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SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


maybe ?the promopt was badd??

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flerp
Feb 25, 2014


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

maybe ?the promopt was badd??

no u

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


et 2 brute

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


i smear myself in margerine wile staring u in the eye and sayying "bring it bitchess"

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

i smear myself in margerine wile staring u in the eye and sayying "bring it bitchess"

wow muffin are u going on a diet

Benny Profane
Feb 23, 2012



THUNDERDOME CCLXVI

J. Walter Weatherman and Friends



This week is all about stories with morals. I want to see characters learning valuable (and elaborate) life lessons. To keep things fresh, everybody's story will have a different moral. When you sign up, you get the moral from the post prior to your own signup. In your signup post, you must provide a moral for the next story -- see this helpful list of English proverbs that QuoProQuid found if you're having trouble thinking of fun morals.

First entrant gets: "Always leave a note."

Word Count: 1200, max. If you're feeling spicy, feel free to take on the One Armed Man Challenge: your word count is reduced to 600, and a main character must lose a limb. You will receive no special benefits for engaging with this challenge aside from bragging rights, which should be more than enough motivation.

Sign up deadline: 2359 EST, Friday September 8th
Submission deadline: 2359 EST, Sunday September 10th


My Name is Judge
Benny Profane

Learning Valuable Life Lessons
jon joe -- "Always Leave A Note"
Captain_Indigo -- "Don't say anything you wouldn't want repeated."
Fuubi -- "Make Hay While The Sun Shines" One-Armed Man
Exmond -- "Always look on the bright side of life."
steeltoedsneakers -- "Every story has two sides" One-Armed Man
sebmojo -- "Don't poo poo where you eat."
ThirdEmperor -- "All cats are grey in the dark."
magnificent7 -- "Never mock a wizard's beard."
Jay W. Friks -- "Fine clothes may disguise, but silly words will disclose a fool."
Thranguy -- "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
QuoProQuid -- "Let sleeping dogs lie."
Hawklad -- "Old sins cast long shadows."
5D AUTISM SPEX -- "Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while."
Wizgot -- "A good conscience is a soft pillow."
Taciturn Tactician -- "Old habits die hard."
Tyrannosaurus -- "The cowl does not make the monk." One-Armed Man

Benny Profane fucked around with this message at Sep 9, 2017 around 03:10

Jon Joe
Oct 19, 2011

HELP! I'VE FAILED AND I CAN'T SUBMIT


Grimey Drawer

In and the moral of the story is: "Don't say anything you wouldn't want repeated."

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Exmond posted:

Butting Heads

1231 word count



With a loud ding the bell signaled it was time to move tables I picked up my name-tag and threw it to the oak table beside me, thrusting all the frustration this night had caused into the action, It was becoming apparently I wasn't going to find true love here. The name tag skittered on the table and fell off the table. The woman at the table looked at the name tag and lifted one eyebrow inquisitively at me through her black bangs.
Well, you've established they're doing speed dating and the guy is a jerk. If I was reading this out of the TD context, I wouldn't give a poo poo about the fact that the main characters name has been ~~hidden~~ from us but since I know the prompt, I can tell that you're setting up his name to be some zanny twist or whatever at the end. My prediction is that will not be a good way to end the story.

“It's been a bad night. Don't even know why I came to this stupid speed dating night.,” I explained.

The woman put her elbow onto the table and rested her face on it. “Usually people are here because they are looking for a fun time or scared of dying alone,” tThe woman mused at me. “Which one are you?”

I dropped myself in my seat and leaned back. Having had enough of this debacle <Bloat I bleat out my response,<comma, also already you're doing the said-thing where every time dialogue ends you have some zanny word besides 'said' and that gets super distracting after awhile “I'm only here because my therapist said I needed a distraction from my job. Something about pent up anger over family issues. So sign me up for fun. ” The women shifted and looked uncomfortably at me in her seat. I continued to ruin the conversation by opening up my mouth.<Period, also another place you can cut words. The two preceding sentences say the same thing but the first one said it better so expunge the second. “Listen, I have about fifty problems on the go right now and chances are I will die alone by the end of the week. If I had time to care I'd apologize for ruining your night. Goodbye.”

I got up from the table and started to leave the river-side pub. I got outside to the empty road and was about to call a taxi when an angry yell demanded my attention. I looked up just in time for something plastic and hard to smash against my forehead and flip off into the distance. I shook my head and look around dazed when suddenly the woman was in front of me.

“Get over yourself!” She angrily yelled, with every word she beat me with her left arm, using it as a baton to add emphasis to her argument. “Poor baby has a hard job and needs to take his frustrations out on others. Maybe stop being so self absorbed and realize that others have it just as hard as you!” It was at this time I realized she was beating me with the stump of her left arm. A loud thump was heard<Move away from the passive voice here behind me as her prosthetic arm landed behind me.Wow that was flying through the air for a long time. I tried to choke out an apology but it got drowned out by the well-deserved chastisement I was receiving “So you have problems, all of us do! We still manage to live pleasant lives and not be a complete rear end in a top hat every chance we get!”
This reads like a diatribe. It's super on the nose. You also keep adding in that the narrator already knows they're being a jerk. It's unnecessary. It also eliminates the possibility that the narrator grows or changes from the story.

I looked around and noticed her prosthetic arm lying in the middle of the bridge walkway. Perfect, just perfect, not only did I act like a complete rear end I had to get thwacked by a prosthetic arm to knock me to my senses. I moved to go grab the arm, hoping futility that at least that small action would redeem me.
At this point, I can't even begin to see how many places you need to cut words in this story. It's so repetitive. The point you're going for is 'protag is jerk because reasons, needs to realize that other people have it hard too.' This was established several paragraphs ago, and the last few paragraphs are just repeating that.

“I don't need a babysitter, I can get my own god-drat arm” The woman snarled at me, her red dress swishing in the wind haughtily.Okay we get it

I had to do something to make amends and my mouth moved before I could even think. “Listen, I was an rear end in a top hat. Let me at least grab your arm...” My mind clued in and I gave a lame smile to accompany the idiotic thing I said. I jogged towards the arm making a hasty retreat.

“Listen here Mr.period rear end in a top hat!”

A large rumbling stopped her retort and we both paused. I looked around and saw the river below us , swore and froze. Had I stepped onto a bridge? I turn around and tried to run off the bridge but it was too late. A massive shadow loomed over and me and I gulped and turned around. The creature was made out of rocks and stood a good 5five feet above me. It's massive maw curved upwards to form a cruel smile. Someone nearby may have screamed but I was too taken shaken to notice. The troll leered at me and hefted a semi-truck sized club in its arm.

“And finally the youngest trip-dashtraps over my bridge. You are all alone, nobody to save you now!”So many exclamation marks in this story!!

Fear crept over me and threatened to take control. Memories of my father, his body broken but spirit still high, flashed in my mind. I remembered my oath and stepped forward towards the troll, reigning in the fear. The troll let out a large boisterous laugh from deep within its grotesque rocky belly.

Large goblets of troll spit splattered around the bridge as the Ttroll spoke. “All alone and I know all of your tricks!” It's voice sounded rough like rocks breaking bones.Again, repetitive. The troll just gloated, and now they're doing it a second time to no benefit for the story.

“My brother and father might not be around. But I still brought help,comma” I yelled to the troll and pulled out a large baseball bat from my travel bag. I hoped the troll wouldn't notice that my hand was shaking.
“Time for this gruff to go to work.period; please punctuate your dialogue

And with that I stepped forward and got to my job, dealing with the monsters and other things that go bump in the night.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *dear god why are there so many stars. Just put like 3 of 'em in a row that's fine no need to deplete such a scarce resource

I sat in the taxi, my face a mix of shock and humiliation as the woman stuck her face out of the window and howled her victory to the world. The taxi driver took it with amazing grace and channeling his inner human apathy ignored us.

A large gob of troll spit dropped from my hair onto the car seat as I recounted the battle. My first “real” fight with a troll had lasted ten seconds. The troll had rushed towards me and with one fist had grabbed me before I could react. I was about to be swallowed when the troll tripped on the woman's prosthetic arm and teetered close to the end of the bridge. Then the women roared and pushed the troll off the bridge. Wow, you found the lamest way to describe the fight: retrospectively, in a taxi, via exposition

I turned to her and saw her face reflected in the moonlight. She smiled like a wolf and what constituted for her left arm pumped up and down in celebration.We get it, she's missing an arm. You've made that one of her only defining characteristics, which is a bit condescending imo. People generally don't want to be defined by their disability Slow realization crept upon my face. This was what a troll hunter looked like. No bad rear end remarks, no emotional hproofread plz baggage weighing you down. I sighed and realized I still had a lot to learn, a lot of growing up to do and a lot to be forgiven for. I put my face in my hands trying futilely to wipe the troll spit off my face.

