Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

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HoneyBakedHam
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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:44 am

I thought the blinking thumps were a good idea (seeing as heart attacks can be really scary, especially for teenagers) so it makes it really dramatic, but I can see the counterpoints against them, too.

And I had always tried to imagine what this Iwanako looked like, thank God you posted the image of where you got the uniform design from because I had trouble picturing it.

I'm surprised no one had gotten the urge to draw fan art for it. Had I been good at visual art (and not musical art), I'd give it a shot.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by Leaty » Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:03 pm

HoneyBakedHam wrote:And I had always tried to imagine what this Iwanako looked like, thank God you posted the image of where you got the uniform design from because I had trouble picturing it.

I'm surprised no one had gotten the urge to draw fan art for it. Had I been good at visual art (and not musical art), I'd give it a shot.
I kinda figured people would know from the prologue CG in the VN, but as a writer there's no good way for me to know how readers are visualizing my work.

I would take a page out of Eurobeatjester's book and commission artwork, but if I did, I wouldn't want it to be so blatantly specific to this fic that it couldn't/wouldn't be uploaded to the Mishimmie. Plus I don't know if I could justify the money right now, considering I'm about to spend like four hundred bucks finishing my tattoo.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:08 pm

Maybe get a tattoo of Iwanako and use that? XD

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by TheHivemind » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Glad to see this is still going. Not that there was ever any doubt.

Spider-Gwen rules (I assume you saw the group that recorded a version of The Mary Janes' "Face it Tiger," right? Because that was BAD AS HELL. LISTEN TO THE FUZZY GUITARS AND BOW BEFORE THEM. Yes, bow. That alone makes her cooler than Peter Parker ever could be, if you ask me (although I'll confess I've not read Amazing Spider-Man in like... a long time. Maybe close to a decade at this point? I liked Ultimate Spider-Man better).

I like that Iwanako can't seem to help herself from stumbling into situations that she wasn't meant for--the aforementioned 'Hisao-shaped hole' is pretty accurate. Hisao was crafted for this situation, quite literally created to fit in and get his swerve on with some ladies (or I guess crater in the ground near the main building, a different sort of Hisao-shaped hole). The fallout from the Ibarazaki collision continues apace, but at least there was a brief moment of relaxation.

I guess I'm going to wind up commenting here regularly, or at least when there are new updates to read. Very interested to see how a festival unfettered by the need to inform the reader which girl he's going to wind up boning plays out.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by Leaty » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:22 pm

TheHivemind wrote:Spider-Gwen rules (I assume you saw the group that recorded a version of The Mary Janes' "Face it Tiger," right?
I've had it on one of my YouTube playlists for a while now. Especially when you compare it to that unbearably awful Nickelback theme song Tobey Spidey had in the first movie, like... I no longer see why Spider-Man needs to exist.
TheHivemind wrote:I'll confess I've not read Amazing Spider-Man in like... a long time. Maybe close to a decade at this point? I liked Ultimate Spider-Man better.
I did, too. Amazing has been written by Dan Slott for a while, who has a lot of great ideas, but really can't implement any of them to save his life. Nowadays there are enough wonderful female-centric titles (Spider-Gwen, Silk, Miss Marvel et al) that I don't have to read his stuff if I don't want to.
TheHivemind wrote:I like that Iwanako can't seem to help herself from stumbling into situations that she wasn't meant for--the aforementioned 'Hisao-shaped hole' is pretty accurate. Hisao was crafted for this situation, quite literally created to fit in and get his swerve on with some ladies (or I guess crater in the ground near the main building, a different sort of Hisao-shaped hole).
:lol:
I've given a lot of thought to the "Hisao-shaped hole". I've always felt that, from a Watsonian perspective, it was really serendipitous that a guy like him, of all people, would be the one to discover a heart condition. Because, like, the narrative as it stands basically tells us that Hisao experienced no problems whatsoever between his birth and the snow confession, and turned out well-adjusted. He was a saltine cracker, and then the heart attack happened and he became a saltine cracker with a gooey dollop of pathos on top.

