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Messages - Baron

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I'm actually going to put some serious thought into this, starting right now. :)

This is what I'm seeing:

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:

I'm not understanding the spreadsheet.  While I agree with CaptainD's scores, the points on the spreadsheet don't make any sense.  For Morocco vs. Iran Cassiebsg, cat, xBranex, and I all predicted 0-0.  Cassiebsg and cat got 0 right and 0 score, while xBranex got 1 right and 1 score, and I got 1 right but no score.  Er... what? :undecided:

General Discussion / Re: Incredibly sad news
« on: 12 Jun 2018, 23:52 »
I am very saddened by this news.

Stop hetzing me.  I'm in! ;-D

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Russia 3 - 1 Saudi Arabia
Egypt 1 - 4 Uruguay
Morocco 0 - 0 Iran
Portugal 1 - 2 Spain
France 2 - 0 Australia
Argentina 2 - 0 Iceland
Peru 1 - 1 Denmark
Croatia 1 - 2 Nigeria
Costa Rica 3 - 2 Serbia
Germany 2 - 1 Mexico
Brazil 1 - 1 Switzerland
Sweden 1 - 0 South Korea
Belgium 3 - 1 Panama
Tunisia 0 - 1 England
Colombia 1 - 0 Japan
Poland 1 - 1 Senegal

Russia 2 - 1 Egypt
Portugal 5 - 0 Morocco
Uruguay 2 - 0 Saudi Arabia
Iran 0 - 3 Spain
Denmark 1 - 0 Australia
France 1 - 0 Peru
Argentina 1 - 1 Croatia
Brazil 2 - 1 Costa Rica
Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland
Serbia 2 - 1 Switzerland
Belgium 3 - 1 Tunisia
South Korea 2 - 2 Mexico
Germany 1 - 1 Sweden
England 2 - 1 Panama
Japan 1 - 1 Senegal
Poland 1 - 1 Colombia

Uruguay 2 - 1 Russia
Saudi Arabia 1 - 2 Egypt
Spain 3 - 0 Morocco
Iran 0 - 2 Portugal
Denmark 1 - 3 France
Australia 1 - 1 Peru
Nigeria 1 - 2 Argentina
Iceland 1 - 1 Croatia
South Korea 0 - 3 Germany
Mexico 1 - 1 Sweden
Serbia 1 - 2 Brazil
Switzerland 0 - 2 Costa Rica
Japan 1 - 3 Poland
Senegal 1 - 2 Colombia
England 1 - 1 Belgium
Panama 1 - 0 Tunisia

I should live in a city I s'pose, you only need to worry about being shot, mugged, or raped. Nice.

But... in the country you only need to worry about being shot, mugged, or raped a 3 meter crocodile! :(  And heaven help you if you are suspected of throwing something into traffic and that crocodile has a sense of vigilante justice and access to a rusty rake. :=

Congratulations WHAM and to all the other entrants.  The next competition might be a bit of a squeeze for me as I have some vacation time coming up.  I suppose I might just have to *gulp* make an early submission. (roll)

I had an idea once for a game where you would play as this British intellectual zombie and the living were the crazy ones who just made weird screaming noises and attack you for no reason.  If only I had a dollar for every game idea I never pursued.... (roll)

Best story: Sinitrena  Yes, it was heart-wrenching and depressing.  It might just be that the story hit a personal nerve, as there are several such micro-monuments to the victims of car crashes along my route into work, two of whom I knew personally (I live in quite a small town where most people know most other people).  I liked how the banality of commuting cars was examined from the perspective of a pedestrian and a victim, even though I found it hard to like the main character's attitude of hopelessness.  I think it was the moral of the senselessness of traffic fatalities that clinched it for me, as all the other stories lacked a substantive lesson.

Best scene setting: WHAM for the post-apocalyptic patchwork of zombie and living zones.  It has a post WWII feel of gritty chaos and uncertainty.  The attitude of the dead seemed to indicate that they harboured no relationship bonds with the living once they pass over, which somewhat complicates the dramatic motivation of reuniting with loved ones on the other side, but the issue was never settled overtly one way or another.  Very interesting concept, though.

Best or worst protagonist: Babar for Agnurat the Fiery.  All the other characters just seemed too self-absorbed in their despair.  Britney has committed herself to an almost certainly futile quest that will lead to her death, while Rose (?) was willing to throw away her future and the life of her child because she can not let go of the injustice of the past.  While Agnurat was also suicidal, at least his sacrifice was for some cause greater than himself.

