Topic: The Hyacinth Disaster

Well, it's done. Holy carp. Guys. GUYS!!!!!

It's been since about April 24, 2016 (in the chat: first actual post about it was from a few days later) that you have been hearing about/helping with this thing.

So, if you don't mind, I'd like to AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Ok. Now that's done, here's the website: https://www.davidecarlson.net/hyacinth
You can listen via the Episodes page directly, or use the RSS link if you want it on your podcasting app.

7 Episodes. 2.5 hours. It's a coddamn feature-length audiodrama.

So whatcha think?

Witness me!

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Though I've listened to Episode 1 a bunch already in previous forms, I did so again with a friend who was over last night. He dug it, clearly more than he expected to going in. Looking forward to listening to the rest!

errybody gettin mp3 cds fer crimmus

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

This is fantastic. I'm so proud to be a tiny part of this; you should be over the moon. The world's gonna love it.

Random Thoughts, Spoilers and Punchlines in Black

Episode 1:

  • The exposition-dump intro was a good call. Much smoother launching ramp than previous versions.

  • "53 lives are at risk and my ship is falling apart." I don't remember that line — if it's always been there, cheers; if it's new, great addition.

  • Con getting frustrated and button-mashing prior to "Con, what's wrong with the network" is when I noticed how well-done the sound design is.

  • The Grimm performance is great, too.

  • Distortion on the first radio conversation with Dreadnought is fantastic.

  • I totally buy Dreadnought's character, too; this is a well-Boted endeavor indeed.

  • By the time of Con's line "depth, Dreadnought," I'd noticed this is a fantastic thing you've made.

  • Con's hand-off from 'talking to Dreadnought' to 'throwing Dreadnought under the bus' plays very naturally.

Episode 2

  • I love the lowpassed dialogue under the spoken intro at the very beginning. Cool choice.

  • 1) The song surprised me and was funny. 2) I think it works perfectly. (We never got it perfectly in sync, of course, but I think it probably plays better with loose sync. Radio latency n'allat.)

  • "We're staking a lot on Dreadnought" is such a helpful line for the audience.

  • "Four inches." "That is five inches bigger than I like spiders to be." Great.

  • 9:40: I just realized that's a bridge-whistle sound effect you're implying. I love it so much.

  • Dreadnought makes an indignant stand, and I totally believe him. High-quality Boting continues.

  • Sidebar: I'm so happy the Invid shoutout is in there. For any uninitiated folks [possibly in the future], Invid was a regular around these parts from the beginning, who passed away due to illness last year. I don't feel unsafe assuming he would have really dug this project.

  • Dreadnought's Con-vs.-Conlin confusion is also a fun moment.

  • I too was swept up in the celebration.

  • "Eleventy billion dollars" made me laugh. In my defense, I forgot this line was coming.

  • "He's gone." Good cliff.

Episode 3

  • Sorry, not many individual comments at this point, I'm sucked into the story.

  • The static on Grimm and Argus' conversation is perfect.

  • The PA system echo is also perfect.

  • The without-sound gag is pretty friggin' amusing.

  • You've done a great job differentiating Grimm's voice and Con's.

Episode 4

  • The duct tape line plays very well.

  • "Not that finger." lol.

  • "Your ship is already broken fool." She sold the hell out of that "fool." Very specific delivery required; very specific delivery attained.

  • Bomb under the table with the crew knowing Argus' leg is ripping while Argus doesn't; solid plotting.

  • Howabout that death scene, though? Yeesh. Intense.

  • You are a professional sound editor now.

  • "Dreadnought to Con?" You magnificent bastard. This is so good.

Episode 5

  • Good performance from Dreadnought at the beginning.

  • Grimm going back for Dreadnought works well.

  • "You'd think" is perfect.

  • Damn, Boter's killin' it.

  • Humming in pain is so, so, so good. So good.

