Monthly Archives: November 2011

One If By Land, Four If By USPS

or “The Holiday Ride of Ben Revere

Michael at Sports Syzygy swapped some Piazzamania for some cards of the Twins’ exciting outfield rookie, Ben Revere. He’ll never be a superstar (weak arm, no power) but he has good range and a lot of speed, and he had a 2011 GIBBY nominated catch that was absolutely incredible.


clockwise, from top left: 2011 Topps Chrome #175 Ben Revere (auto); 2011 Topps Chrome Refractor #175 Ben Revere [235/499] (auto); 2011 Topps Chrome Refractor #175 Ben Revere; 2011 Topps Chrome #175 Ben Revere

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Spookymilk Survivor X — Challenge #5: Bantam Bulwyr

This week’s Spookymilk Survivor X writer’s challenge was another favorite of mine last time — Bantam Bulwyr!  What is Bantam Bulwyr?  The challenge is to write the worst possible opening to a novel that you can, in fifty words or fewer.

Interestingly, last time we had only 30 words to work with, yet this time around I really had to pare it to keep it to the requisite 50.  Here’s what I submitted:

The odds were good. Really, really good. Las Vegas stuffing-money-into-your-pockets good. And at that instant, with unread mail piled by the door and rain hitting the shingles of the ramshackled shotgun shack like cash registers, Nick begins filling out the application. An application … out of this life! Maybe. Crom willing.

Again, I decided to run with my first idea (actually, just the first two lines) and make it work.  My goals:

  • annoying writing style? check.  I chose to use short choppy sentences (and sentence fragments)… a long run-on in the middle
  • bad aliteration?  check.  Not only does “shingles of the ramshackled shotgun shack” flow with the sh’s, but I snuck “shack” in there twice.
  • useless pop-culture tie-ins?  check.  Love the sound of “shotgun shack” in Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime”, and the inappropriate nod to Conan the Barbarian with “Crom willing” I thought was a wonderful end to this opening paragraph…although that ended up biting me a bit.
  • worthless details?  check.  Not sure what unread mail has to do with anything, except that it doesn’t.
  • lame simile?  check.  Originally I had rain falling on the roof like coins, but that almost works.  Cash registers?  Not so much.
  • change of verb tense?  check.  And almost as importantly, I totally changed the opening up-beat attitude with a wishy-washy closing.
  • stupid exclamations!  check!

So, what were the judges thoughts?  RESULTS

K: This is an insane mishmash that doesn’t quite work for me because it darts around too much, obviously the work of a good writer trying to be bad. Pare this down to the middle section with the ridiculous and long simile, and we’ve got something here. The Conan reference at the end probably would have worked better simply as “God willing,” because now I want to know how the story fits into the Conan world. 2

DK: Tense changes are always going to get me, so it’s a little bit of a tiebreaker when there’s so many great/terrible ones. The application metaphor misuse is my favorite part. 4

Well, a 3 average is a little disappointing but nothing to sneeze at.  Interestingly, judge’s votes skewed all over the place, but it can do that easily enough when trying to intentionally write something horrible.  Team SPOILER ALERT! was in line to forfeit another player, but a non-sub by Can of Corn saved us, unfortunately for C o’ C 😦

We’ll see what havoc next week’s challenge brings…

Soundtrack Friday Random 10

Today needs a soundtrack!

