AS Afflatus: Issue Fifteen

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AS Afflatus: Issue Fifteen

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:51 pm

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If you are a new reader of the Afflatus, welcome! This magazine is meant to be interactive with our members, meaning submissions, suggestions, and nominations are encouraged! For each contribution to the Afflatus, points will be awarded to the house! Through this magazine, we aim to provide tips and inspiration as well as updates regarding the site. To make a submission, you can do so by using this form or even posting directly to the thread.

Submissions that are meant to be shown for the next issues are: Dear Stag, Featured Writing, & Anonymous Compliments/Critique.

Afflatus Contents: Title Post, Updates, Dear Stag, Writing & Life Tips, Character Interview & Prompt, Member Corner, Featured Writing, Adventure Story, Activity Center and Anonymous Compliments and Critique.

Current Staff/Team Members: Rakuen, Thunderofthedrum, Night Fury, Commander Shepard, Snow, Important, Ichor., Kami, Blue, Meraki, Andromeda, Cerise, Darkness, MickeyRose, Caim. Here is our team page.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 15 - Updates

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:52 pm

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Site Update: We updated our site. Head on over to the Bug/Issues/& Changes thread if you have any issues you'd like to raise to the staff's attention.

100 DoS Closing: It is that time! There is just over a week left until the 100 Days of Summer event comes to a close on September 9th. Make sure to get your entries in before 12 am of the 10th if you seek to gain points, but remember, it's all about the fun! Also, remember to include your House name in your thread's title so that your prompts can be counted for points!

Nightly Downtime: We've noticed that AS has been shifting into downtime around 2-3 am EST. We apologize for the inconvenience, but this is the site's current logging mechanism and this serves as a warning to start saving posts before this time as it will be consistent.

Social Media: Any downtimes, prompts, and other announcements will be posted on the site's Tumblr and Twitter accounts, so please check them regularly if you want to be updated off site! You can find both linked at the bottom of the site for ease of access!

Houses: There was a recent announcement and poll made that can be found here. Please check it out and give us any feedback you have! Would you like each AS House to have it's own board? Private or not? Let us know!

Color Scheme Contest: A little fun contest that allows users to submit a color scheme for the site! If chosen, the user's color scheme will be implemented. This will end 11:59 EST on Saturday 8th, 2018. Please check this announcement for further details!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 15 - Dear Stag

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:52 pm

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Dear Stag,
What are some good tips to keep a suitcase underneath the 50lb limit, but still packing the essentials for a trip?
- Anonymous Wyvern
  • The answer to this question turned out to be quite long, so it was used for the Life Tips segment for this issue! Please scroll down to see the answer!
Dear Stag,
Sometimes, I find it hard to unwind at night and struggle to fall asleep. Do you know of any remedies that can make me fall asleep more quickly?
- Anonymous Wyvern
  • Firstly - get away from all electronics. The light, the pictures, the videos, the swiping - all of it stimulates your brain more than is good for you at bedtime. We are all bad about it but really it is step one for going to sleep. Some even say you should turn off devices at least a half or whole hour before bed so that you can properly wind down. For some, a certain drink may help such as a glass of milk or water, and soothing scents such as a lotion or candle may also help to relax your body and mind. Take a few minutes for some self care, including your teeth and washing your face. Reading a book for a little while before bed can help to give you something to do that’s less stimulating than electronics but still entertaining until it’s time to close your eyes. Lastly, if your room is too quiet or there is a noise that isn’t conducive to sleep, there are apps you can download to your tablet or smartphone to play some noise that is more comforting to you, with a personal favorite being the sound of rain, though perhaps you prefer the sound of a fan, crickets, or ocean waves.

    Here are some other ways to try:

    1. Melatonin
    It’s a chemical in your brain that helps you fall asleep. So, it’s a natural medication to help knock you out.

    2. Mindfulness Meditation
    There is a routine that helps with relaxation where you concentrate from your toes up to your head, from body part to body part, to relax yourself. There are more in depth outlines to this online!

