The Commuter Challenge

1 December 2011

The December 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 00:02

Write a Random Rubaiyat. Go to the Wikipedia website. On the left is a navigation box. Near the bottom of this box is a link titled “Random article”. Click on that link and write a rubaiyat on the subject of the article that comes up. No, you may not click on the link a second time if you don’t like the one that comes up. Seriously. If you happen to get a Disambiguation Page, then you should use the first link as your subject. But otherwise, you must accept what first comes up.

What is a rubaiyat, you ask? The rubaiyat form was popularized by Edward FitzGerald’s well-known English translation of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”. It consists of any number of four-line stanzas, with a rhyme scheme of AABA. For the “interlocking rubaiyat”, which is what we’re doing this month, the third line provides the rhyme for the next stanza, thus AABA BBCB CCDC. For the final stanza, possible forms include XXYX, XXAX, and XXXX. Probably the most famous example of the interlocking rubaiyat is Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”.


1 November 2011

The November 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 20:11

Write a limerick, or a series of limericks, about any literary classic. The limericks can be your re-telling, parody, commentary, alternate version, or abridgement of the classic – whatever you want to do.


2 October 2011

The October 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 17:52

The challenge for this month is to construct a sequential word-association puzzle.

Take a look at the online puzzle From A to craZy if you haven’t seen it before. At each step, the game gives you a word (or short phrase), and requires you to supply the appropriate next word (or phrase). The object of the puzzle is to work out the proper association for each entry before you can proceed to the next one. The challenges start out extremely easy at first, allowing you to get a sense for the sort of thinking required as it gets progressively harder. The association linking each pair is unique, but they all follow the overarching sequence.

Your challenge is to create your own puzzle that is made up of a sequence of association puzzles. The puzzles don’t need to be of the word association type; they might involve sentences, numbers, or maybe even illustrations. Anything goes, as long as there is a definite answer at each step. Likewise, the puzzles don’t need to be tied to a strict sequence (like the alphabet), as long as there is some obvious theme to guide the player along.

Your puzzle can be of any length, but should have at least eight distinct steps, starting out easy and getting progressively more difficult.


2 September 2011

The September 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 00:23

Create an addition, or tribute, or parody, of/to any internet meme. Create a photoshopped “All your base are belong to us” image. Make a demotivational poster. Do some unnecessary censorship. Re-dub a few minutes of a nature documentary. Or create something totally new that you just know is going to go viral on the internet.

Too easy? Then do more than one.


1 August 2011

The August 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 04:04

Select a song — any song, though preferably one that you like — and record a cover of it. Perform as much of it yourself as you can. You may enlist the aid of friends and/or machinery to help you create some bits (particularly parts for which you lack ability and/or necessary equipment), but the lion’s share of the final recording should be your own product. You are not limited in the nature of your cover, but as a rule of thumb you should aim for being faithful to the spirit of the original.


1 July 2011

The July 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 23:51

Create a design for the face of a clock or wristwatch. You may choose to submit a purely decorative design for a traditional clock face, or you might want to envision a complex mechanical design … or perhaps an innovative new visual representation of the passage of time.


1 June 2011

The June 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 01:08

Write a villanelle describing your least favorite food and why you are right to loathe it. Bonus points will be awarded for excoriating the tastes of those who enjoy it. Alternately, make the subject your most favorite food and why anyone of sound mind should love it (in which case bonus points for trashing those who don’t).

For reference, here is the Wikipedia entry for villanelles.


1 May 2011

The May 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 00:38

Compose the text to an original children’s picture book. Maximum length is 1000 words, but you should be aiming closer to the 500-word range. And although these words are intended for a picture book, illustrations will not be part of your submission. Strictly text. (Illustrations may come up at some point in the future.) There are no other constraints, other than that your book should be as delightful as humanly possible.


2 April 2011

The April 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 20:50

This month we’re doing slant rhyme movie poems. The poem itself can be as long or as short as you like, but it must contain more slant rhymes than regular rhymes, and you should strive to use slant rhymes exclusively. Extra credit for using one or more unforgivably egregious slant rhymes, like rhyming lion with motion, or rough with bough. As an added constraint, the poem should reference a movie (any movie). Whether the poem is entirely about a movie or merely contains a fleeting reference to a movie is up to your discretion.


1 March 2011

The March 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 02:04

This website contains entries to all previous Commuter Challenges. From this diverse collection, select an illustration, poem, or prose writing — just about anything that has been submitted to the Commuter Challenge by someone other than yourself. If you selected a text entry, then create an illustration for it; on the other hand, if you selected an illustration, write a poem or an appropriate bit of prose to accompany it.


1 February 2011

The February 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 05:20

Create an original nonsense poem, or nonsense-ish poem. Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” or e. e. cummings’s “the way to hump a cow is not” are both good examples of the genre and its potential range. Twelve lines is the minimum. (There is no maximum.) No fair writing random nonsense, however: Like Humpty Dumpty, you should be able to completely explain what your poem means. (Though like any canny artist, you should probably refrain from actually doing so.) One final requirement: your poem should include, however fleeting, a reference to a towel — preferably without explicitly mentioning it, but we’ll leave this to your artistic discretion.


1 January 2011

The January 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 00:01

Create an original piece of 2-dimensional art and use it as a postcard. It can be no larger than 6 inches long by 4¼ inches high by .016 inch thick. At least one side must have an original handmade artwork (painting, illustration, collage, etc), and the other side must have a legible address, a message to the recipient, and a 28-cent US stamp (or combination of stamps adding up to 28 cents). Scan your creation for submission to the Commuter Challenge, and then you must actually mail the postcard. If appropriate, in the interest of privacy concerns, you may address the postcard after scanning it, or obscure the address on the scan prior to submission (probably a good idea if it’s the address of a friend or family member, but not necessary if the address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue). As a further constraint, since February 3, 2011 is the start of the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac calendar, the submission must somehow include, incorporate, or make reference to a rabbit.

Please note: avoid any three-dimensional elements (origami folds, loose collage edges, wax seal with signet ring impression), as they would most likely get stripped off when the postcard goes through the post office mail processing machinery.