tori_angeli: (Joshua)
You know how people say a sign of insanity is the belief that you're sane?  There are a lot of things wrong with the statement itself, but what's behind it is truth.  It bothers me when people gripe about mentally ill people as using their illness as an "excuse" for their behavior.  To be sure, some people do.  But let me explain to you the big fat cow turd you're stepping in when you get into "who is to blame, the person or the illness?"  Because it ain't simple.

"Insanity" is not a medical term at all, so I won't use it again here.  Instead, let me define mental illness.

According to the interwebz, mental illness is "any disease of the mind; the psychological state of someone who has emotional or behavioral problems serious enough to require psychiatric intervention."

By that definition, I have never had a mental illness.  I'm not 100% sure why.  My intervention had to come from a physician, but not from a psychiatrist.  My problem didn't stem from childhood trauma or anything, just out-of-whack body chemistry.  The issue wasn't psychiatric, it was strictly hormonal.  Nevertheless, I had whole days where I shook from anxiety.  I had days where I wanted any excuse to lash out because it felt good and I felt like I deserved to let loose.  Then I had days where I thought about killing myself because it was the best possible gift I could give everyone around me.

This sounds so obviously irrational, and I was.  I knew what was going on.  Knowing what was happening to me didn't actually put everything in perspective the way you would think.  Even when I had a name for it--premenstrual dysphoric disorder--it did not strengthen me one bit against the irrationality.  All I could do was warn my friends beforehand--and these episodes lasted three weeks out of the month, sometimes longer--and explain to them that it wasn't their fault.

The anxiety days were the worst for me because absolutely everything bothered me.  Everything was a big deal, no matter what anyone said.  My heart fluttered, my hands shook, and I thought I was going to wear my heart out.  On the other hand, my mind was clearer on those days, which was a mixed blessing.  I really, truly felt on those days like I was going crazy.  The other days, I felt like I was seeing clearly for the first time.

The depression days I won't get into much.  They were awful.  Sometimes I would just go to bed and stay there because it was all I wanted to do.  Sometimes I planned how I would kill myself.  Sometimes I thought it was the best option for everyone.  Those moments happened with total clarity, like an epiphany.  My eyes were opened.  My friends and family were better off without me.

The anger days were insane.  I slammed books down to try to relieve it and it only made it worse.  At one point on an anger day, I knocked over a cup of water at work by accident.  I stopped and stared at the water pooling, how fascinating and beautiful it was, and suddenly knew that if/when I killed myself, it was going to involve blood because of how lovely it would look pooling like that.

These days were the hardest on my friendships, I think.  I would get in arguments over the smallest, stupidest things.  You have to understand that at the time, the things I said and the feelings I had made utter and perfect sense.  Almost a harmony.  I believed with no uncertainty that the hormones had nothing to do with it, no matter how much my friends tried to blame my outbursts on my disorder.  The outbursts and bashing and anger felt so very good, like it was the first time in my life I was able to let those feelings out--even the feelings I'd never had before.  I felt liberated.  Overjoyed.

Not so much on the mornings after, when I would see what I'd said and beg for forgiveness.  Thing is, as often as that happened, it was impossible to tell when it was happening.  It always, always felt like I was following a logical course of thinking and of action, and that whatever we were arguing about was a huge problem and we couldn't go on without it being corrected.  It's why to this day I can apologize, I can say I was out of line, I can say it wasn't my friend's fault, but I can't actually blame myself or even accept much responsibility for my lack of self-control because I remember with horrific vividness my mindset of the time.  I really felt like I was in control, and that I was following a logical course.  Looking back on it, it was like becoming a monster.  But the monster wasn't a separate entity inhabiting my body.  I was the monster.  Whoever I normally was didn't exist as long as I was the monster.

It's weird to write about now, but I'm thinking about it and I want to explain something to people who say that mental illness, or a hormonal disorder, is no excuse for bad behavior or a lack of self-control.  That's the thing.  With something like this, self-control has nothing to do with it.  You're not really the same person under the influence of the disorder.  You have an utterly different logic.  And believe me, it was hard to make my mother come around to understanding this.  I could do damage control while I was a human being, try to arm my loved ones against the monster that would eventually appear, but once I became the monster, I lost every perspective.  It's like putting a blindfold on me and expecting me to drive well-known routes.  Yes, I drive them every day without thinking, but I still need my sight in order to keep from bumping into things I didn't expect to be there, such as other cars.  I could get through work tasks with effort, but any disruption was a huge deal and I reacted very strongly to it.  The magnificent circle was that the disorder disrupted everything.

