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Friday, March 23, 2012

The Friday Challenge - 3/23/2012

The First Voices of Spring
It's amazing, the difference a week can make. Normally at this time of year we'd be watching the snowdrifts melt and hearing about pickup trucks going through the ice, as too many anglers try to squeeze in one last late-season ice-fishing trip. This year, though, thanks to a week of record high temperatures, the local lakes are ice-free—one of the earliest ice-outs on record—the lawns are lush and green, and my front yard is erupting in tulips. In the evenings, when I walk the dogs, not only is every dog for a half-mile around barking, but every little pond, slough, and swamp in the neighborhood is alive with the cacophony of tiny croaking voices screaming out either "Hey ladies!" or "Hello, sailor!"*

(*Translated from the Froggish, of course.)

How about you? What's your unofficial first sign of Spring? (Or for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere: your first sign of Fall?) What's that one thing you notice every year, maybe even without really noticing that you notice it, that tells you the seasons have changed, and that Winter (or Summer) is finally over?

That's this week's Friday Challenge. We're not looking for a story this time: just a mood piece or tone poem about your personal cue that the seasons are changing. Think it over; write up something; post it in the Comments on this post, if you can,** and let's all meet here again next Friday to talk it over.

**Speaking of Comments
We've received a number of reports that Commenting isn't working again. Some people can see a Comment number on posts but can't see the comments; others can see the comments but can't post their own. We haven't changed anything on our end and quite honestly have no idea what's happening.

After I publish this post, I'm going to post a comment. Ergo, you should see at least one comment on the thread and should be able to post a reply to it. If you can't, drop us a line at slushpile (at) thefridaychallenge (dot) com. If nothing else, we'd like to get a sense of how widespread this problem is.

[Update: Mmph. Apparently the Comment counter has gone wonky again, too.]

[Update to the Update: No, it's not a bug, it's a feature. Fortunately, there is a solution. Read all about it.]

"My Favorite St. Patrick's Day Story"
Regarding the 3/16/2012 Friday Challenge, "My Favorite St. Patrick's Day Story," either because of the malfunctioning comment system or because of sheer embarrassment, we have as of this morning received but two entries:

M, "The Day The Urinals All Turned Green"
Scott Bartlett, "Daytona Beach Spring Break"

With luck, you'll be able to read these in the comments on the 3/16/2012 Friday Challenge post. If you can't—or if you have a story you're eager to tell but weren't able to because of posting issues—send it to slushpile (at) thefridaychallenge (dot) com and we'll snowdog it in.

Even if you haven't entered the challenge, you're invited to discuss, critique, and vote for your favorite entries. Winner to be announced on Sunday.

This week in The Friday Challenge...
Jason Peters wins the 3/9/12 Friday Challenge! Join the discussion...

Anatoly Belilovsky shares some insights into writing credible fiction involving wounds and injuries, gleaned from his experiences working in a hospital E.R. Join the discussion...

Kersley Fitzgerald reviews Disney's John Carter—which now appears fated to surpass The Black Hole and become the biggest money-losing flop in Disney's movie-making history. Join the discussion...

Ultimate Geek Fu decides to take the week off. There doesn't seem to be anything left to say about John Carter or Terra Nova (did anyone even notice that that one was cancelled?), we can only look forward to next week's Clash of the Titans sequel with trepidation, and as for The Hunger Games: meh. The Running Man rewritten so as to appeal to the Twilight market? Big fat hairy deal. As far as we're concerned this movie only makes the argument that parents should be paying more attention to the books that Scholastic is shoving down their kids' throats.

And Bruce Bethke discovers that when you replace a kitchen sink, it's important to measure in the Z dimension, too, because just a slight difference in the depth of the new sink will wreak unholy havoc on the drain piping. Join the derision...

All this and more, this week in: THE FRIDAY CHALLENGE!
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