kippurbird: (Fuck you duck)

WTF is with all the sudden spam Anonymous comments I've been getting on my role play journals about "This short article filled me with a great idea about this subject. Great job. Cheers." And why the sudden influx of Russian junk spam in my inbox?

This is getting fucking annoying.

Just. Argh.

And I still haven't gotten my laptop cord back. I'm starting to think that it might be a good idea to toss another forty odd bucks down the drain at the store/dealer down the street so I can have a functional laptop again. It's been about a month now!

I just want to kill things.

Or seriously maim.
kippurbird: (Nugan)
Actual content!

The train crash in Chatsworth, they're saying, might have been caused because the engineer was texting at the time. TEXTING! He's driving a lethal weapon for all intents and purposes with no ability to steer out of the way of any dangers because he's on a track and he might have been busy texting. What sort of society have we come to that people can't put down their phones and need to talk to people about trivial things in situations that require their complete attention? I think we might have been better off before all of this great leaps of technology.

This really bothers me a lot, beyond the death toll (being the deadliest crash in the United States in fifteen years). See, the train was on the same tracks that my brother takes to come home and go back to Santa Barbra. And I can't help thinking, well what if it was his train? How am I supposed to be assured of his safety if the damn driver can't pay attention to what he's doing?

And this goes to everyone really. I mean California had to pass a law that forbids people from talking on the cell phone while driving. Now I admit to this folly myself and I was definitely stupid for doing so. But it's just so easy, isn't it?

You pick up the phone and you can double check what time your doctor's appointment is, get that phone interview done or just talk to friends. My mom despises her cell phone and doesn't give out her number to anyone. She has it set on private. She also doesn't hear it ring about 80% of the time, no matter how high the volume is. Her hearing just doesn't pick up those sounds.

Still, I think she has a bit of a point. I see people walking around all the time on their phones. Sometimes there are two people walking with each other talking to two different people, other times one is on the phone and one isn't. Which is rude. After all you're with someone, so you should be paying attention them. Before we had such easy access to cellphones we just had our answering machines. I actually remember when we first got ours. It was a marvelous invention for us. People could call us and still give us their message even if we weren't home! And then when we got home we could see who called us and return their message.

We weren't too busy then, or caught up in our need to communicate. We were more in the world. I go on vacation to places and see bored looking kids walking right pass things as they talk on their phones, not even bothering to stop and look. They might as well just stay in their rooms as they don't seem to have any need for human contact.

Oh dear, this turned out to be a bit rantier and longer than I expected. I guess this is an issue that has been bothering me.


Another thing.

Listening to NPR last week -Friday I think it was - and they were interviewing this kid with aspergers, but for once weren't focusing on the aspergers but instead on his clinical depression. The subject was about how he was getting ready to go to college and how he'll deal with things that come up because of his mental illnesses (his words, not mine).

One of the things he said was that he'd tell teachers that he'd have some weird behaviors and they shouldn't worry about it. These included hand flapping and getting up to pace. The thing is, in my opinion, he shouldn't do those behaviors in the first place. They're not socially appropriate things to do in a classroom. He needs to learn how not to do them.

Yeah it's hard, Lord knows I have problems with sitting still, but I can't get up and pace when I'm at work. It's not appropriate. Nor is the hand flapping. It marks me as different and people will be nervous about dealing with me. Especially when I'm working up front.

I mean, how would you feel if you came up to the front desk of a library and there was this person hand flapping? Likely you wouldn't think they worked there. I don't think I would. I would probably think that they were someone who worked there's kid. You don't get any respect like that.

Instead of telling the teachers that he is going to indulge in odd behavior, he should instead learn how to control it. It'll make it that much easier when he goes into the work place and not get him fired.

Finally, on a more humorous note, my roommate is calling the day before the election bikini wax day. Because who ever wins, we'll be getting rid of our Bush.
kippurbird: (Clue By Oar)
Rper's are strange. At least the group I'm currently talking to and they remind me horribly of Paolini. There's an OOC community and on that community I posted the question, "Just out of curiosity, but has any other muns have the problem where you say your pup is going to do one thing and they just kinda give you the finger?". I realize now it was horribly vague and I should have worded it better. But I've always been of the opinion that if you have your character well done and fully realized that they'll react to situations as they should with out you, the writer, having to consciously say "This is how they will react."