“I'm sorry for everything. Why don't we start over from the beginning.?” I did my best to wipe the troll spit off of my hand and offered her my hand “I'm Billy Kid, youngest and last of the Billygoats Gruff. Pleased to meet you.”Yeah, this is a lovely twist. "Haha, you thought it was romance but its actually urban fantasy!" is not going to win over readers

She smiled and took my hand. “Ruelle Loup. I was out looking for fun and I think I've found it.”

Well, I'm gonna give you two main things to work on.
  • Edit/Proofread. Read your story out loud to yourself. You'll catch a lot of awkward phrasing that way. You also need to learn how to punctuate dialogue, and please don't be afraid to use 'said' or leave dialogue untagged once and awhile.
  • Figure out what your story is about, and revise. Huge chunks of your story are bloat. They say the same thing over and over. The story is repetit--okay you get it. You change genres on your reader at the very end of the story with no foreshadowing whatsoever. The conflict was initially a man who is unhappy with himself trying to find a connection; it turns into a conflict about destroying a troll. The former conflict is not properly resolved because the man doesn't really change, and I don't buy their connection. The latter conflict is solved off-screen. This leads to an extremely unsatisfying resolution.
Basically, right now this is a mess of a story, with unlikable characters, genre-shifts, bloat, bad prose, said-bookisms, a missing climax, and proofreading errors. The stuff I've found was just with a single read-through; I imagine I missed plenty, and there's certainly more I could comment on that needs work. However, the only way you're going to get better is by writing more, so you better get on that. You also might try studying how other people write (actual published stories might be better than TD); try copying what they write to give your brain a feel for it, then writing short snippets of your own in their style. Ultimately, though, this is the kind of story I see from people who basically never practice writing, so practice more by entering in next week.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Tyrannosaurus posted:

goddamn waste of a good prompt.

Magnificent7 loses.

Ugh.
Yeah. I am very very very very sorry so sorry for that poo poo. Somewhere between starting and finishing I lost whatever the gently caress was going on in my head. But I finished, so. That's the ONLY thing going for that turd. SO sorry you had to read it.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


magnificent7 posted:

Yeah. I am very very very very sorry so sorry for that poo poo. Somewhere between starting and finishing I lost whatever the gently caress was going on in my head. But I finished, so. That's the ONLY thing going for that turd. SO sorry you had to read it.

instead of being sorry, write better next time

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

magnificent7 posted:

Yeah. I am very very very very sorry so sorry for that poo poo. Somewhere between starting and finishing I lost whatever the gently caress was going on in my head. But I finished, so. That's the ONLY thing going for that turd. SO sorry you had to read it.

Its okay. Keep writing!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

magnificent7 posted:

Yeah. I am very very very very sorry so sorry for that poo poo. Somewhere between starting and finishing I lost whatever the gently caress was going on in my head. But I finished, so. That's the ONLY thing going for that turd. SO sorry you had to read it.

My initial pick for loser was Exmond, but he at least kept writing a story.

Speaking of which:

Butting Heads

With a loud ding the bell signaled it was time to move tables this is a terrible way to start because the story isn't about the bell. I picked up my name-tag and threw it to the oak table beside me, so he picked up the nametag off the table and threw it to (on) the table? thrusting all the frustration this night had caused into the action, should be a full stop It was becoming apparently 'ly' shouldn't be here I wasn't going to find true love here. The name tag skittered on the table and fell off the table. The woman at the table looked at the name tag and lifted one eyebrow inquisitively at me through her black bangs.

“It's been a bad night. Don't even know why I came to this stupid speed dating night.” dialogue is punctuated "Blah, blah," I said I explained. in general use 'said' unless you really want another word.

The woman put her elbow onto the table and rested her face on it. try and put your face on your elbow, it's actually real fuckin hard “Usually people are here because they are looking for a fun time or scared of dying alone” The woman see you're holding her name back as a big reveal, and big reveals are almost always a bad idea. She has a literal name tag. mused at me said. “Which one are you?”

I dropped myself in my seat and leaned back. i call this kind of description 'blocking' after the theatre term for 'Hamlet moves stage left and puts his head in his hands'. It's not evil, but it's best to avoid leaning on it too much because it makes the characters feel like chess pieces. Having had enough of this debacle I bleat out my response “I'm only here because my therapist said I needed a distraction from my job. Something about pent up anger over family issues. So sign me up for fun. unneeded space, also say this sentence out loud - does it sound like something someone would say?this should be a new para

The women women is plural, woman is singular - also the lack of the name is starting to get real annoying shifted and looked uncomfortably at me in her seat. it sounds like the narrator is sitting in her seat which would be awkward even if she didn't have her elbow stuck to her face I continued to ruin the conversation by opening up my mouth “Listen, I have about fifty problems on the go right now and chances are I will die alone by the end of the week. If I had time to care I'd apologize for ruining your night. Goodbye.” Dialogue normally belongs in its own para.

I got up from the table and started to don't say 'started to' if you can avoid it - do or do not leave the river-side pub. I got outside to the empty road and was about to same with 'about to' - in general tell us what your characters do rather than what they almost or don't quite do call a taxi when an angry yell demanded my attention. I looked up just in time for something plastic and hard to smash against my forehead and flip off into the distance. so she threw a limb at him? that's insane. I shook my head and looked around dazed when suddenly the woman was in front of me.

“Get over yourself!” She angrily yelled, with every word she beat me with her left arm, using it as a baton to add emphasis to her argument. “Poor baby has a hard job and needs to take his frustrations out on others. Maybe stop being so self absorbed and realize that others have it just as hard as you!” none of this is actually warranted by his actions in the story so far, he's bailed on a speed dating night, and wasn't even rude doing it just a little brusque. This woman has chosen to assault him for it. I posit he's not the one at fault. It was at this time I realized she was beating me with the stump of her left arm. oh god what you just told us that's what she was doing. A loud thump was heard behind me as her prosthetic arm landed behind me. how high did it bounce? she had time to give him a beatdown and rant for five sentences, my calculations suggest she's got one hell of a throwing stump I tried to choke out an apology but it got drowned out by the well-deserved you're very anxious to show that you don't agree with your mildly jerky protagonist chastisement I was receiving “So you have problems, all of us do! We still manage to live pleasant lives and not be a complete rear end in a top hat every chance we get!” one character is shouting at another while assaulting them, one is hailing a taxi. I present these facts, i do not comment on them.

I looked around and noticed don't say noticed, he's never not noticied it her prosthetic arm lying in the middle of the bridge walkway. Perfect, just perfect, not only did I act like a complete rear end I had to get thwacked by a prosthetic arm to knock me to my senses. I moved to go grab the arm, hoping futility i think you mean 'futilely' which is a terrible word, and also unnecessary. when you write an adverb (-ly word) always delete it and only put it back if the sentence doesn't work any more that at least that small action would redeem me.

“I don't need a babysitter, I can get my own god-drat arm” The woman snarled at me, her red dress swishing in the wind haughtily. this woman is a dreadful human being

I had to do something to make amends for saying 'sorry I am going home now' and receiving a savage beatdown and my mouth moved before I could even think. “Listen, I was an rear end in a top hat. Let me at least grab your arm...” My mind clued in this isn't really a verb and I gave a lame smile to accompany the idiotic thing I said. this would be more interesting exchange if he was in any way disagreeing with or contradicting or disputing her judgment of him if I jogged towards the arm making a hasty retreat.

“Listen here Mr rear end in a top hat!” noone talks like this

A large rumbling stopped her retort and we both paused. I looked around and saw the river below us , swore and froze. Had I stepped onto a bridge? observe five lines above: he knows hes on a bridge I turn around and tried to run off the bridge but it was too late. A massive shadow loomed over and me and I gulped and turned around. i suspect you can see this in your head, like it was on a screen with teh shadow, but it really doesn't land here because you need to ground this kind of thing in the experiences of the protagonist, not a sort of camera observing the action The creature was made out of rocks and stood a good 5 feet above me. this is just hilariously out of nowhere It's IT'S IS ONLY EVER SHORT FOR 'IT IS', MOTHERFUCKER massive maw curved upwards to form a cruel smile. Someone nearby may have screamed but I was too taken shaken to notice. he did notice, because he talked about it. The troll leered at me and hefted a semi-truck sized a semi truck is a lot bigger that 11 feet club in its arm.

“And finally the youngest trip traps over my bridge. You are all alone, nobody to save you now!”

Fear crept over me and threatened to take control. Memories of my father, his body broken but spirit still high, flashed in my mind. see the one successful thing in this story is the 'family issues' line and the way it is called back to here, but I think you've hidden too much important stuff so you can have the lol sweet payoff and it's crippled the story. in general, it can be a good idea to avoid twists and tricks, at least until you get hte hang of a straightforward story I remembered my oath and stepped forward towards the troll, reigning in the fear. The troll let out a large boisterous laugh from deep within its grotesque rocky belly.

