Flash Fiction Challenge: X Versus Z, Redux

Some fun?

A flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig. Thanks so much for the invitation to fun.

Way this works is, below you will find two tables — X and Y! — and you will pick (or randomly draw) from those tables. That will leave you with a set of X versus Y — and from there, you will write a piece of flash fiction based on that parameter set. You can even use the match up (SKELETONS VS. SCIENTISTS!) as the title to the work, or come up with a new title.

Length: ~2000 words

Due by: 5/26, Friday, noon EST

Post at your online space, link back here so all can read.


  1. Robots
  2. Vampires
  3. Monkeys
  4. Demons
  5. Pirates
  6. Kaiju
  7. Goblins
  8. Dragons
  9. Ghosts
  10. Gods
  11. Time Travelers
  12. Cops
  13. Librarians
  14. Bards
  15. Skeletons
  16. Interdimensional Floating Jellyfish Creatures
  17. Aliens
  18. Cats
  19. Werewolves
  20. Musicians


  1. Zombies
  2. Monks
  3. Spiders
  4. Heroes
  5. Fairies
  6. Robots
  7. Assassins
  8. Mutants
  9. Cannibals
  10. Mermaids
  11. Scientists
  12. Evil
  13. Serial Killers
  14. Cultists
  15. George Washington
  16. Superheroes
  17. Artificial Intelligence
  18. Swamp Monsters
  19. Cheerleaders
  20. Elves

Ravelling About, Translating and Summing Up

I am still messing about with Lumen5, a multimedia ‘presentation’ tool.

Here is a website I am translating into a video.

Channeling Engelbart: Augmenting Human Education – DML Central


Here is the video I created using Lumen5.

This is a bit rough and amounts to a summary of the longer article above, a translation of the Howard Rheingold/Gardner Campbell conversation. My summing up is not profound, obviously. It is just my slow reading through another medium.

Here are some of my discoveries:

  1. I agree with the idea of having a personal learning cyberinfrastructure, but I hate that expression almost as much as I do personal learning algorithm. It is like I am laying interstate highways and sewers in my own mind. Too expensive and unsustainable. The transform here is the metaphor of infrastructure.  I don’t like that any more than I do the constant references in Shakespeare to commerce.
  2. The domain may be my own, but the servers don’t belong to me.  Shouldn’t we all be running our own servers, not renting somebody else’s?  Are we really controlling our domains if someone else is hosting them?  I think of this as a necessary compromise, but is it one that eventually corrupts the larger intent of the personal learning cybersomethingfication?
  3. Is this really just another means to think deeply and solve more effectively?  Tools form us.  Is the form they invoke one that is sustainable?  Just got me thinking about the forthright fascism of Silicon Valley.  The tools formed them, right?

There is more, but that is the beauty of slow reading (as opposed to close reading).  I love how slow reading is like the thread picked at and ravelled. Close reading is like cutting with a scalpel.  I could be wrong with those words, but that is how it feels.


An Invocation to “Come & Play”

Simon’s latest ramble ends with the invitation, “Come and play.”  Don’t mind if I do.

I remixed his long read into a video using the very interesting new browser tool, Lumen5.

Lumen5 allows you to ‘translate’ any web post into a multimedia production.  Here is my translation of Simon’s post. It feels a bit like a sliver to a much sharper and larger shard that is the original, but I got a good sense for this new tool and more importantly a better handle on Simon’s work.

Thanks, Simon, for letting me ‘trans-relate’ your synaptics.