A short story (constructive criticism welcomed)

by on

Hey-yo!

In my Writing class, we were giventhe task of writing a story about one of four pictures we were given. This is what I wrote for it, and I'd welcome any comments that you have.

(I had to read this aloud, and unfortunately I never finished reading it as my mouth was drying up and my words were becoming incomprehensible, so I cut off a paragraph short and just said that was all I'd written. Ugh. Public speaking.)

----------------------------------------------------

Havenbrook seemed perfect. It was the image that comes to mind when you think of the American Dream. The sun shone down brightly on neatly manicured lawns. White picket fences spread as far as the eye could see. Children were gathered in groups, kicking soccer balls or shooting hoops, while their parents took advantage of the weather to wash their cars and gossip with their neighbours. It seemed, to Jonathan, to be the perfect place to settle down and raise a kid. The satnav spoke up.
"At the end of the road, turn right. Then you have reached your destination."
As he rounded the corner, the sight he was greeted with was less than spectacular. A decrepit, barren house squatted at the side of the street. Made of old, rotting wood, it leaned to one side drunkenly. Empty windows covered in cobwebs stared out at the world. The front lawn seemed to be a mass of crabgrass and weeds, and was littered with crisp packets and loose bricks. The only tidy thing seemed to be the salesman, who stood just beside the grass-clogged pathway. He wore a bright red blazer, had a bright white smile, and enough oil in his hair to run a car.
"Mr. Cosgrove?" He crooned "Hi! I'm Mark Stein, from Dream Home Real Estate."
The instant that Jonathan was out of his car, Mark was at his side, shaking his hand and herding him towards the front door. As he guided Jonathan across the poorly maintained pathway, he began his salesman spiel.
"As you can see, this house is a real fixer-upper; a handyman's dream, you might say."
"It looks like it's about to fall over." Jonathan commented.
"Not at all!" Replied Mark as he withdrew a small torch from his pocket "Structurally speaking, the building is solid. It just needs a lick of paint and a bit of attention, that's all."
As they entered the hallway, Jonathan was struck by how different the atmosphere was compared to outside. Despite the heat of the day, the hallway was cold and dark; the sunlight seemed reluctant to enter the building, ending an unnaturally short distance from the window. Yet despite the cold, it seemed that the building suffered little of breezes; the air smelled dank and stale, as if the house hadn't been aired out for years. The walls and floor seemed to match the outside of the building; loose, slanted and, though difficult to tell in such dark conditions, they looked to be rotting. A precarious looking stairway squatted at the end of the hall.
"Now," Mark said "Imagine, if you will, this hallway covered in brand new hardwood flooring, and the walls-"
He was cut off by a loud crash from upstairs.
An eerie, childlike voice shouted down to them "Mommy? Where's my mommy?"
Even in the darkness, Mark's face was easily visible as it turned as white as a sheet. He quickly began ushering Jonathan to the door.
"I'm sorry Mr. Cosgrove," He said quickly "I completely forgot I have another appointment in five minutes. Could we possible re-schedule this until another time?"
"Hold on!" Demanded Jonathan as he pushed the salesman away "That sounds like a kid up there. They could be injured."
"Please," Begged Mark "Just forget about it and go."

Spooky, eh?

The inefficies of the harpoon

by on

If you want to know why I'm posting so many old stories in such a short space of time; I've joined a writing group. And I made the mistake of telling them about my blog without realising that my last few entries have been about my birthday cake, videogames and wierd stuff. I haven't written anything in months, it seems. So, here's the final piece I'm going to post today:

