Friday, November 20, 2020

Plagg Appreciation Day (A Belated Post)

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So, uh, well then. I- uh- I had every intention of posting a blog update last Friday, exactly as I said I would in my previous blog update. I woke up the morning of the 13th with a timeline planned out for publishing my post. I had spent the better part of the week mentally plotting out what I wanted to say and everything. 

Then Friday got away from me. I'll get into why later. Bummed and not-so-lowkey mad at myself for missing my blog update when I had it actually planned out, I became determined to work on the post on Saturday instead. Then I felt under the weather and spent the day curled up in a ball on the couch. SUNDAY! SUNDAY I WOULD PUBLISH! Sundays are my short work days, so I had late afternoon and all evening to work on- Oh, I ended up passing out after work; still drained from Saturday.

MONDAY! I actually did write a large portion of this blog update on Monday, but the day got away from me again and I wasn't able to finish in time to actually publish on Monday. Okay, it's mostly done anyway, and Tuesdays ARE my normal update day; I could publish then. Nope. Yet another day that got away from me. Stupid, slippery time.
Wednesday was just too packed of a day to even bother trying to finish this post, so that was when I just waved the white flag. I would end up missing a week again and just post what I had written thus far today.

Which really bums me out because I actually had some exciting news last Friday! I really didn't want to wait a week to tell you guys - most of you probably already know by now anyway - but, I guess wait-a-week is what I had to do in the long run. Either way, for those of you that might not know...

I WROTE SOMETHING! LIKE, SIGNIFICANT SOMETHING!
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Aside from this blog, I haven't written anything significant since March! This is probably one of my longest writing dry spells since I started recreationally writing again in 2010! A decade! I've written SOMETHING with more consistency than this year for a decade! No wonder I've been in such a funk all year.

Screw 2020 already!

Let's get back to happy thoughts though: I wrote something! Last Friday was the 13th, which, most of you should know by now, is also a little fandom holiday I am championing: Plagg Appreciation Day. See, despite Plagg being Chat Noir's kwami - the main companion to the deuteragonist Chat Noir/Adrien Agreste - he actually gets surprisingly little screen time. Also, in fanfiction, neither kwami truly gets showcased all that often, but when they do, it's usually the relationship between Marinette and Tikki. Not that they don't deserve to be showcased or their bond get the love they've been shown, but where's the love for Plagg?

Since Plagg is probably one of my favorite characters, I wanted to champion for a time where we just focus on this little black cat being of bad luck and destruction. What better day to celebrate a black cat and a being of bad luck than on the superstitiously unluckiest day? Thus Friday the 13th being Plagg Appreciation Day was born. As its main (and probably only) promoter, I felt silly if I, of all people, missed it. Especially when the last Plagg-centric story I wrote - which also happened to be the last thing I wrote, period - concluded with me telling everyone "Catch you guys in November for the next Friday 13th!"

Maybe I cursed myself to not write anything in the interim by wording it like that.... Either way, I do find it amusingly appropriate that my writing dry spell was bookended by Plagg-centric stories. 
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I spent this whole year with "Plagg Appreciation Day is coming up in November" bouncing around in the back of my mind. I spent the greater part of October trying to brainstorm ANYTHING for it. I'm just having a harder and harder time coming up with Plagg-centric plots. I should probably start brainstorming again now for the next Plagg Appreciation Day. I only have until August to figure out my next story.

As for this story? Well, my biggest issue was that the stories I came up with all started off as Plagg-centric, but always ended up evolving to be more about Love Square character and relationship growth. Even the concept I ended up going with became more Love Square focused in my initial plotting, and I had to really rein it in. I'll get into that more in a moment.

Before I do, I want to acknowledge that there was an unexpected bonus to, well... everything with regards to last Friday. For one, the date being Friday the 13th unofficially forced me to "just suck it up and write already," to make sure I had SOMETHING posted on the date. No more hiding in the corner and sobbing about my inability to write anything. I "had" to write something for this date. I had promised my readers that I would, and I couldn't disappoint you fine folks. 

I know, I know. I should write for ME; not YOU. My mindset of writing for YOU is what gets me into my depressive spells when my stories don't get the recognition as other fanfics out there. However, if I'm only going to be disappointing myself if I don't write a story, I can live with that. Not wanting to disappoint you beautiful people by not writing is what truly motivates me. It's what keeps me wrestling with One and the Same instead of just junking the whole thing and leaving Peeping Tomcat as a solo project. Yes, I know that if the story just isn't working I SHOULD junk the whole thing, but parts ARE working and I'm DETERMINED to wrestle this thing into submission. For you, dear readers.

So, when it comes to WHAT I write; I write for myself, as many writers advise. However, when it comes to WHY I write; that's a nice 60/40 split between "to not disappoint my readers" and "because I'm not myself if I'm not writing". You guys take the 60%, just FYI. Which leads me to this super huge thank you for supporting me, loving what I do, and motivating me to keep going.

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The other benefit of unofficial Plagg Appreciation Day pushing me to write, and, oddly enough, my inability to actually FOCUS on Plagg as the star of my story ideas? Well, I had to just keep brainstorming, now didn't I? It'd be one thing if I realized I had to write a Plagg-centric story, and instantly thought of a plot that would work. I'd be less stressed, sure, but I also wouldn't have any motivation to KEEP coming up with ideas. I already found one.

Plagg constantly drifting into the background of stories that were supposed to showcase him forced me to keep trying. In the meantime, I ended up finding quite a few new plot bunnies. I have myself a happy little fluffy farm again. Which means my list of Miraculous Ladybug WIPs and plot bunnies has now increased into:

