Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ongoing Combat About to Close in Favor of Projecting the Combat

Let's do it.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Canned Combat: Feb 27, 2010: Hit Stumbleupon's Poetry Section

This accomplishes several things: 1) We drive traffic to our various pages (and combatwords if you so wish) by linking to it with every post. 2) Our user account pages should let us link to our own profiles so that we perhaps get followers on stumbleupon. 3) We improve literary standards. We should target all the top poems. If they are weak, let's attack. When the combatants get bored, find the fiction section. Any place where the writing is touted, but weak--attack it! In this way, we raise literary standards and remind writers that not everyone on the internet is an idiot.

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Jihad! CombatWords Topic Feb 27, 2010

Now that CombatWords! has warmed up a bit, it is time to explore the internet a bit and identify new targets. I would like volunteers and suggestions for topics for tonight's ire. I will select an initial target by 5:30pm PST or so and will add targets later this evening around or after 11pm PST.

-Be honorable. If a foe scores a point, accept it. We must lead by example.
-Be aggressive. Show no mercy for bad writing.
-Be funny. Funny is memorable. Don't go for cheap quips, unless they add up to something funnier.
-Be grandiose. The whole point is to outwrite a wannabe on his/her turf, with a trail leading back to here, blogs or whatever.

So let's hear it. Who is willing to engage in Jihad?

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Feb 26, 2010: Ongoing Thread Below: Grade the Fighters or Leap Into the Fray

Essay Vs Prose-Poetry: Who's winning? Will you surprise the punch-drunk fighters and defeat them both?

There is no need for canned combat when we have a live thread here.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feb 25, 2010 CombatWords! Canned Combat: Human vs Inhuman

The ongoing thread below had me think about the nature of worldview on as big a scale as possible. Some subscribe to a human-centric model (considering postulates irrelevant to humans as irrelevant postulation), while others subscribe to a transcendental model--by which I do not mean angels and devils and so forth. Instead, I mean a harsh, deistic transcendental model as this combines theists with atheists and agnostics into a single category.

I would like to see advocates on both sides prosecute their case and fight! Any style, any position so long as it's relevant to the dualism I presented.

Be honorable and show the hacks of the world what a properly trained writer can do with a keyboard!

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Late Canned Combat: Feb 24, 2010: Beyond Words

Some concepts do not map well into single words. We use compound words ("love-struck" "fucked-up" etc), expressions ("threw him under the bus"), slogans (Patriotism: "Love it or leave it.") and even verse ("Hell hath no fury...") to contain certain thoughts. Some concepts import from a worldview ('hell' for example), while others draw upon analytic concepts (patriotism) with the concepts embedded in the language; while still others draw from ambiguous words that require context to fix them and as a result, connote broadly, while also being semantically rigid ("fuck"). I want you to hunt down the biggest such concept you can find and express it however you so choose. Do not disguise your concept ("my poem/story/essay _is_ the concept"), because if it can be summarized more simply, then you've phailed and risk pwnage.

And therefore it is CombatWords!

ps: Don't forget there's a live thread below.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Canned Combat: Started Feb 23, 2010 and ONGOING: Conflict

Everybody loves to fight, but some are too scared of the word, so they call it 'conflict.' Fighting comes from many sources; from misunderstandings, to the snap applications of the ego one refuses to back away from, to the desire to test the mettle of another. Conflict is the opposite of equilibrium, of stasis, of death. The sea conflicts with shore; rivals conflict over doctrine; friends, because they're bored.

CombatWords! Attack!

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feb 22, 2010: Canned Combat: The Media

That's a simple one, isn't it? The internet, newspapers, anything. Any riff you can think of. Cuff Link's post yesterday wins and now I expect to see some real competition as that came out of left field. Beat his post, or maybe you shouldn't bother playing.

CombatWords! I incite and summon thee!