Episodes 6 and 7

I kinda boned myself leaving detailed feedback for the other episodes, because now I can't slip quietly past 6 and 7 with a polite "I liked it" and no further details. I did keep feedback in-detail, but I think I'll summarize it instead. Generally, you lost me pretty early on in 6, got me back for a moment after Grimm blew himself up, and then I was checked out for the rest of 6 and 7. Everything hit a wall for me; the plot slowed, the scenes slowed, the acting seemed to become actier and actier, and we were left with the three characters I'm the least bought-into for the last hour of listening; Blue and Finch because I don't feel like I know anything about them and can't tell 'em apart [which is another way of saying I don't really know them], and Grimm because... well, he just feels kinda one-note when he's on his own. I feel dumb saying this, for two reasons: 1) Grimm actually has a rad arc, and 2) if nothing else, you did name him Grimm.

There are editorial resolutions for some of my issues, but there aren't editorial resolutions for most of 'em.

I'm just one guy with an opinion, and I take zero pleasure in sharing it in this case; unfortunately, on a 'the needs of the story outweigh the needs of the players' level, I'd be remiss not to mention it. I think the last two episodes kinda kill this thing, and in order to get around that... shit, sorry... I think you'd need to recast Blue and Finch and slug in new line readings throughout. I think part of the issue with not being able to tell them apart is that they never differentiate themselves as individuals, and I think a large part of that is a result of them never really feeling like characters at any point throughout, because they never really leave the starting line in terms of believability. (I'm so so sorry. They seem fabulous.) We'll be in a scene with what-feels-like a bunch of characters, and when Blue or Finch pops in for a line — often closer to a singsong audiobook reading than Something Meant To Be Believed — it usually skates in that moment because of the ensemble. When the ensemble's gone... oof. Were I not listening to this intending to give feedback, I wouldn't have made it very far into Episode 6, man. I'm sorry. With the exception of right-after-Grimm-blows-himself-up, I was actively wanting it to be over for most of both episodes. I'm assuming 'recast and re-record' is off the table, so I'll stop typing about it — shutting up.

Sorry. Sorry sorry sorry.

I'm chalking Hyacinth up to merely being staggeringly impressive for a first big work of fiction, and resigning myself to merely being blown away by what you've accomplished. I really can't tell you how impressive this is; it places highly on my all time holy-shit list for something-a-dude-I-know made, and this is a list that's been open to new contenders since like 2002. Hyacinth hasn't lifted you to sudden real-deal status; it has trebucheted you.

I can't wait to see what you do next. Standing ovation 'til then.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

And I in turn found Argus to be well Teague'd. My favorite part of Episode 1 is Argus chewing Dread out.

I burned all episodes to a CD this morning and am listening in the car. I generally have issues listening along with stuff while driving, having to rewind a bit, but only did that once for something non-crucial (one of Dread's half-swallowed lines, seeing if a missing word was important; it wasn't). It flows really well and is super conversational among the characters, I buy it almost 100% of the time.

SPOILER: When everybody is celebrating after the positive scan at the end of Episode 2, I couldn't help but smile, even knowing what was coming up. A totally jubilant group of friends, all talking over each other,
all so excited that this stress was all worth it - I bought it completely and was swept up in it.

Edit: Episode 2, 9:40: I didn't catch it as a bridge whistle, but it works really well to show that it's open comms. It's more or less stated the first time and the audience just takes it going forward. Footprints in the Snow, was it?

(I'll comment on further episodes in subsequent posts so people don't have to go back up to read.)

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Teague wrote:

Episode 4

  • Howabout that death scene, though? Yeesh. Intense.

-Agreed. Shit that was hard to listen to. Glad I listened to that one at home rather than on the road like the previous one.

And yeah, I am super impressed with the sound design in here, absolutely immersed in what's going on.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

I finished the series tonight.

Episode 7.

Straight up cried at Blue firing the missiles for each fallen comrade and her suicide run.

Thank you for letting Grimm get the last word of that verse out. I probably would have cried again if he was stopped a word short.

