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February 28, 2007

The Little House Who No–one Loved *

Once upon a time, there was a house. People used to come from all over to see the house, because it had six bedrooms, and was therefore rare. And they would look around the house, and say, “This is a nice house. The rooms are large and having one toilet for every two people is not in the least bit unnecessary. Maybe I shall live in this house while attending a nearby university.”

But then they saw the kitchen, and went away again. “I have been tricked!” they would say. “I thought this house was nice, but now I see that it has no kitchen. Where it should have been, I instead found a small cupboard with kitchen-like objects in.”

And so the house became very lonely and sad. “Why must I have been built with such a tiny kitchen?” it groaned. “No one will live in me and I shall grow old and be demolished all alone. Oh, what a cruel fate for a poor house like me!”

Until one day, a group of six eager young students decided to live together, and they found that they should have started looking for houses weeks ago; for the only place left they could find was the sad and lonely house **. And some of them looked around the house and said, “This is a nice house. The rooms are large and having one toilet for every two people is not in the least bit unnecessary. Maybe we should live in this house while attending our university, even though it’s less convenient than Alan’s current house and he’d have to get a bike and he’s lazy.”

And then they saw the thing that the landlord called a kitchen and they said, “I have been tricked! I thought this house was nice, but now I see that it has no kitchen. Where it should have been, I instead found various kitchen-like appliances in a small storage unit.”

And they went home and decided that they probably wouldn’t get the house, but they should probably just check what the other eager young student thought even though she hadn’t seen the house and so couldn’t possibly understand the smallness of the kitchen. And so the story should have ended…

But it was not to be. In a fit of madness, one eager young student phoned up the landlord and said that the group would take the house, before happily informing the others of this. They began to think and worry, for while no one had refused to live in the sad and lonely house, equally no one seemed to be that enthusiastic about living there and maybe the collective apathy was clouding their judgement.

But then when they thought about it some more, they liked the house and took it and hopefully they all live happily ever after in the house that isn’t sad and lonely any more.

The End.

* It’s actually quite big.
** Technically untrue.


February 01, 2007

The adventures of Data Structure the data structure

I have spent the last 12 hours writing a pitiful amount for our group software project documentation. Very slowly. But I also wrote a cheerful and uplifting story about a data structure which James won’t let me put in an appendix.

Once upon a time there was a lonely data structure who had no friends. So he talked to the great programmer in the sky, who told him that if he really wanted, the data structure could be used in the algorithm the programmer was making. And the data structure was happy, because he would get to meet new and interesting data structures. Maybe he’d meet a charming young lady data structure, fall in love and get married.

Which just goes to show you that programmers are great and you should suck up to them more.

I have a 9:00 seminar tomorrow in which I’m meant to be enthusiastically Solving Problems. Nuts.


September 19, 2006

Talk Like a Pirate Day 2006

That Hennell be a more untrustworthy swine than a thievin’ monkey covered in ale an’ set on fire! When I said ter him that me cracker be gone, he acted all helpful like, even makin’ me this here image fer me ter use. Course, I went and forgot it when I were writin’ me report, but I don’t be the slimey privateer o’ a weasel we be talkin’ about here. Tha’ lowdown dirty deceiver knew where me cracker was all along!

Serves ‘im right that he missed out on all the fun on the Monday, when a couple o’ mates o’ mine came round ter me cabin. He were off somewhere jumpin’ into water an’ stoppin’ people from drownin’, as if that be a useful skill fer a pirate! I be thinkin’ tha’ since his captain has only got the one eye, he be makin’ all the wrong people walk the plank. An’ then he be needin’ them ter be saved so he pushes Hennell in ter do tha’ fer him.

The rest o’ us, we spent our night takin’ over the world on a map. What were more suprisin’ than screamin’ crabs fallin’ from the sky was when Cabin Boy Pete won twice over (with the help o’ Stupid Fool o’ a Deckhand Chris). Then we played some kind o’ game runnin’ around London with paper dubloons, an’ I won it nicely. By this point it were gettin’ early, so we decided ter go visit the hummock fer dawn in Stupid Fool o’ a Deckhand Chris’s dinghy o’ the roads.

A hummock is sommat like a sand dune on an island yer might get marooned on, ‘cepting that it be bigger, and it ain’t made o’ sand, and it ain’t on an island. Alas, this particular hummock be badly placed ter see the dawn, so it weren’t so grand a sight as I were expectin’. We played a couple o’ games o’ Cheat while we were there, which Storesmaster Mairead the Bloody were mighty confused by. I took some photos, but most weren’t good enough ter show even ter the rat-infested corpse o’ a person.

When I got back ter me cabin, I slept fer a couple o’ hours an’ later went ter work me final shift at the Orpheus. Some say the place be haunted, but that be more ridiculous than a five-legged goat dressed up as a man an’ made ter dance. The ghosts people sometimes think they see, they be nothin’ more than customers! An’ customers be a lot better than ghosts, ‘cause if ye can persuade them ter see one o’ our god-awful films, then they pay yer fer it too!