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Feb 21, 2010 Canned Combat: Love

That's right, I've selected the most cliche topic around. That way it's more dangerous because it will be easy to spot who sux at love-writing. This one should get people to 'bring it' because it's easy and inclines one to one-up the other writers.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Souvenir of Nothing: Canned Combat Feb 20, 2010

In the words of a wise man, "I am a fucked apart dead thing if I'm not having fun." I fucked apart the city. I cleaved through the crowds of giggle-tinklers and smoke rings of false eloquence. I saw the city as if I were a migrating soul, inhabiting the bodies of the howling louts and stumbling sluts as I walked past them. I wore their beer goggles as I deposited Today's News Poems in high profile locations. They did not understand why I was out. I was not out to get laid, or to laugh--but to sway. They understand the sashay, the persuasion of lust; but not the quixotic quest to provide them with a catalyst for drunken inspiration--verse in transit and on street corners. The redhead expected me to wait for her to finish the poem and get her digits--oh, but I had another 90 copies to go. If she is so fond of me she can send me an email. My mission tonight was sexless, though it was animated by eros. I left her a souvenir of verse. And the city gave me a song of lust without the filth of venereal disease.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Power and the Glory

Ahh, power. So delicious. So terrifying. When you seek power do you seek it to protect yourself or to abuse others? But that's too easy. Write a poem or prose about power. Anything. Like Iron Chef, I want you to prominently display the soul of 'Power' however you see it.

Sorry for not updating Feb 18. I'll see what I can do to make it up to you.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Support CombatWords!

You can do one of two things to promote combatwords:

1) Go to these social promotion sites to promote us: Digg, reddit, propeller, and you can retweet the day's news poem on twitter; we're there as 'toylitpaper.'
2) Feign some interest in our advertisers... or even better, buy their crap.

This enables 3 things:
1) Combatwords' quality will increase with increased competition and traffic.
2) 'Gifts' to champs will encourage some real bloodlust (easier than promises of 'prizes').
3) Therefore, you will have a better reading experience, at no cost to you. I know there are at least seven of you who obsessively check this page, because I obsessively check my web stats. Instead of one of those visits, go and promote Combatwords--it takes about fifteen minutes to do all the above sites. Then your work will be done permanently and when you return, there will be a higher likelihood of good stuff to read here.

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Canned Combat, Feb 16, 2010: Cops

No matter what, you have to deal with them. Verse, prose, whatever... let's see some scuffling.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

"A Good Enemy is Better Than a Good Friend"

I didn't believe my pal when he said that, but it turns out he's right in many ways. A rival is critical for giving the self some context. Rivalry disintegrates most personal delusions, because the rival doesn't give one the luxury of theoretical comparisons.

Battle strengthens us. Not only must organisms compete for resources, so too must memes; which compete for attention and medium in the name of replication. The artist is a meme factory. How well does an artist's production stand up in this ecosystem of ideas? Like most organisms, most every artist's memes have advantages and disadvantages.

We can either spend time with the ass-kissers of the world, who have their own selfish reasons for telling us we're good, when we're really not; or we can spend time with people who want our metaphorical blood. Ideally, one should find both sets of traits in the same person; but barring that, we should have one place for our allies and another for our enemies. Well, I'm not really interested in enmity per se; but I am interested in sparring and oneupsmanship. I am interested in a type of bragging party. I want you to prepare breaths, memorize them, and then sling them. I want you to want to ruthlessly kill your weak writing traits with the help of a fellow combatant.

You are here because you know academia breeds complacency--at least in the humanities. You either want to read live performance-combat, else you want to be one of the combatants. So you can be each others' enemies, but also be comrades. It makes the insurgency more effective (maximum mass-morale, etc). I think of this as a place to build mystique as well as brain-muscles.

So let's see it.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

What, I've gotta do everything around here? Canned Combat 2.13.2010

What are you people doing, hitting this page again and again and not writing anything? Don't be chicken. Use a nom de plume if you don't want friends finding out you like to visit fight club in your off-hours.

Today's theme is obliged sentiment. Today's News Poem was diminished because I couldn't bring myself to use a word that would bring me trouble. I've been advised I shouldn't even use the word with poisonous sarcasm, for fear of offending (although being a gadfly is basically the goal of the News Poem). For a more seasonal angle, consider the pressure of Valentine's Day. Pro forma emotions for the sake of survival--or some other reason. I don't care. It can be prose, it can be poetry, but it should be about Obliged Sentiment.