Large goblets of troll spit splattered around the bridge as the Troll spoke. “All alone and I know all of your tricks!” It's AAAARRRRGGGHHHH voice sounded rough like rocks breaking bones. good line

“My brother and father might not be around. But I still brought help” I yelled to the troll and pulled out a large baseball bat from my travel bag. it's totally random that he takes this bat everywhere, and it would have been cool if we'd known about it earlier I hoped the troll wouldn't notice that my hand was shaking.
“Time for this gruff to go to work”

And with that I stepped forward and got to my job, dealing with the monsters and other things that go bump in the night. and with that action actioned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I sat in the taxi, my face a mix of shock and humiliation as the woman stuck her face out of the window and howled her victory to the world. The taxi driver took it with amazing grace and channeling his inner human apathy ignored us.

A large gob of troll spit dropped from my hair onto the car seat as I recounted the battle. My first “real” fight with a troll had lasted ten seconds. The troll had rushed towards me and with one fist had grabbed me before I could react. I was about to be swallowed when the troll tripped on the woman's prosthetic arm and teetered close to the end of the bridge. on the one hand this is a nice callback, but why on earth didn't you just have it happen, why the flashback? Then the women roared and pushed the troll off the bridge. not very dynamic

I turned to her and saw her face reflected in the moonlight. She smiled like a wolf and what constituted for her left arm pumped up and down in celebration. Slow realization crept upon my face. This was what a troll hunter looked like. No bad rear end remarks, no emotional hbaggage typo weighing you down. I sighed and realized I still had a lot to learn, a lot of growing up to do and a lot to be forgiven for. this is called 'telling not showing' and is bad I put my face in my hands trying futilely to wipe the troll spit off my face.

“I'm sorry for everything. Why don't we start over from the beginning.” I did my best to wipe the troll spit off of my hand and offered her my hand “I'm Billy Kid, youngest and last of the Billygoats Gruff. Pleased to meet you.”

She smiled and took my hand. “Ruelle Loup. leaving the names to the end really gained you nothing and made it noticeably more awk I was out looking for fun and I think I've found it.”

This was bad in a lot of ways, but has the spine of an ok story - I'm interested in the family trauma of being a billy goat gruff, but you bet big on it being a surprise and it falls flat. you could have easily started with that revelation or hints about it and it would have been way better. Also loads of typos and grammar errors, but they're easy enough to fix.


Keep it up!

Wizgot
Apr 25, 2014

"Don't be nice. Be good."


Thanks for the crits Uranium!

Captain_Indigo
Jul 29, 2007

Smooth soft red velvety lungs.

jon joe posted:

"Don't say anything you wouldn't want repeated."

In with this.

Make Hay While The Sun Shines"

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Uranium Phoenix posted:

Week #264 - Dystopia With A View CRITS

Thanks UP!

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

jon joe posted:

In and the moral of the story is: "Don't say anything you wouldn't want repeated."

In, and "Always look on the bright side of life."

Edit: I'll take the One-armed man challenge as well.

Edit2:

Captain_Indigo posted:

In with this.

Make Hay While The Sun Shines"

Oops guess this one is mine.

Fuubi fucked around with this message at Sep 5, 2017 around 13:30

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Fuubi posted:

In, and "Always look on the bright side of life."

Edit: I'll take the One-armed man challenge as well.

Im in

My prompt is "Every story has two sides"

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016


In.

One-armed.

Don't poo poo where you eat.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

steeltoedsneakers posted:

In.

One-armed.

Don't poo poo where you eat.

In: all cats are grey in the dark.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


In

"Never mock a wizard's beard."

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


ThirdEmperor posted:

In

"Never mock a wizard's beard."

In.

Fine clothes may disguise, but silly words will disclose a fool

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

Jay W. Friks posted:


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

In.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Thranguy posted:

In.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

In

Old sins cast long shadows

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

IN

Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



morals are different from aphorisms

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011

~it's like people say we're all gonna die
but me it's different i'm not trying to be alive~




thanks for the crit, uranium. my writing is p terrible now, im trying to get it together

in with hawklad's aphorism or whatever he comes up with to replace it or something

and a good conscience is a soft pillow

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Djeser posted:

morals are different from aphorisms

Okay, read mine as "Even if you're a bind pig you should keep searching because you might find an acorn once in a while"

rolls right off the tongue

and thanks for the crit UP!

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Djeser posted:

morals are different from aphorisms

steeltoedsneakers posted:

Don't poo poo where you eat.

Wizgot
Apr 25, 2014

"Don't be nice. Be good."


5D AUTISM SPEX posted:

thanks for the crit, uranium. my writing is p terrible now, im trying to get it together

in with hawklad's aphorism or whatever he comes up with to replace it or something

and a good conscience is a soft pillow

In and old habits die hard

Taciturn Tactician
Jan 26, 2011

The secret to good health is a balanced diet and unstable healing radiation


Lipstick Apathy

Wizgot posted:

In and old habits die hard

In and the cowl does not make the monk

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Week CCXLIII: If You Knew TD, You'd Be Surprised

Salut, Eurovision fans! Buna! ‎Sveiki! Χαίρετε! ԲարևՁեզ! Здравствуйте! Never mind that the last one was banned this year. It's taken me a long time to overcome my astonishment at such a good Thunderdome round, but I've finally regained enough capacity for rational thought to deliver the crits.

In the spirit of Eurovision, I did something in judging that I usually don't and ranked the entries in order.

Chili
Sailor Viy
Ironic Twist
The Saddest Rhino
---
SurreptitiousMuffin
Thranguy
Mrenda (DQ)
Chairchucker
Okua
Djeser
BeefSupreme
Uranium Phoenix
The Cut of Your Jib
---
Ceighk


What those dashes show is that only one story occupied the low tier, and that the high tier was rather more crowded. They don't tell you that I mostly enjoyed every story from BeefSupreme's up, appreciated something about each of the remaining three, and didn't abhor anything at all. God bless, TD. I didn't want to eradicate humanity even once. The advent of flerp's merman redemption only made it feel more like Christmas.


Djeser, for Poland 2014: "Z jeziora"
Lyrics: Donatan & Cleo - "My Słowianie - We Are Slavic"

Kai's Video Notes: Cleo's rapping isn't as fun when I don't understand what she's saying, but giving the all-English version would have meant giving the milkmaid video in all its glory. I'm actually hoping to not get a story about huge... tracts of land. Will Djeser reward my faith in him? Let's find out! Themes: Traditional clothing, traditional dance, household chores, rural life, flowers, sexual suggestion, feminine beauty, regional cuisine, homeland pride.

Petals, check; a hint of things Polish, check; folktale flavor, check; no obsession with cleavage, check, thankfully. You play your cards too close to your chest, though. While I like the melding of magic and science in Magda and in the Things below the lake, I'm bemused by it too, and I'd draw a blank if you asked me what point the scientific aspects serve. The connection between the Fibonacci sequence and aquatic alien beings escapes me. (It does evoke the swirling dancers from the video, at least in my mind--but not in a way that benefits the story being told.) Another unanswered question is how the lake creatures put lake-Magda into the body of village-Magda. It isn't merely mental possession if they now expect her to take on a form like theirs. The science element may work against you here: it makes it hard to accept "it's just magic" as explanation, yet that explanation is the only one I see.

Magda appears to choose humanity at the climax--or rather, humanity chooses her (some action on her part would be welcome; I dig that she's saved by the friendships she's made, but it's not great that she's so passive and frozen)--but the Things in the lake probably aren't done with her. This reads like the beginning of a much longer story in which Magda would have to confront her connection to the Things and make a permanent, conscious decision. There's also the issue of the other Magda, maybe killed to allow her to live. What does she make of that? There are a few too many threads still dangling at the close of the day.

The American jury gives you: 6 points.

****

Sailor Viy, for Armenia 2009: "Deucalion's Brood"
Lyrics: Inga & Anush - "Jan Jan"

Kai's Video Notes: What beautiful costumes. The blue velvet gowns and the braids fit to make Chili's singer jealous drew my eye to this video first. The song took a little longer to grow on me--maybe ten seconds. Factor in how close to identical the women look and the overall costume design and you have immense story potential, whether the tale be of twins or covens or something wonderfully unexpected. Themes: Fog, intricate dress, twins, sisters, witches, dancing, inseparability.

A striking opening paragraph leads into a gorgeous dystopian story of an individual's madness destroying her collective world. One doesn't need to see the Armenian video to understand anything about it, possibly excluding blue velvet costumes in the post-apocalypse. Everything but Sister Maeve's final decision fits together with elegance. Her actions lack logic, but I think this is an intentional tragedy. She's left the sisters stranded on a ruined, manless planet, and without their duty they'll have no reason to continue cloning each other from what is presumably now the only remaining DNA sequence; Rose's successors won't inherit the Earth because they won't exist. It's a terrible resolution within the setting. It fits the broken world you've made, though, and it's painful in a poignant way that the death of hope should come about through love.

As an interpretation of "Jan Jan," it's even better. You come close to perfection here with a half-dozen ties to the video both obvious and unobtrusive in the text. Even those blue velvet gowns can be forgiven when they're the garb of priestesses, and the cloning take on the identical dancers delights me no end.