I also am of the opinion that the characters will speak to me. The most recent example of this being when Darian told me he was going to die. I didn't want that and I didn't even think that would happen. I wasn't even planning on it. I knew that I had to raise the stakes somehow and was trying to think of a way to do it and apparently a character death was the way to go and apparently Darian was the one chosen to do it. But as I was writing and these thoughts were tumbling through my head I came to the realization that Darian would be the one to die. Perhaps it was because I felt that I couldn't do any more with his character or a whole host of other things, but to me, it felt like told me this is what he was going to do, and I listened to him, as reluctant as I was to kill him off.

If we recall in a certain Paolini interview (which I cannot find right now) he said that one of the things that he enjoyed most about writing was the fact that he could play god with his characters. And we've seen how flat and horrid they've turned out. Most of the responses I've gotten from the other muns are things like, "No, because they are the direct result of my conscious decision-making." or

"...I hate to break it to you, but that's all your own conscious decision-making. Since, you know, your pup isn't actually real? And is just a fictional character that you, the person at the keyboard, are dictating the actions of through a series of developmental events and established characteristics/traits? (That you, yourself, also made up.)

And if your character 'decided' to 'not forget the Nexus', that doesn't mean he's got a mind of his own. It means that you realized partway down a particular characterization path, the retcon or whathaveyou was a seemingly bad idea or difficult in some way, or things just weren't working out the way you imagined. Not him. You.

Because PROTIP: our characters are not real.

Of course, what I wanted to say "Of course our characters aren't real you stupid idiot I never said that they were, I just meant that they sometimes go in directions you didn't expect them to go, and I put it in a vaguely amusing way to make discussion." But I'm in enough hot water as it is in that group and didn't want it to devolve into a flame war.

But still, the fact that they keep on having to harp on the idea that the characters aren't real and that YOU the mun make the decisions make me feel that they aren't listening to their characters. The fact that they have to make CONSCIOUS decisions on what their characters have to do means that they don't really have their characters down. They don't understand that you don't have to make every decision consciously. If you know the characters well enough they'll do it or you'll make their decisions unconsciously. It's not something you need to stop and think about.

Strangely, most of the people who are having issues with what I said about the characters making decisions for themselves are people who I've had trouble with in the past. We just don't seem to have the same outlook on things apparently. And I think they're so intent on their characters being "puppets" that they forget what makes a good character. I never really like the term Pup and have trouble using it. I prefer using character to pup. And I never really liked RPing with them either. Their characters never seemed to know how to react to mine who were at times rather spontaneous (With Alec more than sometimes) and didn't react to things in the Expected Way. (Expected way is boring anyway.)

Most writers I've talked to say that a good writer is someone who listens to their characters and do what their characters tell them. In no case to they say that their characters are alive but the do somehow indicate that they've "evolved" to such a point that they don't need to think about how a character would react or what they do. They are a fully realized fake person.

What are your thoughts on this?

I'd post a link to the discussion but I can't link to it here. If people want, I shall do it later.

Minor edit of amusement. I think some of the people are surprised that I'm agreeing with them on some points and not devolving into a horrid flaming bitch of you don't agree with me so you obviously don't know what you're talking about. They keep on trying to prove me wrong or something, and I'll agree with them on some points and try and logically explain my points. But then again, I thrive on this sort of shit. I'm also a sick, sick person.
kippurbird: (._.; ... Yeah..)
Someone used the all fantasy is cliche line on me. I am VERY upset about this. I hates that line because it shows that the person who says that while, perhaps a perfectly intelligent person, has no idea what he's talking about.

So, I wrote an inanely long reply, explaining how all fantasy is no more cliche than any other sort of writing.

I await his response.

Obviously because people seem to be so interested, the discussion is going on Here
kippurbird: (Clue By Oar)
[ profile] nik_xlii brought this to my attention. (you can find it Here

Not having a MySpace account. (Horrors!) I'm going to put my reply here.

hooray for bitchiness! )
kippurbird: (*headdesk*)
So, as mentioned, I bought a bunch of books on the weekend.

One of them was Q&A, a Star Trek TNG book.

I have a weakness for Q. Because Q is awesome. And stuff.

So, of course, I bought it. And read it. And was disappointed.