-------------------------------------------------------

I stood upon the prow of the ship, the ground beneath my feet bobbing gently with the swaying of the tides. The sounds of creaking ropes and the soft lapping of water against the bow surrounded me as I breathed in the tangy, salty air. Within my hands I grasped my chance of redemption; my harpoon, it's cold, metallic texture and it's sturdy weight feeling good within my clutches.
From the aft deck approached the captain of the vessel, a venerable old man who walked with a slovenly lurch and a squint in one eye. He scratched at his rough, unshaven chin as he said:
"Yarr, lad. I've got the men below working double shifts on the oars, and with the wind in our sails we'll outrace these pirates yet."
"Pirates?" I asked "Captain, we haven't left port yet. There are no pirates."
"Well, that's a relief." He replied, a smile twisting his wrinkled features "I hadn't hired a crew, either. I thought we were goners."
I pondered the man's words, sifting through them, seeking some hint as to whether the captain's comments were mockery or sincerity. Suddenly a thought struck me.
"Captain?" I asked "Would you say not hiring crew was something of an... inefficy on your part?"
"Yarr, I don't know what that word means. If it means I like men, well lad, you know I don't. I'll cut you if ye says otherwise."
"Don't worry Captain, I know your stance on men. You made it clear, several times, often without prompting, while I was hiring your ship."
For the moment content, the Captain returned to his duties; although these seemed largely composed of drinking rum and shouting abuse at passing seagulls. A most peculiar man. Still, as I stared out upon the sparking sea, reminding me nothing more of a vast expanse of glittering diamonds, I pondered that word yet again. Inefficies. Perhaps my lack of understanding regarding the meaning of the word was an inefficy itself; a great irony, I'm sure you'll agree.
Yet shaken from my reverie, was I, as across the bay a great peal rang out; the alarm bell. My muscles tensed as I gripped the harpoon within my grasp, adrenaline flowing through my veins in anticipation of what was to come.
My ex was arriving.
Hurriedly I leapt from ship to shore, crushing a small child in the process yet acknowledging the need of such a sacrifice. The captain soon followed, taking out the child's grieving mother in the process. Despite his unsure gait, the Captain kept good pace with me as I approached the centre of the bay.
As we ran, the ground beneath my feet began to quiver and shake with tremendous force. I kept my footing, and I remained unperturbed as the very sea itself seemed to explode. She was here. 60ft in height, weighing more than any man could possibly carry, the many-tentacled beast burst forth from her aquatic domain, her eyes burning with fury. Once, such a sight would have been pleasing to my eyes; a stunning creature, despite her ferocity.
"Captain!" I yelled above the kraken's roar "I need a distraction so I can get close."
"Say nothing more!" Replied the Captain, unsheathing a dagger from his belt and charging full-on at the beast. I bore witness to the Captain's wild lunges, his witty parries, his deadly riposte; yet accuracy was not his strong point. Beneath his furious blade ropes were cut, creates stabbed and, once or twice, his own torso was pierced by his wildly swinging knife. Tedious of his efforts, the creature picked him up bodily and began flailing him about wildly.
It was just the distraction I needed.
My harpoon flew true, and pierced the creature directly in the breast, within the heart, just as the creature had once broken mine own. It let loose a tremendous shriek, shattering windows and reverberating through the very ground itself.
"I think we should just stay friends!" I shouted as the kraken withdrew into the water, it's life's blood seeping out into the bay.

Many people call me a hero. Some call ME the monster. Yet regardless of popular opinion, I can say this, and only this; my actions were not inefficious in the least.

Dragon's Den with Chainsaws

by on

A hockey-masked, chainsaw wielding maniac enters the Dragon's Den, a television show in which people present their business ideas to five investors.

Maniac: Hello there, I'm Fred, and I'm here to pitch my idea for a business; Hockey Wielding Maniac Kills Teenage Cheerleaders. I'm asking for a $300,000 investment, although that's largely because the pound sign doesn't work on Gamespot, for a 30% stake in my company.

Theo: I see. And what does Hockey Wielding Maniac Kills Teenage Cheerleaders involve? What's the business plan?

Maniac: Well, I hope to kill at least a dozen teenage cheerleaders nationwide by the year 2011. The aim of my business is to chase teenage cheerleaders into empty fields and slaughter them.

