continued up the hill.

We stood in the trees watching the two huts. The one that faced us had smoke coming from a hole in the roof, someone was in there. The other could be abandoned for all we knew, there was no indication from either that the inhabitants knew we were out here. Mitchell was the one who finally went in, but when he hadn’t come out in 10 minutes, I decided to investigate the other hut. Knocking politely, and making my presence known, I pushed into the small cramped place.

“Are you from the East or the West?” The man sitting in the corner had essentially become a part of the wall, even after I managed to get my heart back into my chest and looked in the direction of the voice, I had trouble seeing him.

“The East, I guess.”

“That is good, were you not I would have shrunk you to the size of a salamander and kept you in that jar.” The wall gestured to something that may well have been a jar.

“Is that what happened to my friend?”

“Your friend went into the wrong hut. Nothing but savages in there.”

“Excuse me.” I ran out of the hut, charged around the back and barged my way into the first hut.

“Are you from the East or the West?” The man sitting in the corner had essentially become a part of the wall, even after I looked in the direction of the voice, I had trouble seeing him.

Thinking quickly, I decided on my answer, “The West.”

“You lie. If that were true you would have followed my orders to destroy the Eastern village.”

“Where is Mitchell?”

The wall gestured to something that may well have been a jar. From inside came a tiny voice, crying indecipherably.

“Excuse me.” I ran out of the hut, charged around the back and barged my way back into the second hut.

“There’s another village on the East side of the hill that you command, isn’t there?”

“Yes, and they have moved to strike against the West tonight.”

“The other one said the same thing.”

“Then tonight, they will all die, and it will only be the two of us who remain.”

“You have to help me, that bastard shrunk my friend.”

“No one speaks of my brother that way!”

The hut began to grow in size, the man in the corner growing with it to unimaginable size. It was only when he reached to pick me up that I realized I would spend the rest of my days in that jar, with only the wall for company.

K: I adore it. Many of these made the cliches work, but this one actually made the cliches a positive. The keepers are twin brothers? I didn’t see that coming. Considering that this was the last one, it’s amazing how much the cliches kept surprising me when they showed up. Whip-smart.

5 points out of 5

B: Not sure how to review this other than I don’t always like surrealism but this one nails it. You guys are so darn creative that I usually I am glad I am a judge and not a contestant. This is beautiful.

5 points out of 5

CW Survivor – Challenge 12: Fortunately, Unfortunately

Given a prompt, write a story whose sentences alternate beginning with “fortunately” and “unfortunately”.

I tried out for the team so I could meet chicks.

Fortunately, I’ve already met a few, hiding in the dugout.
Unfortunately, I can’t get them to tell me their names.
Fortunately, none of us are going anywhere until after the game, so I’ve got time.
Unfortunately, they really didn’t like it when I tried to pick them up.
Fortunately, my attempt made them finally notice me.
Unfortunately, it’s immediately apparent that they’re needy, loud, and obnoxious.
Fortunately, I know that the fastest way to their heart is through the stomach.
Unfortunately, while I was digging for worms, I didn’t see the line drive that broke my jaw and, after bouncing off my face, drove in the game-winning run for the other team. Chicks are nothing but trouble.

B: Ha! I knew someone would go this direction. Good job holding off until the end, and whoa, this dude has issues.

4 points out of 6

I have one class left before I finish my major.

Unfortunately, I left college twenty years ago.
Fortunately, my field hasn’t changed much.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a reputable Sanskrit program these days.
Fortunately, I think it will soon come back into fashion.
Unfortunately, no one believes my theory this dead language will be the language of the undead.
Fortunately, that means I’ll be the one who leads humanity in their fight against the zombie horde.
Unfortunately, the zombie uprising is starting right now.
Fortunately, I’m one of the few who were prepared. This is my moment!

K: You know, one of my all-time favorite entries to this challenge also involved zombies, and I’m not really a zombie enthusiast. Still, I love this one as well, particularly the initial Sanskrit line and the idea that it’s likely to be the language of the dead.

3 points out of 6

Our team ended up the low scorer this time around.  So I had to spend the immunity chip I earned earlier in the game.  Now I’m out there with no safety net.