  1. One and the Same - Yes, as I mentioned, I am still periodically working on this oh-so-stubborn sequel to Peeping Tomcat. I am DETERMINED to get this sequel out for my amazing readers. If nothing else, I have three or four really great bits that I'm desperate to share, and they need the context of the whole story for them to be as impactful as I hope they are.
  2. I Don't Care - My vision of what the Gabriel Agreste and Emilie Graham de Vanily romance was like leading up to Emilie's "disappearance" just before the show's start. It's a story I'm not actively working on, but I'm happily adding to it whenever I'm inspired. For a couple of months now - thanks to listening to both "Say You Won't Let Go" by James Arthur and "2AM" by MK, featuring Carla Monroe - I've been mentally working on a chapter based on the first time Emilie asked Gabriel to spend the night. I feel I really need to figure out their first official date before I get to a potential "sleep over" chapter, though. So I'm sticking a pin in that. I'd also gladly welcome first date ideas if any of you have suggestions.
  3. See Through My Eyes - Similar to my story Prescription for Love being my way of filling in the "off-screen" scenes in the episode "Backwarder," I want to write a companion for the New York special. The aim would be to show "missing" scenes (scenes that would help with character growth, but wouldn't necessarily help with plot progression, which is probably why they weren't written into the special), as well as scenes from other character POVs to better showcase what I interpreted as unspoken subtext in the special. A way to kind of explain it better to those who were a bit salty about how some characters/scenes were written. (Also, this is just a working title, so it might change)
  4. When Love Matters - A rewriting of the entire series where but one thing is changed: Gabriel Agreste is actually a loving and attentive father. There are still some episodes where the inciting incident is hard to rework using this premise - ones like "Chat Blanc" for instance - so this project is way on the back burner, but I've been periodically playing with it in the back of my mind since 2018.
  5. Untitled AU ending for the New York Special - This is kinda-sorta the story I ended up writing for the 13th, but here I'm talking about the initial version that evolved to be more about Adrien and Marinette than about Plagg. I'll go into more detail below, I promise.
  6. Untitled story making the original anime-stylized concept of Miraculous Ladybug canon compliant - it's a bit involved, so I'll go into more detail next week, but the long and short is that the reason "Plagg" and "Tikki" look different in the anime concept art is because they are actually "clones" of the real kwamis Adrien and Marinette are partnered with. I got the idea when watching One Piece and was told about the existence of Smile Fruit. This would be a bit of a long project as well.
  7. Untitled potential collab with Taurus Pixie inspired by the episode "Backwarder" - Specifically, we had talked way back in early 2019 about how cool it would be to delve further into Fu's and Marianne's relationship, and what Fu did between the disappearance of the monastery and WWII. Mainly, why is it the Nazis are implied to have known about Fu, the Miracle Box, and the Miraculous?
I think that's all of them. Most of those plunnies are going to be large, multichapter projects, so.... yeah, it will be some time before I get any/all cranked out. The farm is getting pretty full though, and I guess that's a good thing.
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Circling back to the story I DID write though. Based on what I noted above for Plot Bunny #5, you can probably guess that it will contain spoilers for the Miraculous World: New York, United Heroez special, aka the ML NY special. So....
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For those who don't know the special, but don't care about spoilers, or for those that might need a refresher, here's the basic synopsis.

New York City is hosting a French-American friendship week in honor of Washington's friendship with Lafayette, and Marinette's class is invited to join in on the celebration. One of the museum exhibitions showcased during the celebration is a collection of Washington and Lafayette artifacts, which unknowningly includes a Miraculous. Discovering this potential Miraculous in NYC, Gabriel Agreste decides to go as Hawk Moth to steal it. Initially, Adrien wasn't going to be allowed to go to NYC. However, after Marinette asked Gabriel to let Adrien go, and the man realized it's a golden opportunity to sneak to NYC without his son noticing his disappearance, Adrien was told he's going on the trip. Problem there, though, was that Ladybug had already informed Chat Noir that she'd be leaving Paris for a few days, and entrusted the city's protection to him. Adrien tries to let Ladybug know that he suddenly won't be in town either, but Plagg convinces him that it would only cause her to needlessly worry. Adrien can check the akuma alerts on his phone to see if Paris is in danger, and if there is an attack he can fly back to Paris using a new power upgrade.

On the way into the NYC airport the plane is attacked by supervillain Techno-Pirate (who later becomes akumatized by Hawk Moth into Techlonizer). The plane and passengers are saved by the American superhero team of Majestia (a combo of Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Carol Danvers' Captain Marvel), her android daughter Uncanny Valley, and the duo of Knight Owl and Sparrow (homage to Batman and Robin). After safely landing and their class meeting up with the American students, Marinette and Adrien befriend Jess and Aeon. The next day, while the classes are visiting the museum, Techlonizer attacks. Aeon and Jess secretly transform into Uncanny Valley and Sparrow, but they are no match for the added magical power upgrades of an akuma, forcing Adrien and Marinette to transform for the assist. Chat Noir and Ladybug are both surprised to see the other in NYC; causing a rift between them as Ladybug worries about Paris, which is under attack by a Sentimonster while the duo is battling Techlonizer. With the teen superheroes occupied with Techlonizer, Hawk Moth manages to steal the Eagle Miraculous from the museum exhibit.

During the battle, Chat Noir powers up his Cataclysm to attack Techlonizer, but can't find a clear shot as he's focused on protecting Sparrow from the villain's attacks. Meanwhile, Ladybug is protecting Uncanny Valley and trying to figure out her Lucky Charm. LadyNoir have their normal back and forth about Ladybug coming up with a plan, and she makes a snide comment about not trusting Chat Noir anymore since he broke his promise to stay and protect Paris. Startled by Ladybug's words, Chat Noir drops his guard and is instantly thrown by Techlonizer; aimed straight for Ladybug, Cataclysm first. Uncanny Valley steps in the way and is destroyed by Chat Noir's power instead. Majestia, sensing her daughter's demise (or something like that?), rushes to the scene and pummels Techlonizer. As Majestia mourns, Ladybug uses her Lucky Charm to restore the city and Uncanny Valley. While no permanent harm was done, Chat Noir is still stricken with guilt, and Knight Owl demands the Parisian superheroes relinquish their powers while in the US. Ladybug refuses, and she and Chat Noir run from Knight Owl.

Safely hidden, LadyNoir discover the Sentimonster vanished from Paris, meaning any and all destruction to their home city is now permanent; Ladybug can no longer repair it with a Lucky Charm. Feeling even more guilt, Adrien, out of sight from Marinette, renounces Plagg and his possession of the Cat Ring. He then sprints off before Ladybug can stop him. 

Both Marinette and Adrien then separately wander the rainy and empty streets of New York; the city is on lockdown since Techlonizer was still at large. As the teens return to the hotel their class is staying at, Gabriel sends a car to pick up Adrien, declaring the trip too dangerous and demanding he takes a private jet home ASAP. Adrien turns to Marinette in hopes she'll convince him and his father that Adrien should stay, but she's too distraught over Chat Noir and remains silent. After Adrien drives off Alya yells at Marinette for not saying anything in Adrien's time of need, and Marinette runs after the car. She can't catch up, however, and, even more defeated, continues to wander the city alone.

Meanwhile, Techlonizer - now Miraclonizer after Hawk Moth gave him the Eagle Miraculous - uses his Miraculous power to remove the moral inhibitions of the adult superheroes, causing them to run amok within the city. This gives Miraclonizer and Hawk Moth free rein to hold the whole world hostage as there are no superheroes left to stop them, and Miraclonizer gained control over American missiles; readying them to launch. The city's - and world's - only hope is Uncanny Valley, Sparrow, Ladybug, and Chat Noir. Uncanny confesses that her robotic brain was able to see through the magic that normally conceals Ladybug's and Chat Noir's identities, so she knows exactly who to look for, and flies off in search of Marinette. Meanwhile, Sparrow tries to negate as much damage caused by the superheroes as possible. 

Uncanny Valley finds Marinette alone, lets her know that she knows Marinette is Ladybug, and asks for her assistance. Marinette laments the loss of her partner and admits she doesn't think she can be Ladybug without him. Uncanny offers to return Chat Noir's ring to him. She then flies off and breaks into the private jet flying Adrien home. She offers the Cat Ring back to him, but he refuses to accept it, stating that there was no way Ladybug could forgive him. Uncanny plays an audio recording of Marinette stating she couldn't imagine being Ladybug without her Chat Noir; convincing Adrien to take on the mantle again. Uncanny and Chat Noir then meet up with Sparrow and Ladybug.