    3. Teas
    If you are a tea drinker, drinking teas that include chamomile will often help with sleep. There are teas called “Sleepy Time” that also help relax the body. Other tea remedies to try are: Valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, passion flower, magnolia bark

    4. Cut out caffeine and food an hour before bedtime
    Having food and caffeine can offset your natural sleep rhythm. If hunger does strike right before bed, a small snack is okay but stay away from large amounts of food

    5. Hot baths or showers
    The hot water is a relaxer on the muscles that can help you to fall asleep, perhaps changing the shower schedule to include a shower at night could help too if there isn’t enough time for a bath.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 15 - Writing Tips

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:53 pm

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This month's Writing Tips theme is on Ways to Get Inspired to Write That Character. Refer to this Tumblr post. x
1. Create a moodboard
You can create a collage of images, text, colors, or materials that remind you of your character. This, in a sense, is used to "evoke or project a particular style or concept." In other words, a moodboard helps set the "mood" for whatever you're working on. They are often used by interior designers and artists, but can be used for writing as well so that you can get a feel for the character being written.

To create a mood board, simply find images or text that remind you of your character. Using things like Google images, weheartit, and pinterest are excellent places to start. Search for something that you associate with your character and see if you find anything to your liking that could fit into a collage.

2. Take quizzes for your characters
Take a quiz from your character's point of view and select answers you think they'd be more likely to pick. You can definitely do this with any kind of quiz, such as personality quizzes like the Myers Briggs test. Lengthy, but if you're unsure of how to describe their personality, this may actually be a great method for you to try!

3. Create playlists
Many people find that music helps get their creative juices flowing. Find songs that seem to suit your character or remind you of them. Collect them into a playlist and whenever you find yourself stuck with them, you can refer back to the playlist. This can also be done with entire roleplays or personal works you're working on.

4. Study some of your favorite characters
Grab a notebook and sit down to take notes from your favorite books, shows, movies, games, and so forth. Note down what made you like the character and what you hate about the character. You can then use this as a helpful guideline to make your readers like or dislike your character.

5. People watch
While this may sound creepy, it is very effective. Go out to some place like the park or mall and observe the people around you. Notice the little things that they do, such as how they walk and carry themselves, their quirks, and so on. Note these down so you can maybe use them for your characters to give them a more realistic feel.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 15 - Life Tips

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:54 pm

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This month's life tips is over Packing the Essentials for a Trip. x

Firstly: if you are using a suitcase in the smallest (carry on) size or similar, you should have no problem staying below 50 lbs. If you are bringing a medium suitcase a size up from that, you then may risk going over the limit but again, still VERY possible and normal to stay below the limit - just that at this point you may want to weigh beforehand to check. Most people also bring a ‘personal item’, such as a purse, backpack, tote, or laptop bag. Review the guidelines for the airlines you are using, assuming you are flying - for example, during one experience going to Mexico, the weight limit for carry-on applied to the combined weight of both ‘personal items’ and as a result the small suitcase had to be checked, however during another experience within the States, checking was easy and free because Southwest allows 2 free checked bags and there was no obvious weight limit for carry on (just a size limit for each item).

What do you want to have with you while traveling? This could be a small blanket and book for a plane, or your swimsuit and a hat to enjoy a cruise ship pool as soon as you get onboard. If flying and checking your main luggage, it may be useful to toss a spare pair of socks and undies into your carry-on just in case something happens to your luggage or you get delayed overnight somehow, and some people opt to have an entire change of clothes with them.

There are some key factors to consider when packing, though there are some essentials that are good to have for any trip. Those factors include: where you are going, how long you will be gone, will you be able to do laundry, and what company and activities. For example, what you would pack for a 4 day weekend at the beach with friends isn’t necessarily the same as what you would take along to Minnesota to visit family for 2 weeks. Different company, different climate, different duration, one may have laundry, etc. Generally speaking, most people like to bring a shirt per day with maybe one extra, one pair of bottoms for every two to three days since those are easy to re-wear (depending on the climate and such, you could maybe re-wear shirts as well). In most cases, one set of sleepwear and one or two nicer outfits are sufficient. It also might help to think about what tops go with what bottoms, and aim for simple pieces that you enjoy but can be versatile. For example, if you bring a pair of blue jeans, a pair of white shorts, and a pair of dark green pants, a simple white top, yellow top, and pink top could altogether create many combinations of outfits, and then you could bring another printed top or two that are less versatile as well if simplicity isn’t totally your vibe.

