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Messages - Baron

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1
What?  Take action before the deadline?  What kind of show do you think I'm running here? (roll)

Best Character: I gotta go with Blondbraid and his asinine movie exec: he was soooo bad it was awesome. (nod)
Best Writing: I liked the way Frodo put the whole story into dialog, and the sinister twist at the end was awesome. :=
Best Atmosphere: I thought the minimalist language but strong word choice used by DBoyWheeler made for an excellent atmosphere.  Was anyone else picturing an anime cartoon when some of those over-the-top lines were delivered with such deadpan seriousness?  "I know my destiny, father,"  "I can use all the help I can attain," and my personal favourite: "We are here to put an end to your tyranny, Oni King!"  Classic. :)
Best Change: Ah, let's keep it fair and go with Mandle for this one.  If you think about it the story from anyone but Jack's perspective, it really is a story of larceny and murder.  I like how Mandle twisted it around to be so realistic as to be almost unrecognizable until you put your thinking cap on. ;-D

2

We have four fary tales to warm the hear and vote for:

Momotaro of the Future by DBoyWheeler
The Life and Times of Mrs Fizzlepink by Frodo
A timeless Tale, modernized for a modern audience by Blondbraid
Second Story Man by Mandle
Rampion by Baron

Read tem, ejoy the, vote fro them - in the following categaries:



Aaaaaaand, since we're being picky, there are actually now five fary tales to warm the hear, ejoy, and vote fro. ;)

3
Well, I missed it by an hour, but there's no point in keeping it to myself.

Rampion

        The dashing Princess rode her black charger through the woods, her short cropped curls blowing carelessly in the wind.  The crispness of the last of the winter snows wafting from beneath the thickest conifers mixed with the riot of spring flower scents from the sunny glen.  The world was alive with the sound of birdsong and swollen brooks and bees swarming over the wild apple tree blossoms.  The forest was fresh and fabulous. The Princess forced a merry laugh and rode on.

   And why should she not be merry?  Was she not young and strong and free of cares?  Had she not done a great raft of good deeds for the poor and the meek?  Why, she had bested the brawny Bandersnatch in single combat and had outwitted the wily Wasket in a war of wisdom, all within the fortnight.  Not for her was the brooding drizzle of late autumn or the chilling emptiness of midwinter.  She was a lioness of spring who seized life by the horns, and if that didn't work then by the throat!  The Princess forced a louder, merrier, more convincing laugh.
 
   There are foes that thou can charge against
   And foes that thou can flee from
   But worst of all are foes immense
   That dwell in thine own bosom


   The steely edge of the wily Wasket's rhyme sliced through the season's charade of gaiety.  The Princess reined in her steed, turning to look from whence the words had whistled.  Desperately she sought a someone whom she could smite or spite, but the forest was empty but for her.  The words were her words now, seared into her soul by the scorching shrewdness of the wily Wasket.  The forest was empty, and the foe was inside her, that gnawing emptiness that she had sated and suppressed these many years with deeds and dash.  Now it gnawed at her like a feral animal trapped too long in a cage, and she yearned to tear at her breast from without, so that by working together they might sooner be rid of each other.  She wept despite herself.

   The Princess did not know how long she wallowed in woe, but her poor steed had eaten through half the moss covering the nearby rocks when at last she pulled herself together.  That wily Wasket had weft this whirl of woes with his worming words!  It was a trick of the mind and nothing more, and she was fool enough to fall for it.  She had brawn and brains and beauty; what need had she of belonging?  She held her head high once more and laughed again, though somewhat feebly.

   And then she heard it.  A gentle song flitting faintly through the forest like a frolicking fox.  She could hardly hear it hovering half-dreamt between the binary beating of her horse's hooves and her own hopeful heart.  Here it crooned and there it crested, through the branches and the bramble.  It was a man's voice, soft as summer sunshine, singing with such sure soulfulness that is sent shivers through her shirt.  She wended her way through copse and clover, listening for the lilting lyrics as they lazed and loudened.  She found herself infatuated, following the fancy like fairy footprints through the ferns.   
 