The writing was solid, the characters mostly in character. However the author had a problem with suspense and tension. And Q.

blah, blah, blah, spoilers )
kippurbird: (Canon gone)
I got into an argument over the summer with a friend's brother about the nature of fantasy. It started with a discussion of my Eragon sporkings. I was pointing out the illogic of the universe and used the example of the Zombie Horses, that is, the horses are able to go on longer than should be physically possible. The brother said that how do I know? It's fantasy. The normal rules don't apply. Anything can happen. For all he knows horses in that world can do that. I of course argued that you need limits in the world just like in a non-fantasy world, or even more so. He said no you don't because anything can happen in fantasy. Obviously, if this was true, you'd end up with stories like the following:

The sky had turned a blood red from the soot billowing out of the volcano behind the two warriors that faced each other on the dried and cracked mud plain. At one point this had been a large and glorious lake filled with life, but with the coming of the Dark Lord Tyranal, it had withered and died as he pulled it's energy into himself. But finally Palandus had gotten the one thing that could defeat him. The Sword of Exmahina. The quest had been long and arduous, he had lost many friends along the way. But now, now, it would be all worth it. He would slay the evil fiend and free the land from his rule, as well as fulfilling his vow to his dying father, the king of Fredum.

With a bellow, Palandus charged across the field, swinging the mighty sword. With a single strike he cut off Tyranal's head, just like it said in the prophecies! He raised his sword to give thanks to the gods, when Tyranal got up and put his head back on.

"How did you do that?!" Palandus cried, horror and shock gouged in his face. "No human could survive such a blow! No creature!"

Tyranal smiled, "It's fantasy. No one ever said that I couldn't."

The End.

Obviously, I think my example here proves that just because it's fantasy doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want. The reader expects certain things when they read a book. If you chop off someone's head, they stay dead. A horse will act like a horse. The sky is blue. If there is a difference it should be noted in the narrative. Subtly.

For example: Horses in my world have horns on their heads.

Picture! )

Usually the way I indicate the difference between Terran horses and these horses is in sentences like this: The horses pulling the coach matched perfectly from the socks on their feet to the horns on their heads. Magic must have been used to make them identical." This is quite different than say, "On this world, horses have horns on their heads." The first example is from a character's point of view. They're not going to comment or realize that horses elsewhere don't have horns. To them horned horses are everyday creatures. Instead the emphasis is on the two horses' identicalness. Horns are mentioned, to give a reader the picture of the horse, but they're not called out. The second example is from an omniscient point of view where the narrator can comment to the reader, acknowledging that the reader doesn't know the ins and outs of the world and thus need to be told. However, I don't particularly care for this sort of writing because it does directly call attention to this fact and is saying, "Look! Look! This is DIFFERENT!" almost pulling the reader out of the story just to note that fact before moving on. It indicates that there are other places where horses don't have horns, which also pulls the reader away from the focus of the story, because they're being explicitly reminded that this is a different world with different creatures.

However, if there are no differences, then the reader shouldn't have to be surprised about it. If you just say "horse" and never mention a difference about them, then they should act like Terran horses with all the same weaknesses and strengths. These are the "Rules" of the universe or world. And every world needs to have them. The world doesn't necessarily have to follow Terran physics, but differences (as mentioned above) need to be noticed or else the reader will assume Terran baseline norms. If they're not mentioned then you'll end up with a scene with Palandus and Tyranal.

Yes, anything can go, but not everything can go. If it was like that, then how would any problems get solved? How would there be any problems in the first place? If you can changed the rules will-nilly because it's fantasy, then what's the point of the story. The Hero doesn't need to Quest. The Villain can never be destroyed. And if that can't happen, then what's the point?

If the story had been a science fiction story then the "everything goes" theory would be right out the window because science has limitations. It's not as undefined as magic. It can be just as mysterious as magic like genetic manipulation, but the reader would expect some technobabble to go along with it, to explain how it works. The technobabble doesn't have to make sense (that's why it's babble) but it has to sound good. Magic should work the same way, because magic doesn't come out of nowhere. Or it shouldn't come out of nowhere. The characters may not know where it comes from, but the writer should have some idea how the magic works so that they don't get a bunch of contradictory effects.