You should be damn proud of what you've made. Damn proud. I don't know that I'll ever make something with that kind of emotional impact but I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to have been a part of this one.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

What everyone said previously. But I'll give an Academy Award to Boter for that ".... Yeeaahh??" in Episode 1 when asked if the scanning can be finished in less than an hour. The delivery is absolutely hilarious.

Absolutely amazed by the work you did. The writing is top-notch, the performances are excellent, the sound editing just right. I'm really proud to have been a little part of this from script read-through to the trailer (which is showing good progress). It's inspiring and makes me feel like a complete useless piece of nuclear run-off. You've created a world, man.

Sébastien Fraud
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"We're gonna build a great green screen, and make the traditional matte painters pay for it"
Saniss for President 2016 - "Make VFX great again"

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

I'll accept that. I want to thank the director of the project, who coached me, gave me a reference, coached me some more, went through a lot of takes, then I tried something a bit different and it worked, so while each of us think we deserve it it's obviously me but I'll thank him so he feels good too.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Saniss wrote:

What everyone said previously. But I'll give an Academy Award to Boter for that ".... Yeeaahh??" in Episode 1 when asked if the scanning can be finished in less than an hour. The delivery is absolutely hilarious.

Damn it, forgot to mention this, but yeah — same.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

I'd like to expand a bit on everything. Because the frustration of working months on something and having two-word "Nice work!" feedback is something I know and it kinda sucks. Writhyn just got out this huge project of his, it's incredible, let's send him love waves as much as we can.

On voice acting:

Everyone's work is top-notch. The characters I already knew got a whole new layer of identity, through everyone's particularities and quirks. Writhyn's prone-to-anger Grimm is counterbalanced by Teague's Angus, with Boter in the middle perfectly rendering Dreadnought's swagger-like young personality. I'm particularly impressed with Writhyn's work on differentiating Con and Grimm. At no point did I feel like I was listening to the same guy talking to himself.
Blue and Finch, I'll admit I have more trouble differentiating at times, because their voices are a bit similar [to me who doesn't know them personally]. But their contribution is of the same quality.

SPOILER Show
I was amazed at the subtle but persistent shake in their voices once Con is gone. They completely sell the duty vs. emotion duality of the characters at that point.

Angus' death is also to note, the emotion of the scene was increased tenfold. Unbearable moment we share with Grimm.

Props to BDA for providing Temple with the self-importance and arrogance I'd easily imagined he had.

On writing:

This is Writhyn's first serious writing endeavour if I'm not mistaken, and the man could already teach it in classes. Consistent seamless world-building, great story stucture, lots of setups/payoffs, great characterization for every individual... The action is always clear enough through the dialogues, although it requires attention to every moment. I'm notoriously bad with first listens but I know a second one will fill every blank (plus I'd already read the script, though it was a while ago). There is a strong balance between comedy and drama, in the sense that it never screams the genre to you; it always feels like actual humans, with their humour and anger, having a very bad day.

On sound design:

Great work as well. I feel like the voices might have benefited from a slightly louder mix but I haven't listened to it with headphones yet. Good spatialization work, especially for the moments inside the ship (Blue in the background, etc.).

The cherry on top? The website. It looks slick, it's full of details to apprehend the universe, and there's even a friggin' Lego model of the Hyacinth. It's only missing a trailer for some reason.

You pushed every button on this one, David. You have my respect and my admiration.

PS: Mr Chrystie, I do believe there's a new forum banner you could make, if you're still into that.

Last edited by Saniss (2017-12-06 21:33:15)

Sébastien Fraud
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"We're gonna build a great green screen, and make the traditional matte painters pay for it"
Saniss for President 2016 - "Make VFX great again"

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

I haven't felt like the feedback was too short at all smile Enjoying Teague's highlight reel and boter's tears and your essay, saniss! And of course I'm passing on the reaction to my wife and sister too!

Witness me!