The one place when I felt I might have some kind of control was in my pursuit for a treatment.  I tried for months to find something to help (and that is paltry compared to the years some people spend).  I researched the hell out of PMDD online.  I tried herbal cures, exercised until I hurt myself, and got put on anti-depressants.  The anti-depressants helped for about a month before the symptoms started to come back.  I decided I was not willing to get on the medicine ladder for a problem often treated with birth control, so I stopped the meds and saw an OBGYN.

It took.  So long.

When I went on the birth control pills, I had constant symptoms for almost three months.  Instead of having about a four-day break once a month like usual, I started out with outrageously strong symptoms that very, very slowly tapered off.  During this time, I had an impossible time focusing.  I tried every trick.  I tried to snap out of it.  I still couldn't focus.  I couldn't grow up and get over it.  It resulted in being rude to a friend of my mother's by barely responding when they spoke to me.  This was when I had to beg my mother to understand that getting out of bed was an effort.  I could look at faces but it took me a few seconds to realize who they belonged to.  It was like being expected to run a race with a handicap as well as someone without one.  I was doing my best.  That's not something you can prove to anyone.  Everyone thinks with enough effort you can act just like a normal person all the time, that all you need to do is be strong like everyone without a mental illness or a disorder like mine.

Sometimes I wanted to say, "Sorry the emotional mess I'm in every day of my life was hard for you for a few seconds.  You got to go home and feel miffed and get over it, while I got to go home and feel like something's trying to claw itself out of my skin the way it is every minute of every day.  I hate hurting people.  I hated hurting you.  I hate hurting me, too."

And me?  I'm really freaking lucky.  I'm lucky because unlike most women, I managed to find something that cures my PMDD.  I haven't had a single problem with it since I went vegetarian.

For someone with a real mental illness, like my brother?  Like my friends with profound depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder?  I don't know how you do it.  The only reason people say you're not strong is because they've never had to carry the kind of weight you carry every day.  All the same, surround yourself with support.  Maybe only one or two people are willing to help you (not enable, but actually help).  I've been on that side, too.  Remember it's hard for them, too.  Remember how someone empathetic enough to help you is also empathetic enough to be brought down by you.  That's why it's important to have multiple friends who will support you, if you can.  Don't be afraid to ask people for help.  Really good friends are honored by that kind of trust.

End ranting.
tori_angeli: (sterling)
Leverage fandom, hypnosis is not brain rape.  Neither is suggestion.  Granted, neuro-linguistic programming doesn't really seem like a nice thing to try out on your friends, but it's still not brain rape.  Apparently, it's planting a suggestion in such a way as to make someone think it was their own idea.  Not that big a deal when the suggestion is "pour me tea," and surely it wouldn't work if the suggestion was "jump off a cliff or do something else harmful."

Also, any woman with a good enough sense of self-preservation not to date a self-destructive man should be lauded, not criticized for "not accepting him as he is."
tori_angeli: (notimpressed)
There was this LotR fic I once peered at entitled "Recaptured."  In it, Merry and Pippin are recaptured after they escape from the orcs.  After that, it's just like a conglomeration of every single form of torture the author can think of.  Merry is raped by Saruman, Pippin is struck deaf and dumb and Merry is struck blind, one of them is put in a circus (and it has nothing to do with Saruman), Pippin gets captured by Mordor orcs and raped, etc.  It goes on for well over a hundred chapters.  It's about the worst fic in the universe.  Why?  Because the author is so addicted to angst, she drowns herself, her characters, her readers, and everyone else in the world with it.  The sheer level of angst has an impact on parts of the world that don't even know about the fic.  It's that crazy.

Let me show you an example.