Cut to reactional footage of different investors looking interested, disapproving, and neutral.

Khan: Well, I'll start. Erm... what are your projected earnings? Presumably you're running the business at the moment.

Maniac: Yes. Ah, well, in the first year I made a total profit of $20 by selling the remnants of the cheerleading outfit to pawn shops, although I spent $15 of this on detergent to get the blood out.

Khan: So in your first year you made a net profit of $5?

Maniac: Would have done, if a dog hadn't eaten it. Little *****. I cut it open but the damage had been done to the money by then.

Duncan:We didn't ask for your current earnings, we wanted your projected earnings.

Maniac: Over the next year or so, I'd estimate three hundred trillion billion dollars.

Theo: So wait a minute. You're going to earn three hundred trillion billion dollars by next year? Why do you need $300,000 from us?

Maniac: My chainsaw's broken. Can't mutilate girls in fields without a proper chainsaw.

Deborah: $300,000 for a chainsaw? Why does it cost so much?

Maniac: I... I don't know.

Footage of the investors looking annoyed and frustrated.

Voice Over: Maniac's sales pitch has not gone over well. His lack of clarity over how the money will be spent, coupled with poor sales figures, have the Dragon's running short on temper.

Theo: Look, I like you, you're a nice guy, if something of a homicidal maniac. However, I don't think you're very clear on the business side of things. You just want to go into fields and kill teenage girls. That means that I would have to manage the entire business while you did nothing; I'm sorry, but I'm out.

Voice Over: The loss of the first investor is a big blow. He's a leading figure in the fashion and design industry and could have used his connections to introduce famous teenage girls to the business.

Deborah: I'm sorry, but the business is called...?

Maniac: Hockey Wielding Maniac-

Deborah:Wait, don't you mean Chainsaw Wielding Maniac? How can you wield hockey? It's a sport, it's not something you can wield.

Maniac: Well... I... uh...

Deborah: I'm sorry, but I simply can't invest in a business with such a bad name. I'm out.

Duncan: Your projected earnings... they worry me slightly. You say...?

Maniac: Three trillion billion dollars by 2010.

Duncan: Hmm... doesn't it worry you that there isn't that much money in the entire world?

Maniac: It's only an estimate! It might only be two trillion billion.

Duncan: No, sorry, but your projected earnings are ridiculous. I hate you and I hope you die. I'm out.

Voice Over: Three of the five dragons are out. Will either of them be a shining ray of light upon the poor Maniac's business?

Khan: I'm interested, actually. I've been looking for a business in the slaughter and murder industry for some time now, but the money you're asking for doesn't seem profitable to me. You're asking for $300,000 for 30%.... I'll offer you $150,000 for 80%, presuming the other investor will match my offer.

Jones: Oh yes, I'll match the offer.

Voice Over: A ray of light for the Maniac! The two investors are each willing to put up half of the money asked for, a total of $300,000, but they're asking for a 160% stake in the company.

Maniac: Your... offer is tempting. However, I'm not sure I'm able to give up 160% of the company.

Jones: Why? You said you'd listen to any offers, so I made you an offer.

Maniac: I never said that!

Jones: ...really? Damn. Well, why won't you accept?

Maniac: I don't think it's financially possible to give somebody 160% in a company. There's only 100% in ANYTHING.

Khan: I don't have to take this. I own McFonalds, the 89th largest fast food chain in Middle-Western America. I'm out.

Voice Over: That's it... with all five dragons out, the Maniac will leave empty handed.

Maniac: Thank you all for your time, I hope to kill your daughters some day in a bloody, gruesome manner.

Injury Claims

by on

A dull looking man in a business suit slowly walks towards the front of your PC monitor, the background a busy office environment full of telephones and computers.

Baxter: Hi there, I'm Baxter, from Baxter and Bexley's Claim Company. I'm here today to talk about your rights as an individual. Did you know that if you were injured at work in the last three years, you may be elligable to compensation? Listen to these stories by some of our clients.

