Monday, April 25, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor VIII: Twenty Questions

I've had an obscenely busy last week and a half. I was down in the cities rocking out some Cisco phone training, with very limited access to any type of internet access, then I shuttled my brother up home for family Easter, then shuttled him back down to the cities so that Branny Z and I could hit up the Pixies concert last night (which I'll explain in depth in a new post). Either way, last week's result was decent, considering how little time I had to prepare for it, and there's not a lot to say about it.

This week's challenge was an optional one - nothing but next week's immunity on the line. Since the teams are merged now, and anyone could conceivably be gunning for me, that would have been a nice thing to have, but there was no way. I got to actually have an hour to sit down and do this challenge exactly a half an hour before my brother got dropped off to head out, so it just didn't work at all.

The idea behind the challenge was twofold. Spooky put up the famous "Hitler Bunker" video from downfall, and asked us for clever subtitles. Let me note this - I would have LOVED to do this challenge. I had a fantastic idea for "Hitler as Pentecostal Preacher", and I think a lot of the jokes I had in it were very solid. I was very disappointed that I didn't get any time to do it, as it would have been a lot of fun.

What I was able to do was Beau's half - he came up with 20 questions, and he simply chose his favorite answers. Below are his questions, followed by my answers and a brief explanation.

1 Name a new videogame that’s described as “Grand Theft Auto in space.”
Grnad Theft AUto: Venusian Sunrise

Oh yeah, this was half-assed as hell. I literally jotted this one down in three seconds as my brother hovered over my shoulder waiting to leave. I was extremely glad Beau didn't critique each answer given. First off, that would have been a gargantuan task for him, but roughly half of mine would have been withering, because I put absolutely no time into them.

2 If there was a fight to the death between all nine remaining Survivors, who would win and why?
Dan Kautz - I'm pretty sure he carries a shiv on his person at all times.

This was the first one I came up with, I still like it. Beau must have, too, because he picked it as a winner.

3 Add a new rule to a major sport that would make it more appealing to you.
Every third golf ball is a pressure activated bomb.

I came up with this one pretty quickly. I adore golfing, and actually enjoy watching it on TV, but this would make it pretty exciting.

4 What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Hahaha, yeeeeaaaah

5 You realize you’re in a Scream movie. What’s your survival plan?
Go back in time and become Courtney Cox.

Around this point I realized just how awful most of these were going to be. I haven't even seen a Scream movie since the second one, and that was a long time ago. I know Courtney Cox is still hanging around, so I went with a CC related joke. I discarded my original idea off killing her and wearing her skin as camouflage for reasons I don't really remember.

6 An unexplained phenomenon causes the penises of all Ukrainian men to fall off. What does the media name this phenomenon?
Disaster, it's all penis!

For this, I simply put in the phrase "The disaster where all the penises fell off" into Google translate and put it back and forth between a bunch of languages. The result was funny enough to post, and better than most of what I did have already, so I went with it.

7 Super Mario dies. What’s written on his headstone?
Da doot doot dooo dootdoot doo doo BA-BUMM.

I tried to put the famous "Mario death jingle" into phonetics. I don't think I did a very good job.

8 A former Ultimate Fighter takes a new job as a children’s photographer. What’s the first mistake he makes on the job?
Putting Gwen Stefani in a choke hold

Oh, for dumb.

9 Who cares?
Gavin Rossdale

This one only even remotely works if the first one's not the stupidest thing ever. Unfortunately......

10 What item does the stupid guy bring on the camping trip?
The Large Hadron Collider

You have to admit, this is something a pretty dumb guy could potentially bring on a camping trip. Oh, you silly guy! You need at least 7 electron volts to power a Large Hadron Collider! Besides, the cord is one of those funky European ones, and you don't have an adapter!

11 Pop quiz, hot shot. Spooky has a bomb strapped to himself and he says it will detonate if there are any non-submitters. You have one hour to submit with nothing written and you just
got called into work. What do you do? What do you do?
Write stream of consciousness that may or may not tangentally relate to the challenge for twenty seconds, then google translate it back and forth between a couple languages, hoping for the random translation gods to show you mercy.

This is probably truer than I'd like to admit, considering one of my other answers. I wanted to put something about finding a hostage and shooting it, but that's a little cliche.