Through the Dander of Despair

   He crested the rise and his primitive heart-tube sank as hope evaporated.  As far as he could see there was nothing but mangy devastation.  He pierced the terrain beneath him in search of the red gold that kept him going, but found nothing but dust and disappointment.  He was an oriental rat flea by the name of Battuta.  And this was the land of false promise.

   Battuta squinted his eyespot at the sun to try to get his bearings.  He had come to Fluffball with the intent of seeing the great Cuzco of the East, the famous Lost Navel where the blood shot like a geyser every hour.  Legend had it that in between blasts the blood would pool so deep that you could swim in it, gorging yourself to satiation.  Battuta licked his stylet with regret, for clearly he was a long way from that land of bounty.

   Wandering through the desolation he saw nothing but scraggly hair tufting away in the wind.  This exposed the cracked and flaking skin that seemed to contain no hint of moisture no matter how far down he drilled.  Battuta hunkered down, letting his armoured plates bear the brunt of a particularly harsh gust.  He had best find shelter soon, lest he get caught in another dander storm and be buried up to his pygidium.

   Battuta made his way to a decrepit copse of fur that seemed to barely cling to the terrain by its exposed follicles.  Along the way he passed some hollow exoskeletons that were bleached almost white from exposure.  They grinned knowingly at him, as if in anticipation of his company.  Shuddering from the chill in the wind Battuta pressed on.

   At the copse Battuta was surprised to discover a grizzled old-timer sitting against a wispy hair and nursing a canteen of something red that smelled quite fermented.  Battuta hailed the old flea and asked if there was any shelter to be had nearby.

   “T'aint no such comfort on this sack of bones, Sonny!” the old-timer barked, chuckling madly to the wind.  “Not since the wells ran dry, and the fur began to fly!  T'aint fit for a louse, or even this old souse, not since the beginning of the end of days.”  The old-timer pointed his foreclaw vaguely in Battuta's direction while taking another sip from his canteen.  “Waddaya doing on a barren desert like this, Sonny?  Yer still young and strong of leg.  Why don't you blast off this corpse and chance what may in the yonder wilds?  Bad as it could possibly be, it can't be worse than here.”

   Battuta contemplated the old-timer's words.  It was vaguely irrational, but he had an unquenchable thirst that only the faithful geyser of paradise could sate.  He told the old-timer as much.

   “Red fever,” the old-timer spat grimly, letting out a long, mournful whistle.  “Mark my words, Sonny.  You'll wander these dunes of dust and dander for all eternity before you find the Lost Navel.  Heed the advice of my experience: let it go and move on.”

   Battuta suppressed the doubt gnawing at his insides.  He would not forsake his one true purpose for the uncertain purgatory of the yonder wilds.  He laughed at the old-timer, telling him he was too close now to give up hope.

   The old-timer studied Battuta for a long time before shaking his head in despair.  “T'aint we all, Sonny.  T'aint we all.”

   Battuta smirked at the melodrama of the old-timer's manner, but suddenly the chilly wind pierced him to his soul.  He turned his laterally compressed body into gale wind to stop it from acting like a sail and dislodging him from the copse.  He squatted low to keep the frigid blast from sapping him of the last of his heat, his eyespots stinging from the driven dander flakes.

   When the worst of the wintery wind had subsided, Battuta turned back to his companion, but the old-timer was gone.  Battuta looked downwind to see if he had been driven from his resting place, but all he saw was the scattered remnants of bleached exoskeletal bits snared in the wispy hairs of the copse.  The only evidence that the old-timer had ever been there was the flask that now lay empty at the base of the hair against which he had been sitting.

   Battuta stooped to retrieve the flask so that he might lick out the last few drops of sweet red with his labial palpus.   Again he bent, and again, his parched throat aching for just a single drop.  He couldn't quite believe it when his ghostly foreleg kept passing through the flask and out the other side.


This story was supposed to be quite a bit sillier than it turned out.  Here's my original inspiration:
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:

Good!  I'll stall for as long as I can justifiably do so, and we'll meet up somewhere in the middle. :=

The Bald Prophet

Awesome.  Prophesy isn't quite the same as pilgrimage, but still awesome.  (nod)

I'm mostly done, but it's too late to finish it tonight.  I'll try to make it by the deadline tomorrow.