I knew when I saw this that the week would have a strong, deserving winner even if everything submitted after it were sewage. It's your misfortune that multiple stories of the round were outstanding. Although Chili's stronger emotional quotient took the trophy, your entry remains one of the few Thunderdome stories I can't fault.

The American jury gives you: 12 points.

****

Okua, for Austria 2007: "A Ripple In The Water"
Lyrics: Eric Papilaya - "Get A Life - Get Alive"

Kai's Video Notes: The glittering hoodie inspires thoughts of chain mail, but I doubt that's the intention. The back-up dancers inspire thoughts of Jim Henson creations crossed with gimps, and for all I know that's exactly the intention. I couldn't resist the astronomical weirdness quotient here, so it's a good thing the AIDS-ribbon throne and the lyrical encouragement to improve one's life both offer solid story cores even if Okua doesn't want to write about the sparkling monarch of a pink-plumed kingdom. Themes: Glitz, flamboyance, feathers, monsters, AIDS, defiance of fear and death, joy in living.

After some reflection, I think I understand why Nanna turns into a flamingo, a cat, a parrot, and a scorpion. It's as her mother says: it's easier to be those things than a human, and all her transformations are escape from her mother's diagnosis and what it means. That allows me to appreciate the surrealism a little more. I could still do without the entire last paragraph, which spoils the touching mood and introduces the unnecessary complication of another child with the same transformative ability--used casually, no less, so the magic appears a lot less meaningful. Maybe the idea is that every family has problems, but I'm not sure why you're throwing in that message at the eleventh hour.

If you're going to use parentheses on the regular, you have to punctuate them properly! Let's say you throw a parenthetical aside in at the end of one of your sentences (this is an example). In that case, the period belongs outside the closing parenthesis. It's part of the larger sentence. But if your whole sentence is within parentheses, then the punctuation belongs inside, too. Otherwise some persnickety judge might wonder what you think you're doing. (That judge would be me.)

I like your treatment of the AIDS theme, subtle but clear, poignant without melodrama. The final paragraph aside, the ending works--although I'm not sure "infected me as well" is a good choice of phrase since you've just revealed that Nanna's mother didn't infect her. Otherwise I appreciate that you've pulled off heartwarming without edging into cheese. Your take on the subprompt isn't as good. You almost go right against it, if anything, since the blood tie between Nanna and her mother is anything but irrelevant.

The American jury gives you: 6 points.

****

Chairchucker, for Switzerland 2007: "The Undeath of the Party"
Lyrics: DJ BoBo - "Vampires Are Alive

Kai's Video Notes: First off, if you haven't watched the official music video for this song, do. DJ BoBo couldn't work snarling gargoyle-men or making bedroom eyes at a horse into the live performance. Thank goodness the vampire jazzercise survived! A World of Darkness LARP set to music, it's over the top and refuses to let me take its words about vampire life seriously. Especially, you know, the whole vampire life thing. Themes: Vampires, candles, lightning, mohawks, aerobics, immortal life.

Aww. Could this use less dialogue and more action? Sure. Does it have a plot? Ennnnh. Do I care? It did hit me as talky, so yes, I care about that, but I still enjoy the light take on vampirism. In any other context a vampire child would be weird, but vampires are alive, after all. So there's no reason they shouldn't have awkward middle-school crushes on nice boys with nice dads who don't quite understand why their son's friend wouldn't want garlic bread.

That bread helps tie everything together in a cute little package. Erica does her part, too, as the consummate wingman. Keith is less distinctive or interesting, and that's a minor flaw; he's an antagonist without depth or motivation or characterization beyond the bully stereotype. More color wouldn't hurt him. My other criticism is that your line breaks are getting out of control--this is broken up all to heck, and some of the lines could and probably should be in the same paragraph. (One example: Except Robert. And the goth kids, but that was kind of a weird and creepy dynamic.)

The American jury gives you: 7 points.

****

Ceighk, for Latvia 2014: "Midsummer's Eve"
Lyrics: Aarzemnieki - "Cake To Bake"

Kai's Video Notes: This sort of cheese isn't usually my preferred Eurovision flavor, but the weirdly creepy man in the striped shirt gives it a twist of hilarity, and the lyrics are full of potential adventures--and cake! I won't mind reading a story all about cake-baking if we get one, as long as Ceighk doesn't let Striped Shirt near the batter. Themes: Cake, nonstop smiling, baking, the challenge of simple tasks, adventurers faced with homely things, unkempt hair.

Getting so caught up in building your world that you forgot to flesh out most of your many named characters or, well, tell a story ruined your chances and arguably your entry, but for what it's worth, I imagine this would this would have landed in the soggy middle of four weeks out of five. It's just not that bad. Jeanette and Ossian are the only people in it with a hint of a second dimension; that's unfortunate. The nature of the apocalypse--if that's what's happened here--isn't clear. A few hints about the larger world toward the end (transatlantic communication, "the father of her child," etc.) have me wondering if this is a fragment of some larger work of yours. It's all inoffensive enough, however. Your misfortune is that for once, everyone else managed better than that.

I'd say the besetting sin here is the lack of any arc, progression, or conclusion. Ossian is up to something sinister outside the village. Exciting! Ominous! What disaster is he about to lead the village boys into? We never find out, and there's your trouble. Ill-defined bad stuff is going on when the story starts, and it's going on when the story stops, and nothing has changed beyond the consumption of a cake. A situation sketch like this one needs to be compelling or beautiful or extraordinary in some other way to make up for the plot and character it doesn't have. This is just okay.

The American jury gives you: 4 points.

****

Ironic Twist, for France: "Fell"
Lyrics: Alma - "Requiem"

Kai's Video Notes: Until the beat really kicks in at the fifty-second mark, I'm ready to mark this down as another pretty-but-lackluster entry from France. (Those moustaches spoiled me.) The vigorous chorus and spectacle of dancers twirling on the sides of buildings elevate it. Alma's grin is infectious, making me come away from the video a little happier than when I went in. Themes: Old city streets, dawn, monuments, romance, the tango, defiance of gravity, life beyond death.

Here are the criticisms I can make of this piece: clarity is once again your bugbear, as the likes of half-dead and After--that go unexplained. My current theory says that the mother and the father died in their sleep but stayed on the ceiling a while rather than moving on. It's not too likely they'd both go at once, however, so I keep asking what caused these deaths, whether they were deaths or something else, and whether the story needs this point of confusion or would be as strong if Charlie had just gone in to see his parents on the ceiling one day. Their freedom from gravity registers as a metaphor for a comatose or otherwise removed-but-not-gone state. I don't think you need to make that so explicit. Charlie's struggle with the papers and the excellent line I went to bed in a home, and woke up in an estate (excellent aside from the errant comma, anyway: I like the pause, but to keep it you need I after and) could survive the change since his mother has passed by any definition, and her death loses some of its weight--so to speak--by being a second death, almost an afterthought.

Here's my praise: as Chili's story does, yours explores multiple sides of loss, death, and grieving. It does so with power and resonance. I can feel Charlie's frustration and awkward pain, made awkward by the one parent who's still there and won't leave. Charlie does and doesn't want him to, I think. He can't handle his father's irreverence, but he could handle being without him forever even less. Only the loss could bring him peace--something he desperately needs but at that price doesn't want.

Charlie's father's behavior is absolutely weird to the Earth-bound; it underlines that he's just... beyond that, now. Love for Charlie is all that keeps him in the world at all. He doesn't care about much else. (Why did the mother go without saying goodbye? Was it an accident or also a choice?) It's no wonder he's driving Charlie to despair. That Charlie still doesn't want him to go says volumes about what the man means to him and why he so resents the behavior that separates his father from the living world already.

The finale is raw and strong. The interpretation of the video is lovely. The subprompt is weaker, surprisingly, because the importance or lack thereof of the blood tie isn't addressed. Possibly the idea is that Charlie's love for these people gave rise to his his grief for them, not his blood bond.

The three top stories are all about bereavement. Each of you made pain live in your words. Your particular treatment pairs elegant prose with raw, rough emotion, and they dance well together.

The American jury gives you: 12 points.

****

SurreptitiousMuffin, for West Germany 1979: "wherever the river ran"
Lyrics: Dschinghis Khan - "Genghis Khan"

Kai's Video Notes: Proof that beautiful Eurovision goofiness has long been alive and well. The whole performance is ridiculous in the best way. I'm especially enamored of the lead dancer's crown. The song sounds great, too, which is the icing on a cake made of gold lame and fun. Themes: Flamboyant dress, crowns, dancing, laughter, Mongols, Genghis Khan, history, conquest.

A Latin word like effluvium sticks out in the thoughts of a Mongol khan, even if he might have encountered the language. I'd go with something else.