  1. “A Pure Formality (Main Theme)” – Yo-Yo Ma & Ennio Morricone, Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone
  2. “Mike Mercurie” – John Tesh, Tour de France soundtrack
  3. “Prologue” – Joe Hisaishi, Laputa: The Castle in the Sky
  4. “Lullabye” – Chuck Mangione, Children of Sanchez soundtrack
  5. Movement V” – Vangelis, El Greco
  6. “Father Christmas” – Harry Gregson-Williams, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  7. Tikal” – E.S. Posthumus, Unearthed
  8. “Roy and Gillian on the Road” – John Williams, Close Encounters of the Third Kind soundtrack
  9. Slow and Easy” – Henry Mancini, Peter Gunn soundtrack
  10. M386” – Brian Eno, Music for Films

Oddball Card Gold Mine

While browsing SportsCardFun yet again, I found a listing for oddball cards for trade, so I checked out tpeichel‘s massive trade spreadsheet. Thankfully, I have my own stockpile of trade-able oddball cards, and with a little help as well from my LCS I had enough to swap for what he had that I needed.


clockwise, from top left: 1992 Donruss Cracker Jack series 1 mini #29 Kent Hrbek; 1994 O-Pee-Chee Jumbo Redemption foil #17 Kirby Puckett; 1990 Donruss Learning Series #46 Kirby Puckett; 1989 O-Pee-Chee Sticker back #33 Jeff Reardon

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Spookymilk Survivor – Challenge #4: What Was That You Asked?

Spookymilk Survivor X continues with the fourth challenge: for a given list of answers, give the question/statement that provoked the answer. The list of answers are:

  1. Okay, but it’s twice the cost for full service.
  2. I went for it, but I missed wide right.
  3. A slide rule, an apple and a piece of the Blarneystone.
  4. It’s no surprise they melted, then.
  5. It was my video game knowledge that saved my life.
  6. Still, I don’t think it was interesting enough for 26 pages.
  7. So that’s what really happened to Elvis and Tupac.
  8. Because my cat is stuck in the shower drain.
  9. You could get the same result by banging a bunch of pots and pans together.
  10. It was pretty weird, but you could turn it into a beer commercial.
  11. I should have known that’s what “Louie Louie” was about.
  12. Well, that’s one way to survive a nuclear blast.
  13. That’s an unlikely use of your theater degree.
  14. I guess that’s the one good thing about visiting a KKK complex.
  15. I wanted to go because they have the hottest chicks.
  16. I wanted to go because they have the hottest guys.
  17. Peer pressure makes a (guy/girl) do stupid things.
  18. It was a misprint, and one letter made all the difference.
  19. It was going so well until he slipped.

I was disappointed with this challenge for a couple reasons: this was a team challenge and far too many of my submissions were chosen, plus far too few votes were cast, which means that some that were submissions were not concensus but were the results of a coin flip, so to speak. SPOILER ALERT! had a dismal showing, with only 8 of the possible 38 points. Results.

Here were submissions of mine that scored points:

17 Peer pressure makes a guy/girl do stupid things.
You got a tattoo that says “hermaphrodite?!?”

This one scored two points. The “guy/girl” seemed a no-brainer to me, and what better peer pressure than to get a tattoo? Judges responses:
K: Oh, wow. I had another one picked until I realized how I worded the answer. Nicely done.
DK: I think this is the most ridiculous, and therefore, funniest.

18. It was a misprint, and one letter made all the difference.
Wait, he got fired for selling seersucker sluts?

I have no idea where this one came from. Spooky liked it:
K: Alright, none of these are grabbing me. “Sluts” is an odd way to misprint “suits” by just one letter, but I still don’t even know what the other two are going for. I might know if I spent a lot of time on it, but if I did that they wouldn’t be funny anymore anyway.

19. It was going so well until he slipped.
I see Rabbi Steinberg isn’t allowed to perform bris anymore.

Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one to take this route. DK preferred our submission, though:
DK: Here’s another one of those multiple team ones, but the third one is definitely more substantial.
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Spookymilk Survivor — Challenge #3: Half The Conversation

Team SPOILER ALERT! met tragedy this week when one of our members had a death in the family, and understandably he decided to concede the game.  Looking forward to seeing you back in Spookymilk Survivor XI, Jake — my prayers are with you and your family.

After last week’s team challenge, we were back to being solo again; the challenge: write the other half of a conversation.

