May the destroyers of our world rain their cosmic force upon you! Seriously speaking, this is a place from which I get to both curse and praise the world without actually affecting it in any physical way.


'Finding Ada' Post 2010: Annie Jump Cannon

Ai, ai, ai, the things I do on my slightest whim. At the cost of my precious bedtime sleep that no amount of school naps can replace, I’m here to talk about Women in Science on behalf of My referral, if you can officially call her one, is Sydney Padua via the wonderful Seeing that her work features Ada Lovelace as protagonist, little wonder that she would have talked about this.

The lucky woman I decided to look at is Annie Jump Cannon. Born in 11th Dec 1863 and dead by 13th Apr 1941, she received a fair amount of education as she grew up, starting with a maternal kick-start to stargazing, then attending Wellesley College (a woman-only college then and now) and later Radcliffe College, before going onto Harvard. But the important thing that even with this education, no women would have dreamed of entering the academia in many areas, such as astronomy. Cannon changed all this.

In 1896, she and a large group of other women were hired by Edward Charles Pickering of Harvard, who wished to save money by hiring them at a quarter the men’s pay. All of them were either astronomy graduates or naturally gifted in mathematics. Together, they handled a mammoth feat of celestial bookkeeping and published the Henry Draper Catalog in 1880.

But that was not the end for Cannon. She continued revising the star photographs over the years. She continued and continued and continued until she finally… continued some more. At the end of her life, she had discovered 300 new stars and classified 325,000 more. She became known as the ‘Census-Taker of the Sky’, but that wasn’t enough for her.

On the way, she managed to knock down the old, inadequate star classification systems while averting the plodding complications of her colleagues’ own systems. She noticed that stellar temperature was the principal distinguishing feature among different spectra and combined previous classification systems into a simplified scheme. The ABC types of old were reordered into the OBAFGKM system, which was subdivided into 10 subclasses, starting from 0 and ending at 9.

Her advances were not missed, and she was appointed as Curator of Astronomical Photography, Harvard University from 1911-38. Then she served as Harvard Astronomer from 1938-40, the first women to receive this position. She also clinched a second First for being the first women to be awarded the Draper Gold Medal of the National Academy for Science. Oxford gave her an honorary doctorate in 1925, and on top of that she joined the American Philosophical Society. Outside the academic world, she fought for women’s rights.

Cannon had an extraordinary talent for distinguishing stars. She could classify 3 stars a minute based on spectral patterns, which meant she spent twenty seconds to glance at one, observe its features, compare them to the ideal OBAFGKM stars and categorise them accordingly. Using a magnifying glass, she could view stars of 9th magnitude, which in normal English is 16x fainter than the human eye can see.

She was listed as one of the twelve Greatest Five American Women by the National League of Women Voters.

I’ll say she spent her life doing beautiful stuff. She herself expressed a desire to reach out for the stars, an extension of humanity’s drive to know our universe. What was most amazing was that she managed this in a time of inequality in most of society. Now, I can’t do anything directly to honor her, due to a notable lack or desire of femininity, but I can direct others down her path. I hope this works, hasty effort it is.


To Catch the Vapors

Moons and suns, I think I'm becoming addicted to gaslamp romance(1). A return to the time before the advent of the electrical computer, before the entire Digital Age began. Sometimes, even a bypass into a Analog Age given the fresh life of innovations that could have been.

It is in part caused by myself, as these trends are. I borrowed an anthology called, fittingly, Steampunk, edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer. I browsed the web extensively for fanart of Acker's 9, or more specifically his stitchpunks. I visited steampunk sites online. But the pivotal point was when I came upon this.

Sydney Padua's take (which in her words is 'not a comic') on a reality where Ada Lovelace(2) and Charles Babbage(3) have successfully built the Difference Engine(4) is sheer comedy, complemented by delightful characterisation via body language as well as the stock duo Lovelace and Babbage comprise. Under the veneer of laughs it is, to the core, steampunk, criticising modern problems from a pseudo-, no, semi-, no, somewhat-Victorian standpoint. Go see it.

I hope this has been educational. I now know more about Babbage than I ever thought I should just by standing next to Padua as she forged on with her not-a-comic. Otherwise, it should be entertaining. Failing that, I took great pleasure in writing this.

(1) General term for fiction depicting alternative realities where abandoned technologies are the driving force behind progress. Includes but not restricted to the "steam" in steampunk and the "clock" in clockpunk, as the "punk" part requires the story to lash back out at modern society.