The concept here is good. It's a good treatment of the video. The delivery of the exposition and the core idea could be more graceful; the line Bekter was your brother by blood only, which means nothing may as well have a neon sign around its neck saying HERE'S THE SUBPROMPT, GUYS! You're going for something interesting with it, though, as the story seems to asks whether family is more than blood. Maybe Temujin wouldn't be monologuing to a shivering wolf in his death dream if he hadn't shot Bekter over something he can't even remember.

That's the rub, though. For Temujin/Genghis's first kill (and I gather this kill turned the one to the other) to be his only brother is remarkable enough to deserve a longer look. Wikipedia tells me that in the real history, Bekter was only one of several brothers, and he and Genghis weren't raised alone together. In that context the murder is less surprising. In the one you've given, it needs more space. That Bekter was also raised by the wolf complicates Temujin's struggle with the meanings of brotherhood and family. I understand the blood-doesn't-matter side of things. What I don't understand is why the bond of a shared upbringing doesn't mean anything either. Caring so little about anything could be what makes the world empty for Genghis, but it was Temujin who murdered his brother, and it's Temujin who's in such denial of his loneliness--he cares very much. Something changed this man; by handwaving Bekter and his death you shortchange a critical part of the story.

Some characterization for Bekter or a circumstance in which he wasn't brought up by the wolf would probably help, the latter being tricky since Genghis would have to still know him for a brother somehow--I suspect that's why you had him share the wolf mother. You could make that work by drawing Bekter as more than a floating corpse.

The American jury gives you: 7 points.


****

Thranguy, for United Kingdom 2007: "There Are Stories of the Dutchman"
Lyrics: Scooch - "Flying the Flag"

Kai's Video Notes: One of the riskier picks. There's plenty of room for this airline-themed camp to go wrong. On the other hand, the performance has color, energy, and WTF to spare. I shouldn't be surprised the UK loved Poland 2014 so much: their tribute to airlines is just about as raunchy, as I lose any ability to deny once the man with the weasel face brandishes the giant Jolly Rancher suggestively. Themes: Air travel, stewards, service with a smile, innuendo, semaphore.

First off, I'm sorry about the Jolly Rancher. I'd forgotten about the sleazy elements when I assigned this one. Chipper airline workers seemed so benign! So you have all my thanks for managing to incorporate the leers in a tasteful way. Impressive, that, and your take on the video and subprompt is good all around. I've come to expect that from you, and I appreciate the consistent strength.

Unfortunately, the entries of yours that leave me ing in regards to the prompt often possess major weaknesses elsewhere. This one has a great concept in the ghost plane, but I can only scratch my head over not enough fuel to make it to Heaven and the plane traveling its "usual route"--does any plane only have one? Ghost Dad confuses me too: how are the ghosts paying him? What are his debts? Is there some sort of ghost karma economy? How do you join this crew if you died in a car wreck somewhere? Is he a wizard too; did that factor in, or was this all just not thought out very well?

You haven't done enough with your cool idea, and you try to keep your story flying by waving your hands. The well-executed emotional finish could have pulled you up to the high tier in a lesser week. This round had too many fantastic entries to be so forgiving.

The American jury gives you: 7 points.

****

Chili, for Montenegro: "Rocket to the Stars"
Lyrics: Slavko Kalezić - "Space"

Kai's Video Notes: Never mind the merman skirt. That is an amazing braid. The faces Mr. Kalezić makes at the camera suggest he thinks the look is sexy, and I cannot agree with him there. Look at that paper crown, though--maybe when I laugh at his topless braid-whipping I'm laughing right along with him. Themes: Long hair, stone quarries, seduction faces, royalty, leather pants, over-the-top sexuality, satire, safe sex, metaphors, space travel.

In the main character's fugue of grief, present mingles with past and changes memory. The pain around him keeps leaking into that day with the rocket even as he denies his own emotion. He's hurting, and the waking visions tell me how badly he's hurting, but the warmth and sunlight of that day in the park aren't false. Love lasts past death, and even in front of the coffin there are sparks of happiness in remembering a person and what they've done and what they've been to you; but the loss keeps intruding. This story draws its relationships beautifully and speaks to the dichotomy in losing someone for whom you care so much. How can you not be happy, thinking of them? How can that not tear you apart?

In the case of Grandpa's grandson it's led to some sort of dramatic gesture. Maybe a mental break, maybe no. I want to think that he's still hallucinating and that the coffin didn't sprout an engine from somewhere in anyone's eyes but his, and I think this is true because the line I see nobody, nothing at all, except the casket suggests his brain is fighting to cope with the reality that his grandfather's mortal body is in there. I imagine that he flings himself on the casket. I prefer to imagine he lives, though the crack and riding with Grandpa could be interpreted as him breaking his neck and dying too. That's too grim and would overbalance the play of gold and grey, so I hope that isn't the intention; I'd rethink it if it is.

I'm so impressed you wrote this. It raises my opinion of your potential to the stars.

The American jury gives you: 12 points.

****

The Saddest Rhino, for Denmark 2007: "Five Facts on the Death of Signora Reina Del Teatrale"
Lyrics: DQ - "Drama Queen"

Kai's Video Notes: That hat. I would probably have put this on my list of songs to hand out for the hat alone; the crown and the robe and the hammy male attendants and the feather fans and the two costume changes are just more rhinestones on the tiara. There's even pyro! The song's a paean to performance, and who wouldn't appreciate DQ's love of entertaining an audience? Not I. Themes: Drag queens, stages, entertainment, the performing arts, showmanship, flash and dazzle, royalty.

Every time I criticize an experimental format, I have to admit it's possible to put a story together in a way that's anything but standard and come out the other side with something worthwhile. This entry provides evidence. The list is strange as the Signora's life is strange. The parentheses make me feel like the narrator is lowering his voice to share little asides, granting the whole thing a sort of intimacy. None of the events could be real in isolation; few make sense. Strung together this way, they feed off each other and shape a piece of magical realism in the style of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. You so nearly pull it off as almost no one else in Thunderdome could.

But.

But--

The finale limps on a broken heel. There's this niece, her problems years in the past, putting on the headdress and being touched by the Signora's spirit (or a spirit of the headdress that touched the Signora too), and there are broken fragments of sentences that work--it's poetry--but it isn't as rich as what came before. Attitude can create truth from illusion, it tells me, and there's a lovely paradox in that I can't tell whether the Signora made the hat or the hat made the Signora. Possibly both! It's good. But. I wonder if the niece finding the headdress again "years later" is why there's an emptiness to this last segment, as though it had been rushed for the sake of getting to the end. I wonder if you've overdone it with the line breaks. Maybe so. Somehow the jewels turn out to be a little too much like plastic, the feathers a little too bedraggled, and magic is lost.

This still comes the closest of any Thunderdome entry I can recall to capturing the enchantment of Marquez. That you transformed the video I gave you into such a story leaves me in awe.

The American jury gives you: 10 points.

****

The Cut of Your Jib, for Iceland: "In a Young Girl's Heart"
Lyrics: Svala - "Paper"

Kai's Video Notes: Not digging this lady's styling at all. The make-up is distractingly awful. The beat and techno background sound save the parts of the song that aren't the chorus; the chorus is strong enough to stand on their own, though "Paaaaaaaaaaaaaper!" feels like nearly half the song. The lyrics tell of a relationship with a man, probably a troubled man, who is trying to get Svala to leave him for her own good; she won't, but their bond renders her frail and dependent. Lots of story fodder there. Themes: Unhealthy relationships, dependence, love for a damaging person, self-destruction, cheekbones.

The premise reminds me of Sailor Viy's, but the prose is... white noise, sort of. I take it in, I more or less understand it, and it makes no impact. I lost interest partway through my first read and couldn't remember any details when I came back to the story, so I doubt the style you've chosen is serving the work. The obfuscation of Dottir's mission doesn't help either as I'm not hooked sufficiently by Dottir herself or by the setting to be intrigued by the missing details.

My take is that Dottir is a robot in a world and time in which humanity is probably extinct, and in which robots are nearly so because of the predations of a data-corrupting virus. Dottir may have specialized in Icelandic rune lore. I envision her as a robot designed to hold onto that knowledge, though I may be getting that out of thin air. Whatever the reason, she knows the runes and the spells, and she grows a tree to harvest it for paper on which to write a spell that turns her into a flesh-and-blood human. To save her knowledge from the corruption? Out of personal desire? It could be both or either.

It's not a bad concept or as random as it first seems, but clarity is wanting, especially about the voices Dottir hears when she wakes up as a real girl. I don't have much idea what those mean for the world of the story, whether there have always still been people and she was deaf as a robot or what. The prose bores more than it entices. The subprompt at least is nicely handled, and I'm interested in the ideas at the heart.

The American jury gives you: 5 points.

****

Uranium Phoenix, for Belgium: "The Roar of Wind and War"
Lyrics: Blanche - "City Lights"

Kai's Video Notes: It's the bouncing ball from those old Disney sing-along videos! I wondered what it was up to these days. The song itself has moments when I almost like it but never quite gets there; even for Eurovision, that chorus is repetitive. Still, the spread of light on the buildings and trees is an intriguing element that I'd love to see in a story. Themes: The danger zone, buildings, light, isolation.