The rules of magic are like the skeleton and organs that make up the body of the world. The people of the world don't have to know how it works, just that it does. You the Author, the body maker, has to know how it works to create something believable.

Of course, "It's Magic." Could make for a good comedy/parody story...
kippurbird: (Give a damn?)
My Hatred right now seethes like a volcano on the verge of eruption. Not only do I have to sit up at the front desk for five hours today, but Paul is making me do Harvey's job with the newspapers. To express my annoyance, I'm going to tie up the system with the Serial Deletes.

To relieve my annoyance, I'm going to mock Paolini. And then maybe write porn.

Also, on a complete and utter nonsequitor my default icon looks like a floating head in space. A giddy, stoned, head in space.

Paolini mocking!

In the back of Eldest there is a short essay entitled "On the Origin of Names". This is where Paolini tries to make his world be deep and meaningful and indicate that it does, in fact have culture. "To the casual observer, the various names an intrepid traveler will encounter throughout Alagaesia might seem but a random collection of labels with no inherent integrity, culture or history." (page 672) This, of course, does seem how the world has been named, with random labels that were made up. There appears to be no difference between the elven and the dwarf names, just as there appears to be no difference between the elven and dwarf languages.

But the best sentence of all in this short essay on languages is, "The enthusiast is encouraged to study the source languages in order to master their true intricacies" He then gives off a list of his made up words and their translations. The biggest problem with this statement, "to study the source languages" is that there is no way to do this.

He says that we should should study them, but how do we do this. There are no books written on his forms of Elvish, Dwarfish and ancient languages. There are only the words that he has given us in the back of the book. The only reason why he says that we should try and study them is that he's trying to imitate Tolkien. The big difference between him and Tolkien is that Tolkien actually provided a way for would be scholars to learn his languages.

Tolkien had an entire appendix worth of language instructions; from how to pronounce words, to corresponding letters in the English and Elven languages, to grammar guides. Pretty much everything that would be needed to learn how to write and speak in that language. Why was he able to do this? Because, as we all know (bob)[*] he was a linguist. This is what his first love was, the creation of languages. It took him eons to create and perfect his languages.

Paolini, who must have taken less that three years (assuming he started to create the languages after starting to write Eragon) could not have created such an intricate language as he claims to have. So, all of this claims of a language is in fact Paolini trying to imitate Tolkien and pretend that his world is greater- fuller - than it seems.

However, I say, this is totally unnecessary to create the illusion of a fully cultured and thought out world. There are hundreds of fantasy worlds out there that do not have made up languages in them that are richer than Paolini's Alagaesia[+]. Why is this? It is because the writers of these world take the time to actually plan out their worlds instead of just copying things that they like from other worlds and patching it in, thinking that it'll make a cohesive whole. One of the things that I've constantly called Paolini's world is a patchwork quilt. You can see the seams and where the patches come from. And while it may do the job of being a world, it is still a patchwork quilt. Now the patches may be pretty, it is just the covering of the world. If it doesn't have any substance -any filling- it's not going to do any good.

Substance comes, not from things that are similar to other worlds, but things that are different. Things that make the world unique. Careful thought has to be put into such things. And when the writer is starting to think about the differences, they have to start thinking about how these things will work in the world. Or at least, they should. Basically, a world should be started from scratch. You can add elements in from other things, but these other elements shouldn't be overwhelming the original material. Cultures and lands should be at least sketched out, by this I mean, a character sheet should be created for it, including population, major cities, imports/exports, brief history, religions, relations with other neighboring civilizations. Everything that is needed to make a three dimensional character should be used to make a three dimensional culture.

I must admit that I cribbed some of this from one of my D&D manuals. Perhaps later, if I recall, I shall put up the format that the manual uses to give the basics of a land or city. If anything it should be useful.

Another thing, now that I think about it, that is useful, is the creation of a word bible. This would contain all the notes and everything that you have on your world in one place.[@]
You could have a section on Flora and fauna, on religions, on kingdoms/countries/etc/, on main characters, on the history of the world, a time line. Everything you need all in one place. And it'd be easy to update and change as things happen. All the things need to make a world a richer and better place.

And this was a fascinating train of thought as I started out to mock Paolini and wandered into world building. Funny how that happens.