Ladybug comes up with a plan to get the Miraculous away from Miraclonizer, return the adult superheroes to their senses, and then collectively take down Techlonizer so she can cleanse the akuma. The plan goes off without a hitch, and in the process Ladybug gives control of the Eagle Miraculous to Sparrow. After defeating Techlonizer, and restoring both the superheroes and New York City, Majestia and Knight Owl apologize for being so harsh with Ladybug and Chat Noir earlier. Ladybug then leaves the Eagle Miraculous with Sparrow as its holder.

The Parisian superheroes promise to meet up again in Paris, and then Uncanny Valley and Chat Noir fly back to the plane so Adrien's absence isn't noticed. Marinette and her class close out the evening holding up a sign saying hi to Adrien during a news feed about Ladybug and Chat Noir saving New York; explaining why the superhero duo wasn't around to protect Paris. It's implied the Parisians don't mind the heavy cleanup to repair their city since they understand LadyNoir saving NYC instead.
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Okay, that was a lot, but it was also an hour-long special, so I feel I was able to condense that down fairly succinctly. Everything I included is fairly crucial for understanding both Plot Bunny #5 and what I actually wrote last Friday.

The main concept was birthed upon my sixth-or-so rewatch of the special. Uncanny Valley confesses to Marinette, "Your suit's quantum-masking is meant to confuse human minds, Ladybug. I am not human." This canonically explains why Uncanny could figure out Ladybug's and Chat Noir's identities (there are fans who have pointed out that this means Max's AI friend Markov must therefore also know who the superheroes truly are). This is all well and good, however, earlier in the special, when Techno-Pirate first shows up in his akumatized form Techlonizer, Aeon tries to scan him to better understand his new superpowers. Confused, she tells Jess that she can't get a proper read, "...as if magic were interfering with my scanning tools." 

Add in that Plagg reminds Adrien that kwamis can't be registered by technology when Uncanny Valley can't see or hear Plagg. Finally, sprinkle in Ladybug's comments to Lady Wifi from season 1 about the masks and costumes being magical. Tie them all together, and what if the magic that created the suits caused enough interference with Uncanny's scanning that she couldn't see who is hidden under the costumes after all? What if Uncanny Valley didn't know Marinette was Ladybug, and couldn't return the ring to Adrien because she also didn't know who Chat Noir was?

That was the initial jumping point for the Plagg Appreciation Day story. From there I wondered, "Plagg is the only one who knows that Adrien was Chat Noir, so what if it's actually Plagg who gets the ring back to the kid?" In the end, I more-or-less went with that concept for the story I posted on Friday. However, before I whittled back down to that idea, the plot ballooned. Plagg couldn't tell Marinette the name of his holder, and I'm not sure if the magic also restricts him from pointing to Adrien to mime to Marinette who Chat Noir was, so he couldn't get the ring back to Adrien that way. Instead, I had this whole plotline planned out where Tikki and Plagg work together to convince Marinette that Adrien would be a good "replacement" Chat Noir. In the end, Marinette agrees, Ladybug offers the ring to Adrien, he accepts, and the duo tearfully re-unite with Ladybug now knowing the identity of her partner. In return, she de-transforms so he knows who she is too. They no longer have any secrets between the two of them. Yay, happy ending!

Except, this is HEAVILY focused on Love Square and their dynamic instead of Plagg. It's also such an involved story that there was no way I would be able to write it in the one day I had left.

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OKAY! SPOILERS OVER NOW! YOU CAN START READING AGAIN IF YOU SKIPPED THE LAST PART!


For those who skipped that huge section up there, first of all, sorry to force you to scroll past a heavy portion of this post. The special is an hour long, so I had quite a bit to recap to make sure my story made sense for everyone interested in reading it. Secondly, the spoiler-free version of the above is that the story I posted on Friday is an alternate telling of the NY special's ending so that Plagg has more agency.

For those of you who don't care about spoilers, or who have seen the special already, you can find my story in my normal four haunts.

"I Need Him Back"
Word Count: 5,683
Rating: General Audiences
Since it's been up for a week now, might as well get into the stats of the thing.
FFN: 114 views, 7 favorites, 5 followers, and 4 reviews
AO3: 281 hits, 32 kudos, 2 bookmarks, and 3 comments
DA: 34 views and 4 favorites; no comments though

Total Results: 429 views, 43 faves, 7 followers, and 7 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 13 total - 11 likes and 2 reblogs

Reviews:
  1. *cries and applauds at the same time* beautiful. This broke my heart then repaired it again. This was amazing. I love it 
(from TLOS21)
  2. Love the bromance Plagg/Adrien. Beautiful story (from Kapel85)
  3. (one of Taurus Pixie's semi-lengthy reviews; please see below)
  4. Oh I love this! Especially with how it puts more of a spotlight on how Plagg could have had a bigger role in the resolution of the NY special. Because yeah, [REDACTED DUE TO SPOILERS INCLUDED IN THE REVIEW], and I just love him and Adrien loving and appreciating each other! Also Plagg confessing that he was the one who pushed Chat into not telling Ladybug he was leaving; that IS something he bears some responsibility for. (from Keyseeker)
  5. I absolutely squealed when I saw a story from you in my inbox. This made my month. Plagg is absolutely one of my favourite characters, and I think you did a grest job keeping him at the forefront of this story. (from MalcolmReynolds)
You may notice that my reviews count doesn't match with the number of reviews I actually shared here. Unfortunately, the first review I got on this story was just someone dumping salt all over Marinette and Tikki, and really had no relation to my story whatsoever. I wasn't about ready to perpetuate it by posting it here. The second missing review wasn't actually a review per se. I had replied to Keyseeker's review that, even with my rewrite of the special's ending, I still appreciated the ending we got and the thought the writers must have put into it. Someone else responded to that reply, and that is the 2nd missing "review."

As for Taurus Pixie's review:
 Taurus Pixie: Dude, I don't think you could ever come across as 'rusty'. You always write with the talent of a professional, so don't sweat it. Your work is always very clean, polished and awesome to read! I certainly squealed when I saw that you had published this fic! I can't believe you managed to write this high quality piece in such a short span of time! Rock on!

This was such a good idea! I knew it would turn out amazing since the moment you told me about it! You always manage to keep everyone so in character that it feels like I've slipped into a parallel universe where all of this was what really happened and that you're actually one of the show writers lol. It's always super interesting to see things from a kwami's point of view and you nailed it like always. It was super emotional, especially with the way that Adrien viewed himself. I also loved the call back to the Banananoir costume! Genius! Adrien has so kept that thing, there is no doubt in my mind!

Perfect work as always! I hereby proclaim you the parallel universe queen! Can't wait to see what more you have in store for the future (providing that 2020 finally decides to give us all a break at long last!). Take your time with everything and good luck!