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Sound design: after listening to episode 3 I went to Writhyn and said, "How about doing sound design on my project that you're acting in?" I was that impressed and got even more so by the time I finished. All of this with no music to help yank the heartstrings. (And what music there is, the opening riff, got stuck in my head for an hour. All fifteen seconds of it. Damn you, man.)

I'm glad I wasn't the only one that occasionally had trouble telling apart Finch and Blue. One scene in the shuttle I said to myself that I hope one of them uses a name soon so I wouldn't get too far behind on that.

And bravo on the payoffs. I listened to pre-final edits of the first episode a few times, I did a full read-through of the script once so I wouldn't get it in my head too much, but I knew more or less what was coming. (I had forgotten how early Conlin died, and the manner of Finch's death. And was, "I'm sorry I didn't get to sing with you guys," new, or did I just miss that in the script? That one gutpunched me a bit.) But whenever something was mentioned that would pay off later, I'd go, "Oh, there it is!" Saves me from a second listen right away, haha. (Plan is to listen to it with my wife on the way to my parents' house for Christmas. Wonder how the dogs in the back seat will fare with it.)

I forgot we have spoiler tags. So, spoilers ahead, and also a lot of gushing.

Writing and editing, Hyacinth DISASTER Show
Okay, so Hyacinth is one of those things where everybody dies by the end, but they succeed in their mission. The codifier of this sort of thing for me is Halo Reach, though more people here will be familiar with Rogue One.

One criticism I heard of Reach - that I only somewhat agree with - is that each character's death feels like they're trying to out-noble-death each other. I didn't get that feeling with Rogue One, and I didn't get that feeling with The Hyacinth Disaster. The first four deaths were all more of a surprise to the dead than anything. (Poor Finch, she didn't even get a scene, just... buckle up, kids.)

And what got me on Argus' death was, yes, Teague's acting to some extent. But what clinched it was Grimm saying, "He's dead, Con. He was dead when I let him walk away," while Argus is still reaching out to the crew, and them unable to reach back. For the first death in the series, that made it cut hard and deep.

Again, the other one that got me was Blue. Calling out each fallen comrade as she fires, the engine getting higher pitched, layer upon layer of alert. I said earlier that there wasn't music in what you made here, but that does a disservice to what you made motivated beeps and tones do for your atmosphere. You made an orchestra out of hums and woops, you conducted a performance from buttons and switches that I can barely even comprehend.

When listening to Deadnought's death scene, and first I felt... ashamed, almost - it didn't hit me as hard as Argus' had, or as the following ones would. (Didn't cry for Grimm, but I did take off my glasses and bury my face in my hands a bit. Didn't matter, headphones were still on.) Took me a bit to realize why - first, duh, I'd acted it, I knew more or less exactly what was coming. But second, Dead's death scene isn't about him. It's about Grimm. And coming where it does, towards what might be called the end of Act 2, it's a moment of respite - sad, but measured, and somewhat at peace. It doesn't have the intensity of the other deaths - even Grimm's - but that doesn't lend it less of an impact.

Last edited by Boter (2017-12-07 04:11:50)

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Boter:

  Show
Dread's last moments is also the strongest bonding moment we have, and it's a very intense payoff to Grimm being Dread's main accuser before that. So there's a sweet side to it that we don't get with every other death. For a little while, I thought Grimm suddenly going back for Dread even though he might be more or less responsible for Argus' death was a bit out of character. But then it's called out and there are good motivations for it. David pretty much missed nothing.

Finch's death is the one that confused me most, because you don't really know what's happened, Blue doesn't really say: is she unconscious? Is she dead? But the events don't wait for her to know and she has to make a hard decision. It's a death that doesn't let you know it's coming, and doesn't put big titles on it; it sorta happens in the confusion of things, there's no moment for the characters to mourn. Something we seldom see in cinema, and it's refreshing, if frustrating.