Try to be practical with accessories and any intended hairstyles - if you are going to the beach, chances are it won’t be worth the time spent to make your hair perfect before it becomes windswept each day. A lot of jewelry can go with many outfits, and if you are shopping for a fun floppy sun hat, maybe keep in mind that it ought to be easy folded or rolled up for easier packing. On any trip, it is wise to bring some sort of packable jacket, such as a light rain or fleece jacket, especially if you can layer it with other clothing.

Socks and underwear are up to you, but most people seem to bring a pair of underwear per day or two, and similar with socks unless you are a staunch sandals wearer. However, like with tops and bottoms, the opportunity to do laundry may allow you to pack lighter for this. Typically no more than 2 bras are needed, such as a light and dark, or a regular and a strapless. If you are bringing more, chances are you are bringing more than necessary. You can also certainly get away with a single swimsuit if you set it out to dry, though if you will be swimming frequently (such as a beach trip or cruise), you may opt for a second swimsuit to mix things up and in case the first hasn’t had time to dry.

For toiletries, travel size is really handy and can save space, even if you are checking your luggage! You can save money by purchasing empty, reusable travel-sized bottles (3 ounces each) and filling them with your own products. You can also reuse bottles you may already have of that size, such as the smallest lotion and body wash bottle size from Bath and Body Works. Generally, one 3 oz bottle should be sufficient for 1 week (say that’s 4-5 showers), depending on how much you use. This can be done for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, and hair products! You can just put the set in a quart ziploc bag for leakage safety and then toss it into your shower bag or suitcase. If you are going away for longer, you could simply make a second ziploc bag of bottles. The only downside to this is that you may feel less inclined to lessen your load by tossing emptied bottles after spending money on them but hey - reduce, reuse, recycle, right? (Plus they will still lighten your load by being empty)

When it comes to other personal toiletry and health items, it can vary. There are those who always keep allergy and pain meds on them, and those who don’t, for example. Some things that can really come in handy and should be considered (in small quantities; don’t bother bringing the whole package and wasting space in most cases): pain meds like ibuprofen, allergy meds, itch cream, cut ointment, hand sanitizer, Q tips, floss, lotion, nail clippers, a couple bandaids, an extra hairband and a couple hairpins, and stain remover.

Shoes are important. Again, versatility is key! A good rule of thumb is to start with one pair of sandals and one pair of walking shoes, unless your trip is more specific, such as Michigan during the winter. Walking around and sightseeing are best done in comfortable shoes - whatever that means for you - and it can be helpful to have a pair of regular, sturdier shoes and a pair of light, breezy, slip-on sandals. Use your own best judgment in the end! Maybe you want to add a pair of cute boots, heels, or a nice pair of dress shoes. This is NOT the time to break in a new pair, however, and keep in mind for heels and such that you may be doing a fair amount of walking. For example, if you are going to Vegas and want to be able to dress up for dinner, it would be good to keep in mind that you’d be walking everywhere and heels may not be practical or comfortable, so in that case maybe you could wear sandals with a dress so your feet don’t hate you.

Be sparing with what electronics you bring; you never know what might happen on a trip. Something could get wet, broken, lost, or stolen. These days everyone brings their phone (don’t forget the cord AND wall adapter), and sometimes a second item like a tablet, laptop, or personal gaming device. Don’t forget items to charge it, and keep in mind that internet/wifi may NOT be readily available or there may be additional fees due to where you are going (for example, the French countryside and towns offer ZERO wifi for passerby). If you have a modern smartphone and don’t mind the small screen, it can be very versatile, such as storing movies downloaded from Netflix or your computer for offline watching, music, games, ebooks and audiobooks from your local library, and helpful travel information like airline apps, travel guides, and translators.