On the Thursday, we met up fer various reasons, many of which were scuppered by Cabin Boy Pete not comin’ along. Stupid Fool o’ a Deckhand Chris scarpered later, wi’out even a goodbye. This left meself, Storesmaster Mairead the Bloody an’ Cracker Thievin’ Mutineer Hennell ter entertain ourselves by hopin’ fer a goat. When no goats appeared, we decided the next best thing would be ter see a film, but we disagreed about how god-awful it should be.

After much debate and no agreement, we went ter see Right at Yer Door rather than Little Man. Storesmaster Mairead the Bloody disliked it, but what do she know? I still be deciding whether I liked the endin’ or not, but it were mainly good.

More recently, I been workin’ on the Lord o’ the Hoops game. It be shapin’ up ter be an ARRR-some game, despite the lack o’ any pirates in it at all.

-

This be a fine entry, ter be sure, but I can’t be helpin’ the feelin’ that no matter the number o’ pirate entries I write, they’ll forever be in the shadow o’ sommat better. ‘Tis a sad thing, usin’ up all yer genius too soon. There be nowhere ter go but down, an’ down is where the water be.


May 07, 2006

Sleeper Reaper

Jack Bauer storms into the building, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. He takes down hostile after hostile with pinpoint accuracy.

Without even noticing it, my attention moves away from the TV. My eyes don't close, but I fail to take in anything of the ongoing excitement. It drifts away into nothingness, and my body starts to shut down for the night. I'm falling asleep in front of the TV – a regular occurence, I'm sure. But for me, this lapse could be fatal.

The peaceful nothingness fades to burning heat. My body is slowly engulfed in pain, moving from my arms to my chest to my face. My skin turns bright red, and I moan the only cry I'm able to. Someone rushes to my side, but by this point, I'm oblivious to everything but the pain. They were probably too late.

The scientists told me I have melatonin anaphylaxis. I just tell people I'm allergic to sleep. It's treatable of course, or at least it usually is. My case is unique, the doctors say. Unique enough to kill me.


December 01, 2005

My NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month.

I was challenged by my friend to compete, and so this was done in the one and half hours before midnight.

It's 498 words according to NaNoWriMo; 514 according to my text editor. That's 1% of the way to 50,000, which I think is decent.

"Aren't you going to shout after him?" asked Brent. "Something about him not getting away with this, maybe."

"What would be the point of that?" the snozwangler calmly responded. Behind him, a turret slowly toppled over, falling to the ground in an explosion of mud and stone. "He has gotten away with it. My once-impressive tower is now falling apart like a poorly constructed game of Jenga. My snozwangling laboratory is destroyed without repair. Shouting about it won't help the situation."

"Yeah, but it might make you feel better. You could at least vow to seek revenge."

The snozwangler looked at Brent, somewhat bemused. "And what would revenge get me? A lot of wasted time and a dead body to dispose of at the end. He was only doing his job."

"So what are you going to do, Mr. Snoz? You can't give up! That last batch was getting really close, I'm sure of it. Sure, they weren't exactly sane, but other than that…" he trailed off, as a stone slab the size of his head embedded itself in the ground, just metres away.

"Give up? Oh no, certainly not. But I feel a change of focus might be in order. In retrospect, I might have been slightly arrogant in this enterprise." He smiled inwardly. The major world leaders had attended an emergency meeting earlier that day, to discuss the problem they saw him as. They would probably have felt that slightly arrogant was an understatement.

"No more kidnapping the children of key governmental figures," he mused out loud. "I learn my lessons. Definitely no public broadcasts announcing what I've done and why, with a challenge to the world to stop me."

"What, then?" Brent questioned. "If you're not going to cause mass hysteria, why even bother?"

"Oh, I can still cause mass hysteria. One of the things holding me back here was sample size. Even with larger laboratories, there's still a limit to the number of subjects I can test. What I need is an adaptive virus. I can let it loose in one of the slums in China; let it spread a while.

"Eventually, a mutated strain will find a way to break down the immune system and work full time. Who knows, after long enough, there might even appear a variant that doesn't turn the host totally insane. The possibilities are endless, Brent, and we're just starting to explore them."

Three days later, and Brent was dead.

Two months later, a disease started spreading across China.

A week after that, a man was found talking to himself in a dumpster in Ohio. He was quickly declared as mentally retarded, and sent to an isolated asylum to be cared for.

Within a month, the disease was common across America and Europe.

Within three, humanity had been culled to a global population of under one million. The snozwangler died in the asylum, chuckling in his sleep. Nobody had understood the genius of snozwangling. Nobody ever would.


New blog location

After a hiatus of several years, I’ve started blogging again at blog.draknek.org.

My website

Looking for more information about Alan Hazelden? Follow me on Twitter or go to my website.

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