Sébastien Fraud
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"We're gonna build a great green screen, and make the traditional matte painters pay for it"
Saniss for President 2016 - "Make VFX great again"

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

  Show
Re: Finch's death: Yeah, my plan was to make at least one case where death comes out of nowhere, but I actually mixed the sound of a thousand breaking bones into the background. I wasn't able to get it very clear though hmm I think it's because there's already so much going on in the mix that the crack is lost a little.
So yeah, Finch breaks her neck, and it's definitely there if you're listening for it. But if a little accidental ambiguity works for you,
I'm ok with that!

Witness me!

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SPOILER Show
I'm listening to it a second time. I just realized the tragic irony of the "bridge venting into space" false alarm.
Damn you, David.

"I'm 24, dood"

Doesn't get old.

Last edited by Saniss (2017-12-07 15:10:55)

Sébastien Fraud
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"We're gonna build a great green screen, and make the traditional matte painters pay for it"
Saniss for President 2016 - "Make VFX great again"

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Yay! The first "this isn't working for me" feedback! I was getting worried, for a second tongue

  Show
Re: Teague's impression of 6 and 7
I think I can see where you're coming from on the scenes getting "actier and actier" I think. There are several reasons for it and only one of them (people trying to act like things are OK in order not to break down) is intentional. I can understand that being hard to get around.
Ultimately, I'm afraid it may be lack of experience that keeps me from seeing where you're coming from on Grimm being one-note, especially since he also has a "rad arc." I'll admit I don't see how those two things can co-exist.
Unless of course you mean performance-wise, in which case I can't argue one way or the other. Personal bias and all that. I don't cringe when I listen to it, and I'm pretty happy with that, but I don't think I'm unimpeachably good.

While I totally understand feeling bad for these opinions, don't feel bad! Sure, I'm a little bummed that it wasn't a home-run on every front for you, but that's just cause I'd love everyone to love it. Which is obviously a ridiculous desire. So, thanks for sharing! I'll definitely keep an eye on this sort of thing if I do any projects like this in the future. STOP FEELING BAD tongue

If anyone else agrees, pls say so. Trust me when I say this: anything less than "blue and finch were amazing!" will not likely be passed on to my sister and wife. There's really no need for that, so don't feel bad if they weren't working for you. I won't tell them big_smile
And as always, if Con or Grimm didn't work for you (or the writing, editing, whatever), feel free to eviscerate me. I'm pretty good with such feedback smile

Witness me!

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Grimm's character schtick is that he's surly and abrasive. When he has no-one to be surly and abrasive to, I could see how it can feel one-note. "Oh, Grimm is being grumpy again." I think that can coexist with a great character arc. I'll admit that I felt the series was at its best when it's an ensemble all playing off of each other, three or more people in the scene at once.

When I listen again, I'll see if parts of it feel overly act-y in there. I think I may have caught a few whiffs of it on my first time though, but not enough to yank me out of what was happening.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

You made me cry like a little baby.

How dare you write this Shit so damn good?

I sorta saw the end coming at the first mention of the black box, but by the time I made it  to the end, it was completely irrelevant, and I was so invested in the story. Once it all starts wrapping up, I fell apart. Congratulations, you made me really care about characters I can't even see.

I will recommend the fuck out of this.

Tomahawk Ellingsen

www.extendededition.net

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Tom, since you're the first reviewer here who went in blind, quick question: how did the tension work for you? Obviously, there are a lot of tense moments:

  Show
The missile launches, Grimm's helmet cracking, Argus' suit threatening to break, the tether breaking, the shuttle crash-landing.......yadayadayada

so I don't need a review for every one, but overall,
How'd they work for ya?

Last edited by Writhyn (2017-12-12 16:07:03)

Witness me!

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Writhyn wrote:

I'm afraid it may be lack of experience that keeps me from seeing where you're coming from on...

fwiw, this just became a phrase I'll use for the rest of my life. In the category of 'things to say during a total-opinion-disconnect,' that's far and away the most useful piece of language technology I've ever seen.