Maki Natsuo from the anime Love Lab
created by Ruri Miyahara

Marinette from Miraculous Ladybug
created by Thomas Astruc
Oh, geez, you guys! You are all way too sweet. I- I can't-
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You are all far too kind to me. Also, two of you "squealed" when you saw that I posted? I mean, I know both of you are strong cheerleaders of mine, and I appreciate that about both of you so very very much, but... squealed!? You're amazing and I love you beyond words for that!
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Also, thank you, Pixie, for this one line in your review: "I can't believe you managed to write this high quality piece in such a short span of time!" I'm beginning to think that maybe writing nearly 6000 words, polishing it, and formatting it for 4 different website uploads within the span of about 12 hours is.... fast?? Not the normal pacing for most amateur writers?

And here I thought I was both going painfully slow and wasting my entire day off last week.

See, the reason last Friday "got away from me", as I mentioned at the top of this post, was because I did not intend for this story to take me the whole day to write. I started it at about 7:30 or 8 in the morning, or something like that. I had intended to have it written and published by about noon; maybe 1pm. It was a rare day that both Hubby and I had off together, so I had every intention of getting the story done, write the blog post promoting the story, get some grocery shopping and laundry done, maybe work on some much needed joint chores around the house - such as rotating our mattress and cleaning the windows - and then spend the evening snuggling and just enjoying having some time together.

Instead, it turned into leaving our bed early while he slept in. Writing until he brought me breakfast. Taking a quick break to share the meal with him, then back to writing. Another break for the two of us to watch the latest Oxventure live; something we rarely get to do because, being from the UK, their live streams tend to be late-morning/early-afternoon our time, and we're usually at work. The 2hr break was quickly followed by lunch and more writing. This time I hid in our bedroom so he could be in the living room and I wouldn't get distracted. I came back out of the bedroom as my laptop battery was about to die, so I guess I was in there for about 2 more hours. It felt like 45 minutes, honestly, and I was super grumpy about how bad my laptop battery is. I mean, 2hrs is still a sucky amount of time "in this day and age" but the laptop is also a few years old, so I'll give Grandpa here a break. Headphones in, music blasting (a bit too loud to properly concentrate, but it needed to be to drown out the TV...), I finished my story. Just in time to sprint to the laundromat before it would close, but also too late in the day for a standard weekly grocery shopping trip. Instead, I spent the time at the laundromat editing the story I spent the past 10 hours or so writing - minus the 2hr break to watch a session of D&D - and fighting with the new format over on DeviantArt. I probably should have poked my head onto that site at some point this year so I could have gotten used to the new format, but... meh? After fighting with DA for the 20-some minutes my laundry was in the wash, I threw my hands up and switched over to FFN instead. I mean, who reads my stuff over on DA anyway, right?

Well... apparently a surprisingly larger number than I give credit. Also, only a month-or-so ago I had someone comment on a story I wrote back in 2017 for my never-played Numenera character Jynna. A story I even forgot I wrote, and they said such sweet things about it: "Awesome story! I would love to see more. Your descriptions put me right in the setting, and I like the voice." So... that's cool.

Anyway, back to last Friday. Between formatting my story for FFN, AO3, and Tumblr - which in and of itself was a pain - gathering up my laundry, and then sprinting over to the grocery store before it closed for the bare essentials to tide us over...
I was not a happy camper by the time I got home at about 9:30 at night. Especially since I zipped out of the house the moment I was done writing my story, instead of, ya know, eating dinner first. Hubby fed me and hung up the clothes that need to be line-dried. Meanwhile, I tried to calm myself with some Animal Crossing to get my dailies in, and then I continued battling with Tumblr and DA. By the time I was finished publishing my story in my normal 4 spots, it was past midnight, and I was exhausted, and frustrated that I "wasted" the day instead of spending a rare joint-day-off with my husband, and mad that I didn't get the story up soon enough for people to actually read it on the 13th, and mad that I didn't get to my blog post when I had it all planned.

It was not a good day for time management, and I was already hormonal, so.... it was just not a good day.

Thank God for my husband, who was nothing but understanding and supportive and a wonderful caretaker last weekend.
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I don't think that image properly conveys my love for this man, but I think you guys get the idea.

Soooo, uh... yeah. So sorry I missed last week, but I do appreciate the love I've been showered with all week. I truly do.

I can't wait to chat with you guys again next week. I already have a head start talking about that 6th plot bunny, the one where the anime version of Miraculous Ladybug - aka Ladybug PV - becomes canon compliant. I'm actually late with publishing this post because I spent the last two hours working on my write up of that plot bunny before I realized this post is beyond epic as it is. So that got bumped.

Something to look forward to for next Friday, though, right?

In the meantime, for all of my American readers. I want to wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving. I know it's rough trying to decide how to celebrate and whether or not to be with your family. I simply wish you a healthy, safe, and loving holiday. I also wish for you to find the time to count all of your blessings. I know it's tough to find them with this year, but I promise you it does help to remember the good still left around you.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Seriously. Go Vote.

 

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Oh, hey, Americans! Guess what day it is. If you said "Election Day," you are correct, to the extent that today is therefore the FINAL day to vote if you haven't done so already. It doesn't matter if you think your candidate will win. Go vote. Hillary Clinton supporters back in 2016 assumed she was going to win and didn't vote, and we ended up with Donald Trump. So. Go. Vote.

Do you have a sense of doom because you suspect your area is largely voting for the other guy anyway, so why bother? STOP THAT! GO VOTE! Who knows? Texas was trending purple last week! TEXAS! The most Republican state known to this country! Go. Out. And. Vote. Do not assume you know how your fellow citizens are voting and do not assume your vote doesn't count. The fact that so many politicians are trying to suppress votes PROVES how important every single one is!

Besides, there is more to today's vote than just the presidency. Remember that the biggest changes come from LOCAL government, so be sure to go out and vote, and vote fully down ticket!

Are you concerned about potential COVID contamination? Good. Smart of you. Still go out and vote if you haven't already! Wear your mask. Put on gloves that you instantly remove once you're done. Bring hand sanitizer and/or wipes (although polling places should have those). Make sure to not touch your face until you can properly wash up. Bring your absentee ballot with you and hand deliver it. Ask for a paper ballot to fill out there with your own pen that you've brought with. Do what you need to in order to stay safe, BUT FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, GO VOTE!

Also also also, DO NOT LET ANYONE PREVENT YOU FROM VOTING! 

For more information, go to the website.
Here's a few more infographics I found over on Tumblr.



And one more from Facebook this time.
I double checked with Snopes.com, and this is completely true. So DO NOT let anyone take away your vote! The above image about the provisional ballot was accompanied with the below text. I was not able to verify this portion, and I do not know if it's only valid in New York state. On the chance that it is valid, I did want to pass the information along.
"If your name is not in the poll book, there might be a problem with your registration. Election inspectors in New York state are supposed to give voters two options:

1. Get a court order.
There are judges standing by on Election Day to hear cases like this immediately. If you present compelling evidence that you live where you live and ought to be able to vote on a machine, the court will order it so. Bring the paper copy of the court order which is signed by the judge into the polling site, an election inspector will give you a ballot as though your name were in the poll book. (I don't know any more details about this, so people should do their own research.)