[*] This is just me being weird. In some texts the infodump is described as a character going, "As you know Bob, Infodump here" I couldn't let that go by. I'm sorry. Really.

Which I'm sure I've mentioned before, sounds like analgesic, which is supposed to relieve pain. Highly Ironic since all this land does is cause pain.

Which is something I really need to do as I have all sorts of things scattered about in different notebooks.
kippurbird: (._.; ... Yeah..)
Dear Chris Claremont,

Plz do not be writing Exiles anymore.

Well, I don't know if any of you actually read Exiles, but spoilers nonetheless )
kippurbird: (Ew)
I was thinking about Religion, the nature of good and evil and Eragon. But my mind slided away from the paper cut out world of Algesia and wandered into Randland, the world of the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. And I realized, once again, just how annoyed I was at him and these books. I would do an analysis of his books, but then I'd never be done. I maybe crazy, but even I know a fool's task when I see one.

But I digress. The Wheel and Time and Religion. The basic belief in the world of Rand is that the Creator "Light" is good, and the Dark one "Dark" or "shadow" is evil. It's a fairly simple view of the world and doesn't leave much room for gray areas. But lots of fantasy worlds have that sort of narrow minded belief, with the defenders of the light and dark lords of doom. While that is horribly cliched, that's not what really bothers me about this thing.

What does bother me is that EVERYONE in Randland worships the Creator. And they all have the same name for him and there is no variation on it. Jordan constantly is creating all sorts of interesting (if slightly absurd) cultures that are very different from everyone else's. They all have their strange little quirks. Which leads to, of course, the constant, well they're just idiotic because they're not doing it right sort of fights that are found so often in the books. Really, that plot device got old in book three. Despite this vast abundance of cultural differences, they all have the same religion. They all worship the Creator. And they all call him that. Even the Seachan from across the sea do it.

Which, I think, is highly implausible. If you're going to have such disparate cultures, then they're going to have different forms of religion. Religion is one of the backbones of society. It's the "What we believe is important" thread of society. We have, in Randland, a culture that doesn't believe in fighting back and have their little thing called "The Way of the Leaf" and they still worship the Creator. There are the Aiel, a warrior society that lives in the desert and find water the most precious thing they have. And they also worship the Creator as the Creator. There's no variation. It's all the same.

You would think that different societies would have different names for the Creator, even if they all worshiped the same being. Or that there'd be other religions and beliefs that made the Creator a more multiple aspect or a hundred different possibilities. But, no, it's not there. And that is a real problem. It shows that Jordan doesn't understand what makes a society. It's not all the weird cultural things that they do, but what they believe as a whole.

In my world, one of the things that I've been trying to do is create different belief systems. I have several different cultures present in my world and they're not going to believe the same thing. I don't have a single "creator" that is good and a "dark one" that is evil. Because that's unrealistic. Instead I'm trying to find compatible belief systems that may have arisen based on the world around the people. So far, I have three. One group that worships gods based on the Elements, one group that worships Lorac, whom they think is a deity, and another group that worships the moon goddess. The element worshipers have a conflicting view point with the Lorac worshipers, but they don't mind the moon goddess worshipers. Each of these cultures have their own society and thus developed their own beliefs based on how and where they lived.

There is no "right" religion in my world. There is just multiple belief systems. You're not evil for believing in Lorac (though the wizards might disagree with you) nor are you good for believing in the moon goddess. The religion may shape your beliefs in something, but it doesn't automatically mean that you're good for believing in one thing and evil for believing in another thing.

I think this is why these "Light" and "Dark" religions bother me so much. Because it assumes that you're either Good or Evil and that's the only choice you have. And you can tell your alignment by what god you worship. The real world isn't like that, and why should our fantasy worlds be like, except that it makes it easier if not more believable to do split the belief line down the middle. No one goes to a religion to on the idea that they're going to be worshiping evil. At least, in a realistic world.

It is more difficult to create different beliefs systems for different cultures, when you're creating a multifaceted world. But even if they aren't used or talked about explicitly, if they're there, just in the background, it adds more flavor to the world. It makes it different to the others.

Mercedes Lackey did a good job in her The Heralds of Valdemar series, where there are multiple religions present. Herald Albrich is from a place where there is only one religion and is surprised to find that there are other religions out there and that they're tolerated. The religions are really mentioned as "And there is this religion that believes in this" but it's just there in the background. And it makes the world that much richer.