12 Four sheep, two in tuxedos and two in evening gowns, walk into a bar. What does the bartender say?
Orange you glad I didn't choose today to quit sniffing glue?

What. The. Fuck.

13 The worst thing to say to your lover’s mother after she walks in on the two of you having sex.
I told you I'd pick you up when I was done. Why can't you ever wait your turn?

This was the second one I thought of, and probably my favorite.

14 Piet Mondrian and I.M. Pei enter a contest. Tell me the contest, who wins, and why.
An art contestt, which I.M. Pei inexplicably wins because his buildings are fucking beautiful,

I don't really have much to say about this one, other than I somehow won with this one.

15 Why didn’t Gummi Worms get their own television show?
Because of the rampant difficulty in getting them to wear pants.

Oh yeah, because that's funny.

16 Give me the subtitles for Star Wars movies seven, eight, and nine.
George Lucas' Gambling Debts
Money 2, the Cashening
Fuck This Movie, Just Buy Our Toys

Money grab jokes! Inspiration wore a tad thin, I think.

17 What was the real reason behind the defenestration in Prague?
Erectile Dysfunction


18 Stephen King releases a romance novel. What is it called?
Romance in a Creepy New England Town

Oh for the love of... I know that by this point my brother was getting severely impatient, but immunity was on the line. There will be other flights! Oh yeah, this one also sucked. Like... hardcore.

19 What does Kermit the Frog wish for after the genie pops out of the lamp?
Three more wishes

This one is actually the one that best encapsulates my frame of mind at this point. I had nothing, I had no more time, and I needed something to submit, so I submitted literally the most cliche answer I could possibly have done.

20 Write the saddest sentence you can think of in ten words or less.
From now on, you will never be surprised by anything ever again.

Now this one, I'm mad about. The original sentence was "Starting today, you will never be surprised by anything again." That one works. That one is actually pretty good. What I wrote down is not only a worse written sentence, it also contains twelve words, which immediately disqualifies it. It wouldn't have really mattered, since I wasn't even close to winning, but still... it's the principle.

Bah. I wish I would've gotten a chance to actually do these some credit, because I think I could've done really well. I only really put any effort into about 7 of these, and 4 of those were winners. I guess this neatly balances out the times where I was able to come up with something pretty decent in a hurry on submission day, I just hate submitting such obvious rushed hack as about 10 of those answers. Either way, it was nice to have the busiest week I'm going to have for the next few months coincide with an optional week.

Now that the teams are merged, it'll be fun to see what happens next. This next week, I get another crack at "Meeting of the Mimes". I'm looking forward to outdoing last year.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor VIII: Fortunately, Unfortunately

Last week, I rushed and submitted a crappy bit that ended up getting panned. I was worried for a bit that I might be eliminated, but then shenanigans ensued, and Dave asked to be voted out.

Good times.

This week, we had one of my favorites from last year: Fortunately, Unfortunately. The challenge is essentially that the writer is given two “start phrases”. From each start phrase, they are to build a short story (8-10 lines) with each line alternating between starting with the words “Fortunately” and the “Unfortunately”. That’s two short stories in all, with each judge grading stories written using their start phrase.

Here’s my entries.

Spooky’s Phrase

I have one class left before I finish my major.
Unfortunately, it’s Advanced Physics, a course I know absolutely nothing about.
Fortunately, the teacher has a very lenient “extra credit” policy.
Unfortunately, that teacher is an 85 year old obese transvestite named “Sweet Lou”.
Fortunately, with the right combination of Xanax and everclear, I think I can get through this.
Unfortunately, it’s an even more horrifying experience than advertised.
Fortunately, that’s over with.
Unfortunately, I just checked my class schedule, and the class I need is actually “Advanced PSYCHICS”.
Fortunately, I’m getting pretty good at this whole “extra credit” thing.