Ooo!  This has Blondbraid's idea of a Scythian she-warrior teaming up with an ancient Greek academic written all over it! ;-D  "Scythes & Sandals," anyone? ;)

As for me, I'm off to wander the wild fens of suburbia in search of inspiration.... (roll)

Competitions & Activities / Re: Game pitch competition
« on: 20 May 2018, 03:24 »
So #3 is Baron or Ponch

Guilty as charged. (roll)

I voted for Blondbraid's #8.  C'mon, guys!  Scythian she-warrior and Greek academic on a road trip through central Asia -that's got good times written all over it! ;-D

Voting is now closed.  Now it is open for a bit longer.  Now it is closed again.  Open.  Closed.  Open.  Closed.  Tee hee hee! :=

Well, I'd be a bit (more) of a failure as a writing competition administrator if I didn't put my foot down and not fail to end the whole process of voting, so I actually am ending it now.  I mean right now.  Ok, now.  There.  There's that sense of finality.  Oh yeah....

Where was I?  Oh yes, not failing in my administrator's duties.  See, there was a lot of words written and digital ink spilt over the merits and miscomings of various and sundry entries.  And I want you to know that I agree with all the valid points declared or implied above, and that I unabashedly condemn all the other ones.(nod)  In the end, I think we can all agree that some of the people have spoken and that we have followed the voting process in accordance with the custom and conventions of the competition, thereby observing both the letter and the spirit of the unwritten code of writer's honour that we all of us hold so dear.  Some might decry the shortcomings of the democratic process and I would concur in that sentiment unanimously in that it is the very worst system for settling on a winner, except for all the other such systems ever conceived by man.  And so it is with great pomp and gravitas that I begin to wrap up my concluding statement of this introduction by stating unambiguously that this has been one of the five best of the last eight competitions that I've had the immense pleasure of administrating.  I LOVE YOU GUYS!!1! :=

All right, all right, let's get down to the brass tacks, shall we? 

3rd place with 3 votes goes to WHAM.  You also win the bronze monkey hand trophy that I totally failed to make. ;-D  While I personally find the whole puppy-love-on-a-pedestal thing more than just a little nauseating, I found the earnestness of the main character refreshing and the story compelling.  Like Sinitrena, I'm a little baffled by things left unsaid.  Why write a note (presumably to strangers) without including helpful details?  Unless the note was meant for the ex-companion, in which case why assume someone else would find it?  Unless it was just meant as a vague explanation of motivation (presumably for suicide), which would be a passive-aggressive strike against the ex-companion (which would then technically be two failures against them, negating the validity of the whole "one failure" theme....).  You can at least take pride in striking a nerve: we wouldn't obsess over the story so much if it hadn't sucked us in. :)

2nd place with 6 votes goes to Sinitrena.  I made your digital silver trophy an indoor sundial, but I totally failed to remember to bring it tonight. (roll)  Your nerdy-gamer reaper character was pathetically awesome.  It was the little details that added up, from the awkward dialog to his dressing sense, and everything in between.  You also totally blindsided me with the twist ending, so top marks for that.;-D 

1st place with 7 votes goes to Wiggy!  I planned to make you a golden mouldy potato trophy, but then completely failed to follow through. (roll)  You would have hands-down had my votes for best writing: "... a kaleidoscope of flashing lights accompanied by a howling such as if a hundred gales had spent themselves in one second, then silence."    Pure gold, baby!  Well, kind of purply-gold at times, but I have a soft spot for overdressed language, and it suited the Victorian time period indubitably. ;)  I think since the whole "Earth is constantly shifting absolute location" idea is vital to the plot it would have read better if the Chrononaut planned to return immediately after departing, thus making his slight displacement more plausible, but it's just a small niggle in an otherwise well-thought out story.

So it is now to Wiggy that I bestow the sparkly sequin-encrusted vestments of administrative authority.  Be it on him to come up with a new topic for the next exciting instalment of....

The Fortnightly Writing Competition!

It's voting time! Thank you to all of our contributors for NOT failing to enter this contest. ;-D

Our valid non-joke entries are:

WHAM: An Apology
Sinitrena: Job Experience
Wiggy: The Chronological Contraption

We will be judging these entries on the following criteria.  Given the numbers of entries there will be only one vote allowed per category.

Best Character: Or maybe worst character....  An extremeness of character, anyway.
Best Fail: Or worst fail....?  You be the judge.
Best Writing: The way you put the words together to make it sound like a real writer wrote it, y'know?
Best Story: Kinda this mix of tangible and intangible factors, bundled together in a vague concept known as "having it".

Voting will run until Tuesday May 15, 2018.  Good luck to all participants!

All right!  Two entries (kinda)!  Still four more days left to NOT FAIL to enter this competition, so keep those keys clicking.