Seriously, what are the odds of that? That somebody with a disability would go so long without, like, enduring child abuse or getting bullied or having schizophrenia or something? I think a lot about how weird and kinda-sorta alien it is that all of Hisao's baggage is still brand-spanking-new at the start of the story. I mean, when I was eighteen I was already pretty much a baggage elemental. If I'd discovered I had arrhythmia... I would not act like Hisao, let's put it that way.

I guess that informs a lot about how I characterize Iwanako. I didn't want her to be a weird pod person. (I mean, it works for Hisao because he's basically an Eevee—he evolves into a different final form depending on what stone girl he winds up with.) I wanted to reinforce the idea that Iwanako was already kind of a fucked-up person before things went south, and I suspect that's part of the reason why some readers might find this story compelling.
TheHivemind wrote:I guess I'm going to wind up commenting here regularly, or at least when there are new updates to read.
That makes me really happy! Hopefully I'll be able to keep everybody interested.
TheHivemind wrote:Very interested to see how a festival unfettered by the need to inform the reader which girl he's going to wind up boning plays out.
I think one of the reasons it's taken me so long to finish Act One is because, as I've mentioned, I consider the true climax of the act to be Emi's attempted apology. Every scene since then makes up what is essentially a really long denouement, which has been, I'll admit, a lot of fun to write, but figuring it all out takes forever, to say nothing of all the research I've had to put in. (Though, in a way, I'm happy it's taken me this long to get to this point in the story, because I changed my mind a lot and saved myself from implementing a lot of really terrible ideas.)

The Festival should, I think, go pretty smoothly (in terms of my writing process.) There's some smalltalk-type stuff I have yet to work out, but it's not anything I think I have to worry about. It definitely won't be as moody as Wednesday, though, that's for sure.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by TheHivemind » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:12 am

Leaty wrote:I've had it on one of my YouTube playlists for a while now. Especially when you compare it to that unbearably awful Nickelback theme song Tobey Spidey had in the first movie, like... I no longer see why Spider-Man needs to exist.
YOU MEAN THIS UNBEARABLY AWFUL NICKLEBACK THEME SONG? Oh Chad Kroeger, you couldn't possibly have a douchier name if you tried. I mean, Chad. Chad's the sort of name of the kid who tells you his dad's the dean. Christ. Parents, don't name your kid Chad. You're basically giving him carte blanche to grow up listening to Nickleback. SIDEBAR, BECAUSE THIS JUST HAPPENED: I fucking hate Youtube's goddamn autoplay they've implemented. Jesus, I don't want to hear some fucking youtuber talk over footage from a Spider-man video game, I wanted to just listen to the goddamn Mary Janes song again, I wasn't asking you to fucking serve up whatever the fuck your busted-ass algorithms think I'd be interested in. Christ, I hate the future.

In all honesty, I was one of the old angry nerds about One More Day who quit the series then, and never really got back into it--the whole reboot thing might motivate me to check it out, but there's been so much interesting shit coming out of Marvel that I dunno that I really need to go back to it? Then again, there's no more Fraction-penned Hawkeye anymore, so I guess I should replace that with something.
I've given a lot of thought to the "Hisao-shaped hole". I've always felt that, from a Watsonian perspective, it was really serendipitous that a guy like him, of all people, would be the one to discover a heart condition. Because, like, the narrative as it stands basically tells us that Hisao experienced no problems whatsoever between his birth and the snow confession, and turned out well-adjusted. He was a saltine cracker, and then the heart attack happened and he became a saltine cracker with a gooey dollop of pathos on top.

Seriously, what are the odds of that? That somebody with a disability would go so long without, like, enduring child abuse or getting bullied or having schizophrenia or something? I think a lot about how weird and kinda-sorta alien it is that all of Hisao's baggage is still brand-spanking-new at the start of the story. I mean, when I was eighteen I was already pretty much a baggage elemental. If I'd discovered I had arrhythmia... I would not act like Hisao, let's put it that way.
The saltine cracker-like nature of Hisao is, as I'm sure the other writers/devs have mentioned before (loudly and at length) one of the weakest parts of KS (and really kind of the problem with making a "traditional" VN). You need a character that is kind of like a cipher so the player/reader/whatever can more easily insert themselves into the narrative--or at least that was the thinking at the time. Treating the project as we did, it kind of made sense to not give Hisao a lot of old baggage--presumably he wasn't that outgoing to begin with, since all his friends desert him post-heart attack, and we could have delved into that a bit but we didn't--and while there are a few lines where Hisao seems aware he's a bit of a blank slate, those are more our own winking acknowledgements of the genre and its failings than real trouble. The standard MO for any game, VNs included, is to make the player feel like the rest of the game centers around them, and so every situation Hisao wanders into is tailor made for his particular brand of bland. It's something you probably wouldn't see any of us do now, were we to create another VN, but then again when you have multiple writers all trying not to step on one another's toes with the protagonist, you're going to wind up with a Hisao. A straight-up story isn't bound by that, certainly not one with a single author--and really games shouldn't be beholden to that nonsense either, but old habits die hard, I suppose...