The “A:” portion of the conversation was provided…

A quiet buzz on the com unit gets Sgt. Wyrzhevski’s attention. His men are relaxing within the front entrance of an abandoned Parisian hostel. He picks up the pack’s handset.

A: You missed a call.

“Cpl. Angler, my patrol has been under sporadic fire all the night — sorry if we can’t accommodate your communication schedule! We’re allowed a couple minutes to take a crap instead of answering HQ immediately, right?”

A: Yeah. There’s no reason not to.

“Well, unless you’re constipated, I guess. Har har.”

Shouting over his shoulder: “Jackson – come here!”

On the handset: “Hey Angler, you were there – tell Jackson here that waitress last Thursday night didn’t say she loved him in French – that’s all he’s been saying since that night.”

Hands handset to Pvt. Jackson.

A: No. She never did. Neither did I, for that matter.

Wyrzhevski grabs the handset from a puzzled Jackson.

“Heard that? Now shut up about it!”

Speaking again into the handset: “I hope HQ has something up its sleeve besides these constant street patrols. Something that makes sense, that is — I don’t want to be in another major debacle like the last offensive.”

A: At the Fall Festival?

“The general can call it what he wants; here in the field we refer to it as Operation Cluster F…”

Bullets ricochet off the sidewalk just outside.

To the soldier nearest the entrance: “DAMN IT! Torrence, where’s that sniper fire coming from?! You and Watkins flank right and see if you can get a fix!”

Two soldiers carefully exit out the side doorway.

Back to the handset: “Angler, good thing that morning convoy through here was aborted, ‘cause this area’s still hot. Wouldn’t have wanted to have our guys on this route today.”

A: Yeah, that would have been a disaster.

“If the Resistance was more dependable, we wouldn’t still have these sniper nests. The frogs have been scarce since that fight broke out a couple weeks ago that night when Sgt. Flatly was doing his Cross-Eyed Führer act.”

A: It wasn’t personal. They don’t see things the same way you do.

“Yeah, well I don’t plan on sticking around to discuss it with them; I’m anxious to cross into ‘The Fatherland’ and start kicking kraut hiney on their home turf.”

A: You’re not the only one.

“You think we have long to wait?”

A: Absolutely not.

The two soldiers reenter the building, one signaling “three” with his right hand.

“Torrence and Watkins are back – looks like we’ve got us a building with some unwanted tenants.”

A: So what are you going to do about it?

“How’s about I tell you on our Oh-Nine-Hundred call? Talk to you then, Angler – Wyrzhevski out.”

Not much to say about this one. After reading “You missed a call.” I got it in my head that this was spoken on the headset of an Army field phone, and after kicking it around a while, I ended up setting it in WWII Paris. Thanks to Bro SS for the read-through sanity check.

The judges’ comments from the results.:
K: I like the story, but the format really wrecks it with “A” remaining in the state in which I wrote it, but the rest reading as prose. I couldn’t immerse myself in it as a result. 2

DK: I’ll take this one solidly as it flows pretty well and the action is interesting. 4

Regardless of the scoring, since we had a non-submitter, the results didn’t entirely matter here. Looks like SPOILER ALERT! has another avenge week in store.

A “Get My Funk On” Friday Random 10

Thank God It’s Funky

  1. Lucky 7” – Greg Howe, Victor Wooton, Dennis Chambers, Extraction
  2. “Sushi Pimp” – Gnappy, Unloaded
  3. Tell Me Something Good” – Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, The Very Best of Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
  4. Swing Funk” – Jeff Lorber Fusion, Lift Off
  5. “Shining Star” – Earth, Wind, and Fire, Greatest Hits
  6. It’s Not the Same for Us” – Level 42, World Machine
  7. Scratch & Sniff” – Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Outbound
  8. Sofistifunk” – Return to Forever, No Mystery
  9. “Hot Fun” – Stanley Clarke, School Days
  10. Chameleon” – Herbie Hancock, Headhunters

Yeah!