The last bit of advice is to make a list (a few days AHEAD of time). Then, assemble all of the items, pack them into your luggage, and then if needed, reevaluate and eliminate a few things! While you may like a lot of shirt options, you may find that 10 shirts for a 5 day trip MAY be a little excessive after all, and shave it down to 6 or 7. Space a bit tight with 4 pairs of shoes? See if you can knock it down to 3, or wear the bulkiest pair for travel day. Making a list will also allow you better opportunity to reflect on it and to think of anything you may have forgotten. After some experience and practice with packing and travel, you will learn to better anticipate what you will actually use/wear and what you can live without for a few days.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 15 - Character Interview & Prompt

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:54 pm

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1. Where does your character feel most at home?
2. What's your character's biggest regret? Are they willing to admit it?
3. What is one value your character holds that they will never break?
4. If your character had to lose one of their five senses, which would it be? Why?
5. What is your character's guilty pleasure?
6. How does your character like to celebrate their birthday?
7. Has your character made a big sacrifice? If so, what is it?
8. How does your character clear their head when they are upset?
9. What is your character's best subject? Worst subject?
10. Does your character make friends easily?
11. What’s the most important memory your character has?
12. How does your character display affection?
13. If your character had one day to live how would they spend it?
14. What makes your character truly happy?
15. What is your character’s favorite quote and why?

x Prompt x
You're a dragon who enjoys living a peaceful life away from humans when one day, a princess shows up asking you to "kidnap" her so she doesn't have to get married.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 15 - Member Corner

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:55 pm

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Lost wrote:
Recipes to make and eat books with - like cake!!!
Or strange and funky recipes from old cook books which are strange and funky...
Or things like brownie recipes from members/cool food from around the world from different cultures from people who actually eat and know that type of food!
  • I do like the idea of having recipes! If you - or anyone - have any recipes you'd like to share, don't hesitate to submit them! They'll likely be featured here, unless I can think of a better place to put them! Thank you for that idea!
Lost wrote:
Mini member interviews like - how’d you get into rps, what genres do you like, fave book, hobbies etc
Cause the newbies have to introduce themselves so maybe other members might like to as well? But not just staff!
  • I think this is another good idea. So like a little questionnaire thing, kind of like how we do the 100 Truths. I'll definitely look into implementing this very soon. Thank you for the idea ^-^
Lost wrote:
Can we send in book reviews and a couple get featured each issue?
  • I don't see why not! They can be featured in this corner - member corner - here! Just make sure you include the name of the book and author!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:
Featured photo submissions of natural places or things that have given people inspiration.
  • I like this idea! I'm definitely open to it! I'll be adding it to a list of suggestions so that everyone can take a vote on what all they'd like to see in the Afflatus when I take a look to see what to add, what to take out, and so forth.
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:
Crossword for the month. Or a riddle. Something you get in newspapers that you can geek out over when you're bored.
  • An interesting idea. I'll make sure to note this down! Thank you for the suggestion.
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:
Post a character post, and then people submit responses to that character post, and then you and the staff pick a response which becomes the post that has to be replied to in the next issue.
  • This sounds very interesting actually, though it may take some work. I will definitely keep this in mind though and see if I can implement it somehow.
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:
A treasure hunt! Post a list of household items and the first person to find all those items and send a photo in wins.
  • That is an interesting idea, especially for the activity segment! I'm definitely going to see about using this one if I can! Thank you!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:
Cover art for the Afflatus competition. If you get enough entries, you could do a new cover each month and run the contest each year.
  • I like this idea. It would be interesting and great if there were enough submissions for the cover art. Maybe this can be done soon.
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:
Afflatus gets it's own twitter so when someone does a character interview for Jane Doe, the twitter says 'In this issue, an exclusive interview with Jane Doe' or if there's a prompt then the author could write a short explanation and that can be posted, or winners for competitions if competitions are created. Or for things like with the Ask the Staff in the issue before this where hints were needed they could be posted on the twitter.
  • An interesting idea, though at the moment, I'm not sure how soon this can be implemented. I do find it easier to keep everything on site so that it's in one place, making it much easier to keep track of things!
Do you have ideas as to what you would like to see here? Don't be afraid to share through our google form!
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Re: AS Afflatus: Issue Fifteen

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:55 pm

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Corpse by Commander Shepard
Hidden text.
ᴛhe night had begun much like any other. Her family had gathered for dinner, eating a hearty meal that consisted of their own home-grown crops. It was delicious, filling, and it made the young girl tired. A yawn escaped her lips, but she knew that there were other things to tend to before bed. Her parents were a little too old to be tending to the nightly chores, and so that soon became her task once she had grown old enough to manage them herself.