   At length the Princess found herself gaping gladly near a glade.  Therein soared a slender tower, slim and spired, ascending into the sky.  The spindly structure seemed to suffer from a definite dearth of doors.  The voice was clearly calling from the topmost tip of the tower, and the Princess wondered how the man would come and go with no gate or gantry?  Then suddenly she spied a sorceress slinking slyly through the slough.  She said in no uncertain speech:  “Rampion, Rampion, please put down your p-”

   The words were chopped by the churlish chewing of her hungry horse.  Vexed, the Princess viewed the vile vixen hove up the tower-side, but she could hardly see how?  She pondered the problem for mere minutes before the witch-like woman was wandering once more, moving down the masonry in a most magical manner.  Soon the sorceress had slunk away, and the song started up once more. 

   The princess determined that she too would brave the battlements to behold the boy above.  She rode to the ramparts and called carefully to her crush: “Gentle man, I'm your biggest fan, please pull me up to meet you!”

   The singing stopped rather suddenly, and there was no sound for quite sometime.  The Princess decided to mouth the man once more: “Gentle sir, I'm just a girl, let me up to see you!”

   The soul she sought stayed silent.

   Beriddled, the brave beauty brooded on the sorceresses' swift success.  What had she said that had so surely summoned the singer?  “Rampion!” she exclaimed, remembering the recent ritual.  “Rampion, Rampion!  Please put down your.... -er.....”  She impishly improvised: “Please put down your Prmphnrdmgr!”

   The visage of the voice poked out from a window high above, quite hale and handsome.  “What did you say?  I missed that last bit?”

   “Are you hard of hearing, good sir?” she asked cunningly.  “I've said the password, now have me up!”

   “Er...  I don't think I should,” he called back

   “Rampion!  Surely you long for company, cloistered as you are so far from everyone?  We have much in common, you and I, risen so high above the throng that we are quite cut-off.  Let us slake our loneliness upon each other's amity.”

   “Er.... You should go now.  The witch is very jealous.”

   The Princess tapped her foot impatiently.  “I have brawled the brawny Bandersnatch and whipped the wily Wasket in a wit-war!  I fear no witch.  And besides, what fault could she find in just a friendly visit?  Pull me up and we'll discuss the matter.”

   “She blinded the last girl by clawing out her eyes.  You really should go.”

   “What, for just visiting?!”

   “Er.... yeah.  There's kinda this entry thing that crosses certain boundaries of intimacy....”

   “Good sir, I am a princess of the most noble bearing!  I can assure you that I will respect your personage if you should insist upon it.  Truthfully, I am smitten by your song and would gladly content myself with the platonic pleasures of sharing some happy moments with a kindred spirit.”

   “Er.... it's not that simple.  We've really got to do this... thing to get you up.  It drives the witch mad with jealousy.  You've got cute eyes, you should keep them!”

   “Good sir, I am begging you!  We can keep our relationship on the plane of friendship, I swear it!”

   “Er... No we can't!”

   “We can!  I can!  Being a princess is all about restraint and self-denial.  I can keep my hands to myself, no matter what you throw at me!”

   “Uhh... I don't think....”

   “Don't think, good sir!  Feel!  Feel that this is good and right!”

   “Yeah... The witch really doesn't like other girls feeling-”

   “What could you possibly be hung-up over?!?  Just pull me up!  Rampion, Rampion, please put down your p... -oh god, you've got a hundred-foot-long cock, haven't you?”