Cut to a man lying in a hospital bed. That little there is of him is in a full-body cast, although he has no arms and has lost one of his legs.

John: Yes, well, I was standing in front of my office door, juggling live hand grenades as I often do to calm my nerves. Suddenly and without warning the door opened, hitting my elbow. I then dropped the grenades which, being live, blew up most of the 5th floor office block. I somehow survived, and sought drastic compensation. I mean, how daremy reckless managers install doors in an office?! Mindless, I tells ya. Thankfully all the company's lawyers died in the blast, and they had no alternative but to give me 3.5 million in compensation. All thanks to Baxter and Bexleys!

Cut to another man, sitting in a wheelchair with his legs in a cast.

Ian: Well, yes, you see, I was minding my own business in the office when I had a trip or fall in the workplace. My knee was slightly bruised, but a Baxter's lawyer informed me that I may be elligable for compensation. After a brief meeting with Mr. Bexley, it was apparant that my bruises were negligable at best. So they smashed both my kneecaps with a sledgehammer before I could reply, and dragged me into the court still in screaming agony. Thanks to them, I was given one third of the world's wealth in compensation. The money won't bring back my poor kneecaps, but Baxter and Bexley's can. They keep it in a jar, and when I ask for them back they-

Quickly cut back to the man in the suit.

Baxter: You see, we've discovered a new method of claim compensation. While most companies will rely on moral, honest and fair methods to win you your case, we'll do whatever we can to get you oodles of noodles. We'll injure you ourselves, we'll blackmail judges, we'll even threaten the defendant's family, all for you. What do you pay us? Nothing! (whisper: except a minor 80% cut of your winnings). Don't delay, call today!

In the office background, one of the women go to stand up and fall over.

Woman: Ow, my elbow >_o

Baxter: Quick, shoot her! Finish the job before she tries to claim!

The screen fades out on a gunshot...

Vampirism

by on

Oh god, I've been trying to hide this for so long. Yes, I am a vampire. After taking the wrong turn at Albuquerque, as so many of us foolishly have done, I found myself in Transylvania. The locals were fearsome of my modern ways, with my modern conveniences such as "legs" and "ears". I stood a clear two foot above them all as a result. But, in time, I earned their trust and respect, in no small part due to my ability to mime. There's nothing like seeing a man try to escape an invisible box to put the fear of god into ignorant villagers. "Stay clear of the castle" they warned me, although I had no intention of doing so anyway. At least until they started handing me money-off coupons for a night at the castle - "Half price if you mention our shop - but DO NOT GO THERE, for it is EVIL!"

They were kind enough to give me written directions to the castle, despite their reluctance for me to stay there. One of them even gave me a lift in his horse-drawn carriage, although he, too, warned me to turn back before it was too late. Eventually I caved, and asked to be taken back to Transylvania as he suggested, but he told me that it was too late and carried on anyway. Strange man.

The host, a Mr. Alucard, was most genial. He offered to give me a personal guided tour of the facilities, excluding the conference room as the National Society for the Prevention of James Blunt's Music were holding a meeting there. The fresh, bloodied corpses strewn across the ground were a bit worrisome, but Alucard confirmed to me that the cleaner was on vacation, and that a temp agency cleaner would be arriving on the morrow. I was relieved. After all, if a hotel doesn't clean up corpses, where else might it's standards be slipping?

It was at this point that I politely enquired as to why Mr. Alucard was floating in mid-air. He had been doing so since I had arrived, but I felt it impolite to point this out. I had only done so now, in fact, because the guided tour started by floating through a 3rd storey window. After a long day of travel, I felt the gift of flight was a bit much to ask for and wanted to retire to my bedroom. Next thing I know, he's pinned me to the ground and is lying on top of me. "No!" I shout "I'm not a Navy boy! I'm not into this kind of thing!"

But too late. He kisses me on the neck.

Or so I thought.