You've screwed up massively by presenting Ruby's goal as the rescue of her child, then presenting the child's death as a fait accompli and trying to center the story's emotional finale on this sudden, last-minute wife. That's not the only issue in play: it's convenient as hell that Ruby arrives in Chicago just in time to see her own apartment bombed. Golly gee! I wonder what the odds of that are? Something tells me they're astronomically poor! Such contrivance in service of a completely unearned ending galls more than it otherwise would.

Olivia must be important--never mind existent--before the very end if this story's to function. In hiding her until the last minute, you've also created the impression that she's some sort of twist. Ruby's marriage makes awful twist fodder as it's neither shocking nor interesting. As good as your prose is in this piece, its climax is less a stumble than a nose-cracking swan dive into the nearest pavement.

The American jury gives you: 5 points.

****

BeefSupreme, for Turkey 2008: "Love Me Back"
Lyrics: Can Bonomo - "Love Me Back"

Kai's Video Notes: All hail the Turkish manboat! There's something sleazy about the lead singer. Is it the crooked hat? The floppy sleeves? How much it sounds like he's singing "Ride me like I ride you"? Who knows. He has a manboat and giant anchors bobbing behind him, and that's what matters. Nothing that sounds so nasal should be half so catchy, but again: manboat. Themes: Sailors, the ocean, romantic aspirations, questionable pick-up lines, seahorses, anchors, boats made out of men.

Is the key change an intentional Eurovision joke? I love it so much if it is.

The first paragraph is slightly misleading, though: you'd think Francisco were going to matter. Very possibly you should cut him and give his character traits to Bodhi, whose relationship with Declan could use some deepening and clarification. I want to understand why Declan would follow Bodhi into this storm for his sister's sake, not to mention why Bodhi would ask such a favor. They seem more like business acquaintances than blood brothers or lovers--the latter of which I doubt they are with Declan hitting on Bodhi's sister, but who knows.

I'd also like to understand why Bodhi would go out into this storm. What Josie said to imply her situation required urgent intervention would be good to know. I imagined on my first read that it had to be dire to warrant such a response, so when all the drama and risk turned out to be for nothing I didn't receive it well. The contrast between Josie and Declan as family for Bodhi is there, and it serves the subprompt, but the finale flops. As good as the storm scene is, paring it down to fit in more about Bodhi and Josie and Bodhi's grim urgency to "rescue" her despite her lying nature would probably bolster the piece some. More interaction between Bodhi and Declan during the storm would be another option. This is a story about your characters' bonds with each other, so focus on those.

The American jury gives you: 6 points.

****

Mrenda, for Ireland: "All I Want At My Age Is A Place To Sit"
Lyrics: Brendan Murray - "Dying to Try"

Kai's Video Notes: I keep wondering how cold that beach is to make his cheeks so rosy. I keep wishing there were two of him, too, perhaps in red sequins, but what he lacks in a twin he makes up for in singing talent. The landscape is the star here; the rocky beach and sweeping vistas hold more drama than do the lovers. That said, I like the uplifting message in the lyrics about love's fragility, risk, and worth. Themes: Love, worry, uncertainty, optimism, faith, the shore.

You know, I like this. I like the gradual, subtle shift from politeness to genuine comradeship between the narrator and the homeless man she'd judged and resented--with reason, but without knowing his full story. The painter is colored as stodgy, but she has a point: no group should monopolize that view. No one should have to walk past illegal activity in public. She's erred, though, in assuming the drinkers wouldn't make room for her or let her have a turn. In focusing on their vice, she's missed considering their humanity. Interacting with Darren brings her into an awareness of him and the other men as people. And here's the beauty part: your story shows this without ever telling it, making its point delicately and with grace. Both the characters are flawed and sympathetic at the same time, and you abstain from attempting to excuse either of them. They're just human. Well done.

Mechanically, the combination of sentence fragments and missing commas doesn't read well, and there are instances too of commas used in place of semicolons, of absent hyphens, and of punctuation where none belongs (for example: a red nosed, staggerer with beer breath). Some of the choices made may be stylistic, but that bit I quoted is flat wrong to no effect. Watch it. One of my favorite technical guides is the Purdue OWL, and it may hold some pointers for you.

The second fly in the ointment with this one is the subprompt. The bond the painter and the homeless man form is too thin to be called familial, though I imagine that's the angle you had in mind.

The American jury would have given you: 7 points.

****

flerp, for Germany 2016: "Help! My Boyfriend Wants to Move On Instead of Getting Married!"
Lyrics: Jamie-Lee - "Ghost"

Kai's Video Notes: I chose this for flerp in memory of his tale of hentai sexbots, but Jamie-Lee's remarkable costume--just how many stuffed animals are stapled to her head?--distracts from a beautiful, melancholy song of dying love. That moon and the trees are gorgeous too, and I wonder, sadly, whether this is the rare Eurovision song that was damaged by its touch of weird. It should never have come in last. Themes: Love, fear, isolation, the failure of a relationship, night, the moon, the forest, ghosts, anime.

flerp. I kid you not: the flipp(er)ant humor of your merman stories makes me laugh when pieces that probably have a lot more effort put into them don't. Whether that comments on anything so much as my taste is a question I leave for the philosophers. Not every line here is a winner or close--Merle digresses a lot, and not all his tangents are as amusing as his death in a seaweed chipper. (What's even with the world-saving librarian merman? Is he a Buffy reference? A hint of merman stories yet to come?) Merle's narrative voice keeps things moving along anyway. The frame gimmick works, and everything comes together into a dumb, fun, brainless-but-adorable package. I wish Merle the best in his new relationship!

The American jury would have given you: 8 points, but then this is the same jury that voted for Belarusian naked wolf holograms.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Nov 14, 2017 around 03:28

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Taciturn Tactician posted:

In and the cowl does not make the monk

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. And I'm in for the one-armed man challenge.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Awesome crits Kai!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

flerp posted:

I will get my crits out for the first prompt by the end of this week.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


it turns out im a liar

crits for megabrawl will be posted by tomorrow, 11:59pm PST

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Dragon Week BONUS CRITS - Week 263

Sitting Here posted:

Threefold Law
Gnaja-Kir’s motivation was nice, and felt like a good character. I like how the poem grows with the story. Since the strength of Hnuin and Tehun’s love is what breaks the curse, I think we need some other hints of their relationship and why their bond is so strong, and a more powerful reason Hnuin needs to leave, since I wasn’t clear on why Hnuin needed to kill the dragon in order to give Tehun a good life. That would give their reunion more power.

Uranium Phoenix posted:

Force of Nature
trash

Obviously the typos and formatting errors detract from the story. It also explains a whole lot about things that don’t really matter. For example, does the nature of the spire, the cave network beneath, or the big door really end up mattering to the story? As they ascend towards a big bad dragon, there’s a distinct lack of tension. Then, the dragon gets on his soapbox and tells them people are the real monsters, and feudalism is bad. A story should have a message, but it needs to be a part of the story, not delivered via monologue. I’d also work on the combat, which currently reads like the checklist a Dungeon Master uses to make sure he rolled all the attacks of the chromatic dragon attacking the party. Again, there’s no tension in this fight. Finally, I can’t make sense of the ending. It’s supposed to be some sort of lesson for Amir about wealth, but the story isn’t properly set up for it, and the dragon’s actions seem nonsensical.

The time and setting shift in your story is jarring. It seems like Sayyid shouldn’t know what a car is since he’s never moved as fast as one travels, yet he calls out to stop it. The speech of the characters isn’t consistent; Sayyid’s is stilted, not using contractions, but then Bilal’s, who was casual enough to drop the f-bomb, doesn’t feel right having the same stilted speech (e.g. “there are some who…” and “Very Well. Be here tomorrow at midday”). In the end, I’m not sure what the hell is going on with the setting since it has archaic and modern dialogue, archaic and modern technologies (gold coins contrasted with cars and skyscrapers). It seems like Bilal is the dragon in disguise, but it’s not entirely clear. The kiss comes out of nowhere. Sayyid’s journey in the city doesn’t really seem all that purposeful. Somehow, he succeeded, the story implies, but it’s hard to say how. Basically, there’s a lot of seemingly disconnected events in the story.

Okua posted:

The Trick
Calla and the main character are established early on with the buying water with real coin versus an illusionary one. A setting quibble: seems like with this amount of drought, there should be no grass on the plain. The story clearly sets itself up and knows where it’s going. There’s some parts of prose you want to change (“It disappeared. It died.” –not a great climactic end for a dragon). It seems like Calla didn’t necessarily need to cast the illusion to trick the narrator, and his reaction is rather meager for something apparently so important to him.