2. Complete an affidavit ballot.
It's a ballot that looks just like the one you would put into a machine but instead of putting it into the machine, you put it into a special envelope. You have to fill out the envelope with all your personal information. (It's imperative that you sign the envelope!!) It will go down to the board of elections with all other vital election documents at the end of the day. The board of elections will then check all of your personal information, and if it is verified that you are who you say you are and you live where you live and you should have been able to cast your ballot, they will open the envelope and count your vote. If they cannot verify that information, your vote won't count. You will get a letter within three weeks (That timing might be different this year) saying whether or not your vote counted and, if not, why."

Information from a friend of a friend.
Also, remember that your job was supposed to give you ample time to go to the polls today when they scheduled you. If you do not have time allotted for voting, you have the right to leave work - make sure you inform your supervisor/boss what you're doing - to go vote. You are allotted x-hours of PAID time off work to vote. In my state it's 2hrs. Please check to see the regulations for your state. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE IN ORDER TO KEEP YOUR JOB OR AVOID LOSING PAID HOURS AT WORK.

If you are lacking transportation to your polling place, remember that Uber and Lyft are giving significant discounts for rides to and from the polls. Also, give a quick search to see if there's any free or low-cost public transportation you can use.
If nothing else, see if your friends and/or family can give you a ride.

Now, if you mailed in your vote, you should get a digital notification (via email or text) or a physical one via snail-mail to let you know your vote is counted. Please check, if you haven't done so already, if there is a way to track your ballot and confirm it is counted. If it is not, for any reason, you should get a notification alerting you of that as well, along with the reason your vote wasn't counted. PLEASE CHECK IN ON YOUR BALLOTS!

Along those lines, please remember that most of Biden's supporters seem to have voted early/mailed in their ballots as an attempt to mitigate the potential for COVID-19 contamination. Meanwhile, most of Trump's supporters seem to believe his rhetoric that mail-ins are rigged, and so they opted to wait to vote in person at the polls today. Because of this discrepancy in how the two sides decided to vote, the results we get tonight may not actually be the official, final votes. Assuming we get any sort of decision at all tonight. Please keep in mind that it may be a week or two before all the mail-in ballots are counted. The road ahead of us is going to be long and rough and November is NOT going to be a fun month. Please be patient, be understanding, and try to focus on your mental health and what you need to do for that.

I saw a post earlier today that suggested taking the evening to just cook. Prepare a big pot of soup or a casserole or something. Anything that will take some time, take your mind off of the election for a bit, and provide you with meals for the rest of the week so you don't have to focus on that.

Also, because I understand how stressful this time has been and will be, I want to remind everyone that there are helplines to call if you are struggling with your mental health and/or suicidal thoughts. Please try to reach out for help. Likewise, remember to reach out to your friends and family to check in on them. They might not have the strength to let you know they're struggling. We can get through this together if we look out for one another and know it's safe to lean on each other.

I'm sure there's a lot more I should let everyone know, but I'm a bit burnt out. Sorry, folks. Also, if you're not an American citizen, sorry you had to wade through all of that simply because, dear lord, our voting here is such a mess!

Anyway, I think that's all the major house cleaning I needed to do here. So, to reiterate to make sure everyone hears me:
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Hoooo-boy, that was a lot, wasn't it? Sadly, that's what's going to be taking up the majority of this blog post. Sorry again to any who have already voted, knew all of the above already, or isn't an American citizen. I'm sure this was a fun little read for you.
To be honest, not much else has gone on this week. I just wasn't feeling Halloween this year, which is SUUUCH a bummer, but, well, welcome to 2020, I guess. We didn't decorate our place. We didn't really watch any spooky or Halloween-themed movies. Most of the ones we usually watch as staples - Sweeney Todd, Little Shop of Horror, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Young Frankenstein, Blood & Chocolate, Rocky Horror Picture Show - we didn't even bother finding. We did get in Hocus Pocus though. Seemed appropriate, ya know, with the full moon on Halloween and all.

We did also start up the latest season of Lucifer on Netflix... does that count? I also watched I, Frankenstein. It's not the greatest movie, but it is a fun action flick, and the transition of the gargoyles between their human and stone forms is beautifully done. 

Didn't even watch really any of the spooky streams posted by OutsideXbox or Outside Xtra, so those are all still sitting in my YouTube notifications.... We DID, however, make sure to watch the Oxventures and the Among Us streams.

Speaking of, that's probably the closest to a "Halloween party" that we got. On Friday, during another of Ronoxym's Twitch streams, we played a few hours of Among Us once again. This time, Hubby and I convinced everyone to try out the Hide-and-Seek rules we learned.

For those who don't know this mod, I believe these are all of the rules we had enacted:

  1. There is only 1 impostor, who announces themselves to the other players so the crewmates know who to avoid. (Not that it mattered for me. A lot of my deaths were because I forgot who said they were the impostor and I ran right up to them...)
  2. The impostor can vent, but they cannot cause sabotages.
  3. No one reports bodies or calls for an emergency meeting. The crewmates simply attempt to avoid the imposter as they race to get their tasks done.
  4. The impostor's cone of vision is drastically diminished to hinder their ability to find the crewmates and kill them. The crewmates are also encouraged to announce where the impostor is as a means to warn the surviving crewmates.
  5. The dead crewmates are allowed to continue talking, but they CANNOT announce or otherwise warn where the impostor is. 

These modified rules to the game turns a social deduction game about finding a traitor into something more akin to an asymmetrical survivor-slasher-horror game such as Friday the 13th: The Game. I am WORLDS better at this version of the game. I don't have to worry about deducing anything or being deceptive. I just need to figure out routes to keep myself safe, strategize which tasks to do when to try to stay alive, or strategize the best way to sneak up on people (usually while they're doing long tasks or ones that take up their full screen) for the most effective killing spree. Plus, as the killer, I get to be SUUUUPER creepy in voice chat.

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A bit bummed that I only got to be the impostor 2x this go, and they were back-to-back on top of that. Oh well. Can't wait to see how much fun we manage this week; assuming we play again Friday night, which seems to be A Thing now....

So, that was Friday. On Saturday, we got a nice amount of trick-or-treaters at my work. It was great to see kids still enjoying the holiday and being properly careful. For the most part, we only got trick-or-treaters one family at a time, or friends who were clearly walking around together anyway. There were two or three times where it was clear the kids were strangers, and I was a bit concerned with them clumping together to wait for candy, but, again, for the most part, they all seemed to be following proper guidelines. I particularly appreciate that parents made sure that even the kids already wearing full Halloween face masks wore their typical cloth face coverings underneath.