I returned home, emotionally scarred for life. However, I've found that I can no longer endure "Heinz Ketchup" - I can, now, only eat "Daddy's Ketchup". I no longer dress left sock first, then right, but rather the opposite. Also, I crave the flesh of the living. I've Googled these symptoms, and either I'm a Goth or a vampire - but frankly I lack the poetic ability to be a Goth.

"Black rose black rose
Ooh blimey you're black, rose.
The darkness in flight
The lightness in marangue.
Trifles are made of custard
But death is made of life.
Lend me a tenner o'
Black rose black rose."

See?

:-Agnoge

I know I'm a few days late, but Happy...

by on

...Halloween!

If it wasn't for the fact that Gamespot previews the first line of your blog post, that would TOTALLY have caught you by surprise.

I'll keep the introduction short - got a butt load of games (although I'm not sure I want the know the measurement of a butt in terms of gaming) for Christmas, so here's some first impressions:

Assassin's Creed 2: Brotherhood:- Enjoying it so far. The single player mode is very similar to AC2, including the combat system which was supposed to be more offence-based. However, AC2 was an amazing game, so I really don't care about the similarities. The Borgia towers are fun, but I really wish they'd mark "fenced off" areas on the map a little more clearly - I hate having to travel by horse to a Borgia tower on the far end of the map, only for the white wall to appear just as I approach.

Online is simple, but fun. I was worried that people would ignore the concept of stealth and start treating it like a deathmatch, however such people are easy to defeat with a cunning disguise, some blending and a stunning blow to the back of the head. And, surprisingly, I am awesome. Usually whenever I play a game online, I range between poor and average. However, I've won about 80% of the Wanted games I've entered, and usually end up as my team's star player in Manhunt. It's just a shame there isn't a Guild system of some sort, otherwise I would be hot stuff.

FIFA 11:- Played FIFA 10? Okay, good. Now imagine that with two-player Be a Pro removed, and during online team matches people can go the goalkeepers. You remember how, in FIFA 10, if somebody couldn't go the striker they'd just go a defender, and charge forward like a blind idiot? Now imagine the GOALKEEPER doing that. Yeah.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit:- This is just... awesome. A frantic four-car online race down vast American highways while four cops try to destroy you. Epic.

Gran Turismo 5:- Unepic. Actually that's probably unfair; single player mode is fantastic. However, two player split-screen is an absolute joke compared to Forza 3. No AI racers, no damage, no 'inside' camera angle - it's basically just me and my brother jogging a car around a course. In single player you get inside views and AI racers, of course, so me and my brother have been taking turns, but really, why include Split-screen if you're only going to half-ass it?

PSP Go!:- My biggest - and best - Christmas surprise! I'd mentioned to my brother that I was sort of looking at getting a Go! in the New Year, but I wasn't really sure. So my brother made my mind up and surprised me with it for Christmas! :D

The PSP itself is good; it feels more comfortable in my hands than the original PSP felt, and the flip up screen looks cool.

I've downloaded three games so far: First of all was Final Fantasy 7. I just couldn't resist, even though I've played it plenty in the past. I'm really impressed with the picture quality - I thought it would have a blurry "emulated" feel about it, but the images are crisp, the writing is easily readable, even in Full Screen mode, and it looks fantastic. I've just saved Aeris from the Turks, so I'm not far into it yet. But it brings back fond memories.

After trying the demo of Dissidia, I immediately downloaded it. I haven't played it that much - like I said, a lot of games this year, and I haven't found time to sink into all of them yet - but it's absolutely brilliant so far. I also downloaded Phantasy Star 2 Online, but I get stuck on the character creation screen; I just can't come up with a decent name. I had "Binding Fury", but that seemed so tacky, and besides, I need to make my character's appearance match the name, so I could be some time on this one...

Anyway, there were more games and such, but you know something? The PSP is calling to me again. I might do another blog post with the other games.

Toodles!
Egonga.