Thranguy posted:

Monsters, And Nothing Besides
A few typos distract (Akane/Akene, missing commas, Tkole/Nkole). They’re part of a pattern of sloppiness; the story is loose and meanders in places. There’s a bit of setting and character bloat. How necessary is the introduction of Sivan and Erusk, for example? The subplot of Kas’s prejudiced people is not really addressed, but the start of the story puts it up front. Neither do the brothers seems to matter at all. The trick of dissolving the cursed gold is fine, but that whole cursed gold part of the story is such a small fragment, it doesn’t seem like the important part. The ending is just unsatisfying, because it doesn’t actually resolve any of the problems the Vella face, nor the city of Kas, nor the brother’s plight—anything at all, really.

ThirdEmperor posted:

If We Don't Die We'll Likely Live
The story does a good job using interesting prose (lay still for a beetle’s age; shadows sharpened into warriors; cloaks of living sedge) to develop a strong setting. Tochtli being set up as a necessary liar early on is continued as a theme; lies are necessary to preserve hope, sometimes. The continued strong visuals (sorcerer’s jaguar soul did not look back) continue, and establish a horror feel to the story (wings twisted and tugged until there was no choice…; stumbling on graceless scorpion legs…). The conversation with the dragon intrigues, because either the dragon has divined knowledge, or actually knows Tochtli. The dragon bringing corpses for him to tell stories about (good ones, on pain of death--haha) evokes Arabian Nights, and then we have our ambiguous ending. It’s not clear if our liar (apparently a sorcerer too—this is presented as a revelation, since it’s not mentioned prior and seems important), will live even if he makes it through the night, but the fact that he tries tells us about him. Well, or he’s trying to maintain until dawn so his spirit can escape, since the dragon appears to consume ghosts, or maybe he’s becoming a dragon, since he gets his own chaotic flapping wing at the end. I’m not convinced this is the best way to end the story, but it works.

The first time I read this story, I felt like parts of it were hard to follow. The big places, I think, are the nature of the mysterious monsters they fight, the dragon knowing Tochtli’s reputation, the nature of the dragon (and how he just kinda… shows up), and the ending. Having read it several times, the structure is easier to see, and it seems like the ending invokes themes of purposelessness (paralleling the rapid transition from scouting to fields of dead that died without purpose; the dragon also comments on this) and resilience (lies to preserve hope/survival) and so is a key part of the story. I don’t know exactly what you intended, but I find myself picking out new details and possible themes with new reads. I’m not sure what the best way to go about revising this story is; I feel like it needs a pass or two to really shine, but the fact that I can already find so much in it speaks to a depth not common in TD stories.

Jay W. Friks posted:

F.D.D (#1037)
Shaman gets mad the dragon that created the universe peaced out, so he forsakes the creator dragon and allies with his son to erase his name and do stuff. The story is about abandonment and creation. This is all telegraphed without subtlety. I feel like that this story needs the shaman to have a more personal connection or stake for the abandonment parts to feel impactful. Instead of telling us his medicine stopped being ineffective, show us the suffering that he’s suddenly powerless to prevent, and his horror on finding that his life’s dedication amounted to nothing to the dragon-god he worshiped. Without more vivid connection and strong moments, the story slides off me without much effect.

sebmojo posted:

I will balance the moon upon my finger and spin it like a ball
This is quite a different story that most this week, about a kid who gets taken on adventures by a playful dragon. It’s about childhood curiosity and imagination versus, hm, like responsibility and maturity I guess. It’s got some interesting language (dragon sighed like a chimney blocked by a birds nest). It’s a fun little story.

Wizgot posted:

The bards will sing
You try and go with a hard hook that puts us right in this battle, but it doesn’t work well because I don’t know what the hell is happening because there’s no setting or description that can point me to what the combatants look like. You finally get around to describing the snake he’s fighting as a diamondback. Then, we get that he was some underdog people laughed at, but I have no context. The story just leaps into the court with no transition or timeframe. It’s implied Tip isn’t human (referring to “the jeers of the humans”), but whoops, I still don’t know what the hell he looks like. “Pup” might refer to dog-person, but it’s only the fifth paragraph that he’s called a mouse (and that can be missed as an analogy). That’s the two big things I’ll leave you with: Work on setting up your scenes with specific details, then work on transitioning between scenes smoothly. As it is, the story rapidly jumps around in time and place in an unstructured manner.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


MEGABRAWL round 1 crits

Bad Seafood

What worked: Your voice is good. Your protagonist is suitably unlikeable.

What didn’t work: I’m not a particular big fan of your prose, at times. I think it gets a little in the way of the story sometimes, where it becomes tedious to read at moments.

I don’t think the story itself is that good. It’s just, I felt like I was wanting more. You were low on the word count, and I’m left feeling like I’m missing something. A slave owner gets shot, but I feel like I’m missing supposed

Overall: This feels slight. It’s a nice little moment, but I don’t feel like it builds up to anything bigger. I’m not quite sure if I’m supposed to get anything bigger out of this. And regardless, I don’t think this moment is strong on its own. Slave owner kicks one of his slave, slave shoots the slave owner. That situation doesn’t feel strong enough on its own that I don’t feel like I got much out of this story.

Fleta Mcgurn

What worked: N/A

What didn’t work: You didn’t write in second person.

Overall: I’ll be straight up here, this story is dull as gently caress. Some of the parallels at the beginning and end are cute, but I just can’t muster up a reason to care. The relationship isn’t engaging, the twist isn’t interesting, the prose is so cardboard that there’s nothing for me to latch onto here. My eyes just glance along the words until I get to the end. I don’t get why I should care about either of this people. This might’ve beaten Seafood’s, though, except you didn’t write in second person.

Sitting Here

What worked: Your protagonist and the weird stuff in it. I don’t why the guy had to eat people or why eating people gave the dude dreams, but it worked. It was interesting. It was engaging.

Your prose, also, was noticeably good. It was one of the reasons why this story stood out above UP’s.

What didn’t work: Your antagonist. I just, I really disliked how you did him. I didn’t like how he was some magical entity, like the representation of war. It reminded me of the new Wonder Woman movie except this is supposed to be a bit more emotional and then we have this guy being like “I’m war and I’m eating an apple and you’re just a cog in the wheel.” It felt trope-y, but also just lame. Why is war wasting his time with some random dude eating people on a battlefield? Why does he care so much that he goes ahead and talks to him?

Your magical bullshit and the corpse eating, while engaging on a base level, doesn’t matter in the slightest. Your protagonist didn’t need to eat dudes, nor did he need to get their dreams. Those two things barely come up, and they don’t have much impact on the story. They were a neat idea, but they’re window dressing in this story.

Overall: This is a story that works on the first read through where you nod your head along, but when you get into the details, it starts to fall apart. Your protagonist, too, wasn’t especially unlikeable. Cannibalism is bad, but idk, I never hated this dude. Maybe I’m just hosed in the head. The primary reason this won was because of its prose and its ability to engage.

Uranium Phoenix

What worked: Your protagonist. Specifically, his voice. While it might’ve been laid on a bit too thick at moments, it still worked. He is unlikeable, and in retrospect, we can say he’s an idiot, but I believed him. I thought what he did made sense. Maybe not good or smart, but believable, and that’s what really mattered.

Your climax. The moment where he takes the swig works. If it didn’t, this story wouldn’t have landed whatsoever. It made sense, had that dramatic irony that we knew “well, he hosed up there,” but it worked right. If that moment failed, this story would’ve easily lost. It still lost tho but not as badly i guess.

What didn’t work: Way too much talking. The story itself is too dull, I think. It’s interesting from a personal perspective, as a biologist and all that, but like, I can’t imagine somebody reading this who doesn’t care about the Germ Theory and being especially engaged. I mean, I’m interested in that and still, I found myself bored most of the way through.

I didn’t like the ending. It rushed through multiple years, and not really for anything. It was just like “friendship is back now “ but the impact of that is lost because it’s given all in summary. We don’t actually get to see the friendship be restored, we’re told that it is.

Overall: This is decent. That’s the issue, though. It’s okay, but doesn’t quite excel anywhere. There’s not enough interest in this story, and I would’ve liked to have seen more time spent on the regrowth of their friendship, if anything.

crabrock

What worked: Your voice was good. It was fun, and I liked the idea of the zeal of the people being somehow transmitted into the machines they used as well. It was engaging enough to keep me reading.

The prose was good, as well.

What didn’t work: The plot itself felt slight. Train runs over some buffalos, then gets chased by Indians, and then train crashes. RIP train. There’s not much else to it, now is there?

Overall: This is a story that relies on its voice to carry it, and while it does, whenever I read this story, I always have the same feeling. What’s the drat point? Ok, cool, a train likes running over buffalo, but I can’t glean any more meaning besides death train. I wanted more out of this because I really wanted to like this. The voice and prose is good, but then, what’s the loving point? Who knows. It feels like a gilded coin, nice to look out, but when you look deeper, it’s cheap and worthless.

Solitair

What worked: Your character’s voice was well done, and the moment when your protagonist shot that dude, that was great.

What didn’t work: Too much exposition. Way too much. You needed to heavily cut most of that.