Let's say Don, the current Angstbunny of the fandom (unless it's Leo again...hrm, or Mike, not sure) is captured by an enemy, like Hun.  Now, just being a prisoner is stressful and terrifying and grounds for some solid angst, especially if Hun is making threats.  People who are kidnapped are often traumatized even when nothing else happens to them.  Now, if Hun keeps threatening to, say, break Don's arm, the anticipation of excruciating pain and recovery will be bad enough to raise Don's stress levels like crazy.  If Hun actually breaks Don's arm?  That's even worse, and it adds even MORE stress because now Don knows Hun will carry out his threats.  If Don were to get rescued at this point, he'd spend some days in shaky recovery.  His imagination could make things worse, even, although I see this being more of a problem for someone like Mike.  But if his capture continues?  Hun could start making worse threats, creating more anticipation and stress because Don KNOWS they will be carried out.  Say Hun threatens to cut off his hand.  That's a life-changing event right there.  If that kind of maiming happened, Don would have nightmares and flashbacks indefinitely, even go into depression of a decent severity.  What about the current favorite: rape?  It's one of the most traumatizing, evil things that can happen to a person.  The threat would be traumatizing in and of itself.  The act?  Another life-changing event.  Multiple rapes?  Go read testimonies about prison rape--it's UGLY.  Gang rape over a period of minutes is bad enough.  Hours?  Crippling.  Days?  Weeks?  That could cause someone to go catatonic.

Once angst gets to the point where the characters aren't reacting realistically to it, it's absolutely ridiculous.  Once it's piled up so much that a reader can no longer believe in it, it's overdose.  If a character suffers more than one life-changing trauma in a fic, it's probably too much.  Remember, angst is not a natural state for a person.  People don't want to be miserable.  They find a way to cope, or try to, at least.  They shouldn't just sit there full of their own woes.  There's denial, anger, and all that.

There's the opposite, too, where a character OVER-reacts to a trauma.  If Mike gets his hand broken, he's not going to wake up screaming and crying from nightmares about it--he'll move on, being relieved that nothing worse happened, and probably use the injury to get himself out of responsibilities.  Mike especially isn't easily traumatized, just easily scared.  He doesn't have nightmares or flashbacks about Raph almost braining him in a fit of rage; in fact, things are back to normal between the two of them very quickly, and Raph is more hung up about it than Mike is.  Sometimes, when this happens, I want to scream out to the wangsting character, "Oh, get OVER it!"

Trauma done right and used sparingly is VERY effective.  Showing some light in with the dark shows how dark the dark is, and overusing angst just makes everything uniform, until you don't know exactly what else is in the story BESIDES the angst.  One trauma is enough.  Adding trauma upon trauma isn't going to increase my pathos for your favorite character a mite more.  In fact, it'll just get annoying.
tori_angeli: (fearless)
It's official.  The fandom is now completely devoid of active genfic writers.

Okay, well, it's not official.  And that's an exaggeration, anyway.  But the point is, the fandom is absolutely swamped with romance and smut.  On one side, there's FF.net, where you get practically nothing but Mary Sues, sometimes four at a time (the other things you get are the world's worst wangst and "Send in the Clowns," a fic which I excitedly recommend to anyone and everyone--and at the same time, too!).  On the other side, there are the LJ communities.  [profile] tmnt_fanfic is barely active, while [profile] turtlecest is exploding with activity and [profile] turtleslash is...moving along, sorta.  By their very nature, [profile] turtlecest and [profile] turtleslash don't really produce much genfic.  So FF.net isn't producing genfic, and the LJ comms pretty much can't.  Where does that leave us genfic lovers?  I dunno.

It's not that I think romance is bad.  I've read some great romance.  Kameterra's "Bound" tickles me pink.  I even wrote a romance oneshot myself once (granted, it was a request, and I owed him).  But the way I feel about romance stories is comparable to the way I feel about romance songs--there are tons of them, they've been doen and done, most of them are the same, and there are many, many other things to write about.  Romance is just one of many genres, and romance fics are a dime a dozen.  You can write about romance, but you can also write about friends, parents and their children, coworkers--relationships that don't need romance to be deep and meaningful.  People can connect with relationships like those in stories.  Not all of our relationships in life are romantic or sexual.  Don't we ever want to see those sorts of relationship in stories?

I don't blame people for writing what they like to write, just griping that almost no one writes what I like to read.  Which is why I write.  I also feel kinda bad for people who stick themselves in the rut of writing only one genre.  Maybe I'm hoping someone will get inspired by this post and test themselves creatively.  Just one different kind of fic.  It's fun!  Actually, a massive fic I'm working on has romance in it, but it very much takes the back burner to all the other things going on, so it's possible to write gen with romance in it.
tori_angeli: (UziDon)
I'm done.

I'm done!