:=

6
I'm half-done my entry.  I might make it by the deadline or I might not.... I haven't decided yet. (roll)

7
I'm back.  Sorry folks!  We had some internet trouble and then I was crazy busy with my wife running off to Nepal and leaving me with the kids.  But I'm slowly clawing my way back to being on top of things, I swear! :)

Mandle, your story was awesome.  I love how you cram so much into your tiny vignettes.  I'll be the first to admit that I didn't quite get the whole story on the first read through, but I enjoy that wtf?!? feeling I get when I actually have to turn the old brain onto full-focus mode and make some inferences.  So good job, ol' boy. ;-D

Sinitrena, your story was awesome, too.  Except for when it didn't end like the Thomas Crown Affair, but that wouldn't be very original. ;)  As always I enjoyed the tie ins with your other stories, although you're going to have to compile a glossary of characters like in the back of those big fantasy novels for new readers to help them with the wider connections. (nod)  I too have visited the Louvre, although it must have been a quiet day because I don't recall crazy crowds.  I thought the Mona Lisa was a colossal meh, but some of the other art in there was pretty cool.  Especially the giant canvasses featuring glorious megalomaniacs.... (wtf)(laugh)

To the results.  I actually had Mandle winning by a hair until I revealed his hidden "real" votes. (wrong) 

The golden meh goes to Sinitrena with 12 votes.  While maybe not as inspired as my other trophies, you could at least use it as a paper weight or a cudgel with which to fend off small pickpockets. (roll)

The silver meh therefore goes to Mandle, that octo-limbed god-king of the uber-realm who deigns to occasionally bore himself with our trivial human contests.  I like how he hides his omnipotence in a guise of humility - he will probably keep most of his eyes yet. (nod)

So now I belatedly turn the contest over to Sinitrena.  Thanks everyone for entering and voting, and then waiting around for an eternity to get tickets to line up for the somewhat anti-climactic award distribution ceremony!  Hope to see you out next time! ;)







...in the next exciting instalment of The Fortnightly Writing Competition!

8
....And we're closed.  Thanks to all the competitors who submitted a story this round!  They are, in alphabetical order:

Mandle with "God" Is Just "Job" In The Mirror
Sinitrena with Arnaud‘s Art

Voting will be in the following categories:

Best Rant (aloud or thought)
Most Unique Thingy that is Popular
Most Insight Into the Psyche (attempts to explain the rationality of following the crowd or bucking the trend)
Least Meh Atmosphere (a combination of writing style and word choice)
Most Entertaining Whateverness (best story)

Sorry for the extra category thrown in there, but I feel with only two entrants that we need an odd number of categories to avoid the likelihood of a tie.

Voting will be open until Wednesday January 14, with votes tabulated the following day.

Good luck to all contestants!

9
Sweet criminy, that deadline sure creeps up on you!  I'll leave the comp open for 24 hours as of this post if anyone wants to make a last ditch effort to enter. 

10
It's probably just my messy handwriting, but to me "god" looks an awful lot like "boe" with a really big "e" in the mirror. (nod)  Something to contemplate for a future "through the looking glass" theme.  In the mean time, we have approximately 5 more days to receive up to nine more submissions.  Get them in while the getting's good! :)

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The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 10 Jan 2018, 01:42 »
Correct, of course.  In further trivia, I am apparently a very distant descendant of hers.  So keep your eyes off granny's tits! :=

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The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 09 Jan 2018, 02:09 »
This eleventh century noblewoman is reputed to have ridden naked through the streets of Coventry to protest high taxation. :=

If you've ever been to Coventry you probably know her from her statuary.  If not, her name has also been adopted as a popular corporate brand. (nod)

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The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 07 Jan 2018, 02:15 »
I'm pretty sure it was the Bling dynasty.... :P

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Greatness is what people make of it.  If enough people think something is great, then it becomes great.  But in this era of counter culture and alternative narratives why should we accept what the majority thinks?  Ten men's idea of the greatest thing of all time may solicit only a colossal "meh" from the eleventh.  Circumstances have thus aligned to create a...

Great Whatever



Your story should feature something amazing that most people think is awesome, but someone prominent in your story finds boring, mundane, inane, contemptible, or outright vacuous.  Your special something can be an event (New Years, Valentine's, Birthday, etc.), a piece of art (music, movie, book, etc.), a person (celebrity, sports star, etc.), fad (type of dance, fashion style, way of talking, etc.), or object (whizzbang, doodad, widget, etc.).  Obviously something boring might make for a bad read, so don't be afraid to ham up either the event or the reaction to make it more entertaining.