(2) Mathematician and phyicist who, ironically, was the only legitimate child of the notorious poet Lord Byron.

(3) Inventor of devices stated in (4), but was also extremely interested in other things ranging from banning street music, visiting little volcanoes like Vesuvius and construction carriages with built-in bookshelves. He was quite a character, which is like saying he was a prime paradigm of the quality called humanity as my classmates have once phrased. But I can say he was a person who had a knack for doing things to tempt one to distance oneself from.

(4) A computer used for calculating polynomials and logarithms. Its descendant, the Analytical Engine, was THE computer that could have been, if not for the irritating Second Law of Thermodynamics . Note: if successful, computers would have come something like a century early. Even if Babbage had only finished it at the end of his life, they would have come in 1871, seventy years early. Think on that.



On the train is as good a time as any to practise my handwriting. Normally, the longer I write, the worse I get. The fact that I am writing on the train does not make this easier. Speaking broady, I can say I have to round out my letters more instead of stretching them out and learn to lift my pen off the paper for certain strokes. A sense of timing and a proper pen are also crucial. This time, I write slowly.
Fine, I say. My handwriting is not accurately described as neat even at this leisurely pace. The temptation to flatten out curves and crosses is large. On my blog, which I just decided this will go, this is of course impossible to see. The reason why I prefer typing to writing. Though the ubiquity of writing implements trumps keypads or keyboards. Knowing alone helps little against the part of me that itches to scribble.
I scribble beautifully. It's like my own calligraphy: hard to decipher and then comprehend. But in this world there are almost seven billion different points of view. I need at most three to remind myself my font does not appeal to all. To me, it looks somewhat large, undeveloped and childlike when compared to other people's, notably girls'. Still, I stick to the view that my handwriting is unique and probably more interesting to look at. I have already expounded on my scribbling's qualities. The shorthand is left.
Strictly speaking, it is more of a mediumhand. There are plenty of words I have not abbreviated yet. More importantly, I have not studied the actual shorthand in detail. It is a system of writing that is akin to Arabic or Tamil in appearance rather than Englishm, English only in the words the letters produce. In a sense, it is. The lines are consonants while the dots are vowels. The precise placement of the dots determines its exact vowel sound.
It looks intriguing and time-saving, if only I had the courage to learn it. My mediumhand already combines the worst of my scribbling and my speed. Moreover, there are clearly non-English symbols. In case it was forgotten, my handwriting was in possesssion of a higher degree of order twenty minutes ago than now. Most vexing how my curbes have imploded, how my crosses have melted, and the irritating habit of writing over mistakes.
I might expand on my shorthand in later weeks, but I've briefly pointed the way. If the reader is inquisitive enough to try the original systems that were sources of my own, I commend them as an senior to a junior. The time for slowly taking notes ended months ago. Taking no steps to brace onself for the future is not worth congratulation. But I am kind, and striving to be open-minded. Otherwise, you can wait for me to upload my system and adopt it.
I don't recommend that. My schedule states three months will pass before my turn. On the bright side, I can polish up my writing, mediumhand and maybe even learn true shorthand.


Tripod of Control

I have formulated an intriguing conjecture on the nature of human struggle. I believe our ultimate goal is to yoke the entire universe under the control of humanity. This we do in three ways: control of the natural world, control of ourselves and control of other people.

Why would control of nature be lumped together into one category? The man-nature dichotomy is very clear-cut, in the sense that we are the only part of nature that has the ability to analyse nature itself. Any other thinkers have not made their presence known, but that would be under another topic. Nature can harm us, or leave us alone. We view technological progress as benefits, but in reality it is merely fending off natural disasters, the dangers that come from the elements.

Control of ourselves is so, so vital. That is a point of view developed by someone so drunk with solitude being with other people numbs his mind for a while. However, the consequences of a lack of introspection have caused great catastrophes; wars, lives lost, people's handiworks demolished, heritages lost in the dust of ages. After all, someI exists to judge the world, its experiences and its effects on Itself.

Control of other people is my personal deficiency. I can truly state that at this point in time, I couldn't handle a crowd to save my life. I would likely die at the hands of the mob. Though I know the theory of herd behaviour, it is one thing to watch trends as they happen and another to cause them. People are the world's greatest resource. No matter what one may think about philosophical zombies and the like, it has to be admitted that there is substantial evidence there are other 'I's out there, 'I's who also want to control nature, themselves and people. In a way, a people person just needs to make friends with specialised experts and put everything together to create a functional whole. They will get the credit. This can also be said to concern emotions, but is not bounded by that.