Done arguing.  Done fighting.  Done getting upset over things that just aren't worth getting upset over.

From now on, the rest of the fandom can argue with itself.  I'll continue to have intelligent discussions, but I refuse to play any childish games over who can have the last word, because that's all these arguments turn into.  Nobody's interested in learning anything from them or from each other, nobody's interested in any opinion but their own, and whoever disagrees is not allowed in the club.  I joined this fandom to enjoy myself.  This is my hobby, not my calling.

I'll keep writing the kind of thing I always write.  I'll keep the friends I've made while I've been here.  Heck, I'll even keep ranting about things that bug me.  But I won't go on a righteous crusade against the forces of evil about whether or not Raph would rape his brother, because 1) if the answer's not obvious to you right off the bat, you're probably not the sort of rational discussion I'm looking for and 2) there are many more important things in my life I can be corrupting besides the joy I take in creating something and sharing it with people it might bring joy to.  I don't want to sour my relationship with my hobby.  It's something I enjoy very much, and I didn't start writing in it so I could convince people of petty things contained in the fandom.

I just can't keep poisoning myself with the opinions of people who think incest and rape are kinks and not crimes.  I'm all for having an open mind, but some things are simply wrong.  Saying you have an opinion about something doesn't make you immune to being wrong, either--it's just something to hide behind, a word that means nothing in the end, because what you believe speaks so much louder than what you feel on instinct, and the things you don't say are as important as the things you do.  Integrity is in the mind as well as the heart, and following your instincts doesn't give you integrity, it just means you lack self-control.  So write your fics and defend them however you like, but here's the thing about me that no argument will change: I will continue to disagree, and say it's wrong, and believe we should not desensitize people to subjects like there by making it pornographic just because we ourselves might find it forbidden enough to be "hot."  There's my stubbornness, and there's no point in arguing with me about it.

I'll go out on a limb and say I've written the most realistic rape in the fandom.  This is rape, not lust-driven grinding that somehow ends in pleasure for the victim as well as the perp.  It's humiliating and degrading and messy and agonizing and often ends in death.  It rarely begins or ends in lust.  It's torture, plain and simple.  Interracial rapes are often done with objects.  It's not hot, it's not sexy, it's messed up.

"If you don't like it, don't read it."  Well, that's the easiest rule to follow ever.  How about you try not arguing with me when I say it's OOC?  When I say it's unrealistic?  I honestly don't care what you write if I'm not going to read it, but call it what it is, at least.  I'm not oppressing you--do you see me oppressing you?  Don't tell me I'm a bad person for not accepting your rape kink.  No matter what you seem to think, it's not the same thing as being homophobic or sexist or racist.  Go write your rape and refuse to deviate or branch out and make yourself a better author.  I don't care.  But don't tell me it's something it's not, because all it really is is you writing, in an unrealistic and OOC way, an act of torture you personally think to be sexy.  It turns your crank, so you write it.  I'm willing to let that be.  Just don't say it's anything else, or that I'm the one who's messed up.

So.  Since grown-ups are supposed to be able to deal with each other, I'm going to do my part and stop trying to argue with drama addicts who can't take opinions besides their own.  I see enough of that when my mother watches Fox News.  I'm not here for that.  I'm here to write about turtles, okay?  Humanoid turtles who fight with ninjutsu and aren't old enough to drink.  That's every bit as petty as all this is.  It's just not worth fighting about.

Non-conformity is just another way to conform.  Stealthy Stories isn't any better.  In fact, SS is simply the domain of an overgrown child with a god complex.  Differing opinions aren't welcome there, and neither is free speech.  It's run by people who judge your goodness without knowing you or even having any business doing so.  I'm done with it.  So-called tolerance just isolates a different group of people than before.

So um, soul is cleansed now.  I go back to fanfic writing.  The fifteenth and final chapter of The Halfway Point is in the beta's hands, as is the prologue of a new Mike-centric epic entitled Counterplay.  Heck, I'm even finished with the first chapter of a sequel to The Halfway Point.  I'm thinking of posting excerpts from all my unfinished projects on this journal so I can get people to hold me accountable for finishing them.

Question

Apr. 18th, 2008 06:14 pm
tori_angeli: (Default)
Why do people who have no idea what they're talking about insist on arguing with you?

In short, listen up.  I have a music degree.  Quit arguing with me about music unless your credentials are better than mine, and I know they're not.  I am a composer.