After supper was finished, the young girl was pushed out into the dark to make sure the cattle were fed and watered. She didn't seem to mind, but as young as she was, she also did not know of the dangers that lurked behind every corner. The world she lived in was a very dangerous place, between the walking dead and those who figured themselves above the law, but being so young she did not know much about them.

Farah thinks nothing of it when she shifts her weight into the barn. The way the cattle groan uneasily and shift nervously in their pens, the strange silence otherwise that only offered the echo of her feet back to her. Something did feel wrong, even if only slightly, but she just can't get it figured out. Not yet, at least.
"I Just Have Really Shitty Luck" by periwinkle
Hidden text.
The young princess flinched as a cold, wet rag made contact with her rapidly bruising cheek. Standing before her was her governess, the older woman clucking her tongue quietly at the sight of Sybil's marred face. "You must be more careful, dear," she murmured softly, "being clumsy will not get you far in life." The rough cloth was dabbed against her face once more after being dipped in cool water again, Sybil remaining mute all the while. She wasn't clumsy, at least not as much as the next person was. They both knew that it wasn't an accident that landed the royal with a swelling cheek, nor were the other numerous bruises and cuts that the youth had accumulated over the years. Despite this knowledge, they still played pretend. Pretend that the king - her father - didn't abuse his wife and daughter like they were merely the figures stuffed with straw used for training. Pretend that his equally vicious and wicked counsel of men didn't do the same thing, daring to go even further with their lusting eyes and hands. Pretend that Sybil and her mother didn't flinch every time a man standing close to them even moved. The queen herself was a recluse, appearing in public only when she was forced to. Sybil had grown accustomed to an aching body as she crawled into bed each night, a chair jammed under her doorknob to deter any drunken advisers from attempting to twist it. So far, she had been safe from at least that. However, she wasn't sure how much longer that would last. It was only a matter of time before she was passed around like a paid-for whore. The only thing that kept the princess clinging to the less-than-perfect life she lived was her hatred. Embedded deep into her very soul was a deep mistrust, dare she say fear, of men. And there was anger. Anger at herself for being so helpless, anger at those around her for turning a blind eye. Hatred towards any man who looked her way, her first instinct to turn and run from any potential person that could harm her.

She would have killed all those that had hurt her had she been given the chance.
Pulse by Kami
Hidden text.
The coughs had started around the time France was liberated. Without doing anything overly tasking, Ray would find himself leaning down and struggling to breathe, coughing up small red-tipped petals which he could recognise as those of a carnation flower. Even if he didn't understand the reason for such an odd occurence, the man wasn't surprised; a lot of unexplainable things had happened during his life in France. Coughing up a few petals wasn't the worst thing to happen. Though, the man did notice that his coughing seemed to intensify whenever he would see the new Queen of the country meeting in secret with the new target of her affections; a spoiled and manipulative nobleman.

Everything changed when Sybil insisted on him accompanying the pair on some dangerous journey as their bodyguard; a couple of other people from the Guild had been asked, but only Ethne chose to agree. It was going to be a difficult visit, but Ray knew he couldn't turn down the offer without looking suspicious. While Ray usually looked as pale as a ghost, even the Queen noticed he wasn't alright; the coughs which used to be nothing but an annoyance were now shaking his whole body and making him cough up large white and red flowers, sometimes pulling out whole stems from the depths of his throat. Breathing was difficult and the rhythm of his own pulse was constantly hammering in Ray's temples. It was somewhat amusing to the nobleman, who had heard nothing but frightening stories about the assassins; seeing a vulnerable person like this made him feel conflicted about the Guild's usefulness. Though, he did recognise the man's unfortunate illness.