The Real March Madness – The Exciting Conclusion

Love this comic - drawn by Eric Poole (the husband of one of my co-workers)


So here we are.  It’s down to two possible winners and it could easily be decided in the very first game.  At the latest, it will be decided tonight.


Notre Dame v. Minnesota Duluth (Thursday – 4 PM Central)

If you’re cheering for Mom (and you had better be – it’s my mom) you’re cheering against Minnesota Duluth.  Rhu_Ru wins if the Bulldogs do.

UPDATE:  Minnesota-Duluth continues to ride that power play and wins 4-3.  Pretty exciting final minutes and it keeps the possibility of an all WCHA final alive.

Oh, and it also decides our little competition.  Congratulations to Rhubarb Runner, who still has a nearly flawless bracket.  You sir, have my undying admiration.

Michigan v. North Dakota (Thursday – 7:30 PM Central)

This game no longer decides anything except second place.  So hey, lets lay that out there.  Andrew can take second if Michigan wins.  If North Dakota wins, then AZSioux nails down the runner-up spot.  Neither of them win anything for second place, but then you could argue that Rhu_Ru didn’t win much for first either.  It’s that kind of a competition.

UPDATE:  What a game by the Michigan goaltender.  He absolutely stole this one as the Wolverines win 2-0.  This ensures that no one will get the champion correct for the second straight year.  This concludes the real March Madness bracket competition.  Please enjoy the championship game Saturday night.


Here’s the winning bracket – Rhu_Ru

CW Survivor – Challenge 11: You’re So Vain

Choose an iconic song.  Explain where the lyrics really came from.


The robot is complete. I’ve written the startup and mission commands into a song that I have passed on to John as we agreed (I even disguised it as Paul’s idea just in case). The Jealously Unforgiving Device for Enemies will be activated to receive commands with a simple “Hey J.U.D.E.” Finally, we won’t have to listen to those sad songs that he’s always writing since Yoko came around. Once it “takes her into its heart” and disposes of her, things will start to get better.

This thing was made to find her, and once it has found her, to go out, get her, and completely consume her so that the body will be hidden under its skin. It’s the perfect plan, I defy anyone to make it better. We could never get a human to do this, but a robot will never feel the weight of this horrible (but necessary) act on its shoulders.

The best part is that I’ve written the commands such that the robot will be completely autonomous. Once it’s directed to begin its mission, there is language in the commands which make it clear that it should not expect any further assistance from anyone. On the off chance that we need to abort the mission once it has been initiated, there is one fail safe command. It is a complicated sequence of nonsense syllables that would take about four minutes to fully verbalize. Thus I can’t see how they would ever inadvertently make it into a pop song.

We must convince John to record the song quickly, so that after its release, some unknowing teenager will trigger the robot making it almost impossible to track the scheme back to us. This plan is too important to fail, the fate of our musical careers rest on the ability of this robot to perform its designated task.

This will work. It has to.


K: This is one of those instances where I have no idea how to do the challenge right until a player shows me how it’s done. It actually makes a twisted sort of sense while also getting in some warranted digs on the most tediously long string of “na” in the history of song (and if it isn’t, please don’t link me to something that’s worse).

6 points out of 6

B: The J.U.D.E. device is kind of funny, but the tie-ins to actual song lyrics are a bit forced (other than the fail safe command, which made me smirk). Also, the plot is ridiculously complex. That’s not a problem in itself, but it feels less like a joke than the author slapping a plot together at the last minute. Either way, I think we’ve had enough Ringo for this competition, eh?

You know what, the second time I read this I like it a lot more.

5 points out of 6

This kind of thing is kind of right up my alley (particularly since Kelly seems partial to my brand of absurdity).  This was not my original idea for this song (initially I was going to ascribe different meanings to each of the “na na na na na na na” lines), but once I started writing everything out, this pretty quickly became the idea that flowed the best. (Yes, Beau’s comments are kind of odd, but he was fried from a bunch of other stuff, so I’m not going to give him too hard of a time.)

Our team was the highest scoring this week, so we continue on with 6 of the remaining 11 players.