One of these days, I'm going to create a culture that finds the "dark" good and the "light" evil.
kippurbird: (._.; ... Yeah..)
I was skimming through the Inheritance forums on and I came upon a discussion of religion. Curious, I decided to take a look. And I found this:

The thought was so alien, it took Eragon several moments to grasp what Oromis meant. The villagers of Carvahall lacked a single overriding doctrine, but they did share a collection of superstitions and rituals, most of which concerned warding off bad luck. During the course of his training, it had dawned upon Eragon that many of the phenomena that the villagers attributed to supernatural sources were in fact natural processes, such as when he learned in his meditations that maggots hatched from fly eggs, instead of spontaneously arising from the dirt, as he had thought before. Nor did it make sense for him to put out an offering of food to keep sprites from turning the milk sour when he knew that sour milk was actually caused by a proliferation of tiny organisms in the liquid.

I really don't know what to say to this but how did the elves all of a sudden turn magic into science. And aren't they wonderful for knowing these things. And aren't people idiots for thinking otherwise.

I had a version of Alec (for an RP) who found himself in a world that was more technologically advanced than his. He got sick at one point because he wasn't used to the germs that were on that world and while talking to his caretaker learned about germs. Upon hearing this concept of itty bitty things that make him sick he scoffed and said that was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard. Why? Because he had no reason to believe it. He had no grounding in science, he didn't know about microscopic creatures, and the idea that something that tiny could make him sick was just not believable. Even though he trusts his caretaker implicitly he still doesn't believe in germs because it doesn't fit his view of the world and he hasn't been offered any proof. It looks like Eragon is just taking what the elves say and abandoning his previous beliefs without a question.

Though I imagine, I'll know more when I get to that part of the book.
kippurbird: (Clue By Oar)
Dear people considering yourselves fans of my work,

Let me explain something to you somethings about Verra and Alec.

First of all, they're in love. Very much madly in love. Verra is not the shrew wife that Alec needs to get away from to fall into your Sue's arms. She does not abuse him, neglect him or do horrible things to him. And he doesn't do that to her either. They are a happy couple. Yes. A HAPPY couple. Such things do exist in stories. They don't fight seriously at all. They may bicker about things, but it's just banter. They love each other and are quite dotting on each other. They are not going to be getting a divorce so your Sue can have Alec.

And for all your slash fans out there, yes, Alec is bisexual, but that doesn't mean that he loves men better than he loves his wife. And that he's just waiting for the right guy to get him out of his marriage. He asked her to marry him. It wasn't an arranged marriage. (That goes for you too, Sue authors). It was love at first sight for him. No, he's not straight, but he's perfectly content to be with his wife and not stray.

He is not going to have a one night stand with your character.

Verra is not going to have a one night stand with your character either.

If she sees your character coming with those sort of intentions towards her or Alec she will eat them. Why will she eat them? Because she is a dragon and that is how they solve their problems. She will not get weepy or angsty or woe is me. She will eat that stupid bint who has stolen her husband away. With no regrets either.

While I'm at it. Verra does not do the damsel in distress shtick. Let me remind you. She's a dragon. She's a hundred times tougher than any human and more powerful and she knows it. If someone tries to kidnap her, she will grab them by the throat and squeeze the life out of them. She will not weep helplessly if someone tries to rape her. She will change into her dragon form and eat the guy trying to hurt her. Or roast him alive.

Dragons do breathe fire, you know.

If anything, she'd be the one rescuing Alec, who is human and frail compared to her. After all her skin is as tough as diamonds. She could ravage a village if she wanted to. She probably has. And no one is going to protest this because she's a fucking huge dragon.

You do not argue with dragons, for they find you crunchy and good with ketchup.

Thank you.
kippurbird: (._.; ... Yeah..)
I've been reading the Wheel of Time books now, and just finished book number eight.  That leaves... three books? Or is he on number twelve? I don't remember. It doesn't matter to me.  I have however come to the conculsion that while extremely prolific, Robert Jordan is an exteremly shoddy writer.

Why you may ask, do I have this opinion? Well let me tell you.(long rant ahead)

I think that's enough for now. When I get done frothing, I'll come back and talk about Rand.

February 2016

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