Okay, keyboards at ten paces people.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Okay, CombatWords! Revised Rules

1) Highest score wins.
2) Technical errors will be judged by the audience and confirmed by either two other posters, else me. These include, but are not restricted to: character, plot, symbolism and unintended anythings.
3) Each five spelling and grammatical errors equals a one point deduction. These must also be confirmed. Stylistic conventions should not be punished. For example: intentionally not capitalizing should not be penalized unless it wasn't effective, in which case it's a technical error, not a stylistic error.
4) Each aspect that worked in the piece gains it a point. This includes memorable sentences/lines/phrases as well as humor, well developed arguments, complex-yet-coherent thought and so forth.
5) Clock is optional. Late posts are penalized at the rate of one point per minute. Early posts get a bonus of a point per minute, capping out at 1/4 the total time allocated to compose. So for example, if the clock is set for one hour, the most points an early poster can earn are 15.
6) Highest score wins and becomes defacto champ. If you don't want your post to be used as 'Champ of the Day' let me know and I'll take it down and replace it with the runner-up.
7) These rules are continuing to evolve so disregard the prior rule variants below.

I can select a topic, or someone else can suggest one here on this thread.

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Combatprose and Combatverse in One Spot: Here

Now you don't need to pick or feel limited. I'm going to export the content from the old sites here.

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Just Getting Warmed Up

Make this thread as chaotic as you like. I'll pull any post that steps over an extreme line, but I have a pretty strong tolerance for free speech.

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Topic, Feb 12, 2010: Fantasy Envy

Exley had Frank Gifford. Toki had his cat. Envy is not really the beginning, not the end here. It's more of a basic vicariousness... a source of voluptuous thought. Once we are finished with our jealousy, we still want to think about our subject of fixity.

Round 1: Fight!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

A different approach, Feb 11, 2010

I'm in the mood for some Mexico City Blues. I'm also in the mood for Godzilla and some wargames. So, here's my thought: the first poster on this thread can take any poem from Mexico City Blues and riff off it any way s/he chooses (but cite the inspiration). Challengers must write a riff off the same poem. Then the challenger gets to pick. By then, a mob should have formed and if they are here, the mob may choose the final poem.

Mob: please score poems with one to three stars. Then we'll tally the score and declare the champ. Come on! Let's see if we can finally get some bloodsport in here.

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Thurs, Feb 11: Scary Monsters and Super Creeps

She swung her flail to hear enemies scream,
Throwing darts and knives, you know what I mean...
Scary girlfriend! Super creeps!

I know, this is CombatProse, but an incantation was the fastest way I could think of to get you in the mood. Monsters in my opinion, aren't completely hostile. See Theodore Sturgeon's "The Professor's Teddy Bear" for the scariest stuffed animal in literature. Vampires are boring. Zombies are boring. And see my essay 'on zombies' to see the classic monster cycle play itself out: werewolf time. The point is, monsters are by their nature, mirrors--avenues to our own horrible nature. The Vampire is the obsessive-compulsive: its rituals are necessary for its very existence. The Werewolf is the savage that lurks beneath every civilized person--whose bloodletting permits the civilized person to survive in a society that represses such primal instincts. The Zombie is a nuclear-age monster: an anthropomorphization of extinction. So real monsters, fantastic monsters--I don't really care--just be creative.

Now for the second half of the kombat rules: super creeps. 'Creep' is almost like a fnord in terms of how invisible its actual meaning has become: a creep is a specific type of freak. It's used too often as a word for someone you dislike--no, The older couple with stuffed, dead corpses of once-beloved pets all over their house? Creepy. The key is eccentricity: a presumption that their actions don't deviate from the norm. Creepiness comes from a misunderstanding or misapplication of social rules and norms--as well as a lack of empathy. A 'creep' was once, I think, what people called borderline sociopaths, hermits and olde tyme mild autistics. Throw a few Ed Geins in there and you you need a word to describe the type.

So, write of scary monsters and not just any sort of creep, a super-creep.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Canned Combat, Feb 10, 2010: The Hustle

Onyx was unchallenged yesterday and wrote about being the dupe: duped by hustle. In the spirit of survival of the fittest, today's topic is 'The Hustle.' Have you Hustled anyone? I'll tell you a story to get you in the mood:

Years ago, I used to play about a dozen games of chess a day. I was probably the worst of the best players in SF, because the only places I would lose a pick-up game were 5th and Powell (home to the street-hustler) and the Mechanic's Library (home to the grandmaster). In the days before I had a profession, I worked temp-jobs. Well, one day, I needed a tie for the job and I didn't have one and didn't have the cash to get one. I had 5 bux and that usually bought a cheap tie at the dry-cleaning shops along market, but I guess I hadn't been there for a while, because it was $8. So I walked to 5th and Powell, watched the players, saw a drunk Russian and decided he was my mark. I waited for him to finish his half-pint of morning vodka (7:25am or so) and challenged him. He laughed at this nothingmaster with a cheap white shirt and plastic shoes. Aha! But this nothingmaster took his bux playing 'The Elephant' (pawn wall variant--very tricky because of the tempos involved) on his Sicilian and before his buddies could complain (5th and Powell's denizens are more like Hep C B-side gangsters than hold a gat sideways and pop a bitch gangsters, knowwatimsayin?) I ran across the street, got my tie, and headed over to the Moscone Center for some delicious, $25/hr (in 1999 $) temp money.