Stuff like this always makes me think I should really make the effort to actually put up fiction for public consumption again, because the sort of dialogue sparked by stories is always invigorating, but with no deadlines imposed upon myself (and also I mean I don't have a forum set up to discuss the latest word vomit washed up on the shores of my tumblr, and I doubt I'd really want to), I am unfortunately free to continue the process of scrapping, rewriting, scrapping, rewriting, scrapping, getting a new idea, writing, scrapping, rewriting... Don't be like me, is the lesson I would impart to you and anyone else reading this. Eventually you gotta kick that baby out of the nest and hope that it was a bird and not like a human baby, because those cannot fly.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by brythain » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:04 am

Leaty-avatar (Madeleine) fans, 'The Royal Path' just appeared on Steam at 15% off. :)

I'm sorry. It's just that since I entered these forums, I've always thought of Leaty and Iwanako and Madeleine all in one. It must be an associative disorder, I suppose.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
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"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by ilikepie » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:43 am

Leaty wrote:([Hisao's] basically an Eevee—he evolves into a different final form depending on what stone girl he winds up with.)
I absolutely love this analogy. :lol:

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by griffon8 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:57 am

Well, here’s a surprise. All this time with no contact, and you go ahead and post a whole chapter.

Normally I give my reaction in comments on the google doc. After reading everyone else’s comments, there’s a lot less to say, because I agree with so much of it.
Leaty wrote:Are they actually friends? How friends many does Ibarazaki have?
To quote Mirage, word order…

I find it humorous that the ‘Next Chapter’ button points to Developments.

As to avatars, I actually caught the Spider-Gwen one and noticed you changed it already. Not that I knew who Spider-Gwen was, just that I knew it had to be Gwen Stacy with a spider motif.
TheHivemind wrote:In all honesty, I was one of the old angry nerds about One More Day who quit the series then, and never really got back into it--the whole reboot thing might motivate me to check it out, but there's been so much interesting shit coming out of Marvel that I dunno that I really need to go back to it?
Same here. My reaction to Brand New Day was, “Didn’t I read these stories 20 years ago?” Perfectly good stories, just that I’ve already read them.
I found out about Katawa Shoujo through the forums of Misfile. There, I am the editor of Misfiled Dreams.

Completed: 100%, including bonus picture. Shizune>Emi>Lilly>Hanako>Rin

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by Leaty » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:20 pm

TheHivemind wrote:SIDEBAR, BECAUSE THIS JUST HAPPENED: I fucking hate Youtube's goddamn autoplay they've implemented.
I really despise it too. I wish websites had forks. Honestly, I wish everything had forks.
TheHivemind wrote:There's no more Fraction-penned Hawkeye anymore, so I guess I should replace that with something.
Consider giving Silk a try. It's pretty much Spider-Man without years of continuity baggage and nerd wangst. Also Silk has infinite webbing, which makes her fight sequences a lot different from Pete's. It just started, so there's not much to catch up on (don't even bother reading Hopeless or Slott's version of her in Spider-Verse; she was a tumor on the plot with zero charisma until the current writer/artist team took hold of her.)
brythain wrote:Leaty-avatar (Madeleine) fans, 'The Royal Trap' just appeared on Steam at 15% off. :)
Heh. Okay, if we're going to do this, I'm going to do the responsible thing and plug the fuck out of my The Royal Trap one-shot. Seriously, everyone, play the game so you can enjoy it!! There's only one ending in the whole game that isn't that well-written, and I fixed the fuck out of it. Also I'm pretty sure there's literally only one other tRT fanfic on the internet, so there's at least a 50% chance that I've written the best tRT fanfic of all time... and it has practically no audience.
brythain wrote:I'm sorry. It's just that since I entered these forums, I've always thought of Leaty and Iwanako and Madeleine all in one. It must be an associative disorder, I suppose.
Well, we're all moody, dark-haired women who monologue a lot, so it might be a bit too much to ask for you to get us all straight. Image