Quick rant

Feb. 12th, 2008 08:07 pm
tori_angeli: (Default)
I think it's terribly convenient that villains happen to have a drug that will do EXACTLY what they need.

Famous examples:

The Mind Control Drug leaves the victim complacent and willing to do anything the villain orders.

The Rape Drug leaves the victim too weak to move but mentally sharp and with a heightened sense of touch.

The Sleep Drug causes the victim to sleep no matter how much they try to stay awake and leaves them with no hangover afterwards.



Also, for the record, HYPNOSIS IS NOT MIND CONTROL.
tori_angeli: (UziDon)
If you truly love someone, even if they don't love you back, you don't rape them.  I don't care how in lust Leo is with your irresistible OFC.  Rape is a degrading act of dominance and violence.  It's usually done by men who want to prove their power over women in general, or a specific woman.  It also happens between men a lot more often than people say, and not just in prison.  And yes, despite what people tell you, women CAN rape men.  It's a horrible, completely selfish and traumatizing act, and if Leo loves your irresistible OFC, he won't try to hurt her.

Now,  if you show me the process of Leo slowly going mental and BELIEVING that your irresistible OFC has consented, that might be more interesting.  But despite the impression you have from all the smut fics bouncing around, sex is not the only way to express love.  In a healthy relationship, it takes a little bit to work up to the intimacy involved in sex.  'Cause, y'know, it feels weird to go from "no physical contact" to "grabbing each others' crotch."  Those places are really private.  So if Leo is totally head over heels for your OFC, show him being jealous, and self-conscious, and trying to hide it, but don't show him going all OOC and getting violent.  Chances are, your OFC isn't THAT charming, and he wouldn't really want to complicate his life by becoming a rapist.

If you DO insist on having a rape or attempted rape, for heaven's sake, don't make her get over it in two seconds.  Even attempted rape is extremely terrifying and traumatizing.  She's probably not even going to let boyfriend Raph touch her, let alone bed her for the healing power of consensual sex.  Once again, sex is not the only expression of love, or even the greatest--it's just the most physically intimate thing we are capable of.

And y'know, I think I'd actually pounce on a well-written fic where sex was not the ultimate culmination of the characters' love for each other, let alone the sole motivation.  I say I don't like romance, but the truth is that I am simply very, very picky about the romance I read.  There is so much more to a relationship than the physical stuff, and I would get so excited if someone went into that in a fic.

KAPLAH!

Feb. 10th, 2008 01:07 am
tori_angeli: (Default)
The year of the rat has already been good to me.  Not only am I employed, but I have shoes.

Anyone who enjoys shoe shopping obviously does not wear a size 5.  Shoe-shopping for tiny feet is a frustrating affair that regularly leaves me holding back tears.  I couldn't even find shoes in Los Angeles.  Even massive warehouses will only order about one pair of size 5's per style (I am not exaggerating--an associate told me this), and those get snapped up immediately.  So by the time I need shoes, no place has anything that fits and suits my purposes.

No place except, this time around, the clearance rack at Macy's.

I found two pairs there, and one pair on clearance at a warehouse.

I have kicked the No-Shoes-Monster's butt today.  I have a pair for everyday and two dressier pairs to wear to work.  ALL ON CLEARANCE.  And two of them, yes, are technically 5.5, but with a couple little pad thingies they work great!

Now, with all the admitted demand for smaller shoes, why don't the buyers working for these places actually take a hint and buy more smaller shoes?  They don't even have to buy a LOT more.  Just...MORE.  I want cute shoes sometimes.  I end up only seeing them in size 6 or above, not because the manufacturer didn't make any smaller ones, but because the store didn't BUY them.  'Cause, y'know, people with tiny feet don't want cute shoes.  People with tiny feet can all go shop in the kid's section.  Blech on them.

But today, I FOUND SHOES.  I had to travel 100 miles and search all day, but I FOUND SHOES.
tori_angeli: (Default)
I am writing to you from work.  MY LAST DAY OF WORK.

I am so psyched.  I should not be this psyched.  I'm gonna take some time off, I'm gonna get healthy again, I'm gonna go to sleep when it's dark and wake up when it's light, I'm gonna go to church...SQUEE!

And, like I did this summer, I'm gonna treat writing like my job.  Which is good, because in addition to the remainder of The Halfway Point, I have SO MANY PROJECTS planned.