I even saw a little Ladybug cosplayer! She was about 5, I think. She also seemed 100% done with trick-or-treating already, which is kind of sad since I saw her around 4pm, I think. She looked tired, Mom was carrying her, she was fussing with her costume's gloves, which were too big, and her blonde hair was hung loose. I joked a little with her as she took her piece of candy: "What happened to your pigtails? Did you lose them?" The mom told me her daughter had the pigtails, but took them out pretty quickly. Then there was a second of recognition before the mom excitedly told her daughter, "See? She knew who Ladybug was!" So, I'm thinking the poor girl had a lot of people not knowing what her costume was supposed to be? I hope the rest of her Trick-or-Treating experience perked up.

Once home, Hubby and I made our traditional Haunted Meatloaf. As in, "haunted" with ghost pepper chili.

This isn't even all of the meatloaf he made. There was at least one more batch this size.
Hubby was kind. He started with a batch that barely had any flakes in it so he didn't kill me (I can barely handle spice). These are marked as the "mild" meatloaves. Then he made the main batch with about half-dozen mini-pockets filled with the crushed pepper before mixing it all together. These are marked as "spicy" and make up the majority of the loaves in my fridge right now. Finally, he set aside about six where he half-filled the pan with that spicy meat mixture, then LINED the top with a layer of crushed ghost peppers, and filled the pan the rest of the way with that spicy meat mixture. These are the "super hot" ones that I will avoid at all costs. 

I prefer my "hauntings" to be closer to Casper than The Exorcist, thank you.

Dinner made and in the process of being eaten, Hubby and I spent the remainder of our evening on our Animal Crossing islands, celebrating Halloween there without any need for social distancing or masks, and we could both trick-or-treat and have trick-or-treaters to our heart's content. Especially since we didn't have any kids come to our place IRL. 

I ended up taking about 300 screen shots and videos throughout the night! Here's some of the highlights.
Some shots from my island; some from Hubby's

Mostly my island, but the shots with Stitches the cub are from Hubby's.

So many pictures of me just trying to compose a spooky feel.
Most of these are on my island, but the first 3,
and the theatrical one by the graveyard are all on Hubby's island.
Hubby went from his Adrien Agreste cosplay to full on Chat Noir.
I had way too much fun trick-or-treating my villagers at home, giving my wandering villagers candy as they sprint up to me yelling "Trick or Treat!", purposefully not giving my villagers candy to see the prank they'd pull - resulting in having the scarecrow, mummy, zombie, and joker (jester?) face paint patterns throughout the night; wish you could save them to use later - and scaring my villagers by dressing up as Jack. Plus you have the villagers using the Haunt and Scare reactions, which is just adorable. Also, now we have a whole 2nd page available for more reactions. Maybe we'll finally get a blowing a kiss or air hug reaction or something? I NEED TO GLOMP SOME OF THESE VILLAGERS AND SOME OF MY FRIENDS WHEN THEY VISIT!. Back on topic though, both Hubby's and my islands were all spooky and Halloween-y with the nighttime Jack visit and overcast sky. It was lovely. I needed a whole month of that.

Speaking of, I still have the decorations up, because it seemed a shame to get the final Halloween crafts and the Halloween themed wallpaper, flooring, and rug at the end of the day. At least I'll have them for next year, but... I'm going to enjoy them for about a week before I start thinking about the next holiday.

.... [Unintended Intermission] ....

Okay. Life has gotten crazy again. It is now after 3pm, so I hope all of my above advice about voting is still helpful to people.

In the meantime, and one of the reasons this has taken so long to post, I went to the polls myself (along with Hubby, of course). So, please remember to go vote! 
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Finally, this is my only Tuesday off this month. I do have nearly every Friday off, however, so I may be moving my blog updates to Fridays for the foreseeable future. I'll let you know if/when I switch back to Tuesdays. I'm also not officially signed up for NaNo this year, so I probably won't have any sort of word-count updates like I normally do in November. I AM planning on writing something Plagg-centric for Friday the 13th though. Can't flake out on Plagg Appreciation Day after all, right? Besides, it does feel a bit fitting that my first published work during this whole pandemic would be something dedicated to Plagg.

Okay, I got to go or this post will never make it to the public before the polls close! So, one last time:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What DID I Do This Past Month?

Well then. Seems Tuesday threw a LOT more at me than I was anticipating, and this blog post got kinda left on the wayside. I had most of it done, though, so I figured I'd just post late this week instead of skipping again. Because, well, come on. A blog post two weeks in a row!? It's amazing how much better I feel being able to do this. I truly missed being able to write ANYTHING, even if what I AM writing is basically just weekly journal entries. It's still a start, right? 

Speaking of, NaNoWriMo starts on Sunday. Part of me wants to participate, but another part doesn't want to add any more stress to a year that has already been a lot for me with regards to my writing confidence. So I haven't officially signed up for it. We'll see what I decide by Saturday.

There are three options I'm batting around should I decide to do NaNo. Four if you add in the option to just bounce between them all and focus on both word count and writing ANYTHING instead of the traditional version of "50,000 words for ONE story".

Option 1: Try to work on One and the Same yet again. This story has been in the making for 2 years, and I've had so many people finish Peeping Tomcat only to ask me where to find OatS. I always feel a touch embarrassed when I have to respond with "Uh... I'm... still working on that one...." Just call me the George R. R. Martin of fanfiction at this point. I may get the next story out.... eventually.... in the meantime, let me assure you - while I have a bunch of other projects released in the meantime - that I'm totally working on that sequel I mentioned years ago.... I did vow at the beginning of the year that I'd get at least the first chapter of OatS published before the conclusion of 2020, but considering I've barely even LOOKED at this story all year, I don't know if I should still hold myself to that. After a 2+ year wait, I REALLY don't want to rush out something subpar. Nor do I want to publish the first chapter just to say I did so, and then have people waiting for who knows how long until I can get the rest of the story written and polished.

Option 2: I'll touch more on this later, but I was heavily inspired by the Miraculous Ladybug special that came out at the end of September. Well, to be more accurate, I was heavily inspired by the confusion and salt the fandom threw around after watching the special. I don't know if I just know how to get into the heads of the writers better than a lot of fans, but I understood where they were going with just about all of scenes, whereas a great many of the fandom seemed blindsided. Or they felt what happened was a bit contrived. Or a character seemed to be written poorly. Et cetera.

So my thought was to help the fandom see what I did with regards to why the writers made the decisions they did. In a manner similar to my story Prescription for Love, I want to write the scenes that were skipped because they weren't necessarily crucial for plot progression. I want to write scenes we were shown, but in a different character's perspective than the one we saw on screen. I want to further flesh out the events of the special. In part, because these side scenarios are bouncing around in my head anyway, but also to maybe help the fandom see what I did and appreciate the special more.

While I feel guilty taking on another big project instead of working on OatS (again), I also kind of want to get this story done sooner rather than later since it's specifically focused on canon, and I'm already a month out from the special's premiere. 