Selmiak, you obsequious rule follower, you!  I accept your submission. ;-D

Welcome to the Fortnightly Writing Competition, where writers compose an entry loosely related to a given topic over roughly a two-week period.  This is a friendly competition where the goal is to have fun and improve as writers.  Entries can be short or long, serious or silly, timely or deadline-challenged....(roll)  We're not fussy, we just want to read what you can write! This fortnight's theme is:


To quote a frequently misunderstood poet (because he used crazy Scottish words that make no sense): "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley."  What?!?  Think of it like that cat with the speech impediment who could never catch Tweety Bird.  I mean, even if he did eat the little featherball, he'd still get fewer calories out of the deal than he would get on a regular basis from licking the dust mites off of his fur.  It's not just that he can't accomplish what he set out to do, but that the whole goal was ill-conceived from the offing.  My point is that your entry should relate somehow, at least obliquely, to a degree of unsuccessfulness at some endeavour, such as making a peanut butter sandwich with the bread on the inside, or trying to explain a writing competition without entirely thinking through the essence of what you want people to do.  Maybe your characters are coming to terms with failing to meet great expectations?  Maybe someone takes inspiration from the struggle instead of the final flop?  Maybe your entry just ends with a final flush of epic fail?  Either way you cut it, the worse you do at this competition, the better you actually do.  You can't lose!

Deadline:  All entries shall be posted by the close of business on May 10, 2018, unless stipulated otherwise in some random post herein.

By convention we vote by categories, and it is considered sporting to set these out in advance.  Your entries will (probably) be voted on in the following way; at least, as long as I don't have any better ideas in the next two weeks. :)

Best Character: Or maybe worst character....  An extremeness of character, anyway.
Best Fail: Or worst fail....?  You be the judge.
Best Writing: The way you put the words together to make it sound like a real writer wrote it, y'know?
Best Story: Kinda this mix of tangible and intangible factors, bundled together in a vague concept known as "having it".

Good luck to all entrants!

Well, to be fair, WHAM's was my favourite as well.... (roll)  I humbly accept the victory.  I had to cut a poorly written segment speculating that Gage's disappearance somehow linked him to the murders (and also Elvis and Area 51), but it might have indirectly made things any more clear.  As for Marks the stalker/murderer's motivation, I preferred to leave him an enigma.  Not just to play with the reader's perception through his eyes, but also to make his crimes more incomprehensible (the band members, after all, also had no idea why he was coming after them).  The best we can speculate is that he is a crazed super fan.

The purple hair was a somewhat feeble attempt to tie all the incidents together so that it would be obvious that there was one stalker, not a series of unfortunate coincidences.  The weirdness of it was also supposed to lend weight to the insanity of the unprovoked crimes.  I had contemplated attempting to tie the crazed super-fan in to the band's highschool acquaintance quoted in the first article, but it seemed too obvious without awkwardly giving Marks a pseudonym and then trying to explain it afterwards.  Also the band would know him, so he'd be apprehended pretty quickly....

I will be the first to admit it was not my best outing: WHAM should've won!  WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM! ;-D

I'll try and get a new competition together soon. 

Hey, it's still Friday here! ;-D

Best Character: I'm going with FormosaFalanster for his main character.  I can scorn and empathize with his thoughts in equal measure, which makes him seem very real.  I liked how WHAM's dysfunctional group interacted, but in the end they were each pretty one-dimensional characters (the single-minded leader whose obsession dooms everyone else, the obsequious woman henchman-enabler, the wall-paper man of learning, and the everyman).
Best Plot: Gotta be WHAM for a riveting Micheal Crichton-esque tale of alien encounters.  I'm a little confused about how the man (and the dog) were able to survive their ordeal, but I see why they did for plot reasons.

Best Writing: This was surprisingly close.  In the end I have to go for WHAM with his clear and punchy prose.  FormosaFalanster's piece read more like poetry at times.  It was impressive in its use of vocabulary and metaphor, but little details like missing words detracted.

Best Atmosphere: I vote WHAM who had me on the edge of my seat, as he often does.  It was a page turner without pages: you really should write a longer thriller and try to get it published.

Best Music: This category must be FormosaFalanster.  Yes it was feverish and psychedelic, but there was definitely some transcending of barriers between music and the silence of the written word.  Kudos to WHAM for evoking an emotional response of terror with his music, but the category specifically asks about managing to make you hear a song in your head, while his soundscape imparted more of a haunting, chilly sound into my spine.

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