The thing is, however, in order to be assured of a moderate chance of survival in an uncertain world, control of nature, self and people is each required. One missing is the weak point at which death may strike.


Learning to be a Revolutionary

Experimental forage into mentally psyching oneself into the mindset of a bloodthirsty xenophobic and surviving the bloodshed long enough to pass down the lessons.
PS. Everything between the 'PS' is an introduction. This was written as part of my GP journal. It is a result of reading Dune, Hotel Rwanda, The Last Hero and Chapterhouse: Dune within a single week. It's quite a pessimistic text I wrote. PS

If history is any guide, there is always room in the human world for the violent. A human finds it impossible to be entirely pacifistic in their life, let alone an entire group where the mechanics of human nature subtly shift, resulting in the chaos such systems expectedly produce.

There is elbow space for the military revolutionary, the one with fire in their eyes, speeches in their mouths and a weapon always close to hand. The problem is, such revolutionaries quickly follow the paths of their oppressors, making the populace wonder why they bothered with all the troublesome war before starting another revolution just in case it turns out different.

The point here is for the revolutionary to stick around to make sure the revolutions are carried out right. For these uprisings are not just for the sake of making life better. The uprisings are dreams manifested in the world, dreams of a perfect world if only the king was no more. But dreams fade on waking, and there is little better stimulant than a revolutionary not sustaining dreams.

This guide is not for rulers. It is for the person who breathes jihad, the collective raging fervour that takes whole groups to horrific heights. Or depths.

Firstly, be a flexible dreamer. Whatever the vision of the revolting populace is, as long as they think they work towards that dream, they are content. For rulers, this is all very good to know, but hard to apply in the midst of intoxicating power. It is easier to lay low until the people are unhappy with their ruler’s lavish lifestyle and grumble for change. Get to know what they believe they want, and then inject absoluteness into it. Say God leads you; who knows, it may be true, and the people will not know the difference. But if saying ‘God’ causes looks of veiled despisal while ‘science’ brings awe, then the natural course is to become a scientist, one with fire in his eyes, of course. Knowledge does not work if not communicated.

Being able to converse with your group is vital, a pillar of your power. Humans are social creatures, holdover from the time when safety in numbers outweighed safety in isolation. It probably still does. Knowing they are in a group, that they are a group, the populace sees itself that more powerful, capable of making a mark on the world, if only they knew what to do. This is a mob when self-assembled and self-led. With competent and sufficient leadership, it becomes an army. Indeed, one person finds it hard to train an army. Better to train a core elite, loyal to you and receptive to your needs, who will be the extensions of your voice and authority (also good to know for rulers, except instead of paying in dreams of happiness you have to pay in happiness itself). Get to know this elite well; it would be a sad thing for them to turn on you because they see themselves the true leaders of the revolution.

Abstaining from greed aids in the relationship management. It is well known that revolutionaries all too often fall into the trap of abusing power. In this guide, we believe the abusing starts from the moment the revolutionary lets his army crown him. Nay, reject the authority. Let another wear it on his head. You’ll personally take it off his neck sooner or later. (That is, if he is not a great ruler. But in that case you may well be living happily, or fighting against him happily in an entirely legal way.) The important thing is that you survive to spread the doctrine of revolt when the people again have need of it. That is your duty. Stick to it, and you will save your nation the trouble of having to come up with new leaders every time. Note: To do this means you must craft a public persona, acting for your adoring audience. Wear a mask, distort your voice, change your sex, it all boils down to altering appearance. It makes it easier to come back next time.

Change, communicate, continue living. Had but a single one of our revolutionaries heeded these words, our revolutions would truly have been wonderful, clockwork happenings, with nary too many hiccups (no perfection; too much of a dream).