(Hey, fun fact—the username "Leaty" comes from Princess Leaty, the deus ex machina/MacGuffin character in a somewhat obscure Mega Drive RPG called Arcus Odyssey. The More You Know ♬)

Going back to this:
TheHivemind wrote:You need a character that is kind of like a cipher so the player/reader/whatever can more easily insert themselves into the narrative--or at least that was the thinking at the time. Treating the project as we did, it kind of made sense to not give Hisao a lot of old baggage... ...The standard MO for any game, VNs included, is to make the player feel like the rest of the game centers around them, and so every situation Hisao wanders into is tailor made for his particular brand of bland.
I think it's interesting that Katawa Shoujo is, more or less, an attempt at an eastern VN with the sensibilities of western VNs. I suspect that part of the reason that the game came out like it did is because western VNs were an inchoate genre at the beginning of KS' development, so the final result was a product that in many ways satirized Eastern visual novels, and in many ways upheld its tropes. It's very much a liminal piece of collaborative literature that really could only have been made at the time you guys started it, and that gives it, I think, a lot of crossover appeal (the fact that it's free definitely helps too,) but also a lot of structural weakness in the narrative, because if you look, you can see the seams where the Japanese story elements and the predominantly Anglosphere sensibilities of the writers were welded together.

I know that Aura, at least, has commented on how stale the JVN genre has become, and I completely agree (well, I'm biased: there really aren't any good romance JVNs for the queer female audience. The only JVN that really affected me in any meaningful way at all was Planetarian)—it frustrates me to no end that the burgeoning OELVN genre has basically been hamstrung by the shoddy quality of JVNs, because the few OELVNs that exist have, I think, really ironed out a lot of the flaws that are endemic to most JVNs. There's a lot of innovation in storytelling that's happening on this side of the pond and nobody's really seeing it because people associate visual novels with fetish hentai. (Which, when I say it like that, sounds like a condemnation of Katawa Shoujo as well, but KS is tasteful, so there's not really a comparison.)

The reason why I bring this up, tying the side discussion of The Royal Trap and our discussion of Hisao's shortcomings together, is that I consider two OELVNs in particular to have adopted KS' formula and ironed out the kinks inherent to stock VN protagonists—The Royal Trap and Date Warp, both games written by Georgina Bensley. Like, structurally, both of those games are practically identical to Katawa Shoujo; the only major difference is that each route in those games is only two acts long, rather than four. (Well, for tRT there's a larger number of listed chapters, but each one is only about as long as the chapters in the movie Clerks.) In practically every other sense other than setting, though, they're otome game versions of KS.

And the protagonists in those games, Madeleine Valois in The Royal Trap and Janet Bhaskar in Date Warp, are two of my favorite characters in anything ever, whereas, as anyone can plainly see, I'm at best ambivalent about Hisao. And I think part of the appeal of those characters is that they're troubled but complete, even before they wind up in a relationship. Like, they have a history and a backstory and you learn as much about them playing the games as you do about their romantic interests, and it's fascinating. (Plus, like, Madeleine Valois is basically Peggy Carter as a ninja/bodyguard/handmaiden in fantasy feudal Eurasia, and that's basically the coolest thing ever, and Janet Bhaskar is an Indian-American woman and when was there ever an Indian-American female protagonist in anything prior to The Mindy Project?)

But, even drawing those parallels, I can see why that sort of protagonist would have been nigh-impossible in Katawa Shoujo no matter what, because that game was designed from the top down—it started with the Raita designs and progressed from there, as a collaborative project, whereas those Hanako Games VNs were written from the bottom up, by a single woman (who does it as a career.) The protagonists were almost certainly designed first, followed by the other characters. From an editorial standpoint, I guess that makes sense: how can you design a love interest without having some idea of what kind of person they're supposed to be attractive to? Of course, putting myself in the mindset of everybody who looked at the Raita designs, I know that wasn't really the point—these girls, in their nascent stage, were attractive to the fanbase (which was probably predominantly male or masculine? IDK, I wasn't there), and they wanted the experience of dating them. Hisao was basically the vehicle through which that experience was delivered.