I can never be a gentleman of the mafia

by on

A friend at work lent me a bunch of mafia DVDs, and as much as it pains me to say it, the life of funning and gunning is not for me. Not because of my moral compass or the danger involved, but simply because I'm too eloquent. I have tried DESPERATELY to say "fugghedaboudit!", but each time it comes out as "Oh, do forget about it, dickie chum!"

Wiseguys do NOT call each other 'dickie chums'.

Anyway, out of the list "Carlito's Way" was my favourite. "Once Upon a Time in America" was the most confusing - I wasn't entirely sure why Max did what he did, and I had to Google the end of the plot. A lot of powerful scenes and memorable moments, though, so it probably ranks a close second.

Also finally managed to watch Scarface. I can see why it's such a popular movie, now; so many great quotes too. "I've only got my word and my balls, and I don't break them for nobody!"

All I have is my word and a fine China set that grand-ma-ma sent last Easter, and I do not break them at the insistance of any man!

:-Don Egongioli
(Hey! Please, do forget about it, wot wot!)

Full list:
Goodfellas
The Departed
Casino
Carlito's Way
Once Upon a Time in America
Scarface
Donnie Brasco

An important lesson about women

by on

After conducting exhaustive research, I have come to the conclusion that women no longer enjoy forming harems. I have approached over two dozen women this past week, asking each and every one if they would enjoy coming to my house, performing chores and abiding to my every whim, and you know what every one of those women said to me?

No!

A couple of them even hit me!

It is a sad, desperate time we live in when women are unwilling to debase themselves as part of a group whose sole intent is to make my life amazing. I never thought I would see the day.

:-Egonga.

Breaking News: Ayume Kojima leaves husband

by on

Rumours are spreading all over the Internet this week that Hideo Kojima's wife, Ayume, has moved back in with her parents during a turbulent time in the video game designer's marriage.

"She just can't take it anymore," A close friend of the family revealed on the Japanese equivelent of Twitter. "All the plot twists finally got to her."

The source revealed a number of frightening incidents involving Hideo and his wife. Back in May 2009, for example, Ayume returned home from work only to find another family living in the apartment she shares with Hideo. Her husband then told her that the whole marriage was a lie to protect her from a seedy government agency. A week later he invited her back home and pretended that nothing had happened.

"Sometimes poor Ayume would wake up in the night and find Hideo gone. She'd search the whole apartment, when suddenly she'd see a cardboard box just sitting there, and she just KNEW he was under there."

When invited to comment, Hideo explained that he was actually a robotic replacement of himself as the original Hideo died in 1912, and as such felt it was not his place to comment on the marriage. "Or am I?" He later amended.

Sony: PS3 will no longer be PS3 compatible

by on

At the Australian Electronic Gaming Convention (AEG) this week, the CEO of Sony Entertainment, Kazuo Hirai, announced that the PS3 would no longer be compatible with PS3 games.

"We have done a lot of research into the concept." Hirai told the assembled crowd "And nearly all of the gamers that we questioned have stated that they rarely, if ever, use PS3 videogames on their PS3. Effective immediately, the PS3 will no longer be designed with PS3 gaming in mind."

Hirai went on to explain that a mandatory PSN update would soon be available for download that would disable the use of PS3 Blu-Ray technology in conjuncture with any Playstation 3 videogames. However, Hirai was quick to establish that Blu-Ray movies would still function properly because, due to licensing laws, Blu-Ray movies are, as yet, unavailable for download.

"There may be a few gamers who are unhappy with the decision to move away from videogaming." Hirai admitted after intense questioning from the assembled press "However, I can assure them that every PS3 videogame currently available will soon be available for download via the Playstation Network - at a moderate price, of course."

"This may mean that, if somebody already owns a videogame, they will have to pay full price in order to continue playing it. However, that is a sacrifice that we at Sony are willing to force upon our customers."

No specific date has been set for the Update, as Sony would like to catch their loyal fan base by suprise.