A Bit of Publicity

I was looking online as part of research on our beloved school leader because I was interested in his Five Year Plan for RV. Yes, hearing the name of the plan gave me bad vibes from the time of Chairman Mao and his Great Leap Forward. Anyway, I was quickly sidetracked to an even more important issue: Silviu Ionescu, the Romanian diplomat to Singapore, has predictably been found to be one behind the triple hit-and-run accident a month or two ago.
Yet no one talked about it.
That was the scary part.
Somehow, we let a pompous fat foreign cat take his car, knock three humans down and waltz out of the country. Now, to make sure I understood the politics of this, I went to look at Romania's and Singapore's international relations. The results are bad, politically, for Singapore. Romania is a member of NATO, an old organisation, older than APEC which Singapore has joined. Besides that, Romania is a player in the EU and many parts of Asia, while Singapore is not too well-known outside Asia. The best thing for political Singapore to do is lie low and soothe its (small minority of) outraged citizens until they forget about the matter.
There is too much for me to say. The tags will likely help in showing the topics.



I give up on keeping quiet.

Call it arrogance. Call it my nature. Call it my Asperger's. I have on the whole kept quiet about topics I have had thoughts about, which is all of life. Everything I've experienced, I've read in a book. Consequently, I thought it was best to distance myself from all the trouble that filled the pages of said book.

This led to boredom. Boredom in watching people flailing around in their lives, not knowing what they wanted or how to get it. Boredom in hearing people suggest how to solve their problems and getting it hopelessly wrong. The keyword is 'hopelessly'. There are sayings that say if one cannot deduce the whole of a problem from one small part, one is beyond effort. Notably, Confucius says, in total seriousness and absence of parody, 'I do not teach the uninterested; I do not help those who fail to try; if I mention one corner of a subject to a pupil and he does not therefrom deduce the other three, I drop him.'

The difference between my ancestor and myself is that on reflection, I don't mention the subject at all. For a stranger to even guess at what I'm thinking, it will take the skills of a prophet or the vagueness of a horoscope reading.

The solution is to speak out and be heard. This blog will become more active. But not just that. I've just bookmarked some of the most popular blogs online. I'm not sure just how I'm going to look at them, but tentatively I'll take a look at the commenters. This is because the only people likely to see this blog are RVians, part of the top 10% in SG, trapped in a school that has glued itself to tradition and basically citizens of a country where 'but' follows the freedom of speech.



Perhaps I've said I wanted to create my own blogskin. I don't have concrete memories of typing it, nor do I remember telling anybody. This is then the first clearcut announcement that this blog will be changing looks soon. It won't be changing now; my HTML skills are pretty basic, not a bad point in itself. If not for CSS, I would have done it by now. CSS fills the source codes of all the blogs I've looked at and copied for reference. At the top of each one, there is the damning phrase |style type="text/css"| (I cannot use "<" or ">", so I replaced them). Below that, I understand nothing.

It took me time to realise this. The first thing I wanted for this blog were boxes. The visitor will first see a short message or image, the cover, you could say, of my blog. Then by clicking buttons at the top of the blog, the other sections such as profile and posts would appear in a central frame. This plain, simple thing was too much to ask for. Cannibalising the source code of one blog made them identical. Identically black in background, when I was looking for brown or some sandy colour. Taking out even one line messed up everything. I decided I should look elsewhere, only to run into the bigger problem of entirely losing my sense of direction in the shelves of code.

The solution is to go learn CSS from the ground up. It's slow. I do not think I can enjoy the luxury of slowness, though I believe the opposite. My plan is to do it in parallel with my revision, homework and hike report. Seeing how two of those are fast due, it's a bit tough.
School gets in the way of living once again.