And, now that I'm putting thought to it, the Japanese school setting had to be limiting as well, in terms of fleshing Hisao out. Like, if I design an American character I can make her openly gay, or the daughter of a shell-shocked Desert Storm vet, or a Hurricane Katrina survivor or something. If I design a Japanese character... I get a list of anime tropes to choose from that's about as long as the KFC menu. If I want to be faithful to the setting, I just don't have the life experience to insert a lot of innovative nuance into such a character. In the position of the devs, I'd probably have just made Hisao a carbon copy of, I don't know, Duo Maxwell or something. Though that character really doesn't have much appeal outside of a yaoi context...

I'm not sure why I typed up all my ruminations on this. I have no idea if they're interesting and I suspect I've continued the ongoing trend of shitting up my own thread. If so, um... Sorry?

(All of this reminds me, by the way: I really need to try out HuniePop. I have a dire need to wrap my mind around that thing.) ...Nah.
TheHivemind wrote:Stuff like this always makes me think I should really make the effort to actually put up fiction for public consumption again, because the sort of dialogue sparked by stories is always invigorating, but with no deadlines imposed upon myself (and also I mean I don't have a forum set up to discuss the latest word vomit washed up on the shores of my tumblr, and I doubt I'd really want to), I am unfortunately free to continue the process of scrapping, rewriting, scrapping, rewriting, scrapping, getting a new idea, writing, scrapping, rewriting...
You wrote my favorite route, so I would be pretty excited to read anything else you produce. If you ever manage to produce anything. I know that my life feels empty if I haven't written anything in a while...
Last edited by Leaty on Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by brythain » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:24 pm

Leaty wrote:I'm not sure why I typed up all my ruminations on this. I have no idea if they're interesting and I suspect I've continued the ongoing trend of shitting up my own thread. If so, um... Sorry?
Nothing to be sorry for. I enjoy these literate meanderings very much. It's like being on grass for the sake of improving your mind... oh no, did it again. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by emmjay » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:58 pm

Leaty wrote:Plus, like, Madeleine Valois is basically Peggy Carter as a ninja/bodyguard/handmaiden in fantasy feudal Eurasia, and that's basically the coolest thing ever...
And with that description, The Royal Trap just made my (already too long) to-play list. (Peggy Carter is awesomeness in high heels.)
Yuuko > Akira > Miki > Meiko > Sae.

Some one-shots I've written (Updated 7/29/2017)

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by YOTC » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:26 pm

This story is well written and has unique takes on some of the characters. Keep up the good work.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by Leaty » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:58 pm

YOTC wrote:This story is well written and has unique takes on some of the characters. Keep up the good work.
Thank you kindly.

Anyway, if you haven't noticed, I experiment with gimmicks when I'm feeling too lazy to write something. That's me; all about the gimmicks.

Since I felt like it and it took practically zero effort, I put up a public Google Drive mirror of the last chapter. It's virtually identical to the version that's posted in this thread—in fact, it's literally just a copy-paste job—with one major difference: this version has musical cues.

They're (hopefully somewhat discretely) labeled, so that if you have Mysterious Box of Sound on your computer you can just play the song that's listed, or if you don't, you can click the hyperlink arrow to listen to the song on YouTube.

If people like this, I can keep doing them pretty effortlessly, and if they don't, we will never speak of this again. Sound good?

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

Post by Blank Mage » Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:42 am

I approve, although given the vastness of the youtube music scene, I'm surprised you're sticking with vanilla KS soundtrack. I suppose you'd want a thing that loops. I considered doing something similar, given my proclivity for finding incredible non-vocal Touhou themes and anime soundtracks, but adding them for a story taken from Shizune's PoV would be completely backwards.

(Those links would all be to the Kara no Kyoukai OST if I could find the tracks I wanted. I might upload a playlist myself, if only to link it in future posts.(I also really need to stop plugging things I enjoy before someone yells at me. ON TOPIC, I SWEAR.))
And we're back.
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