Possible voting categories include: Best Rant (aloud or thought), Most Unique Thingy that is Popular, Most Insight Into the Psyche (attempts to explain the rationality of following the crowd or bucking the trend), Most Entertaining Whateverness (best story).

Deadline is Friday January 19, 2018.

Good luck to the vast and teeming hordes of potential entrants.  Please be advised that we will only be able to accept the first ten valid submissions, so don't delay and start today! ;-D

15
Lame schmame!  Victory by default! ;-D ;-D ;-D

Ponch is no doubt still nursing an epic Texas-sized New Years hangover.  It may yet be several days before he's well enough to string some words together.  It'd be best just to give ALL TEH TROPHIEZ TO MEEEEE!!!!

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The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 31 Dec 2017, 15:50 »
We have a winner! ;-D  When Enrico Dandolo, well over ninety years old, blind, and Doge of Venice, heard his troops faltering in their siege of the sea-walls of Constantinople, he had his galley rowed forward to personally lead the attack.  Kinda puts my blind great-grandfathers' penchant for bridge and womanizing to shame.... (roll)

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Ho ho ho!  It looks like several people will be furiously typing up their entries with a pounding hangover, er, hanging over them. (roll)

My entry is a sequel to Coal Squad, a story I wrote an astonishing five years ago for this very competition.  I'm not one for repeating backstory, especially in a short story format, so if you can't piece together what is happening then you'll have to go back and read episode one to get your bearings.  Basically Coal Squad is the policing arm of Santa's operation that deals with giving coal to naughty folk.  They get a naughty list from CI5 (Christmas Intelligence) and bring retribution to the undeserving.  They're kind of a band of misfits with a critically important job, but they don't really fit in with the rest of elf society.

Coal Squad 2: Retribution Resolution

22:30 GMT 2017-12-24   Aleppo, Syria

   The night was black but for the occasional streak of tracer bullets.  An odd snowflake fell here and there, cold as the hearts of men, but melting to a child's tear drop on the dusty and blood-spattered ground.  The city cowered in the darkness as the occasional shell crashed through the ruins of the once prosperous streets.  And above it all flew a sleigh as silently as a stealth bomber.

   “Geez, what a shithole!” sneered Pidowski, a middle-aged elf sporting a fat belly and a thin moustache.  “What's the point of coaling someone when their house is crumbling down on top of them?”

   “You wanna park that fat ass of yours behind a desk in the Assessment Bureau to write the Naughty List yourself, Pidowski?” growled a mangy green creature in a sad imitation of a Santa Claus suit.

   “No sir, Captain Grinch!” Pidowski replied.  “Those desks aren't equipped for agents of my calibre!”

   Captain Grinch ignored the remark.  Pidowski had a sack of sass as bottomless as Santa's magic bag, but underneath the sass and lard he had a heart of pure gold.  The Grinch motioned for the rest of the squad to gather around.  Beside Pidowski was Garcia, another elf and thirty-five year vet, still quick as a Boxing Day shopper and solid as a frozen Toblerone bar.  Then there was Krampus, half elf and half goat, twirly beard blowing in the wind and a harsh edge to his stare.  Finally there was Green Melvin, another elf five years in the force but still learning the ropes.

   “Here's the intel,” barked the Grinch.  “Arms-dealing bastard playing both sides off each other.  Wife abuses the servants and sleeps around on the side.  Got a spoilt little daughter who bullies the neighbourhood children.  Our orders are to go in and coal with extreme prejudice.”

   The vets started checking their coal scuttles and holstering them securely, but Green Melvin as always picked an inopportune moment to ask awkward questions.  “Sir?  We're hitting one family in this sea of misery?  There's gotta be thousands of culpable naughties down there!”

   “Out of our jurisdiction,” the Grinch shouted.  “Naughty Muslims get goat-turded every second day throughout Ramadan by our affiliates down in the South Pole!”