Second Hiatus Breaker

I've been reading my previous posts. I'm tempted to say that they look dry, uninteresting and half-hearted, but it's been going like that for quite some time so long as I'm not writing a story. Also, hindsight combined with inherent cynicism means I tend to use a dirty pair of glasses to look at the past. As if that were not enough, I've changed plenty ever since I wrote those posts, and am aware of it. In all likelihood there will be a day in the future that I view this paragraph with vague disdain, though I'm hopefully still will not comment on it.
Another thing is the other person's blog, linked yesterday. I will name him. He is Junjie. His sentences read to mellow me like Cthulhu appears to mortal men, who soon find the 'mortal' in their physical and mental existences. But like the Cthulhu mythos, bits of it appeal to me. There is always something attractive about distant shores, no matter how inhospitable they look from your homeland. Such is the same about our two viewpoints.
A sad thing happened today. The AYKF RPG, which I mentioned yesterday, has its latest post in April this year. Another RPG, called the Dreamtime and populated by several of the same members, was updated yesterday. In fact, it began last week, so if anyone's starting a hiatus soon, I'll know about it. The point is that AYKF seems at least to be inactive, at worst dead. Not fun after all the hype and plot I waded through to find that out.
Regardless, I'm still going to try roleplaying my characters. First is the notorious Visser Three from K.A. Applegate's Animorphs, mentioned yesterday. With his additional handle 'The Abomination', he's not a amiable chap. Even by the standards of his own race the Yeerks, parasitic mind-controlling slugs that feed on radiation, he is pants-wetting scary. For other races, their shoes and the ground below get damp as well. He is vicious, cruel, power-hungry, arrogant and happy to be in a post where killing is the job description. Alternatively, he can be a deadly schemer or fall into simple mousetraps, replacing 'cheese' with 'suspiciously helpless alien freedom fighter'. Should be simple to write. The challenging part is with his host, another alien with the power of shapeshifting.
Second is Mr Teatime from Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. Teatime is a brilliant person; the insanity that comes along with it is practically accorded to him. To augment the fear factor, he is a childlike person, speaking in terms of children whose parents weren't around to discourage excessive revelling in killing smaller creatures such as ants, cats and other kids. His third danger is a drive to kill. Perhaps it could be attributed to the fact that he was adopted by the Assassins' Guild when young following the death of his parents. With a stronger 'perhaps', it is implied he was a self-made orphan. In later days, lying in bed during the festive season, he devised ways to successfully kill - if the term can be used - anthropomorphic personifications of said festivals. After that comes the usual deadliness of surviving a course where teachers set tests where the passing mark is whether you still breathe, and where schoolmates might be considered as the vehicles of said tests. More difficult than Visser Three, but overall easier without having to think about more than one personality in his warped mind.


Back from Procrastination

At last, at long last, after many long weeks of living in general, I've gotten the chore of life out of the way to write again. The comments from fellow Ventures about this blog was surprising sneak feedback that may have contributed to my decision. I'm not sure about it, otherwise I would have clarified.
To fill in the reader, I've gone to a place or two, done a thing or two, come back and surfed a Webpage or two. Details will be added in at a leisurely pace below.
This is not precisely a deliberately long-winded post. It has been ages since I've last written a proper recount, narrative or essay. Here is my first attempt at solving the problem. It must be followed quickly by others, for my second CCA, Student Editorial, suggested we ought too. Also, in the time I've been away from a convenient keyboard, my mind has been throwing up interesting sentences for each of my encounters with life's hazards. Some of these sentences will be making an appearance, and will be highlighted for the reader's interest. If there is no interest, tough nuts.
Returning to Student Editorial, one of my responsibilities, together with the few other schoolmates from my level, is to start a blog. Judging by a total lack of contact with them, I assume they're not interested. I am, and the only thing blocking me is ignorance of HTML and a near-terminal reluctance to take up responsibility after three years of suffering in a uniformed group. The HTML should not be an issue, as I plan to revamp this blog and in the process of doing so will learn enough HTML to decorate websites in any funny way. Next is our schedule. The magazine we publish is either quarterly or every four months. Our school year does not have twelve months. It has ten, enough for three issues at best. Not encouraging for a magazine directed at quick-pulsed youths. Personally, my minimum expectation was an issue a month, but after speaking with seniors traumatised by excessive exposure to school bureaucrats i.e. from the first meeting onwards, the struggle will be uphill, and will demand responsiblity in shovelfuls. My studies, much as I find them distasteful in this school, will suffer, as will my participation in Ventures CCA. Well, these are tomorrow's problems, for about fifty-five more minutes.
Still, for my seniors' part, they encouraged myself and the other juniors to write more during the holidays to hone our skills. My immediate thought is that of one, an old acquaintance and probably a gender/psychological deviant who posted far more cheerless entries on his blog. For crying out loud - something I rarely do - he makes my stomach writhe with a single sentence. About Avatar, totally unrelated to its visual effects or plot and implications. Given that everyone one else my age in the CCA is in his class, I am understandably worried. Anyway, this post is immediately dedicated to them, meaning that during celebrations they get to come and make a 'short' speech and if this plain sucks go blame them.
Now, post number two for my seniors: a recount of one of my several skiing experiences.