So that's...20 stories altogether?  A lot of people don't write that many EVER.  Fortunately, I've been very active on this RPG some friends and I have going on (go to the the terrapintarts community to see the logs) and I don't think I have any big scenes coming up, so RPing for that right now is pretty much going to be at my leisure.  Maybe I can get some of this stuff done.  Still, I might have to adopt out some of these bunnies.  I think 6, 7, and 10 are the ones I'm the least attached to.  I've already started writing on #8, #9, and the first Quality Time fic.  So yes, 6, 7, and 10 are up for negotiation.  ONLY 6, 7 and 10.  If you're interested in adopting a bunny, let me know.

All this said, I'd like to take a moment to rant about the rampaging "little brother" thing going on in this fandom.  I guess the main problem is the fact that so few females know how to write males being males.  See, if a girl refers to her sister as "little sister," it's a term of endearment.  No insult intended or taken.  However, if a boy refers to his brother as "little brother," it's derogatory.  Males don't like being referred to as "little" in any sense.  I mean, yes, in the new movie, Leo calls Mikey "little brother."  But that's to Mikey, who tends to let things like that roll off his back.  Shell.  Whatever.  If he called DON that, it would be insulting.  Calling RAPH that would be asking to get his head taken off.  I think the worst part of this comes in whenever I see Raph calling Don "little brother."  I hate that, and not because I consider Don to be one of the older two.  Not only would it offend Don, but it's misleading.  Don is no one's "little brother."  He's a younger brother.  Not a little brother.  Writers see this "little brother" thing as a sign that it's okay for them to make Don act like a dear little kid.  It's a symptom of Girly!Don.  A lot of writers who refer to Don as someone's little brother miss the inherent maturity in Don.  And even though I think Raph is younger, Don should not be calling Raph his "little brother."  Neither should Leo.  Not unless one of them wants to push his buttons, and it's not even the kind of insult Don would use.

Furthermore, protectiveness is not an exclusively "older sibling" quality.  The guys are all protective of each other.  Just because Don doesn't seem especially protective of Raph does not make him younger.  Raph isn't especially protective of Don, either.  When it comes to Raph, Don is more of the kind of older sibling I grew up with--alternately nagging and indulgent.  He nags in the new movie.  In NT, he makes him the shell cycle.  So quit using Raph's general protectiveness as "proof" that Raph is older.  It's STILL not canon.

On a further geeky note, the lodge's angel got fixed today.  It's this angel made of Christmas lights, and yesterday, one of its wings went out.  I called it our "One-Winged Angel."  Of course no one knew what I was talking about.
tori_angeli: (Default)
I'm not going to ask, "Am I the only person who's getting tired of the 'Don kills someone and totally flips the heck out' plot?" because I know I'm not.  For some reason, everyone assumes that just because Don doesn't like to kill, he's going to curl up and sob and hate himself and hiccup and sniff and go all wangsty whenever he's forced to kill someone.  This is a symptom of Girly!Don.  Be sure it doesn't happen to you.  Now, if you reverse it and make it "Don totally flips the heck out and kills someone," I'd be interested.

And remember, kids, Shakespeare pulled off the "can't wash the blood off my hands" thing.  It's been done a bizillion times since then.  So quit it.

Counting down the days to the end of this job.  Even my SUPERVISOR thinks this is having too ill an effect on my health for me to continue, even though she would rather I stay.  I am so lightheaded tonight, I barely feel like I'm here.  Saturday is my last day (night).  then...freedom!
tori_angeli: (Default)
I really shouldn't complain.  You're making vids because you want to.  You enjoy it.  Thing is, there are so many more avenues than using Linkin Park, Evanescence, and Korn for EVERY SINGLE VID.  I understand you love the song.  I understand you love Naruto, or Final Fantasy, or whatever.  But that song does not actually go with Naruto or whatever.  At all.  There is not an Evanescence song for every situation.  There is not an Evanescence song for every CHARACTER.  It doesn't make sense.  Now, if you're just doing it for the fun, and you don't care if it's any good, then that's awesome.  Seriously.  But if you actually take this seriously, at all, you'll put more creativity into it than that.

/rant

In the meantime, I am having a very lonely, boring night at work.  So I'll be working on the next chapter of The Halfway Point, if I can work myself into "the zone," or whatever.

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