It's my favorite ploy: be so ridiculous that my foe doesn't take me seriously until it's too late.

What's your favorite hustle?

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Combat Prose for Feb 9, 2010

Are you too trusting? I am. When the dupe is you, how do you handle it?

I'll keep issuing topics until I see some traction here.

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Canned Combat, Feb 9, 2010

It's early, but here's today's canned combat:

-trochaic quadrameter
-any rhyme scheme, but no blank verse
-Any ol' topic. Let's see you folks warm up.

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Canned Topic, Feb 8, 2010

Write about someone who died with poignant compassion. I'll start.

I wrote a nasty, backhanded comment on a former colleague's obit website. She lied, cheated and stole, but she did it with the sad innocence of the fat girl who has to go home to an abusive household every day. If she didn't destroy so many people in the name of greed, I wouldn't have said anything. Instead, I said that people who knew her would never forget her. People who don't know me well thought it was such a warmhearted thing to say. Someone who knows me very well called me to say I'm a total bastard--while laughing. That was a strange phone-call. "The only winner here is her widower." "You're terrible. She has a three year old son." "Come on, it's not like the kid's nanny died." "'They'll never forget her!' I can't believe you wrote that!" "Everybody is talking about how tragic this is for the kid. What about the kids of all those people she ruined?" "..." "Yeah! That's right, you don't see them learning to crawl around our office." "Stop it. I feel guilty for laughing."

People I knew started dying after that. God's a fucking joker like that. The first grown-up death's funny; know what I mean? She drank herself to death at the age of 37, hardee har, har. Well, I just finished assembling God's secret code from stray letters in the National Enquirer and he assures me every and all future deaths I encounter will be just as funny to someone who hates the people I love, as I found my ex-colleague's to be.


Come on, prose isn't even my thing. Someone should be able to stomp this piece. Let's see what you've got?

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Canned Topic

A specific type of idiot. Just someone you can't stand. But let's see if you get anywhere with the verse: can you do more than obsess over the thing you hate? I'm not going to write verse here: you know I can do it. I want to see if you can do it.

You're not going to get stronger by being chicken. Let's see some kombat!

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feb 7, 2010 CombatVerse!

Whose cuisine shall reign supreme?

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The Rules for CombatVerse!

1) Challenger picks time and tempo between posts.
2) Defender gets to pick meter and topic.
3) Challenger must then copy meter and stay on topic.
4) Scoring:
a) Points:
i) If there's meter, each time the meter is off, -1. Someone who completely ruins a line of scanning could lose -10 if she or he ruined all 10 beats.
ii) Every off-topic sentence, line, clause, or other unit of thought loses a point.
b) Gambits: Introduced conceits, symbols, narratives and turns of phrase are the only ones I can think of now. Each gambit is worth 10 points.
c) Audience: Audience members can use a single vote to add or subtract a point from a poem. This helps mitigate the objective metrics used for the game.
5) Time: Compositions are due at time. There is a 1 point deduction per minute the composition is late.

Not only is this a fun game that we used to play informally on craigslist litfo, but it will sharpen your chops too. Have fun!

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Feb 7, 2010 CombatProseThread

Go for it. Month's winner will get a cash prize if it's legal and feasible.

I'm not sure you have to register to play actually. I think you can just do it anon.

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The Rules for CombatProse!

King of the Hill rules. Best writer gets the most unique nods by separate handles, which is why you must register for CombatProse! I think I'll issue an award to the month's winner. Previous day's champion is the next day's champion by default. Votes only count the day of the competition. I am in the early stages of the logistics on this, but I think this is promising. If there is a question of sockpuppetry, I'll have both parties contact me at the same time in such a manner I can ensure they're separate individuals.

Time stamps are important here. Also, this isn't craigslist or any other forum. You can not just gloat or cry, but win or lose.

Round 1, FIGHT!

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