"We call it the Hanahaki Disease," the nobleman spoke on one dark evening as the small group finished building their campsite. "It's horrible to see a man of your capabilities affected by it."
"I'm Only Human" by periwinkle
Hidden text.
"The illness that is commonly known as the Hanahaki disease has now spread across all seven continents, with new cases being confirmed in southern Africa just a few days ago. The number of deaths caused by this disease is also steadily on the rise, although a new breakthrough in the medical field may cause the rate of deaths to fall dramatically. 'Synth-Hearts', developed by the multi-million dollar corporation Vitality, are said to permanently stop the disease from spreading. What more can you tell us about this, Jonathan?"

"Well, Maria, I've got to say that this new invention is by far the most fascinating medical technology I've ever seen or investigated. The Synth-Heart is, in the most basic sense, a group of rapidly developing cells that are programmed to grow in a specific way. As for the Hanahaki disease, the area of the heart that the flower has rooted into is completely removed, and replaced with a Synth-Heart. That little bundle of cells then grows in the span of minutes to fit and the fill the rest of one's heart in, leaving them whole once more. This could not only be the savior of many with the Hanahaki disease, but also for those with other various heart problems as well. Back to you, Maria."

"If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with the Hanahaki disease, the Synth-Heart may just save your life. There seems to be only one side effect: with the removal of a section of the victim's heart, so are their feelings for the object of their affections is removed as well-"
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AS Afflatus - Issue 15 - Activity Center

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:56 pm

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15 questions that you can answer using an entire pool of OC's. Which OC would do this or that, and out of all the characters you have, you can choose whichever. For instance, Marlowe may be the answer for one question, but David for the other. You can earn up to 20 points. Please post directly to the thread and title the post Which OC Would... or Activity

1. Which OC would accidentally get married?
2. Which OC is a picky eater?
3. Which OC would get stuck up in a tree?
4. Which OC has same-sex parents?
5. Which OC uses a lot of emojis when they text?
6. Which OC fears big dogs?
7. Which OC would collect seashells from the beach?
8. Which OC had braces in high school?
9. Which OC says they're not scared of horror movies, but jumps at every jump scare?
10. Which OC isn't scared of jump scares?
11. Which OC would trip over themselves trying to walk in heels?
12. Which OC would eat pineapple on pizza?
13. Which OC tries to stay out of trouble, but trouble always seems to find them?
14. Which OC can run in heels?
15. Which OC would attract random animals?

x Have suggestions for future activities? Don't be afraid to share through the google form!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 15 - Anon Compliments & Critique

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:56 pm

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Anonymous Phoenix wrote:Hyena is the best person of earth for many reasons that are too long to list, but everyone should give her so much love because she deserves it and the world.
Anonymous Phoenix wrote:meraki is freaking amazing! after the update, he's getting so much hate, but he put into so much work into making sure things on the site were as flawless as they can be. i know the new theme colors will take time, but he's doing amazing! i’ve never talked to him, but he seems so nice and i appreciate all the work he's doing for this site!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:I just want to say that I am happy you spend so much time in order to get AS back to functioning after the upgrade. I think not many people know how overwhelming it has been for you and how much there was for you to figure out. When it comes to coding, things always seem to be easier as they are -- it turns out to be more complicated as people thought before. You did really well, please don't let anyone else think that it is not the case. Keep this pace. You are doing great. (For Meraki)
Anonymous Kitsune wrote:periwinkle is a wonderful partner and an amazing friend; she's compassionate and I have so much fun just chatting with her (don't get me started on plotting). Her writing style is very down-to-earth and it just pulls you in and keeps you on your toes throughout the whole story. Her characters are very nice and she is amazing when it comes to character-development. I'm honestly astonished how quickly we became good friends and now I can't imagine my day on AS without chatting with her. Love you, flower! ♥
Anonymous Halcyon wrote:I just think the lovely ichor should know that we all appreciate all the hard work she puts into the Afflatus each month. You're amazing, you're fantastic ♥♥♥ Also you're amazing literally just for putting up with me and my crazy coffee drinking.
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