Overall: When I first read this story, I had this matchup blank. That was because I wanted to like your story more than I actually did and I wanted to dislike crab’s more than I actually did. But when I reread this, I realized, there’s no possible way I can give you the win. There is a mountain of exposition, and most of it is just not that very interesting. Research is fine, but take the moments that are the most interesting and make them into your story. All of this is done in the retrospect. You needed to have this story actually take place in a moment -- where it be in the trial like your first line suggested, or in some other moment. With your character just recounting what’s going on, it’s hard to be engaged. We aren’t actually there, in the heat of the moment. Put us there. Still, I found myself oddly engaged to this story. I don’t like political stories, myself, but I think the narrator’s voice and what was going on was interesting (and when the shooting took place, that made me perk up in my seat, it was a good moment). I wanted this to work, but it really didn’t.

Sebmojo

What worked: N/A


What didn’t work: N/A

Overall: I’m not gonna bother with the what worked/didn’t with this story, because this one of those stories that is quite ok. The issue is that none of it really excels. I don’t think your protagonist is really unlikeable. He seems more like a clutzy dope, which is fine I guess. And I’m a bigger fan of this kind of rom-com situations than most i think, but this story has the traditional formula -- guy meets girl, girl doesnt like him, something happens, girl likes him. The issue is the story doesn’t do anything with the formula. No subversions or changes, so I felt like I’ve read this story a hundred times over. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t stick out in any way.

Jitzu_The_Monk

What worked: The first two paragraphs were great. They set the tone fantastically and made me smile.

I really liked how you did Pamela’s actions near the end. It was really nicely done, mostly because it just had her shrug and go back to bed and left the implications for the reader to determine on their own.

The tone and energy of this piece was great and fun.

What didn’t work: I really did not like the ending, mostly because it was all “there’s gonna be a sequel!!!” maybe a stronger conclusion would’ve helped.

Overall: This a standout story of the week, imo. It’s not a particularly unique trope or anything, but the way it’s written is what makes it excel. It’s fun, but not light, if that makes sense. A lot of times, when people write “fun” stuff, there’s a lack of impact, which this story is able to maintain. The characters care about what’s happening instead of being irreverent. The prose might be a little overdone at moments, but I think it works well for the most part. It really does feel like a kid doing these things. And when Pamela just shrugs and walks away is a great way of doing the climax. So, idk, I really enjoyed this story.

Tyrannosaurus

What worked: The ending worked. I liked where it ended, as well. It left the space for the reader to decide what happens. Does the protagonist change? Or does he buckle down and get even more pissed? Who knows, but I like it nonetheless. It ends at the perfect spot to let the reader decide.

What didn’t work: Nothing stood out as awful.

Overall: I’m not sure how I feel about this one exactly. It’s a perfectly adequate story, with not a lot of problems, but when I think back to this story, nothing stands out. There’s nothing memorable or particularly engaging with this. I think it might’ve spent too much time on the fight when the fight itself is not too interesting. Probably too many scene breaks, as well. I think you did well in making your unlikeable narrator sympathetic in their own kind of way. But I don’t find the fighting to be all that interesting, and the context around the fighting is decent, but I’m left thinking not a lot of really interested me. It’s not a bad story, but it’s one where it kind of just exists, without quite pulling me in deeply. And I’m not sure what it is. The fighting isn’t all that interesting, and the interesting bits about the characters come in a bit too late. Perhaps having some more information about Rubal or the narrator before the fight could be more interesting, or more focus on the aftermath of the fight.

Beef Supreme:

What worked: N/A

What didn’t work: N/A

Overall: Not gonna bother with the worked/didn’t work because this isn’t a story. This is an intro. Nothing happens. We learn that the narrator ruined a character’s life, and now that character is hiring the narrator to ruin someone else’s life. It’s not bad, and the ideas surrounding it could make for a good story, but the difference is that it COULD make a good story. Right now, it’s nothing. Nobody changes, nothing really changes. Nothing is gained from this. I want to know what happens afterwards. I want to see what this does, to both characters, but I don’t get anything. I’m left feeling blank. And even though Trex’s story wasn’t that great, I couldn’t award a win to somebody who didn’t write a story. My advice is solely this: finish your story.

Muffin

What worked: Your prose was good, like usual.

The opening is very effective.

What didn’t work: Oh god, some of the tonal shifts in this was so bad. I couldn’t tell if you were trying to be funny or what. Like this line, idk

quote:

“Neigh,” you said. “Neigh, so goes the horse, as is its way. The horse, like you, is dead. See, it’s not so bad? The nice horse died too. If you come with me, you can have the nice horse. Neigh.”

When I read this I was just like wtf. I can’t tell if you’re trying to be actually funny or like “death is so disconnected he thinks this is a good way to talk to a kid” or what. But it doesn’t work. It is so jarring it takes me out of the story completely, especially given how good your opening was. The issue is that your opening is full of melancholy. When this comes up, this breaks up the tonality of it. Even if it’s supposed to be unsettling or not funny, it clashes with the dramatic tone of the beginning. Oh and then the horse is not even right like what the gently caress???? I don’t know what you were thinking with this bit but it isnt funny and fits into this story like a square block going into a circle hole.

Death being personified, idk man, that’s been done a million times over and so when I saw it, I just rolled my eyes.

Overall: This is one of those mood pieces, I’d say. And it’s effective when you decide to keep the tone consistent. But the tonal shifts are so jarring, so bizarre, that it drives me completely out of the story. I understand that sometimes fusing together humor and sadness can be effective, but the humor doesn’t land because the humor that is done doesn’t mesh with the tone otherwise set in the rest of the story.

Chili:

What worked: I don’t know, really.

What didn’t work: The “it was all a dream :O “ Sure there was some impact of the dream because it had some consequences but idk, it was still stupid.

The long fight scene with a gravel monster. Like, what?

Overall: This was boring. I had no reason to care about the protagonist. Unlikeable doesn’t mean uninteresting, and that’s what your character was. The fight scene with the gravel monster was weird, not really because of the monster, but the prose. None of it really made sense, which I mean, it’s all a dream yadayada, but like, I just didn’t give a poo poo. I had no reason to be interested in what’s going on with the story. There’s a boxer who cheats and then he fights a gravel monster BUT IT WAS A DREAM and now he has gravel in his face. Idgi. and there was nothing interesting in besides the monster but like the monster just kinda sat there and wasn’t really menacing or interesting.

Oh yeah and your story suffers from the classic “cut your first paragraph” syndrome.

Aesclepia

What worked: Eh, not a lot.

What didn’t work: You didn’t write in second person.

You picked the wrong character to make your narrator. Your narrator doesn’t do anything. He observes. Readers want to be a part of the action, but we aren’t able to because you gives us a character who can only listen to a guy who actually does things.

Overall: Honestly, this was pretty classic newbie stuff, maybe even a bit better than the usual newbie entry. The main issue is that the story isn’t very interesting. The contempt the narrator has for the other character doesn’t make any sense. There’s a lot of dialogue, but a lot of it is not very interesting or engaging. All of the stuff that might actually be interesting or cause character development is with the person we don’t get to see. Instead, we see a boring innkeeper complain.

Djeser

What worked: I liked the narrator

What didn’t work: The story itself isn’t really that interesting.

Overall: I think this is one of those stories where I felt like you, the writer, was more interested in this stuff than me. Also, this isnt really second person, but more second person than Aesclepia’s. The issue is that the story isnt really there. It’s more a person telling somebody what they will do, and it lacks that kind of immediate energy of actually seeing the action be done. I kind of like the idea of a pharaoh waging war and doing things not out of some divine destiny or w/e. And I like the mystery of the narrator and who he is. But i think by only telling us what will happen muddies the story. It makes it harder to be invested in what’s going on. I wish i could’ve at least seen some bits of him fulfilling the prophecy or destiny or w/e. It’s just not all that interesting from a story/action standpoint, even though I do like the tone and conceit of the piece.

Thranguy

I’ll be fair and say I didn’t read this until i had to do crits because I’m lazy. I can see what you’re trying to do here, but it doesn’t quite land. I think the issue is that we don’t ever get to see the kid. We only have the narrator to despair in his mind, but I think we got some external persence, from the town or the kid or anybody else, this would add some extra depth to the story. I also feel that the backstory of the narrator isnt needed in the exacting detail you gave. We just need to know he was a bad guy, became a sherrif, now he’s gotta hang a kid that he doesnt want to kill. I feel that without going outside of the narrator, we aren’t able to see any more nuisance. I wish we could’ve seen more of why these people want to kill the kid (even if it’s just bloodlust), what the kid feels or says, or just had something outside of the narrator. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t have the impact it’s trying to make. It’s supposed to be a tragedy, but it doesn’t feel that tragic, perhaps because we don’t know the kid and thus can’t feel a significant amount of remorse for him when he dies.

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Benny Profane
Feb 23, 2012



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Benny Profane fucked around with this message at Sep 9, 2017 around 04:12

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