Everyone memorize that shit like it's a script and break it out on a daily basis.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Writhyn wrote:

Tom, since you're the first reviewer here who went in blind, quick question: how did the tension work for you? Obviously, there are a lot of tense moments:

  Show
The missile launches, Grimm's helmet cracking, Argus' suit threatening to break, the tether breaking, the shuttle crash-landing.......yadayadayada

so I don't need a review for every one, but overall,
How'd they work for ya?

  Show

It's hard to write a better reply than "I was literally on the edge of my seat". It more or less hit all the emotional points it was trying to. The joking was fun. The singing was great,  the "Zero out of Five Stars" comment was perfectly timed. Lift the tension for a few seconds, and then you're thrown back into the situation that's going on.

All the points you pointed out worked, and all subsequent death scenes had me, even if I could hear it was Teague and Boter, I still felt in the moment.

Tomahawk Ellingsen

www.extendededition.net

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Ugh, fuck you for

SPOILER Show
"The Parting Glass" at the end there.
Fuck you.

Dude, I'm gonna be sharing the hell out of this with everyone I know. I deliberately kept myself blind to the development of this once it started to become a Big Thing around the forum because I wanted to be surprised, and that's a decision I'm glad I made, because listening to it all unfold with no knowledge of what was gonna happen was so exciting. This strikes the perfect balance between humor and pathos, and the central conceit means that you totally get away with the audio-drama necessity of describing what's happening to the audience without devolving into unearned exposition dumps. The cast are all great—same as when I first saw Sad Max, I'm minorly blown away by how good an actor Teague is, and Boter/BDA were also great. Props to you personally for playing two different characters so well, if I hadn't checked the webpage I never would've known.

My one big complaint is that the rapid dit-dit-dit sound effect is my alarm clock and I was quite literally flinching every time I heard it. I might have to edit the files to give that tone a different frequency in order to not break immersion the next time I listen. tongue

And there definitely will be a next time. The audio drama is basically a dead art form, so to see you create such a damn great one was such a treat. Even though I'm happy I went in blind, I also wish I'd been involved in this thing in some form or fashion because fuck, it's just so stupidly fun.

I've been basically ignoring my own creative endeavors over the last year or so what with graduating college and getting a new job and whatnot. This has encouraged me to jump back in, which is the highest compliment I can think to pay it. Masterfully done, everyone involved.

Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

Listened through once, MP3s played over my car's audio. My biggest gripe is that the cacophony of tones and alarms overpowers the voices pretty regularly. A bit of compression might have saved this for me, but it also seems odd from a cockpit-voice-recorder standpoint. It's like you've had it both ways: found footage and immersive audio.

Teague's performance rocked my world, further galvanizing my fandom. The Grim-Dreadnaught scene had me going misty, as well as Blue's big monologue. Banter and world building: all high marks; references and callbacks: ditto. One exception there: did "high-explosive solutions" get a rule of three? I only noticed it twice. Sobered by the Invid ref <hat tip>.

Tense scenes: I feel like the performances could have been more nuanced. Line readings are mostly good, but they show evidence of being, "readings," as opposed to delivery of memorized (or putatively extemporaneous) material. Again with the beeps and sweeps: there's a baseline of noises when the tension is off so I mostly tune them out to hear the words, so I didn't feel the pressure being applied by the sfx as acutely as you'd like.

(UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

I would love to have known what I was doing regarding compression and balancing audio. I basically wrestled and googled until I had some sense of where things ought to be, and then kind of achieved that. tongue The imbalance that's left is the best I was able to do at my current level of "skill". Fair points.
And no, High-Explosives didn't get three'd. Come to think of it, if Blue had said it during her monologue that woulda been a great time for it.

Your last sentence sounds helpful but I don't think I quite understand it. Can you elaborate?

Regardless, thanks for checking it out! smile

Last edited by Writhyn (2017-12-13 22:21:56)

Witness me!

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Re: The Hyacinth Disaster

re: Prax, Drew — I  feel like a dork saying "aw shucks," but "aw shucks" anyway. Thanks for saying nice things.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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