   “That doesn't make any sense,” Green Melvin started.  “We hit the Buddhists, the Atheists, and the-”

   “Sense?!?” the Grinch screamed.  “Sense!?!  This is Coal Squad, soldier, not religion class!  Some people choose to believe in a jolly fat guy with elf minions and others choose to believe in a jolly porpoise with penguin minions and who are you or I to tell them otherwise!”

   “Er,” Melvin grasped, “I'm pretty sure the Muslims don't believe in-”

   “Have you ever discussed the Jolly Porpoise with a Muslim, son?!” the Grinch spat.

   “Uh, no sir.  But-”

   “Have you ever cut a Muslim open to peer into the deepest depths of their soul to see what they truly believe?!” the Grinch bawled.   

     “....No.” Melvin admitted, glancing sideways at his squad mates who were trying to make discrete cut-off motions.

   “Then where in Santa's Merry Realm do you get the arrogance to presume whose naughty list they should appear on!?!  Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, Atheists, Jedi, and Secular Jews are Santa's responsibility at the North Pole!  Muslims, Hindus, Animists, Neopagans, and the Zoroastrians get the Jolly Porpoise in the South Pole!  And Shintoists, practising Jews,  Baha'i, Jehova Witnesses, Scientologists, and the Miscellaneous Category get stuck with the Gleeful Octopus and his merry horde of butterfly-winged gila monsters from the mysterious East Pole!  There, is that clear?!?”

   Melvin blinked in stunned silence.  “What about the West Pole?”

   “There is no West Pole you geographic dunce!  You-!”

   “Sir!” interrupted Olive, their pilot reindeer, over the coms-link.  “We're approaching target!”

   “All right!” shouted the Grinch.  “No more tangents!  Coms on!  Make sure you're locked and loaded!  Prepare to insert!  Go, go, go!”

   Three elves and a half elf-goat fell from the sleigh in linear formation towards the chimney of a large compound.  Pidowski hit first, bunging the hole up with his unhealthy girth for just a moment before the force of his three comrades colliding with him forced him through.  A soft thump and a cloud of ash issued from the main fireplace inside. 

   “Santa's Bells, Pidowski,” groaned Krampus.  “That ass of yours gets any bigger and we'll need to lube you up before missions.”

   “Hey, maybe you'd like to go first and break my fall, horn-brain?” Pidowski retorted.

   “Cut the chatter!” Captain Grinch barked over the radio from the command sleigh.  “Green Group, secure the first floor.  Red Group, upstairs.”

   The Coal Squad agents drew their scuttles and split up.  Krampus and Green Melvin worked their way through the common rooms on the main floor, while Garcia and Pidowski climbed the stairs to the bedrooms.

   "A lot of festive spirit for a war-monger," Garcia commented, admiring the colourful lights and decorations that lined the banister. He knocked his pointy green helmet twice and waved upward.  “Two armed bogeys on the landing,” he whispered into his coms-link.

   “Salary men,” the Grinch radioed back.  “The tall one's just doing it so his family can eat.  The short one too, but he's more of a dick.  You know what to do.”

   Pidowski and Garcia nodded to each other.  They loaded canisters of Mrs. Claus's extra potent cooking sherry into their coal scuttles and charged up the stairs.  As the guards' jaws dropped in disbelief they each got a shot of the sherry and were knocked cold.  The short one got an extra shot of coal.

   “Landing secured,” Pidowski called it in as they proceeded to the first bedroom.  “Door's wired,” he muttered to Garcia.

   “That wasn't on the schems,” Garcia whispered back.  “Better call it in.”

   “No, I got this,” Pidowski answered back.  “Give me a boost up to the control panel.”

   “Yeah, right!” Garcia shook his head.  “If I wanted to carry an elephant around on my back I would have stayed in the Distribution Division.”

   “Dammit, Garcia!  Be a team player!  A bit of sugar plum dust on the buttons and we'll have the code cracked in two winks.”

   “You give me the sugar plum dust and I'll boost on you.”

   “You know my back can't take lifting!” Pidowski argued.

   “Well lie down then.  You're taller that way anyway!”