Option 3: I had offered to help my mom out with something, and I have totally fallen off the horse on that. We talked about it, and we now have a new deadline of February to get it all sorted out, but I do hate holding up other people's projects like this. I've been in group projects where the rest of us are in limbo as we wait for someone to get their part of the project done. It sucks being those who are just on standby. So I may use November as a means to kick myself into gear for this project.


So, there we are. My three options for NaNo - should I decide to participate this week - as well as that fourth option of just bouncing between these projects wherever my inspiration takes me just to keep me moving forward.

Now, let's circle back to that ML special.

I absolutely adored it. The voice acting was a bit off - as in the VAs lost the tone they had established for these characters' voices, but the acting itself was spectacular - so that threw me, but after watching the special about a dozen times (thank you, DisneyNOW), I'm getting more and more used to it. I just hope the choice - either by the director or by Cristina Vee herself - to have Marinette deepen and mature her voice whenever she's Ladybug doesn't transition into the show. If they had made that choice at the start of the series it would be one thing, but after 3 seasons it seems weird for her to start that NOW when her voice hasn't been remotely close to a giveaway up until this point. 

Maybe you could explain it away as "after the event of 'Chat Blanc' she's making sure Chat Noir doesn't figure out who she is" but she didn't deepen her voice in the episodes following, so it doesn't really work. You could also possibly argue that "she's now the Guardian and feels she needs to work harder to hide her identity" but if no one figured out her identity before why would she feel like it's in danger of being discovered now? Maaaaaybe because Chloe knows that most of the Miraculous holders are her classmates, and the guy that's now pseudo-dating Marinette??? I dunno, the girl that's pseudo-dating Adrien was also a holder, so maybe Chloe won't put two-and-two together? 

Either way, I'm not a fan of the decision. I wouldn't mind if Bryce Papenbrook had decided to do something like that for Chat Noir because he already changes up his voice slightly between the two personas. It just feels weird to have Marinette randomly do it out of nowhere. Especially with how drastically different Cristina Vee goes with it. I think the issue I have the most with it is that she uses the same deeper and more mature voice she used for Nightmare Ladybug in the episode "Sandboy," and to have "evil" Ladybug's voice now be the real LB's vocal choice is just wrong to me.

Other than that, though, I LOVED this special. You can read my semi-live-blogging of the special here. Fair warning, there's spoilers as I react to the special.

As predicted though, as well as mentioned above, this ever-growingly-toxic fandom was all set to tear this special apart for every little thing. The largest victims being Adrien and Alya. This is where the idea for Option 2 above came from.

I mostly wanted to rewrite the Car Scene from Adrien's perspective, and possibly Alya's perspective as well. We see it via limited POV through Marinette's perspective, so I don't think there needs to be more there, but trying to understand Adrien and especially Alya during that scene seems to be both crucial and something that goes over a lot of fans' heads. In fact, the way Alya acted throughout the whole special I feel needs to be explained. 

So many complained about how she's once again not being a good friend to Marinette - similar complaint as in the episode "Chameleon" - and since I had friends like Alya growing up, I feel like I understand her and her motivations. Are they healthy, intelligent, or helpful choices? No. Are they decisions a lot of teens her age would make because they don't have the maturity or perspective to understand why these decisions are bad? Hells yeah! Should writers abandon realism in telling a story in favor of "teaching" children better life choices? Maybe, but that's entirely up to the writers and what kind of story they're trying to tell. Is the story automatically bad because a writer decides to go with "realism because it adds better drama" instead of "teaching children so they are better prepared for the future"? No.

I could do a whole essay on this subject, but I won't get into it now.

So, yeah, I want to rewrite the Car Scene from these other character perspectives, along with what happened with Marinette and Adrien post-sewer scene, the Floating Scene, the flight from Paris to New York City, Alya's and/or Nino's POV during the museum attack, Alya and Marinette interacting post-attack on NYC, Adrien prepping for the trip to NYC, why Luka had to race a bus to drop Marinette off, possibly Adrien's trip back to Paris, and maybe a LadyNoir scene post-special when the two meet up again in Paris. There might be more there, but I'll have to go through the special again (woe is me) to decide if there's more scenes I want in this project.

I do already have some starter essays I wrote over on Tumblr to give me jumping off points for the narrative as a whole.

Again, these are heavily spoilerific essays, just FYI.

I guess that does mean that I HAVE written this past month. Specifically the final week of September, but still. Yay.

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I wasn't the only one that was inspired by the special, which I completely expected to happen. I still haven't finished that project from over a month ago where I was trying to compile my list of fanfic recommendations. Instead I started reading all of the NY special inspired stories. Now I have even more stories to add to my rec list....

Whoops.

Worth it.

I've also been reading something out-of-fandom. Honestly, I've been trying to avoid doing precisely that because it's hard enough for me to get back into writing if I stay within the fandom and allow it to help inspire me. I didn't want to try to switch gears to a new fandom and hope it doesn't throw me off track of what limited progress I've made this year.

However, Taurus Pixie recently started up a new story for the Hellsing fandom. I'm not really feeling Halloween-y this year - which SUCKS because it's a Saturday, it's a full moon, it's a blue moon, etc etc etc, and yet... meh? - so I was hoping a story based on a vampire-centric fandom might help with that. Really get me in the spoopy mood. Plus, Pixie got a lot of rude and entitled reviews on her latest ML chapter, which caused her to decide to pull away from writing anything for this increasingly toxic fandom. I knew she needed some love after that ordeal, so I wanted to get in on the ground floor of her newest story.

Honestly, I'm surprised it kept her this long to write something for Hellsing. This anime/manga's aesthetic is right up her alley. The story follows Seras as she tries to figure out the nuance and political environment of the vampire world without the aid of Alucard. I'm only 2 chapters in - a 3rd was posted on the 22nd, but I haven't had a moment to read it yet - and I'm already loving the world build. I don't think she's ever played any form of White Wolf's World of Darkness, or, specifically, the Vampire: The Masquerade game. And yet, that environment is more-or-less what she's building. It's great  how multiple people just SENSE that idea of animalistic hierarchy and tension of turf wars happening within vampire culture. That structure of vampiric society seems as part of the myth as fangs, sunlight aversion, and hatred of garlic.

Anyway, if you want something dark, gritty, violent, and Halloween-y to read this week, why not give Pixie's story a go? Fair warning, being in the Hellsing fandom more-or-less means she has free rein with her writing so she has virtually every trigger warning slapped onto this thing. Like I said, this is violent and grotesque and dark and gritty as she focuses on Seras dealing with her own monstrous nature and surviving against other creatures that have all but fully submitted to their monstrous and feral nature. Also, it takes place post Hellsing Ultimate/the manga, so... spoilers as well.

Go and Conquer

Cast out by her master, Seras must try and make a new life for herself, despite knowing so little about the vampire way of life. But when a small coven takes her in, Seras finally begins to fully relise her true potential, falling more and more into the insanity of the vampire world. Meanwhile, Hellsing sends in Alucard to deal with this new and emerging threat...