Spooky’s Critique

K: Oh, here we go. The first half could seem obvious, but the wordplay keeps it from feeling tedious and the combination of Xanax and Everclear was a nice touch. Then, it keeps going after the point where I figured the payoff would be, and the real gag about taking the wrong class was genius. 5

Beau’s Phrase

I tried out for the team so I could meet chicks.
Unfortunately, their interest seems contingent on me MAKING the team.
Fortunately, the backup kicker seems to have slipped on a bar of soap and broken his leg.
Unfortunately, I’m not a very good kicker.
Fortunately, the school board found ecstasy in the 3rd string linebacker’s locker.
Unfortunately, I’m about as good at tackling as I am at kicking.
Fortunately, the star quarterback fell down a flight of stairs and was run into by a golf cart in rapid succession.
Unfortunately, there is no position I’m less qualified for than quarterback.
Fortunately, I’m good at covering up accidents.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make the team.
Fortunately, basketball tryouts start next week, and I hear the players are VERY clumsy.

Beau’s Critique

Yes! This is the perfect level of absurdity that works for this challenge. I laughed out loud when I knew where it was going and I didn’t stop until the end. Perfect. 6

Unlike last week, I felt pretty good about both of these. Spooky’s came together first. The Physics/Psychics play on words was the first thing I thought of when I read the phrase. Beau’s needed a little reworking. I tried coming at it from the “Sports don’t help, girls still think I’m dumb” angle, but it was monotonous and vaguely depressing sounding. Then I came upon the idea of the loser who injures players to improve his chances of making the team, only to have it backfire on him when he’s not good enough to take advantage of it. I fiddled with the wording on both a little bit and then sent it out – a night early.

DSK finally pulled out of our mini-tailspin. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor VIII: You're So Vain

Last week in Spookymilk Survivor, I pulled down my second set of dual fives of the "season". Good times. What happened this week?

The challenge was to take a reasonably well known song and tell the "secret story" about its creation.

I chose "Imagine" by John Lennon.

“You’re not idealistic enough”. That’s all she ever says. Who even says that? That’s like saying “You’re not gullible enough”, or “You’re not annoying enough”. If she would’ve acted like this while we were banging in the back of her pitiful little gallery when I first met her, I would’ve shown her the door.

Whatever, I’ll do it. I’ll write the glurgiest, most saccharine ode to peace ever recorded. It’ll be full of that fake depth she loves so much, only I’ll just be taking the piss out of her the entire time.

Let’s start small. I’m thinking a lone piano should cover it…..oh yeah. They’ll eat that shit up. This is the type of tune that I’ll get interviewed about for years. They’ll tell me “John, you’ve written one of the most lovely and inspirational songs of all time”, and I’ll say “You’re damn right I did! Now open your wallets, bitches!”. Only I won’t say any of that, because that harpy will be sitting over my shoulder, crowing “Oh, yes. My husband just wants the world to be as one. We’ll be donating all of the proceeds to this song to Greenpeace.” Oh, that bitch… she’d actually do that. I’ll have to talk to my lawyer about that.

No, all I’ll be able to do is smirk through that fucking beard she made me grow out. I swear to God in heaven that if she doesn’t let me shave that thing I’m going to to kill someone.

Okay, honestly, I think the piano is enough for this song. Now I’ll sing some inane bullshit about no money, no religion, no cheeseburgers and I think that ought to cover it. Oh yeah, this is going to be big.

God, I fucking love getting paid.

And here are the judges' remarks:

K: Making Lennon out to be a materialistic woman-hater could be great fun, but having him write a song to manipulate others rather than a song that has materialistic, misogynistic double meanings doesn’t allow this one to rise above the pack. 1

B: This smells a lot like Tom’s Beatles entry a few weeks back. I have no problem with this particular take on the song; in fact, it’s kind of amusing. “No cheeseburgers” is kind of funny, too. But I think a more subtle, solemn approach would have worked better rather than an angry one. I don’t see an angry John staying with Yoko. 1

Soooooo yeah.

I don't know that this is the worst thing I've written for a survivor entry (I had some cringeworthy ones last year), but I was devoid of mirth as I wrote it. Usually I'll smile at some witty one-liner or chuckle at the way something falls together. This one was simply a “get it done and sent” submission, and it was judged accordingly.

I put off even thinking about this one until about an hour before (yeah, I should probably stop doing that). I should have picked a song I actually enjoy (I’m not a fan of “Imagine”, piano notwithstanding). Regardless, this was an uninspired entry that got rightfully panned. I’ll do better this next week.

DSK lost another member, with Dave sort of falling on his sword, sort of going down swinging (to the point where Spooky couldn’t tell if he was being trolled during the elimination or not). Unfortunate. We’ll get ‘em next time.