   The two elves fell to high-pitched fisticuffs.

   *   *   *   *   *

   “Dining room, clear!” Green Melvin radioed.

   “Living room, clear!” Krampus called back.

   “Did you hear that?” Green Melvin asked.

   “Hear what?”

   They both stood silent for a moment.  There it was again.  The faint sound of tinkling from the kitchen.  “Bogey in the kitchen,” Krampus radioed.

   “Negative,” the Grinch radioed back.  “Intel says all targets are tucked in for the night.  Might be a maid or a delivery kid.  Do not engage.”

   “What if they come out?” Green Melvin asked.

   “Neutralize any operatives heading for the stairs,” the Grinch called back.  “Otherwise, observe and recon.”

   “Sit and watch?” Krampus growled privately to Melvin.

   Melvin shrugged.

   “Hey.  Did you hear that?” Krampus asked, a mischievous glint to his eye.

   “Hear what?” Melvin asked back.

   “It sounded like they were heading for the stairs.”  Krampus crept towards the kitchen door, with Green Melvin reluctantly following.

   *   *   *   *   *   

   “Hold still, dammit!” Pidowski grunted to his partner below.

   “Gah, my shoulders!” Garcia squeaked.  “What are those, ballet shoes you're wearing?  All of the weight is concentrated into a tiny point!”

   “The podiatrist said they'd help with my posture!” Pidowski spat back.  He mashed the last couple of buttons on the control panel and the door buzzed open.

   “Thank the Tinsel,” Garcia sighed as Pidowski hopped down.  They entered the room, coal scuttles cocked.  “What the-?”

   *   *   *   *   *

   Krampus eased open the kitchen door.  The only unsteady light was from a candle left burning on the counter.  Melvin dove through the door and rolled into position by the dishwasher.  There was no one visible in the room, but a large island hid the far end of the kitchen from their view.  Krampus pointed Melvin to the right, while he crept stealthily to the left.  They both rounded the island at the same time, scuttles primed to fire.

   On the floor by the fridge sat a little girl of about three years in her pyjamas.  She was rubbing the ears of a kitten who was mischievously trying to get at a plate laden with cookies that was on the ground.

   “No, no, Fwuzzie,” the girl said, lifting the kitten back away from the plate.  “Those tweats are for Santy Claus.”  She bent down and kissed the kitten, then picked up the plate with her unsteady toddler hands.  Krampus squinted in confusion at Green Melvin, who instinctively lowered his scuttle.  Something was definitely wrong with the intel they were receiving.

   “We got a room full of gifts for the poor,” came Garcia's voice over the radio.  “Something's wrong here, Captain.  Permission to abort.”

   “Permission denied!” came the Grinch's grim voice.  “Our intel is solid.  These orders come from the top!”

   “We've got the daughter AWOL in the kitchen,” Melvin reported.  “Three years old cuddling a kitten and putting out cookies for Santa.  Your intel is bogus, sir!”

   “That's impossible!” the Grinch growled.  “Are you saying CI5 has been compromised?!?”

   “Abort!” came Pidowski's panicked voice.  “Extract!  Extract!”

   Green Melvin wondered for a moment what could panic a grizzled vet like Pidowski.  Then the fridge door swung open on its own and a squad of penguins with goat-turd rifles emerged.
   
      
      

18
The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 30 Dec 2017, 02:37 »
All right then, it's clue time:

This man was not a king but he led a sovereign state, although it had vanishingly little territory at his accession.  He was a Christian and would end his days with this title: Dominator quartae et dimidiae partis totius Romaniae.

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The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 29 Dec 2017, 03:02 »
Nope. :)

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The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 29 Dec 2017, 00:42 »
....No.  And technically that's not a guess either.  I will accept the actual name of the individual, but as it's not common knowledge I'll also take an answer in this format: the __________ of __________.  For example: the Count of Flanders, the Earl of Devon, the King of Denmark, the Prince of Muscovy, etc.  The event itself was front page news back in the 13th century; I was just never aware of the actual players involved before reading this book.

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