Speaking of submitting to one's monstrous and feral nature, I've been playing Among Us, as I mentioned last week. This past Friday we actually managed to wrestle together enough people for there to be two impostors for a few games! That was exciting. Also, for whatever reason, this time *I* was the impostor seemingly more times than not. Man, I know most people prefer being the impostor and having the fun of sabotaging and killing without having to worry about working out who is the impostor. However, I am NOT one of those players. I HATE being the impostor. Yeah, it's fun, but it's also sooooo stressful. Trying to think of lies or alibis to keep the heat off of you? Trying to keep your tells in check so you don't give yourself away? I know I can't play with voice chat on because I giggle uncontrollably when I can't think of a way of talking myself out of suspicion. Trying to keep track of EVERYONE so you can get in a clean kill? Incidentally, I almost NEVER got a clean kill. Someone either spotted me or walked in RIGHT after the kill, and I couldn't think of a lie fast enough to self-report. 

The only really clean kill I had was when I sat in the vent in Electrical on the Skeld map, because I knew SOMEONE had to have a task in there at some point. The second I saw someone alone I jumped out of the vent, killed, then hopped back in before anyone could be the wiser. I then travelled via vent for a bit so no one could pin me near the room.

Also, Hubby and I are those annoying players who like to pod-up so it's harder for the impostor to pick us off without the other(s) seeing it happen. More often than not we can't convince other players to join us in podding so we just partner up, but, if Ronoxym's Twitch stream from that night was any indication, it annoys the HECK out of the other players that they can't kill one of us without the other seeing because we're ALWAYS together. This playstyle is very helpful as a crewmate, but it's also suuuuuper difficult as an impostor. 

If Hubby and I are ALWAYS together, but one of us is the impostor, it's sooooo hard to get a clean kill without the other seeing it. Which means splitting off from each other, but if we're ALWAYS attached at the hip then the fact that one of us wanders from the other can be a bit suspicious. Alternatively, it means that our spouse is the first to go so we're free to roam around solo. Which also means we go from "partnering keeps us safe" to "partnering potentially makes us the first victim" as well as people getting suspicious that one of us is running around without the other.

We're actually surprised THAT wasn't the main give-away: "Hey, found Zalic's body. Lyco didn't report, but she's still alive. Lyco seems sus." Or, alternatively, "Zalic's alive and didn't report a dead Lyco? Seems sus."

Nope. No one managed to put those pieces together. They would grumble about us being attached at the hip, but never had any red flags go up when we WEREN'T together.

Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.

Although, now that I've pointed it out, looks like Hubby and I need to come up with a new strategy or we just gave ourselves away as impostors....

Anyway, for me at least, it's just so much easier when there's two impostors. Then I can focus on doing sabotages and hope O2 running out or the reactor melting down kills everyone for me, or at least thins people out enough for the other impostor to get in the kills.

We did recently got introduced to the Hide-and-Seek mod that people have been playing, and I'm all for playing in that mode! It's bound to be so much less stress to be the impostor when you don't have to worry about hiding it. It does seem a LOT more stressful to be the crewmates though....

Still excited to try it out!

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On a much sweeter side of things, Hubby swiped my Switch on me Saturday. For the majority of the month, he's had his character in Animal Crossing: New Horizons running around as Chat Noir whereas I've had either an all-pink outfit (for breast cancer awareness month) or a new Halloween costume on.

Well, since he had been running around as Chat Noir anyway, he decided to surprise me when I got home to play that day.

My glorious dork of a husband decided to go full-throttle, found a BUNCH of Adrien Agreste inspired shirts in the custom design kiosk, and even had my character send him the orange sneakers to finish the outfit. Wish the green eye color available was more emerald shading than jade, but it works.

Naturally, I had to make sure I matched.
I was able to find quite a lot of Marinette Dupain-Cheng inspired shirts via the custom design kiosk as well. As a whole, however, his outfit is way better than mine. I couldn't find pink slip-on shoes, so I went with low heels. I also don't have a pink round purse with a black strap. Some of the shirt designs had one drawn on the design, but I liked having the actual bag better. Finally, the blue hair is a bit too light of a shade, but it was either this or actual black, so I'm going with this. I'd also prefer if the pigtails were at the base of the head, much like the dual-braids, but I guess these work too.

We've been having fun roleplaying as these two adorable dorks.
I found "Adrien" playing on the piano while visiting Hubby's island.

The truest of roleplaying: Lovesick Marinette and totally clueless Adrien.

To finish up the Miraculous Ladybug deep dive to try to get re-inspired to write for this fandom, I had decided to make a new mask for this week. I doubt I'll dress up for Halloween much more than just an all-black outfit, but I do also have this mask now...

I tried a new mask design that accordions out vertically instead of the standard horizontal. Doing so is supposed to bevel the mask out away from your lips while still staying snug against the jawline and nose. This way your lips never touch the mask. It seems to work really well, however I DID cut the ear straps a touch too small, so, unless the elastic stretches out, I can only wear the mask in short trips, like to the grocery store or laundry. It's just too much tug on the ears otherwise.

I debated making a second one with longer ear loops, but without a sewing machine stitching this mask together took two days as is. Maybe some day in the future I'll try again, but for right now I'm content with this one mask.

How about everyone else? Have you been reading anything good? Any stories getting you in the mood for Halloween? Alternatively, if you want to hear out-of-copyright ghost stories from around the gothic/Victorian era, here is the playlist of ones Luke Westaway from OutsideXtra has been reading on his private channel this year. Do you have a Halloween costume this year? What are you dressing up as? Have you been playing Among Us as well? Do you prefer to be the impostor or a crewmate? Any pro strats to share? Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo? Do you have a preference as to which option I should do, should I decide to join in?

I keep forgetting to share this, but I did set up a new Dream in ACNH this past week. I'll have to redo it now that I'm Marinette and my island is getting a bit more spoopy, but if you have the game and want a poke around my island, feel free to pop on by.
Dream Address, in case you can't quite read the image,
is DA-6983-1496-3456.
Enjoy your stay.

I know this is a strange year with strange circumstances, but I do hope everyone can enjoy their Halloween while still staying safe and healthy.
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Also also also also!!!!

If you are a United States citizen over the age of 18, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember your civic duty! You have LESS THAN A WEEK NOW!

NEXT TUESDAY is election day. An overwhelming amount of citizens seem to have already voted via mail-in ballots, drop-off ballot boxes, early voting, etc. Keep it up! Keep yourself safe whenever possible. Remember that you can always hand deliver to your elections office if you don't want to chance going to the poles, but also don't trust either mailing or ballot boxes. If you don't know where that is, this site can help you find your local elections office. Please make a plan if you haven't already voted. Make your voice heard. Don't let anyone convince you that your vote isn't going to matter or count. Don't allow yourself to think that you shouldn't bother because you know your area is going to vote for the opposing party anyway. Don't think that it doesn't matter because your area typically votes the same way as you regardless. 

GET. OUT. THERE. AND. VOTE.

Safely.