I look down the white slope. Behind the shades, the slope is quite striking. Without those shades, it is blinding. The shades are part of my protection, alongside a scarf and a hood. The scarf has known better days, kept from reasonable distances from a human nose. I can't look forever; I came here to ski. No number of falls is going to stop me for now. For information, I have fallen down more than my entire family combined. My mother, who was worse, had the better sense of self-preservation to stop.
Never mind, I think once more, I get up quickly. I'll get up quickly again. Off I go.
The wind bites my face, tormenting my scarf by torturing my nose. My cheeks are doing little better, but at least they don't leak sticky fluids.
So far, so good. The descent is relatively slow, compared to other skiiers, though if I had any say there would have been no other skiiers to be compared to and thus no moving obstacles. As things went in my life, it was exactly this that caused my second really notable fall. The first fall was entirely my fault.
I was three-quarters down the slope. My siblings were somewhere behind me, and I knew they were there. I decided that, as a good brother, I ought to slow down and let them catch up. I angled my legs inwards as if I were some other weakling with a bloated bladder. In theory, I would slow down gently but shortly. In reality, I turned around, still sliding down, with my legs bent down and my fingers testing the durability of my gloves against artificial snow.
They zoomed past me, and I tried to regain my footing. Thankfully, I managed to re-orient my face to the gaping expanse of the valley. This was at the cost of heading towards the boundary rope fence at high speeds my braking failed to decrease.
Bam. There was a flash of white light, followed by a flash of pain. I lay on the snow in the bliss of being involved in an accident with zero casualties. Or so I believed. I checked my watch just in case I somehow fainted but didn't notice. Then I looked at my right hand for symmetry... And found my middle finger wasn't in my glove anymore. It was frightening on two levels. One, my finger was broken or dislocated. Two, I hadn't noticed it for whatever scarier reason.
A frenzied series of pats and pulls dispelled this. All that had happened was that my glove was pull out slightly, forcing my middle finger to take up house with my ring finger.
The outer snow gloves had disappeared. They were a few small metres behind me, not too far for walking, way too far for flying from a collision.
Other debris included: my skiis themselves, my ski poles and perhaps my hat, I don't recall. Miraculously, my glasses were intact, even though the right lens was loose. Even so, the whole event must have been like a meteor streaking down through the atmosphere, trailing discarded bits of itself as it went.
I picked up those errant bits and after much delay, made it back down to my patient but questioning family members, where it was agreed I was simply amazingly gifted at falling off my skiis.
The second time, no one saw, except some giggly little wench who fell down right in my face and directing the rope fence to come join her. It was the return of Comet Faller, with even more special effects brought about by a stopping distance of a few inches rather than a few metres, such as my ski poles lying inert with my snow gloves attached in death grips, my right lens nestled in a cushion of snow and my right ski a full ten cm outside the fence.

So that's my very long recount of about twenty minutes total of disarray and confusion.
Besides writing, I also draw. This is done in a hybrid of Western comic techniques, manga styles and realism. Until I master facial lines, it will probably have no redeeming features. Don't ask me to draw anything less than an ideal body. When I'm not trying to bully my hands and artistic side into drawing fast and well, I draw round animals and an angel. The world's animals, if circles were the primary body plan. An angel who is actually an AI and like many bad animations, has a cute form and a battle form.
I was supposed to do a 24-hour comic, but following the miscarriage of the first one in HK (nightmares were involved), I've set it for later.
Currently I'm observing the intrigues of a roleplaying adventure called 'An Adventure You'd Kill For'. It features fictional serial killers (mostly humans/humanoid), mostly alive on the whole, who are trapped in an interdimensional prison by an entity called... the Corporation, headed by... the CEO. It is better than it sounds, not hard given my puny summary, and like any conspiracy story, hints at puppeteers upon puppeteers in the background. Aside from that, there is plenty of action, positively pages of it. Indeed, even basic punctuation and grammar take a back seat although the moderator Varthonai is undertaking the hellish task of tidying up the archives and uploading them as complete story arcs.
Be warned: like action flicks, characterisation is secondary to many of the writers, whose have already delegated punctuation and grammar to their sorry posts. Not that it's impossible to have good characters. Just that the fact that a particularly endearing NPC might be killed off by Varthonai or the other moderators puts a dampener on this issue. A note: one character was defeated halfway through the story, only to get better, and another faked his own death to his own army and no other than the Joker.
Yes, and that's the main point of the story. Any-homicidal-one that has made an impact on you in your literary explorations can be brought to life by your hands in this forum.
I'm planning to take Visser Three from Animorphs. :)
Overall, it's very interesting and worth a long look.

PS - If my writing style seems weird, it's because I try not to start to many sentences with a noun. It's for the sake of variety, without which my life would be rather dull.